You are enough, just as you are.💕
Mirror Exercise: Waking Up with Love
Mirror Exercise: Waking Up with Love
With time, I have come to realize that failure has always been my greatest teacher. Each failure pointed me in a better direction and helped me to develop strength and authenticity, ultimately unveiling who I was and what I was destined to become
F. A. I. L. = First Attempt In Learning
• The failing grade I received on my first exam in graduate school taught me how to ask for support when I needed it most, no matter how shameful I felt or embarrassed I was.
• The end of a long-term relationship taught me how to value my time alone and make tough decisions for myself, no matter how weak I felt or lonesome I was.
• The layoff from a job I loved taught me how to let go, look forward, and trust in something so much bigger than myself, no matter how scared I was or irrelevant I felt.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Is it possible to see failure in a positive light?
Under the right conditions, failure strengthens us, adds to our self-knowledge, and enhances the quality of our lives
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have met my husband John.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be a psychology professor.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have written three textbooks.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be the person I am today.
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again.”
Read My Article in The Drive Magazine: https://thedrivemagazine.com/posts/failure-as-feedback
Watch Video of Post: Click Here
Especially at the start of a brand new day.
Step One: Awareness
Begin by WAKING UP to your inner dialogue tomorrow morning.
Is it loving? Is it kind?
Step Two: Mirror Affirmations
Write an encouraging quote for yourself on your bathroom mirror.
Pick any one of the quotes you’ve shared with the world on social media this past year and post it for yourself on your bathroom mirror.
It only takes one thought, one word, one smile, one song, to change a life.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
And your darkness.
That’s what makes you complete.
Whatever the day may bring.
Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
Yesterday someone asked me what my philosophy of psychology was. And the one word that kept coming to me over and over again was: Integration.
All the parts of ourselves. The scars and the stars. Just like coal and diamonds. Same element (carbon). Different manifestation.
Wholeness is the goal. Perfection is overrated.
WHY ARE WE SO HARD ON OURSELVES?
One that I’m asked often. And one that I often ask myself.
The answer is multifaceted and includes several factors including how we were parented (when internalized superego and conscience first develops) and eventually how we parent ourselves.
When something goes wrong, how do you respond?
1. Self Criticism versus Self Compassion
2. Self Control versus Self Love and Understanding
How do I make the shift from self criticism to self compassion?
1. Pay attention to where your self judgements originated.
Is this your personal measure of worthiness or society’s expectation of success?
2. Investigate how truly arbitrary the standards you set for yourself are.
For example, who said you had to weigh 125 lbs, have a million dollars in the bank, and be married by 30?
3. Don’t Believe Everything You Think!
Including my own.
Our Recap of That Day:
Don’t chase the destination my dear, chase the feeling.
Because the feeling will always bring you home. 💗
Share how you have fun together
Related Post → Who Inspires You?
Wishing everyone an extra dose of hope + optimism at the start of this brand new month of May.
8 billion people experiencing the same global event, at the same time – together.
This photo was taken at our first ladies night in our new house in Tecumseh, Ontario.
John and I had just gotten engaged. Just bought a house together.
And as you can tell from my big smile, I was excited to share this special moment with my friends.
Beautiful memories to be relived again.. very soon!
Change your life.
Acceptance and peace go hand in hand.
Consciously accept the good and the bad that exists in your life.
The rain and the sunlight.
Quite the opposite.
Strengths that were fostered in the eye of the storm. ☔️
Courage. Creativity. Wisdom. Perseverance. Faith.
And it’s that good feeling that motivates you to strive for more of what’s right for you. Instead of fighting against what’s wrong for you.
Begin by accepting what is.
Moment by precious moment.
The 3 to 1 positivity to negativity ratio is one way of applying this post in your everyday life.
Specifically, each time you criticize an area of your life (or something about yourself personally), write down three positive aspects about the very thing you condemned. Hence, the 3 to 1 positivity ratio.
For example, each time you get down on yourself for not working during the COVID-19 pandemic, write down three benefits of sheltering in place. (E.g., more time for fitness, the space to try out new hobbies, meaningful conversations with family members). This daily practice helps to dampen the adverse impact of negativity bias, a type of cognitive distortion, common to all of us.
