Finally! I have a podcast! It’s called “The Stresshacker with Sue Smith” and I am really excited to share it with you!
I have wanted to do a podcast for a long time – especially since I’m more comfortable with audio than video. But the question has been: what should I do it about?
Then I decided to stop over-thinking it and just LAUNCH something. So please join me as I delve into the podcasting world and forgive me if I’m learning as I go! Hopefully we’ll both enjoy the ride.
To start with I’m sharing one of my very favourite meditations and, as the podcasts progress, I’d love to share more personal stories, advice, tips and thoughts – as well as collaborate with some of my fellow wellbeing coaches.
If you have anything you’d like to hear me talk about – or if you’d like to ask me a question – please get in touch!
Episode One of The Stresshacker Podcast “One of My Favourite Meditations”
This is great if you need a nap or a refreshing 5-minute meditation session. It’s also perfect for refreshing yourself before heading out, taking a relaxing moment, focusing the mind, drifting off to sleep, meditating, unwinding and de-stressing or preparing for something. Use it if you’re trying to make some decisions or if you need a moment of respite before embarking on a creative project.
Please do subscribe to The Stresshacker and share with friends – I need your help in spreading the word!
Simply because it affects your overall health and happiness.
As a teacher and therapist of many years I see first hand how important wellbeing is for people to thrive. See what the World Health Organisation has to say about it.
I have learned that everyone has a story and none of us move through the journey of life unscathed. Some people suffer anxiety from past or current events and other’s live with emotional scars. And whilst some live with physical traumas, everyone has to deal with loss at some time in life.
It’s Not Happens To You, It’s How You Deal With It.
It offers simple exercises and is packed full of opportunities to program positive thinking and wellbeing into your mind and body.
There are 5 main components to Wellbeing
Loneliness is an epidemic and there are many reasons for it, technology not being the least. People who feel lonely often talk about feeling isolated too. Whilst this isolation is actual, in that they may have stopped going out and connecting to others, it can also show up as a physical numbness, an inability to feel. In therapy we discover that this usually forms part of a much bigger picture of grief. Grief can come from all kinds of scenarios such as a childhood where parents are absent because of divorce, death or just ‘unavailable’ because of long working hours. Grief and isolation can also stem from periods of bullying at school or in the workplace. The lonely person can feel cold, numb and shut-down.
The remedy is to connect, learn to trust again and reach out for connection. Finding just one person to talk to or discovering a small group that you could join. You can develop connection by taking up a hobby.
2. Be Active
It’s so important to stay fit and healthy. The stress hormone cortisol goes up when you feel lonely and this can compromise your immune system and affect your heart adversely. Psychologically this could be because ‘affairs of the heart’ will have you thinking in negative cycles spiralling into anxious and depressed thinking. Serotonin, Oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins all help us to feel happy and most are released when doing things we love and enjoy … so find the exercise you love and boost your wellbeing. So many people talk about a sense of ‘coming home’ for example, when they discover the joys of yoga.
3. Keep Learning
Keeping your mind active by discovering something new learning something different from your usual daily routine will boost your wellbeing. It could be something technical or a musical instrument or online courses that teach you how to think differently such as Wellbeing In A Week.
Remember there’s always help at The Stresshacker to deal with things that threaten to derail you or negatively impact your wellbeing.
Yes! believe it or not giving to others makes us feel great! Develop an attitude of gratitude to boost your happy hormones. Think back, when was the last time you helped someone out? The last time you made a random act of kindness? If you can’t think of anything try doing something by the end of today to help someone out. You will be helping yourself too.
Being mindful means being present in the moment here and now.
Try this exercise, stop right now and centre yourself by observing 3 things that you can see, 3 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel without moving too much and 3 things you can smell and taste.
How was that? How long did it take. It was easy wasn’t it! And do you know what’s even easier? Go to ‘freebies’ section in The Stresshacker shop and download your free audio guides for mindfulness. Let me know how you like them.
Interestingly sometimes the smallest change in your routine, your thinking or habits can have a massive positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Investing in self-care is probably one of the most important things you can do to maintain a good sense of self and wellbeing.
Do you avoid doing jobs because the thought of it stresses you out? Do you give up on your health regime after that first glass of wine? 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.
Have you ever considered that your inner child has taken over and is running the show!
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!”
‘Losing it‘ signifies much deeper underlying issues such as loss and grief. Anger forms part of the bereavement cycle?
When I discuss this with clients I’m often told “But I haven’t had a bereavement. I just flare up for no reason.” Yet they’ll go on to identify loss. Loss of their dreams, a relationship or a part of themselves in childhood.
The emotion of anger usually covers fear and the bottom line is that fear centres around feeling unloved or unloveable.
Many a child has felt humiliation and shame at being shouted at and rejected by an angry parent however temporary.
Whilst parents are not saints and don’t come equipped with the perfect parent handbook it’s safe to say that most parents intend to do their best.
Women appear to adjust to parenthood more quickly as they navigate bodily changes and fluctuation in emotions during pregnancy. Whereas men’s bonding often starts when the child is older.
Both will grieve the loss of their previous lifestyle – their job, friends and colleagues. It’s natural to feel anger in these circumstance.
In Psychotherapy, Transactional Analysis is a model that suggests that we have 3 main parts in our psyche. The Parent, Adult and Child.
Your guide book for how to be a parent is a direct result of how you were treated by your parents. What they said and did becomes your inner map, voice and reactions.
You may blindly follow your guide book or totally reject it by doing the opposite. More commonly people cobble together bits of both in an effort to ‘get it right‘.
All that’s needed is a trigger. You’ve asked your child patiently for the fifth time to pick up their towel from the bathroom floor, the anger explodes and you’re shouting and screaming at them.
You don’t have to be an actual parent to follow your map either. When you get angry with yourself and judge yourself harshly? That inner critic is your parent part.
How does a child feel, who’s been bullied? Worthless and unloveable. Your inner child feels exactly the same after an internal battering.
How To Manage That Anger
The key is to develop a healthier adult part.
Risk being vulnerable and explore your losses. Make time and space to have more authentic honest conversations with trusted friends, partners and therapists.
It is possible to diminish anger and bear the losses. It is possible to feel in control and to like how you talk to yourself and others.
Here’s a few starting points that will help.
Develop the tools of mindfulness. Use your breath to ground you in the present and to stop you reacting like a victimised child or a volatile parent.
Work on rebuilding your self esteem so that you are more able to tolerate the emotions.
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.
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;
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.