Category Archives: Mindset & Self-Care

Visualization

Visualization is critical to staying the course on your journey to accomplishing your goals.  It’s a powerful skill that you can learn.  At first, it may sound like a far-out, space-age idea, but once you get started, you’ll likely get hooked – just like I did! 

So…why practice visualization?  Why is it so important? 

By learning and practicing positive visualization, you can change your beliefs about yourself.  It can give you confidence and make you believe you’re fully capable of doing what it takes to be successful and achieve that long-time goal of yours – that dream you’ve kept inside of you for so many years! 

Research shows Visualization is a powerful tool in achieving the results we want.

How do you visualize?

  • Go to a quiet place without distractions.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Put 3 – 4 images in your mind of your life when you’ve reached your goal. 
  • Focus on the 1st image and layer in the positive emotions you would be feeling in that image.
  • Then repeat with each of the other images.
  • It can take only a few minutes a day. 

For example, your goal may be to have an online business selling gift baskets.  You love being creative and have been making and giving personalized gift baskets as holiday and birthday gifts for years and you’ve always desired to turn it into a real business. 

To visualize this, go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes and picture yourself being successful at this.  What do you see?  Are you reviewing customer orders and placing items into pretty decorated baskets?  Is an assistant wrapping the baskets, boxing them, and then taking them to UPS for shipping?  Are you seeing yourself reading the excellent customer reviews and seeing the deposits in your bank account? 

Focus on the images one by one.  For each image feel the positive emotions.  Let the confidence and joy run throughout your body.  Feel yourself standing up tall and being so glad to have taken action and started this business.  Feel how proud you are that you are so capable of managing the details and you have made this a successful business! 

Based on research described in her teaching videos, Mel Robbins states that visualization is actually reprograming your brain’s beliefs.  She explains that your mind doesn’t distinguish between images and emotions that are real events or imagined ones.  When you visualize, you are encoding a real memory into your brain.  The more you visualize, the stronger the memory becomes.  This actually increases your confidence in your ability and your fear dissipates as you gain certainty about handling the steps it takes to accomplish your goal.  You also begin talking and acting like someone who has already reached your goal – which in the above example, would be having built a successful online gift basket business!  

The Power of Focus!

What you focus on, your body feels.  For example, if you’re thinking about when someone in the past did something to hurt you, you will physically feel the hurt inside, even though the event is not currently taking place.  Likewise, if you’re focusing on a possible future event that worries you, your body feels the anxiety and stress, even though the event has not yet happened, and may never happen.  And…stress is something we definitely don’t want to bring upon ourselves, as it has been linked to increasing the risk of certain health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, weight gain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, depression, and more. 

But, you can stop this inner pain and stress by changing what your mind is focusing on.  By changing your focus, you can change your physical bio-chemistry.

Your focus also plays a major role in the results you’ve achieved in life.  Your current environment is largely a result of what you’ve focused on in the past.  Change your focus, change your life.  To achieve your goal, you want to consistently focus on that goal.  By focusing, you stop your mind and emotions to be reacting to negative stimuli in your environment, demands of others, or thoughts of past unpleasant or hurtful events.

What you consistently focus on, you will achieve.  When you find yourself making progress towards your goal, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment and joy, and you’ll also develop a sense of certainty about your ability to achieve the results! 

Consistent focus is a learned skill that can be mastered with practice.   When you notice a negative thought entering your mind, you can switch your focus by taking a deep breath and counting backwards from five…5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  This counting backwards interrupts your thought pattern, states author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins.  In her book, The Five Second Rule, Mel further explains that when you get to “1” it is a signal to your mind for something to occur.  After you get to “1” replace the previous thought with an image of your future self.  Focusing on that successful, happy vision of yourself changes your bio-chemical state from negative to joy, pleasure, and fulfillment – which is where we want to spend our time and live our lives!          

The Power of Asking the Right Question!!

You’re smart, hardworking, and a great mom!  You’re resilient and proud of how you’ve pushed yourself through hard times, including your divorce.  And…now, you find yourself thinking, “What’s next?  What will the second half of my life bring?”    

SO, LET’S JUST STOP RIGHT THERE!

Do not ask, “What will life bring?”  It’s the WRONG question. 

The RIGHT question is:  “What do I want my life to look like?” 

When you ask a better question, you get a better answer. 

Think about it…

When you ask, “What will life bring?” you’ll find that your mind is not focused.  It’s flashing many different images, some happy and some not very happy. 

On the other hand, when you ask yourself, “What do I want my life to be?” you immediately get a more centered feeling in your gut.  Your mind is more focused and there is just one or two dominant images that you see.  Also, in these images you are happy, successful, confident, and content.

It’s similar with your “to do” list. 

Let’s say it’s Saturday morning.  You have the day in front of you and you’re about to write your “to do” list.  So…are you asking yourself, “What do I have to do today?” But, then don’t feel very motivated as you write (and picture yourself doing):

  • food shopping  
  • laundry
  • clean
  • walk dog

Well, no one would be motivated with that list!  The BETTER question to ask is, “What do I want to do today?”  With this question, you start seeing yourself doing fun, pleasurable things and may write down items, such as:

  • have lunch with my daughter
  • go hiking by the lake
  • take a drive to the farmstand and get fresh donuts

When you asked a better question, you got a better answer!  A better result! 

You’re now excited and looking forward to your day!  The day YOU designed!  And…the truth is: You absolutely can design the rest of your life!  It all starts with your focus. 

Sleep on it!

Making an important decision?

Sleep on it!

When you’re at the end of your day and find yourself finally getting around to thinking about that decision you’ve been putting off, the advice of ‘sleep on it’ is not just an old wives’ tale.  Scientific research confirms that a person should not make an important decision at the end of the day, but instead wait until morning, following a good night’s sleep.

Two reasons this is good advice: 

Firstly, at the end of the day we experience “decision fatigue.”  According to the American Medical Association, this is a state of mental overload that can impede a person’s ability to continue making decisions.  The average person makes over 35,000 decisions by the end of a day, says Dr. MacLean, a psychiatrist, which takes energy and can result in brain fog.  In addition, the wear and tear on our brains leads us to make more reckless decisions, such as impulse eating and shopping. 

Secondly, the most accurate decisions are made early in the day, according to a study published in the journal, Cognition.  Not only is this because decision fatigue has not yet occurred, but can also be attributed to adequate sleep, which is linked to better productivity, concentration, and cognition – the mental ability to acquire and perceive knowledge or concepts.

So, the next time you find yourself at the end of the day with your head spinning and you asking yourself, “What do I do?”  The answer is to get a good night’s sleep, knowing your decision-making ability will be improved in the morning and your decision more accurate. 

Exercise – the Depression Eliminator!

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.

Many divorced women in their 50’s spiral into mild depression as their unhealthy and inaccurate self-talk gets them believing that their future is bleak, particularly as it relates to relationships, finances, and making progress on long-time goals. 

To relieve the numerous debilitating symptoms of depression (see below), many turn to doctors, who are all too quick to prescribe medication.  However, what if there is a better, long-lasting remedy?  Well, I’m here to tell you that there is, and, it’s also free!  It is exercise!   

According to Mind Pump Media, studies show that exercise, in the long-term, proves to be the far superior remedy for depression symptoms. 

Exercise and anti-depressants both can immediately alleviate symptoms.  However, as time continues, exercise results get better, while anti-depressants actually lose their impact.   This is because the body adapts to the medication, similar to caffeine or other drugs, so more is needed for similar results.  On the flip side, as a person continues with consistent exercise, not only does the body becomes stronger, but mental and psychological health also improve due to increased energy and improved sleep – and sleep has a significant impact on mental state!   In addition, the increased level of endorphins in the bloodstream naturally makes us happier and more capable of handling stressful situations! 

There is no medication that can compare to exercise for combatting depression symptoms.  If you find yourself spiraling into a depressed state, make exercise a regular part of your routine.  If you have not been one to exercise previously, start slow and be consistent.  The results will be amazing!  You will feel stronger (inside and out) and better about your body image.  You will also feel more mentally clear and creative, your confidence will improve, and you will know you’re capable of achieving the new goals you have for the next chapter of your life!     

Depression definition and symptoms (source:  Mayo Clinic)

Note:  Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis, defined as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest.  It can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms, including changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, and/or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

People may experience:

  • Mood: anxiety, apathy, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, mood swings, or sadness
  • Behavioral:  agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
  • Sleep:  early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
  • Weight:  weight can or loss due to excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
  • Cognitive:  lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide

Less Sleep Leads to Weight Gain!

Studies show being sleep deprived leads to consuming an average of +285 additional calories per day!

When you’re sleep deprived, cortisol levels are high and serotonin levels are low. This makes you crave starchy, sugary and fatty foods to help boost serotonin and calm you. At the same time, lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and suppresses the satiety hormone, leptin, which signals when we’ve eaten enough.

6 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep

  1. Stick to a schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day creates a rhythm that your body will naturally try to maintain.
  2. Create a night-time routine. Doing the same tasks each night signals to your body to slow-down, sleep is coming soon.
  3. No big meals before bed. Stopping eating 3 hours before bed gives your digestive system enough time to complete its cycle, so the digestive process does not continue after bedtime, disrupting your sleep.
  4. Morning exercise. Exercise releases stress, making you fall asleep faster. It also produces growth hormones, which help your body to repair and revitalize itself. Best to exercise early in the day, however, because if you are exercising too close to bedtime, the adrenaline may prevent you from falling asleep easily.
  5. No late night drinks. Alcohol actually prevents you from getting your much-needed deep sleep. It also dehydrates you and can wake you up during the night.
  6. Go outside each day. A little Vitamin D every morning regulates your body’s production of melatonin and lifts your spirits. Dr. Michael Breus, PHD, advises getting outside for at least 15 minutes every morning.