Posts

The Stressful Movie

What is stress exactly?  Although it is a heavily used word today, most of us don’t have a grasp of what stress exactly is, nor how to manage it.  We all can agree, however, that when we feel stressed we are not happy, and we want the experience to be over as soon as possible but do we know what is happening inside of us, the dance between our mind and body, that is feeding the stress response?  Chances are the answer to that question is no, and so we feel we are victim to stress.

Stress on the Fishing Line of Life

I picture stress in the same way as I do the tension on a fishing line tethered between the pole and the hook.  Like us, the fishing line is built to handle a certain amount of strain, and if this is too great (because the ‘fish’ is too big), then it is subject to deterioration and breakage.  Not surprisingly, when a person is stressed they will use words such as tense, stretched, or strained, similar to how one would describe the fishing line.

Interactions between humans, particularly emotional interactions, are like the interplay between the fishing line and the fish in the above metaphor.   These human interactions affect both our biological and psychological functioning in overt as well as subtle ways.  Easily identifiable stressors in life (the big fish, so to speak) are things like divorce, job loss, death of a loved one, and illness.  Even chronic daily stress such as dealing with traffic congestion and facing excessive workload demands that can wear away at our wellbeing.  Understanding the relationship between our emotional and physiological environment is critical to our health.  Unfortunately, despite decades of groundbreaking work in the area of the mind/body connection, the chief medical approach to health and illness continues to suppose that the body and the mind are not connected.

Higher Perspective of Stress

When we relax and observe the experience of stress from a higher perspective, we get some interesting insights.  We can see that stress typically has three distinct and related components.  First, there is the stress event itself, which can be either a physical or an emotional moment.  The second element is the processing of the experience, the interpretation of the event, which gives it meaning and codifies it as stressful by the individual.  The third and last element is the response to the event, which involves various physiological and behavioral reactions.

The determination of a stressor (or stressful situation) depends predominately on the second component, the processing by the individual.  The processing is based on the beliefs held by the individual, generalizations about the world, and opinions of it. These beliefs form the rules about what we think we can and cannot do and what should and should not happen.

Further, the interpretation of the event is dependant on the personality and the psychological state of the individual.  For example, the experience of the loss of a job can create different reactions in different people.  A person for which the experience does not create financial hardship may still respond with high stress if their deep-seated beliefs about self-worth or acceptance are tied directly to their job title and status.  These less tangible feeders to stress are resonant from a person’s past, and even though the stress event is experienced in the present, it is the past that determines the response and its intensity.

Change The Movie

The area of study under neurolinguistics supports the realization that individuals’ past beliefs no longer need to be a legacy that carries forward unchallenged or unchanged.  These beliefs can be modified and even eliminated to support a person’s desire for a more peaceful, harmonious, and less stressful life.  Working with the power of language, mind mapping, the unconscious mind, rapid and healthy improvements to how life events are interpreted can be realized.   Life events may be out of our immediate and direct control however, the interpretation of these events is significantly within one’s control.

We are the moviemakers of our life.  We are giving our life direction straight from the Director’s chair every day.  The problem is that so many people are creating the same type of life “movie”; a fear-based, stress-filled movie.  I believe that type of “movie” has been oversold and overdone in today’s society. Why not change your movie into a more relaxed and enjoyable one and with scenes that give you pleasure and joy?  Your blockbuster is just waiting for you, the Director, to show up and take over.

If you are interested in how you can begin making your desired life movie today, go to my website and book your complimentary consultation today.  I look forward to chatting with you.

Living with Anxiety

Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Stress in this type of situation is normal and it is a proportional reaction to an external pressure. Most people will experience some form of anxiousness in their lives and for the majority, the feelings of nervousness and worry disappear as soon as the event has passed.

Anxiety Disorders

Having an anxiety disorder however is usually diagnosed when the cause that is triggering the person to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy has no apparent reason. New research shows that anxiety disorders can run in families and that they can have a biological basis much like allergies or diabetes. Anxiety disorders may also develop from a complex set of risk factors including personality and life events.

Anxiety dramatically reduces a person’s productivity and quality of life. For these reasons alone, it is imperative that the person struggling with these feelings seek help sooner rather than later.

Symptoms of Anxiety

If you are experiencing anxiety you are not alone. Over 20% of adults have expressed some degree of experience with anxiety. Some of the more common symptoms experienced are:

  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain, tightness or soreness
  • Difficulty sleeping (both falling asleep or staying asleep)

Anxiety is all about worry and fear. Worry and fear happens when something causes you to learn to be scared and worried. This learning process affects your thoughts and your body, for example by causing your heart to race or excessive sweating. You can address your anxiety by examining your thoughts and physical reactions that are happening in your mind and body. For example, you can re-learn how to be around the thing that scares you and NOT react with fear.  This is done by reprogramming your thinking and behavioural habits.

How to Address Anxiety

Some examples of how to address anxiety are:

Coaching or Therapy: There are many different types of coaching as well as therapy options. It can be a great way to change behaviours, gain confidence, learn new skills and talk with someone openly and honestly.

Support Groups: Support groups are made up of individuals with similar experiences who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Talking to people who are also going through the same experience can make you feel less alone and more connected. It also creates a space where people can share what has worked for them.

Medication: Medications prevent your body from reacting in a fearful way. They create a sense of calmness by slowing down your brain activity.

Lifestyle Changes: Research has shown that exercise, meditation and yoga can all improve mood and overall well-being. Research also shows the importance of nutrition and certain supplements in supporting brain and mood. Other things like taking time to take care of yourself, trying activities you enjoy, and spending time with people or environments where you feel supported can help as well.

While there is no specific answer, there are many options and combinations of options that can all address living with anxiety. It can take some time to find what works for you and sometimes just knowing that there are approaches to try can be all that we need in this moment to feel calm.

Watch for my next blog where I discuss the best stress reduction techniques.

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!

If you are curious about how my coaching services can help you access your greater, unlimited self and move you away from a life of anxiety, 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

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

Panic Attacks

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.

Grounding Exercises 

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

Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorder

Do you feel unsettled? Have you spent the night tossing and turning in your bed because you can’t sleep? Do you worry excessively? Are you feeling exceptionally stressed and rattled lately? Is something hindering you from functioning properly and being productive? If yes, then you are most likely experiencing anxiety.
There is nothing wrong with being anxious. Everyone gets anxious at some point in their lives, especially before big events. However, if your anxiety drags on for days and affects your daily living, then it is a problem.

What is Anxiety?

Many people use the word anxiety freely. But what really is it?
Anxiety is a strong emotion that is characterized by worrying, nervousness, and being uneasy because of something that is uncertain. How easy it is to define in words, but if you are the one experiencing the anxiety, you know it is not easy or simple.

The Fight or Flight Response

The strong emotion called anxiety is actually related to our fight or flight response. This means it is perfectly normal for a person to feel agitated, nervous, worried or experience difficulty sleeping – especially before a big event.
What is it exactly? It traces back to when man roamed the surface of the Earth endlessly to hunt for food and find a safe place to live. Our ancestors, being exposed to a life of endless running and endless hunting just to survive, developed the fight or
flight response. It is the body’s natural response to when we sense danger.
When our ancestors felt threatened, their bodies released several hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to help them prepare physically in case they needed to fight or run. Our body releases hormones that are meant to keep us physically, yet temporarily, well-equipped – like making our hearts beat faster for better blood circulation. These hormones also make us more alert to our surroundings. And once the threatening situation is out of the way, our bodies start to relax by releasing hormones that encourage muscle relaxation.
If you have experienced an adrenaline rush you must have felt how your whole body shook after the adventure. This normally happens as the body is relaxing the muscles.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it is overwhelming and constant. it may hamper everyday living by making it impossible to eat, sleep, concentrate, and even do our jobs. It is a disorder, a mental health diagnosis, when excessive and significant worry, apprehension and fear are present.

Anxiety Can Be Lethal in the Long Run

Although the symptoms of anxiety will not kill you, the long-term effects of living with stress hormones turned on can lead to life-threatening illnesses. The best thing that you can do for yourself, your family and those you love is to get help with how you manage your anxiety. Therapeutic approaches have proven to be extremely effective in generating life-long elimination of anxiety.

Let’s Connect

My personal journey away from a decade destroyed by anxiety is now my motivation to help others. You can read about my story or listen to my podcast (both can be found on my website). I explain how I discovered the miracle of neurolinguistics and belief-change modalities. My hope is that you find it inspiring and motivational so you can also turn away from anxiety disorder forever.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? 

You can also check out this great resource for more information watch the AHA Process to End Self Sabotage and learn how to stop self-sabotaging behavior.

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

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

Anxiety and Medication: What It Did, and Did Not Do for Me

Often I am asked what I think about anxiety medication, and if I believe it is the answer to eliminating anxiety. Whenever this happens, I always tell my story about what medication did and did not do for me.

Help When I Needed It

During the period of my life when I was suffering from chronic anxiety, unable to cut the cycle of fear and perceived danger everywhere, I turned to medication. Both my doctor and counselor at the time suggested that, based on my symptoms, medication was the only course of action that made sense for me:

  • The persistent ‘On’ position of my mind was putting pressure on my kidneys, heart and other organs.
  • My negative thinking was causing negative hormones like cortisol to flood my body, resulting in super-elevated heart rate and sleep deprivation.

The doctor told me how important it was not to underestimate the effects that chronic anxiety can have on one’s health; both short-term and long term.

My Anxiety “Aha” Moment: Time to Seek Treatment

The particular incident that led me to take anxiety medication was when I began to behave with obsessive tendencies. I was scheduled to go visit my daughter in the UK but the thought of the long flight was bringing on panic and claustrophobia. I was seriously considering not being able to endure the flight. And I was fretting about how I would hold my composure while confined on the plane. Flying had never been a problem for me before, however now my anxiety was taking that pleasure away from me. And the thought of not being able to see my daughter was too much for me to bear. I needed to do something.

I am eternally grateful to my doctor and counsellor for their advice regarding medication. It got me out of my downward anxiety spiral, and set me back on the path to life. I believe it may have even saved my life. It had its place and it did what it was supposed to do, alleviating my anxiety in a crisis situation. Calming me down, it allowed me to reclaim control of my life.

What Medication Didn’t Do

However, what I have also learned after years of taking medication is that it masks the symptoms; but does not solve the issue that is causing the anxiety. Whatever was causing my negative thinking, the what-ifs, the should-have’s, the yeah-but’s, only got silenced for a little while. The root problem was still lingering deep in my unconscious mind, unseen and unknown to me. And when I decided to come off of my medication, the negative thinking showed up again, louder and more persistent this time. My behaviour became even more erratic and more panicked than before.

My Journey Away from Anxiety and Medication

This time, my journey away from anxiety led me to seek non-medical ways of dealing with both the physical and psychological symptoms of my anxiety. I discovered a host of methods that helped remove the negative thoughts, so that anxiety would no longer be triggered. There is an increasing amount of evidence that acknowledges the benefits non-medical techniques have when dealing with the symptoms of anxiety. Methods such as mindfulness, alternative health therapies and talk therapies are proving to be powerful movements in this area.

There are many complimentary paths out of anxiety. Medication has it place and it keeps many safe while they are in crisis, like it did for me. The good news is that it is not the only way. There are new and evolving therapies that can help you put your life back together, and give you long-lasting change in a holistic manner. They can help you experience a different life, one where anxiety is a memory, not a reality.

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

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

Get Past Your Fear of Change

My last blog discussed why people are afraid of change. Why they opt to stay stuck, rather than push forward toward a new version of themselves. Feelings of discomfort, uncertainty, fear of criticism or failure were the main culprits. Now that we recognize why we resist change so much, the next question is how do we get past those feelings and start moving forward differently?

I have had some major times in my life where I knew that I needed to change, and change BIG, in order to get out of the mess I was in and to get to some place better. But I was scared of making those changes. I didn’t jump into the sea of change right away. I dodged and darted, avoiding what my intuition was telling me for months, even years. It was only when my life got so unhappy and unbearable that I accepted the challenge to make changes. I highly recommend not waiting to embrace change until life gets overwhelming like I did. It leads to chaos, many sleepless nights, and unrelenting anxiety.

I realize that choosing to stay right where you are, doing exactly what you’ve been doing, can provide temporary relief. You won’t need to worry about all of the “what-if…” scenarios. You won’t have the unknown future staring you in the face. But, if you never embrace change, especially the changes you know deep in your heart you need to make, then you will never know what might have been. And isn’t that scarier than the fear of change?

I have listed below six steps that will help you face change more easily in your life.

Embrace Risk

If you spend your life playing it safe, sticking to what you know, then your future will simply replay your past. Your future will be predictable and repeating. If, however, you dream of better or different, then see the risk as something that will enhance  your life. This different perspective can be hugely motivating and exhilarating. It can even open up space for change in your life.

Establish a Strategy

All good plans need a strategy. A strategy will make you feel comfortable about the course that you have chosen. Being prepared is necessary for all success in life.

Seek Advice (From the Right People!)

Find someone who has made changes in their life, especially if they are similar changes (ie. career changes, relationship changes). Ask them specifically why they made the change, how they did it, and how it made them feel. And then for the big question – ask them what they would they have done differently?

Put Your Supports in Place

One of the best ways to overcome the fear of change is to surround yourself with cheerleaders. People that are positive, inspiring and empowering. Reduce your time with the naysayers and Negative Nellies. To be successful, positive reinforcement and people who are authentically excited to hear about your journey can go a long way.

For Goodness Sake Don’t Look Back!

You are using your energy to build a new reality, looking back at how things used to be, does not allow for that muscle to develop. Looking back leads to second guessing and feelings of uncertainty. Stay away from analyzing what was. Focus on the goal of what you want and what will be.

Patience is a Virtue

Sometimes we want everything right away. Recognize that growth is an evolution, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

I have learned in my life that we are not dropped onto the perfect path. Sometimes we need to find our own way. The growth that comes from that journey and search can be the biggest reward ever. Combating the fear of change can be difficult. But don’t let that fear be the thing that holds you back from a life better than you could ever imagine.

I invite you to share your experience of overcoming the fear of change in the comments. You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen

How Soft Eyes Can Reduce the Feelings of Anxiety

I have vivid memories of my many heightened experiences with anxiety. Triggered by an event (which many times was outside of my awareness), my relentless negative self-talk would start up and be something I could not stop. Typically, it was worries of a negative outcome, a perceived failure or an anticipated altercation with someone. Certainly the thought, I’m not good enough, was at the centre of most of my internal dialogue.

Interestingly enough, when I felt anxious, I took on behaviour as if a real predator was actually threatening me. My eyes would dart back and forth, desperately looking for the danger. I was acting as if a prowling lion was stalking toward me. I have now learned that this is a completely normal behavioural response to feelings of fear or anxiety. This behaviour is hardwired into us; the mind cannot tell the difference between being scared due to an actual predator, or from something imagined.

After years of trying to manage my anxiety, I discovered if I defocused my eyes while experiencing anxiety my emotions would calm down. A wonderful sense of connection would begin and my heart rate would start to slow. I soon began to defocus my eyes at work, when I was feeling anxious, or at home when things got overwhelming. It was a great take along when I was on long flights to reduce any sense of nervousness.

Technique for Reducing Anxiety: Defocusing Your Eyes

Here is all you need to know to start doing this technique yourself. Pick an object to focus on somewhere near you. It can be anything, like a chair or book. The size or shape of the object doesn’t matter.

Next, stare at the object with all of your concentration. While you are staring, take note of what happens to the muscles in your face and also to your breathing. Then, instead of staring at the object, start to “look” at it, while allowing yourself to notice the other objects in the room without looking directly at them, and while maintaining your gaze on the primary object. What do you notice about your tension and your breathing? They have decreased, haven’t they?

You can use this technique anytime you feel overwhelming emotions creeping up and certainly if you struggle with anxiety. You will soon see that you can reduce the negative feelings within your body, allowing you to behave and think differently. And isn’t that all that we are searching for? An easy and healthy way to feel differently now!

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