Are you in need of a boost for your wellbeing? It might be reassuring for you to know that this is the season for feeling grief and sadness. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the season of Autumn relates to the organ of the lungs which emotionally hold grief. Although separate organs, the heart and lungs are interrelated by the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. This means that any ‘affair of the heart’ such as loss, upset or conflict can be the trigger for grief. The heart affects the lungs, and the lungs affect the heart.
So, what can we do to boost our wellbeing at this time? Move!
Here are three ways to improve our wellbeing. We need to move stagnant energy (Prana, Qi or Ki) out of our lungs.
Try some shoulders shrugs individually and both together. Shrugging acts as a pump to move stale energy and encourage better circulation try it now, where-ever you are, can you feel the lungs moving?
Stand up and relax your whole body and shake your arms, bend your knees, and straighten your legs, repeatedly, shaking off any negative energy through your hands and fingers, like a tree losing its leaves in the autumn.
Take your arms out to the sides float your palms up toward each other and back down again and repeat. This simple movement opens the sides of the lungs brings a bit of energy to your intercostal muscles (that sit between your ribs) and lift both heart and lungs. You’ll feel instantly brighter and more energised.
As Autumn is a season of ‘dryness’, you may have noticed your skin feeling dry and crepey (not creepy!) at this time. To remedy this, set some time aside for self-care. Get some sesame oil (it’s naturally the warmest oil) and heat it. I place mine into a plastic bottle and then put it into a stainless-steel cup of hot water. When it’s warmed, begin to gently massage your body, including the nostrils, ears fingers and toes, including your nails. Allow half an hour for it to soak in before having a bath or shower. NB if you oil your hair, which feels amazing, you will need to put neat shampoo on your hair before the water or it will be difficult to get the oil out. Not only will you feel nurtured and comforted, you will also sleep well, so best done at night. Repeat once or twice a week.
Autumn is a good time to boost your immune system in preparation for winter so remember, that there are lots of resources and programmes available in the stresshacker shop to make life more manageable for you.
These tips for self-care will help towards achieving positive health and wellbeing. You’ve heard the expression ‘Charity begins at home,’ so does self-care. Let’s be honest if you can’t look after yourself and take an interest in your wellbeing, why should anyone else?
Successful people use simple mind hacks to boost their self-confidence while they sleep and feed their minds with personal development programmes and podcasts by day.
With the NHS creaking under pressure and GP appointments hard to come by, preventative steps to ensure our positive mental health and wellbeing are more important than ever.
Tips for Self-Care
One Eastern approach to wellbeing is called Ayurveda, roughly translated as The Science of Life. I’ve loosely studied Ayurveda since 1984 by reading and attending courses but I feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface! It’s a vast subject and one of the main things is to understand your constitution, also known as your doshic make-up.
A quiz can help you do this and it’s one of my favourite tips for taking better care of yourself so read on…
Know yourself. Take the Dosha quiz here: Dosha Quiz
As we move out of late summer, rethink your diet, you’ll need to eat differently as the Autumn winds and damp weather take hold. See my delicious recipe below.
Keep negative thoughts at bay, use this vibration meditation. Close your eyes, inhale slowly and on the exhale make the sound Mmmmmm. Feel the vibration on your lips and imagine it resounding around the inside of your brain. Do this for 3 minutes minimum. For a greater sense of calm try 7 or 21 minutes. It’s excellent if you suffer from insomnia, obsessive thoughts and anxiety.
Are you one of those people who feel irritated easily? Start the day with fresh lemon and warm water it’s cleansing for the liver and surprisingly, can calm your disposition. If your digestion is feeling sluggish peel and slice fresh ginger, boil it and cool before drinking first thing in the morning. It feels very warming to the gut.
If you have trouble sleeping, massage your hands and feet with warm sesame oil and go to bed wearing socks and light cotton gloves. Write down anything that could keep you awake . Make a list of all the things you have to do tomorrow, then forget about them until the morning. When there are things you need to get off of your chest, journal until you’re bored!
Aim to bathe in nature at least once a week and preferably more often . Go for a walk in a park, woodland or visit the seaside, blue and green are soothing for the soul.
Would you like to try a regular weekly online meditation class?
I run a session at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Wednesday evenings email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you details. Read some of the testimonies to hear what other’s say about it.
Recipe for Kitchari
Make the recipe below for yourself and see how nurturing it is. Let me know how you get on I love to hear your feedback.
1/2 cup basmati rice 1 cup mung dal (split yellow) I also use red lentils as I find them much easier to digest and quicker to cook.
