10 Small Things

10 Small Things

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by NCNOCO Staff Therapist

10 Small Things

Do you ever feel like you wake up in the morning and begin the process of giving of yourself throughout the day only to return home feeling emotionally drained? Whether you are caring for loved ones, attending to the needs of others in your work, or pressing to meet deadlines on the next project, you are likely experiencing stress in your daily routine. We all have an emotional tank, and when we are stressed or anxious or busy it gets depleted. Even if you sleep well at night and wake up in the morning with a fresh attitude, most of the events throughout your day chip away at your emotional tank. Here are 10 small things you can do to keep your tank filled so that you can preserve some of your positive energy for yourself and your loved ones. We want to have something left at the end of the day for the people we care most about.

Breathe: Breathe in and out slowly and deeply, concentrating on your lungs as they expand fully in your chest. While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind.

Exercise: (even for a minute) A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.

Listen to Music: In the car on the way to the next thing, turn on a favorite song and engage with it. Don’t just have it playing in the background, turn it up, pay attention to the notes or the lyrics, sing along and allow the music to move you. Doing this can shift your attention away from stress and lift your mood. Alternately, playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.

Call a friend or family member: Someone you know that wouldn’t mind a quick chat and who you know always boosts you up and cheers you on. That person may be able to give you the perspective you need or just make you laugh. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.

Laugh: Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy. Watch a funny you tube video or bust out your favorite old comedy to watch after work.

Eat Right: Processed foods make our bodies work harder to digest and don’t offer us the good stuff that whole, healthy foods naturally have. Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related.

Mindfulness: This means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

Get outside: Researchers are gathering a body of evidence, proving what we all know to be true: nature is good for us and has both long and short term mental and physical health benefits. Go for a hike or go walk by a body of water if you can. Even getting out of your office on your 15 minute break will do wonders for your mental state.

Have a warm comforting drink: During your morning coffee, take 2 minutes to sit and savor the smell, taste and warmth it brings you. Slowing down to enjoy the little things is a simple way to give back to yourself. Don’t drink coffee? Try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system.

Look at something that makes you smile: Keep a photo handy (in your pocket or on your phone) and look at it when you are waiting at the elevator or between meetings.  Does a picture of your baby, dog, or significant other make you smile?  Did you know that just looking at a picture of a loved one can help reduce pain? Looking at a picture of someone or something can make you smile, which in turn triggers neurotransmitters to fire. Smiles can raise your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are associated with calmness and happiness.

That’s it! 10 small things! Remember that you have some very simple tools within reach to combat the daily stress that often drains us. Start by choosing a few of these things to incorporate into your day and watch how your emotional tank still has some juice left in it when your day is done.

Motivation

Motivation

by NCNOCO Staff Therapist

When waking up this morning to a brisk fall breeze and dark cloudy skies, I started to notice my lack of motivation to do my normal morning workout routine. The season is changing, and I could already begin to feel the push I’ll have to give myself in the morning to get bundled up and head outside to begin my workout.  It’s a great way to start my day, and I feel so much better when I do, but my mind is already telling me that I’m going to want to stay snuggled in bed, or drink my hot coffee instead.

Staying motivated is a struggle for many of us. Not just when it comes to exercise, but work tasks, home tasks, personal goals, etc.  It’s important to evaluate what our goals are in life and what we need to do to accomplish them.  The more focused we are on our personal goals, the better we feel and the more we get done in general.  Here are some important steps to follow when making and striving for those goals. They were created by Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker and author of “Born to Win: Find Your Success Code.”

  1. Identify the Goal – Write a clear description of what you want to achieve.
  1. List the Benefits – Write out what reward, benefit or positive outcome you will achieve when you achieve your goal.
  1. List the Obstacles That Could Get in Your Way – Things like having enough time, limited resources or simply lack of.
  1. List the Skill and Knowledge You Need to Reach Your Goal – Even if it’s information you don’t yet have, write it down, then go to step 5.
  1. Identify the People and Groups to Work With – Don’t be afraid to ask for help, outsource an action item (or a few) and enlist people who can help you reach your goal.
  1. Develop a Plan of Action – Write out each step or task that you’ll need to complete in order to reach your goal as well as how you’ll achieve it.
  1. Set a Deadline – The great thing about actionable goals is there is an end in sight. Set a deadline based on your plan of action and list of obstacles and knowledge required. This means you may need to give yourself more time to complete certain milestones, but do your best to set a firm deadline to give yourself a date to work towards.

Zig Ziglar’s seven steps, give us a great outline to follow when setting goals.  And following these steps make it much easier to follow through and hold ourselves accountable. As the season is changing, take the time to evaluate what you’re going to do for YOU and how you’re going to accomplish it. Take control of your goals now.  Set your expectations high, and tell yourself, tell your brain; that you can and will do it!

The Other Side of Fear

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by NCNOCO Staff Therapist

“Everything you want, is on the other side of fear” ~ Jack Confield

Fear is something that everyone has experienced and no one can avoid.  Nelson Mandela said “Fearlessness is stupidity. Courage is not letting that fear defeat you”.  This, coming from someone who some people view as one of the most courageous men of all time.  One whom you would assume had no fear.  It comes as somewhat of a relief that Nelson Mandela, a man of significant strength and courage, can admit that he had fears.  Thankfully, most of us will not need to find courage in the extremes that Mandela did.  But most of us have to find courage in small ways on a daily basis.  It takes courage to try something new, to show up for an interview, to start school, to join a gym, to raise children, to be single, and the list goes on and on.

In his book, Mandela’s Way, Richard Stengall writes; Mandela’s highest praise for someone he considers courageous is, He did very well.”  By that he does not mean that the fellow was a dramatic hero or that he risked his life in a great endeavor, but that, day in and day out, he remained steady under trying circumstances.  That day in and day out, he resisted giving in to fear and anxiety.

All of us are capable of that kind of bravery.  Most of us challenge fear every day, and that takes incredible strength and bravery. So it’s time to give ourselves credit for the courage we have to overcome and conquer the fears in our lives.  Because, Everything you want, is on the other side of fear.

Back To School

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by NCNOCO Staff Therapist

If you are like me, back-to-school season is a mixed bag of emotions. The transition from summer to fall brings the excitement of new experiences and opportunities for my children to grow. It also brings nervous energy as I send my children into new places and hope that I’ve prepared them well for what they will face in the year ahead. But these are my concerns, my emotions. My children have their own set of emotions, worries and expectations as they think about school starting. In talking with some friends, the question came up, “How do we really prepare our children to go back-to-school?” This got me thinking, maybe the answer to this question (in a round-a-bout way) is by asking, “How do I prepare MYSELF for my kids to go back to school?” This may sound silly given that I already went to school and dealt with many (too many to count) years of first days and awkward moments and new friends, schedules, teachers, etc. But as a family, we feel each other’s emotions, be it joy, sadness, fear or aggravation.  We are a system after all and we respond to each other (often unconsciously) and play off of each other all the time. Dr. Laura Markham explains this process much better than I can. In her blog at Aha! Parenting she describes why changing ourselves ultimately results in changes in our children.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/blog/Change_Your_Child

  1. Children learn emotional regulation from us. Kids won’t always do what we say, but they will always, eventually, do what we do. If we indulge in throwing things, slamming doors, and yelling, so will they. If we can stay calm, they learn that it’s not actually an emergency when they get upset, and they learn to calm themselves.
  2. The emotional safety we create for our children is exactly what allows them to heal, grow and thrive. Like us, children WANT to feel happy and connected, but sometimes their fear or anger overwhelms them.  Our calm gives them a path back to loving connection. When they feel better, they do better.
  3. When we provide a calm “holding environment” for our children, they feel safe enough to experience their emotions, which is what allows those big feelings to evaporate. Kids learn that feelings are just part of being human, and we don’t have to fear them–OR act on them.
  4. When children respect us and feel understood by us, they want to follow our lead.So they’re more open to our guidance, more likely to follow our rules.
  5. Children are sensitive barometers of our moods and tensions. If we have an unresolved issue, we can count on them to subconsciously pick up on it and act out. So very often, when we work on our own issues, we find that our child’s behavior changes–even without our directly addressing it!
  6. When we respond differently, so does our child. Remember, it’s always your child’s action + your response that = the outcome. When we get triggered and react without thinking, we escalate the storm. When we respond more mindfully, we settle the storm–and create more connection. Less drama, more love.

The good news is, even if our children have learned some counter-productive habits, it’s never too late for them to learn to manage themselves emotionally. The key is our role-modeling.

 

“It’s never too late…!” Thankfully, each day and each back-to school season is a new opportunity for us to work on ourselves and therefore help our children work through the challenging emotions that come with the various transitions they experience. An adult that can regulate their own emotions and exemplify emotional health to their children will raise kids that are likely more resilient and able to navigate life.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

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by: NCNOCO Staff Therapist

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
As a marriage and family therapist, I am trained to think holistically. Working as a Neurofeedback therapist I focus on the individual. How do I integrate these two approaches? As a family therapist, I work with individuals to improve their interactions within a family, which changes how the family system functions. To understand my work as a family therapist, envision a mobile — when you tug on one part of the mobile, all of the pieces react because they are literally tied to each other. That is how families are — when one person has an issue, it affects everyone in the family. Family members are tied together emotionally. In Neurofeedback, we can address one person’s issues by training their brain to function optimally. This enables them to better cope with their own issues, which in turn affects how they interact with family members. The result is an improved family dynamic. When multiple members of a family participate in Neurofeedback therapy, we can impact more pieces of the system. By optimizing each individual, we optimize the system as a whole. This holistic approach uses individual Neurofeedback therapy to help the family function more efficiently. Just as a mobile moves smoothly when all its components are in harmony, so does a family thrive when all its members are functioning optimally.

