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The Power of Visualization and Dreams

What if you could become a better pianist in your sleep? Or tennis player? Or surgeon? Well, according to a NOVA documentary on dreams, you can do just that. In the 2012 documentary, researchers compared two groups. Each group was tasked with attempting to build a new skill. Although both groups slept for the same amount of time, one group was prevented from dreaming. The result: the dream group showed increased improvement in the practiced skill, reporting dreams involving the target task.

Using mental rehearsal as a tool to build skills is not new. Sport Psychologists have been using the power of visualization to help performers for some time. The interesting part is the similarity. Both dreams and visualization use the power of mental rehearsal to improve skills. Now then…. How should be best use this knowledge to fully harness the power of mental imagery?

Now on a quest, I decided to find a way to integrate the concept of visualization and dreaming into a more powerful tool. Using some basic guidelines on how to better influence your dreams, I set out on a self-study.

Below I have outlined my approach. Join me with your own goals to see how you might be able to better yourself with the power of dreams and visualization.

–My process–

Step 1: outline my intention.
How will I use visualization and dreaming to improve my life? I decided to use a more “classical” psychology goal and also a performance goal.

Goal 1: Improve willingness to engage in emotionally charged discussions.
Having grown up in an emotionally reserved family, I have a strong urge to avoid emotional conflict that directly affects me. Seeing it as a limiter at times, I would like to become more willing and confident in initiating discussions that must be had.

Goal 2: Improve my pack positioning in road bicycle racing
I have a great passion for cycling and am always looking to improve my ability in competition. One of my biggest limiters is positioning at the end of a race, where cycling becomes a full contact sport in order to secure a good position.

Step 2: Create and refine visualization.
Write down what I want to dream about every night before I go to bed. Edit the script as I revisit it every night to create a vivid account of the events that I want to achieve.

Step3: rehearse visualization before going to bed.
I have decided to try using some recordings in addition to text. Reading the text and focusing on imagining what the words say and then listening to a recording of it as I doze off. Keeping the visualization as the last thing I think about that night is important.

Step 4: Reflect on dreams.
Like any skill, practice makes perfect. Remembering and recording dreams will help me chart out progress of my ability to influence my dreams.

I am hoping to report on what I learned in my next post. If you decide to join me in this endeavor, best of luck!

-Dustin Morici

dustin biking

Finding the best therapist for YOU!

by Cynthia Holmes, MA, LCSW

Since I’m in the field and talk openly about loving my work doing therapy, as well as seeking support for myself at times, friends often approach me for recommendations about finding a good therapist. I would love to suggest that first and foremost, ChicagoCBM is an amazing therapeutic practice with a wealth of expertise and a diversity of specializations

I would recommend highly to anyone! However, there are a ton of professionals and practices to research to find the best fit.  With that, here’s some tips on finding the right therapist for you!

Testing

First off, your awareness and efforts to be proactive are incredibly admirable!! Those steps alone can often be huge!!! Therapy can be incredibly indulgent and luxurious – to have that safe space and support that is all about you.  Even through hard times, or when you don’t know that you have anything to discuss, it is so nice to have the option. For many, that accountability is key to helping people actually make change. Plus it’s a great place to try new things, review what isn’t working and ultimately grow into your best self, living your best life.

 

A quick glimpse at the following info:

 

1. How are you paying? If using insurance start with a list of providers who are in your insurance network.
2. Narrow your list down by location. Parking, public transit, close to work, close to home
3. Check their reviews!
4. Check availability- need to get in now? There are always people with windows of time!
5. If you know what you want to work on and a certain treatment modality that works for you, check their specializations and treatment modalities.
Are you looking for group therapy? Use this in your search as well!

 

 

1. If you plan to use your insurance, oftentimes the best place to start is with a list of who is covered.

2. Then from there, you can narrow the list down by location – don’t kid yourself, convenience can be key!

 

3. Next, it’s helpful to cross check providers with online profiles and reviews – you can simply google folks, check out their websites, and read actual reviews on ZocDoc or even Yelp. Obviously reviews can be very subjective and people are often facing hard times when in therapy, but reviews can definitely be helpful for red flags, details about things like the space, or if there is anything you know in advance won’t work for you. This should get you a good start on your options. On provider’s websites, it can be informative to tune into the language used to see if it resonates with you or if it turns you off to this person or practice.

4. The next step is typically to check out their availability. ZocDoc and other sites can be great for showing this kind of availability. Many people need evening appointments, so those tend to book up first. If you know you can only do a Tuesday or Thursday evening, that can narrow down the options quickly. Some therapists do weekends, some will have availability before work or on lunch hours or during business hours if your schedule is flexible. Many schedule weekly standing appointments, but some can schedule week by week, every other week, or sometimes twice a week, depending on need. It can be important to consider not only your timing options, but what will be best for you emotionally. If you know you have some stuff to work on that could bring you to tears, it might be nice to schedule appointments when you don’t have many obligations after (aka not during your work day). If you find that you leave therapy feeling energized and motivated to take action, maybe a weekend morning would be a good fit so you have the time to utilize your motivation and energy. If work is your big stressor, maybe it would be helpful to schedule an appointment in the middle of the day to really get to the crux of your stress and directly apply actions for change. Some therapists will also have a waiting list to get an appointment – this can mean their services are in great demand or that they only see a few clients at a particular location. It is up to each person to know if they can wait for an appointment or if their window of opportunity or stressor demands urgent attention. Either way, it’s best to get that appointment on the books to have that commitment and accountability to yourself.

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If your schedule is flexible or you find several providers with good reviews and times that work for you, you’ll need to get a bit more nitty-gritty – and it’s not a bad idea to go there regardless, as hopefully the more research you do will increase the chances that the person you pick will be a good fit. With that in mind, it’s time to look at the details.

 

5. Most providers will list their modalities; whether they will see individuals, couples, families, or run groups; and what ages they work with. They will also often list their specializations, such as depression and anxiety – which most will specialize in, as these are the most common reasons people seek therapy. This can be a good way to narrow things down as well because it can be very helpful to find a therapist who understands the many facets of your experience. For example, if you have a history of disordered eating, are facing a chronic medical condition, or identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc., it can be great to work with a therapist who if familiar with some of the nuances or ways to support these arenas. You shouldn’t have to educate your therapist about something that is fundamental to who you are as a person. With that being said, your experience is also unique and as much as we can be familiar with something, you are the expert on your experience and we want to learn about that from you. You may also decide that you want to avoid a provider with experience in an area so that your therapeutic experience isn’t clouded by that – for example, someone in recovery from addiction may find it helpful to work with a therapist who is familiar with recovery, while another person may prefer to rely on their 12-step community for recovery and pick a therapist who is a better fit for the primary issues they would like to work through. Also, straight folks can work with LGBTQ therapists and vice versa. You can also look at the level of education (although more doesn’t always mean better – for example, most Psychiatrists act as medical doctors and don’t provide talk therapy, and a master’s level clinician could be just as great of a fit for you as a PhD or PsyD), years in practice (keeping in mind there can be both sides to that coin too), and type of degree (for example, social work training tends to have a different view than counselors, but a clinician’s practice can vary greatly from their training). Finally, if you want to get technical, take a look at a providers’ therapeutic approach or treatment modality. If you don’t have clinical training, be as cautious with this one as you would (or probably should) with looking up medical information on the internet. Most therapists will likely use multiple theories in practice, and again, training doesn’t exclusively dictate their delivery style. There are some treatment approaches that are empirically a better clinical fit with certain presenting issues. For example, some methods are meant to be used over longer periods of time, so if you know that you have limited time, that method may not be clinically appropriate. It is also important to note that as clinicians, we are ethically bound to help you find the best fit for your needs, which may mean referring you elsewhere if our expertise is not a good match for your needs. Many therapists will also do a free brief phone (or sometimes email) consultations, and it is completely ok to reach out to them and take advantage of that! Keep in mind, they are usually in sessions with other clients, so they may not be able to respond to you immediately, but we are often happy to answer your questions on the front end and know that sometimes just hearing our voice can set clients at ease or make them feel more comfortable. Websites like Psychology Today will have lots of this info listed for you.

Ultimately, whether a therapist is a good fit is 150% up to you. You may attend your first or second session and decide that the therapist may be nice or seem smart, but for whatever reason, you don’t think that you will be comfortable in the space or sharing with this person. That is a totally normal part of the process and we as clinicians are aware of this. You may be hesitant to tell us your whole life story in the first session because you are feeling out the situation to see if you’ll be comfortable first – this too is completely understandable. Some people will try several therapists before they find the right fit, some will work with the first person they try, some just need my help for now and will work with another person at another time in their life for another reason, and all of these scenarios are completely acceptable. Try not to judge yourself if you find that you don’t think you’ll feel comfortable working with someone older, younger or too much different from yourself – you may be pleasantly surprised if you are able to try a provider outside what you imagined, but really, getting you connected to support is what matters most here. As much as it’s great to do your homework, things in writing can feel very different in practice and you will have to try someone for yourself to see if they’re a good fit. Try to be patient (this process can unfortunately take longer than we’d like), try to remain open minded (not much is black and white in therapy), try to trust yourself and take advantage of support where you can. Ideally everyone will have a fast and easy connection to the best therapist for them, who has the right schedule, location and accepts the payment method they prefer, but as you can imagine, it can get complicated. I wish you all the success with your journey and hope you get connected to the right support for you. Kudos again for taking the first step!!

 

Disclaimer: If you are not safe and need immediate support, consider calling 911 or going to your nearest Emergency Room or Behavioral Health Hospital (where you may have less of a wait). If your needs are urgent, but you are currently safe, you might want to call your insurance and ask who is covered in behavioral health for an assessment for higher levels of care (Inpatient, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and other levels of treatment). If you are safe and need to talk while you wait for your therapy appointment, you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime 24/7 for free, or check out their website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 

 

Final plug: Chicago CBM is awesome! If you’re in the Chicago area, we have offices downtown, flexible hours and accept a range of insurances. At Chicago CBM every therapist offers a unique skill set and is passionate about helping every individual and/or group instill change in their lives. Each one of us comes from a different background. We aim for guiding you through holistic change in mind and body. Our diverse areas of specializations include: Addictions, Bariatric Assessments, Eating Disorders, Exercise Psychology, Family and Adolescents, Health Psychology, LGBTQ, Life Transitions, Mental Skills Training, Sports, Stress and Anxiety, Weight Management and MORE. We have been helping people from Chicago and around the world for 25 years. Give us a call or contact us online to see if we can help you too.

Taking Care of Yourself, Both Mind and Body

Tree pose

Most of us tend to view our physical and emotional/mental health as very separate things. The truth is, our physical and mental health are very intimately connected. One way I find helpful in remembering this basic truth is to consider infants’ behavior. If a baby is crying, what’s wrong? Is the baby hungry, tired, sick? Every infant’s emotional distress is linked in some way to not getting a basic physical need met. Although we don’t always think about things this way, the same is true for adults! When our basic needs haven’t been met, we are much more vulnerable to emotional distress and difficulty coping with daily stressors.

One helpful device to remember is “PLEASE MASTER”, this comes from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based therapeutic treatment modality created by Marsha Linehan. If we follow the guidelines below, paying attention and attending to our basic needs, we are much more likely to cope well with challenges and feel more emotionally resilient.

PLEASE MASTER

Treat Physical Illness: If you aren’t feeling well, take some time to rest! If we don’t take care of ourselves when we’re sick, we’re likely to be more sad, anxious and overwhelmed.

 

Balance Eating: Have you ever heard the term “hangry”? This is how I (and many others) get when they haven’t had enough to eat. Not getting enough carbs, fats, protein, etc can also have an effect on our moods, and we are generally the most emotionally stable when we are well nourished.

 

Avoid mood altering substances: Drugs like alcohol and marijuana are called mood altering substances for a reason. If you’ve ever noticed feeling more sad or anxious after a night of drinking alcohol, it’s likely that the alcohol is having a negative impact on your mood. It is, after all, a depressant. 

 

Balance Sleep: Many studies have shown that our brains do not function as highly when we are sleep deprived. We are also less resilient to emotional stressors that may come our way when we haven’t gotten enough sleep (ie. Bursting into tears when there’s miscommunication at work or when we lose our keys). We can also be emotionally compromised by getting too much sleep, feeling low energy, sluggish and sad. To be best prepared for the day-to-day challenges life throws at us, most of us need 8-9 hours of sleep. 

 

Get Exercise: Getting regular exercise tends to boost our energy and keep us emotionally stable. Many studies have shown that regular moderate exercise can even have the equivalent mental health benefits of a low dose anti-depressant.

 

Build MASTER-y: The idea of building mastery means doing one thing every day that helps you to feel competent and in control. For me, this is cooking and having a regular yoga practice. For others it might be learning how to knit or how to play guitar. It can even be as simple as sending that email you’ve been avoiding or flossing your teeth every morning.

serenity rocks Written by: Caitlin Liddle. Read more about Caitlin here!

 

Thank you.

Wow – ChicagoCBM is almost 2 years strong! And we want to say thank you for it!

So much to give thanks for!

Isn’t it interesting that we take the busiest, most stressful, and coldest time of year to stop in our tracks and realize how much we have, how much we know, all we can do, all we have done, and everything we want to get done? Well, busy or not, it is good to take time to reflect. ChicagoCBM has so much thanks to give, cheer to spread, and joy to shout.

Our clients, who believe in themselves enough to continue to put effort and time into changing their lives – no matter how challenging or scary..

Our fellow passionate health care providers, who give all they can to help us and our clients achieve their goals.

Our network of administrative providers who help us understand politics, economics and the real workings of a business.

Our therapists, who continue to challenge themselves in their work and personal development, make extra time for early meetings, reach out to clients to make positive connections, and instill positive change in everyone they work with.

Our families, who continue to support us in our decisions and give tremendous amounts of advice and direction as we continue to develop and achieve our goals – to de-stigmatize mental health, and encourage a healthy world where people believing in themselves and create meaningful lives.

Most importantly, our partnership, which fuels our motivation, courage and perseverance through stress and doubt. We thank ourselves, although we know it sounds silly. However, with gratitude towards each other as business partners, Kristina and I continue to challenge each other and build confidence towards making decisions, building connections, working with our clients, and picking each other up!

THANK YOU.

Gratitude is not always the easiest thing to give – it is emotionally charged, takes effort to dig down, and courage to follow through. Sometimes gratitude brings up new feelings of resentment, questions about justified actions and relationships – are they or were they meaningful, love-based, truthful, honest? Finding the answers begins, we think, with gratitude toward oneself; and then towards the people around you who have given so much to you (despite incentives or motives, which we may never know and we will never control).

Giving thanks to yourself includes all things mental, physical, emotional, and sometimes material. Feeling grateful for yourself helps clear away the need for questioning other’s motives or intentions – you can just say thanks and mean it. Because giving thanks to yourself means you believe in your gifts, your time, your meaning, and your worth. When you believe in yourself, its easier to accept others’ favors, compliments, and support.

That being said, this week I have started to give my clients the homework of giving themselves gratitude.

  • What is it about you that you are thankful for?
  • The body you live in, which helps you achieve tasks, physical challenges?
  • Your brain, always ticking, sending commands you aren’t even aware of?
  • Your feet?
  • Your hands?
  • What about your hard work in life?
  • Getting up this morning? The friends you have made?
  • Maybe the pets you have?

Anything…big or small, material or abstract, experiences you have had…everything counts!

So what are you thankful for about yourself?

Try this on your own before giving thanks to others. Dig deep for your self-gratitude and see if you can practice it as much as you practice saying thanks to everyone around you.

gratitude   IMG_1470 600717_559158550768808_1300897826_n

Getting out the door

I am a winter runner – meaning I run outside in the Chicago cold. Don’t get me wrong, I run in all seasons, but I wear winter running like a badge of pride. And because of last winter and what’s looking like the one coming, I’ve started considering this hobby my version of a superpower.

So, I was talking with another winter running friend the other day, and he reminded me of a powerful statement:

“The hardest part is getting out the door.”

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This struck me as true not only for winter running, but any action that takes some kind of courage, will power, commitment, or strength…including therapy.

Since Sara and I started this business back in the winter of 2013, I have been surprised by the number of people taking that first step out their own doors -  willing to work on themselves, seeking self-improvement, advice, a gentle supportive hand while going through a tough time, or just a listening ear for current problems. You come to us with your lives in transition, placing your very real foot within our supportive confines, asking us to help you place the next step in the right/good/healthy place.  Some people have no problem getting out the door and starting the journey.

Others are not so enthusiastic about it. For some, its hard to recognize they need help, so wrapped up are they in their stresses, difficulties, relationships. Others make the first move, schedule an appointment, and almost immediately take a step back, saying maybe they weren’t ready, maybe they don’t need to move forward, maybe they are ok right here and now where they are.

For those who struggle, let me share some of my own tips and tricks for getting out the door and beginning work on your life. I hope they help!

If you’re dealing with a certain person or situation that has you stuck – Close your eyes and imagine yourself without this stress in your life. What does this other version of yourself look like? How do you feel in your heart and stomach? Is that version of you worth working toward? (and what could a possible first step be toward you?)

Make a list of all the things in the past two weeks that have held you back – what didn’t work out? What weighed you down? What kept you from your goals? What could you stop doing immediately? (this is your first step!)

 

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Codependence: An Epidemic of Our Generation

Written by: Casey Burden

Read more on Casey here

A patient recently asked me how I would define the term codependence. I responded with, “I look at codependence as the caretaking of other’s emotions over your own.” My patient responded to this simplified definition with, “so it’s essentially not having your own sense of boundaries?” Exactly.

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In my work as an individual and group psychotherapist, a common denominator I observe amongst many individuals is this theme of having poor boundaries. What results when we do not maintain healthy and functional boundaries with those around us? This is where the concept of resentment shows up. When we feel resentment towards others, we have failed to set a boundary. Resentment is the haunting concept that codependent adults experience on a daily and even hourly basis. Not setting boundaries and living in resentment is essentially committing to consistently identifying with the “victim role.” Many of us are survivors of trauma, abuse, and/or dysfunctional/less than nurturing parenting. How can we allow ourselves space for healing if we are continuously committed to the “victim role?” The answer, I believe, is that we cannot have corrective experiences if we have this commitment to shame. Unfortunately, I often see individuals who are unaware that they are indeed allowing themselves to be placed in that role over and over. What results is what is described as “victim anger.” The individual believes (incorrectly) that she has no control over what to do in response to her boundaries being violated. The belief is often that one cannot do anything about the boundary violation. Because of this common response, I often ask my clients, “What is your role in the resentment? What is it that you have control over in this particular situation?” Survivors of trauma often feel as though they have no choices. I explain to my clients that this thought response is a trauma reenactment.

You have choices.

Much of the work  I do involves providing psycho-education and applying real life experiences in order to help explain the disease of codependence. Once we learn how to keep our boundaries healthy enough,  and only our truth is allowed in, we can no longer be victimized. In turn, we can then stop pointing the finger/ blaming others for “making” us feel the way we do. As adult survivors, we now define what it is we feel. The trauma of the past does not have to define us anymore and it is the internal boundaries we develop in recovery which allow us to detach from the abuse and codependent ways of our past.

An essential component to the work I do is to help people understand their true potential and capacity for growth. Assisting others in developing healthy boundaries not only leads to a better life on a daily basis for my clients, but to a spiritual growth that empowers individuals to face life’s challenges by not trying to fix, manage and control others…but by taking a look in the mirror and focusing on what it is that he or she actually has control over. If we take ownership for our decisions and the boundaries we set with others and with ourselves, we can begin to get rid of this ubiquitous, toxic feeling of codependence, that haunts so many of us and seemingly takes control over our lives without us even knowing.

 

Recommended readings: “Facing Codependence” by Pia Mellody, “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie

November Project

 

ChicagoCBM is back, offering our “refreshments”. This time, we have more voices! We have brought on new therapists with an array of specialties and we are so excited for our growth. More voices means more help, health and happiness.

 

Our new view at ChicagoCBM HQ :)

To start things off right I wanted to tell everyone about my experience at the November Project.

I was excited to wake up in the dark make my way over the the lake front to meet a group of energetic and lively people, dressed in costume for halloween, ready to get in an hour work out…TOGETHER. The together thing is the best part and what seems to be the driving force behind the thriving 3 years of the November project growing all over the country. I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t do much research. I was happy to accept the invitation from a friend to go to a group workout. Disclaimer about me, I love workouts and I have learned that I am a better person throughout the day when I get my sweat on in the morning. Even better when I have some one who wants to do it with me. This past Wednesday was “PR day”, which is every last Wednesday of the month, where you try to beat your previous time in a workout. We had 20 minutes to complete as many rounds of running soccer goal to soccer goal to do jumping jacks, burpees, and push ups before running up the hill and down for the next round. It was awesome! People cheering you on, making sure they know your name, challenging you, and just being in good spirits, no level of fitness required.

Disclaimer: This was a fun group work out from the summer. Just more proof that group workouts are the best, and make it easier to push yourself harder (notice the pull ups!!)

 

It is “free” fitness. Well, all fitness can technically be free, but the November project makes it so much more than that. It started in Boston three years ago (this week, I believe!) and is now 17 cities strong, including Edmonton in Alberta, Canada! As of right now the Chicago group meets every Wednesday at 6:30 am. By commenting “verbal” on their Facebook sight you are strictly committed to showing up… no excuses! The bigger the group becomes, the more days they will be able to meet, and possibly locations.

 

The concept is so great. Fitness is hard these days because its easy to make an excuse, or simply skip it as a priority because…

1- Gym memberships are crazy expensive

2- Work schedules are insane

3- But really… committing to work out alone just isn’t enough accountability

4- No goals are being set… so what are you aiming for?

5- Fun Group workouts are hard to find

6- Some groups are intimidating to join

7- The weather- this group toughs it up, so if you give a “verbal” you’ve got a group to make sure you get through the work out without disappointment.

 

 

The list can go on really. It was a great experience and I hope to be back. I look forward to watching the group grow! I recommend giving it a try.. If not November project, trying out any group fitness, training group, or getting some friends together to accomplish a common goal is a great way to battle the “gym blues” or whatever the recent excuse is for not getting in your daily dose of greatness (I mean workout) ;).

#100happydays

#100happydays

We have taken on the #100happydays challenge. The objective is to take at least one picture a day of something that makes you happy and post it to social media.  It is a new kind of reflection and exploration for us. We are able to praise the small things and most importantly smile!

Waking up every morning this past week knowing we had to capture at least one happy moment completely changed our perspectives. We were constantly on the look out for happy things- things that make you smile, bring joy, warm your heart, and sometimes bring a giggle or a sigh. One thing we noticed… the intention brought mindfulness and a more consistent note of positivity. The days went by in a similar fashion as they do but we were more present. Small things made us stop and feel gratitude. We were able to expect good things to happen at least once in a day. These moments of happiness are simple and by no means will we end them when our 100 days are up…

Up for the “challenge”? JOIN US>> http://100happydays.com/

Here’s our last week:

#100happydays Week 1 20140126_145023_resized IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_0007 IMG_0008 IMG_0009 IMG_0010 IMG_0011 IMG_0012 IMG_0013 20140126_105306

Should you really?

I should do this, that, go there, get that done, be this weight, look this way, have this, not do that…. how overwhelming.

 

In this weeks smiling, exploring, praising and reflecting this article offered much enlightenment. “Should”. We tend to measure our selves by our own extremes. The words “should”, “always”, “must”, “have to”, “never”, “suppose to” are very common in our own self- talk and the discussions we have with ourselves about goals we have set, and standards we aim to reach. Using this language with ourselves we are doomed for failure OR we have already failed. But who said we should, we were suppose to? We are usually the ones who set the standard.

“ I should be losing more weight”

“ I should have gone to ….”

“ I’m suppose to be faster by now”

“ I should have been done with this years ago”

“ I never get it right”

“ I always mess this this up”

“ I will always be fat”

and on and on and on…..

 

Using the extreme is daunting and painfully degrading. It ’s irrational, as Albert Ellis would say- “stop muster bating yourself” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tZnQvgFZms). We should have set our goal to reflect last year…. well we did not. So here we are. There is still today and tomorrow, but most importantly right now. In this past week as we set our goals it was easy to instantly become overwhelmed with another thing “to do”. That is when it was time to take a step back, breathe, and evaluate our own self standards.

 

Goals are meant for self-improvement- we set them to feel better. Smiling, exploring, praising, and reflecting are smaller tasks than the four words seem to be. Make them small and adjustable. We usually go by “SMART”- Specific, measurable, action plan, results oriented and time bound”. We were able to break our lofty sounding Smile, Explore, Praise, and Reflect

 

Smile- one small muscle move in our face. When difficult- close your eyes and think of something or someone your are close to. Or think of a memory that made you laugh- no matter how long ago. Instead of saying- “I should smile more” reframe: “ It feels nice to smile, I can try it more often”

 

Explore- Walk to a different bus or train stop. Try a new coffee place. Look up a new recipe. Take a different route to work. Try a new yoga class… Try meditating… explore your body. Switch it up from- “I should go out more” to “ I might enjoy trying something new”

 

Praise- yourself! Reward yourself for smiling and exploring. Treat yourself to a day of rest or a morning to sleep in for accomplishing a goal. Take yourself out dancing or to a movie. Take time to reflect on gratitude and appreciation. Praise a friend for a recent accomplishment or for just being your friend.

I should have gotten that done”, instead “I was able to do this and when I finish this I will do this for myself”

 

Reflect- Write something, anything. Keep a journal or don’t. You can draw, take notes on your phone, in a book you are reading, or close your eyes and listen to your thoughts- see what happens. Try to start small by writing down 1-3 positive things that happened that day. Maybe start with one affirmation in the morning “I am _____” “loved”, “strong”…

Pay attention to when you were harsh on yourself. Reframe in your reflection from “should” to something more rational, realistic, and simple it might help you smile, explore, pray, and reflect more!

 

No need to be demanding on yourself. Take it simple and easy. Enjoy yourself in the process.

Eleanor Rooselvelt

Celebrating happiness with a new year

With the year of 2013 behind us, we look back appreciating the lessons we learned and growth we experienced. The benefits from our personal and career challenges are prominent in our 2014 goals as we aim to

 

1. Explore- everyday. Something new or something scary.

2. Smile- looking for the positives in every day and every moment as we defeat the tendency to jump to negative conclusions.

3. Praise- rewarding ourselves with self-love and care for achieving small goals.

4. Reflect- Aiming to write more, gain perspective, and knowledge as we explore, smile, and praise…and then share!

 

It’s taken half a month but here goes nothing…. They say its January 17th when resolutions start to die so we thought we’d start today.

;)