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Stress Management – “The Chocolate Meditation”

“HELP… I am STRESSED Out!!!”

*Chocolate Meditation: Don’t have time to meditate or even want to???  You might want to try this one on for size.  I often do this exercise in my Empowerment Workshops as well as Stress Management Workshops when working with large groups, agencies, or companies.

1.  Grab a small piece of chocolate – it could be a Hershey’s kiss or something small.  Don’t like chocolate, no problem you can use a mint, a sugar free hard candy, whatever you fancy.

2.  Sit in a quiet place – Give yourself the next 3 to 5 minutes.  You could sit in your car, shut your office door, lock yourself away from your spouse and/or kids.  Wherever you can get a few quiet moments, do it.

3.  Close your eyes, get comfortable, & relaxed

4.  With your eyes closed – unwrap the chocolate (mint, candy, etc) and just hold it in your hand.

5.  Place it – up to your nose and smell it, keep your eyes closed!  What scents do you smell?  What do you notice that you have not noticed before?  Explore the chocolate with your sense of smell.  Get curious about it.  Do you smell aromas of cinnamon? bitter chocolate? caramel?  Notice if any memories pop up, you might start to salivate anticipating the taste, just be patient and explore for a moment.

6.  Put it – in your mouth and just let it sit on your tongue.  Don’t move it around, don’t bite it, just let it sit there.  Notice your thoughts, notice how you feel… do you feel frustrated, eager, peaceful… just notice, what are you noticing?  It is important not to judge your thoughts, let them pass through like the wind – effortlessly.  Don’t get caught up on doing this “right”, it is for you and your enjoyment. Are you eyes still closed; they should be...

7.  Allow – the chocolate to melt on your tongue, move it around a bit letting it get all over the tongue and teeth.  What tastes do you notice?  Are you reminded of a special time or occasion?  Get present!

8.  Slowly – begin to bite and chew the chocolate, take your time.  If you are usually impatient just notice it and settle in to this moment, bring all your attention and awareness to your sense of taste.

9. Enjoy the moment.  YOU deserve it!  When you are ready presence yourself back into the room and take an inventory of how you feel, are you relaxed, feeling a little more at peace?  If so consider what it might be like to give yourself this undivided attention for 3 – 5 minutes everyday…

In our fast food, fast paced, technology driven society we have to “work at” decompressing, letting go, shutting down and getting centered.  At times it can feel like just “another thing to do” or “another task to add into our already busy schedules”, believe me I get it!  I have learned to take time out to quiet and still the mind as a daily practice.  It becomes a necessity, almost like an information detox – get present, get centered then go be productive.   Keep tuned in for more helpful tips and hints this month.  I you are interested in creating or scheduling a stress management workshop for a group, company or agency please feel free to contact us Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com or via phone 954-401-9011

By Katie Lemieux

transgender suicide

Transgendered Youth & Suicide – “Comfortable N UR Skin”

There’s 19 million transgender people and 50% attempt suicide before the age of 20… meet one who’s standing so that the others don’t have to struggle. An inspiring video designed to alter what’s considered normal in our society and provide a space for everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.

A fundraiser was held for Sky, so he can have the experience of feeling comfortable in his own skin.  This fundraiser just wasn’t for him but a stand for what his commitment is to all transgendered people!  Sky looks to make this an annual event supporting other transgendered people.  Sky works at the YES Institute in Miami supporting other transgendered people, educating the community and being a stand for what matters to him most, the ability for everyone to feel comfortable with who they experience themselves as in the world.

 

By Katie Lemieux

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Marriage and Couples Counseling – “Shifting the Anatomy of an Argument”

This comes from our work with couples and families. All couples and families argue and many of them have tried different things but they seem to talk about and discuss the same argument over and over. Seeing we do couples and family counseling often we have created and suggested shaking things up.  Here are some of our thoughts, interventions and ideas!

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1.  Schedule and Time Your Argument: Do you argue often with your significant other?  Why not set a certain time aside and commit everyday to arguing for a set amount of time. Crazy you think, but why not, you are most likely to do it anyway?

If you feel like arguing earlier put it off until the time you agreed upon, save everything you want to argue about until the time comes. If you set time to argue every evening at 7pm for 20 minutes then do it, diligently.  If you run out of things to argue about keep arguing until the time is up.  When the time is up, stop and resume same time tomorrow or whatever days and times you choose.

2.  Relocate: Take your argument to a different place.  If you always argue in the bedroom why not jump in the shower and continue to argue, perhaps the library, grocery store, stand on opposite ends of the garage facing the wall,  turn back to back and keep arguing…

3. Get Close: get really close! For this one I suggest hugging each other and continuing to argue or wrap yourselves into a sleeping bag and carry on.

One of my favorite stories is from my friend Kim.  When she was a child her mother ingeniously created a consequence that yielded amazing results.  In order to “punish” her for being mean to her younger brother her mother used to make her and her brother sit in front of one another indian style and hold hands.  Kim was so disgusted by her brother’s “puppy dog smell” being mean to her brother didn’t last long.

4. Communicate in a Different Way: Does speaking add fire to the argument? Why not write it out or type out your argument?  It will shift and change the anatomy of the argument.  Want to make some fun out of your argument how about playing “Wheel of Fortune” or Hangman with what you want to communicate to your significant other.  There are many ways to communicate differently.  Feel free to add your creative ideas by leaving a comment for other to read.

5.  Record It:  This is a juicy one, only for the brave!  You get to see, explore, examine how you really behave and act when you are upset.  Go grab your phone, a voice recorder, a video camera, etc and record your next argument then when you are calm and can listen from an objective point of view play it back to explore patterns of behavior, themes, etc.

by Katie Lemieux