Monthly Archive: May 2013

Gardening your way to happiness (Or) The secret to happiness isn’t money…Really?

If I wrote you a check for $ 1 million, would it make you happy? How long do you think the ‘happiness’ would last? A week? A Tulips in vausemonth? A year or two? You could probably purchase expensive gifts, vacations, or pay off debts, but will the ‘happiness’ end when the money does? Unfortunately, I can’t write you a check, but I can share something with you that can help add happiness to your life.

Here’s what a dear friend of mine advises:  “Want to be happy for 10 minutes?  A whole day?  A week?  The rest of your life?  Simple!  Garden.”  I thought about it for a while and realized he was right. Gardening is therapeutic, relaxing, and allows us to connect with nature. The same techniques and principles that are required to nurture the gardens in our homes can also be applied to the gardens of our inner selves. When you are looking at the following tips, think about how they can be utilized in your personal life:

1.       Clear out old debris (leaves, twigs, weeds . . . bad relationships)  By getting rid of old things that hinder growth, you can create a clean slate fresh ground for positivity (insert a few ways people can de-clutter their lives).

child gardening 2.       Turn over some sod, plant new seeds in fertile soil  With a fresh start you can begin to plant new seeds in a healthy environment that promotes growth and life. Don’t forget to protect your garden by utilizing organic fertilizer to keep weeds (negative energy) at bay.

 3.       Nurture your new garden with water, light, and love  Watch and enjoy the new beautiful garden, but DON’T forget to water it.

Then sit back and admire your healthy new garden. While reflecting on your garden, think about the personal progress you have made in your life.

Start working on your garden today. You’ll be surprised at how these steps will help to bring you every day happiness and a sense of balance and purpose. What have you gardened lately?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto-based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

 

As natural as riding a bike

For those that are just joining my blog now, the last few posts were about being stuck in anxiety.  This is a continuation of those posts. To catch up you can read “Fear is not an emotion! ”, “Anxiety girl! ” and “Getting started – deep down we are all pretty similar ”.

bikes Remember when you learnt to ride a two-wheeler?  Many (if not all) of us went into this with hopeful glee. If we were lucky enough to have someone steady the back we got started on our way pretty quickly. Then at some point we realized that our support was gone … We were on our own… And, if you were like me, lost our balance and scraped our knees coming down.

We all begin in innocence and openness – in a state of blissful ignorance. This is the only way we can begin something – if we are guarded at this point we will very likely miss the opportunities offered in the process and we won’t learn and grow from the experience.

Nearly always, painful mistakes – valuable lessons – are a part of the process. And on the way we encounter people places and things that can make us wary and less trusting of our environment.

Next time we embark on some similar event or process we will remember the pains of our initial venture and feel the angst.  And this may stop us in our tracks.  If it does, remember that its simply part of the package of learning and growing.  We’ve all heard that the best thing we can do is immediately get back on because the longer we wait the harder it will be and we will be stuck.

Life events aren’t always this straight forward and sometimes we need help getting back on. And yet I believe – whatever the intensity of our experience – that our anxiety is normal and to be expected.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Getting started – Deep down, we are all pretty similar

For those that are just joining my blog now, the last few posts were about being stuck in anxiety.  This is a continuation of those posts. To catch up you can read “Fear is not an emotion! ” and “Anxiety girl! ”.

are you a dog What I did after thinking about it is I arranged to take the first step with a friend.  It turned out not to be a great idea in terms of getting positive results, but what it did do is it got me going.  And I’ve continued to go since then.  No life-shattering revelations.  No major changes or insights.

I know myself well enough to know for sure that I will not let someone else down.  So I set things up so that I had to be there for a friend.

I also know that anyone who starts something new has fears and doubts just like mine.  Deep down, we are all pretty similar, so I simply needed to find a way to get started.

How I continue is more complicated.  The key is knowing who I am, what moves me and what keeps me going.  Sometimes the answer isn’t this simple; even so, it’s worth a try.

In an interesting way, the kind of anxiety that stops us in our tracks is normal and necessary.  I’ll talk about this next week.

What gets you started?  What do you know for sure about yourself?

 Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Anxiety girl

For those that are just joining my blog now, the last post was about being stuck in anxiety.  This is a continuation of that post. To catch up you can read “Fear is not an emotion! ”.

 Stress_and_anxiety_funny So I spoke about my fear to a few people, and they proceeded to give me their advice…. Which didn’t help.  Most of it I’d already thought about and it somehow didn’t really address the issue.  Then during one of these conversations I got a surprisingly negative response from an acquaintance. This person was dismissive and not at all pleasant about someone being stopped by anxiety.

And I wondered … even though I hadn’t expected this, do I deep down think that I will be dismissed and not be taken seriously if people knew how anxious I was?  Do I fear other people’s opinion of me?  Do I expect myself to be able to do something to perfection before I even get going?

Really?  … Yes!  Really!

Yuk!  That is not what I wanted to know.  I’m mature… adult … experienced….  This couldn’t be the issue… it didn’t make any sense, I protested (loudly) to myself.  Well and that’s the thing – anxiety isn’t logical!  It’s a fear that stops my logic and in fact gets in the way of my brain functioning.  It’s an old fear that doesn’t really have any day-to-day relevance and yet here it is.  Something triggered it and it’s up and running.

The good news is I did deal with it and that’s for next week.

Have you had a similar experience?  How did you cope… or avoid coping?  How did it impact your every-day living?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Fear is not an emotion!

I’ve heard people say that fear is not an emotion. I’ve also read this view in articles and books… I’ve also read the opposite.  This debate intrigues me.  How can fear not be an emotion?

The other day, I was psyching myself up to do something I have been dreading for a really long time – approaching potential business partners.  It isn’t that I don’t think I have something good to discuss, or that I don’t really think we can help each other.  It’s – I don’t know – a vague all-encompassing dread of going there. Period!

This fear is so strong that it’s blocking anything I may actually be feeling under it. I am definitely feeling fear so how can it be said that fear is not an emotion?

Isn’t that what fear is supposed to do?  Make us focus on the danger in front of us to the exclusion of all else?  It blocks all other emotions out of necessity for survival.  And this is great when I’m on a busy street with a lot of fast-moving cars; I need that single-minded focus.  When I’m dealing with my own inner demons, what I really need is emotional fluidity and balance. When I’m blocked by fear, I can’t access my other emotions; I am definitely out of balance.

More on how I progress through this in later blogs.

How does fear stop you?  How does it help and hinder your everyday life?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.