Learning to Love Ourselves

Self-compassion is a powerful tool you can use to improve your well-being, self confidence and resilience. Many find it easy to have compassion for others but struggle in applying this same kindness to themselves. By taking moments throughout your day to pause and practice self compassion, you can gradually increase this quality and make it a more regular habit in your life. My “Beyond the Couch” podcast interview with Dr. Ellis Edmunds highlights some of the key ways that we can begin practicing this so that it can become an everyday as pet of our lives.

Here is one way you can get started:

  • When you find yourself stressed out in a difficult situation, take a moment to pause.
  • Reach up and touch your heart, or give yourself a hug if you are comfortable with that.
  • Take a few deep breaths.
  • Acknowledge that you are suffering and see if you can treat yourself with as much kindness as you would a dear friend or child who was struggling.
  • Offer yourself phrases of compassion, first by acknowledging your suffering:
    • “This is suffering.” or “This is really painful/difficult right now.” or “Wow, I am really suffering right now!”
    • “Suffering is a part of being human.”
    • For the final phrase(s), choose whatever is most appropriate for your situation. Feel free to use any of the following phrases or create your own:
    • May I hold myself with compassion.
    • May I love and accept myself just as I am.
    • May I experience peace.
    • May I remember to treat myself with love and kindness.
    • May I open to my experience just as it is.
    • Return to your daily activities, intentionally carrying an attitude of self-compassion and acceptance to your day.

What did you discover in tuning in to yourself so that you can bring more self compassion into your experience? Hit reply and share with me!

NOTE:

I have been asked to extend a second slot for the Mindfulness Matters group where I explore this skill in DEPTH over 8 sessions!

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 a few days so be sure to claim your seat before I do!

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 your experience with greater awareness went!

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 – Beyond the Nonjudgmental Stance

Last week, we examined one of the key elements of Mindfulness – practicing the non-judgmental stance. Today, I’d like to extend that so that we can really expand on the benefits into our own everyday lives.

Our aim in training our mind to become Mindful is to be more aware, more often. A powerful influence taking us away from being “fully present” in each moment is our automatic tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right in some way—that it is not what should be happening, not good enough, or not what we expected or wanted. These judgments can lead to sequences of thoughts about blame, what needs to be changed, or how things could or should be different. Often, these thoughts will take us, quite automatically, down some fairly well-worn paths in our minds. In this way, we may lose awareness of the moment, and also the freedom to choose what, if any, action needs to be taken.

We can regain our freedom if, as a first step, we simply acknowledge the actuality of our situation, without immediately being hooked into automatic tendencies to judge, fix, or want things to be other than they are. The body scan exercise provides an opportunity to practice simply bringing an interested and friendly awareness to the way things are in each moment, without having to do anything to change things. There is no goal to be achieved other than to bring awareness to bear as the instructions suggest—specifically, achieving some special state of relaxation is not a goal of the exercise.

In a car, we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present,” moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without know- ing it.

On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed”: Events around us and thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the mind (of which we may be only dimly aware) can trigger old habits of thinking that are often unhelpful and may lead to worsening mood.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go into the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.

The aim of this program is to increase awareness so that we can respond to situ- ations with choice rather than react automatically. We do that by practicing to become more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again.

To begin with, we use attention to different parts of the body as a focus to an- chor our awareness in the moment. We will also be training ourselves to put attention and awareness in different places at will. This is the aim of the following exercises.

Try one this week on two occasions and share with me your experiences:

+Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “OK, that’s just the way things are right now.” If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feel- ings, or body sensations, the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be nonstriving, be in the moment, accept things as they are. Just notice.

+Choose one routine activity in your daily life and make a deliberate effort to bring moment-to-moment awareness to that activity each time you do it. Possibilities include waking up in the morning, brushing your teeth, showering, drying your body, getting dressed, eating, driving, taking out the garbage, shopping, and so on. Simply zero in on knowing what you are doing as you are actually doing it.

NOTE:

I have been asked to extend a second slot for the Mindfulness Matters group where I explore this skill in DEPTH over 8 sessions!

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

Learn more about the group HERE!

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

I will be CLOSING the cart on registrations in just a few days so be sure to claim your seat before I do!

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!

Share a comment and tell me how your experience with greater awareness went!

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 – Practicing the Nonjudgmental Stance

One of the key elements of Mindfulness is practicing the non-judgmental stance.

Mindfulness refers to awareness of the present moment without judgment and the thing is… judgments are often difficultfor us to notice and sometimes even more difficult for us to shake.

