In my experience, neuroscience and spirituality are the missing keys to completely healing your burnout. While conventional approaches to addressing burnout include rest, therapy and lifestyle changes, these two powerful yet often overlooked areas provide the insights and proven techniques for deep transformation and root-cause healing of your burnout, once and for all.
It’s common knowledge that burnout is a pervasive and serious issue affecting people across various professions and walks of life. Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and reduced professional efficacy are a few of the common characteristics of burnout.
And burnout can have severe consequences for your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. It’s a complex interplay between the brain, body, and the spiritual aspects of your life that you may not have considered before.
So let’s explore the neuroscience and spiritual dimensions of burnout and how understanding this connection can help you prevent and cope with burnout effectively. This approach addresses the root causes of burnout and fosters a journey towards resilience, restoration and transformation. It provides complete burnout healing since the root cause is being addressed, as witnessed in my personal experience and with my clients.
Understanding Burnout from a Neuroscientific Perspective
Burnout isn’t just a fleeting sense of you feeling fatigued; it’s a multifaceted experience that involves physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. The conventional view of burnout focuses on external stressors, like high pressure environments, heavy workloads and unmanageable responsibilities. On the other hand, neuroscience reveals that your brain’s intricate networks play a crucial role in the development of burnout.
Neuroscientists have discovered that chronic stress triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in our brains, leading to the dysregulation of important neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. In other words, when you’re faced with chronic stress, your body’s stress response system becomes overactivated, and your body floods with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These imbalances and excess hormones have detrimental effects on your brain and body. They impair your cognitive function and decision-making abilities, contribute to negative emotions and weaken your body’s immune system.
Neuroscience explains the impact of chronic stress on neuroplasticity and how that affects burnout. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize and form new neural, or brain cell, connections. The chronic stress you see with burnout can lead to maladaptive changes in your brain’s structure and function. For example, the prefrontal cortex of the brain, responsible for decision-making and impulse control, may shrink, while the amygdala, involved in emotional processing, may become hyperactive. These changes then show up as burnout symptoms you experience like difficulty concentrating, emotional reactivity and reduced resilience.
Neuroscience research has also revealed the role of mirror neurons, specialized brain cells that enable you to empathize and mirror the emotions of others, and how overstimulation and overuse of these brain cells can lead to compassion fatigue and eventual emotional detachment. You see it often with professionals in caregiving roles, like healthcare providers or social workers. Their burnout results from repeated exposure to others’ problems and suffering. This constant exposure to suffering can lead to overstimulation of the mirror neurons, exhausting the brain’s capacity for empathy and leading to them numbing out emotionally.
The Spiritual Dimensions of Burnout
Spirituality is often associated with religious practices, but it encompasses a broader perspective that includes a sense of purpose, interconnectedness, positivity and inner growth. When engaging with spirituality you foster a profound sense of meaning and belonging, and it helps you navigate the challenges of burnout with greater resilience.
Research suggests that spiritual practices like meditation, mindfulness (being present) and gratitude have a direct impact on your brain. Studies using neuroimaging techniques have shown that meditation, for example, can lead to increased grey matter density in brain regions associated with emotional regulation and self-awareness. These changes correlate with improved emotional well-being and stress management, that are essential components of overcoming burnout.
Mindfulness practices from various spiritual traditions, like meditation and prayer, have gained popularity for their positive effects on mental well-being. Research shows that mindfulness and meditation reduces activity in the brain’s default mode network, responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts. Engaging in regular mindfulness and meditation practices can help you manage stress, build emotional resilience and cultivate inner peace, buffering you against burnout.
Spirituality often revolves around finding meaning and purpose in your life. When you lose sight of your deeper values and purpose, you may experience a disconnection from your spiritual self, leading to feelings of emptiness and burnout. Reconnecting with your sense of purpose and aligning it with your work and personal life is a powerful tool for preventing and recovering from burnout.
Spirituality also involves being part of a supportive community that shares common beliefs and values. These communities can provide a crucial buffer against burnout by offering emotional support, understanding and a sense of belonging. In times of stress, having a spiritual community to lean on can enhance your coping mechanisms and promote your overall well-being.
The Integration of Neuroscience and Spirituality for Burnout Prevention and Recovery
One of the key intersections between neuroscience and spirituality lies in the understanding of the mind-body connection. Neuroscientific research demonstrates that the brain and body are intricately linked through complex pathways. Spirituality emphasizes the importance of cultivating awareness of this connection, which enables you to harness your innate ability to regulate your stress responses.
Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself, highlights the potential for change and growth. This concept aligns with spiritual principles of personal transformation and renewal. By combining mindfulness practices and meditation, you can actively reshape your neural pathways, fostering more resilience and enhancing your emotional well-being.
Gratitude is a central theme in many spiritual traditions; it’s been linked to increased resilience and improved mental health. Neuroscientific studies reveal that practicing gratitude can lead to the release of dopamine and serotonin, your neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and happiness. This taps into both neurological and spiritual mechanisms to bolster your emotional well-being.
Burnout often stems from excessive self-criticism and a lack of self-compassion. Combining neuroscience and spirituality, you cultivate your self-compassion and forgiveness, and activate your brain’s “care-giving” systems. Neuroscience reveals that your self-compassion and forgiveness can lead to increased activity in brain regions associated with positive emotions and reduced activity in areas linked to self-criticism.
At the same time, your practice of empathy and compassion towards others aligns with the interconnectedness and personal growth emphasized in spiritual practices, promoting a sense of belonging and reducing your feelings of isolation. You can mitigate the negative effects of burnout on your brain and your emotional well-being by cultivating self-compassion and practicing forgiveness .
The intersection of neuroscience and spirituality offers a variety of mind-body techniques to prevent and address burnout effectively. Practicing meditation, energy healing, yoga, qigong, and tai chi have been scientifically proven to reduce your stress, improve your emotional regulation and foster your resilience. Integrating these practices into your daily routine can positively impact both your brain and the spiritual aspects of your life.
A big part of my work is to help my clients reconnect with the deeper meaning and purpose in their lives. Spiritual practices that promote reflection and introspection can also help you reconnect with your sense of purpose and meaning in life. And by aligning your life purpose and values with your work goals and important personal desires, you can find renewed motivation and energy. This is a powerful defense against burnout.
Break with Tradition: Recommended Next Steps
The journey towards complete healing from burnout requires a multidimensional approach that goes beyond traditional solutions. Hopefully you have a better understanding now, and can start integrating the insights from both neuroscience and spirituality mentioned above to address and heal your burnout.
I recommend you take these next steps as part of your journey to completely healing burnout:
- Reread the above or let the concepts sink in so you really understand the connection between neuroscience and spirituality and burnout; that there’s an intricate relationship between the brain, body and spiritual aspects of your life concerning burnout.
- Go take my complimentary “How Bad Is My Burnout?” quiz to help you figure out the severity of burnout and stress that you’re experiencing and what you can do about it. Understanding this is the first step towards healing and reclaiming a healthier, happier and more balanced life.
- Start taking proactive measures to prevent and address burnout effectively, like mind-body interventions, cultivating self-compassion and reconnecting with meaning and purpose. This will help you foster resilience, enhance your well-being and ultimately thrive in both your personal life and professional life.
If you have any questions, leave them in a comment below. And please forward this blog to your colleagues or loved ones that may be suffering from burnout and need this information to start feeling better.
Photo by Christina Wocintechchat – Unsplash
The history of energy healing is a fascinating exploration from ancient times to modern practice. Energy healing as a practice has been around for thousands of years. It has been recorded in ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China, and India, with evidence suggesting that it was also practiced in other parts of the world during ancient times.
Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures. Keep reading to explore the history of energy healing from its earliest origins to modern-day practices.
Ancient Energy Healing Practices
Early energy healing practices were often closely tied to religious or spiritual beliefs and were used to promote healing on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Here are some examples of ancient energy healing practices that have been used for thousands of years.
The earliest recorded energy healing practices can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China and India. In Egypt, energy healing was practiced through the use of sacred symbols and amulets, which were believed to have healing powers.
Energy healing in China, referred to as Qi Gong, focused on the flow of energy through the body to promote healing. Also, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a holistic healing system that has been in use for over 2,500 years. It is based on the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is the vital life force energy that flows through the body. TCM uses various techniques such as acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine to balance the flow of Qi and promote health and well-being.
In India, the practice of Ayurveda incorporated energy healing through the use of prana, or life force energy, to balance the body’s energy centers or chakras.
Lastly, Shamanism is an ancient healing practice that has been used by indigenous cultures around the world for thousands of years. Shamanism involves connecting with the spirit world and working with spirits and other energies for healing and well-being. Shamanic practices include journeying, drumming, chanting, and other rituals.
In many cases, the healers themselves were seen as spiritual leaders in the community with the ability to connect with a higher power or divine source to channel healing energy. As such, they were an important and integral part of the culture.
Energy Healing in the Middle Ages
During the Middle Ages, energy healing practices continued to evolve and adapt to the prevailing cultural and religious beliefs of the time. Here are some examples of energy healing practices from this time:
In Europe, the practice of laying on hands was used to promote healing, with religious figures such as priests and nuns serving as healers. This practice was based on the belief that the energy of the divine could be channeled through the hands to promote healing.
In other parts of the world like Africa and South America, traditional healers used a variety of energy healing techniques to promote healing and well-being in the community. These techniques often incorporated ritual, prayer, and the use of natural remedies such as herbs and plants.
Alchemy was a practice that originated in ancient Egypt and was later developed in the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various substances and techniques to transform base metals into gold, but it was also believed to have spiritual and healing properties. Alchemists believed that all matter was composed of four elements – earth, air, fire, and water – and that by understanding and manipulating these elements, they could promote healing and balance in the body.
Herbal medicine was another popular form of energy healing during the Middle Ages. It involved the use of various plants and herbs for their beneficial properties. Herbalists believed that different plants and herbs had specific properties and energies, and that by using these plants in specific ways, healing and balance in the body would result.
Mystical Christianity was a spiritual movement that emerged during the Middle Ages too. It involved the use of prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices to connect with God for healing, wellness and well-being. Mystical Christians believed that the body was a temple of the Holy Spirit and that by connecting with God through prayer and meditation, they could promote balance and healing in the body.
Kabbalah is a Jewish mystical tradition that originated in the Middle Ages. It involves the study of the Jewish scriptures and the use of various techniques, such as meditation and visualization, to connect with God. Kabbalists believed that the body was a vessel for the divine energy of God and that by working with this energy, they could promote healing, well-being and balance.
Energy Healing in the Modern Era
In the early 1900s, Austrian-American chiropractor, osteopath and naturopath Dr. Randolph Stone developed a system of energy healing known as polarity therapy. This practice focused on balancing the body’s energy centers, or chakras, through a combination of bodywork, diet, and exercise.
In the early 20th century, the Japanese physician Dr. Mikao Usui developed a system of energy healing known as Reiki. It’s based on the belief that there’s a universal life force energy that flows through all living things, and that by channeling this energy, a practitioner can promote balance and the body’s natural healing abilities. Reiki involves the use of hands-on or hands-off techniques to balance the flow of energy in the body. Reiki has since become a popular form of energy healing around the world.
Here are some more examples of the many forms of energy healing that have emerged and gained popularity in the modern era.
- Quantum Healing: Quantum healing is a modern approach to energy healing that incorporates principles from quantum physics. It is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made up of energy and that by working with the energy fields of the body, a practitioner can promote healing and balance. Quantum healing may involve techniques such as visualization, intention setting, and energy work.
- Crystal Healing: Crystal healing is a modern form of energy healing that uses crystals and gemstones to promote healing and balance. It is based on the belief that different crystals and stones have specific vibrational energies and properties that can influence, or entrain, the body’s vibrational energy. By working with these energies, a practitioner can promote a better flow of energy, healing and well-being. Crystal healing may involve placing crystals on the body, using crystals in meditation, or wearing crystals as jewelry.
- Sound Healing: Sound healing, a type of vibrational medicine, is a modern form of energy healing that uses sound waves to promote healing and balance. It is based on the idea that sound has a powerful effect on the body’s energy fields and can be used to shift and balance these energies. Sound healing may involve techniques such as using singing bowls, tuning forks, or chanting to create a healing vibration.
- Energetic Emotional Release™: EER is a modern form of energy healing based on the belief that unhelpful negative emotions and beliefs can become stuck and create blocks in the body’s energy fields. These blocks cause imbalances and a host of other problematic issues if left unresolved. The practitioner can locate and remove these blocks to promote deep healing and restore balance.
These are some of the techniques I use with clients with successful results, and just a few examples of modern energy healing practices that have emerged in recent years. As energy healing’s popularity grows, it continues to evolve and adapt to new beliefs and practices.
Although each of these methodologies has its own unique approach, they all share the common belief that we as humans have the innate ability to heal ourselves and that energy is a key component of health, wellness and well-being.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Energy healing promotes healing and well-being on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In other words, it impacts the mind, body, and spirit for complete relief and healing. Here are just a few of the potential benefits of energy healing:
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety: energy healing helps reduce stress and anxiety by triggering the relaxation response in the body and calming the mind.
- Improved Immune Function: energy healing has been shown to boost immune function, which can help the body fight off illness and disease.
- Enhanced Physical Healing: energy healing enhances physical healing by improving circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting tissue regeneration.
- Increased Energy and Vitality: By balancing the body’s energy centers, energy healing increases vibrational energy levels and vitality, helping you feel more vibrant and alive.
- Emotional Healing: Energy healing is a powerful tool for emotional healing, helping you release negative emotions and promoting feelings of peace and well-being.
- Spiritual Growth: energy healing is beneficial on a spiritual level too. It can help you connect with a higher power, divine source or inspirational creativity, and provides a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
It’s important to note that while energy healing is beneficial for people, it’s not a substitute for qualified medical care. Energy healing practices have continued to evolve and adapt to new cultural, scientific, and spiritual beliefs, and have become a popular form of complementary medicine in modern times.
The practice of energy healing has a long and rich history. Over time, this healing practice has evolved and taken on new forms, adapting to the needs and beliefs of different cultures.
Today, energy healing continues to be a popular form of complementary medicine and tool for personal and spiritual development, with many practitioners combining traditional techniques with modern scientific understanding of the body’s energy fields. Whether used for physical healing, emotional healing, mental healing or spiritual growth, energy healing can be a powerful tool for promoting health, wellness and well-being.
Personally, I find energy healing the perfect complement to the life coaching, personal growth and spiritual development work I do with clients. We all have an inherent ability to heal ourselves on all levels – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually – with the help of using energy healing techniques. Energy healing provides a more thorough and direct approach to transformational change, typically with faster results.
Featured Photo by Greg Rakozy, Unsplash
I’d like to explain how I came up with the name of my company and my signature system, Energy Rapport™ Coaching – and what better way than in a short video (5 minutes).
You see, for a good portion of my life I either ignored or resisted my connection, or relationship, to energy. And by energy I mean the energy levels that we recognize in ourselves. Low energy when tired or scared, high energy when excited or creative or happy.
But it goes deeper than that, it’s the subtle energy that influences us as energetic beings. And this higher, lighter energy we can tap into to support us when we need it.
It could be from mother Earth or the Heavens above – think about how good you feel hiking in nature or after getting some sun and sea air. Or how you feel when witnessing an absolutely gorgeous sunset or sunrise where the whole sky looks like it’s on fire!
There are so many tools, techniques and resources to connect to energy, to build a rapport with it. And it begins with awareness and ease….and going with the flow. Life doesn’t have to feel like a struggle all the time.
As an example, in my late teens and college years, I remember napping when my body needed it. But in my corporate years, I just pushed through the exhaustion which only made things worse.
So, please take a few minutes to learn more about connecting to energy, Energy Rapport™. Click here to watch now.
Hopefully it’ll provide a better understanding of how I’m helping people by teaching them how to utilize their energy for the best and highest possibilities in their lives.
What does everyone need to know about Energy Healing? Well, it’s effective and works. The end.
It really is that simple. But sometimes people want to know more about energy healing, and why I combine it with my coaching services for long-lasting results.
What is Energy Healing?
Energy healing can be described as relaxation technique that helps release stress & promote your body’s natural healing abilities. Yet it is so much more.
As kids, we learned Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, which proved to scientists that energy and matter are expressions of the same universal thing. In other words, energy is everything. And energy healing is directing higher vibrational energy that is all around us to bring about the body’s natural healing abilities on all levels: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
There are various methods or types of energy, or vibrational, healing: Reiki, theta, sound, music, crystal, Healing Touch, acupuncture, homeopathy, flower essences, Chakra healing, and numerous other ancient methods. I use a combination of methods that I’ve been trained in to provide the best results based on each individual client’s needs.
Getting to the Root Cause
Energy healing is an ancient healing practice that’s been in existence for thousands of years. Unfortunately modern medicine, pill popping and other “quick fixes” that have been in existence for relatively short periods of time, are prevalent nowadays. And most times they don’t address the root cause, the energetic underlying, of what is causing a person’s mental or physical ailments. It will continue to show up, or worsen, until the root cause is healed.
I tend to work with people that have energetic distress, as I like to call it. In the fast-changing, uncertain and often turbulent times we live in, most people are experiencing distress. It’s energetic distress because it’s affecting one or more levels of the body in a subtle yet powerful way. It causes imbalances within us and challenges in our lives.
The levels of the body I’m referring to are:
- the mental body or mind (those thoughts that seem never ending at times),
- the emotional body (think of emotions as energy in motion),
- the physical body (where the slowing and blocking of energy flow creates denseness, discomfort and disease, or dis-ease…when the body is no longer ‘at ease’), and
- the spiritual body (your connection to something larger than yourself which varies by individual; it could be God, Spirit, the Universe, Nature, Higher Power, Intuition, Life Purpose, Passion, Love, etc.)
Energy Healing effectively works on all of these levels. It is a holistic approach to complete wellbeing and wellness, and can complement any current treatment plans you are following.
The Benefits of Energy Healing
Since Energy Healing works on the whole body, we see benefits in all areas. Commonly reported benefits of energy healing include decreased pain, ease of muscle tension, improved sleep & improved mental clarity. Additional benefits include:
- It’s safe and non-invasive.
- Promotes natural self-healing processes.
- Clears toxins from the body.
- Increases energy.
- Relaxes the body and mind.
- Relieves stress.
- Soothes anxiety and distress.
- Promotes feelings of calmness and wellbeing.
- Reduces overthinking.
- Promotes a focused, peaceful and positive outlook.
- Releases worry and replaces it with a sense of safety and comfort.
As you can see, Energy Healing promotes your overall health, is an excellent form of preventative care, and can help support your journey to wellness if you experience stress, anxiety, headaches, muscle or joint pain, chronic illness, poor sleep, tension or other challenges.
Life Changing Results
I’ve found Energy Healing is beneficial for anyone who’s looking for relaxation and natural relief of emotional, mental and physical ailments. It’s especially useful for people who have a large amount of stress, and can’t seem to turn off their mind from work or worry. Once you being to feel better, the possibilities for life changing results come next.
You experience relief in one area, and then notice other issues have resolved as well, without much focus or effort on your part. I’ve helped many clients whose initial complaint was a physical issue, like chronic headaches or migraines.
After the physical pain lessened or completely resolved, usually very quickly, they reflected back on other areas of their lives had improved as we continued to work together. Things like performance at work, self-confidence, emotional wellbeing and feeling more empowered.
Personally in my previous Corporate HR career, I experienced a large amount workplace stress that led to a physical illness. I credit Energy Healing as the catalyst for my disease going into a remission. And for experiencing stress reduction and hope again. It created the space where I could breathe easy again, start taking my power back and plan for a pivot in my career.
Going from HR to being a Life Coach, I now help hard-working professionals suffering physical and other ailments, mostly due to work stress and misaligned purpose (root cause). I use a powerful combination of Life Coaching plus Energy Healing techniques for life changing results. I find this combination to be more efficient, effective and meaningful than either practice on its own.
How to Get Started with Energy Healing
If Energy Healing is new concept for you and you’d like to learn more, follow me on LinkedIn (@kathyzering), Instagram (@energyrapport) or Facebook (@energyrapport) and reach out in a PM if you’d like to explore working together.
Still have questions about Energy Healing and how it could benefit you? Let me know in the comments.
Why does your work mean so much? I get it – the clients I work with are ambitious, hard-working, driven, and growth-oriented. I am too. In the past, a bit too ambitious, and overworking to the point of exhaustion and eventual burnout.
That’s why I’m writing this blog. To point out the benefits and other qualities of work, including the deeper psychological meanings that drive our choices and behavior. My intent is for you to gain an increased understanding about why your work means so much; and subsequently provide you with clarity so you can make choices about maintaining balance and harmony between your personal and professional lives, while still being able to excel and find fulfillment at work.
Benefits of Your Work
We spend a good amount of our time working, maybe 35, 40 or 50 hours or more per week; that allocation of time in and of itself gives work a prominent role in your life.
Work has many benefits and fulfills many needs; it’s a source of income that allows you to support yourself and loved ones with basic things like food and shelter. It also provides the funds to do activities you enjoy and to build wealth long-term.
At work, you learn new skills, meet new colleagues and clients, and definitely get challenged by different work situations.
Work allows you to contribute to the good of others and important causes. Many people link their work to a higher cause, it’s their bigger purpose and strong motivator. For example, I have a friend who became a pharmacist and eventually a pharmaceutical company executive with the higher purpose of helping to find a cure for cancer.
Work gives you a sense of identity and connection; it anchors you to your “work family”. It provides a sense of stability too, especially if you’re going through a challenging time.
When my mother died, and years later my father died, I was in my high pressure corporate HR career. The outpouring of sympathy from my colleagues helped so much. And the ability to focus on work activities in the following months was beneficial to healing my grief.
The Deeper Meaning of Work
This passage below really resonated with me. Internationally acclaimed poet and author David Whyte, wrote the following in his book: Consolations, The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
“Work is frightened with difficulty and possibility of visible failure, failure to provide, to succeed, to make a difference, to be seen and to be seen to be seen.
Work, therefore is robust vulnerability, and a good part of the time, a journey leading us through very unbeautiful private and public humiliations.
We find the core essence of work, firstly through its fear-filled imagining, secondly, in the long necessary humiliations of refusal, courtship and apprenticeship, thirdly in the skill and craft we learn by doing and finally in the harvest of its gift and its gifting and, the surprising ways it is both received and rejected by the world and then strangely, given back to us.
Profit, recognition, wealth: are beautiful by-products only when they come as the children of this falling in love, this patient courtship; this falling down and getting up, this learning to live with and this long careful parenting of our work.”
I think this really speaks to the deeper significance of work and “to be seen and to be seen and to be seen”; especially true for those of us with a strong work ethic.
Balance and Harmony in Work, and in Life
I hope you now have a better understanding about why your work means so much. Keep this in mind when making choices about maintaining balance and harmony in your work, and in your life.
It is more difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance in certain organizations and industries, depending on the company culture, its values, and expectations. Before taking on a new role, ensure it’s a good fit for you.
Throughout your career, pay attention; stay aware of things like overwork, overstress, burn out, lack of boundaries, unhealthy competition, unrealistic expectations and work politics and how they are affecting you. Address them quickly and swiftly for your own wellbeing before they escalate.
I’ve seen the good and the bad of being hard-working and driven, during my HR career and now as a life coach working with career-focused professionals. It’s wonderful to work with people who have high standards and integrity. However, sometimes that quality leads to the imbalance that causes mental and physical exhaustion and illness.
If this blog resonates with you and brought you a deeper understanding of the role of work in your life, and what may be causing some of your challenges, let me know more in the comments.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash
You’ve decided to invest your time and money into improving yourself and your life situation. Do you need a life coach or a therapist?
Well, as with most things, it depends. It depends on a lot of factors. We all need a little help sometimes. And it’s important to choose the right kind of help for your specific issues and what you’re hoping to get out of it.
So here’s what you need to know before reaching out.
What is Life Coaching?
I get this question a lot from people who are curious about life coaching or working with me, and they’ve never worked with a life coach. They usually know about therapy from personal experience, from friends or family going to therapy, or from seeing it in movies or TV shows (remember Frazier or even the Sopranos).
Life Coaching can be therapeutic, but the two professions are very different. I like to describe life coaching as a partnership with the life coach asking insightful questions that clients wouldn’t ask themselves, so that aligned and helpful answers can come to light. I believe you know yourself best, you just need a little help in the form of coaching questions and other support to experience that clarity or a-ha moment where things begin to make sense and can begin to change.
Life coaches also help you evaluate your current situation so you can get crystal clear on your true desires and goals. They encourage your progress, and provide you with accountability, support, structure and tools so you can produce your desired results more quickly and efficiently.
How is Life Coaching Different from Therapy?
The Core Difference
Most therapy involves a diagnosis of some mental or psychological disorder – a problem that needs to be treated because it’s disrupting one or more areas of your life. Life coaching typically takes someone who is already functioning well, but may still be suffering, and helps them to develop and grow to the next level.
When my Mom died expectedly I found a therapist to help me with that tremendous loss. I continued to function at work well, but my personal life was disrupted by my grief and sorrow; I didn’t think I would ever get past it. I needed support to work through the depressing thoughts and to function in this new world without my Mom. Therapy was the best choice for me at that time.
Past, Present, Future
Another difference is that therapy typically goes into depth about various issues, usually dealing with the past so that you can function better. And life coaching focuses primarily on the present and future and is more action-oriented and results-driven.
Types and Specialties
There are various types of therapy, like talk therapy, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy. There are also specialties within life coaching based on the coach’s skillset, training and experience.
In my life coaching business, I work with hard-working professionals dealing with a lot of stress and pressure (like me when I worked in my corporate HR job). I combine life coaching tools, like what I call thought-healing (or what others call mindset or mindfulness), and I combine it with my specialty, energy work, that is very effective at getting to the oftentimes hidden, or subconscious, root cause of what’s preventing you from achieving your goals. We meet weekly or biweekly for consistency and momentum, and before long goals like reducing stress, feeling better, improving relationships, or having more fun in life are achieved.
Lastly, sessions with a life coach will feel a lot different than ones with a therapist. Life coaching provides structure and accountability while therapy is more open-ended.
In my coaching sessions, I combine inner (energy) work and outer work – but there’s an underlying structure tied to the client’s prioritized goals. This structure helps us celebrate successes and progress, and discuss challenges or unhelpful blocks slowing down progress. And in each session there’s always homework for the client to accomplish between sessions.
So, Which One Is Best For You?
Do you need a life coach or a therapist? Actually, you don’t have to choose, if you need both. I have life coaching clients who are also actively in therapy, that’s perfectly fine. I’ve also had clients who I referred to other professionals, including therapists, for more specialized support.
The most important message here is to get help. I’m a big proponent of getting help rather than suffering alone. Especially in the challenging times we’re living in, life can be hard.
Some of us grew up being taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness and have a hard time with it, but you must push past that limiting belief for your health and wellbeing. It’s that important!
Over the years, I have had a hard time seeking out help, but I’ve come to learn and now know that most people love to help other people. It’s unhealthy to suffer for long periods of time, thinking whatever you’re grappling with will get better on its own; it usually won’t. There are resources out there for you, you just have to find the best one for your specific needs.
If you’re not spending time investing in your mental and emotional health, with a life coach or a therapist, you will not only continue to feel terrible but you’re blocking your ability to be the best version of yourself, in your personal life, your relationships and in your career.
Do you have any questions about life coaching not answered above? Drop them in a comment below.
With Mother’s Day coming up soon, I look back to memories of growing up and the influence of all the females in my life. Many of whom are no longer here.
There were aunts, teachers (mostly nuns), cousins and, of course, my mother and my grandmother. As the youngest grandchild of 7 with a Mom that worked, I spent a lot of time being taken care of by my grandmother, affectionately known as Babci (Babcia means grandmother in Polish).
I looked up to my Babci and Mom and learned so much from them (that’s Babci, Mom & me in the photo). Today, I reflect on what’s important to me now, how I spend my time, what I have in my life, and see how that relates to what I witnessed as a child and teenager growing up around them. I’m so proud of the influence they had on me and how that has benefited my life.
Three areas in particular stand out…
Gardening and nature to stay grounded
I love gardening, all things plants, flowers, and visiting Botanical Gardens when traveling too. In fact, I spent last weekend traveling to 2 large botanical gardens with friends and had a fabulous time! Sunburned, allergies in full effect from the spring pollen, tired and sore from 6+ hours of walking around each day plus 2.5 hours in the car to get there and back, but my heart is full and soul fulfilled.
Babci had a wood shelf with 3 levels of snake plants on the back porch. If my memory serves, she probably had 15-20 plants in total. She’d take a coffee cup, the biggest one they had, and would sip the water into her mouth then blow it out over the plants to mist them – her mouth was the original plant mister.
One day I saw her through the window, she was on the back porch crying. I was little and immediately thought something was wrong. Turns out she was grating horseradish root! Even though she was out on the porch in the fresh air, it still caused her to cry. Cross my heart it seemed way worse than when she chopped onions!
The importance of daily rituals and routines for personal and spiritual development
I love to visit churches and sacred sites when I travel to new places – there’s something so peaceful and reverent about them.
Growing up I had a strong influence from both my Babci and Mom when it comes to spirituality, dedication, devotion, daily and weekly practices. They both prayed and attended church on a regular basis.
When my grandmother couldn’t attend church anymore because she was no longer able to walk, I remember her caretaker would carry her into the kitchen, placing her in a chair. And on the kitchen table would be a stack of prayer cards and prayer books.
Babci would spend hours everyday, meticulously going through each prayer card and prayer book pages, silently praying for everyone and everything.
This was her daily practice, her morning routine and later in the day, her afternoon routine.
