Two Ways To Improve Your Relationships

I love this guys blog and what he says makes a lot of sense – so give this a read and see if you agree!

Power of PIES

One of the great means of peace while living on this earth is pleasant relationships. It’s not always easy. It is wonderful that God has blessed us with different personalities, gifts, and points of view. However, because of these differences, it is sometimes difficult to live in harmony.

I was doing some reading today about mind focus, and as I reflected, I was lead to two simple ways to enhance and improve any relationship.

Before I share, I will say that one word can make all the difference. That word is focus. Here’s how:

1. Focus on your best self. At this point you may ask, “aren’t we supposed to focus on the other person’s needs to help the relationship grow?” I will answer yes. However, you cannot give to someone else unless you are aware of your own positive qualities and strong points. When you focus on your own…

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Say NO and Mean It!

Reading an article yesterday I felt compelled to write on the subject of saying no. No is a simple two letter word. There is nothing complex in it’s pronunciation or interpretation. No is the opposite of yes. No is a full sentence and does not need clarification or justification. No means simply no.

So why do some of us have difficulty saying no and meaning it? Whether it’s saying no to the PTA or your kids or your boss at work who seems to have singled you out for extra work and unpaid hours. When you say no it should mean no and not ‘well I might be able to’ or ‘you know that I really don’t want to’ or even ‘I hate letting people down and they will probably not like me if I say no’.

People soon get used to the ‘weak’ no and consequently will try and force your hand based on past experience however isn’t it time you stood up for yourself, for what you want and for what you mean? Yes it is!

If you have problems saying no to people then try this simple exercise below and soon you will be saying NO in an assertive way that everyone will understand and no-one will doubt!

1. Think about a couple of past situations where you wanted to say no to someone but failed. You may have started with no but ended up with ‘okay if you want’ (what about what you want?!!)
2. Go through these scenes in your mind and find the point where your ‘no’ became a ‘yes’. Notice how you felt, what you said, what the other person said etc.
3. Now go through these situations again but this time change the end result to a positive outcome. When you get to the point where you gave in before, see yourself now saying no and meaning it. As you visualize yourself doing this notice your body posture, the tone of your voice etc and how much more assertive you look and sound. Go through this a couple of times and notice everything that is different about this new you that says no and means it!
(a few suggestions here would be seeing yourself standing tall, relaxed, possibly smiling (though not manically) whilst saying something like ‘Thanks for the opportunity but I really can’t right now, so I am going to have to say no’. And LEAVE IT AT THAT! No does not need to be justified it simply means no, however you can be polite about it which is more likely to appease the other person. Say no with a smile (creates a feeling of warmth) and simply say ‘No thank you, I am fine/I really haven’t the time right now/it’s really not something I enjoy/I do not accept what you say’ etc. When you have said no simply see yourself walking away or changing the subject.)
4. Next write down all the ways that you can say ‘no’ nicely, firmly and mean it. Read them through and practice saying them with conviction. This does not mean shouting or raising the tone of your voice, if anything lower the tone of your voice just slightly as this sends out a clear message to others that you mean what you say! (I use this technique in class with students and it’s far more effective than shouting which merely lets others know you have lost control).
5. Now practice saying no to people who take advantage of you, in front of a mirror preferably. See yourself looking calm and in control, maintaining eye contact (vital!) and smiling before saying no. And then practice defending that no – ‘As I have just mentioned I do not have the time……but thank you again for asking’. etc! Make sure the outcome is the one you want!

When you run through this exercise you will notice you begin to feel more confident about your ability to say no and mean it! If you have a situation that you know requires a no then practice saying no before hand and remember always picture a POSITIVE outcome i.e. the one you want!

Everyone has the right to say no and some say it more or less everyday whilst others fear the consequences of their no. Sometimes it is appropriate to say no – if it’s to the attention seeking child to the annoying friend or to the guy down the road who keeps you chatting for too long about his health problems!

From today make a commitment to say no and stick to it! Say no and mean it!

Letting Go Of The Ego

The ego is part of who we are and if we are not careful your ego can run and ruin your life.

