vancouver counselling real life counselling

It’s Your Choice – My #1 Tip for Changing Perspective

Yesterday marked my first day exploring downtown Vancouver. I decided that with the sun shining, I would take the opportunity and sit by the beach. So I found myself a rock and curled up with the view of the ocean and the mountains in the distance.

There was a man next to me, probably in his mid-20’s, relaxing and sunbathing. As I fell into a blissful feeling, enjoying the warmth on my face as I read my book, I noticed the guy beside me was swimming! As a note, although I’m in Vancouver now, it is still only the 7th of April.

Before I decided to leave, I decided I would initiate a few words with him. So, I asked:

Me: “How cold was the water?”

Him: “It was really cold. But, if you tell yourself it’s really cold you’ll never get in. I come down to the beach every day in the summer. I live close to here. I’ve been wanting to come swimming all week, but today was finally warm enough. Cold is relative.”

What impressed me the most was his choice of words. It was obvious to me that:

  •  if you want something bad enough you’ll do it
  •  if you keep a positive perspective you’ll face adversity
  •  your words affect your actions
  •  what is okay for me, may not be okay for you. But if it aligns with your values, goals, and desires, you’re being authentic.

Although there was a bit more to our conversation, this was the gist of it.

So here is your tip:

I think we can all take a piece of his perspective and try to use it more in our daily lives.

 

Have you caught yourself reframing your self-talk or your words? How has it helped you? What helped you change your perspective? Share it down below in the comments!

 

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mississauga counselling

Life Choices

As we transition into Autumn here in Ontario, I find myself reflective about my own life choices as well as about some of the stories my clients have shared with me.

One of the beautiful things about life is that we have an abundance of choice around us. Have you walked down the aisle’s of your grocery store lately? What about exploring the department store? Let’s not even talk about the ways to express yourself through social media!

These choices are great; they provide us with options, allow us to feel empowered and abundant. However, sometimes perhaps these choices can lead to a “road block”, where we have TOO many choices and are left feeling stumped.

From what I’ve observed, making choices about certain transitions or changes in your life can sometimes feel overwhelming. Let’s face it, when we think about the big, “life-impacting” decisions we have around us, they are just that, “life-impacting”! So, how do you make these decisions with clear eyes and open hearts?

The important piece to this, in my opinion, is to make your decision based on your values, and what you want for YOU. It’s your life to live. So, without prevail, embrace what you really want, with logic, and with a smile.

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insecurity-in-a-relationship

How to Overcome Insecurity in a Relationship

Let’s face it – feeling insecure is draining! Insecurity in a relationship can be the main cause of jealousy, accusing, a constant need for validation, misunderstandings, and fights. In order to make your relationship work, you need to overcome uncertainties about yourself. Enjoying more of life and your partner will empower you with positive feelings.

What Can Help Me to Overcome Insecurity in a Relationship?

Insecurities can happen as a result of a rocky childhood, a relationship that went sour, or people with low self-esteem. No one is perfect, but we really don’t have to be. This article, by uncommonhelp.me, outlines quite nicely how to overcome insecurities in a relationship. Here’s the link to read more: http://www.uncommonhelp.me/articles/overcoming-insecurity-in-relationships/

Insecurities in a relationship can ruin even the happiest moments. Thus, discovering where your insecurities come from is important for resolving some issues you might have with your partner. Maybe your insecurities are coming from the type of attachment you developed throughout your life. Read our article: “How Attached are you?” to find out more.

What do you do to improve your self-esteem? Moreover, did you tell yourself you’re gorgeous today? Because you are!

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motivation

A Fresh Re-Start

So you’ve been slacking on your new year’s resolution; who hasn’t? The question now is: are you going to make the necessary changes to achieve your goals? Remember, a positive mindset is required with the ambition to do more. Here, we will work on the times when doubt creeps into your mind and you find yourself loosing your motivation, slacking again. So even as the snow thaws out and the flowers start to bloom, note if your new year’s resolutions are starting to dwindle in your mind. Let’s take this post to reflect on the reasons why we chose those goals and how we can stick to achieving them in the coming months.

How Do You Speak About your Goals?

Let’s first look at how you articulated our goals to others. Did you scream it from the rooftop after too much champagne? Or maybe you scribbled it in the sand before the tide came in? Either way, you found some way to tell others what your goals are for this year. But after that night, did you write them out somewhere? A place you know you would read them? Because something as simple as writing on a blank page and posting it on the wall can go a long way toward helping you reach that goal, one day at a time.

Another effective method, that puts more accountability on your actions, is using an agenda. Did you reach your milestones in the time you allotted yourself?

Whichever method you decide to use, just make sure you stay aware of both: where you want to be and when you want to be there. Try to repeat the goal over and over to yourself, take the time to listen to what you are saying. This technique can up your stakes on your goals, by helping you dig deep and finding the real motivators behind them.

 

How to Motivate Yourself

Visualizing what you want to accomplish is important for motivation. Did you want to exercise to fit into those skinny jeans? Or did you want to give your doctor less concern about cholesterol levels? Take a few days to really listen to what the foundation is for your goals. Something you can do to help determine motivation is weighing the pros and cons of your thought process on making these changes: What am I gaining? What am I avoiding?

Motivating factors can be described as:

1      Fear: “If you don’t do the dishes you’re not going out tonight!”

2      Incentive: “If you meet your sales quota this month you’ll get a $1000 bonus on your paycheck”

3      Intrinsic (attitude/internal): “I complete this 5km run because doing so gives me a sense of accomplishment – and I know it’s good for my physical and mental health.”

By now you should start getting a clearer picture of where your goals are being formulated. Have you found something you’re passionate about? Is there something you know you have been putting off for years? Use this awareness to embracing your purpose for this year. I am not trying to make you uncomfortable by overwhelming you with an overarching reason for your actions, but rather trying to draw out some accountability about how you act towards your goal. As these actions are rooted in how your goals are presented to you, both internally and externally.

Internal (intrinsic) vs. External (extrinsic) Motivation:

●    Internal motivation comes from the fulfillment of self-gratification

●    External motivation comes from outside the learner in the forms of tangible rewards and punishments such as competition, grades, awards, promotion, pay, etc.

 Where to begin?

If you’d like to inquire about goal setting and motivation treatment and help in Mississauga or Bradford Ontario at Real Life Counselling, don’t hesitate to call us at 289-231-8479.

 

 

References

Taylor, J. (2013). Personal Growth: Motivation: The Drive to Change. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201201/personal-growth-motivation-the-drive-change

N.A. (2013) NALD: BDAA. Canada’s Literacy and Essential Skills Network. Retrieved from: www.nald.ca/adultlearningcourse/glossary.htm

Ham, V., Davey, R., Fenaughty, J. (2013). Proceedings from the 16th International Conference on Thinking (ICOT). International Conference on Thinking. Retrieved from: http://icot2013.core-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Proceedings-ICOT-2013.pdf#page=181

 

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life decisions

Life Decisions

Frequently in my practice, I have individuals share their struggles with making life decisions. These decisions revolve around: What to do next? To stay with my partner or to leave? To find a new career or put up with my current? etc.

There really isn’t an easy answer to these questions. We will all encounter various transitions in our lives and some of the answers or paths to making these decisions will come easier than others.

The question clients most often ask is:

How can I make the transition during this decision-making process easier?

Here are a few tips about life decisions to keep in mind:

  • I quote Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid, “have balance, and focus
  • Write out your choices… allowing you to empty your mind of emotion and use more logical reasoning when deciding
  • Trust your inner voice and stick to your decision. You’ll feel confident you made the decision and stuck to the plan.
These are just a few basic ideas to help, there are usually more variables involved in the process.
But remember, do the things that make yourself proud!
Stay happy and healthy,
Ashley.
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mindfulness and meditatioin

Level 5 Leadership and Meditation

Imagine there being a correlation between your ability for Leadership and Meditation? Imagine you can meditate your way to being a Level 5 Leader. Well, you don’t have to just imagine it, you can actually do it.

If you’ve never heard of Level 5 Leadership, it’s a concept developed by Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great”. Level 5 leaders are ambitious, but their ambition comes from the cause, from company’s benefits, not from their own gains. They inspire others and share credit for success. Also, they are often shy and reserved, but at the same time fearless when it comes to making decisions. Collins says that CEOs of 11, in his opinion, greatest and most successful companies in the world, are level 5 leaders.

Links Between Level 5 Leadership and Meditation

So, here is the good news – being a level 5 leader is learnable. Collins says that, under the right circumstances, you can evolve into a level 5 leader. But what are those circumstances exactly? Among other factors, such as having a level-5 boss or loving parents, can also be self-reflection and conscious personal development. Now, both of these improve with meditation. Meditation, among numerous other benefits, takes you to the present moment and helps you reflect on your own feelings and thoughts. Thus, it is a great tool for getting to know yourself and, accordingly, improve in areas that you think need improving.

Here’s a great article from Harvard University on how leadership and meditation are connected: https://hbr.org/2015/12/how-meditation-benefits-ceos. It might be a good starting point on your journey to becoming a level 5 leader.

 

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3 Ways to Spring Clean Your Relationships

Ah yes. The birds are chirping, tulips are growing, and days are getting longer. We are officially in the season of Spring, and with all these changes taking place, I’m sure you feel the urge to clean up your relationships. Before you get the broom and sweep people off to the side, first recognize what is at hand… relationships with people (e.g., family, love, friends, business, etc.). We are social beings and, at the end of the day, the people in our lives provide us with happiness, satisfaction, and positivity. Try and identify what makes you uncomfortable now, and where you want to improve it.

Does your best friend put you down in front of other people? Does your partner reinforce your bad habits? You feel crummy after talking to that family member…but guilty if you don’t? You are incredibly bored, tired, and want out of your relationship? Do people put too many demands on you, making you feel like you must have all the answers and solutions in the world?

It’s understandable, we can all relate to some type of relationship like this in our lives. Here are 3 tips on how to “refresh” your relationships and to enjoy them more.

1. Air out the bad news and differences

Listen, communicate, and accept without judgment. When we take the time to effectively listen to someone and the concerns they are having they feel we genuinely care and are interested in what they have to say. By doing so, negative feelings will be less likely to be present and both parties will be heard. Remember to communicate without interrupting, and use “I” statements.

2. Open up and breathe in the winds of change

It’s easy to judge, or even to take those people in your life for granted. This Spring, try adjusting your sails and chart new waters with your relationships. Experiment with new ways of listening (i.e., put the cell phone away and listen attentively to words and body language). Open up to trying something new – remember that embracing minor discomforts makes you a stronger person.

3. Provide the necessary components for growth

As the trees bloom leaves, flowers stretch out of the garden, and the grass grows greener, you need to recognize that it takes two to tango and take personal responsibility for what you can do to enhance your relationship.

 

Whether you decide to embark on one or all of the above, I am confident you will be happy you did. Relationships need attentive care and attention – just like growing a garden. Here are two good questions to consider before doing too much ‘sweeping’: How is this relationship valuable to me? And what am I willing to do to retain its worth?

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the psychology of change

The Psychology of Change

When change is about to happen to you, the results can be significant. Maybe you’re expected to get out of your comfort zone, or to completely change the way you’re living your life. Whatever it is, change can be hard and painful, at least in the beginning. Thus, the psychology of change can be complicated, and you should seek to manage the cognitive and behavioral changes from the very beginning. Typically, people go through few stages of change in order to adapt to the new situation. Getting to know these stages can help you deal with your process of change.

The Process of Change

Initial concerns: The threat to deep systems.

Initial reactions: Negative or positive?

The Kübler-Ross grief cycle: The emotional cycle on given bad news.

Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news.

Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable.

Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.

Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out.

Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable.

Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.

Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.

The positive change cycle: Even good news has its ups and downs.

Resistance to change: When people push back against the change.

Rationale for resistance: What people tell themselves.

The resistance zoo: The animals and their styles of resistance.

Signs of resistance: Spotting subtle signals of dissent.

How to cause resistance: There are many ways!

Strong and weak commitment: After an agreement, commitment may vary.

In managing the initial announcement, the key is to do just that: manage it. Rather than just announce is, first think about the effects that it will have. Then, stage the communication in a way to have the impact and effect that you desire. In other words, if you’re not communicating it on the right way, the change that seemed easy at first can result in a real mess. Lastly, I personally believe that you got this!

 

Reference:

http://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/psychology_change/psychology_change.htm

 

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your choice

Your Choice

There are no age limits on when you can transform your life – it’s your choice.

Change is possible at any time.

It is essential if you want to grow.

You have control over your life.

Success or failure is up to you.

You control how lucky you are.

You create your wealth with your effort.

The doubts you’ll experience along the way are part of life.

Make a plan to attain your success and stick to it.

Your life is a marathon, not a short sprint.

Accept total responsibility for your actions

and remove “QUIT” from your vocabulary.

Decide you want success and it can be yours.

Success is always your choice.

———————————————–

SUCCESS IS YOUR CHOICE. IT IS WAITING FOR YOU.

———————————————–

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changing-habits

Why Changing Habits is So Hard?

Habits are a powerful thing. They shape our days and, eventually, out lives. Because of that, the right habits are incredibly important for achieving our goals and getting the life we want. However, habits are difficult to change. If you have some unhealthy or unhelpful ones, it is necessary to change them in order to change your everyday life.

Why Changing Habits is So Hard and How to Do It Anyways?

Shahram Heshmat Ph.D. shared a great article about changing your habits. It points the light to the nature of habits, which explains why they are so difficult to eliminate. Based on this knowledge, he also gives some great advice on how to make this process less difficult and to successfully implement some healthy habits in your life. You can read the whole article here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201602/why-old-habits-die-hard. Here are the most interesting parts of it.

  • Habitual thinking and behavior are a result of powerful neural pathways in our brains, and memories that are automatically and unconsciously accessed; we get brain chemistry rewards every time we access those memories.
  • Unconscious thought processes can predetermine, without an individual’s awareness, decision-making bias and actual decision-making.
  • Emotions are the key driver to decision-making, not logical, analytical thought. Our logical processes are often only rational justifications for emotional decisions.
  • Your brain will put up defensive mechanisms that will try to protect you from change.
  • Because the brain operates in a quantum environment, our perceptions and self-talk alter the connections and pathways in our brains. Whatever we focus our “attention” on changes or creates new brain connections.
  • Individuals should focus on desired new patterns of thinking and behavior to help employees change, not analyzing and trying to fix the old patterns because the latter will only reinforce the problems.

 

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