Stress

Stress Awareness

Stress affects everyone and April is Stress Awareness month.  At times stress can be energising, positive and motivating but when demands upon ourselves exceed our perceived ability to cope then stress can become a problem.  The effects of stress are different for each person, for example it may affect our sleep, eating habits, relationships or concentration to do our job.

It is is rarely contributed to just one thing but to many factors over a period of time.

When stress becomes prolonged or excessive and we perceive that we cannot cope with demands then the impact upon our lives can be detrimental.

At times it is others that first recognise that we are stressed rather than ourselves.  It can be easy to keep our head down, keep going and ignore warning signs.  Sometimes we only recognise how stressed we are after the situation has gone!

The starting point is to increase our awareness of how we are feeling, what our body is telling us, notice changes in our behaviour and hear what others are saying. Only when we are aware can we do anything to help ourselves.

What are those warning signs?  This will obviously differ for each person but here are a few that may be familiar to you:

Physical – increased muscular tension, headaches, feeling nauseous, sweating

Emotional – feeling anxious, increased irritation, frustration

Behaviour – decreased or increased sleeping, lack or increase in appetite, withdrawing, increased alcohol/coffee/smoking, lack of tolerance

Cognitions (thoughts) – blaming others, everything appears negative, increased worry about everything, not being able to switch off thoughts

So what can we do?

Identify what is causing the stress and determine whether:-

a) it is under your control and you are able to do something to change it

b) it is something that you cannot change and therefore find a way to accept the situation

c) you can just let it go, as in the long run or in a few weeks time, it really won’t matter or it isn’t that important

Share your concerns and seek out the right people that will be able to support you or be able to make changes with you.

Look after yourself physically by having a healthy diet, get enough sleep, take exercise, engage socially with others and actively do relaxation eg have a bath, listen to a mediation tape, have ring-fenced quiet time.

Talk to yourself as if you are your best friend; be kind, compassionate and caring to yourself.  Praise and compliment yourself on how you are doing and how you are coping.

End the day by giving gratitude for what you have in your life – family, friends, home, health, faith, work etc.

Keep in mind that the stress will pass and spend each day focusing in the here and now.  Turn worries into problems and look at how to solve them.

So how can I help?

Book yourself a Reiki session which promotes relaxation, re-balancing and restoring of energy levels.

Book an appointment to learn Emotional Freedom Technique (or Tapping) as a self-help tool that decreases intensity of emotions and promotes a different way of looking at situations.

Book a day on a retreat especially designed for healthcare workers – 11 May 2019.

There is nothing to be ashamed of feeling stressed and the more we understand our early warning signs and do something to help ourselves the more in control we feel thus decreasing our levels of stress.

meditation

Meditation – the Benefits

Meditation can still conjure up images of sitting in the lotus position and chanting “omm”! Meditation in the Western world has moved on a lot from the original Eastern practice and it is more accessibly and “easier” to do now for many people.

There are many fantastic meditation groups that provide the space and stillness to meditate alongside others and if you are a beginner can learn the process and discipline of meditation.

For some people to sit still and to attempt to empty the mind can be extremely challenging.  Sitting still can evoke beliefs of “being lazy, not doing anything” and there can also be the fear of what can come into the mind if we are not controlling it.

However meditation can be done in many ways and they all have immense health benefits.  If you have time in the morning, especially at the weekend, why not sit quietly in bed and just focus on your breathing.  Notice when thoughts come into your mind and then just return to being aware of the rise and fall of your chest.  If you can do that for 5 minutes that’s brilliant, if you can do it for longer even better.

If you prefer to be led into a meditation there are lots of apps and CDs that are available such as Headspace , there are many more listed here.  To immerse yourself into meditation you can go on a retreat, silent or otherwise, which can help kick start your awareness of how to meditate.

