Taking The Leap Into A More Satisfying Life

Something you realise throughout life, often as you grow older, is that you are never “finished”. There will never be an end point to your growth and development. Right up to the moment of death you will continue to grow.

The fact of your unfinished state is often very obvious when you do something new. Then the gulf between your level of competence and the new thing you are doing is very obvious.

To Live Is To Grow

Life is about growth. It is about stepping out into the unknown. About stepping out into your level of incompetence and doing something new and different.

If you don’t grow, you stagnate. This concept is often discussed in regard to relationships. A relationship can never stay the same, it either grows or stagnates. In other words, it doesn’t grow. Stagnation precedes the death of the relationship.

It is the same with life. If you don’t progress in your life and grow you will stagnate. Stagnation is where many people find themselves. Maybe you are there right now. You feel stuck in the sameness of your life, you feel empty, depleted and maybe restless or hopeless.

The Importance of Restlessness

Restless is good. From restlessness comes the desire to change, to grow, to get out of the rut you find yourself in.

Restless allows courage to arise. Courage to make changes and start new beginnings.

Beginnings are full of possibilities and unknowns. They are uncertain and scary. And that is okay. Within you there is the ability to survive the unknown and find your way. There is the possibility to try something new, learn how to do it and survive the experience.

Change Happens On The Edge Of Uncertainty

Change only ever happens on the edge of uncertainty.

There has been much research into the importance of challenging yourself in order to change and move away from stagnation.

New relationships are scary, but you still work at them until they are less scary. And you keep working at them always. New things in life are like relationships. They are uncertain and scary but if you work at them they become less scary. They can even be exhilarating. You work at them until you reach the point of feeling less scared, maybe even comfortable.

Keep Going. Rest Yes, But Don’t Stop There

But don’t stop there. You can rest there for a while, but allow the restless within to lead you further forward. Remember. You never stay in the same place. You either grow and move forward and stop and stagnate..

Changes in life are scary, but you still make them – whether you want to our not – and you settle in to the changes. One day you find yourself comfortable with the changes that you formerly found terrifying.

Change Is Uncertain And That Is Okay

Change is uncertain. Uncertain is scary. For many people that level of uncertainty feels impossible to overcome. But it can be done.

Maybe you are dreaming of a new job, moving to a new area, a new career and the idea is overwhelming so you remain in the same place. You stay put and you are miserable but unable to see how to make the leap to a new change.

Sometimes Change Is Best Accomplished By Taking A Small Jump Instead Of A Massive Leap

Don’t make that leap, instead make a series of small adjustments.

Try doing one thing that breaks your usual routine. It may mean getting up earlier in the morning to have a walk on the beach. It may mean eating breakfast outside, instead of in the kitchen. It may mean catching the bus and train to work instead of driving.

These small breaks from your usual routine are something new. Just try doing something different. Even one different thing a week. If you eat the same menu night after night (because it is easier and you don’t have to think) switch around the meals so that you eat them on different nights. One night add a different meal.

These changes may seem insignificant. They may seem downright weird – especially the one about where you eat breakfast. But they change your routine. And changing your routine opens the way for bigger changes.

The First Step Is The Hardest In Every Journey Of Dreams

It is said that the first step is the hardest. This is from a quote by Moffat Machingura.

“The first step is the hardest in every journey of dreams. There is nothing else to fear unto whosoever has shown the tenacity to begin; because, once having started, the hardest part of the mission is the one lying behind.” ~ Moffat Machingura, Life Capsules

At The End of Your Life Your Greatest Regret Will Be The Risks You Didn’t Take.

Another wonderful quote that is worth noting is:

“Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. you will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path” ~ Mark Batterson.

Remember your greatest asset in change is courage.

You Grow Your Wings Once You Leap Off The Cliff Not Before

There is a beautiful quote by Ray Bradbury about jumping off the cliff and growing your wings on the way down. It is true. You don’t grow those wings until you need them. You don’t need them until you have launched yourself into uncertainty.

You can’t wait until everything is in place before you do something new. You will never be ready. That is why you should just start and allow the growth that will lead you to succeed.

I made the comment to someone recently about leaping off the cliff and finding my wings so that I could soar. They looked worried and asked me what about if my wings didn’t come. The answer? They will always come.

Life Is About Beginnings

You are part of a continuum of human life that has gone on for millennia. All life is about beginnings and within each life are countless beginnings.

Beginnings feel like lonely journeys into the unknown, the jump off the cliff without wings.

But the wings are always there. The outcome may not be what you imagined it would be, but there will be an outcome.

Let Go So That You Can Grow

It is only when you let go that growth can come. Your wings only arrive when you embrace uncertainty.

Maybe you will not find the outcome that you wanted. It may feel like failure. But it will be learning and from that place of learning you can move on into a new unknown. Each leap off the cliff into uncertainty strengthens and empowers you to grow.

Beginnings, those leaps off the cliff, are invitations to embrace the gifts and growth that wait once you soar with your new wings.

Endings Are Necessary For Beginnings To Happen

Sometimes you will spend time in preparation, not realising you are ending an old pattern of behaviour. You will prepare and leap off the cliff. Other times you will experience an ending and discover a beginning within it. That is your leap off the cliff.

Leaping off the cliff is not necessarily comfortable but it is most definitely survivable.

On the journey of your life you will experience many beginnings and endings. That is what life is about. You choose what you will begin and you choose what you will end. If you don’t choose, life will choose for you.

The Leap Into The Unknown Is Your Ally

As you leap off that cliff recognise that the leap into the unknown is your beloved ally. It is waiting to share with you the exhilaration and possibilities of the unknown.

Don’t get stuck. Be open and vulnerable. Don’t be afraid of the new and the different. Embravce the opportunities to grow.

Take a deep breath and launch yourself over that cliff. That is where life is.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you to leap off that cliff, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

The Importance of To Don’t Lists

It is very easy to get caught up in the pressure to do more. This is particularly so at this time of year when people are sharing their wrap of the old year and their plans for all they are going to do and achieve in the new year.

I recently read an article that suggested another way to respond to this pressure. Instead of a To Do list, it involved a To Don’t List.

How Much Is Okay To Do In A Day?

Before I continue I want to qualify that it is fine to add extra things to your day, if you can do it without overburdening yourself.

For example, A few years ago I found myself waking up between 4 and 5am in the morning. It became an unproductive time for me because I would lie awake worrying about things. This resulted in me waking up feeling quite stressed and often fairly down.

So I decided to add into that time a morning meditation routine. That worked a treat. Instead of lying awake worrying, I spent the time relaxing and focusing on positive things. This was the birth of my “Paint Your Soul” routine and workshops.

When Adding Extra To Your Day Is Not Helpful

But what if normal for you was you sleeping soundly until the alarm sounded and getting up to start your day?

What if you decided to get up earlier to do something you wanted to fit in to your day? What if getting up earlier was not something your body coped with? What if instead you found yourself tired for the rest of the day?

Whereas my earlier start and morning meditation suited my situation, an earlier start may not suit you.

Making The Decision To Pull The Plug On Too Many To Dos

During the years I was raising 4 children, attending to the needs of the family and working part time, I found myself increasingly burdened with too many things to fit in to a day. As a result I was constantly exhausted, struggling to do everything and getting very stressed.

I realised I needed to reduce my workload. It wasn’t easy to do. I decided my priorities were my marriage, my children, clean clothes, clean dishes and food. Everything else was drastically reduced. If it didn’t serve me, it went.

Sometimes to protect yourself and your health you need to be brutal in making decisions to cut back on activities.

Writing A To Don’t List

In this article the writer talked about having a To Don’t List.

This was a decision made to set strict boundaries around her time.

I had To Don’ts. I just didn’t realise I had them.

One was that once the family sat down to eat in the evening the phone would not be answered. I had an answering machine (yes this was a couple of decades ago) so I knew people could leave a message. This allowed the family to focus on eating together, sitting down after dinner to talk or watch television together, and put the children to bed.

Another was to restrict how many invitations a week I accepted. Once I reached the limit I said no to any more invitations. It was hard to miss out on things, but I found it got easier as I enjoyed the time I had to attend to what was important.

Why A Written To Don’t List Works Better

You may have things you decide you won’t do, but find yourself falling into the trap of agreeing to do things on the spur of the moment.

For example, you may decide to spend your day off visiting a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. You haven’t put it in your calendar but you are planning to catch up with them. Then you get a phone call from the group you volunteer with to fill in for another person who is sick. They are so desperate. There is no
one else. You find yourself saying yes and cancelling your friend’s visit.

So here’s a worst case scenario. You miss out on catching up with your friend and are never able to have that catch up because your calendars never have a matching gap and your friend suddenly dies.

The charity you volunteer for? You get there and find there are more people there than needed. Later you discover you were the first person they rang and there were a number of people who would have been happy to fill in that day.

You don’t know when you are asked to do something what the future holds. You don’t know if you are desperately needed or not, or whether the person ringing you is anxious about filling a gap in a roster and wants to fill that gap with the minimum number of phone calls.

When you write your To Dont’s down it is easier to stick to them. There is something about the act of writing things down on a list that you can see that makes them harder to ignore.

Someone once told me that she puts everything in her calendar, including taking time out for “me” time. That way when someone contacts her wanting her to do something that clashes with her me time she just says no. It is in her calendar and she has learned the value of “me” time.

Guarding Your Time Is An Ongoing Process

I still fall into the trap of doing too much, especially as so many people want to see me before Christmas and I have so many friends I want to catch up with at many Christmas Gatherings. The past few Christmases I have found myself staggering over the finish line of Christmas Eve and spending Christmas feeling very unwell. Next Christmas? There will be a formal list with To Don’ts around the number of people I can see in a day. I won’t exceed my limit of people I see on a normal day. This is because I love catching up with my friends. Now that my children are grown up I have added my friends to my priority list. They are essential for my well being.

I still make decisions that involve To Don’ts. Now that I have read about To Don’t Lists I will be formalising my To Dont’s and taking them more seriously.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with setting boundaries around your time and deciding what is necessary and how to fit it in to your life, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

How To Stop Your Stories Causing You To Fail

“The stories we tell ourselves can either empower or weaken us. When we live in our heads, we don’t appreciate the current moment. Sometimes we are so busy crafting our stories that we miss the importance of what is happening right now. Take a moment to stop, take a breath, and notice everything that is happening. Appreciate what is and allow what is going to happen to enter naturally into your life.” ~ Emily Silva.

Getting Caught Up In Stories

When you are more caught up in the stories you tell yourself, you can cause yourself to fail in the things you do because you pay more attention to the stories than the present moment.
It is an easy trap to fall into. It starts when you are first exposed to traumatic events, most likely in childhood. Everyone does this to a certain extent. There are myriad ways a child can be traumatised. And there are myriad stories to manage the overwhelming and impossible to process feelings associated with those traumatic incidents.
When things are overwhelming and impossible to process, and the child does not receive any assistance resolving this issue, the child will write their own narrative to explain what happened.

Children Are Masters At Writing Negative Stories About Themselves

Sadly, children are very good at added 2 and 2 and getting 500. So often the stories the child writes are disempowering. Children are more likely to blame themselves for something, even when it is not their fault. A child lacks an adult understanding of what is happening and may not have an adult available who can help them understand. So the child will be less likely to understand the context of what happens and therefore think they are to blame for what happened.

Of course, children are often blamed for things that happened when what happened had nothing to do with them. Sadly it is the nature of intergenerational trauma that adults will often default to using the language that was used on them as children. So most of us will get some words spoken to us that are hurtful.

Affirming Stories Can Cause Distractions Too

Other words spoken to you as a child can be ones that affirm you. That tell you that you are loved, capable, good at something, able to do something well. Those words empower you.

But they can lead to stories that distract you from the task at hand, or expect you to be unrealistic about what you can achieve.

The Power Of The Narrative In Your Head To Distract You

The words that you hear become a narrative in your head. They may empower you and fill you with confidence. Or they may weaken you and fill you with anxiety and doubt.

They may fill you with the sense that you should achieve an impossibly high standard. When you don’t achieve that you can be left feeling you have failed when you have actually done very well, just not as well as you thought you should.

Your narrative may also fill you with the sense that you can’t do this so that achieving what you want becomes almost impossible.

Narratives Can Distract You

No matter what words the narrative contains, it can distract you from being in the moment and focusing on what you are doing. They can even trip you up and cause you to not be able to complete your tasks effectively. They can also stop you from enjoying and being part of what you are doing.
It is worth remembering to stop and notice what you do as you do it. Better to fill your head with awareness of the present moment, than be distracted by the narratives playing in your head.

When you stop and pay attention you are more likely to be able to evaluate how you are going and see the progress you are making than being caught up in narratives that cause you to lose sight of what you are actually doing.

Awareness of the present moment also allows you to make instant changes in what you are doing that increase your ability to succeed. You are more likely to succeed in your tasks if you are in the present moment.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with being in the present moment and changing your negative narrative, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

I Just Want to Vent. Why do people want to give me advice?

I think we have all been there. I certainly have. You just want to vent about something and all you get back is advice. It leads you to feel that you haven’t been heard and makes you feel worse.

Maybe you have found yourself in a position of giving someone advice when they didn’t want it. It is easy to do.

Unfortunately we live in a society where we are encouraged to give advice and not listen.

So how do you change that?

How do you ensure you don’t fall for the giving advice trap?

How do you ensure you will be allowed to vent without getting unwanted advice?

  1. If someone is venting to you listen. If you feel you have a helpful opinion or advice to give then ask if it is okay to share it. If they say no then don’t give the advice. Just listen.

When you listen, pay attention to what they are saying. Don’t try to construct some response you think will be helpful. While you are constructing that response you are not listening.

Just listen. Let them know you are listening. Acknowledge how difficult/ frustrating/ upsetting what they are describing is/was.

  1. If you want to vent to someone, ask them first if they are in a position to listen. If they say no, then don’t vent to them. This ensures you don’t dump all your stress and emotions onto another person who may not be in the right space to hear you.

When you need to talk to someone it can be hard if you can’t find anyone to vent to but keep trying. There will be someone who will listen. Remember it is also hard if you are not in the space to listen if someone vents to you.

Communication is about respect. Respect the other person who is venting to you. Respect the other person who may not be in a position to hear your vent.

I didn’t think I had an abusive childhood, but now I realise I did

Do you need other people to validate the things you do?

Do you need the approval of others?

Do you find it hard making decisions for yourself?

Do you find it hard feeling self-reliant?

Do you find it hard to regulate your emotions?

Are you really hard on yourself?

Do you feel you have little or no worth?

Do you do things to numb your emotional pain?

Are you frightened of rejection and abandonment?

Do you feel you are stuck in angry mode?

Do you find it hard to feel joy or peace?

Do you find it hard to get close to other people?

Do you feel lonely and seek out others to compensate for your loneliness?

Do you feel lost, misunderstood or that you don’t fit in and others are judging you for that?

Do you frequently feel anxious or depressed?

Are you frightened of social situations and fear being rejected.

Do you feel others judge you as not being good enough?

Do you feel empowered in your life?

How childhood experiences can impact you as an adult

Did you know that trauma in childhood has a significant impact on your self-worth?

If your sense of safety and belonging in childhood was damaged you are likely to have developed skills to keep you safe in that situation. As you grew up you may never have unlearned those skills, so they trap you in patterns that don’t serve you in adulthood.

Also, poor attachment between your parents and you puts you at risk of suffering from loneliness in adulthood.

Traumatic experiences in your childhood disrupt how you see your self as a person and affect your ability to regulate your emotions. All this impacts on the quality of the interpersonal relationships you have later in life.

My parents didn’t physically or sexually abuse me. I can’t have suffered trauma.

It can be hard to understand you have been traumatised in childhood. The usual picture of trauma is that of being hit or sexually abused. But trauma covers much more than just that. In fact, the worst traumas are emotional and psychological.

Neglect

Neglect is a trauma that is often overlooked. With neglect the child’s physical and emotional needs are frequently overlooked. It may involve not receiving regular meals, not having clean clothes to wear, not having your emotional needs for comfort and support met. A parent who rarely interacts or shows an interest in you is also neglectful.

Neglectful parents are also unlikely to be there to teach you skills of emotional regulation. They may not teach you how to wash yourself, how often to change your clothes.

It is unlikely a neglectful parent will see you and spend time connecting to you. This is known as attunement. A child who is not seen is a child who is not safe. Not being safe is extremely traumatic.

The clear message in this situation is that you have no worth or value. After all, you are not worth having any time or attention given to you.

Narcissistic Parent

Narcissistic parents are also very destructive of a child’s sense of self-worth.

Such a parent depends on the child to make them feel good. The child gets positive attention when they do things that serve the parent. The trouble is, there are no clear guidelines as to what the child needs to do to serve the parent. Consequently, the child lives life second guessing the parent in order to feel that the parent will care for them and they will be safe.

Narcissistic parents will also often shame their children in front of others. They will expect their child to meet their needs, to do things to make them proud. They will never teach their child any skills that will equip them for adulthood and self-reliance.

Narcissistic parents will often hold the child close to serve their needs. They want the child to stay dependent on them because the child is there to serve their needs and that is why they had them.

One classic example is of a woman who would take her child to school. The child would happily run into the classroom and greet her friends. The mother would call her back and make a fuss of her, stating it was okay for mummy to leave now and she would be okay. The child would go back to her friends and be happily talking with them. Again, the mother would call her back. This would continue until the child’s resolve was broken and she would wail and beg her mother not to leave her.

A narcissistic parent is one of the most destructive types of parent and sentence their children to mental poor health and a dependence on validation from others in adulthood.

Complex PTSD and Borderline personality disorder

These conditions develop because of chronic trauma experienced in childhood. The type of trauma most associated with these conditions is emotional abuse and invalidation. It can happen if you are neglected or have a narcissistic parent. It can also happen from other types of abuse and invalidation.

Sometimes parents are not aware that their behaviour towards their children is invalidating and can be surprised when their child develops this disorder in adulthood.

When a parent is emotionally abusive or invalidating during a child’s early years it impacts on the child’s sense of self and the child can struggle to have a strong sense of self.

You may develop self-defeating attitudes and beliefs around yourself and the trustworthiness of the world.

When raised in such an environment it is also difficult to learn to regulate your emotions. This is often due to your parents being unable to regulate their emotions. How can you teach another person how to regulate their emotions if you can’t do it yourself.

For this reason, I encourage people who had difficult childhoods to seek counselling from a trauma trained professional before having children. Many parents who were emotionally abused as children are determined their own children will never have to go through that. But sometimes things your children do can trigger reactions in you that you can’t control and don’t like doing. If you find raising your children triggers behaviours you struggle to control then seek counselling. Seeking help makes you a good parent.

Unstable and intense relationships

If you find that any type of relationship you have with others tends to be intense and over time unstable then you may be experiencing the impacts of chronic trauma in childhood. Sometimes these relationships happen because you are uncomfortable being alone and seek out anyone who looks willing to be in a relationship with you. This can result in you unconsciously choosing the wrong type of person to have a relationship with.

Sometimes when you are in a relationship you can sabotage it by clinging to the person and unwittingly pushing them away.

I think you are the best, I hate you patterns

Another impact of childhood trauma can be seen in meeting someone new and idealising them. This continues for some time then you start devaluing them and finding things wrong with them.

You are too hard on yourself

One of the saddest impacts of childhood trauma is the lack of self-worth and lack of self-compassion.

It is not surprising that children develop these beliefs. When a parent is abusive, or expects you to jump over hoops to gain their approval, the natural response is to believe this is because you are a bad person. If your parent constantly tells you that you are bad then this belief is reinforced.

The reality is that a child is just a child learning how to live life. There is no inherent badness in a child. Sadly a child doesn’t know that. Shame becomes a big part of the life of an abused child.

Ways to dull the pain

If you never learned how to regulate your emotions, and you believe you are a bad person, then you feel great pain that you don’t know how to soothe.

Many people turn to behaviours that numb the pain. These behaviours may be dangerous. A good example of this is children who steal cars then drive them dangerously at high speed. The risk and dangers inherent in this activity help to suppress their pain.

Other things people do include addictions such as substance abuse, smoking or vaping, gambling, compulsive shopping, sex addiction, exercise addiction and eating disorders.

I am lonely

If you don’t feel you are worth anything then you may not feel you are likeable. The result is that you may avoid getting close to others so that they can’t reject you.

Getting close to another person means exposing yourself to the rejection of your parents. If they rejected you, then other people will too.

When you do form relationships with others you may be frightened of expressing your needs or asking for help because your parents failed to meet those needs when you were a child. So you may feel even lonelier because you can’t turn to someone for help.

Many people who suffered trauma in childhood report feeling lonely.

Depression and Anxiety

It is very common for someone traumatised as a child to be anxious. Your childhood was an anxious time of never being sure when you would receive support, or whether you may be abused. Abusers are rarely predictable so hypervigilance was an essential part of childhood.

Hypervigilance leads to anxiety. There is the need to be constantly on your guard because you never know what is going to happen in the next minute. You never know when things will suddenly become dangerous and frightening.

When you grow up and things become safer the fear doesn’t go away because your brain has developed neural pathways that constantly scan for danger. This is why anxiety is a constant companion of the traumatised child.

Depression is another consequence of this type of childhood. Many people report feeling depressed from childhood. The sense of not being good enough, the lack of self-worth, being emotionally worn down with anxiety and fear, the rejection and abandonment of parents and the sense of never being safe all contribute to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless and lead into depression.

I constantly feel on edge

The environment of neglect and emotional abuse is a highly stressful environment. Children in this situation are being impacted regularly by the release of stress hormones in the body. This has an impact on the developing brain and will often result in an adult who is highly sensitive to stress hormones.

The result is that your brain is in a constant state of defending yourself. In other words the fight/flight/freeze response.

It is very difficult to cope with life if your brain is constantly seeing danger and you spend a lot of time with your brain taking over your life and deciding whether you are to fight, run away, or freeze.

When this defence mechanism takes over, your thinking brain switches off. You can’t control your reactions. Sadly, very few people understand this and you may find yourself judged when you get stuck in this defence response.

It is for this reason that it is important to seek counselling from a qualified trauma counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your childhood trauma, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

7 Ways To Reduce Stress

When stress levels are high you can feel that things are out of control. You can feel overwhelmed with tasks and feel unable to cope with your massive To Do list.

Here are 7 “C” suggestions of things to do to feel better able to manage that stress.

1.Control

When you feel overwhelmed with things to do you don’t feel in control of your life. It feels more like life is controlling you and you are drowning in the busyness of it all. It is really important to find some space to think. So take time out. Even a few hours. Review everything you have on.

• Is there anything you can pass on to someone else to do?

• Is there anything non urgent you can move to another day/week/month?

• Which tasks need to be done so that your life can continue to function? (such as clean clothes, food, clean dishes, caring for children if you have any.)

• Which tasks are “like to do” rather than “need to do” tasks?

Question: what can you do to feel more in control of your life?

2.Competence

When you feel capable of completing the tasks you have to do, the tasks are easier to do. That doesn’t mean they won’t take time. You do need to be realistic about the amount of time a task will take and the amount of time you have available to complete your tasks.

Question: what skills do you need to learn or improve so that you can feel more competent?

3.Confidence

If you are confident that you can manage the unexpected obstacles to completing a task you are likely to feel less stress around attending to tasks. Fear of things going wrong and not knowing what to do is a major contributor to stress.

Question: how confident do you feel? Describe that level of confidence. What can you do to increase your confidence?

4.Connection

One of the best buffers against high stress levels are healthy relationships with other people. It is not so much about having great friends, but more about feeling you have a community around you that you belong to.

