Monthly Archive: November 2013

Balance during Season’s Greetings

Next weekend is the beginning of Chanukah, and US Thanksgiving, a wonderful start to a month of eating and drinking for life balancemany of us.  It’s also one of the most difficult months for many because it holds so many expectations and obligations.

Especially during this time, without sounding like a drudge, it’s so important to maintain a healthy balance.  Being in balance means being in balance emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.  If we are out of balance in any single aspect of our lives, we end up being out of balance as a whole.

Think about it:  if I’m upset or anxious about something, that’s when I’ll trip and sprain my ankle, when I binge on chocolate, neglect anything physical that nourishes my body, “relax” by vegging out in front of the TV, and skip those things that bring me spiritual renewal because I’m “too busy”.  If I mentally worry over something, that’s when I walk out in front of a car or drive through a stop sign, when I’m not really present for my family, and when I make absent-minded or unintentionally bad decisions around my physical health.  If I overwork and neglect what really matters to me, I become emotionally depressed and survive on donuts and coffee. On the other hand, if I’ve suffered from some illness, that’s when I pay more attention to what I eat, and take the time to care for myself emotionally and spiritually.  That is, until I end up with something that can’t be fixed in a short time.

Primarily though, during this season of what is meant to be a celebration with family and friends, but what can be for many a season of high anxiety and aloneness, it is our emotional well-being that we must nurture.  Here are some things that might help you get through this time not only sufficiently but well …

  1. Take care of your emotional and spiritual needs every day.  This may mean a special moment with your loved ones, quiet time every morning or evening, meditation, prayer, or a simple commune with nature.  Make it work for you, even in a day bursting with obligations.  The few moments you devote to your own well being will make all the other moments in your life flow.
  2. Exercize every day.  Simply by taking the time to care for yourself physically every day puts something in the overall balance bank in your favour.  This may be the time to sign up for some fitness classes, yoga, pilates, or if you’re really hurting, a personal trainer.  Check out Brian Kotoka’s website www.foreveryoungtoronto.ca for more information on what is out there for you.  If you really have very little time for this, commit to walking everywhere you can – make it work for you!
  3. Nourish your body as much as possible with healthy food choices.  Instead of eating when you’re stressed, try a hot bath, a long walk, or a good book.  See www.bite-out-of-life.com for information that can help you do this.
  4. If you are suffering physically, get help! If it’s a chronic soreness, check out a physiotherapist or related care giver (for instance www.yorkvillephysiotherapy.com); if you’ve worked up muscular stress, try a massage or a reflexology treatment (www.wingrovemassagetherapy.com); perhaps you are feeling a lack of energy and your doctor can find nothing – seek some supportive naturopathic treatment and advice (www.dramaurinaturopath.com).  These are only a few suggestions and suggested resources.  There are many other resources out there for you.

The thing is that you don’t have to suffer during this next 30 days.  It’s your choice and there are many resources and people out there who can help you make this time truly worthwhile.

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.

Meaning, Belonging, Appreciation

“You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone.  You belong.”  F. Scott Fitzgeraldaloneness

Not wanted.  Have you ever felt that way? Discarded by those who matter to you?  Useless?

I have.  And as I move towards old age, I feel it more often. I’m pretty sure my brother felt it before he died.  I know my grandmother, and my mother felt it.  I think of my brother from time to time – wondering how things would have been different had he understood – really understood – the universality of that feeling.

I long to be useful and appreciated; to contribute to my community in a meaningful way, and to be appreciated for that.  Those fleeting times when I feel less than useful I sit with and try to remember that we all want to feel useful.  That we belong.

William James said that the deepest need of human nature is the need to be appreciated. Especially in these times, when anxiety is common, many of us don’t feel seen, let alone appreciated. It’s so important for our overall health to be able to deal positively with these feelings and the stress in today’s living. Do you know anyone who is feeling out of sync with his or her world, or who is in a stressed place?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://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.

Cultivating gratitude every day

gratitude

What some people feel about being grateful….

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”  Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

“When you have a good friend that really cares for you and tries to stick in there with you, you treat them like nothing. Learn to be a good friend because one day you’re gonna look up and say I lost a good friend. Learn how to be respectful to your friends, don’t just start arguments with them and don’t tell them the reason, always remember your friends will be there quicker than your family. Learn to remember you got great friends, don’t forget that and they will always care for you no matter what. Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.”  Marilyn Monroe

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”  Alphonse Karr

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

Do you have some favorite quotes?  All I have to do to feel light-hearted is read any one of these.  When I do, I feel connected with everyone and everything else.  And all is well.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://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.

 

Attitude of Gratitude

As this is the period of Thanksgiving – November for the US, October for Canada and the rest of the world, this month’s topic is gratefully one of gratitude.Peace-+-Gratitude-543x361

It’s been proven! An attitude of gratitude adds years to your life, and those years are ones of overall contentment.  Here are 5 things you can do to develop an attitude of gratitude.

  1.  Smile.  It takes less work.  And as we age, this gets more appealing.
  2. Begin your day by honoring yourself in some way – 5 minutes outside with your morning coffee, or some small way that gives you pause.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude for the testing opportunities we receive each day – without these we could never grow.
  4. End your day by dwelling on three things for which you feel grateful.  If can be anything – a good meal, sunshine, an unexpected visit, clearing away clutter….
  5. Laugh.  It adds perspective and makes us lighter.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://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.

Coming into Balance

Last week I talked about getting out of balance.  This week I want to talk about the things I do to regain my balance.  Every spring and fall, I often take a weekend of three days to detoxify my system.  I spend a week preparing for it, and a week afterwards coming off of it.  There are many detox systems available; mine consists of a diet of fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, plenty of water and herbal teas, and quiet time.  I will typically spend my time meditating, walking in nature, take long hot baths, and generally clear my mind and soul of anything unresolved.  I invariably end the detox feeling thoroughly cleansed physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I feel very connected to my world, and am clear and calm.  My body feels as though it’s been refreshed and reset.balanced-living

Another ‘tool’ in my arsenal of coming into balance is ceremony. When I wake, I consider everything I am grateful for, then I spend a few minutes in quiet meditation.  For me, connecting to Spirit is most beneficial and helps me to determine what else I need to become balanced.

How do you regain your balance? What is in your ‘rebalancing’ tool box?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://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.