Psychology Exercise for Stress and Rapid Change

What remains the same in times of change?

Psychology Exercise from this Week’s Class

Grounding and Anchoring for Anxiety

Make a list of what remains consistent in times of rapid change and use it as a grounding technique at the start and end of each day.

  • The Sun Still Rises
  • Your Coffee Tastes Delicious
  • The Trees Greet You on Your Walk
  • Your Favourite Movie Still Delights
  • Your Bed is Comfie at the End of the Day
  • The Street You Live on Hasn’t Changed

In doing so, you anchor yourself in a sense of knowing and trust in your built-in strengths, comforts, and joy. ⚓️

Your Turn

  • What Are Your Anchors in Times of Change?
  • What Has Remained the Same Since Covid Began?
Video from Psychology Class: 
Click Here

5 Mindfulness Techniques

Our point of power is always in the present moment.

1. Be Here Now

Stop

Take a breath

Observe

Proceed

2. Create Space

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our freedom.” Viktor Frankl

3. Find Your Flow

In psychology, flow, also known as being in the zone, is the mental state where a person is fully immersed in the moment. Flow often occurs during sports and creative activities such as writing, painting, and teaching. In this state, people often report enhanced well-being, focus, and joy.

4. Commune with Nature

Nature has the capacity of making us become one with the universe. Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. How still they are, how deeply rooted in just being. When you look at a tree and perceive its stillness, you become still yourself.” Eckhart Tolle

5. Practice Loving Kindness

“Be kind to yourself. And let your kindness flood the world.” Pema Chödrön

Enjoy Daily

Let Your North Star Guide You

The sky connects us to something bigger than ourselves.

Challenges appear small in comparison to the vastness of the sky.

Solutions seem plausible. Answers come more easily.

In the presence of stars, we embrace the profound and surrender it all.

Look, up at the sky. There is a light, a beauty up there, that no shadow can touch.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Related Post: Always Looking Up

Enjoy Every Moment

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you already have.

Nothing Lasts Forever.

Good or Bad.

Enjoy Every Moment.

Embrace it.

Be it.

See it.

Everything you appreciate is you reflecting back.

Homework for Today

Look Around You.

Notice Things Like You Are Seeing Them for the Very First Time.
Watch Video Of Post: Click Here

Stay Open to the Possibilities

Embrace Uncertainty

09EF7680-9069-46B2-9A4C-C33BA43E0EFD

One of my favourite ways to energize before teaching psychology classes at St. Clair College is to summarize a theory in practical and concrete ways in the parking lot.

Literally! 🚘 

filmed this video 5 minutes before I was about to teach a lecture on personality and positive psychology in my liberal arts class.

Just a few weeks before all St. Clair College classes went fully online due to COVID-19.

In the video above, I talk about the connection between openness and happiness. Openness to experience is one of the Big 5 Personality traits – see figure below.

BE7D3CCF-E84E-40FC-ACC4-750203683AD5

Why Openness?

The more open, adventurous, and flexible we are in our thinking (and being), the more likely we are to perceive ambiguity as a pathway to something new and exciting.

A whole new road, yet to be discovered.

openness

Today’s Psychology Lesson

We never know what’s waiting on the other side of COVID uncertainty.

So let’s stay open to the possibilities. 

Trust and believe in our shared journey. 

Even if we can’t see the outcome. 

Together in faith, anything is possible!

img_0514

Video of Post ⇒ Click Here

Mindful Moments in California

820A7614-367C-46C1-9177-0589D71B8EB8
We’re on a trip to California for our December birthdays and wedding anniversary and I couldn’t imagine a more mindful place to be.

15932ADB-E0EC-4367-9EBC-A67A5542C1AA.jpeg

Nature everywhere we look.

Luminous moonlight.

B7A728A9-34C9-4A60-84A0-B19063DD24C3

Dancing campfire.

Fresh ocean air.

29C8F504-7A14-4F02-BCE1-64DB5B87ED36

Water as far as the eye can see.

Sunshine in every nook.

55F1EE2C-EE29-4758-915D-5050760195BC
100 year old fig trees.

Just outside our hotel room door.

E7E89315-154F-4A8B-8B10-01DE6123826A

Mountains in the distance.

Waiting to be climbed.

2AF46A87-4556-498A-90C8-6B7504E3A915

Above all, I am most grateful to wake up each day and share my life with John, my students, and everyone reading this post.

