Picture a Compassionate Figure

Free image/jpeg, Resolution: 600×619, File size: 53Kb, Big Bird Sesame Street Characters

Listen to the blog: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2KCjVjjstiXsZMHu0naL9O

Think of someone in your world who has always been there for you. They have always lent a shoulder and an ear. Preferably, this figure does not judge and does not try to fix you.

Most importantly, this figure should be someone who you are comfortable sharing your emotions with. Anytime you feel the need to scream, they pat your back. When you feel the need to cry, they dry your tears. If you are excited, they are equally happy. They quietly let you express your feelings and provide comfort when you need it most.

For the majority of people, this ‘person’ may not exist – humans are full of biases, history, and their own ways of coping. It doesn’t mean we’re all heartless or that we should ignore the actual people in our circle. Nobody is perfect. It does, however, open the task to imaginary figures.

Maybe there is an actor whose work speaks to you. A deity or religious figure that you hold in highest regard. Or a fictional staple that embodies kindness and compassion (enter Sesame Street’s Big Bird). As described by Dr. Lee Baggley in her book ‘Healthy Habits Suck’, the visualization of a compassionate figure can help you get through the hardest of circumstances.

The process is simple. When you are experiencing any sort of big emotions, close your eyes and think about that special someone sitting right next to you. Imagine them giving you a warm smile or simply placing their hand on top of yours. Stay in the moment as long as you need.

Notice then if you are able to move forward with more hope, more understanding, and a greater appreciation for your sentiments. Often, folks deem their emotions as a nuisance to tangible people or are embarrassed to talk about them. Hopefully, with your compassion buddy nearby, you are feeling comforted and worthy of that moment.

So, the next time you’re having a rough day and want to bury yourself under the covers, let the emotions flood but with that figure pictured by your bedside. The next time you achieve a small victory, think about that figure giving you a high five. The next time you need someone behind you, cheering you on or telling you it’s going to be ok, picture that big yellow bird.

Find Your Creative Therapy

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Find-Your-Creative-Therapy-etshic

The power of working with your hands, the way your body feels as you move, the magnificent end-result of a photo shoot, the beautiful twinkling of chord progressions, the blossoming full garden in your backyard.

The way we express ourselves creatively can have more than artistic appeal. It can in and of itself be therapeutic.

When we create, we are practicing ultimate mindfulness. We are engrossed in the act, reach a state of flow, and likely have a strong passion for doing it. We are putting aside life’s difficulties, stepping away from day-to-day stresses, and just being in the moment.

The act of creating focuses the mind on the task at hand. It can even reveal deeper thoughts. In a formal setting of art therapy, for example, clients may create something that highlights whatever may be happening with the unconscious mind.

Formal settings aside, there is plenty you can do on your own to get similar benefits. If you have a creative hobby already, you are set! If you need some inspiration, perhaps try one of the following:

  1. Start asking yourself discovery questions. What makes me excited? What do I wish I had more time for? Who or what am I naturally drawn to? Let these be catalysts to your next creative approach.
  2. Look for local events and classes. There may be ways for you to learn a new skill that could develop into your creative outlet.
  3. Ask friends and family what they like to do. It could be a way to bond with this person and grow closer.
  4. Research artists, authors and makers. See what makes other people tick and what they are producing (think Instagram Discover tool).
  5. Return to your childhood. If you enjoyed doing something as a child, you likely have some inherent passions. These can be revamped into more adult appropriate activities (such as, you liked making friendship bracelets – maybe now you want to start creating jewelry) or be mimics of your childhood happiness (hello adult coloring books!).

No matter what you decide, the key here is to do it. Take the time for yourself. Allow yourself to explore. Learn new things, make mistakes, try again. You don’t have to create a masterpiece to reap the benefits of this therapeutic practice. Creative expression should and can provide a welcome escape from life’s stressors.

Interested in virtual dance classes? Check out bamchoreography.com.

Detox Your Life

Listen to the blog here: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Detox-Your-Life-etahqb

Humans require several basic needs: food, water, shelter, and support. The support piece is open-ended. This could mean a solid job, good medical care, a network of understanding people, or a combination of any of the above.

