The Quandrum Art of Joyful Living featuring Katja Cahoon

On our 10th episode of the Quandrum Art of Joyful Living Podcast series, we had the chance to chat with Katja Cahoon, a psychotherapist helping high level corporate professionals to handle stress, burn-out and negative thought patterns. Katja gave us a wonderful insight on the importance of trusting our intuition, getting in touch with our body and welcoming our emotions. Here are her best tips and recommendations.

Katja Cahoon
  1. “Befriending your emotions is the most rational thing you can do”

This is Katja’s motto and one of the things she most encourages her clients to do. Emotions aren’t an enemy, they’re a language that communicate us something important. For example, feeling angry might tell you that somebody’s crossing your boundaries. According to Katja, emotions work way faster than cognitive functions and are thus capable of pointing out situations that need our attention: rational explanations only come in later. Ignoring these warning signs will ultimately lead to severe outcomes, like panic attacks. “With panic attacks, that really is your body saying enough. I’ve communicated and you haven’t listened.” It’s also good to keep in mind that sometimes these signals come from past trauma and should be treated in therapy.

2. “Trust your intuition”

Likewise, when your intuition is calling you to change the course of your life, don’t ignore it: otherwise you might be facing a period of depression. As someone who has transferred from the world of marketing insights into helping others as a psychotherapist, Katja knows the courage that it takes. “I had a name, I had a network, then I started out and I was sort of the lowest man on the totem pole. I was suddenly an intern in a community mental health clinic of the domestic violence shelter.” Getting external help from a mentor, a therapist or just from a friend is a great way of overcoming your own fears that are holding you back. Katja also adds that the capacity to trust your abilities depends on the love that you got as a child: when a child receives unconditional love that doesn’t depend on the mistakes he or she makes, the child grows up with a healthy confidence in his or her abilities.

3. Create a body-mind connection that allows you to be present

According to Katja, it’s essential to listen to your body in order to cope with stress. Physical symptoms (like heart rate) tell us about what we need, whether it be a couple of days off from work, a run or some time with your loved ones. You should also ask yourself what’s holding you back: especially in the professional domain, the feeling of guilt is a cultural construct that pushes us to work more, even at the cost of our well-being or the quality of our work. Grounding yourself is equally important for handling emotions. “Joy happens in the moment, that’s why it’s important to be present.” For this, Katja recommends creating a systematic mindfulness routine and promotes the power of yoga.

4. Katja’s book recommendations

Along the way, Katja shared us some essential books for handling stress and raising emotionally wise children.

  • The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel: “Dr. Siegel does wonderful work in giving children a basic understanding of their emotions. For any parent, I would say get this book make it your Bible.”
  • Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Jon Kabat-Zinn does fantastic work. He created the mindfulness-based stress reduction training. His book Full Catastrophe Living is a life-changer.”

 

You can listen to the podcast episode here, or you can watch a video version on Youtube here.

You can find Katja Cahoon in LinkedIn, Youtube, as well as on Instagram. Don’t hesitate to share us your comment down below!

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