How You Move Can Change Your Mood: Posture, Movement and Mood Part 2 of 3

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

How You Sit Can Change Your Mood: Posture, Movement and Mood Part 1 of 3

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

7 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic

Self-Criticism can be lethal for our health and happiness.  Here are 7 ways to silence your inner critic quickly.

  1. Write it Down:  Keep a daily list of all the critical things you tell yourself.
  2. Tell and Imaginary Child:  Imagine a child standing before you.  Criticize them from the list you’ve made for yourself.
  3. Visualize:  See your critical thoughts floating away in bubbles, on clouds, whatever resonates with you visually.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Replace the Criticism with something affirming.  Create the affirmation that resonates with you and have it handy when self-criticism strikes.
  7. 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.

Feel Better Fast – 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Raise Your Mood

  1. Breathe Deeply – deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system – the relaxation response.
  2. Smile – even when you don’t think you’ve anything to smile about.  It releases serotonin and endorphins in your body.
  3. Change Your Posture – if you slouch, straighten your spine and neck.  It changes the way you feel.
  4. 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.
  5. Move Your Body – dance, run, skip…move in whatever way you are able to move.  Exercise releases endorphins – feel good hormones.

Stress is Contagious

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

What Awareness Does to Your Body

Get Creative: An Exercise in Empty Space Awareness

If creativity thrives in an uncluttered inner space, here is a simple breathing exercise taken From Rebirthing and Breathwork  to create that uncluttered space.  Fill it with whatever your imagination produces:  Read more

Get Creative : Radical Awareness (Part 2)

Creativity thrives when we allow ourselves to become absorbed in what fascinates us.  Children are really good at this.   Children can lose themselves in whatever beguiles them.  They have an uninhibited appetite for anything that catches their interest.  Out of this appetite comes growth, learning and inventiveness.  Adults have the same capacity for absorption, the same voracious appetite – until the voice of reason sobers them up.  Adam Phillips, former principal child psychotherapist at Charring Cross Hospital in London and prolific writer of books, was recently interviewed by the Paris Review .  In the interview, Phillips observes that children in healthy environments have an incredible ability to focus on what interests them because: Read more

Get Creative : Radical Awareness (Part 1)

According to a 2002 report by the Gallop Organization  over 80 million American adults have had at least one spiritual/religious experience that profoundly influenced their lives.  Spiritual experiences are episodes of radically expanded awareness.   Also known as peak states, altered states, awakenings, mystical states – they are far more common than people think.  They’re the result of mediation, breathwork, prayer but they also come spontaneously.  One of the things they teach us is to embrace the unknown.  And embracing the unknown is a key to unleashing your creativity. Read more

Boundaries Exercise: Where is the Line Between Me and The World?

One of the reasons the discipline of Psychology developed was to help philosophers answer the question:  How do I know what’s real?  How do I know the difference between reality and the version of reality I see through the filters of my experience?  In other words, where lie the boundaries between me and the world?  This isn’t just an abstract brain teaser designed to exercise our mental muscles.  It has major significance in everyone’s life. Read more