Create the Best Ever 2019

Want 2019 to be the best ever? Then you have to self-regulate and take responsibility for your experiences. So many of us want to have wonderful times, yet are not proactive in our daily routines. As a result, we are not ready for whatever life has in store for us. We are tired, feel “heavy” and lethargic, put ourselves and others down with negative comments/thoughts, and feel bored in our life. We call it stress or overwhelm, because we can not seem to check everything off our to do list or accomplish all we are dreaming of after getting lost in the daily grind of getting through the day. Instead just floating from event to event as though we have no control in the process of creating our life. 

To be successful in life we have to stop playing the victim of our circumstances and instead play the master. We have to become self regulated, taking full responsibility for the activities that help us maintain that balance. People who learn to self regulate are more successful in many areas of their lives – from work to relationships to feeling more happy everyday. 

Self regulation is the ability to stay connected to your experience giving just what is needed in each moment while meeting the moment accurately. We do this by practicing activities that help us stay focused on healthy relationships and interactions. 

Selfregulation can be defined in various ways. In the most basic sense, it involves controlling one’s behavior, emotions, and thoughts in the pursuit of long-term goals. More specifically, emotional selfregulation refers to the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses”.

Verywell Mind, Nov 25, 2018

In order to create the best interactions possible in any given situation you have to be able to think. This means your brain (notably the pre-frontal cortex) has to stay fully online. You need the centers of the brain known as executive functioning to help you plan, predict, and respond appropriately. However they will go offline if your emotions are too strong. Emotions are just information and intelligence telling you about your environment and how to respond to it. They are quicker than cognitions and therefore the brain uses them to inform your thinking. When your emotions are overwhelming your brain cannot regulate well and you’ll react rather than respond to what is going on around you. Often the responses are based on old patterns of learning and may not be appropriate in the current relationship, be it with your partner or the customer service rep on the phone. When we do not handle situations well in the moment we often feel shame and guilt, which contribute to a cycle of self destructive behaviors and actions that blow up the very relationships we want/need to be supportive.  We have to keep ourselves in check if we are going to have healthy relationships. 

When you think about creating healthy relationships it starts with a healthy relationship with yourself. Taking care of others includes taking care of yourself first. I cannot engage well with you if I cannot engage well with me. To do this begin by determining what you need to feel you best. 

  • How much sleep do you need?
  • What foods give you the most energy?
  • How much and what kinds of exercise leave you feeling blissed out and ready for anything?

As you determine what you need to be your best self, you begin to meet the needs of others too. You become better at noticing where they are and what they truly want and need in the present moment. You become better at reflecting those needs back to them and this helps you create stronger more authentic connections. 

These deeper connections are something we all crave. They actually help us build our brain structures, increase our immune response, and live longer. These brain structures help us engage more thoroughly in everything from learning to experiences to rest thus creating a more vibrant and full life. As we create a more rich daily experience we create more authentic interaction with any given experience. 

I know this video looks at teaching children in the classroom … but it’s good for all of us

As we deepen our practices of what keeps us well, we meet the challenges of our life with grace. For example if I have taken care of myself and I am feeling grounded – no physical illness, I am not hungry, I am well rested, I have energy, and feel physically strong – I will be able to handle more of life’s little stressors. As I competently deal with the little stressors I am “clearing my plate” so things do not pile up and become “big fucking deals”.

At this level of engagement, things flow and relationships grow deeper. I am taking care of me so my health is better and I am stronger for everything I need and want. Everyday. 

How to Leave the Stuck Feeling Behind!

What do you do when you feel stuck? Most of us, spin. We spin our wheels, gossip, complain, and continue to create situations and stories that keep us looping over and over whatever it is that has us feeling stuck. Then we give up … Or become resentful and angry. What if we could get ourselves out of that stuck feeling without blowing up our lives? Would you be willing to put the work into a simple, yet difficult strategy? Could you take an honest look at yourself and see where you are creating this problem?

When you can take an honest look at yourself it helps create a calmer sense of being. It might be hard, and will offer you an opportunity to find your center. Your personal center, not the one that others want you to have … the one you want. In addition, looking at yourself offers an opportunity to see what solutions you can provide and where you might want to let go.

So let’s say you feel stuck at work. You feel unheard, not valued, or taken advantage of. You could complain to co-workers, skip details on projects, or undermine your boss. In each case you are looking at external factors to deal with internal feelings. I will address the external parts in a moment, for now look at your own process. If you are feeling unheard, what can you do to change how you have been approaching the conversation? Can you change the way you word your requests? Is your tone or body language in need of updating? By looking inside we see where we can take our power back. We have options for how we’d like to engage in the world. From this place even if we aren’t successful, we are operating with authenticity and can feel proud of our part in the interaction.

If you don’t feel valued, how would you know you were being valued? Many of us have a particular style or need for recognition and we expect everyone else to know it…AND we don’t want to tell them. Some of us were brought up believing that if someone really loves and cares for us, they should know what we want and need. Telling them those internal thoughts actually feels like nobody cares. Well, the truth is … No one can read your mind. Plus we each enjoy different styles. It might be that my co-worker keeps trying to give me praise and due to our different styles I don’t even notice the recognition. So by looking inward you are able to determine “how would I best understand praise and recognition”? Sometimes this is all you need. Once we get to this step many of us actually start seeing all the praise that’s been there all along and we can begin to bask in it. If we aren’t seeing it, maybe we need to ask for what we want and need? Many of us struggle to ask for these items, because it is scary – what if no one responds? – well if you are feeling under valued, you are already here, might as well ask. Something different might happen.

Now if you are feeling taken advantage of, look at how you might be contributing to your own sense of being put upon. For instance, do you offer to take care of others’ work load? Do you step up to get things done, yet never expect or ask for others to take care of their end of the bargain? Do you have trouble saying no or asking for extensions on deadlines? Do you do extra work because if you don’t do it who will? These are the things that may keep you stuck in your own problem. Take a look at each situation and ask yourself what your role is? Ask “how can I do this differently?” Or “where can I ask for help?” Or say “my role here is _______”. If you are doing more than your role, look at why. How could you “give back” the parts that aren’t yours to carry? There are lots of ways to determine how to change your behaviors. When you “martyr” by taking everything on (to help, so others feel cared for, because you can, so it gets done, etc) you actually disempower others and create a re-occurring pattern where you’ll be the one expected to pick up the slack. All people want to contribute to something. Allow others space and time to do so in their own way and everyone gets to shine … and relax.

Now, I know some of you have been biting your tongue a saying, “it’s not me” and in some cases it isn’t you. You are only responsible for your half of any relationship. If you take an honest look at yourself you should be able to see what you can control, how you can change your thoughts, and what items you can drop or do differently. If you get through that process honestly you may note that the other person or the environment is too powerful. At this point you have a choice to continue doing the best you can given the circumstances or let go of this relationship, job, etc. It will be important that you take space and time to come to this conclusion. When you change your behaviors give others some time to catch up. In addition, walking away from a situation when feeling strong emotion is not usually successful. Make sure you are objective and feeling logical as you make those decisions. Not only will you be able to say you made the best choice for you, you’ll also have time to consider your options and put other plans in place.

Who are You Hiding From This Halloween

Its Halloween Time. The time when we put on costumes to pretend to be something or someone we are not. If you are of another tradition it may be the time you connect with those from your past who have gone before. This halloween think about how you are hiding from yourself pretending to be somebody you aren’t or how you are holding onto the past trying to get back to where you’ve been (ie thinner, faster, fitter). Reflect on the images and feelings those sentences bring up and use that information to redirect you toward your fitness goals. Here’s how.

First, you can’t go back and trying to is futile. One of the hardest things in this world is to look upon today and know you have to accept it – and yourself – just as it is, today, in this moment. You may wish you hadn’t gained weight or that you didn’t eat what you did for breakfast this morning – but matter of fact is you did. So instead of fighting yourself in the past bring your battle to the present moment. Look around – notice and describe what is right in front of you and know that in this moment you have the opportunity to choose what you want to do. From your deepest self – how do you want to live right now, what do you want to eat (or not) right now, and what active thing can you do right now. Do not get tricked into looking toward the future because as much as we cannot change the past we cannot predict what will happen in the future. All we have power over is now.

Second, why are you hiding? What are you hiding? Who are you hiding from? Some of these questions can bring up lots of “junk” we carry around with us. Things we believe about the world and ourselves. If you feel overwhelmed by your answers its time to seek professional help. Find a good therapist who can help you unload and re-pack your bags with skills you need now to get the life you want. If the answers are just difficult or uncomfortable it may be time to look closer at them. For some the answer(s) may be myself or my friends, my culture, my society, my community, my parents, my spouse, etc. It might be an event or past issue that still haunts you – re-read the first step again. Write your answers and revelations down.

Finally, decide what to do with the answers and thoughts that came up. Do you really want to move forward along your fitness journey? If you are not ready to quit hiding and start facing the choices you have in each moment it may be best to just let go for now. On the other hand if stopping is not an option how will you safely bring your true self forward? How will you make small changes each day to continue to move forward along your fitness path? How will you let go of past hurts and ideals that are no longer helping you succeed today?

All of these are big things to ponder. Remember change is a process and not about perfection. We cannot move forward before we are ready. But if you are – good luck, you can do this.

Health is More Than Just Physical

As I enjoy a much needed summer break I thought I would focus on wellness this week. Being healthy isn’t just about being physically fit. In fact, that is only part of the equation.

Being healthy has many layers. Wellness can be thought of as a wheel (think pie – sorry to be using food but it works!) encompassing such things as career, relationships, and culture (the slices). It is important to examine each area to understand where you may be losing energy and in need of better balance (one slice is huge and the others slivers)

Although, my background deals mainly with physical health I can’t ignore the impact the other areas of wellness have played in my personal training clients’ success or failures.

Do you feel out of balance in any areas of your life? Have you thought about how they might be effecting your efforts to be more physically healthy? For example: Do they impact your food choices, your exercise habits, or your motivation and confidence levels?

After noticing how these imbalances are effecting you can you see ways to change and stop patterns of behavior? Sometimes just noticing can be so powerful the choice to changes becomes easy. Other times it may be incredibly difficult to change even though it becomes obvious you are self-defeating the hard work you are doing (or have done) to live more healthy.

Take some time today to notice the impact other areas of your life may be having on your physical health. In our next posting we’ll look at ways to bring better balance to life.