The ‘Open Loop’ and Loss of Life Balance. 11th November 2019.
So what are we talking about here? Let me explain.
Most of us are aware of the relationship between levels of stress and physical well-being. When stressed, our brains become aroused and our nervous system is exited. In most cases we are able to avoid the stressor and reduce our stress down to a tolerable level and life goes on.
However, when we are unable to do this, we stay in a persistent state of arousal. The reason could be that our boss puts us under constant pressure and we are unable to walk out because of the need for an income. When this happens our stress system will be working under ‘Open Loop’ conditions, with no effective coping strategy and the result is stress and loss of balance in life.
When this happens for prolonged periods of time, going from one stress filled day to another, without returning to a relaxed state, we start to move into dangerous territory. Our immune and nervous systems can be damaged, which can contribute to physical disease such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks and many more.
Therefore it is imperative that we return to a relaxed and worry free state every day of our lives, to give our nervous system a break. We can do that by simply taking a walk, reading a book, doing a hobby or doing something that we love to do for ourselves. There are many ways of de-stressing and doing a little of what you love can go a long way to fight off stress and disease.
During the last year I have been studying stress management with a view to being able to consult with anyone who finds themselves in an ‘Open Loop’ situation.
What are you stressed about? Work, divorce, bereavement, life challenges, overwhelm or any other reason? Give me a call and together we can find solutions to your challenges.
Have a happy and stress free day.
“We Get What We Give”. 11th October 2019
“We will always hanker after what we didn’t receive as a child, unless we cast light on what it is. Whatever was lacking, love, care, safety, understanding, recognition or something else entirely.
Hankering after the things we needed then, brings with it a lot of pain, because we look for it in places where we will never find it.
But there is a way…..
When we start to GIVE the things to others that we ourselves were lacking as children, we can fill ourselves up with what we miss the most.
If we give recognition, we will ourselves start to feel recognised, if we give love, we will ourselves start to feel love. If we make another feel safe and secure, we will start to feel safe and secure ourselves.
Because it isn’t possible to give someone else what we don’t have. So when we do this, we open ourselves up to receiving everything that is available to us, right here, right now”.
This was a very powerful realisation for me. To GIVE what I most need and hanker after. When I started living by this, for me, new concept, I saw a real difference in my relationships and the way I interact with other people. It was both rewarding and a relief to know that it was in my own hands and power to change my circumstances.
Have a great day.
“Easy Living”. 1st October 2019
What is it and how do we achieve it?
If we have achieved “easy living”, we are able to adjust our mindset to be better able to cope with everyday life, while remaining calm and happy. We have worked out what our stressors are and how to avoid them. We have adopted a ‘go easy’ approach to life and we don’t take things too seriously.
Though this might sound simple, the reality of just ‘taking it easy’ isn’t straight forward, for most people.
First we have to realise that we are stressed, which can be difficult to identify because virtually everyone is stressed to some extent, so it seems like a ‘normal’ way to be. Stress is caused by many factors such as expensive lifestyle, competition, perfectionism, workaholism, boredom and the list goes on.
Once we have identified that we are stressed we need to look at exactly what stresses us and what triggers our stress. It is worth asking ourselves these questions:
- Where am I going in life? Having a clear idea of where we are heading, with clear short term and long term goals are important factors towards feeling in control of our lives.
- How much or how little am I getting out of life? Having a sense of fulfilment, pride and satisfaction will make us feel generally happy, as will making time for hobbies and relaxation and doing things we love.
- What things should I put first? Working out what is most important to us, what we value most in life, will help us identify where we should be putting out focus, to become less stressed.
Take some time to think about these questions. Write down your thoughts. It will be the first step you take towards “Easy Living” when you do.
I wish you a happy day.
Would you Tolerate Second Hand Smoke? April 10th, 2019.
Okay, bear with me…. let me explain this heading! The other day I was listening to a podcast where a fellow coach described how we tolerate stress in our lives, in the same way that we used to tolerate second hand smoke. Then we started to realise that the smoke was very bad for our health indeed and because of this, laws were changed and smoking in public places became illegal. Companies were sued and cigarette packaging was changed and made to carry a health warning.
I wanted to share this analogy because it feels so true. Stress has become as accepted as part of life as second hand smoke used to be. We know it is bad for us, but we seem to go on and on as if our batteries will never run out, either because we push ourselves or we are pushed to our limits by our employers. Stress even seems to have become something to be proud of, because if we are not busy, we are not doing well enough but instead it should come with a health warning.
It stretches much further than the workaholic or the pushed employee. Stay-at-home mothers can also get stressed, people with relationship problems, the perfectionist, house moving, loss of job, divorce, loss of a loved one and the list goes on. Surprisingly, even not having enough stress in our life can be stressful, and can lead to depression and the feeling of uselessness.
Stress occurs on any occasion where we feel overwhelmed with what is happening in our lives. We start to think we cant cope with what we expect from ourselves and what others expect from us. When this happens, for prolonged periods without enough time to recover, we start to move into dangerous territory. We may become depressed, angry and change personality.
So until companies are made to take responsibility for our stress levels, by changes in the law, we have to take care of ourselves and try and minimise our own stress levels. We can do that by identifying and changing certain things in our lives. We can make a plan for how to best cope with what is in front of us right now, what is most important and what is a better solution for each individual. We are all different and we all react differently to stress, so tailor made plans to each individual will work best.
I wish you a happy and stress free day.
Finding your ‘Happy Place’. 26th March, 2019.
Do you know where/what your ‘happy place’ is? If your answer is no, I urge you to find it. It can be the difference between just existing, by slowly running out the clock, and feeling that you have some control over your own life, especially when life gets stressful due to work and life commitments.
For anyone who knows me well, it will come as no surprise where my ‘happy place’ is: Hiking, walking, exploring, adventure, the sea, mountains and nature in general. It has become as important to me as the air I breathe. It is where I am at peace with myself, with who I am, with what I’m doing and with the people around me.
What we do is of little importance, provided it is a healthy pursuit, just as long as we love it and it makes us feel good. One of my friends loves to knit, another loves to prepare fantastic, elaborate lunches for friends, others love hula hooping, horse riding, cycling, working out, painting, gardening and the list goes on.
If I am denied this pleasure I lose myself, my well being, my purpose, my smile and my sense of humour. It is the place I can take myself when I feel less than happy, to refuel and regain some perspective. I can do it alone or with others, the outcome is always the same; I feel better every time, without fail.
We all have times when we lose ourselves and forget what it is that makes us feel good. When we are stressed in life, it seems that everything that is good for us goes out of the window. We then don’t give ourselves the time to do what is good for us, because somehow whatever we are stressed about, seems more important and we let everything else go. But we ought to take our ‘happy place’ as seriously as everything else in our lives, because this is how we get back to basics and identify our needs, so we can return to balance.
I wish you a happy day.
Dare to let go of control! 21st March, 2019
It can be so hard to let go of control in certain situations at work, with our friends, in relationships and all other areas of our lives. It adds to our stress levels and most definitely to our peace of mind. We want certain things to work out in our favour and we do what we can to influence the situation. Then when the outcome is different to what we wanted, we become disappointed, dissatisfied, maybe even angry and we feel that life is going against us. Attaching ourselves to an outcome can also bring anxiety which in the long term can make us ill.
“The reason many people in our society are miserable, sick, and highly stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to things they have no control over”. – Steve Maraboli.
When I saw this quote today, I remembered! I suddenly realised that I cared far too much about a certain outcome, which made me feel anxious and less than happy. When I realised this, my mood shifted immediately. ‘I don’t have to feel this way’ I was able to tell myself. ‘Just let it go. Stop trying to run the show’!
Letting go means that we open ourselves up to new ideas. If we are set on a certain outcome, we are not letting anything else into our lives, so we are blocking anything that may be even better than we can imagine. It can be very hard to do, but in my experience, it is always work it.
It was a relief to remember that I myself am in control of my thoughts. I had let my thoughts run riot for a while, which had depleted my peace of mind and made me worry. Happily I realised that I possess methods, which help me switch my thought processes. I can talk myself through what is going on inside, and pinpoint my problem. This helps me through the ups and downs of life and is part of me caring for my well being.
So think about this if you are feeling bad, or unsettled, or you are trying to make something happen and your mind is thinking about it constantly. Let the thoughts go, detach yourself from the outcome and let life take care of it for you.
Worry is the biggest waste of time there is. It will destroy our peace of mind and it will achieve absolutely nothing, so if you have done what is within your power to solve the problem, let go and let life do the rest. Trust that the outcome will be the best for you at any given moment and sometimes it may even exceed your expectations.
I wish you a happy day,
Self Pity. March 12th, 2019
I was just thinking, how is it that even when life is pretty perfect, there is always something to complain about, worry about, feel guilty about or a feeling of displacement, disconnection or tiny little bit of “poor me” going on inside? I suppose we simply can’t have the ups without the downs, and where I sometimes fail is when I don’t readily accept these facts. We can’t have one without the other and inevitably these feelings will come back and knock at our door and will want to be let in. We may fight and win and we may fight and lose, all depending on what we let ourselves believe on any given day. Life is fantastic today, because we believe it, or it is not because we believe otherwise. And which one wins? This will depend on what we choose to do about it. Do we let ourselves delve into having a shitty day or do we pull ourselves out of it and go and do something positive? Living in this paradise of Mallorca, I sometimes long for a cloudy, rainy day, so I can just throw myself on the sofa without guilt and waste the day away with Netflix. Realising I have to get over myself, because if that is all I have to worry about, then I live in a world of luxury problems.
But this is my point exactly, that feeling sorry for oneself can become a habit, something that we identify with even when we have a pretty good life. It is also an unattractive defect of character that makes us take ourselves too seriously. When we complain we feel sorry for ourselves just a little bit, and how often do we go through a day without complaining about others, or circumstances or some idiot who cut us up in traffic?
To eliminate self pity is hard work. It demands a long, hard and honest look at ourselves which most of us prefer to ignore, because we hate to think we are less than perfect. But we are all less than perfect, except perhaps the Dalai Lama. I’m pretty sure he is near perfect, but if I ever did get the opportunity to ask him myself, my guess is he will disagree.
We can’t do anything about these feelings until we become aware that it is happening. Then we have to admit to ourselves that we have designed our lives ourselves, which then means that pretty much everything that happens to us, is our own fault! Uggghhhh! That is truly a hard pill to swallow is it not? But here is the strange thing; when we finally admit to ourselves that we have contributed to our predicament by the choices and decisions we have made in our lives, we can also start to make up a new story for our future. We can decide to change, to up our standards, to live differently. We can let go of the victim role and look to become the other person, the person who understands that we get out what we put in and that there can be a much more satisfying way to live, full of positivity and contentment.
So did I pull myself out of my self pity today? The answer is yes, I did. As I write this I see how much I have to be grateful for and how little I have to complain about. I can choose to be happy today, it’s just that some days it is a little harder than others, and that’s OK too.
I wish you all a happy day and remember to be grateful.
Destination Addiction. 12th March, 2019
What is destination addiction? It is the thought that we will not be happy until we have achieved a certain goal, have moved to a new place, found a new partner, are earning a certain amount of money, own our own home, the list goes on and on. There is always something else to want and strive for, while we in the meantime feel dissatisfied and forget to appreciate what life gives us at every given moment.
Unfortunately when we do reach our goal, the feeling of satisfaction is often short lived, because as time passes we want something else to happen, so we can feel euphoric again.
So what are we actually doing? We are chasing one feeling, by attempting to chase another one away. We are feeling ‘bad’, ‘anxious’, ‘down’ etc. The belief that a new place, car, dress, more money etc. will make us happy again sets in and triggers off our destination addiction and we go through the whole thing again.
This concept is really easy for me to understand as I have suffered from destination addiction all my life. I thought I’d never be happy until I could leave home (at 17), then I thought I’d never be happy until I’d travelled the world, until I had studied and passed my exams, moved to and from the UK at least 4 times, moved to Spain, then to France and back to Spain. Years as a yacht chef satisfied my destination addiction perfectly for many years too, jumping in and out of the industry, going freelance and, and, and……
So now that I can put words to what I feel at times, does that mean that my addiction no longer has any power over me? I would love to say that it doesn’t, but I would be lying to you…and myself. But what I have learned is that I don’t have to act out on it. It is far from a thing to be ignored though, but rather to be nurtured, listened to and acted upon. When I feel this way, my life is not in balance, and if it is not in balance, my job is to do everything I can to bring balance back and listen to my inner self and what I really need right now.
I now know that happiness doesn’t exist outside of myself. I will never find happiness in a new place, in a new car or with a new partner, unless I am happy and content within myself. No one and nothing can do this for me. I have to work at that myself and find solutions to the problems by actively pursuing new methods and ideas.
I must remember one thing however: what my destination addiction has given me. It has given me countless amazing experiences that I would never have had, it has taken me to many corners of the world, it has given me many great friends all over the world, and for this I am truly grateful, because if I didn’t have destination addiction I would not have had this rich life that I know deep down I have had and still have.
I wish you a happy day.