The business of getting better: part 3

The business of getting better: part 3

Changing the world, one conversation at a time.

When we run programs at Landing Strong, we spend quite a bit of time discussing how to create an environment that feels comfortable and safe. Participants tell me that it’s not uncommon to walk into a community coffee group where they’re initially having a good time, only to have the mood shift once the subject of politics comes up. Suddenly the tone is angry and loud. Instead of ideas and insights forming the discussion, hard opinions become the propulsion for discussion.  Listening decreases as each person fixates on ensuring their “truth” is heard.  

 When this happens, I know it’s just a matter of time until the conversation shuts down, and the potential for insights and wisdom arising from the discussion are lost. 

Speaking truthfully without hurting feelings, writes Cheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, is an acquired skill.  It’s that wonderful balance between appropriateness and authenticity. 

In her book Lean In, Sandberg notes “When communicating hard truths, less is more…The ability to listen is as important as the ability to speak.”

What if we all made it our mission to seek to understand the opinions of others, without needing to be right?  How would the world change?  We may disagree with what we hear, but at least by listening we are inviting an opportunity for dialogue. Sowing the seeds of change.  If we are able to shift our focus from being heard, to accepting the uniqueness of each person’s truth, the discussion becomes richer.

I have to admit, I don’t always master this art.  But I try.

Please join me in noticing the tone and manner in which we communicate with others.  Is it inviting or overbearing? Welcoming or deflective?

As Sandberg confirms, being aware of the problem is the first step to correcting it.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

Small steps in the right direction

Small steps in the right direction

It’s supposed to be spring, but it’s still cold outside.  We’ve had a couple glimpses of sun and warmth, only to be quickly reminded that winter isn’t too far in our rear view mirror.  Remember, objects in mirror are closer than they appear.  This year, more so than many I remember, the wait for spring feels long.  Winter brought with it a lot of ice, restricting movement and keeping us confined to our homes perhaps more than usual.  With the promise of warmer days just around the corner, many of us are likely seeding our lawns, tilling soil, and preparing for growth in the new season.  

This growth can take a lot of forms.  It may be literally working in your yard, or might look a little different: inviting someone new out to coffee; speaking to a friend or family member from your heart; trying something new; making the decision to get help; or continuing your growth through participating in a workshop.  

What kind of growth are you looking for this season?  What specific steps can you take towards reaching that goal?  

Remember, small steps in the right direction eventually get us somewhere big.

Warm regards,

Belinda

Belinda vs. Brussel sprouts

Belinda vs. Brussel sprouts

When I was little, my mother repeatedly tried to get me to eat Brussel sprouts. 

“I can’t…I don’t like them!” I’d exclaim

“I didn’t give you many”, she’d insist. “Don’t leave the table until you’ve eaten them up”.

And with these simple words, the challenge was on.  Belinda vs. Brussel sprouts.

Resting my chin on my hands, I’d stare down the offending cabbages.  Determined not to weaken my resolve, I alternated my gaze between the congealing green lumps in front of me, and the painfully slow moving hands of the wall clock.   Eventually, she’d give in, removing the plate and sending me upstairs to my room. I’d won…or so I thought.

I’m reminded of the fact that sometimes if we really don’t want to do something, no-one can make us do it. Even if it may be good for us.

The funny thing is, I don’t actually mind Brussel sprouts now. It’s all a matter of how it’s prepared.

Trying new things is hard, and stressful.  Like making the decision to begin therapy, or sign up for a treatment group.

“But I don’t do groups!” you may exclaim.

Ah yes…remember, it all boils down to how it’s done.

We’re cooking up some great programs for you. 

