Change – Both hard and possible.

Change is hard. As almost all people know, it can be really hard to change! When we think about ways to move towards change, some ideas work well and others not so much. Here is a list of routes to change from least effective to most effective (according to Ann Betz, coach and poet).

Some ways we try to make changes:

Ignore the problem – pretend everything is okay, push the feeling aside…

  • This is NOT effective

Control the environment – make sure you don’t encounter stress

  • Helps a little but most stressors are unavoidable at some point

Name your emotion – short venting

  • It’s great to name the emotion, however we still haven’t gotten to problem solving.

Put attention on what’s important – explore what fulfills you

  • Here we get clear on our intent for ourselves and for our lives, this is important groundwork for the next steps!

Reframing – learn to look at things from a new angle

  • Now we are able to look at problems with a bit more objectivity and find new, healthier ways of thinking.

Mindfulness – learn to be in the here and now, get present

Often with depression, anxiety and other issues we are living in the past or the future. Learning to be mindful involves staying present to what’s going on right now. Until we learn to stay present, change can be hard to come by.

Think about the above routes to change and how you can move yourself towards the bottom few ideas. Using these tools will certainly move you closer to the change you desire to help you in grow.

Individual therapy is one way you can get the support you need to make the changes you aspire for.

The Amazing Brain.

A while back I went to a talk about our brain and how we learn about people and the world around us. These are some of the points I found to be quite interesting so I thought I would share them as food for thought.

  • A study on learning and motivation shows our brain wires associations with people who are curious and/or those that boss us around from the first interaction we have with them. When we see the person later, those same parts of our brain fire remembering fear or comfort, even when the person acts the opposite way from our first interaction.
  • Fear destroys the capacity to learn. Studies have show that when people are in situations or relationships that evoke fear, the capacity to learn is significantly depleted and diminished.
  • The brain is hyper alert to control and status and scans for cues related to hierarchy. This is another remnant of our reptilian brain (Note: the reptilian brain is the ancient, survival oriented part of the human brain).
  • Humans are very literal ~ For example a study showed that we feel warmer towards someone who gives us a warm drink more so than someone who gives us a cold drink.

Our brains are wired to think certain ways yet at the same time we do have the power to change the way we think with the practice of using different parts of our brain. For example doing things that require both our right and left brain can help is be more aware. Things like writing poetry, doing art and practicing meditation and mindfulness practices can help us un-wire old ways of thinking that no longer work.

Plant a seed.

You might be wondering – what does that have to do with counseling?! I would argue it is at the core of psychotherapy.

Seeds can be a recommendation, a challenging question or something we notice within another person. Sometimes seeds take root and grow right away and sometimes they stay dormant for years before getting what they need to grow. Be patient and remember to be open to outcome, not attached to outcome – you can plant the seed but you can’t force it to grow.

If you are a parent, you may at times think your kids aren’t listening to a thing you say. I recommend you to keep talking anyway because when you least expect it your kids will start to catch your bits of wisdom.

If you notice someone struggling in life, offer him or her a kind act or caring words. Sometimes the kindness of one person can change the life of another. It’s worth a few minutes of going out of your way.

My challenge to you: plant a seed everyday.

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