I HAVE SPENT OVER 20 YEARS WORKING WITH OVER A THOUSAND PEOPLE CARRYING OUT FACE TO FACE THERAPY AND COACHING. I HAVE USED THE SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES FROM CBT, POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGY TO HELP THEM TRANSFORM THEIR THINKING AND BEHAVIOUR. MY AIM IS TO SHARE THAT KNOWLEDGE WITH YOU TO HELP YOU CREATE A BETTER MIND AND A BETTER LIFE FOR YOURSELF
Be More Active
Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you to deal with your problems more calmly.
Physical activity will help lift your mood. Evidence shows that it will protect you against anxiety.
Physical activity causes chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.
It will also improve your sense of wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to deal with challenges
Try to do 30 minutes of activity a day
There is always a solution to your problems.
Avoiding dealing with them makes them seem bigger and bigger. This can make you feel increasingly powerless. The act of taking control is empowering.
Make a list of your problems, all the things you are putting off. Break them into small bite size tasks. Then set a time to do them. Remember don’t overload yourself. Willpower is a muscle that needs to be built up slowly
Connect With People
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
It is important to connect with people regularly. This means you will have support to turn to when you need help
Activities with your friends help you relax. Laughter is an excellent stress reliever.
Friends are also great for talking through problems. Helping you to get a different perspective
Make a list of your friends. Ask yourself if you put enough effort into nurturing your friendships. Set up regular calls with them. Plan times to meet up.
Look After Yourself
Life is hectic and it easy to get caught up in the list of things to do every day! There is no time to relax and take stock. You need time out, time to recharge. This will only happen if you make it a priority.
Set aside 2 evenings to focus on yourself. Time to relax. The to do list can wait. That conveyer belt never stops so it is important to step of it regularly. Listen to music, do you have a hobby? If not find one. Read a book, talk to friends.
Try meditation – Anxiety and stress means your mind is focussed on the future, predicting disasters. This means you are never in the present moment. It also means your mind is only interested in short term firefighting rather than thoughtful planning and problem solving. Mindfulness meditation trains you to be able to control your attention and focus. This leads to a calmer more rational approach to life. An easy way to start this journey is using by trying an app e.g. Headspace
Setting yourself some short term and long term goals and challenges, whether at work or outside. This will help to build your confidence. This will help you deal reduce your stress.
Look at meetup.com and dayzeroproject.com for ideas
Don’t let your anxiety edit the list. Write them all down, even the extreme ones! Then pick the most important and plan out the steps. Decide what do I need to do right now to get closer to this goal?
The more you do the more you can do. You don’t know what your limitations are!!
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Don't rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine to cope. Avoid avoidance it only worsens things in the long term.
Healthy habits take practice and effort and determination. Healthy habits take about 3 months of daily practice to put in place. E.g. don’t just think of stopping smoking. Think more of what habit do I want in its place. Instead of reaching for a cigarette I will: write down what I will gain from giving up or meditate for 10 minutes or do some exercise or …
Help Other People
Helping other people improves how we feel.
Take time to offer help. This can be small things like praising or showing gratitude. It can be bigger things like volunteering.
Try to do 3 things every day to help someone else or offer praise
Do you plan your day, your week/month? Or do you just race round trying to get everything done and feel you are failing continuously?
You list of tasks is never complete. It is important to set realistic goals that are manageable. It is also important to be fair in how you appraise your performance. If you complete 8 out of 10 tasks do you beat yourself up? If you get 80% in an exam you would be happy! At the end of the day take time to acknowledge what you have achieved, how far you climbed. Do this every day and you will notice your stress reduce.
The Positive Filter
When we are stressed we tend to focus on the negative. On everything that goes wrong and on all the things we haven’t achieved. This can get stuck and it distorts how we see ourselves and the world. It is important to counter this by forcing your mind to notice the positive. This can be small things. Do you notice how you beat yourself up if you lose your keys for example? How often do you notice when you know where they are? 90% of the time?
Over time recognising the positive rebalances your thinking.
Everyday notice at least 3 things that have gone well. Things you are grateful for.
Change isn’t always possible on your own. Sometimes we need a little help to understand the problem better. To get an outside perspective. Often we need to learn new skills to do this.
Speak to a trusted friend. Maybe one who has overcome a similar problem to get their advice.
Read a good book: e.g.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies
Finding peace in a Frantic World
To get more personalised and professional help try seeing a CBT therapist who can set up a treatment programme to teach you how to overcome your problems and then how to build a happier more satisfying life.