Keeping well

Keeping Well

I remember being told by one of my holistic teachers that receive healing when you are well. You don’t have to wait until you become unwell or distressed in order to seek a treatment. Having a healing treatment in whatever form when you are well continues to support the body’s own natural ability to heal itself and maintain a healthy equilibrium of mind, body and spirit.

The body is marvellous at healing itself and it continues to regenerate continuously throughout our lives. However it can only do this when it is in a relaxed physiological state. Low grade stress, pain, anger, discomfort does not contribute to a healthy body.

The stress hormones alone will be putting the body on an alert system thus taking away its capacity at that time to kick start a natural healing process. The more we can invoke a sense of relaxation or calmness within ourselves the healthier we will be. How you do this has no one single answer. There are many, many ways to kick start our own healing process, sometimes we need the assistance from others and at times we are more than capable of doing it ourselves. We need to value the importance of our health and how it enables us to live our lives.

Here are a few suggestions that you can do yourself:-

 * Take 5 mins a day to slow down breathing -try 7/11 breathing – in for 7 and out for 11

* Go outside and walk as often as you can, just park a bit further away or have your lunch outside. The NHS is advocating the health benefits of walking (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/walking-for-health/)

* Stop and listen – to music, to the birds, to the wind – no phone, no interruptions

* Use a meditation/relaxation app (5 suggested ones here)

 * Resolve issues, don’t harbour grudges, accept, change or move on from underlying stress

 Here are a few suggestions that will enhance your health:-

 * Reiki – will promote a very deep relaxed state to enable your body to natural rebalance and re-energise

* Mindfulness classes

 * Healing session – such as Shamanic healing , reflexology, Indian head massage etc

* Learn how to use Tapping to calm down and switch off the “alarm system” in your brain

 * Seek advice on how to resolve long standing issues

What do I do? Well I do just 10 minutes of Reiki a day, book in for a shamanic healing session every 3 months or so, treat myself to a facial, walk when I get the opportunity and read with no radio or television on.

Whatever methods and techniques work for you, use them! Our bodies have to cope with an awful lot in our lives and we don’t always look after them the best that we can. Give them a break, enable them to help us and don’t wait until it breaks down!

Four horsesmen of negativity

The Four Horsemen of Negativity

It was Dr John Gottman who coined the phrase the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and related it to negative behaviours within relationships.

We can take this model and equate the Four Horsemen of Negativity – Monotony, Tiredness, Complexity and News to having an impact upon our perception of wellbeing and happiness.

According to Andy Cope, author of The Art of Being Brilliant each of these areas add a bit more stress and negativity to our lives.

Monotony

Although at times we can do with a quiet life, going through the same routines, eating the same food, doing the same work with the same people can reduce our experiences and sense of living and enjoyment.  Monotony can limit our potential and we may never find out what we are truly capable of doing and being until we step out of our routines.

Tiredness

There is a huge array of research on the importance of sleep and most of the time it may not be of concern but when we become tired and struggle to replenish our energy we can become increasingly more stressed and irritable.  This in turn can impact upon the people around us and may lead to conflict.  Focus and concentration are affected along with our sense of humour and capacity for tolerance.

Complexity

We may think that life is never simple but sometimes we are our own worst enemy and make things more complex than they really are.  How easy is it to get fixated and hung up on small stuff that in reality really doesn’t matter?  With our truly wonderful minds and belief systems we can “make a mountain out of a molehill”, we can make assumptions or jump to conclusions thus increasing the complexity of a situation.

News

In today’s world we are bombarded with constant information and have access to world news 24 hours a day.  It is good to be informed but remember that the news we hear is already being filtered, someone else is choosing what we hear or read or in some cases making it all up.  News can be depressing and therefore can affect our mood and wellbeing.

So what can we do to get ourselves away from these Four Horsemen of Negativity?

  • Change habits, (watch the video on this), do something different, become mindful of what you are doing and give yourself choices.
  • Listen to your body clock, go to sleep when you are tired and get up at a regular time.
  • Reduce the complexity of situations by deciding whether you can change them or need to accept them or are able to let them go because in the long run they are not that important. “Don’t sweat the small stuff”!
  • Turn off the news at least three times a week, avoid listening to it or buying a paper and do something else that is rewarding and enjoyable.