In a way, support is one of the hardest needs to obtain. It takes a lot of effort – especially when it comes to the people in your life.

There is a set of folks that you’re born into and another that you meet and surround yourself with as time progresses.

Your biological family can certainly be a source of stability, providing unconditional love and nurturing. They may be the first people you tell your good news. They may be your biggest cheerleader. They are there for you through thick and thin.

Your constructed ‘family’ may consist of friends, significant others, and mentors. They are people you chose to be in your life, presumably because they bring out the best in you. They perhaps push you to pursue new things and boost your sense of being. They also should be there through thick and thin.

Enter a toxic personality. Someone who emotionally drains you. Someone who is oblivious to their negative impact and instead, only cares about being the center of attention, the star, the person who is always right. No matter your best efforts, a toxic person critiques if you haven’t met their standards. They try everything in their power to diminish your successes, and more often than not, pretend they don’t notice them in the first place.

You’re left questioning. You question your decisions, your path, your values. You begin feeling like you’re not worthy of respect. Maybe you’re the one that needs to shift expectations?

Stop.

Stop letting the poison infiltrate. Stop allowing this person to have this impact. It’s time to create a barrier around yourself and be explicit about your decision.

Try the following, “I have decided to do this, and unless you’re going to be supportive, I don’t want to hear your thoughts.”

Or

“I am doing things to positively impact my home. I don’t want your opinion.”

These types of statements can be hard at first, especially if the person is very close to you. However, self-care is extremely important when the toxicity is deep. Outside of completely cutting them out of your life, which may not always be viable, they need to realize that you will no longer be tolerating the behavior.

At this point, they can choose to change or walk away. If they’re a true supporter, they’ll work hard to eventually gain your respect and be respectful in return. But regardless of their decision, you are left in-tact and strong.

A detox is critical for the soul.

Do It For You, Not The ‘Likes’

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Do-It-For-You–Not-The-Likes-esl46m

In a social media-centered society, it’s hard not to equate your online presence with your worth.

Think about it. The last time you posted. Were you hurt that your bestie didn’t like it? Or a friend that you just KNEW would love it didn’t even comment?

Algorithms that control post visibility and targeting aside, we must remember to not measure our worth with our ‘Likes’.

I remember the first time I posted a group dance class on YouTube. I was worried about the lack of ‘Likes’. I was nervous about the comments. I could feel the judgement of the dance world before I even hit upload. I knew it wasn’t perfect. But after posting, I heard from several students just how much they loved seeing themselves and enjoyed the ability to practice at home by rewatching the video. Most importantly, it was real and if only those 10 students watched & ‘Liked’, it was good enough for me.

Brene Brown’s beautiful, empowering book “Daring Greatly” frames vulnerability in such a way that should inspire to push forward and do things because you LOVE doing them.

Presumably, you post on social media because you think it will make a positive impact – you will put a smile on someone’s face, you’ll inform friends, you will engage the community, you will spark an interest in what you’re offering, etc, etc. But as you know, you can’t please everyone…and even more notably, social media applies its own set of rules for what others can actually see.

So, if you want to share pieces of yourself with the virtual world, be prepared for the ebbs and flows of ‘Likes’. Just don’t let it hinder your happiness, your productivity, or what you do offline. Make your impact in the real world.

If you’re looking for a way to use social media for good, join my Facebook group “Do Good, Feel Good – a Year of Donations” which equates ‘Likes’ with money donated to notable local and national charities: https://www.facebook.com/groups/338250617230413/

Talk It Out

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Talk-It-Out-es03gc

We often take for granted the power of talking. So many ideas float around in our heads, some bringing us happiness, others bringing us stress. We stay up at night worrying about decisions or to-dos. Yet, we hesitate to verbalize…maybe because we are not sure what to say…or not sure how someone may respond to our thoughts.

Enter an unbiased, third-party. Someone you trust, but who is not necessarily your spouse or parent. It could be a friend, it could be a mentor, it could be a therapist, or it could be an accountability buddy (*wink wink, nudge nudge*).

Talking through your ideas, your worries, your desires can be super productive for many reasons:

  1. It forces you to fully develop the idea. Maybe you only had bits and pieces in your head? Explaining it to another person cues neuronal connections in your brain. This is especially helpful if you’re having trouble figuring out what to do next and how to do it.
  2. It can calm unnecessary worries. Speaking to another person cultivates relatability. We are all human, and the person you’re speaking with most likely has had to overcome obstacles before too. Another person’s perspective may also provide new approaches for dealing with the issue, including ways of coping or improving your situation that you hadn’t thought of before.
  3. It can manifest your desires. Stating out loud what you want out of life can bring new energy to the aspiration. It makes it real. It makes it tangible. And it forces you to ponder it. You may say to yourself, I want this and I am ready to make this happen. Let’s do it!

If nothing else, talking can help remove any weight the idea may be imposing. You may feel lighter after telling someone, especially if that someone is judgement-free and a great listener. Overall, you may feel more clarity about your situation and your journey through life.

In the words of David Gilmour, keep talking.

You’ve Grown

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Youve-Grown-erd9ev

Rewind 10, 20, 30 years. Where were you living? Were you in school? In a different career? What did your circle of friends look like?

Maybe thinking back, you experience a huge wave of nostalgia. Maybe a little remorse. Your feelings may cause some discomfort, and you quickly try to flip the memory switch off. I know I’ve been there.

But there is a lot to gain from reflection. Try to think of instances in your life that, with time, now illustrate each of these points:

  • You’ve become wiser. Mistakes happened, but each new brain wrinkle is contributing to your progress. And you’ll never stop learning.
  • You’ve become stronger. There were moments of pain that you’ve overcome. You’ve identified your strengths and are hopefully leaning into them. Weaknesses be damned.
  • You’ve perfected the process of elimination. You have tasted many flavors. You’ve tried things and realized they weren’t a fit. You’ve narrowed down what you want out of friendships, careers, romantic relationships, and hobbies.

Are there any instances that do not fit into the 3 aforementioned categories? What’s the reason? How can you get them to fit?

If you have outstanding regrets or other items in your control, it’s time to resolve and make them fit. Use what you’ve learned in the past and continuing growing. Your memory bank will thank you for it.

Need someone to help you grow even more? Join my Accountability Buddy program today.

Persuade Yourself

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Persuade-Yourself-erd9c5

One of the biggest factors standing in our way of achieving a goal is our perception of pleasure and pain. Typically, if we are trying to stop a bad habit, we associate that with feelings of pain. For example, say you want to stop smoking – our brains likely jump to the withdrawals, the cravings, and the overall difficulty we will have in doing so.

These thoughts overwhelmingly highlight the negative. Sometimes so much so, that we feel like it’s easier to just keep smoking.

This is an important crossroads where future self can help.

Instead of accentuating the pitfalls, we need to think about the long-term pleasure versus pain.

Let’s go with 10 years from now…

Pleasure argument:

  • I enjoy smoking
  • It calms me down
  • I feel more in control
  • I need the nicotine
  • I don’t feel as hungry when I smoke

VS

Pain argument:

  • I am hurting my body
  • I have a hard time breathing
  • Exercise is difficult
  • I may not be able to keep up with my peers
  • I may alienate or disturb my family
  • I am spending a lot of money to keep up my habit
  • My doctor wants to put me on other medications
  • I am getting screened for emphysema/COPD/cancer regularly

Creating a list like this should hopefully put the real-life consequences into perspective. And more importantly, persuade you to realize that long-term, there will be more pain than pleasure.

Pain has been proven as a greater motivator than pleasure. We seek to avoid pain at all costs. Perceived pleasure over a long period of time also tends to decrease. Therefore, it is a win-win situation in the example of smoking cessation.

Persuade yourself to progress.

Need help doing so? Join my Accountability Buddy program today!

Is the Accountability Buddy Program for Me?

What does coaching mean? Will it really help me stay motivated to reach my goals? What will I have to do to participate effectively in the AB program?

A lot of questions may be going through your head right now. With the start of a new year, we often start to set goals but then aren’t sure how we’re going to achieve them. Worse, we may be super motivated for a few weeks and then poof, fizzles out.

Coaching in and of itself is a process, with the intent of tapping into your own strengths. It consistently makes you think about your capabilities and successfully create change.

With my AB program, you’ll have an extra set of eyes, ears, and shoulders to bounce your ideas off of, talk through any struggles, and get back on track. In a way, I will be your surrogate; as you talk to me, we are only focusing on your goals. And the AB program continuously promotes encouragement and new, creative ideas to support you on your journey (take a look at the testimonials from other clients at the bottom of THIS page).

The process is also very helpful for those of us who need outer accountability, but don’t necessarily want to use the people in our home/circle/network. For example, it can be quite difficult to expect accountability from your spouse or partner, but with my program, I am unbiased third party. All you need to do is participate in your calls and do your best with the goals that we set together.

If you’re still on the fence, I am offering FREE 15 minute introductory calls to explain the process in more detail and answer any questions you may have, no obligations!

Reach out to @pghdreamerproductions on Facebook, @pghdreamer on IG, or email pghdreamerproductions@gmail.com to set-up your intro call today!

Or, if you’re ready for an Accountability Buddy, subscribe now! My coaching is affordable, customized, and streamlined – I know how valuable your time is and we make the most of it, no gimmicks.

Make a Plan

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Make-a-Plan-erd99n

While it may seem motivating to state the goal, write it down, or even make it public knowledge (hello social media!), is that enough? For most people, figuring out the goal is challenging…and for some, once the goal is set, we have a misconception that it will just happen.

But goals aren’t magic. They take work to accomplish. And while you may have the best intentions at the start, without a firm grasp on how you’re going to get there, you may go down a path of futility, frustration, and eventually abandonment.

Never fear! There is a way to move forward, keeping your eye on the prize. Make a plan. A very detailed plan. Take 10 minutes per week to create a plan that will complement your lifestyle and then keep it in a visible location. The easier and more convenient the plan is for you, the more likely it will get done.

For example, say you want to work on your health. The simplest method is to state what the ultimate goal is first: lose 10 pounds. From there, create a calendar. Write out what you’re going to do per day (at a time that is most convenient for you to actually do it). “X” off each day once you complete the task. Add in milestones (“2-week weight check!”). Add in boosts & rewards (“If you lose 3 pounds by Saturday, purchase that new sweater”). STICK to the plan.

At the end of the month, you can pat yourself on the back if you’ve adhered to your plan. If you fell off, try again, perhaps with modifications and different milestones for subsequent months. Either way, you’re trying. It’s certainly better than relying on the genie to grant you what you want.

Keep up the good work!

Ready for an Accountability Buddy to stay on track? Subscribe now!

Future Self > Resolutions

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Future-Self–Resolutions-erd96t

With the new year finally here, it is easy to get caught up in the notion of setting resolutions. It is part of our culture, it’s almost expected.

However, the vast majority of folks with the best of intentions tend to fall off their resolutions by February…if not sooner. Interestingly, a recent episode of the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin suggested that some people who chose a word for the year 2020 (to represent their resolutions) completely forgot what the word was by December!

Therefore, instead of setting a resolution this year and then feeling defeated in a few months if you can’t keep up, let’s reframe our thoughts to future self.

Future self is envisioning what the future you would look, feel, and be like. In the case of a new year, you can project out 6 months or the entire year.

How will you feel in 6 or 12 months if you achieve XX? How will you be positively impacted if you make that change? Will you feel happier? More fulfilled?

What happens if you don’t achieve XX? Will you be disappointed in yourself? Will you wish you could go back in time and try again? Or maybe you’ll be content – and the goal that you once thought was super important was likely not the right goal for you?

Future self can be a powerful tool, especially if you’re interested in making a big change. And attempting this process can also be more forgiving if you stray from the path…just make sure to get back on it!

Remember – a little bit of progress is better than no progress.

Ready for an Accountability Buddy to keep you on track? Sign up for affordable coaching today.