Likewise, stop comparing your lowlights to other people’s highlights. You never know what’s happening behind the scenes in another person’s life. Good or bad. FOMO is “a story” fabricated in the mind based on snippets of observable behaviour (video below).
You Can’t Add More to Your Life Without First Letting Go
Three Ways ~ 2020 graduates ~ can bridge the gap between what was ~ and what will be.
All three resilience strategies described in full detail in the 8 minute video below:
Growth happens in the s p a c e in between.
Follow Your Breath Become aware of each inhalation and exhalation. Focus on the sensations you feel as air passes through your nose and throat. When you feel your thoughts drift, gently redirect your attention back to your breath.
Stand Up Straight Posture is especially important for breathing. Being upright enhances the rhythmic movement between the diaphragm and ribs. Hold yourself straight. Shoulders back. Feel the power of your breath.
Think Reassuring Thoughts While Breathing With each breath, think soothing thoughts (“I am inhaling calm”). With each exhalation, imagine that you are expelling your fears and worries (“I am exhaling worry”).
Abdominal Breathing Breathe through your stomach. Start by inflating your belly by inhaling, as if to fill it with air, then swell your chest; as you exhale, first “empty” your stomach, then your chest.
Balanced Breathing At the end of each inhalation, pause briefly while slowly counting “1, 2, 3”. Hold the air in. Then slowly exhale counting “1, 2, 3”.
Source: Scientific American
What brings you peace during uncertainty?
What gives you strength?
Breathing Video → Click Here
But we have to look UP to see it.
OPEN our minds to BELIEVE it.
The next time you see a 40 km, 50 km, or even 100 km sign — take it as an opportunity to visualize where (and who) you want to be at that age.
Additionally, use each “sign” as instant reflection time for contemplating: 1) what you need to do more of and 2) what you need to let go of to get there.
What signs have you noticed lately?
I was recently interviewed by wellness entrepreneur Christa Realba for her Ambitious Mama Podcast Series.
In different gradients, and at different times for sure. Depending on where you are on your journey.
The key is to not get stuck in the challenge and let pain become your identity.
To learn from it. To rise up and begin again when the time is right.
Related Post: Teaching Resilience at School
Merely an idea 5 years ago.
Again and again and again.. 🙏💛 🚀💫
Video of Blog Post ⇒ Click Here
A map for transforming stress into strength
This was the case for Sarah and Jack, two unique individuals with vastly different circumstances. But they each experienced the same emotion: loneliness. An emotion that is heightened during the holidays.
Original Source: The Drive Magazine
Sarah was a 42-year-old recently divorced woman who was about to face her first holiday season alone. Living in a new town, miles away from friends and family, she was waiting to begin a new job in January. Hours felt like days.
Days felt like months. Sarah had tried everything to fill the void inside. The mistake she made was running away from the one thing that would help get her to the other side: loneliness itself.
We need to first understand an emotion before we jump to the conclusion that it’s either good or bad, because in reality, emotions are almost entirely physiological in nature.
There’s not a negative or positive to them. It’s in our mind that we make it one or the other. This concept is supported by Schachter-Singer’s theory of emotion:
This theory of emotion explains why two people can experience the exact same event and have completely different emotional reactions to it.
What matters most is the person’s interpretation of an event, not the event itself. After all, as they say, one person’s glass-half-full is another one’s glass-half-empty.
In Sarah’s situation, she interpreted her physiological response to idle time as loneliness, while another person might label it as much-needed relaxation. Ultimately, Sarah has a choice. One interpretation debilitates; the other empowers.
Now that Sarah understands the interpretative power she holds over her environmental triggers, the next step is to witness loneliness in a neutral, curious state rather than fighting it at every turn.
In doing so, Sarah neutralizes the intensity of her emotions, allowing them to flow through her, rather than getting stuck in a repetitive loop of pain.
Taken one step further, each time that Sarah experiences a challenging emotion during the holidays, rather than running from it she needs to lean in and ask that emotion, “What are you trying to teach me?”
The final step for Sarah is to learn how to reframe the situations that trigger her loneliness, and understand why sometimes she overreacts, while other times she lets go without a second thought.
Solitude is perceived as isolation by one person and freedom by another.
Watch Video of Post: Click Here
At 55 years of age, Jack was also feeling the pangs of loneliness. His wife of 25 years died suddenly of a heart attack two years ago.
Unexpected was an understatement. They had run in three marathons together and had spent their weekends sampling new vegan restaurants in their local community. Ever since his wife had died, Jack struggled to face the holidays alone.
Jack’s story is as much about him as it is about the family around him. His family and friends’ automatic response was to feel sorry for him, a response that compounded his feelings of disconnectedness and misunderstanding.
As much as Jack missed his wife, he also missed his ability to connect authentically with friends and family. Having been treated with kid gloves since his wife died, Jack longed to be seen as a victor rather than a victim
As such, I encourage Jack to connect with like-minded individuals who had been through a similar situation: widows and widowers. Specifically, ones who had been on their own for several years.
The benefits are twofold. One, Jack would learn new ways of relating to friends and family. And two, he’d be given the green light to grow and acclimate to his new circumstances.
The other component missing in Jack’s life was fun. Simple, cheerful, good-time fun. Everything had become so serious since his wife died, with almost every conversation beginning or ending with his wife’s death.
There was no doubt that he missed her with all his heart. But equally, he longed for moments where he could be free of the loneliness and pain.
I recommend that Jack reintroduce sports into his life. Something non-competitive that would get him out of the house on a Wednesday night. Better yet, if it involved people that he had never met, it would allow him to continue his journey of reinvention and rediscovery.
Equally therapeutic for Jack would be joining a cinema group or regular euchre meetup—both would offer him a chance to be in the moment and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
Finally, I advise Jack to examine the memories and traditions that he wanted to keep alive during the holidays—and, equally, the ones of which he was ready to let go.
Jack took the practice one step further. Declaring December a month of renewal and reinvention, he revived a strength and peace inside that radiated out to his entire family.
Jack and Sarah have a lot to teach us about loneliness and how important it is to honour the unique ways in which we process adversity.
One size does not fit all. Fellowship and fun were vital for Jack’s growth and recovery, while Sarah needed a more analytical approach to processing difficulty.
Disclaimer: This post and article are for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To protect the privacy of individuals, names and identifying details have been changed.
Instead of thinking of mental health as a burden you must shoulder, imagine it as an opportunity to experience peace and joy.
In the same way that we make time for our physical needs, we must devote equal attention to our psychological needs.
The model contains five key indicators of human flourishing: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement.
This blog post first appeared in The Drive Magazine.
Feeling good is an essential part of well-being.
That said, it’s easy to get lost in a spiral of negativity — What’s wrong? Who’s to blame? Why did this happen to me? Leaving little time in the day for appreciation, wonder, and fun.
Which is why it’s essential to schedule good vibe moments into each day.
Here are some ideas:
And so do you.
Remember when you were a kid playing with friends, and before you knew it the street lights came on? If it wasn’t for your mom yelling your name, you would be outside playing all night long. In that moment, you were in a state of flow.
You were completely engaged in what you were doing, independent of everything around you.
Your mom could have called your name for hours, and you wouldn’t have heard a word.
One hundred percent of your attentional capacity was taken up by the activity right in front of you.
Most likely you still experience a state of flow and engagement, but not as often as you like.
Activities that create a flow state include:
Engagement and flow are important for mental health. When you’re completely absorbed by a task, your mind has no capacity left over for distressing thoughts and emotions.
Social support is an important buffer for life’s challenges.
That said, not all associations are created equal. Some relationships, unfortunately, lead to a deterioration in mental health.
Consider the following when you spend time with people:
Stay close to people who feel like sunshine.
Meaning comes from serving something bigger than ourselves.
Whether it be family, charity, occupation, or community, meaning unites us in a common vision and gives us the will to get through adversity.
Students Are My North Star
That said, meaning can appear elusive to some, so why not consider one purpose each day.
Begin with a typical workday. Choose one purpose, and do something to give meaning to that purpose.
I’ve listed a few options, as well as an example for each:
Achievement is the final component of the PERMA model, and, in many ways, its foundation. Goals give us a sense of achievement and satisfaction, helping us to know if we are headed in the right direction.
The key is to balance our drive and determination with the right level of difficulty. If we set a goal that’s too easy, we get bored. If it’s too hard, we experience learned helplessness.
Set daily goals that are achievable and tied into your highest dreams.
Cultivating mental health daily prepares us for the big things in our life. Every little bit counts, everything adds up. Small things on repeat change the world.
Video 1 of Blog Post ⇒ Click Here Video 2 of Blog Post ⇒ Click Here
This one simple sentence helps me to remember that tomorrow is a brand new day.
Illuminating the possibility that what looks like the end in that dark moment, could in fact be preparing me for a whole new destiny.
And how during treatment she often says that it’s my positivity and upbeat nature that brings her to a higher place.
My friend knows what’s wrong.
I remind her of all that is right.
”Together we rise.” 🙏☀️
What gives you hope during difficult times?
Video of Blog Post: Click Here
You finally understand WHY the job, the partner, the degree, the house, the friendship, the ______ didn’t work out.
BUT what about in the “here and now”?
How do we make the leap of faith during the darkest of days?
t h r o u g h ..
into a place of trust and belief.
Your journey is unfolding in the most magical and mysterious of ways.
“What if I fall … oh my darling … what if you F L Y..”
Related: Optimism Bootcamp Workshop
I have one intention in mind when I walk into a classroom:
In this short video I share the thoughts that go through my mind as I walk into a classroom and meet my psychology students for the first time. I also discuss the specifics of how I connect with and encourage students each new day.
Visit my YouTube Channel for more fun and uplifting videos.
1. What would you stop doing if you only had one year to live?
2. What would you start doing if you only had one year to live?
3. What do you need to let go of to feel a sense of happiness, well-being, and peace?
4. What and who do you no longer want to be obligated to?
5. What joy do you wish you had more time for?
Take a long deep breath and meditate on your answers. You’ll be surprised at what your soul has to say.
This video is equally a note to you + me reminding us to live with discernment and wisdom. For not everyone in our life appreciates the limits of our time and energy. And that’s ok. For we are the magic wand. We have the power to make choices. We have the ability to overcome social conditioning. We have the authority to change what and who we want in our lives. What and who we give our energy to unnecessarily, repeatedly, unconsciously.
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE.
This ^ is freedom.
Related Post: Empowering Conversations
Thanks for visiting my psychology blog!
Dr. D 💖☀️
The audience was filled a very special group of people. Individuals that have been battling the chronic condition of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) their whole lives.
Click Here to join the workshop
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of conditions, the two main forms of which are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD also includes indeterminate colitis.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that inflame the lining of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste in a healthy manner.
Individuals with chronic health problems such as IBD often feel a sense of helplessness and disempowerment over their bodies.
Which is why teaching concrete strategies for focusing on what’s within one’s control (beliefs and attitudes; deep breathing; present moment awareness) and letting go of what’s not (waiting times; IBD diagnosis; doctor availability) is so important.
Research in health psychology shows that optimism and having hope in one’s future has a significant impact on whether patients follow through on medical advice.
Optimism has also been found to improve the overall quality of life, well-being, and happiness of cancer patients.
Click Here for Research on Health, Hope, and Optimism
“Hope changes everything. It transforms pessimism into optimism. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy.” Daisaku Ikeda
The good news is that optimism is a skill that can be learned!
Additional insight on how our minds work
Using Attribution Theory, I can tell a lot about someone by the way they interpret the events that happen in their lives, particularly the explanatory style they use in analyzing setbacks versus successes.
The pessimist perceives failures as personal, permanent, and pervasive, and thus has difficulty moving beyond setbacks. They often get lost in a recurrent loop of negativity.
In contrast, optimists see setbacks as universal. to everyone, temporary in time, and limited to one or two areas of their lives.
Hope you enjoy the workshop and have fun doing the interactive exercises!
Dr. D 💖☀️
The first thing that goes when we are faced with a stressor of any kind is the memory of all we have overcome in years gone by.
Let this be your daily, weekly, hourly reminder of how wildly capable you are.
Truly. Incredibly. Capable.
We might not be a genius at everything. But we are most definitely a genius at something.
And if you ever need more than this note to remind you of your strengths, let me know in the comments below.
And I will shine a light on the luminescence that surrounds you.
What words resonate with you?
What jumps off the page?
These are your strengths.✨