We are used to hearing comments such as ‘he’s on one big ego trip’ or ‘they are too egotistical’ yet what does it really mean. When we use phrases like these we do so in a way which pertains to the individual as being too full of themselves i.e. listening to their egos desire to be liked, to fit in. However are we not being egotistical by judging them?

Your ego’s role is to protect you from perceived threat or hurt and upset, however all too often our ego takes over where rationality should be. If we were hurt by our friends back in primary school then it doesn’t mean to say that everyone else from that moment on is out to get us although unfortunately our egos view, if left unchecked, could be just that which is hardly realistic!

For example, if someone is on their ‘grumpy horse’ (like my son this morning) your ego’s usual response is to take the matter personally and you will usually hear that well-worn voice in your head saying things such as ‘how dare they be rude to me’ or ‘who do they think they are?’

Both statement are ego based (the situation is about me) and far from rational (the poor woman is having a bad day).

Responding to someone elses bad mood in a personal and negative way will often end up with some form of retaliation in order to be seen to defend ourselves – to say to the world ‘we are good enough’ or we harbour a grudge, both create bad feelings and anger. And besides if you are good enough then do you need to prove it to other people?

The ego makes us think about our needs too much and places little thought or consideration on other people. The ego also tends to be ‘all or nothing’ – ‘they hate me’, ‘they think I’m stupid’ etc.

Now if we ignored our ego and realized that everyone’s human and that we can all have a bad day then our first response to the above situation is remarkably different. We become more aware of other people’s feelings, we are less judgemental and we are certainly more positive and less hostile! We live outside our limited perception and become aware that other people see things very differently from how we view the world.

So if your first response it to take what people say or do very personally then you are more than likely too caught into your egotistical response, however choosing to realize that there are other views of the world and not just your ego’s, can open up many more doors for you in your future as well as leaving you feel more rounded, loved and calmer and more content with life.

So next time that voice in your head says you aren’t good enough or that someone is out to get you – question it – as it’s more than likely you are good enough and the other person probably doesn’t even know you exist! And if they do know you exist and are rude – then guess what? It’s about them not you so move on!

Your mind is just that, your mind, so if your ego is controlling it then it’s certainly controlling you, so maybe it’s about time you thought about taking back control of your mind.

Try mediation or mindfulness. Be aware of the moment and choose to see the world through a more rational pair of eyes – see the world through the eyes of someone else from time to time – it’s amazing how differently things can seem! You never know you may begin to realize that you aren’t all that different from all those other people out there!

Confident Children And Imagination

My son was a very anxious boy this morning. He is playing in the school team this evening in a deciding match for the league title and he is scared!

As a mum it’s all to easy to say ‘don’t be ridiculous, you’re a great player’ and leave it at that, but if your child is really worried about something or lacking confidence then surely there is a better way to help them that just offering reassurance?

Well thankfully there is! Confidence is based on perception i.e. your child’s own idea of whether they feel they can do something well or not and like us all, confidence can be diminished through ‘bad’ experiences. And when I say ‘bad’ the experiences themselves may not necessarily be bad but the meanings we take from them may be.

So your son is anxious about a match or your daughter feels scared about doing her Show and Tell – how can you help them?

Two ways really and both very simple and incredibly powerful.

The first one is to get them to ‘rehearse’ what they are going to do in their mind and talk them through it with as much positivity as possible. Make them feel incredible and make sure that every detail is positive and that the outcome is a success.

Not only will this boost their confidence as you are doing the exercise but it also programs their mind to do what they have been ‘rehearsing’ too! So when they stand up in front of the class or get in front of that goal, their mind goes ‘ah right, I know what I need to know now’ and more often than not, they will get the results the practiced.

However be realistic. Don’ set them up for failure! You son will probably not score 10 goals even if he is up front and not in defence! The idea is to get them to focus on the skills needed to get the results they want and to program their minds for success and remember what the mind can see you will achieve – so if your child focuses on failure (which is probable if they are worried) they are more likely to fail. So get them to always focus on what they want from this moment on (and you too!)

To help them feel more positive towards doing this and the following exercise, mention how all the top sports personalities carry out this exercise and how it improves their game/race etc.

