As I continue to think about our self compassion journey this year in 2018, and what it means to really love ourselves, what keeps coming up is the idea that we teach people how to treat us and how to love us, through what we accept from them.
Every time we let someone blow through a personal boundary, every time we let another person talk to us with disregard for our humanity, every time we tell ourselves "Oh, it's not that big of a deal," or "It really doesn't matter," when it does matter, we are not loving ourselves.
And if we have children, we are not teaching them to love themselves either, because they are watching us to learn how to love themselves.
When we accept less than we deserve, we are teaching others that it's ok to disrespect our hearts, our boundaries, our bodies and our minds.
Where do you accept less than you deserve?
Is there any scenario where you give less than another deserves?
Think about a relationship in your life where you continually tell yourself that the way someone treats you "really isn't that big of a deal,"-- when your gut and heart tell you the opposite.
First, acknowledge to yourself how truly hurtful their behavior is to you, and that each time you accept hurtful words or actions, you are telling yourself subconsciously that you really don't deserve to be loved.
Then, let the person know that what they are doing is no longer working for you, and that you need their behavior to change --because you now understand that how you let people treat you is a direct reflection of how much you care about yourself.
And, you are working on loving yourself and taking good care of yourself more....
It's never too late to ask someone to start loving you differently.
If someone you care about frequently tells you that your behavior could be more thoughtful or accepting, consider showing them how much you love them by really changing how you interact with them, because if you really love someone, it's never too late to respond to their requests to love differently.
Wishing you a beautiful Valentine's Day!❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
If you have worked with me, you've probably heard me talk about taking care of yourself, self care and self compassion.
But what does it really mean to have self care and self compassion?
I believe self care and self compassion involve so much more than taking care of our hearts and minds through eating well, exercise, etc.
I believe self care and self compassion really mean loving and accepting ourselves enough to TAKE GOOD CARE of ourselves in order to live with the deepest joy, the most gracious hearts and the strongest minds.
But, I also believe that most of us spend more time taking care of our partners, children, family, pets, friends and colleagues much more often than we do taking care of ourselves.
So, I am embarking upon a journey alongside you to really, truly and completely explore how we take care of ourselves.
Every month, at the beginning of each month, I will be sending you a BRIEF email with ONE QUESTION and ONE IDEA to explore to help you create and develop the habit of taking greater self care and self compassion in your lives.
I am so excited to share these ideas with you, please feel free to share your ideas with me too!
THE YEAR OF YOU...JOY!
QUESTION: "What parts of my life bring me joy and what parts of my life take away my joy?"
IDEA: Increase the time you spend on those things that bring you joy, and remove just ONE thing from the part of your life that doesn't bring you joy.
May this year bring you more happiness and love than your hearts can hold!
Sending you my deepest gratitude for the honor of working with you!
This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is a normal part of the human experience.
May I be kind to myself in this moment of suffering.
May I give myself the support and compassion I need in this moment.
Modified from Kristin Neff's book on
After reading Kristin Neff's book on self-compassion and learning more about how giving ourselves self compassion in moments of difficulty allows us to move through pain, rather than stay stuck in it, I am more convinced than ever that teaching my patients how to be self-compassionate during moments of suffering, is critical to healing and thriving amidst life's challenges.
Using these words when we feel upset, anxious, worried, scared or even angry can be helpful as we gently and lovingly remind ourselves that we are human, and that while we sometimes feel we are being singled out by the universe, god or just through bad luck, we can benefit by reminding ourselves that we are not alone in our suffering, and that only we can truly give ourselves what we need: love.
Every day I hear about the concept of learning to love ourselves, but how do we do that? I believe we love ourselves through setting and holding boundaries, taking care of our selves through self care, and by giving ourselves compassion when we are suffering.
The next time you find yourself struggling, try saying to yourself some version of the self compassionate phrases above. Make certain that you acknowledge your suffering, that you reference the universality of your suffering, and that you remind yourself to be kind, present and compassionate.
While it seems like it might take a lot of energy to focus on your suffering this way, it takes mountains more energy to try to contain and hold in the pain, the fear and wounds you are experiencing.
Acknowledging it is the first step in setting yourself, and your pain, free.
Interesting Article by Jean Twenge from San Diego State University on why teens are taking longer to grow up.
Teens aren't what they used to be.
