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!”
Sorry I haven’t been in touch for ages…there is no excuse.
There was a bout of depression that nearly got me, but I will tell you about that later.
I have just returned from a holiday in Thailand that included bathing and feeding Elephants. Seeing the process of their “poo” being turned into paper.
Learning the secrets of Thai cooking at a cookery school in Chiang Mai. Then travelling further south to explore some of the islands and their beautiful beaches. Experiencing the healing effects of Thai massage.
Why would I now feel depressed?
I became very aware of the negative internal chatter in my mind. Part of me was imploring another part of me to stay upbeat. But I couldn’t. In fact, feelings of negativity had me sinking fast!
I was feeling depressed. Why?
Was it that my wonderful holiday was over? That I’m still grieving? Maybe I was just overwhelmed by my workload? Or perhaps it’s Brexit?
What soon became clear is that the WHY does not matter. Continually exploring the ‘whys’ only brings more negative thoughts to the surface. Changing my state became my priority and doing this quickly, my goal.
Here is what I did to fight the depression
The first and most important thing was to change the “internal chatter.”
At the risk of this sounding like a plug for one of my self-help downloads, I started to listen to Stress Free With Confidence. This is a hypnosis program I made almost thirty years ago. After just two days I noticed my thinking had changed quite dramatically and as a result, found myself smiling again.
My thoughts were brighter. When a negative thought arose it quickly switched to a positive one. The change was automatic and the good thoughts began to flow again.
More importantly was the shift in my feelings and I felt more upbeat.
This helped me to get moving.
Exercise helped me move forward and invigorated me. Walking activates the heart and lungs and changes the way you breathe. When you change the breath it will often change the way you think and feel. A couple of walks in my local park and surrounding streets really helped.
So did reaching out for support from loved ones and close friends whom I was able to share my feelings with. It’s so important, in fact essential, to reach out. Call someone. Talk about it.
Yoga always gives me the space to gain insight into my feelings and this awareness helps me to “catch” myself before I fall too far. I did a slightly longer practice each day.
Having re-booted the stress free programme in the back of my mind, I also started juicing again which boosted my energy.
I applied a great Ayurvedic treatment and gave myself a top-to-toe sesame oil massage before languishing in a bath. This felt nurturing and nourishing.
Sometimes just one small change can make a huge difference to the way you think and feel.
For example if your job requires sitting at a desk all day, get up regularly and move a round. Take the stairs rather than the lift where possible.
I love that quote …“Think you’re enlightened? Spend a week with your family!”
For many, family is the messiest part of life. People just won’t do what we want them to do will they!
Christmas holidays often mean spending prolonged periods of time with people who can push your emotional buttons, so what’s your plan to survive Christmas and the strong opinions or personalities that can arise at this time? Check out my tips below.
The Christmas holidays are a perfect time to develop a regular mediation habit. Start with 5 minutes, building to 7 and then 10 minutes a day by week two. Along with enormous health benefits, at this time of year meditation can offer you the perfect excuse to get away and give yourself some much needed time and space. Check out my other blogs or click here for simple meditation techniques.
2. Breathe To Alleviate Boredom
I remember someone telling me of their dread of the office party and the boring conversations they had to endure each year. If you get stuck with the office bore try practising a simple breathing technique whilst they’re talking to you. Keep looking at the person and subtly bring your awareness to your nostrils, silently count One on your next inbreath, two before you breathe out, three as you exhale and four before you breathe in again. When you’ve counted 5 ‘whole’ breaths in this way make your excuses ” well, it’s been great catching up and I want to talk to …. now, enjoy the rest of the party” and run!
3. Develop compassion.
If step 2 seems a bit harsh, maybe you can develop the art of active listening? You’re with the office bore again (except you no longer refer to them in such a way) imagine you can drop down into a very peaceful space within and begin listening with an open heart, i.e. with absolutely no expectations, no desire to escape and without a need to fix them, question them or judge anything they say. Good luck with that!
4. Boundaries. Where are yours?
What is your tolerance level for a particular person? So for example you don’t get along with your sister can you sit open-heartedly listening to her for 5 minutes or 10? What and where is your limit? It’s important to know yourself in this respect. Think about these interactions ahead of time. Once you’ve reached your tolerance level with that particular person have an “I need to get up and get some water”statement handy, so that you can change your position and your state. Plan ahead, is it possible to arrange to sit next to someone you do enjoy talking to?
5. Booze. Is it time to monitor your intake?
At what point might you say something you could regret? If two drinks leave you merry and sweet but four make you a bit mouthy… perhaps you need a plan. Think ahead. How do you want to feel when you wake up after you’ve been out partying? When you look back over the previous evening’s events do you want to be happy with your ruminations or will you be cringing because of something you said or did? Will that extra drink make the difference? Plan ahead and decide when enough is enough. Before you go out think about an alternative to alcohol get a really clear picture of it in your mind, for example imagine a nice glass of sparkling tonic water with a shot of lime cordial and a twist of lemon, or a pot of freshly brewed coffee.
Christmas is an especially good time to be thoughtful, kind and generous to others but I hear so often of people (usually women) who have run themselves ragged trying to make the perfect Christmas for others only to end up ‘coming down with something’. So be kind to yourself first, it’s then easier to give authentically to others. Make time for you and as you give yourself a bit of space ask yourself “what do I want, what do I need.” When your cup is full there’s a tendency to only want for the good of others and if you’re okay, you’re in a better position to take care of others.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blogs, visit the site and purchase products I really value your feedback.
Wishing my family, friends, clients, yoga students and readers a great Christmas and all you would wish for yourself throughout 2019.
Reactions to stress are stored in the mind and body, they shape our perceptions and view of the world.
Constant repetition of the fight, flight and collapse response takes its toll on the immune system and leaves us susceptible to illness, disease. Similarly mental responses to stress include anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and phobias.
Therefore self-care on more than just one level is vital to our health.
More importantly, finding ways of controlling our reactions to stress mentally and physically, rather than allowing it to control us, is essential to being a well being.
I should know I’ve been a stress management expert for many years and my clients know that even one small change makes a huge difference to the quality of life and can help you cope better.
50 Signs of Stress:
…And also the solutions to combat stress and freegifts to help you deal with it.
Anxious, apprehensive, frightened, fearful
Excessive feelings of shame or embarrassment
Depressed or generally low
Helpless, out of control
Experiencing intrusive thoughts or images
Experiencing loss of confidence
Thinking the future is bleak
Unable to concentrate
Constipation or diarrhoea
Change to menstrual cycle
Frequent colds or other infections
Feeling faint or fainting
Headaches or migraines
Rapid weight change
Sweating or clammy hands
Tightness or pain in chest
Thrush or cystitis
Vague aches or pains
Increased tiredness or fatigue
Aggressive or passive behaviour
Clenched fists or jaws
Comfort eating or loss of appetite
Compulsive or impulsive behaviour
Disturbed sleep patterns
Increased alcohol or caffeine consumption
Poor time management
Reduced work performance
Withdrawal from supportive relationships
Too busy to relax
Stress management is something that has to be built into and made part of each day.
Furthermore, repetition is the mother of all skill and stress management requires practise.
You wouldn’t expect to go to the gym now and then to have a strong, toned body and it’s the same with maintaining a calm, relaxed state in the face of stressful events and triggers.
Firstly you have to know the difference between stressed and calm. Practise a Progressive Relaxation. Do it Now!
Simply tense every muscle starting with your face, screw your eyes up, your mouth, neck, shoulders arms etc right the way throughout your entire body, tensing until it’s almost unbearable then slowly release and enjoy the feeling of gentle relaxation spreading through your body.
Secondly repeat this as often as possible so that you train and engrain the right responses to stress.
Finally, stop the stress reaction more quickly by recognising tension and stress as it’s creeping in. Consciously pay attention to that knot in your shoulder or tightness in your neck, use it as a trigger to start the relaxation response.
Because stress increases when we forget to breathe properly humming and whistling will help you to breathe better. A whistle or hum is effectively an exhalation.
Try it now, you’ll notice that you take a bigger, slightly longer inhalation after you’ve whistled or hummed. Increased breath means more energy and a calmer state and better equanimity of mind.
Most importantly reprogram your mind to combat stress while you sleep. The Stress Free With Relaxation program allows your subconscious mind to absorb positive suggestions and counter daytime stress triggers.
Maximum effort required, put in earbuds as you drop off to sleep. Return On Investment = Feeling rested and refreshed with a positive state of mind and wellbeing. Effortless!
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 judge and criticise for something, each trying to out-do the other with insults.
When she was older Louisa felt more and more uncomfortable indulging in what had once felt like harmless fun.
She’d reasoned as a teenager that it didn’t hurt anyone because the strangers couldn’t hear them and it eased their boredom.
Years later however Louisa recognised that the discomfort she felt stemmed, not only from being mean to innocent strangers, 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? Do you spend a lot of time criticising the way your friends and colleagues behave? Then you’re probably harsh and critical about yourself.
Judging others means you’re judging yourself. When we point the finger of blame or judgment at another, you’ll notice three fingers pointing back at yourself. We levy a much heavier burden of judgment on ourselves when we judge others.
In life we tend to attract mirrors of ourselves, in our partners, friends and colleagues.
Look at the things in others that you like or dislike, love or hate, you’ll discover that they are aspects about yourself that you are not owning.
Consider the one thing that you find most abhorrent, something you believe you would NEVER do – be very careful, because you almost certainly house some aspect of that deep within your psyche!
So the next time your inner Judge starts pointing, be kinder to 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’
Judging takes up a lot of psychic energy and takes us away from the here and now. Next time you catch yourself judging, distract your mind by singing the lyrics to a favourite tune.
Constant judgements mean that we are not accepting what is, which creates conflict and creates mental turmoil.
Sack the Judge and treat yourself a to a mental holiday. Discover more peace and positivity when you retrain your brain with my positive thinking book and audio.