Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook

Category: Mindfulness

Mindfulness provides access to powerful inner resources so we can change the way we see and ultimately experience difficult situations. We’re empowered to participate in these situations – and interact with the world at large – as we work with what arises instead of trying to escape.

Set Mindful Intentions. Add Sustainable Actions. Create Lasting Change.

You can learn how to turn mindful intentions and sustainable actions into your Recipe for Lasting Change, as you answer these six very important questions.“Integrity is when your good intentions meet your actions — on a consistent basis.” ~ Amy Chan

Have you caught yourself saying, “I intended to __, but I just didn’t get around to it”?  We’ve all done it. In the 60’s and 70’s there was even a wooden Round Tuit coin created to help us end procrastination. It didn’t work so well. I find that setting mindful intentions work much better. But that’s not the whole story.

To get to the bottom of the problem, it’s important to identify what stops our intentions from becoming reality. We all have the same amount of time, so we can’t really use “not having enough time” as an excuse. If you’re like most people, there are 5 basic things that get in our way:

  1. You lack clarity on what your intended results were meant to be.
  2. You had insufficient planning or no planning at all.
  3. You lacked knowledge or skills.
  4. You became sidetracked or distracted, with too much information.
  5. You gave up because an obstacle arose and you didn’t seek an alternative method for achieving your intention.

Do any of those reasons describe what you go through? I’ve discovered that my practice of mindfulness reinforces my ability to set intentions and follow through with the action required to create a lasting transformation in my life. But this skill didn’t come to me overnight. I’ve been practicing for a number of years. Now, however, each time I set mindful intentions, it’s a lot easier to make them become reality.

How can you set mindful intentions that overcome the five previously mentioned obstacles?

Don’t kid yourself that setting mindful intentions will magically create lasting change. That is only half of the process. Without follow up actions, your mindful intentions will not serve you. As a quote from E.F. Schumacher reminds us,

“Our intentions tend to be much more real to us than our actions, and this can lead to a great deal of misunderstanding with other people, to whom our actions tend to be much more real than our intentions.”

Let’s take a trick that great writers use…in any good story, writers answer the questions: Why, Who, What, Where, When, and How? (Yes, I rearranged the order of questions they normally ask. When you set mindful intentions, Your Why should always come first.) We can apply those same questions to our Mindful Intentions + Sustainable Actions Recipe for Success. Here’s how:

Find Your Why. Why are you here? What one thing energizes you, challenges you, and helps you live up to your full potential? When you clarify this, you blow the door to possibilities wide open!  

Find Your Who. There are some things you’re skilled to do; other things you can delegate to more experienced persons. Don’t be afraid to share your vision with others. The synergy you create together will be phenomenal!

Find Your What. Take baby steps to get you from point A to point Z. Perhaps it’s something you’re working on internally. Maybe it’s a skill you need to learn. Choose three important goals to work on and tell an accountability partner that you’re going to have them done by a certain day. By the end of a year, you’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish!

Find Your Where. Start from where you are right now. Don’t compare yourself to where anyone else is, because we are all at different stages of growth on our journey through life. You are enough!

Find Your When. Waiting for a better time or for everything to fall into place is a mistake. Your time is NOW, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article! Keep asking yourself, “What one thing can I do right now that will inch me closer to my desired results?

Find Your How. Get very specific with outlining your tactics — what step to be accomplished by what date. Track your progress in even small things, because it’s so easy to forget what you have accomplished. Take inventory of all of your resources — monetary, emotional, physical, and spiritual — and spend them wisely on things that really matter. You can do this!

Now I’m going to throw in an extra point that ties together the preceding ones.

Find Your Zone of Genius. When the above items are aligned, the struggle will end. Instead you’ll greet each day with excitement and anticipation. Each day will be a celebration of who you are. You’ll fall in love with life all over again. That is the reward for matching mindful intentions with sustainable actions. It’s magic!

If you’re still searching for your zone of genius, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to help you achieve the life you deserve to live.

How to Approach Life So You Live Life to the Fullest

Learn how to approach life so you get the most from it, with the best results and the least amount of cost – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – to youYour approach to life is influenced by so many factors – your genetics, upbringing, culture, beliefs, values, and more. As a result, everyone has a unique approach to life that is either slightly or vastly different from your own.

Some people go through life doing just enough to get by. They’re the make doers who are perfectly happy making do with whatever happens. At the other extreme are the perfectionists who strive to do everything perfectly no matter how complicated the process is.

In the more sustainable range are the following:

  • Simplifiers (who do everything the easiest way possible even if adding that little extra would produce better results).
  • Optimizers (who look for the best solution even if it’s more complex and increases the odds for complications).
  • Maximizers (who never cease to educate themselves and learn from others so they can excel at what’s important). 

Actually, a balanced life involves all of the above, except for perfectionism, which only brings you stress from having unrealistic expectations of yourself. The trick is to know how to approach life on the terms that serve you the best in your present circumstances with the least amount of cost (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual). The good news is that you can choose to alter your approach to life whenever it suits you.

But how do you know which approach is the best at any given time?

You’ve no doubt heard the phrase about “knowing when to pick your battles”. Some things just aren’t worth fussing about. While others things matter a great deal. Often you don’t know what you’re dealing with until you’re well into the project. That’s why it’s so important to be flexible, resilient and adaptable.

However, as a general rule of thumb, whenever possible choose simplification, because it maximizes and frees up your personal energy. You’re not worn out from one task, so you have plenty of energy for the other activities that the day brings you. 

Doing things simply makes it easier for not only yourself but for everyone involved. And it’s a huge time saver and keeps your stress level down. It’s best to avoid complicating something if there’s no need for it.

If you can simplify, streamline and document any system, you won’t have to expend the time and energy to re-figure it out in the future. This kind of simplification pays off in a big way. It even allows you to delegate tasks to others knowing that they’ll do the work to your satisfaction.

By simplifying your daily life as much as you can with supportive routines and habits, you have the luxury to optimize, or even maximize, the things that really matter to you. Instead of doing it so-so, you can truly master what you’re passionate about.

This principle works in all aspects of life and business. Just get started doing what needs to be done, step-by-step, and when you have the luxury of time, come back and master what’s really important. Over time, you may find that what you thought needed careful, meticulous attention doesn’t really need it, while things you neglected need your undivided attention.

When you’re mindful about reviewing your day, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and you’re tuned in to your own feelings and those of the people around you, you develop the flexibility and creativity to make course corrections in your approach to life as needed.

If you feel like you need to make some adjustments in your approach to life, please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you as you discover new ways to live life to the fullest.

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

Overcoming Fear of Failure – One of the Most Valuable Lessons Learned in Life

This simple exercise in overcoming fear of failure is one of the most important life lessons you’ll learn, for it frees you to become the best YOU possible.“Failure is the foundation of success and the means by which it is achieved.” ~ Lao Tzu

One of the most common fears people have is fear of failure. Some even have a phobia about it called Atychiphobia. How do you feel about failure? Has it stopped you from trying to do something, even though you wanted to? Or do you view failure as a steppingstone to achieving better things? What value do you place on failure? Do you view it as a negative that’s taking away from your life or a positive that’s giving you a valuable gift? Just imagine how overcoming fear of failure will improve your quality of life.

The way you feel about and manage failure will profoundly influence your ability to achieve excellence. There are three key points to creating a positive view of failure:

  1. Redefine Failure. Failure is really a great teacher if you don’t let perfectionism get in the way. Perfectionism causes you to beats yourself up emotionally. Shame based emotions like these lower self-esteem and makes you want to give up.
  1. Have realistic expectations. Build your self-esteem by only demanding of yourself what you can realistically do. Don’t set yourself up for toxic emotions such as guilt or shame. They only make you feel less than deserving of success.
  1. Heal your thought patterns. Creative visualization and mental rehearsal will transform failure into opportunity and hope – the faith that things can be better. Stimulating hope is vital for being resilient and able to move through life gracefully.

Instant gratification is an enemy to success. Realistically, it takes anyone thousands of hours of work and education to achieve excellence and mastery. It takes time to hone your skills. The truth is there’s always going to be someone better or worse than you are. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself, not anyone else. The real question is, “How can you become a better version of YOU?”

Neuroscience shows that we all cycle through four stages between our thoughts and actions…

  • Thoughts are the triggers and catalysts.
  • They, in turn, elicit your emotions.
  • Emotions cause a chemical reaction in the brain.
  • These neurotransmitters and hormones produce a physiological response in your body that affects the quality of your performance, either beneficially or detrimentally.

This is where the power of visualization helps in overcoming the fear of failure. Remember – your brain can’t differentiate between what you visually imagine and what is really happening. Here’s a simple two-part visualization exercise to help you retrain your thoughts – the foundation of your actions – to be more positive…

The first part of the meditation exercise for overcoming the fear of failure.

  • First thing in the morning, sit quietly with your eyes closed so you can fully concentrate. Take three deep breathes. Think of something or someone that makes you feel heartfelt appreciation. Focus on this for a moment.
  • Next shift your thoughts to happy thoughts or prayers for someone else.
  • Now turn your focus back to the day ahead of you.
  • Identify the top three priorities for you today and their positive outcomes.
  • Visualize the ideal result you hope to achieve.
  • Open your eyes and proceed with your day.

The second part of the meditation exercise for overcoming the fear of failure.

  • At the end of the day take a few deep breaths.
  • Reflect on what happened during the day.
  • Acknowledge and feel good about the successes and fun you had. Express gratitude to the Universe or a higher power.
  • Now honestly acknowledge any setbacks. Take responsibility for it, but don’t wallow in it. Appreciate that you’re one step closer to realizing your goal. Express gratitude for this feedback and learn from it.
  • Tell yourself out loud, “I give myself permission not to be perfect.”
  • In your imagination, go back in time, and make believe you’re doing it over. Reframe it and change the scene as you imagine handling the situation better.

You can’t control everything that happens in life. But you can control how you think about it, how you interpret it, and the value you place on it. This exercise is a powerful tool that helps you do that more effectively. I would love to partner with you in your quest for excellence. Contact me and we can talk about what’s the next best step for you to take. And be sure to download your free copy of The 7-Point Wellness Assessment – Create Change Through Awareness. 

How to Get the Life You’ve Always Wanted

Get the life you’ve always wanted – learn this exercise that lets you extract value from every experience and gives you skills to make your dreams come trueDo you love your life so much that you greet each day with excitement and anticipation? Would you like to increase the quality of your life so that you do? How do you get the life you’ve always wanted?

We all experience set backs. The usual human response to being disappointed or afraid is to disconnect from your dream, telling yourself, “It’s not for me. It’s not meant to be.” Nevertheless, you have to be willing to risk failing and experience disappointment as you strive to achieve your goals. Otherwise, you won’t step out of your comfort zone because it seems too scary.

Raise your expectations back up to living life passionately. Continually strive for your peak experience that makes you happy and satisfied. Despite whatever challenges you face, you CAN get the life you’ve always wanted.

Positive results come from deliberate action. If you immediately apply the exercise I’m teaching you today, and you practice it daily, you’ll get results that will reinforce your beliefs that you CAN make your dreams come true. In turn, each win will be the foundation for new habits that eventually will create the life you’ve always wanted. You’ll see that you can learn to derive the maximum value from each experience.

The exercise that creates greater awareness and regulates your desires.

In full disclosure, I learned this wonderful exercise from Tony Robbins. For it to work, you must fully and actively participate. It can’t be just a reading exercise. The goal is to learn to rate all of your experiences as you use your power of thought and your sense of feeling.

Step 1: See how things really are. Be honest with yourself about your present situation.

Step 2: Be committed to finding value in everything you experience, even the hard things in life. Always ask yourself, “How can I make the most of this situation?”

Step 3: Learn to rate your desire.  Right now, select ONE item (try a piece of food) and focus on only it. On a scale of minus 10 (the most repulsive thing in the world) to plus 10 (I have to have it NOW!) where would you rate your desire for that thing? This targets a quality of feeling or sensation that you’re going to work on.

Step 4: Incrementally increase your desire by asking yourself the following questions

  • If my desire is at +4, what would make me want this at a higher level, say +6? Seriously. What thoughts and feelings will you have to concentrate on to make you want it a little bit more? Keep thinking about it and looking at it until your desire actually increases.
  • Now take it up a notch to desire level +8. What would make this item even more desirable to you? What do you have to think and feel to make it even more appealing?
  • Finally, take it all the way up to desire level +10. What did you feel and think to make it absolutely irresistible, so that you have to have it NOW?

It’s time to break that state of urgency, because we’re not done. Get up and walk away and think of something else until you can come back and continue.

Step 3: Incrementally decrease your desire by asking yourself the following questions…

What would make this item a little less desirable? What are you thinking and feeling to change your desires? Continue to work your way down the scale until your reach minus 10. Don’t give up until you feel repulsed by the object.

Step 4: Bring your desire level back up to the range of plus 4.

We all have different patterns of thinking. Some people use their imagination and add something to it to make it seem less desirable, like mentally adding salsa to that glass of red wine. Others change their focus and start thinking of consequences, like lying sick in a hospital bed because of eating the item. Others seek distractions.

Did you notice your pattern of thinking? When you create greater awareness around how YOU think and feel about any object or activity, you gain control over your desires. You’ll utilize patterns that work, and know when to interrupt patterns that don’t work.

You can create extraordinary experiences any time by consciously deciding how you want to think and feel before you engage in the activity. You learn to target a sensation, measure its desirability, and take conscious control of your emotional state by determining your pattern of thinking. Always ask yourself, “What is the quality of experience I want in this situation? What conditions must I create in myself, in other people, and in my environment to achieve it?”

Awareness gives you the freedom of choice and control over what you think and how you feel. You get to decide what everything means to you. To delve deeper into getting the life you’ve always wanted, please do these two things:


Let's get started with 30 free minutes

I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.

SCHEDULE


How to Step Forward to a Future You've Created

Discover how to replace your old, self-limiting map with a new map full of possibilities for the future

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE INTRO TO STEPPING FORWARD TODAY!

© Neways Integrated Wellness Center. All rights reserved. Site developed and hosted by Rogue Web Works.
Professional Certified Coach by International Coach Federation