Jennifer Komis is a marriage and family therapist who specializes in anxiety and panic disorders. She is also passionate about pet-assisted therapy and works for the Humane Society. Jennifer grew up in Wisconsin and Kentucky, and she got into therapy due to her personal experiences and the influence of her therapists.
Jennifer pursued both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Family Therapy at Presbyterian Seminary. Initially, her focus was on the Master of Divinity because she wanted to work within spiritual communities to advocate for animal welfare. She quickly realized that becoming a therapist would be a more nuanced way to help people. She changed her focus to the Master of Family Therapy while maintaining the Master of Divinity to be able to speak the language of the people she would be assisting.
Jennifer’s interest in animals has always been present, and she has always had cats as pets. She is deeply passionate about pet-assisted therapy and believes in the healing power of animals. In addition to her work as a therapist, Jennifer also works for the Humane Society as a director of marketing. Through her work, she strives to ensure that animals are cared for internationally.
Jennifer’s love for animals and her belief in the power of therapy led her to combine her interests in spirituality and counseling. She is dedicated to helping individuals who may have been hurt or are struggling with deeper meaning in their lives. Jennifer’s goal is not to provide all the answers but to be a supportive presence and help her clients explore their own answers.
Slowing down reduces anxiety.
Jennifer Komis discusses her journey into the world of animal shelters and how it led her to want to make a difference. She emphasizes the need for awareness of the needs that animals in Kentucky have and the importance of mobilizing community members to help. Jennifer and her family and friends started volunteering for a local animal foundation, and they have since fostered cats, kittens, and dogs. This experience has been inspirational for Jennifer, as she has witnessed the resilience and adaptability of these animals, which has taught her a lot.
Jennifer is passionate about the topic of anxiety and panic disorders. Jennifer has written a series of blogs on anxiety and expresses her desire to communicate important information about anxiety to the general public. There is the misconception that a person’s life needs to be constantly in motion and filled with high expectations in order to be successful. Jennifer wishes to convey that there is an alternative, slower path that can lead to a better and more mindful way of living. Slowing down can actually optimize one’s functioning and diminish anxiety. This countercultural message challenges the notion that faster is always better.
Jennifer knows that slowing down allows individuals to respond rather than react in their lives, which can lead to personal growth and fulfillment. She believes that this message is valuable for her clients at The Mindfulness Center, as it helps them become their best selves in various aspects of their lives, such as their careers and family relationships. Jennifer emphasizes that faster is not always better and hopes to convey this message through her blogs.
Jennifer also touches on the importance of self-awareness and being mindful of one’s own desires and boundaries. Instead of constantly feeling the need to do things out of obligation or pressure, Jennifer encourages individuals to take a step back and evaluate whether they truly want to engage in certain activities. By doing so, individuals can gain clarity and make choices that align with their own values and preferences, reducing feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
Rest is resistance, chronic illness.
One of the key themes that Jennifer Komis explores is the concept of rest as resistance. In a society that values productivity and constant activity, taking time to rest and recharge can be seen as a form of resistance against the pressures of capitalism. Komis argues that rest is not only necessary for our physical and mental well-being, but it is also a way to push back against societal expectations and prioritize our own needs.
Komis points out that our bodies often send us signals when we are not taking enough time to rest. Chronic headaches, stomach aches, and other psychosomatic symptoms can be a result of holding onto stress and not giving ourselves the opportunity to slow down. By paying attention to these signals and listening to our bodies, we can begin to understand what they are trying to tell us. Perhaps our body is urging us to slow down and take a break, to prioritize self-care and rest.
The idea of rest as resistance is particularly relevant in a capitalist society that values constant productivity and hustle. Komis highlights the importance of recognizing that we need periods of rest and rejuvenation in order to function at our best. Just as nature follows cycles of rest and growth, so too could we. In fall and winter, before the spring and summer of productivity, we could take the time to rest and recharge. Similarly, in a 24-hour period, we have the nighttime for sleep and rejuvenation. These natural cycles remind us that rest is an essential part of life.
As individuals reach their 40s, Komis suggests that they often experience a shift in mindset. Referred to as the “fuck it 40s,” this stage is characterized by a desire to prioritize one’s own well-being and do what is best for oneself. After years of grinding and pushing through, individuals reach a point where they realize that the current way of life is no longer working for them. This is a natural progression towards recognizing the importance of rest and self-care.
Komis also touches on the topic of chronic illness, which many individuals at The Mindfulness Center have experienced. She acknowledges that the cultural pressure to constantly be active and productive can contribute to chronic illness. By not allowing ourselves to rest and recover, we put our bodies under immense stress, which can lead to physical and mental health issues. Komis and her colleagues at The Mindfulness Center have personally dealt with chronic illness and have found healing through mindfulness and self-care practices.
Listen to this SOS Podcast Episode HERE!
Find out more about Jennifer HERE!