Let Your Heart Be Light

How to lighten your heart when you’re feeling heavy?

Here are 3 things I have found helpful…

  1. Notice your mind when it tells you to do more, be more, have more, there’s not enough. When you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, dig around in your mind and figure out what you are afraid of. Is your mind telling you things need to be a certain way? That you and your house need to look a certain way? Your kids need to behave a certain way? So that other people will feel and think a certain way? Who would you be if you let go of all of that? What really matters?

  2. Practice gratitude. Right now, think of 3 things for which you are thankful - little, specific things you may typically overlook. Mine the beauty in your life. It will interrupt your fear and anxiety.

  3. Give someone a compliment. When you lighten up someone else’s life, you can’t help but do the same for your own. I tried this the other day on a walk. I passed a garage where neighbor (who I don’t know) was building furniture (as I have seen him do). I noticed that he was sanding a beautiful, intricate wood table and I said, “That looks amazing!” and kept walking. He smiled and thanked me. I still feel a happiness boost thinking about it a week later and I hope he does too. I can’t believe how often I forget to say nice things to my husband and my kids (and how quick I am to remind them to do their dishes).

Wishing you lightness this season and always!

Give the Gift of Peace of Mind

Looking to give a unique and meaningful gift to someone interested in improving his or her life?

Gift the gift of peace of mind with a gift certificate for a coaching session (over the phone so your recipient can be anywhere).

I have a special price of $89 for one session for those of you wanting to give.

I will e-mail you a beautiful pdf certificate that you can print or e-mail to a lucky recipient.

Send me a note at maura@blueprintlifedesign.com

How Do You Take Care of Yourself While You Care for Others?

Are you taking care of others in a way that depletes you or leaves you empty?

In that case, it’s easy to become critical and resentful of loved ones. Any need or request becomes a burden and further drain on our own energy and resources, a trigger for painful thoughts, a threat to our own well-being.

I’m working on an article about how to take care of your own well-being even when you care for others.

What would you like to explore about this?

How do you keep a healthy relationship to yourself?

E-mail me: maura@blueprintlifedesign.com

If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you’ll have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t giving to yourself. Barbara DeAngelis

Tired or Overwhelmed? Try This.

Do you notice what your mind says upon waking in the morning?

I do.

It goes like this:

I AM TIRED!

(Then it calculates the number of hours before I can sleep again and runs through all of the tasks in between). Sigh.

But let’s go back to: I AM TIRED!

Joel Olsteen points out the power of “I am:” Whatever follows “I am” will determine your experience. You are inviting it into your life.

Here are two ways to handle such unhelpful thoughts:

  1. Replace the thought.

Now if you’re feeling tired, your mind isn’t going to buy a replacement thought like “I am energetic.” But how about “I can handle this;” “I am going to feel so much better after I shower.” Or the best thought, “Coffee is ready!”

2. Preface the thought with I am having the thought that…

This gives you some space from the thought so that it doesn’t take over your whole person. ‘I’m having the thought that I’m tired.” Even more space: I notice that I’m having the thought that I’m tired.:” It takes a bit of the sting out the thought, right?

“I’m so overwhelmed” becomes “I am having the thought that I am so overwhelmed.” Instead of “I’m stressed,” try, “I’m having the thought that I’m stressed” or “My mind is telling me stressful thoughts.”

Of course you can use these strategies any time of the day when you notice you’re mind saying “I am… (insert deflating, unhelpful adjective or noun).”

10 Ways To Make Yourself Miserable

  1. Compare yourself to those around you. Even better: Compare your insides to everyone’s outsides. Best: Compare your insides to everyone’s social media outsides. Proceed to despair.

  2. Resist uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Buffer (avoid/control/numb) the discomfort by keeping busy, eating, drinking, scrolling…

  3. Ignore your truth, pretend, and please everyone. Make sure you hide your flaws and insecurities and wrap yourself in a pretty package so that you will be acceptable and belong.

