December 3, 2019

Living in Our Heads-Mindfulness Meditation to Increase Awareness

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , , at 1:44 pm by kellyfdennis

beautiful bloom blooming blossom*

Saturday, January 11, 9:00 am-10:30am; Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA 1755

The aim of mindfulness practice is to be more aware, more often. A powerful influence taking us away from being “fully present” in each moment is our automatic tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right in some way—that it is not what should be happening, not good enough, or not what we expected or wanted.

Mindfulness concepts and Meditation practices covered will include: Mindfulness of the breath and body, Mindfulness to “unhook” from thoughts, Sensory mindfulness,Mindful self-compassion

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 8 people. This workshop is suitable for all levels of mindfulness meditation experience. Cost: $50

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the facilitator. Pre-registration is required.

*Photo by Arul on Pexels.com

 

October 29, 2019

Balance Fear with Kindness

Posted in Compassion, Well-being tagged , , , , at 9:27 am by kellyfdennis

black and white sun in sky“Monsters don’t sleep under the bed, they sleep inside your head.” It is said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as unguarded thoughts.” Thoughts are curious things, they can create fear and dread, or peace and love. May your thoughts today and the days to come be ones that build you up, not cut you down.

May you be healthy and strong, peaceful and happy. May you think thoughts of love and acceptance, for yourself and for others. May you be free from suffering and experience love in abundance. May you notice the sparkle of a snowflake, the twinkle of the stars. May you feel a gentle breeze upon your face and the warmth and compassion from those who are important to you. May you experience the courage to face a fear, and the confidence to accept yourself just the way you are. May you be kind and experience kindness.

That’s the way to make peace with the monsters that live inside your head.

May 6, 2019

Mindfulness Meditation Workshop

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , , at 1:42 pm by kellyfdennis

Path thru woods

Saturday, June 22, 9:00 am-11:00 am

Counseling office: 304 N. George St., Millersville, PA 17551

This 2-hour workshop explores the concepts of mindfulness and mindfulness strategies in a purposeful way in order to facilitate the integration of mindfulness into your daily life.

“The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
– R.D. Laing –

As we learn to create purposeful present moment awareness, we begin to see the changing of things in our lives that cause us stress. We learn to relate to our difficulties in life with more openness, compassion, and acceptance.

Mindfulness concepts and Meditation practices covered will include:  Mindfulness and the scientific research; Mindfulness of the breath and body; Obstacles to mindfulness; Sensory mindfulness; Mindful self-compassion

Each session will be a combination of practice, lecture, and group discussion. Each session is taught in a supportive environment with no more than 8 people. Cost: $75

Kelly F. Dennis MS LPC is the facilitator. Please contact Kelly to sign up or for further information: (717) 951-0266 or kelly@kellyfdennis.com

March 29, 2018

Today’s Hope for You

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness, Well-being tagged , , , at 11:57 am by kellyfdennis

human-hands-protecting-heart-concept-graphic-100181462

May you live today with health and strength.

May you feel loved and have the opportunity to show love to others.

May you notice the beauty around you and be filled with peace and tranquility.

January 25, 2018

Today’s Mission

Posted in Compassion tagged , , , , at 9:59 am by kellyfdennis

dune fenceMay you be unstoppable in your mission, strong and fearless. May you live with courage and compassion in your heart. May you find your confidence and wear it like a shield to deflect whatever negativity comes your way. May you feel powerful and proud of who you are and what you do. May you start each day with positive thoughts and readiness to take on the day ahead.

You are on a mission to achieve your goals…be unstoppable!

December 20, 2017

Balance Fear with Kindness

Posted in Compassion tagged , , , , at 5:10 pm by kellyfdennis

black and white sun in sky“Monsters don’t sleep under the bed, they sleep inside your head.” It is said, “Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as unguarded thoughts.” Thoughts are curious things, they can create fear and dread, or peace and love. May your thoughts today and the days to come be ones that build you up, not cut you down.

May you be healthy and strong, peaceful and happy. May you think thoughts of love and acceptance, for yourself and for others. May you be free from suffering and experience love in abundance. May you notice the sparkle of a snowflake, the twinkle of the stars. May you feel a gentle breeze upon your face and the warmth and compassion from those who are important to you. May you experience the courage to face a fear, and the confidence to accept yourself just the way you are. May you be kind and experience kindness.

That’s the way to make peace with the monsters that live inside your head.

December 1, 2017

Woke Up in a Bad Mood?

Posted in Compassion, Mindfulness tagged , , , , at 8:09 am by kellyfdennis

photoIt happens to all of us at one time or another, we wake up cranky and/or grumpy. Sometimes we can identify the reason, we slept poorly, have a busy day, the kids are fighting, the cat puked (and you stepped in it), etc. However, sometimes the source of the mood isn’t easily identifiable. When that happens here are some things you can try to help yourself feel better:

-Try some self compassion. Just acknowledging to yourself know that you feel grumpy right now and that’s ok is helpful. This feeling won’t last forever, and you can love yourself even if you’re grumpy.

-Stop whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath and just notice your surroundings. What do you see, smell, hear, and feel? Sometimes just disengaging from autopilot for a moment is enough to lift your mood.

-Take a brisk walk outside. Physical exercise releases natural feel good chemicals in our brain which can help dispel a bad mood.

-Try just accepting it, instead of fighting against it. “Ok, this is how I feel right now, let’s just move on.”

-Think of situations and moods in the short term. A big contributor to a bad mood is catastrophizing about something. “Oh, no, this commute is going to be awful; this presentation is going to suck; this day is going to drag on forever” If we can think about just what’s happening now and stop ourselves from making the negative predictions, the bad mood may lift.

-Get out of your own head and focus on someone else. When we shift our focus to helping others or at least paying attention to them we engage the natural emotional warmth that occurs for us as humans when we are in relationship.

-Listen to some uplifting music and feel free to sing along at the top of your lungs!

I hope you’re bad mood has lifted by now!

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!

November 16, 2017

So…I Wrote You a Love Song

Posted in Compassion, Self Image tagged , , , at 8:55 am by kellyfdennis

blackeyedsusansI know that sometimes you feel like you messed up. There are days when you feel like you can’t do anything right. You might wake up in the morning and are convinced that you cannot possibly face the day and all there is in it. Or maybe you look in the mirror and say to yourself “if people knew the real me, they would not want to hangout/be with me.” You try again and again and again and believe that you just aren’t measuring up.

So, I wrote you a love song; not because you asked for it, but because you deserve it:

Nothing that happened yesterday has to determine who you are today; you are strong and resilient; you are worthy of health, happiness, love, and affection.

You are radiant, beautiful, important, and worthy; you can claim your happiness, peace, grace, and love.

May you be grounded and centered; may you move through your life with mindfulness, grace, and compassion.

My wish for you is to face today with an open mind, speak kindness to yourself, capture the love that is waiting for you.

You are enough, what you do is enough.

You are loved.

March 16, 2014

Self-Appreciation: The Flip Side of Self-Compassion

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:02 pm by kellyfdennis

Image

Originally blogged by Kristin Neff

“Sometimes it’s more difficult to see what’s right about ourselves than what’s wrong. For some of us even thinking about our positive traits makes us uncomfortable. Praise and compliments can make us squirm, and we often don’t know how to respond without self-consciousness. Flattery feels a lot better than insults, of course, but how many of us really take the praise in? Own it. Delight in it. For a whole host of reasons it’s often trickier than you might think to feel positively about ourselves; most of these stem from fear.

One fear involves setting up overly-high expectations. Underplaying our good points means that we’re more likely to pleasantly surprise others by doing well rather than disappoint them by doing poorly. We’re also afraid of letting go of the devil we know. If we’re in the habit of cutting ourselves down, recognition of our positive qualities will feel alien to us. Another fear is the perception of being vain. Nobody likes a narcissist — except the narcissist.

So how do we celebrate our admirable qualities in a healthy way? I believe the answer is self-compassion, which involves treating ourselves with kindness, a sense of common humanity, and mindfulness when considering our perceived inadequacies — though in a different guise. I like to call it “self-appreciation.” When we can enjoy what’s good about ourselves, acknowledging that all people have strengths as well as weaknesses, we allow ourselves to revel in our goodness without evoking feelings of arrogance or overconfidence.

Let’s first consider kindness as it applies to self-appreciation. Would you take your friends’ good qualities for granted without ever acknowledging them or letting your friends know what you like about them? Probably not, yet many of us do so to ourselves. It’s a great gift of self-kindness to appreciate ourselves and to demonstrate our approval with sincere praise. We don’t have to speak this praise aloud, making ourselves and others uncomfortable in the process. But we can quietly give ourselves the inner acknowledgement we deserve.

The sense of common humanity inherent to self-appreciation means that we appreciate ourselves not because we’re better than others, but because all people have goodness in them. To appreciate others’ goodness while ignoring our own creates a false division between us and them. But as a distinctive expression of the universal human condition that animates all our experience, we honor everything when we honor ourselves. As the Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn writes, “You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible.” Celebrating our achievements is no more self-centered than having compassion for our failings. We can’t really claim personal responsibility for our gifts and talents. They were born from our ancestral gene pool, the love and nurturing of our parents, the generosity of friends, the guidance of teachers, and the wisdom of our collective culture. Appreciation for our good qualities, then, is really an expression of gratitude for all who have shaped us as individuals. Self-appreciation humbly honors those who have helped us become the person we are today.

Self-appreciation also entails mindfulness. Just as we need to notice others’ good qualities in order to appreciate them, we need to consciously acknowledge our own positive features. However, we’re often so focused on our mistakes and flaws that we don’t even see when we get things right. What do you notice most when you get a work evaluation, the nine points of praise or the one point of criticism? Some may be concerned that if we focus too much on what’s right about ourselves we’ll ignore much needed areas of growth. This is true only if our focus is, in fact, “too much.” If we take a lopsided view of ourselves — “I am perfect and have no weaknesses whatsoever” — that would certainly be a problem. But the truth is that every human being has both positive and negative traits. Rather than running away with an exaggerated storyline about either, good or bad, we instead need to honor and accept ourselves as we authentically are. No better and no worse. The key is having balance and perspective so that we can see ourselves without distortion.

William James, one of the founding fathers of Western psychology, once wrote that “the deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” Luckily, we can meet this essential need without depending on other people to approve of us. When we treat ourselves with the same kindness with which we treat our good friends, we’ll have the support and care required to help us thrive.”

To learn more about self-compassion you can visit Kristin’s website at www.self-compassion.org. There are informational videos, research articles demonstrating its benefits, a way to test your own self-compassion level, and a variety of exercises and guided meditations. You can also read more about self-compassion in her book “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind,” published by William Morrow.

For more by Kristin Neff, click here.

March 10, 2014

10 Ways to improve Body Image

Posted in Eating Disorders tagged , , , , at 11:41 am by kellyfdennis

Be honest and kind to yourself as you examine your beliefs, thought patterns, and assumptions about your body and the bodies of other people. This is fruitful but demanding work.

• Expand your idea of beauty.

Expand your concept of what is beautiful. View art. Observe different cultures. Spend time in nature. Constantly remind yourself that everyone is beautiful in his or her own way. Think about people you admire. In what ways are they beautiful?

• Let go of perfectionism.

In the same way that you are learning to accept yourself—flaws and all—you will also be learning to accept your unique body. Striving to reach an arbitrary idea of physical perfection is a form of self-sabotage, and is not possible anyway.

• Fully experience your senses.

Get more in touch with your body by noticing all of your senses. Concentrate on smells, sounds, colors, and touch. Best of all, connect with taste! Eat something you love (that’s not triggering). Try something you hate! Your body enables you to have physical experiences, so get brave and enjoy them.

• Reconnect your mind and body.

Certain activities—yoga, stretching, dancing, Pilates, Tai Chi—bring the mind and body together by focusing on the physical experience of the moment. These are wonderful practices for both quieting the mind and building a friendship with the body.

• Tolerate negative body talk without acting on it.

You don’t go from bulimia to loving your body in one day. Acknowledge that it’s a process, and that negative body talk is inevitable. But don’t act on the thoughts by turning to old habits. Instead, learn to talk back, or decide that you just aren’t going to listen right now.

• Understand the deeper meanings of negative body talk.

Negative body talk is a symptom of an eating disorder, just like bingeing and purging. There can be deeper meaning behind the phrases “I feel fat” (I feel worthless), “I have to lose weight” (My life lacks meaning), and “I hate the way I look” (I hate my life). When you have these thoughts, recognize that they are code for bigger issues, and investigate.

• Talk back to harmful body thoughts.

When you hear yourself being self-disparaging, talk back. Use positive affirmations and use rational, rather than emotional, language.

• Process body trauma with support.

Sometimes, body image issues are symptoms of past trauma, such as teasing, abuse, rejection, or abandonment. Healing the pain of trauma is a challenging and intimate process. I recommend working with a qualified therapist.

• Write a love letter to your body.

Thank your body for all the good things it does for you. Appreciate it for giving you a life. Tell it the kinds of things you would say to a soul mate, because, after all, your body is your soul’s companion!

stefdennis

ponderings on life, food, God, and love

Grace on the Moon

Do Not Weigh Your Self-Esteem on a Scale

on anything and everything

my thoughts on what I see