The Power of Journaling

Journaling is an ancient practice that dates back to the 10th century. Many successful people, including presidents, have kept a journal to document their journey. There is powering journaling that can’t be duplicated through other avenues of communication.

Many women, like me, started journaling when they were young girls by keeping a diary. Journaling was an excellent way to process thoughts, fears, and feelings in a safe space. Writing doesn’t have to be eloquent to be purposeful.

Writing engages the left brain which is logical and rational and frees up the right brain to be creative, intuitive, and tap into emotions. This process can be beneficial to provide solutions to the challenges you are facing. Capturing daily activities creates several benefits:

Clarity – Writing can be therapeutic when it comes to processing thoughts and feelings. If you feel jumbled and don’t know what the next step is in your business, journaling can bring about clarity. Entrepreneurs can get stuck in the procrastination trap when they lose clarity of their goals or feel a lack of direction.

Confidence – Journaling about your successes leaves a trail of accomplishments. Writing out your achievements creates a track record you can refer back to in times of doubt. Building a business can be hard on your self-esteem, being intentional about capturing large and small milestones can be a powerful confidence booster.

Communication – Exploring negative feelings or painful emotions through journaling can improve communication skills. By acknowledging energy-sucking emotions, you take their power away so you can look at a challenge rationally and develop strategies for overcoming. Rehearsing difficult conversations beforehand can increase the probability of a positive outcome. 

Create Emotional Well Being – Documenting your life experiences allows you to know yourself more intimately. You can see patterns of what makes you happy, sad, or stressed out. You will be able to identify toxic situations and people that drain your energy. Raising your awareness can help you create a solid personal growth plan. 

Construct a happy life – By identifying the people and activities that please you, you can choose to eliminate the people and things that bring you stress. Seeing patterns in your life can help you develop routines and rhythms that are in alignment with your core values.

Life is short. Journaling regularly can help put life in perspective. Getting to know yourself on a deeper level will bring about life satisfaction, help you achieve goals more easily, and live a purpose-filled life. 

If you don’t already journal, here are some simple tips I use to make it a part of my daily routine:

Schedule time – I set aside time at the end of each day to capture my experiences. I prefer to journal in the evening when the house is quiet, so I can take my time without feeling rushed. Setting regular time will help create a habit of journaling.

Have a special place – I have an oversized chair that overlooks the valley. I like to sit and look out at nature while I journal. Grounding myself with the earth evokes my creativity when I write. Nature helps me get back into my body so I can be fully present. I also like to burn a candle or infuser with my favorite scents to calm my mind and allow me to concentrate.

What to write – I include a time of reflection each day. I note what I did well and what I could do better moving forward. I replay the challenges I faced and brainstorm possible solutions. I spend time thinking about my personal growth and the actions I’m taking. I also document any insights from podcasts I’ve listened to or books I’ve read that day. I evaluate my daily routine to see if I need to make adjustments. 

Creating intentional living strategies like journaling can have a powerful impact on your daily productivity. Journaling can help you uncover areas that are keeping you stuck like toxic relationships and time wasters. It can also provide a platform for brainstorming and goal tracking.

Before you embark on your journaling exercises, determine what you wish to gain from the activity. Having a goal in mind will help you structure the how and when so you can get the biggest impact from your efforts. Take control of your life by setting aside at least 20 minutes a day to journal, you’ll be surprised at the difference it will make.

#confidence #journaling #personaldevelopment #awareness

Journaling for Self-Discovery

Several years ago, I joined a six-week boot camp that a coaching friend was putting on. I agreed to join the group because I wanted to support her, but little did I know the fire that would be ignited in my soul.

I have always been a proponent of personal development. I have been an avid reader my entire life and I have used journaling off and on for years, but I didn’t really have a purpose for my writing.

Over the six weeks in the boot camp, we were encouraged to write everything out. At first, it seemed a bit awkward as I had always just used free-flowing writing as my method of getting things out of my head.  But, as we moved through the exercises, a more directed approach began to develop for me.

We had our first call for this year’s boot camp yesterday. It was fun to see how different I am this year than I was at this very time last year. I attribute part of the change to my dedication to consistently journaling with a purpose.

I ask my coaching clients to use this format because I know that it has brought about an incredible transformation in my life.  If you don’t already have a journaling practice, you might want to try some of my tips:

Create space to write – Make your own writing haven. Choose a place that is comfortable and private so you can be alone with your thoughts. Burn a candle or incense to create an ambience that is conducive to mindfulness and tranquility.

