CBT Bristol for bereavement and grief

CBT Bristol to help you overcome bereavement and grief

For many of us, bereavement will be the most distressing experience we will face.  Some of my clients have reported difficulties with bereavement and grief, so I thought it might be helpful to discuss how Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help:

So what are bereavement and grief?

Bereavement, also referred to as grief is what we feel when somebody close to us dies. Bereavement can also be experienced when you suffer other losses, such as the ending of a relationship, loss of a job or a change in circumstances. Fundamentally, bereavement is the process of loss.

Bereavement is experienced by everyone differently, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to grieve and no timescales can be put on the grieving process.

The grieving process is a term used to describe the range of emotional and physical symptoms that occur after a loss. The resulting mix of emotions can be overwhelming and coming to terms with your own feelings is the key to finding peace.

So what does bereavement and grief look like for you?

The way grief affects you depends on many things including the type of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your religion and/or beliefs, your age, your relationships and your health, both emotionally and physically.

You may feel many different things after someone has died or you have experienced a loss. These can include:

  • Shock – it may take a long time to grasp and accept what has happened. You may feel numb or for some people, you may carry on as if nothing has happened. What has happened does not make sense.
  • Anger – loss can seem cruel and unfair. There can be anger directed at the person or situation that is no longer there. And there can be anger directed at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do, did or didn’t say.
  • Pain – feelings of pain and distress when someone dies can be overwhelming and frightening. There can be an intense physical pain where it truly feels like our heart is breaking.
  • Guilt – a common reaction. You can feel to blame for the situation or feel regret at not doing enough.
  • Longing – thinking that you can hear or see someone who has died is a common experience. It happens because the brain is trying to process and acknowledge the death.
  • Depression – life can no longer feel like it holds any meaning and for some they no longer want to be here.
  • Anxiety – a bereavement can bring on anxiety and panic attacks. It can make us feel out of control and lack perspective on a situation.

CBT Bristol research findings about stages of grief and bereavement:

It is generally accepted that there are several stages of grief/bereavement that we work through to come out of the other side:

  • Accepting that your loss is real, denial. It is very common to refuse to accept that you will not see that person again.
  • Experiencing the pain of grief both physically and emotionally.
  • Depression is very common, you can feel like you are withdrawing from life. It is a normal and appropriate response to a bereavement.
  • Anger, you may feel anger at the person who has died, at yourself, at the world around you.
  • Adjusting to life without the person who has died. Routines changing, thinking about yourself.
  • Putting less emotional energy into grieving and being able to move on. You start to feel hope again. This is called acceptance.

At CBT Bristol, we have noticed that you will probably go through all of these grief and bereavement stages, but you won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next.

The grieving process can be a long one, and as stated earlier, there are no timescales or right or wrong way to experience grief and bereavement. It can often be the case that for some who feel that they are recovering or have moved on to find that they have a set back brought on by maybe a memory, a smell of perfume or a song. This again is normal and can be seen positively as the memory of their loved one living on. But understandably it can also be distressing, particularly if it catches you unawares.

It is very important to be able to share your thoughts and feelings around your grief and bereavement as this will enable you to move more smoothly through the grieving process.

If you feel unable to share with family and friends, CBT Bristol and other counselling professionals can help you to overcome grief and bereavement.

CBT Bristol can also support you in making sense of your feelings and guide you through the process.

Over to you: 

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to process your grief and are feeling overwhelmed with painful feelings, distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.

CBT Bristol bereavement and grief sessions can help you.

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face CBT sessions why not contact Karen Deeming to arrange an appointment or for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or send an email to: karen@karendeeming.com.

CBT Bristol for bereavement and grief other treatment recommendations:

There are several different options available to support you with managing your grief:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – focuses on how your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs affect your feelings and behaviour and teaches you coping skills to deal with grief.

See more about CBT here: 

Counselling – a talking therapy. Can bring clarity, peace of mind and the answers to the problems that you are struggling with and the unanswered questions you may have.

See more about Counselling here: 

Mindfulness – enhances mental and physical wellbeing. Provides exercises and Meditation techniques to enable you to recognise triggers and help to reduce the overwhelming feelings of grief.

See more about Mindfulness here: 

References

www.Cruse.org.uk

www.facingbereavement.co.uk

www.nhs.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBT Bristol for anxiety

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Bristol for anxiety and stress

CBT Bristol to help you overcome anxiety

Most of my clients over the past years have reported difficulties with anxiety, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) tips:

So what is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal, but often, a disagreeable part of life. It can affect us all in various ways and at different times in our lives.

We will all feel anxious at some point and it is very common to feel tense and unsure about a potentially stressful situation, such as, going for an interview, taking an exam or trying something new. However, for some of us, these feelings are very strong and lasting, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. It is at this point, anxiousness becomes anxiety.

Anxiety is what we feel when we are tense, worried or afraid, often about things that are about to happen or are to happen in the future.

And often about things that we cannot control. Anxiety can make you imagine things are worse than they are and prevent you from carrying out everyday tasks.

There are no clear-cut reasons as to what causes anxiety and why it is worse for some people than others.

There are identifiable factors such as childhood trauma, a divorce, a death, that can be attributed to the onset of a person’s anxiety however, for others there is no obvious identifiable cause, and this can add to the distress and uncertainty that you may be feeling.

CBT Bristol research findings about anxiety symptoms:

Anxiety can affect us through our thought processes, through our feelings and through physical sensations.

We can experience many different ‘signs and symptoms’ of anxiety, but not everybody’s anxiety looks the same.

You may experience or have experienced some of the following:

  • palpitations
  • difficulty in controlling your breathing
  • a need for constant reassurance
  • feeling tense
  • fearing the worst (ie catastrophising)
  • constant worry
  • self-doubt
  • replaying situations in your head over and over and irrational thoughts

Or maybe something different.

So how can CBT Bristol help you to overcome anxiety?

The good news is that anxiety can be managed and reduced. It does not need to control your life. With support you can regain the control. Most importantly, anxiety must not define you as a person.

CBT – focuses on how your thoughts, attitudes and beliefs affect your feelings and behaviour and teaches you coping skills to deal with anxiety.

See more about CBT and CBT Bristol here:

CBT Bristol Tips for anxiety:

 

Step One

When you experience a negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:

“what do I know?”

“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts to take over it is not healthy for me and leaves me feeling anxious, I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”

“I know that if I say to myself there goes anger, sadness, disappointment, shyness, self consciousness etc rather than saying I am angry, I am sad, I am feeling self conscious, I am disappointed it is more beneficial for my mental and physical health and well being”.

“I know that if I people please or sacrifice my needs to meet other peoples’ needs I will feel more anxious and it more beneficial for my health and well being to not get too attached these thoughts and instead pause step back and imagine that the thoughts are in a bubble floating in the sky, me walking in the woods /beach or that they are passing clouds in the sky . ”

“I know that thoughts aren’t facts”

What’s also important is that I challenge my thoughts, worries, stresses and anxieties by asking myself the question:

What is the evidence/concrete facts to support the believe that I will fail my driving test?”
and: what evidence/concrete facts are there against it?

CBT Bristol tips for anxiety

 

Step Two

If you struggle with anxiety, you are highly likely to have a very loud “inner critic.”

Most of you may already know, however for those of you who are unfamiliar, the inner critic often heightens anxiety, as it is your inner voice or negative chatterbox that often goes something like this:

  • What’s wrong with me?
  • I wish I was as confident as my friends
  • Why can’t I get over this and get a grip?
  • It’s ridiculous feeling so overwhelmed by such a minor event in my life
  • Other people have much bigger problems than me so why am I feeling so low?
  • Why can’t I perform as well as my boss and colleagues at work?
  • I’m a failure in relationships
  • I’m a loser, lazy and selfish blah blah blah…..

Sound familiar? Well you’re not alone in this universal catch-22.

We all have an inner critic, but not all of us let it run riot.

This relentless, negative self talk often expresses criticism, frustration or disapproval about our actions and its frequency, volume or intensity is very different for each us.

CBT Bristol has summarised below, how the inner critic might cause anxiety:

Inner critic dialogue is anxiety-provoking and shaming and so paralyses your sense of motivation and get up and go. It can result in unhealthy behaviours such as avoidance and procrastination, in order to reduce anxiety and stay safe when it is largely not necessary to do so.

In other words, because you are frightened or anxious about a particular situation, you adopt self protection mechanisms and put on your breaks too soon, often depriving yourself of adventure, enjoyment, pleasure and spontaneity.

So anxiety can be very unhealthy for you if you struggle to develop coping mechanisms
It may seem a mammoth task and a huge mountain to climb right now, however, here’s how to turn down the volume of your inner critic and, as I like to call it, my inner DJ’s sound system:

CBT Bristol tips to prevent the inner critic and anxiety taking over:

Awareness is the first step to recognising and letting go of your inner critic. Many of you won’t have even realised its presence until now.

Acknowledge and make friends with your inner critic instead of continually arguing and battling with it.

Using the more playful side of your character and sense of humour, invent a nickname like I did such as DJ, Zippy, Chimp or Top Dog.

If you notice your inner critic or anxiety taking over:

Imagine it is a record turn table so that you can turn the volume down or that it’s a tape, play or film that you can rewind. Slow down. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and gently say no.

It may help to visualize a strong and wise part of yourself gently removing your critic from its stage or soapbox.

Over to you:

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to tame your inner critic, DJ or Zippy and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.

CBT Bristol anxiety sessions can help you.

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face CBT sessions why not contact Karen Deeming to arrange an appointment or for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or send an email to: karen@karendeeming.com

CBT Bristol for anxiety other treatment recommendations:

As well as CBT, there are other options available to support you with managing your anxiety:

Counselling – a talking therapy. Can bring clarity, peace of mind and the answers to the problems that you are struggling with.

See more about Counselling here: 

Mindfulness – enhances mental and physical wellbeing. Provides exercises and Meditation techniques to enable you to recognise triggers and reduce anxiety.

See more about Mindfulness here: 

Medication: There are medications available that can help manage some symptoms of anxiety. You will need to speak with your Doctor for further advice around this.

References:

www.mind.org.uk
www.anxietyuk.org.uk
www.counselling-directory.org.uk
Bourne, Edmund J (2015) Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 6th Edition. California: New Harbinger

Tips how to overcome panic attacks

you_revolution17 jan2015

Do you sometimes feel like you are:

  • losing control?
  • about to faint?
  • having a heart attack?

or at it’s worst a sense that you are going to die?

The symptoms of a panic attack can be very frightening and distressing.

 

According to the NHS definition:

“Symptoms tend to occur suddenly, without warning and often for no apparent reason.

As well as overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can also cause a variety of other symptoms, including:

 

  • a sensation that your heart is beating irregularly (palpitations)
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes
  • chills
  • shortness of breath
  • a choking sensation
  • chest pain
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • a feeling of dread or a fear of dying
  • a churning stomach
  • a tingling sensation in your fingers
  • shivering
  • shaking

The physical symptoms of a panic attack are unpleasant, and they can also be accompanied by thoughts of fear and terror.

 

For this reason, people with panic disorder start to fear the next attack, which creates a cycle of living in ‘fear of fear’ and adds to the sense of panic.

Sometimes, the symptoms of a panic attack can be so intense they can make you feel like you’re having a heart attack.

 

However, it’s important to be aware that symptoms such as a racing heartbeat and shortness of breath won’t result in you having a heart attack. Although panic attacks can often be frightening, they don’t cause any physical harm. People who have had panic disorder for some time usually learn to recognise this ‘heart attack sensation’ and become more aware of how to control their symptoms.

Most panic attacks last for five to 20 minutes. Some attacks have been reported to have lasted up to an hour. However, it’s likely that in these cases one attack occurred straight after another or high levels of anxiety were felt after the first attack.”