Approximately 6 cups of water
Roughly 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped or grated – it really is easier to peel with a teaspoon!
It’s a bit of a faff measuring this out every time you make it,I make it up in bulk and keep it in a jar and I tend to pulp it into a powder in a pestle and mortar (except the ginger and fresh coriander.)
A handful of freshly chopped coriander
A handful ofassorted vegetables ( these are optional)
Preparation – takes no time.
Thoroughly wash your lentils in a sieve, make sure the water runs clear through them and leave to one side.
Place a heavy bottomed saucepan on a high heat, when it’s hot, turn it down add the ghee, let it melt and throw your spices in (but NOT the fresh coriander) stir them into the ghee until the seeds pop (If you haven’t pulped them) Do NOT let it burn.
Next add the washed lentils and coat them in the spicy ghee mixture, then cover until they become soft. (Check from time to time that it’s not burning and add a little more water if necessary.If you want more of a soup, add more water and don’t add rice. If you want a more substantial meal, add less water and add your vegetables for about 10 mins or less if you like them al dente.
Note:If you’re adding some vegetables, wash and chop them into small chunks, you could use broccoli, courgettes, carrots, sweet potato, or some spinach or cabbage.
Finally throw in a packet of 2 minute basmati rice (or a cupful that you might have already cooked) and stir in for 4 or 5 minutes.
In my opinion good cooking comes from tasting as you go along, after all you’ll be eating it so you’re the judge of it! If you’re feeling low or unwell, this is considered a ‘healing meal’ and is the perfect remedy for any body type or age group. Enjoy!
I’ve had quite a few messages from people who are struggling with anxiety about the attack on the Ukraine and I doubt anyone could fail to be affected by it.
But here’s the thing, if like me you are highly sensitive it’s a bad idea to listen, read or watch too much of the reporting. It is a trigger for anxiety, it really can have a negative and detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing.
Isn’t that just being ignorant?
I’m not being an Ostrich or selfish when I say that I limit how much of it I allow into my world. I have made myselfill in the past with anxiety by worrying and feeling anxious about things I have no control over.
These are some of the things I advocate that will give you a sense of control (instead of panic)
Take Gandhi’s advice and “Be The Change You Want To See Happen In The World” (Apparently he didn’t phrase it quite like that but you get the gist) Practise being peaceful, in this way you lessen inner conflict?
If you believe in prayer, pray.
Quieten your mind and body with a simple meditation of bringing your attention to your breathing hundreds of times throughout the day. Given you’re a microcosm of the macrocosm Be Peace.
If you actually want to do something, dig deep and donate even the smallest donation will be of help to the Ukrainians in their time of need.
Remember the ‘golden hours’ that set you up for how you’re going to feel during the day, are the first hour in the morning and the last hour at night.This is NOT the time for catching up on the news, lunchtime or sometime through the day is better.
I went online to Etsy Ukraine.com and purchased some digital products in an effort to support.
Campaign when and where you feel able to.
If you need additional help to stay calm, relaxed and free from anxiety try Stress Free With Confidence the hypnosis MP3 that will ease your stress.
Finally if you’re still feeling stressed consider doing some research on the wonderful Ayurvedic herb Ashwaganda. The benefits include helping to reduce inflammation, combat stress and anxiety, improve memory andhelp balance blood sugar as well as boosting muscle strength. Personally I found it really helped improve the quality of my sleep.
Thats all for now and thank you if you’ve taken the time to read to the end.
When a client asked “What is Open Heart Therapy?” We went on to talk about the effects of being emotionally hurt, I think most of us have some experience of this.
Does anyone sail through life without being wounded at some point?
When we feel hurt, scared and rejected the natural response is to withdraw, close down and push away in order to protect ourselves.
This shutting down often takes place in the heart area. It can be a gradual closing down from small childhood hurts to a more sudden snapping shut after a major rejection.
The fall-out from this ‘protection’ can be devastating and one of the consequences is poor communication. In our efforts to keep ourselves safe, we can end up closing down in the throat area, meaning that open honest conversation is a no-go.
Instead of juicy heartfelt conversations that lead to real intimacy and healthy relationships, important dialogues left unsaid will have negative effects. Couples I’ve worked with talk about avoiding direct eye contact, instead talking about mundane things like the weather or “What’s for dinner.” Humour can also be used to avoid genuine connection or worse still, no conversation at all as couples polarise to opposite ends of the bed, room, home or country.
Rather than searching or waiting impotently for someone else to provide the magical key that will open our hearts and free our speech, it is possible to take control and do it ourselves.
In a secure environment we can gently work on the business of improving our relationships, with ourselves first and then as a natural evolution, with others.
The benefits of this heart work are manifold as we learn to accept our unique selves and practice self-love, we can breathe more easily, feel authentic, empowered and more comfortable in our skin.
When we fill our own cup first, we have more to offer others, you cannot serve from a depleted cup.
Back in 2004 I ran the first ‘Open Heart Therapy’ workshop in Holmes Place and a few times since then but NOW definitely seems the right time to open up the heart chakra and get the other centres energised and spinning.
If you’re ready for the ‘Open Heart Therapy’ challenge you can book your space on this Saturday’s workshop Registration closes Friday 5th March 2021 at 1.00pm. Book here or drop me an email at Sue@thestresshacker.com to join us.
If you are going to get through the 2nd lockdown with your mind intact and with a stronger bounce-ability factor it may well be down to you and you only!
Before you read this, grab a notebook… this could be your most valuable resource as the weeks go by.
I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, DON’T text or type, WRITE. There’s something about engaging your mind and handwriting simultaneously that makes these exercises much more powerful.
What if it’s true that no-one knows what you need better than you?
Then all you need to do is answer these questions and take your own advice and follow your own prescription.
1. Stop Scaring Yourself!
How do you do this? Write down 7 or more things that you think that make you feel worried, anxious and scared.
Include any pictures, images or past memories that you constantly revisit, you know, those things that help keep you in a state of fear.
Now write down as many ways that you could stop yourself from doing this, for example “I could choose different thoughts” (write down those different thoughts).
Choose different images, find pictures in magazines that are uplifting and positive. Put them where you’ll see them regularly, if that’s not possible stick them inside a cupboard or wardrobe door. Look at them a lot.
Create New Movies: Re-run any memories or flashbacks that are negative but this time with a positive outcome. For example if you have pictures in your mind in which you are the victim, now see the perpetrator(s) being disempowered in as many ways as possible.
Keep running the new images with brighter colours for example seeing a bully as smaller, insignificant and dis-abled from their bullying ways. Regularly revisit this new ‘memory’ until you feel bored with it.
When you do this exercise always leave yourself looking bigger or taller stronger, more empowered and assertive.
2. Pull Yourself Together
Look again at the image of the Russian Dolls above and remember that you carry all of you inside. This means that more often than not your scary thoughts have nothing to do with the here-and-now!
It’s true; you may be having “What if” thoughts that have no bearing on your current situation. They could be coming from a younger you. Equally so you may be constantly spending time in the future worrying about what could happen tomorrow, next week or even a year from now.
When we consider that truly the only bit that’s real is now, why are you spending your valuable energy roaming back into the past and forwards into the future?
If you really stop and think about this, it means that you’re constantly cheating yourself out of time and the ‘now’!
The chances are that every anxiety provoking thought is either about something that’s already happened or something that might happen. Practice being herenow more frequently and one way to do this is to link something to a scary thought.
For example you’re thinking “ What if I can’t pay the next heating bill”
Shout inside your head “Get Up And Shake Off” Now stand up, feet apart and shake your hands and arms. Quickly! Shake each foot and leg … just like swimmers do before a race, shake off the excess adrenalin. Do this for a minute then take a deep breath and as you breathe out make a loud “Haaaaa” sound repeat twice.
That’s it! Do it every time you have an anxious thought, this way you’re changing your ‘state’ empowering yourself and getting back to the present.
3. Laughter Is The Best Medicine.
Remember who and what makes you laugh. Find as many films, jokes and books that make you laugh. Be sure you talk to the friend who makes you laugh (the one you have that chemistry with) regularly.
4. Exercise More
You must be sick of hearing this by now but someone has gone to the trouble of researching this and there’s tons of evidence to show that a brisk half an hours walk does wonders for the mind and body.
If you need a goal see how quickly you can reach a destination each time you walk.
If you need motivation buddy up (at a distance) or meet your walking buddy a location for incentive.
See what the NHS has to say about the benefits of exercise.
If you’re beating yourself up for something you did in the past that was wrong perhaps it’s time to forgive.
Mistakes are valuable ways of growing and learning, just ask a Scientist, they constantly get it wrong, until they find the right way.
What I’m saying is, it’s normal to screw up you’re not perfect and never will be!
If you hurt others by screwing up and you feel brave enough and it’s appropriate, then contact them and tell them how sorry you are for the pain or trouble you caused. Don’t look for forgiveness from them, that’s your business but aim to make amends if and where you can.
With that done, if you can be sure you will not repeat that behaviour then forgive yourself and practice forgiving yourself until your wrongs sit more easily with you. You do that by saying “your name… I forgive you, you are forgiven now.”
It’s remarkable how many people beat themselves up for years for things they’ve done. I’m obviously not condoning bad behaviour but if you’re genuinely remorseful, would never do that thing again… then be kind and gentle to yourself and forgive.
If you need to take a short break away from the family or just to reset remember to help yourself to my 7 Minutes of Zen download…this is what one person said “It’s fabulous!”
You may have been wondering where I’d got to and why I haven’t written many blogs recently. Thank you for emailing and asking it’s prompted me to let you know that in the spirit of mental health awareness I have been taking care of my own wellbeing.
At the start of the pandemic in March like many, I began working from home, with clients online and teaching zoom yoga classes, my working week soon became busy. As a result I found myself pretty much cooped up in one room for quite long periods of time.
Although I’m fortunate to have a great view of some trees and sky the fact remains it’s a small room.
To counter stress, the threat of any mental health issues and to keep active, I started cycling and got hooked!
I love the freedom it offers and have discovered places in my area that I didn’t know existed. This activity is so good for the mind because cliché or not, it is true that a change is as good as a rest.
As a result, I have developed more resilience on all levels in addition to feeling fitter; I’ve improved lung capacity and muscle strength
Is your main trigger for frustration technology?
Early on in Lockdown, I had some really frustrating IT issues, at one point my entire website was wiped, boy did that stress me out! In an attempt to stop myself from throwing the laptop out of the window and to protect my mental health and wellbeing, I took off on my bike instead.
And this is when my mental health awareness kicked in
because within 10 minutes I observed a complete shift in my thinking and noticed that I was simply enjoying the moment. Looking at the trees and breathing in the fresh air I felt free and happy. I’d let all that tension and aggravation go by changing my activity.
But how do you make that kind of shift in your wellbeing if you don’t happen to like cycling I hear you ask. The answer is to change your activity sufficiently to alter your emotional state, which will in turn will affect your mental health positively.
Fortunately there’s a really easy solution and that’s yoga.
I’m not even talking about poses or sequences here. I’m talking about Yoga Nidra the practice sometimes called deep yogic sleep.
Here’s how it works, by regular practice we train the body to relax quickly and develop the ability to step back and observe the impact that certain thoughts, ideas and images have on the physical body.
As such we develop awareness, more self control and as a by-product better mental health. Yoga Nidra teaches us to detach from things that can trigger unwanted emotion (unless someone wipes your website that is!) helps us to develop mental resilience and to feel more empowered.
I know the issue of weight loss isn’t for everyone but I’m making an effort to avoid using the C and ‘L…down’ words as I figured you’ve read enough of that elsewhere.
We’ve had a macrocosmic shift which means there’s been a lot of microcosmic shifts i.e inner changes for everyone in the way that we work, play, think, feel and behave. And nowhere more than in eating habits.
After reading about the misery that so any people are experiencing, (not just from feeling isolated or homeschooling! ) but more around their increasing weight I thought it was time to share some weight loss tips.
These simple tips will help you to get back on track and help you to feel better
As business guru Brian Tracy says “If You Fail To Plan You Plan To Fail” so have a light meal and sit down with a pen and paper. Do this now, write out your breakfast, lunch and dinner menu for 14 days. It’s OK if you repeat certain meals.
Be sure to include protein for breakfast, think nuts, cheese, meats. Lots of high fibre fruit and veg. You can eat celery, tomatoes, radishes, cucumber for breakfast with a couple of slices of cheese you know.
Before each meal drink a large glass of room temperature water.
NEVER SHOP on an empty stomach
NEVER SHOP without a plan (that’s your list)
This should start to help you get on track again. There are many more tried and tested tips and suggestions Mindful Weight Loss can be practised by anyone.
If you want to join the Mindful Weight Loss course for an unbelievably great price, buddy up. Bring a friend and you both pay £49.50 bring three friends and you all pay £33 bring four … and you all pay £24.75 contact me now. Although this is an exclusive offer just for my lovely Stresshacker subscribers please feel free to forward to your friends if you’d like them to enjoy the offer too.
It’s not even about being able to lose weight so much much as the horrible beating up that most of us do about putting on a few pounds. Trust me we will never get the best out of ourselves if we’re listening to the negative head trash. A daily diet of criticism, judgement and blame bring feelings of frustration,guilt and shame. Stop that!
Self-love and kindness that’s the key
For some the word mindfulness has begun to feature more largely in life. The slower pace (for some) has enabled us to become mindful and present in our daily activities such as walking, shopping and cooking.
First take a breath, consider the meal that you’re making. Secondly consciously, that means ONLY thinking about what you’re doing in the moment, take out all the ingredients – even if it’s just a snack.
Thirdly set about preparing this meal in a loving way. Approach this as if it is the last meal you will ever make for someone you love dearly. That could be your cat, child or lover, it could be someone from the past or someone who has passed, find that person/pet and generate feelings of warmth and love that you have/had for them. Approach the making of that meal with the most loving feeling that you can pull up in your heart and mind.
The entire time you’re preparing it, imagine sending thoughts of love. Wish them peace, protection, good health, joy. Wish them freedom from stress, anxiety or danger. Now imagine them sending that back to you… receive those feelings back from them, do your best to feel them. All the while making the meal. That’s it!
This will be one of the tastiest meals you’ve ever eaten. Don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.
Meanwhile you might want to see what the NHS recommend for weight control https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/12-tips-to-help-you-lose-weight/
Chaos and unrest are necessary ingredients for change and I doubt that any of us have escaped change so far this year.
Working as a psychotherapist, coach and yoga teacher I’ve learned that there is a time of turmoil and confusion when we learn something new. It stirs up and unsettles what we thought we knew.
Space is required whilst new neurological pathways are carved out adjoining new learning with old. Updating the software if you like.
We can see this as a macrocosm and a microcosm in the world right now. The quicker we learn and understand that things need to change, the more quickly life can settle down again as a recalibrated, refined and improved version.
Please Accept My Invitation And Join Me Today In A Global Mediation For World Peace And Healing.
At 16:10 today (ten past four) today clear a space, in your home, garden or out somewhere in nature.
Sit upright (laying down may encourage you to sleep!)
Either keep your eyes open with a soft gaze or gently close them.
Allow your mind to quieten. Try this way… imagine an expansive blue sky with soft white fluffy clouds passing by… constantly imagine yourself as the blue sky and the thoughts, the clouds, you can’t stop them but you don’t have to hang onto them or investigate them in any way. Just observe each thought as it passes.
Periodically bring your awareness to your inhalation and exhalation.
Stay quietly meditating like this for 15minutes.
Know that you and I are sitting together with thousands of other like-minded souls around the world at exactly this time to co-create peace and healing in individuals and mother earth.
You may wonder why this time? Well there are powerful astrological reasons for meditating today at exactly this time … reasons that I do not profess to fully understand here’s a link to get you started if that’s of interest though.
https://www.lunarplanner.com/2020/index.html I do hope you’re able to find 15 minutes to join me today.
If you are interested in listening to my podcasts please follow this link to listen https://anchor.fm/stresshacker the next few episodes are all about mindfulness. Please feel free to share them with your loved ones and anyone else who will enjoy them.
COLDS If you feel the slightest sore throat, take any cough medicine from your shelf two dessert spoons diluted into hot water and drink. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this works!
CONGESTION If you’re prone to congestion in your lungs take turmeric tablets daily.
SUPPLEMENTS Up your Vitamin C preferably naturally … I take 1000mgrms several times a week.
PROTECTING LUNGS If you have any lung condition or weakness KEEP YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE COVERED! This is so important, cold, damp, windy air can inflame your bronchiole and alviolie – this will make you think you have a cold (it can feel like it but often isn’t!). This coupled with FEAR thoughts will drive you into a state of angst!
STAY ACTIVE Take your arms up over your head – sideways up and down, forwards up and down. Punch the air with hands in fists moving arms in as many directions as possible. Pretend you are a boxer, move your feet around too if possible.
CLEANLINESS Do I really need to say wash your hands? Wash Your Hands! A lot!
PERSONAL GROOMING Stay well groomed. Don’t let your personal hygiene go, it’s easy to skip a bath or shower – don’t! Keep your hair washed too.
Have you tried to change something about yourself only to find yourself back to where you were?
Maybe you got to your ideal weight, or you finally gave up smoking, only to relapse months down the line.
Perhaps, you thought you’d turned a corner by escaping a bad relationship or jettisoning a toxic friendship… only to find yourself slipping back into the same familiar patterns with someone new.
That’s what the latest Stresshacker Podcast episode is about.
Stresshacker Podcast Ep 6: Working with Parts of Yourself
Those of you who have been to one of my sessions will be very familiar with my sets of Russian dolls. I love to use them to explain how many of us get stuck with beliefs or emotions from our childhood, our teens or any other time in our lives.
I talk a little about the Russian dolls in this episode, and also show you a way that you can explore how parts of yourself may be limiting you from being your whole authentic self.
Listen now to find out how you can escape from old programming that is holding you back.
(and please do share this with anyone you think might benefit).