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Archive for Mental Health

Self Care Biz Tips for Bizy People: H = Happiness for Health

When is the last time you have been really happy?  Like “laugh out loud” happy.  Just because you are an adult have you gotten so serious that you’ve lost your sense of humor, play and fun?  You were put on this earth to be happy and feel good, and if that is not happening for you, then it’s time for a do-over.  Time to seek out what truly makes you happy and then go after it!  So let’s start building a case for why you need to activate your happiness factor.

If you are happy your physical health improves and you live longer. Here’s what The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley says about why being happy is so important to your wellbeing.  

  • Lowers risk of heart disease and blood pressure and reduces heart rate
  • Lowers cortisol (stress hormone) so you are better able to deflect stress and not let it  get to you
  • Combats disease and disability and you have fewer aches and pains
  • ·Improves immunity so you are less likely to get sick and, if you do, you have fewer symptoms

And from Dr. James D. Baird, author of Happiness Genes,  Happiness can alter your genes! The emerging science of EPIGENETICS reveals there are reserves of natural happiness within your DNA that can be controlled by you, by your emotions, beliefs and behavioral choices.  Yes you are in charge of your own happiness and if you activate it, your wellbeing improves.

But wait – there’s more!  If you live a healthy lifestyle you will be rewarded with the release of Happy Hormones.

Serotonin – regulates mood, prevents depression, makes you feel happy

Endorphins – makes you feel good, reduces anxiety and sensitivity to pain

Dopamine – makes you feel mentally alert

Are you impressed with these benefits of being happy?  And you can achieve this with NO DRUGS!  So as you face your future, arm yourself with “happiness” so whatever you choose to pursue, you will be ready, willing, able and “happy” to do it.

Let me help you get started by sharing my 10-Step Prescription for a Happier Life.

Mindfulness. Being in the moment allows you to correct any negative situation right on the spot and shift your thinking toward positivity.

Connect socially.  This is a great time to join new groups and expand your circle of friends. And try to find “happy” people while you’re at it!

Exercise daily.  This is a great stress reliever and provides that endorphin rush which is one of those happy hormones.

Balance your blood sugar by eating frequent small meals of organic, mostly raw, low glycemic foods and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado. YUM!

Practice forgiveness.  Free yourself from past grudges.  After all, the person you hold a grudge against may not even know you are carrying around all that angst, so guess who suffers?  YOU – not them. Let it go.

Practice loving yourself.  Be selfish and put yourself first (finally) and ease up on that caretaker role that always puts you second.  This is your time to shine!

Pursue goals that excite you, bring you joy, reveal your true gifts and make you want to get up every morning in anticipation of having fun.

Surround yourself with positive people so you can catch the wave.

Live a life of meaning and purpose.  Hopefully you have already done this in your  career, but if not now is the time to regroup, go out there and set the world on fire!

Start every day with a happy practice. Write down 3 things you will do during the day that will make you happy, and your days will be filled with joy.

Now it is your turn to take action on what will make you happy.  Which one, or more will you select and how will you put it into action?  Or maybe you already have adopted a life of happiness so we would love to hear what you are doing and what difference that has made in your life.  Please share your thoughts!

Connect with Carol

Be well on your journey toward happiness!

Carol

 

Self-care Biz Tips for Bizy People: F = Forget About Barriers

Are you itching for a change but a little bit unsure as to whether you should leap into it? Are BARRIERS holding you back from making the change you desire? This is a good time to assess where you are in life right now and where you’d like to be in the future and what it would take to bridge that gap.

James Prochaska, author of Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward  outlines predictable stages we go through when making a change. Are you in denial about making a change? Thinking about it? Planning how you will do it? In the process of making the change? Or have you already completed it? And looking forward to making another one?

Once you decide what stage you are in, it’s time to look at the BARRIERS that are holding you back from embracing change.  For me this is the big stumbling block so I have created a process you can try.

Determine what change lies ahead for you and write it as a Desire Statement on the top of a blank page.

Ex:  My desire is to retire in 5 years.  My desire is to change jobs.  My desire is to create my own nursing business.  My desire is to travel the world.

Create 2 columns below the Desire Statement.

Title column #1 “ Barriers”.   Title Column #2 “Possibilities”

In column #1, list 10 reasons why you can’t have what you desire.

Ex:  I can’t quit my job because I won’t have enough money to live on.

Now read this list and note how you feel.  Not great right?

In column #2, re-word each statement from column #1 as if it could happen.

Ex:  There are many different ways to make money that don’t require working for a boss.

Now read this list and note how you feel.  Better, right?

Fold the paper so the Barrier list faces back and the Possibilities list faces forward.

Hang this up where you will see it every day so you will be focusing on what is possible instead of what is holding you back.

If you know anything about the Law of Attraction, “like attracts like” and if you focus on positive possibilities you will naturally attract positivity into your life.  And the best bonus of all, you will have changed your attitude from negative to positive and will be attracting more positive people into your life as well.  Check out the book Ask and It is Given by Esther Hicks.

Doubt this could happen?  Just try it out for awhile and keep a record of all the progress you are making.  Start a “breaking barriers” journal.  You will be amazed at how those barriers will stop influencing you.

Here are 7 steps to help you tackle BARRIERS in your life.

B – Believe in yourself and the gifts you have to share with the world.  Only you have these gifts and others are waiting for you to share.

A – Adjust to living in a world where change happens all the time and is business as usual

R – Resist the temptation to be stuck in a job you don’t like because of the security of having a paycheck and benefits when there are other ways to achieve this

R – Resolve to listen to your intuition and what your body and mind are telling you to do.

I – Invest in the time to assess your situation, learn about other opportunities and take care of yourself

E – Examine barriers you are facing and determine if they are valid or negotiable

R – Rejoice in the fact that you have choices in life and you can be whomever you want to be and can do whatever you want to do to have a great life.

I coach high performing professionals who aren’t achieving what they want in life because of significant barriers.  Contact me if that is happening to you and you want help.

Connect with Carol

Self-care Biz Tips for Bizy People: E = Examine Your Options

Ready to make a lifestyle change that will make a difference in your life and health?  Looking for a framework to follow as you assess your next move?  I love the SOSPIE model of the National Wellness Institute: my go-to organization for personal and professional renewal www.nationalwelllness.org which uses a holistic model of living with YOU in the driver’s seat.

SOCIAL

As you embark on a new healthier path how does this affect you socially?  What networks and friendships will you leave behind and how will life be without them?  After all, your current social network could be enabling the same behaviors you want to change.

  • What current relationships do you have that may not be supportive for you?
  • What new relationships will you need to cultivate to support your new efforts?

OCCUPATIONAL

How supportive is your work environment when it comes to making a lifestyle change?  Have you tried before to make changes but not been successful because the environment was not conducive for your success? Make note of all the barriers so you are aware and not sabotaging yourself before you even start taking action steps.

  • What work challenges will you face?
  • What strategies will you need to implement at work to forward your progress?

SPIRITUAL

How would your belief about yourself change if you made a drastic change in your lifestyle?  Is your identity wrapped up in who you are now, and if you changed you would not be the same person? Would you feel lost without being the “old you”? Most of us feel spiritually alive when we are being true to ourself.

  • How will you manifest being true to yourself if you adopt a new lifestyle?

PHYSICAL

Is your body beaten down from all the years of stressful living?  It is never too late to bring your body back in shape for the next half of life.  And the good news is you can always find time to make health and fitness the priority it deserves.  You are in fact in charge of your own priorities and your own schedule. I write Jazzercise on my calendar before anything else takes away my time and after 10 years, it is working great!

  • What would you be willing to do to get your body moving on a regular basis?

INTELLECTUAL

You’ve been functioning at a highly cognitive level but you do need to provide your mind with some balance. All that intellectual stimulation can be very stressful without a break once in awhile. You can “shift your gears” into intellectually stimulating activities that still enlighten your mind but aren’t so mentally heavy.

How will you keep your brain engaged without over working it?

EMOTIONAL

Are you ready to accept the emotional impact of changing your lifestyle?  After all you may not be the same person you have already been once you change your behaviors. Since I believe in preventing problems before they arise, here are questions for you to address before you enter your next phase of your great life.

  • What does my lifestyle look like now and how will I manage myself without being that way?
  • What steps do I need to take to prepare for a smooth transition?
  • What does the next half of my life look like and how will it make me feel? (Very good I hope!)

Hopefully this framework will help you move forward successfully into your new healthier lifestyle.

So busy working on your “dream” career that you aren’t taking time for your most important asset – your health?  You know what they say – if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything!  So why not create a business plan to do just that. Here are 9 foolproof steps to guide you on the journey.

BIG DREAM Process

  1. Collect your own data.

Start paying attention to what other business leaders are doing to stay healthy.  Schedule a coffee date and ask them these questions:

  • How did you decide to integrate health practices into your business?
  • What was the biggest challenge you faced?
  • How did you overcome this challenge?
  • What was the biggest surprise you found?
  • What is your life like now vs before?
  1. What do you love to do that is healthy for you?

Pay attention to all the things YOU love to do. Which ones would benefit your health? This could be a relaxation strategy, or a physical activity, or a modification in your work schedule – you decide! If this becomes pleasurable rather than a chore, you are more apt to continue doing it for the long haul.

  1. Visualize doing it on a regular basis

Make it real for yourself by thinking about what it would “feel” like to actually integrate this into your day.  Are you feeling better? Do you have an overwhelming feeling that this really fits into your day?  If you get positive feedback then how willing are you to give more time and attention to taking action on it?

  1. Identify Barriers

Create a document with two columns.  Label one column “Barriers that stop me from doing what I love”.  Now list all the barriers that stand in your way of doing this for the rest of your life. Be honest and list at least 10 reasons.  Now reflect on how you feel when you read this list.

  1. Identify Possibilities

On the same sheet with two columns, label the second column with “Possibilities that could happen if there were no barriers”.   Now re-word each statement in the left column from what you can’t have to what you can have.

Ex:  Barrier = I don’t have the time to do what I want.

Possibility = I have more than enough time to make happen whatever I want.

  1. Focus on Possibilities not Barriers

Now reflect on the list of possibilities and how does reading it make you feel?  Which list gives you a good feeling?  Throw the list of barriers away and post the list of possibilities in a prominent location where you see it every day and remind you of how good it would feel.

  1. Set Your Intention

Once you have done the prep work, you are ready to set your intention on manifesting what you want to happen in your life.  Write it down and include an “end date” when you will have launched yourself into your new direction toward optimal health.

  1. Practice Visualizing

It is fine to set an intention and determine when that will happen, but sometimes we give up on our dreams because we don’t keep the fire alive.  Schedule a regular time to practice visualizing your big dream daily or weekly.  Back it up by creating a DREAM BOARD that hangs prominently where you see it every day to keep that picture alive in your head.

  1. Keep an Evidence Journal

If you do all these things how will you know if it is paying off?  In a journal, record all the baby steps and progress you have made moving forward toward your goal.  Some things may seem insignificant, but when you add them all up a bigger picture emerges.  Reflect on this regularly to provide evidence that your Big Dream is actually starting to manifest.

And that is how you bring BIG Health DREAMS into REALITY.

 

Enjoy the process and be well on your Journey!

 

Self-Care BIZ Tips for BIZY People: C = Calming Your Busy Mind

I am a “busy business owner”, always on the move and always doing more than I need to.  An “energizer bunny”.  It seems to be a trait of many fellow business owners that we don’t want to slow down.  What I have noticed however is I get so busy “doing” that I don’t take enough time “being”.  And by doing all the time, I miss out on a lot of what is great about my work.  In an effort to correct that, I (sadly) have to schedule time on my calendar for relaxation and reflection – which is apparently what we have to do today to get any free time for ourselves.  As crazy as that seems, it actually works and is a great tool if you are looking for a way to build time into your day for YOU!  So pull out your calendars and create some space for you every day where you can REFLECT on all that is great about your life and what lies ahead.  Here are a few steps to follow.

R – Realize what is happening in the present moment

If you are either caught-up rehashing something in the past or projecting into the future, you have totally missed what is happening in the present moment.  And that is all we have! Take a breath, and pay attention to the “right now” time and what is in your mind.  Is it what you want to be thinking about?  Is it serving you well or making you stressed?  Is it negative or positive?  Right here – right now, think about something pleasant and stay with that thought, and your body and mind will thank you.

E – Escape from your current focus and take time out to think

Now that you have adjusted your thoughts toward positivity, stay there for awhile and think of all the things you are grateful for.  As you continue these thoughts, you might notice a smile creeping in on your face as you ponder what is great about you and your life.  How good does that feel?

F – Free yourself from distractions

If you are being challenged by this process in your present location, find a quiet and calm space.  Carve out a place that is free from distractions where you will not be disturbed.  Create your own getaway spot where you devote time for personal reflection and you feel good while you are there.  Just going into a room,  closing the door and asking not to be disturbed is the easiest way to accomplish this.

L – Let go of scattered thoughts

It may not be easy at first to “tame those obsessive negative thoughts” that keep popping into our heads all the time and distract us from our intention to focus on “good feeling” thoughts.  That is often because our minds are “over busy” – we have too much on our minds – which is a reflection of how busy our lives are.  So while you are in your quiet place with the intention of “quieting your mind”, know that when those thoughts creep in, just let them pass thru without spending time on them and return to your “happy thoughts” once again.

