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‘3 Ways to Step into 2021, Without the Weight of 2020,’ Thrive Global.

2020 felt like a pretty horrible year to most people no doubt. Understandably, we just want to walk (or run!) away from it.

As much as we would like to switch off the memories, we can’t. Carrying the feelings, fear or anxiety of the past year into 2021 won’t benefit us as individuals, or as a collective.

So how can we prepare for 2021?

The reality of the world right now is that many of us will be spending what is normally a huge celebration – New Years Eve, alone or in small groups. Here are 3 things we can do on our own, with a friend or with a family member on new years eve itself, or during this week.

Grab a pen and 3 pieces of paper and let’s begin.

1. Saying Goodbye to 2020

Write down what you would like to shed. Think about your emotions, thoughts and feelings. We can’t get rid of what actually happened, the loss or the pandemic, but we can shed the anger, frustration, sadness or despair. Layer by layer, a little at a time, we can let go of the feelings associated. Write them down, find your words, express, process, let go.

With 2020’s pandemic spilling in to 2021, all we can control right now is us. Our thoughts, feelings, actions, reactions, behaviour and style of communication. Whatever did not serve you in 2020, now is the time to make peace with it. 2020 is over and it is time to let go.

Burn that letter as you release it from your mind, body and soul.

2. Find your Silver Linings.

Write down any silver linings you found this year. It may be hard for some people, particularly if you lost a loved one, a job or a home. But please try.

Did you learn something positive about yourself? Did you have more time to reflect? Find space to grow within? Time to start a new hobby? Become closer (even over phone/video) with a family member? Rekindle an old friendship? Have more time to spend with your children? Meet your neighbours? Realise you are more resilient than you thought? Or it could be just watching on tv as different cities publicly applauded the front line workers or sang from balconies to share love and compassion with each other.

I have clients who lost a family member but rekindled other family relationships in the grieving process, clients who were isolated and scared and found strength they didn’t know they had, and clients who through tragedy found clarity, as their sense of perspective shifted.

You can burn this one or choose to keep it.

3. Find Gratitude

Write a gratitude list. When the world seems dark and the days long, it is good to ask yourself What am I grateful for? and write your answer.

Let’s start 2021 on a positive note.

Why not stick this on your fridge, on your mirror or in your bag?

Let’s shed the negativity of 2020, find the moments that warmed our heart and remember what we are grateful for as we move into 2021 with an open heart and mind.

 

by Romi Grossberg.

Photo by Anthony R Turner, Art of Love Photography.

 

MASTERCLASS: ‘The Art of Saying No.’

MASTERCLASS video here: ‘The Art of Saying No.’

Practical information and things we can do in Setting Boundaries.

Empath’s find it particularly difficult to not only set boundaries, but to keep their boundaries. In this workshop learn to understand why we all need boundaries. Learn how to say no without guilt and stress. Boundaries are empowering and keep us safe. Whilst many put a negative connotation on the word, boundaries is not a dirty word.

I was fortunate to have been contacted recently by the lovely Cassandra Michael, a Positive Psychology & Mindset Coach for empaths and highly sensitives. After a Zoom meeting and some emails back and forth she has invited me as a Guest Presenter on her online course. I will be facilitating a workshop on boundaries.

Positive Emotional Health & Well-Being, Online 6-part series

This course goes Live in September @ The Sanctuary Wellness, but you can join any time.

The Positive Emotional Health and Well-Being course aims to support you to live a socially, emotionally and mentally healthy life. It covers a range of topics over six videos offering practical and actionable tools and techniques to help you step forward and lead a confident, empowered and balanced life.

1. Free Your Mind

2. Letting go

3. Breaking Free of Negative Thoughts

4. Intuitive Decision-Making: Making choices that are right for you

5. Perfectionism, Success and Failure

6. Combatting Anxiety

Also check out my 6-part online course on Effective Communication.

Effective Communication, Online 6-part series

This course goes Live in September @ The Sanctuary Wellness, but you can join in any time.

The Effective Communication course aims to support you to better and more effectively communicate. The six videos contain a wide range of communication skills and techniques. Some cover self-talk (yes, we all do it) and explore our role, behaviour, language, triggers, thoughts and emotions. Other videos focus on communicating with other people, understanding our body and emotional reactions and how we land in arguments.

1. Understanding Emotions and Arguments.

2. Interconnectedness of Mind and Body

3. Pressure and Guilt Words

4. Reaction v. Response

5. Perfectionism, Success and Failure

6. Breaking Free of Negative Thoughts

Also check out my other 6-part series course on Positive Emotional Health & Well-Being.

‘3-Step Process to Calm Anxiety,’ Thrive Global.

Many of us have felt anxiety at different times in our lives to differing degrees. I think we can all agree it doesn’t feel nice at all. For some it can present as a shortness of breath, a rapid heart beat, a knot in the stomach or nausea, a racing mind, or a feeling of loss of reality and perception. However you may feel it, the great news is there is something you can do to help yourself in these moments. Let’s start by understanding anxiety.

Anxiety put really simply is when our mind runs ahead to imagining the worst-case scenario. We often then believe this worst-case scenario is true (because it feels that way) which can lead to further anxiety or a panic attack. Our mind has become disassociated from our body and from reality.

For example, you may need to resolve a conflict with a friend, family member or your boss. Feeling nervous or having a reasonable amount of fear can be normal. Anxiety is when you let your mind race ahead in to the worst-case scenario where you imagine it escalating to an argument that you feel you can’t come back from resulting in loss of trust, loss of friendship, loss of job or worse. This is an anxiety-driven thought that may also cause you to feel unable to even attempt to resolve the conflict at all.

A more current scenario in our new world of COVID19 could be that you have a fear of going out in public that escalates to an anxiety-driven thought. It can be normal to feel fear right now. An anxiety driven-thought may be that you think if you go on public transport and touch the handrail on a train or bus that you will get infected by the virus and either get sick and potentially die yourself or can cause someone else to. If this escalates you may feel unable to leave the house and develop a fear of public spaces or people. In the weeks or months to come as the situation changes, you also may still hold on to your anxiety and find it difficult to re-enter the world.

Anxiety-driven thoughts can be about anything, from COVID19 related issues to love or family relationships, jobs, shopping, driving and anything else. I want to teach you a 3-step process to help combat anxiety and calm down the escalation from a thought or fear to an anxiety-driven thought.

Many people think that Step 1 is taking deep breaths but if you are feeling anxious or having a panic attack, you are not yet ready or often even able to take a deep breath.

STEP 1: GROUNDING.

We want to bring your mind back from being dissociated or disconnected from reality and your surroundings and get grounded. If you’re sitting put your hands on the ground until you can actually feel it. You can also grab your body­ – your arms or your thighs to help you find your body again.

If you are standing you can say, “My feet are on the ground, my feet are on the ground, my feet are on the ground.” Anything that brings you back to your physical body. Whilst you’re doing this grounding, look around the room or the space that you are in. Name three or four things out loud that you can see. Example: “I can see my kettle, my shoes, my book, my phone. I can see my kettle, my shoes, my book, my phone.” If you are naming the things that are physically in front of you, your mind is no longer disconnected, your mind is back with your body because you’re in reality seeing and feeling what is in front of you.

STEP 2: BREATHE.

Now you’re ready for a breath. Now that you’re ‘back’ you can know where your lungs are, where your heart, and where your breath is. Take three to five deep breaths.

STEP 3 – REALITY CHECK

Ask yourself questions. What do I KNOW to be TRUE? What are the FACTS? Facts NOT thoughts. In the example above about wanting to resolve a conflict, what are the facts? Fact: You had a conflict. The conflict is unresolved on your side. The rest are thoughts, fears and anxieties. You do not KNOW how the other person is feeling, what will happen when you meet, whether it will escalate or de-escalate or anything else. Stick to the facts – there was a conflict. That is much less scary than where your anxiety-driven thoughts went.

In example two on our COVID19 related situation, you fear leaving the house. What are the facts? Is it a fact that if you leave the house you will definitely become infected? No. Is it a fact that if you touch a surface in a public space you will definitely become infected? No. Is it a fact that the virus does exist? Yes (depending on your belief system). Does that mean you have it? No. Are there safety precautions you can take? Yes. Again the facts are much less scary than where the anxiety-driven thoughts led you.

Don’t let fears become anxiety-driven thoughts. When we look at the facts, there are usually very, very few facts and the rest are thoughts and fears that lead to anxiety driven thoughts.

For any situation where you feel anxiety rising, whether you are sixteen or sixty, try and remember this 3-Step Process. 1. Grounding. 2. Breathe. 3. Reality Check. This should help calm down your situation so you are able to make decisions that are reasonable for you.

Source: ‘3-Step Process to Calm Anxiety,’/ Thrive Global.

‘Moving Forward in Uncertain Times’ – FB LIVE @Sanctuary Thailand

“Listen to resident counsellor Romi speak about our mental health and emotional well being in these uncertain times and how we can still move forward.” – Sanctuary Thailand.

It is very normal to be feeling pressure, stress, worry, grief or confusion at the moment. Here I talk about how we can move forward. Despite the loss of freedoms: loss of jobs, financial stability, mental health stability, physical contact, loss of routine, how we can still find peace, calm and balance.

FB LIVE talk @ The Sanctuary Thailand, June 2020.

Making Mental Health a Priority During Uncertain Times – Podcast interview on The Big Turtle, U.S.

“A fascinating conversation with Freedom Cole, Dr Patty Hlava and Romi Grossberg on the crucial topic of Mental Health – integrated approaches to healing, how different cultures approach mental health, the use and misuse of medication, and how best to navigate these troubling times with a modicum of sanity.” The Big Turtle Podcast.

A shaky start to the video podcast interview across the UK, U.S. and Asia with a little freeze and a little pause but well worth the watch.

Making Mental Health a Priority During Uncertain Times – Podcast interview on The Big Turtle Podcast, June 2020.

Hosted by: Vikram Zutshi and Lea Horvatic.

Guests: Romi Grossberg, Patty Hlava, Ph.D., and Freedom Cole.

 

The Key Is Self-Awareness  – Podcast interview on Fit for Joy, U.S.

In May I was interviewed by Valeria Teles, a Well-Being Coach, Author and Podcaster in the U.S. She wanted to talk to me about my book and course ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ and together we discussed the mental health and emotional well-being of adolescence with a focus on understanding oneself and one’s friendships.

 

In this episode, Valeria Teles interviews Romi Grossberg.

Teenagers are introduced to the ideas of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and self-understanding: To learning greater life skills and coping strategies to not merely survive school and home life but to thrive socially, emotionally and mentally.

Your E.Q. (emotional intelligence) is based on self-awareness. It is understanding your emotions and why you react to people or situations the way you do.

Increasing your awareness is important for the very simple reason that it ultimately makes life easier! It is difficult to notice the good or acknowledge the ‘not so good’ in life if you aren’t aware in the first place. Understanding and increasing your awareness and learning some of the tools in this book can help you deal with pressure, anxiety, school life, friendships, relationships, arguments, family life and growing up.” She writes in her opening chapter.

‘The Key’ is a guidebook addressing mental, social, and emotional health. Romi believes that in today’s current climate of an elevating mental health crisis amongst adolescence worldwide, it is vital young people are adequately equipped to handle their thoughts and emotions as they move through this developmental stage of identity.

Teens can learn that even seemingly complex issues or problems can be taught and dealt with in very real terms with practical guidance, learning, activities, videos, and discussion.

Romi’s book ‘The Key’ is broken into three sections: 1. My Friendships, 2. Me and 3. My Family. She begins with friendships because friendship is the most important thing during adolescence and so the best way to engage. “It’s not exactly a lie when we say what we know other people want to hear, but it’s not always the truth either. It is us trying to fit in, not stand out, be cool. We all do it. But wouldn’t it be cooler if we didn’t have to always concentrate or try so hard? If we could be honest with ourselves and our friends and know that everything would just be okay?” – writes Romi Grossberg.

‘The Key’ includes over twenty topics including negative thought patterns, unconditional love, bullying, effective communication, anxiety, trusting yourself, and many more.

Source: The Key Is Self-Awareness  — Fit for Joy

PHASE, Asia Pacific 2019

This November for the first time I will be presenting at the PHASE conference in Hong Kong. I will run a one-hour presentation on ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens’ on 16th and 17th November and a 90-minute workshop on the 16th.

For more information on my presentations/workshops, head to PHASE website.

PHASE Asia Pacific is a conference for all educators focussed on physical education, health, athletics, sports, and experiential learning.  The conference allows participants to learn from leading authorities in their respective fields as well as from practitioner presenters, to network with fellow educators, and to access good practice and resources in multiple formats.

PHASE is an acronym based on the core areas that the community aims to bring together: Physical Education, Health & Wellness, Athletics, Sports, and Experiential Learning.

 

‘Teen Mental Health,’ Medium

There is a growing mental health crisis with our teenagers and young people across the world. In Australia alone 1 in 4 adolescents will experience mental health problems this year and suicide is the most common cause of death for 15–24 year olds. The stats are alarming. One person is one too many.

In my experience with counselling teenagers I have had clients as young as 12 years old suffering from anxiety, clients at 13 believing that their parents divorce was their fault, at 16 not being able to look past a pimple or scar to see who they are as a person and at 17 wondering why they should get out of bed when “today is just going to be as bad as yesterday.” I have worked with adults who at 30 were still stuck in negative thought patterns, at 40 were still traumatised from being bullied at school, at 50 not feeling worthy of love and even at 70 still haunted by teenage family abuse.

None of us are ‘immune to life’ — to traumas, to ‘bad things happening’, to feeling like we have failed, to holding on to past hurts and to the complexities of navigating teenage friendships.

But this is not all doom and gloom.

Life doesn’t have to be this way. The problem is that quite often we don’t know what it is we can try. In those moments we have lost perspective. We have lost faith in the world and we have lost trust in ourselves.

My past clients spurred me to write my latest book ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens.’ The most common sentence I was hearing from adults after working together was, “I wish I had learnt those things when I was younger,” and from that I set out to write. The frustration I felt at working with adults who had been carrying their life’s anxieties and traumas around for 10, 20, even 40 years was deeply saddening to me. Five-minutes is too long.

I believe the answer is in education. Not education that says ‘go to school’ but emotional intelligence education, social-emotional education, life education, education of the self, the heart and the soul.

A friend of mine, Kosal Khiev once wrote a poem ‘Moments In Between the Nights’ and that title alone springs to mind when I think about educating teens. It’s not in the ‘going to class,’ but the moments in between — the moments when no one is looking, when your mind suddenly turns, when doubt, fear, embarrassment, a memory, sadness, anxiety or negative thoughts kick in. It’s in those moments that we need to learn the self-awareness, the skills, tools and coping strategies to find our own balance again.

We can teach young people how to gain perspective, how to process their thoughts, emotions, behaviours and understand how and why they react to situations the way they do. We can teach them to understand and redefine terms such as success and failure. We can teach them self enquiry and self awareness, teach them how to better understand themselves, better understand friendships and the roles they play, that there is always someone they haven’t thought of they can talk to, something else they can try. We can teach them how to breathe — to calm down and to steady the mind. And to remind them that they are in control, that they have choice — choice in their actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviours. That there is ALWAYS something they can do. Life doesn’t happen TO us, we need to learn how to get back in the driver’s seat.

Through self-awareness we can create behaviour change but we cannot change what we are not aware of.

Yes we can even break out of negative thought patterns or better understand and cope with anxiety. There are simple steps that can be followed and in my book and videos I guide teens step-by-step in a very simple, practical and no bullshit way. I don’t brush over topics or say “Oh you’ll be okay.” he book gently holds their hand and takes them on a journey of self discovery where they learn to better understand themselves, find their strengths and resilience and get back in control of themselves.

In psychology terms, adolescence is the developmental stage of identity. Who am I? It is a powerful thing to begin to answer that question as a teen. How many adults can truly answer it?

* The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens is not a substitute for a specialised mental health counsellor or diagnosed mental health conditions.

‘Teen Mental Health’ was posted in Medium in September 2019.

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