Give Yourself a Mental Makeover

r2g-p9-candleThe idea of self-care may sound indulgent to you, but nothing is farther from the truth. Self-care builds confidence to take action and by paying attention to your personal energy, you ensure that you stay energetic under pressure. It is important to develop habits that nurture you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Although you might take great care of your body, you may not give much thought to your mental self. It’s time to ask yourself, “What do I do to take care of my mind and keep it in excellent shape?” For some excellent mental makeover techniques, read on.

  • Know what makes you happy and do it every day. Take time each day to immerse yourself in something that brings joy to your life. Watch a movie, take a walk, do some crafting, build a shelf, or paint a picture. Make it a point to derive some pleasure from every single day.
  • Laugh a lot. Read jokes online. Make up funny stories. View your favourite sitcom  on TV, old and new. Call a friend that always makes you laugh. Spend time with children and babies. Experience humour as often as you can.
  • Cultivate new interests. To keep your mind working on several different levels, try new things often. Learn a new language. Visit museums. Study a topic of interest on the internet. Make it a personal goal to learn something new each day.
  • Play some healthy mind games. Encourage your mind to get exercise by trying out different kinds of interesting, challenging mind games from time to time. Find some new apps for your smartphone that will challenge you and make you think. We’re talking about the ones that put your brain through some mental calisthenics. Do word searches. Work some Sudoku puzzles. Get into crosswords.
  • Recognize your own stress responses, inside and out. Knowing yourself will help you identify how you behave when exposed to stressors. Maybe you get a fever blister on your lip, eat too much, or become grouchy. If you can train yourself to recognize when you’re stressed (early in the process), you can then proactively take steps to abolish the source of the stress or to beef up your coping strategies.
  • Express yourself. Although it might be difficult for you, do what you have to do to express your feelings to others. Whether they’re happy and fun feelings, or sad and scary feelings, develop ways to share your emotions. Holding in how you feel is rarely the path to a calm and secure mental state.Stay on top of your feelings. In the event you’re in a situation where you can’t express your feelings to someone else for a good reason, employ your writing skills to write down on paper or in your computer how you’re feeling. a journal and write regularly in it. Some tips on using a journal or if you want to use it as a focus tool, I have this free gift for you. Expressing your feelings through the written word can be both freeing and effective.

Take part in activities that bring joy and laugh frequently. Constantly find new interests and play games that give your mind a work-out. Know your own reactions to stress and do whatever’s necessary to express yourself. When you concentrate on following through with these suggestions, you’ll give your mind a fantastic work-out. And when your mind is in peak condition, so are you!

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From Frazzled To Flexible

Add suFrobheadingFromIt’s difficult for most people to think about strategies to calm themselves down when they are in the midst of a stressful situation. Instead, it’s more common to allow negative thoughts to take over. We tend to express these negative thoughts in unhealthy ways by complaining, venting, yelling, worrying, or feeling intense anger and frustration.

 We all experience increased stress this time of the year, but the stress that we experience are magnified or minimized based on how we react to it. Hans Selye so aptly put it when he said, “It’s not stress that kills us; it is our reaction to it.”So, how do we remain accommodating and adaptable when we are stressed out? How do we spark hope, faith and energy when we are feeling weary, exhausted and drained, as is often the case this time of the year?

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. I’ve got some creative thought-based  ways to help you unwind, decompress and stay centered a whole lot more.

1. Imagine you are a gemstone with many facets. What will the light be illuminating today?

The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. How often have you rushed out the door and into your day without even thinking about the day and how you would like it to go? Start the day more mindfully by setting  an intention for the day. Ask yourself:  How do I want to show up today to have the greatest impact? How can I feel more connected? How can I show more compassion to myself and others during difficult moments? What do I need? For example: “ Today I will be patient and kind to myself, persevere, have fun, show gratitude, communicate calmly” or anything else that is important to you.

2. Create mindful moments of calm throughout the dayAdd suFrobheadingFrom (1)

Through-out the day, regularly check in with yourself.This can be done by taking a moment to connect with your breath. Breathing is a proven method for calming down your body’s reactions stress.By calming your physical reactions, you can pay more attention to your thoughts and you have the opportunity to turn away from negative thoughts and move toward productive thoughts about how to manage situations. You can also  use calming guided meditations. It can take as little as one minute– so time is not an excuse!

Download your 1 minute mindful meditation here

3. Pen it!

Yes, leave the digital for the moment and push your brain by writing down your achievements for the day. Remember that 5 wins per day, makes 30 a week and 120 per month. By choosing where you put your focus, you can reduce the sense overwhelm of having too much on your plate and not doing enough.  Another way to use the pen, is to bite a pen between your teeth on your way to or from work. This “fake smile” will go a long way is changing your mood.

Control your stress instead of it controlling you.  While you can’t completely eliminate all stress from your life, you can significantly minimise the impact and move from frazzled to flexible!

Stress management download

FREE DOWNLOAD: STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

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Who am I?

What are some of the biggest fears you have about what will happen if you fully be yourself, speak your truth, and go for what you truly want in life? We all want to live happy, authentic lives, rich & full of purpose, we yearn to express ourselves more fully and be unconditionally accepted by others.  But the reality is that it’s often easier to remain and behave in less authentic ways rather than risk letting others see and experience who we really are.

It often feels like we can’t truly be authentic because it means we risk having others judge us, or worse, reject us. In the end, it seems easier to just be quiet, fit in, and hide who we really are rather than attempt to live more authentically around others. Still, we want to be more authentic, but at the same time, being more authentic seems very scary!  We are apprehensive to take an honest look at our hidden selves. However, if we want to live more authentically, we must move pass this fear.butterfly in hand on grass

A great metaphor for authenticity is an iceberg where the iceberg’s tip can be seen above the water’s surface, but the majority of it lies hidden beneath the water’s surface. We often go about life in a similar fashion, showing only a small part of our true identity and hiding everything else. We don’t want others to see and experience who we really are. To become more authentic may require us to lower our waterline and share more of who we really are.

We don’t want to share things that we feel people would look down on us for, such as:

  • Failures and disappointments
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fears and insecurities
  • Weaknesses and embarrassments
  • Resentments and jealousies

We also hesitate to share their positive traits such as:

  • Our hopes and dreams
  • Our vision of what makes us truly happy
  • Our accomplishments and future goals
  • What we love and appreciate
  • What excites us and give us childlike curiosity

The reason we can be equally hesitant to our positive qualities is because revealing our most hidden strengths, desires, and aspirations still makes us vulnerable. These positive qualities can still be judged critically by others, so there is risk associated with opening up to others, even in positive ways.

Being authentic means being willing to openly and honestly share all of yourself with others – both good and bad.  If you look up the definition of ‘authenticity’ in the dictionary, you would see the concept described as ‘the quality of being genuine.’ Being more authentic is more fully expressing all of who you really are, and this includes both the light and the dark.

When you are more authentic, you are also more vulnerable; there’s no denying this fact.  Still, isn’t risking a little vulnerability worth the potential gain of becoming:

    • More confident in yourself?
    • More willing to pursue your passions?
    • More free of other people’s opinions?
    • More connected with yourself and others?
    • More in a state of peace of mind?
    • More accepting and appreciative of your true self?

Keep asking: Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

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How To Turn Your Longing Into Reality – 6 Success Habits

 My mission is to shape the way we see the world and our place in it. My vision is to empower women to confidently step into their power and to live their best lives. Sometimes I question the sanity of this, because I experience so much superficiality in life today– Who has the right clothes? Am I prettier/slimmer than her/him? What did Brad say to Angelina? I found that we long for success, but few are willing to take a deep, hard look at their inner world, change their  beliefs and install the habits. 

My previous blog encouraged you to start creating a vision for your life  and not to allow longing and discontent to follow you from one year to the next.  If you have done that, you are setting the stage for a brilliant new you!  Now that you have ignited the fire, I want to share six routines or habits that you can install, to ensure that you keep up the momentum.

    1. Make a dream collage – When it comes achieving our goals, many of us lose the motivation we had when we first started. Our best intentions are put aside as life takes over, and we struggle to stay motivated. In neuroscience goal representation is an essential part of goal pursuit. We create a clear How to turn your dream into reality- 6 Success habits (1)picture of the future in our memory. Creating and using a dream collage is an inspiring way to stay focused on your goals. The purpose is to turn something abstract into something conceivable and it’s a chance to unleash your creative side. Cut and paste and have some fun!
    2. Focus on your wins – Our brains are wired to focus on what we haven’t achieved and that often demotivates us. If you retrain your brain to focus on what you have achieved, dopamine (the feel- good hormone) is released and it is easier to stay motivated.
    3. Love yourself more – It is easy to be critical and hard on yourself. Learn to love yourself more and start focusing on what you do right and what you like about yourself. Focus on the gifts YOU bring to the world.
    4. Start the day with gratitudeHedonic adaptation is the term that positive psychologists use to describe the brain’s tendency  to start taking things for granted, making us less happy.    There is so much beauty in the world and you have so much good in your life.  Don’t take anything for granted. Start noticing,  retrain your brain and give thanks– it is not JUST another day. 
    5. Set an intention for the day and declare it at the beginning of the day. This simple, but powerful habit helps the brain to focus and tune-in from all the chaos, the demands and the distractions.
    6. Be seven again – Let go of the worry and the strive even for just a short while and do something that is fun and enjoyable. What you may ask? Learn to listen to the still inner voice, she/he knows the answer.

                                            Claim your tool here:Heart Language Tool


Sounds like too much work?  I have created an online journal template that will allow you to retrain your brain in just 10 minutes a day.

                                           Claim it here: Into The Heart Journal

 

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The Rest Of Your Life Is Waiting

The rest of your life is waiting…will you create a vision and set your course for an ideal outcome or will you simply drift along?

When considering what your future is going to be like, most people choose to simply drift along and this is a tragedy that happens over and over again. The most intelligent well meaning people in the world are relegated to an inferior existence, living a life less fulfilling and rewarding , because they did not set goals or dream about what they wanted for their future.

Consider the airline pilot who flies a plan from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Most of the flight is on auto-pilot, where the course is set at the beginning. But its not a straight point A to point B event. The plane is constantly making adjustments for wind, weather and other issues that may come up which could throw it off course.

It’s the same with your life.  Without first setting the course and without making the necessary adjustments, your future will just drift into any direction the wind takes it.

This is no way to go through life!

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you, not anymore.  Today you can decide how the rest of your life is going to look and feel.  Right now you can take steps toward a better life for yourself, your business, career and your family, simply by practicing the art of vis
Dreamscaping Cafe (1)ioning and goal setting.You may not agree with me, but science of visualisation is on my side.By changing your thoughts and actions, you can change your world to have better health, more fulfilling relationships, more prosperity and a greater sense of well-being,

Having a vision for your life is a beautiful thing. It makes your dreams feel more concrete and obtainable. It gives you focus, direction and a barometer upon which to make life decisions. With a vision, you live with intention and purpose because you know where you are going. Without the direction of a clear vision for guidance, it is unlikely you will feel fulfilled because you will not base your decisions on what you want and where you are headed, but instead you will base them on circumstances of the moment. Try creating a vision of what you want your life to look like in all areas of life, and picture it in your mind every day. Then create your plan to get there, take action with a resolve not to quit, and watch what happens. Even the smallest steps will lead you to your goals.

Today you have a choice of how you want the rest of your life to play out. You can either be someone who just lets the winds of fate carry you or you can set the course for the kind of life you want to live, the kind that will make you happy and fulfilled.

 For the next month I will send you weekly Vision Reminders to inspire you to do the work!

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Pause – A Zen Story

A number of students were sitting quietly with their teacher one day when a hunter passed by. The hunter was surprised to see the renowned teacher sitting there at ease and doing nothing at all, remarking that the man’s inaction appeared to be a waste of precious time.

“Take your bow, cock it, and fire an arrow,” the teacher responded quietly. The hunter obliged.

“Cock your bow and fire another arrow,” the teacher then said. And the hunter again obliged – again and again and again.

Finally the hunter spoke up: “Teacher, if I continue to cock my bow at this rate, it will break.”

“The same goes for all of us,” said the teacher. If we push ourselves excessively, we will break too. The right thing to do sometimes is to take a break and cease all activity.” (Source: Point of You)

Does your  “to-do” list have more on it than you can sanely do in a lifetime? ( This time of the year  is not called the “silly season” for no reason. )

Why is it so hard to pause and make time for ourselves?dance-with-possibility-imagine-space-to-breathe

So what if you did this…

Gift yourself a few  moments of tranquility and introspection, amidst the hustle and bustle. I love this quote  by Efrat Shani : Pause is a tool for creating clarity, calmness, a fresh look and internal peace…

What if you let go of the tight constraints of perfectionism today? What if you looked outside and saw the beauty? What if you  put away the worries and concerns for the future? What if you allowed  for new possibilities? What if you did that one thing that makes you happy? What if you adopted a new mantra –

“I do enough. I have enough. I am enough”

Now what better gift than that can you give yourself?

 

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“Monkey Mind” Brain Calming Sleep Tool

We all get ‘Monkey Mind’ from time to time – where our brain roams out of control – swinging from one thing to the next. Sometimes it’s exciting: plans we’re making, ideas we have. Other times it can be a long catalogue of things to remember, worries and ‘shoulds’. Often it’s a mix of both. Of course the worst time to have ‘Monkey Mind’ is when we’re trying to go to sleep. This super simple tool calms that ‘Monkey Mind’ so you can get the sleep you deserve!Young woman taking a nap in bedroom, focus on table in front

Simply write ANY and EVERY thing that’s on your mind on a blank piece of paper. Just put pen to paper and write. And no judgement please! The only rule is that there are no rules. Whatever pops up, write it down. Eg. Great ideas, what to have for breakfast, a feeling, memory,grievance or worry, that you need a haircut, to see the dentist or something else.

  1. Keep writing until your brain is exhausted of things to tell you about.
  2. Then ask, “If there was something/s I missed, what would it be?” Write these down, then continue.

 

Pause and take a look at the things on your ‘Monkey Mind’ list.

  • Let go of your ‘Cheeky Monkeys’:These are items you have no control over i.e. Where there is nothing you can do. Cross these items out. Take a deep breath and let go of each for now.
  • Identify your’Gorillas’:Circle the items that are really bothering you or that your mind keeps going back to – whatever it is – however big, small, silly, boring or illogical it may or may not be!
  1. Look at the’Gorilla’ items you’ve circled and pick an action for each that you will (ideally) take tomorrow. Phone dentist/hair salon, buy milk, brainstorm business/holiday ideas over lunch, Research personal trainers, call mom, set up meeting with school etc.

Tip: If you want your brain to calm, it needs to know you are listening. Your action doesn’t have to be big – it can be the smallest step you could take. But commit to yourself and do it as soon as you can.And remember your action could also be to ‘let go’!

What action will I take?                                                                  By when (ideally tomorrow)

 ___________________________________________________       ___________________________

Now check in with yourself. How busy is your mind now? _____ / 10

Once your mind busy-ness score is 2 (or less) out of 10, wonderful! Take a deep breath. Acknowledge and thank your brain for all these great thoughts,before reviewing your action plan one final time.

If your mind busy-ness score is 3 or above, out of 10, ask yourself:

“What haven’t I mentioned yet that needs to be seen, felt or heard?”

Then, just keep writing until you’re done. Look at your new item/s. What can you do about it – however small? If there is something add it to your action list, otherwise cross out your  ‘Cheeky Monkeys’  as before.

Keep going until your score is 2 or less, out of 10.

Great job! Now it’s time for sleep.Close up of sleeping puppy of labrador on the hands of female owner sitting on the sofa

Final Tip: Print a few of these tools(download below)and keep them next to your bed or simply do this exercise with a blank piece of paper!

                                                                                      Free_tool_monkey-mind-brain-calming-sleep-tool

 

 

 

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Quiz-How Well Do You Maintain Balance?

How Well Do You Maintain Balance?What you think and choose colours your life (4)

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you’re not alone. Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy, life can feel like a three-ring circus. Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognising and fulfilling personal needs and wants

True  False

@      @  1. The only way I can successfully                         manage my life is to take care of                       myself physically and emotionally.

@     @  2. Nurturing myself enlarges my                             capacity to help others.

@    @  3. I eat healthfully and exercise                             regularly.

@   @  4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and                 take preventative precautions.

@   @  5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

@   @  6. I experience the gifts of each season: walks in nature; gardening, hiking, more time outside; camping, swimming, braais, spending more time inside, cozily tucked under a blanket.

