Tuesday, July 10, 2018 joyreichard Personal Growth and Development , self help , Spiritual Growth No comments

Do you feel as if you’re constantly running from one thing to the next?

Are you too busy to even make that important “To-Do” list?

Do feel torn between the many choices and decisions you must make?

Then you’re probably so caught up in the immediate minutia of your life that you aren’t taking the necessary time needed to step back and get the bigger picture. When you can see the bigger picture of your life, then everything begins to make sense. The non-essentials naturally begin to fall away and you can focus on what truly matters.

The earth plane has been called “dense.”  It’s as if we live under a veil of unknowing. Therefore we tend to operate “blind,” taking action – or not – hoping all the time that we are making the best move.

Once in a while, however, the veil lifts and we have one of those “Ah Ha” revelations – those moments of insight when the pieces start falling into place, completing the puzzle that’s confounded us for days, weeks, sometimes even months. Sometimes we receive greater understanding of a situation, or a person, or the “big picture” of our life, or even of the universe. This is our inner wisdom speaking to us.

Treasure these moments of revelations! Everything becomes clearer when we have them. Don’t you wish you could have them more often? The truth is, you can! Your inner wisdom is available to you whenever you need it.

Our society is based on “doing,” “results,” and “productivity.” Too little value is placed on taking time to “be” – to slow down and go into silence. This is when our inner wisdom can flow through the veil of “not-knowing” into our consciousness.

Let’s face it, though. We’re all too busy – so busy we’re often hyped up and can’t slow down. When we have a quiet moment, instead of connecting with our inner wisdom, we grab our cell phones to see what tidbit of information or connection it has for us. We hardly ever let our minds just coast.

Thomas Edison, one of America’s greatest inventors, knew the value of quiet moments. He frequently took “little naps.” Sometimes, when he was challenged with one of his inventions, he would rock in his rocking chair with ball-bearings in his hand. When he drifted off the ball-bearings would drop on the floor and wake him up. That moment of lucid thought before falling asleep often generated a brilliant idea, or the solution to the problem he was contemplating. These are moments of revelation!

You can have those moments too. It just means slowing down, letting yourself daydream, spend quiet moments looking at the sunset, or a beautiful view, or taking a quiet walk in nature. It means taking moments to relax without the TV, the cell phone, the iPad, or the computer.  Just sit in silence!

A great way to create space for silence is to set aside 5 to 20 minutes a day. Just sit quietly, taking deep, slow breaths. The only thing you do is follow your breathing. If your mind is busy, you can try silently saying a word or phrase such as “peace,” “letting go,” “serenity,” or the Sanskrit word “Om.”  If your mind strays, just pull it back to focusing on your breath. This practice actually strengthens your mind and improves concentration and focus.

When we quiet our bodies and let our minds free float, not only do we give ourselves valuable time to de-stress, but we also begin to let our inner wisdom flow into our consciousness for revelations.

After you become accustomed to sitting in silence, you’ll find that your inner wisdom will begin to offer up insight, help with decisions, and strengthen inner resources so you can confront life’s many challenges with greater calm and clarity.

Look for my article next month on “Accessing Your Inner Wisdom Part Two” in which I will share tips on how to actively engage with your inner wisdom to enhance your life.

If the busyness and stress of your life is depriving you of the well-being and happiness you deserve, please give me a call today and request a 30-minute complimentary consultation.  Call Joy 415-819-8769 or email me.

Monday, June 11, 2018 joyreichard fitness , Personal Growth and Development , self help No comments
photo credit pixabay

It seems like there’s a new fitness trend coming out on the daily, which can feel overwhelming if you’re still figuring out how you can clock 10,000 steps a day. While staying active on a regular basis is crucial for overall health, it’s important that you don’t neglect other areas of self-care in order to retain balance in your life. But there’s no reason to stress — it really is easier than you think to get everything done. Proof lies ahead.

