Tag: anxiety

Happy couple looking out at the water

Relationships: Hard Work or Adventure?

Successful relationships are a Work in Progress

Has your relationship become stale or filled with constant conflict? It’s probably because it’s stopped growing.

Do you even look at your partner anymore? Or if you do is it only when you’re mad? Relationships stop growing when we think we know everything there is to know about ourselves and our partner. If you’re feeling bored, lonely or frustrated in your relationship then it’s an indication that growth and progress has stopped.

Let’s change the word ‘work’ to Adventure and Curiousity.

The truth is, you don’t know everything about yourself, so how could you know everything about your partner. They probably don’t understand themselves fully either. Few people do. And when you’re truly okay with that it can become exciting and an adventure to find out more.

Why would I want to? I can hear you thinking….

Because thinking you know everything feels safe..Yes safe can be good… except that to make a relationship safe you have to make it fit into a box. It’s safe from change but it’s also limited from growth. Feeling safe is enticing until it becomes boring, suffocating and lonely.

Being Curious means actively learning to understand yourself and that is called Differentiation.

Differentiation in simple terms means being okay to be different and letting others/your partner be different as well.

Here’s an interview with a couples therapist Ellyn Bader talking about Differentiation in Relationships.

I think a lot of partners have the misperception that they’ll lose their relationship if they differentiate. There is a fear of really showing yourself as deeply, as broadly and as expansively as you might.

Defining Differentiation in Couple Relationships

I define differentiation as the active ongoing process of a person being able to define their thoughts, their feelings, their wishes and their desires to one another and to be able to tolerate the partner doing the same thing.
When people are afraid of differentiating, they are afraid if they show their authentic self and the other one doesn’t like it or doesn’t agree with it, that they’re going to end up in a big fight or they’re going to end up with the other person leaving. When that’s true, they don’t show themselves very well to each other.

Why Relationships Fail

When you look at why relationships fail over the course of time, one of the core reasons that relationships fail is due to a lack of differentiation. Without differentiation, relationships get stale. Interactions become repetitive and partners end up bored or lonely. They end up bored because the relationship isn’t growing and it isn’t changing, or they end up just competing with each other and being really angry and really nasty to each other. That’s one of the reasons that relationships fail.
Another reason is the re-triggering of old trauma. Partners over time trigger and re-stimulate either old trauma in each other or also they do hurtful things in the here and now to each other that can be very traumatic. Either way, with the lack of differentiation or with trauma, people need skills and capacities in order to manage themselves well in a primary relationship.

The most stuck relationships are those where each person wants to keep the other unchanging. They remember how they were when they met and they want that to last forever.
Then they don’t explore or push each other to grow. They don’t take risks or try new things. It becomes a very, very narrow way of living in the world.

Differentiation is the route to aliveness and expansiveness, to authenticity and vulnerability, and resolving conflicts and handling not liking each other at times.

Most of us have learned to define ourselves in terms of what we do and spend little time understanding our inner workings.

If you’d like more aliveness in your life whether you’re in a relationship or not find a way to challenge your norms. Start questioning your default behaviour and try doing something different. Look at your partner with different eyes as if you’ve never seen them before.

If you have any questions I’d be happy to help. Or check out some of my other blogs with tips and suggestions.

Excerpt taken from The Couples Institute Blog Differentiation Blog by Ellyn Bader

Stress and anxiety management. Take control and breathe.

Stress Can be Good for You

Stress and anxiety are aspects of our lives that aren’t going away very easily.

Even so, you’re more powerful and in control than you think.

It may seem that stress controls you because it’s more powerful. But it isn’t, you’re letting it.

Stress as a Helpful Tool

You’ve already been using stress unconsciously as a tool to cope through uncertain times. Now use it purposefully to gain more positive results. Stressing or worrying about an outcome or experience makes us feel like we’re taking action. This then feels like a bit of control instead of sitting back and accepting the situation. Yet we’re unaware of this ‘choice’.

You’re habitual actions, like ones that come from stress and anxiety, are from habitual thoughts. When you purposely choose your thinking you can change your habits.

Try it out…

EXERCISE 1:  Set aside 15 minutes out of your day to bring up all the worries and upsets that are currently affecting you. Write them down with the main thought and worst case scenario. Eg. worried about speech/afraid I’ll freeze and look stupid, unsure about asking for money/afraid to lose the friendship or job etc. Then finish with a question of curiousity (not looking for the answer). For example: Is that true? (that I’ll freeze or lose the job?) Who knows if that will happen or not. Do I have options if that happens? or any other question that works for you to open up the possibilities.

Get comfortable with purposely allowing your worries, stresses and fears into your mind. Take the action of acknowledging them to get clarity instead of allowing them to over run you.

After doing this for 5 days write a comment on how you feel. Did it make a difference?

Stay tuned for more exercises to learn to use your stress and anxiety to help instead of harm.

 

Relationship Stress. Communication and Anger Management

Thinking of leaving your relationship? Read this…

Relationship stress is hard

But that daily relationship stress is nothing compared to the pain and changes you’ll go through with divorce or separation. It’s a misinterpretation to think divorce is easy judging by the rising rates. You’d think it’s as simple as finding the best recycling for an old car stereo or laptop. No!! It’s not!! Not for a lot of people.

Where did we get the idea that relationships are disposable?

(Stay tuned for the new blog)

So if you’re thinking of leaving your relationship or marriage this article will help.
Learning about all the pain, changes and, thankfully, eventual growth that you can go through with divorce and separation will leave you better prepared to take that step.

Note: there is one swear word at the beginning of the article. If the word offends you please blink quickly and continue reading.

What Nobody Tells you about Leaving your Spouse.

Your Goal for Happiness, Peace and Success Starts Here – Pt. 1

Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now Your Goal of Happiness Starts Now

OUR CHOICES CREATE OUR EXPERIENCE

All our choices are based on the information we have and that’s made up of what we’ve learned and experienced in the past. It’s a mix of emotions and facts. But even cold hard facts can be distorted because, as we are meaning making machines, we’ve learned to judge everything and slot them into ‘good’ or ‘bad‘. In essence creating an emotional decision. And so often our judgments of ‘good’ are based on avoiding discomfort or with fear that something bad will happen otherwise. To make decisions to reach your goal it’s important to recognize and choose the alternative to the fear based choice. And that would be basing a decision on walking towards something that enlivens and empowers me rather than running from discomfort or fear of lack or losing. I use the terms Fear or Love to make it easier for me discern what to choose.

I ask myself what will I gain rather than what will I lose.

THE DAILY REPETITIVE LOOP..Changing perspective with Liz Coleman RTC www.thespacesbetweencounselling.com

Without the awareness that comes from introspection and meditation we’re living an habitual, repetitive loop day in and day out. This is like insanity, choosing the same thoughts, choices, feelings and actions to create your days yet always hoping for a different result. Unfortunately, most of the decisions that come from this insanity loop are from a place of Fear. ..which then creates your reality. That’s why STRESS AND ANXIETY are such a constant in our life. The fear of lack or losing rules us.

To try and change our experience we’ve mistakenly learned that changing our behaviour will change our thoughts and experience. But no.. it’s often the other way around. Changing your behaviour may temporarily change your experience, like moving to another country. But left to the robotic, repetition of your habitual mind you’ll be right back to the same feelings, thoughts, choices etc. Then voila… same experience as before just in a different country.

YOUR EXPERIENCES TODAY ARE BASED ON YOUR GOAL AND DECISIONS FROM YESTERDAY

Looking at where you are today… what fear based decisions have you made that are keeping you from your goal of Happiness, Peace and Success?

Coming soon Part 2 of YOUR GOAL FOR HAPPINESS, PEACE AND SUCCESS STARTS HERE. I’ll explore how to recognize the fear based choices and start choosing from a loving state of mind.

 

For personal and private exploration of this topic your friendly counsellor can help. Find one you feel comfortable with to gently step into your story with you. You will be amazed at how relieved you’ll feel just sharing your experiences. A counsellor is a neutral third party to help you see what’s stopping you, validate the successes you have made and explore your opportunities.

Call 604-809-8947 now to find out more. Or Click to find a time to talk.

Continue to Part 2

EXPAND YOUR LEARNING…

Find out more about personal growth or counsellor training at Clearmind International 

More information on the spiritual study of the Fear or Love thought system click A Course In Miracles

Read more

Liz Coleman RTC

Not Happy? Not Unhappy? .. You’re in the Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone can be like the Dead Zone when you’re neither Happy nor Unhappy.

At first escaping to comfort isn’t all bad it’s helpful. Like a reward, we’re happy and feel relieved with the break from the anxiety and stresses of life. But when escaping becomes the place you live from... you are in the Comfort Zone.

The reward and happy feeling of Facebook, gaming, TV or whatever your escape, eventually wears off. It always does. Then you risk becoming caught in your comfort zone. If you don’t drop the activity to find something new the need for the happy feeling will force you to just do more of it. Longer periods of TV watching or longer, more often Facebook sessions etc.

You’re left feeling unfulfilled.

Neither happy nor unhappy.

Do you want a different experience?

The first step is to sit in the ‘need’ to escape. When you notice your urge to watch tv, have a smoke or check your phone stop…. notice your feelings and thoughts … take 5 deep breaths. Make the activity more conscious rather than an automatic behaviour. You’ll feel more in control and have taken power back to live the life you want.

Next step is to try something new. That something that’s been niggling at you but you’ve always found excuses to avoid. Follow your desire to learn or do something new.

Feel the discomfort of challenging yourself and the aliveness that results.

You don’t have to risk your life to get out of the Comfort Zone just take a step and stretch.

Remember comfort will always be there if you need a safety net.

Just take notice if you start living from there.

Find out more about Goal Setting to really give the boot to the Comfort Zone.

Calm Anxiety And Boost Confidence with Body Language

Have you been looking in the wrong places to calm anxiety and boost confidence? You’re not alone.

Our feelings and thoughts are constantly being communicated whether we’re aware of it or not because most of what we’re saying is expressed through our body language not just our words.

Your body speaks, mainly, in these ways.

1) Internally through emotions and feelings.

2)Externally to the world through your body language and postures.

3)Outwardly through spoken words.

Out of those, 80% of what others are receiving is through our body language. That’s a lot!! Only a small portion is words and tone of voice, the rest is appearance, movements, gestures and facial expressions. Meaning people take in more with their eyes than with their ears.

It contradicts what we’ve believed  for so long that words are the most powerful tool. People often come to counselling looking to learn new words to use when it’s really their emotions and thoughts that are doing most of the communicating.

No matter what you’re job or situation is, communicating effectively is important. To maintain the message you want to get across you need awareness of your body’s emotions and signs. So much time is spent in our heads thinking, worrying and figuring out life that we don’t pay attention to our bodies. Give your brain a break…for your health and happiness’ sake.

Try these exercises anytime to Raise energy, Boost confidence and Calm Anxiety:

RAISE your energy level and your mood.

Before you reach for another coffee to stimulate you try this. Stand up and do five or six jumping jacks, jog on the spot or swing your arms around for 2 minutes. Do something to get your blood flowing. How does that feel? Is your heart beating faster, breathing deeper, is your body warmer with a flow of energy? Your mood will often change as well as you bring oxygen into your brain and body.

CALM your stress and anxiety

. When you’re tense before an important meeting or interview do this quick check in to calm you down.

Close your eyes and let all the air out of your lungs. Take a deep breath into your belly feeling your belly then your chest expand. Hold the breath for 4 counts then exhale and hold the exhale for 4 counts. Repeat this 5 times. Return to your regular breathing pattern. With your eyes closed give your body a quick scan. Feel your feet on the ground, notice your legs and back touching the seat. Move up and around your body with your inner eyes. Are your shoulders tense? How is your chest feeling.. open? tight? move into your belly and feel around like it’s a container. Use your awareness and inner eyes to move over the sides of the container. Notice any pain, tension or lightness anywhere in your body. Breath into whatever you experience. Take one more deep breath and open your eyes.                                   If you were able to relax then you should be feeling calm and grounded. The bonus to this breathing exercise is it increases your insight, clarity and health as well.

BOOST confidence. Another exercise to do before a big meeting or interview is to stand in what social psychologist Amy Cuddy calls the high power pose for 2 minutes. Research proved that by doing this your testosterone level goes up which effects your ability to handle stress and feel assertive, confident and comfortable. Watch her full TED talk here

Your body is speaking are you paying attention?

Like just changing the words you use helps only in the short term if you have a persistent pattern or behaviour in your life contact me for a consultation to see how counselling can help.

Express Emotions Responsibly

What good are our emotions anyway.. do we really need them?

Emotions feel out of control
Use emotions with control to feel happier

Do you wish you could get rid of your emotions?

It does seem as if life would be easier without emotions sometimes. They make life messy and out of control when often we prefer tidy and controlled.

Of course it’s not that simple…. Getting rid of ‘negative’ emotions means giving up the ‘positive’ aspects as well.. they’re connected. You know how close laughing and crying can be?… it’s a very fine line. One second you’re laughing and the next you’re crying or better yet the other way around. It’s how we’re wired. You can’t have one without the other.

If you’re interested in finding out about the body’s reaction to emotions the late Candace Pert did a lot of research and wrote a book The Molecules of Emotions. Candacepert.com Her research is also featured in the movie ‘What the Bleep Do we Know’

Are you willing to give up your joy and passion to get rid of anger and sadness?

A lot of times in my clients first sessions they apologize for crying and I can see them trying to ‘compose’ themselves and hold back the tears. It looks so difficult. There’s nothing wrong with crying. It’s a release of pressure like laughing can be and it’s a connection to a deeper sense of yourself. From there we can explore how they control themselves and they gain awareness of conscious or sub conscious beliefs they have about emotional expression. It’s a good start.

It’s not about getting rid of emotions but expressing them responsibly

Letting our emotions release brings a sense of relief and hope. Like revealing a secret we didn’t know we were holding onto for a long time. Because the other option is expending a lot of energy to control them and hold them in. (people wonder why they’re so tired) It can feel a bit scary as if they’ll never stop because if you’ve held tears in for so long the pressure has built up like a water toy being held under water. If you hold it under lightly it just bobs up to the surface when you let it go. No big deal. If you push it down deeper and keep pushing it explodes out of the water when you let it go. ERUPTION. Just like emotions. And usually not at appropriate times.

The urge to distract and hide emotions

Where do you think your emotions go when you push them away? It seems like they disappear for the moment but they don’t. And then you experience those moments when you’re overreacting to a situation. Or maybe you find you’re upsetting the people close to you because your anger is leaking out indirectly as passive aggressive behaviour. The common belief there is that expressing anger is bad and so you project your anger onto others. You can read more about that here.

 

So yes we really need our emotions, we couldn’t get rid of them if we wanted to although we still try. They are our bodies signals to us that something important is going on and it needs some attention. So show yourself some self compassion because opening to and sitting with your emotions can unravel to reveal love. A love for yourself and others. A love that’s been mistakenly obscured by fear.

Call or email me to find out more or to book a session.

Stress and Anxiety – Calm and Find Confidence with this Technique

Stress and Anxiety isn’t something that needs to be fixed it’s an unneeded process of handling fear (often unconscious …

Happy couple looking out at the water

Relationships: Hard Work or Adventure?

Successful relationships are a Work in Progress Has your relationship become stale or filled with constant conflict? It’s …

Stress and anxiety management. Take control and breathe.

Stress Can be Good for You

Stress and anxiety are aspects of our lives that aren’t going away very easily. Even so, you’re more powerful …