Monthly Archive: September 2018

Excitement without oxygen

 

Dr. Margherita Lobb, in a recent talk on Anxiety, defined anxiety as “excitement without oxygen”.  In a visceral way, we can all relate to this: if you’ve experienced anxiety, it’s hard to breathe.  In fact, when anxious, a person either stops breathing, or begins to breath fast and shallow, filling only the upper part of their lungs.

We are excited, and we aren’t filling our lungs with oxygen.

Ms. Lobb then goes on to lay out what happens to our body when we’re in this state: when we deprive our body of oxygen, we must necessarily disconnect. This means we detach our bodies from our brains. To understand this, remember when you were last anxious and what it felt like. The rapid heart-beat, sweaty palms, shallow breathing; but also the mental preoccupation that begins to take over and spirals out of control if we let it.  This is what disconnection feels like. The mental take-over.

Knowing and understanding this is power, because this knowledge is key to reversing the effects of anxiety.

Here’s how:

  • Slow and deep: If we detach through shallow breathing, we can counter it by breathing deeply and slowly.
  • Bra-strap breathing. A “trick” I learned a few years ago and now share with my clients is to do what one client dubbed “bra-strap breathing”: imagine breathing into that area of your back where a woman’s bra strap usually sits, just below the shoulder blades; then breathe out slowly, pushing the sensation down to your belly button. If you take more time breathing out than you did breathing in, then you will also activate your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for calming and relaxing.
  • Ground yourself… by focusing on your feet connecting with the ground beneath you. This will literally lower your centre of gravity and provide stability.

The next time you experience anxiety, try these three things – slow and deep breaths, bra strap breathing, and grounding your feet – and feel the difference.

 

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 .

On Fear and Power

 

Uncontrolled fear that becomes habitual is a major source of anxiety.

I’m offering a program that addresses this kind of fear – it’s called Burning the Candle at Both Ends. If you’re interested in learning more, click here. It’s starting October 8th; registration closes October 7th .

 

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 .

 

It’s so easy to keep us quiet

It’s so easy to keep us quiet – all we have to do is want something badly and believe that we aren’t worthy of it, somehow.

If you hurt someone and can’t forgive yourself. Or were sure of yourself until you made a big mistake. Or are afraid of letting your parents down by failing in some way.

This deep-down feeling of unworthiness might show up as perfectionism, or it might show up as hiding, or of being cowed down. I’ve felt it: I let a bully dictate terms to me for almost 9 years, after making a big mistake and having to start over.  I’d been so sure of myself before that, then had the bad luck of letting someone who didn’t respect me dictate terms. It cowed me.

Then, when I came to appreciate what happened, it took a while to come to terms with the loss – of years, and joy, and even health.

You might be a perfectionist, or in hiding, or even cowed.  It isn’t because you made a mistake – mistakes are part of learning. It’s because you learned to feel unworthy, deep-down. And that has to go.

It any of what I’ve written speaks to you, if it’s even a little familiar, then you might be feeling embarrassed and ashamed. That’s what kept me quiet. But it’s false. Here’s what you can do to shake off that false feeling – the feeling that’s been holding you hostage:

  • It’s a lie. It’s a lie that you’re unworthy, and anyone helping you feel that way is the one who is truly unworthy. Acknowledge the truth instead of the lie – that you are worthy and always have been.

 

  • Feel the rage. In shamanism I was taught that rage is the teacher of truth. Once you recognize the lie, and the truth, you will feel rage. And along with that rage, you will begin to reclaim your truth.

 

  • Question and confront. Question anyone who suggests, implies, or even acts like you are unworthy; anyone who demands something of you that isn’t actually worthy of you. Begin to know and appreciate your own worth, and from a stable and grounded place inside you, confront and challenge.  This might look something like: “Please don’t speak to me that way; find some other way to say what you mean”. Or: “This is the best I can do right now”, without apology.

 

  • Be ready to leave a situation or person that won’t acknowledge you as an equal. This can seem hard. But once you claim your own worthiness, it’ll be a lot easier than you think.

 

Shame loves perfectionists

Perfection and stress??

If you’re driven y perfection, then you’re likely also stressed a lot of your life. This kind of stress will lead to burnout. My online program BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS  can help you begin to change that.

 
Registration is now open for October. Register Now!

Quote of the Week

“Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”

― Brené Brown - how do I do this again to tag the blue dot people?

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.

Hard talks

 

I’m conflict-averse. How about you? My dear friend, Andy, says he’s conflict-averse, but I don’t know anyone who deals with conflict and confrontation better than he does. When confronted with a conflict, he’s always available, fair-minded, and to the point. And what happens is that the conflict dissappears.

I’m talking about those times when you either keep quiet and sit on something that bothers you, or speak up and bear the consequences.  You might imagine the consequences will be big and painful, and that will keep you quiet. Then feel bad because you didn’t speak up. And, to compound the bad feeling, end up berating yourself for being such a coward.

Sometimes it’s true, the consequences are as bad as you imagine. But not always, and there are ways of mitigating them. It could be that you’re right in what you believe, but not great at effectively managing the confrontation, or being respectful of the other person.

Dr. Deborah Plummer, author of “Some of My Friends re…”, spoke recently at a Psychology gathering on conflict management. She advocates that when the goal is to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion, it might be better to opt for being effective and respectful instead of right.

Here are some of her examples: When the other person is…

  • Racist in some way, she suggests that you approach them with curiosity, looking for common values rather than blaming and shaming;
  • Not well-informed, focus on gathering common facts and testing assumptions (theirs and yours) instead of trying to “educate” them;
  • Being authoritarian, respond as an adult (rational) instead of a child-like (dependent) position, in order to shift the dynamic;
  • Demonstrates bad logic or bad thinking, recognize that you aren’t going to be able to change that, and move on with grace.

With every one of these examples, there is a common factor – maintaining your own inner balance and openness to the other. Once closed, none of us can deal well with conflict.

 

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 .

Courage and Vulnerability

When I’m stressed, it’s usually because I’m scared.  It might show up as worry that something I’m doing won’t be accepted, or fear that I won’t get done what I’ve decided I must get done. The bottom line, though, is I’m scared, and it’s this fear that drives me into stress and anxiety.

I tend to shut down when I’m scared, and all this does is increase the probability that I’ll ultimately fail at what I’m trying to do. If it’s a presentation, then this preoccupation means I won’t connect to my audience. I’ll end up falling flat and inspiring no one. If it’s preparing for a presentation, then by the time I feel I’m ready, I’ll be worn out and have no real energy for anyone.

My way of not stressing and getting overwhelmed is this: being vulnerable.  It’s kind of odd, not seeming to relate at all to stress and overwhelm. But it does relate, in this way: When I let myself be vulnerable, I always relax. I let go of the worry and preoccupation. I cry if I need to, talk out my sense of inadequacy to a friend, perhaps. I move that pent-up energy through my body. And most importantly, I stop worrying about what other might think, and let me be whoever I need to be in that moment.

Being vulnerable like this takes courage – of dropping my need to please and be accepted. Of accepting whatever consequences that brings and focusing solely on meeting my own needs. This (for me) will include being very prepared, knowing as much as I can about my audience and my topic. But it won’t include second-guessing my audience. And that means I’ll be available for them instead of closed to them.

With that, I’ve just increased the probability that I’ll ultimately succeed.

“You can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brené Brown

 

My program Burning the Candle at Both Ends will help you gain the courage you need to be vulnerable.   It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in registering.

 

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 .

 

Tapping The Power Within – how to turn frustration into delight

I’m travelling across the US, and right now I’m between Albequerque, New Mexico and Amarillo, Texas, in a tiny motel with no amenities.  The only internet access is at the Dairy Queen beside it, and it’s too slow to be very useful. I’m trying for the second time to have a successful online meeting, but because of the lack of services, am not successful.

This wasn’t the plan. The plan was to go from motel to motel as I traveled from West to East, checking first to see if they had internet access, and do the work I needed to do every evening. Up to this point, that’s what happened. Today it isn’t.  I’m from a big city where all the access I need is at my fingertips almost everywhere. I’m not used to this!

Finding myself whining and growing frustrated – and not liking where this was going – I take a moment. When I get frustrated, everything bothers me: not enough ice in my iced tea, no decent vegetarian options in the middle of nowhere in prime cattle country (surprise?), no hot water, no lighting exactly where I want it … I can go on.

I do this for a while, until I get a reflection from the table beside me. At that table, there’s another whiner. And that wakes me up.

That’s when I decide to switch attitude – to tap that power inside me that’s always there.  Reminding myself that I chose to drive across country. I chose to risk not finding anything vegetarian in a meat-eating rural space. I knew that access would be limited. I knew there would be inconveniences.  So how can I make this time work for me and not against me?

You know, it hasn’t been all bad.  Thank the powers-that-be for Starbucks!  None here, but there were Starbucks along the way and I was able to get some work done as a result, and have a good coffee or 2.

The iced tea might not have been cold enough, but it was surprisingly good. No TV? How about a walk in the cool desert evening – something I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise.

As I begin to re-focus, my frustration fades and is replaced by calm delight.

Pemma – On Discontent

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

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.” - Kurt Vonnegut

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.

Ouch!

 

A number of years ago, I’d just experienced a disastrous year and was lamenting to a friend about all the things that came crashing down around me. Her response was something like I can imagine my mother saying “Oh Maryanne! Your life isn’t so bad. Just imagine what the life of someone living in the Congo is like compared to yours!”

I get it. I am very grateful for what I have, for where I live, for my friends and opportunities. I would not even compare myself to a woman or man living in worse circumstances than mine.

And that’s the point: I hear a lot of my clients begin what they are about to say regarding the pain they’re in with a self-dismissal: “I know this is silly”, or “I can’t understand why this hurts so much”, or “My problems are so tiny compared to others”. Embarrassed that they are hurt, feeling unworthy of having hurt feelings. My work with them, if they come with this baggage, begins with respecting and owning their right to feel hurt, without comparing themselves to others who might “deserve” it more.

My message to anyone who feels like there’s something wrong with them for hurting is this: it doesn’t matter your circumstances. If you’re hurting, you’re hurting. You have a right to say “ouch”!

No need for comparrisson, or self-denigrationn, or second-guessing.

“When you sit on a pin you say “ouch!”. You don’t say “Thank god I didn’t sit on a nail!” from Elsie, a friend of a friend.

 

Announcements

If you’re a worrier, or someone who dismisses your own pain, take a look at my online program that starts up in October – Burning the Candle at Both Ends.

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 .

 

Your Beauty

I’m talking about real beauty – the kind that shines through you no matter what your hair looks like, no matter how much you ate last night or all week, no matter what you’re wearing. I’m talking about that quality that attracts the people you want to attract – that inner spark. That glow.

You have it. It might be hidden – from you and the rest of us. But it’s there.

It might be hidden behind anxiety and worry. Anxiety, worry, preoccupation … these states of mind can block that shining that is uniquely yours from blazing forth.

It’s time to remove that block. And shine.

 

Stress and burnout definitely blocks your shining. I’m offering a program that focuses on what you can learn and use from experiencing stress and burnout. If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

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 .

 

On Being a Kickass Woman

Below is a video about a group of indigenous women who decided to don climbing equipment, wearing their traditional clothes, and climb the Andes. Their children, their husbands, their friends all thought they were crazy. That they needed protecting. That their safety needed to come before excitement or challenge.

These women did it anyway. Their way. And they’re pretty good at it.

That’s what it takes to be a kickass woman. Following your own way. No matter what!

Mountain Climbers

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

“Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” - Golda Meir

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 make hard choices

 

I recently read Seth Godin’s blog on Difficult Decisions.  You know, those times when we need to make a decision about something we don’t want to deal with. Because the situation sucks, or there’s no great answer, or because whatever we decide will make us the “bad guy”.

In those times, all is not lost.  There are a few things you can do to make yourself feel – at least – like you’ve got something on your side.

  • First, admit it’s not the place you want to be, that you’d rather it was a better one. And then let it go. It is what it is.
  • Then, take a look at how you got here. This isn’t about self-criticism, but about critical discernment.  There’s a difference: doing the first is self-abusive and not needed; the second is helpful.
  • Review your options. Write them out so that they’re clear.
  • Then consider each one based on how it affects you energetically: when you think about that choice, does it energize you or deflate you? Then choose the option that gives you the most energy.

One thing I do know: in the end, I want to feel I did the best I could. Because that will feed my soul and give me energy. Anything else will deplete it and use me up.

 

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 .