Category Archives: Mindfulness

Why Don’t We Complain

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Have we become more stressed or more Zen-like?

Sure, we all tend to complain about ourselves–our day, our health, our work. That’s a real catharsis when we’re able to destress and release our frustrations. Life’s not fair, and that often is expressed with a justified complaint.

When it comes to inconveniences or less than ideal service, however, mostIMG_3285 people are preferring to go with the flow and let it go. Why don’t we complain? Have we become more compassionate towards those workers in front of us, seeing them as co-habitants of stressful living? Cutting them slack is like an invisible nod of I feel the strain of your job. 

An aversion to confrontation can also be a reason why we don’t complain. People would rather adjust to a defect or go without their request rather than object and risk an altercation. Why don’t we complain? It may be related to how stressed we are and a matter of picking our battles.

In 1961, William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote an essay that describes his amusing struggle to assert himself, called “Why Don’t We Complain?” It originally appeared in Esquire in 1960. He wrote:

Every New Year’s Eve I resolve to do something about the Milquetoast in me and vow to speak up, calmly, for my rights and for the betterment of our society, on every appropriate occasion… When our voices are finally mute, when we have finally suppressed the natural instinct to complain, whether vexation is trivial or grave, we shall have become automatons, incapable of feeling. (Read his entire essay here.)

One of Buckley’s reasons, 55 years ago, for why Americans didn’t complain was due to a reluctance to assert ourselves because of an increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political power.

10d69f3e-9b69-4700-9155-2f934eb05151-mediumI can see how that conclusion may no longer be why we don’t complain. There may be people who don’t verbalize what they really think because they don’t want to make a fuss and be thought as difficult. The problem with that plan is that the people who really need to be heard, won’t be. If they don’t share what they think, how will they be heard?

As American’s, we must assert ourselves for the cause of equality and the demonstration of human kindness. Any abatement from this basic human right deserves complaint. Otherwise, we fail as a society.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

It’s a Small World

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Turns out, not so much.

Playing outside every day for me as a kid was great fun. My best friend, Susie, and I would lay on our backs in the grass and stare at the billowed puffs of clouds in the sky. An elephant or a turtle or the head of Quick Draw McGraw were not uncommon IMG_2244creations formed by the moving white plumes.

I had a ten-year-old belief about the world. There was the ground and there was the sky. I played in the sun, and I slept at night. There was home and there were friends. It’s a small world when you’re a child.

Although I’ve aged, I admit my ten-year-old belief about the world hasn’t. That is why I’m completely overwhelmed with this universe thing. There seem to be so many new or additional discoveries about space. I confess I’ve remained naive about complex astrophysical concepts. (You can read about that ( here.)

In a video, I watched Neil deGrasse Tyson explain the universe in eight minutes (watch it here).

I see no other possible reaction to this video than awe and a trance-like state as seen in The Walking Dead.

I don’t think I have an education high enough to understand how every thing in the universe, including humans, for reasons not completely understood came into existence out of randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing.

IMG_0695This revelation left my face in a blank stare, mostly like my Physical Science class did. The analytics in my brain was in a scramble to find at least one brain cell up to the challenge of understanding this. No go. I got nothing. It’s beyond me.

All I can think of is that “randomness, chaos, accident, and good timing,” describes most of my life. Maybe, that’s the point. That’s how we came to be and that’s how our lives are lived. Who knows?

As large as the world is, though, it’s a small world wherever we are. A tiny pinpoint on the globe not visible from space, yet it’s all any of us need. Our homes. It’s where love dwells. It’s here we raise our children, grow our gardens, and have family barbeques on the deck.

At night, we gather around the fire, look up and stare at the stars like it’s a drive-in movie. The vast blackness speckled with flickering lights filled with complex astrophysical concepts. Honey, did I ever tell you that all of us are stardust?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Is That You?

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My Dad loves to drive. Except, he’s dead.

This is why my experience of him driving my car the other day gave me collywobbles.

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Dad, my brother, me, the car

Growing up, all bikes, skateboards, baseball bats, and badminton nets could not cross the two-foot invisible barrier that surrounded the family car in the garage. My Dad was a little obsessed with the safety specifics and monitored the inches between our kid stuff and the paint finish on his car.

God forbid a baseball, or any object for that matter, bounce off the car. I swear he had some hidden CIA radar for such occurrences. He could be two houses over in someone’s backyard, and he would hear the thump when a foreign body hit the metal on the car. There would be scoldings and lectures from him every time this happened.