Another great way of boosting your kids confidence (which can be incorporated with the exercise above too) is know as the confidence switch. This is quite simply setting up a physical anchor which when ‘fired’ produces feelings of well being and confidence in your child. 

So how do you literally turn on a confidence switch? Well the first thing you need to do is decide what the switch will be (a good place is a knuckle on one hand, the back of the hand or even their nose) and ensure you keep this ‘switch’ and that the pressure used is the same too i.e. press the same place all the time and with enough pressure to register the touch but not too much that it’s obvious. Also once this is set up the switch needs to be something that you child themselves can access themselves if and when they need it. So discretion might be key.

Once you have decided where the ‘switch’ will be then you need to set it. So get your child to remember a time when they felt really great, perhaps when they scored a goal previously or when they were doing something they loved doing such as dancing, singing or simply a time when they felt really great – perhaps playing with friends or on the rollercoaster! 

Get them to close their eyes if they want to (it’s ok if they don’t want to) and get them (with a little help from you) to talk through the positive experience as if they were actually reliving it again. Ask them what they see, what they hear and ask them to really focus on how great they were feeling and as you know yourself, when you focus on happy memories those old feelings flood back don’t they? 

So when you see that your child has associated into those feel good feelings (it will be very obvious with a child when they are!) simply touch their ‘switch’ for roughly 10 seconds. Then stop.

Get them to go through the memory again maybe this time bring in more details or try another memory. Again get your child to really focus on all that they remember and when you see them accessing those happy feel good feelings again, anchor them by touching their knuckle again.

Do this a couple of times at any one go – don’t overdo it as your child will get fed up! Do it again with them the next day or the next to ensure that their confidence switch becomes more powerful.

However one of the best things about the confidence switch is that your child doesn’t even have to know what you are doing! You can get them to focus on happy memories whilst you anchor these feelings by touching their hand (in the same place and the same hand!)/knuckle/nose in such a way that they are unaware of what you are doing. 

Also every time they are feeling happy, confident or at ease with themselves you can simply top us this switch by touching their knuckle for a few seconds. 

You need to go this exercise around 4 – 8 times and then try out the switch. Get you child to focus and then flip the switch and ask (and watch out for signs) them what they noticed? Keep topping up this confidence switch – whenever you child is doing something they are enjoying, when they tell you about a fab goal they scored at school or how they did this incredible dance move – just switch that switch. The more you do this the better the result.

They will be delighted with their new weapon of  mass construction! So give this a go – it’s easy to do and will make your child feel so much more confident and in control. Furthermore, the more they use this switch the more likely the behaviour is to become a natural part of who they are. 

I will keep you posted on the result tonight!

Take care and speak soon!!!

So What Do You See?

It never ceases to amaze me how many people can tell you exactly what they do not want in life yet when you ask them what they want instead, they become quiet and in some cases, somewhat put out that you asked!

What you want in life is important isn’t it? If you want to be happy then it’s important to know what makes you happy so that you can be happy isn’t it? It’s important to focus on reaching your ideal weight if you are overweight yet very few people do.

How many people have you heard bemoan their excess weight or not being able to find nice clothes in their size or indeed clothes to fit them or how they just ‘lurve’ food (which technically they don’t as they barely if at all taste it because they eat too fast)?

When was the last time you heard someone say ‘I chose to be slim and healthy’ or ‘I will reach my goal weight easily and effortlessly’? Very rarely I can imagine.

What you focus on in life you get in life. If you focus on being fat then guess what? You will be fat! However if you stop moaning and start focusing on what you want – to reach your ideal weight and shape and look slim and sensational – then guess what? You are more than likely going to reach your ideal weight! And besides doesn’t it feel so much better to focus on how wonderful you are going to feel and look instead of focusing on something that makes you miserable?

Common sense prevails here. Focus on what you want and you are more likely to get what you want. Also focusing on what you want is a strong motivator especially if you imagine you ourself having the thing that you want! It makes you feel so much more positive and the more positive you feel the more likely you are to attract positive things (those things that you want) into your life

By focusing on what you want you are also employing the powerful Law of Attraction and like any natural law, such as the Law of Gravity, The Law of Attraction is in operation 24/7. So use it and get what you want in life and all you have to do if stay focused on what you want!

