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Coffe cup and tabs open too much

There is such a thing as "too much". Yet many of us have moved the tolerance dial to uploading more and more information at lightening speed with a click, a swipe, a Siri command; one more Instagram, one more like on social media, or even one more podcast or "free-audible" to listen to. After all, we are a society that thrives on doing more and more equals success to many. Though that may be true for a small percentage of the population, the rest of us are falling into a spiral of over 40,000 plus emails unread, 25 unnecessary recurring text reminders, or even up to 70 subscription or notification alerts pinging or interrupting your ability to stay focused, that you no longer need or want to keep receiving but haven't made the time or taken the time to "unsubscribe to" a priority. So you may be asking or thinking, "What's the big deal?"

The Big Deal is All of these Visual Stimuli are "pervasive parasites" to our energy reserves. Yes, you heard me right, all the stuff you see and even hear starts to accumulate underneath the surface and continually sets off your vagus nerve to send signals that trigger a cascade of chemicals to be released that increases our anxiety over time while simultaneously decreasing our motivation to succeed thereby creating a sensation of "never getting out of the hole or being able to catch up even though you may feel uneasy about the looming quantity of notices rising in the background. This internal emotional reaction of feeling overwhelmed/overloaded, by "un-dealt with" tasks, will deplete your energy (mentally and emotionally.

This is a similar phenomenon to what happens when we are surrounded by physical clutter, it steals our available energy because our eyes once they see it can not "un-see" and send all visual stimuli to the brain where the images become embedded as either explicit or implicit memories that are stored in our biggest computer system---our brain. You might have heard of the saying," Cluttered space, cluttered mind."The same is true for any visual glance that includes scrolling, clicking, swiping, and browsing as well as images that keep a tally of the number of unread messages in bold located already "conveniently" located in the upper right-hand corner for some of us! Did you know that when our eyes have to look up and right, it activates the part of our brain that is used to future unscripted thoughts and one of the first things you see is what you have waiting for you still--makes me want to run and avoid too or go for that sugar fix as I feel my anxiety creeping back up! We are not Super Humans who have unlimited memory cards as part of our genetic genome, though I believe we still have not yet tapped into accessing our brain's potential and capacity fully; we live life from a place of FOMA; "Fear Of Missing Out", and keep saying yes to more and more subscriptions, alerts, notices, signing up for one more course, invites, projects, etc., and so it begins just like that.

Ok, so are you ready to seize back some of that energy that's been siphoned off these past few months or even years? This is my favorite part of the What You Can Do to interrupt the pattern now that you are more aware. We will begin looking at how to optimize Brain Tips.

The Set Up for Brain Tips...

Schedule a 4-6 hour block of time with 10-minute get up and stretch etc. breaks, where you can do this one major commitment time task to be able to maintain later in only 15 minutes daily. Have your playlist on cycle for this amount of time to keep your amygdala from being hijacked while working on the task itself. Make sure you have healthy snacks and plenty of nourishing beverages such as water, coffee, tea, or even a delicious smoothie within reach and available. (See my Resource page on my website for over 50 different healthy and tasty smoothie recipes from Goodness Lover). Below are 3 steps that will help you re-organize what is coming into your field of vision, so you can regain your energy and your focus too.

Brain Tips: Let's Begin...
  1. Identify your Important and Urgent as well as your Interests/Needs/and Wants. Once you've done so Move on to Step 2.

  2. Set up your email folders with the headings: Important and Urgent, Important and Non-Urgent, and lastly Not Important yet Interested/Needed/Wanted. You can then set up subcategories to delineate important people that you will need to be in communication with no matter what. These are people like your spouse, children, teachers, doctors, bosses, etc. where there's a real sense of urgency, not your friends, customers, or clients as some of you might be "blurring" where the boundary limit is needed to be and thereby frequently responding to out of habit or deflecting to when avoiding more difficult tasks. (We will cover more about that in later issues)

  3. Now are you sitting down? I'll wait for you to do this if you're not already doing so. Take a deep breath, and now start to delete all the Not Important, Non-urgent, and No longer Interested/Needed/ or Wanted. This should be self-explanatory by now. Be real with yourself and ask yourself how often you go back to old emails and text messages. Are you feeling triggered or saying to yourself, "Wait what if it's something I'll need in the future?". The time that you usually would do this is when you are questioning something that was said by you or the other person, most likely because you were already distracted and not fully present when paying attention. Another possibility is that you are triggered by feeling afraid about not having what you need within your control or possibly the thought of failure, and in some cases, the perceived consequence from a previous trauma is being activated, and not from being gaslighted; in which case you are actively working on piecing things together. More on this topic will be covered in the future. Then make a sub-folder for "May Need Just in Case". Remember You are in Control of What You Choose to Do and Not Do which leads to feeling "blogged down" and free from "Bloggy Brain".

The Take Away...
"It's not how much time we have in this world that matters, it's about what we choose to do with the time we are given, that matters most." (J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the Wise Wizard)

Yes, I'm a huge movie fan in my recharge time! Popcorn, please...

Remember if you'd like to hear more about a particular area of interest, please send me your topics. One of them may be chosen for the next upcoming issue...Stay Tuned!

Shauna Sottery, LMFT

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Updated: Feb 8

How many of you are either tired of being in quarantine, ready to break out now that your kids have finished "homeschooling", and summer is in a few days, or are just living each day wandering and ruminating in uncertainty?

Here are my thoughts on uncertainty and living in uncertain times. Some of you may relate. Some of you may say, what the F**! This is to be expected. I've long given up on my friend Penny the "People Pleaser", the part of me that wants to be politically correct and not make anyone upset. So here goes!

Uncertainty- It's here and not going anywhere.

We have the power to choose our thoughts, right or wrong, political, religion, etc...

We have ultimate dominion over our attitude, whether optimistic or just plain "the sky is falling mentality".

Love is not blind, we all see what we want to see. (unless you're physically blind, then you've probably developed a super "sh*t detector of who's who!")

One person's garbage is another one's treasure, even recyclables.

Depression is also known as "love sickness".

Is not your foe, it's your friend.

Growth and Change are part of living in the present.

My biggest complaint that I hear, is either "I can't change or He/She can't change". And I'd agree with them that they're right in their belief. They can only do what they think, feel, or believe about themselves to the fullest extent. The power of the placebo has been proven over and over in numerous documents and clinical trials. But the truth goes much deeper, you might say below the surface, right to your brain. Your brain can change neurologically at any point in life. If you'd like to know how to change your brain and make your thoughts and actions move in a more positive direction, then make the call. Some people wait and wait till the right time appears. Some people start dialing before finishing the article. I'm here whenever you decide to stop letting your thoughts and feelings hold you captive. Whether it's counseling through Telehealth or therapy for couples

all work done for yourself and for your relationships, counts. Remember you're not alone.

Here's to remembering how others overcame their thoughts and fears to serve our country and stand for justice, despite the fear of uncertainty. We love and honor you this Memorial Day.

With Grit, Grace, and Gratitude!

Shauna Sottery, LMFT, CCAATP

Marriage Basics and Beyond LLC

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Updated: Jun 19, 2020

"The thief's purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (John 10:10)

Hindsight is 20/20. If we only knew then what we know now. I am truly amazed at the amount of wisdom that seeps from the Bible. First of all, let me confess. I just recently started reading this Book of Knowledge basically a manual of how to do life, over the past 3 years. You see I worked in a society for 17 plus years that reinforced the nagging fear that I was not worthy enough to succeed in business, in life, unless I succumbed to the mantra of personal development. So thousands of dollars later after reading every new book on personal development I could find at Barnes and Noble, I was bewildered why my new found method of the day didn't leave me with a more "long-lasting" dose of self confidence, let alone self esteem. Have you ever felt this? Excited and Enthusiastic one minute, then lost, deflated, and flat the next?

Let me preface, I'm eternally grateful for having experienced the sheer awesomeness of some of the worlds greatest speakers and teachers in my life, past and present included. The best source of Wisdom is unquestionably, your Bible. In addition, these are "The 4 key codes" of what has remained with me throughout the years, that coincidentally are all written in Scripture just said differently:

  • "CANI" - Constant And Never-ending Improvement in all areas of life (Tony Robbins)

  • "What other people think of me is none of my business" principle (Wayne Dyer)

  • The Power of Now: Being Fully in the Moment mindset for dealing with chaos (Eckhart Tolle)

  • Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.(Albert Einstein)

So Jesus came to give us an abundant and satisfying life. Yet most of America is living in a state of sleep deprivation, addictions ( beyond drugs, alcohol, and gambling- I'm talking about the elephant in the room like social media, pornography, and technology to name a few), chronic health, busyness and a myriad of distractions. Our divorce rate has now officially gone beyond 51% for first time marriages, 68% for second marriages, and so on. Kids are experiencing record highs of depression, loneliness, and sadness despite "being connected". Why? Glad you asked. It's because each one of these symptoms and "addictions" have become a way of life for many. They are the enemy's tools that he uses daily to steal our Joy, Health, Vitality, Relationships, Peace, and ultimately Love. We all know, something practiced consistently for 21-24 days, becomes habit, good or not so good.

In a world of growing technology, the freedom to rant and rave in real time, and the ease of surfing and navigating the wonderful wide world of Google, YouTube, Social Media like Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter, can literally lose hours of time "staying connected" and up-to-date on what friends and family are doing minutes or miles away. We've literally taken our "habit" to a whole new level and put it in a box that we can carry with us 24/7. We have become enslaved to our devices, some more aware than others of this black hole phenomena, and have even been cited touching devices an estimated 5,400 times per day! (CPA clinical study 2019)

For those that of us that believe that we are fairly new inhabitants created by a loving God to have authority and dominion over God's creatures on earth, the enemy (aka the devil) has been around a lot longer than us and has been studying us keenly, learning how humans make their decisions, feed their fears and insecurities, and modifying his strategies to fulfill his purpose: to steal (Time and Joy), to kill (Love and Compassion), and destroy (Unity and Relationships) with ourselves, with one another, and within a nation of people.

If we are only given one life to live and a limited amount of time, the question now becomes not about quantity, but about quality. Simply stated, "We are all given the same amount of time in a given day, but what we choose to do with the time we are given that's what matters most." Gandalph the Wise (Lord of the Rings by JR Tolkien)

There's obviously a reason you chose to read this completely. Now choose to start living life more fully: with purpose, intention, love and respect. It's about investing in You. I'm here to help you get started! Counseling for yourself or for relationships is now available through Telehealth from the convenience of your home or office.

Your Relationship Specialist,

Shauna Sottery


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