“The old saying about sticks and stones was wrong. Names will forever hurt you,” says Natalie Sachs-Ericsson a Psychologist and Researcher. We often consider this verbal abuse if it is done to us by others, yet take a step back and “consider all the hurtful things you say to yourself (and/or your children, colleagues, friends) during the course of a day. Those disparaging comments you inflict on yourself will forever hurt you (and others)” writes Joelene Ashker, Life Coach. So, STOP with the negative comments to yourself and everyone else. It’s that simple. STOP…Forgive yourself…Replace it with a truth based on the facts of who you are today, not who you were, or who you told yourself you were, or who someone else told you that you were but actually who you are…today. Do it NOW. Do it EVERY TIME…until you do it without thinking about it. What you focus on you become. Focus on being worthless, you will become worthless. Focus on your value and your value will grow. Remember you are in charge of your own garden! Pull out the weeds, and plant the seeds you want to grow! Copyrighted 2014
What are the benefits of equine collaborated coaching? Besides being in the arena with truly awe inspiring animals? First, you learn exactly who you are when you are in an arena with a horse. Why? Because horses don’t believe your words if your body language tells them differently. They create a mirror for you of your strengths and growing edges. They read and reflect your subconscious thoughts via your body language. Your words mean little to them if your actions, behavior, posture, and tone differ from what you are telling them with your body. You can lie to yourself and even to other humans but horses are not as naive as we human beings. Horses listen and attend with their whole body, and heart to the whole person. They do not listen for what they want to hear, they trust their internal intuition, their own sense of knowing, and thus they see us even when we cannot see ourselves.
Second, you can learn very quickly who you can be with a horse. When you face even the quietest unbridled, unhaltered, untethered 1200# horse in a 10m x 10m arena you can be moved out of your comfort zone quickly. However, with instruction you learn to maximize your range of connection and boundaries in a short span of time. I have been amazed at the immense changes that occur in people within a 45-60 minute session when they work with my horses.
Below I am moved out of my comfort zone when my young 2 year old Andalusian stud colt stands on his hind legs about 3′ in front of me to play. He forgets he outweighs me! Needless to say he is not quite ready to use with clients yet! Copyrighted 2014
Here are 5 quick steps to self soothing. When you feel flooded during a conversation or argument take a break. Follow these five steps.* Here are five steps to soothe yourself: breathing, relaxation, heaviness, warmth, and imagery.
The first step is to get control of your breathing. When you are getting flooded, you will find yourself either holding your breath a lot or breathing shallowly. Change your breathing so it is even and you take deep regular breaths. Take your time inhaling and exhaling. Really focus on the exhale!
The second step is to find areas of tension in your body. First tense and then relax these muscle groups. First examine your face, particularly your forehead and jaw, then your neck, shoulders, arms, and back.
Let the tension flow out, and let yourself start to feel heavy.
The fourth step is to imagine your body parts becoming warm.
As a fifth step, add a calming image of personal safe place you can envision. The key is to meditate, focusing your attention on one calming vision or idea. It can be a very specific place you go to that was once a very comforting place, such as a forest or a beach. Imagine this place as vividly as you can as you calm yourself down.
*Based on the work of John & Julie Gottman, PhDs.
Stonewalling or flooding* is defined by withdrawing from the relationship as a way to avoid conflict. It is a way to self protect and prevents you from being able to take in the information that the speaker is trying to tell you. You may think you are trying to be “neutral” but stonewalling conveys disapproval, icy distance, separation, disconnection, and/or smugness. While flooding involves feeling like your drowning in emotions. You may stonewall in order not to feel flooded. Unfortunately, both behaviors result in an emotional withdrawal from interaction and you as the listener are not able to give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that you are tracking the speaker. Flooding or stonewalling may appear as stony silence, monosyllabic mutterings, changing the subject, removing yourself physically , or becoming emotionally dys-regulated. When you feel you have disconnected from the person speaking it is an important time for you to stop the conversation, check your heart rate, and self-soothe until you can become grounded in the present moment once again.
*Adapted from the work of John & Julie Gottman, PhDs.
“Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power.” (Unknown)
You can reduce your anxiety anywhere at anytime through this simple method of breathing. The reason it works is that it manages you anxiety at a physiological level. The simple truth is that when we get anxious we hold our breath. Our bodies then start to panic because we are not breathing and that further increases are anxiety because our brain is saying, “Oh my I cannot breathe! Help!” and our anxiety increases further.
Learning to manage your breathing can significantly reduce your anxiety through the mastery of the simple breathing technique below. The main purpose is to slow your breathing and heart rate which decreases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream which prevents hyperventilation. Subsequently your blood pressure and muscle tension will decrease with an increased ease and calmness in your mind and body. With practice, this breathing technique will let you decrease anxiety anywhere at anytime without anyone ever having to know you are doing it.
I recommend practicing this exercise several times a day so that it becomes habitual. Giving yourself a physical cue may help initiate the breathing response more quickly when you are in severe distress. For example, forming an “OK” symbol with your thumb and pointer finger or laying two fingers across the inside of your wrist. Something simple, easy to do, and not obvious to others will be the most help.
1. Take a normal breath in through your nose with your mouth closed.
2. Exhale slowly with your mouth closed.
3. On exhaling, say the word “calm” or “relax” very slowly-for example, “c-a-a-a-l-l-l-m-m-m” or “r-e-e-e-l-l-l-a-a-a-x.”
4. Count slowly to 4 and then take the next normal inhalation.
5. Practice this exercise several times a day, taking 10 to 15 breaths at each practice.
You can use this method when you find yourself in any number of anxiety provoking situations. Do you ever find yourself… Taking an exam! Arguing with your partner! Being given a hard time by your boss! Listening to your children fighting! With way too much going on around you! Running late! Under pressure at work! With too much to do and not enough time to do it! In the slowest grocery line ever! Unable to sit still! Catastrophizing again! Wanting to cry! If so join the crowd and remember that you can relax by simply mastering the simple art of breathing!
“When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.” (Unknown)
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