Self-Awareness is Key to Empowerment

Self awareness is the key to preventing the emotional drama that guides your reactions to situations and other people. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, thoughts and feelings is a big step towards knowing who you really are.

Without such knowledge, we end up vulnerable, frustrated, inauthentic, unmotivated and often unsuccessful in achieving our dreams.

Here are some quick self awareness tips to motivate and inspire you:

Slow down 

Have you ever noticed how fast you breathe when you are rushed or in a hurry to get somewhere?  Most of us rarely engage in mindful breathing and consequently we are in a state of anxiety most days. Learn to notice your breathing by setting aside a few minutes each day to breathe purposely and deeply. Sit quietly and inhale and exhale for five minutes each day.  I’m sure you will be less stressed, more relaxed, focused and energetic.

Let go of negative thoughts

From time to time, we all have thoughts that try to limit what we can achieve or become.  I’ve given these thoughts a name, “Negative Nelly” and a whiny voice. We all know how annoying “whiny” can be.  So, when Negative Nelly perches on my shoulder invading my thoughts trying to prevent me from reaching a goal or exploring something new, I imagine her sitting on my shoulder, whispering in that whiny voice.  I refuse to listen for a second and brush her off my shoulder like the pest she is.  Whether you’ve given your inner critic a name and voice or not, she’s there.  Don’t listen to her.  Instead replace your “Negative Nelly” with a “Patty Positive” whispering your virtues and strengths in your ear.

Create a vision for the life you want

It’s second nature for a lot of people to spend time thinking about what’s not working for them and what stops them from achieving what they want in life. Spend time creating either a visual (vision board) or mental image of the things you want to attract in your life  (a new career, a mate, more time, financial security, travel, etc.).  Whatever desires you have, a vision is essential. An architect first has a vision in her mind of the structure she wants to create. She then sets about to put into place the blueprint to support her vision.  The vision for your life is similar.  First, you must take the time to allow your vision to evolve.   Any thought, idea, concept or object that comes to your mind would not exist if you didn’t already have the ability, desire and talent to bring it to fruition.

And, to get more self-awareness tips, tools and resources that will renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Morning Pages Can Become A Daily Routine

morning pages

Morning pages can easily become a part of your daily routine to clear your mind and order your thoughts for the day.

Morning pages appeared on my radar several years ago when I read The Artist’s Way, a book by Julia Cameron.

I had never heard of morning pages so I was more than curious. I discovered that morning ages are no more than three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do morning pages; it’s not high art. In fact, it’s not even “writing”  as we know it. It’s more about anything and everything that enters your mind first thing in the morning – your dreams, fears, goals, etc.

Morning pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize our thoughts. You don’t need to overthink your monrning pages –  just white until you fill one page, then another and before you know it, you have written three pages !

Morning pages are based on the idea that first thing every morning you write three pages of streaming thoughts, whatever crosses your mind. You are simply creating a space for all the things that cross your mind.  This will help you discover and sort out what you are actually thinking – positive or negative thoughts.

Writing morning pages is a way to clear a path to creativity and introspection. By allowing your thoughts and dreams to reside on paper, you can clear your mind to deal with the unending things that will take up space in your mind throughout the day.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to write three pages every morning”,  “I don’t know what to write”, “I’m not a writer” or “I’m too busy…”

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – Wilford Woodruff

You don’t have to be a prolific writer or have hours of extra time to write.

You only need to write.

In fact, after you’ve gotten in the habit of writing morning pages, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes out of your day.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Before starting your day – Write!  The reason for this is so that you’re not distracted by daily happenings that interrupt your thoughts. If necessary, get up a little earlier than others in your household so that you have uninterrupted time to write. Once you start writing, keep writing. Don’t stop writing. Don’t allow the pen to leave the paper. If you can’t think of anything to write, then write, “I can’t think of anything to write” until something comes to mind.
  • Don’t quit or beat yourself up if you only write one or two pages or less the first time you try this or even if you skip a day of writing. If you can’t think of anything to write –  write your thoughts about the number of pages you want to write, then write that. Remember, you want your thoughts to guide what you put on paper. Continue writing every day until you can reach three pages each day.
  • As you write, don’t censor, correct, cross out or even pause to think – just write whatever thoughts enter your mind. Your thoughts are for your eyes only. You don’t have to share them with anyone else.
  • Include as little or as much detail as you want. Remember, these are your thoughts. Write whatever you want. You’re not writing the great American novel. Just keep writing.

