Be Proud Of Yourself

As humans, we are so very quick to criticize ourselves, have less faith in ourselves, create negative beliefs about ourselves. We are even more quick to allow others to criticize us, lose faith in us, say negative things about us. The negative is easy. It’s like slipping into a stretched out pair of old sweatpants – it’s easy. We become comfortable there. We believe it is who we are and what we deserve no matter what good things we are doing, believing, creating.

If we spent even one tenth of the time that we spend on putting on the negative on the positive things about ourselves our lives would look completely different. We would be amazed at the positiveness of our lives, of our minds, of our spirits. When we focus on the negative our focus becomes negative. It prevents us from recognizing the positive in ourselves and in others. What we slip into is what we become.

For just one moment, think of one positive thing about yourself. It can be anything. A part of your personality, something you are good at, anything you do well, choices you have made, anything that is even minimally positive, anything that creates even minimal steps forward, anything that makes you smile and feel good about yourself.

Every time you do something make a positive choice, that you choose to be kind, that you accomplish anything and anything can be as simple as getting out of bed, when you think something positive instead of negative, when you feel good about anything you do or anything you don’t do. If you do something well at school or at your job be proud. If you choose to get up and get dressed be proud. If you choose forgiveness over anger be proud. If you choose to be positive instead of negative be proud.

Acknowledge yourself. Pay attention to your positive self. Notice each individual good no matter how small. Allow yourself to be proud of you. It is okay to be proud of yourself. In fact, it is necessary for a positive life. If you are always waiting, looking, expecting to find someone else to be proud of you until you can feel proud and happy you need to stop and look at yourself.

Be proud of yourself – not just in the big things – but in everything.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904 email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or click the Book Now button on Facebook

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Building Walls

Building walls has been a very popular topic for the last few months. I thought it might be a good time to talk about mental walls. The kind that many people construct every single day adding to them brick by brick until they are trapped behind a wall of their own making wondering why they are there.

Mental walls are constructed first by the negative messages we receive into our brains. These messages can come from family, friends, strangers, or ourselves. We can be imprinted with them from very young ages in the form of brain chemical messages. They become part of our environment when repeated over and over. We then start to believe they must be true, especially those from those we love and who are supposed to take care of us – mother, father, romantic partner. We believe them and we add a brick.

With time, we continue to add bricks from outside messages but add to those our own inside messages. We meet new people and these messages present themselves from the first words out of our mouths. They must be thinking I am (insert negative message here – fat, stupid, not good enough, ugly, and on an on). Immediately we begin to add bricks to forming any kind of new relationship. We shut down, we pull away, we create our own separation. We push others away by our own beliefs. We assume that we know what they are thinking because others have thought the same and said so and we have thought the same and believe it. It becomes our truth and our reality.

The wall grows with each and every negative thought. Soon we cannot see over it and we feel alone. Soon we cannot go around it and we feel trapped. Soon we cannot break through it and we feel helpless. But by repeating what we were told and by believing it, we have created the wall and our own misery.

So how do we break it down? The same way we built it, one brick at a time. By examining each one and asking, what evidence, what actual truth is there to support this brick? What are the positives I can put in place of this brick to destroy it? Can I allow others to say what they think of me before I assume I already know?

Most walls are built with the a very few beliefs repeated over and over. Processing them, questioning them, replacing them one at a time is how you demolish your wall. Pick a brick and get started.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you think you need help deconstructing your walls, set up a FREE initial consultation appointment with me to see if you think we can work together to accomplish this. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up an appointment.

What You Feed

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The story in the picture spells out perfectly what happens with where we allow our thoughts to live. The things we constantly think are the food to our own personal wolves. Feeding them, growing them, providing them with life is what we do with what we think.

If our thoughts dwell in negative spaces such as anger, blame, self-doubt, lies, jealousy, worry, and other negative thoughts and feed those to our mind, body, spirit (wolf) that is the wolf we will grow. That is the wolf we will make stronger. That is the wolf we will then be living with every moment of every day.

If, on the other hand, or the other wolf, our thoughts dwell in positive spaces such as peace, love for ourselves and others, hope, kindness, truth, self-confidence, taking responsibility, faith, and other positive thoughts and feed those to our mind, body, spirit (wolf) that is the wolf we will grow. This wolf will grow and become stronger. This wolf will be living with us every moment of every day.

So which wolf grows stronger? The one you CHOOSE to feed. Even though constant, repeated thoughts become automatic after years of thinking them, you can still train yourself and your mind to choose differently. You can CHOOSE what thoughts you think or you can CHOOSE to replace thoughts with different thoughts. You choose which wolf you feed.

If you have been feeding the negative wolf, when the negative thoughts pop up replace them immediately with positive thoughts. Repeatedly do this over and over and those thoughts will become automatic and they will also nourish and grow your positive wolf. It will become so strong it will overpower the negative wolf just as in real life, the strongest survive, the ones who are fed well survive.

What do you feed? Mindfully, consciously, you can choose which wolf to grow.

Until next time,
Deborah

Mindful Montana Wellness is now accepting new clients, adolescent girls and adult women, for professional counseling. Schedule a FREE initial consultation by emailing mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or calling 406-413-9904

Choose Happy

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC Professional Counseling Services Blog

Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” When I present happiness as a choice to many people, they will many times look at me as if I have lobsters coming out of my head. As if this is an absolutely false statement and that there is no way people can choose to be happy.

While they are looking at me in disbelief, they are also telling me all the reasons they cannot choose to be happy. They were sexually or physically abused, their parents divorced or their parents abandoned them in some way, their family was or is dysfunctional, they were or are being bullied, their relationships with family and others were or are bad or difficult, they believe they are bad or damaged or ugly or stupid or any number of other negative thoughts and lies they have told themselves, people have done or are doing this and it MAKES them unhappy, or any number of other things as a reason for why they cannot be happy. They go on to say how they just can’t let that go and choose to be happy.

Why not? People choose to be unhappy. They choose to let the past, events, people, their own thoughts make them sad or anxious. We aren’t born sad. We become sad because we let the things that happen to us and around us make us believe negative things about ourselves. We feel responsible and blame ourselves or we feel victimized and blame others or events. Then we become unhappy. We are made unhappy by our own thoughts about people and events.

I am not saying that traumatic events are not sad or upsetting, they are. It is natural to feel these emotions at the time of the events and even for some time after, but when they become the thing that drives every emotion, every choice, every thought after that every day of your life – you are making a choice every day when you wake up that unhappy is how you will feel. No other emotion or thought is given a chance to see the light of day.

How then do you choose happy? You come to the truth of what started you on the path of unhappiness. You process exactly what happened, who was at fault, and how to walk through it not live in it. Sometimes people need help to do this and that is where counseling comes in. Once you have made this journey, you can then begin to let those things go as rulers of your life and mind. And replace them with what is happening right now, this moment and making the choice every single day and yes every single moment to choose happy. Just as the choice was made up to this point to be unhappy over and over millions of times a day, the choice can be made to be happy over and over millions of times a day.

Today, when the negative thoughts and emotions you have return, take a few seconds and counter them with a positive. There are always, always positives if you look for them, notice them, say them, write them down. They can be big or very very small things. Today, for every negative thought, emotion, memory insert something positive. If you have hours a day to spend on negative things, you have hours a day to spend on positive. It is all in what you think, what yous say, what you do, what you let go of, what you replace.

You have the power, not events, not people, not the past, not the future, to make you happy or unhappy. Choose happy.

Until next time,
Deborah

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC is accepting new clients in Billings Montana (and video/online clients in all of Montana) – girls and women – for professional counseling. To schedule a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904, email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com or visit our Facebook page Mindful Montana Wellness on Facebook

Free To Change

The only thing that prevents anyone from changing their lives and thoughts is fear. Fear is the most powerful emotion in the world, stronger than anger, stronger than love, it is fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from making change in our lives. There are three main reasons people fear from changing themselves – fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of loss – and they prevent progress.

Because of this fear, most people try to change everything BUT themselves. They try to change how others act, think, and treat them. They try to change the past or future. They try to change everything that is outside their circle of control – which is everything outside of them. When in truth, the only thing anyone can ever change is inside their own bag of bones – nothing else. But that is so much harder and so much more fearful.

Fear of the unknown is present when people have become accustomed to the way things are.  No matter how bad, how repetitive the issues and thoughts, how miserable they are – what they know about how they feel and live is much less fearful than what they don’t know or what they fear may happen if they change.  How will they feel, how will they live their lives, who will they be if they don’t have the constant misery they current live with – the thing that has become their constant companion – their best friend.  Like an warm blanket, they cover themselves with the misery they know rather than letting go of fear and making changes to themselves.  They want to know what will happen, constantly anxious about the future. If they stay in the present misery they know what will happen – the same things that have happened for years.  People do not fear what they know.

Many people fear that change means losing control.  They have a false sense of control believing that they have some effect on other people, on situations, on the past or the future.  These are all lies we tell ourselves so that our actions can be justified and so that we can blame others for our misery.  Since we cannot control ourselves, our thoughts, our actions, our pain we must control others and we can see it as the only control we have.  It is all fake control, all a lie, there is NO control of anything outside of our own skin to believe otherwise is to lie to yourself and everyone else.

Many people who fear change also fear loss.  This may be the greatest block to change of the three.  We fear that if we change we will lose those we love and care about.  If we stop making bad choices for ourselves – drugs, drinking, sex – the people we do these things with will not want to be around us anymore.  If we refuse to let others treat us badly, to keep rehashing the past, holding guilt and blame over us – they will stop talking to us, cut us out of their lives.  If we change ourselves and build ourselves up, we may realize we should end relationships and we fear being alone.  We are too afraid of what others will do as a result of our change that we continue on the same as we always have regardless of how miserable we are.

The only thing we can change is what is inside our own skin – our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, our processing of the past and welcoming of the future.  The only way to make these changes is to let go of fear.  Fear is the enemy of change.  Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change themselves cannot change anything.

