Take Hold of Your Overwhelming Emotions!

Sometimes, we have intense emotions that are difficult to manage, such as anger, shame, depression, or anxiety. Difficulties controlling these emotions often lead to problematic behaviors that affect us and those around us. Problematic behaviors are often ineffective solutions to intensely painful emotions. We then find ourselves in a never-ending cycle of feeling overwhelmed by intense emotions and wanting to shut our feelings out completely.

Instead of this turbulent, emotional merry-go-round, we CAN learn to tame our emotions and take hold of them so that we can keep showing up fully in our lives and connect with the people and experiences that matter to us.

“Emotions” isn’t a dirty word – in fact, emotions offer us a lot of valuable information. Emotions provide us with a signal that something is happening so we can check out the facts. It’s a problem when we treat emotions as if THEY are the facts about the world. For example: “If I am afraid, there must be a threat,” or “I love him, so he must be good for me.” We need to be mindful that emotions are not facts. Therefore, it is important to check the facts about the situation – and our Mindful awareness of our emotions give us the signal to go ahead and check on the facts.

They also motivate and prepare us for action. The action urge connected to specific emotions is often “hardwired.” For example, when we hear a loud horn beep suddenly, we startle. Emotions save time in getting us to act in important situations. Our nervous system activates us (e.g., we instantly jump out of the way of an oncoming car). We don’t have to think everything through. Strong emotions can help us overcome obstacles— in our mind and in the environment.

Yet, sometimes, we take action without working through the facts and it doesn’t always turn out in our favor.

One of the favored topics in the Mindfulness Matters group focuses on learning to understand the emotions we experience so that we can identify, observe, and describe our emotions in order to know what they do for us. That way, we can uncover whether they are working for us or hindering us from getting what we want in this moment.

We go on to discover ways to reduce our emotional vulnerability to and stopping unwanted emotions in the beginning stages so we can let go of painful emotions when they start and increase positive emotions! This way, we can reduce our emotional suffering.

P.S. We go through these skills in more depth through a 8 session group in Mindfulness Matters!

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

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/mindfulnessmattersgroup

I will be CLOSING the cart on registrations in just 10 days on February 16th so be sure to claim your seat!

Don’t forget 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 below and tell me how you took hold of your overwhelming emotions!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

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:

http://www.subscribepage.com/mindfulnessmattersgroup

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!

Mindfulness – Why Bother?

Have you felt as though your mind is controlling you rather than you controlling your mind? Perhaps you’ve felt like you have no control over your attention. Maybe you have even noticed that, while you are trying to focus on doing one thing, other things seem to intrude into your mind. For example, you might find yourself texting someone while you’re talking to someone else and have no idea what’s said in either conversation. Or maybe as you’re listening to a loved one tell a story your mind might be driving to what you’re planning to do later in the day or how distracted you are by the heat in the room. You might even find yourself blurting things out at work or yell at someone and not realize that you were going to do that beforehand – as if it just happened automatically without your realizing it. And perhaps you find yourself simply just saying and doing other things and not aware of what you’re doing.

When these things happen, it can feel as if we are living our lives with our eyes closed.

Being Mindful is living with our eyes wide open through our experiences. It is being aware of things that you are experiencing with each of our senses in the present moment rather than getting pulled into the future or the past. It is taking hold of our mind and controlling it rather than it being in control of us.

The full awareness practiced in Mindfulness allows us to be aware of our present moment – including the thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations – without judgment and without trying to change those experiences. This brings with it a focused, open mind, and greater attentional control. Consider what happens when our mind is jumping from one thought, observation, or reaction to another over and over again. It can be difficult to connect with the people and things we value in our lives.

Being Mindful can…

+Give us more choices and more control over the things we do in our lives.

+Reduce our suffering and increase our sense of joy, happiness, freedom, and pleasure.

+Help us make important decisions.

+Help us focus our attention so that we can be more effective and productive.

+Increase our compassion – for both ourselves and for others.

+Lessen our pain, tension, and stress.

One thing that can really help us gain these benefits in full so that we can go on to live a fulfilled life that we want to celebrate is to make sure that we can develop our Mindfulness skills and habits. If someone is training to run a marathon, learn to play a new piece or music, or learn a new sport, it takes practice to feel capable. The same is true for Mindfulness skills. Just like any other skill in life, we need to practice our skills to become more proficient in them. This is why the Mindfulness Matters group practices start with small exercises and build up your muscles and stamina over time. We also get the benefit of going through the practices with others who are in the same boat so that we can support and encourage each other as we grow and learn together!

Enrollment has officially opened and I very excited to talk more with you about how this group can help you get your goals supercharged so that you can be on your way to the life that you want to celebrate!

