Elements for Self-Growth with Tara Brown - Conny Graf

The 5 foundational elements of self-growth is the topic of todays episode. How to overcome depression and live a happier life. 

We continue with the theme we started last week about happiness and releasing mental clutter like limiting beliefs.

But first I want to thank Monica for her 5-star review ❤️


Thank you so much for your kind words Monica and for listening to my podcast. If you love my podcast too, you can help me by going to Apple Podcasts and write a 5-star review, just like Monica. This will help that more people find this podcast and can move from chaos to peace in their life and business. 

Ok back to this weeks episode about self-growth and happiness, but this time we come to it from a different angle.

The other day my meditation app Headspace sent me this inspirational quote:
   

When we appreciate that all emotions are transient
it becomes easier to observe them without bias. 

That's basically the topic of today's episode and I have Tara Brown as my guest. Tara is the founder of Living A Happier Life. This is an organization dedicated to help people transform from living with depression into living happier lives.

Tara had been depressed herself and she had hit rock bottom, listen in and hear how she turned her life around. It's basically taking better care what we think and to process our emotions instead of pushing them down like so many of of us do, or how we learned that it's not appropriate to show our emotions. 

Tara says: We're raised with a hardness mentality, that you can't put yourself first, that you have to put others first. that you have to take care of the world, and that you have to give to give, give, give. We've never learned how to love ourselves because we were taught that if we did that, that this was your weakness, or it was bragging.

After Tara hit rock bottom, she spent years on her self development journey which then led her to create the program The Five Foundational Elements of Self Growth. The five elements are, Gratitude, Loving Yourself, Healthy Boundaries, Forgiveness, and releasing limiting beliefs. 

As you know I say decluttering is self-love, I also talk about that we need boundaries to keep the clutter out, we do a love tour in our home before we start decluttering to see what we love and we are grateful for what we have. Last but not least, it's all about releasing limiting beliefs, clutter often stems from limiting beliefs, from scarcity that we will not have enough in the future if we don't hang on to everything we have in the present. 

That's my angel to it all, in this episode we hear Tara's inspriring story, her angel, and how she can help all of us to live a happier life. 

If you find value in this conversation with Tara please share the episode with one or two of your friends or family members, because if you find value in it, they will too. 

Tara Brown

is the founder of Living A Happier Life which is an organization dedicated to help people transform from living with depression into living happier lives. Tara is an mindset empowerment coach and has spent the past 15 years on her own self development journey which led her to create her program, the Five Foundational Elements of Self Growth.

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Reading instead of Listening (Transcript) 

FYI: this text is not polished, I try to keep it as close as possible to how the guest expressed herself/himself . 

Conny Graf
Welcome, Tara, I'm so excited to have you on my podcast.

Tara Brown
I'm so excited to be here, I've been looking forward to it for a while now

Conny Graf
Yeah, we had to wait for a little bit before we could talk to each other. I'm excited because you are a mindset and empowerment coach, but before we dive into this, I would want to know a little bit more who is Tara? And how did she get here?

Tara Brown
Well, I've lived a long life and it's been a challenging one. So instead of letting it overcome me and becoming and staying a victim, or even becoming just a survivor, I decided to do more with my life and to become a warrior and try to teach people how to not have to go through the same things as I do. Or if they do, at least how to get out of it.

Conny Graf
That's I think, something we can all use so did you you want to share a little bit like, how you found how not to be a victim and how to be empowered? Like, what was it in your life, where you found it? Was it just like, oh, enough is enough? I have to figure it out myself now? Or did you meet somebody who gave you guidance? or How did it happen?

Tara Brown
I was a person who hit rock bottom and just decided that I needed to make changes. Because of my depression, and I was stuck in a seriously abusive relationship my kids got taken away from me. And at that moment, I decided that that was it, that was my why-moment.

That couldn't be so I had to change as simple as that. It couldn't be that I didn't have my children. I was a mom in my heart and my soul. So I had to do some real big changing, and it was that moment, from that moment on that I changed.

Conny Graf
Yeah, I hear that a lot that when people hit rock bottom, or when it's basically like I said, enough is enough, then they change. So was that shortly after that you founded you're living a happier life organization, or did that come later?

Tara Brown
No, that came later. I spent most of my life as a as a waitress, and I love doing what I do. I love taking care of people. I love feeding people. But I always felt that there was something missing in my life that I just wasn't doing something that I was supposed to be doing. So I started out by making the living a happier life brand.

All it was was just positive messages, just positive mindset messages, that's all I started out with. And then I had taken schooling and I'd taken courses, and I had done all this stuff, but at first I didn't have the confidence to be myself and to build on it to make it a business. So I worked on that and then I took the dive and I believed in myself and I said okay, you know what, I could do this. I have the knowledge and I have the experience, I have the the how-to, and what I have to say is very important and very powerful and can help a lot of people. So I knew I had to get out there and share my word. So this is what I'm doing.

