Want to make your resolutions stick? Do this 1 thing!

2018...
Oh, how we all have anxiously awaited your arrival! Many people are claiming that this will be their big year, the year that they have been waiting for, the year that will really count. I want that for everyone who is setting out to accomplish big things, but I want to let you in on the way to make those accomplishments become a reality. 

Intentions Over Resolutions

Spiritual leader and MD Deepak Chopra defines intentions as "a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish."

Unlike a goal, which focuses solely on the ending, intentions allow us to pay more attention to the journey and monitor progress based on feelings. In setting intentions, we get to release ourselves from expectations, be more mindful, and connect more to the experience of the intention itself.

Some examples of intentions can be:
        • I intend to act with kindness & compassion
        • I attract abundance in all areas of my life
        • I trust myself to handle challenges with grace
        • I allow myself the space to learn and grow

Bonus: Connect To The Why

Do you know the intention behind your intention? If your "why" is disconnected from your deeper desires, chances are the intention will no better serve you than a boring old resolution would have. 

Perhaps your "why" is that the intention helps you to be the best version of yourself. Maybe it's that the intention embodies your core values. Connecting to your personal why can help us be reflective along the journey rather than focusing on the end goal. 

Let's Set Intentions Together

Need a little help with your 2018 intentions? Let's connect and talk about how I can help!

Published on Thrive Global: Finding My Way Back To Wholeness

Taking cues from my personal life and bringing it into my writing is normally no problem. I aim for transparency and value openness. Talking about grief and loss, however, is a little stickier. In sharing my experience, I hope to empower others to talk about the things that feel sticky. After all, the things that no one wants to talk about are often the things we should be talking about most! 

Click on the photo below, or here, for my experience. If there's something you've been waiting to talk about, contact me and let's break the silence together!

Becoming Mentally Balanced

There's a psychological term that I would like to introduce you to: congruence. It was coined by Carl Rogers, founder of humanistic psychology that focuses on the whole person. Congruence is the degree to which a person is living in accordance with their true self. 

To tone down the psychobabble, I will to refer to this theory as alignment. Since it is always easier for us to think of our physical needs over our mental needs let's imagine our body's alignment. There is spinal alignment, but what about the other parts of our body? Are they working as a whole? Are we feeding and treating our body well enough to get positive results? 

We are thirsty so we give our body liquid and we are hungry so we feed it. But if we are mentally drained usually we keep on pushing. If we are stressed we rarely take a break to do something nourishing. This type of misalignment in our mental processes usually serves to keep us stuck.

In order for our mind to produce our desired outcomes, we must treat it better and care for it in a more nurturing way. Somewhere along our journey to becoming grown ups, we learned that we do not have to listen to our mental and psychological needs as much. I beg you to ditch this thought. 

Maybe you are already thinking that you don't need these adjustments. There is no desired outcome you are striving for mentally. To frame those mental desires that I am referring to I mean peace, happiness, calm, relaxation, wholeness within ourselves. These are outcomes that need work to achieve. 

How to become aligned

In thinking about ourselves as a whole, I want you to think about your entire life right now. In the fullest sense, what are the pieces of your life? For me its my mental and physical self, my relationships, my career, my passions and creativity, financial stability, and feeling spiritually connected. These things as a whole help me feeling nourished and whole.

Going back to the theory of congruence, I want you to think about how aligned you are with those segments of your life. Think of alignment as how close you are to being that true self. If, for example, your truest self is a body builder and you are currently watching 8 hours of Netflix a day, you may want to take a deeper look into your alignment. 

Alignment In Practice

Alignment is not a constant and this balancing point needs to be checked up on as time goes on. For me, its more about taking my mental temperature to ensure that I am on the right track. 

As an example, yesterday as I was coming home from looking at farms and properties, feeling a bit defeated because everything is still slightly out of reach, I almost got down on myself. Then I took a minute to assess my alignment. Despite the feelings of sadness that I'm just not there yet, this action is very much aligned with my values and needs to happen if my husband and I are going to have a farm. 

I often work with clients who work 60+ hours a week and I generally find the stress is defined by one of two emotions: feeling like this is all for nothing or feeling like this is for something bigger. We can always check in with ourselves to evaluate that alignment and use it to see whether we are on track or missing the mark. If that type of schedule is helping you get to a deeper and more meaningful goal, perhaps you bolster your weeks with self-care to keep you afloat. However, if that lifestyle is not in alignment, perhaps its best to reassess what our truest self needs.

Join me on the Talking Outside the Box Facebook page for a video on this topic later in the week!

 

What is Walk & Talk Therapy?

When I tell people the style of therapy I provide, movement-based therapy in New York City's parks, I get one of two reactions. The first is "Wow! That sounds incredible! Tell me more!" and the second is "Wait...What? Tell me more!"

The Common Questions

My therapist friends and colleagues always ask about confidentiality first. As New Yorker's we understand that little phases us and we rarely give a second look to a half-naked person or someone screaming their head off. This is surprisingly not a big concern for most of my clients. I speak with all of my clients about this before hand and it is understood that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed because of the nature of being in public. 

The next most common question I get is about weather. My standard reply is "I'm an all-weather type of therapist" because I have had sessions in rain, snow, sun, and all other variations of what nature throws at us. Responding to nature and unpredictability is part of what I love about walking therapy because it emulates life: rolling with the punches and adjusting to the unexpected. 

The final common question I get is "why" and I could go on and on about this. In short, I wanted to build a practice that fit my personality and the needs of the clients I love working with. I had my own "aha moment" when I decided a 6x6 box of a room and florescent lighting was not for me. I wanted to utilize outside the box methods like Walking Therapy, Moving Meditation Groups & Mindfulness Workshops. 

A Typical Session

We meet at an agreed upon location (generally somewhere in Central Park or Astoria Park) and get right to it! I take cues from your pace and ask how you like to walk. **The physical aspect of walking therapy is for mental health, not as a weight-loss or exercise program.

We walk side-by-side and wind through the park, talking about whatever might be on your mind that day. We make eye contact since I'm an expert at looking to the side while walking. You notice as you're walking that anxieties fade away and you focus on the moment at hand. We talk about practical applications of change that you can take away with you into your daily life.

50 minutes later, we end where we began. You feel a little looser in your body, more connected to what's going on, and leave with some choice "homework" that you'd like to focus on for the week. 

The Takeaway

Walking therapy can lead to action-oriented progress and momentum. I love working with clients who are at a point in their lives that they need this movement to get where they want to be. We explore what those steps are as well as what is needed to get them there.

The added component of walking and being in nature has incredible benefits and you can read more about the benefits of movement and why I always recommend movement here

Walk and talk therapy is not for everyone. Some people need the safety and comfort of a therapeutic office space and when that is needed, we will take our sessions indoors. 

I am currently accepting new walking therapy clients and would love to talk more about whether we could be a good match for each other. Contact me to book a complimentary 15-minute call.

Published on Thrive Global: One Thing You Need to Deepen Your Self-Care Practice

Self-care is so, so important to me and I love helping other people come to identify their own self-care formula and recipe. I wrote this piece after having this realization that we care for other people and even other things in really profound ways. We can internalize that work to help ourselves and our own practice. 

I'd love for you to read on to see what the one thing is that I recommend you have to deepen your self-care practice. Click here or the photo below. 

The Problem With Balance in The City That Never Sleeps

Living in NYC is hard. Being deemed 'The City That Never Sleeps' is accurate and enticing for visitors looking for an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime trip. But what about us New Yorkers who live here, who eat, breathe, and sleep this chaos. 

When there is constantly a million options available to us from what to do, where to go, what to eat, and who to see, it can become overwhelming. 

