3 Steps to Successful Stress Management

 

Stressed woman

You can cope with stress if you have the right tools. Image by africa

Previously I talked about “The Crippling Effect of Stress on Your Organs”. We discussed the negative physical effects caused by stress ranging from heart problems to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Managing stress is all about taking charge of your life and your attitude towards dealing with problems.

Today we are going to look at the 3 steps that will help you manage and even overcome stress so that you don’t have to worry about the damage that stress can do to your body.

Step 1: Identify Source of Stress

Young woman pondering

The first step is successfully identifying the source of your stress.
photo by stock images

Let’s face it; identifying the source of stress in our lives is easier said than done. We can easily overlook our own negative behaviour such as stress-inducing thoughts and negative attitudes. Continue reading

Make Fear Your Friend to Achieve Your Goals

Fear – we all hate that feeling of being uncomfortable and scared. Fear also shows up in anxiety, overwhelm , feeling stuck, and self-doubt. Fear has many masks.

However it shows up for you, fear stops you from taking action to go to the next level in your life. As a result, you can’t live in your highest version of yourself and be happier.

Let me use this analogy to help you understand conceptually how you may be allowing fear to keep you playing small.

If you look at a spaceship, it needs to have to enough momentum to escape the gravitational force field in order to enter space. Once the rocket enters space, then it’s smooth gliding from there and the view is phenomenal, isn’t it?

Now imagine that YOU are the spaceship and the gravitational force field is your comfort zone, and outside of your comfort zone is fear. You need to have enough momentum and energy to take yourself past this force field in order to really get to where you need to get to when it comes to achieving your goals – whether that’s making new friends, trying a new hobby, changing your relationship with food, achieving your dream body, starting a new business or letting go of a toxic relationship.

comfortzone

Once you achieve your goal, you experience a state of feeling exhilarated, powerful, and proud of yourself, amongst other amazing feelings. It’s truly incredible how the Universe really does provide you the supports you need to help you get to where you want to go, when you are truly opened to it.

Whatever your “goal” is, let yourself make friends with fear, because without it, your goals are not challenging you enough to get you into your Highest Self. So making friends with fear is about leaning into the resistance, rather than avoiding or fighting it.

Here’s an example. My client Kate (note: name is changed to maintain confidentiality) came to see me because she wants to lose weight and feels frustrated with not achieving this goal. She has been following a very structured eating plan. However, her approach to her relationship with food has her constantly obsessed with it- from the amount of time she has to take planning and prepping so that she eats the perfect amount of protein, carbs, fats down to the measurement, to thinking about the next meal she eats, to figuring out how to sneak in that cupcake and then work out extra hard so she can eat it, to overindulging at parties at the bread and dessert table, to obsessing over the number on the scale and getting frustrated that the results are not happening fast enough…she cannot stop obsessing about food, and it completely controls her life. She’s constantly thinking or talking about losing weight to her friends and family.

What I invite Kate to do next is to learn to let go of control in her relationship with food. The very aspect that keeps her tight and controlled is the same aspect that is keeping her playing small and “falsely safe”. Letting go of control of course brings up extreme amount of discomfort and fear. “If I let go of being so structured and controlling with food, how will I ever lose weight?!” This does not make sense to Kate because her fear makes her believe that letting go emotionally and mentally is equivalent of letting herself go physically.  In fact, this is not true.

Kate needs the “momentum” of learning to face her fear and work through it, which is where I come in to support and guide her with strategies so that she can pierce past the boundaries of her comfort zone (that is, how she was going into relationship with food).

After only working with Kate for a few sessions and having her understand the negative impact control had over her in mind, body and spirit, and learning tools to approach her relationship with food and her body in a more loving, gentle way, she started to lose the weight. Today, Kate has lost her goal weight and more importantly, speaks to herself kindly and feels at peace in her relationship with food. She is “soaring” and feeling free! Yay Kate!

If you’re inspired and resonate with Kate’s story, I’d love to support you as a Self-Love IMG_0909Transformational Coach!

Go ahead and book in a complimentary strategy session with me now to see how I can best help you achieve your goals! I’d absolutely love to!🙂

Rosalyn Fung, M.Sc., is the Founder of Holistic Body Love. You can learn more about her on her website here.

drunk alchoholic

5 Common Issues Children of Alcoholics Face as Adults

It is a club most never ask to join, but there is a solidarity among members that is hard to find anywhere else. Given a choice, most who belong wouldn’t have chosen the path that brought them there. Not only do they still carry the emotional, and sometimes physical, scars of that journey but some have been cursed to repeat the journey in their own lives.

drunkenAdult children of alcoholics (ACOA) spend most of their childhoods struggling to make sense of the insanity that is alcoholism, only to find out as adults that they still don’t have all the answers. Even more frustrating is the awareness that for all the promises that they were *never* going to be like *them* when they grew up, they often find themselves back in the vicious cycle of addiction.

One in four children under the age of 18 are exposed to alcoholism in their family, and those children are four times more likely to face their own addictions as adults. They are also more likely to marry someone dealing with alcoholism, either their own or with a similar family history. For some it can be a double-edged sword because they will either become the alcoholic, or marry one. Even if they escape the addictive personality, they are sometimes drawn to partners who will treat the as badly as they saw their parents treating each other.

Copycat Behaviors

Parents model many of the behaviors that children learn from, and that includes how to treat other people. If, for example, a son grows up seeing his alcoholic father or mother berate and belittle the other parent, he learns from their example how to 1) berate and belittle others; 2) what constitutes “acceptable” behavior in a relationship, especially if the other parent never stands up for themselves. It can create conflicting emotions as an adult because they will either look for someone they can bully, or try to find someone who will bully them.

Controlling Walls

child-of-alcoholic-hiding

As children, they saw or experienced painful behaviors from the alcoholic and so as adults, the walls they build are comprised of rigid routines, inflexible predictability, “no one will ever treat me like that,” and “I will never do that.” It is their way of controlling what they couldn’t control as children, and it helps to make them feel safe again.

When someone breaks one of their boundary rules, changes plans, or they feel  out of control in other ways, there can be a sudden reaction of anger and anxiety. Relationships can be swiftly and uncompromisingly ended. It is often “all or nothing” or “my way or the highway.”

Role Reversals

In some single parent homes where the parent is the alcoholic, children may roles reverse and it is the child that takes care of the parent. Often if there are multiple children in the home, the oldest child becomes the parent for all of them, because there were no other options. As an adult, an ACOA may become overly responsible, taking responsibility for things that are out of their control such as problems they didn’t cause or other people’s feelings.

Isolation as a Wall

alcoholicWith a childhood that was often filled with neglect, abuse, rejection, or feeling unloved, unwanted, and alone, ACOAs can have a hard time trusting others, making it hard to develop lasting relationships because they can’t bring themselves to open up to others in an effort to protect themselves from getting hurt again. They may not even know how to trust themselves, or honestly know who they are. They may have hidden their own emotions for so long, going along with what others wanted just to keep people from knowing them.

Approval Seekers

ACOAs want to be liked, loved, accepted and approved after childhoods filled with everything but those needs. They want to avoid conflict, and so they do whatever is necessary to make everyone happen, even at the sacrifice of their own desires. Hand in hand with people pleasing, ACOAs can also be perfectionists. In another effort to avoid conflict and criticism as a child, they sometimes had unattainable goals of perfection which may carry into adulthood.

A Brighter Future

While these are just a few of the traits that Adult Children of Alcoholics may have learned as coping mechanisms, there is hope for change. Counseling, or (free) groups like Al-Anon and ACOA, can provide help, direction, support, materials, and just the knowledge that you are not alone in your struggles. Sometimes the road to recovery begins with a  welcoming hug.


