Category: <span>mindfulness</span>

Three Minute Therapy

Anywhere, Anytime Coping Skills

A limit to some commonly used coping skills is that they can’t be used anywhere or at any time.  You can’t whip out your journal in a board meeting or even begin to stretch and breathe deeply while giving a presentation. 

Here are two anywhere anytime coping skills to add to your tool box.  Use these when you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, or unsure of yourself.

1. Color game – choose a color and count how many objects are within your eyesight that are that color.  Ideally, pick a calming color like blue or green.  

2. The five senses – connect to your sense of taste, touch, see, smell, and hear. Can you rub a soft or rough spot on your clothing? Can you hear the sound of laughter or music? Can you divert your attention to something pleasing?

Why do these work? Both of these skills keep us grounded and in the moment.  We are increasing our awareness of our environment, slowing down our thought process, and regaining control over our breathing and central nervous system simply by having a narrow focus.

A Breathing Skill for Any Age

Snake Breathing: This is a great technique that can be used for anyone ages 0-110.  The goal of snake breathing is to regain control and reinstate homeostasis by activating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.  

First, take a big deep breath, as if you are about to dive down deep in a swimming pool or go under water. Next, purse your lips together to make a small opening. Last, exhale your breath through this small opening so that it sounds like a snake hissing. Continue to make the hissing sound until you have exhaled all of your breath.

Repeat this combination at least three times.  You may feel your heart rate slow down and a decrease in other symptoms related to anxiety or worry.

Active Self Love

Self love sounds like a great concept.  Who wouldn’t want to feel good, to look in the mirror lovingly, and to have unconditional acceptance of their thoughts and behaviors.

Here’s some straightforward yet powerful ways to cultivate self love, right in the comfort of your own home:

1. OWN IT – No one is perfect.  Our mistakes, poor judgment, errors…. whatever you want to call it… can lead to us believing we are those mistakes which breeds shame.  To limit shame and to grow self love, stop silencing your mistakes.  Own them.  And even better, accept them and love them.  Those behaviors are a part of you. Those behaviors are knowledge and experience.  Those behaviors are growth. 

2. SEE IT – go to your nearest mirror and stare at yourself in the eyes. Take a deep breath and keep staring at the beautiful human looking back at you.  Look at all that beauty.  There is no one else in the entire universe like you.  What a treasure!

3. SHARE IT – A favorite quote of many “Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes.”  A great expression of self love is speaking your truth, especially when it is hard to do or unpopular.  Speaking your truth keeps your insides matching your outsides. Speaking your truth keeps you authentic and genuine. Speaking your truth keeps self love front and center.

Defining Boundaries


Boundaries.  How often do you hear the phrase “healthy boundaries?” What exactly does this mean? Who determines the boundary? Does the word boundary sound too harsh or safe or scary?

In this week’s support, I thought talking about boundaries would be helpful.  They’re always showing up in my practice – who has them, who doesn’t, and what expectations are attached to them. 

Setting boundaries can be extremely challenging!

Let’s look at what makes up boundaries, what they mean, and the ways they can be helpful or not.

First up – definition.

According to Webster, a boundary is a line that marks the limit of an area.  This is a strong yet simple definition to use as a point of reference. Now break this down a bit and apply it to every day life and relationships and emotions… “marks the limit…” Everyone has limits, right?

At work – Tasks are set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly because there are limits. Different roles and titles also identify limits. Limits can be defined by location too.

At home – Grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, relaxing, and watching TV are not all accomplished in one day, and they shouldn’t be. Why? Because there are limits.

With partners, family, children, siblings – One person shouldn’t always be apologizing, or taking the blame, or compromising, or keeping the relationship intact, or checking in, or making sure everyone is ok. Even Superman had his limits. (kryptonite, in case you weren’t sure)

I want you to think about, (and if you’re really feeling it, write down) where your limits lie. What are some lines that you are not willing to cross? What are some lines, or limits, that others have put in place for you? Where do you do a really good job on staying within the limits? Where would you like to see change? 

And if you have a hard time answering these questions, just go back to that strong yet simple definition. A boundary is a line that marks the limit of an area.  Maybe your limit in that moment is to give yourself a break from thinking…

A Life of Gratitude

Have an attitude of gratitude.  Be grateful every day. The struggle ends when gratitude begins. How do we form a life of gratitude?

What exactly is gratitude and why do you need it?

Synonyms for gratitude include appreciation, thankfulness, acknowledgment, and recognition.  It can be an expression or an emotion.  It is something we can feel and something we can convey.  It doesn’t cost a thing and can have unlimited dividends.

Gratitude can occur in a brief moment or can be a daily approach to life.  It can come naturally and you can also train yourself to experience gratefulness at any time, regardless of what is happening around you.

Since the 1990’s many positive psychologists have studied the influence and importance of gratitude. There is no doubt that gratitude is important. 
Here’s why:

Gratitude creates a focus on abundance, not lack of.  By being aware of what is present and available in your life, you are less likely to approach the world and your relationships, from a place of desperation and anxiety and frustration. 

Believe it or not, but gratitude can boost your immune system, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure.

I think you can agree that it feels good to be grateful.  Its not going to harm you, or anyone else, in any way.

Because gratitude feels good, when we are rooted in gratitude we increase our experiences of positive emotions such as joy, happiness, optimism, and pleasure.  Who doesn’t want more of that?

What opportunities do you have, every day, to keep yourself rooted in gratitude?