The Power of a Mind-Shift to Ease into Change

 
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Here we are almost at the Autumnal Equinox defining the changing of seasons. With this movement from the warmth and fun energy of the summer into the cool and focused energy of the fall, how to approach change with grace has been on my mind. Within a single moment I have the power to focus on what I perceive as positive about this change such as more work, beautiful scenery, lower electric bill OR what I perceive as negative about this change such as less daylight, looming cold temperatures, less fun to be had roaming around the city. It’s all about my momentary perspective and how I choose to view this particular inevitable change and how that directly impacts my mood state.

Change is constant and may or may not be within our control. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, we may potentially experience changes in mood, circumstances, relationships, jobs, weight, finances, seasons, locations and so on. Resistance to change only causes suffering, pain and an increase in discomfort in mind, body and spirit.  

Ultimately, our perspective is the most valuable tool we have in creating a powerful mind-shift towards change that can lead to personal growth and personal transformation. When you align with how you want to feel, you align with the flow of change and you can create a perspective that matches your experience. You own this power, no one else can create it for you.

Life is weird. Life is hard. Life is painful. Life is beautiful. Life is miraculous.

These are all true statements and all of them exist as truth at the exact same time. The truth comes from our personal circumstances and individual perspectives. We cannot go through life without adversity and yet we tend to fear and resist it. While we may not welcome or encourage adversity, when you approach it with a mind-shift from resistance to accepting a message about your own personal lesson embedded within the seemingly dark time, it can open you up to the opportunity to develop resilience and create the positive experience of acceptance and growth. Resistance and avoidance only lead to increased fear, pain and suffering. Resilience leads to growth, personal strength and empowerment.

In every life event there is a message, a lesson to be gained and the opportunity for growth and personal evolution. Abraham Maslow (creator of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) says, “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” Forward is the only direction that leads to contentment and inner peace.

What is occurring in your life at this time that you could stand to offer a new internal perspective?

Where could you use a big-time mind-shift?

Creating a powerful mind shift is essentially problem solving in its highest, most productive form.

The most beautiful element of this is that you get a choice. You get to choose as how you will think about, respond to and learn from challenges within your life as they are presented to you. 

How do you want to feel?

How do you want to grow?

How do you want to create a mind-shift that opens you up to new possibilities and potential outcomes?

Today, give yourself time to journal. It is said that the way to move from your head to your heart is through your hand. Writing down your challenges and taking time to reflect on this specific challenging circumstance within your life is healing and life enhancing. How can you look at this circumstance with a differently and fresh perspective?

Is there any potential mind-shift that can create a whole new way to approach to this challenge, a whole new perspective for you?

Whatever your present challenge or perspective on change, giving yourself time for self-reflection, self-awareness and self-exploration will lead you closer towards acceptance and contentment. Be kind to yourself throughout this process, this mind-shift is especially difficult to access in times of challenge, however, it is worth the effort to get there.

When it all seems like too much, I use the mantra All Will Be Well to help create the mind-shift. When you know that in the end it will all be ok, so if it’s not ok, it’s not yet the end.

I will be diving into the concepts of positive psychology this fall to help guide the journey towards approaching change with acceptance and growing in resilience. Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

Has shifting your perspective created deeper awareness and acceptance for you? I’d love to hear your story!

Welcoming Change

 
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Hello and Happy September! Now that the summer is coming to a close I’m back to writing a weekly blog. I hope you had a great summer and that you are ready to dive into the fall and to begin (re)focusing on your commitment to your overall health and wellbeing.

As we welcome a new month and a new season, we need to be prepared to welcome change. Change can be tricky for some, uncomfortable for most, and we all tend to resist change in one way or another. Why is that? I have a few ideas… Over the next several weeks I’ll be writing about change and how to embrace it with grace, preparation and even some positivity.

Positive psychology is a whole branch of psychology dedicated to the science of happiness. You know science-y people, they love a formula and measurements and outcomes in order to create “evidence-based practices” that you can engage in for a specific desired result. I don’t think mental/physical/emotional wellbeing can be achieved through an exact formula and replicated for each individual person. However, this branch of psychology has some very useful tools you can integrate in your own way. I am more of a practice person and I like to study and learn about it all— but really I feel that I need to experience something before making a decision about its efficacy. Positive psychology offers a system of practices that help build awareness and development of your internal strengths and then using these strengths to weather the inevitable storms in life. The focus is more on utilizing and knowing and accessing your personal values and inner strength within, in order to create a more peaceful inner state and overall wellbeing.

Over then next several posts I’ll be talking about resistance to change, how to approach change and using themes and offerings from positive psychology that offer useful, practical and doable tools to manage any challenges (like fear and resistance) to change. I do know that wellness is a wholistic state and a wholistic practice. Wellness is not only about eating well, exercising, self-care and sleep. While those are all super valuable components to be, feel and live well, if our minds aren’t right it’s tough to engage in these wellness practices consistently. Positive psychology offers solutions and anecdotes to some of the challenges, anxieties and stressors presented inevitably by life and specifically in response to change.

Some themes you can expect to learn more about here (with encouragement and ideas to practice them!) are elements such as:

  • Mindfulness (yeah I know, I talk about mindfulness A LOT, but it’s super central to feeling good & overall wellbeing!)

  • Solution-focused problem solving

  • Savoring

  • Gratitude

  • Hope

  • Equanimity

  • Balance

  • Living in flow

  • Contentment

  • Positive thinking/challenging & understanding the origins of negative thoughts

  • Identify, building and using your inner strength

  • Aligning with you personal values

  • Optimism

  • Creating your own personal definition of happiness

So here’s to a new season, welcoming the changes that are to come and building on your internal resources to roll with these changes in order to grow, evolve and create a an opportunity to up-level your life!

I’ll leave you, for now, with this wisdom to contemplate throughout the week:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Rumi

Breaking Free From the ALL or NOTHING Trap

 
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Often when we set out on a journey towards change, we want to jump ALL the way in and create a complete overhaul. When we decide we want change, we want that change NOW! However, this complete overhaul approach is not the most effective method of change—especially for the long-term.

When you attempt to jump ALL in, it can lead to feelings of frustration and failure if you are not able to maintain the momentum that is initially available. Trying to be perfect and creating lifestyle extremes in order to generate the change you’d like will only set you up for the other end of ALL in—nothing…

For many of us, especially when related to health and wellness, when we make a decision to change, we often want everything to be perfect. This desire has been created by the dieting industry lies and social media influencers who seem to do it ALL, have it ALL and manage it ALL so well that makes us feel that we need to exert extreme external control over our choices. The dieting, food and fitness industry wants us to believe that we have to be ALL IN with their particular theory in order to receive the desired outcome, be it weight loss, lower blood pressure, or anything else.

This simply is not true and is most definitely not sustainable. While yes, absolutely, being committed to your ultimate desired outcome is super important, however, being committed to your health does not mean you have to be rigid or take the ALL route to extreme measures. In fact, the rigidity and need to perfect only feeds into stress and fear and can cause an opposite response than desired when it comes to being/feeling/living more healthfully. Another problem with the all or nothing stance is that life will inevitably throw us challenges, there will inevitably be setbacks along the way towards change. When you can view a setback as simply that—a temporary setback—rather than as a failure, you will be FAR more likely to stick with it. This surely is better than falling into the nothing extreme.

One of the most effective ways to shift from an all or nothing mentality is to look at your ultimate goal and then break-it-down. Begin by identifying your specific goal. Then assess the specific steps you will need to take to meet your goal. Identify one of the steps you can take and then cut it in half—and maybe even in half again. You want your action steps to be doable within your current life.

With this process your progress may not be immediate but it will definitely be doable and manageable within your life. If your action step is doable it will be sustainable and will not feel overwhelming. If your action step keeps you stuck in an expectation of being ALL in ALL the time (perfectionism-yikes) and when you no longer can sustain it (and therefore don’t achieve it perfectly) you will fall back into the camp of nothing.

The trick is making consistent progress and not stressing about the final desired outcome. The trick is to break it down and make it SO doable that you do not feel at all overwhelmed or like a failure if it is not perfect. When you set yourself up with too much too quickly it is not likely that you will continue once you have a curve ball thrown into your life or that your motivation will keep up with level of intensity needed to so quickly attain your desired outcome.

The middle road is always the most sustainable. The middle road is always the most realistic and manageable—and this goes for all change. Evaluate your current goals and recognize where you may be able to make some adjustments in order to fine tune your focus, your action steps and create a rhythm of change that fits seamlessly into your life. When you do this and then take action consistently, change WILL occur, progress WILL be made, and you will find that you will meet your goals over and over again.