Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

Sowing Seeds of Happiness   Leave a comment

Preamble

I wrote the original version of this post back in August 2013. Amazing how time flies! Since then I’ve learned a lot more about the power of the brain and how it’s conditioned to tilt toward the negative based on our ancestors’ needs for survival; something that kept them on constant alert for oncoming threats and danger. Their need for protection was prominent, and therefore the reaction to potential danger to fight or flee was hardwired into the brain for the purpose of keeping them safe; something the brain continues to do today even when theres’s no real threat of danger. It’s no wonder that many of us struggle in pursuit of our dreams and goals, or are afraid to make changes because we’re conditioned to think the worst. This is known as the brain’s “negativity bias.”

I am so grateful for the HEAL process, developed by Dr. Rick Hansen, and the growth I’m seeing in myself, and others, based on the principles of experience dependent neuroplasticity (also known as Positive Neuroplasticity); a simple, yet powerful process that helps us grow inner resources for safety, satisfaction and connection so we can better meet life’s challenges and enjoy greater health, happiness and fulfillment.

SOWING SEEDS OF HAPPINESS

“All that I am is the result of all that I have thought.” – Buddha

It’s amazing how fast time flies, and how our dreams and goals, and the changes we wish to make often get sidetracked by the thoughts we think, the beliefs we hold, and the rationale that we’ll get to them someday. If this sounds familiar to you, don’t let your thoughts and beliefs hijack you!

Every word we speak, and every thought we think, has a powerful and corresponding effect. Whether we know it or not, we are constantly creating our own reality through our thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. Moreover, when we react to conditions and situations in our lives, the brain behaves as though we are in danger and strives to keep us safe.

For instance, let’s say you want to learn how to dance, but your mind tells you all the reasons you shouldn’t do it: “You won’t know anyone in the class, ” “you’ll  make a fool of yourself,” “you’ve got nothing to wear,” and “it’s too expensive,” etc. In this way, the amygdala, the part of the brain whose job it is to keep us safe, reacts and prompts us to flee, by staying at home and watching a movie by ourselves instead. And so rather than risk trying something new, we may feel lonely and unsatisfied as our dreams and goals are thwarted.

Alternatively, we can respond to life’s challenges by learning how to calm the nervous system and help the brain learn from positive facts and experiences. As we do, we create new neural pathways within the circuitry of the brain, which lead to a greater sense of well-being, joy and contentment.

Let’s redo our dance scenario. Let’s say, once again, you want to learn to dance. You still feel anxious and nervous about talking the class, but this time you recognize the brain’s bias toward negativity and its function to protect and  keep you from what it perceives as danger. Instead of reacting to the situation and staying at home to watch a movie, you respond by drawing on the inner resources you’ve developed for safety, satisfaction and connection. In this case, growing resources of calmness, confidence and feelings of belonging may have helped you feel more relaxed and comfortable about about taking the dance class. As neurons that fire together wire together, over time, you would be helping the brain learn from the new experience.

A final note: Please note that the practice isn’t about denying what’s happening within or around us. It’s about becoming mindful of our needs and growing inner resources that help us better meet life’s challenges. In doing so we create greater happiness for ourselves, for others, and for the world.

THIS WEEK’S TIP ‘N TOOL:

 SOWING SEEDS OF HAPPINESS

Change starts with mindfulness…

This week, without judging your thoughts, or yourself, simply notice the thoughts you’re thinking and the feelings they elicit. Be mindful of what they’re telling you. Ask yourself if they’re really true.

Next…

Try calming your nervous system by putting your right hand on your heart and taking several deep breaths. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. Repeat this exercise until you feel a little calmer.

Choose a Resource…

Ask yourself what resource would be helpful to meet the challenge you’re experiencing.

Try this…

For example, let’s say you’ve been feeling insecure, afraid and timid. To match the resource to the situation, you might choose to grow confidence.

Begin by taking a few breaths, and relax as you let go and feel supported by the chair beneath you. As you breathe, and feel yourself relax, let go of any remaining tension. Then, as you’re ready, visualize or think of a time, or times, you felt confident.