For more informal ways of meditation just be in nature, walk quietly, preferably alone and use all your senses to tune in to what is around you.  You may have a favourite spot where you can just sit and be still and allow your thoughts to drift in and out without any focus upon them.  Or you may give yourself time to have a bath rather than a shower.  Set the intention to be still in mind and body, ensure that everyone else in the household knows not to disturb you and create a warming and relaxing environment.  If you still find your mind wandering always go back to noticing your breath.

So why should we meditate?  Research has shown that meditation will decrease blood pressure, decrease heart rate, decrease the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, it can re-alkalize your body, slow the ageing process down and promote deeper sleep.

Apparently our normal waking brain waves, Beta, are at 14-28 cycles per second.  In meditation they go to Alpha waves at 7-14 cycles per second and in deep meditation can drop into Theta waves at 4-7 waves per second.

We also know that through meditation we can clear and balance our chakras and in turn balance our energy field which can decrease the risk of illness and in time be more in tune with nature thus once again promoting good health.

If you are not sure how to start having a Reiki session is a good way of giving yourself permission to stop , be still and to receive.

So however you do your meditation, whether it be for 10 minutes a week or an hour a day it is part of valuing your own health and wellbeing which enhances health benefits to ourselves and others.

tuning into our bodies

Tuning in to our Bodies

Our bodies are truly amazing and by tuning into our bodies it can help us in so many ways.  Our bodies are energy, parts of which regenerate continually so our body is not the same one we had a year ago.

According to Deepak Chopra how we live and relate to our bodies is based on our underlying beliefs about it.  Your body has unlimited potential and when you choose to consciously change your assumptions about it then change is manifested through our physical being.  Every day we can be exposed to a range of energy from others and the environment we inhabit.  Everything within our environment has an unseen energy that impacts upon our wellbeing and health.

By tuning into our bodies we are given a range of information that can support balance and harmony within.

An exercise that I have used many times with students both within Reiki and Neuro-lingusitic programming (NLP), is to stand still and ask your body to show you what “yes” is.  Notice how your body moves and in which direction.  Then do the same and ask your body to show” no” and again notice how it moves.

Once you have established how your body reacts to these responses you can then ask it many things.  If you want to know whether a certain food is good for you, hold the food or a picture of it in your hand and ask your body “do I need this food today?” and be aware of the yes or no response.  This is your body’s answer to go with or ignore! I use it to ask which crystals I would benefit from that day.  You may notice that the body stays still and that can relate to a maybe or it doesn’t matter response.

For placing items, ornaments, pictures around the home hold the item and ask if it is best placed in the south, west, east or north direction.

Ideally ask the body a question that has a yes or no answer and then be guided by the response.

Our gut instinct, the energy within, the communication of our bodies is a wonderfully gift that we all have the ability to pay attention to and appreciate.

So why not make the most of our truly wonderfully physical being and engage in subtle communication to bring harmony and wellbeing into our lives.

Reiki and NHS

Reiki, Spiritual Needs and The NHS

I have been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years working within mental health.  I worked very much using a social care model rather than a medical model which allowed me to look at the person’s whole needs in their lives.

I considered their ability to look after their personal care, how they related with others, their self-esteem, involvement with activities and interests as well as work performance.  I worked alongside the person through the use of therapeutic activities. I was aware of the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of the person.

However many years later as a Reiki Master I added another dimension to my work – spiritual needs.  This is not about religion or faith but recognition of using and being aware of energy that is in us and around us “an innate human need to connect to something larger than ourselves” (Cindy Wigglesworth).

My own process with Reiki has been quite rapid but probably there was always an awareness of our own ability to “heal” ourselves, of the ability we all had within us to create change.  I view change now in a much bigger context, not just as physical or emotional but with an additional “spiritual” presence and need.

One of the biggest changes in my practice now is not having outcomes.  As an NHS employee outcomes and targets were an integral part of my work with some being absolutely crucial and vital.  However I felt that some outcomes limited the extent of progress and reduced creativity and flexibility.