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.
**only 5 spaces remain**

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5

Or contact me for more information.

Don’t forget 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 New Year!

Please comment and share what you hope Mindfulness will bring you! Mindfulness, even in small increments, really does matter!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Mindfulness Matters Group – Now Enrolling!

If you have ever said…
I can’t focus or think straight
I can’t seem to figure out what I want
Everyone judges me
I’m not good enough

HELP GET CLARITY AND SHOW UP POWERFULLY IN YOUR LIFE!
This 8-week group will provide you with support + give you the skills to…

+ Notice the here and now experiences even when you are overwhelmed and unsettled so that you can participate in the parts of your life that are meaningful
+ Engage in activities even when you’re feeling scared or insecure so that you can lead a fulfilling life and feel happy
+ Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to feel fully comfortable in your own skin
+ Quiet your self-critical voice and learn to love yourself for exactly who you are

Space is limited to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.
**only 5 spaces remain**

Register for a screening here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5

Or email drnazari@drsallynazari.com for more information.

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

What’s for Lunch?

It’s almost lunch time for most of us!

What are you having for lunch today?

And HOW are you having it?

Did you know that Mindful eating can help you keep your weight loss goals, build your confidence, and get more out of your lunch hours and dinner dates?

Mindful eating helps us build a better relationship with our eating habits, the way we consume our food, and its impact on not just our bodies, but also our mood! It’s one of the more popular sessions of my Mindfulness Matters group because it brings so much value – members have shared weight loss triumphs, greater self-esteem, and more gratitude for their food with this tool!

For a brief sample, listen HERE!

If you’re curious about how Mindfulness Matters can help you start your path to a healthier relationship with food and with yourself, click here: http://www.subscribepage.com/c6q6s5

Want even more information? Get access HERE!

What Does a Typical Group Look Like?

You may have heard the buzz about my upcoming Mindfulness Matters group and might find yourself wondering what a typical group is like. I thought I would give you some details so that you can see how this might help serve you in learning to more deeply connect with what you want in your life, create more satisfying relationships, and improve your sense of self-worth and love!

I start by doing an activity for the members to get to know each other so we can keep building our skills together over the course of the 12 weeks. I then begin introducing a new skill each week and using an activity or handout to help the particpants get a clearer understanding of that skill and make it applicable to them in their daily lives.

Then, I open it up to the members to:

1) provide feedback on the skill being taught that week

2) give an example of how they had successfully used a skill previously learned during the week

3) talk about a time during the week when they were unable to implement a skill and get feedback from myself and/or other group members on how they could have handled themselves/their emotions differently

4) receive feedback from the group on any other pressing issue that came up during the week and is causing distress so we can troubleshoot together and come up with ways to help them cope

Want even more information? Check out the details here!

P.S. Groups are an amazing way to lean how to express oursevles and understand that we are not alone. The Mindfulness Matters Group will run on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm beginning on July 11th and running through September 26th.

If this group looks like a good fit for you, contact me for more details. 

Ready to talk more about how the Mindfulness Matters group can bring you greater focus, deeper confidence, and finally quiet that inner critic? Get access HERE!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

 

Do You Have an Inner Critic Berating You?

Give Yourself Permission to Show Up Fully In Your Life!

In my practice, I see many people in the office who struggle with depression and low self-esteem who also want to get “perfect” work evaluations and be liked by everyone.

They have the idea that keeping up the image of perfection on the outside will give them the validation and praise they need to feel good on the inside. But what happens is that this positive acknowledgement is being poured into a leaky cup.

And it’s never enough.

And the very concept of relying on outside sources to fuel inner confidence becomes dangerous because then any perceived criticism or rejection becomes one hundred times more harmful.

And then they start to feel like they’re falling apart.

You CAN quiet your inner critic!

One of the first tasks we work on in my Mindfulness groups is showing participants how to recognize their self-judgments and inner critic. I use concrete and creative techniques to teach members how to recognize these judgements as a story they’ve been telling themselves that’s untrue and unhelpful.

Then, we work on practical skills to challenge these judgements and rewrite the story as a more accurate and empowered one to create confidence and improve self-esteem so that they leave the office feeling better about themselves than when they walked through the door.

And they’ve let someone see behind the mask and help them, which is critical to the healing process.

How can you begin to notice and shift judgments to improve self-esteem?

There are three steps to helping improve your confidence by practicing a non-judgemental stance:

Notice self-judgments. Gently point out to yourself that statement like “I’m a failure” or “I’m an imposter” is a judgment and not a fact. Perhaps ask yourself: “Is that true or is it a judgment?” Just notice it and let it go. Don’t judge yourself for judging – this is a natural thing and you are learning how to change it.

Encourage yourself to track judgments. In my Mindfulness groups, we use a “judgment jar” and move a marble into the jar anytime we notice ourselves or each other using a judgment. Invite yourself and perhaps even your loved ones to count or track judgments to recognize how much they are coming up for you during the day. The very act of noticing is promoting Mindfulness and will automatically help you shift from judgemental to more aware and compassionate.

Restate your judgments in a factual way. When you evaluate people, emotions, or things as good or bad, restate them as facts when you repeat them back to yourself. For example, if you say “She looked so ridiculous at work today,” you might rephrase this as “She had a different style than I do.” Describe what you see without placing opinions or emotions in the observations.

Learning to take a look at ourselves and tune into our inner critic and learning how to be non-judgemental CAN be hard. And it takes time to learn how to be self-compassionate.

Start practicing today and begin to build up your non-judgemental and self-compassionate muscles because they are SO worth it… and you will believe that too! It is one of the reasons we begin this skill so early in our Mindfulness groups!

P.S. Groups are an amazing way to lean how to express oursevles and understand that we are not alone. The Mindfulness Matters Group will run on Tuesdays from 5:30pm t0 6:30pm beginning on July 11th and running through September 26th.

If this group looks like a good fit for you, contact me for more details.

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Showing Up Powerfully in Your Life

If you have ever said…
-I can’t focus or think straight
-I can’t seem to figure out what I want
-Everyone judges me
-I’m not good enough
HELP GET CLARITY AND SHOW UP POWERFULLY IN YOUR LIFE!

The Mindfulness Matters 12-week group will provide you with support + give you the skills to…
+ Notice the here and now experiences even when you are overwhelmed and unsettled so that you can participate in the parts of your life that are meaningful

+ Engage in activities even when you’re feeling scared or insecure so that you can lead a fulfilling life and feel happy

+ Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to feel fully comfortable in your own skin

+ Quiet your self-critical voice and learn to love yourself for exactly who you are

Groups are an amazing way for us to lean how to express ourselves and understand that we are not alone. The Mindfulness Matters Group will run on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 6:30pm  beginning on July 11th and running through September 26th.

Space is limited to 6 participants to ensure that everyone in the group feels heard and has a meaningful experience.
**only 3 spaces remain**

New Mindfulness Matters Flyer PNG
If this group looks like a good fit for you, contact me for more details.

 

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 Would You Save Your Life?

Have you thought about what your Iife depends on? Or have you thought about the things that you do on a day to day basis that keep you going and preserve your safety? How about any situations you might have been in where you have thwarted danger?

If you’re asking yourself these questions and reflecting on the answers, you might have noticed that you have a set of default and automatic things that you say to yourself. You might also have a pattern of criticizing yourself or thinking that you can’t handle what comes next or that you’re just not good enough to get through. You might find it hard to focus or feel like you’re being judged.

It can be overwhelming and we might find ourselves shutting down even further.

There is a more effective way for us to find clarity so that we can maneuver difficult situations in a way that’s helpful to us. With the confidence and clarity to navigate terrifying situations, we give ourselves permission to show up and shine in our lives!

I share openly in my Mindfulness groups that I believe Mindfulness can change the world. Now I can say very frankly that Mindfulness can save our lives. I’d like to share an example of how this played out for me recently.

Of course, Mindfulness has physiological benefits that not only extend our lives but that also improve the quality of our lives. Yet, there is a more immediate impact that refers to a way that use of a variety of Mindfulness skills can help us escape terrifying and even, in the case of my example, potentially life-threatening situations in that moment it’s happening.

Recently, I attended a training in Fort Lauderdale. As a lover of the water, I was happily practicing Mindfulness skills while enjoying my time in the beautiful, calm, and warm waters along with several other trainees on the evening of the first day.

We noticed the water begin to move very differently along with a very distinct shape appear next to me just a few feet away. The thoughts running through my mind were that there is no way it could be possible for a shark to to be so close to me in water that is less than four or five feet deep.

Yet, my Mindful observation clearly depicted the one, along with the shift in the movement of the water.

I quickly removed my awareness from the judgments in my thoughts and looked to observe again. It was unmistakable – both the shark fin and body as well as the flow of the water with such a buoyant creature so close by.

In the next second, I observed where the water was easier to move through. Now drawing upon Mindful movement skills, I quickly and deliberately led the group of us laterally away from the shark before we began to Mindfully wade our way back to the shore.

In doing so, we struggled a bit and one of the other trainees began falling. Our Mindful focus helped us to keep taking steps forward while the LovingKindness mindset of Mindfulness allowed me to reach out to help steady the falling member.

When we finally reached the shore safely, we started to feel the full scope of what a potentially terrible situation we had just escaped. Rather than panicking, we reached for our Mindfulness of feelings skills and began notifying other beachgoers calmly.

Several commented that our calm approach helped ward off their panic and help others take responsive and effective actions. We also notified the property staff so additional safeguards could be taken.

Once all the appropriate actions had been taken, I spent a bit of time reflecting on what had happened:

+I realized that I had made use of the Wise Mind, where an integration of both Reasonable and Emotional Mind informed my interpretation of the situation and the actions we took

+I knew that a reaction embedded in the Emotional Mind, while understandable could have put me in greater jeopardy

+I also knew that everyone’s safety was of paramount importance, a mindset that has been nurtured with the compassionate Mindfulness practices of nonjudgment and LovingKindness.

+I also remembered both my initial wave of shock and panic along with the exhaustion in my legs as we were working our way back to shore and knew that my practices of Mindfully noticing my experience without judgment and coming back to the present helped me, rather than getting stuck in them and struggling more, to instead choose with awareness a set of actions and responses that would best serve me in this moment.

THIS is the essential benefit of Mindfulness of our lives.

Luckily, I was not harmed – nor was anyone else – and I am grateful for that. I am also grateful for the reminder of the value of Mindfulness in my life.

Each of the skills I drew upon are ones I teach and practice in my Mindfulness Matters group. I even shared this story in our final session of the most recent round of the group and am looking forward to sharing it in the upcoming cycle of the group beginning in just a few weeks. Of course, my hope is that no one is in such a jarring situation but that they have the skills to take the kinds of actions that will best serve their lives no matter what kind of shocking, scary, or upsetting situation they are in.

If you are curious about what skills you can learn to help you keep moving toward what you want to celebrate in your life, hit reply and let me know! Or click on the button below to learn more about it.

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Exploring the Impact of Mindfulness, Part 3

Over the last two weeks, we have begun examining the benefits and scientific underpinnings of Mindfulness. We resume the findings studies noted regarding the highly beneficial impact of Mindfulness over a short term period of regular practice.

In their studies isolating the unique benefits of Mindfulness, scientists also found significant changes in the amygdala, or the brain’s center for fight, flight, and freeze responses, following Mindfulness practices. During and after stressful, overwhelming, scary, and traumatic situations, the natural tendency of the amygdala is to increase in size. This prepares us for survival in whatever way is possible. However, in their studies, scientists saw the amygdala shrinking amongst practitioners of Mindfulness. In fact, the greater the stress reduction they noted, the smaller the amygdala become. Such a finding is valuable because it points to the resilience and clarity that Mindful awareness can bring on, particularly useful during difficult experiences. It is important to note that, in these studies, the changes noticed were documented to be independent of any other factors in the environment or personal characteristics of participants.

With this in mind, the studies show that Mindfulness does more than just help us to feel better in the moment. While participating with an improved state is valuable, there are greater benefits with Mindfulness. Understanding this physiology reflects the cumulative impact of Mindfulness. Furthermore, these findings show that not only are the benefits beyond a mere placebo response, but the benefits literally provide changes to our brain.

From a greater quality of life to facilitating depression and anxiety recovery, reducing stress, lowering pain, increasing concentration, cultivating creativity, reducing insomnia, and improving energy levels, the benefits of Mindfulness practice can easily enhance our lives. Furthermore, these findings show that not only are the benefits beyond a mere placebo response, but the benefits literally provide changes to our brain. This positions us to more effectively enact changes in our lives that will cultivate more fulfilling experiences.

One reason I offer the Mindfulness Matters Challenge to the community is because I think everyone can benefit from improving their quality of life through this practice. With the understanding of the scientific and neurobiological underpinnings of Mindfulness, we can see there are a number of benefits from Mindfulness – a practice that helps us to better structure the 50-70 thousand thoughts we have each day. It can be a powerful tool in helping us to restructure what we are looking to build in our lives.

In fact, each of the graduates of my 8 session Mindful Monday group has shared powerful life changes during and after the group. In particular, these practitioners found that, over time, it became easier to practice Mindfulness, that it got easier to bring their awareness back to the present experience, and that the time between their mind wandering was prolonged. In addition, they also noted that it became easier to simply accept that their minds would wander throughout the practice. In conjunction with the physiological benefits, they noticed significant changes in their lives upon the completion of the series. Some still reach out to me to share further gains and triumphs.

Over the last several weeks, we have explored the neurophysiological changes we see as a result of a consistent, brief Mindfulness practice. In conjunction with that, we have investigated some of the noted and unique benefits that this powerful practice can bring into our daily lives. I further discuss these practices with Deborah Turner in her weekly show. Feel free to listen here for additional information.

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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