International Day of Happiness – create the life you want using positive affirmations

 

 

According to many positive psychology theories “achieving happiness” often entails 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.”

So how can you develop new thinking? Let’s imagine that you want to loose some weight:

Instead of focusing on deprivation and starving yourself, ie scarcity, begin your weight loss goal by firstly approaching it sense of curiosity and with a positive mindset of abundance.

Here’s how:

(1) firstly, adopt a positive affirmation statement in the present tense such as “I’m happy and grateful that I have lost 5lbs this week” repeat this at least 40 times each morning and then just before you go to sleep for at least a two week period

(2) then, find a photo of yourself when you were slim or a photo of someone else in a magazine who is slim and look at this following each affirmation

(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:
setting a specific realistic goal such as aiming to loose 5lbs by the end of March not something vague like to loose weight.

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, 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 weight loss 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…

So take action today, International Day of Happiness, and take control of your negative internal chatter box alias “inner critic”.

How to set Healthy Personal Boundaries and to Say No Nicely

How to develop healthier personal boundaries to help you:

• Feel less angry, stressed, resentful, exhausted, guilty and overwhelmed
• Enhance your self confidence and self esteem
• Increase your energy levels

So what are personal boundaries?

Personal boundaries are “the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others”

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for him or herself what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how he or she will respond when someone steps outside those limits. They are built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.

Personal boundaries define you as an individual, outlining your likes and dislikes, and setting the distances you allow others to approach. They include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, involving beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem.

How do you establish whether your boundaries are healthy?

 

Firstly ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you a people pleaser who frequently agrees to do things that you really don’t want to do?
  • Do you experience difficulties standing up for yourself?
  • Do you allow insulting, off hand remarks from pushy, aggressive people because you are anxious or fearful of the consequences or of potential conflict?
  • Are you over sensitive and often take things personally?

If you have answered yes to one or more of these questions then your boundaries are probably not as robust as they could be. We have all struggled with boundaries from time to time especially with our parents and those closest to us.

We are not taught how to do this at school, so how can we be expected to know how to set healthy boundaries?

I believe boundary setting should be a mandatory item on the school curriculum.

What is a healthy boundary then?

 

Ideally, the ability to set flexible boundaries.

According to Nina Brown, there are four main types of psychological boundary:

  • Soft – A person with soft boundaries merges with other people’s boundaries. Someone with a soft boundary is easily manipulated.
  • Spongy – A person with spongy boundaries is like a combination of having soft and rigid boundaries. They permit less emotional contagion than soft boundaries but more than rigid. People with spongy boundaries are unsure of what to let in and what to keep out.
  • Rigid – A person with rigid boundaries is closed or walled off so nobody can get close to him/her either physically or emotionally. This is often the case if someone has been physically, emotionally, psychologically or sexually abused. Rigid boundaries can be selective which depend on time, place or circumstances and are usually based on a bad previous experience in a similar situation.
  • FlexibleThis is the ideal. Similar to selective rigid boundaries but the person has more control. The person decides what to let in and what to keep out, is resistant to emotional contagion, manipulation and is difficult to exploit.

Whilst a healthy relationship depends on the emotional space provided by personal boundaries, co dependent personalities have difficulties in setting such limits, so that defining and protecting boundaries efficiently may be for them a vital part of regaining mental health.

Before providing you with tips on how to set flexible, healthy boundaries, I thought it might be helpful to share with you: How healthy boundary setting techniques have benefited me in both my professional and my personal life:

 

Following extensive boundary setting training on my Psychotherapy Master’s Degree, the knowledge I acquired , outlining how to set consistent, timely, flexible boundaries, has made a significantly, positive difference to my life.

For example:

  • I mostly now do things that I want to as well as have to
  • The development of sound, assertiveness skills have provided me with confidence to say no nicely and achieve what I want both at work and in my personal relationships
  • My energy levels have increased, as I no longer experience high levels of time stress, caused by previously booking up my diary months ahead, as a result of over committing myself, saying yes to most social and work-related events
  • I now purposefully surround myself with people who champion and bring out the best rather than the stress in me. In other words, I am now equipped to manage and communicate with nay sayers, bullies and intimidating, negative, aggressive people much more effectively
  • Nowadays, I rarely feel tired, resentful and guilty

Over to you:

Here’s some flexible, healthy boundary setting techniques that work for me:

The first step is self awareness, that is, acknowledging that you experience difficulties with boundary setting.

Begin to say no nicely:

For most of us, the act of saying no is simple it takes a second. It’s not saying no that bothers us though it’s the consequences that concern us.

You can say no nicely by using words and phrases such as:

  • Thank you for asking me
  • That sounds interesting
  • I’m honoured to be asked
  • That’s really kind

Avoid using but as it carries negative connotations and instead use words like and however.

Leave a positive lasting impression – good luck

Let me know how you get on ask me another time or I’d love to know how you get on.

A question and answer example:

Question
I’m organising an amazing event and I’m looking for someone just like you to help with the organising. It will be great fun and it’s all for a good cause.

Answer
Wow well first of all thanks for asking. I’m honoured. However, I’m going to miss this one as I’m committed to several important things at the moment which all need my time and attention. It wouldn’t be fair on them, or you, if I said I could get involved with something else and then did a poor job with everything. Let me know how it goes though.

Situation specific examples:

Saying no to your boss at work
Wow thank you for thinking about me. It sounds like a great project and I’m up for a challenge. To take it on and do a brilliant job I need your help. Could you help me to find a couple of hours a day by reassigning some of my other responsibilities? I know Giles has done data input in the past so he would be great at that.

Saying no to an angry person
I feel uncomfortable when you shout at me, so I’m going to leave the room until you calm down.

Responding to a bully, naysayer or a critical person
It’s not OK with me that you continually put me down and criticize my appearance so I’d like you to stop doing this.

When you feel put on the spot
“I don’t know what I’m doing that evening yet and I have a policy of not making decisions right away so I’ll get back to you later in the week.
(If the person persists and tries to manipulate or make you feel guilty, keep repeating this statement to them over and over again).

Cancelling a previous commitment you have made:
I know I agreed to help you with the flower show, after reviewing my diary though, I now realise that I won’t be able to give it my best attention so I’m happy to help you find someone else by the end of next week.

Time saving examples:

Q Would you buy a newspaper when you drop Charlie off at the scouts?
A Yes of course. And I need your help with something. Would you empty the dishwasher while I’m out.

Q Could you take care of the phones while I’m away? Ill be back in an hour or so..
A No problem at all, and actually you could help me. Would you mind dropping this off at the Post Office while you’re out?

A few assertiveness techniques

Assertiveness is: “the ability to honestly express your opinions, feelings, attitudes, and rights, without undue anxiety, in a way that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others”.

Here are some useful examples of assertive statements:

  • Thanks for your suggestion. I’ll take that into consideration
  • No, I am not busy on Tuesday, but I want to keep it that way
  • Could you tell me more information so that I can understand what you are trying to say?
  • I will have to get back with you about that
  • I think I understand what you are saying, however I am in disagreement
  • When is a good time for us to talk about something that has been bothering me?
  • I feel you are being very aggressive toward me
  • I get upset when you start shouting at me

I Statements

These make for great conversation openers because blame is avoided, and may allow the other person to save face or take responsibility before becoming emotional. If you are used to arguing with someone and suddenly try this, you may get quick improvements in communication.

If the other person becomes aggressive or passive you can continue with “I” statements.

For example, “I will continue this discussion when we both agree not to name call.” Or for the passive person, “I realize that you are not ready to talk with me and I respect that and I know I can’t make you. I will be ready when you decide to talk.”

 I’ll sign off  with an inspirational quote: “if you never give up, you never fail.” 

 

Tip Ten for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

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Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

 

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

Tip Nine: http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/09/03/tip-nine-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyles-who-want-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/

For those of you who did read my other tips, you will recall me saying that over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

 

  • Escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London
  • Move from London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’m sharing some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

Tip Ten, self care and how to create your ideal, dream life

 

What are the benefits of self care and creating your ideal, dream life?

You will begin to:

  • feel less irritated, stressed, resentful, exhausted, guilty and overwhelmed
  • experience more joy and happiness because more time will be spent doing the things you really want to rather than a life just full of to do lists and things that you have to do
  • sleep better and as result increase your energy levels
  • experience more peace of mind, a sense of clarity and feel more focused

Heath and well being are your most important assets and investments, without these, you may experience exhaustion, illness, burn out and struggle to be as productive and as successful as you could be at work. Put simply: Health = Wealth.

What is self care exactly?

 

There are many definitions of healthy self care. As I like to keep life simple, I break it down into four distinct categories:

 

Relaxation

 

By this I mean incorporating at least one hobby and activity into your daily routine such as: mindfulness, yoga, pilates, tai chi, qigong, art and crafts, reading a novel, playing a musical instrument, surfing and gardening. What’s key here is allowing yourself to enjoy the journey rather than the arriving, in other words, undertaking the activities at a slow pace it’s not a competition.

Exercise

 

Include at least one of the following activities at least four times a week into your daily routine:

  • Cycling
  • walking
  • running
  • ruby
  • football
  • cricket
  • golf
  • swimming
  • rowing
  • dancing
  • basketball
  • netball
  • tennis

Diet

 

In terms of mood, I believe we are what we eat!!

I am not referring to a miserable life of fasting, food deprivation and diets.

What I mean by this is the introduction of a healthy daily diet consisting of mostly fruit, vegetables, seeds, fish and less fast food, red meat and carbohydrates.

For example, over the past few years, I have gradually reduced my daily bread, rice, pasta and sugar level intakes and only eat fast food and take aways about twice a year if at all nowadays.

As a result, I have noticed how less tired and sluggish I feel and how I feel increasingly more energetic and motivated.

My new motto is moderation not deprivation.

Adopting healthy sleep patterns

 

I go to bed most evenings before 11pm with the aim of sleeping for at least 7 hours.

Research indicates that engagement in emails and social media activities such as a facebook and twitter can overstimulate the mind resulting in difficulty sleeping.

So as part of my daily bed time routine, I ensure that I cease sending emails or engaging in any type of face book, twitter or other types of social media activities for at least two hours before going up to bed.

Do you include relaxation, exercise and diet into your daily routine?

 

If the answer is no then your work life balance or levels of self care are probably not as robust as they could be and you are not alone in this very common dilemma.

Most of us put work above family, friends and hobbies or have struggled with time stress at some point in our lives.

