“Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.” —Audre Lorde
Do strong emotions like shame, anger, guilt or worry hold you back from living your life to the fullest? Do you often find that you consciously or unconsciously avoid “feeling bad” for fear of “being swallowed” by painful and difficult feelings? You’re not alone in feeling that way; however, there is a way to live a more meaningful life.
To begin creating a richer life experience and better management skills, you need to understand this vital truth:
There’s a difference between disliking unpleasant emotions, yet riding through them because you accept they’re an inevitable part of life versus experiencing unpleasant emotions as unbearable and needing to get rid of them.
Often people are convinced that they “can’t face”, “can’t bear”, “can’t stand”, or “can’t tolerate” emotional distress. Being intolerant of experiencing emotional discomfort can actually produce a whole set of other problems, as it interferes with living a fulfilling life and can worsen any emotional discomfort you might be experiencing. If you recognize that you have difficulty facing your feelings or tolerating distress, then read on to learn ways to overcome this pattern.
Here’s another truth you must embrace: There’s a big difference between feeling better and doing better. When we focus on feeling better we’re consumed with wanting to get out of an uncomfortable feeling, NOW! When we emphasis doing better, we focus on learning to tolerate the feeling, being curious and learning that there are a lot of hidden gifts in staying present with what’s difficult and painful.
When you experience difficulty in facing your emotions, here are five simple truths to remember:
- Difficult emotions are necessary and useful. They’re also universal. Every human being experiences these types of emotions.
- No emotion is permanent or unchanging. Emotions tend to come and go like waves in the ocean, rising and falling in time. Sometimes it can feel like your rage, guilt or sadness will last forever, but it won’t.
- You can never hope to eliminate unpleasant emotions, and in most cases, trying to block these emotions intensifies your problems.
- Though you can’t block undesirable emotions, you can learn to experience these emotions without feeling such distress and without having to react impulsively.
- When you learn to be with difficult emotions, you discover hidden gifts, messages from your body about your external circumstances.
It’s a misconception to think that if you could only get rid of negative emotions you would solve all your problems. Life is too unpredictable. Life happens. You can only begin to tap into your internal power when you realize that you’re a spiritual being having a human experience. This allows you to peacefully embrace every one of your human emotions as part of your daily occurrence.
We are never done with learning how we relate to our world, others and ourselves. This CAN be a fascinating journey or a dread depending on your attitude. Doing better means that, in spite of what happens in your life you have the life management skills and resources to navigate it in an attentive and sensible way. Often it’s beneficial to have an objective professional guide you through this process. If you’re ready to do so, please contact me and we’ll unlock your potential for excellence together.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus” ~ Bruce Lee
Psst…Want to know a secret?
How do successful people perform so well, whether it’s on the ball court or in the boardroom or on the stage? They’ve learned to control their emotions and make them work for themselves rather than against themselves. They know how to tap into the power of their own natural brain processes by fully utilizing the 90-Second Secret.
In an earlier blog, we discussed how the emotional response from cortisol only lasts 90 seconds in your system. How you react after that is within your own choice. You can either perpetuate the cycle or you can shift your focus to a more positive thinking process. Your thoughts are powerful. And it does only take 90 seconds to make significant changes in your emotional responses. One secret is to utilize visualization.
Here’s the key that many don’t tell you when they discuss visualization: Most of us visualize before we want something to happen. However, it’s much more powerful to use 90 seconds during or after an incident and visualize a successful outcome.
Here are five steps to making the most of those 90 seconds.
- Relax your body by breathing deeply and slowly until you have 6 to 8 breaths per minute.
- Be fully present in the moment, blocking out what others may be thinking or doing.
- Be aware of how you’re feeling, but don’t give in to it. Count to 90 and remind yourself that you get to choose your emotions.
- Engage both hemispheres of your brain. Often we’re taught to replace our thoughts and redirect our attention towards more positive and relaxing topics. However, this means you’re still relying solely on the left hemisphere of the brain. Before the thoughts take root in your left hemisphere and become your reality, move them to the right hemisphere, by choosing to focus on what you smell, taste, see, hear and physically feel.
- Visualize in great detail or play a movie in your mind of successful outcomes. What outcome do you want and how will it feel? Again, engage your whole brain by incorporating ALL of your senses – what you see, smell, taste, touch, and hear as you do this. It only wastes time and energy to replay negative emotions. You don’t want them to become your reality.
