In this interview, Dr. Peggy DeLong, a Clinical and forensic psychologist, joins Laura Greco as they discuss empowerment strategies that work. Peggy, in addition to her psychology work, is a wife, mom to three children, an entrepreneur, speaker and an author of her memoirs, I Can See Clearly Now. As Dr. DeLong shares, it is evident that she is passionate about connecting with others and helping them live their very best lives, even on the worst of days. She assists everyone to remember to embrace gratefulness with her Midnight Creations and organizes walks to help people get back into creation assists in improving mental health, You are warmly invited to share in our discussion as Peggy shares her wisdom about life and parenting, so do join us.
Hello and welcome. I’m Laura Greco and you are listening to SuperPower Mommas. I am so excited that you’re here today along with Dr. Peggy DeLong. She’s our guest today and we are going to be talking about empowerment strategies that work. Now, Peggy has a wonderful story, but first let me introduce a little bit about her.
She is a clinical and forensic psychologist who was raised in Bernardsville, New Jersey. She has a private practice in Long Valley, New Jersey, where she serves as an expert witness specializing in parenting and child protection issues. Through her private practice and public speaking, Peggy assists individuals and groups to foster gratitude and cultivate joy in everyday living. She also owns Peggy’s Midnight Creations where she designs inspirational mental health bracelets for life’s transitions and challenges. Dr. Peggy also coordinates a weekly year-round women’s walking group where she combines her passions to bring people together and to bring out the … I’m sorry, with being out in nature and helping individuals to improve their mental health.
I love this part here. Not only is she an accomplished psychologist, but she’s an entrepreneur. She is a speaker and an author, and she is passionate about connecting with others and helping them to live their best life even on their worst day. So Peggy, so happy to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me.
I’m so excited on our topic too on empowerment strategies that work. You and I know each other a little bit and I also got to … You just published a book, so we’re very excited to maybe touch on that while we’re in this interview.
But first of all, just as we always introduce the show, I would like to ask you, what is your … I didn’t mention this, but you’re a mom of three children, two daughters and a son.
Yes, yes. Which makes you also have moms, so what is your Momma SuperPower?
My superpower is helping people find joy and something to be grateful for every single day, even during difficult times, even on their worst day, to help them live more fulfilling lives.
Yeah, and I love that you put that in your bio because that is actually your journey is about that.
Yes, and I didn’t realize it at the time when it was happening to me back in 1994 when I went through an extremely difficult time of losing both my fiancé and my father within six weeks of each other. But when my fiancé was sick with cancer and I was with him during the last days of his life when he was at the hospital, the one thing that I was grateful for every day, because there was so much unpredictability and anxiety, I became grateful for a simple cup of hazelnut coffee that I was able to find comfort in it every day when I never knew what condition he was going to be in.
I never knew what doctors were going to be around. I never knew what was in store for the day. But the one thing that I could rely on that provided me with comfort was a simple cup of hazelnut coffee. So I try to help other people understand and find ways and things that they can be grateful for even through a very difficult time.
That is really, I just want to pause a second because that really is a powerful thing. It’s not the great big things in life, is it?
Right. And it took me going through something so difficult to realize that. I didn’t understand at the time that that’s what I was doing was practicing gratitude. I had no idea. I just knew that it made me feel better. And then when I went on and started my doctoral program and learned about the power of positive thinking, then it all came together and made sense, because our thoughts really do create our realities. When we can train our brains to think more positively, it’s only natural that life is going to feel better. So that is what I help people do, to retrain their brains, get out of negative thinking, and think more positively.
I love that you share this because I know you’re trained in helping people as far as your professional life goes. You’re a doctor, right?
Yes. I’m a psychologist.
Right. And so as a psychologist, you already are trained in things like this. But what I love too, and likely this happens in many cases, but I like that you share your personal story of it, of your journey in this venue.
I think that’s what makes it meaningful and relatable when I can provide the personal stories and not just with the hazelnut coffee, but even through other difficult times in my life I share when I do workshops. I think it helps people relate and understand that if I can do it, they can do it also, especially when they’re struggling and going through a difficult time. It is one of the easiest things that we can do to boost our mood on a daily basis and also when we’re going through a tough time, to think about something that we’re grateful for.
Yeah. You were so young when you were making this initial journey through the strategy that you lived through.
In your 20s, right? 20-
I was 26, yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. We’ve already actually touched on this somewhat, but how do you find that your superpower is.. And we’re going to switch over a little bit to your own family. But how do you see your superpowers of the joy and gratitude helping you raise your children? How do you incorporate that there?
Well, I’ve incorporated into everyday living helping my children to see the bright side of things, pointing out beautiful things in nature. I also want to stress that I don’t do this at the expense of not feeling negative emotions or not talking about negative emotions, because that is equally as important. Our frustrations, our anger, our sadness, all of that is valid and needs to be felt and expressed. So positive psychology is not at the expense of acknowledging and expressing the painful emotional experience, but it’s one tool that we can use to not get stuck there and to be able to move on.
So with my children and in parenting in general, I allow them full expression of whatever negative feelings they might be experiencing, and I encourage them to express that. And then I help them to be able to switch off and move forward by thinking about something that they’re … And just even as we’re driving around town, all the errands, pointing out beautiful sites, to the point that 13-year-old son will now come and get me if he sees a beautiful sunset. We have one window in the house that really overlooks a hill and we can see beautiful sunsets. But if I’m on the other side of the house doing dishes, I miss it. So if he sees it, he will come and get me to come and look at the beautiful sunset. We often don’t realize that our behavior is really having an impact. But over time when we practice gratitude out loud, I like to call it, by talking about what we’re grateful for, the people around us do pick up on it.
Yeah, that’s beautiful. I love that you shared also that it’s not about positive versus painful feelings. It’s really about creating gratitude through the painful experiences.
Exactly. I like the way you just said the word through, because it’s not that we get over something or push it aside, stuff negative feelings, all of those, that will lead to problems. We need to feel the negative emotions. I think that’s part of what helped me get through my grief is that I faced it head-on and I got help to help me face it head-on. It’s when we stuff our negative feelings that can lead to difficulty and being stuck and not being able to move forward. So it’s a balance. It’s experiencing and expressing the unpleasant or unwanted painful emotions while at the same time finding ways to move through it and move forward.
Right. Not being stuck there. I think your book, which is I Can See Clearly Now, beautifully describes that because you do pour out the painful experience that you had and you highlighted the wonderful things that you were also able to appreciate and experience along the way. So thanks for that.
It was very therapeutic for me to write. It took me 25 years to write, but it was something that, in my heart, I just knew I had to. I wrote it for myself, but I’m so grateful to be receiving messages from people, even strangers, letting me know that it touched them and that they were able to learn from it and apply it to their own life and how they can move forward, not even necessarily a loss, but any kind of difficulty that they might be struggling with.
Yeah. Yeah. Peggy, we’re going to get into this some more, but we do have to take a break. So as I mentioned, you have your book, I Can See Clearly Now, among other things on your website. Would you like to tell everybody where they can find all of this stuff?
Beautiful. Okay. Thank you, folks. Hang with us because we’re going to be right back. We’re talking with Dr. Peggy DeLong on the impairment strategies that work. Be right back.