Navigating Life's Transitions with the Wise Heart Approach

a dandelion blowing in the wind

Change is an ever-present and elusive concept, and an important reality of life. It describes both the process and byproduct of decisions we make - like working on health behaviors - in addition to things over which we have little control, like the weather. Change is scary, exciting, uncertain, and necessary. We at HPP have been reflecting a lot on this topic; between our rebrand, updated website and, most recently, a new office suite, there’s been no shortage of change!

When we discuss health behavior change with clients, our aim is to facilitate a process, not ensure a specific outcome. What this means is that we help people articulate their goals, identify barriers to change, build emotional and self-awareness, and adjust to whatever happens along the way. Meaningful behavior change is not a sprint to the finish line. It is an intentional, often slow, process. And that’s ok!

On another level, accepting the inevitability of (involuntary) change within and around us is important for well-being. These changes may include the progression of a medical illness, or an unplanned break-up, or your child maturing into an adult. While we don’t always have a say when it comes to change, we can try to think about it in a more helpful way. Tara Brach, a prominent psychologist and mindfulness instructor in the DC metro area, talks about “responding to change with a wise heart,” encouraging people to embrace impermanence rather than resist or fear it. In our practice, we often discuss with clients the transient nature of emotions. We do this not to minimize the impact of strong feelings, but to emphasize that even the most intense feelings eventually subside. By working on being more present in daily life (through simple exercises, like a mindful stroll, or just noticing subtle sensations in your body), people can feel more connected to the outside world and more accepting of change.

So it is in life, and in our practice at HPP as well. We have grown in number from 1 to 5 clinicians in just over 7 years, and now we are expanding into a larger physical office space. This has happened with great intention, and a desire to provide the best possible care to our clients. Change can certainly be daunting, even for us! This change, though, is an exciting one that we heartily embrace.

By Dr. Greer Raggio

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