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Integrating your True Value and Worth into Self-Help Techniques

Focus for the Month: Can Self-Help Help? 1st May 2017

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” Carol Burnett

I have recently been interviewed for The Times of India, a reputable newspaper, about the mounting concern that surrounds the self-help industry. I was questioned about the rise of the ‘anti-self-help movement’ and why this might be occurring. This lead me to reflect on my experiences with the industry, both as a participant on self-help courses and as a coach and trainer for 16 years. Read More

Who are we? Small Self, Big Self or True Self?

We live in a psychologically-sophisticated age. We know we need self-esteem, self-worth, self-compassion, self-love and we need to do self-care. We know we have an ego or personality that can behave badly at times. We know we need to work on ourselves to overcome our negative character traits. We may too have an awareness of an inner essence that is more magnificent than all of this. But who actually are we? A mix of all of this? One self at one moment… and another self at a different moment? Let me try and clarify it. Read More

Oxygen: The Optimal Fuel for our Body and Brain

We focus on eating healthily. Moving regularly. Sleeping well. Training our minds. But, do we also provide our body with the optimum fuel to keep us alert, vitalised, thinking clearly and relaxed? Fuel that helps us recover from stress, boosts our immune system and enriches every cell in our body?

What is that fuel? Oxygen.

How do we ensure that we get it in large quantities? Through breathing effectively.

We all know how to breathe. We can do it with no conscious thought at all. Yet how much of our unconscious breathing is taking in the oxygen we need to provide us with all the benefits we can obtain from breathing well? Read More

Attention: The Hoover in Our Brains

“Attention works much like a muscle—use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows.” Daniel Goleman

Attention, from the Latin word ‘attendere’ means to ‘give heed to’, ‘to stretch towards’, as if we are reaching our minds towards something. Think about this: whatever you pay attention to, both good and bad, you are stretching your mind towards.

Neuroscience supports this, highlighting that our minds act like a hoover, hoovering in whatever we spend time focusing upon. Drawing our chosen awareness into our neural pathways. Consequently, being very vigilant about the placement of your awareness is paramount. Read More

Hold on. Let go. Which Should We Do?

Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
 Ann Landers

As we approach the end of the year, it is a perfect time for reflecting on what is working in our lives…and what is not! What to hold onto ….and what to let go of. Importantly, it is helpful to recognise the behavioural habits, attachments to situations or people or our ways of thinking that are causing us suffering. And from here, let them go.

However, letting go does not come easily to most of us. We love the phrase ‘just let it go’ but when it comes to it, we don’t seem to be able to. We prefer instead to ruminate on what’s wrong, rather than seek to change it. Why? Because we like the illusion of control. We prefer the safe and the known rather than the unknown. We cling to the status quo – even when we know, the status quo is painful. Read More

Do You Have The Fundamentals in Place?

 

Every small decision we make has an impact on our body and mind. It impacts our next decision. And the rest of our day. Often it impacts the day after, the week after, the month after and beyond. Being mindful of these seemingly unimportant decisions helps us to flourish in life, rather than just surviving.

I believe there are four essential ‘fundamentals’ that contribute to a happy, successful and fulfilling life. Without bringing awareness to the significance of each of them we cannot feel vibrant. We cannot effectively carry out our responsibilities. We cannot reach our potential. And we cannot make a difference in the world. These fundamentals are nutrition, exercise, sleep and training our attention. Read More

Meditation: What’s Your Why?

“Suppose you read about a pill that you could take once a day to reduce anxiety and increase your contentment.

Would you take it?

Suppose further that the pill has a great variety of side effects, all of them good: increased self-esteem, empathy, and trust; it even improves memory.

Suppose, finally, that the pill is all natural and costs nothing. Now would you take it?

The pill exists. It’s called meditation.”
 Jonathon Haidt

There is a plethora of information on meditation these days. Type in a search for meditation on YouTube and 8,550,000 videos are on offer. Amazon sells 500+ different books on the topic. On Google there are 630,000 UK web sites offering some form of meditation facilitation from practical mindfulness to esoteric journeys to far away galaxies. We are spoilt for choice!

Despite the huge growth of meditation as an ‘industry’ and the array of options it offers, it is important to decide on your own personal type of practice and your specific reasons for doing it. Meditation is only an effective tool if it is practiced daily. And committed, frequent practice of anything requires you to have a strong reason ‘why’ you are doing it…or it is too easy to give up! Read More

Turning Poison into Medicine: How to Move Through Challenges… and Become Happier

 

The idea of ‘turning poison into medicine’ comes from a form of Buddhism called Nichiren Buddhism. This is a sect of Japanese Buddhism based on the teachings of its founder Nichiren in the 13th century. One of the key tenets of this approach is that our suffering is not caused by our attachment to our desires, as traditional Buddhism teaches. It purports, instead, that our suffering is caused by our belief that we lack the personal power to overcome the challenges that confront us. That ultimately, we are powerless in the face of adversity. And this can lead us to states of severe anxiety and depression where we are consumed by feelings of powerlessness, worry and despair. Read More

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