Friday, October 19, 2018

What's the Thinking Behind Setting Boundaries?

Setting boundaries is a life long process. In my case at least, the older I am, the better I get at honoring how I feel about other people's requests, needs and wants. One thing that comes with age is wisdom, and that compensates for all the other things that are usually not so well received.

What I know about boundaries is that:

1) It's not easy to set them at first. But it gets easier with practice. 

2) We go through a short lived uneasiness when we say NO

3) That uneasiness is so worth it. In exchange you get: a strong sense of self-love which boosts your self esteem.

4) If you do set them, you will find that people that don't respect your boundaries are not worth having around.

5) Those who don't respect your boundaries are usually the toxic bunch.

Find today's video here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Two Ways To Deal With Toxic People

Dealing with the passive aggressive requires ninja-like abilities. Here are two ways to handle these kinds of situations. 

Grey Rock Technique: Cluster B personalities feed off of drama and emotional reactions. This technique is the one where you become as dull and boring as possible while trying to show no emotional reaction and zero interest. We want monotone and short answers in these scenarios!

Responding vs Reacting: Is based on the same idea as the Grey Rock Technique. Respond, don't reactIt's more of a mantra to follow when dealing with toxic people. You want to answer the accusation disguised as a question or remark, especially if you are dealing with your boss for example, but limit yourself to one short answer. The purpose is to avoid becoming entangled in the accusations and lies. Again, try to put your feelings aside.

These two tactics are very effective ways of avoiding being re traumatized.

 However, after the encounter is over, find a way to vent your true feelings. Maybe hit the gym. Go for a walk or call a trustworthy good friend. The idea is to express yourself, just not with the toxic person.

In today's video I bring some reality and humanity to these otherwise seemingly perfect techniques. 

Don't get me wrong I think that these tools are great, and that you should go for them whenever you can. 

I'm simply giving you a heads up to let you know that if you are unable to become a rock every time, I hear you! We are humans after all. Not rocks. So the occasional slip is just bound to happen, especially at the beginning.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Don't Be Afraid Of Sadness

In our culture, sadness is often looked at with caution and fear. We definitely try not dwell in it. 

"Don't cry" is what we are programmed to say when we see somebody in pain.

Sometimes we even go to the extent of turning into skilled acrobats to avoid our own sadness: "must avoid it at any cost" Food? Shopping? Alcohol? 

Addictions and obsessions are usually the downside of not dealing with sadness and trying to understand why we feel sad.

Sadness is definitely not fun, and it's also painful. But so necessary.

If you want to truly heal, evolve, and grow; then, you need to go through sadness, and feel the feels! 

There's a reason why we feel like we feel. Sadness forces us to pay attention to what matters to us, and see what is bothering or hurting us. 

In today's video I talk about sadness and healing. 

Have you watched Inside Out? What a great movie to watch with kids!

Friday, October 5, 2018

How To Meditate. Meditation For Beginners.

About three years ago I started researching mindfulness and the science behind it. As a counselor I see a lot of benefits that come from it, and I even use it in my private practice.

Having said that, I don't consider myself an expert in the meditation arena. I go back to it whenever I need to re center but I wish I'd do it more often.

In today's video I explain how I meditate and I give you a few resources which will be linked in the info box below the video. There's a specific video at google headquarters that gave me, at the time, the final push I needed to start meditating. If you are interested in meditating I strongly recommend you watching the master of masters, Matthieu Ricard, conduct a meditation and guide you through the reasoning.

How I meditate:

1. Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Doesn't have to be under a Cherry Blossom tree in full bloom - to paraphrase Ricard, only he mentioned a "mango tree" which sounds so yummy oh well...- It can be in your kitchen, or even at the train station (sometimes the busiest places are where we actually need to practice our meditation and calming skills the most) 

2. Breathe in, long breath out.

3. If a thought pops up, see it, look at it, and try to let it go.

4. Go back to your breath, focus on your breath.

That's the basics. If you are interested in the whys and more hows, and why we need to add love and kindness to the meditation, check out today's Fill Your Cup Friday video. 

You've got this!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Why Is Mindfulness So Powerful?

*Photo Credit: my 14 year old son :D

Why do we need to practice being in the now? Right where you are. What benefits can we obtain from meditation? 

Neurological research on mindfulness, the practice of being in the present moment, shows many advantages to our health: a stronger immune system, better sleep, and a decrease in stress and cortisol levels in the brain. 

Negative cognitions and emotions, such as shame, shut down the brain. On the other hand, meditating on love and kindness physically changes the brain, sculpting and strengthening our neural pathways. 

Our brain flourishes on repeated good thoughts. Isn't this amazing?  

In today's video I try to remind myself why I need to meditate more, and keep doing yoga periodically, by sharing with you the benefits of being more mindful.

Breathe in... long breath out... you are already good at this! 

P.S. A Guided Breathing Meditation

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What is Narcissistic Hoovering?

What is hoovering?

It's when the narcissist tries to suck you back into the relationship or into being available for them to obtain narcissistic supply.

It can happen in different ways. And it can look very different as well. Praise, flattery, a sudden crisis? Or maybe they are just criticizing you out of the blue. Whatever the excuse, it has only one goal. To engage you in the cycle of abuse yet again.

What does it feel like to be hoovered by a narcissist or a psychopath?

In today's video I compare it with a shark that is lurking an unaware happy go lucky swimmer. 

Oh, yes. It's weird.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sleep & The Circadian Rhythm. Fill Your Cup Friday.

How many hours do you usually sleep? I'm a 6 to 7 hours of sleep kinda girl. 

I remember, growing up, I could never sleep more than 9 hours, 10 very rarely. And then when I became a mom something switched inside my brain. The thought of having an amazingly cute and tiny human being that depends on you for its sustenance made me remain so much more alert during the night.   

I still have that muscle even though my youngest is 12 and he definitely doesn't need me during the night! But still... The alertness is there. One of the many mom muscles that we didn't know we had, I suppose. 

What are the Recommended Hours of Sleep?

Younger Kids 9-11

Teenagers 8-10
Adults 7-9

 What is the Circadian Cycle of Wakefulness and Sleep?

It's your body's internal rhythm that helps determine when you fall asleep and when you wake up. This internal clock controls biological patterns, blood pressure, the release of hormones, and even body temperature.

In today's video I talk a bit more about this and three other components of sleep that have a lot to do with the science of sleep, along with a few natural remedies I tend to gravitate to. 

I'm curious to know, what are your tricks for a good night sleep? 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle

Why is it so important to be aware of this cycle? Especially if you haven't bumped into a highly narcissistic person in your life? I think awareness and knowledge never hurt, if you ask me. 

Plus, Narcissist Personality Disordered people are one of the least diagnosed populations. They either don't go to therapy or if they do (usually the partner sends them) they are very likely to manipulate an unskilled mental health practitioner. This is why the possibilities of running into one during the course of our lifetime are pretty high. So, being better equipped to identify abusive behaviors can save us years of therapy.   

In today's video I go into the details of the cycle of abuse when it comes to psychopaths and narcissists.  

The Stages:

These happen over and over again without end, or until the final discard. However, it can continue after a separation or a divorce. This is why no contact is necessary. 

  • Idealization
At the beginning of the relationship. The narcissistic person idealizes the partner and "love bombs" him or her. Targets believe to have found a very kind, caring, warm kind of person, or everything they have always expected.

  • Devaluing
This is the stage where the target has not agreed to comply in some way with the narcissist, or has set up a boundary, and so as a result of a narcissistic injury, the abuser starts devaluing the target. A lot of gaslighting, cheating, lying, and manipulation occur here. Covert abuse is everywhere at this stage.

  • Discard
The highly narcissistic person discards the victim. This is the phase where the abuse appears to be more overt and obvious. Silent treatment (ignoring the target), and many other attacks towards the victim occur here, together with all the manipulative behaviors mentioned in the previous phase. If the victim is lucky, the abuser discards him or her abruptly. The behavior is not withing the  range of "normalcy" and so the victim feels completely confused and full of self doubt, guilt, sadness, and stress.