And how do typical New Yorkers deal with the stress? They try to do it all. Here's what a typical 30-something professional's schedule could look like here.

6:30am: Wake up, get ready for the day
7:30am: Out the door to get to work early
8am: Get to work (begin the craze of go-go-go)
1pm: Realize that you didn't eat lunch so scarf down something real quick
7pm: Leave for the gym
7:15pm: 1 hour gym class (pseudo-relaxation time)
8:15pm: Leave the gym to meet friends for drinks and dinner
8:30pm: Drinks and dinner (and already thinking about the next day)
10pm: Dinner winds down
10:30pm: On to the next thing (maybe a date, more friends, something exciting)
12am: Head home because its a work night
1am: Home and needing to do things before work the next day
??am: Squeeze in some sleep

Now, this may not surprise you. This may actually look similar to your schedule whether you live in NYC or not. Think it's healthy? A desirable schedule that allows for maximum use of time?

As a therapist, the major problem I have with this type of schedule is that it's not sustainable and does not allow for any sort of balance.

Perhaps living this way one or two times out of your week could be maintained, but I see this type of schedule with my clients all the time.

They attempt to sustain the constant demands that the city places on them and adopt this hectic schedule due to not knowing any better. Then they eventually reach a breaking point and seek out therapy because something is not working. 

I know slowing down is the antithesis of what people in NYC live for, but like all good things balance must be invited in for this lifestyle to be livable. 

If you are ready to begin re-evaluating the sustainability of your schedule, here's where you can begin:

  • Consider what you really need to accomplish in the week to feel good
  • Practice saying 'no' to the things that do not add value to your week
  • Allow the extras to be optional if you are feeling up to it  
  • Add at least one thing per week that is just for you and makes you feel good (ideas: walking on your lunch break, reading before bed, a solo-date, cooking food, seeing a friend you don't normally see)
  • Stop yourself from playing the should game (i.e. "I should really be doing more")

Like all good things in life, this might not come easily. Give it a week or two to experiment how it works for you. If you hate it, go back to your old ways. But if it brings you less stress and more peace of mind, stick with it.

Remember, balance is not perfectly 50/50. It could just be one small tweak to make your lifestyle more manageable. 

If you need a little boost in support, contact me about individual sessions & group retreats focused on just this!

3 Ways to Make Rush Hour Your Favorite Time of Day

Rush hour is not anyone's favorite time of day, right? It is full of traffic, irritation, and maybe a few hundred pushing people if you are in NYC. How could this possibly get one degree less annoying? 

I'm going to share my insider secrets to help you begin your day a little better.

As therapists we are trained with multiple techniques. The clinical terms are coping, reframing and thought stopping. I'm here to give you the real-life application of those things. 

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This Is Your Brain On Stress

If you are a 80's or 90's kid like me, you remember those horribly cheesy commercials warning "this is your brain on drugs" with a smashed frying egg. Oh, nostalgia. As I grow older and reflect back on the things I learned as a child, I realize that while we learned a lot about what not to do with our bodies, we never quite learned what not to do with our minds. 

We do not learn enough about what we should do more of so I want to aim to provide guidance as well as some things to shy away from. 

Stress is not pleasant, but many would say it is inevitable. It is part of living life, becoming successful, and growing. However, the amount of stress the average person has to bear is incredible and more than moderate.

Intense and persistent stress wreaks havoc on our body, our interpersonal lives, and our connection to ourselves. It makes the days run together, it makes us short-tempered and irritable. In short: stress sucks.

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What Is This Whole Self-Care Thing?

I recently came to realize that there are people out there who are not yet on the self-care bandwagon. This blog is for you: the curious, the confused, the skeptic.

One of my most popular blogs to date is about The Importance of Self-Care which speaks to how to make self-care fit more seamlessly into your life. This has been super helpful for those who are aware of this practice, but may not be entirely helpful for those new to the idea. 

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