Blog

Six Steps to Zen When You Need Control

istock_000006631415medium

“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Chuang Tzu

Recently, I was running an errand on a late Sunday afternoon. I was feeling frustrated that the errand I had wanted to do hours ago was only now getting done. So many other things had taken place during the weekend. I was thinking, “Here I am once again running out the door at 4 pm! Every weekend it’s the same thing. I’m always running out at the last minute Sunday to do something that I wanted to get done earlier in the weekend.” 

And then something dawned on me. Rather than feeling frustrated and fighting this pattern, I decided to accept it. This is the pattern of our family. I’m going to have to learn to accept our pattern.

Here are six tips to help you learn more about releasing control and learning to surrender. If you’d like to learn more about how you can learn to relinquish control and find your inner Zen, contact me today. Let’s work together to find your strengths so that you can thrive.

  1. Recognize your situation. Becoming aware and understanding that things are beyond your control is the first step towards peace of mind. Become aware of your state of mind and admit why you are frustrated. By being mindful of your situation, you can then take steps to control how you react to it.
  2. Release control. Learning that you can’t control your surroundings and especially other people, is a key step in learning how to accept what you cannot change. We want things the way that we want them. But the universe has other plans. Things will change. People will be who they are and do the things they do. Accept that people will do things that we don’t want or like. Your girlfriend may unexpectedly break up with you, you may lose your job, your kids break up with you. Ask yourself, Is this something that I can control?  If the answer is no, then ask the next question: Will the situation be better if I accept it and choose a peaceful state of mind?
  3. Find the Fear. Control is often rooted in fear. If we lose control, then something bad might happen. If we hold onto control then the object of our fear won’t materialize. This is delusional thinking. If you find yourself wanting to control a situation or a person, try to get to what you are fearing. Question the foundation of this fear. By understanding what you fear, you will understand why you want control.
  4. Breathe. While in those moments of stress, anger, or frustration, our body subconsciously begins to change. Our breathing becomes shallow, our muscles tense.
  5. Meditate. I promote meditation repeatedly in many of my blogs. This simple act of quieting the mind and focusing on the breath is helpful in so many ways. From easing anxiety to reducing stress, meditation’s benefits are countless.
  6. Accept chaos and enjoy the beauty in imperfections. Look at what happens to you through a positive frame of mind. Practice the skill of finding the joy in disorder. Looking at the situation in a negative way causes frustration and aggravation. If it is a situation that one day six months from now you won’t even remember, then choose not to become irritated about it. And sometimes, something that seems like a negative at the moment later turns out to actually be a blessing in disguise. Choose to stay in your state of peace.  Perhaps the universe is trying to teach you a lesson or it is showing you a painful situation to serve a purpose. By choosing this frame of mind, it is easier to accept something we can’t control.

To learn more about acceptance, check out some additional resources. You can read Deepok Chopra’s book, The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success. Many of Buddha’s teachings are centered around accepting things and refraining from judgement. Surrendering is an art unto itself. Contact me today to see how I can help you find the peace you’re seeking to allow you to be your best.

Five Tips to Cope With Changes at Work

Work is probably a vitally important aspect of your life, whether you’re working part time or full time, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just stepping into your first internship. Our work gives us satisfaction and purpose, and challenges us to grow. We make friends at our jobs and sometimes even gain a sense of camaraderie that can last a lifetime. Not to mention, money earned at work allows us to provide for ourselves and our families.

But sometimes changes occur at our jobs that cause ripples of distress throughout our lives.  When you face major changes at work, you’ll likely experience confusion and frustration. Upheaval at work can cause uncertainty at every level of your life. And when there is uncertainty, fear and insecurity are not far behind. After all, when your livelihood is at stake, you’re dealing with some scary stuff.

Try these five tips to deal with shifts happening in your workplace and to manage stress when change at work feels overwhelming.

  1. ACKNOWLEDGE AND DEAL WITH YOUR FEAR – Acknowledge the changes and acknowledge the fears around them. Recognize that things will be different so that you can then manage your feelings. Understand that changes may bring out your fears, and deal with them. Talk about what is troubling you with someone in your support system and how those fears (imagined and real) can be dealt with.
  2. EMBRACE THE CHANGE- Once you’ve acknowledged and dealt with the issues that surround changes at work, you need to adopt a disposition of acceptance. BE POSITIVE!!! Be flexible and open to what is coming. A new VP may be the best thing that’s ever happened to your company. She may see all the value that you bring each day. And if she doesn’t, see this as an opportunity to teach someone about yourself.
  3. COMMUNICATE THROUGHOUT – Sometimes when we go through major shifts, we inadvertently shut off communication. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your co-workers and your supervisors. Be wary of gossip that flies freely when there is uncertainty in an environment. If you have a question or concern, address it respectfully with the source rather than listening to the rumor mills.
  4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – When there is a high level of stress, it becomes even more important that you take the time to eat right, exercise, and meditate. Do things that make you feel good. Enjoy your family. Participate in your hobby. Take a break from work–don’t even think about or talk about work!  Use this time to decompress.
  5.  REMEMBER YOUR GOALS – Through the process, keep in mind that although there may be adjustments you may not necessarily agree with, your focus is on your work. Remain focused on your task at hand and your end goals within your organization. Keep a positive attitude. Some of the initial minutiae will get worked out in the end, and you’ll come out better if you keep a positive outlook.

Keep in mind that change will be unavoidable in any workplace. But how we deal with those changes is ultimately  up to us. By keeping these tips in mind, you can be ready enjoy the ride. If you are struggling with changes or need further direction, contact Terrie Vanover at yourthrivinglife.net for more information.

Six Steps to Zen When You Need Control

istock_000006631415medium

“Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Chuang Tzu

Recently, I was running an errand on a late Sunday afternoon. I was feeling frustrated that the errand I had wanted to do hours ago was only now getting done. So many other things had taken place during the weekend. I was thinking, “Here I am once again running out the door at 4 pm! Every weekend it’s the same thing. I’m always running out at the last minute Sunday to do something that I wanted to get done earlier in the weekend.” 

And then something dawned on me. Rather than feeling frustrated and fighting this pattern, I decided to accept it. This is the pattern of our family. I’m going to have to learn to accept our pattern.

Here are six tips to help you learn more about releasing control and learning to surrender. If you’d like to learn more about how you can learn to relinquish control and find your inner Zen, contact me today. Let’s work together to find your strengths so that you can thrive.

  1. Recognize your situation. Becoming aware and understanding that things are beyond your control is the first step towards peace of mind. Become aware of your state of mind and admit why you are frustrated. By being mindful of your situation, you can then take steps to control how you react to it.
  2. Release control. Learning that you can’t control your surroundings and especially other people, is a key step in learning how to accept what you cannot change. We want things the way that we want them. But the universe has other plans. Things will change. People will be who they are and do the things they do. Accept that people will do things that we don’t want or like. Your girlfriend may unexpectedly break up with you, you may lose your job, your kids break up with you. Ask yourself, Is this something that I can control?  If the answer is no, then ask the next question: Will the situation be better if I accept it and choose a peaceful state of mind?
  3. Find the Fear. Control is often rooted in fear. If we lose control, then something bad might happen. If we hold onto control then the object of our fear won’t materialize. This is delusional thinking. If you find yourself wanting to control a situation or a person, try to get to what you are fearing. Question the foundation of this fear. By understanding what you fear, you will understand why you want control.
  4. Breathe. While in those moments of stress, anger, or frustration, our body subconsciously begins to change. Our breathing becomes shallow, our muscles tense.
  5. Meditate. I promote meditation repeatedly in many of my blogs. This simple act of quieting the mind and focusing on the breath is helpful in so many ways. From easing anxiety to reducing stress, meditation’s benefits are countless.
  6. Accept chaos and enjoy the beauty in imperfections. Look at what happens to you through a positive frame of mind. Practice the skill of finding the joy in disorder. Looking at the situation in a negative way causes frustration and aggravation. If it is a situation that one day six months from now you won’t even remember, then choose not to become irritated about it. And sometimes, something that seems like a negative at the moment later turns out to actually be a blessing in disguise. Choose to stay in your state of peace.  Perhaps the universe is trying to teach you a lesson or it is showing you a painful situation to serve a purpose. By choosing this frame of mind, it is easier to accept something we can’t control.

To learn more about acceptance, check out some additional resources. You can read Deepok Chopra’s book, The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success. Many of Buddha’s teachings are centered around accepting things and refraining from judgement. Surrendering is an art unto itself. Contact me today to see how I can help you find the peace you’re seeking to allow you to be your best.

Stress Management 101: 4 Easy Steps Toward the Path to Inner Peace

Managing stress is a challenge for everyone during these hectic times. With recent technological advances, it becomes harder to find respite from the demands placed upon us. Here are some tips on how to manage stress. For more detailed information on how to manage stress, put the following practices into your life, find work/life balance, or to set up any personal goal, visit http://terrievanover.com to reserve personal coaching sessions. The first 30-minute consultation session is free.

4 Easy Steps to Manage Stress:

  1. Unplug. The first way to “recharge your batteries” is to disconnect! That’s right—in order for you to find some peace, make it a daily habit to put away the phones and computers. Make it a rule that there is no technology during dinnertime. Enjoy these quiet moments just talking with your family. Take some time afterwards to have some time to yourself not checking emails, Facebook, etc. Carve out a time each day where you have no access to “screens”.
  2. Exercise consistently. Although finding time to do this is difficult, it is crucial for your physical AND mental well-being. Find a time four days a week to workout. Make it something you ENJOY doing so you’ll look forward to it. If you enjoy basketball, join a league. If you enjoy yoga, do it. If you like the outdoors, take up running or hiking. Find a person to hold you accountable. Studies show that if you have an exercise partner or someone that you report to, you’re more likely to stick to your routine.
  3. Meditate. Though this seemingly mysterious activity has scientifically based evidence that it has numerous health benefits, few Americans practice it. But it is surprisingly easy and beneficial if you will take a few minutes a day to learn it. Some benefits include stress reduction, increased concentration, an increased self-awareness, improved immunity, and it helps to slow the aging process. By meditating and reducing stress, studies show that cognition is preserved. If you feel intimidated by the process, download an app to help guide you. I use “Headspace” and “Guided Meditations” from the Meditation Society of Australia.
  4. Monitor your sleep. Use your Fitbit to help you track your sleep. Getting enough rest will help your brain to fight stress. According to researchers at Harvard, sleep is key to our brain’s memory and ability to learn. Sleep helps you fight stress, regulates your metabolism, and helps ward off diseases. Turn off all technology 30 minutes prior to going to bed to give your brain a rest from the blue light given off from LED screens. Read a book (Yes, an actual book made from trees!) to help you unwind and get your mind off of the day’s worries. Then, try to get at least seven hours a night.

Visit terrievanover.com to learn more about how to implement exercise and meditation into your daily life, how to manage stress,  find work/life balance, or to set up personal goals.  The first 30-minute consultation session is free, and could be the first step you take to changing your life!

Top Five Fall Family Activities

0is0ojtqn1Autumn is the perfect time to harvest the love of your family and friends. It’s a time to reconnect with nature as well as with your loved ones. Find activities that allow you to be mindful of nature’s gifts. Be inspired by the vibrant colors of the trees, the crisp bite of a fresh apple. Delight in the texture of a newly picked pumpkin and its prickly stem. After reading my list of favorite fall activities, please share the activities that have positively impacted your family!

  1. Go Apple Picking– This family activity will delight each of your five senses! After enjoying being outdoors in the lovely orchard and choosing delicious apples, the best part is being able to take the apples home to eat and cook and bake to continue to enjoy the experience for many days! My family enjoys traveling to Wisconsin to pick Honeycrisps. We always have enough to share with friends. And we never miss the freshly made apple cider donuts that are cooked in the bakery of the farm!
  2. Enjoy an Autumn Walk– Take your family to the woods to enjoy the fall colors. Point out the changing trees, kick through the leaves, and encourage children to collect the leaves to compare their colors, textures, and shapes. We love going to the local nature park that overlooks a lake with a bird sanctuary. It’s a great place to bike.
  3. Cook a Fall Treat– Choose a favorite recipe and have the whole family help cook. Each year, my family experiments with adding pumpkin to recipes. We discovered a delicious pumpkin butter! From apple pies to pumpkin pancakes, the list of autumn yummies is endless!
  4. Go Pumpkin Picking-We were lucky enough this year to grow a pumpkin in our garden this year. (It’s surprisingly easy and fun to observe.) But if you don’t have room for a large pumpkin vine, visit a farm and pick your own. Encourage children to feel and explore the different sized and varieties of pumpkins. Relish their textures and colors.
  5. Decorate to Celebrate the Season-One of the best parts of this season is being able to decorate. The fall allows us to bring nature indoors. The decorations can be simple yet festive. Children can collect branches covered with fall leaves, pinecones, and pumpkins. A few simple lights added can bring warmth to any room. Having children make their own decorations can be an entertaining and lively family activity. I delight in bringing out my children’s homemade crafts as we begin to decorate for Halloween. I still love my son’s toilet paper roll Frankenstein and my daughter’s black paper plate cat that they made as preschoolers! Check out online sites for ideas to make inexpensive, easy, age-appropriate crafts from painting pumpkins to paper plate bats.

Change Your Mindset

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old,

but on building the new.”

Socrates

We’ve all encountered “failures”. Or have we? Perhaps you should look at failure as another opportunity to find success. Don’t look at a setback as a stumbling block. Instead, look at it as a stepping stone. When you encounter a setback to your goal, look at it as a learning experience rather than failure. Then,  after you’ve problem-solved, regrouped your resources, hired the right person, you’ll realize that the setback was a problem that was a teaching tool in disguise. When we don’t get the job, that promotion we desire, or the sales account we were counting on, we should look at what we can learn from the experience. We should look at how we can grow from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat negative patterns. When we change our mindset about the mistakes we make, a roadblock becomes a step up to something better.

Embracing Discomfort

As I was working out at my local gym, I overheard a trainer telling her client that she can’t expect results without having some discomfort.  This was very profound to me, although not in the way that trainer necessarily meant it. I know that what she said rings true as one is working out. In order for us to build muscle mass and change our bodies, we must push our muscles past their comfort level. We will see results only if we push ourselves past the comfort zone of our current strength level.

But I realized that this is true for us emotionally and mentally as well. In order for us to grow as individuals, we must force ourselves out of our comfort zone. To meet new people at a party, we must reach out and introduce ourselves to strangers. In order to get that new job or a raise, we must put ourselves out there and take risks. Taking risks can be uncomfortable. We have to face our fear of rejection. But until we go beyond what we already know and do, we can’t grow and develop. Take the risk. Embrace your discomfort.high rock climb

From the Ashes

“The tragedy of life is not death

but what we let die inside of us while we live.” 

Native American Adage

 

Perhaps you are struggling right now. Perhaps you are dealing with a setback. Maybe you’ve experienced a traumatic event and are grappling to get beyond it. There is hope. There is light. You will gain strength from your trials. When we are given life’s tests, we can grow. In the Sierra Nevada, the mighty sequoia trees do not germinate until they’ve been through a forest fire. The heat from the fire opens the seed cones. In order to be born, they literally have to go through hell. From the fire grows a massive, beautiful, strong sequoia tree. Once grown, these trees are now fire resistant.

The traumatic event you’re experiencing may be your rebirth. After coming through your battle, you will be stronger and more resilient. On the other side of pain and loss is strength. See this struggle as a path to a stronger you.

Bring it up, Bring it down

“What we think, we become.”

Buddha

Two of the most life changing habits I’ve made in my life are the addition of regular, vigorous exercise and meditation. I’m a runner and believe that it has helped control my weight, but just as important, it has helped me maintain a healthy mental state. When I go several days without exercise, I can feel my mood decline and my energy levels drop. Throw in a few unhealthy meal choices, and here comes Godzilla!

Secondly, I recently added meditation to my morning schedule. I know that you’re thinking that there is NO way you can add another activity to your already hectic schedule! I understand! But after a few short sessions, I actually CRAVED the meditation and my body instinctively woke up early to squeeze it in. I have been surprised at how drastically it has eased my anxiety and helped me to fight off negative thought cycles that sometimes entangle me. When our thoughts are in a constant negative cycle, it affects our actions. This is what Buddha is referring to in the above quote. By meditating, it is possible to stay in the moment, or mindful of the present. It helps to stop the negative thoughts from controlling our behavior. When we focus our thoughts on love, peace, or light, our actions will inevitably follow.

I strongly urge you to adopt these positive changes in your life. Begin by taking short walks and increase your time and speed daily. Make small changes in your diet-such as cut out drinks with calories and sugar, eat out fewer times a week, and switch to whole grains and high fiber/low sugar snacks.Download a meditation app or try a Yoga class at your gym. Remember, put yourself first! You must take care of YOU in order to take care of others!

Do You Come First?

“No one saves us but ourselves.  No one can and no one may.  We  ourselves must walk in the path.”

Mahatma Ghandi

When you are in an airplane, as the attendants review the safety procedures should the plane lose cabin pressure, have you ever noticed that you’re instructed to put on your air mask first before helping others to secure theirs? You can’t help others if you’re unconscious! The same is true in our everyday lives. To take care of our loved ones, we must put ourselves FIRST. We cannot give love and care if our own resources are depleted. Be sure to put YOUR needs at the top of the to-do list. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you develop your priority list.

  • Make time to rest. Sleep is important to recharging your body. Turn off the electronics 30 minutes prior to bed time, so your brain can calm itself.
  • Make time for your hobbies. When you develop the family calendar, don’t just put in the kids’ activities. The parents’ activities and hobbies need to be scheduled as well. Don’t have a hobby? GET ONE! Find something that brings you happiness. By interacting with adults with similar interests, you can gain energy from people and activities that bring you joy.
  • Set boundaries. It is okay to say NO. By not committing to things you don’t want to do or don’t have the time to do, you will free up time for your needs.
  • Prioritize. You can’t get everything done all at once. Start with the most important items on your list (and that should be yourself), then chip away on items that are less urgent or important. Things have a way of getting done, so don’t sweat the small stuff.