Notice the sensations in your body, and any thoughts you may have in support of your feeling confident as you watch the experience play out in your minds eye. If opposite emotions or thoughts come up, know that’s natural and bring your attention back to the experience of feeling confident.

If you’re not visual, or have trouble visualizing, think of a time you felt confident and what that feels like in your body.

Enrich the experience by making it bigger. For instance, notice the details – where you are, what you’re doing, who you’re with, how the air feels on your skin, etc.

Then, let the sensations you’re experiencing as you visualize or think about the situation flow down into your body, like a sponge soaking in water. Stay with the sensations for 5 to 20 seconds or longer. Let yourself absorb and enjoy the experience.

When you’re ready, open your eyes.

Then, as you go through the course of your day, be aware times you feel encouraged, hopeful and assured, and once again, let the good feelings of the positive experience flow down into your body.

 When done consistently, you will help the brain to learn from the new experience, and over time, the tendency to tilt to the positive will become more natural.

Good Facts…

Look for good facts that support your feeling confident. For instance,, notice the things you do well, or the things you accomplish as you go about your day.  Then soak in the good feelings.

***Note that absorbing the good feelings into your body for as little as five to 10 seconds is what will help your brain to learn and grow for the better, and is an essential part of the practice.***

For more resources, please check out my books on Amazon.

As always, I’d love to hear about your experience, should you decide to try the process.

With love, Theresa

Connect with me on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-conti-clc-95b4972b/

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Reconnecting2Yo

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Reducing Holiday Stress: Say “No” to Get to “Yes,” Plus 2 Days Left   Leave a comment

Dear Friends,

Do you find it easy to say “Yes,” to others’ requests, but hard to say “Yes” to yourself?

Do you have a vision or intention for how to spend your holidays, but get hijacked by requests that you have a hard time saying “No” to?

The holidays can be a time of joy and cheer, as well as elicit feelings of stress and pressure.

While we may enjoy all that the holidays offer as we attend parties and other events; decorate our homes; shop for special gifts; visit friends and travel to see relatives and; make our favorite holiday recipes, among other festivities, we can also feel stretched and experience a strain on our time, energy, and financial reserves.

We may rationalize our decision to forgo our own needs, because we don’t want to offend our friends and family members, or risk disapproval from those we love or value.

But saying “No” provides an opportunity for others to grow, and care for themselves, and respect your personal needs.

Here are seven tips, and related questions, to help you gain clarity and take care of yourself this holiday season:

1. Take Inventory

– When are you saying “Yes” when you would rather say “No?”

– Are there particular circumstances or people who present a challenge?

2.  Be Mindful

– How does it feel in your body when you say “Yes” instead of “No?”

– Pay attention to stress and tension.

3.  Is what you fear will happen really true?

– How do you know?

– Is what you’re afraid of happening absolutely true?

– Regardless of what has happened in the past, this is a new moment.

– How can you take care of yourself if what you’re afraid of actually happens?

4.  What is saying “Yes” costing you?

– Are you tired and forfeiting rest?

– Do you have the financial resources to travel or buy expensive presents?

– Do you want to attend the events you’ve been invited to, or go out of obligation and later feel angry or resentful?

– What other costs might there be?

5.  Are you willing to pay the price?

– If you’re answer is “Yes,” do so with awareness. What will the payoffs be?

– If your answer is “No,” what could you do instead” (See #6 below)

6.  Saying “No” takes practice

– If you’re feeling nervous about expressing yourself, you may find it helpful to write down what it is you want to say.

– Then practice with a friend, a coach, or even in the mirror!

7.  Moving Forward

– What qualities do you need to grow inside yourself in order to feel comfortable setting healthy boundaries?

– Reflect on a time you were presented with a challenge and took care of yourself by setting a healthy boundary.

– Notice how the positive sensations feel in your body, and let the feelings flow through you.

– You can also think about how you felt – perhaps you felt a sense of confidence, or felt secure or empowered.

– Let the good feelings soak in as you stay with the experience for five to 20 seconds.

As always, I would love to hear from you.

With love,

Theresa

If you found today’s post helpful, please comment and share.

