Coming back to the blog

Coming back to the blog
Well, it certainly has been a while since I have written a blog post. 

 I am not even apologetic about it! I have really come to learn that thinking "you can do it all" either leads to shoddy work on everything, or intense stress trying to do a quality job on too many fronts.  I am now very conscious of the amount of work I commit to and have promised myself that I will do what feels right, what doesn't feel like "work" and what fuels my passion. My desire to write a blog post has to come from a moment of passion for living that i want to share with you and not a sense of obligation and a post is due. 

And this morning, as I was chatting about how March kicked my butt and laid me out on the couch to really learn the lesson of listening to my body,i I realized that I have created a couple new, small habits that have helped me in my wellness journey. Suddenly, I wanted to share them with you. 

The first habit I have adopted, and really become solid with, is always having drinking water by my side, no matter where I am. I now ALWAYS have a water tumbler with me around the house, on a walk, in the car, at a dog show, or anywhere else I might find myself. 

I find, now that I have been giving my body all the water it needs, that I am always craving it. I NOTICE my thirst now. 

I set my goal at drinking approximately 4 litres of water per day and use some lovely Young Living flavour boosters to help me get it all down. It started off hard and I peed a LOT, but now it is easy to get that much in and I don't have to go to the bathroom as often. 

The second small habit I have adopted this month is intentional breaks between tasks. 

I am a very focused person and can get completely consumed by a project I am working on -- this leads to overworking and self-induced stress. So now I will work on something for an hour and then stop.......done or not. And shift my focus to something else. I may or may not go back to the first task later in the day but I am getting better about leaving things undone and take a mental and physical break. 

This one is the harder of the two habits to practice as I have been trained my entire life to finish what I start and to focus intensely on what I am doing. So it is a work in progress and I use some tech help (like my watch telling me it's time to stand) to help me practice. 

What habits have you recently added to your life? 

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Is Your Intuition Really a Seven Year Old Child?

Is Your Intuition Really a Seven Year Old Child?

Disclaimer: Please seek professional supports if you know you have a history of trauma in your childhood. This activity could bring up very strong emotions and reactions so please monitor your well-being. If you have had or are currently undergoing therapy, please discuss this exercise with your therapist before beginning. I am not a therapist and am using this exercise only to excavate and reframe deep mindset issues that may be holding you back. 

"What is your gut telling you?"

 "Go with your gut" 

"Follow your intuition" 

How many times have you said this to someone or told yourself this? Accessing your intuition or going with your gut can be a great values-based way of making a decision or determining a course of action. 

But what if your gut feeling is based on narratives that were developed when you were a child and really are no longer serving you well?

Maybe you noticed that sometimes your gut isn't leading you in the right direction or not getting you the results that you desire? That it might be a bit reactive, a bit pissy, a bit juvenile? Sounds like it is time to reflect on some of the key narratives you have about life to see if those narratives are your inner seven-year-old talking back.

Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, gives a great overview of the massive brain development in children from 0-7 years old and states:

"A child’s perceptions of the world are directly downloaded into the subconscious during this time, without discrimination and without filters of the analytical self-conscious mind which doesn’t fully exist. Consequently, our fundamental perceptions about life and our role in it are learned without our having the capacity to choose or reject those beliefs. We were simply programmed..........The problem is that we download our perceptions and beliefs about life years before we acquire the ability for critical thinking.    

So, basically, the thoughts and perceptions we have taken in, unfiltered, by seven years of age form our world view – our “gut”. We do, of course, add to that over time with new experiences, lessons and interactions – but all of these are framed by that seven year old world view. The lens we use is set and our understanding of experiences is rooted there.

There is a way to begin to excavate those long held and well covered up belief systems. It takes some effort and some courage but you can do it!

Grab some paper and a pen. Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for a period of time – maybe a half hour, maybe 10 minutes, at least start the process. 

Sit quietly and tell yourself “I want to talk to my youngest self. It will be ok. I am safe.” Then think back to the very earliest memory you can remember. Think hard and go far back if you can. It may only be glimpses and shadows, but focus on it. Can you remember where it was? Can you remember how it smelled then, how warm or cold it was, who else was there? Maybe you can even remember where it was.  What was the experience you can remember. Write it down. Write down everything. See if you can tap into your physical feelings, your mental feelings, your senses. Try to as stay detached – like you are watching this like a movie. 

Then write down any words that come to your mind. These words can be important to understanding what you tell yourself subconsciously when you are accessing your intuition or your gut reaction. Remember any conversations that happened and who they happened with. 

Write for as long as you can see the memory, it may fade in and out but keep going. Monitor your breathing and if you find yourself holding your breath, stay in the memory but do a couple of deep and calm breaths. Remind yourself that you are safe. 

Once you feel you have done as much remembering as you can, slowly walk back to the present time. Don't rush, there is no hurry. Just honour that you may want to sit for awhile after you are back in the present to honour the memory and the child who showed it to you. Be grateful for that child and thank her/him. 

When you are ready, start reading what you have written about the memory. Use your adult, critical brained, non-judgmental and honest mind to reflect on any you find. What narratives can you see? Are they ones that you find yourself using in your adult life? Do they provide you with good advice?  Are they narratives that lead to mindsets that promote your success, your happiness, and your wellbeing? Or do they hold you back, keep you afraid, keep you small and powerless? If they are, now is the time to deal with them.

Write those mindsets down so you are not surprised when they surface in your day to day life. Put them in a column on the left-hand side of the page. On the right-hand side, make another column. In that column write down a new mindset to counter the old one. 

Then as you travel through your days, when you find the old mindset escaping, call it out. Catch it in the act of slowing you down, restricting your success, reducing your happiness. Then Cancel that thought. Say it out loud if you have to. Make sure you are consciously aware that you are NOT going to use that again and then Correct it by repeating the positive mindset saying you wrote earlier. This is your magical sword to cut out the negative mindset and replace it with one that serves you, serves the you you want to be. 

This exercise can be completed more than once and have you walk through from your earliest memory to ones at about seven years of age. Repeat the recording and identifying of mindsets, then the Catch, Cancel and Correct process for them with new mindsets that  you want to instill. It takes some time to excavate these deeply held beliefs but the effort can bring a release and a redirection that suits your desired self.

Then, once you are able to replace the old mindset with the new, remind the seven-year-old you that everything is ok and that they don't need to worry about that anymore. 

Give yourself a hug. 

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Mindset Matters - How to support moving to a more positive focus

Mindset Matters - How to support moving to a more positive focus
"Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don't -- and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown"
Rebecca Soinit, writer

It is a mantra that is heard on podcasts, blogs, Facebook ads, Twitter feeds, and endless self-help media --  Mindset Matters. As I began to write this blog post, I started with "overwhelming stress" , "unrelenting change" -- then caught myself in my negative mindset,  hit the delete button and started over.

It is clear that what we focus on is what we experience so to talk about overwhelming stress is to be overwhelmed by stress. To highlight unrelenting change denigrates the good aspects of change while it elevates the negative and leads us to try to avoid or sidetrack change.  The ugly scenarios that Rebecca Soinit refers to is merely us doing "worse case scenario" planning and having the what-ifs to the negative side consume our thoughts.  What we seldom explore is the what-ifs of the best case scenario.

Mindset creates our reality in a circular fashion by providing the lens through which to evaluate experience which then validates the framework and so infinitum.  It is a self-perpetuating cycle but it is a cycle we can change. 

First, we need to identify on where our mindset limits our reality in a way we would like to change. 

So let's use the example of a common mindset around doing something new -- be it new employment , an entrepreneurial venture, or even a health improvement focus. 

Our first thoughts might be excitement and enthusiasm but then first niggling thought of "what if it doesn't work out" sneaks in and we begin pulling out all kinds of bad scenarios that _could_ happen if we pursued this challenge. Then as the first event (any event really) happens, it is evaluated through the lens of this worst case scenario, and confirms our belief that this path will not be successful.  Much like when you first buy a new car and only then start seeing all the other identical cars on the road, something you never noticed before, you are now primed to seek and find these negative moments.

But what would happen if we could redirect that process to a more positive and empowering mindset? 

When that first negative thought starts to weasel its way into your vision, the first step is CATCH -- catch that thought, identify it as a negative mindset, be conscious of its presence. Ask yourself from what base does it come - is it from a fear of failure, a fear of success, a fear of others opinions....the base could be any number of fears or even a combination of fears. Worry is just fear's physical manifestation.

The second step once it is a conscious element that you know it is unhelpful is to CANCEL the thought. Challenge the thought's all or nothing aspect, its likely foundation in lack rather than in abundance, it base in fear and not in love. 

Then the final step is to CORRECT the thought. This gets easier as you start to identify your negative mindset clue.  You can practice a correcting thought to redirect the focus and, while at first you might find yourself well down the negative path before you consciously tell yourself to cancel and correct, it does get easier over time.

This Catch, Cancel and Correct process sounds simple but it requires some conscious effort. Mindsets fight hard to maintain control so don't be surprised how insidious they can be -- but this effort to CORRECT is very worth it.

When you first start working on supporting a positive mindset, think of one or two negative thought patterns you find yourself in more regularly. Write them down. Ask yourself, what would the positive statement of this thought be? Write that down. Then ask yourself, what other ways could this negative mindset come to me to try to pull me back? Does your new statement of positive outcome work on those as well? If not, then write down some positive statements that will.

Over time you will notice this process becomes more automatic. You will catch yourself sooner then quickly move to cancel and correct. You will find your perspective becomes more positive, noticing more positive things in your life and you ultimately will find yourself supporting others to reframe their own thinking. 

You will become that car on the road that you hadn't noticed before and through this refocusing of your view,  you will become a magnet for positivity. 

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