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10 months ago · · 0 comments

The best stress management techniques to heal the past

Is the past holding you back from achieving your best or even from living in the present?

The amount of time you spend really living is directly related to the time you spend thinking about stress in your life.  Your current health is also directly influenced by how much you allow the stress in your life to impact you. This stress is often brought forward from your past into your current life and will continue to affect you until you directly deal with it.

A good example of this is the stress caused when trying to lose weight. There has never been more information about dieting, how to lose weight, the best foods to eat and so on. The weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry with diet pills, medical treatments, diet programs and so on. Yet, the number of adults, children and adolescents who are overweight around the world, continues to rise. This is not because individuals do not know what to do to lose weight. Most people can tell you, it’s just a matter of reducing sugar, processed foods and bad fats and increasing exercise. However, there is a mental block that prevents many people from following through and living a healthy and happy life.

The underlying beliefs, values and past experiences are what hold people back from achieving their weight loss goals. For instance, Roseanne Barr once noted in an interview that she discovered that she was blocking herself from losing weight as a result of childhood abuse. This abuse had caused her to want to cover aspects of her body with excess weight. It was only when she discovered this, that she realised why her dieting was not working – she was fighting against this underlying (unconscious) trauma and it would always win. This realisation helped move her past negative experiences holding her back and enabled her to finally lose the weight.

Another good example is procrastination. People often assume they are procrastinating because they are lazy or do not have sufficient motivation. However, the reason most people procrastinate is there something in the unconscious holding them back from acting. For instance, a student will avoid study due to an internal belief about being a failure; an employee will avoid a task at work due to an unconscious belief about making mistakes; a self-employed person will avoid working due to internal beliefs about it being too hard. All these avoidances are caused by underlying issues that are very difficult (or take a very long time) to address without tapping into the unconscious first.

stress management and the brainThe human brain is wired to protect you, so it’s going to fight against your rational (conscious) beliefs and strategies if it thinks they are not in your best interest. So it is here in the unconscious part of the brain that you need to begin in order to move past negative past experiences and to begin to reduce the current stress in your life directly caused by these negative experiences.

What’s the best treatment to overcome stress from the past?

In therapy a lot of the things that cause people current stress is past and present relationships, however it is very difficult to heal the influence of negative past events through simple ‘talk’ therapy. The reason for this is that on a very simple level the human brain is made up of the conscious (what you are aware of) and the unconscious (what you are not aware of) parts. The conscious parts are those that you hear on a regular basis – you inner voice. This is the part of your brain you train through traditional therapy. The problem here though is that the unconscious part of the brain is much bigger than the conscious part, so it plays a huge part in your motivations and behaviours day to day. This is why it can be very frustrating to make a conscious decision to do something, only to break your decision soon after (for instance, making a conscious decision to lose weight, only to binge on sweets the next day).

The best stress based treatment combines conscious (traditional therapy) and unconscious (e.g. Neurolinguistic Programing, Hypnosis, Emotion Freedom Technique, etc) in order to have lasting impacts. The unconscious strategy gets to the heart of why you are continuing to have current stress reactions and the conscious strategy provides the tools for stress management in every day life. The unconscious strategy, such as NLP works to re-wire negative events in the past, to eradicate negative internal beliefs and to heal past trauma. The conscious strategy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy in traditional counselling, works to train your brain to act in a manner that is more consistent with your values, desires and beliefs. Thus, the best way to prevent current and past stress from impacting negatively on your life, is through a combined conscious and unconscious therapy strategy. By doing both, you have a much more powerful and long lasting effect on your overall life.

Coping with stress

Stress has a profound impact on your life. If you’ve been struggling trying to overcome stress, it is most likely due to things in your unconscious holding you back. So, it’s worth looking into combined strategies that will work on both the conscious and unconscious aspects of your brain so that you can effectively move forward without being held back from your past experiences.

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help for Mums and Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

5 ways to reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem

 

 

11 months ago · · 0 comments

How to be more assertive

Being Assertive

mother returning to workDoes being assertive get you into trouble sometimes? I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the importance of being assertive. If you have tried to be be assertive and it backfired, it may be because of the way you delivered your message, or simple that the receiver was not used to your new stronger self.

When you think about being assertive, you may be confused with being aggressive or argumentative – these concepts are often misunderstood. Being assertive means conducting yourself in a manner that is in line with your values – standing up for yourself because you you have a right to your beliefs and to stand up for what you believe is right too.

