Hi everybody I launched my youtube channel offering bite sized therapy videos please visit like and subscribe if you enjoy the content😃
Hi everybody I launched my youtube channel offering bite sized therapy videos please visit like and subscribe if you enjoy the content😃
Out with the old and in with the new is how the saying goes, but how can this be applied to oneself? A new year means new beginnings and fresh starts, but also a time for reflection on past events. Consider the following points:
There is so much to reflect on outside of ourselves that when it comes to thinking about what we actually want and how we have developed as people over the past year its often overlooked. Other things take precedence and we carry on living, working, existing day to day. How many of us stop to take time and reflect on the present. To appreciate what we do have and share our gratitude. Can we learn from past mistakes and let go of disappointments and regret? Do we dare to liberate ourselves from the inner critic that is ever present within us just waiting for us to lose hope and belittle us some more.
What we need is compassion and to forgive ourselves, not succumb to the pressure of negativity and reach out for support when we need it. One of the most courageous things we will ever do is to face our fears, acknowledge our reality and embrace change if thats what it takes to become the best version of ourselves.
With everything going on in our lives it’s important to make time for reflection. Consider the past years events- take what you need to move forwards and let go of what holds you back. Think carefully about what it is that YOU want in life and don’t short change yourself. With the right mindset anything is possible.
Just remember to take care of yourself along the way because when you take time to replenish your own spirit you have that much more to give others in need. Be the best person to yourself first and foremost and then to others.
Peace and good will to all.
This is a topic that many people shy away from and feel uncomfortable talking about for various reasons. For some it’s a painful reminder of something someone they love may have committed. For others it’s a topic that leaves little space for discussion as often there are more questions than answers for those left behind. The truth of the matter is that we just don’t understand it and don’t know what to say when trying to console people affected by this.
That does not mean that we should avoid, ignore or desist from trying to learn, understand and educate ourselves about this serious matter. Taking one’s own life is not an easy thing to do, in fact the survival instinct built into each one of us often makes it the most difficult thing to act on. In order to better understand this it is important to dispel some common myths, such as “The people who talk about it don’t do it. “ Research has shown that in a high proportion of cases, people did things in the weeks prior to their death to show others how distressed or in despair they felt. So if you know anybody expressing such feelings or talking about feeling suicidal they may need immediate attention, help and support. What often starts out as a cry for help can develop into more serious mental health issues so its essential people are offered appropriate support as they need it. We are all unique individuals and as such each of us have different ways of coping in life. For some life can be become so overwhelmingly difficult that their ability to cope and resilience is overshadowed by their pain and suffering.
Another myth is “If a someone is going to kill themselves, nothing can stop them.” What the person wants is for the pain and suffering to end, part of them wants to live but the other part wants the pain to go away. With the right love, support, care and help from others at the time it’s most needed many do not act on their impulses. If you know somebody expressing feelings of a suicidal nature- Be present, listen and really hear what they are saying. Don’t rush in with advice or feel you have to ‘say the right thing’ there is no set way to respond, as long as you show in your voice, body and tone attentiveness, warmth, care and understanding that will be conveyed to the person and they will feel your support without words. They will have chosen you to confide in because they trust you and feel safe with you. No matter how negative the person feels the fact they are choosing to talk about it is a positive thing and it releases some of the pain. We need to be willing to offer help sooner rather than later. If however the person is acutely suicidal then do not leave them alone unsupervised, stay with them and seek professional help.
To help identify when a person may feel suicidal see the warning signs list below courtesy of https://www.metanoia.org/suicide/whattodo.htm
Conditions associated with increased risk of suicide
Emotional and behavioural changes associated with suicide
What You Can Do To Help
The most important pain-coping resource is the help of a trained mental health professional. A person who feels suicidal should get help, and get it sooner rather than later. Also seek medical advice from a GP. If you are struggling with this issue you can use the list below to access support.
Helplines and support groups (listed on http://www.nhs.uk)
Talking to someone you trust
If you don’t want to speak to someone on a helpline, you could talk to:
Seeing your GP
Your GP may be able to help you with access to talking therapies. Talking therapies, such as counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often used to help people who have suicidal thoughts and usually involve talking about your feelings with a professional.
Helping your child
If you are concerned your child may be feeling suicidal or is self-harming, the following advice may help:
Use the contact form below if you need any help or support around this.
It can mean different things to different people, so for the purposes of this article I will offer the dictionary definition:
“Consciousness is the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings.”
This means that we use our sensory perception to know and recognise things. Our sight, smell, and touch all work together when we are consciously aware. In effect we all have two parts to ourselves the conscious and the unconscious self. So if being conscious means being aware, the opposite would be true when describing the word ‘unconscious’, not being aware.
To highlight this point lets explore a learning theory. Basically when we study or learn new skills we go through the following 4 stages of learning:
1. unconscious incompetence
2. conscious incompetence
3. conscious competence
4. unconscious competence
So an example we can use to illustrate the above in simple terms could be as follows.
A learner driver has Unconscious Incompetence when taking their first lesson as they do not know how to drive having never driven before.
After a few lessons they move to the Conscious incompetence stage- they realise or are conscious of how little they know as they continue to learn and practice driving.
Nearer to the time of their driving test after many lessons they become consciously competent as they have learned the skill of driving but are not fully aware of their ability hoping that they are skilled enough to pass their driving test.
Lets say this person then goes on to pass their driving test and has been driving for a few months- they move into the unconscious competence level. This is where they become so competent they no longer have to think about what they are doing when driving as it becomes second nature. The term ‘autopilot’ comes to mind. Have you ever got in to your car to go somewhere and arrived quickly without realising how you got there? Thats the brain performing at an unconsciously competent level allowing your conscious brain to attend to more pressing thoughts and leaving the body and unconscious mind to do the driving.
People can become conscious of unconscious things. For instance in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the brain has a habit of pattern matching- it puts together sensory evidence of the original trauma. So if during the original trauma eg. Being mugged- a car had been driving past at the time beeping its horn or a cat had been mewing in the background then in the event of these things occurring again at a later date a person suffering with PTSD could find that each time those sensory things are present they act as a trigger and can cause them to become traumatised again. This is because the brain pattern matched the original trauma to the current day event due to the similarities in sensory evidence between both events creating anxiety and triggering the flight or fight mechanism.
This in turn heightens the anxiety and can cause a physical reaction as well as have a psychological and emotional impact. Constantly living in the fight or flight mode is exhausting for anybody and it is in understanding how this works and why we are stuck in these patterns that will eventually free us to change our patterns of behaviour and think/act differently in the moment.
The past does not have to define our future but in some cases it can and does. It is our conscious mind that collects good and bad habits as we repeat them over time. Conditioning our brains to act, think and behave in certain ways. These things can be changed with conscious effort, time and awareness. Being mindful is one way of challenging our negative processes. Mindfulness is attentive practice and it can help if we engage in at least 10 minutes daily mindfulness practice which is to sit and reflect on the day and be here and now in the present.
Being mindful is about teaching your subconscious how to function. Try practicing being present and mindful for just 30 seconds. Focus on what you are doing in this present moment-notice with all of your senses of sight, smell, hearing and touch the moment you are in right now- really focus on the present and notice your breathing. What do you see, smell, hear? How do you feel?
The truth is that you cannot be constantly mindful or present that is difficult but you can have flashes and moments of it. Be mindful of your present task, think of thoughts as a dandelion – once blown they scatter in the wind blowing around silently in the background. To be mindful you could choose one of those flying pieces (thoughts) to focus on and be mindful about.
So moving forwards how do you get motivated in a moment?
Well there are five specific questions that you can apply to any scenario in order to plan ahead:
1. What would you like to have happen in your life?
2. What would need to happen for those things to be achieved?
3. Is there anything else that needs to happen?
4. Can you do what needs to happen?
5. Will you do what needs to happen?
Activities like this can help you get un-stuck and move ahead in life.
Diseases can manifest at two levels within our heart. The more commonly attributed diseases cause a malfunction within the physical muscle and ailments often require medical intervention. I am not a doctor. The diseases that I am concerned with cause malfunction at a non-tangible level; within our spiritual heart.
I believe that all humans have a natural inclination to do good, and it’s when we go against this nature that we cause ourselves emotional and psychological distress. How we do this is by lying cheating, stealing, backbiting and causing upset to others. It hurts our soul and can create sickness in the spiritual heart. This can cause us to feel uneasy and not at peace with ourselves. Often such feelings can overwhelm us and develop into psychological conditions including stress, anxiety and depression.
The ‘7 deadly sins’. Everybody can relate to these and each one can cause physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual distress to individuals engaging in them. Lets examine each one in relation to the self:
What is your vice? Chocolate? Cigarettes? Drugs? Food? Alcohol? We all have something in this we can relate to, examine what your vice of choice is and how it impacts on your life.
We live in a culture of here and now- instant gratification of desires, how does this impact on your life? How has it affected your personal relationships?
Why is it that no matter how much we have we always want more? We live in a materialistic world and the consumer industry is constantly bombarding us with adverts showing us what we dont have and what we could own… for a price. How does this affect your life? Are you a slave to your whims?
This is not the pride that one takes in themselves for achievements made through great personal sacrifice but a pride that is boastful, arrogant and makes one feel superior to others. Can you relate to this in any way? Have you been around such a person, if so how did it make you feel? Have you presented this way towards others- if so how did others react to you?
Are you active, or do you suffer with low mood and low energy? What is causing this? health issues/personal circumstances/ habits/ lifestyle choices? How can it be improved?
It takes so much more energy to hate than to love. The power of hate can eat into a soul and destroy it like a fire through crackling wood. Granted nobody likes everybody. However it is when we are wronged that we become angry/hurt and may lash out and hate back. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behaviour, but it does prevent their behaviour from destroying your heart.
Have you ever wanted something that belongs to somebody else? Wished it away from them or harboured ill feelings towards them because of it? How has this impacted on your life? Have you been the victim of another persons envy? How did that feel?
Looking at the list above many can identify at least one ‘sin’ they have engaged in and as humans we are not perfect, we have all ‘sinned’ at one point or another. Interestingly if you were to take each of the above points and reverse them with the opposite meaning. For example Gluttony would be replaced with eating and living healthily, this would appear to have more beneficial effects on the human condition. Each has its place in the world just as there is darkness there is light, but its how we manage them that counts. Everybody has the capacity to do great good and great evil, its the free will with which we decide to act that makes the difference between good and bad. Ultimately we are all responsible and accountable for our own actions. In keeping with this we can also have a great influence over one another to promote or de-value things in life. It’s all a matter of perspective and how we choose to interpret matters.
So who’s version of ‘normal’ is acceptable and where do we draw the line when it comes to morals and values? Is it as simple as saying one thing is right and the other wrong just to create a level of order in society? Or is the prism of life so vast in colour that there is no real way to classify things? Culture, faith and upbringing all play a part and are factors in determining how we view ourselves and others. However it is the relationship we have with ourselves that matters the most.
How do you view yourself, what are your morals and values, and are you happy with who you are? Therapy can support you to explore these questions and help you to uncover your authentic self, so just open your mind to the possiblity of change and seek the support you need.
Please share your thoughts and comments on this post below or if you wish to book a session with me use the ‘contact us’ page.
Did you know that upon first meeting a person you form a judgment of them within the first 30 seconds? This means that first impressions are important, particularly for job interview situations. However when discussing body language it is important to recognise the person as a whole and take into account the environment and situation. There are also various types of signs such as:
According to research only 7% of human communication is verbal. 93% of what we communicate with others is nonverbal. How amazing is that? Mastering the art of reading body langauge can be powerfully insightful and increase your awareness of self and others in an exponential way. Every moment you spend with others can be valuable whether thats in a business meeting, socially with freinds and family or around strangers in social functions. Every moment you spend with others can be enriching.
Before I go any further though I must explain that body lagnauge can often be complex and easily misunderstood, so please read this with an open mind bearing in mind cultural differences. For instance in the Middle East there is great cultural significance to who walks through a door first- it denotes power, status and importance to be the first through the door. This is not necessarily the case in other parts of the world. Also factor in the context of the situation. Dr. Paul Eckman studied whether there were universal expressions that crossed cultural boundaries. He found that there are 7 universal facial expressions:
So to quote some of the sources I have researched on the topic here are a fair few pointers…
If I was to ask you here and now- “Do you feel you have power in your life?” How would you answer? What do you think of when the term ‘power’ is used? Is it a positive or negative feeling for you? What experiences of power have influenced your life? Do you see power as a destructive abusive force, or a strong and positive force for good?
Our personal experiences of power will often dictate how we feel about it. For instance a child growing up in an environment of domestic abuse may associate power as a negative term as the abuser was powerful over others. In contrast a child who grew up in a family wherein choice was offered and they were consulted during decision making for family affairs may feel power is a positive force. It nurtured their ability to feel valued, important and ‘powerful’ having their voice heard by the adults around them. Power means different things to different people and can be interpreted in various ways. For the purposes of this article I am exploring the concept of ‘Personal Power.’
What is personal power? The definition can vary from person to person but the basic premise remains the same. Personal power involves strength and confidence in oneself and the ability to pursue what really matters to you. So how do you know what really matters to you?…Well by filtering out other people’s influences on your life you can re-connect with yourself in a way that enables deeper insight.
Have a think about what makes you truly happy, what keeps you motivated, what do you value in life. This will help to focus you on your goals and promote your personal power to achieve what you want in life. Positive thinking, a good opinion of yourself and a willingness to learn and develop further encourages personal growth. This in turn increases feelings of self worth and will empower you.
The more you recognise your own likes, dislikes and act on making things happen in your life the more you will be able to deal effectively with adverse circumstances and start to see challenges as opportunities. We live in a highly competitive society that encourages ambition and in order to keep up its important to learn about our own strengths and areas for development so we can keep track of personal progress in every aspect of our lives. Knowing oneself is the key to success in life.
In order to really understand who we are and what we value there is an ancient Japanese Satori ritual that can help. For this exercise you need access to a clock and have two people sitting in a quiet space facing one another. It can be a freind, family member or colleague. Its up to you who you feel comfortable to open up in front of. Once seated you decide which of you will begin and act as the questioner. The questioner will then repeatedly ask the other person the same question “Who are you?” for 10 minutes and the other has to answer saying different things about themselves and who they are. After 10 minutes you switch over and the person who was answering becomes the questioner for 10 minutes. Its amazing what people say in this time-you have to dig deep for answers and many have surprised themselves with what they share. The attention and focus being soley on you forces you to consider yourself in a way thats never been expected of you before. Try it and let me know how it goes by leaving comments in the box below.