Archive: Holistic Health

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.

 

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.

 

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 .

 

Here and Now – what it means

“Here and now” – I hear and read it all over; in yoga magazines, on websites, in health-related talks. Everywhere! And yet, it isn’t new; it’s been around for a long time, perhaps a really long time.  I first heard it when I was a student learning to be a yoga teacher, and then a gestalt therapist.

In gestalt therapy, it’s what we do as a therapist, helping our clients focus on what is present in their lives in the moment, instead of what they judge to be happening based on past unresolved experiences.

One part of our training is that we first learn about our own blocks. It’s part of what is termed the “Safe and Effective Use of Self”, or SEUS for short, and it involves clearing up our own unfinished business, learning the signs, and knowing how not to bring that into the therapy room.

For me, the whole point of therapy is to help a person be fluid in the present, unhindered by something that is making them rigid and unresponsive to their world. For instance – and I’ll use myself in this example – a few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a presentation that was really important to me. Usually, when I get ready, I write something out and then practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s always a lot of work, but writing comes easy for me. Not this time.  For some reason, I kept getting stuck. When I finally stopped to examine what the problem was, I discovered that I was really scared that I’d picked the wrong topic, and that the whole thing would be ruined. It was too late to change the topic – I’d already announced it all over the place. The only thing to do was to forge ahead.

But that did it for me. Every time I’d allow the thought “What if this topic is all wrong!” to creep in, I’d be stopped. My solar plexus would seize up, my throat would go dry, and all those words and concepts and stories I’d memorized would disappear. Worrying put me in my head, imagining past disasters, and I lost all presence and connection to what and who was around me.

I got through the presentation, and it was well received.  But one piece of feedback I received was that the flow wasn’t there as it usually is. The reason was because of that inner battle I fought right up to the day before.

Yes – the day before. Because I’ve learned a valuable technique: no matter what, when I’ve done whatever I can to properly prepare, then I relax and trust the process, so that I’m free to be present for my audience or my client.

That’s my way of being here and now for others. What’s yours?

Alan Watts – Being completely Here and Now

Quote of the Week
“Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live.”
― Steve Goodier

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.

Here and Now – what it means

“Here and now” – I hear and read it all over; in yoga magazines, on websites, in health-related talks. Everywhere! And yet, it isn’t new; it’s been around for a long time, perhaps a really long time.  I first heard it when I was a student learning to be a yoga teacher, and then a gestalt therapist.

In gestalt therapy, it’s what we do as a therapist, helping our clients focus on what is present in their lives in the moment, instead of what they judge to be happening based on past unresolved experiences.

One part of our training is that we first learn about our own blocks. It’s part of what is termed the “Safe and Effective Use of Self”, or SEUS for short, and it involves clearing up our own unfinished business, learning the signs, and knowing how not to bring that into the therapy room.

For me, the whole point of therapy is to help a person be fluid in the present, unhindered by something that is making them rigid and unresponsive to their world. For instance – and I’ll use myself in this example – a few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a presentation that was really important to me. Usually, when I get ready, I write something out and then practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s always a lot of work, but writing comes easy for me. Not this time.  For some reason, I kept getting stuck. When I finally stopped to examine what the problem was, I discovered that I was really scared that I’d picked the wrong topic, and that the whole thing would be ruined. It was too late to change the topic – I’d already announced it all over the place. The only thing to do was to forge ahead.

But that did it for me. Every time I’d allow the thought “What if this topic is all wrong!” to creep in, I’d be stopped. My solar plexus would seize up, my throat would go dry, and all those words and concepts and stories I’d memorized would disappear. Worrying put me in my head, imagining past disasters, and I lost all presence and connection to what and who was around me.

I got through the presentation, and it was well received.  But one piece of feedback I received was that the flow wasn’t there as it usually is. The reason was because of that inner battle I fought right up to the day before.

Yes – the day before. Because I’ve learned a valuable technique: no matter what, when I’ve done whatever I can to properly prepare, then I relax and trust the process, so that I’m free to be present for my audience or my client.

That’s my way of being here and now for others. What’s yours?

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 .

The real meaning of “Impromptu”

Impromptu

Mark Twain was the inspiration for this blog when I happened upon his quote: “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Exactly! He does have a way with words.

When I read this, I decided to make my next Toastmasters speech about it – for all of my colleagues who believe they lack in some way because they don’t have the “impromptu” part figured out yet.

To prepare for this speech I did some research, and came across an excellent article written by Chris Anderson, curator of TED, about how TED support their speakers.  They don’t choose their speakers based on whether they can come up with a speech on the spot. They choose their speakers based on three things:  the original idea, the story, and the speaker’s passion for their idea.

TED gives a speaker 6 months to prepare a speech, which must be completed a month ahead of time.  A speaker must memorize their speech, completely, before giving it: no scripts or teleprompters allowed.  Mr. Anderson believes that reading from a script or teleprompter disappoints and disengages the audience. Memorizing all of it is the only way.

Not impromptu.

What is impromptu is the idea, and the speaker’s passion. The rest is practice, practice, practice.

 

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 .