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Dad, Mom, and the car

No matter the terrain or weather, he was your man on the street. My Dad took pride in his skillful art of maneuvering through the snow on any road, even no road. The rest of us in the family weren’t so unafraid of that skill. There could be a blizzard warning, and my Dad thought nothing of throwing all of us into the car and driving 70 miles to Wisconsin to visit family in Clinton or Beloit. “We can make it,” my Dad would say with confidence. My Mom would think about it, all of one minute, and call him crazy.

As he got older, he still made car care a priority. He was a State Farm man, after all. Every couple of years there would be a new car to pamper with pride. I’m sure his military experience of managing the care of the equipment he was entrusted with contributed to his viewpoint about other possessions. In WWII, it was a rifle he pampered. Home from the war, it was a car.

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My dad at 88

My Dad drove his car until a fracture in his foot sidelined him at age 90. Before that happened, dad gave anyone who rode with him something comparable to a cardio workout. He would drive: s-l-o-w. I chuckle now just remembering a few of those adventures. Every driver knows that when you’re clear to proceed across two lanes of traffic that you don’t dilly dally. My Dad would pull out quick enough, but then he would just peter out and linger while oncoming traffic was getting closer and closer. Inevitably, my brother or I would yell “Dad!!”

When he died in 2006, there were a handful of noticeable dents and dings on my Dad’s car. Something he would have never tolerated some 50 years earlier. All the dents were signs that his driving ability was reaching its limit.

So on that day, I was driving on the road my Dad would always take to get home. I was looking at the sidewalk where I used to ride my bike as a kid. I drifted off in thought. I was riding in the car with my Dad. He was driving us home. There was a warm and comforting light that filled the car, the way sunlight does but brighter. There was a stream of energy that rippled. There was no sound.

Then suddenly, it was gone. The radio returned to its bellow. I was driving again and realized I had just felt the presence of my father–driving my car. Wow! Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t recall driving the last mile. Did that just really happen? I looked down to see how fast I was going and realize it had to be my dad; I was driving 10 miles under the speed limit!

Thanks for the visit dad. Glad you’re still driving, and you were not here to pick me up!

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Choose Yourself First

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Sounds selfish, doesn’t it?

Choose yourself first. Reminds me of a kid in school when growing up, he would always run to be the first in line, or to grab the best seat or the favorite swing. Encompassed by his own amusement at beating everyone else, he was oblivious to our chagrin.IMG_3289

Choose yourself first.

That instruction makes sense in other areas of life.

Brian Tracy says If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.

Self-development. Don’t people gravitate away from such topics, or dare I say, nonsense?

But consider this. I don’t know any happy and successful people with a self-contempt attitude toward themselves. I don’t know any happy and successful people with bruises from beating themselves up over mistakes and setbacks. The happy and successful people I know hold a humble confidence in themselves. A determination. That’s self-development.

belief28They’ve spent time in their own backyard and faced any personal obstacles in their thought process that could block their goals. They’ve examined any feelings of inadequacy and shortcomings that would prevent their confidence. They learned their weaknesses and manage them rather than excuse them or blame someone else for their existence. That’s self-velopment. Taking care of business with yourself ahead of any pursuits.

Choose yourself first.

Could you prosper from self-development? Would you benefit from looking for any flaws in your attitude? Can you see areas where being stubborn is holding you back? Do you notice any control tendencies in yourself? Or are you experiencing negative self-talk–those conversations in your head where you degrade yourself? Are there areas in your thought process that could be changed so happiness and success can arrive?

It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that 218e76ad-5533-45f5-9a64-b28209648cef-mediumdetermines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.Anthony Robbins

Choose yourself first.

Where are you today in your self-development? Don’t allow regrets of yesterday to undermine the success you can obtain and the happiness you can have today. You deserve every joy in life. If you struggle to believe that, then the regrets and failures of yesterday are imprisoning you today in a confinement of self-contempt.

Choose today to banish from your mind any self-degrading thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. Then your energy and attention are free to focus on a happy and successful destiny. Choose yourself first.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

What Do You Deserve?

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Do you pause with this question?

What do you deserve? Do you even know? Do you feel guilty for craving more in life?

First, let’s get that guilt out of the way. God, through Jesus, has liberated you self-confidence2from your own guilt and has provided your freedom.

God does not want you living in guilt, self-condemnation, despair, or sabotaging His blessings for you. That is not what He desires for your life. He wants you to have joy, affection, and achievement with your endeavors. God has given each of us talents, skills, gifts, and abilities for use to better our lives and help the lives of other people.

What do you deserve? You deserve happiness, love, and success. You deserve shelter and sunlight and shade and warmth. Done. You deserve to determine your destiny. Fini. You deserve the moon! And you have it. You deserve a universe! It’s all yours.

10433864_10153254889623908_6471637140694356733_nBut, any negative thoughts you have about yourself can cause you to sabotage your relationships, success, and happiness. If you do not treat yourself with love and respect, you can not experience the love and respect of other people.

What do you deserve? If you do not believe you deserve success, you will not experience it. If you do not think you should be happy, you will not find happiness.

What words do you use every day? Critical words? Ones used to complain? Judgmental phrases? Sarcastic tones? Encouraging expressions? Caring speech? Words of gratitude?

Your words reflect your character. Your words reflect what you believe about yourself. Where you are today can be attributed to the words you tell yourself.

Stay aware of the words you choose to verbalize. Do they match the character IMG_0862you want to role model to others? Are they in agreement with the integrity you want to be associated with?

Jump on any negative thoughts about yourself. Refuse to criticize your mistakes or degrade your limitations.

Pay attention to your inner critical voice that degrades you. Realize it represents voices of those who criticized you in the past. Those voices don’t represent the truth today.

What do you deserve?

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

As Time Goes By

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Time.

timeThe patron and adversary of life: time. It controls us, one, and all, as time goes by. It determines events—births, games, classes, weddings, flights, celebrations, deaths.

It changes the seasons. It ages all life and sparks the new.

It’s a priority—be on time. We give it honor and respect, we thank you for this time. We curse it, what’s taking so long? Waiting lines and wait lists. All as time goes by.

Time. A commodity that cannot be ruled or bought or threatened. It cannot be stolen, bribed, or tortured. It shares itself equally.

It’s a mentor and master for the zealous. A lifetime teacher.

I’ve learned as time goes by—
I’m happier with myself.
The more I say, “I don’t know the answer.
The greater my gratitude.
The more I realize I’ve been wrong about some things.
The less I give advice.
The more I see God in everything.time2
The lighter life’s burdens.
The less I complain.
The more I know my limitations.
The less I want to impress.
The better I am at admitting mistakes.
The more accepting I am of others.
The less I criticize and judge others.
The greater my faith in God.
The sillier and playful I am.
The more I give freely.
The better my life.

If only I had more time.  As time goes by.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

Traits of Toxic People

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TRAITS OF TOXIC PEOPLE – Dr Sandy Nelson

What is this mysterious crowd of individuals called toxic people? And why are they toxic? The personalities of toxic people are prone to traits found in codependency—they seek to control people for their own gain. Their thought process tends to be subjective and egotistical. Their behavior is chronically taxing and frustrating.

The agenda for most toxic people is to take advantage of others. They’re masterstoxic people2 of control—not the psychologically healthy self-control, but the psychologically unhealthy dominating control of others. They use people for their own specific needs.

Toxic people can appear to care about you, but typically the goodwill is not genuine, it’s a front, a scam. They resist supporting your goals for personal development because they want your time and attention to be spent on their needs and agenda. By degrading and criticizing you, they are able to lead you away from your pursuits and manipulate your devotion to theirs.

toxic people1Dr. Travis Bradberry states: Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. (read Dr. Bradberry’s article here)

You probably know some toxic people—they might be co-workers, they might even be friends, odds are you have a toxic person in your family, or you might live with someone toxic. Toxic people are sly. They edge their way into your life, and before you know it, they’re creating chaos and drafting you into their woes and problems. Toxic individuals are completely exhausting to be around and they can have a negative impact on your career and personal goals in life.

The distractions and stress that toxic people bring into your life are usually toxic peoplecostly. Most mental health clinicians would recommend ending relationships with a toxic people for your own well being. You deserve to have genuine friends and loved ones who value you without selfish motives.

Alexendra Palmer states: Detoxing makes you feel lighter, happier and healthier. Doing a food detox is easy, but what about getting rid of toxic people? (You can read Alexendra Palmer’s 5 Ways Your Life Will Improve After You Purge It Of Toxic People here.)

