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Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them Paperback – May 13, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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)."
Health

"If you’ve 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."
Publishers Weekly

"Laughter is the best medicine, as many have said, and psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson’s 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."
ForeWord Reviews

"The author's emphasis is on self-compassion—the 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."
—EverydayHealth.com

"Feeling bad and wallowing about it can actually lead to feeling better."
—Examiner.com

"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."
—Daily Mail

"Bookmark this!"
Mindful Magazine

"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."
—AM Northwest

"This wise book is a friend when you are struggling with making sense of your dark moods and brooding thoughts."
—Express UK

"Tina Gilbertson offers a practical and effective alternative to kicking yourself when you’re down."
—Natural Awakenings

"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 & Home

"An upbeat, easy-to-read guide for changing the Inner Critic into the Inner Friend."
Retailing Insight

"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."
Sunday Herald

"[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."
Sunday Mirror

"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 they’d rather not have, Gilbertson finishes her book with advice on finding a therapist to help. Yes, what’s here may be somewhat alternative but when the remains of a disappointment just won’t let go, Constructive Wallowing seemed to me to be worth a try. And if that’s what you need in a book, keep this close."
—Terri Schlichenmeyer

"Tina Gilbertson’s 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."
—Sahar's Reviews

"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

From the Back Cover

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


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viva Editions (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193674080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936740802
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas on May 5, 2014
Format: Paperback
I got this copy from Library Things Early Reviewer program. I have a couple of critiques about it, but since Amazon doesn't believe in half stars, I'll go ahead and give it 5. It's too good for a 4.

I am a licensed therapist and I use a method called ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This book fits nicely with my way of thinking. Which is to say, accept all of your feelings and feel them fully - then behave according to your values and not necessarily your feelings. This seems simple but it's pretty much NOT very simple! We have all kinds of ways of critiquing, judging and minimizing our feelings. Ms. Gilbertson brings tons of new metaphors, stories and techniques to the table that really help in this endeavor. I've already passed along the book to a client and I plan to buy 20 copies and give them to everyone I meet! Good stuff.

A couple of minor complaints: Ms. Gilbertson does not allow for any exceptions. If you fully feel your feelings without criticism, you WILL feel better. She even says that antidepressants blunt feelings (and I assume, are therefore no good and should never be used..? That was my impression). While I DO believe that feeling your feelings fully & without judgement USUALLY leads to feeling better, I resist having that be the goal. In ACT, you feel your feelings fully and without judgement because you commit to being fully human. Feeling better is often a happy result. But there IS such a real thing as chemically imbalanced individuals, there can be lots more going on. And I've seen antidepressants save lives at times. I agree it's over prescribed, but to use her own logic, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
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We all have our bad days, right? I had three just this week which is why I bought this book. I sort of wish Tina Gilbertson was my therapist but her excellent suggestions, ideas and practices in this book are very therapeutic. I love that it is a quirky and funny book that delivers a serious message.I plan on giving this to a couple of friends who seem like they could use a good wallow.
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This book acknowledges that many people have not been given permission to feel and goes over the logic behind the pros and cons of feeling or "constructive (w)allowing " and not feeling (ie: suppressing and acting out) by clarifying a few things. Examples:

Since feelings come from a part of us, then negating feelings equals negating parts of ourselves. "When we refuse to (w)allow in "negative" feelings, what happens is that we push away the part of us that feels that way. This creates a fragmented self, with an Acceptable Me and an Unacceptable Me. This fragmenting [or splitting], in itself, is painful because it hurts when we don't feel whole." pg 10

When life happens and a feeling gets triggered, the best way to not abandon yourself is to (w)allow the feelings to "wave" through or to view them as flowers. When we view feelings as flowers, we note the seed/beginning, the blossoming and the withering away/dissipation of them. Also, "once you become conscious of the fact that you're having a feeling, you're no longer in the same place you were in the moment before." pg 23

Triggered feelings often bring up "unflowered" feelings from the past. "... today's hurt can piggy-back on yesterday's, creating a big reaction to a small event. That combination of old and new injuries turned a molehill into an emotional mountain" pg 42 But by noting the trigger (Tell yourself the situation), naming what you're feeling (Realize what you're feeling), identifying your inner critic at work (Uncover self-criticism), linking the present feeling to your life (Try to understand yourself) and letting the feeling move through you (Have the feeling), we can experience our TRUTH (acronym for the above five steps).
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Format: Paperback
It’s your party, you can cry if you want to. Cry if you want to. Cry if you want to. Or as Tina Gilbertson says in her new book CONSTRUCTIVE WALLOWING, “Even if the feelings are hard, it’s easier to feel them than to pretend they’re not there.” The goal of the whole book: feeling is healing.

“Think about a difference it could make in your life if you only had to deal with each feeling once instead of over and over again,” writes Gilbertson. And it’s true. Instead of pushing the feeling away, suppressing it, or covering it up, just deal with it. Wallowing is allowing. “Once I could accept my feelings as they were, they changed.”

The big pull of this book is Gilbertson’s TRUTH acronym that helps you establish a constructive wallowing process. I’ll give it away here, but you have to read the book for the full meaning and explanation:

T – Tell yourself the situation
R – Realize what you’re feeling
U – Uncover self-criticism
T – Try to understand yourself
H – Have the feeling

You may see wallowing as acceptance of the negative, but Gilbertson writes, “If you are serious about not being negative, don’t negate your own feelings.” Much like Tolle writes in my favorite book on feelings, Gilbertson echoes those sentiments with: “feelings are neither positive nor negative. They’re just feelings.”

I feel there are a couple of incongruent items in this book. Gilbertson says to explore your emotions and put a label on them (list of emotion names on page 62). This doesn’t jive with the strategy above about being positive or negative. She also allows bringing up past feelings as much as needed. This doesn’t concur with present-mindedness or feeling the emotion of the moment.

The whole of CONSTRUCTIVE WALLOWING stands upon solid advice that will help conquer the hurdles of emotion by dealing with them head-on.

Thanks to Viva Editions for sending this book to me for review.
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