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.
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!
Do you know that habits are the key to happiness? Do you know how to create good habits can make you feel less stressed? Are you aware how much of your behaviour is habitual and how much impact it has on your life? In this blog, I will show you how to create good habits so you can feel less stressed.
I am sure you are aware of how important habits can be in maintaining your health. Smoking, drinking alcohol and eating takeaways are obvious ones to avoid. Whereas brushing our teeth and taking a shower are best retained. I am sure you have tried to add a new healthy habit to your life at some point. Hands up who has joined a gym in January and seem to have forgotten the way there by February.
How often have you tried and failed to install a new healthy habit or get rid of an unhealthy one? How often have you failed? How much stress has this created in your life? The continual battle of whether to carry out your new, healthy habit or not can be exhausting.
So why do we spend so much time trying to change our habits?
Habits are the best way to establish long-term change because they are automatic. This means that once you establish a habit like brushing your teeth, you no longer need to think about it. This frees you from becoming a victim of willpower and motivation (or lack of them). It also protects you from falling back into old ways. When tired or stressed, you revert to your habits which is why it is important to have as many good ones as possible. The other thing about good habits is that they free up your mind. This means you can think, create, problem solve and tackle all that stuff that pops up in an average day in your life.
Your habits also make you who you are. If you have habits to overcome procrastination, you will become an organised person. If you have habits which get you being active, you will become a fit person. If your habits mean that you eat good, nutritious food, you will be a healthy person. When Aristotle said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ he was right.
It’s easy to see how having the right habits can make you feel less stressed.
A great example of this came up for me recently. I was ill for a few days but I still mediated every day. Then as soon as the worst was over, I got my workout gear on and did some yoga. Both habits I did on a lesser scale than normal, but I still did them.
I am not saying I am tough or strong to keep doing these things, it is that now, these things are who I am! To not do them would be so much stranger than doing them. As I already said, once you establish a habit it becomes part of your hard-wiring and it becomes what you do. You will all have habits you can relate to like this. Ones like brushing your teeth for example. The sort of habit where you know would not feel right if you didn’t do it.
Is there a healthy habit you have been trying to establish for a while? Are you finding it hard? Do you realise that you have healthy habits like brushing your teeth but have no idea how they got there?
Are you ready to find out how to create good habits so you can feel less stressed?
So, how do we establish a new habit?
Start very small
Have you ever tried to make a big change like going to the gym several times per week? Have you ever failed to make such a big change? Let me tell you why.
Big changes are too much for our minds to accept. Your mind has a blueprint of who you are. It has a set of rules it likes to apply to what it does and does not think you can do. If you make a change way outside this blueprint, your mind rebels and stops you in your tracks. Your mind thinks you are trying to change your personality overnight. It wants to protect the status quo and gets in your way. Some people call this self-sabotage and it affects many of the clients I see in one way or another.
To overcome this you need to start small. You need to sneak in on your belief system under cover of darkness, completely undetected.
How small is small?
Let’s continue with the concept of exercise. Imagine your mind thinks you are a lazy layabout who doesn’t exercise. To change towards a belief that you are a person who exercises you could start by putting on your workout gear on. If you do this at the time you plan to exercise, you will start to create a new trigger inside your mind.
In his book, ‘Mini Habits’, Steven Guise committed to one press-up each day. On each occasion, he did more but his commitment was only ever one press-up. When you have made your first step you will notice an urge to do some exercise but still stay small.
One sit-up will sneak past the guards in your mind, but if you tell yourself you are going for a 2-mile run, it might be too much. You can play about with this – setting your very small habit goal each day until that feels comfortable. What you will notice over time, is that you consistently do more than your very small habit. But never change the small goal as that will be your fall-back habit when the going gets tough.
Change the beliefs you have about yourself!
The key here is to overcome the self-sabotaging blocks you have to exercise. The aim is to change who your mind thinks you are. Once you establish a small habit, your mind stops believing that you are that lazy layabout. Then you reduce the resistance to exercise. The key to this is not the exercise itself but changing the belief and establishing a new habit.
By starting small, you can begin to change who you think you are. Then you can establish a whole set of new habits which can help you feel less stressed.
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.
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