Write what you know. Write what you want to know more about. Write what you’re afraid to write about. ~ Cec Murphy

Come back and share your morning pages writing experiences with us.

And, to get more tips and life enrichment, tools and resources that will renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within to renovate your relationships with partners, family members, co-workers and friends.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

 

Popular Self-Care Tip Posts

Woman stressed and frustratedHave you ever spent hours jumping from one web link to another trying to gather relevant self-care tip posts only to find yourself in a maze of information overload?

I have and I know just how time-consuming and frustrating that can be.

Don’t you sometimes wish you had a handy reference guide put together with several articles about your specific search topic all in one place?

Now you do…

Periodically I will publish a list of previously posted popular self-care tips and strategies that I’ve rounded up from various sources on the web to make it easier for you to get self-care tips and more all in one place.   Here’s the list:

15 Self-Care Tips for Anyone Who Works Too Much
Nichole Liloia on MindBodyGreen
Choose from these 15 self-care tips to make self-care a part of your regular practice so that you feel good about taking care of yourself (and you get a break from your work!).

The Absolute Worst Things To Do When You’re Stressed Out
Jena Pincott on Oprah.com
When life comes at you fast and furious, the last thing you want to do is make things even harder on yourself. Start by avoiding these 8 stress  traps

Girl on a Ledge – Moving Past Your Fears 
Marisa Leighon on Huffington Post
Girl on a ledge describes perfectly that feeling we have when fear keeps us stuck in the same old patterns, trying to decide how to make the transition from fearful to courageous.

How to Build Self Confidence
Zorka Hereford on Essential Life Skill.net
How we see ourselves is more important than how anyone else sees us. If we don’t work at loving and accepting ourselves, nothing anyone else thinks matters.

Four Ways to Deal With Stress
Posted by the American Heart Association
Use these four simple techniques to combat stress

How Fear Keeps us Stuck (and what to do about it) – Posted on Unstuck.com
9 tips to help you get unstuck and move past the fear

What’s in Your Self-Care Toolbox?
Posted on gladysanderson.com
To stay organized, focused, accountable and inspired, use these handy tools from your self-care toolbox.

If you enjoyed these popular self-care tip posts, please leave a comment to let me know what resonates with you and what other topic you would like me to pull together for you.

In the meantime, for more self-care tips and insights, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

 

The Power of Quiet Time

Quiet timeMost of us don’t have quiet time. We’re usually too busy to sit quietly for even a minute. We certainly don’t believe we deserve a space of our own in which to go within to replenish our energy.

In the book, A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf refers to a woman needing a quiet space of her own to write. I doubt if Woolf could have envisioned the hectic lives most women live today. Whether we apply it to writing or other areas of our lives, Woolf’s message is still relevant. We all need some quiet time and a space to reflect and reclaim a sense of well-being.

Some of us manage to build quiet time into our busy days but others constantly complain about a lack of time.

Most often, it’s not time we lack but rather, we regret forfeiting quiet time to reflect, re-center and regain a sense of well-being. Quiet time helps us to unwind from our daily stressors, engage in an activity we enjoy or just sit quietly to replenish our energy.

When I don’t build some quiet time into my day, it seems as though I’m on a merry-go-round – going nowhere fast. But when I make it a point to schedule some quiet time into my day, my life doesn’t seem quite so hectic.

There’s a reason why hospitals advocate for quietness. It’s so patients can restore their strength and regain health. You don’t have to be in a hospital to regain your strength and reclaim a sense of well-being.

Instead, use these power of quiet time tips to reflect and re-center yourself:

Request some quiet time if you live in a “busy’ household. I’ve found that often a request is all that is needed to get what you want. Rarely will your request be denied. And even if it is, you must take charge of your life by having the courage to do what is best for you.

Make space for yourself away from everyone else. A busy mother once told me that her quiet time was a relaxing bubble bath at the end of her day. She taught her family not to disturb her during this time.

