How Quieting Negative Voices Helps Life, Love, Work & Parenting (Part 3)

How Quieting Negative Voices Helps Life, Love, Work & Parenting (Part 3)

In the last article of a three-part series on quieting negative voices in your head, the MMSNorCal coaches share the benefits and value of quieting negative voices in your life, love, work, and parenting. (You can read the previous artices here: Part 1, Understanding Negative Voices in Your Head and Part 2, How to Quiet Negative Voices in Your Head).

Powerful benefits of quieting negative voices in your head include:

  • Freeing up space to feel positive about yourself
  • Stopping trying to control or fix things
  • Showing up with positivity

And, lastly, we talk about how coaching can help you quiet the negative voices in your head.

Feel Positive and Good About Yourself

Coach Muriel Murphy is very happy and pleased with her success in quieting negative voices in her head. 

She says,”Wow! Not hearing those negative thoughts is a life changer. Not only am I getting much better sleep but I have given myself permission to be proud of myself, feel good about who I am and all that I have been through. I think that has rubbed off on my children, so they can feel good about themselves too.”

She continues, “I also know I am smart, strong and loveable. That has given me confidence to go after the things that I want in life, appreciate what I have and has made every relationship I have be more meaningful and deeper.”

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

Stop Trying to Control or Fix Things

Coach Carla Morton feels the following three mantras or phrases have helped her from trying to fix or control everything:

  • Everything will work out for the best
  • This too shall pass
  • Trust, Trust, Trust

She adds, “Of course we want to try to fix or control but we don’t really have that power when we are dealing with life, love, work and parenting, so I talk myself into this State of Allowing; I’ve found everything does work out!”

For Coach Hayden-Marsan, the techniques she uses to quieten negative voices in her head are literally a life raft for her in the open sea called Life.

She adds, “Committing myself to working on the practices I’ve mentioned and cultivating awareness is a lifelong on-going commitment for me.

I feel like I have come a long way in my journey, but I still have times when I get swept away with reactivity, or emotions; there are just a lot less of those moments, which inspires me to keep on doing the work.”

Show up with Positivity

Coach Mueller Ihrig finds that she shows up in life as a more positive person. She has received valued feedback from colleagues, family members and most importantly, my grown boys! 

She adds, “My mission in life is to make a difference, to create an impact.To inspire and connect, to elevate our individual and collective wellbeing to enrich the world. If we are to meet the immense challenges we face today, we need to rise to our higher potential.Adopting an empowering mindset is key to this.I find myself more motivated and importantly, more resilient, when changing my inner dialogue.”

How Coaching can Help Quiet the Negative Voices

Understand the Power of the Subconscious

Coach Mueller Ihrig shows her coaching clients a graphic of how the brain takes in information and the power of the subconscious. She also explains that as humans we are wired with a negativity bias and that we tend to automatically focus on the negative rather than on the positive.

For example,did you know that it takes approximately three positive thoughts or actions to combat a single negative experience?

She adds, “The great news is we can rewire our brains to process differently with practice. Practicing awareness of when the negative voices come up, and to immediately change them around. Implementing proactive times during the day, like my morning routine, to regularly focus on the positive and literally tell yourself what you need to hear to aspire to your higher self.”

What we focus on grows. And, as we find ourselves noticing the abundance in our lives, we are able to grow more of it. We become what we want to attract.

Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig

Coach Mueller Ihrig also encourages her clients to journal daily about their experiences to track progress, keep a forward momentum, and create daily habits.

Understand the Negative Voices

Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier helps her coaching clients by trying to normalize the negative voices so that they don’t feel so alone in this experience. She draws out the voices with questions, such as:

  • What is he/she saying?
  • What are the feelings underneath the words?
  • When did the voice appear?

Coach Lindsey often finds that the negative voice is a part of the client that needs to be acknowledged, loved, and healed. For this part of the work, she asks her client the following questions:

  • What does he/she need?
  • How can he/she heal?
  • What’s in the way?

Redirect to a More Positive Thought Pattern

Coach Muriel stays present and compassionate with her clients when they feel negative thoughts are dominating their mind. 

And, while staying with them, she begins to ask open-ended questions to redirect the pattern of negative thoughts and voices towards a more positive thought pattern.

Increase Self Awareness

Coach Carla uses the opportunity of addressing negative voices as a way of increasing her client’s self awareness. She asks her client “to look at the gift of each difficult moment. I ask them what is in their awareness and what they are learning about themselves when they are in the negativity.”

She also asks her clients to be compassionate with their negative voices rather than feel shame, negativity, or deny their existence.

Coach Hayden-Marsan helps her clients increase self awareness around negative thoughts or voices. She talks about the importance and value of even noticing when we are having negative thoughts. The fact is that noticing thoughts requires some level of awareness, which is worth recognizing and acknowledging for ourselves.

This coaching moment helps Coach Hayden-Marsan focus on”the importance of developing a compassionate mindset. Being compassionate with ourselves is a key element in the process of learning new, positive behaviors.

A self-compassionate mind set will help be able to stick with initiating new tools and instilling new behaviors. She is a strong proponent of developing a compassionate mindset.

Sometimes we need to go from being our worst enemy to being our fiercest advocate, and self compassion will get us there.

Coach Michelle Hayden-Marsan

Take Positive Action 

Coach Sarah E. Spencer finds that many of her clients experience shaken confidence, some for the first time, which can create negative thoughts. 

She says, “As we work together to uncover these thoughts and emotions, if they can identify to take one action step, no matter how small, and reward themselves for taking the action, they can create positive momentum and many times the negative voices will start to disappear.”

Good luck on your journey in quieting the negative voices in your head!

Free Coaching Sessions
How to Quiet Negative Voices in Your Head (Part 2)

How to Quiet Negative Voices in Your Head (Part 2)

This article is the second in a three-part series on how to understand and quiet negative voices in your head.

Through the series, we present help our readers understand negative voices in our heads, how and when such voices appear in our minds, techniques used by the MMSNorCal coaches to quiet the voices in their own minds, and why quieting these voices can help you in life, work, love, and parenting.

As mentioned in Part 1, Understanding Negative Voices in Your Head, such voices can be profoundly stress inducing and even extremely damaging to one’s mental and physical health.

Our amazing coaches offered a variety of techniques to quiet the negative voices in your head:

  • Becoming self aware
  • Calling on your rational, reasonable self
  • Using meditation to quiet negative voices
  • Working with a professional or life coach

So, let’s get started with quieting those negative thoughts and voices!

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

Becoming Self Aware

Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig believes that Self Awareness is the first step to any desired change, for as the saying goes, we cannot change what we are not aware of.

And, once we are aware, we cannot help but change.

Once she becomes aware of the negative voices, Coach Mueller Ihrig then changes her negative and self-critical inner dialogue to one that is supportive. She begins talking to herself like her own best friend and cheers herself on. There is an important neuroscience factor in this technique; research shows us that our brains and subconscious are constantly listening to the messages we send ourselves and our bodies respond to these messages.Therefore, when we change our language, we can change our life. 

What we believe, we can become.

It is also helpful to speak to yourself verbally, if you can, as this is even more powerful than keeping the positive voices in our head.

Coach Mueller Ihrig also finds visual cues to be highly effective. She suggests that “posting positive quotes and affirmations around your home or office in spaces that you look at often can be highly supportive and incredibly powerful.”

Lastly, she adds, “I like to create a morning routine of waking up, giving myself a huge hug, speaking to myself kindly and in empowering terms. I then say things I am grateful for, like my healthy body, my family and the fresh air I get to enjoy.It sets the tone for the day and keeps negative voices at bay more often.”

Using Reasoning

Now if negative voices ever pop up, which Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier is happy to report is very seldom, she reasons with herself by asking the following questions:

  • Is what the voice is saying true? 
  • Do I really believe that about myself? 
  • Where is the proof? 

Coach LIndsey also checks in with her stress level, makes sure if she is taking care of herself, is doing what she knows is right for her, and finally, if she is living her life in integrity. 

If the answer is no to any of those questions, the result could be a way for the negative voices to come out to let her know that she needs to find a way to get back on track.

Calling on Your Reasonable-Rational Self

Another interesting technique used by Coach Carla is to call on her reasonable-rational self “when the gremlins of my mind start whispering to me and recognize that they are voices that I don’t want to give a lot of space to. I don’t allow myself to go down the rabbit hole and believe what the voices are saying. I will call on my reasonable-rational self to take over and tell those negative or fearful voices that they aren’t telling me anything true.”

She adds that she finds meditation to be an amazing tool to bring her back to her true self. 

And, finally, Coach Carla will reach out to supportive friends to get their perspective on the gremlin voices. She finds this perspective from close friends to be very helpful, especially when her friends tell her that her thoughts or experiences are normal. This feedback helps her to calm down significantly.

Verbal Processing with a Friend

Coach Sarah usually turns to the old standard – verbally processing with a trusted friend or her partner – to quieten the negative voices in her head. 

She says, “By saying the words out loud, I start to move the depleting energy that is attached, and also usually receive some lovely insights or affirmations. I also turn to my yin energy of quilting and sewing. Replacing the voices with creative, positive thoughts, and working directly with my hands provides a calming reaction that may not happen by applying intellectual thoughts.”

Meditation Practices

Coach Muriel on hearing her inner negative voice begins physical and meditation routines. She says, “I lean into the physical somatic functional movement practices, also quieting my mind in meditation and restorative yoga. And, I listen to (dharma) talks from mindfulness teachers, such as Dalai Lama, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Brene Brown, Oprah, Deepak, among others, on YouTube or on podcasts.”

Coach Hayden-Marsan also finds it helpful to have a daily meditation practice to keep the voices in her head from running amok. She finds that 20 minutes of meditation works really well for her, but has found that any amount of time, even 5 to 10 minutes of meditation, has value. 

Having a daily meditation practice has enabled Coach Hayden-Marsan to have the space to notice when unwanted, negative thoughts arise. 

take a pause to reduce negative thoughts

Taking a Pause

Coach Hayden-Marsan also recommends taking “a pause from time to time. The pause is a conscious break from thinking and doing, where I focus on my breath for a few cycles. I may close my eyes, focus on the in and out breath and just enjoy the sense of freedom and relief from thinking.”

During these pauses, Coach Hayden-Marsan focuses on the cloud formations out of her window, or the leaves of a tree, or a scenic view. She suggests not labeling or judging the image, but more like allowing yourself to connect with it, to become one with it.

These practices and tools which help her stay centered and enable her to notice when the inevitable monkey mind comes into play, but when she does notice herself spinning mindlessly, she doesn’t beat herself up about it: she simply redirects herself, takes a breath or two, and brings her awareness back to the present moment.

Working with a Professional Coach

Coach Lindsey Taylor-Vivier says that before she took the MMS Coach Training and embarked on her personal growth journey which eventually led her to become a Life Coach, her negative voices were really the only voices she had in her head.

She says, ”I felt shame, inadequate, unintelligent, & unlovable. These negative voices would mostly come out at night before bed or if I woke up in the middle of the night…they apparently were night owls because they kept me up quite often! What I had to do to quiet them was to face them, to acknowledge them, understand how they got there and then heal them.”

The coach training not only helped her personally tremendously but also has allowed her to help others in their personal journeys.

In the third blog in this three-part series, how quieting negative voices in your head can benefit you and how professional coaches help their clients quiet these voices.

Free Coaching Sessions
Understanding Negative Voices in Your Head (Part 1)

Understanding Negative Voices in Your Head (Part 1)

In this three-part series, we discuss how and when negative voices appear in our minds, techniques used by our coaches to quiet the voices, how quieting these voices can help you in your life, work, love, and parenting, and finally, the techniques our coaches use with their own clients to help them quiet the negative voices.

And, as always with a topic which is of interest to many , we asked our MMSNorCal coaches on how they quiet negative voices in their own heads; and how they coached their clients to do the same.

In this article, let’s start first with understanding:

  • What are negative voices in your head
  • Situations in which negative voices start to appear
  • Situations in which they become louder

What are Negative Voices in Your Head

Interestingly, the ability to talk to ourselves or have an inner dialogue in our heads starts in childhood when we try to make sense of activities or play together with others.

This inner voice could criticize the way you look (perhaps, you have gained a lot of weight), it could repeat harsh words used by loved ones in moments of anger or abuse, blame you for your lack of success in love, parenting, or your work, and so forth.

And as we grow, we may begin to experience the inner voice becoming critical, negative, and even extremely damaging. This is especially true when one is suffering from extreme stress, depression, or anxiety. 

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

When Negative Thoughts Start to Appear 

In this section, we talk about negative voices that could begin in adolescence, cyclical negative voices, as a response to unwanted situations, and a result of work.

Negative Voices Starting in Adolescence

Coach Carla Morton says that she feels negative voices in her head started somewhere in adolescence. They have not necessarily disappeared; but, she has had sufficient life experience and has built enough self-confidence to override any negative voices with self-love, self-compassion, self-forgiveness and a certain lack of attachment to things being perfect all the time.

Coach Sarah E. Spencer: “As with Carla, my first negative thoughts I can remember was in adolescence, probably the mean girl phase of middle school. These centered about friendships and frenemies (a person who is or pretends to be a friend but who is also in some ways an enemy or rival) and I’m sure did much to undermine our confidence, which resolved as we matured.”

Coach LIndsey Taylor-Vivier says that she did not notice her negative voices until she was in college. She has also realized from observing herself and her coaching clients that the negative voices tended to get louder when you try something new, or when you are in a stressful situation. 

She adds, “I overcame them with a lot of personal reflection and hard work with therapy and coaching. I got to a place where I accepted myself, all of me, all my darkness and all of my light.” And, that broke the hold of the negative voices on her.

Negative Voices as a Cycle

Coach Muriel Murphy says: “My cycle of negative thoughts come and go constantly. I recall noticing them for the first time in my life around the ages of nine or ten when I began to inquire within myself, why I was having these types of thoughts. How do I continue to overcome them?”

Coach Muriel feels that her negative thought patterns are a cycle that have been and continue to be never ending for her.

She is not sure if she has actually overcome them; however, she is able to manage and control them. 

By Recognizing, Allowing/Accepting, Investigating/Nurturing these thoughts, Coach Muriel has found a pathway to turn things around a bit.

She does this by:

  • Redirecting her thoughts to more positive ones, such as gratitude
  • Seeing the beauty in nature and the world
  • Recalling kindnesses that were extended towards her by others
  • Doing kind things for others, such as listening when someone is need of a friendly ear. 

Response to Unwanted Situations

Coach Michelle Hayden-Marsan says that she finds that, negative thoughts arise as a response to an unwanted, unforeseen situation.

For example, when we have a reaction to something that bothers us, for example when the plans we were looking forward to get canceled, or even something as simple as when someone cuts us off while driving on the road. We tend to go into automatic pilot and react. It takes a lot of practice to unlearn our reactive tendencies.

Cultivating awareness about our triggers and our responses is a practice unto itself.

Coach Michelle Hayden-Marsan

This is a worthy practice as it’s impossible to expect things to always go the way we’d like them to anyway.

The more that we are able to go with what comes up, knowing that if we don’t like it, it will eventually pass anyway, the better we are able to practice using that muscle and let things roll off of us more easily.

Coach Hayden-Marsan also finds the expression, “What we resist persists.” to be true for her.

In fact, she encourages her coaching clients to consider this philosophy when they are stuck and unable to make progress. 

Negative Thoughts During Work

Coach Sarah also found that professionally for her was “years of working in a (at times) toxic workplace and this did much to drive the monkey mind, sucking up so much of my best energy (and wasting so much money when one really thinks about it).”

A key way that Coach Sarah was able to move forward was to find an excellent therapist who specialized in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and, with the help of the therapist, she was able to move the trauma to find a new centeredness within herself.

She also invested in working with a professional coach for support, and to bring action to her short-term and long-term goals. (More about this in the next article in this series.)

Situations Where Negative Voices Get Louder

Coach Michelle Mueller Ihrig finds that negative thoughts come to her in a variety of situations: 

negative voices get louder
  • When she is feeling overwhelmed
  • Thinking too much about the future
  • Not following what she feels or believes is right for her
  • Listening to the opinions of others rather to herself
  • Comparing herself to others
  • Allowing the fear and doubt from others dampen the hopes and dreams for her own future

At such moments, she finds herself getting angry at herself for not staying on her course.

Coach Mueller Ihrig also gets frustrated when she feels like she is not making progress fast enough, or others making progress faster than her.

A common situation for many of us when we feel stuck and unable to progress.

High Expectations

Coach Mueller Ihrig says,”I have a lot of ideas in my head and hold myself to high expectations. And, at the same time, I am craving more work life balance and making time to keep doing things that inspire me so I can continue to lead by example and inspire others.” 

Sometimes, the tension between these can cause an imbalance leading to louder and more frequent negative voices for Coach Mueller Ihrig.

Not Listening to Your Inner Compass

Coach Lindsey has come to realize that most of the time she hears negative voices is when she is not listening to her inner compass. 

She has also realized that the voices get triggered when she takes on “projects or challenges that I don’t want to do, or don’t feel I can do. Understanding these triggers has resulted in me becoming pretty good at saying no.”

An advantage indeed! 

Conflicts with Others

Coach Muriel’s insight on when her negative thoughts and voices get triggered, or get louder, is quite different from Coaches Lindsey and Mueller Ihrig. She finds that, for her, “situations that trigger negative thoughts are usually when I am in conflict with a loved one and I am not feeling valued or heard or understood.”

Coach Carla adds, “I agree 100% with Muriel. I get triggered by other people. I also get triggered into negativity when I start to compare myself. That’s when I pull back into myself and start meditating.”

Coach Sarah finds herself in complete alignment with Coaches Muriel and Carla as she herself is “triggered by conflict and criticism, and even basic disagreement with someone I respect. As I learned to quiet the negativity, I found the confidence to stand in my own opinion, and not to let the monkey mind sitting on my shoulder to hang on.”

Feeling a Victim

Coach Hayden-Marsan finds that “situations that make my negative thoughts persist are when I just go along and feed the story, when I choose to play victim to the circumstances, instead of saying, “ aha, here I am, I don’t like this, this is a moment of suffering for me.” 

She adds, “If I want to and am able to stand in my power, I say, “ Everyone suffers, I am not alone in this. May I be kind to myself, may I know that this will change.”

And, she finds things start to shift for her!

In the second article of this three-part series, titled, How to Quiet Negative Voices in Your Head, we feature techniques used by our coaches to quiet their own negative voices; in the third article in this series, learn How Quieting Negative Voices Helps Life, Love, Work & Parenting (Part 3).

Free Coaching Sessions
The Actual ROI of Coaching

The Actual ROI of Coaching

As more and more companies, big and small, are looking to support and empower their executives, managers, and employees with Professional or Executive Coaching, a key question that is raised frequently is:

What is the actual ROI of Coaching?

Here are the real questions behind the ROI of coaching question that we need to understand.

Is the company looking at their Professional and Executive Coaching Program as:

  • A checkbox to be ticked off to make employees feel they are being supported
  • An employee performance improvement and better job satisfaction program
  • A program that will positively impact the bottom line for the company

If you or employees at your company are requesting a Professional or Executive Coach and you are beginning to explore options, this article can help answer many of your questions while addressing any concerns you may have.

The insights in this article also help you make a business case for the company to provide coaching to you or other employees at your work.

Start of the Coaching Movement at MMS NorCal

We, at MMS NorCal, feel very strongly about coaching because San Francisco was ground zero, if you will, for the coaching movement with Dr. Chérie Carter-Scott in 1974.

Dr. Carter-Scott discovered she had the skill to help others become attuned to their inner wisdom and she created a coaching methodology which focuses on personal development in a systematic way.

In these almost 50 years, thousands of individuals have graduated as credentialed coaches from the MMS Institute and hundreds of corporations have used the coaching services offered by the institute and its coaches.

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

Executive Coaching: Productivity, Profitability, & 4-8X Return

With fees for some Executive Coaches climbing upwards of $1,000 – $2,000 an hour, you might wonder what the ROI is for employers who pay for Executive Coaching. 

If you spend a few minutes searching for “ROI for Coaching” on the internet, you will find plenty of research studies including articles on the ROI of Coaching from prestigious publications, such as Forbes and others.

Before I talk about what I have noticed from sitting in the seat as an Executive Coach and Director of the MMS NorCal Institute and the transformation I see in my clients, I would like to share the research on the benefits and ROI of coaching. 

The ROI numbers are actually fairly impressive. 

The International Coach Federation (ICF) has conducted a number of studies that show that Coaching generates an ROI of between $4 and $8 for every dollar invested.

Benefits of Coaching for Coachees

For those being coached, the benefits reported by those being coached include:

  • Improved overall satisfaction
  • Improved working relationships with direct reports, immediate supervisors, peers, and external clients/relationships
  • Better teamwork
  • Greater job satisfaction
  • Reduction in conflicts
  • Greater organizational commitment and loyalty

Benefits of Coaching for Companies

The benefits of coaching for companies were reported as:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Improved customer service and reduced customer complaints
  • Improved retention (especially by those receiving coaching)
  • Increased bottom-line profitability

One Fortune 500 company studied the impact and ROI of Proforessional Coaching for the employees and employers and found the ROI as high as a whopping 529%! 

In fact, 77% of respondents indicated that coaching had a significant impact on at least one of nine business measures.

Further, the results found that overall productivity and employee satisfaction were the most positively impacted areas (which in turn has an impact on customer satisfaction, employee engagement, quality, annualized financial results, employee retention, and more).

ROI of Coaching: Shape up or Ship out

I have been hired by companies as a benefit to and investment in an employee, as well as, as a last resort, to see if we can get someone to shape up, before they are shipped out. I’ve seen this as a huge ROI in both cases. 

If individuals can be happier and performing at their best, without challenges getting in the way, they are a happier, more engaged, and more dedicated employees.

On the other hand, if an employee is struggling in one way or another, through coaching, it becomes apparent that the role isn’t a fit and the company then benefits by the employee leaving and not keeping the business back from running at maximum capacity. 

Employee & Personal Coaching: How much is Joy Worth to You?

Rates for personal coaches vary widely. You can find some recent grads who might charge less than $100 and some coaches who may or may not be credentialed run between $120-$600 an hour. (MMSNorCal Coaches on average charge between $100 and $300 an hour).  

So how can an individual who is footing their own bill, justify the Return on Investment if they were to work with a coach for 12 sessions, or approximately, $3,600? 

When looking to work with a Coach, you might consider the following questions: 

  • How much is it worth for you to be happier?
  • How much would it be worth to have improved relationships in your life? 
  • If you are looking for a career change but feel stuck, what would be the value as a result of coaching, you have a career that is moving forward smoothly? 
  • If you are working with a Coach on your health, what is it worth for you to feel healthy every day? 
  • How much is Joy worth to you? 

Once you answer the above questions, your will be able calculate your own ROI and put your own value on Coaching.

More Resources

Here are two articles on this blog that can also help you further understand the value and benefits of a coaching program at your company:

Have more questions? Looking to give Coaching a try? Reach out and let’s find a Coach you can work with!

Free Coaching Sessions
Breaking up with My Smartphone – Lessons

Breaking up with My Smartphone – Lessons

The phrase – breaking up with my smartphone – sounds unthinkable, dramatic, and even radical to most people because like almost everyone on this planet, I have a very close relationship with my smartphone.

My smartphone is always within arms length for quick check-ins ranging from checking the weather, news, emails to spending time on social media.

In this blog post, I share some of my own insights based on my learnings from Price’s book and my journey on breaking up with my smartphone.

Not really but you get the point.

How I Embarked on Breaking up with my Smartphone

Without much reflection on the matter, I have considered myself to be a mindful consumer but the events of the last two years have changed my perspective.

The pandemic, the lockdowns, and the pauses provided me with long periods of reflection on various aspects of my behaviors especially those I did mindlessly. And, one of these was my relationship with my smartphone.

Fortuitously, the universe delivered guidance and insights in the form of Catherine Price’s book, How to Break Up With Your Phone. Her book offers a step-by-step process to renegotiate your relationship with your phone, how you want to use it and how much time. 

After reviewing her book, for the first time in a long time, I started to find balance and regain focus and sleep.

Just as I’ve renegotiated the clothes in my dresser, I’m eager to do the same for my smartphone.

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

How Smartphones Usage is Impacting Memory

We love our smartphones for many reasons, not the least of which that they are amazing handheld computers that facilitate many things in our lives. That many of us question how much time we spend on these miracle electronics is a good thing.

Here are two of Price’s key findings that resonated deeply with me as I considered breaking up with my smartphone.

1. We are not solely responsible for the addiction to our smartphones.

Did you know that social media apps are designed to keep you clicking and scrolling away?

After reading this point, I followed up with some research and found this study, Addictive Features of Social Media/Messenger Platforms and Freemium Games against the Background of Psychological and Economic Theories. It makes for a sobering read.

So yes, we are partially to blame for the time we spend on our smartphones but Price is on point that you are not solely responsible for time logged.

2. Smartphones drain our brains making it harder to stay focused.

As a science journalist, Price further reports that the smartphone and all of its functions disrupts our concentration, and the brain has to go to a lot more effort to maintain focus.

The mind gets drained sooner, and has more difficulty maintaining attention.

The result is that it succumbs to distractions more quickly, rather than staying the course doing what we were doing.

And, this also impacts our short and long-term memory. 

For me personally, I have experienced the negative impacts of too-much-social media, especially on my sleeping patterns.

Falling asleep or waking up in the night, I’ve even tried to hack the blue light by wearing special glasses.

Reading the book has brought this key fact into light for me: the extent of the disruption in my focus.

How Truly are You Connected to Your Smartphone

Here are two questions that can help you understand to find out really, truly how connected you are to your smart device. This understanding could make you embark on the same journey as I did:

  1. How many times do you pick up your phone each day?
  2. Any sense of why you pick up your phone?

Now, ask yourself why you pick up your phone so frequently.

  • Is it because of notifications, phone calls, texts and DMs?
  • Are you researching a question, making travel arrangements, buying event tickets, or shopping?
  • Are you checking email, time or the weather?
  • Are you reading the news or surfing social media? 

I suggest journaling and reflecting on some of the answers you discover.

Your reflections could help you decide you do want to reduce your dependence on your smartphone or it may create mindfulness on how often and why you use your phone.

And, it may help you decide that you may indeed want to break up with your smartphone to regain your focus and momentum.

Tips on Reducing the Disruption of Smartphones

I have begun a series of mindful actions to reduce the disruption that my smartphone is causing me; you could say that I am breaking up with my smartphone in a thoughtful and intentioned manner.

Serendipitously, another colleague was on a similar quest. She took her own smartphone break after noticing that she was reaching for her phone constantly between tasks without even thinking about it.

Here are my colleague’s list of actions that she very generously shared with me: 

  • Check trusted websites and podcasts to stay informed on news once a day
  • Pay attention to shows she is watching and podcasts she is listening to without simultaneously checking social media
  • Spend more quality time with her kids without feeling drawn to document the fun
  • Reading two books in a week for pleasure, instead of hours of nighttime scrolling
  • Journaling for the first time in many years
  • Sitting in silence occasionally 

If you are struggling to maintain momentum moving forward with your objectives due to a lack of focus, you might consider breaking up with your smartphone. And to help you on your journey, you may find the book, How to Break Up with Your Phone. to be a timely read for you!

And, one final tip that I, as a professional coach, cannot resist sharing: here is a great read on when to consider getting a professional or executive coach.

Good luck on your journey on regaining focus and momentum!

Free Coaching Sessions


A Way out of Suffering into Peace – Reflections

A Way out of Suffering into Peace – Reflections

Every once in a while, a book comes along that changes you and, for me, that was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. The book came to me when I needed serious inspiration and guidance, and provided a way out of suffering and into peace for me.

I want to share my reflections and learnings with all of the readers of this blog especially in these times, when every day, every headline is about yet another crisis facing the world. I hope you too are reading a book that is helping you achieve peace and if you are looking for a recommendation, here is mine!

About A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth guides the reader through the process of emerging out of suffering by grounding oneself in the moment by realizing that “wherever you are is where you are supposed to be, and whatever you are doing in the now is what you are supposed to do.” 

To be clear: this is not meant to imply that we need to be complacent about what is happening, or about the direction of our lives.

Tolle teaches that when one is able to stay present and not succumb to fear (because of who we assume, believe or think we are, in other words, our egoic state), then one can clear the noise (continuous, negative, repetitive chatter or self-talk), and be guided by what we know deep down, in our gut, from our intuitive state.

free, downloadable Coaching Guides & Tools

Staying in the Present Moment

Staying in the present moment enables us to notice when our mind inevitably wanders – pulling us away, into judgment and fear-based thinking. Meditation is the most powerful tool we have to build up that muscle of conscious awareness, watching those thoughts rather than being carried away by them. 

I realized from the start that in order to fully embrace the teachings in A New Earth, I would need to commit to a daily meditation practice. I am grateful that I picked up this book many years ago for various reasons, but predominantly because it was the single motivating factor for initiating and maintaining my regular daily meditation practice.

When I first embarked upon reading the book, it had recently come out and I was fortunate enough to participate in a class that was devoted to going through the book chapter by chapter; deciphering the message and creating an action plan to implement the work into daily life as the chapters progressed. That workshop was a helpful deep-dive to putting the practice of finding a way out of suffering into peace.

Outside Forces Create Fear

Tolle speaks of how outside forces like the media can project fearful messaging and that if we stop and observe, not just believe and get carried away by the media when they tell us that we should be afraid, then, we will be able to watch from a distance and not be affected so deeply.

He says, “Acute crises and dysfunction always precede or coincide with any evolutionary advancement or gain in consciousness.”

Tolle continues: “All life-forms need obstacles and challenges in order to evolve. In the case of the ego, most of the challenges it encounters are self-created through its unconscious patterns.” 

A Roadmap to Recognize Unconscious Patterns

I found the book to be a road map providing directions for me to learn how to recognize my automatic assumptions, preconceived notions, and unconscious patterns.

Tolle says his teachings were written “to speed up the process of spiritual awakening that has already begun, as well as to enable greater numbers of people to become part of that process and thus find a deeper meaning in their lives that transcends the merely personal dimension of existence.”

Creating Concern for Fellow Humans 

The current confluence of global climate change, civil unrest and war in Ukraine, has brought with it a growing “awareness of and deep concern for our fellow humans, the countless animals that are our traveling companions, and the planet itself.” 

Tolle indicates that “Such awareness implies that there is indeed a lessening of the ego in a growing number of people, and in some parts of the planet more than in others. This diminishment of the ego gives rise to empathy and compassion beyond tribal, racial, national, or religious affiliations. It is those qualities that make us truly human. 

As we no longer identify with our assumptions, our unconscious mental positions, we are able to be more open and more tolerant of other people’s beliefs and perspectives. We can temporarily shift our own perspective and see things through their eyes. With this comes the ability to compromise in our interactions with others, which is a prerequisite for any peaceful coexistence. 

In fact, it is precisely in those parts of the world where most people are as yet unable or unwilling to compromise that most of the dysfunction or violence occurs.

The ego, and particularly the collective ego, strengthens itself through emphasizing the otherness of others. Eventually, the ego brings about its own demise. In that sense, it can be considered a necessary precursor for the next stage in human evolution, which is the awakening of consciousness. 

Navigating Crisis

Tolle’s prescient message provides guidance for navigating the current crisis at hand. 

“Make sure the present moment is your friend, not your enemy. Honor it by giving it your fullest attention. Appreciate it by being thankful for it. Become internally aligned with it by allowing it to be as it is. That is the arising of the new earth.” 

I interpret this to mean for us to have gratitude for what we have, and to utilize our intuitive guidance in the moment to know what we can and need to do to take care of ourselves and others in times of hardship.

A New Earth teaches that moment by moment, we can build our self-awareness and do our part, take actions that come from intuition, creating changes in behavior that can bring peace and fulfillment into our lives. It is a practice, a cultivation of what we’ve learned. 

I am so grateful to have found A New Earth and the opportunity it gave me to learn the practice of self-awareness and also gave me a way out of suffering into peace.

And, now as a Professional Coach, my mission is to inspire others towards collective consciousness. 

Free Coaching Sessions