Until next time,

Deborah

I am now accepting new clients for counseling – adolescent girls and adult women.  If you think counseling can help you on the path to changing yourself call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a free initial consultation.

Enhance Your Calm

Enhance your calm and be well. So many of my clients struggle with anxiety related issues and find it hard to be calm. Whether it is non-stop thoughts, worrying about what other people say or think about them, inability to sleep or sleep well, social situations, past events or traumas they find it hard to notice the present moment, breathe, and relax. With just a few changes or additions to your daily routine, you can learn to enhance your calm and be well.

Everyone is so busy or think they are so busy that they often feel they cannot incorporate any calming strategies into their lives. However, many of those calming activities can take just a few short minutes each day. If you cut a few minutes off your time spent on your phone or other devices you could find the time very quickly to enhance your calm.

Meditation practice offers many ways to incorporate calm into your life. Headspace is a guided meditation app I have used for years. It offers a free option with 10 basic meditation units that you can use over and over again to become more calm. It also offers a paid version that has meditation units as short as 1 minute in length and other units that are targeted to specific situations. Meditation is not about learning how to STOP thinking it is about learning to notice your thoughts and let them GO. Seeing your thoughts as clouds and that just pass through, not as plants that put down roots and stay.

Another way to enhance your calm quickly is practicing deep breathing techniques. There are several techniques to practice and you may find you benefit from one more than another. It just takes practice. You can practice before sleep, while driving, on the bus, in class or at work, while you are scanning your electronic devices. Everyone has a few minutes to spare to enhance their calm.

Progressive muscle relaxation is another way to enhance your calm that once you have practiced it only takes a few minutes as well. Once you have learned the “script” by practicing multiple times, you will be able to achieve deep relaxation throughout your muscles with head to toe calm.

Essential oils can be an additional item to use to manage anxiety and stress. Using aromatherapy through diffusers, applying oils to cotton balls, or just breathing them as you are doing deep breathing practice can enhance your calm dramatically. Some of the best oils to use for anxiety and stress are Valerian, Jatamansi, Lavendar, Bergamot, Chamomile, Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver, Frankincense, Clary Sage, Holy Basil are all very good at enhancing your calm. Blends of these oils are even more effective. Always use pure, organic oils for aromatherapy to get the best results.

Some other ways to enhance your calm that you can add on to these more practiced ways include exercise even if it’s just a little bit to release endorphins, very dark chocolate at least 80% cocoa, laughing A LOT, and a nice cup of Sleepytime tea from time to time.

If you find yourself getting on to your phone or other device and thinking you will spend just a few minutes only to realize you’ve been at it for hours, binge watch full seasons of shows on Netflix in a weekend, or spending a lot of time wondering how to feel less anxious – you have time to use some of these ways to enhance your calm and be well.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you think counseling can help you enhance your calm more and learn how to let go of some of the things that keep you anxious and worried, I am accepting new clients (adolescent girls and adult women) for counseling. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up a FREE initial consultation.

The Boss Of You

When we are growing up, we have people who can appear to be the boss of us. Parents, teachers, employers, friends, romantic relationships, or just about anyone who we feel has the ability or authority to tell us what to do and how to do it. Also as we grow, we start to develop the ability and the desire to make our own choices, to be the boss of ourselves. The struggle comes when we have the ability to make our own choices but we continue to let others or our own negative thoughts make them for us.

Over time, our own negative thoughts can become louder than the words of any real person or even our own words. Much like the voice of a military drill sergeant, it is constantly talking to us, repeating the same negative thoughts over and over. Many times it can sound like the voice of someone in our life who was critical of us, who abused us, who hurt us in some way, someone whose voice makes us feel even worse about ourselves. This voice becomes the boss of you.

Listening to this voice every day reinforces the negative things and your brain believes that these things are true. This voice becomes the boss of you and it is no longer you making decisions about your emotions, your choices, your life but it is the voice.

What if when the negative voice speaks to you, instead of going along with it and believing it, you talk back to it with something positive. It takes practice and it takes time and it takes doing it over and over. You did not come to the place of having your negative thoughts be the boss of you overnight and you won’t replace them overnight. As long as you let the negative thoughts continue to boss you, your brain continues to believe them and then looks for ways to make them true.

If you have the same negative thoughts repeatedly, write them down. For each negative thought you write down, write a positive thought next to it. Example, “what happened to you was your fault” positive “I did the best I could at the time” or “what happened to me was not my fault”. Rate your percentage of belief of your positive thought on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being you barely believe it to 10 being you totally believe it. If you find positive thoughts with a higher percentage of you believing them to be true, use those. However, your brain will start to believe the positive things you tell it if you say them over and over just as it has done with the negative things.

Start today to be the boss of you. One thought at a time.

Until next time,
Deborah

If you are a teen girl or adult woman or know one who could benefit from learning how to be the boss of their own thoughts and lives, I offer FREE Initial consultation appointments to see if counseling with me is a good fit. Call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to set up an appointment.