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International Womens Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) aims to raise awareness of issues of inequality and the marginalisation of women around the world. It celebrates the social, cultural and political achievements of women globally.

I grew up in a family with very strong female role models. Both grandmothers had a strong work ethic and believed themselves to be powerful and in control of their lives. Mum worked hard so that she could pursue her passion of travel, sometimes running 3 jobs at a time to afford our holidays. international women's day - The Stresshacker - Sue Smith

Yet with all this power and self-belief cursing through my genes I found myself in extremely disempowering situations whilst growing up. I later realised that to feel truly in control, powerful and strong I had to find peace. Interestingly the earliest documented International Women’s day was on 8th March 1909 when women in Russia demonstrated for peace, oh and bread!

Hopefully we know by now how important it is to support other women but how do we support and empower ourselves?

To be truly empowered I believe we need to be SCABT! And not necessarily in the following order

Support Women Around Us

We need to give ourselves the support and care that we would be willing to give someone who we truly loved. That would mean listening to ourselves, to what we really know deep down inside. Making time to hear our inner truth about our lives, situations, relationships and health challenges for example.

That support might be in the form of caring for ourselves in simple ways, like taking time to languish in a candlelit bath rather than a quick shower. Or maybe by engaging the help of a professional or taking some time away alone.

Congruency – In Harmony

What’s that I hear you ask? You’ll know that you’re congruent when you’re confident and comfortable with yourself where ever you are and pretty much in any situation. For many this comes naturally with the wisdom of age, if you’d rather get there sooner do some work with a therapist or counsellor.

Ask yourself this powerful question “What has to happen for me to feel more comfortable with myself inside and out where ever I am” keep brainstorming this question until you arrive at some good quality answers. Then take your own advice!

Alignment – Of Heart & Mouth

When we’re in alignment everything flows naturally, life becomes easier and we feel balanced and centered. Alignment translated means, a straight line or in correct relative positions. If your heart is aligned with your mouth and mind you will be to speak your truth comfortably and to express your own ideas without fear of judgement. If you’re aligned and in tune with your gut instinct you’ll trust that over and above what you might be being told for example.

Are you sufficiently aligned to express your thoughts or emotions when necessary or do you feel you have to hide how you’re really think and feel?

Struggling with this? Then get my hypnotherapy audio guide support, Assertiveness Now and take the short cut to feeling more at home with your truth. You will also find that a regular yoga practice helps with physical alignment, which in turn encourages more harmony in your mind and body.

Bravery

Owning our truth and growing ourselves up emotionally can be a daunting journey and we need the bravery of a warrior to do so.

How do you become brave? One tip I’ve always used is to look at the worse case scenario. Take yourself mentally to the absolute worse thing that could happen and then explore how you would cope with that. What steps would you take next to deal with the most awful outcome? Often we realise that although not ideal, we could manage that next stage so long as we are true to ourselves.

I often remind clients that if they only had themselves to rely on for the rest of their lives, they will probably be fine!

Truth and Time

To find peace, to be congruent and comfortable, assertive and strong, we need to spend time alone with ourselves to listen in. This can be in the form of simple quiet time without reading, watching or listening to anything and allow inner thoughts to float up to the surface. It might be by using the ‘daily pages’ technique that Julia Cameron proposes in her best seller The Artist’s Way. Meditations and repetitive exercise can provide the space to hear your truth.

Whatever you choose, enjoy moving toward a more empowered you and do please share your thoughts here for others to learn from.

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

International Women’s Day – 8th March – For more information you can also visit www.internationalwomensday.com

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Is It Time To Grow Up?

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?

Feeling ‘little’?

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?

  1. 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.

For example

  1. I’m wearing bright colours.
  2. I’ve been for my run.
  3. I’ve spent time with good supportive friends this week.
  4. I’m eating sensibly
  5. I’m sleeping well because I haven’t been watching the news.
  6. I’m meditating regularly or listening to an audio programme
  7. I’m planning to go to my yoga class.
  8. I’ve been listening to music
  9. I’ve been reading/watching positive thinking material/sites
  10. 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.

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4 Ways to Improve Mental Health

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week you might have anticipated a blog from me on this subject.  Self-acceptance and self-love are two main keys to better mental wellbeing but…

How do you accept yourself if you don’t like who you are?

In my work over the years I’ve learned that people dislike themselves for all kinds of reasons from experiences such as negative programing in early childhood, through to bullying, abuse, unfulfilled dreams and disappointment in relationships. The list is endless.

However one of the main reasons for lack of self-love and acceptance is FAGS. Carrying the emotional burden of Fear, Anger, Guilt and Shame plays a huge part in self-loathing.

Most of these emotions reside in your body rather than your mind. Check it out, the next time you feel a bad feeling, try to locate the place in your body where the feeling appears to live. For example you may notice that fear lives in your stomach, throat or chest.

The fact that these emotions do not grow up, that they remain as raw and intense as when they first occurred, is the reason why so many people appear to get stuck in the past. Triggered by a bad feeling they are catapulted back into an old miserable memory and find themselves thinking, feeling and acting low.

Because all of this appears to happen outside of conscious control, it can cause depression, anxiety and panic attacks. These negative feelings create other negative patterns of behavior people talk about feeling little and disempowered and stuck in states of regression. On the extreme end of the spectrum some withdraw inside whilst others resort to self-harm. As I return to my original question.

How do you accept yourself if you don’t like who you are?

Here are 4 tips for maintain positive mental health

1. Let’s start by establishing one simple fact. You are unique. There is no one else in the world exactly like you. You are special, an extra ordinary one-off! It’s true! As a result you are irreplaceable.

Please read that sentence over and over again, repeat it out loud. Then stick that sentence in that special compartment in your mind that deals with multiplication and wait for it to replay itself right up into the front of your mind.

2. Developing the ability to gently observe oneself is an essential component in the integration of negative memories

  1. Hypnosis with a qualified experienced hypnotherapist (me!) will help. Ask your hypnotherapist to teach you self-hypnosis.
  2. Develop a regular practice. Start with 10 minutes and day and build-up, as you feel more comfortable.
  3. Attend an 8-week course.
  4. A regular yoga practice will enable you to observe yourself from a more peaceful perspective. British Wheel of Yoga for a list of teachers.

3.  When we need to heal the body needs safe touch because it carries deep tension as a result of bound-up emotions. Find a good qualified body worker. There are many different types of massage, from clothed massage in Shiatsu, or gentle aromatherapy, to sports massage or deep Rolfing. Find what suits you.

4. Movement. If you’ve never experienced it try a 5 Rhythms class or workshop and shake off your stuff. Failing that, make sure you’re alone, put on a favorite track that you once enjoyed dancing too, or could imagine dancing to and turn it up. Get up, close your eyes, and begin to move your body. Keep practicing until you feel like you want to move more. When you feel ready open your eyes and dance like crazy.

According to The Mental Health Organisation 78% meet the criteria of the most common mental health issue in the UK of anxiety and depression. If you’re one of those suffering my heart genuinely goes out to you. Just putting one foot in front of the other some days can be the biggest challenge so some of my suggestions such as No 4 may be akin to asking you to fly as well!

Please keep your chin up, look up at the sky and breathe. Wrap your arms around yourself and gently rub your arms and whisper, “It’s going to be alright”. Self-soothe and care for you because you are special. You are unique. You are irreplaceable. I care about how you feel and others do too.

I’ll end with my favorite quote by Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Please share if you think this may help someone.

 

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LOVE LOVE LOVE

In the words of the famous song ‘All You Need is Love!

I would agree that love is definitely the antidote to FAGS that’s fear, anger, guilt and shame.

I’ve witnessed many people discover a gentle love and compassion for themselves that dissolves much of the negative chatter that lives in the ego mind.

How though? How do you use love to heal?

Unlock The Love In Your Heart

Try this exercise. Quickly write down as many answers as you can to the following statement.

Do it NOW! Don’t think about it too much.

Love Is…..

Now do the same for this statement

I feel loved when…..

Next write down all the ways you can do this for yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to fulfil your needs and dreams, get into a great relationship with yourself by attending to what makes you feel loved and cherished.  So if it’s touch. When did you last gently massage a beautiful cream or oil into your body? Make a date with yourself to do this. When did you last treat yourself to a beautiful bouquet of flowers, great bottle of wine or a trip to a show? Do that for you. If you need to hear words of love … start saying them to yourself… you get the idea? Stop waiting for someone else to meet your needs, meet your own.
Your answers should tell you a lot about your view of love. If they’re negative responses you might want to do some deeper work on yourself. If that’s the case, drop me a line at ‘Ask Sue’ here at thestresshacker.com and let me know and I’ll include some exercises in a subsequent blog.

For my yogi readers. Sit quietly place your right hand on your heart and your left hand on top and softly chant the seed sound to the heart centre LAM you can resonate on the aaaah sound and also the mmmm chant for at least five minutes.

Happy Valentines.

Sent with Love.

 

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STILL GIVING YOURSELF A HARD TIME?

I’ve been enjoying  the privilege of teaching self-care to a group of hard working conscientious, caring people this week and it’s put me in mind of one of my favourite sayings.  ‘We teach others how to treat us’ it’s true isn’t it.

At a subtle energetic level we constantly absorb and convey information to and from people around us. Unconsciously we tell people a lot about ourselves from the way we dress,  to our non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and tonality.

How do you want to be treated?

How do you treat yourself?

What is it that you would like others to give you or do for you? 

Do you ever give that to yourself? 

Years ago I  read a popular magazine that suggested …‘run yourself a bubble bath, pour yourself a glass of champagne and relax’ and I thought ” Yeah, right, who does that”! Well eventually I did. I loved it! It was a treat and I still remember the first time I did that for me. I also remember when I lived alone training myself to cook a nice dinner for me, I had to teach myself to lay the table just for me. Do you know what? It felt really nice to be looking after myself in such a simple yet respectful way. What simple thing could you do for yourself that would make you feel valued, worthy and special?

Better self-care develops better self-confidence, try asking yourself this question several hundred times a week… ‘Is this kind and loving to myself’? Step back and watch what your mind at play, observe how you treat yourself, you might just be surprised.

One of the first precepts in yoga is Ahimsa which means non-violence. Ahimsa offers us a guideline on how to live life, the aim being not to hurt others and not to hurt ourselves. This means  physically, emotionally and mentally. How often do you say unkind, spiteful, discouraging things to yourself?  STOP IT NOW!  You wouldn’t say or do that to a child would you?

If you fancy changing your programming try this little exercise.  For the next two days, every time you hear yourself say something unpleasant and unsupportive, say 2 nice things to yourself to counter that.  Smother your inner bully with love! Ha ha! Have fun with it and let me know how you get on.

I know you’re busy so thanks for taking the time to read and please pass it on to anyone who you think it might help.