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The Blog

Filtering by Tag: mind and body

Can't meditate?

Emily Porta

I sometimes practice meditation with my clients. Meditation is a great way to get to know your mind and how it works. You can discover so many interesting things about yourself. Sometimes our minds can be so critical, distracted, emotional or blunted. After a meditation, I often hear, and have said myself, "I didn't do it right. I kept thinking." Well that is meditation. There is no right way other than to set the intention. 

So I thought I would offer a few tips on if you are struggling to meditate on your own:

• Use your smartphone for mindfulness apps and meditation scripts -There are a ton of apps out there, free and low cost that can help guide you through meditations. Sometimes just having a guide is all we need to feel confident to practice. 

• Meditate with a friend, your partner or even your kids - I believe anything in community builds you up. Meditation with friends or family can strengthen your relationship as you support each other in your journeys. 

• Take a class - So many options really! Other than yoga classes, if you are in the OC check out  The Center for Living Peace. They have two meditations per week and families are welcome. There is also the Zen Center Orange County. Meetup.com even has groups that get together. I HIGHLY recommend Adrienne Beattie's course. You can find out more about her here

• Don't stop. If you feel discouraged, reach out. Just don't stop. Every little bit helps and counts towards helping your brain health. 

5 Minute Meditation

Emily Porta

I have blogged before about my experiences with MBSR. I took a class from Adrienne Beattie, MFT and you can find out more about her and what she does here. She offers some amazing classes to help you begin or deepen your meditation experience. While I continue to practice and explore meditation, I thought I would offer a brief 5 minute meditation that will be on my website, whenever you might need it. I also highly recommend checking out UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center's website for other wonderful meditations here

May you find space to give yourself some kindness, rest and peace. Here is my 5 minute meditation for you.

MBSR

Emily Porta

MBSR is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I am taking a 6 week course in MBSR with Adrienne Beattie, MFT. The requirements - an open mind and a commitment to daily meditation. Evidence shows that after 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation training, you can change your brain structure. 

This is empowering!!! Seriously, I often hear (even in my own head sometimes) how "that's just the way things are", "things will never change" or "it's all happening to me." But research is showing us that you have the power to change your brain. 

You can increase the grey matter in your hippocampus (the center for learning and memory - so important for those of us with dementia in our family.) You can decrease the grey matter in your amygdala (the creator of stress and anxiety). Here is a link to the article.

So now what? Well,  here are some tips to get your started:

• Start of slow - just 5 minutes a day. Be aware of your breath. That's it. AND if that feels like too much, then start off 3 times a week and increase. 

• Be Kind to YOU! This is a practice...no judgement allowed. That is practice too...letting go of our self hatred, loathing or criticism.

• Don't give up - just keep practicing. This isn't a sprint. It is a life journey.

• Get to know your brain. Whatever happens in your meditation, it is simply information about your mind.

Best wishes to you as you try something new...something different. Your brain will thank you!

Do you have the time?

Emily Porta

I am going through this fantastic training for MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction). The students have been asked to meditate 45 minutes per day. GEESH!!! When am I going to find time for that? Then the instructor reflected "isn't it sad that we can't find 45 minutes out of the day to take care of ourselves?" 

Yes, it is tough to take care of yourself. We tend to put others first and then leave the scraps for us. Those final moments that we have for ourselves are usually hard to be fully enjoyed because we are so exhausted. So how do you make time?

• Plan it - Don't wait for it to instantaneously happen. It would be nice if it did, but it won't. 

• Respect it - Treat it like you are taking care of all the other people that you have put before you in the past. Don't let it be interrupted. 

• Enjoy it - Don't fill the time with things you "should" be doing (ya know - groceries, bills, doctor appointments, etc) but instead fill it with stuff you want to do. Not sure what you want? Might be time for you to take some time to figure that out too :) 

• Talk about it - Make sure your support system is on board and supportive. Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable. If you don't feel like you have good support, journal about what you want to do. Just writing something down can solidify the intention.

• Practice it - You know the song "if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again..." So if you set aside time and it doesn't happen, then try again. BUT be sure to understand what got in the way of you taking time out for yourself. 

So what have you been putting off...what needs to be done....can you make the time????

Red Light Challenge

Emily Porta

When I challenge others and myself to practice mindfulness and live in the moment...this can feel quite overwhelming. We are excellent at distracting ourselves and keeping our minds in the future focus or dwelling in the past. Instead, why not try one thing to be more present in your life? 

Whenever you are at waiting at a red light, take a few deep breaths. Simply feel the air rushing into your lungs, giving  you life. Feel the air as you exhale, warm and calm. Scan your body and take note of any tension. You may be in a hurry to get somewhere and you may feel very inconvenienced by the light. Whatever thoughts you may have, acknowledge them and go back to your breathing. Use the red light as an opportunity to get centered and to be present with whatever you are feeling  physically or emotionally.

Try the red light challenge and let me know how it goes for you. Would love to hear about it :)

Mindful Meditation

Emily Porta

I love encouraging my clients, friends and family to utilize proven ways to help their minds and souls. Meditation has great benefits, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. It can lower blood pressure, relieve pain and boost your immune system. Who wouldn't want an improved memory, reduced anxiety, alleviated depression, and decreased fears? So I have a great resource to help you get started. Check out UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research website with easy to download MP3s with mediations that can get you on the path of changing your brain. CLICK HERE Don't forget to use the mindfulness clock - a friendly reminder to take a moment of silence and breath. Remember it is a practice, not perfection. Just try it and don't give up. Nothing is better than valuing yourself and your time! Happy Meditating.