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Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator, and author with more than 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams, and create healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.  

 

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

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Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) Focus on the Positive   Leave a comment

We all experience discouragement from time to time. The key, when in the midst of challenge, is learning to focus on the positive.

“If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer

It’s easy to feel frustrated when things don’t go our way, or take longer than we wish. We may become discouraged, and think that what we long for will never come to pass. Over time, if we don’t change the course of our thinking, the things we tell ourselves will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you would like a different outcome, and one that leads to your success, tell a different story, and shift your focus to your wins.

THIS WEEK’S TNT

Keep a journal of all that’s going well.

At the end of every day, add a daily entry.

It will help to change your focus and increase your happiness and energy.

Need some ideas? Here are a few to get you started:

You:

Caught an early bus, and made it to work on time!

Saw a friend you hadn’t seen in a while and enjoyed a lovely visit.

You saw a job posting in your field of interest, and filled out an application.

The sun was shining!

You took loving care of your body, and ate a nourishing meal.

You spoke up for yourself at a meeting.

Your car started!

Get the idea?

Experiment!

Try it for a month. Then, notice any changes in your outlook and your life.

It doesn’t matter how large or small the good things you notice are.

The benefits are yours to enjoy, and will come with daily practice.

With love, Theresa

Need help changing your thoughts and words?

“Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself” is an empowering process that can help you change your thoughts and create greater health, happiness, and fulfillment.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

Alpha V2

PURCHASE YOUR COPY HERE

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries! Download the free app and read on your Smartphone, computer or tablet.

Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Leader with more than 25 years’ experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams, and create greater health, happiness and fulfillment. She is trained in positive psychology, neuroscience, practical spirituality, among other modalities.

Connect with me on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-conti-clc-95b4972b/

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Reconnecting2Yo

 Yelp: http://goo.gl/1I8BNy

 

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) Stress Less. Charge Your Life   Leave a comment

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Reducing your stress has the implications of strengthening your immune system and lowering your cortisol levels, which in turn reduces inflammation and improves your overall health.

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather these last few days and have been coloring in one of the coloring books I purchased when I was in Barcelona for a week’s vacation last November. I flipped through the pages, found a design I liked by Joan Fabre’ I Oliver, and have been keeping the book on my living room counter, open to the page I’m coloring, to give me easy access. Each time I walk by, I take a peek, and when I feel inspired, stop for a minute or two or five and color another piece. I just finished coloring in the sides with Faber Castell’s Middle Purple Pink! When I finished the section, I stood for a moment and noticed how light, calm and healthy I felt.

We often think of reducing stress as a stressful thing to do – and something we have to work at. But what if we had a paradigm shift and saw stress as an opportunity to be more playful?

THIS WEEK’S TNT

Do something every day that makes you smile,  lights you up and brings a sense of joy and playfulness.

Then stop and notice how good you feel and let the positive sensations soak in.

Doing so on a regular basis will reduce your stress and improve your sense of happiness.

With love,

Theresa

STRESS LESS. CHARGE YOUR LIFE.

“ALPHABET AFFIRMATIONS: TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE AND LOVE YOURSELF” IS AN EASY AND EMPOWERING PROCESS, THAT CAN HELP YOU REDUCE YORU STRESS AND CHARGE YOUR LIFE WITH  GREATER HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.

PURCHASE YOUR COPY ON AMAZON.

https://goo.gl/DSEpCY

HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

“Theresa’s book and techniques will help guide you on your path to transformation. When you create a life you love and are grateful for your life, mind, body and spirit receive the love message and all benefit.”   Bernie Siegel, M.D., Author of 365 Prescriptions For The Soul 

“A beautiful and simple concept – as easy as ABC! This sweet book offers a creative way to counter the leanings of the mind and provides exercises to stay buoyant and positive — and it offers a section to add even more affirmations to the mix! How cool is that? A great book to have on hand as a reminder that every moment is a new moment and it “affirms” that one can transform their thoughts and their lives in a quick minute. My favorite letter is Q!” – S.G.

FIND IT ON AMAZON

https://goo.gl/DSEpCY

If would you found this week’s TNT helpful, and would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at PayPal.  It’s here:
Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Facilitator with more 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and create happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Website: www.reconnecting2you.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/theresa-conti-clc-95b4972b/

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Reconnecting2Yo

 Yelp: http://goo.gl/1I8BNy

To sign up for Theresa’s mailing list, email Theresa@reconnecting2you.com or click the “Join My List” icon on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2youda

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) Grace, Plus Special Announcments   Leave a comment

“I do not understand the mystery of Grace – only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” – Anne Lamott

I recently had the opportunity to support a friend who is struggling with uncertainty and change, something I’m sure most, if not all of us can relate to, especially in these turbulent times.

Yet, by whatever name we call it: Grace, The Universe, Energy, God, Love, Source, or something else, there is a power for good at work in our lives, but it’s up to us to quiet our minds and connect to it.

I felt a deep sense of compassion as I listened to my friend talk about the lack of direction she has been feeling about where to move, as she can no longer stay where she is living. I woke the following morning inspired to share a prayer from A Course in Miracles (ACIM):

God, show me where you would have me go,

What you would have me do,

What you would have me say,

And to whom.

My friend and I continued to email and kept our conversation going. I was later inspired to send her an entry from my e-book, “Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself,” which seemed to deeply touch her. It comes from the letter “D.”

“I am Divinely guided and make Decisions that Delight me!”

My friend wrote back thanking me, and told me she was almost crying as she read the affirmation, and shared that clarity seemed a very distant and vague idea. She was comforted by my words.

Grace comes in many forms. An inspiring word, a hand extended from a friend, an unexpected gift or blessing.

It’s easy for the mind to focus on what’s wrong and not see the the miracles that are unfolding right before us.  A few days ago a friend told me had coats she is no longer using and asked me if I wanted them. She knew the zipper on my jacket had broken and I hadn’t yet found a replacement. We met for coffee a few days later and she brought the two coats with her. They are exactly what I had been looking for and appear to be brand new.  I so appreciated her kind and generous gesture.

As Jean Houston likes to say, “What we appreciate, appreciates.” As we reflect on the good in our lives, it opens up the channels for Life’s grace and blessings to flow to us.

THIS WEEK’S TNT

Notice where you are feeling stuck or experiencing a lack of clarity or direction.

Then, for the next week, take note of the good things occurring in your life.

Start your day by expecting something wonderful!

You might like to practice standing with eyes closed and arms outstretched, while repeating the following affirmation:

“I am now open to receive all of Life’s blessings.”

Then see what happens!

The blessings will likely come in unexpected ways.

Take time to reflect on them and soak in the good feelings,

And open to Life’s ever-present Grace.

With love,

Theresa

NEED HELP CHANGING YOUR THOUGHTS AND PERCEPTIONS?

“ALPHABET AFFIRMATIONS: TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE AND LOVE YOURSELF’ IS AN EASY TO USE AND EMPOWERING PROCESS THAT CAN HELP YOU REVAMP YOUR MINDSET AND LIVE THE LIFE THAT YOU DESIRE.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

If would you found this week’s TNT helpful, and would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at PayPal.  It’s here:
 paypal.me/Reconnecting2You
Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Facilitator with more 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and create happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) Trust Your Gut   Leave a comment

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you’re heading.” – Lao Tzu

Change can be both exhilarating and scary. Whether we wish to change careers, sell or purchase a home, move to a new city or country, begin or end a relationship, or do anything that’s new, the future is unknown and can prompt feelings of fear and insecurity.

A few months ago, I had a chat with an American woman who has been living in Trieste for 15 years or so. She works for an American support organization, and has watched people who have relocated from abroad come and go. I had been feeling a bit lonely the day I saw her, and was longing for connections on a deeper, more personal level. She said I was at a crisis point, wondering if I would ever learn the language, make closer friends, establish a clientele, learn the subtleties between cultures, etc. I felt like she was a mindreader and was inside of my head! The thing that helped me most was when she said that what I was feeling was common and the point at which most people left and returned home. Wow. Although I had no intention of moving,  it made perfect sense and gave me a new perspective.

The challenges that come with change are true with any endeavor. The reptilian part of our brains are hard-wired to keep us safe, so we’re bound to question our decisions, and wonder if we’re on the right path when feelings of doubt and insecurity rear their frightening heads. Our ancestors were on alert for their physical safety, and had to fight or flee when their environment was threatened.  In modern times, the “old” brain kicks in when it perceives an emotional threat, and can stop us in our tracks.

I still feel lonely and insecure from time to time, however, I remind myself that what I’m feeling is natural; take a breath; reach out for support, when needed; and move on.

Fear is a common occurrence and something we are bound to experience when we stretch our comfort zones and embark on something new. The key is recognizing where the fear is stemming from, and tapping in to our Inner Strength and the wisdom of our guts.

THIS WEEK’S TNT

What change have you been wanting to make, but have been afraid of doing so?

On a scale of “1” to “10,” with “1” Not At All Important and “10” Extremely Important, how important is the change you wish to make?

What’s holding you back?

Notice the feelings that emerge. Are you scared, excited, happy, terrified?

Are the thoughts that you’re thinking true and serving you? Or are they assumptions based on beliefs that are trying to keep you safe?

Take a breath and call on your Inner Wisdom.

What feels right for you to do?

Ask your gut, not your head!

What brings a feeling of deep peace and inner contentment?

Your gut will serve to guide you.

With love, Theresa

Need help changing your thoughts and perceptions? 

“Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself” is an empowering  tool that may help you make the changes you desire, and create a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Available on Amazon. 

If would you found this week’s TNT helpful, and would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at PayPal.  It’s here:
 paypal.me/Reconnecting2You
Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Facilitator with more 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and create happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Theresa’s TNT (Tip N’ Tool) The Power of Your Word   Leave a comment

” What is outrageous is not what you ask for. What is outrageous is what you settle for.” – Alan Cohen

I wrote a blog a few months ago on the power of our words. (Sorry, that one was sent to to email list, and isn’t posted here.) It was inspired by a talk I heard on TEDx by Dr. Carolyne Myss, entitled “Choices That Can Change Your Life.” In her talk, Dr. Myss cited several strategies that I thought were quite empowering. My favorite technique was giving up one word from my vocabulary and never using it again. The word that immediately came to mind was “can’t!”

We often hold ourselves back from our dreams and desires without realizing it. We have our favorite words or strategies that keep us living small and narrow lives, as we fear the worst will happen and settle for what we have rather than taking the risk and going for what we want.

As I contemplated letting go of the word “can’t,” I reflected on how my life would expand as I opened to new adventures, ideas, and opportunities. Interestingly, since I let it go, I’ve become much more aware of when I feel vulnerable (a feeling that the word “can’t” was masking), which allows me to make a conscious choice about what I want to do – one that serves to take care of myself and empowers me – rather than acting on impulse. So…a few week’s ago, excited by the change, I decided to let go of the word “try.” (Remember Yoda? Do or do not. There is no try?) It’s another one of those insidious words that casts a shadow on our gifts, dreams, and abilities. Yes – it’s true – we all have our limits. After all, I’ll likely never be a mathematician or a geologist, but why settle for limits that are self-imposed and that are rooted in our beliefs and history?

This Weeks TNT

Observe your thoughts and words over the next three days.

Make note of the thoughts you think and the words you use most consistently.

Write them down and track how often you use them.

At the end of day three, review your notes.

Are your thoughts and words serving to empower or limit you?

If the latter, what word are you ready and willing to give up?

Let it go for the next month and see what, if any, changes you notice.

Change generally comes by taking small steps that lead to big results.

With love, Theresa

©2018

Need help changing your thoughts and words? 

“Alphabet Affirmations: Transform Your Life and Love Yourself” is an empowering  tool that may help you change your thoughts and perceptions and create a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.

Available now on Amazon. 

If would you found this week’s TNT helpful, and would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at PayPal.  It’s here:
 paypal.me/Reconnecting2You
Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Author, and Workshop Facilitator with more 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and create happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

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