Tips for Relieving Anxiety

When it comes to the mind, pain comes from when we are thinking too much into the past (depression) or too much into the future (anxiety). We have all the emotions on this spectrum for a reason and so some anxiety, or feeling down, or anger are all normal and required for various reasons e.g. to move away from something, to be aware of danger, or to push you to follow what’s right for you.  It’s only when we are stuck in those extreme emotions in a chronic way that it can impact our health and wellbeing.

anxiety

What is e-motion?

Sometimes we can get stuck in a pattern which just needs to be rewired.  And part of that healing is the acceptance of where we are right now. This alone can relieve anxiety.  There are various ways that I lead people to that in the work that I do which is why my slogan is ‘you are what you are looking for’.  I have found that through my training as a Yoga teacher, NLP coach and Hypnotherapist that our pain comes from when we attach emotions to a thought, when we struggle to move out the emotion.  Emotion means – to move out, so if it gets stuck then that can be physical, mental or emotional. We need to find our own tools to shift that out. It’s a journey of self awareness. This is mindfulness.

Whether this is occurring in your personal life or at work it is equally as important. Over the years working in corporate learning and development and working with various groups from shop floor salesmen to top execs, I have witnessed anxiety showing it’s face at varying levels with various faces; frustration, anger, introversion/extroversion, physical symptoms such as heart pounding, palpitations, reddening of skin, tightness in chest – ultimately leading to more physical illness.  Often it is linked to a feeling of being overwhelmed.

Our fight, flight and freeze is activated when under stress and certain hormones are released which occur to help us survive.  Adrenaline and Cortisol prepare the body to escape or fend for yourself, and they are supposed to subside after the alarming situation (in the modern world this also includes just thinking about something).  When we are stuck in a pattern our body struggles to let go of those hormones and this can cause a cycle of feeling anxious then thinking about anxiety, which in turn makes you feel anxious. This means you end up feeling hyper-sensitive in situations that might not ordinarily feel stressful.  

Types of Anxiety

The five major types of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

This is of course not as simple as it can first seem and you would need to read more into each one.  E.g. OCD is often associated with obsessive cleaning, but it also refers to obsessive thoughts, not being able to let things go in the mind.

Sources of Anxiety

We have two main pathways where anxiety comes from; the Cortex (thinking part of the mind – the ability to project and reflect), and the Amygdala (our primal system that manages our fight, flight and freeze reactions. This is a much quicker route to the symptoms of anxiety as it happens on a subconscious level.  This can also include experiences of situations that have had the Amygdala believe are dangerous, even when they are not. This includes unexplained phobias etc. This is because there will have been a time when the Amygdala decided it was something to be feared by storing it in the subconscious most likely from a very specific traumatic event from the past, or a repeated situation from observation or experience that cements a belief system.  Either route that anxiety is produced (by the Cortex or Amygdala) they both end up with the symptoms that the Amygdala produces. The Cortex just takes more time to get there. We have to talk to each source differently; the Amygdala is mainly body so needs body talk such as relaxation, laughter, meditation, yoga, walking in nature – to bring Cortisol down and bring Oxytocin and other happy hormones in. The Cortex needs mind techniques. Sometimes we need both.

In my experience anxiety comes from these main areas:

  • Not saying no subconsciously or consciously  
  • Passion/ purpose misalignment or even excitement
  • Lack of belief/confidence in self/ feelings(self-judgement)
  • Trauma past or current or consecutive stressful situations
  • Body imbalance/ illness/ recovery from illness/ pregnancy/birth/ surgery/ menopause

We have a cycle that needs to be broken for the pattern to be rewired.  I believe we each have a spiral – up and down; sometimes we can find ourselves stuck in our spiral.  Thereby we can raise awareness of red flags, while preparing a unique toolbox for when you find yourself on different places on that negative spiral. It could be nutritious food, walk, meditation, dance, friends, alone time, bath, holiday, depending on what you like to do. But it’s also about raising your self-awareness of what works for you at varying stages of your spiral; sometimes a walk may not be what you need.

Where you feel you need external support you can speak to an external support professional. The objective is always to get you to a place where you know your own tools and have taken empowerment back into your own life.  These tools are interchangeable and selecting the right one for me comes with awareness.

The Healing Process:

happy

The way I see the progress based on the clients I have had is the following:

  1. Awareness (Initial discomfort or drive to change)
  2. Exploration (why?)
  3. Blame (who? when? where?)
  4. Responsibility & Choices (understanding – leaving the blame where it is and choosing to move forward from that with awareness; learning and growth and taking ownership – trying techniques, recognising red flags and trigger points)
  5. Maintaining with tools (using own techniques, recognising triggers and maintaining balance)

For example; a person who is calm at work but gets palpitations at home when trying to sleep.  This is an example of anxiety.  This person wants to change it (step 1).  They have acknowledged it, which is an achievement in itself.  Then they explore why they get like this (step 2) – perhaps it’s workload, a person at work, their personal pressures at home.  Or it could be a pattern that has been around for a long time.  After identifying reasons (step 3) they can look at options to move past it (step 4) and make that a new habit (step 5).

Of course it’s never as simple as that and can take some deep soul searching, as well as go through this cycle numerous times to get to the true core.  I have found that not one single person alone can help you, it’s about you helping yourself and taking bits of information you resonate with, from different people and different scenarios.

Practical Tips

Here are some of my tips for breaking the cycle or maintaining a new balance or way to be/think/live.  Of course everyone is different, so it’s about experimenting with what works for you and being kind to yourself in the process.  Rather than feel hung up on your feelings and adding more anxiety to it, see if you can step back and observe that feeling without attaching a negative emotion on top of it.  Praise yourself for noticing with awareness and keep that positive reinforcement. For your long term anxiety support it’s worth looking into a professional to explore the root cause, it might go back further than you think; a coping mechanism that may have been developed.  That’s ok, but if it’s holding you back, perhaps it’s time to address it with compassion and learning to move forward. This also applies to professionals who deal with the biochemistry which can be triggering anxiety.

