If you haven’t watched "Shrinking" on Apple TV+ you’re missing out on so many nuggets of wisdom for life's heartbreaking experiences. I’ll admit, when I caught the first trailer on TV I wasn’t entirely convinced. But only a few minutes into the first episode, I was hooked. And now it's one of my comfort TV shows and for good reason.
The series explores the ups and downs of one therapist's unconventional approach with patients, as he navigates his own grief after losing his wife. Throughout the season, we're introduced to many therapy strategies through each character's journey. There was one tool in particular that I was excited to see featured in the series because it’s a tool we recommend at Mend and one that my therapist suggested I do too. It really helped me when I was mending from my last breakup, and I think it could really help you too.
In the series, Paul, the seasoned, by-the-book therapist who heads the practice, teaches one of his colleague's grief-stricken daughter a method for letting out all of her feelings. He instructs her to play the saddest song she can think of and set a timer for 15 minutes. During that time she should let herself feel all her feelings as intensely as needed. When time’s up, so is the practice.
I first learned this tool when I was a Mender, long before I joined Team Mend. Then, about a year ago, my therapist gave it a little remix when he suggested I do this practice as I worked through the toughest months of heartbreak. In our session, he called it a grieving hour. He instructed me to set a one-hour timer, light a candle (preferably a relaxing scent like lavender or eucalyptus), and have a journal handy to write any thoughts that come up. He recommended that anytime the intensity of my feelings peaked, I should take some slow deep breaths until I felt calmer. I could repeat this as much as needed until the hour was up.
The point of this practice, no matter which method you choose to follow, is that it lets you feel everything that you might be holding in. Rather than bottling it all up, you give yourself a scheduled time to feel what you need to feel. And that’s essential to the mending process. Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, let yourself have that time to grieve. It'll help you get through the rest of your day, knowing that you'll have time to feel and process your thoughts at a set time. Make this a part of your daily routine, until it only feels necessary weekly and then monthly and then rarely.