Be Grateful

Zig Ziglar is credited with saying: “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions.” And he is so right. Of all the emotions we can experience pure gratitude is one that boosts our “feel good” chemicals, increases joy, makes us more mindful, and attracts or brings more good things to our lives. Gratitude costs nothing outside of our effort to be thankful.

Practicing gratitude is like all other things we practice and make habits in our lives. If done daily, even as little as once a day, it can become a habit in as little as 30 days. To do it more than once a day allows us to fully be aware of all the things that we have, that we are thankful for, that are bringing good to our lives. Being focused on these things instead of the things we don’t have, or the things we wish weren’t in our lives, or the things that don’t bring good things to our lives frees us to embrace happiness and joy.

There are many ways to practice gratitude. Mental gratitude – being thankful just in your mind, thinking about the things we are grateful for. Spoken gratitude – speaking out the things we are grateful for. Written gratitude – writing down the things we are thankful for. A combination of gratitude exercises can increase the habit of being grateful daily.

I have been talking about writing as emotional transference quite a bit in sessions recently. Writing can also be very helpful in being grateful to reinforce your gratitude and the habit of being thankful. There are many, many options for gratitude journals online. You can also just as easily use any kind of paper for a journal. You can use a guided or prompting journal that gives you specific things to be grateful for on that date or you can just write about anything you want. There are also many apps that allow you to have gratitude daily. I use the Gratitude Journal – Private diary & affirmations on my phone to keep a daily record of my gratitude. But I also incorporate mental and spoken forms of gratitude during the day and during meditation.

It doesn’t matter what you are grateful for. It can be something big like family, a home, a job, or health or something seemingly insignificant like coffee, a pen, paper, or ink. It is not what you are grateful for that matters it is that you practice BEING grateful every day to increase your own happiness and joy. If you have more on the grateful side of things, you will find that more joy, more happiness, and more things to be grateful for come your way.

Until next time,
Deborah

The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day | Original Creator of The Five Minute Journal – Simple Daily Guided Format – Increase Gratitude & Happiness, Life Planner, Gratitude List

Soar Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Black Rock) (Guided Journals Series)

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One Thing

I have had a lot of conversations lately with people feeling overwhelmed with everything going on in their lives. Feeling as if they try to do one thing and then see all the other things they need to do and move on to something else and something else and ending up doing none of them well and feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.

I have been telling all of the people who are feeling this way that a beginning to gaining some control over these feelings is to do ONE thing. It doesn’t matter what that one thing is, just do ONE thing. Whether that one thing be decompressing in the bathroom or your bedroom of your home when you arrive from work for even 5 minutes. Changing your clothes into something more comfy, washing your face, taking a 5 minute brisk shower, doing 5 minutes of meditation or journal writing BEFORE you engage with other people or things in your home. Just a brief break to gather yourself and your thoughts. And when this one thing is accomplished, recognize it and yourself for having done so. Say it out loud, I have done this one thing, I feel more calm, I can think more clearly.

Another ONE thing can be to take a break when you feel overwhelmed. This can be the most difficult for overwhelmed people to do. The feelings generally push harder on us to get these things done or manage this situation or deal with these people wanting our attention right now all at once. When you start to feel overwhelmed take a break. A break can be just going into another room and doing some deep breathing. A 5 minute or even a 1 minute meditation. Going outside and grounding yourself in nature. Lying on a bed or even the floor and grounding yourself with the 5 steps – What can you see, what can you hear, what can you touch, what can you smell, what can you taste. Wash your face or take a quick brisk shower. Go for a short walk around the place where you are. Color something or do some free writing and emotionally transfer your feelings out of you. One thing, just one thing, can change your mindset in seconds. Again, be sure to recognize the one thing you are doing and recognize what it does for your emotions and how that feels in your body.

If you are driving from school or work to home or somewhere else use the drive to decompress. Do some deep breathing while you are driving. Get into the being mode while driving and notice everything around you during the drive instead of going on automatic pilot and letting your thoughts dominate the drive. Put on some relaxing music or something you like to sing to. Do progressive muscle relaxation while you drive. Don’t spend the drive thinking about all the things that will confront you at your destination and things you cannot control.

Try it out today. Do ONE thing to redirect anxiety and overwhelming feelings. It does not matter what the one thing is just make sure to acknowledge it, notice it, pay attention to how it makes you feel and where you experience that emotion in your body. Do ONE thing every day that centers you.

Until next time,
Deborah
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Laughter Is The Best Medicine

The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” has been spoken for years and even though there may not have been a whole lot of science behind it long ago, there is now. Laughter is one of the most healing therapeutic tools that we all have access to.

Laughing especially an “old fashioned belly laugh” or “laughing until you cry” can cause the release of endorphins from the brain into the blood stream. Endorphins act as pain and stress reducers in the body. They are often referred to as a natural analgesic. Endorphins are released during exercise, when you eat chocolate, and when you laugh.

Some studies have shown that laughter decreases the stress producing hormones of the body including cortisol (a stress hormone very prevalent in women), epinephrine (which increases anxiety reactions), and decreases the effects of some dopamine repressing acids. Other studies have shown that laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity, thereby causing a decrease in depression symptoms.

If you have ever laughed so much that it made you cry or your face muscles or stomach muscles hurt and then right after noticed how you feel – it is almost an anesthetic type of euphoria. I know for myself laughing like this has made me feel completely relaxed afterwards almost as if I had exercised for 30 minutes. It was the same effect on my mind and my body.

Opportunities for laughter can be found all around us. The Internet is quite a resource for finding things that make us laugh in pictures and videos. Movies offer another resource of laughter. Books another. And personal interactions provide some of the best opportunities to laugh.

Laughter truly can be therapy and this book offers some insight into how laughter can help.

Laughter Therapy: How to Laugh About Everything in Your Life That Isn’t Really Funny

Until next time,
Deborah

Mindful Motivation

mindfulmotivation

We all need a little motivation at times. Everyone has days that they struggle to be positive. Things that are difficult come to us all. In those times, it is sometimes helpful to have a little mindful motivation to use as positive affirmations to get us through the hard times. I hope that you find some helpful mindful motivation here today.

I hope you found some mindful motivation for your day here. If you feel you could use some other skills and tools for mindfully motivating yourself, I am accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. You can schedule an appointment by calling 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Until next time,
Deborah

Just Be Happy

So many times, people will say to me, everyone tells me to just be happy. The next thing they usually say is, I can’t just be happy. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. They believe they cannot just be happy, and so they are not. But it is not true that they cannot just be happy, if they pay attention to the thoughts that dominate their minds.

I usually follow up with the question, why are you not happy? And 9 times out of 10, I get the answer, I don’t know. Which, is true, and then again, it isn’t true. If there are many negative, self-defeating, self-doubting, self-judging thoughts in their minds, they truly may not be able to pick just one and say, THIS is why I am not happy. But it isn’t true that they truly do not know any reason why they are not happy. People know why they are not happy. They know what they think. They know what thoughts they believe. Acknowledging these things however, is another story entirely.

The next time you find yourself feeling unhappy, stop, and examine the thoughts you have been thinking. Truly look at them. Writing them down is even better, that way you can actually see them. What are you thinking when you are unhappy? It’s not just, I’m unhappy. There were a lot of thoughts leading up to that point. Are the thoughts about yourself? Are they about how you see yourself compared to others? Are they about yourself in relationships? Are they about yourself and your work? Are they about yourself and your grades? Are they about yourself and your family? Notice, every one of those questions included yourself. Almost every negative thought we have includes us. We may say, I am unhappy because my mother expects me to be perfect and think that is only about our mother. It is about how we FEEL about what our mother is projecting onto us. It is about how we feel that we cannot be perfect or good enough. It is NOT about our mother. Every thought has to be examined for what it says about us.

And this is where the trouble comes. If we have to acknowledge that our unhappiness is because of what we think, feel, believe about ourselves and not about others or outside events, then we have to do work on ourselves. We always prefer to have others change, to have events change, but to have ourselves change, that is where we draw the line. And why do we do this? Because we are afraid of what happens if we do change. Because we live in fear.

If we want to just be happy, we have to just be willing to come to the truth of why we are not happy. Start by looking in the mirror and asking questions and really digging down to the bottom line – I am the reason I cannot just be happy and how do I change the only thing I can change – myself.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (adolescent and adult females) for counseling. Please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com to schedule an initial consultation.

Boundaries

Many of the problems humans suffer are as a result of unhealthy boundaries. These unhealthy boundaries start when we are very young by the way we allow others to treat us and make us feel. We are made to feel inadequate, or less than, by other people. We are in unhealthy situations where we are expected to be caretakers of others because our caretakers cannot function appropriately. We are made to feel as though we should be doormats for other people’s feelings, unresolved anger and trauma, or piled upon with heaping doses of guilt that are not ours to carry.

Regardless of how we come to allow people to treat us, we then start to believe this is how we should function in every relationship. We will always act as a doormat or a caretaker or that our needs mean nothing or our feelings are unimportant or we have to avoid making other people mad to avoid conflict or abuse. There can be many, many ways that we allow unhealthy boundaries and they can be very difficult to overcome.

How then do we move away from unhealthy boundaries? First, we must believe that we deserve to be treated better and that having boundaries is necessary. Second, we must love ourselves enough to implement boundaries regardless of how it makes others feel. Third, we must be willing to hold the line every time. Fourth, we must be prepared that the people we care about most will be the ones who push back the hardest when we enforce our boundaries.

If we have spent our entire lives allowing people to treat us in certain ways and expect that we will behave in certain ways when they do, we cannot expect that they will not be upset when we no longer comply. They will be very upset. They will take it personally. They will become angry with us. They will push back and want to reinforce that you have no boundaries. It will be very difficult to maintain the line. But if you are to be happy, to love yourself, to embrace what you deserve, you must hold the line.

We must start to draw our boundaries one event, one relationship at a time. We must find our voice to say no. We must express our feelings without anger yet filled with the truth. We must reinforce to ourselves daily, sometimes by the second, what we deserve, how we want to be treated, and that we love ourselves enough to have our relationships with others changed or abandoned.

Where do you need to start holding the line in your life?

Until next time,
Deborah

I am currently accepting new clients (girls and women) for counseling. If you would like to schedule a FREE initial consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com

Ties That Bind

Sometimes the ties that bind are also the same ties that keep us bound. These ties can also be impossible to break because they are genetically woven into our brains. The tie that binds most is between mother and child.

All children are bound to their mothers at the very innermost levels. It does not matter if their mothers are caring and kind or if they are abusive and destructive. Children still want that relationship with their mothers. The relationship that is ingrained in their genetics. The one that wants nurturing, wants caring, wants love.

Many of the people I talk to trace their own negative beliefs, their own poor choices, their own sadness to their own mothers. Many of their negative beliefs are based on things their mother said to them or things they didn’t say. Many of their emotions – sadness, anger – they trace back to their mothers neglecting them, abusing them, abandoning them. But not a single person I have ever talked to has ever said that they wouldn’t want to have a relationship with their mother, that they wouldn’t want to go back to live with them, that they still don’t want their mother to love them. They all say that they want all those things, no matter what their mother has done to them.

Children want their mother’s approval and many spend their entire lives trying to get it. They want their mother’s love and will do anything to try and have it even if it isn’t real love but only something they take as love because it is all they will get. They want that relationship more than anything and without it they become damaged because genetically we all need it.

Unfortunately, the relationship may never be what the child craves. So then, how does one live with that loss. With time and understanding of who you really are separate from that tie. Understanding that your negative beliefs may not be your beliefs at all. Understanding that the choices your mother made were because of her own beliefs and emotions and that it was not about you. Understanding that having a relationship with your mother may be one where you have to accept that she is who she is and that may never change.

It can be that you can live beyond this tie. That you can come to understand your place in it. And that you can live as your true self separate from it. That you can be less bound to it if it is something that causes you pain. Sometimes undoing the ties that bind can set you free.

Until next time,
Deborah

I am now accepting girls and women for counseling. If you would like to set up an Initial Consultation please call 406-413-9904 or email mindfulmontanawellness@gmail.com