Author Archives: Kaya Quinsey

About Kaya Quinsey

Kaya is the Social Media Strategist at KMA Therapy. She recently completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Toronto. She is just starting her masters degree in clinical psychology at the Adler Graduate Professional School. Kaya has worked as a outpatient group fascilitator at CAMH in the Richmond Street Outpatient Clinic where she helped run weekly group meetings centered around fashion blogging, for individuals with schizophrenia. She has worked as an undergraduate research assistant at OISE's Esther Geva Research Lab focusing on child development and OISE's Emotion & Psychotherapy lab for Dr. Watson. In addition, she has worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Mount Sinai's psychological trauma program.

How To Know If Your Relationship Is On the Rocks

glass-heart-purple-loveHas your relationship just felt a little ‘off’ lately? Have you tried to pinpoint what’s wrong, and have trouble coming up with anything definitive?

Most couples experience hiccups over the course of their relationships. What determines the success in a relationship is often how the couple bounces back after adversity. By understanding when your relationship is going through a rough patch, you’ll be better able to sail through the choppy waters together, and find calm and peace at the end of it.

1. Have jokes gone from fun to uncomfortable?

Did you and your partner used to laugh and joke around with each other comfortably? Maybe this was even the reason you were attracted to them in the first place. Now – have the jokes been less about laughing with one another, and more directed at one of you? It’s one thing to make playful jokes at the other one’s expense, but it’s another when those jokes start feeling mean. It’s common for couples to use humor to deflect talking about serious issues. If your jokes seem to be hiding a hidden message, and chances are, not a good one… Then you might want to take a step back and look at where this is coming from.

2. When you start losing R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

It’s important to seek help for your relationship the second that the respect starts waning. Many couples seek relationship counseling AFTER they have lost respect for their partner. However, it’s important to look at your relationship in a critical light the second you notice this. Why? Even more important than the lack of respect is WHY you’ve started losing respect for your partner. Is it a behavior? A new pattern they’ve adopted? You need to start breaking the habits and patterns that lead to disrespect right when they begin, so as to not create a downward spiral.

3. When you start imagining a happier life without them

Have you started fantasizing about your life without your partner? Do you dream of meeting other partners in romantic situations? If so – this could be a significant sign that your relationship is in need of some TLC. While it can be normal to imagine about what your life may be like if you were single, or with someone else, it becomes problematic when these thoughts become frequent and positive. If when you imagine being without your partner frequently, and these fantasies are a source of happiness and escape for you, it’s time to examine your relationship.

Couples counseling is a wonderful option for partner’s whose relationship is in need of some repair. Although rare and difficult, it’s actually best to go to couples counseling before you think you need it. Once you desperately need it, the work you put into your therapy is going to be harder, and the estimated time spent in therapy together is likely to be longer. Go to couples counseling when you still think you can solve the problem on your own – it might help you and partner resolve issues before they become a major problem!

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey

Why You Should Keep a Gratitude Journal

18-Purple-PenWe all have patterns that we follow throughout the day. They help guide us and create a sense of security, predictability and balance in our lives. For a lot of people, our evening routine is as follows: wash our face, brush our teeth, put on pj’s, and then pass out in bed for as as many hours as we can manage to squeeze in.

What if between putting on your pj’s and falling asleep, you managed to fit in one more activity: writing in a journal.

I’m not talking about writing a “Dear Diary…” segment each night, although if you can manage that, it’s incredibly healing. I’m suggesting that you jot down three things within the past 24-hours that you’re grateful for. They don’t have to extensive or earth-shattering. Just small, daily occurrences that you’re grateful for. For instance, today I am grateful for: my morning yoga, the phone call with my mom that I had in the afternoon, and my enjoyable work. When you make a habit of jotting down at least three things you’re grateful for, it changes how you perceive your life. Your brain starts to notice the small, positive aspects of your life more often, which can lead to a boost in happiness. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for?

1. It’s Fun!

Learning about what makes you ‘tick’ is inherently interesting. By writing in a gratitude journal, you’re tracking all the things that bring you the most happiness! Each time you recall one of these things, you’ll experience a boost in happiness. Who doesn’t want that? In addition, you’ll be learning about what makes you happy, and self-discovery is something that everyone loves! Emotional growth and self-discovery are fun!

