Monthly Archive: April 2019

Plan for the worst, and expect the best

I am preparing for an event that is really important to me. It’s happening in 2 days.  I’ve been preparing for it for over a month – the script, the choreography, the support, the presentation, the materials. And lately also the mess-ups and last-minute re-arrangements.

Today, a few things happened that forced me to make different arrangements, and that put my schedule off.  One thing I’ve noticed and others have pointed out to me is that I habitually spend the few days before an event running around non-stop, until I fall into bed at around 3am.

Every time! No matter how much I’m prepared, I end up in a panic the 2 or 3 days before the long-planned event.

Why?

Because I lose perspective. I get wound up. I worry about anything I might have missed and that will surely show up and create a crisis. I plan for the worst, and expect the worst.  And, all I have to do to transform the built-up self-imposed stress into confident relaxation and preparedness is change the second part of that sentence:

Plan for the worst, and expect the best.

What reality are you creating for yourself?

 

Quote of the Week

Know that everything is in perfect order whether you understand it or not.”
― Valery Satterwhite

Announcement

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Plan for the worst, and expect the best

I am preparing for an event that is really important to me. It’s happening in 2 days.  I’ve been preparing for it for over a month – the script, the choreography, the support, the presentation, the materials. And lately also the mess-ups and last-minute re-arrangements.

Today, a few things happened that forced me to make different arrangements, and that put my schedule off.  One thing I’ve noticed and others have pointed out to me is that I habitually spend the few days before an event running around non-stop, until I fall into bed at around 3am.

Every time! No matter how much I’m prepared, I end up in a panic the 2 or 3 days before the long-planned event.

Why?

Because I lose perspective. I get wound up. I worry about anything I might have missed and that will surely show up and create a crisis. I plan for the worst, and expect the worst.  And, all I have to do to transform the built-up self-imposed stress into confident relaxation and preparedness is change the second part of that sentence:

Plan for the worst, and expect the best.

 

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 .

Would you do it tomorrow?

tomorrow

 

I belong to a few organizations that require lots of volunteer work. For some years, I wondered if I had a neon sign on my forehead saying “Ask her!” . Then I slowly came to realize that that neon sign was internal, always saying “Yes” when my schedule was already full. Wanting to be liked that badly.

Then, I came up with a plan of action to turn this unproductive behavior around.  First, I let myself sit in awareness of the number of times I do this daily. I learned how to delay my “Yes” response long enough to give myself a chance to say “No”.

It worked many times, but certainly not all the time.  Then I heard an interview with Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock. Ms. Vanderkam is a time management expert, who often found herself doing the same thing. What she noticed is that it’s a lot easier to say “Yes” to something that’s months away, because it’s almost as if we believe that event won’t really happen, or that it will happen with someone other than ourselves.  Then the day turns up, and we wonder why we ever agreed to it.

Her strategy? Ask yourself “Would I do this tomorrow?” Instead of thinking and believing that the event is something you can put out of your mind, imagine how you’ll feel about it if you were suddenly teleported to the day before the event.

How would you feel? I can think of some events I’d want to be a part of. I can think of others I would rather not. In doing this mental exercise, I realized something: those I want to be a part of are things I want to do because I want to do them; those I don’t want to be part of are things I believe would please others.

Say no to say yes

Quote of the Week

Sometimes “No” is the kindest word.

― Vironika Tugaleva

Announcements

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 .

 

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 .

Would you do it tomorrow?

tomorrow

 

I belong to a few organizations that require lots of volunteer work. For some years, I wondered if I had a neon sign on my forehead saying “Ask her!” . Then I slowly came to realize that that neon sign was internal, always saying “Yes” when my schedule was already full. Wanting to be liked that badly.

Then, I came up with a plan of action to turn this unproductive behavior around.  First, I let myself sit in awareness of the number of times I do this daily. I learned how to delay my “Yes” response long enough to give myself a chance to say “No”.

It worked many times, but certainly not all the time.  Then I heard an interview with Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock. Ms. Vanderkam is a time management expert, who often found herself doing the same thing. What she noticed is that it’s a lot easier to say “Yes” to something that’s months away, because it’s almost as if we believe that event won’t really happen, or that it will happen with someone other than ourselves.  Then the day turns up, and we wonder why we ever agreed to it.

Her strategy? Ask yourself “Would I do this tomorrow?” Instead of thinking and believing that the event is something you can put out of your mind, imagine how you’ll feel about it if you were suddenly teleported to the day before the event.

How would you feel? I can think of some events I’d want to be a part of. I can think of others I would rather not. In doing this mental exercise, I realized something: those I want to be a part of are things I want to do because I want to do them; those I don’t want to be part of are things I believe would please others.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. 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 [link to www.thejoyofliving.co/7day-meditation/ ] for my insider newsletter, click here [link to www.thejoyofliving.co/7day-meditation/ ] .  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 .

Bringing out the best of each other

 

There are many studies available that predict a longer and happier life if you are in a contented relationship. The biggest reason, it seems, is that this kind of relationship brings out the best in us because we feel supported, safe, and valued.

I’m in a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. My partner and I support each other in a number of ways:

  • We have a genuine regard for each other. One sure indicator that a relationship is over is if one partner feels contempt for the other. That feeling of contempt means that one is no longer open to seeing their partner in an intimate, connected way. And that means the relationship is over. Mutual regard can’t be forced, but is a bottom-line necessity for a healthy relationship.
  • We are genuinely interested in each other’s point of view, whether that point of view is different from each other’s or not. We want to know and appreciate both our similarities and our differences. It’s often the differences that enrich our lives. Without that, we can’t grow.
  • We support each other’s growth and development. This means that we feel free to criticize constructively, and to challenge each other. That kind of challenging can only happen when we trust that our partner cares about us and wants the best for us.
  • We support each other’s dreams. We know what those dreams are, and we help each other achieve them, rather than judge or compare their dreams to our own.
  • We tell each other the truth. No lies, not even white ones. You know when you’re being lied to, and you can trust that your partner does too. Ultimately, telling lies – or not speaking up when you should – undermines mutual trust in one another, and will eventually destroy intimacy.

The February, 2019 issue of Psychology Today has an article titled The Michelangelo Effect that speaks of the positive impact of our intimate friends, especially our partners. Well worth a look.

What you don’t know about marriage

 

 

Quote of the Week

When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.”
― Jess C. Scott

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. 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 .

Bringing out the best of each other

 

There are many studies available that predict a longer and happier life if you are in a contented relationship. The biggest reason, it seems, is that this kind of relationship brings out the best in us because we feel supported, safe, and valued.

I’m in a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. My partner and I support each other in a number of ways:

  • We have a genuine regard for each other. One sure indicator that a relationship is over is if one partner feels contempt for the other. That feeling of contempt means that one is no longer open to seeing their partner in an intimate, connected way. And that means the relationship is over. Mutual regard can’t be forced, but is a bottom-line necessity for a healthy relationship.
  • We are genuinely interested in each other’s point of view, whether that point of view is different from each other’s or not. We want to know and appreciate both our similarities and our differences. It’s often the differences that enrich our lives. Without that, we can’t grow.
  • We support each other’s growth and development. This means that we feel free to criticize constructively, and to challenge each other. That kind of challenging can only happen when we trust that our partner cares about us and wants the best for us.
  • We support each other’s dreams. We know what those dreams are, and we help each other achieve them, rather than judge or compare their dreams to our own.
  • We tell each other the truth. No lies, not even white ones. You know when you’re being lied to, and you can trust that your partner does too. Ultimately, telling lies – or not speaking up when you should – undermines mutual trust in one another, and will eventually destroy intimacy.

The February, 2019 issue of Psychology Today has an article titled The Michelangelo Effect that speaks of the positive impact of our intimate friends, especially our partners. Well worth a look.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] for an sample]. 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 .

Don’t take it personally

 

The February edition of Psychology Today has a piece by Toni Bernhard that speaks to me titled “It’s Not About You”. It’s worth reading. Last week I travelled to Michigan to see my friends and partner, as I do pretty much every month. I have a Nexus card for exactly that purpose, and have been using it with no issue for the past 9 years.  This time, I was interrogated for over an hour, threatened, and my car searched.  It was ugly and traumatizing.

Let’s talk about trauma for a second. Trauma is a brain thing, not a mental thing. That is, it directly impacts the brain nerves, and as such, when experienced, there is no way to prepare mentally or emotionally for it. That’s why the best treatment for trauma is lots of support to help the person get through the physical assault to the brain, and get back to a sense of normal balance (for a video presentation you might want to watch Dr. John Rigg explain it.

I experienced trauma, and as such wasn’t functioning well. Within 2 days, I was late for something important, completely missed another thing that was equally important – letting many others down – found myself incredibly tired, and finally had a melt down 24 hours later that lasted another 24 hours.

In that time, I blamed myself for everything and tried to work out what I could have done differently – until I had a talk with my supervisor and friend, who described what I was going through and emphasized that it wasn’t my fault. There was and is nothing I can do to prepare for a traumatizing event, and the physical outcome of that event is also not something I can change.  The only thing that is in my power to do something about is to seek support once I understand what’s happening. AND, to avoid ruminating and blaming myself.

I did apologize to my friend for missing her event, and I sent a note of explanation to the person whose event I was late for. Then I rested and let my body heal. Once my head was clear, I took the kind of action available to me that could best realistically address the issue.

I’d like to say that I avoided ruminating and self-flagellation. Alas, that was too much to ask. However, I did manage to limit it. I am a person who routinely takes on the responsibility of a situation that really isn’t my responsibility. Are you like me?

Who knows what was going on with the border guard, or why they did what they did. I will probably never know. It wasn’t for anything I actually did – my record is clean.  So it had to be something in their lives that did it. In other words, it wasn’t about me!

It’s hard not to take such an event personally, but that’s the point: it really isn’t personal. So don’t take it personally. It was unfortunate, and there was and will likely be fallout. But it isn’t personal.

In Toni Bernhard’s research, she discovered that when we take things personally, we undermine our ability to feel good about ourselves, which in turn, brings on depression and anxiety. It’s associated with greater rumination – that downward spiraling into darkness.

Here’s another example from my life – in this case my young life.  I was testing for a swimming level and was kept back and asked to repeat certain strokes.  I immediately assumed it was because I’d done something wrong and was being given another chance. This thinking made me hyper aware and I nearly drowned.  Even so, what really happened was that I got an extra commendation for excellent form.

The best kind of support for those of us who ruminate is this:

  • Develop and use your own “doubt shout”: Once you recognize that you’re ruminating (and this might take a while), find a way to stop it. I use a “doubt shout”, because it really is about me doubting myself. My particular doubt shout that works for me is “Don’t go there! It doesn’t really matter if there’s some truth in it. It’s simply a waste of time.”
  • Treat yourself to kindness and compassion. Realistic positive reinforcement is a far stronger and more effective approach than negative punishing reinforcement. I think we all know that, deep down.
  • Be clear about what you are actually responsible for. I’m reminded of the Serenity prayer here: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” What I can change is me, my approach and my circumstances. That’s all!

The Power of Reframing

 

 

Quote of the Week

Life picks on everyone … don’t take it personally.

-Steve Gilliland

Announcements

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.

Don’t take it personally

 

The February edition of Psychology Today has a piece by Toni Bernhard that speaks to me titled “It’s Not About You”. It’s worth reading. Last week I travelled to Michigan to see my friends and partner, as I do pretty much every month. I have a Nexus card for exactly that purpose, and have been using it with no issue for the past 9 years.  This time, I was interrogated for over an hour, threatened, and my car searched.  It was ugly and traumatizing.

Let’s talk about trauma for a second. Trauma is a brain thing, not a mental thing. That is, it directly impacts the brain nerves, and as such, when experienced, there is no way to prepare mentally or emotionally for it. That’s why the best treatment for trauma is lots of support to help the person get through the physical assault to the brain, and get back to a sense of normal balance (for a video presentation you might want to watch Dr. John Rigg explain it.

I experienced trauma, and as such wasn’t functioning well. Within 2 days, I was late for something important, completely missed another thing that was equally important – letting many others down – found myself incredibly tired, and finally had a melt down 24 hours later that lasted another 24 hours.

In that time, I blamed myself for everything and tried to work out what I could have done differently – until I had a talk with my supervisor and friend, who described what I was going through and emphasized that it wasn’t my fault. There was and is nothing I can do to prepare for a traumatizing event, and the physical outcome of that event is also not something I can change.  The only thing that is in my power to do something about is to seek support once I understand what’s happening. AND, to avoid ruminating and blaming myself.

I did apologize to my friend for missing her event, and I sent a note of explanation to the person whose event I was late for. Then I rested and let my body heal. Once my head was clear, I took the kind of action available to me that could best realistically address the issue.

I’d like to say that I avoided ruminating and self-flagellation. Alas, that was too much to ask. However, I did manage to limit it. I am a person who routinely takes on the responsibility of a situation that really isn’t my responsibility. Are you like me?

Who knows what was going on with the border guard, or why they did what they did. I will probably never know. It wasn’t for anything I actually did – my record is clean.  So it had to be something in their lives that did it. In other words, it wasn’t about me!

It’s hard not to take such an event personally, but that’s the point: it really isn’t personal. So don’t take it personally. It was unfortunate, and there was and will likely be fallout. But it isn’t personal.

In Toni Bernhard’s research, she discovered that when we take things personally, we undermine our ability to feel good about ourselves, which in turn, brings on depression and anxiety. It’s associated with greater rumination – that downward spiraling into darkness.

Here’s another example from my life – in this case my young life.  I was testing for a swimming level and was kept back and asked to repeat certain strokes.  I immediately assumed it was because I’d done something wrong and was being given another chance. This thinking made me hyper aware and I nearly drowned.  Even so, what really happened was that I got an extra commendation for excellent form.

The best kind of support for those of us who ruminate is this:

  • Develop and use your own “doubt shout”: Once you recognize that you’re ruminating (and this might take a while), find a way to stop it. I use a “doubt shout”, because it really is about me doubting myself. My particular doubt shout that works for me is “Don’t go there! It doesn’t really matter if there’s some truth in it. It’s simply a waste of time.”
  • Treat yourself to kindness and compassion. Realistic positive reinforcement is a far stronger and more effective approach than negative punishing reinforcement. I think we all know that, deep down.
  • Be clear about what you are actually responsible for. I’m reminded of the Serenity prayer here: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” What I can change is me, my approach and my circumstances. That’s all!

 

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 .

 

Our Beautiful Brain

Years ago, the scientific community discovered that our left and right brains function differently. This idea quickly became a favorite of pop psychology – so much so that for many years, scientists wanted little to do with any research involving it.  However, some scientists still loved it. One such scientist is Ian McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, where he discusses the differences between the two, and the fact that we need both.

What he discovered in his own studies and research is that the 2 sides do not do different things, but do the same things differently. Our left brain focuses on what’s immediately in front of it. It’s the calculator and detail-oriented part.  The right, on the other hand, sees the big picture, and understands connections.

With our right brain, we can appreciate different points of view, be moved by a beautiful sunset, or a beautiful piece of music. With the left brain, we can solve detailed problems.

McGilchrist is also a psychiatrist, and believes that our world prizes primarily left brain functions.  For instance, left brain views are always slightly paranoid because it can never see the big picture. It needs security and predictability. It sees only in black and white. It’s the right brain that can discern nuances, and be open to exploring something that is as yet unpredictable.

Our world could do with more right brain appreciation, and a real appreciation that both our left desire for details and action, and our right need for art and love, are essential for a full and balanced world.

My Stroke of Insight

 

Quote of the Week

The television is ‘real’. It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Announcements

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.