Category Archives: inspiration

Focus on yourself

self focus

Focus on yourself

It’s so easy to focus on the other person in a new relationship. Do they like me? Are they into me? It can become a draining and anxiety producing experience because we can’t control what another person feels or how they behave. This is why you must focus on yourself. All we have control and power over is how we wish to behave and react in a relationship. Focusing too much on the other person is a waste of time. I have been insecure in relationships in the past and it has turned a good relationship into one where I feel on edge. I am not the jealous type but I did tend to worry a lot when in a relationship and look for any sign that they were losing interest.

As you can imagine, this took all the fun out of the relationship. What I should have been doing was enjoying the relationship more and not overthinking and dissecting every small thing the other person did, driving myself crazy in the process.

Where to Put Your Focus

Putting your focus on getting your partner to like you, or constantly trying to figure out if they like you really doesn’t help you in a positive way at all. Instead, put your focus on yourself. Work at your own personal growth and self improvement. Have a lot going on in your life. The richer your own life is, the less bothered you will be if your partner is temporarily less attentive. If they are your whole focus, it will be a much bigger deal when they don’t text enough or show you enough attention. Work on really liking yourself and on finding fulfillment in your own life.  I know it’s much  easier said than done, but that’s what makes all the difference.

Be philosophical and trust the workings on the universe. Trust that things are unfolding as they are meant to. We don’t have much control over anything in this life. You can’t control how someone feels, or when, and if, certain things will happen to you and for you. All you can do is focus on yourself and find a way to be at peace, to accept yourself as you are, and to love who you are.

Mandy X

Anticipatory stress

 

stress photo

Anticipatory stress

I’ve noticed with many of my clients that they become stressed when they think about all the chores and duties they have ahead of them. It goes something like this:

“First I have to be up by 7am and get ready to be out of the house by 8.15 am. Then I have to make it through the traffic to work. I have a meeting at 11am but also have to fit in loads of phonecalls and I don’t know if I will have time to get them all done. I don’t know how I will squeeze lunch in as I have a report to write and I know two people are trying to pin my down for urgent meetings….etc”

When we consider all that we have to do all at once, it can seem like we have an insurmountable mountain ahead of us and can lead us to feeling panicky. Anticipatory stress comes from the fear of having to much to do and not being able to cope.

Instead of looking at everything that has to be done, break the day/week/month down into smaller pieces. This is called “chunking” and can help reduce and minimise anticipatory stress.

Deal with the morning separately from the afternoon and/or evening. Anxiety arises from the threat seeming overwhelming and our belief that we will not cope. If this feeling of being overwhlemed continues indefinitely however, it might be that you seriously need some proper time out. When last did you have some time off? We all need to have a few days in a row (at least a week, two weeks ideally for a proper rest) to re-assess and recharge. If you constantly feel tired and overwhelmed it may be that you are burnt out.

Have a look at what brings you positive energy (things, people who inspire you and leave you feeling happy and energised) and what drains you – negative energy. This could be toxic people, a bad job or a bad relationship to name a few. When we are out of balance and have too much negative energy in our lives, it’s common sense that we are going to feel tired and stressed. As much as possible, realign what you can to increase positive energy and reduce negative energy. Balance is key in counteracting stress.

Mindfulness techniques (I will write about this in a future post) can also be extremely useful in reducing anticipatory stress. We all tend to live in our heads too much, worrying about the future and learning to remain in the present moment is a fantastic skill that can allow you to really be present in your life now.

Stress is a part of life but we can learn to manage it effectively. Try the above tips and book that holiday!

Mandy X

Personal affirmations to counteract stress

 

confident

Personal affirmations to counteract stress

I created a personal mantra to help focus my mind when I am feeling vulnerable or overwhelmed by stress. It helps to remind me that it is possible to counteract stress by regularly ‘feeding’ myself a positive inner dialogue. I call it my 4R Mantra and I’d like to share it with you…

Resourceful – I am resourceful

The first “R” is for resourceful. I remind myself that I am good at finding a way around things. Whether it means finding out more information or by finding support from the right people, I believe that I can find these resources if I need them. The idea of being resourceful is a powerful one as it suggests that if I do not have the skills or knowledge to fix a problem, I will find someone or something to help.

See yourself as resourceful and believe that you will somehow find a way. Always believe that help is at hand. The next thing I need to work on is asking for help – still working on that one!

Resilient – I am resilient

I like to remind myself that I am resilient and in times of trouble, I like to  remind myself of the tough times I have already been through. I am still here – I have lived through tough times and have lived to tell the tale. Remind yourself regularly of how you have overcome problems in the past to reinforce that you will cope better than you think you will.