Schedule Exercise

You may think that you have the willpower to hit the gym after work, but then comes a happy hour invitation that derails your best-laid plans. This is why it’s key that you schedule exercise as you would a meeting at work or church on Sunday morning. “After establishing how much extra time you have in a day, pick a few days and times of the week that appear best to you and enter it as an appointment on your schedule as a repeating appointment. This will reduce the risk of over-scheduling and help you visualize and mentally prepare for the workouts.”

Other tips for working out with a busy schedule include:

  • Do Something You Enjoy: The key to making exercise more effortless than arduous is by finding something you truly enjoy doing. While this may take a little experimentation, it’s worth it once you figure out what it is that motivates you to lace up your sneakers. While fitness experts will tell you to challenge yourself and work outside of your comfort zone, establish what you like doing first before immediately feeling as though you have to up the ante — you’re liable to burnout before you even get started.
  • Take Baby Steps: Setting small goals leading up to one large goal is an easier way for you to keep your eye on the prize without becoming discouraged. Even baby steps can be a seriously positive effect on mental health which is just what you’ll need to keep going.
  • Use The Buddy System: Having someone hold you accountable for your actions (and vice versa) can be a helpful way to stay on track — because you’re liable to feel bad about ditching out on your friend who’s already at 5:30 a.m. spin class. Studies actually show that healthy competition is one of the best forms of workout motivation.
  • Stay Active Throughout The Day: Squeeze in activity throughout the day by parking your car farther away so you’re forced to walk more, investing in a desk bike chair, taking a stroll on your lunch break, getting up several times throughout the day – anything goes as long as you’re moving.

Need more? Read through this guide to find additional tips on squeezing exercise into an already jam packed schedule.

Plan Meals

A big part of self-care is what you put into your body, but a busy schedule can make it difficult to eat well — especially on the go. Dedicate a day each week to plan your meals ahead of time — ideally, prepping ingredients and/or meals to take to work and have on-hand when you get home at the end of the day. This includes healthy snacks so you can resist the temptation of the vending machine.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep is the key to a functioning metabolism, regular weight, emotional stability, and energy, so without it, balance is completely thrown off. To ensure that you get a proper night’s rest every time your head hits the pillow, there are some key actionables you should adopt into your daily routine: go to sleep at the same time every night, don’t oversleep on the weekends, avoid lengthy daytime naps, expose yourself to natural light during the day, avoid computer screens at least two hours before bed, exercise during the day, avoid big meals at night, implement relaxation techniques, make sure your sleeping environment is decluttered and conducive to sleeping.

Balancing exercise with overall self-care can take some trial and error. Make a list of the items that are most important to you so you can prioritize them in an effective manner. Any step that you’re taking towards overall well-being is definitely a step in the right direction.

by guest contributor Sheila Olson. You can find out more about Sheila at  http://fitsheila.com

 

We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life,
or you can focus on what’s right. – Marianne Williamson

 

Once upon a time, I was a negative person. I was very reactive and went wherever my mind took me. Sometimes that was down a deep rabbit hole of what 12-step programs call “Stinking Thinking.”

The lens through which we view our lives can influence the situations in which we find ourselves. Positive thoughts can create more positive circumstances. Conversely, negative thoughts often fuel increased dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Before I discovered hypnotherapy and metaphysics, I was stuck viewing life through a negative lens. Now I know, and teach my clients, that your mind is a muscle. We have the ability to create our own reality. Each one of us is in charge of our thinking. If we can change our thoughts, and our attitude, we can literally change our lives.

I have included some negative thinking behaviors below. By becoming aware of your negative thinking behaviors you can begin to change your thoughts and create a happier and more peaceful life for yourself.

 

1.  Avoid “black and white” or “all or nothing’ thinking.

When we view people and/or situations as “black and white” or “all or nothing” we do ourselves, and the people we encounter, a great disservice. Our perspective is rigid and narrow. There is not much room for interpretation, flexibility, or negotiation. In reality things are often more gray and, if we allow for it, can offer a fresh perspective from which more options can be realized.

Words like always, never, impossible, terrible and perfect are examples of “all or nothing” thinking that can trap us in a handicapped and limited way of perceiving the world. It can lead to an emotionally unbalanced perspective of the circumstances we might find ourselves in.

Here are some statements that offer more “grey”:

Even though I sometimes do dumb things I am still an intelligent and competent person.
Even though I love my partner, sometimes I find him extremely frustrating.
Even though I like parts of my job, there are other parts that I find boring.

2. Stay away from exaggerations and over-generalizations.
“You are always late.” “You are always so critical.” “I can never do anything right.” These are examples of over-generalized or exaggerated statements. The telltale signs of an exaggerated statement includes worlds like never, always, should or everybody. Over-generalized statements are a form of negative thinking. They are accusatory and can create discord in a relationship. A way to reframe, “You are always so critical,” might be to say, “At this moment I am experiencing you as being quite critical of me. I have noticed in the past that you are frequently quick to criticize, but seldom voice your approval. I would appreciate it if you would spend more time applauding me for the things I do well.”

The second statement is more truthful and less exaggerated. As a result, it can lead to a more positive outcome.

3. Is it more important to be right or happy?
There are some people who seem to have a need to be right. This can lead to an argumentative attitude and can create discord in their relationships. There are some issues that deserve our full commitment. But there are others that in the larger scheme of things aren’t worth fighting about.

For instance, I have some political and spiritual convictions that are very different from the rest of my family. I could engage in heated debates and bring discord to our time together. However, I love my family. I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I would like. I find we have plenty of things in common to talk about. I would rather spend my time strengthening our bond than arguing about who is on the “right” political or religious side.

To find peace, happiness and closeness we sometimes need to just let things go. I can still maintain my convictions without having to argue about them.

4. What is the good in that bad thing that just happened?
I have a friend who has had a lot of adversity. Yet he is one of the most positive people I know. His secret – he always tries to find the good in whatever bad thing happens to him.

We can choose to have a positive or a negative mental filter. Persistent pessimism can become a habit if we aren’t careful. Chronic negative thinking can become the lens through which we view the world – the proverbial glass that is half empty.

Too often we think that we are supposed to have a perfect life of success and happiness. The reality is that we learn our lessons and grow wise though the challenges we face during our walk upon the earth. It is not the challenges we face that counts; it is how we choose to view and deal with them. We can claim victimhood (and there was a time when I played the damsel in distress!), or we can figure out what resources we have and work towards a resolution. When we do the later, the lessons we learn and the resiliency and inner strength we build is invaluable.

I had two friends. Both were laid off when their companies closed. One went into a depression, coping with alcohol and prescriptions drugs. He lived a wasted life. The other, though also depressed, drew on her resources, developed a strategy for getting back on her feet, followed through with her plans, and is now a much happier and fulfilled person. She found the good in the bad thing that happened to her. So can you!

5. Don’t should on yourself.
When we should on ourselves we are passing judgment, often negative ones, about our actions and behaviors.

When we say things like “I should make more money, I should have made better choices, or I should have done better in school, we are only seeing the negative and are unable to see what might be positive. Should statements put our thoughts and attitudes in a box and constrain us from seeing other options. When we are stuck in the negative we are out of balance; our perspective is skewed.

In reality, we often make choices based on what we know at a given time, or on what resources or abilities we have at the time. I have found that people are generally trying to do the best that they can in any moment. Blaming ourselves for lack of knowledge, or ability, or resources is pointless and debilitating. It would be better to replace the should with something more positive like, “I did the best that I could with the skills, knowledge and ability that I had at the time.” This is a more supportive and truthful statement.

6. Celebrate.
We seldom take time to give ourselves a much needed and deserved pat on the back. We go from one achievement to another with hardly a moment to recognize what we have accomplished.

When we stop after a productive day, a productive session with a client, or a meaningful conversation with a child and tell ourselves we did a “good job,” it affirms that we are OK. That we have value. That we are successful in our lives.

It is important to celebrate the good things when they happen. Setbacks do and will happen. Challenges and obstacles will present themselves. This fact makes it all the more important to stop and congratulate ourselves for our success no matter how small. Emotional health is about balance and realizing that good things do happen. Remembering this can help us to deal more effectively and have hope when we are challenged.

If you are struggling with negative thinking that is keeping you stuck in unhappiness and disappointment, then give Joy a call to find out how you can create a happier more fulfilling life for yourself. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy today.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018 joyreichard Personal Growth and Development , self help , Spiritual Growth No comments

From the time we were very small we were surrounded by people bigger than us and a world filled of unknowns. We were warned about kidnappers, people who might do bad things to our bodies, about crossing the street, not taking candy from strangers, etc. Sometimes it was the very adults who were supposed to keep us safe that hurt us and are the source of some of our greatest fears and deepest wounds.

It is these underlying childhood fears that create limitations in our lives. It can be the fear of ‘not being enough’: good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. Or it can be the fear of being visible from raising a hand at school or to just being in a social setting. Or it can be a fear that breeds distrust in your fellow human beings, or a fear of driving, or a fear of failure, or even of success.

These fears lie hidden in our subconscious, sometimes referred to as the Shadow Realm. As we grow up we learn to hide our fears. We develop all kinds of coping mechanisms that range from outbursts of anger, to defensiveness, or feigning submissiveness in order to protect ourselves. Or we find ways to soothe ourselves with food, drugs, video games, partying, etc. Eventually, however, our coping mechanisms stop working. Or they lead to more problems making our lives unmanageable at times. Then, when faced with situations similar to what we fear, our old wounds can be triggered and we find we’re acting like the child rather than the adult.

This is the shadow stuff that we often don’t want to look at. Yet when we take time to face our shadow stuff that is when we can discover some amazing things about ourselves. Often we find that what we have been fighting or running from is actually the source of some of the greatest lessons and wisdom. It can be a rich reservoir of information that can transform our lives in amazing ways.

This happened to me. At one time I was embittered because my whole life had turned upside down – my relationship, my job, my health, my family. It was the worst time in my life! But I was given a gift. I was shown that it was my attitude that was toxic. I was the one who was polluting everything in my life. When I made the choice to change my attitude that was when my whole life changed for the better. If I had not been willing to face my shadow, I don’t even know if I would be alive today – things had gotten that bad.

Breaking out of the old patterns requires doing shadow work. It’s about being honest with yourself and asking some of the tough questions:

  • Where do these feelings of lack and limitation come from?
  • What is the source of your feelings of loneliness?
  • How can you fill yourself up? Is your glass half empty or half full? Why?
  • How can you take responsibility for where you are in your life?
  • How can you be whole and complete with who you are?
  • How can you be more fully engaged?
  • What are your interests and passions that bring purpose and meaning to your life?
  • What are your special gifts?
  • And what can you do to bring more fullness and joy into your life?

I have found working with counselors and coaches to be very helpful. What I have come to understand is that where you put your focus is where your life expands. When you are focused on the problems, when you are focused on what is not working in a relationship or your life, then that is where you tend to ‘cycle.’ And that is what expands.

By shifting the focus to what is working ‑ to what you like about yourself, your life, your relationship, what brings you joy, what makes you feel good ‑ when you start focusing on these things, then that is when your life starts to improve.

We don’t heal by beating ourselves up and focusing on the negative. We heal by learning to have compassion for ourselves, by seeing our value, knowing we deserve, and most of all, beginning to love ourselves.

Yes, we need to work on our shadow – but not by continuing to beat ourselves up. It is time to transform that inner bully. It’s time to find compassion for ourselves knowing that we have always done the best we could with the knowledge, training, and skills we had at the time.

I’ve done lots of things that I regret in my life. I look back at some of my past experiences and think, “How could I have possibly done that?” I start to berate myself for being so stupid, unkind, or thoughtless. Then the feelings of shame start to strangle me with guilt.

This is when I make myself stop and ask, “Did I know any better at the time? Did I have access to the knowledge I have now? Did I have the skills or training that I have now?”  Usually the answer is NO! The reality is that at that time I was floundering, in a lot of personal pain, and doing the best that I could. Finally, this is when I am able to have compassion for myself and begin to heal some of the wounds from my past.

You can do the same thing. When you start beating yourself up, this is when you can start to ask some of the hard questions – not by berating yourself, but by trying to learn from your past.

  • What part did I play in creating this situation?
  • How could I have done better?
  • What can I learn from this?
  • What do I want for my life from this point forward?
  • What am I willing to invest so I can have the life that I want and deserve?

This is when you can begin to change your life for the better.

This is the benefit of working with your Shadow. Yes, looking at the past can be unpleasant. But when you look back with compassion for your younger self, then you begin to love yourself and find the courage and hope to build a better future. You deserve a great life!

If you want a better life and are struggling then give Joy a call to find out how she can help you live a more joyful life. Call 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 joyreichard Uncategorized No comments

Life for us humans on planet earth is becoming ever increasingly stressful. Many of my clients complain of feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. They complain that at work they are expected to do more with less frequently meaning longer hours, more work, the lack of adequate supervisors, challenging co-workers or subordinates, and the resulting feelings of overwhelm.  This stress is amplified with the worries of maintaining a lifestyle that is becoming ever more expensive. Just turning on the news in an attempt stay up with the latest from Washington, let alone the world, adds to this stress load. In addition, our individual stress impacts the quality of our personal relationships compounding the overwhelm and anxiety we are already experiencing in our lives.

We are a stressed-out society, and stress is a killer.  Stress eats up our limited resources spiritually, emotionally and mentally, as well as wearing down our physical body.

Stress is the silent virus. Its symptoms mirror real physical and emotional ailments.  Physically it shows up as digestive issues (irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux), fatigue, or headaches. Mentally it reveals itself as forgetfulness, poor concentration and focus, confusion, and negative thinking. Emotionally it manifests as lack of enthusiasm, motivation, and irritability. Apathy, burn-out, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are spiritual symptoms of stress. Stress can intrude on our relationships in the form of nagging, bickering, blaming and intolerance.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Stress makes coping with normal daily activates increasingly difficult. There are several things you can do, however, to cope with stress.

1. Schedule time daily for some extra self-care – a soothing bath, reading just for pleasure, a walk – especially when it is sunny out, a cup of tea while gazing out the window thinking of absolutely nothing.

Here is a recipe from Dr. Lisa Moore, my Network Chiropractor and aromatherapy instructor.

• 6 drops lavender (Lavender angustifolia)
• 2 drops clary sage (salvia sclareaI)
• Dim the lights, light a candle, and soak in this soothing bath while taking deep relaxing breaths. You can add some relaxing music if you like.

2. Schedule something pleasurable each week – a hike in nature, a trip to the ocean, a massage, an afternoon just for you, or a special outing with a friend or a special someone.

3. When stress starts to build take a few minutes to relax. Relaxation can help you release, re-focus, and renew. One simple relaxation exercise that I share with my clients is:

• Close your eyes and imagine you are in a beautiful spot – the ocean, redwood forest, a beautiful mountain meadow
• Take three deep breaths, exhaling slowly
• Count backwards from 10 to 1 while imagining you are sinking deeper and deeper into relaxation
• Relax all of your muscles
• Relax your mind
• Then visualize being in that beautiful spot, breathe in the fresh air, absorbing the serenity and peace around you
• Then when you are ready count yourself back from 1 to 5

(Click HERE for the audio file of this simple relaxation for your enjoyment.)

Take a few minutes and try this on you own or to listen to this visualization! You can do this simple relaxation exercise in just 5 to 10 minutes. Afterwards you will feel more relaxed, you will have greater clarity and focus, and you will have an increased ability to cope with whatever comes your way.

If you are experiencing symptoms of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and/or relational stress and need help finding relief, then please contact me and come in for a complementary 30 minute phone consultation to find out how you can cultivate more peace and calm in your life.  415-819-8769 or email joy@joyreichard.com.