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?

 

What new possibilities await you in 2017?

Are you declaring 2017 to be a year for YOU?

Are you ready to step into your life in a way that is deeply aligned with your values?

Is a part of you feeling guilty that focusing more on YOU will mean focusing less on your teens?

I know that adults who are focused on their own growth and development are MORE aware of how they can support their teens in ways that are sustainable and lasting.

Go ahead- make this the year that YOU step into your own life, and get clear on your role in your teen’s life.

I’m here to help.

Happy New Year!

Deanne

Show your teens some LOVE

I know you love your kids. I also know that sometimes you pour so much love into your kids that it hurts. It hurts because you’ve sacrificed  a lot of your time, money, and life force energy to support your kids.

It hurts your heart when you feel like you should’ve done more.

It hurts your heart when they don’t seem to appreciate all that you’ve done for them.

It hurts your heart when you give and give and give and feel so depleted.

This kind of giving is not sustainable.

So how do we figure out how to show them that we love them without depleting ourselves?

How often do you give YOURSELF the time, money, and life force energy and support that YOU need?

Even more than showing our teens that we love THEM, we need to show our teens that we love OURSELVES.

We need to love ourselves to model for our teens that they can love themselves.

The sooner we’re able to teach our children that it’s their job to figure out what they need, and to find a way to give it to themselves, the stronger our teens will be.

Teens who can fill themselves up are more confident and make healthier choices because they’re not looking for other people to give them the feelings they crave.

So, how can YOU start to show YOURSELF some love?

Let me just say it,

Self love feels selfish.

Whenever I schedule in some time just for me to do something that I enjoy (like have a long bath, or go for a walk by myself, or drink a cup of tea and look out the window), I feel like I’m taking time I could use to work, or be with my family, or run some errands. Once I realised that if I feel like I’ve been deeply nourished, then I can be more playful and present with my family when I’m with them, then I no longer felt like I was TAKING time, instead I was GIVING my family the best version of myself.

CAUTION. If you haven’t been taking some quality time for yourself, you will feel like you are a bottomless pit. After one blissful hour to yourself, you’ll feel like an hour isn’t enough. It will feel SO GOOD that you’ll worry that you’ll need more and more time away for yourself.  You’ll feel like you could just check in to a hotel for a few days and then…just…never…go…home.

Don’t worry. That’s just a signal that you need to schedule more time for yourself, and once you get the hang of incorporating time for yourself into your schedule, you’ll realise how NECESSARY this time is to be at your best. Once you’ve started giving yourself the time, and space, and emotional availability to listen to your deepest needs, you’ll have a greater sense of clarity around what YOU need, and what your family needs.

Of course, you will go home, because you’ll start missing your family. You’ll remember all the quirky and wonderful things you love about them and you’ll be interested in what they have to say. What an amazing gift for your family to have you back with them with love in your heart for yourself, and for them.

When we give ourselves love, then giving love to others is no longer depleting, it is sustainable because we have a better sense of clarity around how to best show our family that we love them.

With love,

Deanne

P.S. What would really nourish you on a deep level? Jump on the phone with me for 30 minutes and we can create an amazing plan that will have your LOVE levels so high, you’ll have love to give! CLICK HERE to connect with me!

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.

Teens finding HOPE amidst despair

Does your teen dare to hope?

Teens are reporting higher levels of anxiety, stress and overwhelm each year; despair looms larger than hope. Many of my students feel like everything has already been thought, it has already been said, and they wonder what they could possibly contribute to the world. In this disconnected and isolated space, hope becomes a radical proposition. I’ve heard from many parents who are worried because their teen DOESN’T have any hopes or dreams.

So, how do we nurture our children’s hopes and dreams? How do we hold open the door of possibility?

Hope is all about having a new perspective. It is about seeing the evidence in the present moment that good things are on their way in the future. My students who have been involved in service projects or community groups all see evidence that that their presence is valuable.  Whether they volunteered at a Senior’s home, spent time babysitting small children, or volunteered at a community event, they all report feeling connected to the people they serve, and knowing that their presence makes a difference. Teens need to see evidence of their efforts being worthwhile. If they can see the face of a child or a senior light up, they have the undeniable instant feedback that THEY MATTER. This is just one way of providing our teens with the HOPE that their life will continue to matter.

