Challenges of Families Isolating Together

In a way, being quarantined or social distancing with your family is like a strange social experiment. Under pressure, cracks that have existed might intensify. Often couples or families use tactics like keeping busy as a way of managing problems or conflict. Without the ability to be apart, strain and tension can begin to take a toll.

If things are starting to wind up, feel uncomfortable or getting intense, there are simple strategies we can use to create a safe space, enhance relationships, improve communication and learn to get along.

Let me help you and your family develop healthy, respectful and effective skills for living together.

I am available for telephone and online appointments through a secure and easy platform which can be booked at Living Wellness Centre or by calling 1-604-535-3335, you may also contact me directly at jillarnold@shaw.ca

What are your rules for living true?

Our belief systems are wide open when we are born. We develop beliefs about the world we live in during the early years in our family, then in school and our community. Our young mind is a sponge soaking up everything we notice, experience and imagine. Along the way through life our rules of living become more solidified and we believe them.

Some of the rules we have woven into our book of living create stress, tension, pressure and discomfort. A large part of our population suffers with depression, relationship frustrations, unhappiness and stress related coping behaviours that have their root in believing these often rigid rules.

What “Rules” have you been following that cause you pain? 

Lester grew up in a family that lived through the depression. Food was scarce and his parents were happy for any work that would put bread on the table. Mom and Dad wanted the best for him and his sister, sacrificing long hours of work so the kids could get a good education and then find a professional position. Lester grew up believing that success came in the form of a suit and an office job, the only problem was that he found working in an office very routine and boring. To counter his boring day Lester started to create excitement at night, gambling without telling his wife what he was doing.

Eventually his extra curricular activities caught up to him and through therapy he was able to go through the process of examining and disintegrating the beliefs that were not valid for him. Lester learned that what he had been led to believe about career success did not work for him, and that was ok. He was able to develop beliefs that felt more true and resonated with him. Lester followed his new rules and used his education to take a position as a sales representative which aligned with his desire for unpredictable experiences and pressure. He was much happier and felt more like the him he had always wanted to be.

Consider the rules you are living by, do they add or relieve pressure, safety or comfort? What alternative rules could there be? Looking at our own internal belief system from a more objective point of view is something I coach my clients through.

How do you start and end your day and how does that decision effect your mood?

Our gadgets have become like second nature. Notice, do you automatically reach for your phone or tablet when you wake up and right before you go to sleep? 

There is no question that technology can make our lives easier; however, our brain and nervous systems are “old-equipment”. What that means is that they are easily triggered—our mind and body, which are connected, cannot distinguish between real and imaginary events and they respond the same way. What we focus on can influence our physical and emotional state in both positive and negative ways. When our mind decides an experience or information (real or imaginary) is dangerous, it sets off the fight or flight response.

Reading articles or social media postings that can wind you up are jarring, disappointing, upsetting, and complex can create a chain reaction of stress in our body. Our mood, outlook for the day, and our sleep can also be effected.

How do you use social media? Are you comparing yourself to others? Is your brain exposed to disturbing pictures or content? Notice how that effects your sleep or your mood? 

Rather than automatically reaching for a gadget, consider creating rituals in the morning and before bed. Rituals can allow you to set an intention and pave the way for thinking or feeling states to begin or end your day. It could be as simple as picturing your favourite place to be or a person to be with. It could be taking several cleansing breaths or as complex as a series of stretches, yoga poses, verbal statements, or even singing a favourite song. All of these options and anything else that resonates with you can become foundations of your wellness plan. These are many of the Embodied practices I teach my clients to calm their internal environment.

Next time your hand automatically reaches for a gadget, play with a different choice and notice the results.

What if the imperfection you believe is holding you back isn’t true?

I was walking with two of my favourite women the other day. Both of these women are intelligent, creative and outwardly attractive people. It was an illuminating moment for me as we were walking and each randomly brought up a physical feature that they were hyper aware of. This feature about their appearance was really bothering them and I could tell that they had been very focused on finding a solution to their “problem”. The interesting part of this experience was that I had never been aware nor could see the actual physical problem bothering them.

It made me wonder how much of our time and energy we bypass from a positive focus in our life to a feature of our appearance that we believe is holding us back. Yet what if no one else can see it?

I have certainly met both women and men who were holding themselves back in life until they…lost the weight…got into shape…got healthy….fixed some other aspect of their physical appearance

Our thought limitations so powerfully create this belief that we can’t achieve the things that we want until….that elusive situation comes to be.

What if the beliefs holding us back are not actually true? What if somewhere in our mind we created this false belief that we have rehearsed so many times it feels like part of who we are?

If you notice you are constantly criticizing yourself, or having a silent conversation around waiting to begin what you really want – after …… is resolved, life could be on hold because of a limiting belief. Now imagine yourself in the same situation free of the belief that was holding you back. How is your life?

The idea of limiting beliefs is old school Cognitive Behavioral Therapy developed by Dr. Aaron Beck. Today there are new pioneers like Byron Katie who have managed to put a new spin on old work.

In my practice I have had an incredible amount of success helping people break through and dissolve beliefs holding them back from living a rich and satisfying life. Watching beliefs dissolve is amazing, it is almost as if people can finally and freely breathe deeply.

Stress-What is it really and how does it work?

We have all heard about the negative effects of stress and how in today’s world we are under so much more of it but what is it really?

Imagine it this way-we experience an event (real or imaginary) and then in an instant we perceive that event. The event itself is called a stressor. Our perception of that stressor sends an automatic message to our mind and our body.

If we perceive the event as positive we experience what is called eustress or positive stress. We may feel energized or excited by it. It might give us energy to perform well in things like a competition, gig, speech, academic requirement or job interview.
We might even enjoy how it feels.

If we experience the event as negative we experience distress. This negative stressor might cause us to feel alarmed, anxious, panicked, tense, depressed or unhappy. We may feel butterflies in our stomach, or a tightening in our chest, tense muscles in our neck, back or shoulders. We might clench or grind our teeth, have a hard time concentrating or thinking or get a headache.

The moment we perceive a stressor as distress, our mind and body that are connected go through a series of chemical changes that are both short and long term acting. Over time and repetition this distress might impact our mind and body negatively. Diseases such as diabetes, digestive disorders, autoimmune diseases, a decreased immune system, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and high cholesterol are a few negative symptoms of chronic stress.

A partial list of emotional symptoms can include; insomnia, emotional eating, anxiety (social anxiety, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder) depression, anger and resentment, a short attention span, difficulty maintaining relationships and difficulty coping with work.

Understanding that these symptoms are treatable is the first step towards change. Counselling and Hypnotherapy in combination can release the built up negative emotional pressure that results from chronic stress and allow you to find a calm, safe place from which to re engineer the areas in your life creating the distress. Counselling and hypnotherapy can allow you to balance out your life so that it is enjoyable, positive and fulfilling.

Removing Negative Emotion

Negative emotions and patterns of self destructive behaviours blocked me from living my life. Jill worked patiently to bring my awareness to certain issues behind the patterns and from there we worked at allowing the patterns to dissolve. It is also important to note that Jill provided me with the “skills” I needed to go forward in my life; skills that I can and do use when faced with situations that would have overwhelmed me in the past. I do not underachieve anymore. For the first time ever I have emotional freedom to make decisions that will take me where I want to go in life and in these past months I have come a long way.”

L.A. – Fraser Valley, B.C.