Friday, 30 June 2017

Divorce Can Cause Mental Health Issues

Mental health has always been a bit of a taboo subject as it has in the past been associated with being crazy or needing to be locked away in a padded cell. However, the truth is that mental health is just another way of saying “emotional health” or “well-being”.

It affects all of us during our lives as every time we go through a tough or challenging time, suffer a trauma, or endure a stressful situation, our mental health is affected. Common side effects of these difficult times will be feeling sad, anxious, scared or frightened. Some people can cope better than others and bounce back after a short period of time. However, for others it goes deeper and takes longer to recover, or they may become stuck with the negative emotions taking a strong hold over their life.

It is refreshing to hear Prince Harry and Prince William talk openly about their own mental health issues that have plagued them over the last 20 years, since the death of their mother. They are well respected young role models and are demonstrating that this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are.

Divorce is often referred to as the second most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.

There are so many issues that will occupy your mind during a break-up including:

Heartbreak - the pain of losing a loved one and the fear of never being loved again
Betrayal - the broken promises
Conflict - the arguments over the split, money and children
Legal - learning how to work with a lawyer and deal with the huge amount of paperwork
Uncertainty - not knowing your financial situation, where you will be living, lifestyle changes
Negative emotions - sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm are all common side effects
Parenting - learning to be a single parent, co-parenting and having to be strong when you feel weak
Career - managing a job or career when you have to make decisions, lead a team and be on form
Friends - finding out who your true friends are, disappointment as friends don’t step up to support you or difficult choices as you must let them go

These are just some of the challenges that a break-up can cause as the ripple effect of your break-up affects the whole of your life. Some people find it easier to manage stress and have a natural ability to turn things around. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pain, they are just more able to control their emotions and keep a positive outlook.

Other people will struggle to find a light at the end of the tunnel and will become all consumed with their negative emotions. This will negatively impact on their ability to manage in other areas of their life too. It is easy to become stuck and to believe that your life will never be the same again, especially if you don’t have a good support system around you to help you find your way.

So, raising awareness of mental health issues is a great way to show people that it is ok to ask for help. You are not alone in your suffering and there are many other experiencing the same symptoms.

In fact, I created my break-up and divorce coaching programme having been through some dark times myself. The end of my relationship left me feeling alone, scared and frightened of what lay ahead. I was terrified I would never find love again or that I would never even feel happy again. My confidence and self-esteem was in tatters and I doubted my own ability to make simple decisions, yet alone the life changing ones that my lawyers were asking me to make daily. I felt my whole world was shattered and I had no idea how I would be able to piece it back together again.

But the good news is that it is possible. There are techniques and strategies you can use to help you grab back control over your life again and help you to get back on track. It’s not always easy and that’s why you take it step by step and one day at a time.

Please don’t be afraid to ask for help and it is out there and you can feel happy again. 
Having been there myself I understand what it means to be struggling with mental health issues, but I can also say that you can get through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can be happy again.


Thursday, 29 June 2017

Overcoming Challenges

Adversity is part of life. How you overcome that adversity and rise to the challenges in your life can really start to define you as a person. For better or worse, that is something I learned early at a very early age. While some may find that tragic, I find it empowering.

I am not suggesting that it has always been easy... it has just gotten easier. However, it doesn’t happen by itself. When I was a teenager, I was afraid of heights so I took a hot air balloon ride that terrified me for the first 10 minutes and was the most peaceful thing I had ever done for the remaining hour. I couldn’t stand the thought of being the kind of person who lived in fear — of anything! The more something scares me, the more apt I am to try to conquer that fear. While this approach may not be for everyone, I highly recommend it — it is actually quite freeing. The human spirit is an amazing thing. It inspires you at the strangest of times. Much like an athlete that trains regularly, with every hurdle I seemed to grow stronger. Age, wisdom, or just life experience — I grew more and more confident in my ability to overcome challenges.

A series of very serious illnesses at a young age made me realize that my time here is finite and should not be wasted. If there is something I want to do or accomplish, very little can stand in my way. We always think we’ll get to it tomorrow or the next day but, the truth is, we probably won’t because life gets in the way. I adopted a “carpe diem” attitude very early on, mostly out of necessity, because I really did not know how many days I would actually get to seize and then it just became a way of life. I am so grateful for that outlook and, indirectly, for my many challenges and “hardships” because they have given me the gift of a positive attitude and the ability to live for today.

My life took the path that it took... there is no changing it and I have no regrets because I am so lucky for all the gifts I have in my life. Mostly, I am lucky enough to recognize those gifts and I appreciate every moment of happiness in ways that others take for granted.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Summer Switch-Up: Managing the summer when your kids are with the other parent

During summer months, temperatures aren’t the only things rising. For separated and divorced parents anxiety levels can easily reach an all-time high, as summer rolls around and parenting roles get switched-up. Along with negotiating vacation schedules, figuring out who is going to pay for what and fitting in special activities, parents handling more of the day-to-day care of kids find themselves facing the prospect of being childless for an extended period of time.

While seasoned switch-up veterans may secretly be counting down the days to some much-coveted alone time, first timers or those with tenuous situations may feel an overwhelming sense of dread about summer role reversal.

Of course, parents aren’t the only ones fretting. Summer can also be hugely stressful for kids as they navigate between households. Even when circumstances are amiable and cooperative, just the change from school schedule to summer routine can set kids on edge.
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, here are some tips for making the summer switch-up successful for everyone.

Use time to recharge

Unfortunately too many parents treat kid free time more like a dirty little secret than an opportunity to recharge. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and bypass the guilt. It’s actually okay to enjoy a break from being Mom or Dad 24/7. To avoid squandering your well-deserved break, plan ahead and consider how you can constructively use your children’s time away.

To get started take 10 minutes to jot down a list of things you’d normally consider self- indulgent. You can also include things you’ve wanted to get done but haven’t gotten around to yet.

Coming up short on ideas? Ask yourself.

