Growing Pains and Synchronicity

Growing Pains and Synchronicity.pngJust when you think you’ve got things figured out life throws you a curve ball. I’ve been in my graduate program since Summer 2015 at Florida Institute of Technology and I thought I had their format down. That is until I recently began their Stage II coursework for my last year of the grad program. YIKES! I thought I prepared for this… by taking steps to decrease my ABA work load by stepping down from a management position to a therapist position and immediately jumping into it part time with a different agency(with hopes of gaining full time 30 hours). I even took a month break, the calm before the storm if you will…. WOW How I was wrong.

This first month has been a huge adjustment! And I know I loved the term growing pains, especially at every transition in my life from graduating high school, starting undergrad, taking a break from undergrad both, going back to undergrad and finishing my B.A, to starting work full time to finding out my passion of ABA and jumping into the grad program to now transitioning to part time ABA works part time Oily work (essential oils) and Full time Grad School. Just academia alone has so many challenges, twists and turns and adjustments to grow into. This isn’t even including relationships with people both platonic and romantically and all my personal hurdles with dealing with grief and loss of loved ones.

Everything is synchronicity. I truly believe that things happen at the right time and moment- of course we have to be proactive to get to those moments and cannot expect to just sit around and have it come. I have been a spiritual seeker and have taken paths that strayed away from my spiritual practices of praying, meditating and other forms of self care like yoga, journaling, jogging and was distracted by filling my time with this and staying busy. But it is back in full force!

Let me tell you that during all of those “growing pains” it was because my “why” changed! Who I am was changing, I will continue to change and transform. Just as the caterpillar evolves to a butterfly each transition in my life goes through major transformations.

Can I just circle back to synchronicity for a bit? Remember I mentioned my Oily work. Well that in it self is full of personal and spiritual growth with finding my “why”. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people who inspire me to do scary sh*t, to be vulnerable to do things that will be challenging to help me grow and thus help my oily business grow. To continue to find those inspiring self help podcasts, books, videos as well as surrounding myself around people who lift me up and challenge me to grow and evolve.

I’d like to be vulnerable with you all reading this for a minute, as vulnerable as I was in last nights class/ group supervision meeting. I broke down in tears in front of my colleagues, my mentor/ professor- I admitted that this was harder than I thought it would be (grad school). That my adjusting to things has been bumpy and some days I want to curl up and hide under a rock. This was real. It was my honest truth. It was full raw emotions-most being released through tears and words. They did not laugh at me or bring me down, no in fact my professor took time to really talk about what IS NOT talked about or explained to many people in grad school. He said that “yes, this will be one of the hardest years of your life and you will feel tired and not sleep enough but you will get through it.” He encouraged us to share about where we were and I am so fortunate that he talked about how in these hard times what will really help us is making those connections with people who get it, who understand what I am going through, who have been there before. Again synchronicity. This is so true, that no matter what part of our lives we are in we need a support system. We need people to lean on. We need to be VULNERABLE and ask for help, to say it’s hard but to also be able to get back up again and say BUT I CAN DO THIS! and to see that people HAVE done this and that people ARE doing this. WOW my mind is blown by all of the synchronicity between what I have learned between my oily tribe and now my aba support system.

My classmate even chimed in about the “why” and how we have to remember “why” we are doing this: How this is bigger than us. That we are here to help people. BOOM Synchronicity AGAIN! I am so blessed to be where I am and to be surrounded by so many different circles of people and communities that lift me up. My “why” will continue to change but right now my “why” is to continue growing and learning in order to help people in the best way possible. Between sharing essentail oils, mindfulness tips, life skills tips, and aba – behavior tips. I am here to serve the people while doing what I love and thus supporting myself and my family.

If any of this resonates with you and you’d like to dialogue and talk more I am here! I am around through email and social media platforms. All you have to do is step outside of your comfort zone and reach out like I did.

Thank you all! for reading this post and hearing me out as I process this wonderful journey!

P.S.

I would like to add before writing this post I took time to wake up early and practice yoga (Yoga with Adriene). I used my oils (Young Living blends Abundance and Awaken- topically and taking 3 deep breaths of it). I am practicing what I want and changing my behaviors to nourish my body, mind and spirit.

Reflection on Grad school Anxieties

IMG_4668.JPGI like to post different topics here and it was time to post about ABA and the past few days I have been brainstorming and trying  to come up with what to post and then tonight happened. In class we were vulnerable and trusted each other.

I am beginning my last year of grad school. This year we are focusing on intensive practicum and capstone project. I am adjusting to the rigor of juggling multiple classes at once on top of work (ABA & YL) and personal life.

This is the second week of the semester and already getting to know my “cohort” was very eye opening. I go to Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) and it is an online program. So we were video chatting and getting to know each other and our backgrounds. I am so thankful to have my professor (actually many of professors and instructors are wonderful!) for the capstone project and intensive practicum because he keeps it real. Tonight while introducing ourselves a few of us talked about our feelings and one that popped up multiple times was anxiety.

He dug a little deeper and wanted to talk to us more about this. It was eye opening and inspiring, the stories I heard tonight from colleagues. My professor wanted to define anxiety in terms of ABA- it was amazing. He said that Anxiety is the fear of the unknown- that Skinner classifies this as a conditioned response and that it has antecedent functions and a history of punishing consequences (what happens immediately after the behavior that either decreases or increase the behavior occurring in the future) for the behavior/ emotion. Basically what this means is that we feel anxious because of the unknown and in the past the unknown had negative consequences that decreased the behavior. (I will get a blog post on ABA Basics soon!)

He wanted us to  think about new functions(the why a behavior) to the antecedent (what happens immediately before the behavior)  and gave us an example of a rock climber. And how the unknown of rock climbing can lead to anxiety but can also be humors and fun. It’s true- I’ve indoor rock climbed before and the first time I was anxious because of the unknown but I was still able to have fun and keep trying and figuring out new ways to try and make it to the top. He talked about inviting in the discomfort and laughing through the process. Who I am changes depending on the contingencies. Learning contingency of reinforcement-  Skinner calls this the hot learning. Basically meaning that you learn from experiencing the stove is hot by touching it. ouch! haha

I know this year will be challenging and a lot of work but I am sure it will bring new perspectives for me in the field and I will grow to be a better person/ Professional Behavior Analyst throughout it.

He talked about being gentle with ourselves, to admit when we need help. He talked about turning fear into curiosity. It was such an inspiring space where we were able to really reflect inward and be vulnerable with each other. Something else mentioned was thinking about “where do I go to hide from fear.” This I will need to reflect more deeply upon.

So much of tonights conversations resonated with me and was truly synchronicity. Time to up my self care game! Posted is a photo from todays visit to the beach. I love to go to parks and beaches in between seeing clients. I make sure to add time to meditate, unwind during this time as well as be productive with studying or working on other things.

Positive Coping Skills

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It is so important to learn positive coping skills. As a child I do not remember explicitly learning these positive coping skills but I’m sure I learned the basics “breathe” and “take a break” these are things that everyone can benefit from- no matter how old or how young. Currently I use my background in behavior and essential oils to help supplement and support my coping skills.

Life is full of ups and downs- both joys and growing pains. For myself I feel like my early college years (it took my 12 years to complete my B.A in Human Development but thats a story for another time about resilience) were a time where I was fully exposed to labeling and identifying these coping skills. Sure, we’ve been told to breathe when we are mad or to take a break but I never really understood the importance of finding coping skills that worked for me. I began going to therapy and was given some tools (coping skills) to use during stressful and overwhelming times. I felt like there was much for me to explore to help me cope. I learned to not be discouraged if you feel like something is not working for you, it takes practice and if you do feel like after some time you still aren’t feeling it then try and explore something else.

I am thankful that my dear friend has allowed me to share this info graphic with you. Please take a look at it and then follow along as I give examples of what I do for each.

Distraction: I allow myself a time frame to give myself a break this is so that I don’t go overboard and have my distraction become avoidance behaviors.  A great distraction for me is playing with my dog, walking my dog(really anything with my dog he is truly my emotional support animal), watching a light hearted or funny show, or cleaning (I feel so much better when my space is not cluttered and dirty).

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Lemon, Stress Away or Peace and Calming I or II

A behavioral tip: is using priming or using a timer to a lot myself the time and prompt myself when it is over.

Grounding: Something that works for me is practicing yoga- I follow youtube videos because they can be done at anytime from home, guided meditations from apps or online or going right outside my home or out in nature like to the park or beach.

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Grounding, or Frankincense, or Lavender

A behavioral tip: is using a visual prompt for the meditation or a reminder on my phone as a prompt to remember, environmental arrangements: placing my yoga mat out for easy access.

Emotional Release: Let’s be real. I’m a cryer. always have been and always will be. I found that after a good cry in the shower I feel sooooo much better. Something about the water washing away my tears and the sound and feel of the water is soothing. When I am feeling upset or down or basically anything besides happy I look for things that make me laugh whether it is from watching a show or looking up memes and funny shorts online. I just need a good laugh. Hugs! i love hugs! getting a nice long hug can be so beneficial to me.

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Surrender or Orange

A behavioral tip: Prime yourself- allow yourself a time frame to let it all out this could be a half hour, a day, a week, etc. be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to feel these emotions and then let them go when they no longer serve you.

Access your higher self: Meditating, praying, sending out loving kindness, and doing random acts of kindness. This is something I don’t feel as confident about writing about because I am exploring this still.

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Frankincense, Gratitude or Humility, or Highest Potential

A behavioral tip: Environmental arrangement: place these oils in a easy access spot for you to notice them and be prompted to use them.

Thought Challenge: I work on identifying negative self talk and reframe it or repeat affirmations to myself. An example of some negative talk that rotates is that “I am not good enough” when this comes up I immediately try to change it to “yes! I am good enough, I am enough.”

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Palo Santo, or Sage, or Grapefruit

A behavioral tip: Place post its all over your home with affirmations that you can read.

Self-love: YESSSSSS, I honor myself during times of stress and have learned to say “no” or “i can’t” when I just need time to myself to rest and recharge. This still becomes difficult for me because I have FOMO (fear of missing out) but I get over it because I need to honor what my body and self needs.

A young living essential oil (YL EO): Joy, or Lavender

A behavioral tip: Set up a jar where you can reinforcer yourself when you practice these positive coping skills use a dollar or how ever much you want at a time and when you accumulate enough you can use that money as an extra special Treat yo self fund- get a mani pedi, get a massage do something for your physical, emotional and spiritual self!

Hope this gives you ideas for moving forward with positive coping skills! Remember it takes time and practice to build these healthy habits. ❤

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ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)

What is it? Part I

I am in love with ABA! Which makes sense because I am in graduate school right now pursuing my Masters in Professional Behavior Analysis from FIT.

What is ABA? Many may not have been exposed to ABA unless they are in the field, in education or know someone who has ABA therapy/ works in the field.

ABA- Is a scientific approach for discovering environmental variables that reliably influence socially significant behavior and for developing a technology of behavior change that takes practical advantage of those discoveries.

Definition taken from the Cooper Book: Applied Behavior Analysis Second Edition

What does this mean without all the jargon??????

It means ABA is the science of behavior change and how we apply its procedures, methods, and technologies to make significant behavioral changes in society.

If an organism has behavior ABA can change it! Have you heard of behavior change? behavior modification? Maybe you’ve heard of it from psychology class. B.F. Skinner did studies on teaching animals different behaviors such as pigeons to play ping pong and rats to pull levers or Pavlov’s dogs, the ringing of the bell and how they were trained to drool.

Where can we find ABA being used today?

I first heard of ABA when looking into the field of special needs and Autism. I heard of ABA therapy being used to help people who have Autism but there are many other areas that ABA is used for! ABA can be found in Organizational Behavior Management in corporations and the work environment. It can be found in the hospital for Brain trauma, training animals, in therapy offices with ACT Therapy, early intervention, health and exercise, substance abuse  and much more. You get the idea 🙂

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