One thing to keep in mind is that  judgments can be useful. They allowus to have quick descriptions by creating simple categories and they’re fast, shorthand ways of describing preferences and consequences. At timeswe do need to make judgments very quickly in order to act. For example, if we’re driving and someone is swerving into our lane, we have to make a quick judgment in that moment – so judgments sometimes can be useful.

There can be some problems with judgments too. They have a tendency to distract us from what’s actually happening so they might replace facts. In times when we’re judging, we stop observing or becoming aware and noticing what’s going on for us. They also tend to feed negative emotions like a guilt or shame.

Positive judgments can also be a little bit problematic because they can be fragile. Things we often think of as good can very quickly turn bad for us if they don’t meet our expectations. It can be helpful for us to learn to let go of judgments so that when they’re useful for us, we can draw upon them and when they’re not really serving us,  we can actually do something else.

Here are a couple of steps for letting go of judgments that I wanted to share with you. One, just get into the practice of noticing your judgments – keep a tally of them! you can use a journal with the tracking judgments sheet I am including for you. In my Mindfulness Matters group, we use judgment jar where we place a marble in the jar every time there is a judgment that’s shared. That way, we have an opportunity to just stop and notice what it was that brought on the judgment and whether it’s something that’s helpful for us or not and how we can replace it.

I’m including the judgment tracker journal sheet FREE for you to easily integrate into your day!

What you might notice as you start practicing noticing your judgments is that it feels like you’re doing a lot of judging.  Then you might judge the judging. As we’re becoming aware of it, we start noticing more and more. That doesn’t mean we’re doing it more – we’re just becoming more and more aware.

After we start noticing our judgments, we might want to ask ourselves “Is this judgment helping or hurting me?” If the answer is that it’s helping us, we notice ways that we can contribute to our lives and that judgment or that thought that we’re having actually impact us. As a result, we have the option of taking action. If it’s something that’s hurting us, we have some tools for what we can do to let go of that judgment. We might reevaluate and become aware of what it was that we were judging and then replace it with statements of preference. We can also replace judgments with statements of consequences or statements of fact, or things that we’re observing with each of our senses.

In doing this, we practice accepting what it is that we notice.This way, we can more easily allow the judgments to drift away with more and more practice. As you progress, you may notice that there’s more judging and you’re likely going to be tempted to judge that judging. Instead, allow yourself to just notice that and come back to awareness of what’s going on for you.

P.S. I explore this skill in DEPTH through my 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 a few days 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!

Share a comment and tell me how you quoted your inner critic and its judgments today!

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

Get access to more valuable content weekly here!

Discover How To Own Your Worth In Relationships

We love the people who matter to us in our lives. But they have flaws and sometimes those same people we love disappoint us. They treat us unfairly or misunderstand our needs, leaving us feeling hurt, angry or let down. Mindfulness skills can be used to help us preserve self-respect in our own relationships and to guide us toward more healthy relationships too.

When your discomfort alarm rings and you find yourself feeling upset about an interpersonal interaction, first notice your experience without critiquing it. Ask yourself, “Is this fair to me?” If someone is asking you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, or if someone’s behavior ignores or dismisses your feelings and needs, this is NOT fair to you!

Then, take notice of what you’re experiencing and what messages this experience might bring you. If you decide that the situation isn’t fair to you, think about whether you REALLY need to apologize to anyone for what is happening. You may have the urge to apologize, or you may wish the situation were different, but overapologizing puts you in a position of compromising your self-respect and taking responsibility for a situation you don’t own. Remind yourself that it’s OKAY to say no! For example, if you really don’t want to go shopping or meet with a friend for lunch, you don’t need to apologize for wanting time to yourself.

Next, take notice of your values for yourself and in a relationship. With many of the adults in sessions, kids and teens in sessions, I work with them to complete a set of standards to write out in clear language all the ways that want, need and deserve to be treated in a relationship. I also have them write a clause for “dealbreakers” or ways in which another might act or treat them which would be cause for terminating the relationship. I would encourage you to think about your own set of standards, or even a family set of standards!

Finally, be truthful with yourself. Holding a Mindful awareness of our experiences helps us to take notice of our truth in a gentle, compassionate, and nonjudgmental way. If you have a friend who behaves in every way you outlined on your dealbreakers list, it’s time to GET REAL! Think about whether there are any problems you can solve with assertiveness skills and in relationships that cannot be repaired or are too toxic, work towards distancing yourself and setting limits.

Relationships can be tricky, especially when you feel lonely or want so desperately to be connected that you may end up keeping people around who aren’t nourishing and positive for you in your life. Weigh and consider how to focus your life’s energy on the people you love and who bring you joy by setting an intention to bring closer to you those who already meet your set of standards.

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.

**only 5 spaces remain**

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

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!