Tag Archives: self talk

Relaunching Therapy – Be Humble

Joanna 8.1.17

My daughter who is teaching me the art of humility daily.


A lot has happened in the three years since I last posted.  I got married, gave birth to an adorable baby girl, moved several times, and changed jobs.  In the spring of 2016 I completed yoga teacher training and started my own therapy practice.  Needless to say, it has been equal parts exciting and nerve wrecking, leading me to seek out therapy to process it all (yes therapists also see therapists)!  The purpose of THERAPY is to display how mental skills such as thought reconstruction or mindfulness on the yoga mat can be used in day to day life.  Life has not been short on stressors (like a crying baby all hours of the night); I’d like to share how I am using these skills to reduce my anxiety during life’s many transitions.  Walk with me on this journey to find ways to create peace in your own chaotic world.


There are levels to this life… and nothing makes me entitled to instantly be the best.  I talk about this in each therapy session and each yoga class I lead and continue to struggle with giving myself grace as I embrace this concept in my own life.  Having a baby really put this in perspective for me as my body changed in many ways.  Despite my awareness of the need to accept this new body while working towards certain goals, I’m frustrated with my body’s inability to be perfect immediately.  I expect myself to run, jump, flip, and bend in ways I used to and even in ways that I never have before just because it “should.” “Elise,” I say to myself, “It’s been two months.  Go make yourself a seat, sit down, be humble.  There’s levels to this and you are back at level one.”  This is hard for me to listen to because my expectations are not realistic nor fair.

In both therapy and yoga, your perspective impacts everything.  If you plan to move like a master but you are still a novice your plan of action will always fail.  For example, if I continue to approach my postpartum workout plans based on what my body was like when I was 16 years old, I will constantly be disappointed and injured.  However, if I can humble myself and start from where I actually am (creaky knees and all), I have the potential to achieve my goals without injury and in a sustainable fashion for years to come.  Embodying this requires a great deal of humility. Without humility, I can never grow because I am not watering my own plant but one that doesn’t exist.

So I’m pushing myself to start from the ground up.  Literally.  When I practice yoga I am doing mostly floor poses to honor my knees in their current state.  When I get frustrated with myself in my new role as a mom I am practicing self-talk in that very moment to promote acceptance while respecting my desire for change.


  • Have an honest conversation with yourself and those who know you well about what your goals are and where you are right now in relation to those goals.
  • Once you have identified your starting point make a clear plan to nurture that space FIRST to cultivate acceptance.  THEN create plans for change.
  • Have mental reminders for self-acceptance with awareness of the desire for growth, honoring both parts of you.  Your wants are just as real your current abilities; denying your desires doesn’t make them go away.   For example, practice self-talk such as “Today I am stretching to take care of my body.  Soon I will be running with strong knees.”
  • Deep breathing to stay connected to the moment.  Try to pair this with a simple yoga pose like child’s pose.  Humility, or self-restraint, can be cultivated with practice by narrowing your attention to the present moment only; this is the opposite of your mind wandering to unfair expectations for that moment.
  • Model this for the kids around you through saying out loud “I want to do ____ but right now I can do ____.”  Adjust your wording to be compatible with the age of the child.  Not only does modeling teach others, it also helps you practice skills with intention.


Sometimes we can “therapize” ourselves and other times we can not seem to figure out why things are so difficult.  If you would like to meet with me to explore ways to become your best self, feel free to contact me (http://www.elisedaviscounseling.com).  I offer individual therapy in private, comfortable spaces in Raleigh, NC and Durham, NC.  Information about cost of services, insurance options, and availability can be found on the website.   

If you are interested in integrating movement through yoga into your therapy process or personalized workshops please contact me via the same website.   

Elise 7.27.17

E.N.D. Pain. Let go. Live,

Elise Nicole Davis


Quotables and Intentional Focus


Today I am on vacation. Yes a real one. Great people are around, I am in the middle of nowhere, and I am feeling peaceful.  The best part about right now… is that everyone is still sleeping and I get a getaway within a getaway.  I get my morning.  I get my coffee. I get to reflect on what is.

This past week I have used two of my favorite quotes in therapy.  “It is not things that upset man, but the view which they take of them,” by Epictetus and “When I let go of what I am, I become who I might be.”  I’m unsure who wrote the last one, but I do know I loved the quote so much I got it tattooed on my side in college.  I wanted to always remember that my authentic self was a constant part of me; I wanted to push myself to let go of all the labels I’ve put upon myself and just be.  I have revisited these quotes many times over the past few years to remind myself I have control over my thoughts and choices.

We have the ability to redirect our thoughts to a place that is beneficial for us.  Yes there will be times where our thoughts are scary or brutally honest, but those are safeguards built inside humans to keep us safe. Those thoughts are beneficial. However, a lot of the time (at least for me) my thoughts put up an alarm when there is no threat or overestimate the possibility of threat.  Those thoughts are not founded on any proof but fueled by doubt and crippling fear. Thoughts like these can completely change your experience with anything and keep you in a “what” state of being, burdened by labels and an inability to live like a free human. Your life then becomes under the control of something else; you in fact become an object.

In the spirit of lessons I learn from my clients and the message I received in church this week, I tried very hard to put my fear aside and to really redirect my thoughts yesterday. The trip up the mountain was scary and thank GOD it was dark and I couldn’t see how high we were. Despite all that, in the passenger seat I wanted to have a panic attack.  I said to myself, “Not today. You don’t have fear.  There is no evidence I can fall off this mountain. Bri (my neighbor) has driven up here before.  The great state of North Carolina would have shut off the road if it wasn’t safe to drive on. God is protecting you.” It was not easy at first but I just kept singing Mumford and Sons, took deep breaths, and let myself have a life experience.  Is it necessary something I want to do every day, hell no, but it did prove Epictetus’ point.  I changed my view and I got up the mountain.

I kept thinking about other areas I can be intentional in reducing areas fear keeps me trapped instead of accepting each breath as my own, fueling who I am.  I remembered how I hold my shoulders up tight alllllllll the time, which is a sign that an animal is in defense mood (if I were a dog my hair would always be standing up), and how I constantly hold my stomach in to not feel fat.  “What is the point Elise? You are with good friends and in pretty good health. Let those shoulders down, there is nothing to worry about in this very moment, and if there were then be uptight then. No one cares if your stomach sticks out some.  If it bothers you that much go do some sit ups and put down your vacation beer.”  I had this conversation, well monologue, with myself this morning in the shower.  So today, I will breathe. I will let it all hang out. I will work on my view of things so the thing itself does not become bigger than it is.  Most of all, I refuse to be an object, a what, and embrace each breath as my own because this is my life… I am connecting to who I have always been. 

This week, take time to really connect with the moment.  Be intentional about your thoughts as that is the blessing and the curse of being human. Remember what you might be is really who you are right now under all that junk, breathe and let him/her exhale. Holding your breath sucks.