Ride away from negativity and reclaim you health and wellbeing!

Healing energy

How does Shamanic Healing and Reiki differ?

Healing both from Reiki and Shamanism uses energy to assist the body and mind to find balance and restore harmony from distress, illness and ill health.  Neither are cures, and should always be used in conjunction with any prescribed conventional treatment and advice.

Having evolved my healing practice from Reiki to incorporate shamanic healing I am beginning to gain a greater understanding of how they differ.

Reiki allows energy to flow through the practitioner to the client and for the energy to travel to any part of the person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  It kicks start the body to natural heal itself even though we don’t always know the root cause.  The energy, often from Universal energy which surrounds us, can replete areas where the energy is depleted and calm down aspects/areas that may be over stimulated.  Our first indication of feeling unwell or “out of sorts” will often manifest itself physically although the origin may be in the emotionally or spiritual energy field of our bodies.

The client is a recipient of this healing energy and needs to be willing to receive Reiki and can comfortably lie back to receive whatever is required.

Shamanic healing is more active and proactive.  As a practitioner I still use the Universal life force of energy but actively call in compassionate guides and spirits to work with me.  In this sense it is a three way partnership of healing between the client, practitioner and helping guides.  Shamanic healing also involves exploring and gaining a greater understanding of the issue through gentle questions, therefore, although relaxed, the client has a bit more work to do!  This creates an ownership and commitment to explore, understand and heal.  Questions asked such as – “what does this pain/issue look like? – is it yours or does it belong to someone else? – what is its purpose?” leads to a greater understanding of the client’s body.  Use of sacred tools such as drum, rattle, voice and breath can be used to assist the healing process.  Healing can occur in a variety of ways through releasing misplaced energy and replacing with healing energy in different forms.  It may go to the very needs of the soul.

Both healing modalities can be highly effective in gaining a deeper form of healing and balance that is not cognitively led but is guided through a deeper and, at times, ancient knowledge of total well being and balance.

What can Reiki and Shamanic Healing be used for?

  • Restore emotional balance related to issues such as stress, anxiety, low mood and trauma
  • Promote physical well being within the body
  • To ease and release pain
  • To assist in letting go of past hurts and emotional blocks

If you would like to know more about these beautiful interventions please book a complimentary Insight session to discuss your needs further.

Filters through which we live

Celebrating Filters!

A new month, a new year and a new decade it sounds exciting but we seem to be surrounded by distressing and worrying news.  Society seems designed to make us worry and be anxious – adverts get us to worry about how we look so we buy their products, newspaper headlines are there to shock us and thus buy, social media thrives on the sometimes anonymity to  put others down.  How easy it is to get on a roll about complaining and what is wrong.  In amongst all this doom, gloom, depression there are people, places, situations that should be celebrated and honoured.

Our mind is a filter and like putting sunglasses on to filter our harmful rays, we place filters in our mind that only allow in what we focus on.  Have you had the experience of thinking about buying a car and suddenly you see that type of car everywhere!  You have placed a “car filter” in your mind and you will notice everything pertaining to that filter.  Media and political campaigns give us dire warnings and so we notice these things that back up this belief (and thus only a particular party can help us).  This happens mainly subconsciously and often we are not aware of our thought patterns and subsequent actions.  Only 5% of thought is conscious, most of our decisions, actions, emotions behaviours depend upon our subconscious.  The filters we put into our minds go into the subconscious, the subliminal messages from advertisement slip into there, the constant drip drip of distressing news feeds our emotions.  The more that we notice aspects/situations that support our subconscious beliefs or emotions the stronger they become.

The good news though is that we have control over our thoughts and are actions.  We can determine our filters; we can seek out what is good in the world and bring our attention to it.  If you find yourself getting caught up in a ritual of complaining with others – walk away, change the subject, put an alternative view across.

We need to be aware of what is going on in the world but we don’t need to be totally submerged and overwhelmed with it.  Earth Day (22 April 2020) which celebrates and promotes action is but one day of the year.  In our own lives we will feel better in ourselves if we recognise what is good/enjoyable/pleasant.  Let go of the low level moaning and bring in compliments and praise, acknowledgment and gratitude.