The teen pregnancy rate has reached an all-time low. Fewer teens are drinking alcohol, having sex or working part-time jobs. And as I found in a newly released analysis of seven large surveys, teens are also now less likely to drive, date or go out without their parents than their counterparts 10 or 20 years ago.
Some have tried to explain certain aspects of these trends. Today's teens are more virtuous and responsible, sociologist David Finkelhor has argued. No, says journalist Jess Williams, they're just more boring. Others have suggested that teens aren't working because they are simply lazy.
However, none of these researchers and writers has been able to tie everything together. Not drinking or having sex might be considered "virtuous," but not driving or working is unrelated to virtue -- and might actually be seen as less responsible. A lower teen pregnancy rate isn't "boring" or "lazy"; it's fantastic.
These trends continued even as the economy improved after 2011, suggesting the Great Recession isn't the primary cause. Nor is more schoolwork: The average teen today spends less time on homework than his counterparts did in the 1990s, with time spent on extracurricular activities staying about the same.
Working, driving, drinking alcohol, having sex and dating have one thing in common: They are all activities adults do. This generation of teens, then, is delaying the responsibilities and pleasures of adulthood. Adolescence -- once the beginning of adulthood -- now seems to be an extension of childhood. It's not that teens are more virtuous or lazier. They could simply be taking longer to grow up.
Looking at these trends through the lens of "life history theory" might be useful. According to this model, whether development is "slow" (with teens taking longer to get to adulthood) or "fast" (getting to adulthood sooner) depends on cultural context.
A "slow life strategy" is more common in times and places where families have fewer children and spend more time cultivating each child's growth and development. This is a good description of our current culture in the U.S., when the average family has two children, kids can start playing organized sports as preschoolers and preparing for college can begin as early as elementary school. This isn't a class phenomenon; I found in my analysis that the trend of growing up more slowly doesn't discriminate between teens from less advantaged backgrounds and those from wealthier families.
A "fast-life strategy," on the other hand, was the more common parenting approach in the mid-20th century, when fewer labor-saving devices were available and the average woman had four children. As a result, kids needed to fend for themselves sooner. When my uncle told me he went skinny-dipping with his friends when he was eight, I wondered why his parents gave him permission.
Then I remembered: His parents had six other children (with one more to come), ran a farm and it was 1947. The parents needed to focus on day-to-day survival, not making sure their kids had violin lessons by age five.
Is growing up slowly good or bad?
Life history theory explicitly notes that slow and fast life strategies are adaptations to a particular environment, so each isn't inherently "good" or "bad." Likewise, viewing the trends in teen behavior as "good" or "bad" (or as teens being more "mature" or "immature," or more "responsible" or "lazy") misses the big picture: slower development toward adulthood. And it's not just teens -- children are less likely to walk to and from school and are more closely supervised, while young adults are taking longer to settle into careers, marry and have children.
"Adulting" -- which refers to young adults performing adult responsibilities as if this were remarkable -- has now entered the lexicon. The entire developmental path from infancy to full adulthood has slowed.
But like any adaptation, the slow life strategy has trade-offs. It's definitely a good thing that fewer teens are having sex and drinking alcohol. But what about when they go to college and suddenly enter an environment where sex and alcohol are rampant? For example, although fewer 18-year-olds now binge-drink, 21- to 22-year-olds still binge-drink at roughly the same rate as they have since the 1980s.
One study found that teens who rapidly increased their binge-drinking were more at risk of alcohol dependence and adjustment issues than those who learned to drink over a longer period of time. Delaying exposure to alcohol, then, could make young adults less prepared to deal with drinking in college.
The same might be true of teens who don't work, drive or go out much in high school. Yes, they're probably less likely to get into an accident, but they may also arrive at college or the workplace less prepared to make decisions on their own.
College administrators describe students who can't do anything without calling their parents. Employers worry that more young employees lack the ability to work independently.
Although I found in my analyses that iGen evinces a stronger work ethic than millennials, they'll probably also require more guidance as they transition into adulthood.
Even with the downsides in mind, it's likely beneficial that teens are spending more time developing socially and emotionally before they date, have sex, drink alcohol and work for pay.
The key is to make sure that teens eventually get the opportunity to develop the skills they will need as adults: independence, along with social and decision-making skills.
For parents, this might mean making a concerted effort to push your teenagers out of the house more. Otherwise, they might just want to live with you forever.
Jean Twenge is a professor of psychology at San Diego State University.
Original article link: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/22/health/teens-grow-up-slower-partner/index.htmlwww.cnn.com/2017/09/22/health/teens-grow-up-slower-partner/index.html
I had an experience recently that forced me to examine who I am when I am feeling like I made a mistake. No, when I know I have made a mistake. While the details of what happened do not necessarily matter, what does matter is that even though I have all the tools and knowledge to be able to check myself when I feel that something has happened and I don't feel good about it -- I still struggle like everyone else to find my center when I am feeling out of balance. But probably the difference is that instead of it lingering over me for a few days, I usually know right away that what I am feeling is a disconnection between my "real self," and my "best self," -- and because of my passion toward the field of psychology, I tend to work diligently to uncover where I lost my way --or what emotions, experiences or errors prevented me from being able to see the train coming and hoping off the tracks in time.
When this happens, I usually ask myself "What just happened?" and "What was I missing in the moment that allowed this situation to occur?" And even when I can answer my own questions and technically "justify" why I reacted the way I did - it doesn't always comfort the perfectionist in me who needed to get it right, when I clearly did not get it right.
I sincerely believe that all humans struggle with some form of worthiness and I know how closely connected worthiness is to shame, fear, mistake making and most importantly: perfectionism. When I am in my perfectionism, I am all about my "best self," or at least in pursuit of what I believe to be the best version of myself. The problem is that perfectionism and my best self will never peacefully co-exist, because perfectionism isn't about being the best version of yourself, it's about being the best version, period. So, when you are not your best self, what are you? Fill in the blank here, but what most likely comes up for people is that you are a failure, not good enough, destined to lose, broken, average....and the list goes on. In fact, here are a list of adjectives the dictionary associates with perfectionism:
None of these words are words I would like to make daily appearances in my life. But they are destined to appear in how you describe your approach to life if you are guided by the principle that in all things you must try to be your perfectly best self. But who wants to be these things?! They sound pretty awful to me.
Sometimes we just need to be our real selves, which means sometimes we aren't going to be our best selves. When I let myself be my real self, I can forgive myself for not getting it right. I can explore why things happened a certain way and how I might be able to avoid re-creating the uncomfortable experience or lesson again. When I let myself be my real self, I don't need to always be the "best version of myself," and I can forgive myself for being human.
When I am in my shame induced place where I wasn't perfect - I can think of lots of words which start washing over me.... and they all flow from the perfectionistic river. But when I am ok with not being my best self, what I am really being is my REAL self.
And when I embrace my real self, I am free to make mistakes and to try to learn from them, I am free to forgive myself and be open to uncovering the depths of my heart still in need of repair, I am free to love and forgive others for the days and moments when they are not being their "best selves," and I am free to not be my best self, and that makes it so much easier to just be me.
1) Substantially limit exposure to news media and violent images of the attack. If your children are young, this is easy to do. If they are older and have easier access to media, talk to them about the importance of limiting their exposure and explain that images can linger in the brain and make them difficult to forget --which can create longer lasting trauma. Be available to talk about what it feels like to see such images and validate your older child or teen's responses.
2) Provide limited information to younger children and assure them that Ariana Grande is ok and reinforce that such attacks are extremely rare. Ask your child what they have heard and keep it simple, while clarifying anything untrue or excessively fear provoking.
3) Reinforce the good. Focus and talk about all the love and support people provide for one another in tragic situations. Reinforce that the majority of humans are good and loving people. Provide examples like the ones we are hearing about where people opened their homes to strangers last night or highlight healthy and supportive social media posts.
4) Let your child or teen make a card, draw a picture, talk or offer support to those in need, or volunteer in some cause they care about. Taking action feels more powerful than doing nothing.
As parents, these same ideas are good for us too. The best thing we can do for our kids is to take care of ourselves!
Limit your own media exposure, focus on the incredible acts of human kindness, hug and love and squeeze your kids!
All too often, I meet people who have no idea that what they are experiencing in life is not just "stress," but anxiety, often chronic anxiety. I believe that some of the reasons people do not recognize they are suffering from chronic anxiety are because they have "been this way all their lives," and because we live in a very stressful world defined by constant busyness, fears, chaos and high expectations. And, we live in a culture of numbing through food, drugs, computers, alcohol, etc. where we learn to "dampen," those feelings rather than to "define," them.