In practical terms, how can you apply the 90-Second Secret to real-life situations? Here are some examples:
- You begin your day feeling unfocused, not knowing where to start. Take 90 seconds to visualize your desired results for that day’s important goals. (Feel the confusion leaving as you become totally centered.)
- You have good intentions to accomplish so much, but days and weeks go by and you feel like you have nothing to show for yourself. Take 90 seconds every night and be grateful for what you have accomplished and the steps you’ll take to accomplish your goal for tomorrow. (Feel how this grounds you and keeps you on track.)
- You really want XYZ in your life but it seems elusive and you tell yourself, “It’s never going to happen”. Take 90 seconds and visualize what you want, how you want it to happen and how it feels when it happens. (Feel your inner peace and confidence return and joy when it does happen!)
- You feel the stresses of the day piling up on you until you want to scream or cry. Take 90 seconds to reboot and change the course of the day from that point onward. (Feel the tension release and the frustration dissolve.)
- You’re tired and can’t focus. Take 90 seconds to recharge yourself with calming deep breaths and body movements. (Feel your energy and ambition renew.)
- You’re nervous about an upcoming speaking engagement or difficult conversation or meeting. Take 90 seconds to become more deliberate as you go in with a positive attitude. (Feel your muscles loosen and peace and harmony return.)
This technique isn’t hard to learn, however, it does take some effort. Want me to walk you through this process in more detail? I’d love to help you master this technique so you can live a more intentional and peaceful life. Contact me and we can get started right away. It’s time to master your emotions instead of letting them control you.
How do you feel when you see a top-performing athlete play a perfect game? Or when a motivational speaker holds an audience in the palm of his or her hands? Or you see a husband and wife still in love after 50 years of marriage? Don’t you admire them greatly and wonder to yourself, “How do they do that? I wish I could do that. Oh sure, they were born with the gift and they’ve practiced a lot to get it right. But I could never do that.”
Why not? Why shouldn’t that be you…performing excellently in your field or creating powerful and supportive relationships that last a lifetime? “Because, Maria, I let my emotions get the better of me. My mind keeps telling me negative stories about what I can or can’t do. And there are people in my business or family life who know how to push my buttons. I just can’t seem to control what I think or say and how I react.”
I’ll let you in on a secret… These successful people know a technique that taps into the way the brain works and the natural processes for becoming more effective. Jim Fannin has made this technique famous – The 90 Second Tool™. But people have been using it for years and you can too.
Neuroscience, the study of how the brain works, has discovered three vital ways the brain functions when processing our emotional responses:
- Your brain is made of two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is where we process the present. The right hemisphere is for connecting to the past or to the future. (I’ll share more about how this applies to emotional processing in a future blog post.)
- Your brain believes what you think, whether it’s reality or not, if you replay it or visualize it long enough. Do you doubt me? Well, remember a time you heard a noise late at night and you thought there was a criminal in the house. The more you thought about it the more your brain believed it and made your body become defensive, the heart beat quickened, the muscles tensed, all in preparation for attack. When in truth, if you attach a true meaning to the sound – the furnace came on – you can go back to sleep.
- The hormone, cortisol, is released in stressful circumstances. And it triggers the fight or flight response. But here’s the thing…cortisol only stays in your system for 90 seconds. How you react after those 90 seconds is really on you – the choices you make and your thinking process. You can ward off that emotional loop of fear, anger, frustration, by using those 90 seconds effectively.
Can taking 90 seconds to calm your mind and visualize a positive outcome really make that much difference? Absolutely! Remember, your brain doesn’t know the difference between something real or imagined. What you visualize becomes its reality!
Want to change your reality by harnessing your brain’s power to create a more satisfying life? Contact me and I’ll show you how to do it, so you can excel in business and in your relationships, too.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~ Thomas Merton
Daily we use verbal language to communicate thoughts and feelings. If we’re observant, we can also understand others by the body language they use. If you’re good at it, it’s almost as if you can read someone’s mind.
Could it be that you’re actually tapping into their brain language?
Does the brain really have a language? Think back to a time when you were extremely happy… Did you consciously tell your lips to spread into a wide smile, your eyes to shine and your body to relax? Of course not. Your brain is sending signals, or speaking to those parts of your brain in response to the situation you’re in. Its chemical and electrical interactions are telling you how to position yourself. That’s a powerful language skill! And people who can read your body language can also read the language of your brain. They know, “he’s bluffing” or “she won’t back down”.
What if you could teach your brain to speak differently to your body, so you could choose to be happy and confident all the time? NLP and Somatic Coaching can help you achieve that.
What is NLP?
NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is an approach to communication and personal development created in the 1970’s. The name refers to a connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), language (“linguistic”), and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (“programming”) and can be organized to achieve specific goals in life. NLP Coaching services aim to find ways to help people have better, fuller and richer lives. By paying close attention to the language we use, as well as becoming more aware of the nonverbal patterns in our environment we can become more deliberate and purposeful in our thinking and actions.
NLP presupposes that the mind and body are part of the same system. I spoke about the integration of mind/body/spirit earlier in connection with Somatic Coaching. When you recognize this connection, you can use NLP’s set of guiding principles and techniques to change, adopt or eliminate behaviors as you desire. It also gives you the ability to choose your mental, emotional, and physical states of wellbeing. It teaches you a new mind/body “language”.
Sometimes you may feel like something is broken inside. Yet NLP reveals that nothing is ever broken or wrong. Instead you just need to find a process that enhances your strengths. All humans come equipped with an exceptional sense of inner intuition, a sense of knowing that is intimately linked to your physical experience.
Unfortunately, due to upbringing and life experiences we often disconnect from that in order to adapt and survive in our environment. When we have a ritual, which NLP and Somatic Coaching can teach you, you can reconnect with your own inner experience embracing whatever arises within, with peaceful awareness and clear intention. Then you can fully experience and process each emotion – joy, grief, anger, amusement, pain, energy, etc. And often, you’ll discover the strength of developing and cultivating an attitude of patient, loving presence that allows the emotions to flow according to your own natural rhythm.
Are you ready to discover new ways to update yourself and function at higher levels in relation to your surroundings? My approach is best described as integrative. Contact me and I’ll bring together a number of therapeutic approaches, one of them being NLP, and unify them into a unique working model just for you.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney
“I never finish what I start!” “I’m not creative!” “I am a big procrastinator” – does this sound familiar? If those beliefs stop you from pursuing your dreams, it’s time to adjust your thinking.
Many people stop themselves from dreaming big, or dreaming at all, for fear of failing or finding out that they aren’t good enough. But giving up on the creative process is a mistake because self-expression is known to reduce stress, boost the immune system and increase happiness and personal satisfaction.
You are already a creative genius. The trick is to translate untapped creativity into methodical implementation!
One of the main co-developers of NLP, Robert Dilts studied the creative thinking techniques of Walt Disney. He noticed that Disney had three distinct phases in his creativity strategy – Dreamer, Critic and Realist. By modeling Disney, Dilts developed a simple but powerful process to help individuals and teams create and implement new ideas.
I’ve found this strategy very useful not just in my own personal and professional accomplishments, but in coaching people as well. It’s helped me understand that, in following their dreams, people are not ‘unrealistic’, ‘indecisive’, or ‘skeptical’. They simply lack key perspectives on the creative process.
Often the biggest block to creativity is the tendency to shoot down new ideas before they get off the ground by pointing out all the reasons why they couldn’t work. Internally we have an inner critic whose job is to protect us from failure. If you’ve ever tried to do something new, you will be familiar with how the inner critic rapidly shuts down your imagination and your willingness to move forward.
Of course, when imagining new ways of doing things, there are no bad ideas. The apparently least practical idea may, by association, inspire the eventual solution. If new ideas are criticized too soon they can’t develop, and creativity is stifled.
The Disney Creativity Model involves exploring new ideas from three different perceptual positions: the perspective of a Dreamer, the perspective of a Critic, and that of a Realist, and then integrating these three different perspectives into one practical, successful plan. When each of these three different kinds of thinking is understood as crucial, utilized, and blended together at some point in the overall process – it works! This was one of the important aspects of Disney’s brilliance: To create magic out of chaos!
This is the part of you who dreams big and is not afraid to do so. Everything is possible, and anything goes. There is no censorship and the sky’s the limit.
This is the part of you who is considered the downer, always shooting down plans and ideas. But essential because she knows how to spot the holes in the plan so you can fix them. She takes everything apart and points out anything that might not work or might go wrong.
This is the part of you that gets things done. She knows how to get everything planned and scheduled, she’s the organizer who understands the details and can implement by creating small methodical steps.
So, are you ready to let go of any fear and dare to dream big? Just as Walt Disney mentored a great team of artists, I’m here to mentor you and give you a new perspective as we use these creative thinking techniques and more. Contact me and together we’ll explore the hidden possibilities that are right in front of you.