December birthday blessings of the highest kind.🎄💚

Video of Blog Post ⇒ Click Here

Taming Your Monkey Mind

image

Nature is a beautiful way to stop the monkey mind in its’ tracks.

What is the monkey mind? 🐒 🧠

“Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. Fear is an especially loud monkey –  screaming out all the things that could go wrong.” Source: HuffPost 

When we’re caught in a loop of anxious thoughts, our amygdala goes into overdrive. Causing us to get stuck in the basement of our brains (the limbic system) where our stressful thoughts go around and around. With no end to the downward spiral in sight.

B R E A T H I N G    S P A C E

Time in nature gives us a chance to catch our breath, to see the light, to realize there’s a way out of this never-ending rumination loop.

monkey mind 4

The Healing Power of Nature

The impact of nature on the human spirit is so profound that a hallmark study in 1984 showed that patients who had a room with a view healed faster than patients without a view. A mere glimpse of nature was enough to enhance their resilience.

Hope

Nature shifts our thoughts. Expands our awareness. Gives us hope. Lifts us up from the basement of our brains (amygdala) to the penthouse (cerebral cortex) where all solutions are possible.

And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.” 

Related Video: Five Grounding Techniques

Catch your breath.

flowingriver

Self-care is giving the world the best of you, not what’s left of you.”

Pause.

Be still.

Catch your breath.

Take a rest.

Practice self-care.

As often as you can.

Pause at the end of my video ⬆️ for 30 fun self-care ideas.

Do you practice daily self-care?

Please share in the comments below.

Happiness in present time.

7FED4650-F14C-4701-8979-7129D3E40163

Our left brain lives in the past and the future.

Our right brain lives in the here and now.

One scrambles for solutions to problem after problem.

The other sinks into the present moment, trusting all is well.

Which side of the brain will you live on today?

F96093F3-9C80-4639-9F24-ECC922E6058C

I choose my right brain.

Right here. Right now.

Fully present.

Breathing it all in.

All is well.

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

The inspiration for today’s post.

A walk around Blue Heron Lake.🍃


Related Post: Is Happiness a Choice?

What are you ready to let go of?

This post was inspired by a stressful situation that I couldn’t let go of, long beyond its solution. No matter how hard I tried. Day in day out. The worry would reappear. Then someone close to me suggested “I shed the stress”. And a lightbulb went off. Each time the repetitive thought appeared, I imagined a tree shedding its leaves. A golden leaf for every anxious thought. This visualization process made all the difference. And so did writing about it.  📝🍂

img_0058

If you had a magic wand, what would you ask to disappear in your life right now?

What would you say good-bye to?

Once and for all.

It could be an emotion. Or a thought.

A relationship. Or a job.

A place or a thing.

Stress management is a shedding process ℘ Not an acquisition project

It’s time to let go of what drains you.

Let go of what holds you back.

Let go of what keeps you down.

It could be a mindset. Or a memory.

A situation. Or an attitude.

Write it down. Shout it out.

Stress management is a shedding process  Not a holding pattern

It’s time to let go of what weighs you down.

Release it to the universe.

Declare your freedom.

Vow to move on and beyond.

Once and for all.

Stress management is a shedding process ℘ Not an endurance test

img_0046

Shed the stress. Let. It. Fall. 🍂

Remember to breathe.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that have the greatest impact on our happiness.

Something so close, so within reach, we often forget it was there in the first place. The good night’s sleep we’re yearning for; waiting patiently at the end of each day. The connection to nature we’re searching for; available 24/7 just beyond our front door. That extra deep breath; we frequently forget to take.

You possess a power so magnificent, so liberating, right under your nose.

breathe

Breathing is one of the few physiological functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. 

When everything feels out of control, breathing is the one thing that will always be within our control. The times we’re under the most amount of stress is the exact time we need to expand our breathing – not restrict it.

We must become conscious of breath.

The next time you’re under any kind of pressure. Stuck in traffic. Rushing from class to class. Dealing with a difficult customer at work. Desperately trying to recall answers on a final exam. Wake up to the formidable power that exists within you. Right here. Right now. Right under your nose.

image

The deeper the breath. The deeper the peace.

Video of Post: https://youtu.be/zRSQw-LjU8k

The Drive Magazine Interview.

Happy Monday Everyone!

I am excited to share my interview with The Drive Magazine on positive psychology and stress resilience. Inspired by my TEDx Talk: Thriving Under Pressure.

The 3 C’s of Positive Psychology

2DF0102C-81C5-412D-A3AD-433EA2C2A832

My favourite part of this photo is the story behind it.

When the magazine was arranging the photo shoot, they asked where my favourite place to recharge was in Windsor (Ontario, Canada). I shared that it was a top of Blue Heron Hill overlooking Lake Heron and Lake St. Clair. So you can just imagine the photographer hiking his equipment up the hill, with me tagging along in my wedge high sandals!

But the reward was worth it..
All you can see is blue for days. My favourite colour and place. 💙🍃

I hope this interview encourages you to keep shooting for the stars and believing in your dreams.

Ultimately reminding you that the power within you will always be greater than the challenges around you.

Click on The Drive Magazine to read the full interview.

Here I am.

The aftermath.

No matter how many times I give a speech or participate in a big event, I am often left with the same feeling for a day or so.

Sadness. A kind of longing. A sense of emptiness.

For weeks, sometimes months, I practice, prepare, and edit my work. Immersed, focused, lost in the creative flow.

At night. On weekends. During all my free time. Hoping to do my best. Not wanting to let down.

Researching. Anticipating. Building  up to the main event.

Afterward, what was once was filled with busyness is an open space. A hollowness that cannot be filled by looking back or planning ahead.

An ache. A void. For no good logical reason.

A place inside that can only be filled in present time.

8F81E5D2-29BA-4EB5-A2F9-2B0810294DB2

So I go for a bike ride knowing how Mother Nature always soothes my heart and replenishes my soul.

There is no more looking back or ahead when I am outside.

At that moment I hear three words deep in my heart.

Here I am.

Here I am.

For solace cannot be found in travelling through time.

It can only be found in where you are right now.

Here I am.

in the blooming trees

in the birds soaring

in the sun setting

in the water flowing

in this moment wherever you are.

Here I am. 💚

5897E1E9-C930-4C67-A4E2-D778E121E9E3

Always Looking Up

image

I look up every chance I get. First thing in the morning. On my run. On my way to work. In between classes. Out for a bike ride. From the skylight in my office. On the front porch before I go to sleep.

Connected to Something Bigger

The sky connects us to something much bigger than ourselves. Challenges seem small in comparison to the vastness of the sky. Solutions seem plausible. Answers come more easily.

The stars heighten our awareness, expand our field of possibilities, and relax our mind. In their presence, we embrace the profound and surrender it all. When we look up, we become fully present. In the moment. Completely mindful. Nowhere else to be but one with the sky above.

Peace of Mind

The celestial bodies provide a sense of comfort, peace of mind, and well-being. No matter what happens, the sun will rise, the stars will shine, and the moon will glow.

Blazing sunsets, radiant full moons, and shimmering constellations are all reassuring reminders that we are in this life together. We are united. We share the same magnificent celestial view.  No matter what happens, we share equal access to the divine, all-powerful universe. We are one. We are never alone.

From Me to We

Recent research at the University of California confirms that a “me to we” transformation takes place when exposed to nature. The study found that inducing a sense of awe (e.g., star gazing; looking at the ocean) in participants shifted their focus from personal needs (small self) to greater concern for society at large (altruistic behaviour).

“Inducing a sense of awe in people can promote altruistic, helpful and positive social behavior, according to research. Awe is that sense of wonder we feel in the presence of something vast that transcends our understanding of the world. People commonly experience awe in nature, but also in response to religion, art and even music. When experiencing awe, you may not, egocentrically speaking, feel like you’re at the centre of the world anymore. By diminishing the emphasis on the individual self, awe may encourage people to forgo strict self-interest to improve the welfare of others.” Source: Science Daily

“The sun, the moon, and the stars are there to guide us.” Dennis Banks

I am starstruck every time I look up. I am in awe. The sun, the moon, and the stars are the true celebrities in our universe. Always shining. Always inspiring. Always showing us the way.

image

What lights your way?

Nature soothes my soul.

img_0308

This photo was taken on one of my daily hikes up Blue Heron Hill.

One of my favourite places to go at the end of a long wintery day.

Each breath. Each step. Shifts me higher.

To a place of perfect peace. At one with the great big beautiful sky.

A divine connection. No words necessary. Heaven on earth indeed.

Related Post: Always looking up.

Where do you go to calm your mind and soothe your soul?

The healing power of imagination.

What images give you a sense of safety and protection in the midst of fearful thoughts?

image

 I imagine angels in the sky and lions at my feet. You: What images shift you from fear to safety?

Related Research ⇒ The Effects of Guided Imagery on Anxiety