Do you know why this happens?

 

It’s a phenomenon called “negativity bias,” a name coined by Psychologists, describing our human tendency to be much more likely to be influenced by and to recall negative experiences, instead of neutral or positive experiences.

So the good news is that panic attacks, anxiety and automatic negative thoughts are not wholly your fault it’s just the way your brain is wired and you can take steps to address this.

So instead of giving yourself a hard time, firstly, be kind and compassionate, reassuring yourself that you’re pretty normal and not alone in this very common dilemma.

 

Man and clouds jpg

Here’s some Neuroscience research:

  • We recall negative feedback more than we remember praise.
  • Unpleasant events tend to be more memorable than pleasant ones.
  • The brain is programmed to be vigilant and wary.
  • The brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli.
  • Studies indicate that there’s a greater flow in electrical activity in the brain when we visualise a negative image such as a dead cat than when we witness something positive like a glass of prosecco or yummy lemon cheesecake.

How can Neuroscience and a knowledge of the brain help with panic attacks?

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus primarily on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions

Neuroscience is an increasingly wide ranging subject. Perhaps because the brain is one of the most complex structures in the known universe:

  • intricate enough to coordinate the fingers of a classical violinist
  • or logical enough to introduce the laws and theories of gravity.

Now let’s take a brief glimpse at the brain

 

The right hemisphere is generally associated with creativity, communicating emotion, analysis of nonverbal information and the control of the left side of the body, temporal and spatial relationships.

Whereas, the left hemisphere is usually identified with logic abilities, casual relationships, sequential thinking, controlling the right side of the body and producing/understanding language and complexities.

The limbic system sometimes referred to as the “emotional brain” is usually considered as composed of the following:

cingulate gyrus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus and amygdala.

It is the site of: emotional states and behaviour; the bridge between the conscious and subconscious brain and short term memory/ information storage, especially short term recognition of facts, objects, people etc.

The amygdala, the brain’s alarm system is located in the limbic system. Its key function is to call you to attention, and in an emergency, to mobilise or shut-down your body and mind so that you’ll survive.

Sadly though, this alarm rings automatically and unnecessarily often incorrectly informing you that you are experiencing a flight or fight situation when the actual reality is that you are not and the alarm is just being over cautious.

When our amygdala misinterprets a bodily sensation such as sinking stomach to be a message of despair and pessimism, it has exactly the wrong result, reducing rather than enhancing our attention and alertness.

That’s why panic attacks, anxiety, frustration, anger and other chronic stress reactions can occasionally, or for some people frequently, escalate into huge problems. Put simply, we’re not using our amygdala as effectively as it was intended.

 

 

monkey jpg

 

How can you tame your amygdala then?

 

Having studied this topic for many years now, by far the most comprehensive, informative book about neuroscience and the emotional brain I have read so far is the Chimp Paradox by Dr Stephen Peters.

As Coach of the Great Britain Cycling Team, and many business leaders, Peters developed a highly successful mind management programme using the term “Chimp Brain” as its premise.

The Chimp Brain

 

Peters asserts that “Chimp Brain” is an emotional part of our brain designed by evolution to support our survival.

Specifically, it is the area of the brain which activates the fight-or-flight response, hyperarousal, hypervigilance or the acute stress response, physiological reactions that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event or threat to our survival.

As it is fundamently concerned with two main instincts:

(1) survival and (ii) procreation

for example: sexual reproduction, hunger, thirst and protection of our territory.

The “Chimp” automatically jumps to opinions in the absence of concrete facts and may be paranoid, periodically resulting in catastrophic and irrational behaviour. For example when you are experiencing a panic attack the chimp often jumps to the wrong conclusion that you are having a heart attack or are going to die.

According to Dr Peters, the Chimp works on impressions, perceptions and interpretations, not facts and responds up to fives times faster than our rational brain.

Two other terms are also used by Peters, the Human Brain and the Computer.

The Human Brain

 

This Peters describes as the rational part of the brain highly effective at considering all the available facts and evidence and subsequently reaching careful and deliberate conclusions using cognition. It’s also where our highest values of humanity reside and it works five times more slowly than the chimp.

The Computer

 

A storage centre of retained experiences jammed full of automatic habits and responses, some positive, some negative. Above all though, when processing what is happening to us, both our Human and Chimp refer to the computer to seek associations and similar experiences. The Computer operates twenty times faster than our Human and four times faster than the Chimp.

You’re probably asking yourself right now how does all this relate to panic attacks then?

Peters argues that before taking any action, we firstly need to recognise these three powerful structures are continually operating in our mind. Furthermore, if we do not acknowledge this we will be perpetually running to catch up with ourselves.

This reminds of the mindfulness approach

 

Though we can’t stop our thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, we can take charge of what happens next. We can consciously step back, pause, breathe and choose to observe our panic attacks or negative thoughts rather than responding to them immediately.

Here’s some tips to help you regulate and tame the Chimp and as a result handle panic attacks more effectively:

 

1.Acknowledge that we as Human beings developed a negativity bias, that is, we evolved to notice and respond more forcibly to the negative, since that helped our ancestors to stay alive. Thousands and thousands of years ago, it was more important for cavemen to escape negative situations than it was to approach opportunity.

In other words, our ancestors wouldn’t even have stopped to analyse the situation. As soon as they noticed the slight rustle, like animals of prey, our ancestors would have simply fled for their lifes.

2.As it’s your “Chimp” it will respond sometimes when you are angry, stressed or perceive any kind of threat, physical or psychological, and it moves much more quickly than the Human part of your brain so is likely embarrass you with its responses. It might shout and rage, be rude and angry or violent.

3.Observe Chimp-like responses, these are easy to spot, they are responses which when you reflect later aren’t ones you’re proud of. They are likely the ones that if you had your time again you’d do differently, or they are the responses that you might, with the benefit of hindsight, think you need to apologise for.

4.Be aware that everyone has a Chimp and managing it is an everyday challenge, when we’re tired or stressed our Chimp becomes more difficult to control and can overwhelm us more easily. Observe other people’s responses, you can see Chimp behaviour everywhere.

5.Having become aware of your Chimp, you can work on taming it and rather than ignoring the Chimp’s instinctive and rapid reaction, just allow it to have its say. Then, consciously step back, pause, breathe and allow yourself more thinking time to work out a better, more considered Human response.

6.We can use the Computer part of our brain, our automated habits, to put in responses faster than the Chimp can react. This takes time and practice, but if we make a conscious effort to put in a different response to the impulsive Chimp one, we can develop what Peters calls an Autopilot, which is a script or response that overrides the unhelpful Chimp response before it can be enacted.

This rather reminds me of one Mindfulness tip I offer clients:

 

When you experience a panic attack, negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:

 

“what do I know?”

“I know that if I tense my body my panic attacks will increase so I will try to be more calm and relaxed and say to myself it’s OK we’ll get through this”

“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts or panic attack bodily sensations to take over it is not healthy for me and will leave me feeling more stressed and anxious.”

“I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”

“I know that it is highly unlikely that I will experience a heart or die.”

“I know that thoughts aren’t facts”

Following your attempts at implementing the above strategy, record on a piece of paper the process of what happens when you try this technique and the automatic negative thoughts that stop you from supporting yourself.

To conclude

 

Understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry.

Then, by bringing mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened, you can stimulate and therefore build up the neural substrates of a mind that has more calm, wisdom and sense of inner strength.

A mind that sees real threats more clearly, acts more effectively in dealing with them, and is less rattled or distracted by exaggerated, manageable, or false alarms.

CBT Blue Monday and how this and Mindfulness can help you….

CBT Bristol Blue Monday for anxiety, stress and other issues
CBT Blue Monday and how this and Mindfulness can help you….

CBT Blue Monday: a bit of background first then some Blue Monday CBT and Mindfulness tips

Aren’t Januarys tough sometimes? what with post Christmas blues and cold dark nights?

Back by popular demand, this video I created for my coaching business, You Revolution, shows how mindfulness can help you with Blue Monday.

CBT can also help you on Blue Monday.

Both Mindfulness and CBT can help you to reduce stress, panic attacks, anxiety, negative thinking patterns, sleeping difficulties and burnout.

Feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed or depressed because of dark nights and too much rainfall?

Dreading the arrival of your credit card bill this month?

Want to simply curl up in bed beneath your duvet and hibernate for the whole of January?

Feeling disappointed that your New Year Resolution, detox or weight loss programmes aren’t going as well as you had anticipated?

Then you may have fallen victim to the Blue Monday trap.

Following extensive research findings, the third Monday of January, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, has been awarded the gloomy title due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.

Even though I, Karen Deeming, am doing my dream job, Blue Monday is still always tough

However, what helps me cheer myself up on Blue Monday and get through the day are my daily CBT and mindfulness practices

Also: doing nice things for other people or simply remembering that I have roof over my head, have the pleasure of three good meals a day and I don’t have the misfortune of living in a war zone.

Mindfulness is a technique for reducing stress, exhaustion, high blood pressure, panics, anxiety, and negative thinking patterns which has been widely approved by the international medical community.

It teaches greater awareness of our thoughts, feelings and sensations through simple techniques like visualisation, meditation and gentle movement.

Let me give you a recent, real life example of how mindfulness helps:

Despite a prediction of heavy rain in Somerset, I decided to take out my rickety vintage bicycle “Flo” for an impromptu cycle ride to the local farm shop.

The cycle route from Pilton to Pylle is no stranger to me but today it was a strikingly different experience because I had decided to attempt mindful cycling. In other words, I adopted a small steps approach, focusing on the here and now and the journey rather than a speedy arrival at my destination.

How stunning I chuckled to myself as I was greeted by the distant view of Glastonbury Tor. I even encountered the delightful sound of a trickling stream for the first time too. Slightly distracted by these delicious in the moment experiences, I cycled through an unexpected knee deep, muddy puddle resulting in a near trench foot endangerment.

Fortunately, I escaped lightly and though my socks were thoroughly soaked, a brief recollection of a relentless flooded tent experience at the Glastonbury Festival in 1996 encouraged me to soldier on. What also helped me manage this somewhat unattractive incident, were the charming duo of immaculate cocker spaniels grinning at me from the rear window of a delapidated jeep ahead.

How can CBT also help you on Blue Monday:

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is an evidence-based, collaborative, solution-focussed form of counselling/therapy approved by the NHS.

CBT is a way of talking about:

how you think about yourself, the world and other people

how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

When does CBT help?

CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.

CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.

Read more about CBT benefits here

The application of CBT and mindfulness together with my conscious intention to zoom in on the abundance of delightful landscape instead of focusing on the scarcity of sunshine resulted in a highly pleasurable experience.

Moreover though it was forecast to train at 11am it didn’t actually rain until 11.10am when I was safely home and dry nestled up to the cat on the kitchen sofa.

Over to you

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to motivate yourself on Blue Monday or indeed anytime in 2019, why not take this one small step today by booking a CBT session or by signing up to one of my mindfulness one day or eight week courses where you can meet like minded people and achieve life changing results!!

If you have decided to consider CBT, and are not quite ready yet to make contact or to arrange your first session:

Read more about CBT benefits here

My Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) specialisms include though are not limited to:

  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • low self esteem and shyness
  • anger, anxiety, pain and stress management

Click here for details about my CBT qualifications, experience and accreditations.

See my Client Testimonials here.

You can book your appointment here or you can contact me on 07950 751352 or by emailing: info@karendeeming.com.

My Bristol CBT Practice address is: 14 Orchard Street, Bristol BS1 5EH.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – how can it help you?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) - how can it help you?

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)?

CBT is an evidence-based, collaborative, solution-focussed form of counselling/therapy approved by the NHS.

It is a way of talking about:

  • how you think about yourself, the world and other people
  • how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings.

CBT can help you to change how you think (‘Cognitive’) and what you do (‘Behaviour’).

These changes can help you to feel better. Unlike some of the other talking treatments, CBT focuses on the ‘here and now’ problems and difficulties. Instead of focusing on the causes of your distress or symptoms in the past, CBT looks for ways to improve your state of mind now.

When does CBT help?

CBT has been shown to help with many different types of problems. These include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic, phobias (including agoraphobia and social phobia), stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and psychosis.

CBT may also help if you have difficulties with anger, a low opinion of yourself or physical health problems, like pain or fatigue.

How does CBT work?

CBT can help you to make sense of overwhelming problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. This makes it easier to see how they are connected and how they affect you.

These parts are:

A Situation – a problem, event or difficult situation.

From this can follow:

Thoughts
Emotions
Physical feelings
Actions

Each of these areas can affect the others. How you think about a problem can affect how you feel physically and emotionally.

There are helpful and unhelpful ways of reacting to most situations, depending on how you think about it. The way you think can be helpful – or unhelpful.

What’s most helpful is to approach issues with a more positive CBT mindset.

An example using CBT techniques:

The Situation
You’ve had a bad day, feel fed up, so go out shopping. As you walk down the road, someone you know walks by and, apparently, ignores you. This starts a cascade of:

Thoughts:
Unhelpful: He/she ignored me – they don’t like me

Helpful: He/she looks a bit wrapped up in themselves – I wonder if there’s something wrong?

Emotional Feelings:
Unhelpful: Feelings Low, sad and rejected

Helpful: Concerned for the other person, positive

Physical:
Unhelpful: Stomach cramps, low energy, feel sick

Helpful: None – feel comfortable

Action:
Unhelpful: Go home and avoid them

Helpful: Get in touch to make sure they’re OK

The same situation has led to two very different results, depending on how you thought about the situation and:

whether you used another helpful CBT technique: “thoughts aren’t facts”.

How you think has affected how you felt and what you did. In the example in the left hand column, you’ve jumped to a conclusion without very much evidence for it – and this matters, because it’s led to:
having a number of uncomfortable feelings behaving in a way that makes you feel worse.

If you go home feeling depressed, you’ll probably brood on what has happened and feel worse. If you get in touch with the other person, there’s a good chance you’ll feel better about yourself.

If you avoid the other person, you won’t be able to correct any misunderstandings about what they think of you – and you will probably feel worse.

This ‘vicious circle’ can make you feel worse. It can even create new situations that make you feel worse. You can start to believe quite unrealistic (and unpleasant) things about yourself. This happens because, when we are distressed, we are more likely to jump to conclusions and to interpret things in extreme and unhelpful ways.

CBT can help you to break this vicious circle of altered thinking, feelings and behaviour.

When you see the parts of the sequence clearly, you can change them – and so change the way you feel. CBT aims to get you to a point where you can ‘do it yourself’, and work out your own ways of tackling these problems.

What does CBT involve?

The sessions:

You can do CBT individually or with a group of people, or even a self-help book or computer programme.

In England and Wales, two computer-based programmes have been approved for use by the NHS. Fear Fighter is for people with phobias or panic attacks; Beating the Blues is for people with mild to moderate depression.

If you have individual CBT therapy:

You will usually meet with a CBT therapist for between 5 and 20, weekly, or fortnightly sessions. Each session will last 50 minutes.

In the first 2-4 sessions, the CBT therapist will check that you can use this sort of treatment and you will check that you feel comfortable with it.

The CBT therapist will also ask you questions about your past life and background.

Although CBT concentrates on the here and now, at times you may need to talk about the past to understand how it is affecting you now.

You decide what you want to deal with in the short, medium and long term. You and the CBT therapist will usually start by agreeing on what to discuss that day.

How effective is CBT?

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem.

It is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression.

CBT is as effective as antidepressants for many types of depression.

If you have decided to consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and are not quite ready yet to make contact or to arrange your first session:

By clicking on the links below you can find out more about:

My Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) specialisms include though are not limited to:

  • obsessive compulsive disorder
  • low self esteem and shyness
  • anger, anxiety, pain and stress management

Click here for details about my CBT qualifications, experience and accreditations.

See my Client Testimonials here.

You can book your appointment here or you can contact me on 07950 751352 or by emailing: info@karendeeming.com.

My Bristol CBT Practice address is: 14 Orchard Street, Bristol BS1 5EH.

How to achieve a positive mindset to help you achieve your goals and ambitions for 2018

Blog Scacity Mindset jan 2018

Why is it no matter how much time most people are given, they often finish jobs or tasks at the last minute and are left feeling completely stressed out?
• Why is it that very high wage earners end up broke?
• Why do organisations get stuck firefighting?
• Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends or to find a partner?
• Why do most New Year Resolutions fail by February?

These questions seem unconnected, yet drawing on a raft of research in psychology and behavioural economics, Harvard economist Mullainathan and Princeton psychologist Shafir illustrate that they are all examples of a mind-set produced by scarcity. Put simply, you and most people, often force the brain to focus on alleviating pressing shortages and thus reducing the mental bandwidth available to address other needs such as:

• planning ahead
• exert self-control
• problem solving

The result these academics argue, is a life fixated on agonising trade-offs, crises, and preoccupations that impose persistent negative thinking and self defeating actions.

How can you re programme your scarcity mindset and develop a healthier growth mindset instead so that you can get the most out of your counselling or mindfulness sessions at work or in your personal life?

 

According to Psychology today, “making resolutions or new habits work is essentially changing behaviors and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking and “rewire” your brain. Brain scientists such as Antonio Damasio and Joseph LeDoux and psychotherapist Stephen Hayes have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it. Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.”

Here’s some more Neuroscience research relating to scarcity mindsets which can have a huge impact on your counselling, mindfulness and coaching sessions:

 

• We recall negative feedback more than we remember praise.
• Unpleasant events tend to be more memorable than pleasant ones.
• The brain is programmed to be vigilant and wary.
• The brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli.

