July 14, 2017
Are you being too hard on yourself? Too critical? Seeking perfection?
Well, then…we need to tame that! Ha, if it were just that easy! Yet, in a way, it could be that easy. By becoming intentional on our quest for peace and relaxation within our soul we can choose to “think right.”
When a bad, nagging thought gets inside my head I immediately imagine putting legs on it and let it go right off my head. It works wonders for me and the many people I have shared this little trick with.
The inner critic in your head will try to tell you that you are not enough, you haven’t done the task well enough, you are lazy, inept, unorganized, bad parent, nobody likes you and as many more lies your mind will create.
Then we wonder why we feel anxious, stressed, and unworthy. Just because we think something, it does not make it true. Our thoughts lie to us; they distort reality to match how we feel about ourselves. Our task is to bring back the truth and nothing but the truth about what we are thinking.
For example, when I get up in the morning and my very first thought is “I hate this day” (lie), I catch the thought and I can (a) put legs on it and let it go or (b) challenge it: “I will choose to have a great day, I am just having a hard time starting it.”(truth).
~Feelings are fleeting. We learn to listen to the feeling to readjust our attitudes and behaviors, not to succumb to them. We manage our feelings to our benefit.
~Feelings are energy. We may feel a surge of pent-up energy that we need to discharge in a healthy way. Anger especially requires action sometimes. Going for a good run or a walk may help the energy to dissipate in order to begin the problem solving stage.
~Problem solving. Doing something proactive about a situation gives us power over it. Complaining about it provokes anxiety. Choose action!
~Realizing our humanity. When we do what we can with the situation we have at hand we understand our humanity. We work with our limitations to do the very best we can.
~Practice kindness to self. Just like you would be kind to a friend in need, do the same for you. Self-kindness and compassion go a long way to release anxiety.
~Accepting what is, yet working toward our goal with realistic expectations calms a troubled soul.
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January 30, 2017
I love my work. Life Coaching has taught me so much about people and God. For the purpose of this writing I will use Webster’s Dictionary definition of pattern: A reliable sample of traits, acts, tendencies, or other observable characteristics of a person, group, or institution <a behavior pattern> <spending patterns>.
We are all so vastly different yet there are certain characteristics that keep repeating themselves in us from all different walks of life; rich or poor, young or old, male or female, married or single, employed or student.
Today I am concentrating on “Things that paralyze us.” Has it ever happened to you that you are moving forward, feeling accomplished in your purpose and all of a sudden, one day you wake up and feel stuck, paralyzed? People or situations may bring this feeling, be it a death in the family, where suddenly your sense of safety and security are gone; or finding out that your spouse has betrayed you or your child is using drugs. Or your family turns their back on you when you needed them the most, or there is a terminal illness among your friends. Loss of a job and financial hardships forces big changes in your lifestyle. And it hits you like a ton of bricks have fallen on your shoulders. It is hard to breathe, let alone get up and carry the heavy burden. Life becomes gray and unimportant. Interests you had became burdensome and your energy is gone.
This constitutes as trauma or traumatic event. Life as you knew it will never be the same. In time it will take a new form that may or may not be better that the one you had, yet you will need to readjust your thinking and accept this as your new life, your new you.
And a few days later is when it hits you harder. You feel paralyzed. There is nothing stopping you other than this imaginary hand holding you by the shoulders or the neck. And you cannot move. And it is hard to breathe, and you feel anxious and depressed and sad and angry, lost and unsafe, all at the same time.
In the beginning of the “paralysis season” you will need a lot of time and reinforcement from others just to get out of bed and keep doing life. You may feel your brain is ‘in a fog’ unable to clearly think or respond. Regardless of the kind of trauma you experienced you will need time to heal. Trauma and healing are opposites of each other: trauma may take just a few seconds to injure and change you forever, while it may take a life time to recover and heal from it, possibly never achieving full healing.
