Progressive Muscle Relaxation

If Anxiety has been visiting you during this chaotic time in our world’s history, please consider Progressive Muscle Relaxation as a means of relaxing your body in order to relax your mind.

Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that relaxes your mind and body by progressively tensing and relaxing muscle groups throughout your entire body. The more you practice PMR, the faster you will be able to relax your body in order to calm the mind.

What We Can Do to Control Our Emotions During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Cheryl Zandbergen (Founder of Moms Gone Wild – and registered clinical counsellor, Tabasom Eblaghie (, have a heart to heart about what we can do to control our thoughts and emotions when life feels out of control.

We will look at what to do in terms of:
1) Physical
2) Emotional
3) Spiritual
4) Mental

There are also suggestions offered on what to do to assist the children in our lives.

“Visiting My Inner Child”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

“I’m scared!”
I know you are love,
We all are but you’re not alone
One day at a time
One hour at a time.

“I want to cry!”
Go ahead and cry love,
Then we’ll breathe again
Moving towards gratitude
Moving towards acceptance.

“I feel so trapped!”
Many of us do love,
Let us stay safe and secure
Focusing on others
Focusing less on self.

“I feel so weak!”
I will hold you close to my heart love,
As we gaze upwards, asking for protection
Emerging stronger and resilient
Emerging confident and assured.

“I feel calm.”
Go ahead and rest love,
This too shall pass & when normalcy returns
We will rejoice and laugh longer
We will appreciate and love deeper.


“Slow Down”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

“Slow down”
Whispered Mother Earth
As we skipped, jumped and ran
Focused on growth
Focused on self

“Slow down.”
Said Mother Earth
As we sprinted and flew
Past each other’s affairs
Past each other’s pain

“Slow down!”
Shouted Mother Earth
As we hurled through space
Indifferent to her heavens and skies
Indifferent to her oceans and seas

“Slow down!”
Roared Mother Earth
As she stopped the world
One country at a time
One city at a time

And it all slowed down
And the world grew smaller
As our hearts grew bigger
Indifference turned into concern
And mindless busyness evaporated

And we learnt to grieve together
And rejoice together
Unite and collaborate together
The sun smiled in the blue skies, celebrating
The dancing fish in clear waters

Material objects lost their worth
As simplicity returned
And the people advanced towards respect and courtesy
Flexibility and responsibility
With arms stretched out and heads bowed down

And the world was forever transformed
As we came together
Listened to and acknowledged each other’s pain
Each other’s worth
Letting go of control, letting go of self.

And as we slowed down
We really saw each other
As one people, one family
One soul, one collective heart
Bound together for eternity.

“It’s Just For Now. It’s Not Forever”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

When the days seem bleak and dark,
The minutes ticking by ever so slowly,
Remind yourself again and again,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

When the nights are filled with loneliness,
And anxiety surrounds your soul,
Just bring to mind that things will change,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

Pain has come but pain will leave,
Have faith and focus on this moment alone,
Hold your precious heart in hand and say,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

This too shall pass,
Minute by minute, day by day,
The earth will heal and so will we,
It’s just for now. It’s not forever.

Have hope, for you are not alone,
We are one people of one world,
Today’s pain will morph into stories of resilience and growth,
That strength is not just for now. It will be forever.

(This is an edited version of a poem I wrote a number of years ago “In Moments of Pain”)

Maintaining Our Sanity During the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Tabasom Eblaghie,
Registered Clinical Counsellor

With the coronavirus now being recognized as a pandemic, we are now witnessing large scale Panic and Fear visiting many of us. When these problems entities visit us, they cause our brains to release stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine. These hormones give us a natural boost in perception and speed, cause our hearts to beat faster and get us ready for fight or flight – basically we go into “survival mode”.

Also known as the “fight or flight mode”, this system is actually very smart as it ensured our survival if we encountered dangerous situations during prehistoric times – eg: running into a lion or a bear. Once we’ve enter into fight/flight mode, blood is diverted from major organs like the stomach to our limbs, so that we ready ourselves for running away or staying and fighting. Unfortunately, in addition to preparing us for survival, this also shuts down our immune systems (fighting the lion is more important than fighting that virus!) so we’re more prone to becoming sick. Exactly what we don’t want!

Being in fight or flight mode makes us less intelligent and clear-minded. This is because the part of the brain related to reflexes takes over from the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain related to critical thinking and planning. So at a time when we most need our logic and reasoning, that part of the brain shuts down and we may react irrationally and emotionally!

So, how can we mindfully and actively calm ourselves down in order to be able to make better decisions in stressful situations?

1) Practice deep breathing. We breathe using two sets of muscles. One set pulls the ribs forward (making the chest appear bigger) and the other set lowers the diaphragm, which makes your stomach stick out when you inhale. When you are under stress, you tend to rely more on the chest muscles than the diaphragm, which can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded.

To take a deep breath, place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Take a deep breath into the bottom of your stomach. You know you’re doing it right when you ONLY see the hand on your stomach move. Take a deep breath in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and release (hiss the breath out) for a count of 8. Repeat this slowly for a few times until you can feel your body relaxing;

2) Reduce number of hours spent watching the news and select our news channel wisely. Some stations are more prone to fast paced language and fear mongering. Stop watching all news at a reasonable time at night so that your mind and body has time to wind down and relax. Watching news until right before bed may deeply affect our sleep and general feeling of well-being.

3) If you have children, make sure that you highlight factual information that can relax their thinking around this difficult topic. Children are wonderful observers but not so good as interpreters as their brains are not fully developed. Reassure them with little comforting thoughts and distract them by going for nature walks, arts/crafts, cooking/baking with them and staying away from the news channel while they’re in the room;

4) If you’re working from home during this time or have children home from school, it’s best to have a routine and maintain normalcy by following a schedule . Eat meals at the same time as they would if they were still at school and take breaks as they/you would on a normal day;

5) It’s important to keep an eye on our sugar intake and also limit caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen anxiety;

6) Going for a walk or exercising is one of the best gifts we can give our bodies. When we exercise, there is a release of endorphins (neurotransmitters) in the body, which are basically the “happiness hormones”. Walking allows us to unwind, de-stress and go back into our lives at a higher productivity level, thereby using up less energy to do difficult tasks

7) Problems grow in secret so now is a great time to connect with loved ones and share our concerns. It’s usually best NOT to make major life decisions during times of stress and if we have to do so, it’s best to consult with others before jumping to rash decisions;

8) Assist others. This is our chance to reach out to others, especially those who may be in isolation and find out if they need groceries or assistance with setting up technology so that they can connect with other loved ones via the Internet. These little acts of generosity move us away from anxiety as we are focusing on things that are within our control rather than what’s not in our control;

9) Have faith! Connecting with our Faith by saying prayers and relying on divine assistance has the power to calm and rejuvenate our souls.


If you’ve been experiencing higher levels of Anxiety and Fear visiting you, please call Tabasom at (604) 889.3635 or email for your private counselling session today. Please note that Tabasom does offer Internet counselling and can connect with you no matter where you live in the world.

5 Tips for Helping Someone Grieve

By Tabasom Eblaghie,
Registered Clinical Counsellor

I have the honour of sitting and witnessing the grief of people whose loved ones have passed away, and trying to put the pieces of their lives back together bit by bit.

Now, on the one-month anniversary of the loss of my beloved grandmother, I wanted to share a few thoughts on grief and how we can help those suffering the loss of a loved one.

An area of concern by almost everyone I meet is the reaction of family, friends and colleagues around them. As a society, we are not well versed in the art of knowing what to say or do when someone dies.

Most of us mean well – we truly do! We fumble around for words, not making eye contact, and perhaps resort to century old statements that have been passed down from generation to generation, many of them being quite useless and sometimes damaging to someone who is grieving.

We share words we’ve heard many times, that can wound the heart of someone who is mourning. How often, we knowingly nod, and say “This was God’s will”, “They’re in a better place now”, “You’ll get over it soon and move on with your life”.

Depending on the emotional and mental state of the griever, statements like the one above can be misunderstood. We may have the best of intentions, but may cause pain as we are unknowingly telling the griever to “get over it”, and move them hurriedly past “negative” emotions.

And when they don’t, we often jump in and offer advice how they could – “You should clean out his/her closet and give everything away”, “Take their photos down”, or “You should be happy they’re no longer in pain!”
When we advise, most of us are doing it out of love, and not wanting to see our loved ones in pain. But perhaps there are other ways we can support and show our love:

1) Just listen. If you want to offer a question, say “Do you want to speak about him/her?” If they start sharing memories with you, simply listen to them and keep the focus on them. Try not to shift the focus back to yourself or change the subject, but just be present with the look in your eyes, a comforting hand and the love with which you listen to them. Share memories with them, and always allow them to bring up their loved one’s name by also doing the same.

2) Be there for them. Offer a helping hand by bringing food, picking up groceries, and asking them whether you can assist them with making difficult phone calls. Often the grieving person does not have the energy to call and look after day to day affairs, or complete the documents that need to be filled out after their loved one passes away. Offer to do these tasks for them. By offering to take care of these tasks, you may be able to lift a load off their shoulders.

3) Helpful comments could be:
a. I’m sorry for your loss
b. Would you like company?
c. Would you like for me to stay over?
And if at times you don’t know what to say, it’s ok to be silent and just offer a shoulder to cry on.

4) Let them know that crying is healthy and normal, and it doesn’t mean that they are weak. Offer them the safety to be able to cry in your presence. Crying is nature’s way of releasing internal tension in the body and allows one to communicate a need to be comforted. The capacity of the mourner to share tears is an indication of the willingness to do the “work of mourning”.

5) Let go of the expectation to “get over it”. You don’t get over your grief. Everyone is changed by the experience of grief. Slowly and over time, a person works to integrate the new reality of moving forward in life without the physical presence of the loved one who is now gone. Through reconciliation, there occurs a newly found energy and confidence, an acknowledgement of the reality of the death, and the capacity to once again find pleasure in living.

If you’re having a difficult time with Grief’s visits, please email Tabasom to find out whether counselling would be of assistance to you at this time:

“You are important to me!”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

I recently had a call from a girlfriend who shared the wonderful news of her pregnancy with me, and her joy of welcoming her third child, who would be a boy. It was so thrilling to share her excitement, and I was deeply touched when she said, “I’ve been wanting to tell you myself, because I’d be heartbroken if you found out from someone else, and would have thought that you weren’t important enough for me to share the news myself.” I assured her that no matter where I would have heard the news from, it would still have brought much happiness but felt grateful that she cared so much.

That line stuck with me and over the next week, as I listened and met with all the wonderful clients who are so courageous to share their lives, challenges, and success stories with me, I realized that so many felt the crushing weight of sadness because they felt they weren’t important enough. They don’t matter.

What does that look like? The mother whose children didn’t visit or call, the wife whose husband wouldn’t listen to her suggestions or accept her influence in their marriage, the husband whose step-children ignored and belittled his opinions, the daughter whose parents seemingly favoured her sibling and looked down on her choices…and the list goes on and on.

Most of us don’t intentionally set out to hurt the people in our lives. We all lead busy lives, and the days come and go so fast, it makes our heads spin. However, our actions are the proof of how important someone is to us, which really says “You matter to me”, which ultimately means “I love and respect you”. If I feel insignificant or irrelevant to someone, that is a clear indication that this individual does not respect or love me. The feeling of being unloved causes one to withdraw, and silence may take the place of conversations so easy at the beginning of a relationship.

Saying the words “I love you” but leaving a person feeling like they don’t matter, or are unimportant to you, creates dissonance and instability in a relationship. Love must come with loving actions, and caring gestures.

Here are a few ways of making the people in your life feel important:

1) Speak their love language. We must show love in the manner that our family and friends want to receive love, not in how we feel love. Here is a previous article on the five ways we show our love: “The Five Love Languages”

2) Learn to listen. Listening is a skill and must be practiced and learnt. Active listening requires our full attention to understand how our loved ones think and feel. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” (Stephen Covey). “Listen to understand” rather than “listen to reply”. We can make our friends feel important by listening to them as though they were strong rather than by jumping in to solve or playing the expert of their lives.

3) We must be present. If you’re out for lunch with a friend, put the cell phone away and be fully engaged! If we multi-task and check our messages or go on-line when spending time with our loved ones, this signals they’re not important enough to receive our full attention. “Wherever you are, be all there” (Jim Elliot).

4) We must share our lives, time and resources. We can make our loved ones feel important by being there and sharing our thoughts and talents with them. “Nothing is too much trouble when one loves, and there is always time” said ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912.

5) Ask questions and follow up. What’s going on in their lives? What are their challenges or successes? If they just came back from a trip, how did it go? What did they learn at the Convention they just attended? How did the job interview go? When loved ones share their lives with us, and we forget to follow up, it may signal lack of caring and concern on our part.

6) Be punctual. Nothing is more frustrating to those individuals who are on time to be friends with those who are always late. By being late, you may give the message that your time is more important than your friend’s time, which may create resentment long term. Plan to be there a half hour prior to the set time and hopefully you’ll get there on time!

These are just a few examples, and may not apply for everyone we know, but perhaps at least one of them could be incorporated into a relationship.

Now there is also something to be said for the flip side of the issue, which occurs when Hyper-Sensitivity or Anger visit us, with their unrealistic expectations of our friends and family. Hyper-Sensitivity and Anger convince us that we are less-than and unimportant, and bring Resentment into the relationship. If it feels like you don’t matter, or getting differential treatment, maintain open lines of communication and check to make sure this is the case. Making assumptions based on negative thoughts can destroy relationships, and may not be true. Check in with loved ones and share your concern prior to walking away from the relationship.

“You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”Thich Nhat Hanh. Moving towards Forgiveness is the most loving gesture, and frees us from the icy clutches of Anger and Resentment.

By making those around us feel important, we ultimately draw them closer to us, and develop long and meaningful relationships, which can enrich our lives.

How do you make the people in your life feel important?

Please call Tabasom at (604) 889-3635 if you’d like to book a private session.

Old man and son

“Therapeutics Letters”

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

Oh, the power of weaving together
Individual vowels and consonants
A golden thread used to stitch one letter to another
To create healing words and uplifting verses.

May we exercise our free will to create
Soothing thoughts that blow away regret
Calming lyrics of love to heal shame
And songs of gratitude, removing anxiety’s hold.

May we master the art of respecting the words
That tumble out of our hurts and joys
To weigh and measure before breathing them
Into a space, never to be retrieved again.

May we witness the wind’s endeavours as it strains
To catch the words exiting our mouths, spreading them far
May they colour the world beautiful, in hues of acceptance,
Dignity, integrity, courtesy and graciousness.