No Real Stress ? – Let’s Create Some !

..Do we look to create stress and do we secretly see this as a comfort ? …. 

Last week I was speaking at an evening event for a business organisation – the topic was Reconnection and Mindfulness in life and work. We got involved in the discussion on stress and how this is produced both physically and psychologically and of course spoke of work stresses .. it was a financial institution so end of tax year was a real trigger and avoiding fines by completion to deadlines .. and so on …. and it got me really thinking ..

Thinking about stress , the way we use the word to describe almost everything that pushes us slightly out of our comfort zone and the fact that stress is totally a concept we in our modern , safe world have designed.. that for many stress is only relevant to their world and in the greater scheme of things no real harm is done … and yet we remained fixated on stress.

If you think about individuals living in much more difficult circumstances , fighting for survival , hunting for food , living in war-torn cities , living with chronic or terminal illness  .. we would hand on heart say yes that is stress and actually you didn’t choose it – you didn’t look for it – it came upon you and you needed to work through it.

But interestingly for those individuals who are not living in these conditions it appears that a large proportion of humans still actively seek to bring stress in to their world.

For clients there is the point in which stress comes upon them due to past events which did cause stress and having not processed these, emotions crop up at totally -unrelated  times – causing feelings of stress about the stress or anxiety – help to move forward is needed here.

For some it’s a career choice where again there is life and death situations to handle – individuals will have a clear view of why they choose to do this – to help others and potentially to alleviate stress for others whilst taking on stress for themselves .

Then there’s the next stage where we really don’t have any life or death situations but we still feel stressed and look to create it – I do this all the time – I am a procrastinator , a last-minute dot-com girl – proud of the fact I never miss a deadline but, take everything up to wire .. and provide myself with a whole load of stress which can often keep me awake at night … why do we do this? .. why not plan ahead? .. what is it that pushes me to do this almost every time  .. could it be, we are in fact, addicted to stress and have a need and desire for this which we believe allows us to function?

We know that in stress we produce different chemicals in our brain .. adrenalin is a key factor in this .. the waves of adrenalin mixed with excitement or fear can give us an edge , produce focus, allow us to push through barriers … we know that part of our brain is totally focused on keeping us safe – pointing our hidden dangers and ensuring we are in survival mode …. and yet for many of us again this part of the brain is not really needed on a regular basis. Our world is comfort led  – the proverbial saber tooth tiger is no longer lurking behind a rock.

We see people talking of giving up the stressful life and looking for ways to drop out and live a mindful and peaceful life .. and yet this can cause them to be stressed – the ability to slow down an uncomfortable position in itself.  .. and of course we get competitive about stress. Conversations about who is run ragged during their day , who works the longest , whose children are the most to handle and have the most clubs and biggest social life..and finally there is this world the digital world – a world in which we share our happiest times .. and develop comparitonitus so we can be stressed at how well everyone else is doing.

I am coming to the conclusion that stress is something we subconsciously seek , that if we were to be given a stress free world we would create concepts and deadlines and rules against which we could measure our stress – almost as if being stressed has become a comfort , a norm that we strive to hold onto …. the question is can we truly as humans alleviate stress from our lives .. and the bigger question is .. do we even want to ?

Why not come over to the Bemoore Face Book Group – Reconnection and join in the conversation and find support ?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/

Get involved by subscribing to our YouTube Channel for information on Reconnection and fabulous guest interviews.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaihh8g2BXqUD_H9jQ-OA_w?view_as=subscriber

If you need support for stress , anxiety , OCD , Depression or general well-being and confidence drop me a note at amoore@bemooretherapy.co.uk.

For more information on programmes and support available visit http://www.bemoore .uk

 

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Confidence – it’s an inside job !

But a little external oomph does no harm !

It’s true that confidence is from the inside. You feel confident and feel is the key word .. the feeling you get when you just know you …

Through therapy we work with clients to get them to not just think differently ( which can be exhausting to keep up) but to feel differently and confidence is part of that and when you get it ..it can be transformational!

We talk about not relying on external factors – because then you are not truly able to be as you wish to be – you look to get validation from others, from situations , from the weather even…and it becomes ingrained that when the external factors are not in your favour – the confidence or feel good factor also goes out the window.

But this week 2 things have come to mind .. with clients it’s about how to get started on that journey , because this is also the thing . If you don’t feel confident , then you need to make a start , you need to have something to build on , and feeling confident that you can be confident is a tricky situation to be in.

It’s alright for us therapists to say – ‘of course you can do it , of course you can wear it , of course you can say it .. just try – go one ! ‘.. but the fact is there is self-doubt there and encouragement is good but might not be the key that starts the engine… because you have to believe it to be true.

And then there is the fact that once you feel confident it doesn’t mean to you always do feel that .. it’s normal for everyone as I have written about before to have that crisis of confidence and want to give yourself and your self-esteem a boost – or a kick up the bum.

So this is a time when actually turning to something external could be just what you need.

Here’s a few idea ..

  1. Create a great playlist and play it loud and sing and dance to raise you up!
  2. Write out 3 affirmations of how you would like to be feeling – I Am Amazing / Fabulous / Awesome / Confident – say them out loud and really listen to your voice.
  3. Find one item of clothing or one outfit that you love and loves you back – put it on for that added boost.
  4. Work with a trusted friend confidante to create a list of things about yourself you like – or they like even and make it visible to you on a daily basis.
  5. Start to document your positives and start to write down all the good things which happen .. and if that’s hard then start with simply writing down non negatives.
  6. Do some exercise or at least go outside – if its sunny stand and feel the sun or your face and if it’s raining – dance in the rain ( you can do this in your back garden)

For me there are 4 things I know I have in my tool kit  ..

Firstly get up  , yoga and get dressed .. if I stay in my PJ’s I find my mood doesn’t lift so well.

Put my face on .. yep – putting on my make up and big hair creates a feel good moment for me.

Great heels – shallow I know again but when I need to lift myself a great heel does this literally for me.

The key is create your tool kit – to use it to get started or bolster you up .. but not to rely on it. Keep working on that inner confidence and your self-esteem but know that sometimes it’s OK to get some help.

Check out http://www.bemoore.uk/events for the latest workshops designed to enable you to embrace your true fabulousness. #findyourroar .

Why not come over to the Bemoore Face Book Group – Reconnection and join in the conversation and find support ?
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/
If you need help with OCD or Self Harm Behaviours drop me a note at amoore@bemooretherapy.co.uk.
And subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get loads of advice on how to Reconnect in Your Life and hear real life Reconnection stories. – ‘The Reconnection Space.’
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaihh8g2BXqUD_H9jQ-OA_w?view_as=subscriber
Coming soon – dedicated webpage to OCD/Self Harm Support and Online coaching course to introduce you to my Reconnection Programme.

 

 

2 Ways To Tell Your Story!

Who Holds The Power ?

Last week I posted a short message about story telling and I thought it would be useful to expand on that – because how you tell your story and how you hear others tell their story is a sign that someone in moving on .. or holding on . Dependant on which , depends on where the power is.

In this day and age it is even easier to share your stories and experiences through social media. It is often used by people including myself to give reference to our empathy of others situations. That we have gone through life challenges and we have come out the other side. Telling your story can be powerful both to you and to your community.

When something happens to an individual , when we feel upset , traumatised , embarrassed or on a lesser scale hard done by or treated badly, we initially hold onto that emotion.  It is quite normal to spend time thinking about it.  However at some point people start to process the emotion and part of this is an ability to talk about their experience.

In the beginning it may be too hard to talk about – it may not feel possible and you don’t want to say it out loud as you have to then accept it – it makes it real. As time goes by you start to share and then some people get to a point where they want to talk about it .. and finally it can become therapeutic to be able to tell your story.

A sign that someone is working through the experience is how they frame it – when it includes details of who they are now, of moving on , what they have done since , when they talk about it to express emotion but are not ‘ in ‘ the emotion .. these are all signs that the story telling is on their terms. And this can be a powerful healing tool! When this happens it says – the power is in my hands ! – to tell my story my way ! – to let others hear my experience and share what happened next.

