You’ve completed your first week of 30 days to a happier you. I wonder what you’ve noticed about your thoughts and the feelings they generate? And maybe you feel that you have a lot more control over your happiness than you think…..
You are the owner of your happiness
Here’s a reminder of what you’ve been up to over the past week in your mission to be a happier you.
Day 1 – you gave yourself a current happiness score out of 10 to see how happy you currently are.
Day 2 – you started to catch negative mind chatter going on in your head and made a note of it in your notebook.
Day 4 – you became a mind COP by realising how much time you spend thinking negatively. You are now focused on catching those negative thoughts as they come in, owning the thought and protect yourself by realising it might not be true.
Day 5 – you did the shake N vac and started to freshen your mind with gratitude.
Day 6 – you wrote a really good gratitude list that means something to you.
Wow, what a great start! Well done you 🙂
Why wait any longer to be a happier you?
If you haven’t done all the exercises, or you have just found this blog series, no problem! It is never too late to start.
Just go back on the blogs and pick up from there. You just need a notebook and pen, to read my blogs each day and dedicate a small amount of time each day to do the exercises. This is not meant to be another thing on your ‘to do list’. It is raising your awareness to things that affect your happiness and helping you train your brain to be happier.
You are not alone
If you are finding this difficult to do on your own, no problem, because I can help you. I offer 4 session packages in person in West Sussex or on Skype round the world! In 4 sessions people have significiant insights and shifts. If you have an electrical problem, you call an electrician. You probably don’t service your own car. And I doubt you do your own dental check up or eye test!
So if you need help with your mind or issues that you can’t solve alone, seek the help of a professional. Your mental health is a critical part of your wellbeing. 1 in 3 adults will have a mental health issue at some point in their lives and there is lots of help available.
Yesterday I wrote about your mind being like a room that you want to be clean and tidy so you feel good. Today we are going to start the work to make your mind a happier place. Like shake ‘n’ vac, we are going to put some freshness back! (If you are under 40 you might want to think of Febreeze instead because shake ‘n’ vac was an eighties advert but still watch the video as the tune is rather catchy).
Freshen up your mind!
Let’s continue to think of your mind as a room that we want to look nice so you want to spend time in because it’s a nice place to be. First of all it needs to be clean. A lot of the cleaning up will come from the work we have been doing with mind chatter and we are not done with that yet so please continue to catch that and write it in your notebook. But as important as getting the negative out of your mind is the putting positive in. The good news is there are so many way to put positives in but today we are going to look at gratitude.
Is gratitude a load of codswallap?
Gratitude has been found by to be an integral part of health, wholeness and wellbeing by Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology, University of California
Gratitude increases positive emotions and keeps them. This was proved in a study where groups wrote about:
things they were grateful for
daily irritations or things that had displeased them
events that had affected them
After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives.
The fact is that life isn’t always kind or nice but by having grateful thoughts and other techniques, it helps us believe and feel that the world is a good place and want to be part of it.
Get your gratitude right
This isn’t new. Just as mindfulness isn’t new. But I still get lots of clients who find it hard to write a gratitude list or to practice mindfulness on their own. Some people get caught in a material trap of writing: house, job, car. True gratitude that feeds the soul and increases our satisfaction levels and happiness is about values, qualities and so on, not so much about material goods. Yes we are in 2016 in one of the richest countries in the world and material goods are part of our life, but they are not true factors of intrinsic happiness for most people.
Why specifically are you grateful for that?
You can be grateful for anything. It’s not so much about being grateful for what you have but ‘noticing’ the things you are grateful for. Say you said you were grateful for ‘eyesight’. What is it about that makes you so grateful. Is it that you can read, see the colours of flowers, watch your children play. By appreciating the things we take for granted and the small stuff, we feel increased awareness of positive things in our lives.
When you become unwell. You feel more grateful for when you were well. More grateful for being able to breathe through your nose, walk on that foot (and in some cases wear a shoe), to not have to run for the toilet! You get my drift. By practicing gratitude before you are ill you can be grateful for your legs that carry you where you need to get to, those arms that help you feed your loved ones, that mind which is creative and produces amazing things.
I’m grateful that you read my post! Tomorrow I will be giving you some more ideas on gratitude and we will come up with an amazing gratitude list for you!
Here’s the plan:
Continue to catch your negative mind chatter – are you noticing a key theme or time it occurs yet?
Continue to acknowledge that when a thought comes in, it may not be true 🙂
Become a mind COP. Catch it, own it, protect yourself.
Do the shake and vac and put the freshness back by starting a gratitude list
Today is suicide prevention day which is a good way to raise awareness because there is a silence to suicide.
People that feel suicidal or deeply depressed often stay silent about how they are feeling
Each year, over 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Every single one of the people in these statistics have felt that life is no longer worth living. But many of these people won’t have told anyone how they are feeling. Most people will have family, friends, work colleagues and neighbours but when they spoke to these people they didn’t tell them how unbearable they were finding their lives.
I wonder why it is that people suffering emotionally so deeply feel they can’t share their feelings with anyone. There may be a number of reasons:
They may be embarrassed to tell someone
They may feel guilty for feeling this way
They might not want to burden someone else with their problems
They might think how they are feeling will go away on its own
Could you save a life?
The theme of the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ This means noticing is someone around you is struggling and checking in with them. You don’t have to have all the answers for them, just let them know you are there and you care. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgemental way can make all the difference.
There is no need for silence about suicide. The more open we are in society and communities about it, the more help it will be. .
People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life, and about the days, hours and minutes leading up to this. They often describe realising that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay.
Can you imagine saving someone’s life. Just by asking if they are ok? I mean REALLY ok?
You don’t need to be an expert of any kind to help someone. You just need to listen. Often that first opening up to someone is therapeutic to the person feeling suicidal will seek help or be open to seeking help after they have opened up. Its like they are a pressure cooker and they’ve let a bit of the steam out.
The smallest bit of compassion and empathy can be all someone delicate needs to feel that life is worth living.
Suicide affects more than just one life
Obviously it is extremely sad that anyone commits suicide but the pain they leave for those around them can live on forever. A suicide is shocking for all involved. Even if you don’t know someone very well, it can still be shocking and painful.
People left behind often spend years with very raw and painful emotions.
What makes people feel suicidal?
It is often an event like divorce or redundancy that can really bring someone down. Or stress or depression just becomes unbearable. It is so important to look after your mental health and seek support if you feel you need it. Seeking help can make a tremendous difference to how you feel.
The stats around suicide
Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death globally, account for 1.4% of all deaths and
The global suicide rate is 11.4 per 100 000 population
More males 15 in 100,000 are affected than females 8 in 100,000
Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 15-24 in many European countries
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide
50% of individuals in high income countries who die by suicide have major depressive disorder at their time of death
For every 1 suicide 25 people make a suicide attempt
60 people are affected by each suicide death. This equates to 48 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year
This World Suicide Prevention Day and everyday take a minute to reach out to someone – this can change a life
You might choose to Light a Candle near a Window at 8 PM to support World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 to show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.
The Samaritans are an excellent source of support if you need to talk to someone. Their number is 116 123. You do not need to suffer in silence.
Finally, if there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life.
I know you might be thinking… how is depression like burnt toast! Please let me explain….
Last year, I put some toast in the toaster and it blew my electrical fuse. A friend suggested I empty the crumb tray as that might have caused the problem. So I did that and used it again.
I had a working toaster again for a few months. Until it happened again. I had been emptying the crumb tray regularly as suggested by my helpful friend but this time I just didn’t want to risk keep using it in case it did some real damage to my electrics.
So I found a way to get around it. I started using the grill on the oven instead. The problem with this is that grilled toast needs watching and with other things to do I would often end up burning the toast which caused problems!
This workaround to the real problem of no toaster that I had created has other issues too. Such as:
Sometimes I would be low on bread and it would be annoying to waste that burnt bread
It was time consuming as I would have to start again when I burnt it
There was no control over how brown the toast should be like I had on the toaster
It was slow for the grill to heat up
I had to remember to turn the grill off again
I needed to take action and stop burning the toast
So yes, I know it sounds like I’m moaning a bit and I certainly didn’t lose any sleep about it, but this did go on for months and I could have done something about it much sooner!
I just needed to take action. I’m not sure why I didn’t do anything sooner.
Maybe life got in the way or there was just too much choice of toasters so I couldn’t decide which one to get. All I know is that it caused me irritation many times when it didn’t need to.
I found the right toaster for me
One day I was in Asdas and I saw a toaster which I knew would look good in my kitchen. I had a read of the features and liked what I saw. 4 slices could be cooked at once, you can cook from frozen wow and it even takes bagels due to it’s extra wide slots! So I bought that toaster and me and the toaster have lived happily together ever since.
I won’t say it’s changed my life but it does cook the toast perfectly and very quickly. And I just love a bit of brown seeded with peanut butter.
So how does this relate to depression?
As a Hypnotherapist who specialises in depression, I have developed a programme to help people overcome depression. The things that my clients who overcome depression always say are:
‘I never realised how much control I could have over my depression’
‘I wish I had done something about this sooner’
‘Life feels very different’
How much burnt toast are you going to put up with?
I want you to know that you do have more control and possibilities than you think. Please do get in touch if you would like a free consultation.
Yesterday was shrove Tuesday here in the UK which inspired me to write a flat as a pancake post.
You will probably live a long time. The UK comes 21st out of the 35 developed nations studied for female life expectancy, at 85.2 years, and 14th for men, at 82.5 years. So it’s probably a good idea to make as many years of those happy ones 🙂
It’s quite common for people to suffer a dip in life satisfaction at some point in their lives, with the most common age for this around early to mid forties. This is often referred to a a mid life crisis. Yesterday I took 2 bookings from people in this age range who felt they need to evaluate their lives and make sure that the rest of their life gives them satisfaction.
So what are the reasons for feeling as flat as a pancake? Although they will be different for everyone, here are some of the themes I see in my work as a Hypnotherapist and coach specialising in what is labelled as ‘depression’ but today we can call it feeling as ‘flat as a pancake’.
People fall out of love with partners and themselves. Even though I am reluctant to use the word ‘self-love’, it is important to value yourself or you will attract all sorts of trouble into your life. You may become a people pleaser who can’t say no to others because you don’t have enough self-esteem to do so and fear upsetting others. Or you might attract people into your life that don’t value you because you don’t value yourself very much. The good news is that self-esteem is easily increased with a bit of self reflection and work. This is a big part of my work with my clients. Some people find a new lease of love for others once they like themselves more. And some people find the confidence to end bad relationships in pursuit of happiness alone or with a new partner.
Many people build great careers and businesses in their twenties and thirties only to find that the money doesn’t give them the kind of happiness they seek in later life. Maybe the working hours or conditions clash with their desire to be with their family or the work/life balance is out of kilter. Often, people chase the ‘dream’ only to feel unfulfilled when they get it. This is because deep down inside money isn’t one of their key values so the sacrifice that has to be made to get the money (and there often is one) just doesn’t sit right. It’s really useful to uncover your values and align your life and the way you spend your time and energy to your values which means you feel more at home in your own skin and much happier with your life. This is a key part of the work I do with my clients and they are often surprised at what is really important to them.
You get a job and you are *insert your name* the manager, or the accountant, or the teacher or whatever. You get married and you are *insert husband or wife’s name* husband or wife. You have children and you are *insert childrens’ names* mum or dad. So who are you really. Seriously, try and answer that question now. It’s usually hard for people! When I do identity work with people, I help them rediscover parts of themselves that they have forgotten
Life can dampen dreams. When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, they don’t wait and think will it pay their mortgage, will they be able to handle the commute, is there career progression and will it ever offer flexible working. They answer from their HEART. They say things like ‘pop star’, ‘astronaut’ or ‘football player’. They dream big in line with their passions, the things that excite them, where they think they will be happy. Dreams are different to goals. Goals are usually SMART (smart, measurable, achieveable, realistic and timebound) and yes, goals can leads towards your dreams. But dreams light you up and excite you and everyone should have at least one dream. Who knows, it might even come true 🙂
Pitfalls of being a pancake
If you find yourself feeling flat as a pancake you might sink into depression. People can stay in this situation for weeks, months and even years. But what people don’t realise is that you can do a lot to help yourself ease depression or even shake it off altogether.
You might find yourself comfort eating to counteract what’s missing in your life. Or emotional eating to avoid facing up to things.
Often people become anxious when they feel out of control or lost in their lives. Almost like a symptom for things that aren’t right. Anxiety sometimes follows stress or comes before depression.
Some people can tolerate stress for a long time before they ‘snap’ or ‘crumble’. Once this has happened they find themselves assessing their lives and looking to avoid the same situation. Don’t underestimate stress (it’s not called the silent killer for nothing).
So what can you do if you feel flat as a pancake?
It really helps to get some help when you feel as flat as a pancake. I help people smooth issues of the past and feel better about the future. Your thoughts will feel more organised and you will be able to think more clearly with a renewed sense of purpose.
Once you let the stuff you’ve been carrying for years, decades or a lifetime go, you will be amazed how much lighter and brighter you feel. I will help you get back in touch with yourself, understand your needs and what you need to do to meet them. We will look at ways to bring joy into your life so you feel happier and fulfilled.
It is never too late for a new beginning, every single day is a clean slate waiting to be filled by you.
Sign up for my mailing list as I will soon be offering a free programme to help you find your bliss.
Settled is a nice word. We settle babies when they are restless. We settle down into families, house, places, jobs, gym routines, diets.
But being unsettled in not nice. Particularly if it’s your mind that feels unsettled because somehow your mind feels like it affects everything about you. If you have a toothache, it’s unpleasant and painful but it doesn’t upset your whole body. It’s isolated to your mouth and your mouth feels ‘unsettled’. You just want it to be ok and ‘normal’ again.
But when your mind feels unsettled, it will affect all of you. Your mood, your energy, your ability, your communication and it might make you feel very restless and uneasy. Maybe physically sick or dizzy and you want to escape these feelings but you can’t because it’s your mind and you are stuck with it.
The symptoms of an unsettled mind:
An unsettled mind makes for an unsettled sleep. The brain likes to empty itself of anything unnecessary during sleep. But if your mind is unsettled you might find yourself tossing and turning in bed when it’s time to go to sleep. Or you might be able to get to sleep but wake in the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep. This can be very frustrating and the more you get frustrated the harder it is to get back to sleep. Or maybe you know you operate best on 8 hours of sleep but you keep waking up early before your alarm goes off and you can’t get back to sleep.
Unable to concentrate
You know how this feels. You want to do something but you don’t know what. When you feel negatively aroused your brain can go into a survival state, looking and listening for danger so it can keep you safe. The problem is that if your brain believes there is a danger lurking it will want to concentrate on that, not what else you want it to do. This can actually turn into an anxious state. If you are focused on feeling anxious or unsettled, it’s unlikely you will be able to focus on anything else. The more you worry about not being able to concentrate, the more you flit from thing to thing, not achieving much at all. Sometimes you are better to just give yourself a break. Do something that will make you feel better rather than one of the things on your to do list.
Appetite can go either way when people have unsettled minds. But whether you overeat or under-eat the likelihood is that you will make bad choices. It’s unlikely you will feel as in control of your eating as you would like to be. When you feel strong of mind and in control, it is easy to meal plan and create healthy food to nourish yourself.
When your mind is unsettled you won’t feel your confident self. You will be distracted and you will not have your full power. Because you feel less confident you might withdraw. This could give you time to heal but sometimes the right people can help lift you up. Help you understand that this will pass and you can get control back.
Here are some things you can do to settle your mind:
1 – Give yourself a sense of control. Do something easy and small which helps you feel back in control.
2 – Relax. Reassure your mind that there is no reason to worry.
3 – Be kind towards yourself. Life is full of challenges and this means that we will feel unsettled from time to time so ride it out and it will pass.
If feeling unsettled is not an ‘every now and then’ occurence and it is causing you a problem. Get in touch and we can work together to settle your mind and give you techniques for the future.
This blog is one in a series about self-development and ways to help you manage your mental health. I’m providing techniques and advice a Hypnotherapist and coach working locally in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype.
Quick review of yesterday’s list:
Yesterday you wrote a list of your favourite sounds. Are you going out of your way to listen to them to bring more joy into your life?
Your ‘getting ‘settled’ list.
For today’s list try to write a couple of things down that would make you feel more settled or things you can tell yourself the next time you feel unsettled. Then you have something to refer to in the future.
If you would like a free 20 minute consultation, please get in touch on 07530 890089 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honey (Sussex based Hypnotherapist that helps people with stop smoking, anxiety, weight loss, stress and depression).