Day 5. Today’s top tips.
Day 2. I’ve been gathering information from some psychologist colleagues so that I can offer some top tips from the experts for controlling anxious thoughts and feelings.
Are you interested in becoming the person you truly want to be?
Perhaps you’ve already tried various ways of doing this without experiencing lasting change? Do you see yourself as a constant worrier, a binge eater, a victim or even as inferior to other people?
You are born with a blueprint or potential to be your ‘ideal’ person – but throughout life, things get in the way. Maybe significant people who leave an imprint on the way you see yourself, upsetting experiences, life events that have a negative impact, and your associated coping mechanisms, beliefs and behaviour. Whatever has happened, the blueprint for your true self is still there. I help you realise that potential and ‘reboot’ the real you!
Unlike traditional talking therapies, my sessions are very practical. My work is based in modern, effective methods developed from scientific knowledge of how the brain works. I teach you how to rewire unhelpful responses, negative emotions and patterns of thinking. You stop those old patterns in their tracks and change to new positive ways of responding – and you actually experience this happening in session!
Modern therapy has truly transformed the way I work and most of my work comes via referral from satisfied clients.
Contact me to find out more or have a look at my website: http://www.mindmakeover.co.uk/BWRT
Years ago I came across this idea and found it enormously helpful when going through difficult times.
Often life isn’t easy, and sometimes it certainly doesn’t feel fair. The goalposts move all the time. So, when life gets you down, remember that you are the product of a very long line of ancestors stretching back through time. They survived the worst adversities, difficulties and struggles. Those ancient battles and plagues you see in documentaries – your ancestors survived them all. It’s their genes and their blood that are part of you right now.
You have inherited all of their courage and resilience. You are their direct descendant and you are capable just as they were. You can do it!
How good are you at recognising when you need to change – and doing it?
Last week I was in the inevitable queue at the supermarket. A great opportunity for people watching!
One man chose to queue in a short line and decided to stay there, despite other lines moving faster and his line remaining very slow. A teenager started in one line, but changed repeatedly, trying to find the fastest way through the checkout without much success. I saw an opportunity and changed once to a faster moving queue, but then stayed with it. Which type are you?
Just because you’ve started down one path doesn’t mean you have to stay there forever, especially if it turns out to be a bad choice. In the same way, chopping and changing incessantly doesn’t necessarily get you a better outcome. In the end I got through the checkout before either of the others.
It’s not that important a choice at the supermarket, but when it comes to the big decisions in life, it takes courage to decide to make a change, and to know when to commit to your choices!
A fledging starling was in my garden this morning. The parent bird was busy collecting bugs, whilst the youngster sat helplessly on the patio unable to fly away if danger arrived. It reminded me of this quote attributed to Marcus Aurelius:
“Don’t be ashamed of needing help. You have a duty to fulfill just like a soldier on the wall of battle. So what if you are injured and can’t climb up without another soldier’s help?”
Most people expect to always be able to solve the problems life throws at them. I’ve worked with clients who worried about asking for help, believing they should be able to do it all on their own.
When we are born, we are all completely helpless and rely on others to help us grow and learn, just like that fledgling. It is ok to ask for help and you don’t have to face anything on your own. It doesn’t mean you are weak, or stupid or worthless and it is not something shameful. If you need support, then like the soldier who is injured, help is there for the asking.
To check out the different approaches that might help you, have a look at the Therapy pages on my website: http://www.mindmakeover.co.uk
Overworked and stressed already?
Perhaps you are juggling a working life with a family life, or perhaps you feel like there’s just not enough hours in a day?
The Christmas period seems to start earlier every year – looking around the town and online it is already upon us and it’s still only November! Even with a few weeks to go, do you feel stressed or even overwhelmed with how much you have to do?
If you have a look around on the internet you’ll find lots of people offering to coach you through this – they even pop up on Facebook ads now so there is no escape. It just goes to show what a problem it is for people – spawning all these new businesses! So with all the stuff that’s out there – usually pretty basic stuff too – what advice can I, as a Psychologist, pass on?
First of all, recognise that you have an issue with constant busyness and that it leads to inevitable overwhelm. How many of these ‘busyness’ behaviours do you recognise?
- Multitasking – “I am listening to you, I’m just quickly replying to this email/message/doing something else”
- Time Management – “I have to finish this so I’ll just work through my lunch/take it home/cancel my day off/use my only free time”
- Messy workspace or home environment – “I know I have stuff everywhere, but I know where things are”
- Unfocused – “I check my social media in case I miss something – I try not to get too distracted from what I’m supposed to be doing”
- Being too available to everyone – “If you need to reach me, then just phone/message/email me and I’ll get right back to you”
Recognise any of these? They can apply to your work or your home life, or perhaps both!
Did you realise that the happiest, most successful people are relaxed and take things in their stride because they have firm boundaries around working time and personal time?
This includes the distinction between work you do in the home (housework, childcare, chores) versus the things you enjoy – the stuff that nurtures you and feels good.
The happiest, most successful people are not constantly busy. They prioritise their time in a healthy way. They don’t stay late at the office and they always take all of their holiday entitlement. They take days off. They enjoy their weekends. They spend evenings at home with their family, making time to relax or socialising, not constantly buried in a laptop, paperwork, their phone or endless chores. They ensure they make time for quality sleep. They make time to eat mindfully – enjoying a meal rather than being engrossed in something else. If this doesn’t sound like you, but you’d like it to be – you now know what you need to do!
If you need help with that, then have a read through some of my previous blogs or get in touch to find out about how you can work with me.
I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and Personal Development Specialist based in York. You can reach me at http://www.mindmakeoveruk.com
On holiday this year I spotted this tree at Loch Lomond. Despite the environment trying hard to uproot it and wash it away, that tree has found a way to stay steady and to thrive, even in a tough location. It prompted me to think about resilience and how people manage to survive and even thrive despite the world sometimes seeming to be against them. Perhaps you will recognise yourself or someone you know in what follows, and if you do then I hope you find this blog helpful.
Life throws us challenges continuously, and often problems happen one after another. When some people face difficulties, particularly when they become prolonged, all of their emotions become negative. When life is good, they feel great, but when things turn bad, they feel terrible and don’t cope well.
Resilient people are able to find something positive in even the worst of circumstances. They definitely are aware of the bad stuff, but at the same time they find a way to also see the good. For instance, they will take the perspective that as bad as something may seem, at least they don’t have ‘such and such’ a problem. How do they do that?
How do you learn to become more resilient – more able to cope well with life’s problems?
Positive Mental Attitude
Oh I know, it sounds such a cliche – that PMA! However, it is helpful to recognise and acknowledge that the way you think affects the way you feel. In order to change unhelpful emotional patterns, you need to curb that habit of negative thinking and build up your positive thinking. You need to strengthen the neural pathways that support this more helpful way of looking at things, so that becomes your habit instead.
When you find yourself ruminating negatively, notice what’s happening and challenge your viewpoint – ‘What’s the real evidence that things will never get any better?’ All people have memories of success and of failure. Thinking that things will ‘never’ improve is an example of extreme, black and white thinking and not accurate.
We experience this negative type of thinking because our brains are naturally wired to focus more attention on negative events than positive ones. We have evolved to watch out for things that threaten us, so we are attuned to spotting them. So, even though positive events are happening, we have a natural tendency to filter them out. When you take time to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of experiences, you begin to build up a more balanced evidence base and this allows you to make better judgements. A consequence of this, is developing your resilience and enjoying the good things in your life.
Learn from experience
All good and bad experiences provide opportunities for personal growth. When you see events from this perspective – life as a learning experience – the more resilient you become. Resilient people look at a problem and say – ‘What will solve this?’ and ‘What am I learning from this?’ Problems provide an opportunity to learn and problem-solve – developing these skills allows your resilience to develop. Ask yourself questions such as – ‘What is useful in this?’ or ‘What available choices do I have?’, rather than focusing on ‘What’s going wrong?’ or ‘Who can I blame?’ It takes practice to shift your thinking in this way, but it is worth the effort.
This type of learning encourages you to think more broadly and to accept what is possible. Alternatively, focusing on the negative will impact on the way you communicate with others and possibly make problems even worse. Perhaps you have experienced this yourself?
Being kind boosts the serotonin or feel good chemical in your brain. Practicing kindness to others and also appreciating kindness from others, and being grateful for the good things in life (and yes, everyone has something!) allows you to see any difficulties from a more balanced viewpoint. Think about this as filling up your very own reservoir of resilience. Having a reservoir of resilience you can draw on, means you will be able to cope well when difficult times come along.
Treat yourself well
Stay mentally and physically healthy by eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise. Spend time with people whose company you enjoy. Laugh and nurture the humour in situations – after all, gallows humour is a coping mechanism! Take time to relax – listen to your favourite music or go for a walk in nature. All these things relieve stress and allow you to top up your vital reservoir of resilience.
Finally, if all of this just seems too hard, then please do seek out expert, professional help. A good coach or therapist will help you – you are not alone.
I am Susan Tibbett, a Chartered Psychologist and Personal Development Specialist based in York. You can reach me at: http://www.mindmakeoveruk.com