Do you avoid doing jobs because the thought of it stresses you out? Do you give up on your health regime after that first glass of wine? Are you late for things simply because you didn’t leave on time? Chances are you’re letting your inner child take control of your life… I know, I know, you start out with really good intentions at the begining of the week. You’re going to eat sensible, healthy foods. And yet by Tuesday you’re on your second take-away.
Have you ever considered that your inner child has taken over and is running the show!
What Happens When You Let Your Inner Child Rule
That inner whining often goes something like this: “it’s not fair, I’m tired, I don’t want to work, I can’t be bothered to go shopping, I need a treat now, I deserve it!” And giving in to it means that you – the adult – are no longer in charge. Let’s face it if you were, you might be able to have a more grown-up conversation with yourself!
Your inner adult might say something like: “I know you feel like you deserve a treat, but if you do eat those crisps or drink that extra glass of wine, your workout at the gym will feel even harder and ultimately the dress you want to look stunning in next weekend will feel tight and uncomfortable. You’re just hungry let’s get something yummy and healthy to eat right now and if you still want crisps after you can have them!”
I sometimes feel that I sit down for too long… but that’s the nature of my work as a Psychotherapist and Life Coach, thankfully I’m able to balance some of that by teaching yoga, walking and swimming. A sedentary lifestyle is not good if you want to stay healthy moreover, it’s ageing too. Scientifically proven as one of the 5 components that make up Wellbeing, exercise and keeping on the move is a must if we want to stay healthier, happier and youthful.
I’m often heard singing the praises of yoga. It really is more than just exercise, it’s a system of health. Other Eastern philosophies such as Chinese Medicine, subscribe to the notion that we have an emotional body. According to these approaches the emotions reside in the organs. You can hear it in language such as “I felt gutted (stomach) or choked” (throat) or “… he had some gall” referring to the gallbladder that is said to process anger, along with it’s partner the liver.
I definitely recognise the existence of an emotional body in my own style of teaching yoga and also when working one-to-one coaching clients. As a client or student of mine you’ll be on the receiving end of my ‘nagging’ or as I like to think of it, encouragement! Prompting you to direct your attention to the tightest or most uncomfortable part of your body and then breathe deeply into it whilst stretching. It facilitates a beautiful release and expansion that often alleviates pain and discomfort. You just feel great afterwards!
I’m often reminded of my favourite saying that the body will express what the mind is concerned with It’s true and I’ve been interested to observe my own body in the last 3 to 4 weeks whilst going through a particularly stressful and emotional time. Although I’m doing the same amount of yoga practice as usual, I’ve really noticed how tight and stiff my muscles and ligaments have become, in fact my body has been aching and tense. I realise that at times like this it’s more important than ever to keep up my yoga practice (it would be so easy to let it slip)! I have found the gentle long held yin poses have been particularly useful in releasing toxic energy (a build up of negative emotions such as fear and anger).
Some years ago my colleague and friend Sabine Smith and I created a lovely CD also available as a download called Movement Now. This is a gentle yoga program that we designed for people who haven’t done any exercise at all for a while, people who want a quick easy stretch program, people who are stuck at their desks all day long and people recovering from illness or surgery. It’s really easy to download to your laptop then pop onto your phone then you can practice anywhere anytime. Click here to buy.
The short program is a real energy boost and you’ll also notice that it creates a nice peaceful state mentally and emotionally.
So if you’re going through one of life’s testing times remember to keep up your practice. If you don’t do yoga then walk, swim or do some exercise and keep the demons at bay!
When Louisa was younger she used to love people watching with her sister when they were in the car.
They would take it in turns to pick out a stranger who they would criticise for something, each trying to out-do the other for insults.
But as she grew older, Louisa began to feel uncomfortable indulging in what had once felt like a harmless bit of fun (after all, the strangers couldn’t hear them and Louisa and her sister were just two bored teenagers trying to pass the time). Years later, Louisa would recognise that a lot of her discomfort stemmed not just from the meanness against the innocent stranger, but also because of what it told her about herself and her attitudes.
What our judgements say about us
If you can be unkind about a stranger, how mean are you to yourself? And if you spend all of your time criticising how your friends choose to do things, how harshly do you criticise your own behaviour?
If you know you are a judgemental person, have you ever stopped to consider what the things you choose to judge say about you? When we point the finger of blame or judgment at another, chances are there will be three fingers pointing back at ourselves. We really levy a much heavier burden of judgment upon ourselves when we judge others.
In life we tend to attract mirrors of ourselves, in our partners, friends and colleagues. So if there is something about another person that you like or dislike, love or hate, ask yourself, is this really something I dislike in myself?
In fact, if you can think of the thing that you find most abhorrent and obnoxious, something that you think in a million years you couldn’t do – be very careful, because you almost certainly house some aspect of that yourself deep within your psyche!
So the next time your inner Judge starts pointing, be easy on yourself and curl those fingers into a yoga mudra (gesture). Bring your thumb and index finger together and slowly repeat the words ‘I am peace, you are peace, there is peace’.
Yes it’s that time of year again! Tips For Revising For Exams
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!
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 Confidenceevery 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.
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?
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?
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.
I’m wearing bright colours.
I’ve been for my run.
I’ve spent time with good supportive friends this week.
I’m eating sensibly
I’m sleeping well because I haven’t been watching the news.
I’m meditating regularly or listening to an audio programme
I’m planning to go to my yoga class.
I’ve been listening to music
I’ve been reading/watching positive thinking material/sites
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.