In the past 40 years, meditation has entered the mainstream of modern Western culture, and been prescribed by physicians and practiced by everyone from business executives, artists, and scientists to students, teachers, military personnel, and -- on a promising note -- politicians. Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan meditates every morning and has become a major advocate of mindfulness and meditation, as he describes in his book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. Despite the growing popularity of meditation, prevailing misconceptions about the practice are a barrier that prevents many people from trying meditation and receiving its profound benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. Here are seven of the most common meditation myths, dispelled.
Myth #1: Meditation is difficult.
Truth: This myth is rooted in the image of meditation as an esoteric practice reserved only for saints, holy men, and spiritual adepts. In reality, when you receive instruction from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, meditation is easy and fun to learn. The techniques can be as simple as focusing on the breath or silently repeating a mantra. One reason why meditation may seem difficult is that we try too hard to concentrate, we're overly attached to results, or we're not sure we are doing it right. In our experience at the Chopra Center, learning meditation from a qualified teacher is the best way to ensure that the process is enjoyable and you get the most from your practice. A teacher will help you understand what you're experiencing, move past common roadblocks, and create a nourishing daily practice.
Myth #2: You have to quiet your mind in order to have a successful meditation practice.
Truth: This may be the number one myth about meditation and is the cause of many people giving up in frustration. Meditation isn't about stopping our thoughts or trying to empty our mind -- both of these approaches only create stress and more noisy internal chatter. We can't stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them. Although we can't impose quiet on our mind, through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts. Sometimes referred to as "the gap," this space between thoughts is pure consciousness, pure silence, and pure peace. When we meditate, we use an object of attention, such as our breath, an image, or a mantra, which allows our mind to relax into this silent stream of awareness. When thoughts arise, as they inevitably will, we don't need to judge them or try to push them away. Instead, we gently return our attention to our object of attention. In every meditation, there are moments, even if only microseconds, when the mind dips into the gap and experiences the refreshment of pure awareness. As you meditate on a regular basis, you will spend more and more time in this state of expanded awareness and silence. Be assured that even if it feels like you have been thinking throughout your entire meditation, you are still receiving the benefits of your practice. You haven't failed or wasted your time. When my friend and colleague David Simon taught meditation, he would often tell students, "The thought I'm having thoughts may be the most important thought you have ever thought, because before you had that thought, you may not have even known you were having thoughts. You probably thought you were your thoughts." Simply noticing that you are having thoughts is a breakthrough because it begins to shift your internal reference point from ego mind to witnessing awareness. As you become less identified with your thoughts and stories, you experience greater peace and open to new possibilities.
Myth #3: It takes years of dedicated practice to receive any benefits from meditation.
Truth: The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. You can begin to experience benefits the first time you sit down to meditate and in the first few days of daily practice. Many scientific studies provide evidence that meditation has profound effects on the mind-body physiology within just weeks of practice. For example, a landmark study led by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital found that as little as eight weeks of meditation not only helped people experience decreased anxiety and greater feelings of calm; it also produced growth in the areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy, sense of self, and stress regulation. At the Chopra Center, we commonly hear from new meditators who are able to sleep soundly for the first time in years after just a few days of daily meditation practice. Other common benefits of meditation include improved concentration, decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced immune function. You can learn more about the benefits of meditation in a recent post, "Why Meditate?" on the Chopra Center blog.
Myth #4: Meditation is escapism.
Truth: The real purpose of meditation isn't to tune out and get away from it all but to tune in and get in touch with your true self -- that eternal aspect of yourself that goes beyond all the everchanging, external circumstances of your life. In meditation you dive below the mind's churning surface, which tends to be filled with repetitive thoughts about the past and worries about the future, into the still point of pure consciousness. In this state of transcendent awareness, you let go of all the stories you've been telling yourself about who you are, what is limiting you, and where you fall short -- and you experience the truth that your deepest self is infinite and unbounded. As you practice on a regular basis, you cleanse the windows of perception and your clarity expands. While some people do try to use meditation as a form of escape -- as a way to bypass unresolved emotional issues -- this approach runs counter to all of the wisdom teachings about meditation and mindfulness. In fact, there are a variety of meditation techniques specifically developed to identify, mobilize and release stored emotional toxicity. If you are coping with emotional upset or trauma, I recommend that you work with a therapist who can help you safely explore and heal the pain of the past, allowing you to return to your natural state of wholeness and love.
