Your 3 Steps to Happiness

9 Apr

holistic-joy-300x300What does happiness mean to you? When I asked this question on my Facebook page recently, here are some of the responses I received: inner peace, health, enough money in the bank, smiles on the faces of my husband and kids, everything!

It seems that we all have our own meaning when it comes to happiness, but whatever it means to us, we place huge importance on being happy.

There is often a mis-match between what we are experiencing and what we imagine we need to have or be in order to be happy.

It’s all about perception. We can tell ourselves:

‘I can’t be happy until (I have a certain amount of money/am a particular weight/meet the right man)’

or we can say, ‘I choose to be happy right now’.

We can think about what we perceive to be missing from our life, or focus on what we already have.

I know that often it doesn’t feel like we have a choice about what we think or feel. Our thoughts can feel out of control, constantly comparing our lives to those of other people who we perceive to have more money, better relationships, slimmer bodies. Who knows what goes on inside the minds of ‘those people’? I can guarantee it’s not all joy and peace!

The truth is if you want to feel in control of your happiness levels, you don’t need to rely on your external circumstances.

Just like you can improve your physical fitness, losing fat and building muscle, you can also give yourself a mental workout – building your positive thoughts and feelings and ditching the negative, critical thinking.

Let me present The Happiness Workout, three simple steps which will help to build your happy muscle. Commit to following these steps every day and happy will start to feel natural for you. The happiness workout takes just fifteen minutes a day – are you ready?

Step 1 – Driftaway

This is a super-simple technique I often use with my clients. The idea is to recognise that you are in control of your thoughts. Once you realise that, happiness and contentment are yours!

Find somewhere you can be quiet and undisturbed for up to fifteen minutes (you can certainly start off with a shorter period of time and build up to the full fifteen minutes).

Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Just start to notice your thoughts. Don’t try to change them, just watch your thoughts.

Notice each thought as it comes into your awareness. Set your intention to simply allow each one to drift across your mind, watching it like an observer.

Imagine you are taking a step back and watching your thoughts from a distance. Notice how you feel as you create that distance.

As each thought drifts across your mind, imagine then that it is floating away from you, like a bubble. You might visualise each thought encased in a bubble. Allow each bubble to float away from you, until it is out of your awareness.

At first you might have a lot of thoughts and a lot of bubbles! It may be difficult to identify each individual one. That’s okay. Just let them come and mentally take that step back. Give yourself some breathing space.

Continue with this practice for up to five minutes.

As you allow yourself to practice the driftaway technique daily, you will come to realise that you don’t have to become involved in your thoughts, you don’t have to engage with them. You can simply choose to watch each thought and allow them to float away from you.

This is a great way of making some mental space for yourself, building the feeling of being in control and knowing that you have a choice.

Step 2 – Body Talk

Now that you have done some mental clearing, you can bring your focus down from your mind into your body.

Often it feels like we are living up in our heads. It can be such a relief to spend some time down in our bodies and listen to the wisdom they have to share with us.

This is the next step of your happiness workout.

Stay in your quiet place and start to bring your attention into your body. Begin up at the top of the head and work your way down through each part of you. Imagine each muscle relaxing and releasing.

If you notice any tension or tightness, imagine that it is melting away, dissolving, like a warm liquid.

Your mind may wander during this process. That’s completely natural. If you notice your mind drifting off into thinking, bring your attention back to your body and continue working down towards your feet.

Once your attention arrives at your feet and your toes, ask your body silently in your mind, ‘Do you have anything to share with me today?’

Listen for the answer, maybe a thought will appear in your mind, maybe you will see an image or experience a physical sensation.

Maybe your body will let you know that it needs to rest, perhaps you will see a particular food that could nourish your body or you will be drawn to a part of your body that needs some attention.

Trust whatever comes to you and act on it.

Don’t worry if nothing comes. Just continue with the practice each day and you will start to become more aware of any insights your body has for you.

Notice how you feel to move out of your busy head and into your body; away from your thinking mind and into that more intuitive part of you that knows exactly what you need. You are building a relationship with your wise inner self.

Spend up to five minutes bringing yourself into your body. You will begin to become aware of a sense of peace and calm that maybe wasn’t there before.

You are now ready to move on to the final step of your happy workout…

Step 3 – Thank you!

As I mentioned earlier, much of our discontentment and lack of satisfaction comes from comparing ourselves to others, or feeling that we should be a certain way.

The last step of the workout gives you the chance to focus on where you are right now and what you do have, rather than what you don’t.

You’ve probably heard that an attitude of gratitude is one of the key ways to being happy? Well, this is what we are going to use now to super-charge your happiness muscle.

Stay in your quiet place and start to think about all the things that you appreciate in your life right now. If you can, write a list of everything you are grateful for. Writing the words down helps to reinforce the power of gratitude and appreciation you are expressing.

If you are thinking, ‘I have no idea where to start’, or ‘My life is so plain awful, I have nothing to be grateful for’, here are some appreciation tips:

  1. Back to basics. Focus on your body to begin with – what do you appreciate about your body? Your ability to sit comfortably? Your legs for moving you around? Your eyes that see the world around you? Your ears for hearing the words of loved ones or beautiful music?
  2. Widen your scope to include your home. What do you appreciate about your home? The shelter? The warmth? The comfort?
  3. Include any people you appreciate. Your partner? Your family? Your friends?
  4. How about any situations in your life you are grateful for? Your work? Your social life?
  5. Think about the natural world around you. What do you appreciate there? The warmth of the sun? The nourishment of the rain? The feeling of the ground beneath your feet? The sound of birds singing?

Once you start, you might find you aren’t able to stop! Keep going for five minutes and notice how you feel at the end.

To end your happiness workout, take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and affirm to yourself, ‘All is well in my world in this moment’.

Delicious! If you commit to doing this mental workout daily, you will bring yourself back to happiness. You will feel in control of your mind and more satisfied that you have everything you need in this moment.

Take Action Now: When are you going to do your happiness workout? Schedule a time right now and stick to it. Show your commitment by posting a comment below this blog post and let me know how you get on. Happy times ahead!

Psst…Did you like this post?  If you enjoyed my Happiness Workout, you will be pleased to know I am creating an audio version guiding you through each of the three steps.  The good news?  This audio will be completely free to anyone on my list of subscribers – to make sure you get your free Happiness Workout MP3, just enter your name and email address right at the top of this page.

Are you ready to simplify your life?

1 Apr

simplicity imageAt the beginning of 2014, I picked a word to focus on for the year: SIMPLIFY

I often have a number of projects on the go,  I work with many different clients and I like to challenge myself personally, so often my mind can be whirring with different ideas and thoughts.   By choosing to focus on the word, simplify, I have given myself permission to focus on one thing at a time.

When we simplify, we can let go of that feeling of overwhelm which comes when our attention is scattered.

Many of the clients I see are experiencing a form of overwhelm and I know that it is a common feeling for many of us.

That is why I have chosen to focus on the theme of simplification this month in my blog posts and Tuesday Challenge videos.

This week, I am inviting you to try out the concept of uni-tasking.

You may be familiar with the idea of multi-tasking.  In fact, we are encouraged to multi-task in today’s world.  People are complimented on their ability to do more than one task at a time.  However, when we try to do many tasks at once, our attention is scattered, we can end up feeling stressed and we lose the ability to be in the moment.

In my Tuesday Challenge video this week, I encourage you to focus on one task at a time: uni-tasking.

Watch the video below and comment at the bottom of this blog post if you choose to accept the challenge.

 

Take Action:  Are you prepared to accept the Tuesday Challenge?  Pick one area of your life where you normally multi-task and experiment with uni-tasking.  Let me know how you get on, your insights and experience, by commenting below.

How to deal with feelings of stress or overwhelm

25 Mar

simplicity image Many of us have to deal with feelings of stress or overwhelm at times.  Maybe life throws us a curveball, perhaps we have a never-ending to-do list or we feel that those around us are constantly making demands on our time.

Whatever the reason, when we are stressed and overwhelmed, it can feel difficult to cope.  We might find ourselves reaching for junk food, caffeine, alcohol or drugs.  We might experience physical symptoms, such as muscular tension, headaches, low immunity or even chronic disease.  Stress and overwhelm can also impact on all areas of our lives in a negative way, for example, our relationships, health, weight, fertility and general well-being.

So, how can you cope with any feelings of stress and overwhelm you are experiencing right now?  One of the best ways I have found, for myself and my clients, is EFT (emotional freedom technique).  This simple tool can be likened to emotional acupuncture, a way of shifting and releasing any unhelpful feelings.

I often use EFT in combination with hypnotherapy to help my clients achieve powerful results.  To give you a taster of this wonderful technique, I have created a video specifically designed to help you with any feelings of stress and overwhelm.   You can watch the video below and tap along to feel calmer and more in control.

 

Please do comment below to let me know how you found this video.  If you would like to know more about how EFT can help you, get in touch to arrange an initial chat.

How to Establish a Gratitude Practice

17 Mar

Gratitude imageMost of the people who come to see me want to make some sort of change in their lives, maybe they want to lose weight, feel more confident or perhaps start a family.  This means that there is generally something they are currently unhappy with.  When we’re unhappy or dissatisfied with an element of our lives, we can get tied up with thinking about it constantly. We can start obsessing with how overweight we feel or the fact that we just can’t seem to get pregnant.  This kind of thinking can easily turn into a downward spiral and it can be difficult to see a way out.

When we’re thinking unhappy, fed-up thoughts, we tend to get more unhappy and more fed-up – it’s the way our minds operate!  So, I work with my clients to break that negative cycle and encourage them to start focusing on what they are happy with, to adopt an attitude of gratitude.  Maybe you’re not particularly happy with your body at the moment, but what are you grateful for in your life?  Perhaps you have a wonderful, supportive partner, or children who inspire you to be healthier?  How about all of the qualities you have that can help you on your way – your organisational skills, the way you motivate others, your attention to detail?  These are all things you can be grateful for and when we start to focus on feeling grateful, we automatically start to feel good!

Have you ever noticed that when you feel good, life is so much easier? You have more energy, you can get things done and everything seems more enjoyable.  Well, by adopting an attitude to gratitude, you will be creating a shift in your mindset which makes it far easier to get what you want.

This week, my regular Tuesday Challenge video focuses on how to establish a regular gratitude practice.  Watch the video below and let me know how you are going to make gratitude a part of your everyday life by commenting at the bottom of this post.

5 Ways to Love Your Body

11 Mar

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-hand-writing-i-love-me-red-marker-transparent-wipe-board-image30273592

I am on a mission; a mission to help women love and appreciate their beautiful and miraculous bodies!

Often as women we can be critical about the way we look or the way we feel. We focus on what we don’t like about our bodies and strive to be different, rather than appreciating what we already have.

The fact is that when we are constantly focusing on our perceived imperfections, we feel pretty awful (and it’s difficult to make any sort of positive change when you’re feeling awful!)

So, here are my top five tips to put a spark back into the relationship you have with your body.

1) Show some appreciation

I invite you to start noticing any aspects of your body that you do appreciate. What parts of your body do you like? Maybe it’s your luscious locks? Your smooth skin? Or that twinkle in your eyes?

What parts of your body serve you well? Maybe you have skillful hands? Or dancing feet? Perhaps it’s your sensitive taste buds that help you to be an amazing cook?

Think about how your body has been with you over the years. Your arms that have hugged your loved ones. Maybe your body has given you children? Perhaps part of you has healed from an operation or injury?

Once you open the door of appreciation, you will notice more and more things that you love about your body.

2) Watch your self-talk

The way we think and speak about our own bodies can be downright mean! Maybe you look in the mirror and think how awful you look? Perhaps you are always telling your partner or friends how much you hate a particular part of yourself? Maybe you are running a constant stream of self-criticism in your mind?

The fact is, we get to choose our thoughts and we certainly get to choose the words we say. So, make a commitment now to think and speak about yourself in a more compassionate way. Notice your self-talk and if you find yourself being negative about yourself, just say ‘Stop!’ in your mind and decide to think something more supportive.

3) Eat mindfully

I wonder if you find you are often grabbing food on-the-go, eating whilst doing something else at the same time and not noticing what you are putting into your mouth.

When we eat in this rushed, mindless way, we are not being kind to our bodies. We can end up eating food which doesn’t nourish us, over-eating and not appreciating the the food we are consuming.

When we eat mindfully, we eat more lovingly. The idea is to eat more slowly, without doing anything else at the same time and take time to savour and enjoy every mouthful. To find out more, take a look at a more in-depth article I wrote about mindful eating last year.

4) Move joyfully

We all know that exercise has many benefits, but many of us struggle with making it a part of regular routine. If you find that working-out is low on your list of priorities, start to look at exercise in a different way.

Think about ways of moving your body that feel good. Don’t restrict yourself to going to the gym if that doesn’t do it for you. What do you enjoy doing? Be open to new possibilities.

You might love dancing, gardening, walking your dog or swimming in the sea. Choose to exercise in a way that lights you up. When you pick something you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick to it (and your body will thank you for this!)

5) Make self-care a priority

Finally, think about ways you can show your body some love. Self-care is another area that can find itself at the bottom of a long list of priorities, however it is vital.

What could you do today to be kind to your body? It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Maybe you could drink more water, get outside for a walk, relax with a candle-lit bubble bath, give your feet a massage, or do your nails.

There are many simple ways of showing your body you care. Commit to making self-care a priority and notice how it starts to change the way you think about your body.

When you begin to work with all five of these tips, you will notice a profound shift in the way you feel about yourself and your marvellous, magical body. If this article has struck a chord and you would like to benefit from Love Your Bodysome more loving suggestions, download a free copy of my new ebook, ‘Love Your Body‘.

This article first appeared in Smart Healthy Women magazine.

 

Page 3 of 1512345...10...Last »