2. It Changes Your Thought Patterns

Ever wonder if you’re being a little too moody? Wonder why you’re so self-critical? Keeping a gratitude journal can help to STOP that process! By redirecting your thoughts to aspects of your life that make you happy, you’re breaking the cycle of negative thinking. In addition, by writing in your gratitude journal, you’re practicing reframing negative events in a positive light on a regular basis. Once you learn how to do that, you’ll be able to take the most dismal of situations and find something within them that can foster growth. Isn’t that worth putting in some time for?

3. It Helps Your Future

When you’re in a more positive mindset, you’re more likely to take better care of yourself, be productive at work, and invest in your relationships. When you’re in an emotional rut, you’re more likely to let these things go, since you’re too busy focusing on how you can feel better. Writing in a gratitude journal sets the foundation for a happier future! Since the act helps to boost your feelings of wellbeing, you may end up engaging in more self-care behaviour.

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey

 

5 Ways To Achieve Your Dreams

purple cloudsThe limitations in our lives are larger self-inflicted. We’ve created them based on criticisms we hear from bosses, past relationship partners, unkind classmates and teachers. It’s almost impossible not to take some of this criticism to heart, and eventually let it determine how you view your potential.

What would you be going for if no one had ever said an unkind word to you? What if you had only ever heard cheering and applause from the audience (i.e., your friends and family) over your entire life? While some people are lucky to regularly have that kind of support, many are not. Below are tips that will help you to THRIVE when you go after that one thing you’ve been waiting for! If you’ve been waiting for a sign, this is it!

1. Meaningful Relationships

Whatever you want to go for in life, chances are having a few connections will certainly help! Talk to people, listen, and take notes. Ask people who are doing what you want to be doing how they got there – where they started, the baby-steps they took along the way, etc.

2. Patience

Getting to where you want doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to need to break down your dreams and goals into smaller, manageable steps. Often these baby-steps don’t feel as immediately gratifying to achieve, but over the long run, success is paved by taking small steps consistently in the right direction!

3. Presence

It’s easy to get caught up in the larger picture of what you want to do or where you want to go. Remember to focus on what you can do RIGHT NOW to help you get a little closer to your dream. Try going at your goals with calm but determined ambition. If you’re having trouble getting into a mindset where you feel capable of tackling goals for the day, practice a relaxation technique such as deep breathing or meditation to get you on track.

4. Imagination

Dream BIG! Set amazing intentions for your life in order for amazing things to follow. When you visualize your ambition and dreams for your life, feel free to be as elaborate as can be. If you can concretely imagine what you want and how good it will feel getting there, it makes the hard-work and effort you put into achieving these dreams more manageable. In addition, it adds a little more motivation when you’re working, leading to happier more productive labour!

5. Positivity

Finally, dreams aren’t achieved when you don’t believe in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people, listen to music that lifts you up, and maybe incorporate a couple of mantras throughout your day that help to keep you feeling good. Achieving your dreams is not always about feeling happy all the time. You’re going to run into periods where you’re exhausted and frustrated, but so long as the majority of your time is spent in a positive head-space, you’re probably right on track!

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey

Boost Your Happiness With Relationships

toronto-couples-relationship-counselling.jpgStudies show that people with close relationships to family and friends are HAPPIER. That’s right. It doesn’t matter if you have 30 of these close relationships or 3. The point is: you have people in your life who you love. More importantly, you interact with these people regularly.

In relationships where people are experiencing marital distress, both individuals are likely to experience more depressive symptoms. It’s easy to understand how relationships impact our wellbeing so directly, because we’ve all experienced it!

You can become a happier version of yourself by cultivating these key characteristics:

1. Maintain strong relationships

Haven’t heard from your mom in awhile? Give her a call! Haven’t made time to catch up with your BFF in a couple of weeks? Make time for coffee with them then! The greatest gift you can give yourself is time to nurture and preserve the important relationships that you’ve built up over the course of your life.

2. Give social support

Happiness doesn’t just come from receiving social support. We are happier when we GIVE social support to others! That’s why careers in social service — social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists often rate their professions as highly rewarding. If you don’t have a career in these fields, consider volunteering at local homeless shelter, a meal program or any other program where you get face-to-face contact with people you’re helping.

Everyone has busy schedules. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the so-called ‘necessities’ and things that HAVE to get done. Over the course of your life, the MOST important necessity is your relationships. They’re who you spend wonderful nights and difficult nights with. They’re who help you through the rough patches and who cheer you on through the wonderful times.

