5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid – Even if You Have A Lot Going On

Relationships and love. Everyone says, and, I think, truly believes, that without love the world just doesn’t go round. Love is a powerful thing that makes everything a little shinier. We all want it.

And yet, ironically, it is relationships that are usually the first thing to be set aside as we live these chaotic, jam packed and exhausting lives. Work, kids, exercise, all come first, leaving love sitting on the sidelines, lonely and neglected.

Doing the work that I have done for years with clients, and living my life, has given me a tremendous amount of insight into the damage we do, more often than not unwittingly. I want to share that insight with you today.

Here is my latest, 5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid – Even if You Have A Lot Going On.

#1 – Keep your promises.

Promises. They are usually made with such good intentions but when they are broken there can be disastrous consequences.

Promises have to do with trust. If you make a promise and don’t keep it then trust is lost. It’s better to not make a promise that you can’t keep then continue to break ones that you do.

I have a client whose boyfriend kept promising her that she could meet his kids. And yet every time a meeting was set up there was always an excuse about why it couldn’t happen.  Eventually she stopped wanting to meet his kids, and, ultimately, she stopped wanting to be with him.

Her trust in him had been lost. And without trust what is there?

Make your promises carefully. Remember how important they are for maintaining trust. And love.

#2 – Make your limited time quality time.

Yes, we are all busy, with lots on our mind and all sorts of pressures. But it is important to take a few minutes to really connect with your partner. Not a quick phone call between meetings, talking about yourself and your worries, but real connection.

Next time you are together, take a moment and look at your partner and ask them how they are doing. Listen to them without interrupting. Don’t try to fix anything, just listen.

Listening without judgment is very powerful. Letting your partner know they are cared about, and being heard, is a powerful way to express love. And knowing how your partner is doing will only make you feel closer.

#3 – Use your words.

How many times has a client said to me “I don’t have to tell him I love him. He knows.”

Thousands, I am afraid.

Think back to the last time that your partner told you that you were beautiful, or sexy, or that they loved your laugh. Even if you have heard it from them a million times didn’t it make you feel great?

Words are very powerful. Use them for good. And for love.

#4 – Touch, touch, touch, touch.

One cannot underestimate the importance of the power of touch. I am not talking about sexual touch (although it’s power should not be discounted) but simple affectionate touch.

A hug, holding hands, a kiss, a light pat on the butt. These are all examples of physical affection that can keep you bonded to your partner every day.

Did you know that a hug produces oxytocin, a chemical known to enhance mood? That a pat on the butt can make someone feel sexy and wanted? That holding hands as you walk down the street makes you feel like you can take on the world? Don’t even get me started on kissing…

So reach out and touch your partner today. Don’t make them ask for it. It’s quick, easy and fun, with huge payoffs.

#5 – Don’t take anyone for granted.

Let me state that one again. Don’t take anyone for granted.

When we first fall in love our attention is completely focused on that one person. But as time goes by we get distracted by life and we can start to neglect the one we love. We know they are there, and we assume that they will always be there, so we stop tending the relationship. And the consequences can again be disastrous.

This I can tell you from personal experience. My husband, no matter how awful I was to him, always promised me that he would never leave me. I didn’t mean to but because of this I took him for granted and while I planned to make changes to my behavior I never quite made it happen.

And, guess what. He left me.

So pay attention to that person in bed next to you. One day they just might be gone and where would you be then?

There you go, my 5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid.

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved,” said George Sands 100 years ago. And nothing today has changed. We can have success in our careers, be as fit as a 20 year old and have the perfect golf game but without love what does it all matter?

I know that if I had followed my own advice (if I had known it then) my marriage might have had a chance. I certainly regret not working harder at changing those behaviors.

So don’t let love live on the sidelines. Bring it out to center field, into the sunshine, where it can be all that it can be. You can do it.

Look for more help tending your relationship? Contact me and I can help.

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to be Happier Quickly – Even if Your Default is Usually Crabbiness

We all just want to be happy. That is the life goal. It has been proven that when people are happy their health improves, their skin brightens, their attention span strengthens and they have more success at work and at home.

All of that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

But how, in this chaotic, jam-packed and exhausting world, do we find happiness? It seems like such a long-term goal, something we have to really work towards, not something that is accessible right now.

I am here to tell you that you can be happier NOW, just by tweaking a few things in your life.

Here is my latest: 5 Ways to be Happier Quickly – Even if Your Default is Usually Crabbiness.

#1 – Forget positivity. Focus on the negative.

Everyone tells us these days that in order to be happy we must practice mindfulness, live in the moment, focus on the positive. While those ideas have their place, I think that the best way to be happier is by focusing on our negative thoughts.

You know those thoughts. The ones that tell you that you are worthless or ugly or un-loveable? Yes those ones. They aren’t comfortable in our body and yet how easily they settle in for a long visit.

Try this. Next time you tell yourself that you are un-loveable pull out a piece of paper and write a list of everyone who loves you. When you tell yourself you are ugly go look at your profile picture on Facebook, you know that one in which you look AWESOME. When you tell yourself you are worthless call your mother. She will remind you how worthless you are not.

I suggest that if we push back against, argue with, those negative thoughts it will bring about quicker change than focusing on the positive.

Because, really, it’s very hard to access those positive thoughts when we are unhappy. The negative ones, however, are right there for the plucking.

#2 – Smile.

Smiling seems like such a small thing but it’s not. Did you know that when we use the muscles in our face to form a smile instead of a frown we actually change our chemistry, releasing dopamine into our system which allows for an immediately improved mood.

I know that when my kids were little and I was drowning in the chaos that was my life, smiling at them made my day just a little brighter, if only for a few minutes. And then I smiled at them again because I just couldn’t resist and there I was, happy again. So I did it all day long. Or tried to.

#3 – Lots of lovin’.

Yes, I know. Sex is great. Really great. But what I am talking about here is physical affection.

Did you know that hugging is one of the best things you can do in your life, for a variety of reasons. A brief hug produces oxytocin which helps reduce anxiety. A prolonged hug produces serotonin which leads to increased happiness. Hugging relaxes the muscles and reduces tension. Skin to skin contact calms down the nervous system.

So hug your friends, your kids, your family members, someone who looks sad. Hug away. It’s quick and painless.

That being said, a good orgasm releases enough dopamine to guarantee you 5-7 hours of happiness. Really.

#4 – Watch a scary movie or an action flick. Or go skydiving.

So this is an interesting thing. Whenever I am feeling blue I love to watch The Walking Dead. I know. And yes, I am a grown woman. I never understood why until recently.

When we watch a scary movie or an action flick our body actually produces adrenaline and that rush of adrenaline makes us happier. When I watch The Walking Dead I get a full hour dose of adrenaline which can last me well into the night.

Skydiving, helicopter skiing and swimming with sharks have the same results but they aren’t quite as accessible on a Wednesday night after work. But definitely try them as well if presented with the opportunity.

#5 – Give back. In big ways and small.

Really it doesn’t take much to give back to the world.

We all have excuses about why we can’t volunteer – that we are “just too busy” is usually the first one that comes out of our mouths.

But, really, you can give back to the world, every day, in small ways.

Last week I ran into a woman on the streets of NYC. It was early morning and we were walking our dogs. I complimented her on her clogs, footwear that is rarely seen here in the city. We chatted about clogs for a bit and I bid her good morning. She said that me reaching out to her “made her day.” That I made her feel good made me feel good.

So reach out to someone everyday. That crabby person running the register, smile at them. Open the door for someone, just because. Make (or buy) cookies and bring them to work.

Just thinking about doing good can make all the difference. Doesn’t it just make you feel good thinking about bringing cookies to work? For many reasons….

So there you go, my 5 Ways to be Happier Quickly.

We all just want to be happy. And I would encourage you to reach out to me, the ultimate life coach, to help you work towards that goal. But there are things that you can do in the meantime, right now, to elevate your mood.

Whoever designed human beings installed mechanisms for maintaining mood and keeping us healthy and alive. We modern humans have a tough time accessing those mechanisms because we have forgotten they are there.

I have just reminded you. Go forth and use them. Be happy.

Looking for ways to be happier? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to be More Productive – Even if You Never Have Been Before

Lack of productivity can be very destructive. It can lead to overwhelm, which can be paralyzing, and it can be very demoralizing, which can lead to low self-esteem.

Neither of those things help you live the life of your dreams.

There are a myriad of reasons why my clients seek me out to be their life coach but most often a piece of it is that they need some help with productivity. I am happy to report that without exception those clients who were willing to take on their low productivity reported a dramatic change after just a few weeks of working with me.

Today I am going to share with you the work that I have done with my clients so you can learn about being more productive.

Here is my latest: 5 Ways to be More Productive – Even if You Never Have Been Before.

#1 – Identify what it is you want. Precisely.

Many of my clients come to me with an idea of what they want from their life. A new job, a better marriage, improved relations with co-workers, how to move forward in a different way. What many of those clients haven’t done is identify what exactly it is they want. Without that knowledge moving forward is impossible.

I have a client who came to me because she was miserable in her job of 15 years but she just didn’t know what to do. She had tried to make adjustments at work so that she could be happier but to no avail. She was stuck with what to do next. Paralyzed in fact.

I asked her where she would go if she left her job. She had no idea. She knew that she wanted out but she had given no thought to where she would like to jump. And, I asked, how would you get to that new place. Again, my question was met with silence.

The next part was quick and easy. We brainstormed new career paths, ideas that made her heart sing. We then cleaned up her resume to reflect that new job she sought. Next she researched job opportunities and applied for those jobs. Within a few weeks she had some interviews and soon after found the job of her dreams.

All this because she identified precisely where she wanted to go. Without concrete information you are stuck. She was. And then she wasn’t.

#2 – Set goals.

Once you know what it is you want to do it’s time to set goals.

I have a client who had created a website and she had been working on it’s blog for almost a year. She had been tweaking and re-tweaking and then walking away, bored and frustrated, only to eventually come back and tweak it some more.

I asked her how determined she was to get this blog onto her site. Scale of 1-10. 10 she said. So we set a date. A date one month later. She put it on her calendar.

One month later, after years in process, after having set goals with me and making a plan, her blog was up.

Was she proud? Did her self-esteem go through the roof? Yes and yes. Awesome!

#3 – Make a plan.

Having a plan is an essential part of being productive. Without a plan you are stabbing about in the dark.

I have a client who HATED going to the grocery store. HATED it. So she didn’t. As a result she didn’t eat well and always felt weak.

I asked her why she hated the grocery store. She said the noise and the lights were annoying, things were hard to find, she never had time to find recipes of things to make, and she didn’t want to spend the money. All valid reasons.

So we made a plan. First we skipped the recipes. I had her make a list of things that she knew how to cook and of things she liked to eat. She made a list using those things as a basis and I helped her organize her list into groups that related to areas in the grocery store. We made a plan of when she could go, at times when it was less crowded. She also decided to wear her headphones so the noise was less daunting.

Last, but not least, we set a specific date and time. And when she was done shopping she had to call me. And you know what? She did it. She has food. She feels better. And she did it again the next week.

#4 – Have a great calendar and use it wisely.

I had a client who had the most lofty goals but she didn’t believe herself capable of following through on anything. As a result nothing ever got done.

Here is what we did. Every Sunday night we made a calendar for her for the week. On it, in red, were the things that she HAD to do. Doctor’s appointments, driving to soccer, her half hour walk, 1 hour of writing. And then, in green, were the things that she wanted to get done. Balancing her checkbook, cleaning out closets, making some phone calls. She added things in black as things popped up during the week.

Those items in red were non-negotiable. If an emergency came up and she wasn’t able do a red item then she had to immediately reschedule it for another day that week. It wasn’t allowed to fall through the cracks.

The green items were treated the same but they could be moved to the next week if necessary.

The black were things that tended to get done because they were last minute and she was able to get them done because that’s how she thrived, with a time limit.

She knew I would be checking up on her so she stuck to it as agreed.

It took a few weeks but using her calendar really allowed my client to be as productive as she had always hoped to be. And being so productive ramped up her self-esteem in a big way. She realized that she wanted to keep doing this, on her own, because she liked how she felt and she didn’t want to let herself down. So she did. I was proud.

#5 – Find someone to hold you accountable.

This is a big part of my role as a life coach. We all need accountability. Someone to encourage us to get things done and to help us figure out why when we don’t.

I know you have your friends and your family and your co-workers to support you but more often than not those people will lean towards supporting you, to listening to your rationalizations and letting you off the hook.

Not me.

I know the importance of staying on track, both for productivity’s sake and for building self-esteem. Productivity is important for its own sake – things need to get done. Period.

Another reason productivity is so important is because of it’s effect on your self-esteem. My client are always so hard on themselves because they can never get things done, they are so far behind, they let other people down. Not doing these things can boost one’s self-esteem significantly. And having higher self-esteem makes one more prone to being productive. See how that works?

It’s a win-win in so many ways.

So there you go, my 5 Ways to be More Productive.

Our lives are crazy, jam packed and exhausting. Not being productive can cause overwhelm, and overwhelm can lead you down a path that makes it all worse.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to be productive and make one’s life a little less exhausting. As you can see above, my clients prove that it can be done.

You can do it too!

Need more tips on being more productive? Contact me and I can help.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over – Even If Your Candidate Didn’t Win

This election has been unlike any in recent memory. The candidates are universally not liked, their interactions have been less than civil and their positions on the issues are as far apart as they could be.

To make matters worse, the election has had a huge effect on every American. Friends are turning against each other, marriages are being strained, work places are full of tension. Anger and distrust is pervasive.

But now the election is over and, no matter who won, life goes on. Things might be different politically but we still have to get up in the morning, get the kids off to school, go to work, eat dinner with the in-laws, have date night and take out the garbage.

How to make the transition? Read my latest: 5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over – Even If Your Candidate Didn’t Win.

#1 – Check in with yourself.

I don’t know about you but for the past few months I have been obsessed with this election. Every day brought stories more shocking than the day before. It was like seeing a bad car accident…I just couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

And I swear it made me sick, both physically and mentally.

So take a moment now and see how you are feeling. Do you feel like you are living just a little bit on edge? Have you been having feelings of sadness more often than usual? Are you spending more time on the computer following the news than talking with your kids about their day? Do you spend your morning commute yelling at all of the incompetent drivers around you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then the election has definitely taken it’s toll on you. Awareness of this will enable to you take the steps necessary to move forward after this messy election and be yourself again.

#2 – Step away from your computer.

This is key. No matter who won the election the next few months, and years probably, are going to be messy. Neither candidate is going to heal what ails our country.

And neither can you, at least not by obsessing over every little step and misstep that happens going forward.

So stop screen sucking on CNN or FOX news. If you must be in front of a screen instead watch a new show on TV. Netflix just released The Crown, a period drama about Queen Elizabeth II. Or watch what I do: The Walking Dead. Nothing like a post-apocalyptic fantasy to take your mind off of the current day’s woes.

Even better would be to get away from all of it and do something else. Anything else. Shop, hike, swim, read, joust, laugh, cry, travel, scream. Anything that will help you release the tension of the past few months and generate some dopamine to aid in the healing.

You know what works for you. Now is the time to do it!

#3 – Reconnect with friends and family.

