Balance and Love – The Secret to Happiness

Balance and Love - The Secret to Happiness
By Allison Goldberg

There is so much in our lives that we can control. There is so much in our lives that we can not.   I am fortunate enough to be able to help people every day, live lives that are balanced and with moment to moment intention and love.  

It all starts with mindfulness. Lets take a moment and think about something we do everyday that no one has to tell us to do. What is that thing for you? What is something you do everyday that you do with great intention and love?

For me, it is being outdoors. No matter what happens in my day, unless it is unsafe because of weather conditions, I will spend as much time as I have outdoors.   The outdoors does something to my soul that gives me a sense of peace, quiet and comfort.   Fresh air, the sky, the clouds, the sun, the trees, the birds and the sounds. All of these things, are part of nature and cost nothing.   Something simple like being in nature, is one of many things that I would do without having to be asked to do it.

The idea behind balance and love is that you create a life that prioritizes BALANCE. Once this happens, you have created a life of both balance and love. Why love? When we create balance, we feel more love in our lives. Not just from others, but from ourselves because when you love what you are doing, you are happier and can experience self love.   Think about this for a moment. Consider these categories in your life.   Family, Social, Hobbies, Work/School, Health/Exercise and Spiritual Growth.

Start by having a very honest dialogue with yourself and make lists of what currently exists in each those areas, If the category is empy, that is the first challenge. Then ask yourself is it something you love? What if that area is just so/so in your eyes? That is when you ask yourself and dig deep to put something in place in that answers the question, would you this without being told to. Stretch and make sure every area of your life has something that you love in it.

Imagine a life where you consciously had meaningful relationships with family and friends, imagine if you spent your social time doing things that you enjoy and love, what if you had a career that you loved and enjoyed going to everyday? What if you ate healthy foods that you purposefully chose to put into your body and exercised in a way that felt joyful to you, not just exercise for the sake of exercise? You get to choose what you do to stay active and healthy. What if you choose your spiritual path and not only what was chosen for you? What if you only put clothes on that you love and not just because they are in your closet? Even if it is a ripped t-shirt that you love, the idea is that is is worn with love. That, my friends, is a lot of love going on in your life.

These are all real possibilities, but you have to intend and prioritize balance, and with that amount of love, you are giving to each category, you will be filled with love and exude it. This model of self care is one that is a life long lifestyle. This method will ease the burden all of the unpleasant things in life. The very things we can not control will seem bearable and not seem insurmountable.

Start today, each minute, each hour, ask yourself this. First, is this something that I can control? If your answer is YES, ask yourself is it part of creating balance in my life?, If your answer is YES, ask yourself, do I love it? If the answer is no, stop there. Balance and love, those 2 words are the secret to HAPPINESS.


About the Author: Allison Goldberg
Allison’s Personal Story:

I was driving my car and listening to one of my many mentors through my blue tooth and when he was speaking, I had an epiphany.

I have been in the coaching industry for 17 years and when asked by both individuals and companies about myself, my logical brain went to the place of what I call “credential security” which was my college degree, many of the certification and training programs, my field experience and the many reputable companies and individuals that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the years. I have all of that data in a file ready to email to any person that wants to know.

Here is where my epiphany came in…. When I listen to my mentors, each of them has a real, raw story that defines them and that is what has fueled their passion and commitment to the field they are in. I too, have a story that gives me the passion and drive to help others live life to their full potential. It is a story that I have understood very clearly for my entire life, but sharing it, has not been something I would readily do.

I am now at the point where I think I have done myself and my clients a disservice by not sharing the story that has been the very thing that brought me to my passion. Which is the Life Coaching partnership with people who are looking for their reason, passion and goals for their own lives.

So, from this point on, when people ask me what is “my story”, this is what I will say.

I had a very traumatic entry into this word. I was born into a circumstance that is unusual and hard to hear for most people. I am the youngest of 3 children.   6 Months before I was born, my biological father went missing. Yes, missing, as in, he didn’t come home from work that day.   He continued to be missing until 2 weeks before I was born. So, even as an unborn child, my mom was carrying a baby with a major mental burden of taking care of 2 other kids while being pregnant and the emotional agony of not knowing where her husband was. This time must have been extremely difficult and very taxing both physically and emotionally. Two weeks before I was born my biological father was found and he had been brutally murdered. Are you uncomfortable yet?  

That was my start to coming into this world so as you can see that when a child is born, there welcome may be very different than mine. My start was rough. For the next few years of my life my mom was trying to deal with the death of her husband, being a widow and raising three children. You can imagine the priority that I felt as my place in this family. My mom would say that I was the very thing that kept her on her feet and getting out of bed each day because I was a baby who needed her. She actually thanks me for being responsible for her not going into the depths of depression. With that, my life would never be the same. Most other kids growing up have the typical challenges that come with being a child, a toddler ,a teenager and young adult. I feel like my trauma and ability to survive and succeed in life is very much due to the fact that I had to grow up very fast and live an “adult” life at such a young age.

I learned very quickly that doing it MYSELF and doing it with a PLAN was the only option that would help me feel safe and in control. I took on the roles to be like a mom, dad, teacher, housekeeper among many other things. But acting like a child or having a “fun, carefree childhood”…. I did not.

So, when people, be it friends or family or later on, clients would ask me why I seem to “have it all together”, it was not by choice, it was just my way of surviving my childhood. So by the time I was an adult, it came very naturally to me. Make a GOAL make a PLAN , DO IT , and if it doesn’t work, make another plan and keep going until you get your needs met as well as your goals accomplished.  

That is how I was led into this field. So, in my opinion, my major in Communication, minor in sociology and my Life Coach certification course pales in comparison to the 46 years of living a goal driven life.

I would like to help you do the same.

And her professional one:

Allison Goldberg has been in human services since she graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Communication in 1990 with a minor in Sociology.  She graduated in 3 years because she wanted to get out into the work force and begin helping people.

Allison has spent the last 12 years focusing on her life coaching business venture, Personal Dynamics.  Personal Dynamics is the name of her Life Coaching company and a spin off of her position as a corporate trainer and coach with Image Dynamics.  Personal Dynamics life coaching is about creating an opportunity for Certified Life Coach, Allison to partner with her clients and develop a program and process to reach their personal goals. As a life coach, the idea is to bridge the gap between the clients personal goals and current daily life results.  Life Coaching includes clarifying the client’s personal vision and purpose, addressing behaviors that create barriers to success, problem solving, and handling challenges as they occur.

You can find Allison at Personal Dynamics and on Facebook.

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Physical activity is the natural end to the fight or flight response (which is where the physical feelings of an anxiety attack come from). Walking will help to burn the adrenalin and neurochemicals that have surged the body to prepare it for flight or fight, and which are causing the physical symptoms (racy heart, feeling sick, sweaty, short breaths, dry mouth, trembly or tense in the limbs etc). As well as this, the rhythm of walking will help to calm their anxious amygdala. Brains love rhythm, and walking is a way to give them this. 
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Try to help your young one access their steady breaths while walking, but it is very likely that they will only be able to do this if they’ve practised outside of an anxiety attack. During anxiety, the brain is too busy to try anything unfamiliar. Practising will help to create neural pathways that will make breathing an easier, more accessible response during anxiety. If they aren't able to access strong steady breaths, you might need to do it for them. This will be just as powerful - in the same way they can catch your anxiety, they will also be able to catch your calm. When you are able to assume a strong, calm, steady presence, this will clear the way for your brave ones to do the same.
The more your young one is able to verbalise what their anxiety feels like, the more capacity they will have to identify it, acknowledge it and act more deliberately in response to it. With this level of self-awareness comes an increased ability to manage the feeling when it happens, and less likelihood that the anxiety will hijack their behaviour. 

Now - let’s give their awareness some muscle. If they are experts at what their anxiety feels like, they are also experts at what it takes to be brave. They’ve felt anxiety and they’ve moved through it, maybe not every time - none of us do it every time - maybe not even most times, but enough times to know what it takes and how it feels when they do. Maybe it was that time they walked into school when everything in them was wanting to walk away. Maybe that time they went in for goal, or down the water slide, or did the presentation in front of the class. Maybe that time they spoke their own order at the restaurant, or did the driving test, or told you there would be alcohol at the party. Those times matter, because they show them they can move through anxiety towards brave. They might also taken for granted by your young one, or written off as not counting as brave - but they do count. They count for everything. They are evidence that they can do hard things, even when those things feel bigger than them. 

So let’s expand those times with them and for them. Let’s expand the wisdom that comes with that, and bring their brave into the light as well. ‘What helped you do that?’ ‘What was it like when you did?’ ‘I know everything in you wanted to walk away, but you didn’t. Being brave isn’t about doing things easily. It’s about doing those hard things even when they feel bigger than us. I see you doing that all the time. It doesn’t matter that you don’t do them every time -none of us are brave every time- but you have so much courage in you my love, even when anxiety is making you feel otherwise.’

Let them also know that you feel like this too sometimes. It will help them see that anxiety happens to all of us, and that even though it tells a deficiency story, it is just a story and one they can change the ending of.
During adolescence, our teens are more likely to pay attention to the positives of a situation over the negatives. This can be a great thing. The courage that comes from this will help them try new things, explore their independence, and learn the things they need to learn to be happy, healthy adults. But it can also land them in bucketloads of trouble. 

Here’s the thing. Our teens don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to go behind our backs, but they also don’t want to be controlled by us, or have any sense that we might be stifling their way towards independence. The cold truth of it all is that if they want something badly enough, and if they feel as though we are intruding or that we are making arbitrary decisions just because we can, or that we don’t get how important something is to them, they have the will, the smarts and the means to do it with or without or approval. 

So what do we do? Of course we don’t want to say ‘yes’ to everything, so our job becomes one of influence over control. To keep them as safe as we can, rather than saying ‘no’ (which they might ignore anyway) we want to engage their prefrontal cortex (thinking brain) so they can be more considered in their decision making. 

Our teens are very capable of making good decisions, but because the rational, logical, thinking prefrontal cortex won’t be fully online until their 20s (closer to 30 in boys), we need to wake it up and bring it to the decision party whenever we can. 

Do this by first softening the landing:
‘I can see how important this is for you. You really want to be with your friends. I absolutely get that.’
Then, gently bring that thinking brain to the table:
‘It sounds as though there’s so much to love in this for you. I don’t want to get in your way but I need to know you’ve thought about the risks and planned for them. What are some things that could go wrong?’
Then, we really make the prefrontal cortex kick up a gear by engaging its problem solving capacities:
‘What’s the plan if that happens.’
Remember, during adolescence we switch from managers to consultants. Assume a leadership presence, but in a way that is warm, loving, and collaborative.♥️
Big feelings and big behaviour are a call for us to come closer. They won’t always feel like that, but they are. Not ‘closer’ in an intrusive ‘I need you to stop this’ way, but closer in a ‘I’ve got you, I can handle all of you’ kind of way - no judgement, no need for you to be different - I’m just going to make space for this feeling to find its way through. 

Our kids and teens are no different to us. When we have feelings that fill us to overloaded, the last thing we need is someone telling us that it’s not the way to behave, or to calm down, or that we’re unbearable when we’re like this. Nup. What we need, and what they need, is a safe place to find our out breath, to let the energy connected to that feeling move through us and out of us so we can rest. 
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But how? First, don’t take big feelings personally. They aren’t a reflection on you, your parenting, or your child. Big feelings have wisdom contained in them about what’s needed more, or less, or what feels intolerable right now. Sometimes it might be as basic as a sleep or food. Maybe more power, influence, independence, or connection with you. Maybe there’s too much stress and it’s hitting their ceiling and ricocheting off their edges. Like all wisdom, it doesn’t always find a gentle way through. That’s okay, that will come. Our kids can’t learn to manage big feelings, or respect the wisdom embodied in those big feelings if they don’t have experience with big feelings. 
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We also need to make sure we are responding to them in the moment, not a fear or an inherited ‘should’ of our own. These are the messages we swallowed whole at some point - ‘happy kids should never get sad or angry’, ‘kids should always behave,’ ‘I should be able to protect my kids from feeling bad,’ ‘big feelings are bad feelings’, ‘bad behaviour means bad kids, which means bad parents.’ All these shoulds are feisty show ponies that assume more ‘rightness’ than they deserve. They are usually historic, and when we really examine them, they’re also irrelevant.
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Finally, try not to let the symptoms of big feelings disrupt the connection. Then, when calm comes, we will have the influence we need for the conversations that matter.
"Be patient. We don’t know what we want to do or who we want to be. That feels really bad sometimes. Just keep reminding us that it’s okay that we don’t have it all figured out yet, and maybe remind yourself sometimes too."
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 #parentingteens #neurodevelopment #positiveparenting #parenting #neuronurtured #braindevelopment #adolescence  #neurodevelopment #parentingteens

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