Hello! Welcome to my work.
My name is Emily Perrin and I am a Mental Health Therapist and Mindfulness and Performance Coach. I am so thankful you are here and I’m excited to share my journey with you in detail. Although my path to this work has not been linear much of it has been shaped by my own lived experience.
The truth is I grew up in and around sport. My Dad was a college basketball coach at the University of Virginia for the first 10 years of my life where he also received his Ph.D. in Sport Psychology. Some of my earliest childhood memories are running around University Hall (which sadly no longer exists) at UVA and going to team practices. Even after leaving college basketball he has continued to work with some of the best athletes in the United States. His career has taken him across multiple professional leagues including the NBA, MLS, NWSL and to two World Cups with the US Men’s National Team. From a very young age this was my life. I...
If you have not read Part 1 of this series, A Trauma Aware Approach to Breath Work , I highly recommend this as this will give you an in depth look at what breath work is and WHY this might be challenging for some.
I am passionate about helping all of my clients and athletes understand what breath work is and explore this practice with more awareness so that they may engage with the practice in ways that actually support them.
There are a variety of ways to engage in breath work but more importantly you do not have to engage in it at all. This is why I highly encourage everyone to start by thinking about their goal or intention for breath work before embarking on a breath work journey.
Know that breath work is not a necessity for mindfulness, meditation, feeling calm, soothing yourself or achieving any award. Contemplative or mindfulness practices, grounding, or self-regulation skills are never a competition or destination. The ultimate goal is to find what works for you and...
As mainstream society continues to jump on the breath work bandwagon it is very important we continue to prioritize safety and accessibility with regards to this practice. As a mental health therapist and mindfulness coach that works extensively with athletes, its important that I continue to break down the nuances of such an individualized and powerful practice. As someone who has experienced significant trauma, chronic anxiety and panic disorder in my life I know firsthand how challenging breath work can be.
I always want to acknowledge that in any setting I may be teaching breath work in, someone has probably experienced some level of trauma. More likely than, someone in the room really struggles with breath work and doesn’t feel safe feeling or accessing their breath let alone manipulating it. This blog is a complete break down of WHY this might be the case and HOW to get started with breath work in a safe and accessible way.
As Deb Dana says "The breath can be both...
If you have not tuned in to my 3 Part Blog series on the connection between Mental health and Recovery please do so! Why Failing to Prioritize Recovery is Impacting Your Mental Health is a detailed look at how recovery and the mental health of an athlete are intimately linked. This will also help you understand the type of nervous system shift we are looking for and explain what the Parasympathetic (Ventral Vagal) Nervous System State is (Referred to as PNS in this Blog).
If you have not downloaded my Free EBOOK: The Athletes Holistic Guide to Recovery, this can be a great place to start!
I am a full advocate of explaining the “why” behind things before giving an athlete or coach solutions or answers. I find that the “WHY” is often what empowers an athlete to step into taking care of themselves more efficiently.
The recovery process will be unique and individual for every single athlete. When working with an athlete or a team I...
If you haven't tuned in to Part One and Part Two of this Series I recommend starting there.
Part One: The role of the Nervous System in both Mental Health and recovery
Part Two: The link between Recovery and Mental Health
But the impact of failing to prioritize recovery will also be a foundational piece of how an athlete performs.
Impact on Performance
For those of you who have gotten this far, THANK YOU. But alas, we have one more element to also consider.
Although I believe that there is NOTHING more important than the overall well being of an athlete, I also know that sport is competitive. Although we are moving in the right direction with mental health in sport there are still MANY athletes and coaches who prioritize performance and winning over overall health.
Performance is a critical piece to sport. But mental health is the foundation for performance.
Many athletes come to sport with goals and...
If you are just tuning in make sure to go back and read Part One. This will give you look at how the Nervous System is going to be central to both Recovery and Mental health. Now let's look at the link why we cannot talk about Athlete Mental Health without thinking about Recovery.
Recovery and Mental Health
Now lets see WHY an athlete needs to be prioritizing and making MORE of an effort to make this intentional down SHIFT in their nervous system after recovery. This is where we begin to link Recovery and Mental Health.
Have you ever looked at a typical college athlete’s life?
If not, let me paint a picture for you:
As a Mental Health therapist and Mindfulness and Performance coach I have worked with countless elite high school, college and professional athletes. More often than not the athletes and coaches I work with are driven, competitive and meticulous about their training both on and off the field. Yet, these same athletes and coaches fail to be as meticulous and prioritize recovery in the same way.
Athlete recovery is directly linked to mental heath and well being. We are moving in a time where mental health across many environments, including sport is gaining the attention it deserves yet athlete recovery is an absolutely CRITICAL piece to the athlete mental heath equation. This 3 part blog series aims to clarify the connection between the two.
Elite performance requires elite recovery. Hopefully through this series you will see why.
The Nervous System and Mental Health
The Nervous System is the foundation of our health and well being....
When we experience rejection and failure it is NATURAL to think about it. We are going to want to process it and as you have seen from my other principles I am a big fan of this. We need to process and we need to think. But what many of us experience post rejection and failure is actually rumination and THIS can be tough.
What is rumination? Rumination is when our thinking becomes a bit more obsessive, persistent and repetitive. Generally rumination has a negative tone and it creates anxiety for us. For me, it evokes physiological symptoms like an increase in my heart rate and feeling on edge. Rumination can be exhausting. But what differentiates rumination from processing is that it’s not really processing. You’re getting stuck. I love this description from Elizabeth Scott PhD (2020) “What distinguishes rumination from productive emotional processing or searching for solutions is that rumination doesn’t generate new ways of thinking, new...
“The motivation of self compassion arises from love, while the motivation of self criticism arises from fear. Love is more powerful than fear.”
Self Compassion is hard and it is very counterintuitive to how we typically operate as humans. Simply put, we’re a negative species. We have a negativity bias that serves us well up until a point. Oftentimes what happens when we face rejection or failure our self criticism kicks in. It can be quite addictive and spark a spiral of very critical self talk and rumination. If we failed it means we did something wrong so let’s beat ourselves up so that we can be better next time. If we get rejected, let’s critique ourselves as to WHY we weren’t enough.
Been there. Done that. It doesn’t work. In fact it makes things infinitely worse.
Especially in sport, there is definitely an attitude that if we fail we need to get back to the drawing board so we can figure out how to...
Here is a common human experience: We have a feeling or emotion. We don’t like it or judge ourselves for said feeling or emotion.
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone through failure and rejection and then beat myself up because I am taking it so hard.
“I shouldn’t be this sad”
“It’s not that big of a deal”
“I should be over this”
“It shouldn’t bother me”
“I should be more positive”
Anybody been there? We place so much judgment on how we think and feel. We are a judging species and although we will never NOT judge we can help ourselves out.
In his book “Wherever You Go There You Are,” Jon Kabat-Zinn describes what it might be like to not judge. “Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it is, without attempting to evaluate it as “good” or...