Category Archives: life

Life – it’s weird, wonderful, confusing, enfuriating…how to manage life and survive…

Smart tips for life

 

advice photo

Smart tips for life

Success and happiness aren’t the same thing

Being successful, as in having money, power and status doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be happy. Often we chase the wrong things and mistakenly believe that once we have more money, a bigger house or that person we long for that we will automatically be happy. Happiness is an inside job and people take their negative thinking with them. Possessions rarely make a person happy although they can offer choice which is always a good thing. Look at your values and see whether your life is in line with these important priorities and you will get closer to happiness.

The thoughts you focus on can make life heaven or hell

We all have a mind but we are NOT our minds. Imagine your mind as an internal computer. You can read off it’s screen and see what it is thinking but you don’t have to obey every thought that appears. See your mind as separate to you. Thoughts are not facts – be more selective about the ones you choose to focus on and pay attention to. They will create the quality of your life.

Self belief will get your further than qualifications will

A lack of self belief will create so many barriers to fantastic opportunities. When we don’t have self belief we tend to drown in self limiting beliefs and not even try things in life. You owe it to yourself to believe in your abilities and go for it. See failure as a learning curve – that’s all it is.

Never settle

Fear forces us to settle for less than we deserve. Watch those fearful thoughts and doubts. Believe that you deserve love and attention and respect and if someone doesn’t give it to you, don’t stay out of fear of never finding someone else. Sometimes we have to risk it and be alone in order to find the real prize. It takes guts though to leave something that we could accept on many levels.

You can enjoy life now instead of thinking “When I have….”

Make a conscious choice to enjoy life now instead of putting your happiness on hold until you have obtained something in the future. For example – I will be happy when I have lost weight or I will happy when I have more money. Don’t delay your happiness and try to find happiness and joy in the small things in life. Practice gratitude….

Being true to yourself will bring your closer to contentment

When we behave in line with who we really are instead of putting on a mask to please others and be accepted, we feel a lot more content and at peace with ourselves. Try it! You will be amazed and how people like the real you and if you don’t try it you will never know the joy of living as your authentic self. Say what you want to say, behave the way you wish and don’t change yourself to keep others happy.

Most people think they aren’t good enough

We all have self doubt and we tend to think everyone else is supremely confident. The truth is that I have never met a client who hasn’t wanted more confidence. We all have our fears and imperfections….every single one of us. Embrace your quirky bits and remind yourself that you are wonderful as you are. Never compare yourself unfavourably to others – we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Mandy X

 

Your Personality can be Determined by Your Handwriting

handwriting photo

Your Personality can be Determined by Your Handwriting

 

Are you aware that your personality can be determined by your handwriting? You can understand more about your personality by looking at your handwriting. The study of handwriting is known as graphology and it has been used as a tool for personality assessment in many sectors. Most people live their life without knowing their personality and this can end up with negative consequences. It is very important to know your personality, as it can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and live your life accordingly. When it comes to psychology, your personality and your handwriting:  the space between two letters, the dot, the size of the letters and many other small characteristics matter significantly. For example, the spacing between two words signifies your freedom and independence. Take a look at the below infographic prepared by Essay Writing Service UK to understand more about your personality.

 

Handwriting Infographic

Mandy X

Soul destroying relationships

 

sad woman

Soul destroying relationships

Soul destroying relationships chip away at your confidence and leave a shell of your former self behind. I have been in relationships where I started out confident and by the end of it, I was full of self doubt. Every time I was in  a relationship like this, my inner wisdom or gut instinct, whichever you prefer to call it, would be sending me messages telling me something wasn’t right and I would ignore them. Looking back though, it is clear to me that a soul destroying relationship was to blame.

What you can do to maintain balance:

Instead of constantly trying to please the other person and gain their acceptance and approval. ask yourself whether your own needs are being met in the relationship. The more you value yourself, the less nonsense you will be willing to take from someone else. Does this person meet your needs too or are you so focused on getting them to love you that you don’t look at your own needs?

Long term, a relationship is less likely to last if one person isn’t getting their needs met. Soul destroying relationships don’t provide balance and that will lead to an unhappy ending. Balance is key where you both feel loved and needed and both get your needs met.

Mandy X

 

 

Dealing with intrusive thoughts

 

intrusive thoughts

Dealing with intrusive thoughts

We all have ‘noise’ going on in our minds. Odd thoughts pop into our minds that surprise us but usually we never act on them. Many of my clients don’t realise that intrusive thoughts happen to all of us. The trick is to realise that thoughts will always keep coming. Learning to filter your thoughts and not pay each thought equal attention is the key to a more contented life. When we focus on the negative thoughts, it can often lead to anxiety and/or depression.

Optimists are very good at buffering themselves from their negative thinking, they are just somehow good at placing less importance on negative self critical thoughts and spend more mental energy on the positive hopeful thoughts.

Imagine that you are a bus driver and you need to drive your bus from A to Destination B. On your bus you have a few intrusive difficult passengers who keep yelling, “What if we get lost?”; “You can’t drive a bus, you’re pathetic!”; “What if we get a flat tyre?”; “What if we have an accident?” or “You’ll never be able to do it”.

What would happen if you listened to these passengers? It would certainly make the task a lot harder and would probably distract you or lead you to avoiding driving the bus altogether.

Our intrusive thoughts are like these passengers on the bus – they can be ignored. If we pay attention to them they distract us and affect our confidence and our behaviour. Learning to focus our attention only on thoughts that are helpful is a skill that takes practise but we are all capable of doing it.

At times, we have to distract ourselves completely in order to stop the thoughts. One clever technique is to practise mindfulness which means being fully present in the moment. To help bring you back to the present moment rather than engaging with mad thoughts in our minds – try this technique:

  1. Look for 5 things you can see around you
  2. Listen our for 4 things you can hear
  3. Three things you can touch
  4. Two things you can smell
  5. One thing you can taste

It’s possible that not all the above will be possible depending on where you are, but engaging as many of your senses as you can leaves your brain with less space for mindless thoughts.

Thoughts are not facts – they are just part of how your brain works. Learn to ignore the thoughts that are unhelpful. Look for evidence of your thinking to ensure you are not assuming or mind reading (imagining you know what other’s are thinking), overgeneralising, catastrophising (thinking about the worse possible scenario) or personalising (eg. assuming someone isn’t talking to you because of something you have done – it could be that they slept badly or have a worry completely unrelated to you that has made them seem unfriendly). All of the above examples are not evidence based yet cause us stress.

Learn to be discerning with your thoughts – many of them are just complete nonsense!

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

 

 

Accept anxiety as a part of life

 

accept anxiety

Accept anxiety as a part of life

Anxiety is a part of life unfortunately, yet we all furiously engage in behaviours to try avoid anxiety as much as possible. When you accept anxiety as a part of life it actually becomes easier to manage.

If you are not willing to experience anxiety, you will definitely have anxiety!

When you accept anxiety as something that will always be there, you can then learn ways to deal with it more effectively. Anxiety can be managed but it can’t be removed completely.

Anxiety is caused by two things:

  1. The fact that we overestimate the threat. This could be fear of rejection, humiliation or failure. It could also be fear of losing someone or experiencing shame. There are numerous triggers around us and the more we try to avoid them, the more anxious we become.
  2. The fact that we underestimate our ability to cope. We often cope far better than we anticipate bit the more we avoid situations that might cause anxiety, the fewer opportunities we have to test out our beliefs.

Tips for managing anxiety

Know the difference between a real problem (the car has broken down) and a hypothetical problem. This is a “what if” problem that might never happen. Learn to spend less time agonising over “what if” type problems. Find a solution if possible but then ‘mentally shelve’ the worry.

Don’t spend time overthinking. If you can do something that is solution focused to help towards solving the problem/worry, do it. If you can’t, learn to distract yourself. Count backwards from 100 or do something else but don’t waste mental energy by allowing a problem to go round and round in your mind.

Learn to let thoughts pass without focusing on them. We have between 40 000 – 60 000 thoughts per day. Visualise thoughts as leaves flowing on a river, let the ones that aren’t useful pass by. It is possible to learn to focus your attention on the thoughts that are helpful rather than unhelpful. Examples of unhelpful thoughts: I will never be able to cope. I am useless. It will never work etc

If you really cannot focus elsewhere, try implementing ‘worry time’ Give yourself 30 minutes per day to worry and for the rest of the day, do your best to distract yourself and keep busy.

Ask yourself: what would I tell a friend in this situation? Am I exaggerating the threat? Is there another way to look at this that makes me feel less anxious? (there is always another way to look at something).

Learn mindfulness – be in the moment more rather than living in your head. TO bring yourself back to the present moment, try this:

Look for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can smell, 2 things you can touch, 1 thing you can taste. The more you engage your 5 senses, the less time your brain has to wander off to your worries.

Anxiety is the body’s way of telling us we are in danger but often the body sends us false alarms. We may feel physical sensations related to anxiety – sweaty palms, heart palpitations etc but tell yourself quietly that you are safe and that you are not in danger.

Try deep breathing to calm yourself and tell yourself “this will pass”.

Make anxiety your friend as much as possible. See it as an early warning system that can prepare you and make you ready for action.

Mandy X

 

How to deal with conflict in relationships

 

couple arguing photo

How to deal with conflict in relationships

Deal with the problem, not the person

Focus on resolving the issue rather than blaming the other person. Blame never solves anything and leads to defensiveness. The other person will stop listening and want to defend themselves if you are insulting them or verbally attacking them. Once a conversation becomes insulting, the interaction is no longer productive. If a disagreement gets personal, pause the conversation. Act like an adult as much as possible.

Use reflective listening

Often, we focus more on getting our own point across instead of really listening to what the other person is trying to tell us. Get into the habit of repeating back to the other person what they have said to you, in your own words. This shows them that you are really listening to them and opens the way to better communication and to both people feeling understood.

Use “I” statements

When sharing a concern, start your sentence with “I”. For example: “I feel hurt when you  don’t tell me you’ll be late”. With this sentence format we show that we are taking responsibility for our own emotion rather than blaming our partner. The alternative sentence – “You never tell me when you are going to be late” will often cause the other person to close down and become defensive. Try to avoid using words such as “you always” or “you never”.

Know when to take time out

Know when to call a break if the conversation gets personal, insulting or stops becoming resolution focused. Spend some time apart to cool down and only return when you both feel able to listen and move forward in order to find a solution.

Work towards a resolution

Disagreements are part of most relationships. If it becomes clear that you and your partner will not agree, focus on a resolution instead where you compromise and negotiate towards something that you both find acceptable. Ask yourself whether this conflict/disagreement really matters that much to you or whether you are willing to make concessions for the sake of the relationship. Sometimes it is better to be happy instead of right!

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