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. www.lotusheal.co.uk

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. www.lotusheal.co.uk

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Top Stress Busting Tips

Stress is perceived in the mind, suffered in the human spirit, experienced via the emotions, expressed in behaviour, and "held" in the body.
- Anon

November is stress awareness month though stress has become a symptom of modern life. I often speak to clients about the “fight or flight” or adrenaline response, and how much it can influence both our physiology and emotions, resulting in heightened anxiety, depression and can eventually develop into chronic illness.  

Stress is the most common cause of ill health in our society, probably contributing to as many as 70% of all visits to family doctors.  

Stress can be good when it helps you perform better, but it can be bad when it causes upset or makes you sick – stress is usually negative when you do not have the resources to deal with the demand.  Often we can find ourselves in a state of high alertness without any means of appropriate physical expression.   Our body may become prepared for a fight if we see an ex-partner or boss as the sabre toothed tiger, threatening our self esteem, career prospects or security but we can’t leap into physical action.  We may feel angry and aggressive though we can’t engage in physical contact.  Instead we bottle up those feelings, try to numb them with drink or food or let our anger out on others such as friends and family. 

Having seen a lot of clients suffering from stress related illness, I have learned the most effective ways of both dealing with and preventing stress. These are my top 10 stress busting tips:

1. Learn to manage your time more effectively
We waste a lot of time doing unimportant tasks, especially when stressed, so learn to prioritise your day and do the important jobs first. The unimportant ones can wait, and often they will disappear completely leaving you time to do other things. Also, don’t put off the unpleasant tasks – avoidance causes a great deal of stress. Give unpleasant tasks a high priority and do them first.  Check out Debbie Stone’s blog for excellent time management tips

2. Take time out
Taking time out (anything from a short walk to a holiday) to get away from the things that are bothering you is important. It also gives you space to stand back and a chance for your stress levels to decrease. When you do return to deal with issues, you will feel more rested and in a better frame of mind. I often suggest to clients to take 2 mins each hour (use an alarm to remind yourself) just to breath and refocus and calm your mind. This can make a real difference to reducing stress.

3. Know your limitations and learn to delegate
We cause ourselves a great deal of stress because we like people to like us and don’t want to let people down. We then end up doing more than we should. Learn to delegate effectively & be assertive so that you can say no without upsetting or offending. Learning to feel comfortable to say ‘No’ and put yourself first is also a sign of good self esteem.

4. Find out what your triggers are
Take time to identify what your main stressors are and what is worrying you and try to change your thoughts & behaviour to reduce it. Talking to a counsellor or coach can help you to fully understand the causes, implications to your health & how to manage, cope & make those necessary changes. 

5. Change your lifestyle habits
If we eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure we get adequate sleep & rest our body is better able to cope with stress should it occur. If any of these areas are not happening for you it is usually a warning sign, don’t ignore it, ask for some help. Decreasing your caffeine and sugar intake will also help reduce your reactivity to stress as they are both stimulants and can increase anxiety. Instead, try caffeine free drinks, or herbal teas to help you relax.

6. Learn a relaxation technique
Learning relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga can help you reduce stress long term. Meditation is a good way of relaxing during, and at the end of, a stressful day. It is something you can learn to do yourself, or may be something you prefer to learn in classes.  Good research has been conducted into meditation that shows it is a useful and practical technique for managing stress. 

Techniques such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can also help to reduce the stress response just through stimulating acupressure points on the face and body through gentle tapping.  It can help reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety very quickly, and is something you can use yourself on a daily basis to boost both your mood and energy levels quickly and effectively. 

7. Accept the things you cannot change
Stress is a reactive state where we are almost fighting against the reality of the situation, and when our mind and body feels unable to cope.  Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are & concentrate on all that you do have control over. Managing change effectively is essential or else performance will be reduced. Also, look at what you can change is an important step towards gaining control of the situation and in turn, your stress. 
8.   Learn to breathe properly 
 Learning to take control of our breath can help us learn to relax. By slowing down the breath we can calm our rapidly beating hearts and return our bodies to the pre-fight or flight status that we experienced before stress got the better of us. 

1.      Place one hand on your upper chest, the other on your abdomen, just above your waist.
2.      Breathe in through your nose and note where there is movement.
3.      Focus on your movement in your abdomen. Think of breathing into your lower hand, so that as your lungs fill, your abdomen will rise, and as your breathe out it will fall.
4.      Breathing should be comfortable, rhythmical and relaxed. Breathe in then out for a count of five then. Do this for at least 3 minutes twice a day.

9. Reframe the situation
If something is concerning you, try to see it differently and look for the positives or solutions instead. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often, talking to a friend/colleague/family member will help you see things from a different and less stressful perspective. You may also need to consider professional help in order to achieve the desired outcome & prevent ill health &/or burnout.

10. Find time to meet friends and family
Friends and family can ease work troubles & help us see things in a different way. The activities we engage in with friends help us relax and we will often have a good laugh. It boosts the immune system that is often depleted during stress. If you do become stressed, talking to someone who you can trust  can help to lighten your burden and improve your mood.

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. www.lotusheal.co.uk