Starting May 24 and running five successive Fridays, Landing Strong is offering Stop faking good and start feeling good: A program for managing emotions.  I’ll be co-leading with Psychologist Patricia MacDonald and Trauma Yoga Therapist Caelin Nadin. A powerhouse team who know how to have fun.   Even if programs aren’t normally your thing, come out and give it a try…  

It’ll be good for you 😉 

Drop us a line at info@landingstrong.com or call to reserve your spot 902 472-2972.  The program is already half full so book soon to avoid disappointment. We will work with your insurance providers to obtain authorization for you to attend.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

Doing the emotional override

Doing the emotional override

I speak to many veterans and first responders who tell me they are having a difficult time feeling.

The problem isn’t that they’re feeling down…it’s that they aren’t feeling at all.  

Over the years, quietly and almost unnoticed, emotional flatness has seeped into their lives. 

“It’s not all bad” they tell me. “I’m not bothered at work by things that seem to disturb other people.  I just shut ‘er down and get the job done.”

You may recognize yourself in this picture:  highly skilled at being functional, even when the going gets tough.  When faced with disturbing or horrific scenes, we’re trained to shut down our emotions.  Because after all…Mission (service) comes before self.  

One of the challenges is that we get so used to being in this mode that we don’t always know when we’re are doing it.

We just notice that we are no longer able to feel like we used to.

The emotional override can be so powerful that that we may not even be able to recognize what our needs are.  Knowing how and when to take time out for ourselves isn’t simple.  Years of training has hardwired us to meet the expectations of strangers before those of our own families or even ourselves.  

Chronic pain, fatigue, anger, anxiety and emotional flatness are all indications that this has gone on for too long.

Recovery is about reconnecting with self.  Listening to our bodies and our minds.  

Change is possible but I won’t kid you, it’s not easy.  Particularly if the override has been going on for many years.

We will be offering a five week program on successive Fridays starting May 24 which will help.  Stop faking good and start feeling good: Manage your emotions and curb your addictions.  Call now to reserve your spot (902) 472-2972 or contact us at info@landingstrong.com

Partners in recovery,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

I’m so excited…

I’m so excited…

My New Year’s resolution is being realized.  

I committed to ensuring my work is filled with creativity and joy.  Today marks a special part of that with the launch of our first veteran/first responder day treatment program.  The program is full, and Mackenzie has been madly cooking chilli and baking wonderful treats to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and well cared for.  We’ve run two caregiver workshops now, and are thrilledby the response.   It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that a group of people who come together as strangers can so quickly form meaningful connections as they discover the strength of shared experience.

As Doug and I led the Caregiver workshops, we were struck by what an incredibly powerful and resilient group of people they were.  In addition to their caregiver roles, all lead very rich and full lives in their home communities. They wear regular clothing, but in our eyes, looked very much like superheroes.

By the time you read this, the important work we set out to do today will have begun.  I salute the courage it takes to come forward and register for a program.  I commit to do everything in my power to ensure the experience is both positive and welcoming.  It is such an honour to be able to walk on this journey with such a special community.

Wishing you all the best for a warm weekend.

Regards from the entire Landing Strong Team,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Founder, Landing Strong

Braving the cold together

Braving the cold together

It was a cold and windy day as ten brave souls made their way to the first in the series of caregiver workshops.  No doubt anxious about coming to a new place a meeting new people, the group quickly formed bonds that transcended differences that existed between them.  

What struck me the most was the strength and resiliency exhibited by each individual.  We never know what life’s going to throw our way, but ultimately it’s our ability to get back up after we’re knocked down that defines us.  I had the honour of witnessing courage, strength, unconditional support, and compassion among the members of the group.  This workshop is just the first of many.  Keep an eye on your inbox and our social media pages to see what exciting things are in store. 

As promised, we have sent our Caregiver PDF to your inbox.  Next week, we will be forwarding you additional resources to help you get through the holidays in a safe and healthy manner.  

Due to the overwhelming response for Care for the Caregiver Workshop: Supporting & Thriving, we are offering it again on January 7th for those who didn’t make it in the first time around. Contact us to register today.  

A special program New Year, New You designed for Military Members, Veterans and First Responders, will be offered on January 11th. Set yourself up for success in 2019.  Feel free to call us for more information.