I love Mondays…

Maybe I’m the only person in the world who (a) loves Monday, or (b) accepts that Mondays are capable of being loved. Why is Monday despised? What do we have against Mondays, except that they’re a reminder that the weekend is over, and it’s the start of the working week? And yes, some people dread going to work. But why loathe an entire day … that recurs each and every week…?

What do the ‘Monday Blues’ tell us? Is there a lesson here somewhere? Maybe it tells us something about habitual attitudes. And as we all know, happiness is transient: it’s ephemeral and we love it when it arrives. But it doesn’t stay with us permanently. It goes. But not for ever, though.

You don’t need me to tell you that life comprises ups and downs. That’s partly what makes the weekend great – it doesn’t last forever; so we appreciate it while we can.

Ok, we had a great weekend! Well, here’s the good news: we get another one in a few days. That’s five days in which to look back on great times AND anticipate, or maybe even plan, the upcoming weekend-when-you-can-do-it-all-again! Or maybe last weekend wasn’t all that great. Well, Monday marks the start of a period of five days in which you can reflect on what wasn’t enjoyable, and plan what you can do to make the next weekend especially enjoyable.

That’s the weekend sorted. Now, what about Mondays? Cue Boomtown Rats. Well, they didn’t ‘hate’ Mondays, they just didn’t like Mondays. Ask 1,000 people why they don’t like Mondays, and most will say ‘it’s the start of the working week.’

If we have been harbouring a hatred of Mondays for most of our adult life, what is it about the odious nature of Mondays? Is there something particularly loathsome about Mondayness? Why do we abhor Mondays? Think back to the worst experiences of your life; did they always occur on a Monday? Can you remember a particularly detestable Monday? Were your previous Mondays always devoid of delight, gleeful mirth and merriment? Might it just be that how we think of Mondays it’s just … a habit? A habit that has become hard-wired in our thinking, and enshrined in our psyche? Now THAT is a thought to consider.

We tend to fall into one of two groups. We are either (a) the generally content and mostly happy, or (b) the downcast, dejected and disconsolate. What separates us is our perspective. If our Monday mindset has always been a negative one, it represents a super opportunity to challenge our thinking.

Why not rethink miserable Monday? Maybe Monday is not so bad after all, but in our habitual haste to put on the same pair of gloomy perspective specs we may simply overlook things to be grateful for. For example: knowing we’re being remunerated for what we do; being with colleagues we enjoy working with; getting to grips with a challenging problem that may be hard work, but which we know will generate a sense of achievement when it’s completed.

Of course, not everyone enjoys their job.

But that’s still a great opportunity to think what we DO want, rather than descend into our recurrent melancholic malaise. We don’t HAVE to remain stuck knowing what we don’t want; Mondays are a great incentive to think more deeply about what is missing in our lives, and what would be worth working toward.

We can choose to have our mood plummet at the start of every week, or we instead we can choose to embrace this weekly opportunity to see Mondays differently to everyone else. If others prefer to adopt a low mood – and it is a personal choice – maybe they have also chosen not to look for things for which they can be grateful.  Maybe they just got into a gloomy habit.

But why not use Mondays as a great opportunity to look for the things we previously overlooked in the murky gloom of despondency? Why not get into the habit at this point in the week to regard it as an occasion to look more closely for opportunities to relish and cherish? After all, isn’t personal growth really all about learning to make the best of everything? Every day and in every way!

Even on Mondays?  Especially on Mondays!

Why worry? Is there a more pointless (but common) emotion?

Worry (and the other gang members… anxiety, fear and panic).

Why worry? It’s so common but so pointless. What has happened cannot be changed, and the future hasn’t happened, so all you have is now. Spending time focusing on worry can seriously undermine the quality of our lives.

Although academics can spend years debating definitions and classification systems, ultimately these four are all part of a spectrum. Persistent worry triggers fear, especially when we worry and worry and can’t stop worrying. So we worry about that and it gets to be scary because we’re not in control. Because we’re fearful we become anxious. If our anxiety persists we get stressed, and that can lead to panic.

If we see worry as “praying for what we don’t want” – we can often deflect thinking away from what we don’t want in our lives in favour of what we DO want. I know it’s so easy to say, “oh, don’t worry, be happy” (cue the song!). And don’t we envy those carefree souls who seem to go through life without a care in the world?

The only difference between those who worry and those who don’t probably comes down to a belief in how well, or not, you can cope with unfortunate outcomes. Those who don’t worry tend to be confident that whatever happens, they can deal with it. For others, that confidence is lacking, so dread kicks in. If self-esteem is low, it’s mission impossible to believe you can manage your thinking. But you can. Instead (or as well as) of feeing fear, try to work out what is really happening.

Because our mind set has been continually adapting to how we see life, the universe and everything, our style of thinking has become patterned.

We usually accept our perspectives as being simply how they are. And as we get what we focus on, if we’re not living life to the full, it’s time to think about how we think about things.

The first new thought to consider is, “can we change our viewpoint? Alter our perspective? Rethink the worrying thought processes?”

Maybe STOP thinking for a while and just be. And DO something we enjoy? Rather than thinking about worry and anxiety…

First Aid when you are feeling low.

There are times when life catches us out, and our mood plummets. I’ve been thinking about some easy tips that can help deflect us from gloomy thoughts and low mood. I hope these three first-aid tips may help…

 
(1) Physiological control:
Stress is physical and its effects are actual physical consequence. Agitation, shallow breathing, raised pulse – the hormone adrenaline is flowing – and is physically felt.
 
Taking physiological control helps to calm, soothe, and slow down overthinking and racing thoughts, as well as pacify bodily systems hyped up by stress.
 
Breathe deeply and exhale shallow de-oxygenated air held in the lungs. Getting fresh air inside you will invigorate you. Ground yourself by naming and touching things around you, talk to yourself by naming what you can see and touch nearby, and even smell, if you have flowers or other aromatics nearby. This all deflects the mind — and as your mind can only deal with one thought at a time, intentional distractions shift the focus away from what was causing you stress and lessens their effect on you..
 
 
(2) Relate to someone
If you have a supportive partner, family member or friend, do tell them you are feeling low – they don’t need to know the details, only that you’re just feeling a bit low and would appreciate them being there for you, even for just a moment. Distractions through conversations also shift your focus away from stress. Everyone gets stressed out now and again, and everyone knows what it’s like. So, as we do far more for others we care about than we ever do for ourselves, just ask! Most will be grateful to you for calling on their support — even though your social anxiety may be sky-high and you may be reluctant to “burden” others; but the truth is that we like to be asked for help as it makes us feel valued, and gives us a shot of dopamine, the feel-good hormone.
 
Not convinced? A great way to “test” this is to try it out when you are NOT stressed. You can just say you’re feeling a bit down and could do with some support: nothing major, just a bit fed up — and see what happens. This is not to suggest trying it with everyone in the office! But trying it once or twice when you’re NOT feeling too deflated — or perhaps when you feel it might happen soon, and you may well be surprised just how supportive people can be. So when you really DO need help, you will know it’s literally there for the asking, rather than your inner critic telling you that you’re best not to bother anyone because no-one really cares.
(3) Regain your perspective: what has worked for you?
Do remember the words of Michael Montaigne: “My life has been full of misfortunes, most of which never happened.” If you can anticipate a worst-case scenario and know you can deal with that – you’ve massively empowered yourself. You KNOW you can cope. This deflects pressures and stresses from getting to you. Also, recall great moments in your life – really get fully back there to that fantastic time/joyful moment, and chest-bursting moment of pride. We’ve all had them, even though you may have forgotten! We don’t recall happy memories so much as re-create them. So make a conscious effort to recreate happier times. And, as you can only focus on one thought at a time, you take control and choose the thoughts you DO want to focus on, rather than the ones you don’t.
These aren’t intended as anything other than a “quick fix” to deflect those gloomy thoughts and deflated feelings. But hopefully they will give you ideas of practical steps you can take to move from thoughts controlling you, to you taking control of your thoughts.

Which came first?

Have you ever wondered which came first, the depression/anxiety or the negative thinking? Many assume the depression gives rise to negative thoughts. But does it?

If pressed, most mental health professionals will admit they really have no idea what causes depression. And many admit to increasing suspicions that neither medication or therapy seem very effective in dealing with depression, long term.

But there is increasing evidence that depression is a consequence, not a cause, of negative thinking. More and more credence is being given to the idea that the body can only deal with so much negative thinking. Just as we can only cope with a limited amount of stress. So a prolonged period of negative thinking — often, but not always, following a traumatic event — leads us to feel increasingly numb. 

To absolutely everything.

It’s now being seen as a body defence mechanism against stress and things we find it hard to handle. Research now shows that negative thinking can occur hundreds of times a day, often subconsciously. So, faced with too much stress, the body pulls down protective shutters down, literally to diminish the senses.

So if we recognise that depression is a protective defence mechanism that desensitises us, we have now identified the cause. But we cannot  expect anything to change without addressing the negative thinking that brought about the “shut-down” in the first place.

A break is needed. If we stop trusting our depleted way of thinking — and just stop thinking so much, we can reverse the process. So as a first step, perhaps don’t even think about anything. Just get out and about, doing nothing more than taking a walk. You WILL feel lighter and low mood will lift. In fact your mind and perspectives will probably feel just a but different.

Why not give it a try? It really does work. Then the process of re-training the mind to process information properly can begin.

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?

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?

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.