Be Grateful & Fulfilled

Be Grateful & Fulfilled

Name 5 things you are grateful for right now, I will wait…
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How did that feel?
What did your body do?

I am willing to bet that whatever stresses or worries you had feel different now, if they are even present. That your body is more at ease, there may be a smile spread across your face and your jaw and shoulders are probably more relaxed. I am not one to believe that you can positively think your way through everything. Challenges will arise within and outside of you, you will experience, sadness, anger, stress and fear. Yet, what we pay attention to will grow. The happiest people I know live in gratitude and are able to express it: to themselves and to others. See and celebrate what you have and the wonderful gifts around you not what you think you should or do not have. Live a life of abundance, not poverty.

Be grateful and be fulfilled

Try this test, for one week keep a note pad next to your bed and when you rise write down five things you are grateful for. Make sure every day your list is different. See how the evolution of your day changes when you set a tone of gratitude. Keep it going as long as you can and watch how grateful you will feel about the smallest things, like the warmth of sunlight spreading through your room in the morning, or the feel of the fabric of your favorite T-shirt against your skin. Finding gratitude everywhere is easy, just practice and do…

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There is no happily ever after, just happily here and now…

There is no happily ever after, just happily here and now…

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller

Where are your thoughts right now? Are you able to concentrate on the words you are
reading or are you ‘future tripping’, worrying about carpool rides for the kids, or maybe
you are wondering if you will be okay or be unprepared and awkward in tomorrow’s staff
meeting? Are you projecting into the future your thoughts and feelings only to arrive at
that time and place never truly ‘be there’, desperately attempting to figure out what may
or may not happen and how I will feel when I get there? This is the very definition of
anxiety. Living in speculation and expectation can lead towards resentment, not only
towards self but towards others and your outer world in general. Or are you remorseful
and resentful, regretting past decisions you have made? Should have, could have, would
have, living in the past, torturing yourself and listening to the lies you tell yourself until it
becomes a narrative that constructs who you are.

These states of being can keep us in victim mode, reacting to things emotionally as they
arise, taking things always personally. These speculative states can only lead to suffering,
and to what end? As our brain desperately attempts to map out the future so that we are
not surprised we become risk averse, stuck in a fight, flight or freeze mode. We are
unable to access higher regions of the brain and self and process our thoughts and
feelings effectively. Living in the past creates doubt and second-guessing, each should,
could and would is a total lie, we cannot change things in our past only learn from them.
We can work on staying in the only thing that truly is; the moment you are in.

Staying present, centered and aware can be challenging, but here are a few exercises to ground
you and bring you into your true reality.

You can first start by naming things in the room, I know it sounds silly but go ahead and do it now… what you are feeling is physically being in the time and place that you are in. When we have gotten good at that, we can continue to cycle through our senses; what we are hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling, literally coming into them… The sounds of the your neighborhood coming to life, the coffee from this morning, the cushions supporting our body as we sit. All of your senses come to life; you can be present to what is in front of you and around you, able to flow on into the next indicated thing.

 

Anxiety is living in the future, depression is living in the past.

The key to being okay is living in the here and now.

When does excitement present as anxiety?

What is your narrative? Do you speak to yourself with warmth, Love and kindness or is your internal voice, your narrative, critical, coming from a place of fear and scarcity? It is not your fault; you have evolution working against you, moving thoughts, naturally, towards the oldest part of you, the reptilian part of your brain where a ‘fight or flight’ mentality primarily originates. Fortunately, I am assuming, most of your needs are going to be met today; you will be able to find a food source, you will be sheltered from the elements and, hopefully, no one and no thing will try to kill you. So where does that ancient energy, the ‘fight of flight’ mentality go? Enter anxiety…

What if you are just excited? And the reptilian brain masks your excitement as anxiety? Travel anxiety is a great example of excitement that could possibly present as anxiety. When I am preparing for a trip I can feel somatic (of the body) responses the closer it gets to the time I am leaving. My body can react as if I am being chased by a lion, my ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in and the reptilian brain is activated. It produces hormones necessary to quicken my pulse (adrenaline), sends more blood to my muscles so I can react quickly (norepinephrine) and regulate other biological systems (cortisol) to focus on the systems necessary to aid in my get away. Of course I am not in any danger of being eaten by a lion and as soon as I feel my pulse start to quicken I can start a dialogue with self. I can consciously confront the fear and move towards understanding; how realistic is it that the plane will go down and I have been through crowded the airports before, am I really never going to see my luggage again? Or I can re-frame my thoughts in a more affirming direction; I am just excited to go on vacation, visit friends or family and experience new things. Truth be told anxious and excited somatic responses are totally identical.

Move toward rewiring your brain and telling yourself you are leading an exciting life, moving freely away from an anxious one.

Welcome Kevin Sousa

Welcome Kevin Sousa

Welcome to Kevin’s Clinical Corner. I feel honored and privileged to carry on the work and vision of Dr. Carly Rogers as the new Clinical Director of JMMF.

My hope is that in this section of the newsletter, you will find some exploration of common behaviors and challenges that can appear acutely in the populations that JMMF serves, but that we all experience in some way almost every day.

Whether it is anxiety, fear, worry, stress, guilt, shame, we will look at what the body does, how it holds these emotional states, and what the brain does when it experiences these feelings, in order to gain insight and understanding around our sense of self.

We will also take a look at some common interventions we can use to give ourselves some relief from these often challenging and painful thoughts and experiences. It is important to delve into why we have these feelings so we can work towards developing a different relationship with them, and to ask ourselves what these feelings and behaviors are telling us as they arise.

Thanks for checking into Kevin’s Clinical Corner. I’ll see you back here in April with some thoughts on anxiety and why it is so similar to the feeling of excitement.