Life Lessons from My Toddler

My girl decided to start taking steps the day before her first birthday. It was just about the coolest thing (right next to her first coo, babble, roll, crawl, laugh, etc. etc. … you get it - #parenthood). Yet, I find I’ve been awestruck more by her continued practice in the couple of weeks since. The resilience. The curiosity. The perseverance. The progress. It’s just all so incredible to watch.

And this morning was eye-opening. She was just toddling back and forth, back and forth … and I was sitting at the kitchen table, throwing back coffee and learning life lessons from my toddler. Watch the video and read on …

Four Tips From My Toddler On Doing New/Hard Things:

  1. Do it in a safe space. Notice the baby gates on either side. She knows I’m close. As a result, she’s able to give it her all. It’s always smart to do hard and risky things in safer places (or, with knowledge that you have safe people to process with or turn toward).

  2. Be okay with falling. I don’t think she enjoyed falling, but she seems to accept it. How we view our inevitable falls, failures or mistakes as we explore new things can make all the difference in our ability to move forward.

  3. Allow yourself to take a break. I love when she just lays down. We have to allow ourselves to rest and reset when we’ve been doing a hard thing - whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.

  4. Reach for support when you need it. There are points when she just reaches for the stability of the couch. The touch is just enough to give her confidence to let go. It is WISE to reach for help when we’re feeling off balance or stuck or lost. 

PONDER: When’s the last time you chose to do a new or hard thing? What helped you succeed?

The Subconscious Mind Matters

Anybody else resonate with this, or is it just me?!

Seriously though, it’s experiences like these that can teach us a lot about how our brains work. They’re designed to be efficient. What our brain CAN put on autopilot, it’s going to put on autopilot. For example, breathing, walking, chewing ... most of us don’t actually have to think through how to do those things, right?

That’s because when we repeat something — behaviors, thoughts, or feelings — our brain takes the cue and works to make that repetition easy to recall and continue. Our brain does that for necessary, life-sustaining behaviors, as well as any good, healthy habits we may set out to build. However, our brain doesn’t discriminate in its drive for efficiency. That means our not so helpful ways of being and doing also can easily become automatic.

PONDER: Have you ever felt like you didn’t have control over how you felt or reacted to something (or someone)? Ever find yourself stuck in a thought pattern you can’t quite shake?

Frankly, you may be feeling less than awesome BECAUSE your brain is so good at what it does. 

Fortunately, we can leverage your brain’s awesomeness for positive change, as well.

Want to know how? In a word: neuroplasticity. The process? An intentional, conscious one. It starts with getting clarity on what automatic processes aren’t helping you anymore.

Make an appointment to get started on changing your brain … and, ultimately, your life for the better!

3 Ways to Fight Post-Vacation Depression

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life that you don’t need to escape from.
— Seth Godin

While I don't necessarily agree with any theory that assumes vacation is simply an attempt at escaping normal life, I get Godin's point: live a life you love, 24/7, 365 — not just whilst on vacay. And I like that point. I agree with that point. Part of any therapy is pursuing that point. So, props to Seth.

But I'm also pro-vacation. I believe in the rejuvenation that comes from getting away from routine. I'm a major proponent of any opportunity for healthy adventure. And I can't help but think (and know, from personal experience) that travel makes for a transformative journey and a wonderful life story. So, vacation? Yes, please.

However, I know it can be hard to reenter "normal" life after those enjoyable periods of heightened experience, memory making and/or relaxation. In fact, post-depression blues are a pretty universal experience. Attempting to re-acclimate to life at home and work, we often experience a sense of letdown and disenchantment. It's normal for a minor depression to set in for a few days or weeks.

So, what do we do about it? How do you move through the inevitable post-vacation funk? Slowly and purposefully:

Ease back in (or, float on the funk). Give yourself a day or two of grace on the back end of your vacation. Use that time to unpack, grocery shop and do laundry at an unhurried and leisurely pace. Take an hour to look out at the month ahead — what's important, what's not? Put a line through an event or duty or two. Just back from a break and feeling the benefits, you should use that momentum to ban busy from your future schedule by allotting time for self-care and play in your day to day life!

Use the funk to reflect. As you transfer your vacation photos from your camera to your computer, go ahead and reminisce. Sit and soak in the memories and ask yourself some questions: What did your vacation awaken within you? What did your time away teach you about who you are, what you enjoy and what's NOT working in your non-vacation life?

Let the funk propel you toward change. Depression can feel immobilizing, but one of the best ways to fight the funk fast is to mobilize. Do something. Better yet, do something GOOD ... for your body, for someone else, for your future. Exercise. Sign up for that online course you've been thinking about. Cook dinner for a group of friends. Make your ordinary life a little bit more extraordinary by doing one new thing every day.

----
Of course, if you're up for a little extra help in creating the kind of day-to-day life you won't feel the need to escape from, I'm here to listen ... and to help you write a better life story. GET IN TOUCH and we'll get started

Dx: Anvil Anticipation

I think a lot of people suffer from it.*

It's a mental disorder in which a person expects to get smushed by life. They live life hunched over and shirking, ever observant and constantly processing, certain — even in (and especially in) their good times — that bad is going to come careening out of the sky with a weight and a force that destroys. They are Wylie Coyote and their destiny is to have anvils fall out of the sky upon them. Those unfortunate enough to have this disorder, find that trust does not come easily. Their joy is cautious, rarely fully realized. Defeat and depression are the homeland they must regularly wade through, push past and daily leave behind.

Treatment plans often feature leaps of faith, immersion therapy, supportive relationships with trustworthy people, regular vacations, hugs, analysis of past smushings, paying particular attention to the positives, sharing moments of delight, and time.

*this is not a real disorder.

----

Does this "diagnosis" fit you? You're not alone ... and I'd love to help you work through it. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT!

EAP: Embracing a Herd Mentality

EAP: Embracing a Herd Mentality

The mental health field is not unlike a lot of professions today — there is always more to know, so an expert's efforts are best spent learning and growing in specializations about which they're passionate. For me, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a combination of two of MY great loves — horses and helping people.