7 DAYS OF MINDFULNESS-BASED MEDITATIONS – FREE

Do you ever feel that you’re burning the candle at both ends? Many of us feel this way but fail to speak up. Well, let me first say that you’re not alone. Many people feel this way- especially women. We live in a 24/7 news / event society. We wake up and check our cell phones. We go to bed right after checking our cell phones. Work never stops sending emails. Kids are kids. And, as if this wasn’t enough, there are many social and emotional challenges that all of us face daily. Our minds are racing, our hearts are pumping, and we think we can keep up on the hamster wheel until it breaks.

Don’t spin your wheels any longer. I can help you to stop burning the candle at both ends before those ends meet! Now, I wouldn’t offer you something without knowing that it could be accessible to everyone reading this post. So, as a result, I’m giving away online access to my Free (yes, free with an “F”) 7-day meditation course. It is an audio course that you can listen to and guess what- you can do this from anywhere!

Here’s the link: https://thejoyofliving.co/7day-meditation

7 day 3

If you feel passed the 7-day Free course and want more information on my in-person or online full course that deals with burning the candle at both ends, you can access more information here: https://thejoyofliving.co/programs/ You’re not obligated to buy this course first or after your free 7-Day meditation course. That meditation gift truly is from me to you and goes without any pressure or obligation to seek further services.

Life can be hard. I can help you to stand still for a second and understand the true benefits of both meditation and self-awareness.

GET FREE ACCESS TO MY 7-DAY MINDFULNESS BASED MEDITATION AUDIO PROGRAM

The power of fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But 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 .

 

Boundaries

 

Do you find that challenges come in waves? Not just in pairs, or threes, as tales tell. But in bunches.  That happened with me over the past several months, where I felt my boundaries being challenged over and over.

What I mean by that is that I would be asked – or expected – to let some seemingly little thing happen. Like letting something slip by as a “personal favor”, or changing the rules for a friend, or acting as mother to someone I’m not a mother to, or finding myself expected to listen to an endless rant on a mutual acquaintance.

These are all boundary breakers, because they effectively make me responsible, or partly responsible, for my friend’s or acquaintance’s, or colleague’s behavior.  The personal favor that I grant, if it causes pain for someone, can be justifiably seen as my fault, at least in part. The rule-changing, likewise.  Being a mother to a child is a special relationship that allows a boundaryless connection to some extent while your child is young. But allowing that in adulthood is called “codependence”. Allowing a friend or colleague to rant for more than a few minutes isn’t helpful to either of us: getting those bad feelings aired once is good; re-airing them more than that is painful and really depressing.

Apparently, I must score high on agreeableness – people who score high in this are more likely to accept someone oversharing because they don’t want the other person to feel in the wrong. I do know it’s a challenge for me, and have been aware of it for some time.  After all, I’m a therapist, and boundary maintenance is important in my line of work.

If you’re like me in allowing others to cross your boundaries, here are some tips in changing that, and living happier as a result:

  • Awareness. Learn to recognize the signs that boundaries are being challenged. One major sign is how you’re feeling about the conversation. Are you feeling uneasy? Bored? Anxious?  Pay attention to these indicators; take them seriously. True, it might be for some other reason – like broaching an unpleasant topic – but the more you become aware of how you react to breaking boundaries, the better you will be at recognizing the signs early.
  • Become a little disagreeable. Allow prolonged silences; don’t answer prying questions. You might get an apology, or a rebuff. Either way, you’ll feel stronger and in charge of the conversation, rather than at the effect of the other.
  • Limit it. Give it 5 or 10 minutes, then say you need to go elsewhere, or do other things. If a friend needs to vent, and you’re open to listening for a while, then this is a way to do it and support your friend without making you feel caught and cornered.
  • Attend to the degree of separation. With an intimate partner, most of us are very close and reveal a lot. Even here, there are boundaries: my partner may not want me to reveal things he’s said to me in private (this is even truer with our kids).  I’ll tend to reveal more to a friend than I do to an acquaintance or stranger.  Then there are relationships that are inherently unequal:  parent-child, teacher-student, therapist-client, manager-employee. It’s important to know and understand the rules of engagement when in an unequal situation, and the responsibility for doing so should rest with the person with the greater power.
  • When your boss is crossing a boundary: sometimes it’s obvious (a sexual inuendo) and sometimes it isn’t (asking a personal question). You may be dealing with an ethically dubious person and fear being fired if you don’t go along with it.  But honestly, letting yourself be invaded in never worth it in the long run.

Boundaries are good. Flexible boundaries are the best. When we honor our own boundaries, it engenders a sense of empowerment in us that makes our world a safer – and freer – place.

Good boundaries free you

Quote of the Week 

We cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person’s feelings.
― Melody Beattie

 

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.

 

Boundaries

 

Do you find that challenges come in waves? Not just in pairs, or threes, as tales tell. But in bunches.  That happened with me over the past several months, where I felt my boundaries being challenged over and over.

What I mean by that is that I would be asked – or expected – to let some seemingly little thing happen. Like letting something slip by as a “personal favor”, or changing the rules for a friend, or acting as mother to someone I’m not a mother to, or finding myself expected to listen to an endless rant on a mutual acquaintance.

These are all boundary breakers, because they effectively make me responsible, or partly responsible, for my friend’s or acquaintance’s, or colleague’s behavior.  The personal favor that I grant, if it causes pain for someone, can be justifiably seen as my fault, at least in part. The rule-changing, likewise.  Being a mother to a child is a special relationship that allows a boundaryless connection to some extent while your child is young. But allowing that in adulthood is called “codependence”. Allowing a friend or colleague to rant for more than a few minutes isn’t helpful to either of us: getting those bad feelings aired once is good; re-airing them more than that is painful and really depressing.

Apparently, I must score high on agreeableness – people who score high in this are more likely to accept someone oversharing because they don’t want the other person to feel in the wrong. I do know it’s a challenge for me, and have been aware of it for some time.  After all, I’m a therapist, and boundary maintenance is important in my line of work.

If you’re like me in allowing others to cross your boundaries, here are some tips in changing that, and living happier as a result:

  • Awareness. Learn to recognize the signs that boundaries are being challenged. One major sign is how you’re feeling about the conversation. Are you feeling uneasy? Bored? Anxious?  Pay attention to these indicators; take them seriously. True, it might be for some other reason – like broaching an unpleasant topic – but the more you become aware of how you react to breaking boundaries, the better you will be at recognizing the signs early.
  • Become a little disagreeable. Allow prolonged silences; don’t answer prying questions. You might get an apology, or a rebuff. Either way, you’ll feel stronger and in charge of the conversation, rather than at the effect of the other.
  • Limit it. Give it 5 or 10 minutes, then say you need to go elsewhere, or do other things. If a friend needs to vent, and you’re open to listening for a while, then this is a way to do it and support your friend without making you feel caught and cornered.
  • Attend to the degree of separation. With an intimate partner, most of us are very close and reveal a lot. Even here, there are boundaries: my partner may not want me to reveal things he’s said to me in private (this is even truer with our kids).  I’ll tend to reveal more to a friend than I do to an acquaintance or stranger.  Then there are relationships that are inherently unequal:  parent-child, teacher-student, therapist-client, manager-employee. It’s important to know and understand the rules of engagement when in an unequal situation, and the responsibility for doing so should rest with the person with the greater power.
  • When your boss is crossing a boundary: sometimes it’s obvious (a sexual inuendo) and sometimes it isn’t (asking a personal question). You may be dealing with an ethically dubious person and fear being fired if you don’t go along with it.  But honestly, letting yourself be invaded in never worth it in the long run.

Boundaries are good. Flexible boundaries are the best. When we honor our own boundaries, it engenders a sense of empowerment in us that makes our world a safer – and freer – place.

 

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 .

 

Eating Disorders in Midlife

Eating disorders, often referred to as EDs (not to be confused with Erectile Dysfunction), were identified as an issue perhaps 30 years ago or longer.  Since then, treatments have been put in place and modified with experience. These treatments are primarily geared towards helping adolescent girls, because this is the population that is identified as most likely to suffer from an ED.

But, EDs are much more prevalent than thought among women (and some men) who are transitioning from their energy-efficient young years to their not-so-energy-eficient midlife years. Treatment programs specifically for these women and men are rare.  (I will refer only to women, and assume the inclusion of men who are also suffering from an ED.)

ED’s include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. An ED may represent a relapse in a woman, or it may be the first time it’s happened to them. EDs can wreak havoc in a woman’s life, just as they can in adolescents; but because the woman doesn’t fit the profile, it can remain undiagnosed, untreated, and misunderstood.

Adolescents are innocents compared to a woman in her 40’s and 50’s (and even 60’s and 70’s). Although the adolescent will attempt to hide the disorder, it isn’t long before it’s noticed by a caring adult.  A woman, on the other hand, who has an ED, can hide it successfully for years, even from herself.  Fad diets – one after the other, over-exercising, diuretic foods and “natural” laxatives, detoxing and excessive fasting. I would even add liposuction to the list.  Maintaining our girlish figure keeps getting harder and harder as we age. And yet our society continues to place a premium on looking youthful.

It’s a way to maintain control in a chaotic world, to cope with painful situations. We are rewarded for looking young, for looking fit beyond our years.  Looking our age can bring on feelings of shame and embarrassment, instead of feelings of pride for our experience, accomplishments and hard-earned wisdom.

I don’t believe this preoccupation with looks is healthy. I don’t believe most people do, even if we all in some way support it. How do we begin the process of shifting to a healthier frame of mind? By learning to love who we are and how we look in this moment; choosing what we wear because we feel good in those clothes, by eating what gives us pleasure and is good for our bodies, and by fully accepting and loving the person we are and have become. By taking pride of ownership in who we have grown into.

For most of us, not at all an easy task.

Stripping away negative body image

Quote of the Week 

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
― Amy Bloom

 

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.

Eating Disorders in midlife

Eating disorders, often referred to as EDs (not to be confused with Erectile Dysfunction), were identified as an issue perhaps 30 years ago or longer.  Since then, treatments have been put in place and modified with experience. These treatments are primarily geared towards helping adolescent girls, because this is the population that is identified as most likely to suffer from an ED.

But, EDs are much more prevalent than thought among women (and some men) who are transitioning from their energy-efficient young years to their not-so-energy-eficient midlife years. Treatment programs specifically for these women and men are rare.  (I will refer only to women, and assume the inclusion of men who are also suffering from an ED.)

ED’s include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. An ED may represent a relapse in a woman, or it may be the first time it’s happened to them. EDs can wreak havoc in a woman’s life, just as they can in adolescents; but because the woman doesn’t fit the profile, it can remain undiagnosed, untreated, and misunderstood.

Adolescents are innocents compared to a woman in her 40’s and 50’s (and even 60’s and 70’s). Although the adolescent will attempt to hide the disorder, it isn’t long before it’s noticed by a caring adult.  A woman, on the other hand, who has an ED, can hide it successfully for years, even from herself.  Fad diets – one after the other, over-exercising, diuretic foods and “natural” laxatives, detoxing and excessive fasting. I would even add liposuction to the list.  Maintaining our girlish figure keeps getting harder and harder as we age. And yet our society continues to place a premium on looking youthful.

It’s a way to maintain control in a chaotic world, to cope with painful situations. We are rewarded for looking young, for looking fit beyond our years.  Looking our age can bring on feelings of shame and embarrassment, instead of feelings of pride for our experience, accomplishments and hard-earned wisdom.

I don’t believe this preoccupation with looks is healthy. I don’t believe most people do, even if we all in some way support it. How do we begin the process of shifting to a healthier frame of mind? By learning to love who we are and how we look in this moment; choosing what we wear because we feel good in those clothes, by eating what gives us pleasure and is good for our bodies, and by fully accepting and loving the person we are and have become. By taking pride of ownership in who we have grown into.

For most of us, not at all an easy task.

 

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 .

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

The gift and power of emotional courage

 

Quote of the Week 

Problem is, the bathroom pass can’t help you escape life. It’s still there when you come out. Problems and crap don’t go away hiding in the can.”
― Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry

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.

 

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

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 .

 

Changing seasons – seasons of change

It’s November again. Height of the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. A changing of seasons from the heat of Summer to cool air and falling leaves.

A season of change, when we harvest what’s grown, celebrating that harvest.  Ever-changing weather. Switching over in how we live – business, study, hobbies, interests.  These changes – physical and mental / emotional – are interconnected in one direction, where the change in seasons changes our ways of being.

Change is inherently scary. Some of us say we love change…. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. And even if we love it, we still need some down time to stay steady and stable.  We as humans, are creatures of habit, and habit is not about change, unless it’s about building a new habit.

Change is life! It’s movement. It’s growth. When we make a change that’s important to us, we feel alive and vital, and this makes the change that might have scared us all worthwhile.

I invite you, therefore, to consider what is changing in your world this season, and how it impacts you. How you might use that change to up your level of joy, at least a notch.

Change your story … change your life

 

Quote of the Week 

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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.

 

Changing seasons – seasons of change

It’s November again. Height of the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. A changing of seasons from the heat of Summer to cool air and falling leaves.

A season of change, when we harvest what’s grown, celebrating that harvest.  Ever-changing weather. Switching over in how we live – business, study, hobbies, interests.  These changes – physical and mental / emotional – are interconnected in one direction, where the change in seasons changes our ways of being.

Change is inherently scary. Some of us say we love change…. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. And even if we love it, we still need some down time to stay steady and stable.  We as humans, are creatures of habit, and habit is not about change, unless it’s about building a new habit.

Change is life! It’s movement. It’s growth. When we make a change that’s important to us, we feel alive and vital, and this makes the change that might have scared us all worthwhile.

I invite you, therefore, to consider what is changing in your world this season, and how it impacts you. How you might use that change to up your level of joy, at least a notch.

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 .

 

Keep well the road

Keep well the road.  – a friend’s high school motto. She thinks of it every time she feels she must “keep on trekking” when things get hard. It’s an odd way to say it, and yet brings up so many things precisely because of that oddness…

Keep your road well maintained, clean of potholes, debris, banana peels and so on. Make it as easy to traverse as possible, so that when the unexpected happens, or some un-looked-for opportunity suddenly looms before you, you are well supported to see it and take it.

Make the road sturdy and able to carry any traffic that may use it without failing. Have a base of solid stability that you can count on wherever your road takes you.

Know the road you’re on very well. Know it well enough that you can sense at any time where you are on it, so that when you stray from it, you can feel it and make the change necessary to keep well on it.

Choose the road that speaks to your heart and soul, so that you are the road, and the road is you.

Or ???.

How skateboarding defined this person’s path

Quote of the Week

There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.
― Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana

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.