Ready – I am ready

I sometimes say to myself “Bring it on”. I don’t like stress and I hate feeling anxious but I accept that it will always be something that will enter into my life in various forms. Whether it’s through a tricky relationship or a challenge at work, I like to feel that I am ready for it. I try not to tell myself that I will be happy when….I can be happy now. I am ready now for the good and the bad. When you tell yourself you are ready it takes the fear away. You are prepared. When you don’t feel ready you are sending yourself a message that somehow you need to prepare or that you lack something. You hold the key – nothing is lacking…

Recognition – I recognise my strengths

We tend to be so self critical of ourselves and rarely give ourselves the recognition we deserve. Give yourself a pat on the back for all your triumphs, no matter how small. When you do something that outs you out of your comfort zone, give yourself recognition.

The above steps can help us to counteract stress and improve our belief in ourselves. It reminds us that we can and do cope better than we think we will when life is tough and challenging.

Mandy X

 

Top 100 Blog Award

 

personal development blog award

I wanted to say a big “THANK YOU” to all the readers who enjoy and read this blog. It’s thanks to you that this blog has been included in a Top 100 Blog Awards list for being one of the best personal development blogs out there. Onwards and upwards…

 

Here is the link:  Top 100 Personal Development Blog Award

Mandy xxx

 

 

What makes relationships work

 

happy relationship photo

What makes relationships work

I have often wondered what it is that makes a relationship work. Believe me, I have tried many different strategies to see whether I could come up with a foolproof method in order to be successful in the dating game.

I tried being really nice and keen. I also tried acting disinterested. After a while of internet dating, I upgraded my car and wondered if a nicer, more expensive car might improve my chances. I also moved home during my dating phase into a larger more expensive home. I kept some men guessing and didn’t return their texts straight away. I tried many different scenarios. Unfortunately, each different strategy didn’t produce overwhelmingly positive results and each time I ended up back at the drawing board where I originally started.

All of this made me realise something. Mostly, it’s not about the car you drive or where you live and it’s not about being too nice or treating them mean to keep them keen. What makes relationships work is down to one fundamental thing – how much the other person likes you and wants to be in a relationship. It’s that simple!

If the other person likes you, they will make allowances for many things. If they like you – that is, how you look and they fancy you physically and like your personality, the rest is less important.

You can stand on your head and do cartwheels and give your best impression ever but if the other person isn’t into you, nothing you do will change their mind.

So, the lesson here is – just be yourself!!

Obviously, you may be on best behaviour initially but fundamentally you need to be true to yourself. No one can keep up a pretense forever and you will just make yourself anxious trying to be someone you aren’t. Be confident in yourself and like yourself and others will be inclined to do the same. If someone doesn’t love the true you then it is their loss and this leaves you free to find someone who loves and appreciates just as you are!

Here’s to ‘TRUE LOVE’ – being true to yourself in love xx

Mandy X

How to decatastrophise

 

relax photo

How to decatastrophise

We’ve all been there – something triggers us and we end up catastrophising and imagining the absolute worst case scenario. We make mountains out of molehills. Try out the techniques in this blog post to decatastrophise and get back to normality. One thought can sometimes spiral out of control and before we know it we have become homeless, bankrupt, single /and/or have imagined ourselves on our deathbed. Learn to deal with anxiety and stress in a calmer way and enjoy a less stressful life.

Steps to decatastrophise

Specify the catastrophic consequence clearly:

This has to be as specific as possible. “What if something bad happens?” is too vague.

Here are a few good examples:

What if my health never gets better?

What if my partner leaves me?

Losing my job

Change any “what if” statements into concrete declarations of fact:

Examples: My health will never get better

My partner will leave me

I will lose my job

Challenge the truth/validity of your statement:

Ask yourself if anything bad has ever happened before. Ask yourself how often this might happen or whether it is very likely to happen. Also ask yourself whether there is any clear evidence to suggest that your worry will come true.

Ask yourself what a friend might say if you told them about your worry. Are there any reasons to doubt your worry coming true?

Examples: My health is bad right now but I have been ill before and improved. The doctor said I had a good prognosis.

My relationship is going through a rough patch but that doesn’t mean my partner is thinking of leaving me. My partner has given me no indication that they might leave me.

I might be performing worse at work but losing my job is a big jump. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions. There is no evidence that I am about to be fired.

Come up with three positive alternative statements:

My health will probably get better. I’m at my worst now – even if I don’t fully recover I’m likely to get better than I am now.

My relationship will survive this tricky patch

My job will still be there tomorrow

Remember that thoughts are not facts and there are times when we allow our thoughts to get the better of us and cause us great distress. Use the above exercise to restore calm to your mind and see things from a different perspective.

Mandy X

 

 

How to manage negative thoughts

negative thinking photoPhoto by martinak15

 

How to manage negative thoughts

We have somewhere between 40 000 and 60 000 thoughts every day so it pays to be selective about the thoughts you decide to focus on.  In general, I have found that most of my clients tend to worry more when they have spare time. Rumination is the tendency to over think things without finding a solution. It is wasted energy and only serves as mental torture.

