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Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

How to Become Highly Skilled at Resolving Conflicts Peacefully

Conflict becomes scary and draining when we attach the wrong significance to it. Emotionally charged situations can cause us to react badly to conflict. It’s so vital to mentally take a step back, observe without judgment and release the tension. Then use my process for resolving conflicts peacefully…“I don’t think anyone ever gets completely used to conflict. If it’s not a little uncomfortable, then it’s not real. The key is to keep doing it anyway” ~ Patrick Lencioni

“I hate conflict! I prefer to let them do what they want, rather than make a scene…even if it means I feel like I destroy a little bit of who I am each time.” Is that how you feel about resolving conflicts? Many people do. They question whether it’s even possible to resolve some conflicts peacefully.

It’s worth the effort. Learning to successfully manage conflict will help keep you healthy and happy. Of course, it’s easy to say, “Just tell them how you feel.” But when you’re the one feeling cornered or threatened, it’s not easy to think rationally and remain calm.

So what’s the secret to resolving conflicts peacefully and getting the best outcome?

First, we need to identify conflict for what it is and what it isn’t. It’s not a challenge. It’s not a declaration that you’re unloved. It’s not a put down. It’s not an assessment of your worth.

It is a different point of view. And that’s something we can welcome, for it helps us expand our own thinking and way of being. That being said, there are times when a person will cause conflict with the intention to hurt you. When that happens, walk away from that kind of conflict, shake it off, and put that burden back on the shoulders of the instigator where it belongs.

Conflict becomes scary and draining when we attach the wrong significance to it. Emotionally charged circumstances often cause us to react badly to conflict. That’s why it’s so vital to practice mindfulness to mentally take a step back, observe without judgment and release the tension. Then you can use the following process to resolving conflicts peacefully….

Remind yourself that being right isn’t the issue. Handling conflict isn’t about being right or wrong – that only creates barriers. When you push your point of view as the only right one, you may win the battle (the disagreement), but you’ll lose the war (the relationship). If you tend towards being competitive, now is the time to remove that element from the situation. Instead, switch your focus to finding a peaceful resolution you can both live with.

Turn on your listening skills. Our talking, shouting or interrupting accomplishes nothing. Rather than talking at someone, learn to talk with them. That means only responding after you’ve listened deeply. You don’t have to agree with what’s said. Just acknowledge how the other person thinks and feels. Remember that a kind touch goes a long way toward improving communication. (You can learn more about listening skills on my other website The Institute for Professional Leadership.)

Breathe deeply and maintain your calm. Calmness enables you to clearly articulate your thoughts. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “This upsets me. Give me a moment to catch my breath, so we can resolve this peacefully.” If you have to, ask for a break, promising that you’ll revisit it later in the day. Avoid putting it off until tomorrow, because that allows room for festering.

 Be forward thinking. Dredging up and using the past as a weapon is not productive. Let it go. Be mindfully in the moment, step back and see the big picture of what’s happening right now.

Set your intention for a peaceful resolution. Visualize the desired outcome and mentally map out all of your options. Be honest with yourself about what your true intention is. If you’re hanging on to a little bit of wanting to get even, to hurt them like they hurt you, it’s going to manifest itself. With a clear intention to make peace in your relationship, you’ll look for common ground. 

Focus on WE, not me. Find a solution that serves both of you. Use words that show you’re invested in a mutually beneficial solution. For example, “What can WE do to…?”

Viewing conflict resolution as a system helps you create a plan for productive communication. The other person may not always respond in kind. Nevertheless, by taking the higher path, you’ll create an atmosphere that’s more conducive to successfully resolving conflicts peacefully.

If you’d like help in creating a calmer, peaceful life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). 

Embrace Discomfort – A New Attitude that Purposefully Expands Your Comfort Zone

Learn how to master and embrace discomfort and expand your comfort zone, because that’s what will make you continue to grow as a person and professionally. “If you want to choose the pleasure of growth, prepare yourself for some pain.” – Ritu Ghatourey

Do you remember having growing pains when you were young? They weren’t pleasant were they, but who would want to stay the size of a baby? That’s just part of growing up.

However, what most people don’t recognize is that we continue to have growing pains – emotional, mental and spiritual ones – throughout our lives. However, discomfort now becomes our choice – we can avoid it, endure it, or embrace it. It’s no longer automatic.

Since our brains are hardwired to avoid pain, we often choose to avoid discomforts rather than embrace them. As a result, our personal and professional growth can become stunted.

What are some attitudes that people adopt to avoid the discomfort of growing?

  • I’m happy where I’m at.
  • I want to take it easy.
  • I want to be comfortable.
  • I don’t want to do that because it makes me uncomfortable.
  • It’s too hard.

The trouble with staying in your comfort zone is that you can become self-absorbed, complacent, or easily bored. And if you have a creative nature, you’re going to be miserable.

Learning to be comfortable with discomfort is one of the most important skills you can develop. It’s how you’ll live a full and purposeful life. As Jean Shinoda Bolen said, “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

But why is growing emotionally, mentally, or spiritually so uncomfortable? Because it involves taking a risk. Letting go of control. Venturing into the unknown. But that’s okay. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

When you regularly seek out fresh experiences, you become more creative and emotionally resilient. It makes you stronger and more confident as you see each success and conquer each hurtle. Can’t you look back and remember things that used to make you uncomfortable, but you can now do with ease?

How do you embrace discomfort?

  • Develop a craving for something more in your life.
  • Resist the pride of perfectionism.
  • Be willing to make “mistakes” and see them as learning experiences instead.
  • Deliberately seek out things that push your limits.
  • Stop avoiding what’s hard.

Oftentimes you have to expand your understanding to overcome obstacles in front of you – understanding yourself, others, or how things work. It challenges your mental skills. But your brain is like a muscle and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Conversely if you don’t stretch it, it will become flabby.

Make time for continual learning. Try a new language. Take a mindfulness course. Start a new hobby. You can tackle any project you set your mind to. As Calvin Coolidge said, “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” 

If you make a practice of welcoming discomfort, your comfort zone will expand to include and embrace discomfort as a natural part of living. Then you can have a similar attitude to American writer Jonathan Lethem, “Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.”

Most things seem impossible until you do them. Remember that others have felt just as you do and they were able to push beyond that feeling. So can you.

Sometimes it helps to have someone coach you through a big growth spurt. If that’s where you’re at, I’d love to partner with you so you can more easily embrace discomfort. Please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

Daily Taking a Break from Work –The Secret to Innovation and Excellence

Daily taking a break from work may seen foreign to you, yet it’s really the secret to greater innovation, performance excellence, and a life filled with joy.“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” ~ Anne Lamott

Every day we’re bombarded with advice to become more organized, to get more done, to write endless to-do lists as we break big projects into smaller portions. So the idea of daily taking a break from work may sound strange to you. And while I wholehearted support the concepts of being organized and prioritizing to get things done, there has to be a balance in life.

If you feel as if you have to be busy every moment of every day, and you don’t think you’re successful unless you have a lot of accomplishments – and you’re in an endless cycle of “Check! Done that! Move on! Check! Done that! Move on!” – perhaps it’s time to reassess what you’re really accomplishing.

Actually, scheduling some downtime and taking a break from work on a daily basis will increase your ability to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. However, a more important reason to take a break is that if you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before you experience burnout, which could damage your body and spirit so badly that they’re not able to fully recover.

So as a friend, let me ask you: When was the last time you really disconnected from your business and responsibilities? When you didn’t listen to anything but the buzzing of the bees? When you didn’t watch anything but the clouds floating by? When you didn’t plan anything except…well, you didn’t plan anything at all! How often do you get to experience total creative silence as you simply practice being in and enjoying the moment? If you can’t remember, you’re way overdue. You are, no doubt, already on cognitive overload.

Think about it: You know you need to eat every day, right? You do it, not only because it’s enjoyable, but you expend the calories in your output of energy. And your body automatically knows to breathe in after exhaling. Why? Because you use up your supply of oxygen and your body demands more. As children, we knew how to play…when did that change? When did people forget to take breaks and enjoy life?

You constantly give all day long. You push to do things for your family, your friends, and your job. Yet if you aren’t regularly taking a break from work, you’ll run out of resources. Your body and brain needs downtime to repair itself. Not only is a good night’s sleep essential for refreshing yourself, but taking a little bit of time off during the day is necessary too.

The benefits of taking a break from work are countless. Your mood will improve. Your stress level will go down. Your energy will return. Your heart will be healthier. Your creativity and productivity will skyrocket. Your relationships will flourish. You’ll do your most excellent work if you’re regularly taking a break from work.

Isn’t it time to give your body and brain the space and time it needs to process all that you’re taking in every day? Your body may already be telling you it needs a break…are you listening? Unfortunately most of us have learned to ignore these messages from our bodies. Please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. Go to a quiet place and give yourself the gift of reconnecting with yourself this month. You owe it to yourself.

Healing the Father Daughter Relationship: 5 Steps to Forging Healthy Friendships with Men

Learning to heal the father daughter relationship is vital because it influences your self image, emotional growth, mental health, decisions and attitudes. My relationship with my father was…well…it was very complicated. When I was really little I adored my dad. I thought he was the best. As I got older, I learned that my father could be difficult to be around. My new story as an adult is that my father did the best he could. But the truth is it took me a long time getting to a healthy perspective about our father daughter relationship.

While a mother has a great deal to do with nurturing and helping daughters discover who they are, the father daughter relationship is extremely important too. Why? Because fathers shape their daughters in the following ways:

  • our academic performance,
  • our career path and financial wellbeing,
  • our communication skills,
  • our self-esteem and confidence,
  • our body image and sense of self,
  • our behavior and attitudes,
  • our mental and emotional health,
  • our social traits,
  • who we are,
  • how we experience the world,
  • whether we feel safe or not,
  • how we handle stress,
  • how we relate with men platonically,
  • who we date,
  • how soon we have sex,
  • whether we have successful romantic relationships or not.

When a father actively engages in his daughter’s childhood, promoting her scholastic or athletic achievements, he encourages her self-reliance and assertiveness. As a result, she’s more likely to graduate from college and enter a higher paying, more demanding job. A close mentoring relationship with her father makes a girl feel secure and supported. There’s nothing she can’t do.

But what if that’s not the reality of your father daughter relationship? Maybe your father has been absent emotionally or physically. Does that mean you’re stuck with a lot of baggage that slows you down forever? By no means! You CAN move past it.

Firstly, it’s important to be aware of the kind of relationship you have had with your dad. Whether it was positive or not, acknowledge the hurt, loss, disappointment, yearning and longing for something different. By acknowledging your feelings, you can begin to grieve and become more at peace with what was. You can now turn things around by deliberately co-creating healthy relationships in your adult life.

“Slender at first, they quickly gather force
Growing in richness as they run their course;
Once started, they do not turn back again,
Rivers, and years and friendships with good men.”
~ Sanskrit poem ~

Five steps to begin healing the father daughter relationship…Healing the father daughter relationship is vital because it influences her self image, emotional growth, mental health, decisions and attitudes.

  1. Acknowledge the type of relationship you have had with your father.
  1. Be kind and compassionate toward your younger self that might still be hurting. Anger, numbness, indifference often hides a great amount of hurt that you might not want to feel, so create a safe space for you to process through these emotions mindfully. Never ever say, “I’m stupid for feeling this way”. You have a right to your feelings. Be patient with yourself as you sort through them.
  1. Allow yourself to grieve. Tell yourself that you deserved better, because you did! Mourn what you missed. But don’t get stuck in what should have been. Focus on learning to feel worthy of being loved, supported and cared for. Look for the positive things you did receive from your father. If nothing else, you are alive today because of him, so you can be grateful that you have the chance to use your life in a kinder, more expansive way.
  1. Look around you for healthy male role-models. Yes, they are out there often camouflaged as our co-workers, neighbors, or dear friends. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You have the chance to create your own supportive family of “fathers” and “brothers” to turn to for advice and help. However, be mindful of the boundaries they and their families are comfortable with. You can become a part of your male friend’s life without giving the appearance of “taking over” attention that should be given to his family and other friends.
  1. Deliberately surround yourself and co-create healthy friendships with the opposite sex. I understand that this might be challenging depending on the kind of beliefs and values you and your partner might have but I can’t recommend this one enough. Even though I have one of the most loving and supporting partners I could have ever asked for, I value my close friendship with other males.

As adults, we get to choose whom we want in our lives. A healthy mix of male and female friends adds richness and fullness to our experience. Your father daughter relationship is just one of the indicators of a life well lived. Take the 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment to see how you’re doing as a whole. Click here to download your free copy

Excellence is a Habit that Prevents Self-Defeating Beliefs and Behavior

Excellence is a habit that prevents self-defeating beliefs and behaviors from getting a foothold, thereby giving you the resources to make your life vision a reality. What is the controlling force in your life? Is it conscious choice or the power of habit? If you picked “habits’, you’re right!  And that’s a good thing, because if you had to stop and make a brand new decision about every little thing in life, you’d never make it out of bed, let alone get to work. You might get stuck on something nonessential like – “Should I put my shoe on my left foot first this morning or on my right foot?” Most habits are behaviors that save you a great deal of time.

But not all the habits are helpful. Some actually get in your way of making progress toward desired goals. For example, you might want to lose weight, but if it’s your habit to watch TV while you eat, you won’t be mindful about the type and amount of food you eat. It also promotes a less active lifestyle. Bad habits like this one are cruel taskmasters. They stop you from being the best version of you possible.

Excellence is a habit that supports you in your quest for a more fulfilling life. Let’s first see how bad habits are able to get such a strong hold over you.

How is a habit formed? Any activity or thought (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual) will become a pattern or a habit if you repeat it often enough. They actually create physical, electrical and chemical pathways that become set in your brain. Yes, there are well-worn paths in your brain, and they got there just like you’d make a trail through a grassy meadow by going over the same ground again and again until you wore down the grass into bare soil. (If you’d like to learn more, check out Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. I highly recommend it.)

Once patterns of behaviors are set, they run unconsciously in the background, like your computer’s operating system. You don’t see them or think about them, but these unconscious patterns control your life.

Many of the patterns are laid down as a result of fears from early childhood events, and they will draw you off the path to success. Here are some of the worst habits that even leaders may fall prey to…

  1. Failure to hold on to your purpose.To know what adds meaning to your life, you must make time to be quiet and thoughtful. You need to be willing to be vulnerable and dig deeply into what really matters to you. Once you identify your purpose, success requires that you hold on to it and not let go. Being specific and intentional about what you want drives the creation of excellence as a habit and keeps you from reverting to the past.
  1. Unclear goals. A vision without a plan is just a wish. You have to define your goals and then chunk them down into baby steps so you can successful accomplish them.
  1. Inaction. Once you have a well-defined plan and you’ve defined your mini goals, you still need to take action. Procrastination and perfectionism are enemies to action. Effective leaders don’t wait for the perfect moment or try to plan for every contingency. Taking the first step may be the hardest, but have faith that everything will fall into place as you go.
  1. Loss of focus.Distractions and overstimulation interfere with planning and achieving goals. When your mind leaps from one thought to another, practice calming breathing exercises. Regularly spend time in mindful meditation. Learn to focus on one thing at a time.
  1. Acceptance of the status quo. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you’re content with where you are, that’s fine. But if you want to excel, it requires that you take risks and get out of your comfort zone. You can’t change what’s going on around you until you change what’s going on within you. Rekindle the fire within yourself. Your determination and commitment will enable you to attain the success you seek. Each success fuels your self-confidence and spurs you on to greater efforts.

Do you agree that excellence is a habit you want in your life? Then, I’m happy to invite you to a special talk: Choose Life Enhancing Beliefs on Thursday, August 25th. Nando Raynolds and I will be meeting with you in Ashland, Oregon to share how NLP can expand your abilities for happiness and excellence. This is a great first step in reassessing your goals and analyzing your life to see if you’re incorporating excellence into your habits. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

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