Filtering by Tag: happiness

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.”

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be what you were meant to be in the first place.
— Unknown

This week the idea of “beliefs” has come up in a variety of situations and conversations with clients and friends. The word Belief can be defined as follows: “an opinion or conviction; confidence, faith and trust; and confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” So where do we get our beliefs? Many of our beliefs are not actually our own. They are learned or passed down through our family, the schools we attend, and the communities we are a part of. In his book, "The Biology of Belief," Dr. Bruce Lipton talks about how the conscious and the subconscious play integral roles in our lives.

[The] conscious and subconscious are interdependent. The conscious mind – which represents the seat of our personal identity, source, or spirit – is the creative mind…[it] holds our wishes, desires, and aspirations for our lives…the subconscious mind is primarily a repository of stimulus-response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences…[it] is fundamentally habitual.

Knowing this, we can begin to separate which beliefs come from us and which beliefs have been programed from others. Our subconscious is actually developed between the years of 0-7. If we remember back to that time period, we were all little sponges just soaking up everything around us. We didn’t have the autonomy to choose or the ability to really question the beliefs that were being instilled in us. Unfortunately, many of our fears or limiting beliefs are housed in our subconscious.     

The title quote of this blog popped up in my timehop the other day and further confirmed the importance of writing about this week’s topic. Our lives and finding our way is really about figuring out which beliefs we have that work for us and which beliefs work against us. Once we acknowledge the ones that don’t work for us, it is then our job to release them and replace them with ones that do serve us. We have so many tools for us to use in order to achieve this: thought stopping/positive replacement, journaling, and visualization are just a few. As previously discussed, these tools are not a one shot deal; they are to be used as a practice in the process of undoing in order to be fully realized as we were intended.  

As we go through this process, there will undoubtedly be times when we get frustrated by our limiting beliefs and where they came from, whether it be a parent, a teacher, or a mentor. It is important to remember that it is not helpful to our journey to hold anger or resentment toward that person. They were only doing what they knew to be true and what beliefs had been instilled in them. However, we can break the cycle. We have the power in ourselves to create the beliefs that support us, allow us to be our best self, and help us to manifest the life we want and deserve.

Take some time to think about which beliefs are working for you and which beliefs are not. Here are some categories and questions to get you started: your beliefs around money – How much do you believe you deserve? Is the energy you bring to money open or resistant? Your beliefs around work – What jobs do you value? What does it mean to be successful in your work? Can your passion be your work? Your beliefs around relationships – Do you believe in a partnership? Are you settling because you don’t believe you deserve more? Once you have written down the beliefs that don’t serve you, re-write them to be beliefs that will serve you. Then, take the old beliefs and burn them. They are no longer a part of you. These new beliefs are your mantras and affirmations.

Your beliefs and thoughts are what create your reality. YOU are in charge of your own beliefs so CHOOSE to believe only that which lifts you up.

 

 

Do you need help releasing the beliefs that are holding you back? I would love to guide and support you through your process! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

“10 things to help you enjoy the holidays”

10 things to help you enjoy the holidays

1. Take time for yourself. This could be through guided meditation, visualization, journaling, or just sitting still. Taking 10 min a day for yourself can change your mindset and keep you balanced. 

2. Practice mindful listening. Being present in your conversations will make your time spent with family and friends more meaningful. 

3. Connect to your breath. Your breath is your life force. Breath exercises can help to relax, energize, and balance you. 

4. Redirect your negative thoughts. The holidays can be stressful at times and your negative self talk can start to take over causing a downward spiral. You can choose to stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  

5. Be thankful. Gratitude is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you. There is always something to be thankful for. 

6. Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water when you first wake up. Try to get to 8 glasses a day. You can always add lemon or cucumber to make it more exciting. 

7. Be active. During the holidays our routines are altered and we tend to be less physically active and more indulgent of the goodies around us. Take the time everyday to stretch or do 20 min of cardio or yoga. Moving your body helps to clear the stale energy out. 

8. Rediscover your inner child. The holidays are a perfect time to connect with your inner child and remember that life is truly magical. Play a new game, laugh with friends and family, make something, etc. 

9. Be kind. Do something everyday that gives back to the community. Maybe it's small like helping someone with their bags or maybe you volunteer at a local shelter. 

10. Smile. Smiling will not only make you feel better but you never know when it will brighten up the day of someone around you as well. 

 

I’m currently having a special on Intro Packages. Treat yourself and start 2016 on a positive note! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call and to hear more about the package.

“Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.”

Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life’s problems.
— Sadness, "Inside Out"

One of my favorite movies of 2015 was Pixar’s Inside Out. Though it may seem like Joy would have been my favorite character from reading my previous blogs and the importance I place on changing our mindset to think positively, Sadness was actually my favorite. Without Sadness, there would be no Joy.

If you aren’t familiar with the movie, Inside Out, here’s a quick summary. The five emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear) are humanized as characters and occupy mission control in young Riley’s head. They are in charge of holding onto her memories, which get turned into colored memory balls correlating with each emotion and stored in the memory bank. Pixar even goes so far as categorizing them into long term, short term, subconscious, etc. Without giving too much away, Joy and Sadness go on a journey to help save Riley’s core memories, which make up the essence of who she is.

There are so many things I loved about this movie, but the main thing was that it showed us the importance of all different types of memories. Each memory, whether it’s a happy one or a sad one, makes us who we are. We learn from them and hopefully grow from them using the reflection tools we’ve already discussed (journaling, affirmations, visualization, etc.).

One of the reasons I appreciated Sadness was that she reminded us that it’s ok to feel crappy. It’s ok to cry. It’s even ok to take a day and binge watch a show because you are feeling down on yourself. We need these moments in order to understand and really value the joyful moments.

We often hear people tell us when we are upset or depressed to take it one step at a time and climb back up that ladder or mountain. In that visual, we are assuming that the pinnacle of the journey is happiness. Therefore, it is also assumed that with one faulty step we will fall all the way back down. I like to visualize our journey as more of a circle or a cycle. The goal is to try and stay on the top half of the circle. It’s comforting to know that one wrong step or set back isn’t going to make us tumble all the way down, but instead maybe sway back and forth a little on the top curve. This allows us to be less hard on ourselves and instead gives ourselves the space and time to work on balancing back on top. Happiness isn’t one pinnacle point that we are trying to obtain, but rather the act of engaging in the circle of life. (And yes, that is a The Lion King reference. )

 

Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min guided meditation or discovery call!

"Learn to let go of the things you can’t control"

Learn to let go of the things you can’t control.

I just spent a wonderful weekend filled with master classes, mock auditions, and pre-screens with my My College Audition family in Boston, MA. Upon returning to NYC, many of my private students were clicking submit on their early action college applications. A common theme emerged as I coached these students to take the next step, “control what you can control and let go of what you cannot.” Even as I write these words, I am reminded of how important this is in my own life.

We spend so much of our energy worrying about “what if’s” and the unknown, all things that are out of our control. Instead, we should focus our energy more on the preparation of the things we can control. For example, my students preparing for college auditions can control what they choose to wear in the audition to present themselves in a professional manner. They can choose to smile and make eye contact when slating their name and audition material. All of these things do not take a lot of energy or time to prepare, but they do create an impression and set the stage for a positive experience. They can’t control whether the pianist will know how to play their song perfectly or if the adjudicators are running behind and therefore cutting everyone off half way through their songs or how many performers of their exact type are auditioning that day. By worrying and stressing over unknown elements, they are allowing negative energy to fill their mind and body, which can turn into anxiety, low self-confidence, debilitating self talk, and possibly low motivation. All of which are distractions and common obstacles for optimal performance.

Worrying about things outside our control means we are not fully present in the moment. By not being present, we are not engaged preventing us from reaching a Flow state. As talked about last week, being in a Flow state allows us to find fulfillment in our lives, which leads to happiness.

So how does this all pertain to everyday life and what tools are there to help us? We all can reflect on times when we were trying to control things outside of our capacity; maybe it’s a relationship with a colleague, or waiting to hear back from a new job, or starting a business and trying to build your client list, or planning an event for your community. My two favorite tools to use for the things we can control are “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”

Simply put these are about preparation of the mind and body. Even if you don’t feel completely confident in what you are doing, walking and holding yourself up like you are will go a long way. It’s amazing the effect our body has on our mind and energy. Walking into an interview with your head held high, chest open, and a smile shows the other person you are ready, prepared, and confident even if on the inside your stomach is in knots. What you say about yourself and the language you use, whether out loud or in your head, is important. We know this already from the several posts on self-talk. We want to be mindful that we are supporting our positive self-talk allowing for us to create an upward spiral and not giving energy to our negative self-talk which creates a downward spiral. By always “walking the walk” and “talking the talk,” we can be confident that we are putting our best self forward and that is all we can ever ask of ourselves.

Now, for the letting go part. As much as we may want to we cannot control other people. Letting go is about being present. For the next week, if you find you are trying to control something out of your control, check in with your breath. Take a “time out,” focus on your breath for 5 min, and then come back. Use your thought-stopping and positive replacement techniques to change any negative self-talk that may be creeping in. Go back to your litany and repeat the mantras you created for yourself. This is where your practice comes in to help you and be there for you. Lastly, there has to be an element of trust that everything will unfold in the perfect time/space sequence.  

 

 

Do you need more guidance in letting go and creating a more present and fulfilled life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

 

TOMORROW, Oct 24th - Manifesting Your Dreams: pushing beyond your fears and obstacles. Email me to reserve your spot!

 

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
— Buddha

This quote has presented itself to me several times this week, and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. The next month is filled with many wonderful opportunities starting with presenting at a national conference this week followed by two different workshops I will be leading in different cities. Though I am very excited and ready for these opportunities, I am also anxious and nervous about them. Sometimes, I begin to stress over how “successful” they will be, how many participants I’ll have, etc. I remind myself of this quote. Using it as a trigger word, I take a deep breath and then focus on being present

Being present is not as easy as it sounds; it is a practice. But just like the mental tools we have to shift our mindset, we also have tools to help us be more present. This week I would like to focus on mindful listening. Have you ever had the experience where you are talking to someone, but instead of listening you are just waiting for the person to stop talking just so you can what you want to say? This happens often in life whether that be in meetings and wanting to share our brilliant idea or in a fight with your significant other when our hurt is the only thing we feel matters. Many times what we have to offer when we aren’t listening doesn’t even make sense when we step back.

Whenever thinking about mindful listening, I am reminded of when I am coaching actors in a scene. With many young actors, they are focused on what their lines are and when they say them. They just want to hear their cue line and then deliver the line with what they think is raw emotion and great acting. However, it usually comes out as fake or contrived. That’s because they were too focused on what they had to say and not focused on listening and responding accordingly.  

The theater saying, “acting is reacting,” can be helpful when practicing mindful listening. In order to react authentically, we need to listen actively. Here are a few techniques for practicing mindful listening that can be applied to both private conversations and group conversations:

-       Can you repeat what the person said to you?

-       Are you making eye contact?

-       Before you respond, take a breath and ask yourself “is what you originally intended to say still relevant?”

-       Are you making space for others to share or do you dominate conversations?

-       Are you offering and participating in the conversation or do you hide?

The last two techniques are very useful when engaging in group conversations. There tends to be the people who always voice their opinions, have an idea, a concern or a solution. Then there are the people who never share their opinion or offer suggestions. Take a moment to figure out which group you most identify with. I challenge you if you are in the first group, to make space for others, concentrate on your breath, and ask whether what you feel compelled to say is necessary. If you are in the latter group, I challenge you to actively listen and find a time where you decide to participate, owning what it is you have to offer to the group.

Mindful listening provides us with a fuller experience where we are engaged with the people around us. Consequently, it leads to stronger and more meaningful relationships. Try some of the techniques this week and then reflect on the changes you notice in how you engage with others and your fulfillment in what you do.

 

Are you ready to live a more fulfilled and authentic life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

Check out the workshop I will be running on Oct 24th - Manifesting Your Dreams: pushing beyond your fears and obstacles. Email me to reserve your spot!

 

"Social media is more about Sociology and Psychology than it is about Technology."

Social media is more about Sociology and Psychology than it is about Technology.
— Anonymous

Social media has become a major component in people’s everyday lives. Though I believe it has many positive qualities when used correctly, there is no denying it has changed the culture of our society and sometimes not for the best. However, this week I was reminded, via #Timehop, of a fond memory from the final moments of my Yoga Teacher Training:

“1 year ago….  
As I write my final paper for Yoga TT, I am reminded of this great verse:
            'It is better to strive in one’s own dharma* than to succeed in the dharma of another. Nothing is ever lost in following one’s own dharma, but competition in another’s dharma breeds fear and insecurity.’                           ~ The Bhagavad Gita”

In the age of social media, it is so easy to get wrapped up in how we compare ourselves to other people’s “news worthy events.” We start to judge ourselves, especially if we are not where we think we should be in our careers, in our love lives, in our health goals, etc. The inner voice becomes a critic not a motivator. If we allow this critic to take over, we give in to the downward spiral. Luckily we have our tools (our litany, thought stopping techniques, trigger words, and positive replacement) to help us maintain our center and empower us.

It is also important for us to be mindful of what we share on social media. All of our posts are a reflection of ourselves and give off a certain energy. The energy we put out into the world is what we attract back to us. We have the power and control to choose to fill our energy with positivity and purpose. We do ourselves a disservice when we surround ourselves with clutter and negativity.

We need to remind ourselves that life is not a competition, but a journey and a process. One of my FB friends posted this the other day, “Just because you’re taking longer than others does not mean you’re a failure. Keep going.” It is in the enjoyment of growing and helping others that we find true fulfillment and therefore, happiness and real “success.”

* dharma - “designates human behaviors considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos, behaviors and action necessary to all life in nature, society, family as well as at the individual level. Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, rights, character, vocation, religion, customs and all behavior considered appropriate, correct or morally upright.

 

Check out the workshop I will be running on Oct 24th -  Manifesting Your Dreams: pushing beyond your fears and obstacles. Email me to reserve your spot!

“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.”

It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.

Earlier this week, I was having coffee with a friend when an alarm went off on my phone at 9 am playing a whimsical melody. Confused, my friend asked what it was. I explained it was the reminder to write in my gratitude journal. This sparked a conversation about what a gratitude journal was and then the question, “what if you don’t have anything to be thankful for?”

This week’s focus is on the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is defined as the “quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.” For some, this practice may come easy and for others, there may be some challenges because we are used to talking about all the things we don’t have and all the things we wish were different in our lives. The great thing is that we can use our positive replacement tool to help us see our lives through a different lens.

Years ago, I started a gratitude practice where I bought a special journal (there is nothing better than buying a new journal) and I wrote on the first page, “Things I am Thankful For. No Negativity Allowed.” I made a commitment to myself to write every day at least 10 things I am thankful for. At first, this was hard, especially on the days when I was struggling with who I was and where my life was going. I forced myself to dig deeper and always came up with 10 things. Then there were other days when I couldn’t stop writing things I was thankful for. I started realizing that after a while I looked forward to writing things down and that my overall outlook on life had shifted.

There are many ways to start a gratitude practice. You can dedicate a journal to just the things you are thankful for and decide to write in it every morning when you wake up or right before bed. Nowadays, with technology there are apps that are digital gratitude journals where you can even upload a photo to each day’s entry. (This is what I actually use now since I travel a lot.) Another practice I started a few years ago was on Jan 1st to take a big mason jar and throughout the year write special moments, exciting accomplishments, etc on colored post-its and place them in the jar. On New Year’s Eve, I open the jar and spread the post-its out on my bed and read each one of them. It’s amazing the amount of things we forget over the year, and I love getting to relive each memory even for just a second (not to mention the different colored post-its make an aesthetically pleasing collage).

I did answer my friend’s question, “what if you don’t have anything to be thankful for?” There is always something…waking up each morning, being able to eat, having a loving family, supportive friends. Living in NYC, I am always reminded to be thankful that I have an apt with a bed, heat in the winter, and air conditioning in the summer. These may sound like givens, but for many they are not. Even when it feels like everything is going against us, every experience offers a space to grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and for that we should be thankful.

The small amount of time it takes to stop and be thankful will be rewarding in so many ways. I challenge you to start a practice of your own and after a week reflect on how you feel, how you view your life, and how you see the world around you.

 

Are you ready to shift your lens and live a more fulfilled and authentic life? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

“Teach your mind to listen to what your body and spirit are saying.”

Teach your mind to listen to what your body and spirit are saying.

Well it happened again…I was feeling overwhelmed and a little anxious at the beginning of the week. When I walked into morning yoga on Tuesday, there it was playing again, Ingrid Michaelson’s “Keep Breathing.” I smiled, laughed to myself, unrolled my mat, and listened.  The teacher started class by telling a quick story about getting her hair done and talking to the hairdresser that was in-training. He had taken years to follow his passion of becoming a hairdresser because a voice in his head kept telling him, “the world doesn’t need another gay hairdresser.” Finally, he decided enough was enough. He silenced the voice and followed his dream.

Many of us can relate to this story, myself included. The message the Universe was sending me that Tuesday morning was clear…don’t let the negative self talk stop you because you don’t think what you offer is needed. There is always a need for you to pursue your passion and be true to yourself. We all have gifts and they should be honored and shared.

This week’s focus is on trigger words and it is clear that “keep breathing” is my newest trigger word. Trigger words can be a single word or phrase that initiates a process or course of action. I’d like to go even further and say they can also be an object like a bracelet or necklace. Trigger words (or objects) can be used for negative thought stopping, as reminders to step back and re-focus, and to provide quick information when executing a skill.

One of the most common trigger words for negative thought stopping is stop. However, when working with clients I like them to come up with words that hold more personal meaning. Maybe they have a practice to help with relaxation where they visualize themselves lying on the beach listening to the waves crash and then the words “beach” or “waves” become trigger words for them when they are anxious. When I am teaching movement classes, I use trigger words all the time to remind my students of proper technique. Some of my favorites are “headlights” when referring to correct hip alignment and “flip flop” when referring to weight placement in releve.

Try coming up with your own trigger words. Begin with just a couple and commit to using them for a week. You will find that using these words in addition to the other tools we have discussed will help shift your mindset quicker than you think!

Are you ready to say no to your inner critic and follow your dreams and passion? I'd love to help you! Email me at steph_e_simpson@yahoo.com to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!

 

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.

As the summer dies down and another school year is about to begin, my one-on-one coaching sessions with seniors start to rev up. Whether they are preparing for college auditions to get into dance or theater programs or they are prepping their essays and supplements to get into the academic institute of their dreams, I always start our first session the same: the importance of self-confidence and self talk in order to achieve peak performance.

As much as we may want to deny it, self-confidence comes from within not from outside sources. In order for us to perform optimally we need to have the self-confidence that we can succeed and that we are worthy of succeeding. Sounds easy, but unfortunately we know that is not always the case. Our inner voice becomes the key to building and maintaining a strong and healthy self-confidence. In more technical terms, this is called self talk - the act or practice of talking to oneself, either out loud or silently. It is important to train ourselves to limit the negative self talk and foster the positive self talk.

One of my favorite images to use when explaining how thoughts can quickly change the way we perceive a situation or evaluate ourselves is a spiral. A spiral is a curve that develops from a central point and gets progressively farther from that point as it grows. One small positive thought can lead towards an upward spiral resulting in confidence and uplifting energy, while one small negative thought can lead towards a downward spiral resulting in self pity and defeated energy.

For example, when learning a new skill if we tell ourselves we are open and ready for a new challenge our mind will continue to approach learning that new skill in a positive way even when faced with some difficulties. However, if we tell ourselves we aren’t ready or can’t learn the new skill our mind will continue to find more reasons why we can’t, especially when faced with difficulties, until we finally close ourselves off. The same theory can be used in all areas of our lives, our relationships with family and friends, our role within the office, etc. In fact, the more we use these tools in both our personal and professional lives the deeper our mental practice becomes and the stronger we will be in overcoming adversity and maintaining a healthy self-confidence.

Can you think of a time in your life when a single thought created a downward spiral? How about a time when a thought created an upward spiral? Reflect on these moments and write them down. Through self reflection we can understand an abundance about ourselves and the patterns we have created.

Next week, I will offer more tools to help train and strengthen our mental practice. Stay tuned!

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