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6 months ago · · 0 comments

Reducing Stress and Depression Comes First From Taking Control

Stress is all around us – but reducing stress is within your control

self confidence at work and reducing stressWe live in a very stressful world. Reducing stress is not always easy. Recently I was speaking to an environmentalist. He made an interesting observation. He said “how can psychology really work, when you are telling people to be happy in a world that is full of stress, fear and catastrophe and in an ever increasing state of global climate crisis”.

I had to really ponder on this question. To answer it, I had to look back in time. I thought back to Victor Frankl, who in his famous book Man’s Search for Meaning recounts how he survived the Holocaust by finding personal meaning amongst the struggle and how that gave him the will to live. Throughout history there has always been struggle and this struggle persists today. However, alongside this struggle has been major positive change.

There has never been so much love, kindness and support for those who are struggling. As a I write this, the movement to listen to those who have been abused, to stand up for those who have been persecuted for being women and to stop mass shootings by pushing for stricter gun control in America are underway. These movements all have the same internal belief – that taking control can make a difference.

This is where my personal psychological physilophy ensues. I know that when you gain a sense of personal control you can make huge positive changes in your life. When you trust in your heart that you can change your personal circumstances, you can do anything. When it comes to counselling and psychotherapy, this is the primary goal. To help you to believe and to feel empowered that you can change your physiology, your mental state and your internal health – which in turn will improve your overall life circumstances. Being educated to trust that your voice matters and that you have the power to effect change, is essential.

Reducing stress through more positive news

The news about how terrible things in our world have become is not helping our cause to reduce stress. Particularly when you think that depression arises out of a combination of feeling helpless, hopeless and pessimistic. We need to be informed and educated correctly, not through fear and stress inducing media that leave us feeling as though we have no control and are unable to change our current circumstances. Real news helps to inform us and to empower us to stand up for what is right and ‘just’ and empowers us in ways that we can make a change. When we hear sensationalised news it leads to feeling disheartened, because you can start to wonder if there is anything you can really do to make a change. If you do the reverse and start looking into things you can personally do to make a change, you will feel that you can help, you will feel that there is hope that things you do will make a difference and you will feel more optimistic about the present and future as a result.

So, my environmentalist friend was not correct in stating there is no point in using psychology to help people feel happier when there is suffering all around. This is actually the time when people need the most support in reducing stress, the most meaning and the greatest sense of control in their lives. To feel empowered, is to feel happier. Once you know the true facts and you are empowered to know what you CAN do to effect change, then you can live in hope amongst the stress and strain of the world around you. You can start to believe that change IS possible and you can NEVER give up on yourself, your life, those you love and the world around you. When you are in the midst of personal tragedy, psychology is the greatest help. It provides you with support and guidance to see your way through the pain and loss. It provides you with structure and a personal control and it gives you hope and optimism in the present and future.

What we need more of are stories about what people ARE doing and what IS making a change in people’s lives. For instance, there are organisations like the Climate Action Network Australia  who are dedicated to support its members and allies to take action to protect people from climate change, to safeguard the environment and build a clearer environment for Australians. Here at Help For Mums we are starting a free weekly newsletter detailing the top 10 good news stories of the week. Our aim is to give our readers hope and control in their future. You can sign up to our newsletter at www.helpformums.com

Lizzie O’Halloran, Founder of Help For Mums and Author of 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

 

 

9 months ago · · 0 comments

Stress Management – How To Reduce Stress To Avoid & Recover From Illness

Stress and Health

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.

help for new mums resourcesTo do list

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 our ever growing list of tasks, we 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 maintain the recommended 8 hours of good quality sleep a night.

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 achieve, 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. This is why, it can be very difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions with your stressed – and thus increase the chance of making mistakes and having to end up working harder. 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.

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.

Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

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, BBSc, MASR, NLP Prac

Founder of Help For Mums

1 year ago · · 0 comments

Stop Fear Holidng Your Back From Your Success

how to reduce fearFear can become the biggest evil on earth.

Yet how easily it is ingrained in our minds from a very early age.

From the moment of conception a mother begins to fear. She fears for the safety of her child. She fears she will not be a perfect mother, she fears her child may be hurt by others and so on… The energy of fear is being transferred to her child from this very early stage of life and continues to be ingrained in her child throughout life, in an effort to protect her child from harm. Yet, this very intention breads further fear in her child and often attracts the very negative fears that were her intention to be avoided through the constant reminder of how scary the world really is.

Whilst one can say that children need to be made aware of things and people that can hurt them, there are two ways to achieve the same outcome. The first is through fear and the second is through reasoning without fear. Our natural instinct as parents is to use fear. We assume if we scare our kids enough they won’t engage in dangerous behaviours such as running across the toad without looking, swallowing dangerous objects and falling over and hurting their bodies. However, the imbedding of such fears subsequently leads to an internal belief that the world is a scary and dangerous place (the news also enhances thus belief by showing a very skewed perspective of the world as though only horrible things are happening every day).

On the flip side, if you choose to use calm reasoning with your children to help them understand that there is a reward for safe behaviours rather than always a punishment for unsafe behaviours, they will learn to use reasoned judgement and to live their lives in a way that values the ‘self’. They will in turn not learn to fear any new experience and will also learn to not to fear things that appear to be different to them.

So many of life’s tragedy’s have been caused by fear of difference, yet at the core, we are all human beings. When we look at others we need to see the soul, not the exterior. This is where the true person lies.

If you are a parent, start to pay attention to how you may be installing fear in your child/ten. It is extremely easy to do, but it’s never too late to begin to adjust how you explain potentially dangerous behaviours.

Breeding fear can also lead to retaliation, as children start to think you must be exaggerating. They test the boundaries even more because these fearful behaviours are potentially naughty and would be so exciting to engage in and get away with. So, the intention to keep your child safe can end up causing the reverse to happen.

As an adult, also be mindful of the way you were taught to fear things in your environment, such as crossing roads, the boogie man, sun burn, falling down, getting on a plane, wearing a seat belt, talking in church, laughing in class etc… The explanations behind these things will dictate how much you fear your current life and how you allow fear to hold you back from enjoying and succeeding in every aspect of your life.

Yes, be safe and keep your kids safe but be careful in the manner used to explain the reasons behind engaging in safe behaviours.

If fear is holding you back in life or causing your pain contact Happy Life at http://www.helpformums.com/home/how-to-build-self-confidence-and-self-esteem-online-course/

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