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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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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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Do What You Love

Yoga Retreat March 2019 - The Stresshacker Sue SmithI’ve just shared a smashing weekend with a fabulous group of women in Yoga – that means unity for the uninitiated – at a weekend retreat in Sussex. Spending time with like-minded souls, sharing space, food and a love of yoga is positively uplifting.

Try Something New

We wandered out of our comfort zone to try out one of the oldest branches of Chinese Medicine known as Qi Gong with Sound Therapist Ruth from Dao Natural Health. Apparently Qi Gong is a medical science, it was a subtle yet powerful experience that left us feeling energized and relaxed at the same time.do what you love - blog post - The Stresshacker Sue Smith

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Later we bathed in the sound of a fascinating array of instruments, from the larger gongs to the smaller Tibetan bowls and rain sticks that transported us into various states relaxation and mediation.

Added to this throughout the weekend was a delicious, balanced vegetarian diet with the odd (more sensational than odd) fruity treat thrown in.do what you love - blog post - The Stresshacker Sue Smith

This left us feeling satisfied and satiated on a mental, physical and spiritual plane!

Find Your Tribe

share the pleasure of taking time out to immerse yourself in the things that bring
you joy.

If you suffer from anxiety or just plain old stress this is a gentle nudge to nurture yourself by spending time with people who share the same hobbies, pastimes or sports as you, so that you can return to everyday life feeling more contented and at one with yourself.

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

 

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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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50 Ways To Deal With Depression

ways to beat depression

Depression is a monster that can eventually be tamed according to some, whilst for others professional help and medication is necessary.

This is my third blog on depression and I’ll be changing my theme for the next blog, so if there’s anything mind/body related you would like to know more about, let me know and I’ll endeavour to create an interesting blog on it.

I’ve compiled a list of resources and activities that people I have worked with over the years claim have helped lift the state of inertia and depression. Work your way through the list and find the things that resonate most with you and keep using these tactics to chip away and find your beautiful nature within. I can elaborate pretty much on all of the points so if there’s a particular one you’re interested in understanding more about contact me and I’ll write a more in-depth blog.

  1. Join a choir.
  2. Place an advert on gumtree or in a local shop window and start a band… even if you do have to call it the ‘Can’t Sing or Play Band.
  3. Join a drumming circle.
  4. Book some drum lessons.
  5. Take up some kind of percussion such as cymbals, tambourine, bells, gongs or make your own with a jar of beans or tins.
  6. Beat an old tennis racquet on some cushions.
  7. Start with aaah. Progress to oooo and finish with mmmm. If you can’t chant out loud do it silently in your head.
  8. Lay on your back with knees bent and have bare feet. Draw your navel back toward your spine and begin to stamp your feet up and down side to side.
  9. Add your hands by making fists and gently bang the floor.
  10. Lie on your front and draw your navel back toward your spine. Lift your face from the ground and softly turn your head from side to side, whilst banging your fists gently on the ground. Bend your legs as if you could tap your buttocks alternately with your heels. Much like a baby having a temper tantrum. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE KNEE PROBLEMS!
  11. Take up Yoga
  12. Join a Pilates class
  13. Go to the coast when it’s cold, wet and empty, walk on the beach and scream as loud as you can.
  14. If you can get to a sandy beach, get a stick and draw a picture in the sand of the person who has hurt you the most and pelt the drawing with stones until the sea comes in and washes them away.
  15. Take up Drawing
  16. Take up Painting.
  17. Draw or paint your depression
  18. Paint or draw the depression with your non-dominant hand, even if it’s just a scribble.
  19. Walk… preferably with someone. If no one is around to walk with you, still decide to walk each day. Set small achievable goals to start with such as just walking to the end of the road, or the local shop and back. Swing your arms when you walk.ways to deal with depression sue smith the stresshacker
  20. Write therapy letters, these are letters addressed to the person/people you have issues with. Know that you will never send the letter so let ‘em have it! Don’t hold back, really speak your truth.
  21. Write a letter to yourself from the future. Imagine a time in the future envisage being free from depression and what advice would that older you give you now?
  22. Write a letter from now to a younger you who needed help and support, tell that younger you all the things you would like to have heard. Offer that you love, wisdom and protection.
  23. Write a letter from a stronger part of you to the ‘depressed’ part of you acknowledging that part’s pain and discomfort, reassure that part that it is loved and cared for. Ask that part what you can do for it to make things easier. Listen carefully and pay attention to the answers.ways to deal with depression sue smith the stresshacker
  24. Write a short stories killing off your bullies torturers or demons make sure you finish the story. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT
  25. Whatever you feel like, make a long list of the opposites for example

“ I feel like using drugs” becomes “I feel like I want to stay clean

“I feel like giving up” becomes “I feel resilient and determined to fight on”

“ I can’t be bothered” becomes “I am now motivated and energized”

Have some fun and feel empowered by challenging your thoughts and feelings.

  1. Read your positive ‘opposites’ out loud in a strong loud voice with emphasis on the ‘I’
  2. Stamp your feet to a loud musical beat.
  3. Wave your arms up in the air from side to side until you feel physically exhausted.
  4. Close your eyes and imagine you feeling well and happy use every inch of your will power to envisage a confident strong you. Make the picture brighter, stronger, clearer, louder and closer until you start to feel excitement stirring somewhere within.
  5. Be creative and make something. Again, go to Youtube and put in simple arts and crafts and see what comes up that inspires you.
  6. Look up on Google or YouTube how to make paper mache. Now make your depression, no rules, just see what you come up with. You can decide later if you’ve created something rather beautiful from it to be admired and kept or whether it’s something you want destroy or dispose of.
  7. Do some gardening. If you don’t have a garden tend to one small plant, give it everything to nurture it and help it to grow.
  8. Make a list of healthy foods that if you had someone to cook for you, you would like to eat.
  9. Cook something simple and nourishing from your list.
  10. Get your shoes and socks off and get your feet in touch with grass, concrete, the bark of a tree, sand, or earth. Scrunch your feet until they feel really earthed and connected.
  11. Have a zingy cold showers try a mint or ginger shower gel.
  12. Develop a routine, for example aim for 8 hours sleep… there may be a tendency to sleep longer but don’t. Plan to get up and get moving.
  13. Make a pot of tea with the zest of an orange and 3 or 4 basil leaves; it’s always soothing for a sad heart.
  14. Put on a face pack (not just women) and take up the pose as if you’re about to do the Maori Haka Dance… then do the Maori Haka Dance (go to YouTube) to see it. Take a selfie so that you can laugh at yourself sometime later!
  15. If you have a car have a short drive around more deserted side streets and scream at the top of your lungs. Try AAAAHHH really loudly.
  16. Get an old roll of wallpaper. Spread it out and draw a picture of the person you have most issues with. Graffiti it! Write what you’d really like to say to that person all over it.
  17. Always aim to get some early morning sunlight. Even if the sun isn’t bright spend 10 minutes without sunglasses allowing light into your world.
  18. Don’t be on your own. If you can afford a therapist or counselor get one if not go to your GP and ask for a referral to a local organization that can offer you support.
  19. When you feel ready blow up as many balloons as you can. When you’ve finished, have a frenzied balloon bursting session ideally with your fingers.
  20. Ask everyone you know for a list of their funniest YouTube clips, films and books make a commitment to watch/read them over the next year.
  21. Drink lots of water.
  22. Get a set of beads, preferably mala beads ~(there are 108). Every day touch each bead whilst voicing a positive suggestion out loud. Such as “I am NOW healthy and well” “ I am NOW strong and bright” “I am NOW vibrant and happy”. Because the subconscious mind believes whatever it is told and simply stores that information and because the subconscious mind has no concept of past or future, it believes these suggestions when housed in the now! Do this for a week on a daily basis and let us know here at thestresshacker how you feel.
  23. De-clutter your spaces. Look at your belongings in an order as Marie Condo suggests in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Get all your shoes together and decide which you no longer love or need and put them in a bin bag. Next go through your books and do the same. Then your crockery, your jumpers … get on a roll this becomes such a satisfying project. Pass it on. Take your ‘stuff’ to the local charity shop. Even if you think they’re rags, they can use them and remember to gift aid.
  24. Listen to uplifting songs and sing along.
  25. Finally here are some of the books that others have found useful in recovery The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Road Less Travelled by Dr M. Scott Peck. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Dr Susan Jeffers.

Please let me know how any of these activities help you. Comment below.

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

 

 

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Down With Depression

Down With Depression
Depression Sucks

When depression descends it‘s not easy to shake yourself out of it and for some just not possible at all, so if that’s you, you might want to stop reading now.

Many people who experience depression say that as part of it, they feel helpless and hopeless and it’s understandable as it can leave you feeling stuck and impotent. Anyone can be hit by depression at any time in life and it’s important  not to judge.

It’s also important to know that it’s not your fault and doubtless you have done and are doing the best you can. It can be very irritating if not downright annoying to have people tell you to snap out of it and I wonder if one of the reasons is that for some, depression is an inward expression of anger. To have well meaning people lay unhelpful platitudes on you, can triggers more frustration and can make the depression even more intense.

My personal experience of depression and that of working with others is that it invariably strikes people who are highly thoughtful, sensitive and usually kind and caring. They ‘feel’ deeply and can struggle with boundaries, because they are used to picking up on the emotions of other’s but aren’t used to protecting themselves from it. Like a sponge they unconsciously mop up negative energy from those around them.

Developing a supportive inner voice can help. Over time I learned to tell myself that ‘this will pass’  and for me it did and thankfully  I did not remain in a permanent state of depression.  Knowing that it would pass I was able to use this knowledge to help myself. I would sit in the same place each time – in my case my wicker meditation chair and remind myself that nothing stays the same and that it would pass. When you’re in the midst of it however you can be forgiven for thinking it wont!

Funny thing is, even some of my closest friends may be surprised to discover that I’ve wrestled with depression and the reason for this is that I’m not a lover of labels, so I’ve chosen to not say that I have had depression. My concern was that it would become ‘my’ depression and I certainly never wanted it to be mine!

Here are a couple of things that have helped me in the past and others I’ve worked with.

Down With Depression
Call a friend

Sit with a trusted friend or therapist and investigate the last 3 or 4 episodes of depression with a view to identifying what the triggers were. Aim to recall what happened the day or the night before. What did you eat or do, what time did you go to bed, what were you watching, who did you see, what activity were you participating in before the depression started? Aim to unearth the patterns that lead to the depression and make them more conscious.

When we throw light on something that has previously been unconscious i.e. in the dark, it usually has the effect of de-potenising it, taking away some of it’s power.

Don’t do this on your own, because you obviously don’t want to trigger an episode.

Once armed with a knowledge of the patterns or people that seem to trigger the depression  you can start looking at things to put in place to avoid those triggers. For example if you realize that depression can start when you lay in bed thinking about things for too long, or listening to the news, train yourself to get up within 5 minutes of waking up, or make the decision to turn off the news and choose something more positive to listen to.

You can use stick thinking i.e. “If I lay here any longer I know I’ll end up with that sinking feeling in my stomach that leads to me feeling really stuck and miserable” or carrot thinking… “If I get up now I can get on with… or meet up with so-and-so to walk her dog, or to just make a nice cup of coffee and listen to the birds singing”

Commit to becoming vigilant and aim to catch the depression as it starts, imagine you’re a spy and your brief is to watch and wait to ‘catch’ it before it takes hold so that you can interrupt the pattern it takes.

Make a decision to do something different until you notice a change no matter how subtle. Even a tiny shift can make a huge change to the way you feel.

That shift might be an arrangement that you strike up with a trusted friend to call them the minute you feel the depression starting so that they can come over to support and motivate you to do something different. This is of course by prior agreement.

Whilst we know that exercise is a great way to combat depression, it isn’t always easy or possible for everyone to join a gym however one simple step that you could take is this.

Stand with your feet hip width apart and raise your arms up slowly up into the air as you breathe in. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth like you’re blowing air out with a long sigh as you bring your arms back down. Do this at least 10 times – longer if possible. Do it several times a day on a bad day.

You are lifting your heart and lungs with this simple movement, engaging your cardio-vascular and respiratory systems which change your breath, your mental state and of course your physiology. This can be done sitting down too.

Depression isn’t just a state of mind; it can also be a feeling that emerges somewhere in the body or just outside of it.

Depression has been described by some as a heavy weight, a black hole or a dark cloud hovering over them.  Others say it starts as a sinking feeling in their stomach and some say that it’s like having someone or something sitting on them. No wonder then, that people can feel stuck or disempowered.

It can be helpful to externalize the feelings and one way to do this is by drawing or painting your feelings on paper. No rules, you don’t have to have any artistic skills, nobody else will see this – unless you choose to share it.

When you’ve finished drawing,  bin it, burn it or bury it but get rid of it. By doing so you’re making  a powerful symbolic statement – to your unconscious mind-  that you’re taking action to erase it.

Another powerful thing to do is to write, by hand, letters to people who you feel have a part in your depression whether past, present, dead or alive.  I’ve worked with many people with depression who have been bullied in the past and when they’ve done what I suggest here they have been amazed at the results. You really will feel lighter when you do this.

Write to the bullies, tell them exactly what you think of them.  Let the people who have played a part in the way that you feel, know your truth, tell them exactly how you feel. When you’ve finished the letter  bin it, burn it, or bury it but definitely get rid of it permanently, this is the most important step.   I do not advocate sending the letters – this is for you, it’s your therapy.

Your unconscious mind believes whatever is put into it, so it will believe that  you’ve sent the letters, even though you know at a conscious level you haven’t.

This might sound ridiculously simple but it really can take care of unfinished business in the back of the mind. Don’t take my word for it try it yourself to find out that this powerful exercise really does work!

Anything that you can do to empower yourself will be helpful

So the next time you’re feeling brighter write a list of the things that lift you and allow you to feel glad to be in the world. Put that list on the inside of a cupboard or on a mirror where you can see it to remind yourself to take tiny steps toward a better day.

Although I would never say  I’ll never be depressed again, I do feel fortunate to be free of depression these days. I have used all the tools and tips I write about and whilst I appreciate that they may not be for everyone, I sincerely hope they help someone.

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

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HAPPY MIND & BODY

Movement Now Hypnosis Program

HAPPY MIND & BODY by The Stresshacker Sue SmithMove Your Body

I sometimes feel that I sit down for too long… but that’s the nature of my work as a Psychotherapist and Life Coach, thankfully I’m able to balance some of that by teaching yoga, walking and swimming. A sedentary lifestyle is not good if you want to stay healthy moreover, it’s ageing too. Scientifically proven as one of the 5 components that make up Wellbeing, exercise and keeping on the move is a must if we want to stay healthier, happier and youthful.

I’m often heard singing the praises of yoga. It really is more than just exercise, it’s a system of health. Other Eastern philosophies such as Chinese Medicine, subscribe to the notion that we have an emotional body. According to these approaches the emotions reside in the organs. You can hear it in language such as “I felt gutted (stomach) or choked” (throat) or “… he had some gall” referring to the gallbladder that is said to process anger, along with it’s partner the liver.

I definitely recognise the existence of an emotional body in my own style of teaching yoga and also when working one-to-one coaching clients. As a client or student of mine you’ll be on the receiving end of my ‘nagging’ or as I like to think of it, encouragement! Prompting you to direct your attention to the tightest or most uncomfortable part of your body and then breathe deeply into it whilst stretching. It facilitates a beautiful release and expansion that often alleviates pain and discomfort. You just feel great afterwards!

I’m often reminded of my favourite saying that the body will express what the mind is concerned with It’s true and I’ve been interested to observe my own body in the last 3 to 4 weeks whilst going through a particularly stressful and emotional time. Although I’m doing the same amount of yoga practice as usual, I’ve really noticed how tight and stiff my muscles and ligaments have become, in fact my body has been aching and tense. I realise that at times like this it’s more important than ever to keep up my yoga practice (it would be so easy to let it slip)! I have found the gentle long held yin poses have been particularly useful in releasing toxic energy (a build up of negative emotions such as fear and anger). HAPPY MIND & BODY by The Stresshacker Sue Smith

Some years ago my colleague and friend Sabine Smith and I created a lovely CD also available as a download called Movement Now. This is a gentle yoga program that we designed for people who haven’t done any exercise at all for a while, people who want a quick easy stretch program, people who are stuck at their desks all day long and people recovering from illness or surgery. It’s really easy to download to your laptop then pop onto your phone then you can practice anywhere anytime. Click here to buy.

The short program is a real energy boost and you’ll also notice that it creates a nice peaceful state mentally and emotionally.

So if you’re going through one of life’s testing times remember to keep up your practice. If you don’t do yoga then walk, swim or do some exercise and keep the demons at bay!

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

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Growing up emotionally. Why childlike behaviour in adults can be a sign of emotional immaturity.

Have you ever been around someone seemingly bright and knowledgeable only to notice them behave badly in a childish manner? Chances are something has stopped them growing up emotionally…

heal your inner child - adults behaving like children - Growing up emotionally. Why childlike behaviour in adults can be a sign of emotional immaturity.

Emotional Growth

Collectively we still fail to understand the difference between intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence. While we grow up intellectually and chronologically, we do not always grow up emotionally. We can have gaps in our development for all kinds of reasons, but it’s often due to something that happened in childhood. For example, a child — let’s call him John — has has five blissful years on the planet when his father suddenly dies. His mother, in her grief, plummets into a depression that she never really recovers from.

John is effectively orphaned at that point. With neither parent there to attend to his emotional needs. This trauma and loss will likely effect John’s ability to learn. Unless that’s picked up at school, he could remain in that ‘state’ for the rest of his life. His development stunted, much like a scratch on a record, or a rogue program that keeps replaying. Years later, John is unresponsive and unemotional toward his partner, going through the motions but never fully connecting.

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Stop Letting Your Child Rule Your Life

Do you avoid doing jobs because the thought of it stresses you out? Do you eat too many bars of chocolate when you promised to eat healthily? Are you late for things simply because you didn’t leave on time? Chances are you’re letting your inner child take control of your life…

I know, I know, you start out with really good intentions at the begining of the week. You’re going to eat sensible, healthy foods. And yet by Tuesday you’re on your second take-away.

It sounds like your inner child has taken over and is running the show!

Stop Letting Your Child Rule Your Life - The Stresshacker - Sue Smith

What Happens When You Let Your Inner Child Rule

That inner whining often goes something like this: “it’s not fair, I’m tired, I don’t want to work, I can’t be bothered to go shopping, I need a treat now, I deserve it!” And giving in to it means that you – the adult – are no longer in charge. Let’s face it if you were, you might be able to have a more grown-up conversation with yourself!

Your inner adult might say something like: “I know you feel like you deserve a treat, but if you do eat those crisps or drink that extra glass of wine, your workout at the gym will feel even harder and ultimately the dress you want to look stunning in next weekend will feel tight and uncomfortable. You’re just hungry let’s get something yummy and healthy to eat right now and if you still want crisps after you can have them!”

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