One of the saddest bi-products of this election is how it has come between friends, between families, between co-workers.

Social media has made this world a smaller place and we know that people will post things that they wouldn’t necessarily say in person. As a result, we have hurt and alienated each other. I know of many cases where family members don’t speak, friends are no longer friends on Facebook and politics have been forbidden in the workplace to prevent anarchy.

Now is the time to rise above and start to mend those rifts. The election is over and one candidate has won. The supporters of the victor must try to remain humble and the supporters of the loser must accept the outcome and move on. And we must reach out to each other and remember that we love each other and work together to rebuild our families and friend groups.

If these important pieces of the fabrics of our life, the pieces involving love and connection, are permanently damaged then America will never be able to bring about the change that it so desperately needs.

And remember, we are stronger together.

#4 – Make a difference.

Do you know the saying “Be the change that you want to see in the world?” There is no better time then right now to prove that adage true.

No matter who you supported chances are that you aren’t happy with the status quo. And you were hoping that the person you wanted to be President would make changes happen quickly. But, really, change doesn’t start at the top but at the bottom. Think about Rosa Parks and her refusing to give up her seat on the bus. She sparked a movement that ultimately culminated in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, making discrimination because of race illegal.

So be the change. Choose an issue that is important to you and get involved. I know you wonder how “little you”can make a difference but believe me you can.

I regularly give speeches to people with mental illness, telling them the story of my journey. The nurses say that every time I speak one person who wasn’t willing to accept that they are mentally ill does. And with acceptance comes healing. And with healing comes a life worth living…and that life will touch the lives of many others and make a real difference.

One person at a time.

#5 – Take a vacation from all of it.

We have all run a marathon. We are exhausted and weak from the effort. What our body needs is a break. Some nutrients. Some time to heal.

So take the next few months and just live your life. Go to work, be with your kids, walk your dogs, read a book. Let your body recuperate from what it has gone through.

Americans are very bad at convalescing. When we are sick as soon as the major symptoms are gone we get up and go on with our lives. As a result we often get sick again. Over and over.

So take some time and do whatever you need to do to feed your body and soul. I know for me I am going to spend these last few weeks of fall weather at the park with my dog, soaking in the fresh air while I can. Oh, and watching the Walking Dead.

So there you go, my 5 Things To Do Now that the Election is Over.

Our country is right now in a time of crisis. I think that all of us, no matter what our political affiliation, recognize this. And it’s time to make a change. For that to happen every American must do his or her part.

You know when you are on an airplane and the flight attendants give the safety speech. They always say to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. Following my tips is your oxygen mask. Take care of yourself, heal from the anger and vitriol of the past few months. Make amends. When you are ready, go forth in the world and make a difference, if even in a very small way.

Together, we can change the world.

Looking for more ideas about getting past the election? Contact me and I will help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Fight Back Overwhelm – Even if It Threatens to Win

You know how sometimes it just hits you?  You have so much going on in your life that you aren’t sleeping at all. Your work is suffering, your relationships are fraught with tension, bills are going unpaid and you have eaten an entire box of Oreos every night this week.

And then one more thing gets piled on top and that’s it. The camel’s back is broken. Your heart starts racing, your brain fills with cotton, you get dizzy and you can’t breathe. You are officially overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed makes you feel literally paralyzed. It prevents you from moving forward in any meaningful way. It prevents you from moving forward at all. You are simply there, in a vortex, circling the drain. Not good.

I know it doesn’t feel that way but there are definitely ways to survive it. One step at a time.

The first step – awareness. Always key. Know what it is you are feeling – overwhelm. Once you know what it is you can proceed.

Here is my latest: 5 Ways to Fight Back Overwhelm – Even if It Threatens to Win.

#1 – Breathe

When we are stressed out we hold our breath. There is a physiological reason we hold our breath: increased tension in the muscles responsible for breathing. These include the thoracic diaphragm and some of the abdominal, chest, neck and shoulder muscles. When we are stressed these muscles contract and breathing stops. Not ideal.

The manner in which we breathe influences our entire being: our mental-emotional states, the nervous system, hormonal balance, muscular tension, and all the functions of body and mind. When we hold our breath our overwhelm will only get worse, not better.

When you are overwhelmed remember to breathe. Sit up straight and wear clothes that don’t restrict your abdomen (or loosen those jeans). Breathe deeply in, through your nose, for 3 seconds, pulling air down into your diaphragm. Exhale through your nose for 5 seconds. Repeat this series for 5 minutes.

You will start to feel better right away. Physiology declares it be so.

#2 – Walk Away

When you are sitting at your desk, paralyzed and completely overwhelmed by all that is on your plate, it is time to get up and move around.

In addition to breathing, clearing your head is an essential way to beat overwhelm. Just sitting there staring at all of your stuff, or replaying all sorts of negative tapes in your head, will get you nowhere.

So go for a walk around the block, or around the cubicles in the office. Go up and down a few flights of stairs. Do some stretches. Walk over to someone’s desk, or house, and have a quick chat. Give your partner a long hug. Have a good laugh. Anything that will get your mind off of your stuff, even for a few minutes.

Sometimes just a little break can make all of the difference.

#3 – Eat a Good Meal

Remember the aforementioned Oreos? Yes, they are yummy going down but nutritionally they do you no good at all.

What you need when you are overwhelmed is a good dose of protein, some carbs and a few healthy fats.

In the short term a good meal will help your brain work better, help keep your breathing and your heart rate moderate and allow you to get past the overwhelm.

In the long term, your body will be stronger because you are feeding it healthy food. And when you are stronger you are better able to prevent overwhelm from happening in the first place.

Try a turkey sandwich on toasted rye bread with some swiss cheese and cole slaw. If you don’t have time to sit down, feast on some mixed nuts (walnuts, cashews and almonds) and an apple. Add water. Or try a smoothie with coconut milk, flax and chia seeds, an avocado and some berries. Truly yummy.

#4 – Take a Nap

Yeah right, you say. A nap! Ha. You have WAY too much to do to take a nap.

Taking a nap can change everything. It will help your brain quiet for a bit, restore your body and enable you to think more clearly to get through this tough time.

It doesn’t have to be a long nap. Close your shades and pull a blanket over your fully clothed self and set the alarm for 30 minutes. That will give you 10 minutes to fall asleep and 20 minutes to sleep.

You will wake up refreshed and ready to plunge ahead. Really.

#5 – Make a Plan

Before you take this step do at least one of the steps above. You need to manage your body’s reaction to the overwhelm before you can take action to fix it.

One of the reasons that we get overwhelmed is that we feel we have no control over the things that are causing that overwhelm. It’s time to regain some.

Sit down and make a list of everything that you have to do. Everything.

Now review that list and pick out 5 things that need to be done immediately. From that list of 5 break it down again, this time prioritizing. These are the things that you are going to do first. You will ignore the other things on the list, and I mean IGNORE, until those first things are done.

Give yourself a deadline to get each of those things done. There might be an external deadline already in place but if it’s something with no deadline give yourself one. Give yourself an hour or a day but give yourself a deadline and stick to it.

When you are have completed all of the items on the first list go back to your original list and add new things, if necessary. Pick out the next 5 things that need to be done immediately. Repeat the process above.

Take control of your life instead of letting your life control you and you will beat overwhelm. I promise.

So there you go, my 5 Ways to Fight Back Overwhelm.

Unfortunately, overwhelm is not uncommon in this chaotic, jam packed and exhausting modern life in which we live. Almost every one of my clients report having it at some point, often more than once. But there are ways to beat it back and maybe even prevent it from happening at all.

So breathe, move, eat, sleep and organize. You just might find it will change your life.

Looking for more ways to overcome overwhelm? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!