Posts tagged #patterns

How to Stop Your Inner Worry Wart from Taking Over

If you could model your fingernails for the latest Zombie movie, then you may be a bit of a nail-biting worry wart. You’d be in good company as I’m a recovering worrier—worrying about life was what I did. What if I’m late for my appointment? What if I can’t remember what I’m supposed to say? What if I show up in my underwear? I didn’t say my worries actually made sense—all the best worries are about as logical as a Tim Burton film.

Here are some tips that I used to go from worrier to warrior!

1. Get it out: when we let our worries knock around in our brain the effect is an echoing, repetitive series of thoughts. It takes over. We don’t even realize that the thoughts are running on a constant loop and that if we actually brought them to the surface, they would stop being so loud. Write down all the worries that come to mind. Take a break, go back to it and write some more. You’ll find clusters of worries; you’ll find things you had no clue were taking up space in your psyche! The main objective is to get them out in the open where you can look at them.

2. Forgive yourself: now that you see what thoughts and worries take up so much of your energy and make you feel so crappy you don’t have to beat yourself up. This is not an excuse to say: ok, I’m a worry wacko. You had a pattern, maybe from childhood, that you picked up. So what. Now you can make a change and do something about it. Make an intention that you will choose differently from now on.

3. Choose different thoughts: from this point forward commit to being more aware of what thoughts run your life and insert new, positive thoughts. I call these the counter offers. Your mind says: What if I bomb at this interview? Your counter offer would be: What if I do so well they hire me on the spot? Take that, worry track! Try this and over time you’ll notice that you may automatically start to think more positively. Of course the tendency may still be there to worry, but you have a way of balancing it out by offering the mind an alternative way to see the world. You can choose this. I did.

4. Take care of yourself: we all know that when we aren’t get enough sleep, eating properly and working without breaks that it wears us down. These bad habits make us susceptible to more worry. We aren’t at our best, therefore we can’t think at our best. We need a solid base of health to go forth into the world with a positive outlook. Eat your greens, get your sleep, take time to sit in the park. All these simple techniques will help you see the world as a wonderful place instead of a mecca of impending doom.

Happy thoughts to you! Do you have any anti-worrying techniques? Share them below so everyone can benefit!

P.S. Ever wonder what Little Red Riding Hood has to do with personal transformation? Find out! Check out my brand new e-book What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After.

Where’s the Fun in That?

How much fun do you have? If you said, “Eleanor, I always have fun” please empathize with me for the rest of this post. I come from a long line of ancestors with a record that skips like this: “work hard, get things done, roll up your sleeves, don’t be afraid of a little hard work, laziness is a serious offense, rest is not in our vocabulary, and what are you sitting around for don't you know there's work to be done?”
Of course, some of my family members manage to relax a little and get around the background theme song, but it’s in there like a well-worn brain pathway. Recently, I realized that i put forth a lot of energy “working” and not a lot of energy “fun-ing”.

Since, I don’t want to end up looking like an old sea captain with a leather purse for a face, I’m determined to change this! (I picture an old man in a wool sweater working his fingers to the bone every day with not a second of non-work related energy expended). If you can relate lets change that today!

Here we go, let the fun-ing begin: 

  1. Schedule in some fun. 
    As ridiculous as this sounds, according to an astrology reading I had, not only do I work hard, but I also approach fun with the same hard work ethic. In other words, I sit down and say—Ok, some fun needs to go on this week. How do I strategically insert the necessary amount of units? So I am gently reminding myself that I can just say—I’m taking the afternoon off to hit the streets of downtown—either walk the Lake boardwalk or go for a hike through a beautiful park or meet up with a friend for lunch. Check.
  2. Put a boundary around work times. 
    This is a similar thing but with more specific instructions. For example, I don’t work weekends. I only work until 6:30 pm at night as a general rule, except for evening meetings. I limit the amount of evening meetings. Being self-employed can turn into one long work day—from January to December—if you’re not careful.
  3. What do I love? 
    Beaches & flip flops, cooking classes, cute furry animals, the forest, documentary films, good conversation over wine & snacks. Now I have some tangible things to work with. I can take a vacation where I wear flip flops...look up the latest cooking class online...arrange a night out with friends...go to the hot docs fest! What’s on your list?
  4. Meditation. 
    Joy comes in all shapes and sizes. Fun can simply be the time I give myself to go within and re-calibrate my frazzled nerves. I make time for this ever day. This also opens up the ideas on how to have more fun!
  5. Spontaneity.
    This one is tough for me and not natural. It takes practice for me to say yes to things that pop up. I promised myself this year that I will say yes to all invitations that come across my radar. Like the Jim Carey movie! I’ll let you know how it works out.

I hope you enjoyed my list of ways to insert more fun into life. Think about how this sits with you and make your own list or use the suggestions I have here. Excuse me it’s three o-clock: fun time!

Groundhog Day Syndrome: Five Ways to Stop Repeating Yourself


I’d like to show you how to stop repeating the same patterns every year, so that you can create new experiences for yourself. Otherwise, you might blow your paper trumpet on December 31st, hug and kiss everyone, and then go back to all the crappy situations you promised yourself you’d get out of. Do you want to live on repeat like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day (without the touching lesson and romantic story)? I didn't think so. As a writer, I’m a big fan of writing things down. Ideas fill my notebooks, diaries and journals-as well as scrap pieces of paper and the backs of used envelopes. Even with the advent of iPhone apps I still prefer to take pen to paper. It’s more satisfying and makes things more real. This blog originally took shape in my lined paper booklet—but since you can't logistically come over and read it, I’ve transferred it here.

My favourite scribblings tend to end up in a “this is what I’ve learned” list-perfect for this time of year!

Here is my best prevention method for Groundhog Day syndrome:

  1. Take a blank writing canvas of any kind
    paper, computer, chalkboard, sand—whatever tickles your fancy. The sand medium helps with serious attachment issues. I’m very attached to my words, but have at it if this speaks to you.

  2. Design a heading like:
    What I learned in 2013.

  3. Write down the big situations or topics that come to mind.
    These are major themes, such as—money, relationships, work, etc. Keep these as headings on the page with a lot of space in between them.

  4. For each topic/theme ask yourself:
    In 2013 what was my experience with money (or whatever topic it is)? Did something different happen this year or is it the same experience I had in 2012? This will start to show you the sneaky repeat patterns.

  5. For each theme that has repeated for two years write underneath this topic an extra question
    Why does this situation continue to come up? Notice I did NOT say “Why does this always happen to me?” That takes you straight down the victim track where you’ll spin around in circles. You made the best choices you could. So, what is this situation teaching you? Sit with your eyes closed for two minutes and you may receive an answer or it may come to you in a few days. The point is that you’ve started the dialogue with yourSELF. You’re ahead of the game because you’re willing to listen. You’re willing to open up to your True Self guidance and Ask For Help.

This simple practice brought me out of a pattern of dysfunctional relationships, warped money behaviours and negative thinking. No small feat. So, try these steps to start fresh and have a Truly Happy New Year!

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.

Add Yourself to the To-Do List

Do you find yourself so caught up in others or helping people that you forget to care for yourself? Do you lose sleep? Forget to eat? Skip meals and go without breaks?

I’ve talked to clients about this and it really is a common spiral that leads you into the realm of breakdown, burn out. I’ve been there. I’ve gone into the obsessive dark side of helping others so much that it was really to my own detriment. I learned this the very hard way.

So, what do you do when you focus too much on others? First, of all I’m not saying that we can’t help people and friends/families-of course being helpful and supportive is what makes the world a wonderful place. Another point—being a parent of course involves doing a lot for your children and making sacrifices. This is needed to raise healthy, happy children, but there needs to be a balance—parent time and/or relationship time. So, overall, there is a limit and we need to see the line in the sand.

Take this little quiz to see where you are on the scale:

  1. How many times per week do you skip lunch and/or dinner to run around for people, either at their request, or worse, of your own volition?
  2. How many times per week do you feel resentful of others for not appreciating what you do for them?
  3. How many times per week do you feel exhausted from a chaotic day filled with errands, tasks and jobs that have to do with others and are not in any way supportive of the things you like to do?
  4. How many people do you care for, not including children and spouses/partners?
  5. How often do you find yourself thinking about other people’s problems and dilemmas? Do you lose sleep over them?

If you spend 4-5 days per week on numbers 1-3, then you have definitely left yourself out of the equation.
If you answered the same to number 5 then your time is spent focusing on others to your own detriment.
Number 4 is just to give you an idea of the extent of your responsibilities…that may turn into a burden.

What can you do to turn things around?

Here are some things that I do to remind myself that I’m very important and special and without my health, vitality and wellness, there is nothing. I can’t do anything for others unless I have a solid foundation.

  1. Put time into your agenda
    to do some of your favourite silly things that have nothing at all to do with responsibility or obligation (Mine is either: reading an Archie comic, going for a walk in the park beside my house, listening to Hayhouse radio, baking cookies, going to bootcamp)
  2. Focus on pampering.
    (Mine are: bath with epsom salt or lavender essential oil, give myself a pedicure & paint my toenails)
  3. Take a nap.
    (I love to nap on my days off or in the evening when I get home after a long, stressful day—you can set the alarm if you’re worried about sleeping too long)
  4. Stop and assess how you feel.
    (Pick a time in the day-for example at 2pm in the afternoon in the middle of the work day. Go into the bathroom or somewhere private and breathe for a minute and then ask yourself silently, How do I feel? How is my day going? Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Pay attention and do what your body or emotional self is asking for. Maybe it means go outside and sit in the sun for 10 minutes or head to the cafe for a latte/tea)
  5. Be easy on yourself.
    (Write down at the end of the day—What did I do really well today? What am I proud of that I’ve done for myself today? Give an example of what you did to make your life easier that day…for example, Did I take the scenic route home? Did I voice my opinion in the board meeting?)

Try these suggestions for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Focus on the idea that without you, there is nothing. You are the centre of your own universe. You are the most important person to look after and when you do, others will benefit the most.

If this sounds simplistic, it is. Life is not meant to be a struggle. Let’s all keep this in mind as we go about our day, being helpful and supportive (as a balanced, whole person).


Photo credit: Brooklyn Morgan

Ack! What to do When you Acted Badly

I like to consider myself a kind and caring individual with a lot of wonderful qualities. I would also go so far as saying that I’m a very aware kind of person—alert to any dangerous ego imbalances. I spend time “working” on my principles of body, mind, spirit balance and I follow a daily practice that keeps me on track. So, it was quite a blow when I realized with that really icky feeling in my gut that I’d acted totally inconsiderately…to one of my best friends no less! Here I was concentrating on how someone over here who I feel had really wronged me and you have no idea how inconsiderate and hurtful they had been (this was the running tape in my mind) when all along I was mirroring that behaviour towards a close friend of mine. For shame.

It really hit me like a ton of bricks. I won’t lie when I say I probably looked like one of those gaping-mouthed morons that says, what are you talking about—ME???!! I was not called out by anybody except for the very merciless Universe (in other words you are the only one in the room and all arrows point straight into your shocked face). When those aha moments come at you they really zoom in on the bullseye. After I’d recovered from the dizzying notion that I had acted without regard to someone’s boundaries and generosity…ok lets just say I bulldozed right through them…I felt sick. How could I call myself a spiritual and aware person when I acted this way?

This is when my awareness expanded. Here are some ways I took the opportunity to see what was presented to me, so that I could work towards remedying the situation.

  1. I threw out the idea that I don’t make mistakes.
    Of course I know this, but sometimes I skate along nicely for a good long time under the false impression that I’m really gonna make it through without hurting others, screwing up or creating conflict. I’m like phew! I’m past the point of no return! Nice try. Life is about living in awareness when hurt, conflict or upset comes along-not foolishly trying to eliminate it altogether.
  2. I felt all the ickiness.
    I allowed myself to feel ashamed and embarrassed for what I had done. I allowed myself to feel angry for not seeing it. I allowed myself to feel that I had acted like a jerk. However, I did not tell myself I was no good or unworthy or banished for life to the ends of the earth. I have learned that the best place to start being compassionate is within ourselves. Accept and acknowledge your mistakes, but don’t crucify yourself for them.
  3. I asked for help.
    Whether you call it your Higher Self, the Universe, Source, Higher Power—whatever way you say it—this energy is there to help us. I poured out my feelings about how I’d acted. I asked to see what I needed to see out of this scenario and also what my next action step should be. A good place to start is always an apology—to the person effected and to yourself (for acting out of integrity).
  4. Then I took action. I put into motion a plan to remedy the situation. Sometimes there is really nothing to do except to fully accept the circumstances and to love yourself anyway. In other words forgive yourself and respect the person for their reactions. Maybe it’s not all warm and fuzzy and they are really angry with you or don’t want to interact with you for awhile. Acting out of integrity means allowing others to have their own feelings and respecting them for it. We can’t control others and we certainly don’t want them to feign niceness out of any sense of obligation or falseness. We can be grateful for an honest reaction. It allows us to realize where we stand.

The bottom line is that even if our own icky actions catch us unawares, it’s alright. Beautiful lessons and expansion can occur if we are willing to face ourselves and bravely admit our failings. This takes courage and dignity. In the end, you will grow from it and hopefully recognize when you are driving off the road for a time. I am personally grateful that my friend is very aware herself and that we will build a stronger foundation for future adventures in friendship.

Posted on October 30, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.