It’s your business to prosper and flourish

It’s often been said that an organisation – non-profit or otherwise — is only as healthy as the people that comprise it. And stress in the workplace is now quite literally reaching a crisis point. The world of work is currently besieged by a whole raft of problems that gravely undermine well-being as well as productivity, a few examples of which include:

  • absenteeism
  • alcohol/drug abuse
  • poor work-life balance
  • excess stress
  • inter-personal conflict.

Current surveys show that there is also widespread additional stress and disquiet experienced by women trying to balance the demands of home/careers.

Although many wellness initiatives have traditionally tried to help with physical well-being, few are effective at removing the stresses that undermine the mind to function effectively.

So how can your organisation blossom and flourish?

Almost every issue or problem that detracts from better quality lives is driven by psychological and/or emotional forces. There has never been a more timely need for individuals to learn how better to manage their thoughts, emotions and beliefs — and in so doing, be more in charge of their lives, instead of being manipulated by other people and circumstances. And you know only too well that most people would like nothing more than finding a way to bring about positive, lasting changes for themselves. So what organsation would not benefit from their people achieving that?

Workplaces with a minimum of stress and optimal engagement will always out-perform those where employees dread coming into work.

If you work in, or know of, a business or public sector organisation that would benefit from our genuinely innovative way of achieving a happier workplace, you have only to get in touch.

A fullfilling life is not just an option: it’s there for everyone.

Life will always be challenging at times and we’ve all had setbacks. But these present a choice: they can lead us to survive, or they can challenge us to strive for something more than mere survival, or settling for the status quo. Those who flourish have learned to live beyond, not with stress, worry and anxiety.

But real though the experiences of the past were, what causes current stress, anxiety and despair is often us actively keeping the pain of the past very much alive in the present.

It may be tempting to assume that anxiety-related conditions are somehow medical disorders, for which there are two options: medication and therapy. There is also advice from well-meaning friends and family to ‘pull yourself together’. None of the options seem very effective.

Medication artificially alters brain chemistry and is not without side effects. Therapy can be protracted, expensive, and is often ineffective; if benefits do materialise, it is usually down to the particular skills of the individual therapist, rather than a particular therapeutic method per se. Well-meant advice to ‘deal with it’ and ‘get over it‘ is often as effective a way to eradicate depression and anxiety as asking a deaf person to listen more carefully.

But there is now overwhelming evidence that lives blighted by low mood and pessimism have more to do with the beliefs we hold today, about what happened in the past. Time heals, they say. But not when we actively maintain unpleasant experiences and keep them current. And, of course, because they figure prominently in our perceptions, particularly if they make us feel “worthless,” they continually influence how we perceive things today.

But it’s relatively easy to learn to let go. By learning how to relate our thinking styles to our behaviour, it’s much easier than many believe to abandon unhelpful perspectives, negative limiting beliefs and overly-critical self-talk, and to move beyond despair, so we blossom and flourish, living a full and happy life devoid of angst but replete with optomisim and resilience to deal with whatever life may throw our way.

If want to overcome the limitations that have held you back, you can learn how how to do that in just six-eight weekly or bi-weekly sessions.

Why not contact me to arrange a free no-obligation 40 minute consultation? It can literally set you up for life, no matter what happened in the past. Why not ask me how?

What can you DO when you’re depressed? Nothing? Maybe. Then again…

We’ve all been there. In a state of sadness. Sometimes we literally despair. Next day we might get over it, particularly if the sun is shining. But sometimes it doesn’t just go away. And when it persists, low mood can become so deeply depressing. One of the most debilitating effects of low mood – as typified by persistent worry, deep anxiety and depression – leads the mind to stay firmly focused on “what’s wrong”; this cognitive version of tunnel vision literally loses sight of “what’s right”. The psychological imbalance also seems highly resistant to what can be done to minimise the feeling of despair and gloominess.

But we can challenge our thoughts. We really can. Who said our thoughts always serve our best interests? Where is that written? Indeed, there is considerable evidence to show that it is precisely because we DO NOT challenge negative thoughts that they become more and more entrenched and deeply rooted. And don’t forget, our rational mind – for all the education it had – can’t overrule how we feel. Ask any regular dieter.

Perhaps the most debilitating effect of pathological worry, deep anxiety and the pit of cerebral despair itself–depression–is that soulless, cheerless feeling of anger without enthusiasm, leading the mind to stay firmly locked onto “what’s wrong”. This cognitive version of tunnel-vision literally loses sight of “what’s right”. Not only is it an imbalance; it’s highly resistant to any remotely positive perspectives. When challenged by any optimistic attempts to diminish the insidious feeling of mental angst and gloom, the mind can be downright bigoted.

Persistent low mood inexorably takes root within the deepest recesses of our mind, from whence it becomes a gloomy-grey filter, literally clouding out all other perspectives.  Most sufferers will know that only too well. And everyone would agree it is so difficult to feel motivated to challenge our morose thinking when we are in low mood mode. Which, for some, is all the time. Especially if we feel powerless in the downward spiral as our spirits plunge. So our self-esteem drops to the point where we feel worthless  as well as helpless. But there is an alternative to challenging our thinking, given that our rational mind is not all that strong when it comes to challenging how we feel. So…

Stop thinking.

When the language of self-talk has become all-or-nothing/black and white – “you’re a total failure” and “you can’t do anything right” – leading us to focus on all the things that went wrong, totally ignoring anything remotely positive, our emotional low becomes our “reality”. So we really do feel like a total failure.

Not only that, we become telepathic and imagine everyone can see our inner flaws. And, of course, we believe this will never change, and that we will remain useless and desperately sad for ever.

Wow! What a lot of … labelling … has taken place.

When we realise that our inner voice has become persistently pessimistic, it is definitely time to stop listening. If we become embroiled in a weary argument with errant friends and family, we often say “I’ve heard enough!!” So why not say this to ourselves?

Time to stop listening and stop thinking. Literally. Just telling ourselves we have “had ENOUGH!” can quieten our mind. So do that, and be ready to fill the moment, before your inner voice does.

Tempting though it is to take up permanent residence on the couch in front of mindless TV programmes, get up and move around, preferably vigorously! Feel the difference, but stop listening to what your mind may be telling you. If you feel tired and want to flop, just try this: no matter how exhausted you feel, tell yourself you WILL get up and take ten steps. A tired mind can never EVER prevent leg muscles from working. Try it! Just ten steps.  Don’t even think about it. If you’re doubtful, just test out the theory that you can get off the sofa. Test yourself. Take ten steps. That’s all.  Just to prove you can. What have you got to lose? There is nothing worth watching on TV, after all. So get up and take ten step.  Once you have taken ten, you have beaten inertia.

And that’s the time when it’s time to go for a walk. Don’t think about not wanting to. This is really important. It’s not time for a deeply introspective debate. It’s certainly not time to listen to your inner voice telling you that you really are going to be so much happier back on the sofa, channel-hopping for the least mind-numbingand tedious TV programme. Trust your long-subdued real-you to get some fresh air. If the sun is shining, so much the better – take the sun glasses, but hang them fashionably from the neck of your shirt, and feel the rays on your face. If it’s raining, just remember Billy Connolly’s wise observation that there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes. So dress accordingly. You won’t dissolve in rain.

While out, remember not to think, but do look around. Listen. The brain can only cope with a very limited number of stimuli (maybe only five or six) so tune into what your senses are alert to – listen for bird song, look for plants and trees, clouds, touch walls, windows (only your own!), feel the buzz of the city or the peace of the countryside. Do not even think of judging what you do or do not see.

Quicken your pace. It’s virtually impossible to stay gloomy while walking briskly. Feel what’s happening – your feet landing, arms swinging, head up, looking around. You are starting to get back in touch with feelings that you may have mislaid! Pay attention to what you can hear around you and the feelings of mud squelching under foot or the soft scuff of soles on the sidewalk/pavement.

After fifteen minutes or so you WILL feel better. That’s the time to realise you have literally taken the first steps back to the-real-you, that – deep down – you really do want to be. Again.

There is so much more you can do. Eat better for example. When we’re feeling low we may only feel like sugar-rich junk ‘food’. But healthier food fights fatigue. And makes us feel better. The trigger of the Golden Arches may momentarily make you drool, but do those chemical-laden fast-food burgers really ever make anyone feel great inside? Get some vitamins and Omega-3 oils (found in fish) inside you. They will make you feel better. They can’t not.

There are other things you can do. Key word here is “DOING”.

