Dr. Jessie Borelli: Associate Professor of Psychological Science, University of California, Irvine

My NativeAdVert:

Jessie Borelli is an Associate Professor of Psychological Science at University of California, Irvine.  She is a clinical psychologist specializing the field of developmental psychopathology; her research focuses on the links between close relationships, emotions, health, and development, with a particular focus on risk for anxiety and depression. Jessie Borelli also maintains a small private practice where she sees children, adolescents, adults, couples and families, with a specialization in the areas of anxiety disorders, eating disorders, adoption, and parenting (www.empathclinical.com).

My Goal of the Day: To pause and reflect on the beauty around me – the goodness people show me and one another, the strength of people I know coping with adversity, and the small miracles of life.

My Thought of the Day: “Keep on swimming,” inspired by Finding Nemo. And the thought that life is made up of small moments – my goal is to try as much as possible to zoom the camera in towards the moments that move me and to try to get a wide-angle shot on the moments that pain me.

My Action of the Day:  So, so many! I can’t possibly pick just one, for I must move seamlessly back and forth through research, teaching, writing, seeing therapy clients, consulting, directing our doctoral program, parenting, and performing human. Oh, and breathing deeply! So perhaps moving is my action of the day?

What do you love most about Your City?

I love that I am surrounded by people from so many varied backgrounds, and that each day I get to hear the music of many different languages and be exposed to so many different cultural practices. I also love being near the beach and the mountains, being able to ride my bike for miles on end and feel safe, and living in a community where it is the exception for passersby to not say hello.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

On a weekend day, Moulin in Newport Beach or Nectar in Irvine after a long chatty bike ride with my buddy. Acai bowl to cool me down and chai tea latte to warm me up after. Flowing endorphins and the meal give us a reason to slowly calm down and connect, a welcome contrast to the fast-paced, breathless conversation during the ride.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Sleeping still, I hope, likely with at least two little ones snuggled in between my husband and me, keeping me warm. Fielding questions at different intervals regarding what the day ahead holds for the little ones (Mom, is today a weekend?; Mom, can we work on my art project today?) interjecting small installments of charm.

10:00 AM – Just finishing a couple of meetings with students, scrambling excitedly to get my last few words in before it’s time for us to part, likely running (not walking) to the bathroom while another student waits to begin the next meeting. And feeling pumped about what’s coming next.

12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Do I have a short time or a long time? Favorite quick meal is at Luna (Greek salad) or Chipotle (a veggie bowl), but if I could dawdle, I would love to go to True Food or Café Sol.

7:00 PM - Home with my kids, trying to fit 50 tasks into a timeslot that realistically holds 10. Engaged in three conversations simultaneously, a dichotic listening task on steroids. With one arm making dinner, with the other helping one kid with homework, with the other giving another kid a backrub, and with the other feeding myself. Wait, I don’t have that many arms – scratch number four for sure, because realistically that can only happen in fits and starts or after the kids are asleep. Happily enthralled in the interactions, inevitably letting my kids stay up later than intended when “one more minute of cuddles” turns into 15, accepting the trade-off of tired for touched. Reminding myself that these moments will only linger so long, so I’d better squeeze every drop of sugar out of them.

11:00 PM – Either climbing into bed and hoping to read for a few minutes, watching a show with my husband (Current show: Handmaid’s Tale), or sneaking in a little extra work during these quiet moments before heading to bed. Feeling grateful for the loving, tender moments I have had that day, and for the opportunity to get to fill my life and my days with so much richness and meaning. And also feeling tired!

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Diet Coke, preferably fountain drink-style, one or optimally two per day. A good chai tea can substitute for one on most days.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I vastly prefer in-person interactions to electronically-mediated ones – so much easier to read someone’s tone, so much easier to feel connected to the other person -- but I do love the NPR app (and the Invisibilia podcast in particular).

What should everyone try at least once?

Emotion-focused therapy, a form of psychotherapy that involves helping clients access their most vulnerable emotions. This therapy focuses on the deepest aspects of human emotion and provides a transformative experience! Oh, and also trampoline parks, helicopter rides above Los Angeles, paddle boarding on the Newport Back Bay, and showing your most vulnerable self to another person, and better yet, finding it accepted.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

In thinking through really challenging research questions, particularly questions related to the dynamic interplay between two people’s minds and bodies across time and space. Particularly when this intellectual adventure involves another person and attachment theory! Or, more concretely, in the hills above Laguna Beach on a trail leading into or out of Crystal Cove.