The problem with assertiveness is that most people are focussed on the outcome. In other words, the outcome of standing up for yourself. This is where anxiety over being assertive develops, because you can quickly be deterred from being assertive if the person who received your message was unhappy as a result of what you had to say. This anxiety leads to a lot of internal stress and struggle as you hold disappointments and anger inwards in an effort to keep the peace. Of course, what tends to happen in this case is your negative emotions come out in the most unlikely place and when you least expect. So, it’s not the best trategy for coping with negative experiences in your life.

How to be assertive at work

One place which can be very difficult to be assertive is at work, because of the fear of getting into trouble, being unliked, or being fired. However, once again this misses the point of being assertive. The reason negative things happen as a result of being assertive, is because the message was not delivered effectively. When you are acting in an assertive manner, it’s important to only deal in the world of facts – do not being emotion into the conversation – particularly at work. For instance, if your boss is being a bully and asking you do so something that you think is unethical or just wrong, the best way to respond here is to state the facts (such as the internal policies or protocols within your organisation, or the more Senior person who has requested work be undertaken in a particular manner). When you deliver this message it’s best to be calm and factual, because others cannot argue or intimidate against facts. They can, however, argue against emotion (such as when you say “I don’t feel comfortable”, or “I don’t like that”). Whilst your emotions are valid, they are not the best way to address issues at work. Your best approach is to say things like “this is not acceptable behaviour or is not in line with company policy“, or “according the policy, or to the Manager, the best approach is xyz”. Then, your assertive conversation is more likely to deliver a favourable response.

How to be assertive in relationships

In relationships it can be a bit trickier to be assertive, because there is a risk of someone getting upset with you. However, the same rules apply in terms of sticking to facts, rather than emotion. Whilst it’s appropriate to tell someone how you feel in a relationship, when it’s time to be assertive, the best course of action to stick with the facts. In this instance you would describe the behaviour and avoid name calling, or attacking the person’s character. For instance, if you feel a friend or partner is regularly lashing out at you, or is speaking to you in a rude manner, you are better off assessing the situation and making a judgement call about whether the person is more likely to be receptive of your assertive conversation in the middle of the emotional outburst, or once he/she has calmed down. Then, picking the right time, focus on the behaviour itself but calmly saying something like “there is no need to speak to me in that tone – I will speak to you when you can talk more calmly”. This is going to generally work better than saying “you’re really upsetting me”, because you are not addressing the problem – the tone of voice in which you have been spoken.

KEY: How to be more assertive

The 3 key ingredients to being assertive are:

  1. Stick to the facts – what you are trying to address
  2. Be confident that you have a right to stand up for your beliefs
  3. Pick your moments to be assertive wisely

 

The purpose of being assertive is not to guarantee a results, because human beings are different and will/won’t be receptive of your assertive conversation based on a myriad of reasons. Being assertive increases your chance of being heard, it removes the heated emotional nature of conversations that can lead to very negative consequences and it boosts your self-esteem by being your true self.

 

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help for Mums and Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

5 ways to reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem

 

11 months ago · · 0 comments

How to cope when you are feeling insecure

Feeling insecure

couples counselling with happy lifeThe feeling of insecurity or feelings of rejection are very painful and can significantly impact on you self-esteem and on your personal and professional relationships. This negative feeling is often very subtle, but can also be experienced in a very intense manner, depending on the circumstance and on your ability to cope and rationalise your feelings at the time.

Feeling insecure stems from childhood experiences (e.g. trauma in childhood or inconsistent parenting), recent rejections (e.g. job insecurity or failure or obtain a new job), or perfectionism (e.g. having too high expectations of yourself). The reason behind your insecurity is important because it impacts on how you deal and cope with feelings of rejection in every day life and how you heal and move forward. However at the core of these three issues is your self-esteem – the value you place on yourself.

When your self esteem is high, you can deal much more effectively with potential rejections, however, when your self-esteem is low, even the smallest possible rejection can get you down. So, at the very least, it is important to build your self esteem.

How insecurity impacts on your life

Insecurity most strongly plays out in personal relationships, in particular when you feel as though you are giving something of yourself to another person and this is not being sufficiently reciprocated, or when you feel you have been unfairly criticised.