  • When the last time you saw a movie you wanted to see?
  • What would it take to plan a weekend getaway with friends?
  • Is there a hobby or new experience you’ve wanted to try?
  • What’s something you did in the past or “pre-kids” that you might like to do again?

Instead of keeping quiet, feel free to share your summer plans with kids. Not only does it role model good self care but it also reinforces that you feel good about them spending time with the other parent. It also send a clear message that enjoying time apart is okay.

Help kids have a successful experience

Do your best to help build kid’s excitement about their summer getaway with the other parent. Spend time talking it up, making a summer calendar or maybe brainstorming ideas about ways to make it special.

Consider things like:

  • Buying a disposable camera and a small photo album so your kids can make a memory book of their summer with the other parent.
  • Encouraging children to journal or keep a diary about summer events and activities.
  • Creating a summer collection box so kids can collect special trinkets or items to remind them of things they did (for example, a special shell from a trip at the beach or program from a summer concert they attended)
  • Packing special items from your home that children can use and enjoy while at the other household. (P.S. If your child’s something special is something major, like a gaming system or a new puppy, be a considerate co-parent and talk to your ex first before packing it up.)

Be creative about staying connected

Kids love mail. Instead of relying exclusively on modern day technology (i.e. phone calls, text, Skype or emails) consider writing your children letters or sending small care packages. Not only is it a great way connect but also it offers a fantastic opportunity to get your kids writing. The other added plus… some very special memories for both of you.

Although you may miss your kids terribly, remember to be respectful of the other parent’s time and take a balanced approach when contacting kids over the summer. Since every situation is different, it’s best to gauge frequency and time of day on your children’s need and ages. Young children may need regular phone calls while a teen feels perfectly comfortable with texting. Whenever possible use good co-parenting etiquette and consult your ex to find out what will work best with their summer schedule.

If this is your first summer…

Keep your anxiety in check

Kids are extremely sensitive to parental stress so make sure your children’s QT with the other parent isn’t tainted with worry. No matter how sad or apprehensive you feel, remember, you are the parent. Do your best to responsibly manage your feelings and not leave children wondering if you’re going to be okay while they’re gone. If necessary, get support from trusted friend or family member to help you sort things out.

It’s perfectly okay to tell your children you love them and that you will miss them. However, don’t forget to reassure them that time with the other parent is important and that you want them to enjoy it.

Whether this is your first summer or your fifth, don’t forget that absence makes the heart grow fonder. When time apart is constructive it can deepen everyone’s appreciation for the important people in their lives.

Have a fabulous summer


6 Easy Ways To Be A Whole Lot More Optimistic About Anything

If you're a pessimist, you can vault yourself into a worst-case scenario in a nanosecond. You get an invitation to dinner from a new neighbor, and you imagine an awkward meal, followed by a lifetime of mutual dislike right on your own block. New clothes are a torment, lying in wait for a ruinous dab of salad dressing. A trip to one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the country? At best, you'll be miserably cold or break an ankle; at worst, you'll wind up snow-blind.

Negativity may appear to be a great defense mechanism: If you keep your expectations low enough, you won't be crushed when things don't work out. But recent research has revealed that the tendency to be a wet blanket in just about any situation—a trait the experts call "dispositional pessimism"—doesn't merely ruin a good time and prevent you from making friends. It seems that it's a bad strategy by about every measure. Optimists, it turns out, do better in most avenues of life, whether it's work, school, sports, or relationships. They get depressed less often than pessimists do, make more money, and have happier marriages (you won't want to miss these 5 secrets for a happy marriage—from a couple who met 84 years ago).

And not only in the short run. There's evidence that optimists live longer, too. A 9-year study of cardiovascular health in more than 900 men and women in the Netherlands found that pessimists not only die sooner of heart disease than optimists, but they also die sooner of just about everything. And pessimism has even been linked to higher odds of developing dementia.

Fortunately, a grim outlook doesn't have to be permanent. Leading researchers say that optimism and pessimism are two ends of a continuum, with about 80% of the US population scattered from mildly to relentlessly optimistic. But research reveals that if you're hunkered down on the other end, you can slide on over—or at least get some of the benefits that usually cluster on the optimistic side of the scale, says Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, an optimism researcher at the University of Kentucky and author of Breaking Murphy's Law. It takes only a few changes. They're small, gradual—and not what you'd expect.

Don't try to be happy.

In one of Segerstrom's favorite studies, researchers asked a group of people to use a beautiful piece of classical music to raise their moods, while telling other volunteers simply to listen to the symphony. The result: The concert didn't help those who were focused on lifting their spirits—but the others wound up feeling much better.

"To truly be happy, you have to stop trying," says Segerstrom (it's true; naturally happy people never do these 6 things). Even monitoring yourself—Am I feeling better yet?—gets in the way, studies show.

Instead, aim to be engaged. "Engagement bypasses pessimism," she says. One reason: When you're fully involved in something, it can distract you from a pessimist's favorite pastime—rumination. (That's what psychologists call the destructive pattern of obsessing endlessly over problems or concerns.) When you're ruminating, it's not just a bad day—it's always a bad day, and a bad life, and you're a bad person. The habit will blow up even a minor problem to billboard size. It takes up so much bandwidth, who has room to focus on a solution? It's no surprise that optimists accomplish more than pessimists.

Attitude adjustment: Find quick distractions you can use when you realize you're stuck on the same negative thought, suggests Segerstrom. Try activities that demand your full attention: Go to a yoga class (or a kickboxing or aerobics class, where you have to commit fully to avoid falling on your face). At the office, try calling a friend or switching on some absorbing music.

Imagine that it's the end of the world.

Ruminating is just one road to pessimism. Another habit that dims your outlook: a process called catastrophizing, mentally rewriting grim possibilities until they become true doomsday scenarios. A simple cough turns into pneumonia (and not the kind you recover from, either). One missed deadline is the first step in a fast trip to permanent unemployment.
This rumination-and-catastrophization combo packs a terrible one-two punch: Worst-case scenarios may be absurd, but playing them over and over makes them seem not only logical but inevitable. And it sucks the joy out of life.

Attitude adjustment: Exaggerate those scenarios to the point of comic hilarity, says Karen Reivich, PhD, codirector of the Penn Resiliency Project at the University of Pennsylvania and coauthor of The Resilience Factor. "At some point you think, Oh, come on, now. Am I really going to be living beneath an underpass in a refrigerator box because I'm a day late on a project?" 

Don't stop with the refrigerator box. Picture yourself trying to trap squirrels for supper—maybe even whipping up some squirrel fondue for the other bag ladies you've met under the bridge. Then paint the opposite scenario. Your project makes your company a million dollars! You're promoted to CEO! Finally, write down the outcome that's most likely. Chances are, it won't include the executive suite—or the one under the freeway.
"The beauty of this goofing around is that you feel a bit of power over your thoughts and the situation," Reivich says. "That sense of control is the antidote to pessimism."

Go ahead, blame someone else.

Researchers have learned that optimism and pessimism both boil down to little more than our "explanatory" style—a person's distinct way of interpreting life's ups and downs. When a good thing happens, pessimists dismiss it as a fluke; optimists take the credit. When bad things happen, pessimists blame themselves and expect to suffer a long time, while optimists see bad events as having little to do with them, and as one-time problems that will pass quickly. A pessimist who misses a shot on the tennis court says, "I'm lousy at tennis"; an optimist says, "My opponent has a killer serve."

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD, author of Learned Optimism and a pioneer of positive psychology, was the first to discover that a person's explanatory style is fairly stable—and that it often explains why pessimists fail when optimists succeed. After all, it's easier to keep practicing your tennis serve if you're sure you'll do fine against someone at your level.

Thanks to the power of their explanatory style, optimists have an easier time even when things go wrong. Optimistic breast cancer patients are just as depressed by bad news as their pessimistic counterparts, researchers have found. But women with an optimistic disposition are more likely to expect their cancer ordeal to have a positive outcome, studies show; not surprisingly, these women report significantly greater emotional well-being during treatment, while pessimists suffer more distress. 

The good news: Researchers have found that pessimistic, self-blaming people can learn to come up with alternative explanations for setbacks and move forward to problem solving. However, making a long-term mindset switch takes continuous effort.

Attitude adjustment: When you catch yourself thinking like a pessimist, reframe the problem so that it's not all your fault. Instead of standing alone at a party thinking, No one is interested in talking with me—I look pathetic! try something like Where's the hostess? I'd never let a newcomer fend for herself without making introductions!
Of course, a true optimist wouldn't go looking for a scapegoat—and you do have to acknowledge your contribution to a problem if you want to make it better. But it helps to recognize that you're not the problem, even if your behavior could use some tweaking. Finally, set a small, achievable goal: Find that hostess and ask her to introduce you to three people at the party.

Try, try again.

Why do optimists tend to end up with so much to feel good about? Long after pessimists have given up and gone home, optimists keep trying to solve problems. In one study, optimists continued to work on unscrambling an impossible-to-solve anagram 50 to 100% longer than pessimists.

There wasn't a lot of payoff for persistence in the anagram exercise (and the pessimists are still thinking, suckers!). But in the real world, studies show that persistence leads to more success in school, a fatter paycheck, and a host of other perks.

In fact, in a study of law students, Segerstrom found that a person's level of optimism in the first year of law school corresponded with his or her salary 10 years later. The impact wasn't measly: On a 5-point optimism scale, every 1-point increase in optimism translated into a $33,000 bump in annual income.

Attitude adjustment: The quickest way to get yourself into the positive-feedback loop that keeps optimists going strong (hard work leads to success, which leads to more self-confidence and a willingness to work even harder, which leads to...) is to act like one. What's more, studies looking at the "fake it till you make it" approach show that it can have a surprisingly strong—and immediate—impact on your emotions. In research at Wake Forest University, for example, scientists asked a group of 50 students to act like extroverts for 15 minutes in a group discussion, even if they didn't feel like it. The more assertive and energetic the students acted, the happier they were.

What's best about this kind of cognitive-behavioral change is that it doesn't even require much faith, Segerstrom says. "You don't have to believe an antibiotic is going to work for it to work." The same is true of reaping the benefits of adopting a positive mindset. 

Make friends with an optimist.

If you're not in the mood for playacting, hooking up with an optimist may be the next best strategy. A yearlong study of more than 100 college-age couples from the University of Oregon found that both positive thinkers and their partners have greater satisfaction in their relationships than optimist-free pairs, in part because happy-go-lucky types tend to see their partners as supportive.

"If you are the partner of an optimist, both of you will be more satisfied in the relationship and more constructive in resolving conflicts," says Sanjay Srivastava, PhD, lead researcher on the study. It's not that a rosy worldview is contagious, it's just that you'll feel more positive about the relationship.

Attitude adjustment: Besides "slipstreaming" on your partner's optimism, socialize with cheery friends and bounce ideas off your more positive colleagues; research hints that these kinds of relationships with up-side types can make you feel better, too. And if you happen to be married to a pessimist, or are on your own? Your optimistic friends and coworkers are your best sounding board.

Try these 3 quick, feel-good moves:

You don't have to spend years in therapy to become more positive. Studies have shown that these three strategies take just 1 week to make a real improvement, according Seligman.

Use your signature strengths in a new way: Researchers asked study participants about their top five strengths—generosity, for instance, or creativity—and then told them to use one of these strengths in a new and different way every day for 1 week. The result? The volunteers measurably increased their happiness for a full 6 months.

Write down the good things: Every day, a group of adults was asked to write down three things that had gone well and why they happened. And again, even though the experiment lasted only 1 week, participants reported feeling happier for 6 months afterward.

Pay a gratitude visit: People were given 1 week to write and then deliver a letter of gratitude in person to someone who had been especially kind to them, but whom they had never thanked properly. The happiness boost from this experiment lasted about 1 month.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

6 Kinds Of Adversity, And How To Overcome Them

Our troubles don’t define us. However, the way we handle them does. 

Because of that, we should always be aware of the kinds of adversity we might face in our lives, and understand the tools and techniques that can be used to overcome them.

Adversity comes in many different forms. Here are six kinds of trials you might face, and what you can do to get out the other side.

1. Physical Adversity

A physical disability is the most obvious example of physical adversity. The quarterback who breaks his spine during a football game and is suddenly stuck in a wheelchair faces a number of new challenges and a drastic change to the way he lives his life.

There are less drastic but similarly problematic types of physical adversity, as well. Handicaps like chronic pain, fatigue and obesity force people to fight to achieve a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Whether they’re unable to exercise how they want to, have to more carefully monitor their health or have to deal with other limitations most of us will never know, those with some type of physical adversity face barriers that are not easily overcome.

What can people do to handle their specific situations, other than seeking out magical cures? There are a lot of options for coping with physical limitations, big and small.

A priority should first be put on coming to terms with your condition. Accept that it’s a part of your life (at least for now) and that you’ll be facing struggles that most others won’t. Don’t obsess over how it’s not “fair.” Rather, learn to live with the adversity without feeling bitter about it.

On that same note, you need to consistently take good care of yourself. Whatever steps you can take to manage your health, physical and otherwise, you should take. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and positive thinking are all necessary components to doing well.

If that still isn’t enough, look for support groups made up of people going through similar circumstances. There are services from such organizations as Overeaters Anonymous, the American Chronic Pain Association and more to help you find a community of individuals who can relate to how you’re feeling.

2. Mental Adversity

Just like a physical handicap might limit you, so can a mental problem.

Being properly treated by psychiatrists and psychologists is obviously crucial to managing your mental health, but there are steps you need to take beyond going to the doctor. If you’re dealing with mental anguish, routines are your friend. Get in a pattern of waking up, exercising and especially taking your medication at the same times of day.

Another key aspect of handling mental health problems is to never give up on the idea of getting better. Things can be rough for a while, sometimes quite a while, but there’s always something new you can try to improve your well-being.

Work with a doctor on adjusting your medications and adding supplements. Keep trying different kinds of meditation and mindfulness techniques until you find something that works for you. Confront your problems.

If something stops being as effective, go back to the well to find something that will do the trick. Keep looking, and you will eventually find sanctuary.

3. Emotional Adversity

Most of us desperately need to learn how to have our feelings without letting them overcome us. Emotional maturity comes from experience and an effective state of mind. Those who don’t have that maturity face more difficulties in life.

A very common, very human problem is for people to undervalue themselves. Those individuals need to learn how to improve their self-worth.

Another emotion that can overwhelm us is rage. Schools don’t teach you how to forgive, even if they should. You have to figure that out for yourself or find guidance elsewhere.
Every emotion, no matter how fierce, can be tamed. Learn to tame yours through the resources available to you (this Huffington Post article is a great one) and by keeping a watchful eye on them in case they flare up.

4. Social Adversity

How we interact with people is paramount to our success. Life is awfully lonely without friends by your side1. You can’t get a promotion at work if your boss doesn’t enjoy being around you.

That means that anyone who doesn’t have certain social skills is at a major disadvantage. People who are “awkward” (such as those that fall somewhere on the autism spectrum) face major and sometimes insurmountable hurdles to succeed in either their personal or professional lives.

What can people do to handle social problems? There are creative and surprising things you can do when you’re lonely. Likewise, there are programs and self-help books that will help you improve your social game. Almost anyone can benefit from a little study and practice into how to improve their people skills.

5. Spiritual Adversity

Faith in some kind of a higher power is generally an advantage in life. That higher power doesn’t even have to be a god. People who believe strongly in the human spirit, the power of community or something equally important will often attain a sense of peace that a lot of others do not.

If you don’t have that, find it. Enrich yourself by embracing something that you think matters. 
If you already have some kind of faith but feel it slipping, return to the core of why you put your faith into it.

6. Financial Adversity

One of the most obvious kinds of adversity is when you don’t have the money to afford a certain lifestyle. There is no quick way to go from rags to riches, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial well-being.

Learning new skills doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Oftentimes you can make more from a trade school than you can from a university.

Additionally, there are plenty of ways to learn new skills! Night school at a community college is fairly affordable. is a wonderful service that teaches you marketable skills for as low as $25 a month. If you make a small investment and spend a few hours a week learning, you can head down a whole new career trajectory.

There are also effective ways to set a budget. We’ve recommended Mint before, because of its versatility, ease of use and ability to track your spending habits. But really, any kind of budget plan can get you a long way.

It’s not easy. No one is saying it is. But, if you have the willpower and mental fortitude, you can move yourself beyond your current means.

Sometimes your adversity will be too complicated for one category to contain. Physical symptoms might accompany a mental health issue. At times you have financial problems specifically because of your difficulty socializing/networking.

Even if your adversity is multi-pronged, look at the suggestions given in this article and see how they can apply to your situation. Keep in mind that there’s a lot of crossover between the strategies to fight different struggles. Mix and match them until you find a way to face and surpass the challenges that are holding you back from success.


Monday, 26 June 2017

When Your Back Is Against the Wall... Push!

You have two choices... quit or move forward. Since quitting is not an option, you must push forward. Sure, the uncertainties of life can overwhelm you, but you are equipped for the task! It is important to stand in your reality. Whatever issue or obstacle that has currently reared its head in your life, you must stare it in the face, identify it, and make it your purpose to overcome it. Identifying the issues in your life removes fear of the unknown and forces you to focus on defeating the problem at hand. Adopting the mindset that you will conquer and not be conquered can ultimately change a person’s outlook from a victim to a victor.

As a society, we spend so much time ignoring our personal issues that we convince ourselves that we no longer have problems that need a resolution. Thus, our greatest offense as human beings is lying to ourselves. Be honest with yourself — do you feel stuck? Are you unhappy with your current career status? Are you way behind on the personal or professional goals that you were certain that you would accomplish by this stage in your life? Identify your obstacles and figure out a method to work through your thoughts, whether you voice your concerns out loud to yourself or discuss them with a loved one — do not allow negativity to exist in your mind any longer. As a living, breathing human being, you owe it to yourself to get to the source of any issue that you may have so that you can determine what is attempting to steal your joy. Once you have identified the burden at hand, make it your goal to overcome it. Simply put, you must know why you are fighting in order to win the fight.

At times, life can throw curve balls, but you must determine in your mind that before any obstacle takes place, you will win the fight! Learn to embrace the growing process and have faith that you will endure any “pit” in your life. Acknowledging the challenging moments of your life ultimately make the moment when you reach the “peak” of your life more enjoyable. In fact, sometimes the bumps and the bruises one receives during a journey prove to be the highlight of the story because those experiences provide the full perspective of one’s journey and make the victory even sweeter.

Remember, you were not made to be stagnant — you were made to evolve! It is true that change can be uncomfortable; however, it is essential for growth. Sometimes it is necessary to sit on the sideline and take a break, but you must get up with more energy and a solid strategy to succeed. While you are taking a break, surround yourself with positivity and people that embrace change so that you do not become complacent. Understand that God made you to perform a specific task that only you can perform, so trust that He is preparing you for it. Your job is to be an open vessel. Therefore, you must fight the fight because this world needs what only you have to offer. You are one of a kind and your story cannot end with defeat. You are equipped with the power that you need to excel so make up your mind right now that you can and will walk into your purpose. Always remember, during any obstacle, if your back is against the wall, you must push forward because the world is waiting for you!


Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why Small Moments Matter

Reading up on the latest future trends and technologies, I can sometimes geek out. I’m fascinated to know what might be coming. We have entered a phase of accelerated change—things are going to happen so quickly and I do believe that many of the new technologies will be able to transform our world. The big key to all of this is to find your own inner peace and joy.

In all that I do, I have a core message that is simply choose love over fear. If you can live each day focusing on those small moments, looking for joy and all that is going well, you’ll find that at the end of the day, you can string these moments throughout the day (often bridging over the challenges and negativity) to realize that it was a pretty good day. And doing this every day means your weeks turn out pretty good, and in the end, chances are you’ll live a pretty darn good life!

This is a way of practicing gratitude very consciously.

A concept I share regularly with others is that you need to watch closely what you “feed your brain.” It’s so easy these days to get bombarded with negativity. You really have to make an effort to counter balance all the negativity with a lot of positive information. One of my latest favorite tricks (especially on my Facebook feed) is looking at awe-inspiring images. I’ve liked several pages that just post amazing pictures so my newsfeed is filled with beautiful pictures. And it makes me feel joy!

Appreciation is one of the fastest ways to feel better too. Whether you are showing gratitude to others or for those small moments, it shifts your way of looking at the world. You see things from a more positive light. I’m not saying it’s always easy. It’s very similar to a muscle that needs to be trained. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So make that conscious choice each and every day.

The last thing I’d like to share is how you can keep your own peace. Just imagine the eye of the storm. It’s always calm and lovely while there’s a raging storm going on all around. Be that eye of the storm in your life. Make that choice! Learn to not go into knee-jerk reactions but rather, put a pause in, a space, where you can choose exactly how you want to respond. 
You can do this through taking three deep breathes before saying anything, taking a walk, being very mindful and be aware of your emotions. Don’t let things get to you, keep that peace inside of you and you will be a positive force to be reckoned with that will help to calm others as well. I promise that!


Saturday, 24 June 2017

8 Ways to Finally Stop Wasting Your Time Hating Your Ex

Hating your ex is only hurting you.

You’ve done it! You’ve finally created a post-divorce life for yourself that you love. And honestly, things are absolutely perfect. Well, perfect except for one thing – you still hate your ex.

Hating your ex for a while as you heal from your divorce is part of the process. But when the hatred doesn’t abate despite moving on in every other way, it’s time to re-evaluate the energy you’re continuing to invest in the animosity.

The fact that you still hate your ex reflects all the hurt you felt about the end of your marriage and/or your ex’s behavior before, during and after the end. And these are valid reasons to seriously dislike, mistrust, and/or wish your ex would fall off the face of the planet.

But the more time, effort and emotional energy you spend hating your ex, the less time, effort and emotional energy you have for you and your nearly perfect new life. And seriously, your ex doesn’t deserve any more of you, do they?

So now it’s time to put the detestation behind you and stop investing in the past.

Here are 8 tips to help you move on if you still hate your ex:

Get Grateful.

Start focusing on what’s good about your life now. Any time your mind wanders to the past and what did or didn’t happen, remember that today you’ve got a great life and shift your attention to what’s good.

Take a time-out from technology.

Being connected is a fact of life and has its benefits and detriments. And technology has a couple significant drawbacks when you’re still hating your ex.

First, the ability to connect 24/7 increases the likelihood of yet another argument with your ex. Second, the ability to keep tabs on what your ex is doing.

Neither of these is necessary or good for you, so do what you have to do to eliminate being constantly connected to your ex and the temptation to cyberstalk them.

Curb the caffeine.

Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline which stimulates the fight, flight or freeze response. So when you know you will need to interact with your ex, cut down on your caffeine consumption and you’ll find that you are more able to keep your cool.

Stop the negative self-talk.

When you load yourself up with negativity about you, it’s really easy to want to shift the focus (and blame) from you to your ex which only exacerbates your extreme dislike. So learn to stop the negative chatter about you and you’ll start being less vulnerable to your ex’s antics.

Get sufficient slumber.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that if you don’t get enough sleep, you tend are grumpier the next day.

Well, if you’ve already got plenty of reasons for still hating your ex, then cheating yourself out of the rest and recovery that sleep offers will just make you that much more prone to continuing your hatred because you’re too exhausted to try something different.

Change your perspective.

You’ve already had to change your perspective about so many things because of your divorce. Choosing to change how you feel about your ex is just another one of the perspectives you’ll be better off changing that continuing to center on.