As time goes by trauma begins to teach us to go deeper into ourselves, our feelings, our needs and our shortcomings. It allows us to not sweat the small stuff as much anymore and gives more meaning and better relationships, although you may lose some friendships that switch into superficial now. We become more human and empathic to the pain of others. Our ability to feel intensifies and all of a sudden there is an understanding of ‘I get it.’ Superficial, selfish people become annoying with their platitudes and their ‘perfect’ lives. You have entered the ‘no going back zone’ and in a weird way you begin to feel the few advantages to your new situation in life.
Life as you knew it ended yet a new perspective has taken over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Like most change we tend to fight it at first, and it would depend on the seriousness of the change: the strongest the change the stronger the fight we put up. Death of a loved one may share some of the characteristics I am talking about but in many cases deserves a place of its own as the painfulness of grieving can’t be compared to others simpler loses.
Once we find ourselves in the middle of a storm day in and day out we fail to think clearly; confusion and darkness take over and our ability to think clearly disappears. We are surrounded by a thick fog that impede us to see the sun way up there. If you choose to share with others what we are feeling, you will feel misunderstood by those people that are out in the sun, not walking in your shoes, clueless to your pain. They are the ones that may say to you “There is a reason for all these,” Don’t worry, things will be better tomorrow,” etc. You need to reach out to qualified people that will acknowledge your sadness and will be able to stay there with you for a while, not trying to “cheer you up.”
After time -and how long varies from person to person- you will find a small glimpse of a desire to peek out the window and maybe accept the idea that the sun may shine again sometime for you. That is all it takes, you will feel again, laugh again and believe that life may have a purpose even though you may not understand it yet. You will lose some of the old friends on that journey and gain some deeper ones that will hopefully stay with you for the long haul.
The paralysis gets replaced by movement again. The sadness lifts and you want to live to the fullest again, in a changed way, but full.
I do not believe this process can be hurried and it is different for everybody. Go with it and I would love to hear from some of you who are seeing a glimpse of hope in this dark season. My prayers are with you..
Relaxation is one of the many tools we need to overcome almost anything that comes our way. Our Cds and MP3 were born out of my own journey with anxiety and panic attacks. Please visit our store and our Being in Him Facebook page.
I will continue with other patterns that I have observed in my practice. I started with “feeling paralyzed” because it is prevalent in counseling sessions.
God bless you always,
December 3, 2016
A very hurt and frustrated client walked into my office yesterday morning, blaming herself for having such an unforgiving heart and beating herself up for not being spiritual enough. As I offered to help her unpack what she meant by that we got into the real heart of this situation. Speaking of forgiveness is not always easy when people already find themselves guilty without a trial.
Often times, well meaning people want to mediate between two friends that have had a disagreement and perhaps are not in speaking terms anymore. In my client’s case, though, it got a bit trickier as her friend whom we will call Sally, was trying to mediate the problem and was being quite harsh to my client about having an unforgiving heart toward their other friend Betty. Sally was quoting Bible verses and exhorting my client to stop this non-sense and reconcile now. After some probing we ended up realizing that the reason Sally wanted so badly to reconcile these two friends was because she was organizing a party and wanted to invite both of these ladies but it was creating a conflict for her and she didn’t want her party to be messed up.
Sally’s motives to have her two friends reconciled was out of her own selfishness and had nothing to do with Christ’s teachings.
As Sally was quoting Bible verses to my client and making her feel guilty, she failed to really listen to my client’s heart and validate her emotions and reasons why she was so hurt by Betty’s wrongdoing. Sally was only interested in the success of her party and not on how hurt my client was feeling.
My client’s stress and anxiety were quickly escalating to a panic attack as she felt unworthy and unable to have a forgiving heart.
I explained as lovingly as I could the real reason Sally wanted a quick-fix-look-good-reconciliation versus the real work of the Holy Spirit in her heart. It takes time to forgive an offense. The deeper the hurt the longer the real forgiveness will take. It is a process that when it is well done and completed restores peace back in our hearts regardless of reconciling with the other person who hurt us. Sometimes reconciliation will take place, sometimes it will not. Forgiveness is a process between you and God. Nobody, just because they throw Bible verses at you, will expedite the process. The reward is that when it is truly completed with God’s guidance, it will feel complete and peaceful.
I believe my client went home with renewed hope to work on the process at her own pace and not at Sally’s selfish motive.
Our Cds and MP3s are a great tool to learn to relax and allow God’s work in your heart.
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November 3, 2016
“Life is difficult” tells us a very well known book, The Road Well Traveled. Difficulties make us stressed, anxious, fearful, insecure and the list goes on. What are you anxious about? What are the things that keep you awake at night? Who are the people you worry about?
The question is: Is this worry helping us with the solution? Are we making progress when we sit down and worry?
The answer is simple and complex at the same time. No, we do not fix anything by simply worrying about a person or situation. When we learn to think wisely and make progress about what and how we think about a situation, we feel empowered because we enter into problem solving which opens so many others roads to manage and resolve a situation.
I remember when we moved back to California many years ago there were 3 things that worried me and I spent many hours awake and anxious because of them
- We are never going to be able to afford to buy a house in this crazy expensive market
- We will never be able to afford college for our three kids
- Something bad is going to happen.
Through these worries I learned that:
I present my worries to God in prayer and leave them there.
I have no control over the future.
Letting go does not mean giving up.
I can only do my best today and leave the future to the one who is really in control.
I prepare a good plan, being a college savings or protecting the family as best as we can.
We listen to our feelings and then we sift them through our thinking brain. And together we make a more rational decision. We act instead of react.
The beauty of feelings is that they act as an alarm system in our bodies. They help us to identify what is really going on with us and sometimes we understand where these feelings are coming from; usually from our past, our childhood triggers an emotion that caused pain at the time and today it translates into worry, fear and doubt. ‘What makes you anxious?’ will be answered when we listen to our feelings yet we don’t let them control us. We are blessed with the ‘thinking brain’ that will teach us consequences to behaviors -good or bad- planning and timing, acting vs. reacting, etc. reeling ourselves in to the reality of a situation instead of creating doom and gloom where it does not exist.
Cognitive therapy is wonderful to help us appraise the value and truthfulness of a thought as we learn to not let them take us captive. We think about we are thinking and accept or discard as needed. Just because a thought pops in our head does not mean it is true. Our thoughts lie to us constantly, especially if you are a worrier. You will magnify and intensify thoughts, many times, to a point of distortion. Learning to keep our thoughts truthful and real is a huge part of our sanity.
What makes you anxious? Write down 3 to 5 thoughts that make you anxious and analyze them for what they truly are. Are they true, biblical, wise, hopeful? Or they bring doubt, lies, un-biblical and doom provoking?
October 22, 2016
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
God is very clear in this Scripture about the peace He leaves with us and exalts us to choose it over fear. But, do we actually do that? Sometimes our lips say we do yet I am not sure our hearts believe it. When we get overly anxious fretting about a situation we are giving in to fear over peace and trust. When we dwell in the past and can’t move on we may be giving our God given power to fear instead of peace. Remember He told us “Peace I Leave With You.”
As we decide to live in a ‘fear based’ or ‘faith based’ world we also must train our mind to connect to our heart to fully believe what we profess. I will be, however, the first one to say it is not easy. When Jesus said “Peace I leave with you” He meant it.
Let me give you some affirmations you can daily use to achieve more peace than fear in our lives:
I am a child of the living God
He will be with me always
I believe in His power and His love for me
My thoughts are truthful and healthy
I am calm, I am at peace, I am relaxed
I am loved with an everlasting love
These are just a few thoughts to write down and keep handy to read over and over to replace fearful, negative thoughts. As we make it difficult for our mind to think fearful thoughts y replacing them with healthy ones, we will feel our anxiety lower and diminish its intensity. Replacing fear with peace is a wonderful feeling!
October 10, 2016
Healthy talk brings healing, unhealthy talk brings sickness -physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
This healthy and unhealthy talk refers to the way you talk to yourself and others. Self-harm or others-harm is just as important. “‘Self-Talk’ is the most important conversation we have all day.”
Are you being mean and critical to yourself, are you discouraging others by the way you talk to them and the things you say? I am an HSP (highly sensitive person) and, over the years, realized how badly I am affected by critical, discouraging, judgmental, condescending people. And as a child how hurtful it was when I felt ridiculed, teased, laughed at, and in need to hide. In the name of ‘oh lighten up, it was a joke’ more emotional damage happens to sensitive people than any other kind of harm. Just because someone isn’t bleeding externally or falls unconscious to the ground, it doesn’t mean they weren’t badly hurt emotionally and spiritually.
Someone who is or was emotionally hurt will, most likely, feel that people are unsafe, have anxiety issues, depression, and a general sense that the other shoe is about to drop at anytime. Peace is gone, and fear takes its place. That is how important it is to healthily talk to self and others, starting early with your children.
Why, then is it so hard for some people to speak nicely? We all know the ones, they are usually always critical, discontent, complaining about most things, can’t get along with others, very judgmental, project their thoughts and feelings onto others, etc. These people bring the ugly part of you and you may mimic their behaviors by responding harshly too, yet that is not your true nature. You hate seeing that ugliness coming out of you. Your heart would like to have peace with them, yet they like to keep on bringing conflict and minimizing your thoughts. They like to point their dirty finger at you yet you know it is a mirroring technique they are using to hurt you even more. That is toxic people at their best. Run from them as fast as you can.
They are those people who were hurt themselves yet they are still blind, repeating a hurtful history with their own children and adults in their present life. They need to be willing to allow God to work inside their hearts to find true peace and fulfillment.
It takes a long road of recovery to realize: “I am OK the way I am.” “I like who I am and I do not have to prove myself to anyone. I do not feel like I am not enough anymore, and that is so freeing. I thank God he used conflict to help me realize that I can have peace in my life and still be loved by the right people. Those whom I am not ‘pleasing,’ under their harsh standard, were not really on my side in the first place.” These are just a few affirmations that have helped many other people. 1 John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Healthy talk brings healing to your soul, start today by being kind, nice, gentle, and loving to others. You never know what kind of battle they are fighting and your kindness may be the strength they need to keep on moving forward. I know I need that in my life.
September 28, 2016
Healthy Stress! When was the last time you remember being really, really happy and peaceful as an adult?
What I mean that powerful feeling of joy with the sense that you can overcome the most obscure obstacles just because nothing was going to spoil this wonderful moment? Healthy stress runs through your body and produces a joyful feeling of contentment.
Even at such joyful times, stress was present. Let’s call it healthy stress. But many of us live life waiting for the other shoe to drop – even while hearing wonderful news. It is like we are waiting for the bad news to hit at anytime even if it never does. And if/when it does, we soberly tell ourselves “I knew it.”
Having said that, it is refreshing to know that some people do not live this way, they do not expect anything to go wrong and if it does, it catches them off guard. Must be nice to not have to worry about things, including good news! They have a different expectancy paired with a positive outlook, trusting that life is mostly on their side, while tragedy is for others. Their focus is on today.
We know that depression stems from dwelling in the past while anxiety focuses on worrying about the future and its many possible ‘what ifs.’
How about the present? Only in the present moment we are able to enjoy the wonderful news we have been given. Without comparing it to a bad outcome from the past (depression) or projecting any bad outcome in the future (anxiety.) Only today, right now, soaking the beauty of this moment, such as the joy I felt when my grandson was born and being thankful that mother and child were doing well. Or praising God for the news of a second baby soon to come and staying in the awe of His creation. Rejoicing when a medical test comes out negative or smelling the Fall so near. Not more, not less, no what ifs, no possible scenarios, no doom or gloom. Just pure bliss and joy. Just healthy stress that brings peace.
Our Relaxation Cds were born out of a need to learn to let go of gloom and doom, instead to learn how to lower stress hormones in a healthy way. Deep breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Healthy Imagery will do just that. Please visit our products page and our Being in Him Facebook page.
September 21, 2016
Nowadays we find so many articles where people write about stress reduction through repetition for anxiety management or for how to avoid panic attacks that it gets confusing. But we will read them anyway, and do you know why? Because repetition is an important way to internalize change and create new habits.
I know this first hand because the clients I see and the classes I teach help me with my own stress reduction because I continuously re-visit and apply the tools that I teach others.
If I keep repeating the same old negative tapes in my mind, each repetition reinforces the next and I will believe something bad. Good news! The opposite is true as well: the more truthful the thoughts in our mind are, the healthier we will be emotionally and the less stressed we will feel.
What are you saying to yourself each minute, every hour, every day, month and year? If these are negative thoughts, is it a wonder that you feel depressed, frustrated or self-critical?
Have you ever told yourself how stupid you are? Or how incompetent your work is? How you are not a good mother, father or daughter etc.? Or the opposite: Do you tell yourself how confident you are performing a task? How well prepared you feel to pass your exam, or how inspired you are to mother your child today? This is what we are zeroing in on: Stress reduction by repetition of good thoughts, or it’s opposite- by bad thoughts- is highly connected and will make you or break you. How would you feel if you were more encouraging toward yourself? Believing your great giftings – your naturally given talents to help you accomplish life?
How about treating yourself with kindness and compassion? Encouraging yourself and believing you are enough?
A young man -whom I will call John- kept telling himself:
“It is so expensive to live in this area, I will never be able to buy a house here.”
After asking some questions I found out that John lives at home and pays no rent. He is leaving in one of the most expensive cities in California rent free. I suggested that he re-evaluated his statement by asking himself “What if I get a great job in this expensive area, save as much as possible for as long as possible? After all, I am paying less in expenses than I would if I lived in a really cheap state.” He had never looked at it that way before and it made him think. Because he had been repeating his defeated thinking over and over, he believed it as the only outcome and it stopped his ability to think of other possibilities.
Please read the next negative paragraph and then the revised version. They both say basically the same thing, except because of the way it is phrased, the brain hears more truthful information:
“There may be a lot of good jobs here, but I will never be able to afford to buy a home in Silicon Valley, home prices are just way too high.”
A new thought for this young man would be something like this:
“I am fortunate to live in one of the most opportunity rich places in California – rent free- where I can save a lot of money as soon as I get one of the many good jobs so near to me.”
Which way of thinking and repeating do you think it’s going to improve this young man’s future?
Remember: Repeating negative thoughts will paralyze us from being creative and acting on it.
Our Relaxation Cds and MP3s will help you relax so you can gain a more positive outlook on life and a healthier thought process. Please visit us at our products page and our Being In Him Facebook page.
September 15, 2016
Soaking relaxing music with spoken word was the most relaxing experience I had when i was having severe stress and anxiety problems. I could feel my body simply letting go and my mind directing my thoughts again. While I was stressed out I heard plenty of fear messages that held me captive and unable to reason.
When it comes to stress, anxiety and panic attacks, I know and understand the confusion it may bring to those who have never experienced the horrific feeling of perceived imminent death, rather than the peace we need to thrive. Truth is, most likely, a panic attack won’t kill us, nevertheless, death feels close. And that feeling is valid and real.
Panic, stress and anxiety are an every day occurrence these days and there are several ways to deal with it:
Distracting your mind.
Taking slower, deeper breaths.
Learning how to relax your body and lower high levels of stress hormones.
Soaking relaxing music with spoken word.
Replacing negative “What Ifs” with truth.
Talk and cognitive therapy will teach you how to modify faulty thinking.
Managing your feelings and learning about mistaken beliefs.
Taking healthy supplements and eating a balanced diet.
Soaking relaxing music will restore peace to your soul while engaging your spirit. Come check our Relaxation Cds here and please stop for a visit at our Facebook page. Lastly, our Cds are about 20 minutes long and include music and spoken word with another 20 minutes of just the instrumental part. We have 8 titles to date. We welcome your input.
July 21, 2016
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
Do not let anyone place you back in the yoke of slavery. He paid a great price to give you this freedom. Be joyful! And take a nice, deep breath…
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