Tag Archives: Journaling

7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Yourself! Plus, Still Time To Join HOA’s Virtual Compassion Program…

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This week, I started a new virtual program called “Compassion Practices For Challenging Times.” As I was putting together some of the materials, I kept coming back to this post originally written in 2012 on “7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself.”  As I share during May Is For Metta each year, it is essential to have a foundation in lovingkindness and compassion for ourselves so that we can then extend it to others and the world.

Now is a time that it is easy to look outside ourselves; and to focus on others and what needs to change in the world.  I encourage you to slow down and to begin to choose compassion by fostering within yourself. Then, with open-heartedness and compassion, choose what changes you can best support in the world. As Gandhi says so beautifully, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

I invite you to explore the 7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself and if you’d like to explore this and go a bit deeper, come join me for Compassion Practices For Challenging Times 18-Day Virtual Program. We started on Monday but are just getting going and registration will remain open through Saturday.  It’s a program you can do on your own timing and at your own pace. This virtual program is offered on a donation basis to support us in these challenging times. 30% of proceeds will go to a charity of the groups choice.  Come explore!

Learn more or register at https://compassionpracticesforchalleningtimes.eventbrite.com.


 7 Ways to Cultivate Love & Compassion for Yourself

Perhaps one of the hardest and most healing things we can do for both for ourselves and for the world is to cultivate love and compassion for ourselves.  In the Buddhist practice of Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, it is taught that in order to have love and compassion for others and the world, we must begin with offering those energies to ourselves. In the practice, we begin by generating the feelings and qualities of love and compassion and then repeating phrases like these:  

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

It is understood that without a strong foundation of compassion for ourselves, we will not have the ability to truly embody those qualities in the world and extend them to other beings.  For many of us, who have grown up in western culture, it goes against our grain to love ourselves first.  This can be seen as selfish and self-centered.  At this time in our personal lives and in our collective experience, loving ourselves is a key part of the new paradigm which allows for greater love and compassion for all beings and for our world.

There are many ways to cultivate love and compassion for oneself.  The key is that it is a process, it takes time and it requires some commitment to ourselves.  In addition to Metta practice, which we will explore more fully in future posts, here are 7 Ways to Cultivate Love and Compassion for Yourself:

1. Be Still.  Connecting with the heart, with the deeper aspects of oneself requires slowing down and going within.  Just as the turtle pulls into it’s shell when it needs to feels safe, we need to go within to begin to create a different relationship with our self.  Taking time each day to slow down and to be still allows us to connect more fully with the heart and to access the parts of ourselves that need love and healing.  Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  Place one or both of your hands on your heart and focus your breathing in the center of your chest, your heart center.  Allow yourself to feel your heart and be open to being present with what is arising.  No where to go, nothing to do, just being there in the heart.  Start with 5 minutes per day.  Ideally, this practice is done for 10 to 30 minutes per day, especially when working actively on connecting with the energy of the heart.

2. Journaling.  Writing is a way to connect with the deeper aspects of ourselves and particularly to track what comes up in still time or as we are working to cultivate self-love.  It is a way to begin to work with the beliefs and feelings that keep us from loving ourselves more fully.  Create a list of your positive qualities or nice things that others say about you.  Create a list of the negative messages or voices you uncover as you begin to be more present.  One of the other important aspects of journaling or writing things down is that it concretizes your experience – it can make it more real for us, which is one of the reasons it can be difficult to do.

3. Affirmations.  I know you are familiar with the phrase, “fake it till you make it”.  This is true with loving ourselves as well.  We may not feel it right away, it may bring up a lot of difficult feelings, but by beginning to express love and compassion openly we can create a change in how we respond to ourselves.  Affirmations are one of the best ways to bring in a positive energy.  They work on two levels.  1. Affirmations help to bring in the energy or feeling we wish to cultivate.  2. What arises when we work with affirmations shows us the beliefs and feelings, which are keeping us stuck and in this case, keep us from loving ourselves.  Some ways to work with affirmations include:

  • Write affirmations repetitively. Post them in various places so you will see them throughout the day such as on  your mirror or on the dashboard of your car.
  • Mirror Work  – sit in front of the mirror and repeat affirmations as you gaze at your own self.  This is a very powerful technique that Louise Hay has taught a lot about.
  • Create a recording so that you can listen to the affirmations over and over in your own voice. Add this to your mirror work.
  • Some suggested affirmations include:  I love myself.  I love and approve of myself.  I love myself completely as I am.  I am beautiful and lovable however I am feeling.  Also, create your own affirmation that feel right for you.

4. Recognize Critical Self-Messages.  Whether it is through your work with affirmations or as you go about your day, begin to notice the negative or critical voices.  Many of them were learned as children, but they have grown in harshness and power over the years.  Sometimes they are so powerful that we don’t even know they are there.  Now, we are choosing to listen, to see the voices and messages that are driving us.  It is these same voices that keep us from loving ourselves by perpetuating the cycle of harshness and sometimes, abuse in our lives.  By uncovering these messages, we can begin to change our habitual patterns.  Keep a list in your journal of these critical voices.  Begin to cultivate loving messages in response to these voices.  When you hear them, ask “is that so?  How do you know that?”  Bring in positive affirmations to create new patterns when these voices arise.

5. Learn to Feel More Fully and Express Emotions Constructively.  For many of us, we learned to stuff or suppress our feelings from a young age.  As adults, we continue to follow the unhealthy patterns we learned as children.  Learning to experience and express our feelings is one of the most loving acts we can do for ourselves.  This can also be a very uncomfortable place.   For many people, it is a place where we become numb.  Our thoughts move faster than our emotions and unless we are willing to slow down and be present with what we are feeling, it can be difficult to access.  Give yourself the time and space to begin to experience your feelings.

6. Consistency.  In building any relationship, it takes time and it requires consistency to feel safe and loved.  In cultivating a more loving relationship with oneself, it is important to be consistent.  Find some time daily, or as often as you can, even if it’s only a few moments, to slow down and connect with yourself.  Showing up for yourself in a regular way is a very loving thing to do for yourself.  Embrace this and create a structure for cultivating love and compassion in your life that you can commit to.

7. Be Gentle and Loving with Yourself.  Many of us have experienced harshness and severe criticism in our lives.  Our messages about love are very mixed up.  It is vital to approach ourselves with gentleness and kindness.  This includes accepting who we are and where we are in our life’s journey.  By moving from a place of acceptance, with gentleness, we can begin to create new ways of being and we can create a loving relationship with ourselves.  As you go about your day, notice when you are being harsh or self-critical, begin to give yourself a break and practice cultivating loving-kindess as a way to be gentle with yourself.

I encourage you to take some time to explore loving yourself more fully and consciously.  This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself, to others and to the world.  It’s an essential practice for our times!

Day 29 ~ May Is For Metta 2016: Reflecting On Your Practice

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“Love creates a communion with life. Love expands us, connects us, sweetens us, ennobles us.  Love springs up in tender concern, it blossoms into caring action. It makes beauty out of all we touch. In any moment we can step beyond our small self and embrace each other as beloved parts of a whole.” 

― Jack KornfieldThe Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace

As we move into the last few days of our practice, I invite you to reflect on the practice itself and what you have experienced in your life as a result of taking this time to focus on lovingkindness and compassion.  You may have practiced daily or just here and there.  You may worked with daily meditation or you may simply have reflected on the quotes or daily reflections. You may have journaled to explore more or not.  It’s been your journey; May Is For Metta simply has offered a space to explore!

Regardless of how you have practiced, if you are reading this post, you have committed yourself in some way to deepening your experience of lovingkindness and compassion in yourself, your relationships and our world. That’s something to celebrate!  And, by taking some time to reflect, there is an opportunity to see how this exploration has impacted your life, areas where perhaps you might like to give extra attention going forward and how you might like to continue practicing Metta or lovingkindness.

I’ve added some journaling questions after today’s practice to support reflecting on your practice. 

 

Daily Practice:

Do you foundational practices.  As you begin your practice today, take a few moments to reflect on any changes you may have experienced since you began May is for Metta.  How has your ability to connect with and generate the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion evolved?  Spend some time in your circle of loving beings or imagining a time you were held in unconditional love.  Really allow yourself to feel those energies enveloping you.  When you feel ready, repeat the phrases for yourself:

  • May I be happy.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be free of suffering.
  • May I have ease of well-being.

When you feel ready move onto the other categories as you feel to for today:  Benefactor, Beloved, Neutral Being, and Difficult Person.  Acknowledge that in practicing for this being, you have benefitted by becoming more open-hearted and loving.  As you begin each category, say, “Just as I wish to be peaceful and happy, so does this being wish to have inner peace and joy.”   Repeat the phrases for each category you are working with remembering to come back to your own heart center for a few moments between each category:

  • May you be happy.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May you be free from suffering.
  • May you have ease of well-being.

If you become distracted or difficult feelings arise, use the Switchback, returning the practice to yourself until a sense of calm returns.  When you feel ready, return the practice to where you left off or move on to the next category.   When you are ready move on to the category of All Beings.

When you feel complete, move on to the broader category of All Beings.  As we extend out our practice today, let us remember the words of the Dalai Lama, that at the core, all beings wish to be happy.  Let us dedicate our practice for the benefit of all beings without exception:

  • May All Beings be happy.
  • May All Beings be peaceful.
  • May All Beings be free of suffering.
  • May All Beings have ease of well-being.

To complete your practice, return yourself to your circle of loving beings or envision yourself enveloped in the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Let every atom and cell of your being be filled with the energy of loving-kindness and compassion.  Feel these qualities filling you and surrounding you.  Know that you have created a strong foundation of loving-kindness and compassion within yourself and you can now carry that wherever you go.  You are a beacon of loving-kindness and compassion.  Take a few moments to dedicate the merit of your practice. 

Take some time today to reflect on your practice and to explore how you would like to continue as we prepare to move into our last day of practice together. 

Daily Journal Reflection: 

Take some time to reflect and journal about any experiences, feelings or awareness that arose during your exploration of May Is For Metta 2016:

  • How has it felt to give time and attention to cultivating lovingkindness and compassion in your life, your relationships and our world?
  • What have you noticed?
  • Do you feel any changes in your sense of happiness? peace? feelings of connection?
  • How about your body? mind? emotions? spirit? Do you feel a deeper sense of wholeness?
  • Did you notice any changes in your relationships or the way you approach them? 
  • What about your response to life and to other people?
  • Have you found having a daily practice beneficial?
  • Did you notice areas of resistance or difficult feelings arising in anyway? Be sure to journal about this so you can continue to work with this in other ways!
  • What is your #1 takeaway from this exploration?

Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful day!

Tashi Deleh! (I honor the greatness within you!)

Beth

Spring Cleaning Inside & Out Virtual Writing Retreat Part II Starts on 4/18!

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Spring has appeared to begin with fits and starts this year here in Maryland.  We just had a bit of snow this past weekend! Now, it’s beautiful and sunny in the 50’s and we’re headed to 70 deg. on Sunday.  I’m not sure if that’s why the Virtual Writing Retreat also had some fits and starts; initially, it was my intention to go straight through but it turns out, we’ve have had a Part I and now it’s time to explore Part II.

I actually found that taking the time to tune in and reflect on Part I’s explorations, looking at body, mind, emotion and spirit, helped me to create a foundation for some of things I have a deep desire to plant seeds for in my life and begin to cultivate this Spring.  And, it took a few weeks of exploration in that way for me to feel the call for a full on “Spring Cleaning”.  I’m in the process of doing that now and it feels good to focus on my physical space as well as personal space.  There is such a powerful interrelationship with our inner and outer spaces.  We’ll take some time to explore this in Part II of this series, which will run from April 18th to 21st.  Stay tuned!

Here is a summary of the posts from Part I if you are just joining in or if you’d like to re-explore them:

Day 1 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Body

Day 2 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Mind

Day 3 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Emotions

Day 4 ~ Spring Cleaning Inside & Out – Spiritual

If you have any reflections from Part I, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Looking forward to exploring more starting on Monday, April 18th!


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Spring Cleaning Inside & Out 7-Day Virtual Writing Retreat Day 3 ~ Emotions

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Day 3

So far in our Spring Cleaning Virtual Writing Retreat, we’ve explored body and mind. Today we’re going to take some time to explore our emotional body and how we can support it at this time of year and beyond.

We’ve been exploring the Wood Element, which according to Chinese Medicine is most active in Spring.  Let’s look at the some of the indicators of a Wood imbalance on the emotional level:

  • Anger
  • Shouting
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • “Stuffing” feelings
  • Control issues
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Sense of separateness

Take some time today to write and reflect on the following questions:

  • Are you in touch with your emotions?
  • Are you able to express your feelings appropriately?
  • Do you allow your self to experience a full range of feelings – anger and sorrow, love and happiness, etc?
  • Are you able to develop close and intimate relationships? 
  • Are there feelings your holding onto that it might be time to let go or work on releasing?

List 3 – 5 things that you can do to support emotional well-being.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Keep a daily journal list of your feelings
  • Share you feelings with a good friend or family member whom you feel safe with
  • Seek out a therapist, counselor, shaman or other guide if you need support in getting in touch with your feelings
  • Join a support group – there are many kinds available and sometimes it helps to connect with others dealing with similar challenges as you are
  • Move your body – dance, exercise, etc. are great ways to allow your emotions space to move through (talking in not the only way!)
  • Make a list in your journal of ways you can connect with and express your emotions and keep adding to it.

Have a  beautiful day!

See you tomorrow!

Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams 30 Day Writing Program Starts January 1st! Come Explore A Whole New You!

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I am thrilled to be collaborating once again with my colleague and good friend, Andrea Hylen, the founder of Heal My Voice, to lead you in a journey of self-discovery through the art of writing and reflection.  Our theme for January is “Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016”.  

I’ve never been one who does well with New Year’s Resolutions.  They seem to end up begin short-lived or forgotten by Spring.  In recent years, I have chosen a word for the year (I am working on that for 2016, so stay tuned!) and have found that focusing on a specific energy has been beneficial.  But, it always seems kind of funny to me to try and be out of the starting gate with big changes right after New Year’s.  I think this has to do with the busy of the holiday season and just beginning to really recalibrate as we move in January.  And, in order to really create change and setting intentions, I find a need to tune in more deeply and reflect on where I am and where I would like to be.

Winter is clearly a time of stillness and self-reflection.  Nature goes within during this time of year and in many traditional cultures, it is seen as a time to connect with our own inner wisdom.  So, Andrea and I thought, why not take the whole month of January to explore our intentions and visions for 2016.  This journey will be an inner vision quest through self-reflection and writing.  In invite you to read more about it below and come explore!


New 30 Day Writing Program:

Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016

A HEAL MY VOICE PROGRAM
(WITH TELESEMINAR SUPPORT)
LEADERSHIP TEAM: ANDREA HYLEN & BETH TERRENCE
JANUARY 1 – 30, 2016

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“In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.”

~ Carlos Castaneda


Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of one’s being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The focus of the January 30-Day Program is Setting Intentions & Visioning Our Dreams for 2016.  This program will create a space for exploring your intentions and dreams with writing as the vehicle for self-discovery, transformation and embodying your soul purpose in the world.

1069133_10201524100762513_1867891335_n1-300x198We will be harmonizing with the energy of the Winter season, which is seen as a potent time for stillness and self-reflection in many cultures around the world. It is a time to connect with our own inner wisdom. Through our willingness to tune in and listen, we are able to deepen our understanding of soul purpose, our life direction and our values. We do this by slowing down, taking time to reflect on the previous year and inviting our inner voice to emerge as the pathway for seeding our intentions and dreams for 2106.

Rather than taking just short time over the holidays or at the New Year to set goals and then jump into our “to do lists” on the 1st, we will be taking the whole month of January to dive deeply into our essential selves and birth our intentions and dreams for the coming year and beyond. This is a wonderful time to plant the seeds of our hearts longing.

It is said that a seed that will be incubated during the winter will quietly gain it’s power and strength until it’s time to germinate and to push out into the world when the light returns.

During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • explore your intentions, dreams and visions for 2016
  • discover and uncover new desires for your life and your work
  • receive daily prompts for your writing and self-reflection for 30 days
  • connect with a community of authentic women on a journey of self-exploration
  • participate in an on-line community and community phone calls
  • release and alchemize old patterns, feelings and beliefs
  • create new action steps to actualize your emerging intentions and your dreams
  • connect with the Heal My Voice Community of International Writers

“Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power.” ~ Deepak Chopra

This 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Tuning In, Listening, Discovering and Exploring.

As you take this time to reflect on your desires, words, and set intentions for the year, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing. This program creates a container for you to go within, get to the deeper layers and gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on setting our intentions for 2016.

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The January 30-Day Writing Program includes:

  • Four Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on setting your intentions.
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • 30 days of writing January

Four Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

Facebook Group Opens on December 29, 2015.

REGISTER OR LEARN MORE…

See you then!

“Leave the door open to the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.” ~ Rebecca Solnit

 

Then, there will be 4 LIVE teleseminars with information sharing, meditations and community sharing. The calls will be recorded and available to everyone who is registered for the 30 days of writing.

  • Teleclass 1: Tuning In: Wednesday, January 6, 2016; 7pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 2: Listening: Wednesday, January 13, 2016; 4pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 3: Discovering: Wednesday, January 20, 2016; 7pm Eastern time
  • Teleclass 4: Exploring: Wednesday, January 27, 2016; 4pm Eastern time

Mark your calendars for LIVE listening. We will post the call info in the Secret FB group when it opens on December 29.

Optional Level:

  • Would you benefit from some individual support around grief, loss and change?
  • Do you need some coaching on your writing or specific areas of your life
  • Would you like to use this 30-Day Program to connect with soul purpose or life direction in a deeper way?  Sign up for the 30-Day Program plus…

One Intensive Coaching Session on SKYPE or Phone with Beth and Andrea

Cost: $197.00

30 day writing and coaching ~ $197

REGISTER OR LEARN MORE…

If you have questions or would like additional information about the January 30 Days of Writing Program, contact beth@bethterrence.com.

 

New Mastering Anxiety & Stress Teleseminar Program Starts 11/11! Come Explore!

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Mastering Anxiety & Stress

A Holistic Approach

4-Session Teleseminar Program

Wednesdays, 11/11 – 12/9
7:00 – 8:00 PM ET

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I am excited to be offering my Mastering Anxiety & Stress: A Holistic Approach Program for only the second time virtually.  This unique program has developed out of my work with both private clients, and in wellness centers and addiction treatment programs over the last 8 years.  It offers a holistic approach to changing our patterns around anxiety and stress.  I have seen amazing results occur in just 30 days and clients often report that the tools they acquire create a foundation for them going forward that they can continue to work with and develop on their own. That’s my goal – to help you discover the healer within and cultivate your own ongoing healing process! You can do this program anytime, anywhere!  The teleseminar calls are open to be on live or an audio replay will be available to listen when it works for you.  I’ve included a description below to learn more and if you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact me.  I invite you to come explore!

• Are you struggling with feelings of anxiety? 
• Is stress affecting your quality of life?
• Do you experience restlessness and an inability to relax?
• Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you can’t quiet your mind?
• Do you have chronic worrisome thoughts that are difficult to turn off?

• Do you suffer from muscular tension, headaches, stomach problems or lack of energy due to worry or anxiety?

Being able to deal with anxiety and stress effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.  Anxiety and the effects of stress can keep you from being able to focus and be present.  It can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which can interfere significantly with work, family and enjoying every day life. And, if not addressed, it can be a contributor to physical disease such as heart disease and digestive problems. 

Recent research has shown that there are a variety of alternative and holistic treatment options for relieving anxiety and stress.  Come and explore natural and effective methods for mastering anxiety and stress.

In the 4-Week Series, you will:

  • Learn 5 Steps to Mastering Anxiety & Stress
  • Understand and recognize how you experience anxiety and stress
  • Learn tools and techniques to support balance and ease of well-being
  • Build a personal holistic resource toolbox
  • Develop a new self-care plan
  • Participate in a supportive group environment 

This 4-Week Series will be both educational and experiential. Through a series of explorations, discussions and practices, participants will be able to explore how they experience anxiety and stress, know their triggers and begin to develop a toolbox to support them in optimal living.  This program will be offered via teleseminar and will have an optional Facebook private group.  Attendance on the live weekly calls is encouraged, however, audio replays will be available for all participants to listen to or download. 

Cost: 

  • Basic Program including 4-Week Series, Private FB Group & Weekly Email Check Ins~ $127
  • Extended Program including above plus One 90 Minute Individual Integrative Holistic Healing Session with Beth Terrence In Person, by Phone or Skype ~ $242

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What folks say about this program:
 
“I couldn’t believe my life could change so much in just 30 days.  After struggling with anxiety for so long, I thought I would never find the relief I was longing for.  Beth’s program helped me to understand how anxiety was showing up in all areas of my life.  The intensive support helped me to change habits that weren’t working for me and to acquire techniques that help me to manage stress and feel less anxious.  I really feel this program has given me a new beginning!” ~ R.J., Annapolis, MD
 
“I was having trouble sleeping, finding myself frustrated with my children, and unable to focus at work.  Stress was ruling my life.  A friend recommended I try Beth’s program and at first I was skeptical but through this 30 day process, I found a new lease on life.  I am sleeping better, enjoying life and able to get more done with less stress. Creating a holistic toolbox that is unique for me was a key part of this change as well as building a self-care plan to carry me forward.  The personalized aspect of this program was key for my success in creating change in my life.” ~ M.F., Baltimore, MD
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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 7

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 7

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“If the only prayer you said in your whole life is “Thank You”, that would suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart

No exploration of Writing To Heal would be complete without some focus on Gratitude practice or journaling.  Gratitude practice has been one of my core healing practices for many, many years now.  Sometimes I keep a special Gratitude journal. At other times, I just include a list in my daily reflection and I also practice on the spot Gratitude writing when I need to focus on the positive and shift my perspective.

I’d like to share some words on Gratitude by one of my most beloved teachers, Angeles Arrien, whose book Living In Gratitude is one I come back to again and again.

“The practice of gratitude bestows many benefits… Anger, arrogance, and jealousy melt in its embrace.  Fear and defensiveness dissolve.  Gratitude diminishes barriers to love and evokes happiness, keeping alive what has meaning for us.”

I’d also like to share some words by Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. Yes, there is scientific evidence that practicing Gratitude is a healing tool!  Emmons explains that gratitude has two key components (Source: Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”)

“First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. In the second part of gratitude, he explains,“we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Emmons’ findings, along with a number of other researchers, suggest that grateful people may be more likely to:

  • take better care of themselves physically and mentally
  • cope better with overall stress and specific challenges
  • feel happier and more optimistic 
  • have stronger immune systems
  • have healthier behaviors and better health maintenance
  • get more regular exercise
  • eat healthier foods
  • have improved mental alertness
  • maintain a brighter view of the future
  • feel a greater sense of connection to self, others and the world

And, writing offers a powerful way to practice Gratitude and cultivate a grateful attitude in an ongoing way…

Daily Prompt

As today is the last day of this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge, I am going to suggest that you take this last prompt and utilize for an additional 7 days. The practice is to simply write a Gratitude List.  List everything you are grateful for today.  This may include the people in your life, successes and celebrations, things you love to do, things that inspire you, things in nature that you love, etc.  It’s up to you and it can be as short or as long as you like.  Especially for this first list or as a returning practice, I suggest writing stream of consciousness and taking some time to list everything and anything you feel grateful for. 

Then, for the next 7 days, write a daily Gratitude List.  You may wish to designate a special notebook or journal just for your gratitude practice.  Some folks like to write 3 or 7 or 10 things they’re grateful for everyday or just keep going.  I have been in some wonderful groups where we share our gratitudes in an online group and we’d start with 1 on the 1st of the month and add one for each day of the month finishing with 30 or 31.  Be creative! Create your own Gratitude practice and see what emerges!

I hope you have enjoyed this 7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge.  I plan to do some more throughout the year with different themes.  You may wish to take some time today to reflect on your writings and how taking this time has supported you in cultivating greater self-compassion.  Sometimes just giving ourselves the time and space to be open and present with ourselves is all that is needed!  I encourage you to continue to explore what has arisen here for you and most of all, I honor you for be willing to connect with and explore YOU on a deeper level!

If you are interested in continuing to explore, tomorrow is the opening of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30 Day Online Writing Program Co-Facilitated with Andrea Hylen.  This time of year, as we enter Autumn, is one that is very connected to the feelings of loss and grief as well as transformation.  We can see that with the leaves turning and falling, the cooler days coming and the shorter amount of daylight each day. In many traditions, this is a time to connect with and honor our ancestors and lineages.

I am excited to be diving into this container with the Autumn Equinox and our program begins with an Autumn Equinox Ceremony and Telegathering tomorrow, 9/21, at 3 PM Eastern Time.  This will give us some time to invite in an intention for the 30 days of Writing To Heal and daily prompts will begin on 9/23.  There will be 3 Teleclasses to support the journey as well as a private Facebook community group for sharing.  I’d love for you to join me as you feel called to!

To learn more or register, visit http://healmyvoice.org/30-day-writing-program/.  Registration remains open through 9/28 prior to our first official Teleclass. And, feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

Once again, thank you for taking this journey with me to discover the healer within through self-reflection and writing!  It is a joy to have you as part of  The Heart Of Awakening Blog Community.

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah

 

 

 

7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 4

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge!

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 4

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“Learn to trust your
Feelings and, most of all,
allow yourself to
grow;  perpetual expansion
is the way of the
Heart and the Soul.” 

– Maria Lucia

How to do we learn to trust our feelings and allow ourselves to grow?  There are many practices and techniques that can support us in connecting to our feelings and learning to trust them. First, we must be willing to uncover them and writing offers us the space to allow our feelings, to bring them from deep inside of us out into the light. If we are willing to slow down and listen, there is so much we can learn about ourselves. This is a big part of cultivating self-compassion and expanding Heart & Soul.

A major focus here on The Heart Of Awakening is accessing and allowing our heart wisdom to be our guide.  A powerful way to do this is to practice Being Still.  This helps us to drop out of the busyness of our minds and into the quiet space of the heart.  Today, I am going to share a short stillness practice for you to explore as part of the daily prompt.  This is a practice you may wish continue to use to cultivate self-compassion in an ongoing way. After the practice, take some time to free-write about what you noticed during the experience of Being Still.  

Daily Prompt

Being Still.  Connecting with the heart, with the deeper aspects of oneself requires slowing down and going within.  Just as the turtle pulls into it’s shell when it needs to feels safe, we need to go within to begin to create a different relationship with our self.  Taking time each day to slow down and to be still allows us to connect more fully with the heart and to access the parts of ourselves that need love and healing. 

Find a comfortable position either sitting or lying down.  Place one or both of your hands on your heart and focus your breathing in the center of your chest, your heart center.  Allow yourself to feel your heart and be open to being present with what is arising.  No where to go, nothing to do, just being there in the heart. Spend 5 – 10 minutes, more if you like, just being still in this way.   Eventually, you may wish to use this practice 10 to 30 minutes each day, particularly when working actively on connecting with the energy of the heart and on cultivating self-compassion. 

Free-Writing. Writing is a way to connect with the deeper aspects of ourselves and particularly to track what comes up in still time or as we are working to cultivate self-love.  It is a way to begin to work with the beliefs and feelings that keep us from loving ourselves more fully.  Take some time to write about anything you noticed arising during your Being Still time.  Perhaps certainly feelings such as sadness or frustration arose. Perhaps a particular memory surfaced or you felt resistance to allowing time for yourself in this way.  Simply write whatever you may have noticed.  Maybe you noticed certain sensations in your body or a busy mind. What were you feeling? What were you thinking? Were you able to enter into stillness? How did it feel to allow space to connect with your heart? Just write and then write some more!

Whether you continue with this Being Still practice or explore other meditative, contemplative or even restorative practices such as yoga or tai chi, taking time to free-write afterwards about your experience is a wonderful way to practice writing or journaling for healing.  In reflecting in this way, you often gain deep insights into who you are and what your deeper desires or needs are.  Also, you are showing your inner ones that you matter and that you deserve the time and space to heal! 

Until tomorrow…

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah


If you are enjoying this exploration of Writing To Heal, I invite you to join me and my Writing To Heal partner, Andrea Hylen for…

Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change

A Heal My Voice 30-Day Writing Program (With Teleseminar Support)

September 21 – October 22, 2015

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” ~ Rumi

Joining a Heal My Voice program is a bit like embarking on a vision quest.  It is a journey into the core of our being.  In traditional cultures, this is done through time alone in nature; in Heal My Voice our vehicle is writing.  The intention of the Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Program is to create a space for exploring writing as a vehicle for transforming and healing.  During this time, you will have an opportunity to:

  • receive daily support for your writing for 30 days
  • explore your own life and uncover a story that wants to emerge
  • connect with a community of authentic women and men on a journey of self-exploration
  • get to know yourself more deeply to reclaim personal power
  • discover your inner gifts
  • alchemize your pain into remembrance, honoring and joy; and
  • explore or reconnect with the Heal My Voice program to see if our upcoming 9-month book program is a right for you!

Screen shot 2012-04-06 at 7.40.51 PMThis 30-Day program with teleseminar support offers an opportunity to get to know yourself on a deeper level through the Heal My Voice process of Listening, Discovering and Exploring.  As you take this time to reflect on grief, loss and change in your life, Heal My Voice facilitators Andrea Hylen and Beth Terrence will support you in uncovering and identifying experiences and stories that wish to be expressed through self-reflection, writing and community sharing.  This program creates a container for you to go within, gain insight into your life experiences and access the gifts that emerge as we shine a light on our tender places.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

This 30-Day Program includes:

  • Three Weekly Teleclasses with exploration and discussion on grief, loss and change and transformation
  • HMV’s Sacred Sanctuary Writing Space (Audio recordings of inspiration and silence for writing)
  • 30-Days of prompts to inspire and jumpstart your writing
  • A Secret Facebook Group for sharing and discussion
  • BONUS CALL Audio: Tips on How to Write a Book (or E-book)
  • BONUS Fall Equinox Ceremony on the Phone. Live Call and Recorded. September 21: 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe

Three Teleseminars. All Teleseminars are recorded.

Wednesdays, 12pm Pacific/3pm Eastern/9pm Europe (September 30, October 7, October 14)

Location: Accessible by Phone or Online Listening; Audio replay will be available

Cost: $97.00 for full 30-Day Program

Payment automatically Registers Your Email Address.

Facebook Group Opens on September 21.

See you then!

REGISTER NOW!

We will begin the program on Sept 21 by opening the doors to the secret Facebook group and by offering a Fall Equinox ceremony on the Instant Teleseminar Line. Come LIVE or listen to the recording.

Then, there will be 3 LIVE teleseminars with information sharing, meditations and community sharing. The calls will be recorded and available to everyone who is registered for the 30 days of writing.

Teleclass One: Listening: Wed, Sept 30 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time

Teleclass Two: Discovering: Wed, Oct 7 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time

Teleclass Three: Exploring: Wed, Oct 14 noon Pacific/3pm Eastern/ 21.00 Central European Time

Join HOA’s 7-Day Writing To Heal Challenge! Cultivating Self-Compassion ~ Day 1

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7 Day Writing To Heal Challenge

Cultivating Self-Compassion

Day 1

Member-JournalingAs I have been diving into the preparation for the next session of Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief, Loss & Change 30-Day Online Writing Program, I felt called to share an introduction of writing to heal here on The Heart of Awakening Blog.  Writing has been a part of my personal healing journey since I was a teenager.  If I didn’t have the sacred space of my journal, what seemed at times to be my only true friend, I am not sure that I would have survived some of the life challenges I faced.

I’ve continued to write in the form of journaling, poetry, personal essay, and articles related to holistic healing and spirituality.  Some of my writing is more public but it is a practice that continues to be at the heart of my own healing journey. And, it is one I love to share with others in a variety of ways as a tool for transformation and healing.  I invite to join us here on The Heart of Awakening Blog for 7-Days of Writing To Heal.  Each day, I’ll be sharing some thoughts, reflections and a writing prompt or two for you to explore.  You may wish to go day by day or just come back to them whenever you feel drawn to.  It’s your journey!