The sooner you remove toxic people from your life, the better.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Out of Focus

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OUT OF FOCUS – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Today, in the National Hockey League Western Conference finals, the Chicago hockey1Blackhawks will play game four with the Anaheim Ducks. The victor of this series will play for the Stanley Cup—the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League(NHL) playoff winner.

I’m a Blackhawk fan. I watch the games. I get the gist of hockey. I don’t know all the rules, but I think any idiot, myself included, knows that this game, among other things, takes focus and attention.

So I stopped to think about what I focus on. Suddenly my mind was bombarded with a cazillion things that occupy my day and I found it difficult to sort it all out to even have a focus.

IMG_1577Should I focus on my attitude? Or topics for my blog? What about my family? How about those bills? How much housework should I get done today? Maybe I should focus on more research and reading. Then the phone is ringing, the doorbell goes off, the dog is barking. Wait, where are those tips about staying focused; they’re here somewhere on my desk where the cat is sleeping.

To accomplish anything takes focus. And to focus, we need to remove distractions that could take us way off track. We need to put down our phones, turn off the music or TV, defer conversations until later. Then we’re ready to sit down with concentration for the task at hand.

I think it’s wise to start the every day with intentions.IMG_1034

1. Set your intentions for your attitude. Envision your outlook for the day–one of gratitude, kindness, and giving.

2. Decide what’s tasks need to be accomplished. Set the priorities of what projects need your focused attention at work and at home.

4. Then focus on those priorities, without distraction, and you’ll be finished in no time.

Then relax and enjoy what remains of the day. Turn on that TV just in time for a hockey game! I bet you can focus on that!

images (96)Think about it!

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

Ditch That Godawful Attitude Here – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Beyond your heart beat, and everything, how do you know if you’re alive? Is there any excitement or interests in your life? Any passion?

Vernon Howard was a man on a mission. In his books and lectures, it was clear that each day he aspired everyone to experience an emotional awareness of being alive. He was probably one of the first trailblazers for mindfulness in the 1950’s with this statement Try to see what attitudes rule your day, then ask yourself what kind of a day you usually have.IMG_2308

What kind of days have you been having lately? Are you sick of the same crap? If the past week has been bleak and negative, or filled with resentment and criticism, chances are high that your attitude on those days has not been working well for you. The bold truth is that if you latch on to a negative outlook you’re experiences in life are going to be negative which then prompts a negative outlook, and so on.

Instead of waiting for life to treat you better before changing a negative attitude, change your attitude first. Focus on the good in your life, find it, accept “what is” in everyday situations, be thankful for what hasn’t gone wrong, and then expect the positive. With that outlook, you’re bound for a good day which then prompts a good attitude!

IMG_2327Joan Baez reminds all of us that: You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.

Most of us are guilty at some time or another of taking life for granted. We’re blinded with the eluding belief that there’s always tomorrow, and next week. In taking life for granted we become immune to the treasures found in each day and instead complain about this or that unfairness. We’re indifferent with other people. Instead of filled with kindness and gratitude, we’re filled with indifference and resentment.

Each dawn is to be a celebration because it’s a gift.  If tomorrow’s arrival was up in the air, how would you live today?

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Dr. Sandy Nelson

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

The Trick In Life – Dr. Sandy Nelson, Life Coach

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What would change in your level of happiness if you craved for nothing except what you already possess? Wouldn’t it be bliss to believe there is nothing IMG_2742more to gain because you have everything that makes you happy? Can you imagine that feeling of abundant happiness from having it all?

On the slip-side, when we make a mental list of those possessions that we feel we lack, our happiness is usually lacking as well. We believe that we can’t be happy unless we have what is missing.

Today, imagine that everything you hold dear to your heart and everything that is important to you is taken away. Make a mental list. Don’t be vague about it, be specific. Imagine your laptop, iPod, coffee pot, car, your home, your telephone, your loved ones, your friends, your cat, dog, are all gone. Plus, all memories-407021_150those other things on your list that are important to you. Envision your despair, your sadness, your emptiness.

Now, one by one, imagine that those things, and people, are given back to you—your closet once again has clothes, your car is parked in the driveway, your loved ones are around you. You again feel happiness and thankful.

The state of comfort and happiness you experience from this exercise is the state of mind you can experience every single day. Will this mindfulness visualization make a difference in your day-to-day outlook? It can.

The trick in life is not in getting what you want but in wanting what you get after you get it. —Warren Beatty and Robert Towne from the USA Motion picture Love Affair spoken by Katherine Hepburn

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated