Imagination Improves Relationships

How Can a Healthy Imagination Help Our Relationships?

There’s no doubt about it; relationships are hard. It can seem nearly impossible when you are trying to make two lives work together. If you are struggling in your relationship, it may be worthwhile to examine your imagination. Believe it or not, a healthy imagination can truly help your relationship. 

It has been said that “the world of reality has it limits; the world of imagination is boundless.” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

It has also been said that “imagination is more important that knowledge.” (Albert Einstein)

Imagination (Re) Ignites Passion

When you are with the same person for so long, it can often seem like the passion will fade, or maybe things will seem to get a bit boring. Well, imagination is one of the main ignitions of passion. If you improve your imagination, the passion in your relationship will improve as well. 

For example, you could cook your significant other a fancy dinner and serve it to them on a picnic blanket on the floor. Then use your imagination to imagine you are in Paris! You might just be surprised by how much fun the two of you have with imaginative ideas like this.  

Imagination bring hope back into hopeless situations. You don’t have to give up on your relationship situation. You can reignite the passion by igniting the imagination of how things could be…in the future.

Imagination Helps You Make Plans

One of the main indicators of caring about someone is making plans that involve them. Without a healthy imagination, it can be difficult to see past the dreariness of day-to-day life. If your relationship seems to be in a rut, then it’s time to tap into that imagination to create something fun for the two of you to do! Try to think of something you haven’t done before, and don’t be afraid to try something incredibly unique. 

Start small and take small risks in your relationship. Step out of the comfort zone. The effort itself will prove your willingness to try to change even if things don’t do perfectly for you.

Imagination Can Help You Through the Rough Patches

All relationships have rough patches, where you may not be happy with your partner or feel that you aren’t going to make it as a couple. Sometimes, if the relationship is truly worth it, you need to persevere to get there, and imagination can help you through that. Imagination can help you envision a future together where things are better. 

It can help you solve problems that are causing challenges in your relationship. It can even remind you of past times you have had together and how fun they were, even if things are currently difficult.

Whether or not you realize it, imagination is essential to helping your relationship last. Imagination is an integral part of passion, making plans, and surviving the rough patches that will inevitably come along. So if you are in a relationship that is currently struggling, it’s time to work to improve your imagination today. Even if you aren’t currently in a relationship, a healthy imagination is a great method of preparing yourself for future relationships that may come your way. 

Use Love Languages to be creative in your imagination

The 5 love languages was created by Gary Chapman and written about in a book by the same name. The languages include words of affirmation, quality of time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Speaking your partner or family members love languages makes them feel loved. We tend to speak our own love languages which may not match up with others missing the mark. Knowing others love language allows us to use imagination that has a more powerful influence for the future.

4 Ways to Get Clear on Why You Care So Much 

Caring is an important quality in one’s life. What would the world be like if we didn’t have caring people? Too much caring can create problems, however. Overcaring can cause fatigue, burnout, or secondary trauma, enabling addictive behaviors, preventing healthy child independence, rejection and estrangement from loved ones, and so much more. Finding a healthy balance is essential to living a healthier, happier life. The first step in this process is learning WHY you care so much so that you can find that balance.

Here are four ways to help you get clear on why you care so much that you can use:

Reading

Sounds too simple, right? The truth is that it is that simple…mostly! There are a lot of books and devotionals for people who care too much. Melodie Beattie is one of my favorite authors. She wrote the books Codepency No More, The Language of Letting Go, and Codepence Guilt to the 12 steps. Another classic is Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend. I regularly recommend this book to families. Of course, there are other great reads, such as Women Who Do Too Much, Raising Empowered Children, Keeping Your Love On, Caregivers Survival Guide, The Heart of the Caregiver, and so many more.

In addition to books, there are YouTube videos and online courses that you can take to learn healthier caregiving lifestyles. Try one now at FamilyHealer.tv

Journaling 

You can use your computer, buy a specialized journal, or you can simply use a notebook you have created to journal. It’s up to you what type of system you use and whether it’s modern or analog. 

The important part is that you try to use your journal to express your thoughts, emotions, and stream of consciousness about a problem you’re trying to solve or a feeling you’re trying to explore without judgment or censoring. 

Write in your journal every day when you’re trying to understand why you care so much. You may end up discovering your life purpose or a new reason for getting up each day that you had not realized before. 

Become a Patron Sponsor of FamilyHealer.tv and get free journals and many more tools for living a happier life at FamilyHealer.tv

Meditation 

Before you use your journal, it can help to clear your mind using meditation. Meditation practice is all about not thinking and not judging your thoughts or feelings even as they still happen during the meditation. 

Each time you meditate, you can have a purpose of self-discovery or have a goal to clear your mind and relax. To practice this type of meditation, you’ll want to find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lay down. Then concentrate on your goals for the meditation, close your eyes, and start focusing on your breathing. 

Think about the situation you’re trying to understand for a moment, then clear your mind. If any intrusive thoughts come in, brush them aside by refocusing on your breathing. You mustn’t allow any outside information or sensation to distract you during this time. 

Try using an app, like Headspace, Calm, 10% Happier, Stop Breath Think, or Abide.

Therapy 

These days you’re so fortunate because you can get psychological therapy from the comfort of your home using your computer or smartphone. Numerous companies offer this service and varying price points, but you can expect to pay $60 or more per hour to get therapy. In addition, many insurance companies include several sessions as part of your benefits.

If you seek therapy, make sure you find someone experienced working with you on overcoming people-pleasing and putting yourself last in life. Remember, your wants and needs matter too. Most therapists can guide you through the self-discovery process to finally know what you want and feel good about it regardless of the reactions from other people. 

Any or all three of these methods help you become crystal clear regarding your motivations to seek approval from others and even help you stop doing it. Remember, what you want from life is important too, and following someone else’s dreams will never get you what you want and need to feel successful and, more importantly, satisfied and content in your life. 

Let Ron Huxley help you today by scheduling a therapy session online. Just click here to start!

10 Ways To Implement Self-Care In Your Life

Self-care is often overlooked and pushed aside for more important, more pressing commitments. The truth is that self-care should be a priority. Without it, we cannot function at our optimum and therefore different areas of our life may be detrimentally impacted. The modern lifestyle is a busy one, with individuals often rushing between commitments, however, there are still ways you can implement self-care in your life. Here are ten ways you can add self-care to your routine so that you can maintain your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels.com
  1. Identify what self-care is to you
    We all have different needs and different ways of unwinding. Identify what self-care is the most effective for you. It may be taking a walk and getting outdoors, or curling up by the fire with a good book. It may be surrounding yourself with good friends, taking a bike ride or soaking in a long, hot bath. Whatever it is, learn to define self-care for you as an individual so that you can better take care of yourself.
  2. Establish a routine
    Once you understand what self-care works for you, add it to your routine. Commit to engaging the activity regularly until it becomes a habit, something that is simply a normal part of your life.
  3. Get regular, good quality sleep
    Establish a sleep routine so that you are getting enough high-quality sleep. Sleep is a critical part of maintaining good health and should not be underestimated. By implementing a sleep routine, you can ensure that you are getting enough rest and are therefore optimally prepared to perform at your best.
  4. Eat a balanced diet
    Diet is an important part of self-care and has a significant impact on your health. Make sure to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding soft drink and processed foods.
  5. Exercise regularly
    Exercise if great for physical, mental and emotional health and should be a part of any self-care routine.
  6. Learn to say no
    The ability to establish boundaries can be important to self-care. Rather than simply saying yes to everything until things become unbearable or seemingly impossible, learn to say no when you are busy or feeling under pressure.
  7. Get organised
    A little organisation can go a long way in regard to your self-care. Implementing strategies to be more organised can really help reduce your stress and improve your mental health.
  8. De-clutter your environment
    Get rid of the rubbish and excess goods in your house; a cleaner, less cluttered space is great for your mental health as it will help to reduce stress levels.
  9. Schedule time to yourself
    It can often feel like we are being pulled in a million different directions. Make sure to schedule time for your self-care and donít allow this to be interrupted.
  10. Take a break
    If things are getting too much, take a break. It might be taking a few days off work, getting a away for the weekend or taking a longer vacation; regardless of the length, sometime simply stepping out of the environment can be great for perspective and self-care.

