Find your BFF in the Mirror
Are you your own best friend?
If not, isn’t NOW a good time to change that?
The most important and longest lasting relationship you’ll ever have, is the relationship you have with yourself. If this relationship is out of balance nothing in your life can be in balance. Self-love and self-acceptance pave the way to stronger relationships with others and a greater acceptance of the world around us.
Recognizing and appreciating that you are unique in this world, and you are who you are because of all the choices you’ve made up until now, is the first step in true self-awareness and becoming your own best friend.
In the age of smart phones and social media, we tend to become our online Avatars. Selfies and smiles fill Facebook and Instagram streams; it’s easy to get caught up in living vicariously through others. After 5 minutes on Fb I’m asking myself, “Why am I not packing for my next adventure, spending a month in a Thai forest learning to be a Yoga instructor or perfecting my meditation practice in an Ashram in India?”…then I realize, it’s because I CHOOSE not to be doing those things…and click off FB.
Separating your true self from that person, that avatar, you feel the need to present to the world, (because who you really are isn’t good enough), becomes more and more difficult. A greater sense of self-awareness makes space for greater self-acceptance. Appreciating you for who you truly are, recognizing what motivates you as well as what stops you brings a deeper feeling of self respect and self confidence.
To begin the self-awareness process, list 3 good things about you, 3 qualities you like in yourself. Once you’ve done that, write down 3 qualities you’re not too crazy about; be as honest as possible.
Do you tend to focus more on the good or the not so good qualities when engaging in self-talk?
Self-talk is a great way to improve your relationship with you. As cliché as it may be, setting aside time in your day, even 5 minutes will do, to say nice things to yourself has been proven incredibly effective in developing an improved self image, e.g. “I am enough”, “I treat myself well”, “I am perfect in this moment”.
I often ask clients to answer these questions, “Who am I?” Paying attention to the honest and sometimes brutal, answers open the door to introspection. An exercise to get you to the answers more quickly is to look at yourself in a mirror, directly into your own eyes, and ask the question, “Who am I?” This can be a bit difficult at first, stay at it, pay attention to all of the thoughts that come, this is your subconscious, or higher self, answering.
Think about the people who have been your “Best” friends over the years. Has there been one particular Bestie throughout your life, a true BFF, or have there been many? What have these people had in common? What was it that made or makes them best friend material? Could you trust them, did they encourage you, did they make you laugh? What have they seen in you? What makes you best friend material? Go back to the 2 lists you made earlier of the qualities you recognize in yourself that are good, and not so good. Do the 3 good qualities match those you look for in a friend?
Learning to enjoy your own company is one of the surest ways to cement your self-friendship. Start slow, pick 2 things you enjoy doing with friends, and do them on your own. Go to a movie, shopping, or have lunch at your favorite restaurant, its completely up to you, how cool is that. Doing things you enjoy alone, realizing how nice it is to consider only your feelings and wants, putting you first, serve to strengthen your self-image and self-worth.
Cultivating a self-friendship may seem a bit awkward at first, and may take some time and effort. However once you understand that you are the quintessential expert on you, that there is no one else out there who knows your greatest needs, deepest desires, extreme fears, and biggest dreams better than you, you’ll begin to look within for support, comfort, and especially advice. Once this happens, you have truly become your own best friend.
A few tips on making friends with you:
Menopause is a natural physiological transition process, when a woman’s hormone levels begin to change and her menstrual cycles stop. The average age of menopause is 51, however can begin as early as the 30’s, and can last an average of 1-4 years. Menopause may be atypically triggered following chemotherapy, surgical removal of one or both ovaries, pelvic radiation therapy, or premature ovarian failure.
This phase, which has been colloquially described as “the change of life”, signals the end of a woman’s ability to have children. This idea can create a deep sense of loss, particularly in women who have not had children, even if they’d chosen not to.
Menopause occurs in stages. During the first stage, perimenopause, the production of estrogen and progesterone are significantly decreased, and mature egg production becomes irregular. This drop in hormone levels is what causes most of the common symptoms associated with menopause.
The most common symptom of menopause by far is hot flashes. Up to 75% of menopausal women experience this sudden rise in body temperature, in varying intensities and frequency. Experiencing a hot flash in the middle of an important event can create a feeling of being out of control, not to mention the embarrassment of the sweat dripping down your face and neck. Other symptoms may include; sleep disturbance, night sweats, fatigue, anxiety, feelings of loss, weight gain/slowed metabolism, irritability, and memory loss.
Because menopause is viewed as a sign of aging, and not an illness, only 1 in 10 women seek medical or emotional support for their symptoms. Not surprising, in a time when youth is celebrated and we have sayings like “60 is the new 40”, (something I was told more than once recently, having just had my 60th birthday), that women are hesitant to admit that they’re experiencing menopausal symptoms. Most are not aware that there are other options, and just grin and bear it.
The most common medical treatment for the physical symptoms of menopause is Hormone Replacement Therapy, or HRT. HRT has been effective for a number of women, although there is some risk involved, detrimental side effects or contraindications. Antidepressants, antianxiety or mood altering prescription drugs are most often the only suggestion for the emotional symptoms accompanying menopause.
There has been extensive research done that substantiates the significant effect hypnosis and NLP have on easing the challenges of menopause.Hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Psychology, (NLP), offer a safe, simple and effective adjunct, or alternative. Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation; combined with focused concentration, which means, it’s a natural and safe way to make affirmative changes. NLP will teach you to choose your thoughts, master your emotions, and use the language of the subconscious mind to create and achieve your desired outcome.
Because both Hypnosis and NLP are designed to directly communicate with and affect the subconscious mind, changes can be made more quickly and effectively. When used in conjunction, these profoundly relaxing, yet powerful tools easily, naturally, and efficiently, help control the unwanted symptoms of menopause.
Using Hypnosis and NLP we focus on developing coping strategies to help manage stress, anxiety and reduce the physical symptoms of menopause. Some methods that have proven effective are guided visualization, stress and relaxation management techniques, restful sleep techniques, anchoring, reframing, and self-hypnosis.
Each woman is unique, and therefore requires individual consideration before designing an action plan. It is very important to develop a program that can be easily followed and practiced as needed, without the continued need of a therapist or coach.
A sample of self-hypnosis exercise for hot flashes-menopause
Close your eyes
Take in three deep breathes
Count backwards from ten to one
Relax your body
Clear your mind
Imagine a gauge that measures body temperature the gauge ranges from 1-coolest to 10-warmest What number is the gauge registering now Imagine there’s a knob on the gauge that can be turned up or down Imagine you can change your body temperature by changing the gauge If you’re feeling cool, turn the knob to a higher number, if you’re felling warm imagine turning the knob down…5 a little cooler…4 cooler still…3 still cooler…2 feeling refreshed…1 completely cool
Repeat 3 times
When you are finished count yourself up from one to five...
Count to five ...when you say five you will be awake and aware, fully present here and now.... Body.... Mind.... Spirit...and Emotions.... integrating...integrating...integrating into you... This process integrates into the very fiber of your being . . . and will continue on the inner planes through your visions . . .. even now the seeds of your future are beginning to grow. . .even now, and they will continue to grow moment by moment and hour by hour until they fill your life with more control over your body over your emotions…1…2…3…4…5 Eyes open refreshed and relaxed.
A qualified hypnotherapist will answer any and all questions thoroughly, help you realize what it would be like if you could naturally, reduce your menopausal symptoms. You cannot be made to do anything against your will; the subconscious mind automatically discards suggestions that make you uncomfortable, or are in contrast with your moral or ethical boundaries. You’ll not remain in hypnosis forever, if something should happen out of the ordinary, you would quickly become aware and come fully conscious, safely and effortlessly.
* Hypnosis and NLP are natural, safe, self-help processes. Hypnotherapy/NLP is not the practice of medicine or psychotherapy. The hypnotherapy/NLP services provided are for educational and self-improvement purposes and is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical or psychological condition.We do not represent our services as any form of health care, by law we may make no health benefit claims for our services.
NAMS (North American Menopause Society)- https://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopause-take-time-to-think-about-it/consumers/2012/10/26/the-power-of-suggestion-hypnotize-your-hot-flashes,
WebMD- http://www.webmd.com/menopause/news/20121025/hypnosis_halts_hot_flashes, The Premenopause Book- Dr John R Lee, menopausenaturally.co.uk
My body is strong and healthy and become healthier each day.
I can be happy and optimistic at this time of my life.
I am going through menopause more easily and more comfortably with each passing day.
Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul." Robert Tisserand
Whenever I smell pipe smoke, it immediately sparks memories of my Grandpa Gus. My grandpa was a cigarette smoker; he had a heart attack when I was about 12 or 13 years old. His doctor told him he had to give up cigarettes, (which he actually never completely did), so he began smoking a pipe. His tobacco of choice was a cherry-vanilla blend that smelled heavenly. Once memories are triggered, emotions are triggered. I feel at once full of love and joy, followed quickly by a feeling of sadness and loss.
The science of smell is called osmology, from the Greek word osme, which translates to smell. Studies have proven that we as humans can differentiate approximately 3000 different smells, and our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than our sense of taste. Imagine.
Our sense of smell is one of our greatest tools for survival. If you are in a deep sleep, your sense of smell will alert you to the fact that your house is on fire by recognizing the smell of smoke. If you’re about to eat or drink something that has soiled, your nose will alert you and save you from at the very least, an unpleasant few hours.
Most of us, whether aware of it or not, use Aromatherapy in our everyday life in a number of ways. Burning fragrant candles or incense, using aroma diffusers, placing bowls of colorful potpourri around our homes. All of these lovely aromas serve to make us feel good. Who doesn’t like to walk into a room and be met with a pleasant fragrance?
Aromatherapy uses essential oils, made from a variety of plant material, including flowers, leaves, stems, bark, seeds, roots, and the peels of citrus fruit, and is based on the theory that the inhalation of essential oils triggers the part of the brain that is connected to the sense of smell, the Olfactory system, which in turn sends a signal to the part of the brain that holds memory and controls emotions.
Essential oils are very versatile, and holistic, working on not only the emotions, but also the body and the mind. In the US, France, Canada, and a number of other western countries, Aromatherapy is integrated into mainstream medicine, used for their curative properties, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic.
Below is a short list of the most well-known and available essential oils and some of their recommended uses:
Aromatherapy can be used in several different ways, as massage oil, (a few drops of essential oil mixed in a carrier oil), a few drops on a diffuser, a few drops in a warm bath, or a few drops on a sachet. Massage therapists, chiropractors, esthecians, and many energy workers use essential oils with their clients/patients during treatments.
It’s important to note that essential oils should not be taken internally, or applied directly on the skin.
It seems that the old cliché’ “Laughter is the best medicine” turns out to be true.
According to laughteryoga.org, Laughter Yoga has been scientifically proven to provide the following benefits:
Laughter Yoga helps to change your mood within minutes by releasing certain chemicals from your brain cells called endorphins. You will remain cheerful and in a good mood throughout the day and will laugh more than you normally do.
Dr Madan Kataria created laughter Yoga in in Mumbai India, in 1995. During his time as a researcher, he had come across a number of evidentiary resources, which supported the idea that laughter was particularly beneficial in promoting physical and mental health. Dr. Kataria, in his quest to find a way to incorporate laughter into the treatment protocol of patients as well as find ways for average people to use it to counteract the stress of modern day living, developed the technique that is now called Laughter Yoga.
Incorporating Yogic breathing with exercises designed to stimulate laughter, Dr Kataria and his wife, Madhuri, have included role-play as well as gibberish in the Laughter Yoga classes.
I have attended, as well as taught these classes in Abu Dhabi, and found them not only to be fun, but also more of a “workout” than I would have imagined. The exercises are not strenuous, but non-stop laughing for 45-60 minutes can work up quite a sweat, and burn a number of calories. I certainly feel it in my stomach muscles the next day. After the classes, I am so light and relaxed, usually for the rest of the day/evening. One hour of laughter can neutralize an entire day of tension. HaHaHa HoHoHo HeHeHe!!!
Check out Dr Kataria's 100 Laughter Yoga Exercises at the link below, then call Kathryn or Kasey at Change Works today, to begin laughing yourself to better health.
Because Sundays are for rejuvenation…
To break my Sunday cycle, I started off by telling myself this: You are a beautiful, hard-working, selfless being, and you deserve this time. Treat yourself.
So I did. Three things, every Sunday, for myself. I’m sharing them to give y’all some ideas, and hopefully inspire you to take a day off — completely — and cater to your needs. Follow along with this series if you feel like your “you” time is missing.