I like to write early in the morning or late in the evening when the house is quiet and I can focus. I find my journaling is superficial if I feel rushed or I have to deal with interruptions.

Be observant – When you sit to write be an observer in your life. Notice things that are working well for you. Joyfully celebrate those things in your life. Then, pay close attention to the things that are not working well in your life. Try to pinpoint the root cause. This doesn’t always happen at the first attempt.

If you are not accustomed to being real with yourself, getting to the birthplace of a feeling, thought or mindset can take time. Don’t rush it, allow your subconscious mind to percolate and bring the information to your conscious mind. This might come to you through a dream, a memory, or a song.

Continue to explore and be curious about your feelings. It might feel strange. That’s ok, keep with the process.

Be consistent – Set aside time daily to journal. Writing at the same time each day will help you develop a lifelong habit. Just like training in the gym, you will need to build up your journaling muscle with practice.

If you skip a day, practice self-compassion, and begin again. Put it in your calendar as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. It is just as important as eating right, getting plenty of rest or going to the gym

As you write, you will begin to see patterns in your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. You will have a heightened awareness of how you make decisions and the impact they make on daily life.

Practice gratitude – Showing thankfulness keeps our energy vibrating at its highest levels. You can be grateful for small things like a beautiful sunrise, a letter that came in the mail, or a quiet moment during a hectic day. You can also show gratitude for being approved for a mortgage, a best friend’s engagement, or a promotion at work.
There is no right or wrong in expressing gratitude. Nothing is too small to mention, if it makes you feel good, celebrate it with gratitude. Like energy attracts like energy and the more you express gratitude the more things you’ll attract into your life to be grateful for.

Visualize the future – Keep your goals fresh in your mind. Record progress you are making in each area of your life: personal growth, love & romance, fund & recreation, professional/business, finances, health, and friends & family.

Acknowledge where you are and any challenges you’re facing in getting to the next milestone. Record what is holding you back and create a plan for pushing through. Note how and where you can ask for the support you need.

Change happens from the inside out, but before that can happen, we have to have clarity on who we are. Journaling helps us sort that out. Asking questions of ourselves as we journal will help us dig deep into understanding our core values and limiting mindsets as well as our hopes and fears.

Being able to see who we are on a soul level will also allow us to reveal who we are to others. One of our most basic needs as humans is to know others and to be known. Knowing ourselves on an intimate level will increase our ability to relate to others in a vulnerable intimate way.

What benefits do you hope to discover through journaling?

#bodyimage #selfesteem #confidence #empowermeent #journaling #selfdiscovery

Empowerment Through Communication

We are all unique! There is no one exactly like us in the world.  We are all wired with specific preferences, how we communicate, how we love, qualities we find attractive, foods we enjoy, things that make us laugh, and passions that fill our soul.  

While we all may innately know that, we are surprised when we have conflicts that can’t be resolved without a screaming match, slamming doors as someone walks out of the room or couples going to bed angry with the silent treatment. 

Such tactics cause a rift in our trust with others,  which erodes our ability to give ourselves completely in a relationship and subsequently experience genuine intimacy. Intimacy is based on trust, and it is the fabric of our ability to communicate in a safe environment. It also has a profound impact on how we create physical intimacy.

By default, we all demonstrate and communicate love in the way we want/need to receive it.  We often subconsciously make assumptions that everyone is “just like us” and we get baffled when our attempts to communicate affection fall on deaf ears. 

When I was married, my husband and I had this struggle. We communicated in two entirely different ways; in two entirely different languages. While we felt like we were communicating clearly and effectively, our efforts went unnoticed.  It left us feeling frustrated, rejected and lonely. 

As humans, we have a longing to be accepted and known deeply by others, especially our mate, lover or partner. When we fail to communicate in a manner that offers a connection, we start losing the ability to build intimacy.  

It is essential to recognize the differences in how you and your partner communicate if you want to build deep levels of intellectual and physical intimacy. One of my favorite relationship books, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, sheds light on how different we can be when it comes to communicating with those we care about the most.  We all have a particular propensity to give and receive love in the way we are most comfortable.  He has broken it down into five primary languages: 

Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.  Dr. Chapman outlines how each of the five languages can be applied to first our personal life and then our professional working environments as well.  While his book primarily focused on the personal relationship, Chapman also understood that communicating effectively in the workplace was equally important. Understanding how people wanted and needed to feel appreciated in professional settings was paramount to relationship building and making people feel valued. Let’s explore how each language is applied first personally and then professionally.