As a Reiki practitioner I now let go of outcomes and trust that the Reiki I deliver will manifest itself for that person’s good.  I trust that the body, mind and soul will receive what it needs. I heard someone once talk about Reiki using this example:-Take a piece of paper and write the word “sugar” on it.  Then lick the paper.  Does it taste like sugar? No.

Reiki has to be experienced as everyone’s experience will be different and unique to them.  We can talk and read about it but can never really get a sense of it until you receive it.
Reiki can be used alongside conventional treatment to enhance the healing process and also to ease pain and discomfort and reduce stress.

I have used Reiki for people with low mood, stress, anxiety and fibromyalgia and I feel truly privileged to be able to offer Reiki in my work as a coach and therapist as I feel it brings that additional dimension to wellbeing and health.

Organisations, such as Cancer Research UK are now recognizing the benefits of Reiki as complimentary to conventional medicine and with all such treatments, must be undertaken by qualified and accredited practitioners.

 

Time to look after ourselves

A Little Time for Yourself

How much time do you spend looking after yourself?

We can all do with a bit of “me” time to ensure that we are feeling at our best.  How much time do we need to get ourselves back on top form and how do we do that?

There are many ways to look after ourselves and we know that exercise and diet play a crucial part in this. However our minds and our spiritual wellbeing also need a boost to enhance wellbeing and there are a variety of ways that will help.

Reiki self healing

If you practice Reiki then just a few minutes a day, connecting with energy, balancing chakras or giving yourself Reiki can set you up for the day ahead.  It may be 5 minutes or upto an hour – the key thing is to fit it into your lifestyle rather than not to do any at all.  Whilst sitting in a traffic jam or waiting outside the school gates can be a great opportunity to connect and intend Reiki to flow into you.  No need to set up the environment, just be – bring in an awareness of resonating  with energy within you and allow it to expand, be the energy and connect with healing light.

Mindfulness

You may wish to learn Mindfulness in a group setting or just apply the principles as a way to self-heal and look after yourself.  Mindfulness encourages you to be totally aware of your body and mind, to be in the present moment.  It is very easy to be in our thoughts and to almost live our lives in our heads rather than through the reality of the moment.  This website explains how you can start being mindful and improve your overall health.

Relaxation

How you relax can take many forms with the purpose of allowing the body and mind to switch off and to slow down.  You may wish to use a relaxation CD along with a guided relaxation which is a great way to switch your focus away from busy thoughts.  Relaxation may be having a bath rather than a shower or spending time reading or doing a crossword.  Whatever type of relaxation you do ensure that you are doing it on a regular basis, at least weekly if not daily.

Nature

There is a lot of research indicating that using nature can greatly enhance wellbeing both physically and mentally.  Just being outside for 5 minutes can lower blood pressure and if you combine it with using all your senses the overall effect is one of total immersion in the present moment.  Take your time to see colours and shapes, tune into background and foreground noise, sense what you can feel, be aware of smells and if you are feeling brave taste some of the foliage (please make sure you know it is safe to do so)!  Use the healing effect of Nature through gardening or walking.  If you don’t have a garden indoor houseplants or growing windowsill seeds will also be of benefit to you.  Nature is free and all around us so make the most of it to boost your health.

 

Whatever methods you employ don’t ever forget to look after yourself.  I know how easy it is to get caught up in everyday life and before you know it another week has passed by and you have forgotten to look after yourself.  Schedule in time that works for you and use whatever approaches bring about balance, peace and harmony within you.

What ways do you use to self heal?

Welcome to Golden Oak Therapies

I hope to bring you thoughts, musings and ideas regarding energy work and healing.  My two areas of particular interest are Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping although I am currently doing a two year apprenticeship in Shamanic Healing.

I am by no means an expert and am constantly learning and gathering further understandings from many different places and sources.

I would be delighted if you feel able to join in and share your own knowledge and experience of energy healing so we can all learn from each other.