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Expand Your Comfort Zone!

We all have a comfort zone and, if you think about it, it’s kind of like an elastic band. Inside the circumference of the elastic lie the activities, people and situations that we feel comfortable participating in and with. This would include things like work, our circle of friends, our usual hobbies or activities, our usual restaurants and even usual places we travel. The things that lie in our comfort zone are things that – you guessed it – we feel comfortable with. They are known to us, we understand them and there are really no surprises with them, that is why they are comfortable. These things are great, but on the other side of the elastic lies the rest of the world. The people we don’t know, the activities we have not done, the situations we have not been in, as well as the things we fear or have avoided. Although it is vital to have places where you feel comfortable, there is a whole other world outside of that comfort zone. That other world has the potential to provide us with some amazing experiences. My Realization Recently I became aware that my comfort zone was shrinking and the circle of things I found comfortable was becoming smaller and smaller. The big eye opener for me was when I went to leave on a trip to Arizona with one of my dearest friends. When I booked the trip, I was excited as I love to travel and explore (or at least I had). But in the last three years my life has been full of changes, so I found comfort and solace in my home and near surroundings. I had been on weekend trips and a few other longer holidays but not much in the last year. As the day neared for me to leave, I observed that I was starting to feel anxious. I didn’t think too much of it, as trying to get things packed and sorted for a trip can sometimes be stressful. The day I was to leave on the trip arrived and a swell of anxiety filled my body. I was in what I would equate to a small panic attack. I did my usual grounding exercises and tried to feel into the emotions… nothing was working! To be honest, it got so bad I even contemplated cancelling the trip as the thought of leaving was so overwhelming! Thankfully, I had made a commitment to my friend and I take those pretty seriously. That value forced me to continue with the plan, despite the anxiety. As I drove to meet my friend, I was flooded with emotions to the point I started to cry uncontrollably.  I used my self- awareness skills to try and investigate what was going on and to get myself grounded, but it wasn’t working. So, I resigned to let the tears come and I cried for almost the whole drive. I’m not really sure what I was crying for, but it was there so I let it flow. During this time, my thoughts were swirling with self-doubt, guilt, fear and anxiety. On one hand, I felt silly because I knew that I wanted to do this, but on the other hand the emotions were just so strong. I found the further I got away, the calmer I started to feel. When I did meet up with my friend (whom is a great support) I completely broke down again. The first hour and half of our journey was spent by her supporting me and me releasing and speaking all the guilt, fear and anxious thoughts I was having. Then just as quickly as the tears came they dissipated. I was now feeling relief. It was at that point I realized I had let my comfort zone get way too small and what I was experiencing was the result of finally stretching my comfort zone. I say all that to state that we have a comfort zone for a reason. But when that comfort zone becomes too restrictive, it’s time to start considering making some changes and stretch your elastic!   Stretch your elastic! Stretching your comfort zone can be a scary thing. That means we have to venture beyond the known, beyond the expected, into unknown, unfamiliar terrain and that is anxiety producing. I think all too often our comfort zones stay stagnant or even shrink because we get busy in our lives. On top of that, I think that so many of us are stressed and overwhelmed in our day to day lives that just thought of adding a little more is too much. But the thing is, just like me, if we let our comfort zones get too small then we miss out on some pretty amazing experiences. Since my realization of my shrinking comfort zone, I vowed to stretch it out! The experience served as a huge eye opener for me! Since then, I have started pushing myself to get out more and meet new people. Trying new things and having new experiences is pretty cool! I am now feeling much more capable of handling the new and much less stressed me when faced with new opportunities. What Now? How do we do it? How do we stretch our comfort zone? It’s easy, depending on the type of person you are. You can take baby steps or you can really push yourself as long as you are trying something new. For example, it could simply be visiting new restaurants, trying a new sport, participating in new social activities, meeting new people, volunteering…anything that gets you trying something new. And if you are really adventurous you could travel to new places, take weekend adventure trips to new destinations, join that yoga or art class that you have avoided, write an article for your local paper or maybe really challenge yourself to face something you are afraid of like swimming if you have a fear of water, or joining

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Top 5 Ways Coaching Moves You Forward

Coaching is getting a lot of attention lately. It is on the rise and, from personal experience, I can see why! This observation not only comes from my own personal experiences, but also from working with clients. What I have noticed is that coaching is extremely successful at moving people forward in their lives. Here are the top 5 reasons why I believe coaching is so successful at helping people move forward into a life that they love. 1. It’s your wisdom! Coaching is not about telling you what to do or what not do in your life, rather it is about creating a safe place where you can explore yourself. Through thoughtful questions, a professional coach can listen beyond the words to hear your internal guidance or wisdom. What I mean by this is, coaches are trained to hear not just the words, but the meaning behind them. They grab those little pearls of wisdom that are hidden among the chatter that goes on in our minds. I once heard that our intuition (internal wisdom) is like a pebble dropping in the ocean. Amongst all the other thoughts that are running in our minds, it’s no wonder our intuition is so hard to hear. And that makes it difficult to hear. In coaching, the coach is trained (if professional) to listen past the noise and hear those pearls of wisdom and then feed that information back to you. So, when it comes to making decisions about your life, it is your own wisdom that is guiding you to the right choice. I have heard clients say, “But I don’t know the answer”, but in the coaching conversation with focused and thoughtful questions, the answers just come flowing out. Most people who experience this are surprised that they had that wisdom inside themselves. I believe we all do, we just need the tools to be able to listen past the other noise! 2. Fill your tool belt! Coaching provides you with tools that you can use in the future. It gives you insights into yourself and your unconscious programming to help you recognize them in the future. These tools are priceless! You become truly unstoppable when you are able to listen to yourself and recognize the ‘tapes’ that play in your head. You have the power to choose to listen to the ‘tapes’ or to change them. It is like being given a manual to your unconscious that you can use when needed. Not only do you understand yourself better, but you start to see the world around you differently. You are able to gain new perspectives on yourself and the world and that is powerful! 3. Build confidence! I think one of the biggest things is the doubting mind that we all have. We can talk ourselves out of pretty much anything. Even when we know it is good for us, we have a million and one reasons why it can’t or won’t work out for us. We start to question our ability to make good choices, but what is really happening is we are losing trust in ourselves. Coaching is so successful because it is a starting point to rebuild that trust. When you no longer doubt yourself, you are much more capable of facing the challenges of life head on because you know you are capable. This is an empowering step in the coaching process when you begin trusting yourself, you become more willing to take risks to get the life that you want. Being able to trust yourself is the key to building confidence and when you have the confidence that you are fully capable of, again, you are unstoppable! 4. Based in the present, looking forward. The very nature of coaching is all about moving forward! It focuses on the present and the future – where you are and where you want to be – instead of where you have been.  The only time we look at the past in coaching is to see if the patterns and beliefs you have learned in the past are still serving you. This is very different from therapy where the focus is around healing the past. In contrast, illuminates how the past is replaying in the present. I have heard numerous times from people “I don’t want to focus on the past, I just want to move forward”. That is not to say there is no value in healing the past if that is what you need, but if you are wanting to move forward then coaching is the choice for you! 5. It’s all about you! Coaching is like a dance between the coach and client. There is no preset formula, as everyone is unique, and coaching honors that uniqueness. This means that things move at your pace and it focuses on what is happening in your world right now and what is affecting where you want to be. There are times when a client may be on a certain path or have a goal for a session, but when the conversation starts it becomes clear that there is something else unfolding that is more relevant than the planned topic. In coaching, the coach follows along with the conversation to get to a desired outcome, based on the individual. This means that what is relevant to the client is the focus of the session, so whatever is stopping you from moving forward is addressed in the present moment. Life coaching really is all about moving forward. It recognizes the contributions of the past and addresses the situation in the present so that you are able to move forward to reach your goals. If you have never experienced it, it is hard to explain how amazing this experience is. For me, it is because of the wonderful coaches I work with that enable me to get out of my own way and create a life that I want and love. The insights I have gained into myself