There were many spirituality influences too, these one stand out the most in this moment: statues of Holy Mary on the dresser with a large rosary draped around her neck, holy pictures of angels, archangels, popes and saints on the wall and in picture frames propped up on the furniture, a last supper picture near the dining table with palms from Palm Sunday positioned behind it – which we’d replace every year with new palms.
Strong work ethic supporting connection and purpose in life
Babci was a cleaning lady at the local hospital. She didn’t speak English and would walk miles to get there and walk miles to return home. She was doing important work to keep the hospital clean.
Mom also worked in the medical field as an x-ray tech at a doctors office, while working at the hospital on weekends to get her foot in the door. Then she went full time at the hospital when the doctor retired. She was so smart… always planning, strategizing and putting in the work.
Mom was always connecting with others and helping patients directly. And after the long work days, she would go to Babci’s to check in on her. And travel to see Dziadzi, my grandfather, in the nursing home in another town. Then finally home to us kids who were now junior high and high schoolers to take care of us. Grocery shopping happened in between all of that, and preparing meals for my Dad and us – or at least making sure the fridge was full.
These amazing ladies not only taught me the grace of kindness and compassion, but also the importance of daily rituals and routines for personal and spiritual development.
While my personal practices today may look different than theirs, I’m so grateful for how they infused this dedication into my life. From my journaling to my Reiki practices, and my meditation practice – when it’s that time of day, these memories often flood back.
Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours.
Almost everything you do is driven by habits. We all have good, helpful habits and bad, or unhelpful, habits. You can think of your habits as the drivers getting you closer or further away from achieving what’s important to you. Habits are the foundation for major change in your life. That’s why it’s so important to understand if you’re cultivating helpful or unhelpful habits. To achieve your goals, you want to provide the best support and conditions that set you up to be successful. This happens by cultivating helpful habits that are directly aligned to those goals. And by eliminating any unhelpful habits that are slowing or blocking your progress.
How to Cultivate Helpful Habits
Bad habits are the saboteurs that make it harder to achieve what we desire. As mentioned earlier, helpful habits move you toward achieving your goals and desires, whereas unhelpful habits slow or block your progress. To increase your success when changing an unhelpful habit, it’s best to replace it with a new helpful habit. It may be as simple as making a small pivot. Like when you quit drinking soda you replace it with Zevia instead for a week or two, and gradually pivot again to water or herbal tea. Decide what you want to achieve and move toward that goal. It’s more effective than focusing on what you need to stop or get rid of which often creates more pressure and feelings of being deprived. Also, start small with new habits. If it feels too big you’ll either get stuck and never stop or quit after a few days. For example, if you want to begin a daily morning routine that includes journaling and prayer or meditation, start with 5 minutes per day, and gradually increase it by 1 minute each week. To increase your chances of success, create a process and track your results. Something as simple as placing a check mark on a calendar for every day you complete your morning meditation is helpful. Track your results for at least 8 – 12 weeks to evaluate your progress, make any adjustments and to ensure long-lasting results. Get leverage and support when working on your habits. Ask a friend or colleague to point out if you’re demonstrating a habit you’re trying to change, or to complement you when they see you sticking to your new habit. For instance, they can point out when you’re late to a meeting or if you’re on your phone and not listening when others are talking. Cultivating your habits using the above strategies will support positive results. More tips on cultivating habits for success can be found here.
Two Words that Help Change Your Mindset
Here’s a suggestion from one of my own coaches. Change the phrase “I can’t” to “I don’t” when in a situation where you have a hard time sticking to your helpful habit or goal. For instance, let’s say you have a healthy eating goal of limiting high carb processed foods like flour and sugar. You’re out to dinner and the bread basket arrives. Instead of saying or thinking, “I can’t have any bread”, say or think “I don’t eat bread, that’s not for me”. This subtle shift helps change your mindset. “I can’t” is very limiting, and puts you into a victim or less-than mindset which may blow up on you in the long-term. “I don’t” is empowering, you’re in charge, you’re taking responsibility and it’s your decision. You should be able to feel the difference in energy in these two statements. Where can you make this shift? Think of a few examples and commit to making this shift at the next opportunity.
Act with Intention: Cultivate Helpful Habits
This method of cultivating helpful habits works for creating helpful habits and for changing unhelpful habits. The key is to put intention into the helpful habits you want to create, and be as specific as possible by adding in a situation, time, and location. For instance, you’ll meditate each morning for 5 minutes in your bed immediately after waking up, at 6 a.m. Include how long, where, when and how frequently. Or another example is you’ll take a fun 20 minute walk around the block with your dogs after dinner on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. For unhelpful habits, you make the trigger of that habit your situation, and then change how you respond. It’s a simple pivot toward what you want to achieve, like in the quitting soda example earlier. That response (having Zevia, water or tea when habitually reaching for a soda) becomes your new habit. Two more tips for cultivating helpful habits are: Make it fun. You’re more likely to stick with something you enjoy doing. For example, add your favorite music to your exercise routine or listen to your favorite books or podcast during your new walking routine. Be compassionate, kind and easy on yourself. You may slip up and that’s ok. Pay attention and stop any negative self-talk or harsh judgments, like “I knew you’d fail” or “you never stick with anything”. Instead, just refocus on the results your striving for, get excited about achieving them, and kindly say or think to yourself, “this slip is ok, you’re making great progress”. In the comments, please share one helpful habit you’ve successfully created this year and what goal it has helped you achieve. Photo by Rawpixel on Unsplash
Let’s put a stop to your self-sabotage once and for all.
Do you want something in your life but can’t seem to attain it? Maybe it’s a goal, dream, or vision you have and yet, month after month, year after year, the time passes by and you’re no closer to achieving it.
Have you already realized you’re sabotaging yourself? Do you actually witness yourself about to do the opposite of what could make you fulfilled, yet you still take that unhelpful action.
Sometimes it feels out of control or like you’re not the one driving that behavior. That’s your subconscious keeping you from living your best life.
Or maybe you’ve rationalized that it’s ok to watch TV for 5 hours when you planned to work on your finances, organize your office and then go for a walk.
