Tag Archives | improving your life

Life is a bitch and then you die, or: Life is a beach and then you fly

I was reminded again recently of how powerful the culturally given beliefs are – you know, those things we know are true, because things happen which reinforce them.  For example, we can probably all find evidence in our personal experience that people are not to be trusted, or that the world is not a fair place.  It is interesting to notice that we can also find evidence that the opposite is true. Most of us have experienced people being trustworthy, or something which felt very fair and just.

The evidence we choose to notice will affect how we expect others or the world to be.  It really is our choice: evidence for all beliefs is there for us, otherwise no-one would believe them!

And have you noticed how we tend to get what we expect?  This is because we give off an unconscious message that tells the person how we are viewing them, and nine times out of ten, they “play the game” and respond how we expect them to.

So why make life harder than it already is?  Decide to believe what is more useful to you, and start collecting evidence!

Homework :

1.       Next time you need help from someone, assume that they will be helpful.  Imagine them being open to your request, and see what happens.

2.       When you come across someone who is optimistic about life, find out what they believe about people, and about how the world works.  Deliberately look for evidence which supports their belief.  (If you are already optimistic, list some of your own evidence).

 

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New Year’s Resolutions

At this time of year we all tend to think about New Year’s resolutions even if our choice is not to make any! We are often put off by the fact that we have failed to maintain them in the past, and therefore want to avoid ‘failing’ again.

What if we were to approach it in a different way? After all, it is a natural inclination in human beings to want to be continually improving ourselves, so the principle is a good one – perhaps we just need a more effective way of achieving it.

My proposal is this.

Start by imagining that you are at the end of the year, and feeling good about yourself.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. What have you continued to do well this year?

(Examples might be: give myself regular treats; spent good time with the children; done my job well; had exciting holidays)

  1. What have you done even better this year?

(Examples might be: gone home at a reasonable hour more often; gone for a walk at lunchtime more often; paid real attention to family and colleagues more often)

  1. What have you started to do better this year?

(Examples might be: begun to get fitter; eaten more healthily; kept my work in perspective more)

  1. What have you learned more about this year?

(Examples might be: how to use my common sense at work; how to be a good father; how a different culture works)

  1. What helped you to achieve these things this year?

(Examples might be: putting the list on the side of my computer to remind me; keeping my targets achievable; getting support from friends/colleagues/family)

Homework

Try this out – and make it fun!

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Emotional Resilience

An aspect of emotional intelligence that we don’t often pay attention to is the ability to ‘bounce back’ when something unexpected happens. This can be anything from an unexpected traffic jam which makes you late, to a bereavement or drastic change of work circumstances. It is so easy to get knocked back in our culture. We tend to see the world as conspiring against us anyway, and so fall too easily into self-pity and being a victim of circumstance. If we were to view the world as ‘on our side’, then we would look for the gain from the change. When we develop emotional resilience, we react differently.

We forgive ourselves if our initial reaction is negative, and just let it go.

We pick ourselves up and get on with things, just like a child who has fallen over when learning to walk
We consider what the learning is for us in the particular circumstance, and actively take the learning.

Homework

Take an example where life dealt you an unexpected blow in the past. What have you/could you learn from it, in a positive sense?

Identify 4 ways in which the world has conspired with you, by offering you unexpected changes.
As you receive some ‘knock’ this month, stop and go through the process stated above.

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What is emotional intelligence?

So, what is it? It is the reminder that we all do have emotions and are often led to act by them, but if we don’t acknowledge their part in our decision-making, we are likely to be reactive rather than responsive. It used to be called wisdom, or common sense, but, as Robert Cooper says, the trouble with common sense is that it is rarely practised.

When you use your emotional intelligence, you recognise, value and use your emotional reactions constructively. You know that you are in control of your reactions, and consider the consequences before simply acting on them.

For example, we all get frustrated in a traffic jam. Not using your emotional intelligence leads to being driven by your frustration. So you end up stressed at least, and sometimes it can develop into road rage, or causing accidents.

And if you stop for a moment and consider, you realise that the frustration is not constructive, and will not change the situation. Using your emotional intelligence is more likely to lead to putting on some favourite music, thinking about some issue you have to resolve, or just enjoying the countryside you can see.

On the positive side, most of us have ‘had a good idea’ – something that came spontaneously, which we then dismissed as being impractical, irrelevant, or illogical. If we use our emotional intelligence, we often realise then, rather than when it is too late, that the idea is worth following through on.

Homework

Take 4 of your ‘instant reactions this week and just stop and ask yourself the following questions before either dismissing them or simply reacting:

1. How does this help me to live my life well?

2. How will this make a positive difference?

3. What will be the effect of this in the future?

As you hear the inner responses to the questions, make sure that you listen to your heart as well as your head – if your heart sings, you are on the right track!

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THE HEALING POWER OF LAUGHTER

This week I was having one of those weeks when everything seemed too much: everyone seemed to be making unreasonable demands on me, I had an overwhelming list of things to do and it all looked like drudgery – sound familiar?

And then a good friend phoned and quickly picked up on my mood, and responded by making me laugh – big, belly laughs that continued long after the conversation was finished. My belly ached, but What a gift!! Nothing felt quite so important or overwhelming anymore, the tension had gone out of my body and mind, and paradoxically, I set to with a new vigour on my list of tasks, and cleared heaps of it!

Laughter is such a simple thing, that we sometimes forget how powerful it is. Physically, mentally and emotionally it is a healthy way to release tensions and negativity. Laughter reconnects us to our souls, our child-like nature, to our enjoyment of life.

Laughter is proven to trigger the release of endorphins (our pleasure giving drug) into our brains, and helps refill our ‘feel good’ tank when it is empty. When our energy tanks are full again, it’s always good to share a laugh or two with others, after all laughter was made to share! In fact it is incredibly infectious! So go ahead and spread some Laughter!

So…Homework:

  1. What do you have to make you laugh out loud? – Note if your list is short you may need to go out and buy yourself a funny treat!
  2. Help someone else to laugh this month – when life is getting them down make them laugh

 

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Experimenting

Why do we have to get it right first time, every time, or else we feel bad? It just doesn’t fit with our experience as humans does it? And it certainly doesn’t fit with being a learner! Actually we don’t call it experimenting, we call it ‘getting it wrong’ – no wonder it makes us feel bad!

Yet the way we grow in our lives is by trying things out, and gradually establishing what works for us. No, it’s even more than that, it is continually experimenting, because what works for us at one point, may change within moments, and as we move into it, we can see even more possibilities.

As children, this way of growing into our true selves comes naturally to us. We love to experiment and find different ways of doing things, thinking about things, and reacting to things. It is only a taught behaviour to try and find the ‘right’ answer that will last forever.

So let’s be children again! Let’s experiment and play with ideas and approaches. And don’t feel bad if your experiment is not perfect – be delighted that you have more exploring to do!

  1. Experiment with a different route home, or a new type of cereal for breakfast – anything that takes your fancy!
  2. Next time something doesn’t work quite how you intended, smile to yourself and say, ‘great! More experimenting to do!’ (OK, I know that’s a tough one, but it might at least make you laugh instead of being upset! After all, it’s not the end of the world!)
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Tune in, Turn on, Chill out.

In the busy world of illusion, we have very little time to ourselves.

Everything has to be done now! – the kids need feeding, the garden needs weeding, got to get to work, got to go shopping, must visit dad, better do the hoovering, must put the washing on, gotta get home-we never stop! We never take a time-out from the hectic lives we lead.

We end up over-worked, stressed, out-of-balance, feeling empty/low/under appreciated, het-up and tense- so why not give yourself some appreciation, wash those daily hectic blues away!

In this month’s workshop we’ll be finding out about finding time for yourself.

How? It’s simple-really simple.

Just take 15 minutes a day that you dedicate to yourself. A time for you and you only, that no-one or no-thing can interrupt or interfere with.

Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position, light a candle or incense if you would like.

Put on some relaxing instrumental music or simply listen to the sounds of nature/life.

Close your eyes-and breathe.
Breathe in, breathe out – that’s all you have to do.

Initially your mind will probably fill with 101 things you have to do or sort out yet today, but just let the thoughts pass without connecting with them, and soon they will pass.

Continue breathing deeply, but naturally until the 15 minutes are up.

The great thing about this exercise is that it can be done anywhere: on the train or bus, as a passenger in a car, in the office, anywhere that you can shut your eyes for 15 minutes and breathe.

You should find yourself feeling lighter, thinking clearer and re-energised. Ideally it is a good start to the day and it is also good to aid peaceful sleep at night.

As you get used to taking the 15 minute ‘ Me Break ‘, you may find that 15 minutes is just not enough Me Time, so lengthen the time to suit your needs.

So To Re-cap

When you wake, or when you get stressed, or the strains of life are getting to you..

REMEMBER .. It’s time to:

1.Tune In: Find a quiet spot to tune in to your inner self and the body you inhabit.

2.Turn on: Just 15-20 mins a day gives you time to revitalise tired bodies and minds.

3.Chill out: Breathing deeply for 15-20 minutes will leave you feeling lighter, calmer and more relaxed.

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