Tag Archives: relax

Learn to let it go

let go photo

Learn to let it go

 

Life is a conundrum…even if you live by clear rules and try to do the right thing, that does not guarantee that anyone else will. During our lives we will all come across people who do not practise what they preach, who are dishonest, those that enjoy watching others fail and the general “down and dirty” types.
So, now that we have established that no matter who you are, you cannot escape encountering the ‘mean and nasties’ out there, let’s consider ways to lessen their impact:

1) One nugget of comfort is to remember that those people who project nastiness and anger onto others are usually very unhappy, miserable people in themselves. When they project negative emotions on to you, they are giving you a taster of what they feel inside. Draw some comfort from the fact that these people suffer with those feelings constantly – unless or until they learnt to manage their emotions more effectively and not take it out on others. Happy, content people do not feel the need to project negativity and misery onto others.
2) Try to limit your time with bitter, twisted people. Be sure to train yourself to identify those people in your life that drain you and manage your time with them well. Some people (I call them “emotional vampires”) will drain you rapidly, limit time with them.
3) Seek out those that boost your positive energy levels, inspire you and bring out the best in you! Fill up your positive reservoirs, this gives you the energy to tackle life.
4) Gratitude – tune into what IS good in your life. It can be so easy to get bogged down by what isn’t working but this thinking is not at all helpful. Instead focus on all the things are working for you, however small.
5) Don’t allow those that have upset you to continue to have ‘power’ over you by continuing to let them stay in your thoughts and upset you, long after the event. Distract yourself, go do something but above all – remember that whilst they are in your thoughts, upsetting you…the real person is off doing something else, in all likelihood not at all bothered by you. Don’t let them WIN. Don’t think about them..emotions lessen over time.
6) Focus on what you can control.. empower yourself and watch your thinking. Try not to put yourself down or allow your inner insecurities or fears to get the better of you. take action, minimise the worry – they are just THOUGHTS, not FACT
LET IT GO…..

Mandy X

Photo by Lucy Maude Ellis

The best possible life

happy life photo

 

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

 

person laughing photo

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/