Embrace Change!

Embrace Change

Change, Embrace It!

Working, living with family, wherever you go, you’ll find change a constant companion. Remember the old adage, “The only certainty in life is that things will change?” How are you feeling about the changes going on in your life; from empty nest, to early retirement, to changing jobs, to even new grandchildren? How do we embrace change in a way that is healthy and hopeful, not despairing or fearful?

What is change?

Change has always been a part of our lives- as an infant, from crawling to toddling, then off on a run.  As we age, we are challenged to make changes in our health, our work, our thinking and our environment.  In our society, we operate within systems, “any structure that exhibits order and pattern”, such as family systems, work systems, and health systems.  Each day brings a challenge to embrace change or resist it, as we are called to change, sometimes at warp speed!

How do we embrace change?

Change can feel fearful or adventurous.  It might seem advantageous at first to resist change. However, we always have choices in how we approach change. It may not be an easy choice but one in which our health, well-being and future depend upon.

When resisting change, the brain goes into a “flight or fight” mode, which is an automatic response for our protection.  When we are feeling fearful or anxious, the brain reacts to protect itself and goes into an automatic mode.  We are not as free to think creatively and stress hormones are continually released into our physical systems to fight off or flee from what is making us resistant, fearful, anxious, angry or unhappy.  Over time, the stress can create poor health, such as heart disease, migraines, strokes, and obesity.  These symptoms lead to a shorten life span.

To embrace change and analyze our choices, we can use the following questions to meditate upon, process and focus on the changes facing us:

1) What is my part in the change that is occurring? 

If the change is happening around you or in your work place, write down your feelings about the changes and look at how your efforts can make a positive difference, regardless of the circumstances.

  • What losses will you experience from the change?
  • What will you gain?
  • What efforts will you need to put forth?
  • What will you learn?
  • What can be the outcome of this change?

2) What are the possibilities that the change can bring to my life?

Change can be an opportunity to think big, bold and dream.  We do have choices and writing down a plan of action will give you ways to make your own personal healthy changes, rather than feeling victimized.  Sometimes we need to be ready to try new things, regardless of how we feel.  The only failures occur when we don’t move forward.

  • Where will the changes take you in the next 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
  • How can it fit into a new vision?
  • How do these changes fit into the purposes you have been called to serve?

3) What support structures do I need in my life to encourage my change efforts? 

Making changes are hard because the brain likes habits.  Find a friend, coach or group of people who will help you be accountable to the changes and dreams you want to make and can keep you positive and healthy.

  • Who do you have in your life that will listen to your dreams?
  • How can these support structures help you gain clarity and focus?

You can embrace change in any setting and live a more hopeful, healthy life, day by day.  Your joy and health depend upon it.  I would love to come along side you as you embrace changes in your life.  Contact me for a free success strategy session today.  Your journey can be positive, regardless of the overwhelm facing you.

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

Finding Peace in the Midst of a Chaotic Life

Finding Peace in the Midst of a Chaotic Life

Recently talking with a colleague, she bemoaned the fact that as soon as her feet hit the floor, her mind whirled with all of the things she had to do that day.  Her list included getting herself ready,  preparing a healthy lunch to take to work, grabbing exercise clothes for after work, throwing dishes in the dishwasher, poking the teens for school, getting breakfast, letting the dog out, thinking of last minute details for a work presentation and getting out the door on time.  She had really wanted a time of peace with God before the kids were up, but she hit the snooze button instead.  She wondered, “Would life always be this chaotic?”   All of this occurred in the 90 minutes before leaving for work….

Sound familiar?  The details may change for your household a little, yet morning life can be chaotic.  Where does the time go?  Where is the peace?  How do I slow the pace down to at least glimmer of peace to start the day, then have that peace and calm center me for the day?

I have wondered that as well.  My mind goes 100 miles an hour and I want to slow my pace and practice that peace in the middle of my chaotic life.  I know it’s important for my well-being. I am semi-retired now, yet building my own business, watching my two-year old grandson as well as being affected by things going on around the world, I don’t necessarily feel peaceful either.

Peace though, is not about things and events around me.  It’s an important inside job.  It’s a choice I can make and ask for help with.   The continual message I notice is “Quit striving.”

I think seeking peace will be a continuous journey, which is why it’s my word for the year, ha!.  I can picture peace like a river, with me floating down it, gently, when I can get myself quiet and contemplative- which means developing capacities for deep concentration and quieting the mind in the midst of the action.  Isn’t contemplative a great word picture?

Fortunately, I found a great contemplative prayer yesterday, based on Psalm 46:10 from the Gravity Center, “Be still and know that I am God.”  I felt peace wash over me as I focused on the bigger picture.  I have set a reminder on my phone to come up to the word, “be” so that I can savor that feeling throughout the day.  I can know that the God of I AM is at work within me and I can savor peace.

How to do the Be Still prayer to find peace

In this prayer, you take time to settle into a comfy chair and a quiet space – at  your desk, your car in the parking lot, your favorite chair at home.  Take a few deep breathes and acknowledge that you want to be in God’s presence.  Then between each line of the prayer, pause and take a few more deep breathes so that each line can flow deep into your heart. 

“Be still and know that I am God.”

“Be still and know that I am.”

“Be still and know .”

“Be still and know.”

“Be still and.”

“Be still.”

“Be.”

“Amen”

May you, too, find a chance to be still this day, find peace and quiet the chaos of your heart!

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

Moms and Daughters – Continually Forging a Bond

Moms and Daughters – Continually Forging a Bond

“What’s your schedule like next week?” my daughter asked as we were fixing supper together.  Cooking together is often a way we bond.  She and her son were over at our house for the evening and we were enjoying some girl time while “Papa” and J were playing.

Since I was cooking supper, I had no idea what my schedule was.  My daughter is an entrepreneur and has a very fluid schedule.  I, too, am an entrepreneur with an equally flexible schedule.  It can work well for both of us, or it can collide.

I suggested we compare calendars after supper when we could look at the week ahead.  I have been one to rearrange my schedule for her pretty consistently, as she is a single mom, starting her own on-site hair and make-up business for weddings.

However, I am beginning to realize that I can get overwhelmed by merging her schedule with mine and can get resentful if I don’t stop to look at the bigger picture.  Slowly, I am beginning to ask, “How do I feel about this schedule?”  “What is mine to do?”  In the past, these questions would not have even occurred to me.  I would have just plowed full speed ahead, because “she needed me.”

Luckily, she, too, is getting more sensitive to the big picture.  When we realized everything that was going on in the week, three days in a row with our lovely grandson would not be good for us.  He’s a terrific, lively two-and-a-half year old that loves playing full-tilt with us.  We love having him, yet we don’t get anything else done when he is here, nor do we recoup any energy when he is here.  We realize why young people have children. Ha!

As we talked, she was able to rearrange her schedule and move one day of care for him into the following week.  That helped both of our schedules a great deal, both traveling out to our home (she lives 50 minutes away) and conserving energy for us.

What I loved about our conversation was the lead she took and the care in looking at the big picture.  This two-way responsibility continues to forge bonds for us.  I realized:

  • We had to sit down with our calendars to see the big picture.
  • She saw answers I didn’t see and was flexible.
  • The solutions arrived at were satisfying to all of us, based on good communication.
  • For me, it felt much more equalized, because I wasn’t just saying no to her request. It was a give and take conversation.

All of this communication takes time, practice and a willingness to listen and be flexible.  Lo and behold, I don’t have to have all the answers.  Imagine that!!!  I am enjoying this forward movement in our relationship.  It also helps if we are face to face, instead of texting.

What about you and your adult children?  Here are some key questions I am beginning to use for myself:

  • What is mine to do? What is my daughter’s (or son’s) responsibility?
  • How do I feel about what is going on? How much do I need to share or just keep praying about?  What is really any of my business?
  • How do I best affirm and love my daughter, regardless?
  • How do I best set her free to be the lovely adult person she is becoming?

I would love to hear the questions you are asking yourself as you forge the bonds with your adult children.  It’s challenging, hard and rewarding.   After all, we did raise them to set them free, right?

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

Encouragement – 5 things to do when you need it

Encouragement – 5 things to do when you need it

Monday morning rolled around quickly.  This particular Monday morning was dark, misty, cool and damp.  How many of these dark ones had we had in a row?  Would spring ever get here?  I needed some sunshine and spring for encouragement to my soul.  The darkness of the morning matched my mood.  Have you felt that way, especially on a Monday morning?

I got up to my office with my Diet Coke (I’m not a coffee drinker, but I like my caffeine)  and went to work on my to do list for the week.  My thoughts were sluggish and my prayer time non-existent.

The longer I worked, the lower my emotions went.  I began to do some research for a book I am hoping to write.  A book proposal outline suggested looking back over journals as part of memoir research to see what nuggets could be discovered as a theme to my writing.  Ah, I thought, perhaps I’ll find encouragement in my past writing!

Low and behold, journals from four years ago had the same theme and desire that I have today to shepherd and encourage women to connect with God and other women and live with a healthy mind, body and soul.   That did it!  I was officially on a downward pity party.  If that was my theme from four years ago, how have I not made progress! How come I am not serving and encouraging more women than I am?   You should have heard my mind.  It was saying not nice things to me.

As I had my pity party, I realized reading my journal that day was not going to be helpful nor encouraging.  I knew I needed to encouragement and fast.  I didn’t want to stay in this slimy pit so I began some practices that had helped in the past:

  • Pray – I started praying for a change of mind. I realized I was in a pity party and I couldn’t stay in that spot or I would get anxious and depressed.
  • Connect with a friend – I got on Facebook and messaged my good friend to pray for me. She said she would and asked me what my next steps were going to be.  Action helps get my brain moving in an upspiral.
  • Read – I had the book, You are Free, Be Who You Already Are, by Rebekah Lyons, sitting beside me. The title seemed to reach out and encourage me.  I told my friend I would spend time reading the book, which specifically talks about throwing off self-condemnation and masks of perfection, and step boldly into God’s purpose for you, which was exactly the message I needed. 
  • Self- care – I took time for a good lunch and a short rest.
  • Reflect – As I read the book, one chapter in particular talked about being Free to Wait. I reflected how waiting in the last four years had done for me. I needed to get training, get healthy, recover from my depression and anxiety and know my own self better before coming alongside women who are hurting.  God reminded me that the waiting had been intentional.  He wanted my full attention and love first.  I wasn’t ready four years ago.  I had my own work to do before I could love and support other women.

By the end of the day, mercifully, I could leave my pity party and realize that my Create Your Vision for Healthy Living retreat I am leading this weekend for women is exactly that  – “shepherding and encouraging women to connect with themselves and God for a healthy vision of their minds, bodies and souls.”

I am encouraged.  I am participating in the vision God gave me four years ago. Thank goodness!

What about you? How can waiting be an encouragement to you?  What do you do to find encouragement when you find yourself headed down a slippery slope?  Getting into a slimy pit of depression and pity is easy to do and not easy to climb out of, especially if you find yourself going there often.

Prayer, connecting with a friend, reading, self-care and reflection have all helped encourage my brain and thinking to keep to a positive course and promote my wellbeing. I hope the practices I put into place this time can be choices for you. They are ones I have developed over my four years of waiting.

Now if only the sun would shine!

 

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

3 More Questions to a Better You!

3 More Questions to a Better You!

What would it take to be a better you? As I continue to talk to women about wellbeing, I know how hard it is to put new habits into place.  One friend I was talking to realized she could give herself more energy management.  After a busy weekend of speaking and traveling, she allowed herself a day of down time.  Before, she would have kept plowing through, to the detriment of her health.  What are you beginning to notice?