Schedule training on self for your organization today by contacting Ron Huxley, LMFT at rehuxley@gmail.com

Prayer and Meditation Calms Anxiety

If you feel anxious from time to time, that’s completely normal. When anxiety becomes overwhelming, you may be tempted to seek some peace using prescription medication, alcohol, or drugs. These methods, though, inherently bring problems of their own.

The good news is you can get through anxious moments on your own without mind-altering drugs. Your worries can be transformed into peace with simple, natural strategies. One of these techniques is using prayer and meditation.

Prayer and meditation calm anxiety!

What are Prayer and Meditation?

Prayer is “a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.” It is the heart of practices in all major religions. When we struggle, we call out to God for strength, direction, peace, and healing. 

Mediation is a form of prayer. It is a practice of training the mind by focusing on an object, thought, or activity, enabling the busy mind to be still and the stressed body to find rest. 

Inherent in both prayer and mediation is the act of letting go of control or accepting that control is an illusion. The practitioners of Alcoholics Anonymous called this “acceptance” that they are powerless over their addiction and in need of a higher power. 

Prayer and meditation differ because prayer is a form of communication, asking for help. Meditation concentrates on quietness and focus, without any criticism or judgment of others or self. 

Calming Anxiety

Research supports the idea that prayer and reduces the effects of anxiety and depression. In a 2009 report, researchers reviewed 26 studies that identified the active involvement of medical patients in private or personal prayer. The focus was not on the effect of being prayed for or on the usefulness of attending religious meetings. 

The authors of the research review stated: “There is no evidence that praying is likely to be beneficial in the absence of any kind of faith and some evidence that certain types of prayer based on desperate pleas for help in the absence of faith are associated with poorer wellbeing and function.” 

While both prayer and meditation can calm anxiety, it appears that prayer is more beneficial when connected to faith. 

Meditation has been widely researched and it has been demonstrated to reduce anxiety, chronic pain, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It is considered to be a mind-body intervention that “eliminates the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress.”

In addition, the emotional benefits of meditation can include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing imagination and creativity
  • Increasing patience and tolerance

There are various forms of meditation that involve guided meditation, mindfulness-based stress meditation, walking meditation, visualizations, and more. Technology is a big aid with various apps and online programs that can assist in meditative practices.

How to Get Started

You can start on your path to an anxiety-free life right away, and it all begins with a deep breath. Pull the air deep down into your diaphragm, and let it out slowly. Do this several times, and you’ll start to feel calmer.

Are you breathing effectively? When you take in air, if only the top part of your lungs expands, your chest rises and falls. When you live the right way – the calming way – your belly rises and falls, not your upper chest, because your entire lungs are filled with fresh air. 

Avoid breathing from your upper chest only, and you’ll already be on the road to feeling calmer and less anxious. It’s a simple thing to do and a great way to get started. The more you do it, the more it’ll become automatic. Soon, you’ll feel calmer without even thinking about your breathing anymore. 

Here are some other tips to help you feel calm while praying or meditating:

1. Use your breathing like a mantra. Inhale while you give yourself positive thoughts and feelings. Exhale anything negative you’re thinking or feeling. Breathing is the rhythm of life. Use it to your advantage. Use affirmative words or phrases, quoting scriptures or songs. 

2. Pray or meditate at the same time each day. Spend a few minutes – it doesn’t have to be a long time – in quiet reflection. Say good things to yourself. You can focus on your health, finances, family, or anything you want to make stronger. Avoid negative thinking during this time. 

3. Laugh. Try saying “ho, ho, ho, he, he, he, ha, ha, ha” and other silly phrases. When you do, you’ll start to smile, then grin, and then laugh for real! And when you’re laughing, you can’t frown or feel anxious! Laughter reduces the stress chemicals in your brain and increases the amount of oxygen flowing through your brain and body. 

4. Find community. Join a church, take up yoga, or find a support group for anxiety. Many others share your struggle, and you can feel better about yourself and more in-tune with others when you share your feelings. 

5. Savor positive experiences. You wouldn’t gobble up an expensive piece of chocolate you bought. You would savor it slowly, trying to get as much flavor and joy from it as possible before it is gone. When we do this with our positive experiences, no matter how small, our nervous system registers it and remembers it allowing greater capacity for calmness. 

Next Steps

When you start your journey toward personal peace through prayer or meditation, don’t expect to conquer your anxiety in a day. It took time to get where you are, and it’ll take time to get back to where you want to be.

Every journey begins with that first step, and once you make it, you’ll be well on your way. Breathe. Laugh. Meditate or pray. Find time to think about and interact with others rather than concentrate on your worries. Rewire your nervous system through consistent practices of wellbeing. 

Sources: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858

https://www.nursingtimes.net/archive/prayer-can-reduce-levels-of-depression-and-anxiety-in-patients-according-to-research-12-02-2009/

Considering a Life Coach?

Have you ever thought about working with a coach before? If you are serious about achieving your biggest goals, you should seriously consider it. Working with a coach is a great way to boost your results in almost any area of life. Having someone to teach you the ropes, or build more accountability into your life, is a beautiful way to ensure you achieve more. If you wonder if working with a coach could help you, please consider these nine benefits.

2022 Life Coaching on parenting, anxiety, trauma, divorce, reconciliation…
  1. Helps You Define Your Goals
    Many of us have goals, but often they are loosely (or not at all) defined. A coach can help take the hopes and dreams out of your head to create concrete goals. Instead of just wanting something, you start taking tangible steps towards it.
  2. Adds More Accountability to Your Life
    It’s funny, but we have a much easier time letting ourselves down than we do letting others down. Having a coach means one more person in your life you don’t want to let down. You will feel more accountable and be more likely to achieve your goals when you know someone will ask you about your progress.
  3. Encourages You to Define Your Values
    Do you know what you stand for? Maybe a better question is, do you know your core values? Regardless of the question, if you struggle with the answer, a coach can help you. A coach can’t tell you your values, but they can ask you questions that will help you define them yourself.
  4. Helps You See Yourself More Clearly
    A good coach will help you become more self-aware. This self-awareness will allow you to be more honest with yourself. You will know what you are good at and what you aren’t so good at doing. Self-awareness will enable you to double down on your strengths while figuring out how to deal with your weaknesses.
  5. Assists Skill Building and Development
    The most obvious benefit of a coach is their ability to help us build specific skills. For example, if you are interested in becoming a better business person, it makes sense to work with a business coach who has been there and done that. You get to learn from both their experiences and their mistakes.
  6. Offers a Safe Space to Talk About Sensitive Issues
    Whether you find the current world too sensitive or not, it’s a fact that we need to watch the things we say. Having a coach gives you a safe space to talk about more sensitive issues. This doesn’t mean you have a place to barf out all your emotions, but you can at least vent a bit more freely.
  7. Encourages You To Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
    The comfort zone got its name from being comfortable. Once you are in it, you don’t want to get out. A good coach will coax and challenge you to step out of it. Stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while will make it easier to create positive change in your life.
  8. Offers a Different Viewpoint
    When you have a coach, you have someone else to bounce ideas off. It is so easy to get caught up in your tunnel vision that you might not even consider differing opinions. A coach forces you to consider different viewpoints and opinions. It will help you become a more well-rounded individual.
  9. Helps You Make Tough Decisions
    Sometimes it feels like life is nothing but a series of difficult decisions. While this isn’t always true, it has a basis in reality. How much would you like to have someone else talk to about these decisions? A good coach provides that kind of assistance.

Coaching Action Steps:

  1. Take some time to think about different areas of your life that could use a boost. Write these down in a list.
  2. Carefully consider the list from the last step to figure out if a coach, mentor, or teacher could help you in any of these areas.
  3. Choose the area of your life that could most use a coach, and start researching coaching options. If you find a fit right for you, take a chance and reach out.

Let Ron Huxley coach you on parenting, anxiety, and trauma-informed care. With 30 years of experience, Ron can guide you to a more stable, productive life…Click here now to schedule an appointment.

Yes, you can! Build up your confidence

Why Self-Confidence Matters

It often seems that confidence is elusive, like a smoky mirage. Sometimes, it feels magical and wonderful; other times it can be frustrating.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can build up your self-confidence without having to resort to any crystal. ‘How?’ you ask.

It’s simple.

Start by recognizing that confidence is a skill you can learn. You set a goal and take small steps each day to work towards it.

Keep reading to find out more about self-confidence and why it matters.

What Is Self-Confidence?

Self-confidence isn’t tangible. You can’t touch it and say, “This is confidence.”

It’s something we get a feeling for when we, or others, have it.

Likewise, we can recognize when someone lacks it. Even when they try to attempt to compensate for it, we sense it and feel bad for them.

The good news is that self-confidence is a soft skill, which means you can learn it and apply it to your daily life. It’s not fixed, like your height for example. It’s mainly based on your mindset and the actions you do to follow through.

You can boost your confidence and self-esteem by trusting your abilities. Seeing yourself succeed in your mind is the first step in making better decisions. Then, when your decisions make your life better, your confidence gets a nice little boost. And round and round it goes.

Bear in mind that confidence is infectious. Even though we can’t see it, we still sense other people’s confidence levels in the way they behave and speak.

When someone is confident, they exude excitement and energy. You’re motivated to work hard and feel that same energy.

The downside is it goes both ways. When one person lacks confidence, it can deflate everyone around them. They just get the sense that there’s no point in trying.

Why Does Self-Confidence Matter?

There are different reasons why being confident can improve your life. Below, you’ll find a few examples of how it can make you a happier, more fulfilled individual.

Allows You to Take Positive Risks

We all need the confidence to bring balance and a sense of direction in our lives. Making a conscious decision to develop your confidence will allow you to take positive risks. It gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you on the path to success.

The trick is understanding your own strength. You have to believe that you can master whatever skill you’re striving towards. Yes, it’ll be weird and difficult in the beginning. Yes, you’ll make mistakes along the way. So what?

That’s what life is about. This is what boosts your self-esteem and makes you better at everything you do.

Empowers You to Embrace Your Failures

We all make mistakes. We all fail and meet obstacles in our lives.

The key is to understand that failures are a necessary part of progress. Read that again and really take it in.

Often, we feel that when we fail, it’s the end of the journey. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

To fully embrace your failures, you have to think of them as detours. When you’re forced to change lanes or take a detour that doesn’t mean the entire journey is over. It just means you’re taking a different path, but you’ll get there eventually.

Now, why do some people succeed after failing and others don’t? Those who manage to learn from their mistakes. They go over what went wrong and find a way to fix it.

In other words, they use their failures to their advantage. They use them to prop them up and give them the push they need to keep going on their path.

Let’s take a second to think about Thomas Edison and Michael Jordan. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of these two names? Success? Fame? Glory? All of the above?

How about failure? You’re probably saying to yourself, ‘These are two of the most prominent members of society. They haven’t failed.’

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but they have—many times, in fact. Yet, they’re smart enough to use their failures as stepping stones to aim higher and work harder. Imagine our much our lives would have been impacted if these two men had given up every time they failed!

One of Edison’s quotes about refining the light bulb is, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Enables You To Trust Yourself

Many times, we can be our own worst enemies. We critique every move, every word, and every thought over and over again.

In moderation, it can be a great incentive to do better. Although, this only works if we treat ourselves with the same kindness and empathy, we show others. Sadly, it doesn’t happen very often.

The best way to break out of that negative self-talk is to have faith in yourself. Have faith in your decisions. Even if you made mistakes in the past, that doesn’t necessitate future failures.

Own up to your bad decision, embrace it, and move on. That’s now part of your DNA; it’s helping shape a stronger, more resilient person.

Imagine it being part of your arsenal or a superpower. Now, you’ve turned your mistake into something that can make you more resilient and less anxious.

A Final Note

Self-confidence is an integral part of who you are. Understanding why it matters can mean the difference being happy and being miserable.

Having that self-assurance can help boost your relationships and career. You’ll also be able to inspire others to become happier, more fulfilled individuals.

Releasing Regrets

“Long ago I wished to leave

‘The house where I was born;’

Long ago I used to grieve,

My home seemed so forlorn.

In other years, its silent rooms

Were filled with haunting fears;

Now, their very memory comes

O’ercharged with tender tears…”

A Poem by charlotte bronte

Regret is looking back at our past with distress and sorrowful longing. We grieve over past actions done to us or that we did to others. We WISH it didn’t happen or that we could do it over again. Of course, we can’t, but regret keeps us stuck in the past filled with pain. 

Letting go is the process of getting unstuck and moving on in life. How we metabolize pain, in this process, is different for every person and every situation. However, you can give various forms of releasing regret a try and learn about yourself in the process.

Practice Daily Gratitude

Practicing daily gratitude is a great way to remind yourself of all that you have consistently. Family, friends, a home, food to eat, maybe even a cute puppy to come home to. Whatever your gratitude is toward, reminding yourself of it is a great way to reflect on the good in your life and make the regrets seem less important in the grand scheme of life. 

A practical application of gratitude is to use a scientifically studied exercise called 5-3-1. Every morning spend 5 minutes quieting your mind and getting grounded, write 3 things you are grateful for and do one act of kindness for someone else. 

Trust the Journey

Reminding yourself that even the adverse events in life are part of a more significant journey allows you to see the larger picture. Yes, you regret this one mistake. But, did that one mistake lead you down a different path that had good outcomes? Everything happens for a reason. Trust that in time you will find out why that mistake or loss occurred.

Having an optimistic viewpoint, however ridiculous it might seem at the moment, is helpful to unlock your thoughts and allow hope to enter them. 

Learn to Release Emotions

Emotions in the grand scheme of life (once again; are you seeing the bigger picture yet?) are fleeting. Learning to release your feelings when they are not serving you will aid you now and in the future. Stop beating yourself up for something that happened in the past and learn to move on with a clear mind and focus.

Give voice to your feelings with a good friend or therapist. Learn to journal daily. Stop being afraid of your own feelings states and allow your nervous system to regulate. 

Accept the Lesson Learned

Situations or actions we regret typically offer us a lesson—if we are open to learning it. Accept that you learned a lesson and move on with it. Living through a challenging event means nothing if you don’t continue living and implement what you learned into your future life.

Nelson Mandala is famous for saying: “I never fail. I either win, or I learn.” Keeping this perspective will guard the tender-hearted. 

“What If-ing” the past Doesn’t Change the Future.

You are living in the land of “what ifs” is tempting. However, “what ifs” literally mean nothing in the practice of daily life. You can spend hours or even days guessing at a different outcome, but it doesn’t matter. Those what-ifs will never directly impact your future other than to steal from it. 

Living in the past traumatizes your present all over again. A vicious cycle continues to whirl, adding shame and fear to your life. Staying focused on the now allows you to live healthy again. 

Try this simple present-focused tool called “seeing red.” When you start to slip down the slope or regret, look for something red and focus on its shade, texture, smell, etc. Look for another red object and do the same. Repeat this until you feel more settled in the now. 

If you would like Ron Huxley to help you overcome regret and move past old pain and trauma, contact him today or schedule a session by clicking here. 

Feeling Hurt, Stuck, Shame?

When you have experienced trauma, anything can cause emotional pain: a word, glance, or reaction. We have all experienced this in life but it can be more intense and overwhelming for people who have been traumatized.

This hurt causes an inner wound that alters how we process information from people and the world around us. In the field of Attachment Research, John Bowlby, the father of Attachment Theory, states that our experiences in life become an “Internal Working Model.”

The model is “internal” because it is in the thoughts, emotions, and memories. It is “working” because, while profound and resistant to change, it can change through new life experiences that result in further “models” of the self, others, and the world.

Sometimes new experiences hit blockages in our minds. Our minds are habit machines that like familiarity, even if it is unhealthy or chaotic. The mind equates familiar with safe!

We can become aware that we are in the way of our healing, stuck to know how to move past our own blocking beliefs or models of how life is…we want to trust others but just can’t. We want to love ourselves more and engage in self-care, but we continue to stay busy and put ourselves down. We need to set boundaries in relationships but continue to say yes when we should say no.

To facilitate healing in our lives, we have to remove the blocking beliefs. Several healing practices let go or release blocking beliefs. Examples include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping), and Forgiveness Work are evidence-based practices designed to help people work through anxiety, trauma, and stuck emotions.

Ron Huxley, a trauma trainer and therapist uses three healing strategies to help people form new Internal Working Models and get “unstuck.” The first healing strategy is to calm down the brain and nervous system. This strategy allows the autonomic nervous system to balance the parasympathetic (rest and digest) and sympathetic (energizing stress) systems. There is a time for both, but most of us overuse the sympathetic system in our modern stressed-ruled society. Our bodies and minds are not designed for long-term stress responses. It will break down the immune system, create dissociative thinking, and dysregulate emotional circuits. The results on relationships can be devastating.

The second healing strategy is to build new skills and competencies. Couples in conflict want to learn communication skills to improve their relationship. Although essential, if they have not worked on the first healing strategy and created a safe space for themselves and their partner, new skills won’t make a lasting difference.

Once a sense of safety is created, new skills that enhance the brain’s executive functioning come forward. Executive functioning skills include self-control, impulse control, sense of self, reading social cues, planning, organization, follow-through, focused attention, and time management. Often, security is all relationships need to see self, others, and the world differently. The skills might already be in place but weren’t expressed due to overriding survival needs.

The third healing strategy is deepening relationships. Once security is in place and new skills practices, we have to sustain this progress. We can rest on the fact that we have made a shift in our internal working model. We have to live it and face new challenges that might require new elements of the model. Old blocking beliefs might pop up, or triggers threaten to return us to old patterns of behavior. All three strategies may have to be revisited to stay unstuck and live in emotional freedom.

Get more tools for healing at FamilyHealer.tv or sign up for a session with Ron Huxley today.

P.R.A.Y. and Create More Peace

What does it feel like when you notice your feet on the ground? What about your butt in the chair or the sunlight on your skin, or the wind on your face? Most likely, you weren’t noticing any of those things before I asked, right?

You are not alone. We seldom pause to get grounded and notice what sensory input is coming into our brains and bodies. We are detached walkers in the world, always focused on what is next. It is no wonder anxiety, and panic attacks are increasing at an alarming rate in the world.

Let’s take a moment and pause… Breath deeply in and out. Take stock of your five senses. Adjust your body to be more comfortable and Breath in and out again. Once more…

That might have been enough to settle you down a bit and allow you to feel more relaxed. The wonder is that it only took a minute out of your busy day…and you thought you didn’t have time for meditation!

Not having enough time is just one excuse for not pausing and breathing (what I call meditation). Another excuse is our uncontrollable mind. Our anxious thoughts want to wander constantly. It’s like a hyper toddler getting into everything and being totally unaware of the danger it keeps putting itself in. The reality is that everyone’s mind wanders. All of our thoughts move quickly and uncontrollably. Just like the parent who has to watch the busy toddler, you can parent your own thoughts and redirect them back to…the pause, the ponder the breath. Return to noticing the body. Notice even your thoughts and then go back to pause. Hopefully, you get the idea by now.

It is not the wandering thoughts we should be concerned about. Instead focus on the pause. The more you practice this, the more you will feel at peace. It literally retrains the nervous system and makes you more resilient.

>> Build a stronger nervous system with my “What the Hack? Learning to build a resilient nervous system” course at http://familyhealer.tv

Recently, I started using an acronym to help my clients manage anxious thoughts and emotions. It is P.R.A.Y, and it stands for…

P = Pause with a simple, deep breath. Close your eyes, rest your shoulders, stretch, and force your awareness to be still for the span of just one breath…and then another. Repeat as needed.

R = Reflect on what is happening in the now. Return to the now each time you wander to the past or future. What do I notice inside and outside of me now? Write it down if that helps, and it will. The training of the mind is hidden in this simple act of returning and reflecting. The more you have to do this, the more resilient you become as new neural networks are laid down. The nervous system loves habit, which is why it will resist breaking a habit.

A = Accept and Affirm what you reflected on. Accept what is happening without judgment, expectations, or resentments. I don’t have to like it. Say to yourself, I accept this “thought”, “feeling”, or “sensation.” Next, create an affirmation about what you want to believe or experience instead. It won’t feel true to say “I am confident and joyful” at the moment, but the more your repeat this affirmation, the more your emotions will go along with it. You are creating space for new thoughts and feelings that your nervous system was filtering. This shift from acceptance to affirmation will start to transform our mental states.

Y = Yield to the freedom of surrendering expectations, resentment, fears, and forgive yourself or others. This is actually the most challenging part. You have to walk out what you just affirmed over your life. Live an “unoffendable” life by continually for-giving back all the negativity life hands you. You have to forgive yourself for not being perfect, making mistakes, being discouraged, or hating yourself. One definition of yielding is relinquishing possession of something. That means that negative something you have been gripping so tight. It might also mean saying “no.” It could be simplifying your schedule. You know what it is…and it is time to let it go.

>> Get more help learning to P.R.A.Y. and find peace in your day by allowing Ron Huxley to help. Schedule a session today. <<

Finding comfort and joy, moment by moment.

During this season we hear a lot about comfort and joy but many people feel only pain and loss. Comfort and joy are the perfect antidotes to this suffering. It is what a broken world needs most. It may be that we can’t find comfort and joy because we believe that when we do we will stop feeling hurt. This is not always true. Our heart is to create more space not to eliminate hurt. That would be a nice result but isn’t reality. We strive to allow comfort and joy to coexist with our pain and loss. This inner act expands our heart of compassion. We now have a greater capacity for feeling both comfort and pain, joy and loss. It is a spiritual paradox but it is a direction for our own healing. 

Science confirms this idea. Our hearts literally do expand when we entertain compassion and allow more space for comfort and joy. Choosing compassion releases neurotransmitters in the brain and hormones in the body and calm down the hyperaroused nervous system, reducing fear, anger, anxiety, and depression. 

Studies on the practice of compassion reveal improved autoimmune functioning, decreased inflammation, improved digestion, increase mental focus, motivation, and even sleep. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a noted cognitive neuroscientist, and researcher on the mind-body connection report that compassion increases the grey matter in the brain, allowing improved thinking and sensory processing. 

So how does compassion start? How do we allow comfort and joy into our lives when we feel stuck emotionally? The answer is where we put our focus. 

Right now, at this moment, you have a choice. Whoops, there it went but don’t worry, here comes another. Missed that one. Just wait…

We have thousands of opportunities to choose comfort and joy. Every moment is a chance to change the directions of our lives. It will not remove pain and suffering but it will allow us to build a mindset that allows comfort and joy too. Take a deep breath and make one statement of comfort and joy. Maybe it is gratitude for that cup of coffee or tea in front of you. Is it warm and comforting however brief? Maybe you heard someone laugh and it made you smile? Perhaps, someone opened the door for you when your hands were full? Life is constantly presenting micro-moments of comfort and joy. You just have to notice them. 

The problem is that we allow suffering to be our filter for living. We get angry expecting things to be different than they are. We resent people for not treating us the way we deserve. Just allow those challenges to exist alongside the next moment of gratitude and pleasure. Build those moments up, one after the other, and live a day full of tiny, joyful experiences. Tip the emotional scale in your direction. 

The brain likes to automate our life. It will take any repeated experience, good or bad, and make it a habit. This is how we can do so many tasks and face so many diverse problems. It makes us efficient and skilled. It can also make us miserable if we stop being aware of what is going on around us. A lack of moment to moment awareness makes us a machine, driven to self-protect and insulate from anything that smells dangerous or out of the norm. We don’t want the norm. The norm is hurt. We want the new which is comfort and joy. This will cost you some mental energy until the new norm becomes a happy habit. 

Test these ideas out today. Stop three times today to recognize a moment of comfort or joy. Write them down on a post-it note. Remember, in as much detail as you can muster, throughout the day, what it felt like. Do this for a week and see if your pain, your suffering, starts to lessen and a life of greater compassion takes over. 

Let Ron Huxley, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, assist you in finding more comfort and joy. Schedule a session today – Click here!