Are You a Hater?

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Ever find yourself making this face? Yeah, not so pretty is it?! It’s like you have to put actual, conscious effort into making this face. That means sending disdain and negativity into your body in order to make this expression! 

What? Why?! Sounds terrible, right? 

So why do we sometimes create negativity from within ourselves and send it outwards into the world via this nasty face?

– You don’t like someone.

– Something is not working out in your favor.

– You see someone as the competition.

On the surface you may say, “yeah, I can see myself hating on someone for those reasons.” In that case, I challenge you to take a deeper look at why you are hating…

– Are you jealous? Probably! Find out why.

– Are you reflecting on your own weaknesses when you see someone else excelling? 

– Do you secretly feel everything should work out for you? Why? What makes you so special?

Don’t hate, appreciate. 

How can you turn that awful face and self-created hate into positive appreciation for the person or thing?

– See the person as a blessing that’s pushing you to be better (the competition trigger).

– Understand your jealousy towards someone, and instead, use that energy to work on improving yourself versus beating others down (the “don’t like” trigger).

– See how this situation can be a learning experience and benefit you down the road (the “not in my favor” trigger).

Ever caught yourself making this face or creating the hate? Tell us about it! What did you do to correct it ? Share your comments below!

Be your best self today,

Brittany

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Check out this blog!

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Check out this hilarious, straight forward, and real-life blog! I don’t often recommend other blogs. But when I do, trust me, they’re good! 

More specifically, check out his article “16 ways I blew my marriage”. We can ALL benefit from acknowledging the behaviors he calls attention to, and recommended “do over” approaches. 

http://www.danoah.com/2012/10/16-ways-i-blew-my-marriage.html

What do you think? Share your comments below!

Change Vs. Progress

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 “Only two things in life are certain – death and taxes.” Heard this before? Definitely rings true during tax season! But I’d like to propose that something else is certain as well:

Change.

While it often seems that we’re stuck in a rut, we know that change will come. Why? Because it has every time before! We used to be little, then we grew. We used to have flip phones, now we have iPhones.  We used to have no clue about our health, now we’re educated on how to be healthy.

 We know change is coming; yet we still talk about making changes as if it’s some elusive challenge. Change is certain. Progress is not.

So what’s progress? Progress in your fitness? Nutrition? Overall health? If change is anything different from the status quo, then progress is a change that is more specific, goal-oriented, and measurable. 

Progress is a measure of relativity. You’re moving towards change in a specific direction. Movement on that trajectory is identified as progress. If you altered your habits to lose weight, but it resulted in weight gain, this is change but not progress. If you started a healthy diet to lose weight, and we’re gradually losing the weight, this is progress.

You need a goal in order to measure progress from change. PS- “I want to be healthy” is not a goal, it’s a statement. Make sure your goal has specifics, a timeline, and is measurable. 

Specifics: Try “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables daily” versus “I will eat healthy”. By articulating the specific thing you will do, you will be more likely to actually do it!

Timeline: Create timeframes, start dates, and deadlines for yourself. Otherwise, your “Someday” will likely never come. Here’s a sample of a timeline – “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables daily for 6 consecutive weeks, beginning March 9th.”

Measurement: How do you know you’re not at your goal already? How do you know if you’re making progress towards your goal? Most importantly, how will you know when you’ve reached your goal? Measurement. This is key to the whole process of making progress and achieving your best self.

Ask yourself these questions to assess your goal for measurability:

–       Can you count it?

–       Can you create a percentage from your results to determine your progress? (i.e. I ate 3 servings of veggies 3 out of 5 days thus far= 60% progress towards goal).

 –       Can you make adjustments to your goal based on your findings from your percentage and experience? (i.e. maybe only 2 servings of veggies daily is more reasonable for you. Maybe 5 days weekly versus 7 is better for you).

*This is not to say that you should lower your standards, but continuing to progress on an adjusted goal is more beneficial than failing miserably on a strict, unattainable goal.

