It is only just this week that I have felt motivated and energetic enough to write down my 2021 ambitions and desires. I was nervous, (along with everyone else on the planet), hoping that our American neighbours transitioned into their democracy peacefully. Now that the pomp and circumstance around the inauguration are over (thankfully, it all happened without any further violence), I sense in myself a desire to start thinking about this year, and particularly about what I want to realize for myself and my business.
Many people ask me if my coaching modality, Rewire Your Mind™, can be helpful for anyone feeling trapped, stuck, or dissatisfied in their professional life. My response is always a reminder that we show up the same in all of our relationships and all situations, and if our thinking is limiting one area of our life it is limiting the other areas too. What is also worth mentioning is that we cannot expect any part of our lives to grow beyond our basic emotional state. Meaning that our primary emotions are invisible walls that we must scale to get to our dreams. This all means that to become a better person (personal or professional), we must identify the thoughts and behaviours that are holding us back and actively work towards letting them go.
Personal growth is about uncovering the unconscious patterns that keep repeating themselves and then bringing them up to consciousness so that they can be modified and changed. It’s about going through a detailed and in-depth process of seeing ourselves clearly without pretension. More specifically, it is about seeing patterns in behaviour and habits so that what is hurting us can be separated from what is helping us.
We Are The Same Everywhere
Since our careers are always a reflection of us, the issues we haven’t worked through in our personal life tend to show up in our business life and vise versa. Until we make this connection, assume responsibility for the work we need to do, and change the way we show up in those situations, the same issues will recur. This means we will continue to limit the potential of ourselves and our businesses. Personal growth takes courage and a willingness to look at ourselves with deep honesty. We have to accept that our behaviours and attitudes, regardless of how strongly associated we are with them, may no longer be working for us, and they may be blocking us from the experiences that we so desire.
Round and Round We Go
Having an unconscious pattern running our lives is like driving on a roundabout and not being able to take the exit – so round and round we go. We know we have seen the scenery before, yet we convince ourselves that maybe this time we will be able to take the exit, only to be disappointed yet again. The good news is that when we master what was once unconscious behaviour or attitudes, instead of going around in circles, we develop the ability to make new choices and direct our life and business in new and exciting directions. That’s when we can finally take the exit and get off the roundabout for good.
New Year Growth
Why not make 2021 the year that you adopt the tools available for personal growth and uncover, once and for all, what is holding you back. This journey will give you the seeds that you need to plant your garden of possibility and potential. Instead of using your precious energy to deal with unresolved emotional issues and baggage (and keep driving on the roundabout and never getting off), use your energy to build the life of your dreams while making a difference in the world. If you are ready to dream bigger and think more expansive thoughts, and live from joy, both in work and play, request a complimentary consultation through my website; itcanbedifferent.ca. My proprietary coaching model, Rewire Your Mind™ is certified to break down unconscious thinking, emotions, and habits while creating openings for you to install supportive, powerful, and self-directed alternatives.
Let’s start 2021 nowcoa
Nothing could have been farther from our imagination back in January than the idea that all of us would all be experiencing Christmas this year under the strain of a global pandemic. COVID and its implications have come as a shock and a source of stress to everyone. I can’t think of anyone that hasn’t had their life impacted in some way. Whether it is parents who are now homeschoolers or children who have become online learners, or business owners who have reinvented themselves, or elderly citizens who have learned to manage their lives with less social contact from family and friends.
Avoid Being a Bah Humbug – Accept ‘What Is’
Here we sit only a few short weeks away from “the most wonderful time of the year” most of us are thinking about how, given the pandemic constraints, we can make the most out of this year’s celebration. Recognizing and accepting that this year will be nothing like the celebrations of the past is so vitally necessary to avoid getting stuck in emotions like sadness, frustration, and even anger.
The first step towards ending suffering for ourselves is to accept ‘what is’ fully and completely. By accepting the reality of the global pandemic impacting Christmas plans while not labeling the situation as bad or wrong is the only way through the season with minimal mental anguish. Chances are you don’t like what is happening, and you may even find it to be painful. Focusing on the situation’s drawbacks will not change anything, and it will only alter your natural good-nature, fun-loving constitution, and pull you into feeling bah humbug.
When you fight with ‘what is, the ‘what was’ and ‘what may be’, you create for yourself the atmosphere of suffering while at the same time you strip away the opportunity to enjoy the present moment. It is a double hit of negativity and loss; loss because there is struggle and loss because the chance for peace, joy, and goodwill at the moment has slipped away.
Make Alternative Christmas Plan
Accepting ‘what is’ this year at Christmas means that alternative plans may need to be made; these plans represent a new way to enjoy the season and to connect with others. Here are some tips to help you adjust to this year’s Christmas.
When Should We Celebrate Christmas
Decided when you want your Christmas to start and when you want it to finish. Your start and end to this year may not line up with the traditional 24th and 25th given the constraints of COVID. You may need to declare this year’s Christmas to fall on different days.
What Traditions Make Sense This Year
Decide what traditions and celebrations you want to preserve and which ones you want to postpone or do away with altogether. You may choose to keep baking with your family, and so you can make an effort to do it via video conferencing. You may, however, be willing to do away with decorating the tree together and can opt to do that alone.
How Do I Maintain My Wellbeing
Don’t forget about your wellbeing during this time of the year and since everything is different, look at how you supported your mental state during the year and ensure that you maintain those habits during the festive season.
Remember, you can make meaningful and purposeful adjustments so that you feel that you are in control of how your experience Christmas. Deciding to accept and work within the boundaries that must be adhered to due to the pandemic can still leave us some space upon which to play and experience the holidays.
If you are interested in discovering how you can change your inner perspective and your self-dialogue sign up for a complimentary consultation on my website. My patented coaching methodology, Rewire Your Mind® is designed to move anyone from stressing to progressing in only 12 weeks.
I would like to wish everyone and their family and friends a joyous, safe, and peaceful holiday season.
To Your Magnificence,
IT CAN BE DIFFERENT
1. Who is your ideal client, what is their biggest challenge?
2. What are the common mistakes people make when trying to solve that problem?
3. What is one valuable free action that the audience can implement that will help with that issue?
4. What is one valuable free resource that you can direct people to that will help with that issue?
5. What’s the one question I should have asked you that would be of great value to our audience?
My coaching and researching over the years have resulted in the awareness that stress and anxiousness are rooted in three main drivers. Only one of these drivers needs to be present for anyone to start experiencing nervousness. This can easily lead to feeling powerless over time.
The three drivers are:
- A perceived lack of control
- Perceived lack of information, knowledge, and wisdom
- Perceived lack of feeling safe and sure.
When these drivers present in our lives for extended periods, they can show up in our bodies as uncomfortable feelings like heaviness or resistance. We use names for these bodily feelings like fear, unease, worry, overwhelm, stress, and anxiety.
It’s Only Natural
As human beings, we naturally crave certainty. We want to feel safe and secure in our environment and for our future. Our ability to accept and live with heightened levels of uncertainty has become second nature since the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as the economy, employment, finances, and health (both mental and physical) are challenging us like never before.
Everyone is different in how much uncertainty they tolerate before they feel the strain on bodily and neurological systems. For some, taking risks and living unpredictable lives is fun, exciting and they can’t imagine running their lives any other way. For others, high levels of randomness are deeply distressing.
The bottom line is that we all have a limit and that if you are feeling overwhelmed by the current level of current uncertainty, you are not alone. Many people are experiencing the same emotions right now. Know that no matter how helpless and hopeless you may feel right now, there are valuable steps that you can take to better deal with the level of uncertainty, alleviate your anxiousness and allow you to face the unknown.
Learning to Copy
Let’s face it, this feeling of uncertainty is not going anywhere. It has been with us since the beginning of time and an unavoidable part of life over the millennia. Very little is constant and you can’t control everything that happens. The 2020 pandemic has shown us that life can change radically and very quickly.
To cope with uncertainty, we try to predict the future thinking that will help us avoid any nasty surprises. In many ways this is a waste of time and energy, as this type of thinking only leads to overwhelm and worry. Conjuring up endless scenarios of negative outcomes is simultaneously robbing you of the enjoyment and pleasure of the present moment. It saps your energy, eliminates joy and many times creates unwanted and unnecessary behavior and habits.
Two Coping Mechanisms
Two ways to cope with uncertainty are more healthily are:
- Focus on what you can control
Whatever your fears or personal circumstances are, instead of worrying about the uncontrollable, refocus your mind to acting over the aspects that are within your control. For example, if you are worried about your health during the pandemic, act by regularly washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, and avoiding crowds. You can also amplify your ability to control your outcome by relentlessly focusing on you and your family being healthy. Allow only those images and thoughts to come into your awareness. Refuse to engage in any dialogue that does not support this as a reality.
- Accept that life is uncertain
The one thing that is sure about life is that it is unsure – but that isn’t always a bad thing. For every unpleasant surprise, there are good things that happen out of the blue as well. Think about the job offer that appeared, the unexpected phone call from a friend, or the chance awareness of information when you needed it. An opportunity arises from the unexpected and learning to deal with uncertainty can allow you to reap the rewards of the unknown.
Life is filled with uncertainty and these times are especially trying with so much unknown. Taking positive steps to reduce your overall stress and anxiousness can help interrupt the downward spiral of a negative thought. It will help you find your inner calm, and better cope with the ups and downs in your life. If you are interested in learning how my proprietary coaching method, Rewire Your Mind® can help you go from stressing to progressing in 3 proven steps, click HERE for a complimentary consultation.
We all know how worry feels. It is an uncomfortable feeling triggered by a thought of the worst-imagined outcome. This results in feeling uneasy, a belief of not being safe, and a fear of not being capable of handling the future.
That feeling of worry is prompted by a series of negative thoughts that then develop into gloomy mental images. Because, those worrying thoughts are focused on undesirable outcomes, there is a natural and frantic step into rapid problem solving that follows. The relentless scanning for answers in our neurology leaves us feeling overwhelmed, and if it lasts, we can experience fear and even panic.
Human beings have the outstanding ability to mentally rehearse future events. This ability to think ahead means that we can anticipate obstacles or problems that allow us to take appropriate pre-planned action. When this ability to think ahead is used in this manner, it is adaptive, productive, and highly-ecological for self and others.
However, when this ability is used to the extreme and it becomes focused on a relentless negative hypothetical scenario making that leaves one feeling anxious or apprehensive. Then it it can turn to be maladaptive and unproductive. The key is recognizing where and when you take on maladaptive future thinking. It is the first step in combating unnecessary and damaging worry.
Worry During COVID-19
It’s tough not to be worried during the current pandemic. And it’s even harder to be productive and positive each day while going through all of the uncertainty. Anxiousness and stress are dominating many people’s lives right now and distracting them from focusing on the generous current moment where life is truly lived. Having a strategy to handle worry when it shows up is a smart step forward towards peace and towards controlling how you are living your life right here, right now.
Here are 4 of the top tips for handling worry during COVID-19:
Imagine putting your worries in a box.
This is all about you controlling when and how you worry and to stop being a victim to your emotional state. To gain control over the feeling of worry, follow these easy and fun steps. Recognize that by implementing this method, you are allowing yourself to live worry-free for the majority of your day.
Step 1: Write down any worry that comes into your awareness on a piece of paper during the day. Be as specific about the feeling of worry as possible.
Step 2: Put the pieces of paper containing your worries into a designated worry box.
Step 3: Choose a time of day (preferably the same time each day and no longer than 30 minutes) to allow yourself to read each of your worries and to give them some attention.
Step 4: After you have read your worry it may no longer feel like a concern. If so, throw the worry in the garbage. If it still feels concerning, give yourself some time (around 5 minutes) to contemplate the worry. Put the worry back in the worry box if you feel that it needs more attention tomorrow.
Examine the thoughts that are triggering the worry
Recognize the extreme thinking that is fueling each worry that you have written down. More than likely the worry will be centered around an overestimation that everything will go badly or conversely an underestimation that things will go well. You most likely will have used words such as always, never, everything, everyone, all, no one, every or forever. You may have also used words such as can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, must, must not, or need to.
Next, ask yourself some challenging questions about each worry. Ask such questions such as: “how do I know for sure”, “what if something different happened”, “what are some facts that do not support my thinking.”
Re-write each worry
Rewrite each worry in a more positive and realistic way. Recognize the probability of the feared outcome is probably very low and so now focus on the more likely outcome. Focus on the result that is most desired by you, the one you truly want to become your reality.
Recognize what is outside of your control and then let it go
Worries that are adaptive are usually ones that can you can approach with meaningful, productive, actionable steps. For example, if you were worried about not making your flight on time tomorrow, you can take steps to reduce that worry by checking-in online, pre-arranging a taxi, packing the night before, and so on.
If the worry is unsolvable or outside of your control to fix, then it is best to accept the uncertainty. This is the wheelhouse for most chronic worriers and where they need to do most of their work.
Worrying is often an attempt to predict the future to prevent unpleasant surprises and to control outcomes. The problem is that it does not work, it never has and it never will. Worrying about all of the ways that things could go wrong does not make life more predictable, it just keeps you from enjoying the good times that are right in front of you now.
To read more about handling uncertainty during the current pandemic, watch for my next blog coming out soon.
If you are interested in how my proprietary coaching program Rewire Your mind® can help you step away from worry and into a more joy-filled life, sign up for a complimentary consultation on my website.
And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.
To Your Health and Wellbeing,
Sitting in my home office and looking outside my window onto the street below I see the neighbourhood children playing. The boys are practicing their basketball skills, each imagining that they are the next Kawhi Leonard. A group of younger girls are kneeling down together as they draw a colourful game of hopscotch on the sidewalk with chalk. Farther down the street I can see a lemonade stand being attended to by a bunch of cheerful want-to-be entrepreneurs.
Remember When We Were Children?
Taking all of this in has made me wonder, when did I stop using my imagination and why? When was the last time I imagined that I was the “star” player, an artist, or even a successful entrepreneur?
As we grow up and move into our teenage and then adult years, we begin to stop “pretending”. We begin to believe that we need to take life seriously. Many of us get repeated messaging from adults like, “get your head out of the clouds”, “quit dreaming” or “act serious”.
Imagination is a Gift
This move away from using our imagination does us a disservice in the long run for it is our imagination that keeps life interesting. It is in our imagination where new ideas flourish, we solve our problems in unique ways, and where we develop our self-confidence. Imagining ourselves successfully facing a job interview or nailing a work presentation, or even imaging ourselves enjoying a first date wires our brain with the necessary neurology to execute that act exactly as desired.
Actively using our imagination also turns on positive, super-charged chemicals in our brains and we get an immediate lift in how we feel in the moment. And the more we run the imaginary events over and over again in our brain, the better and more positive and confident we feel and the probability of the positive result actually occurring goes up exponentially. And isn’t it better to live in an imaginary world of positivity than rooted in fear or anxiety?
This gift that we have of imagination is just that, a gift for it is what separates us humans from most other forms of life on this planet. No other animal has the ability to garner imagination. Only us humans can look forward, plan, and “see” our imagined future from where we stand today.
We must stop assuming that imagination is only for children. It is for anyone who wants to set goals, achieve results, or generally become happier in life.
How can you practice imagination today? What in your life can you build an imaginary story around? What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!
To our Health and Wellbeing,
In my latest blog, I wrote about how my dad chose to approach each day and how those choices, done consistently, granted him a truly happy life. Simple things like feeling and expressing appreciation every day for things and people in his life and consciously choosing to approach each day positively were how he shaped his life.
Consistency is Key
So you are probably wondering – what exactly are some other actions that you can do every day that will bring you happiness.
Research has shown that if you follow some simple, fairly mundane, and repetitive tasks day after day you can experience a significant shift towards a happier life. These are simple tasks, that if you do them persistently over a long enough period of time, you will get the results you are looking for.
