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7 months ago · · 0 comments

How to cope with stress and anxiety in this busy world

How to slow down to beat stress and illness

stress and anxiety
When you push yourself too hard physically and emotionally you can find that you take a lot longer to recover from colds and flu. Modern life does not tend to present you with many opportunities to take time out to fully recover from mild illness. Thus, once your obvious symptoms dissipate, you tend to either feel too guilty to continue to rest and recuperate, or you have too much on your plate to do so.
There are a finite number of hours in the day and your list of ‘to-do’s’ can often feel overwhelming, leaving you little time to allow yourself permission to rest. This is particularly true for high level professionals and parents, who are relied upon significantly by others – day in and day out. In addition to external pressures, it’s very common to feel guilty about resting, when there is still so much more to be undertaken and achieved.

 

So, how do you fully recover from illness in order to function at your optimum – most of the time?

In order to recuperate fully and feel your best, there are the ‘usual’ things to do, such a sleep well/enough and eat well. However, in reality recent research shows that in order to achieve your ever growing list of tasks, most people find it easiest to skimp on sleep. Shaving a few hours here and there can add a significant number hours to your year, so it’s no wonder it’s so tempting to give it up and thus to squander the recommended 8 hours of good quality sleep a night.

Taking it slower to beat stress and illness

Instead of trying to change your sleeping habits, a quick and easy way to improve your health (before, during and after illness) is through slowing down. Most people tend to make the misguided assumption that in order to succeed in life, one must move with speed. The problem with this theory is the body’s reaction to being placed under pressure on a regular basis – STRESS. Regular, ongoing stress has been shown to cause a short-term reduction in IQ and can have a significant impact on your self-confidence and self-esteem, particularly if the anxiety turns into depression. This is why, it can be very difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions with you’re stressed. Chronic stress leads to increases in the chance of making mistakes and having to end up working even harder to amend these mistakes. Rushing around tying to achieve a million things in a day/week/month/year usually ends up resulting in a lot of wasted time and energy.

Taking a breath

In contrast, if you were to start your day with a few deep breaths, 5 minute relaxation exercises and made a conscious effort to slow down, you would be able to think more clearly and rationally and thus be much more productive during the day.

For instance, most people arrive at work and feel anxious as soon as they begin to look at emails, to-do lists and speak to other stressed co-workers. They tend to spend the day frantically trying to spot multiple fires, feeling overwhelmed, stressed and unproductive. If instead of this strategy, they walked into the office, took out a notepad and began to scan through emails, to-do lists and verbal requests from staff first thing in the morning and then developed a daily priority list, they would be able to tick off the most important jobs they had achieved that day. This would in turn provide both a feeling of achievement and a sense of control.

Undertaking such a morning task would take between 15-30 minutes per day, but would give back many more hours of productive work in return. The act of slowing down and gaining control is vital for health and wellbeing, particularly in this busy world we live in.

Your mind significantly impacts your physical health and emotional state, so if you’re feeling run down or overwhelmed, try to simply slow down. Try it for 1 week and see how much it improves your life.

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums and Author of Refresh Your Life & Perfect Mum

8 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

 

 

1 year ago · · 0 comments

How To Cope With Challenges in the Workplace

how to cope with work stressHow much do you value your work and how much validation do you seek from your job? One of the biggest traps you can fall into in your professional career is placing too much of your self worth on your performance and treatment within your office.

It was not that long ago that primarily men went to work – just to pay the bills in order to enjoy their ‘real’ life outside of the office. Over time, the demands of modern life have driven both men and women into very stressful and demanding roles which mentally can be very difficult to leave at work once retired for the day. Modern technology also allows work to encroach on your personal life – if need be (or you set a precedent to allow it to enter into your personal life).

As a result of the extended hours and pressures placed on you as a professional, it’s highly likely that you will draw a great deal of your self worth, confidence and drive from the validation you receive from work. However, herein lies the major problem. Everyone at work is feeling the same pressures and thus you have to just hope you have a good manager who has the time and energy to give you praise and recognition for a job well done.

It is for this reason that the best option is to separate yourself emotionally from work. It is also important to see it for its inherent value – as an exchange of goods, services and ideas (hopefully) for the betterment of society. Whilst it is a basic human need to feel self-actual used through the pursuit of excellence, in order to maintain a high self-esteem it is much more beneficial for you to seek your validation internally first and then from the people you love and trust most.

Yes it is important to feel valued and respected at work, however widen your net. By all means validation from your colleagues and from people you respect, however do not judge your self worth against these potential validations. The sad fact about many modern day offices is that it is often not until an individual leaves that senior executives really learn how valuable they were to their organization. Thus, a paucity of praise is more likely to reflect an office culture than it is to be an indication of your intelligence or ability.

Put work into perspective and regularly internally praise yourself for all the jobs you do brilliantly on a daily basis. After all, that little internal critic can at times be the harshest of all.

To find more professional inspiration or support visit: http://www.helpformums.com/therapies/life-coaching/

1 year ago · · 0 comments

How To Reduce Stress at Work

build self esteem mumIt’s easy to say “just relax”, but when you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to run first, you need a few quick fixes to get you back on track as quickly as possible. Below are a number of quick and easy ways to reduce stress whilst you’re at work:

1) Write things down

Often the feeling of being overwhelmed comes from having too much in your mind and hence relying on your memory to get you through. The worst part of neglecting to write things down is that your mind continuously reviews your list if tasks and in turn increases your anxiety over “all the things you still have to do”.

Take 5 minute to write down everything that’s racing through your mind. It doesn’t matter how small. The idea is to get these thoughts out of your mind and on to a notepad where you can refer to them later.

2) Take a break

You might think you don’t have time to take a break, but the reality is if you take a short break (even 15 mins) and go for a walk, you will come back more refreshed, thinking much more clearly and feel like you can cope much better with the demands of your day. I would suggest taking some music to listen to and walking alone. If you want to walk with a friend make sure you avoid talking about work or stressful things in general, otherwise you’re not having a proper mental break.

3) Eat slowly

When you’re in a rush it’s tempting to eat quickly to save time. However eating quickly can increase your heartbeat and cause digestive issues which will of course end up making you feel sick and even more stressed.

All you need is 5 minutes to just chew slowly and mindfully. In a way this becomes a little mental break. Once again avoid reading work related material whilst eating and avoid working with one hand and eating with the other.

4) Breathe

The most obvious thing that happens when you’re stressed is your heartrate increases and you begin to breathe very rapidly. Make sure you are conscious if your breath and slow down. You will work much more efficiently in this state, than if you allow your heartrate to race too rapidly.

5) Listen to some relaxing music

Whilst you’re engaged in something not too mentally taxing (like checking emails), listen to some relaxing music such as Bebel Gilberto’s music. Take the music in and calm yourself down.

Feeling calm in the workplace is essential for high performance, so don’t dismiss it. Feeling calm you will feel much more in control. A simple 5 minute activity can settle you down and help you to think much more clearly – something that is often negatively impacted when stressed.

For more support or inspiration visit Happy Life at: http://www.helpformums.com