  1. Breathing techniques – simply pausing and releasing tension from the body as well as reducing cortisol and adrenaline, while introducing oxytocin.
  2. Meditation (classes can be found on my website as well as blogs on tips and benefits) www.inspireandrewire.com/blog) and my youtube channel ‘Inspire & Rewire – get your chi on’
  3. Yoga focuses the mind, helping to relieve it from overthinking, relieves stress and balances hormones – amongst many benefits (classes can be found on my website and youtube channel, as well as blogs on tips and benefits of yoga and ‘finding your yoga vibe’)
  4. Aromatherapy (especially Neroli and Lavender). Use before bed in a bath with Epsom/ Sea/ Himalayan Rock Salt, and oil. This will relax muscles and so your body inside and out, plus the aroma will calm the senses and the mind. You can also place some drops on your pillow. The salt contains Magnesium which is missing in the soil these days and Magnesium aids sleep.  You could also have oils by your desk for through the day for calming or waking up
  5. Intake:
        • Drink more water, eat more greens, less toxins. Rather than overwhelming yourself with a new way of living just start by cutting out 1 thing and introducing another
        • Eat protein especially just before bed – just a little bite and avoid sugar/ caffeine even if it’s early in the day – helps reduce sugar cravings and increases ability to sleep well. Also eat more leafy greens.  Coffee has been well documented in its contribution to anxiety. You don’t have to cut it out altogether but taking a break can give you adrenals a real rest, then if you want to introduce one you can and see how it makes you feel.  Then make a mindful choice going forward
        • Smoothies: e.g. Spinach, Kale, Mango, water or Coconut water, Flaxseed, Pea Protein
        • Herbal Teas – Pukka do a great range for sleeping too, calming or waking.  Some might taste bad to you so have a go at all the range – try Tescos but also if you order online you can pick and mix 10 different ones at a time to try. Also experiment with how long you leave the bad in
        • Supplements – B Vitamins and Ashwagandha (an adaptogenic herb so if your adrenals are too high or too low it will balance but I recommend speaking to a Nutritionist for one to one support. Passionflower is also good for insomnia
  6. Intake:Download an App which supports sleep aid such as ‘Headspace’ or ‘isleep’ or  ‘Buddhify’. They not only have meditation and hypno sessions but they have mind tricks that help you shift perspective. You can also buy earphones that are built into your pillow or head band so that ear phones don’t bother your ears when you sleep. However be mindful of social media impacting your wellbeing and try to get significant time away from your phone at any opportunity. You might be surprised to see how often you check for the sake of checking 
  7. Drains and Radiators – sometimes things or people, places or thought patterns take away peace and unknowingly impact our emotions and therefore our behaviours.  Once you can identify the source of this you can begin to filter the the negative elements that you are allowing into your life
  8. NLP mind techniques There are various mindfulness techniques try google ‘NLP Wheel of Life’ to divide life categories into manageable priorities – this can also be done with work tasks
  9. Take a break or a retreat to just pause
  10. On a deeper level – anxiety comes from worrying too I have found on my experience with clients and myself, that it comes from a couple of key core issues. Therapy can support this;
  • Feeling as though you have no choice or control. Freedom and choice is joy. So when we have this taken away or we have a perceived lack of freedom it will impact our deeper feelings
  • Not being good enough. We worry and obsess over other people or their opinion on us when we don’t have a high opinion of our self. We need to work on building our self-esteem and unconditional love for ourself. These deeper issues can impact our behaviour and prevent us from saying no when we need to

Everything is choice. From internal reactions to external actions Are you ready to make new choices?

 

                                      

What do we do at Mindfulness Meditation classes?

In case you are interested but not too sure what to expect here’s a little run down of how we go about it. There are various ways and methods out there, and so there no right or wrong kind of meditation. Just like finding a Yoga class – it’s all about choosing what vibe sits best with you.

Part 1:

We begin with a theme of the month – in a workshop method we discuss using flips charts and examples.  Examples can come from my personal cases, my training or participants.  It’s important to note that no one is asked to speak out or put on the spot because these sessions are aimed towards managing anxiety so that’s the last thing we all need!  This means you can sit quietly observing or you can participate if you feel something you have to share will help another person to hear the story, to know they are not alone, or hear how you overcame it.  Often just by speaking something out you can have a ‘aha’ healing moment.

These sessions are based around tools and techniques that I have discovered along the way that I have found to help me reduce anxiety. They can be anything from NLP techniques (Neuro-Linguisitic Programming) to Tapping, to meditation, to yoga philosophy, to organising your mind, to saying ‘no’, to self-hypnosis and so on. Full details can be found here.  We then practice or practically apply the tool; this could be wriring something down, or closing the eyes and ‘working’ with the mind.

Part 2

After this we always end with a meditation which is usually a mindfulness meditation.  In our class we usually sit in chairs because it’s important to have a straight back to allow the energy channels to flow but also to maintain mindful throughout or you can sit on the floor with our without a back rest. It’s different to a relaxation session, but I believe in choice for happiness so I always give the option to lie down for those that know they don’t fall asleep 🙂 but I always say that even if you fall asleep perhaps that ls what you need on that day. There’s no right or wrong. In meditation class webour Monthly Sound Healing Meditations, I usually recommend to lie down with the head closest to the bowls to get the benefit but again it’s all about choice.

We experiment with different styles of meditation; mindfulness (staying with the now), guided visualisation, healing, mantra or sound etc. At the end, we take a moment to be in the peace of the effect of the meditation itself. If we feel like sharing, we summarise at the end how we felt – what was difficult, what was easy, what we experienced that was different, or the same. Again it’s optional as some people prefer to remain peaceful and quiet in the moment.
So the meditation itself is around 35-40 mins. Regardless of the style of meditation, we always focus first on mindfulness practice – this is training our brain/ mind to be in the now.