@   @  7. Creativity nurtures me, too. I do what I love, whether that’s cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or another creative pursuit.

@   @  8. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

@   @  9. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

@   @  10. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I’m out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, resentment.

@   @ 11. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realise I may have stressed my immune system with over activity, so I stop and take care of myself.

@   @  12. When I need or want to, I say “no” to requests for my time.

@   @  13. I listen to and honour the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, green vegetables, hot soup.

@   @ 14. If I have something planned for myself, I don’t just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

@   @ 15. I’m busy, but I find time to do the things I want to do.

@   @  16. I’m happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, even joy.

If you answered false more often than true, you may want to take a look at the questions to which you answered false and see if you can incorporate something of its message into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further.

 

 

 

 

      Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications

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Do you know what I find really painful?

It is my passion and purpose to support professional women to be confident, happy and to live their best lives. Do you know what I find painful? There are millions of people who feel stuck, unhappy, confused or lack confidence and I know exactly how effective my support, guidance and facilitation is. But coaching is a relatively new field and skepticism and misunderstanding prevent people from making use of it. Therefore I would like to share an info graphic with some research recently conducted by the International Coaching Federation that prove that life coaching really works and that it is really effective.

This info graphic shows:
 the benefits of coaching
 the top reasons why people use a life coach
 why you need a life coach

Slide1Slide2 

 

 

 

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The Power of a Promise

Can you believe that it  has been already  months since we were rolling  into 2016,  creating big dreams, setting exciting goals, and making important promises?  “I’m going to make 2016 my best year ever”, “I’m finally going  to lose that extra weight.” “I’m not going to work so hard”, “I’m going to finally get my health back.”  “This is the year to pay off my debt.”Power of a promise

You know your promises – you’ve probably made them more than once in the past. Some you have kept; many are nagging reminders of unfulfilled commitments.

In Bill Phillips’ book Body for Life, he explains why keeping promises to ourselves is much more important than it appears on the surface.

Bill writes, “When you set an important goal you must promise yourself that you will finish what you start, no matter what.  That vow, although it might be very easy to break, is by far one of the most important ones to honor.  You see, the very essence of confidence is self-trust.  Would you trust anyone who repeatedly lied to you?  Someone who broke the rules of the game again and again?  Of course you wouldn’t.  So if you’ve developed a pattern of not honoring self-promises, this is a great time to make a change.  If you can’t honor, trust, and depend on your own word, well… that may be the root of a lot of challenges in your life – a lot more than you realize.”

This is a critical and eye opening – issue for each of us to face.

Most people have a very hard time answering the simple question, “Do I keep my word to myself?” (Or, should I say, they have a hard time answering it honestly.)

The thing about lying to ourselves is that we never, ever get away with it.  On the surface we may fool our minds into ignoring and not admitting what we’re doing, but deep down, in the place where all truth resides for each of us, in the place where we know and see ourselves as we really are – in that place, we are causing pain and damage every  time we’re not totally honest with ourselves…

…It doesn’t have to be like that though.  No matter how long it has been like that, it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Contrary to what many people think, it’s a lot easier to keep the promises we make to ourselves than it is to break them.

Keeping these promises unleashes enormous energy and potential.  That potential emptiness created by self-deception will become filled with strength, certainty – and yes, confidence – if you honor self-promises.  (We’ve all heard the phrase “The truth shall set you free”.  Well, nowhere is that more true than when we apply it to our relationship with ourselves.)

So how can you take this knowledge and apply it to your business, career, health, finances and relationships?  Are there promises that you are making and not keeping?  How does that affect your energy, motivation and progress?  How does it make you feel about yourself?

 So what can you do to make this shift?  How about starting small?  How about setting daily goals and sticking with them?  How about making the commitment to establish a business plan with activity goals and financial goals so you know where you are headed?   How about giving yourself permission to fail?  How about agreeing to measure and adjust along the way so you know you are not “stuck” with a plan that is not ideal?  What else can you do?

The significance of keeping promises to ourselves is profound.  Examine your own habits to see if in fact you break the promises you make to yourself.  And if so, make the shift to putting your promises at the top of your commitment list.

 

Exercises to flex your promise-making and promise-keeping muscles:PDF

 

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