Archive for the ‘Moment-Is Challenge’ category

WHO ARE YOU? Take 5 minutes to begin your journey of discovery

May 26, 2009

Who are you?

Many people answer this question with a description of their various roles. For me I am a mother, coach, workplace consultant, former nurse, wife, sister, aunt, friend etc. With each of these roles I have certain expectations as to how I want to fulfill them.  For example as a mom, I have three adult children whom I love spending time with, imparting my words of wisdom to (always being careful not to overdo the WISDOM part) and for many years my children defined me. By that I mean, everything that they said and did were a direct reflection of me i.e. their accomplishments, their dreams, their sorrows, their joys and their mistakes.  I was totally tied into their stories and their lives to define me as a good mom, an attentive mom, someone who had it handled, someone who makes mistakes or someone who was not good enough or there enough for my kids.  I had many judgements as to how well I fulfilled my role.

How about you?  Are you totally defined by your roles – parent, nurse, teacher, health care worker, daughter etc. Even though it may seem natural to do this, it is not who you really are!!

Behind all of the roles and expectations you have for living your life, who are you really?   What makes you – YOU? If you do not spend any time in relationship with yourself, how will you really know who you are?  When you spend this time you start to get connected with what is at the core of who you are and it is a beautiful journey of discovery.

My challenge for you today is to spend 5 minutes quietly in relationship with yourself.

Turn off all electronics (TV, cell phone, computer etc.),

Sit quietly in a chair,

Close your eyes and breathe deeply and intentionally.

Set a timer so you know that you will be alerted when the time has passed.

Notice what you hear

Notice what you see

Notice how you feel

Notice what you feel

Still your mind chatter

breathe.

Just notice what you notice and

BE. IN THE MOMENT

I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR STORIES.  Take care.

Gerrianne

Feeling good – “in the moment”

May 21, 2009

There has been a lot written about the “Law of Attraction”, “The Secret”,Power of Positive Thinking” and many others to help guide us on the road to living and thinking more positively.  These books and self improvement movements are attempting to teach us that we can manifest and achieve greatness in our lives depending on our perspective and our beliefs.  In order to have the life we want, we need to change how we think and feel in order to achieve what we want to attract in our lives.

This is a very powerful concept and one that brings great success to those who can master the principals.  The reality for many people however, is that this is easy in theory but difficult in practice.  How can we start to change our perspectives and our beliefs in order to live “the life we want”?  My answer to you is “moment by moment”.

I described in a previous post that our body responds to the stories we tell whether real or imagined. If we recount the story of how someone hurt us, angered us, jilted us etc. and we tell this story repeatedly to ourselves or anyone who will listen, we are stimulating the secretion of stress hormones in our body – just by reliving the story. Unfortunately in society today, it is all too common for people to dwell on negativity and sad stories.  Look at what happens every time there is a story of human tragedy; the media overloads us with stories, images etc. to help us relive the tragedy several times each day/week and even months.

So what can you do shift to a more positive life? Remember I told you that our body responds to the stories we tell whether real or imagined.  So if you can reconnect with a positive story, something that makes you smile, something that makes you feel good, then the opposite can happen.  The feel good hormones – serotonin, endorphins, and DHEA are released when we tell a story that makes us feel good.

So what makes you smile? Imagine puppy dogs running with feet that are too big for their bodies, a child learning to walk and how they giggle when they take their first step, the look on the mother’s face as she is encouraging them with love and excitement.  One of my feel good moments is hugging my kids and the emotions that wash over my system when I think of them.  For some people it is a memorable hike, a family gathering, an amazing ski adventure and for others it may be a jump into a lake on a hot summers day.

What are your feel good moments?

Take a few minutes and write them down.

Come up with as many as you can so you have a variety to call on when you want to feel good in the moment

Take one of those moments

Reconnect with the feelings of the time

Imagine your body reliving that moment

Notice how your body feels

Be with this feeling as long as you can

Try to make a habit every morning, lunch, dinner and bedtime to connect with positive emotions – it will help you “feel good – in the moment”

Take care all,

Gerrianne

The Intentional Breath

May 19, 2009

The breath is the most underutilized tool available to us “in the moment”. Research shows that when we breathe deeply into the very base of our lungs that we can calm down our nervous system which is responsible for many of our stress symptoms.

The Intentional Breath brings in life affirming oxygen on inspiration and breathes out stress and tension on expiration.  Take a moment to notice your breathing NOW.

FOR YOUR FIRST BREATH

Focus your attention to the middle of your chest

place your hand over this area.

Breathe in deeply through your nose for the count of 5

Imagine your hand moving up and down with the breath.

