Know Your Superpower!

One of the benefits of the Mindfulness Matters group is to help us get a better sense of our moment to moment experiences. The thing is, I am sometimes asked why this matters.

For many of us, we find ourselves going through our day on autopilot. The downside of that is that, when we are not connecting with our experiences, things seem to pop up out of nowhere… and then we are left in a panic, reactive, or even frozen.

Becoming more Mindful in our routine, day-to-day interactions and mundane activities can help us develop a cumulative buffer against feeling like we are always caught off guard. In fact, it can leave us better equipped to more easily surf and navigate the things that do seem to come out of nowhere for us.

In the short video below, Sharon Salzberg does a very nice job of illustrating this concept in describing the two wolves (metaphorically!) that we all deal with. In fact, having this skill gives us a bit of a superpower in the sense that it can leave us feeling empowered and acting from a place of empowerment rather than reactivity when we are met with difficult situations.

I would love to hear how what you thought of this story! Be sure to share with us in our social media communities listed below so we can celebrate your superpower with you!

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Mindfulness with 5 Senses

One of the aims of my Mindfulness Matters group is to provide people with accessible, fool proof tools to help them ground in the present moment so that they can eradicate the inner critic, paralyzing self judgments, and gain the sense of empowerment they need to make the best choices about how to react to what pops up in their lives. Today, I wanted to share one of these tools with you. This is a quick and relatively easy exercise to bring us into a mindful state quickly. If you only have a minute or two or, for whatever reason, you don’t have the time or tools to try a body scan, this five senses exercise can help you bring awareness to the current moment in a short amount of time.

Use this exercise to quickly ground yourself in the present when you only have a moment. The goal is to notice something that you are currently experiencing through each of your senses. Begin by making sure you are seated or lying comfortably enough that you can relax, yet still upright enough that you can focus on the following questions. As you go through this set of questions, allow yourself to become immersed in each experience before moving on to the next question.

What are 5 things you can see?

What are 4 things you can feel?

What are 3 things you can hear?

What are 2 things you can smell?

What is 1 thing you can taste?

The numbers for each sense are only a guideline. Feel free to do more or less of each – remember to make modifications with Mindful awareness. You can also listen to a guided audio version of this exercise with my “Beyond the Couch” podcast episode easily. 

I would love to hear how this went for you! Be sure to share with us in our social media communities listed below so we can celebrate with you!

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Boost Your Brain with ‘Vitamin Sea’ This Summer

You might be the one in your circle who can never get enough beach time in the summer. Or maybe you spend your breaks listening to ocean sounds or bookmarking your favorite beach getaways. While you may not have put much thought into the how and why of your beach daydreams and memories, you know that they always brightened you up.

Recently, I teamed up with NBC News to get a better sense of how the beach affects our body and mind. It turns out that, not only do we anticipate relaxation when we head to the beach, but that we also respond to the different sensory experiences while we are at the beach. Our physiology shifts in response to the sights, sounds, and sensations we encounter at the beach. In fact, these responses heighten the relaxation experience we expect.

These effects extend as far as shifting the frequency of our brain waves to the point of mild meditative states, which have their own valuable benefits as well. Our body also enters into a parasympathetic response which helps to bolster our resilience to the daily stresses and fight-flight-freeze responses we are constantly bombarded by in our routine.

A beach excursion offers a great opportunity for building on the Mindfulness practices you may be cultivating. With so many ways to focus on our sensory experiences such as sight, touch, scent, and hearing while already in a more relaxed and positive state, we can give ourselves an opportunity to more readily connect more deeply with ourselves through enhancing the body-mind connection.

Not only that, but we have a ton of “people watching” opportunities at the beach during a time where most people are also in a greater state of relaxation and bliss than in our regular routines. This may be linked with why brain areas connected to empathy, memory, and reasoning get a boost. If you’re not feeling up for taking notice of the people around you, you can still enjoy the animals at the beach for this same benefit too!

As quickly as the summer has been flying by, you still have time to go out and get yourself some much needed ‘Vitamin Sea!’ Don’t forget to let me know where you gave yourself the permission to give your brain and your body a boost! Read more HERE for full details on how to reap the most benefits of ‘Vitamin Sea!’

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A Simple Tool to Help Reduce Posttraumatic Stress

Recently, I shared some information on the impact of trauma with a closer look at how posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, affects us. There have been some questions as to whether these effects can be mitigating. In the last few days, I released a new Topic Expert article for Goodtherapy.org discussing one practice for helping to decrease the impact of traumatic stress.

By practicing Mindfulness for even a few minutes each day, we may begin to quiet PTSD’s hallmark alarm signals and ground ourselves in the present moment. Read the full article HERE for more information!

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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!

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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!