As I notice my acceptance of this I find that less and less gets in the way of my inner peace. I have felt a little out of sorts the last few days.
Is it hormonal?
Is it moon related?
Is it the menopause?
Who knows and I find that I care less and less. Letting go of the need to analyse every fluctuation in my mood, energy levels etc just means I have less on my mind and that is where peace really lies.
I have spent too long trying to find answers but as I understand that correlation is not causation I let go of the desire to make up the source of uncomfortable feelings.
And the less I think about them the less I focus on them.
The less I focus on then, the quicker they pass.
The less they get in the way.
And it’s all okay. I will go up and down because that is the human condition. It comes from something deep inside all of us. The thing that connects us. It’s not for us to decide so why fight. It’s exhausting to do so.
And when we surrender and accept, there is a feeling of inner peace. There is a connection to who we really are. There is a knowing that it’s all unfurling just as it was always meant to do.
And from that inner peace comes that whisper of what to do next.
Whatever it is it feels right and it replenishes body and mind. Just as it is meant to be… always.
If you would like to be guided by me on a unique journey to inner peace contact me click here to book your complimentary discovery session
As the client sat in front of me it dawned on my that we might need a mental health revolution. I heard about the previous therapeutic support they had received. This person had experienced an unpleasant event a few years earlier. The diagnosis they had was PTSD and they had been seeing a therapist for about six sessions. Part of their therapy was to write a script of the unpleasant event and read this on a daily basis for homework! Strange to relate, they had felt worse since the therapy began.
Mental Health Therapy Now
Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this approach to mental health. Revisiting unpleasant events as a treatment for people like this is not uncommon. I have heard many stories of this kind over the last few years.
I am not telling you this story to criticise therapists. Most therapists want to help people. The issue is that they have a misunderstanding of how the mind works. A misunderstanding about where our daily experience of life is coming from. More on that soon!
I am telling this story only as someone who now helps clients improve their mental health. I am telling you this as someone who has been there. In 2015, when I was a headteacher, I burnt out! I experienced stress for such a long time that I managed to wreck my adrenal gland. My diagnosis said depression and I was off work for a year whilst I tried everything to recover.
I spent hours talking about what was wrong with me and where it might have come from. The aim is to find answers (in the past) and move on. But poking and prodding the issue didn’t help. I had talked a lot but didn’t feel any better.
It seems to me now that talking about what is wrong with us, over and over again, doesn’t help. It’s like putting fuel at the bottom of the fire whilst trying to put it out with a hose at the top.
I spent years trying to feel okay. Even after I recovered from burnout, I still felt like there was something not right about me. I engaged in more therapy and also entered the world of self-help. This made me feel like an ongoing project. A to-do list of self-development. Can you relate to this?
But then I learnt a set of psychological principles. They have brought me to a place of confidence, clarity and deep inner peace I never realised was possible. What I have learnt has the potential to revolutionise the way we help people improve mental health.
The first principle is that we create 100% of our experience through thought in the moment.
So that’s why the approaches above often don’t help. Because they make us think more about the issue and that makes us feel worse. When you think about something, you will experience feelings associated with that. Your past unpleasant experience cannot exist other than in your thinking. So, if you want to feel better, not thinking about your past experience has to be a step in the right direction; right?
The difference between theory and principle
Psychological theories are many and there has been much research in this arena. The missing link has always been principles of psychology.
Here’s an analogy which might help. Many, many years ago, the medical world did not know about germs. As a result of this, they tried all sorts of things to stop infections in their patients. Some things helped a bit but people still died from infections in their droves. This was because doctors and surgeons didn’t know about the principle of germs. Once they knew, they cleaned up and changed their practises. A lot less people died and the medicine moved forward with the principle of germs as a bedrock.
We create 100% of our experience through thought in the moment.
This is a principle of psychology in the same way as germ theory is a principle of medicine. It is happening all the time whether we know or believe it is. Without principles, psychologists and therapists have tried everything to help people. But they didn’t find anything which helped everyone. These principles will revolutionise mental health practises like germ theory did for medicine.
Every person working to help people overcome mental illness is doing their best. But like the surgeons of the past, it is less effective because they are missing these principles. We don’t need to know what experience in the past created a thought. We need guidance to see that we create our experience 100% of the time through thought in the moment
Imagine if we based all our help for mental illness on these principles.
Imagine how that would simplify things.
Imagine if it didn’t matter where in the past a thought originated from.
So, how does this work?
Because these are principles, they work a bit like gravity! We don’t go around thinking about how to function in a world which has gravity. We have an embodied understanding which we learnt way before covered it at school. We can get on better in life if we work within the principle of gravity and don’t try to fight it. It means we don’t spend the day walking through the remnants of the things we have dropped and broken. Life is easier.
It’s also easier when you know that you are creating 100% of your experience through thought in the moment.
But hang on a minute, I hear you cry. People just need to spend time in therapy so they can learn to control their thinking and feel better. What are the tools and techniques for this?
I can understand why you might be thinking that is the case. You might have spent years and years trying various techniques to help you feel better. I tried affirmations, gratitude journals, mediation, tapping, yoga and more. I got so caught up that I reached the point where I didn’t think I would ever be okay without those practices. Can you relate to this?
You cannot control your thinking
Have you ever noticed the randomness of your thoughts? Do you ever get a funny thought about the past pop up? You notice it and move on. Then another thought pops into your head!
This arrival of thoughts into your mind at random is the principle of mind. You might believe this is the wiring and firing of neurons or an energetic power much greater than you. Either way, you cannot control your thinking.
Some random thoughts from the past feel easy to let pass, don’t they? But have you noticed that some thoughts feel like a command or a fact about the outside world? Then we add more thinking into the mix. We get caught up in a thought storm and start to experience unpleasant sensations.
But thoughts are random. You do not get to control them. When you let them, thoughts flow through your mind. As each thought passes, another one arrives in its place. This is the nature of how we work. Trying to control your thoughts using tools and techniques is something else you can let go of.
The one thing you can do is choose where to focus your attention because …
… you are not your thinking
In fact, you can finally let go of the impact your thoughts have on you when you realise one more thing.
You are not your thinking!
You are the awareness of your thinking!
But YOU ARE NOT YOUR THINKING!
This is the third principle. The principle of consciousness. The fact that you are the one aware of the thoughts! That the thoughts are not part of you no matter how long they have been around.
When you realise that you are the awareness of thought, it’s like shining a light on your thinking. And that has an almost magical effect. It makes the thoughts melt away and seem less powerful. It’s a bit like the way the heroes in the movie defeat the Gremlins. All you have to do is expose your thought Gremlins to the light that you are and ‘poof’!
And the joy of this is that you are only ever one thought away from remembering who you are. Only one thought away from reconnecting to the mental health that is always there. One thought away from confidence, clarity and inner peace.
Every single one of us has innate mental health. It’s only ever a thought away.
No-one is anxious or has anxiety; they have anxious thinking.
No-one is depressed or has depression; they have depressing thinking.
No-one is suicidal; they have suicidal thoughts.
This is not underestimating the impact this has on those who are suffering. It’s about saying that we are stuck in a way of helping them that is never going to quite get there. It won’t whilst we work with a misunderstanding about where experience is coming from.
What next for mental health?
In a world of therapy without this understanding, there is a search for answers. There is a reliance on techniques and a sense that we need to fix people. With this understanding, there is a feeling of optimism. There is a sense that everyone is well other than their thinking sometimes takes them away from that.
And as I spend time with people guiding them towards this understanding I notice that in action. How someone who feels lost and sick can settle and find peace so fast. And as someone who has been there myself and helped so many others, that’s all I ever want. I don’t really want to start a revolution. It’s more of a gentle wave. But I do want to see things change and fewer people suffer.
So, if you are reading this as someone who helps people or someone who would like to feel different, get in touch. An hour of my time costs you nothing but could make all the difference.
You can book a 121 to find out more about my approach here or start your journey to mental wellbeing by booking a discovery session here.
In my blog,Increase Gratitude in 6 Ways to Feel Less Stressed, I mentioned keeping a gratitude journal. In this blog, I share my 9 top tips to make it work for you. This will give you easy ways to make keeping a gratitude journal a habit. This can have a huge impact on your ability to be more optimistic and feel less stressed and worried.
Choose Your Gratitude Journal Method
It might be that you like to write and feel more in flow when you pick up a pen and a nice notebook as your gratitude journal. If you prefer typing you might use a suitable APP or the notes APP on your computer. It doesn’t matter too much as there is not one right way to keep a gratitude journal. Just make sure it is something you are happy with.
Choose How to Record in Your Gratitude Journal
Once you have decided where to record, you can choose how to record. Some people write in sentences whilst others keep a bullet-pointed list. The key here is that the where and how should suit you. This is something you want to become a regular habit so make sure it is an enjoyable process for you.
Choose Your Time
Once you have decided your format, it is important to decide when you are going to record your gratitude. The evening is one time to write with gratitude as it provides a positive way to end the day. Sitting down last thing at night and reflecting on the wonders of your day makes you fall asleep feeling good. You may find that it has a positive effect on your sleep patterns too. You are also helping to train your subconscious mind to find more positive in your life.
You can also record gratitude in the morning so that you start the day filled with positive thoughts. Again, by focusing on the positive, you will find that your mind notices more positives as you go through the day.
Make it a Routine
Once you have chosen your time of day, the key now is to be consistent. As with any new routine, it can be hard at first to make it happen every day. Try to be consistent then you will find that after about month, you will miss it if you don’t do it.
When you are starting out, you can trick your mind into taking on the new routine. You can leave the journal on your pillow or where you know you are going to be last thing at night. You can also put a reminder in your phone or set an alarm. Push on through the first few weeks and soon it will be part of your normal daily routine.
Decide How Many Things to Record in Your Gratitude Journal
Set yourself a goal for how many things you are going to write about and stick to it. You can write in a bullet-pointed list, in sentences or in paragraphs, it is up to you. Make sure you are consistent as this is key in setting up a new routine. I write between about 5/6 things each day.
When I first started my gratitude journal, I was quite general in what I wrote about. I wrote about the things that I had all the time like my health and a roof over my head. It is good to be grateful for those things but remember, that the aim is to rewire your brain for gratitude. It is almost like you are tuning in your gratitude radar. When you have to look for new things every day, you become more alert throughout the day.
Say Why …
If you are writing your gratitude in sentences, try writing ‘because’ on the end of the sentence. Say ‘why’ you are grateful for that thing. An example of this might be: I am grateful that I found a parking space today because it meant I got to my meeting on time.
Focus on Things You Would Like to Improve
If you have an area of your life that you are working on try focusing your gratitude on that area. This could be a relationship, job, home or any area of your life. Try noticing and recording the good things about that area. Focus on what you appreciate rather than homing in on the things which you do not like. It is amazing how this can change how you feel about that relationship or area of your life.
Use Your Gratitude Journal to Raise Your Self-Esteem
We are often not very good at noticing the good qualities in ourselves. When growing up, we are not encouraged to praise ourselves for the fear of becoming ‘Big Headed’. But, the ability to see the good in ourselves raises our self-esteem and makes us nicer people to be around. People with high self-esteem tend to be successful in most aspects of their lives.
Your gratitude journal can be a vital tool to raise your self-esteem. Make at least one of your gratitudes about you and notice how this improves how you feel about yourself. For example, ‘I am grateful for my motivation today because I wrote a new blog and sorted all my email’
Get Started with Your Gratitude Journal and Feel More Positive
If you apply the advice in this blog you will be able to get started with recording gratitude. You will start to feel the benefits of noticing the world around you in a more positive way. If you are struggling with stress and tend to see the world in a negative way, I can help. Hypnotherapy can re-program your mind to be more positive. Then you can relate to the world with less stress and help raise your self-esteem.
In this blog, you can learn about the power of gratitude. You can also find out how to increase gratitude in 6 ways to feel less stressed.
Have you said ‘thank you’ today, or expressed gratitude for anything in your life?
“Well I’ve been very busy” you may reply. “I have got a lot on my mind, a lot going on …”
But … Have you had a moan today, complained or noticed something that is not right in your life?
If you have found time for one, why haven’t you found time for the other? It is because one is actually much easier than the other!
It’s our programming!
Human beings’ brains are hardwired to look for the negative in life. Our ancestors would not have survived if they were not wired to watch out for danger at every turn. Looking out for danger is part of our programming. This means that we are more inclined to see what is wrong with the world. In the past, our ancestors were alert for every sabre-tooth tiger around the next corner. In that way, they stayed safe and survived to produce the next generation.
Our programming is out of date
Now, there are no sabre-tooth tigers on our high streets but this way of thinking is still a part of our programming. This increases stress levels by causing us to focus on what might be wrong in our surroundings. It causes us to worry about the future and ruminate about what went wrong in the past.
You can rewire your mind by increasing gratitude
Increasing gratitude is a powerful antidote to this negative way of thinking. The more you notice to be grateful for, the more you will have to be grateful for. This is true! As you notice positive things and increase gratitude, your brain wiring will change. Your habitual thought patterns will become different. You will develop a more positive way of thinking. As this way of thinking increases, you will notice more things to be grateful for. You have to put some effort in to start but it soon becomes a natural way of thinking.
Here are my 6 ways to increase gratitude so you can feel less stressed
Start your day with gratitude
Wake up and make the first thought of your day grateful. Say thank you for your bed, your sleep, your breakfast and the roof over your head. Say thank you for being alive. Before you even get out of bed, say thank you for at least 10 things.
Stay grateful throughout the day
Notice green lights and parking spaces in busy places. Feel grateful for a smile from a stranger or good service where you ate your lunch. Try thinking ‘thank you’ for every experience to increase gratitude further.
Re-frame to find more gratitude
Notice things to be grateful for in situations which could be seen as negative. A rainy day in July is easy to moan about. Try feeling grateful for the access to water we have when some places do not. Notice the greenery around and realise that we need the rain to produce it.
If you are stuck in traffic, be grateful for the time to think, listen to the radio or enjoy an audiobook. You can do nothing about the traffic jam, it is outside your control. Re-focus on anything you can which feels positive and that you can be grateful for.
Put a reminder on your phone a few times a day. Stop and notice 5 things to be grateful for where ever you are. Over time you will notice that you get better at this process.
Take photographs of significant things. Make a board at home that you can look at any time or make a collage to use as your screen saver. You could even us an electronic photo frame to show your moments to be grateful for.
Get Grateful with Your Children
At the end of each day write things you are all grateful for on small pieces of paper. Store them in a jar or container you have decorated. Every so often get the slips out and read them.
Keep a gratitude journal.
At the end of each day record, 4/5 things you are grateful for that have happened in the last 24 hours. They don’t have to be big things. To make this even more powerful, try adding ‘because’ to each sentence, you write. This will increase grateful feelings by making you reflect on why you are grateful.
The Magic of Science When You Increase Gratitude
And the magic of this is scientific. The more you express gratitude, the more your brain will rewire to notice the things to be grateful for. It’s like you are creating a new habitual thinking path inside your brain. Over time, you will find gratitude easier and notice the effects it has on your life.
Choose one of the strategies above and give it a try today.
If you are struggling to increase gratitude because of your negative thinking, get in touch. Hypnotherapy can help!
In this blog, I will share my 8 top tips to zap pessimism and increase positive thinking. This will help you to feel less stressed and have a more optimistic view of the world. It will also help you to find creative solutions to anything you have to tackle in your life.
‘I’m not negative but I am realistic.’
This is one of the statements I often hear from my clients. The other one is:
‘I assume the worst will happen and then anything else is a bonus.’
These people do not believe that they are particularly negative thinkers. They often call themselves realists. But negative thinking like this can reduce your ability to find solutions. It can also get in the way of creativity.
The Negative Thinking Impact on Creative Thinking
Thinking like this closes down the mind’s ability to see solutions. By thinking something bad will happen, your mind focuses in on that as the only possible endpoint. This creates a tunnel vision effect. It shuts down the ability to see anything outside the blinkers of that negative point of view. The mind already believes there is no possible positive outcome. It sees no point in looking for a creative solution. This makes it more likely will get exactly the negative result you thought would happen.
With positive thinking, you open up your mind to creative thinking. You can then see more possible solutions. If you tell your mind that it is possible, your mind responds by beginning to search for the solution. This opens up your creative side and increases the field of vision of your mind. It is almost like your mind’s peripheral vision broadens and as a result. Solutions appear more often in unexpected places.
Find more car parking spaces
A simple example of this is finding a car parking space. Let’s say you arrive somewhere busy (ASDA on a Friday afternoon). You tell yourself, there is no way you will find a space. You don’t see a space because you have already said there won’t be one and end up parked near the recycling bins at the back of the car park. Now let’s imagine that you tell yourself there will be a space. You open up your field of vision and see someone loading their shopping into the car out of the corner of your eye. You end up in that perfect space near the door.
If you want to find more parking spaces or solutions to issues in your life positive thinking can help. Read on to find out how.
8 Top Tips to Zap Pessimism
Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude practice is so important for making optimistic thinking more habitual. The more you notice things to be grateful for, the more positive thinking your mind becomes. You form new neural connections and hard wire your positive thinking.
Notice your thinking
Get into the habit of noticing the thoughts you are having and keeping them in check. Think to yourself, what are the alternative outcomes in this situation. You could even try writing them down to hard wire your ability to see different options.
Avoid believing your own thinking
You are a whole collection of other people’s ideas, popped into your head from when you were small. Learn to challenge your thinking and realise that much of it is a pack of lies.
Watch out who you spend time with
I have read before that we are a product of the five people we spend the most time with. If you are hanging around with moaning, negative people, you will become more like them. This is because your subconscious mind is trying to help you fit in.
Give yourself credit
We are great at saying thank you to other people but when was the last time you praised yourself. When something goes well, give yourself a proverbial pat on the back and enjoy your success. By emphasising your capabilities, you will find it easier to have a positive view of the world.
Keep practising to create the habit
The more you practise challenging your thought patterns, the more habitual it will become. Don’t expect major changes in thinking right away. It will take time for new ways of thinking to become ingrained.
Affirmations are positive, present tense, possible and personal statements. Saying them out loud many times each day can help to reprogram your mind for positive thinking.
Try affirmations like:
o I see the positive in every situation
o There are solutions available in every aspect of my life
o I deserve success
Book to see a hypnotherapist
Have you developed a negative thinking pattern over many years?
Are you finding it tricky to shift?
A few sessions of hypnotherapy can help.
Hypnotherapy is an efficient way to let go of old thinking patterns and create new, positive ones. Contact me or book your complimentary discovery session here to find out how I can help.
Developing a habit of positive thinking will help to open up your mind to creative solutions. But changing habits does not happen overnight. Be persistent and don’t try to change everything at once. Make small changes in your habits over time. You will then notice more happiness, optimism and creativity in your life.
In this blog, I share my top tips to stop worrying and feel less stressed. When you find a way that works for you to stop worrying and feel less stressed, you can improve your life.
We are all working and living under increasing pressure. Life is fast paced and not showing any signs of slowing down. On a day-to-day basis we have so much to think about and so much to do.
The pressures of the moment are enough to make us feel stressed.
The Problem with Worrying
The problem with worrying is that it adds pressure to your already busy life but it’s all in your head. Whilst you are trying to focus on the task in hand, your mind is galloping off into future doom and gloom.
This adds another layer of pressure in your life. Left unchecked, worrying can become extreme and lead to anxiety and stress-related illness. Worrying has no benefits to you or your mental well-being. It increases your stress levels but also stops you from enjoying what is happening right now.
Worrying can occur when you are already stressed out and overwhelmed. But it can be so out of control that you even worry when there is nothing to worry about. This takes away present joy. Like sitting on a beach whilst worrying about a meeting you are attending in 2 weeks time. Sometimes it is exhausting.
What is worrying?
Worrying is a habitual thought pattern. It is the path your mind takes you on when you think about the future. Most of us have an occasional worrying thought. It’s what happens afterwards that can cause the problem. I know some people who can go from a worry about something small to death in destruction in a few minutes. The key to stop worrying and feel less stressed is to interrupt the habitual thought pattern. You can then work on your mind to reduce the number and frequency of those worrying thoughts.
Top Tips to Stop Worrying and Feel Less Stressed
Ways to Interrupt Thinking Patterns
Techniques to use in the moment when you notice that first negative, worrying thought.
Let Go Breathing
Breathe in through your nose and think ‘let’. Blow out through your mouth (like blowing out through a straw) and think, ‘go’. Keep repeating the cycle until you feel the worrying thought has gone.
Visualise a big, red stop sign in your head, think ‘stop’ and feel the sense of your thinking grinding to a halt. Keep repeating until you feel calm.
Ask yourself, ‘Have I done everything I can do?’ and ‘Is there anything else I can do?’. If there is action you can take to reduce the worry, then do it or write it down.
A 5-10-minute chat with someone you trust could help you reduce the worrying thoughts. Make sure it is someone upbeat and positive and not someone who will join you on the route to doom and gloom.
Decide that you are going to worry about that thing later. Jot your worry down and then decide that you will worry at 6pm this evening for example (not too close to bedtime). Then limit the amount of time you spend on the worrying.
Long -Term Practices to Reduce Worrying
Your daily habits define who you become. If you adopt some new habits in the care of your mind, you can make a difference to how you feel day-to-day.
Use a journal or fill a worry jar with bits of paper with your worries written on. There is something about writing things down which can help you release them. Once you see your worries on paper you will find it easier to see how little they make sense.
If you are the kind of person who picks up on what is going on around you then try to stay away from the news and social media. Unfollow the negative people who always share the latest bad news. Leave those groups who are stuck in the rut of sharing all that is wrong in the world. Avoid the news, particularly as a start or end to your day. If your brain is already wired for negativity, don’t feed it any more evidence that the world is a terrible place.
Getting moving helps reduce worrying. It helps your body produce vital happiness hormones like serotonin. Regular exercise will help you stop worrying and feel less stressed.
The practice of meditation reduces worrying thoughts and anxiety. It is learning to take your attention from your thoughts (worrying) to your body and breath (the present). Meditation has an immediate impact on your mind, but you may not perceive that for quite a while. That is why it is vital to persist with meditation. Keep practising daily and you will see the benefits in the long-term. I use guided meditations available on APPs like Calm and Headspace but also on YouTube.
Taking time every day to notice the things you have to be grateful for rewires your brain for happiness. The more gratitude you feel, the stronger your positive thinking neural pathway will become. Try keeping a journal where you write 5 things every day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big things. Flowers in bloom, the sunshine, a parking space when it is busy, a cup of tea made by a colleague or a hug from a child. Gratitude is another practice which will not change you overnight but will make a difference if you keep going.
Like every area of life, change doesn’t generally happen if we don’t take action. Changing your mindset from worrier to happy and calm is no different. All these techniques take practice and to become a habitual part of your day. On that note, start small. Chose one short and one long-term technique from the above list and give them a try. In this way you can stop worrying and feel less stressed.
If you need help or guidance with any of the above, contact me!
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