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Embracing Self-Compassion and Resilience: A Conversation with Dr. Samara Potter

self compassion

Parents, in our latest podcast episode, we dive deep into the challenges of parenting through adversity, featuring insights from Dr. Samara Potter.

Dr. Potter is a remarkable physician specializing in pediatric oncology, a researcher, a certified life coach, a real estate investor, and a dedicated mother. This episode is packed with valuable advice on transforming parental stress, navigating emotions, and practicing self-care.

Dr. Potter's journey is nothing short of inspiring. As a pediatric oncologist, she dedicates her life to caring for children with cancer and conducting crucial research to improve treatment outcomes. In addition to her medical career, Dr. Potter is a certified life coach for women physicians and mothers of children with cancer.

One of the central themes of our conversation was the pervasive issue of negative self-talk. Dr. Potter emphasized that negative self-talk is a universal experience, affecting parents profoundly. She explained how many parents carry "should" statements, which often stem from societal expectations and personal guilt. Dr. Potter encourages replacing "should" with words like "can," "choose to," or "want to," thereby reclaiming agency and lightening the emotional burden.

Her approach to combating negative self-talk begins with recognizing that we always have a choice. Realizing this can be empowering, as it shifts the perspective from external judgment to internal control. She advises parents to lead with compassion for themselves, acknowledging that it is okay to feel overwhelmed, scared, or uncertain.

In moments of distress, Dr. Potter suggests allowing oneself to fully experience negative emotions rather than immediately trying to suppress them. This acknowledgment can prevent the compounding of negative feelings and help in processing emotions more healthily.

A practical tip Dr. Potter shared involves a technique she learned from Melissa Tiers, a renowned hypnotist. This method helps interrupt negative thought patterns by using an object, like a phone, and swinging it across the midline of the body. This action switches the brain's sides, effectively breaking the cycle of anxiety or negative thoughts. This simple yet powerful technique can be taught to children as well, providing them with a tool to manage their anxieties.

Dr. Potter's work with parents of children with cancer highlights the importance of self-compassion. She urges parents to be gentle with themselves and recognize that there is no fixed timeline for processing grief and emotions. The societal norm of placing others' needs above one's own can be detrimental, and she stresses the necessity of scheduling time for oneself to grieve, reflect, and heal.

In her practice, Dr. Potter encourages parents to redefine meditation in ways that work for them. Whether it's through art, like her newfound passion for painting, or other creative outlets, finding activities that bring joy and calm can significantly impact mental health. This not only benefits the parents but also sets a positive example for their children.

To conclude our enriching conversation, Dr. Potter shared a valuable brain health tip. She recommends parents and children use the aforementioned technique of passing an object across the midline to interrupt negative thought patterns. This method, rooted in neuroscience, can be a simple yet effective way to manage anxiety and regain a sense of calm.

I am deeply grateful to Dr. Samara Potter for sharing her insights and wisdom. Her work is a testament to the power of compassion, resilience, and the importance of self-care. To all the parents and listeners, I encourage you to take these lessons to heart, share this episode with those who might benefit, and remember that you are not alone on this journey.

Thank you for joining us!

Have a wonderful week.

Dr. Hokehe Eko.

P.S.: Connect with Dr. Samara Potter.

For those interested in learning more about Dr. Potter's work and accessing her coaching services, you can visit her website at Mothering Through. She is also active on Instagram as @KidsCancerCoach and hosts a podcast titled "Mothering Through Childhood Cancer."

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