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.
To rest To play To sleep To eat
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.
We all know that habit creation can be tricky. I am sure you have tried lots of times to establish new ones and never got to the habit stage. Whether it is eating better, exercising more or writing every day, these top tips to change a habit will help.
Why we need good habits
Having a set of positive habits in your life makes a huge difference in your health and happiness. The simple reason is that habits are what we default to when we are under stress. If your healthy behaviour is habitual, you are much more likely to carry it out at stressful times.
Be clear on the benefits/ consequences
Don’t choose a habit on a whim. Make sure you are clear about the benefits and consequences related to the habit. What will happen if you do not change your habit? How wonderful will life be with this new habit in place? How will it improve your health and happiness? Get clear on how this habit will impact on your life.
Write it down
It is much easier to make things stick in your mind if you write them down. Put your new habit on a post-it (or many) and put it where you will see it often. Even when you don’t notice it your subconscious mind will be taking it in. This will really increase your habit creation ability.
Do not try to make huge changes in your habits overnight. When you do this, your mind resists the change and you end up failing. Start small! If you want to start exercising, do not decide to go to the gym 5 times a week. Start by committing to put your kit on and do something! 10 sit-ups will do to start with. Start very small and have a slow build-up to allow your mind to adapt to the change.
Keep going for 30 days
Keep your steely determination for 30 days and you will be well on the way to permanent habit creation. Don’t miss more than one day because that will disrupt the flow and knock you off track. Once you get to 30 days, you will notice that the habit is becoming part of your everyday life.
Make your new habit daily
When you are involved in habit creation, it is best to do it every day. This helps your mind to develop that new neural pathway which will make the habit stick.
Find a way to remind yourself
Use the post-it notes above as reminders but also use other tools like alarms and habit tracking APPs. There are lots of tools you can use on your smartphone to remind you to do your new habit. Let your phone be a bit of a nag for a while whilst you are getting going.
Get a buddy
Sometimes we all need some help from our friends. Tell those close to you what you are up to and ask them to help by reminding you and checking up on you. This will be even better if it is someone habit creation same or similar to yours.
Use a trigger
Habits work best with a clear trigger. Your alarm might spark your morning meditation or getting home your exercise routine. Keep the trigger the same so your mind can make the connection between the trigger and the habit.
Be patient with yourself. Developing a new habit is a process of mind rewiring. Your mind is neuroplastic but it still takes some effort to change it. Be patient and allow yourself to make mistakes. Make sure you pick yourself up and start again as soon as possible.
Surround yourself with positive people
When you are trying to change any aspect of your life, having positive people around you is vital. Make sure you spend time around people who support your goals. Even better, if they are people who have similar goals to you.
I hope you have found these Habit Change Top 10 Tips. Changing habits can be challenging but if you adopt this strategy it will help.
Still stuck with your habit change process then get in touch now. I can use my powerful mindset change tools to help you change your habits so you can be happy and healthy.
If you are ready to book a complimentary discovery session so you can find out more about how I can help you with habit creation, click here to access my calendar.
If you want to create a motivated workforce, using gratitude is powerful. Focusing on gratitude can also decrease stress, increase happiness and reduce illness. This is not woo-woo but science-backed information which has been well researched by Robert A. Emmons who you can read about here.
Now you understand how important gratitude in the workplace is, here are my top tips to create a motivated workforce using gratitude.
Lead from the Top
Like any effective business practice, gratitude must start from the top and the whole workforce should see it happening. They should see it in public and in private and it should be consistent and clear. Start building gratitude into key processes like recruitment and performance management. You can also make it a regular agenda item at team meetings and in training sessions.
Focus on people who rarely get thanked
Make sure you include everyone in the gratitude process. Notice those who work behind the scenes and are less customer facing. These are the people who are less likely to receive a dose of thanks from external sources.
Quality above Quantity
Don’t overdo it as people can become weary and stop engaging. Make all gratitude specific. The person you say thank you to and those who witness it need to know what they did well.
Express Gratitude in a Variety of Ways
Make sure you find out how to thank people in their preferred way. Some people want fanfare and fireworks whereas others prefer a quiet word next to the coffee machine.
You could try these ideas to build in gratitude:
· An office gratitude journal which can be paper, electronic or a notice board.
· A gratitude jar where everyone can post notes expressing thanks. This can be read out in meetings.
· Non- monetary gifts like doing a piece of work for someone, lending a car parking space or giving someone a day off
Use Gratitude When Times are Tough
Psychologist, Robert Emmons reports that gratitude increases resilience to stress and works like a ‘psychological immune system’. In a culture of gratitude it is easier to see beyond problems and re-frame losses into gains.
Try this set of questions created by Emmons to help the re-framing process:
• What lessons did the experience teach us?
• Can we find ways to be thankful for what happened to us now, even though we were not at the time it happened?
• What ability did the experience draw out of us that surprised us?
• Are there ways we have become a better workplace because of it?
• Has the experience removed an obstacle that before prevented us from feeling grateful?
Developing a gratitude culture in the workplace has scientific backing for its impact. It also does not take a huge amount of effort and is often free.
You could choose one of the above strategies and see what impact it has over time. Seeing the impact will help you include other gratitude practices in the workplace.
If you would like some help establishing gratitude at home or in the workplace, please get in touch. To find out more, contact Clare on 07747 774953.
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, 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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