The question that I would like to pose now is what other areas of your life will benefit from you being an overall happier person? Could you see your eating habits improving? How about your exercise routine? Think about your financial habits around savings or paying bills on time. Could they improve if you felt happier? Personal development, learning, and relationships – couldn’t they all be impacted positively?
What I am about to share with you are some actions that have come out of happiness research and that have shown that if you faithfully practice them for 3 weeks in a row they will become a happiness habit of yours. You will be rewiring your brain to see the world in a different way and as a result, you will become a happier person overall.
5 Behaviours That Lead to Happiness Habits
1. Make More Time for Friends
Meaningful friendships nourish us because they validate who we are and reflect back to us our worth. Good friends appreciate us and ensure that we feel supported. Make time for these connections.
2. Practice Savouring the Moment
Staying focused and centred on the present moment and finding the beauty and generosity in every situation is powerful and transformative. Keep your attention off of what has happened in the past or the concerns of the future and see what riches are in front of you right now.
3. Engage in Meaningful Activities
Find what is important to you and contribute to it. Are you motivated by the environment, social issues, safety for children or the elderly, animal rights…. It does not matter what your passion is but what does matter for you and the world is that you contribute to it with your talents.
4. Practice Forgiveness
Forgiveness is transformative. Finding a way to forgive can re-energize your life and can open up space for you to feel happiness in its place.
5. Do the Simple Act of Giving
Practicing random acts of kinds can lift up anyone’s spirits. It holds the power to make someone’s day with simple, small, selfless acts. Seeing someone else smile due to something that you did in the moment can inject your day with a boost of happiness that can last for a long time.
You probably already know and may even be practicing your own list of happiness habits and maybe the above suggestions can be added to it. Do these simple things consistently, every day and in time you might be feeling a whole lot better – you might be a happier version of yourself. Then you are free to enjoy how everything in your life is working out for the better as well.
To our Health and Wellbeing,
Everyone wants to be happy. Just ask anyone “what do you want most in life” and they will more than likely answer, “to be happy”. What is this happiness craze all about anyway and how do we go about being happy?
My Personal Struggle with Happiness
I have found myself caught up in the happiness craze. I have spent lots of energy in the form of either time or money in the pursuit of it. Often times, I thought that buying another pair of shoes will bring me happiness. Or maybe losing the 10lbs of weight that has been hanging around my hips will make me happy. Or better yet, maybe the next relationship will do it.
I have to say that each of those achievements did bring me some happiness however it was a fleeting experience. It lasted for only short period of time and before long, I was right back feeling the same way I was before I either purchased the item, lost the weight, or started the relationship.
My Father’s Wise Words
I have come to realize that the best lesson on how to become and stay happy was being delivered every single day by my dad when I was growing up. Obviously, living at home allowed me to see how my dad was but I never equated his behaviour and daily habits to why he was such a happy man. Well, not until recently.
My dad was a man that did a few things really, really well and consistently and I think it was his formula for his happiness. First of all, he was grateful every day for things that were in his life. Often he would say things like, “I sure am a lucky guy”! Was he saying this because he had the latest sports car or because we just moved into a new, upgraded home. No. My family lived very modestly so it wasn’t riches and possessions that he was referring to. My dad just felt truly appreciative for everything he had in his life even if they were simple and inexpensive.
My dad made a habit out of making the same choice every single day and he did it before he got up in the morning. I remember him talking to me about this when I was a young girl. I didn’t really understand what he was getting at then, however now I see the true power in it.
He told me that every morning, before he put his feet on the floor to start his day he made a conscious choice to be happy. He said that we all have the power to choose how we will approach the upcoming day, either with positivity or negativity. He said that he always chose the positive option because it made the day go easier for both himself and everyone else. He also said that choosing to be positive does not guarantee the day will go well, however “it sure increases the chances that it will”. And you can’t argue with that logic!
Choose to be Happy
My dad and how he lived his life has shown me that it isn’t success that brings happiness per se but that happiness brings success regardless of how you define it. Following a few key daily habits like counting your blessings and consciously choosing happiness as a way of being can propel anyone towards a much happier life and none of these things cost money and we can all choose to do them starting right now.
