Category Archives: self improvement

Ways to learn more about ourselves and reach our true potential

Tell yourself every day

 

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Tell yourself every day

What you tell yourself has an enormous impact on your happiness and on the course of your life. Get into the habit of ‘feeding’ yourself a positive story. The more you hear it the more it sinks in and operates automatically in your daily life. I promise this is true as I have tried this and it worked for me. I used to be full of negative self talk and initially when I tried to talk to myself in a more positive way, it felt so fake and awkward. Tell yourself every day how unique and lovely you are

After a childhood filled with negative messages, that I wouldn’t amount to much and that I was just a useless liability, I had begun to believe all that nonsense and it seemed true. Actually, none of it was true – it came from an unhealthy parent who also had their own problems. I had taken on what they said and made it part of my identity. Therapy helped me to reject this ‘old programming’ and replace it with more balanced thoughts.

Tell yourself every day

I am a fantastic person, Unique in my ways with loads to offer others. I am great company, funny and clever. Who wouldn’t want to be around someone like me? I am kind and generous and deserve love and care. I won’t allow others to criticise and abuse me as I deserve much better than that. This is my life to live and although others can offer me advice, I do not have to feel pressure to do as they say. They do not live my life, I do. I have the right to make mistakes and change my mind. I have the right to express my emotions and opinions as I am just as important as everyone else.  I have the right to lead the best life possible, to find my own way and do things the way I want to. No one else can make me feel inferior without my consent.

The above paragraph is just an example – you can create your own one or use some of the sentences above – whatever works for you.

Just remember to tell yourself positive helpful things every day. When you build this positive foundation for yourself about how you see yourself, you will attract different dynamics into your life. Without realising it, our thinking alters the way we do things and our body language and this sends subtly different signals to others. Research has proven this to be true!

A positive mental diet is what I call it. Obviously negative thoughts will still come but pay no attention to them and be aware of the messages you are giving to yourself. Tell yourself every day how amazing you are.

It can make a HUGE difference and it has worked for me.

Mandy X

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Coping after a breakup

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Coping after a breakup

Surviving the heartache of a breakup is tough. It can be one the most gruelling emotional experiences you can go through. Coping after a breakup is possible though, here are small little things you can do to inch yourself towards happier days…

One important question to ask yourself

Coping after a breakup involves healing and time. You must also ask yourself this question,

“What needs of mine were not met?”. Looking back at the relationship, what needs of yours were not fulfilled? Once a relationship is over, focusing on what wasn’t good can help propel your forward.

Make a list

No one is perfect and there must have been things that your ex did that you didn’t like. Make a list of all their annoying habits and things you didn’t like about the relationship and read it when you start to reminisce about the relationship’s positive attributes.

Look forward and be philosophical

Believe that everything happens for a reason and that there is a higher purpose for this breakup. If your partner split up with you, it is much better to be with someone who wants to be with you. They are out there. It may not seem like it at the moment when you feel so down in the dumps but there is someone out there who is better suited to you. If you initiated the break up, there must have been a valid reason – remind yourself of this.

It takes time to fully heal from a breakup. Be kind and compassionate towards yourself and don’t listen to the self critical thoughts (I am worthless, no one will ever love me) and the negative thinking. You will get to a better place. In the meantime, take it one day at a time and know that each day you will be closer to feeling back to your normal self again.

Mandy X

 

 

 

How to make the most of yourself

 

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How to make the most of yourself

I have been doing a lot of research into what needs to be done to make the most of yourself. What do we need to do to help ourselves reach our best possible potential? After reading many books, observing and asking clients, I have come up with an extensive list of what, ideally, is needed to make the most of yourself. I keep this list in a place where I can see it regularly and it helps to keep me focused on where I need to go and what I need to do to achieve what is most important to me.

  1. Don’t pretend to be someone else

It’s possible to keep up pretenses for a while but eventually the facade will slip. Stop hiding who you really are. The only reason we do this is because we fear people won;t like us for who we really are. Those that do, and will love us, will love as warts and all. Have a little faith that who you are is good enough. Let the real you shine!

Improve your self awareness

It’s really essential to figure yourself out, to know what you like and don’t like if you want to make the most of yourself.  Sometimes, even though you’d think we should know, we don’t know that much about ourselves. This is sometimes due to the fact that we put our true wishes aside and listen to what others want for us (partners, parents, society). We end up thinking that we want things that, in reality, we don’t/ Think back to what you enjoyed as a child. What made you laugh? What gave you that buzz? Is there anything that you enjoy doing that passes the time really quickly? When you’re “in the zone” you are doing something you really love. It’s great to be able to tune the world out and just be in your special happy place now and then. Get to know yourself well, this will get you closer to your true potential. Tune inwards and listen…

Let go of what you can’t control

Seriously – get to know the difference between what you can and can’t control. If you do this, you will save yourself a lot of grief and anxiety. You will also free up a lot of energy for more positive things. Learn to let go of those things you can’t control – such as what other people think and do. You can’t control the weather, traffic, other people’s feelings and behaviour etc

Focus your energy on the things you can control, such as your effort, energy, attitude and reactions…this is far more empowering.

Make anxiety your friend

Yes, I know this is a tough one. But think about it – we cannot get rid of anxiety entirely so it makes sense to learn how to manage anxiety better. Write down your worries for thirty days. Nagging worries seem huge at the time but after some time, they lose their power. Writing worries down helps reduce their power too. Understand the difference between a real worry and a “what if” worry. A “what if” worry is often something you can’t control and it may never happen. Learn to dismiss worries, especially if you aren’t trying to find a solution and worrying just for the sake of it. Make the most of yourself by managing anxiety.

Accept responsibility for where you are in life

Finding self confidence requires accepting responsibility for your own happiness, and recognising that you are a product not only of your genetic code and environment, but also of the choices you make. Once you accept you are responsible, you can make your own decisions and take control of your future. Give up blaming others and circumstance.

Be brave and take calculated risks

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Risk taking takes bravery but it definitely builds confidence. Even if the risk doesn’t quite work out, you still test out your abilities to cope with adversity which also improves confidence. When considering any risk, define a clear goal. Review the positive, practical and the potential losses. When you focus on risks that have a larger purpose you can’t go wrong. Act. Take a risk and live your life with less fear.

Think and speak positively

I know this is  a tough one too and even though it’s impossible to always think and speak positively in order to make the most of yourself, at least work towards looking on the positive side or at least being open minded and neutral as much as possible. There is something called a “self fulfilling prophecy” – the way we think can end up inviting that sort of attitude/tone into our lives because we focus on it so much.

For example – if you think negatively in general about your job “I hate my job, I will never enjoy it, my boss is stingy and won’t give me an increase…”, your attitude will focus you on all that confirms that attitude and you may end up inadvertently welcoming more negative into your life.

Invest in your personal growth

Reading this blog is a good way to do that… 😉  Read a lot, try new things and expand your horizons regularly.

Don’t delay making decisions

Indecision breeds more indecision. The next time you ponder a decision, think of everything that could go right and ask yourself, “What do I have to lose, really?” Fear of the unknown often limits us..this is when you need to be brave…take a risk

Smile and be kind

Put positive energy out there and it will come back to you. Spread positive cheer whenever and wherever you can. It will make you feel better about yourself too.

Be aware of the media’s messages

Sometimes the media twists things, airbrushes images and makes us feel bad about ourselves in order to get us to buy their products. Ignore this – you don’t need extra cosmetics or more clothes to be better. All you need is to think more highly of yourself – your attitude will get you further than spending money on products will.

Keep good company

Positive feeds positive and negative breeds negative. Stick with people who inspire you rather than tear you down or criticise you. If you can’t avoid toxic people, do your best to limit time with them.

Reward yourself

We can be our harshest critics so learn to be kind to yourself and treat yourself as you would someone you truly loved. Give yourself that well earned break or have a day off – you deserve it.

Never accept messages that damage your self esteem

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Who has the right to put you down? It is much easier to improve/change your behaviour when you believe you are loveable and capable. If someone criticises you, ask yourself, “What is on this person’s screen?”. In other words – assume that they have some sort of shortcoming. Remember that people can only criticise if they are perfect and no one is.It’s also highly unlikely that their criticism is based on any accurate perception of you. It’s much more likely that the critic is reacting to emotions, memories and behaviour patterns that have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and their internal chaotic world. Happy peaceful people don’t spread negativity and meanness. Thinking less of yourself because of a criticism is a mistake. When someone criticises you, say to yourself, “Wow, they must be pretty unhappy inside to be projecting such nastiness”. It’s more often than not about them and not you. Don’t take it personally.

Be aware of your thoughts

We all constantly have thoughts going through our heads, many of them unwelcome and self critical.Remember to turn up the volume on the positive thoughts and turn down the volume on any negative messages about yourself – thoughts aren’t facts. If you want to be happy – follow your happy feelings, not your unhappy ones.

Use positive affirmations

Have a few positive statements that appeal to you and help you to feel stronger and confident. I use them a lot, some of mine: “I am loveable”, “I will find a way to handle whatever comes my way”. Choose your own and say them to yourself regularly.

A small success can bring a big feeling of competence

Small steps lead to more steps. Pat yourself on the back every time you have a small success. Every step counts! Take a step at a time in the right direction, this is the practice of self esteem.

 

See yourself as amazing in order to give yourself the best chance in this life. Protect your self esteem at all costs. Focus on your strengths and never allow negative critical people dent your confidence. Use the above list to give your self esteem and your true potential the best chance ever!

Mandy X

Any other tips you would like add? Write and let me know….

 

 

How to face your fears

 

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How to face your fears

What are you afraid of? Do you avoid relationships because you fear rejection? Do you avoid job interviews as you worry you will fail? Fear is everywhere but it’s mostly in our minds. I know that seems a contradiction but it is only when you face your fears that you will realise that fear exists mainly in our minds.

