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What is Wellbeing? How can it work for you?

Wellbeing In A Week Course

Why is Wellbeing so important?

Wellbeing online course
WELLBEING AND HEALTH

Simply because it affects your overall health and happiness.

As a teacher and therapist of many years I see first hand how important wellbeing is for people to thrive. See what the World Health Organisation has to say about it.

I have learned that everyone has a story and none of us move through the journey of life unscathed. Some people suffer anxiety from past or current events and other’s live with emotional scars. And whilst some live with physical traumas, everyone has to deal with loss at some time in life.

It’s Not   Happens To You, It’s How You Deal With It.

My short course Wellbeing In A Week helps combat anxiety and stress.

It offers simple exercises and is packed full of opportunities to program positive thinking and wellbeing into your mind and body.

There are 5 main components to Wellbeing

1.Connection

Loneliness is an epidemic and there are many reasons for it, technology not being the least. People who feel lonely often talk about feeling isolated too. Whilst this isolation is actual, in that they may have stopped going out and connecting to others,  it can also show up as a  physical numbness,  an inability to feel.  In therapy we discover that  this usually forms part of a much bigger picture of grief.  Grief can come from all kinds of scenarios such as a childhood where parents are absent because of  divorce, death or just  ‘unavailable’ because of long working hours. Grief and isolation can also stem from periods of bullying at school or in the workplace.  The lonely person can feel cold, numb and shut-down.

The remedy is to  connect, learn to trust again and reach out for connection. Finding just one  person to talk to or discovering a small group that you could join. You can develop connection by taking up a  hobby. 

2. Be Active

It’s so important to stay fit and healthy. The stress hormone cortisol goes up when you feel lonely and this can compromise your immune system and affect your heart adversely. Psychologically this could be because ‘affairs of the heart’ will have you thinking in negative cycles spiralling into anxious and depressed thinking.  Serotonin, Oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins all help us to feel happy and most are released when doing things we love and enjoy … so find the exercise you love and boost your wellbeing.  So many people talk about a sense of ‘coming home’ for example, when they discover the joys of yoga. 

3. Keep Learning

Keeping your mind active by discovering something new learning something different from your usual daily routine will boost your wellbeing.  It could be something technical or a musical instrument or online courses that teach you how to think differently such as Wellbeing In A Week.

Wellbeing In A Week, online course, the stresshacker

Remember there’s always help at The Stresshacker to deal with things that threaten to derail you or negatively impact your wellbeing.

Take at peak at the shop here for resources to:

4. Give To Others

Yes! believe it or not giving to others makes us feel great! Develop an attitude of gratitude to boost your happy hormones. Think back, when was the last time you helped someone out? The last time you made a random act of kindness? If you can’t think of anything try doing something by the end of today to help someone out. You will be helping yourself too.

5. Mindful

Being mindful means being present in the moment here and now.

Try this exercise,  stop right now and centre yourself by observing 3 things that you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel without moving too much and 3 things you can smell and taste. 

How was that? How long did it take.  It was easy wasn’t it! And do you know what’s even easier? Go to ‘freebies’ section in The Stresshacker shop and download your free audio guides for mindfulness. Let me know how you like them.

Interestingly sometimes the smallest change in your routine, your thinking or habits can have a massive positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Investing in self-care is probably one of the most important things you can do to maintain a good sense of self and wellbeing.

Enjoy!

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Ways to Travel Stress and Anxiety Free

Health & Wellbeing

My top travel tips to stay stress and anxiety free when travelling.

It has literally changed my life. This is what happened…

I seemed to get a cold every time I went on holiday! This had been the pattern for over ten years. It  spoilt my trips and left me feeling miserable. I wanted to travel anxiety free.

Whilst swimming  in Thailand a couple of years ago and having a chat with myself, the way you do.  I was bemoaning the fact that I had yet another cold.  I’m healthy (other than a mild lung infection) and found it puzzling.

“Not Another cold! Why?”I said.

I heard a voice inside  reply ” It isn’t a cold.  Your airways  are inflamed from the air-con on the plane”  Nothing more, just that!  It was a real eureka moment as I recognised this truth.

I totally empowered myself with the following tips…

NLP:

First I future-paced my self with an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) suggestion. “By the time I get out of the sea all inflammation has left my lungs.”

I swam a bit longer then got out.  It was about an hour later that I realised that the ‘cold’ had gone, completely!  I’d had it for five days yet  it had totally disappeared! Not one more sniffle for the entire holiday.

Masks:

Secondly I went to a supermarket and bought some masks. Next I bought a lightweight scarf to wrap over my mouth and nose.

Health & Wellbeing
Fewer colds and infections now.

Most importantly  I wear it for the entire flight whenever I travel now. Only removing it to eat or drink. I’m effectively recycling my own warm breath and this appears to have worked.

