- Turn off all distractions.
- Find an image in your immediate surroundings.
- Set your phone timer for 2 minutes.
- Focus only on the chosen image.
Your Brain Needs a Break
Your mind likes to stay busy – all the time. It spends the vast majority of the time in the past (depression/rumination) or in the future (anxiety/what ifs).
Your mind needs a break; it never gets a break…not even when you sleep. It likes to stay busy to help you survive. Mindfulness can give it a break.
Mindfulness is a practice to be in the present moment, which helps you cope with emotional states, such as depression and anxiety. Mindfulness is also beneficial to your physical state; there are numerous benefits, not the least of which includes reducing symptoms of chronic pain.
That sounds pretty good; right?
How do you start? What does it look like?
You can start today by doing one thing at a time. (For example: Don’t eat while you are working or watching TV; simply eat and savor all of the textures and flavors in your meal.) Pay very close attention to the present moment, at least for a short while. Look up, look around you, deeply inhale, through your nose, the color blue (calming thoughts); slowly exhale, out your mouth, the color red (thoughts that don’t serve you well).
Exhale longer than you inhale. Extended exhalations stimulate the vagus nerve and natural pace maker; feel your heart beat begin to slightly slow down. You may have concluded, at this point, that we are referring to a meditation practice. How do you know if you are in a meditative stance? Read below for more juicy goodness:
Meditation is different for each person. The best way to consider the definition of meditation for you is to consider this: “What is that one thing that you do that you truly enjoy – that when you are engaged in that activity, time and space cease to exist.”
For some, this may be water color, drawing, writing, creating. For others, it may be more physical, like walking, hiking, running, etc.
If you haven’t tried meditation before, you will immediately notice that your attention wanders and is not easily controlled. Be patient; it takes approximately 66 days to create a new habit.
Meditation strengthens your ability to pay attention in the present moment, but also increases your awareness of how our minds fluctuate, often in unhelpful ways. People who regularly practice meditation are often better able to control what they focus on throughout the day. You can’t control your thoughts, but you can control the thoughts on which you want to focus.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC
You cannot feel good 100% of the time, right?
Psychopathology Is Not All Bad
Charming & intelligent is just the tip of the iceberg. Try fearless, calm, cool and collected. They are the people you want around you in chaotic environments. They don’t get caught up in emotional states. They aren’t governed by fear; they just look at risk vs. benefit.
They are action takers. They are decision makers. They are present and not concerned with the past or future. Traits common in the movers and shakers of our world — not just criminals behind bars. There is a downside, however…for the criminally psychopathic.
Criminal psychopaths, however, cannot just turn off their psychopathology. They always follow their psychopathic tendencies.
Yet, functional psychopaths are successful. They are not bound by male of female. They are sometimes lawyers, politicians, CEOs, and high level executives. They activate their charm, their recklessness and their inclination to act — in certain moments where they’re useful, but also withhold them in certain situations where they might do more harm than good. In this way, they don’t end up in prison…because they aren’t criminally psychopathic.
Take successful lawyers as an example: in the courtroom, they are known for crushing their adversaries, but then can assume a completely different role outside of the courtroom.They know when to turn it ‘off’ and when to turn it ‘on.’
They have a huge repertoire of behavioral patterns they can leverage to sculpt the most varied and difficult of situations to their benefit. This is a valued commodity, given that leadership positions are best suited to people who act recklessly and fearlessly at the right moment — and who can play the part of the conventional family man and philanthropist in the next.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC
Owner/Operator K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC
Sleep is an essential element of self care. In fact, if you aren’t spending 1/3 of your life in a state of high-quality sleep, you’re doing it wrong. This article will address ways that you can increase your chances of getting a better night’s sleep.
The benefits of sleep are numerous. Ideally, the average adult should be getting 7–9 hours of quality sleep. 7-9 hours of quality sleep is associated with:
>Improved memory consolidation
>Fewer heart attacks (a 2010 study revealed that for adults that get less than 6 hours of sleep, it affects the C-reactive protein function, which is associated with heart attacks)
>Increased attention (for children who do not get 8 hours of sleep, there is an increase in maladaptive behaviors that mimic unmedicated ADHD)
>Healthy weight (sleep and metabolism are regulated in the same region of the brain)
>Lower cortisol (stress hormone)
The aforementioned is not exhaustive of the total benefits a quality night of sleep can improve, but it may be just the incentive you need to get to sleep. Below is a list of some pointers that may help improve the chances of you getting the required 7–9 hours sleep that an average adult needs to function at his/her highest potential:
· Don’t spend too much time in bed.
· Get up at the same time each day.
· Daily exercise can help deepen sleep. (Humans are diurnal; we are biologically designed to be active during the day and asleep at night).
· Make your bedroom comfortable and free of disturbing noise and light. (Eliminate any unfinished projects in your room; move the projects to a different room)
· Keep room temperature on the cooler side. Cool head; warm body.
· Eat regular meals and do not go to sleep hungry.
· Try to avoid drinking a lot of liquids after 8p.
· Avoid alcohol in the evening; it elicits adrenaline release in the wee hours.
· Try not to smoke when you are having trouble sleeping.
· Don’t take your problems to bed (journal them on paper; get them out of your head; you don’t have any problems to solve in bed except going to sleep)
· Reduce or eliminate caffeinated beverages in the evening, especially after 8p
· Only use the bedroom for sleep and sexual activity. Do not read, eat, or watch TV in bed.