 

Karma

Darlene recently made a decision that might upend her life in ways she never wanted. She did want, with all her heart, to be successful in her profession. To that end, she did something scary and invested heavily in a program that promised to help her achieve her dream. The scary part was that it was a big risk for her: she was close to retirement age and this money was earmarked for just that.  She knew that if this didn’t work, she’d be in trouble.

Before she made her move, did Darlene do her homework and base her decisions on what she really knew about herself? Or did she blindly jump in, trusting in others instead of herself? If she blindly jumped in, then she’s just increased her own karma.

Karma is the sum of our actions in this lifetime that will determine our next lifetime. This means if we’re considerate in our actions, that sum is lower; if not, it’s higher.

Even if it ends up being a mistake – what Darlene did – if she chose with care and consideration, whatever happens won’t be as gloomy as it would have been had it been a thoughtless move.  She need not recriminate herself – it was a risk. She loses no self-esteem, and can as a result bounce back much easier.

I’ve noticed in my practice and in my own life, that people can make themselves miserable if they let other people run their lives. For instance, if I react to a comment from a friend that feels hurtful, that “friend” is momentarily running my life – and I’ve just added to my karma. If I make any decision based on what I think others in my life want instead of what I want, I’m building karma.

It’s the source of human suffering – this build-up of karma. The best way I know to begin to reduce that suffering is to empower myself by clearing out judgments and comparisons, and living life on my own terms.

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 .

 

Inner strength

This time of year is a glorious time for some, and really rough for others. It’s a busy time for therapists and coaches.

The disappointments. The unfulfilled expectations. The hopes and longings that never happened.  All of these can send some of us into depression and even despair.

But not necessarily. There’s something that we all have that can bring us through hard times: our inner reserve of strength. It’s there especially for hard times, when we need something more than the usual every-day strength to make it through.

We do all have this strength. So, if you find yourself heading towards feeling lost or disappointed or depressed, remember that you have this strength, that it’s there for just this time. And then tap into it.

 

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 .

Pas de deux

Pas de deux

Pas de deux. This dance of life, always between two beings. Making it possible to change and grow.

The charming image of the junior egret learning from its parent … learning, perhaps, how to show off and impress others. How to spread its wings and begin to taste freedom.

We live in a world where growth and life isn’t even possible without this dance. Even if we believe we’ve done it all ourselves, we haven’t. Each one of us have had opportunities provided by others and the world around us.

I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and grateful for the chance to provide that for others.

 

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

Opportunities that come our way are only good if we’re ready and open for them.  This means being focused and relaxed – and happy. The opposite of relaxed focus is being anxious or burnt-out.  If you’re experiencing this, you may find my online course Burning the Candle at Both Ends worthwhile.

It’s starting now.  Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

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.

 

Mindfulness and Mindlessness

I meditate every morning – for at least half an hour. Sometimes, I end up gaining energy and a kind of delightful groundedness from it that can carry me through the rest of the day. Sometimes, I feel it’s little more than sleeping sitting up, where the entire time can go by in a blink.

Ellen Langer would call the first instance one of mindfulness, and the second one of mindlessness.  Ms. Langer is a social psychologist at Harvard University, who has studied Mindfulness and what she calls Mindlessness since at least the 1970’s.  In a recent podcast, she spoke about what mindfulness really means for her.

She defines Mindfulness as the simple act of actively noticing things. For her, being mindful doesn’t necessarily involve meditating or yoga, or any particular recommended way of being. All of these things can be mindful, and they can also be unmindful, depending on how we are while we do them.

From her studies, experiments and research, she concludes that most of us are mindless most of the time, and that this mindlessness is at least a major contributor to illness and unhappiness in our lives.

In one study, for instance, which she terms Counter-Clockwise, she has a group of men in their 80’s live in a retreat for a week that has been retrofitted to around 20 years earlier. These men were to act as if this retrofit were in the present (i.e., as if they were 20 years younger).  What she discovered, by measuring their physical and emotional well-being after that week, was that they not only felt 20 years younger, but that their hearing, vision, memory and strength had all significantly improved.

Her work addresses the mind/body question in an intriguing way: most of us still separate the mind from the body – looking at how the mind influences the body and vice versa.  She doesn’t make this distinction. Instead, she sees mind and body as inseparable.

With this perspective, the Placebo can be seen as a powerful and valid drug instead of a mistake; one that unlocks our brain’s inner pharmacy, and gives us mastery over our own health. How empowering that is!

I could talk endlessly about the implications and applications stated and implied by Ms. Langer that come from her approach and perspective, but will offer up one that we can all use right away: re-invigorating our personal relationships.

Most, if not all, of us can find ourselves getting too used to our life partners.  The prevailing wisdom when that happens is to change things up; to freshen that relationship by making it new again.  And some people manage to do that with success.  Or, you can try this:

Every day for a week, make a point of actively noticing 5 things about your partner. For instance, you might notice today that he or she carefully folded their pajamas before leaving for work. What you notice doesn’t have to be profound; it simply needs to be something you actively engage in in the moment.

What happens?  A revitalized connection to your partner.

 

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 .