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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.

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.

 

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.

THE KEY: Hear what the students had to say

Teaching TEENAGERS about EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE is no easy task, but I was up for the challenge.

My latest book THE KEY became the workbook in my curriculum that I recently taught to grade 7 (12-13 year-olds) at Bialik College in Melbourne, the top academic school in the State.

But academia doesn’t factor when talking about emotions, as the Head of Middle School discovered when he attended one of my classes to find that it wasn’t the usual ‘smart kids’ putting their hands up, but everyone else also.

One-hour weekly classes, over a ten-week period, teaching roughly 75 students in total.

We truly started from the beginning:

“Does anyone know what emotional intelligence is?”

The response was 100% “no”.

As with every topic, they were asked to write down what they thought it might mean before bringing it in for a group discussion.

A large range of topics were covered using the tools of writing therapy, discussion, youtube, some activities, and journaling homework.

This course was about discovering your identity and thinking for yourself. There was no right or wrong, nothing was being marked or graded, this was about YOU, your thoughts, feelings, questions and concerns. Who are you? All big topics but when broken down in to smaller topics, it all can just make sense.

It is impossible to wrap up the course in one piece of writing so I will share with you some student feedback given to me on a few of the topics covered.

ON IDENTITY:

“I can be myself. I don’t need to hide anything”

POSITIVE THINKING:

“I thought I couldn’t do it (a task) but then I changed my thought pattern in to a positive one and I did it”

FRIENDSHIP:

“I started being more honest with my friends and they were honest to me and we made a stronger friendship”

ON SUCCESS AND FAILURE:

“I used to think I constantly failed but it really depends on how you define things”

FRIENDSHIP:

“Instead of saying ‘no’ to someone, I helped them with what they needed. It made me feel like a better person and a helpful person”

JEALOUSY AND ENVY:

“I watched something and I didn’t feel jealous and it felt really good”

LEARNING BREATH:

“I did better in a test because I took deep breaths first and felt much more calm”

TONE OF VOICE:

“I stopped a fight from happening by changing the tone in my voice”

APOLOGIES:

“I apologised to someone and I meant it for the first time ever”

EMPATHY:

“When walking down the street, I saw a homeless guy so I went to Coles and bought him a loaf of bread and vegemite”

TONE OF VOICE:

“I have used a different tone of voice with my siblings this week and we have had less arguments and a much better relationship”

NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS:

“I was disappointed with myself and used the 4-step process to feel better”

JEALOUSY AND ENVY:

“I got a mark on a test and my friend got higher and I was fine instead of jealous”

TONE OF VOICE:

“I now get in to less fights with my family with understanding my tone of voice”

FAMILY:

“That my parents divorce was not my fault”

A few other topics covered: Choices, Unconditional Love, Comparisons, Happiness, Sadness and Depression.

NEXT STEP?

To get this curriculum in to EVERY school. Any suggestions, advice, partnerships welcome.

What’s Your Dream?

Do you have a dream? Have you told someone about it?

Last June, when in Australia for my book launch of The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence, I approached some Melbourne schools. I went to heads of departments and said:

“I am a counsellor who works with adults. Most adult traumas or negative thoughts stem from when they were a child or teenager. So why are we not teaching people younger how to deal with life? – with traumas, with negative thoughts, bullying etc etc. Why are we not teaching teenagers how to cope with life? I don’t want any adult to have to go through 20-30 yrs of pain before they seek counselling. MY DREAM is to work myself out of a job. I want to write a book, design a curriculum and teach it in the classroom to every kid in the world.”

And here I am, back in Melbourne 10 months later with my new book THE KEY which is also now a curriculum.

Tomorrow is Day 1 at Bialik College in Hawthorn, Melbourne where I will teach the curriculum and I can’t wait!!!!!

SO, what’s your dream?

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