Tag Archives: negative self-talk

Clear Clutter for a Merry Christmas!

A few days before Christmas is probably not the time to have physical clutter clearing as your focus, unless you are clearing away wrapping supplies or leftovers from the fridge. However, it is a great time to clear mental and emotional clutter.

Negative self-talk is mental clutter. Look for the negative thoughts that can arise after a month of too much to do and not enough time to do it. Thoughts like, “I’m exhausted!” Or, “I should have gotten xyz done.” Or, “There is still so much to do, most of which I don’t want to do.”

When you notice those negative thoughts, tell yourself, “Thank you for sharing. You are letting me know it’s time for some self-care. It’s time to stop pushing and pause to think about my blessings, what I have accomplished, how much I am loved, and what fills my heart.”

Emotional clutter sounds like this, “I’m so sad because Christmases are not like they once were.” Or, “I feel so lonely because I have no family to be with at Christmas.” Or, “I’m afraid people won’t like my gifts or appreciate all the effort I put forth to make this a great Christmas.” You get what you focus on. It’s normal to feel sadness at this time of year because Christmases aren’t like they once were. Some family members are no longer with us. Children grow up and celebrate Christmas with their own families. Some people will not be appreciative of your efforts.

However, you can choose whether to stay in a negative emotional spin or instead look for the good in every encounter and notice what you love about the season (music, colorful lights, beautiful decorations, special foods, connecting with special people).

Even if the holidays are busy, tiring days with too much to do, clearing mental and emotional clutter as it comes up will free you to be present to the joys and wonder of this special time of year. Look for the good! It’s there waiting for you to hold in your heart.

Merry Christmas!

9 Elements of Success: Self-Care — Graduate Level

Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and getting enough sleep are the foundation of a iStock_000002038361Smallsolid self-care plan. Without them, your physical body won’t operate optimally which in turn affects your mental and emotional health. With that foundation in place you can expand your self-care in ways that feed you on many levels and motivate you to be an advocate for yourself and your well-being.

Following are some of my favorite ways to broaden and deepen your self-care plan:

  • Have realistic expectations of what it possible. You only have 24 hours in a day and you only have a portion of that time in which you have access to good brain power. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time. Otherwise, you set yourself up to constantly fall short of your expectations.
  • Make time to refuel. Pausing to take a break, relaxing and having fun are essential to refill your gas tank. Disengaging from work and deliberately stopping to rest your body and brain will make it possible for you to maintain good health, good relationships, access creativity, and work more efficiently and effectively. Running on empty for the sake of feeling in control of your “to do” list over time will make it impossible to be your best self. It will make all aspects of your life more difficult.
  • Control what you can. You can control your behavior, thoughts and attitudes, but you cannot control others. Trying to change the behavior of others is an exercise in futility that causes stress, angst and conflict in yourself and your relationships.
  • Look for the good, the positive in yourself, every person and every situation. With a commitment to a positive focus, you empower yourself to be part of solutions, not problems. Real change is only possible in the presence of positive emotional attractors.
  • Stop negative self-talk, the critical voice in your head. Negative thoughts pollute your thinking and make emotion management difficult. Replace them with curiosity about your behavior and appreciation of your strengths. Curiosity leads to self-awareness and the possibility of making different choices. Criticism keeps you small, ashamed and disempowered. Curiosity about your behavior and acknowledgement of your strengths lay the foundation for positive change.
  • Spend time with supportive, like-minded positive people. Their energy affects your energy.
  • Seek support from other people and groups when you feel overwhelmed, lost or off track from your positive focus and your goals.
  • Avoid spending much time in the presence of people who are toxic and negatively focused. Their energy affects your energy.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries. When a person has healthy boundaries they make careful choices about the commitments they make, taking into consideration their time, interests and availability. They know they cannot be all things to all people. They know how to say no to tasks that aren’t theirs to do and tasks they don’t want to do. People with healthy boundaries let other people solve their own problems. They offer support, but don’t take the problems of others as their own to fix.
  • Make decisions that take your needs into consideration. Be sure to include yourself in the equation. Consider what is best for you given your current reality, commitments, interests, and values. This is especially difficult for women who have been culturally programmed to put the needs of others before their own needs. Is it any wonder that many women are so tired, angry and resentful? Those are the consequences of not insuring that your own needs are met on a regular basis.
  • Maintain an organized home and/or office. The condition of your living and working spaces affects your energy, your ability to think clearly, your attitude and your productivity. Clutter creates negative energy and distractions that block good decision-making, getting things done, and maintaining a positive focus and good attitude. It engenders feelings of overwhelm, fatigue and hopelessness.
  • Develop a positive practice, an activity that feeds you with positive feelings and inspiration that helps you stay grounded and centered in the positive. This could include  yoga, meditation, journaling, spend in nature, daily spiritual reading, Tai Chi, walking your dogs, getting massages.

I could go on and on. There are so many possibilities for self-care. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite ways to take care of yourself. There is no absolute right way to do self-care. I liken it to a construction project, one that is on-going. Have fun assembling the pieces of your self-care plan! It’s a prerequisite to good health, good relationships and a good life!

Internal Clutter: Awareness Before Clearing

Change Internal Clutter!

Internal clutter. We all have it. It shows up as negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, faulty thinking and limiting perspectives. Most of us are unconscious about the variety of clutter that runs the show in our brains.

You’re probably noticing that I’m including myself when I talk about mental clutter. The first therapist I worked with told me that I had a black cloud over my head. She was referring to the array of negative beliefs about life and what I could expect from it that I had laid out before her.

Upon reflection I was able to identify that I had inherited many of those beliefs from my father who has always been a glass half empty kind of guy. I remember him referring to “the malevolent universe” when talking about the state of our world. Little did I know that being exposed to that type of perspective and other pessimistic beliefs colored my view of our world as a scary, dark, unpredictable place. When my therapist shared her observation with me, she made me aware that toxic internal clutter was blocking me from being able to trust and experience feelings of joy. She opened a door for healing and developing a new perspective.

When I can’t seem to get traction in my life, when I get caught up in self-doubt, self-criticism and feeling uncertain and shaky about aspects of my life, I remind myself that I need to check in with the voices in my head. I examine my thoughts, the beliefs that are surfacing, my current perspectives regarding my purpose, my performance, and my journey. Invariably I discover that I’ve slipped into old ways of thinking. Bringing those monsters into awareness is essential before I can change them and make my way back to being fully connected with my best self.

If you find yourself struggling, check for mental clutter. What messages are playing in your head? How are you viewing your reality? Like attracts like. Negative beliefs, self-talk and perspectives attract more of the same.

Bring that clutter to light. Notice it. Don’t judge it. Internal clutter is a choice. But, you must first notice it and its effect on your feelings, behavior and view of your life and the world. Bring mental clutter to light and you’ll be on your way to a better life. Awareness first. You cannot expel energies you haven’t identified. It may not be pleasant process. But, it’s a step in the direction of positive change.