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Recognizing Compassion

With the natural disasters happening around the world, I am reminded this week of how we as a culture, and as individuals most of the time fail to notice the good and compassionate side of humanity. Most times, it takes a tragedy like what is happening for us to start recognizing the compassionate actions of others, this is especially true in the media. Saying this, I am not trying to minimize these wonderful acts of compassion, rather I am pointing out that it is really only in times of tragedy that we give these acts a lot of attention. I believe that, on a daily basis, all around the world there are similar acts of compassion happening yet we fail to recognize it. Instead, we focus on all the struggles and problems, rather than spending a minute to recognize all the good that is out there.   Globally We do this on a global scale as well as on an individual basis. Why is it that we let the positive slip by us, instead we focus on the negative acts? On a global scale, you can see this daily by watching the news. They tend to focus on the negative acts of humanity and skim over, or altogether skip, the compassionate acts. This is why I choose not to watch the news! On the rare occasions when I do catch it, the stories focus on the doom and gloom and the negative aspects of humanity. I have even noticed when there is nothing new and negative happening, the stories then try to remind us something negative from history. This is crazy! It feeds our fears and negative bias, and we soak it up. No wonder there are so many of us that struggle with being negative! I do understand the need to be aware of what is happening in the news, but what I am missing is a balance. Because as much negative happenings as there are, in my belief, there are also equal or even more acts of compassion and positive humanity happening too! Individually That is on a global level, but looking at an individual level it is the same case. When most of us run through our  day, we focus on all the negative things that have happened… the person who has cut you off in traffic, the coworker who was rude, the partner who was insensitive and so on. We forget about the person who gave us their parking spot, the coworker who brought your favorite cookies, the spouse that made dinner so you could attend a yoga class. We take these things for granted and instead of celebrating the things that enriched our day, we focus on the things that went wrong. If you need further proof, look at your casual conversations with others, for example, those who work in customer service. The usual conversations revolve around how bad the weather is and who is suffering because of the latest horrible act of humanity, or the suffering of others. I notice this all the time with others and have even caught myself doing it. However, I have now made a conscious effort to change these automatic responses. With all this negative focus, no wonder so many people are in bad moods! Doom and gloom all around and we focus on it. As I have mentioned numerous times, we are hardwired to notice the negative for safety reasons, but that does not mean that is all we can notice!   So, what do we do about this? What would happen if we all made an effort to minimize the negative and recognize the positive? There would be a radical shift in our perspectives! If we all started trying to get a more balanced view of humanity I think we would see others not as someone who could potentially cause us harm, but rather as another human being who is capable of compassion. Our view of humanity would shift from one of fear and negativity to one of inclusiveness and compassion. Think about it, if 75% of things you heard about a new coworker or neighbor was negative, how would you feel about this person? Well, of course you would probably be fearful of them to some degree. You would be on guard when you met them and chances are you would maybe even avoid them. This is exactly what happens in our world because we hear all these negative things. We expect that others can’t be trusted and we need to be on guard around them. What an epic change we could create in our world if we could all expect the best from others instead of fearing the worst! If you want to make this shift, challenge yourself to start noticing the wonderful acts of humanity around you. Being aware and recognizing them will teach your brain to search these experiences out more often! Challenge Yourself On a personal level, you can remember to count your blessings, practice gratitude for acts of compassion, acknowledge the good in others and yourself. Acknowledge what you notice and talk about it often. If you find yourself going down that old familiar route of a negative bias, then consciously make the effort to recognize something good. I am not saying completely ignore the negative, but doesn’t it make sense to focus on what you want?  If you want a more positive life then focus on that. There will be negatives for sure! You will get cut off in traffic, someone will be disrespectful, there will be acts of aggression and examples of the harsh side of humanity. That is a part of life, but wouldn’t it be nicer to be able to let those events pass and instead focus on the acts of compassion you have experienced instead? My heart goes out to all of those who are suffering now, especially all those affected by these natural disasters. May you find peace, compassion and healing!

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Thank you! Louise Hay

I had a different blog planned for this week then I received the news that a woman I admired passed away. Louise Hay was an inspiration to myself and millions of others and I am sure her many works and foundation will continue to be for years to come. To honour her this week I decided to share my favorite Louise Hay quotes. If you have not had the opportunity I would highly recommend her books. I hope you find these as inspirational as I do!                       And lastly….   Thank you Louise Hay for all you have done for myself and the millions of others that have benefited from your wisdom. May you rest in peace.

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A New Reflection – Transformation Mind, Body & Soul