Reflection, time to reflect upon the year

Time to Reflect

Last month of the year! Do you give yourself time to reflect on what has been?  Reflection is a key aspect of learning and personal development.  It’s so easy to forget or ignore what we have done, or just take things for granted but we miss out on giving ourselves credit, appreciating our memories or learning from our mistakes. 

Maybe you have just allowed life to lead you or maybe you have taken charge and created your own changes?  Whatever the case, 12 months has gone by and stuff has happened! It can be really helpful to sit quietly and go back through the year appreciating what has happened, learning from mistakes, reminiscing and reliving beautiful memories.  If we don’t, then it’s just gone and we haven’t got any wiser and certainly no younger! 

As a suggestion you may like to reflect upon these questions as a way of appreciation and gratitude of the past year.

  • Write down 4 things that you are proud of this year
  • What has been your “biggest” achievement?
  • What one thing would you do differently?
  • Visualise one of your happiest memories from this year – how does it make you feel, what can you see and hear?
  • What’s the best piece of advice you can pass onto someone from your experiences this year? 

Give yourself a huge pat on the back for being you, for dealing with whatever has come up this year and for having insight and awareness to take you into next year.

If you come across an issue that you feel stuck on and would like support with, don’t forget you can book in for a variety of interventions that may get you further on than you are now. If you are not sure what would be of help, book a complimentary Insight session to discuss this further.

Travel - Atacama Desert

The Essence of Travel

As we near the end of the year, have you been anywhere new over the past few months?  Maybe you have revisited familiar haunts or have sought out new places.  Travelling and exploring places that are different from your normal environs brings curiosity, expansion of thoughts, wonderment and perspective.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Chile this year – from the Atacama Desert to the fertile lands of central Chile and onwards south to Patagonia with its granite peaks and spectacular Condors.

I love travelling – seeing things for the first time, experiencing the different sounds and smells, hearing other languages spoken and getting to know the culture and history of the place.

I’m not a city person so I tend to gravitate towards landscapes and wildlife – the more vast and desolate the better.  It is here that I can truly appreciate the beauty and power of our Earth and try to understand how our ancestors survived and thrived in harsh conditions.  Whilst, currently, looking at the present struggle of wildlife caught up in our changing climate.

In places such as Patagonia there is a sense of perspective, how such a tiny dot as me fits into the vastness of the place.  Being such a small part in the history of our planet also means sharing the responsibility of keeping our Earth safe and healthy.  In the Southern ice fields of Chile just 20 years ago glaciers were receding about 12 foot each year, now it is over a 100 feet annually.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless with the “heaviness” of depressing news and destruction but we can also choose to be part of making small differences, part of a being collective of raised consciousness and awareness.

We don’t need to travel oversees to appreciate beauty and marvel at the world around us.  Just getting away to somewhere new for a few days and taking time to stop and be aware or to see things with “new” eyes can bring about a new perspective.

Travel allows us to learn and to appreciate what we already have, not to take things for granted.  Travel in our own country or further afield gives us that opportunity to wander and wonder at the beauty and generosity of our Earth.

Values and Beliefs

Are we being true to our Values?

Values and beliefs are two very different aspects of ourselves which warrant being defined in order to understand the role that values play in our lives.

Beliefs are often thoughts that we have said or heard so many times in our heads that we turn them into believing they are true.  They are cognitions, thoughts that may have started many years ago in our childhood or been adopted from others beliefs and we have made them our own. We believe these beliefs to be true with the effect that they influence our decisions and behaviour.

Values, on the other hand, are a measure of what we hold as important or dear to us.  They are not based from past information and are universal so that others can hold the same values as us.  Values motivate us to bring into our lives people, work, tasks, interests that meet our values because they are important to us.

Examples of values are:-

  • Achievement Compassion Fairness
  • Justice Honesty Integrity
  • Independence Friendship Health
  • Ethics Adventure Humour
  • Wealth Love Communication

                                                                                          

When we are living our lives by our values then we are content.  Organisations also have values and if they are not congruent with our own then we may feel stressed, dissatisfied, frustrated in that workplace.

People that we meet, the ones that we get on really well with or have a “connection” with, will probably have the same values as ourselves.

Most of the time we don’t stop to think about our values but they are subtly driving our behaviour,  motivating us to seek them out.

We are more likely to succeed in our goals and achieve more if we know why our goals are important to us.  Knowing what our goals will bring to us links into our values.  When I am working with clients who want to have a career change, we hone down on what is really important, what is the bottom line, what can’t they live without.  Once we get past the material values of money etc what comes out reflects them as a person – a sense of autonomy, making a difference to others, honesty, open communication to name but a few.  By knowing what is important will help drive the need to seek these out in their next career move thus enhancing satisfaction, content, motivation and passion.

As mentioned we may have many of the same values but what makes us unique is the order of our values, which ones would we prioritise over others? What could we not do without in our lives.

Here is a good exercise that helps priorotise your values by Steve Pavlina and a website that explains about the difference between beliefs and values.

An exercise that I often use is one that looks at what you must in your life, what would be lovely to have and what would be absolute fantasy – download here.  When you have down each area then tick off the ones you currently have in your life.  From there you will be able to identify what is missing and look at how you can bring them back into your life.

If you are feeling frustrated or dissatisfied in some aspects of your life take a bit of time just to check whether you are incorporating your true values into your life.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication can be confusing.  Does it mean being selfish?  Can you be over assertive? At times people can avoid learning how to be assertive because they fear the consequences.

The definition of assertive communication is valuing your own needs and opinions as being equal to that of others, to stand up for your own and other’s rights in a calm and open manner.

Fear comes from the assumptions we make about others reaction to our assertive communication.  It could cause conflict, we will be rejected, not liked anymore, others will think we are selfish or bossy.  These may happen but done in an assertive manner being clear and calm, respectful of yourself and the others, will lessen the possible impact of our assumptions.

However, when I used to run assertion workshops I did say it came with a warning! When we start to change our behaviour and responses to one of standing up for ourselves, saying what we need or want, saying no, then there may be others who don’t like that.  They don’t want to see you change, it takes away their power.  This is their problem and is not a reason for you to stay where you are – perhaps passive and wanting to please all the time.

So what are the key features to assertive communication? 

One of the easiest ways to be assertive is to use the word “I”, not “we or you”.  You are speaking about yourself not about others.  Own what you say, be responsible for your thoughts and opinions.  Using “I” statements also makes it very clear to others what you are saying.

Match your body language to your verbal message.  Don’t give out mixed messages as your body language will be believed more than what you are saying.  Open posture, good eye contact, clear voice and calm tone will all emphasise and give respect to what you wish to say.

Listen to your gut response when being asked to do something.  Does your heart sink or do you feel uplifted? Be honest with yourself and say no if you don’t wish to do something.  It is only a request  and you have every right to say no just as everyone else does.  Say no clearly without waffle and excuses.  You may wish to compromise which is fine.

Give yourself time to consider a request or criticism. You don’t have to respond straight away. By giving yourself some breathing space you can consider your response.  This stops automatic habits of saying yes or agreeing – it gives you the opportunity to consider your own thoughts and needs.

The great thing about assertive communication is that the more you do it the more you respect yourself and the more others respect you.  They know that when you say no you mean know and equally when you say yes it is because you want to do something.  Assertive communication is not easy, it’s a skill that can be learnt but with it comes higher self-esteem and self worth.

Change – getting on track

Change – the important bits to succeed!

In the last blog we talked about some of the major blocks that can easily get in the way of making the changes we want.

When we want to add or take away something in our lives it requires persistence, determination, consistency and a deep sense of knowing why this is important to you.  We also need a willingness to welcome failure as a way of learning.  All “successful” people have some time or another failed and it is what they have learnt from the experience that has made them succeed.  As the saying goes – “there is no such thing as failure, only feedback” and failure is only as you perceive it.

