Archive for Take Care of Yourself

That was on a card I gave to a friend—it hung on her bulletin board for years and made me smile every time.

In this “self-talk for success” mini course I seem to be writing for the 31 day Ultimate Blogging Challenge, it’s officially time to LIGHTEN UP.   I mean SERIOUSLY now, folks!   The minute you can find the humor in something you did (or didn’t do), you’re out of the trap of self criticism.       When you find yourself asking, “Now WHY did I do that?” or”Why didn’t I   think of that solution earlier?” or whatever has you slapping yourself upside your head…can you find the absurdity or the humor instead?
Even when something is truly no laughing matter,  you can restore your sanity and get back to a creative and inspired place with some laughter therapy.   Laughter has countless health benefits , including oxygenating the body which helps us think more clearly.   If you haven’t heard of laughter yoga, go check it out online or find a local class.   Great fun and very healing.

Here are some lighten up tools from the systems I work with:
1. Gobbledygook sounds: Speak nonsense words to another   person with inflections like you were actually conversing with them.   You’ll be giggling in no time.     Rumor has it that a group of scientists liked this so much, they now begin every meeting with gobbledygook.

2. Imagine whatever it is that you need to lighten up about is tiny, or huge, or play with the size of the characters, shrinking them down or blowing them up large, like Alice in Wonderland, or see the situation in a fun house mirror.

3. Fake it till you make it laughter: Even when there is absolute NOTHING funny, this will end up making your body feel as though you are laughing and you will get the health and emotional benefits of real laughter.   Plus you will almost certainly start laughing for real.

How to: Inhale, lean back slightly, throw your hands up over your head and bring them down as though you were slapping your thighs in hysterical laughter, exhale with a “ ha ha” sound.   Keep going and for even more laughs, do it a room with a bunch of   other people.

Go get lighter, I mean seriously dude!

Jul
08

Are you in growth or survival?

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In the last post I was talking about how we humans drive with the brakes on.   Why would we want to defeat ourselves?   Seems kind of perverse.

Actually it makes sense if you look at the world for which our basic instincts and nervous system evolved.   When food was scarce, when predators (animal or human) threatened our survival, when babies often died, we were encoded to survive and to stay safe.

For example, our bodies tend to respond to less food by slowing down our metabolism—because in the past, less food meant famine or starvation so we needed to use less fuel.   That’s one of the problems with very low calorie diets and why if you’ve done a number of calorie restriction diets, it gets harder and harder to lose weight. Our bodies stubbornly hold onto the fat and the weight because the message is “uh oh, starvation conditions”.

It was a good adaptation when food was scarce but causes problems in our modern world.   Most of us here in the US and the western world don’t live in starvation conditions, we live with a superabundance of food.   This metabolic cycle shows how our biological systems, including our nervous system, program us to choose staying safe over taking risks and growing. As cell biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton says in his work “The Biology of Belief”, our cells can only be in survival or growth mode, not both simultaneously.

When we are in fear and survival mode, we won’t take the steps we need to grow, because that involves risk. It’s easy to spiral downward from there, as many people are doing these days, with fears about paying the bills, getting new clients, even losing their home through foreclosure, etc.

The first step is recognizing when we’re in the downward survival spiral, when we’re getting into fear, worry and anxiety—and that these emotions and perceptions are getting in our way. The next step is to acknowledge with love, “this is what’s happening, I’m in the fear cycle” and then saying no, “I’m not going down further.”

This interrupts the spiral. Finally, if you have tools for handling your feelings and shifting your beliefs and emotions, get to work using them; if not, I’m happy to help!

 

Jul
07

People do what works!

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I love that quote of Dr. Phil’s.   It takes me out of self blame and smacking myself upside the head. So if I am looking at  a  self defeating behavior or  some negative self-talk, I can gently ask myself “How is  this working? What IS the hidden payoff here?”

Even  the most negative patterns have a hidden payoff. They are an attempt to  do SOMETHING for us that is positive. Try asking yourself, “What does this behavior actually get me?” “What is the payoff?”    If you’re working with your child aspects or “parts”  you can ask a particular part like your sulky three year old, “What are you trying to do for me (and use her name)?”   or “Oh, self-defeating habit, what ARE you trying to get that you think would be good for me?”

Be curious, be wlling to be surprised.

Hint: 9 times out of 10, what the habit is trying to do for you is to keep you safe and in your  comfort zone.  (Even when the comfort zone is no longer comfortable! We tend to stick with what we know even when it’s not so good, just because it’s familiar).   Other side of the coin: usually the habit is a way to stay small, invisible, under the radar or avoid success.

Perverse, isn’it? Why would we want to stay small or avoid success?   Seems irrational and like we are working against ourselves.   Yet  at a deeper level, it all makes sense.   I’ll explore that mystery more in the next post.

But back to the hidden payoff.   First you  discover what it is, or what need it’s trying to get met for you.   Then  you can see  how to meet this need yourself or get it met.  What would be supportive and help you move forward with self -love?  If the need is safety, start looking for ways to create more safety in your life—talking to a friend or coach, seeking a group, learning techniques like Sedona method or EFT to manage your emotions better, reducing stress through exercise, meditation, diet, supplements, etc.