Ok, Let’s go over what we know:

–       We know that change will come. The question is how, when, and in which direction?

–       We know that progress is necessary for improvement, not just change.

–       We need a goal in order to distinguish progress from change.

–       Our goal needs to be specific, have a timeline, and be measurable in order to evaluate progress.

 If you don’t have a plan, you plan to fail. So make a plan, make progress and achieve your goals. This success will build your momentum for future goals and future successes. Progress, not change, is necessary to become your best self

Caretaker Syndrome

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Ever feel that some of your relationships resemble the picture above? You- taking care of a person who is supposed to be your spouse, partner, equal, peer?

Do you have days when talking with this person is more of a chore than an asset to your day?

Ever feel so exhausted by all the giving, listening, and care-taking you do for others that you don’t have time to take care of yourself?

Want this to be different? Want to be taken care of too?

You first have to ask yourself ‘How is this relationship serving you?’

There’s a good chance that you’re getting something out of serving others. Maybe it’s a way to be close to the people we’re taking care of, giving your life more purpose, or giving you something to complain about with others (this can be valid too!).

No, I’m not talking about taking care of Great Aunt Margaret. I’m talking about the relationships in your life that seem like you’re the one doing all the giving, and when the tables are turned, this person is not there to listen, support, and validate your needs as well.

Get what you want out of the relationship by making the following changes:

Take inventory- notice the times when you feel drained after being with this person. What was talked about? What happened? How do you feel after leaving that situation?

Ask for what you want- These people aren’t mind readers! Tell them what you need and see what happens. PS- this will be a pivotal point in the relationship!

Learn from a taker- Make sure you’re not draining others with your emotional needs. Ask yourself ‘Is the conversation balanced? Am I listening? When do I give back to them?’ 

Ever been in a relationship or friendship like this? Share your story below! How did it change? Or did it have to end?

Is your life a disorganized bookshelf?

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‘Is she really comparing my life to a bookshelf?’ you might be asking yourself. The answer is yes. If you’re like me, then your life IS like a disorganized bookshelf.

What do I mean? Our mind works like a series shelves and compartments. We see something, think something, experience something, and then we categorize it. These categories act as compartments and cubbies in our brains- strictly organizing the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of ourselves and others accordingly.  The categories, compartments, and cubbies are created based on our mental schemas, or mind frames. For instance, if you’re religious, you may believe that premarital sex is bad. That belief acts a blueprint for other thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to be categorized. So if a friend shares something about their relationship, you may categorize them as good or bad based on your pre-developed schema. Got it? 

Make space in your bookshelf. Make space for new ideas, feelings, and a new schema. Think about the schemas and mind frames your parents hold. How are yours similar and different? How did you develop different schemas than your parents on the same principles/thoughts? Your experience! And thank goodness for it! If our thoughts and perspective stayed the same for generations, then we wouldn’t have civil rights and marriage equality. 

So how are the cubbies on your bookshelf serving you? Or not serving you? What categories should you eliminate, combine, or make more room for? Hint: Making more room to explore your rationalization for certain schemas, being open to new schemas, and new labels for healthier schemas is key! Until we accept our need for growth and make it a priority, your bookshelf will appear full and crowded. Get rid of what’s not serving you for some new books (ideas)!

Your bookshelf is for practicing containment. For instance, one cubby of your bookshelf (the self-help section!) may be overflowing with books, going all different directions, and very few have actually been read. Sound familiar? You may have some anxiety around wondering ‘Am I good enough? I feel like an impostor. I’m lacking fulfillment.’  You may have found several things that could be helpful, but you’re not sure what’s actually going to work. Feeling some uncertainty? Overwhelm? So how well can you sit with these feelings- the anxiety, uncertainty, incompetence? My guess is not good. Most of us struggle with these feelings.

What can you do about it? Become an observer of yourself! Take a step back and look at what you do when you experience these feelings. Do you rush out to buy another book or “something that will make the feeling go away?” Observe the feeling and your reactions to it without being judgmental. Take responsibility for the feeling by stating them out loud“I’m don’t feel adequate in my job.”

When you’re immediate remedy doesn’t alleviate the feeling (buying that book), what’s your next move? Tip: placing judgment on yourself or the feeling won’t help here. So don’t hate, appreciate. The feelings are signals. That’s it. Use them as such. What are they really trying to tell you? Tip #2: it’s usually not the surface thing you think it’s telling you. Dig deeper by observing. Contain the feelings not but suppressing them, but by allowing them some space on your bookshelf, acknowledging them (out loud!), and being aware of your reactions to them.

So how will you clean up your bookshelf? Here are some suggestions:

– Get rid of the books (mental schemas) that aren’t serving you. i.e. You’re not good enough, You will never succeed. These aren’t good books, trust me 🙂

– Reorganize the books your want to keep. Know where to find books like You Are Loved and You have support at a moments notice. These are the best books to reread as needed! 

– Leave open space on your bookshelf for future readings. Being open to new ideas about yourself and world requires mental space to do so. So make room for the You that will continue to grow and evolve in your career, relationships, and life. 

Tell us about your mental bookshelf below. How have you organized it for the better? Share your experience now!

Happiness is a State of Mind

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I don’t get outside often enough in the winter. But when I do, I’m very grateful for the experience. During winter, I hear people complaining all the time about the weather, the snow, how terrible it is to live in a cold climate, etc. Yes, I’m guilty of some of these statements too.

But you know what? They are just excuses! Excuses not to be happy. Excuses not to enjoy our day. Excuses not to appreciate the beauty of winter and snow. Excuses not to take responsibility for the choice we made to live where we do.

No, I don’t expect you to wake up everyday feeling full of gratitude for every single thing in your life. But this is what I expect of you:

Take responsibility for your own happiness.

Choose to appreciate versus disregard the beauty in your life.

Recognize your life’s abundance.

Here’s how I met my own expectations today! How did you meet yours? Leave a comment below!

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be your best self,

Brittany

What’s Your Addiction?

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I found so many themes that corresponded with addiction this weekend that I feel compelled to talk about it with you. 

Yes, most people know it was the SuperBowl this weekend. Sports fanaticism is many people’s addiction of choice. Although there are benefits to feeling like the “twelfth man” – being part of a large community, sharing in the team’s successes, and having something to watch on Monday nights – in many ways it serves as a distraction or permission. Distraction from my life, successes I wish I had professionally, and the admiration I wish others had for me. It also gives us permission to behave foolishly (yelling about a call), drink a little too much, and indulge. Between the distractions and behaviors it permits, it’s no wonder why so many are addicted to watching football.

This weekend we learned of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death. It is under investigation, but largely assumed that he died from a drug overdose. Drug addiction can serve as one of the most accessible and strongest escapes from reality there is. So what are we escaping from? Alcohol is a legal drug, but we can easily over indulge. Be observant when you do so. What were you distracting yourself from?

Too often we are unaware of what’s informing our actions and living without intention. Yet we have so much going on in our heads – what your partner said to you this morning, how your boss treated you, negative opinions of yourself. But we’re not allowed to air out that dirty laundry in most places. So we put on a mask that shows the world “everything’s great, I’m just fine.”

So where do those undesired thoughts and depressed feelings go? They’re there. Always. They won’t go away until you observe them and validate them. Make those thoughts and feelings legal. Explore them. What are you so afraid of finding in them? That you’re not perfect, that you need to work on your marriage, that your boss isn’t always pleased with you? So do the work!

Choosing to hide the thoughts and feelings is only a temporary fix. Soon, you will need an escape or distraction if they fester too long.

Make the choice to not feed your addiction. Make your thoughts and feelings legal for further exploration. Make your needs a priority and do the work! You can get the things you really want – but the first step is to listen. So listen good!

Always be your best self,

Brittany

 

FEAR

FEAR

What do you let FEAR stop you from achieving? I used to let fear stop me from starting my own business and giving clients 100% of my energy, attention, and efforts. One day, I took a leap of faith. It … Continue reading

Food for Thought

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I’m away on vacation right now (yay!) which has allowed for a lot of reading I’ve been meaning to catch up on. Currently open is a book by Susan Thesenga called The Undefended Self. This book identifies our different levels of consciousness and desires as the lower self (where all the negativity and anger hang out), higher self (our spiritual and inherently good self), and mask (our defenses and what we show others). I was struck by a quote in the book that has stuck with me for a few days now:

“The call for the soul to grow spiritually comes to us in the form of our personal longings. Every human being longs for something we believe will make our lives more fulfilling. This may come to us as longing for deep mutuality with a mate, or for meaningful work, or for a more loving family. Or our desires may be spiritual fulfillment, for a deeper relationship with God, or to connect to the environment around us. Behind these specific desires is a feeling or a sensing that another more fulfilling state of consciousness and a larger capacity to experience life must exist.”

What an amazing and unifying thought- that we could all be connected through this longing for fulfillment. Although we may be seeking fulfillment in different ways, each one of our higher selves wants to be better and get more out of this life. Can we help each other achieve that? Can we help ourselves succeed? 

Tell us below in the comment box what you need for greater fulfillment! How will you get it?

Serious About Change: Dr. McKaila Allcorn

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Meet Dr. McKaila Allcorn. She is just like the rest of us in that she’s a daughter, wife, and has a demanding job.

But she’s different from us in a few ways too. McKaila had the discipline and commitment to significantly change her body, and as a result, improve her life! 

So, what was the last straw McKaila?

“I had trained for 3 months to run a half marathon with some friends. I had been running several times per week and pushed myself during the race, only to find that I had lost 1 pound throughout the whole process! I know there had to be a better way to lose weight and get healthy.”

Like many of us, McKaila wanted better for herself and needed to change her ways. She had been busy in medical school and her residency at Kent Hospital, and let her health become less of a priority. But continuing on this path was a not an option for her if she was going to live the life she wanted and help care for others who are sick as an ER doctor.

So what did you do?

“I am from Oklahoma and had a friend back home that had talked with me about this product called Juice Plus+. So I did my research and found that I was going to have to significantly change my diet if I was going get healthy and lose weight.” Juice Plus+ provides whole food nutrition in a capsule so you can get the fruits and vegetables your body needs to run most effectively. It’s then next best thing to actual fruits and vegetables for a busy lifestyle.

McKaila says she loves this product because they provide nutrition plans and education. This knowledge can empower sustainable change for people’s diets. Additionally, the nutrition plan encourages you to try several different diets, such as gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, etc. That way, you can see what your body responds to, and cater your meal planning from there.  All diets aren’t right for everyone, so find the plan that works for you and get after it!

But it wasn’t just supplements that changed McKaila’s body. Not even close! Real foods and preparation are requirements! McKaila said she would cook several meals on Sundays and package them up so she’d be ready for work, snacks, and any other time that would tempt her away from her goals.

McKaila said she notice a big energy boost after making these changes – along with better skin, and friends who had reported getting off medications because of the positive effect real foods had on them.

So as long as I eat right I’ll have these results?

Wrong again! McKaila said she was also in search for something that would nourish her physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yoga. Several times a week, no excuses. Rain or shine. “If you’re going to make a real lifestyle change, you have to be consistent. It can’t just be when you feel like it.” McKaila is currently training to become a yoga teacher and share with others the positive experience she’s had with yoga and it’s supportive community at Laughing Elephant yoga in East Greenwich.

Any tips for the rest of us? 

“Find your motivation. Mine was my long-term health. I used positive self-talk to get through those tough days.” Time management is very important too. Make sure to make a date with healthy cooking and the gym that you won’t flake out on!

Doctor McKaila mentions that obesity is a risk factor for so many diseases and conditions that are life threatening. So don’t be a victim – get healthy, get active and regain control of your life!

 What are your health and fitness goals for 2014? Will YOU be the next person we feature for Serious About Change?