‘So take a new approach as to how you feel emotions. It’s not about the right emotion or the wrong emotion; it’s about honoring the way that you’re feeling. We tend to think that being sensitive is a weakness, but it really gives us an ability to be compassionate and to appreciate so many things in the world’ Jessica Ortner

An excerpt from the article: The Long Shadow of Patriarchy by Terry Real, LICSW and author

‘Let me be clear. I haven’t been for 40 years, nor will I ever be, neutral on the issue of patriarchy in my work. Traditional gender roles are a bad deal for both sexes. And they’re particularly toxic for men. The evidence couldn’t be clearer. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a statement implicating traditional masculine values as inimical to good health. Let’s take a stark, bottom-line issue: death. Men live 7 to 10 years less than women do, not because of some genetic differences, as most people imagine, but because men act like, well, men. For one, we don’t seek help as often as women do; it’s unmanly. Indeed, as I once wrote about male depression, “A man is as likely to ask for help with depression as he is to ask for directions.” And men are more noncompliant with treatment when we do get it. Also, we take many more risks. That driver without a seatbelt—odds are that’s a man. Men drink more, take drugs more, are more than three times as likely to be imprisoned, and five times as likely to commit suicide.

Traditional masculine habits not only hurt men’s physical and psychological health, but also produce the least happy marriages. Study after study has shown that egalitarian marriages—which often involve dual careers and always encompass shared housework and decision-making—unequivocally lead to higher rates of marital satisfaction for both sexes than do “traditional” marriages, based on hierarchy and a strict division of roles. Yet most therapists, even today, act as if these choices in marriage were simply a matter of personal preference, of legitimate, sometimes clashing values. Where do we stand on issues like toxic masculinity and paternalistic marriage? For the most part, we don’t stand anywhere.

Cut from the Old Cloth

Like most feminist therapists I know, I don’t want to “feminize” men any more than I want to “masculinize” women. I want choice. When the moment calls for combat, I want men to be ferocious. But when the moment calls for tenderness, I want men to be sweet, compassionate, soft. Mostly, I want men to be able to discern which moment is which and behave accordingly. I want men to hold fast to those elements that are good and right about the traditional male role—courage, loyalty, competence—but ………. have access to emotion, particularly the vulnerable emotions that connect us to one another……..’

An excerpt from Dr Kim D’Eramo’s book: The Mind Body Toolkit

‘A large proportion of these neural networks are located in the area around the heart. These nerve networks around the heart respond to neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) in the same way the brain does. Interestingly, the nerves in the area of the heart send large amounts information and signals to the brain that control brain activity. In fact, there is more information from the heart going to the brain to control and modulate brain function than from the brain to control the heart. The research has shown that the heart and emotional state play a far more significant role in controlling brain function and organ activity than previously thought. In fact, studies by The Center of Heart Math have found that the nerve activity around the level of the heart can be measured to have impact throughout the body and even beyond the body. This electromagnetic energy of the heart can be detected at distances of up to eight to ten feet away from the body. The cellular activity in the nerve cells around the heart creates a field of electromagnetic energy that changes depending on the emotional state of the person. This activity is considered either “concordant” or “discordant.” The “concordant” activity harmonizes organ function: evening out the heart rate, normalizing blood pressure, and instilling smooth respiratory function. The “discordant” activity causes erratic variability in the heart rate, irregularity in the breathing, and abnormal shifts in the blood pressure. The “concordant” activity is detected in the area around the heart when a person is experiencing harmonic emotions, such as love, joy, peace and appreciation. “Discordant” activity is detected from the area around the heart when a person is experiencing disharmonic emotional states like anger, fear, frustration or impatience…… Therefore, your emotional state is directly linked to the quality of physiologic activity in your body.’

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