What are you doing that really works for you, and what are you doing that is working but only to keep you safe?

 

In the last post I invited you to take a look at your  inner self-talk.   How is that going?  Did  you discover anything new or surprising about how you think and speak about yourself?     Most people are quite  hard on themselves and may not consciously realize they are immersed in a stream of self-criticism all day long.

If you are one of those people–don’t add another layer of negativity by beating yourself up about being self critical!    That’s just wrong, my friend.

Here’s a  technique that’s been  helpful for me and for my clients.   One of my trainings was in Gestalt Therapy (the Wildflowers Center for Compassionate Body Centered Gestalt therapy in New Jersey).   We  learned how to  dialogue with different parts of ourselves—the hurt child, the inner wise adult, the rebellious teenager, and with our   “shadow”—fears, angers and other parts of ourselves that we disown.

Each “part” or aspect of our self needs to be included and validated.   Each part has a voice with a message, telling us what we need.   If we don’t listen to the voice, eventually it will either get very loud and take over, or go underground and turn into an illness, a depression or some other kind of negative experience.   The bottom line is that when we reject a part of ourselves, sooner or later it will cause a problem.

This can show up  in almost any way, but common signs are  procrastination, avoiding putting yourself out there, being unwilling to set limits with a client, depression, irritability, mood swings or some other form of resistance (pick your favorite flavor!).

Where are you in resistance or struggling? What task, or part of your business is more difficult for you?   Chances are there’s at least one, and possibly several parts of yourself that are stuck and need to be heard.

I can, and would love to help you.   Feel free to contact me to learn more about how I could assist you.

Meantime, try these  ideas for working on your own with your critical voices and shadow parts.   An excellent book is called  Embracing Your Inner Critic, by Hal and Sidra Stone. It will teach you  how to work with your Inner Critic, your judging voices AND other voices that also want to be heard.  Another great resource is  a guided meditation called Overcoming the Self -Destruct, by Sanaya Roman.  (www.orindaben.com). In this meditation you imagine sitting at the center of an “inner council” meeting where all your parts get to speak, and then you explore how they can all work together towards a common goal or desire.

Be forewarned that this work is not comfortable and can be challenging, especially if you tend to be self critical.   Go gently with yourself.  In a culture of perfectionism and “you are not enough” it’s quite a stretch to learn to  be this welcoming and accepting of yourself.   If this kind of work is new for you, or you want to go deeper and need the right support,  I suggest finding an experienced guide–me, another coach, therapist or healer.    Besides working with you with these issues, I’d love to empower you by showing how to  do this work on your own.

Jump in and experiment.   Have  fun meeting your parts and dialoguing with them, and let me know how it goes.

An easy way to  do this is by asking yourself when you get up, or during the day if you are getting stuck or bogged down, “What do I need right now? What part of me needs attention, and what does she   (this part) need?”.   Enjoy the discovery and the healing, and don’t hesitate to ask if you need additional support!

 

If you struggle with bouts of sadness or depression, there may be a simple solution. Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and mood. Vitamin D is a vitamin our body doesn’t store. Each day we need a source of vitamin D or we become deficient. The good news is that getting enough vitamin D each day is easy.

The Vitamin D Link

Many studies have been done on the link between Vitamin D and depression. During the winter months the sun’s rays are weaker and often covered by clouds. This caused scientists to believe that it was the absence of light that caused depression. In a way they were right. The sun’s rays trigger our body to produce vitamin D.

When the sun isn’t strong, we don’t get enough exposure. Worse, when its cold outside we tend to go out covered up – if we go out at all. That means no sun and no vitamin D. The result is an effect on mood and overall health.

So what’s a person to do when the sun isn’t shining and its thirty degrees outside? The answer is two-fold. Eat foods that are high in vitamin D and take a supplement.

Foods That Contain Vitamin D

These foods are high in vitamin D compared to other foods:

* Fish like salmon and mackerel (note that when you eat the soft bones of fish like salmon you get more vitamin D)
* Soymilk
* Fortified cow’s milk
* Shrimp and shellfish
* Fortified breakfast cereals
* Mushrooms
* There’s also a little vitamin D in potatoes

You’ll notice that vitamin D really isn’t present in many foods. Additionally, you’d have to eat a lot of fish and drink a lot of fortified milk to get enough. The RDA is between 200 and 600 IUs depending on age. Supplementation is therefore the most logical answer during the winter months.

Most multivitamins don’t contain enough vitamin D. Check your label to make sure you’re getting at least 200 IUs or 5-15 mcg of vitamin D in your multivitamin. You can buy vitamin D supplements in your supermarket. Consider, if you’re also not getting enough calcium, buying a combination vitamin D and calcium supplement. That way you’re making sure you get plenty of both.

Start taking Vitamin D right now. Don’t wait until you feel poorly or depressed. Take a vitamin D supplement. Get sun exposure when it’s possible and safe to do so. And eat foods that contain vitamin D. Getting enough vitamin D is a sure way to reduce winter depression. You may even prevent it altogether.

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