The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Dolly Parton once said,

Love is sent from Heaven to worry the Hell out of you.

Dolly, using her usual wit, is correct; love makes life worth living, but also can create pain. While difficulty in our personal relationships is an unavoidable part of life, it is possible to develop an understanding of healthy relationship dynamics and enact positive change in your relationships. 

So, what makes a healthy relationship? How do we recognize and understand our unhelpful communication patterns? What steps can we take to ensure that the relationships we are in can be as good as possible?

Luckily for those of us who decided to pursue lifelong partnership, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have spent over 40 years studying couples and their dynamics. Through their incredible careers, they have developed Seven Principles that, when committed to and maintained, foster healthy and happy partnerships over the lifespan. 

 

Here is a breakdown of the Seven Principles:

1 – ENHANCE LOVE MAPS

What in the world is a love map, you ask? It’s the familiarity and fondness you have and cultivate for your partner. The stronger and clearer our love maps, the more intimacy and care exists in the partnership.

2 – NURTURE FONDNESS

Your partner needs to know you actually like him/her! This is not groundbreaking news, but something we all neglect from time-to-time.

3 – TURN TOWARD

This is based on the idea of staying connected, and positively so.  It’s all about making positive deposits in our “emotional bank accounts.” If you are feeling connected to your partner, you’re better able to handle conflicts as they occur. 

4 – LET YOUR PARTNER INFLUENCE YOU

Do you always need to win in an argument? This may indicate that you’re not accepting influence from your partner- you just want to be right.  Unsurprisingly, this stubbornness is often met with harshness and withdrawal from the other partner, creating even more distance.

5 – HOW TO SOLVE SOLVABLE PROBLEMS

 This section focuses on understanding the types of conflicts. How can we solve the solvable conflicts and accept the unsolvable conflicts?

6 – OVERCOME GRIDLOCK

Every couple has that “hot issue,”- that fight that just keeps coming back up, over and over. Gridlocks happen when people’s life dreams (hopes, aspirations, wishes) for their life are not being addressed/respected by each other. This section will offer practical tips to work through that dreaded gridlock.

7 – CREATE SHARED MEANING – WHAT NOW?

Maintenance is just as important as learning the new skill.  The Gottmans teach us about the importance of creating “rituals of connection” and how to continually apply the principles in your everyday life.

 

I’m so excited about this workshop because I truly believe in its worth. Good relationships aren’t just built without effort, and problems just don’t “go away.” Join me in at our next Seven Principles workshop to make a positive difference in your relationship!

 

Xoxo

Amy

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP.

 


Take a deep dive into building a stronger relationship with Amy Jackson, LCSW-MPH as she leads the groundbreaking workshop, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST 

Four Cornerstones of Authentic Conversations

I am a new mom.

 

The journey into motherhood has completely transformed my life in the most chaotic yet beautiful way imaginable. As I lean into this new chapter, I find myself evolving into a different person – the post-baby me. To be honest, I had underestimated just how challenging this transition would be. My responsibilities have shifted dramatically. Now, every facet of my life is meticulously organized on my calendar to prevent forgetfulness. I find myself with minimal ‘alone time,’ and I’ve had to temporarily set aside my own interests and hobbies simply because there just isn’t enough time in the day. Moreover, my desire for friendship is evolving and changing too. I am looking for connections with other new moms who share my experiences and emotions. I am looking for authentic and real conversations.

 

While I’ve managed to adapt to the demands of motherhood, becoming pretty solid in the tasks that come with it, I’m still navigating the art of forging deeper friendships. What I really want to say to other moms is this:

“Please hangout with me and maybe let’s talk about being moms and how wonderful and hard this all is and also maybe not talk about our kids for a while cause that is all I talk about these days”

 

I know, it comes off as a lot… Enter Nicole Cramer and the principles that I use from Exactly What To Say®

Authentic conversations, I’m learning, are built upon four fundamental cornerstones:

 

Identifying Our Critical Conversations:

First I need to identify who I was seeking out. Where could I find fellow new moms, and how could I establish a stronger connection with them?

 

Curiosity:

I realized that asking questions is a powerful way to disarm others and demonstrate genuine interest and investment in their stories. Authentic connections cannot be one-sided, where I simply unload my mom-woes on someone. I need to create space for their stories to be heard too. The best part, I can learn about myself by listening to others.