Another powerful way of nurturing dreams and cultivating hope is through inspiring stories. In October I have the incredible honour of interviewing Mark Black for the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series.

Mark Black is a man who knows about hope. At age 23 Mark faced an unimaginable challenge; His doctor informed him that his heart was failing. Without a rare and dangerous heart and double-lung transplant he would not see his 25th birthday. Three years later, after receiving his second chance at life, Mark ran his first marathon. Since then, Mark has gone on to run more marathons, develop a successful career, and raise a family. Mark Black, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a Heart and Double-Lung Transplant Recipient, 4-time marathoner, resilience expert, speaker, and coach. Mark helps people “Thrive in Challenging Times”.  A Certified Speaking Professional, Mark has inspired more than 100,000 people in more than 350 presentations. CLICK HERE for the interviews

Not only is telling stories of hope about other people important, but as you’ll see from Mark’s interviews, the stories we tell ourselves are also critically important. One of my favourite take-aways from these interviews was Mark’s question about “which bucket are you rummaging around in?” which is really his metaphor for asking which stories we are telling ourselves, about ourselves, most often. One of the most powerful themes of the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series is the importance of training your mind to focus on thoughts that are helpful and life-affirming. When we can tell ourselves the best version of our story, we can dare to dream about a compelling future ahead.

CLICK HERE to enjoy this video encore with Mark Black. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to dream a bigger dream.

Expand.

Open the door to possibility.

Think bigger.

HOPE

Holiday Harmony With Your Teens

I know that the pressure is ON for everyone in these last few weeks of December.

The holidays are supposed to be a time to connect with family and friends, but sometimes, the tension is so high that these are the days of the most frustration, resentment, and disappointment. Our teens are riding the rollercoaster of emotions as they are reminded that one more year has passed, and the regular family holiday traditions that they once enjoyed don’t give them the same feelings anymore. If you want HARMONY with your teens this holiday, give yourself the gift of one hour to truly prepare for the holidays.

You’re invited to Holiday Harmony With Your Teens, a free 75 minute RETREAT webinar designed to get your out of overwhelm and into what is really important. Together we’ll explore HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE and how those qualities can help you create a lasting connection with your teens.

Holiday Harmony With Your Teens is available until December 23rd.

CLICK HERE to watch.

With tidings of comfort and joy,

Deanne

Just for today, I will be grateful

I can’t commit to being happy all the time, but I can commit to being grateful, one day at a time. In fact, it is my daily commitment to gratitude that keeps me going…

books-20167_1920

To read this entire blog post, CLICK HERE

You’ll be lovingly re-directed to Lunaholistic, which is an amazing online resource, and Calgary’s Reiki Centre in my hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’ve always had a commitment to gratitude in my life but I really became committed to gratitude in a deeper way when I met Geneva Robins, my meditation teacher and Reiki Master. I wouldn’t be where and who I am now if it hadn’t crossed paths with Geneva’s non-stop enthusiasm and gently powerful presence.

How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

Have you seen the November cover of Time magazine?

My heart dropped into my stomach when I picked up a copy of November’s Time magazine with the headline, “Anxiety, Depression and the American Adolescent”. I couldn’t help but think of the 15 year old student who told me so matter-of-factly about her sister’s recent recovery from cutting. Then I thought about all the times that a student would be absent from my class for a few days before I got an e-mail from the school councellor telling me that the student had been hospitalised for mental health reasons.  Time magazine’s November issue is highlighting what those of us who work with youth have known for a long time. Our youth are not doing well, and it’s not just THEIR problem, it’s OUR problem. The epidemic of youth depression and anxiety is a signal that we need to change…but where do we begin?

copy-of-copy-of-the-resilient-teen-blueprint

Many of you were wanting to know more about teen resilience, so I’ve created a 50 minute webinar for you to hear more about what we can actually do to impact the lives of teens.

Click THIS LINK to join me for The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

 

I offered 50 minutes of FREE training LIVE on Monday, November 21 at  7:30pm MST and npw you can watchthe replay!

Click THIS LINK to access the replay.

