#105 Stop Complaining

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#105

Stop Complaining

I read that complaining was like emotional farting – a description that resonated with me and it turns out – that when we complain, it’s as if we are in a closed elevator – essentially impacting everyone in our vicinity with the negativity of our comments. Yes, complaining is contagious. When you are complaining, you are a black cloud of dust settling in, over, and around everything within earshot.

Second Nature

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain – eventually shortening the distance the charge travels and making it easier for the brain to think the way it is thinking. In this example, “grows” refers to the ease with which thoughts are triggered. When we complain a lot, complaining becomes second nature.

Based on this logic, the reverse would also be true. If we compliment – or notice the positive – over and over, they are the elements that become a natural part of our thought process.

Stress

Negativity begets stress… stress is hazardous to your overall health. When we are surrounded by complaining, stress levels increase. When we are complaining, stress is elevated. In both cases, the overarching effect on our system is negative which, in many cases – become another focus of our complaint.

Easy Street

Complaining is easy. We are hardwired to look for what’s wrong in life. It’s a mechanism that supports our survival and some complaining – is healthy. The truth is that some aspects of life feel negative and expressing frustration effectively is a necessity for good mental health. Constructively expressing the emotions we feel is more difficult than it appears.

Gratitude

The antidote to complaints is to recognize the good in each experience. Expressing gratitude for even the most difficult of scenarios is at the heart of healthy functioning. It is akin to finding the silver lining in every storm cloud and describing IT – instead of the horror of the storm. Noticing the good and allowing it to take center stage instead of complaining about the element that wasn’t perfect… can be where the focus goes. And ass it goes… “what we focus on… grows” so…

Stop Complaining.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#119 Get Hypnotized

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#119

Get Hypnotized

My mother delivered me under hypnosis and without drugs or an epidural, she remembers only one labor pain. Hypnosis is widely misunderstood; people have a sense that while hypnotized they are unable to have any control. I frequently hear resistance that includes a fear of “not knowing what’s going on”. In actuality, hypnosis is nothing more than a hyper-focused state of concentration.

Hypnotic State

While ‘under hypnosis’, the hypnotized individual is in a heightened state of awareness, temporarily rendering the person fully susceptible to suggestion [but only to the extent that the individual is willing]. It is during this state that the individual is able to zero into the subconscious, mostly due to the absence of  environmental chatter – eliminated by suggestion. Some people call this state a ‘trance’ and is easily recognized by the state we all commonly experience when we arrive at a destination but have no memory of actually taking the route there.

Purpose of Hypnosis

Sometimes, there is so much internal or environmental ‘chatter’ that it is extremely difficult to get to the data stored in our brain. Hypnosis helps us dive through the noise. At other times, we are so consciously resistant to going ‘there’ that hypnosis allows us to bypass the auto-diverters that our psyche has created; allowing us to get ‘there’ [a memory or a feeling]. In other cases, hypnosis allows us to get underneath the ego or established defenses and to the place where we are vulnerable and receptive to new ways of thinking.

Benefits

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain. There, we can divert pain, established beliefs, and dysfunctional thinking. Hypnosis can attack phobias (irrational beliefs), sleep, depression, stress, and other mental health struggles. It can help us visualize, remember, and concentrate.

Cons

Some people question the validity of the ‘memories’ that are reportedly recalled while in a trance. Since these memories are often unable to be substantiated, it is helpful to consider the ‘point’ of the memory, what is the ‘meaning’ that may be attributed to what the brain has created, regardless of the truth or fiction. I find that under some circumstances, a fictional ‘memory’ may be just as valid a message as a literal recollection – similar to a dream.

If you are challenged with an addiction, an unidentified nagging feeling, or a curiosity about childhood – consider finding a therapist qualified to practice hypnosis and take the step to…

Get Hypnotized.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#123 Adopt a New Coping Skill

Just when we may feel like we would be better off in our sour mood alone, or when we don’t want to trouble anyone with our ‘issues’, that is the precise time to lean on our social support system.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#123

Adopt a new coping skill

Coping skill – those things that help us deal with the crap that life throws our way. They happen sometimes without much awareness and at others, with great intention. Some are health – others … not so much. Self awareness of the coping skills that we use to deal with things are super important. It’s necessary for us to distinguish between those things that work for us and those that don’t.

Dysfunction Coping

There are a handful of common ‘coping’ skills that are generally dysfunctional. Perhaps the most popular is avoidance. More often than not, when we avoid something – prevent ourselves from facing the problem – we do nothing more than save the discomfort for later. We deny ourselves the knowledge that we can exist simultaneously with the problem or better yet – solve it.

Overeating / Excessive anything

Another coping mechanism that we often turn to is that of comforting ourselves by over indulging in things that make us feel better like wine, chocolate, cookies, beer, and comfort food in general. Our overindulgence in the things that make us temporarily forget our problem doesn’t erase the problem and may raise our risk of developing unhealthy addictions.

While there are a number of other undeniable coping strategies that aren’t helpful, there are a number that are!

Functional Coping

There are a number of great ways to work through stress, problems, and life challenges that are immensely effective and have overall positive effects. Exercise, Me Time, and Self Care are at the top of the list. They are the some of the things that create balance in life.

Meditation / Mindfulness

These strategies are perhaps the most efficient and effective when it comes to overall feeling better. The research about mindfulness and its helpful effect on health, emotions, stress, and pain is overwhelming but it take practice and perseverance to be truly beneficial.

Laughter

Learning to laugh, to find humor in the mundane, and to appreciate silly is also a great coping strategy. When we become so stressed that our tempers flare, humor can generally take the edge of negative feelings if not neutralize them all together.

Social Support

Just when we may feel like we would be better off in our sour mood alone, or when we don’t want to trouble anyone with our ‘issues’, that is the precise time to lean on our social support system. The friends and family members that love us, that know us at our core… those are the people who can stand behind us when times are tough. When we need to ask for help… they are the ones we ask. And yes… learning to ASK is a functioning coping mechanism.

Assess your current repertoire of positive coping skills and research one that you’ve yet to develop. Practice, practice, and practice in the pursuit of

Developing a new coping skill.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#127 Identify Your Triggers

In order to change anything – we need to be aware and know what needs to be changes and so to improve our reactions it is imperative that we make an effort to know our triggers.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#127

Identify Your Triggers

Defined

An emotional trigger is something that provokes you. It may be a person, an opinion, a situation, or an environmental condition. When we are ‘triggered’, we generally REact emotionally – often with a defensive behavior. We experience a swell of emotion and it may or may not be specifically connected to the experience at hand.

Discovery

In order to properly manage your emotions, it’s imperative that you know what your triggers are. Ninety-nine percent of the time, our triggers are based in fear. Fear of losing something, having less of something, or never having something – that ‘something’ being anything really… trust, respect, time, money, love, etc… When we understand ‘why’ we are reacting – managing our reactions is much – much easier.

Management

Once we know ‘why’ we get triggered we can learn how to communicate and manage our reactions. Often, it’s about learning how to be present – not allowing our histories to overrun the present moment. It’s about communicating our truest emotion – that thing we fear (i.e, not being loved, having enough time, etc…) By being aware of our immediate thought, engaging our breath, and making an intentional choice in our response, we can stand down those automatic responses that tend to stand at attention when we are triggered.

In order to change anything – we need to be aware and know what needs to be changes and so to improve our reactions it is imperative that we make an effort to ….

Identify our triggers.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#133 Practice Loving Kindness

Each of the meditations begins from this place – deep in the experience of sensing love.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#133

Practice Loving Kindness

The practice of loving kindness stems from the Buddhist practice of the Metta prayer. It’s a specific method of meditating that promotes compassion for others and for the self. It’s easy, and it makes a difference.

Love

The essence of a loving kindness meditation is to conjure up a sensation of deep love, of significant loving energy and then metaphorically – send that love out into the universe toward humanity as a whole or to specific people. There are a number of amazing websites (linked below) and YouTube videos that can walk you through in a guided meditation as you get started.

Imagery

As in many other mental health wellness practices, loving kindness utilizes imagery. It is suggested that as you begin your meditation, you imagine people who love you, surrounding you and sending vibrational hugs toward you until you can essentially feel the loving energy coming from them. You may imagine the swell of love that you felt as you held each of your children or married your spouse. Each of the meditations begins from this place – deep in the experience of sensing love.

Well Wishes

Each phrase found in most scripts begins with “may you…/may I”. The concept is that while in an envelope of loving energy, you send some of it out or reflect it back you yourself in phrases that represent wishes.

“May you feel loved, may you be happy, may you be healthy’

“May you find acceptance, may you feel joy, may you live with ease”

In each phrase, the “you” can be replaced with “I” for the experience of self-compassion.

The objective is to build upon the empathy and compassion that is an innate element of your spirit. The more you practice, the more it grows.

Peace

Those who cultivate a practice of loving kindness speak about the sense of inner peace that develops over time. It is attributed to a deeper sense of happiness. It works to evaporate anger, resentment, and past pains. It becomes a coping mechanism for those times when our humanity loses perspective and emotions become overwhelming.

There is much benefit for you personally, for those people you love, and for the collective consciousness that comprises our universe when you commit to …

Practice loving kindness

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Mindful

The EI Institute

CMind

A letter to H-man – One Year Later

I am indulging in a brief digression from 365 ways to be happy to pay respect to a man that complimented my life in the best way.

Hey Harley Man,

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of your death… September 11th – you and  and whomever else checked into the Afterlife on that date; an infamous date. You did it like you would… coming in on that Christmas birthday and going out on a day where it would never be just about you. You know, I’m not very big on Anniversaries. I won’t miss you tomorrow any more than I missed you today or last week. I suspect I won’t miss you less on Wednesday or next week.

I’ve had thoughts beginning with something along the lines of “I can’t believe it’s been a year since…” pretty much from the time you left. I couldn’t believe a year before you died we were riding bikes in Cape Cod. I couldn’t believe it had been a year since your last birthday as we sang to you on Christmas evening. As I sat by the fire – alone – on a cold January morning I was recalling the year before when we talked about how to spend our snow day. When Spring came I remember thinking “this time last year you were in so much pain” and as summer grew hot I remembered how long you had been in the hospital and then last month I was recalling your steady decline and this week… your time at the Hospice unit.

Harley, I won’t be thinking of you any more or less tomorrow or the next day as I’ve thought of you each day that you’ve been absent from our home.  You are still a part of our stories – the ones we tell with joy and laughter when I’m with the girls or with friends. You’re part of the story I tell clients when I am talking about how to learn from your partner and when I’m teaching about acceptance. You’re part of the story I tell people who say they’ll never recover from grief as I share how I’ve incorporated your departure into my daily existence.

At the risk of sounding crazy… I can feel you holding my hand at times. I hear your voice in my head at the most necessary moments. I can sense your warmth against my back when I am most lonely at night. And, I can see you in my dreams, reminding me how present you still are no matter where I go. Tomorrow may be designated as the day marking a year since your last breath, but I know you are still here – or there – on another plane, in a different reality.

I am doing what you asked… I am living a life full of the dreams we shared. I am not stopping to let grief hold me but instead, allowing it to move with me and I know that it is waning. It is less painful these days when I come home to a dark house; as I get acclimated to your transformed spirit. I know you don’t need lamplight or doorknobs now. My tears today are more often a result of the gratitude I feel for the comfort, wisdom, and guidance that you provided over those ten years than they are for the absence of your physicality. Those elements have been woven into the energy that I feel every time I walk into the house or bring you to mind.

I have to assume you are able to be a part of the ‘knowing’ now – exactly in the way you wished and consequently can see how very loved you have been… they – all those that love you – have honored you with kindness in the world, in so many different ways. I want to believe that you see it… and that your soul can absorb the love exerted from this vibration. You are as alive in our hearts now as you were when you were walking and talking with us and yet… we miss the walking and talking.

Tomorrow may be the day that marks a year but today… and each day… rolls around without your breath against my neck or your kiss on my temple yet they are days where the memory of you lights my path. It moves me; guides me; inspires me; and motivates me to be better.

You… are missed and remembered EVERY day – regardless of clocks or calendars yet you are with me; with us. Stay if you can… go if you must – it won’t matter because a part of you is always available here… the vibration of your existence lives here and I feel you.

Loving you still.

With love, gratitude, and honor…

Les

#204 Stop Internalizing

Learn to validate your thoughts and feelings. Look for concrete evidence – preferably direct from the source – that confirms your suspicions.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#204

Stop Internalizing

When was the last time you thought “what did I do”? Perhaps someone close to you snapped a sassy response and your thoughts went immediately to “why are they mad at me?”  Maybe you didn’t get a dinner invitation to a neighbors get-together and your internal voice is wondering why they don’t like you. Or, You see a friend across the parking lot but they keep walking without waving hello.

Internalizing

These are the kinds of scenarios that promote ‘internalizing’ – making the assumption that another person’s behavior has something to do with YOU. My mother often said “what makes you think you’re so important that everything is about you?” It’s a common misperception and one that is dysfunctional to the extent that it interferes with our ability to see things clearly. All too often, the behavior of another has absolutely nothing to do with us!

Check assumptions

Learn to validate your thoughts and feelings. Look for concrete evidence – preferably direct from the source – that confirms your suspicions. If you get the sense that someone is mad at you… ask them. If you imagine that you’ve being shunned from a party because someone is upset with you… ask them “have I offended you?”

Your responsibility

Our responsibility is to work with the information we have but only the information that is accurate. In order to determine accuracy, we have to validate. We can only ‘know for sure’ what we see and hear since we are not mind readers. Even when we ‘think’ we know what someone is thinking – if you find yourself internalizing – validate!! There’s a pretty good chance that you are NOT the center of another’s discontent. Once you realize this you can …

Stop Internalizing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below