One Strategy to Recapture Your Calm & Focus on What You Do Want

One Strategy to Recapture Your Calm & Focus on What You Do Want

We all have been there. Too much to do. Too much to manage. Too much overwhelm. Just simply too much! There are lots of things we can to do work on these issues. Sometimes due to circumstances we have to … Continue reading

“Lean Into” More Happy Feelings

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After you have done some processing of your upset feelings, consider “leaning into” your more happy feelings.  I am not talking about disconnecting or not acknowledging your upset feelings. Your emotions are your guides to telling you that you need to attend to and work through something. But after you have processed your feelings, it can be healthy to begin to choose to not let the issues of life steal your joy, to begin the process of “leaning into” your happiness.

What does it mean to be “lean into” your happiness?

  1. It means to move past what is “not going right” in your life.
  2. It means to face each day with an expectation that it is going to be a good one.
  3. It means to focus on the good that is in your life.
  4. It means to live in “the present moments of your life”, finding the happy that is right there in front of you.
  5. It means to fly above the muck below, letting in your happy feelings.

Again this is not to say you should ignore your upset feelings. It is more about moving through to what is good in your life. It is good for you to allow your sad or angry or upset feelings to come up to explore and decide what you want to do with them. You can decide.  You get to choose what you do next. “What do I want to do with these feelings? Do I need to take some kind of action or no? What will make me feel better?” And then going with it.

At some point it is up to you to decide what you can do to feel better and to “lean into” the more happy feelings that reside within you.

It is a bit of a two-sided coin, this balancing of acknowledging your feelings and processing them AND the moving to a more happy place that is inside of you.  It is really about being respectful of all your feelings and caring about yourself enough to move to place where there is more happy, peaceful feelings. It is possible to have both going on within your self. You can be in a grieving process or have been hurt badly and still allow for joy to express it self. You can take a break from your upset and let more happy feelings come into your life.  And at some point you can decide to let go completely of the upset. So “LEAN INTO” more happy today!

Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.

Letting Go and Creating What You Do Want

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One of the first steps to creating what you want is to “let go” of what no longer serves you. This opens the door to the possibility of creating “what you do want”.

I have always hated the term “letting go”. Have you ever had someone say “You just need to let it go.” I have and my first internal response is, “No, it’s not fair and I am not letting it go.” This letting go thing is not always easy and I think one of the  lessons I have learned from my own personal experiences and many of my clients is that is a journey or a process.

There are little, medium and big letting go of things that occur. Small things, like someone was rude to you is different of course than a loved one doing something very hurtful. The journey process mentioned below is more about the significant or larger things that occur that we feel stuck in.

Let’s take a look at this journey of letting go and what we might do to help navigate this process. Then put our focus on what “we do want” as this is what will get us to what will make us happy.

  1. Recognize that letting go is a process and it is ok for it to take some time. This will be different for different folks.
  2. Honor your real feelings of upset. Explore them and acknowledge them.
  3. Talk with someone who understands your need to process the genuine feelings you have and who can listen in a non judgemental way, without giving lots of advise. This may be your spouse or partner or another family member. Or it may be a good friend or even a therapist.
  4. To keep these upset feeling from overwhelming you, consider setting a certain amount of time that you will think about these feelings. And then do and experience other feelings outside of this time. Let the good come into your live during these times.
  5. Decide on what you want to do with your feelings. For example you can tell the person who hurt you what you are feeling. You can decide what you want to do from that point out that will make you feel better.
  6. When the time is right decide it better serves you to let go of the upset and move to a place that makes you feel more happy, with less worry. You can do this. And it will lead you down the ultimate path of being at peace.

sunshine riverparks

At this point, you are ready to create “what you do want”. Now that this upset energy has been moved out you have space for the good stuff. And isn’t this where most of us want to end up. Being in a place that brings us joy and happiness. Letting all that is good into our life. Here are some of my thoughts on creating what you do want.

  • Spend some time really thinking about what you do want. What do you want more of in your life? Who do you want to spend more of your time with? What do you want to do that is new? What makes you really feel happy and passionate?
  • Begin to boldly take some first steps in what you do want. It is time to give birth to your new you or your new life you want and desire. It is not always easy to take these first steps, but after you get going you will find a momentum that occurs.
  • Enjoy and absorb all the good feelings that are coming from taking the first steps toward what you do want now. This can nourish and feed your soul that is recovering from the hard things you needed to let go of. It feels so very good to focus on the good.
  • You will find the more you focus on what you want, the more it will evolve in your life.
  • Remember it does not have to be perfect. Enjoy all that leads you to where you want to go!

It is all about allowing a space for the good to come in and then creating the life you desire! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Be Happy Even in the Tough Times

Daisies in open field with blue skies

We all want a PERFECT life, with all good things always coming our way. Nothing wrong with that. What we envision will many times be what we get, just not always in the form we think it will come or with the exact timing we wanted. We are all human and live in a human world with constant change and things not always going in the way we planned. Being able to go through those times and still be happy is a sweet thing indeed. It means we have some control over our emotions and have some choice. Isn’t that a grand thing.

Sometimes it takes us remembering what it is that REALLY makes us happy.

  1. Yes it is fun and exciting to go on vacation. Or buy a new something for our house. And it can make us feel happy. But in the end, for most of us it is about our time with our loved ones and the beautiful interaction and love that flows between us. So for me I try to remember when I am feeling sorry for myself that it is not so much about what I have or specifically if something goes as planned, but who I am with and my time spent with them and the joy and playfulness that we create together. Plus the support and strength we draw from one another. Giving us a life of love and connection – what we truly need as humans. For example: Your spouse or partner seems down and really is not into the fun time you have planned together. You feel upset too in that you wanted a fun time with your loved one and it is not happening. So opposed to having a fit of upset, you dig a little deeper and find that your sweetheart is really distressed about a particular something that you did not know about. So you learn more about this and find an empathy and wanting to help make your loved one feel better. You begin to feel closer with the sharing of this information. So all is not lost, you connected at a deeper level. You now understand your loved one better. You can put your heads together and find some ways to make it better for both of you.
  2. We see something going a certain way and it does not. We don’t understand. We did all the right things. What happened? Sometimes we don’t always know. But, what we forget is that the other something can lead to something even better. And we have to remember that all is well regardless of what happens. We don’t have to let what happens to us dictate weather we are happy. You have all heard the saying: “One door closes and another opens.” Well it is true. We just have to know and have confidence this is happening. Knowing there are good things out there for us. And things will work out. Our knowing and action toward this will facilitate this happening. Meaning we accept and move on when a door closes and go out there and create opportunities for others to open for us. Knowing that many times these new open doors will lead to something even better.  For example: You are in charge of a project in which you have taking a lot of time to find another to assist and they do and you feel all is going so well.  Happiness blooms all around you! And then the person needs to   bows out. All that thoughtful planning down the drain. Frustrated, you begin again. But is all lost?  No. You are just now ready for the next person to finish in another way that may be just as good or maybe even better. So stay tuned for Chapter 2.  Your story will enfold, maybe even with a better ending! 

Please Note: I do want to say I am not promoting that we ignore our upset or sad or angry feelings. Those are all valid and should be acknowledged. I am promoting that we allow ourselves to go beyond this when we are ready to do so and know that it is possible. I am saying basically we do not have to stay stuck in an emotion that we have more choice that we all think. 

In the end, it is all about perception, how we view something and how we choose to respond. We can choose happiness. It is just a step away. It may not look the way we originally thought it would, but it is still there. So go for it. It does not have to all be perfect to be happy. So step out and dare to be happy even when all is not perfect. You will be glad you did!

 

Unplug, Relax and Enjoy

laberinth at flainnifans near zion natioanl park

Can we really unplug, relax and enjoy? I say yes, we can do this. But it is a very conscious choice we make in each and every moment I think. As of recent due to increased job, community and personal commitments I have found myself in a place to really re-look at this concept.

As I begin my vacation travels this week, I see lots of folks completely plugged in and checked out to others around them, including themselves. I am not suggesting we all throw out all of our electronic devices we are all a bit addicted to. But I am suggesting that we do a check in with ourself every so often as to the balance of being emerged in our high-tech environments and the “crazy busy” life so many of us create for ourselves AND taking time for self-care and letting joy and peace flow into our live. Thus my own check in as I take some time away from it all.

As I sat on a plane earlier yesterday, I sat across from a father who had his young baby son  lying on his lap. The baby was asleep with his little arms flung out above his head, a content and utterly peaceful experience on his face. To his side dad had another child who was resting on his shoulder, cuddled up and asleep by her daddy. It was all so sweet and very calming to be sitting by. A bit of a “wake up call” for me to take more time for this beautiful, peaceful calm together time with my loved ones. Without this balance we can feel disconnected and very un-centered.

