A Quote About the Storms of Life

Thank you to my friend Gurlie who sent this quote my way:

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” – Unknown

When we are in the midst of a storm, we are often preoccupied. We are focused on what is happening outside, we are at times anxious, wondering if we should be taking greater shelter, we are focused on the unknowns and we worry about the aftermath.

When we are challenged by a storm in our own life, we often focused on the unanswered question of “why?” This is a natural response as we are curious creatures; we also feel comforted by knowledge and understanding. Sometimes we will never get the why question answered. Sometimes we get the answer years later.

It is important while in the midst of the storm to not get too preoccupied with the storm itself; rather to try and ride the storm, seeking shelter in our support system and having faith that we are going to be okay. If we never weather the storm, we also won’t see the rainbow when we step outside.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Like this post? Consider subscribing!

Five Fun Facts About Laughter

Consciously keeping laughter as part of our daily routine is a great self-care strategy! Here are five fun facts about the importance of keeping yourself amused:

  • Laughter is contagious. People are 30 times more likely to laugh when in the company of others.
  • Laughter has bonding qualities; when couples tackle stressful situations with humour, they are more likely to report higher levels of satisfaction with their relationship.
  • The average person laughs around 13 times per day; spontaneous laughter bringing about more instances of belly laughs.
  • Whole-hearted laughter boosts our immune system, working against harmful illness.
  • In an average day, children tend to laugh 3 times more than adults.

What do these facts tell us about the importance of laughter? They all tend to focus on the importance of working towards adopting a carefree attitude to our daily stresses; using laughter as a way to counter some of the challenges we may face in our busy lives.

Photo credit:https://unsplash.com/@omarlopez1

 

 

Stuck at a Crossroad? Try these 3 things!

People often come to therapy because they have reached a crossroads in their lives. Unsure of which way to go, they end up standing at the crossroads, struggling to make a decision and feeling stuck.

A job presents itself but is accompanied by change, a relationship has reached a point of being unhealthy, a bad habit is beginning to feel dysfunctional, past trauma is affecting your current experience. In any case, the impasse represents our comfort zone; choosing a path is frightening. Turning back is always an option but most likely not a good one and standing in the same place puts you directly in the absence of growth.

Three things can help begin the process of choosing:

  • Find your direction. If you were lost, you would google map it. Get informed; find out as much as you can about what it would look like to take the paths in front of you. Curiousity is always one of the best ways to temper fear.
  • Ask for help. If you were standing there and a fellow wanderer came down the path, you may ask them about the best way to reach your destination. Use your loved ones as sounding boards; seek therapy.
  • Use your instincts. Let’s face it; you wouldn’t be at the crossroads unless something in your gut was niggling at you and telling you that some form of change was necessary to feel a difference.

Standing at a crossroads needs to be a temporary, not permanent position. The choice, ultimately is ours and being proactive and involved in the decision making will give us a sense of relief and confidence in having stepped towards a path.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@soymeraki

 

Yung Pueblo Quote

 

I especially resonated with this quote from Yung Pueblo:

the forces

of the universe

support those who

work at healing 

themselves.

 

yung pueblo

 

Very often, people come into therapy with a core belief that keeps them stuck. Core beliefs remain rigid when we feed them; often using an internal, critical voice that originated from someone else or from experiences that hurt us. But what about the energy that is required to keep those core beliefs in place? And what happens when we begin to challenge our core beliefs with more accurate and objective truths?

Our energy shifts. When we put things out to the universe, when our values and worth align with who we are, our energy works for us and the universe responds. 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@grakozy

 

The Absence of Growth

In order for nature to flourish, it requires the proper amounts of hydration, nutrients, light, climate and space. In humans, we have both the advantage of the human growth hormone and cell propagation that allow us to physically grow; less than optimal conditions can affect this system as well.

But what about emotional growth? How important is it for us to function? Well, I suppose that comes down to the importance we place on reaching our full potential, realizing and achieving our well-being goals and the prominence of meaning and purpose in our lives. Anyone can go through the motions, but in the absence of growth, we can become static, stuck, unchanging.

Perhaps the single most important element that is required for growth is movement. Without it, water goes stagnant, trees don’t grow, humans fail to thrive. Movement gives us direction, a sense of accomplishment, and an underlying feeling that we are nourishing our system in a holistic way. Challenges can be stepping stones, goals can be broken down into achievable steps, we can give ourselves permission to satisfy our human need to continue learning, not only about the world but about ourselves as well.

The bottom line? Growth equals movement; one step at a time.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@toddquackenbush

 

Wisdom of Princess Diana

There are days in our lifetime that strike us with an unforgettable feeling. The day Princess Diana died was one of those days for the world; the events of August 31, 1997 sent nations into mourning. Princess Diana was the exception to British royalty; she often set aside convention and yet managed to do so with grace and poise. Three of my favourite quotes:

  • “Only do what your heart tells you.”
  • “Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
  • “I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts.”

Princess Diana believed in kindness; she lived in a way that honoured her instincts while making others feel cared for and loved.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@andriklangfield

 

The Use of Avoidance in Conflict

Avoidance is one of our defense mechanisms. If we are trying not to face the truth about something or desire to not feel a certain emotion, we can choose to avoid as a way of putting off the inevitable.  But how does the use of avoidance work in conflict? Typically, if someone tends to default to an avoidance position, they will also tend to do so in relationship as well to bypass conflict.

Sometimes, avoidance in conflict can be useful:

  • It prevents an immediate conflict; giving each other space to cool down.
  • Someone else may be able to resolve the conflict more effectively; thereby re-directing the conflict to an appropriate channel.
  • The issue or relationship is unimportant; therefore, why engage in the first place?

Although there are uses for avoidance in conflict, there are also dangers; especially when it is being used in relationships that are important to us. The risky parts to avoidance include:

  • Conflict festers until it escalates; creating an even bigger issue.
  • The relationship can move to or remain superficial.

Avoidance as an overall strategy isn’t one I generally recommend to clients; giving space to something while being transparent about it is a safer response to an issue that just can’t be dealt with in the moment. It bides you time while still respecting your loved one by not leaving them guessing.

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@priscilladupreez

 

The Meaning of Experience

In an article entitled “3 Mindsets that make it impossible to happy – and how to turn it around” by Matt Valentine and featured on Goalcast, he writes about how our experiences and challenges growing up can lead to 3 mindsets that will hinder our ability to truly be happy. I especially resonated with something he said at the end of the article that caught my attention: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s the meaning you place on those experiences.”

Our mindsets grow from our core beliefs; the cumulative messages and experiences can take a toll on our inner belief system; allowing us to lean into one type of mindset. Valentine lists the mindsets as:

  • “I don’t deserve __________” (low self-worth)
  • “I need more” (cycle of dissatisfaction)
  • “Things are good now but something bad is going to happen” (anticipating bad after good)

Perhaps the best way to counteract a negative mindset is to begin to challenge core beliefs while maintaining the position that all experiences allow us the opportunity to grow; to transform, to blossom.

The full article is worth reading: https://www.goalcast.com/2018/10/23/mindsets-make-impossible-happy/

Photo credit:https://unsplash.com/@claybanks

 

 

Check Yourself at the Gate

When we feel passionate about something, our emotions can run high. When we feel hurt by something our partner does, we can get pretty steamed. When our teenager acts disrespectfully towards us, we can see red. Natural response? Absolutely. But how do we want to react to these intense emotions?

I worked with a man a few years back who sought counselling due to his short temper. A 34 year old father of a 4 year old and 2 year old, he came in after having realized that his 4 year old was now yelling and swearing at his little brother, just like ‘dad.’ We did some exploring as to what was happening for him when his temper peaked; what his biggest triggers were and how anger, at the time, seemed like the only answer….”Well, they sure listen when you yell.”

I also asked him what he learned about anger growing up and how anger was expressed in his own household. It would seem that much of his own lessons about anger were learned from his father, who “had a quick temper and a fast backhand.” Although the man in my office felt he had improved in his own parenting for never physically touching his boys, he had begun to realize that his yelling and swearing were producing the same feelings in his children as they had for him; fear and mistrust.

He experienced some “aha moments” in therapy; followed by news ways of coping with anger and some strategies for change. He came in for our last session, sharing with me his own understanding of anger:

“I now know that a charging bull is not going to be satisfied until it hits something. My job with those boys and my wife is to check myself at the gate.” That, it would seem, is pretty good advice 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@otiv345

 

A Nice Reminder

I came upon this quote the other day which was a nice reminder to me on a day that felt a bit stuffed with too much on the agenda (at my own doing!):

“Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we’re frantic, life will be frantic. If we’re peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace. ” – Marianne Williamson.

We all have days that feel overwhelming; even within those days we can seek small moments of peace if that becomes part of our goal. Our hands wrapped around a warm mug, a prayer before bed, a storybook moment with our child, a cuddle with our pet, laughter at the dinner table.

Sometimes seeking a more peaceful life includes putting some of our own time boundaries into place so as to allow our day to flow at an even pace; allowing ourselves to focus on each task in a mindful way.

Seeking peace in any way is good self-care. 🙂

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@jayicastor