Studies indicate that there’s a greater flow in electrical activity in the brain when we visualise a negative image such as a dead cat than when we witness something positive like a glass of prosecco or yummy lemon cheesecake.

How can Neuroscience and a knowledge of the brain help you to develop a growth mindset and the best return on investment on your counselling coaching and mindfulness sessions?

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus primarily on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions.

Neuroscience is an increasingly wide ranging subject. Perhaps because the brain is one of the most complex structures in the known universe:

 

• intricate enough to coordinate the fingers of a classical violinist
• or logical enough to introduce the laws and theories of gravity.

Now let’s take a brief glimpse at the brain:

The right hemisphere is generally associated with creativity, communicating emotion, analysis of nonverbal information and the control of the left side of the body, temporal and spatial relationships.

Whereas, the left hemisphere is usually identified with logic abilities, casual relationships, sequential thinking, controlling the right side of the body and producing/understanding language and complexities.

The limbic system sometimes referred to as the “emotional brain” is usually considered as composed of the following:

cingulate gyrus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus and amygdala.

It is the site of: emotional states and behaviour; the bridge between the conscious and subconscious brain and short term memory/ information storage, especially short term recognition of facts, objects, people etc.

The amygdala, the brain’s alarm system is located in the limbic system. Its key function is to call you to attention, and in an emergency, to mobilise or shut-down your body and mind so that you’ll survive.

Sadly though, this alarm rings automatically and unnecessarily often incorrectly informing you that you are experiencing a flight or fight situation when the actual reality is that you are not and the alarm is just being over cautious.

When our amygdala misinterprets a bodily sensation such as sinking stomach to be a message of despair and pessimism, it has exactly the wrong result, reducing rather than enhancing our attention and alertness.

That’s why anxiety, frustration, anger and other chronic stress reactions can occasionally, or for some people frequently, escalate into huge problems.

 

Put simply, we’re not using our amygdala as effectively as it was intended.

Mindfulness strategies can help to reprogramme your brain’s natural tendency to focus on scarcity rather than on the positives of a situation:

 

When you experience a negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:

“what do I know?”

“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts to take over it is not healthy for me and leaves me feeling anxious, I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”

“I know that thoughts aren’t facts”

Following your attempts at implementing the above strategy, record on a piece of paper the process of what happens when you try this technique and the automatic negative thoughts that stop you from supporting yourself.

Now, let’s take a real life example of a person wanting to create their dream life:

 

Instead of focusing on scarcity and deprivation by talking yourself out of it by getting into a negative thinking style of what ifs, buts, shoulds etc, ie scarcity, approach your dream life by placing yourself in a growth mindset:

Here’s how:

 

(1) firstly, create your own life script by writing down a series of positive affirmations on a piece of paper or on your tablet such as:

“I’m really happy and grateful for all the following things that I’m just about to say:

I’m really happy and grateful to be a wildly successful writer and public speaker, and wife with an endless regular weekly supply of income that greatly exceeds my outgoings.

What’s also wonderful is that my work is mostly daytime and online so I can do it anywhere in the world.

I have over 5,000 twitter and instagram followers and I’m thrilled that my fiction book is a best seller.

I have great health and I’m really enjoying a good work life balance with lots of time to relax and exercise to play piano and make jewellery and other creative activities.

My life is full of fun and joy and I have an abundance of male and female friends that bring out the best in me in Wiltshire and in other parts of the UK .

And I’m open to receiving this and more thank you.”

Repeat this at least once each morning and then just before you go to sleep for at least a six week period.

 

(tip: ensure all statements are in the present tense as if they are happening right now and avoid using words such as not, never, no longer etc)

(2) then, cut out some images/photos from either a magazine or the internet relating to your life script and arrange them on a piece of paper or on a cork memo board/whiteboard. Alternatively, create a collage by using pinterest or instagram.

What is key here is to look at the relevant image/photo whilst you are reading each affirmation out loud (ideally smiling and with heaps of enthusiasm and belief!)

 

(3) Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future

(4) Last but not least, reflect on this statement: you never fail if you never give up

In other words, it’s about moderation not deprivation and adopting a small steps approach such as and be patient…

Sounds simple and perhaps mumbo jumbo doesn’t it? However, I have used this technique with several clients and friends to help them tackle issues such as:

• overcoming procrastination
• overcoming addictions
• overcoming shyness and social phobia
• overcoming anxiety and exhaustion
• overcoming loneliness

 

The results have often been astounding. Having said that though, most of these clients have undertaken a few counselling or coaching sessions with me, Karen Deeming, before adopting the above exercise in order to achieve their goals.

What’s the primary principle behind this techique? The subconscious mind operates 95% of your life and only 5% of what you are thinking or perceiving is your conscious mind.

 

The subconscious mind works most effectively with pictures and imagery so you want to take advantage of that, ie the photos. Once you train your subconscious mind to focus on the things that you want then your performance starts to follow because your performance is always aligned with your subconscious mind.

Also as children we picked up messages from parents, peers, teachers and society, not always positive, that literally form the 95% that we are not conscious of and this 95% is really running the show often resulting in fears and doubts that cause us to procrastinate or to feel stuck and demotivated.

For example:
• don’t dream like this
• you can never have this kind of house
• don’t set yourself up for failure
• you can never run your own business it’s too risky

We then blame our doubts and fears on the external world and we play the victim but the reality is it is our own selfs we are our own saboteurs.

The creating your dream life exercise is an ideal tool to reprogramme your subconscious and of course your unhealthy, scarcity mindset.

 

Does any of this sound familiar? What can you do about it?

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you’ve probably fallen victim to the scarcity trap and mind set. Naturally, the reason will be different for each person and remember you’re not alone in this very common dilemma…

Take control of your negative internal chatter box alias “inner critic”.

Over to you:

 

If after reading this blog, you are still struggling to overcome your scarcity mindset and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.

Coaching, counselling or a  mindfulness course can help you.

 

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line or face to face counselling or mindfulness sessions why not contact me to arrange an appointment for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or by emailing me at karen@karendeeming.com

I’ll end with a few growth mindset insights that have helped me, Karen Deeming, along the way:

 

• whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting
• happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances
• visualize and rehearse your own future
• shift your awareness

Counselling and coaching is about personal growth and development and encouraging people to discover their potential for living as well as for people with anxiety, depression, stress, bereavement, low self esteem, and relationship difficulties.

 

Mindfulness, emotional intelligence, focus, personal development and confidence building book recommendations

blog feb 2018

Struggling to entertain yourself whilst you are snowed in?

 

We live at a time when there are more self-help books on the market than any one person could hope to consume in a lifetime. But in today’s world, finding the time to read even one book, let alone a dozen, can still pose quite a challenge.

To make it easier for people like you with hectic lifestyles, rather than spend hours looking for the most acclaimed self help book, I have come up with the most popular mindfulness, self-improvement and counselling books from my client library:

Key themes covered include: mindfulness, emotional intelligence, focus, personal development and confidence building:

 

1. Screw Work Let’s Play by John Williams

2. Free Range Humans by Marianne Cantwell

3. Stop Talking Start Doing by Shaa Wasmund

4. What’s Stopping You?: Why Smart People Don’t Always Reach Their Potential and How You Can by Robert Kelsey

5. Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Professor Mark Williams, University of Oxford and Danny Penman

6. The Artist’s way by Julia Cameron

7. Ask and it is Given: How to Manifest the Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks

8. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

9. How to Save an Hour Every Day by Michael Heppell

10. Overcoming procrastination by Dr Windy Dryden

11. Subpersonalties by Dr John Rowan

12. Meeting the shadow by Connie Zweig

13. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

14. It’s not how good you are it’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden

15. Freedom from your inner critic by Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss

16. Perfect Love Imperfect Relationships by John Welwood

17. Sane New world by Ruby Wax

18. The Chimp Paradox by Stephen Peters

19. The six pillars of self esteem by Nathaniel Branden

20. Boundaries and Relationships by Charles Whitfield

21. Boundaries where you end and I begin by Anne Katherine

22. The Self-Acceptance Project: How to Be Kind and Compassionate Toward Yourself in Any Situation by Tami Simon

23. The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety: A Guide to Breaking Free From Anxiety, Phobias, and Worry
by John P. Forsyth and Georg H. Eifert

24. The Compassionate Mind Approach to Overcoming Anxiety (Compassion Focused Therapy) by Dennis Tirch

25. The little book of Ikigai – The essential Japanese way to finding your purpose in life by Ken Mogi

26. What you think is what you get – An introductory textbook for the study of the Alexander Technique by Donald L Weed

 

This will keep you out of mischief on a cold winter’s evening tucked up with the cat, dog or your laptop on the sofa or when later in the year you are sipping a refreshing cold gin and tonic on a sunny beach

so as one of our favourite authors states: “stop talking start doing” …….

 

Work related stress, Neuroscience and the Brain

you_revolution17 jan2015

Does this sound familiar? You’re feeling a bit tense with a tightness in your chest or butterflies in your stomach. You search your mind for the reason why and before you know it has reached a number of conclusions:

• an incident at the office a few days ago
• a tricky chat with a loved one
• or a looming unreaslistic deadline at work.

Suddenly, you begin to feel totally overwhelmed and stressed, paralysed to do anything because you’re caught in the middle of a viscous circle of negative automatic thinking patterns………

Do you know why this happens?

It’s a phenomenon called “negativity bias,” a name coined by Psychologists, describing our human tendency to be much more likely to be influenced by and to recall negative experiences, instead of neutral or positive experiences.

So the good news is that work-related stress, anxiety and automatic negative thoughts are not wholly your fault it’s just the way your brain is wired and you can take steps to address this.

So instead of giving yourself a hard time, be kind and compassionate, reassuring yourself that you’re pretty normal and not alone in this very common dilemma.

Man and clouds jpg

Here’s some Neuroscience research:

• We recall negative feedback more than we remember praise.
• Unpleasant events tend to be more memorable than pleasant ones.
• The brain is programmed to be vigilant and wary.
• The brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli. Studies indicate that there’s a greater flow in electrical activity in the brain when we visualise a negative image such as a dead cat than when we witness something positive like a glass of prosecco or yummy lemon cheesecake.

How can Neuroscience and a knowledge of the brain help with work-related stress?

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus primarily on the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions

Neuroscience is an increasingly wide ranging subject. Perhaps because the brain is one of the most complex structures in the known universe:

• intricate enough to coordinate the fingers of a classical violinist
• or logical enough to introduce the laws and theories of gravity.

Now let’s take a brief glimpse at the brain

The right hemisphere is generally associated with creativity, communicating emotion, analysis of nonverbal information and the control of the left side of the body, temporal and spatial relationships.

Whereas, the left hemisphere is usually identified with logic abilities, casual relationships, sequential thinking, controlling the right side of the body and producing/understanding language and complexities.

The limbic system sometimes referred to as the “emotional brain” is usually considered as composed of the following:

cingulate gyrus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus and amygdala.

It is the site of: emotional states and behaviour; the bridge between the conscious and subconscious brain and short term memory/ information storage, especially short term recognition of facts, objects, people etc.

The amygdala, the brain’s alarm system is located in the limbic system. Its key function is to call you to attention, and in an emergency, to mobilise or shut-down your body and mind so that you’ll survive.

Sadly though, this alarm rings automatically and unnecessarily often incorrectly informing you that you are experiencing a flight or fight situation when the actual reality is that you are not and the alarm is just being over cautious.

When our amygdala misinterprets a bodily sensation such as sinking stomach to be a message of despair and pessimism, it has exactly the wrong result, reducing rather than enhancing our attention and alertness.

 

That’s why anxiety, frustration, anger and other chronic stress reactions can occasionally, or for some people frequently, escalate into huge problems. Put simply, we’re not using our amygdala as effectively as it was intended.

monkey jpg

How can you tame your amygdala then?

Having studied this topic for many years now, by far the most comprehensive, informative book about neuroscience and the emotional brain I have read so far is the Chimp Paradox by Dr Stephen Peters.

As Coach of the Great Britain Cycling Team, and many business leaders, Peters developed a highly successful mind management programme using the term “Chimp Brain” as its premise.

The Chimp Brain

Peters asserts that “Chimp Brain” is an emotional part of our brain designed by evolution to support our survival.

Specifically, it is the area of the brain which activates the fight-or-flight response, hyperarousal, hypervigilance or the acute stress response, physiological reactions that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event or threat to our survival.

As it is fundamently concerned with two main instincts:

(1) survival and (ii) procreation

for example: sexual reproduction, hunger, thirst and protection of our territory.

The “Chimp” automatically jumps to opinions in the absence of concrete facts and may be paranoid, periodically resulting in catastrophic and irrational behaviour.

According to Dr Peters, the Chimp works on impressions, perceptions and interpretations, not facts and responds up to fives times faster than our rational brain.

Two other terms are also used by Peters, the Human Brain and the Computer.

The Human Brain

This Peters describes as the rational part of the brain highly effective at considering all the available facts and evidence and subsequently reaching careful and deliberate conclusions using cognition. It’s also where our highest values of humanity reside and it works five times more slowly than the chimp.

The Computer

A storage centre of retained experiences jammed full of automatic habits and responses, some positive, some negative. Above all though, when processing what is happening to us, both our Human and Chimp refer to the computer to seek associations and similar experiences. The Computer operates twenty times faster than our Human and four times faster than the Chimp.

You’re probably asking yourself right now how does all this relate to work-related stress then?

Peters argues that before taking any action, we firstly need to recognise these three powerful structures are continually operating in our mind. Furthermore, if we do not acknowledge this we will be perpetually running to catch up with ourselves.

This reminds of the mindfulness approach

Though we can’t stop our thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, we can take charge of what happens next. We can consciously step back, pause, breathe and choose to observe our negative thoughts rather than responding to them immediately.

Here’s some tips to help you regulate and tame the Chimp and as a result handle work-related stress more effectively:

 

1. Acknowledge that we as Human beings developed a negativity bias, that is, we evolved to notice and respond more forcibly to the negative, since that helped our ancestors to stay alive. Thousands and thousands of years ago, it was more important for cavemen to escape negative situations than it was to approach opportunity.

In other words, our ancestors wouldn’t even have stopped to analyse the situation. As soon as they noticed the slight rustle, like animals of prey, our ancestors would have simply fled for their lifes.

2. As it’s your “Chimp” it will respond sometimes when you are angry, stressed or perceive any kind of threat, physical or psychological, and it moves much more quickly than the Human part of your brain so is likely embarrass you with its responses. It might shout and rage, be rude and angry or violent.

3. Observe Chimp-like responses, these are easy to spot, they are responses which when you reflect later aren’t ones you’re proud of. They are likely the ones that if you had your time again you’d do differently, or they are the responses that you might, with the benefit of hindsight, think you need to apologise for.

4. Be aware that everyone has a Chimp and managing it is an everyday challenge, when we’re tired or stressed our Chimp becomes more difficult to control and can overwhelm us more easily. Observe other people’s responses, you can see Chimp behaviour everywhere.

5. Having become aware of your Chimp, you can work on taming it and rather than ignoring the Chimp’s instinctive and rapid reaction, just allow it to have its say. Then, consciously step back, pause, breathe and allow yourself more thinking time to work out a better, more considered Human response.

6. We can use the Computer part of our brain, our automated habits, to put in responses faster than the Chimp can react. This takes time and practice, but if we make a conscious effort to put in a different response to the impulsive Chimp one, we can develop what Peters calls an Autopilot, which is a script or response that overrides the unhelpful Chimp response before it can be enacted.

This rather reminds me of one Mindfulness tip I offer clients:

When you experience a negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:

“what do I know?”

“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts to take over it is not healthy for me and leaves me feeling anxious, I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”

“I know that thoughts aren’t facts”

Following your attempts at implementing the above strategy, record on a piece of paper the process of what happens when you try this technique and the automatic negative thoughts that stop you from supporting yourself.

To conclude

Understanding how your brain became so vigilant and wary, and so easily hijacked by alarm, is the first step toward gaining more control over that ancient circuitry.

Then, by bringing mindful awareness to how your brain reacts to feeling threatened, you can stimulate and therefore build up the neural substrates of a mind that has more calm, wisdom and sense of inner strength.

A mind that sees real threats more clearly, acts more effectively in dealing with them, and is less rattled or distracted by exaggerated, manageable, or false alarms.

Personal Bill of rights

you_revolution17 jan2015

 

Ever wondered about your personal bill of rights as a Human Being?

Well here goes

 

You have the right to ask for what you want

You have the right to say no to requests or demands you can’t meet

You have the right to express all of your feelings, positive or negative

You have the right to change your mind

You have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect

You have the right to follow your own values and standards

You have the right to say no to anything when you feel you are not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates your values

You have the right to determine your own priorities

You have the right not to be responsible for others’ behaviour, actions, feelings or problems

You have the right to expect honesty from others

You have the right to be angry at someone you love

You have the right to be uniquely yourself

You have the right to feel scared and say “I am afraid”

You have the right to say “I don’t know”

You have the right not to give excuses or reasons for your behaviour

You have the right to make decisions based on your feelings

You have the right to your own needs for personal space and time

You have the right to be playful and frivolous

You have the right to be healthier than those around you

You have the right to be in a non-abusive environment

You have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people

You have the right to change and grow

You have the right to have your needs and wants respected by others

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect

You have the right to be happy