CREATING METHODS OF HAPPINESS, PEACE & SUCCESS

Topics for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

 

Stinking Thinking can really make you mad



stinkingthinkingAnger triggering thoughts often distort our view of reality.  Here are some of the most common negative thoughts that feed anger and how to get rid of them.

Blaming. The belief that someone else is responsible for a situation and that you cannot do anything about it. By blaming others you discount that you have the power to make choices that impact your situation. You feel powerless, helpless and stuck. You expect someone else to fix it.

  • Instead think– “What can I do to change this situation?” “ I can do something about this”

Magnifying. The tendency to make mountains out of molehills – to make an uncomfortable situation worst. Using words like “awful, terrible, unbearable, horrible, the worst”, provoke an exaggerated angry response.

  • Instead think– “ How horrible is this, really? “  “It’s irritating but I can handle this”

Universal labels. The use of black and white thinking and judgments – seeing a person as “totally evil” or “completely selfish” and ignoring the good bits.

  • Instead think-  “ This is a problem or a bad choice but he/she is not a horrible person.”

 Misattributions. Jumping to conclusions and mind-reading; assigning negative motivations to the actions of others. You don’t ask for clarification or feedback because you think you already know.

  •  Instead think- What else might be going on? Can there be another explanation?

Overgeneralization- The use of “always”, “never”, “always”, “nobody”, “everybody”. Thoughts like “she’s always late” or “he never listens” fuel the angry situation.

  •  Instead think- “ How often does this happen? Are there times when it hasn’t happened?”

Demanding/Commanding- Imposing your own values and needs on others who may have very different values and needs. Feeling that your needs require other’s compliance.

  • Instead think- “ I would rather things were different but I can get through this.” “Not getting what I want is not the end of the world”

By practicing a bit of mindfulness you can turn around your cognitive distortions immediately and hence, get rid of anger.

Learning Styles- “To Each His Own”



img_learning_styleWe all have different learning styles, or ways of perceiving and processing information.

Visual learners enjoy pictures, videos and illustrations. They think in terms of “show me”. They like to have a broad picture before they get down to the details. You can communicate best with visual learners by using pictures, handouts, and graphics. Use phrases such as “do you see how it works?”

Auditory learners respond to sounds. They think in terms of “tell me”. They like participating in discussions, asking questions and prefer facts and details. They take into account the voice, tone and energy in a conversation.

Kinesthetic learners prefer to physically do something to understand and process information. They think in terms of “let me do it”.  They like touching, role-playing and fiddling with stuff.

Noticing how individuals prefer to learn and process information can be advantageous. For students, it can make school and homework much easier if they apply the techniques that resonate best with their learning style. For couples and families, it can facilitate communication and understanding and build overall better relationships.

People differ in the way they think, perceive, feel and behave. There is no right way or wrong way.  We are all unique and special and can communicate and process beautifully when respected and understood for our own special way.

Love and Gratitude



LoveHow much conscious care and nurturing do you give your love relationship?

Do you emotionally feed, water, nurture, play with or tune up your relationship?

The high divorce rate and the increasing number of couples living in unhappy or unhealthy marriages may reflect the lack of care, fault- finding, and emotional neglect in many relationships. Sadly, we typically put lots of time, attention and energy into the beginning of a relationship. Once we make a commitment, get married and settle into life together, the amount and quality of attention and energy decreases. Sometimes couples complain that life gets in the way of maintaining a constant flow of healthy energy and attention. Other priorities like work, children and school all take so much of our time and energy leaving very little for the marriage. We operate from the “squeaky wheel” principle – who or whatever squeaks the loudest or puts the greatest demand gets the attention.  Who or what is “squeaking” in your life? To what are you giving attention in your life?

