12 Morning Practices that Start Your Day Off Right

morning practices coffee and journal

Every day is a gift.  A blank slate to write on. The choices you make in the first moments after waking up can impact your energy, effectiveness, and mood for the entire day.  I am a big fan of morning practices and encourage you to create one of your own.

Here are some fun ideas for starting your morning off right: Continue reading

How to Get Perspective When Feeling Pressured

pressured to buy used car salesman

I’ve been to a lot of seminars over the years. Some were great, some were okay, and some of them made me feel uncomfortable. The ones I didn’t like usually involved pressure to buy, sell, or do something out of your comfort zone in order to be accepted.

It’s interesting to watch these charismatic seminar leaders in action. They make a lot of money doing this and are experts at building momentum and get people fired up.

They create a sense of urgency, use peer pressure, and sometimes shaming language:

  • If you don’t buy this, you don’t have what it takes.
  • You can’t succeed without us. We know better than you.
  • It would be really stupid to let this opportunity slip away.
  • You won’t belong if you don’t do this.

The people in our lives may use similar methods to control us.  Continue reading

How to Eliminate Closet Clutter with a Simple Wardrobe

clothes closet clutter my simple wardrobe

My simple summer wardrobe. Jeans and shorts are on the shelf above.

I had a lot of clothes. Many of them didn’t fit or seem to go with anything else in my closet.

Can you relate?

I’ve never been a big shopper, but my passion for finding deals tripped me up. Instead of having nice outfits to wear, I had a bunch of budget clothing misfits and a lot of closet clutter. Continue reading

A 5 Step Process for Overcoming Life Challenges

angel sculpture for life challenges

Life challenges of any size can cause us to be reactive and clutter our mind with dis-empowering thoughts. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t even think at all, even though these are the most important times to see things clearly and respond wisely.

The following steps are ones I created for my clients and myself to focus on when we face life challenges. They have worked well for us and I hope they will prove valuable for you, too. Continue reading

Living in Alignment with Your Values

hearts representing values

We are happiest when our lives are in alignment with our core values.  Living this way nurtures what is most meaningful to us and allows us to feel more peaceful, grounded, and fulfilled. Anything that conflicts with our values will create more stress and dissonance in our lives. Continue reading

6 Proven Ways to Reduce Anxiety

nervousness social anxiety girl

 

For some reason, anxiety has been a big subject with my coaching clients this week.  Maybe it is the time of year or something in the air, but it seems like a lot of people are feeling anxious.

That makes it the perfect time to share some of my strategies for stopping anxiety in it’s tracks.

4 Count Breathing – With the exception of real emergencies, anxiety is usually about something that may happen in the future or a reaction to something you already experienced. Focusing on your breathing brings you back to the peaceful present moment.  And, since your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, counting blocks out the thoughts that feed your anxious moments. It goes like this:

Take a deep breath in as you slowly count to 4

Hold your breath for a count of 4

Breathe out slowly to the count of 4

Pause before your next breath to the count of 4 

Challenge Your Anxiety – Most of what worries you never really happens.  It is probably not even true.  Your mind just takes you on a wild ride of creative bad scenarios.  I know mine sure does.  When this happens, ask yourself the following questions to bring your focus back into reality:

  • Can I be absolutely sure what I am anxious about will really happen?
  • Could I be blowing this out of proportion?
  • Am I really in danger right now?
  • Is what you are feeling temporary?
  • Do I really need to put my body into a fight or flight response now?
  • What are the facts?  What is the truth?
  • How would it feel to let this go and remember that I will be okay?

Give It To God – Many of the things that cause anxiety are not in your control.  So, what would happen if you just let the Big Guy handle them?  Let him know you are going to put the issue in his hands and will check in with him after a certain period of time.  And then, set the issue out of your mind until it is time to check in.  It is amazing how well this can work.

I give my concerns over to God every night before I go to sleep.  This not only allows for a good night of rest, but can be an excellent preventive measure in the battle with anxiety.  I often wake up with the worrisome situation being resolved or the solutions given to me. Sometimes, I just no longer care as it has lost it’s power over me.

Make Friends with It – Anxiety can feel like a big, powerful thing that has control over you, but that is just not true.  Many things that trigger anxious thoughts were installed in us when we were little and vulnerable and everything felt more powerful than it was.

When you see anxiety for what it really is you can relate to it in a different way.  Even make friends with it.  Some of my clients give their anxiety names like Minnie Mouse, Cookie Monster, or Jumpy George. Doing this facilitates seeing it in a different, less controlling way.

When it shows up, talk to it.  Thank it for offering to help and let it know that you are all grown up now and have things under control.  Have a nice little chat with your new friend and then give him a new assignment, like Protector of Peace or Facilitator of Fun.

Audit Your Input – What you put into your mind and body can contribute to either peace or anxiety.  I am often surprised when clients who drink a lot of caffeine or energy drinks don’t realize that this can contribute to their feeling anxious. You can cultivate more peace within by drinking calming teas and allowing your body and mind to work at their normal capacity.

Another way you can set yourself up for feeling tense and worried is by reading or watching movies and shows that are full of violence or tense energy, especially before bed.  If these are your preferred forms of entertainment give yourself a cushion between them and your bed time to let your body and mind calm down. Even better than that, switch to more peaceful, fun, or meaningful entertainment.  I once read that our bodies react to violence we watch or read as if it is really happening. Do you really want to put yourself through that?

Practice Peaceful Habits – Creating habits and practices that support your calm and well-being can lead to an anxiety free life.  Let go of what no longer serves you and bring in people and things that feed your soul.  Many of my clients find that simplifying their lives by de-cluttering and learning to say no make a big difference.  Others, will swear that exercise, art, meditation, prayer, yoga, or music have minimized the anxiety in their lives. Find what works for you and make a commitment to doing it regularly.

These tool have proven successful for my clients and myself.  I am confident that they can help you too.  Go ahead, give them a try.  You will find more peace when you do.

If you would like coaching support to deal with the anxiety in your life, I would love to help.  Contact Me

Related posts:

How to Cultivate Inner Peace

3 Steps for Successfully Navigating Life Challenges

Rewire Your Brain to Feel More Positive

How I Came to Be a Vegetarian

vegetarian vegetables on plate

The truth is, I think I was born a vegetarian.  I can remember being a young girl and feeling sick to my stomach when I saw raw meat or bird bodies defrosting in the sink.  My parents weren’t open to the idea of me eating differently and eventually I adapted and became an average American carnivore.

I used to love chicken pot pies and traditional Thanksgiving dinners.

And then, one day about 15 years ago I broke out in hives and had to go to the emergency room.  The doctors thought it was a reaction to something I ate and suggested I get screened for allergies. It took a couple weeks to get an appointment and I didn’t want to risk getting hives again, so I began to research food and allergies on my own.

Along the way, I learned some really disturbing things about the foods we are sold and my heart guided me into a vegetarian lifestyle.

It felt like coming home.

While I have been a vegetarian for almost 2 decades, I am not a political one.  I like my meat eating friends and family and it is not up to me to say what is right for them.  I don’t go around introducing myself as “Linda the Vegetarian” and some of my friends may even be surprised when they read this.

What I do know is that being a vegetarian feels right for me on a soul level.  It doesn’t feel like a decision I made, it feels like who I am.

There are other reasons why this lifestyle feels in alignment for me and might appeal to you:

  • My doctor says I am a lot healthier than her other patients my age
  • Food production is bad for the environment
  • If we ate less meat, we could produce more food for starving populations
  • Food production can be cruel to animals
  • Animal products are often full of hormones and other drugs
  • Food animals are often sick and already dying
  • We take in the energy of what we eat

If you are interested in learning more, these resources can get you started:

Movies: (most of these are available on Netflix)

Food Inc

Vegucated

Forks Over Knives

Websites:

Vegetarian Times

Cookie and Kate

Vegweb

Vegsource

And, of course, there is always me.  Just ask your questions in the comments below and I will be happy to respond.

8 Telltale Signs Someone is Lying to You

lying pinocchio telling lies

When someone lies to you they are more likely to:

  1. Touch their face or scratch their nose
  2. Blink more often than usual
  3. Avoid eye contact
  4. Smile only with their mouth
  5. Seem uncomfortable with pauses in conversation and jump in to fill the gap
  6. Provide more information  than  they are asked for
  7. Look relieved when the subject changes
  8. Have closed body language like crossed arms or have something between you

A Unique Way to Deal with Challenging People

challenging people couple fighting

When you are feeling challenged and frustrated by people around you, changing how you see them can make all the difference.  You can adjust your view of people, events, or things to make them seem more or less powerful and make it easier, even entertaining, to be around them.

Just imagine what would happen if you visualized the troubling person in front of you as a:

  • 2 year old having a tantrum
  • Cartoon character
  • Hologram
  • Character in a fairy tale or myth
  • Naked
  • Animal in the zoo
  • Mouse sized version of themselves with a little squeaky voice

You can flip the view and use this idea in a loving way that brings forward compassion for the other person, by seeing them as:

  • The beautiful baby or child they once were
  • A hissing cat or barking dog that is afraid and really just wants to be loved

Visualizing words flashing on their foreheads like hurt, afraid, insecure, or sad, can also help you feel more understanding and diminish the impact their actions have on you.

The most powerful way to view yourself and the people around you is to remember that we are all souls.  Our souls are perfect, but they get covered up by our fears, pain, and reactions to the things that happen in our lives.  Remembering the true nature of the troubled and troublesome people around you can support you in interacting in a more comfortable and loving way.

The Stories of Our Lives

once upon a time stories of our lives

We all tell ourselves stories.  Stories of our past.  Stories of what the world is like.  Stories of our place in the world.  And, we often hold onto these stories so tightly that they control us and we cannot see the amazing possibilities for our lives.

Some of the stories may feel true.  You may have had a challenging childhood that caused emotional pain and anger. You may have made judgments about yourself and the world based on your experiences or what you were taught.

But, that is not your truth right now.  Your life today does not need to be controlled by the past.

I encourage you to question your stories and even set them aside as distant memories that no longer affect you.  Wipe the slate clean.  And, when you are ready, start writing new stories for your life.  Stories of love, happiness, and possibilities.  You are the author now.

What is your new story going to be?

How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe When You Don’t Want to Let Anything Go

clothes on hangers clear out wardrobe

With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.

I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal.  This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together.  It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.

What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together.  I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.

And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?

This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet.  I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile.  Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.

  • I discarded anything stained or damaged.  My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
  • I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
  • I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
  • I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction.  In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.

My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone.  My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in.  It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.

My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing.  The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.