Archives for forgiveness

Making 2018 Better Than 2017

Part 4 of 4

Destinations by Bruce Fingerhood on Flickr

2018 is finally here. If the holidays hardly felt like reflective down time, then the resolution that best serves you as a top priority is to make time (not “find” it) to get clear about what you want this year, what it will take to get it, and how you are going to make it happen.

Think of 2018 as an adventure you are about to navigate. Figure out the destinations first. (You can always add stops along the way.) Consider carefully why these destinations appeal to you. Research them thoroughly. Understand the potential challenges and highlights. Learn what there is to learn.

If you were physically going to go somewhere, you would probably try to understand the culture of that place, for instance, how to say basic things in the native language or what that culture considers polite and impolite, or even illegal. You would check yelp and other rating sites, and read some blogs on these places. You would make sure you knew if there were areas you should avoid or landmarks you need to include.

The first step is getting clear. Then, it’s making a habit of consistently carving out time, no matter how little, to plan out your micro-movements and taking action.

  1. Emotional Life

One of my teachers has said that if you master this area of your life, you master life. When I thought about that, moments came to mind in which I did not respond thoughtfully to people, but instead reacted out of emotion, and it’s those moments that weigh heavily on me. They suck my energy and cause me to spend time in guilt instead of positive action or creation. This has negatively impacted my health and relationships.

I have heard many teachers say that most of the time we are making decisions from the emotional mind of the 8-year-old version of ourselves, UNLESS we intentionally develop the higher-thinking parts of our mind and create new automatic responses through diligence and practice, just as though your emotions are muscles.

As with most areas of improvement, it starts with awareness. A big, big part of accelerating development in this area, I have learned and continue to practice, is forgiveness. It is so powerful! It’s not just forgiveness of others (even when they are not sorry), but even more importantly for yourself. The worse you make yourself feel, the more you inhibit your emotional development. It’s okay to have negative emotions. Honor them; they are a part of you, and a part of the human experience. The goal is to spend less and less time in a state of upset and be able to gradually improve at being responsive instead of reactive.

These were my emotional goals, anyway. You may have different ones.

Make a list of the positive emotions you want more of and the negative emotions you want less of, leaving several spaces in between for the things in your life that induce those emotions. This makes it easy to understand what to add to your life (or add more of) and what to avoid whenever possible.

Meditating is a practice that can help you remain in a state of calm more often, and further assist you in using the higher parts of your brain for stress stimuli instead of limiting your responses to those of your 8-year-old self.

  1. Spiritual Life

Most people I know do believe that there is more to this world than just matter. However, I do have agnostics and atheists in my life. I accept that not everyone acknowledges a spiritual component to life. If this is you, I encourage you to dedicate this category to evaluating meaning in your life. Both, spirituality and meaning in life, have been proven to benefit outlook, health, longevity and stave off depression.

Otherwise, you do not have to practice any particular religion or even be clear about what you believe in order to make your spiritual life a bigger influence to the rest of your life.

The most significant transformations that I have seen in my clients was when we had built enough rapport to delve into this area of their lives. It has been the most satisfying part of coaching in the past year, as I developed greater courage to address this area with some clients.

In one such instance, it was the simple acknowledgement that this client once was able to feel the unconditional love of God that he had forgotten with all of the other pressures of life. Once he started remembering and allowing, his striving and stress were relieved. Even his physical symptoms diminished. He made completely different decisions about his career. He landed happily where he never would have expected to land. He achieved a peace of mind he hadn’t had since he was a child.

This didn’t take a lot of time, as it was more about letting go.  We tend to pack on layers of protection to guard our most vulnerable parts. In doing so, we create blockages to the flow of giving and receiving.

My challenge to you is to take 30 seconds every day to tune into feelings of gratitude for what is good in your life and to allow yourself to feel love that is not earned by doing or having, just being.

As a level-up challenge, start to affirm that there are forces conspiring to help you, and that you are powerful.

To go even further, you can develop practices, such as Xi Gong, that help you increase your fortitude, which will make problems seem small in the face of your power.

FUN FACT:  scientists are half as likely as the general population to believe in a higher power, while doctors are more likely than the general population to believe in a higher power.

  1. Your Life Vision

Yes, this is kind of like the culmination of all of the categories that we have discussed over the past 4 weeks, but it is also how you re-inspire yourself to maintain good habits, which is necessary for positive momentum toward any of the goals you set.

