Barbara Alfors Coaching and Consulting

Be in choice, be aligned, know your path, know your genius.

Author: Barbara Alfors Page 2 of 7

Resilience and Neuroscience

I’ve been a proponent of mindfulness practices for years now, and I believe they are truly useful in making our lives go more smoothly.
I took a webinar the other day that explained why – the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which controls our higher-level thinking, has limited capacity. This is the part of the brain that manages emotions and refocuses attention. When we are using our limbic system for thinking, we are overly reactive and don’t use that higher-level thinking. (The limbic system contains the amygdala, which you may be familiar with from the term “amygdala hijack.”) 

So how do we build our capacity for higher level thinking and managing emotions? Mindfulness practices! 
And how do we connect to the higher level thinking of our prefrontal cortex? Mindfulness again! 

How does all this connect to resilience? We can think of resilience as the ability to recover after an upset, so having greater capacity to manage our emotions can help us recover more quickly. 

It seems that most people have a hard time keeping a regular mindfulness practice (myself included!), so learning about how it expands our capacity for managing emotions is a useful motivation for me! 

I’ve got some mindfulness resources here;  and I found this article on resilience and brain plasticity interesting as well: .  If you’re interested in the different parts of the brain, this is a good read:

If you would like to explore how to brighten your path, or are just curious about coaching, contact me to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

How Will Transformation Look for You?

feeling the joy of dancing on an empty beach

Are you ready for a shift?

Maybe you’d like to start small; taking on a new challenge or building your resilience. Or you might be ready for a major change, either in your career or in your life. 

How will transformation look for you? What will your life be like? Just imagine for a moment; when you are able to move forward how will your life be different? Let’s take away what’s holding you back.

We all need a champion to support us through changes. Give yourself permission to take the next step. Gain the clarity to move ahead in life instead of letting questioning, uncertainty, doubt drain your energy. 

If you would like to explore how to brighten your path, or are just curious about coaching,  contact me to schedule a complimentary discovery session.

Colorado Coaching Collective – Summer 2020

The Colorado Coaching Collective is extending our offer!

If you feel like you need some support to deal with 2020–please reach out to a coach in the Colorado Coaching Collective. We can provide a listening ear, help you sort out your options, get clear on what matters most, and create a solid action plan. You’ll walk away with clarity, peace of mind, and confidence. Completely confidential and complimentary!

Please see flyer below for details.

Colorado Coaching Collective June Update
Colorado Coaching Collective June Update

Centering Techniques

There are many ways to think of centering; the way I like to think of it is coming to a place of listening to your own wise self. When you are centered, you are able to think more clearly, make better decisions, and avoid creating unnecessary conflicts.  

Here are a few ways to practice centering. This is called a practice because it works best if you keep repeating it to build new neural pathways (see my centering resources post). 

  1. Noticing your Breath
    The easiest way for me to center myself in most situations is to focus on my breath. This can be done in many ways;
         a. put your hand on your heart or stomach and notice the rise and fall of your chest or stomach as you breathe
         b. focus on the difference of temperature of the air as it goes in and out of your nostrils
         c. imagine the breath filling every part of your body as you inhale
         d. imagine you are breathing in from the bottom of your feet, and exhaling out the top of your head (or the reverse)
  2. Imagery or Visualization
    Focusing on a favorite image is another way to get centered. This can be an actual picture or artwork, or an imagined image or place. One way to select this image is to imagine yourself beautifully calm and peaceful, and pick an image that you connect with this feeling.
  3. Touch
    A simple method of centering using touch is to rub your thumb and forefinger together with such delicate attention that you can feel the fingerprints on both thumb and forefinger. This method has the advantage of being accessible in almost any situation. (From Shirzad Chamine)
  4. Keywords or Mantra
    Words are a good way to connect to center for some people, and a powerful mantra, key word, or inspirational phrase may help us to counteract the voice of the inner critic, and instead build neural pathways that focus on more positive feelings. One method of finding a powerful mantra for yourself is to think of the voice of your inner critic in a stressful situation, and find a phrase to neutralize that critical voice. For example, if your inner critic often tells you that you are weak, a good phrase might be “I am strong.” Writing the phrase down and putting it someplace you will see it often, like a sticky note on a bathroom mirror, can help you to remember to come back to this phrase. Repeat it often so it will be available in your brain when needed. 
  5. Noticing and Naming Thoughts and Emotions
    A mindfulness practice involves noticing and naming your thoughts and emotions, and this can be very useful in bringing ourselves to center. We have thoughts running through our minds constantly, and most of these are either a distraction or from one of the critical inner voices. We cannot stop these voices and thoughts, but we can take their power by simply naming them as they arise. This can be as simple as “I had a thought” and visualizing it floating by in the breeze, or in a river. Not being attached to our thoughts can help us stay focused on what is important. 
  6. Somatic Practice – Using Posture 
    Amy Cuddy has a famous Ted talk about the power of posture, and she specifically uses the Wonder Woman posture as an example of how to feel more powerful. We can also use posture to feel more grounded; you can experiment with this yourself and find the posture that works best for you. Typically this will be an upright, standing posture where you feel your weight upon the earth and your head being pulled gently upwards. 
  7. Relating to Others
    If you notice you are reacting poorly to the words or energy of another person, you can imagine that person as a child and imagine feeling love and empathy for that child. (From Shirzad Chamine)
  8. LovingKindness Meditation
    The LovingKindness meditation is a wonderful practice, especially if you are having trouble relating to a specific person. See explanation here. 

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