With levels of anxiety currently sky-high around the world I felt it was time to put together this little ‘toolbox’ of tips to reduce stress and ease some of the worries many people are facing.
I’m not a GP, I don’t have a qualification in psychology, and I’m not a therapist. Nor am I one of those cool, unflappable souls that breeze through calamities without getting a hair out of place.
I’m a stress-head by nature.
But over the last ten years I’ve learned some incredibly effective tools for staying calm – even when life is very, very tough.
My hope for you, if you are struggling with anxiety and stress in these uncertain times, is that you find some of these ideas helpful in maintaining a calm, resourceful state – for yourself and those around you.
I’ve also included details of a free web class and resource site that my wife and I will be running throughout the pandemic. This will provide the means to expand on strategies...
I watched the SAS training thing on TV the other night - the one where Ant Middleton and his team of ex Special Forces supermen take a group of 'normal' (but abnormally fit) people through a shortened version of the SAS selection program.
From the outset there was an obvious front runner - a big, strong, super-fit bloke with a mindset of steel; clearly very, very determined. In the brief interviews they have with the contestants he came across as the man to beat.
Then, on day 2, he was taken for 'interrogation' and Mr Middleton asked him a few questions that obviously touched a nerve or two. Things like "so tell me a bit more about that really painful time in your life" and "what else are you running away from?"
Next thing... he totally crumbled. He was like a different person. He lost some of his equipment, failed to complete one of the tasks and dropped to the back of the pack.
He went from believing he was the #1 candidate to believing he was a total failure. And...
Resolutions… goals… commitments…
I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck to one. And I’m 51 years old.
So that’s around 30 years of failed resolutions, goals and commitments to further compound my view that I needed to change this, change that, improve this, improve that, stop this, stop that, be this, be that, learn this, learn that…
…before I could feel I’d earned the right to fully enjoy my life or accept myself.
So a few years ago I quit making resolutions and striving to be different and started spending more time… well… just ‘being’.
Enjoying the moments.
Savouring precious time.
Being really thankful for the simple things.
Working my way through the various painful emotions that bubble up from time to time and learning to be OK just as I am.
Choosing where to place my attention; focusing on pleasant thoughts and letting the others float away.
I find it...
Whatever kind of Christmas you are planning, be it a quiet family gathering at home or a big bash at a posh hotel, there is no doubt that food, food and more food will feature prominently.
Aside from the ‘big meal’ celebrations there are the parties and nibbles, drinks at the neighbours’, the left-overs, the chocolates you received as gifts and then having to do it all over again during New Year. No doubt about it, if you are like most women with any kind of overeating or binge eating issue, Christmas can be a difficult time of year.
The thought of all this temptation can leave you a little concerned or even fearful and it’s common to find yourself swinging one of two ways: either trying your best to limit or control what you eat – all while spending the bulk of the holiday worrying desperately about how you’ll look at all those gatherings. Or else giving in to the relentless pressure, stuffing your face, and saying “sod it. I’ll start...
For people living in Cumbria who would like to learn mindfulness we offer a number of courses in Carlisle and Penrith.
The ‘Quiet Mind’ meditation and mindfulness course is a progressive course, taught over 8 weeks in a live class, and offers residents in Cumbria the opportunity to develop their own daily mindfulness practice which they can use for the rest of their lives.
The benefits of mindfulness are many and the course will suit anyone who is:
• Unable to concentrate
• Worn down, often tired and unable to sleep properly
• Finding it difficult to relax
• Generally unhappy and depressed
• Tense and anxious
• Worried about physical and mental health because of the above
If you would like to learn mindfulness in Cumbria and would like more details please contact us.
There are moments in life that are hard, painful, scary and difficult to endure. There are times when we feel anger, anxiety, grief, embarrassment, stress, remorse or other negative emotions. In this post, Melli O’Brien from www.mrsmindfulness.com gives a 6-step process for using mindfulness to deal with negative emotions…
In these trying times we often want to escape the pain, drown it out or push it away somehow. We may begin a mental struggle with the pain trying to mentally talk our way out of it, or we distract ourselves with activities or drown it out with food or drink or something stronger.
All these ways of avoiding pain only perpetuate it in the long run. Avoidance creates suffering and keeps us from living fully this miraculous and precious life that we have.
Through mindfulness you can learn to turn your negative emotions into your greatest teachers and sources of strength.
Instead of ‘turning away’ from pain in...
We’re all dealing with stress. Day in, day out, things happen which put pressure on us. Our jobs, relationships, traffic, politics… the list goes on. These are incredibly stressful times; our lives are getting busier and busier, faster and faster.
The question is, how much is all this affecting you?
Because if you’re suffering from stress and you don’t do something about it, it is almost certainly going to impact on your health and happiness, (if it hasn’t already started to do so).
I’ve put up a quick test to find out how stressed you are on this page: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Q8RB78L
If you’re happy to do so, please leave your score in the comments section below.
All the best,
The simple mindful breathing technique I’m going to share with you here is a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system. It can heighten performance and concentration while also being a powerful stress reliever.
The effects are subtle when you first try the exercise but become more obvious with repetition and practice. Variations of this controlled breathing method are actually used by elite athletes to improve performance and by the military and US Navy Seals to help soldiers remain calm & focused in extremely traumatic conditions.
The technique is called Box Breathing and is best explained with the aid of the following diagram..
As you can see, the pattern is simply a box (hence the name), whereby you inhale to a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale to the same count of 4 and hold again for 4. You can start at 3 if this is difficult, or take it up a notch if easy. You should be reasonably comfortable throughout the exercise – don’t stretch...
By better I mean being FREE from all the nagging DOUBTS & FEARS that most of us carry to the grave. I’m talking about having utmost confidence in your capabilities and decisions so that you’ll no longer worry what people think of you, no longer think the worst about situations and no longer create make-believe catastrophes in your mind (which would probably never happen anyway).
By more enjoyable I mean feeling HAPPIER, CALMER and IN-CONTROL in even the most stressful & difficult situations. You’ll be able to relax deeply at will so that the pressures of work, family and life in general no longer bother you. You’ll no longer be a slave to NEGATIVE EMOTIONS such as anxiety, worry & depression.
Oh, and don’t be surprised if you SLEEP BETTER as a result of this too. Most people who practice mindfulness meditation find they are able to relax...
We recorded this little meditation specifically to help you recharge & revitalise yourself when you’re feeling tired or stressed.
Although this type of meditation doesn’t form part of our structured ‘Quiet Mind’ course, guided meditations like this are a great way to relax and also to start to develop focus, concentration and awareness.
As you listen to the meditation, thoughts and other distractions will undoubtedly pop into your head. This is normal and is one of the reasons why this sort of practice can be beneficial.
Rather than getting drawn into your thoughts, just gently bring yourself back to the picture and back to the words. Don’t fight with your thoughts, try to ‘block them’ or suppress them. Instead, just acknowledge them without being attached to them and let them go, taking your attention back to the meditation. You may find it easier and more relaxing to close your eyes and just listen to the words.
By practicing like this...