  4. Blame others for what you are feeling and for what’s not going right in your life. In this effort to transfer the pain you are feeling onto someone else, you hand over your power to take action to change things for the better.

  5. Hold grudges. Do not forgive. Treat others kindly and respectfully only if they treat you in such ways.

  6. Believe your mind when it tells you that you are not enough - not good enough, thin enough, rich enough, smart enough, certain enough, safe enough.  Listen to your ego when it tells you that you are what you have, what you do, and what other people think of you.

  7. Avoid discomfort by not doing hard things, even if they are important to you.

  8. Don’t ask for help. Believe that asking for help makes you weak and not enough (see # 6).

  9. Believe that you are the only one who thinks, feel, or does the above.

  10. Don’t hire a life coach to help you disrupt these patterns. :)

The Two Lies Anxiety is Whispering in Your Ear

I was listening to a podcast the other day (I start many sentences with this phrase), in which Ellen Hendriksen named the two lies of anxiety:

  1. The worst case scenario is definitely going to happen.

  2. You can’t handle it anyway.

In other words, that thing you worry about, the worst, is inevitable.

And when it happens, you won’t be able to cope. You’re not tough enough, capable, smart, or strong enough to handle it.

The problem with these lies? They keep us from doing (scary) things that are important.

When we believe these lies, we keep our lives small.

What if you believed, that no matter what happened, you could handle it? You could do your best and that would be enough?

You would probably take more action toward things that are important.

You would avoid less.

Or maybe you would just relax a little more.

Here are a couple of things to do to silence the lies of anxiety:

  1. You can gather evidence to dispute the lies.

  2. You can take yourself through the worst-case scenario.

I’ll give you an example.

I have a fear that when my husband is gone overnight, someone will break into my house and do terrible things to my kids an me. Not fun to think about, right? It makes it hard to sleep, which makes it hard to do anything else.

Years ago, my brilliant life coach helped me with this. Now she could have just helped me gather evidence as to why this worst case scenario was very unlikely to happen (where we live, dog, lights, statistics, living through many nights…), which was helpful. This calmed my mind but my mind could still argue the possibility.

So my coach also walked me through the worst case scenario. . Where would someone break in, where would I be, where would the kids and dog be, how would I get to them and get out…so I ended up with a plan. I felt empowered. This coaching session was many years ago and I still think about it because it was so powerful.

The worst was unlikely to happen. But even if the worst happened (and I am not denying that the worst would be awful), I could handle it.

I saw through the lies of anxiety.

I sleep much better these days. I hope you do too.

Would you like to talk about how to let go of the lies? I have a special coaching day this Tuesday, October 16th.

How To Organize Your Thoughts

Lately I have had the desire to do much clearing of clutter. A certain degree of this is normal for me. I love the words “organize” and “clear.” The Container Store is exciting to me and I follow interior designers on Instagram just for the opportunity to view beautiful spaces. I also have a friend who sends me photos of cabinets and rooms she has de-cluttered and we proceed to exchange enthusiastic emojis.

There is much information out there on how to organize your physical space.

But what about your mental space?

You need an organized mind so that you can have an organized life.

Organization involves classifying items or arranging them into categories.

We have tens of thousands of thoughts per day so let’s get to know them.

Let’s start by taking a look at the categories of thoughts.

Keeping it simple, consider 6 categories:

  1. Rules - What rigid rules does you mind have regarding your work, relationships and life in general? Does your mind tell you that you have to get rid of your anxiety before you take action? That “life shouldn’t be this way?” Notice red flag words like: should, have to, can’t, don’t, right, wrong, if-then phrases…”If he doesn’t respect me, then I’m not going to respect him.”

  2. Reasons- What reason does your mind give you for why you can’t do something? “I am too tired to workout,” ‘It’s in my genes,” “I never finish what I start.”

  3. Judgments- Our minds are judgment machines! This can be helpful if you’re deciding on a purchase or the nutritional value of a food. But how many times does your mind tell you, “I’m too sensitive,” “This sucks,” “Anxiety is a problem.”

  4. Past- What stories does your mind tell you about the past? What does it say about past failures or mistakes? What does it regret?

  5. Future - What are your worries about the future? What is on your to-do list? What are your plans?

  6. Self - What does your mind say about you? How does it describe you? What is your identity? “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t need help,” “I’m anxious,” “I’m an introvert.”

Why does it help to describe your thoughts? Because the better you get to know your mind, the better you can manage it.

If you can stand back and watch your mind, you’re not caught up in the thoughts swirling around.

You can catch your mind in the act. “Ah ha, I hear you mind and you’re throwing out all of sorts of reasons why this isn’t going to work/get better/change. I see what you’re up to.” You can notice the thoughts that are not helping you be who you want to be, do what you want to do or produce desired results in your life.

You can then use strategies (another post or a coaching session) to get some space from those thoughts so they have less impact on you.

Would you like some help downloading the thoughts swirling around in your head? Schedule a coaching session to start de-cluttering your mind.

Find me here: maura@blueprintlifedesign,com

Mini Course in Confidence

How would your life be different if you had more confidence?

I have taught the Confidence Course to a group of people. Now is your chance for a mini course tailored to your life. Here is what we will cover:

  • Session #1: Identifying how your life would be different if you had more confidence and pinpointing which of the five main causes of low self-confidence may apply to you in a particular area.

  • Session #2: Practicing tools to detach from thoughts that sabotage your confidence and clarifying the person you want to be, what matters most.

  • Session #3: Handling fear and anxiety so they have less impact on you.

Each session is 50 minutes over the phone with an individual client. Topics may vary depending on individual need. The content is designed to help you develop genuine confidence to perform better in your work & relationships. 

Investment: $297

Includes:

  • Confidence Course Worksheets

  • Three 50-minute coaching sessions over the phone

  • E-mail support between sessions

How to start? Schedule 3 sessions using my online calendar and I will be in touch.

Questions? Send them my way: maura@blueprintlifedesign.com

Your approach to confidence is very innovative and groundbreaking/paradigm-shifting."

-Kim, lawyer in Ontario, Canada

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How To Take the Shame Out of Your Biggest Problem

Think of a circumstance you wish did not exist in your life right now. Something you cannot change in this moment. For most of us, this is easy. It's something heavy on our minds.

Perhaps life has thrown you a serious punch: the death of a loved one, an illness, injury or disability, the loss of a job or relationship, infertility, betrayal, a mental health diagnosis.

Or perhaps you are riding the stressful waves of everyday life: relationship discord, family drama, an unrelenting boss, a job that sucks the life out of you, unwanted weight, debt.

Notice what your mind makes this situation mean. Does your mind make it mean something about you? That you really messed up, are deeply flawed and somehow different from everyone else?

Our minds love to take a circumstance and make it mean so much about the kind of people we are.

Here is something to try.

Take your problem and see it through this lens: as a natural disaster. 

I learned this tool years ago from Dr. Christine Carter when she mentioned accepting her divorce as more of a natural disaster than something she could stop from happening. Her thinking went like this: I am what I am and right now I am getting divorced. The best I can do right now is to be present in this situation, and deal with it as it comes. 

What happens when you see your problem as a natural disaster?

You take the shame (and blame) out of the problem.

Brene Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we've experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

Shame is not productive; it doesn’t help us improve or take effective action. It keeps us hiding and can lead to unhelpful behavior.

A natural disaster just happens. It can result in great loss and pain. But it doesn’t have the added meaning about the nature of the people involved.

Without shame, self-compassion and acceptance (essential steps in healing and problem-solving) come more easily.

When we offer ourselves a healthy dose of compassion (This is normal; I'm not the only one) and accept our situation instead of fighting and railing against it, we gain presence and take the most effective action.

We can ask ourselves:

"What do I want to stand for in the face of this?”

So stand tall, shoulders back. Love your people and do what you need to do. Don’t waste your gifts because you are caught up in a shame storm of unworthiness.

Show up for your life as the person you want to be (regardless of circumstances). That is all anyone can ask.