Benefits of Meditation

This is really helpful practice for optimising the benefit of a peaceful mind, back in the real world. It becomes a habit; both conscious and subconscious. Looking back can be useful in learning, as can planning into the future. It’s required. But too much of either way can create depression or anxiety, respectively. Therefore it goes without saying that the benefits of meditation are:

  • meditation scanself-awareness when feeling intense emotions and thus, being able to handle situations
  • focus and clarity, leading to vision and action being achieved
  • increased creativity and insight to support solution finding
  • neutral perspectives resulting in going with the flow when things are out of your control – with a level of acceptance where needed
  • confidence and quiet assertiveness (without aggression) where required when you realise changes do need to be made
  • compassion or yourself and others, leading to better communication, relationships and outcomes – in any situation

 

 

Of course, all of this leads to greater wellness both in the mind and body; less stress creates less tension in the body, storage of negative emotions and toxins – shoulders drop, neck relaxes – reducing headaches and body aches and the further physical damage that can lead to more serious damage. In turn it can lead to better food choices and physical activity, further promoting your mind-body wellbeing into this wonderful positive cycle. It only takes one shift in perspective to move from the downward spiral, onto the upward one.

Click here to book onto our monthly sessions or email us for a video version of one of the topics

An Introduction to the Chakras

We have the answers to everything within.  It’s only what goes on out there that leads us to believe it’s out there. ‘silence is loaded with answers’.  

chakraDepending on the origin you can hear Chakras having 7 or more, or 5 in Buddhism.  There are 7 in Hinduism and that’s what we are focusing on, linking to yogic chakra understanding.

History of the Chakras and origin

The chakras are inextricably linked with the science and practice of yoga.  Yoga means ‘yoke’ and it is a system of philosophy and practice designed to yoke the mortal self to its divine nature.  Although yoga was said to have dated back to 6000 BC it was somewhat more recent that the written yoga was formed.  The earliest mention of the chakras was in the Vedas, meaning ‘knowledges’, a series of hymns created from an older verbal tradition.  It was developed out of there same writings as the chakras found in documents called the Upanishads. It was said here that the organs are a conduit through which the elemental self or consciousness acts on the world and the organs as receptacles or conduits for the divine energy. Prana.

Yoga talks about how to move the prana and form the spiritual energy Kundalini, this basically means prana is refined and shaped into specific patterns. Kundalini means coiled in Sanskrit, like a snake.  It wraps around the spinal cord at the base of the Crown and here we again have the reference to the impacts on the the physical body.  It’s objective is to unite the individual with the divine, as Yoga is to unite the mind, body and soul.

What are the chakras?

  • 7 chakras in the body (Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus , Heart, Throat, 3rd Eye, Crown)
  • Each has a colour and association linked to maslow triangle of needs and the body
  • Chakra means vortex or whirlpool as an energy centre
  • The prana or life energy moves up and down these chakras
  • There are 3 blocks/ locks:  root, heart, 3rd Eye
  • The Ida (feminine) and Pingala (masculine) – energy nadis running either side of the the sushumna where the kundalini moves up
  • The Kundalini awakens when you discover spirituality
  • All need to be balanced and can be in and out of balance throughout a lifetime and even within the same day when developing
  • Meditative techniques and yoga coax the kundalini to rise through the body and past through the chakras activating them
  • Chakra-kundalini

There are dimensions in time too, and chakras describe the stages in personal and cultural life-cycles.  In childhood the chakras open sequentially -it is the root in the early years, moving into the crown in adulthood.  As adults we may focus on one chakra more than others e.g. exploring sexuality, developing personal-power, creating prosperity, creativity or spiritual exploration.   In terms of evolution there is also this pattern.  Anodea Judith who wrote ‘The Wheels of Life’, says she believes we have passed through primitive humans at the Root chakra of humanity focusing on survival, into the agriculture and ship travel and now we are in the 3rd chakra of power and energy, moving into the fourth realm of the Heart chakra, focusing on love and compassion.

 

 

In the Chakra Series Workshops we discuss: How is the spiritual, mind and body linked.  

Click here for event info

  • Endocrine, nervous system and organs (see printouts)
  • Stress from thought manifests in the body, if prolonged
  • Blocks can cause energy stagnation which knock you out of balance

Chakra and body

Chakras relate to certain emotions and thinking on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and they can actually be associated with certain areas of the body with certain thoughts and feelings which also sometimes manifest physically in that part of the body.

What does it mean when we are out of balance and how can we keep the balance?

We can feel stressed, sad, nauseous, get ill, shy, confused, aggressive (depending on the chakra). Prevention is better than cure and so we aim to tackle at a subtle level before it becomes physical

How can we keep our balance?

  • Mediation (see here for classes)
  • Reiki – using healing energy to restore body’s natural ability to heal (on all levels)
  • Physical: nutrition exercise, pranayama (Nutritional workshop/talks)
  • Mental: , relaxation, positive thought you choose e.g. calm waters, holidays, sleep, friends,  family, hypno, NLP, counselling, reading, walking etc.
  • Managing self and emotions – understanding yourself – e.g. I have fire, how can I channel  that in a positive way?
  • Yoga for chakra
  • Protect own aura and energy (self mediation and protection bubbles)

Full details can be found on our Chakra Series

While many interpretations on the chakras advise transcending the lower chakras in favour of the more expansive upper chakras, it is not necessarily the view of all of those working with chakras.  This view arose during a period in history where all the major patriarchal religions advocated the importance of mind over matter, thus denying the existence of the spiritual within the mundane realms.  Careful reading of the texts does not imply the denial of the lower chakras in favour for the upper, but merely an enfoldment; where each higher level is a transcendence, which includes and is built on the level below it. In this way, the lower chakras provide a foundation for our spiritual growth, much as the roots of a tree, which push downward, allow the tree to grow taller.  We do not help the tree to grow taller by pulling up its roots.

More and more research is being done that supports the existence of chakras and the Kundalini energy, however it is something to be felt and experienced rather than proven because the scientific aspect gives little practical value in actually using the system other than intellectual reassurance, since the chakras are ultimately an interior subjective experience.  This is a love story between your inner self and the universe that surrounds you.

Finding Your Yoga Vibe

Finding Your Yoga Vibe

yoga-confused

Like anything in life there are so many options and choices! One CEO one told me that ‘choice’ is the definition of strategy, in one word. I love this. It’s clear and straight to the point.

Some people say that there are too many books, or too many types of therapy or too many paintings. Not so. There are so many types because there are as many types of people as there are choices.

This applies to Yoga. There are many different types, but also styles of teachers. This is great news! This means that the benefits of Yoga can be experienced by more and more people. Whether you’re looking for a physical practice, release, or a break from the monkey mind, there are Yoga styles out there. Usually the mind, body and soul combination can be found in all styles but perhaps with a different weightage or emphasis depending on the main theme. When I first explored Yoga more in depth, I discovered that the postures or physical part of Yoga is only ⅛ of the wider world of Yoga, and so I entered a fascinating world where the true benefits of living the lifestyle of what Yoga can be felt.

Although there is some discussion around what constitutes as ‘Yoga’, even on a purely physical level Yoga can be extremely rewarding and beneficial. Any Yoga is better than no Yoga. I was in and out of Yoga for years before I found a style that suited me I then took that style forward into my teaching, adding on my own unique teaching on top of that.

I was trained in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga so my style follows typical Hatha Yoga poses but in a Vinyasa flow. I focus on a theme for that season and prepare the sequences in advance. I first feel the theme e.g. ‘Chakra cleansing’, ‘Balancing Energies’ or seasonal such as Autumnal ‘letting go’ and then I feel my way through the moves, visualising a smooth transition between each move and optimising some of the Yoga websites with all the poses and sequence suggestions. I pick and mix and make my own flow… take myself through it and then I’m ready. At the beginning of the session I talk about the theme and then we always have a short moment to set the intention for the session in meditation. Building the energy slowly we move into each move and I intuitively speak at intervals that allow for healing and mindfulness, always emphasising the ownership of the group that individually they know their own limits and should go within to monitor their level of challenge that’s right for them.

vinyasa

I am drawn to healing as it is part of my profession and so ensure groups are small enough to support any individual care with barriers or injuries but always recommend they also speak to doctor of physio before carrying out Yoga. We have a variety of students, some undergoing physio, some with arthritis, or other ailments and together we have seen great improvements physically and in their approach to life. We always draw a line in the sand as to where we are today, and that being exactly where we need to be. We don’t judge, we simply observe, have awareness and continue to grow forward. Some days we have more energy than other days so it’s also about optimising that but being kind to yourself when you’re not feeling as proactive. Sometimes we need support, sometimes we might even need a push and sometimes we want to push ourselves. Sometimes we just want to stretch and go easy. This should all be your own choice because only we know what is right for us at any given time within our own mind, body and soul. It’s about getting to know yourself and taking back control of your own mind, body and soul. We reflect a lot back to life throughout Yoga. My main message is that your life is yours and your sessions are for you to make the choices that are right for you.

We always end with a luxurious meditation at the end that is linked to the theme but slightly different each week, making use of guided imagery, aromatherapy oils and singing bowls. We often incorporate small breathing exercises which is a typical factor of Hatha Yoga.

Whichever Yoga you are more drawn to, it’s also not always necessary to stick to one style. If you choose a more feminine restorative energy one session and a more masculine cardio another session then this can also be a nice balance of your own energies. For my cardio energy I like to jog; I often find this very meditative in itself. The space allows me to either clear my mind completely or I choose it for contemplation, working out my feelings or solution finding. Sometimes I even use it to run through any speeches I’m due to give. Check out my blog on ‘getting back into running’ on Yoga Class Near You.

I recommend that you you visit different styles and teachers to get an idea and keep going until you find one that sits well with you. Here are some keywords to type into a search engine, depending on your overall main aim such as:

masculine, feminine, restorative, physically demanding, meditative, healing, laughter, yin, hatha, vinyasa, beginner/ intermediate/ advanced, calming, ashtanga, relaxing, evening, energetic, cardio, fitness, relaxing and so on.

Here’s some descriptions below of the main Yoga styles to give you some indication of what you might be looking for

1. Hatha
Hatha yoga is a generic term (meaning balance of the sun and moon or masculine and feminine) that refers to any type of yoga that teaches physical postures. Nearly every type of yoga class taught is hatha yoga. When a class is marketed as hatha, it generally means that you will get a gentle introduction to the basic yoga postures with some advancing into intermediate and advanced depending on the progress of the class. You may not work up a sweat in a hatha yoga class, but you should end up leaving class feeling looser, longer, more relaxed and positive. With varying styles of teachers there will also be added unique benefits.
2. Ashtanga
Ashtanga is based on ancient yoga teachings, but it was popularized and brought to the West by Pattabhi Jois (pronounced “pah-tah-bee joyce”) in the 1970s. It’s a rigorous style of yoga that follows a specific sequence of postures and is similar to vinyasa yoga, as each style links every movement to a breath. The difference is that ashtanga always performs the exact same poses in the exact same order. This is a hot, sweaty, physically demanding practice.
3. Bikram
Approximately 30 years ago, Bikram Choudhury developed this school of yoga where classes are held in artificially heated rooms. In a Bikram class, you will sweat like you’ve never sweated before as you work your way through a series of 26 poses (like ashtanga, a Bikram class always follows the same sequence, although a Bikram sequence is different from an ashtanga sequence). Bikram is somewhat controversial, as Choudhury has trademarked his sequence and has prosecuted studios who call themselves Bikram but don’t teach the poses exactly the way he says they should. It is also wildly popular, making it one of the easiest types of classes to find.
Hot Yoga
Basically the same thing as Bikram. Generally, the only difference between Bikram and hot yoga is that the hot yoga studio deviates from Bikram’s sequence in some small way, and so they must call themselves by another name. The room will be heated, and you will sweat buckets.
4. Iyengar
Iyengar yoga was developed and popularized by B.K.S. Iyengar (pronounced “eye-yen-gar”). Iyengar is a very meticulous style of yoga, with utmost attention paid to finding the proper alignment in a pose. In order to help each student find the proper alignment, an Iyengar studio will stock a wide array of yoga props — blocks, blankets, straps, chairs, bolsters, and a rope wall are all common. There is less heart rate increase but you’ll be amazed to discover how physically and mentally challenging it is to stay put. Great for any injury or chronic condition.
5. Restorative
Restorative yoga (sometimes also known as ‘yin’) is a delicious way to way to relax and soothe frayed nerves. Restorative classes use bolsters, blankets, and blocks to prop students in passive poses so that the body can experience the benefits of a pose without having to exert any effort. A good restorative class is more rejuvenating than a nap. Studios and gyms often offer them on Friday nights, when just about everyone could use a little profound rest.
restorative yoga

resorative
6. Vinyasa
Vinyasa (pronounced “vin-yah-sah”) is the Sanskrit word for “flow”, and vinyasa classes are known for their fluid, movement-intensive practices. Vinyasa teachers choreograph their classes to smoothly transition from pose to pose, and often play music to keep things lively. The intensity of the practice is similar to Ashtanga, but no two vinyasa classes are the same. If you hate routine and love to test your physical limits, vinyasa may be just your ticket.

Good luck and keep going, keep growing

Get back into it – part 1 (Running)

For me, exercise is like any habit that we get out of because ‘life’ gets in the way.  But when will we make our positive habits our life?  As a Hypnotherapist, NLP coach and with my previous 13 years career in learning and development industry as a senior manager across the Middle East and Far East, I have always been interested in the mind and behaviour. Working alongside 250 nationalities in Dubai I had my belief systems shaken and stirred in the most wonderful way, which opened my mind to other possibilities.IMG_7195

We can easily lose something but we can easily get it back too.  I have found over the years that I’ve been in and out of exercise habits; the most difficult part being the decision to get back into it.  Doing it is not actually that hard, especially when I’m we’re the zone, but the thought of it? Dreadful.  Yet it’s only a thought.  Therefore, knowing myself well and observing my patterns I decided to take a different approach to my habits and have applied it to all parts of my life in order to build a healthy and balanced life

I found that two things are essential for it to work; convenience and positive reinforcement.  How many times have you found yourself berating yourself for either promising yourself you will go exercise and ‘failing’ to do it, or not doing enough?  The bark is worse than the bite. When we decide to take a new habit up we take it to the nth degree.  We never make the statement:

‘I would like to become healthy and balanced by taking one step a day and taking it easy on myself, with the appropriate amount of pressure that works for me as this will be the most impactful, long term’.

No we say:

‘I’m going to be so fit that no one will even believe me at first sight, and I’m going to do it in 3 weeks!  First I’ll cut out all bad food and work my body like a dog!’.

This is why I don’t do ‘diets’ in the sense of the word when it’s used for the purpose of losing weight.  In this instance I don’t even use the word.  I still have wine, I still eat pizza and have a coffee here and there and this is what works for me.  What works for you might be something different but it starts by getting to know yourself and having a balanced and logical conversation with yourself about this when you’re feeling calm and practical, not when you are in the middle of negative self talk when emotions are ruling your heart and mind.  Balance is the key and a balanced mindset reflects the balanced approach to your overall health and well being and then nutritional choices fall under this automatically.

In Yoga we take the teaching from various Gurus and Buddha being one of the main ones would say that there is a cycle in everything that we do in life and peace comes when we can take ourselves out of that cycle. For example, we try to work towards being a selfless person so we give and give until we feel we are taken for granted and then we take back and take back.  Then we feel guilty for being selfish and so we give and give again to overcompensate.  We get stuck in this selfish-selfless cycle.   There is only yourself who can determine what the balance is for you – by going within and taking time out to understand, observe and continually work on yourself in that path towards peace.  It’s the same with attachment-non-attachment and working hard/ resting because the human experience is filled with duality; night and day, male and female and love and fear.  

So when it comes to building back any kind of positive habit, it helps to first approach it with a positive mindset and balance.  We always want the fastest results but long-term it’s not effective.  If we can step back enough to see this and have patience we can achieve anything.  So I took this method and applied to my running, another love of mine.  I am not a fit runner, I’m not an athlete by any means and this is where my acknowledgement and realism takes the first priority in my expectations on myself.  So how about start by setting yourself a realistic end result that is unique to you, taking into account your lifestyle.

running

Then…. it’s literally the first step; try the following:

  1. Start by dressing yourself as a runner with the intention of going for a walk for to clear the mind and enjoy nature or for solution finding (keep in the back of your mind that if you decide to run then that’s a bonus)
  2. Go out of the house (this bit is a must 🙂 )
  3. Start walking at a speed which increases your heart rate
  4. Most likely your body will feel the endorphins and be tempted to take it to the next level.  Try it.  Even if you only take a few steps. Walk again if you’re not feeling it straight away.  Try another couple of times before you reach home.
  5. Even if you didn’t get far, psychologically you have been for a run.  Tell yourself you are proud and that you achieved more than you expected and that you’re happy you achieved
  6. Now you will be motivated to go again the next day.  The reason for this is because you gave yourself positive reinforcement and you are more energetically ready, with new energy from the previous run.  The muscles will be regaining their memory from previous exercise and enjoying the benefit of oxygen to the lungs, blood, tissues, cells and your mind will be aware that they do not get berated but they actually get rewarded
  7. After this you can set your regularity of your routine because you have broken the seal!

 

 

‘Dances with Waves’ – Positive people are always happy? No

waves

Blog focus: Looking at embracing the genuine light and dark side of us all, as a whole person, through understanding our unique selves and embracing a new way of thinking through choices in the real world.

