I’ve moved my blog over to my new website here
I’d love to see you there. If all goes well, you might automatically find me anyway (assuming modern technology works as planned 🙂
All the best
I’ve moved my blog over to my new website here
I’d love to see you there. If all goes well, you might automatically find me anyway (assuming modern technology works as planned 🙂
All the best
Xmas is getting very close indeed and whilst many are looking forward to the celebrations, the preparations can feel frenetic and overwhelming. This was the topic of my latest article in Only Peterborough magazine in my mental health well-being column.
Rather than just giving advice, I included a Christmas Gift – a specially written and recorded Deep Relaxation mp3. It’s only 10 minutes long but can make all the difference and joins up well with the Mindfulness Meditation mp3 from earlier in the year. The link for the free Deep Relaxation mp3 is at the end of this post. Much as I’d rather you read the whole thing (of course), if you just want to skip to the end and grab your free copy, please hep yourself. You might find you come back to read it all anyway!
Here’s the article, I hope you like it.
Relax. It’s Only Christmas!
It’s Christmas-time again with fun and festivities taking centre stage. Relaxing with family and friends, for many this really is a magical time.
Despite this, relentless pressure and expectation comes hand-in-hand with the Festive Season. So if the thought of Christmas brings anxiety and stress, here are 5 practical steps you can take:
1. Split your Christmas tasks into three:
2. You’ll probably be spending time with family and friends that you don’t normally see. Their ways may not be your ways and this can be difficult. Remember they’re probably feeling just the same so give them some leeway. Pat yourself on the back for being so understanding.
3. No matter how carefully you plan, thing do go wrong. Each evening counteract the day’s challenges by thinking about three things that were special for you; a smile, a song on the radio, frost on a leaf. They can be anything. Your brain loves positive things, big or small. If your brain’s happy, you sleep better.
4. Be good to yourself, especially if you’re playing an important role in Christmas. Whether it’s a walk, a good book or a trip to the pub, always keep yourself on your ‘Must-do’ list.
5. Find a good relaxation mp3/CD. There are many of them around and they’re really beneficial. Listen to it every day so you practice being relaxed. As a Christmas gift, there’s a free Relaxation mp3 on my website at tony.burkinshaw.co.uk/shop.
Follow these tips and you can look forward to a very Merry Christmas. And remember, some of the best Christmas memories are when things didn’t quite go according to plan…
As promised, this is the link to your free ‘Deep Relaxation’ mp3: Click Here
The Only Peterborough website: click here
You know how I write a monthly column for ‘Only Peterborough’ magazine? It’s the Understanding You, mental-health well-being column. Well, this is the article I wrote for the November edition. I thought you might like it.
It’s about my other interest in life, helping people learn how to learn.
These days, qualification never ceases and people have to take professional qualifications for much of their career.
All of a sudden, you find yourself trying to use the same study methods you used at school or University except this time you’re also trying to hold down a career, keep a family happy, not to mention earn a living and desperately search for that mythical work-life balance.
Strangely enough, almost no-one gets taught how to learn.
How to use the way you, as an individual, relate to the world and other people. Take the way you do the things you love. You just do them. It just happens. It flows. And all the effort is worthwhile.
What I do is uncover these aspects of you and show you how to use them to learn everything in that same way. Learning becomes fun again – no matter what the subject matter.
Anyway. Here’s a high-level version of that other side of what I do.
Learning to Reduce Stress
Have you ever seen a toddler achieve some mighty task such as saying a new word, taking their first steps, kicking a ball. Notice that immense concentration followed by the pure joy and delight at learning something new. The human brain is designed for learning and not just in early childhood. Constant challenge can keep it functioning at is best.
So why as we settle into the new academic year or undertake professional qualifications can learning become such a challenge, filling so many of us with anxiety and self-doubt?
Given the choice we’d rather find something that grabs our attention and feeds our preference for mastering things we enjoy. Think about the huge variation in what people choose to learn. Some learn a sport, others become XBox experts, yet more will learn to cook, surf, speak another language, make clothes, take photos, design apps for iPads (other good tablets are available); the list is endless.
But when we’re required to learn, we revert back to our early days of homework and find ourselves trying to learn in that same way again. Without meaning to, we end up recreating a classroom every time we have to ‘study’ whether it suits our learning style or not. Add in the expectation of having to pass and it’s no wonder that taking exams becomes one of the most stressful things you can do.
So what is the alternative? Uncover what you do when you’re learning something you enjoy and then learn everything else in that same way. If you delight in being with others, then learn in groups or with friends; if you love to sing or play guitar, put it to music. Colours, movement, sounds or shapes, even textures and smells can all be built in to help you learn the way your brain prefers to learn.
It can take a little time and may need some guidance. But once you’ve found your way, learning ceases to be a chore and you just might feel that burst of pure delight at achieving something new once more.
Only Peterborough Magazine: website
Tony Burkinshaw Cognitive Hypnotherapy: Learning & Memory Coach
…and if it’s all too much: Mindfulness Meditation mp3
Why is it that every time I sit down to record a carefully designed and well-thought out therapy MP3, the good-old Royal Air Force decide that it is also exactly the right time for their Typhoons to practice dog-fights above my house? And just in case you haven’t been fortunate enough to be subjected to this display of technological military might, those buggers are really loud when they get going; I mean proper loud. I understand that practice makes perfect and all that but why is it every time I sit down and switch on my digital recorder the air becomes a pilot’s playground?
The more astute ones amongst you may have noticed a certain use of language in that little rant of mine because obviously it’s not every time I try, otherwise I’d never get anything recorded at all, would I? And I have, obviously. There’s four of them sat in my shop, not to mention all those bespoke ones I’ve sent off to clients following their therapy sessions. Although, now I mention it, on those rare occasions when combat isn’t the order of the day, children play outside the house or the neighbour’s decide to start the car and leave it running whilst discussing whatever it is loudly enough to be picked up on the recording. Strangely though, the birds go quiet. The one noise that actually works quite well, birdsong, becomes mysteriously absent.
It’s strange just how much something turns up when you get tuned into it. Once something is on life’s sonar, it keeps on pinging its presence no matter how much you try to ignore it. This only becomes a big issue if your personal sonar keeps alerting you to the fact that everything around you is negative and out to disrupt your plans. Therein lies stress and anxiety, phobia and pain, throwing your life into protection mode. After all if everything around you is negative, priority needs to be given to staying safe.
Once that switch gets flipped, the spiral twirls its way firmly downwards. Being on high-alert is more effective. It means you get to know about dangers sooner. So you go ahead and get your alarms set on extra-sensitive and guess what? All of a sudden, you notice even more of those negative whatsits which in an odd way is strangely reassuring because it would be quite unsettling to feel as though everything were going wrong but when you looked you couldn’t see anything bad at all.
If you look at life through alarm filters designed to spot bad things, that my friend, is exactly what you’re going to see. It makes perfect sense. Alarm filters are absolutely not going to alert you to life’s little wonders now are they? It would be crazy to want to need to know when something bad was about to happen if all your alarm system wanted to tell you was that the wild-flowers are looking particularly lovely today. It’d be like something out the HitchHiker’s Guide, good book(s) though it (they) may have been in its (their) day. Douglas was definitely odd in his outlook on writing which was after all his appeal. It’s a real shame he didn’t stay around to do even more. I particularly liked the free-fall whale and the petunias. Not to mention cricket.
We could, of course, now choose to spin off into all sorts of geopolitical equivalence and how the powers that be may not actually be the powers that we elect, for those of us with the apparent ability to actually vote for those we are told hold the power. But conspiracy theory and purple lizards aside, I think we’ll stay in the realm of the individual.
One of the keys to successful therapy is to retune those high-alert alarms so they return to their correct role of letting you know when something actually harmful is on its way, whether this be the physical modern-day equivalent of the toothéd beastie or indeed that all-consuming issue of any creature living amongst its kin, the social faux pas. What alarms ought to do is to protect you when there really could be some harm coming your way, not spook you with every single negatively nuanced interpretation of anything at all that could possibly be construed as not quite as good as you might have wanted and then clothe it as truly villainous.
As well as retuning the alarm system, the other delightful focus of therapy is to show you how, without even really being aware of how you do it, to start to notice all those things which really do begin to show you that the world which has been scaring you to death, almost literally, really does hold increasing volumes of worthwhile stuff (sorry for the highly technical terminology) and despite your best efforts, once you start to notice it, worthwhile stuff turns up all over the place.
Pretty soon, without knowing quite how, you aren’t under such constant threat any more. Without knowing quite how, you begin to realise that you’ve been noticing things that keep hinting to you that you’re actually feeling little bit better. Without knowing quite how, you went for that interview and something tells you did well. Without knowing quite how, the pain well, isn’t. And without knowing quite how, you revised successfully for that exam in half the time and with none of the stress.
And the truly weird thing is, you do it all by yourself. All the therapy does is show you what you’re already capable of doing. And once you’ve seen it, or to be exact, once your unconscious mind has seen, heard, felt, understood or other mode of representational filter, it, a sentence which does work, re-read it if you don’t believe me, you just can’t help but go right ahead and do it, like those mythical sisters of old, for yourself.
And if you’re still not convinced, it’s just possible that quite soon, looking back and thinking about it, you’ll realise that you noticed a few things which let you know you felt a little better. And later on, you might find that without really meaning to look, there were even more that you could have noticed but didn’t at the time…
I just thought of one. It made me smile.
Tony Burkinshaw: Hypnotherapy MP3s
Shaun started this award on MARCH 4th 2013 and has had well over 1000 ping backs when someone Awards this to someone else.
It simply represents the WordPress Family and especially the support that exists out there within WordPress. Words have power.
So I am now going to Award the 10 newest people/friends who have followed my blog and welcome them to my ever-expanding WordPress circle.