Conny Graf
Yeah, and I checked out your website a little bit. And I feel it's really awesome what what you're doing, and you have five foundational elements of self growth that you have identified. And what I saw one, one of the five resonates really well with what I'm doing. So would you want to share it with us a little bit? What are the five fundamental, I can't even say foundational elements for self growth.

Tara Brown
Gratitude, Loving Yourself, Healthy Boundaries, Forgiveness, and releasing limiting beliefs.

Conny Graf
Yeah. And, and that's the funny the funny or the interesting part is like a lot of what I do when I help my people declutter has to do with these five things.

So self love, I always say decluttering is self love because we're doing it for us so that we're less stressed. Gratitude, what I started with when I talk when I help people is we start with a love tour of their home. So what what are we grateful for? What do we love? Creating boundaries often talk to is like clutter is almost like having no boundaries, letting all that stuff almost suffocate you, you know. And then finding forgiveness I did release an episode about forgiveness for others, and most of us for up most of all, for us, because we're so harsh with ourselves often

So I really love that. And, and also, depression and clutter go often hand in hand, is that also something that you notice, like mental clutter, for sure. But in general, like people have a cluttered life when they're in depression?

Tara Brown
Well, that's the thing, like a lot of what I teach is organization and setting up routines, because the more the more consistent you are, and the more the more repetitive you are, the more you can change the easier you can change your life. So if you have a consistent routine of every morning, you know, saying it doing a gratitude list or saying affirmations or meditating or if you start that into a routine into your organization, that that just becomes a habit and then it helps your life in so many ways.

When you're depressed you just kind of let everything fall and and it's and it's hard it's hard to get up and and clean man who wants to do that when you're feeling sad and tired? and heavy, right? You nobody wants to get up and clean their house or get rid of last week's newspapers or, or anything. That's Yeah, so the question to answer your question is yes.

Conny Graf
Did you did you figure it out for yourself to like how this or that your environment or surroundings have an effect on you and your your feelings?

Tara Brown
When I used to suffer from depression, my house used to be so messy at one time, I gave myself a concussion because I tripped over some garbage and hit my head on the coffee table

Conny Graf
Oh, my Godness

Tara Brown
Yeah, my house used to be very cluttered and dirty, I just do anything because I didn't have the energy to do it. Now, my house is so much cleaner and it's not even a hard thing to do. I don't even have to work really hard to keep my house clean. It's just something that happens. I pick up stuff as I go along. Because I have the energy to do that. I feel good about my house, I feel good about my surroundings, and it helps to keep it pretty.

Conny Graf
Yeah, I always say your home ideally feels like your sanctuary and you feel comfortable at home. Life is enough stressful in other areas, the home shouldn't be stressful on top of it, so that helps. When you have the right routines too, one of my sayings is a few minutes a day keeps the clutter away. When you have your routines the way you were just talking about, then it's easy. That's what a lot of people miss in the beginning, they think oh, I have no time or I have no energy to declutter or to keep my house up to snuff. But it actually feeds you energy when you're doing this. It just you just have to find the strength to starting and to wanna change out of this state of depression.

Tara Brown
It's just something that you have to make yourself do and find a way to enjoy doing it too. When it's housecleaning day, I kick everybody out, because if they don't have to help, they have to leave. I turn on the music way, way loud, and I dance and I clean and I have a good time doing it. Because when I can enjoy what I'm doing. It will just be easier, that's just common sense, right and makes things easier.

Conny Graf
Yeah, totally. So when somebody says okay, I come to Tara because I'm depressed, how would you start? Where do you start with someone when they come to you and they're struggling and they can't find the the strength or the energy themselves to get out of it. Where do you start with them?

Tara Brown
Well, I always start with where you are now and where you want to be, because you can't change unless you have have an idea of what you want to change into. You have to have a direction to go to. And visualization is a is a huge, huge tool in self development. So working on figuring out where you want to be in life.

Like, I want to be happy, well, how do you want to be happy? Do you want to have a good relationship or are you looking for a job? Like, what are you looking for in life? What are you looking for what will make you happy. And then from there, we just got to work on loving yourself and becoming one with ourselves and changing the way we think, to make that happen.

Conny Graf
Yeah, but I find that especially for people who suffer with depression, that it's sometimes hard a to even know what they want, they don't even know what it means to be happy.

Tara Brown
And that's why we start with that, right? You don't know what you want, you have no idea but you have a dream, right? It's in there, right, you might have to pull it out, you might have to do a little bit of digging for it. But there's always a an ideal of how you want your life to be and how you don't want your life to be. Not tired all the time and depressed, you know, but you want to be able to go to the baseball game or go to the barbecue next door, or anything.

You do have an idea and even in small increments, like just even getting off your couch and to go be part of the world. That's a goal, that's a definite goal of where you want to be, and once you get there, then you can go to the next goal and then the next and the next.

Conny Graf
So you help them find.... a) you help them find what their goal of a happy life is, and then b) the steps how to get there. So do you usually do that with one on one coaching, or are they are in a group setting, or do they do that on their own? How do you work with them?

Tara Brown
I have a few different ways. One on one for sure, then I have a course that I created. It's called Finding Your Happy, it's a mindset training, an empowerment mindset training. And then there's the Warrior Women Membership, which is a monthly membership, that takes you through everything that I teach, but also you become part of a community, and so you're not alone, right?

That's a big thing with depression, you feel alone, you don't feel like anybody else feels the same way, you don't think that anybody you know has the same issues and problems. But we do and we can help each other. Back when I was in grade seven, we had peer support, just a group where you can help people by just being there for them and talking to them, so why can't we do that now? So those are the three things that I offer.

Conny Graf
I feel in today's world that depression (and you probably are more the expert on that and me) is so common these days, it's because we did lose our families, we used to live in in bigger families so we were not really alone. I forgot what the statistic said but a huge amount of people like 40% or something are living alone and I feel that is really hard for us. And then when you suffer from depression, reaching out to people is probably almost impossible.

Tara Brown
yeah, and a lot of us were raised.... well our parents were from the Great Depression, our parents and our grandparents, right. So we're raised with that that hardness mentality, that you can't put yourself first, you have to put others first. You have to take care of the world, you have to give to give, give, give. We've never learned how to love ourselves because we were taught that if we did that, that this was your weakness, or it was bragging.

You see all these messages are that we were taught, it's up to us now to realize that those messages are outdated. We are no longer in the Great Depression, this is the world of technology, we don't have to work hard to get to where we want, we have to work smarter. It's a different time but we're still living in those old outdated beliefs.

Conny Graf
Yeah, we have to evolve, we have to go with the time, totally, otherwise we would stay back when we were still lived in caves, so I totally see that.

So talking about more modern times, I read on your website that you're also trained in Reiki and in chakra alignment, do you feel that this helps? Or did this help you with your depression? And can you help your clients with these techniques too?

Tara Brown
I don't really work with it too much, but I did study it. Because I find Eastern Medicine is fascinating. Eastern medicine and neuroscience, these are things that I like and that we didn't recognize, self development, life coaches.... I mean, five years ago, if somebody said, oh, I am going to a life coach we would be saying what are you talking about? Or 15-20 years ago, if you said I'm going to a psychiatrist or therapist..... right?

These are all these beliefs that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, that we just kind of poo poo because of our beliefs about, you know, Christianity and by what the Western world goes by. So I just love the idea that we are bringing them back and they're so beneficial. People find so many benefits whether it's acupuncture, Reiki, people do tapping, EFT, yeah, fascinating stuff. If you open your mind, you can really learn anything and you can learn how to do it heal yourself, you can heal yourself from depression, the world is your oyster.

As long as you let yourself open up, be open to it and open up your mind, and don't just be like, oh, well, it's not pills so it can't be great.

Conny Graf
Yeah, and I feel like we do have that notion right away to, when something is wrong, to go and look on the outside and see whether there's a pill or somebody, instead of maybe seeing whether there's other ways. And just with EFT or neuroscience it's so interesting what all they find out what we can do ourselves to, like you said, lift ourselves out of our mess and live a healthier and happier life and that's not being said that not some people need to go to pills, but it's not the only option

Tara Brown
Absolutely yeah, there's people who have actual neural problems and chemical imbalances that need antidepressants, but there's a lot of people who just don't know how to think properly. They were just taught how to think in a very unhealthy way that promotes depression, and that's really all it is. I'm not saying that just because you're depressed that I'm making light of it, because I'm not. It's a traumatic, traumatic experience, but I know that you can heal from it.

And even though some people benefit from antidepressants, it's not for everybody. It wasn't for me, I couldn't take them. I'm not a pill person, I can't take a daily pill, I'll forget, and then they sit on my counter. So taking antidepressants just wasn't something for me. So I had to learn how to retrain my mind one step at a time, so I didn't have to take the antidepressants, so I could learn how to do it on my own. And so that's what I teach people, because it's hard, it's hard to figure out how to do this stuff on your own.

Conny Graf
Yeah, and possibly in our today's world where we're so connected and with social media, where everybody presents themselves as the happy being, we also think sometimes, something is majorly wrong if we're not constantly happy. So that's kind of a thing that I noticed too, people think they need to be constantly happy. And, that's not true, we have to acknowledge that we can't always be happy and then having the tools on how to process these emotions is important, and as you said we have to learn how to think properly.

Tara Brown
Yeah, one of the one of the exercises that I have is called labeling your feelings and it's just saying that you're allowed to feel bad. Like when I decided that I was going to change and I was changing, I was like, okay, that's it, I will never gonna be angry again, I'm not gonna do it. Well, obviously, that didn't happen. But if you are able to label your feelings, now when I get angry or mad or I get depressed, I'll just say, okay, you know what, I'm having an off day. It's aloud, I'm going to forgive myself. I'm going to give myself the space to have this, often I'll feel better right away, usually within an hour or so I feel better. You're allowing yourself to feel it, you're not pushing it down, because when you push things down what happens? Right, it comes back up. You're allowing it, you're giving yourself space to be who you are, to feel what you're feeling.

Conny Graf
Yeah, I love that, that's exactly what I came across too that when you are allowing your feelings they go by much easier and when you're trying to push them down, then usually the negative talk kicks in too and then it gets even worse. It's like a pressure cooker and you're probably inside almost bursting, instead of just releasing the negative feeling you're making such a big fuss out of it.

Tara Brown
Yeah, because when you're pushing it down, then the next day, you still feel kind of crappy. So you're pushing that down, and the next day, you're still kind of really pushing that down. So instead of like letting it go three days ago, when it could have just been like, okay, gone. Now you have all this anger, depression and the bad feelings all building up until it's too late. Yeah, like my son, when he was 11 years old having temper tantrums for no reason.

Conny Graf
Yeah, exactly. I heard somebody once give that picture, you're in the water and you have a ball and you're trying to push the ball under water but it always wants to come back up. That's what you're basically doing pushing that ball down and it's so much work and so exhausting. So it's such important work and so similar to what I do. Most people think, oh clutter I just get Conny in and get her to help with decluttering a little bit.

Then we're often ending up in all kinds of tender territory because our surroundings have so much to do with us and how we feel, and why the surroundings are in chaos. I always say as within so without, so if you're outside is in chaos most likely inside of you it is also not calm and peaceful.

Tara Brown
There's also a decluttering exercise you can do for your mind, do a brain dump. Just write, journal, journal, journal. Do some visualization exercises, if you're feeling like you're having a problem or you're failing at something, change the problem into a project. Go from thinking I can't be successful, I can't make it, I can't do this.... to what can I do to make myself successful? What can I do to make myself feel good, and then it becomes more of a, to-do-thing rather than I can't. It's all mindset.

Conny Graf
it's all in the brain, yes.

Tara Brown
you can declutter yourself as well as your house

Conny Graf
Oh, yeah well, I always joke and say, in the end everything is mental clutter. Even the physical clutter you have aroundyou is in your head because you think oh, no, I can't let that go because.... and then we're already in the in the mental space. So where can people find you if they wanted to connect with you if they wanted to join one of your programs

Tara Brown
So my website is Living a happier life , my Instagram is @livingahappierlife. And then I also have a Facebook group is called Living happier, empowering people to live their best lives. On any of these places I have great daily content. I like to share, I like to help, I always over deliver so come and hang out with me there.

Conny Graf
So I will put all these links into the show notes for sure, so people can just click on it and find you. Do you have any last words or any wisdom or a tip that we haven't touched on yet that you feel like you need to get off and is important?

Tara Brown
When it comes to decluttering anything, or self development or anything that you want to do, just take it one step at a time. I remember when I used to be a server and I don't know if you if you've ever heard the term in the weeds, it's when everything happens and chaos develops and 50 people are ready, and need your your attention for 50 other things and I had to learn to stop and just take things one step at a time.

When you do that, then things don't seem so overwhelming and so unmanageable. If you need to declutter anything, just pick a spot and start there, or take a spot in your mind and start there. Or do an exercise but always one step at a time, and be compassionate with yourself, don't give yourself a hard time because you're not working at as fast as you want it. It's not happening as fast as you want it to, it'll happen when it's supposed to happen. So be kind to yourself and take it one step at a time.

Conny Graf
Beautiful more or less exactly in line with what I'm saying too, the clutter didn't happen overnight, so it will not be gone overnight either. So don't expect that from yourself. And, yeah, be be be kind to yourself. And it's sad that it's so hard sometimes.

Tara Brown
These are two pieces of advice for anything you do, anything, like start with cutter and end with your self esteem, whatever, making a cake, always one step at a time and be kind to yourself, even if that cake falls it's probably still pretty tasty.

Conny Graf
That's such a great ending. Thank you so much Tara for your time and for sharing your wisdom with us, thank you very much.

Tara Brown
No problem, I had a good time. Thanks, Conny

If you have any questions

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