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Surrender

Do you believe that life is a struggle and that you have to fight to get what you want? Do you worry about losing control of your health, wealth, relationships and career? If you said yes to either of these questions, this may be because you have a strong belief that is holding you back from attaining the life you want. Bottom line, it is keeping you from enjoying happiness and ease on a daily basis.

Limitations

Whenever you experience limitations in your life, the cause is most likely rooted in your past. It shows up today as patterns and in thoughts such as “I always struggle with…”, “I can never realize…”, “I must be…”. These experiences of struggle and of feeling “less-than” go against your natural state of infinite joy, love and resourcefulness.

Consequently, this struggle and the feeling of no control causes anxiety or even panic. What would it be like if you could see and do life differently, without anxiety or panic? What if you were willing to surrender and give up the struggle so that you could achieve peace now?

Surrender

Surrender means that you are willing to turn your focus off of the struggle and the outcome that you think you so desperately want, and you become willing to consider that there may be a different approach. Just going that far will give you a sense of peace and freedom almost instantly. When you take your focus off of the end result that you are fixated on, what shows up in your awareness is a new perspective, new options and new alternatives. A way forward begins to come into view that before was obstructed by your beliefs.

Since many of us were told repeatedly by our caregivers and other influential people that hardship and sturggle is the only way to support ourselves and our families, that has become the only way that we see the world. It is the lens that we see the world through. Suffering and sacrifice seem like the only way to achieve happiness. Guess what, that is not truth!

Making a decision to experience life, with all of its ups and downs, without fighting so desperately for the way we think things should go, can bring us exactly what we are looking for – peace right now.

Yes, the world is going through turbulent times, but it doesn’t have to be a struggle. We may be experiencing suffering in some areas however, we still have the power to choose how we show up, how we think, and to have openness about the experience. We still are creative and resourceful creatures. By surrendering to the experience, we set ourselves up to perceive and experience differently. The amazing realization is that we gain control by letting go.

Let’s Connect

If you are curious about how my coaching services can teach you how to surrender and how to put an end to limiting beliefs, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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Newmarket Chamber Women in Business Luncheon

It was an honour to be chosen to be a co- panelist at this year’s Newmarket Chamber Women in Business Luncheon, along with Erin Cerenzia from Magna Neighbourhood Network and Jennifer Walker from Carruthers Financial. Both women had inspirational messages about corporate social responsibility and personal financial management. I led a discussion on living with anxiety and gave some insights and learnings from my own personal life experiences.

Living with Anxiety

Some of the key points outlined in my talk were:

  • Anxiety is our natural response to a perceived direct threat to our wellbeing. Whenever we sense a threat to our wellbeing our natural flight or fight response kicks in. This triggers our sympathetic nervous system and releases a cascade of hormones into our body such as adrenaline and epinephrine. These hormones cause a change in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and eyesight.
  • Anxiety becomes a problem when our flight or fight response is triggered by cues that are not threatening at all – either physically or otherwise. This is called an imagined threat as opposed to a real threat. This is known a maladaptive anxiety.
  • Maladaptive anxiety sets off “what if”, worse-case scenario thinking.
  • Maladaptive anxiety can also trigger a core negative belief(s) that is based in our unconscious thinking about ourselves.
  • This maladaptive anxiety is causing the same body response as adaptive anxiety that is caused by a real threat.
  • One of the key differences between maladaptive and adaptive anxiety is that unlike adaptive anxiety, maladaptive is not founded in reality or truth. It is chronic and never ending.
  • The key to reducing the experience of maladaptive anxiety and experiencing relief from the feeling of it in our body is to address the core negative beliefs that are deep in our unconscious thinking.
  • Addressing these negative core beliefs can be done through a number of approaches, one of them being through the recognized somatic treatment offered by NLP.

Let’s Connect

If you are interested in knowing how my coaching can help you manage your emotional state so that you are experiencing more joy and less fear, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Release Your Emotions and Redirect Your Thoughts

What emotions should I be feeling given what is going on in the world today? Given the level of uncertainty and unpredictability in our environment, it is appropriate and proportional to be feeling fear, overwhelm and anxiousness. These emotions appear when we feel our wellbeing is under threat. And who isn’t feeling that their life, health, and livelihood is under attack? What we want to watch out for however, is to not linger in these negative emotions for long periods of time.

So, what can we do to manage our emotional state? My suggestion is to apply two approaches that together, can move you gently and effectively out of negativity.

Approach #1:  Releasing

This step involves having awareness of what emotions you are feeling and accepting those emotions fully. Be careful not to shame yourself or call yourself down for having a negative emotion.

Just have awareness and appreciation for the awareness.

Next, recognize where or what triggered these negative emotions. Realizing what the trigger was is valid so that you avoid or reduce these triggers in the future and therefore increase the chances of staying out of negativity.

The last and most important step is to release your negative emotions. You can do this by a number of productive actions such as journaling, meditation, breath work or distracting yourself with a good book or movie.

Approach #2:  Redirect

In this next step, you are choosing to redirect your thinking to better feeling thoughts and therefore calm down any negative emotions. Be sure to choose sources for your information that are reliable and truthful. This is one of the best things you can do to redirect your thoughts.

Just like choosing organic produce to feed your body, you want to feed your mind with well-researched, balanced news facts.

Secondly, you want to recognize when you have consumed enough information and that additional information will not helpful or healthy. Be sure to avoid over-indulging in information and facts. This is the same as not wanting to over-indulge in food at a buffet table to avoid making yourself sick.

And lastly, choose to redirect your thoughts to any better feeling thought. Choose to think about the beauty of your family, the appreciation you have for your pets, the improvement of the weather now that spring is upon us, the deliciousness of your last meal, etc. Think about anything that makes you feel better. This redirection of your thinking will naturally pull your emotions out of negativity and into positivity and possibility.

By releasing your emotions and redirecting your thoughts in a conscious and conscientious way you can effectively manage your emotional state and move through any powerful external event.

Let’s Connect

If you are interested in knowing how my coaching can help you manage your emotional state so that you are experiencing more joy and less fear, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

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Best Stress Management Techniques

It is hard to cope with stressful situations, especially when they happen on a regular basis. Over the long term, stress can have devastating impacts to one’s overall health. This can in turn lead to heart disease, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Finding ways that you can deal with stress so that it doesn’t knock you down is a smart, proactive step towards overall management of both your mental and physical wellbeing.

The tips that are offered below require some practice and dedication but if you stick with it, before long you will get the hang of it. Eventually, you will be enjoying a much more calm and peaceful daily life.

Tip #1:  Slow Down and Step Back

Remind yourself to slow down and to either mentally or physically step away from the stressful situation in order to gather perspective and allow the situation to have a chance at naturally resolve itself. Do this by:

Gathering your thoughts

Talk to yourself or journal out your thoughts. This activity will open up perspective where in the heat of the moment you were unable to see it.

Reflect

Allow yourself the benefit of time to think about the stressful situation. Ask yourself to view both the problem and potential solutions from all perspectives.

See the Big Picture

Put yourself in the position of a neutral third party and then ask that party how they see the situation. What comes up may surprise you.

How Important Is This?

We cannot afford the time, money or energy to be invested in everything that give us discomfort. Ask yourself if this is really the issue that you want to be engaged in. Will this issue matter in a day from now, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now? Ten years from now, will it matter at all? Probably not worth getting stressed out about.

Tip #2:  Breathe Deep and Relax

Breath is such an important contributor to reducing stress. This is because when you breathe deeply, you are sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Your brain then sends this same message to your body and as a result, your muscles start to relax, and your overall tension reduces. My favourite way to breathe deeply is to inhale for the count of 6, hold for the count of 6 and exhale for the count of 6.

Tip #3:  Walk Away

If you feel that your stress is triggering anger that involves anyone else, end the conversation and take some time and space. Stay way until you are mentally strong enough to deal with it or until the situation naturally works itself out. Realize that stressful situations can lead to your constantly re-thinking and re-playing things over and over. Mentally walking away means that you put an end the that rumination as well.

Tips #4:  Concentration on Something Else

Stress can consume your thoughts. It can be helpful to kick it out of your mind and replace it with something more positive, calming and fruitful. Go for a walk, read a book, meet up for a coffee with a friend, catch a movie, etc. The idea is to give your mind a break and to think about something other than what is stressing you.

Tip #5:  Burn Off Energy

When your body sends out a stress response, it thinks you have something to physically respond to. Often, we don’t have anything that needs running away from like a charging animal or anything of that sort. Still, your body needs to respond to burn off this extra energy. Physical activity can be a great way to relieve stress. Go for a walk, take a jog or hit the gym, whatever you feel up to.

Tip #6:  Talk It Out

One of the most important things to do in a stressful situation that involves another person is to communicate effectively. This involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want without demanding that you must have things your way. The basic message is “we both matter so let’s work this out.”

Let’s Connect

I hope you find these tips interesting and helpful in managing your day to day stress.  If you are interested in how coaching can help you manage stress and ward off anxiousness, go to my website and request a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

It’s All In Your Imagination

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.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

The Secret to Happiness

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,

Karen

Why do we Self-Sabotage?

It has been a difficult start to 2019 for me.  

began the year doing all of the necessary things to ensure that I was starting off on the right foot – I set goals, I outlined strategies, I made detailed plans, and I landed on targets for both my personal and business life and yet…. for some reason, I have completely ignored my personal goals. I have been blocking myself from doing what it is that I want to do for my own health and well-being. My self-sabotaging behaviour, which has looked very much like shooting myself in my own foot, is preventing me from being my best, healthiest self.    

I am baffled as to why I am doing this kind of self-sabotage behaviour and I am also very interested and motivated to stop it. I know that one of the easiest ways to self-sabotage yourself is to NOT set clear, specific goals. Not having clarity or precision on where you are going allows you to convince yourself easily that your goal is not important. This however was not where I am letting myself down. I have clear and well-defined targets. So why am I not achieving them? After some reflection, I have come up with three reasons.  

I am doing too much 

I am realizing that I am doing too much as it relates to my commitments to others and therefore I am feeling like I am running on empty. I am putting myself last too often and when I have time for myself it consequently feels like a chore instead of something that is enjoyable and a well-deserved treat. 

I am over-blending 

When I am not working, I need to not work. When I am taking time off, I need to completely unplug, thus allowing myself the time and leisure to enjoy self-care. By taking up bits of time on my days off to fit in some work duties here and there, I am actually chewing into the opportunitfor me to explore what it is that I want to do for myself. What I want to do is not always obvious. Some days I want to go for a walk. Other days I want to visit a friend. Some days I want to go shopping or get myself to a yoga class. These decisions need to be fully explored and by jamming my off days with busy work at every opportunity, I am not giving myself the time to investigate.  

I am managing stuff that isn’t mine 

When I step outside of my own business and try to control things in other people’s lives, I start to feel disempowered. And rightfully so because outside of our own lives, I have no power to affect anything else. This activity is wasting my precious time and energy, and is leaving me depleted and not excited about doing anything for my own self-care.  

So with these revelations and the honest self-talk that comes with them,  I have decided to change my approach to my personal goals around self-care. I am going to set clear and consistent boundaries with others ensuring that I am preserving and protecting my energy and time. I am also going to begin to block off time and respect that it means that I am off of work completely. No more sneaking into my office to look at emails or complete a half-done article. And lastly, I am going to come back to my own business. I am going to focus only on things that are in my arena to manage – within my power to control like: my actions, my perspectives, and my attitudes. 

Are you self-sabotaging? Are you struggling with indulgences like procrastination, distraction, overwhelm? Can you realize that when we say we want something and we don’t make sure it happens we are only hurting ourselves and preventing our own greatness? 

I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

Are You Responding or Reacting?

Here is a question for you. In general, do you tend to respond or do you tend to react to life? At first you may say, “Aren’t they the same thing?” Actuallythey are not and how you perceive their difference can have a huge impact on how happy you areIt did for meOn my journey out of relentless anxiety, the above question about responding or reacting catapulted my transformation towards healing. 

My Journey 

When I started my journey out of anxiety, I was not even aware that every day I was choosing how I was thinking about my life. Wasn’t life just happening to me? I thought I was supposed to just respond to it in the best way I could? Wasn’t I just a helpless victim? I clearly saw my life as a random set of happenstances that I had to find a way to deal with the best I could. 

During my experience with transformational coaching, I began to see that my life was not a force outside of my control and by stepping up to the fact that I could always choose how I was going to respond to anything that was occurring, that I indeed had control of my life. In any situation, good or bad, I could always choose the most empowering response for myself. For the first time in my life, I felt both powerful and calm at the same time!  

The Hard Truth 

And then one day I was told something by my coach which was initially upsetting however it was exactly what I needed to hear, “Karen”, she said, “your life, as it exists today, is the sum total of all of the conscious and unconscious decisions you have made to date.” What? I was responsible for my shitty life! It took some time for me to accept this notion of responsibility fully and completely and when I finally did, it was liberating. As a matter of fact, it is perhaps the single most liberating thing I have ever done. I was off the hook for playing the victim. Although I didn’t like where I had directed my life to at that point, the single act of taking responsibility was empowering.    

The Responsibility is Ours 

To take full responsibility for both our past and current experiences is indeed empowering because when we blame others or situations, we are giving our power away. And when we do that, we are saying that something outside of ourselves is causing a reaction within us. When we take ownership of our response, even when others are at fault or are wrong, we control both our behaviour and our life’s direction. 

Over the years since my experience with transformational coaching, I have made a clear switch in my thinking.  Negative stuff still does happen and it happens to all of us, however it is how we respond, and how we view the circumstances and conditions that makes the difference between happiness and no happiness.    

Are you ready for happiness to show up?  And are you ready to respond and not react?  If you are, learn more about how transformational coaching can move you from victim to controller of your life. 

I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

Do Autumn Differently This Year

Autumn Is On The Way

Can you feel the change in the air? My mother always used to ask me this around this time of the year. And she was right. There is a shift in the air at this time of year. Somehow, it feels less intense outside, even though temperatures can still reach as high as they did at the peak of the summer. There is a coolness that catches you every once in a while.  Sleeping at night is easier. Windows can be open and we do not need to rely incessantly on our air conditioners. All of these signs point directly to the return of children to school and for us adults, the return to a more routine way of life. Even for those of us who either do not have children, or have children that are grown and done with the school system, the approach of autumn means a return to a way of life that is usually more stressed and more demanding. The long days of summer, with their “whatever” attitude, are starting to pack their bags and head to more southerly regions.

Do Autumn Differently This Year

For some, the return to the regular routine of life means the return to the familiar feelings of stress and anxiety. But what if we enter autumn differently this year, and avoid those unwanted feelings altogether? If you are game for this new approach, start with gaining awareness. Catch the feelings as they start to creep up on you. Notice where in your body you feel the tension. Is it in your neck? Your jaw? Maybe it’s in your stomach. Become aware of thoughts you are saying, either out loud or to yourself silently, that are negative, predict a pending doom, or a sense of overwhelm.

After you become aware, stop and congratulate yourself. Awareness is always the first step towards change. And now for some deep breathing. Amazingly, something as simple as deep breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety and calm you when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Find Time to Breathe Deeply

When we feel stressed, the body does what it is naturally designed to do, it goes into flight or fight mode. For some this results in an elevated heartbeat, tension in the body, or shallow breathing. The key is to change how the body reacts. The best way to do this is to change our breathing. When we feel better, we can think better.

It’s All About Technique

There is a proper technique to deep breathing. Find a place where you are comfortable, such as a chair or lying on your back. Make sure you are in a quiet place, free from distractions. Put one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest and take a deep, slow breath in through your nose. Notice the hand on your stomach rises. Now breathe out through pursed lips, just like you are blowing candles out on a birthday cake. Next, do a slow, full exhale. Do this for two to three minutes. Practise as much as you can and you will soon realize that you can encourage a sense of well-being whenever you need it.

So remember as we move into this new season; something as simple as breathing differently can result in feeling differently instantly.

I invite you to share your experience with worrying in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

My New Favorite List – A List of Accomplishments!

August is here already

Did you wake up last week like, “How has over half of the year already passed?” Did you have a bit of a panic regarding all the things you wanted to accomplish in 2018 that don’t seem to be hitting the finish line? Well, I did.  I have big plans for this year, which is very exciting and sometimes frightening. I live however, by the mantra, if you don’t have a goal, you can be certain you won’t achieve it. So, why not put it out there? Put that dream, accomplishment, or achievement on a piece of paper (yes, I’m still old school) and go for it.

I often think of hockey players and wonder if they could stay motivated and driven to play their very best if they were just shooting and passing the puck around. What if there was no net, no goal, no point to be earned? Once you stick that net on the ice, there is a whole new motivation. So, my goalie net is my to do list.

And now for a confession. I love, love, love crossing things off my list! I love the feel of the big black sharpie (yes, I use a sharpie!) making a thick, black horizontal line across the page. I also love the sense of accomplishment and completion when this is done. I’ll let you in on a little secret … sometimes, I put things on my list I’ve already completed just so I can cross them off. Wow, that was huge for me to admit!

It’s the Journey, Not the Destination that is Important

The other day I was thinking about my lists, and where I’ve gotten with them so far this year and I had an epiphany. I had totally forgotten that it is about the journey and not the destination. I hadn’t taken any time to celebrate what I had already completed.  I had simply dismissed my accomplishments. I had written them off, forgotten about them.  I wasn’t feeling gratitude for what had already transpired. And then I remembered, if I want more black sharpie lines on my many lists I need to STOP focusing on what is next, and START feeling appreciative for what I’ve already done. I needed to remind myself that gratitude is the strongest form of sustaining momentum and flow.

List of Accomplishments

Now I am attempting to balance the attention I give to upcoming duties, tasks, goals and the things that I’ve already succeeded at. How? I decided to start a list of my accomplishments! Instead of drawing a thick, black line through what I’ve completed, so that it is blacked out and unable to be seen, I transfer this item to a new, fresh list posted on my wall. My list of accomplishments. And then I take time everyday to look at this list and feel grateful for having the energy, ability, attention, intention and dedication to accomplish it all. This has made a huge difference in how I feel most of the time.

So instead of feeling panic about the fact that over half of the year has passed by, I feel masterful, talented and confident that in the upcoming months I will add more and more items to my new favourite list.

I still make ‘to do’ lists at a ridiculous rate, and I still love doing so, but my accomplishment list has also made it into my heart.  I see the power that it can have in moving me forward. Just as energy brings about more energy, I like to think that accomplishments brings about more accomplishments.

 

What have you accomplished this year that you can celebrate?  It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

I invite you to share your experience with worrying in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen