Tag Archive | Mindfulness

Assess Your Communication Style

Recently I was involved in a group where one of the participants was quite harsh in her communication style such as using accusatory language and hostile behavior. It made for an unpleasant experience for all the people concerned.

This kind of situation happens in work places as well, where a certain coworker can be very difficult to work with and makes our job environment very uncomfortable as well.

Unfortunately, we don’t often have control over the people who sign up for a particular group or the personnel that is hired at a company.

However, we certainly can speak up for ourselves, have boundaries, and not engage in the drama that can surround such individuals.

Interesting enough, people are often unaware of how inappropriate and unkind their communication delivery is, and when confronted will seem surprised by how they are being perceived.

Therefore, being mindful of how we speak and the tone of voice we use is so essential, and a very important goal for improving our relationships.

That said, it can be very valuable to assess our communication styles by asking ourselves the following questions in order to increase our awareness:

  • Am I kind and considerate when I express myself with my tone, words, and delivery?
  • Do I dominate a conversation, or do I actually listen to others, too?
  • Do I become defensive when someone indicates I’ve hurt their feelings?
  • Am I more focused on what I want to say than what others have to say?
  • Am I open-minded enough to respect the viewpoints of others even if they differ from my own?
  • Do I jump to negative conclusions about others or get offended easily?

How did you do with answering the list?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

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Choose Your Word of the Year

Happy 2018!

Hope your new year has started off well.

Like many of us, at the beginning of each year I like the practice of choosing a single word or mantra, as a guiding force and direction for the 12 months ahead, instead of making resolutions.

Usually, selecting a word or phrase is an intuitive nudge from within.

For me, like last year, I am keeping my three word mantra, Keep Your Power.

So, for example, whenever I find myself worrying, I can internally utter the words, “Keep Your Power,” as a great reminder to not allow my peace to be disturbed by internal fear thoughts, and to upgrade my thoughts to something more positive.

Additionally, my mantra reinforcement can help to keep from reacting to external comments or circumstances, by remembering to not take the words or actions of others personally, thereby reducing feelings of hurt or anger.

It may sound like an easy task to keep our power, but almost all of us can attest to unintentionally giving away our peace of mind to someone else who pushes our buttons, and affects the way we think, feel, or behave.

That said, since we only have control over how we respond to external stimulus, or even to our own thoughts, and feelings, it’s important to have awareness practices in place to assist us in making healthier choices, and take more beneficial actions.

Some of those actions might be a dedicated meditation time, or special readings, that lift our awareness and feelings to a higher place.

Sometimes responding means to speak up for yourself, and resist the habit of staying silent for people pleasing purposes.

Even saying Don’t be mean in 2018 is a helpful reminder to put kindness first, when frustrations arise, and we’re tempted to react otherwise.

What positive words or mantras speak to you this year?

The Right Relationship Starts with You

Stop!

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Victor Frankl 

Haven’t there been times when you just needed to stop what you were doing and get some “breathing space”?

With the holidays fast approaching, it seemed like a good time to stop and share a breathing exercise to help retain or regain our equilibrium. 

The practice below comes from Dave Potter who is a certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction instructor, who received his training through the University of Massachusetts Medical School where Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness.

He provides a great way to step out of automatic pilot mode and move into the present moment to reconnect with our natural resilience and wisdom.

We are simply tuning in to what is happening right now, without expectation of any particular result.

If you remember nothing else, just remember the word “STOP”.

S – Stop and take Stock / Checking in to Head/Heart/Body

Bring yourself into the present moment by deliberately asking, “What is my experience right now”?

What are you saying to yourself, and what images are coming to mind?

What are you feeling and what sensations are being experienced?

Acknowledge and register your experience, even if it is uncomfortable.

T – “Take” a Breath / Directing awareness to Breathing

Gently direct full attention to breathing, to each in breath and to each outbreath as they follow, one after the other.

Your breath can function as an anchor to bring you into the present and help you tune into a state of awareness and stillness.

O – Open and Observe / Expanding awareness outward

Expand the field of your awareness around and beyond your breathing, so that it includes a sense of the body as a whole, your posture, and facial expression, then further outward to what is happening around you: sights, sounds, smells, etc.

As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the next moments.

P – Proceed / new Possibilities Continuing without expectation

Let your attention now move into the world around you, sensing how things are right now.

Rather than react habitually/mechanically, you can be curious/open, responding naturally. You may even be surprised by what happens next after having created this pause.

What practice helps you to avoid unconsciously reacting, and choosing a better response as a result?

What positive  words would you use for S.T.O.P? I like Serenity, Tranquility, Optimism and Power.

 

 

 

 

Let it R.A.I.N

Where I live on the West Coast it doesn’t rain very much. Fortunately, it is sunny most every day, which is a pleasure to experience.

However, it is inevitable that sooner or later the rain does fall both literally in nature, and figuratively by our life experiences as well.

Though on the surface life’s storms are inconvenient and unwelcome in our daily lives, they are necessary to our personal growth and help us emotionally blossom as a result.

Below is a brief mindfulness process that helps bring awareness to our present state of mind when we are feeling drenched with concerns, or experiencing unpleasant feelings to help us move beyond them:

RRecognize how you are feeling in a non-judgmental way.

AAccept and allow that it’s ok to feel the way you do in the present moment.

I= Investigate what the feeling is trying to tell you, or what self-care behaviors are being neglected such as sleep.

NNon-Identification by separating your emotional state from your character by not judging or labeling yourself as an angry person when you feel anger.

Trying to find the lesson in anything we experience can help us to grow from them and not just suffer through them.

What helps you stay centered through life’s storms?

Retain Your Joy

keep calmMany situations can tempt us to allow our joy to be taken from us, such as an unkind comment or betrayal in a friendship.

Certainly, these scenarios can be confusing, and upsetting, which takes some time to process. However, what adds to the pain is feeling bad about ourselves or blaming ourselves for why others are acting in certain ways.

While no one is perfect, and we can unintentionally exacerbate a perplexing situation, we are not the cause of another persons choice in behavior. We all have a choice on how we respond to life, and in our relationships.

This includes the choice to not believe any negative thoughts we have about ourselves which can steal our joy as well.

Often, it is a blessing when challenges or discomfort occurs because it lets us know it may be time to move on, or stand up for ourselves or learn how to handle emotions in a less personally damaging way.

Staying positive preserves our happy spirit, contains our personal power, and boosts our energy needed to take the necessary actions we need to take.

We are stronger than we think, and have a bigger impact than we know. If we become discouraged or frustrated for too long, than we won’t make the positive impact we are called to make both individually, and in our world.

So, keeping our joy is not about denying that pain exists or being inauthentic in our responses. It is about not allowing ourselves to lose hope, or pleasure, and keeping focused on what is good and possible.

What helps you keep your joy?

 

 

 

Make the Shift

 

In a beautifully inspiring and uplifting film entitled The Shift, best-selling author Wayne Dyer, along with actress Portia de Rossi and others, explores the journey to finding meaning and purpose in our lives.

This powerful movie, and the book by the same name, discusses a shifting away from the dictates of our ego which focuses on achievement and accumulation; to focusing more on serving and giving back.

This process is effectively illustrated throughout the course of the film, as we observe the following scenarios:

  1. An overachieving businessman who has forgotten what love means.
  2. A mother of two young children nurturing everyone but herself.
  3. A film director trying to make a name for himself that will make him worthy in his own eyes.

Through their struggles, we witness a turning point in each of their lives, which ultimately leads them to experiencing a deep sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

They experience a shift in their thinking and priorities about what really matters in life, and teaches us how to find the path to our greatest joy as well.

Action Step:

Watch this movie when you get a chance. In the meantime, enjoy the scenery and soundtrack from the film shown above.