Celebrate. It’s fun.
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family
4. Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them
5. That is it. Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as a friend, and spread the love
10 Nominations for Award
10. …and this is Shaun: http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/
As he says, “More Love, Less Hate”
There are clear blue skies with a scattering of little fluffy clouds, if you remember the lyric. I’m on my way to London and I’m on a Quest. Not to join in with the G8 protests that are rumoured to be taking place later on I hasten to add, although to be fair those at the protesting end of disaffection may have a point.
Any system which allows one aspect of its whole to dominate is likely to run out of balance and ignore the more subtle insidious effects. Current westernised systems predicate success on producing and consuming more this year than last and will find it hard, in my opinion to carry on forever unchanged. There are some (many) entities, be they people, corporations or governments whose sole raison d’être appears to be generating vast wealth and concentrating the benefits in the hands of their chosen few.
Sure there are some in times of plenty, who appear to have a genuine concern for the society they inhabit and do to some extent at least attempt to spread the benefits. Unfortunately we aren’t living in times of plenty.
Let’s face it, survival of the fattest dictates that every now and then the system requires a readjustment so that smaller less wealthy individuals and businesses fail and make room for the others to take up more space. Even banks like a severe market downturn. Think it through, the best time to buy into investments is after a crash when the best thing to do is mortgage everything to the hilt and bet everything on Red at rock bottom prices. After the bottom, the only way is up. Isn’t it?
You’d think they’d seen it often enough to know. Good times don’t last and the re-adjustment comes.That’s what went wrong last time. The boys and girls at the top had seen the good times for so long that they began to believe young Gordon with his end of boom and bust rhetoric. By the time the downturn came and it was time to place those well-timed bets, they’d already mortgaged the world and were standing on massive losses.
We suffer the consequence. The news alarms scream Recession Recession Recession and we all feel the fear. Jobs are lost and services cut. Only the vital ones stay intact and even they’re threatened. Recession. Feel the fear. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t take risks. Stay the course. Central control knows best. Feel the fear and protect what you have. Hunker down until it’s all over. If it’s all over.
Have you noticed that more recently, every time there’s any bad news whatsoever the alarms go off again? They don’t even wait for a Recession this time. They just scream (There Might Be Another) Recession. They don’t wait to find out if we are in danger again, they just shout anyway. Just in case. The economic alarm sensitivity has been turned up higher and higher, so high that pretty much any negative news sets them all off again. Keep feeling the fear.
We stop spending because we might lose our jobs. We allow our pay to be cut and hours extended because we need the security. Banks won’t lend money in case it’s lost. Businesses fold because the banks won’t lend enough. We lose our jobs anyway.
The economy needs money flowing through it to survive but we hoard ours under beds and in banks and banks hoard theirs because central banks tell them they need enough to survive the next crisis. The banks don’t lend enough. Meanwhile, those betting boys and girls at the top have made more fortunes while the market recovered and are happily awaiting the next downturn so they can make more. The system is still unstable and the alarms keep going off. No-one really understands what happened and no-one really knows what to do. No-one can be sure it will get fixed. The alarms keep going off.
If only we really knew what was going on. Maybe we wouldn’t need to feel the fear.
Maybe we could turn off the alarm.
There are striking parallels with what goes on inside our body/mind. We are a delicately complex balance of systems all interlaced and running for Growth or Protection depending on our current environment. We evolved to gather and hunt. Our Growth and Protection systems, miraculous though they are, are behind the times. Evolution hasn’t evolved to keep up. Events in the past as well as the here-and-now determine which systems predominate. If you’re lucky, the predominating systems keep you in physical, mental and personal growth. More often than not, it’s the reverse and the trigger is for Protection.
Remember, our environment includes what’s going on in our bodies. We treat social danger with the same safety systems we do a physical attack although we miss out the part where we actually flee or fight. The adrenalin stays and drips fear into our lives.
Feeding the stronger, more demanding aspect of our bodies, especially the key Protection mechanisms leaves the less vocal but nonetheless vital aspects of our internal selves starved. They kick along well enough in the good times but when the going gets tough, they give in and scream their alarms. Your life hits the stress buffers and dives into panic, depression or pain. Without attending to the whole, the system crashes and screams its alarm to get your attention.
If you’re in the right place at the right time all you have to do is re-assess what you see in your life and flick the switch to reset the alarms. If it’s safe, you jump back into back into growth as soon as the debris has been cleared.
Sometimes though, it’s so confusing you can’t see what you’re looking at, can’t hear yourself think. The alarms are set so high that absolutely anything sets them off. The reset fails and sensitivity stays high. Panic, Depression, Pain. It just doesn’t seem to stop. You can’t see through the fog that’s filling your thoughts.
You might find you need someone who knows how. Someone who can show you how to reset the system; how to unbar the windows and unlock the doors; re-wire the alarms so that the sensitivity drops to normal and you can finally see what’s going on out there.
Show you that you’re back and in control.
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