The best way to deal with negative thoughts is to remind yourself that thoughts are NOT facts. They are merely a representation of reality and are formed according to your existing ‘filters’ and experiences. This means they can often be distorted and unhelpful – creating anxiety and distress unnecessarily. Have you ever worried about something only to find out that you had made assumptions and all your worry was for nothing? Remember that there is ALWAYS another way to look at an event. Watch what you tell yourself and how you interpret things.

Thoughts affect emotions which in turn affect how we behave. THINK – FEEL – BEHAVE. This is the bottom line of cognitive behavioural therapy. Watch your thinking, challenge your negative thinking and immediately improve your quality of life.

We can all ‘catastrophise’ initially and think the worst. For example, I have had days when I have eaten junk all day and then had the thought “I am never going to be healthy, I may as well just give up”. This thought led me to feeling pretty low and annoyed at myself. I could also choose to think “I may have been undisciplined today but tomorrow I can start again”. The same event and two different thoughts which will in turn lead to two different emotions….the first negative thought will lead to negative emotions whereas the second thought will lead me to feeling more hopeful and optimistic. Watch what you feed yourself – I call it my ‘mental diet’ and I constantly work at talking to myself in an empowering way.

Ask yourself what you might tell a friend to help you think up another way to look at something.

Remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. One good thing about life is that there will always be change and although change isn’t always welcome, at times it can really be a good thing.

Accept that negative and intrusive thoughts are part of life. They will keep coming but you can train yourself to let the thoughts pass without really giving them attention. Distract yourself if necessary…another thought will soon be coming along.

Learn to choose the thoughts that work for you and empower you. You can choose your thoughts and beliefs.

Don’t compare yourself to others as you never truly know what is going on, Instead focus on yourself, your strengths and your goals.

If you find it really hard not to worry, schedule yourself some ‘worry time’, say half an hour in the evening and then don’t allow yourself to worry until then. Make sure that when worry time comes around, you do your best to be resolution focused rather than allowing your scary thoughts to ‘bully’ and scare you. Fear paralyses us and often there is no need for the fear in the first place.

Think of these three options: Change, accept or let go.

Decide on a plan of action and do it. Try not to allow thought to just keep running through your mind over and over. The more you worry, the more you lose time to be content and at peace.

Keeping negative thinking in check takes practise and the job will never be perfect but I work at it every day and I have definitely improved my happiness levels and ability to cope over time…a work in progress and you can do it too.

Mandy X

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

 

confidence crisis

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

Confidence is a dynamic concept and it varies throughout our lives. Usually there will be a trigger that strips our confidence away. If we aren’t able to nip this in the bud, a full confidence crisis can ensue where we are so focused on what it is that we perceive are our shortcomings…that in the end our insecurities become all we can see.

Here are a few tips to help overcome and deal with a confidence crisis:

  1. Get out of your head

Once we focus on our perceived shortcomings, we tend to spiral downwards. Remind yourself that your thinking is probably distorted and not entirely realistic. We tend to be our own worst critics. Instead, remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts and don’t allow yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about yourself. If you catch yourself being self focused, make an effort to distract yourself.

2. Have clear goals

Know what you are good at and know where you are headed in life. Having that commitment to ourselves and our goals can help us to stay strong when our foundations get shaken. Regularly remind yourself of all that you are proud of and why you think you are a lovely person – whether it’s the way you make a cake, drive a car, your sense of humour or your kindness…never stop letting yourself know why you are special and why you deserve love and to be cherished.

3. Don’t compare

It’s so tempting to compare ourselves to others and we all do it but it is probably one of the most destructive things we can do. We very rarely come out ‘on top’ when we do that. Accept that we are all different and we all have different priorities. Love your own priorities even they seem different to other people’s. Embrace your differences rather than seeing them as inferior.

4.Evaluate your triggers

Figure out what is causing your confidence crisis and decide whether something can be done about it. Is it a specific relationship causing your confidence crisis? Is it a job, a situation? You will usually have three options – change, accept or let go. If you can change it then get stuck in – have that conversation, don;t let things get out of hand. The less assertive we are, the worse the situation will become. Often, we turn a blind eye and hope that the situation will resolve itself but it rarely does. It will often take an active and assertive intervention. If you feel unwilling or unable to make changes then you need to learn to accept the way it makes you feel or learn to let it go – whichever is applicable.

Face your triggers head on, part of approaching the problem will lead to an increase in confidence. When we do something actively to sort our troubles out, we often feel empowered. Believe in yourself.

5. Trust your instincts

All too often we lack the self belief and self doubt gets the better of us. When in the throes of a confidence crisis we may find it even harder to approach the problem and fix it. A confidence crisis never lasts thankfully, and you will get back up again and feel stronger.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself, don’t criticise yourself and never allow someone else to make you feel inferior.No one is perfect and if some one else is somehow leading to your confidence crisis, make sure you keep perspective. You are wonderfully and unique and don’t let anyone else ever lead you to believe otherwise!

Mandy X