Tag Archives: Worry

Debt at Christmas

The financial squeeze on your purse.

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Before we launch into debt at Christmas time. Yesterday we took a look at Christmas overindulgence and keeping a handle on your choices and portions of food and alcohol, without living to regret it.

I also mentioned the benefits of ensuring you get an adequate amount of restful sleep on the lead up to the Christmas festivities.In my final blog, I’m taking a look at one of the biggest causes of stress over this period, financial obligations – and yesterday I left you to mull over a few questions.

I wondered what you would consider doing differently this year if your personal experience of Christmas debt had left you wishing that you’d planned better financially for this holiday period. Or just to do things differently by starting those conversations now with those you share gifts with, and setting some financial parameters.

What happens if you splash the cash?

Debt at Christmas

Financial panic creates significant stress!

You may say that Fear of Debt at Christmas time is not an easy feeling to tackle. Especially if the ‘cash-cow has already bolted!’

If it’s not too late, then some considerations right now would be putting on the sensible hat and creating a budget. It may also mean having those conversations where you can discuss what is reasonable with a partner, friends or family members.

And that can include the children’s presents too!

Ideas!

Now keeping in mind that I’m not a financial advisor, and just like you could, I’ve been reading sources that give advice and overall it seems that,

Common sense dictates that we would:

  • Set a budget, and decide not to follow the trends or those sneaky advertising campaigns.  Work out who you need to buy for and stick to that list.
  • Have an agreed spending budget with your partner, so neither of you ends up with debt as a result of ‘showing your love.’
  • Avoid impulse buying by planning your visit to the shopping centre during quieter periods. There’s a positive psychological bias to shopping during quiet periods.
  • If you’re using a credit card keep all purchases on the one card, don’t spread out the charges. That way you can keep tabs on what you’re actually spending.
  • Don’t go wild on toy purchases, stick to one or two that you know will retain the children’s interest once the emotion of Christmas Day has passed. Usually an hour or two after getting out of bed!

‘A promise to myself.’

Make a promise to yourself by setting aside funds which means you won’t buy gifts that you’ll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off. Choose gifts that are meaningful and purposeful for those you love, rather than expensive and financially debilitating.

If you know someone who seems to have everything, would they appreciate a different approach like gifting in their name?  If so Google and alternative web search engines can be used to source – ‘Donating to charities for Christmas Gifts.’ 

Personalised gifts you make yourself. 

Have a peek by clicking here at Pinterest for ideas

Debt at Christmas

I made this myself!

Secret Santa exchange of gifts can be agreed amongst family it doesn’t only have to be for work colleagues.

If you know someone who seems to have everything, would they appreciate a different approach to gifting in their name?  If so Google and alternative web search engines can be used to source  – ‘Donating to charities for Christmas Gifts.’

Seek financial advice from a reputable source.

If you do find yourself running into financial difficulty over the Holiday festivities, then it could be time to seek help.  Do seek advice sooner rather than later when you are at your wits end worrying about how you are going to manage to pay the bills.

You could use your Google or another web search engine to find a list of ‘Non-Profit Credit Counselling Services’ for your country. 

In the UK we many options, including the more well-known Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Click here for debt solution and advisory services Citizens Advice UK

Click here for government UK National debt advisory service on debt consolidation 

I hope you enjoyed this series of blogs looking at what could help you and those you love have a happier and stress-free Christmas and New Year.

You may find that applying one or two of these tips from across my countdown to Christmas series very helpful at keeping you on track. With the stamina to get through the holiday period, enjoy time either doing things for yourself or with family and friends.  And that could make a significant difference to your enjoyment and your wallet too.

Even if you focus on just one or two things, the overall effect could be a brilliant Christmas experience with far less stress, compared to those of the past.

The overall message starts from blog 1 in My Christmas Countdown series (click here to revisit)

Click on the links below if you would like to download any of my free resources. And where you can find the documents that accompanied this series:

Good luck and happy holidays!

And thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page

Christmas overindulgence

How to get ahead of Christmas overindulgence

Day 5 In the series of the Christmas Countdown on getting the better of Christmas Stress.

Audio duration 07:30   Reading duration 9:00   average.

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The story so far in the first four blogs in this six-episode series has included:

  • Expectation and experience
  • Loneliness and initiatives to make it a better day
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Christmas Fun – perfection!

Today’s blog discovers how we can control Christmas overindulgence.

Christmas overindulgence

Yummy! Just how much means too much?

Never mind the day itself – the lead up to Christmas can have people over-committing to pre-Christmas events, reaching for the alcohol and stuffing themselves with food.  It’s a de-stress, comfort thing! Well, at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

While it’s okay to take a break from moderating our eating or drinking, there is still some wisdom in resisting the urge to overindulge massively.

There’s nothing worse than waking up with the dreaded hangover, whereas excessive bingeing can lead to sickness – not to forget unwanted weight gain.

I guess some people would say what the heck, those extra Christmas pounds can be worked off in the new year. It is, after all, a personal choice how much to consume.

Overindulgence of alcohol though can have some nastier effects not only on oneself but those around you.  That’s why it’s a good idea to learn what is okay to have in moderation and of course don’t drink and drive if consuming any alcohol.

For information on alcohol units, and to help you be more drink aware, please click here. 

Ideas!

Agree with yourself as to how you’ll put the brakes on eating an entire Christmas cake or guzzling a whole bottle wine or ‘mothers ruin’ (in the UK this refers gin!). You could even consider making yourself accountable with timely reminders on your phone, or announce there will be no Christmas overindulgence for you by writing it down and sticking it on – THE FRIDGE OR CUPBOARD DOOR, in your purse or pocket.  Or is that little over-the-top? If so how could you make yourself more accountable for keeping your promise not to overindulge this Christmas?

We can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Anyone out there old enough to remember the Filofax or Leefax?  It was a way to write down your daily schedule and ensure no clashes in the planning.

People with these leather-bound organisers (me being one), would very often be heard to say, “I’ll just see if I have a window in my diary!” These days most people pop their commitments into their phone, or into a diary like Outlook or Google. Reminders pop-up and then we look in horror at the clashes of back to back meetings we are expected to attend.

Keeping track of what your priorities are.

So, if Christmas overindulgence also means trying to ‘frantically’ fit in every invitation then you may need to learn the art of saying ‘no thanks I’m not available then.’ Or words to that effect.

Not always easy if it’s the bosses party and you are expected to attend the Friday before Christmas day when mayhem and last-minute preparation is calling.

Whatever pre-Christmas events demand, late nights rolling home worse for wear can also mean that the next day’s plans get dashed too.  So, what activities would you prioritise as a ‘must attend?’ If travel is involved what amongst your ‘must-dos,’ do you prioritise and ensure you get them done first?

It’s all down to planning.

And if you’ve had a problem with planning in the past, then it’s time to either start early or team up with someone who is good at it.

The main message being, to watch out for over-committing yourself with additional responsibilities. Get organised create a plan and stick to your comfort zone. That way the unexpected invitations can be more instantly accepted or rejected because you’ll have assigned your time and you’ll be sticking to it.

Saying no thank you for any additional invitations to prevent that Christmas overindulgence isn’t always easy. It gets better with practice because you’re more authentic than the person who says yes and nods ‘oh no!’.

Step back and notice how much better you’ll feel if things are less chaotic.  Unless of course, you enjoy the chaos of Christmas overindulgence! Whatever your decision at least you’ll know that your actions are your own choices.

From previous experience what else has been overwhelming at Christmas time?

Time to get a handle on that before it happens again. If it’s appropriate, you could discuss your needs and concerns with others who may choose to help out by taking on a few of the tasks.

Alcohol and food choices.

Consider what better and healthier coping strategies you could bring in as a way of reducing the temptation and alleviating stress?

Ask yourself these questions:

Christmas overindulgence

Acting wisely will also save lives.

How would you take action to help you to not overeat or drink at the holiday celebrations?

What steps are you willing to take which will help keep any excess pounds off your waistline?

Keeping in mind if you feel that in moderation it’s okay to enjoy that extra slice of Christmas cake or glass of vino in preference to a whole bottle.

  • What else could you be doing to help keep those stress levels down? (see previous blogs for ideas)
  • What have you done before which worked and allowed you to manage your emotions better?

