emotions

Enjoying Vacation Comes Down to a Science

Skipping or putting a vacation on hold may feel ideal at the moment. But ultimately, that is far from the truth.

Not only are vacations fun – but they can benefit your mind, body and soul.

Recognizing the Value of a Vacation

Have you ever felt guilty about taking a vacation? 

Have you ever felt like there isn’t much of a point or that your time would better be spent working? 

Vacations are far from a waste of time. They can improve mental health, boost job performance, and increase creativity.

A great vacation doesn’t have to be long or expensive by any means. Taking a mini weekend staycation at a friend’s house or local hotel can deliver all the benefits and then some.

Mixing Things Up

Even if you thrive on routine, mixing things up for even a few days can help increase motivation, energy and creativity.

When we do the same thing day in and day out – the activities we typically love can start to feel less exciting.

Taking a week off of television can help you enjoy it that much more down the line. 

You know what they say – absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Professional athletes schedule recovery days to let their muscles rest.

We need to do the same thing with our minds!

Above, we listed television as an example. But the activity you’d like to take a break from may be different.

What do you feel you need a break from?

Choose the Vacation Best For You

Our dream vacation may be different from yours, as we all have our own interests.

Some may enjoy a vacation full of back-to-back activities, while others may enjoy a few days sitting by the pool reading a book. At the end of the day, all that matters is your happiness and ability to enjoy yourself.

Most of us declutter our homes pretty often – taking vacations can help declutter our minds from stress. What are you waiting for? There is no time like the present to start planning your next adventure! 

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Letting Go Of Resentments

It’s not uncommon to disagree with the people we love – even our romantic partners. 

But when the past starts to impact the future, it may be time to make some changes.

Decoding Our Resentments

Instead of pushing any feelings of resentment aside, we can try and realize what they’re trying to tell us. 

Doing so can help us work through them, accept them and move forward in a healthy way. All feelings have a purpose and something to teach us. 

Express Your Needs 

If you ever feel like you’re not having your needs met – it’s time to speak up!

Open communication and honesty is a two-way street.

Once you start opening up, your partner likely will as well, which in turn can strengthen your relationship. 

Write And Share

Sometimes the best way to get our thoughts out is to put them down on paper. 

What are your resentments? 

Where do you think they come from? 

What makes you think about them? 

Is there anything your partner can do to help? 

Oftentimes journaling can help us decode feelings we didn’t even know we had! 

If you catch any new feelings pop up alongside your journaling journey, you can share them with your partner. 

Every new conversation can help strengthen your bond and open up new doors.

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Don’t Just Stand There. Get Moving

By: Jen Champion

We have the power to heal and transform from the challenges we encounter. However, when our physical and mental patterns and habits do not support whole quality health, we can feel out of balance and ill. Our bodies develop grooves of anxiety, pain, and beliefs that keep us stuck in our dramas and traumas. If we do not take the time and steps to heal, prolonged stress creates chronic activation of the fight/flight response.

There are many places where we can feel tension. Often the head, neck, shoulders, and back alert us. The muscles, connective tissue, and nerves are intertwined, and at times, it’s hard to tell precisely where the pain originates. One section in the body, often unnoticed and holding tension, is called the psoas (so as) muscles. The psoas has many intricate details. I will speak briefly about them and list a few excellent resources for you to investigate.

The psoas are a group of deep muscles that often contract during times of stress, and they are like to stay contracted for some time once energized. They originate in the middle of the back and run down each side of the low back, pelvis, inner thighs, and hips. 

 

The psoas are continuously in use. The muscles participate in our daily actions, including standing, walking, running, and sitting. When they tighten and shorten, it leads to discomfort in various body parts. Pain can be present in the hips, groin, abdomen, and low back if the lumbar spine curve is too big or small.

Don’t just stand there, get moving. Gentle movements and releasing tensions in the psoas help eliminate the stress and pain. One way to lengthen the psoas is to walk with a short conscious gait. A constructive rest pose is a restorative approach. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width apart and parallel. Place your heels at a comfortable distance from your buttocks. Breathe and Rest. Lifting the sternum, relaxing the shoulders, and taking deep breaths can also affect the relaxation response in the psoas.

A yoga practice will assist people in gaining presence and patience to move tension out of the body and open to a more fulfilling life.

Yoga improves the core stability in the torso and pelvis and helps the psoas function optimally. Balance in the psoas and abdominal core muscles helps maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine, neutral pelvic alignment, and good posture. When we are in a stable comfortable position, our breathing capacity improves. With optimal breathing (deep, smooth, even, continuous and quiet), we gain a more profound recognition of how to move with comfort and ease on and off the yoga mat. We feel better physically and enhance our self-esteem. Good physical and mental health make life more enjoyable.

When we move and shape our bodies with patience and awareness, we can change our breath, thoughts, and patterns and live a more fulfilling life.

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Social Media Day

June 30th is Social Media Day – which is a time when we can recognize both the positive and negative impact it has made on our world. 

This day was first launched by Mashable on June 30, 2010, and it was meant to show how social media has been used all across the world to connect us.

Over the years, social media has become a form of communication and has been a platform that family, friends, and peers have used. Whether they share posts, photos, and videos about their lives. 

It has been a useful tool where we can share opinions with others, stay informed about news or trending topics, and keep up to date with one another. And teens as well as younger kids are increasingly participating on social media platforms.

For teens, social media can have the same benefits of connection, community involvement, finding like-minded people, and enhancing creativity through sharing art or music.  As most teens will tell you, they feel left out if they cannot participate in this arena with their friends. 

However, it is also important to acknowledge how social media can affect mental health and wellbeing and to be aware of some of the dangers.  This includes self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression, cyberbullying, social media addiction, and low-quality sleep. It can also result in feeling left out or feeling inadequate.  Very few people, teens or adults, put their worst life moments out for all to see.  We share the highlights.  And constantly viewing people’s good times can lead us to forget that these posts are just one facet of life, that also has sadness, pain, and stress.  It can create an unrealistic expectation for what their everyday life should be like.

We can help children and teens to understand the issues associated with social media and to approach it with an understanding of how it works behind the scenes.  Teaching our kids positive social media use is an important skill.  But if anyone has ever tried to have these conversations with their children, you quite likely were met with defensiveness, anger or denial.  Social media and connection to friends become so powerful that they do not want to hear anything negative or are scared you will take it away.

Psychology Today had a recent article by Sophia Choukas-Bradley Ph.D. that offered some suggestions for starting the conversation with your child.  Read her full suggestions here

Don’t lecture–it puts them immediately on the defensive and they may just tune you out.  

Ask open-ended questions.  Use the questions to find out more about what they like about social media.  Let them be the experts and help them explore their thoughts through open-ended follow-up questions.

Practice active listening, instead of proving your own point.  You aren’t really listening if you are planning what you will say next and your child will feel that.

Validate their feelings, don’t dismiss their concerns.  Don’t reassure them or discount their feelings.  They feel them even if it doesn’t make sense to you.  Try reflecting back on what they said in slightly different words.  Validating their feelings will help make them feel safe to open up more. 

Keep talking, don’t give up.  Sometimes the talks will go well, but they won’t always go smoothly.  Addressing these issues is an ever-evolving process.

Another idea is to watch movies or documentaries about social media and then discuss it with your kids. 

The Social Dilemma A shocking look at the inner workings of social media companies as well as the algorithms they use to keep us engaged and scrolling.

Screened Out  The film addresses tech addiction in the modern age. Filmmaker Jon Hyatt and his family take the viewer on a journey through the life-changing effects of screen addiction, how the tech industry hooked global consumers and its impact on our lives. See the trailer here

For more resources, check out the links below. 

Just How Harmful Is Social Media? Our Experts Weigh-In

The Evolution of Social Media: How Did It Begin, and Where Could It Go Next?

The Power of Social Media

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Teaching Your Child How To Handle Conflict

As a parent, it’s important to remember that your child will likely disagree with their friends from time to time, and it’s a normal part of life and friendship. 

Helping them navigate through arguments can give them the guidance to move past these disagreements. 

Showing children how to establish their boundaries and communication with their friends is something that can help today and in the future. 

Find Balance

We only want the best for our children, so it may be tempting to want to step in when they are fighting with a friend.

However, stepping in right away isn’t always the best solution. 

Giving them the opportunity to talk it out on their own can teach them very valuable problem-solving skills. 

What you can do, is offer them support, advice and comfort.

Grow As We Go

Fights are often personal for the people in them – meaning that your child and their friends might be fighting about something unique to their friendship. 

As they grow, you can assess what the situation calls for and how to brainstorm ideas to hopfully resolve it. 

Conflict Resolution 

It’s never too early to start teaching your children healthy conflict resolution skills. 

Of course, you will always be there for them, but eventually, they will reach a certain age where they can handle most situations independently.

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Setting Stronger Boundaries

Setting boundaries is so important – but more often than not is easier said than done.

Saying yes can open the door to new opportunities.

But saying no can help you establish a healthy relationship with yourself which in turn can help you maintain an appropriate work-life balance. 

There will be times when you may not know if you should say yes or no to something. 

Often our emotional response can help lead the way. 

If a specific request makes you feel tense, frustrated or uncomfortable, that is a common sign that a boundary is needed.

Keep on reading for a deeper dive into those emotions.

Tension

Some of us perform better under a little bit of pressure or tension – but too much of anything is not good.

Unresolved and/or intense tension can make it very difficult to relax, recharge and be productive throughout the way.

The next time you catch yourself experiencing tension, take some time to reflect and ask yourself if any event or person may be triggering that feeling.

If you can list one or more, that may be your body’s way of telling you something needs to change. 

Frustration

We all feel frustrated from time to time – whether it be at ourselves, someone else or an event.

Some examples include being stuck in traffic, having a disagreement with a friend or being unable to find a solution to a problem.

Feelings of frustration can sometimes be a sign that your current game plan may need some adjustments.

We may not be able to control everything.

But, we can often control more than we give ourselves credit for.

You can control how you approach things. 

You can control what you say yes to. 

And you can control your thoughts and behaviors. 

Discomfort

Feelings of discomfort are often followed by our gut communicating to us that something isn’t right.

Mild discomfort can be a positive thing and push us to step outside our comfort zone and persevere.

But moderate-severe discomfort can be exhausting and help us realize that a certain situation may be making us unhappy.

Final Thoughts

Our mind and body and very powerful and often have their own uniques ways of communication with us.

Deep down, if something doesn’t feel right to you, you have the power to flip the switch.

You can create new rules that can help protect both your emotional and mental energy.

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The Benefits Of Being Open-Minded

Having an open mind can help us grow, thrive and learn in so many ways.

It can also make it easier for us to respect others’ opinions and ideas. 

Being curious and asking others in-depth questions can open the door to new possibilities. 

Challenge Your Thoughts

We can often be more inclined to feel strongly about our thoughts and ideas because we have experienced them first hand. 

However, it’s up to us to challenge ourselves daily, especially when talking with others.

To connect on a deeper level with ourselves and those around us, we can take time to see how we think about certain situations. It all comes down to putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. 

Ask Questions Often 

Asking other people questions can change the way we think and feel about situations. 

But in order to successfully do that, you may have to ask yourself a few questions first. 

“Are there other ideas that I can consider?”

“What is influencing my opinion right now?”

“Why would someone else think differently?”

Questioning our patterns, thoughts and habits can help us look at them in new and improved ways. 

Take Some Time To Think

Have you ever disagreed with a friend or family member without even taking the time to think it through? 

Giving yourself some extra time to think about their feelings can make it easier for you to see the situation through their eyes. 

You should always be true to yourself and do what makes you happy.

But at the same time, acknowledging others can help change your perspective and, in turn, become a more open-minded person. 

“The mind that opens up to a new idea never returns to its original size.” – Albert Einstein.

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Embracing Our Emotions

Trying to fight or ignore emotions can give them even more power.

While facing and accepting them head-on can help us better understand and embrace them. 

Welcome Your Emotions 

Have you ever tried naming your emotions? 

Certain emotions can often feel a little confusing, and it can be hard to differentiate if they are positive, negative or somewhere in between.

Take note of what your body is trying to tell you.

You can do this by assessing the situation you are in and simply stating exactly what’s on your mind.

Sometimes saying exactly what’s going on in your head out loud can help make those thoughts easier to understand. 

Say Thank You

When friends come to visit us, we thank them.

Why can’t we do the same thing with our emotions?

Every emotion has something to teach us – and we can thank them for that. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re starting to get worried about a deadline at work.

You can thank your worry for keeping you on track and on top of your deadline.

After all, all feelings visit us for a reason! 

Listen And Learn

Emotions do so much for us. 

They can help us dig deep, stay safe, set goals and step outside our comfort zone. Taking the time to really listen to them can teach us valuable lessons. 

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The Pursuit Of Happiness

Instead of looking elsewhere, we can find happiness within ourselves. 

Accept The Imperfections

What makes life unique is that it’s imperfect – and that’s okay!

Having such high expectations for ourselves can be stressful. 

It’s so easy to constantly want “more” or to be “better.”

Accepting the imperfections of life starts with embracing being comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Express Gratitude

Expressing gratitude for what you already have can change how you look at things. 

Simply writing down five things you are grateful for every morning can help you start each day on a positive note.  

That small exercise can help you reevaluate your values and challenge yourself to dig deeper. 

Gratitude is a powerful force!

Leave Judgement Behind

Investing time and energy in positive thoughts can be very inspiring.  

Now’s the time to be your biggest cheerleader by creating a judgement-free zone in your mind. 

Our days won’t always turn out as planned, and that’s okay. You deserve to cut yourself some slack. 

“You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.” – Wayne Dyer.

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