Synopses & Reviews
Constructive wallowing” seems like an oxymoron. Constructive is a good thing, but wallowing is bad. Right?
But wait a minute; is it really so terrible to give ourselves a time-out to feel our feelings? Or is it possible that wallowing is an act of loving kindness, right when we need it most?
Almost everyone loves the idea of self-compassion the notion that maybe in spite of our messy emotions and questionable behavior, we really arent all that bad. In recent years theres been an explosion of books that encourage readers to stop beating themselves up for being human, which is terrific. Unfortunately, readers who arent interested in Buddhism or meditation have been left out in the cold.
Constructive Wallowing is the first book to cut right to the chase, bypassing descriptions of Eastern philosophy and meditation techniques to teach readers how to accept and feel their feelings with self-compassion for greater emotional health.
Its tempting to turn away from menacing, uncomfortable feelings like anger, grief, or regret; however, ignoring them just seems to make them stick around. By learning to accept and embrace, difficult feelings, readers keep their sense of personal power and gain greater understanding and ultimately esteem for themselves.
"Next time life gets you down, don't put on a happy face, says psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson, author of the new book Constructive Wallowing
[...] Crying, punching your pillow and screaming are all healthy ways to deal. (Just don't kick the cat)."
"If youve ever ignored difficult feelings or if your inner critic has been riding you to be constructive every minute of the day, psychotherapist Gilbertson has written a counterintuitive self-help book that offers constructive advice for boosting self-compassion by wallowing in negative feelings."
"Laughter is the best medicine, as many have said, and psychotherapist Tina Gilbertsons new book, Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them is laugh-out-loud funny. The author conveys her insightful thesis in smart, welcoming language that entertains and enlightens along the way."
"The author's emphasis is on self-compassionthe notion that maybe in spite of our messy emotions and questionable behavior, we really aren't so bad after all. In other words, you don't have to beat yourself up for being a growing, unfolding, spiritual human being."
New Thought Magazine
"To constructively wallow, immerse yourself in your real feelings with compassion and understanding."
"Feeling bad and wallowing about it can actually lead to feeling better."
"In Constructive Wallowing, renowned U.S. psychologist Tina Gilbertson makes the extraordinary claim that dwelling on our bad feelings is, in fact, the key to health and happiness."
"In Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings By Letting Yourself Have Them by Psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson, Tina describes the counterintuitive but powerful truth about how difficult feelings can lead to greater happiness. Wallowing constructively is not a just a skill but a lifestyle, a new way to be the best version of the same you."
"This wise book is a friend when you are struggling with making sense of your dark moods and brooding thoughts."
"Tina Gilbertson offers a practical and effective alternative to kicking yourself when youre down."
"Fed up with being told to 'think positive'? It's okay to be miserable now and again, as long as you do it mindfully as a way to feel happy again, says psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson."
Woman and Home
"An upbeat, easy-to-read guide for changing the Inner Critic into the Inner Friend."
"The advice given in this book seems self-evident but it's actually quite practical. Gibertson's main point goes against much of the 'you can do it' school of self-help, and instead advocates even five minutes of your time to feel sad about whatever it is you want to feel sad about."
"[Tina Gilbertson] believes ignoring anger (or any negative emotion) could do more harm than good. Think of all emotions like your toes, says Tina. They're just there, for a purpose, not harmful, not wrong."
"By advocating what is basically a deep examination and acceptance of emotions, author and counselor Tina Gilbertson offers readers a few handy tools to help get rid of those feelings that seem to hang around like an overstayed guest in the back bedroom. Some of the methods are given in step-by-step fashion while others, though moderately repetitive, advocate more of an overall, big-picture helping hand. And if readers still struggle with emotions theyd rather not have, Gilbertson finishes her book with advice on finding a therapist to help. Yes, whats here may be somewhat alternative but when the remains of a disappointment just wont let go, Constructive Wallowing seemed to me to be worth a try. And if thats what you need in a book, keep this close."