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Our teens need us now more than ever. Please share this invitation with the teens and teen supporters in your circles who are ready to make a difference. To watch the replay of The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful CLICK HERE

How can we support “wellness” for high school students?

img_1130I’ve been teaching high school English Language Arts in the province of Alberta, Canada, for the past 14 years. In 2009, Alberta Education developed a definition of wellness which states :

Wellness is a balanced state of emotional, intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual well-being that enables students to reach their full potential in the school community. Personal wellness occurs with commitment to lifestyle choices based on healthy attitudes and actions.  (2015, Alberta Education,   Framework for K to 12 Wellness Education  )

Alberta Education has divided Wellness into five categories,

  1. emotional wellness,
  2. social wellness,
  3. intellectual wellness,
  4. physical wellness
  5. spiritual wellness

In the past number of years, I’ve been working with my teaching colleagues on wellness initiatives that address each of these categories within high school classrooms, which for me included incorporating meditation and self-reflection into my English courses.  The heart of wellness education is not just for students to learn about the concepts of wellness, but to create a culture of wellness where students can have experiences and opportunities to practice making choices that are good for their health.  This clear focus on Wellness Education inspired me to step outside the classroom and create a 25 day online speaker summit, LIT FROM WITHIN: Connecting teens to their own inner resources for success in school AND life, which was available in October 2016. LIT FROM WITHIN directly addresses  the questions faced by high school youth and their parents as they reach for a life of making healthy decisions.  Here are each of the five categories of wellness as they are defined by Alberta Education, with the questions I’ve posed in the interviews on LIT FROM WITHIN.

Emotional wellness is acknowledging, understanding, managing and expressing thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner.

  • Do you hate spending time alone because of the thoughts in your head?
  • Wishing you were prettier/taller/stronger/cooler?
  • Are you tying yourself in knots trying to think your way into feeling differently?
  • Which is worse: the guilt of cheating, or the shame of not feeling like you’re enough?
  • Are you willing to break down your fears and learn about yourself?
  • Do you have ALL THE SELF CONFIDENCE YOU COULD EVER WANT?
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious?
  • What is meditation, and how can it help me?
  • Are you tying yourself in knots trying to think your way into feeling differently?

Social Wellness is relating positively to others and is influenced by many factors including how individuals communicate, establish and maintain relationships, are treated by others and interpret that treatment.

  • Does everyone else’s life on Facebook and Twitter look better than yours?
  • Are you wondering how to find a mentor?
  • Have you been world schooling without knowing it?
  • Do you have the travel bug?
  • Are you tired of people asking what you’re going to do after high school?

Intellectual Wellness is the development and the critical and creative use of the mind to its fullest potential.

  • Do you have great ideas but struggle to get things done?
  • Do you know that there are scientific reasons that teens still need their parents?
  • What kind of person do you want to be on, and off the web?
  • How can we set limits for our technology use, and why would we want to?
  • How do we go from knowing something to ACTUALLY doing it?
  • What are you curious about? Do you even know HOW to be curious?
  • Why are so many “successful” people so miserable…and how to avoid that trap!
  • Are you waiting to get out of school and into the “real world”?
  • Study-distraction-stress, how do I get out of this cycle?
  • How do I move closer to my goals?
  • What is actually happening in my brain when I learn?
  • Do you every feel like your brain has been hijacked and you’re doing things that just “aren’t you”?

Physical Wellness is the ability, motivation and confidence to move effectively and efficiently in a variety of situations, and the healthy growth, development, nutrition and care of the body.

  • What is sugar doing to your body and mind?
  • How can you actually develop self-compassion for your body?

Spiritual wellness is an understanding of one’s own values and beliefs leading to a sense of meaning or purpose and a relationship to the community.

  • What story do you believe about yourself?
  • What is possible in the midst of your difficulty?
  • What lights you up? What inspires you?
  • When did you feel like you were at your best?
  • Why is passion so important for young leaders?
  • How can I learn to trust myself to make decisions from the heart?

Through the 25 days of LIT FROM WITHIN, participants not only learned about the brain science of adolescence, and immersed themselves in a culture of inspiration and strategies to develop confidence in making healthy choices, they also had 5 different mindful meditation experiences as a way to kick-start a life-long practice of cultivating a sense of wellbeing.

Gratitudeworks is committed to developing support and resources for teens, parents, and teachers to develop a culture of wellness in the lives of individuals, within families, and in classrooms.

Book a 15 minute strategy call today to get one step closer to THRIVING in high school!