How to create a positive mindset

Energy flows where attention goes!

What does this mean? It means you can influence the way you feel by changing your focus. We’ve all been emotionally moved by a film or movie and have laughed or cried despite knowing that the story isn’t real but we put our attention to the storyline and it touched us. So basically, we observed or think about something and as a result our mind produced an appropriate feeling. It pretty much happens on a subconscious level and there’s nothing wrong with it. But knowing that what we observe or think about, influences how we feel, means we can use this to our advantage. Energy flows where attention goes, so we put your attention to something, and our energy responds accordingly. So if I choose to dwell on a situation that makes me sad or angry, I feel sad or angry and if I choose to change my focus and think about something positive, a happy memory or someone I love, my feelings follow suit. And if I watch the news, quite often I feel bad or worried afterwards but if I choose to watch something heart-warming or funny, I feel better. I also love daydreaming and conjuing up happy memories, that certainly changes how I feel. My top tip today is to pay attention to your thoughts and watch what you watch!

Did you know, that you can create your own anchor of inspiration and positivity by choosing a very uplifting memory and remember it vividly several times a day. We can’t be stressed and happy at the same time. By changing your focus, you change your energy level. Use happy memories to lift you up or daydream about happy future memories. If you need help finding more happiness and balance in your life, please get in touch sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk or sandy@bodymindhealing.co.uk

I hope you’ve found this helpful. Happy daydreaming.
Take care.
Sandy

How to get out of the lockdown blues

Yet another lockdown has been announced and I can almost hear all the many desperate voices saying “Oh no, not again!” Even though I expected this announcement, I admit that I noticed an immediate blow to my mood, a sinking feeling, worries coming up regarding my business, my clients and loved ones and I just needed a day or so to gather my thoughts and process upcoming feelings.

I’ve recently noticed that I’m not my usual happy self and feel a bit out of balance, so now I’m making an extra effort to look after myself, my mental health and emotional balance. Luckily, I’ve got all the knowledge and tools to help myself and others and have, in fact, been teaching them for years. Now, that I’m feeling much better, I thought I’d share a few tips that helped me to get out of the lockdown blues! Perhaps this will help you too!
Try my alphabetic ABCDEFGHIJ approach! Here is the short version of my favourite ten tips:

1. Acceptance is the key! Denial, distraction or ignoring a situation and especially our feelings towards it is not going to help. My motto is ”accept what you can’t change and change what you can’t accept!”. So, I can’t change this lockdown but I CAN change how I feel about it. After allowing myself a bit of time to accept, acknowledge and feel the feeling, I then move on, tap or dance it away.

2. Deep focused breathing is one of the best ways to regain calmness and balance. I love 7-11 breathing and heart-centred breathing. These wonderful exercises certainly help me feel better whenever I’m not at ease. If you’re not familiar with them, then just take a few minutes and focus on your breath, perhaps count to five or six with each in- and outbreath and observe the movement of your body. Most negative feelings put us into fight or flight, which means we can’t think clearly and might tend to catastrophise. Yet calm deep breathing takes us out of this cycle, helps us relax and get our positive brain power back. Do this regularly or whenever you feel anxious, sad or stressed.

3. Reach out and connect to others. A sense of connection is an innate basic need that we all have because we are social beings. This is not the time to crawl into a cave and wait until this is all over. You’re not alone and not meant to be. Let us all reach out to one another, talk to our loved ones, set up video calling, a WhatsApp group and share precious moments even if it’s in a socially distant or digital way.

4. Dance all your worries away! Nothing lifts my mood as much as putting on some of my favourite music and dance around my living room, normally only when I’m alone. I know it sounds crazy and it might take a few minutes to get into it but try it and perhaps get the whole family involved. I have friends who’d make a zoom party out of this.

5. Use EFT tapping! I love using EFT to tap on any negative feelings and released them. So, I label the feeling, focus on where it sits in my body, I measure its intensity on a scale from 1-10 to get clarity and then I say out loud “Even though this situation makes me feel …., I accept how I feel right now” and I tap through the points until I feel better.

6. Have some fun! I know it’s hard when you’re feeling a bit down but think of the things you enjoyed as a child. Be creative, use your imagination! It could be as simple as dressing up as someone else, find your old skipping rope, make a collage, watch your favourite film, eat your favourite food, bake a cake, write a story, dye your hair, repot your plants, dance in your living room…. The list is endless!

7. Focus on gratitude and count your blessings! If you get caught up in negative thinking, just say “stop!” Thoughts can spiral but we have the power to intervene. We can choose our thoughts consciously. By counting your blessings or naming at least five things you’re grateful for, you can shift your thinking from negative to positive. Start a gratitude list and add more items every day, put it on your fridge or above your desk and read it often to remind yourself of all the good things in your life.

8. Have a hug! The lack of human touch can have such a negative impact on our mental health. I know we need to accept the social distancing rules but if you have people in your household or social bubble, make sure you hug them and receive one in return, provided it feels safe! If it doesn’t hug yourself, hug a cushion or a teddy bear and close your eyes while imagining it’s a loved one or offer to take a neighbours dog out for a walk and pet the dog and play with him.

9. Use your imagination! Our minds are more powerful than we know. We can conjure up positive and negative images which then affect our mood. So why not use the lockdown to engage in some daydreaming or imagine a few wonderful scenarios that will make you happy. The aim is to feel good!

10. Do more of what brings you joy. This is in line with number six above. We can’t change the past, we don’t know what the future will bring, we just have this moment right now, so why not conjure up a few moments of joy, even if it’s just sharing your favourite anecdotes or jokes with someone or your diary.

Just to let you know, I’m at your service and love to help and inspire others. I’m available for online sessions and have a number of online products available. Feel free to get in touch.

Lots of love,

Sandy x

Understanding and managing chronic pain

According to the NHS and the British Pain Society, almost half (43%) of the population in the UK suffer from chronic pain, that’s about 28 million people! This year (2020) is likely to see a rise in numbers, due to changes in circumstances since Covid, like working from home, self-isolating, lack of exercise and reduction in pain service provision.

Having suffered from chronic pain myself for several years in the past, this topic is important and personal and one of the reasons I changed profession to become a holistic health practitioner after having found alleviation and healing from my condition. In this article, I’d like to help you understand why we may suffer from chronic pain, what factors influences the pain level and explain how to manage and alleviate it.

Let’s start by trying to understand why we experience pain. Pain is a symptom which the body uses to communicate with us, telling us something is not right. Pain is feedback, similar to the engine light in your car signalling something is wrong. Acute pain should never be ignored and if treated appropriately in most cases, long term pain can be avoided. Yet what if you are already suffering from chronic pain and doctors can’t help?

My view is that chronic pain happens for a reason, often subconscious psychological reasons that we are not aware of, yet if we can find them, deal with them and make a conscious shift, we may find that the pain changes too, becomes more bearable, manageable and even starts healing. The body usually has a natural ability to heal itself. If you cut your finger, you heal the wound, put a plaster on and it heals. If you break a bone and stabilize the body part, the bone grows back together. People recover from accidents, surgery, falls, injuries, etc. So, in my view, if you’re suffering from chronic pain it means, there’s something holding the condition in place, either physical or psychological.

One factor is that, the body can change and adapt. While most of our physical bodies naturally strive for health, they can only heal themselves if they’re given the opportunity to do so. Stress puts the body in fight or flight mode, where the main concern is survival. It’s a natural biological response which we’ve inherited from our ancestors. Therefore, constant stress can prevent the body from healing as it only feels ‘safe enough’ to heal and recuperate when we’re calm and relaxed. To allow the body to heal, watch your stress level!

In addition, sometimes one problem can cause another, such as when someone has sprained their ancle or hurt their knee, they put more weight on the healthy one which might then also start hurting if this continues for long enough. The body will change and adapt to any circumstances, doing the best it can to lower pressure and find balance. So be mindful of how you’re using your body.

Pain is subjective, some people can tolerate more than others. Ever wondered why that is? A number of factors influence how we experience pain: our beliefs play a role, past (pain) experiences, our current stress level or even how we see ourselves. Did you know that your current stress level will influence the degree of pain you feel? Stress triggers a number of physical reactions, such as increased blood flow which means more blood also flows through the painful body part, increasing the sensation of pain. Therefore, another effective way to manage your pain level is to learn to relax. There’s a wide variety of relaxation methods available, so why not try to find one that suits you? I’m happy to give you my FREE guided relaxtion visualisation. It’s a 10 minute audio relaxation to help you feel more balanced https://www.emotionalbalance.co.uk/freebies/

Yet another effective way to manage your pain is to befriend your body and listen to the communication it is offering. As mentioned above pain is feedback. Many see their body as their enemy “Why is my body doing this to me?” Try a new approach, take time to listen, go inside and search for reasons and emotions behind the pain. Once you understand the message, your body might not need to “shout so loud” anymore. Send positive thoughts and mental messages to your body. It’s doing the best it can given the position it is in. Give yourself of painful body part a hug, apply an appropriate lotion, heat or cold pack, breath into the pain and practice acceptance rather than resistance. Resistance fuels stress, acceptance allows healing. Create the best conditions to allow your body and mind to heal.

There’s plenty more to be said about this topic. If you’re suffering from chronic pain and would like to learn more about how to manage it, you’re invited to join my next live 2-hour workshop on 17th October in Brighton! Numbers are limited, so make sure you book your place asap! To find out more:

https://www.emotionalbalance.co.uk/event/releasechronicpain/

To book your place, send an email with your name and telephone number to sandy@emotionalbalance.co.uk

I hope you found this article informative and helpful. If you know anyone who suffers from chronic pain, feel free to share it with them. My mission is to help as many people as possible as I know from personal experience how limiting life with chronic pain can be.

Sending love, light and healing.

Sandy

The power of self-care and self -love

Nurturing yourself is important, especially in times of uncertainty. When the outside world seems crazy, turn inside. You’re a wonderful human being, who’s doing the best they can, given the current circumstances. Acknowledge how well you’ve done, how difficult it perhaps has been. Give yourself a hug and a pad on the shoulder. Life’s never been more different and unusual. We’ve been bombarded with lots of change, new rules and have been fed fear-producing messages. So, if you’ve been feeling a bit anxious, worried or just unusually tired, that’s absolutely normal. Many of us are a bit out of balance these days, trying to cope with the new situation and perhaps feeling a bit insecure about it all, or even overwhelmed. Yet one thing we often take for granted is ourselves. We expect ourselves to just adjust overnight, cope with anything thrown at us and deal with people around us, who are struggling, while we might be internally struggling too. I believe it’s important to acknowledge how we feel and become aware of our own needs too. Self-care and self-love are important and should not be forgotten. These last few months have been strange, and you’ve made it through! So, give yourself a big fat WELL DONE!

Wouldn’t it be nice to make yourself feel cared for and appreciated? Why not take a moment to thank your wonderful body, your brain with its amazing capacity to learn new things and your mind and psyche with its ability to generate a wide spectrum of emotions! Be nice to yourself and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Remind yourself of all the many good qualities you have. Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Switch to positive feelings and give yourself some love and appreciation. You deserve it!

A great tool that I highly recommend is doing daily affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements. Louise Hay, the queen of affirmations, wrote lots of books about the topic. Starting with that first thing in the morning is a great way of setting you up for a positive day. Think of a few things you like about yourself and tell your reflection in the mirror. Or see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. If you need ideas and inspiration, check out this website with new daily affirmations: www.louisehay.com/affirmations/   Today, 30th July says the following: “Today I listen to my feelings, and I am gentle with myself. I know that all of my feelings are my friends.” Wonderful words of wisdom!
Some people prefer their statements expressed as a process, e.g. ‘I’m feeling better and better each day.’ ‘I love myself a bit more every day.’ or ‘I love learning how to relax’. When you become your own best friend, nothing can stop you. It’s worth making a bit of an effort to love yourself more. If you love yourself, the world loves you right back.

Self-care goes hand-in-hand with self-love. It’s about setting boundaries, looking after yourself and taking a bit of ‘me-time’ out whenever possible or appropriate. A dear friend of mine introduced me to the idea of having a duvet morning. I love the concept! Every now and then, I just stay in bed an extra hour in the morning with nice cup of tea and a book, or a notepad if I feel creative, to brainstorm ideas or make my gratitude list for the day. If mornings aren’t possible, how about a duvet evening? There’s plenty of ways to look after ourselves, some people love having a warm bubble bath, chat to a friend, go for a nice long walk, meditate, try out a new recipe, write into a journal, light a candle or engage in crafts. The important bit is to make time to feel good. Even a 2- or 3-minute breathing exercise can help you feel calm and more balanced. Acknowledge that you’ve done enough and you are enough! Feeling loved and appreciated is an inside job. I hope this short article has inspired you. Love and light. Sandy

How to conquer fear

Experiencing a bit of fear every now and then is a healthy response aimed to keep us safe. Learning something new can make us uncomfortable at first as it takes us out of our comfort zone. Doing new things makes life more interesting though and leads to growth. Courage is the best antidote to fear. Rather than focusing on what might go wrong, take a reality check. 90% of the things we worry about never happen, so why not focus on all the things that might go right? Think how great you will feel once you’ve conquered your fear? How will life be different? Who would be the first person to notice those changes? Focusing on a positive outcome increases the likelihood of positive things happening. Be your own best friend and give yourself a mental pep talk or imagine what a supportive person in your life would say to encourage you to conquer your fear.

fear-vs-courage

Did you know that you can choose your thoughts? So choose the ones that help you, not ones that drag you down. Easier said than done? Well, here’s a short cut: stop thinking for a moment and focus on positive FEELINGS! Who do you love most in life? What does this love feel like? Stay with that feeling for a couple of minutes and watch the changes in your body. Another great way to conquer fear is to focus on your breathing! Breathe in slowly while counting to 6, then let go of the air slowly while counting to 6. Repeat several times and ‘watch’ the breath moving in and out of your body. Notice your chest and belly expand, perhaps put your hands on your body to feel this movement. These two simple techniques help to become present and to focus on the here and now. They work wonders before important meetings, job interviews, presentations or to calm down fearful worries.

fear into action

Some people may need healing on a deeper level, for example to overcome trauma, phobias or panic attacks. EFT tapping and Hypnotherapy are powerful tools to conquer these issues. These and other modalities are offered by a variety of practitioners (myself included). I’ve seen the most amazing changes in my clients. Don’t let your fear imprison you, set yourself free and start enjoying life. Turn your fear into action. Like Winston Churchill said: ‘Courage is a decision’. Take your power back now!

courage is a decision

I’d love to hear if you’ve found this post helpful and look forward to reading your comments.

All the best,

Sandy

How to reduce anxiety in less than 5 minutes

Stress and anxiety are buzz words nowadays. Everyone is just rushing around, being busy with being busy and having a million things on the to-do list. Many have not enough time to relax and look after themselves, especially women who always seem to care and look after everyone else and don’t get enough time for themselves. Yet just like a car can’t run at 100 miles an hour all the time without stopping to refuel, so do we need to stop regularly and look after (refuel) ourselves. People who don’t take time to look after their health will HAVE TO take time later to look after their illness. Which way are you heading?

relax-stress

The good news is that refueling doesn’t have to take ages. A day at the Spa sounds very appealing but many have neither the time nor the money for such a treat. Here is a very simple tool that you can surely fit even into the busiest schedule and you can do it anytime, anywhere. It is a breathing technique called 7/11 breathing. This is how it works: take a deep slow breath in while counting to 7, fill your belly and lungs with air, then breathe out even more slowly while counting to 11, notice how your belly and chest slowly release the air. Repeat several times: breathe in to 7 and out to the count of 11. If 7 and 11 feel too long, adjust the numbers to your own pace and capacity. The important part is to breathe more slowly and to breathe out for at least 2 counts longer than you breathe in. Doing this for a few minutes switches your body from the sympathetic nervous system (stress mode) to the parasympathetic nervous system (relax mode). Seriously try it right now for at least 2-3 minutes and watch your anxiety melt away…

breath

This techniques puts you back in touch with your body. The counting engages your mind and the combination of counting and watching your breath helps you become present and be in the moment. Too often we spend too much time thinking about the past or planning our future. Right in this moment, we are ok, right now we don’t have to find a solution to all of our problems. Just for this short moment we can start anew as in every breath there is a new opportunity. Once we calm down and release the stress we get access to our intuition, can think more clearly and often become aware of the most amazing ideas and solutions that have been in us all along. All it takes is a bit of breathing, allowing your body and mind to relax. Do this regularly and see what happens. I recommend doing this exercise several times a day, even if it’s just for a minute or two each time. It reduces stress and anxiety, quietens the mind, helps you sleep better, provides your brain with more oxygen, cuts off the constant noise in our head, especially that critical voice that many of us have and puts us back in touch with our own resources. Enjoy!

breath-tiger

If you found this helpful, please share and/or leave a comment. If you’re interested in finding out more about this topic, join my next workshop on 25th March in Brighton:

Release stress and anxiety2

 

Need more me time!

I don’t know about you but to me it feels that life is getting busier and busier.

Technology is supposed to make things easier and faster, right? Yet I personally feel it provides more pressure (at times), e.g. being constantly available, texting, following and responding to friends’ posts and blogs on social media, being present online so that our friends can follow us, not to mention the pressure to do well at work, for our kids to do well at school and so on. I feel that some of my friendships only exist online. We hardly have time for face-to-face conversations anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media (I’ve got this blog after all) I just don’t like it when it takes over and prevents us from switching off. The temptation is there, in every free minute, to check emails, new posts, pictures and videos online. Does this sound familiar? Well, I want to do something about this. I need more me time and have a feeling others do too. I need more emotional balance and a proper time-out from the fast moving busyness of this world.

time-out-tuesday22thnov

So I’ve started this new evening group. Time out Tuesday – Find your emotional balance and I’d like to invite you to join us, not online, but in person (if you are in South East England that is, Brighton&Hove area to be specific). My aim is to create a safe space for people to relax. We’ll do some exercises, like breathing, gratitude and guided visualisations to let go of stress and worries and find more balance. Feel free to share this information with anyone who you think might be interested. Thanks. See you on Tuesday!