The feeling of anxiety has been described with many different words which include: worry, fear, edginess, panic, jumpiness, butterflies, jitters, shakes, freaking out, agitation and angst...just to name a few! And while everyone experiences some anxiety, there are many of us who feel it often; and it can be deep, overwhelming and intense, and make us feel out of control.
But why do some people struggle with anxiety more than others?
Genetics, brain chemistry, how our families handle anxiety or stress, things that happen in our lives, our personality or our "natural born temperament," can impact how we deal with anxiety and how much it affects our lives. Many people feel powerless to stop the worry, the re-thinking things over in their heads a million times, insomnia, panic or chaos that constant anxiety can create.
The feeling of being powerless to control anxiety can be very real since our bodies respond to anxious thoughts by emitting stress hormones. These stress hormones are biologically built-in mechanisms from prehistoric times when we needed to survive daily threats. Should we fight or flee? Or maybe just freeze?
The problem with experiencing frequent anxiety is that our bodies are constantly experiencing this rush of hormones which raise our blood sugar, heart rate, blood pressure and pulse, as well as slow our digestion, dilate our pupils and cause us to breathe shallowly. To stay healthy, we need to find ways to reduce this experience and to avoid or disperse those chemicals in our bodies because they can increase our risk of :
Memory and concentration impairment
So, what can we do about it? It may sound like a cliche, but the first thing we have to do is embrace and acknowledge that we are struggling with anxiety. And there are many forms of anxiety which range from constant ruminating or constant worry, to feeling an angst when we are in a social environment, or to feeling extreme panic around a range of different life events or experiences and expectations. A great beginning to understanding your anxiety is to first become clear about what makes you anxious and how it shows up in your life, relationships and body.
1) Make a list of all your daily challenges and write them in order from most to least anxiety provoking. 2) Describe the physical symptoms and how they show up in your body when your feel "worried, stressed, full of angst, anxious," etc. It is incredibly helpful to start with becoming very clear about what makes you anxious and how you can learn to identify it in your body and life.
My next blog will address more about how to handle your anxiety now that you know when and how it shows up in your life. But to start with, things like high cardio-driven exercise that makes you sweat, yoga, guided imagery, journaling and meditation are great ways to begin gaining control of your anxiety and living your best and most beautiful life....
10 Benefits of Listening To Music.NELL
1- BRINGS BACK MEMORIES:
Regardless of your age, you are sure to be able to remember a song from your childhood. In fact, many people identify with one or more pieces of music from our childhood. More often than not, when we hear certain songs, it brings up specific memories. Music has the ability to bring up forgotten memories, giving you the chance to travel down memory lane.
2- CONCENTRATION DEVELOPMENT:
When you are listening to music, you are forced to concentrate on what you are hearing particularly if you are training to play a musical instrument. Over time, this focus will extent to your everyday life. You will notice that you are concentrating more intently at your job, schoolwork, or simply in a conversation.
3- SOOTHING ABILITY:
While plenty of music has lyrics and acts to pep you up, it also can be soothing. This is particularly true for infants after a long day. Moms may notice that singing a soft lullaby helps their little one to fall asleep. In addition, plenty of adults find that listening to jazz or classical music helps calm them down as well.
4- ENERGIZING ABILITY:
There is no denying that music also acts to give you energy. In fact, many gyms opt to play upbeat music or suggest that you listen to an MP3 player. To keep your natural energy going, you should listen to upbeat music or music with a lively tune.
5- EXPLORING NEW THINGS:
Frequently, we only listen to music that those around us, such as our friends and parents, introduce us to. Listening to different types of music broadens your horizons and exposes you to music thatyou may never have thought you would be interested in.
6- INTELLECTUAL OPPORTUNITIES:
In many instances, songs represent a story or message to interpret. This acts to challenge us intellectually. It can cause you to study that song, as well as the reason it was written. You may even find that you can use the song as inspiration in your daily life.
How many times have you heard a song and found that it reminded you of a situation you are currently going through? At times, listening to that song can give you the motivation needed to get through or overcome the situation. Music has the ability to reach us on a more profound level than simple words. By touching us deeply, it may provide the boost we need to meet a challenge head on.
8- INCREASE CREATIVITY:
Simply put, music is a work of art that tends to unleash creativity in us that we did not know was there. People listening to music find they are more creative in regards to the task they are doing, such as painting, writing, or cleaning the house.
9- MOOD CHANGES:
If you are feeling extremely down or up, music can act to change your mood. More than one artist has written a song while they are feeling down to help lift their moods, as well as those that are feeling down for the same reasons. The same goes for songs that have the ability to make a happy person feel sad just by listening to the notes and words of a song.
10- INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY:
Silence simply does not promote productivity, regardless of what you are doing. When you hear music in the background, cleaning, cooking, and writing seem to go by much faster. The next time you are dreading cleaning the house, turn on some high-energy music. Try jazz for cooking. Finally, choose some music that fits the topic you are writing a paper on and see how much your productivity increases.
Write your thoughts and emotions down in a beautiful journal.
Peel an orange. Studies show citrus smells are calming.
Read a book you've been wanting to read.
Eat an avocado. The monounsaturated fats and potassium in the superfood can lower your blood pressure.
Take a walk somewhere outside where there is a lot of green space.
Hang out with a dear friend.
Breathe in four a count of four, exhale for a count of four (through your nose) - do this 4 times.
Take a super power nap. Set your timer if you only have little time.
Bring your dog with you to work or other places. Animals lower blood pressure.
Listen to classical or spa music.
Try some aromatherapy.
Have a belly laugh.
Get a massage.
Give someone a great, big hug.
Be crafty - do a project.
Take up knitting. Research shows the activity puts your brain in a state of flow similar to the one achieved through meditation.
Try some mindful meditation.
Kiss someone you love.
Try progressive muscle exercises.
Try the "chocolate meditation" technique. This allows you to fully savor the sweet treat. Google it!
Take a break from emailing.
Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness if you need to make a repair.
Practice gratitude - think of 3 things you are grateful for every day and write them in your journal.
Exercise, take a brisk walk, go for a hike.
Be mindful of your thoughts.
Drink green or black tea.
Turn off your cell phone for a while.
Act happy. Research shows that we can become what we are connecting to.
Chew some gum.
Reflect on those you love and what your life might look like without them. Connect to gratitude.
Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Consider a less stressful job.
Walk or bike somewhere you would normally drive to.
Listen to the sounds of nature on your phone or computer or actually out in nature.
Do some guided imagery.
Have a good cry. Let go of what you've been trying to contain.
Eat some dark chocolate.
Do some yoga.
Say no instead of yes to that event you don't really want to go to.
Have an orgasm.
Try a yoga laughter class.
Dance around your kitchen, to a dance video game or just anywhere. It reduces stress and improves memory.
Take a warm, bubbly bath with candles.
Surround yourself with the scents of pine or vanilla - while you are in the bath!
Float in water.
Actually get 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
Organize your closet.
Spend time around horses.
Try slowing down and doing one thing at a time- mindfully.
Observe your surroundings.
If you smoke, stop.
Go to the beach and sit quietly or take a long walk.
Take a break from people who stress you out.
Try positive affirmations like "Let go of what you cannot control. You deserve love."
Find a mantra and repeat it every time you feel overwhelmed. Ex: "This too shall pass."
Spend time with someone you love deeply.
Accept and embrace aging. Stop fighting it!
Take a break from social media.
Deep sigh, deep sigh, deep sigh.
Make silly faces until you laugh at yourself in the mirror or with a friend.
Do something kind for someone else.
Give yourself a time out in total quiet.
Write your thoughts on a piece of paper, then physically throw them in the trash.
Color a mandala or make a picture. This activity isn't just for kids!
Pet your animals.
Try a de-stressing app. Programs like Headspace, Calm and our own GPS for the Soul are designed to reduce stress.
Make yourself a healthy meal.
Watch your favorite movie and make connections to your own life.
Volunteer to help someone in need.
Organize your kitchen or garage.
Take a class in something you've always wanted to do: cooking, art, etc.
Give yourself permission to just hang out without an agenda or to-do list.
Give yourself something to look forward to: book a vacation, buy tickets to a show, plan a visit with a friend....
Use the Dishwasher...
rHelp you toddler practice his/her motor skills while minimizing the typical clean up when he or she wants to help you measure ingredients or make dinner. Set a bowl on the open dishwasher door, creating a low table surface for pouring or put some water in a bowl with wooden mixing spoon so your child can copy what you are doing. But never leave your toddler alone while doing this!
Dr. Kim Sage