You tell yourself that you’ve had a long stressful week at work and you deserve to numb out while binge-watching a TV show. But this short-term ‘reward’ doesn’t support or help your long-term goals.
Dissonance and Cognitive Dissonance
Dissonance is the opposite of harmony. It’s the tension when two conflicting or disharmonious things are combined.
For instance, you say you want less stress in your life and began to see good results by meditating daily, yet now you don’t make it a priority and don’t take the time to meditate at all.
More specifically, cognitive dissonance is a theory in social psychology. It refers to the mental conflict that occurs when your behaviors and beliefs don’t align, like in the meditating example above. You believe and know meditating daily reduces your stress, but your behavior of no longer doing so doesn’t align with that belief.
This mental conflict, or cognitive dissonance, can cause you to feel uncomfortable, stressed, anxious, ashamed or guilty. And since you have an instinctive desire to avoid these types of feelings, you attempt to relieve it.
That’s where the self-sabotage comes in and can have a significant impact on how you think and behave, and the decisions and actions you take. You may get some temporary relief, but in the long-run it’s unhelpful and destructive.
For instance, you may ignore your doctor’s advice, blood test results or published research that causes dissonance. And you may explain things away or devalue them to continue in your pattern.
Years ago, one of my co-workers knew smoking cigarettes was cancer causing yet she explained that it was necessary to calm her nerves given her demanding role at work. She also justified her smoking habit by saying she was concerned about gaining weight if she quit, like she witnessed in her other family members and friends. We’ll believe and keep doing just about anything to relieve the discomfort.
Self-Sabotage: Your Saboteur at Work
You may believe that this sabotaging voice is trying to protect you from harm or that it’s really helping you in some way.
But self-sabotage really is you creating problems for yourself that interfere with your true goals.
It’s not some outside force creating havoc in your life. Realize this and take responsibility for you and your saboteur.
And understand that your saboteur wants you to maintain the status quo in your life.
These are examples of saboteur thoughts. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- You’re not good enough or I’m not good enough.
- You don’t deserve this or I don’t deserve this.
- They’re going to get upset with you.
- That’s too hard.
- I’ll never be successful at this or you’ll never be successful.
- I’ll do it tomorrow.
- It’s not okay to be wealthy/happy.
- It’s not safe to put yourself out there, they’ll criticize and judge you.
Listening to your saboteur is a choice you’re making so that you can feel differently. Pay attention to these thoughts or beliefs; noticing them is the first step in stopping your self-sabotage.
Additionally, expect the saboteur to get stronger whenever you begin to make positive changes in your life. Expect it and be ready for it. The action steps below can help.
Act with Intention: Identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage
The saboteur loses its power over us when we’re aware and can identify it, realize we have other options in that situation, and then consciously choose the action at that time that serves us best (gets us closer to our true goal).
Here are some actions to take to identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage. It takes practice and work, and consistency, and over time you’ll be back in control and seeing positive results.
- Identify your saboteur by answering these questions. Where are you sabotaging yourself? What does your saboteur often think or say? In your environment, either at work or at home, what self-sabotaging language is being used, by you or others? For instance, a new opportunity at work has come up. It would be a promotion for you and you’re excited to learn more about it. Then you feel a little apprehensive, even nervous or scared, and the following thought stream pops into your head “I’m not ready for this. What if I fail? It’s easier to just stay in this role and not put myself out there to be rejected.”
- Next, you want to challenge and change those beliefs. Every time that thought, belief or language comes up, recognize it as your saboteur and change it. Then consciously choose a new thought and behavior that supports your long-term goals and wellbeing.
In the example above, you recognize those thoughts and beliefs for what they are. It’s your saboteur.
- Challenge “I’m not ready for this” with “Of course I’m ready, this is the perfect job for me.”
- Challenge “What if I fail?” with “What if I don’t fail? What if I don’t even try?”
- Challenge “It’s easier to just stay in this role and not put myself out there to be rejected” with “This new role is part of my long-term career plans, I’m ready for it and I’ll do a fantastic job. If I don’t get selected now, they may consider me for other opportunities in the future because I pursued this role and they know I’m interested in my career growth.”
You may need to get some leverage involved in order to change that thought or behavior. To do that, ask yourself, “What is this costing me in terms of health, wellbeing, relationships, and success? How is this holding me back from my goals and dreams and the vision I see for myself?”
In the example above, the leverage could be envisioning yourself in 2 – 5 years in the future, in the same role, earning a similar salary, not being challenged or growing professionally or personally. How would that feel? What have you missed out on? What are you still tolerating? How does staying stagnant impact your wellbeing, relationships, your long-term goals and dreams?
If you’re struggling with achieving a particular goal, your saboteur could be at work. Sometimes you’re not even aware of it.
I challenge you to get really focused, act intentionally, identify your saboteur and stop your self-sabotage once and for all.
Leave a comment below when you start seeing the positive changes from stopping your self-sabotage. Share your success to encourage others.
of integrate is to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole.
Taking the time to integrate is to intentionally stop taking in more and to combine what you’ve already have for deeper growth and development. Once you integrate, you get to deeper levels of knowledge and fulfillment in your life.
For instance, if you love to learn new things, you may have a tendency to read more and more books, take more workshops and listen to more podcasts. It almost feels like an addiction at times. A friend or colleague recommends a new course or workshop and you sign up, take it, and quickly move on to the next one.
Many times you don’t gain much, in fact, you just consume and never implement what you’ve learned.
You never integrated it; you never took the material to a deeper level where it could make a significant impact in your career or in your life.
The Myth of More is Better
More is better is a myth. The constant strive for more in our culture prevents us from seeing and experiencing the true value of what we already have.
It supports the idea and feeling that wherever you are is not good enough, because more is always better.
It’s hard to be grateful and appreciate all that you have now when your focus is on getting more.
I’ve worked with people who were always focused on the next project or the next job, and never appreciated all they were experiencing in their current role. They missed the fulfilling things like the relationships they were building, the people they were helping and the new things they were learning.
The energy around more is better feels like a chase – a futile one. You’re chasing after things just to accumulate more. And once you have it, you’re dissatisfied and off to the next thing, and the next and the next.
And it’s not just physical things. We’re constantly absorbing more and more experiences, information and energy but without the time or opportunity to sort through it all.
Take the time to sort through it and you’ll begin to feel some significant improvements.
Why It’s Important to Integrate
The chase for more erodes your energy and your sense of fulfillment. Taking the time to integrate gives you your energy back. You begin to feel more in control and organized.
Taking the time to integrate helps to reduce the overwhelm, stress, and exhaustion you experience in your day to day life. If you’re feeling uncentered, off-balance or even fractured, it may be the signal that it’s time to integrate.
Act with Intention: Take Time to Integrate
Here are some suggestions to start taking intentional action around taking the time to integrate.
First off, slow down and realize if you’re in a “more is better” mindset and exhibiting behaviors like described above. When you notice this behavior or thought, change it to a more helpful behavior or thought. Simply saying “slow down” or “stop” can be enough to bring about some awareness.
It took some time to get here, but now I quickly recognize if I’m going down a ‘learning” rabbit hole. Any emails or suggestions for a new book, course, training program or free live event I either delete immediately or I scan it to see if it’ll be useful and put it on my “maybe later” list.
Taking time to integrate is more than just not taking more in. You want to intentionally integrate experiences and information as they occur or directly afterwards.
One good practice is to spend 5-10 minutes after a meeting or workshop to integrate your key takeaways. Things like what you learned, what you’d like to implement from the training, if anything. Better yet, take notes during it to include which things you’d like to test out and apply to your own life.
Additionally, take a break and stop taking more in – for days, weeks or months if needed. That means no new podcasts, books, workshops or courses during this time period.
During this break from consuming more info, data and things, sort through what you already have. This can be done by simply taking the time to think about things. Embrace daydreaming. Let you mind wander. Meditate. This is how your brain sorts and categorizes information.
A good question to ask is: Is this information useful for you and can you apply it to your life? If not, let it go.
If it’s useful, your next step is to take action and test it out. Apply it and experience this information.
Lastly, after testing it out review what you’ve learned through the application and experience of integrating it into your life. Are there any additional lessons or knowledge? Have your beliefs changed as a result?
Taking the time to integrate is the best way to become a more unified whole. You’ll find it brings new levels of understanding and wisdom, and you’ll feel more fulfilled in your life.
Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash
Do you ever feel pressure building up at work or at home? Pressure is great for growth; you need it to keep moving in the right direction toward your goals.
It helps you to expand and create in the way that only you can. You want to use pressure to benefit you, and don’t let pressure become stress.
The Pressure Cooker at Work
The thing about pressure, if it goes unchecked and just keeps building and building without any release (think of a pressure cooker), that’s when it can turn into the unhealthiest kind of stress called chronic stress. The stress that causes health and other issues.
You don’t want to let pressure become this type of stress. Learn about the 3 types of stress and what to do to if you’ve got chronic stress here.
As I look back at my previous career and work habits, I could sense the pressure building, feel it, and yet felt powerless against it. Over time without actively addressing it, the stress became chronic, taking its toll on my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
It’s common to feel this type of pressure regularly when in a high demand job or fast-paced work environment. The important part is to address the pressure before it turns to stress.
Pressure is a Sign of Growth and Change
Lately that familiar feeling of pressure has returned in my work life. I’ve begun some new coaching work. I typically work one on one with coaching clients, however, I started some coaching work for an external company where I must learn their systems and processes.
It’ll take some time to acclimate to all this newness, and I continue to remind myself that it’s part of the growth process and only temporary. This reminder helps in times when the pressure rises.
When you take on new assignments or when you’ve switched jobs to a new company, how was it for you? Those first 30-60-90 days can be rough.
You’re attempting to do the work you were hired to do, but getting up to speed with who’s who, how things are done, new systems and processes – it all takes extra time and extra effort.
When Pressure Becomes Stress
You may experience increased pressure due to other external forces too. Maybe someone was laid-off and now you have to take on the work they performed. Or maybe you’re experiencing more pressure from leadership, or a higher than normal work demand, or a lack of job security.
Even a lack of flexibility and autonomy in your work and your work schedule can leave you feeling stressed and as if you have no control. Over time or with too much pressure all at once, it can become overwhelming and stressful.
The effects of work-related pressure turning into stress is evident in your physical, mental and emotional health. Common ailments can include musculoskeletal problems like chronic back pain, joint pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. Gastrointestinal disorders, like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers typically have a stress component.
Mentally and emotionally, issues like anxiety, burnout and inability to get good quality sleep (sleep disorders) are a result.
Pressure becoming stress also has adverse effects on a company’s performance and bottom line too. Increased healthcare costs and absenteeism are a result of chronic stress in the workplace.
Business leaders and owners should have an interest in managing the pressure and stress in their environments. But many times they get caught up in it as well.
Act with Intention: Don’t Let Pressure Become Stress
Here are some strategies to implement so you don’t let pressure become stress.
First off, stay present and conscious in the moment. In other words, realize that something is causing pressure. Pay attention to situations that you know will likely impact you.
Also, be realistic about what you can and can’t control. If the pressure is getting to you, take a few minutes to list out what the causes might be and circle the ones you can control.
Next, take action. For those items you can control, try a new strategy or approach to change the outcome. For instance, if you feel stuck in an unproductive weekly meeting and can feel the pressure beginning to rise as you think about the other work you need to be doing, have a direct conversation with the meeting leader. Give some suggestions for improvement like having a clear agenda with time allotments for each item. Or maybe suggest less frequent meetings with email updates weekly.
And for the things you can’t control, let them go. If you have a tendency to take on things that aren’t yours or that you have no way of influencing, it’s best to recognize that early on and let it go.
For instance, being late to a meeting due to a traffic accident causing traffic backup on the road, or technical problems on a webmeeting due to bandwidth overuse – let it go. Getting frustrated or upset doesn’t help. These things are beyond your control, and you when you recognize that and let it go, it takes the pressure off and allows you to move forward in a calm healthy way.
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash