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5 Reasons Why I’d Rather Go On a Women’s Retreat Than a Vacation

Going on a Women's Retreat is better than a vacation for it gives you long-term benefits – centering, healing and rejuvenating your mind, body and spirit.

“I think it is essential sometimes to go into retreat, to stop everything that you have been doing, to stop your beliefs and experiences completely and look at them anew, not keep on repeating like machines whether you believe or don’t believe. You would let fresh air into your minds.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

Have you ever come home from a vacation more exhausted than when you went? Usually this happens when you try to cram in too many activities. Or to the other extreme, you laze around the pool, doing absolutely nothing except eating and drinking too much.

Either way, you may be missing the whole point of vacation – to refresh and reinvigorate yourself. As soon as you get back to “the real world”, stress piles up again. Plus you may have the added burdens of detoxing and getting rid of the extra pounds.

Instead, why not try a women’s retreat that balances your mind, body, spirit? This is something that I love to do! And here are five reasons why I think you’ll love a body wisdom women’s retreat too…

  1. Women’s retreats produce long-term benefits.

Retreats are designed to help you connect with your body’s wisdom so you can lead a more balanced lifestyle. You’ll experience emotional release and physical rejuvenation. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how these feelings stay with you and improve your health once you return home. Choose a retreat that gives you the time and space to reconnect with yourself and center by aligning your emotions, beliefs, values, goals and intentions.

  1. Women’s retreats are designed for introspection and reflection.

Visiting a beautiful and tranquil location puts you in a contemplative frame of mind. It’s important to quiet outside “noises” so you can “hear” what your body, mind and spirit are communicating.

  1. Women’s retreats help you connect with nature.

Being close to nature is very healing. It reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Filling your lungs and soul on the clean air and peaceful surroundings lets your body, mind and spirit calm, giving you a fresh start.

  1. Retreats surround you with like-minded people – your guide and fellow attendees.

There are so many types of retreats. You get to pick a retreat where the guide leads sessions in what you desire to improve the most – health & wellness retreats, fitness retreats, meditation retreats, and body wisdom retreats to name a few possibilities. Look for techniques that will enhance your life long-term.  

Group retreats bring together women who have similar concerns or interests. Because you have similar goals and intentions, you can build a support system. The others can act as a mirror to help you identify issues that you can’t clearly see by yourself. It’s good to know that you’re not alone, that others are on the same path. Women’s retreats are also a fantastic way to find new life-long intimate friendships.

  1. Women’s retreats are managed for you. You don’t have to worry about planning or finding places to eat and sleep. Your retreat facilitator takes care of all those stressful things. You just have your well-being to focus on. Another perk is that you’re more likely to receive exclusive features and discounts because of being in a group.

This year I’m leading a Body’s Wisdom Women’s Retreat through Italy. We’ll discover beautiful Sicily while learning to connect with the body’s untapped wisdom and practice centering, rejuvenating and mindfulness techniques. I plan on making this an annual event. Want to join me? Contact me with any questions.

How to Soften the Body to Withstand Stress and Roll with the Punches

Here are three ways you can daily soften the body to withstand everyday stress and relieve the tension that causes stiffness and pain in your body and mind.People who are tense suffer more pain and are more prone to injury. This takes a toll physically and psychologically! Stuntmen, gymnasts, firefighters and even the elderly are taught to soften the body, tuck and roll when they fall. Skydivers are masters of softening their bodies to land without bruising or breaking a bone. They’re taught the “banana method”.

You may not be a skydiver but all of us occasionally trip. Softening your body into a curve makes your deceleration last as long as possible to minimize injury. Even when you’re just tripping over a curb, if you land stiff-armed you’ll likely break something. Tuck and roll to your side if possible, or if you’re falling face first let your elbows bend in a push up motion allows your pecs to take the force of the fall.

We carry so much tension and stress from daily life in our muscles and tissue and so it’s not surprising that we often suffer from aches and pains. Plus as we age, we lose flexibility, becoming more prone to losing our balance and falling. While learning to safely fall takes months of practice under the direction of a skilled trainer, there’s a lot you can do on your own to learn how to soften your body on a daily basis. You’ll find yourself becoming more flexible and at the same time relieve stress and tension.

It’s no mistake that a ball is round. Rounder objects handle stress better. When you learn not to be rigid but to soften the body you’ll stand up under stress better. This is well-illustrated by what engineers have learned about designing airplane windows.

Airplanes at first used square windows since that was the norm for homes and autos. However, when jets began flying faster and at higher altitudes, two planes fell apart in midair. Why? The sharp corners of the square windows were natural weak spots where stress concentrates. When subjected to repeated pressurization, the corners cracked and gave way.

Curved windows, on the other hand, have no focal point so it distributes the stress. Circular shapes are stronger and resist deformation, and can thus survive the extreme differences in pressure between the inside and outside of the plane.

What does that mean for you? Instead of letting everyday stressors make you rigid in your thinking and physiology, learn to soften the body and roll with the punches both literally and figuratively.

Here are three simple ways to soften your body…

  1. Slow down your frenetic brain by practicing deep breathing exercises. The brain mimics what the body is doing, so if you slow down, your chaotic thoughts will start to cool down too.
  1. Actively soften the body. Pay attention to what your body is saying and move it until it relaxes. Stretching exercises, yoga, and improving your posture will help. Daily practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques to stretch and soften your body will help you increase your awareness.
  1. Practice mindfulness in daily tasks. Quiet your mind by learning to be present in each moment instead of multi-tasking. Whether you’re walking or washing dishes, or eating, be mindful of that one simple thing.

Somatic coaching is a superior way of creating a greater self-awareness. I invite you to contact me to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation, in-person, by phone or via Skype, so we can talk more about it.

And if you’re curious on how to enhance your overall health and wellness don’t forget to download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to bring balance to your life.

Failure Leads to Success When You Know this Olympic Secret

Learn how to reframe your view of failure and attain greater success in everything you do, by identifying and imitating the mindset of Olympic athletes.Are you a fan of the Olympics? I’m constantly amazed at the skill and dedication these athletes bring to their events. How do they do it? More importantly, how can their example help “ordinary” people be successful in life? Of course, they train for years, but the significant key to success is that they’ve developed an essential mindset – they’ve embraced the concept that failure leads to success.

Normally, how does failure feel? Even now as you think about it, does the heavyhearted feeling come creeping back? Do you sink into your chair as you relive the embarrassment and discouragement? Many people view failure as something to be avoided at all cost.

But highly successful people, no matter what their field of expertise is, know that failure is essential for success. But knowing it and embracing it are two different things. What’s their secret? The strongest predictor that failure will lead to success is when people have resilience and perseverance. They just never give up because they know that everything they experience teaches them something and gets them one step closer to where they want to be.

This attitude toward mistakes and failure makes all the difference in the world. Those who excel in life have worked hard to develop this attitude that hardships, obstacles and challenges are opportunities for learning lessons about themselves and the world around them.

An interesting example of how failure leads to success is that of Lex Gillette. He’s a silver and gold medal winner from past long jump competitions and will be representing the U.S. in the 2016 Paralympics. He is also completely blind! He trusts his coach to set him straight for each sprint and guides him with clapping and cries of “Fly, Fly, Fly” until he reaches the spring board. (Watch it here.) Before each competition they walk around the boundaries of the sand pit to help him create a map in his mind. What powerful proof that mastering your inner game really works!

He hasn’t gotten to where he is without his share of failures, however. And he makes this interesting observation, “Failing at something is essential. You go through some sort of hardship, and it helps catapult you to a higher level. I’ve had a number of failures in my life, and I’ve been able to tap into that inner strength in order to come back and be resilient. I see failures as stepping stones and things that I’ve had to do to get to my destination.”

Interestingly, Michelle Segar, a motivation scientist and director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, noted that once a person fails, “you don’t have that fear over your head anymore, then you can really focus.” 

Another study interviewed 10 Olympic gold medalists and found that they all consider failure to be essential to winning their gold medals. “The majority of participants stated that if they had not underperformed at a previous Olympics, they would not have won their gold medals.”

The researchers hypothesize that learning from previous failure happened in two ways: 1) the athletes focus on why they feel distressing emotions, not on the emotions themselves, and 2) they distance themselves psychologically from the negative experience. They think about what went wrong and use it to propel themselves toward success in the future.

The only way to truly fail is to give up and do nothing —failing to properly prepare, failing to give it your all or failing to learn from past experiences. Would you like to learn how to reframe your thoughts so that every failure leads to success? Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is a highly effective set of tools for accomplishing this. Please join us for the fall session of our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP Class. Click here to learn more or contact me with any questions. It’s going to be a life-changing experience!

How to Stay Calm under Pressure

If you suppress your feelings so that you look calm on the outside, but inside you feel like you’re ready to explode, learn how to stay calm under pressure.Have you ever tried to suppress the excitement of a group of little children as they wait for a treat they really want? It’s not easy is it? The more you shush them, the more they wiggle, giggle, and chatter. You have more success if you channel their energy toward another activity until the treat arrives.

Similarly, trying to suppress your own feelings of anxiety, stress, and frustration is like trying to put a lid on the excitement of a group of children. Suppression doesn’t work. Yet that’s how many people try to force themselves to be calm under pressure. And, as a result, they feel like a powder keg ready to blow.

A more effective approach combines channeling your physiological responses, thoughts, feelings and attitudes into productive activities. Rather than telling yourself all the things that can go wrong, you’ll be able to think about how things can go right. No longer will crises push you into a panic or state of paralysis, instead you’ll see that overcoming challenges starts to excite you, which actually gives you an inner peace and calm.

Here are some tips on how to stay calm as you channel your physical and mental responses into more productive activities:

  1. Understand what’s going on in your body. Stress and anxiety trigger the “fight or flight” response. Your brain perceives a threat and starts to produce hormones that tell your nervous system it’s time to get ready for action. Yet in many life and business situations, you can’t start fighting or fleeing. Consequently, your body doesn’t get to release these feelings. As a result, you end up with your brain and body in a feedback loop, freaking out. That’s when you say and do things you regret.
  2. Breathe deeply and slowly. Break the body part of the feedback loop by consciously breathe slowly and deeply. This increases the oxygen in your system, which calms the fight or flight reaction.
  3. Label the emotions. Break the mind part of the feedback loop by assigning labels to the emotions you feel. This moves you out of the “fight or flight” mode accessing the neocortex which allows you to think more clearly and productively about the issue at hand.
  4. Re-label your emotions. Next, eliminate the emotional triggers that caused the “fight or flight” response. For every emotion you identified in step 3, re-label it with a positive emotion. For example: fear becomes anticipation; frustration becomes desire; worry becomes concern; dread becomes caution; alarm becomes curiosity and so forth. By re-labeling your emotions, you’re convincing your brain that this isn’t really a dangerous situation but rather a situation you can learn from and enjoy.
  5. Put things into perspective. Stop over thinking and overreacting by asking yourself, “What’s the worst thing that could happen? Will this matter in five years?”
  6. Recognize that people are less focused on you than you think. You may see yourself as the center of attention. However, everyone else is focused on improving the situation not on you. The more you feel judged by others, the more intense your anxiety. Re-direct your mind from yourself onto becoming part of the solution to the problem at hand.
  7. Magnify your logic. When you bring logic to the forefront, you can maintain the right frame of mind. It forestalls the panic and anxiety as you dispassionately observe what’s really happening. This increases your awareness of the big picture view, seeing all the moving parts of the situation and their possible consequences.
  8. Take action. Procrastination is the enemy of calm, because it feeds the negative thoughts. Instead, empower yourself by turning anxiety into excitement. You’ll rise above the challenge and see your performance improve dramatically.

It takes time and effort, but you can develop the ability to positively look at each situation as an opportunity to turn anxiety into energy and excitement. I’ve found that there are a number of life pillars or core beliefs that will assist you in staying calm under pressure.

  • Have an understanding and practice of mindfulness.
  • Practice daily instead of waiting for a crisis to happen. It’s like getting ready for the Olympics – it would be silly to start training the week before.
  • Increase awareness through deliberate practice. Practice needs to be specific in order to be effective. For example, when you’re practicing slow, deep breathing, notice your heartbeat, identify your emotions, and so forth.
  • Become really good at predicting. Acknowledge that there are situations that make you feel pressure. Identify when, where and how it will show up (know yourself!) and make it part of your life cycle instead of avoiding it.
  • Keep your energy focused on the things you can change.

An effective way of learning these life skills is through Neuro-Linguistic Programming. My colleague, Nando Raynolds, and I are starting our fall classes September 15th, so there’s still time to enroll. Learn more about the benefits of NLP trainings and what we’ll be teaching by clicking here. Or contact me with any questions you might have.

Time Management Tips that Reduce your Stress and Increase Productivity

Seven easy time management tips that reduce your stress and increase your productivity by encouraging you to choose a state of mind that supports you.Do you feel like you’re always battling against the clock and there’s not enough time to do what you need to get done, let alone what you want to do?  And since the long to-do list never gets finished, are you left with a nagging feeling that you’ve failed in some way?

You CAN relieve these stressful feelings by mastering time management skills, learning to stick to your priorities, refusing to get distracted, and choosing a state of mind that continually supports you. As a result, you’ll feel a lot happier about the commitments you make. To that end, here are some suggestions:

Seven easy tips to reduce your stress and increase your productivity

Time Management Tip #1. Live an embodied life. When you have collaboration between your body, mind and spirit, your daily routine will revolve around your life’s mission. You’ll reflect the harmony of being fully present in all you do as you align your gifts and skills with your unique purpose. In turn, your life will become more meaningful and satisfying.

Time Management Tip #2. Set your intention. Before sleeping each night reviewing your accomplishments and allow yourself to feel success even in the little things you’ve done. Declare your intention for the next day. When you wake up, again declare your intention, and it will keep you motivated to follow through. (Your intention might be a goal, making peace in a strained relationship, or something that supports your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.)

Time Management Tip #3. Resist the urge to multi-task. Have you seen the juggler who keeps many things in the air at once, but as soon as he drops one, they all crash? That’s what multi-tasking does to us. On the other hand, when you focus on one thing at a time and do it well, you increase your self-confidence, lower your stress and you get more done.

Time Management Tip #4. Prioritize. It’s okay to make a mile long list. Just don’t stop there or you’ll add to your sense of overwhelm. Pick two or three items from the list that are highest priority and focus on accomplishing only those tasks. Delegate when you can. And educate people that you won’t respond immediately unless it’s an emergency but that you’ll get back to them in 48 hours.  

Time Management Tip #5. Use time-blocking. Group related tasks into blocks of time. Say you have a doctor’s appointment – take your shopping and errand lists with you and do it all in the same trip. Or instead of reading emails all day (which is a huge time waster and stalling tactic), check them only in the block of time you designate for it. Allow sufficient time for each block of activity. Schedule the hard to do tasks when you have your greatest clarity and energy. Set a timer for 20 minutes and see how much more productive you become!

Time Management Tip #6. Be reasonable in your expectations. Don’t overbook. Leave plenty of flexibility in your schedule to allow for the unexpected. That way you don’t add to your stress by feeling rushed or pressured. Learn relaxation techniques that let you unwind regularly throughout the day.

Time Management Tip #7. It’s okay to say “no”. Women are especially prone to taking on too much at once. Before agreeing to a request, give yourself time to consider it. You don’t need to feel compelled to give a reason when you decline, and you don’t need to feel guilty in honoring your own time and commitments, because you’re allowing opportunity for someone who really wants to do it to say “yes.”

It’s essential to choose a supportive state of mind and eliminate limiting beliefs in order to use these time management tips most effectively. In our FREE talk on August 25thChoose Life Enhancing Beliefs, Nando Raynolds and I will show you how to utilize NLP techniques in your life. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon at 6:30 PM to 8PM. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details.

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