Whatever You Think

Before summer ends and as you are gearing up for back to work and school details, take the opportunity to do some personal inquiry into the unique ways of relating to yourself and others. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself: the understanding and questioning you have about your thoughts, and the usual themes that you believe are true.

Do you believe what you think about? People have thousands of thoughts daily so to pose the question, “Is this really true?” to each notion that comes through your mind would be a daunting task. Yet some form of self-discernment is helpful in discovering the beliefs that are creating the issues in your interactions. Common thoughts such as: “That was stupid of me, or “She doesn’t like me, or “I don’t have what it takes to do this,” are usually not questioned for their validity. This may leave you feeling inadequate or disgruntled with yourself. If you believe your stressful thoughts, you create more stress in your life.

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The Art of Living an Empowered Life – Part 1

Thousands of people suffer from self-doubt, fears of inadequacy, feelings of worthlessness and unhealthy self-criticism. Each time we are faced with a difficult situation and we judge ourselves with inner dialogue, such as: ‘what’s wrong with me! I am a…. (loser, joke, stupid, useless)’, we are experiencing a drop in our self-esteem, defeating our sense of worthiness.

The journey is to gain a new perspective of ourselves through changing the way that we look at and speak to ourselves and by choosing behaviours that we respect.

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Healthy Individuals, Couples and Families for All Seasons

As we enter the fall months and we are aware of the approach of winter, most of us experience a shift in feelings. Some individuals become sad, anxious or disappointed. Perhaps their perception of the shorter days, going back to school or night school, spending more time indoors and less outside in nature, getting back into more work oriented activities and routines, and watching the beauty of the flowers begin to wane, is experienced as a loss.

Others may experience autumn as the beginning of a new year, a time to shift gears, pull off the cobwebs, roll up their sleeves and get focused. They may look forward to a more scheduled set of routines and so they feel energized, enjoy their more formal clothes and the cooler temperatures, greeting the change with exuberance, and a happy sense of purpose.

Imagine the increase in stress as couples and families begin the transition from summer to fall and get back into the new routines, under the influence of their unique perceptions and feelings about the change. The tension may be more pronounced if couples experience the transition in an opposing manner. There may be an increase in bickering, resentments and misunderstandings. We know that it is natural for children to feel either anxious or excited about going back to school and getting them settled into new routines may stretch parents’ patience. The same dynamic occurs for adults, too, so there is ample opportunity to experience more confusion and conflict.

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The Stressed Super Hero Unmasked

Are you a super man, woman, mom, dad, colleague, boss, friend? Do you categorize yourself as someone who likes to be everything to everybody? Many women and men today exhibit symptoms of chronic stress and burn out from the effort expended believing the myth that they can do it all! Our brains may convince us that we can over-achieve; however, our hearts are breaking down from the valiant attempts to keep up with the exaggerated expectations of our thoughts and ideas. In his fascinating book, The Heart’s Code, Dr. Paul Pearsall helps us to understand that the over active brain can be a cause of heart disease. Also, the late Harriet Braiker in her book, The Type E Woman, urged women to stop holding themselves to impossibly high standards in many or all areas of their lives.

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Women’s Challenges Today

Did you see the recent stats in the Toronto Star about women? According to the article, women are going to be more alone in their future lifestyles. This will be the result of the rising divorce rate, male medical fatalities and women who are choosing to be on their own.

A disturbing statistic was the increase in female stroke and heart disease. As women take on more and more responsibility as single parents, caring for aging parents, and more senior positions in the workplace, stress and burn out symptoms increase and require a change in attitude and lifestyle.

In my professional work, there are some predictable patterns and issues that many women, and of course some men, present.

Women tend to be more ‘others’ focused, which means that they are more likely to know their families’ and friends’ needs more than their own. I believe that as women, from our past programming, we are connection, and relationship oriented. Our role models mostly taught us to focus on others, especially significant others, which has resulted in not giving ourselves enough nurturing and little acceptance of our own needs and wants.

Another issue that many women, and men struggle with, is the fear of being alone. While this fear can create much difficulty within a relationship, it becomes huge when individuals have to face life on their own.

Let’s look more deeply into these two challenges: self-nurturing and being alone.

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Faith, Trust and Football

February 5th 2006 is a special day. If you’re a football fan, you already know why. For those of us who are not, (and I’m not!) let me tell you why.

On February 5th, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl. That in itself is great but many other teams have won the Super Bowl before. So what made this Super Bowl more special than other ones?

I was half watching the end of it with my husband and half reading a book. But then I heard a big roar and looked up at the television set and I heard the announcer say something like … Finally… It is Bill Cowher’s turn to win the Super Bowl and something to the effect he was the longest standing coach of the same team in the NFL – even if the last time he brought his team to the Super Bowl (and lost) was 10 years ago, in 1995.

Well, the word that came to my mind when I heard about their victory was persistence. The next words were trust and faith.

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