April is Stress Awareness Month. We all suffer from stress from time to time. Learning your stress triggers and responses is really helpful.
Here’s some useful questions that can help you manage your stress:
Q. How do you know you are getting stressed?
Q. Where do you feel stress in your body?
Q. What happens when your stress levels get high?
Q. Do you know how to reduce your stress?
Having self care activities written down and ready to go is really helpful. When we are stressed we don’t think clearly. So writing down things that work to reduce your stress really helps when you need it the most.
Things that might help:
Meditation (even 5 minutes can make a difference)
Exercise e.g. walking in nature
Having a relaxing bath
It is best to counter stress before it gets too bad. So learn to recognise the signs that you are getting stressed and take some positive actions to reduce it. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. So find out what works best for you and do that!
If you’d like some help reducing your stress, I’d love to help. I have helped clients for almost 20 years and have lots of experience and different tools to draw on.
Many of us know the benefits of mindfulness but we have such busy lives that it feels like we never have enough time. If that sounds familiar then this meditation is for you. Most people can manage to find the time to practice this one. It’s called the Breathing Space meditation and it can be as short as just 3 minutes!
3 Minute Breathing Space
Firstly, make a conscious change to your posture. Sit upright with your back straight but not stiff. Close your eyes if that feels ok.
Ask yourself what’s going on in your mind and body right now?
What thoughts are present?
What feelings are here?
Become aware of any sensations in the body.
Don’t try to change anything. Just be aware of what is already here. Try not to judge anything, just bring your kind attention to whatever is here, right now.
Now, become aware of your breathing. Narrow your attention to just the sensations of your breathing.
See if you can feel your breath moving in your abdomen.
Try and notice the full inhalation and the full exhalation.
If your mind wanders (as it naturally will), just gently bring it back to your breath. Coming in and going out.
Finally, expand the focus of awareness now to take in your whole body. As if your whole body was breathing.
Become aware of your posture, any sensations on surface of your skin and deeper in your body.
Holding in awareness all the sensations in your body and breath just as they are.
Coming home to your body, coming home to this moment.
As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the rest of your day.
Here’s my recorded version if you’d like to try it:
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week. I think it is very important for us to talk about our mental health and for the stigma surrounding mental health problems to end.
This year the focus is on stress, something we all experience in life!
It’s ok to not be ok
It’s ok to ask for help
It’s ok to say you’re struggling
We all struggle with stress at some point in our life. We all need help from time to time. If we had a physical illness we would probably be ok with telling people and asking for help. With mental health it’s usually different and it’s time that changed.
We can all do our bit and be there for friends, family or colleagues when they need us. We can offer kindness and support. We can let people know that they are not alone.
There seems to be a culture nowadays where we are expected to be stressed or we feel we should say we are stressed. If we’re not stressed, we can feel guilty and take on extra things.
I would like the culture to develop where we don’t have to be stressed. Where taking care of ourselves is given a higher priority and never seen as selfish.
There are lots of things we can do to reduce our stress, e.g.
Meditation / Mindfulness
Reiki or other therapies
Getting enough sleep
When we are stressed though, we often feel we don’t have time for these things and we need to make the time in order to stop ourselves getting overwhelmed by stress.
I know from personal past experience just how bad stress and anxiety can feel. That is why I am so passionate now about helping people overcome stress and anxiety.
It’s good to talk, so if you’d like some help please get in touch.
You know sometimes you need to stop the world and get off? This is what Reiki does for me. It allows me to relax completely. I feel like I am wrapped in a warm blanket, safe and protected from the world. As I feel my body sink into the couch and my muscles let go, my mind starts to let go too. My thoughts slow down and I feel like I have gotten out of the hamster wheel.
Reiki has many more benefits to offer. As well as being very relaxing and calming, it helps us to heal ourselves.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Enhances our well-being
Balances our emotions
Reiki is also complementary to orthodox treatments. It is perfect after surgery or procedures to help your body repair itself.
If you’ve recently been through a tough time, it is a great pick me up.
Lie Back and Relax
Reiki is usually received whilst you lay fully clothed on a massage couch. The practitioner will either place their hands on you or just above your body. Many people feel a warm sensation from the practitioners hands whilst receiving Reiki. I usually guide my clients at the beginning of the session to focus on their breathing and to let go of any tension. This helps them to let go and just be.
How Many Treatments
Even one Reiki session can make a difference. If you’ve been ill, had surgery or been very stressed, then regular treatments are recommended to bring you back into balance. After you have recovered, you may want to have a treatment once in a while to keep you on track and ensure your well being is maintained.
I would love to share the benefits of Reiki with you :). You can drop me an email and I will be happy to arrange your Reiki session.
