Archive | February, 2011

Thoughts for World Thinking Day

22 Feb

The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care. (Buddha)

We have many different types of thoughts. Some of our thoughts are directly involved in how we feel. Typically we have descriptive, interpretive, inferential and evaluative thoughts. They may sound a bit fancy but here is a brief and simple explanation.

Description

 A descriptive thought simply describes something without attaching any meaning or emotion to it. A description can be true or false. Example: The company I work for has been taken over by another.

Interpretation

 This thought goes beyond the available information but without attaching any emotions to it. Example: The company I work for has been taken over by another because I work in an aggressive market.

 Inference

Inferences go beyond the available information but they are partly evaluative. When an inference is made, our emotions may become involved if something is important to us. Example: I could lose my job because of the takeover.

Evaluation

An evaluation thought is when your emotions are totally involved and engaged. It is fully evaluative. We make a realistic or an unrealistic judgement. An evaluation thought is usually known as a ‘belief’ in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH). Example: It would mean I am worthless if I am made redundant.

Which of the following thoughts may lead to an emotion and which will definitely lead to an emotion?

 1) I saw a woman getting on a bus

2) Some of my colleagues are ignoring me

3) I won’t succeed, I’m useless

I hope you have enjoyed our thoughts on thoughts, and that they have given you something to think about for World Thinking Day…

How are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up?

14 Feb

Ok well we have entered the month of February, so you have had a whole month to see how well you are managing to keep your New Year’s Resolutions. The question is, how many of you have lasted so far?

 What was your New Year’s Resolution in the first place? Was it one of these, or something similar?

  • Stop Smoking for health reasons
  • Lose weight and get into the jeans you are dreaming to get into
  • Get fitter and look the part
  • Find a new job where you are appreciated
  • Start your own business and be your own boss
  • Get into a healthy relationship and no more falling for the wrong person

The list goes on and on.  Most people fail at maintaining the promise they make to themselves.  If you go to the gym, you will always notice an influx of new members in January and by February only a handful have remained.   Why does this happen?  Why is it so hard to keep up the new you?  It works in the same way as when you have guests coming over for dinner or when you have your in laws or parents visiting.  You become extra tidy and make extra effort to look tidy but why don’t you keep it to that level?  It is because you do not see yourself in that way.  We all have an internal self image.  This roughly translates to ‘what am I like?’ and ‘how do I see myself?’  Think of your self-image as an auto-pilot on a boat.  If the auto-pilot was set to east, and you wanted the boat to go north without changing the auto-pilot, then you would have to start rowing to turn it north.  But then what would happen the moment you stop?  The boat will turn east again.

When we set a New Year’s resolution, we usually start rowing in a direction against our self image and that’s why it feels as if you are trying to run whilst someone is holding onto your belt.

So how do you maintain your resolution. Well these tips, based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, will help?

  • Ensure the New Year is your personal goal.  Do it for you.
  • Create the right environment and conditions for success.  If you know you have serious work commitments until March and getting to the gym 4 times a week is unrealistic then make your goal realistic.  Is this the best time to start? Can you introduce some balance so that you can focus on your goal?
  • Focus on your goal daily.  Keep it to the front of your mind.  Imagine yourself with your goal achieved.
  • Remind yourself of the benefits of achieving your goal.  What’s in it for you in achieving the goal?
  • Take action and do it.  Tolerate the natural discomfort of starting something new.  This will pass after about 3 weeks.
  • Be consistent.  This is about continual and consistent effort, particularly in the first three or four weeks.  Do not be haphazard in implementing your new behaviour.  Do it 90% of the time.  You don’t have to be perfect but you can be very good and excellent.
  • If you make a mistake, don’t throw in the towel and think you are starting from scratch again. Nobody is perfect.  Get back to the new behaviour and don’t beat yourself up about it as it won’t help you.  Create a helpful inner voice and not one that berates you and causes you to feel bad about yourself.    

So if you have managed to keep your New Year’s Resolutions so far, well done, and these tips should help you continue all year. If you have failed in your resolution, it is probably time to readdress – was this resolution even the right one for you in the first place? Plan your resolutions again (It doesn’t matter that it is February) and then follow these tips. You will succeed!

If you have any more questions, or would like some more help on sticking with your resolutions, please do ask and we will do our best to help

Valentine’s Day and Relationship Success

14 Feb

Well it is that time of the year again, Valentines Day. But am I not going
to get into the debate right now, of whether it is commercial hype or a romantic opportunity. Instead, I just want to think a little about relationships, and where does Valentines Day fit into all of this?

It is common for most of us at one point or another to have experienced
difficulties or challenges in our personal relationships whether it is with
your spouse, or partner. However when such problems become entrenched or
habitual then people begin to feel stuck and experience anxiety,
irrationality, anger, and hurt, depression and unhealthy jealousy.

Some of the more common problems experienced in relationships could be:
.         Feeling anxious about a partner leaving for another, ending the
 relationship or thinking about infidelity or in an infidelity already.

 .         You may also experience anxiety about communicating your feelings
 in the right way and worry that you must always say things in the right way
or with the right tone. 

.         There could be anxiety about a partner’s anger, anxiety about
 confrontation or irrational jealousy, where you track your partners every
 move, check text messages which may result in confrontation leading to
 aggressive behaviour, anger and hostility.

 .         It is also common to experience hurt where you think that your
partner’s insensitive behaviour towards you implies lack of care and love.
 .         You also may experience feelings of guilt about past behaviours or
wrong doings.

 .         You may know that your partner’s behaviour towards you may be
 inappropriate. That you are being put down in public, in front of your
friends but you do not know how to resolve it because you have low self-esteem about yourself.

All of these problems are often dealt with in cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy. At the heart of CBT is that our thoughts and beliefs are the key drivers of our emotional states and cause our behaviours. If your thoughts and beliefs about yourself or your partner are unhealthy then your
feelings and behaviours within the relationship will also be unhealthy.
Essentially the message is that we are responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, our behaviours and the types of relationships that we tolerate. When you don’t take this responsibility then it is likely that it will be
projected on to your partner and you will believe that your partner is thecause of your feelings and for the way that you act. Common beliefs like ‘he ade me feel this way,’ or ‘she makes me feel small,’ ‘he makes me shout,’are rife, but this is not true. It is you that makes you feel how you do and
makes you do, what you do.

So here are some basic techniques from CBT which you may find helpful as a
starting point:

 1)     Accept that you are responsible for your own emotions and actions.

 2)     Communicate without pointing a finger, use expressions like, ‘I feel
 angry about…’ and not ‘You made me angry about…’

 3)     Accept yourself as a valuable but imperfect human being, judge your
 behaviour rather than your worth, for example, accept that you are a
 fallible human being but you can learn from mistakes and change for the
 better.

 4)     Be assertive and not aggressive. Communicate your thoughts and
 feelings appropriately and not defensively. Being assertive means that you
 have the courage of your own convictions but that you are also prepared to
 compromise if you see another person’s point of view.

 5)     Do think of the bigger picture and to remember to focus on your
 partners good qualities and demonstrate that.

So Valentine’s Day comes round once a year, but it is not really about the
 flowers and the chocolates. It is about a healthy relationship, and
 addressing any problems in your relationship as soon as you can. So maybe
 something a bit different to think about this Valentines Day….