Time for a Personal Tune-Up

TimeForAPersonalTuneUp 350x385Many of us operate on assumptions that have never been questioned and never been examined. It may be helpful to wonder about these ideas from time to time. Just as a car needs to go in for a tune-up periodically, it might be a good idea to have a personal tune-up.

One way to do this is to ask yourself some questions.

How comfortable am I with risk? Generally it’s a good thing to land somewhere in between the extremes of super low risk taker and super high. If you are very low, playing it so safe might keep you in a job you can’t stand, and generally keep you from doing much of anything that is different, adventurous or exciting. It might keep life rather vanilla flavoured for you and those around you. If you are a very high risk taker, you might find your life to be overly chaotic and dangerous. If you are in the extremes, you might experiment with ramping it up or toning it down.

How comfortable am I with change? If you are to be honest with yourself, change is not terribly comfortable and neither is entering into the unknown. Some changes are more welcome than others, such as traveling to a long-anticipated vacation spot. Allow yourself to remain at that spot longer-term, and you will be longing for your own familiar bed and pillow, as lumpy or saggy as it may be. Human beings are generally creatures of habit. We are most comfortable with predictability and stability. We generally have some resistance to change, and for many of us this becomes even more pronounced as we advance in age. Change can be incredibly good for us. Try to embrace it. Look for it. Make a change.

Ways to shift out of your comfort zone:

  • Acknowledge that change is difficult.
  • Embrace change.
  • Look for new opportunities.
  • Search for them.
  • Remind yourself that growth is healthy and that sometimes with growth, there are growing pains.
  • Small changes over time lead to substantial improvements.
  • Consider the idea that perhaps being overly cautious has kept you safe but also stuck.

Thinking out of the box. Thinking inside the parameters of a box is generally trained into us. In elementary school, we are taught that there are correct ways to form letters, to spell words, and proper ways to figure out mathematical formulas. At many work places, we are taught the “proper way” to conduct our work. Because humans are comfortable with predictability and routine, we very easily fall into limiting our thinking to inside of the box. What kind of vision and ideas might we have if we allowed ourselves to explore the vast amount of space outside the box? There is generally a lot more space outside of boxes than inside. But open spaces can be scary. When feeling scared, remind yourself of the two previous points above.

Allowing for more creativity. We were all born with tremendous amounts of creativity. Just ask several preschoolers what they see in the clouds and you will get a variety of unique responses. Ask the average adult the same question and you might be told “looks like it won’t rain today”. This is probably something that was learned somewhere along the way in a text book.

Creativity is always there waiting for its’ chance to show up. It needs space.

Ways to nurture your creative side:

    • Brainstorm.
    • Get out in nature.
    • Allow unscheduled space and time.
    • Daydream.
    • Pay attention to dreams.

Self examination once in awhile is worth the time that it takes. It’s good to stop the familiar routine of life periodically, get off the merry-go-round, sit on a bench, and get a different perspective. Small changes accrue over time, just like investments do. Change things up a bit. This will keep life more interesting and engaging for you and those around you.

Time for a Personal Tune-Up
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Angela Post provides counselling to adults, adolescents and couples. She has experience with a variety of issues such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, workplace stress, trauma, victims of crime, family of origin issues, cross cultural adjustment, self esteem, personal growth, boundaries, building resilience, grief, academic performance and stress management. Angela also enjoys working with individuals on career issues and uses assessments such as the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator for career development issues.

Angela’s approach with clients is eclectic and she draws from brief solution focused therapy, client centered, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic therapy and creative approaches. She is also trained in EMDR.

Angela has worked with students in higher education settings for over 20 years including UBC, Kwantlen, University of the Fraser Valley, and currently SFU Health and Counselling Services.

Angela grew up in a small Yukon mining town populated primarily by new immigrants. She has worked with clients from at least 50 different countries.

In 1996, Angela received her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, and in 2001, she received her Ph. D. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia.

Angela is a member of the College of Psychologists of BC and the British Columbia Psychological Association.

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