extrovert

The Extrovert’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving COVID-19

Written by Ashley Vaden, LMFT

It’s a basic human need to feel connected to others, and more importantly, connected to ourselves. The fact is, we are all in this together, and we share much more in common than we realize. Everyone knows what it feels like to be alone, or have your mental health rocked in a time of confusion or uncertainty. Here’s how to make the most of it:

Get creative.

There are a lot of posts/messages on social media about making this a productive time; to really buckle down and tackle projects that you haven’t had time for, read that book you’ve always wanted to read, and start that hobby that has always felt like a distant dream. The truth is, it’s great to get stuff done and “be productive,” but because this is a difficult time, we might be placing a little bit too much pressure on ourselves to “be our best selves” and “live the life you’ve always imagined.” While we are not advocating that you neglect our responsibilities, shun your school work, and stay in our pjs all day (although, we’re not against it), we are saying that instead of framing your quantity of work to equal a successful day, why don’t you give yourself he chance to be creative?

Is there any creative endeavor you’ve wanted to research, learn about, or even try? This is the time to go for it. Not only will you be more present because you’re learning something new, it adds an extra built in layer of meaning to your day that doesn’t have to come from getting stuff done. You are more than a number; use your imagination. Connect with your sense of wonder, your curiosity, your passion, your interests. Ask yourself, “what inspires me?” and run with it.

We know the words “mindfulness” or “meditation” may make your eyes glaze over.

But hear us out! Just 30 minutes of self-compassion a day has shown to make a positive impact on mood and increased happiness (Desmond, 2017). Doing this practice may add some much needed structure to your day and help to cultivate joy. A lot of people think that if they just focus on the future and the fact that one day the quarantine will be over, as soon as that day comes, they will be so happy! Full of energy! Thankful, blessed! However, our happiness doesn’t always work that way.

Most of the time, our happiness is kind of programmed to stay at a certain level, and if we aren’t intentional about smelling the roses and thinking about what we’re thankful for, even just in the current moment, then our happiness levels tend to drop and may take a while to comeback up. Kind of like if you don’t go to the gym for a while you can get out of shape. If you are intentionally working toward being positive during this time, you’re much more likely to be able to bounce right back when this is but a distant nightmare.

  • Take a few minutes to focus on your breath. Try taking 5 deep breaths, slowly in and out, and notice how your breath feels in your nose, and in your throat.
  • Focus on feeling thankful for breath. Focus on breathing in positivity and joy, and breathing out anything that is negative and does not serve your body or mind.
  • Identify and locate any positive sensations, thoughts, or feelings in your body, and imagine these growing, almost like a flower blooming. Welcome them to become as big as they want or even to stay the same.
  • Take a minute to write down what you noticed in the exercise and 3 things you are thankful for that day.

Volunteer and reach out.

If you’re catching yourself complaining, know that it’s ok, and that you can offset it by reaching out to someone or helping someone. We aren’t here to compare pain, or feel sorry for ourselves and others; we’re in this together, and there is always someone out there who maybe has it a little or a lot harder.

That’s not said to bring on feelings of shame, but more to make you aware that you can help someone in this time. There is a problem out there and all it needs is someone to care enough to fix it. If you’re naturally inclined to want to be around people and connect with them, find out how you can become involved in community efforts to make an impact. Your generation has so much to contribute that you may not even be aware of! This is an opportunity for you to notice a deficit and bring light to it with your natural talents, gifts, abilities, and interests.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social neglect; organize a Go Fund me with your friends, or even reach out to someone that you’ve been meaning to check on. This could be a great time to build relationships. Maybe someone that you’ve always wanted to know more about is feeling lonely at this time too; wouldn’t it be a great opportunity to connect or find out more about someone that you may not have had the opportunity to in the past? What if they are wanting to talk to someone just as much as you are?

Louisville Mindfulness Center’s “A” Rating on the BBB

Exciting news! The Better Business Bureau has invited Louisville Mindfulness Center to be listed on its website! What an honor. We strive for excellence in our services and our clients agree!

Check out our “A” rated listing HERE!!

Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families

Scapegoating in Dysfunctional FamiliesPerson in gray skirt suit stands under spotlight, head bowed, in red-toned room

If you were the scapegoat in your dysfunctional family, this article by Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC titled “The Blameless Burden: Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families” may be an incredibly powerful read for you. Oh, and CONGRATS! It likely means you were put in that role because you are the strongest and healthiest!

Megan Returns to Fortyish Podcast to Promote New Book

Megan Returns to Fortyish Podcast for a Third Time to Promote New Book, Don’t Go To Sleep

 

I know I’m in for a good time when Stephanie White and Dan Vonderheide invite me to be a guest on their podcast, Fortyish. For Episode 93, they wanted me to come on to talk about my new book, Don’t Go To Sleep. Click HERE to listen!

Don’t Go To Sleep is a silly and fun bedtime book to help children (and their grown-ups) get relaxed and calm at bedtime. Essentially it’s a guided meditation that parents read to their kiddos that actually may be just as beneficial for the parent as it is for their kiddo. It is a method I developed and used with my own daughter when she was 4 years old. We had always struggled at bedtime to get her to relax and calm at bedtime. For years she would flip and flop for a good hour or more and want me to stay with her until she fell asleep. Not knowing exactly what was going on, I tried all kinds of ways to help her. A few things we tried with limited success: a bedtime routine, limited screen time close to bedtime, aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies, flower essence, chiropractics, and craniosacral massage.

Finally, I decided to put to use some techniques I was using with adults in my practice at Louisville Mindfulness Center. I helped her get out of her head and more into her body. I utilized her senses to get her focused and keep her mind occupied so she wasn’t preoccupied with a fear of the dark, monsters, or being left alone. What I noticed as my method developed more fully was that not only was she responding to it well, but I was much more relaxed at bedtime. In fact, I now would look forward to tucking her in since I knew she’d be asleep in five or so minutes. It was incredible!

Eventually I thought, “If this can work this well for us, I wonder if it can work for others?” So I gave it a shot. I started writing the method down how I thought it could be most helpful for others. It went through several revisions after trusted feedback. One suggestion was to make sure it had pictures. My husband and I had a good friend whose drawings I had always admired so I asked him if he’d contribute a few drawings to the book. The illustrator, Erik Schullstrom, is a former Major League Baseball pitcher and now spends his time scouting players for the Hiroshima Carp.

Overall, I’m thrilled with how the book turned out. Don’t Go To Sleep is available on Amazon! Check it out for yourself, or send it to someone who could use it!

Click HERE to listen to Megan on Episode 93 of Fortyish!

Click HERE to buy the book, Don’t Go To Sleep!

 

Welcome New Therapist Chris Davis, LMFT!

Welcome New Therapist Chris Davis, LMFT!

Like I said a few posts ago… Louisville Mindfulness Center is E X P A N D I N G!!

Chris, Megan & Margaret

Margaret and I are excited to have Chris Davis joining our team. Chris has been a therapist for several years and is super-interesting! He’s had a few careers before becoming a therapist so he has lots of life experience (which we love!!). You can read more about him HERE.

Chris and Margaret will be taking the bulk of new clients as I (Megan) focus on some new endeavors. Clients will be in excellent hands! I would not trust just anyone to work in my practice.  I hand-pick all the therapists who work in my practice because they are excellent at what they do. We are committed to providing excellent services at Louisville Mindfulness Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Megan’s book, Don’t Go To Sleep, is on Amazon!

My book, Don’t Go To Sleep, is on Amazon!

I’m so excited! This book is a bedtime book for parents and children to get relaxed and calm at bedtime. It’s essentially a guided meditation I developed for my 4 year-old daughter after years of struggling with bedtime. After a week of using this with my daughter, bedtime at our house was much smoother and my daughter went to sleep quickly and easily. Not only that, but I realized that I calmed down and was more patient and lovey with her. It helped us both!

If bedtime is a struggle at your house, or your child fights going to sleep, or you have tried multiple methods for good sleep hygiene and nothing seems to work, then this is the book for you! Go ahead, give it a try! Let me know how it goes!

 

Martha Stewart Weddings asks Megan an important question…

What do you do when two important people in your life don’t get along? While it could me your mom and your husband, your roommate and your boyfriend, or your husband and your closest co-worker, Martha Stewart Weddings wanted to know what is a bride to do when her best friend (and maid of honor) and her fiance don’t get along. Oooooo, that’s a good one! I was all too thrilled to give a very insightful and tried and true answer. Click here to read the full article!

We are E X P A N D I N G!

Not only have we moved to a new, beautifully-renovated office suite, but we are looking for more therapists to come join us!

Do you have what it takes to be a part of our team? Send me your resume and cover letter and we’ll find out!

Click HERE for more info!

 

Daily Inspiration

I love to be inspired. When I’m inspired it’s like an endorphin rush courses through my veins and I feel amazing. Maybe I’ve been feeling anxiety or sadness or anger and am looking for something that shifts my attention. What I feed grows, so while I give myself a chance to feel my feelings, I also want to choose to feed what feelings I want to grow. Maybe feeling inspired feels so great because inspiration usually happens when I’m least expecting it. It surprises me and catches me “off guard.” Or sometimes I want to be inspired and am waiting for it so my eyes are open looking for it to happen.

Inspiration is not usually something that can be forced. If I sit down at my computer to write something inspiring it’s usually because something has come to me and the I write it down.  When I sit down in fron of a blank page and attempt to “force” inspiration to happen, usually I just get frustrated and annoyed and lack focus.  I can’t force myself to be inspired.

What I can do is put myself in situations or around people who inspire me. I can read inspiring books, go to museums, be in nature and the like and somewhere in there I feel inspiration.

A book that inspires me every time a read it is Melody Beattie’s “Journey to the Heart.” Her words are so loving and caring and encouraging it inspires me to be loving and caring and encouraging of myself. If you are looking for a daily devotional or daily inspiration, I highly recommend it. You can also follow me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter – under the user name @MindfulMeganB, and see the (almost) daily that inspire me and maybe they are things that will inspire you as well!

Cheers!

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The title of this book caught my attention recently while I was at the airport. Working with many people who have anxiety or feel stressed out I thought it could be an interesting read. I like things that make us question the status quo and may be a bit provocative. The subtitle drove home my decision to purchase it: “A counterintuitive approach to living a good life.” Even cooler!

I was curious about the author and what his credentials are so I looked on the back cover and discovered he was a well followed blogger. Hmmm… Not your typical (potentially dry) self-help PhD? Not surprising with a title like this. My graduate studies had taught me to be leary about non-scientific based information, but I’m an out-of-the-box thinker, so I’m usually willing to let things speak for themself. As I read I realized Manson has no specific education or credential as a therapist or in the mental health field. What he does have is his own personal experiences, which he shares freely in the book (which is different than most PhD, self-help authors!). He’s likeable and seemingly very open, which is a plus for me. Essentially what I found is a very direct and easy-to-understand and assimilate way to communicate mindfulness (without really talking about mindfulness!). Even cooler!

I have many clients who are not “readers” and I’m always on the lookout for books that may be interesting to the uninterested reader. This book fit the profile. I have recommended it to several people and they *loved* the title and were willing to give it a whirl upon my recommendation.

A few of the premises in the book that caught my attention:

  1. We can never really avoid being in pain and discomfort (he uses the word suffering), so choose what you want to be in discomfort about.
  2. Choose what you want to give a f*ck about rather than giving a f*ck about everything.
  3. Your emotions are there for a very good reason – to give you feedback, to get your attention. So PAY ATTENTION to them!
  4. Make sure you are aligning with your values and priorities. Are the people you surround yourself with people you strive to be like? Are the decisions you are making assisting you in being the best version of yourself?
  5. Failure is to be expected! Welcome it. Learn from it! Perfectionism can keep us from living in reality… I mean really, at what point is “perfection” achieved?! Or are you always telling yourself you’re STILL not good enough.
  6. It’s ok to say “No.” Again, choosing what you do and don’t want to participate in establishes appropriate boundaries.

I found it to be a very enjoyable, humorous, and entertaining read and am glad I read it.

Intrigued?! Give it a whirl for yourself!