Here are some of my ways of bringing about change:-

  • Focus on what you will be gaining – what will you feel/be/have and what impact will that have on your life?  Write down how this change will benefit you in everyday life eg be able to play in the park with  children/grandchildren,  lose weight to have enough energy to walk to work, save x amount a month in order to go on holiday next year etc
  • Write your goal down or make a picture of it and put it somewhere where you can see it everyday. 
  • Don’t just think or decide how you want things differently – start doing it.  It is so easy to live your life in your head but change will only happen if you do something different.
  • It’s been said many times but make change happen with small and achievable steps.  Even if   doing that change is just for that hour or day – you have gone forward.  Build on your steps, recognise your effort, chart your progress and always keep in mind what you are gaining.
  • Let go of old hurts as the world has already moved on “When you forgive, you no way change the past – but you sure do change the future” A Cope & G Oates
  • Choose your attitude towards change – see it as a challenge, interesting rather than hard work, difficult. The language you use will affect your mood and approach.
  • What strategies have worked in the past when you have brought about change in your life? – employ them again. 
  • Share what you want to happen with others and ask for their help in supporting steps towards achievement.  This is the main one that works for me as the more I talk about it the harder it is for me to give up – pride takes over!
  • Act the person you want to be. The saying “fake it till you make it” helps to imprint into your physiology how you feel, stand, walk, talk – you become comfortable with this new way of being and will attract into your life what you need to achieve your aim.
  • Remind yourself and answer these four powerful questions to keep you on track.
  • Turn  obstacles into problems to be solved rather than seeing them as an excuse to give up.

Whatever strategies you use, keep going, be flexible, adapt and have a firm belief in yourself  – you know what difference it will make to your life.  If you need a bit of a support or “push” to get you going, you are welcome to book an Insight session with me.

Barriers to Change

We all change throughout our lives either by design or fault.  We develop and grow as we go through our ages and during our lives experiences bring events that can have significant impacts.

This kind of change will happen subconsciously and without any planning or forethought.  That’s not to say we don’t have any choice, we may not be able to control the circumstances but we can make choices how we choose to respond, learn, process the event.

The change that seems to be the most challenging to bring about is the change that we consciously decide to make.  It’s often a behaviour – a way of eating, thinking, reacting.

We can start off with good intentions, have a goal in mind, spend money to achieve it, plan the first few steps and then it tends to dissipate.  It becomes too hard, too costly, too time consuming so it’s easier to just let it drift and to try again another time.

So what are the barriers that get in the way?

Values

Is your desire to change truly important to you?  Change is more likely to occur when you really know why it is important – 90% of success is knowing why it is important, 10% is knowing how to go about achieving it. The importance goes beyond material gains and links into your values.  Values are what motivate, they are part of the essence of who we are, what connects us to others.  They are our hidden priorities.

Here are some examples of values:-

Love, peace, wealth, success, adventure, fun, happiness, security, intimacy, autonomy, altruism.

If your goal of change doesn’t link in with your values then it is more likely not to be achieved.

Motivation

Truly how motivated are you to succeed – a 100% or about 75%? Again the degree of motivation will be reinforced by knowing why this is important to you and what you will gain/have/receive/feel from the end result.

However you need to use the best motivating strategy for yourself.  Are you somebody that sees the end goal, plans the steps in between and then heads off in that direction – the TOWARDS motivation?

Or do you wait until it becomes so uncomfortable before you take action, the AWAY motivation?  Neither is better than the other, you just need to know what works for you.  Look back on past experiences of achievement and identify the key aspects that made it possible and apply them again.

Internal Thoughts

In the book Shine by Andy Cope and Gavin Oates they talk about your inner Jeeves.  A faithful servant, who has been with you for many years, knows you very well and has only your wellbeing in mind.  Your inner Jeeves believes that any change from your norm is just another “New Year’s resolution” that will be broken in a few day and then you can get back to normal again.  These are your own inner thoughts and beliefs that very happily get you back to your status quo.

So with three major hurdles to overcome, it is a challenge, hard work, personal effort to make the significant changes you so desire – however the starting point is  awareness and insight.

Take time to recognise and acknowledge these barriers and in the next blog I show you how you can maximise your success.  Or in the meantime book a complimentary Insight session to discuss your own challenges to change.