The Power of Acceptance – Letting Go of Should is the first of 12 articles on the power of acceptance in daily life, published in Sibyl Magazine. Accepting what is, reality, can open a world of possibilities, possibilities we can’t see while we remain stuck in what “should” be. Letting go of our “should” about ourselves, others and life in general can bring freedom of choice and the power to co-create our own lives.
In my previous post, we looked at the language people use when they see themselves as powerless: phrases like “It’s not fair”, “She should…”, “He won’t let me…” This is the language of a psychological victim, someone who sees themselves, not as an actor in life, but a passive recipient of what life throws at them. But few of us can live in complete powerlessness for long. We are driven to snatch back some shred of power for ourselves and we do it in ways we might not recognize as power plays. Below are some of the signs of victim thinking: Read more
I’ve been thinking lately about the idea that we, at the least, co-create the life we live. So if the life I have is not the life I want, who is responsible. Me? But how? I try everything I’m supposed to do to create the life I desire but it’s not working. Why? The answers can be complicated but as a writer, I’m fascinated by one small aspect of it: the words we use and the not quite hidden things those words reveal about us. Read more
When I ran classes in assertiveness and communication skills I used an exercise in body language. One person stood before the class and silently repeated a negative statement about herself to herself. At a point of her own choosing, she switched to a positive statement, again silently. The group’s task was to point out when the switch occurred. It rarely took more than a few seconds for the change in self-talk to show up in her stance and for the group to spot the transition.
Now, research shows that the reverse is also true–changing the way you stand can affect, not only your self-talk, but your levels of confidence and of stress. Read more
I’m very excited that my book which took its own sweet time getting written, finally goes to print this week. It will be in bookshops in December in time for the Christmas gift market. You can pre-order at a reduced price HERE.
Lack of energy is another feature of low mood. In the midst of depression, it can feel like you’re walking through glue. But even on the odd down day when our mood could not be classified as depression, energy levels can be debilitatingly low. The treatment is often medication. But studies suggest that getting up and moving our body in specific ways, could significantly boost our energy levels. Read more
Most people know depression is intimately connected with negative self-talk. When that stream of thoughts coursing through our mind turns negative, our moods follow. We can work hard at managing those thoughts—stopping, changing and reframing them. But studies show that how we sit, stand and walk significantly affects whether that relentless stream of self-talk takes a negative or positive tone. Read more
Self-Criticism can be lethal for our health and happiness. Here are 7 ways to silence your inner critic quickly.
- Write it Down: Keep a daily list of all the critical things you tell yourself.
- Tell and Imaginary Child: Imagine a child standing before you. Criticize them from the list you’ve made for yourself.
- Visualize: See your critical thoughts floating away in bubbles, on clouds, whatever resonates with you visually.
- Create a Stop Sign: settle on a signal to yourself that will act as a stop sign for self criticism when you catch yourself in the act. Example: press your thumb and middle finger together while taking a deep breath.
- Comfort Yourself with a Physical Gesture: It could be anything – rub the back of your hand gently, touch your face with soft fabric, skip, jump – whatever sooths you.
- Replace the Criticism with something affirming. Create the affirmation that resonates with you and have it handy when self-criticism strikes.
- Practice Awareness (Mindfulness): Become aware of your critical thoughts but detach from them. Let them float by as if they were boats on a river passing before you.
- Breathe Deeply – deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system – the relaxation response.
- Smile – even when you don’t think you’ve anything to smile about. It releases serotonin and endorphins in your body.
- Change Your Posture – if you slouch, straighten your spine and neck. It changes the way you feel.
- Silence Self-Criticism – even for 10 minutes. Self-criticism leads to stress and stress releases cortisol which affects the immune system, and not in a good way.
- Move Your Body – dance, run, skip…move in whatever way you are able to move. Exercise releases endorphins – feel good hormones.
A new study from the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and the Technische Universitat in Dresden, Germany, had found that stress is contagious. Just watching someone experience a stressful situation can raise our own levels of the stress hormone Cortisol by as much as 40% if we are in a relationship with that person, and by 10% when they are a stranger to us. The study found no differences between men and women. This means that even the most relaxed, stress free individuals can suffer second-hand stress on a regular basis. The solution is a radical expansion of awareness. This works on two levels. Read more
Throughout her school years, Catherine, an avid reader, wrote many books –all of them in her imagination. Read More.
- The Power of Awareness: A Journey Through Breathing May 14, 2016
- The Power of Awareness: Witnessing Without Judging March 24, 2016
- The Power of Awareness: Body Awareness February 23, 2016