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Are you experiencing a toxic relationship?

Are you experiencing a toxic relationship?

It might be a quarrelsome in-law or relative that you have to see on a regular basis. Or an intimidating boss that you report to. Or it might be a domineering co-worker who makes too many suggestions about how you should do your job, or a friend who offers way too much advice.

If you are struggling with a toxic relationship, then here is an article that you might find helpful that was recently published in Yes Magazine. It was shared with me by my friend Marty Maskall.

When a relationship is causing you stress and suffering, follow these five steps to find peace for yourself.

1. Accept that you are in a difficult situation, dealing with a very difficult relationship

Your choices here are fairly limited, and, strangely, acceptance is always the best choice. You can judge and criticize the other person, but that will probably make you feel tense and lonely. Alternately, you could nurse your anxiety and despair that you’ll never be able to get along with them, which will make you feel stressed and sad. You can definitely deny their existence or pretend that they aren’t bothering you. You can block their texts and emails, and avoid every situation where they’ll turn up.

These are all tactics of resistance, and they won’t protect you. These tactics will allow the other person to further embed themselves into your psyche.

What does work is to accept that your relationship with them is hard, and also that you are trying to make it less hard. This gentle acceptance does not mean that you are resigned to a life of misery, or that the situation will never get better. Maybe it will-and maybe it won’t. Accepting the reality of a difficult relationship allows us to soften. And this softening will open the door to your own compassion and wisdom.

Trust me: You are going to need those things.

2. The other person will probably tell you that you are the cause of all their bad feelings

This is not true. You are not responsible for their emotions. You never have been, and you never will be. Don’t take responsibility for their suffering; if you do, they will never have the opportunity to take responsibility for themselves.

3. Tell the truth

When you lie (perhaps to avoid upsetting them), you become complicit in the creation and maintenance of their reality, which is poisonous to you. For example, they might ask you if you forgot to invite them to a party. You can easily say yes, that it was a mistake that they didn’t get the Evite, and did they check their spam folder?

But lying is very stressful for human beings, maybe the most stressful thing. Lie detectors detect not lies, but the subconscious stress and fear that lying causes. This will not make the relationship less toxic.

So, instead, tell the truth. Be sure to tell them your truth instead of your judgment, or what you imagine to be true for other people. Don’t say “I didn’t invite you because it would stress Mom out too much to have you there” or “I didn’t invite you because you are a manipulative drama queen who will find some way to make the evening about you.”

Instead, tell them your truth: “When you are in my home, I feel jittery and nervous, and I can’t relax, so I didn’t invite you to the party. I’m sorry that I’ve hurt your feelings.”

It takes courage to tell the truth, because often it makes people angry. But they will probably be mad at you anyway, no matter what you do. They almost certainly won’t like the new, truth-telling you-and that will make them likely to avoid you in the future. This might be a good thing.

4. If you feel angry or afraid, bring your attention to your breath and do not speak (or write) to the person until you feel calm

It’s normal to want to defend yourself, but remember that anger and anxiety weaken you. Trust that soothing yourself is the only effective thing you can do right now. If you need to excuse yourself, go ahead and step out. Even if it is embarrassing or it leaves people hanging.

5. Have mercy

Anne Lamott defines mercy as radical kindness bolstered by forgiveness, and it allows us to alter a communication dynamic, even when we are interacting with someone mired in anger or fear or jealousy. We do this by offering them a gift from our heart. You probably won’t be able to get rid of your negative thoughts about them, and you won’t be able to change them, but you can make an effort to be a loving person. Can you buy them a cup of coffee? Can you hold space for their suffering? Can you send a loving-kindness meditation their way?

Forgiveness takes this kindness to a whole new level. I used to think I couldn’t really forgive someone who’d hurt me until they’d asked for forgiveness, preferably in the form of a moving and remorseful apology letter.

But I’ve learned that to heal ourselves we must forgive whether or not we’re asked for forgiveness, and whether or not the person is still hurting us. When we do, we feel happier and more peaceful. This means that you might need to forgive the other person at the end of every day-or, on bad days, every hour. Forgiveness is an ongoing practice, not a one-time deal.

