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Being there for one another the best way we can

Being there for one another the best way we can

“I got you a delicious cake,” said the mole
“Did you?”
“Yes”
“Where is it?”
“I ate it,” said the mole
“Oh”
“But I got you another.”
“Did you? Where is that one?”
“The same thing seems to have happened.” 

-The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
 

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to show up for someone even if we might not know what to do.   Or maybe we try to say something and it comes out all wrong.  

Many people are hesitant to join group because it can be scary. 

“What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t belong?”  Or even worse, “What if I say something that injures someone?”  

Being in group is about meeting people where they are at.  Everyone starts in a different space, and goes at their own speed.  We aren’t supposed to all be the same. We don’t always say or do the right thing. But somehow we work it out.

I can promise you one thing …we won’t eat your cake!  Give us a call and join us for a group program this spring.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

The bravest thing you’ve ever said

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?” asked the boy.
“Help” said the horse.
“When have you been at your strongest?” Asked the boy
“When I have dared to show my weakness”

  • The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

 
I used to belief courage was about doing things that involved incredible risk:  Running into burning buildings; putting oneself into the line of fire; more recently caring for those with contagious diseases.  

These are indeed acts of courage.

What I have learned to appreciate though, is a quieter more invisible form of courage.  It’s the force that motivates us to speak when it’s easier to remain silent.  To stand up and be seen when we can blend in or remain invisible.  To ask for help when in many ways it’s less effort to simply carry on.

Asking for help may be one of the hardest and most courageous things we can do.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Three quick tips to stay right side up in times of stress

Three quick tips to stay right side up in times of stress

These are complicated times, and we’re all facing increased levels of uncertainty.  Background stress is much higher than usual and it may be harder to unwind at the end of the day.  Here are three quick tips to help keep you right side up:

  1. Do less

Instead of opting for a complete home renovation, try doing a jigsaw puzzle while listening to your favorite music.  Take joy in simple things: like the satisfaction of a perfectly chopped pile of wood, or teaching your dog a new trick. “Less is more” is the new mantra as we work to keep ourselves in balance.

  1. Just say “no” to social overload

Factor this increased stress load into your decision making when deciding how much to take on.  This is a time for increased boundary setting.  Do you really want a three hour zoom family reunion following a week overloaded with on line meetings?  Consider dropping in for just a brief time or opting instead for simple in-person social gatherings like coffee with a friend. Get comfortable thanking people for invitations, but letting them know you are focussing on self-care and re-charging during down time.  

  1. Limit screen time. 

 If your sleep is disrupted, it’s a sign that you’re brain isn’t getting the relax time it needs.  Zoom gatherings and online meetings are more mentally fatiguing than seeing people in person.  Try picking a completely junky novel to browse through before sleeping.  Enjoy a long soak in the tub or flip through your latest car magazine.  Consider having technology free weekends, and please, take off your watch that sends emails to you 24/7.  Your central nervous system will thank you.
 
If you are thinking of making changes on a larger scale, consider joining our Healthy Living program starting in November.  You’ll have a chance to reflect on what is most important to you, ensuring the life you’re living is the one you want. 

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Nova Scotia Thoughtful

Nova Scotia Thoughtful

Have I told you recently how proud I am to live in Nova Scotia?  It’s sentiment I know many of us share: everywhere we look, there are flags and signs celebrating the strength and loyalty of Nova Scotians. 

I’d like to add another word to our vocabulary when describing Nova Scotians: Thoughtful.

Last night I was in IKEA.  I wanted to pick up a large shelf unit and had parked my cart on the warehouse floor, wondering how the heck I was going to get the heavy unit onto my cart.  It really was a two person job. A young couple walked towards me, interested in the same unit.  

“Wait a minute,” the young man calls to me, “You’ve got the wrong kind of cart, I’m going to grab you a flat one.”  

Before I knew it he had dashed to the end of the aisle and grabbed me something more suitable.  Together we easily got it loaded.  The next step was loading this monstrosity into my car.  I parked my shopping cart by the trunk, and was walking around to unlock the door when an older couple walked by.

“Don’t try lifting that on your own,” the man called out.  “Let me give you a hand.  No sense you strainin’ yer’ back.”

I hadn’t even had a moment to ask anyone for help and here this fellow was, making sure things went smoothly.  This is the kindness of small towns and close communities.  I drove away with a warm heart and appreciation for the thoughtfulness strangers. There may be a lot of challenging things going on in the world these days, but I, for one, am happy to be living in the Atlantic Bubble, and super proud to be in Nova Scotia.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

Embracing the power of positive change

Embracing the power of positive change

My dogs are completely ridiculous.  When I come home each day, they charge towards me at top speed, so filled with glee that they can hardly contain themselves.  They are so excited that they start jumping on one another in a playful Ninja manner, the little dog trying to nip the haunches of her older sister in an effort to reach me first.  They quickly become a blurred black and white explosion of play and energy, forgetting the fact that they were even coming to see me. 

When they are relaxed, it’s not uncommon to see them mirroring one another, their bodies unconsciously copying the posture and mood of the other.  What we are witnessing is co-regulation in action.  Because they are close, the mood and actions of one significantly affects the mood and actions of the other.

Co-regulation is that moment by moment interaction between the central nervous system of one person (or dog) with another.  

When you laugh, I laugh with you.  

When you cry, I feel the heaviness in my chest, and instinctively reach out.

Being in close proximity with one another during this COVID crisis, we can’t help but have a profound effect on those around us.  Our central nervous systems are in synchronicity, constantly interacting, bouncing off one another and mirroring emotions that we may not even be aware of.  How I am feeling has a huge effect on my household, and how others are feeling affects me.  At this time in particular, it’s incredibly important that we are aware of the manner in which we are contributing to, or detracting from the health and well-being of those in our circle.

Co-regulation doesn’t just happen in person.  It can also travel through the internet.  Another person’s anger can transmit virtually.  So can joy.  I’m careful in deciding which news to watch, because in general, bad news sells.  This morning CTV focussed on new vaccination efforts, miracle plane landings, and funny bad haircuts, and I started my day off with a smile.

I invite you to take the time to notice what you are feeling, and set an intention about the mood you want to spread to those you love.  Attached is a fun exercise called “Cookie breathing” developed by Liana Lowenstein which might help.  Try practicing, and see if you experience an internal shift.

Warm Regards,
Belinda

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong

It’s all a matter of perspective

It’s all a matter of perspective

Last week was a bit of a rough one for me, and my brother, bless his heart, sent me flowers.

Touched by the gesture, I brought the flowers to work so that they could be enjoyed by all.  The first client who walked in the building noticed them immediately.

“Who died?” he asked.

The second person who entered the building was someone we’ve known for a while.  When she saw the flowers she leaned over, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Sighing, she sat down to wait for her appointment, a serene expression on her face. 

The exact same experience, but very different reactions.  Proof that emotions aren’t created by situations… rather, they are the result of how we interpret them.  It’s our thoughts that determine how we feel, not the actual events. The wonderful thing about this is that it gives us a powerful degree of control over how we experience the world.

If you want to learn more, give us a call or send a message.  We’re gathering names for out next Emotions group, starting in the near future.  If you’ve already taken the Emotions program, the Healthy Living course may be for you.  It’s a hands-on chance to apply all that we’ve learned to our daily lives.

Warm wishes,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong