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Stress Management Tips To Regain Your Inner Peace

Stress Management Tips To Regain Your Inner Peace

Teena Evert is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed addictions counselor, a career and leadership coach, and a certified holistic coach with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in helping individuals grow personally and professionally, and become empowered to create positive change that improves their life satisfaction. Learn more about Teena

Take a Break From Stress

Take a Break From Stress As a life coach I hear a lot about stress. Whether I’m sitting with my clients in my office in Denver, or working with people for online life coaching the same themes come up: work, traffic, time, kids, family, money. When you think about stress, what do you usually think about? Same?

Let’s make a quick distinction. These are things that cause you to stress, but they aren’t stress themselves. Stress is what happens inside of you, as a result of these triggers. It’s normal to think of stress as something that is outside of us. The truth is, there are a lot of things in this world that can cause us stress.

 

 

However, when you learn skills and strategies to manage stress on the inside you can live through the same life experiences but feel much differently about them. Believe it or not, it is possible to learn how to manage yourself in such a way that you can maintain your inner zen no matter what is going on around you.

 

 

You Don’t Have to Live in Stress

Here’s some advice from a life coach and therapist with many years of experience in helping people develop more life satisfaction: you don’t have to feel this way. I believe that we are more stressed than ever before. Our lives tend to be overloaded and overstimulated, so much so, that we begin to feel like being stressed out is normal. We are being bombarded with constant stimulus and take very little time to recover and rest. Simply put, being stressed stinks, so making time to relax and relieve our stress every day is more important now than ever!

What is stress? Stress can be experienced physically, mentally and emotionally. Physical stress can be experienced as tight muscles, trouble sleeping, racing heart or fatigue. Emotional stress can be experienced as overwhelmed, irritation or frustrated. And mental stress can be experienced as having difficulty concentrating, forgetting things or an inability to quiet your mind at night.

 

 

Stress Management Tips

1) Develop Self-Awareness

Learning how to take a break from stress can improve your life satisfaction. The first is to develop self-awareness around your stress patterns and learn ways to relax your mind and body each day by using mindfulness skills.

 

 

This is a challenge for many people because our minds are used to being overloaded and busy, therefore, it can take some time for our mind to get used to a more relaxed way of being. You might feel like you have a hard time sitting still and just relaxing, especially if you and your mind are used to being on overdrive all the time. In this case, you might feel more stress come up as you pause and take a break. This is because you’re becoming more aware of your stress in these moments. Also note that when you have a lot of stress built up inside, it can take some time to unwind.

 

 

2) Notice How Stress Shows Up

Stress can mean something different for each person and if affects everyone in different ways. By noticing how stress shows up for you, you’re developing self-awareness. Without this self-awareness, chronic stress can just become our way of life.

 

 

Some people notice that their stress pattern is mostly physical. They can’t sleep, they have headaches, back pain or fatigue. Other people notice that their stress pattern is mostly emotional. They are anxious, short-tempered or may even feel numb. While others notice that their stress is mostly mental. They can’t focus, they procrastinate or they make careless mistakes. (Learn more about how to manage your Body, Mind, and Emotions in our Happiness Class, Love Your Life: The Happiness Class.)

 

 

Whether stress shows up for you physically, emotionally, mentally or all three, the first step to relieving stress and managing it, is to have self-awareness around your stress patterns. No matter how it shows up for you, I want to encourage that you take a break from your daily life and slow down and relax the mind and body.

 

 

Mindfully and intentionally start to notice how stress shows up for you over the next several days. Simply having an awareness of these things is the first step to feeling less stressed. Notice how your body feels in stressful moments. What emotions come up for you? What thoughts distract you from what you’re doing?

 

 

Sometimes stress can be a general feeling that you want things to be different than they are right now. We can get caught up in negative thoughts and feelings associated with stress and often times we don’t even notice that we are stuck in that pattern. This is just one reason why I encourage my Denver therapy clients and online life coaching clients to learn mindfulness skills.

 

 

 

Mindfulness and regular meditation practice can be so helpful in reducing stress. You may already be aware of how stress shows up for you and what triggers you. If this is the case, continue to observe and be aware of when it happens. Developing the skill of catching it when it starts to happen is very important.

 

 

3) Get Back To a State of Calm

Being in a calm and relaxed state is the opposite of being in a highly stressed state. When we are highly stressed we’re in fight or flight. As a result, the mind races and cortisol and adrenaline pump throughout our body. We might shut down, get angry, or feel dull or helpless.

 

 

When we are calm and relaxed our mind feels quieter and we feel good, safe, and content. It’s important to know that we’re not creating a new feeling within us, we’re simply reminding ourselves what it feels like to be calm and relaxed. This is a natural human state that we can always return to when we want to. Sometimes it takes longer to find our calm state and sometimes we forget that we can even be in this state at all, especially when stress takes over and becomes the norm.

 

 

So whether you’ve been aware of your stress patterns for a while or you’re just starting to notice what they are now – you can begin to observe when they start to come up sooner. You might start to feel a headache coming on or feel parts of your body tensing up or feel irritable or sad, or find yourself worrying more or obsessing over things that are outside of your control.

 

 

The good news is that you can begin to catch these stress patterns before they spiral into a full-blown stress response and become overwhelming. You can learn to bring yourself back to this state of calm sooner and with more ease. Take a moment right now to check in with how you feel. By checking in on a regular basis, you can start to notice what state you’re in and catch stress creeping up on you and shift yourself into a state of calm. By increasing your self-awareness around stress you can begin to relieve your stress much earlier so that it doesn’t grow to be overwhelming.

 

 

4) Change Your Focus

Take it from a therapist: The best way to manage your stress in the moment and shift away from stress and towards relaxation and calm is to change what you’re focusing on. We can quickly get caught up in stressful thoughts and feelings. When this happens, instead of dwelling on these thoughts or feelings simply take a moment to do this simple exercise.

 

 

Here’s a quick mini-meditation practice you can do anytime and anywhere: Pause. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths, letting your focus rest on the sensation of the breath slowly moving in and filling up the lungs, then slowly and gently moving all the way out. If your mind keeps jumping back to the stressful thought or feeling, just be aware that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to the breath each time, breathing deeply, for 30-60 seconds. You can do this multiple times a day. The more you practice the easier it will become to shift back into your natural state of peace and calm. Once you’re in a more relaxed state you can better deal with whatever caused you to stress in the first place, instead of just being stuck in it.

 

 

As you develop this awareness, remember not to judge yourself in any way and just observe. The truth is, stress is not likely to go away completely, but as you increase your self-awareness and practice shifting from a state of stress into a state of calm you’re helping yourself shift into a more empowered state of well-being.

 

 

Sometimes in life, there are moments where something triggers us into a highly stressed state. Although the state of calm and relaxation is a natural state that is always available to us – in a moment of high-stress nothing can seem further from the truth. The best way to shift out of a stressed state is to first simply observe that you are stressed then to change what you are focusing on. It’s very easy to stay engaged with stressful thoughts and feelings. When we stay stuck in that pattern, it continues to get worse. Take a moment to pause, Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and take 30-60 seconds to breathe and tune into the sensations of the breath.

 

 

5) Get Comfortable Slowing Down

I want to encourage you to get comfortable with slowing down and relaxing a bit more so that you can take a break from stress. Once you have the awareness that you have become stressed you can catch it sooner and then practice shifting your focus away from stress and towards your breath and body. As you do this, your state shifts and you see the external factors differently and can more easily deal with them or accept them. As we grow and improve our life’s problems will never go away, they will simply become higher quality problems. The good news is that we can change how we perceive these problems so that they don’t cause so much stress inside of us. See if you can find once or twice today where you can do 30-60 seconds of conscious breathing, especially if you have a particularly stressed moment. Then after notice if you see the problem differently.

 

 

Much of our stress is caused by problems that are out of our control or inconvenience us. Problems will never go away no matter how much we improve ourselves or our lives. We have this idea that if we just fixed each problem that everything would be okay, but when we fix one problem it doesn’t take long until another appears.

 

 

When we learn to focus on what’s happening inside of us, how to pause and shift our state away from stress and into a state of relaxation it becomes a powerful tool to manage how life affects us and how we affect life. Look for opportunities to remind yourself of this so you can experience a natural state of relaxation on a regular daily basis.

 

 

6) Have a Plan and a Practice

These are just a few of the stress management tips and ways of coping with stress that I teach my private therapy and life coaching clients. While trying out a few of the ideas I suggested is a great start, remember that managing stress is a lifelong practice. I encourage you to have a plan and a practice in place to relax and relieve your stress so that you can get comfortable with taking a break from stress to improve your overall life satisfaction.

 

 

If you would like some support and encouragement to help you manage your stress and improve your life satisfaction, I’m here to help. I specialize in stress resiliency and life satisfaction. You can always meet with me for a free consultation session to talk about how we can work together to help you conquer stress and create the inner peace you deserve. 

 

 

Warmly, Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT, LAC, PC

 

 

What is Self Love?

What is self-love? What is the importance of self-love? Important questions, because self-love is the key to personal empowerment. Learn how to practice radical self-love and watch the transformation in your life and relationships. Read More
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Healthy Boundaries: The Holiday Edition

Healthy Boundaries: The Holiday Edition

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Healthy Boundaries = Happy Holidays

So many wonderful things are possible during the holidays: Quiet time to expand our souls, the chance to embrace generosity and good will, opportunities to enjoy the warmth of our families and friends, and be grateful for the wonderful relationships in our lives.

But many people suffer through this season, becoming increasingly frazzled, resentful, and hurt with every new disappointing interaction, extra commitment, and unrealistic expectation put on them. (And often, feeling most hurt and put-upon by the people who should love them the best). I’ve been a marriage and family therapist for a loooong time now, and there is one thing I consistently see in people who do NOT have a good time over the holidays: Bad boundaries.

When Boundaries Are a Problem Over The Holidays

  • When Boundaries Are Too Soft: When people are too passive and don’t speak up about their needs and feelings, they often wind up feeling put-upon, mistreated or disrespected by family members, children, friends or partners, and resentments brew. 
  • When Boundaries Are Too Hard: When people are too rigid and inflexible with their boundaries, they often feel tense, stressed out, and irritable by all the assaults to their preferences that this season can fling. Furthermore, friends and family members may feel put-upon, mistreated or disrespected by them — and it creates unnecessary conflict.
  • When Boundaries Are Not Considered: When people aren’t self-aware and clear about their own limits and struggle to hold healthy boundaries with themselves, they overcommit time and energy, have unrealistic expectations of themselves, over-indulge in unhealthy ways, and are prone to overspending. This leaving them feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally and financially depleted by the time New Year’s rolls around. Not fun at all.

Because these kinds of boundary problems are so common (and so darn avoidable, with advance planning) I thought I’d put together some holiday-specific boundary advice for you.

Listen, and learn specific, actionable tips and tools that you can use to set healthy limits with your self and others, and also be selectively flexible.

I sincerely hope that it helps you stay in a good place over the next month, and enhance all the wonderful moments that this season has to offer.

All the best to YOU this holiday season…

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Healthy Boundaries: The Holiday Edition

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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What is Self Love?

What is Self Love?

Teena Evert, M.A., LAC, LMFT is a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified coach with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in wholehearted living and empowered relationships. She can help you connect with your true self, and cultivate thriving relationships with others.

Understanding Self-Love

What is self-love? Why is self-love so important? The importance of self-love cannot be overstated. “Self Love” refers to our ability to hold ourselves in esteem and have confidence in our worth, no matter what happens around us.

Allow me to give you an example of the power of self-love, and how the lack of self-love can negatively impact you.

Lack of Self-Love

Does this sound familiar?

You feel like angry gremlins are coming at you, you’re exhausted from hauling the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ve got this imaginary ball and chain locked around your ankles, and if that isn’t enough you’re at your wits end from constantly dodging bullets that are aimed right at your head and chest!

The truth is, you may not even actually be emotionally attacked or dragged down. But when you’re feeling vulnerable or insecure, it can seem that way. These are all distortions we can experience when our self-love tank is running on empty and our self-hate tank is topped off and running on full throttle.

The Importance of Self-Love

Did you know that the level of our self-love affects every aspect of our life?

The way we feel about ourselves impacts our relationships, our careers, how much money we make, how happy we truly are, and how people perceive us.

To determine your level of self-love, here’s a quick “self-love” quiz:

How to Practice Self-Love

Your self-love will increase if you begin to see who you really are, rather than seeing yourself through all the false beliefs and distortions. As adults, we need to take responsibility for knowing who we really are. When we are able to embrace this responsibility, then we know we are connected to our authentic or truest self. At the very essence of who we really are is a deep reservoir for our capacity to love, experience joy and compassion.

Reminding yourself that you are a good person, worthy of love and respect, will help you swat away the false beliefs telling you otherwise.

Here are 3 positive affirmations for self-love, to help guide you towards expressing your true authentic self

  1. “I don’t allow other people to define who I am.”
  2. “The worth of my true authentic self is intact, unchanging, and nothing can change it and nothing I do can take it away from me.”
  3. “My self-worth is not based on my performance or how others think of me.” (Otherwise, your self-worth will fluctuate based on those events.) 

Why Self-Love is So Important

Many of the issues that people struggle with, such as depression, anxiety, and relationship issues are really symptoms of a lack of self-love and disconnection from their true authentic self. When people feel insecure, they can worry, feel sad, or even lash out. In contrast when you feel confident and embracing of the real you, those bad feelings are less likely to arise.

Examples of Self-Love

Be kind to yourself as you learn to apply these principles of self-love into your daily living.

Believe in yourself as you open your heart to the magnificence of who you truly are.

Allow yourself to be curious as you learn to raise the level of joy in your tank of self-love.

A powerful form of self-love can even be reaching out for support when you need it. When you work with an experienced therapist or life coach, you can understand the roots of self-worth issues, and begin building yourself up from the inside out. When you feel good about yourself, you’ll feel not just happier but more empowered in your life and your relationships. 

I believe you deserve that, and I hope that you do too.


Warmly,

Teena Evert, M.A., LPC, LAC, LMFT

The Path of Personal Growth: Self Discovery, and Self Acceptance

The Path of Personal Growth: Self Discovery, and Self Acceptance

Who are you, really?

Are you the person you feel like you are?

Are you the person that others see?

Is the real you partially unknown, even to yourself?

Heady questions, I know, but worth considering if your goal is to become a happier, healthier, fully self-actualized person. Many of our life coaching and therapy clients begin their journey with us in a place of frustration. They’re here because they want something more for themselves and their lives, but can’t even get a handle on what “the problem” is that they need to address. They just know that they don’t feel good, and they don’t like the results they’re getting. They’re often asking themselves questions like these: (Can you relate?)

“Why can’t I follow through with the things I know I should do?”

“Why do these things keep happening to me?”

Why can’t I get over my Ex?

“Why can’t I be more organized and on top of things?”

“What am I doing that’ contributing to the issues in my relationship?”

“Why can’t I just be happy with myself and my life?”

“Why do I keep falling into these types of relationships?”

“Why do I get so stressed out?”

“Why do I react this way?”

“Why do people treat me this way?”

Why can’t I get ahead in my career?”

“Why am I always worried about something?”

The Core of Motivation: Frustration + Hope

We could go on and on with the questions. However, at the core of all of these questions is the essence of motivation: frustration + hope. People who ask these questions of themselves, and others, are trying to crack into understanding “the problem” because they hope that self-awareness will then allow them to overcome it. They’re saying, “I’m frustrated wth the results I’m getting, but I know I can be happier, do more, have more satisfying relationships, and get better results from myself and my life — just show me how.”

These “questioners” are so smart, insightful, and correct: Understanding why they do what they do — consciously or subconsciously — is often the very first step in breaking old patterns and launching new ones. If you don’t know what you’re doing that’s creating bad outcomes, how can you ever fix it?

That’s why the first step in the personal growth process is self-discovery. This involves figuring out who you are (the good, the bad, and the ugly) and then using that knowledge to build on your strengths — and even develop new strengths. When we know what we’re doing that’s getting in our own way, then we become empowered to cultivate the positive aspects of ourselves that can help us overcome our limitations, as well as try out the new skills and strategies that will get us better results in every area of life.

What Self Awareness Looks Like, In Action: An Easter Story

Let me give you a very simple (silly, even) example of what I’m talking about: At the time I’m writing this article, it’s shortly after Easter. Like many kind and loving Easter-celebrating parents, since Sunday I’ve been secretly eating my child’s Easter candy while he’s away at school and unable to defend his stash from my chocolate-smeared fingers.

Of course, this is a bad idea for a number of reasons: Aside from making me feel guilty, at my age and activity level I really don’t need to be eating an extra 500 junk-calories a day. I might as well just glue Almond M&M’s and Reece’s cups directly to my thighs, as that would create about the same effect on my body as eating them. Yet every time I walk through the kitchen, there’s that darn Easter basket… with the open bag of candy… uuuuhhhhh. Before I know it I have a mouth full of chocolate, and as I’m giving myself a stern talking to about why I shouldn’t be doing this, I still reach for another handful. What to do?

Know Thyself, and Prosper

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I have a terrible memory. Really. While I aspire to be a super-together person who gets things done, one of the things I need to work around in order to achieve this is my memory.

When I first realized I was different from other people in this way, I felt bad about it. Who wants to be the spacy, forgetful person, right? I would be endlessly frustrated with myself for forgetting appointments, losing things, getting side-tracked, being late to places. If I wasn’t looking at it, I’d forget it existed. I annoyed myself as much as I annoyed others.

I didn’t want this to be true about myself, so when I was younger I avoided the truth. I’d always have an excuse for being late or losing something. Alternatively, I’d just hate myself and beat myself up about being so forgetful. (As if that would help).

But the interesting thing is that as soon as I accepted that I don’t have a very good memory, and that this is just part of who I am — without judging myself for it — I was then empowered to do something constructive with my affliction instead. (This really does relate to Easter candy-stealing. We’ll get there.)

Self Acceptance = Empowerment

Many people believe that “self-acceptance” means settling for mediocrity in themselves. They believe that if they keep beating themselves up and hating themselves for their shortcomings it will somehow encourage them to improve. The opposite is true. Self-awareness and compassionate self-acceptance actually leads to humility, personal responsibility… and consequently, more useful options.

So, for example, when I let go of the delusion that I could rely on my memory to keep track of myself, I had to find new tools if I wanted to have a good life.

I now carry a planner / notebook with me everywhere (here’s my latest personal-organizational tool crush), and if something is said that I need to remember I immediately write it down. On the rare occasions I am notebook-less and something comes up I know I need to remember, I will send an email to myself with my phone.  If I need to take something with me somewhere, I will literally place it next to the door (immediately, while I’m thinking about it) so I’ll see it on my way out. If I need to remember that I need to be somewhere at a certain time, I must set a timer to remind me when it’s time to go. And if I put my keys anywhere else besides on the key hook on my kitchen wall, I might as well have mailed them General Delivery to Argentina. I’ll never see them again. I have about 87 more specific strategies that I use each and every day to keep myself on track, but I won’t bore you with all of them.

BUT, you know what? Because of my heavy reliance on all these compensatory strategies… I actually am a super-together person who gets things done. I’m also pleased to report that I’m no longer embarrassed by this “shortcoming” either. In fact, because of learning about myself, and embracing who and what I am, I’ve actually learned how to turn this quirk of mine into a strength.

Back to the Easter candy: So here we are, in my kitchen, as I’m trying really hard to stay away from my kid’s Easter candy. I run through my self-redirection strategies to see if any of them will work: “I could eat an apple.” “I could drink some water.” “I could imagine my thighs getting lumpy and gross.” Yeah, no. I still wanted the chocolate.

Then, remembering my forgetfulness superpower, I realized that If I put my kid’s Easter basket on top of the refrigerator where I can’t see it, I would forget it was even there. So I did that, and then left the room… and here it is like five hours later and I have not even thought about the candy once until I sat down to start writing this post for you. Super. Power.

I know this is a simple example about one small frustration. However, this is also really what self-awareness looks like in action. Like you, I have many things about me that are true (some strengths, and some liabilities), and I use this knowledge and assorted “hacks” every day to help me be my best self, and get better results in my work, my relationships, and life. I want the same for you.

How to Uncover Your True Self, and Use Your Self-Awareness to Grow

Here’s my point: YOU also have superpowers. You have things that are true about you that you either may not fully know about yet, or that you may know about but want to be different. There may be things that you do without understanding why you do them. You may have automatic reactions to certain situations, and not even know why.

You may feel one way about yourself, but seem totally different to others. (You’d be amazed at how many clients I have who feel so badly about themselves, and yet who are objectively lovely people in every way — beloved both by me and others in their lives.) You may be putting things out in your relationships that others react to, without even being aware of it.

Worst yet, you may judge yourself harshly for the quirks you have, rather than learning how to embrace them, work with them, and even use them to your advantage.

Knowing who you really are, and understanding yourself, is the key to personal development. When you compassionately understand and accept yourself for who you are, all of a sudden you have the chance to develop new strategies and use your strengths to help you balance out your weak spots, in order to help you get the results you want.

If you would like to have a better understanding of yourself so that you have the opportunity to learn and grow, here are some tools to help you get started on this journey of self-discovery:

Keep Asking Those Questions… But Answer Them Too.

We started this post together with a list of “Why” questions that many people ask about themselves. I’ll say to you what I invariably say to my counseling or life coaching clients sooner or later, when they’re trying to figure out the answers to these self-mysteries: “Well, why? What’s your best guess?”

And you know what? When given time, space and opportunity to reflect… they always have remarkable insight into themselves. YOU can do this too. If you have a “why” question about yourself, grab a journal and write down the answer.

If you don’t “know” the answer, write down the possible possibilities. I bet you’ll have at least a few nuggets of useful truth fall out of your head for your trouble.

Get Feedback From Others

There does come a point when self-reflection has limits.

For example, it’s really, really hard to identify something about yourself that legitimately lies outside of your awareness. It’s hard to know what we don’t know, you know? When it comes to deeper self-discovery, it’s essential to have feedback. Here are some possibilities:

Friends: Do you have any friends or family members who don’t just know you really well, but who are insightful and wise, and also brave enough to be straight with you? (In a compassionate, emotionally safe way?) If so, and if you’re ready for honest answers, it might be time to have a sit-down with them.

Challenge yourself to be vulnerable, and say, “You know, I’m not feeling good about this specific part of my life, and I wonder what you see that I might be doing here that are contributing to this situation?” If your friend is brave enough to say it (emotionally mature enough to make you feel safe and cared for while they do) and you’re open enough to receive it, these can be life-changing conversations.

[Caveat: This one only works with someone whose judgment you trust, who knows you well, and who cares about you. Don’t try this with just anyone!]

Counseling or Life Coaching: If you want to dig deeper, you might also establish a relationship with a good counselor or life coach who can help you see yourself more clearly. We are professional versions of the wise, caring, trustworthy and brave friends who will be straight with you, in an emotionally safe way.