The practice of imagining the ideal is called visualization. It is scientifically linked to achievement of goals because of its impact on motivation.

The best times to do this are when you first wake up and as you go to sleep. One reason might be obvious – a better start to the day and a better night’s rest. But the other reason is that brain waves are optimal for subconscious learning during these times.

Essentially, you will develop a better outlook on your life, which will make taking action a common sense thing to do.

Which of the 12 areas covered in the last 4 weeks feel the hardest to master?

Which do you want to dive into first, and which one do you want to avoid?

 

Bring on everything you want in 2018!

India Arie – There’s Hope (Video Clip)

Video Cip da música There’s Hope, do álbum Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship 2006. Site Oficial: www.indiaarie.com

Celebration…And Stress Management

September has just whizzed by, and so has the past year, hasn’t it?

I just celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary … Yay! It’s another big milestone since my divorce a few years ago, after my 26-year marriage fell apart. I’m so much happier now … happier than I ever thought I could be! It’s amazing how life can be so much brighter after navigating a life-shaking transition. (I hope those of you currently going through a tough transition will take comfort knowing how wonderful life can be on the other side.)
A major factor in my happiness is how I’ve learned to manage and reduce stress in the past few years. I’ve been sharing many of these techniques with my coaching clients. Last week, I took the time to compile my stress management tips into an article.
In celebration of my 1st anniversary, I’m sharing my article with you:
10 Tips to Manage and Reduce Stress … Without Alcohol, Drugs, or Chocolate
Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

Relax by Scarleth White from Flickr

As busy people, stress has become such a huge and omnipresent factor in our everyday lives. At work, we’re under more pressure than ever to get results because of the stagnant economy and because downsizing has resulted in fewer people available to get the work done. Our email boxes are overflowing.
At home, we’re spending less time having fun and doing activities that we love, and we’re getting less sleep than we need. We’re addicted to our mobile devices delivering messages to us 24×7. Crankiness abounds. It’s affecting our physical health too. And the stress is even higher if we’re going through a life-shaking transition such as a career change, relocation, separation, divorce, or death of a loved one.
Sound familiar? OK, then take a deeeeep breath. Here are 10 tips to help you manage and alleviate stress … without alcohol, drugs,or chocolate. 🙂
1. Recognize the difference between pressure and stress.
Pressure is imposed by external sources such as events or other people. Stress is created by internal sources, i.e. it’s self-imposed. We generate stress by the way we react to the pressures in our life. This is an important distinction because we may not be able to do anything to eliminate the things causing the pressure, but we can certainly learn to control it maybe through yoga, meditation, or some greens (those interested can click here to learn more), thereby alleviating its effects. The following Tips #2-6 are about how to manage how we react to external triggers.
2. Stop beating yourself up.
The biggest cause of stress is when we beat yourselves up over something we did or didn’t do. We are our own harshest critics. If you find your inner critic shouting “I shoulda,” “I coulda,” or “I woulda,” that’s a sign that you’re beating yourself up.
Separate yourself from your inner critic. Know that your negative self-talk cannot undo the past. It’s only making you feel bad. Use positive self-talk and affirmations to shift your mood and energy. Know that you did the best job you could, based on the information and resources you had at that time, and that you learned your lesson and will do better next time. Be gentle on yourself, and move forward. If you are having hardship in managing your negative internal voice, you can also look for options such as cbd gummies and chocolates or oils for assistance. Cannabis products can help in managing and streamlining negative thoughts.
3. Accept what is.
Is cross-town traffic grid-locked when you’re late for your appointment? Are the jackhammers across the street so loud you can’t hear yourself think? Is the mother of the screaming toddler on your flight doing nothing to calm him down? Is your ex-husband taking calls from his new girlfriend while you’re trying to have an important conversation with him? Is your blood pressure rising, just reading this paragraph?
An ancient Buddhist proverb says: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” It means that sh++ happens and you can’t do anything about it … but you can choose whether you’ll let it bother you or not. Things bother us when we tell ourselves that “Something’s wrong” or “It’s not supposed to be this way.” Re-frame the situation. Don’t let those things bother you. Just accept them as being “normal,” even if they’re not. Maintain an even keel.

