Monthly Archive: July 2018

Is it Draining? Or, is it Energizing?

I have a lot on my plate these days.  Actually, I almost always have a lot on my plate.  Even knowing that I tend to overdo it, having cut down considerably, I still have a lot on my plate.

I’ve stopped apologizing for it. Stopped seeing it as a defect of character. I’ve come to embrace it, even. It is simply a part of who I am.

So, last night, I found myself eating a bag of pistachios at 2 in the morning because I was over-tired and wanted to keep my body going till I finished one more thing. Then at some point I realized what I was doing might not be a good thing, and promptly stopped eating and went to bed.

How did I do it? I’ve been practicing an awareness technique that I learnt from Martha Beck. She calls it shackles on and off. That’s too much of a mouthful for me. I simply ask myself the following:

Is what I’m doing (or contemplating doing) draining or energizing?

That’s all.  And after practicing this regularly, it’s become automatic. I no longer have to ask that question. The minute I catch myself in an act that might not work, my body lets me know.

If this simple technique helps you – great!

If you think you’d like more tools, check into my online workshop Burning the Candle at Both Ends. It starts this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Live Happy

A few months ago, National Geographic featured the work of Dan Buettner on what makes a person’s life satisfying.  From his travels around the world, he found 3 ways, and 3 locations that featured these 3 ways.

One is a life that’s secure and safe, where it’s easy to make a good living; the location is Singapore.

Another is an interactive life, where people mingle every day – a place that lends itself living outdoors and walking everywhere; this location is a town in Costa Rica.

The last is Northern Denmark. Here, people can freely pursue what gives their lives meaning. They don’t have to worry about health care or education. This is all provided. And therefore, they can focus on working at what they love to do. In Denmark, 80% of workers like their job (as opposed to 30% in the US).

I like the second and third options, especially the third. That’s because what I do is very important to me, and when I do what I love, I’m happy. Even without health coverage and educational opportunities, I find ways to fulfill this need of mine.

It seems to depend on what kind of person we are. There is no right answer for everyone, and I suspect there are a few more ways of living that bring certain people real happiness.

Which are you?

You can take a true happiness test – for free – at www.bluezones.com .

Where Joy hides and how to find it

happy

Burning the Candle?

If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!
Quote of the Week

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.
Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

How to gain energy, and not lose it, doing what you love

Collaboration

 

Which situation would you rather be in?

  • Working on something you love, or that’s important; getting the support you need. No judgment, put-downs, control issues, hidden agendas. No isolation. Instead, being around others who really like you, and who you really like. Who appreciate what you do and how you do it. Who are willing to try things out and see what happens. Or,
  • Working on something you love, or that’s important; not getting any meaningful or positive support. Surrounded by implied threats, judgments, expectations, criticism. Where nothing you do is up to scratch – or barely up to scratch – or judged that way, even if you know it really is.

I’ve been in both, and no matter how great the work is, I no longer have the energy or patience to stick with the second. That kind of negativity is toxic and eventually drains me of all energy and ambition.

These days, I look for opportunities to collaborate with others who I like to be around. Who I feel good around. And who appreciate what I do.

I’ve learned this the hard way. Perhaps you have too.

What happened to me was I eventually burnt out. What I did about it is what my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends is all about. It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

Borders

 

I heard an interesting talk with Luis Alberto Urrea on borders, which he often uses and talks about in his books.  At one point, he compared the different sides of the Berlin Wall to that of the Mexican/US Border wall slowly being erected.

On the Eastern side of the Berlin wall, there were guns, patrols, silence; on the Western side, there was graffiti and human activity.

With the Mexican/US border wall, it’s the reverse: on the Mexican side, there are murals, graffiti, sculptures; there are mariachi bands and ice cream vendors and life.  But on the US side, there are guns, helicopters, patrols, and silence.

At the same time, I’m reading a fantasy novel called Hero of the Ages. The hero is told by a wizened general not to get to know the leaders he plans on conquering, because by doing so, he humanizes them. That’s what crossing borders does.

“Fences make good borders” is true sometimes, and exactly the opposite other times.  Do you know in yourself when that’s so?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Dream-Chasing and how to do it successfully

Have you got a dream? A big one, that your passionate about and that, deep down, you feel you might never realize?

It might be working every day on something you love. Or meaningfully contributing to a cause you’re passionate about. It might be becoming a mom or dad. Or owning your own home, mortgage-free.

Whatever it is, there’s one sure way of realizing it. Turtle steps.

That’s right! Turtle steps. Especially if it’s a big dream.

Turtle steps make it hard to procrastinate – and we are all procrastinators. You might believe that you’ve dreamed too big, that you somehow don’t deserve to realize your dream, that you’re not good enough, not disciplined enough. Not enough!

But the truth is you are enough. We are all procrastinators when we step into something new that we care about. It’s normal and natural. We want so much for the outcome to be a certain way, and there is no guarantee it will happen. So we get scared, then overwhelmed. Then we procrastinate.

That’s where turtle steps come in to save us.  This term was coined by Martha Beck after she learned to successfully teach her young son how to do what she considered to be pretty simple things.  They were – for her. But not for him.  For him, the steps were too hard, and too overwhelming. Martha learned to make the steps smaller and smaller, until her son was able to do each one easily.

We can do the same. If you need to learn about social media (like I do), and it’s foreign to you (like it is to me!), then come up with a way to learn about it in small and easy steps. So easy you hardly notice. Like creating an account one day. Then browsing for 10 minutes the next. Then asking one or 2 people you know to “friend” you and beginning a conversation with them. Every day, or once a week, adding to your knowledge, understanding, and comfort using social media. Until one day, you realize that it’s no longer a problem. Something else is – the next thing on your path towards your dream.

There’s a parable about turtle steps – you might have heard it: the story about the turtle and the hare, with the moral being slow and steady always beats fast and furious.

If you’re worried about actualizing your dream, and want to make sure you realize it, then you can’t go wrong with turtle steps.

Take it from a hare.

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Burning the Candle?

Interested? CLICK HERE!

Quote of the Week

Turtle has just one plan at a time, and every cell buys into it. -Ted Kooser

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Turning into a wilted flowed from burnout

burnout

I have a dream. And today I’m discouraged and disheartened because my efforts in realizing that dream aren’t going as well as I’d like.  It’s so hard sometimes: spending hours that I thought were going to be minutes on one task after another, then discovering a flaw and starting over.  Those are just the every-day issues.  The worst thing that gets in my way is me: my own discouragement, my own loss of faith that I can do this.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this, and it won’t be the last.  I haven’t given up on my dream, and honestly, don’t see that I will. I know there are a lot of people out there just like me, and I hope that what I say next will help you, as it helped me.

I have to remind myself on days like today that how I feel right now will pass, if I let it. And I ‘let it” by taking care of myself in every way. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I get clear on what’s important, and I find ways of de-stressing and maintaining faith in myself.

Sounds simple. We all know it isn’t.

But it works. I know.

My online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Beating the Odds

There are many kinds of disasters. Some life-shattering, most not life-shattering. Those that are truly awful aren’t usually the kind we can predict or avoid. The rest usually are.

Like driving down a major highway in traffic, wearing white and eating cherries.

I did exactly that 5 days ago. My thinking went like this: You know this could be disastrous.  But it’s OK.  I’ll be careful.  Well, the inevitable happened … I wasn’t careful enough.

I predicted it. I could have avoided it easily. I didn’t, instead convincing myself that I could beat the odds. This time.

I take silly risks like this every day, filling the void created from avoiding worry or boredom with something that brings excitement and distraction.

How would my day be different if, instead, I acknowledged my worry or boredom, and truly nourished my spirit?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletter. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Stressing out again?

I’ve encountered a few personal issues lately that could, if I let them, stress me out. Dealt successfully with one yesterday, and dealing with the other today.

In the middle of all this, I recall a client asking me how she could help herself cope with a stressful living issue that she couldn’t immediately change. I am constantly learning from my clients, and thought I’d give what we jointly came up with a try.

What stresses me most is confrontation. I don’t like having someone’s finger pointed at me; I don’t like being judged and blamed. Hate it, in fact.

My immediate reaction is anger, even rage. And I don’t like feeling rage … I want the world and everyone in it to be fair, adult, and just.

Well, put that way, I can see that my desire is pure fantasy. Not that the real world is a dark place, but people – me included – can be unfair, dishonest in ways that fool even them, and definitely judgmental.

So, following the advice of that long ago collaboration, here’s what I did:

  • I acknowledged my pain – my worry, my anger and rage – as legitimate and real.  I do this because it’s easy for me to discount my own feelings.
  • Then, I deliberately altered my perspective by taking deep and anchoring breaths, and thinking about all the good things in my life. Those good things make anything else that happens seem a lot less focal.  This exercise effectively puts things into perspective for me – and that’s a good place to be.
  • And now I have a better chance of dealing with the latest issue – even-handedly and with good perspective.

No magic wand. No clever trick. Just self-acknowledgment, making space, and upping my perspective.

Marie Forleo – Stress

Burning the Candle?
If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online programBURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.
― David Mamet, Boston Marriage
Announcement
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Who are you?

Who are you

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.  Dolly Parton said this.

It got me thinking about digging deeper into what it means to know thyself.  She not only says to do it, but to intentionally do it!

When we’re little, before we get hurt from one thing or another in life, we do know who we are, but not consciously.  Then, as we learn to defend ourselves from the bumps in our lives, we might begin to lose touch with that knowing, opting instead to focus on not getting hurt.

It took me a long time to get reacquainted with myself.  I call it body knowing, and believe it’s the only way I can trust myself.

I’m thinking that that’s what it means to find out who I am, and do it on purpose.

What do you think?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletter. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Honesty. The Best Medicine

I was listening to a friend tell me her story about losing something on the subway: she’d been tired after a long day and was on the train during rush hour.  It was jam packed … she was lucky to get a seat.  When she got that seat, she put her backpack on the ground between her feet, her groceries on top of her backpack, thinking they’d both be safe, and started looking through her saved messages.

When it came time to get off, she had to grab everything and push her way through the crowd before the doors closed.  It wasn’t till she got home that she realized her groceries weren’t with her.

What happened to them? How did she manage to pick up her backpack and not her groceries? Did someone take them or were they knocked off in the race to the door?

My friend was upset and relieved it wasn’t her backpack. She felt like a fool, realizing she’d taken a chance by not paying attention to her surroundings, and not being ready when the train was approaching her stop.  She was soundly berating herself by the time we talked.

As it turns out, I was a good one for her to call, because I understood everything she said. I understood the exhaustion, the need to disappear into my messages or a book, the sense of shock and imbalance over missing something that should be with me, and then the self-punishment. I even understood her suspicion that someone took the bag, even though there was nothing that expensive in it.

I felt what she felt.

This isn’t always true. Have you ever found yourself comforting a friend over a loss you’ve never had? It’s awkward; you don’t really know what to say, so you end up saying something you know is stupid, like “It’s alright, I understand”.

Well, you don’t really understand, and you know it. But you could imagine what it would be like to have something like that happen to you. You can feel that event, even though it’s imaginary.  We all can – that’s why we love stories and novels and movies about people who have adventures we’ve never had.

I was wondering how I would have responded to my friend if I hadn’t been through her own story, and realized I didn’t have to be. I simply had to be open to imagining it, and letting her know that’s what I was doing.

Honesty. The best medicine.

Understanding is a power to shape the world – Larry Rosen

Quote of the Week
General benevolence, but not general friendship, make a man what he ought to be.
― Jane Austen, Emma

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programsor contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .