You’re not that bright….

None of us are. We  like to think we’re smart, just how clever are we?  How many inspirational insights do we “tick” as being relevant, without really internalising them by absorbing them fully. 
One of my favourites is ‘do what you have always done, and you’ll get what you’ve always got.’ If you want a different outcome in life, you can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result; I think Einstein defined this as insanity. But most of us keep doing what we’ve always done and wonder why we always get the same results.
 
An equally wise thinker, Aristotle, recognised that we are what we habitually do. And, of course, our thinking patterns are nothing if not habituated. We may think we are supremely intelligent, whether we attended the university of life, or other of hallowed halls of learning. But when it comes to thinking about our lives, what the hell happened to all those lofty dreams we had for ourselves when we were young?
The sad reality is that we rarely use our intelligence. Most of the time we live on autopilot; a classic example is driving somewhere without any conscious recollection of the journey. Far from being the personification of laser-focus, most of us often potter along life’s highway in a trance, most days.
 
One major misconception that what we believe is the result of long, continuous periods of careful, rational analysis. But the truth is that everything we encounter isn’t analysed. Instead we simply compare it to what we already know or believe: so it either confirms what we already know, or it’s rejected if it’s not in accord. We like being “right”, so we unconsciously seek out confirmation, and dismiss anything than contradicts our perceptions. And because we consistently do this, the older we are, the more entrenched our views tend to become.
 
We also do this retrospectively; we tend to revise memories to keep our view of how we used to be consistent with whom we believe ourselves to be now. How many times do we, or others, say “I knew that would happen” or “I had a feeling he was going to say that”? Both of these are examples of mental shortcuts, and they have influenced the way we think for most of our lives; the former is ‘confirmation bias’ and the latter is ‘hindsight bias. Have you ever noticed that politicians rarely if ever admit they were wrong in the past? Now you know why.
 
When it comes to deciding what we need to do, we all know what we SHOULD be doing. We all know what we NEED to be doing. We’re brilliantly effective at planning what we will do — tomorrow. Or next week. We’re crystal-clear in our mind about how to focused on what’s important and must be done. And, in our mind’s eye, we can visualise ourselves doing it. We have support mechanisms like post-it notes everywhere, and smart-phones programmed with reminders. We really know how to do what needs doing. When it’s in the future. A note to the wives: when your husband says he will do something, HE WILL DO IT. He doesn’t need reminding every six months!
 
How often have we delayed getting on with something important because we just need to check Facebook and want to know what our friends might be doing today? After all, that’s something we can get out of the way quite quickly. And we may well put the kettle on and have a cup of tea or coffee while we’re browsing what others are up to. And let’s just check our email why we’re at it, from where we find an irresistible news item about celebrity nipples, or “12 women that actually exit in real life (click here). And, of course, there are links to “five ways to beat procrastination” which might just come in useful. Although Google will also tempt us with 5, 11, 26, 17, or 8 scientifically proven ways to beat procrastination, or 6 ways celebrities beat procrastination, or the 8 best ways of wasting your time, or the 5 most revealing cleavages/budgie-smugglers EVER.  Needless to say (so why did I write it and why are you reading this) there are also all those productivity apps that enable us to have a list at our fingertips of things we really must get around to thinking about considering doing.
 
But let’s not rush into this. Let’s think about it for a moment, and explore some of the underlying issues. If you were today offered a choice of dessert for tomorrow, of fruit or ice-cream, which would you choose? The healthy option? If you were offered dessert now, what would you choose now? Chances are you may well opt for ice-cream.
 
Do you have a fridge crisper full of lettuce and green vegetables, which you piously bought, fully intending to eat, but somehow always got tempted by the lemon-drizzle cake instead, and eventually have to throw the lettuce away? The angel in you always suggests the healthy option tomorrow, but somehow the devil in you opts for naughty-but-nice….now. Have you ever noticed all that chocolate on sale at the supermarket check-out? You know why it’s there: impulse buying. If the kids are with us, we buy it for them. Naturally. When we’re on our own…?
 
We like to think we know ourselves. But we’re deluded again and again and again. How often do we practice testing whether something we think we know is actually true? We so often kid ourselves that the reason we can’t stick to a diet is because we’re weak-willed, so after a few attempts we give up and take solace in comfort food. We read articles that show most people put on weight after dieting, so this confirms our belief. We learn to live with what we become and learn not to try to become something else. We learn to stay stuck.
 
We learn to believe we can’t succeed. So we stop trying.
 
Or we can decide to stop thinking and just keep doing. Our minds will try and persuade us that we’ll never change. But now you know the insidious effects of confirmation bias, you now know it’s not real: it’s only a misperception.
 
After all, nothing succeeds like a parrot.

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?

Is The Thrive Programme therapy, or counselling… ? NO!

People often ask us if the Thrive Programme is therapy, or like CBT, NLP, or Mindfulness or psychotherapy?  It isn’t any of these and is genuinely unique. So what sets the Thrive Programme apart?

One of the main differences between the Thrive Programme and interventions such as therapy/ NLP/ CBT/ Psychotherapy and counselling is that they sometimes have a patchy success record, and may or may not work for individual clients. Success with these often comes down to just how good the individual therapist is. Also, they may often involve lengthy treatments and can be quite expensive — especially for the top-performing therapists.

It’s quite understandable if people are reluctant to pursue “psychological interventions” if they perceive a stigma with mental health issues. But mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body – is something to which we all happily aspire.

But the very concept of “therapy” assumes the client is somehow ‘broken’ and in need of putting back together. However, the Thrive Programme doesn’t use ‘medical’ assumption that you have a debilitating condition that needs to be treated by a medical professional.

We don’t usually offer hypnotherapy. Although it may be tempting to go into a trance and wake up knowing the hypnotherapist has ‘transplanted’ replaced a faulty mindset with an improved one. Under hypnosis,  the client is often only been a passive recipient of someone else’s suggested solutions. But the foundation of whatever the referring symptom will probably still remain in place in the form of established cognitive (“hard-wired”) patterns. And these can be so ingrained they can be incredibly resistant to change.

The Thrive Programme focuses on systems of beliefs, thinking styles, and the self-talk language we use: you develop insights into how you think, and develop skills and resources to bring about changes that serve you better. And if it seems we go past the initial problem – phobias or depression/anxiety/worry — yes indeed! The aim is to get you Thriving, and as such you will find the worrying issues that brought you here just seem to disappear. What you end up with literally set you up for life.

All the principles are firmly underpinned by empirically published psychological research and the exercises will enable you genuinely to thrive.

Need proof of the effectiveness of Thrive?  Do check out the video testimonials from many of the thrivers who went through The Thrive programme: http://www.thriveprogramme.org/thrivers/

There are over 100 Thrive Programme consultants who can take you through the The Thrive Programme. I am currently the only one in Munster, or indeed in southern Eire. Do get in touch on (+353) 08385 88283 to discuss how I can help you through a free no-obligation 30-minute consultation.

See www.thrivewithjohn.eu for more information.

What do you think about mental health?

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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 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 quickly eradicated; it’s one of the Thrive Programme’s greatest success stories. Because the fear of being sick is in the mind, it’s very straightforward to coach and train the way the sufferer thinks, and in so doing helps them do better a job of managing the process of thinking. The fear is not the reality: it just seems very real.

Research survey findings revealed that 84.7% of sufferers going through the Thrive Programme reduced the impact of their symptoms on their daily lives from severe and significant to “little or no impact” at all, with the remaining 15.3% of sufferers also reporting that their symptoms were still reduced to a “modest” level of impact. The research paper can be found here: http://advanceandthrive.com/…/Emeto-research-Project_new_pr…

But don’t take our word for it, see and hear what Thrive Programme clients had to say:

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.

A research survey revealed that 84.7% of sufferers going through the Thrive Programme reduced the impact of their symptoms on their daily lives from severe and significant to “little or no impact” at all, with the remaining 15.3% of sufferers also reporting that their symptoms were still reduced to a “modest” level of impact.

The research paper can be found here: http://advanceandthrive.com/…/Emeto-research-Project_new_pr…

But don’t take our word for it, see and hear what Thrive Programme clients had to say:

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.

Confused, conscious, and challenged

I’m confused. Which is not unusual for anyone trying to understand modern life.
But I was pondering a paradox. We prize intelligence. We regard ourselves as the most intelligent species on the planet. And we are better educated than ever before in human history. Yet if we have the biggest brains (only the Neanderthals had bigger, but that’s another story!) why are so many people unhappy? Most people are dissatisfied with their lives; more than a few are downright unhappy and only a very few feel fulfilled. The quest for sustained happiness eludes us.

Continue reading “Confused, conscious, and challenged”