4. Re-set your expectations.

Annoyed because your employee missed another deadline? Upset because your sister never returns your phone calls? Feeling overwhelmed because you thought you would be much farther along on your big project that you committed to have done by next week?
When your reality falls short of your expectations, you feel disappointed, unhappy, overwhelmed, or stressed. Sometimes, the best way to deal with that is to re-calibrate your expectations:
  • Realize that your employee works at a slower pace than others. You can either give him more time, or take other actions to manage his performance.
  • Accept that your sister may not value staying in touch as much as you do. Don’t take it personally when she doesn’t call you back.
  • Forgive yourself for your project delays and allow more time in the future for unexpected obstacles. (And stop beating yourself up.) Take big projects and break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Don’t be such a perfectionist. Other people don’t expect you to be perfect, so don’t pressure yourself to be.
5. Notice what you’re worrying about.
What are the things you most worry about? Which of them are things you have some control over? Which are things you truly cannot control? What benefit are you getting by worrying about these things?
There is a famous prayer that goes “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Focus on the things you have control over, and take actions to make them better. Let go of worrying about things that you can’t control, including trying to change other people’s personalities or behaviors.
6. Avoid people and situations that upset you.
Notice what triggers you. Is it rush hour traffic? Or certain people who exude negative energy? Your ex? The maddening crowds? Store employees who don’t understand the meaning of customer service?
The more aware you are of what triggers you and how you react, the more you can avoid those situations. Set boundaries to protect yourself and your sanity. Learn to say “no” when people demand your time. Take a different route to work to avoid heavy traffic, even if it might take a little longer. Minimize contact with people who are toxic, even if they’re family members. It’s not worth the aggravation. Instead, surround yourself with positive people.
7. Write it down.
Our brains are running at light speed all the time. We get brilliant sparks of genius at the most inopportune times. We’re constantly thinking of all the things we need to get done or all the things we need to remember. Our mind is in a constant swirl,even when we’re trying to sleep. No wonder we get stressed out.
Carry a small notebook everywhere you go. Keep it on your bedside table. When you think of something you want to remember, write it down. By downloading it from your brain, you have more mental space and calmness so that you can focus on being present.
8. Give yourself the gift of peace and quiet.
Give yourself some quiet time every day to rest your mind. Focus on the positive things in your life, and be grateful for them.
People who practice Transcendental Meditation say that they can re-set their minds with just a 20-minute deep meditation twice a day. Even if you don’t practice TM, you can benefit from meditating every day or just engaging in quiet time. For more tips on meditating, see our February 2013 article:
http://wingsforwomen.net/3809/manage-stress-through-meditation/
9. Take care of your body.
Prolonged stress will tear up your body and upset your natural rhythms of health. Your body will rebel by getting sick when you’re on overload, forcing you to rest. Your immune system will suffer. You’ll get high blood pressure or ulcers. In extreme cases, you’ll be susceptible to serious diseases or even cancer.
Commit to a regular sleeping schedule so you can re-charge your batteries. Drink lots of water. It’s amazing what water does to enable your body and brain to function properly. Eat well balanced, nutritional meals. Cut back on caffeine and sugar to avoid mood swings and energy crashes. Keep your body moving with regular exercise, especially yoga or cardio exercise. Take an invigorating Zumba dance class. Vigorous exercise generates endorphins, the natural “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Take a relaxing hot bath. Get a soothing massage. Most importantly … Breathe!
10. Engage in fun and enjoyable activities.
Even if you don’t have much time to spare, devote some time each week to do things you enjoy. Have fun. Celebrate small successes. Keep a sense of humor about things that are going awry. Laughter is the best medicine! People have even been known to cure themselves of cancer by engaging in serious laughter.
Life is too short to be stressed out all the time. Breathe. Smell the roses once in a while. Keep a positive outlook on life. Take care of the #1 VIP … YOU!!
I hope you found these tips to be helpful, especially Tips #2-6, which are about how to manage how you react to external triggers. If you feel challenged in this area, consider investing in some coaching.
For a complimentary consultation to explore how coaching can help you, fill out a brief request form here: http://bit.ly/WFWStrategySession
To a joyful and more fulfilling future,Keiko Hsu
Award-Winning Certified Life Coach,
Business & Executive Coach, and Transition Mentor
Wings for Women
San Francisco, CA