"Tina Gilbertsons Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them is a great tool to help you THINK about how to deal with those emotions that can negatively affect your life. What I appreciate the most about this book is the clarity of thought the author demonstrates, reflected in the clarity of writing, which allows for readers to consider the advice given within the framework by which they live their lives."
"There is a certain liberation in the very act of constructive wallowing, freeing oneself from the need to disregard or bury negative feelings, especially during these times of burgeoning positive psychology. From the onset of this read, and all the way through, one can feel that is not only allowable, but essential, to allow ourselves the full range of emotions. Through relatable stories and personal and clinical wisdom, Tina Gilbertson shows us that we feel less happiness when we disallow wallowing constructively, that there is no joy without the full range of human emotion. Constructive Wallowing is an inspiring read that will change the way you see your emotional life. This book will change the way I practice.
Dr. John Duffy, author of The Available Parent
"Where cognitive therapy teaches you what's wrong with your thinking, Tina Gilbertson's Constructive Wallowing teaches you what's right with your feeling. Her style is light and breezy but her message is profound. Both wise and engaging---like a great therapist---this book can start you on the path of self-awareness and self-acceptance that is the essence of healing. And it's good for therapists too. I found especially useful Tina's focus on recognizing the disparaging, dismissive inner critic that keeps us stuck in our painful feelings by preventing us from really feeling and learning from them."
Elio Frattaroli, M.D., author Healing the Soul in the Age of the Brain
"If you've already discovered that 'trying to think positive' only makes you feel worse, it's time to embrace Constructive Wallowing instead. This wise and witty book shows why pushing bad feelings away never works, and offers a practical approach to the more liberating alternative of allowing yourself to feel them. Ignore those grinning gurus: Tina Gilbertson explains how anxiety, anger, sadness and fear can be a doorway to a far more profound kind of happiness."
- Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
Feeling Bad Can Lead You to Feeling Better Faster
Actress-turned-therapist Tina Gilbertson offers a practical and effective alternative to kicking yourself when you’re down. Constructive Wallowing will not only help you reach your potential but also heal from past hurts and feel better about yourself, right this minute. It is tempting to turn away from menacing, uncomfortable feelings like anger, grief or regret and treat them like unwanted guests. However, ignoring them just seems to make them stick around. By learning to accept, rather than suppress, difficult feelings, you’ll gain greater self-understanding for lifelong emotional health.
LEARN HOW TO:
- Take your own side and free yourself from the trap of self-criticism
- Use the T-R-U-T-H Technique to get out from under yucky feelings
- Neutralize old emotions that sap your energy and undermine your joy
- Allow painful feelings to let go of you, instead of the other way around
- Build a healthier, more loving relationship with the most important person in your life: You
About the Author
is a successful therapist, workshop leader and blogger living in Portland, OR.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Wonderful World of Wallowing
What Would You Do If You Lost Everything?
What If You Have Everything and Still Arent Happy?
Sidebar: Be Where You Are
What Does Wallowing Look Like?
How to Use This Book
Part I. DIP YOUR TOE IN THE WATER
Chapter 1: Wallowing is Mostly Allowing
How You Cope With Anything Is How You Cope With Everything
You Cant Wallow Unless You ALLOW
Sidebar: On Becoming Whole
The Benefits of Wallowing
The Escalation Cycle
Figure 1 The Escalation Cycle
Figure 2 The Constructive Wallowing Cycle
Finding Time to Wallow
Chapter 2: The Accidental Wallower: My Story
Getting Over a Happy Childhood
Sidebar: Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks
Ditch That Backlog!
Chapter 3: Emotions: What You Dont Know Can Hurt You
Feelings vs. Emotions
Sidebar: Every Feeling Has Value
Having Feelings in Public
Wallowing Means Never Having to Say Youre Sorry
Table 1. Some Ways to Deal with Feelings
Name That Feeling!
Feelings vs. Thoughts
The Substitution Test
Table 2. Some Feeling Words
Feelings vs. Behavior
Good People Have Bad Feelings Too
How Hurting Heals
The Life Cycle of a Feeling
How to Let Painful Feelings Go
You Cant Choose Your Feelings
Part II. DIVE IN!
Chapter 4: 11 Good Reasons to Wallow
Reason #1: You have no choice
Reason #2: It may be good for your health
Reason #3: Get your energy back
Reason #4: If you cant feel bad, you wont feel good
Sidebar: If Youre Not Wallowing, Youre Not Living
Reason #5: Youre never more alone than when you abandon yourself
Reason #6: What we dont acknowledge, controls us
Reason #7: You'll feel better sooner
Reason #8: Its natural
Reason #9: We all have something that needs healing
Reason #10: What doesnt kill you makes you
Reason #11: Improve your relationships
Chapter 5: The T-R-U-T-H Technique
Self-Criticism: As Effective as it is Enjoyable
The Antidote: Self-Compassion
Change Your Life From the Inside Out
The T-R-U-T-H Technique
T: Tell yourself the situation
R: Realize what youre feeling
U: Uncover self-criticism
T: Try to understand yourself
Sidebar: Constructive Surrender
H: Have the feeling
Make it Work for You
Tips for Dealing with Sadness, Anger or Fear
The Secret to Your Success
Chapter 6: Constructive Wallowing in Action
The Inconsiderate Neighbor
A Disappointing Vacation
A Loved One With a Scary Diagnosis
I Cant Get Over What Happened”
Sidebar: To Know You is to Love You
The T-R-U-T-H Technique Worksheet
Part III. FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY
Chapter 7: The Daunting Dozen: Top 12 Wallowing Worries
Worry #1: My feelings might be wrong
Worry #2: I dont want to be negative
Worry #3: Its no use dwelling on the past
Worry #4: If I feel it, I have to do something about it
Worry #5: Im being self-indulgent
Worry #6: Im just making myself feel bad
Worry #7: I should be grateful its not worse
Worry #8: My feelings are draining and/or toxic
Worry #9: I dont want to feel this way for the rest of my life
Worry #10: I should try to forgive, not hold on to my anger
Worry #11: I dont want to cry
Worry #12: What if I cant stop the feelings once they start?
Chapter 8: Your Wallowing Workout: 10 Activities for Heart and Mind
Nature or Nurture?
Activity 1: Feelings History
Table 2. Some Feeling Words
Activity 2: Practice Loving Yourself
Activity 3: Letter of Forgiveness to Yourself
Activity 4: Letter of Apology to Yourself
Getting in Touch With Feelings
Activity 5: Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Activity 6. Art Project
Activity 7. Listen to Your Heart
Sidebar: Trust Your Heart
How to Connect With Your Heart
Daily and Weekly Exercises
Activity 8. Know Yourself
Activity 9. Talk About Feelings
Activity 10. Weekly Feelings Chart
How to Use the Chart
Table 3. Weekly Feelings Chart
The Quiz, Take Two!
Chapter 9: Wallowing Questions and Answers
1. Is there such a thing as NON-constructive wallowing?
2. What if I cant cry?
3. Should I really wallow in GUILT?
4. What about anxiety? Should I wallow in that?
5. I believe in The Law of Attraction. How can I wallow in negative feelings without attracting negativity?
6. Will wallowing help me feel better about a situation I cant change?
7. What if I always have the same feelings in every relationship Im in?
8. If feelings are never wrong, why do they sometimes change when we get new information?
9. Why cant I just change my feelings by changing my thoughts?
10. Why do some feelings seem to last so long?
Figure 1. Perceived feeling duration
Figure 2. Actual feeling duration
11. How do I cultivate compassion for myself without feeling phony?
Sidebar: Compassion Heals
How to Choose a Therapist
What Feelings-Friendly Therapy Looks Like
Where to Find a Therapist
Questions to Ask Before You Begin
Your Journey Begins