Blog by Betsy Thomas

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Extreme Self Care and the Power of Play


Spring Greetings!
 
Welcome to the March issue of the Emboldened Living Newsletter. 

This month's read is all about how to stay positive in a world that is spinning wildly on an axis of negativity.  This is no small task, given the current state of our economy, our planet, our new administration and the media.  Many I speak to tell me that they feel their sense of well being and safety slipping away along with their investments and jobs. It is very seductive, when we feel vulnerable, to be sucked down into a negative vortex of doom and gloom.  When we do succumb, (and we all do at times,) we fall prey to drawing more of what we don't want into our lives.  It is more important than ever, during times such as these, that we invest in tending our own bodies, minds and spirits.  We need to learn how to find ways to feel good in spite of our difficult circumstances. This requires new tools, skills, attitudes and practice!
 
Take a look below and try some of my favorite 'feel good' strategies for times of turmoil.

Read more on Betsy's blog at: http://www.betsythomas.com/Blog.php
 
Make a Play Date with your Self
I just returned from a week long play date with my angel daughter in the warmth and sun of Florida.   It was a wonderful reminder to me of how much I needed the time away with her; to just be, frolic, be silly, and play.  How does  someone my age play with an eighteen year old who is about to graduate from high school this spring?  That is the question I've been reflecting on for this month's newsletter.  I saw how a week of 'play time' (pleasurable time spent with self or others) quickly shifted my winter mood, which had been ebbing somewhat over the past month, to a much more uplifted place.Like so many, I have not been immune to the swirl of negativity in the world around us.  Each day we are bombarded with more bad news, more lost jobs, more homes foreclosed upon, lost retirement funds, global warming, war, terrorist threats, plane crashes. I have felt the impact of chronic negativity in the news, the constant doom and gloom commentary of all media on the state of the world and many if not most people's conversations and worries, echoing such.   As a life coach and motivational speaker, my job is to help clients live their most promising and fulfilled lives. To do this, I need to be living in my own alignment and in my own joy in order to inspire, teach and coax others into theirs. Taking care of me, ensuring I find ways come back to myself when I fall out of alignment with my own source of well being is essential.  Planning a long play date away with my daughter filled with extreme self care was one such step.

Feel Good
How do we know when we are connected to that inner source of well being and in alignment?  We feel good!  It's that simple.  We all know when we're there by the emotions of happiness, elation,  joy and well being that we feel.  The first step to getting there is letting go of negative and limiting thoughts and beliefs and learning to focus our thoughts and energy instead, on what we desire and want to create. We often are so busy beating the drum of all that we don't want and don't like about our current circumstances.  When we spend time in that negative energy, we attract in more of the same.   When the world pounds daily at our door with all that is wrong with life, our emotions can certainly be affected and we are vulnerable to being sucked into the vortex of doom and gloom.  Finding creative ways to add deposits to our emotional bank accounts can have a profound impact on our thought processes and in turn, how we feel and what we experience.
If our emotions are the positive and negative signals that are matched by the energetic universe we live in, and we attract in what we put out, then it is very important to be mindful of the frequency we choose to live at.  And we do have a choice.  When we are emotionally low, down, overwhelmed, discouraged, hopeless and filled with doubt, our energy is low and the experiences we pull in will give us more evidence to feel as such.  What I teach clients to do, is to focus on what they want to have happen rather than focusing on what IS happening around them.  When they begin to imagine, dream, plan and focus on a brighter tomorrow, they essentially change the channel on their emotional tuning system and go to a higher frequency.  On this new frequency, they begin to pick up different signals and new, more positive experiences begin to develop and expand in their lives. That's how it works. So it is really important in these unsettling times to find ways to feel good.  Playing with some of the ideas below will help you make 'fun' and 'you' a priority in your life.

"When one door of happiness closes, another one opens. 
But many of us continue to look only at the closed door. 
As a result, we fail to see the new doors that are opening in it's place."


Find Playmates
Choose to invest your time and energy with others who uplift you. This is perhaps one of the most important choices we can make.  We often can't choose to walk away from some of the people who drain us in life, and we also cannot afford more syphons to our precious life force.  Spending time with others who feel good to be around and with whom we can be our true, authentic selves not only brings a feeling of well being, but adds years to life.  Studies have shown that those who have close and intimate relationships enjoy better health and vitality through all years of life.  Say no to spending time with others who drag you down with their negative outlooks, drain your energy with their incessant talk and instead choose to spend time with those who uplift you and add to your energy. Read more at http://girlfriendology.com/952/why-do-we-need-girlfriends/

Take a News Break
This is an obvious step but one that many are reluctant to take.  The daily barrage of the media, (radio, tv, internet, newspapers, magazines) has a deep impact on our sense of well being.  When we 'take in' all this negativity, it has a detrimental impact on us and our thoughts and emotions.  Try going a day or two or even one week without your favorite source of news.  Explore how it feels.  You may feel out of sorts and that you 'need' to know what is going on in the world.  Chances are, the changes in one week will be subtle and ones you can catch up on in one newscast weekly.  Beware of watching the news before you sleep.  My husband and I have taken to watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart at night which gives us some light news and  leaves us laughing before we turn out the lights.

Choose Relief
Anything that feels like relief means you are going in the right direction on your tuner and moving to a higher channel.  This is good!  Make a list of anything that would bring you the feeling of 'ahhhh.....this feels good'.   It might be time alone, having someone else make dinner or do the laundry, or choosing not to make dinner or do the laundry at all!  If it doesn't feel like relief, it probably isn't.  For example, for me, thinking about putting off writing this newsletter until tomorrow would bring relief in the moment, but more frustration and anxiety over another day of procrastination.  See how it works?  So play with what spells relief for you and follow it.  Looking at things you can say NO to, in order to say YES  to something that feels good, is a great daily practice.

Push the Reset Button:
When you feel stuck in a particular thought pattern, feeling down, or negative, complaining, or having a pity party for one, try making a list of everything you don't like, don't have and don't want on one side of a piece of paper.  Flush out every negative feeling or thought that you have regarding a particular issue.  Don't hold back.   Then after each negative thought or item, ask yourself one question, "So what do I want?" 
Example:   My Ideal Financial Situation
 
Negative Thoughts                               So What Do I Want?
Not enough money                                 Abundance of Money
Always bills to pay                                 Bills are paid easily and quickly
Just making ends meet                           Always have excess money

Asking this one question resets and shifts your thoughts to a more positive place and you gain clarity on what it is you really do want.  Once you have clarity, and cross out the negatives, your mind will begin to focus on what you desire versus what you are observing.  This shift in focus, energy and attention is what allows you to begin to find and attract solutions to your problem and it triggers a positive shift in your emotional response system.  My clients love this process and are amazed at how powerful their own thoughts are  in changing their circumstances.


Extreme Self Care
 Every so often I hold what I call a 'Self Summit' where I call forth the many different selves that comprise my being...who have been spinning each in their separate orbits, for a conference of sorts.  I call in my mother self, my wife self, my coach self, my sister self,  my physical self, my spiritual self, my mind self. You get the idea.  I sit them all down to have a talk about what they each are doing and I ask each of them what they need from each other.  It sounds kind of silly, but it is an amazing process to ask your mother self what is it she is hungering for right now?  The answers might surprise you.  My physical self told me recently that I was feeling very deprived of touch and was hungering for being held and feeling connection.  In the busyness of life, work, kids, traveling and the many obligations in our lives, my husband and I got disconnected. When I listened to my physical self, I was able to not only identify that vague sense of unease,  and what was niggling at me, but also how to then ask for what I needed to restore my sense of well being and connection with him.
 
There are many ways to practice self care.  I highly recommend Cheryl Richardson's new book The Art of Extreme Self-Care, Transform Your Life One Month at a Time as a wonderful resource.  In it, Cheryl teaches us that in order to honor ourselves and live an authentic life,  we need to learn how to disappoint others.  This is not an easy task for most women who have been taught to take care of others needs before their own. Here is the link to her newest book:
The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Join Facebook
 I have to admit that I'm a nubie, and I really did not want to join a social networking group that would 'suck time' away from the little I already have; but I also have to say, I am having such fun with it as I connect with friends from high school and even elementary school, as well as getting to know my current friends and relatives a little better.  Many use it, as I am, for our businesses and for networking professionally as well.   I have recommended Face Book to several of my clients.  Some have moved to new cities and feel somewhat alone in their new surroundings; others are single and looking to connect with others; some are feeling isolated as they have lost their jobs and are in transition.  Whatever your particular need, Face Book is a place where you can keep in touch with friends, new and old, make new friends and be on the radar screen of hundreds of people with your status updates and wall postings!  www.facebook.com
 
My facebook page is here>> http://www.facebook.com/people/Betsy-Thomas/1053306971

Celebrate Everything
There is nothing that uplifts and sends your vibes skyrocketing more than a celebration.  Each new year, I take a look back at my own life and write down every single thing that I can remember that I learned, accomplished, became, overcame, tried, succeeded at or even failed at.  We so often overlook all the brilliance we are born with and we forget how worthy, beautiful, becoming, and brilliant we truly are.  We have just been covered over with life's expectations and obligations.  Take time to play and celebrate yourself with someone you love and who will celebrate with you.  Then pay it back and encourage others to do the same as you witness their cause for celebration.  Make it a habit, and watch what begins to happen.

Create a Vision Board
 Whatever you are thinking, it is like you are planning a future event.  Your thoughts are that powerful. So why not focus them and capture those desires and dreams on a vision board?  Worrying is using your imagination to create something you do not want.  Why waste that precious energy?  Use the time instead to create a visual reminder you look at daily.  A vision board is a powerful way to 'play' with your thoughts and desires. If you can imagine it, you can experience it.

Give
My friend Carrie (on facebook:) told me recently about something she called her 29 Day Give. She pointed me to a website called www.29gifts.org.  It was created by a woman who suffered from MS and who, in the midst of her despair over her condition, was encouraged to stop thinking about herself and her troubles and begin a 29 day practice of giving something away each day to others.  She did it and found that her life began to transform in just 14 days. Her story is inspiring and it not only compelled me to think about how I might start my own 29 Day Give, but to also include this idea and information here for those of us who may feel stuck in our own sorry circumstances.  Giving to others loosens the hold our mind keeps on our own self circumstances. When we feel lack, the instinctual response is to hold on, protect and defend what we have.  In giving to others when we feel this sense of lack or poverty of mind, we confound our belief system and trick it into thinking more abundantly.  You have to try it to believe it! It works. Below is the link to Carrie's website and company, Wouldn't It Be Nice?, where she shares her ideas and experiences of her 29 Day Give. 

 
http://www.wouldntitbnice.com/
 
Rampage of Appreciation and Gratitude
(Abraham-Hicks)
Appreciation is one of the highest emotional energies we can experience. Think about how you feel when someone tells you how much you mean to them or how much they love and appreciate you.  It sends your soaring doesn't it? It feels really good to feel appreciated.  In the same way, those who are doing the appreciating are also in a state of joy and well being.  When we see, feel and connect with that which we appreciate, our vibes and emotional outputs are very high and positive.
 
As those parents of teenage daughters know, life with one of 'them' can be stress and worry filled, angst ridden and tumultuous at times.  Mine is no exception.  It can be hard to see all the good when what you observe during this stage can, at times, feel so bad!   Taking an inventory of all that we love and appreciate about another is a way to connect our best self with theirs. At the end of my extended play date with my daughter last week,  I gazed out over the wing of our plane, and I began to write a list of all the things I appreciate and love and enjoy about this young girl-woman who sat beside me, with a sharp pang of realization that the time is short before she will leave our home.  I realized that in this brief time away together, we were able to let the sometimes limiting and constricting roles of mother and daughter fall away,  and just be two girls again.  I realized the true power of playing together.   Play softens our edges and releases our true spirits. This honest, amazing and original daughter makes me laugh and cry and for the short seven days together, continually called my best self out to play.

Discover what brings your best self out to play.  Use some of the above activities, exercises and practices to take care of yourself during difficult times.  With some simple adjustments in behavior plus some practice, come positive changes in how you feel, how you live your life and how life lives through you.

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