We are not taught about the significance of self care and work life balance at school, so how can we be expected to know how to create our ideal dream lives?

I believe self care and the art of work life balancing should be a mandatory item on the school curriculum.

How do you put self care strategies into practice to create a healthy work life balance?

 

Following extensive self care and boundary setting training on my Psychotherapy Master’s Degree and from attendance at several personal development courses, the knowledge I acquired , outlining how to create a timetable that reflects my ideal, dream week, has made a significantly, positive difference to my life and health and well being.

For example:

  • I mostly now do things that I want to as well as have to
  • My energy levels have increased, as I no longer experience high levels of time stress, caused by previously booking up my diary months ahead, as a result of over committing myself, saying yes to most social and work-related events and spending too much time on face book and twitter
  • My moods are mostly positive because I no longer eat fast food, I also find it helpful to limit myself to watching only 1.5 hours of television most evenings
  • Nowadays, I rarely feel tired, resentful and guilty

At least five days a week my daily timetable looks like this:

 

8.30am – 9am  Mindfulness Practice

9am – 1pm – Work

1pm – 2.15pm – Running then lunch 

2.15pm – 6.15pm – Work

6.15pm – 6.30pm –  Mindfulness Practice

6.30pm – 10pm – Family, Friends and Leisure time

10pm – 11.30pm – Read a novel.

Over to you:

 

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to know how to achieve a heathier work life balance and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts because of this, don’t panic or give up just yet.

Counselling, psychotherapy sessions or a personal development or mindfulness course can help you.

 

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face counselling or mindfulness 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: info@karendeeming.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip eight for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

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Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one, two, three, four, five, six and seven of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

Tip Seven: http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/08/06/tip-seven-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyles-who-want-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/

For those of you who did read my other tips, you will recall me saying that over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

 

• escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London.
• move from London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

Tip for week Eight, working with the ‘power of now’ to help you reduce negative thinking patterns, improve your decision making abilities and to experience more happiness, peace of mind and fulfilment:

 

So what is the power of now?

It is a “belief system based on living in the present moment”. Its core message is that our emotional problems are rooted in our identification with our minds. Eckhart Tolle, acclaimed author, of the Power of Now writes that we should be aware of our “present moment” instead of losing ourselves in worry and anxiety about the past or future.

His book is intended to be a self-help guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts about the past or future.

In other words, Tolle writes, “only the present moment is important and both our past and our future is created by our thoughts”.

Most of us have had the experience of relaxing thoroughly enjoying the present moment with the sun brightly shining whilst on a beach and then suddenly our minds wander, we become distracted, and before we know it, we are taken over by that part of our brain that transports us into the past or into the future and we subsequently feel upset or low within a second.

According to Oprah Winfrey: “The Power Of Now can transform our thinking. The result? More joy, right now.”

How does this relate to my personal story then?

 

The power of now techniques have helped me enormously to achieve the life I want and to make decisions that have allowed me to blossom and thrive.

For example, when I was considering moving to London from Yorkshire and visualised in the here and now how enjoyable and fulfilling that would be, within seconds my mind wandered and before I knew I was beginning to experience negative thoughts such as:

• What if I can’t find anywhere to live?
• What if I can’t afford the cost of living in London?
• What if I don’t meet any new friends and so need to rely on the few I do have and thus become a needy burden?
• What will I say to my parents and friends if it doesn’t work out?
• Wouldn’t it be easier to stay in Yorkshire, afterall, I have a well-paid secure job and lots of family and friends here?

Fortunately, though I was experiencing these negative thinking patterns on a regular daily basis, I was able to use the power of now techniques that I had learned to escort my attention back to the present moment. I achieved this by accepting the unhealthy thoughts were there whilst simultaneously neither reacting to nor acting on the thoughts.

How can you implement the power of now into your daily routine?

 

Practice the power of now meditation below not cross legged on a mountain in the Himalayas at your desk or sat upright in a chair at home, in your business hotel or on the bus or tube if you live in London.

Tips for the ‘power of now’ mindfulness practice

 

Whilst listening to the ‘power of now’ meditation, as with other mindfulness or meditation practices, just allow your thoughts to rise, plateau and fall and imagine that they are part of a film/tape or actors in a play coming and go or clouds in the sky and that you have the option to press the stop button at anytime.

Most importantly, remember that thoughts are not facts and are only your own interpretation of emotions and feelings and other people’s actions and so when you next experience a negative automatic thought write it down and ask yourself what evidence is there to support this thought and what evidence is there against this thought.

1. Regardless of what happens (eg if you fall asleep, lose concentration, keep thinking of other things), just do it! These are your experiences in the moment. Just be aware of them.

2. If your mind is wandering a lot, simply note the thoughts (as passing events) and then bring the mind gently back to your breathe

3. Let go of ideas of “success “, ” failure “, ” doing it well “, or “trying to purify the mind “. This is not a competition. It is not a skill for which you need to strive. The only discipline involved is regular and frequent practice. Just do it with an attitude of openness and curiosity.

4. Let go of any expectations of what the power of now meditation will do for you. Imagine it as a seed you have just planted. The more you poke around and interfere, the less it will be able to develop. So with the power of now meditation, just give it the right conditions – peace and quiet, regular and frequent practice. That is all. The more you try to influence what it will do for you, the less it will do.

5. Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “Ok that’s just the way things are right now “. If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feelings and body sensations, the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be non-striving, be in the moment, accept things as they are. Just do it

Over to you:

 

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to remain in the here and now, reach decisions and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts because of this, don’t panic or give up just yet.

Counselling, psychotherapy sessions or a personal development or mindfulness course can help you.

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face counselling or mindfulness 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: info@karendeeming.com.

 

Tip seven for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

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Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one, two, three, four, five and six of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

Tip Six: http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/07/12/tip-six-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyles-who-want-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/

For those of you who did read my other tips, you will recall me saying that over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

  • escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London.
  • move from  London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and  nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

Tip for week Seven, identifying and working with subpersonalities to improve your decision making skills:

So what is a subpersonality?

Most of us have had the experience of being ‘taken over’ by a part of ourselves which we didn’t know was there. We say ‘I don’t know what got into me.’

Here are a few short definitions:

1 A semi permanent and semi autonomous region of the personality capable of acting as a person.

2. Subpersonalities are psychological satellites, coexisting as a multitude of lives within the overall medium of our personality. Each subpersonality has a style and a motivation of its own, often strikingly dissimilar from those of the others. Another way of describing it is that subpersonalities are the people inside us and that each of us is a crowd.

Psychologist, Miller Mair offers a more elaborate description:

“Perhaps it is easiest to introduce the idea of ‘self’ as a community of selves’ by referring to the smallest form of community, namely a community of two persons. Most of us have probably, at some time, found ourselves talking or acting as if we were two people rather than one. We talk sometimes of being in ‘two minds’ about something, part of you wanting to do one thing and part wanting to do something else. Quite often we hear people talk of having to ‘battle’ with themselves, as if one aspect of themselves was in conflict with another.”

During my MA training as a Psychotherapist, I was very fortunate to be taught about subpersonalities by Dr John Rowan who has written extensively about this topic. More recently though, at a one day workshop the Trainer, named Peter, was very brave in naming a few of his own subpersonalities: Peter Pan, Perfect Peter, Promiscuous Peter etc.

Below is a collage that I created of my own subpersonalities whilst I was a MA Psychotherapy student.

 

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For example, the angel figure at the bottom of the collage represents my compliant, goody two shoes subpersonality and the headmaster with an accompanying wooden cane at the top of the image symbolizes my inner critic subpersonality.

Do you recall Mr Men, series of children’s books by British author Roger Hargreaves in the 1970s?

The series features characters with names such as Mr Tickle, Mr Happy, Mr Forgetful, Mr Daydream, Mr Uppity, Mr Silly, Mr Messy, Mr Funny, Mr Mean, Mt Chatterbox, Mr Nosey, Mr Greedy, Mr Impossible, Mr Strong, Mr Lazy, Mr Cheerful etc who have personalities and physical attributes based on their names. Perhaps Hargreaves was referring to his own subpersonalities here?

As Stephanie Foley puts it in her very helpful you tube clip:

Subpersonalities are habits or patterns of behaviour that we have followed since childhood: eg inner child, the very responsible one, the rebel, the organiser, the controller, the adventurer, the saboteur, the aesthete or the worker.

By recognising and working with subpersonalities she argues that the conformist can be transformed into someone more adaptable, a rebel tendency can become innovation or maybe the rebel and the conformist can work together and develop a new sense of leadership.

See the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbqZKNsl7A8

Often our subpersonalities are battling with one another and so can cloud our judgements or make us appear indecisive especially in the work place. 

So as I see it, if we acquaint ourselves with our subpersonalities we can then identify the perfect environment in which they might blossom and thrive (ie create the ideal soil that promotes grow).

Subsequently we can establish a middle ground between those that are in opposition with one another such as the bully at work and the meek mild subpersonality at home. In other words, attempt to harmonize our subpersonalities so that we feel less fragmented and more whole.

By turning down the volume of the bully at work, the gentler side of one’s personality can emerge in order to make more balanced decisions and a more pleasurable and motivating office environment for work colleagues.

How does this relate to my personal story then?

The inner knowledge of my subpersonalities has helped me enormously to make my life work. In the context of this blog though, I’ll focus on the most appropriate examples.

As I explained earlier, two of the hardest life challenges I have needed to face so far was deciding whether or not to:

  1. escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and;
  2. leave behind my hectic London lifestyle and Harley Street Private Practice to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher at my Bristol and Somerset Practices.

The major conflict here was between my overly cautious risk averse subpersonality ‘Cautious Karen’ and my adventurer and thirst for knowledge and new experiences subpersonality ‘Curious Karen.’

Fortunately, following a number of lengthy debates between the two subpersonalties, Curious Karen managed to persuade Cautious Karen that both decisions would enhance my quality of life and achieve a healthy work life balance.

What can you do about subpersonality inner conflicts?

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you are probably struggling to make decisions as a result of subpersonality internal battles. Naturally, the reason will be different for each person and remember you’re not alone in this very common dilemma…

Take control of your subpersonalities and encourage them talk to one another.

Over to you: 

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to reach decisions and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts because of this, don’t panic or give up just yet.

Counselling, psychotherapy sessions or a personal development or mindfulness course can help you. I will also be writing a more detailed blog solely devoted to subpersonalties in the next few weeks so watch this space!!!

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line, telephone or face to face counselling or mindfulness 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: info@karendeeming.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip six for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

icons for campaign monitor_6Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

  • escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London
  •  move from  London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and  nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send  you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one, two, three, four and five of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/07/02/tip-five-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyles-wanting-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/

Tip for week Six, visualisations and positive affirmations:

During the career change transition from my secure well paid Corporate job to become a self employed Psychotherapist, I would often felt overwhelmed and crippled by an underlying sense of fear and panic often posing myself questions such as:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • Why not play it safe and continue working for someone else, at least you will receive a generous, regular income each month?
  • Are you crazy leaving this job, many people would be delighted be in your financial position right now so why risk leaving and becoming a free lancer?
  • Dreams are for other people not you etc etc ……

Following years of coaching, personal development and reading self help books though, I suddenly remembered a few helpful techniques. Instead of focusing on deprivation and starving myself of my dream and of allowing myself to experience positive and pleasure thoughts, ie scarcity, I woke up each morning by developing a positive mindset of abundance.

Here’s how:

  • Firstly, I adopted a positive affirmation statement in the present tense such as “I’m happy and grateful that I am a highly successful Psychotherapist with lots of clients at my Harley Street Practice,” repeated this at least 40 times each morning and then just before I went to sleep, for at least a two week period.
  • Then, I took a photo of Harley Street and of myself smiling and looked at this during each affirmation.
  • I was mindful, becoming physically, emotionally and mentally aware of my inner state as each external event happened in my life, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future.
  • Last but not least, I frequently reflected on this statement: “if you never give up you never fail.”

In other words, I adopted a small steps approach by setting byte size, realistic goals such as aiming to be seeing 15 daytime clients by the end of February not something vague like to gain new clients.

 

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

  • overcoming procrastination
  • overcoming addictions
  • overcoming shyness, low self esteem 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 mindfulness sessions with me, 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 positive affirmation 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” that I mentioned in my last blog.

I’ll end with a few 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, psychotherapy, mindfulness and coaching are 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.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tip five for people with hectic lifestyles wanting to make positive life or career changes

icons for campaign monitor_6

Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

 

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

  • escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London
  • move from  London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and  nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send  you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one and two of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

http://www.karendeeming.com/index.php/2015/06/25/tip-four-for-people-with-hectic-lifestyle-who-want-to-make-positive-life-or-career-changes/

Tip for week Five, tame your inner critic, negative chatterbox and top dog:

Most of you may already know, however for those of you who are unfamiliar, the inner critic is your inner voice, negative chatterbox or top dog 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?

Why do I always leave everything to the last minute?

I’m a failure in relationships

I’m a loser, lazy and selfish blah blah blah…..

Why can’t I stand up for myself?

I’m fed up of people pleasing it’s draining me of my life energy

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.

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.

How unhealthy is that?

Developing compassion can be a way of bringing our emotions into a helpful balance that increases our sense of well-being.

Increasingly, research is showing that if we focus on developing compassion and kindness for ourselves and others this really does help settle our feelings.

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:

 

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 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.

Alternatively, if you’ve ever fancied being an actor or even a Hollywood star:

 

Now’s your chance, well, at least to practise in your own home. It’s an exercise by Paul Gilbert, author of compassionate mind, and is about getting into a role from the inside and involves practising body postures and body states of compassion.

Essentially, you are going to get into the role of a wise, compassionate person, as if you are an actor who, in order to convince your audience, has to live this part from the inside. To do that, you must really get in touch with what it is to be that person. Just as a good actor studies the individual whom they are going to portray and tries to re-create the role within themselves, you’re going do the same and become the perfect, ideal, compassionate person. Now you may have an individual in mind; you might decide that you want to become like the Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi or Anne Frank or someone else that you consider your compassionate ideal. The idea is not to become them as such but to use them as a guide or inspiration for you to become the most compassionate that you can.

Here’s what to do:

 

First, stand loosely and relaxed, looking down or to where your vision is most comfortable. Adopt a soothing breathing rhythm for 30 seconds or so. Allow your body to relax and go as loose as it is able. Now for a moment, imagine that you are a deeply compassionate and wise person. Think of the ideal qualities that you would like to have as a compassionate person. These might include: deep kindness, warmth, gentleness, being difficult to provoke, a sense of having been there and gaining wisdom as a result. It doesn’t matter if you actually have these qualities or not, because you’re focusing on imagining and thinking about what it would be like to have them, what they are and your desire to develop them. So think about your age and appearance, your facial expressions and posture, your inner emotions of say, gentleness. Now like an actor about to take on a part, feel yourself become these.

Try to allow your facial expressions to be gentle and compassionate; allow yourself a slight, gentle smile. Think about the idea that you are a wise person who has seen much in life. When you speak, think about the tone of your voice. Think about what it’s like to be a forgiving person who doesn’t bear grudges. Think about the qualities that you really value in compassion and imagine having them (eg wisdom, warmth, kindness, generosity, acceptance, empathy, sensitivity, sympathy etc). Allow yourself to become this person. Spend as long as is comfortable practising this role, and try and do it seriously but also playfully. With this exercise, it can be interesting to note how it affects your body, including your posture, breathing rate and so forth. Do you notice your muscles becoming tense or more relaxed and softer? Are there any areas of your body that feel warm?

You can practise this at any time of the day or night if you wish. As you move around in your life, imagine being and becoming this compassionate person.

If it helps, watch a film featuring compassionate characters beforehand or listen to some compassionate music

Tip three for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

 icons for campaign monitor_5

 

Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

 

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

• escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London

• move from London to live in the idyllic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tips one and two of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes see:

 

see my blogs tips one and two for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

Tip for week Three

Sometimes, especially on Monday mornings, I’m aware that I wake up greeted by the thought of my to do list the size of the London Square Mile. Nowadays though, instead of allowing myself to become overwhelmed and depleted by this, I grab my journal, located on my bedside table, and begin my morning pages.

What are morning pages?

Morning Pages are a self development tool generally recommended for artists, musicians and other creative people when they supposedly experience creative blocks. It was first developed by Julia Cameron in her book the Artist’s Way. Having said that, it can also be helpful for those of us in other professions too, I have found this technique beneficial in both my corporate jobs and in my work as a Psychotherapist and Self Development Coach.

Is there a recommended structure for morning pages?

A general rule of thumb is to write down, first thing in a morning, the stream of thoughts and feelings that pop up in your mind in that moment. Some weeks this takes up one page of A4 paper or others three or more.

Automatic Negative Thoughts examples:

  • How am I possibly gonna get through today with all the meetings I need to attend
  • I’m exhausted and don’t want to get out of bed as I can’t face the day ahead
  • I hope some new business comes in today
  • Oh no I forgot to get some cat food yesterday
  • It’s the deadline for my tv licence payment today when can I possibly fit this in my busy schedule

etc etc

What’s great about morning pages, for me, is that they provide an ideal opportunity for longhand, free style writing and for you to offload your thoughts privately on paper rather than to a friend or to a family member. Put simply, anything goes as you don’t need to censor your words or to ensure that your writing is grammatically correct as no one else will see your words only you.

What are the benefits of morning pages?

 

•A clearer mind
•Better ideas
•Less stress and anxiety
•They help to declutter your mind and to tackle negative thinking patterns
•They can support you to turn down the volume on your inner critic
•They can enhance creativity
•They provide an opportunity to slow down

Most significantly, there is no wrong way to do morning pages.

Tip two for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

icons for campaign monitor_6For those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read tip one of my blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes, I thought it would be helpful to provide background information again, before introducing you to tip two:

See my tip one blog for people with hectic lifestyles who want to make positive life or career changes

Do you have a hectic lifestyle and want to make positive life changes but precious little time to make them?

Does any of this sound familiar?

For goodness sake, get a grip, woman. Don’t you know how lucky you are? You have zero right to be unhappy. Thousands are being murdered in Syria and you can’t even get out of bed, you self-indulgent cow. What happened to that fitness regime you promised you’d start, eh? No self-control, that’s your problem. And you haven’t replied to Jane’s texts. Jane must think you’re a crap friend. And she’s right. It’s a miracle you’ve got any friends left. Get up! You’ve got a to-do list which stretches from here to Loch Lomond. Pack the boy’s bag for camp, check Twitter. The plants on the patio are dying in their polystyrene coffins because you haven’t had time to put them in pots. Poor plants must hate you. Better check those watched eBay items. You don’t want to miss out on that incredible vintage (aka old, smelly and broken) deckchair, which is going to transform your life and usher in a new era of relaxation. Oh, dear God. I’m supposed to have handed in my review of Ruby Wax’s book to the paper. Gah! What are you going to tell them, eh? ‘Sorry, I was too stressed out to review the book about anxiety and stress?’”

Well the good news is you are not alone in this very common dilemma even the high flying journalist who wrote this article feels overwhelmed, stressed and rubbish sometimes too……

 

Or perhaps:

• Work takes up most of your life and you constantly feel like you are chasing your tail
• The joy has gone out of your life and you feel like you have lost your spark
• You can’t remember the last time you took a day off
• You feel like a hamster trapped in a wheel going round and round
• Been too busy is something you perceive as a sign of success or of a flourishing career
• Often you eat in tandem with other tasks and rarely take a lunch hour
• Days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them
• You’ve recently noticed that you are consistently more tired when you get up in the morning than you are when you go to bed
• Looking for car keys, phone, wallet, jewellry, eyeglasses, and documents become part of your daily routine
• There is so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when your laying in your comfy bed
• You put work first and leave everything else to the last minute such as loo breaks and GP appointments, parents’ evenings etc
• Traffic jams signal the beginning of phone meetings for you
• You continually feel like you are missing out on family life
• Often you feel guilty that you’re not there for your kids or your partner as much as you’d like to be
• You wish you didn’t feel too tired or busy to enjoy your social life

It doesn’t help either that this fast paced, quick fix, target-driven, celebrity and social media obsessed Society we currently live in  is remarkably effective at brainwashing people into believing they should look a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain someone, when in reality every single one of us is different. Society pigeonholes people and wants you to believe that you have fewer rights to be happy because you do not fit an idealistic lifestyle. This toxic pigeonholing’ happens because it keeps the consumer tread mill in business, continually filling up the pockets of plastic surgeons, BMW and Mercedes, banks, estate agents  and pharmaceutical companies who prescribe so called “happy pills”.

Life can be relentless, frantic and exhausting, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

With the continual interruption of texts, emails, facebook and twitter messages, there is no time to rest, relax and to consider how we really want to spend our lives and what conditions we need to create in order to make this happen. That said, some of us intentionally keep busy in order to distract ourselves from the bigger deeper questions about our existence on planet earth.

We all have a unique life purpose and plan. But contrary to this understanding, there still appears to be a, “template” and timeline that society reinforces us to follow. For those of you reading this and living in the West, I am certain that you are familiar with what that template is. We go to school, get our education, find a job, meet a partner, get married or live together, have a family and continue to support our lifestyles and pay our bills. This template may work for many people, but it can also be a trap in making us believe that life is a one size fits all kind of deal. What about those who dare to be different and choose to follow an alternative path? What if we aren’t meant to have our life roll out in that exact order and fashion? Does that mean we should feel down and out about ourselves?

Being “wired and wildly busy” provides us with a sense of importance and that we must be in demand. Of course, this may infact not be true. On a physiological level, most of us experience a rush each time we speed through work tasks and our to do lists. This can sometimes result in people getting hooked on that feeling and often becoming an adrenaline junkie. For some, speed is an ecstasy fix. Put simply we get off on speed and busyness so our bodies and brains end up yearning for it and then beginning to demand it.

21st Century life pressures us to feel like we can be everywhere and do everything and it gives us quick fix, magical tools that strengthen this false belief. Witness today’s super mums juggling the schedules of their children, work, bills and me time, how was this possible before mobile phones, email and social media? Though she is pressured, she is not bored. One part of her feels like she is indispensable consistently receiving praise for completing such a difficult task.

So, what’s the cost to our health and well-being?

It can be exciting and thrilling pushing ourselves to and often beyond the limits of how much we are capable of. That said, doing too much too quickly can be exhausting, uncalled for, and potentially dangerous, for example, phone calls whilst driving.

In our relentless overloaded world, we often feel depleted and more tired when we get up in the morning than when we go to bed. Our productivity levels and the quality of our work depreciates with speed. The quicker we approach tasks the more likely we are inclined to make errors. When we feel up and high, we ride our hectic life like a high performing surfer in the flow of a great wave, but when we’re down often we wipe out, burn ourselves out and can’t seem to overcome exhaustion. Most importantly though this has long lasting and detrimental consequences for our health and well being.

What can you do about it?

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing with you the mindfulness, self help and personal development techniques and tips that helped me to:

• escape the corporate cage, that is, my well-paid secure job and hectic lifestyle in London
• move from  London to live in the idylic countryside and do my dream job as a successful Psychotherapist, Coach and Mindfulness Teacher helping 1000s of clients at my Liverpool Street and Harley Street Practices and  nowadays at my online, Bristol and Somerset Practices sometimes advising film Directors, such as Mike Leigh, on the authenticity of film narratives.

Though I am now doing my dream job, living in a delightful Somerset village and have many tools at my disposal, life is occasionally still tough so I’ll also send  you some tips to help you remain motivated, and focused when you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, lost or you are falling victim to ”l’m too busy and don’t have enough time” and procrastination trap.

Tip for week two

Sometimes following a stressful lengthy London commute from the office,  I was so exhausted from my hectic lifestyle, focusing on my breathing seemed to be the last thing I needed, so on these occasions, I tried this instead:

The sounds and thoughts mindfulness meditation:

http://franticworld.com/free-meditations-from-mindfulness/

Before beginning the sounds and thoughts mindfulness meditation, read these tips first:

 

Just allow your thoughts to rise, plateau and fall and imagine that they are part of a film/tape or actors in a play coming and go or clouds in the sky and that you have the option to press the stop button at anytime.

Most importantly, remember that thoughts are not facts and are only your own interpretation of emotions and feelings and other people’s actions and so when you next experience a negative automatic thought write it down and ask yourself what evidence is there to support this thought and what evidence is there against this thought.

1. Regardless of what happens (eg if you fall asleep, lose concentration, keep thinking of other things), just do it! These are your experiences in the moment. Just be aware of them.

2. If your mind is wandering a lot, simply note the thoughts (as passing events) and then bring the mind gently back to the sounds around you.

3. Let go of ideas of “success “, ” failure “, ” doing it well “, or “trying to purify the mind “. This is not a competition. It is not a skill for which you need to strive. The only discipline involved is regular and frequent practice. Just do it with an attitude of openness and curiosity.

4. Let go of any expectations of what the sounds and thoughts mindfulness meditation will do for you. Imagine it as a seed you have just planted. The more you poke around and interfere, the less it will be able to develop. So with the sounds and thoughts mindfulness meditation, just give it the right conditions – peace and quiet, regular and frequent practice. That is all. The more you try to influence what it will do for you, the less it will do.

5. Try approaching your experience in each moment with the attitude: “Ok that’s just the way things are right now “. If you try to fight off unpleasant thoughts, feelings and body sensations, the upsetting feelings will only distract you from doing anything else. Be aware, be non-striving, be in the moment, accept things as they are. Just do it.

 Watch out for Tip 3 in the next few weeks!!!

 

UK Election 2015 which party best meets your mental health and well being needs? You decide……….

As a Psychotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher and former Poverty & Social Exclusion Senior Policy Manager, keeping abreast of mental health policy developments is crucial to ensure that my clients receive the best possible service. This is particularly important in 2015, the year of the UK General Election.

So let’s take a look at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ snap shot view of the main parties’ commitments on mental health and well being and whether counselling, psychotherapy or mindfulness get a mention:

Conservative

• Ensure there are therapists in every part of the country, providing treatment for those who need it.
• Enforce the new access and waiting time standards for people experiencing mental ill health, including children and young people.
• Ensure that women have access to mental health support during and after pregnancy, and strengthen the health visiting programme for new mothers.
• Deliver the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 to make sure that everyone diagnosed with the condition gets a meaningful care plan to support them and their family.

Labour

• Ensure people will have the same right to psychological therapies as they currently have to medical treatments, with a strategy to ensure that the majority of patients can access talking therapies within 28 days.
• NHS staff training to include mental health. Teachers will also have training so they can identify mental health problems early and link children up with support.
• Increase the proportion of the mental health budget that is spent on children and young people.
• Encourage the development of social and emotional skills in schools, e.g. through the use of mindfulness to build resil-ience, ensuring all children can access school-based counselling.
• Drug treatment services to focus on the root causes of addiction, with proper integration between health, police and local authorities in the commissioning of treatment.
• Ban the sale and distribution of dangerous psychoactive substances, so-called ‘legal highs’.
• Take targeted action on high-strength, low-cost alcohol products that fuel problem drinking.

Liberal Democrats

• Increase mental health spending in England’s NHS by £500 m a year by 2016/17 and provide funding for similar invest¬ments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• Roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults, including a waiting time standard from referral of no more than 6 weeks for therapy for depression/anxiety and 2 weeks for all young people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
• Increase access to clinically effective and cost-effective talking therapies ensuring everyone is treated in the long-term, with an interim target of 25% of those suffering getting treatment.
• Implement the proposals from the Government’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce – building better links with schools, ensuring all children can develop mental resilience.
• New waiting time standards and better crisis care in A&E, in the community and via phone lines, enabling the end of the use of police cells for people facing a mental health crisis.
• Extend the use of personal budgets, integrating mental healthcare more fully with the rest of the NHS, introducing rigorous inspection and high-quality standards, comprehensive collection of data to monitor outcomes and waiting times, and changing the way services are funded so they do not lose out in funding decisions in future.
• Introduce care navigators so people get help finding their way around the system, and set standards to improve the physical health of people with mental health problems.
• Publish a national well-being strategy, with health and well-being at the heart of government policy.
• Establish a world-leading mental health research fund, investing £50 m to further our understanding of mental illness and develop more effective treatments.
• Ensure all frontline public service professionals, including in schools and universities, get better training in mental health – helping them to develop their own mental resilience as well as learning to identify people with mental health problems.
• Introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol (subject to the outcome of the legal challenge in Scotland).

Plaid Cymru

• Raising awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and across society to ensure people with mental health conditions get more help with diagnosis, treatment and advice.
• Increase access to talking therapies, increase funding for eating disorders and drug and alcohol treatment, and increase resources for mental health services for young people.
• Introduce a 50p minimum price per unit on alcohol sales.

Scottish National Party

• Investing £100 m in a mental health innovation fund over the next 5 years. Resources will be directed towards projects that will improve mental health treatments in the primary care sector. The fund will also enable further investment in child and adolescent mental health services.

Green Party

• Ensure that spending on mental healthcare rises within their overall commitment to increase real spending on health by £12 bn.
• Ensure that no one waits more than 28 days for access to talking therapies.
• Ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including children and young people, should have safe and speedy access to quality care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for chil¬dren eliminated by 2016, and by the end of the next Parliament only occurring for adults in exceptional circumstances.
• Ensure that everyone who requires a mental health bed should be able to access one in their local NHS trust area, unless they need specialist care and treatment. If specialist care is required, this should be provided within a reasonable distance of where the patient lives.
• Implement a campaign to end the discrimination and stigma associated with mental health through supporting the Time for Change programme and offering employment support to those with mental health problems.
• Pay special attention to any mental health issues of mothers during and after pregnancy, children and adolescents, BME people, refuges, the LGBTIQ communities and ex-service people and their families.
• Improve access to addiction services, including both drugs and alcohol addiction
• Give higher priority to the physical healthcare of those with mental health problems.
• Put a minimum price on alcohol of 50 p per unit to reduce the physical, psychological and social harm associated with problem drinking, with only a negligible impact on those who drink in moderation.

UKIP

• Take a ‘whole person’ approach to health, giving mental health parity with physical health.
• Direct patients diagnosed with a debilitating long-term condition or terminal illness to mental health professionals when appropriate.
• Recognise there is often a link between addiction and mental illness and offering appropriate treatment where this is the case.
• Offer direct access to specialist mental health treatment for pregnant women and mothers of children under 12 months of age.
• End the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E.
• Increase mental health funding by £170 m annually, phasing this in through the first 2 years of the next parliament.
• Invest an extra £130 m a year into researching and treating dementia by 2017.
• Issue a veteran service card to ensure fast-track access to NHS mental healthcare.
• Build a dedicated military hospital providing specialist physical and mental health services.

For me, voting is rather like counselling, psychotherapy and mindfulness, a private and confidential matter:

so I’ll leave it upto you to decide which party best suits your or your family members’ health, well being and mental health needs.