I had started to feel wary and anxious about holidays because of the cold scenario.

But now I can relax in the confident knowledge that I’ll be okay.

I’ve had three long haul and eight European flights since then and not one cold or sniffle!

I tell my fellow passenger that I have nothing contagious just a mild lung condition that is irritated by air-con. I’ve only had one person move and that gave me more room – result!

In conclusion this totally works for me and could help you too. If you have experienced similar problems or have asthma this could be the perfect solution.

Wear a snood, scarf or gloves:

I’m now trend-setting with an array of snoods!

Especially on cold damp days or on public transport. I stay healthy and therefore anxiety free in the knowledge that I have fewer colds and infections.

Setting a trend
Setting a trend

Oh and another tip – wear gloves where possible in public places. It can cut down on germs.

Remember that  Stress Free With Confidence is a reassuring programme to listen to if you have any fears around travel. Grab your  CD or download at the shop here at www.thestresshacker.com

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Menopause Made Easier

Menopausal Mad Witch Hag Crone!

There, I’ve said it these are some of the charming names attributed to women experiencing menopause. Women who have reached a stage in their lives where they are no longer able to bear children.  Names mainly levied on us by the patriarch of the past.

The reality of course is that Women are wise and when we realise that pretty much everything that walks the planet is born of woman, we are in fact Creators, Goddesses even.

When we consider the pain and suffering women endure to give birth to humanity, shouldn’t women be honoured, respected and revered at every stage of life?Menopause Made Easier - Sue Smith, The Stresshacker blog

Some stories portray the crone or hag as disagreeable, malicious, or sinister often with magical or supernatural abilities that can make her either helpful or obstructive. Well that’s pretty much true of all of us really, men and women.

And as if creating, birthing, nurturing and child rearing isn’t enough, woman have the menopause to look forward to with it’s myriad of symptoms.

There are hot flushes, dryness, sleep problems, excessive tiredness.  Oh and then there’s the rapid mood swings, along with that wonderful feeling that your brain matter has been swapped for a cauldron of cotton wool!

Want to know about more symptoms? Google NHS menopause for more information.

Because so many of you have asked me  to write about the menopause what I offer you here are my tips and beliefs for dealing with this phase of life.

It’s a time for cleansing on many levels and clearing out the crap!

Many women at this stage realise that they can no longer live incongruently or out of sync with themselves, it just doesn’t work anymore.

People, jobs, gatherings and even friends that were tolerated in the past have no place during the menopause.

Maybe the description of Crone as disagreeable, unpleasant and ugly arises because during the this phase, women often wont tow the party line anymore.

In menopause women are no longer prepared to bend and mould to the ideals of another or even their own earlier scripts.

Many women I’ve worked with yearn to return to themselves, to be more authentic and congruent, done with their roles and labels.

Some want peace, some want fun, or to be heard, whilst others crave adventure. It’s time to do it differently.

So let’s welcome the menopause and treat women in this stage of life  with a reverence for their innate wisdom and knowledge.

We teach other’s how to treat us.

Like all things, that which we seek outside of ourselves must be found  within first. What can you do today to welcome and revere yourself?

The Hot Flush

I remember the first hot flush that roared up my neck and face like an inferno. Feeling distinctly uncomfortable I got up to distract myself when someone brought me a glass of cold water. Its was a kind act of awareness, considerate and thoughtful.  One that remained with me.

After that I learned to stay present with flushes, other than to reach for a glass of water. You’ll also find an ice pack or a packet of frozen peas on your pulse points pretty handy at this point.

Instead of running away from or trying to avoid this physical phenomena, I urge you to stay with it. Dive into the feeling, embrace and welcome it in,  there’s a wisdom in it somewhere.

That Which You Resist Persists.

I hear you say that’s all well and good but what if I’m in a meeting or an important event? Same advice – stay with it. Everything reaches a peaks and has to subside. The more you panic or try to stem it the more fierce it can seem. If you’re fidgeting around mopping your brow and looking uncomfortable people will notice more.  Imagine you’re loving that feeling of warmth.

12 Tips for coping better with Menopause

1. When you feel a flush rising, aim to stop what you’re doing and sit down. Slowly sip a glass of cold water until it passes.

2. Allow yourself time and space to yield to the feeling. You’ll notice that when you do this, that the feeling passes more quickly.

3. Try this lovely yoga breathing exercise called Sitali. This is the version I practice and it must be done sitting in a well ventilated space. Not standing on the platform of the station or in a room blasting out air-conditioning.

4. If sleep disturbances are your main issue and you keep waking up or struggle to get off to sleep, treat yourself to my hypnosis audio program Sleep Well Now or read up on the tips in my book  The Art of ZZZ’s

5. Where possible allow yourself some quiet meditation time on a daily basis.

6. Gentle yoga stretching such as yin and hatha yoga are ideal for personal practice.  I prefer to practice and teach fluid movements with weight bearing poses and attention to the breath.

7. Yoga lowers blood pressure, counters stress and can alleviate pain and discomfort, do a littel each day.

8. Your temperature can go up and down like a fiddler’s elbow during the menopause, so invest in a proper silk pashmina, it will keep you warm when you feel chilly and cool when you’re hot! They’re also great for mopping up the excess schvitz!

9. Keep a fan in your pocket or bag it gives you a sense of control when your body heats up.

Menopause Made Easier by Sue Smith The Stresshacker blog

10. The homeopathic remedy Sepia worked brilliant for me, minimising symptoms such as brain fog and tiredness.

11. I’ve practised Ayurvedic principles for many years and found Pukka Herbs’ Aloe Vera juice to be the best.  It’s cooling,  great for the skin and helps with problems like constipation.  It also acts as a carrier taking herbs to body parts that need them.

12. I would drink a shot glass of aloe vera morning and night and take the herb Shatavari – also from Pukka, which helps to combat the dryness that can come with menopause.

Effortless Being

There’s a notion that we’re no longer in our masculine warrior phase, out there chasing and hustling a living.   It’s time to sit back into the powerful energy of the feminine and allow ourselves to receive.

The feminine energy is depicted by the moon and in the same way that it’s cool brightness can throw light across a darkened sea. This can be a time of enlightenment as we take time to ‘be’ and receive our inner wisdom.

Naturally we’re all different and these are just things that worked well for me I hope they help you. Share your tips with me on my Facebook page thestresshacker or in the comments section below.

Enjoy!

 

 

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3 Simple Ways To Beat The Blues

January is renown for being the worse month for depression and there are many reasons for it. With the build-up to Christmas and the hype over, the extra lights in these dark months taken down, it feels gloomy and cold. Some people may have got into debt, some are dealing with redundancy, whilst others wrestle with existing mental health conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder or clinical depression.

If you’re lucky enough to be able to detect that you’re spiralling into a downer, that’s great  awareness and hopefully you already have some strategies that can help to pull you out of depression. Because this time of year can be particularly tough, challenge yourself to do something different to change your state.

I’ve put together three ideas to help shift negative energy.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker
Depressed

Music

Calm your mind with classical music, even if it’s not your usual genre (e.g. my usual choice is jazz) take a chance, open your mind and listen to a nice classical piece. Ask a friend for a recommendation or visit Classic FM until you find something that  resonates most with you.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker
Make Music & Change Your State

Apparently baroque is the best music to have playing in the background to help concentrate if you’re studying. So the next time you’re getting ready for work, or doing some mundane chores treat yourself to something calming and different.

On the other hand if you feel really heavy, stuck and lethargic put on something with a strong loud beat, such as We Will Rock You by Queen or the 1812 Overture to help you get moving. Put on your earphones and go for a stomping power walk whilst listening to some heavy rock. Whatever your choice of music make sure it’s one that will positively change your (emotional) state.  Find a song you can sing along out loud to, it’s great for getting your breathing going (we don’t breathe very well when depression kicks in) … think Whitney Houston’s long held notes in I Will Aways Love You. 

Mantra

I downloaded the Gayatri Mantra (Click to view video about it) which I found incredibly peaceful. I noticed that after I’d listened to it for a while it, it continued playing in the background of my mind. It gets rid of some of the negative head mush and I’m left with a peaceful mind for quite a while. Traditionally it should be chanted 108 times. I turn to it now whenever I need to de-clutter my mind and it works a treat. My favourite version is by Deva Premal.

Grounding

In our age of abundant technology many of us feel spaced out and insulated from the earth. Walking around in rubber soled trainers and padded foot wear means we miss some of the finer signals from the earth and this can contribute to feeling even more disconnected and separate.

Depression - Beat The Blues by Sue Smith The Stresshacker
Get Grounded.

Connect to the earth; she’s warm and nurturing! Don’t take my word for it, walk barefoot on some grass and see how long it is before your feet feel the warmth of Gaia. The energy that comes up from the earth through the feet stimulates hundreds of nerves in the legs and brings with it a sense of connection which you may feel as a tingling or pulsing sensation.

When you consider that no matter where we are in the world we are held by gravity to mother earth it seems daft not to spend a little time tuning in to it.

As always, I’m interested in what shakes you out of your depression so share it with me … it could helps someone else.

Also please look at our products and courses in The Stresshacker store to help assist you with your journey.

 

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Three Hour Exams! Tips for revising for exams.

Yes it’s that time of year again! Tips For Revising For Exams

tips revising exams - Tips for revising for exams - The Stresshacker blog by Sue Smith

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!

tips revising exams - Tips for revising for exams - The Stresshacker blog by Sue Smith

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