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How to Create a Joyful Life

How to Create a Joyful Life

Reconnecting With Your SELF

A JOYFUL LIFE | Do you ever feel like you’ve lost touch with what really makes you happy? Or like you spend all of your time doing what you have to do, and almost never things that you want to do? Or, like so many people, do you go through your days with a vague sense of dissatisfaction — feeling like even on good days, they could somehow be better?

If so, you’re in good company. So many of our life coaching and therapy clients come to us with exactly this situation: They just want to feel happy. They want to feel good about themselves, and their lives. They want to feel connected to others, and like they have meaning and purpose in their lives.

But they currently don’t.

Too many adults, especially conscientious, hardworking, responsible and successful adults, spend so much time meeting their commitments to others they start to lose sight of who they really are, and what they like to do for fun.

It’s an easy slide: Especially as you “adult,” growing into a career with more responsibility, settle into a marriage, and start welcoming children into the world, you life starts to be more about all the other people you have depending on you than it is about you. Over time it stops feeling like “life is good” and more like, “I have so much to do.” Can you relate? (Lisa raises hand)

Many men and women spend their entire days, morning to night, doing things that they need to do, or to be of service in the lives of others — be it a boss, a business, a spouse or a kid. Even the darn dog needs something!

Who has time for fun?

Sometimes I ask a Denver therapy client or an online life coaching client, “What do you do for fun?” and I get a blank look, a stutter, or a reddening face. (This is especially true of my American clients. I do work with people all over the world for online life coaching and the Europeans with their six weeks a year of paid vacation can often tell me exactly what they do for fun!)

How to Be Happy Again

So this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success is all about YOU: and helping you get reconnected with your authentic happiness so you can experience a more joyful life. As always, I’ll be offering some insight, new ways of thinking, and actionable ideas you can start using today.

Specifically, we’ll be discussing:

  • What the current “science of happiness” has to say about what moves the happiness needle… and what does not.
  • The biggest hidden culprit getting in between you and a joyful life
  • Simple strategies to get reconnected with the real you (who IS still in there!)
  • Why you can’t buy happiness, but where to invest your resources to cultivate more joy
  • Life hacks to make more space in your life for fun and play

I hope this discussion helps YOU reconnect with your true self and what makes you most happy. You deserve it.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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How to Create a Joyful Life

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

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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.

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Let’s Talk About Date Night

If you’re in a long-term relationship the time will come when that burning flame of romance and passion dims to a comfortable warmth, it’s inevitable. This doesn’t mean that the romance and passion are over, it’s a new era of your relationship. If you welcome this era with an open mind and a willingness to experience this stage with your partner – you will find that this warmth is not only sustaining to your relationship but welcoming.

I know it can feel discouraging to think back on how alive and in love you once were before the chaos of life, work, and family obligations became primary conversations at the dinner table. Maybe you’re even asking yourself “can it ever be like it once was?”

The truth is, if you’re both willing to put in the effort to keep your relationship “lit” then YES you can have those rekindling experiences in your relationship! In fact, research by love gurus Dr. John and Julie Gottman has even shown that couples on the road to separation were able to rekindle the flame in their relationship. So what’s the secret? You guessed it…date night.

How To Get The Most Out Of Date Night

It’s easy enough to go on a date if time and circumstance allow. However, it can feel like there’s just not enough time in the day for dating, and if you are like most of my couples clients you have a lot going on. It can feel like your only conversations together happen in passing after a long day at work or at the dinner table with the kids. This means that you have to be intentional about date night, and you need to get the most out of your time together (yes, I’m talking quality over quantity).

So, How Do You Do This?

First, it’s important to choose a time that works for both of you. It might feel silly scheduling each other in, but I promise if you schedule your date together you’re both more likely to make it work. So sit down, get those phones out (or paper agendas, whatever works for you!) and pick a time where you are either both free or available to move your schedule around. This might mean getting a babysitter, rearranging less important plans, or simply saying “no” to lesser obligations. But remember, you don’t have to force a date for the sake of dating. Sometimes an hour at the nearby coffee shop can be just as fun — do what works best for you!

Next, be deliberate about the activity you choose to do together. Since time is limited, what you do with that time is important. Try to orchestrate a date that is both fun and meaningful for both of you! The more thought you put into the date, the more you’ll get out of it. Before this starts sounding like a chore, I’m not talking about an itinerary that has every little moment planned out. Think about what you both like to do? Where do you like to go? What have you done in the past you’d like to do again? What are some new places, food, or experiences you would like to try?

Number one rule – make this time about the two of you. You don’t have to stick to any version of a date that isn’t appealing to you. However, the more time you spend together, the easier dating becomes. If this means staying home and watching a movie together, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, going out to an upscale restaurant, or checking out the “hottest” club – do what’s right for the both of you.

Looking for some great date night suggestions? Take a look at these simple to elaborate ideas you can implement into your new date night routine.

Fun Simple Suggestions:

  1. Pizza & A Movie Marathon— whether you like the DIY method of making your own homemade pizza or you like someone else to do the work for you (aka…ordering delivery), this is a staple date night. You can choose a movie that has a special meaning to the two of you, or maybe even take turns showing your current or childhood favorites.
  2. Build A Fort or “Camp” Indoors—sometimes laying down together in a new place can be exciting and spark some old feelings you thought were lost!
  3. Go On A Long Walk Together—use this time to hold hands, talk about life, or even get to know each other more. Did you know that exercise helps release brain chemicals that can make you feel happier? So by simply doing something active together can create positive feelings between you and your partner.
  4. Desserts and Discovery—make your favorite desserts together and ask one another questions to get to know each other again. There are various apps that supply questions to ask your partner (I recommend the “Gottman Card Decks” app). You could even get creative and use this desserts and discovery date to spark some sexual intimacy as well!

More Elaborate Suggestions:

  1. Surprise Date Night—if you and your partner have similar schedules, surprise your partner with a spontaneous date (to a restaurant, bowling alley, movies, etc). The excitement of the surprise may spark some long-awaited affection.
  2. A Mini-Vacay—find a babysitter and book a hotel room for the night! A night away from home can be especially rejuvenating for a relationship, especially if you have children.
  3. Take A Class Together—some communities offer classes to the public. Register for a local class together such as art, culinary, dancing, or exercise classes. Some classes may even be free!
  4. Recreate Your First Date—think about your very first date together and recreate it.  Reminiscing on the past may help reignite passion in the present. It can also be helpful to talk through all of the obstacles you have overcome as a couple over the years and take time to appreciate how your partner has contributed to the strengths in your relationship.

Date night can be a helpful tool for relationship health. Whether you’re wanting to stick to something simple or splurge on an elaborate night out, there are many exciting ways to get to know your partner and rediscover the excitement in your relationship. Try some of these suggestions and share your experience with me below in the comments section!

Wishing you the best on your date,
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT

Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.

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How To Get Unstuck When You’re Feeling Trapped

How To Get Unstuck When You’re Feeling Trapped

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.

Set Yourself Free

 

Do You Feel Trapped By Your Circumstances? If so, you’re not alone.I see it all the time: People often feel trapped in situations, and that in every direction is a barrier. It’s like they have no good options.

They sit on my couch, tense, and certain in the futility of any effort to create change.

  • They hate their job but can’t find a different one for various reasons.
  • They want to change their habits but haven’t been successful yet so therefore they can’t ever be.
  • They want their relationship to be different but feel helpless because their partner won’t change.

The door to their ideal path has just slammed shut and now they are facing a wall. Emotionally, they feel helpless and that their problems feel too big to overcome. Every opportunity quickly becomes a snarl of more problems and negative outcomes, and paralysis takes over.

“Being stuck” becomes a purgatory, and as you can imagine, fertile ground for depression to sink roots and wrap them up in tight black vines of hopelessness. It’s hard to go through, and even as a therapist (hi) hard to watch.

Why does this happen? Most importantly, how do you set yourself free?

The “Black and White” Trap

In my experience, feeling trapped is preceded by some variation of black and white thinking that severely limits available options.

If you’re feeling paralyzed, stuck, or helpless there is a good chance that, at the core, you might be engaging in black and white thinking.

When this thought process is active, everything becomes an “either / or.”

“I need to get into this graduate program, but I can’t afford it so I’m destined stay in this unhappy career forever.”

“I’m going out on dates but not meeting people I feel a connection with so I’m going to die alone.”

“I must feel better in order to do something differently.”

“My partner needs to change or I can’t be happy.”

All options are starkly opposed in black and white, and have the power to either save or crush us completely. Words like, “Always,” “Have To,” “Can’t,” swirl in the room. It’s exhausting.

Whenever someone gets into a stuck, helpless place its almost always because they perceive too few options. Things become polarized: Black and white, yes and no, good or bad. Psychological health is happiness is found through flexibility, creativity, and openness.

There is always a middle path.

How To Liberate Yourself

If you don’t like the options you currently have, insist on more.

Did you ever read the story when you were a kid about Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator? (It’s the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I know you’ve heard of).

Anyway. Willie Wonka has made Charlie the heir to his magical candy empire, and takes him on a tour of his new dominion.

They get into the Great Glass Elevator, which Charlie assumes, sanely, will carry them to different levels of the factory.

However, the wall of the elevator is covered with buttons indicating that this elevator will go diagonally, in circles, side to side, and more.

Willie Wonka gleefully pushes the big red “Up and Out” button which sends them crashing through the roof of the factory and into outer space. OUTER SPACE!

“And what keeps it up?” said Grandma Josephine.

“Skyhooks,” said Mr Wonka.

The point is that we all get to design our own reality. Just like Willy Wonka, we all make it all up as we go along, and the rules that govern our lives are largely our own construction. You have many, many options — we all do.

Cultivate Creativity And Flexibility

The next time you’re feeling trapped, try taking out a piece of paper and writing down as many alternative options as you can think of. Make them as zany and wildly unrealistic as you possibly can, just to loosen up the thin-lipped British governess that has taken up residence in your head— the one holding two alternatives out to you on a silver tray. Slap them out of her hands and get weird. Brainstorm with abandon.

“I could sell all my possessions and move to a little village in Armenia. In three years I will be mayor.”

“I could quit my job and live in a tent in my next-door neighbor’s backyard.”

“I could make [insert goal here] the sole mission of my life and number one priority every day.”

“I could stand up in the middle of my next team meeting and scream cathartically, throw a chair at my boss’s head, and walk out.” (Not advised. But you could.)

“I could apply to a different school, or change my major.”

“I could break up with this person.”

“I could read some books and learn how to do this thing that seems so impossible. Other people can do it and I can too.”

“I could make it a goal to meet four new people every week.”

“I could save x amount of money every month for the next year, and do the thing I really want to do.”

“I could get rid of my television and use all that extra time to pursue [something important that you feel you don’t have time for].”

Operant point: Start every sentence should start with “I could.”

Of course you will immediately hear the snarky voice of the uptight, uber-rational British governess telling you all the reasons that you can’t.

The correct response to her is, “Shh. Skyhooks.”

You Are the Author Of Your Life Story

The truth is that you can actually do pretty much anything you want.

You CAN decide to take out a massive loan and spend every cent riding motorcycles around Australia for the next six months. You could simply stop paying the mortgage on your house and use the proceeds to finance a diet of nothing but the most expensive chocolate money can buy every single day.

You can. No one is stopping you.

Of course, there are consequences to every decision that you’ll have to sort through, obviously, but just getting in contact with the fact that your options are immense is enough to break through the paralysis that is choking your life and creating the stuck-ness that you’ve been feeling lately.

In addition to some foolish ideas that might very well destroy your life if you followed them, your creativity and openness to new ideas will also generate some reasonable, healthy, fresh and exciting new options for you too. Trust me.

What are the skyhooks that could lift you up-and-out of the tiny little cognitive box you’ve been stuffed into?

What could you do?

 
 
xoxo,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

How to Start Making Positive Changes in Your Life

How to Start Making Positive Changes in Your Life

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.

“I want to change my life, but how?

 

 

Have you ever thought those words to yourself? If so, congratulations: As a therapist and life coach I know that wanting things to be different  is the launch-pad for any real and lasting change.

We think of the process of changing your life as a positive thing — one that is hopeful, and infused with joy. However, here’s the dirt: No-one ever, ever, changes because they’re just so happy with their life as it currently is. No. People actually change because they are frustrated, annoyed, hurt, embarrassed, experiencing negative consequences, or just completely worn out and exhausted from living the way they have been.

In fact, it’s that yucky, “Ugh I hate this” feeling (that we all dislike) is exactly the one you need to listen to if you’re going to change your life. But no one talks about that part. We see the victorious transformations… but not how to make the sausage.

The real, authentic change process is messy. It’s wobbly. It can be lonely. We try and fail, and try again. It doesn’t feel joyful, at least, not in the beginning. If anything, it feels hard, but it feels necessary.

How to Change Your Life

It’s not uncommon at all for our clients to show up for therapy or life coaching with us for help in feeling better. They’re feeling low, worried, or frustrated, and they genuinely don’t know what to do next. So, just like giving up and calling the plumber after you’ve futzed around with the leaky sink for three hours with no success, people reach out to us for therapy or life coaching.

“I want to have a better relationship,” “I want to stop my bad habits,” “I want to feel happier,” “I want to be healthier,” or “I need to figure myself out,” are all opening lines for transformational therapy or coaching. In all these situations people are saying, “I need to do something differently here, but I don’t know what yet.”

What they don’t realize is how incredibly smart and brave they already are for opening themselves up to growth. To guidance. To exploration. To understanding. It’s only then that their real journey can begin.

This sense of wanting more, and the awareness that continuing to do what you have been doing is just going to get you more of the same… that’s where it starts.

Inner Change Leads to Outer Change

The first step of any great therapy or coaching is the acknowledgement that something needs to change. (See above).

The second step is where we get to work pinpointing the current circumstances that need to be improved, or identifying exactly what’s happening in their relationships or careers that aren’t feeling good. That’s the external change where you try and do things differently. However, that alone is not enough to move the needle for most people.

Where the work — the magic, honestly — actually happens is when we start talking about what is going on inside of you that is currently supporting the results you DON’T want. Although it’s hard to believe, everything in our lives is the direct out come of all the choices we’ve made until now.

On our own, we don’t see it. We’re too close to it. We are simmering in the broth of our own feelings, judgments, automatic thoughts, and instinctive behaviors. Until we partner with someone else who can shine a light into our blind spots and help us see ourselves in a new way, we’re all destined to keep repeating our old patterns.

The truth will set you free.

Once you achieve self awareness, then everything else becomes available to you. Instead of reacting without thinking, you have choices. Instead of repeating old behaviors, you begin to act intentionally. Instead of feeling helpless or frustrated, you feel determined, hopeful, and empowered.

Before you know it, you’ve achieved a new way of being, thinking, feeling and behaving that will get you where you actually want to go in your relationships, your career, and in achieving your most important life goals.

You attain power over your life, your feelings, and your results in a way that you never thought possible before. Everything opens up, and you’re in control of not just yourself, but your future.

This is what happens. It’s what we do with our clients all day every day. But it’s still so abstract, isn’t it? It’s still hard to get a sense of what it actually looks like or feels like to be involved in meaningful personal growth work. You can read therapy reviews all day long, but that’s different than getting the inside scoop on what it actually feels like to go through it.

What Changing Your Life Actually Involves

So much of what we therapists and coaches do with our clients remains firmly behind closed doors. Because we respect the privacy of our clients (even with our reviews), we can’t peel back the hood and show you what the change process looks like for any individual. It takes a brave soul to raise their hand and say, “This is what changing my life actually was like — tell my story.”

It’s such a treasure when that happens though. We all learn from each other, and hearing how people just like us learned, changed, grew, and evolved, creates an inspirational path that we can then follow ourselves.

Today, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast that is exactly what we are doing. My dear colleague, fellow Denver therapist and online life coach Polly Drew has an inspiring story of personal transformation to share. She talks about the change process: From her first awareness that she had a problem, to how she got the motivation to start making changes, to the support and systems she needed to put into place in order to be successful in changing her life.

Polly is an incredibly wise, compassionate therapist and life coach who has helped countless people create transformation in their lives and relationships. She also practices what she preaches, and her own growth work has given her work with her clients depth, understanding, empathy, and power.

Learn how to really change your life on this episode of the podcast.

With love,

Lisa Marie Bobby, PhD, LMFT & Polly Drew, M.Ed., LMFT

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

How to Start Making Positive Changes in Your Life

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

Music Credits: “Born to Become,” by Maya Johanna

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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How to Create a Joyful Life

Do you ever feel like you've become disconnected from the "real you" and that you've lost touch with your authentic joyful self? This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is all about how to reconnect with yourself, and start feeling happy again. Read More
Joyful Life Be Happy Again Denver Therapist Denver Life Coach Online Therapy Positive Psychology

How to Start Making Positive Changes in Your Life

It's easy to see the positive outcomes of people who successfully change their lives, but you don't often hear about the ups and downs of their journey. Get the inside scoop and authentic truth of one woman's story on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Read More
How-to-start-making-positive-changes-in-your-life-denver-therapy-online-life-coach-denver

Creating Self Confidence

Creating Self Confidence

How To Improve Self Esteem

How do you feel about yourself?

Are you confident in your power to make good things happen in your life?
Do you believe that you are just as good as anyone else?
Do you trust yourself?
Do you feel like you are a good person, who is worthy of love and respect?

Too many people go through periods in their lives where self-confidence feels elusive. They doubt themselves. They may feel “less than” others around them. Perhaps they don’t ask for what they deserve or don’t feel able to take the risks that will move them forward.

They don’t know how to create self-confidence. And as a result, they may settle for less in their relationships, their careers, and their lives. Self-confidence and self-esteem matter.

Self-Esteem, Self-Confidence, and Self-Worth

Feeling good about yourself (not in a narcissistic way, but rather in a healthy, self-accepting way) is key to having a good life. Yet many people struggle with this, and that is why we routinely work with our therapy and life coaching clients around how to create self-confidence and start feeling good about themselves again.

So, to help you create self-confidence in your own life, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m joined by two of my colleagues, Anastacia Sams, M.A., LMFTC and Kathleen Stutts, M.Ed., LPCC, both of whom are experts in helping people heal, grow, and restore their optimism about themselves.

We’re talking about how to improve your self-esteem, how to create self-confidence, how to cultivate healthy self-worth, and most importantly, how to use the healing power of self-acceptance to (paradoxically) create real and lasting change in your life.

We hope this exploration helps YOU on your path of growth and healing, too.

xo, Lisa, Kathleen, and Ana

Creating Self-Confidence

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

Music Credits: The Weather Station, “In An Hour”

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