So I am off to begin this process to re-balancing once again. And yes it is an over and over process I think. It is so easy to get off course, but always possible to get back on a path of more joy and peacefulness.

Some questions you might ask yourself as you too are trying to access and get back on the path:

  1. How am I doing? How do I feel the majority of the time?
  2. What am I doing on a day-to-day basis for self-care? 
  3. Do I plan long-term what is the very best for me and what I want and what brings joy to my life?
  4. What kinds of boundaries do I set up to make sure I am doing what is the best thing for me and that is balanced and healthy?
  5. And the ultimate question, “Is this how I want to live my life?”

I hope you will enjoy this beautiful spring time emerging around us and use it as a time for re-birth and new beginnings toward better self-care and reaching for all the joy and happiness you deserve.

Much peace and love to you all.

 

Forgive Yourself and Move On

angel at santa fe church, kicking up his heal sept 2015

We mess up, we make mistakes, we are human! We all have times we are not happy with something we did or did not do.  So we might begin by telling ourselves: “It is ok. I am human and I can make mistakes. I am still capable and worthy of being loved.”

So what can we do to forgive our selves from our “mess ups”?

  • We can check in with ourselves and decide if we are being realistic with ourselves. Are our standards too high? I am not suggesting that we do not have standards or not try to do the best we can. I am suggesting that we remind ourselves, “We do not have to be perfect.” Letting go of this idea can be very freeing.
  • See mistakes as an opportunity to learn. I was reading about Albert Einstein and found that he had 1000 unsuccessful attempts at creating the light bulb. When he was asked how it felt to fail this many times he said ” I didn’t fail 1000 times,. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps .”  So know that your mistakes are just “steps” in your journey of what you want to become.
  • Start again. It’s ok. We can start as many times as we want. Isn’t it nice to remember we can always start again. It is one of the wonderful internal strengths we humans have – to begin again. 

So Forgive Yourself, Move On.

We are destined to be our best version of our self. Getting there means being ok with our human mistakes and “mess ups”. This is not to say that we do not make amends or ask for forgiveness when appropriate. It means we forgive ourselves and find compassion for ourselves. This is the first step of course to doing the same with others in our life. It is the first step toward going where we want to go. 

Best wishes in your human journey of loving and forgiving yourself. It is a basic for being at peace and continuing on to where you truly want to go!

 

Finding More Happiness Through Your Future Self

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Not really sure what it is you need to be happy or feel at peace. You might try to access your wisdom from your “future self”.  I recently had gotten away from doing my regular meditation. In doing so, I decided to try a new guided meditation. This one was through Hayhouse’s Meditation Mondays series. So I checked out  “Reclaim Your Energy Guided Meditation with Lissa Rankin – Monday Meditation. You can find this on  youtube.com This is where I came up with my own version of your “future self”. I have used a similar concept in the past. It was a nice reminder of how one might access more of their inner wisdom.

Your Future Self – Tapping Into Your Inner Wisdom

Your “future self” is how you see yourself in the future if things are going the way you would want them to go. You would be doing what you want and living the way you want to live, being with those that make you happy, etc. This is your brighter, how you want your life to be self. In Dr. Rankin’s meditation she uses your future self in 5 years. But you could choose another span of time if it makes more sense to you.

  1. Find a quite spot to sit by yourself and relax. Take some deep breaths and relax your body.
  2. First of all imagine your brighter, “future self”. See yourself in detail noting all the things that are going the way you want them to. Take some time. Let it soak in, how all of this feels. Consider what others might be saying to you. Check out your environment. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? Revealing in what you so desire.
  3. See your NOW self going to meet your FUTURE SELF. Let them sit and talk a bit.
  4. Ask your “future self” anything that you would like to know. See what they have to say. Remember they are living in place that you see as a way you would want to live.  For example you might ask: “How can I find more time to care for myself? How did you do it?” OR “How do I heal my relationship with my teenage son?” OR “How can I feel less overwhelmed all the time?”
  5. Take in this WISDOM into your “now” self and let it find a special place within you to access when you are ready to use it.

Good luck in your meeting with your “future self”.

Easy Gratitude Practice That Can Change Your LIfe

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We all know when we focus on “the good”, it feels good and it creates more good. Gratitude or thankfulness is really a close cousin to focusing on “the good”. Let me share a most recent practice I have been experiencing that I have found helpful in my busy life that I would like to pass on as a possible gratitude practice that you might consider.

I have kept and still do keep a gratitude journal. Sometimes when my life is overflowing with activity, this practice can tend to give way to other things. And I really can tell a difference when I am not doing it on a consistent basis. So . . . I have tweaked this practice a bit or added a piece that works well in tandem.

Be Thankful for Each and Every Single Thing That Goes Well At That Moment in Time

This really is about being open to the good and actually saying to yourself or to others if they are involved “THANK YOU!” I think it even works best when we search for the very small things that occur for us throughout the day and acknowledge them at that very moment. It really can become a way of life. It can literally change your life for the good.

I still encourage a recording of the good in written form as there is something very powerful about the written word. It really does anchor things. So don’t throw away your gratitude journal. Just add this small practice of acknowledging the good and expressing thankfulness. Sometimes I say it out loud. A simple “Thank You”.  This can be tied into your spiritual practice if you so desire to make it even more meaningful.

Here are a few very simple small kinds of things you might be thankful for:

You are late and a parking place appears very close to where you need to go.    “Thank You!”

You have lost your keys. You take a breath and relax and it comes to you where to look and there they are.      “Thank You!”

Your husband has started supper before you get in.   “Thank You!”

You notice a the sky turning pink and orange as the sun sets.     “Thank You!”

You are at the grocery store and look at the long line. As you are about to enter the line, another checker opens and says to you, I am open here.   “Thank You!”

You catch a mistake just as you are getting ready to send out an email.     “Thank You!”

Your child unexpectedly say thank  you for something you have done.    “Thank You!”

You are getting ready to write something and it just comes to you as to the right words.   “Thank You!”

I might add that this practice is a relationship building practice as well in that the more you express appreciation to others and what they are doing, the more they will see you in a positive light. We all want to be around folks who appreciate us. You will probably find those you compliment or thank will return this action in the future. What a great way to live appreciating and expressing our gratitude to one another.

Thank You with Lady Bug animated

 

Best wishes for lots of “Thank You’s!” ahead of you. Just be on the look out.  You will find oh so many things to be thankful for.

Oh yes, “THANK YOU for reading this blog article!”

 

Multi-Tasking Versus Single or “Mindful” Tasking

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I used to be so very proud of myself for being such a good multi-tasker and at some levels I still am. It is needed and valuable when the situation fits, but many  times single tasking or “mindful” tasking is better. Our daily hectic life styles make if feel like we have to multi task. Lets take a look at both. And then see how we may integrate these different approaches in our daily, realistic lives.

Definition of Multi-Tasking: Performance of multiple tasks at one time. (Merriam-Webster)  A person’s ability to do more than one thing at a time. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Pros of Multi-Tasking: Ability to getting more done within a time frame. Potentially achieving more with the time you have. It can be a helpful tool if you are in certain emergency situations.

Cons of Multi-Tasking: Not fully being able to focus and give full attention to something or someone. The risk of not doing something well, but only partially doing a task. Errors and mistakes increase the more you are multi-tasking. It can leave you feeling stressed, overwhelmed and not completely connected to the projects or people you are working with. You may find yourselves more blunt and less patient with others as you multi-task. What you do accomplish may not be your best.

mindful animated man with lots thoughts and dog with simple thoughts

Definition of Single or “Mindful” Tasking: Bearing in mind: aware. (Merriam Webster)  Giving attention. (Cambridge Dictionary)

Pros of Single or “Mindful” Tasking: Giving your full attention to something or someone allows you to use your full intellect and emotions to accomplish what you want to do. Focusing on one thing at a time gives you the ability to give something or someone your best. Weather it is communicating with someone who you care about or completing an important task for your business. This full focus can allow you to potentially save time if this is your goal.  Focusing on one thing at a time feels less stressful and more peaceful. Our bodies are not really intended to be in a “red alert” multi-task framework for long periods of time.

Cons of  Single or “Mindful” Tasking: You may feel you are not getting enough done. You have all this “stuff” going on and you are only doing one thing at a time. You may wonder am I doing all I can. At times you may feel you have no realistic choice but to be doing multi things at once.

 

An Integrated Approach to How We Manage Our Time

As I was writing this, it occurred to me, you can truly only do one thing at a time. It is HOW you choose to do each thing or interact with each person you have in front of you. You do have CHOICES as to how much time and focus you spend on something. And you do have a choice on which thing you focus on first.

