Change, stress, and what you can do about it

Firstly, welcome back and apologies for the long delay since my last post.

There’s a lot of talk about change and the stress it causes.  So, a couple of things.  Firstly, change is inevitable.  Everything changes.  Things change, people change and situations change.  Secondly, change does not cause our stress.  We cause our stress.  Or rather the way in which we choose to respond to change or situations causes us to feel stressed.

One of the many things that passes us by is that we are not the victims of our emotions.  We may be victims of our own ignorance, and I know that sounds rude, but emotions are not thrust upon us from outside sources.  The way we walk, talk and think directly dictates how we respond to each scenario we encounter.

Let’s break that down a little;

Walk – Or more accurately, posture.  To sit with slumped shoulders, head down is to assume a depressed position.  On the other hand, if you stand with shoulders back and chest out, you’re more likely to feel stronger and more alert.

Talk – The language we choose greatly affects our mood and response.  Imagine if you could only converse in positive or neutral terms.  The can’t, won’t and defeatist language disappears for just a day.  How do you think this would affect your communications with others and as importantly, the way you feel about your day, interactions and mood?

Think – What we think about, or what we choose to focus on, determines what we are consciously aware of and what we automatically filter out.  In the previous post, we talked about finding what we look for.  This is exactly the case here.

When combined, where we focus, what language we use and our physical posture have a huge impact on how we experience our world and how we respond and to stimuli.

This is a big subject that can’t be covered in a single blog post but I hope you’ll agree there is food for thought here?!

So please give it a try.  Test the theory that positive output gets a positive return and please let me know how you get on.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Andrew

Seek and ye shall find

Following on from my earlier post about New Year’s resolutions, by now, most diet plans and good intentions have gone to hell in a hand basket.  That’s the diet, along with the plans to find a new job, I mean after all, it’s not that bad right? And it pays the bills….. Sure, and it also sucks the life out of you on a daily basis, including half of your weekend which you spend dreading the return to the office on Monday…. But hey, that’s another story for another day!

Have you ever heard the phrase you get what you look for?  Or similar? When applied to the area of weight loss, it’s very true.  Thinking about doughnuts all day?  Chances are you’re going to see one, or a cake, or another sugar and fat filled treat to tempt you from your path of righteousness.  Ever get a new car/sweater/handbag only to notice that what you thought was rare or leading edge is in fact everywhere?  Same deal.  What’s front of mind gets noticed.

So what’s the relevance?  As we alluded to earlier, if you set out with ‘I will not eat chocolate’ on your mind, you will think of nothing other than tucking in to a slab of the wonderful stuff.  Likewise if you try not to think of something, it’ll be right there….. Try this:  DO NOT think of a blue elephant….

Yes, I did too.

What this tells us is that focus is all-important.  We have amazing brains but we don’t do too well regarding negatives.  ‘Don’t knock that glass over’…. Crash… ‘Don’t slice that golf ball into the lake’… Splash….   However, ‘be careful of the glass’, ‘or just hit it nice and gently down the middle of the fairway’ (the ball not the glass, that would be silly J) is more likely to achieve the desired effect.

Therefore, if we want to positively affect our weight through a more appropriate diet, we need to focus on the foods we shall eat to get the desired effect.  The other foods simply are not relevant to the task at hand. It helps tremendously to be able to plan this.  If you have only healthy foods in your house, it makes it much harder to deviate.  Likewise, if you’re going out, it’s wise to plan in advance where you’re going to get your sustenance from.  Know that you’re going to have a salad or a healthy sandwich ahead of time and plan where you’re going to buy it and there’s every chance you’ll avoid that deep pan pizza or 12” sub.

Keep in mind that with every healthy meal you are heading towards your goal and it becomes easier to escape the clutches of bad choices.  Have some clear goals and make those your focus.

You won’t hear this often, but if you fall off the wagon once or twice, don’t beat yourself up.  Nobody gains from a guilt trip.  Just acknowledge what you have done and move on.  Make the next step a positive one.

When you’ve established what your weight loss goals are, please take a few minutes to write them down.

Your goals should be SMART.  For example;

  • Specific – How much weight?
  • Measureable – By scales, clothes size
  • Achievable – Don’t set yourself up to fail
  • Relevant – Keep it focused
  • Time bound – By when?

So my SMART goal may be to lose 12lbs in 10 weeks by eating healthily and to lose 2 inches from my waist.

Don’t type them into an email or a document, just write them down with a good old fashioned pen and paper and keep it safe, as this helps your commitment.  Don’t be shy about telling people what you’re doing and ask them to help to hold you accountable.  YOU are the one responsible here but asking others to help has the added benefit of others not actively trying to derail your efforts.

If you, or anyone else, leads you with things like ‘go on, one won’t hurt’, simply tell them, or yourself, that if you cared about me, you wouldn’t do that.

Weight loss is not about fads and it’s not about ‘being good’.  Firstly, it’s about focusing on the steps you need to take to achieve your goal and then to maintain the new you.  Want it, focus on it and do it.

We’ll talk more about this in a future post, meanwhile, grab a pen and write down your goals!

If you’d like to discuss or need help getting started, simply get in touch by filling out the form below.

Meanwhile, thanks as ever for stopping by.

Andrew

Values (Part 2)

Values Part 2

In the previous post we talked about our personal values and how we experience them.  We also said that people experience values and feelings differently and that this may not be in a wholly compatible way.

In this post, let’s take a look at what’s important to us and what we want our experience to be.

It sounds really obvious, but if you take a moment to list your key values and your ways of meeting them, you may be surprised.  I certainly was!  It’s an exercise worth doing though, as it can help put so many things in perspective.  Interactions that have previously irked you as you’ve felt someone else was at fault are suddenly seen in a different light as you realise that what someone meant may be different from how you have chosen to receive the words or actions.

Action:  List out 10 positive values in priority order.  Then against each value write down what needs to happen in order for you to feel that value.

Example:

Value = Respect

What needs to happen: People compliment me, listen to me, I am accomplishing things

Then list 5 negative values and do the same.

You may find that some values are dependent on others that you’ve listed, which is fine.  For example, to truly feel loved you may also need to feel respected.  More importantly, you may be able to see that you’re inadvertently limiting your ways of experiencing the positive whilst leaving the field wide open to experience the negative.  When we’re set up this way, we decrease our chances of being happy.

It may be that the rules you have set for experiencing values and feelings are unrealistic.  To go back to a previous example, if you feel rejected because you don’t have someone’s undivided attention when you want it, dependent upon circumstances it simply can’t happen and you’re leaving yourself open to feeling hurt.  If on the other hand you change your view of rejection to a level that is achievable day to day, you’re going to feel better about it.  Interestingly, if you open up how you experience love and connection, a hug, touch of the arm or even an exchanged smile can be enough to make you feel good at that moment.  So you’ve lessened your chances of feeling rejected and increased your options to feel loved with no effort whatsoever.  Something to think about!

Let’s revisit the example of coming home to find a frazzled partner.  In that example, to expect everything to be dropped and for you to be the centre of attention is probably a little deluded.  If you know this, you’ll be more likely to pitch in to help, in the knowledge that not only will this be hugely appreciated, but you’re more likely to get that one to one attention later on.  Not only that, but if you’ve opened up on how you experience love, even that may be less important as you’re getting loved more often, in more ways anyway.

Special note:  It doesn’t matter how busy you think you are.  If you arrive home, skip around the chaos whilst talking on your mobile phone (or reading email) and dive in to your study for peace and quiet emails and more calls, your risk of further rejection dramatically increases!  Trust me on this as I did it on countless occasions and I can tell you from personal experience that it accentuates bad feeling to another level entirely.  Another story for another day.

Be careful out there folks and remember to live a little.

Andrew

Values (Part 1)

What are they and what do they mean?  We hear a lot about the decline of values in society and this seems to be linked to the decline in community in its true sense.  For many, long gone are the days when you knew everyone in your road, village, town etc.  The places that used to be the hubs of the community are for the most part gone or substantially eroded.

