Back to School Stress

Are you feeling the fall pressure?

Does your calendar ALREADY look completely packed?

Instead of falling into the old patterns of overwork and overwhelm from years past, take some time to make the bold commitment to

DO THIS YEAR DIFFERENTLY.

I’m challenging you to schedule time in your calendar for DOING NOTHING. Schedule in some time every day (10-20 minutes) and a larger chunk of time each week (1-3 hours) when you don’t have a “to-do” list to accomplish.

This is a time to do only what you WANT to do. Do what you’re inspired to do IN THE MOMENT. Sit down, drink a cup of tea, draw, stretch, lay on your bed and listen to music.

Stick to your commitment of allowing yourself this down time (this is for teens AND parents!)

Here’s why: when we give ourselves time to stop, breathe, decompress, rest, and listen to what we need in the moment, our rested mind and body is able to make clearer decisions the rest of the day (so we actually end up saving time!)

Can I tell you a quick story about doing things differently?

Last weekend I ran a 10 K race. There was a woman ahead of me who would run, then slow down to a walk, then run again. I had used this strategy in my training, but on race day I was committed to running at a strong pace for the entire race. I was SO FRUSTRATED that this woman was actually moving at the same pace as me!

Here’s the lesson: We fool ourselves into feeling like we need to push-push-push all day long to be productive and successful, when in fact, varying our pace allows us to use our energy more efficiently, and gives us some much needed VARIETY in our lives so we don’t get burned out from the push.

Give yourself the gift of taking a break EVERY DAY!

 

You are WORTH IT!

Deanne

TIME magazine’s got Mindfulness covered!

MINDFULNESS: The new science of health and happiness is the title of TIME magazine’s most recent special edition.

If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of tuning in to the power of the present moment, just flip through the mag and you’ll read about how mindfulness can help to:

Save yourself from stress

Help students “get an edge” in the classroom with sharper thinking and more self-control

Boost kindness

Rest your brain from multitasking

Improve sleep

Release happy chemicals(endorphins) in the brain

Help your digestion

Reduce pain symptoms and migraines

WOW!

Mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation are also being embraced by hospitals to help patients heal and manage pain, as well as major corporations such as Nike and Google to help with employee productivity (a happy employee is a productive, creative, and engaged employee).

It’s true that paying attention to the present moment, using all of your senses is SO SIMPLE. But it’s also so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of life that we overlook the power of SLOWING DOWN, and FOCUSING IN on just ONE THING

One breath

One sound

One beautiful sunrise.

I hope you’ll find at least 5 minutes today to savour the present moment and focus in on just ONE THING.

“Mindfulness is about putting down our juggling balls for a little bit. It’s about embracing the beauty of monotasking” – Mary Elizabeth Williams

 

Be well,

Deanne

Finding Fulfillment in an Achievement-Driven World

What

What if you knew how to create

a fulfilling life for yourself

no matter what circumstances arise?

Teens are suffering from anxiety and depression in record numbers. Teens are under immense pressure to achieve high grades, high status in their social groups, and a long list of extra-curriculars. Parents are under pressure to perform at work, and to provide their teens with all the opportunities at sports, and dance, and drama, etc. etc., that they need to be “successful”. We are living in an achievement-driven world. We reward people for their athletic accomplishments, their physical appearance, their wealth, and their credentials. Many people who are admired for their talent, beauty, fame, and wealth are MISERABLE. So, the question is, how do we find fulfillment in an achievement-driven world?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t set goals. Everyone needs something that they are reaching for so they continue to grow and develop. Maybe, just maybe, all of this striving for something in the future needs to be balanced out by some time spent enjoying the moment.

How can I learn to enjoy the moment?

 

Stick with me, my friend, I’ll show you the way.

Parents, you need to show your teens that ADULT LIFE IS ENJOYABLE.

Teens, if you can learn to balance out striving for your goals with an ability to enjoy the moment, then you will have an AMAZING LIFE and save yourself from the anxiety and burn-out suffered by many of your peers, and the adults in your life.

What if you could really ENJOY your life?

 

Processing emotions for a PEACEFUL heart

What gives you mental PEACE?

The other day I had a rare opportunity to sleep in. I could sleep for another hour, but my mind wouldn’t let me. My head was just too full of spinning thoughts to have any chance of falling back to sleep. So I went downstairs to the treadmill and ran. The rhythmic motion of my body and the exertion of elevating my heart rate moved my anxiety out of my head, through my legs and arms, and OUT. After my run I was able to look at my to-do list with a solution driven-mindset, instead of looking at it through a lens of anxiety. None of my problems went away. What DID go away was the anxiety that was blocking me from taking the next step toward my goals.

I don’t love to run. I’m not an athletic person. But I have realised that physical activity is ONE of the ways for me to process my emotions so that I can have PEACE of mind. When I haven’t exercised, I start feeling worried and stressed.

This awareness did not come to me overnight. It wasn’t until I started developing a mindfulness practice that I became aware of the signals that my body and mind were sending to me that I needed to process my emotions.  I needed to NOTICE my emotions (and not just hide them) before I could learn how to process them. By learning to take small moments to actually BE in the present moments, I’ve learned to notice what I’m feeling. Before mindfulness, my emotions were like a beach ball that I was trying to hide under water. It took a lot of energy to keep pushing my emotions under the surface, and inevitably, I would get tired, and POP! Up surfaced all the emotions I’d been trying to hide, usually at a time when I was NOT prepared to handle them. When my anger and frustration and resentment popped to the surface, EVERYONE noticed my emotions, I would cry, or snap at my kids or my partner, or internally fume with resentment. Yikes! I’d think. How did I get here? Why did that one little thing set me off?

Practicing mindfulness has helped me to notice how I’m feeling at multiple points throughout the day so I can acknowledge my emotions and take care of them before they build up. It’s not that I don’t feel frustrated or angry anymore, it’s that I notice those emotions sooner, so I can identify WHY I’m feeling that way, and do something about it.

Here’s how YOU can start to notice your emotions:

  • Take three deep breaths and ask yourself “How am I feeling right now?”
  • Sit for 2 minutes and look out the window and tune in to your emotions
  • Write out your to-do list and then ask yourself “How does this list make me feel?”
  • Look at the emojis on your phone and ask yourself “What am I feeling?”

Once you’ve established WHAT you’re feeling, you need to figure out how to PROCESS that feeling.

How do you process your emotions?

  • Do you MOVE? Breathe deeply, talk, dance, run, kickbox, wrestle.
  • Do you use WORDS? Talk with friends, write in a journal.
  • Do you escape into STORIES? Watch a good movie, play video games, read a good book, or watch sports to go on an emotional journey so you can feel the range of your emotions.

After you’ve taken some time processing your emotions, you can reflect from a more resourceful mindset about what got you into that highly charged state. This is the time when you might need to take action in your life by making a phone call, scheduling some time for yourself, or setting a boundary. This way, you are truly responding to the circumstances of your life.

The skill of NOTICING your emotions and the skill of PROCESSING your emotions are critical for teens who are experiencing their emotions on high volume. Often we feel like our emotions are happening TO us, when in reality, our emotions are moving THROUGH us, to give us information about what we need to attend to in our lives. The more adults who can remind teens that their emotions give them VALUABLE INFORMATION, and the more adults who can help teens find a way to PROCESS their emotions, the more resourceful our teens will become. Teens will understand that their emotions aren’t happening TO them, they are happening FOR them to pay attention to their needs.

A peaceful heart can be cultivated by noticing and processing your emotions.