Meditative Moment

spiral

 

 

Don’t let the lines distract you, focus on the shapes.

The way you perceive the shapes will change, as your focus does.

Just like in life, you see and often get what you focus on.

 

Reach Out Monday

Helping Patrice Koerper Life Coach Motivational Speaker

Photo Courtesy of Luann Koerper

I first posted about Reaching Out in 2011 after seeing this sweet photo of two of my grand sons reaching out to each other in this simple way – brother to brother as they faced a slippery path.  The photo immediately struck me as a simple guideline for life – reach out.

Each of us has at least one relationship that needs a little nurturing, a bit of care or perhaps even a new start.  Make today, the day you do that. (Or, at least this week!)

Here’s how:

Be a bit more understanding, open and patient.

Reach out to someone you might not normally reach out to, or not often enough, or not as willingly, or with such kindness.  Let gentleness rule your day.

Make a call, sit with them or stay longer by their side.

Listen. Really listen to what they are saying, focus on what they care about, not what you have to do next. Simply listen.

Find a way to be a part of what they care about. And, let them know you care.

Sit closer, lean in, hold their hand, touch their shoulder or look into their eyes. Connect.

Reaching out will leave you both smiling!

J & D Spring 2011

Photo Courtesy of Luann Koerper

And, before you go to bed relive the moments you created. They are worth savoring.

You can do it!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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Your body as your emotional barometer

When I was in my 20’s I took an Assertiveness Training course to learn how to say “no” with grace and dignity. I loved the class and learned to key into my personal values and how to support them with the daily choices I made.

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A totally unexpected and memorable aspect of Assertiveness Training was that it taught me to get in touch with where I held and felt emotions in my body, and how to use my body as a barometer for my feelings. This may not sound like earth-shattering or particularly life-enhancing knowledge, but knowing exactly how you feel makes responding to life’s situations so much easier and can dramatically reduce your stress.

What I Learned

Each of us hold our emotions a bit differently, but we all have a personalized physical pattern to the way we respond to happiness, anger, sadness, fear, joy of any of the other feelings which pass through or linger with us each day.

I soon realized, I hold fear in my chest, but it usually begins with a flip in my stomach.  Anger almost always starts with a burning in my chest and slowly spread to my throat. If I let it grow, my stomach churns.

After a bit of time and reflection, I realized that I physically react to indignation – a type of anger laced with the belief that I am being treated unfairly – throughout the entire upper half of my body, it was almost like a shield drops into place readying me for battle!

Anxiety sets my chest on fire and my stomach churning within seconds, much faster than anger does.

Sadness usually settles in like a hooded cloak, covering my head and weighing down my shoulders as it slowly descended the length of my back. The weight makes me feel lethargic and trapped.

Happiness starts in the center of my chest and flows quickly throughout my body leaving a smile on my face – crinkly eyes and all. If I lift and wiggle my shoulders, along with the other reactions, I know I am really feeling the joy!

Hope and happiness combined – that “job well done” kind-of feeling – make me feel like dancing or jumping into an exercise routine. Just thinking about that feeling this way, makes me happy, which makes me smile and wiggle my shoulders!

Tuning In

Where do you feel anger, sadness, happiness? How do they spread and grow for you? How would you describe your physical reactions?

Emotions Plutchik-wheel.svg Wiki

Researcher Robert Plutchik Ph.D’s “Wheel of Emotion” can help you explore a variety of emotions.

Take a few moments this week to begin paying attention to your personal body barometer to learn how your emotions settle in. When you are happy,scared, sad or mad, note the feeling and where you feel it in your body. Pay attention to how it ebbs and flows. This momentary awareness, when repeated often, can lead to big changes in your life.

Learning your physical cues will help you key into exactly what you are feeling, which makes dealing with life’s ups and downs much easier, and can help you live a much more fulfilling life by increasing your understanding of yourself and how you want to live and feel.

If you keep-up with the practice, instead of spending time hiding from, denying or covering-up your feelings by eating, drinking, yelling, working too much or staying too busy, you may be able to look at them in a new light and begin sorting through them more effectively.

Start tuning into your body today to create the life you really want!

 

You can do it!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

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Circle of strengths

Would you like to start your Monday morning with a surge of excitement and a bit of bliss? Would you like to feel energized and motivated, while improving your concentration and deepening your ability to relax?

No problem, begin the day by exercising your strengths.

Are you curious, creative, wise, kind? Do you love learning, have a deep appreciation for beauty, a rich capacity to love and be loved, to express gratitude and to forgive and offer mercy? Are you brave, honest, genuine and authentic? Do you persevere or have a deep sense of spirituality? Are you a leader, loyal, and fair? Do you proceed with caution and show great self-control? Are you playful and full of optimism and hope? Are you modest or do you have strong social intelligence?

all+strengthsThe combination of positive psychology’s 24 character strengths are varied and personal. Each of us has our own set of strengths, and exercising them is one of the fastest ways to feel good about ourselves and the world. All of the strengths are equally valuable, and every combination offers something special, which makes each of us special, too.

