Irrational Beliefs – Part 3

The truth is that the universe naturally shapes our lives through different disruptions. Along the way, different events and individuals will challenge us and push us to unfavorable situations. And the changes will affect how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we behave. Problems can trigger irrational beliefs called cognitive distortions. Here are another set of 3 irrational beliefs to be aware of:

Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization – It consists of making a mountain out of a molehill. Or, on the flip side, downplaying the significance of an event or an emotion.

A Magnification example is when an individual thinks that something catastrophic such as suffering a fatal heart attack, will happen. Or when athletes believe that they are inadequate team players because of a mistake.

A Minimization example is when you receive a raise, and you still feel not very good at your job.”

What to do: 

  • In both cases, write down your concern in detail, put into words your emotions, and challenge them.
  • Consider a core principle of Stoicism: “Some things are in our control and others not.” Such as sudden heart attack, illness, traffic, not being able to score a goal, the list goes on.
  • Remind yourself the validity of your emotions is reflections of your thoughts.
  • Keep in mind what you can control is your response and your actions.
  • Challenge your opinion with facts.

Should Statements – the tendency to impose a set of unrealistic or non-viable expectations for yourself or others. The should, ought or must statements indicate obligations that we cling on to, and generally, we get angry if they do not meet our expectations.

What to do:

  • Stop evaluating yourself and others based on statements that signal control and rarely make sense.
  • Adjust your statements to express your preferences, and, alternatively, acceptance of reality is sensible. This way, you are acknowledging that sometimes things are not how we like them to be! Hence, the situation will be less infuriating, and your response will be more sound. For instance, when someone’s actions are misaligned with your expectations, the statement can be expressed: “I prefer if you were more considerate,…”

Labeling and Mislabeling – When you reduce yourself or others based on one characteristic or an incident, basically overgeneralizing a situation, a habit, or a trait with hurtful and emotionally loaded description. For instance: “I failed my exam; I am stupid.”

What to do: 

  • Write down your thoughts and the language you have used to express your sentiments.
  • Recognize the double-standard method you used to communicate your feelings and the lack of compassion or a kinder behavior bestowed on a friend.
  • Practice thinking in shades of grey by rating how you feel on a scale of worst to the best. You will notice that many incidents or actions are not as extreme as we label them.
  • Define what does it mean to be a failure or insecure or any undesired labels?
  • Revisit the labels that you have applied to yourself and others. Talk to yourself like a friend.

Remember that not everyone can reduce or treat cognitive distortions by itself. At times, therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) is the best way to learn about coping strategies to deal with challenges.

 

Artwork by Antonio Mora

Interview With R.A. Leslie – Transformational Coach and Speaker

Maybe all you need right now is to help yourself. Perhaps you need to work on quieting the noise in your head, listen to the voice of your unconscious, and connect with your dreams and desires. Maybe the gap is so wide, and you are hanging on the edges of two cliffs while gravity pulls you down. You look up, scared to death, not knowing which edge to let go. The dreams, the desires, or the shadows? Maybe while you were expanding your horizons, striving to be the image of myths and protagonists in novels, you lost your voice. And now, you have no idea how to calm the chaos, how to heal your wounds, or how to re-connect with your true aspirations. Maybe you need to learn about your meta-narratives. Perhaps you need someone that cares, makes you comfortable, takes your hand, and sheds light on the gap so that you can rationally see where you are and what you need to know about your life purpose. Maybe it is time to reshape and “discover your dreams.”

Maybe you need a coach to find clarity. A coach that motivates you to move forward. A coach that guides you to a place that echoes “live up to your potential and never give up.”

R.A. Leslie, a transformational coach, and speaker believe that “Our lives begin with stories and dreams inside of us, waiting to be discovered and brought into the world.” Her creative coaching unveils your internal battles and shows you “how to change your message, your feelings, and your habits.”

Image courtesy of R.A. Leslie

Jupilings: How did you become a coach and why-

R.A.: I think of myself more as a lifestyle architect. Someone to reflect back to the client the answers they already have deep within and then help them design, shape, build and structure a life that defines who they truly are.

I started out quite simply and organically by doing workshops for children on believing in their dreams, which led to having healthy self-esteem. Then I went through a divorce and people began asking me to help them with their relationships and careers.

Jupilings: What are the most common challenges people face-

R.A.: People are challenged by love because oftentimes they have been raised with contradictory messages of what love is and is not from their caregivers. Often the romantic relationship is not necessarily love but a form of attachment and painful dysfunction. The other challenge they face is being happy in a career choice. The two themes are often linked to similar emotions and triggers. People struggle with both, often simultaneously.

Jupilings: When things get chaotic and complexity swirls in your life, how can you take back control of your life-

R.A.: The first step is to notice what is causing chaos. Typically it is a slow-building up of past choices. Then insulate yourself for a period of a few days. A long weekend away or even a few personal days away from work. Slowing yourself down is a short cut to resolutions. It always good to reflect on your life so you can see where the chaos has stemmed from and how to halt it. Turn off technology and sit with yourself in meditation. Make a list of what is not working in your life and see if you can ask yourself “why” and what you can do about it. Reach out to a good friend or your coach.

Jupilings: How to overcome the feeling of “I m not good enough or I don’t know enough” when you want to embark on a venture-

R.A.: To overcome the feeling of “I am not good enough, or I don’t know enough” it is best not to compare yourself with others. Realize that there really is no competition when you are original because you have your own unique way of self-expression. Your passion is your own and so are your dreams. They might look like the ideas and dreams of others but you are the only one who can express your vision of who you are and what you want to accomplish.

Sometimes we don’t know enough for a field we are interested in and we can always learn more. However, the experience is a wonderful teacher and provides us with knowledge so we can start from the point of experience and just know that we can always learn more about any given topic. It is “ok” to not know things sometimes. If we have stories to tell and life experiences to share—our insight into those experiences will carry us through any feelings of “not being good enough or not knowing enough.” Sometimes we just don’t need more information. (You are here because you are here you are already more than enough.)

Jupilings: Practical tips on how to switch off the negative thoughts-

R.A: This is not easy, but to be aware of the thought is the first tip. Then don’t give the negative thoughts energy and feeling. Dismiss it. Catch yourself when a negative thought comes and don’t invite them to loop into a cycle of more negative thoughts. Move on to a better feeling thought. This takes practice but it works!

Jupilings: Finding meaning versus happiness, what are your thoughts-

R.A.: When our lives have meaning it becomes a life of happiness. A life of happiness is a feeling of internal joy despite circumstances and outside influences and events. Meaning brings joy, does it not? Often times people associate happiness with externals, labels, images, and things, but that is not true happiness. When we look closely at meaning—it lasts. It is the kind of happiness that is mature. It is not ephemeral. There is deep joy in meaning. Definitely worth the quest.

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

R.A.: It depends on what the setback is. Sometimes we just need to pause, accept what we are presented with, in each moment and allow the setback to be there. It will pass with the right action and in time. Setbacks will teach us something about ourselves and others and then we need to do whatever we can to keep a positive, forward momentum going so we can continue to move in the right direction. Setbacks are a part of life. As we mature we understand that setbacks do not have to paralyze us. They are invitations that ask us important questions about where we are in our lives; what we are doing and why and how we will respond to challenges and crisis.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

R.A.: My life motto? I have a few. One of my favorite ones is: be prepared. We may not get that opportunity of a lifetime but it is still better to be prepared just in case we do. Every day is an opportunity to succeed, to accomplish a goal, to begin something. Finish what you begin or don’t start it. My favorite motto is: Time is irrelevant but timing is everything. (I believe this is true.)

How To Develop A Growth Mindset? Talk with Krista Roesler M.A. RP

Do you feel misunderstood, go through bitter self-recrimination, be confused about how you feel, cope with life challenges, or be distracted? Occasionally, we feel sad and display a lack of energy or vigor; however, gaining a deep understanding of the reasons behind the distress enables us to regulate our mood. The awareness allows us to remedy our feelings either through finding a solution or adopting a restorative method.

The problem arises when unknown anxiety, procrastination, fear, or an undigested disturbing experience pushes us to nihilism. When we cannot identify an accurate reason for the lingering inner conflicts, we tend to gravitate towards the negative path. This complication prevents us from gaining insight into what has triggered our despair, anxiety, or other impaired emotions. This is when self-help stops working, and you need a confidante, someone who patiently and supportively listens.

When your efforts and resources are ineffective and blindly steering the wheel, it’s time to establish a personal interaction that acts as a catalyst—a professional who can improve your wellbeing and resolve your worrisome behaviors and thoughts.

On this account, to learn more about how to deal with self-criticism, not to take offense, and develop a growth mindset, I had the opportunity to interview Krista Roesler M.A. RP, a registered psychotherapist and a professionally trained life coach at Psych Company located in Toronto:

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Courtesy of Psych Company

Jupilings: Please tell us about your background and areas of expertise- 

KW: I am a registered psychotherapist and a life coach. I have a masters degree in psychology and life coaching training from the Adler Institute/the University of Toronto. I work with individuals and couples on a wide range of issues from finding purpose in life and achieving dreams and goals to dealing with more severe mental health issues such as addiction, trauma, depression, etc. Please see the website for a more detailed list: www.psychcompany.com

Jupilings: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life, how can we distinguish between who we should be and whom we want to be- 

KR: In the context of living a meaningful & a mindful life you can distinguish between who we should be and who we want to be by getting familiar with our values or what is really important us. Start by writing a list of all the things you feel like you should do, have to do, feel obligated to do or others told you to do. Now cross off everything you don’t want to do. Now start a 2nd list and of the things you actually want to do and try to get more of that in your life. 

Jupilings: How to deal with self-criticism- 

KR: One way to deal with self-criticism is to first become really aware of it by writing it down. Next, separate your self-criticism from your own voice. Tell your self that just because you are thinking these thoughts it doesn’t mean any of them are true. Explore and think about where the thoughts originated. Did you have a critical parent? Next, think about what you really need to hear to feel empowered? Do you need to hear that you can do it? Do you need to hear that you are smart enough or good enough? 

Jupilings: How to become braver in life- 

KR: You can become braver in life by trying and doing things that are out of your comfort zone or that you didn’t think you could. This will help build your confidence.

Jupilings: How not to take things personally- 

KR: You can stop taking things personally by recognizing that it’s usually about someone else’s issues and not you. These issues might be that someone might have a bad day or be under stress for example. 

Ask yourself if they are like this with everyone? If they are like this with others than it is not personal.

Be curious and wonder why that person might behave that way? If it’s a bully. Were they bullied at some point in their life and now bully others? Is it someone who is shy and that’s why they have trouble with eye contact, responding, talking? When you can try to understand why someone behaves a certain way you can free yourself from taking it personally.

Jupilings: What are your 5 golden tips to help us develop a growth mindset-

KR:

  1. View all obstacles/challenges/criticism as a learning opportunity
  2. Embrace imperfection, mistakes and failure
  3. Enjoy the process of getting there and don’t hyper-focus on the end result
  4. Learn from the mistakes of others
  5. If you haven’t mastered something yet, allow time to practice and improvement.

Jupilings: We do negotiate with ourselves and others each and every day, what are the necessary traits that need to be nurtured to help us negotiate from a position of strength- 

KR: Non-judging is one of the attitudinal foundations of mindfulness. Any tips or practice that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgemental attitude.

A tip that will support our efforts to adopt a non-judgement attitude is to be more compassionate with yourself and others. A good way to do this is to think of someone you deeply care about and want to protect such as your child or best friend. Now ask yourself if you would ever say those thoughts to your best friend or child. If you wouldn’t think about what you would say to them instead and say that to yourself. 

Jupilings: “If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool”. What are your tips to deal with our lack of understanding and to stay calm in unpleasant situations or being annoyed by people’s behaviours-

KR: A tip is to try to have empathy and to try to put yourself into that person’s shoes. Become curious about what made that person act or think that way. Remember we are all doing the best we can with where we are. Remind yourself of all the times in the past that you didn’t know any better and also acted like a “fool.”

Jupilings: How do you deal with setbacks-

KR: Setbacks are a normal part of life. I expect setbacks to happen. I factor the expectation that setbacks will occur into everything I do. It means whatever I want to do will just take a little longer and little more work to get there and that’s okay. That’s part of life. 

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

KR: Action leads to success. Every little step forward will get me closer to where I want to be. 

Click on the link provided for more information about www.psychcompany.com

Trust – Foundation of Mindfulness # 4

“In practising mindfulness, you are practising taking responsibility for being yourself and learning to listen to and trust your own being.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

In a world full of endless choices and challenges, self-doubt is the non-stop humming in the background. The overwhelming feeling from the incoming mixed messages in our head is confusing and debilitating, and exhausting. Feeling stuck or lost happens when our brain cannot make sense of the outside information or process the internal feeling associated with the new context.

Our capacity to feel confident and make decisions based on our authentic self is to shield our brain from the bombardment of mixed messages from the outside world and the numbing of our useless tweets in our head.

It is possible to learn how to trust yourself and start making decisions, yet; you have to accept that emotional vulnerability is part of the formula. Growth and transformation are not possible without the willingness to be exposed to discomfort and anxiety.

You can cultivate trust by shifting your attention from external and pointing it towards yourself. Paying attention to your emotions, experiences, and thoughts with a nonjudgmental attitude builds confidence in yourself and your potential. Gradually, you realize that all the incapacitating walls you have built over the years to defend yourself against challenges are not that daunting. As you learn to trust your inner resources, you grow confidence in your strength, and the threats weaken in whatever might come up.

Ways to increase self-trust

  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings as much as you are focused on what you are doing – Whenever doubt creeps in, retreat, contemplate and identify the source of the emotions. Do not reject or judge your feelings; being uncertain means that you don’t have enough knowledge. This insight gives you the clarity to charge ahead and learn.
  • Be conscious of signals from your physical body, cravings, pain, or pleasure. As your body continues to perform its function, such as breathing or blood circulation, the concept of trust moves from perception to reality. An abstract idea manifests in the form of a physical system. This realization gives you no reason to doubt your capacity.
  • Make a list of all the qualities you like about yourself. Once you become aware of all your capabilities and virtues, you have created an intimate relationship with your trustworthy self. Rationally, when you are competent, reliable, and sincere, there is no reason not to trust yourself.
  • Recognize those poor choices you have made in the past that do not define your nor set in stone your path and destiny.
  •  Respect your feelings as much as you respect others.
  • Express your views and give input when you do have an opinion.

Like anything, you can establish an intellectual trust with yourself by setting the intention, paying attention and practice. For more information, please refer to mindfulness meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

 

 

Iran At A Glance Exhibition – Queen Gallery

“Iran at a Glance” Art Exhibition takes on thorny collective issues by Iranian artists living the challenges of social injustices, apparent and the embedded, inside Iran.  The selected art pieces depict the ongoing struggles of numerous communities, relentlessly unveils tensions between cultural practices, absurd traditions, social movements and political ideologies. The exhibition is taking place at Queen Gallery, located at 382 Queen Street East, Toronto till March 30, 2019.

Queen Gallery presents the work of contemporary artists from Toronto and around the world.  Housed in a refurbished brownstone, this distinctive space is a forum where the boundaries of media are greeted, embraced and even challenged.

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Learn more about “Iran at a Glance” art exhibition through the interview with Mahrokh Ahankhah, founder of the Queen Gallery:

Jupilings: What is Iran at a Glance Exhibition about?

MA:  Iran at a Glance exhibition seeks to offer a new and fresh perspective into Iran’s contemporary art scene. The socio-cultural elements affecting artists/people in Iran are explored through the lens of twenty artists and their artworks. Through their own stylistic techniques, each of the artists gives us a unique glance into their world in Iran. The exhibition was curated by Iranian artist Nina Rastgar and Mahrokh Ahankhah, the founder of Queen Gallery.

Jupilings: Who are the artists:

MH: The artists featured in this exhibition represent the diversity of expressions, concepts and backgrounds among artists in Iran; From emerging to highly established artists.

Jupilings: What are the prevalent themes in this collection?

MH: The collection explores the day-to-day lives and concerns of artists and their experience as a creative individual.

Jupilings: What was the selection criteria for this particular group?

MH: The curator for this exhibition selected artists based on their artistic merit and their originality of ideas, concepts and techniques. Beyond that, the diversity of artists and their backgrounds was one of the key driving factors in selecting artists and artworks for Iran at a Glance Exhibition. 

Jupilings: How does art play in cultural, political and civil resistance in Iran?

MH: The study of Iranian history shows the unbreakable links between art and all other political, cultural, social, and economic events; art has been continuously used as a highly efficient tool to express thoughts and aspirations, as well as to challenge authority, and oppression. The contemporary Iranian artists, represented in Iran at a Glance and beyond, follow the same legacy that prior artists such as Kamal-ol-Molk, Behzad, and Sohrab Sepehri. Today’s artists, in their many different mediums, speak of truth, and the real-life struggles of Iranian artists in Iran.

Jupilings: What other exhibitions do you have coming up?

MH: Our next exhibit features Tina Rouhandeh. Her artworks combine calligraphy, poetry and sewing together; Scribe and Stitch exhibition is open to the public on April 3rd-13th, 2019.

How To Be An Optimist In Tough Times

It is worth mentioning that we have a social responsibility for the benefit of society and our individual lives to engage, be useful, and lead a meaningful life. To fulfill this obligation, two of the fundamental elements that reinforce our state of mind’s wellness and enrich our experience and life for others are cultivating our strengths powered by optimism.

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

“When you have come to the edge of all the light you have and step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of the two will happen to you, either you’ll find something solid to stand on or you’ll be taught how to fly!”

Richard Bach

The point is that there is always an opposite to a condition. Problems – solutions, adversity – opportunity, and the list goes on. Having a healthier outlook in life means transcending stagnation and despair. Fine, disappointments, intense adversaries, or distressing conditions happen, what can we do? We can contemplate for hours, days, or even years blaming situations, people, or even ourselves for being cut off at the knee, drowning in bitterness and resentment, or disassociate with negative feelings and shoulder responsibility to get out of the dark pit.

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Igor Morski Art

Like Dory in “Finding Nemo,” befittingly remarked, “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming.” Agreed, so how do we embark on shifting our frame of mind and capitalize on our possibilities?

Revisit your goals or set up a new set of goals and purpose – Knowing that your path towards them will not be on a straight line, and you might need to reorient yourself at times, but eventually, the winding road will take you to your intended aspirations.

 

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Igor Morski Art

Change your inner monologue, make sure that they support your goals, make a positive argument against a negative thought that slithers into your mind. A good practice is to look into your mind as a detached observer to search for what sets you apart from your true potential. Slice your line of thinking and actions into parts. Which one of these parts is more aligned with your abilities, intellect, and motives? The part that regularly criticizes, argues, is judgmental or the part that listens, learns, and knows that life is full of challenges and is tainted with difficulties still it has the nobility to rise above with an admirable footprint. As humans, we are capable of thriving under stress and problems. Why? Because our core being is built to support our transcendence from the stage of apprehension to what we want to be. Hence, stop using half-hearted vocabulary. Your words matter; conscious use of positive talk will bring out your inner courage to pursue goals.

Igor Morski Art
Igor Morski Art

Recognize that as an intelligent being, you can identify your shortcomings and build on your strengths – the idea is to be better than you. You can transform and face undesirable insightfully. Just as you go to the gym to attain your physical fitness goals, the same mentality can support your positive outlook. You start a fitness program with the belief that with discipline, practice, and determination, the plan of action will realize your resolution.

 

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.

Richard Bach

Work on having a problem-solving mind – rational thinking is about progress, well-being, and awareness that life has setbacks and difficulties; however, the knowledge gained through scientific findings, reason, and humanity will enhance our perspective to seek solutions and flourish.

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Igor Morski Art

Believe that progress is real. As humans, we have come a long way to improve our quality of life from life expectancy to human rights to increase leisure time, and the list goes on. Zoom in; personal growth is tangible. This belief is not fiction is a fact.

Keep in mind that stationary conditions to seek security while you have a fighter spirit will only lead to boredom and boredom in turn to spite and malice. To fight against the negative emotions, go forward in life, and fulfill the ethical duty to create a meaningful life and reach the best version of ourselves is the recommended motivation.

 

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Igor Morski Art

Personal Brand Storytelling With Videos

How to connect with your online audience in 7 seconds? How do you bring about an emotive response in the cyber space? How the online surfers, viewers or fans will get to experience your feelings, your attributes by reading your “About” page? The moving pictures are the answer.  Whether you are an executive, a consultant, an artist,…  creating video bios will significantly prompt deep and meaningful bonding. Visuals with well structured script are memorable. You have control over the flow of information to illuminate professionalism, inspiration, empathy, creativity or any personal attributes that will assure a favourable connection.

“Your brand is a unique promise of value”. William Arruda

The essential elements in producing compelling video bios for your personal branding:

Script: Create a storyline that is relevant to your profession. Start with your brand attribute, the authentic quality that reveals your character and supports your intention & unique promise.  An example might be that your brand is about helping others succeed as a consultant. Hence, that particular trait in your personal and work behaviour such as enthusiasm should be revealed in your script. Next employ your brand statement and weave a story that embodies your sensibilities, strengths and vulnerabilities. Account your experiences and challenges to toss in an intimate flavour to your content. Suppose you want to be regarded as an influencer, in that case you should give your perspective on a topic. For the most part, remember your written bio will list all your accomplishments however your visual motion should convincingly render abstract feelings apparent.

Visual Appeal:  Check the Basic rules of design, provided by Canva to help you with the shot compositions of places, people and yourself.

The audio: Choosing the right music and narrating your story should be in harmony with your images and your intent. Websites such as: AudioJungle or Freeplay Music allow you to choose the appropriate background music for your video. As for the voice-over, make sure that is clear. Your tone and pace should reinforce the emotions that correspond with important moments or ideas.

Last but not least, emerging technologies such as virtual reality, 360-degree video and augmented reality allow viewers to experience the adventure and visualize your work.  These immersive ways enable you to create notable and emotionally vibrant stories.