Healthy Boundaries — How do I get some of those?

Practicing healthy, flexible boundaries is a form of self-care. If you don’t stand up for yourself and allow others to manipulate, guilt, or control you, it’s likely that your personal boundaries are porous. If you find it hard to listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion, tend to become highly emotional, argumentative, or give advice to correct them or, conversely, shut down to keep them away, it’s a sign that your personal boundaries are rigid.  When you can stand up for your boundaries, own your own thoughts and feelings yet still be open to hearing and let another person express their ideas and feelings  it’s a sign that you have flexible boundaries and your inner self applauds and thanks you. (more…)

Driven to Distraction in the Digital Age

— Are Your Relationships Being Impacted?

Notice how natural it feels to just keep walking over to look at your inbox when you’ve sent emails and are waiting for replies? Or how easy it is to use up 15 minutes mindlessly trolling through Facebook posts when you probably could be doing other more productive, like focusing on a task at hand, doing some relaxing activities or how about no activity at all, like lying down or sitting and doing a gentle meditation or breathing practice? I sure find myself in these mindless habits.

It becomes so easy with screened distractions pulling at us to stop having great chats with your loved ones over a meal or coffee about each others’ day, and not even notice it’s happening. (more…)

I don’t have time for that!

“The faster we go, the more we are able to hide from ourselves and others. Jai!”

~ Judith Hanson Lasater

It’s so easy to make a meditation or breathing practice one more thing on our to-do list that we’re hard on ourselves for not doing. I definitely fall off the wagon regularly when life’s demands pull at me  and can even mostly forget about my meditation practice until its absence makes itself know by negatively impacting my mood and balanced quality of mind. I need  to return over and over to the practice.

Whether we’re wishing to start or resume a short practice getting started (or resuming) both are best done with an attitude of gentleness and appreciation for ourselves for taking the time to practice.  Gratitude for the traditions we’re diving into tend to quickly follow. (more…)

Self-Compassion — It’s Not What You Think!

Hint:  It won’t make you lazy or turn you into an unbearable egomaniac.

Self-compassion gives us caring space inside that is free of judgment and allows us see our hurts and failures and soften in response to them.  Caring and kindness directed at ourselves is much more effective and happiness producing than using guilt, shame and fear as motivators.

“Self-compassion is not a way of judging ourselves positively, but it’s rather a way of relating to ourselves kindly, embracing ourselves as we are, flaws and all” self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff explains. Self-esteem, is different than self-compassion because it requires that we feel special and above average in order to feel worthy. It is not logically possible for everyone to be above average at the same time, Neff, points out, and the relentless pursuit of self-esteem leads to many traps such as perfectionism, narcissism, bullying, self-absorption, self-righteous  anger, prejudice, discrimination, and so on. Not very social behaviors or traits are they? Self-compassion, however, “offers the same protection against harsh self-criticism as self-esteem, but without the need to see ourselves as perfect or as better than others” Neff clarifies, and naturally leads to more natural compassion for others. (more…)

Be Nice to Yourself!

“If you think that the key to greater willpower is being harder on yourself, you are not alone. But you are wrong. Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In contrast, self-compassion—being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure—is associated with more motivation and better self-control. Consider, for example, a study at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, that tracked the procrastination of students over an entire semester. Lots of students put off studying for the first exam, but not every student made it a habit. Students who were harder on themselves for procrastinating on their first exam were more likely to procrastinate on later exams than students who forgave themselves. The harder they were on themselves about procrastinating the first time, the longer they procrastinated for the next exam! Forgiveness—not guilt—helped them get back on track.”

~ Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D. from The Willpower Instinct

We tend to be more critical and much harder on ourselves than we are about others. It can seem natural and even adaptive to either resist our emotional pain when we make mistakes by blaming others or distracting ourselves so that we can soldier on with our lives. (more…)

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