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.
Are you ignoring what happens when you are sleep deprived? Are you sleepwalking into a health disaster? I often hear people say that they don’t need 7-9 hours sleep.
We hear it on the news too. Some of us will remember the claims that Margaret Thatcher only had 4 hours of sleep per night. And if you tune in to YouTube you will hear about ‘the hustle’! This appears to be a competition in who can be most successful on the least sleep.
We live in a society which is telling us to work longer hours, cram more into life and sleep as little as possible.
But what is the truth? What happens when you are sleep deprived?
I have broken down what happens when you are sleep deprived into two sections. The effects in the short and long-term.
What happens when you are sleep deprived in the short-term?
Your memory malfunctions
When you are asleep, your brain does all it’s filing and sorting of your experiences during the day. It forms new neural connections which help you process information. When you are sleep deprived your brain doesn’t have time to do this. As a result, you reduce your short and long-term memory function.
Your concentration and thinking get foggy
You will have noticed that when you are sleep deprived, you are less likely to be able to solve problems. You will also be less creative. This can contribute to stress as you struggle to solve your daily list of challenges.
You will be moodier
I am sure you have noticed how short your fuse becomes when you haven’t had enough sleep. You might have observed that you are more inclined to emotional outbursts too. Even little things can feel unmanageable when you are sleep deprived.
You will be more accident prone
We have all seen the big warning signs on the motorway telling us to take a break. Even the government has realised that sleep deprivation and tiredness cause accidents. You may have noticed yourself that when you are sleep deprived, you are more likely to drop and spill things. If you are doing some kind of manual work or a lot of driving for a living getting enough sleep is even more vital.
You will be off balance
And I mean, in your body! When you are sleep deprived, your coordination and balance take a knock. This makes you more likely to fall or have other accidents.
What happens when you are sleep deprived in the long-term?
Your blood pressure will increase
When you are sleep deprived you are much more likely to have high blood pressure. This increases your chance of other health conditions like stroke and heart attack.
You increase your risk of diabetes
When you are sleep deprived, it affects your production of insulin. This is the hormone which lowers your blood-sugar. If you don’t have enough insulin, you have too much blood-sugar and this can lead to type 2 diabetes.
You will gain weight
Have you noticed the carbohydrate cravings which appear after a poor night’s sleep? When you are sleep deprived the chemicals which tell you when you are hungry and full go out of balance. You are more likely to overindulge and eat more unhealthy foods when you are sleep deprived.
You increase your risk of heart disease
As I have already mentioned, sleep deprivation increases blood pressure. This contributes to heart disease. Sleep deprivation also increases chemicals in your blood linked to inflammation. Inflammation is also a contributory factor in heart disease. So, if you are sleep deprived, your risk of heart disease increases.
Your sex drive will be low
Sleep deprivation reduces your libido. I am sure we have all experienced issues with getting in the mood when we haven’t had enough sleep. Sleep deprivation in men also reduces testosterone levels which makes things even worse.
You are more likely to develop depression and anxiety
As I mentioned above, short-term sleep deprivation makes us moody and emotional. But chronic, sleep deprivation can cause depression. Before my diagnosis of depression in March 2015, I had been sleeping about 3-5 hours per night for at least 3 months. Sadly, lack of sleep causes depression and depression can affect our ability to sleep. Sometimes it may be difficult to know which came first.
What can you do when you are sleep deprived?
As you can see, what happens when you are sleep deprived affects your health in the short and long-term. The key thing is that most of us need 7-9 hours of sleep. If you are not getting that, it will have an impact on your health. But don’t worry, all is not lost. In my previous blog, I shared’10 Top Tips to Sleep Better so You Can Feel Less Stressed’. You will find something you can change to improve your sleep in that blog. And, if you still cannot sleep, please get in touch. I have worked with many clients to improve their sleep and can probably help you.
In this blog I will share my 10 top tips to sleep better so you can feel less stressed. This is an edit of a previous blog about the connection between sleep and weight. This shows how sleep can impact on more than one aspect of life. But stress and weight are only two aspects lack of sleep effects.
Lack of sleep can contribute to issues like depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease and many more. Having a long-term sleep issue is also said to take 10 years off your life.
I am sure I do not need to point out the link between stress and lack of sleep. They feed each other in a way that can make life difficult. If you haven’t had enough sleep you know how that feels. You are cranky, cannot concentrate and your memory feels foggy.
This might mean that you don’t have the best of days. Your stress levels then increase, you cannot sleep and the cycle continues. If you are ready to break this cycle you need these ….
10 top tips to sleep better so you can feel less stressed.
Switch off all tech, including the TV at least one hour before bed. The light from the screens prevents your body creating melatonin, the sleep hormone. Even if you do drop off with your phone in your hand the quality of your sleep will be poor.
If you must nap, limit it to 30 minutes before 2pm. Napping disrupts your sleep pattern and reduces your ability to sleep at night. If your energy slumps try fresh air or a walk to pick you up.
Stop Clock Watching
If you wake in the night, stay away from the clock. If you keep saying, ‘I wake up at 3am every day’, that is exactly what will happen.
If you want to sleep well start by making sure your mattress is comfortable and have a cool room with warm bedding. Use pillows to support your limbs, if needed and get your neck in neutral with no more than one pillow.
Save bed for two things only
Your bed is for sleeping and time with your partner! Anything else you do in bed gives your brain the message that bed is for things other than sleeping and love making.
Establish a Routine
Try to go to bed and get up at a similar time each day (even at weekends). Your body will get into a flow with the routine and you will find yourself sleeping better.
Watch Out for Caffeine
Have your last caffeinated drink no later than 1pm so the caffeine can leave your body before you need to sleep. Watch out for caffeine hidden in things such as chocolate and painkillers.
Exercise at the Right Time
Exercise is great for sleep as it helps to tire out your body. Do not exercise too close to bedtime as this can disrupt your sleep and make you too awake to nod off.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Do not eat too late in the evening and avoid late evening heavy meals. If your digestive system is working hard it will disrupt your ability to sleep.
Get into the Light at the Right Times
Exposing yourself to daylight early on in the day helps your brain realise that it is morning and time to be awake. In a similar way, getting into the dark helps your brain know it is night and time to sleep.
I hope you have found my 10 Top Tips to Sleep Better so You Can Feel Less Stressed, useful. As with any habit change, don’t try to change everything at once. Choose one or two things to work on first and then introduce the others one-by-one. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, feeling stressed or would like to make a change in any other aspect of your life, please get in touch.
Why learn self-love to feel less stressed you may be wondering! How can self-love help you feel less stressed? The main reason that a lack of self-love contributes to stress is that it reduces what you think you are cable of. If you spend all day berating yourself, you will believe that you are not very good. This will make you push yourself too hard to prove your worth to the world and yourself. It will also increase feelings of overwhelm and make you give up more often.
Low self-love will also affect how you look after yourself. If you don’t love something, you don’t tend to look after it very well. If you are not taking time out for self-care, this can have a massive impact on your stress levels too.
Think, for a moment, about something or someone that you love.
Your children, your partner, your dog or even your car. How do you treat that thing or person? I would imagine that you treat them with respect and kindness. You do things to help them be healthy, happy or even to work well. I sure, you would not put the wrong fuel in your car. Because you want it to work , you make sure you look after it. You care enough about it to do that.
As you can see, there is a strong link between self-care and self-love. One is unlikely to happen without the other. Without good self-care, we are much more likely to become stressed. We are more likely to expect too much of ourselves, not take time out and not do things to look after our bodies and minds.
So, how can we learn self-love to feel less stressed?
Here are my top tips to learn self-love and feel less stressed.
Tip 1 – Be nice to yourself
Your mind believes that inner voice so the more you say negative things, the more you will believe them. Make an effort to be kind to yourself and, if you do slip up, try to challenge any negative thoughts. A good rule of thumb is to speak to yourself in the same way that you’d speak to your best friend. You are with you all the time, so it is more important how you speak to yourself than how anyone else does. Notice, challenge and change your self-talk!
Tip 2 – Stay Focused on You
Comparing yourself to others is a sure-fire way to lower your self-love. You are a unique person on a unique journey. You are not like anyone else in the world. Notice and praise every step you take in the right direction and leave thoughts of others behind.
Tip 3 – Realise that no-one is perfect
It is okay to make mistakes! We all make them, but it is very easy to end up being critical of ourselves even for the slightest error. We are more critical of ourselves than we ever would be to someone else. Our mind can hear every word we say and will use negative words to create or reinforce a negative belief.
We all make mistakes. Be kind to yourself, accept your mistakes, learn and move on.
Tip 4 – Focus on what you can change
We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the things in life that we cannot change. Whether it’s moaning about the weather or complaining about queues of traffic. Thinking about these things which are outside your circle of control is a waste of time. It also makes us feel weak and out of control. This can contribute to negative feelings about ourselves. Take a look at each situation and decide what you can do about it. Take any action you can then let go and move on.
Tip 5 – Do something which makes you happy every day
By doing something for yourself every day, you are sending the message to your brain that you matter. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but something that is only for you. It could be a massage or a laze in the bath with some candles. The more you do for yourself, the more you are showing that you care about and, dare I say it, love yourself.
Tip 6 – Celebrate Small Stuff
Most of us are much more likely to berate than praise ourselves. Have you ever got to the end of a working day to find yourself focusing on the 2 things you didn’t tick off your to-do list? You have completely missed praising yourself for the 8 you did tick off.
How different would the day feel if you celebrated every little win you had? From getting the kids off to school on time to finishing that big project. Try keeping a journal where you make a note of all your successes. Look back on this record often to lift your mood and help you feel more self-love.
Tip 7 – Help others
Studies have shown that when we do something good for someone else, it boosts our mood. Helping others fulfils a deep human need that most of us have. We get a boost from the positive feedback we get from the person we helped. But studies show that even anonymous acts of kindness can make us feel good. Try to do one thing every day for someone else and notice how that makes you feel.
Tip 8 – Choose positive friends
Some people suck the life out of us on a daily basis. Nothing is right in their lives or the world in general. It can be exhausting to spend any length of time around them. It can also become all too easy to join in their moaning and get dragged into their world. If you have some people in your life who fit that description avoid them in person and on social media. If you have to see them try some relaxation techniques like deep breathing beforehand. Then avoid moaning about their moaning afterwards.
I hope you have found these tips to learn self-love to feel less stressed useful.
You matter and are worthy of love. Please don’t forget that.
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