Breathing…not something we consciously think about most of the time. However, when we are stressed or anxious it is the first thing that is affected. Our breath becomes shallow and rapid. We are not getting enough oxygen. By simply taking a moment to focus on our breath we can change how we feel and how we cope with the situation we are in. So simply stop and breathe.
Or breathe simply…all it takes is a moment to focus on our breath to change it and improve how we feel. So why not try it right now?
Take a slow, deep breath. That’s better right? Do it again. Breathe in and slowly breathe out. Drop your shoulders away from your ears. Now, maybe put a hand on your belly and feel it rise and fall with your breathing. Notice the tension reducing and your body relaxing. Breathe in slowly, feeling your belly rise and breath out slowly noticing your belly fall. Take a few more breaths and notice if they get easier and deeper naturally.
Our breath is a simple stress reliever. One we can utilise no matter where we are or what situation we’re in. About to do an important presentation? Take some slow deep breaths. Just about to have an interview? Breathe! Stuck in a stressful meeting? Breathe! Running late and stuck in traffic? Utilise your time at the red lights by breathing deeply. You get the idea.
Our breath is so important but we take it for granted so much! It can change our physiology so easily if we just take a few moments to connect with it.
Our breath can form the basis of the simplest meditations. Sit comfortably with your back straight and your feet on the floor (or on a cushion with your legs crossed). Take a few slow, conscious, deep breaths. Put your hand on your belly and feel your breath coming and going. Relax your hand again and just observe your breath. Notice each inhalation and each exhalation. Notice where you feel the sensations the most – it could be in your nostrils, your chest, your belly etc. Just observe and notice the different sensations of each breath. When your mind wanders as it naturally will, just gently bring it back to the breath. Notice whether your breathing has changed. Let go of any judgements that come up. Just be with your breath. Practice for 5 or 10 minutes initially and build up to a longer practice if you have time.
Remember to Breathe
Your breath is always there to help you connect to the present moment and to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. You just have to remember to connect to it…
If you’d like some help reducing your stress or anxiety, do get in touch. Louise
Well, here it is – Christmas 2016. Wishing you a truly wonderful Christmas. I hope that you enjoy the time with your family and friends. I am looking forward to catching up with my family and friends and enjoying lots of quality time with my husband and step daughter.
Remember to tap if you start to feel overwhelmed. All you need to do is to focus on what it is that you are feeling. So if it is stress or overwhelm having too much to do then focus on that. Notice where in your body you feel that stress (e.g. tightness in your chest) and use that in your tapping, e.g.
Even though I feel so stressed and I still have so much to do, I choose to accept myself anyway
Even though I feel tightness and restriction in my chest when I think of all I still have to do for Christmas, I accept my feelings
Even though my chest is so tight and I’m so stressed because I still have too much to do, I accept this is how I feel right now
Keep tapping and tapping! You will probably need a few rounds of tapping and remember to keep changing the words as your feelings and body sensations change. Daily tapping might be helpful 🙂
I also highly recommend getting away from everyone (even for 5 minutes) and doing some mindful meditation. Just focus on your breathing. Bring your awareness to your inhalation and your exhalation, noticing the full breath. Notice where you are holding any tension and breathe into that area. See if you can relax the tension on your out breath. Repeat as necessary!
One of the things we can do to help our stress levels is becoming more aware of our stress. Noticing how our body responds when we start to feel stressed.
Do you get a tightness in your neck and shoulders?
Do you find yourself clenching your jaw?
Maybe your digestion plays up
You start getting headaches
Or your throat becomes tight
Whatever it is, just observe it. Acknowledge it is there. Then when you have acknowledged it, try accepting it. You could do some tapping for this. For example:
Even though I feel my throat becoming tight, I acknowledge and accept that my body is trying to tell me I’m getting stressed
Even though my shoulders are getting tense, I know that means I’m starting to get stressed
Once you have acknowledged and accepted your stress showing up in your body, try thanking your body. E.g.
Even though I don’t like the feel of my tight neck and shoulder muscles, I’m grateful for my body and it letting me know I’m getting stressed
Even though my jaw is so tight it hurts, I’m grateful for the warning that I’m starting to get stressed
Then try to do something to help reduce your stress levels. I believe that we need to address what is causing our stress levels and also do something to counter that stress. So you could do a combination of working to reduce your task list / asking for help and do something to help you feel physically better. Whether that is some more EFT, Meditation, a walk in nature, a massage or long soak in the bath etc that is up to you.
Do whatever works best for you. If you don’t know, then it is time to start finding out… 🙂
How much body awareness do you have? This might seem like a strange question – of course we are physically in our body at all times.
What I’m referring to, is how much awareness do you have of your body? How much time are you present in your physical body?
It’s all too easy to get caught up in our thoughts and mind. We are often so busy we rush from one task to the next, to the next, to the next…We are rarely present in our physical body.
So how can we slow down and remind ourselves that we have this amazing body?
How about setting a reminder on your phone or computer? Or making it part of your daily routine, e.g. first thing in the morning, at lunchtime or before you go to sleep…
You just need to take a few slow deep breaths. Make your body comfortable, sitting in an upright position. Tune in to your body. Close your eyes if that feels ok. Maybe even ask your body how it feels? Let your focus move through your body, scanning each area in turn. Notice any tension and see if you can breathe gently into that area and soften it. Maybe thank your body for all the wonderful things it does (without you being aware of them). Ask your body what it needs. It could be more movement, water, food, rest etc. Notice what comes up for you and see if you can do what your body needs. Take another few slow deep breaths and when you feel ready, open your eyes again. See if you can keep this body awareness with you for awhile.
I hope that this helps you be a bit more mindful and you find it a helpful way to take a time out and be present in your body.
Another question I frequently get asked by clients is: Will EFT Work On My X Issue Too?
Say a client has come to me for their stress and anxiety at work issue. They will often only think of using EFT on that issue. They won’t think to use this amazing tool on their fear of spiders issue or when they have an argument with their partner, or when they have a headache etc.
So my advice is always the same – just try it! When clients have resolved their original issue they often forget about EFT and don’t think to use it on other things that come up in their life. I always aim to teach my clients that this amazing tool is theirs – it’s at their fingertips.
Most people need a reminder from time to time though. So my advice is to do some tapping on a daily basis so that it becomes a good habit. That way we don’t have to think about it – we automatically start doing it in times of need. EFT becomes their ‘go to’ self help tool.
Here’s some ways I’ve used EFT this week to give you an idea:
Daily affirmations (remember to get rid of your “yes buts” first before working with affirmations)
Stuck behind a slow moving lorry when running late
Feeling stressed when trying to multi task too many things at once
Tight and painful shoulders (as a result of previous point!)
After hearing some upsetting news from a friend
EFT has helped me so much in so many ways. My aim is to educate and spread the word about this amazing tool so that you can benefit from it too.
So, why not try making EFT a part of your daily self care? That way, you will think of using it for your X issue 🙂
Have you ever had road rage? We can all get stressed when stuck in an unexpected traffic jam. But what if you find yourself getting angry and frustrated every time you get behind the wheel? If you have to drive a lot then this can become a big problem. Not only does it make your journey more difficult, it is causing unnecessary stress in your life.
Time to do some tapping…
Acknowledge how the anger/frustration and stress is getting to you when you drive:
Even though I get angry/frustrated every time I get behind the wheel…
Even though I seem to be getting stressed every time I drive lately…
Even though I seem to have road rage on every journey…
Even though I get angry and frustrated and shout and swear at other drivers…
Even though my stress levels are really high when driving…
Even though I seem to be angry and stressed whenever I drive lately…
Notice where you feel the emotions in your body:
Even though I have all this tension and knots in my shoulders when I’m driving…
Even though my jaw is clenched tight when I’m driving…
Even though my heart is beating fast and I feel so angry and frustrated behind the wheel…
Even though I feel hot and sweaty when I’m driving…
You will get better results when you are more specific. So it’s a good idea to tap on specific events from the past when you’ve been particularly angry/frustrated or stressed during a journey. So tap on the time you had road rage when you were late for an important meeting or you missed your child’s performance in the school play. Work on all the emotions that come up for you in these events, e.g. guilt, shame, embarrassment etc.
When you’ve worked on the most intense specific events, you should be less triggered in the future. So think about what you can do to help the situation on a practical level. Examples could be leaving earlier, going a different route, re-arranging your day so you don’t have to drive in rush hour traffic, car sharing/taking turns with someone. You may need to tap on those things too:
Even though I know I should leave earlier but I always seem to be running late…
Even though I know I should go a different route, I seem to be on auto-pilot in the mornings…
Even though I always seem to have to do all the driving…
Remember to tap any time that you are triggered. You can tap whilst driving, if safe to do so e.g. just tapping the finger points with your hand on the wheel or when you stop at traffic lights.
I hope that this helps your road rage to disappear!
This week has been mental health awareness week in the UK. I was very pleased to do a presentation on Monday at the RSPB in Exeter.
I spoke about stress – what it is and how it affects us. I introduced the staff to a short Mindfulness meditation that can even be done at your desk at work. I also demonstrated EFT and how that can be used to help with stress at work and helping you achieve a better work/life balance. Which is something most people can relate to.
EFT and Mindfulness are two tools that help keep me on an even keel. I wouldn’t be without them now. Having suffered from stress and anxiety in my previous career as a Software Engineer, I know from first hand experience how horrible it can be. Fortunately I now have the pleasure of teaching these amazing tools to other people.
It’s Christmas time. Parties, meals out with friends and colleagues. Visits from family. It can be really hard not to overindulge at Christmas!
Not just with food or sweets but alcohol too. So how do you remain polite and social without overindulging? Impossible right?
It doesn’t have to be. But don’t rely on your willpower because that is bound to be challenged at this time of year!
Instead, you need to do some tapping. Whatever it is that you find hardest to resist, start with that. So, for example, if you find it really hard to resist chocolate at the best of times, let alone Christmas, then tap on that.
Even though it’s really hard to resist all these wonderful chocolates, I deeply & completely accept myself anyway
Even though I find it impossible to not eat chocolates at Christmas, I choose to be able to just have one
Even though it’s so hard to say no to chocolates, when they’re everywhere at Christmas, I choose to be able control how many I eat
Be as specific as possible, so if it’s Roses that really do it for you, then use that. E.g. Even though I can’t just have one Roses from the tin…what if I could?
Then try tapping on what triggers you to eat the chocolates – this could be certain thoughts or emotions or stress. E.g.
Even though the deadlines are looming at work and I feel so stressed and keep reaching for the chocolates, I choose to stay calm and eat some fruit instead.
Even though I still have loads of Christmas shopping to do and wrapping and cooking and it’s all too much for me so I keep stuffing my face with chocolates, what if I can relax and get it all done?
Please do try to help yourself as much as possible. So bring some healthy snacks to eat at the office instead of succumbing to the chocolates. You could also try moving the chocolate tin to a different part of the office if they’re too tempting by your desk!
The other kind of tapping you can do is being able to say that magic word – NO! Many people struggle to say it and before they know it they’re going to every event happening, when really they’d rather be at home for most of them. So tune in what makes it hard for you to say no & tap on that. E.g.
Even though I find it hard to say no to people (or use their name), because I don’t like to let them down and I feel guilty, what if I could respect my needs instead.
I hope that this has given you some ideas to help you stop overindulging this Christmas.
Many clients ask how many sessions it will take to resolve their issues. My answer is usually – how long is a bit of string?
Truth is, we never really know until we start doing the work. I’ve had clients present with one issue (e.g. a fear or phobia) and we end up working on something completely different.
I personally don’t believe in searching for the quick fix. IMHO that is like wanting to pop a pill to get rid of the symptoms, but not searching for the underlying root cause. We will always have better resolution when we resolve the root cause rather than just getting rid of the symptoms.
One session of any therapy isn’t going to resolve your issues. However, after one session of EFT you will know the technique enough to be able to do it yourself. Which for me, is the one of the biggest benefits of tapping. You can do it yourself, in the moment you need it. You can tap when you’re feeling anxious or feeling overwhelmed by stress, or wanting to smoke a cigarette/eat a cake etc.
I like to give my clients homework. That way you learn the benefits of regular tapping – working on your issues and helping yourself. I am then able to help you with the trickier aspects of your problem during our sessions. The ones that need coaxing to the surface. I can then point you in the right direction for your next set of homework tapping.
Together we will work out how long that bit of string is 🙂
Do you find that as soon as you sit down, get all comfortable and begin your meditation that your mind becomes super busy and you think of everything you should have done, need to do or play you events over and over?
You’re not alone 🙂
I have meditated on and off for over 20 years. At times I really struggled and fell off the meditation band wagon as it were. Since discovering EFT though I have found it much easier.
I often use EFT to help me clear my mind before I start. I just allow all my random thoughts of the day to come up and I tap through all the points as I do so. This helps me in two ways. 1) My mind has a free rein to think all the random thoughts it can. 2) I acknowledge and accept how I’m feeling. If there is any particular emotion or feeling that comes up then I’ll do some more tapping on that. Often our emotions just want to be acknowledged. But we can repress them by putting them to one side or not wanting to “go there”. EFT allows me to gently “go there” and acknowledge how I feel. If I don’t have a lot of time to work fully on anything that comes up, then I make a note of it and then come back to it when I do have time.
I then get into my meditation position, ensure all phones and distractions are turned off. Then I allow myself time to settle and if there is still more thoughts, then I’ll tap along the lines of:
Even though my mind is still busy with lots of distracting thoughts, I choose to let them go now
Even though I can’t seem to silence my mind right now, I’m open to the possibility of calming my mind down
Even though I really want to meditate and my mind won’t seem to co-operate, I love and accept myself anyway
Once I have done that I find that I am much calmer and more present in my body. It is useful to do the tapping quite slowly too, whilst breathing deeply.
I usually find if I do this then my meditation goes a lot smoother and I seem to get in the zone a lot easier.
Hope this helps.
If you would like some help with your meditation practice or your general stress or anxiety, then please drop me a line and we can arrange a session.