· Don’t watch the clock; turn clocks away from you.
· Avoid daytime naps.
· Don’t “try” to fall asleep.
· Eliminate exposure to backlit devices (TV, Tablets, Mobile Phones, Laptops) 45 minutes before you intend on being asleep. (The blue light frequencies turn on the part of your brain that responds to daylight).
Author, Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC
Fear of Commitment
Most people never arrive at the goal of living their dream life. So few actually achieve their dream life goal.
Why is that? Isn’t a desire to change enough to get there?
Your fear of commitment will prevent you from living the life you want. Perhaps you have failed in the past or you don’t think you can handle failing again. Perhaps people have told you that you don’t finish what you start. Or, maybe, you have watched others commit to a goal and then fail. Or, did you listen to the naysayers last time you committed toward a goal and then fell victim to their sarcasm or criticism. Have you ever felt like you desperately wanted to commit to something, but your inner critic was giving you gentle reminders of past failures? Do you find yourself, once again, second guessing your ability to fully commit to a goal? Are there people in your life that are not supportive of your ambitious desire for a needed change?
If there is a strong desire to make a commitment and you find yourself frustrated and falling back into the past habits of being afraid to commit…there are three strategies that can help you overcome your fear:
- Perfection is the enemy with fear of commitment because as soon as it stops being perfect, it stops being fun and when it stops being fun, you may just throw in the towel. When you make a commitment to and idea, business or person, you are making a commitment to imperfection as you work your way to success. Imperfection is inevitable.
- No more comparing. When you see the person, who has accomplished the very goal that you want to achieve, remember it was a rocky road for them to. They didn’t just arrive at the pinnacle by accident. There were bumps, imperfections, failures, bruises, rejections, sarcasm, disappointment, frustration, insomnia, unmet expectations on the way there. You, too, can expect this path. You are committing to an uncomfortable ride once the high of the decision subsides.
- Once you have made your commitment based on facts, create a timeline to allow yourself to reach your goal. Get a crystal-clear vision of what you want that five-year goal to include. Write down what it looks like (where you will live, how big your home is, what color your home is, how your home is furnished, where you will travel, what a typical day will look like, who will be in your life, what you will have in your bank account, how much you will give away in the form of contributions, what city you live in, what kind of car you drive, how old you are, how old your children are, where they will work or go to college, etc.). Then, work backwards toward the 4-year mark and complete a full description of what that will look like with detailed information as previously described. Once that is complete, describe what your life will look like at 3 years, 2 years, 1 year…. This is a powerful exercise to get into your subconscious right away so that you can make reasonable expectations and stay excited on your journey.
You aren’t afraid of commitment; you are afraid of failure and/or rejection. So, to reduce the chances of giving into failures and/or rejections, approach your next goal with the 3 aforementioned steps.
Hope can change everything.
Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC-5494
Fear is not the same as phobia. A fear is a congruent response to a mildly dangerous situation. Yet, once the feared situation is no longer a threat, the fear symptoms usually subside. A phobia, however, is in a class by itself.
A phobia is a persistent intense and irrational fear. It can range from very annoying to paralyzing. Some synonyms that come to mind are revulsion, panic dread and/or terror. The intensity of the fear in a phobia is so strong, that one will go to great lengths to avoid it. One must have symptoms lasting at least 6 months. A phobia interferes with work, school and/or interpersonal relationships.
If you believe you have a persistent phobia that is getting in the way of you living your best life, it may be time to seek some help. Often, a phobia is treated with exposure response, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy and/or EMDR. For more information, please visit K-Counseling.org.
An alarmingly high percentage of entrepreneurs fail. With all of the positive information published in personal development books and more access to information/resources than ever before in history, I thought it was prudent to create a non-exhaustive list of things that would likely contribute to failure. As it turns out, personal accountability, daily habits and persistence will likely be the difference between those who succeed and those who fail.
The list below are some specific ways to fail at your business:
- BE SCATTERED
- DON’T PURSUE EXPERTISE IN YOUR FIELD
- DON’T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH CUSTOMERS
- DON’T APOLOGIZE WHEN WRONG
- BE UNDEPENDABLE
- DON’T READ PERSONAL GROWTH BOOKS
- DON’T BE A VISIONARY
- INTERNALIZE ALL REJECTION
- NEVER RISK
- DON’T BE HUMBLE
- STAY COMFORTABLE
- ONLY WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT
- QUIT AFTER SPECIFIC # OF “NO’S”
- BELIEVE ALL OF YOUR THOUGHTS
- BELIEVE EVERYONE’S OPINION OF YOU
- WATCH A LOT OF TELEVISION
- NEVER CHALLENGE YOUR FEARS
- TALK A LOT
- LISTEN VERY LITTLE
- HANG OUT WITH NEGATIVE PEOPLE
- HAVE POOR BOUNDARIES
- EXECUTE POOR SELF CARE
- BE JUDGMENTAL
- ALWAYS FEAR REJECTION
- REMAIN STUCK IN FEARS FROM THE PAST
- LOOK AT YOUR PHONE FREQUENTLY WHILE TALKING TO A CLIENT
- TURN ON ALL OF YOUR MOBILE NOTIFICATIONS
- KEEP A TO DO LIST WITHOUT TIME ALLOCATIONS
- BE EVERYONE’S PROBLEM SOLVER
- CONTINUE COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS