the subtle art of not giving a fuck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

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 likable 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 fits 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, entertaining read, and am glad I read it.

Intrigued?! Give it a whirl for yourself!

 

setting the bar

Setting The Bar Too High

Our expectations for ourselves are often far higher than our expectations for others. Why couldn’t we see into the future about how that marriage would end? Why did we say the wrong thing in that interview? Why can’t we find the motivation to do A, B, C, D, E, F, G….the list goes on.
It’s like someone told us that we are supposed to get everything right the first time and that we are off the rails if our life map involves various stops and starts.
The more people I meet, the more convinced I am that this is all an illusion. The truth is we all crash down only to rise up again. And again. So my message to you is this: The next time you hear that self-critical voice in your head, pause. Notice it. Grab on to grace. Hold it against your chest. Breathe it in. Listen. Let go of the judgment. And give yourself some rest.
You don’t have enough information to do everything right the first time. Give yourself some grace.
train your brain

Exercises to Train Your Brain to Think, Feel & Behave Differently

Greetings! Megan here.

We know the brain has plasticity, so we know we can shape and mold it. However, many of us don’t know what to do to see a difference.

Oftentimes we see things as black/white, good/bad, like/dislike, right/wrong which are limiting perspectives and keep us stuck in just two options. To increase our flexibility and make training the brain easier, we have to work on the brain’s flexibility and give our brain more options and perspectives from which to see our life and the world.

If you want to decrease your anxiety, anger, irritability, and depression, here are some specific exercises that help you create flexibility in the brain.

Create a Mind-Body Connection

First, focus on your 5 senses.

Take a minute or two, wherever you are, to focus on each sense and be as descriptive as possible. Naming and noticing while not judging (they aren’t good or bad; right or
wrong; they just are).

Sight: What are you seeing? Colors, textures, name the objects, just notice.

Smell: What are the smells around you? Do you smell the grass, flowers, stale
office furniture, someone’s lunch, your deodorant, or shampoo? Again, use your
adjectives: pungent, sour, sweet, stale, fresh, etc.

Taste: What are you tasting? Toothpaste? Coffee? Breath mint? Be descriptive:
Minty, tangy, sweet, bitter, etc.

Touch: What does it feel like in the chair you’re sitting in or on the floor/ground
you’re standing on? Is there a breeze? Warm sun on your face? What do the
clothes feel like on your skin? Tight, loose, itchy, soft, cozy, etc.

Hearing: What are you hearing inside this space (room, car, etc)? What are you
hearing outside of this space (next room, outside, down the street)?

Next,  Count your breathing.

Count to 4 or 5 or 6 on each inhale and exhale for the same number. It
doesn’t matter what number you choose, one’s not better than another, just do what feels
best for you. Counting in and out for the same number is very balancing. As you do this
breathing work, notice the break in breath at the top of the breath and at the bottom where it feels like the breath is suspended for just a moment.

Set Boundaries

Know what you have control over and what you don’t have control over.

The easy answer is: You only have control over yourself. Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Even if sometimes it feels like you don’t, you can learn how to do this. What you don’t have control over is anyone else – what they do, what they say, how they think, how they feel.

Awaken The Auto-Pilot and be Kind to Yourself (and Others!)

Notice your critical voice. We speak to ourselves, in our mind, with many different voices. Sometimes we’re very parental with ourselves and sometimes we are free and playful. Other times we can be very critical. If you have any sort of perfectionistic tendencies or are a bit Type-A, this may really resonate. When we begin to just notice (no need to try to change it) when we are speaking to ourselves critically we inherently change it. Just the sheer act of paying attention and noticing (without judgment) has the ability to change the issue at hand. And remember, don’t be critical of yourself being critical – just notice it for what it is and move on!

For ultra brain flexibility do a routine task differently.

-If you have “your spot” at the kitchen or dining room table, move to another spot at
each meal.

-If you have a morning routine in the bathroom, change it up. Brush your teeth first,
then take a shower, then floss your teeth.

-Soap up in the shower differently. If you usually start and your head, start at your feet.

Remember, there is no right or wrong, good or bad and we aren’t going for efficiency right now. We’re going for a change of perspective as well as flexibility of thinking and doing, which will help you change other, bigger, things if you want to! You’re building new neural pathways in your brain! Congrats!

I hope these insights are helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!

domino

Domino Stacks in Relationships

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

Have you noticed that you and your partner have arguments about the same thing over and over again? Or perhaps the subject matter in arguments gets changed to something in the past or unrelated to what caused the conflict in the first place? This may be a result of emotional dominos being stacked up within your relationship. 

Emotional dominos are under the surface conflicts that are unresolved.

Usually, these dominos are hidden and only surface during a conflict. Often dominos are related to events of inclusion, affection, and influence. For example, whenever your partner does or says something to you that makes you feel unloved, a small domino appears regardless if it was intentional or not. 

If we do not repair this domino, it grows into a larger one and likely breeds more dominos. These dominos then begin stacking up and leaning on each other, and small moments in your relationship can knock them over and cause conflict. 

One such small moment, for example, could be your partner not sitting next to you on the couch. This action knocks all those other dominos down and the event of not sitting on the couch turns into something more emotionally intense than originally warranted. 

The tricky part about dealing with dominos, besides them being hidden, is that we feel like we must solve the domino we are presented with now. In this case, it would be sitting next to each other on the couch.

Couples often make the mistake of trying to solve problems too quickly. Even if your partner just agrees to sit next to you on the couch forever, you are still left with the original domino of feeling unloved. In order to heal these past conflicts, your partner and you have to go through all of the dominos one by one to make sense of why they are there in the first place and then empathize with each one. 

A behavior of listening to understand rather than respond or solve is a great first step. Instead of responding defensively or by immediately problem-solving, we should ask our partners to “tell me more.” 

trending

How Are You Trending?

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot of terms like: “peak performance,” “level up,” and “elevate yourself” as it relates to being our best self. However, our best self is something that we should take time to think of. Only once we have a good idea of what our best self looks like can develop a proper road map to achieving that. 

One tool that can be very effective in achieving our goals, can be to take an inventory of ourselves and assess mindfully how we are trending. We might think of trending as it relates to social media. However, here the term describes an assessment of ourselves.

In therapy or counseling, we often use scales to take a personal inventory.

For example, if you have been experiencing constant anxiety you may say that the anxiety is at an 8 out of 10; 10 being the worst. Your long-term goal may be to get anxiety down to a 2 or 3. However, that can’t happen unless you develop a plan and utilize anxiety-relieving tools. 

Understanding how you are trending allows you to set measurable goals where you are able to go from an 8 to a 6 and so forth. If you take that progression then you are trending in the correct direction.

Often individuals have great long-term goals. Which could be to feel more peace, to be happier, or to be less stressed. What often gets in the way of those goals is being unaware of the direction we are trending. After all, all of us carry busy schedules and have many things to do. When we are overwhelmed or highly stressed our brains go into survival mode instead of naturally assessing how we are trending. 

If you have a goal or an idea of what your best self is; are you trending away or toward that direction? If you are trending away, what might you do to help yourself begin to trend in the right direction? If you notice you are trending toward your goal what has been working? And as always be gentle with yourself in any direction you may be headed.

acupuncture

Best Pricks In Town, Acupuncture That Is…

 

Greetings! Megan here.

As a part of Women’s History Month, I’m highlighting some awesome women-owned/run businesses I really like and admire. Today I’d like to introduce you to Louisville Community Acupuncture. Owners, Margaret and Mike, have made it their mission to offer affordable acupuncture to all. They moved to Louisville from Austin, Texas about a year before I did. What’s funny is that we did not know each other in Austin. My Austin acupuncturist told me to check them out when I got to Louisville so I did, and now we are great friends. It’s been fun to support each other in our businesses and watch each other grow, both personally and professionally.

I started going to acupuncture years ago for seasonal and environmental allergies. It amazed me at how effective it was and how I didn’t have to rely on over-the-counter medication any longer. I quickly realized you can treat just about everything with acupuncture – even anxiety and depression. In fact, I refer many of my clients who would prefer not to take medication to acupuncture to see if it might assist them as well. I now go to acupuncture once a month for self-care and a “tune-up.” I leave feeling wonderfully relaxed and calm.

Community acupuncture is unique in that you are in a room with others while getting your treatment. This helps keep costs down. Everyone’s got their own lazy boy recliner and is distanced 6ft apart. LCA has refined some of this for COVID protocol but it’s still the affordable sliding scale rate of $25-$45 (pay what feels best to you!). If you go, be sure to tell them Megan Bartley from Louisville Mindfulness Center sent you!

Want to know more? Check them out online: https://www.louisvillecommunityacupuncture.com

improve your marriage

How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

marriageYes, you heard that correct! When I (Megan) lived in Austin, TX, I had the privilege to be mentored by author and relationship expert, Dr. Patricia Love. She encouraged me to think outside-the-box when working with couples which is what helps me be one of the “Three-Best Rated Marriage Counselors in Louisville.” You CAN improve any relationship without talking about it and that’s what I teach my clients and the other therapists at Louisville Mindfulness Center every day.

How you show up with others, invites them to show up that way with you. If you are acting as your “Best Adult Self” and setting appropriate boundaries and the other person you want a good (or, even decent) relationship with can’t meet you there, that gives you more information. With that more information, you can decide if being in that relationship works for you or at the very least how much time and energy you want to give to that relationship – especially if there is not a mutual exchange of energy…i.e. you’re doing all the work.

While I couldn’t find the video of Dr. Love on the Oprah show (yep, she’s done that!), I want you to see her YouTube page so you can watch her live!  And here are some other wonderful books Dr. Love has written as well…

love

marriage therapy

relationships

louisville salt cave

Going Inside to Create Your Outside: Louisville Salt Cave

salt cave, salt, halotherapy, allergies, asthma, skin conditions

Hi Friends! Megan Bartley here.

This month is women’s history month and I’d like to highlight some other excellent female entrepreneurs that I have known and supported over the years.

This week I want to feature Nicole Bartlett at the Louisville Salt Cave. She and I have collaborated throughout the years and she’s always a joy to connect with. Nicole and the Louisville Salt Cave are always up to cool stuff. They have invited me, on numerous occasions, to lead guided meditations in the cave and be a featured speaker in their speakers series.

As you can see by Louisville Salt Cave’s photo, their mission to help you “Go Inside to Create Your Outside” is quite on-point with the overall philosophy of Louisville Mindfulness Center. What is going on with us internally, shows up for us externally. If your external world is feeling chaotic and uncomfortable, there may be some things to focus on internally and vise versa.

There are TONS of benefits of halotherapy, which is just one of the many benefits of being in the Salt Cave. Just as you might feel differently standing at the ocean breathing in the salt air, so too can you experience that same effect in the cave.  AND it offers relief for many physical ailments such as respiratory ailments, asthma, and allergies.

Nicole and her team have also been very mindful about the COVID restrictions and being 6-feet apart. Their Safety Protocol is front and center on their website. You can view it HERE. 

If you’ve never been to a salt cave or in particular, the Louisville Salt Cave, it is a unique experience and one that I’m glad I’ve been able to experience! Go check them out! They are a great women-owned business to support!

www.LouisvilleSaltCave.com

 

happiness

When are you willing to experience happiness?

Written by Bridgette Allen, MAMFT

We often set limitations for when we can be happy.

I’ll be happy when I:

*get a house
*am in a relationship
*get a new job
*move out
*have straight A’s
*gain/lose weight
*don’t feel stressed
*get invited
*get married
*achieve more
*have more
*know they’ve changed
*am certain
*work more/work less

How would life be different if we gave ourselves permission to be happy unexpectedly, for no reason at all? What if we noticed and embraced moments of happiness even in the most difficult of times?

Happiness is not and never will be a final destination. When we chase after happiness and allow it under self-inflicted limitations, like the list above, we are often greeted with unmet expectations. That’s because happiness is simply a state of mind to be enjoyed and not captured.

What limitations are you willing to release? When will you choose to be happy?

white fragility

Beyond Buzzwords: White Fragility

White Fragility is another wonderful book to read this Black History Month. The author Dr. Robin Diangelo has been teaching diversity training for 20 years. And she happens to teach at my alma mater, the University of Washington in Seattle. So cool!

Like Kendi, Diangelo speaks about her own discrimination and racism and the need for us all to consider important aspects of how we participate in racism even when our intention is to “not be racist” or even “antiracist.”

PLUS, through Metro United Way, Diangelo will be offering a “Beyond Buzzwords” event on February 23rd, 2021 from 12pm-1:15pm. Register HERE for FREE to attend!

Speaking of buzzwords, if you are noticing some phrases pop up that you aren’t familiar with, I encourage you to Google them and find out more. When we know better, we do better!