STOP Reacting and Start Responding Powerfully

Mindfulness is a way of restraining yourself to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life. It is a way of reasserting control of your mental and emotional life, by helping you reconnect to the present moment, rather than the pain of the past or anxiety about the future. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives.  It is not necessarily a method of getting rid of life’s pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head, and body.

Mindfulness techniques focus on awareness of thoughts and feelings without attachment or judgment. When we are having intense emotions, it is often because we are caught up in our catastrophic interpretations about what is going on. The more we become entangled in the thoughts about the situation, the worse it feels, and the more intense our emotions become. Mindfulness short-circuits this process by helping us to disentangle ourselves from our distorted thought patterns and connect to the actual situation. This enables us to more skillfully address the difficult situation, and to do so with less emotional reactivity and psychological suffering.

You’ll probably find engaging in a formal daily Mindfulness practice has real benefits in reducing the stress and anxiety you feel throughout the day. There is significant research showing this is usually the case. However, there are more effective ways you can engage in mindfulness to positively shape your day to an even greater degree than formal sitting practice. One skill I often teach members of my Mindfulness Matters group is the mindfulness practice of STOP.

STOP is primarily used to introduce mindful experience throughout your day, when you need it most. Even after a good mindfulness meditation in the morning, it’s easy to quickly get caught up in all of the stresses and activities of daily life. By applying mindfulness to these experience during your day, your mind will be on autopilot less, and you will be able to check in with how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what behavior you’re engaging in.

STOP is an acronym that stands for:

S: Stop. Whatever you’re doing, just pause momentarily.
T: Take a breath. Re-connect with your breath. The breath is an anchor to the present moment.
O: Observe. Notice what is happening. What is happening inside you, and outside of you? Where has your mind gone? What do you feel? What are you doing?
P: Proceed. Continue doing what you were doing. Or don’t: Use the information gained during this check-in to change course. Whatever you do, do it mindfully.

By occasionally reminding yourself to stop during your day, you can increase your awareness of what is going on around you and inside you. You may stop and notice you are engaging in a lot of negative self-judgments. Using STOP may help you recognize when your body is becoming tense, and allow you to correct it before you are in pain. You might find that you’re hungry, or that a break might be helpful. The more you STOP during the day, the more you re-engage with reality, and disengage from the habitual busyness of your mind.

Don’t forget: I share this skill in more depth through the 8 session Mindfulness Matters group!

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.

Register for a screening here:

Keep in mind that I post tips, tricks, information, and even more resources on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages – along with a Mindful Monday mini-series on the “Beyond the Couch” podcast so that you have an overflowing supply of tools to get you feeling like your best self in the life you want to celebrate!

Comment and tell me how you STOPped reacting and started responding powerfully in your life again!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!


Gratitude and Thankfulness

Here in the United States, we shared a holiday focused on gratitude. We spent time with loved ones, with foods we cherish, and, for many, we spent time giving thanks for the abundance of our lives.

Gratitude brings with it many more benefits than has historically been recognized. We have come to discover in more recent years that gratitude not only helps us to shift our present state so that we can more fully participate with and experience our joys, but that gratitude can also facilitate our greater overall long term experience of happiness.

A Mindful awareness of our experiences with gratitude allows us to reframe what we experience. In doing so, we allow ourselves to both experience exponentially greater gains as well as to more fully immerse ourselves in what we still seek in our lives.

Yet, many people still find themselves focused on the deficits and paucities in their lives when they give thanks. Gratitude, to some, feels hurtful and frustrating – it might necessarily bring on painful reminders of what is still lost or unattainable.

It is precisely in these areas of awareness that we can be even more grateful – these pangs of pain and distress give us many signals as to what we may still need and what we do have that we may have lost sight of. It is gratitude that can allow us to create even more in our lives. Shifting our focus from the awareness of these deficits to the awareness of what we have even embedded within them allows us to receive and to give even more fully.

The following poem elaborates on this principle:

“Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.”

Be Thankful – Author Unknown

Please share a comment and let me know what you spent the holiday giving thanks for!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!



How Can You Connect More In Your Relationships?

Relationships can be some of the most incredible experiences of our lives. They can also be hard.

You want to feel connected to your partner, but it feels like there is a wall up between the two of you.

You want to understand your partner, but sometimes it feels like you’re speaking two different languages.

You have the same argument again and again. You can predict exactly how it will go, yet can never come to a resolution.

You may be facing a crisis, like infidelity, in your relationship and you’re trying to figure out if you even want to stay.

Maybe you find yourself listening to your partner, but focusing more on what you want to say next. And maybe you find yourself holding back on what you want to say out of a fear that it will cause a bigger issue.

One of the most important skills in relationships is effective communication. We may not ordinarily have trouble communicating and exchanging ideas or information with our partner, but find that when difficult situations come up, we can’t seem to get on the same page.

Most of us are guilty of these mistakes. In fact, these kinds of communication challenges can sometimes become so ingrained that many of us don’t even notice when we’re guilty of them. However, the consequences of ineffective communication take a toll. Feeling unheard can lead to resentment, frustration, and pain.

I want to point out that, sometimes, the best communication will still end with the acknowledgment: “We disagree.” But that’s OK‐it’s far better than the alternative: “I’m right, and you’re wrong.”

The ability to express your own ideas effectively is only half of what it takes to be a good communicator. Listening is the second half. This means more than simply hearing words. It means hearing, thinking, interpreting, and striving to understand. If we’re thinking about the next thing we want to say, we aren’t really listening. We’re just hearing.

Reflections are a powerful tool to improve communication between you and your partner. Using a technique called reflection can quickly help you become a better listener. When reflecting, you will repeat back what your partner has just said to you in your own words. Those who haven’t used reflections fear that it’ll seem like they’re just parroting the other person without contributing to the conversation. However, reflections typically result in a positive response.

Those who haven’t used reflections fear that it’ll seem like they’re just parroting the other person without contributing to the conversation. However, reflections typically result in a positive response.

So, what do reflections actually do? They act as confirmation that we heard, and more importantly, understand, what our partner has said. Reflections validate a person’s feelings by showing that we get it.

Often, a concern I hear is that it might seem like a reflection would kill a conversation ‐ there’s no new question to answer. Paradoxically, though, the opposite is generally true. Reflections encourage more sharing because our partner can trust that we are listening.

Learning to use reflections does take practice. As you first begin to practice it’s typical for reflections to feel a bit forced. But if you implement reflections regularly, they’ll quickly start to feel natural once you and your partner begin to notice how helpful the responses are. Oh, and start with less serious or neutral topics, at least in the beginning!

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!

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LAST CALL: Mindful Mondays Enrollment Closing!

You may be finding yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed and run-down. You might be having a hard time catching your breath and feel rushed from one thing to the next without a moment to slow your racing mind down. There are tools and strategies to help you focus, find your footing again, and even feel the relief in your body and mind.

I have been so excited about bringing back the Mindful Monday 8 session series! We recently had a brief glimpse into Mindfulness with our Mindfulness Matters 5 Day Challenge + 3 Bonus Days where people joined us from seven US states and four countries! In fact, people have shared with me that they are revisiting the challenge yet again on their own! Several people have also requested that I run the challenge again, too!

The exciting news is that we can broaden this practice in our Mindful Monday 8 session series! Our last round of the series brought so much benefit to our community. Here are some of the comments from group members:

“It was a really nice way to get myself into the mindset for a productive and calm week.”

“I learned so much about my body and mind and how my feelings showed up around them from these groups.”

“Sharing this with the others in the group made it a more deep experience for me. I gained a lot from each of the other people!”

This is one of my favorite practices and I am so thrilled about bringing it back to help people who are feeling stressed, unfocused, and overwhelmed get back on track.

Mindfulness offers so many benefits and ways of enhancing our lives – from Mindful eating to improving our mood, focusing, and increasing our productivity to building better relationships, this practice brings with it so many opportunities to deepen the experiences in your life. Learn a bit more in my interview with Rockland World Radio’s “Connections with Deborah Turner.”

I will be closing enrollment for this group on Saturday, April 1st. If you’re ready to get information on how this series can benefit your life, just click below for more access.

Don’t forget to read more about this exciting group at Inner Realm magazine.

“Beyond the Couch” Is Live!

It’s here!

Today, the “Beyond the Couch” podcast is live! I have been waiting with so much excitement to share this with you and the day has arrived!

You can listen to the first few episodes directly here or on my website. You can also listen on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and YouTube:

Be on the lookout for special announcement about how to listen, subscribe, rate, and review in iTunes in the coming days!

In the meantime, tune in to these episodes and get ready for the next on one on Thursday!


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Exciting News!

I am making an announcement today that I am very excited to share with you. I have been working on a new project to help share valuable resources, tips, information, and content for many people across the world to more effectively redefine their lives, get rid of pain and fear that holds them back, and create a life they look forward to celebrating.

Recently, I was invited to speak as a guest on a local radio show. Following that, I received an outpouring of questions and contact requests from a large number of people. It was then that I realized I could contribute to the efforts of a greater number of people looking to transform their lives with the help of technology.

Over the last few months, I have worked hard to set up a foundation for a podcast with the theme of redefining ourselves and recreating our lives. Along the way, we will look at effective tools, practical tips, accessible resources, community supports, and eye-opening insights to help cultivate the life that we want to live and celebrate.

I will be broadcasting on Mondays and Thursdays for the first few months to help spread the word to anyone who can benefit. After this initial  In addition, I will be interviewing a number of guests as well as looking at other resources to share the best, most accessible, and most effective tools for listeners along their journey of transformation.

The most exciting part of this announcement for me is that this will all begin very soon! I am scheduled to launch on March 20th! I would love to help get the word out over the next few weeks to make sure people have access to this information.

If you’d like to join me in this endeavor, I’d love to have you! You can easily jump onboard here! Sign on and let’s get you to the front of the line in access!

I look forward to getting started on this journey together!



Make Your Goals SMART

Last week, we discussed the value of habits in shaping the landscape of our lives. More specifically, we explored the significance of deliberate, mindful habit building to enrich our lives. 

One key element in creating and building habits that work for us is to ensure we have clear goals that will target the changes we want to see in our lives. Bringing deliberate, intentional awareness to defining and outlining our goals can help us structure them in ways that set us up for success.
In other words, we mindfully create goals that are SMART:

SPECIFIC (simple, sensible, significant)
MEASURABLE (meaningful, motivating)
ATTAINABLE (agreed, attainable)
RELEVANT (reasonable, realistic, and resourced)
TIME-BOUND (time-based, time limited, timely, time-sensitive)

Setting SMART goals means you can clarify your ideas, focus your efforts, use your time and resources productively, and increase your chances of achieving what you want in life. We could consider that goals are part of every aspect of life: how we conduct our relationships, what ou want to achieve at work, the way we use our spare time… Everything comes down to priorities, and what we would like to accomplish in every aspect. We can, therefore, turn our mindful attention toward setting goals that are geared toward building the habits we want to impact our lives and vice versa. Without setting goals or objectives, life becomes a series of chaotic happenings we don’t control. we become the plaything of coincidence. 

SMART is an effective tool that provides the clarity, focus and motivation we need to achieve our goals. It can also improve our ability to reach them by encouraging us to define your objectives and set a completion date. SMART goals are also easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.

Not only does SMART goal setting bring structure and trackability into our goals and objectives, it also creates verifiable trajectories towards a certain objective. Every goal or objective, from intermediary step to overarching objective, can be made S.M.A.R.T. and as such, brought closer to reality.

Consider the ways in which you would like to change the landscape of your life in the next six months. Then, apply your SMART principles and redefine your goal with awareness and nonjudgmental openness.

How SMART are your goals? Share with us in our Facebook and Twitter communities so we can inspire each other! 

Want more ways to embed Mindful practice into transforming your life? Enrollment is now open for the  Mindful Monday group – Apply here

Curious what I can offer you to help build the life you love? Get in touch!  

Connect with me to see what support I can offer!

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