Let’s be honest, many of us don’t know the names of our neighbours and have no input whatsoever to the local community scene.  I’ve recently moved and I know the grand total of one neighbour by name and another by sight.  That’s in almost months and I don’t consider myself to be particularly anti-social.  It speaks volumes.

I think it’s all too easy to look to the values of the greater entity when in fact those values are made up of our individual values.  This led me on to think about what’s important to me and my values.  It’s easy to trot out love, respect, contribution etc., but there’s then the question of what we need to do to experience these values as we want them?

Confused?  I’m not surprised.  We never stop to consider this stuff but if you think about it, it’s vitally important to our ability to be happy!

An example of a positive value is love.  Most people want to be loved on some level.  However, our ‘rules’ for this value will differ greatly from person to person.  For one person it may be touch, intimacy and feeling in-tune and ‘as one’ with our partner.  For another it may be the ability to have long, in-depth discussions, the certainty of knowing that their partner is there for them.

Different people experience love differently and that is their right of course.  However, when you put two people in a relationship, it’s easy to see how one or both parties can become unsatisfied.  In this example, one person may feel fulfilled as they have a partner who listens and has intelligent conversation to offer, while the other may be thinking, this is all well and good, but I would really like to hug, relax and just hang out together.

This is just part of the give and take though right?  Well, maybe.  If both parties are getting their needs met equally, then of course, it’s the natural ebb and flow of relationships and life.  On the other hand, if this is repeated over and over it will end with one partner feeling hurt as they will also feel unloved.

In looking at a negative value, and by that I mean something which we, or at least I, don’t want to experience, let’s take rejection as an example.

Let’s take two people who have rejection at or near the top of their negative values list.  If rejection for one person means being told ‘I hate you’ or ‘go away’, you can see that for them it has to be a strong and explicit action.  On the other hand, if your view of rejection is feeling ignored or even lack of eye contact, then it’s easy to see that you’re going to be feeling rejected, and therefore unhappy, quite a lot!  If you’ve ever been away on business and come home to a frazzled partner who’s been juggling his or her own work, kids, shopping, dog walks and cooking and general chaos, you’ll be familiar with not being the centre of that person’s world at that time!  If however, you’re view of rejection is feeling ignored, you’re in for a world of hurt as you simply cannot be the focus of attention for someone spinning so many plates.

Food for thought?  In the next post we’ll look at ways to examine our values, how we go about experiencing them and what that means to our daily lives.

Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by.  Oh, and smile more.  It suits you!

Andrew

Resolution

It’s usually around this time of year that New Year’s resolutions have been broken.  If that’s you, you’re in good company as most people can’t stay the course with making any significant change that is forced.  And New Year’s resolutions ARE typically a forced gesture.  Research shows that a mere 8% of people stick to their resolutions!

That said, you probably do want to make a change on some level.  Losing weight, quitting smoking, getting fit, changing jobs are amongst the most common resolutions and the good news is that it’s not too late!

Real change is achievable and in my opinion you only need to have 2 key ingredients: To know what it is you want to change and to take responsibility to see it through.  Now, at this point you’re probably saying that you’ve already tried this approach and failed.  My answer to that is so what?  You probably tried to go it alone and depending on what you’re trying to do, the lone route is tough and the odds, based on statistics, are stacked against you.

My point?  My point is that you do not have to do this stuff on your own.  Change can be difficult but you have options.  One option you may not have considered is coaching.  In my role as a coach, my job is to help you to get where you want to go.  The only caveats I have is that your aims should be legal and ethically and morally sound… No shock there!

Outside of that, I can help you to understand the why, the how and be there to ensure that you stay on the right path.  How?  As stated above, awareness and responsibility is key to your success.  I will work with you to ensure you are aware of what you want to do, why you want to do it, what the positive effects will be and hold you to account as the owner of the actions required.

Many clients find that in the process of dealing with one particular challenge, they also uncover other issues or blockers which can be reduced or removed altogether, further improving their lives.  Others find that their self-confidence grows.  Both are great side-benefits, don’t you think?

A thousand mile walk is made up of many small strides.  Even the shortest of journeys has to start with one step.

Take your first step today – Simply use the form below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Andrew