Gratitude is a rich and powerful food for our spirit. The act of acknowledging gratitude and appreciation activates the law of attraction – what you give attention to, multiplies. What you appreciate in your life, you get more of!! Isn’t that a compelling and interesting fact? Focusing on what you appreciate in your relationship will help those things grow and multiply in your relationship.  Research tells us that an attitude of gratitude can have a positive effect on our thinking, mood and biochemistry. There doesn’t seem to be a down side to appreciation and gratitude.

It is important to tell your partner how much they are appreciated on a consistent basis. Everyone likes to hear kind words of gratitude. Take a moment daily to think of 3 things you are grateful for or appreciate about your partner and have your partner do the same. Perhaps, you can try keeping a gratitude journal together where you write down what you each appreciate. This journal will come in handy on days that you are feeling unappreciated, sad, angry or frustrated. It will actually help you get in a better mood and shift your neurochemistry.

The simple act of consciously focusing on gratitude is one of the best ways to nurture and emotionally feed your love relationship.

New Year’s Intentions, not Resolutions



new yearsHow about starting 2014 with a new intention instead of a resolution? If we set an intention rather than a resolution, we open ourselves up to a variety of possible outcomes, some of which might be more useful than what we imagined.  An intention is not as goal directed as a resolution, so there is less chance of getting stuck or fixated on a particular outcome.

 

Things are always changing, so setting intentions allows flexibility while evolving towards the life you desire. Simple intentions often pave the way for rewarding, long lasting changes.

 

Here are some intentions you may want to consider:

 

  • Pay Attention – We live in a fast paced world and for the sake of time, we often overlook what’s really happening around us. Take time to notice when you’re zoning out or rushing through things. This will make a huge difference in your relationship with others.

 

  • Practice generosity– Generosity can come in many forms: offering a compliment, a gift, assistance or emotional support. We all can benefit from a helping hand and unexpected kindness.

 

 

  • Mind the voices in your head– Don’t indulge in negative self talk or thoughts that keep you stuck in the past or worried about the future. Notice them and when they arise, redirect them with happy alternative thoughts. For example, if you are worried on what can go wrong in a situation, change your thoughts to what could go right. Develop a strong, detailed mental image of the good thought and use it any time the negative thought pops into your head. Remember, the mind is a creature of habit- careful what you feed it.

 

 

Note: Intentions arise from love not fear or scarcity. They make you feel inspired, not stressed. They generate a greater awareness and strengthen the Spirit.

 

 

Many blessings and wishing you a fabulous 2014!

How to Recognize and Heal Your Abandonment Issues



AbandonmentIf you’re a woman dealing with abandonment issues, know that healing is absolutely possible.

Abandonment issues show up in many ways. The first step is to recognize where these issues originate. More often than not, it’s the result of having an unavailable parent while growing up. Research shows that females who have an absent or unstable father are likelier to have low self-esteem, more unplanned pregnancies, drop out of school, and face poverty. They’re also more likely to be promiscuous, since they look for other males to fill the emptiness.

But the absence of a dad can reveal itself in more subtle ways too. Women tend to choose romantic partners based on their relationship with their father, so if you didn’t get unconditional love and approval from your dad, it can certainly hinder your romantic relationships. If your dad didn’t show you—on a consistent and frequent basis—that he loved and valued you, that he’d protect you, and you could depend on him, you may lack self-confidence, give too much of yourself, stay quiet when you shouldn’t, and have difficulty saying no. You may continue to be scared that people will abandon you and consistently keep trying to prove your worth

—a fear that can lead to depression, codependence, anger, anxiety, or emotional instability.

If you didn’t have the benefit of dependable daily influence from a caring parental figure growing up, however, you can still break the cycle and become the best woman you can be. The key is to work diligently though your abandonment issues. Therapy will focus on both your childhood abandonment trauma as well as your current relationships. You’ll learn to be compassionate toward yourself about your own feelings and memories of abandonment. You’ll also learn how to separate your fear of the past from your present reality, and how to care for yourself by finding a safe and calm center. Soon you’ll be better able to communicate your needs in intimate relationships and develop stronger trust in—and more nurturing relationships with—other people. In short, you’ll be able to shift from being a victim to having a proactive stance.

Forgiving whoever abandoned you (whether it was your dad or someone else)—and forgiving yourself—is part of being able to recognize when related issues are coming up and taking your life in a more positive direction.

How to deal with a declining sex life in marriage



decline

Sex—or, more accurately, the lack thereof—is a huge reason couples come to therapy. It’s not unusual for psychologists to hear couples confessing that they haven’t been intimate in months or years. Or that intimacy has come to involve a lot of resentment or even infidelity.

There are many reasons that lead to a diminishing sex life in marriage. One thing to consider if you’re dealing with lack of sex in your marriage is that stress can have a huge impact on your sex life. Partners react to stress by getting distracted, overworking, and feeling angry or tired—all of which can easily lead to a lack of desire. Stress can also be a key factor in feeling “not in the mood,” or not wanting to be touched.

If either of you have too much stress your lives, try to share what’s really bothering you with your spouse. If the stress is coming from something that the two of you are conflicted about, you can either bring that to therapy or work through it at home, if you’re both committed to listening attentively to each other.

Besides stress, other reasons for a dwindling sex life can include anything from a partner feeling hurt, rejected, unappreciated, or neglected. Communication issues, lack of trust, and the presence of children are also big contributing factors.

To start healing the situation, first know that being anxious about the lack of sex will only make things worse. Try not to think negatively about the situation; instead, focus on creating intimacy. Act to relieve your own stress though whatever means work for you, be it yoga, a bubble bath, reading, exercising, sleeping, eliminating detrimental thinking patterns, and so on. If you need to communicate to your spouse that you’re unsatisfied with your sex life, don’t frame it as a complaint. Use compassion and sweetness with phrasing like, “I miss you.”

Work to help your spouse relieve his or her stress too. Make sure you’re doing fun stuff together—go for a bike ride, take a class, whatever you both enjoy—and make sure to stay connected. Intimacy isn’t all about sex—emotional intimacy can be just as powerful—so remember the importance of doing things like holding hands, taking a bath for two, giving each other massages, and just laughing together.

You can even schedule sex. Sure, it doesn’t sound all that romantic, but sometimes, in hectic lives, actively planning for intimacy can be one of the only solutions. Mark the calendar for “date night”  once a week (or at least once a month) and make it as romantic as possible—candles and music always help—including providing for a clear situation and time when sex can happen.

Is it a quirk or OCD?



ocd

Almost everyone has a quirk or two.

Some people have to organize their shirts by color.  Some need to dot their I’s a special way.  Some have to clean their kitchen in just a certain way.  Some always double-check the front door before they go to sleep.

Quirks.  Quirks, I tell you!

Unless …

You feel that a disorganized closet is going to ruin your day, your week, or even your life (and you will panic and feel sick over it until you fix it).  You think that if you don’t dot your i’s just so it might mean that something bad will happen to your family.  You think that if you don’t follow a particular routine in cleaning, you (or people you love) are going to get really sick and probably die.  You think that if you don’t check the front door, a murderer will certainly get inside, kill your entire family, and it will actually be all your fault.

Those are just some examples off the top of my head, but my point is this: if it doesn’t interfere with your daily functioning and cause you severe distress, it’s not OCD.

In fact, it’s built into the very definition: OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.

OCD is an anxiety disorder.  It ruins people’s lives.  It steals joy from them.  It gives them a sickening feeling of terror.

Quirks don’t give you a feeling of doom. They can mess with your head for a bit but you overcome them quickly.

Please don’t feed into the misrepresentation.  You are not “so OCD” just because you organize your sock drawer.  If, on the other hand, you believe that something terrible will happen if you don’t organize it just right, and if the organization and reorganization of your drawer seems to be adding to your distress, well, that’s another story.

Talk to a professional, who specializes in OCD, if you are worried.