We live in exciting times when science can help us to understand tools which have been long practiced. Recent scientific evidence has discovered that the act of writing actually accesses your left brain, which is the analytical and rational part.  When you begin writing, your left brain becomes more strongly engaged which then frees your right brain to create, intuit and feel more deeply.  So, in a sense, writing takes you out of your head and into your heart; that’s a big theme here on HOA! This shift allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. And is one reason why writing can be such a powerful tool for healing!

Writing and journaling can help you to:

  • Clarify your thoughts and feelings.
  • Know yourself better.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Be healthier.
  • Solve problems more effectively.
  • Resolve disagreements with others
  • Practice good self-care
  • Access your creativity
  • Release and Express Held Memories & Emotions
  • Set Intentions

You may be saying to yourself, “But, I’m not a writer, so how can writing or journaling work for me?”  There are many ways to explore journaling and many types of practices.  Writing offers an opportunity to explore who you are, what are your likes and dislikes, and your strengths and weaknesses.  It is a vehicle to find your voice and explore ways you can flow more easily with life.

Over the next 7 days, I’ll be sharing a variety of ways you can begin to use writing and journaling as a tool for healing.  Feel free to share in the comments your thoughts, feelings and reflections as well any other ways you might work with writing as a tool for healing.  I have chosen a theme for these 7 days that has been coming up strongly in my own personal work as well as my work with clients most recently – Cultivating Self-Compassion! Sometimes it may feel like we’ve done so much of that work and then suddenly it’s clear there is more to do. There are always deeper layers to explore!  As we discuss during annual May Is For Metta practice, it is in cultivating self-compassion that we create a foundation for offering it to others and the world.  And, so we our journey begins…


 

Day 1

You might like to take some time today to decide where you will write both physically in terms of your location, e.g. your desk, out on the deck, on a cozy chair in your living room, etc. And, also, in terms of your writing space such as in a notebook, journal or on your computer.  You may just like to play around with a few options during these 7 days to see what feels best for you.  Also, do you want to write first thing in the morning, before bedtime at night or at another point in the day.  I encourage you to be open, creative and explore.  

Each day I will be sharing a few prompts for you to use to spur your exploration in writing to heal.  This will include a variety of types of prompts so you can continue to create your own writing to heal process going forward.  Our theme for this week is on Cultivating Self-Compassion.  Here are some prompts to explore today…

Quotes ~ If you’ve followed HOA for any bit of time, you know that I absolutely love quotes! They inspire me in so many ways but I have found them to be particularly helpful when I want to begin writing on a certain theme or just need a thought to get my words flowing.  I have shared two quotes and prompts below on our theme of Cultivating Self-Compassion.  Feel free to use the prompts or just write stream of consciousness on what arises as you consider the quotes…

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha

When you read the Buddha’s words, what thoughts and feelings arise?  Do you feel you are deserving of your own love and compassion?  What have you been taught about loving yourself?  Are there any negative messages you have received about cultivating self-compassion like it’s selfish or wrong?  Are you willing to begin to cultivate self-compassion in a bigger way? If not, what’s stopping you?

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chodron

Make a list of all the parts of yourself that you are aware of need more self-compassion. Perhaps there are some wounded parts, your inner children or maybe some parts you just don’t like to see.  Begin to write stream of consciousness or create a list of any parts of yourself that you think might need a big dose of love and compassion.  Be willing to list any feelings, patterns and beliefs that you might like to keep hidden, even from yourself.  This is a way to bring light to the shadow parts of ourselves.  Be gently and loving with yourself as you explore…

Feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments below.

See you tomorrow!

Love & light,

Beth Shekinah

Journaling, Journaling, Journaling…

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I’ve been busy writing in my journal (pictured above) this summer and not so much here on The Heart Of Awakening.  It was healing to take some time to be unplugged.   I am sorry for the gap, but I am excited to be back.  I have a number of posts in the works ~ so stay tuned!

I did a series of guest posts this summer on the Heal My Voice Blog on writing and journaling.  One of them was on “Journaling For Health & Well-being” and was picked up by Dawn Herring, the host of #JournalChat.  She shared the post and invited me to be a guest panelist on a Live JournalChat Event happening this week on Facebook.  I’d like to invite you to explore the JournalChat Facebook Group and this live event which is happening from 9/2 – 9/4.   Learn more…

Also, here are some of the posts I shared on writing and journaling for you to explore:

Journaling For Health & Well-Being

Journaling For Reconnection ~ JournalTalk Podcast

30 Quotes To Inspire & Ignite Your Writing

7 Ways To Jumpstart Your Writing This Summer

Empowering Women In Addiction Recovery Through Writing & Creativity

As always, feel free to share your thoughts, reflections or favorite suggestions for writing or journaling in the comments below.

Love & light,

Beth

 

Dancing With My Inner Critic

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Transformation

One of the themes I have been working on this year in my personal work, workshops and in my writing is Transforming You Inner Critic Into Your Inner Cheerleader.  Actually, this is a piece I have been working on personally for a long time.  My mentor, Shaman Ross Bishop, author of Healing The Shadow and a shaman of almost 40 years, actually certified me as being one of his hardest cases in this area.

I have progressed tremendously and as a result, I am able to help others in shifting this pattern.  I continue to work on it on my own.  And, it continues to show up – sometimes stronger and more often, with less fierceness than it used to.  It still shows up but it’s no longer paralyzing or totally self-sabotaging in the way that it was when I was younger.  I have found the key is to cultivate love and compassion for myself; this is at the heart of my life, my work and my writings.

Why am I focusing on this today?  Well, we’re on Day 6 of the Blog Challenge today and I am just writing my fifth post.  I was packing and traveling yesterday and beginning my vacation.  I thought once I got settled in that I would write it, but didn’t.  In the evening, I spent time with friends, staying up later than usual and having fun.  Missing a deadline for fun – this is somewhere my inner critic would have gone ballistic in the past.

Also, historically, I would have beaten myself up so badly that it would have been difficult to get back in the saddle again.  In giving instructions for the 31 Day Blog Challenge, facilitator Lesa Townsend offered that if you miss a day it’s best not to worry about it, just write two the next day or make up for it somewhere along the way.  That sounded reasonable and yet, I could feel the expectations percolating within myself to not have that happen.  And, now to encounter this so early on.  What an opportunity to explore and grow!