It is about having a network of people you can turn to for help when you need assistance, advice or other resources to complete your tasks.

Questions: Who are the people in your life you can go to for support or belonging? How might you make connections in the community? Do you have strong connection with family, friends, and your community?

5.Character

This may seem odd, but it is important the tasks you have to complete align with your values. Doing something you feel uncomfortable about is going to make you feel stressed and going to make the task a hard one to complete. That then leaves you with a To Do list with uncompleted tasks. That is a recipe for high stress.

Things to consider in this situation are:

• Who has assigned this task to you? Is it work related? Has a friend/family member asked you to do something? Is this something you feel you have to do because you don’t know of any other options?

• What is it about this task that you feel uncomfortable about?

• Which of your values does this task not align with?

• What other options are there for you to consider regarding this task?

• Do you have to do this task?

Questions: What are your values? What things you do make you feel uncomfortable? What is it about them that is uncomfortable?

6.Coping

There are myriad ways of coping. Some of those ways are helpful and some are unhelpful. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, but these are unhelpful because they never allow you to resolve the problem. It just becomes buried and that causes more problems. It is better to see a counsellor to learn coping techniques than resort to substances and behaviours that bury the problem. Some ways to cope are:

• Self care – take time out to do the things you love to do. Maybe you like a massage, or a visit to a float tank. Maybe you love seeing family or friends. Maybe you love walking in the bush or walking along the beach. Maybe movies are your self care.

• Relaxation – learn how to meditate. Guided meditations can be really great for that. Mindfulness is also a good meditation to do. Yoga or Qigong are also great for relaxation. Or you can find activities that are relaxing such as going to the beach, hugging a tree, a bush walk, jogging, walking, going to the gym and many more.

• Spending time on a relaxing hobby.

Questions: What do you usually do to cope when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Is it helpful or unhelpful? What is something more helpful you could try?

7.Contribution

This one refers to the contribution you make to the community in which you live. It is about volunteering to help others. It may involve dropping in to say hello to an elderly neighbour. It may involve volunteering at a Homeless Shelter. It may be as simple as giving a family member a lift somewhere.

Contributing is part of connection. When you contribute to your local community you feel more connected and invested in your local community. Research has also found that people who are willing to help others are more likely to reach out for help when they need it.

Part of Contribution is allowing others to contribute to the needs in your life.

Questions: What can you do to contribute to your community? What can others do to help you?

Putting the 7 “C’s” into practice

Here are some important things to consider when managing high stress levels:

• Have healthy boundaries. Learn to say “no”. Learn to be okay to ask for help, but also to not be involved in something you don’t want to do. Learn how to stop people encroaching on your boundaries. This is an aspect of control in your life and also coping.

• Accept who you are. You are like anyone else and that is wonderful. You are unique. There are things you are good at, and things you are not as good at. There are things you know how to do, and things you have yet to learn how to do. Know your limitations and accept them. Learn the things you need to learn and accept it will take time to be competent. Know also when it is time to stop because you have realised you will never be able to do something competently. This is an aspect of control, competence, confidence and character.

• Practice a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough sleep. Eat a diet that is well balanced and low in junk and high sugar foods. Move and exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the Gym. It may mean you take a walk on the beach, go dancing with friends or dancing in your own living room. This is an aspect of control and coping.

• Ensure your routine includes time to attend to essential tasks and allows time for play. This is a big part of self care. If you don’t spend time relaxing and recharging your batteries you will not be able to complete those essential tasks. This is an aspect of coping and control.

• Embrace mistakes and failures. They are a normal part of life. They are also opportunities to learn and grow. A popular learning theory holds that we learn about something then try to do it. After we have done it we evaluate its success. Do I need to do it differently? Is there more I need to know? Have I learned something from this attempt to show me how to do it again? After evaluating, you try again. This goes on until you are able to complete the task. According to this theory mistakes and failures are a vital part of learning. This is an aspect of competence and developing confidence.

• Be creative. Try different ways of doing things. You may find a better way of organising your life. The creative ways I have devised throughout my life mean I can achieve a lot more than I could in earlier years. There were many creative ideas and some of them worked really well and I still use them. I still apply creativity to completing tasks. This is an important aspect of control and competence.

• Recognise and manage those things in life that will bring up unhappy memories that upset you. There will always be things like that. Maybe recognising why you were upset about something is possible and will help you be alert for that again. Recognising where the upset comes from is a great aid to being able to learn strategies to manage it. You can also see a counsellor to learn strategies when you are unable to.

• Talk to someone you trust when you need help.

• Can’t find anyone to talk to or who is helpful? Talk to a counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to reduce stress, set boundaries, accept yourself, feel more in control, competent, connected make connections, identify your values, learn method of coping, and develop the skills to identify ways to contribute in your community please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Attachment and its relevance to you

Attachment is a frequent topic of conversation. You may have heard about it and wondered what it is. In this blog, I will be explaining attachment and the related term attunement. I will describe the impact it has on child development and finish with an explanation as to how this impacts on adulthood. Finally, I will end with the good news for adults who missed out on secure attachment in childhood and how to correct insecure attachment.

What is Attachment?

Many mistakes and much research has demonstrated that an essential need for children is to be held and touched, as well as to feel seen. This need starts at birth.

These two needs are named Attachment and Attunement.

Attachment describes the bond between the child and their caregiver/s. For survival, a baby needs at least one secure adult who will provide the baby’s needs. If the child cries, it needs an adult to pick it up and attend to its needs for food, nappy changes, comfort when distressed and loving interactions. In an ideal world every child will receive that care and will be secure in the knowledge its care needs will be met.

But this is not an ideal world. And children, even in infancy, have to adopt behaviours to ensure their care needs are met.

The securely attached child

For the child with secure adult/s in their life, it is easy to have their needs met. They know there will be someone to look after them, to keep them clean, feed them, comfort them when they are distressed, play with them, see them. The usual attachment behaviours of crying or holding out their arms will result in their needs being met.

The insecurely attached child

For the child who does not have a secure adult in their life, it is not so easy. These children, described as having an insecure pattern of attachment, learn that their carer is not available when they need them. For this child, crying or expressing emotions may be dangerous. They learn to hide their fear and distress. Other insecurely attached children may learn that only when they exaggerate their crying or adopt any behaviour that gets attention will they get their needs met. For these children there is a belief that their carer is not there to meet their needs physically and/or emotionally.

Another group of insecurely attached children may learn that their carer is totally inconsistent in meeting their needs. This carer may be terrifying. That child may be frozen, unable to get any needs met and never being sure of the carer’s response to their attachment seeking behaviour.

The positive impact of secure attachment

When a child feels safe. That their physical and emotional needs will be met. They are able to develop on a normal trajectory.

Before I explain this, I want to talk about Attunement.

Attunement

It is not enough for a child to have its needs for food and comfort met. Children also need to feel seen.

If a child is not seen and visible to its carer/s then it will not get its needs met and will not survive.

Attunement is noticing a child, tuning into them, interacting with them, seeking to understand them.

A child needs to be reassured that if they are upset at something, their carer will seek to understand what the problem is.

Babies are observed to use behaviours to be noticed by their carer. They smile, coo, put their hands out, respond to the carer’s interactions. All these are part of early attunement.

Another aspect of attunement is the carer who hears the child cry and understands that cry is one of discomfort. So they change the nappy and check for anything else causing discomfort.

If the cry is one of hunger, they feed the child. And so on.

As the child grows, the attuned parent plays with the child, interacts with them, looks at things they show them, seeks to understand why the child is upset, seeks to understand acting out behaviours and so on.

Providing the security to explore the world and safety to return to

Attunement is an important aspect of secure attachment for a child.

What a child needs is to have a secure base from which to explore the world while being delighted in, helped and sharing enjoyment. They also need a safe haven that welcomes the child returning and where they can feel protected, comforted, delighted in, and having their feelings organised so they can learn to do that later in life. (Circle of Security www.circleofsecurity.net)

Interacting with a child securely and safely

Once children learn to talk, they learn to ask questions. A lot of them. These questions are vital aspects of learning for the child. It is a child’s interactions with its carers that drive brain development.

It is during the child’s first five years of life that dramatic brain development takes place. During this time the child learns how to self-regulate their emotions. They learn this by being co-regulated by their carer who holds and comforts them when they are upset or hurt, as well as laughing with them when they are having fun.

During these years, the child learns about the world and forms the view of the world as either safe or dangerous.

4 main areas where attachment drives development

  1. Cognitive development. This is the internal belief about who I am and who You are.
  2. Emotional regulation. This is the ability to experience, tolerate, express and regulate all emotions and to learn to seek help when needed.
  3. Exploratory play and allied behaviour. This is the ability to be able to initiate exploration and investigation of the world through play and socialisation.
  4. Pro-social orientation towards others. This means feeling able to reach out to others, to form friendships with others, to be part of a community.

9 positive benefits throughout life of secure childhood attachment

  1. Protects from toxic stress. Toxic stress can be an abusive teacher, a bully, an abusive parent, needs being unmet, a disruption in the family such as divorce or a parent dying.
  2. Allows healthy development. The stress of insecure attachment has a negative effect on child development. It also makes children vulnerable to depression or anxiety in childhood and later life.
  3. Learning to regulate emotions. This has already been mentioned above.
  4. Develop a healthy sense of self. Being related to by others in secure attachment allows the child to develop a sense of “who am I” and “who are you”.
  5. Frees the brain to focus on learning. Insecure attachment involves the child constantly seeking safety which prevents the brain from giving full attention to learning.
  6. The development of self reliance. If the child is secure, they can feel safe to try new things and learn to be self reliant. On the flip side, the child also learns it is okay to ask for help when needed and safe to rely on others when necessary. Insecurely attached children can struggle to learn self reliance and can struggle to ask for help because as a child there was no one to help them.
  7. Healthy self esteem from which confidence grows. A securely attached child learns that there is always someone who thinks they are worthwhile. This is communicated to the child by the fact that there is always a carer there to pick them up, soothe them, play with them, see them. This sends the message “I am here and you are worth me being here”. What message does the child get from this? “You are here and I must be worth your being here. If I am worth you being here then I am worthwhile”.
  8. Social competence. The carer baby relationship is the first relationship a child has. These sets the template for all relationships the child has in life.
    Secure attachment teaches a child: • it is safe to be close to another person (intimacy) • you can support others and they can support you • empathy • getting along with others in all areas of life (or doing the best you can because it is not possible to get along with everyone)
  9. Good health. This is considered due to lower stress in childhood and into adulthood, which, apart from the lowered exposure to the damaging effect of stress hormones on the body, is shown to lower the need to resort to stress relieving activities such as excessive alcohol intake, comfort eating and smoking.

Secure attachment also leads to healthy relationships which result in good mental health, good physical health, healthy life habits and lowered mortality risk.

How does this relate to me as an adult?

If you had a secure attachment and were well attuned to as a child then you are likely to be able to live life with the ability to cope with the challenges you encounter. You may occasionally need help, but you will be fairly likely to be comfortable asking for help.

You will be able to form secure relationships with other people.

If you didn’t have a secure attachment then life may be more stressful. It may be harder to cope when challenges occur. You may not know who to seek help from or feel safe seeking that help. You may find it hard to do that things you want to do in life.

You may also find it hard to function when you are stressed. And you may notice you are stressed often. On the other hand, other people may comment on how stressed you are and you don’t think you are stressed at all because stress is so much part of your life that you don’t know what it feels like to not be stressed.

You may find you get into friendships and intimate relationships with people who are toxic. You may find yourself unable to speak up at work about problems.

You may find you feel there is crisis after crisis and struggle to feel at peace.

There are myriad ways your childhood may impact on you.

The good news

The good news is that, with the help of a trauma trained counsellor, it is possible to repair those early attachment wounds. It is possible to learn how to be more secure in relationships. It is possible to learn how to use the way your brain developed to serve you well in life, instead of hampering you.

Can I Help?

I am trauma trained and if you would like to talk to me about how I can help you to develop a more secure attachment style, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

The Myth of Passive Aggressive Behaviour

There is a lot of misinformation about behaviour and its causes in the general community.

This leads to many terrible things being done to people who should be given understanding.

One popular thing to accuse people of is being Passive Aggressive. The label is freely applied to people but there is extremely limited understanding of what passive aggressive behaviour actually is.

The source of the myth

This myth is not helped by the fact that there used to be a “personality disorder” listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This “disorder” labelled Passive Aggressive was dropped 20 years ago.

Despite this no longer being accepted as a disorder, the community persists in applying this label to people. People who exhibit this behaviour have had trauma in their pasts and need understanding, not misguided judgement.

What behaviour you may see in someone labelled as Passive Aggressive

• Often a perfectionist with very high standards of their own behaviour.

• Difficulty identifying what they want.

• Difficulty asking for help.

• Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no.

• Low Self Esteem.

• Sensitive to criticism.

• People pleaser who seeks to accommodate other people’s wants.

• Hates to disappoint people and can become very distressed when think they will.

• Frightened of taking initiative in relationships.

• Finds it hard to say no so will instead say yes but try to communicate no by hints or cancelling at last minute, often in great distress.

• Withdraws when someone is angry with them.

• Doesn’t make feelings, needs and wants known to others.

• Saying no leads to feelings of guilt and great anxiety that have upset other person and that they will be rejected for that.

• Expresses feelings through behaviour rather than words.

• Seek to avoid conflict at all costs.

• Taken advantage of by others.

• Feels like a victim.

• Often unaware of feelings. Can be angry and not aware of it.

• May resort to more subtle behaviours to communicate message such as being sarcastic or even fantasising about getting revenge.

• Often feels resentful.

• Can’t understand why others can’t see their needs. Desperately wants other to see them because it is not safe to express them.

• May sub consciously adopt “unhappy” behaviour as non verbal communication.

• Procrastination, inefficiency, stubborness and sullenness are some behaviours that may be used.

Dispelling the myth: what passive aggressive behaviour is actually about

When a child is unable to express their needs safely they will adopt other ways to communicate their needs. This is not a deliberate thing. It comes about because their brain seeks ways to communicate that are safe.

One way to do this is through non verbal communication.

So you may see “unhappy” behaviour, sullenness, procrastination as behaviours that communicate unhappiness. These are not adopted deliberately.

When it is not safe to express needs openly, then passive aggressive behaviours become a safer way to express those needs. That is why you will notice people dropping hints, or being reluctant to do what you ask, or looking sullen.

Have you been accused of passive aggressive behaviour?

When you have learned it is not safe to express your needs you will frequently feel you do not have the right to have needs. This is why you will struggle to set boundaries and say no.

You will also notice you seek to avoid conflict. But underneath you may feel great distress at the way things are happening.

Internally, you may find it hard to even acknowledge what you are feeling. You may feel you are judged by others for the way you feel. In fact, you are judged because of ignorance about your behaviour.

The pressure cooker of denied needs

You may have learned as a child to push down your feelings. In adulthood you continue to do this. Over time this pushing down creates a pressure cooker situation where your feelings will explode and you may express them in a number of ways. For example by being angry, or bursting into tears, or running away.

How to be less passive aggressive

Ultimately you need to be honest with youself about your feelings and learn to express them more assertively. It is important to be aware that not everyone will accept you being more assertive. When that happens the other person is acting out their own insecurities. This doesn’t make you wrong. But it will feel uncomfortable.

Be honest about your feelings.

Learn to express yourself. This will help prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings and resentment.

Do you need help?

It is not easy to learn to feel safe expressing your needs. Healing the past and learning to let go of the protective behaviours that kept you safe, but no longer serve you, is hard.

It is particularly hard to do on your own.

This is where counselling can help.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you to learn how to effectively meet your needs please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

How Conversation and Journalling Prompts can improve your Communication, Creativity and Self-Awareness as well as Boosting your Mental Health and Well-Being

Soon I will be resuming my live talks in my Facebook Group Plentiful Life Exploration.

Last year I always used some cards I own during the live talks.

The cards are called Deep Speak (by St Luke’s Resources) and aim to respect the right to a voice of all people.

These cards are designed to encourage people to tell their stories, offer opinions and listen to others when they tell their stories.

They also help you to learn more about yourself. This makes them wonderful as journalling prompts and for self reflection.

Today I am going to write my blog with some prompts for you.

If you would like to share your answers you can do so on my page Plentiful Life Counselling, or join my group Plentiful Life Exploration and comment there.

QUESTION ONE

The first question is an opener – to get the conversation started.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I would love to know what your book was.

Mine was Anne of Green Gables. I loved the way this unwanted girl found someone who wanted her and set about learning to be herself and to be able to achieve what she wanted in life. So inspiring.

How about you?

QUESTION TWO

The next question is one about identity. That is such a difficult thing for many people. Here is a question to help you explore who you are.

Do you have a favourite family story?

I would love to know what your story is.

Mine is that my grandfather, as a young 19 year old, had to leave Scotland to find work. He was supposed to sail to Canada where his older brothers were waiting.
But my Grandfather hated the cold. He got to the port and there was a ship sailing to Australia there as well. So he bought his ticket to Australia and got on the boat. Wow! He really hated the cold.

I have always been in awe of his courage to sail to a country where he knew no one and there would be no one to support him. He made a life for himself and survived very well. Such a wonderful role model.

QUESTION THREE

The next question is about relationships.

Have you ever been let down by a friend?

That is a challenging one. It hurts to be let down by someone. Often when you share your story other people judge it as being unimportant. But of course it is.

I would love to know what your story is.

Mine is that I had planned to take a trip with a friend to a new place I had never been before. We were going to stay a few days. I researched what we could do and where we could stay. I was so excited. Then my friend told me she was going to this place with another friend. I was so upset and felt so rejected by this. I never said anything to her but I felt she must have decided she didn’t want to go with me. In reality I suspect she had forgotten we had made this plan. I sometimes think it would have been better if at the time I had said that I thought we were going to go together and that I was disappointed. Instead I distanced myself from her and our relationship was never as close again.

QUESTION FOUR

The next question is about values. Values are so important. They guide how you see the world and how you relate to others.

How rich do you want to be?

That is seemingly simple. But many people hold values around wealth and the type of people who hold it.

For me, I want to have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. By comfortable I mean being able to pay my bills and have the odd treat. To not have to lie awake at night worrying about money.

QUESTION FIVE

The next question is about emotions. This is a lovely reflective question that allows you to explore who you are and how to regulate your feelings.

How do you control your anger?

I would love he hear how you do that.

Anger is so hard to control. I always try to remember to breathe deeply and slowly so that I can remain in control of my feelings. So often anger involves feeling in danger and needing to defend yourself. When that happens, the rational part of your brain is no longer accessible and it is impossible to control your feelings. Breathing deeply and slowly sends a message to the brain that you are safe. It allows you to be able to think about how you want to respond and allows you to choose a response that is helpful for you and others.

QUESTION SIX

The last question is about beliefs. This is another one that is important for you to understand about yourself and for others to learn about you.

Have you ever had something you’d call a spiritual experience?

I would love to hear from you.

Spiritual experiences cover a large range of things. They can include seeing a wonderful sunset and watching in awe at its beauty. They can include feeling the presence of a loved one who has died.

For me I have experienced both those things.

THE BENEFITS OF EXPLORING QUESTIONS LIKE THESE

Learning to explore and share your story, even if it is only with the pages of a journal, is an important way to learn more about you. It helps you to understand why you feel the way you do about things. It helps you to feel able to share stories of the sad things in life, of the traumatic events, of the hurtful things. It helps you to heal, either by yourself or by seeking support from a counsellor.

Learning more about yourself allows you to be more present to what your body is feelings. This allows you to better understand what you are feeling. This skill is important in living life successfully, being able to regulate your emotions and form relationships with other people that are mutually respectful.

DO YOU NEED HELP?

Sometimes things that happen in life can make it hard to understand what you are feeling. It can also be hard to feel safe with others and be able to set boundaries that allow you to have comfortable relationships with others.

Sometimes you need help to learn these things and to untangle the difficulties of the past. This is where a counsellor can help you.

CAN I HELP?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with being better able to understand what you are feeling and/or healing from your past hurts, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Embracing Discomfort Can Help You Grow

I am sure you have been in this type of situation. You are upset about something and talk to a friend about it. You are expecting them to listen and empathise with you. But they don’t. Listen. Or Empathise. They race to tell you about their day. Or they defend the person who has upset you. Or they make a joke about your pain. Or they change the subject.

In short, they shut you down. They remove your permission to be upset and be heard.

And maybe sometimes you do that too.

Why do they do that?

Why do you do that?

Discomfort.

WE HAVE MADE DISCOMFORT THE ENEMY

We live in a society, in a culture that is very left brained. In other words, very analytical, very logical, very shallow. Rarely are people allowed to explore the depths of who they are, why they do what they do, of the uncomfortable things that happen in life.

In our society discomfort is something to be feared. Something that we are not taught as children to manage. The only way we learn is to run away from discomfort and to shut other people down when they make us feel uncomfortable.

The result is you don’t feel comfortable feeling painful feelings and other people don’t feel comfortable hearing about them.

THE WAYS WE SHUT DOWN DISCOMFORT IN OURSELVES

Many people will rush to cover up uncomfortable feelings with addictive behaviours.

Alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, gambling, buying things, eating, exercise, sex addiction, the list is endless.

Discomfort can be the person who feels awkward in social situations so drinks to suppress that discomfort.

It can be the person who smokes a cigarette to calm their feelings of overwhelm every time they have an argument with their partner.

It can be the person who struggles to cope with the end of a relationship and spends hundreds of dollars buying things they don’t need.

So there is a lot of discomfort in this world. Today I am talking about the discomfort that you feel uncomfortable with and leads you to shut yourself or others down when that discomfort is present.

DISCOMFORT IS YOUR ALLY

You may laugh at the idea that something that feels unpleasant can be an ally. But discomfort is. In order to grow and learn you have to be uncomfortable. It is uncomfortable to do something you have never done before. It challenges your competence as you do something that you may not be good at. As you struggle to complete a new task. There is a risk of failure and that is uncomfortable.

It is uncomfortable to learn something you never knew before. It challenges the way you understand the world, the way you understand the things you have learned. Now there is new information that challenges what you understand, and you have to remember it and understand it.

If you can’t sit with discomfort you will never learn anything new.

If you can’t sit with discomfort you will never try anything new.

LEARNING TO BE OKAY WITH DISCOMFORT

How do you manage discomfort?

You learn to stand and take a deep breath when you feel uncomfortable.

You learn to not run away, or rush to numb the feeling with addictive behaviour. You learn to not rush to fight or flight.

You try an experiment. You take a deep breath and allow the discomfort to be there.

You examine that discomfort with curiosity. And you discover that it is okay, that you can handle this.

As you sit, keeping your thinking brain on line, you are able to come up with a plan to respond to the challenge that has brough the discomfort to you. You learn how to act.
You may not get it “right” first time, according to what you think you should do. But you will survive the discomfort. And in time you will learn that you can survive discomfort. And you will grow and learn. As you grow and learn you will come to welcome discomfort for the gifts of learning it brings.

CAN I HELP?

I have touched very lightly on discomfort. For many people discomfort is something they can learn to be okay with. But for others it is not that easy.

If you have had really difficult things happen in your past and you have not had the help you needed to process those things then discomfort can feel life threatening.

If you have been in that situation then seeing a counsellor who specialises in processing those past difficulties is helpful. You can make sense of what happened and understand it better. This can allow you to heal the pain of that event/s.

With the assistance of a counsellor, you can learn to sit with discomfort and allow yourself to be okay with the feelings. To know it is safe to feel discomfort.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to be okay with discomfort, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz