Category Archives: Self Care

Controlling your anxiety

Many of us suffer from some type of anxiety.  I am aware that my lack of planning causes me a lot of anxiety. Here are some tips that can assist us with stress and anxiety by drawing on your inner strengths:

 

  • Have three mental inboxes in your head.

    •  Things that I “can control”. Things “I can control with help” and: Things that “I cannot control”.  Mentally assign the “can’t control” things to the requisite box.  What is the point of worrying about things that you cannot control?  All it down is paralyze and dis-empower you. Assign them to the powers that be. It will allow you to feel much lighter and assist you to proceed with other things

  • Are you good at planning?

    •  Have you ever thought of planning to prevent anxiety?  Plan for tomorrow, for that big appointment, even do a bit of practice.  If you feel really prepared, you will stress less.  Spend a bit of time at the end of each day to plan the following day!  Most of my stress emanates from my lack of planning or my bad habit of running a “little” late. 

  • What about an attitude of gratitude?

    • Anxiety often occurs when you feel that “life is out of control”?  How about writing down some of things that you are grateful for.  You probably have strengths that you are not aware of. If you focus on your strengths, instead of focusing on your weaknesses, you will feel more empowered.

  • Practice mindfulness

    •  If we constantly focus on the tasks at hand, without letting other thoughts intrude, we immediately feel calmer and more in control.  There are many good books about that can teach you the technique.  It really works…

  • Look at what is making you anxious and frame it differently.

    •  Are you starting to let your thoughts run away with you?  Is the situation really that difficult? Or have you just fallen into the habit of giving in to stress.  Dissect it and break the task down into small chunks.

  • Call on friends, mentors or counsellors

    •  to assist you with anxiety management techniques – sharing a problem often helps to bring one back to reality.

  • Forgive yourself

    • if you do fail – learn the lesson – and then move on. 

 

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You will marry the wrong person

This headline caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks. Don’t we go to great length to marry the right person?  We date for a while, get to know them, get to know their families, colleagues, friends, etc.  We try to ensure that we share their interests – and even after that – we have zero chance of marrying the right person?

Why? Because unless we married a clone of ourselves, there is no person on this earth that will understand all our needs, wants, desires, etc.  We marry, then throw two family systems into the mix, add a couple of kids, and expect that we will grow at the same rate.  Events can and will alter our lives completely.   There will be times when we need comforting and our partner is not really conscious of this need.  The idea that all needs will be fulfilled in a marriage is totally unrealistic – as we are married to a person who has diverse wants and needs of their own.

Before marriage we rarely delve into the complexities of living closely with a partner. We are hopeful, optimistic, romantic and so is our partner.  However, marriage moves us onto a different plane – admin and financial planning, running a suburban home,  giving up our independence, learning how to bring up kids, navigating life events, work frustrations, etc.   The only ingredient that we have in common when we embark on life as a couple is our partner.

Do we fully understand ourselves, anyway? So how can we fully understand another?

If the above is true, it follows that we will probably choose a so-called “wrong” person. However, this can be good news.  Alain de Botton states  that all we need to do is “let go of the romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based for the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.”  Once we let go of that notion, we stop expecting all our needs to be met, and become used to the idea that sometimes they won’t be.

We need to choose our partner carefully and then hope that we will marry a “more right than totally wrong” person, who is good at negotiating differences in taste, and tries to be “more right” for you. We must avoid rushing into unions because we are lonely or feel that “time is passing us by.” We need to be aware that the nice feeling of romanticism will not last, but can be replaced by understanding, open communication, and a willingness to try and satisfy our partner’s needs.

The good news is that you can make it work. Get rid of the notion that your union is not “normal” and learn to accommodate the “wrongness”, and strive for a more forgiving, respectful and kind perspective.

Taken from an article by Alain de Botton in the New York Times. May 28th 2016.  Alain de Botton (@alaindebotton) is the author of the novel “The Course of Love.”

 

Should I visit a Therapist?

Are you thinking of going for therapy?  Preferably not the long term kind?  While identifying and diagnosing conditions rests with the psychiatric profession, short term help with distress, trauma or difficulty with relationships is the domain of the therapist or registered counsellor.

There are some signs that it may be time to seek professional help.  They are:

  1. You have suffered a traumatic incident, and you cant stop thinking about it.  This need not necessarily be linked to something violent, as trauma comes in various forms, and death of a loved one,  divorce or a break-up can be equally traumatizing.
  2. You are feeling a bit “down” and have done for a while.  You also may have varied physical ailments i.e. headaches, gastric disturbances, etc.  There is often a link between the physical and the emotional, which can manifest as physical symptoms. Have yourself checked out by your GP to rule out a medical condition.
  3. To cope with your life, you are self medicating with substances such as over-the-counter tablets, alchohol and cigarettes.  Life in SA is particularly stressful, deadlines are looming, and you have been neglecting exercise, healthy eating, mediatation, etc.  If you are constantly feeling anxious, you need to get help.
  4. You are irritated and snappy most of the time and are pushing the boundaries of your most cherished relationships.   Perhaps it is not the relationship, but your view that is causing difficulties.  It is often easier to externalise, than look at yourself with a critical eye. Perhaps some of your friends have shown concern?
  5. You have been missing deadlines and have been underperforming at work. You may feel a bit disconnected from the job you used to love, and your attention and concentration are suffering.
  6. You are not enjoying your activities as much as you used to.  Often a session with a therapist can help you regain your focus and assist you to see new possibilities.
  7. You have been living with strained or uncomfortable relationships for too long.  Visit a solution focussed therapist to discuss, review and look at possibilities.

As a solution focussed therapist, I collaborate with the client to isolate the difficulties and work towards solutions, all the while taking a warm empathic, non judgemental stance.  Call for an appointment on 0117873486

 

 

 

 

 

Why be mindful?

water lily reflection

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. This involves thinking present tense, paying attention on purpose, being curious and being accepting of what is going on around you.

To train your brain to be mindful, you need to :

♦️Pay attention

♦️Focus on the feeling of your own breathing

♦️Be conscious of your thoughts and focus on what is most predominant in your awareness. For example, the sounds, sights, feelings, the weight of your body, and the rythm of your breathing.

♦️Acknowledge the awareness of the present moment, giving yourself space to heal, reducing stress, anxiety, intensity Of pain and feelings of depression.

Why is self knowledge useful?

According to the Indian Sage, Ramana Maharshi:
“Wanting to reform the world without discovering one’s Self is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes”

Colour Me Happy

We can decide to be happy? ? ….It’s a strange thought as we often depend on external things to make us feel happy.   Focus on a new thought “Happiness is a decision you make”

Consciously choose to be happy by making a habit of  the following things:

Rise and Shine

People who get up earlier are reported to have a higher overall life satisfaction.   Now that summer is here, I resolve to get up a bit earlier – do some yoga and some mindfulness meditation.  Time to unplug your mind and just be instead of doing.

Get your circulation going

Release those endorphins – get moving!  Jog, run, walk etc.  Our SA weather is great and there is no excuse to not get some fresh air.  Vitamin D is important too – so get some early morning rays before the sun gets too hot. You will feel good!

Get some social support and connect with friends – It’s bound to improve your mood

Release some oxytocin by connecting  or reconnecting with positive friends, who improve your life.  Chat, laugh, relate, empathize.

Find a therapist to dump on

If you have issues on your mind, find a caring, objective therapist who can create a safe space to explore your thoughts or give you some coaching to get you going.

Exercise or do gym at your best performance times

Check when your energy levels are at their peak, and do your gym or exercise then. As we all know, exercise helps assists with emotional regulation.  If you hate the gym, try putting in some earphones and playing some action music.  “I know that it gets me through the 20 minutes on the exercise bike”.

Say YES to things that enrich you and NO to the things that drain you.

Accept that you cannot be everything to everyone.  Set some personal and professional boundaries.  Are you working so hard  – because you are like a hamster on a treadmill  -or because you don’t know how to stop?

Get yourself a life coach who can examine your motivation and help you to focus on your work/life balance.

  1. Look at your life from a grateful perspective

Sure – everyone has troubles in their lives . We are quick to complain and not so quick to take a minute and be grateful for our life circumstances.  Make a habit of practicing gratitude daily.   Fire your inner critic!

  1. Practice the Best Self-Care for You.

Look at the things that make you happy and relaxed and add these to your daily habits – either listening to music, do some creative colouring in, watch a comedy show.

Make a concerted effort (now, today) to add some of the habits to your daily routine