We have a choice about how we want to view things in life. We can see the world as a scary place where others can’t be trusted and people are out to get us, or we can accept that parts of life are like that but we can still carry on and live life without allowing self limiting beliefs to limit our opportunities.

When you face your fears, you break down the huge threat that exists in your mind (eg. I will never be able to do that, that person is better than me, no one will ever love me, I am not good enough to do that, I will embarrass myself, no one understands me, I am the only one who is alone etc) and you build up confidence in your ability to cope with the tough times and your fears.

How to face your fears

Make a list of the things you fear. For example: talking to a stranger, opening up to your partner, going to the gym, etc

Rate each fear out of ten. Ten being the most stressful, one being the least stressful.

Example: Speaking to someone on the phone  2/10

Go shopping when there’s lots of people          4/10

Speak to a stranger                                               6/10

Ask my boss for a raise                                        7/10

Being assertive with a friend                               9/10

Telling my partner how I really feel                    10/10

Start with the lowest rated fears and begin working your way up. It’s all about baby steps. The more you face your fears the less you will fear them. Either, the worst won’t happen as you probably worry about and even if it doesn’t go well, you will be challenging the fearful thoughts and showing yourself that you can still cope.

Each step requires repetition so do each one regularly. The more you do it the less it will create fear for you. The less we fear the more opportunities we get in life.

If you think you would find it difficult to try the above steps on your own, speak to a Cognitive Behavioural therapist who can help you through the process. I have done it and it works!

Mandy X

 

Do the opposite

 

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Do the opposite

We’re creatures of habit so we rarely do the opposite. It’s human nature to repeat the same patterns often without even realising how often we act in a certain way. Think about it. Do you always go down the supermarket aisles in the same direction? Do you always put your underwear on before your socks? How do you make your tea and coffee? The same way each time I’ll bet. And when it comes to more important things like relationships, we tend to behave in similar ways too.

When we feel insecure, some of us become more needy, some of us pull away to protect ourselves. When it comes to friendships, some of us act aloof, some of us try too hard.

Whatever your patterns of behaviour are, I dare you try shake it up and do the opposite. I am trying this in my own life and it’s working! Of course, you need to find out what you do out of habit before you can do the opposite. Being self aware is part of the issue, as often we race through our lives like rats in a maze, hitting our heads against the same wall every time.

Think of each time you do the opposite as a ‘life experiment’. Try small things first like a new route to the grocery store or go up and down the aisles in the opposite direction and see if you notice any new things or products. If you find that you end up in similar situations with intimate relationships and/or friendships, see if you can identify things that you do in each relationship and try doing it differently next time. See what happens..take a chance.

Mandy X

Why it’s important to tolerate discomfort

 

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Why it’s important to tolerate discomfort

If you’ve ever put something off, you can probably figure out that you have had a negative feeling that has led you to procrastinate. This feeling comes from an inability to tolerate discomfort. The more you try to avoid discomfort in life, the further you will fall behind. It takes discipline to tolerate discomfort. Does your discomfort drive your behaviour?

If you can say to yourself “I don’t like discomfort, but I can stand it”, you will be amazed at how much more you may be able to do in your life. You could overcome fear, rejection, boredom, frustration, exhaustion, resentment etc…

Increasing  tolerance to discomfort

Practise observing your discomfort in a detached manner, without trying to change it or get involved with it. Try not to struggle with it or try to get rid of it – just watch it as it is. Often, when people do this they find that their discomfort eases. Detaching is a skill and takes practise.

Steps to being more detached and less judgemental

Be aware

Be aware of what you are experiencing, notice your breathing, sensations in your body as it makes contact with the surrounding environment, sounds around you, things you can see, touch, smell and taste. Notice your emotions and thoughts.

Watch and observe with no judgement

Once you are more aware of your experience and how it affects you body and mind, get used to being an observer of your experience. Don’t try to change anything or get caught up in it. Imagine you are watching yourself on a movie screen and you are in the audience.  Be non-judgemental – try not to label the experience as good as bad. See it just as it is. You can use words such as “Here is a feeling of anger/frustration etc” Try to relate to them as just feelings, nothing more and nothing less. Remind yourself that you are NOT your feelings and that you are MORE than just your feelings”.

Let Go

If you allow your experience to be as it is without judgement, you might find it feels less scary and you are able to accept it more easily. We often resist what we fear and t makes the situation worse. Breathe in blue, breathe out red – visualise this and it can help you feel calmer.

Riding the wave of discomfort is possible and will lead to accomplishing more, less procrastination and a feeling of achievement. Discomfort is temporary, see it in a neutral way.

Don’t be afraid of a little discomfort, we all have to go through it – meeting new people, going to the gym, going for a job interview etc..there are many times when we feel discomfort. Learn to observe and not attach meaning and emotions to it. You will see how fearful situations become much easier!

Mandy X

Focus on yourself

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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

How to decatastrophise

 

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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