Current Events

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Life Events

Sometimes I listen to all the things that are going on in a client´s life and realize how easy it is to keep filling our own plate without ever acknowledging how full it has gotten. And sometimes it is just that acknowledgement that can make a big difference and bring some relief.

In psychology there is a system of "life points" for major events in life. Each event counts for a number of points. The points get added up and give a score about how much stress a person has from major life events on top of daily life. Now there are the obvious events like death of a loved one, divorce or loss of a job. But what might surprise you, there are just as many points for events like getting married, having a child, or  getting a dream job.

What they all have in common is that they mean major changes for our daily life, for our routines. There is a lot of not-knowing involved. All that - whether bad or good - is stressing us out. The thing is, there is also a social aspect to it. There is a lot of social support when bad things happen to us. It is easily understood how distressing it is when we loose someone or when we are in a tough spot in life. But there is not much understanding when the most wonderful things happen in life. We have no place to go with our stress then (other than professionals). Also, how could we possibly complain?! We don´t even think of it as stress ourselves, when great things happen in our lives.

That missing acknowledgement of how stressful a happy life event can be, adds even more stress. We don´t stop to think that our energies might be challenged by the change going on. We expect to get just as much done as usual - for example having a child should not change anything around our usual things we take care of. But the truth is, it does change a lot. It is not possible to go on as if nothing had changed.

I always find it brings my clients relief once I acknowledge how much change they are going through and how it amazes me that they are still asking so much of themselves. It opens their eyes, and they start to be more gentle with themselves. Then they start to relax and to incorporate the changes into the whole picture and are making healthier and less stressful decisions for themselves.

We all tend to ask the most of ourselves and can get a bit overboard with what we expect from ourselves. Sometimes it is good to remember that we are just like every one else: human.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Conscious Life Design

"A diamond is a piece of coal that stuck to the job."
from Gentle Reminders by Mitzi Chandler

That quote sums life up in a very simple and powerful way:
Whatever we choose to stick with will manifest. Sometimes we don´t consciously choose, but we always stick to something, and that something will determine our life. That is really good news, because it says that we can consciously design our life, no matter what the history, the upbringing.

I am fascinated with how people design their lives. I love to read biographies and see the conscious life design at work, how these interesting and successful people take it into their own hands and decide what to stick to.

It is true, our life is the sum of our doings, our decisions. No matter what life serves us, we still have the freedom to decide how to receive it, what to do with it, how to be with it.

The most successful and fulfilled lives seem to come out of an alignment with our own values and a conscious decision to stick to our values. I have seen that successful recipe in my work as a psychologist, and I am seeing every day now in work as a Life Coach.

It seems to make people unhappy and unfulfilled when they don´t reflect on their values and how they follow them with their decisions and actions; when people just get bounced around like a boat without a rudder and let it happen; when they act in opposition to their own values.

It is that simple: our actions and habits on a daily basis, our decisions, that is what our life is made up with, that is what our life will look like at the end. We have it in our hands to take it - our life - enough into consideration that we pause on a regular basis and check in if that is what we want our life to look like, if we are happy and fulfilled, if we are contributing in a way we want to contribute, if we are building our legacy, learning the skills we always wanted to, being the fellow human that we want to encounter ourselves.

I find all that to be such great news, such a wonderful and simple way to consciously design a felicitous life, our very own one unique life. It only makes sense to engage professional services like counseling or life coaching when designing this life that is so precious and so unique.

I wish you, dear reader, much success, happiness and fulfillment with it!