The Sweet Spot of Discomfort

One of the principles of natural horsemanship is to work your horse in short bursts outside of his comfort zone. The idea is that the familiar no longer stimulates his learning, so moving from familiar to unfamiliar and right back to familiar sandwiches new learning between something he is comfortable with. Slowly his training zone encompasses what used to be scary, so that new experience becomes familiar.

Think about this principle in your life. Remember when that new job, new sport or new experience gave you an anxious or excited feeling and now it has become routine.

When was the last time you pushed yourself a little bit to venture into uncharted territory. We are not talking about something that will blow your mind, just something that when you imagine it is slightly uncomfortable.

Imagine that experience, something you really want to do. Now imagine deciding it is too….something, too risky, too scary, too new. Close your eyes and scan your body after deciding not to do it. Do you feel relieved or disappointed? If you feel disappointed this is something you are ready to lean into.

How do you begin?

  1. Make a concrete decision to engage in the experience, even if it feels scary.
  1. Create a simple plan to prepare for the experience. What are the skills necessary to complete the experience?
  1. Break those skills down into small manageable steps.
  1. Create a realistic timeline by enlisting the help of someone with experience in this area. For example if you have always wanted to go ballroom dancing, ask an instructor to outline the process and time involved for learning one or two dances. Does it involve weekly lessons? How many hours of practice generally to prepare?
  1. Set a timeline based on your simple steps for your first experience. Ask someone who has already lived the experience to give you an idea of a realistic timeline.
  1. Start small and work your way up. By beginning with smaller experiences you build up your skills and confidence to handle the bigger experiences.

 

Live your life! It feels invigorating to push a little outside your comfort zone.

 

Gain Confidence

As an elite national athlete in a sport that relies strongly on mental strength and confidence in ones ability, working with Jill has given me the tools through hypnosis, to feel more powerful and confident than ever before in my training and in competition. Being able to find my focus and keep my focus throughout my routines has allowed me to become more consistent in my performances. Whether I am competing at a Provincial, National or representing Canada at an International competition, I feel ready and prepared for which ever obstacles I am faced with.”

S.D. Lower Mainland, B.C.

Pet Loss

Pets are a huge part of many people’s lives. More than “an animal” a pet is your companion, confidant, friend and often protector. Your pet is there to cheer you up, listen to you, make you laugh and give you love. More than anything, your pet gives you this love unconditionally. No matter what kind of day you are having your pet is happy to see you, even if you have only been gone for a few moments. Many of us love our pet so much that we attribute human characteristics to them. Pets seem endlessly patient, eager to spend time with you creating a strong connection.

For seniors and singles a pet (especially a dog) creates a connection to the outside world. Urging you out of your house for walks, where you often meet, connect and socialize with other dogs and dog owners.

The healing aspects of pets have been well documented. Dogs and cats are used for therapeutic purposes in long-term care and hospital settings. Patients calm down and relax while stroking a pet. What they give you is immeasurable and when you lose them it is often an agonizing experience.

The grief experience is often palpable and unavoidable. Your routine is now upset- no more feedings, walks or cuddling. Coming home to a house empty of pets can be a physically and emotionally painful experience. This process has no timeline and although it is experienced uniquely by everyone there are some commonalities.

Initially you may feel overwhelmed by your pet’s death and have a hard time processing and accepting it. This is often followed by intense feelings of unfairness towards the situation. These feelings of unfairness can linger for a very long time and may come and go in waves.

Eventually you may find yourself falling into a depression as you realize the gravity of the situation, you will never see your pet again. The emptiness of the house and the change of your routine highlight the pain.

Although the length and intensity of this process is unique for everyone there are ways to help you work through it.

First and foremost is to acknowledge the importance this special pet had in your life. Allow yourself to feel, experience and express whatever emotions come up. You are mourning a family member, allow that process to happen, accept and embrace it. Others around you may not understand your deep connection to your special friend and your consequent sadness. During this time take good care to spend time with those who understand and appreciate your loss.

You may choose to honour your pet’s memory with a symbol. Veterinary clinics may offer your pet’s ashes, a ceramic foot print or another memento. Choose to hold onto whatever you feel is important.

Pet memorial services are a nice way to allow others who loved your pet to say goodbye to him/her and comfort you.

When, how and if you add another pet to your family is up to you. Adding another pet does not mean replacing the memory of the pet that you have lost, but it can help you to move along when you are ready. Do it when you believe that you are able to emotionally focus on the pet you are adding as a new and distinct member of your family. This new pet, especially if adopted from a shelter, will love and comfort you as you continue your journey of healing.

If intense feelings of grief persist for an extended period of time seek out help from a therapist who can help you relieve this emotional pressure and get things back on track.