Yes there are some realities of performance on a job or making sure all the basics happen at your home or with your children. It may be at times you make a choice to spend less time on something and it be a bit less  perfect. Or you may choose to take time for a conversation as you feel it is more important in the long run than something else you are working on.  It is really all about choice and what you choose to focus on and for how long. And what you view as most important to you.

As a therapist, I would have to weigh in on mindful single tasking as to relationships. Doing more than one thing at a time as you spend time with your partner or child normally does not work well. And of course there are exceptions. But in general without attention and focus, relationships suffer and problems develop.

multi task versus serial chart

So in summary, my take on this issue is . . 

  1. Decide each day what is most important and focus on that.
  2. Be ok with letting go of stuff that does not really matter.
  3. Multi-task when you must, but limit this to when it really has to happen.
  4. Do be MINDFUL or give full attention whenever you can.
  5. Remember your relationships will grow and strengthen with full attention and focus.
  6. Let your mind rest and “be with” whatever you have chosen to focus on, letting go of all the “other things” that are waiting on your “to do” list.

Good luck in finding the best balance with how to manage your time for yourself, your professional life and your personal relationships. Keep in mind you are more than your “to do” list!

Five Ways to Create the POSITIVE Person YOU Want to Be

sunshine riverparks

Do you want to feel positive with a sense of well-being? Most of us do. It makes sense to want to feel lighter and calmer. Others will like you better when you are showing this side of yourself. They will find they feel positive and uplifted as well. It is such a lovely chain reaction.  So how do we get to this “happy place”?

Here are Five Basics for Creating the POSITIVE Person YOU Want to Be.

1. Be Mindful of Your “Thought Life”

One way to start the process of becoming a more positive person is to listen to what you are saying to yourself and to others around you. How positive is your thought life? Of course no one is positive all the time.  We are all human and we will have upsets. But this is really the first step in assessing where you are in your path to becoming a more positive person. So make a point to really hear yourself. Are your thoughts and feelings what you want?

2.  Stress Less – It’s All in Perception

When we are stressed, we open our self for negativity to set in. It is hard not to be negative when we feel overwhelmed or that it is just all too much. So finding ways to lower your stress level is a foundation piece. Many times it is our perception of how we view what is going on around us that makes a situation stressful. If things do not go the way you planned, it is normal to feel frustrated and lean toward feeling negative. But if you can stop and know it is all ok. It will all fall in place. Maybe just not in the way you planned. It will feel better.  If we expect perfection from ourselves or others this too will cause upset. As we all know none of us are perfect and we all do the best we can. Be kind to yourself and others. Trying to remember what is really important in the grander scheme of things can help.  When we remember that we can choose our feeling state and our reaction to something, it is very freeing and allows us to move in a confident, positive manner.

3.   Acknowledge Your Upset Feelings and Move to a Higher Positive Feeling

So now you are really hearing yourself. And you can hear the negative talk you do not like or does not make you feel good. Tuning into how you feel is an excellent guide to letting you know if  you need to regroup and go down another path. When we feel good, we are normally on the path to being the positive person we want to be. So if you are feeling badly, no need to deny it. It is good to be in touch with your core feelings. Sometimes that means you will be sad or mad or anxious. It’s ok. After recognizing and acknowledging your upset feelings, you can move on to a higher, better feeling state. It is a choice you can make. You can let go of your upset and move on.  For example: You wake up and you are feeling overwhelmed. You might say to yourself. “It is all too much. I just can’t do it.” You might acknowledge to yourself your core upset and then do a shift, “Yes I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I know all will fall into place. I will do the most important things first. It will all be ok.”

4.  Create an Environment that Helps You to Be Positive

Fill your self with what is positive. Things to consider are: what you are watching on tv and the internet, what you are reading, what and who you are listening to. What we surround ourselves with makes a difference. So hang with happy, positive people, watch uplifting shows and programs, read inspirational materials. It all becomes a part of you!

5.  Focus on “The Good”

On purpose focus on what is going well, what you are looking forward to, who is bringing joy in your life.  Absorb and let all that good soak in and let it be a part of you. Some concrete things that you find helpful are: Keeping a Gratitude Journal, Writing, Speaking or Listening to Positive Affirmations, Meditation. Create a “Grateful Mindset” as this will keep you focused on all that is good in your life.

Becoming more positive is a journey. The goal is not to ignore upset feelings. But to come to a place where you honor those upset feelings and then choose to let them go and move on to a higher, better place where more calmness and feelings of well-being can prevail. Best wishes on your journey!

 

BEING POSITIVE GROWS MORE POSITIVE