Stuck On A Problem? Use the Mind Body Connection

By Debra LeClair Psy.D

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”   -Albert Einstein

meditate at work But how can you shift your level of consciousness?  There is a practice that first connects the mind and body which then opens up the brain’s ability to access neural pathways that lead to creative thinking.

The practice is to start with a few minutes of just noticing your breath. Specifically, become aware of the sensations of breathing through the coolness of the air on the inhalation and the warmth on the exhalation.  This allows you to arrive into the present and to calm the nervous system.  From there, you can ask yourself a question such as, “What is a positive outcome I want to see?” Then watch where your mind goes. You may find this to be a very productive shift, especially as ideas that may have not occurred to you before start to emerge. Anecdotally, I have had clients and students tell me that consciously uniting the mind and body has allowed them access their intuition and better connect to the perspective of their intended audience, whether it be creating a presentation or developing a piece of impactful marketing material.

Please note that this practice of contemplation is not about letting your mind wander, especially as it moves into its usual litany of stressful thoughts. It’s about purposely using the calm and clarity of the mind that you have created through a meditative process to let your deeper thinking and understanding rise to the top of your awareness.

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How To Follow Your Impulse to Evolve

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

What does the cross-section of neuroscience, spirituality and psychology offer in regard to cultivating your own evolution as person?

Positive Change

Our ability to change—a habit, a behavior, an attitude begins with being able to truly connect to that person we want to be. To do that, involve your senses.   How would it feel to put your hands around your waist and be 5 pounds lighter?   How will you look when you see yourself fitting into clothes that are 2 sizes smaller? Research has shown that when a person is unable to relate to a future imagined self—when that future self is experienced as being so different that they might as well be someone else, motivation is lost and the old ways of doing and thinking about things returns.

“Feeling will get you closer to the truth of who you are than thinking”  -Eckhart Tolle

So be honest with yourself, if going for a goal of starting a company that will be in the Fortune 100 feels like science fiction, go with what does resonate with who you are now and could envision yourself becoming—a entrepreneur who launched a small company that is moving into the black. Still too big? How about seeing yourself as a small business owner that is working with it’s first client? The big idea here is to synch up with that picture of your life that feels real enough to touch and amply inspirational to cause you to move in its direction now and over time.

 

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A Simple Blueprint for Creating Life Balance

Work life balanceSummer provides us an opportunity that can help us throughout the entire year. Its hard to imagine work-life balance until you find that sweet spot where you know, even if its for a day that, “ Oh yeah, this is what it feels like.” Taking a break, or better yet a retreat, is a way to bring that about within your awareness. Retreats give you some distance to look at the inner and outer trappings of your life with objectivity.

Whether it’s an afternoon away from the bustle or a week away from it all, both put you in touch with what balance really is for you. From this space, an exercise to try is to segment a piece of paper into four columns, then label them as follows:

1)   What’s Working

2)   What’s Not Working

3)   What Changes Can I Make

4)   Resources Needed

Filling each column out gives an overview of how your life is experienced by you. The formula that is creating work-life balance is highly individualized and often changes as time passes. Knowing what is feeding you and what is draining your energy is illuminating in itself. Deciding what shifts can be made and what you need to activate those shifts provides momentum to put a small step or even a whole plan into action.

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A Mindfulness Excerpt

An excerpt form Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment — and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

http://ow.ly/zvGMk

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Making A Clean Sweep: Living A Fulfilled Life

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

There’s a reason that spring gets associated with cleaning.   After being enclosed in layers all winter, we are happily pulled out into the sun to wake up.   Energized, we yearn to shed what we no longer need or what is no longer serving us.

Planting successThis awakening is the opposite of being on autopilot.  Looking at our routines, tasks and beliefs with a new eye creates the clarity to assess what is truly vital to our bigger picture.  It not only gets us to think outside the box, it gets us to literally kick ourselves out into something better. Coming into a fresh perspective is one of the most underrated tools to turn dissatisfaction into fulfillment.  Powerful questions help us get there.

Take a pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and ask yourself:

1)  What (thoughts, feelings, sensations) do I want to experience most?

2)  What is already in my life that connects me to those desired thoughts, feelings and sensations?

3)  What is in my life that is a barrier or obstacle?  Do I need to go around it, move through it or eliminate it altogether?

4)  What supports do I need to make changes in eliminating or minimizing the obstacles?

To give an example, Sara wants to feel a sense of calm and confidence. Her weekly yoga class, date nights with her spouse and learning how to paint are what she identifies as building that peace and belief in herself.   But between work and her child’s school, she serves on three committees.  These commitments mostly add to her stress.  The idea of resigning from any of the committees fills her with guilt.  It seems easier to “suck it up” and just stay put.

Asking the questions above of herself, Sara was able to gain sight of her desired path. That focus loosened the guilt that had wrapped itself around Sara and as a result, she chose to try on a new life as an experiment.  Sara was fueled by the realization that she felt so much more connected to her family and actual work when she wasn’t drawn in so many directions.  Keeping that awareness in the forefront, Sara decided to step down from two of the committees, with the idea that she could return in the future.  That last part was important since it alleviated much of the uncomfortable feelings she had around giving herself space to try this new lifestyle out.  Liberating herself just enough from the guilt propelled her towards a less stressful existence.  Once there, that was all she needed to cultivate a life lived in greater fulfillment.

 

 

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Earth Day Meditation

We have a great opportunity to come together in unison to focus our positive thoughts for Mother Earth and Humanity. On Earth Day, Tuesday April 22nd, the world is invited to join together in meditation for our planet. The Master Shift has written and produced a free online meditation narrated by Julian Lennon. Based on the idea that quantum meditation can effect change, the purpose of the meditation is to bring the world together as one meditating force for universal upliftment. The meditation is not religious, but does recognize a “higher power.” It is positive and designed to be a fun experience that all can do at the exact same time. All that is required is for you to sit and listen. Please visit www.themastershift.com for details about the upcoming event or like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for the latest up-to-date information.

We are in the process of change and it’s a very exciting time to be alive. Together we can create a new fabric of reality. Together we are The Master Shift.

Join us  Tues, 4/22 at 9:30 pm EST by clicking on http://www.themastershift.com/meditations/

The above is an excerpt from the Huffinton Post blog by Christine Segal, M.Ed.,  Executive Director of the Master Shift.

 

 

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New Year’s Resolutions: What Do You Want to Heal?

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

Keeping a New Year’s resolution can be an arduous undertaking, so much so that many people give up at the first sign of a setback. Failure can often be traced to how the resolution is worded. Vague statements such as“ I will be kinder to others,” those that are phrased negatively like, “No more staying up late,” or those that overload, as in, “ I’m going to get healthy by losing 20 pounds and giving up smoking,” drain energy from the best intentions before the calendar even hits the second week of January. In coaching and psychology, it’s the powerful question that best unlocks the momentum towards reaching an aspiration. For this year, how about asking yourself, “What is the one thing I most want to heal?” Record what comes to you in writing, so you can see it on the page.  From there, let it speak its honesty to you, in full. Take a few days to do this if needed. The key is to get down into where your soul and heart join in recognizing your truth.

Once you have it, formulate your goal to be specific, remembering that positively worded statements gear the brain towards what to do and the path to follow. Ultimately, you should feel inspired by what you craft.

Examples:
A) What is the one thing I most want to heal?

1) Feeling stuck in a large body that I just want to disconnect from
2) Aspiration/Goal: Notice how my body reacts to my choosing to eat fruits and vegetables

B) What is the one thing I most want to heal?

1) Not feeling listened to by people that matter to me
2) Aspiration/Goal: Tell my best friend when I need her to put away her cell phone and make eye contact with me.

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Gifts That Speak To The Mind, Body & Spirit: Keeping it local in 2013

The list below is mostly from local small businesses (in honor of Small Business Saturday) that have been tried and true and can offer a chance to journey off the beaten path.

1) Gift subscriptions to our favorite spiritual periodicals:
Spirituality & Health, http://spiritualityhealth.com/magazine
Yoga Journal, http://www.yogajournal.com
Vegetarian Times, http://www.vegetariantimes.com
Shambhala Sun, http://www.shambhalasun.com
Mindful, http://www.mindful.org/mindful-magazine

2) Just Naturals, an array of essential oil based products for a healthy, toxin free lifestyle. Located in Bedford and online.

http://www.justnaturalproducts.com

3) Jenness Farms, handcrafted bath and body products. (We highly recommend the NH Lilac Goat Soap). Located in Nottingham and online.

http://www.jennessfarm.com/online-store/goat-milk-soap.html

4) Jane Gee, Pure ingredients for body, home and the environment.  In Portsmouth and online.   http://www.janegee.com/about-us/

4) WildMind Meditation Supplies, from cushions to DVDs. Located in Newmarket and online.  http://shop.wildmind.org

5) Jeca Yoga offers classes across all levels and ages.  Located in Manchester. www.jecayoga.com                                                                                                                         For a gift card:   https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=36257

6) Holistic services for pets and their owners at Nikoe Natural Therapies located in Dover.  For more info visit www.nikoenaturaltherapies.com and email info@nikoenaturaltherapies for gift card requests.

7) And of course, our own Full Spectrum Wellness Gift Certificates which can be used for any of our classes, including Meditation 101, Mindfulness courses and the upcoming mini-retreat for creativity called Serenity Saturday scheduled for Jan 25th.
Class schedule:  www.fullspectrumwellness.com/classes.html
To order Gift Certificates online: http://www.fullspectrumwellness.com/classes.html#%94gift%94

Holiday Special:  Order $35 or more in Full Spectrum Wellness gift certificates on Nov 30-Dec 2nd and receive a $5 credit towards a class for you. 

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“What’s So Funny About Peace Love & Understanding”: The Connection Between Comedy and Spiritual Growth

By Debra LeClair Psy.D.

What gets chosen for scientific study and what gets expressed through the arts both reflect what at least some human beings are thinking about more deeply. What takes off and goes viral from there shows what is resonating for many and where the shift in perception of how we fit into the Universe is ripe for a transformation.

Comedy is one such expression. What it has to say to us, actually speaks to our soul because something becomes funny when it rings as “so true”. Similarly, the humor that not only brings the most laughs but also stays with us is that which reflects the day to day of the typical person. Think about it, what makes George Carlin so seminal, Louis CK so relatable or Seinfeld, the show about nothing and Modern Family, the show about everything, two of the most successful on television? It’s the ridiculousness that they all expose about our constantly preoccupied minds that make us recognize ourselves and laugh. Having something pointed out through comedy gives us a chance to see it with greater clarity. It can give us grounding in self-awareness informed by compassion, which is the most fertile condition for learning and building both emotional and social intelligence.
If it makes us stop, even once to think about how we treat each other or how we treat ourselves, then this “fun and games” becomes a great teacher.

Want to see what I am talking about, watch a few clips below:

http://www.criticalcommons.org/Members/fsustavros/clips/louis-ck-technology

For more, check out the article, Wise Fools by Rod Meade Sperry in the November 2013 Shamabhala Sun

 

Posted in comedy, Creativity, Health & Wellness, humor, Meditation, Mental Health, Mindfulness, spirituality, Stress Management, Stress Reduction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Under Pressure: Expert Tips To Find Your Focus & Calm at Work

 

On September 10th, New Hampshire had its first Mindfulness in Business Conference and the room was filled close to capacity.  As conference organizers, we intended to connect the number of pockets throughout the state where mindfulness has come into play; either as its already being practiced or in that the buzz about its positive effect on health, productivity and employee engagement had piqued a company’s interest.  Over the course of the morning, we heard about how mindfulness works, the research that validates its impact and how its been integrated it into existing organizational cultures.  We also talked about how the individual employee can realistically bring mindfulness into his/her work life for better focus, calm and engagement.  Below are some tips and strategies:

  1.  It’s better to meditate for two minutes than not at all.   A practical way to bring a mini-meditation into your day is to take a restroom break to disconnect from your computer and to connect into the breath.  Simply notice the sensation of the movement of air filling your lungs and the feeling of the air flowing back out.  If your mind wanders in that two minutes, bring it back.  Every time you catch yourself and shift your focus back to the breath, you are building the “mediation muscle” and your nervous system’s capacity to better calm itself.
  2. Think of an activity you perform regularly and take a few moments to pay attention the way it “feels to do it while you are doing it”. This, by the way, is the essence of mindfulness:  present moment awareness.  For instance, while you are driving to a meeting, notice the feeling of your hands on the steering wheel and become aware of the vibrations of the road.  Another thought is to try this on your coffee break.  There are many sensations you can place your awareness on including: the warmth of the cup, the aroma, the taste that splashes all over your tongue, the feeling of swallowing and following the sensation of the coffee as it moves down your throat.
  3. If multitasking has left you feeling scattered and ineffective, allow yourself to focus on what is just in front of you.  For example, take your next meeting and commit to listening to what is really being said.  If the urge to check your texts comes up, acknowledge it and let it go.  As you continue to keep letting it go and coming back to listening, you’ll find that your focus and comprehension improves as you take in all that is being communicated, both verbally and through body language.  You might also notice that this focus is maintained when moving onto the next task.
  4. Allow the mindful practices to help you down shift.  Slowing down might sound like something you don’t have time for, however doing so allows your brain to process more effectively.  Mistakes, accidents and miscommunications can be avoided while stress levels can be decreased.
Posted in corporate wellness, Creativity, Health & Wellness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Stress Management, Stress Reduction, Workplace wellness, worksite wellness | Leave a comment