‘This too shall pass’

Positive people are happy people aren’t they? They’re always happy and smiling.   Not so. But it doesn’t mean that those who smile are fake.  It’s deeper than that isn’t it?  

Maybe some people are just born positive by nature, and sometimes the happiest are the ones whom have been through the worst and come out the other side, with strong appreciation. Isn’t this true? Because taking life lighter is sometimes the only way to deal with some things.  This realisation and appreciation of life then this becomes a habit. Maybe this has happened to you, or maybe you are going through something difficult right now.

When you are down you have two choices; you keep going down or you choose to come out of it, and each one has their own limit and messages that encourages that choice. When you find that, and you want to come out of it, you find a way to see things differently.

comfort zone

With a learning and development industry background I do believe that sometimes, learning and growing is also connected to some element of pain. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but maybe sometimes uncomfortable or frustrating; being out of the comfort zone (whether physical or emotional, or otherwise). Sometimes when things are at the worst, it’s often the cusp of something wonderful that is about to happen. Yet it should be mentioned that there is a difference between growing pains and unacceptable pain.

No one can really advise you. No one can help you understand a situation. They can walk you to the door, hand you the key, even unlock it for you and open it, but only you can walk through it. You have to experience it. Can someone tell you about how love feels if they have never been in love? It’s not tangible, and no one can tell you what a broken heart feels like either, even with in depth description. Life is experiencing.

After each experience in our lives somehow after it there is more calm; with learning comes growth, comes an understanding. But only with a conscious awareness can we see these as opportunities.   How many times have we been told to ‘find the learning and growth in this?’ At the time it can feel nearly impossible but when we look back, it’s the truth.  Think about that and your own experiences. If we can’t find the learning, healing or growth while we are in it, then we have to hope there’s a rainbow at the end of the storm.  For me I don’t say ‘the calm before the storm’, I say ‘the storm before the rainbow’.

weather

We have to have faith and hope. I look at life like the waves of an ocean. When I lived near the ocean, I would sit and look out and find answers in what I see.

One day I realised what a metaphor it was for life. When we think about the ocean it has so many meanings and analogies. The waves will always come regardless, up and down. They never stop, not for a second. Sometimes they are high, sometimes low and sometimes misleading; they look big but it’s nothing, or they look small and then come out of nowhere and knock you down. Sometimes, you jump over the waves and sometimes you dive under, you make a call.

Maybe sometimes you just sit on the shore looking at the waves, and sometime you run in confidently with a friend, laughing and getting knocked down together. When the sea is calm, you might float upside down, silencing out the world with a gentle smile. Some might say it’s too cold to get in and nervously flick water on themselves, easing themselves in, some say the water is lovely, calling out to the others and encouraging them to get it ‘it’s ok when you get in’.  Do you wade in or do you jump? Do you watch while they others take the risk?  Do you use it to observe the beauty of a sunset, alone or with a loved one? There is no right or wrong, and every day is different, you are different.

You choose. It’s your choice. Everything is about choice, including how we react and feel. It’s about finding your way, getting to know yourself; increasing awareness and choosing whether or not to be influenced by others or not. It’s about assessing whether the pain is growing pains or if it is unnecessary pain. The waves are always there, and so too are the choices. The waves will still come. Who or what these waves are, we might not yet know, but our approach to them is what is important because anyway they will come. And the sun goes up and comes down the waves will go up and go down, the tide will come in no end go out. The key is maintain that neutrality in all instances, that inner peace and calm.

I used to be more fiery than now, after some awareness I am more calm.  For example, I used to curse erratic idiot drivers diving on the roads, moving in and out of lanes and showing off the size of their engine, which was the norm when I was living in Dubai. Until one day, I was driving to work to meet by strict deadline of an 8:00am start, preferably 07:50 in the company I worked for. I would have rather risk racing to work and getting a ticket, or worse, than arriving at 8:01 with the unwelcoming unfortunate consequences of being late.

As I was beeped at by one or two drivers, I shouted back from the protection of my metal cage, ‘WHHAAATTTTT!’…. and simultaneously I squirmed down in my seat as I realised that I was that idiot on the road that people were cursing at this time! At this, I was able to feel some compassion for others behaviour, not just on the road but in other scenarios. As I buy petrol, clothes, step into an elevator, experience someone else’s bad energy in a meeting.  I began to wonder what their story was, could my experiences be a series of me misunderstanding people and people misunderstanding me, and I became more compassionate and less judgemental. Regardless of how I was treated, at least I wanted to treat others well and at least trust that this was the case.  ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind, always’.

This blog came to my mind when I was asked to give speech on positive thinking to a group of managers, and it got me thinking deeply on what is positive thinking.  It was a day that I was not in a positive mood. And even though many people tell me I’m positive, it isn’t always so.  It has been a development of habitual process of my own journey. What I came to conclude is something that can apply to all.  The key is to have a conscious awareness about making choices in many ways, but as a starting point about choosing to rewire a belief pattern or thoughts which influences emotions and therefore behaviour and in turn actions and therefore, your life.

wolves

I wondered, was I then a fraud in my own projection of positivity? So then what is positive thinking anyway? What does it mean to you? How? Perhaps appreciation, acts of kindness, seeing with compassion. But again, I could say it, but it doesn’t mean anything without walking through the door. Words are guidance with the comfort that we are not alone in this inner battle; we each need to find our own way, but recognise it’s a choice. What I discovered was that positive people are not always positive. Therefore those on the quest to positive thinking can fall into a cycle of guilt or failure when they feel sad. But it’s not human to be positive all the time. We are build up of emotions, light and dark and it’s about accepting all of us, which make us whole.  It’s also about working with them, and not against them.

So how do ‘positive people’ do this differently? When they feel down (which is a completely normal – we have a spectrum of emotions for a reason to guide us) there are a couple of actions they do:

  1. They get back to feeling positive more quickly because they know themselves; how to switch the light back through self-awareness and how to do prevent and recognise when their own downward spiral.
  2. It’s also about prevention of feeling bad (risk assessment) and making new life choices, in terms of what they do and how they think and making that into a habit. They are conscious of the feeling and objectively see it is a separate entity to themselves. Non-attachment

I realised that anyway you get over it; the wave goes. So you may as well get over it faster if it’s a small thing. If it’s a big thing, avoid making it worse by feeling bad that you feel bad! Feel genuine compassion for yourself and issue/ person involved.  Move yourself onto the positive spiral.spiralBehind every behaviour is somewhere a positive intention. It doesn’t excuse a behaviour but it gives some understanding around it, and we can all be that idiot in the car, at different times. We all have similar fears and anxieties behind the mask we put on. No matter how cultured, mature, professionally experienced, educated or spiritually developed; the trick is to find some release through compassion and choice.  Emotion means ‘to move out’.   It’s about self-leadership; bringing peace and balance to yourself, leading by example to support others who are experiencing their own turmoils.

So my questions to you are:

  • What will you choose to think?
  • What will you choose to do?
  • What have you done to become self aware
  • What can you chose to do today?

Try to be the one person who considers that the other perspective, not the one that adds to it.  The gift of giving is the fastest way to feeling positive and that can be done every day, even with a genuine warm smile.

Healing Past Pain – A Knot in a Chain of Events

To become who we are we have to un-become everything that we were

To become who we are we have to un-become everything that we were

As I looked at my knotted, once beautiful necklace, I made a choice that today was the day to untangle.  As I observed myself untangling my necklace, I found my mind wandering; bringing me an a image here and there.  With the image came one or two realisations, interpretations or summaries in the scenarios of what I saw.

It was a person usually that popped into my mind, from now or from the past, which seemed to still hold an unresolved feeling in my mind; an interpretation of a stranger, a conclusion of conversation I had had (and how I had felt as a result), or an emotion about a person’s character. A final opinion was formed while untangling the knots; generally it seemed it was a decision on an action that needed to be done, inwardly or outwardly.

knots

It wasn’t an emotional struggle, but more of was a conscious choice of letting go and surrendering to the outcome of what I had no control over, or actioning what I could control. Thereby this task of untangling my necklace seemed like an opportunity to relax, focus and allow natural resolutions to flow,  encouraging me to move on from confusing scenarios that did not involve anyone but me and my own inner monologue.

Sometimes meditation can bring solutions, an understanding, or simply create a space of stillness and silence to clear the mind, bringing peace.  Not always is it guided, and not always is it silent. Meditation holds many different methods for different objectives; it can even be through hours of fun and laughter, or sport, walking, or watching a funny film, being with nature. So long as it brings you what you need by focusing the mind in the present, while holding a positive intention in your objective, rather than going round and round on the same issue, causing more pain and multiplying the negativity.

I don’t tend to believe in many rules with meditation, self-discovery and healing.  When we share our own stories and journeys, it is great gift of experience coming from another’s reality, without a right or a wrong.  This is extremely valuable and important as it can be a comfort, inspiration and a guidance on where to heal and how, and at the same time we are each our own person, with our own complicated mind and rich experiences, as well as senses and self-healing capabilities coming from our own intuition.  There is no definitive book, video or guru that can support your individual journey, for the one and all who can help you, is actually you. This is why there are so many options available to us in books, in healers, in more and more from traditions across the world, for you to choose. Not to mention the experiences along our own path that offers lessons and development along the way, if we choose.

I believe everything comes from the energy in the form of intention, and with the right focus and intention, accompanied by love and positive affirmation.  From this comes the result you are looking for, whether that result is clear, or still lying within and yet to be discovered.  Either way, your subconscious knows your path and will guide you there with its 7000 times stronger drive than your conscious.  When you are not following that you are bound to feel predicaments and conflicts, mainly with yourself.  Try not to let these times burden you, let it come and pause; it is a message – any discomfort is a message for you, listen to it, for it will not cease until you listen. It will simply start to knock louder and louder.

This is when the psychological conflicts manifest into the physical. Healing is about the mind, body and spirit.  It cannot be a part by part process as it is all connected. It’s not necessarily easy or fast but often it is our beliefs that hold this very notion of perception of difficulty and speed.  If it is us we are healing, is it not us who are holding us back?

It was these thoughts about meditation that came into my mind while I embraced the challenge of untangling my necklace. I prepared my environment to support the outcome of success; I began with a peaceful mind, music softly playing in the background. I had no agenda for the day and so no pressures externally placed upon me, there could only be those of which I placed upon myself, internally.  I took upon the opportunity to observe the mind and the process of the internal and external interruptions on the task and consequently, the result of the task.

As I observed my emotions and feelings and how they impacted the progress of the task, I noticed that the ease or difficulty in which I untangled the necklace was effected by the status of my mind at that particular moment.  It reminded me of a quote I once heard; this person had explained that they felt they could understand the character of a person by how they dealt with tangled Christmas tree lights. Sometimes I remember who quoted what, and more often than not, I forget and I let it submerge into my subconscious.  So many times in academia and business especially, we are trained to remember specific qualities by specific accredited people and we feel embarrassed if we forget who said what, and we feel we sound intelligent or add credibility when we remember.

During my Masters qualification I felt I had many perspectives and suggestions but we were advised to look and research who said that before us.  We were not encouraged to explore more with our own perspective, creativity and so on. I can understand that this is to ensure we are not taking credit for someone else’s’ work and thoughts but I felt some frustration because I felt compelled to remember the theorists who first stated this or that, rather than my own collective knowledge I had gained through experience, observations and teachers.  Therefore, while there is value, credibility and importance placed on these great thinker and leaders of their time, for me it’s about who put the quotes into practice that is most admirable; living and leading by example.

I choose now to not concern myself over remembering who said what and why, accepting this is a quirk of my character and one I am happy to embrace. It applies to remembering names and places too! I’m useless at that and not going to exhaust myself perfecting these elements.  Instead I will work on areas that either I want to develop even more, or areas that might be causing me pain and suffering.  Everyone has different strengths, it’s meant to be this way. I place my energy into embodying what I hear, learn or observe and truly put them into practice.  Surely this is what those visionaries would like us to do with their insights? This again is how I feel about healing modalities, spiritual teachers, therapists and so on; take it all in, soak up as much as possible, and leave out what doesn’t resonate with you.  Blend it all together as a random and unique recipe that you are, and deliver up the wonderful homemade dinner that you made.

And so as I began tackling the task at hand – the necklace, it was interesting that despite the calm mind and music, there was certainly some stronger intensity of feelings when thinking about certain people, than others.  The emotion dissipated once a conclusion was seemingly made in my mind. It was only during this heightened sensitivity of the very calm place, physically and mentally, that I was able to sense this subtlety of shifting energy.  Emotion means ‘to move out’, so finding our tools to do this can help us move forward.

Another interesting observation was how I noticed when a decision was made.  If it wasn’t the right one (as perceived by my higher self) the knots got more tangled. I knew this meant I needed to make another choice, and when I made the other choice, the tangles were more easily unravelled.  

I started to think about the necklace as a metaphor for life. The most obvious one being that a necklace is worn around the neck; with two outcomes 1. of beauty by glimmering against the skin, complementing the natural colours in a person’s skin tone, using colour in the necklace. Necklaces can also be used for a connection to a faith or loved ones with the pendants chosen.  They can also be used as an expression of identity. 2. On the other hand it could be a source of frustration, tightness or heaviness, even discomfort or pain if it catches on tiny hairs or the hairline. Often certain types of material can cause discolouration and every allergic reactions.

As I worked through the untangling, I also realised that the one necklace could very easily become tangled either in itself or in other one or two chains, if not taken care of.  I realised that to solve the knotted necklace we cannot not do it fast, it cannot be cut, for it will be broken. We cannot tug at it or else it might snap. During the process we might even drop the necklace, and depending on where we are working on the necklace, it can even drop on the floor in a heap, folding up so small into a messy ball.    When it is free from knots it can be stretched out fully – it looks so long, elegant and is smooth to the touch; the flexibility allows the chain to be moved around like fluid on the table; there are so many shapes it can be moved into, gracefully like a piece of art; like drawing in the sand with your finger.

If we are prepared and cautious about where we approach the solution of untangling the necklace, we might sit at a table and it might just land gently in front of us.  Depending on what happened, it might take time to pick up from where we left off, especially if it drops all the way to the floor and we have to pick it up again and seemingly start from the beginning.  And so with all the potential inner and outer distractions, I realised that the way to successfully untangle the necklace was with dedicated time and focus, with love and positive energy on the outcome, with a clear vision and motivation for it; to wear the necklace.  

Focusing on our outcomes visually and with positive emotionally can support a process, even if it seems a world away.  We can also draw upon our previous positive experiences where we remember something seemingly taking forever but looking back each problem was always resolved.  Sometimes we have to wait for the storm to pass but sometimes we need to learn how to dance in the rain (quote by someone).  We cannot change what we cannot control (quote by someone else… but also by me 🙂 ). So we may as well learn to manage our inner if we cannot our outer.  It is a choice.

When we break the necklace down and get through one knot we might be surprised it was actually two separate knots. Sometimes there are knots on knots and it looks like there is no way in. We might get a needle and prod around; sometimes gently, sometimes firmly sometimes; one way works and sometimes the other.  We feel our way through. It first seems impossible when the knots are so tight, but then we find a way in, sometimes after trying many ways and angles… but we get in, because there is always a way in. It depends only on the person and their intention and choice to do so.

On a very knotted necklace it can take time, and after completing the release of many knots, we may see there are still one or two tiny ones left. It’s very tempting to leave it, with the intention of coming back, after replenishing energy and intention.  In some cases this is fine, it takes time to get to the root cause, as always, it’s a choice.   And we might not be able to iron out those knots all in one session.  Just remember one thing; it is the root cause that begins the multiplication of the knots in the first place; so we have to keep the awareness in our consciousness; the awareness and intention to return after a break with the same positive intention as at the start.

With an appropriate break, we try again but with a refreshed energy we see this time only to a tiny knot and this time the knot released with more ease, more than anticipated.  And so imagine an environment where there is no peaceful music, there is drilling going on outside, you slept badly the night before, there’s a work deadline, your back is giving you grief, your relationships are not running smooth…. You attempt to tackle the necklace, how does it start?

What happens when despite this, you still take a deep breath and with positive intention attempt the untangling, and then the phone rings and you get more distractions?  Does it even get started? Or does it get put back on the shelf gathering dust and tangling more and more with other chains as a result of you ruffling around in your jewellery box, looking for an alternative, a distraction?  It’s always a choice, led by your subconscious; make that choice at the deepest level and your subconscious and conscious will lead your there hand in hand.

Begin with the self-awareness to get the necklace off the shelf and to look at it and recognise it needs to be brought back to beauty, to live its purpose and life it was intended for, which was not on the shelf.  This awareness and peace at this awareness is healing in itself.  It can move out some suppressed feelings from simply acknowledging it and making a decision to begin. From here, you will find some knots easy and some hard, but the right tools, environment, mindfulness and positive intention will achieve the results.  It’s about the choices you make surrounding this.  There are a million ways to approach the task, externally and internally; it is your choice. Everything is choice, yours.

And so when we are along our path and we are moving forward one by one…..imagine this….all the knots will be out… You will wear your chain beautifully.  Little knots might come along, but with our new awareness and learning, they have a whole other energy. It’s easier this time because mindfulness is present.

And so becomes the habit of looking after ourselves, to try preventing any knot coming in the first place but gently untangling if it does. These are the choices we make; it’s all up to you.

© Inspire and Rewire 2016


© Inspire and Rewire 2019