Glastonbury resident Dr. Bridget Cooper spoke about her fifth self-help book, Little Landslides: How We Rise Up From Our Pain, at the Welles-Turner Memorial Library on Sept. 6.
Nicole Cignoli, reference librarian and adult programming coordinator at the library, said Cooper's talk kicks off the library's health series.
Cooper also works with companies and executives, as well as doing personal coaching and seminars.
"My mission is to heal the world, one life at a time," she said, adding that Little Landslides is a departure for her, because it doesn't just give advice, but also tells some of her own story.
"These are the tools that helped me move through the pain in my life, and to try to help people move through the pain in their lives. If we all came from an empowered place, if we all came from seeking joy in a similar way, we would be able to have a great deal more healing in our world," she said.
Keeping with the book's theme of finding one's own power and joy, Cooper said that there are three main things that hold people back from feeling powerful in their own lives: anxiety, stress, and pain, and that shifting one's relationship to those three things is key.
Anxiety, she said, comes from the fear that something in the future may or may not happen. Changing that focus from the future to the present is the first step, so she had each audience member hold a penny and focus their attention on it.
"Rubbing that penny between your fingers is a strategy for staying in the present," she said, adding that another technique is to "stop, center, and move."
"It's a way of reducing anxiety by reminding you to stay in the present, by reminding you that power comes from using your power in the present moment, not sprinkling it across the past and the future, where you have no control," Cooper said.
Stress, Cooper said, is the mathematical equation between what you seek to control and what you can actually control. Lowering one's expectations or raising the things one can actually control are the most significant ways to reduce stress. What we can actually control, she said, is our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. What we can't control is other people's thoughts feelings and actions.
"If you want to influence other people, the fastest way is to be in control of yourself," she said. "Then, you have the ability to influence others greatly."
When talking about pain, she said, we have to recognize that we carry it through every experience that we have.
"It's part of the filtration process," she said. "You just want to get it out. If we're trying to let go of some of this pain, we're doing it because we don't want to hold it and we don't want to be the person who give it off."
Pain, she said, is information that tells us that we have something that has hurt us in the past, that we have compounded with something that has hurt us recently, and we need to pay attention.
"It's kind of like an alarm clock for our spirit," she said. "We've been holding our hurt and keep bringing it with us. It's not a good thing. How do we let that go?"
The answer, she said, is in realizing that relationships have "contracts" that people enter into, without realizing it. People need to think about areas in their life that are causing the most pain, and think about what that particular contract looks like.
"Unwrapping those contracts, and realizing that you don't want a contract with that anymore, that you want to redefine things, allows us to be able to have less pain," Cooper said.
Little Landslides is available at amazon.com and for Kindle. For more information, visit www.drbridgetcooper.com.