I share this because I know I am not alone in it.  I can see even more clearly how this pattern keeps me stuck and in a cycle of perpetual pain and suffering.  And, I now know that I can transform it.  It’s still going to come up but by working on it in a proactive way and in the moment it is arising, I am able to create a paradigm shift in my life.  Just like any part of life, it’s a dance.  So, in approaching this aspect of healing in a willing, present and creative way, the door is open for healing and transformation, both personal and collective.  That’s what The Heart Of Awakening is all about!

In my workshop on Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Year Inner Cheerleader, which I have offered several times this year, I share five steps to working on creating change in this area.  Additionally, I offer a variety of tools and experiential practices to support this transformation.  There is no magic formula – each person is different and needs to explore and find the tools that support them and their individual journey.  However, one of the tools that I find most beneficial in the process of creating change is journaling.

Journaling is a powerful way to develop self-awareness, track our experiences and cultivate change in our lives.  There are many ways to journal and it’s important to find a way that works for you.  For some it’s hand writing, for others on the computer, jotting notes on your phone or even recording a voice note.  In the process of transformation, the important thing is to develop a method that helps to you to track where you are, what tools you are exploring and what changes you maybe noticing.  Also, lists are a wonderful way to develop clarity and have beneficial resources at hand when you need them.

In working on transforming the inner critic it can be helpful to explore the following:

  • How your critical voices show up, e.g. guilt tripper, taskmaster, shamer, etc. Be creative – describe them, what they look like, feel like, you can even draw them to have a visual – this is part of bringing what is unconscious into our conscious awareness where it can begin to transform.
  • When you’re critical voices show up, e.g. work, relationships, family, etc.
  • Triggers you may become aware of e.g. paying the bills, public speaking, etc.
  • What tools/interventions are you exploring?  Do they help?
  • How do you feel after using a specific tool?
  • What are you noticing overall as you work on this pattern?
  • Are you willing to stay present with your exploration even when it is uncomfortable, knowing this is part of the process of change?  If you get thrown by your inner critic, are you able to come back to your practices when you notice?
  • Are you able to become a good friend to yourself?  What are the challenges with this?  What would you say to a good friend who is feeling as you are?  Would you keep a friend who speaks to you the way your inner voices speak to you? (Just consider that!)
  • Identify people in your life who are outer cheerleaders/good friends/mentors and ask for their support in this process.
  • Work with affirmations in your journal practice and in your life.  You may wish to create your own affirmations in response to your specific critical voices. This helps to bring in a positive energy but can also help to surface our negative or critical voices, which tend to come up in response to positive words being offered to ourselves.  This dual aspect makes affirmations a very powerful tool in transforming the inner critic.
  • Do Mirror Work and journal about what comes up.
  • At least once a month, do something to celebrate yourself.  Create a list of things in your journal that you would like to do and that will support your inner cheerleader in emerging.

There are several posts on The Heart Of Awakening that may be helpful to explore:

Transforming Your Inner Critic Into Your Inner Cheerleader

7 Ways To Cultivate Love & Compassion For Yourself

Bach Flower Remedy Of The Month: Pine

Bach Flower Remedy Of The Month: Rockwater

From Comparison To Compassion: From Perfectionism To Gentleness

Actualizing The Power Of Intention

May Is For Metta (I have found the Buddhist practice of Metta to be one of the best tools for this work.  Not only is it an amazing spiritual practice, offering an opportunity to create loving-kindness and compassion for ourselves, it can also stimulate those critical voices as we begin to practice.  This is where our work lies and so Metta can really help to peel away the layers while at the same time we are creating a new foundation.)

I also really recommend Ross Bishop’s book, Healing The Shadow.  The new 2nd edition was published last year and offers even more insight and tools to support transformation and healing.  I have found this book to be an incredible guidebook for life on earth and it’s one I come back to again and again.

Stay tuned for most posts on this subject.  And, I may have another post today or I may save the missing post for when there is a burning topic that wants to show up.  My affirmation for today is, “I am gentle and loving with myself.”

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, feelings and reflections.

Have a beautiful day!

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Five Steps To Mastering Anxiety

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Everyone suffers from anxiety from time to time: there’s public speaking, job interviews, the dentist, flying on airplanes and many more situations that can be triggers for anxiety.  In a general sense, anxiety may be defined as a state of uneasiness or apprehension, which may include physical symptoms such as palpitations, nervousness, sweating, trembling and rapid breathing.  For about one in six people, this experience may cross over into what psychologists term a disorder at some point in our lives. There are many anxiety disorders; they include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social and specific phobias as well as generalized anxiety disorder.

Based on a wide variety of social, personal, genetic and environmental factors, anxiety can range from troublesome to debilitating and from occasional to continuous.  For the majority of people, anxiety is something that will come and go as part of the normal human condition.  We are currently living in a time when there is a lot of chaos and uncertainty in our world.  This itself can be a trigger for anxiety and additionally, there is a sense of a collective anxiety in our culture and our world.  Regardless of the pattern, degree or frequency that a person may experience anxiety, being able to deal with it effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.

In my work as a holistic practitioner, I have found that anxiety is one of the major motivators for clients to seek alternative therapies.  There may be something they are dealing with such as a health, work, financial or personal issue, but it is often the experience of anxiety that is the driving force in taking steps to create change.  Both personally and professionally, I have found that incorporating a holistic approach, one that attends to body, mind, emotion and spirit is beneficial in addressing anxiety.

Healing and change requires attention, a commitment to oneself and openness to exploring what is possible.  There is no magic formula – everyone is different and needs to find the tools and resources that work best for them at any given point in life and in their own healing process.  The following five steps are the foundation of a 4-week series I facilitate on Mastering Anxiety:

Five Steps to Mastering Anxiety

1.  Learn to relax.  By learning to relax your body and mind, you become more able to handle the symptoms of anxiety, including muscle tension, palpitations, restlessness, and worry.   Relaxation practices are tools you can utilize anytime and anywhere in response to the stressors of life.  They can help in dealing with anxiety as it is arising and can also offer a powerful method of prevention.   Research shows that applied relaxation techniques such as deep diaphragmatic breathing, progressive relaxation and meditation are highly beneficial in reducing anxiety.

2.  You are what you eat.  This may be an old familiar saying, but it is true.  A well-balanced diet is a key part of managing anxiety.  It is beneficial to pay attention to certain stimulants such as caffeine, sugar, alcohol or cigarettes.  These can increase the heart rate, stimulate brain chemistry and cause the onset of anxiety or panic attacks.   It is also good to be aware that these types stimulants affect each person differently and effects may vary based on overall health and stress levels.  Finding a diet that is appropriate for you, eating regular meals, and staying well hydrated are all important factors in learning to mastering anxiety.

3.  Develop a fit body and fit mind.  We all know that exercise is good for the body, but what we don’t always remember is that a healthy body has a positive effect on our whole being – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  Research has shown that regular exercise can help to release feel-good brain chemicals such as endorphins and increase body temperature, which can produce calming effects as well as boost confidence, take the mind off worries and develop healthy coping patterns.  Most studies suggest that 30 – 40 minutes of exercise at least 3 – 4 times per week can be a great way to release tension, ease anxiety and let go of pent-up emotions.  By caring for our bodies, we are able to develop greater balance, calm and ease of well-being

4. Don’t suffer in silence.  Seek support and reach out for help to manage your stress and anxiety.  Find the support you need by connecting with friends or family, seeing a counselor, or attending a support group – moving out of isolation is one of the keys to easing anxiety.  Studies show that connection is one of the key needs of being human.  Our relationships can help to create the feelings and experience of safety.  When we feel supported, we can learn to respond to life stressors proactively rather than from survival mode.  Also, when we hold our feelings inside, they often intensify.   Sharing is a way to open up and release our feelings before our anxiety grows.

5. Know Yourself.  You are your own best friend and your own inner healer.  By exploring triggers that heighten your anxiety and becoming conscious of how you experience it, you can become better able to look at solutions and cultivate tools that can help to manage these triggers.  By recognizing the patterns of your anxiety, you can seek alternative behaviors and develop preventative measures for coping.   Knowing yourself, how you respond to life and what tools/resources are beneficial for you personally is vital to mastering anxiety.

Although knowing yourself was #5 on the list, it is actually the most important step in mastering anxiety.  It is part of all of the other steps.  Taking the time and space to actively and consciously choose to get to know oneself is probably the greatest thing a person can do for themselves.  In the process of learning to master anxiety or exploring other life changes, I recommend developing a journaling practice to track your exploration, identify patterns, and discover tools and resources that can become a part of a Holistic Self-Care plan.

Journaling is a powerful way to develop self-awareness, track our experiences and cultivate change in our lives.  There are many ways to journal and it’s important to find a way that works for you.  For some it’s hand writing, for others on the computer.  In the process of Mastering Anxiety, the important thing is to develop a process that helps to you to track where you are, what tools you are exploring and what changes you maybe noticing.  Also, lists are a wonderful way to develop clarity and have beneficial resources at hand when you need them.  Here are some suggestions for things to include in your journal:

Mastering Anxiety Log

Keeping a log of each time you experience anxiety can be a powerful way to track, learn about and begin to transform your anxiety.  The following is a suggested format but you can find a way that works for you.

1. Description of experience of anxiety or stress (e.g. was feeling anxious when I drove to work today)

2. Triggers that you are aware of (e.g. got an upsetting phone call as I was leaving from my sister)

3. Signs & Symptoms (e.g. palpitations, sweating, restlessness, nausea, etc.)

4. Interventions/Tools Used (Did you use an intervention? e.g. deep diaphragmatic breathing, took some Rescue Remedy, talked to a friend, etc.)

5. After effect/Response (e.g. – felt calmer or more at ease or still very anxious)

Lists

Lists are a great way to learn about yourself, to track information and to create your own personal reference manual for life.  Lists are something you can work with on their own or they can come about after you spend some time tracking your anxiety.   They can be helpful because sometimes when you are experiencing anxiety, you may not have the capacity or focus to remember what tools to use, who to call for support, etc.   If you have your lists available,  you can use this as a reference in times of crisis or as soon as you have the awareness to take some type of intervention for yourself.  The following are some types of lists you may wish to have in your journal for anxiety.  Also, this can be used for stress management and holistic self-care planning:

Signs and symptoms – how you personally experience anxiety (e.g. heart palpitations, stomach upset, insomnia, etc.)

Triggers – things you are aware of that trigger your anxiety (e.g. work, family, financial pressure, driving, etc.)

Tools/Resources – be sure to explore resources that support body, mind, emotion and spirit. (e.g. meditation, yoga, drinking enough water, going to the gym, taking supplements, etc.)

Support – be sure to include people, places and things that help you to feel a sense of safety and support.  Include phone #’s and contact info so you have it accessible when you need it.  Often, our animals offer a huge sense of support or going to a place in nature where we feel a sense of connection can help, too.

Notes to self…. – Include anything you may want to remind yourself or that feels important to address or explore.  You may also want to create a list of positive affirmations that can help you in the process of transformation.

We all have the ability to become our own agents of change and to find our healer within.  Taking time to explore and get to know oneself is the key to transformation and healing.  Seeking support and connection is an important part of feeling happy and safe.  Caring for our bodies through exercise and nutrition is a requirement for wellness.   Relaxation is a gift we can give ourselves that opens the door to feeling more balanced, peaceful and at ease.

Whether you are dealing with ongoing or occasional anxiety or are just wanting to create a more joyful and balanced life, I hope you will take some time to explore getting to know yourself more deeply and caring for all of who you are – body, mind, emotion and spirit.

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Mastering Anxiety 4-Week Teleseries Starts on Nov. 20 

Being able to deal with anxiety effectively is an important component in experiencing a joyful and balanced life.

 • Are you struggling with symptoms of anxiety?

• Do you experience restlessness and an inability to relax?

• Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because you can’t quiet your mind?

• Do you have chronic worrisome thoughts that are difficult to turn off?

• Do you suffer from muscular tension, headaches, stomach problems or lack of energy due to worry or anxiety?

•Do you feel like anxiety is limiting the quality of your life?

Anxiety can prevent you from living a happy and fulfilling life.  It can keep you from being able to focus and be present.  It can cause a variety of physical and psychological symptoms, which can interfere significantly with work, family and everyday functioning.  If not addressed, it can become a contributor to physical disease such as heart disease and digestive problems.

Recent research has shown that they’re a variety of alternative treatment options for resolving anxiety.  Come and explore natural and effective methods for mastering anxiety without medication. In the 4 part Teleseries, you will explore:

  • 5 Steps to Mastering Anxiety
  • Understanding of anxiety and your own experience of it
  • Building a Holistic Resource Toolbox
  • Developing a Holistic Self-Care plan
  • Taking responsibility for your own process of healing and transformation

Facilitated by Beth Terrence. This 4-week Teleclass will be both educational and experiential.  Through a series of explorations, discussions and practices, participants will be able to explore how to master their anxiety and become their own agents of change.
Date: Tuesdays, November 20th – December 11th
Time: 7 – 8:15 PM
Additional Details TBA
For additional information or to register, visit www.bethterrence.com.