 

Empathy:

Empathy plays a crucial role in fostering connections. By empathizing with other moms, I acknowledge that our experiences are different but similar in so many ways. We are all struggling with so many different expectations, mom guilt, loneliness, and a general sense of feeling “Am I doing this right?” 

 

Curating the Flow of the Conversation with Questions, Not Responses:

I’ve come to understand that conversations should revolve around asking to connect. If this is not a cornerstone in your conversations, then you will likely be stuck in a surface level relationship. 

 

While I can’t claim to have mastered these principles just yet, I’m actively working on incorporating them into my everyday life. Their positive impact extends beyond conversations to various aspects of my life, including my professional relationships, family dynamics, and marriage. They’ve not only taught me the art of authenticity but have also allowed me to engage in conversations that I actually enjoy. 

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP.

Three Unconventional Dating Tips

If you find yourself on a carousel of stagnant nights out, repeated conversations,  and uninspired dating, you aren’t alone. Dating in itself requires trust, stepping out of your routine, and opening up to a stranger. These factors alone can cause many of us to remain within self imposed, invisible boundaries that: 

  1. We don’t recognize as being present
  2. Cause our dating life to feel like Groundhog Day

 

If you would like to reignite your dating life, think about trying these three unconventional dating tips:

 

1. Date outside of your type

This might be one of the reasons that you feel like you are having the same conversations, dates, and results over and over again. When only dating within “your type” you aren’t giving yourself the benefit of being surprised. Dating within your type is a safe option– you know what you are going to get and you can, with some level of accuracy, predict how the date is going to go. If you are someone who likes control, this can seem very appealing. But, I’d argue that you might not know yourself as well as you think you do. You may find something that attracts you, a certain hair color or job or interest, and, without meaning to, you find yourself drawn to it again and again. But if your type is too specific, you may just be setting yourself up for making the same relationship mistakes again and again. 

 

Examples: That “mysterious” type you like may actually be emotionally unavailable or avoidant (an insecure attachment style). Maybe you love someone who has a high-powered job but then you constantly get annoyed at the amount of hours they work or that they prioritize work over you.

 

Over and over again I hear couples that have gone the distance say, “I never expected I would end up with __________”. So go ahead and swipe right, say yes to someone you might typically not, challenge yourself to step outside of your type… you might be pleasantly surprised.

 

2. If it’s not a 10 feeling, that’s OK!

But Claire, I want to feel on fire after my first date! I want to be swept off my feet and crazy about someone. Don’t you believe in ‘love at first sight?’ 

 

While love at first sight sounds fun, starting out at a 10 doesn’t really give you anywhere to go but down. Also, a 10 feeling seems like an awful lot of pressure for both you and the stranger you just met. Yes, I said that, STRANGER. 10’s in my experience are a red flag. Remember: you just met this person. Here is a quote from Esther Parel that I love:

 

What determines the success or disappointment of a first date has less to do with an immediate spark and more to do with creating the right conditions for turning that spark into a lingering flame that leaves us burning to experience more. We seek to maximize the efficiency of our dates, to get through them so we can skip right to the cost-benefit analysis. But our hyperfocus on being productive can cause us to miss the rich tapestry of what makes a person unique, compelling, or even a surprisingly good match. Just because someone doesn’t check all of our boxes, doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer that we’ve never thought of before.

 

3. Go on dates

Duh Claire, I know. But listen– you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Read that again. The only way to get better at dating is to go on dates. This complements tip #1. If you are saying yes to more people, more opportunities, more dates, then you are more likely to find someone who you would want to get serious with. Here is the key though, learn to set boundaries around your expectations. This is the key to unbothered dating. Unbothered dating is when you don’t take it personally if the person doesn’t call you back or if the flame fizzles out. Refer back to tip #2. Remember: if a person ghosts you, it says more about their ability to be honest, open, and communicate than it does about you. In the end you will go on the date with “the person”, and that person will be the last one you ever date. But you will miss that person if you don’t get out there.

 

How do you start? I would suggest looking up events in your city. Find what interests you and put it in your calendar. Make a plan to go. If you are bringing along a friend, let them know that you are interested in meeting someone. Having a wingman always makes new situations easier. If you are talking to someone online through a dating app, use one of these events to meet up with them. That way if they are a dud, at least you were doing something that interested you. This can also give you a good idea as to whether you have complimentary interests, or how the person acts when they aren’t as interested in something. This can give you a great idea if they could be a supportive partner. 