A good counselor or coach will also have ways of helping you crack into your own truth, through knowing what questions to ask you, helping you make connections, and using their knowledge of psychology, development, systems and more to help you understand yourself.

An advantage of this approach is that a good counselor or life coach won’t just stop with the “Aha moment.” Self-awareness and insight is only useful if you have a follow-up, “Okay so now what do I do about this” conversation.

For example, my just knowing that my memory doesn’t work well is not particularly helpful to me. My strategies and workarounds are. You deserve the same type of action-oriented roadmap that will lead you forward, and enable you to take positive action to get better results.

Group Therapy: You’d be amazed at the speed and depth of information you can get about yourself from a good group therapy experience. There are different kinds of groups, and not all of them lead to the type of self-awareness we’re talking about here.

For example, support groups (the most common kind of group) are for people who are all having a similar experience and give them a chance to give and receive compassion and advice from each other. Some support groups are run by a therapist, and also offer an educational component as well as compassion and camaraderie.

Other groups are peer-led (meaning they don’t have a professional therapist mediating them) and are simply opportunities to share with caring others, who “get it.” [Side note: We do have an online breakup support group here at Growing Self, that is totally free. It’s a private peer-to-peer Facebook group — get in touch through Facebook to be added to the online breakup support group].

However, a process group is a type of group therapy that’s all about getting feedback, as well as support and encouragement from the group.

A good process group is led by a therapist who is able to ask you the kinds of questions that help you get clarity about yourself, and you’ll also be with other people who are talking about themselves in a similarly honest and authentic way. You’ll have the opportunity to share your feedback of others, for the purpose of their growth, and also receive honest, empowering feedback in an emotionally safe environment.

Especially if you are feeling frustrated by the results you’re getting in your relationships, a good group can be a marvelous way to shine a bright light on the blind spots that you may have. We do have a great process-oriented therapy group here at our practice in Denver. Click here to learn more about our Denver group therapy.

Assessments: Finally, an interesting, fun and often low-cost way to cultivate self-awareness is through assessments. These may take the form of online quizzes or tests. Or if you’re working with a professional therapist, they may have a variety of questionnaires and activities that you can do in order to “get under the hood,” and discover new things about yourself, your strengths, your growth opportunities, and your personality.

One assessment I really like is the VIA “Strengths and Virtues” Inventory. It was born from the strength-based Positive Psychology movement, which places emphasis on growth and change on what’s right about you, as opposed to what’s wrong. This assessment is free, and will show you what your top strengths are so that you can build on them.

Another assessment that might be useful for you is my “What’s Holding You Back” Quiz. This is a free tool that I have developed for you as part of my Happiness Class, and is available on this site. If you want to take it, start by watching the short video to learn about the domains it assesses, (towards the bottom of the page), and then you can take the quiz. Then come back to the video, and l’ll talk you through what your results mean about you.

I sincerely hope that the ideas I’ve shared today resonated with you, and gave you some direction for next steps on YOUR personal journey of growth and change. Do you have questions or comments about anything I’ve shared? Let me know in the comments below — I read them all!

 

xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

 

 

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Five Holistic Ways To Get Out Of A Funk

Five Holistic Ways To Get Out Of A Funk

Holistic Wellness: A Multi-dimensional, “Whole Life” Approach

Today I saw someone post a meme on social media that said, “It literally feels like January 74th.” Can you relate? Why does it always feel like the month of January lasts so long? Yes, it literally is a longer month because it has 31 days in it, but it seriously feels like a lot longer than that to me. After reflecting on that, I thought of a host of various reasons including it being really dark this time of year which can make people tired and unmotivated and feel like hibernating. Also, the rush of the holidays is over, and we are now weeks into getting “back to the grind.”

Perhaps you’re in the group of people who were feeling super-motivated at the beginning of the year with a list of resolutions and hoping for a fresh start? And now the reality of it all is settling in and you’re feeling bad because you’ve gotten off track. [Want help with that? Read “How to stop sabotaging your goals.”] Whatever the reason, I’ve been hearing in my counseling and coaching sessions lately that people are really “in a funk” this time of year. So what can you do about it?

Holistic Therapy For Your Body, Mind and Spirit

I consider myself a holistic therapist. A lot of clients have asked me, “but what does ‘holistic therapy’ mean?” It means that I think that humans are very complex and that there are a variety of factors that contribute to our overall feelings of well-being. When my clients report to me that they’re feeling “stuck” or “unhappy” or “in a funk,” I think it’s important to explore all of the areas of his/her life that could be contributing.

Five Domains of Holistic Health

I organize these factors into 5 different categories of health: Mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial. I used to only consider the “mind-body-spirit” connection, but I’ve found that there’s plenty to explore in the realms of emotional health and financial health to warrant their own categories. Here’s an “inventory” of sorts; some questions to ponder to see where your life might be feeling out of balance, and possible areas for growth. Of course, there are several questions that could apply to several different categories, so taking care of one area of your life could greatly affect other areas. This inventory is not meant to be all-inclusive, but just a good start to figuring out where you might want to be focusing your energy to start feeling better.

Five Facets of Your Health to Explore When You’re Stuck in A Slump

  1. Mental Health – Am I stuck in negative thinking? Are my thoughts intrusive or overwhelming? Are there difficult things I’ve lived through that are unresolved, or keeping me stuck and unable to move forward? Am I depressed or anxious?
  2. Physical Health – When was my last physical? How is my nutrition? Do I get enough exercise? How is my sleep schedule? Are my sexual and physical needs getting met? Do I have an illness that is impacting things?
  3. Spiritual Health – Do I have a purpose? What are my values, and how much am I living a life that incorporates what I value? How much am I living a life in line with what my “soul” needs and wants? Do I feel like I have a way to access my soul or higher self?
  4. Emotional Health – How much time am I putting aside to tune into my own needs, wants, and emotions? When I have an emotion, do I connect with it or do I push it away? How are my relationships with others?
  5. Financial Health – How do I feel about the state of my finances? Do I feel like I’m in control of my money, or do I feel like my money is in control of me? (Note: Many times when I talk about financial issues with clients, it’s more about the emotional needs and values behind money versus managing the logistics themselves).

Next Steps: Regaining Your Forward Momentum

Ok, so now what to do if you go through this inventory and you find that some things are “out of whack?” What would you do if there was something that was off in your car? You’d do something to get it fixed! So depending on which area of your life needs attention, why not consider taking action to create positive changes in that area? You might consider reading some self-help books for guidance in creating an “action plan” for yourself. But in my experience, the best (and easiest) way to get going is to reach out for support.

Connection: The Last “Secret Ingredient” For Empowered Positive Change

For example, if your “five questions” answers revealed that you have some unfinished business with the past, a trusted therapist could help you move past the past. Maybe you’re having trouble accessing what you really want or value, or struggling to follow through with things. In that case, a supportive, motivating life coach could be helpful. If you’re needing direction with the optimal nutrition for your body, consider hiring a dietician. Want to be held more accountable for exercise? A good personal trainer, or making exercise plans with a reliable friend might help you. I think you get the picture.

A holistic approach like the one I’ve described helps you not just gain self-awareness about the parts of your life in which you could use some extra support, but provides an inspirational road-map towards change and growth. While the domains of health and wellness seem different, they’re connected together like the spokes of a wheel. And at the center of the wheel — and the center of a holistic life — is often connection. Humans are wired for connection, and we are meant to pool our resources. In my experience, finding strength in connection can help you do the things that seem overwhelming or unattainable on your own.

I hope exploring your empowerment in all these domains — Mind, Body, Soul, Emotions, Finances and Connection help you get unstuck, and start moving forward again.

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self
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