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What is your social media feed saying about you?

What are you putting out in the world?

I’ve said previously that although you may have no control over a situation, you do have 100% control over your response. How you react to whatever is happening is totally in your control.

And, is your responsibility.

Everything we do is either contributing to joy or adding to suffering. Everything. And how you show up to your work, your relationships, your art, and even your yoga classes, has an effect on the energy of others. You always have the option to add to the joy in this world…it’s a choice.

And never has that been more important than now.

Social media can be absolutely inspiring and thought provoking. I’ve read posts that were so heartfelt I’ve cried real tears for a person I didn’t even know.

And some of the most hideous and hateful things I’ve ever read have been on social media too.

Remember, social media never goes away. So my suggestion is to not just manage what you post…curate it as if it was a display of who you are. Because in many ways, what your Facebook page says about you, matters. Your Instagram feed is constantly putting out energy from the pictures you post. And others can see what you pin on Pintrest so even if you think you’re just screwing around on the internet, people are watching you. Remember, employers actually look at the Facebook pages of potential employees before hiring them. (thank God there was no internet when I was a kid!!!)

I’m not for a second suggesting that everything be cherry blossoms and fairy dust. But sincere comments add more depth to communications than attack tweets. We can be disturbed by the injustices of the world without shutting down the other side with a shaming post. Social media has the power to create positive change if we bring our humanity to it rather then our knee jerk reactions. And although bringing our truth to the world might be scary, our bravery and honesty will have a greater impact on more people.

So how can you avoid lashing out when you see something disturbing and unacceptable? Stop. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself if you can at all relate or at least be compassionate about what this person has said or done. Then choose your language wisely. Avoid adding more fuel to the fire…and that might very well mean saying nothing at this time. If you’re really fired up, sleep on it. We always see things more clearly once we put a little space between us and the problem.

This is what taking responsibility for ourselves really means: Choosing the energy we are putting out into the world. You have the capacity to add to the sum total of joy in every moment of the day. You also have the power to increase the level of anger and hate in the world. How you REACT is YOUR responsibility. So, think before you tweet. Take a deep breath and reread what you are about to post. Are you being true to who you are or shaming someone for their opinion? What exactly are you contributing if you press “post”?

You always have a choice…especially on social media.

 

 

feel like you don’t have enough time, part two

Why some people seem to have more time than others…

part two

In my last newsletter I went over setting healthy boundaries, playing to your strengths, and finding other people to do the rest.

If you missed it, let me know and I’ll send it to you. Or, go to brigittadau.com where all my newsletters are published.

Today, I’m talking about prioritizing the most effective actions to take, how to build momentum, and how to avoid our personal “time sucks”.

Successful people don’t just willy nilly start taking actions. They discern which task, when completed, with give them the most benefit. Remember when McDonald’s was ‘super sizing’ things? That was because they knew which items sold the most. Fries? Who doesn’t want to super size that?
And as much as they tried to introduce salads, what still sold the most? Burgers. Now, they are being more “artesian” with their burgers but you will see they are not going that route with the healthier choices. Their big money comes from burgers and fries. They focus on THOSE products because that is where they make the most profits.

The Gap also tried to expand into other fashions but lost money on all those fads. They came back to the products that earned them the most…jeans and t-shirts.

 

So, when you take a look at your list of actions, there are likely a few tasks that will reap you the most rewards…those are the actions to take first. And it should only take a minute or two to figure those actions out because your past experiences will point you in the right direction…just like it did in the above examples.

The other thing successful and motivated people do is take advantage of their momentum and avoid their pitfalls. They don’t wait to take action…they just do it. (I wrote a newsletter about that too…go check it out.) And, more importantly, they are honest about their weaknesses when it comes to getting distracted or thrown off course. If social media is a threat, they don’t go on Facebook on their break. Instead, they may grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk. If they are trying to avoid sugar, they likely don’t have candy in the house or at the office. If they know Netflix is addicting, they won’t go near the TV until they are finished everything for the day. (Notice how many people write at Starbucks…likely they have too many distractions at home. They know they’ll get more done if they are away from those temptations.)

