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.
In 2004 I ran my first personal development ‘Open Heart Therapy’ workshop and whilst successful, I sensed it was ahead of it’s time.
So many people are saying it’s the right time for personal development and the success of last weeks Open Heart Therapy workshop proved it for me.
But what does Open Your Heart even mean? As a therapist of 30 years I know too well how people shut down when they’re hurt. Whilst that’s no revelation, it is interesting to recognise that it’s the people closest to us who are capable of hurting us the most.
It’s the friends, family, lovers and partners who we allow to get close, those who we open our hearts to that we can feel most wounded by.
When we are honest and open-hearted we can be vulnerable. If betrayed and hurt in that space then naturally we lose faith and can be loathe to experience that again.
If you burn your hand when you put it into a fire, ouch! It hurts. You’d be crazy to do it again. The same kind of things happen when we’re hurt emotionally.
Fundamentally the heart is a pumping muscle which can tighten and contract like any other muscle in the body. With sufficient reason(s) to become restricted, it can metaphorically, close down and because it’s a muscle it can’t judge and can shut out people who haven’t hurt you.
The consequences of emotional numbing in the heart can have the knock-on effect of deadening passion in other areas of life, we can feel drained have that “whats the point, who cares” type of thinking .
In addition, being emotionally blocked can also inhibit our ability to speak our truth openly and assertively.
This is because the energy centres above and below the heart are adversely affected. We can feel weakened energetically, loose will-power and find it hard to fight addictions or stick to a healthy lifestyle.
These are good enough reasons for personal development and attempts to heal the heart.
The thing is muscles need stretching and exercising and this is what my Open Heart Therapy workshop offers it aims to help you to move forward and heal the past if you’re ready. Are you ready for some personal development?
“It totally met my objectives, mentally and physically.” DB 12/02/2021 “It also made me very aware of the impact of parents’ behaviours on their children…Yes, would definitely recommend…” NS 14/02/2021 “I’d like to say it was very good the workshop today, very beneficial and very well put together…I have already recommended it to other people!” MF 12/02/2021 “It went really quickly – I would like to do it all over again!” SB 15/02/2021
How are you? It certainly feels like we’re being tested on so many levels in these changeable times.
I’m sure you know that among other things, stress is a feeling of not being in control which can trigger all kinds of emotional, psychological and behavioural problems.
But how to deal with it? One of the main keys to dealing with stress is to develop flexibility so that we improve our bounce-ability factor and become resilient.
Dare I say the most flexible tree is the bamboo because of it’s ability to bend easily in the wind and then stand tall again.
How can we become more flexibile? Well I could say take up yoga, develop new hobbies, improve your way of thinking by listening to hypnotherapy programmes. But better still, find your own ways.
Write down 10 things you could do to become more flexible mentally and physically.
Along with sending you my good wishes for the holiday period I want to offer a couple of approaches to help manage stress, anxiety and any other difficult feelings.
Please do the exercise, as it’s experiential, it will only that will take about 7 minutes of your life and it may prove valuable. Try it now.
1. Sit somewhere away from distractions and close your eyes. 2. Repeat the following words to yourself silently and mentally. “Be” “Just Be” repeat this periodically until you find your breathing slowing and a sense of quietness beginning to emerge.
You might find the next bit challenging and counter intuitive on one level but just go with it.
3. Invite the negative thought/feeling/emotion into the quieter space by simply saying “I welcome… (anxiety, frustration, sadness, headache, stomach churning or whatever.)
4. Imagine them as an unexpected, slightly unwanted guest who’s arrived at your door but your good manners dictate that you’re going to invite them in anyway!
5. When you’ve repeated ” I welcome” let’s say anxiety in, notice where it lives. Do you feel it in your chest? Or stomach for example.
Don’t get lost in the thought or feeling and don’t get too involved, stay mildly detached, you’re merely observing it.
6. After a few minutes of this, welcome in the opposite feeling/emotion/thought. So you might then say silently “I welcome peace and calmness” again repeating it several times.
Notice what peace and calmness feel like and where these feelings sit in your body.
Another odd thing to suggest but do it anyway…
7. Begin to move back and forth between the words “I welcome anxiety and tension” then “I welcome peace, calmness and tranquility”
8. Finally after doing that for a couple of minutes, imagine you can step back away from the opposites and repeat silently “Be” “Just Be”
Let me know how that works for you.
The second gift I would like to offer is a free mind/body training that will lead to a more relaxed in control you.Download it and practise it until you’re able to do it anywhere anytime on your own. It’s my gift to you along with my fervent wishes that you be well and happy.
It’s a tried and tested method that with repetition will give you a greater sense of control in your world.
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/
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.
A while ago I went through a period of time where I found getting off to sleep and staying asleep difficult, so I made it my business to find solutions. Since then, I’ve worked with so many clients who have suffered from sleep disturbance for one reason or another.
In honour of World Sleep Day, I want to help you all have a better night’s sleep. So from today till the end of the month, all the Sleep products in my shop are HALF PRICE! Just use the offer code SleepWell at checkout.
NB. The code works on ALL sleep products so you can choose to buy the bundle or just buy one of the products – you decide!
International Women’s Day
That’s not all! I also have an offer code in honour of IWD. Just use the offer code IWD2020at the checkout to get your copy of Assertive Empowerment Now! My hypnosis audio for anyone who wants to be a little more assertive.
It’s HALF PRICE in store now with the code IWD2020
So many people I see in my practice are lacking energy; they feel tired, anxious and lethargic especially during wintertime. Never before have so many people and, dare I say, particularly women, been so exhausted and frazzled!
That’s the subject for my latest podcast.
Episode 4 of The Stresshacker Podcast offers some valuable ways to re-connect with yourself and others.
I talk about how you can bring much needed balance back into your life and, in the process, counter some of the struggles that we face – such as depression, anxiety and exhaustion.
The pressure is constantly on and our lives are more demanding than they have ever been.
Think about it, are you constantly doing?
In the absence of a nice smattering of being (or certainly doing much less), there’s an imbalance. The more doing we do the more that imbalance will show up in our everyday lives.
Listen to this episode for ways you can regain your sense of balance.
I’ve been so blown away by the response to my adventures into podcasting. It’s a new experience for me and I’m learning as I go.
If you’ve enjoyed these recent episodes, please do like them on iTunes and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. It really does make a difference to how many people find the podcast!
As a special thank you for those who listen to the end, I’d like to offer you half price access to my Wellbeing In A Week short course. Listen to the podcast to find out how to claim it!
I’ll be back soon to bring more peace into your life.
Many of you are telling me how stressed you’re feeling and whether that’s due to a heavy work load, the demands of family, illness, life events or just those winter blues, only you can change the way that you feel.
That said I would like to help and want to give you this gift. It’s only eight minutes out of your life and it’s a gift that will keep on giving… if you listen to it regularly!
You probably know by now that the nature of the mind is that it likes to be on the move. As such your thoughts will drag you back into the past and you can end up feeling stuck.
Conversely your thoughts can propel you into the future at an alarming rate and then you end up feeling pressured and anxious.
Use this guided meditation to gently pull you back into the present.
Find a time when you won’t be disturbed and settle into a comfortable position. Bedtime is an ideal time. For best results use earphones and lie down. You can sit in a comfy chair, but make sure your head is supported.
I want to stress that your mind WILL wander and that’s absolutely OK! It’s part of the hypnotic process. You do not have to be listening intently. In fact, if you drift off into what feels like a deep sleep that’s also good: it’s just your own way of relaxing!
DON’T listen to this whilst driving or operating any machinery, that would be highly dangerous!
NB. This program is NOT suitable for you if you have ever been diagnosed with depression or any other mental illness. This program is not suitable if you have suffered long-term neglect or abuse and have never worked with a therapist before.
For more tips and advice, please subscribe to my Stresshacker Podcast!
How do you stay positive, upbeat and free from anxiety? Recently a client told me she’d felt great for a couple of weeks after her session and then started to feel anxious again (it should be said it was only her first session!)
Despite the popular notion that some people are naturally optimistic, I explained that to stay confident, positive and to cope with anxiety better, you need to work at it. It’s like going to the gym to build strength and stamina – it’s no good going once!
Firstly you need a map to follow, a daily plan in order to create and maintain a better mind set, then repeat that plan consistently.
Coupled with the knowledge that on average people have 60,000 thoughts a day, most of which are re-runs from the days, weeks and months before, it’ makes sense to choose different thoughts. If you are constantly thinking the worst doom and gloom thoughts, if you’re endlessly judging and criticising yourself and others YOU are the one making yourself feel anxious.
Here are some useful ways to cope with anxiety:
1. Stop Negative Thoughts – Embrace Positive Thoughts – Keep Anxiety At Bay
Do you know the fastest way to maintain positive thinking and dump negative thoughts and anxious feelings? Hypnosis! Hypnotherapists have a great understanding of language patterns and are skilled in the use of positive suggestions. I carefully craft hypnosis programmes to bypass the critical part of the mind so that positive, constructive suggestions are quickly taken on board by the subconscious mind.
Repetition is the mother of all skills and in a warped kind of way people often practice thinking anxious thoughts! How crazy is that! Why would anyone do that? It’s just bad habits, like eating junk food! If you want to sustain a better mind-set you need to hear positive suggestions and encouraging ideas a lot, EVERY DAY EVEN!
Moreover there’s a short cut, want to know what it is? Go back and read No. 1 again it’s effortless!
The only discipline you need is to keep a listening device close to your bed at night, after the initial 21 days tune in a couple of times a week to boost your new positive mind-set
It only takes 21 days to build the muscle memory necessary to create new habits.
In contrast to hypnosis when you find ways to still the mind and give it a break from incessant thinking you can also interrupt the cycle of negative thinking. Think of it like changing channels on a radio, there are loud, provocative shouty stations and calm, relaxing programmes on a different station.
As a matter of fact look no further, go to the Free Stuff here and download your free meditation programmes as my gift to you for a more calm, positive 2020.
4.Develop an attitude of gratitude.
Stick a Post-it note where you will see it each day to remind yourself of something to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter what it is. You can train your brain to turn negatives into positives. For example I balked at my tax bill recently then quickly reminded myself it means I’ve got a job, something many people would be grateful for. I’m still working on that one!
Being grateful also encourages open-heartedness, you feel more able to give and receive. So do something nice for someone else and enjoy feeling uplifted.
Also have a look at what the expert on gratitude Robert Eamon has to say.
5. Recognise Your Success.
Similarly to gratitude, appreciation is the enemy of anxious feelings. One of my favourite exercises from our self-help book I Just Want To Be Happy really helps you value yourself.
Do it now quickly. Grab a pen and write an exhaustive list of your achievements. I mean everything, from your first swimming certificate, getting that promotion, buying that car to having your babies! Think of as many things as you can, you will be impressed by all you have accomplished in life so far. If you’re not astounded by your achievements make this year the year you do all those things you’ve been putting off.
It is your job to make you happy I hope this spurs you on to go for it!
6. Sleep Well
Sleep is so important to our overall sense of wellbeing. Whether you’re a 5 or 8 hours-sleep person, the quality of your sleep matters. Develop good routines such as having a technology free bedroom. Go on, really flex your mental muscles and be disciplined enough to TURN YOUR ROUTER OFF over night! Don’t take my word for it! Try it and discover a) how empowering that feels and b) notice the subtle energetic shift that improves your environment.
Equally we know that exercise is just as important and definitely helps reduce anxious feelings. If you want to feel better and think more positively, plan to get more oxygen into your bloodstream. Yoga, walking and swimming are great ways but really it doesn’t matter what it is, DO SOME EXERCISE. Train yourself to enjoy it! Make a commitment to regular exercise at least three to four times a week.
Moreover when you agree to meet and exercise with a friend or colleague it strengthens your commitment.
So that’s a starter plan to keep you mentally and emotionally buoyant. I am excited to launch a new service at thestresshacker.com I am offering tailor-made hypnosis programmes to help you achieve your goals, improve your mind-set, reduce stress and cope with anxiety. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.