The Car & The Brain

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by: NCNOCO Staff Therapist

For most of us, our bodies usually run like well-built vehicles. We don’t even really know what all goes on under the hood; we just know that it gets us where we need to go. When the engine is running well and doing all that it should be, we drive our cars and go the places we need to without worrying about the inner workings of the engine. We take for granted all the tiny details that come together to make it start up in the morning and perform the things we ask of it. However, if something goes awry in the engine, the ability of the car to do its job is compromised. But how long does it take us to find out that there is a problem? We may hear an odd noise or feel something move just a little differently than it did before, but we write it off as an anomaly and keep driving along. It may happen a number of times before we start to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with our car… Often times it takes something big to happen before we finally take it in to the mechanic. Maybe the car doesn’t start or smoke begins pouring out from under the hood. Now we realize that we have to get it fixed if we are going to have a car to drive at all!

Is this how we treat our bodies? Are we ignoring the little signs the brain is sending to let us know that it needs our attention? Do we wait until something life altering happens before we start to pay attention? We don’t always know what kind of event or experience will send things offline. What the brain experiences as trauma may be judged as no big deal to the rational mind. Very few people get through life without some bumps in the road (have you ever heard of a car that never needed maintenance or repairs?) And those “bumps” can send one’s life in a very different trajectory. What bumps in the road have sent you off course? Maybe it’s time for a tune-up.

Fourteen Year Old Son

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by: NCNOCO Staff Therapist

I have a fourteen year old son, going into eighth grade this year. He’s actually half-way to fifteen, but you wouldn’t know it based on his appearance. About three quarters of the eighth grade boys have begun making the change from little boys with tooth-pick arms and hairless legs, to young men with developing biceps, hairy legs, and deep, sometimes high pitch voices. Much to my son’s disappointment, he still falls into the category of muscle less and hairless.
I’ll give a brief description of my son up to the ripe age of almost fifteen. Any sport he can participate in he does; and does well. In football he jukes naturally and has scored touchdowns at will, in basketball he has dribbled in and out of defenders with ease, and in soccer he has scissor kicked the ball into the goal. It’s important to take note of the past tense I used to describe my son and his athletic abilities. Although he still possesses these abilities, he is now competing against young men that are twice his size, have testosterone running through their bodies, and have the ability to grow a mustache.
Football season begins about a month from now and my son plans to play for his middle school team. He intends to play with and against these mustached young men, at his whopping weight of 80 pounds! He seems to be totally okay with this and doesn’t see it as a concern whatsoever. I, on the other hand, am quiet frankly freaking out! As you can imagine I have a million concerns running through my mind. The obvious one being; while getting tackled all season, will his 80 pounds of skin and bones get broken?! And then there is the emotional and mental concern that I worry about. Will the fact that he is no longer the “superstar” impact how he feels about himself. Will this cause confusion about who he is or what he’s good at? Will he feel down on himself when it comes to athletics and if so, will this carry over into other areas in his life?
These concerns I have for my son and how they make me worry, are a reminder of how grateful I am that I have neurofeedback as a modality in my life. Although it’s not a cure for the late growth spurt or the worrying mother, it is very helpful in calming my nervous system and in strengthening my son’s brain. With neurofeedback I know, that he will be able to work through the next year or two and come out psychologically “okay”, and healthy.

NCNOCO Founder on Discovery!

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Lisa Pendleton, founder and clinical director of the Neurofeedback Clinic of Northern Colorado in Fort Collins, will be featured on the new Discovery Channel show, “Land Rush”. Lisa is an Alaskan native, and in November 2014 she ventured to Kodiak Island in Alaska to help her older brother Greg Gabriel, build a cabin on the land he recently staked. During her time there, Lisa worked through the rain and cold, overcame travel, and building mishaps, slept on rough waters, and helped to build the cabin we hope to see completed at the end of the show. Friends and family are looking forward to watching Lisa and her brother’s crew, take on the challenge of building a cabin in uncharted territory, in the wild of Alaska!

The FCHS Bioscience Career Academy Science Café Presents: Infra-low Frequency Neurofeedback

When: 9/25/13

Time: 7-9 pm

Where: FCHS Media Center

Cost: FREE

This free presentation given by Lisa Pendleton, MS, LMFT, EMDR Practitioner, Neurotherapy Practitioner of the Neurofeedback Clinic of Northern Colorado will introduce students to the exciting field of Infra-low frequency Neurofeedback. Students will learn how this unique new form of therapy can assist people of all ages suffering with emotional distress such as anxiety, depression, addictions, autism, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, and brain injuries achieve a faster longer lasting recovery. It is applicable for peak performance in athletics, business, performing arts and can even raising I.Q. by several points. Lisa will explain how the frequency works together with brain exercise through use of computer guided software. Students, parents and community members are welcome.

The monthly Science Cafe is part of the Biosciences Career Academy at FCHS. The BCA provides a forum for students to investigate and prepare for a career in Bioscience. BCA students perform a Bioscience internship during the summer of their junior year and receive a BCA endorsement on their diploma.

Open House At NCNOCO

We are having our first open house on September 20th from 3pm-7pm to celebrate the opening of the clinic and introduce what we do here. Anyone and everyone that is interested is welcome to come join us.

There will be reading material available to browse through, the four practitioners will be available to answer your questions and treats and drinks will be provided.

Hope to see you there!

Click here for more details on our Facebook page

Click here for more in depth information about neurofeedback.

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