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healthy boundaries

Love From A Distance

By | healthy boundaries, healthy life coaching skills | One Comment

During dinner with a good friend of mine last week, the conversation turned to her family. I was quickly briefed on the status of her three grown stepchildren, the youngest of whom has serious anger issues and problems with substance abuse. Years of family counseling appeared to provide no relief from the quagmire of conflicting personalities and childhood wounds. Without going into details, the level of toxicity over the holidays reached epic proportions and took it’s toll on everyone. It was at this point in the conversation I brought up the idea of healthy boundaries and the concept of “loving from a distance.” It could be argued that one reason for our earthly existence is to resolve issues in an effort to form and keep healthy relationships. Simply stated, we are here to learn to love unconditionally (this is no small task). But what happens when somebody wears the label of victim and sabotages all efforts for a healthy relationship with violence, abuse and childish behavior? Enter the concept of “Love from a distance.” Loving from a distance means to maintain a loving relationship yet with strong boundaries. Strong physical boundaries allow the space for healthy emotional boundaries. Once these physical boundaries are in place, this might include sending cards and short letters rather than any kind of get-togethers. Loving from a distance means keeping your heart open, but protected so than no harm may enter. You cannot disown your family when alcohol, drugs, in-laws, violence or other factors become toxic to your heart space, but you can keep a healthy boundary and express love from a distance.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Find 5-10 minutes today and sit quietly focusing on your heart space. Breath in and out as if the inhalation and exhalation originate from your heart rather than your mouth or nose. As you exhale, send a thought and feeling toward someone whom you feel has become toxic to your emotional environment. If it helps, imagine a rainbow from your heart to their heart. Learn to send love from a distance with those who’s close proximity becomes a toxin to the spirit.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Here are a few links with some great information on healthy boundaries:

http://serenityonlinetherapy.com/healthyboundaries.htm

http://www.livestrong.com/article/14718-building-healthy-boundaries/

Quote for the Day:
“Appropriate boundaries create integrity.” —Anonymous

Photo for the Day:
While hiking the Inca trail last year, I took this photo of a man looking down over the valley to the next range of mountains. Talk about “from a distance.” Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Healthy Fiscal Boundaries

By | healthy boundaries, healthy life coaching skills, Money Management | No Comments

Consider this fact: One third of Americans say that it takes nearly all year to clear the credit card debt from the previous year’s Christmas shopping. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out something is wrong with this picture. There has long been an association between money (or the lack of it) and stress, much of it self-imposed. It’s human nature to require enough money for basic survival needs. It’s ego that crosses the line into financial stress with purchases that are unaffordable. As Gandhi once said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed.” This holiday season, consider the mantra, “Healthy fiscal boundaries!” Every time you pull out your wallet or enter your credit card # into a Paypal web page, ask yourself can I afford this purchase in cash right now? If the answer is NO, put the wallet back in your pocket or exit the web page. Before making a purchase, sleep on it (so many purchases are made impulsively with short term shopping thrills often resulting in long term fiscal stress). Healthy boundaries mean having conscious restraint with your purchasing power. Since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, American’s savings have increased from 1% to 6% by some estimates. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Healthy fiscal boundaries begin with creating a sound budget and sticking to it: Living within your means. Healthy fiscal boundaries means using cash, rather than credit cards, no matter how inconvenient this may be. Having healthy fiscal boundaries are only as good as the will to honor them.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Before you start (or perhaps finish) your Christmas shopping, make a budget… and stick to it. Consider making gifts, rather than buying them (remember you are not solely responsible for curing the country’s economy.) Time is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, whether it’s taking someone for a walk, sitting down over a cup of tea, cooking a meal from scratch or watching a DVD and talking about it later. Much of the research being done on the topic of happiness shows that indeed, money doesn’t buy happiness. Solid friendships form the foundation for lifelong happiness.

Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting:
Every year I make a point to give thanks by giving to a charity to those people in the world who really need assistance simply to get by. Heiffer.org and Trees for Life are two such organizations that lives by the motto, “feed a man to fish, feed him for life.” Here are the links in case this might be of interest to you. Trees for life was started by my friend and colleague, Meher Balbir, for those who might remember him as a featured story in Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward.

http://www.heifer.org/

http://www.treesforlife.org/

Quote for the Day:
“Live simply, so that others may simply live.” — Anonymous

Photo for the Day:
For those of you interested in seeing what a Euro looks like, here is a shot taken while in Ireland last summer (before the country went bankrupt!) If you look closely, you will see the Celtic Harp is on the back on the 2 EU coin.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries

By | assertiveness, healthy boundaries | No Comments


One cannot address the issues of stress without looking closely at the concept of healthy boundaries, and sadly, there seems to be a dearth of healthy boundaries in the American culture today. This, in turn, creates a negative feedback loop that increases levels of personal (and planetary) stress. Healthy boundaries are appropriate behavioral limits to daily activities, from eating to shopping to watching television. Basically all aspects of our lives. Poor healthy boundaries range from ignoring personal guidelines to a complete apathy about one’s level of health. The whole economic collapse is a prime example of poor boundaries (with a lot of greed thrown in). Today infractions of healthy boundaries can be seen just about everywhere: using cell phones in movie theaters, shopping with credit cards when there is no money to pay the bills, hours upon hours of internet surfing, incessant whining, (also known as victimization) and poor eating behaviors top the list, but there are hundreds more. Even the war on terrorism has no boundaries! Addressing the issue of healthy boundaries to decrease one’s levels of personal stress begins with a strong degree of assertiveness: creating a healthy boundary… and then employing your will power to honor it.

• Stress Tip for the Day:
Is there an area in your life you feel the need to pull the reins in on? Perhaps there are several. Pick one area and set a goal. Write it down on a yellow sticky note and post it in places where you will see it several times a day. If need be, ask your spouse, friend or family member to help you. Creating a healthy boundary and the enforcing it is a skill, which may need lots of practice until it becomes second nature.

• Links Worth Noting:
This link promotes a new documentary movie inspired by Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. The movie is called “Home.”
http://www.home-2009.com/us/index.html

• Photo of the Day:
Even rivers have healthy boundaries (until, of course, they flood their banks). These three rivers where photographed (while I was in a helicopter ride) as water cascaded down the side of Kauai’s dormant volcano crater.

• Quote for the Day:
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you’re just sitting there!”
— Will Rogers

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.