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Depression. How I Coped

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.

Every journey starts with one small step.

 

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Judging Ourselves and Others: How To Break The Habit

Pointing Finger of Judgement

Are You Sick Of Judging?

Judging ourselves and others can become a habit.

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.

Enjoy!

 

 

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How Can I Make Changes In My Life?

Ever felt stuck in a rut ?How Can I Make Changes In My Life - The Stresshacker Blog

Making one simple change could be enough to boost your wellbeing

Wellbeing is said to be a state of being comfortable, healthy or happy. A measurement might be how contented you are from one day to the next with your life.

But have you ever had the thought “Oh no,  what am I doing, how have I ended up here again!”  You know, those times when you find yourself repeating negative behaviours and habits or when you just can’t seem to stop those repetitive, rubbish thought patterns that bring you down? Sound familiar?

The cause is usually down to old conditioning and programming, time for a software update perhaps?

The daft thing is, on our journey through life and at any given moment in time, we have an abundance of choices,  yet we still tread the same old path, trotting out the same old excuses that keep us feeling stuck.

Using the metaphor of a car to illustrate, imagine you drive a car through a field one day, carving out a set of tracks and then tomorrow you drive the car down the same tracks you would only have to do it a few times before  the car would automatically slot into the tracks because they’re there and it’s the path of least resistance.

How Can I Make Changes In My Life - The Stresshacker Blog
Robot

It’s the same with our thinking. It’s far easier to run the same old thoughts each morning rather than make the effort it takes to create new healthier thought pathways. Most people robotically repeat the same routines and patterns each day without even knowing why they are doing so.

This is like a weird amnesia in which we forget that of course it’s possible to change your mind.  You can choose a different thought. You can change a behaviour. You can choose a different course of action. There are always other pathways that can be carved out so that you can drive the car to a different destination.

If you fancy a boost to your wellbeing, here’s 5 steps to help;

  1. Think of it as waking up and becoming more present. Move into a space where you can observe the choices you’re making in each moment. Instead of allowing every thought and action to be generated by you at an unconscious level, learn to become a witness to your thoughts so that you can make decisions  more consciously.
  2. How? I hear you ask. Slow down! Slow your thoughts down, you can train yourself to do this by slowing your breathing down. Breathing is an unconscious activity, we don’t usually say “oh okay I’ll take a breath now” it happens automatically. We can have anything between 17’000 and 30’000 breaths a day, so naturally you cannot observe every breath or you’d go bonkers! However when we gradually become more conscious of our breathing, watching it, listening to it and feeling the simple rise and fall of the chest or diaphragm,  we can begin to slow it down. When our breath is slower our thoughts will also slow down leaving us with an improved sense of wellbeing.
  3. In this space of  feeling calmer and more in control, ask yourself “What will the consequences be if I make this choice? Will it make me feel happy and fulfilled? How will it affect others around me?”
  4. To get the answer,  listen within and sense the response from your body. Does it feel bright, light, expansive and uplifting? Or is there a sense of heaviness, darkness, tightness and gloom? Develop patience, stop hurrying everything and really tune in.
  5. Are you in touch with your gut instinct? Can you sense what your heart really wants. It’s easier to listen to your body’s wisdom for the answers because the mind carries programme after programme of early conditioning such as people pleasing, resisting, putting other’s first or constantly asking the opinion of others out of habit rather than trusting your own innate knowledge. Put simply, does this choice feel good or bad. Keep repeating this process until you arrive at the choices that sit more comfortably with you.

One of the quickest ways to update your mental and emotional software and create new positive programmes to boost your wellbeing, is the regular use of simple hypnotherapy programmes, check out the range of programmes on offer in my shop here.

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How To Lose Weight While You Eat?

Rather smugly I thought I had swerved all the colds and flu’s quite successfully this year but finally a bug got me! After a recent unpleasant chest infection it’s been a joy to rediscover my taste buds and the pleasure of mindful eating once again.

So, how do you lose weight while you eat?

Lose Weight While You Eat? Mindful Weightloss - The Stresshacker - Sue SmithMindful eating isn’t just for yoga retreats and it’s not restricted simply to the actual eating of a meal either. You can start mindful eating anytime. From the moment you plan your next meal to the shopping, selection and preparation of a dish. All of it can be done mindfully.

The reality is we can only think of one thing at a time and when we so-call multi-task, we’re really just diluting the other thing(s) that we’re aiming to do. So have a shot at being mindful of your next meal.

Mindful Eating… here’s how:

Slow down. Breathe and focus your attention inward for a moment and ask yourself

“What do I want, what do I need to eat that is healthy and will satisfy all my taste buds?” 

Keep repeating this question slowly to yourself until the answers begin to bubble up. You can also add… “that is easy and quick to prepare” or… “ that will give me lots of energy and vitality”

Trust your mind and what it knows.

At a deeper level your mind is processing millions of bits of information every second, you absolutely have some good quality answers to these pertinent questions so trust your mind and it will serve you well.  As the thoughts surface you might find it’s often the first two or three ideas that are the most helpful.

Shopping for food:

Aim to spend a few moments really looking at the produce, touch it if possible, check in and sense if you’re choosing well for yourself or are you making a hasty choice because you’ve left it until you’re hungry? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

When preparing the food:

Think of cooking something simple like an omelette, take a moment to feel the eggs between your fingers, notice how it feels to break the shells, observe the colour of the yolk. Now spend a moment thinking about the chicken that laid it and the people involved in the food chain that brought it to you.

Notice the movement of your hand as you whisk the eggs  catching air into the mixture and how it feels to slowly pour it into the pan. Can you see the moment when the colour change?  Watch how it slides out of the pan onto the plate. Catch the aroma in your nostrils and as you breathe it in, does it create a reaction in your mouth or your stomach?

This might sound a bit time consuming but the fact is you’re probably thinking something whilst you’re cooking anyway, so why not think about what you’re doing to the exclusion of all else?

You might just notice something of importance to you.  You might decide to buy different eggs next time because the yolk looked too pale for example and the source of your eggs might be something for you to re-consider.

Eat peacefully:

Finally, when actually eating your meal even if it’s a just a sandwich, aim to do so peacefully, eat in silence, free from distractions, so no radio, TV, phone or computer.  Smell your food and notice any physiological reactions, such as the increase of saliva in your mouth before you start eating. As you take the first mouthful how does your gut react?

This may sound laborious but it’s just different, it actually increases the pleasure of eating and the possibility of weight loss!

After a silent meal during one of my yoga days a student told me “I noticed how fast I was eating and slowed myself down, usually I would have eaten a lot more but strangely I felt as if I’d had enough to eat even before I’d finished!”

According to the World Health Organisation in 2016 almost 40% of men and women were overweight. Along with a plethora of other reasons mindless eating has to play a part in this epidemic. It’s probably no surprise to know that many people start losing weight when eating mindfully. Give it a go and share your story with us here at thestresshacker.com to inspire others.

We’ve given thestresshacker homepage a new look and as part of launching that we’re offering a 25% discount to the unique online course Mindful Weight Loss the code NEWYOU will only be active for one week so grab yours while it lasts.

Thanks for reading.