Even when money was tight at home or problems arose, my dad always seemed to be happy and content. I know now that he wasn’t acting or just seeming to be happy, he truly was happy because he did a few simple yet conscious things every day that propelled him towards genuine lasting happiness.
Until Next Time
Watch for my next blog where I will talk about what formal research is telling us about how to achieve happiness. I will share more strategies that, if practiced daily can make a significant, noticeable and measurable impact on how truly happy you feel each and every day. And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.
To our Health and Wellbeing,
What Is a Panic Attack?
If you have ever experienced one then you can probably clearly explain the body sensation of an attack. Heart palpitations, sweating, trembling and shaking, feeling nausea and dizzy are what are most common to people. What is equally scary however is the fear of losing control and even dying.
During the years of living with my anxiety, I had a number of panic attacks. Some worse than others and some forcing me to go to the hospital convinced that I was having a heart attack. What I found out later was that due to the intensity of the symptoms that a panic attack can bring on, they tend to mimic those of heart disease and breathing disorders and that it is common for people experiencing a panic attack to be convinced they are having a life-threatening issue.
What is annoying about panic attacks is that they can occur unexpectedly. Doesn’t matter if you start out feeling calm or anxious, the attack can occur regardless. And since they are so unpleasant to experience and very frightening, you end up becoming worried about having another panic attack.
Detecting The Onset of An Attack
Through my trial and error with panic attacks I discovered that having a plan, a way to respond when one came one was the best approach for me. It reduced my ongoing worry about getting another attack because I felt more confident that I could manage myself out of one and it also reduced the length of time that I was experiencing the symptoms of the attack. Here is what I found worked for me.
What Works For Me
Firstly, I just recognize that I am feeling afraid and starting to panic. I found it is best to not ignore the symptoms and pretend they are not happening. I also remind myself that I am not in danger. Usually the thought of being in danger accompanies panic attacks. I found that reminding myself that I am safe is very useful. How I do this is I look around and say to myself, “See, you are fine. You are safe. You are secure.”
Next, I choose to not fight the feeling. This goes against all of my instinct. I just say to myself, “Well, it looks like I am having a panic attack right now.” Then, I allow myself to just accept the symptoms. I see the physical sensations that I am experiencing as a logical and expected response to whatever thoughts I am having that are causing the panic. My body is functioning exactly as it should, and I know that my thoughts are creating the physical response. I thank my body for being so well-built and responsive. This is a nice twist to what I used to do which was to worry and struggle which actually made it worse.
I then remind myself that I have been through this before and it always ended. I remember that my last panic attack and the one before that and the one before that all came to an end and so this one will also end.
And lastly and most importantly, I focus on something outside of myself. I find that getting into the present moment and focusing on something that is in my sight I can stop my imagination from making up the future stories that are negative and which are probably triggering the panic in the first place. I stop any thinking that is accompanied by “what if….” by turning my focus on something is actually happening right in front of me. I then work with my body by relaxing it using breath work. Relaxing the muscles of my jaw, neck, shoulders and back really help. I also make sure I am not standing rigid with muscles tensed and that I am NOT holding my breath.
I have found that by following these simple steps I can start making myself feel better rather quickly when a panic attack comes on. Sometime I have to do the steps a couple of times before I start to see any results. The important thing is to keep doing them and not give up.
You’re Not Alone
Panic is a normal response to either a real or imagined situation. If you are like me and it is your mind making up “what if…” stories that are triggering the panic, then give the steps that I use a try and see if you can shorten the length and number of attacks you are experiencing. And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.
To our health and wellbeing,
Karen Spencer, Life Coach and Practitioner is a legal Complementary Healthcare Provider, and not a licensed Medical Doctor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Masters in Family and Child Counseling (MFCC), or a Masters in Social Work (MSW). The client understands that the Practitioner is not providing psychological or medical advice and that any services provided should in no way replace sound treatment from a licensed healthcare provider.