We talked last week about social, physical and career/purpose wellbeing.  This week, let’s look at  financial, community and spiritual wellbeing. Let the following questions guide your vision of a healthier you!

Financial Wellbeing- ­­How content are you as you spend your money?

Interestingly enough, money doesn’t buy wellbeing although it is needed to have enough for food, shelter, transportation- the basics. Without those basics, finances can be stressful.  After basics are met, the positives of money come from being able to spend it on others.  Studies show that spending it on experiences and creating memories also have a lasting effect on your well-being, rather than on material things.

What is your financial outlook?  Where are you on the financial scale,1-10 (with 10 being easy-peasy to give away) of spending money on others?  What about on experiences?  What visions and intentions do you want to foster for your financial wellbeing?

Community Wellbeing- How well do you like and are involved in your community?

Community has to do with where you live and play.  Do you feel safe in your community?  How active are you in your community?  Attachments to a community are first based on security, then personality, family, interests and personal pursuits.  For my husband and I, we chose the Madison, WI area because of the university, availability of work, the beauty and the friendly Midwest culture. What made you choose the community you now live in?

After living in the city for 26 years, we ended moving to a beautiful, oak grove outside of Madison.  I was suffering from daily headaches at the time and needed the quiet.  The older I got, the louder the interstate traffic got near our home in the city.  We made an intentional choice for our well-being. What a difference the beauty and the quiet have made for both of us! What community changes may you need or want to make for your well-being?

Spiritual Wellbeing – What spiritual practices can connect you to better health?

According to research being done at the University of Minnesota, there is a growing body of evidence that indicates spiritual practices are associated with better health and wellbeing.

One of the major ways to spiritual wellbeing considered are contemplative practices, those practices that guide you to a specific focus, often an inward-looking reflection or concept.  These contemplative practices are shown to increase compassion, empathy, and attention as well as quiet the mind.

Some of these contemplative practices include:

  • Mindful meditation, in which you take time to focus on your breathing has shown to induce feelings of calm and clear-headedness as well as improve concentration and attention.
  • Prayer, a belief that there is a higher power that has a level of influence over your life, can provide a relaxation response as well as feelings of hope, gratitude and compassion. People who believed God was at work in their health and wellbeing responded to better to treatment more than those who did not.
  • Journaling, considered a contemplative practice in that it helps you become more aware of your inner life and get connected to the thoughts swirling in your head. By placing your thoughts on paper, you have the opportunity to make meaning out of what is going on in your life.

For me, this has been my greatest area of growth for my health.  By taking the time to pray, reflect and quiet my mind daily, I have been restored to hope, joy and contentment.  I have a more healthy mind, released from the anxiety and depression I experienced early and I am grateful.

What is your vision of wellbeing?

From these last two blogs, how do you begin to envision and create your own pathway to a life of better wellbeing?

Social – Who do you spend time with every day?

Physical – What choices do you make every day?

Career/Purpose- Do you like what you do each day?

Finances – How content are you with how you spend your money?

Community – How well do you like your community and how involved are you?

Spiritual – What spiritual practices are connecting you to better health?

A vision board helps you visualize a preferred future in each of these areas.  Scientific studies reveal that when you visualize an action, you stimulate the same brain regions as when you actually perform that action.

One athletic study proved that visualization enabled nationally ranked gymnasts to execute several complex tricks for the first time. Visualization has also been shown to improve high jumpers clearing the bar!

In other words, your brain can be trained to create outcomes you most want.

So, begin to gather those visions in each area.  Join me and other women April 1st for a day long retreat in the Stoughton, WI area and invest in a day for yourself to create your well-being vision.  Check out the details on my facebook page and contact me for more details.  Now is the time to set your vision and intentions to move forward on your wellbeing.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

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