Myth #5: I don't have enough time to meditate.
Truth: There are busy, productive executives who have not missed a meditation in 25 years, and if you make meditation a priority, you will do it. If you feel like your schedule is too full, remember that even just a few minutes of meditation is better than none. We encourage you not to talk yourself out of meditating just because it's a bit late or you feel too sleepy. In life's paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time. When we meditate, we dip in and out of the timeless, spaceless realm of consciousness... the state of pure awareness that is the source of everything that manifests in the universe. Our breathing and heart rate slow down, our blood pressure lowers, and our body decreases the production of stress hormones and other chemicals that speed up the aging process and give us the subjective feeling that we are "running out of time." In meditation, we are in a state of restful alertness that is extremely refreshing for the body and mind. As people stick with their meditation ritual, they notice that they are able to accomplish more while doing less. Instead of struggling so hard to achieve goals, they spend more and more time "in the flow" -- aligned with universal intelligence that orchestrates everything.
Myth #6: Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs.
Truth: Meditation is a practice that takes us beyond the noisy chatter of the mind into stillness and silence. It doesn't require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of many different religions practice meditation without any conflict with their current religious beliefs. Some meditators have no particular religious beliefs, or are atheist or agnostic. They meditate in order to experience inner quiet and the numerous physical and mental health benefits of the practice -- including lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. The original reason that I started meditating was to help myself stop smoking. Meditation helps us to enrich our lives. It enables us to enjoy whatever we do in our lives more fully and happily -- whether that is playing sports, taking care of our children, or advancing in our career.
Myth #7: I'm supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation.
Truth: Some people are disappointed when they don't experience visions, see colors, levitate, hear a choir of angels, or glimpse enlightenment when they meditate. Although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of bliss and oneness, these aren't the purpose of the practice. The real benefits of meditation are what happens in the other hours of the day when we're going about our daily lives. When we emerge from our meditation session, we carry some of the stillness and silence of our practice with us, allowing us to be more creative, compassionate, centered, and loving to ourselves and everyone we encounter.
As you begin or continue your meditation journey, here are some other guidelines that may help you on your way:
• Have no expectations. Sometimes the mind is too active to settle down. Sometimes it settles down immediately. Sometimes it goes quiet, but the person doesn't notice. Anything can happen.
• Be easy with yourself. Meditation isn't about getting it right or wrong. It's about letting your mind find its true nature.
• Don't stick with meditation techniques that aren't leading to inner silence. Find a technique that resonates with you. There are many kinds of mantra meditation, including the Primordial Sound Meditation practice taught at the Chopra Center. Or simply follow the in and out of your breathing, not paying attention to your thoughts at all. The mind wants to find its source in silence. Give it a chance by letting go.
• Make sure you are alone in a quiet place to meditate. Unplug the phone. Make sure no one is going to disturb you.
• Really be there. If your attention is somewhere else, thinking about your next appointment, errand or meal, of course you won't find silence.
For more information on our Meditation Classes, visit: https://www.tammybiton.com.au/meditationclasseswollondilly.html
Deepak Chopra is co-author of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being and founder of The Chopra Foundation source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/meditation-myths_b_2823629.html
There is the age old coaching question: If you knew you couldn't fail, what would you do? And if we look at the wisdom of Thomas Edison, he famously shares that he never failed in his attempts to create the light bulb, he just found 100 ways it wouldn't work.
So whilst its great to open up possibilities and begin to consider what you want from life - is what you want important enough for you to learn 100 ways it won't work? Are you willing to back yourself in the face of what if? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and possibly experience a bit of pain in order to gain what you desire?
“By trying, you may fail others. By not, you fail yourself.”
Once you are clear on what you want, you know that it's important enough and what sacrifices you'll need to make to achieve it - if you still want it, what is left to stop you?
Oh, right! Maybe those pesky old beliefs?
It might be a challenge to step away from those old beliefs at first, you might need to step out of the construct of who you belief you are and what you believe you're capable of, step out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes beliefs are easy to change, simply by becoming aware of them and challenging them with evidence to the contrary, by realising the limitations of that limiting belief. Maybe it was created back when you were 4 years old, but you're older and wiser now (either that or you're a genius 4 year old reading this article!) ;)
Sometimes we need to find new beliefs and in this instance, affirmations can be useful (as long as they are believable or you may just spiral yourself into more doubt and insecurity). It's for this reason I am a massive fan of small consecutive steps rather than MASSIVE leaps. For example, it might be more effective to believe that you can do something rather than jumping immediately to believing you are world class at it. If you lack a skill that needs to be learned, believing you now have it may just lead to problems. It is better to believe that you are ABLE TO LEARN. Believing "I can" can be more powerful than thinking "I am". Create some I can beliefs around what you want to achieve.
And then... Fake it 'til you make it. Acting as if you can do something can shift and change your neurological wiring along with your beliefs. The mind can't tell the difference between real and imagined, you often hear of actors getting "consumed" by their roles, don't you? And that's why! It sounds simple, but it's so effective.
If you want some help creating a stronger vision of what you want from any area of life, my goal guide can help you assess where things are now, where you'd like them to be, get clear on what's truly important to you and them guide you through setting great goals.
If you want to find out more about REDISCOVERING who you're meant to be, want to discuss Coaching or Therapy or simply want to share your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you! Message me! :)
Have you ever felt like everyone was about to discover you had no idea what you were doing? In any given moment, you were about to be discovered as a fraud, an impostor and everyone would find out you really aren't that good?
Albert Einstein described himself as an "involuntary swindler" and believed his work didn't deserve the amount of attention it received. Acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer, Maya Angelou, describes the feeling that she would be found out
“I have written 11 books but each time I think ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’” — Maya Angelou
Unfortunately, this is so common, people always feeling like they are one step away from being caught out. Often there are patterns of Perfectionism (if it's not perfect, then it isn't good), Fear of Failure (avoiding stepping outside of whats comfortable for fear of not succeeding) and Undermining Achievements / Discounting Praise (disregarding the positives / successes and holding onto the negatives).
These beliefs begin to influence our behaviours and as we gather more and more evidence to support the belief that we are a fraud, the more self-fulfilling it becomes (at least in our own mind). Take a moment to think back to when you believed in Santa Claus, you ignored all of the contradictory evidence, didn't you? You were able to be easily swayed by an evidence or argument instead that supported your belief. But maybe as you started to question, you became more sceptical and questioned the evidence more until finally, you stopped believing he was real.
It's the same when you hold the belief that you're an impostor! You will discount all of the things that you did well, ignoring that evidence that supports you've done well and instead gathering all of the "proof" that you're not enough.
As you may already know, our beliefs, values and programs filter the way we see the world and literally and intrinsically change the way we perceive and experience the world around us. They craft the meanings that we hold about our experiences and therefore, the emotions and feelings that we have about situations too.
The interesting thing, according to research we all have that negative self talk (and sometimes it's useful). The difference is in how we process it, the value we place on it, whether we listen or not.
Sometimes, looking at something from a different perspective can help us to see things different, to begin to interpret the world differently, change the meanings we place on situations. In NLP, we talk about the "model of the world" or the "map" from which people are operating and the map is not the territory.
I recently went Kayaking in the Royal National Park in Sydney and as I stood on the beach at Bundeena, I could see the Coastline of Cronulla - if I was to drive, it would take about 45 mins and yet, if I looked at the map and followed directions, that map wouldn't capture the terrain, the territory, the beauty of the sunrise, the hiking trails within the park - the map would be impoverish.
And our map of the world is just like that, we receive 2 million bits of information every second and yet we distort, delete and generalise that down to just 5-9 bits that we consciously process - and those bits are determined by our filters. There is so much more happening in any moment than what we can ever be consciously aware of.
And yet, we attract more of what we focus on! So when we are focused on the negative chunks of information, the evidence that we are frauds (in our own perception), the more we will find.... and again... that circle continues. By updating our map and filling in some of those distortions, deletions and generalisations, by seeing things from a different perspective - we can begin to shift our thoughts and feelings.
But, if everyone has the negative voice and 70% of people suffer from the impostor syndrome, what can we do about it?
1. Say thank you! Each and every time you receive a compliment, acknowledge it and say, thanks! I wonder how you feel when you compliment someone and they say, "Yeah, but... "; it's frustrating isn't it? So instead, try accepting the compliment with a simple thanks
2. Journal your own wins, successes, achievements and recognise that you do deserve them
3. Reframe!!! When you find yourself giving meaning to things and that meaning doesn't serve you. Ask yourself, what else can it mean? For example, if someone gives you a "look" and you've decided that means they don't like you.... ask yourself, what else could that look mean? Maybe it means they are constipated, maybe they are running through their own insecurities, maybe they are thinking about the fight they had with their partner... it could mean anything! Find one that fits and works to serve you.
4. If all of that fails, get a coach! (Preferably one that's NLP trained) And work on your old beliefs, values, patterns and programs - clear out what's no longer serving you.
Have questions or feedback? Message me!
Watch TEDX - Thinking your way out of impostor syndrome
If you'd like to find out more about Coaching or Therapy, visit facebook or simply message me!
I remember working with a Spiritual Teacher and Author what seems like a lifetime ago and she would often talk about "Surrender" and honestly, even with my personal development work... I didn't really know what she meant, I understood it was letting go, trusting... but it was all just a philosophical theory. A woo-woo concept.
And then immediately after the birth of my third child, I got really sick. My marriage was breaking down, I was battling a golden staph (MRSA) infection from the hospital, dealing with symptoms of being completely and utter exhaustion, a baby who seemed to have constant bronchilitis and never really slept, who refused to go to anyone else and I was completely burnt out - emotionally and physically. Instead of losing my baby weight, I started gaining weight i and was completely at a loss.
Thankfully I have a few friends in the same industry as me and I reached out to them to gain some perspective and began to pull myself out of the massive hole I felt like I was in. I started to work on myself and slowly climbed back out, still feeling exhausted, but on the pathway to healing - I discovered I had Hashimotos, an auto-immune disease that means your body attacks your thyroid (which is largely responsible for your metabolism and energy function and as I have since learned so so much more).
I began to throw everything at it - complete dietary change, lifestyle, detoxing my home of chemicals... I went all out. And it was at an Ongoing Professional Development workshop where I met Penny Tompkins and James Lawley and explored working on myself "metaphorically". I was one of the demonstration people when they built their online learning program, so if you ever decide to learn Clean Language online, you will see the session; at the end of that session (which looking back was far more than what I initially took from it) came that damn word again... "Surrender".
Over the coming days I couldn't help but think. Why the F*#@ would I want to surrender? I want to beat this thing, I know I can heal - the mind and body are connected and therefore affect each other. This is what I help others work with, this is where all of my passion lies... I can heal this. Why would I want to surrender to it?
And then after a period of time still trying to "fix" myself (more of a battle against my symptoms, especially the extra weight and the fatigue), I realised what it meant.
To the ego mind, surrender means giving up. To the spiritual mind, surrender means giving in and receiving. – Marianne Williamson
Surrender wasn't about surrendering to this "disease", it was about letting go of my attachment and the pressure of not being enough. It was about letting go of the disgust at myself for not being the fit, healthy vibrant person I was just before my Daughter was born. It wasn't about "smashing" it at the gym because that's what I knew worked or restricting calories because that's what I thought would get off the extra weight I hated. It was about letting go of all of those old things that I had prescribed to my clients back in my days as a personal trainer and with it, all of those old beliefs and limitations and "identity" level statements (you know the ones, they begin with... I AM and usually end in a criticism of oneself or a "label").
Surrender meant giving up the fight with myself and instead, allowing that love to flow in. Appreciation for my body and the beautiful babies it made, self love, self respect and the realisation that I was exactly the same person - no more, no less - than I used to be; these symptoms didn't define who I was. They were merely just an experience that I was having.
And so my journey transformed and I started listening to my body and when it felt like a walk in nature, that's what I did and when it felt like smashing it at the gym, that's what I did. Not because I hated who I was, but because I loved who I was. I deserved to be looked after. I tuned into my bodies wisdom for what was right for it to consume, not what others told me I should or shouldn't eat... but rather what my own body responded to.
I do things now because they nourish me, because I desire to do them. I embrace the extra curves I have right now, knowing that I am more than just my physical self. I am strong, I am healthy, I am fit and my thoughts are conducive to healing.
When I stopped beating myself up and continued to work on myself - emotionally, physically, spiritually - when I surrendered to a path of effort and ease, a path of nurturing myself, inviting appreciation, love & gratitude for myself and others - my thyroid levels began normalising. And now, my antibodies have done the same.
Surrender has allowed true healing.
And it's a pattern I see a lot in clients too!
It's that acceptance of the way things are right now and being perfectly okay in knowing that neither circumstances or conditioning define who you truly are. You are more than all of those things! And in really knowing your self worth in intrinsic and it doesn't change based on what others say or do, or even the things you have done or do (no matter how atrocious they may have been). There is that soul / energy / life force / spirit (insert whichever word fits best for you) within you that is greater than all of your experiences and in surrendering to that opens you up to truly begin to transform on levels you may never have ever imagined were possible.
For more information about Coaching or Therapy with Tammy, email: email@example.com
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. – Coco Chanel.
Want the secret to happiness?
Well, it certainly isn't compare yourself to everyone else! Comparison can be dream-killing, anxiety-inducing, friendship-destroying and soul-crushing. And in this modern age of social media and putting our best self forward, often times we are comparing our worst self with everyone else's best.
But it begins with even the most basic judgements about ourselves and the world around us. In order to "chunk" the world into process-able pieces, we generalise a lot of information. In order to be able to define things, we need comparison, right? These two dogs are both dogs! I am sure they both bark (though one may be more of a yap), they both the DNA for DOG. And yet, when we put them next to each other, we can start to compare... big / small, tall / short etc. But without the comparison, they are just dogs.
So when you are making judgements about your appearance, your skills, your abilities, your strengths, your weaknesses... in fact all judgements about yourself. What are you comparing to? Are you comparing your expertise to someone who has been in the field 20 years longer than you? Are you comparing your physique to someone who is naturally more muscular? Are you comparing using those SHOULD, COULD, WOULD's? They can be TOXIC!
And what about when you're making judgements about others? Remember, if you can spot it, you've got it! Others are merely just a reflection of us. That's both good and bad! So if you see someone else's intelligence, wit, humour, sexiness... you have that within you (maybe its a trait your not currently honouring, but it's there). And if you spot someone else and are judging them harshly, what aspects of you are they reflecting that you don't like? I can promise, it's always about you... your own inner filters of the world, your beliefs, values, experiences etc.
And if you're off comparing what others have or do, it takes the gratitude and appreciation off the blessings in your own life and cause discontentment and in-congruence. Energy flows where your attention goes. If you're energy is all focused outward and fuelling internal negativity, their grass will only get greener as yours withers. Instead, if you think the grass is greener, spend some time weeding your own landscape, nurturing yourself and notice how easily your own life will flourish.
Bring some attention back to you. Your own unique strengths, your own unique skills and talents, sprinkle gratitude over what you already have and do. Need a bit of perspective? If you made $1500 last year, you're in the top 20% of the worlds income earners! But does that make you happier than them?
Not happy with your body? What can you appreciate about it? What about the magnificent marvel of intricate systems that it is that allow you to wake up and move each day? Your eyes that allow you to read this email, your heart that pumps the blood all around your body. You are truly amazing!
In Yoga, there is a term, Santosha. The Sanskrit word santosha is divided into two parts: sam, meaning completely or entirely, and tosha, meaning acceptance, satisfaction, and contentment. Together they create a word that means complete acceptance or contentment. Santosha can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, particularly if your personal story is filled with negative thoughts like “I’m not good enough,” “I’m too this, or not enough that…”
Does this mean that we should just accept our lives now and not strive to be better? Hell, no! I am all for growth and betterment! But it's accepting things as they are now, realising that peace and happiness are within us, that we are so much more than what our ego seeks! When we rely on things which are external to us to bring us freedom, we inevitably bind ourselves to discontentment even more.
You are enough. Right now, as is. You always have been and always will be.
With nothing to compare yourself to, aren’t you perfect? — Byron Katie
3 tips to practicing santosha in daily life:
1. Get mindful: notice the times you are ‘living’ in the future or the past and bring your conscious awareness to what you are doing in this moment.
2. Meditate: daily meditation – in whatever form that is for you – helps bring the mind into the now and find contentment in the present.
3. Get grateful: when you find yourself pining for what you don’t have, stop and focus on something you do have in your life that you are grateful for. It’s impossible to be discontent when you are truly grateful. Start a gratitude journal and write down 3 things each day with you are grateful for
So often we set out to do things differently. We set massive goals and make plans to take massive action. And yet, nothing changes. Here are 5 reasons why:
No matter where you're at, if you're ready to explore how Coaching with Tammy can help you achieve your goals; whether it be breaking free from Anxiety & Depression or moving forward on your Health goals or even working on those other areas of life that are impacting you, book in for your FREE 25 minute session to explore your inner world and get a little more clarity and insight.
Sometimes I get so jealous when I see kids with their grandparents (specifically their Grandfather) because my own Dad died before my kids ever got to meet him. And that makes me angry and sad and a whole spectrum of things. Now, I could choose to suppress that or to feel it, to continue the grieving process and allow those feelings to wash up over me and through me. To allow it to process through and begin to shift into love, gratitude and appreciation that I had such a wonderful Dad who would have been an amazing Granddad. That I have three beautiful healthy happy children. And to acknowledge that each and every day, the choices that I make about my own health and well-being may well impact whether I get to see my own Grandchildren or not (in many years to come, my oldest is only just about to turn 10). This morning, I chose the latter.
You see, even our negative emotions have messages for us, communications about what is important to us, what matters and sometimes, triggers us to pull our head in and get back to what really matters.
So when you notice a negative emotion, sit with it for a moment, allow it like a wave to come and wash over you and then let it flow back to nothing, nothing, nothing. And then allow the room for the new experience of emotions to come!
Want to practice? Next time you're feeling an unpleasant emotion, instead of pushing it away, try welcoming, acknowledging and letting it go with the following steps. It should take you around 10 minutes.
Mindful Emotions Exercise:
You can do this with as many different sensations as you want to. Keep going until you have a sense of no longer struggling with your feelings
As you do this exercise, one of two things will happen: either your feelings will change - or they won't. It doesn't matter either way. This exercise is not about changing your feelings. Its about accepting them
4 Quick Steps to Emotional Acceptance
And here’s why… it doesn’t address the reason you have those feelings in the first place. And it assumes that the emotions you are feeling are negative and denies you the right to feel them and therefore you miss the amazing insights that they have for you.
Every behaviour has a positive intention and that includes those so called ‘negative’ emotions, anger, fear, sadness, resentment – all of them have a positive intention behind them. And trying to ignore or distract yourself from them, doesn’t make them go away. Instead, we need to learn to acknowledge those feelings and realise that they are like little messengers from our unconscious mind. They carry important information for us.
All emotions arise for a reason and understanding those messages allows us an insight to our own psyche, our own wants and desires, our needs and values and our connection as a whole human being, integrated and aligned.
I can share with you what research suggests that signals these feelings to arise, but it’s important for you to acknowledge what they mean for you as a unique individual as they may be slightly different. Let’s take a look at some examples of what messages emotions may have for you.
There are obviously loads more emotions that one can feel, and lots of different things that they may be trying to communicate with you. But if you are feeling that, “Why me?” take a look at what emotions are coming up for you and what they could be communicating.
And then once you have explored, accepted and let go of those emotions; consider asking yourself, “What can I appreciate about all of this now?” and notice what happens. You may be both suprised and delighted at how easily emotions can come and go and how wonderful it is to allow them to wash up over your and through you and just let them go. You may notice how awesome emotions can be as a compass to get to know yourself and to really begin to navigate life based on what you want to have happen.
All of this reminds me of the movie, Inside Out, which explores the emotions of 11 year old Riley. In the headquarters of Riley's mind, Joy is desperate for sadness to not take control... but ultimately, it comes to pass that sadness is experienced and that's when Joy realises that sadness is in fact what cultivates joy. If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour and sit down for an awesome insight into our beautiful minds.
I'd love to hear your take-aways, learning and experiences from this article.
For more information on how NLP, Coaching and Hypnotherapy can assist you in releasing emotions that you have been holding on to and free you from that old baggage, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or book in for a free discovery session.
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed your reaction time, and enhance your focus. This is known as the “fight or flight” response and is your body’s way of protecting you.
There is an optimal amount of stress that will in fact help you to stay focused, energetic and alert. When stress is within your comfort zone, it can help you to stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you'd rather be watching TV. But beyond your comfort zone, stress stops being helpful and can start causing major damage to your mind and body.
There are numerous emotional and physical disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, immune system disturbances that increase susceptibility to infections, a host of viral linked disorders including the common cold as well as autoimmune diseases. In addition stress can have direct effects on the skin, the gastrointestinal system and can contribute to insomnia and degenerative neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
But, you are in charge of your mind and therefore your life! You can chose to adopt simple techniques that will bust your stress in less than 5 minutes! It can be quick and easy to bring yourself back into balance and I will show you how! But first, I'd like for you to imagine that you put a pot of water on the stove and turn the heat up. There are a few scenarios I'd like you to consider.
First, add some low level heat that just allows the water to warm just slightly - you may notice that not much happens... but over time, if you leave the water at that low level, it will eventually evaporate (though it will take quite a while).
Now, turn up the heat and have that pot simmer - not so much heat or pressure that it boils, but just enough to have it at a constant simmer. This is how many of us live! The stress of poor nutrition (yes, I mean processed foods and sugars) added to the lack of exercise, the stress of managing a family or being stuck in traffic, the stress of finances or not enough time to do everything, the stress of running a household and the stress of our jobs. All of that just leaves us simmering on the stove. And that water, evaporates much quicker than the one at just a low level.
Now, turn up the heat! Get that water boiling! Maybe its a sick child or an infection or a deadline at work or you lose your job or someone else you love gets sick and suddenly the pot is boiling over and becomes empty - completely depleted!
Imagine that water is your ability to cope. It doesn't matter whether you have it warming slowly or boiling rapidly, if you allow the water to get even close to empty, you may begin to notice overwhelm, exhaustion, illness, anxiety and depression. But if you just remove the pot for 5 minutes, refill it with water before adding it back to the stove - it will always have enough water in it. And you will always have enough resilience and the ability to manage your stress.
So, how do you cool that pot and refill it in just 5 minutes? Take control of your autonomic nervous system in the one way that you can - using your breath! Long breaths in and short breaths out will increase your stress, long slow breaths out will decrease your stress and nice even breaths will bring you back into balance.
To begin - take a few nice deep breathes in through your nose and then slowly exhale - letting all of the air out. Do this for 3-5 deep breaths and then slowly bring your breath back into balance. Depending on how used to deep breathing you are - you may only be able to breath in deeply for 3 seconds (or up to 6-8)! If you need some guidance, use the clock below. Breath in for 3 seconds and out for 3 seconds (or in on the blue, out on the green). You can also increase the time to 6 seconds and use the blue or green to indicate a change in inhale or exhale.
Just 5 minutes of this balanced breathing can have a massive shift in your internal physiology - reducing adrenalin and cortisol and reducing all of the above mentioned stress related symptoms. It's even better if you do it a few times a day!
Give it a try and let me know what you notice after just a few minutes!