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION 

When this is a person’s primary love language, they need encouraging words and affirmations from their partner.  They have a deep longing to feel appreciated and that what they do matters.  Saying, “I love you” is nice, but it’s not specific enough to touch their inner being. Try saying something like “I appreciate it when you make dinner each night.  You take time to plan out delicious menus that make me feel loved and cared for, thank you.”   These types of statements add value to your partner and make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.  Speaking harshly, raising your voice or name-calling can be remarkably wounding to a person with this love language.  While forgiveness may be offered the words and the hurt are not forgotten quickly. 

In a workplace environment, this type of person equally feels appreciated by the words that you use.  People have a need to be affirmed through positive and encouraging words.  This type of interaction charges their battery and builds motivation to give more.  People who feel valued are loyal.  These words can come in the form of a conversation or a written card.  Be aware that introverts and extroverts like to be affirmed in different ways. Take note if you’re accolades should be shared privately or publicly to keep the intended sentiments intact. Negative words can feel like a punch to the gut and entirely demotivate a person with this primary appreciation language. Be intentional about the words and tone you use when dealing with delicate situations.

ACTS of SERVICE

People who experience loving communication through this love language don’t care about your words. They are focused on your ability to see when they need help without them asking.  Actions like washing dinner dishes,  bathing and tucking the kids into bed,  or picking up the dry cleaning on your way home from work speak volumes to them.  Those simple actions communicate that you value their contributions to your relationship and how they make your life run more smoothly.  Broken promises, making messes for them to clean up after, or thoughtless acts suck the air out of their sails and make them feel undervalued and taken advantage of.

In the office, those who fall under the umbrella of communicating by Acts of Service are always busy getting things done. As actions speak louder than words to this type of person, they show appreciation by always delivering project milestones on time, and they expect the same in return.  Nothing makes them feel more undervalued than when someone wastes their time. If you make a commitment to someone with this appreciation language, don’t offend them by not following through.

RECEIVING GIFTS

Some people need something tangible to feel loved.  Gifts make them feel appreciated and valued.  The gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful to someone with this primary love language. Thoughtfulness goes a long way in communicating love to them.  For people with this primary language, not having something tangible to touch and feel can cause them to doubt the connection.  Bringing home flowers or tickets to the big ballgame says volumes to this person’s heart.

On the job, the person with this appreciation language is motivated by incentives.  Winning tickets to the big game or a gift card for dinner when the team achieves a goal means more than words of praise for a job well done.  Taking note of a job well done and rewarding it with a tangible item or experience will keep the fire in their belly burning.

QUALITY TIME

This language focuses on action, not on words. Talk is cheap for people who speak this love language.  Feeling like they are the center of your world brings about feelings of safety and comfort.  Postponing dates, being distracted when you’re together or failure to listen can be especially hurtful.  Being present when you’re with them is crucial to their sense of security.  

At work, people who have quality time as their primary appreciation language want to spend time with you. They want to be noticed in meetings. They need to know they are valued, and that they are essential to the team or organization.  When spending time with them, give them your undivided attention and avoid any interruptions. The time spent with these individuals does not have to belong, but it does need to be focused.  Checking email or sending text messages can be hurtful and disheartening.

PHYSICAL TOUCH

For this person, physical touch says it all.  Everyday touching like hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, kissing and cuddling reaffirm affection.  Non-sexual touch is just as affirming as physical touch in the bedroom. You don’t have to go overboard with public displays of affection to get their attention, but being touchy-feely every now and then makes them feel safe and secure in the relationship.  Any threat or instance of physical abuse would be irreparable for this person. 

In the work environment, you have to be careful that your touch isn’t misunderstood.  Limit your contact to a firm handshake, a pat on the back or a side hug.  Appropriate touch is essential for building connections and relationships with associates who have this primary appreciation language. 

 Dr. Chapman’s book effectively outlines how we may communicate in five different ways in our personal and professional lives. Identifying how we ourselves, our loved ones and work colleagues communicate is essential in establishing and building trust and genuine intimacy. Knowing and understanding how people in our circle want and need to be shown love and appreciation is critical to building lasting and meaningful relationships.  Understanding that we all have different ways of giving and receiving love and appreciation makes us more effective communicators.  
Making people feel valued and appreciated is our primary responsibility if we want to see the people in our lives blossom and reach their full potential.  Being intentional about knowing how to motivate them will create lasting relationships, loyalty and a sense of belongingness we all crave.  Together, we can always create more than we can alone.  How are you building into the lives of people in your life?

#5lovelanguages #empowerment #communication #personaldevelopment

Discipline of Journaling

As a coach, I use the tool of journaling with my clients all of the time. It can help build confidence as we build a history of things we have faced and triumphed over. It can reveal patterns of how we self-sabotage and limit ourselves. But, on a personal level, it can help us get to know who we are on a deeper, more intimate level.

As I continue to help clients transform their lives and feel empowered in all areas of their lives, there was one element I wasn’t touching on because it was taboo. I was afraid of offending them by delving too deep into their personal lives. Yes, you guessed it, our sexuality. If we are going to live a wholehearted life and live our best lives, we can’t leave that aspect of our life out.

What I have discovered is that we all have conditioning and filters that we look at our sexuality through. As we try to build deep and intimate relationships we get stuck. We don’t feel confident or secure to ask for what we want or don’t want in that area of our lives, we leave that to the partner we are with to determine how that will go. Many women I work with don’t know how to initiate those conversations.

There are many factors that hold us back, embarrassment, awkwardness, fear of rejection, or simply not knowing ourselves on a deep enough level to articulate those wants and needs. Women often take a backseat in the bedroom. It’s time we start a dialog with our partners to create the type of intimacy that gives and receives for the betterment of the couple. 

So you might be wondering, what does intimacy, sex and pleasure have to do with journaling? Let me share how it is all tied together. While growing up we were conditioned with certain ideas of what “good girls” do or don’t do. Most of the time, those statements weren’t accompanied by any explanation. So, when we started having desires of our own, if they fell in that “good girls don’t” category, we began to feel shame or guilt. We started to attach a negative label to ourselves. Those darn self-sabotaging gremlins are always hard at work in our subconscious mind!

As we examine our ability to build lasting intimate relationships, we have to look at our conditioning and ask ourselves where those thoughts and feelings originate from. Were the things we observed in our parents’ interactions? Were the ideas we picked up from friends at school? All of our beliefs have an origin and if we want to transform our lives, we have to get to the root of the thought so we can start reprogramming our self-talk.

TV and the media have a lot to say about sex but not so much about intimacy. Young girls get the idea that sex and intimacy are one and the same. An act that lasts 10 minutes and then you get back to what you were doing. When we are feeling lonely in a relationship we can’t figure out why because we are emulating what we see in the media.

No one is talking about what it takes to build intimacy. No one is saying that sex is just one component of intimacy. We are confusing terms and settling for less in this part of our lives because we don’t know what questions to ask. It starts by discovering our wants, needs, and desires through journaling. Our journals are a place for us to safely share our thoughts and feelings and discover who we are deep in our heart of hearts.

In the beginning, journaling can feel awkward. The thoughts and feelings we uncover might not feel comfortable, but that’s ok, don’t give up. Start to look for patterns in your thoughts, examine where those thoughts are coming from and how you feel about them. Ask yourself curious questions. Are you ok with how you feel? Do you want to change how you feel about that specific thing? If you make a change, how would your situation be different? What would the outcome be if you didn’t make a change? Is there a fear of talking about this with your partner? What if your partner isn’t ok with your new discovery? What if your partner isn’t supportive of your self-discovery journey? How can you invite your partner to join you in this season of exploration?

The list of questions could go on and on. There are no right or wrong questions to ask, the purpose of this exercise is to dig deep and discover more of who you are. Until you know who you are at your deepest level, you can’t teach your partner how to love you or share satisfying pleasure with you. Until you know yourself in your most intimate ways, you can’t possibly set expectations for your desires and growth in this area of your life. 
There is nothing shameful about wanting to know more about your physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual self. In a holistic setting, our sexuality encompasses all of those areas of our lives. Each area deserves special attention to cultivate and blossom. Once we can accept that part of our lives we are empowered to set expectations for what we want and need in our relationships in and out of the bedroom.

So, what are you waiting for…grab your journal and start writing!

#journaling #personaldevelopment #awareness #healing #empowerment




10 Simple Ways to Experience More Pleasure In Your Life

Life just keeps getting busier and busier.  If we are not intentional about experiencing pleasure or joy in our life, we will miss out on all of the little things in life that make life so wonderful! Being mindful of the things that bring us pleasure is the first step to actually experiencing more pleasure in life!

If you’re feeling blah and you need to shift your energy, check out these simple tips to add pleasure into your daily life:

  • Pamper your self – Take time for self-care.  Go get a mani/pedi, take a nice hot bubble bath, go for a run or burn a candle. Pampering and self-care are as unique as you are. I love to take my journal and go hiking.  I like to find a perch to overlook the city and just write out my thoughts. Getting into nature and enjoying peace and tranquility brings pleasure to my daily life.
  • Try something new – Trying new things is a great way to expand our experience. Take an art class, go on a road trip, ask someone out on a date, or learn a foreign language. Tap into a part of your brain that you don’t normally use.  I love ballroom dancing, it is an excellent way to use my creativity, enjoy music, and move my body in ways outside of my daily routine. It’s great exercise and it builds confidence.
  • Volunteer at a local charity –  Thinking outside of ourselves can help bring joy and pleasure to everyday life. Choose a local charity to give your time to like a food bank, a homeless shelter, or the NICU at a hospital and donate your time. I volunteer weekly at my granddaughter’s school, I always leave more energized than when I came. Interacting with vibrant five-year-olds who have a hunger for learning brings a deep sense of pleasure and satisfaction.
  • Go to see a live show – Go to the opera, the ballet, an art exhibit or a sporting event. Feel the energy of the people around you. Getting out of your daily routine can help you appreciate the variety of things life has to offer. Going to Vegas and seeing Cirque live is one of my favorite ways to experience joy and pleasure. The anticipation and electricity in the air are rejuvenating!
  • Cook together – As a society we eat out or eat on the go too often. Schedule family night in and cook a meal together.  Shut off the television and engage in conversation. Building intimacy with family increases bonds and strengthens connections. My granddaughter loves to cook so we make sure she gets to help out at least one night a week. She loves to create her own recipes for the family to enjoy.
  • Create a haven in your home – Engage all of your senses when you get in from a long day. Burn candles,  infuse essential oils or set out fresh flowers to invigorate your sense of smell. Have a soft blanket to snuggle up in and watch a movie. Keep a variety of foods you enjoy in the kitchen so you can eat fresh whole foods to fuel your body. Turn the lights down low and enjoy ambient lighting to rest your eyes. Put on some music or background sounds like waves crashing against the shore to relax you at the end of the day. In the winter, I find pleasure burning the fireplace and reading a good book snuggled up in a velvety soft blanket.
  • Do something that makes you feel sexy – Buy some new lingerie, try a new perfume, get a facial or get your hair done. Discover what makes you feel beautiful and sexy. Invest in yourself by indulging every once and a while. When I can find the time, I love to schedule a spa day and pamper myself.  One of my favorite treatments exfoliates your skin and leaves you feeling soft and silky from head to toe!
  • Focus on intimacy – Take time to date your mate. Spend time gazing into each other’s eyes and being fully present. Practice good listening skills and really engage in meaningful conversation. Take in each other’s scent and enjoy each other’s company. I love to touch my partner when we talk to deepen the feeling of connection.
  • Meditate – Day to day life can be overwhelming between family and career. Our level of focus can wane and we can become forgetful. Practice daily meditations and breathing exercises to calm your mind and be more present in your body. Start with 5 minutes a day and work your way up. When I feel stressed, I like to practice box breathing to get me back in my body. Concentring on my breaths helps increase focus and energy.
  • Spice up your sex life – Has romance left the building? Are you just too busy with raising kids and building a career?  Does sex just seem like one more thing on your to-do list?  Keep a sexual journal to look at your feelings and attitudes towards sex. Evaluate your feelings and expectations surrounding sex and find some innovative ways to surprise your lover. One of my favorite ways to enjoy more pleasure during sex is to build anticipation and prolong pleasurable sensations. 

 
Pleasure is everywhere if we just slow down and recognize it. Take a look at your life and see where you feel out of alignment. Take time to focus on areas that need more attention and be mindful about ways you can build pleasure into your life. Taking time to smell the roses and practice daily gratitude will help increase your awareness of the things that bring you pleasure.

#empowerment #pleasure #liveyourbestlife #personaldevelopment #awareness