 

Bonus dating tip:

Try your best to look at dating as an opportunity to have fun, meet new people, try new places in your city, and have new experiences. Even a bad date makes for one heck of a story. Personally, I have met some of my closest friends through someone I dated. The relationship never took off with him, but the connections that I made from the experience have far outlasted him. Having the outlook that this is a fun and exciting time to take chances, learn, and grow will serve you much better than taking on the pressure to find ‘the one’ each time you go on a date. 

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP.

Learn How to Rock Relationships

Starts June 1st

 

In this 6-part workshop series led by Claire Price, CHC, you will gain the tools you need to look for someone with compatible values, without abandoning yourself in the process. We will encourage you to create a fulfilling life on your own before inviting someone else in, and empower you to know your worth when you do.

Amy Jackson, LCSW-MPH will help you identify your specific attachment style and what that means for getting back into the dating pool. Finally you will learn resiliency and how to be ‘unbothered’, which will prove to be one of your greatest strengths!

SAVE YOUR SPOT

 

Attachment Styles

‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
It’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up

— Katy Perry, Hot ‘n Cold

 

Katy’s struggle with her inconsistent partner, while a catchy tune, is an all-too-common problem in the dating world, and a perfect example of a partner with an Insecure Attachment Style. Katy’s partner is unable to communicate their needs clearly, leaving Katy spinning.

 

Wait…  what are attachment styles?

Attachment Theory (developed by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth) is based on the idea that we are born needing others. Babies depend on their caregivers for security and love in order to survive, and generally, if their needs are met, develop secure attachments. Securely attached people are able to determine their values, voice their needs in a relationship, and regulate their emotions during conflict. They can trust others and reciprocate love to their partners.

 

So, what happens when a baby and caregiver do not develop a secure attachment in those first few years?  Can attachment styles change along our lifespan?

Researchers say that insecure attachments from an early age can negatively impact an individual’s ability to find and maintain a healthy partnership. More recent research suggests that harmful romantic relationships as an adult can shift a previously secure attached person to an insecure pattern (Levine and Heller, 2021). The types of insecure patterns for adults are Anxious-preoccupied, Dismissive-avoidant, Fearful-avoidant, and Disorganized.

 

How do I know what style I have? Is there any hope if I’m insecurely attached?

There are many validated Attachment Style Quizzes available (links below), and yes, Secure Attachment can be grown through personal work and exploration! In our “How to Rock Your Relationships” course, we will take a deep dive into your personal attachment style and how it has impacted your dating life. We will work through the negative patterns that have held you back from the connection all humans deserve.

 

New beginnings start with knowing how we create the trap that we are caught in, how we have deprived ourselves of the love we need. Strong bonds grow from resolving to halt the cycles of disconnection, the dances of distress.

— Dr. Sue Johnson, leading researcher on Adult Attachment.

 

Let’s break down your traps and start a new beginning together!

xoxo,

Amy

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP.
This blog was originally published on 22 October 2021

Learn How to Rock Relationships

Starts June 1st

 

In this 6-part workshop series led by Claire Price, CHC, you will gain the tools you need to look for someone with compatible values, without abandoning yourself in the process. We will encourage you to create a fulfilling life on your own before inviting someone else in, and empower you to know your worth when you do. Amy Jackson, LCSW-MPH will help you identify your specific attachment style and what that means for getting back into the dating pool. Finally you will learn resiliency and how to be ‘unbothered’, which will prove to be one of your greatest strengths!

SAVE YOUR SPOT

 


Further Reading:

 

Books:

Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find-And Keep-Love, by Levine and Heller.

 Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson

 

Quizzes:

Attachment Style Quiz: Free & Fast Attachment Style Test (attachmentproject.com)

Attachment Styles Test: Attachment Style Quiz from Dr. Diane Poole Heller

Relationship Attachment Style Test (psychologytoday.com)

 

Instagram:

The Secure Relationship (@thesecurerelationship) • Instagram photos and videos

Community Can Improve Your Life

We often hear that community can improve your life, but what is community? Defined, community is a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. It’s also defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. For me, it’s the second part of the definition that resonates the most. Being part of a community gives us a sense of belonging. It allows us to share, relate, and even grow as we connect with others and the surrounding environment.

 

Personally, I’ve always been a big community person. Moving from Phoenix to Nashville 13 years ago was a big shift. I went away from everything and everyone I knew to a completely new environment. My journey to building my community was a unique experience. I was fortunate enough to move into the 12th South neighborhood, that already had the infrastructure set up to support connections. With many coffee shops and restaurants, a park, easy places to walk, and local events/activities that encouraged the neighborhood to be out and about. In addition to where I lived, I also work for an organization that supports building healthy communities with Blue Zones Project. Looking at the Power 9 (lifestyle habits of the world’s healthiest, longest lived people) such as purpose, belonging, and right tribe, you can see how each interrelates to support health, but most importantly, a sense of community can improve your life. 

 

To build a community, you have to be comfortable in the uncomfortable at times. Putting yourself out there, participating and engaging with people and events that might be outside of your comfort zone. It’s also about consistency. Finding spots that resonate with you and showing up regularly to build those relationships. I can be a creature of habit going to the same coffee shops on the same days, going to the farmers market, local boutiques, grabbing a drink up the street, and attending a gym daily that has helped me form bonds with people I wouldn’t have normally met. I love knowing I’ll see the same barista on Wednesdays or seeing the owner of my favorite French wine bar, or see my fitness pals every morning at 6:45am. 

 

Having a sense of community embraces spirit, character, and pride. It is a feeling that people within the community matter to one another with a shared understanding that their needs can be met through commitment and togetherness. Being a part of a community makes us feel as though we are a part of something greater than ourselves.

 

Community is unique to each individual as to what and how it meets their needs based off their own definition. Regardless of what it is, it’s important and central to the human experience. 

 

Journal prompts to help you better understand and build your community and how this community can improve your life.

1)     How do you define community? Are you experiencing that today, if not why?

2)     What aspects about your community do you love and interest you? 

3)     What are ways you can build your community? 

4)     What are 3-5 actions you can take to become more integrated into your community? 

 

THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A THERAPEUTIC RELATIONSHIP.

Join Us for The Happy Hour Club

Starts April 19th

 

The Happy Hour Club. A new type of social club, open to anyone and built on our values of connection, honesty, vulnerability, curiosity and fun. Show up as your true self and connect authentically – this is not a networking group, no need to perform or be anyone but you!

The Happy Hour Club will meet twice a month, gathering at both the studio and for outings in our fun and beloved city. If you would like to connect with new and like-hearted people and are interested in exploring more opportunities in town, this is the place for you.

SAVE YOUR SPOT

Month-to-month payment upon request. Call the studio at 615-953-3934.

Nurturing Your Family Dynamics

What do you think of when you hear “Family Dynamics“? Let’s think beyond the obvious and clichéd conversations of what makes a family, and things to do or not do in order to lead a happy family life. These concepts miss the true nature of why exploring and nurturing your family dynamics is viable, healing, and necessary for healthy family structure. 

 

Something to remember, a healthy family does not necessarily mean being happy and fun-loving all the time. If we’re honest, the dynamic of family can be difficult, confusing, painful and down right hard work at times. This complexity is why we encourage a deep dive into your family’s dynamics, and how they shaped the person you are. 

 

For some, the benefit of developing your understanding of family dynamics might not be something you prioritize. Sometimes we disconnect, leave, or find other ways to separate from who and what we consider to be “the problem.” But what happens when you fall in love, get married, or commit to a spouse/partner? What about having children, becoming a parent? And there’s also extended family… 

 

Family, and navigating the dynamics of those relationships is important, and isn’t something we can just leave or walk away from. The connection of family may be a priority for reasons ranging from medical and health concerns, the need of resources, to love and support. Instead of avoiding, or changing what you have, adopting an approach of nurturing your family dynamics may be a better solution.

 

Family plays a significant role in connecting our dots and learning ways to support these relationships can lead to balance and happiness in our individual choices. The objective is not to change others but to learn how to be healthier in how we decide to engage. Imagine existing in “what is.” Making choices that work, and experiencing positive movement from the reality of “what is”, versus operating from places of “what was”, or “what should/shouldn’t.” Getting in touch with our family dynamics can create this kind of movement, end the perpetuation of negative, unhealthy patterns and enlighten us to how we experience wellness in the family.  

 

The way we develop family is rooted in culture and tradition. It’s our first introduction to socialization, the beginning of the process of developing our worldview, and structuring our psychological development. So, even if we disconnect or separate from “the problem,” the imprint of family is always there. Although some days of working through the details of family dynamics may be difficult and hard work, it’s worth it! Remember the cliché: anything worth having is worth working for. Working for a better version of self is always worth it.  

 

Who doesn’t want to experience having better expression, being a better role model, having better conversations, better experiences, outcomes, and best of all, actually experiencing wellness within the family. Healthy attention in this area leads to things being better on so many levels, but best of all, it leads to a better you!

 


Tonia’s Tip:

Remember, when exploring psycho-social topics through educational workshops, you’ll want to ask yourself some questions to evaluate whether or not the information offered will give you the depth and insight you may be looking for.

 

Does this information address the actual problem(s)/concern(s) I experience?

Are the recommendations thoroughly explained?

Is the information realistic and applicable to my life?

Do the solutions offered come from evidenced based research or credible sources?

 


Join Us for Family Dynamics – Thursdays starting February 23rd

 

We’ll be taking the time to understand your family dynamics, and how they unlock the code to understanding yourself at a deeper level; allowing you to build upon the good behaviors and dismantle those that no longer (or never did) serve you.

This unique group series provides the opportunity to learn from all of our licensed therapists.

Save 10% by signing up for all 6 sessions!

 

SIGN UP FOR THE WHOLE SERIES

SIGN UP FOR INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS

Last Minute Wellness Gifts

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, we’re here to help with some last minute wellness gifts that are sure to make anyone on your list feel their best. If you have finished your shopping, you’re an organizational super hero and you deserve to treat yourself to a little pampering, so keep reading!

 

Gift Card to SOUND

Ann Sensing’s SOUND studio has so many great sound bath offerings for individuals, couples and groups of all sizes. If you’re looking to go deeper she also offers multi-dimensional healing. With gift cards to suit any budget, you can ensure the recipient will have an immersive and deeply relaxing experience.

 

Essential Oil from Thistle Farms

A great stocking stuffer or a little treat for yourself, the Balance essential oil from Thistle Farms is The Happy Hour’s signature scent for good reason. It’s a warm, centering blend of lemon, lavender and rose geranium. Available as a concentrate for a diffuser, or a roll on to keep in your purse for grounding in moments of frazzle – Trader Joes parking lot, anyone?

 

A Great Book – Bonus if you have a Book Club!

Our team has been so entertained and inspired by Matthew McConaughey’s ‘Greenlights’. This best-selling memoir teaches you how to identify and embrace the green lights in your life.

Bonus! Greenlights is our book club pick for January! With the guidance of Christa Booker, CHC, you’ll have the opportunity to examine and reflect on your own greenlights. Through guided discussion and coaching, we hope to help you see your past experiences as important lessons and your future as a set of greenlights you’ve yet to hit so that you can write your own love letter to life. A ticket to book club would make a great gift for your bookworm friend, someone new to town, or anyone looking for inspiration and community.

 

Bring the Outdoors Inside with a Plant

Both Gardens of Babylon and Flora have a wide range of plants and green gifts to clean your air, and bring a little cheer and nature into your space. Pro tip: Instead of a bunch of flowers, bring a small potted plant as a unique and long-lasting hostess gift.

 

Candles from Lemon Laine

Lemon Laine has a really great gift guide if you’re looking for some clean beauty. Our fave has to be the LOHN Holiday candle trio. We love scent for evoking a mood and sealing in memories. Seasonal candles are a great way to make your space feel festive, whether you’re entertaining, or snuggled up watching cheesy holiday movies.

 

Pampering with Little Indigo

A gift card for a facial with Emmy-nominated make-up artist and aesthetician, Sara Vaughn at Little Indigo is the ultimate treat! Insider tip: Gift cards are currently 10% off!

 

Gift Card to Pure Sweat Sauna

For some much needed relaxation and rejuvenation, gift the athlete, the man, or anyone with a tired body (aka everyone!) a sauna sesh at Pure Sweat Sauna Studio.

 

A Light Therapy Lamp

In our recent blog, our Medical Director, Dr. Frock, recommended using a light box from mid-September through February to help keep your mood and circadian rhythm in check. Perfect for anyone in your life who suffers from the winter blues or works long hours in an office.

 

Gift Card to The Happy Hour

Not just a shameless plug, our gift cards are a pretty perfect last minute wellness gift. They are available at a variety of price points and can be used on anything from our fun wellness events and workshops, to energy worknutrition coaching, life coaching, and therapy. Our Intention Setting Workshop would make a great gift for a loved one, or yourself. After all, who doesn’t deserve an intentional and happy 2023?

 

 

 

From Dr. Frock’s Desk: The Power of Groups

In our new series, From Dr. Frock’s Desk, we sit down with Dr. Frock to gain a psychiatrist’s perspective, anecdotes, and tools on a variety of topics. This month, we are exploring the power of group therapy and coaching, and how you can use groups to catapult your personal growth.

 


What defines group work when it comes to mental health and how does it work?  

In the mental health world, groups are typically structured with a group leader who has formal training in this realm. It’s not just a bunch of people getting together, it is a structured meeting with a frame, and guidelines on how things can operate, including things like some limitations, one person not dominating the time, making sure everybody gets a chance to participate. There could also be rules to help people communicate more effectively about themselves, and maybe avoid some topics that aren’t really why people are there. The interesting thing about group therapy and coaching is that it’s so customizable and each group is pretty different. Each group can be tailored to the topic and participants.

 

In your opinion, what makes group therapy and coaching so impactful?

Groups are like an exponential factor of the work you might be doing one-on-one with a therapist or coach. In a group, it almost seems like you can get a lot more done in terms of how you relate to other people. There’s always going to be somebody in the group that reminds you of someone else in your life. How they make you feel, based on what they’re saying, can provide a really good opportunity to identify and work on your own thoughts with your individual therapist or within that group- depending on the group structure and rules. Group leaders create opportunities that spark thought provoking conversation.

 

A lot of people are hesitant about group therapy or coaching, because of the fear of talking in front of others. What would you say to those people?  

If you’re really worried about talking in front of people, then this is a great opportunity to do it. Everybody that’s there is interested in a certain topic, and they’ve been accepted in the program with the goal of being vulnerable and learning from others. This isn’t just like talking to a stranger on a street corner, or like public speaking. It’s a very measured, checked arena. A safe space for you to grow. If talking in front of others really does worry you, it’s almost a stronger argument for you to go. Because there’s something there, and by giving in to that fear, you’re only strengthening the avoidance, making it harder for yourself down the road. 

 

 

Why are groups so powerful for the mom population, in particular? 

In my private practice, for example, I hear a lot about feeling the need to Keep Up with the Joneses. A lot of mothers are comparing themselves- seeing other moms who seem to have “it all together”, wondering why they can’t be more like that. Why it seems harder for them than other moms. I think there’s a big opportunity for moms to be with other moms who also feel busy and lost. Not only would they have comradery, but they’ll get a glimpse behind the curtain and see that no-one actually has it all together. 

Another thing that comes to mind is parenting burnout. Just feeling completely exhausted, which ties into self-care. This brings in a lot of societal themes that can be intense in terms of traditional gender roles in the household, or just digging into whether a partnership feels symmetrical or asymmetrical, and who’s contributing what. It’s very individualized for each couple, but I guarantee that there will be great opportunities for dialogue about that topic in a group setting with moms. Often, it’s very small things that come out in these kinds of settings, bringing insight into what is the true source of tension or burnout. 

There’s also the aspect of moms being able to share tips with one another, not from the perspective of judgment or unsolicited advice, but from the perspective of lifting one another up and making each other’s lives easier.

 

Why would it be beneficial to work on something like your authenticity and spiritual connection with yourself in a group setting? 

I think people will find some solace in the fact that not everybody else has figured it out. Regardless of where they’re coming from, if people are in the group looking for a chance to talk about what their purpose is, it’s very likely that everybody will kind of share some bewilderment about where to go next. I think it would be very helpful to a lot of people to know that they’re not like the only ones that are trying to figure it out. I could see people being inspired by one another’s breakthroughs and choices, providing each other accountability and a safe space to try ideas on, while setting aside material items and expectations while talking through their passions in an expansive way.