Jennifer Landis is a tea-drinking, yoga loving, clean eating blogger, writer, wife, and mother. You can find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.

Physical and mental health

Physical Fitness & Mental Health Connection for the Best You

It is a known fact that daily exercise is good for the body, but the recently discovered connection between physical and mental health might prove that exercise can be good for the mind as well.

Research has shown that exercise can help combat against mental ailments such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Likewise, exercise can help you:

  • sleep better,
  • improve your memory retention, and
  • improve your overall mood.

Although there is no set age to start becoming more physically active, it is best to engage in exercise and other physical activities as early as in your teens, according to medcarehealth.com.

After all, starting out early can help you grow and mature with a mind and a body that is ready for anything.

But, before I delve deep into the connection between mental and physical health, let’s start with a simple question:

What is health?

health lab mouseAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person who is free from disease or disability is not immediately considered healthy. Instead, you must demonstrate physical, mental, and social well-being in order to be considered truly healthy.

Great, but how are those connected?

The Canadian Mental Health Association lists 3 concrete associations that demonstrate the connection between physical and mental well-being:

  1. Poor mental health increases the risk for chronic physical conditions.
  2. Patients suffering from serious mental ailments are at a greater risk of suffering from chronic physical conditions.
  3. Finally, people suffering from chronic physical conditions might also develop mental illnesses in the future.

These associations show that there is indeed a connection between physical and mental health.

Though there might not be a proven way to prevent these chronic illnesses from developing, acknowledging the relationship between your mind and body can help you minimize potential risks.

What benefits can you reap from exercise?

exercise-ballThe primary reason why you might choose to engage in more physical activities is to trim your waistline or to lose some pounds. However, exercise can provide you with so much more.

In a study that aimed to answer the question:” how does physical health affect mental health?”, researchers discovered that elderly adults who engage in regular exercise and are physically fit tend to possess much larger hippocampi than other people in their age group.

Wait, what is hippocampi?

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for your spatial memory. Maintaining this part of your brain even in your older years gives you a great advantage.

Does mental health affect physical ability?

Meanwhile, in a study conducted by researchers at the Bangor University in Wales, it was discovered that people who engaged in mentally draining activities before performing difficult exercise tests reached exhaustion much faster than those who were mentally relaxed prior to performing the physical task.

This study shows that one of the benefits of nurturing your mental well-being can also affect your physical strength and endurance.

Can exercise combat depression?

anxietyAccording to Jane Collingwood, author of The Relationship between Physical and Mental Health, those individuals suffering from depression often have worse physical health than those who are mentally healthy.

Likewise, patients suffering from chronic physical diseases are also likely to suffer from depression.

Just a little exercise goes a long way

Exercise, even in moderation, can greatly improve both the mental well-being and physical health of those suffering from depression.

Physical activity can help encourage positive changes in your brain such as a surge of endorphin or “feel good hormones”.

Regular exercise can also help distract you from any destructive or negative thoughts and allow you to find your inner peace.

Exercise relieves anxiety

While you might think that the physical benefits that you reap from exercise are the things that make you feel good, its effect on your mind are probably the more likely reason for your happy feelings.

Exercises such as weight training can ease the suffering of people who are living with anxiety by elevating their mood and reducing their feelings of irritability.

Remember: Even moderate daily exercise can contribute to improved long-term mental health.

Reaping the benefits of exercise

Benefits of exercise

photo by zirconicusso

As previously stated, you will not need to block off your entire day just to reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise. You will see a difference in 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Additionally, while it might take months before you see any significant physical changes after exercise, the mental boost that it can provide is almost instantaneous (Weir, 2011).

For this reason, it would be more beneficial if you learn to focus on how good you actually feel after your workout than to simply look for the physical rewards.

This is particularly important for patients who are suffering from stress or mild cases of depression and anxiety since focusing too much on your physical appearance would only worsen your condition.

Don’t delay another day: simple exercises to get started

One of the easiest ways to sneak some physical activities into your busy schedule is by taking a quick walk to or from your office. Exercise can enable your brain to better manage your stress levels.

The Key Takeaway: Sweating it out even from a brisk walk can help relieve you of your physical pain as well as make you feel more at peace.

Another easy way to get an energy boost is by hopping on a treadmill, jumping on a rebounder trampoline, or lifting a few weights at home or at the gym.

Regardless of your age, weight, or gender, all you really need is the motivation and determination to keep moving.

Exercise and mental health – the undeniable bond

There is a significant amount of proof that supports the connection between physical and mental health. Physically fit individuals are better able to handle stressful situations and those who are mentally healthy are able to handle more difficult physical tasks.

Therefore, it is important to nurture both your physical and mental health in order to reap all possible benefits for your mind and your body.

Want more great health information?

Visit the Rebounder Zone blog to learn more about how you can improve your mental and physical health today.

 

Sources

Breene, S. (2013). 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise
Collingwood, J. (2016). The Relationship between Mental and Physical. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-relationship-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Connection between Mental and Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/connection-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Grohol, J.Psy.D (2009).The Connection between Mental & Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/25/the-connection-between-mental-physical-health/
N.A. (2014). 5 Ways Physical Health Impacts Mental Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://fitstar.com/5-ways-physical-health-impacts-mental-health/
N.A. (2016). Research Shows Connection between Mental Health and Physical Fitness. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.medcarehealth.com/health-problems-prevention/research-shows-connection-between-mental-health-and-physical-fitness-2/
Robinson, L., Segal, J. Ph.D., & Smith, M. M.A. (2016). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise:The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and More. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. Vol 42, No. 11. P.48. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

Leonard Parker is a health blogger and owner of the eCommerce store, RebounderZone.com. Rebounder Zone offers rebounder trampolines, health equipment, and health information to mature adults.

Leonard is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of roles as a consultant and digital marketing specialist. Rebounder Zone was started because Leonard saw first hand how exercise and healthy living can change lives, and he wants to help others experience this fantastic feeling, too. For any inquiries, please contact Leonard at leonard(at)rebounderzone.com.

Connect with someone

When was the Last Time You Connected with Someone?

life transformationI just recently took a 5-day personal development course put on by Creators Code, called “The Launch” on June 1st. It transformed me to another chapter in my journey called ‘life’. This was no ordinary personal development course. It is an experiential course that was 10-12 hours each day and we dived in deep! This course really inspired me to write this post.

 

I am Like You So Listen

I am here today blogging not as a psychologist but rather as just me- Rosalyn. I am not wearing my therapist hat, the wife, mom, sister, or daughter hat, I am here just like you, a regular human being. I see myself first as a human and my other roles as secondary. And what I learned from this personal development course is that sometimes who I am as a therapist hijacks my ability to be human. Although I show up authentically real with my clients: supporting, loving, direct (I call bullshit when I see it), I also have parts of me that I don’t show, because it isn’t appropriate or professional.  No one wants to see their therapist have a meltdown, right?😉

So my point is that sometimes I fear that people will be shocked when I express the range of human experiences in my personal life because “I’m a therapist and I should know better”. But guess what?  I sometimes get angry and scream at my kids. Sometimes I play small because I don’t want to seem like I am bragging or being too much. Other times I have moments of self-consciousness about my body, sometimes I am guarded, sometimes I zone out on Facebook because I don’t want to deal with life. These all sound like familiar behaviors to some of you, right? Yeah, we all have tactics for showing up in the world as a way to emotionally protect ourselves.

Who You and I Really Are

My work is to help people come back into their wholeness and essence of who they were when they were born – which is pure love, light, and joy. I sometimes forget to do this for myself because I am so passionate about helping others. I forget about me, but during this course, I was able to reconnect with that little girl in me that remembers playfulness, silliness, coloring outside the lines, and being unapologetically me.

rediscover the little girl in you

Can you imagine a world where we could all get back to being in our true essence? When we didn’t have to please anyone, play small so we don’t have to hurt others’ feelings, or toughen up because we don’t feel safe, disconnect from our heart because someone hurt it too many times. Imagine if we could speak the truth to one another without worrying about offending anyone. What about receiving feedback from others without feeling judged or offended?

I have this dream and I truly believe I’m on the path to contributing to it both professionally and personally. My dream and passion are to become a conscious loving human being and help others do the same. This entails being so aware not only of ourselves but also of those around us. Being conscious and collective where we love our neighbors and strangers. Showing up with kindness and compassion to ourselves and one another. Can you imagine the ripple effects this would create out in the world if people started to raise their level of self-love and loving presence to one another? There would eventually be less war, less violence, less bullying, less judgment, less shame, less abuse, less racism, less oppression, and less hate. Instead, there would be more peace, love, environmental awareness, and happiness, within ourselves and with those around us. There would be a sense of community.

So my whole point of this is to share with you how precious you are and to reflect on who you are when you aren’t wearing your different masks. This dream starts by learning to love yourself.

We were all once a young child, precious, perfect, and sweet. Who wouldn’t want to go back to before all the rules and experiences came along; before people started  telling us how to behave or not to behave. When you get blamed, usually someone else allows themselves to judge what you did as bad and put that on you. Then we form a story that we are bad because we are told so. So go back to remembering who you are before all that happened. Most of us won’t be able to, but most of us can probably think of a little newborn baby and immediately we melt, we ooooh and ahhhhh, and we think this baby is perfect. Well, that baby still is the essence of you.

Baby blogging

An Experiment for You to Try

I have an experiment for you to try to create a powerful and heartwarming experience:

The next time you are with a loved one, it could be your partner, a dear friend, sibling, your child (best if the child is 6 or older), or parent. Tell them that you’d like to try connecting with them in a way that you may not have done in a long time, and it involves touch and silence and a lot of heart.

I invite you to face that person, and hold each other’s hands; just look at each other in the eyes, keep eye contact, and just see if you can really see them. I realize it may feel awkward at first., so let the awkward feelings come up. Breathe; let the awkwardness pass and breathe some more. See if you can even match the rhythm of your breath together as you continue to look into each other’s eyes. Keep breathing so that your breath connects with your heart and then your belly as you continue to hold your gaze with each other.connect with child

Many people believe that our eyes are the windows to our soul.

So notice that this person that’s in front of you once was a child, precious, perfect, and sweet. Also, notice that this part of them still lives in them. Then notice your own experience in your body as you become aware of the other person’s preciousness as well as your own. In that very moment, appreciate this about the other person and in yourself. In that moment you do not have to please, play small, wall up, avoid, zone out, get defensive, or whatever you do to protect yourself from the world. You are just you being here having this experience; you are connected in your essence. Continue reading

dealing with setbacks

From Setback to Comeback: Here’s How to Do It!

Why Setbacks Hurt

dealing with a setback

1. The ideal didn’t materialize

When we embark on a new undertaking, we visualize the ideal outcome. These expectations often turn out to be misplaced. People we deal with are unpredictable, or we may not be as disciplined as we thought we were when we started. This disillusionment can be really discouraging. In one way or the other, every time you have a setback you say this to yourself: “My life isn’t what I’d hoped it would be, and that sucks!”

2. Self-doubt creeps in

Even the most confident of people experience self-doubt after a setback. We are not machines, we wonder if the path we are following is worth all the effort. You wonder if life would be easier if you just quit.

3. Helplessness becomes you

The worst part of any setback is the helplessness you feel. You want to have things under control. Having everything fit nice and tidy in your life gives you confidence. Having setbacks takes that away from you.

4. Self-pity is crushing you

Right now, when you are disappointed, self-pity is your worst enemy. The weird thing about self-pity is that it is masochist in nature. You are actually, proactively, engaging in something that make you feel bad.

In other words, don’t expect to always be great. Disappointments, failures and setbacks are a normal part of the lifecycle of a unit or a company and what the leader has to do is constantly be up and say ‘we have a problem, let’s go and get it’.  – Colin Powell

Here’s How to Come Back Stronger from Setbacks

how to be stronger

1. Avoid ‘the shock’ by staying ahead of the game

Gilbert Brim once said: “sometimes we don’t know we are losing until the very end.” I love the Dutch culture where they tell it to you as it is, straightforward, no beating around the bush. Having lived in three different continents, I can confidently say that not many cultures share this characteristic. That is why there is a reluctance to deliver bad news.

I admire the courageous person who comes up to me and tells me frankly that my ship is about to sink. If you do not have that kind of people around you (and even if you do), try evaluating the situation yourself. If all of a sudden you are not being invited to the meeting, your partner is hiding information from you, or your best friend is avoiding you; you need to know – as Donald Trump put it- “what the hell is going on!”. In doing so, you can stay ahead of the situation that is about to explode in your face and avoid the shock. It’s the punches that we don’t see coming that knock us out!

2. Don’t be too hard on yourself

You have probably seen the image below before. Take a minute and really have a look at it again. Forget everything else. You have everything it takes to do what these people did: mount an insane comeback. The best part is that you already know that.

failures

3. Don’t blame, just learn

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.  – Henry Ford

Take responsibility for your part of the failure but do not go overboard by blaming yourself. Life is unfair, perhaps someone treated you unfairly. Get over it so that it does not consume you. If you stay positive, you do not lose in life; you just learn and get stronger.

(a)  Be open to feed back

There is nothing more powerful in your step forward towards learning and recovering than good feedback.  Getting feedback from people directly involved in the situation will help you asses and analyse what went wrong and how to avoid the same in the future.

(b)  Learn about your alternatives

Many a time we condition ourselves into believing that our set of skills and experience confine us to do certain jobs and that’s it. We fail to see the enormous opportunities that are out there that may have nothing to do with the way we define ourselves. If you find something you love, you should go for it. At times of crises when you have nothing to lose, having a go is so uplifting.

(c)   Learn new skills

Become better than yesterday when the setback happened. Learning a new skill not only enhances who you are, but it also builds your confidence back by giving you a sense of achievement.

The skills you acquire can always be effectively redeployed. You will look back on setbacks and be grateful for the catalyst that came not a moment too soon. – Tom Freston

4. Don’t be in a rush to bounce back

One of the greatest misconceptions today is that strong people bounce back from setbacks instantaneously. Now it’s true that you should not dwell over spilt milk but it does not mean you should rush things. There is a difference between a quick recovery and a hurried recovery process. Enjoy the many blessings in life while you plan your next move. Trust me, you are better off than jumping straight back into a vicious circle.

5. Redefine what makes you happy

If you really sit down and count how many wonderful things are in your life, you realize that you do not actually need to get everything you set out for. I am by no means saying that you should not be disappointed when you don’t succeed in your endeavour. Of course you should. You put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. But remember, happiness has nothing to do with winning or losing. Look around you and be thankful of what you have already. This will make you even stronger on your way back to recovery. Find gratitude in the present moment because as someone once said “life is what‘s happening to you while you are busy making other plans”.

Final Note

We all hit that bump in the road sometimes. Hell, sometimes the setback feels more like a brick wall. Make your recovery a fantastic journey by following the advice mentioned in this article. Do not spin out of control; do not despair! Grab a hold of that wheel and steer yourself straight!


Source:

Brainy Quote Setbacks
Coming Back From a Setback
Developing Resilience: How to Bounce Back From Setbacks
5 Tips to Overcome a Major Setback
7 Ways to Bounce Back from Life’s Inevitable Setbacks
How to Deal with Setbacks