So next time you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want instantly change your point of focus to what you do want and be specific and state it in the positive. Do not say ‘I want to lose weight’ as you are STILL focusing on the weight! Simply state something like ‘I will reach my ideal weight of XX by XXDate and I will be slim and healthy’ or ‘I easily maintain my ideal weight’.

So focus on what you want in life and focus on the positive things too and pretty soon you will notice a shift. So remember……..

Focus. Focus. Focus. Persevere. Persevere. Persevere.

Remember a time…….

…a specific time when you felt great about yourself, when you achieved something or when you just felt so relaxed or great to be alive. And as you remember that time now I want you to really get a sense of being right back in that moment right now…..perhaps close your eyes and see the memory now.

See it as though you were right back in that moment now, as though you were looking through your eyes and really see everything that you could see at that time. Hear what you could hear – perhaps people talking – and really get a sense of how great you felt at that time.

And you may be surprised at how good you are beginning to feel as your mind re-associates into those feelings at that time. Now make that image bigger, brighter, perhaps make the sounds crisper and notice how the feelings become stronger and stronger.

Keep focusing on everything that was going on at that time and feel all those feel good feelings flooding through your body again and doesn’t it feel good to know that you can feel this good when ever you want to?

How? By simply focusing on happy memories or positive things in our lives – such as gratitude – you can begin to feel a lot more positive and a whole heap happier.

If you suffer from depression or anxiety you have a tendency to focus on the ‘bad’ things or those things that make us feel anxious. You go through old hurts over and over again replaying them over and over again in your mind however, unlike a movie reel which will wear out over time, these memories seem to get stronger and more powerful the more you play them.

Sometimes these memories become distorted in some way so that they appear worse than what they actually were and all the time our mind is remembering and reliving these ‘bad’ memories your body is re-experiencing all those old ‘bad’ feelings.

Your cells become accustomed to certain feelings (depression, anxiety, anger) and you stay trapped in a cycle of bad feelings, as your body begins to ‘crave’ those ‘bad’ feelings because it’s all it knows so you continue to focus on those old memories and those negative feelings. Then you get given a label. Depressive. OCD. Frustrated.

If you want to beat depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, worthlessness or any other negative emotion then it’s time to change the movies you run in your mind. However before you do that you need to become aware of them first!

So take a few day to ‘listen in’ to your thoughts, and discover what things you dwell on – and write them down. You will be amazed at how a pattern seems to form. Once you become aware of what you focus on, then make a commitment to yourself that you are going to change. Write this down to and state it in the positive.

So if you want to let go of depression and feel happier then make a commitment to yourself to focus on the happy things in life and always see the good in any situation. If you want to be less angry, then make a commitment to stay calm in every situation and to speak calmly and politely to everyone.

Once you have made that commitment, for the next 30 days you need to change the movies in your mind or those negative thoughts to ones that are more supportive of your new outlook.

So as soon as you find yourself dwelling on that memory of you feeling sad, say CANCEL in your mind and bring in a new happy memory (and yes you will have them you have just chosen to forget them!) and focus on this memory for about 15-20 seconds. Each and every time you have a negative thought say CANCEL in your mind and change to positive supportive thoughts such as ‘I am happy’, ‘I am in control’ etc.

Write a reminder of what you are doing somewhere visible so that you are reminded everyday what you are doing. Use post it notes and stick them on mirrors, cupboard doors etc to remind you to change those old movies or thoughts to new, positive and supporting ones.

Yes some days will feel like an up hill struggle and that’s okay. Persevere. Because it’s natural to come up with some resistance when you are making changes to your life. So know that it’s natural to ‘fight’ these new changes and keep on going!

You can change how you feel and depression, anxiety, anger, low self esteem and all those horrible feelings are all run on automatic. Your thoughts run who you are so make a commitment to change how you feel and change your thoughts.

However in order to succeed there are three words of advice for you.

Persevere. Persevere. Persevere.