This philosophy is now being utilized when patients are recovering from surgeries as well. They plan ahead for that moment they will want to bail on physical therapy, etc. That way when their resistance comes up, they are prepared and can more easily stick to their recovery plan. And, studies have shown that people who plan ahead to avoid their excuses, are more likely to have a faster and easier recovery.

The key then is to “know thyself” and honor your strengths and weaknesses. Then, prioritize your daily tasks based on the biggest rewards for the least amount of effort.

So, look at your list of things to do today and ask, ‘which of these actions will reap the biggest rewards?’ And remember my previous newsletter?… Do those actions play to you strengths? (Hint: your strengths are usually the things you feel confident doing.) If not, who can help you get them done? What can you do RIGHT NOW to get the ball rolling and build some momentum? And where are you likely to slip up? (social media is the #1 time suck in my opinion…! Turn off those notifications!…unless you are actually utilizing social media to improve your business.) How can you take your distractions away?

This is a lot to tackle! After all, it’s an entirely new mindset for a lot of us. If this feels overwhelming and you want help with it, get in touch and together we’ll figure out your best game plan.

And pass this on to your friends, retweet, repost…share the momentum!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel like you don’t have enough time?

“You have exactly the same amount of hours in the day as Mother Theresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Albert Einstein.” – H Jackson Brown Jr.

Why some people seem to have more time than others…

part one

24 hours in the day. That’s what we all get. Time does not discriminate. But why is it that some people manage to get more done than others?

Likely, they have mastered not only time management but also learned to prioritize their actions, set healthy boundaries, and delegate the things they aren’t good at. They know what builds momentum and what sabotages their energies. And, they spend the most time doing the most effective things to achieve their goals.

That’s a lot! So today I’m only focussing on setting healthy boundaries, playing to your strengths, and getting help with the rest.

Here is the truth…You will never be great at something you have to work hard just to be good at. Focussing too much energy on things other than your strengths will not only waste a lot of time but leave you feeling frustrated as well. But, if you put that time and energy into your natural talents, you will more quickly succeed. You should always cultivate your strengths.

I’m not giving you the “get out of jail free” card and saying self improvement is a waste of time! Nor am I suggesting to blow off paying your bills because you are better at lifting weights than balancing your checkbook! Some of our weaknesses do indeed need to be addressed before we can more effectively move forward in our lives. But usually, to successfully navigate those challenges we require help…this is why therapists, coaches, trainers etc exist! I’m not saying to go into denial. If you have issues that need to be resolved, for example procrastination issues, anxiety issues, health issues, you may want to hire a life coach or a therapist or a Doctor. Just like if you are an actor and learning your lines is tough for you, you may need to enlist a friend or an acting coach to run material with you.

However, not all of our obstacles are “issues”. Some of our self sabotage falls under the heading of plain old bad time management. And you’re not alone. Most of us were never taught how to effectively manage our time.
Having said that, approaching things from a place of strength is always more effective.

Delegating tasks and setting boundaries can help you get more done as well. One of my most successful friends designs amazing sets that have earned her 8 Emmy nominations. She’s clearly pretty good at designing! But that’s primarily all she focusses on…she doesn’t paint, build or decorate the sets. She has excellent shoppers who are great at getting good deals. She has people working for her who are talented painters and carpenters thus freeing up her time to stay focussed on what she does best.

She also is very clear about her boundaries. The prop master does not get to borrow from her art department, and visa versa. Having clear boundaries actually aids in keeping confusion to a minimum. Everybody know where they stand which is why nobody’s feelings get hurt when she says ‘no’. And despite working crazy hours, she also is managing to renovate a friends condo and redo some else’s office! Talk about getting lots done!

So notice those people around you who get so much done. Are they sticking to a specific and concise plan? I bet they are. Likely they have delegated a few things to other people so they can focus on what they do best. Thus, being wildly efficient and getting tons done! Also, they likely aren’t agreeing to do a bunch of things that will steer them away from their goals, either. They can say ‘no’ and set clear boundaries.