Do things you enjoy – or used to enjoy doing. Don’t think about whether or not it’s a good idea – just think Nike and JUST DO IT. Tell yourself you will assess whether or not it was worthwhile AFTER you’ve done it; not before.

Connect with people – a smile, a friendly greeting, or something you know you will be appreciated, like resuming contact with someone with whom we’ve been remiss at keeping in touch – we all have someone who would appreciate a call. Try a random act of kindness – there are lots of opportunities to help someone. The key thing here is to remember to not even think about NOT doing. Just do it and see if it helps. Do NOT imagine you can predict how you will feel. Although your inner voice will do just that.

I’m not so naive to imagine this is all some magic wand that will turn your life around. Only you can do that. But if you suspend your gloomy thoughts and negative self-talk for one morning or one afternoon, and do as many of these activities as you can, there is no way you won’t start feeling better. The more vigorously you engage in doing things that make you feel better, the more you start to undermine your feelings of powerlessness and despair. And who knows where that might lead you?

 

Overthinking is over-rated

So much of our mental anguish seems to lead from overthinking and thoughts out of control. Can there be anything as troubling as the thoughts that take up residence in our heads and never leave?

Overthinking is particularly draining — going over the same issue again, and again, and again, and again… Why do we do this? If we lost our car keys and found them again after frisking ourselves a few times, and revisiting all the places we’d been to since leaving the car, we would never dream of repeating the search once the keys were safely to hand. So why would we spend time re-visiting thoughts that keep whirling around in our head? Do we imagine that we might somehow stumble on a detail that we have previously overlooked? Are we frenetically seeking a subtle omission? And supposing we indeed do find that missing element? How would we know? Chances are we’d look for something else as well.

Worry is not a friend. We might think that by being sensitive we’re keeping an important issue in the forefront of our mind. But show me someone who worries and I’ll bet your last Euro/dollar/pound/rouble that worry achieves nothing worth worrying about. We don’t trip over mountains. But little stones in the way seem to have a knack of destabilising us. Is that why worriers find it hard to get off to sleep? What better time for thoughts to race around in our heads when the lights and TV are switched off?

Do we think that we need to keep thinking because we need to keep thinking?

No. We need instead to stop thinking and let go. We also need to stop substituting analysing and planning for taking action: most of the time it’s far better to “ready, fire and then adjust the aim” rather than continually aiming. Doing is always better than thinking about wondering what we need to consider worrying about doing. But our minds often won’t let us let go. We revisit the past; we mentally stumble around in the future. One thing that perpetual overthinking seems to do is keep us locked into the past and the future, but rarely keep us focuses on the present. That’s thr power of uncertainty. Most of the time we let our thoughts do our thinking for us.

Why not learn how better to manage your thinking better and regain control?

What do you think about mental health?

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Do you Overthink? Think about rumination…

Can you control your thoughts? Or do your thoughts control you? If you are hamstrung by a mind that is always on steroids, you might find some thoughts helpful.

I really don’t think we think very much about the way we think. Thoughts pop unbidden into our heads and we often tend just to accept them as being somehow “real”. Which is fine if we’re feeling great and on top of the proverbial world. But if our mind seems bound up with anxiety, worry, regret and angst, it’s time to think about … thinking.

It often starts with a trigger that starts you worrying. Then you worry so much that you can’t stop worrying. So you get annoyed with yourself and you get angry that you worry and can’t stop worrying. The racing mind goes into overdrive. One thought blurs into another, and another. And the fact that you can’t stop … worries you. And that’s the definition of anxiety.

Worrisome thoughts — endlessly playing in your head. They often seem to have a mind of their own, and our thinking turns into a vicious circle. We all worry, but women sometimes seem more prone to overthinking.

Someone may tell us that no amount of anxiety is EVER going to make any difference to anything that IS actually going to happen. Or not happen. So don’t worry! But the worry persists. So you continue to ….keep thinking about it.

So how do you stop?

You have to let go. “Easier said than done!” I hear you say. But perhaps it’s easier than you think. First, have a think about this.

The moment we are thinking, we become separate from what we are thinking about. Which is the conclusion drawn by the philosopher Descartes: “I think therefore I am.” He said that if he could reject each and every idea that could possibly be rejected, what he would always be left with is that he was a person who is doing the thinking. So Cogito ergo sum was coined (but his actual words (translated) were somewhat inelegant, but true none the less: “If I am thinking then I must be, somewhat.”)

What this means is that when it comes to thinking, there are two elements: You, the thinker and the thoughts you are thinking about. Let’s contrast that with another state of being, in which this separation doesn’t occur.

Do you ever remember a time when you were feeling so fantastic that you were inextricably bound up in the moment that you were part of what was happening? A blissful experience perhaps? Maybe you were so wrapped up in a movie or a book that you didn’t notice what is going on around you? Think about great experiences where you felt completely at one with what you were experiencing. A dream holiday. Being deeply in love. The most delicious meal you have ever eaten. Reaching level 25. We didn’t need to think about what was happening. We were there, in the zone. We were on fire. We were one with it. This is what some psychologists call “flow”. And children are great at this, aren’t they?

But us clever adults have brains and we learned to use them. So the instant we start thinking about an experience, we separate ourselves from that experience. We become the thinker AND the thing we are thinking about: a separate but connected unity.

That’s not a problem. Not until the thoughts start taking control. And when we can’t stop the thoughts buzzing around our head, we feel disconnected, disoriented, even dizzy. But when we try to stop thinking by thinking about stopping thinking, we keep worrying that we can’t stop thinking. And then we keep worrying about the worry that is worrying us. And we keep overthinking because we believe (wrongly) that if we think hard enough about something we will find the solution to what is worrying us.

At this point we have two choices. One is to keep doing what we have always done, in which case we get what we always got – a mind that won’t stop. Or we can do something different, and stop thinking.

We could go out for a walk on a windy day and wave our arms around to stop the wind blowing. Except that isn’t going to work. However, the wind will eventually die down of its own accord, whether or not you do anything.

The mind is a funny thing, but if you stop using it, it quietens down. So let it.

How many times have you seen people advise DISTRACTIONS? That’s good advice.

Go out for a walk and smell the flowers. Listen to the birds and just watch the clouds. Get into relaxed mode! Switch your phone off! Stop reading Facebook posts from people panicking or pretending their lives are awesome — unless you really do want to see a photo of their most recent meal. Do something you enjoy doing and don’t pay any attention to an inner demon telling you otherwise. NOT thinking is crucial. We don’t say we need to feel our feelings, so why do we need to keep thinking thoughts? Let go and you soon find you regain the control you lost.

Getting distracted is a great way to stop ruminating. And you will find that distractions do quieten down a galloping mind.

You may find it’s a temporary fix, and ruminators often do continue to overthink. That’s when you should take a close look at the Thrive Programme. When you have developed insights into your thinking style, and how your mind and your emotions link together, you will be in a much better position to control your thoughts — rather then letting your mind control you.

What IS the Conquering Life Programme?

The Conquering Life Programme is all about you. And how you react to life, not what life does TO you.

Happy people weren’t born that way. They acquired the understanding, insights, skills and resources to supercharge their lives.  And Conquering Life provides you with the means to literally turn your life around, and to develop a Mind-Set-for-Life.

One common phobia is also one of the least-well known

Although it’s the 5th most common phobia, few people have heard of emetophobia. It really is one of the most debilitating of all phobias and is also prone to being hidden because of embarrassment.

Emetophobia is a deep-seated fear of vomiting and nausea, either directly in themselves, and/or in others. Although it’s one of the most widespread of all phobias, only those afflicted by it tend to know the name. It’s a massively debilitating condition because of the way it impacts the sufferer’s life. It afflicts people of all ages, adults and children, men and women. Often, the greatest stress is caused by the emetophobe going to great lengths to avoid any situation involving vomiting. This may include extreme levels of personal hygiene normally associated with OCD.

The effect of emetophobia is to close down many aspects of normal living. The sufferers put up a number of “walls” to ‘protect’ themselves, and in so doing they put limitations on the way the live. They restrict themselves in many ways and, ironically, in attempting to control their lives, they actually lose control of their lives. Normal thinking gives way to anxiety and stress.

The fear is extremely strong. It’s not unlike a panic attack in the cyclic nature of events. First there is a trigger, which plants a thought in the mind. Maybe there are perceptions about a lack of hygiene (which is why emetophobes rarely eat out); people they know may be ill and undergoing treatments like chemotherapy (vomiting is inevitable), or perhaps someone is depicted being sick in a movie or TV programme.

Once the thought about vomiting has occurred, the sufferers will anticipate a range of feelings of the deepest intensity: they will search for the nearest toilet if they are out of the home, they will be acutely sensitive about how their stomach or throat feels. They will be anticipating imminent vomiting, and will feel panicky.

And because this cycle has been experienced so many times before, the emetophobe will take steps to ‘protect’ themselves. They may eat little, and be absent from work because they feel uncomfortable anywhere except at home, where the ‘sanctuary’ of a spotless bathroom awaits. They take massive steps to avoid any and all situations in which the phobia might be triggered. They carry around plastic bags; they perpetually search out the nearest lavatory; they are constantly aware of people eating, of restaurants, of advertisement for food; and because food and drink are often central to socialising, this means they don’t socialise; so they become introverted and even isolated. Emetophobia makes them a virtual prisoner in an unclean world.

The good news is that, like all phobias, emetophobia can be eradicated quite quickly.  The fear is not the reality: it just seems very real.

 

Emetophobia Overcome! Zoe cured her emetophobia:  www.emetophobia.co.uk

Jenni’s story: https://youtu.be/EicQdzvdKr4

https://youtu.be/Q2kxrVRt5E0 – Mary who is 81 had emetophobia for 75 years!

Louse’s story: https://youtu.be/k9bhjetXlos

If you or someone you know is being held back by this distressing condition, please do get in touch. A lifetime’s extreme fear can be eradicated so easily.

 

Emetophobia Overcome! Zoe cured of emetophobia with The Thrive Programme www.emetophobia.co.uk

Jenni’s story: https://youtu.be/EicQdzvdKr4

https://youtu.be/Q2kxrVRt5E0 – Mary who is 81 had emetophobia for 75 years!

Louse’s story: https://youtu.be/k9bhjetXlos

If you, or someone you know is being held back by this distressing condition, please do get in touch. A lifetime’s extreme fear can be eradicated so easily.

Winter blues?

 

Ask anyone if the winter months make people feel depressed. You won’t be surprised if they answer, “massively!” It got me thinking. Here I was in the icy grip of a Balkan winter, sitting by a roaring log fire in a cozy, snug room, while outside in sub-zero temperatures, deep grey clouds tinged with ominous black edges promised much more snow.
Do low clouds bring about low mood?
I wondered: does the winter, or a cold, grey, wet day, actively contribute to depression? And isn’t there an actual medical ‘condition‘: “seasonal affective disorder?” None of us would be amazed that so many peoples’  mood was lowered in poor weather.  I remember Billy Connolly wisely observing that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes‘. And as I was sitting by a warm fire, smug and snug, in shorts and T-shirt s befits a cozy temperature in the mid-20s, while outside deep snow blanketed gardens and made them all look the same, I could well understand.  Some people get miserable when sunny skies give way to gloom — outside and within. We all know doctors expect to see patients needing help with low mood in the winter. So it’s easy to understand the temptation to formally to label this as a medical condition. Just like when they put “Taloia” on sick notes — which UK doctors allegedly did when they couldn’t be bothered to precisely ascertain the nature of widespread sniffles (TALOIA=’There’s a lot of it about!’).

Continue reading “Winter blues?”

So are we destined to be unhappy?

Is it me, or is unhappiness becoming more and more widespread? Show me a street and I will show you gloomy people where a smile is as rare as integrity in politicians. When I lived near a rail station one hour’s commuting time from London, I would often be on my way back from the gym as the 7pm arrival brought in hundreds of gloomy-faced commuters. Heads down; shoulders’ hunched; grim-faced; trudgery in motion. You’d think they were on their way to their execution.
Although modern life, in the West, at least, has ticked more and more boxes of human endeavour  — better health care, greater longevity, higher standards of education, instant communication world-wide, access to more knowledge in one day than we will even need in an entire lifetime; we are more widely travelled, and, tellingly, generally enjoy far greater prosperity. We don’t have to make do with our parents’ choice of marriage partners from the neighbouring village; and if our relationship doesn’t work out, we can quickly move onto another. We can, and do, seek employment or business opportunities from a global choice of offerings, rather than be limited to what’s available in the local neighbourhood.

Continue reading “So are we destined to be unhappy?”