(And changing your perspective doesn’t mean that you’re going to forget. It just means that you’re not going to focus on the negativity anymore.)

Set boundaries.

There’s no reason why you can’t come up with appropriate limits to how and when you will engage with your ex.

(Obviously, if you have kids your engagement with your ex will be much greater than if you don’t.)

Stay aware of your emotions.

Hate is a very strong emotion. When you’re stuck hating your ex, it’s very easy for the hatred to seem to take on a life of its own. That’s when you know you have a habit, an unconscious reflexive emotion of hatred toward your ex.

By staying aware of your emotions, you’ll be able to catch yourself in the habit of hostility and choose to change your thoughts as you consciously move on from hating your ex.

Employing these 8 tips won’t cause you to immediately stop hating your ex. But they will get you on the correct path for finally moving past the hatred and hurt.

And if you find that after working these 8 tips on your own for a while that you’re still stuck hating your ex, then it’s time to reach out for some help. There are plenty of divorce professionals who can help you overcome your hatred.

Your time is precious – arguably the most precious resource you have. You’ve already invested so much time into your ex and the marriage you had. You don’t need to continue to spend any more of your life hating your ex.

You deserve to fully enjoy the wonderful new life you’ve created for yourself without your ex ever taking anymore undeserved focus again.


Friday, 23 June 2017

7 Thoughtful Ways to Stress Less

Let go a little to be happier and live better.

How many of you want to grow old faster? What, no takers?!

Well, did you know you accelerate your aging when you regularly experience stress or anxiety? Seriously, if you’re too tired or too wired, take note of the seven strategies here to help you stress a little less:

1. Give up the daily guilt.

Let’s get some perspective. Too many of us waste time feeling guilty that our life is out of balance, but you’ll never feel balanced as long as you have goals and dreams. Why? There’s always way too much to do, to learn, to accomplish.

If you’re like me and have passion for your work, it’s easy to lose yourself in your tasks and projects since they bring you joy. At a certain point, however, I have to consciously ditch work to spend time with friends and family (minus my phone).

Quit thinking you need to “touch” everything each day and look at how “balanced” your life is over a period of time, not a specific day of the week. Take this one step farther and realize that it’s about being balanced over your lifetime. It all evens out.

2. Realize good is good enough.

Any other recovering perfectionists out there? Stop wasting time creating the “perfect” proposal, letter or marketing brochure, seeking the ideal gift for your nephew, the best comforter for your bedroom, or the supremely clean house. Stop at 80 percent and move on to the next task. Otherwise, hours of your life are wasted and nobody notices the difference but you. Get over yourself and take a step closer to acceptance.

3. Snooze, or lose.

Yeah, I can hear you stress puppies already: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” But the point is you will be dead sooner as a result. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. Without sleep, you are worthless to yourself and those around you.

Staying up even one hour later to finish a task or watch Grey’s Anatomy costs you more than your health. Try irritability, trouble retaining information, minor illness, poor judgment, increased mistakes and even weight gain. A Harvard Business Review study of 975 global managers determined that 45 percent of high-earning managers are too pooped to even speak to their spouse or partner after work. This is your wake-up call to get your ZZZ’s.

4. Scale back on drive time.

When choosing a new doctor, dentist, hairdresser, whatever, find one as close to home as possible. Bonus: with gas so expensive, think of the savings! The same holds true when finding activities for any family members—stay local. Sure the ideal preschool, soccer club or SAT study group may be a longer commute, but add up all the drive time in advance and ask if it’s really worth it before committing to rush-hour jams and early alarm clocks.

Still determined? Set up carpools and recognize you don’t have to be at every activity. Sure it’s fun to participate, but your child will not turn into a serial killer if you miss a few games or performances.

5. Say no to others so you can say yes to you.

Are you turning down distractions disguised as opportunities? Are you being asked to join social sites that are leaving you no time to network with the people under your roof? Are you still knocking yourself out to host the annual Labor Day party when all you see is the labor ahead?

It’s not selfish to say no to others when the intent is to clear some space to say yes to you. Life does go on even if you aren’t involved in every activity, party or event. Look at it this way: Being missed makes you more interesting and appreciated when you do show up.

6. Power off.

The quickest way to gain downtime is to turn off the phone, TV and computer and enjoy the lack of distractions. I’ve spoken to people who feel anxious when their DVR is overloaded with recordings and they don’t have the time to watch their shows. C’mon, do you really need to know who’s getting kicked off the island or what has-been star can dance?

Some people say TV relaxes them, but I believe it’s more of a habit than a way to lower stress. TV just numbs you, and when the show’s over, your pressures resurface. Same with the computer. Sure, it’s great to connect with old friends on Facebook, but do you really need to know what someone ate for dinner?

Rather than screen sucking, grab that unopened book from your shelf, call a good friend or grab a cup of your favorite beverage and reflect on your day.

7. Embrace the messiness.

Having been raised by not one but two neat freaks, my old mantra was: There is a place for everything and everything belongs in its place. When I was single, the television remote stayed in the same spot, my pillows were strategically placed, and the countertops were void of dishes.

Now that I share my life with a family, the opposite is true. My new mantra: A clean house doesn’t define you; it confines you. Even with twice-monthly help, my house is usually messy—not dirty, but messy… big difference and one I’m learning to live with if I want to have a life outside of cleaning.

Embrace the messiness. It comes with the territory and means you’re leading a busy,fulfilling life—not a Stepford existence.

And if all else fails, remember you’re too blessed to be stressed! It’s impossible to feel stress and be grateful at the same time. When you’re on overwhelm, simply take a deep breath and count your blessings—works every time.


You have the power over your mind... Control what you can and accept what you can't!

"You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength." 

- Marcus Aurelius

A few thoughts on how to manage the mind and focus on what we can control while accepting the things we cannot. Master the mind, and the rest will follow!

Access further insight, information, encouragement and support for helping you to Thrive after Divorce or separation at:

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Life’s Crossroads: How To Thrive in Times of Change

Life’s crossroads create opportunity for us to choose between different options, and when we see someone embracing the moment when choices are decided upon, it can be awe-inspiring. A crossroads is about change. Choices must be made — not just when things are not working out as we had planned, but also during positive moments when we must choose to continue the course or veer off into something new. When we experience an ending in a marriage, a change in careers, political upheavals, the end of childrearing, or challenges with our health, the crossroads we find ourselves facing can either inspire us to choose differently, or during these moments of change we can paralyze ourselves with fear.

Making a crossroads a moment of profound and lasting change and learning how to thrive when life’s changes descend upon us can be learned.

The key to weathering life’s crossroads:

1. Do not settle for normal. When our habitual response leads us to what is expected and customary — when we choose ordinary — we can expect the unremarkable.

2. Do not resist. Attempting to control, manipulate or force things to happen is a typical response to the fear that comes with change. Some of us will be so fearful that we refuse to make a change without understanding that even if we choose not to make a decision or take action, this in and of itself is a choice. Our learned way of coping with stress and uncertainty should be reevaluated constantly as we evolve in this world. Move with the changes instead of against them.

3. Trust your deepest feelings for guidance. We all know, deep within ourselves, what we need to do — what we know, how to think, when to trust — during times of crisis. We can learn to access and trust our innate wisdom; it is personal and always available. Through this, we will know how to adjust our course, move toward our personal destiny. When we don’t follow our inner guidance, we feel a loss of power and energy.

4. Dream bigger. Change what you expect from life and then create a plan and work to cultivate the right conditions for your growth and success.

5. Limit distractions and strive to create balance in the midst of chaos. When we let go of our own or other’s agendas and when we push away the demanding concerns of the moment, we are able to hear our own thoughts. Do less at the moments of crossroads and give yourself the gift of time — time to be in the present moment. Respect the value of being here and now. Ask yourself, “What is the one area of my life that needs more balance?”

6. Failure is just another way to start again. When we face a crossroads with fearlessness and the choice turns out to be prosperous, we are hailed as a genius or visionary. When our choice creates failure, then we are judged harshly, ridiculed and diminished, and it has the potential to make being fearless more difficult when we face the next crossroads. We must remember that failing creates not only additional opportunities for success, but fosters courage and determination in those of us who are brave enough to attempt it.

When I’m faced with fear at life’s inevitable crossroads, I have learned to “let it rip“ and charge “no holds barred“ into the abyss — if for no other reason than to see what is there. I have emerged out the other side bloody and battered at times, but I’m stronger for having risked, taken a stand, trusted and believed.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Are We Too Stable? Conflict Role Modeling After Divorce

One of the issues with divorce parenting is the question of relationship role modelling. How will children learn what a good relationship looks like if they never see one? How will they learn how to treat someone in a marriage? More specifially—how will they learn to deal with conflict? This is a sensitive issue for me, because I blame conflict avoidance in large part for the demise of my marriage to my children’s father. I have learned that in order to keep a relationship healthy, you can’t let things simmer below the surface for years.

I don’t know how valid of a concern this is, since children are actually in relationships already—just not romantic ones. In fact, I think the sibling relationship is a pretty good foundation for learning how to treat people you live with, but even if kids don’t have siblings, they have parents, teachers, and friends. But since most if not all divorced parents have guilt and anxiety about parenting—and they tell me non-divorced parents also have guilt and anxiety about parenting as well—I thought it was a nice subject to obsess about for an afternoon.

My kids and I have been cohabitating with my SigO for several years now. He and I present (I think anyway) a stable relationship role model for the children. But is it too stable? The nature of shared parenting allows us to do all our fighting when the kids aren’t home, or at least when they are sound asleep. The boys have never seen us fight. Oh sure, they have witnessed a clipped sentence followed by, “We’ll talk about that later,” on one or two occasions, but by-and-large we present as a happy couple that never argues. Which is a lie.

The current parenting trend is one that discourages arguing in general. We expect our precious little darlings to talk it out and never raise their voices to each other, which is all well and good in a utopia, but not actually how I operate in my own life.

Sometimes I get mad at my SigO. Sometimes I use a harsh tone of voice. Sometimes I am completely irrational and refuse to back down and it is only after an hour of arguing with him that I can finally see my own part in the problem. OK, full disclosure, sometimes it is a few days before I am ready to compromise. And I don’t think this is that unusual.

For example, yesterday my SigO cleaned the whole house and put the dish soap under the sink. I put the dish soap back on the counter when I washed dishes and left it there, because dish soap belongs on the counter. He came in the kitchen and put it back under the sink. We had words about the ideal location for dish soap, and they weren’t all philosophical.

I think a lot of stupid arguments aren’t actually stupid, they are just about the wrong things. We fight over things like dish soap when we really are mad about who cleans the most, or who makes the bigger mess. In this instance, my SigO is definitely a far more thorough house cleaner than I am, and I provide the things that make the most mess—children and pets. But I am the one who cleans most often, and therefore feel like I get to decide where the dish soap resides, since I use it most of the time. But of course this whole spat (and its resolution) happened out of sight of the children. By the time they came home from Daddy’s everything was smooth and easy again.

I don’t want to fight with my SigO in front of the children. I don’t want to argue with anyone in front of the children. So how are my kids going to learn that it is OK to fight, sometimes necessary to fight (particularly if they live with someone who hides the dish soap) and that there are acceptable ways to argue and ways that cross the line? I spent several hours of a road trip contemplating my failure as a parent for not role-modeling conflict resolution, before I came to an important realisation:

In less than two years my eldest will become a teenager. This will naturally present all the angst and strife we will need! I am sure we can all look forward to several years of arguments around the dinner table and in the hallway at midnight. I’ll relax, and keep our grownup strife out of their view for just a little while longer.


Highly Optimistic People Do These 10 Things

We all know a person or two who always see the sunny side of life. These people are happy, outgoing, vivacious, energetic, and full of spunk and spirit. They look for the positive in every situation. They have a clear head and an open heart. Their glass is always half-full, maybe even, overflowing. Their lives revolve around the good things that they do, the good thoughts that they think, and the good things that they choose to see.

An increasing number of scientific studies and independent research has shown that optimistic people have better mental and physical health. Optimistic people tend to live longer, overcome difficulties faster, manage stress better, have lower rates of depression, and focus more on their true purpose in life. Overall, the studies behind the benefits of being optimistic prove that it pays great dividends to develop a positive outlook on life.

The world would be so grateful if it had more optimistic people in it. So, let’s start developing some habits that will move us in that direction:

Smile often.

Smiling makes you feel better about yourself and your life on the inside. It also helps to attract more positive people to you. Wear a smile like a badge of honor. When we smile, we create the type of environment we want to live in and work in. Smiling releases tension and frustration, it helps us to think about tough situations differently, and it loosens up our face so other people will feel comfortable around us. On the other hand, frowning or looking sad all the time, attracts negative energy and negative people to us. It makes difficult situations more difficult and our lives harder to manage.

Be thankful.

Appreciate the good things and good people that come into your life. Express your appreciation with words and deeds. If you’re not grateful for what you have in life, you will not get more. At the same time, we should also be grateful for the bad things in life, and even for the difficult people that come into our lives. These things are given to us to make us stronger, wiser, brighter, and better people. Be thankful for the good and the bad in every situation because all of it helps guide us to live brilliant lives. That’s the whole point of being optimistic.

Laugh a lot.

The Bible got it right: “Laughter is like medicine.” Some things in life are serious, and those things should be taken seriously. But some things are just down right funny. Some things are so stupid that they’re funny. Some of the things we do, the mistakes we make, the mindless behavior, is funny. Learn to open up and laugh. Have a ball laughing at yourself, at other people (seriously, some people are funny), at silly things, at serious things. Come on, don’t be stuck up and take everything so seriously. Don’t take yourself seriously either. You can get through the tough times of life much easier if you learn to laugh. Life is like a cake. The serious stuff is on the inside, but it’s covered over in icing so you can’t see it.

Take responsibility.

So often, people blame their past, their family, their environment, and even third parties who don’t know them, such as the government, for their problems. Blaming people for what you alone can change will only make you sadder and depressed. People who take responsibility for the choices that they make, by default, live happier lives. When you accept who you are and realize that what you do is under no one else’s control but yours, you will begin to see optimism rise in your life. You are in control of you. No one can block your sunshine or hinder you from success unless you let them.


When we truly listen to other people, we are saying by our behavior that we are confident and secure within ourselves to be open to what other people have to say. We don’t know everything. When we open our minds and ears, we allow more knowledge and wisdom to come in and resonate with us instead of blocking out the good ideas and thoughts of others. When we know what we know and at the same time are willing to listen to what other people know, we attract more of the good stuff that we desire in life. Not only should we listen to positive people, but we should listen to God, to our conscience, and to the often silent cry of those who are poor, desperate, and without hope.

Show kindness.

Those who have a bright outlook on life are better equipped to handle the not so fortunate situations of other people. They can often bring a positive view to a negative situation and show the person going through it a different way out. Optimistic people see what can be done when other people don’t and can’t see it. These people shine a candle for others. They light the path so that others can follow in it. They step out, take a little child’s hand in theirs and help to make that child’s life better. They fight for those who are weak and they dream for those who can’t or won’t dream for themselves.


Okay, sure, forgiveness is easier said than done. But unforgiveness hurts us more than it hurts the person who needs to be forgiven. People are not perfect; they disappoint, they make mistakes, they say things that they shouldn’t, and do things that they know will hurt. But you can never move forward if you’re always holding grudges against people who hurt you in the past. Let stuff go. Cancel out the debt of hurt and pain. Bad experiences and hurtful people do not define us. Forgive. Even if they don’t ask for it, forgive them anyway. 
Optimistic people don’t let past hurts hinder their present progress. Forgiveness always leads to freedom.

Do your thing.

Positive people are insanely in love with what they do. They know who they are, they know what their gifts and talents are, and they are crazily happy to wake up and make things happen. Their purpose is the fuel that propels them forward to climb higher and to do bigger and better things in life. They are undeterred by roadblocks and setbacks. They see every day as an exciting challenge. They live in the moment and are passionate about the possibilities of greatness that lie within them. At the same time, positive people are able to encourage and appreciate the gifts and talents of others. They are not envious or jealous of the success of other people. Why? They don’t have time to because they are too busy being successful themselves.

Think positively.

When we think of a hospital, we often think of all the people who are sick or dying, the needles that must be inserted, the blood that must be drawn, the skin that must be grafted, the leg that must be amputated, the heart that must be replaced, and the kidney that must be transplanted. Sure, all of these things and more must be done. But rarely do we think about the baby that is being delivered, the organ being donated, the brain tumor that has been removed, the cancer that has been caught early, the medicine that has done its job, and the lives that are being saved. See, when we start to visualize the good things that come from bad situations, we open up our minds to see the wonderful things waiting to be seen. The sun continues to shine even when it’s raining. There is always a rainbow waiting to burst forth after the rain. Optimistic people always see the good, the positive, the sunshine, the rainbow. If we think we can, we can. It takes more energy to worry about what can’t be done then it does to work on what can be done. Positive thinking people don’t live in Pollyanna land, but they do realistically see the world and life in a forward manner. They are able to deal with the tough stuff and at the same time attract more of the good stuff to their lives. Life is not left up to chance, it is left up to our choices. We often hear people say, “It is what it is.” Really? No. It is what you make it.

Be inspiring.

You can’t live your life to yourself. That’s selfish. Live openly. Let other people be inspired by what you do. Be a person who creates things for other people to enjoy. Few people write books, but millions read them. Few people sing songs, but millions listen to them. Few people know how to give good advice, but millions follow them. The world needs inspiring people, creative people, awesome people. Be one of them.