Take a walk around your neighborhood for 15-20 minutes. I often find a short walk alone quiets my mind and re-energizes me.

Spend quality time with others. Most couples know that in order to stay connected and strengthen their relationship they must spend quality time together, focused on each other. Spending quality time with those you care about means listening and giving that person your undivided attention. You can’t give another person your undivided attention when you are busy checking email, texting or thinking about your next project.

Listen to soothing music. Music is a natural relaxant and reduces stress.

For more tips and insights like these, I invite you to check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

What Picture Are You Painting?

What Picture Are You Painting

What picture are you painting in your mind about yourself?

Anytime we paint a picture in our mind that’s not authentic or represent who we really are, it leaves an indelible imprint.  It’s an image that we constantly try to emulate, assimilate and redefine based on someone else’s picture.

Recently I attended a paint party.  Paint parties are popping up all over the United States.  They are sometimes held in restaurants, bars and private homes.  Wherever they are held, the atmosphere is jovial and there is always plenty to eat and drink.  The whole idea of a paint party is to have fun while a professional artist guides novices (like me) in creating our own unique work of art.

Like anything we try that’s new, I was apprehensive and didn’t know quite what to expect at a paint party. In other words, I almost let fear keep me from a fun experience.

As the room filled and everyone took their place in front of an already set up easel with an attached canvass to start our masterpiece, the artist announces confidently, “our project today is a sunflower”.  As she distributes the various size paint brushes, paper plates to hold and mix the paint, I’m feeling less and less confident.  When the instructor passes out the aprons, I assume this is so we don’t go home looking like we’ve been in a paint fight with a 5-year old.

Of course, the instructor had her sunflower prominently displayed so we all could see what a real sunflower looks like. And, like most of the large group of women (and a couple of men) in the room, I tried my darnedest to follow her instructions and imitate her painting of a sunflower. And for a moment, I thought I might be successful until I noticed my masterpiece had taken on a life of its own.  While the instructor’s sunflower was dead center on the canvass with vibrant colors and perfectly formed leaves, my sunflower looked much like the Italian Leaning Tower of Pisa, known worldwide for is unintended tilt.  My leaves were a little misshapen and drooped casually along the side of the sunflower.  What I intended to be a bright yellow had somehow morphed into a drab yellowish/orange color.

Unlike the instructor, I don’t have years (or even minutes) of painting experience. Nor do I have a natural talent for painting or even a plausible knowledge about mixing paint. Nevertheless, here I am ready to paint my masterpiece!

I’m keenly aware of my strengths and my limitations.  Painting is not one of my strengths.

So, why in the world did I sign up for a painting class when the only thing I’ve ever painted was a wall?

It wasn’t about creating a masterpiece worthy of hanging in the Smithsonian. It was about:

  • pushing through the fear of “getting it right” to experience something new and exciting
  • acceptance (being okay with who I am and what I can do)
  • breaking free of self imposed limitations (e,g,, “I can’t paint”...)
  • letting go of negative self talk (“it won’t be good enough” – good enough for whom? -see acceptance above)
  • another chance to get closer to living fearlessly.

Here is what I took away from that painting class –

I don’t have to create like anyone else and I don’t have to be or do anything like anyone else.  I only need to show up as authentically, unabashedly ME!

When I showed up with my fear, judgment and self-doubt pushed aside and let go of what I thought the other people in the class would think of my feeble attempt at painting, I created my own unique sunflower (tilted and off-color). My painting may never win me an award or hang in a museum but I got something much more valuable than recognition.

I got self-satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I experienced yet another opportunity to show up as my authentic, creative, divine self without judgment or self-doubt. And, I had fun doing it.

Now, you can’t put that on canvass!

Is the picture you have in your mind representative of who you really are?

What picture are you painting?

Please take a moment to share comments about your unique picture.

And for more ways to suspend fear, self-doubt and criticism, you may want to read my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

7 Warning Signs of Depression

7 Warning Signs of DepressionThe world was saddened by the death of Mr. Robin Williams, an iconic comedian, beloved American legend and accomplished actor. Mr. Williams reportedly suffered from severe depression. He appears to have taken his own life.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family. Depression is an insidious mental health disease affecting millions of people every year. Severely depressed individuals are at high risk of suicide.

Symptoms of depression can be tough to detect in someone close to you and even harder to detect in yourself. On occasion, most people feel a little sad, anxious or gloomy. These feelings are quite common when they are the result of a significant life change (e.g., loss of job, divorce, illness, work stress, etc.) and usually last a short time. But, when you or someone you know feels sad and hopeless most of the day, these and other symptoms persist for extended periods of time and effect daily functioning, serious depression may exist and the help of an experienced mental health professional may be needed.

Here are some key areas where depression may lead to diminished functioning and suicide:

  • Extreme changes in sleep habits. On occasion, most people may have a day or two when they either wake up too early, have difficulty getting to sleep or wake up sometime during the night. People experiencing depression will sleep excessively or sleep very little
  • Overeating or appetite loss. Often people who are extremely depressed find themselves eating much more than normal or snacking excessively or having little or no appetite for foods they previously enjoyed.
  • Difficulty staying focused. The inability to think clearly and/or make simple decisions is a frightening part of severe depression. Making major decisions is often intolerable for a depressed person. This lack of concentration leads to increased anxiety, and feelings worthlessness, and/or helplessness.
  • Diminished energy. You may notice that you or a depressed individual moves and speaks at a reduced rate and often complains of being tired without any evidence of physical exertion.
  • Lack of interest.  Depressed individuals have diminished energy and/or no desire to engage in routine activities or hobbies they once found pleasurable.
  • Low self-esteem. During periods of depression, people may dwell on failures and losses and experience feelings of excessive guilt and helplessness. Thoughts of suicide may occur when these feelings persist.
  • Thoughts of suicide/suicide attempt. People who are depressed may say such things as “I wish I wasn’t here”, “what good am I”.

This post is by no means an attempt to diagnose or treat depression.  If you are concerned about depression and/or suicide for yourself or someone else, please use the following resources to get immediate help:

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

If you are hearing impaired, there are several ways to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • To chat with a Lifeline counselor from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday (Eastern Standard Time), click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

If you are hearing impaired, and a veteran, service member, or any person concerned about one, there are several ways to contact the Veterans Crisis Line.

  • To text with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, send a text message to 838255.
  • To chat with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)  or  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you or someone you know experience any of the warning signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts or intentions, please take it as very, very serious and seek immediate help.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Listening Well

Listening WellMost of us have experienced the frustration of having someone not listen to us or felt that same frustration when someone says you’re not listening to him or her.   But, before we get all bent out of shape and accuse someone of not listening, we must first ask ourselves the question, “how well do I listen”?

You must learn to be a good listener if you want others to listen to you.  That means putting down the smartphone and giving the other person your undivided attention.

A smartphone is no substitute for meaningful connection

Listening is so much more than hearing the words that are spoken. Listening involves paying full attention to the person speaking, taking note of the tone of voice, gestures, body language and making eye contact.

We are so accustomed to speaking in shorthand – e.g., OMG, LOL, ROFL, etc., that real communication easily gets lost.  A “smart” device is no substitute for meaningful, connected interaction between two or more people.  Smart devices and shortcut speech is just another way for us to avoid connecting with each other in a meaningful way.

Before you send your next text, email or instant message, ask yourself:

Does this communication connect me to him/her?

And to further hone up on your listening skills,  keep these tips in mind to remind you to become a better listener.

1) Look the person speaking in the eye as they talk to you. You can’t do this on a smartphon! Looking a person in the eye  assures that them that they have your full attention. Don’t fidget, survey the surrounding scenery or check email.

2) Nod your head occasionally to show you are present and listening, say, “tell me more”, or ask questions when appropriate to indicate your interest.

3) Don’t interrupt the person speaking to voice your opinion, give advice, or express thoughts before he/she has the opportunity to finish speaking.

4) Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. When we focus only on the words being said, we often miss important physical cues that would clarify and give us a better understanding of what is really being said.

5) Remember to ask for clarification before responding.  Ask questions that elicit more information or detail and can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no”. You want to ask questions that promote more conversation and clarity.

For more listening and communication tips, I invirte you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace, and Celebrate the Real You

 

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.