When we find ways to show mercy to even the person who has cost us sleep and love and even our well-being, something miraculous happens. “When we manage a flash of mercy for someone we don’t like, especially a truly awful person, including ourselves,” Anne Lamott writes, “we experience a great spiritual moment, a new point of view that can make us gasp.”

Here’s the real miracle: Our mercy boomerangs back to us. When we show radical kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance-and when we tell the truth in even the most difficult relationship-we start to show ourselves those things. We realize that we can love and forgive and accept even the most terrible aspects of our own being, even if it is only for a moment. We start to show ourselves the truth, and this makes us feel free.
And, in my experience, this makes all we have suffered worth it.

This article was originally published by Greater Good. It was edited for YES! Magazine. 
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I Have to Make You Understand!

When I was younger, I felt a need to express whatever was on my mind just to make sure my partner knew what I was thinking and feeling. This was especially true when I was frustrated, upset or angry at them. I believed in the myth that communication was key! It always improved the quality of a relationship.

What I’ve learned the hard way over the 60+ years of my life is that “positive” communication can deepen the feelings between two people. “Negative” communication, however, can be damaging and create barriers to intimacy, especially if it is a large part of the communication that’s going on in a relationship.

When people have critical or judgmental feelings for each other and spend the majority of time expressing them, it doesn’t clear the air and bring clarity. Instead it can act as a wedge that drives people further apart. One famous relationship expert, George S. Pransky, wrote, “Communication is a pipe through which feelings pass. If the feelings are positive, the relationship will be uplifted. If they are negative, the couple’s level of closeness will drop.”

Many of my clients who are experiencing ‘challenges’ in their relationships don’t realize that it’s positive feelings and a sense of appreciation and goodwill that brings closeness between couples. Not More Talk! And these good feelings can be expressed in many more innovative ways than through just talking.

It’s as if there is a relationship bank account. Feelings are the deposits and withdrawals. When there is a lot of goodwill and positive feelings toward each other, deposits are made. Communication and actions expressing ill will (frustration, anger, irritation, criticism) are withdrawals. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as a productive discussion that alienates people!

A rule of thumb I suggest to my clients is that if they or their partner are in a bad mood, to hold off on any deep conversations. Wait until both of you are feeling calmer and more objective.

If you’re still bothered by the issue after calming down, then bring it up preferably in a composed, non-confrontational manner. Focus on how your partner’s behavior or comments made you feel. Then let them know how a different approach would make you feel better.

If you find that after 5-10 minutes things are not getting better, and are in fact getting worse, then just STOP THE CONVERSATION and try again later. Talking an issue to death will not make things better, and will most likely intensify feelings of ill-will.

I wish I knew this nugget of wisdom two marriages ago!

Troubled relationships are one of the most common reasons why a client comes to see me. If you’re having difficulties in your relationship and can’t seem to make things better, then give me a call to schedule a 30-minute complementary consultation to see how I might be able to help. Contact me TODAY or call 415-819-8769. For more information about my services go to JoyReichard.com.
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Is It Safe to Play it Safe?

I recently set a boundary. It was with a colleague whom I liked and respected. Setting that boundary was really tough!

Here I am, a ‘mature’ business woman with lots of life experience, who runs her own practice, and is a leader in her community… and it was still very challenging to set that boundary! How many of you experience similar difficulties when having to confront someone for whatever reason?

Well… I ended up setting the boundary, but then spent a sleepless night stewing over it. What came up in the stew was that I felt guilty because I ‘dared’ to set a boundary!

As I ‘unpacked’ my feelings attempting to get at the source of why this had me in such turmoil, I realized that, somehow, I felt wrong for setting the boundary. As if it wasn’t OK to protect my space.

I finally comprehended that I had been living by an old story about how I should show up in the world. It went something like this: “Be nice, accommodating and understanding of everyone else. It’s your job. It’s OK if others take advantage of you because of your niceness. They will like you for being so nice and accommodating. You must be liked. The world won’t be safe if you aren’t liked.”

Wow! Where did this come from? I had been giving everyone license to walk all over me. Where was my backbone? What happened to my power?

As I dug deeper I realized that as a preacher’s kid with a stern father, I had quickly learned that as a child being super “nice” was expected.  It became the ‘role’ I took on and played all my life. When I set that boundary, I confronted the role of “be nice and accommodating.”  I said, “NO! I deserve to be respected.”

Even though I did the right thing, I still went through quite a bit of inner disturbance. This showed me how challenging it can be to change an old story about how one should show up in the world. Even if I was ready to change that old story, it still created a lot of inner conflict!

We all have our stories that define the roles by which we live. Some build us up by flooding us with confidence and inner strength. Others are self-denigrating and self-sabotaging. They keep us stuck in being small, limited, and filled with self-doubt.

Changing these old stories can be challenging, especially when it generates fear or panic like it did for me. Some of these stories sound like, “I’m not good enough so I’d better not take on anything too big.”  Or, “It’s not safe to be seen so I better play it low key.”  Or, “I have to work really hard to make it. There’s no time for play or having fun.”  Or, “Why bother to try. Somebody else will do it better.”

These old stories go on and on, simmering just under the radar in our subconscious and keeping us from living to our potential. When we try to stretch ourselves, our fear of actually doing something outside the norm yanks us back into staying ‘safe’… but small.

It’s time for you to start living as your big self. When you feel that sense of fear or panic, gather up your courage, then ‘Do It Anyway.’

The rewards of standing in your truth and changing those old stories are much greater than staying stuck in a role that has grown much too small for the potential of who you can be!

So, what happened with that colleague with whom I set the boundary? She realized that she had overstepped her bounds and was apologetic. She made appropriate amends. The result is that our friendship and collegial relationship is stronger than ever, and I feel more empowered because I took a stand and claimed my right to be respected.

If you are plagued with negative thoughts and old stories of how you should show up in your life, then give me a call for a 30-minute complimentary consultation and find out how you can live the life you were joyfully meant to live. Call me TODAY! 415-819-8769 or email me.
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Women, Beware the Pink Net

Ever felt like you were getting shot down in the office… by other women?

This is an unfortunate complaint that I hear from some of my clients and friends. The glass ceiling is still there, as demonstrated recently on the political scene – although now women are waking up and becoming more assertive at poking holes through it.

Other women I talk to, however, are concerned about getting caught in what I’ve come to call the Pink Net. Corporate women are finding themselves entangled in the male culture of competition and dominance. In order to climb the ladder some tend to turn on other women by holding them back and keeping them down.

Ouch!

To succeed many of my corporate clients have worked hard to become more like men – tough, competitive, driven! For men this style obviously works. There’s a reason the “old boys club” has been around so long.

There is a big difference, though, in how men and women play the competitive game. Men dwell mostly in their heads and are less ruled by emotions. They like to compete – be the top dog – yet they don’t personalize the battle. They go out for drinks after a heated conference room clash of priorities and ideas. There they shift from their recent board room battle to hashing out the latest ball game as if they’re the best of friends.

Women, however, are relational; we are more in touch with our feelings. While this has some obvious benefits, it also makes it tougher for us to keep our emotions out of the equation. We tend to personalize disagreements – business or otherwise. After a conference room battle, our emotions can be stirred up. They can linger and fester. Internalized, women can turn their negative emotions on other women in the male hierarchical tradition of keeping others down to build themselves up. Or they dampen down their emotions and become the dragon lady boss. (I had one of these once. It was not pleasant!) This personalization of boardroom disputes hurts women individually and collectively in corporate life.

Women’s cultural and natural inclination is to form circles of collaboration where we can support, listen to, and encourage one another. As a result, when we start throwing punches like the boys, there’s an internal cost. It’s hard to divorce ourselves from our feelings and stay in our heads like the guys. And in an effort to stay one-up, the cost can mean projecting our frustration and fear on other women.
So what’s the solution? One is for women to build on what comes naturally: circles of collaboration.

Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, refused to follow the traditional female role of wife and mother. Instead she asked her father, Zeus, for a bow and arrow so she could roam free in the woods with her circle of nymphs. Artemis and the nymphs were self-sufficient, hunting and supporting each other. They created a circle of collaboration.

Instead of buying into the competitive game, women might focus on building networks of support, encouragement and guidance within the corporate structure. Men have a system of mentoring. Their mentees are advised, guided and encouraged through their development. Then the mentees are brought with them up the ladder. Or the mentees move on to become colleagues in other departments or companies.

There is a growing tradition of female mentoring in US corporations. There just aren’t enough of them YET! Are we really too busy or too competitive to stop and help one another through the ranks?

Mentoring could be the type of collaboration women can embrace. I know this is happening in some of the younger newer and savvier companies. Yet we still have a long way to go in the larger more male dominated corporations.

If you feel you are not getting the support and encouragement you need from other women, then I encourage you to find a women’s circle that encourages feminine empowerment, fosters supportive relationships, shares feminine wisdom, and honors feminine ways of knowing and being in the world. Women’s wisdom and feminine influence has the potential to change the world. We can start right in our own community.

There are many women’s groups out there – some are business related, others support personal growth and development, and still others focus on spiritual development. Search out the kind that you feel will support you best.
I currently lead two such women’s circles that focus on personal and spiritual growth. One is “Circle with the Divine Feminine” in Fair Oaks CA, the other is the “In Her Name Circle” in San Mateo, CA. I personally invite you to check us out. We would love to welcome you.

If you are feeling challenged with how to show up with confidence and strength as a woman, then contact Joy to find out how she can help YOU be more authentically YOU. Phone 415-819-8769 or email Joy TODAY!
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Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness

Has someone hurt you in the past? Maybe betrayed a trust? Offered unwelcomed criticism? Placed blame unfairly?

When someone hurt you, did you have you have a hard time letting it go? Did you harbor anger, resentment, or even thoughts of revenge?

Have you found it difficult to embrace forgiveness and move forward?

Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project, or your partner had an affair. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness, or even vengeance.

I’ve harbored bitter feelings towards a couple of ‘exes’ for a long time. During a recent illness that lingered for 6 weeks I was given way too much time to process these old hurts. I did a lot of reflection on forgiveness and compassion and why these too human characteristics are so important.

Wise elders from all traditions have told us that if we don’t practice forgiveness, we might be the ones who pay most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, we’re told that we can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy.

Forgiveness can lead you down the path ofphysical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Defining forgiveness

Generally, forgiveness is coming to terms with the wisdom of letting go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. Although you might always remember the act that hurt or offended, eventually there is realization that forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. The process of forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you. Nor does it minimize or justify the wrong. It’s possible to forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness allows you to find a place of inner peace that helps you go on with life free from the feelings of resentment and bitterness.

The importance of forgiveness

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can help you create a life with more happiness, health and peace. The Mayo Clinic claims that forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved heart health
  • Higher self-esteem
Why is it so easy to hold a grudge?

When you’re hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. Dwelling on these hurtful events or situations allows grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility to fester and take root. Our imagination is so powerful that rehashing these negative feelings can inflame the hurt and pain so that it crowds out positive feelings. Then you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.

Holding a grudge can harm you

If you hold onto these old grudges and resentments, the Mayo Clinic states that you might:

  • Pollute other relationships and new experiences with anger and bitterness
  • Allow the toxic memories of past wrongs to negatively impact the present
  • Become depressed or anxious
  • Feel that your life lacks meaning or purpose, or to cause you to feel disconnected from spirit or your spiritual beliefs
  • Lose valuable and enriching connectedness with others
How can you reach a state of forgiveness?

Forgiveness is decision to be honest with yourself and reflect on the situation with more compassion and a larger perspective of yourself and the other party or parties.

To begin, you might:

  • Reflect on the particulars of the situation, how you’ve reacted, and how the resentment and bitterness has affected your life, health and well-being.
  • Consider the value of forgiveness and its importance in your life at a given time.
  • Actively choose to view the other person with compassion while trying to understand them and their situation, and allow forgiveness to emerge when you are ready.
  • Move away from your role as victim and release the control and power that the offending person and situation has had on your life.

As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.

Forgiveness isn’t easy

It’s not always easy to forgive. This is especially true if the other person doesn’t want to admit wrong and/or doesn’t speak of his or her own sorrow. If you find yourself stuck:

  • Consider the situation from the other person’s point of view.
  • Ask yourself why he or she would behave in such a way. Perhaps you would have reacted similarly if you faced the same situation.
  • Reflect on times you’ve hurt others and on those who’ve forgiven you.
  • Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation – or talk with a person you’ve found to be wise and compassionate, such as a spiritual leader, a mental health provider, or an impartial loved one or friend.
  • Be aware that forgiveness is a process and even small hurts may need to be revisited and forgiven over and over again.
Forgiveness and reconciliation
It’s important to remember that forgiveness doesn’t always lead to reconciliation. If you’ve had a close relationship with the offending party prior to the hurt, then forgiveness might lead to reconciliation. This isn’t always the case, however. Sometimes there can be forgiveness yet the relationship never quite goes back to the way it was.

If the offender has died or is unwilling to communicate then it might not be possible to achieve reconciliation. Sometimes reconciliation might not be appropriate. Still, it’s important to remember that forgiveness is possible – even if reconciliation isn’t.

Forgiveness isn’t about getting another person to change his or her actions, behavior or words. Forgiveness is more about how it can change your life by helping you to find greater peace, happiness, and emotional and spiritual healing. Forgiveness can also take away the power the other person continues to wield in your life.

Forgiveness is a process that takes time

Remember, forgiveness is a process. Your ability to forgive may not happen overnight. Nor can you force someone to forgive you if, in your process, you realize that you might have to take some responsibility for what happened.

People need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, allow yourself to move to a state of forgiveness. Forgiveness is important for your own health and well-being. Then commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was YOU!

If you are harboring bitterness, anger, and/or resentment and are having a hard time letting it go, then give Joy Reichard a call to find out how she can help you move to a state of forgiveness so you can find more peace and happiness in your life. Email Joy today or contact Joy at 415-819-8769.

Adapted from words of wisdom obtained from a Mayo Clinic article on forgiveness.

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You Are Enough

YOU ARE ENOUGH!
The words are simple enough, but the deeper meaning is often overlooked, dismissed, trivialized, or neglected. Though the words “you are enough” are familiar, if you are anything like me, you may notice them for a moment, maybe think it’s a clever phrase, or even profound, but then you’re off to the next thing. The meaning and relevancy of “you are enough” is quickly forgotten.

It’s HARD to accept the fact that you just might be enough. It is easier to internalize the criticisms, compare yourself with others, constantly push yourself to be the best, or crumble inside thinking you will never be the best. Your perception is that “the best” is always just a little out of reach.

I struggle with “you are enough.” My father was a Methodist minister. Expectations of a PK (preacher’s kid) are always high. Burdensomely so! I just wanted to be a normal, mischievous kid. That didn’t go over too well with my authoritative preacher dad who had high expectations.

I got into the habit of self-criticism and comparing myself to others. Though I was good at a lot of things, I kept beating myself up for all those areas where I came up short. “I’m not thin enough.” “I’m not athletic enough.” “I’m not popular enough.” “I’m just plain not good enough!”

I was so down on myself that I forgot how to celebrate my successes. That doesn’t make any sense, does it? We all have things that we’re good at, and things we aren’t so good at. That’s the way the All-That-Is planned it. If we all were supposed to be rock stars and beauty queen contestants, then there would be no truck drivers, mail carriers, nurses, and cooks. Variety and diversity is what makes our world work. There is someone in every community to fill most every niche.

Though I know that believing “you are enough” is an inside job, I still want to try and save you some of the aggravation that I’ve gone through to embrace what seems like such a simple revelation. Even now there are some days when I get it! Then there are other days when I don’t. Those days when I feel down in the dumps I wonder if I will ever be enough. I’m learning, however, to remind myself of all the things I’m good at, and about the good things I’ve done. That helps me get out of my slump and back into action.

Here are some tips shared by Erin Bahadur that remind me that “I am enough.” Please read and embrace them:

  1. There is no perfection. Anyone who believes there is, or insists that you should attain that status, is not worth your time. You are enough!
  2. There is no goal that you could ever achieve that will convince you that you are enough. If you don’t already believe that before you get there, then you still won’t believe it once you do.
  3. You are an incredible person. I don’t even know you, but I can tell you without a doubt that there is something in you that sets you apart from everyone else. You need to find that thing and embrace it. Nurture it. You are special. You are enough!
  4. I know that other people’s opinions, external comparisons, and your own negative self-talk may have brought you to a place where you question your self-worth. Some days are worse than others, but realize that on every single day YOU ARE ENOUGH!
  5. As long as you know you are enough, no one can ever tell you that you’re not.
In the past I exhausted myself trying to be what I thought others, and the world, wanted me to be. We humans are social creatures and of course it’s natural to want to be liked and to belong.

It too me a while to realize, however, that the more that I spoke from the heart, and took the time to nurture the things that make me unique, the more receptive I found the world to be. In fact, I found that being my self requires far less work. This has made it possible to invest more time in developing who I am.

The world wants you to stand up and be YOU because nothing will happen if you don’t. You are enough, and your enough-ness is what makes the world a better place.

If you struggle with believing you are enough and want to find out how working with Joy can help you step into your potential and find greater happiness, then give Joy a call at 415-819-8769 or email Joy today.
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10 Tips to Help You Cope with Anxiety and Fear

There has been a lot of uncertainty lately as the status quo has been called into question. People are concerned about the rights they have enjoyed for years being taken away. Benefits that many people depend on now seem to be uncertain. Blame for the state of affairs is being flung at both sides of the political arena while the government seems unstable and invested in “alternative truth.” At times it can be difficult to find something secure and stable to hang on to.

When our leaders model instability, conflict, and antagonism, it can create a mass consciousness of insecurity. This can then filter down to us on a personal level so that we, the people, begin to experience even more worry, fear, and anxiety about our day to day lives.
How can YOU cope when experiencing anxiety, worry, and fear?

Here are 10 tips to help you cope with your day-to-day fears and anxieties.

1. Take time out 

It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down.

Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around the block, making a cup of tea, reading the funnies or an engaging book, or soaking in a bath. Whatever you do – DON’T WATCH THE NEWS WHEN YOU’RE FEELING ANXIOUS!

2. Breathe through panic 

If your heart beat starts to race, or your palms start to sweat, the best thing is not to fight it.

Stay where you are and simply feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach and inhale deeply, hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. Repeat this breathing pattern for several minutes or until you have calmed down. The goal is to help the mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.

3. Face your fears 

Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. For instance, if you panic one day getting into an elevator, it’s best to get back into an elevator the next day. This helps to desensitize you from your fear.

4. Imagine the worst 

Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.

5. Look at the evidence 

It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in an elevator and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.

Another thing you can do is ask, “What can I do about this fear?” Often times you may find that there is something you can do about it. If there is, then do it! Taking control is a great way to lessen your fears.

6. Don’t try to be perfect 

Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy. Just do the best you can and accept that your best is “good enough!”

7. Visualize a happy place 

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.

8. Talk about it 

Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. Call a partner, friend or family member and share your fears with them. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk can help you process and release the fear.

If your fears aren’t going away, then talk with your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to a counselor or psychotherapist. (Hopefully they will do this before giving you a pill.) Or contact a hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapists are trained to help people cope with their anxiety and fears.

9. Go back to the basics 

Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate their anxiety. This, however, only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal, hanging out with a friend or loved one, and/or a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.

10. Reward yourself 

Finally, give yourself a treat. When you have taken that first step or have made that call you’ve been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.

Anxiety or fear is a feeling we are having. It is not the totality of us, though sometimes it feels like that. Our bodies were actually made to process our feelings. The more we resist our fears or try to stuff them, the more they will persist – often times poking their ugly heads out at the most inconvenient times. Instead of trying to medicate or stuff your fears and anxieties, try one or more of these methods instead. You will be surprised how effective these tips can be.

If you are struggling with anxiety, worries, or fears, then you give Joy a call for a complimentary 30-minute consultations and find out how she can help you cope more effectively so you can master your fears. 415-819-8769 or email Joy today!

Adapted from NHS Choices
http://www.nhs.uk/pages/home.aspx
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You Are More Than Your Brain

My father and I share a common trait – intellectual curiosity. Lately this has led us to reading books and discussing topics on the nature of the soul, self-awareness, and higher consciousness. Dad often challenges me to read a particular book. The most recent challenge is Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E Tanzi. Dad claims that if I want to stay mentally alert and active into old age (he’s 88, and is as sharp and alert as ever) then this book is a must-read!

Dutifully reading Super Brain for an upcoming visit with my father, I was intrigued by one subheading – “You Are Not Your Brain.” It stresses that many of us don’t realize that we are our own ‘reality makers.’ For instance, when suffering from a cold we tend to say, “I have a cold.” But when we are suffering from depression we tend to say, “I am depressed.”
“I am (whatever…)” is a powerful statement. It means you identify with whatever condition you are experiencing. In other words, your mood colors your world. So when you identify with being depressed, then the world reflects how you feel. The world can literally lose its vibrant colors and seem gray, lifeless, humorless and lacking in joy.

Yet it’s not your brain that is in charge of your identity. If this were true then it would make as much sense to say you are a yellow lemon, or a tree, or a grey rock as it would be to say you are depressed. What’s really going on has to do with brain electrical chemistry and how that is intimately connected to your emotions and perception.

Researchers have found that by applying a small electrical charge to a specific part of the motor cortex that the arm will move. When the patient is asked what happened, the response is, “My arm moved.” Yet when instructed to move their arm, the patient’s response is, “I moved my arm.”

This indicates that there is another element at play that impacts the brain. It’s the “I,” or your mind, which is linked with the brain, but is also separate from the brain. The “I” is what controls the brain, and is much more powerful than you may recognize.

Many of my clients suffer from depression, anxiety, or troubling negative thoughts. One of my goals is to help them separate the “I” from their reactive unconscious functioning. My mantra is “Your mind is a muscle. You are the one in charge.”

Most often we don’t realize that we are in charge. We let our reactive unconscious perceptions of the world control our actions. This is why we erupt in anger, act on our jealousies, give in to our greed, are obsessed with control, sink into depression, and the list goes on and on.
Super Brain lists some pointers on how you can take control of your mind, and thus your life, by transforming your perception.

  • Take responsibility for your own experience.
  • Be skeptical of fixed reactions, both yours and anyone else’s.
  • Confront old conditioning. It leads to unconscious behavior.
  • Be aware of your emotions and where they come from.
  • Examine your core beliefs. Hold them up to the light, and discard beliefs that make you stuck.
  • Ask yourself what part of reality you are rejecting. Freely consult the viewpoint of the people around you. Respect what they see in the situation.
  • Practice empathy so that you can experience the world through someone else’s eyes.
If you pursue these steps, then you can progress from unconscious behaviors to being more aware, to self-awareness. The goal is to become self-aware. This is the place of self-mastery from where you can create your reality. It is remarkable how changing your perception can transform your life!

If you feel your life is controlled by depressive or negative thoughts or anxiety please email me or call 415-819-8769 TODAY for a complimentary consultation to find out how Transformational Life Coaching with Hypnotherapy can help YOU become the maker of your reality.

 

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Is There Wisdom in Anger?

So much is transpiring in the political arena that it is hard not to be swept up into the emotionally charged chaos. Personally I am finding it challenging to stay balanced with an open heart and open mind, to release anger and upset, and to stay centered. This is why I was so grateful to receive this email from my spiritual mentor, Terry Attwood. I felt her message was so helpful to me personally that I wanted to share it with all of you …

Terry’s Message: It is very important to realize when we are so upset about the current events going on in the country that we are in the ego.  It’s a signal to move to higher ground and use that energy to stay centered and take action from a base of non-attachment to our personal beliefs, but to come from the place of what is right.  So, what I have been doing is to keep in my mind that my protests are coming from a place that supports the truth of what this country is about… from the basic values that define America.  I am attaching a great writing (Buddhist) about this. – Terry

The Wisdom of Anger

 

“The buddhas are not just the love-and-light people we like to think they are. Of course, their enlightened mind is grounded in total peace, but in that open space compassion spontaneously arises. It has many manifestations. One is the pure energy of anger.

Anger is the power to say ‘no’. This is our natural reaction whenever we see someone suffer – we want to stop it. The buddhas say ‘no’ to the three poisons (greed, hatred and delusion) that drive injustice. They are angry about our suffering and they will happily destroy its causes. They aren’t angry at us. They’re angry for us.

… There are times when the compassionate thing is to destroy. To say “Stop!” to suffering. To say “Wake up!” to the ways people deceive themselves. To use the energy of anger to say “No!” to all that is selfish, exploitative, and unjust.

In its pure, awakened form, when it is not driven by ego, anger brings good to the world. In our personal lives, it helps us be honest about our own foibles and have the courage to help others see how they are damaging themselves. On a bigger scale, anger is the energy that inspires great movements for freedom and social justice, which we need so badly now. It is a vital part of every spiritual path, for before we can say yes to enlightenment, we must say no to the three poisons (greed, hatred and delusion).

The energy of anger is an inherent part of our nature-we can no more have ‘yes’ without ‘no’ than light without dark. So we need a way to work with the energy of anger so it doesn’t manifest as aggression, as well as methods to tap its inherent wisdom. We need a profound understanding of where aggression comes from, how it differs from anger, and a practical path to work with it. That path begins where all healing begins.”

If current times are creating worry and frustrations that are causing you to spend more time being anxious and depressed, then give Joy a call and ask for a 30-minute complimentary consultation to find out how you can start being more positive and happy. Contact Joy today by phone 415-819-9769 or email.
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Chaos in the Political Arena! Should I Worry?

With all the recent news about the current political chaos surrounding us – doesn’t matter whether you’re red/ blue or somewhere in*between – it’s difficult not to fall into the mass consciousness habit of worry. Yet worrying is the worst thing to do. Worrying keeps your mental focus on what’s not working, or what you don’t have, or what may not be working in the near future. From this place it is easy to fall into the victim role. And victims are rarely successful.

When your mind is occupied with worry, it leaves little room for creative problem solving. Negative thoughts can actually suck you into a low mood, expanding those feelings of lethargy when you feel unmotivated and unproductive. Then your subconscious mind reinforces your low mood by offering up negative thoughts and memories that compound the worry. This is how a person gets stuck in low moods, which can then spiral into depression. Health professionals have become aware of the importance of a person’s mood. It is now commonly accepted wisdom that a positive, calm and happy frame of mind promotes healing. Today, hospitals (including some on the Bay Area) make guided visualization tapes for surgery patients that include positive imagery in order to facilitate their healing and speed recovery.

Worry also creates feelings of lack, limitation, or indecisiveness, generating an inclination for greater caution. Caution can then curtail your willingness to take risks, or try something different, or even explore new or innovative possibilities. These are the very traits you need during challenging times!

In addition, individuals who are worried tend to complain more, seeming to get stuck in worry, which can cause them to be perceived by others as experiencing “hard times,” or not being able to successfully cope with challenging, even chaotic times. This is not a good image for a professional in any career or growing business. Worry, therefore, is not only a useless endeavor, it wastes your time and energy, and it can literally be dangerous to your health, happiness and success.

So how do you not worry? One way is to create a vision of what you want to achieve. In reality YOU create your environment. As a matter of fact, you are in charge of your reality. You can choose to be off-kilter and let circumstances and the chaos of life take charge, or YOU can choose to be the one at the helm.

Take time to focus on what you want to create for yourself. Do you want to be focused and on top of things? Then decide what will help you to do that. If it’s turning off the news, or deciding not to get engrossed in politics, then maybe that is your best strategy for now. Or maybe you’d like to focus on getting involved in a social action group, or signing all those petitions, or getting involved in your local politics. Or you might want to refocus on your business and career instead and put a strategic one-year action plan in place. Or you might want to focus on your own personal growth, or take up that hobby that you’ve always wanted to schedule time for.

Rather than complaining about the chaos, start focusing on what you want to create – whether it is for your community, for the nation, or for yourself. Share your vision and dreams with others and talk about what you are creating. When you start to worry, shift your thoughts to what you can do, or create, or want to improve. Find a friend who you can call to help you stay positive and creative, and don’t hesitate to call them when your thoughts start to go south.

Also, it’s important to remember that everything on earth is cyclical, and that all phases and cycles are temporary. Just like the tide, every ebb is followed by a flow. And the only constant is change! By staying positive you will find it’s possible to be even more creative and innovative than you ever imagined. And you will be more flexible and adaptive to the flow of change. These are challenging times, but you have what it takes to ride the wave and come out on top!

If current times are creating worry and frustrations that are causing you to spend more time being anxious and depressed, then give Joy a call and ask for a 30-minute complimentary consultation to find out how you can start being more positive and happy. Contact Joy today by phone 415-819-9769 or email.
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