E – Enlist your imagination

Remember how fun it was to daydream and think of great things you could do and be?  We probably got in trouble at school because we weren’t paying attention –  but as a Stress Management Professional I now call it “visualization” and it’s a great relaxation tool we all need to cultivate.  When you set your imagination free to explore wonderful things, wonderful things can start materializing in your life.

C – Create a vision of your perfect life

Once you rekindle your ability to use your imagination, you can start creating a vision of what your perfect life might be.  Those thoughts are exciting  to explore as long as you allow them and don’t stop them.  One of my tendencies is to sabotage the process by coming up with all the reasons I can’t have or do something.  But in your imaginary world, you don’t have to add roadblocks to your perfect life.  All you need to do is put yourself in that life and enjoy it to the fullest.

T – Tend to your vision on a daily basis

Now this is the best part.  You get to become one with your perfect life every day.  Just take the time to go there and enjoy it thoroughly. And look at all these wonderful benefits – time out for yourself, relaxation,  enhanced positive attitude, less scattered thinking, feel better, enjoyment of setting intentions for a better life, surprising manifestations that are yet to be revealed.  Watch for them and be surprised when they happen!

So now it is your turn. Try to follow this process for a month and see what happens.  You might be surprised with the results and become a healthier business leader as well.  If you need support with this, feel free to contact me.

Have fun with this – and be well on your wellness journey.

Carol

5 Ways to Feel More Self Love

Let’s face it—feeling self-love is much easier said than done. Especially when we live in a society obsessed with Snapchat-filter perfection. We constantly see others obtaining status, owning the latest and greatest technologies, going on dream vacations, and living in a big house on a hill with the perfect family.

It’s no wonder we often feel like we don’t measure up.

Even worse, we begin to tell ourselves lies. We start to think that we’re weird, poor, ugly, awkward, not smart enough, or even too smart. In short, we feel like we’re never enough.

But what if we’re wrong?

What if you were good enough, just the way you are? In this very moment?

When it comes to love, it’s often easier to give it to others. But showing yourself love is just as important, maybe even more so. Here are five ways you can start showing yourself some much-needed love today.

1–Make a List of Your Positive Attributes

How often do we take the time to praise ourselves? If the answer is “rarely” or “I don’t even know what self-praise is,” let’s fix that, pronto. Try writing out a list of your positive attributes and take time to reflect on it every day.

When putting together your list, instead of being super generic in your attributes, try to be specific and have a little fun with this. (And then get really wild and add one or two new attributes to the list every week.)

For example: “I always give genuine compliments to others.” Or: “I’m non-judgmental and I always try to see things from another person’s point of view.” Or: “I have a nice singing voice and my husband/wife/next-door neighbor/puppy (woof!) loves it when I sing loudly when doing the dishes.”

Another tip? Along with the positive attributes list, try making a list of the things you are grateful for. Showing gratitude can go a long way into helping you out of self-defeating and negative thinking patterns.

2–Take Time for Yourself

Maybe you’re a super busy mom with adorable but rambunctious children. Or maybe you’re a hard-working sales rep putting in 60 hours+ of work each week. Your time can start to feel like it doesn’t belong to you anymore, and far too often you may feel like stretched taffy pulled too thin.

But how can you fully give to your children or to your job if you haven’t given anything to yourself?

This may mean taking extra time for yourself to meditate. It could mean curling up with a good murder mystery for a half hour before bed or indulging in the latest episode of your favorite guilty pleasure.  It could mean making it to your daily Jazzercise class or going to a weekly yoga class. It could even mean making a delicious snack for yourself and not sharing it with anyone.

The bottom line: fill your own cup first before you share with others. And don’t feel guilty about it. Just do it.

3–No More Negative Self-Talk

Another way to show love for yourself is to quit with the negative self-talk.

Seriously, stop. When you call yourself a name or criticize yourself, you are shrinking yourself from a human being of value down to a single element of yourself that you don’t like.

This can be a hard habit to quell, but it’s one that can have truly astonishing results. Think about it. You wouldn’t tell a 5-year-old that their crayon drawings look terrible. You wouldn’t tell your best friend that they’re hopeless for not knowing how to do their taxes online. And you certainly wouldn’t tell your loveable Grandma that she’s a basket case every time she smears pink lipstick on her teeth. (At least let’s hope you’d never do this.)

Yet how often do we berate ourselves and think negative thoughts like “I’m so stupid” or “I never get anything right”?

Instead of thinking of yourself as a total dumb-bat, rephrase the way you think about things. Try this instead: “Okay, so I don’t know how to relight the pilot light on my furnace. But there are YouTube videos that can probably teach me how to do this.”

4–Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges

Everybody is different. You don’t look the same, act the same, speak the same, or have exactly the same mind and heart and experiences as anybody else. You are a unique individual. Embrace it.

To make my point, let’s look at fruit. Say you are an orange. You are tangy-sweet, smell like a citrus-flavored candle, and are round with a thick skin. As an orange, why would you compare yourself to an apple? Or if you’re a strawberry, why look at a kiwi and think you’re somehow less? Every fruit has a little something to bring to the fruit salad. Likewise, we all have something unique to bring to the table.

5–Leave the Past in the Past

If we’re being real, life isn’t always hunky-dory and chances are you might have some old emotional wounds or negative memories lingering on the surface in the present moment. If you find yourself dwelling on an old memory you’re not too fond of, catch yourself and say, “I’m not that person anymore.” Because truthfully, you aren’t. You don’t have to be defined by mistakes or incidents from the past.

Another thought—try accepting where you are right now, in the moment. Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time simply because we are feeling emotional. We feel like we need to be stronger. But it’s okay if you might be feeling a little down about something. Instead of beating yourself up for feeling down or emotional, give yourself permission to feel the feels for a bit. And then let it go and move on to greener pastures.

Allow Self-Love into Your Life

Self-love isn’t something you arrive at overnight. But by taking small, daily steps, you can begin to truly appreciate your uniqueness. You absolutely can love yourself just the way you are (and I sincerely hope you will).

After all, you’re pretty flaw-some.

How do you show yourself self-love?

How to Create a Positive Mindset for a Positively Positive Year

What happens to you when negativity takes over and you can’t see anything good in your life, your work, your day?  Does it mean you are losing your mind, or are you just losing your perspective? Is there anyway to turn around “stinking thinking”?

I know what it is like to get caught up in negative thinking and it never ends well.  The more you focus on negative thoughts, the bigger and badder they get and the bigger the toll it takes on your body, mind and spirit.  Being in a state of chronic negative thinking can make you sick!

“Many negative emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration become problematic when those emotions turn into a more permanent disposition or a habitual outlook on the world,” explains Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, science director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. And then you are at risk for ailments such as depression, heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, stroke, decreased immunity, inflammation.  http://www.health.com/heart-disease/can-negative-thinking-make-you-sick

So this is serious and no one wants to go down this path if they don’t have to.  But what strategies are available to break out of this cycle? Here are some ideas.

Awareness

Did you know you have control over your thoughts, and if you are always thinking negatively you can change that right on the spot?

Try this activity.  On a sheet of paper draw 2 columns side by side

In the left column, list all the negative words you can think of.

Once you complete the list, how do you feel?

In the right column list all the positive words you can think of.

Once you complete the list, how do you feel?

Notice that you feel better after writing the positive words and feel worse after writing the negative words.  So words matter!  Try to notice when you are using negative language and try to reframe it toward positive words when you catch it. This means paying attention to what you are thinking and correcting the thought before you speak it.

Practice

Now, identify what is leading to all the negative thoughts you are focused on and practice changing from negative to positive. Draw another 2 columns side by side.

List negative statements you make in the left column.  Ex: I get stressed out when I am at work.

Now rewrite each statement in the right column using positive words. Ex: I am grateful that I have the ability to provide support for people who need my services.

After you complete both lists, focus on the right column only and see if it changes your thinking from negative to positive.  Don’t give any attention to the left column because it will drag you down again.  Remember you have control over your thinking and you can only hold one thought in your mind at a time.  So choose which one you want to hold – negative or positive.

Tools

Positivity Self Test takes 2 minutes to complete. Your score provides a snapshot of how your emotions of the past day combine to create your positivity ratio. Do this as often as you want since it changes each time.  http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php

Loving Kindness Meditation.   This is a tool to improve compassion and resilience.  Practice it regularly to change your perspective. Access the recording from this link. https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/loving_kindness_meditation#

There are many ways to “refresh” your attitude and these are just a few.  As a wellness professional, I believe the answers lie within us. We just need to seek resources that will help us uncover our truths.  Bottom line is if you are stuck in negative thinking, make the decision to take a first step forward.  There are many resources available including wellness coaching to move forward with your goals.

If you would like a complimentary 20 minute laser coaching session with me just click here to contact me.

Connect with Carol

Be well on your wellness journey.

Carol