Anxiety, Breathwork, Happiness, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Stress

Feel great everyday with these tips to manage stress and anxiety

 

blog body image
Photo credit: Archishadownlight.com

Wednesday October 10th is World Mental Health day, where we have an opportunity to reflect on the opportunities and challenges of staying balanced and well both mentally and physically.

Mental ill health is a global problem.  It is not only about obvious conditions such as depression, bi-polar and obsessive compulsive disorders, which are all on the increase, but also their milder cousins, stress, fatigue and anxiety.  The shocking statistics show that mental illness is on the rise.

  • One in two of us is likely to suffer from some form of mental health issue in our lifetime.
  • Young women (16 – 25) are three times more likely than their male counterpart to experience an issue such as self-harm, bi-polar or post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
  • Stress is seen as the biggest factor in almost all diseases.
  • Depression is the number one mental health problem in the world, followed closely Anxiety.

This interesting diagram from the Mental Health Foundation in London talks about all of the areas in our life where we might experience issues.

Mental health determinants

Work can be a major contribution to our wellbeing or lack of it, so it’s important to develop positive habits to bring ourselves back into balance when things get tough.

The most important thing to remember in managing stress, anxiety or even something as simple as having a bad day, is that we can always choose our response to it.  Much of our unease comes from a feeling of being overwhelmed or feeling out of control, but there are many ways we can get that back in the balance. The first and most important is remembering that we can at any time ask ourselves ‘Do I choose this response, or is there something else I could choose instead?’

 

Here are some tip tips:

 

  • Start your day as you mean to go on. Take 2 – 3 minutes before you leave for work to just think about the day ahead and inject some good energy into it.  I know that can be difficult when you are rushing and have kids to get to school or what have you, but even taken a few more moments whilst you are at the mirror brushing your teeth can make a big difference.  Ask yourself questions like ‘How can I make this the best day ever?’ ‘What do I choose to bring to this day?’.  Then just stand in the mirror deeply breathing for a minute or so whilst the questions soak deep into your psyche and work their magic.

 

  • End the day well. Get a little notebook and at the end of your day write in 10 things that you enjoyed or went well for you that day.  It might be simple things like there wasn’t much traffic on the way to work, or I had a great lunch, or a meeting went better than expected.  It is the act of noticing what goes well which helps us to feel better about our day and about ourselves.

 

  • Connect with your breath. Our breath is the one constant in our life, which we often completely overlook it. Yet the simple act of noticing our breath, particularly at times of stress or overwhelm can help us to feel a lot better.  Whenever you are going through a difficult period, or feeling stressed, taking a few moments at your desk, or in the bathroom to just breathe deeply.  Try breathing in for 3 seconds, holding for 4 and then breathing out for 5 seconds.  Do the 3-4-5 sequence at least three times whilst telling yourself ‘all is well’.  I guarantee you will feel better after it.

Do you have or know someone who has mental health challenges? Do share these tips, or let me know of any tips you have found helpful.

Wishing you all a mindful and happy World Mental Health Day.

Acceptance, Book Writing, Forgiveness, Healing, Oneness, Self-love

Three reasons why forgiveness helps us to heal (Does this resonate?)

Business AssistanceMany people have asked me why I have chosen for my second book to write about forgiveness?  In my first book ‘Coming Home to You’, I focused on the many ways we can live a joyful and happy life, by reclaiming our relationship with ourselves. Once we balance our relationship with our body, our mind and our spirit, we find that we have harmony with all of life and the happiness and peace that comes from this will naturally flow to us. Yet, as I speak to many people through my work and travels, I find that many live in a stuck-ness that is not borne from their inner world, but from their outer one.
We find ourselves dwelling on past sleights, hurts, transgressions and bodily assaults that have left us feeling weak and vulnerable. In a world that feels scary and hostile most of the time, the one thing we most want to avoid is feeling vulnerable, so we become hard, close our heart and vent our anger at the source of the cause of our anguish. In many ways this is a natural reflex built into us, that we may not even realise is there until it has come out through our words or deeds.
So if it is one of our most natural human responses, why should we think about changing it? What we create from these natural human responses is a spiral of decline in our relationship with others which leads to the madness that we see in the world around us. Our lack of forgiveness is part of the destructive cycle that we see in our age. It leads to conflict, war, aggression, hate and deep unhappiness in our hearts. Yet it is possible to transcend these responses, to find a different path, one that is no less easy, but leads to a place of healing, understanding and ultimately to peace. Forgiveness is not an easy concept to live by, but as we see in our daily lives and in our media every day, living in a world without forgiveness is not easy either. In fact, we can see that living without forgiveness can only ever lead us to destruction.

Three reasons why we need to work on our forgiveness:

  1. We become more humane, gentler and kinder, when we can learn to be tolerant and accepting of the differences of those around us. This is true in our personal relationships, but also in our work as well. Rather than living a life that is constantly fueled by irritation and annoyance, that can spill into anger, we can be calm and learn to see the differences in others as a way of learning more deeply about ourselves.
  2. We can appreciate that we have no real control of the world around us. When we live from our ego state, we are only concerned with control. We want to know that our plans will go exactly as we have laid them out, we want people to behave they way we expect them to and we want the world to comply with our own view of how it should be. Living from this ego state is a sure path towards madness. We are warring as much with ourselves as everyone around us in our wish to find the illusion of control. Once we let go of this illusion we can learn to be free and accept and respond more appropriately to what is happening around us.
  3. We take full responsibility for our emotions and only our emotions. What happens if we are hurt of have suffered transgressions from others, is that we start to not only trap the trauma in our body, allowing it to fester and grow, but we also start to project emotions we want the other person to feel.  We want them to know our pain, to know suffering and feel the same indignation that we felt at their hand. This is a false path, that will only prolong our own suffering. We have no control over anyone else’s emotions and spending time trying to come up with ways to influence them is taking precious time from our own life when we could be coming to terms with our own needs and learn to move on. We are continuing an emotional entanglement with someone that continues to erode our sense of who we are. At some point you have to ask; is it worth it? Is my peace of mind less important that my projections towards another.  Our path to healing starts with attending to our own emotional needs, healing our own wounds and forgiving ourselves first. Anything else binds us to our suffering.

 

Would you be willing to share your experiences of forgiveness?  Throughout August, I’ll be launching a survey to gather views on how forgiveness is experienced as part of my research for my book.  If you have the time and are willing to share, please click HERE.

 

 

 

Acceptance, Guided Meditation, Happiness, Life Enahancing, Mindfulness, Soul Purpose

Finding your life purpose – a guided meditation

In June I’ll be participating in an online summit which is focusing on how we find our life’s purpose.  If I asked you how closely you felt you were living your life’s purpose what would you say?

Does it feel like something that is deeply embedded into your life’s journey?  Or does it feel like a vague notion to you?  If you feel it is the latter, you are not alone.  Many people would describe themselves as being led by the circumstances of their life, rather than living the life they really choose.

I understand that it can be really hard for you to find the time to really connect with what is important for you.  Here is a short meditation to help you do just that.  When you have a quiet moment, listen to it and see what ideas and pictures emerge for you.  Follow up and take some steps towards the things that will make you happy and more fulfilled.

Life is all about us making positive choices towards our purpose. 

Is today the day for you to do just that?

Enjoy

 

Grounding, Happiness, Nature, Self-love

Three immediate benefits when you spend time in nature

How good are you at getting out to nature and noticing the wonderful affect it can have on you?

In this v-log I share the three immediate benefits being out in nature  and being aware of the majestic beauty all around you.

 

Being in nature helps you to:

 

  • Release your stress
  • Become grounded
  • Appreciate how time is always on our side.

 

See more below

Acceptance, Change, Personal Development, Personal Power, Self-love, Women in business, Women in Leadership

I was asked recently: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be? – this is how I responded

I have been very busy with various publicity interviews and articles as interest for my first book, ‘Coming Home to You‘ grows.  In one interview, I was asked: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Here is what I said:  I think it would be about increasing their belief in themselves. There are many successful and inspirational women leaders in business, but they are very much in the minority for the business world in general. What I see more than anything in women is a lack of belief in themselves and their abilities, often times when their skills far outweigh that of a male colleague who they watch climb the career ladder.

Success starts on the inside, and if capable and talented women believed in themselves more I believe we would start to see some shifts in the workplace gender balance.

 

If you want to see the full article, read more HERE

Change, Coming Home to You, Emotions, Featured, Personal Transformation

Control your emotions, Control your life

emoballsOur emotions have a huge impact on the quality of our life.  When we feel good, life feels good.  When we are sad or depressed, life can feel like a prison.  Learning to control our emotions is one of the most effective ways to find happiness, not because we force ourselves to be positive, but because we are no longer enslaved by the whims of our emotions.

You have the power to change your world by changing how you view, interpret and act on your emotions.  The first step is to make your emotions your friend rather than your enemy.  Emotions simply exist, like the sky and the moon exist. Emotions are not good or bad.  They allow us to key in to something deeper, which is going on, in ourselves and in the world around us.  They are our signposts to taking a deeper note of what is happening and what we can learn from it.

Anger can be a great force for overcoming injustices if we use it wisely.  Fear can help us to understand what we are suppressing or denying in ourselves and act as a signpost for our personal growth. Grief can allow us to reflect and understand when something important has passed away and what it meant to us.  Love brings connection and meaning into our life.  All emotions will change in time and when we learn to notice them as they arise, look within ourselves to what they mean or point to in us, we are able to act with clear and positive intent.

Our emotions are the energetic markers, which define our experiences.  They give us visceral feedback of a point in time.  These emotions can be positive or negative, but none of them are designed to hang around and become blocked in our body or our psyche.  They are temporal flashpoints to help anchor our experience.  The best way to transcend our emotions is to learn to observe them and create distance between them and our essential self.

“Once we make the break between who we are and the emotion we feel, we become free.  Our psyche and energy becomes peaceful and we start to see something amazing happen.  We feel joy and happiness rise within us.“

Learning to separate our emotion from ourselves is one of the first steps in transforming our emotional health.  When we first start to observe our emotions, it can feel quite alien and the insights might only stay for a short while and arise some time after the emotion has been expressed.  Over time, these moments of insight and observation can become longer and occur while the emotion is being expressed, allowing us to interact with it more directly and change its impact and direction mid-flow.

Becoming the objective observer of our emotions as they arise allows us to bring perspective and more importantly gives us choice; on whether we wish to identify with this emotion, or release it and maintain our sense of perspective.

A simple thing you can do is to start questioning the nature of the emotions you are feeling.  For example, when you find yourself calming down from an emotional outburst, look at the nature of the emotion you have expressed and where you felt it in your body.  Ask yourself if the emotion was really to do with the situation, which triggered it, or whether it was linked to something deeper which has not yet been expressed.

 

Make it Happen!

Keep a journal, noting down your emotional experiences.  Write down what was happening and how you responded.  Write down the nature of the emotion. Give it a colour and a shape.  Observe where you felt the emotion in your body and if there were any physical changes you noticed.

 

This is an extract from ‘Coming Home to You – A Handbook for Personal Transformation’.  Available as paperback and e-book.  You can buy at all main online sellers and by order from bookshops.  Click the buttons below to order your copy:

Amazon uk button Amazon com Kobo button

Book Launch, Book Writing, Coming Home to You, Healing, Personal Transformation, The Joyful Press, Uncategorized

What motivated me to write a book – the birthing of Coming Home to You

It is often said that there is a book in all of us and I am sure that I am no more unique than you in this case.  Coming Home to You: A Handbook for Personal Transformation is not my first book, but it is the first one that will get published, under my own company: The Joyful Press.

There are many reasons why people write a book, but for me it was my desire to share my own healing journey with others, so that they may feel encouraged along their own.

The book deals with major life themes such as:

  • Dealing with Change – and learning to appreciate that change is all around us.
  • Taming the Inner Critic – realising that the constant negative voice in your head is not you and how to tame it.
  • The power of intent – and how to use this to achieve your goals
  • The nature of consciousness – that we can access and use to connect to our own happiness
  • Finding meaningful work – and learning how to put your best foot forward and deal with conflict constructively.

The writing of it was extremely cathartic, as the telling of each theme came with an insight into my own life and my struggles.  It was only when I could see beyond my struggles and realise that there was a deeper more important truth to all of life, that I could access the energy to turn my life turned around.

Healing and harmony are as much about state of mind as they are about our lifestyle choices.  Through my own healing journey, from a meltdown of my immune system in 2008, to the vibrant healthy person I am now, I had to learn how to connect with my inner life and with the energy which is the life force inside of me.  Experiencing this first hand convinced me that many people would want to be able to do the same, and so the motivation for my book was born.

I have made sure that it is practical, as I am a pragmatic person and if I cannot put something into action, how can I expect anyone else to? So I have included practical exercises at the end of each chapter.

I’ll be adding meditations, quizzes and short video insights to this website www.findyourjoyfullife.com in the coming weeks, to share with you.  I’m also collaborating with my good friend Vikki Roberts to bring you some wonderful mindful poems that will help you achieve a calm and wistful state.

I will be sharing details of the book launch parties very soon so watch this space!

Next blog:  The main themes for your transformation journey

Book Launch, Book Writing, Coming Home to You, Personal Development, Survey Result

How Coming Home to You came Home to Me – The Book Journey

As many of you know I completed my first book ‘Coming Home to You’ earlier this year.  It has been quite a journey so far and I continue to be learning more all the time.

I thought at the end of the writing of the manuscript that I was already 50% there, but the reality it that it is probably only 30% of the effort.  What more could be involved I here you say?  Well, apparently, lots!

The editing of the manuscript takes time and with a professional editor, a group of beta-readers and a final proof read that takes quite a few weeks to complete.

I have also decided to produce an audio book as well and have been busy in a recording studio reading my manuscript.  It’s a good job I’m not in the least self-conscious, because there is very little that the sound engineer does not know about my life by now – given as so much of my own story is weaved into the book.

Then there is all of the design associated with the paper and e-book versions.  It is not until you have to design a book cover and internal layout yourself that you realise how much thought goes into book design.  It’s a minefield!  I decided to get the designs down to four versions and then ask for help choosing the final one.

I was overwhelmed by the feedback with 178 responses and this was the result.

book cover results

 

In the end I took the comments and suggestions and decided to go with the white cover with some adjustments.  Here is the final design:

Front cover design

 

Even with the book cover design agreed, I still have other milestones now to achieve and this includes the internal design and the spine and back cover.  I will never give another book a casual glance without thinking of how it was designed and why.

My thoughts now move to building this website, sharing my story and building rich and useful content here to help you find the joyful life that you wish to live.

I also plan a number of book launch parties.  London and Dublin are certain and New York is also in my sights but may prove more challenging.  I will be letting you know how the plans are going and sharing the details of the launch parties once I have these settled.  They promise to be fun and enjoyable evenings.

Thank you all once again for your support, your generosity of time and for all the great suggestions which I think will help to make this website and the rest of my book journey a truly great adventure, thank you.

 Next blog:  What motivated me to write the book.