Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What Happens To You Does Not Define You

What Happens To You Does Not Define You
Healthy Ways to Deal With Negative Circumstances and Events

You are not your circumstance
  • It is important to recognize that negative situations and circumstances are something we may experience.  We are in a negative situation; not of it.
  • Externalize negative situations, instead of internalizing a negative self-assessment         (punishing yourself; excessive guilt or shame; feeling unworthy; becoming depressed)

Recognize how you survived and may have even overcome a past negative situation.
  • Value your strengths and qualities that have enabled you to get through 
  • Give yourself credit for having healed and gotten to a better place

 Focus on ways to cope, get through and overcome a current negative situation
  • Adopt a problem solving attitude and seek possible solutions and resources
  • Recognize when a situation is temporary, so that you realize you will not get stuck
  • Aim for and look forward to what you wish to experience after the negative situation ends

Take back your power over the negative circumstance
  • See what lessons you might have or can learned
  • See the possible opportunities within and beyond the situation
  • Recognize or assign meaning for this occurrence in your life
Be Grateful
Appreciate ways that the situation did not destroy you
Focus on and value what you still have, in spite of the negative circumstance

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day: Redefined ! Celebrating Loving Self and Others


Let's broaden the Valentine's Day concept to loving ourselves and others, no matter the nature of our relationships. Also, let's recognize it as a way to celebrate loving ourselves and others all year long.

It is essential to remember that giving and receiving healthy love starts with loving ourselves.  Here are some healthy-self love guidelines.

Healthy Self-Love
Knowing oneself
Positive Self-Worth / Priority
Valuing oneself and needs
Self-Respect /Integrity
Having consistent standards
and Healthy boundaries
Self-Acceptance /Authenticity
Embracing and being oneself
Feeling Capable
Recognizing talents & skills
Feeling Accomplished
Sense of competence
Feeling Secure
Trusting oneself
Feeling Empowered
Being in control of self and decisions
Being Responsible for Self
Good self-care

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do's and Don'ts of Self-Confidence: How to Feel More Confident, Capable and Worthwhile

Feeling good about oneself is essential to being happy and successful in life. Below, in the "Do" column are strategies to achieve increased self-confidence, self-worth and  sense of capability.  In contrast, in the "Do Not" column are attitudes and practices that rob us of these positive and healthy feelings.

Do                                                                                                                   Do Not 

Compare Yourself Only With Yourself                                           Compare Yourself to Others
  • Challenge Yourself to Accomplish New Goals
  • Measure Your Progress Toward Your Goal
Give Yourself Credit for Your Achievements                                 Focus on Your Failures  
  • Feel Good About Your Accomplishments
  • Remind Yourself About Past Achievements

Recognize Your Talents, Skills and Abilities                                  Focus on What You Lack
  • See How They are Reflected in Your Performance
  • Value and Appreciate Your Positive Qualities 

Believe in and Trust Yourself                                                           Doubt Yourself
  • Remind Yourself of Experiences of Triumph                                   
  • Recognize How You Overcame Fear
  • See How You Worked Through Pain and Tragedies
  • Note Ways You Conquered Failure
  • Identify Times You Were Resilient and Persevered
Exercise a Positive and Optimistic Attitude                                   Practice Negative Thinking     
  • See the Possibilities
  • Focus on Your Abundance (vs. what you lack)
  • Exercise Faith, Hope and Determination
  • Practice an Attitude of Gratitude

Respect and Exercise Your Personal Power                                   Assign Your Power to 
  • See Yourself as In, not Of a Circumstance
  • Respect and Exercise Healthy Boundaries

Love Yourself                                                                                     Put Yourself Down
  • Treat Yourself Well
  • Accept Yourself With Your Assets and Flaws
  • Practice Healthy Self-Care
  • Engage in Things That Bring Joy and Fun

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Look Forward to the New Year: Moving Ahead

The Process of Progress
As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, it is a natural point in time to stop and reflect on what has occurred and what we hope will happen.  A great deal of emphasis is placed upon setting goals for 2018.  It is healthy and progressive to have an optimistic sense of direction.  However, many of us have grown weary of setting “resolutions” or goals that we either abandon or fail to fully accomplish.  This often breeds a vicious cycle of either setting unrealistic goals, that we are not likely to successfully meet or a chronic sense of trepidation, dread and doubt about the future.  

We are more likely to meet and feel optimistic about attaining goals that are based in reality. This enables us to set goals that we can believe in and see the likelihood of success.

One approach is to be present and mindful of the journey toward our goal.  In that way, we can understand that the goal is not accomplished overnight and we can maintain a positive attitude and the sustained activity (persistence) that will eventually result in goal attainment.  

1.    Recognize that Progress is a Process

  •   Setting realistic goals with identifiable steps are more likely to be achieved. Consider utilizing  the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting system is helpful
  • Specific; Measurable; Achievable; Realistic; Time Limited
  •  Patience with the process and with oneself is important
  •   Persistence is also essential; Don’t give up

2.       Stop and Take Stock of Your Progress: The closer you see yourself moving toward your goal, the easier it will be to sustain your energy and efforts

  •  Take note of and or measure the steps you have made thus far
  •   Create some method of keeping track of the steps you have already made
  •   Focus on what you have accomplished versus what you have not yet achieved to generate your  enthusiasm and positive attitude

3.        Recognize your role in your own progress.  This further empowers you

  •   See how certain attitudes have helped you work toward your goal
  •   Identify your actions, which have been instrumental in helping you achieve your goals
  •   Give yourself credit; Allow yourself to feel good and proud of your role in your achievements

4.       Call up your past history of successful goal attainment

  •  Allow this experience to remind you that you are able to achieve future goals
  •   Recognize what worked before that enabled you to be successful
  •  Allow yourself to learn lessons about the experience and yourself that can help with future goals.

5.       Get empowered around past failures and disappointments, instead of allowing them to conquer and hinder you from future success.  Welcome such experiences as opportunities to enable you to do better in the future.

  •  Heal from past failures or mistakes.  Remind yourself that you are human and that these experiences do not define you
  •   Learn from your past failures and mistakes. Identify what went wrong. Determine how you can do something differently or avoid or prevent the previous problem.
  •   Grow from your past failures and mistakes. Step out seize new opportunities. Aim toward your  new goals with a more confident, more informed and wiser sense of self.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  Wishing you Health, Happiness and Prosperity.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Happier Holidays: How to Experience Less Stress and More Joy

1. Be Purposeful and Intentional About Celebrating the Holidays

This will enable you to be proactive and in control of how you operate during the holidays.  Therefore, determine the following:
  • What spiritual principles and values you wish to honor (i.e. generosity, charity, family togetherness, personal reflection, etc.)
  • What religious meaning the holidays have and the related traditions and activities you wish to observe 
  • How you wish to feel during and after the holidays      

2.  Ask For and Accept Help From Others
Recognize that it may be far easier to accomplish some of the time and energy consuming tasks with assistance from others.  This may also be an opportunity to strengthen relationships by recognizing the talents and contributions of others.
Examples may include:

  • Hosting a tree trimming party and each guest, who assists, gets a special ornament as a gift or everyone goes out together for a meal.
  • Having a holiday bake-off, during which the participants get to showcase their specialties. Share the creations with each other, so that everyone has a variety of treats to take home.
  • Requesting others to help you prepare for guests (i.e. home organizing, decorating, other tasks, etc.) and offering to return a favor at a later time.

3.  Recognize That The Holiday Season Comes With Additional Demands
The celebrations, decorating and hosting tasks, cooking, shopping, etc. are in addition to our already busy schedules.  Therefore, it is important to consider this in terms of managing our time, energy and resources, as follows: 

  • Taking time out for a break; getting some down time during the season; making time for personal reflection
  • Being mindful and exercising moderation about holiday eating and alcohol consumption.  Refrain from being excessive and remain in control
  • Being realistic with planning and allotting time and energy for holiday tasks (along with regular routine) during what is a fairly short period of time 

4.  Acknowledge That The Holidays May Trigger Pain
If you have experienced distressing life events, such as the death of a loved one or other losses (i.e. loss of a job, divorce, relationship breakup, etc.), it makes sense that you may not feel very joyous or energetic.  
Therefore, it is important to:

  • Give yourself the time and space to grieve your losses.  Grief is a healthy and necessary process
  • Reach out to your social support system for comfort, if you are lonely, sad and hurt
  • Validate your feelings, which are reasonable in light of the negative life event.  Look forward to feeling better eventually.

5. Be Okay With Saying "No"
Saying "no" is a way to set healthy limits and boundaries, so that you can prevent feeling overwhelmed and effectively manage the holidays.
To accomplish this:

  • Let others know what you are and are not willing and/or able to to. This frees both of you up to move on
  • Trust and listen to your "gut" regarding whether a request is beyond your comfort, energy and resource level
  • Instead of saying only "no" or "yes", consider responding to a request with "not at this time",  if you can reasonably fulfill the request at another time (perhaps after the holidays)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Exercise Your Power Over Emotional Pain

Don't Give Power to the Pain: Understand It; Address It; and Overcome It

A healthy response to pain is to recognize its value in signaling us that there is a problem, such as an unhealthy state to address.  Due to its distressing nature, we are typically motivated to end the pain and to resolve the underlying cause, so that we will feel good.  The desire to end pain and return to a state of well-being is a healthy, adaptive response.  Both in the physical and in the emotional sense, the healthy goal of ending pain is to heal  and take care of or resolve whatever caused it.

In the emotional sense, pain consists of distressing emotions, such as sadness, depression, anxiety, confusion, anger, hurt, jealousy, insecurity, etc.  Sometimes, we focus more on the distress and discomfort of the pain, as opposed to the underlying problematic cause.  In such instances, we may be motivated to simply shut down or not feel the pain.  Psychologically, we may do this internally via various defense mechanisms, such as avoidance, denial, detachment, externalization and rationalization.  For instance, if we are feeling inadequate and anxious in relation to failing at a task, we may avoid undertaking such tasks or any other similar performance demand. External means of shutting down or dulling pain may include drug and / or alcohol abuse, as well as behavioral acting our (i.e. gambling, reckless behaviors, excessive spending, etc.).

Such approaches may work temporarily by sparing us the anxiety or fear of failure.  However, the cost or consequence of routinely avoiding performance tasks usually results in feeling stuck, at the very least.  Additionally, the overwhelming fear and presumption of failure, along with the realization that we are not accomplishing something we want further reinforces a negative self-perception.  This is often manifested by a sense of self-doubt, disappointment in self, and low self-esteem.  Thus, the avoidance of pain ultimately fosters a self-fulfilling prophecy and fuels the very pain (deep down) that we wish to circumvent and not feel.

Another way we give power to pain is when we allow the pain associated with past events (i.e. our childhood, negative life events, traumas, failures, etc.) continue to prevent us from moving on in the  present and beyond.  An example of this is when we feel a sense of guilt or shame because of a past mistake at work and we allow that feeling to tell us that we are not competent. This negative internalization of past experiences and the continued focus on such negative during the present often results in our continually punishing ourselves  and mistakenly misjudging or underestimating our abilities.

Stop giving power to past pain.  Also, stop holding yourself hostage to the past.  

Healthy Ways to Overcome Past Pain:

  • Have compassion instead of self-criticism and negative judgment, toward the self, you were experiencing during the past, when you either experienced the painful trauma or mistake.  
  • Recognize and factor in where you were, emotionally and otherwise, during that time, to better understand decisions made then, that you may currently regret.
  • Remind yourself that whatever occurred in the past is over and no longer occurring in the present (if the actual negative situation actually ended)
    • Embrace a major difference between the past and now; 
    • Recognize ways that the past is over and that the present is better
    • See how you are now capable of  rectifying the problem.  For example, you are now an adult and can take care of yourself; not the powerless child from the past
  • Acknowledge ways that now, as an adult and as a function of being in significantly improved circumstances, things are good or significantly improved.
  • If a painful situation from the past is ongoing, then decide how you desire and deserve to feel and address and resolve the source of the pain. This will enable you to heal, learn and grow beyond pain.
  • Learn whatever valuable lessons the painful experiences may have taught you.
  • Recognize how you have become stronger or have positively changed in response to   getting through the past negative experience.
  • Celebrate your triumph over the painful occurrence.

What Happens To You Does Not Define You

What Happens To You Does Not Define You Healthy Ways to Deal With Negative Circumstances and Events You are not your circumstance It ...