Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Tag

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.  

 

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Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) How To Resolve Your Conflicts And Get On With Your Life   Leave a comment

Preamble

Conflict can be tricky. We want peace in our relationships, but what price are we willing to pay? Being true to who we are is a crucial element for maintaining our health and the integrity of our relationships. Today’s TNT provides 10 tips to help you resolve your conflicts, so you can let go of resentments and move on with your life.

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) How To Resolve Your Conflicts And Get On With Your Life

“If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.” – W. Somerset Maugham

Addressing conflict can be scary and elicit feelings of doubt and insecurity. We may be afraid of damaging our relationships if we say what we truly think and how we feel.  However, when we are truly present and honest, we provide an opportunity for our for relationships to deepen and flourish.  Knowing how and when to express ourselves creates a foundation of confidence on which we can stand.

Here are 10 tips that will help you resolve conflict, let go of resentments, and get on with your life

      1. Be Direct.  Speaking directly to the person involved, rather than complaining to friends, may feel frightening, but is the first step in the process of clearing the air and resolving conflict. Being direct will also help you feel empowered as you learn to assert yourself.

     2.  Timing. Plan to talk to the person at a mutually agreed upon time. Talking when tired,  in a hurry, or in the midst of other activities will sabotage, rather than support, your conversation. Let the person know you have something on your mind you would like to talk about and decide on a convenient time. Let them know they’re not in any trouble, which will help to relieve any fear or apprehension.  (Resolving conflict isn’t about blame – it’s about sharing your feelings and experience.)

     3.  Plan Ahead. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.  Focus on the issue at hand and how it affects you.  Stay away from blame and judgment. Practice in the mirror, or with your coach or therapist, if needed.

     4.  Be Conversational Rather Than Confrontational: Ridiculing, blaming or antagonizing severs communication and makes it difficult for the person involved to hear you. State the facts and how it the situation affects you.  Speak slowing in short sentences, rather than telling a story.  (See Step #5 for an example.)

     5.  Provide Information. Providing information, and how the situation affects you, will help prevent an argument and keep the conversation focused on the facts. For example, instead of saying “You have no consideration. You always slam the door in the morning and wake me up” say “When you slam the door on your way out of the house in the morning, it wakes me up and I have a hard time getting back to sleep.” See the difference?

     6.  Be Prepared To Listen. Take a breath and listen to the person’s response. Stay calm, should they feel defensive or be on hyper alert. (After all, they may not have the same tools as you do.)

     7.  Be An Active Listener. Paraphrase what you’re hearing them say. They will need time to talk as much as you do in order to resolve the problem. Give them space to air their thoughts and feelings.  When you show that you’re listening, it will break down the barriers to talking and help them better hear you.  Other strategies including noding your head up and down (not side to side!) to show you understand (not necessarily agree) with what they’re saying. Use phrases, such as Mh hmmm” and “I see. When the person is done talking and feels complete, let them know you appreciate their willingness to discuss the situation.

     8.  Talk It Through And Stay Focused On The Issue.  Feel free to continue the conversation, should there be something more you would like to say when the person has finished talking. Like cleaning a wound, it’s important to address the situation in its entirety so it can be clearly resolved. This will help to prevent any resentment or anger from festering.  Be mindful, however, that this isn’t about dumping issues from the past 10 years. Doing so would be overwhelming and the person would likely feel blamed and defensive. Stay focused on the current issue.

     9.  Collaborate. Once you have each had an opportunity to empty out your feelings and express yourself, collaborate on a mutually agreed upon solution. This can be a bit like brainstorming – throwing out ideas and options until you come up with a plan with which you’re both comfortable.

     10.  Test It Out.  Agree to follow up at a designated time to see how the solution is working. Be opened to creating an alternate solution or tweaking the one you have.

Good luck! And, as always, I would love to hear your comments. Just click on the “Leave A Comment Tab” at the top of the page.

With love,

Theresa

Need help resolving a conflict in your life? It would be my pleasure to speak with you.

Email Theresa@reconnecting2you.com to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. It would be my pleasure to speak with you.

Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner and Workshop Facilitator 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.  To learn more, visit Theresa’s website or email her at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com

Website: www.reconnecting2you.com

Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Reconnecting2you

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Wednesday’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool): Focus On The Positive   Leave a comment

Preamble

We all experience discouragement from time to time. The key, when in the midst of challenge, is learning to stay positive. This week’s TNT provides a strategy to change your point of view.

Wednesday’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool): 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 want will never come to pass.  Over time, if not mindful, the things we tell ourselves may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Want a different outcome? Tell a different story! Shift your attention from what’s ailing you and focus on your wins! Keep a journal of all that’s going well and add a daily entry.  Experiment and try it for a month. See if your outlook has changed.

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

  • Caught the bus on time and even got a seat!
  • Had lunch with a friend.
  • Left work on time.
  • Began a project I had been neglecting.
  • Spoke up for myself at a meeting.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Have fun with it!

As always, I would love to know how it goes!

With love,

Theresa

  Would you like to help in shifting your perspective? Email Theresa@reconnecting2you.com to schedule a free 30-minute Coaching Session. It would be a pleasure to support you!

Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner and Workshop Facilitator with 25 years experience. She helps her clients manage their stress, identify their dreams and goals and create happier, healthier more fulfilling lives.

Website: www.reconnecting2you.com

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/Reconnecting2you

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