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.
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.