Background Shadow

How You Measure Change Could Matter More than You Think

You know it’s time for change.  You’ve set everything up: a new diet or exercise plan, a proposed budget, a schedule of counseling appointments, a new program to discipline your children or spend quality time with your spouse.  All your hope is riding on the new plan… [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

The Consequences of Distraction and How to Avoid Them

It’s Mindful Monday, and I woke up with distraction on my mind.  Distraction affects our lives in numerous ways, with consequences ranging from distasteful to disastrous.  Often it masquerades as something we proudly venerate: multitasking.  But every time we multitask, we pull brain activity away from our primary task of the moment.

 

Distraction with Distasteful Consequences

A couple years ago, I set out to make a delicious stir-fry dinner from scratch.  The finished product was to look like this:

I carefully assembled the ingredients, added them to the pan at appropriate times, and enjoyed the pleasing aroma as I waited to perform the last step. [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #16: How to Change Your Life with Gratitude

Gratitude: A Simple Life Changer

How has gratitude touched your life today, yesterday, or in the past week?  If nothing comes to mind, don’t beat yourself up.  It’s so easy to mindlessly ignore beauty and blessings all around us.  After all, when was the last time we were grateful for a rainbow, changing leaves in Fall, the absence of humidity, adequate transportation, or a degree of good health? [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #15: How to Breathe Away Anxiety

Breathe Away Anxiety

Many of us start the school or work week feeling as if we’re stuck in a reality described by the Bangles’ 1986 hit, Manic Monday.  As soon as our eyes pop open, our minds become busy-busy-busy anticipating (or dreading) all that needs to get done during waking hours. [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #14: A Mindful Walk

Explore the Relationship between Mind and FeetCan something you do for a few minutes everyday really improve your life?  Many people affirm that daily mindful practices make a big difference in their lives: they feel less anxious, develop a growing sense of safety and security, and gain deeper personal insight from living more mindfully.  [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #13: A Mental Tune-up for Labor Day or Any Day

What if we could give ourselves a mental tune-up on Labor Day (or any day)? Between heading to the pool or firing up the grill, what can we accomplish?  Maybe we can think about something that will give more meaning and enjoyment to our holiday (and everyday) activities. [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #12: What’s so great about the small moments?

Suze ignores the value of small moments….

What might the woman in the cartoon be missing from life?  She may be like a lot us  – easily dismissing small moments that we take for granted.  How often do we drink a cup of coffee, spend a moment with child, pet our dog or cat, or talk to a loved one without being truly attentive to and present with the experience?  It seems so easy to go through everyday activities like a robot and ignore the  small moments. [Read more…]

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #11: From Monopoly to a Mindful Check-in

Remember the game of Monopoly?  We all started from the same location, with the same amount of money, and a unique game piece.  As play progressed, we found ourselves in different positions on the game board, having different amounts of money in our personal bank accounts, each holding different investment properties.  With each turn, it was import to to know where we were starting from in terms of investment properties, play money, and position on the board.  That kind of play involves focused attention and intentional moves.  It’s how we took care of ourselves in the game world.

Now let’s leave Memory Lane to think about how we take care of ourselves in daily life.  While we may rock at personal hygiene and wardrobe attire, schedule manicures, pedicures, and a day at the spa, a quick observation suggests that many of us lack a daily awareness of where we are physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Dr. Elisha Goldstein describes this kind of awareness as an act of self-care and I believe its is very important.  Imagine what life is like without this kind of physical-emotional-mental awareness.  We may react in anger to a loved one when the real problem is our own physical pain.  We may make mistakes at home, work, or school when we are mentally distracted.  We may become overwhelmed by an uncomfortable emotion.  Without a daily awareness of our mental, physical, and emotional states, we can find it difficult to approach life with focused attention and intentional responses.  Today’s tip helps us to tune in to where we are mentally, physically, and emotionally.  That’s like identifying this moment’s personal starting point.

Mindful Monday Tip #11: The Mindful Check-in from Dr. Elisha Goldstein

  • Take 2 minutes to view the following video
  • Follow the instructions to find out where you are physically, emotionally and mentally.
  • Commit to a daily form of this self-care.

How might your life change when you begin to practice a mindful check-in?

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #10: On Control, Power, and Letting Go

Born into slavery in the first century A.D., Epictetus, a Greek sage and Stoic philosopher, advised humans to to “make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens”.  Almost 20 centuries later, Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, wrote an untitled prayer whose most recognized form is:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

In their own way, both men challenge us to examine our need to control.

Aimed at other people, our need to control often creates power struggles which suck the life of relationships.  How often does the self-esteem of a spouse diminish when living under the control exerted by a verbal or physical abuser?  What about parents who place stifling demands on children just so parents will feel or look better?  What about adult children who tread on  elderly parents’ autonomy when the octogenarians are functioning fine?  How would you like someone to rearrange your cupboards to fit their agenda when your kitchen has been fine for you for 40 years?

Aimed at events, our need to control often creates power struggles with forces outside of our control.  Have you ever railed at weather that disrupted outdoor plans?  Felt hopeless or angry when the stock market took a dive?  Projected doom and gloom when the candidate you didn’t support won the election?  Ruined a meal by complaining when restaurant staff did not meet your demands for service?  Weather, stock market, election results, and restaurant service are generally outside our power to control.  So are a lot of other events.  Such power struggles sap our energy and leave us bent out of shape.

Imprisoned by a mindless need to control, we and our relationships suffer.

If we approach this topic with a mindful perspective, we will recognize and let go of our need to control people and events outside our realm of power.  Like Niebuhr and Epictetus, we will become aware of what is within our control and what is not.  Today’s tip suggests a way we can focus our energies on the former and let go of the latter.

Mindful Tip #10: Let Go!

From this day forward, challenge yourself to become aware of power struggles in your life, and daily make a choice to let go of the need to control some person or event over which you have no true power.

  • Pray Niebuhr’s prayer daily.  (You may recognize it as the Serenity Prayer used in 12-Step Groups).
  • Get a helium filled balloon and a permanent marker, and mindfully write the things you choose to let go of on the balloon.  With awareness of your choice, release the balloon into the sky, and imagine letting go of your need to control in these areas as the balloon  floats away.  If the balloon gets stuck in a tree or something else, mindfully recall that it is not in your hand.  You have let it go.

Nothing magical will happen when you release the balloon, but it may become a powerful reminder of the choice you have: to control or not to control.  That is the question.  

How might we and our relationships change when we let go of controlling people and events outside of power?

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.

Mindful Monday Tip #9: Finding the Present Moment and Our Place in It

Today’s post is written from the golden shores of Lake Michigan.  Our family’s annual 2-week vacation has begun, and already we struggle against the daily pull of mindlessness.  To find peace and to regroup, we must each engage our vacation with mindful purpose.  For me that means pausing to remember where I am, what choices I have, and what I want to do.  When we are not mindful of the present moment and our place in it,  we can be mindlessly carried away by agendas we don’t truly support.  Our family’s vacation challenge inspires today’s  tip.

Mindful Monday Tip #9: A Mindful Pause

When it’s safe to do so, pause and for one minute reflect on:

  • Where am I?
  • What choices  do I have?
  • What do I want to do?

What might happen after we take a mindful pause?

I predict that we may move with greater attention and intention after such a pause.

 

Are You Ready to Start?

If so, please Contact Me and describe your concerns and we'll discuss how counseling can help.