Immersing ourselves in activities that use our strengths can create a sense of flow, which allows us to focus our abilities and can relax us by transporting us beyond ourselves and the world around us. Flow can lead to fulfillment, which will leave us feeling good about ourselves and the world around us. It’s the sweet little circle of strengths.

Exercising your top strengths is a great way to start your day, a super way to create the life you want, and it’s free and doesn’t require breaking a sweat.

If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, an easy way to discover them is to take the Value In Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths, which you can find at www.viacharacter.org    The survey is backed by years of positive psychology research that you can read about here. It is a valid and inspiring way to move forward with creating the life you really want. I have used it with lots of folks in personal and professional settings.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Wishful Thinking Works one page Circle of Strengths, which will help you identify ways to apply your top six signature strengths, just complete the form below.

Knowing and using our signature strengths doesn’t guarantee a perfect or challenge-free life, but it can create a life filled with fun, flow and fulfillment, which may lead to accomplishments and can help us deepen our relationships with others. Oh, and did I mention it’s free, and it feels good?

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Feeling fine on a Thursday afternoon

img_4669Listening to classical music and planning upcoming workshops, which always makes me feel extremely, happy, content and fulfilled.

Are you feeling the same way? If so, savor the moment.

If not, what would you have to be doing to feel the same way?

  • Hold that picture in your mind, breathe deeply and exhale slowly through your nose.
  • Hold it a bit longer, add a few more details, breathe a bit deeper, exhale even more slowly.
  • Gently let the vision fade away.
  • Breathe deeply, exhale with a smile.

Feeling relaxed, happy? Hope so!

Hope this moment finds you immersed in your version of wonderful!

 

Do the next right thing

“Do the next right thing.”

This short missive has helped me many times in my life. stepping-stones-763985_960_720When I am feeling confused, overwhelmed, frustrated or lazy and bored, it always gets me moving forward.

You see, I don’t have to have all the answers or figure out a solution. I don’t even have to wonder how or why I got myself into a situation. All I have to do is the next right thing.

Sometimes, when I ask myself what the next right thing is, I think of three or four things that seem right, and then I just pick the one that is most important to me at that moment in my life.

The other day, “the next right thing” was to write cards to three people I care deeply about and who will be happy to receive a thank-you, get well, or “thinking of you” note in the mail.  Relationships matter a great deal to me, so that was an easy pick over the laundry and dishes that were waiting for me, but until I posed the actual question to myself – the cards and stamps sat on the dining room table.

On a different day, writing a post or sending work emails might get bumped to the front of the line. Or something much more important, such as apologizing to someone, may take top billing. The choice is yours.

Doing the next right thing is an act of faith in yourself and your priorities. It comes from knowing what really matters to you. It is a softer, more flexible type of to-do list. And, if you like checking things off, you can keep on ongoing “ta-da” list handy to write them down as you complete them along with a nice big check mark.

You will feel so good after doing the next right thing, you will be motivated to accomplish more of the items that come to mind. Until, of course, the next right thing to do is to relax, which will be much easier to do, when you know you’ve already done the right thing!

You can do it!

When bad things have happened

If you have had a traumatic experience, or have avoided dealing with an upsetting topic or situation that has plagued or worried you for years, there is an effective fix that can get you on the road to recovery. It is called expressive writing and works like this:

  1. Commit 20 minutes a day – for 4 consecutive days
  2. Then in a quiet, private place, and write for 20 minutes a day for 4 consecutive days
    • Make it personal and private
    • Ignore grammar and misspellings
    • Be honest – are you happy ,sad, glad, mad or all of the above?
    • Be reflective not corrective (Don’t try to fix what is bothering you but rather write about what is bothering you.)
    • Only write about what you can handle thinking about – sometimes dealing with a fresh hurt or pain is too intense.
  3. Optional step: Write about same topic from the perspective of others involved . . . tricky but helpful, if you choose to do so.

notebook-731212__180Expressive writing is a concrete action, which is a much better way to deal with problems and challenges than ignoring them and ruminating about the dark situations and sides of our lives. For a video about emotional writing, and additional instructions and insights on how to do it, click here.

Research shows that emotional writing may leave you feeling sad immediately after you write (This is similar to how a sad movie might make you feel.), or you may cry while writing; both are normal and okay.  But, if writing  causes you major distress, simply stop and try again at another time when you feel more ready to explore your feelings.

Expressive writing will leave you feeling happier and healthier. Studies show the positive effects can impact immune functions and last for months and maybe even a lifetime, if you continue the writing as needed.

Pick up a pen and paper, find a cozy spot and write to change your life. It’s free, takes very little time, and may reward you with peace of mind and a much more positive perspective on life.

James W Pennebaker, Ph.D., and Professor at University of Texas at Austin is a leader in the research on this topic. Click here to visit his web page and learn more on the topic.

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