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Three Hour Exams! Tips for revising for exams.

Yes it’s that time of year again! Here are some tips to survive the revision and exams.

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Many teenagers are revising at the moment and we all know how stressful that can be, so this week’s blog contains top tips for revising and staying cool, calm and confident through the revision period and beyond.

Create a timetable of study.

Set short achievable tasks for your revision. It’s important to ‘chunk’ down. After all you can’t revise the whole thing in one go! So break things down into small chunks.

For example, you could revise in 20-minute chunks, set your phone (or alarm) when it goes off, change your activity for at least 5 minutes. Get up and stretch. Go and get a drink.  Play with the dog! Then go back to revising. Naturally if you’re on a roll and studying well, you can skip a break and continue on for the next 20-minute chunk.

Look at the week and decide where, when and how you are going to revise. If you’re unsure, find someone who seems to revise well. Pick their brains and find out what they do to revise, where they do it and how, then copy that formula!

On The Day of Your Exams

Plan a good routine for the day.  It might sound daft but it’s important know exactly where you’re going, it has been known for people go to the wrong place, out of sheer panic!  Not you though. If you have to travel to your place of exam, do a dummy run a week before if necessary. Give yourself as much chance as possible to feel confident.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Even planning exactly what you’re going to wear so that you’re in charge of your own temperature will give you a sense of control (Layers are good).

Aim to be early and be prepared. Have your bag and any items that you might need, ready, well ahead of the exam day.

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Bottled Water In Cooler

Drink plenty of water during study periods and the exam; this has been linked to improved memory power. According to a study at the University of Wales (D.Benton, N Burgess – Appetite, 2009 – Elsevier.) ‘Recall was significantly better on the occasions when water had been consumed’.

Breathe deep then eat

Many students say they feel panicky prior to exams and suffer from anxiety. Many performers feel nervous before they perform and there’s at least one scientific study that says that nerves can help you to perform well, so maybe your anxious feelings are a good thing and they are going to help you to perform well!

Anxiety can sometimes make your tummy tense and your chest tight though and that’s not great.  So try this, sit upright and rest one hand on your heart and one hand on your tummy. I call this the ‘Vagus Hug’ as it puts you in touch with a powerful nerve that runs from the brain through the heart to the gut and it is a powerful communication channel.  Close your eyes and breathe in and count to 3 hold for a couple of seconds and as you breathe out to the count of 5 imagine your hands becoming warm and soothing to your tummy. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the tension melts. Don’t take my word for it, practice it and see for yourself.

Once you feel more relaxed ensure that you eat something prior to the exam. If you feel uptight make sure it’s something easily digestible. Protein is always good and can be easily digestible if it’s something light like an omelette or scrambled eggs. Plan what you will eat on the day – have everything ready.

Are your thoughts serving or sabotaging you?

Watch out for your thoughts they can either be helpful and positive or negative and damaging. Do NOT project negative thoughts into the future… that’s just daft since the future hasn’t happened yet!

You have a choice. What are you saying to yourself about your ability to study? What are you saying to yourself about the exam itself? Modern psychology and hypnotherapy knows that it is possible to ‘future pace’ suggestions.

An example of a good future paced suggestion is “I now revise easily, effortlessly and concentrate with focused attention whenever I revise.”  Or “On the day of the exam I feel confident and relaxed. My recall is sharp and accurate I breeze confidently through each question.” Notice the suggestion is phrased in the ‘here and now’ which is important, since the subconscious mind doesn’t have a sense of past or future, so it prefers suggestions as if they’re already happening.

Obviously if you haven’t done the study or the revision in the first place, this can’t come true but if you’ve done the work – then trust your subconscious mind to serve you. You could be amazed by the results.

Finally, listening to Stress Free With Confidence every night will definitely help you to remain calm and to feel more confident. I suggest listening for a month leading up to the exam and also through your revision period.  Listen on ear-phones each night as you drift off to sleep and let it work for you.

Good luck with your exams and remember you are still a wonderful unique person whatever your results.

Sue x

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Is It Time To Grow Up?

You know those days when you’ve planned to do all kinds of things but when you wake up you feel ‘little’ and it’s about as much as you can do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other let alone tackle anything more challenging.

Has your inner child – you have many – taken over?

Feeling ‘little’?

Here are just some of the symptoms you might recognize when your inner child has taken over:

You have a feeling of inner collapse.

You feel stuck.

You have ‘the fog’ your brain feels as if it’s been swamped in fog and you can’t think straight.

Your voice has a different quality, quiet and childlike.

You can’t get on with anything and even the simplest tasks seem overwhelming.

You have a wobbly, shaky feeling inside or a heavy weight in your stomach/chest.

You don’t want to engage with anyone let alone go to work.

You don’t feel in control

One or any of the above is an indicator that you’ve morphed into child mode and you can stay stuck in this state for minutes, hours and even days.

How did this happen?

There can be many things that flip us into child mode, for example a dream from the night before, a film that you recently watched or an item in the news that has triggered you emotionally. Sometimes an argument with a family member, a run-in with a work colleague or a falling out with a loved one can be the negative trigger that awakens your inner-child, even hearing someone shouting can be enough for some people to trauma trigger their inner-child.

Does it even matter what caused it? We can get hung-up on trying to discover the trigger, which can cause other issues such as avoidance behavior, which in turn creates other problems such as phobias and addictions.

So what do you do? How do you get out of this state?

  1. Firstly there’s some homework to be done. On a good day when you feel adult, and a bit more optimistic about life and yourself in general, make a list of what is going on around you that allows you to feel this way.

For example

  1. I’m wearing bright colours.
  2. I’ve been for my run.
  3. I’ve spent time with good supportive friends this week.
  4. I’m eating sensibly
  5. I’m sleeping well because I haven’t been watching the news.
  6. I’m meditating regularly or listening to an audio programme
  7. I’m planning to go to my yoga class.
  8. I’ve been listening to music
  9. I’ve been reading/watching positive thinking material/sites
  10. I’ve spent some time in nature, been to the park or the coast

Revisit this list regularly if it’s in your notebook or stick on the inside of your wardrobe or cupboard where you see it daily and it can work on you in a subliminal way.

Read this list out loud on a day when you’re stuck in ‘child’ and aim to apply as many of the things on your list as possible.

2. Get some light into the room you’re in, open your blinds/curtains.

3. Nurture yourself, prepare some comforting food and a warm drink, have a warm bath and massage yourself gently with body lotion. Or gently scrub with a loofah both of which can help you start feeling again.

4. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down some questions to ask your inner child such as “What do you want or need so that you can feel better”
Listen intently for the first answers that form in your mind and write down the answer which may be something like, “ I want to feel safe, or I want to be loved” Ask next , “What can happen now so that you can feel safe or loved”?

Develop a written dialogue with that part of yourself until you can a) feel a difference and a healthy distance between you and the inner child and b) have an idea of what that part of you needs in order to feel better.

Aim to meet the needs of that part of you maybe with an imaginary cuddle or you may decide to cancel your visit to the family party because that part of you would benefit from some quiet time instead.

5. Call a trusted friend and see if they can help you to morph back into ‘adult’.

6. Do something that will help you to feel grown up and back in control. Perhaps do some gardening, baking or some yoga.

If this is something that happens more often than you would like, maybe it’s time to engage the help of a professional and help your inner-child to grow up. Talk to a counsellor or therapist.  Perhaps a personal development course would give you some tools for dealing with these feelings when they surface. Remember too in the shop here at thestresshacke.com there are lots of audio guides, to help you get the best out of yourself.

One thing is for sure, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got so do something different and help yourself to feel better.

This self-care will contribute to a better sense of wellbeing and confidence. Take good care of you because you do matter.

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THE WAKE UP CALL

Are you ready for a change of scene?

Had enough of your current job?

Feeling Burnt Out?

The Wake Up Call

 If you feel like you can’t continue in your current existence, you are not alone. Every year thousands of people reach a point where they can no longer continue working in the same way, with the same people or in the same job or industry.

You just wake up one morning and know that it’s time for a change.

I was in my mid-twenties when I reached that point. I had come to hate my job, the industry and I didn’t like most of the people I worked with either.

I felt trapped by the money,  I had a mortgage from the age of 22 and the notion of walking away from a well paid job seemed totally reckless.

I was run down, stressed and miserable and as a result became pretty unwell. After the third spell in hospital, I recognised this as a massive nudge from somewhere deep inside, to wake me up, shake me up and take responsibility for changing my life. I realised I was waiting! Waiting for something to happen. Waiting for someone else to make my life different.

This was at the start of the self-help movement and I read hundreds of books to help me find the confidence and methods to make those changes.  I developed a habit of getting clear about exactly what I wanted and then applying certain steps to make sure I got it.  I’ve retrained in a number of different fields, Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Yoga, Reiki. I’ve become an author, a blogger and a jazz singer. I’ve since spent the best part of twenty-eight years helping  thousands of  people to redefine themselves, to follow their hearts and launch new careers. You can do it.

Want to know how? Here are my starting steps when I want to make change.

Firstly create some space where you can be still and quiet and ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What one thing am I really good at? What one thing do I seem to do naturally well?

Now ignore the voice that throws up the negatives and keep asking yourself  that same question until you get some good answers.

I remember thinking defeatedly ‘I’m not really good at anything, there’s no area in which I excel.’ But I stuck at it and eventually a little voice said “You’re good at talking to people” It was true, I could stand at a bus stop and a total stranger would tell me their entire life story, then get on the bus and say “Do you know I’ve never told anyone that!” Eureka. That was it… the only thing I could come up with!

Yet that simple answer started a whole new career  for me which I still love and enjoy with every cell in my body.

When you’ve come up with a couple of answers write them down, stick them on the back burner.  The process is starting.

   2.  If I didn’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks. If I didn’t have to worry about money or how I would pay my bills. What would I do for work?

Again, ignore all the negative, whiney head trash that wants to bring you down. That’s your ego battling for position! Write down the stream of positives that come to mind, such as … “I’d work with animals, I’d travel the world, or I’d be a yoga teacher”  Now put those ideas into the pot on the back burner.

In a few days some ideas will begin to brew. Watch out for them and write them down.

When you get some idea, some direction that doesn’t contain a negative, you’re ready for the next step.

3. Just suppose (imagine) you were going to do that thing… the idea that you thought of, how would you go about it? What would be your first step of enquiry? Can you google some information?

Can you find someone who’s doing what you’d like to do or has what it is you would like to have? 

If so call or email them and ask if you can buy them, a coffee or lunch, explain that you would like to ask them some questions about their work. Be honest and transparent. Naturally some people will say no, but many are flattered be asked and want to help.

First gather this information. Gradually all the ideas, information and knowledge come together and you will  feel excited. This is your cue.  If it’s a feeling in your heart GO FOR IT!

Find a way to make this happen. Go back to learning, take that course in your spare time, negotiate taking some time out of the workplace. Do what you have to do to kick-start your new career. When it’s something you feel passionate about, trust me, it will not feel like work. You will  be happy to be up to the early hours of the morning writing your plans, or studying, because you know that you are working toward something really meaningful to you. Something heartfelt and positive.

When you live, breathe and talk about your dreams you bring a powerful energy to it that will attract a similar resonance. If it’s your dharma (your calling) doors of opportunity will open for you, you will be wafted along pathways that will support your calling. You will meet the right people at the right time who will share similar dreams and values.

DO NOT share your dreams with people who criticise, judge and search out the negatives in your plans. Why would you. You need to believe in yourself and your dreams.

If you need additional inspiration or support to get you over your fears about making change, grab your copy of my book Super Charge Your Confidence and the accompanying download of the same name from my shop.

Let me know how you get on.

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RAPE OF THE HEART

Many years ago, I did some work with the dynamic authors and couple therapists Helena Lovendal and Nick Duffell. This is where I first heard the term ‘rape of the heart’. A phrase afforded to the men who as boys, became the confidante and major source of emotional support to their mothers.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, though fundamentally as a result of the father being absent whether literally as in dead, estranged from the family, unavailable due to work commitments or more often emotionally absent. This coupled with needy or emotionally stunted mothers, sets the scene for a ‘rape of the heart’.

Similarly to girls, boys have a heightened awareness and sensitivity to their mothers needs. By the time a boy is 5 years old, he is said to know all of his mothers unfulfilled dreams and heartaches. This is mentally confusing and emotionally too much for their hearts to bear. In an effort to survive psychically, they detach themselves in favour of climbing trees and kicking footballs.

In this detachment they shut down their hearts for protection, not wanting to continue the painful connection because ultimately they cannot meet the needs of their mother or fix her pain. The fact that it is not their place to do so, is beyond their comprehension. The already emotionally overburdened boy, carries a sense of guilt for not being able to be the ‘man’ his mother needs.

Disappointed and disillusioned with the ‘absent’ husband,  the mother can unconsciously or consciously place both insidious and overt demands on her son to ‘hold the space’ emotionally for her.  This makes contributes hugely to the later failure in his relationships and the subsequent emotional and psychological pain and torment that can plague his life.

Fast forward 30 odd years. The boy, now a man, is in a troubled relationship. Sitting in front of me with his partner, I ask what they want from therapy.  He says with a pained expression “I just want her to be happy” she says with frustration “ He doesn’t get me because he never really listens to me”. Neither of them can understand what went wrong. Both tell me how much in love and happy they were in the beginning. They thought they were a perfect match.

Naturally it will take time for them to explore their dynamic and to understand some of the more subtle issues in their relationship.

If he is able to grasp the concept that the closer he and his partner become and the more intimate their relationship, the more threatening this feels for him at a deeper unconscious level. His visceral memory associates closeness and intimacy with the deep emotional wound of not being ‘enough’ for his mother.

As his partner opens up to him, expecting connection because for her, this is the foreplay, the intimacy.  He instinctively pulls away and shuts down. He is fearful that he wont be able to  ‘fix’ his partner, so it’s easier for him to disconnect.   As this unconscious reflection plays out in their relationship it threatens their connection.

Once he gains understanding and insight of this unconscious programming, he can start to clear the mental fog of confusion and become more congruent. In time he learns to feel more comfortable with the intimacy and improves his communication with his partner.

If you have found this article thought provoking please feel free to pass it on to anyone who you think would be interested too.

 

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LOVE LOVE LOVE

In the words of the famous song ‘All You Need is Love!

I would agree that love is definitely the antidote to FAGS that’s fear, anger, guilt and shame.

I’ve witnessed many people discover a gentle love and compassion for themselves that dissolves much of the negative chatter that lives in the ego mind.

How though? How do you use love to heal?

Unlock The Love In Your Heart

Try this exercise. Quickly write down as many answers as you can to the following statement.

Do it NOW! Don’t think about it too much.

Love Is…..

Now do the same for this statement

I feel loved when…..

Next write down all the ways you can do this for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to fulfil your needs and dreams, get into a great relationship with yourself by attending to what makes you feel loved and cherished.  So if it’s touch. When did you last gently massage a beautiful cream or oil into your body? Make a date with yourself to do this. When did you last treat yourself to a beautiful bouquet of flowers, great bottle of wine or a trip to a show? Do that for you. If you need to hear words of love … start saying them to yourself… you get the idea? Stop waiting for someone else to meet your needs, meet your own.
Your answers should tell you a lot about your view of love. If they’re negative responses you might want to do some deeper work on yourself. If that’s the case, drop me a line at ‘Ask Sue’ here at thestresshacker.com and let me know and I’ll include some exercises in a subsequent blog.

For my yogi readers. Sit quietly place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on top and softly chant the seed sound to the heart centre LAM you can resonate on the aaaah sound and also the mmmm chant for at least five minutes.

Happy Valentines.

Sent with Love.