Where are you in terms of your time management? Are you wasting time doing something that is not contributing to your strengths? Are you agreeing to do too many things that kill your bliss? Is it a challenge for you to ask for help? Do you feel like you “don’t have enough time” yet seem to have time for Facebook and Netflix?

This is a tall order for a lot of people. After all, it’s an entirely new way of looking at your days. If this feels overwhelming and you want help with it, get in touch and together we’ll figure out your best game plan.

And pass this on to your friends, retweet, repost…share the knowledge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause > Effect Living on the Cause side of the the Equation

 

Life will throw curve balls at you. You will have obstacles to overcome and things will not always go as planned.

Car accidents, illnesses, lay offs, earthquakes… a lot of what happens to us is out of our control.

This is true for all of us including when we are going for our goals. Things will crop up that will threaten to sabotage our outcomes. Those are the effects of life.

But it’s a choice as to whether we allow those effects to rule us.

Thus the equation Cause > Effect.

The amount of cause in our lives should be greater than the effects. But unfortunately, most people live the opposite way around. They allow the effects to rule their lives resulting in added stress, anxiety, and depression.

The truth is, you always have a choice. Although your circumstances may be out of your control, you can choose how you approach the situation. You can’t control the weather but you can control how you’ll navigate the storm. You can’t control traffic (is that not true, my fellow Los Angelenos???) but you can control what you listen to while in traffic. (Recently someone shared that by simply switching to audio books instead of the radio, she has reduced her stress noticeably.) You can’t control the marketing campaigns that tempt you to pull into the drive-through. But you can plan ahead and pack a lunch.

How do you know if you are living on the effect side of the equation? Check out your “buts”. People living at cause don’t make excuses. And excuses almost always start with “but…”.

“But what if it doesn’t work out?”
“But what if I’m not good enough?”
“But what if I fail?”
“But I’ve never done it before?”
“But what if I’m too old/too young/ too whatever…fill in the blank?”

People living on the cause side of life don’t allow their “buts” to get in their way. Likely they have replaced those excuses with questions such as…

“Who do I know who can help me with this?”
“What do I need to learn about this?”
“What can I do right now to improve this situation?”

I’m a huge fan of the statement, “I’ll figure it out”. That ends the bullshit excuses of why I can’t get something done. “I’ll figure it out” leads to more resourceful thinking and triggers the trouble shooting part of my brain.

It’s time to see how much of our lives we are actually taking responsibility for, and what we are making excuses for. You can journal about this…you know your top 20 ‘reasons’ for not taking action by heart already. Write them out and question those buts…are they really just excuses? You can also take a few minutes a day and just observe your inner critic… and notice how often the ‘but’ word is used.

And at the risk of being preachy…our planet needs ‘all hands on deck’ at this point. Every one of us must be living with “cause” because our global community is drowning in the effects of our actions. We simply don’t have time for excuses anymore.

If you want support with this, get in touch. And please, retweet, repost, and forward this to your friends.

Why waiting to feel inspired leads to procrastination.

Nike’s famous slogan, “Just Do It”, is more than just a cool catch phrase. Taking action is actually the first step to feeling inspired. Inspiration only comes from experiencing something…not contemplating it.

Many of us have this equation wrong. We think motivation = action. And as a result, we have wasted precious time waiting to feel ‘in the mood’ or ‘motivated’ to take action. This is a common root cause for many of our procrastination issues. But, we will never actually feel motivated until we DO something. We must first take the action, then the inspiration to remain on task will kick in. (in about 10 seconds, actually) Action = Inspiration.

Plenty of parents have tapped into this truth without knowing it. “Go do something!” is usually their response to a bored child. Then, before long, their child is busy playing at something and is no longer bored at all.

Personally, I can use my newsletters as an example of how taking action leads to motivation. Sure, sometimes I’ll read a quote and get excited and my writing comes easily. But usually, it’s the other way around. More often then not, I sit down with a loose idea without really knowing where to begin. So, I just start writing. I don’t wait to have it all worked out before I start. And, after a few ‘clunky’ sentences it usually starts to make sense and I can express myself more easily. I call that first draft my vomit draft so I’m not hung up on getting it right. I just get it out. But then, the next day, I’m more interested in rewriting it because I took the initial action to do it in the first place. My action (sitting down to write) leads to my motivation (to rewrite and publish the piece).

Most musicians aren’t particularly excited to practice. But, once they ARE practicing, they are having fun and enjoying the experience. (And usually practice for longer than they had planned.)

No, you won’t find inspiration when ironing. But the heaps of clothes will likely keep growing if you wait to feel motivated. However, once you start, isn’t it amazing how quickly you get through all of it?

Most people know they should exercise more but don’t because they are searching for ways to feel motivated to work out. This is the classic excuse people give themselves when trying to start a new fitness regime. But that’s rarely how it works. Ask any regular exerciser and he will tell you…the toughest part is getting started…once they’re moving, it’s no big deal.

One final thing about taking action…don’t overwhelm yourself into doing a lot of things. Start with ONE thing. You are more likely to get more done if you start with one specific thing to do. If you overwhelm yourself with too many tasks, you’ll freeze and get nothing done. (As I’ve said in earlier newsletters, I give myself only 3 things to do a day…3 things that if completed, will bring me closer to my goals.)

So what are you avoiding getting done? How can you “just do something” to get the ball rolling? Try this approach of “just doing one action to move me forward”… and see not only how much more you accomplish, but how much more fun you have with the process.

And if you need help with this, get in touch and together we’ll create a doable plan for you.

Don’t forget to forward this, retweet, or repost if you liked it!

Enjoying the Struggle…Loving the lifestyle

We’ve all been told that “life is about the journey more than the actual end result”. But the reason I think many of us fail to find joy along that journey is because we don’t actually sit down and decide if that journey is right for us. We get excited about achieving the goal without questioning what it will take to achieve it…and if we enjoy that kind of hard work.

The people who rise to the top of the corporate ladder, love the long hours and the pressure it takes to get there. The people who have a loving relationship with their spouse and children are people who value spending time with family over making extra money. The people who write novel after novel are people who love spending hours alone in front of the computer.

So, if we find ourself hating the circumstances of our lives, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “are we up for the struggle?” Or, I prefer to ask, will I enjoy the lifestyle?

Back when I was getting certified for Pilates, my teacher asked all of us a very important question: “Do you want to be a Pilates instructor or a Pilates enthusiast?”. Well, we were there to get certified so obviously we all wanted to be Pilates Instructors! He questioned us further…”what will your life look like? How often do you think you’ll actually get to do Pilates?”

I can tell you the answer to that. For the past 15 years I have probably spent as much time in the car driving to studios, gyms, people’s homes, etc as I have spent actually teaching. AND…aside from the classes I teach at the gym, I only manage to fit in a few Pilates exercises a day. In fact, there are plenty of videos on-line that are designed specifically for instructors because they only have 15 minutes to work out between clients! (whereas the enthusiasts, come take class with me at least 3 times a week!) And, I’ve also had to work with people in acute pain, debilitating injuries… and many with challenging personalities.

So, if I didn’t like driving, I’d be miserable and probably fairly angry. If I wanted every day to be 9 – 5, structured, and secure, I’d be a nervous wreck. If I only wanted to work with super fit and easy going people, I couldn’t make ends meet without another job.

The question then has to be, am I up for the challenges this lifestyle will give me?

If you want to be an actor, you will likely have to work as a waiter or caterer in order to keep your days free for auditions. You will also have to make enough money to be in class, hire a coach when needed, and do a lot of acting for free. (auditions) And then when you do book a job, you will then have to memorize lines, wake up for early call times, and deal with a multitude of inflated egos. If you become famous then you will be stared at in public, be photographed without your knowing, and answer the same questions over and over at all the press junkets to promote your current project.

That will be your lifestyle.

If you want to run a nightclub, you will have to like late nights, drunk people, loud music and flaky employees.

If you want to be in a band, you will have to practice for hours on your own, practice even more hours with the band, work nights and weekends, and lug your gear from gig to gig.

If you want to lose 100 pounds, you will have to change your lifestyle entirely starting with the food you eat. (And changing our diets is by far the most challenging part of losing weight.)

The fact is, you WILL face challenges. Obstacles WILL arise. So don’t turn yourself into yet another obstacle by complaining about the path along the way. If you can’t embrace the lifestyle (i.e. the challenges you will face) take a good look at that goal. Because yes, achieving it will likely feel awesome. BUT, with that achievement comes the work to get there. And if you can’t enjoy the work, you won’t put in the energy needed to actually succeed.

But, if you choose wisely, the obstacles, the struggles, the ‘work’…won’t feel like work at all. It will be just part of the journey.

If you want help with this, get in touch and we’ll go to work!

And if you liked this, repost, retweet, and forward it to friends.

“We are the Choices we Make”

“We are the choices we make”…Meryl Streep

News flash…you will never “find” yourself. The truth is, we “create” ourselves…every moment of every day.

That means our thoughts, our language, what we choose to act on, and what we choose to skip, all will have an effect on our lives. And not just our lives, but the lives of others as well.

We all know that saying “one person can change the world”…well, the reason it sounds cheesy is because there is truth to it. The ripple effect is real. There was a study done on this very topic. (“Implications of Vascular Theory of Emotions”…very dry read!) It’s summary states that 1,000 people are within 3 degrees of each other. That was not a typo…you are 3 degrees away from effecting the lives of 1,000 people. So how you show up in your life really matters. There is no better time then right now, to own our lives and the actions we take. And not just the big juicy actions…the little decisions matter too. And how you talk to yourself is crucial to your success and self worth. Despite how small this distinction is, it’s effects on your life are huge.

Do you ever listen to what you say to yourself? We all do it…we all have that running commentary going on in the backs of our minds. Who does your voice sound like? A cheerleaders or jailer? A loving supporter or destructive tyrant? A compassionate parent or an abusive one?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” is total Bullshit.

Words mixed together into sentences are bundles of emotions. They can move you to tears of joy, or tears of pain.

Words matter.

Most of us have some fairly vile self talk that we fall victim to sometimes. And we all know that we would never say those things to another living being. For some of us, our self-talk is so violent it’s not fit for anyone to hear. Yet we listen anyway.

Why is it important to change our inner dialogue? Well, let’s apply some common sense. Let’s say the only water you drank was polluted and toxic? What would eventually happen? You would BECOME polluted and toxic.

It’s the same with thoughts! If all you feed yourself is harsh criticism and shame, you will BECOME fearful of everyone and most likely paralyzed by your shame.

So how can you expect to go out and take risks, and make the world a better place, if you think you are something to be ashamed of?

It’s time we changed our relationships with ourselves. And it starts by tuning in to what we tell ourselves on a daily basis.

I call the negative talk in my head “YSR radio…You Suck Radio”. And when it’s on in the background, I don’t just turn down the volume, I change the damn station!

I’m over simplifying, I know. But this self monitoring doesn’t’ have to be a total drag either.

Pull out your journal and write out your own “You Suck Radio” program. This won’t take long because you know it by heart by now. But taking the time to put it on the page is useful because then you can use your own words to shift your perspective.

For example, maybe you are unhappy with your weight. Write out all of your self talk around how much you weigh, why you’ll never improve, why you are destined to be as fat as a house for the rest of your life…(that was my self talk by the way), etc. Go for it. Let that vicious voice in your head have it’s say…and write it all down.

Now reread what you wrote. Is any of that true or helpful in any way? Does thinking you’re destined to fail motivate you to take positive actions in your life? And can the opposite be true as well…like the times you actually DID succeed at something?

What are you focussing on? Your successes or your failures? Is “You Suck Radio” blaring in your head? And if so, how do you think that will affect your day? How will it affect all the people you interact with today? Remember…we are all just 3 degrees away from affecting 1,000 people.

Start to listen to your thoughts about yourself. Your words matter whether they are directed at you or other people. Write them down and question their validity. Tune in to what station is playing in your head. And if it sucks, change the station.

Don’t forget to forward this to your friends, repost, and retweet!

The Truth about Change

Growth does not come from a checklist…The truth about change.

Real change can only happen when we love ourselves enough to stand up and do what we know is best for us.
Take a look at your To-do list. How do you feel when you read through it? Could you easily call it your “ to create more joy in my life” list? Does your list make you feel passionate and inspired? Does it help you feel happy?

Or, is this a list of “should’s” to someday feel like a better person? In other words, if you check all the boxes does that mean you’ll feel more validated, more worthy, more acceptable?

For some of us, our to-do lists have become a hustle for our self-esteem. We believe that the more healthy, organic, spiritual, and meditative we are, the ‘better’ we will be as people. On top of that, we have to take actions towards our goals, make more money, and somehow find time to stay current on the latest TV shows. Not to mention keeping up our Instagram feed…

The problem isn’t our goals or our desires or all the actions we intend to take each day. The problem is when we turn these goals and actions into a gauge of our self worth. Because if achieving all these things is our only way to feel okay with ourselves, our days will leave us exhausted and empty. After all, even if we do accomplish it everything, tomorrow we have to start all over again…new day, new list.

For many of us, we have ‘self improvement’ reasons behind our plans. “If I include a green drink every day, my liver and kidneys will be happy. If I practice guided meditation I won’t get sick. If I stop procrastinating I’ll actually have enough time to practice yoga. If I get off my ass and exercise, I’ll be worthy of that gift massage I’ve been putting off.”

This sounds more like a “I’ll be a good person if I do these things” list to me.

Notice your plans…are they more about how to fix yourself than to create more of what you’re passionate about? Ask yourself this question…”Do I think that if I accomplish everything on my list, I will like myself more? That I’ll be a better, more acceptable, lovable person?”

Seriously, why are you doing what you’re doing?

More importantly, does getting all that done feel freeing to you?

Unfortunately, often we are so desperate to feel good about ourselves we can’t accept ourselves as we are in this moment. Believe me, if constantly viewing ourselves as a self improvement project actually helped motivate us to take action towards our dreams, then I’d be all for it!

But that is not how growth works. I repeat:

Real change happens when we love ourselves enough to stand up and do what we know is best for us. We naturally ‘improve’ when we are passionately living our lives…not when we are checking things off a list.

So, when I work with people on their goals, the first thing I get clear about is why they want those things in the first place.

And then? We toss that old to-do list. Instead of a long list of not so exciting things (I mean really, how exciting can green juice be?) we come up with 3 actions a day.

Personally, every day I write the 3 things I will do that day to help me feel like I’m moving closer to my desires…not my self esteem. The difference might seem subtle but it’s effects are huge. Working for what I’m passionate about creates energy and is exciting. Whereas, making up for my supposed shortcomings is depressing and only fuels my self-shame.

What if you rewrote your health plans in ways that excited you? For example, instead of listing ‘yoga 3 times a week’ how about saying, ‘this week I will move in ways that feel great 3 times’. Maybe yoga totally fills you with mojo. Great. But by taking away the restriction, maybe you’ll bust out the African drumming album and dance your ass off instead. (also excellent exercise and super fun!)

How could you revamp your spiritual practice? Maybe instead of insisting on doing a seated meditation every day, you could instead say “I will connect to my source every day”. This opens you up to more ways to fuel that desire. Yes, you could sit and meditate. But you could also include the option of compassion meditation (something that does not require you to sit still for any period of time…contact me if you want to learn more about it at brigittadau@yahoo.com). Simply stopping to enjoy nature for a moment could be a beautiful way to connect to your source. Also practicing mindfulness, or noting what you are grateful for could be a way to keep your spiritual commitment.

Putting extra pressure on ourselves to get things done will never lead us to joy and liberation. Loving ourselves, will. And by making your desires easy and fun to act upon, you’ll immediately start to move in the direction you want to move in. Your days will begin to change and be less about proving your worth through accomplishments. They will be more about bringing your true self to all of your encounters. And when you show up authentically in your life, your need for approval automatically dissipates.

So, go back and take a good hard look at your goals and your to-do lists…are they bringing you joy? Do they light you up? Do they fill you with enthusiasm? Or do you feel like you are hustling for your self worth? Don’t get trapped by your “should list”. Instead, lighten up on the restrictions and write your new “path to Joy” list.

As always, if you liked this, repost, retweet, and forward to someone you care about. And if you want help with this, get in touch.

 

Mindful Eating

Using Mindfulness to stop Distracted and Emotional eating

Raise your hand if you eat in the car. Do you tend to overeat when out with friends? Are there times you find yourself eating when you aren’t even hungry? Do you read or watch TV while you eat? Do you tend to overeat when you are around your family?

So many of us have a distorted, unhealthy relationship with food. I’ve had issues with food since I was a young child. So, getting over emotional eating was a part of my path to healing and ultimately re-creating my relationship with food.

The real gateway for me was what Geneen Roth (author of the fabulous book, “Women, Food, and God”) calls the ‘presencing practice’ also known as ‘mindfulness’.

In a nutshell, mindfulness is simply being totally aware in the present moment.

How do we apply this to eating?

Here are some things to try:

For one meal a day, do nothing. Just sit and eat your food. And, be present. Notice how it tastes, the textures, the smells, the colors. If you had to describe this food to someone who has no clue what it tastes like, what would you say? Also notice your feelings? Does eating without distraction bring up anxiety? Or other uncomfortable feelings?

The first thing that happens when you do this, is you slow down your eating. And if you are eating to stuff down your emotions I guarantee you are eating too fast.

The other thing that happens is your body is now free to tell you how it’s feeling and more importantly, when it’s had enough to eat. The cue to stop eating is usually subtle. And if you were raised to “finish everything on your plate”, then your natural experience of feeling full is likely skewed.

For me, if I’m paying attention, my breathing changes when my body has had enough. It’s subtle, but eating beyond that moment would be overeating.

I promise you if I’m out with friends I will often miss that cue! But, if I remember to eat just one meal a day, totally present without distraction, I will be more likely to notice when my body really has had enough.

Some of us eat so unconsciously that we’ve forgotten how it feels to feel hungry. So, that is another thing to try to do once a day…

Don’t eat until you feel actual hunger. Our natural feelings of hunger are also subtle.

I’m not saying to starve yourself! When you’ve gone too long without food, that’s when “I’m hangry” kicks in. And that’s when you are more likely to choose something with too much sugar in it. There are countless commercials preying on that very impulse telling you things like “you’re not yourself until you have a snickers bar”. So no starving!

Just choose a meal that you can eat when you are hungry, rather then at a designated time (lunch break, etc). Practicing this once a day will also help if you have a fear of getting hungry. That is quite common. Feeling panicked that you won’t have food, can lead you to eat before you are truly hungry. Which leads to overeating because your body wasn’t ready to eat in the first place. Thus, your body’s signal to stop eating likely won’t happen. If going hungry is a fear of yours, have food with you. I have nuts with me all the time so if I’m worried about getting hungry later, I know I’m covered.

Try those two exercises for a few weeks and see what changes in your behavior around food. Again, just one meal a day, totally present. And for one meal a day, wait until you’re actually hungry before you eat.

I’m here to help if you are ready to tackle this and need extra support.
Having said that, if you know you have an eating disorder, PLEASE get medical help. Do not wait or think you can handle it alone. Contact your Doctor immediately.

We all deserve to have a healthy relationship with food. And we can. But for some of us, we have to slow down and get present first.

If this resonated for you…forward it, retweet it, repost it.

And let me know how these practices went for you.

Feeding the Wolves

In Wayne Dyer’s book, “the Power of Intention,” he shares a conversation he overheard soon after 9/11.

A grandfather and his grandson were talking. The grandfather said, “I have 2 wolves fighting inside of me. One is filled with anger, hate, violence and revenge. The other is filled with love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.”

“Which one do you think will win?” asked the grandson.

“The one that I feed”, replied the grandfather.

Stop and think about that for a second. Which wolf are you feeding these days?

Your self-talk, your values, and your beliefs effect how you react to your world. And your beliefs are created by thinking the same thoughts over and over again until you ‘believe’ they are true. Which means it’s important to know what you’re thinking!

When you are thinking attack thoughts, you are feeding the wolf of hate and negativity. Just like, when you are thinking loving thoughts you are feeding the wolf of compassion and kindness. I’m going to make the assumption that most of us would prefer to feed the wolf of kindness.

So, how do we manage our thoughts?

By paying attention. Here again, is yet another great reason to meditate and practice being mindful. And, I’m actually going to rename the practice of mindfulness to “mind awareness”, because that more truthfully describes the practice.

“Mind awareness” is exactly what it claims to be: becoming aware of what your mind is thinking. This requires you to disconnect from your thoughts and observe them, rather than associating and hooking into them. By that I mean, you don’t take your thoughts as “truths” and act upon them. Instead you notice them and allow them to show up. But, you take no action based on those thoughts because you are now simply observing them. Thus, you are disengaging from the power they have over you. They are just thoughts. You decide whether to act on them or not.

Not to get all “Matrixy” on you, but the truth is, you are not your thoughts…you are the one thinking your thoughts. Your true self is the” observing self” as some call it.

This is where meditation comes in. There are many forms of meditation. And there is a specific way to meditate for mind awareness.

Before I go any further, I want to clear up some confusion about this form of meditation. The goal is NOT to have no thoughts while meditating. The goal is to allow TONS OF THOUGHTS while meditating, and instead, notice the thoughts and then let them go.

So how do we do this? For some of us, we follow our breath in and out. Some of us use a mantra that we silently repeat in our head. Some of us listen to pretty music. (My faves are at the bottom of this newsletter) What’s most important is that you sit down and do it, not whether you’re saying the right mantra.

You sit, for a chosen amount of time, and notice when your thoughts distract you from your focus. Then, when you notice your mind has strayed, you simply return to your breath or mantra. That’s it. Easy peazy.

I can already feel your resistance…”I don’t have enough time”. First of all, you do…(my last newsletter was about that very thing and if you missed it let me know and I’ll send it to you). You likely have that resistance because someone said ’20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening were best’. Well, really? I started with 3 minutes a day! I’m not kidding, that is how I started my practice. Now, I meditate almost every day and for however long I can. Some days it’s still 3 minutes, some days 10, sometimes several times a day…As long as I’m doing it, it’s helping.

Let’s get back to how that translates into real life. When you practice noticing your thoughts when you are still and quiet, you will find it easier to notice your thoughts when you are busy living your life. And by noticing your thoughts, you can start to clear out some of the negative ones and replace them with something more positive. You will more quickly notice when you are being judgmental, impatient, and self critical. And because you are conscious of those thoughts, you can then actively begin to cultivate more compassion instead.

And, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

Set your time to meditate. Remember, just 3 minutes most days is a great place to start. I don’t care how busy you are, you can carve out 3 minutes to sit and notice your thoughts. Then start to be more mind aware throughout your day.

Some people have a reminder on their phone that goes off several times a day to remind them to observe their thoughts. Some people post it in various places reminding them to be mind aware.

After a while, you won’t need the reminders. But when first practicing this, I recommend doing something to help you remember throughout the day. After all, most of us are on auto pilot for a good amount of the time so remembering to shift into awareness can be challenging. So, set up some reminders to make your life easier.

Try this for a week and see how much easier it is to notice which wolf you are feeding…and let me know how it goes!

And, if you want to go deeper with meditation and mind awareness, get in touch. This is one of my favorite practices to work on with people.

And if you liked this, remember: retweet, repost, forward to a friend!

And lastly…if you want to meditate to my fave music…check it out here
(link)

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