Perception. Everything hinges on how you think

Our thinking determines our focus. Take 2 people in a horrific situation and they can have 2 very different perceptions of the experience. You control how you respond to any given moment in your life – good, bad, wanted, or unwanted – you are in control of your perception. If you shift your perception you have the opportunity to change how you experience the situation. Doesn’t mean you have to like it, want it, approve of it, agree with it – just means it is the one you are are in and you are controlling the way you show up to deal with it.

Mind Yourself … Pay attention to what you consume

So many of us are careless with our environment. We want cheap and easy. We want chemically enhanced smells or flavors. We want to feel good right now no matter the cost. Many of us do not guard our consumption well. We watch what the advertisers put on TV, listen to the stories the newspeople are selling, and fill ourselves up with food made in laboratories. You control what you consume. Consume wisely.

Feel Better Fast … Laugh

I am sure you have heard of the power of laughter. We have all sorts of sayings about laughing, living with laughter, and keeping your smiles going, but many of us struggle to find enough laughter in our regular day. For many adults they have not felt the deep release of a good belly laugh in a long time. If this is you, find a way to laugh today … even if you laugh at nothing in the beginning. Just start laughing.

 #fitnesspsychologist#laughterasmedicine#powerofplay

Stand Tall on the Changes You are Making

Are working hard to make life changes only to feel defeated by those around you or yourself? It may be time to look beneath the surface of the change process and find the deeper meaning in the struggle.

For each obstacle from Thursday’s change plan worksheet consider 2-3 options for coping with each on the way to your goal.

Maybe it is changing location, moving away from particular people at a party, going a new way to work, having dinner at a different time, saying a particular phrase, etc. There are many ways to address and deal with your challenges – and they will come up. So plan to meet them with grace and confidence.  

The Spirituality of Change

This brings an aspect of living your essence and spirituality. As you work on changing, you must face yourself – sometimes this is the hardest person to face. You must take an honest look at who you are and who you want to be. Then do the difficult work of change. Through this process we often find parts of ourselves we do not like, want around, or understand. It is in facing these aspects of our being that we become a better version of ourselves. If you find yourself lost in the struggle, it may be worth finding a support system for your change process – a group, class, or therapist to help you navigate the steps and set you up for the best possible results.

Finding your voice

Sometimes explaining your desire to change to others is hard. Sometimes they work against you – like crabs in a bucket, pulling you back into old patterns and behaviors. Remember, you do not have to explain your changes to anyone else. You do not have to justify your new behaviors or work to get the to understand your reasons, purpose, or dreams. Your change is all about you and you can chose who to share it with and when.

A few simple statements go a long way, like:

  • I’m the DD tonight
  • I am working on a new fitness plan
  • I am trying a new meal plan out
  • I am working on shifting my sleeping pattern
  • I’ve been reading about _____, and I want to try some of the suggestions
  • I have a friend who did ____, I am hoping to have similar results
  • I noticed I feel better when I do _____

You can create all sorts of simple statements that give enough information but do not require you explain or rationalize your new behaviors. Just make sure you are creating statements you can back up if they ask later – i.e. if you are telling people you are working on training for a race, you might want to make sure you are planning to run a race. When people ask how’s the racing going you don’t want to be “aaaaaahhhh …” and stumble trying to make something up on the spot.

In the end, relax into the change process, enjoy the ride, find yourself, and become a better version of you. It is here you find your spirit and strengthen your soul.

Make Life More Interesting

Want to feel more engaged in your life? Finding your personal flow by examining your patterns and being open to change.

As we move through change it can be helpful to track and notice patterns. In the tracking we find how we build our personal flow. What works, what does not. From here we can create ways to build more flow into our daily routines. Check out this post for help tracking your patterns and organizing your life changes.

This awareness lends itself to offering you more opportunities to bring flow into your life, thus creating a positive cycle to make your life more engaging and interesting to you.

And wallah … you begin living a life in flow more often than not. 

Small Steps Make a Big Difference

So many people bite off more than can chew when it comes to habit changes. They know the big goal they want to accomplish but it is too big, too overwhelming and they never start or stop too soon to see the change happen. Don’t be that person. Just start small and keep going.

Create Your Life

Are you creating the life you want? Some of us use play as a way to avoid doing the hard work of creating the life we really want. Not that all of life has to be hard work, but rather than avoid taking the next step by playing, overusing substances, or skirting responsibliites – get out there, have fun, and take action to get what you want.

Make Yourself More Happy … Turn the other cheek

Think you have to meet violence with more violence – physical, emotional, or spoken? Think again. By using effective communication skills and the art of grace, you can be happier regardless of how the people around you are acting. Practice finding the light in everyone you meet today.

Turn the other cheek is something many of us have been taught as we grew up in a society that works to have moral rules, laws, and structure.

Today give someone the benefit of the doubt. Offer them grace as you find yourself frustrated, stressed, annoyed, or irritated by another person or situation. Look for the light in the situation and in the other people involved.

If this is hard re-read last week’s conversation on communication here

Finding Peace with Death. Flowing Through the Lifecycle, Change, and Difficult Times

Many of us do not want to feel pain, we do not want things to change, and we do not want to lose. Yet change and loss are a part of life. Here’s how you can move through your grief and find light within loss.

When we have a loss of any kind – person, pets, jobs, homes, communities, partners, children it can be one of the hardest places to find the light. Many people have the hardest time finding light in death of a person. Death is a difficult event for many of us. In the United States of America culture, we work hard to push death off, stay connected to our youth, and discount the value of aging. Death becomes a difficult topic as a result. In addition, many people struggle with change. This creates difficulty when “death” involves the loss of something they felt should remain in their lives, like a job, home, or partner. 

Discussing the Death of People

Depending on one’s spiritual beliefs, or lack there of, the death story and expectations around death may be different for each of us, however the experience of loss is one we all share. As we discussed earlier this week sadness is about loss and about recognizing what matters to you. When death occurs it helps us remember what matters most to us. It gives us a chance to reconnect to those still living and make sure we are communicating our care, love, and desire for deeper relationship while we are both still here. 

The loss of a child is one of the most difficult events one can go through. During this time it can be very difficult to understand the reasons or make sense of what is happening. However, many who have gone through the death of a child report they are stronger, learned something important, and/or the loss helped them refocus their lives into something more positive. Difficult but doable when focus remains on honoring our emotions and moving through the grief cycle. 

The Grief Cycle

The grief cycle has 5-6 stages. First we are in disbelief/doubt, then we bargain. When we cannot change the reality of our situation we typically become very angry. Sometimes angry at God, others, communities, social systems, people. Anger is ok. It helps us find injustices and do something about them. It helps us set boundaries and say no. However, if one is using anger to hurt others (verbally, emotionally, or physically) it will lead to other problems we have to clean up (shame, guilt, broken relationships, more loss). 

After anger comes sadness. Usually deep sadness. It is heavy and cloaking. It shrouds our desire to engage or can keep us isolated and focused on ourselves and our pain. If sadness is not allowed to move through it gets stuck. It often underlies depression (as does anger), chronic pain conditions, and anxiety. When it is allowed to move through we are better able to recognize what the loss means to us and how to honor it in the present. Maybe we deepen relationships, we might change our habits to be more healthy, we make embark on things that enhance our lives: adventures, move, or start a new job as a result of learning gained during the period of loss. (Note of caution, embarking on these things in the middle of the process may be a bad idea. We may not be truly acting from a place of new learning, instead acting from a place of pain)

Finally we come to acceptance. We move into a state of understanding around what the loss means to us, what we want to change as a result, and how we want to continue to grow and evolve. At this point we are able to form new connections to our loss and have gathered information about growing from it. Then we move into a sixth stage (not all models speak of this one). This stage is categorized by the new life we have created as a result of the loss. It may be the way we have decided to do holidays or honor the person(s) who have passed from this human experience. In this stage we own our learning and have incorporated it into our being as a true part of who we are. From this place our life has new meaning, purpose, and we are congruent in honoring the past and focusing on the future. 

Moving Through Change Associated with Loss

If you are moving through a difficult time of any kind, grief is often a factor. It may be the loss of a person, pet, job, home, community, physicality – we need to grieve all sorts of things. If you can allow yourself to feel the grief and the “death” of the experience you were having, you will find the richness on the other side. When you allow yourself the option to move through all of your emotions and cycle through them as needed (FYI: the grief cycle is not linear, you may bounce around at times) you gain a greater sense of yourself and what matters to you. Embrace your feelings and grow. Learn and implement the changes you are experiencing. Take an honest assessment of your experience and allow it to shape and change you for the better. 

If you are stuck or struggling with your grief, can’t seem to find the other side of it, or need help understanding your experience it is a good idea to seek a professional. As noted above, getting stuck can bring on other mental and physical health issues. Plus, many struggle with acceptance and cannot move into implementing the changes and learning as a result of the loss experience. Remember acceptance does not mean you like it, want it, wish it, or approve of what has happened, just that you are honestly looking at what is truly going on in your world. This is a difficult stage and it can help to have someone guide you through this difficult process. 

Finding the Light in Others

Ready to challenge yourself to let go judgment and negative thinking patterns? Read on to take the challenge and make your life better.

One of the hardest things is finding the best qualities of those we do not like. However, if you can muster this level of compassion, empathy, and kindness your life gets better. One of the reasons we struggle so much to show a high level of acceptance is judgment. Many of us are plagued by judgment. We judge ourselves, others, situations, places, you name it we judge it. 

Now judgment is not all bad. I am grateful I am able to judge how another driver is driving. Not to call them an asshole and flip the bird, but so I can determine how to pass, if to pass, or just move away from them. We need judgment to help us navigate the world without being overwhelmed by every decision we have to make to get through our day. 

Judgment becomes problematic when we use it to shame ourselves and others. The more we judge, the more scared of authentic connection we become. We shut parts of ourselves down so we do not become vulnerable to the judgment of others. We hide pieces of ourselves to fit in. We eliminate potential experiences to stay safe in what we know and avoid being judged by others for being different. Thus our unique gifts are marginalized and the world loses out on our full expression of ourselves. 

Today work on finding the light in others. Start with those you like (can be yourself) and move toward those who are neutral in your life – like the store clerk you see regularly. Finally, try and find the good in those you do not like or even hate. Remember it is not all or nothing. You do not have to like all of them or even the majority of them, just aim to find something positive about them no matter how small. Aim to practice this for a week or so and notice the changes in your life. I guarantee (I do not do this often) if you do this for a period of time, life gets easier and your negative self/other talk gets quieter.