Sunday, 12 December 2010

Keep Your Cool this Yule

Christmas is the most stressful time of year for most people and is the cause of many arguments for a lot of families.  According to the statistics, more than half of Brits have disagreements at Christmas; a quarter saying it creates added strain on their relationship and an eighth of those saying a festive argument made them want to split up. 

Tempers are more likely to get flared at Christmas as a result of too much alcohol, spending too much time with relatives than normal and disagreements over the who gets the TV remote and washing up!  With many families being fragmented or extended, it also can create extra strain on relationships at Christmas when there are expectations to make it a happy time of year for all concerned.

To Prepare for Christmas
  • It is important therefore to make sure that you let go of the idea that Christmas has to be ‘perfect’ and avoid taking responsibility for everything.  Remember, it is only one day in the year and seeing the bigger picture will help you to enjoy the day as much as possible. 
  • Think about the person(s) who tend to make you feel angry and remember that whatever they do or say will be over in a few days and getting angry or stressed maybe isn’t worth the long term effects.  Make a list of their good points and try to focus on those instead when you start feeling heated. 
  •  Look at what needs to be done in advance such as shopping, cooking and entertaining and work out what can be delegated and what can be done in advance.  Don’t take responsibility for everything otherwise you’ll only feel resentful; even the children can help by putting decorations up or wrapping presents and will enjoy getting involved.  Aim to have a plan two or 3 weeks before so you make provisions for emergencies, agreeing beforehand who does what on the day.
  • Also agree in advance with relatives some ground rules and arrangements so things run as smoothly as possible.  If there’s something that annoys you every year like Aunty May feeding her dog at the dinner table then make sure you set boundaries beforehand in a gentle way so that you feel more in control of what happens.  If there is something that annoys you that they refuse to stop doing then also prepare yourself for how to deal with that on the day and ask yourself ‘Is this worth me getting angry for?’
On the day
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol as this lowers your inhibitions and can alter your mood.  Drinking water or soft drinks in between can help to slow down the effects, as can eating slow burning carbohydrates like wholemeal bread.  Set yourself a limit on how much you are going to drink on the day so you don’t regret drinking too much later on.
  • If you feel yourself getting angry, take yourself out of the situation and cool down for a while. If you can go out of the room or fgo or a walk, it will give you time to calm down and gain perspective on the situation and feel more in control.  Using deep breathing exercises can also help to lower the stress response and enable you to remain calm. Try breathing in slowly for a count of four then out for a count of four for 5-15 minutes.
  • Listen to what the other person is saying, even if you don’t agree with it.  Be aware of your tone of voice and body language as we often forget about how we come across to the other person when we feel angry.  Rather than shouting, discuss how you feel and rather than blaming and telling the person: “you make me x”, use words like “I feel”,  “I think”  to help you to put your point across.  
  • Think about the consequences of starting an argument; remember it is inevitable you have your mother in law saying something you don’t like or something will go wrong so learn to accept those things and let them go. Focus on the positives instead like your children’s smiling faces or all the lovely food and learn to let the little things go. As Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness".

If anger or relationship issues are more of a long term issue, it can be worth seeking professional help. Consulting a counsellor or therapist can help you to gain perspective on a situation and see it more objectively so you can overcome your obstacles and seek a new way forward.  

Alexandra Bacon is a certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, Counsellor, Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner, Wellbeing consultant and Trainer. To book your personalised treatment session please call Alexandra on 01629 825968/ 07950 568635.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Feeling Body Confident

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Confidence is very individual and means different things to each of us.  Many people believe that they will finally feel body confident when they lose enough weight, get in shape, or get that perfect haircut or piece of clothing. While it is true that all of these things can make you more confident, true body confidence comes from the inside. It is based on the way you feel about yourself, flaws and all. 

We are bombarded by images of airbrushed perfection and we think that is what we are expected to aspire to. I am here to tell you that being sexy and attractive, as with confidence is all a state of mind- if you don’t feel amazing inside it won’t be expressed on the outside! 80-90 % of women dislike their bodies and many would go under the knife, though could save thousands by simply changing their psychology!

Although it may seem impossible, we all have the resources already to be confident; it’s just a case of unlocking the key and that is when we are unstoppable!  To begin with, check how confident you feel sitting here now and scale it out of 10- 0 being feeling no confidence at all, or 10 feeling super confident. 

We often think having a facial or a makeover will make us feel better, though it is how we feel inside that affects how we see ourselves and how confident we act and speak. Around 90% of how we communicate to others is through our bodies and only 8% is through our words so we cannot not communicate! 

First of all, I want to tell you a story that I heard about a plastic surgeon whose job is to make ugly people beautiful. He worked out mathematically that the difference between being ugly and beautiful is just a few millimetres- the difference is so small and yet this idea may seem impossible to us it shows that “when it seems impossible, when it seems like nothing will work, you’re usually just a few millimetres from making it happen.”  It also takes us making the first step towards deciding to change the way we think, feel and behave to bring about a transformation. 

Here are my top Body Confident Insights:

·       Remember you are unique and stop comparison shopping. Do you ever do that when you’re shopping? We start looking at other women in the street or in magazines or our friends and it’s “oh I’m not as talented, beautiful, slim as her”. But how do you know that you’re not? We all are unique and have our own model of the world which is how we interpret our experience of the world. So that begs the question- what is reality? Do I want to create my own reality or one based on someone else’s?

·       Whenever you start comparing yourself to some mythical perfection just tell yourself to STOP IT! Instead say over and over again “I am unique.”  When you feel the urge to fit in look closely at what makes YOU different and special? Those things are what make you special and unique in this world- remember that.

·       Exercise- “I’m sexy and confident, yes but...” When you can’t see beyond your buts, focus on where that is in your body- is that feeling in your stomach, your head- is it moving? Close your eyes and focus on what it feels like, looks like and then imagine melting or shifting that energy out of your body- almost like it is liquid you are flowing out of your body and then let it go. Check if there is any other energy that needs shifting and do the same until you feel clear. How does that feel now?

·       Pick your best assets. When you focus on one part of your body, it is almost like you are that part- you are not your rounded tummy or your bingo wings- you are a WHOLE person- mind, body spirit. This was a revelation to one of my clients who are asked to focus on her lovely legs for a month instead of her tummy which she hated. She then forgot about her hang ups and started wearing skirts and dresses to show them off.  Where attention goes, energy flows. – My best assets are my... I feel sexy when... Focus on that part or parts and really pay attention to those good feelings- feel them spread through your body and mind and feel them grow and expand.

·       Exercise- vamp it up! Mental rehearsal- I want you to pick the sexiest woman alive (in your opinion)- It may be a celebrity or it may be someone you know. I want you to get an image of her in your head as if she is standing right in front of you. Stand in her shoes for a moment, feeling what you feel, hearing what you hear. How does she stand, sit, walk, express herself? Where does that feeling of confidence start in her body and what colour would it be? Imagine yourself stepping outside of her body, taking those feelings of confidence with you then imagine yourself in the future taking all those resources with you and differently you look and feel in this time. Do this for different points in the future and anchor those feelings as strongly as you can.

·        Remember, confidence is like a mental muscle that needs exercising until it becomes stronger until it becomes your natural state of being. You are what you believe you are, you will become what you expect to become. When clients work with me they discover this.

·       To continue your progress into the New Year and beyond, I am offering one lucky winner the chance to have a Personal coaching session with me looking at your blocks and barriers to achieving your goals and create an action plan to catapult you into success for 2011! Just email me your name and address.

Alexandra Bacon is a certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, Counsellor, Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner, Wellbeing consultant and Trainer. To book your personalised treatment session please call Alexandra on 01629 825968/ 07950 568635.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Setting Boundaries

Boundaries within family, work and relationships is an issue that comes up so frequently for people.  There is a fine line between keeping and breaking a boundary and yet we do it all the time; from saying ‘yes’ too often to not expressing how we feel when someone lets us down- these are all patterns that keep us stuck and compromise our boundaries.  Creating a line between what you will and won’t accept into your life saves you from miscommunication, anger and overwhelm from saying yes too often to others and not enough to yourself. 
If we don’t have clear, healthy boundaries, we end up with draining, toxic relationships, unrealistic workloads, and unhealthy bodies and minds. First we need to decide what is healthy for us and what is not. From what foods you want to ingest into your body, to what you want to spend your time and energy on, to what quality of relationships you want in your life. For example, what do you feel happy to give and receive from a relationship? What are you prepared to set as your boundaries? If you define the boundaries then you have the choice whether or not someone crosses them and if they do what the consequences are. 

One female client I saw who came to me with having had a string of unhappy relationships, was suffering from depression as a result. Enabling her to stand back and look at these patterns objectively helped her to see a lot of it was around boundaries, or rather the lack of them! With each man she had met, she had been a total walk over and a pleaser, and although they might have been nice to start with, they started taking her for granted. This made her try even harder to please them and compromise her boundaries and self esteem in the process.  We worked on strengthening her boundaries and sense of self in the sessions to the point where she realised it was within her power to create her own boundaries. A couple of months later she met a lovely man who respected and loved her and with whom she could have a healthy, equal relationship with.

Sometimes, we’re not aware of where the boundaries lie or find it difficult to change the dynamics of a situation or disturb the ‘status quo’. Examining the pros and cons of changing a situation may be useful to get clearer on what the costs are to both us and the other person or persons involved.  We need to look at what we are prepared to put up with and for how long.  Asking myself for example, ‘can I stand working with that person for another 3 months or do I either need to change the situation or get out of it?’ can be useful to see where our limitations lie and also enable us to move onto more rewarding situations- rather than getting caught up in anger, resentment and fear.

Heres some tips for beginning to examine your boundaries and begin changing them for the better:

♦ Review the key areas of your life such as relationships, finances, work, physical and emotional health, and so on using a pie chart and note for each area out of 10 (10 being really satisfied) how satisifed feel right now.

♦ With the areas you feel satisfied, be aware of where you’re boundaries are being respected. These may be boundaries you were not aware of, but are core to your values, such as having loyalty in a relationship, fulfilling work, or eating healthy foods. Praise yourself for those positives!

♦ In the areas where you feel unsatisfied, notice where you either have unclear boundaries or you have allowed a situation or person to cross your boundaries. What are you saying yes to and what are you saying no to (like saying yes to someone or something else and no to yourself)? What’s at stake for you to set and honour your boundaries? What will it take to set clear boundaries?

Creating Healthy Boundaries

♦ With the important areas of your life where you are satisfied, identify the boundaries you’ve created within those. This will help you to make choices in the future. As you set your intention to attract new people and experiences into your life (i.e. a new job, friendship, goal etc.) use your boundaries list as a way to define what you want in your life. Whenever you have a decision to make, ask yourself whether it honours your boundaries or not.

♦ With the important areas of your life where you are not satisfied, make a list of what boundaries you haven’t set and/or which ones have been crossed. Determine what boundaries you need to set and how you will do that. Instead of getting caught in blame or victimhood, simply redefine your boundaries and move forward.

Alexandra Bacon is a certified Advanced EFT Practitioner, Counsellor, Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner, Wellbeing consultant and Trainer. To book your personalised treatment session please call Alexandra on 01629 825968/ 07950 568635.