Pause

Blow the air out through your mouth for the count of 5

Notice the sensations running through your body, any warmth or tingling

Breathe normally in between the deep intentional breaths

FOR YOUR SECOND BREATH

Place your hand over your solar plexus

(halfway between the belly button and the rib cage)

Breathe in through your nose to the count of 5

(moving your hand up and down with the breath)

Pause

Blow the breath out through your mouth for the count of 5

Notice any sensations in your body, warmth, tingling, energy

Breathe normally between the deep intentional breaths


FOR YOUR THIRD BREATH

Once again the hand over the solar plexus

Breathe in through your nose for the count of 5

(moving the hand up with the breath)

Pause

Blow out through your mouth for the count of 5

consciously blow out any stress or tension you feel in your body

Notice any sensations in your body, how do you feel

Breathe normally

Set up a practice schedule for yourself to do the breathing every morning, every lunch, at the end of the day and before bed. See how you feel and let me know how this works.  Take care all

Blog with you later.

Gerrianne

Cortisol – We need you but enough already

May 15, 2009

Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted by our adrenal glands and is a necessary part of our waking and sleep cycles.  We need it to wake us up in the morning but if we have too much cortisol, it can be a problem.

Earlier in the week I spoke about adrenaline, why we need it and what can happen if we have to much. Similarly too much cortisol can have serious health consequences for us. Research shows that people who live in high stress work/home environments with a lot of negativity have excess amounts of cortisol. It is almost like, every time we are confronted with the negativity we need to wake up and be more alert because the stress is arousing us into action. Research also shows that excessive amounts of cortisol can be responsible for increased aches and pains, poor blood sugar regulation, weight gain, poor immune response and other chronic conditions. These facts make it important for us to find healthier ways to combat our stress.

Did you know that we can shift from a negative internal state of high cortisol by shifting what we are focusing on in any given moment? Our body does NOT know if the stories we are experiencing are real or imagined.  When we think of the negative things that happen in our lives and relive the experience of the events, we are sending cortisol into our system just by imaging and reliving the story.

The opposite of this is also true.  When we can relive positive times in our lives and get into how it felt we can shift our cortisol to DHEA (the feel good, anti-aging, vitality hormone).  What this means is, we can make our physiology healthier by focusing on something positive.

In this moment

Think of something that makes you smile and let yourself smile.

Smiling stimulates positive, feel good hormones in your body.

Practice kindness in thoughts and actions

Performing an act of kindness increases our serotonin levels

Observing kindness increases our serotonin levels

Appreciate

Celebrate what is good in your life

We can shift our physiology moment by moment throughout our day.  Remember to breathe and smile.  These simple “in the moment” tools can have amazing results.

Blog with you soon.

Gerrianne

Stress and Adrenaline – what can you do?

May 13, 2009

Adrenaline is a hormone that is secreted by our sympathetic nervous system in response to an event real or imagined that has us scared.  People often refer to it as the fight, fright or freeze response.  It is the hormone that is responsible for people having an uncanny amount of strength in scary situations e.g. lifting a car off a person to save their life etc.

In our society, people are under tremendous amounts of stress but it is not the big stressors that make us sick.  It is the accumulation of the little things that have a negative impact on us.  Many people believe they need a certain amount of stress to keep them motivated and on tract.  When we have a deadline to meet the adrenaline is often the hormone that keeps us on task and on target for getting this done.

HOWEVER, if we are living under constant deadlines, constant interruptions, along with worry and fear about work and home with no time to regroup or de-stress, then the accumulation of too much adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone which I will be discussing later this week) can have serious negative consequences on your health. Our body does not do well running on hyperdrive when we have bursts of adrenaline happening every time we are startled, frightened or worried about something. SO what can you do about your stress.

When you recognize that your heart is beating fast, your breathing is rapid and shallow, you have butterflies in your stomach or you are scattered in your thinking –

Ask yourself “in this moment” what can I do to feel better?

The most important thing you can do is to tune into your body and calm yourself down physiologically

Take 3 intentional deep breaths

Notice how you feel physically

Listen to the sounds around you

Look at your surroundings

Ask yourself – what can I do right now to improve my situation?

Worry and fretting about what may happen in the future is our minds way of making us think we are doing something about the problem. When you ask yourself what can I do right now, we move away from the worry and into an action phase that can support us in resolving the problem.

Blog with you later.

Gerrianne

“In the moment” posts

May 11, 2009

I will be making my posts shorter to help you read them more “in the moment”.  I will add to the blog every day or two but want to make sure you do not get overwhelmed with the length of them.  I have been enjoying the writing so much and have noticed they are getting a bit too long. I have so much I want to share with you and in my enthusiasm I get a little long winded.

When my online community starts in July, I will have podcasts that expand on my blog and you can then listen to them on the run.  Until them, my intention is to make the blog posts readable within 1-2 minutes.

Take care

Gerrianne

6 Tips to Help Our Kids De-stress

May 5, 2009

Hello all,

For those of us who are parents, the idea that our kids are not finding effective ways of coping with stress is scary.  When you see all of the problems with childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc.  there is often a fear that we are not doing enough for our kids to help them with the challenges they face.

After 35 years as a nurse and 28 years as a mom, a specialist in stress management and developer of effective “in the moment” tools,  there are some simple strategies that we can  use with our kids that will help them calm down and “live more in the moment” (and by teaching them these tools, we are also doing them ourselves so it is a win/win).

1 – Teach them to breathe intentionally. As I described in the #3 of the  “Moment-Is Challenge” taking 3 deep breaths into the area around the solar plexus has a calming effect on the whole system.  Set aside time each day to coach your children through the breathing.  Some ideal times to do this include:  a) before you drive out of the driveway on the way to school, b) when you pick them up from day care, school or dance class, c) before they start their homework and d) before they go to bed.  Do it with them, you will both calm down tremendously.

2.  Help them remember something that makes them smile – it could be playing with a friend, riding their bike, dancing, playing soccer.  Tell them to close their eyes and smile or laugh about a good memory they have.  By helping your kids remember the good times they’ve had can help them recreate those feelings in their bodies and counteract the negative effects of  stress.  It is very easy for all of us to remember and obsess about the negative stuff and it takes effort to reconnect with the positive.  By setting this intention with your kids it helps both of you connect to positive emotions.

3.  Develop a habit of talking about “what went well today”.  When our kids were younger and still at home we tried to have everyone come up with 3 things that were good about the day.   I tried to focus on this a couple of times a month.  What I noticed is this was often difficult  to do depending on the drama of the day (it is really easy to focus on the bad but not so easy to focus on the good).  If your younger (and older) children cannot come up with something good you may need to coach them through this.  Our youngest daughter was the recipient of a fair amount of bullying over the years which made this exercise challenging.  We  needed to focus on things at home that were good(because school often was not) , for example: “Molly (the older dog) snuggled with Charlie (the puppy) isn’t it cute they are getting along better than they used to”.

Please let us know challenges you find in doing this.

4. Get them active – try and go to the park after dinner, ride your bikes, if it is lousy or cold outside turn on some tunes and dance, sing to the music, let your spirit soar!!!

Be your goofiest self, feel the groove to the music and let it out.  Your children may be shy to start, that is okay, be the role model and it will help you de-stress as well.  This not only helps all of you release the tension it also creates a closer connection when you can laugh and play together. Having fun, enjoying each others’ company and appreciating life helps to increase our serotonin levels which is the feel good hormone we have circulating through our veins.  We can naturally increase this by feeling joy and observing joy in others.

5.  Healthy eating – Healthy eating is fundamental to a positive outlook on life.  It is a challenge with all of the busyness of the day/week/month to find time to prepare healthy foods for our kids (and ourselves).  However, taking the time to plan can pay off in huge ways – nutritionally, economically and your sanity. What I try to do (and am successful 60 % of the time) is plan my meals on Sunday and do the grocery shopping for the week.

I like to spend time on Sunday afternoon making a meal or two for the week with the kids.  Some things I do in batches include soup, spaghetti sauce, cut up veggies for lunches etc. This is a great activity to do with the kids as it teaches them about healthy eating and also creates some quality time with you. We often have a nice family meal on Sunday night that will help us with leftovers for lunches or dinners on Monday night. As much as I know this works well for me, I am not good at always getting it done.  If I do not get a chance to do this meal prep, I make sure I have some staples in the house like brown rice, sweet potatoes, frozen chicken breasts, cans of salmon or tuna as well as salad fixins and veggies so I can throw together something when I get home.  I find it so frustrating to get home at the end of the day and there is no food in the house to feed anyone.

If your children are a little older, ask them to plan and prepare one meal per week. Set up some guidelines to help them learn about healthy food choices that will improve their energy as well as their performance in school.  Make sure they include at least one vegetable and some protein in their meal prep.  If their dinner of choice is macaroni and cheese you can suggest they make a salad, add some broccoli or carrots etc.  Make it fun!! I found How to get your kids to eat but not too much was an excellent source of wisdom on the healthy eating dilemma.

6. Practice relaxation and visualization exercises – One of the best ways I used to help my kids de-stress at night was to do a guided relaxation and visualization exercise with them.  I would put on some relaxing music, and talk them through a visualization where they would get into a special place inside of them and just be there. What I found incredible about doing this was that as I guided them through this exercise, the benefits were huge for both of us. The thing is this did not add another thing to my day, it was a way of connecting with my kids when I was helping them get ready for bed.  What works well is to set the intention that you are going to help your kids feel relaxed and calm before they go to bed and this exercise helps with this.

With the launch of the Moment-Is website in July I will have a variety of relaxation podcasts that you can use with your kids to help them get into that relaxed state.  By learning to fully relax, visualize positive experiences, get connected with themselves and meditate,  children (and adults) learn they have the ability to control their emotional state which will serve them well throughout their life.

Let me know how things go with your kids as you use these suggestions.  Each one of these activities will not only help your children de-stress but will also improve the connection between the two of you.  You can use any one of them at any time throughout the day.  Good luck.

Take care all and I will blog with you again soon

Gerrianne