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey

Let Go Of Negativity… For Good!

sun-set-maldivesHow to do respond to bad news? Do you get angry at the person nearest to you? Do you snap at your colleagues for the rest of the week? If you’re like most people, your response to bad news breeds negativity for yourself, and those around you.
Imagine your ideal response to bad news. Would you take a deep breath? Would you thank the person who informed you of the news for having done so? What does your ideal reactivity look like to you?
Emotions are like waves – you have the crest of the wave representing the rising emotion you may feel, the peak of the wave which signifies the most intense feelings experienced, and the fall of the wave as it returns to its beginning state. Similarly, our emotions rise up, and eventually fall away. This cycle in emotions is so natural and rhythmic, but we often feel that our emotional states are going to remain the same.
When we get angry, we often assume that our emotions towards the object of our anger will be constant and stable. As a result, we can say some nasty remarks to loved ones, make decisions we later regret, or harbour resentment for long periods of time. Imagine creating a dialogue with your emotions where you ACCEPT negativity with kindness, and welcome whatever internal responses you may have. You can do that by practicing these three acts the next time you feel negativity arising:

1. Let yourself FEEL your emotions:

When we get upset, we often try to distract ourselves with our smartphones, our tv, our computer, or a mundane task. The last things we want to do is sit with our emotion and see what happens. However, by sitting with your thoughts and feelings, you’ll gain a better understanding of your response patterns and might be able to resolve the conflict more effectively and quickly. The next time that you find yourself upset, instead of distracting yourself, try sitting with your emotion. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable. It’s okay if you cry. Practice FEELING your feelings.

2. Practice gratitude towards YOURSELF (as well as others):

Thank yourself for feeling your feelings. You don’t have to be happy with the outcome of your emotions, but the first step to create a positive dialogue with yourself surrounding these acts. Expressing gratitude can boost your happiness tremendously. If you’re feeling okay with this, you can go a step further and THANK the obstacles in your path for teaching you new skills and coping mechanisms. Dr. Martin Seligman, a leading researcher in the field of positive psychology, found that when people wrote and personally delivered letters thanking them for their kindness, they experienced a huge increase in happiness. This boost in positive emotion lasted for over a month. You can write these down, or say them in your head. Either way, a little bit of gratitude can go a long way.

3. Learn what triggers you:

Start an emotion-diary where at the end of each day, log what triggered any emotions. You can write about how you feel anger when you have to wait for the subway in the morning, or frustration from constantly being behind schedule. You can write about the joy you get from having a morning cup of coffee, or that one person in the office who you look forward to seeing each day. After a couple of weeks of logging your emotions, you’ll be able to anticipate what you’ll be feeling throughout the day. By anticipating your emotions, you can take the steps to mentally prepare for any potential negativity coming your way.

By opening yourself up to feeling your emotions, both the good ones and the bad, you start a lifelong journey of self-discovery, as well as new positive emotions. Remember to be kind to yourself and welcome negative emotions with kindness. They won’t be around forever. The more you welcome your internal experience, the more likely it is that you’ll experience positivity.

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey Mental Health Professional

Three Ways To Be Less Selfish

glass-heart-purple-loveWhen it comes to relationships, is it all about you? You might not realize when you’re only looking out for number one. It can become a habit to think exclusively about yourself. Healthy relationships have a hefty dose of compromise weaved into them on a regular basis. In the context of your relationship, without considering the needs of both your partner and yourself you put your relationship in a dangerous zone. In order to be less selfish, you don’t have to compromise on your needs entirely, or make it all about the other person! There’s a way to have a healthy, fulfilling relationship in which both parties are heard and feel that they share the spotlight.

You might be selfish in your relationship if you:

  1. Like to be in control
  2. Lack the ability to compromise
  3. You turn the attention to yourself
  4. Do you get restless doing the activity your partner wants to do?
  5. Losing an argument makes you feel horrible
  6. You have trouble apologizing
  7. You usually end up getting your way

Here’s what you can do to turn your relationship around, and show what a great partner you can be!

1. Gain Self-Awareness

Try practicing mindfulness meditation, or writing in a journal to reflect on how you feel. What’s going on with you? What emotions are you dealing with today? By figuring out what emotions you are experiencing, you have the option be able to tackle them and deal with them right away. If you need some time to yourself, take an hour or two doing something you love all on your own. That way, you will be less likely to explode at your partner that you need space later on. You get your needs met, and your partner will love seeing you happy. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2. Show Your Gratitude

Remember how you acted at the beginning of your relationship? If you’re like a lot of couples, you were probably amazed when they brought you coffee just the way you like it, or started stocking their fridge with your favourite snacks. You also probably gave your partner a huge “THANK YOU!” for these small, but thoughtful gestures. Over time, we stop noticing these small gestures as they become commonplace in our lives. Start by noting the little things your partner goes out of their way to do, and THANK THEM for it! You don’t have to be elaborate, but a sincere compliment after your partner makes your eggs in the morning can start your day off on the right foot.

3. Listen

In our busy world today, we often come home and while our partners are telling us about their days, we are checking our emails, texting our friends, or watching the latest episode of our favourite show. You might be trying to listen while you’re doing these things, but in reality you’re likely missing a large portion of what they’re saying. You’re missing important cues — body language, facial expressions and even large chunks of what they’re telling you. Your partner might be giving you all the information you need to give them the TLC that they require, but you’re not listening! Take the time to really devote ten minutes to your partner when you get home to hear about their day. It’s a skill that will help relationships in all aspects of your life!

By: Kaya Quinsey

IMG_4842

10 Mental Health Tips for Students

student_mentalhealth_universityIt’s that time again – when the temperature starts dipping little by little, and back-to-school shopping supplies are advertised wherever you go. If you’re heading off to university or college for the first time, or are heading back for your last year of graduate studies, these ten tips will help you thrive and survive throughout this upcoming school year!

Students have the luxury to spend their days learning about (hopefully) what they are passionate about. University/college is also the place where you learn to push yourself intellectually and emotionally. Often, this can lead to burnout and exhaustion. We all know what happens when we reach that point… You sit in the library in front of your laptop, blankly staring at it, sitting for a couple of hours before finally getting started. Worse, you could spend your year feeling continuously unfulfilled, unbalanced and unhappy.

How do we prevent this?

You could use that time so much more wisely! Imagine if you could avoid burnout and intellectual exhaustion, instead thriving in both academics and mental wellbeing. We can take steps to prevent burnout mid-way through the semester. By implementing actions in your life that lead to balance and stress-reduction, you should be able to feel as though you’re thriving in both academics and mental wellbeing.

1. Connect with others

Make time for your friends and family. If you feel overwhelmed by how much you have going on, try scheduling a phone call with your parents instead of impromptu calls. This can help you feel like you have more control over your schedule. Prioritize friendships and staying in touch. Positive relationships with the people around us are incredibly healing and important for our mental health.

2. Take time for hobbies

A lot of people get to college or university and give up their hobbies. Love piano? See if there is a music room in your residence for you to practice! Love sports? Get involved in some intramurals! It’s a great way to meet friends and maintain balance in your life.

3. Contribute to your community

Volunteering in a new community can be one of the most rewarding acts you can undertake at university or college. If you’re living in a new city or town, it can help you get familiar with neighbourhoods and areas that you might not already know. Find volunteer positions that are fun for you! It’s an amazing way to meet like-minded people, and will look amazing on your resume once you’re finally finished school.

4. Get involved in your school’s extracurriculars

Getting involved in your school’s extracurricular activities, like mentoring and student counsel’s, are a great way to gain skills that can be applied to settings outside of the university or college. You’ll often be thrown into this new environment and learn time management, learn about long-term commitment, boosts your relationship skills and your self-esteem.

5. Take care of your (physical) self

You finally have the ability to live off of pizza and chips if you want! However, I can guarantee that a diet of soda and junk-food is going to leave you feeling sluggish and low-energy in no time. Make healthy eating a priority in your cafeteria and see what healthy options are available. You might also have access to an athletic centre at your school. Physical activity is an excellent motivator and de-stressor. In addition, exercising GIVES you energy, rather than draining you! So if you’re looking for an energy boost, try hitting the gym!

6. Get enough zzz’s

Sleep allows your brain to take in new information the next day, and consolidate memories from the day before. How are you supposed to retain all of the new information from your classes if you don’t give yourself enough sleep?

7. Make time for de-stressing routines

Take the time to meditate, do yoga, read your favourite book (for pleasure!) at least once a week. You might feel like prioritizing these isn’t important, but later down the road when you find yourself calm and collected instead of stressed out and nervous for your exams, you’ll be happy to have implemented these routines. In addition, it’s great to get a start on stress management techniques at an early age. Stress affects your physical health in addition to your mental health, so it’s important to keep under control.

8. Buy a day planner

If all of these activities and routines sound daunting to you, don’t worry! It’s completely doable! All you need to invest in is a trust day-planner. You can create blocks of time that you designate for stress management, intramurals, volunteering, friend and family time. You can ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a balanced week where you feel well taken care of and fulfilled.

9. Take a break

Make sure you give yourself periods of time where nothing is planned. Spontaneity can lead to some of your best school-related memories! You could end up exploring parts of campus that you had never anticipated, or go out with your friends to a new part of the city that you had never been. Make time in that schedule of yours for a little wiggle-room and flexibility.

10. Ask for help

Above all else, make sure you ask for help from a mental health professional who you trust. Having someone you trust to discuss your concerns, hopes and aspirations with can help to bring clarity, focus and drive to your year.

By: Kaya Quinsey

Kaya Quinsey Mental Health Professional

How to Live with Balance, Not Burnout

url

We often measure our day’s success by what we’ve accomplished. How many meetings we tackle, how many phone calls and emails we replied to, how much we’ve contributed to our work. We measure our self-worth based on how much we’ve succeeded in a given day. A day well done is a day filled with these ‘successes’.

What if we measured our success on a different scale. What if at the end of the day, we tuned into our bodies and asked ourselves if we were happy, calm, loved, appreciated.

Success in North America (and rapidly spreading to other countries) is measured on a meter that rewards long hours, hard work, and eventually… burnout. Burnout is that moment when you find yourself incapable of working any longer. You’re so exhausted, frustrated or sick that it is physically impossible for you to ‘succeed’ any longer. At this point, the only way to relax is to sit on front of a TV or computer screen for hours and ‘veg out’. This is not an optimal way to relax and recharge! The moments of your life that you spend relaxing and recharging should fill you with vigour, energy and happiness. These precious moments should not be spent mindlessly.

It is understandable that once people reach a state of burnout, they are not in a place to think of fun, enjoyable activities for themselves. They may not have the time, energy, emotional resources or even value of life outside of ‘productivity’. Imagine getting into a rhythm where your life is optimized to be a balancing act between this notion of ‘success’ at work, and success in wellbeing. When you have success in wellbeing, you will be able to thrive even more at work. In other realms, you will be able to enjoy your days more, laugh more and perhaps see beauty in places you had not seen before.

1. Allot a day of the week to your wellbeing

Plan a day in advance EACH WEEK where you spend the day on your wellbeing. On this day, give yourself a limit to how many times you check your email, reply to messages, and take calls. You could go cycling with your family, go for a walk by yourself, take a yoga class… Anything that makes you feel energized.

2. Find a creative outlet

Did you love painting in high school, but gave it up as you got older? Have you been yearning to learn how to play a musical instrument? You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money on this. At the beginning of the week, set aside an hour or two at the end of a day to immerse yourself in this activity. It will act as a great de-stressor, a motivator, and inspire you in other aspects of your life.

3. Get support where you can

The more you burnout, the less you engage in meaningful discussions with other people. Do you have a friend or partner who you can talk to regularly? This is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding burnout. A lot of people have trouble finding someone who they feel they can talk to about important aspects of their lives. They may not want to burden a friend or family member with their problems. Make time for your friends, partners and family members regularly. If you need additional assistance, mental health professionals are there to help you work through your problems in a judgement-free, supportive setting. Find someone who you feel comfortable with!

Learn to balance your life, and that’s true success.

 By: Kaya Quinsey

32c8ff5

How to Reduce Symptoms of Depression Through Mindfulness

Get out of our heads and learn to experience the world directly, experientially, without the relentless commentary of our thoughts. We might just open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities for happiness that life has to offer us.” – Mark Williams

purple_water_drop_4_by_shayne_gray-d33c9pfMindfulness is becoming aware of the way in which we go through life, so we can become more intentional with our actions. You learn to observe your thoughts with openness and acceptance, rather than judgment. Imagine having a relationship to your thoughts where you realized they were just that – thoughts, and not reflections of reality!

Depression is one of North America’s leading mental illnesses. According to Help Guide, you may be depressed if you experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Loss of energy
  • Self loathing
  • Reckless behaviour

“Brooding is a key feature of depression,” says psychologist Mark Williams. In people who aren’t depressed, sad thoughts pass rapidly. People who suffer from depression are likely to experience rumination and brooding of negative thoughts. Mindfulness practices tackles this pattern teaches people compassion towards themselves and others.

1. Be present in this moment

You can learn to pause, reflect, and then react to your thoughts rather than reacting automatically. If you find yourself preparing to lash out, you can take a step back from your automatic reaction and ask yourself, “Why is this affecting me so negatively?” Mindfulness allows you to step back and remind you that your thoughts are just thoughts. Nothing more.

2. Accept your negative feelings

Sometimes, all it takes is acceptance of your internal state. When you try hard to reject your feelings, this creates even more negativity. By positively inviting yourself to experience your emotions as they arise, they lose their hold on you. Imagine your self-talk going from “Oh no! I don’t want to feel this way. Go away sadness. This sucks. Why do I always feel like this?” to thinking “Oh! There’s sadness. Hi sadness!” Although it might sound silly or impossible to put in practice, it really does make a difference how you appraise your thoughts. Try welcoming your emotions, rather than suppressing them. You might be surprised how quickly rumination and negative thoughts lose their hold on you.

3. Focus on a solution

What are you passionate about? What makes you happy? It could be writing, running, cooking, sailing… If you’re having trouble thinking of something that makes you deliriously happy, try a couple of activities! It could be hard finding the motivation to do so, so try calling a friend and setting up a date to try new things together. Maybe rockclimbing is your hidden passion, but you have yet to try it! Find out what makes you happy, and gives you a sense of accomplishment, and make sure you incorporate this activity into your life at least once a week.

4. Practice gratitude

When you’re dealing with depression, it can often feel as though you have nothing in your life to be grateful for. Try writing down a couple of things in your life, even the smallest details, that you derive pleasure from. It could be a really beautiful sunset that you saw on your walk home from work, the sale at the grocery store, or that phone call you received from a loved one the other day. Find a couple of things in your life that you’re grateful for and write them down. You can try doing this every evening before bed to start forming a habit.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, please don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional who you trust. Help is available to you. 

Sources: 

Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs. (n.d.). : Recognize Depression Symptoms & Get Help. Retrieved July 30, 2014, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm

Williams, M., & Penman, D. (2011).Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World. London: Rodale Books.

By: Kaya Quinsey

32c8ff5

The Road to Peak Experience

purple landscape

You can call it bliss, self-actualization, or intense happiness. Ultimately, a peak experience is an ecstatic state. You know, those moments in life where everything feels joyful and peaceful. There’s nothing in those moments that can phase you. You give this experience your full attention.
Think back to the last time you felt that way. If you’re like most people, you may have a couple of those moments floating around in your memory, although they are likely infrequent.

Now, imagine having a peak experience every week. It’s possible! By cultivating these skills, you can increase the ease with which you enjoy the beautiful moments of your life. Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1964) found that people can enjoy peak experiences during the most commonplace of events (waiting for the bus, drinking coffee in the morning…). He also found that the more emotionally healthy a person was, the more likely that they would experience peak-experiences in their day-to-day lives, and they would be stronger.

1. Awareness

Peak experiences are characterized by a heightened awareness of your surroundings, your body and your thoughts. You may feel like you are experiencing the world with tremendous clarity, seeing all as it was meant to be seen. One way to heighten and practice cultivating awareness is through mindfulness. Mindfulness, at its most basic level, involves paying attention on purpose. Many people start their mindfulness practice by sitting down in a quiet space, closing their eyes, and counting their breaths. This practice allows you to close the gap between the mind and body. You can find out more about how to be more mindful here.

2. Gratitude

You can call it counting your blessings, writing what you are thankful for, or anything else. The act of listing what you are grateful for has health benefits, boosts your immediate and long-term happiness, and can help you achieve peak experiences. You can boost your chance of having a peak experience through generating positive emotions that comes from thinking of what you have in abundance in that moment. Peak experiences are characterized by an overwhelming sense of gratitude. You can find out how to cultivate gratitude here.

3. Learn what makes you ‘you’

Individuals who are most likely to achieve peak experiences are self-actualized, mature and self-fulfilled. Learn your strengths and weaknesses. Try new experiences and become comfortable with vulnerability. These are the moments that help you to figure out what makes you tick! Remember that finding out who you are doesn’t happen overnight.

References
Maslow, A. (1964). Religion, values and peak experiences. New York: Viking.

By: Kaya Quinsey

32c8ff5

Google Circle
Join my Circle on Google+

Plugin by Social Author Bio