Tag Archives: relax

The best possible life

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The best possible life

Don’t compare yourself to others

Don’t care about what others think

Be yourself

Enjoy the present moment

Revel in the small things – shared joke with a friend, a walk in the park…

Make time to play

Have a sense of humour – laugh a lot

Let go of the small things

Don’t take life too seriously

Try new things regularly

Look after yourself – physically, mentally and emotionally

Give love without expecting it back

Make regular time for friends and family

Strive for balance between work and leisure time

Seek out experiences over possessions

Ensure you have goals to works towards and a sense of purpose

When life seems sad and/or bad, try to see the bigger picture

There are many things that contribute towards the best possible life. These may be different for each one of us but there are some enduring aspects of life that we can all get happiness and fulfillment from. For me, living in the moment and trying not to take life too seriously are two that work well for me.

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

 

 

Why fun is essential

 

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Why fun is essential

Did you know that relentless stress actually changes your brain chemistry? Prolonged stress leads people to begin to feel helpless and powerless. Their body tires from constantly being in “fight or flight” mode and it can lead to health issues too.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting how stress affects us negatively. The more stress we cope with for long periods, the more likely we are to develop anxiety, depression and even panic attacks. It’s our body’s way of sending us a message that we desperately need time out.

It’s a modern epidemic – people who work crazy long hours and rarely take regular breaks. The constant strain becomes familiar and turns in to a pattern of behaviour that is damaging but also familiar, thereby reinforcing itself. There is a subtle pressure to work hard, achieve and be successful although society pushes us towards unhealthy goals. We believe that working hard is admirable, that putting in overtime makes us committed. I think it makes us look like fools who believe we are valuable when we ‘do’ instead of understanding we are valuable just ‘being’. I am not saying we should all become lazy lay-abouts but balance is healthy and MANY do not have any balance in their lives.

Fun is absolutely essential for balance in life – balance externally and balance internally. The body begins to shut down when confronted with ongoing stress.

Look at it this way: It’s rather like the keys of a piano being hit so hard that the impact puts the strings out of tune. The piano still plays, but it plays dif­fer­ently. While another hard hit on the keys might have bro­ken a tuned piano wire, the now — slack wire can with­stand another hit … and another. If the hits are even harder, the wire stretches more. You can almost hear the piano (and the brain under acute stress) say­ing, “Go on, hit me again! I can take it.” But the cost is that both are out of tune and the melody is never quite the same.  In the human ner­vous sys­tem, this kind of adjust­ment or adap­ta­tion pro­tects the brain from harm by chang­ing the way it responds to stress. Perry and Pol­lard point out that repeated expo­sure to stress — chronic stress — results in a new way of cop­ing with a con­tin­u­ous stres­sor, but it is less effec­tive.  Not a good thing.

In a series of experiments, Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology, and her colleagues, including graduate students Sundari Chetty and Aaron Freidman, discovered that chronic stress generates more myelin-producing cells and fewer neurons than normal. This results in an excess of myelin – and thus, white matter – in some areas of the brain, which disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain.

It is clear to me that modern life is changing us. We are more cranky and depression and anxiety are increasing. This problem is compounded by the fact that mental illness and stress are not taken as seriously as obvious health problems such as a broken leg or cancer.

I believe that many of our health conditions can be improved by looking at mental health as a primary source of many health issues. People drink alcohol excessively and find means to escape stress that are unhealthy such as gambling and drugs. There is not enough emphasis on stress relieving techniques that can be offered by mental health professionals to help people cope better. Instead we have a planet where everyone is stressed out and doesn’t know who to turn to or how to self soothe in healthy ways.

One of these ways is to make time for fun. Listen to happy music, go for a dance. Skip for a few minutes..do something silly. Take regular holidays. Play. Climb a tree…do whatever works for you but make time to be less serious. If you cannot switch off your serious side, it may be time to get help from a counsellor/psychologist who can show you how to get your fun side back.

Fun is underrated but it may just save you from a ‘cortisol-pickled’ brain that definitely won’t help you to achieve your true potential.

Mandy X

 

Photo by marc kjerland

 

Refs:

http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2011/11/14/the-neurobiology-of-stress-the-human-brain-likes-to-be-in-balance/

http://news.berkeley.edu/2014/02/11/chronic-stress-predisposes-brain-to-mental-illness/

Why we all need to let go

 

relax photo

 

Why we all need to let go

There are so many opportunities in life to get all churned up about negative things that happen to us. The incident may be over but we relive the event in our mind over and over. A certain amount of thought is normal and natural but when we cling to something obsessively it begins to hurt us and possibly even cause psychological damage. Learn to let go.

We all need to learn to let go and acknowledge that we can’t control others nor some inevitable experiences that we don’t wish to have. All we can control is who we decide to let into our lives and how we react to others. No matter how wonderful, gorgeous or rich we are – we still cannot stop others from making hurtful remarks, from triggering our insecurities or from rejecting us – leading to us feeling unworthy or unloved. So, it pays to learn to let go of the things we cannot control.

How to let go

Acceptance is key. Some times bad things happen. It may have less to do with you than you think so try not to personalise other people’s behaviour. Sometimes, it’s all to do with the other person’s shortcomings and has nothing to do with you. Let go.

A good sense of humour is also essential in helping you to let go. Don’t take life too seriously. Learn to manage negative emotions and think about how you  might feel about things in a year from now.

Keep perspective. Good and bad is a part of life, sadness and happiness, ups and downs…learn to ride the waves and enjoy the highs, survive the lows. Don’t allow the ‘lows’ to turn you into an anxious, self loathing person. Let the lows help you appreciate the highs and also use the low points to teach you and strengthen you.

Realise it isn’t always about you – let go and don’t personalise. As I mentioned before – when life is tough or others treat us badlt, many of us (especially women) internalise this negative emotion and blame ourselves or see it as proof that we are unloveable, unworthy,…………….fill in the blank space!

Focus on empowerment – what you can do to improve the situation without the cooperation of other person (or outside influence, things beyond our control) where possible. Go out, make new friends, take up a hobby, spend less time with toxic people. Learn to let go and take life less seriously.

Mandy X