I had an interesting experience in my yoga class the other week. I noticed my shadow when I was doing a pose and at first glance I didn’t even recognize it! I found this interesting, as over the past three years I have been doing a lot of work in the area of personal growth and spiritual awareness. It was at this point that I realized that I didn’t recognize my reflection because it was new, I was new!     Looking back over the past three years I am proud of the steps I have taken to move my life in a new direction, a direction towards creating a life that I love. It has been a lot of work and at times it has been difficult but it has been all worth it…I have a new reflection! Seeing this new reflection has reminded on a literal level how our bodies carry our experiences. What I have found is once I started to sort through all my old patterns and beliefs, my body physically started to change. I see it clearly now that as I was physically, emotionally and psychologically letting things go, that no longer served me, I was changing., my reflection had changed! On an emotional level, I used to get quite teary at times, it was like my emotions were pouring out of me. I understand now that as I was at maximum capacity for stuffed emotions and, when something happened slightly emotional (that really wasn’t that significant), my emotions would run over. I no longer do this! Instead, I have learned to feel through my emotions, I used to stuff them down, so as not to appear weak and emotional, I can see now how unhealthy for me that was. This is something I think a lot of us do. When we stuff our emotions, they don’t just go away. They build up in our bodies and, at some point, we just explode. Perhaps that looks like anger, maybe it’s self- abuse, a “nervous breakdown”, or maybe it is acts of numbing; which I think is most common. On the surface, we may look like we are coping, but really, deep down, we are suffering! Now, that I allow my emotions rather than stuff them, my reflection now shows a less stressed more flexible, happier person. And that is pretty cool!     Perhaps the biggest way my reflection has changed is psychologically. I have learned to love and accept myself; this has probably been the hardest. I have learned that the thoughts running through my mind are not an absolute … I have a choice! I have learned that “I am who I am”. What I mean by this is I have learned to embrace the shadow aspect parts of me. The ones that I was previously, desperately tried to hide. I did this because I worried I would be judged and I was scared to show them. Now, I have learned to be compassionate with myself, to tame my perfectionist, befriend my inner critic and challenge myself. This awareness has been the most profound in my life. If you would have asked me three years ago if I even thought this level of self-awareness and happiness was possible, I would have doubted you! I believed this is just how life is but I realize now that this is just another story our minds tell us! It is not an absolute truth. I think a lot of us play the tape that there is something fundamentally wrong with us, and therefore we hide parts of ourselves and wear masks to try to prove to others we are OK. Without a doubt, this is what I was doing in the past, and it led to a very stressful, unhappy life. The thing is I didn’t even realize how unhappy until I started doing this work. When I stopped playing the tape that something is wrong with me, and I really started to see things clearly then I understood what real happiness was. So, going back to my new reflection I am proud of the work I have done, I am happier because of the work that I have done and I embrace this new reflection! I am now in a much better place in my life. I know that I will continue to grow and learn, but now I am doing it from a place of curiosity and strength rather than a place of thinking there is something wrong with me and “I need to be fixed”. This voyage is something anyone can do! I am no different than any of you. If you are willing to put in the work, willing to dive deep into yourself and willing to question your perceived reality, then you too can have a new reflection! Trust me, it’s so worth it! If you are ready to get a new reflection, join me for a supportive body transformation class. Over the 7 weeks, you will be to given the tools you need to build confidence, love yourself for who you are, and get a new reflection! Ready for your new reflection, just click here. 

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Finding Grace in the Grieving Process

There is a lot of great information out there on the grieving process and how to get through it. I am not going to talk about how to get through it, but rather how to grieve with grace. I think oftentimes we make things harder on ourselves, in this already difficult time, and this is my personal and observed experience of how to make things a little less stressful. Embrace your emotions. I think one of the things that I have heard over and over from people who are grieving is that they try to control how and when the emotions come. I think this is a fundamental error. When we try to control our emotions, not unlike an unruly toddler, they will tantrum until they get the attention and respect they deserve. When we try to control them, we are refusing ourselves the very necessary cleansing that they are there to do. I think this is why some people get stuck in the grieving process. They are not ready to face the emotions and, therefore, continue to stuff them. I recognize that this is difficult and the emotions at times feel like they will swallow you up. The thing is, when we try to stifle them they end up doing just that. When we feel through them, they lose the power and they are released. When they are stifled or stuffed, they will demand our attention and, the more we stuff, the louder and stronger they get. Therefore, my suggestion is when they surface, feel through them. Trust that you will be ok and allow them to be released. You deserve to grieve and you are right in how you are feeling at that moment.     Allow others to support you. Too many times we try to be strong in our grief we perceive that we are on our own. We all have people in our lives who can support and love us through the loss, so let them! No matter how big or small people want to help and support you, most times they are just unsure of what they can do so they fear they will say or do the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid to turn to others for support, ask for what you want and allow others to show their compassion. I believe this is not a sign of weakness, rather it is a sign of true strength. Naturally, we are social beings and we need our tribe especially in times of sorrow.  I suggest reach out to those you trust and allow them to support you in whatever way that may be. It could be something as simple as going for supper or perhaps it is support with the figuring out logistics around your loss. Whatever you may need, ask for it. If they are true members of your tribe they will be there no questions asked.   You don’t need to be strong. It’s ok to show weakness! It is human and we are absolutely entitled to be weak at times. Too many of us feel like we need to be the strong ones, like we need to hold it together, and we judge ourselves for showing signs of weakness. I understand we view being weak as vulnerable and it absolutely is a very vulnerable place to be, but that does not mean that we are weak. In fact, it means that we are brave enough to face our story with grace, honesty and the natural vulnerability that is associated with loss. When we are too consumed with appearing strong, we tend to stuff our feelings and keep to ourselves. In the end, we prolong our suffering because we are not really dealing with it. Instead, we are merely postponing it and, in most cases, making it that much more difficult to deal with when it does surface. Be strong, be brave by owning the vulnerability that is associated with loss. If not now, then when?   Live in the present. I found in my grieving that the hardest days were the days where I was not in the moment. I was either looking back with regret or nostalgia OR I was in the future forecasting how different and scary my life looked without my husband. The easiest days were the days that I stayed present. I know that it is easy to get nostalgic or to worry about the future, especially when you are faced with a whole new life, but the sooner you can bring yourself back to the present, the better off you will be. Enjoy your memories or learn your lessons from the past but don’t dwell there. It is natural to think of the past or grieve for the loss of future plans, but when we stay in that space for too long we lose touch with the present. There is no amount of regret or worry that will change your loss, but focusing on the past and future will surely prolong the grieving. I would constantly have to remind myself to be present, which meant being present with my feelings, my new reality and myself. Being present is definitely a part of, and goes hand in hand, with allowing your emotions. Be in this moment as hard as this moment is! Own your grief story. What I mean by this is everyone grieves in their own way. There is no set timeline or perfect picture of how grieving should look. I found that at times I would judge myself for grieving differently than others. I would question “Am I heartless because I am doing ok today?”, “Am I stuck in the grief because others are doing ok?” When I was in this place I would criticize my grieving, which made things that much more difficult. Your grief story is your grief story, whether you move through with ease or find yourself stuck in a certain stage, it is absolutely alright. Trust, you will process things

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Embrace all of you

Embrace All of You!

I am taking the opportunity this week to both introduce you to my new service, as well as talk about owning your gifts. Both these topics fit together for me. While my new service of flower essence readings has been a long time in the making, it has been a process to move past the fear and embrace and own this gift.     I have been doing flower essences for my friends and family for a while and I completely enjoy doing them. It all started when my husband was ill and we were working with a couple of spiritual healers. They were helping both of us with the enormous work of spiritual cleansing and balancing. I won’t go into too much details here about that but, along with the work that we were doing with them, they taught us to use flower essences to help us release old energy blocks and bring in helpful energies to assist us in the journey. Together, my husband and I worked through our blocks in various areas. The more we worked with the flower essences, the more we enjoyed it. We were both amazed at the accuracy of the flowers that came forward. As was my Woody’s character at the time, he was skeptical at first. But the more he could see how the flowers that were chosen suited and helped him, the less skeptical he became. As I was the one who was doing the pendulum work and figuring out which flower essences to bring in, I was able to see that they were always “bang on” correct, and exactly what my what my husband and I needed at that point. Although my husband still passed, I don’t feel that had anything to do with the inefficacy of the flower essences or the spiritual work he was doing. As the Integrative Doctor we were working with stated, sometimes no matter how much we do to heal the body and soul, some things are just left to fate. What I did notice from doing the flower essences with Woody, is that they assisted him in completely changing his life in a short time. He went from being a completely skeptical, doubting, powerless “victim” of circumstances (in a way) to becoming a completely present, loving, accepting person. I know that the flower essences were essential in this transformation. They allowed him to create the curiosity to do some real soul healing. As an observer and the one who was tasked with using the pendulum and determining the flower essences for both of us, I felt so connected and grounded when doing them. There was no possible way I could have made the right flower essences come up. This gave me a real sense of being connected to the Universe, which brought me comfort throughout the journey, and still does. After Woody passed I continued to use the flower essences to help me with my healing. Why not? After all, it was such a great support during that stressful time. The more I used them with myself, the more I learned to really trust in the wisdom and accept the healing energy they were providing.     At first, mainly it was family that requested this service to assist them with energetic blocks or issues they were going through. I found I really loved doing this, I loved to see how them bringing in the powerful energies of the flowers helped them in their lives. I loved being able to provide this service.  I soon started to offer it to friends as well. At this point I never really considered offering this as a service, as I was scared to really put myself out there. I feared I would be judged on my beliefs and a common theme for my inner critic would chant “They are all going to laugh at you!” Because of these messages of fear, I reserved this gift from the Universe to only help those who I knew and trusted. With the help of these same people and some fabulous coaches and in my journey to embrace all of who I am, I decided to step out and offer this as a service. I still have some fears about totally putting myself out there in this way, but with all the love and support and encouragement from friends, family and the Universe guiding me in this direction, I decided to own my skills! I don’t think I am alone in this. I think a lot of us have parts of ourselves that we keep hidden from the world for fear of being judged or rejected. A talent or strength that we suppress because our inner critic voice tells us that if we pursue this part of ourselves it will turn out badly. Perhaps you have a talent or hobby or strength that you would love to share with the world. Perhaps there is something you love to do and when are doing it you feel a sense of absolute joy, yet you do not pursue it. When we suppress these parts of ourselves, we are denying who we really are. We feed the inner critic and we fall victims to the fear. The thing is, we create such elaborate stories in our minds that we keep ourselves small. This, in my opinion, is such a shame! I completely understand buying into the fear and I have witnessed some of the bravest people I know hide parts of themselves – parts that I see as amazing gifts! Yet they (myself included) keep them hidden. What to do now? There is no magic formula to help you embrace all of who you are. It takes awareness, perseverance and courage to step out of your comfort zone and embrace all of who you are. The first step in doing this is recognizing what these hidden parts are. With a child’s like curiosity ask yourself what is something I love doing that brings

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The 5D’s that Will Change Your Life

Life is ever-changing. There are many situations that have the potential to move our lives in another direction. I have found that there are five stressful situations that are completely life changing – the very nature of them turns your life upside down. I call these the 5Ds and when you go through one of these your life is forever changed. These events are Death, Divorce, Dumped Downsized and Diagnosis. The one common thread between all of these is they result in you suffering a loss that is significant, so significant that you are forced to reevaluate your life. This week I want to talk about how these five stressful situations change your life forever, the good news is, how they change your life is up to you! Death When we go through the loss of a loved one, our lives are inevitably turned upside down. In this case, there is the expected grieving process, (which I have talked about in other blogs), and then there is the inevitable need to redefine your life without that person being a part of it. This is a scary step, looking forward and realizing your loved one will not physically be there. In my personal situation, all my future plans were no longer a possibility, at least not in the way I had been planning, as they were all tied to my husband. This is the case, to some degree, I believe most deaths. When a loved one passes on, all the future plans that were envisioned with them are just gone! This can be extremely hard to adjust to and I feel that, in my case, that was one of the hardest things to reconcile. I had to rebuild a whole new life without my husband. If you have been through the death of a loved one I am sure you can relate to this confusion and apprehension about the unknown future.   Dumped or Divorced The second D’s kind of go together – Divorce and Dumped. I class these two together because they are similar in the nature of the loss, loss of a significant relationship. When you have gone through these D’s, life is again all a mystery. Supporting clients through the rebuilding process after the end of their significant relationship, I have found that not only do they have to rebuild their lives without their partner, they also have feelings of betrayal, trust and judgement to cope with. Sometimes they are even forced, for family reasons, to face the other person on a regular basis. Therefore, not only are they going through the grieving process for the loss of their relationship they also are dealing with a lot of self-doubt in the form of ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’. The rebuilding process for someone who has gone through this type of loss inevitably travels through a path of forgiveness (at some level) – forgiveness for themselves and the other person, which can be extremely difficult.     Downsizing This D involves the loss of a job. This may not seem like much for someone who has not gone through it but losing our job is incredibly stressful.  We spend a lot of our time and energy at our work. This means that for most of us, it is not only a job and a paycheck that we have lost, but also our social and self-identities which are intricately tied to our vocation. Think about it. For most of us even if our day ends at 5:00 we can still be caught thinking about that upcoming project, that client or that sales pitch late into the evening. Also, because we spend so much time at work we have associates there that we socialize with. When we lose our job we not only need to find another job we are also forced to redefine ourselves socially and reevaluate our self-identity, too. This can be very difficult especially if the downsizing came as a surprise or if we don’t have an explanation for why it happened. We inevitably start to question our abilities. This questioning then leads to a lot of self-doubt which is very stressful! Diagnosis The last D is . A diagnosis means the loss of our state of health. To whatever degree doesn’t matter, we go from a good state of health to a worse state of health. This is not just physical diagnoses but mental diagnoses also. When we receive a diagnosis, there is an adjustment period, where you question “Why me?”. This is natural! Whatever the diagnosis may be, we have important choices for our future that need to be made, and this is extremely stressful! The choices we make affect all areas of our life. When my husband went through this, he grieved for the loss of his well-being, he tried to make sense of the situation, he moved through the feelings of helplessness. After this adjustment, he moved into a place of empowerment where he took active steps to work within his diagnosis. The journey for someone who has gone through this D is a path paved through a redesigning of your life that will best work towards your health goals.     Although all of these losses are different on the surface, they are very similar in the paths to rebuild. All of these D’s impact every area of our life. Whether the loss is family, career or health, every other area of your life is inevitably impacted too! That is why these five situations are so stressful! Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, no “one size fits all” solution that will return your life to balance. This is why everyone’s journey looks very different and involves completely different roads. The only similarity is that they involve the complete rebuilding of your life. Now What? In my experience, my best advice for any of you who are going through one of these D’s is, this is an opportune time to get to know

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Move Through Anger in 3 Simple Steps

Anger is something we all deal with from time to time. Anger itself is not a problem it is very natural, what we do with our anger is where some of us get in to trouble. It’s not the anger itself that has the consequences it’s when we act on it or try to stuff it. No matter if you consider yourself a fly off the handle type person or not we can all use some steps to help us move through anger. It may come as a surprise to some of you but our emotions like anger physically only last 90 seconds. A lot of you may be saying that is not true it last hours, days, weeks, even years. The truth is it can last that long but the original feeling of anger only last 90 seconds what keeps the anger around is your thinking. When we ruminate on the event that we are upset about, then we continue to stoke the fire of the anger and that is why it stays around. If we can be practice these 3 steps we can feel the anger and move through it.   Step 1 Breathe into the anger. When an event happens and you can feel the anger starting to bubble up inside your pulse quickens, your body tenses and your eyes focus, take a deep breath, let it come and wait 90 seconds. It’s important we do no try push the anger aside, if we do not let our bodies naturally return to a balanced state we risk further strain on our bodies and this energy being trapped in our bodies. It may sound simple but let your biology do what it is supposed to do, breath into the anger and let it pass naturally! For example you get cut off in traffic, the initial reaction is “Oh shit!”, your knuckles tighten on the steering wheel, you become hyper focused on your environment most likely your body is tensed up and you may feel a pit in your stomach. It is at this point that you need to take a couple deep breaths, let the 90 seconds pass. When your adrenal is pumping like this it is pointless to try and make sense of anything your body knows what it needs to do trust it! Once this initial physical anger reaction has passed then you have a choice. Do you want to keep fueling the fire or do you want to let it go. Step 2 Practice awareness. Now that the anger has passed you need to watch your thoughts. It is at this point that we either choose to fuel the anger or we choose to steer our thinking towards creating calm. To understand the is next step we need to be clear on what anger is. Anger is often compared to an iceberg the 10% shown above the water is actual anger, the 90% below the water is actually what is going on. Put simply our anger is the result of us feeling uncomfortable feelings, they make us feel vulnerable so we mask these vulnerable uncomfortable feelings with anger, because when we are angry we feel like we have power and control. Therefore, if we can identify and deal with the underlying emotions it makes it so much easier for you to let go and let the anger pass. In the example of being cut off, now that our initial anger physical response has passed and we can direct our thoughts towards what is really going on. A great question to ask yourself is: What are the feelings underneath the anger? When we get cut off our underlying feelings could be fear for our safety and/or disrespected by the other person. If we can identify these underlying feeling then we can deal with them, rather than ruminating on them. If you have identified that you are feeling fearful and disrespected, then you can simply say to yourself “wow that was scary, you are safe now” or “that person disrespected me but probably not on purpose”. When we direct our thoughts towards resolving the underlying emotions then we have no need to ruminate. If on the other hand we get cut off and for the rest of the drive our thoughts are that “person is such a jerk”, “didn’t they see me”, “how can they be so rude”, “I could have gotten seriously hurt”, “I could have hit another person” and so on. Reading those you can probably see these are fueling the anger. When we continue our thinking in this direction we are in effect reliving the initial event and we are keeping our bodies in a stressed state. Yuck! Step 3 Forgiveness. This step may be one of the hardest steps. Although if you have gone through the first 2 steps it will be a lot easier. When we have let our bodies return to a calm state, and we have identified and dealt with the underlying feelings then it is time to forgive and move on. In the example of being cut off this may be a simple step, I forgive the other driver as he was not trying to hurt me and probably didn’t see me, easy! Forgiveness gets more difficult when we are looking at more serious events. There is way too much information to cover on forgiveness for more serious events than I have time in this blog, that’s a topic for another day. What I can say here is that forgiveness is about your health and really has nothing to do with the other person! When we forgive it does not mean that we condone the others’ actions what it does mean is that you are no longer willing to hold the negative energy anymore and you are ready to let it go; for yourself. If this is something you struggle with it may help to remind yourself that we all make mistakes, no one is perfect. These 3

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5 Warning Signs-It’s Time to Make a Change!

Change can seem really scary! Most of us don’t realize we stay stuck in prisons of our own making, fearing change, we would rather stay stuck than take steps to make our lives better.  Here are 5 warning signs that it’s time to make some changes. 1. Language Listen to your language is it full of “I have to” rather than “I want to”. Do you go through most of your day feeling like you have to do things rather than wanting to do things? Of course there are always a few things that need to be done, but if the majority of your tasks are feeling like an obligation then it’s time to consider making some changes, no one wants to live a life full of “have tos”. It’s draining. 2. Energy Do you find that you have no energy? Does it feel like you are carrying around a 100-pound weight? Often when we are feel this way, it literally feels like life is weighing us down. We are holding on to a lot of “energetic” weight that is slowing us down and zapping our energy, this is because we are carrying a lot of baggage. We are weighing ourselves down with our doubts, and insecurities and every moment we stay in that situation, we are adding to the weight. We intuitively know what is best for us and when we work against that we are dragging the weight of this and that zaps our energy. 3. Bargaining   Do you find yourself bargaining for happiness? Are you constantly setting boundaries for your happiness like “When I finish this project then I’ll be happy”, “When I get that raise then I will enjoy work”, “When its summer then I’ll be in a better mood”. If you are constantly bargaining for happiness and joy, then you are not living in the moment and you are placing your happiness on the back burner. Why wait? 4.Waking up! When the alarm sounds and you roll out of bed, do you experience a feeling of “ugh” and hit the snooze button a few times? Is your feeling while you are getting ready for your day an internal monologue of you trying to muster the energy to face the day? I think in our culture it is expected to complain about work, but if you are feeling like this every morning – dreading getting up, wanting to pull the covers over your head and hide – that’s a warning sign.     5. Physical Are you physically feeling agitated? Our bodies are great at giving us signs that we are living out of balance and if our body is starting to show signs of agitation and stress, then we should consider making some changes. We may develop new habits like biting nails, grinding teeth, or biting our lips. Or more seriously we may be noticing ailments and having symptoms that our bodies are in a state of stress and out of balance. Listening to your body is imperative and if your body is showing signs that it is time to make changes, then it’s wise to listen. If you recognize some of these warning signs, you have a choice! Take the warning and decide to make some changes, or are you choosing to stay stuck in the out of balance life you are living? Change does not have to be big, sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact. So, this means you do not necessarily have to quit your job, leave your relationships and move away, but there are little steps you can take that can bring you more balance. Small simple changes you can make today! Volunteer – Find a volunteer position that meets your needs and excites you. If you are not passionate about your work, find somewhere you can volunteer that you are passionate about. Practice self- care – Honour yourself with an iron clad agreement to complete a self-care regiment to keep your sanity. Find a hobby – Get a hobby that sparks your interest and brings you joy! Not something you should do but want to do. Make candles, build models, practice photography, the choices are endless! Start an exercise program – Get a gym membership, join a class, start working off some of the stresses of your day. Practice yoga – Yoga works on mind, body and spirit. Join a class or download an app and start practicing yoga regularly. Find a new social group – Look for a new social group that has similar interests and that can support you. Start mindfulness practices – Learning to practice mindfulness, and having a regular practice can assist you in destressing and understanding yourself better. Start eating a healthier diet – Our food is our energy and changing our diet to be healthier can impact not only our bodies but our minds and emotions as well.   Small Changes, Big Shifts These are all little things that can result in huge shifts in your life. They do not require completely uprooting your life and making massive changes. Who knows what will happen? If you make one of these simple changes, you may shift your energy and find the happiness that you are looking for, or maybe it may shift the energy so that you are more prepared to make some bigger changes. Whatever the result, if you are noticing the warning signs that change is needed then heed the warning. Take one step today towards a happier life!

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