Feeling insecure with friends

One of the best ways to begin to reduce feelings of rejection and insecurity, is to separate the value of yourself from your actions. For instance, let’s say you are really busy and decide to offer your assistance to a friend who needs help and your friend says “no thank-you, I’ve just organised my brother to help me”. When you feel insecure, you mid immediately races to thinking “it must be me”. She must not like “me”, or “I” must have done something wrong, for her to say “no”. However, if you separate yourself from your actions, you can take a step back and rationalise that she is not saying “no” to you, she is saying “no” to the action. The action has nothing to do with you – she was in her world, trying to work out a solution that suits her and her brother turned out to be the best solution at that time. In other words, she is not rejecting you, she is simply saying no to your offer of help. You can separate YOU from the OFFER OF HELP.

Feeling insecure with family

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you spend hours making a delicious meal for your family. You’ve been worrying for a while about whether or not your children are eating enough vegetables, so you spend hours looking over the best kid-friendly vegetable based dinners and cook what you believe is an amazing healthy and delicious meal for them. You present this meal to your family with pride, only to be told it looks and tastes disgusting and there is no way they are eating it. Your initial reaction is to feel very hurt and rejected, because in your mind you believe this means you are either a bad cook, your children don’t like you or care about your feelings, you are never going to be able to get these kids to eat a healthy meal and so on… However, if you were to separate yourself from the action, you could look at the situation differently and try a different approach next time without taking it personally. The fact they do not like the food has nothing to do with you. They simply don’t like the food (the action). They are rejecting the food, not you. So, you can decide in that moment to rethink new ways to present healthy meals, or to sneak healthy vegetables into your child’s diet and put this dinner down to ‘trial no.1’.

Feeling insecure in a relationship

Let’s look at a more personal scenario – feelings of rejection in relationships. The most painful rejection is a break-up, because you interpret this one as “he/she does not like me”, or “there must be something wrong with me”, or “I must have done something wrong”. However, most of the time a break-up is not due to someone doing something wrong. It tends to be both people drifting apart for a variety of reasons, or that one person has issues with commitment, it’s bad timing and so on. So in this scenario you can still separate yourself from the action. Yes, it still takes time to mend the pain because you will miss the other person being a part of your life. However, the way you deal with this break up and the impact it has on your level of insecurity moving forward is directly related to your perception of the separation. You can see it for what it is – the other person is not rejecting you. They are simply saying “no” to the relationship at this time – not “no” to YOU as a person. This is a difficult one for many people to get their head around, but it is an important one to grasp because relationship break-ups can have a devastating impact on your self-worth. Incompatibility has nothing to do with the worth of a person and more to do with values, beliefs, what each person deems acceptable in a relationship and what each person is willing to accept or not willing to accept in the relationship. So, often in relationships it’s the compatibility that is being evaluated, not the person’s worth – and this is the KEY to understanding YOU are not being rejected, the COMPATIBILITY of both of you within the relationship is what is being rejected, so it cannot and should not impact on your self-worth.

The key to reducing insecurity

In these scenarios, the key is to stop yourself when you begin to feel insecure, or rejected. You know what that feels like (e.g. it usually starts with a funny feeling in your tummy because your stomach is the feeling centre of your body), so you can begin to rethink your reactions to rejection the moment you start to feel rejected. Then try to separate yourself from the action with which you are feeling rejected and rationalise that this action is not a reflection of your self-worth. In doing so, you will begin the journey towards higher self-worth and not allowing feelings of insecurity to take over or ruin your life.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help for Mums and Author of Perfect Mum and Refresh Your Life

5 ways to reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem

Download your FREE copy of 5 Everyday Ways to Add Serious Self-confidence to Your Life 

 

11 months ago · · 1 comment

How To Overcome Fear

Overcoming Fear

overcoming fearFear breeds more fear. One of the things you can guarantee is that if you feed your fears they will grow exponentially. The reason for this is quite simple. On a very basic level we are wired to self protect. When we believe we may face a potential threat to our wellbeing, fear is there to protect us.

But, what if our perceptions of what is really scary are skewed by negative past experiences or by inaccurate beliefs? By testing this theory – you can dramatically reduce fear in your life for good.

How to control fear

The easiest way to beat fear is through evidence. Your self preservation mindset will find it very difficult to push you towards fearful events, unless you can convince yourself that your fears are irrational, or that despite your fears, your actions are still in your best interest (or in the best interest of others you deeply care for).

Imagine you have developed a fear of heights. Each time you come close to being up high, you become anxious and avoid the fearful situation. This avoidance reinforces your anxiety because you quickly learn ‘if I get scared, I can run away’. Now, let’s say years go by and now you have a child. Your child begs you to go on a very high waterslide with her, but your fear of heights debilitates you, so you say no. You feel terrible for disappointing your daughter and feel even more ridiculous when you see her brace the high slide alone without you. In this scenario, you avoid your fear and allow it to continue to manifest.

However, what if you challenged your fear? What if you provided enough evidence to show that you wouldn’t get hurt (eg by telling yourself “if my daughter can do it, so can I”). Even though you were scared, you now know your fear is irrational. You brace the high slide. You’re shaking all the way up the stairs. You sit in the slide position and let go. You make it to the bottom of the slide safely. You’re still shaking, but you did it. Two weeks later, your daughter asks you to go on a much smaller slide (one that previously terrified you). At first you become anxious, then you remember how you braved the big slide. The fear of this smaller slide only lasts a few seconds and you slide down it happily. You have proven to yourself that this fear was irrational and you no longer feel scared. That one leap of faith – with evidence to back you up – was enough to break through your fear and reduce other anxieties that had been previously holding you back.

This example illustrates the best way to overcome fear – through evidence. In order to break through fear, you MUST convince yourself that everything is going to be OK, or at the very least, that you can handle the outcome – whatever that may be. So the next time you feel scared, see if you can challenge your fear and take one small step towards removing fear from your life.

If you live your life in fear, are you REALLY living, or just avoiding life? We can’t control our lives. We can shape and influence them, but we can’t control how other people act around us, external life events and circumstances. BUT… we can choose to live in the present. We can choose to use fear RATIONALLY and question whether the things we are truly scared of are rational, or irrational. If you know in your heart a belief is irrational (such as being scared to say “no” to someone even though you know you have a right to), then this is the time to test the evidence and prove to yourself that you don’t have to let fear rule your life any more.

lizzie o'halloran

 

 

 

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11 months ago · · 0 comments

Child Development: Coping With The ‘Kid Temper Tantrum’

Do you have a problem child, or could you expecting too much from your child’s behaviour?

child developmentAs a parent you want the best for your child. But today there has never been more expectations on how a child should behave and on the best ways to parent. Parents judge themselves too harshly, judge other parents too harshly and judge their children too harshly.

A good example of this is when a child misbehaves in public. Parents are usually mortified because they are:

a) worried about what other people might think of their child or their parenting skills

b) worried there must be something seriously wrong with their child to act in this manner

c) worried about the outcome of the tantrum.

However, often we as parents often don’t stop to think about why our child is acting out.

Dealing with challenging behaviour

I have 2 children. My eldest daughter is generally pretty well behaved. However, whilst generally delightful, my toddler has developed a habit of running away in public and throwing huge tantrums in public on occasions. Until recently I tried my usual tactic of remaining calm during the incident, removing my child away from the environment and then calmly addressing what just happened. Of course this did nothing to stop the behaviour from happening again. So this led me to think a lot deeper into what might be going on.

Research tells us is that children are attention junkies. They do not have an off switch. They have a thirst for knowledge and play and want to always be the centre of attention. This is interesting, because here I was expecting my 2 year old to be well behaved in situations she would obviously find boring, unstimulating and find herself not the centre of attention. So I thought back to all these episodes. Being the second child, she is often forced to do things that are not suitable or fun (such as collecting her sister from school). So this is always going to be a ‘danger zone’ as we are navigating the school children, passing by the playground and paying attention to when her sister exists class.  Being with our friends is another ‘danger zone’ because we need to share our attention. Shopping is also a hot spot as we are distracted by shop assistants etc. Now, of course I do not want to create a monster who needs attention every minute, because no-one can provide a child undivided attention every minute of the day. However, I soon realised there are much clever ways to engage her in the activities we were are involved in, so that she feels valued, entertained and important, because at 2 years of age she can’t understand “mummy can’t talk or play right now!” – this conceptual understanding comes late in childhood development.

Back to the answer to deal with her toddler tantrum

Through some analysis of the situation, I realised the answer was not to work out ways to change her behaviour, but rather what I could do to involve her so that she felt her ‘attention junkie’ was being fulfilled?

So we trialled my new approach during our weekly market shop. Normally, I am chasing after her at least once. So first I needed to tire her out and then I needed to get her involved. The first thing we did was visit the animals at the market. This satisfied her energy levels enough to get started on the shop. Next we grabbed her a cane basket and spoke about all the veggies we were collecting. Then she was in charge of the money and the shop was completed without a glitch. The method was relatively simply, but it just took some thinking through.

Step 1: Being physical

Step 2: Being involved

A new approach to toddler behaviour

This experience taught me that the pressures placed on parents to be perfect lead us to assume we must be doing something wrong if our child misbehaves, or that our child is just really naughty. But I don’t believe this is true. I believe children are sponges and love to be the centre of attention. We can’t always give it to them and there are times we need a break, but if we take charge and involve then in our activities as much as possible. They will generally reduce their outbursts, feel much more relaxed and be much happier too.

So the next time your child has a temper tantrum in public, ask yourself what might be going on in terms of energy levels and engagement. Ask yourself questions, such as: is my child bored, over tired, unengaged, craving attention and so on. The answers to these questions will provide great cues as to what’s really going on and will give you a starting point to strategically and successfully move forward.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Personal Development Coach & Author

Help For Mums

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/help_for_mums/

11 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Reduce Self Doubt

Overcoming fear

When you’re not confident, you can find yourself agreeing to things you never dreamt you would, or to avoid and pass up opportunities that you previously believed would be a dream come true.

life-coach-professionals-student

Self doubt reflects an inner belief that you are not worthy or good enough at something. On a conscious level you are likely to believe you are worthy, however, self doubt is more subconscious – coming to the surface when you are under stress. For instance, due to social comparison many mothers doubt their skills as a mother whenever they (or their children) are not acting as perfectly as they believe they should be. As a parent, you do your best to provide love, support, understanding, security and fun. However, the stressors of life often get in the way of making this possible. As a result, every time you have to do something that takes you away from your picture of how the perfect mother should behave, you are likely to beat yourself up over it and further feed the self doubt.

Trust yourself

In order to reduce self doubt you need to change your internal beliefs. This means ingraining in your mind that you are good enough, you are trying your best and you deserve good things in your life. These beliefs need some effort to ingrain because you are often fighting against years of self doubt and strongly held negative self beliefs. Whilst these beliefs tend to hold you back, they do so in order to protect you from getting hurt. Thus, a life coach who uses techniques such as NLP or hypnotherapy can really help to clear out these old beliefs (on a subconscious level) and instil more positive – useful beliefs in their place.

Gaining self belief

Almost everyone experiences self doubt in one area of their life from time to time. It’s the product of upbringing and ongoing reinforcement. Therefore, it’s a learned behavioural response, which can be re-trained. Having a high self belief is the cornerstone of life success, so reducing self doubt is critical to overall happiness in life. It is an issue that many people struggle with and can cause a great deal of frustration.
Often you’ll find yourself working so hard to achieve a desired goal, only to self sabotage your success. When self doubt kicks in you’ll convince yourself you’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, rich enough, or even lucky enough – whenever you’re faced with a roadblock. You will also tend to interpret roadblocks as a reflection of your poor self worth, rather than life’s inevitable challenges you must face in order to grow as a human being.

Each new day gives you an opportunity to start again and build on your self worth. Every step you take towards self worth, reduces your self doubt and brings you closer to happiness and success.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums

11 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

Being a people pleaser

The law of attraction suggests we pick up on others energies and if we are not mindful, we will internalise these outward feelings as our own. It’s incredible how many people lose themselves in the process of trying to please others. This does not mean that you should not try to make others happy. It is a very nice part of humanity to gain joy from giving joy to others. However, when you start to second guess how others are feeling, or take their feelings on as though they are your own, it becomes a problem.

Fear of Rejection

A large part of worrying about what others think, also comes from fear of getting into trouble – or upsetting others. Unfortunately a by-product of being a nice person, can result in becoming a people-pleaser. This sounds nice on one level, but it can cause a great deal of stress when it comes at the sacrifice of your needs and desires. Further, when you continuously put your needs last – in order to people others – resentment and guilt are often not far behind.

In order to change automatic reactions and habits it’s important to consciously recognise the relationships that tend to bring on people-pleasing behaviour and then to approach every new interaction with the resolve to be true to yourself and not simply agree with others, so as not to offend them. For instance, if you are a parent and you have a belief about how children should be put to sleep (which is in complete opposition to a friend’s) it would be much more healthy for you to acknowledge your friend’s belief and still raise your personal views. What most people do is say nothing (or agree) with opposing beliefs and then end up feeling angry and offended, rather than addressing the issue first hand. In doing so, the peace may have been kept – but at what cost to your soul and self-esteem?

Feeling insecure?

Most of us have an innate desire to be liked, so we often go out of our way to make others happy and to keep the peace. However, this does not have to come at the cost of yourself – in other words – you don’t have to lose yourself in relationships in order to be happy. By relaxing with who you are and accepting that your true friends will like you for who you really are – not the mirror image on themselves – you will feel much more comfortable and less exhausted as a result of being the real you, rather than the people-pleasing you.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums

11 months ago · · 3 comments

The secret to achieving work life balance

Achieving Life Balance

One of the things experts who have changed their lives say, is that with dedication and perseverance – you can change your life. However, the hardest part about changing your life, is balancing all the aspects of your life that you wish to excel in. For instance, how do you manage to have a successful career when you have a strong desire to spend time with your partner and children?

boost self confidenceMany successful professionals often find themselves working long hours in order to move up the corporate ladder, or to build successful businesses. Getting the balance right can be difficult.

Whilst their are practical considerations and roadblocks to balancing life priorities (especially when you’re trying to make a change to reach a goal), there are two essential ingredients to achieving a good balance:
1) Unwavering self-belief
2) Feeling happy about the life balance that you maintain

 

1) Unwavering self-belief

This is one of the biggest challenges human beings face. Many people find themselves self-sabotaging their successes because they don’t really believe they’re good enough to achieve or sustain their desired goals. When the goal is set, it appears to be achievable, however, when roadblocks start to appear, or the road becomes a little more difficult, self-doubt creeps in to dent confidence and motivation. This self-doubt usually leads to procrastination. People often assume procrastination is laziness, however, it is usually the result of underlying fear.
One of the easiest ways to build self- belief when you’re moving towards a goal, is to continually refocus on where you want to go. For instance, if your goal is to write a book, you may find yourself procrastinating to avoid parts of the process (e.g. writing, editing, promoting) so as to have an excuse for it to potentially fail – as it’s not yet complete.

In the moments of procrastination, you must continuously remind yourself why your goal is important to you. You also need to be focused in the present moment, rather than focusing on the outcome of the goal. In the book writing example, you would focus on just the next step, rather than worrying about whether or not the book is going to be liked or well received. This mind shift takes some effort and persistence, because fear can be a very strong motivator for moving away from achieving a potentially scary goal.

2) Feeling happy about the life balance you maintain

Everyone has different desires and wishes for their professional life and personal life. Thus, you need to take time out to think about how much time you feel comfortable spending in all areas of your life and how this sits with those you care about most. Research shows that consistent, positive and quality time with loved ones is very effective at maintaining good quality relationships, so if you have minimal time with loved ones, at least make it count. This way, you can feel good about the time you’re spending together and rationalise the amount of time you spend at work, at the gym, with friends and acquaintances, travelling and so on.

It’s a good idea to give yourself space and time to reflect on the past year and to think about new strategies you could put into place to make your life more productive, effective and enjoyable. Trust in your self-belief and abilities to make the changes necessary to live a happy and successful life and seek help whenever you need it – to move forward with self confidence, trust and motivation.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums

11 months ago · · 0 comments

The Pursuit of Health and Happiness

The pursuit of happiness

In the pursuit of happiness it’s very easy to neglect your physical body and to ignore the impact that your health is having on your ability to achieve and maintain a happiness and a successful life.

Lizzie o'halloranAs adults, we spend a lot of time trialling various behaviours that may lead to short term feelings of euphoria (such as excess drinking, watching TV, smoking, and eating junk food). However, whilst you may experience an immediate positive feeling from these behaviours – long term these behaviours tend to lead to negative emotions. Therefore, short term gain can lead to long term pain.

What is even more interesting, is that short term gains in mood are also likely to lead to short term pain. For instance, eating junk or drinking excess coffee can lead to feeling bloated, tired, agitated, stressed and anxious. These negative moods can leave you feeling unmotivated, unsociable and cloudy headed. Yet, in the moment, junk food and coffee can satisfy an immediate need for an energy boost. So, we can easily fall victim to pleasing immediate needs without thinking about how they will make us feel later and in particular how they will affect our goals.

Ignoring the steps for a healthy life

So why do we ignore the nourishing mental and physical needs of our bodies – only paying attention when something really breaks down?
I believe we often ignore our body because we justify that other activities in life are more important, however if your body is not working efficiently, you will find yourself losing motivation, feeling too tired to achieve your goals and losing confidence in yourself if your physical body is not operating as well as it should/could be.

In addition, the message we have been receiving from the media for many years now is that the purpose of our external bodies is to portray a (pre-defined and culturally defined) beauty. As a result, MANY men, women and kids find themselves comparing their bodies to those they see in the media. Unfortunately these images tend to be well prepared and photographed (or air brushed), giving most people the belief that they could never measure up to these images. Thus, it’s easier to give up trying to reach such an unrealistic goal and enjoy the here and now instead.

The problem with this defeatist attitude is that internally these media images “stick”” and as a result people often feel guilty for not engaging in healthy behaviors in order to try to emulate the beauty stereotype. This guilt leads to feeling down and so the search for an instant ‘pick me up’ strikes again.

So what can you do to stop this behavior?

In order to fight against this way of thinking you need to start viewing your physical body as your tool to achieving success and happiness in life. This means looking after it and treating it well, so that it will in turn assist you when you need it most (eg, when you want to play sport with the kids/friends, brainstorm great ideas for a new project, perform well at work, present your best ‘self’ in an interview or on a date, or stay up late to complete an important project).

Living a healthy lifestyle is much more about giving you the best chance to achieve success, than it is about you looking good.
Let your body be your best tool to drive you to achieve your goals and desires in life.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums

11 months ago · · 0 comments

How To Boost Job Satisfaction

How to achieve happiness at work

mother returning to workIt’s an interesting question when you think that we expect 17 year old youths to have a very concrete view of their future life and career path. At this age, they are asked to make study, or work choices that will potentially shape the course of the rest of their lives, yet they really have such limited life experience to genuinely know if their chosen career path will bring them life fulfilment and happiness. This is why so many adults find themselves in unfulfilling careers, feeling lost and ‘stuck’ in jobs that only fulfil the need to sustain a certain level of living.
There is not much we can do about the academic system, however, we can certainly try to have an influence on our children’s futures by guiding them towards career paths that at least appear to be in line with their passions and interests. It is also important to advise children that often it takes time to work out what we really want to do and that we often have to take wrong turns to gain insights into careers that will not bring us the joy we perhaps envisioned at one time or another. The key message here is that it is NEVER too late to change your career path.

When I was studying psychology at LaTrobe University, one of my friends in class was a well known radio announcer who later in life decided to pursue a career in psychology which had always been a passion of hers. If you were to look at her life from outside, you would question why she would want to move out of a career which resulted in her being in the public eye, gave her a lot of validation and enough money to retire on. However, money and fame did not bring her everything she desired in a job. Whilst she enjoyed the fruits of her labour, she felt something was missing and made a decision to finally bridge this gap.

This life change is often a fantasy for most people because they pigeon hole themselves in careers that bring a certain amount of financial independence. Thus, the difficulty in changing careers later in life is committing to doing something that will make you happy, at the expense of the lifestyle you have created for you and your partner/ family.

Happy employees

Whilst this is a difficult decision, it does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ choice. Many clients come to see me because they are tired of working in a job that’s not in line with their passions, however they do not know how to break out of their current situation. Of course the first step in the process is spending time in self discovery to truly understand what brings you joy. For instance, do you have a passion for the artistic, political, legal, or social? Which areas of these spheres do you feel you could happily talk about and engage in all day? These questions will lead you to discover your true passions. Then, you need to decide if you require further study, career coaching or experience in this field. In order to minimize the impact on your current lifestyle, it’s best to try to arrange your current work around the study, experience, or coaching. The only down side to this step is feeling overwhelmed and tired. Therefore, in order to minimize this side effect, a great deal or organization, determination and commitment is required. These skills are always valuable in life, so they are an added bonus to your professional development skills.

Finding happiness at work

If you are organized, committed and determined, it doesn’t matter at which age you finally decide to live your professional dreams. Whilst we need to work to live, we also need to feel that we are contributing the best of ourselves to the world. There is a reason why you are talented in specific areas. Allow others to benefit from your talents. Your life is worth living the way that makes you happy, satisfied & fulfilled.

Lizzie O’Halloran, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums