Is anxiety and depression taking control of your life? Do you need a few strategies to manage this period?

So how does anxiety, depression and peace, work within our minds...in our psychological minds and with our neurotransmitters?

Sometimes explanations to what anxiety and depression means, is complicated, convoluted and gives rise to more anxiety and depression so it can be seen as 'too much for me to handle' and then we find ourselves in that same rollercoaster of ruminating and staying within that vicious cycle.

Shall I break it down...simplify the concept of these terms whilst still validating the realness and pain they both create?

If we can comprehend the fundamental concept around anxiety and depression, we may be better placed to challenge our thoughts and make sense of negative narratives and find some peace in our own respective journeys.

Outside of each of our own life's experiences, we have choices as to how we consider them, how they could affect our future and therefore create that cycle of thinking 'back then' and 'beyond today' or, be present and mindful and enjoy 'the moment'.

Living in it's primal format...is today...it is being in the moment, mindful, present and experiencing all that there is on offer now...the power of now...

So if we think about the past, and all that has happened, trying to make sense of it, is the underpinning of depression.

To avoid what may happen in the future, to be fearful of what could occur, is the underpinning of anxiety...giving us no reason to look forward as it is going to be 'yucky'.

So in summary -

If you are depressed, you may be focusing too much on the past.

If you are anxious, you could be too focused on the future.

and if you are at peace, you are most likely living in the here and now...in the present...

Choices - shall we take that journey and find how to implement strategies to be more in control of our thoughts, rather than letting our thoughts control us? Call now to book a 'tune up' session and right your thoughts.

 

Are you constantly seeking validation from others? Want to 'switch' that off and take control of you?

I just came back from a professional group gathering this morning...and yes, it could be referred to as a 'networking' session although this particular group is far more elegant and subtle about their mandate.

We gather with like minded individuals, from all walks of life but with the inherent integrity of good conversation without the need to 'sell' any of our services or products...so refreshing!

Anyhow...at this gathering and over some fabulous coffee, there was an interesting theme that came up in a few of the conversations that I was participating in and listening to...a theme that I feel was worth sharing as it will resonate with so many of you.

The meaning of life for ourselves is now even more important than ever before and eliminating what is no longer serving us is top of mind

As I listened to one of these conversations, it became evident that in order to find true and authentic satisfaction in life, the concept of 'more money, better cars, bigger houses' was not the be all and the end all...in fact, to be a slave to those material desires can become addictive and in the end can take over your life to the extent that you are 'existing' only to fuel that need/ego and desire.

So the true and real meaning of life is HOW you feel in what you are doing, no so much as WHAT you are doing...

Does that make sense? It did to me....and loudly so! 

When we have a few years under our belts (and yes, I have many of those clocked up!), we can reflect and evaluate the how and what and pending on the what that may have transpired in your past, you may have come through with a sense of 'what is good for me now'...

So much of what is related to how we position ourselves in our world, is what society expects from us or more importantly, the pressure of expectation we place upon ourselves to look a certain way to the outside world.

So if I shared with you, that you could navigate a pathway whereby you can learn enough about yourself to ensure that any of your life's choices are made to reflect your true and authentic self, resulting in you being content without the pressure of 'chasing that proverbial rainbow' and expecting that life will be better if you reach that goal? Would that be a life worth pursuing?

The first step is to be honest with yourself and ask...'do I want to please everyone else or should I invest in me', so that you can then be positioned to be the best version of you, in order to be there for loved ones, family, friends and those in need, rather than seeking that constant validation from others and indirectly, giving you up for others to manipulate, alter and push in opposing directions.

The ultimate version of validation comes from the evolution of self, to know, really know, you - who you are, what you need and finding the strategies and skills to be whole within yourself...now that is true power.

 

Tentative Tuesday - Are you frozen by fear when faced with making a decision?

How many times have you been frozen in life, where you have either procrastinated, ignored or just turned your back on a decision that had to be made...and you didn't?

Whether you stay in a relationship or a job, just that little bit too long and when you finally did make the break, you said to yourself:

'Why didn't I do this ages ago.....?'

What stops us from making decisions is mainly driven by fear:

So if fear is the main contributor to indecision, what outcome would be possible if we could either put fear on hold or take it off the table all together, so to ensure that we make better decisions, create more positive outcomes and enjoy a life less stressful?

Can we achieve this?

Is it possible and can I do it?

The answer is yes...

So where do you start...you start by challenging your fears and asking yourself, 'is there any truth to it...the fear, the consequence the possible outcome?

