Category Archives: Blog

Uncertainty:Tips to conquer self-doubt

In part one of this blog, I discussed uncertainty otherwise known as ‘self-doubt’, not as a feeling but as a decision ‘not to try’.  Click here to check out last week’sblog-a-sode.’

Uncertainty and self doubt tips.

How do you overcome the traps of self-doubt?

 

In part two, we’ll look at the impact of  ‘uncertainty’ and two of the traps that fuel the habit of self-doubt for some people. Including coaching hints that may help you to break that cycle.

Remember we are looking at self-doubt as ‘a habit of not trying.’

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Hesitation triggered by uncertainty.

What’s your story? Do you:

  • hang back from taking action because it’s not perfect?
  • become great at planning AND not the doing.
  • overthink the consequences of what could go wrong.
  • keep yourself busy with other tasks as an avoidance strategy.

And maybe you are hesitating because of the uncertainty in all the details of the big picture in what you’re striving to obtain.

How this can feel overwhelming and scary if you ruminate or continuously visualise what could go wrong.

“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”  Abraham Hicks

Awareness of ‘how you do hesitation’ to help break the cycle

  1. What do you think needs to be perfect before you make a start?
  2. How do you to divert yourself away from taking action?
  3. Are you overthinking? What does this lead you to say to yourself?
  4. How would you break down what you want to achieve into smaller doable daily steps?

Taking action

Ask yourself – Have successful people always started from a position of perfection or learning? There are many examples of successful people who got their outcome due to grit and persistence. If you Google (search engine) famous failures you’ll find many of them.

“Fall seven times. Stand up Eight” Old Japanese proverb

  • Each evening jot down one thing that has ‘meaning’ to you.  And with this in mind promise yourself and diary-in one thing to take action on tomorrow.
  • What would let you know you are heading towards what you wish to achieve? Focus only on that one thing as your very next step.

And it’s okay to give yourself the space to be flexible if things change once you’ve taken that step.

Criticising yourself

What triggers that self-criticism for you? Is it a fear of disappointment, of failing or being hurt in some way?

Giving yourself a chance to break free

  • Identify excuses which hold you back.
  • Be clear on what it is you’re afraid will happen?

Taking action means ignoring the uncertainty

  • What can you do now to move forward and that’s inside your control?
  • Can any real constraints be overcome and how is that possible?

Check out part 1 of this blog about negative thoughts and the overuse of the imagination.

Is there a way to use the obstacle itself as a way forward?

  • If you have used determination or another relevant quality in the past to overcome a difficulty how could you bring that inner strength to the fore now?
  • Maybe you can ask someone to help you to move forward?  Like a mentor or someone that once stood in your shoes and is now thriving?
  • Or would you consider therapeutic help to clear those fears you have, let go of uncertainty enough to increase your resilience and self-worth?

“You never know what’s possible until you try!”

Remember that there is a difference between a possibility (just as unlikely to happen) as a probability. (Actual evidence rather than an overstimulated imagination.)

Decision time!  With reasonable expectations

Ask yourself – How do I know when I’m ready to make this change.

  1. What are you willing to commit?
  2. What new skill’s, do you need to acquire?
  3. Where, how, when – research plan. Commit your diary.

Then take one small, natural step to build confidence before moving to the next level.

‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’

Modern society has a ‘must have it all now’ mentality. How important is it to you to follow the herd?

Getting things done in stages is somewhat like ‘building Rome.’  Its total construction doesn’t have to be in one day.

  • It may mean putting in extra hours at work, or it may imply delegating tasks in the office or at home! It may mean less TV-watching!
  • Equally, you may need a balance to relax and play which will help clear your mind and strengthen your thought processes!
  • What would you need to do to enjoy each step of the journey more rather than thinking about the destination?

Your priorities can change along the way when you treat life as one grand experiment.

Head towards a solution in preference to a problem

The potential to learn as you grow can ignite a sense of achievement which breeds confidence which is an antidote to self-doubt or uncertainty.

Like to join my upcoming quarterly newsletter? Sign up and receive a guided relaxation audio download.

If your mind keeps getting in the way

info@mariarichards.co.uk

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Self-help tips can be helpful. If, however you find that alone they aren’t enough, the apprehension is overwhelming, you’re quibbling or procrastinating, then it may be time to consider professional help.

And that’s a good thing because seeking guidance is just part of those small steps towards being able to get better and enjoy exploring more of your potential.  Click my image to make contact.

 “To building your confidence and self-worth.”  Maria

What a client reported about working with Maria:

“I needed a personal solution to bring back my motivation and to start believing more in my capabilities.

To feel comfortable with the uncertainty of running my own business and stop the panic rising in certain situations. I also wanted…” [continue reading click here]

Books and Kindle

Tackling the most challenging task of your day a problem? Here’s a classic book which I found to be a great aid when I worked in the corporate world! And is just as applicable to everyday tasks too.  Click here to check out Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy.

How to kick out self-doubt

self-doubt

That feeling of self-doubt?

 

What is the opposite feeling of confidence building?

Some would describe this to be a feeling of self-doubt.

I wondered if ‘self-doubt’ is an actual feeling.

 

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Self-doubt as a decision ‘not to try’.

How about if for a moment we looked at self-doubt as a reaction to the feeling of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

Self-doubt then becomes the ‘habit’ we fall into out of familiarity. By not taking action, it represents a way to stay safe.

However, this can also lead to a lot of self-punishment by the thoughts and beliefs that grow about our inadequacy to act. We then create assumptions relating to our capabilities.

And yet when we give something ‘a-go’ by taking action it provides us with a chance to flourish and succeed or fail and learn for next time. Either of which can also gradually build confidence.

Catch 22 – Now I’m Curious!

Because I didn’t take action, I doubt my ability to take action, and this can lead to over-thinking the next time something similar comes up.

So maybe it’s the initial hesitation which leads to feelings of apprehension which result in self-doubt.

That feeling is triggered and reinforced the next time we make a decision not to try because we are using thoughts to over worry.

“Hang on a moment, what could go wrong? Am I ready for this? It doesn’t feel comfortable. I could be embarrassed because everyone will see I lack XYZ and think I’m a numpty.”

You get my drift.

We forget that thoughts are just thoughts and we give them the power.

Just like a knee-jerk reaction if we judge ourselves for having that adverse notion we are giving more power to the excuse for inaction.

How painful is that? Does it lead to a sense of resentment or build up a fear of the unknown?  How different would it be if you didn’t have to be scared?

What if instead, you chose to take just one tiny step at a time? Now, that leads to taking action and a feeling of self-achievement. (phew!)

Because the smallest actions added together builds confidence minimising self-doubt.

I wonder who first coined this idiom?

‘It’s easier said than done!’

What could be a mind-reasoned antidote?

 “The person in my head saying ‘you can’t’ doesn’t exist – so why would I listen?” Trevor Sylvester

The emotions we feel that lead to self-doubt. A therapeutic angle.

The brain as a pattern matching organism

To keep us safe the brain has evolved to store experiences that indicate when we could be moving towards pleasure or when we need to stay away from perceived pain.

And it does this by unconscious pattern matching through time and signalling a feeling that feeds our beliefs. These feelings are initiated within the body first and can trigger an automatic stress response known as fight, flight or freeze.  You may have heard of this.

Nature’s way of protecting us can make a person act or not act depending on the fear of a danger perceived.

For modern humans, the imperative for approval from others to fit in and do not suffer emotional hurt can be strong.  This equivalence for survival was recognised quickly by our ancestors.  Imagine the physical experience and what they learned from the wrath of a Sabre Tooth Tiger.  Or the longevity afforded by belonging to a tribe.

This alert translates into our modern-day experiences.

It’s been said that ‘evolutionary change is far slower than social change.’

For modern humans the unconscious imperative is to protect us by using feelings, thoughts and behaviours learned initially from birth and through childhood.

Miscalculations based on early learnings can hold us back.

The good news is that there is a way to resolve and update the brain in what has become faulty pattern matching.

Try out a different perspective

We’re all human, and that means its normal in life for all kinds of emotions to come up.

  • What if you could believe that those scary thoughts due to feelings of uncertainty have no basis in your present reality. In this moment.
  • What if you could learn to use ‘future’ projections as a way to become more prepared over time.  At a pace that’s right for you.

For example, the harrowing vision of an interview going wrong might transform into something much better.  All from making time to build skills in communication and interview techniques. Add on trying those new skills out in chosen environments and watch how your motivation improves.

  • Now, what one small action can you be taking to achieve that learning path as your first objective?
  • If you can treat the actual interview as a training ground, it could reveal ways to improve for the next time.

And you can feel the difference when your brain is trained to have a new focus for improvement.  Maybe there is less need for self-flagellation.

Intriguing huh?

Generating more confidence.

If you allow yourself to think that just like the rest of us it is possible to update old patterns of behaviour, then you can start by slowly introducing small action steps.

The more you do this, the more chance you have to diminish heightened emotion gradually.

Keeping in mind that there is also a natural element of anticipation when going for or trying out anything new.  That nervous feeling becomes like the state of curiosity and excitement.

Join me this time next week for some coaching tips which may help you to break free of the habit of self-doubt like:

  • The hesitation to act.
  • The inner critic that feeds the decision not to try.

Like to join my upcoming quarterly newsletter? Sign up by clicking here and receive a guided relaxation audio download.

“ Here’s to eliminating doubt, building your confidence and self-worth.”  Maria

Build your confidence and put doubt in its place through taking action.

kick out self-doubt

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Have you already tried other approaches or self-help tips and found that your mind is getting in the way of progress?

Click my image to make contact. Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy may be something you could consider to help you break the extremes of self-doubt.  Just part of the steps towards being able to appreciate and enjoy the many aspects of being you.

What a client said “I look at myself and what I have achieved – staying calm, not getting too stressed with situations, (at work) feeling more confident, speaking up in a large group or feeling more comfortable with leading my team meeting and realize that I have come a long way from where I was when I first met you. ” [Click to continue reading this review]

Interested in more of my blogs on confidence click here

Books and Kindle:

A classic self-help book how to turn doubt, fear, and indecision into confidence and action. Valued by many people today as it was on publication 20 years ago.  Susan Jefferey’s- click on: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway available on Amazon.

Gratitude on a winters day

Thinking about Gratitude:

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Gratitude

It’s those fleeting moments of joy in your day that can make all the difference to your day. How to train your brain to notice them more.

#gratitude #acts of kindness #happiness

Yesterday I was out in the freezing cold of London on my way to visit the dentist! It turns out I had an excellent toothy peg cleanse. (fab hygienist skills – thanks), with no pain involved. As a reward, I followed my appointment with a beautiful cup of hot java at the local organic food café. I recalled this particular quote which I added to a photo I snapped in my garden one summer.

I wondered have you ever found happiness where you least expected it?

Go on spoil yourself or someone else today. After all, it’s the simple actions that can bring the most joy to our self, or when we take special care in doing something for another.

It’s good to become more aware of fleeting moments of happiness because they all add up to the possibilities of feeling better.

Gratitude journal: A positive psychology technique.

What does gratitude mean to you? Some may say it’s looking for those things that have changed for the better in your life.

Whereas to appreciate could mean that even if something was frustrating while you were experiencing it, you could look back now in appreciation of what you learned.

So even if it’s hard to feel grateful, we can still appreciate an insight which adds to our resources for resilience.

When you reminisce, what are those things in life where you feel a sense of gratitude?

Broaden your perspective:

For example, have you thought of being grateful for eventually understanding a hard problem you have been trying to solve?

If there where people in your life you feel thankful for who would those people be?

Broaden the circle of gratitude:

Include actions from people you don’t know like the smile that the cashier at the supermarket gave you.

The difference that makes the difference to your day.

Consider the possibility that the more we recognise and appreciate the things in life, (our efforts no matter how small, the kindness of others), the more we get those things in our life.

It’s like a brain training exercise to notice even those fleeting moments of happiness and positivity.

Hmm here’s to the taste of a good cuppa coffee or tea after a dental-cleanse! ;-D

Making gratitude a pleasurable task:

Allowing your unconscious to collect three positive things to look back on at the end of each day can continue to give you a better experience in life.

And when you write them down you have a lovely collection of memories to boost you if there should be a grey, cold winter day.

You may be interested in a few tips from those who practice happiness in their daily live click to read an earlier blog on this.

https://mariarichards.co.uk/east-london_happiness_cognitive-hypnotherapy/

What is gratitude and its role in positive psychology – definitions and tools

If you’re interested in increasing your knowledge on this topic take a peek at this site by clicking here

Gratitude

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

There’s no time like the present. If there is something you’ve been meaning to get sorted to help you feel better, or to build confidence then take courage.  If you’d like some help to get there – click on my image to find my contact me page and drop me an email.  

 

Happy New Year resolutions 2018

Happy New Year resolutions to one and all!

How do you cultivate your happiness in 2018?

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Keeping your New Year Resolution in 2018

Reach for the stars

And I wonder what you intend to focus on in 2018? Any ideas?  What New Year wish means happiness for you and what one thing would you love to achieve?

Sometimes we have the big picture of what we would like to happen – it’s the getting there that can seem to evade us. Before we know it, we’re saying ‘Hey Happy New Year 2019!’ Wow! Time flies!

The most reportedly popular New Year Resolutions that people seek appears to fall into these categories.

  • Health and physical fitness
  • Money
  • Finding a career or changing your job
  • Ditching bad relationships, creating stable and loving ones.
  • Having fun and that can also mean time for yourself.

Do you hanker to revisit a beloved activity; from sewing to your artistic flair. Or finding something new like learning a language or becoming a bit of a Master chef.

  • Spending more time face to face with people which means less time on social media!
  • Giving back to your community by becoming active in a cause or donating cash.
  • Caring for another – be that family, pets or your favourite garden plant-life.

Or maybe you have something that’s unique which means creating the time to plan for the New Year. That’s very often the issue isn’t it TIME TO PLAN?  The ticking clock can become the blunt instrument that we always beat ourselves up with because we feel the pressure. And it can lead to all sorts of unhelpful messages about our ability to gain traction and achieve what we do want.

Time is a construct! – Use a bit of ‘time-trickery!’

New Year Resolution 2018

With just a little effort

It was in the 19th Century that the 80/20 rule was given light by a chap called Wilfred Pareto.   He discovered that 80 percent of the world’s worth was in the hands of just 20 percent of the population. And further investigation shows that this simple rule is a pattern found in many areas in life. For example, if you were to examine how you live your life you might notice how you spend,

  • 80 percent of your time focused on 20 percent of the problems that created you’re worrying.
  • 80 percent of your achievements remarkably comes from 20 percent of the effort you put in.

This rule can even impact the clothing you wear, so that

  • 80 percent of the time you find yourself wearing only 20 percent of what’s in your wardrobe.

Does this pattern ring a bell for you?

Where are you spending most of your energy? How would you better use that power to get the results that are important to you?

What kind of things do you need to do towards achieving a sense of meaning and purpose that results in higher happiness in 2018!

Procrastination is not a New Year option?

Rather than procrastinating because you need to find the time to plan. Stop just for 30 minutes and ask yourself these following questions. In answering them, (write your answers down), you could continue your journey towards an exciting year and progressive steps to feeling better.

People, places, things

  1. What are the 20 percent activities and areas of your life which involve 80 percent feelings of unwelcome pressure? (That could be stress or anxiety at work, in your home life, or something else?)
  2. What are the 20 percent things that you do in which you can acknowledge you have 80 percent of your happiness?
  3. Who are the 20 percent people in your life that you share 80 percent of your most enjoyable experiences?
  4. When it comes to feeling energised and happy, who or what comes to mind? And in the same vein what or who causes you to feel drained of energy?

Time to take action this New Year 2018

Take a look at your responses to those questions. Your answers can indicate what you could be doing more of and where you could genuinely make a start.

Realising you have a choice can give you a sense of what you value and what you need to start attracting in your health goals, relationships, your work, and in seeking out more fun times too.

If you were able to attract more of what makes you happy in your life, what things would you choose to focus more wholeheartedly on in 2018?

What would you be doing to reap more joyful long-term benefits? You may be surprised at how you can focus more on your direction by starting with one small action!

Doing those things which give you a sense of optimism and worth about yourself and your future is like gaining a new skill or gradually changing old habits.

Make the first step to a better new year a simple one

Focus more of your attention on the positive steps you will be taking.

For example, it’s easier to change your bedtime routine, so that you aren’t wound up from watching the 10 pm news on TV. A simple choice could be to read or watch something more light-hearted instead.  In other words, go to bed with happier thoughts!

Whereas making different friendship choices – that’s who you spend your downtime with, maybe more of a gradual process. As is your health goals and the small things you could be doing to make improvements.

By sticking to the completion of a first step, you’ll be making a change towards giving more quality focus and action on a percentage that enriches you and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

What will you gain?  What will you lose?

With any New Year wish it’s wise to take into account what you may gain as well as what you may lose. If letting go of the old and bringing on the new causes you to grow then that’s a good thing, as is also being considerate of others and acting honourably.

Where to start?

When we consider how ‘time is precious’ if you only had a year to achieve one aspect of your purpose or desire, what are the things you would choose to put to one side?  To cut down on the feeling of being overwhelmed which limits your focus.  It may be a matter of delegation; it may be that you just need to let that go.

Focusing more wholeheartedly on what brings you greater benefits means taking small action steps. That’s how you could be getting closer to making those strides all connect into a significant achievement.

Keeping in mind that it’s not always the destination but the journey along the way that can bring you a real sense of satisfaction. And sometimes this approach can reveal new ideas, thoughts, and directions which are exciting.

Starting as you mean to go on.

Positive psychology contains many tactics for retraining the brain to seek out more optimistic patterns.  Choosing to tune into optimism has many health benefits including reducing stress.

Every night before you go to sleep, give thanks as you review from life those things that make you feel grateful.

Decide that 2018 will be a period of growth. That means that even if there are downs as well as ups, you’ll be able to celebrate the learning. All the potential for an increase in skills, resourcefulness, resilience and insights when 2018 comes to its conclusion.

Every day, follow your instincts by taking gradual steps. No matter how small, they all add-up towards you getting a step closer to your goal and continuing on the path of happiness.

Letting go of Limiting Beliefs – what stops you completing New Year Resolutions?

A-ha – those gremlins can be a bummer!  If something in your mind is stopping you, a fear, sheer anxiety or procrastination. Is self-doubt stopping you from taking steps towards a better life? Then maybe 2018 could be the right time to seek professional help and guidance.

Or do you want to wait until 2019…2020…2021…2022?

Would you like to learn more about the habits of happier people?

Subscribe by clicking on the link below and receive five tips to help you to cultivate more happiness in the New Year 2018.

5 tips to cultivate happiness New Year

Have you heard of:

 Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology? He postulates that while our genetics and environment determine 60 percent of happiness, the remaining 40 percent is up to us.

May I wish you all a brilliant 2018, including good health, happiness and prosperity.

And as always thanks for reading.

New Year Resolutions

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

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.

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Important warning: When listening to any audio content please ensure you’re not concentrating on anything else like driving a vehicle or operating machinery! With your safety in mind

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.

Audio duration 6.50  Reading duration 8.00 average.

Important warning: When listening to any audio content please ensure you’re not concentrating on anything else like driving a vehicle or operating machinery! With your safety in mind

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.

Important warning: When listening to any audio content please ensure you’re not concentrating on anything else like driving a vehicle or operating machinery! With your safety in mind

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.

 

Lonely at Christmas

Day2 in the series on the Christmas countdown.

Abridged version– Audio duration  5.15  Reading duration 4.30 average.

Important warning: When listening to any audio content please ensure you’re not concentrating on anything else like driving a vehicle or operating machinery! With your safety in mind

Today we look at Loneliness at Christmas

This is day 2 out of 6 in my Christmas Countdown series. Yesterday we took a look at ‘expectation and experience’ depending on your perspective as an extrovert or introvert.

Simple things you can do to recharge your batteries whilst dealing with the hectic side of the run-up to Christmas – and even on the day itself.

It’s amazing how simple things and taking just a little time out for yourself can boost one’s ability to get those pre-Christmas jobs done and successfully handle stressful situations.

If you’d like to catch up on yesterday’s blog, click here where you’ll also find an offer to sign up and receive a copy of my relaxation breathing guide, including how to help your mind to release the build-up of frustration.

Spoiler alert:  The sixth and final part of this series will have a free bonus list of ideas for healthier coping strategies. and I’ll be including my client guide on how to get a good night sleep, in preparation for the holiday events.

Do you wish you had people to share Christmas with?

Not everybody has a family to go to or friends to be with over the holiday season, spiking feelings of desperation and being alone, depressed and left out.

Did you know that equally some people LOVE having Christmas time to themselves?

Unplugging from the frenetic pace of your working year, or other people’s expectations that’s two benefits that the holiday could bring to you.

If like one client, you have suffered a bereavement during the year, this may be a time of reflection and quiet for you.

People celebrate this time of year in their faith or spirituality by connecting to those fundamental beliefs.

Or you may have chosen to experience long country walks as a way to chill-out while making your own decisions for the future. Choosing to have a quiet time while looking forward to celebrating with others the glitz of New Year’s Eve.

Ideas!

Which options would suit you?  – Here are several things that people do.

I don’t want to be alone!

In the UK there is the potential to become involved in the annual community projects.  Meaning you no longer need the fear of being lonely at Christmas time. Being of service to your local community can be extended to beyond the Christmas period too.

Check out your local council for details. Use the web search engine for your city by typing in ‘where to volunteer in…’ for example London, or Liverpool this Christmas.

If you need to talk to someone over the Christmas period, there is splendid work done by The Samaritans in the UK, who are usually available to phone round the clock. Is there a similar organisation in the country where you live?

Or if you fancy sharing lunch in the company of others, you could check if there will be any activities set up by your local council.  There are also alternative non-profit community organisations.

Lonely at Christmas

Volunteering around the UK

And of course, you can google or use alternative search engines to get regional variations. Or visit your local council or library to gather local information.

Click here for more information from community Christmas across the UK.

For information on The UK Samaritans service

Example of volunteering around London.

There are times when people chose to spend the main day quietly for many different reasons.

Deciding to hunker-down and get cosy?

In planning for your perfect day think about:

  • What are your favourite foods and films?
  • Who would you choose to call, or Skype?
  • What type of music would you play out loud?
  • Where’s that good book that you meant to read?
  • Maybe you’ve arranged to meet up for Christmas lunch with another person who is also spending the day on their own?
  • Or maybe you’ve been able to a ‘push the boat out’ and arranged a singles friendship holiday for over the Christmas period.
Lonely at Christmas? Not necessarily.

Cosy and fulfilled at Christmas time

 

You may feel just as fulfilled with Christmas magic if you find yourself doing some of your favourite things on your own. Just as much as if you choose to share some of your time with other people too.   

Our emotions around this period can differ from person to person, depending on our circumstances. It’s what has meaning for you that’s most important.

 

Next week my third blog will look at what most folks have an opinion on or concern for over the Christmas period. How do you deal with DIFFICULT PEOPLE?

Sometimes we feel we can’t escape such people over the holiday period. Our emotions may be tied to a sense of duty or guilt or in circumstances that are beyond our control.

It’s no fun to feel bored silly, or if you expect the day to end up in arguments and recriminations.

So, is it possible to control difficult people, even when that problematic person is our self!  What’s the reason for this and how can we break that pattern?

And in my fourth blog, we look at how to combat the build-up of stress from rushing around. Trying to fit everything in. While that little voice in your head is screaming “I’m tired and overwhelmed.”

Or “what if everything goes wrong, it will be my fault.”

Taking some simple actions and making an effort with your mindset could produce a significant difference to your enjoyment.

Until next week… thanks for reading.

Christmas countdown

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Nature has programmed all of us with physical and emotional needs. How stressed we feel can depend on how well our emotional needs are being met.

Listening to our emotional needs and ensuring we have them in balance is one of the most important things for good mental health.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and would like guidance in believing in yourself and moving towards what you want then I may be able to help you.

Click on my image to be directed to my email contact details.

Christmas Countdown

OMG, we’re into the Christmas countdown?

Abridged Audio duration 02.59  Reading duration 04.00 average.

Important warning: When listening to any audio content please ensure you’re not concentrating on anything else like driving a vehicle or operating machinery! With your safety in mind.

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.