In Touch With Life

Walking to school with my youngest today was an inspiration. It only takes ten to fifteen minutes but in that time I get a peek into my son’s head and I love it! And he enjoys the fact that I enjoy him so we start the day on a high and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His mind is full of intrigue and curiousity and it fascinates me how he has such an expansive view on everything even death!

I dropped him off and made my way back home feeling blessed to have spent such quality time with my son and as a result I noticed how much more aware I was of the wonders and beauty all around us (granted it was a lovely spring morning which helped!). I noticed the magpie nestling in the tree; the cat warming itself in the early morning sun; the melting frost dripping lazily from the cars on the drives.

How many of us go through our days without seeing anything apart from what is inside our heads? How many of us take the time to spend a few precious moments with loved ones? How many of us experience real joy? 

Joy is all around you if you only remove your focus from your mind (worrying about the future, brooding over the past) and take a look at the outside world every now and again. Begin to see all that you can see, hear what you can hear and you can begin to feel so much better by simply appreciating what God has created.

Joy is not winning the lottery, meeting a new man, waiting until I can afford that new house, Joy is experiencing life in the moment and being in touch with reality. Joy is sharing a tender moment with a loved one. Joy is watching the miracle of a sun rise or listening the bird song in the early morning.

Joy is quite simply all around us and all it takes to feel a little joy each day is to be mindful of living in the here and now and being aware of life around you because it’s hard to feel anxious or full of worry if you really experience life right at this moment.  

So next time you feel a little blue or need a little joy in your life then begin to focus on the beauty of nature all around you; the love in your life and take simple pleasures from simply experiencing every moment as it happens. So get out and take a walk and notice all those wonderful things that perhaps you have never noticed before!

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Who Is To Blame?

I have just come home after having a very interesting chat with one of the parents at my kids school. We started on the general stuff such as ‘how are you’ and then sunk deeper into societal issues within the UK.

Discussing the shocking news of three teenagers murdering a homeless man (two of whom were only 14 at the time) for a dare, we turned to the element of responsibility.

When I hear of tragic and disturbing stories like this especially concerning kids, I automatically (and perhaps wrongly in some cases) presume that the individuals who committed such atrocious crimes must have had a really bad childhood because how else could you make sense of such cold blooded murder? Surely there was some motivating factor other than a dare that pushed these ‘kids’ to carry out such a crime?

However having mentioned this to the other parent her first response, quite rightly was “yes but when do we expect kids, who may well have had a troubled childhood to accept responsibility for what they do?’

And I am with her on this one. Most of us, with only a few exceptions, know from an early age what is right and what is wrong. We know that stealing, fighting and almost certainly murder is wrong, so does it make it any less tragic if the kids involved in this murder were neglected or abused as kids? Should it be appropriate to bear childhood neglect/abuse in mind when sentencing these kids or should they simply have the ‘book’ thrown at them?

When should we as ‘civilized’ human beings start to accept responsibility for what we do? And how long can those who have had a tragic childhood get away with blaming their parents/carers and their past on their actions as teenagers and adults?

There comes a time when we know what we do is right or wrong regardless of whether our parents taught us or not, and that is the time to accept responsibility for what we do. Granted if a child is severely neglected then his idea of what is right and wrong may not be realistic, if indeed he has any concept of this idea at all.

However, a two year child has to accept that if he has hit his sibling then he is responsible and therefore should be reprimanded in some way and told that his conduct is not appropriate and why. After all we need to understand the ‘whys’ to things to make sense of them don’t we?

So responsibility is ours for the taking. I am responsible if I lose control and shout at the kids. I am responsible for being rude to my work colleague regardless of whether they said or did anything to upset me. My son is responsible for kicking his brother. The boy is responsible for terrorising the class. Yes, such and such may well have upset you or annoyed you and you got really angry as a result but you are still responsible for how you respond!!!! There is no discounting the fact. No one else is in your head telling you what to do, only you. And if you can not control your anger then isn’t it about time you did?

Responsibility is something that we all need to accept. It is something that many people duck and dive from perhaps because they are scared that by admitting they are wrong it makes them seem less than perfect. But non of us are perfect are we? Isn’t it true that it’s better to do what’s right for you rather than be right all the time?

So next time you do or say something you know is wrong at least have the courage to admit it. Sorry goes a lot further than that row that last for days.

So let your kids know what’s right and what’s wrong. They are your responsibility after all and the earlier you do this the easier it will be for you, for your kids and let’s not forget, the people they come into contact with on a daily basis.

A parent is a parent is a parent and with parenting comes the most important responsibility of all. The responsibility for another’s welfare.

Love IS A Many Splendid Thing!

How many times have you been negative or horrible to someone you love, including yourself? How many times do you look at others and see all the ‘bad’ things about them without really noticing the positive? Do you walk along without noticing the beauty around you or indeed would you notice the beauty all around you or are you too engrossed in the wrong doings of others?

When was the last time you told yourself you loved yourself? When was the last time you said something positive to yourself or praised yourself for something that you did well? When did you last tell your kids or family and friends how much you love them and just tell them how special they are just the way they are or praised them for doing something as simple as being them?

Love literally makes the world go round and without it, life as we know it would not exist! Love and fear and the two motivating factors in our lives and determine how we live our lives and how our actions affect others too.

Doing anything out of love will not only make you feel a whole lot better in yourself and who you are (they do say giving feels so much better than receiving) but it will also impacts positively on any people involved too AND the effects of showing love to others will continue to impact on so many more people too! Think about it for a moment. You are standing in the queue at the supermarket and you notice the women in front has obviously had her hair done and it looks great so you comment on it and tell her how great she looks. A kind word, a simple gesture.

Now how do you think she will feel when she hears your positive words? More than likely as I often experience when I pass positive comments onto strangers (and indeed anyone you know too!), she will feel really great, I mean who doesn’t like to be complimented? I remember one woman I had complimented on her hair, was so pleased that I had noticed and passed comment on her hair that she came back to me after having paid for her shopping to thank me for being so kind! So not only did I feel great being nice to someone but I was rewarded by a thank you too. It does feel great making someone’s day doesn’t it?

So now this woman is feeling very pleased about receiving a lovely compliment from a complete stranger and sets off home. How do you think she’s going to relate to her husband and kids when she gets home? She if still feeling happier and upbeat about the lovely compliment she received so the kids and the husband will probably benefit form her positive mood too and if they are feeling happier that mum is feeling great then guess what, they are more than likely to spread the love too! How amazing that a few kind words or a kind act can have such a massive impact?

The Butterfly Effect states that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in one area of the world can influence the weather in another area of the world and the same is true of good deeds and words.

So make someone’s day and spread a little happiness. It costs absolutely nothing yet it’s effects last for a lot longer than the actual deed itself. And next time you feel the urge to say something out of spite or anger, hold that tongue and smile and see how different events pan out!

What You See Is What You Get

How many times have you watched a movie or discussed a topic or even sent a text message to someone and discovered that you have taken away a completely different ‘meaning’ that the other person? 

We all have very different views on the world and others due to our experiences in life, our beliefs, values and how we think and how we experience something can be totally different from how other people  experience the same event. A good example of this is two people going on a roller coaster for the first time. At the end Person A thought it as amazing and is already off to cue for go number 2 however Person B hated it and thought it was the most scariest thing they have ever experienced and subsequently has sworn never to go on one of these rides again! 

The same event but different ‘outcomes’ or experiences for both parties. So why do we see things differently from other people? How can you and your friend take two very different meaning from a comment someone made? 

Well when we take in information in from the world outside we take it in through our five senses, however if you take a quick look around you now, you can perhaps begin to understand that it is impossible for us to take in everything that is available to our five senses so we ‘filter’ it. We take in the bits of information from our senses and omit other bits in order to make sense of what is around us. 

We filter and internalize this information in three different ways. 

We Delete certain bits of information available to us and what we delete will depend on our previous experiences. This is how we have the ability to follow a television program even with other disturbances and conversations going on in the same room. An individual who had overcritical parents may well delete the positive information they receive from others in favor of any negative criticism due to their experiences in life.

We can distort information which is basically the process of simplifying our experiences. Sometimes we do not have all the information to hand so we jump to our own conclusions, again based on our past experiences. For example, you witness a youth pushing a man to the ground and your mind may instantly jump to the conclusion that the youth must be mugging the old man. However other witnesses see the whole incident and see the youth saving the man from an oncoming car. 

 We generalize the information we receive in order to cope with all the sensory information we receive on a daily basis. We use our previous experiences as a starting point for other experiences, in order to help us learn faster. However if one previous similar experience is negative then this starting point means that we generalize about certain areas of our lives in a similar way. For example, if we have a bad experience in one country we could generalize about how bad the whole country is based on our one disastrous experience. If you stumbled over a presentation at work you ‘know’ that other presentations that you make are going to be a disaster based on one negative experience.

 So you can begin to appreciate how our filters can prevent us seeing things in a more realistic light. Once you have made the decision to dislike someone because of that one incident years ago, it becomes very hard to see any ‘good’ in them as a result. So we become blind the some pretty obvious things as a result.

However we can change how we see things and as a result change our lives by simply becoming aware of how we filter the information that we receive. We can question whether the information we are deleting is relevant to us? If someone has praised us for our great work then it makes sense to thank them and accept their praise as opposed to negating it. Because you know what, you can get thinks right and doesn’t it feel better to accept that you get things right instead of negating it?

So next time you jump to conclusions about that ‘miserable man’ at work, ask yourself if you have ever had a bad day? Is it really practical to go with your first impression of a person? Perhaps the guy is sick or has financial or marital problems and could do with a little understanding as opposed to a few harsh words! If you smile at him instead of mumbling a few angry words imagine how differently the outcome for both you and him will be.

And is it really true that the next presentation you do will be a disaster based on the one experience that you’ve had? How are you going to perform if you go in expecting to make a mess again? Isn’t is more likely that you could improve your performance each and every time you present especially if you take time to prepare well too? Which outcome would you prefer?

So next time you quite literally jump to a hasty conclusion, ask yourself if you are really seeing things clearly or are you simply looking at things through your limited filters?

You have the ability to change how you see things and remember if you change how you see things then you change how you feel about it too as well as also changing your perception of the event or person too. So next time smile at the grumpy man, accept that praise and see the positive in all you do and you may just notice that life seems to be getting better!

Question your automatic responses and you may find that changing them can change your life for the better.

 

Seeing Is Believing

Many clients come to me in the hope that they can feel more confident in certain situations whether that be driving, singing, dancing, public speaking or to simply feel better about themselves.

I usually see these clients for a couple of sessions however there is an incredibly easy and effective tool that anyone can use which will build confidence over time and as they say, the more you do it the more you will benefit!

Visualization is (and I can not stipulate strongly enough!!!) one of the most simple yet powerful self help tools available to one and all and is completely free! The majority if not all of top athletes use visualization to enhance performance and it has been proven that visualization is more effective than just training alone. Top business men, professionals, actors, singers and even doctors use this simple tool.

Why? Well first and foremost because visualization  reprogrammes our mind for success. Your mind does respond to the thoughts you have and the images you create in your mind too. So if you see yourself confident you mind will respond accordingly. Also the part of the brain that responds to what we actually see is the same part of the mind that responds to what we visualize too, so your mind will just assume that you are the confident individual you see in your mind and will accordingly produce the behaviour appropriate. And the more you see yourself confident the stronger the new neural pathways become to that new more positive behaviour.

Secondly, when you visualize yourself feeling good and acting in a way that you wish to behave, you will automatically begin to feel better in yourself too so visualization stimulates these wonderful feel good feeling more and more in response to the positive images we create.

Thirdly. The part of your mind that is responsible for your behaviours in the unconscious mind and this part of our mind has many duties, one being to move you towards pleasure and away from pain. So whilst you visualize yourself acting more confidently, you begin to feel better too, so your unconscious mind will begin to associate this feel good feeling with acting confidently  and as it wants you to feel happy it will produce more confident behaviour to ensure you keep feeling great!

Visualization may not be easy to begin with as you may not be used to creating images in your mind but believe you me, you do produce images daily in your mind whether you are aware of it or not! Think of something you love and you may be surprised to notice an image pop to mind straight away! If you do struggle with visualizing then daydream – most people can daydream and quite often do about winning the lottery!

When you see yourself confident in your mind you may notice your physiology adapts accordingly too, however really get a sense of, or an image of just how you would look, how you would behave, especially in those situations that perhaps you would avoid. How do you sound when you speak? How do you walk? How do you feel in yourself? So really get into how you would look, feel, think, behave when confident and most importantly is FEEL how great you feel when you see yourself confident because the better you feel while visualizing the more confident you the quicker the transformation!

Get into a routine too – visualize first thing in the morning to set you up for the day and several times during the day – it only needs to be for a couple of minutes to make a difference each day. If you are preparing for something that you need to feel more confident about then see yourself doing what ever it is, whether it’s presenting or chatting up that guy at work that you’ve had your eye on for ages, but see yourself doing what you want to do in the way that you want to do it and make sure that you focus only on a positive performance because remember – what the mind can see the mind will achieve!!

So get seeing you in a more positive light and see how quickly you begin to feel differently. Confidence is based on perception and by changing how you see yourself in your mind you are changing how you perceive yourself in everyday life too.

Good luck!

It’s Time For BED

Belief, Expectation and Desire are the three most important ingredients to personal change and each one plays a valuable role in your future outcomes.

Belief is one of the most powerful tools available to any human being today, whether that be you, a doctor, a cancer patient, someone wanting to lose weight or an individual who wants to kick the drink habit. Belief has been well documented in it’s amazing powers of healing, it’s also helped top athletes reach for the skies and it can help you to overcome obstacles in your life and be the best you can.

So what is belief? Well a belief is simply knowing that something is true and if you think about it, you either believe in something or you don’t. You either believe in God or you don’t. A belief is something that you believe 100%. Beliefs run who we are at an unconscious level and unfortunately many of us go through life with no idea that our beliefs about ourself and the world we live in dictate pretty much how we live our life.

If you were brought up being told that the world was a scary place then you are more than likely going to grow up in a scary world, avoiding certain places, people and situations whilst an individual who was taught that the world is a wonderful place is far more likely to get more out of life and explore more opportunities because they feel safer and more open to the beauty of the world they live in.

So your beliefs shape who you are and how you feel however beliefs are not rigid and can be changed (forget all that nonsense about a leopard never changing it’s spots!). Most if not all of us were brought up believing in Father Christmas and no-one could convince us he wasn’t real at some point but now? Well come on! So beliefs can be changed.

However if you want to believe in yourself more or be the employee of the month, then you need to know that there is a possibility that you could succeed, because if there is no chance of changing or getting that award, then why bother trying in the first place? So Expectation is also crucial to success. Believing that you can succeed is one thing but expecting to win is another. Why?

Well if you know that you are a valuable member of the team at work and constantly hit your personal targets then you probably will expect to win employee of the month at some point wouldn’t you? And expecting to win is great because that will motivate you to succeed right? However expectation can also create problems if unrealistic targets are set.

If you believe that weight loss hypnosis will work for you (belief) and you expect to reach your ideal weight then you probably will, however if you expect to lose 3kg in one week then you may be in for a downfall. Expectation is certainly a motivating factor in achieving results but set them too high or be too unrealistic and you have a greater change of failure which could have a knock on (the Six Nations is on at the moment!) effect on your belief in your ability to succeed.

Which leaves us with desire. If you want to lose weight and you believe you can but hey, I’m quite comfortable with who I am at the moment, then there’s not much change that you will lose weight is there? Because in order to achieve you need to want it! You need to be able to almost touch it, hear it, taste and smell sweet success in order to produce that drive, that determination to succeed.

Desire is powerful and not just the physical or sexual desire either! If you want to succeed, you want to be the best in the field, then you are going to give your all in order to get there. Desire has kept many people alive in what seems to be hopeless situations, the sheer desire to see loved ones again, even when the expectation of survival is low, has a phenomenal impact on motivation and desire can overcome so many physical, psychological and emotional barriers.

So you have always wanted to be a doctor, ever since you mended your doll’s leg when you were five (desire) and you have managed to get to medical school with hard work and determination because you believed that you could do it and now you expect to be one of the the leading surgeons in the country (you can almost feel the motivation, determination and drive to succeed already cant you?) well guess what? You have more probability of succeeding than someone who has higher grades than you have but only went to medical school to please their parents and to be honest, isn’t sure if they are really good enough to become a doctor anyway!

A powerful way to increase your belief, expectation and desire is to practice regular visualization. Seeing yourself successful, visualizing yourself winning, getting a feel for how great you are going to feel is an incredibly powerful way to increase desire, build beliefs and raise expectations.

So if you want to improve, succeed, accomplish or just lose weight then remember – get to BED! Or rather build Belief, Expectation and Desire and get visualizing today.

You Drive Me Around The Bend…..

Now I like to feel that I do my ‘bit’ each day and I am sure you do too although your  ‘bits’ may be very different from mine!

I like to spend some time with my kids each day (and yes some days it’s easier) and one great way for me to achieve this is to spend time walking and talking (and snowball fighting if weather permits) to school. Granted I don’t live so far away or I don’t have to dash off straight to work either so perhaps it easier for me to do the school ‘walk’ than others,(why is it called the school run when basically the majority of parents drive their kids to school?)  however there are so many parents that could walk their kids to school but wouldn’t even think about it let alone do it and why is that?

A neighbour of mine opts to drive to school with her daughter and believe you me it would take longer to get the car ready to drive at this time of the year that it would to walk to the school, and I always wonder why she never walks? She’s not working at the moment so that’s not a valid excuse and she’s missing out on something really great. Walking is a great opportunity to spend some valuable time with your kids so why do we drive ourselves quite literally ‘around the bend’ instead of walking?

Now this neighbour could benefit from losing a bit of weight and a walk could help her increase her daily exercise,  but she is also missing out on some fresh air and quality time with her daughter. I see parents with young kids drive them everywhere and rarely see parents walking with their kids these days. So why do we prefer to take the car? Laziness perhaps? Convenience yes, but like everything we can chose to rely less on our cars and more on our feet and legs!

If you walked every day just think of the benefits you would gain. You would most certainly be fitter and feel healthier, you would not doubt feel better emotionally too (a good walk can ‘clear the head’) and you would be doing your bit for the environment too. Walking with kids, family or a loved one is a great way to spend quality time together, talking whilst you walk and based on recent research us parents need to make more of an effort spending quality time with our kids (and NO quality time does not mean watching the match on TV or playing on the Xbox with them that is more about you being lazy and uninterested!).

A young family moved into our close a couple of years ago and I never knew until recently that they had kids. I have never once seen either parent taking the kids out for a walk, even in a trolley, or for that matter actually seen them outside playing with the kids! Are we so ‘lazy’ with our time that we can’t even give the people that matter most, our time, energy, love and attention? Are we that obsessed by the TV or PS3 or Facebook that the most precious things in our world get forgotten?

I could rant and rave all day about the lack of time we spend with our kids and how a simple ten minute walk every morning or evening is a fantastic way to get to know your kids! It’s a time to laugh, to talk, to have fun, to discover what they enjoy, to find out what they did that day at school and not one of us has the right to deny our kids some valuable time – time is love, pure and simply. time with your kids lets them know they matter and more and more these days I see parents neglecting their kids with the one thing they need the most. Time, nurturing and love and attention, not to mention exercise!

We are not doing the best we can for out kids by letting them lead a sedentary life and I do not believe that for one moment, you really think that spending time cooped up all day inside is great for your kids. So get real and take some responsibility. You had kids so you need to do what’s best for them – just because you can’t be bothered or would rather lounge around all day does not give you the right to neglect your kids!

Get up, get out and get walking and who knows, you might actually enjoy it!