I use the analogy of going to the dentist with my patients/clients:

Just imagine you have a dental appointment scheduled for next week and between now and then, you are absolutely freaking out in fear of having that dreaded needle for works that could possibly happen....

Then imagine, you get to the dentist, sit back in the dental chair - the nurse pops a bib on and the dentist comes over with their trusty light and looks inside your mouth...the dentist sits back and looks at you and says...

'...well, you have been flossing regularly haven't you? Everything looks good...we only need to do a clean today'

So what do you do at this point?

'Ahhhhhh thank goodness!!! I have been absolutely wound up all week thinking the worst...'

Has the penny dropped yet? You have worked yourself up all week, 'thinking' the worst, and it did not happen!!!

NO it didn't!!!

So the moral of the story is - do not go down the negative rabbit hole of negative thoughts and allow those thoughts to control you...find a way to stop them in their tracks and know that there is another possible outcome, which could very well be the one that you need.

Want to learn some more strategies to overcome fear? Call now to book your tune up session and find a pathway that is less stressful.

 

In a relationship bind? Not sure how to get the zing back?

“Couples who know each other intimately (and) are well versed in each other’s likes, dislikes, personality quirks, hopes, and dreams are couples who make it.”

According to experts, the most common reason couples lose their passion for each other and stop being sexually intimate is a pursuer-distancer pattern that develops over time. Dr. Sue Johnson identifies the pattern of demand-withdraw as the “Protest Polka” and says it is one of three “Demon Dialogues.” She explains that when one partner becomes critical and aggressive, the other often becomes defensive and distant.

Dr. John Gottman’s research on thousands of couples discovered partners that get stuck in this pattern in the first few years of marriage have more than an 80% chance of divorcing in the first four to five years.

Foster Emotional Intimacy

A good sexual relationship is built on emotional intimacy and closeness.

In other words, if you’re hoping to improve your physical relationship, you need to first work on your emotional connection. Focus on meeting your partner’s needs and communicating your own needs in a loving, respectful way.

In The Science of Trust, Dr. Gottman explains that couples who want to rekindle their passion and love need to turn towards each other. Practicing emotional attunement can help you stay connected even when you disagree. This means turning toward one another by showing empathy, instead of being defensive. Both partners need to talk about their feelings in terms of positive need, instead of what they do not need.

According to Dr. Gottman, expressing a positive need is a recipe for success for both the listener and the speaker because it conveys complaints and requests without criticism and blame. Dr. Gottman says, “This requires a mental transformation from what is wrong with one’s partner to what one’s partner can do that would work. The speaker is really saying, ‘Here’s what I feel, and what I need from you.’”

Rekindle Sexual Chemistry

During the early phase of marriage, many couples barely come up for air due to the excitement of falling in love. Unfortunately, this blissful state doesn’t last forever. Scientists have discovered that oxytocin (a bonding hormone) released during the initial stage of infatuation causes couples to feel euphoric and turned on by physical touch. It actually works like a drug, giving us immediate rewards that bind us to our lover.

Holding hands, hugs, and tender touch are great ways to affirm your love for your partner. Physical affection sets the stage for sexual touch that is focused on pleasure. Sex therapist and educator Dr. Micheal Stysma recommends that you set a goal of doubling the length of time you kiss, hug, and use sensual touch if you want to improve your marriage.

Sexual attraction is hard to maintain over time. Sex therapist Laurie Watson says, “Most sexual concerns stem from an interpersonal struggle in the marriage.”

  1. Examine your own actions
  2. Adopt realistic expectations about your partner’s willingness to change

In other words, don’t try to fix your partner. This is both impossible and unethical. Don’t play the blame game (no one wins).

Critical self-awareness and the awareness of others are very important. Here is a third suggestion:

  1. Practice emotional attunement

Attune to each other

According to Dr. John Gottman, “Masters” of relationships approach problems as a team. To do so, they must both be aware of their personal experience at the moment and motivated to work together. It is impossible to nurture healthy relational dynamics without practicing attunement.

How to get better at attunement

The first step is to get in touch with yourselves. You must discover what you need and want and determine what you feel is missing from your relationship. This is self-care. You have to understand yourselves before you can understand each other.

If you cannot identify your own emotions, how are you supposed to understand them or process them or communicate about them with others? How can you expect your partner to be a source of comfort and support?

If you feel frustrated in your inability to have intimate conversations about your deepest feelings with your partner, you are not alone. Here’s a brief exercise to help you deepen the connection with yourself and with your loved ones:

Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you ask questions that require only a yes or no answer, you are destroying conversations before they even have a chance to begin. You are accidentally slamming the door that you are trying to open. This door is labeled “Intimacy.” Instead of “Did you watch that movie?” ask, “What was your favorite part?” Instead of “Are you upset?” ask, “You seem upset. What’s going on?

Relax and take your time

If you are bothered by your inability to label your emotions, stop and meditate for a moment. Clear your mind. Search for a word. When a word comes to mind and your body relaxes, you have hit the spot. Here are a few examples you can use in this activity as a starting point:

Positive Emotions
Negative Emotions

There are even more skills for building internal and external intimacy like the deepening connection in your conversations and expressing compassion and sympathy.

Here are 10 tips to bring back the passion in your marriage:

  1. Change your pattern of initiating sex

Maybe you are denying your partner or coming on too strong. Avoid criticizing each other and stop the “blame game.” Mix things up to end the power struggle. For example, distancers may want to practice initiating sex more often and pursuers try to find ways to tell their partner “you’re sexy,” in subtle ways while avoiding critique and demands for closeness.

  1. Hold hands more often

According to author Dr. Kory Floyd, holding hands, hugging, and touching can release oxytocin causing a calming sensation. Studies show it’s also released during sexual orgasm. Additionally, physical affection reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

  1. Allow tension to build

Our brains experience more pleasure when the anticipation of the reward goes on for some time before we receive it. So take your time during foreplay, share fantasies, change locations, and make sex more romantic.

  1. Separate sexual intimacy from routine

Plan intimacy time and avoid talking about relationship problems and household chores in the bedroom. Sexual arousal plummets when we’re distracted and stressed.

  1. Carve out time to spend with your partner

Try a variety of activities that bring you both pleasure. Have fun courting and practice flirting as a way to ignite sexual desire and intimacy. Dr. Gottman says that “everything positive you do in your relationship is foreplay.”

  1. Focus on affectionate touch

Offer to give your partner a back or shoulder rub. People associate foreplay with sexual intercourse, but affectionate touch is a powerful way to demonstrate and rekindle passion even if you are not a touchy-feely person.

  1. Practice being more emotionally vulnerable during sex

Share your innermost wishes, fantasies, and desires with your partner. If you fear emotional intimacy, consider engaging in individual or couple’s therapy.

  1. Maintain a sense of curiosity about sexual intimacy

Experiment with new ways to bring pleasure to each other. Look at sex as an opportunity to get to know your partner better over time. 

  1. Vary the kind of sex you have

Have gentle, loving-tender, intimate, and highly erotic sex. Break up the routine and try new things as sexual needs change.

  1. Make sex a priority

Set the mood for intimacy before TV or work dulls your passion. A light meal along with your favorite music and wine can set the stage for great sex.

Even if you are not a touchy-feely person, increasing physical affection and emotional attunement can help you to sustain a deep, meaningful bond.

The good news is that allowing your partner to influence you can reignite the spark you once enjoyed. In fact, Dr. Gottman reminds us that friendship is the glue that can hold a marriage together.

Are you wishing to start the journey of rekindling your relationship? Book now to discuss what you need and how to move forward.

 

Friday Focus - What do you need to focus on moving forward?

Letting go of something uncomfortable, whether it is driven by fear or frustration, pain or grief is sometimes the most challenging of processes that we will ever try to accomplish as individuals.

Our most valued and best skill to develop in life are the ones that encourage our emotional agility and resilience.

Where does emotional resilience start? Is it in our actions, our boundaries or is it in our choices...

Here are a few points that support our emotional agility and can create your resilience:

Need some guidance on how to develop strategies that are tailor made for you?

Call now to book your tune up session and watch yourself grow.

Are you feeling you are not quite on top of your game?

Have you been asking yourself...'why am I feeling flat...just uninterested and unmotivated...how am I going to get back on track?'

In life, we can sometimes lose sight of the true meaning of our own existence and to that effect, what we need, what is good for us and most importantly...

How do I get past this stage....

When seeing clients and patients, I share that the first session is me getting to really 'see' you...and this comes as a great surprise to most that visit for the first time:

'What do you mean...to 'see' me...I thought everyone could see me...I am sad, depressed, lost and feel unwanted...?'

When someone has such a pessimistic view of themselves, I try to showcase that we are not all just one thing, we are a combination of all things...and sometimes we get so lost and caught up in that negative narrative that we lose sight of who we are, as a complete and total person that is more than just their negative perception.

I help you to look closely, to find those parts in you that you don't 'see', and I bring that to your attention...to help you 'see' that there is more to you than your perception or belief which you are currently experiencing and engage in strategies to get you back on track.

'You' are not that far away.....

Shall I help you find 'you'?

The 'you' that may have gotten a little lost along the way and is still there but needs some encouragement, motivation and support to find it's way back to your 'top of mind'?

Tips to start on your best self now:

  1. Know and understand your purpose
  2. Know and pursue your passions
  3. Know your needs and be unapologetic about them
  4. Know your strengths and build on those
  5. Know your values and stick to them
  6. Serve others - a random act of kindness in the community goes a long way to self gratification
  7. Live from your inner self...your truth - your authenticity

 Do you need a tune up? Let's chat....book here.

Appointments available now - no referral required.

 

 

 

Truthful Tuesday Moment

Who are you? I mean, really, who are you?

And by this I mean, not 'what' you are, as in a lawyer, doctor, mum, dad, etc...

Challenging isn't it...to really look within and ask yourself...now, who am I? Who is my authentic self?

What does authenticity mean:

Everyone wants to be authentic. You want to be true to yourself, not a slavish follower of social expectations. You want to 'live your best life,' pursuing your particular desires, rather than falling in line with whatever everyone else thinks happiness requires. Studies have even shown that feelings of authenticity can go hand in hand with numerous psychological and social benefits: higher self-esteem, greater well-being, better romantic relationships and enhanced work performance.

If we consider the difficulty in how we try to unpack and respond to that question ourselves, it would also be fair to suggest that most other people are in the same boat...not really knowing who they are and projecting what they are.

Imagine for a moment if we could all just share who and not what we are, how many of our life's decisions would be different...would they be smarter, wiser, better, more authentic?

Think about your relationships with your friends, partners and loved ones...think about how you feel going out in public and balancing the 'my authentic self'...as in, who you are, as opposed to showcasing what you feel you should project...as in, what you are/look like/should say etc.

Can you see how we could make life complicated for ourselves by being what not who and in turn, uncomplicating life by being authentic.

Is it time for you to know who you are?

In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.

BRENÉ BROWN

Let me help you find your authentic self...call to start your exciting journey of self discovery now.

 

Mindfulness Monday Moment

So how do you start your working week?

Is Monday the day that starts with a jolt or does it evolve with a slow burn?

Let's try a strategy that has worked for me - finding the 'anticipation' rather than 'the burden' for the beginning of your working week.

Create a new routine by applying a couple of positive steps to start your day well!

There are so many ways to centre yourself with mindfulness being at the top of the tree - when we feel overwhelmed for example, it is mostly brought on by 'loading' ourselves with too many things, all at once...resulting in feeling out of control and not in touch with where we are, what we are doing or where we are going.

So start today with a new perspective - value your time, your actions - derive pleasure from the simplest of tasks such as enjoying your beverage...without distraction....and see how your day evolves...

Need some more tips? Let's chat.

'Living Well Today' - how to navigate life's challenges with strategies that work

Over the last 4 - 5 weeks, I have had many of my clients/patients coming in who are feeling anxious about life and finding it difficult to ascertain what the future holds...and asking that all important question?

'Is it just me or are other people also feeling this way?'

The response is...yes...

There is change in the air - we have just come through COVID with all the fear and uncertainty that this has brought with it, then the new Government, interest rate rises and supply shortages, high employment which all creates an environment that is raising the cost of living, which is the kicker when it comes to unsettling our lives.

So how do we manage this? 

Some strategies that can be managed:

As I shared in my session with patients - you have to live 'in the meantime'...not focus on tomorrow...if we focus too much on what could, may happen tomorrow, we forget to actually live...which is in the moment and today.

So...live in the meantime...

Make plans today - cook that favourite dish tonight and use your best crockery and cutlery. Hug your children - smile at your partner - go for the long walk along the beach with your bestie...do all those things that you love to do...today!

Do more of what is good for you and less of what is not...the new mantra for today!

Do you need some strategies to support you in "Living well today"? Let's chat and find you, your solution.

The relationship counsellor...

In Relationships,

Not Arguing Means You're Not Communicating.

Do you need to learn the art of 'relationship language’?

Understanding and respecting one another’s uniqueness whilst establishing that all important common ground, is the holy grail of togetherness.

Let's explore how...