One of the easiest ways of expressing gratitude is to create a gratitude journal. Expressing gratitude stimulates your hypothalamus, a part of your brain which regulates different body functions like emotional regulation. The more that you reflect on what you are thankful for, the easier control you have on the homeostatic thermostat of your body.

It can transform your life if you want to write a few phrases, or just take a moment to quietly reflect on everything you have in your life from work successes to your children’s smiles. Writing every day in a gratitude journal can have many different positive effects, helping you improve sleep, insomnia and even pain tolerance.

1. It Boosts Positivity

You become more positive as you take the time to reflect on the good things in your life. It can make you more motivated by writing down what you are grateful for, because you choose to look at the positive aspects of your life, giving less power to negative emotions. While these positive aspects develop in your subconsciousness, it becomes tangible and concrete when written down with intent.

2. It Increases Self-Esteem

Writing in a gratitude journal is extremely personal and it gives you the opportunity to personalize your own achievements. Being grateful eliminates social comparison, becoming less resentful of others when sharing what you are grateful for. A 2014 study found that athletes improved their self-esteem when they became more grateful, and that they could put more trust in the other because they had more faith in themselves.

3. It Will Help You Sleep Well

After writing a few grateful thoughts for just fifteen minutes, you can sleep better at night. When reflecting on the positive experiences of the day or reminding yourself of things to be grateful for, you are far less likely to stay up all night thinking about your problems. 

4. It Makes You Feel Better

Feeling grateful means that in your life you remember the goodness. You will be more positive by writing down these things, remember good memories, and foster resilient relationships–a prescription for a happier life. Studies found that people who write about gratitude are more positive about their life and feel better overall.

5. It Lessens Stress

Grateful people care for themselves better, so they live healthier lives in the long run and are therefore better able to cope with stress. Scientists have found that reflecting on feelings of happiness reduces stress and makes them feel more stable and able to cope with anything that exists.

Meditation provides opportunities for tranquility and increased awareness in a chaotic environment that is often distracted by our senses. Research has indicated that meditation can be more than a temporary relief of tension. Meditation can lower blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.

It provides people who meditate with an opportunity to improve their physical and emotional health. There’s no “right way” to meditate, which means that people should try the various types of meditation before they find one that best suits them

Types of Meditation

1. Loving-kindness meditation

Loving-kindness meditation, also known as Metta meditation, aims to build a kind and loving attitude, including your nemeses and traumatic triggers.

Practitioners open their minds and accept loving kindness while taking deep breaths. They then send the world, other individuals, or their nearest and dearest, messages of loving kindness.

2. Body scan or progressive relaxation

Progressive relaxation, also called body scan meditation, is meditation which guides people to scan their bodies for areas of stress. The goal is to note and let go of stress.

Practitioners begin at one end of their body, usually their feet, during a slow relaxing session, and progress through the whole.

3. Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that encourages practitioners to remain present. Instead of dwelling on the past or anticipating the future, mindfulness fosters awareness of the existing environment. A lack of judgement is key to this. For instance, instead of becoming frustrated with a long wait, a person only observes the delay without judgement.

4. Breath awareness meditation

Breath awareness is a type of mindful meditation that encourages mindful breathing.

Practitioners breathe slowly and deeply, counting their breaths or otherwise focusing on their breaths. The goal is to focus only on breathing and to ignore other thoughts that enter the mind.

5. Kundalini yoga

Kundalini yoga is a physical embodiment of meditation that combines deep breathing and mantras with bodyweight movements. Usually people learn from an instructor or in a class. Somebody can learn the poses and mantras at home, however.

Kundalini yoga can boost physical strength and reduce pain, in the same way as other practices of yoga. This type of yoga decreases anxiety and depression, improving mental health.

6. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental Meditation is a type of spiritual meditation in which practitioners sit and breathe slowly. The purpose is to transcend or go above the actual state of being. Practitioners rely on a mantra, or a repetitive phrase or sequence of words during a meditation session. A teacher defines the mantra based on a diverse set of factors, sometimes including the year of birth of the practitioner and the year of preparation of the instructor.

Most have read about the benefits of meditation. Fewer of us are aware of the great benefits of creative expression. However, making art is another means of exposure and healing to a meditative state of mind.

What is Art as Meditation?

Art is like meditation in Zen, with calligraphy, ink sketches, and bonsai, but other media such as paintings, sculptures, watercolors, and so on can meditative. Art calls you to step into the present moment, to remove yourself from your daily worries, and to concentrate intensely on your subject. Being mindful in art can help and enhance your experience. It can also help you to gain the broadest advantages of attention.

It Can Help Your Mind Relax

Mindfulness in art is just enough stimulation in the brain to stop it from spinning out of control. Art is a great meditative because it helps slow down and calm down an active mind. After a long day in the car, when it seems your mind is busy, try sitting down and relaxing for 30 minutes and enjoy sketching or coloring. After that time, you will find that your brain is much less fatigued and more relaxed.

It Can Help Heal Your Inner Child

Art is the best way to express oneself. You can use colors and materials that represent how you feel. Art as meditation is an invitation to keep in touch with your inner child. You can take inspiration from your childhood and bring it forward in your artwork, which can bring a lot of joy regardless of how you feel. It’s a great way to make you feel happier by adding color into your life.

It Gives You a Sense of Accomplishment

Ultimately, creating art helps you feel a sense of accomplishment. With a little help of colors, using art as meditation will totally change the state of your mind if work overwhelms you and you feel like everything is against you. No matter where you are, have an open mind to your art: Concentrate on creating your art rather than the result.  It will help you feel less stressed and willing to face the next day.

Incorporating mindfulness and art provides a way to deal with psychological issues, particularly among those with certain issues, such as a physical condition or end-of-life. If you or your loved one is facing problems, it may help you improve your quality of life and overall psychological well-being through a psychotherapist or other mental health professional or by starting on your own.

Couples therapy can be an experience that can unnerve most people. Sometimes they expect therapy to turn into a heated battle or, to make matters worse, they believe that the psychiatrist will pick parties and make choices. However, any couple who undergo treatment is a great initial step in building a better relationship. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) works to ease fears and to learn more about each other.

What EFT Entails

EFT involves talking about certain incidents in your relationship but only to help each of you to learn more about your emotions and behavior. For instance, you may talk to your partner about washing the dishes and how you feel. Do you feel irritated?  What else did you feel? Do you feel that your partner is “not good enough” and that makes you feel like you have disappointed your partner? Does that make you want to pull away from your partner?

EFT Program

EFT consists of three-stage, nine-step program with a therapist. The therapist must first build strong relationships with the clients and develop a supportive rapport in which the couple can relax and talk about their feelings easily.

The first step is known as “assessment and cycle de-escalation.” The couple must recognize the tensions and the cycle of conflict in these sessions. Then, they can identify their undisclosed emotions. The final step is to reframe and unite themselves, not their victims, against the cycle.

The pair need to have new bonding events in the next step, more precisely, to build relatable therapeutic interactions. This is achieved by: identifying needs that were long denied, boosting more acceptance between partners, and expressing each partner’s needs and desires.

The last phase is designed to change and consolidate. Couples need to find new approaches to old issues that would be easier since they have overcome problems of emotional attachment.

Many EFT therapists have said that working with couples can be a complex process. Often, couples cannot see the one thread that ties the picture together without EFT. EFT gives you an insight into where and what to do. This includes a road map to grasp relationships with people.

EFT professionals state that the technique is extremely effective and has been tested empirically. At least some improvement was made in relationships by an outstanding 75 percent of couples.

The Next Step to a Better Relationship

A couple may attempt to meet their needs for commitment. They can try to rely on secondary emotions that may ultimately drive each other away. Conflict can lead to loneliness and disconnection that can lead to making both partners feel lonely, unhappy, angry, hurt and distant from each other. This disconnection is not easy to fix by themselves.

A trained therapist can help you realize the relationship dynamic by EFT, understand the feelings behind it and figure out how to communicate in a different and more profound way to each other.

Parker Colorado Therapy and Counseling

Having a highly sensitive partner is a rare gift, but if you know how to make them feel at home with you. Here are some useful ways to help your partner become more open and understood by you.

1. Be patient for their response.

Highly sensitive people have vibrant inner worlds with many thoughts going on in their mind.  When you are waiting for a decision from them, do your best to be patient. Their minds are busy, and they may need some time than most.

2. Give them space for quiet time, alone time, or less stimulating time.

Assure your highly sensitive partner that you would be happy to prioritize their sensitivity.

You can soothe your stressed partner after a busy week by asking whether they want to meditate or go to bed early. Let them know that you understand their needs and that you want to share their unique world experience. If a highly sensitive person feels and hopes that they are safe with you, they let you into their soul’s richness and beauty.

3. Redecorate your home in a calmer way.

You can redecorate your home environment for your partner, knowing that your environment can easily overwhelm your partner. Put pillows and blankets draped gently on sofas and beds. Install dimmer switches for your lights. If you can, invest in soundproofing your walls if you live in a boisterous neighborhood or have loud neighbors.

The less stimulating the environment is, the better your partner feels. They can let down their guard and be there with you.

4. Be with them for when they feel overstimulated.

In some situations, your very sensitive partner may become over-stimulated to the point that verbal communication is difficult.

You and your partner can work together to create a signal, which may be massively beneficial. It might be a secret sign of peace, or your partner puts their hands on their ears. Whichever signal you choose, make sure that it makes sense to the both of you and that the signal is accepted when it is used.

You can also be present with them in a quiet room during a noisy party or even leave early when they become tired and overwhelmed.

Because HSPs don’t feel like they fit in the real world (due to modern life not being welcoming to the highly sensitive), you become much more appreciated in your efforts to better understand and respect them.

Highly Sensitive Persons Colorado Therapy

Are you or do you know someone who is highly sensitive? High sensitivity can be characterized as an immediate response to external (social, environmental) or inner (intrapersonal) stimuli, physically, mentally and emotionally. An introvert, an extrovert or somewhere in between may be a highly sensitive person.

Fifteen to twenty percent of the population are highly sensitive and process stimuli profoundly from sight to sound to emotion. The HSP responsiveness to sensory processing means that reality is “changed” more than other experiences. The nervous systems are no less sensitive than introversion, depression, anxiety or even autism, and process information more deeply because of a biological difference.

Signs of a Highly Sensitive Person

So, what’s it like to be an HSP? While many people may occasionally experience some of these signs, a highly sensitive person is likely to “feel too much” and “feel too deep.”

  • They feel things profoundly and observe people well but may shield their feelings from others because they have learned to withdraw into ourselves. They struggle with sleep and anxiety, and they may feel angry or upset about social injustice in society.
  • In group situations, such as work meetings or parties, we can feel overwhelmed because of the number of stimuli, including loud noises and strong scents. This does not mean that relationships are not respected.
  •  If they watch or read negative media content, they may get upset. They hate programming with “shock” value (i.e. shows that are extremely frightening or violent). They feel unhappy after reading social media posts.
  • They may seek reassurance when they start new relationships, such as friendships or romantic partnerships, because they are hypersensitive to any perceived signs of rejection.
  •  On the other hand, they talk about negative emotions because of the amount of “drama” in their lives. They find it hard to accept feedback, even if it is offered in a fair and constructive manner. They feel like people will judge them, no matter what, despite a lack of strong evidence otherwise.

Although a highly sensitive person has many positive qualities, others can be overstimulated with more signs in the list.

For many sensitive people, emotional and sensory immunity techniques can be used to soothe and relieve overstimulation to control oversensitivity. Efficient communication skills are required to cultivate positive and constructive relationships for those who live or work with extremely sensitive individuals.

3 Ways to Challenge Your Thinking to Reduce Anxiety

Anyone who has felt anxiety will know how terrible it is when you begin to panic and become the only thing you can focus on. Once you get into an anxious mindset, a whole wave of anxiety, fear, and lots of physical symptoms goes through your body.

1.       Accept your anxiety

Anxiety, like all other feelings, is just a feeling. You can start accepting anxiety by reminding yourself that it is an emotional reaction. Acceptance is important because it is often compounded by the attempt to fight or suppress anxiety. This perpetuates the debilitating dread of anxiety. But to accept your fear is not to like it or to condemn yourself to a wretched life. It only means you’d accept reality as it is–and reality includes anxiety in that moment. It is less than desirable to experience anxiety, but it is not unbearable. It helps to eliminate embarrassment, shame, anxiety, and obligation for trying to fix or judge yourself.

2.       Question your thoughts.

If people are anxious, their brains begin to come up with all kinds of unrealistic thoughts, many of which are highly unlikely and doubtful. These thoughts only increase the already anxious state of a person.

For example, your employer would ask you to give a presentation at a work event. Thoughts like “Oh my God, this is not something I can do. It’s going to kill me, ” could run through your brain. Know this isn’t a tragedy. In fact, no one died giving a presentation. The worst thing that will happen is that some people will get a few chuckles and that they will have forgotten about your presentation by tomorrow.

Ask yourself these questions when challenging your thoughts:

  •  What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
  • Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
  •  What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen? If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
  •  Is the thought helpful? How will worrying about it help me and how will it hurt me?
  • What would I say to a friend who had this worry?

3.   Use a calming visualization.

Practice the following meditation on a regular basis, which will make access easier if you are anxious.

Imagine yourself in a favorite park, beach on or outside on the riverside. Observe leaves passing by the river or clouds floating through the sky. Place your fears, thoughts and feelings in your clouds and leaves and watch them flow through.

This differs greatly from what people usually do. In general, we assign certain qualities such as good or bad, right or wrong, to emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. It also exacerbates anxiety. Always remember this is only information.

Wait, relax and note what’s going on now. Even if something serious happens, concentrating on the current situation will improve your management skills. Although you’re anxious, you can live your life, and you’re going to get things done. Get busy with life.

3 Mindfulness Benefits for Anxiety

You may have heard or read that meditation aids with anxiety. Most people misunderstand that meditation is not like a magic elixir that reduces their stress and anxiety effortlessly. Yet meditation’s primary purpose is not to dissolve anxiety.

According to a recent review, regular practice in mindfulness will help you relax your mind and move past negative emotions. A study in 2013 showed that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) was associated with significantly greater anxiety reduction and improved positive self-statements. In fact, a meta-analysis in 2012 suggested strong support for anxiety sensitivity meditation. A 2015 report in The Lancet indicated that incorporating a tapering off of treatment with MBCT is as effective as consistent prescription dosages.

1.       Focus on the present

The primary purpose of meditation is to help you become more present now. The anxiety reduction is just a satisfying side effect. We are often nervous because we are focused on the past or the future. However, you become deliberately focused on the here and now when you’re meditating.

2.       Quiet overactive thoughts

Sometimes it feels as though the mind is on constant overdrive for someone with anxiety— thoughts are scattered but not getting anywhere. We are anxious because we give into our thoughts and feelings. We take them and get confused at face value. Yet this undivided focus is not justified by our feelings.

Meditation helps us to avoid overactive thoughts and feelings, helping us to silence the mind, relax our bodies, and gain some clarity.

3. Cultivate an attitude of nonjudgmental acceptance

The aim is not to get to a point where your life is trouble-free — this is not realistic — but rather to be able to acknowledge the presence of these problems without overvaluing them. You can empower and support your meditation practice by being mindful. Just as a well-tended garden grows flowers and trees, mindfulness will help nurture all attitudes of mindfulness. A famous Shakespeare’s quote from Hamlet encapsulates this: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Patience and dedication are the keys to meditation. Meditation requires patience because it takes commitment and when so many things fight for your time, it’s easy to quit.

Although meditation is not a cure-all for anxiety, it is still extremely helpful. Eventually, meditation helps one slow down, gain perspective, and think more critically, with less reactivity. Thus, we can become less anxious in our lives.

3 Tips to Better Communicate With Your Spouse

In a relationship, two different people can have different communication skills. Yet better communication can also be practiced because it is an ability that anyone can learn. Communication can make the most of a relationship or ruin them. By bringing some of these ideas into your relationship, you can improve your relationship.

1. Stop and listen.

How many times have you heard anyone say that? The issue is more complicated than it seems. When we are embroiled in a serious discussion or disagreement with our partner, it’s difficult for the moment to put aside our viewpoint and listen. Sometimes we’re so terrified not to be heard that we try to keep talking. Unfortunately, this kind of action makes it more likely that we will not be heard.

2. Make yourself hear your partner.

You’ve stopped talking momentarily, but all the thoughts you want to say are still spinning in your head, so you don’t really understand what’s being said anymore. You may find the situation funny, but therapists have a strategy that works very well that “allows” them to hear what a client tells them— rephrasing what a person has just told them (called “reflection“).

Do this too much, or you may end up pushing them away. Also, do not try this in a way that implies that you’re teasing rather than trying to listen seriously. Use this technique in moderation. Let your partner know why you’re doing it when they inquire, “Sometimes I don’t think I’m getting what you’re asking me, and doing that helps me to slow down my mind and really listen to understand what you’re doing.”

3. Be open with your partner.

Many people in their lives have never been very open to others. Many people may not even know themselves, or they do not know a lot about their true needs and desires. Being in a relationship is taking a step towards talking openly about your life and yourself.

Little lies become big lies. Lying may work for you to cover your feelings behind a mask, but it won’t work for most others. Pretending that everything is normal is not okay. And it’s about as useful as giving your partner the silent treatment about not getting what you want for the holidays. In the past, these strategies may have “worked” for you, but they all hinder good communication.

To be open means to speak about things that another person in your life might never have spoken about before. It means truly taking the time to listen and reflect on what your partner has to say. This may mean opening to a world of potential pain and disappointment. But it also ensures that you can be open to the full potential of a true relationship.