Incidentally this story telling isn’t triggered by a reminder or a chance encounter with the person – it is told when you feel it will be beneficial. You are not at the mercy of circumstance!

But what if it’s different .. you know the way .. the person , the friend , perhaps it’s you .. when the story is told but it focuses on the hurt , the betrayal. Every telling is feeding that initial emotion and bringing it all back. Creating deeper feelings of negative talk. This person is brooding still , holding onto everything that happened. Anything can trigger the need to tell the story- certainly any mention of perhaps the other party will cause it all to be brought up again ..  ‘ let me tell you about them ! ‘ ‘Don’t you know what they did?’

There is very little or no mention of what has happened since – the whole piece focuses on the incident and the person in hand. They or you are driven on impulse to tell the story when it dictates!

When this happens .. much as you or the person telling it will think they are in control .. actually they are handing the power over the other person. They are allowing that person to create emotions in them and allowing them to set them off balance. They are allowing the incident or event to still impact on their lives and control what happens to them and how they feel.

So as you can see there is very much 2 ways to tell a story !

It’s important to be mindful of where you are at. If after reading this you are thinking ‘ oh that’s me’ I keep going back to that ‘ then it’s time to make change. It’s a simple process but it’s not easy – but you can make it happen – it just takes practise.

You have to watch for those thoughts starting to come through and you have to make a point of saying no to yourself – that you won’t go there and allow yourself to build it up.

If you hear yourself start to tell that story again – take a moment and say out loud ‘ actually I am not going there today !’

Ask your friends to be supporters not enablers ‘ If you hear me start to tell that again – please remind me I don’t want to bring that all up and please don’t let’s talk about it when we meet’ .

And be a good friend in return – let your friends know when they are falling into that trap themselves that you kindly bring them back on track ‘ I notice you still seem really hurt by that ‘ or ‘ I notice you bring that up a lot still and it is very raw’.

The more you focus on allowing the emotion to settle – the more you will find you get to a point where you see past it… and at that point you may feel you can tell your story in a different way – from a place of power and a place of nurturing

Have a fabulous and mindful week and why not come over to the Bemoore Facebook community and join in the chat .

https://www.facebook.com/bemooreandroar/

or join my group 

https://www.facebook.com/bemooreandroar/

and don’t forget to sign up for your Empowerment Day Ticket for the 8th May or come and see me at the Tower of London on May 13th for the Feminist Fete event!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-empowerment-conference-2018-tickets-42978293232

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/explore/feminist-fête/#gs.bf3bqeE

Thoughts and Feelings – Not Threats and Facts…

OCD  – Breaking the Cycle #Recoveryispossible

‘It’s there again – the buzzing in my head , moving outward like an itch under the skin , the anxiety creeps in .. the voice keeps talking – the buzzing gets louder .. I try to ignore it , suppress it .. it just keeps coming like a drill in my brain .. and then the fear .. If I don’t listen, if I don’t do it , get it just right, something bad will happen .. no it won’t what are you saying ? – yes it will .. do it  .. do it … DO IT!

The compulsion builds and there is  only one way to break this , to make it go away and that is to take action .. to get it right , to keep doing it until the thought is soothed. And so I work through it – the relief floods through my body …. the tragedy is averted … but then .. a small buzzing like a fly start to appear .. what if .. what if… what if ?’

This is a description from one of my clients who was trapped in the cycle of OCD. As we spoke about during my awareness week this is a very different picture than one sometimes portrayed by people who use phrases such as – ‘oh that’s my OCD kicking in .. ‘or ‘I am a little bit OCD with that.’.so let’s be clear you are never just a little bit OCD. If you have OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – then you have it full on . Yes to different degrees but to have a disorder it needs to be having a direct impact on your life and your ability to function in the way you would want to . – so there is no such thing as ‘ a little bit OCD!’ .. and those reading this who are living with it or have experienced someone living with it will know it’s not be belittled and it’s not something you want.

However just as it’s my firm believe that you can’t just be a bit OCD  – it is also my firm belief that you can become totally NOT OCD.. yes permanent relief and recovery is possible.

I can’t go through the whole process in one blog but in this I want to focus on one of the first and most important principles I teach when working with people in this space – the principle that allows them to gain a different perspective and to lay the foundations for what is to come.. this principle does not cure the problem in itself ( much as I wish for my clients it would) but it gives them a view-point that creates a change .. and with change we have transformation and with transformation we can move from the space of simply doing things differently to actually being and feeling different.

Before looking to make change we must first understand that the cycle which starts with the obsessive thought and then moves on to the emotion or feeling is just that, a thought and a feeling. Generated in our mind with nothing to do with the external reality we are living in right now. That the thought and the feeling cannot influence our reality and cannot live outside of our mind… just because you think something doesn’t make it true and just because you feel something doesn’t mean it will happen …

This is a different type of thought and feeling which is owns space alongside logical thought and working as it should – to protect ourselves from danger — so for example you might have a thought that if you step out in front of  the car approaching you will be injured .. and this creates a  feeling of natural nervousness and then we take action by stepping back. Then you cross when it’s clear and you pay no more attention to it.

The thoughts and feelings in the OCD cycle are not working in the space with our logical thought – they are not based on actual events – they are based on illogical thoughts and perceived reactions.

With Mindfulness Based therapy we don’t spend energy at this stage trying to change the thought – we look to accept we are having this thought .. and it is just that a thought we having. However we are now learning to be fully present and understanding that right now we are sitting in the therapy chair perhaps , holding a warming cup of tea , the thought can stay there but we do not have to act and it cannot, on it’s own, become more than a thought.

In the same way a feeling we experience is our body going through a physiological reaction or a psychological reaction. It is the feeling it is – we acknowledge that – perhaps it is anxiety , perhaps it is fear , – however again we do not need to take action. As we learn to explore this we see that when we do not take action – the feared event does not happen. .. and so our brain starts to be re-trained with the evidence.

More and more I find that Mindfulness is a tool which works alongside traditional therapy – to create the space in which to see different choices – to remove us from the noise that is hindering us and allow us to start to simply be and breath … and in this space #recoveryispossible.

Why not come over to the Bemoore Face Book Group – Reconnection and join in the conversation and find support ?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/

If you need help with OCD or Self Harm Behaviours drop me a note at amoore@bemooretherapy.co.uk.

Coming soon – dedicated webpage to OCD/Self Harm Support

Online coaching course to introduce you to my Reconnection Programme.

 

Acceptance

First you need to accept the you you are now .. and the memories which have already been made .. then you can make change.

 

A theme through this week’s thoughts and posts at Bemoore HQ has been about facing up to past events, taking on past emotions and accepting the you you are right now.

Clients are often very keen to move on and make change – to escape and put behind them past trauma. This is so understandable. However when past incidents are still not resolved and past emotion is still lurking, the current presenting problems in the now will not simply go away by thinking about things differently – although this is a part of making change… but only a part.

You see the past does matter .. it is part of where you are now and who you are now. Everything which we experience leads us to make choices.. some we feel very in control of and others we feel are made for us.. but each of these experiences leads us to the now.  So trying to simply pretend the past did not happen in itself to me is madness. It did happen , it cannot un-happen.

Two of the most common ways people look to work through is :

  1. Just filing it away in that invisible box and closing the lid – hoping and hoping it never starts to peak through. – Yep done that myself a lot!

OR

  1. Brooding over what they could or should have done differently . – Yep again also that !

Just as the first won’t truly resolve things then the second is using wasted energy.

Two of my most inspirational teachers I look to when seeking wise words say the following

Iyanla Vanzant says ‘ You can cover up the past and try to block it out with drink , with drugs , with eating , with shopping .. but it will still seep through. Until you reach in there and pull out that pain and look it in the face you will not find resolution’

Maya Angelou said that ‘ the choice you made at the time you made the choice was the only choice to be made .. and that world you think might have been with a different choice or action .. it didn’t exist then and it never will.’

Which brings us back to facing up to it and accepting. I work with clients to help them safely go back to those traumatic experiences and reconsolidate the memory with the lingering emotion. To gain a greater understanding of what happened and to see things from a different perspective. It can seem scary at first to have to go back and re live what has happened.. it is not always clear what incident or incidents need to be addressed but with time and patience it happens…. and the more the client sees that by doing this they feel released from those symptoms happening the present they can make peace with the past and create a truly new future.

A part of this is also accepting who you are and your own responsibility and accountability.. learning to accept who you are and in many cases learning to like yourself and forgive yourself ( because actually that’s the forgiveness that matters)

And that’s the other point – the past does matter but you can make choices about how it effects you going forward. You can’t change what has happened but you can redefine your path and change course going forward. I suggest reading The Path by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh who talk about being open to new paths and not just following what you believe is pre defined .. ‘when you are open to new paths you find parts of yourself you didn’t know existed’

Acceptance does not mean liking but it does mean to settle and from there you find the peace and the space and the stillness to truly make change.

Have a happy and mindful week

Ali x

p.s why not come over to my Facebook group Bemoore Reconnections and join in the conversations and live videos – be part of a community to support and share .

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/

 

Switch off to Switch On!

The average social media user checks in every 6.5 MINUTES that’s around 150 times a day ! – so says the research carried out by Arianna Huffington for her Thrive book .. and I am a guilty addict .. so it needed to change …..

‘I am writing this blog initially in a pink pen on a notepad . Yes actual writing – not on a screen , not with my thumbs or clicking on keyboard – but physically moving my pen over the page , feeling it’s smooth movement and realising how much focus is needed to form the letters … and how slow I am at it! You see I am having a digital detox day – no social media or checking of messages .. and already I am feeling calmer and more relaxed.

As someone who is an avid ‘ poster’ – I have 4 FB pages inc home and business , a twitter , an Instagram and a Linked in plus both home and business email accounts it seems I am on line A LOT! But not just when I need to be . I am permanently attached to my phone, checking it , picking it up , carrying it with me , worrying where I put it – not even able to get out of the car without looking at it. I was convinced for a while I was connected , learning and taking part in the world – always engaged and up to date but since becoming a practitioner or mindfulness ( hence the creation of my Reconnection Project and Journal Program) and mindfulness becoming a big part of my life, I have started to become aware of some worrying behaviours.

  1. Anxiety constantly over where the said phone was!
  2. Lack of attention with no ability to focus for more than a few minutes at a task before needing to check in again!
  3. Worrying memory issues from constant short bursts of short pieces of info that I rarely read in-depth, which led to me having difficulty remembering anything at all.
  4. Never truly engaged especially with my young son – I would be with him whilst he played but I would be on screen time so never fully present and experiencing this precious time with him.

On top of all of these I have become disillusioned with the images and news I am  reading.

  • the constant outpouring of celebrity grief for every single person that passes ( that’s a whole other blog itself.)
  • suddenly seeing images of tortured animals and experimentations and horrific news  – especially those where people think saying Amen will do any good.
  • being asked to cut and paste and being basically told if I didn’t I was a dreadful human being.
  • The seemingly endless petitions which are now so easy to just click and share – no effort needed to support a cause anymore. .. and who follows up on everything they clicked on ?
  • and finally the feeling of motion sickness and headaches caused by the scrolling action which my eyes have taken offense to.

And so on Saturday I decided to disconnect! and writing this late on Saturday afternoon it’s been a revelation already.  Suddenly I am aware of what is going in the world – the real world – like spending time with my family at our favourite café – instead of sitting there on my phone I am reading stories to my son and chatting to my husband ( who is slightly disgruntled as he is still connected and trying to invade an imaginary land).

Watching a film together and really watching it – seeing my son so excited when his favourite character came on and realising that he could say the words of certain scenes – who knew ?

Reading a real magazine – fully immersed in the articles , making notes and highlighting favourite pieces and feeling the knowledge start to seep into my brain which was relieved we were not skim reading yet again .. and the writing  this blog from start to finish without interruption…already there is a calmness and a belief of purpose that has began to come through .’

Now typing this up on Monday I can say I have continued my digital detox – not totally as I do enjoy hearing people’s happy moments and I love interacting with my on line community which plays a big part in my business – but I have been limiting my social media time. Specifically putting the phone away whilst being on task and ensuring that I am in the moment when I am with people. Ironically I have discovered a whole host of great material to share with my on line tribes whilst also having some serious background knowledge rather than simply clicking share on interesting articles – my love of research never went away but it was sadly dimmed it seemed and is now being embraced fully! – many post it notes have been used this weekend 🙂

I have noticed of course how much others are firmly still head down – my whole family including my young son were all on devices on Saturday evening so there was no one there to talk to .. I shall gently tackle this on going plus I realised how much of an ‘ addict I was ‘ – after the initial first day of enjoyment there was also some anxiety about not checking in which worried me but in turn reminded me that this project is important to our mental wellbeing ..

So I will work to resist the urge to live in a virtual world and strive be mindful in the present.

Details of my Journaling Program can be found at http://www.bemoore.uk

The High Of The Buy!

It’s no fun being a shopaholic!

The movie was funny and the books have sold in their millions – most women are familiar with the character in Shopaholic and enjoy the adventures she goes on. Most women have also experienced ‘ The High Of The Buy!’ – that feeling of euphoria that overcomes us when we buy that new item – it could be shoes, clothes , gadgets, makeup .. for me it’s jackets ( surely everyone has 52 different jackets in their wardrobe right ? )

But what happens when the feeling goes out of control – the need to keep buying and the need to get that hit of happiness strikes again and again?  For some the habit can be destructive on their lives, giving them massive debts and anxiety and stress.

What turns an innocent enjoyable experience into a nightmare out of which it is so difficult to escape?

Well there are many reasons and it makes it easier to work through when we understand that this type of behaviour is clinically linked to other compulsive behaviours – or disorders ( OCD) as we commonly refer to them.  We often think about the people who clean to an extreme and of course those which hoard what we feel are totally random objects.

All of these behaviours in this spectrum are driven by a need from the person – most often linked to self- esteem and worries about consequences should they not give into the compulsion.

With our shopping compulsive there can be that belief that by having that new item it will not only create a new look but will fundamentally shift their lives – they will be a new person , a better person – they will be different – improved and people around them will like them more and they will look into the mirror and like themselves.  The initial rush of feel good hormones when the purchase is made buys into that  view. It is indeed an addiction psychologically and coupled with the desire for the object and the overriding belief that there is a ‘ need’ not a want, the compulsion kicks in .

Sadly once the item is bought the effects quickly wear off. In some cases it will be when the item is worn once and the realisation that life is still the same and You are still the same starts to dawn. For others the item may never be used – it may end up in the shopping graveyard – tucked away in the back of the wardrobe ,still in the bag with the tags on  – but again it’s the same reason. All the problems and anxieties you had before the purchase are still there and  with  the high of the buy gone from your system you now experience a true low. There may be a feeling of shame itself that you let yourself fall prey to the habit, there may be feelings of panic that you spent more money that you could not afford, increasing your debt and for some there may be the lies which follow as they cover their tracks leading to an increase in anxiety and stress. All of this reduces the person’s self esteem and the roller coaster starts to crank up again leading up to the thrill at the top of the hill when the next purchase will be made because surely that will cure everything – followed once again by the rapid crash down the other side.

The good news is that with the right support the roller coaster ride can be halted. Cognitive Therapy enables people to start seeing that they can control their feelings and have choice. They can start to see the good things about themselves which are already there – which do not need boosting with external and material items.

Being able to examine evidence of the lack of impact the items have on their feel good factor long term, coupled with seeing that they can bring positive thoughts into their lives just from within themselves, empowers the feeling of choice. .. and with choice there is control. Additionally having a safe environment in which to explore what started the roller coaster can give clarity and understanding – realising that there is an explanation can be empowering in itself.

We all love some external gratification  – I will never be a minimalist and my next blog will follow on from this to talk about how hoarding takes over .. but if this blog brought up feelings in you that were familiar perhaps just stop and think .. in this material 1st world we are in no one ‘ needs’ that new item.. and no item will solve your problems. Enjoy what you own and what you buy but see it for what it is – it’s just a dress, it’s just a lip stick , it’s just a pair of shoes.. what you have inside of you ? … now that is life transforming !

Dream More .. See More … Be and Feel Fabulous Being You !