on C O M P A S S I O N.

 

birds

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
Pema Chödrön

 

 

on M I N D F U L N E S S.

mindfulness-580Have you ever started eating a snack, taken a couple of bites, then noticed all you had left was an empty packet in your hand? Or been driving somewhere and arrived at your destination only to realize you remember nothing about your trip? Well, you are not alone!  Most people have.

These are common examples of “mindlessness,” or “going on automatic pilot.” In our modern, busy lives, we constantly multi task. It’s easy to lose awareness of the present moment as when we become lost in our efforts to juggle work, home, finances, and other conflicting demands.

Human minds are easily distracted, habitually examining past events and trying to anticipate the future. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and sensations may not sound like an obviously helpful thing to do, however learning to do this in a way that suspends judgement and self-criticism can have an incredibly positive impact on our lives.

Below, Juliet Adams, Director of A Head for Work offers the ABC’s of Mindfulness.   I’ve found them extremely useful in helping myself and others become more aware & mindful in daily life.

The ABC’s of M I N D F U L N E S S:

A is for awareness - Becoming more A W A R E of what you are thinking and doing – whats going on in your mind and body.

B is for ” just B E I N G ” with your experience.  Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.

C is for seeing things and responding more wisely.  By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.

-Juliet Adams, Director, A Head for Work

 

shelbs-river-101I hope you have found the ABC’s of Mindfulness useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way. I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE.  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.

 

 

 

 

Why Yoga?

shelbs-river-112

 

Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.

– Cybele Tomlinson

 

 

photo credit: michellegardella.com

Alternate Nostril Breathing.

When breathing is restricted and shallow your body doesn’t feel safe.  Muscles tense. Chest tightens.  Jaw clenches. You under-breathe.  The mind becomes anxious.  Thoughts race.

I’m a firm believer that breath is medicine.  The practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing can help calm an agitated, over-anxious mind.

 

deep-breathing44

I wholeheartedly believe that Alternate Nostril Breathing is up there, as one of the most therapeutic calming rituals.  It profoundly helps to settle, calm and nourish an agitated mind and wired nervous system.   Even after only two minutes you can feel and notice a distinct difference as to how you feel.  Below, I will outline 5 benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing and some simple how to’s, to get you started.

 

|| Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing ||

1. It revitalizes you. 

A few rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or over stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.

2. It calms an agitated mind:

Many are prone to worrying.  A few minutes of focused Alternate Nostril Breathing is helpful in calming the  “over thinking” and “over-doing” mind.

3. It encourages a calmer emotional state: 

In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful Alternate Nostril Breathing will soften the intensity of an over-stimulated emotional state.  The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.

4. It improves sleep:

If you have trouble sleeping, lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril.  See if this simple gentle practice helps in getting a sounder nights rest.

 5. It soothes your nervous system: 

By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system.  You can effectively switch your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.

 

Breathing-Exercises-for-a-Peaceful-and-Healthy-Lifestyle|| Alternate Nostril Breathing How To’s ||

 

Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.

Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril.

Step three: Pause for a second.

Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril.

Step five: Exhale through your right nostril.

Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril.

Step seven: Pause.

Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril.

Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril.

 

This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase. Never force your breathing. Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.  Enjoy the benefits.  

Know your breath is medicine.

 

shelbs-river-145

 

I hope you have found this breathing exercise useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way.  I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE.  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.

 

 

 

photo cred. www.michellegardella.com

 

 

Spring Detox : The Mindful Way.

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN WHEN PEOPLE BECOME RUTHLESS ABOUT SPRING CLEANING!!

Spring-Clean

I’m a huge fan of detoxing and decluttering. However, most people are so busy cleaning up their homes and doing spring detox diets, they often forget to freshen up their psychological side.  

 

It’s important to note, that each of our feelings carries an important message. When we let ourselves feel our emotions rather than shoving them away, we can begin to experience greater emotional well being.  When we don’t allow this process to flow, we may not have fully experienced an emotion & its message hinders us from moving on.  In other words, we remain STUCK.  Psychologically stuck, if you will.

 

So… as the 2015 spring cleaning embarks upon us, perhaps it’s time to swing open the door of your emotional wardrobe and ask yourself …  “What was I thinking? What is that? Is this emotion useful?”  Maybe, it’s finally time to listen to what you’ve been suppressing…  Of course, I always encourage being gentle with oneself.

 

Meditation Yoga woman meditating at beach sunsetThere is no one size fits all rule for an emotional detox but the following 3 tips will help you begin to spring clean your mind.

 

1. write  One of the first things I suggest to a new client, regardless of the issue, is to journal.  Spend a few nights in a row writing out your thoughts. Don’t lift your pen from the page; just write whatever thoughts come into your head for an entire page. Just let go and let your emotions come from your body to your mind and onto paper.

 

2. feel  If you are feeling low, irritable or anxious, do your best to confront the uncomfortable feeling and try not to run away in search of a quick fix/distraction.  Be honest with yourself and look at the feeling in the face and feel your emotions. Go for a walk, take a bath or listen to music. Allow your feelings manifest and fully embrace them. Cry, yell, scream just let what needs to happen, happen.

 

3.  sleep  Sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Our brains don’t shut down during sleep, but they spend that time processing our emotions. Ensure you get enough sleep when you are freshening up your mental health this spring.  This minor detail will make a huge impact on your ability to process feelings throughout the day.

Spring has sprung! So this year, make sure you give yourself a fresh start. Emotional spring cleaning is one way to stay as healthy as possible —  And remember it’s okay to make yourself a priority!

 

shelbs-river-106Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship issues?   Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

Simple Reminders.

Life can get heavy.  Beautiful moments, yes… But heavy at the same time.  It can become all too easy to drift into negativity-land and worry-mode.  This is why it is so important to have a daily practice where you can be quiet, reflect, honor your SELF and your TRUTH.  Try it today.  Even if only for 2 minutes.  Breathe in some gratitude.  

Simple reminders, from yours truly. 

Yoga-Meditation

On being PERFECT…

anxiety-perfectionist-400x400

  A common theme I see in my practice is PERFECTIONISM.  It underlines most of the external issues people face on a daily basis and it exists in both men and women. ______________________________________________________________

First, the most effective way to reduce perfectionism is to first become aware of your perfectionistic beliefs and then to change your behaviors.  You may also project these expectations (often unconsciously) onto your children, family members and colleagues. Having perfectionistic expectations can make you rather difficult to live and work with because no one can be perfect!  Let me repeat…  No one can be perfect!

After becoming aware of your perfectionistic tendencies, the next step is to change your behaviors. By simply reading this blog, reflecting on it and discussing it, the change process may have already begun.

5 strategies that can be used to overcome perfectionism.

1.  Continue to monitor underlying assumptions: Remember that doing your best in any situation is all that you can do. There are times when this will result in a perfectly completed task and there are times when it will not. If you are able to replace perfectionistic assumptions with a realistic and flexible belief, you and others will benefit.  I offer you this mantra.  Repeat as necessary.

“I expect excellence and responsibility, not perfectionism, from myself and others.”

2.  Expose yourself to imperfection: Gradually confront the situations that make you feel uncomfortable and observe how, in reality, these situations are manageable even when done imperfectly!

3.  Prevent perfectionism by resisting the urge to monitor it: For example, stop excessively checking your weight, focusing on your body imperfections or correcting the imperfect behavior of others. Becoming aware of these behaviors and stopping them reduces your perfectionism by showing you that these behaviors are, in reality… VERY unnecessary.

4.  Set priorities: Prioritizing can be very useful if you are overwhelmed with the volume of things that need to get done. Prioritizing involves three steps:

  1. Generate a list of tasks.
  2. Rank the items in order of importance.
  3. Complete tasks in that specified order.

5.  Manage procrastination: If you find that your perfectionism leads to procrastination, consider dividing larger tasks into more manageable components. This will result in projects that can be completed more easily and with less anxiety. Anxiety fuels perfection, so the less anxiety you generate, the less perfectionism has a chance to drain your happiness or ability to focus on the task at hand.

Are-you-a-perfectionist

One of the greatest benefits of overcoming perfectionism is the ability to simply be present in the moment and to enjoy it.  Meditation, mindfulness and a gentle yoga practice can help you become more connected and accepting of yourself, which in turn, may lead to less perfectionistic tendencies.

_____________________________________________________________________

Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship issues?   Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.

______________________________________________________

shelbs-river-106Shelby Castile is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, currently working with adults, adolescents & couples at her psychotherapy practice in Newport Beach. She has worked in the therapy field, teaching relationship and communication skills to couples for over 16 years, sharing the journey of hundreds of individuals and couples. With deep roots in mindfulness-based approaches, her therapeutic style is richly eclectic, integrating several research-based modalities.  Aside from couples therapy, she also has specialized experience in working with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, chronic stress, addictions, and eating disorders.  Shelby is currently accepting new patients, accepts all major health insurance and is also available for online psychotherapy sessions for people not residing in Orange County.
In Shelby’s words, “I help to guide, support and empower my clients to build strength, balance, and flexibility from the inside out. My aim is to meet each persons individual needs and respect their unique way of being in the world.”
Photo Credits: michellegardella.com & iStock

Looking = Infidelity?

husband 2

Does your husband look at other women?  Are you not sure what to say or even if you should say anything at all?
I get this question a lot.  It goes something like this:
“I notice my husband checking out other women. When I confront him about it, he says that there’s nothing wrong with looking, and he has no intention to do anything more.  Am I right to be concerned, or am I overreacting?”
Here are some thoughts on this issue and a simple TWO STEP protocol I frequently offer my clients.
First, we are all unique and there is no right or wrong answer. Each person has their own path towards figuring out the best way to handle their particular situation.
Step One: I encourage you to WRITE.
It may help to write down the emotions you experience when you notice your partner doing this, so you can sort through it and decide what to share with your husband. And, do your best to go beyond your “surface feelings” in order to see the deeper issues.
Some questions to ask yourself while journaling that may help you:
  • Is this my own insecurity that is coming up?
  • What am I feeling uncertain about?
  • Am I fearful of losing him?
  • What am I questioning when I see his behavior?
  • What might HE be going through? {i.e. work change, aging parents etc.}
More often than not, you will need to work through your own issues, even as your husband deals with his.
Step Two:  I encourage you to TALK.
Speak up and let him know you’re feelings… once they are clear, of course!   Let your partner see how this is affecting you. Rather than REACTING quickly in fear, which could push him away and put him into defensive mode- attempt to come from your heart and tell him how it makes you feel when you see him looking at other women.  This is best done after writing out your thought on paper, which is why Step One is essential!
Some things to keep in mind when talking to your husband about your feelings that may help you:
  • Speak to him when you are in a calm, rational state of mind. {mornings are best, as the mind is most clear}
  • Make sure the environment your speaking to him in is appropriate.  i.e.) children free, not in the middle of a busy restaurant, and please be sober.  {morning coffee dates while the kids are still sleeping = a great time for relationship discussions}
  • Use “I” statements, as opposed to harsh blaming statements.
  • Take turns talking and listen patiently when he responds.
  • Communicate your feelings thoughtfully and do your best to articulate how his behavior makes you feel.
happy-couple-holding-hands_400x295_43Hopefully, the above 2 steps will give you some insight and guidance if you continue to notice your husband looking at other women.  However, if this is an issue in your relationship that continues to go unresolved and you constantly feel unheard, it may be time to seek professional help.  If you’re looking for relationship advice or support, working with a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist may be beneficial to you AND your relationship. 
Are you or someone you know looking for a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in relationship issues? 
Contact me HERE!  I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as Online through eTherapi.
shelbs-river-106
Shelby Castile is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, currently working with adults, adolescents & couples at her psychotherapy practice in Newport Beach. She has worked in the therapy field, teaching relationship and communication skills to couples for over 16 years, sharing the journey of hundreds of individuals and couples. With deep roots in mindfulness-based approaches, her therapeutic style is richly eclectic, integrating several Research-based approaches.  Aside from couples therapy, she also has specialized experience in working with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, chronic stress, addictions, and eating disorders.
Shelby has participated in numerous speaking engagements in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties on the topics of how chronic stress and trauma can manifest in the body and on the benefits of combining Psychotherapy with Yoga. In addition to being a classically trained and skilled Psychotherapist, Shelby is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500), training with Cloud Nine Studio. She began practicing yoga over 10 years ago and immediately fell in love with the benefits of the practice. Her approach to yoga is gentle and heart centered, concentrating on using the breath to cultivate mindfulness. 
In Shelby’s words, “I help to guide, support and empower my students to build strength, balance, and flexibility from the inside out. My aim is to meet each client’s individual needs and respect their unique way of being in the world.”
Shelby is currently accepting new patients, accepts all major health insurance and is also available for online psychotherapy sessions for people not residing in Orange County.
Photo Credits: michellegardella.com & iStock