A New Year

A new year can bring up many different emotions. For some, it can be a fresh perspective, new resolutions, and goals. For others, the new year can also evoke sadness and frustration because the ending of a year is a reminder of unmet goals and desires.

Where ever you might be on the spectrum of emotions this new year, respect and honor it. Be present with the emotion, acknowledge it. Whatever it may be, it is real, it is present, and it will pass. Take a deep breath. Cultivate the practice of being present and mindful.

If you find it difficult to be present due to an entanglement of thoughts, you may find this exercise helpful, it takes about 8 mins.

Leaves on a Stream mindfulness exercise

The “Growth Mindset”

Calling all parents! There has been some research that shows children who have the perspective of a “growth mindset” vs. “fixed intelligence” do better in school and in life.

See article here by Carol S. Dweck.

She also references relationships in her article. What if we approached our partner, spouse, co-workers, or friends with the “growth mindset”? How could our relationships change or moreover — move from existing to thriving? It has been shown that a “growth mindset” can affect the “quality and longevity” of relationships (see pg 41.)

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Everyday we are faced with events – ripe for our interpretation.

From the moment we wake to our first hello to a fellow human – we take in information. Our brains work at lightening speed to process meaning to help inform our next step, next word, feelings and behaviors.

Objectivity is rarely a lone ingredient in this process. We all have unique beginnings and environments from which we developed. As a result, we process all these daily events through our individual lens, for better or for worse.

What if we slowed down our day and played it in slow motion? What if we challenged our interpretations and self statements? Could we inject just a little more analysis, logic, and objectivity and alter the narrative that may lead us toward emotional health and freedom?

There is definite power in the stories we tell ourselves.

 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Philippians 4:8

The Ultimate Reframe – Christmas

The surfer couple on this season’s Amazing Race has captivated me. Their positivity and ability to reframe setbacks is inspiring. In one challenge, Bethany Hamilton, the wife of the pair, had to solve a puzzle and with one arm. It proved to be physically challenging. I watched as she simply decided to take her shoes off and use her feet and successfully completed the challenge. That truly required mental reframing. Her story is a testament to her faith.

“Reframing” refers to any conscious shift in a person’s mental perspective. (It is often used in therapy to help a client form a new and more accurate way of looking at a narrative in their lives. It can result in reduced anxiety and improved mood)

As Christians, Christmas is truly the ultimate reframe.

From one perspective, a little baby boy is born to low income teenagers in a dirty manger. Yet the bible tells us that God so loved the world, He sent His one and only Son to earth so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16.)

One narrative can be a small detail in history, and the other can alter the universe and transform lives, like Bethany’s.

Merry Christmas everyone!