Wisdom from ancient Greek philosopher Plutarch
We live in a world so full of noise and hurried activities, which causes us to quickly lose touch with who we are now and who we want to become. We get so busy with the doing of life that we forget about the being in life. We might have every intention of being mindful of our inner experience, but it’s difficult with the daily distractions that vie for our attention.
A very successful approach to achieving a lasting peace and calm is to live an embodied life. What does that mean and how can YOU achieve it?
Living an embodied life refers to creating an inner peace and calm through learning to recognize and embrace your inner experience in an honest and curiosity-filled way. It means you’re aware of your total mind/body/spirit connection and you do things daily to nurture it.
Knowing what to do and how to do it are two different things. So I’d like to share with you some daily practices that will help keep you centered. As you read through the following list, think about how you can create a daily routine of intentionally connecting with each one of these components in your life.
Ten Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress and Center Yourself:
1. Breath. Throughout the day, take five to ten slow breaths that fully expand your lungs. Conscious breathing is the key to connecting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of your life. Focus especially on the exhale to let go of subtle tension in your body. You’ll immediately feel calmer and more energized.
2. Heart. Tap into your inner strength by connecting with your emotional and spiritual intelligence. In a non-judgmental, compassionate way be present with how you’re feeling. Develop emotional tolerance by the simple act of observing the experience instead of always engaging in it. You’ll release the tension that prolongs the emotion so that it simply fades away.
3. Body. Consciously focus, through your breathing, on the sensations you’re body is feeling. Connect your breathing to the feelings in your neck, shoulders, hands, and stomach as you remain in the moment rather than trying to escape.
4. Inner world through mindfulness. Create awareness in all of your activities…breathing, eating, walking, cleaning the house, visiting with friends, loving… Make a point of doing them with more awareness than usual. Remember that the point in being mindful is not to think about your experience but simply to notice it.
5. The present moment. Be fully present in the moment. No matter how out-of-control your day is, no matter how stressful your life becomes, the act of being present can become an instant sanctuary. When you are completely present, the external forces are no longer a problem, because there is only you and that external force, in this moment, and not a million other things you need to worry about.
6. Radically accepting what is. Fighting against the reality of what is will drain you of your energy. Accept the moment for what it is and let go of any upset as you figure out how to relate to your present.
7. Compassion toward others. See through the words and actions without judgment and compassionately look for the intentions and motivations, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt that they want peacefulness too.
8. Self-compassion – developing a compassionate mind focus. Cultivate the ability to generate feelings of self-reassurance, warmth and self-soothing that can act as an antidote to the sense of inner loneliness, threat and despair. Learn to treat yourself and talk to yourself as you would a beloved best friend.
9. Deep relaxation. There are various relaxation techniques such as meditation, bio-feedback, visualization and imagery, exercise such as Yoga, music therapy, going for walks, bubble baths and so much more. By trial and error you will find the one that works for you.
10. Body awareness. The Feldenkrais Method (which I use in Somatic Coaching) is a powerful tool using gentle movement and directed attention to increase flexibility, coordination and range of motion. As your physical body rediscovers its innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement, your nervous system is trained to find new pathways around areas of damage and or disconnection, resulting in a greater mind/body connection.
Each of these techniques can help you center yourself. Centering is one of the easiest and most useful forms of embodiment practice. It’s especially helpful in the midst of strong emotional states such as anger, frustration or anxiety. It is often used by athletes, public speakers, actors, and anyone who wants to feel more stable and prepared before a potentially stressful event.
In order to have these skills available during hard times we need to practice daily, when we feel resourceful and safe, in order to develop unconscious competence. Persistence is an important aspect of cultivating a sustainable centering routine. Purposefully centering yourself many times throughout the day, even when you’re not feeling particularly emotional or in need of centering, will help to deepen your practice.
Would you like a guide in this journey? Are you interested in exploring somatic awareness? I’m here to help you. Contact me and together we’ll tailor a program that works for you.
“When you know what you are doing, then you can do what you want.” ~ Moshe Feldenkrais
Being able to unlock your potential is vital for living a full, rich life as an individual and as a business professional. That’s why the slogan, “Be all that you can be” is so appealing. We know deep inside that we can be and do better.
However, when you unlock something, you often don’t know exactly what you’re going to find. It might be a pleasant surprise or it might even be a little bit frightening. The same is true when you unlock your potential, because sometimes you have to dig deep to find out why you’ve kept your potential locked up.
A good way to assess your potential and how it’s being held back is to look at the way you communicate with yourself and others. The words you speak are not the only way you communicate. Your tone of voice, speech patterns, facial expressions, hand gestures, body positioning, and eye contact all deliver a message. And if you’re not in total alignment, your words may say one thing, but your body says another.
What do I mean? Take for example the stress that comes from confrontational situations. Western medicine has finally recognized that the way your mind reacts to stress will change your posture and physical health. Your shoulders will draw up toward your ears, your back and neck muscles contract and shorten, your jaw tightens, your teeth clench, your blood pressure rises, you experience pain and so on.
Now think about the reverse of this, how your body posture affects your mood and emotions. Perhaps you need to express how you feel to someone you feel will be less than receptive. Your body is rigid; perhaps you have slightly hunched shoulders. You eyes are downcast, your hands clench and your face shows apprehension. Does this body posturing make you feel more confident? Hardly. Will you be able to express yourself calmly or will it end up in sharp words being spoken?
Somatic Coaching will unlock your potential for precise, non-verbal communication, flexibility and overall performance. With it you can…
- Create a more powerful appearance.
- Develop more confidence in your voice and body.
- Move more elegantly and with more self-confidence.
- Use your own body language more effectively.
- Be more at ease with yourself.
- Improve your perception of other people’s non-verbal communication.
- Build deeper rapport with colleagues, clients, friends and family.
- Expand your social competence.
- Take better care of yourself.
- Construct a process of personal feedback that improves your self-image.
Why does Somatic Coaching work? While traditional, personal-development coaching often focuses on the mind and/or emotions, somatic coaching creates a much higher awareness of the whole body/mind impact on your life. Somatic comes from the Greek root word “soma”, which means “the living body in its wholeness.” The body, mind, emotions and spirit integrally influence each other constantly, even when we’re not aware of it. The physical body is constantly shaping and altering your thinking, your moods and your behavior.
Somatic coaching gives you the skills to make subtle shifts in how you use your body as you create mindfulness and awareness that exponentially increases your ability to influence, listen, be resilient, manage stress, maintain energy and be more effective. Rather than numbing yourself to uncomfortable circumstances and powering through them, you can learn to mindfully choose to respond in a way that leaves you feeling whole and at peace.
If you’re ready to step up and benefit from personal coaching services, I assure you that Somatic Coaching will unlock your potential as we explore new processes or refine old skills to develop optimal strategies for everyday success. Contact me and together we will expand your ability to consistently make choices that contribute to your happiness and that of those around you.
“Where do I start? What do I do first?” Have you been asking yourself those questions as you think about marketing your private practice? I remember how thrilled and apprehensive I was when I began. There is so much about running a practice that we’re not taught in schools, especially marketing.
Your private practice will only grow if you get the word out that you’re available. I’d like to share with you some key ways to market your practice.
Successfully marketing your private practice begins with the proper mindset.
Marketing is all about being open to the possibilities before you and being intensely interested in the people you want to serve. When you approach it with a feeling of abundance and can use every event and experience in a positive way, you’ll naturally attract your ideal clients. So more than anything, you must create within yourself a safe place to receive the attention that marketing will bring you.
Remember, without marketing you won’t have clients and without clients you won’t have a private practice for very long. It can be hard getting your foot in the door when you’re new to a community. In all likelihood, if you don’t have a sound marketing strategy, you’ll be spending most of your time calling doctors and community centers looking for clients, trying to pull them in. What I suggest is that you create a strategy that ATTRACTS your ideal client to you. How can you do that?
Marketing Your Private Practice through Community Connections
Reach out to your community by creating collaborative relationships with schools, community centers, religions organizations and the like. Some ways you can do that are:
Offer educational classes or speak publicly to showcase your professional skills. Think deeply about what you have to offer. Can you present classes on creating the ideal work/life balance to business owners and professionals? Can you provide a workshop that trains either staff or members of the community about mental health issues or services where you live? Is there a community college that you could teach a class on stress management or communication skills? Can you speak on a local issue such as drug and alcohol abuse, compulsive disorders, domestic violence and so forth? Even if you start by providing these services for free, it’s a powerful way to market your practice, gain name recognition and get client referrals.
Offer expert advice in trade magazines, newspapers, and online websites such as PsychCentral.com and Psychology Today. Writing a professional article that is interesting to readers is another good way to market your practice. It increases your name recognition and establishes your professional credibility when prospective clients see you contributing your expertise to publications and websites that they trust. These venues often list their writing requirements on their website.
Start an online or community group. Have you thought about starting a support group at a local community center, church or business so you can share with them non-therapy life tips? You can also start an online group via Meetup or Facebook.
Become a business consultant. Many businesses would welcome ongoing training in non-therapy topics such as stress management, productivity skills, communications skill, life/work balance, and so forth. Think creatively and offer specialized consultations to specific trades. Perhaps offer relaxation methods to tax preparers at tax time or meditation tips at a weight loss clinic. Look around your community and see what is needed and offer it. The beauty of it is that you can tailor it to showcase your strengths.
Marketing can create stress, especially when you’re new at it. Are you ready to address the self-limitations that are holding you back from building a successful private practice? Often it helps to have an objective coach who has already been there, done that, and can guide you through it. Feel free to contact me and we can discuss one-on-one coaching options so you can build a strong and healthy practice.
‘We act in accordance with our self-image.” ~ Moshe Feldenkrais
As healing professionals, I’m confident that you have a clear self-awareness of who you are as a person and as a practitioner and expert. However, when you start branding your own private practice it gives you a unique opportunity for major growth as you exercise self-awareness of who you want to be in business.
What image will you portray to your clients, colleagues and in your community? What is your mission? Your purpose? How do you feel about money, success, power, leadership? And how will you work through beliefs when they are standing in your way of creating a successful private practice?
It will be most helpful to define these concepts based on YOUR needs and values. This will have the largest, positive impact on your practice. Here are a few areas to give thought to as you begin to define your brand…
Build a Good Support System. As I mentioned in an in an earlier post, when I began, people said some very discouraging things to me. So I recommend you, first of all, gain positive support as you build your practice. Can you turn to your family members for support? Or will you need to join a professional group or find a coach who can provide the encouragement you need as you hold true to what you value as you’re branding your private practice?
Define your Specialty. What clients do you want to work with? What mental health issues will you treat? What services will you provide? What treatments will you offer? What are the professional goals, interests and skills that make you unique? When you narrow down your specialty, you’ll attract the people you want to work with and discourage the ones that you don’t want to work with. Remember, it’s okay to let them go to another healing professional.
Develop a Private Practice Business Plan. How many days and hours do you want to work? How many clients do you need? How much income do you need coming in to pay for all your expenses plus have enough left over to enjoy life? What processes will you use in your practice to schedule clients, collect fees, record transactions, and provide follow up? Will you hire a bookkeeper, office manager, janitorial service and so on? Will you rent or buy office space or work out of your home? So many things must be considered in running a successful practice including keeping track of your finances. And properly branding your private practice means that all of these must be in alignment with your values.
Create an Inviting Office Space and Web Presence. Your professionalism can be greatly enhanced by a well-designed office and website. People will make immediate judgments based on whether they feel comfortable with what they’re seeing, even before they speak with you. Everything that represents you, your business cards, flyers, letters, should look professional and inviting, while displaying your unique style. This will ensure your prospective clients will recognize you and come to trust you as they see your identity revealed in everything you put out there.
Not quite sure how to integrate your personal and professional identity into branding your private practice? Then contact me and we can discuss one-on-one coaching options so you can see all the possibilities that are before you.
Are you a psychologist, therapist, life coach or other healing professional who is thinking about opening a private practice? Are you wondering what you’re letting yourself in for? Well, let me share with you my story and how personal development, along with a lot of hard work and determination, led me to a thriving private practice. I hope it will help inspire you to see that you can do it too.
Being a psychotherapist and life coach in my own private practice is a way of life that I love. I opened my own practice after becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) over 10 years ago. When I started out, I had dreams and hopes about what I wanted to create. At the time, however, there wasn’t a lot of information to help me know how to open a private practice and make it successful.
In fact, the information I did get wasn’t very helpful at all. When I began to ask around, I got a lot of personal opinions that were very discouraging. Since I had just begun studying NLP, I was aware that people use their map of the world, so I tried to stay clear of downers and began my own journey of discovery.
Instead, I asked myself: What do I want? Why? What will I get by having that? What is my mission?
These are questions that every professional should ask as they begin their own private practice. You’ll find that your personal development will go hand in hand with the development of your practice. It did for me. I had to clear my history, identify and change limiting beliefs, build confidence through specialized trainings and certifications, and finally choose business methods that have a similar philosophy to what I adhered to. Excellence has been my focus, believing that in order to succeed I had to stand out, offering that je ne sais quoi that would make people come back over and over and make them want to refer their friends, too.
As John W. Gardner says, “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
If that sounds like a lot of work…it is. But it’s crucial if you want a good foundation for when you build a sustainable private practice.
You’ll find that it’s an ongoing process of taking deliberate and consistent actions. It also involves being able to tolerate failure and use it as feedback for continual improvement. You’ll also find the need to continually adjust as you set long-term and short-term goals. The long-term goals for your practice will need to satisfy your big picture. You won’t ever want to lose sight of that big picture. You’ll also need to keep short-term goals that give you daily tasks to work on as you build your practice. There is a difference between working in your business – helping your clients – and working on your business – doing all the things a private practice requires so that it remains profitable and successful.
For me, my deliberate practice included immersing myself fully in trainings like NLP and Feldenkrais, with long-term commitments to developing inside and out as a person, as a therapist and as a business owner. Sometimes these commitments have been four to five year intensives, but it’s been worth it. In addition to seeing my private clients, I enjoy helping other practitioners who are eager to build their own business, integrating personal excellence, core values and originality. And if you’ve been in practice for a while already, I’m eager to help you bring life and enthusiasm back into your practice. If either of these sounds like something you’re looking for, contact me and we can discuss your one-on-one coaching options.
In my next post, I’ll share with you two main aspects that are essential in developing a successful private practice.