 To take a step into something that goes against expectations can be scary, but I’ve noticed that when one person in the group makes a seemingly small step, but that takes a lot of courage, it can create a ripple effect of courage that spreads to the rest of the group.

 

In The Happy Hour’s group series, we have a virtual platform that allows group members to stay connected between sessions. Do you see a benefit there?

 A lot of times with more traditional group therapy, you’ll meet once a week and be given a few assignments without much follow up. I just feel like the virtual platform would really enhance the efficacy of the work that’s actually done. Creating small, daily habits for group members to follow up on is powerful. I don’t hear about anything remotely close to that very often. So that, in itself, is pretty notable. It’s the real deal. People are going to get a lot more out of it. 

 

Would I still get individual attention in a group?

 Yes, as I mentioned before, that’s where the framework, structure and a skilled group leader come into play. With a good frame, everybody will get individual attention, particularly when there’s good dialogue, the leader can prompt individual attention. 

 

 Are there any downsides to being in a group? 

In more acute hospital settings there can be a downside. An example might be a suicide survivors’ group, where someone tries to go and it’s just too fresh for them. In situations like that, joining the group a month or two later might be a better fit. 

Regarding the type of groups offered here at The Happy Hour, I don’t think there’s much downside to group work. It’s a great opportunity for growth.

 

The content of this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a therapeutic relationship.

Looking to Catapult your Growth with Groups?

We have two fantastic groups coming up this month, including Moms Group Series and our bestselling Discover Your True North group course.

Sign up today – both groups start Tuesday September 20th!

Finding Authenticity and Purpose

 

“When was the best time in your life?” When someone recently asked me this question, I found myself nostalgically wandering to the past, searching for the exact right answer. But, of all the joy-filled eras that I’ve lived, I realized that those times pale in comparison to RIGHT NOW

 

Just a couple years ago, I finally gave myself permission to show up as my true, authentic self. This wasn’t something that simply happened one day, it was the result of 1) my mental exhaustion from striving to be perfect, and 2) lots and lots of self-work to figure out who my authentic self actually was. When this door was unlocked, everything became richer – my relationships, my work, previously mundane experiences, etc. I finally began to feel like I was living my purpose, without doubt, and felt it deep into my bones. It was liberating. 

 

“This timeline isn’t adding up,” you might say, “You started The Happy Hour 5 years ago, so you were living your purpose for longer than the last couple measly years.” Well, let me let you in on a little secret…you can’t live your purpose without knowing who you truly are, and you can’t live your purpose without loving that person. 

 

Want another confession? When I first started putting together plans for this business, I was embarrassed to tell people about it. I had wrapped my identity so tightly around my former title and fancy corporate job I worked years to achieve, that I would strategically go out of my way to avoid talking about this concept. This concept upon which my heart and soul was completely sold. I didn’t want anyone to see me differently than all the ways for which I had previously been praised. I didn’t want to be seen as anything but predictably perfect. 

 

Sure, I had all the usual self doubts, “Should I concentrate on my kids and stay at home with them until they’re older?”, “Should I go back to a more stable and steady job that might not have as much stress?” (There is nothing wrong with those options, btw). But, I had always known since I was a kid that I had a gift in helping people and I needed to use that gift. But I didn’t truly believe in myself or that I could live out my purpose, until I started my journey to authenticity, did my own hands-on research, and started training to coach others. You can’t give (or guide) what you don’t have, and that lit a fire in me to let down the 34-year old walls and commit to living authentically. 

 

Through therapy, coaching, reading, writing, listening, meditating, praying, learning and living by mindfulness, and exploring my spirituality through so many mediums, I came to redefine myself, but this time without using any labels. I’ll never forget the day I sat on my therapist’s couch and said,

“I don’t even know who I am anymore, but I feel like myself for the first time in my life.” 

 

Getting started on this journey isn’t easy. And, in my experience, it works best if you come at it from many different angles, receiving information from multiple viewpoints, then putting it all together in a way that feels true to you. For me that meant doing a 180 on my long-held beliefs, and learning about myself in an honest way that pushed me out of my comfort zone. This leap of faith led me to some spiritual healers and health professionals that changed my life through giving me a variety of tools to support my mental health that covered all the bases: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Here’s some wisdom I learned that I’ll carry with me forever, and I invite you to try on: you are more than your title(s), you have everything you need within you already, and you are loved no matter what. 

 

The content of this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a therapeutic relationship.

 


Are you ready to find your authenticity and purpose?

 

We’ve re-vamped our best-selling workshop series, Discover Your True North, to help you catapult your growth and discover your fixed point and baseline in a world that can at times feel out of control.

Topics in this 6-part series include: 1) uncovering your authentic self, 2) creating your story, 3) defining spirituality on your terms, and 4) removing roadblocks. We’ll peel back the layers to reveal who you are at your core. This unique internal compass will ground you, teach you ways to find inner-strength through a storm, and set you on your journey to your most fulfilling life. Get ready for lots of ‘a-ha’ moments!

 

LEARN MORE + SAVE YOUR SPOT HERE

Finding Calm with Active Meditation

For many of us, the thought of sitting alone with our thoughts and having to be still for more than 5 minutes doesn’t sound too appealing. Sure, we’ve all heard that there are benefits to meditation and mindfulness practices, but who has the time and the patience? There are better ways to decompress, like watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through social media… right?

What if we told you there were ways to practice meditation that don’t look like that of an experienced yogi? If the mold you think you should fit into isn’t working for you, find what does. Believe it or not, you can be meditative during your everyday tasks or hobbies. Have you ever attended a workout class, listened to your favorite artist, participated in a workshop, or even just taken a shower  – and felt that clarity, bliss and sense of comfort afterwards? Congratulations, you’re already a pro at meditation! If it’s helping you relax, clear your mind, and evade distraction, then you’re on the right track. Ultimately, meditation is whatever you want it to be and however it works for you. BUT – like many things in life, to get the most out of it, you need to be intentional and practice. If you need some help, or ideas – that’s where we come in. 😉

 

GET OUTSIDE

Whether it’s taking a walk, or attending one of our mindfulness classes at the beautiful Cheekwood Estates, being outside is a great way to practice meditation. During a traditional meditation practice, although you’re to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce and remain still, you’re also welcome to observe your surroundings and take in the present moment rather than dwelling on your thoughts. You can do this on a hike or while swimming outside too! Being outside is a great way to be mindful of the beauty around you, while also getting some much-needed vitamin D and fresh air. Give it a try yourself!

 

TIDY UP

As you can probably guess, a cluttered mind can be directly tied to a cluttered environment. If you look around at your bedroom and realize clothes and dishes have been piling up without you noticing, you’re likely going through life on autopilot rather than approaching it mindfully. It may seem difficult to start viewing laundry day as self-care and time to yourself rather than a chore, but your body and mind will thank you for it. 

 

TAKE A SHOWER

We know what you’re thinking: how is something as simple as bathing a form of meditation? It’s kind of like the cleaning thing. Any mundane task can free up your mind just enough to be meditative. Next time you’re in the shower, try tuning into your senses — noticing the smells of your shampoo or how it feels to scrub your skin. Be gentle with your body and give your mind a break from everything else.

 

GET MOVING

I’m sure your mind immediately went to yoga, and we don’t blame you. Meditation is basically built into the practice, so yes, yoga is a great option, but it’s not the only one! Any form of exercise requires you to focus on your breath and be present, or otherwise risk falling, pulling a muscle, you get the idea. Not to mention the endorphins aren’t a bad way to forget what’s stressing you out on the day-to-day!

 

BE CREATIVE

We can’t all be Picasso or Shakespeare, but that shouldn’t stop us from getting creative! It’s the same idea of busying your hands and the technical part of your brain with an activity that frees up the rest of your mind for mindful thoughts. Tune into what you’re creating and spend some quality time with yourself. You could try coloring, playing an instrument, or writing in a journal. The possibilities are endless, and who knows? You might be proud of what you come up with.

 

Is meditation feeling any less intimidating yet? Good! That’s the goal. There are so many ways to practice being mindful — so many that you’re probably already doing, but just didn’t realize could be made into a meditative practice! Join us for Meditation off the Mat to discover the purpose of meditation and learn how to connect with the nature of it. This workshop will give you tools that you can use to immediately improve your overall mindfulness and reduce your stress response. Say “so long” to meditation frustration, and “hello” to feeling grounded in the present moment. 

 

Are you ready to make meditation a habit, no matter what that looks like, and start reaping the many benefits: better sleep, increasing self-awareness, chronic pain, anxiety and stress management skills, and more? You got this!