Tag Archives: emotions

Intent of the Day: Let Nothing Linger

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The holidays are such a special time. They come once a year, everything feels like it could end up a little dreamier. Movies tell us this is the time when people declare their true feelings, fall in love, reunite with lost loved ones and, if that’s your hope, we sincerely hope that happens for you. In fact, we hope to have every skill we need to give our third act monologue. Or maybe just the words we need to handle whatever feelings and thoughts pop up over this season. Our #intent of the day is to let nothing linger.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Address the Internal

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With all the things we can see needing our attention, it can be easy to neglect those things that aren’t leaping out at us. What do we mean? We mean the emotions, physical signs and red flags coming up on the inside. Yesterday we began to discover the correlation between our physical health and our feelings. Today we want to honor what is going on inside by slowing down enough to listening and then giving credence to what we discover.

Today our intent is to address the internal. You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Hopeful Parenting When Your Kids Are Emotionally Hurting

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As a parent, you never want to see your child in emotional pain. When you do, you often have a natural instinct to want to do everything in your power to take away their pain.  Sometimes, you cannot automatically “fix” your child’s situation as quickly as you would like to. Your child has to go through their own process of healing to find success on the other side.

There is however something very powerful that every parent can do when their child is experiencing emotional pain and that is “Hope.” Parents can create hope within their children that they will work through their feelings and emerge confident and strong from the experiences that caused their emotional turmoil.

Hopeful parenting is about believing that you possess the inner strength, determination and tools to move you and your children beyond emotional pain. Continue reading

From Intent.com: Sing it Out

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.
-William James

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I’ve always been a singer.
In the shower. At school. In church. In my car.
When I’m sad. When I’m happy. When I’m bored.

Music and singing has a long tradition of communicating feelings in ways we can’t always share in direct sentence form.
I think that’s because feelings aren’t always linear or complete.
Sometimes they’re just a chorus or a low hum.
Sometimes they’re one word on repeat.
Sometimes they are trumpets and trombones and cymbals.

Today I decided to assemble some of my favorite songs to blare.
If you need to sing today, hopefully one of these might help!

 

Happy singing!

The World Is Not Against You: 3 Tips for Battling Depression

depressionA coaching client of mine lost her job – for the second time this year. Downsizing. Company problems. None of it had to do with her performance – which was exceptional. She received a glowing letter of recommendation from her CEO to help her land her next job. She asked, “Why is the world so against me? Why do bad things always happen to me?”

We all think this from time to time. We have great plans. They don’t work out. Someone we care about leaves. The person we want to spend time with can’t or won’t spend time with us. A storm damages our house, car or something that we value. Our company fails. We go bankrupt. We think the world has it out for us.

Then we look to see if we have been good – because, you know, it isn’t right or fair that bad things happen to good people. We feel that if we change, and become better, our lives will improve. Then another difficult life event happens and we are back to being depressed, challenged and upset. We, like my client, think the world has it out for us.

I used to think this when things until I heard something that changed my perspective. I was listening to a podcast about earthquakes. (Bear with me, this will make sense in a minute.) In the podcast, they were explaining why earthquakes happen – the movement of the tectonic plates deep within the earth. The earth is alive – the plates within the Earth are always moving. In short, the Earth does what is true to its nature – it brings the materials deep from the earth to the surface to regenerate and recharge itself. It isn’t spiteful or against us. It isn’t personal. Though we may be affected by an earthquake, it isn’t against us.

This helped me better understand life – it is as it is. We can choose to be disappointed, depressed, upset, bitter and hateful for what “happens to us” or we can see that life happens – it isn’t spiteful and the world isn’t against us. When we realize this, we can now focus our energy not to fight with it, feel victimized or be upset.

How can we remember to see that the world isn’t against us? Consider these:

    1. Remember: The only thing I can control is my response. We are small players in a big universe. We can’t control many of the things that affect our planet, country, state, neighborhood, house, family, work and health. We can, however, choose to show up present to each moment to see and understand what life is sharing with us – then choose the best response in the next moment, using all that we know. We can only control our response to the events of our lives – our thoughts, feelings and actions from the events; we can’t control the events.
    2. Ask: What are two opportunities that can come from this? Getting out of victim thinking and into an opportunity mindset is the key to thriving in our big wild world. By changing our focus from what is not right to seeing opportunities, we shift our energy from negative/victim (catabolic) to optimistic/opportunistic (anabolic). In this way, we can shift our energy from lack to one of power that can invent, create, solve, anticipate and appreciate.
    3. Ask: How will this help me show up bigger, truer, stronger, or more capable?  Developing the ability to see opportunities, regardless of what life sends us, enables us to handle the tough events in life with grace, optimism and courage; we see them as the opportunity to be better. I think we are hardwired to struggle – meaning we have the built-in capacity to be resilient and tenacious. This enables us to go head-to-head with the tough times to use them to become more aware of how capable we truly are.

Life is as it is. It doesn’t pick a fight with us; it isn’t against us. It delivers what it delivers. Our days would be happier if we could learn to see life as a friend and a teacher. It is a friend when it sends us beautiful days, success and opportunity; it is a teacher when it sends us pain, challenge and struggle. Both are for us. Both benefit us. We can use both to show the world how strong, capable, courageous and amazing we can be.

Snow Problems: Suggestions for Surviving This Wicked Winter

christmas_snowy_road-1809I live in New York City which has been smacked with the worst winter in over three decades. However, if you reside in one of the few areas left that hasn’t been hit with record cold or sleet and snow –yes, I’m talking about you L.A. and Honolulu — no need to read any further. Then again, no matter which part of the country you happen to call home, you are most likely suffering from SAD, the inevitable seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression or lack-of-daylight blues. So it’s high time for some much-needed advice to help uplift our spirits. For this, I turned to Colin Christopher, a clinical hypnotherapist and author of the bestselling book, Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. Christopher, you see, contends that whether you are simply fed up with slogging through yet another round of slush, or just feeling down from time to time, there are ways to find positives to help you become Better Than Before — before springtime.

After all, even bears learn to cope with the cold — and so can we. To that end, here are Christopher’s tried and true techniques that work to reprogram our minds:

• Change the colors of your environment: Color plays a huge role in setting the mood. This time of year, because of a lack of sunlight, it’s best to surround yourself with vibrant bold colors that will lift your spirit and energize you. Think bright reds, oranges and yellows. Try to avoid grays, light blues and white. This can be as easy as painting a bright accent to a bedroom wall to adding small odds and ends that enhance your office or any other space.

• Pump up the Music: The sounds we hear have a direct correlation to how we feel. Athletes typically listen to high energy music to get them ready to compete, just like many people listen to soothing soft music to get them ready for bed. To boost your mood, listen to music that gets you moving and makes you feel good.

• Drink more water: Dehydration increases blood pressure which in turn increases stress and can quickly bring down your mood. Being hydrated is not only good for your overall health, but even one eight-ounce glass can quickly help raise your spirits.

• Think of happier times: Remembering a happy memory for 10-30 seconds can get you out of a rut. Maybe it’s when you got married or held your child for the first time, or something even simpler like a concert you went to or barbequing with friends and family.

• Look up: It sounds simple, but it works. Sit up or stand straight and lift your chin directly towards the ceiling, sky or other high point. This physical movement gives you clarity of thought and automatically makes you feel good. Enhance this simple technique by inhaling deeply from your diaphragm (stomach area), holding for three seconds and exhaling slowly through your lips and dropping your shoulders as you breathe out. Try reciting a statement like “I feel good” or “I feel strong and confident” as you exhale.

• Use your brain: If spending more time indoors, become mentally engaged in an activity. It can be something as simple as a crossword puzzle or board game. The key is mental stimulation in some capacity.

As they say, the, er, snow must go on, so it’s essential to find ways to keep your spirit alive through it all. Better Than Before believes that while ‘stuff’ happens in life, some of it, like the weather, is entirely out of our control. But if there is something we can do about it, we owe it to ourselves to try. The good news is that this week it’s supposed to be in the mid-forties around here. A veritable heat wave! Now we just have to make sure we can still fit into our bathing suits after all those hot chocolates and chicken pot pies.

Why Do We Attract the Unexpected?

treasurechestReader Question:  What is the best way to deal with an unexpected obstacle?  Why do unexpected things seem to happen out of the blue?  – R.S., Canada

This is actually a great question, and something I’ve been meaning to write an article about for some time.  If we accept and truly believe that everything that comes into our experience is a result of our vibrational output in that moment (the energy frequency we are radiating out), then how can we explain events that seemingly come “out of the blue?”  While the reader above didn’t give a specific example, I can relate to this question myself, as there are many times in my own life when I feel like the unexpected happens- and this is coming from someone that is pretty mindful of her thoughts on a daily basis!  Also, I want to clarify that by unexpected, I don’t always mean negative.  For example, sometimes I’ll find myself dreading a meeting with someone or an event, and it turns out much better than what I was expecting.  Other times, I’m feeling pretty positive and excited about an opportunity and it turns out to be disappointing or not meeting my expectations (for whatever reason).  So, if we get what we think about and what we expect in accordance with our beliefs, how are the above scenarios possible?

In cases where the outcome or manifestation seems incongruous with your beliefs and expectations, there are probably a few things going on that might be worth considering:

1. Are you truly in sync with your emotions?

Sometimes, people have been at a vibrational set point for so long, it doesn’t even register to them as negative emotion anymore.  For example, if you are a chronically irritated or grumpy person, it may not even register as abnormal to you, and you may not understand why you attracted that rude person on your commute to work.  As far as you’re concerned, you were just in your usual state of mind trying to get somewhere.  Then suddenly, out of the blue, someone cuts you off in traffic.  And you ask yourself, why did that just happen?  I wasn’t thinking about a rude person.  And I wasn’t being rude to anyone else.  You then brush it off as a coincidence and blame the other driver.  But yet, the Universe is always a fair friend, and is unerringly precise in what it’s delivering to you in every given moment.  If your chronic set point is irritated, or you have an underlying, low grade anger, irritability, or impatience going on somewhere in your vibration, the Universe is still responding to that whether you are consciously recognizing it or not.  Of course, the more intense the emotion, the greater the vibration, and the stronger the manifestation.  But even low lying, chronic negative emotion will manifest in some way, shape, or form over time.  So when something seemingly negative happens, check yourself for the extent of ALL the emotions going on within you in that moment – whether they seem related to what manifested or not.  Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of conscious vibrational tweaking to clear out some negative underlying thoughts or emotional patterning that can be introducing negativity into your life.

2.     Are you aware of your underlying belief systems?

In addition to becoming more sensitive to your emotions, you have to begin to recognize and root out underlying negative or dysfunctional belief patterns that might be engrained in your psyche.  These don’t necessary have to be what I call “big” or “important” beliefs.  They can also be small programs that are running frequently.  To continue with the prior example, let’s say a friend is talking to you about how road rage is becoming a bigger problem and she just can’t believe how many angry, crazy drivers there are out there.  You agree with her, recounting a recent example you’ve witnessed yourself and shake your head in disgust.  While that conversation might seem innocuous to you, or you justify it by saying “But, it’s true!” it is still activating a negative vibration within you.  Now, let’s say a few weeks or months go by and you forget all about the conversation with your friend, and you are driving to work on a morning when you’re already feeling irritated, a bit anxious, and impatient- suddenly, another (probably angry and impatient) driver cuts you off!  See?  No coincidence.  Just the Law of Attraction perfectly synchronizing all your emotions and beliefs systems for you.

3.     The Universe is responding with the path of least resistance to what you truly want.  

Finally, once you’ve examined your emotions and underlying beliefs, remember that the Universe has access to both your past and your future (in a way that the conscious mind does not), and is always delivering to you what your truly want in a way that might not be obvious to you in the moment.  For example, you don’t get a job that you really thought you wanted and interviewed well for.  While you may not understand why, the Universe (your Higher Self) understands what you really desire from the perfect job, didn’t see this particular position as a vibrational match, and is lining up a better opportunity for you.  Placing your trust in infinite intelligence and letting go, knowing that everything is always working out for you (if you will allow it), is an important part of the process.

Remember, you are always getting not what you want, but what you are a vibrational match to!  By examining your emotions, belief systems, and learning to let go of resistance and allow, you can learn how to consciously shape your reality and avoid what may seem like the “unexpected.”

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Exercise for Joy, Energy, and Happiness

woman-and-scale-shutterstock1Every year I set the same resolutions – lose 15 pounds, cut out refined sugar, meditate daily, exercise 5 times a week – resolutions that seem like nostalgic wishes by mid February. This year I set the intent I am living with the intent to feel energetic, creative, joyful, centered and inspired

And, while I am making a commitment to work out more often and eat more mindfully, I am committing to physical activities that make me feel connected spiritually and full emotionally rather than torturing myself just to shed pounds.

I am discovering a love of yoga (believe it or not, I am not a yogi – read about it here!) through a group class I am doing with other mom friends.  Historically, yoga has been a struggle for me as I have felt like I am “bad” at it.  But this year I am approaching it differently – inspired, as I often am, by the guiding philosophy of my good friend Tara Stiles.

Tara and I recently hosted a SCLA event in San Francisco and as I watched Tara twist and turn in amazing ways to hip hop music during our event, I noticed the intention to find joy, creativity, and challenge by those in her class. Tara’s approach to yoga made it fun, rich and fulfilling for all those in the class, even if they couldn’t keep up with her!

In an interview I did with Tara last year, she talked about the joy she discovered in yoga:  “(As a dancer), everything has to be perfect or you’re not completing the movement. That’s what was so exciting about yoga. You’re going to your own limit and finding the ease in that moment.  From a mental, spiritual and emotional aspect it was definitely key. I was like, ‘I have to do this forever!’”

What I am enjoying about my own weekly yoga class is that I can do it at my own pace.  And its social!  I have as much fun chatting with the other mom friends as I do stretching and breathing. We’ve always been big supporters of yoga here on Intent and encourage all of you to give it a try if you’re looking for a practice that not only works you out but also helps you connect to your body through your mind and spirit.

I’ve also been on a few hikes on the lovely trails here in Santa Monica where I live, not checking my phone for emails, and walking in silence noticing the beauty of nature. 

And, this weekend I plan to start running on the beach again – one of the most emotionally healing things I have done in the past. For my 40th birthday, I ran a half marathon and found a love for running because of how it made me feel emotionally. Working out with an activity that makes you feel happy and better about yourself is much healthier than doing something you hate because it’ll trim fat.

Hopefully my strategy of living with intent this year will help me realize some of the changes I am seeking in my life more effortlessly and with lasting impact.  And more importantly, because I am having fun, feeling connected and inspired, I am anticipating my physical time, rather than feeling burdened by it. This will keep me motivated to stay on the path to healthier living!

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The Toxic Effects of Guilt

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 11.03.29 AMI often use my daily meditation practice as a way to surface any underlying negative emotions and clear any resistance that may be holding my energy vibration down.  The analogy I like to use:  you are naturally like a cork bobbing on the surface of the water – you don’t have to do much to keep the cork floating happily along, because that is its inherent nature.  Negative thoughts and emotions, however, act like a hand that’s holding down the cork.  If you simply release the negative emotion, the cork (and your vibrational frequency) will naturally rise back to your true nature – a state of joy, enthusiasm, and love.  Any emotional state other than this is not only unnatural, but research shows that chronic negative emotion and stress is toxic to our cells and hazardous to our health.

So being acutely aware of negative emotion is the first step to recognizing and releasing it.  For this article, I want to focus on a particularly insidious emotion – guilt.  Guilt is one of those tricky emotions that’s hard to pinpoint and even harder to root out.  In its broadest definition, guilt is “an emotion that occurs when a person believes that they have compromised his or her own standards.”  But I’d argue that that definition is not nearly subtle enough for the type of guilt that most people experience (especially women, who in my experience are more prone to obsess and fret than men).

For instance, most people might feel guilty about big offenses like stealing, cheating, or lying.  Negative emotion is not always a bad thing if it helps you identify your moral compass and course correct – it’s called having a conscience.  But what about when our guilt meter goes into overdrive and we start feeling guilty about the unrealistic expectations we’ve set for ourselves?  For instance, I recently started working part-time in order to devote more time to my family and writing.  To be honest, I love my lifestyle and am much happier as a result.  But, I sometimes feel guilty and find myself saying “you’ve worked so hard to get to this point in your career and now you’re getting off the ladder” or “you’re a professional, and you’re not meeting your full earning potential.”  Even though my husband and extended family fully support my decision, I feel my own internal sense of pressure and guilt.  And on and on for goals and expectations that only I’ve set for myself.

After some reflection, and A LOT of meditation, I’ve finally come to peace with many decisions like this, and have found some strategies that help me cope when my guilt meter goes into overdrive.

Get some perspective.

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and feel negative emotion over petty things that probably aren’t going to matter in the grand scheme of your life.  When you find yourself feeling guilty over something small, just take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this going to matter in 5 years?”  If the answer is yes, then by all means reflect on it more after the initial wave of negative emotion has passed.  Even in instances where the guilt is about something significant, it helps to get some distance.  But if the answer is no, then stop wasting the emotional energy and feeling bad.  For instance, no one is going to remember or care in 5 years if you made cookies from scratch or bought them at the store for that charity bake sale.  But yet these are the small things that women tell me they feel guilty about.  In these cases, it’s important to get some perspective and focus your thoughts and energy on things that are really going to matter in the long run.  Life’s too short to focus on anything but the big stuff and the stuff that makes you happy.  Which leads me to my next point.

Use happiness as your barometer.

If you are feeling guilty about something you’ve done or said (or haven’t done or haven’t said), for example, use this simple test to determine if you need to take action on your guilt: what decision or action makes me happier (now and in the long run)?  It’s as simple as that.  Instead of thinking about what’s expected of you, what people will think, or even what’s best for your friends or family, the most important factor in letting go of your guilt is knowing you took the right path or decision for you.  It may sound selfish, but unless you take care of yourself and do what’s best for you, you have nothing to give to anyone else anyway.  So never feel guilty about doing something that feels right to you or makes you happy. 

Give yourself a break.

It’s easy to sometimes feel guilty and obsess over even the smallest of things.  For instance, I recently talked to one mom who felt guilty for not feeding her infant an all-organic diet.  She was really worried that it would set him up for illness and health problems later on in life.  Certainly, organic foods are beneficial.  But when you create an all or none, perfectionist mindset, you’re setting yourself up for failure and guilt.  That negative emotion is also creating resistance within you, which prevents the Universe from letting the right solutions come to you in the right way and at the right time.  So learn to give yourself a break.  This simplistic advice someone once gave me works wonders – just do the best you can, and let the Universe take care of the rest.   In this instance, do your best to feed your child healthy a healthy diet, but trust that you don’t always have to get it right to have a healthy, happy child.

 Rationalize a decision, and move on.

This is something that guys are really good at (generally speaking) and for some reason comes much harder to women.  Guys tend to think more linearly, and once they make a decision, they tend to get lined up with it and justify it to themselves.  Women, on the other hand, tend to second guess themselves, and play the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” game.  Women tend to look at things from many different angles, which is helpful to a certain point, but when overdone, can lead to indecisiveness and anxiety about a decision.  This, in turn, can cause guilt and obsessing over decisions made in the past or things to come in the future.  Instead, give yourself the benefit of the doubt that you made the right decision or call based on where you were in your life at that point, and then just move forward.  Don’t obsess or over think it.

Remember, chronic guilt is a toxic emotion that can wreck havoc on our physical and psychological health.  Using these techniques to pinpoint and root out guilt will help you raise your energy frequency, improve your point of attraction, and more quickly manifest your desires.

Feeling Blue? Consider the Beauty of Nature

pendulumOne common happiness challenge is: How do you give yourself a boost when you’re feeling blue? Or when you’re past the point of feeling blue, and are feeling deeply unhappy?

One refuge is to consider the beauty of nature.

Nature is impersonal, awe-inspiring, elegant, eternal. It’s geometrically perfect.  It’s tiny and gigantic. You can travel far to be in a beautiful natural setting, or you can observe it in your backyard–or, in my case, in the trees lining New York City sidewalks, or in the clouds above skyscrapers.

A few nights ago, my eight-year-old daughter burst into my office. She was very excited to show me a video, Pendulum Waves, which shows extraordinary patterns created by the simple pendulum.

Watching the video, I was struck, for the millionth time, by the beauty of nature. I often remind myself of one of my favorite quotations, from Boethius, “Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at last cease to admire worthless things.” Or I remind myself to “Consider the elephant“ –wonder why? Because of this passage from Eugene Delacroix’s fascinating  Journal.

Do you find that when you’re caught in the troubles of your own experience–whether those are grave problems,  or petty annoyances–that contemplating nature is helpful?

The extent and stability of the heavens! In a shell, in an elephant, in the clouds, in a rock formation, in the action of a pendulum.

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Years ago, my brilliant friend Kim Malone Scott wrote a novel, Virtual Love, about love and life at Google, but I never got to read it, because she didn’t publish it. I was so happy to learn that at last she has published it, and I’ve ordered my copy of Virtual Love. You can read a rave discussion of it in a Wired article by Steven Levy, The Lost Google Novel that Takes a Better Look at Tech Culture than The Circle.

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