Getting a good night’s sleep

Make it a priority to ensure you’re getting to bed and not staying up till all hours every night before Christmas. The advantage of getting restful sleep will aid in keeping you healthy (fewer colds and flu) and enable you to think more clearly over the holiday period.

Sign up here to collect a free list of ideas for healthier coping strategies and some tried and tested tips on how to get a good night sleep in preparation for the holiday events.

Financial worries:

In my final blog, we look at one of the biggest causes of stress over this period, financial obligations. The pressure of the media and specific brands to buy, buy, buy!   All those things, alongside youngsters or adult expectations, can ramp up those stress hormones and risk you going into debt.

  • If that was your story last year, then I wonder what you would consider doing differently this year?
  • What conversations could you have with loved ones to ensure everyone stays within their financial means?

Although I sincerely hope this won’t describe your circumstances:

  • What possible avenues are out there to help reduce your stress levels in the financial outlay before Christmas, and potential debt worries after Christmas.  Especially if finances have spiralled and you feel out of control.

I’ll be posting what others have done to prevent or help solve this issue in my last Christmas countdown blog called:

Debt at Christmas, ‘What happens if you Splash the Cash’

Until tomorrow thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page.

Christmas Fun

Making Christmas Fun – Perfection!

Day 4 In the series of the Christmas Countdown on getting the better of Christmas Stress.

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Yesterday we took a look at how we deal with difficult people or situations across the holiday period. Specifically, within family dynamics, if your experience of Christmas doesn’t always mean fun. And this can apply to friendship circles too.

I suggested a simple technique to calm down any anger or frustration maybe much more quickly than your previous experiences. And that’s because knowledge is a powerful helper.

Especially if we can all learn how to be more authentic when dealing with others and pre-plan in a ‘grown-up, loving and respectful way.’

Back to today!

Christmas fun? Ditching perfection and letting go of expectation!

“It’s like releasing those caged worry birds so that they can migrate to pastures new.”

My way or the high way! How does that work for you?

Christmas Fun

I’m having Fun aren’t you?

Realistically we aren’t responsible for another person’s behaviour. And to be honest, as we discovered in yesterday’s blog, he or she or even YOU may be fulfilling some old ‘well-worn’ unique patterns of the family or friendship dynamic.

Wanting to be seen as presenting the perfect Christmas for family and friends can lead to lack of sleep, self-loathing and unfair comparisons to others.

We forget that while someone may be acting as if everything is going swimmingly, they may, in fact, be suffering from self-doubt or overwhelm themselves!

A sense of duty!

Visiting particular family members can be attached to a sense of duty.  Or the expectation to attend the office party the Friday before Christmas linked to the boss’s expectations or job politics.

Ideas?

Would you prefer to set time limits?

If this is possible, it means you’ve done your duty, and have an escape route back to something you’re looking forward to experiencing! And if the brain recognises the end game is in sight, then it can continue to calm down.

“Keep in mind that you aren’t caught in a ‘never-to-end’ cycle.”

And with some honest discussion with your loved ones NOW you could work out how to share those responsibilities and relieve some pressure.

Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect Christmas for family and friends. It’s natural for glitches to occur and can be part of the fun of Christmas.

What traditions make this period unique to you?

They may not be the same as another person. So, what if we learned to accept that people like to experience the holiday differently, and within reason allow this. (Teenagers in the house anybody?)

Memories can include laughter when something didn’t quite work out to plan because it becomes attached to the season of forgiveness and compassion.

A switch in attitude towards any bumps along the way may just allow old family tensions to disappear.

Fitting in those Christmas activities that have a significant meaning for each of you means things may not be ‘perfect,’ but everybody has a good time.

Sharing the love! – Delegation?

Christmas fun is more than eatting

Who else is up for the fun of Christmas prep?

If you don’t have to do everything yourself then get some buy-in and delegate.

Being a part of the action as a household team makes it a team effort, and it could be a memorable part of the Christmas fun!

Don’t expect your family or friends to read your mind which means if pre-Christmas tasks are becoming overwhelming it’s okay to ask for help.

For the extroverts amongst you that could include spending time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.

Sharing your “to do” list with others can mean that “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Even if they come home bearing a different brand of the chestnuts you usually buy! Or a 9-foot Christmas tree! (DIY skills next blog! NOT)

Back up planning

Take some time to consider the differences it could make if you also apply some thought to planning contingencies. For example, if traveling by train or on the roads close to Christmas.

 UK live National Rail information tracker here

And make it a year when last minute shopping is not part of the agenda, that could spoil the Christmas fun. and that includes your online shopping too.

So, let’s get planning the how, the when, the where and with who and not to forget for how long.  And we can still:

Learn to relax with uncertainty.

Experiment this year; you could feel better for it. You may even find yourself having FUN.

Remember that:  Things in life don’t always go as planned. If instead we make an effort to live with the uncertainty and have no expectations we may find the anxiety level can drop just that little bit more.

Adopting the attitude that no matter how things go, you’ll make the best of whatever happens, is a reasonable and more balanced way to seek to reduce the annual holiday stress levels.

Living in the moment.

Sometimes we can learn from some of our animal friends, who appear to have a natural way of living in the moment by not dwelling on past emotions or speculating about the future.  (I know they don’t have to do the Christmas shop.)

They can help calm down our human emotions just by watching them having fun! Or in the case of dogs, dragging their human companions out for a Christmas walk!

I couldn’t decide between kittens or puppies! I must admit to going via Google preferences on this choice. However, there are lots of ace puppies in the snow videos out there too. Have fun!  Next week and blog five is all about overindulgence, and I don’t just mean with food and alcohol! While in my final blog we take a look at taking back financial control or avenue’s you can choose if it’s spiralled out of control. Until then – thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page.

 

Christmas stress and difficult people.

Day 3 In the series of the Christmas Countdown on getting the better of Christmas Stress.

Audio duration 8.00  Reading duration 9.00 average.

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How do you deal with DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

Part and parcel of Christmas stress is ‘expectation and experience’ in the run-up to Christmas.    And last week we looked at ways to help you to handle the pressure.

Then in blog two, we looked at Loneliness at Christmas. I included some web links if you are somebody who would like to have a community involvement, as well a list of what some people enjoy if they decide to have a quiet day at home, or go away.

Welcome to this week and blog 3 of this 6-part series.

How do you deal with DIFFICULT relatives or friends?

Avoid Christmas stress

Christmas stress: “what have I forgotten now!”

Avoiding Christmas stress isn’t easy when we are dealing with the individual emotions and expectations. So how do you usually deal with ‘difficult people’ co-ordinating family visits, or the overwhelming demands on your limited spare time?

Sometimes the day arrives, and we can feel downright bored, hemmed in because we have to live up to what we think are the expectations for our behaviour on the day. And before you know it out comes the old arguments or teasing that feels uncomfortable.        Agggh!

Okay, so we need to get through this people. After all, we want everybody to enjoy their Christmas and get something that they will enjoy. Don’t we? (A-ha, there’s the rub!)

There may be a caveat to this!

If some things go wrong, we can find ourselves following old conditioning and start playing the blame game. Either blaming others or even putting ourselves down as inadequate.

Keep in mind that this can be an automatic learned response.

Something fascinating happens when families get together. We’re with people we love and care about, and yet by the end of the day, we can find we are tearing our hair out.

Each of your siblings appears to regress into old childhood or teenage behaviours? And that includes you! Disagreements surface and arguments start.

Past hurts flare up as everyone reverts to well-worn practiced habits from the past.

Christmas stress and the learned roles from childhood that forged the family identity.

Parents may find themselves reverting to an authority role (over their now adult children!) While siblings may start returning to their rebellious childhood phase, not being bothered to help out or lording it over the younger siblings.

Some people go into an adaptive childhood state looking for ways to fit in by taking on the role of the clown, or the pacifier.  Whatever was part of the family dynamics it can become exhausting and very stressful.

As adults out in the big-wide-world, these behavioural patterns would have been modified because new skills have been learned in how to get along with others. Some adults will have gone on to have families of their own.

Occasions like Christmas and the original family unit can be a trigger for past identities to resurface again.

In the grown-up state, we can find more balanced ways of interacting.

We just need to stop falling into the past and stay present. Mindfulness might describe this adult way of behaving as being in the moment.

How do I STOP myself from being a pain? How do I deal with others who are playing up!

Well, first of all, you now know what may potentially be going on.  And with this knowledge its ultra-important that you DO NOT start telling other people that they are behaving like a child.

Seriously don’t you’ll only live to regret it! Remember we are talking about automatic learned responses.

Let’s call it an environmental trigger that causes you, your siblings and your parents, even friends, to enter into familiar ‘trance states.’ These states can bring to the surface old habitual behaviour patterns.

Ideas?

When you start to change, others may follow.

If there was a way to catch yourself or bring to your awareness a reminder of what may be going on then you could imagine something like a red STOP sign or even pressing a big FREEZE-FRAME button. Include a relaxation breathing technique and you may find yourself on the way to reducing the heightened emotion.

You can sign up for the giveaway guide, click here which was offered on day one of the Christmas Countdown series.

Your growing understanding can be influential in helping to de-escalate your stressful feelings more quickly than before. A walk in the fresh air can pace away those stress hormones too! Even walking the dog!

In relation to another person’s behaviour, reassess before criticising, giving advice or correcting them.

If bickering begins saying something quietly like, ‘hey let’s stop it’s Christmas’ or using humour that means something good for you both might help to de-escalate a situation.  If someone privately asks for your advice about something offer it but use tact at all times.

Healthy regression:

What do you enjoy doing with Mum or Dad? With other relatives or friends? Could this be part of the day’s activities?  And if Mum, a significant other, or friend has done all the cooking how do you offer to help out in rebalancing that effort on the day?

Better still –  it’s Christmas we’re all adults let’s pre-plan.

The following information is not comprehensive but gives an outline of what some people choose to do.

Pre-planning is vital to ensure that everybody (as adults) are getting the Christmas they want.

As an adult, you may have a life of your own with a partner, best friends, or want to spend specific time with your children. Singles may want to go to events or organise some ‘me time.’ Those things you’d love to do to wind down after a busy year.

Being authentic about your own needs also means showing your love in how you’d organise some flexibility to ensure that you make contact with older relatives during the holiday season.  In person, across Skype or on the phone.

The older generation may also have activities that they would enjoy doing over the holiday. Would they like to have the flexibility to travel to different members of the family on different days? Taking a break from the old traditional parental ‘cooking and hosting’ duties. What else is going on in your local area? As an example search for ideas Click here to see what’s happening in Kew Gardens for Christmas in 2017.

Not every celebration means that everybody needs to pile back to the original family home.

Gentle and loving conversations.

Having balanced adult conversations NOW could help in accommodating what’s essential to each person and how they would like to spend their Christmas.

For example, it might lead to an agreed schedule for who needs to go where and when across the holiday season. Doing this with love could break old destructive patterns and create new ‘progressive,’ not ‘regressive’ experiences.

“Create new ‘progressive,’ not ‘regressive’ experiences.”

Christmas Stress dissolves

Christmas stress begins to dissolve

I wonder what the outcome could be if we let past mistakes be bygones threw in a soupçon of compassion and forgiveness on the day.  By focusing on enjoying those good things and gifts around us. Maybe the experience would turn out much better than ever before.

Practice a sense of thanksgiving. As the year is coming to an end what can we also be thankful for?

A bit of positive psychology at this time of year could be a good thing. Tomorrow making it a fun Christmas means ditching the pressure of perfection and letting go of the worry from expectation.

Just how different would Christmas be for you if you could take each moment as it comes?

Until then, thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page.

 

Christmas Countdown

OMG, we’re into the Christmas countdown?

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Keep calm on the Christmas countdownWe all find ways to handle the festive season. These can range from organising heightened excitement and frivolities, like good times sharing with family or friends. Maybe there is the compulsory work do (‘party-on’) and in some cases don’ts!  Whatever you have planned this year, and where ever you are placing your attention, one commonality is the amount of stress that can build up in the rush or the financial worry.

 

Every Monday and Tuesday over the next three weeks, I’m going to add some Christmas de-stress tips one or two of which may just be right in helping you to keep the levels of stress down around the holiday season.  Alternatively, these tips could get you thinking of ways that would work better for you, so it’s a win/win!

We’ll be taking a snapshot of:

  1. Expectation and experience
  2. Loneliness (put in Christmas community initiatives)
  3. Dealing with difficult people like relatives or friends
  4. Making it Fun
  5. Overindulgence
  6. What happens if you splash the cash?

What are your seasonal stress triggers?

Expectations and experience: 

Christmas countdown

Extroverts delight party Christmas

For those of us who are extroverts, the Christmas experience as a big social event may be just the fuel that powers your enjoyment.  Fantastic, get ‘stuck-in’!

That’s not me! 

Psychology Today reviewed the research from Myers Briggs studies in the USA which determined that approximately 16 to 50 percent of the population had characteristics of an introvert.

The complete opposite of the extrovert nature means that rather than being energised by partying they’d prefer to have a nice meal in the quiet of their home.

Does this sound like you?

Then you need to find a simple way to recharge your energies through the day which will help you to cope better and let go of the fears that used to undermine your Christmas experience.

Ideas!

Christmas CountdownConsider planning some time whereby you can give attention to your own needs and feelings.

In the days before Christmas, where would it be possible to create a little time for yourself and by yourself?

5 to 10 minutes of private meditation, or relaxation breathing, sign up and click here if you would like a guide for one of the best ways to do this and let go of anxiety or frustration.

Listing to a favourite tune or nipping out for a short walk around the block or through the park.

You may find a mindful moment when taking a stroll and taking in the view of the daytime winter sky.  Or if you prefer the twinkle of the stars at night.

In Tomorrow’s blog, we’ll take a snapshot of what some people fear the most about Christmas ‘Loneliness’.

And create some choices that you could make to break that limiting spell.

While at the opposite end there are people who feel guilty because they WANT to be alone. We discover what’s right about that?

Christmas countdown

Contact for Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Whether it’s stress, anxiety or building your confidence in finding your life purpose, I’m here to help. Click on my image to find my contact me page.

Worrying too much?

 

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worrying too much

Escape the worry cage

Text Version here:   Worrying too much?

…when I was younger and out of a true concern for my welfare – my Mum was always saying to me, “stop worrying too much!”

So I began to believe that as part of my identity it was normal for me to have cycling persistent worries – always trying to think one step ahead. “Just how could I deal with any negative outcomes that might befall me.”

It wasn’t until many years later that I came to understand that when we consistently  hear or persistently think of a negative possibility as being a probability, then not only is it exhausting but it can reinforce the uncomfortable feelings of those message.

Flexibility and the ability to live with uncertainty  sadly becomes  alien.

Now I’m not saying that it’s not a good thing to think about things through planning ahead in a more constructive light but…

Let’s attempt to switch perspective for a moment. 

What if there is a difference between being a worrier versus being a person full of curiosity?  Think about it.

Does that mean we’d be more likely to be able to think more clearly about a given situation? Is it more likely that we could reach out for help to find useful solutions and get the emotional support we need?

Notice if becoming curious holds a different internal feeling for you. Or maybe it strikes a chord which creates changes in how you’re thinking.  What’s the difference to your inner experience?

Which one, worry or curiosity, would give you a glimmer of hope for the future. It’s intriguing, isn’t it? …

Many clients have said that they wish they could be more resilient when the stakes seem high.  I believe they have a good point. Growing an inner resilience to handle life’s challenges doesn’t mean we have to be super-human.

On the contrary growing an inner resilience means gradually gaining a more adaptable outlook. When things aren’t certain we can have more control, by listening to our emotions as a way to be helpful and supportive to our self.

How to –  where to start?

We’re all human, and we’re used to going into a protective mode of thinking which when we’re under stress, can lead to negative over-thinking, and high anxiety.

But being human means that we’re also able to grow strategies that nurture resilience. That means in circumstances where we need to handle the normal and not so usual challenges of everyday life too.

History is full of normal everyday people who have gone on to do extraordinary things, or have overcome challenges to lead a happier life with family, friends, and for themselves.

Sometimes we need help to learn those strategies and that’s okay because in one way or another, we are all fellow strugglers.

Just being…In this moment

Worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, worrying about what others are thinking about us, not feeling good enough, loved enough.

Overwhelming factors which lead to fatigue can take the juice out of remembering times when we’re having fun, when we were really pleased with the outcome of something.  Those things can be simple things that can bring us a sense of joy and connection.

Re-edit your personal movie

When life gets tough then people often find themselves replaying fears based on past experience, without taking into account what they have learned or that they have changed.

I wonder what happens if you stop the replaying of the feared expectation, that imaginary snapshot of discomfort by using the imagination to re-edit the journey.

What went well? Who helped? What have you learned that could help you make better choices? What things had the potential to make you feel good?

What’s the first action you can take today towards a better outcome? Does that mean moving on or holding out?  The choice is yours.

Recall those good times too.

From experience, we can recall how feelings of confidence do grow over time, with practice and experience. From the first time riding a bike, to the first time we were in flow with a work task which initially we can recall, months or years ago, was a challenge.

The world didn’t end!

Recognizing that we have choices.  knowing deep inside that it’s really okay to be the best that we can be within each moment, of each day, can help us to feel better and give us hope on the journey.

It’s been said that we’re learning machines!  No one is saying that it has to always be easy to learn.  But why not experiment, by choosing to believe that it’s okay to just give ourselves a fair chance.

I like to think that showing ourselves a bit more self-compassion is preferable to constantly berating ourselves.  It surprising how these switches in perspective can lead to improvements in self-esteem too. Give it a go…

As attitudes to ourselves change for the better, I wonder how that could allow us the space to be kinder to others who may be facing challenges too?

Do you want to change?  We all have to start somewhere..and that could begin by one small step, by giving yourself a break and showing yourself some kindness.

Interested in getting some professional guidance on your journey? One to one therapy at my office or over Skype or an alternative web meeting link is available.

Contact me

Quest registered Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Maria Richards

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year Challenges!

Facing your challenges in the New Year!

Challenges can be invigorating

 

 

 

Do you recall the first chimes of the New Year, was it  like stepping  through a rusty creaking door into the challenges of 2016 or did the door glide freely because it was lubricated (no pun intended!), as you swung with positive expectation into the New Year?

 

 

Last year was a mixed bag of emotions for a lot of people, me included.  Life comes with challenges – some may be exhilarating because they involve stretching those boundaries which may take courage and determination.  Challenges can be described as grabbing the bull by the horns in an unpredictable landscape.  Overcoming difficulties or making changes by engaging at a deeper level can mean finding self-acceptance of one’s limiting beliefs. Learning to let go of them by trusting oneself can be a life-changer.

It’s funny how many people have said that it’s the learning to trust in one’s  own instincts that allows them to be more at peace with themselves and as a result more in ‘flow’ in their world.

Finding your own path doesn’t necessarily mean following someone else’s!

When it comes to testing situations, the choices we make and the things we tell ourselves can lead to growth or protection.  If protection causes negative stress, then that can really feel debilitating and exhausting, even lead to destructive behaviours.

If we expect New Year challenges to be like experiencing an uncomfortable roller-coaster ride, – struggling with circumstances ‘outside our control’, that can derail, upset  and cause muddled thinking.

Instead we have a choice to be curious about how we can take action on small things through the year. What can gradually improve our situation to stop feeling responsible for things outside our control?  New ways of thinking can prove to be an emotional game changer and in the bigger picture, a life changer!

Challenges can dissolve old ways of thinking…

With an enquiring mind if we can turn what challenges us into an opportunity for growth, then we’ll be using stress as a positive force, so that what can at first appear difficult can transform into a glimmer of hope for success and well-being.

Hope  can create change.  Determination to pull through can enable us to access a more powerful nurturing resource, through building a personal resilience.

My follow-up blog may encourage you to start that exploration within yourself – opening up to  ‘New Ways of Being’…

Tricks of the mind – Worry well or worry more…

Oh My God

“OMG” Tips that help reduce stress

Okay so nobody is suggesting that we actually become mates with stress,  unless of course we’re talking about the type of stress that can be our buddy.  I’m thinking of a good exercise workout, resistance training, going for a run were the heart pumps harder, my favourite ‘Zumba’, and as with all these things as the sweat glistens then the body and mind can receive all the benefits of a natural high as we are flooded with the positive hormones called endorphins.  And it’s funny isn’t it how one person moves away from what (s)he perceives as a negative stress, whilst another person will move towards the same stressor because (s)he finds it exhilarating and exciting (think tandem-jumping out of a plane! ) Here it’s  the meaning we give to the event that matters,  our personal perception, and the meaning we give that event in that moment.

So what would change if we could understand a little more about the cause and effect of those not so nice stressors, which lead to persistent worry, stress and anxiety?  I know from my media and corporate worlds that where people experience a high pressurised environment, some may be silently suffering from health aliments including high blood pressure, digestive disorders or insomnia. This is because pressures within those environments based on expectation can cause a build up of a stress hormone called cortisol which can exacerbate those types of maladies.

Just like everyday 21st century modern living; if people struggle with worry because they focus on the negatives of the past, or fears from an imagined future it contributes to triggering within the body a primitive need for survival, otherwise known as the fight, flight or freeze response. The brain searches for explanation and resolution resulting in a cycle of persistent unhelpful thoughts and the body responds. In some cases people talk of irrational behaviour, irritability or anger which then impacts on how they relate to others.  When we lack the understanding of what is a natural process and how we can start to help ourselves, then it  can really stoke the embers of so many personal limiting beliefs. “I can’t cope”… “I’m not good enough”…etc…etc…

And of course, within the context of a life,  every person has a different process in how they experience their problem. That’s where additional help through seeing a Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapist can play a significant role in helping you to get better.

But back to some general self-help tips…

The other day I was taking a look through some of the things in my tool kit which many people have found useful.  Practical tools, or if your willing to use your imagination, tricks within the mind that can influence your ability to combat the effects of debilitating worry as a causation for stress and anxiety. So we know that physical exercise is a great way of reducing bad stress and bringing on the good stuff.  When it comes to the mind, there’s a great opportunity to include a few easy strategies, in order to help calm everything down – lowering stress and giving us the potential for thinking that bit more clearer, helping us find solutions and giving us greater peace of mind.

Here’s a few general tips that people have found helpful:

Set aside ‘worry time’…

It’s interesting that when we are hungry or tired and in a low mood then worries can take on an even darker persona.  Many people have found that jotting their concerns down as they occur, then setting them aside to be reviewed in specific worry time, say 20 minutes only in the day can work magic.  Ensuring that time is after a meal, after a good night’s sleep or after at least 20 minutes of a good exercise workout, helps with clarity of mind in creating a series of solution steps – and the self-promise to take one action a day.

Writing down worries can help people to review them more objectively. Asking yourself questions like:

  • “I am worried about…”
  • “The worst that could happen is…”
  • “The best that could happen is…”
  • “Things I can do now are”…

Create a possibility and probability box  (Trick of the mind)…

If you’re in the habit of turning events that are very unlikely to happen into events that are likely to happen.

  1. Imagine if you had inside your mind a small container the size of a thimble with the word ‘POSSIBILITY’ written on it, and on the right side a large container the size of your living room with ‘PROBABILITY’ written on it.
  2. When you get anxious about something which has a ‘small’ likelihood of happening, then it means that something that should be in the small container has snuck into the large container and your mind is treating it as a probability.
  3. If that happens imagine taking a look in the large container, finding the worrying thought, removing it and shrinking it in size putting it firmly in the small container.
  4. Finally put back in the large container the thought that ‘EVERYTHING WILL TURN OUT OKAY’.

When you find yourself becoming anxious or worrying about an outcome take five minutes looking in the probability container to see if any possibilities have sneaked in there. Find it, shrink it down really small, put it in the possibility container and replace it with the probability of what is likely to happen.

We’re all different in what we can find to be of most help, and it’s an opportunity for you to get creative,  as they say ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ – so what have you got to lose by trying?

The Journey ahead…

Sometimes we need professional help and guidance, and this is best served by someone who will treat you with respect and have the capabilities and experience to construct a treatment plan that is unique to your needs. Working with you in an alliance which helps you recover from stress, anxiety or low mood.

Very often people say to me that they just want to be able to lead a normal life,  free of the pain or behaviour caused by worry, unwarranted stress or anxiety.  Whatever the context of your story you could find Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy an alternative that’s right for you.

To arrange for a no-obligation conversation giving you the opportunity to take one single step towards that positive change, it’s now…

just one click away…Bunte Hnde mit Smiley als Hintergrund