Our Storytelling Mind

Things happen in life that create certain thought patterns or self-judgement.  This can be a result of a critical comment from a parent or the way you felt when you smiled at someone and they didn’t smile back.

This self-judgement continues on throughout our lives often without us even realizing were doing it.  Recognizing these thought patterns take away their power and set us on a path for happiness.

#1 Always and Never Thinking:  Taking a single negative event and turning it into something that always or never happens. For example:

“I forgot to pay a bill” can become “I always forget, what’s wrong with me?” 

If there’s something wrong with you, then there’s something wrong with me and age has nothing to do with it. My 10 yr son is constantly forgetting to do chores and homework; wait, is it constantly or conveniently I forget which.

To change this first recognize this always/never thought pattern, then try to remember that telling yourself you always forget isn’t best.  Instead, remind yourself that you sometimes forget and that is normal.  We all forget things from time to time.

#2 Mindreading:  This thought pattern usually leaves us feeling bad about our self.  It’s a result of what we perceive others to be thinking about us or something we’ve done and it’s often negative.  Subsequently, how we view our self is thrust upon another person and can really mess with our self-esteem.

“They don’t think I’m good enough” translates into “I don’t think I’m good enough”  

Instead remind yourself that you are not a psychic and that there is no way to know what another human being is thinking without asking–unless of course he’s a man then it’s pretty obvious (drum roll please).  No, but, really stop trying to read minds and keep your self-judgement positive.

#3 Should’a:  This way of thinking puts the focus on how things should be or how I should feel, leading to severe self-criticism as well as feelings of resentment toward others.

“I shouldn’t feel this way”  can be translated into “I understand why I feel this way”

Thinking of  what you should have done or how things should be can result in feelings of shame and guilt towards oneself.  This standard can also be applied to others resulting in disappointment for expectations unmet.  How many of us have cried during a commercial for tampons? Then over analysed our crying, which then leads to more crying.  Why can’t we just have a good cry about periods and be done with it.

#4 Taking it Personal:  Taking everything personally can make us feel like everything is our fault.  Anything that happens is somehow connected to something we did or said, even if that is impossible.

“Emily didn’t wave at me, she didn’t like something I said” OR  ‘Emily didn’t wave because she was upset about something that happened at work (which ultimately had nothing to do with me)’

It wasn’t so long ago when we thought the sun revolved around the earth.  So of course, everything revolves around us.  Right!  Your so Vain, I bet you think this song is about you, don’t you? Don’t you? Don’t you? heh!   It’s normal to take a situation and put yourself at the center; after all, the only perception we have is our own.  From now on,  try to take yourself out of the center and let things just be as they are.  No judgement.

#5 Comparison:  measuring oneself against others can foster feelings of inferiority, even when the comparison may be impractical.

 “The grass is always greener…”

Another person may seem to have it all but are likely struggling in unseen areas that we could never know about or understand.  Making comparisons places unrealistic expectations on ourselves to perform at levels that are often imaginary.  Instead, become a principal of your principles or in other words make your own rules.  Realize what your’re measuring yourself against is a one size fits all when we come in all shape, sizes, and skill sets.  Stop comparing and become the best version of yourself.  No one else can top that.

#6 Fortune Telling:  You feel as if  you can tell the future and it is often bad.  These predictions are often based on past experiences even if it has only happened once.

“I’ll never find a parking space” can become “we’ll find the first available”

Hey, if you are looking for parking at least your getting out of the house.  Am I right?  But seriously, I personally have spent a lot of time on worse case scenarios only to be let down by the the situation only being half-bad.  Maybe if I hadn’t assumed the worst and just let things be as they are, then it would have turned out just fine.  Let’s start to look for better possible outcomes.  Seeing future events in a negative light often puts us in a bad mood from the start and can set the tone for the entire day.

How can we start changing these negative thought patterns?

First, observe the thought.  Next, accept the thought.  Then let go of the thought (Meaning don’t get involved with the thought.  Simply observe it), Lastly, follow up with non-judgment.  Don’t judge the thought or even the fact that you had the thought.  Accept and Dismiss it.  Try a positive thought in its place.  I don’t mean lie to yourself.  I just mean find something that feels better.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is another great way to effect change and can be found at https://eft.mercola.com/.   I use this method as well as mindfulness to develop new ways to navigate through and release negative thought patterns.

If you could use some help, I offer services such as reiki and energywork  that can aid you on your journey to emotional freedom. Ask yourself these 4 question from Katie Byron. This is an excellent tool to assist in the process of healing overwhelming thought emotion.

“Think positive!  Why not?   Give the negative thoughts some competition.”

What Meditation is and isn’t?

What is meditation:  a word that symbolizes different aspects of a concept.  To meditate means to focus,  whether it be focusing on a symbol, a word, a visual image or images, a phrase, or something as simple as your very breath.  

Why meditate:  To be; To remain present; To Consider; To Observe; To Separate; For Balance

When you meditate you the (I) are focusing on one thing meanwhile all of your thoughts, concerns and feelings are happening in the background.  Once you begin this practice you will notice the separation from the (I) or self from thought and feeling.  These thoughts and feelings have an energy all on their own.  Separating yourself from thoughts and feelings allows you to observe and consider what’s important.

When you begin you will notice what is sometimes referred to as “monkey mind”  Taking the time to become still is like standing up on a podium in front of a crowd asking for questions.   Every person/thought in the room will want your attention and will start to shout and raise their hand.  This is a normal and necessary part of the process.  This allows you to take notice of what you mind tends to race towards or what feelings come up without judgement or expectation.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a practice and is called such because you will always be practicing.  It is a daily endeavor with no goal other than growth and self improvement.  Silence can happen on occasion but should not be expected or considered the finish line.  On this journey you will encounter moments of bliss and of boredom.  Your mind will race and you will feel like you accomplished absolutely nothing.  Yet, every moment you set aside time in attempt to remain in the present;  will be rewarded with a conditioning of the mind to do so more often.   It is not total elimination of thought we seek but separation from overpowering thought emotion.  

Meditation is like taking a shower.  It’s a cleansing of mind/spirit/body connection.  It allows you to clear out negative thought emotion (body odor), It’s an opportunity to evaluate what needs attention so it can be released (shaving) and it allows you to renew with positive energy (lavender soap.)  

Thought emotion is often associated with Waves in the ocean, they flow in and out with no more significance than that of it’s natural state.  Its purpose merely being that of flow and nothing more.  Another metaphor significant to me and my process, is the connection of thought emotion and a breeze.  The wind simply blows, flowing in and out, some breezes are light and airy while others blow with a force so hard it cannot be ignored.   

The following are steps important to any meditation practice:  First, we observe the thought.  Next, we accept the thought.  Then let go of the thought (Meaning don’t get involved with the thought.  Simply observe it), Lastly, follow up with non-judgment.  Don’t judge the thought or even the fact that you had the thought.  Accept and Dismiss it.  

If you could use some help, I offer services that can aid you on your journey to emotional freedom.

Thoughts and feelings are only suggestions; Choose what to hold onto.


Massage Therapy during Covid-19

Massage can be extremely beneficial anytime but especially during a time of quarantine and social distancing. The comfort of touch is hard wired into us humans whether it be hug, high-five, or a simple pat on the back.  Whenever we receive contact in comforting ways our brains are flooded with dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These feel-good hormones help regulate our mood and make us feel calmer and happier. When we are not able to have this contact on a regular basis our brains tend to suffer from the lack of these chemicals resulting in depression, anxiety and stress.

 “Tiffany Field, the director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been studying the psychology of touch for more than three decades, focusing mainly on the effects of massage. What she and others have shown is that anything that moves the skin with a bit of pressure—hugging, holding hands, massage—stimulates pressure receptors beneath the skin. Those receptors then send electrical signals to the vagus nerve, a superhighway of the nervous system with thoroughfares leading to nearly every organ of the body and a direct line into the brainstem, which automatically regulates breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.” -Yeager

Self-massage can help alleviate some of social distancing blues by activating the receptors of the skin. This can include rolling a tennis or golf ball under your feet or using a foam roller on the back.

Living through a pandemic can be very stressful so it’s only natural to crave a soothing massage to help ease the tension. Hiring a professional massage therapist could be the very thing you need to catch your second wind but with Covid-19 restrictions lessening while we are entering a third wave and Covid-19 cases on the rise is it safe? Does the risk outweigh the reward? Experts say “If you are high-risk or are frequently in contact with someone who is high-risk, it’s best to minimize close contact with other people as best as you can.”

If that is not a concern then it’s simply a matter of taking proper precautions. Your massage therapist and you should both be wearing a mask at all times. Do not go to your appointment if you are not feeling well. Be sure your therapist is changing sheets and disinfecting all surfaces. Try to pick a location that minimizes your exposure to others as much as possible.

TLC Massage and Energywork is a small spa that follows The American Massage Therapy Association Guidelines for massage therapists and clients. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of a professional massage in a secure environment check us out at www.tlcmassageandenergywork.com.