Sunday, 24 September 2017

Dealing With Change

Change is inevitable. It could be anything from changing your mind to changing your entire life and it is completely unavoidable. We live in a constantly changing world that goes through multiple transitions every day and the most important thing is to embrace it. Sometimes change is the last thing that you want in your life, however change doesn't always work on our desired schedule, and a major transition is what is needed to develop and move on in life. 

Changing your place of residence can be one of the toughest transitions that you might ever have to go through. The longer you have lived somewhere, the harder that move can be. We can become creatures of habit and so a move may indicate introducing new habits, also, the not knowing what’s around the corner and thinking to yourself "will it all be successful?"

Think back to your thoughts… What was the main factor that lead to your desire to move? This is important as this indicates your ‘intention’ or goal. Intentions and goals can help us to succeed and achieve great things if we focus in the right way. There are two types of people who focus on goals. Those that are interested and those that are committed. Interested people are interested in change for a long time, in fact they talk about change in an interesting manner. Being interested in something can result in the change being an external goal. For example, I’m interested in moving over there, yes over there and make a point of creating a picture of how interesting that could be. Interesting people are only half conditioned to go for a goal. Committed people focus only on that goal and create an internal experience of how it's going to be living there. Their ambitions, aims and beliefs are so powerful its like their change is happening now. People with committed visions of change are inclined to make progressive moves faster than the interested people. 

My wife and I have moved several times in our lives and enjoyed every experience. Moving helped us to view life from new perspectives. Now we are making the move to Spain. We briefly discussed this in the past and suddenly the right time to move came up and we decided to make a committed decision. If something is right and meant to be, we may experience that ‘wind in our sails’ feeling. Very quickly our plan came together and the right opportunities presented themselves, giving us the feeling that we knew we were on the right path. What was important in our plan was to keep it simple and to stick to it in the face of opposition, manipulation or judgement. Mark Twain the poet wrote, "In ten years time you will look back in our lives and judge not the things you have done but what you wished you had done".

If your goal is important to you then its important you listen to your intention and dismiss negative judgment. Moving is something that you will remember for years and although it can be a stressful time, the change in your life should be celebrated. The tasks and organisation that you undertake in preparation for a move, help to improve your problem solving skills and the move itself is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. One good way of looking at the change of moving is to list it amongst the achievements in your life and see it not in a stressful light but instead as a chance to reorganise, experience new things and start a new adventure. 

There are many types of change that can cause stress, from change in relationships to sitting at a crossroads needing to make a decision. One of the most important things to do is reevaluate the stress. View stress as a challenge, not as a threat. When you view stress as a threat and allow it too much space in your life, you will begin to give the stress more importance than the task itself. Look at stress as a challenge to overcome, know that you can rise above it and this will diminish its control of you. When you are going through a change in your life, stress is the last thing that you want looming over you, so don't let it take control. Just beyond stress and anxiety is bliss. 

Another way to reduce the impact of stress is to appreciate the benefits of change. Changes in your life are not there to complicate matters, they are there to challenge you, encourage you and allow for your growth. Staying in the same routine your whole life can be detrimental to your cognitive growth and change is needed to allow for your own development. Look back to the times where you successfully dealt with change, use the knowledge that you have managed to get through all of this before and this will give you strength do go through another transition. 

It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if the change that you are facing is something that you have not dealt with in the past, or if there is too much change happening all at once. This is the perfect time to seek support, talk to friends and family about the changes you are about to face or are currently going through, because chances are they have gone through something similar or know methods of coping with the transition that you may not have thought of. Consider the people that are close to you as your support network and do not hesitate to ask them for advise or support with your transition. Even an online community of people going through experiences that are similar to yours can give you an emotional boost as well as some practical tips. 

To be able to talk to others about the changes that you are going through, you need to acknowledge your own feelings. Don't try to avoid your emotions, listen to them. By thinking about the way that you feel, you are able to become less resistant to change and feel more comfortable with the idea of change. Often changes bring on feelings of anxiety, and it is perfectly normal to feel this way, but you cannot suppress your emotions during this time. It is best to identify the feelings and accept that the change is going to have an impact on your life, and then finally work through the feelings to reach a more positive and relaxed view of the transition. If you are struggling to identify the feelings that you are having then keep a journal of everything that you are going through and eventually you will begin to see a pattern that can highlight the most dominant emotion through this experience. 

During times of change be kind to yourself. A number of clients experience change as if the here and now are going to be presented throughout the rest of their lives. That’s not possible as new change always comes in. Try to evaluate the changes you’re going through as though you are viewing them from a third party’s view. This often clarify’s sense. One particular client of mine was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He came to see me and said "I want to change", he was not just interested in his goal, he was committed. Within three months he was free of addiction and alcohol, a few months later he went on to write me a magical testimonial still free of addiction. The method was partially working towards releasing the affect of addiction, but more importantly dealing with and discussing his life issues which lead to his situation. For him it was taking back control, he lost this in his previous relationships, his job and his mojo. We worked to get his life back and by letting go of past experiences and beliefs, he changed into the man he knew he could be. With these steps and support the addiction soon disappeared. 

For more personal changes, for example, relationships, loss, moving etc, keeping a diary is a very effective method for coping with change. When you write down what has changed in your life and what you are finding difficult, you will begin to notice positive solutions for the things that you are worrying about, as well as help you cope with the change by visualising everything that is going on and documenting it. Keeping a diary is also a great way of keeping memories because when you go through a large change it can be very overwhelming and some things can be forgotten, by writing everything down it documents every detail of the experience and allows for you to look back at the change in a more positive and sentimental manner. 

Through all of this change you may need to keep reminding yourself that you do have control. When things begin to get overwhelming the best thing to do is take a break and reevaluate. During a transition this is difficult to do because change is normally something that is out of our hands, however there are always parts that you can control, even the smallest thing can help with coping with the change. One of the ways to take control of the change is to prepare for it. Getting things in order before a planned major transition is one of the best ways to guarantee that all of it will work out when the time comes to undergo the change. For more personal changes, such as relationships or loss, preparation is very difficult and sometimes not a possibility, however being able to control certain parts of the change will always be a good method for coping. This does not mean that you need to try to take control of the whole situation but this does lead back to acknowledging your feelings and taking time to understand how you truly feel about the situation. When you can fully understand how you feel, you can begin to take back control of your own emotions. You may not be able to control the situations that have bought on the change in your life, but most of the time you can control how you respond to it. 

When a transition in life becomes very stressful or overwhelming it is sometimes difficult to relax or feel positive. If the change is out of your control, accept that it is out of your control and spend some time focusing on the positive aspects of that change. View the transition as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather then as a setback. This will distract your mind from the negatives of the situation and help you celebrate the positives, no matter how small. When a change is difficult to go through, the positive aspects of the situation might not be obvious to begin with, however it is worth seeking them out. Focusing on the positives will also help to relax the mind as well as avoid the stress of a drastic change. 

Without change, our lives would be in an endless loop of the same routines. You may not always be seeking change, but when it does appear you should embrace it, because no one's life ever stands completely still. The world is constantly evolving, and you change with it. Material possessions come and go, friends enter your life and leave, careers involve turning points, no one ever gets through life without some type of change. If you worry about all of the changes that are happening around you, you begin to lose your ability to enjoy the moments and experience them in their entirety. Constantly worrying doesn't make you feel more confident or give you the ability to predict the future changes in your life. Change is simply inevitable, so when it happens don't fight it, embrace it.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Struggling to Sleep? Part 2

For some, falling asleep can be one of the easiest things in the world, however, there are many of us who struggle to close our eyes at the end of a long day. Difficulty in falling asleep is not unheard of and I have even written a post about it previously. Although it is common, there is not always a single solution to the problem, sometimes multiple methods are needed to achieve that great nights sleep until eventually it becomes a second nature to ease yourself into that slumber. 

  • Sleep at regular times:

One of the first methods that can overtime help with sleeping easier is to sleep and wake up at regular times. Keeping regular sleeping hours will programme the brain and the internal body clock to get used to a set routine. This could mean that you might need to say goodbye to those long lye-ins, however the benefit that this will have on your sleeping pattern will mean that in time you will wake up feeling much more refreshed and awake. Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night. so setting yourself a regular bedtime schedule will allow for you to monitor your sleeping patterns much more accurately and overall improve your ability to fall asleep easily.

  • Wind down:

Do you ever find yourself getting into bed and still feeling full of energy? Winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed and there are many ways to relax before going to sleep that will not only help you fall asleep, but will also help to relieve stress and anxiety before bed. Start with a warm bath to help your body reach a temperature that is more idea for sleep, this bath should not be hot as this will cause your body temperature to fluctuate too much and will encourage a more restless nights sleep. A warm bath will help to relax your muscles and will introduce feelings of comfort and security which will further promote a more rewarding sleep.

If a warm bath is not your forte then relaxation exercises are another effective option. Light yoga stretches help to relax the muscles and release energy. Yoga has a brilliant effect on the body in regards to strength and overall fitness but it can also help to ease the mind of stress and aid sleep. Although it is an incredibly effective method for encouraging sleep, try to avoid exercising for too long or too vigorously as it will have the opposite effect with the release of endorphins that will bring forward more energy and alertness.

Relaxation CD's are a great tool for sending you to sleep, however if you struggle to fall asleep with noise then you can use gentle hypnotic music and sound effects to calm you as you are preparing for bed, by doing this you will be able to distract your mind from worry and simply relax as the day draws to an end. Reading a book or listening to the radio also has a similar effect as it allows for you to focus on one thing and helps to declutter the mind. Another method for decluttering the mind before bed is to write down a "To Do" list, this helps to organise your thoughts and clear your mind of any distractions before sleep.

  • Reflect:

Rewind your day. What was the last thing that you done before getting into bed? What about before that? Remembering the details of the day in reverse order clears the mind of worries and helps to recall the importance of certain moments. Reflecting on the day helps to put everything into perspective and organise your thoughts, this will allow for a clearer mind before bed which in turn will improve your mental state during sleep. 

  • Make your bedroom sleep friendly:

Your bedroom should be a comfortable and relaxing place. Your mind reacts to your environment and if you are sleeping in a room that is distracting then you will become restless. TV's, phones, light, noise or even uncomfortable bedding will all effect sleep. Light from electronic devices or outside lights can greatly effect sleep as it reduces the amount of melatonin produced by the body, this is a hormone that facilitates sleepiness. When there is a light it encourages the mind to become more alert as it is a distraction for the mind and mimics daylight.

If you do not have thick curtains, you should invest. They will keep out any light that could negatively impact on your sleep as well as help to regulate the temperature in the bedroom by creating a slight insulation around the window. By keeping a regular temperature in the room you will be able to have a much more comfortable sleep as your body heat will not fluctuate and cause restlessness. 

Finally, keep your bedroom tidy. A cluttered room encourages a cluttered mind and keeping a tidy bedroom will help to calm the mind before sleep. Tripping over things to get to the bed can be incredibly stressful and will not have a positive impact when trying to fall asleep, so keeping the bedroom clean can greatly improve the simplicity of falling asleep. This does not mean that the bedroom needs to be pristine at all times, it naturally helps to get ready for bed without stepping on and over a variety of obstacles.

  • Pillow placement:

A pillow does not need to be exclusively used under your head. There are many benefits to using a pillow to support other parts of the body whilst sleeping, not only can it make you more comfortable which will improve the sleep, but it can also help to alleviate stress from areas of the body. For example, when lying on your side, place a pillow between your legs. This will position the leg so that it doesn't pull the hip or put stress on the spine. When lying on your back, a pillow can be placed beneath the knees to help sink the back into the mattress and encourage further relaxation through the entire body. 

  • Contact your doctor:

If sleep becomes too difficult to attain, you may need to consult with your GP. Sleep is an incredibly important factor of our mental and physical health and it is important to have an understanding of wether or not your difficulty with sleeping is simply a short term issue or if it is a result of a medical condition. 


Everyone deserves a good nights sleep and there are always ways to attain one. For some it is very easy but for a great deal of people it takes a lot of work to achieve an appropriate measure of sleep. With these techniques and possibly with the addition of exercise, healthy eating and meditation, sleep will no longer be an ambition but an achievement that it painless and effortless to accomplish.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Relieve Stress and Anger

Anger and stress are the little monsters that sit on your shoulder, telling you to be more negative, encouraging you to act out and snap. It can be a seemingly uncontrollable force that impacts on your emotional state and your general wellbeing, however there are a few methods that can be used to relieve stress and anger as well as minimise the effects that anger and stress have on you both short term and long term.

One of the first things that can relieve stress is preparation. When you prepare you can anticipate. Preparation for the next day or the next few days can greatly reduce stress because the activities and tasks have already been planned out and sorted before completion which will make them much less daunting and stressful. When you are able to prepare you can relax because there is no need to worry about the upcoming tasks or even human error such as forgetfulness. Make lists, focus and organise to be fully prepared. You will have a sense that you are in control of the situation and can handle much more than you initially thought you could.

Remove the word 'why' from your vocabulary and thoughts. Why is a winey word, it holds us into the past negative and holds us to self sabotage. Why am I failing? Why am I so stressed? Blame, blame and blame again, just take control, release why from your thoughts and add 'what and how'. They are practical words that hold us in the present positive. 'What' can you do to make your life better? How can you create a happier future? Notice with these words you are dismissing the past and promoting a more positive outcome for your present and future self. 

On another note, repeat performance can greatly improve stress and can even help to recover from a place of anger because doing almost any routine or repetitive activity can very quickly distract your mind from the negativity and can create a calmer and more enjoyable environment. This also works with the verbal repetition of a word or phrase. Simply reciting a word the represents how you want to feel or a phrase that resinates with you can bring your mind back to the present and abolish the negative thoughts that keep sneaking in.

Focus on one thing at a time. You can't be expected to constantly multitask or you will just burn yourself out. Sometimes doing multiple things at one time is needed however at other times you need to consider what makes you stressed and juggling too many things is definitely a trigger for many people. Step back for a moment, prioritise and then jump back in, this doesn't just work for tasks, it also works in more personal situations as it allows for the situation to be considered more in depth and gives a second for the mind to be put at ease overall.

When you feel yourself getting angry try to identify at least one good thing. If you are angry about a task try to focus on something you have done well or how far you have progressed, if it is anger based on a problem, a mistake or something more personal then look back to a previous success and think about how you got there. Focusing on a positive can help to encourage more positive thoughts and can pull you away from the anger and negativity. Of course there will be times where looking into the past may not resolve things however it is always good to take inspiration and be motivated by your past successes. 

If looking into the past for positivity and relaxation techniques seems a little difficult then consider it savouring. Savouring involves mindfully engaging in thoughts and behaviour that bring forward positivity. One type of savouring is reminiscing where you look into the past, reminiscing is a way to review the past and rekindle positive feelings, it is never used in a negative manner and is always considered a positive and sometimes nostalgic experience. As well as reminiscing you could also try savouring the moment which involves focusing on what you are currently doing and simply enjoying and intensifying the positivity of a current experience. 

Worry can bring on stress and anger, one of the best ways to overcome this is by writing it down or talking about it. Although it may seem easier to deal with problems alone, sometimes the help of someone else or reading back your own writing can really help to put everything into perspective and resolve issues before they have escalated. Taking to someone about your worries is a very effective method for resolving issues and can help to gain some valuable advice from your peers and writing problems down can help for you to take a step back and look at the situation as if you were not involved which will help you resolve any issues in a more effective and efficient manner.

Writing, making music, dancing and painting can release tension and reduce feelings of anger. Get creative! Even if you see yourself as a not very creative person, there is always going to be something that you are good at and creative methods to undertake to achieve a successful outcome. Creativity can be such a powerful thing.

If creative methods are not your forte then you can bring down your general stress levels that lead to anger with exercise and relaxation. Exercise is a great way to release unwanted energy and when it is worked into your daily life, even just walking to the shops, it can help to reduce stress by releasing endorphins that promote positive emotions as well as improve your health in general. By using exercise as a stress and anger relief you will be able to control it much more effectively and when you can control stress, it can no longer control you.

Another great way to relieve stress and anger is physical interaction. Simply giving someone a hug can help to relax and control emotions as well as promote a more trustworthy and compassionate atmosphere. A hug can completely alter your state of mind and can make you go from angry to calm in a few seconds. Obviously not every issue is resolved with a cuddle but it is a great quick fix for something that might have been blown out of proportion or even for someone who is overwhelmed and just needs some comfort. 

One of the most important things that you can do to relieve stress and anger is to look after yourself! Drugs and alcohol can make anger problems much worse as they lower inhibitions and can cause us to act out when we are angry, if this is an issue then there are many support groups and services available that can really help you. Your mental health is also a very important part of keeping yourself immune to stress and anger, exercise is a great help however meditation is also very effective as it allows for you to clear your mind and focus on one thing at a time. Just like the physical side of this, there are many support groups and services that can help control stress and anger as well as helping you understand the workings of your mind.

Another part of looking after yourself is learning how to self sooth. We have a built in fight or flight response that is intended to help us escape a threat, however anxiety, stress and anger can all trigger this response which is then an unnecessary and very uncomfortable situation. To fight this response you can self sooth by doing breathing exercises, talking more positively about yourself, changing your perspective and meditation. All of these methods can help to clear your mind and allow for you to gain control of your stress and anger. 

To control your anger you first need to understand your anger. Think about your anger signs. Your heart beats faster, you clench your fists, you breathe more quickly and you gain tension in your shoulders? These are all recognisable signs of anger and if you notice these signs you should get out of the situation and re-assess. As well as this you need to think about what triggers your stress and anger, it could be anything but as long as you know what it is you can control your reaction to it.

Finally, remember that this will pass. The most important step towards overcoming negative feelings that lead to stress and anger is to recognise that you are experiencing a very common emotional state that many others have gone through and have successfully overcome. Although it is uncomfortable, the negative feelings will pass. Fighting this can sometimes not have an effect and occasionally accepting that you are feeling this way helps for the mind and the body to recover and relax.

Services and Support Groups:

Monday, 28 August 2017

Understanding Yourself

Understanding other people has its complications however sometimes understanding yourself and the way that you think or feel can be even more frustrating. Has there ever been a time where you have been confused or angry about the way that you feel? Feeling this can then make you more upset and bring you down but it is good to remember that this is completely normal. By understanding the way that you feel and think you will be able to have more control over your state of mind and also the way that you portray yourself to others.

One of the first things to consider is doubt. You may find yourself doubting your abilities and comparing yourself to others that you may consider better than you, this needs to stop. When you doubt yourself you completely underestimate your abilities and can even achieve less than you are capable of. Yes, there may be someone that is more qualified than you or someone that you just constantly compare yourself to but this should not stop you from working hard and achieving. Looking up to someone as a role model is a great way to motivate yourself or make you feel more confident however do not allow that to consume you to the point of constant comparrisons and doubting. Look up to someone as motivation or inspiration, not as a chance for self criticism. 

When you compare yourself to other people you will tend to put yourself down, however there are many things that you can do that someone else can't do and you need to remember this when you are feeling self critical as it will stop you from slowing yourself down and encourage you to continue working hard towards your goals. When you think about the things you are good at you will automatically find ways to work those strengths into the tasks you are undertaking. This could be a logical or creative solution but it will make the tasks more personal to you and further encourage you to fight for them. Don't focus on how someone else does something, simply focus on your capabilities and eventually you will realise that you are equal to the people that you once looked up to.

One of the most important parts of understanding yourself is trust. You need to trust in your decisions and know that what you are feeling or thinking is nothing to be ashamed of. When you trust the way that you are feeling you will find that you are more comfortable with dealing with emotions and problems which overall can greatly improve your state of mind. Know that what you are going through may be confusing, but don't tell yourself that it's "not right" just say that it "is right now" and this will begin to put everything into perspective. Even if something is not going the way you initially wanted, some things can't be changed and you might need to just ride it out, by telling yourself that it "is right now" it will assure you that what you are going through isn't necessarily permanent and there are decisions you can make in the future that can completely change your path. It is just knowing what you want when the opportunity arrives and preparing yourself for change.

When you open yourself up to trust, other people will also begin to trust you more. They will trust in your decisions and your authority whilst you are trusting your own abilities. This will greatly improve your confidence and others confidence in your capabilities. Remember that you could be someone's role model without even realising it, people might look up to you for your strength, personality and abilities, so your confidence and positivity can greatly impact on someone else's life. 

Now, lets talk about the importance of you. There are extraordinary things about you that you may not even realise, you are unique, but most of all you are a 1 in 100 million chance. The chance of you existing is so slim that it shouldn't be possible and yet here you are! You have dreams, ambitions, drive and many more things that make you the person you are. You are so unique that one decision from you can completely change your life as well as someone else's and yet sometimes it is so easy to forget the importance and unlikeliness of you. When you are feeling stuck or confused remember that you are so important that every decision you make leads to something, just like every decision your parents made lead to you. Granted this doesn't mean that you should worry about how every decision is going to effect your life and give things more weight than they should have, however it does mean that you are more important than you could have ever imagined and you should embrace your uniqueness because sometimes that can be your defining feature. 

For more information and insight into the unlikeliness of you please view Emma Blackery (Feel Good 101: The Unlikeliness of You) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txL5ToHxpB0

Monday, 21 August 2017

Find The Courage To Do What You Want

Are you as confident or courageous as you would like to be? If you have answered "NO" to this question then you do not need to worry, what you are feeling is completely normal and low confidence or fear of something is incredibly common. Feeling confident can be something that is difficult to achieve on your own however there are some tips and tricks that can boost your confidence and over time can greatly improve your confidence overall. You are not born with confidence, leadership or public speaking abilities, these are things that are learned and developed over time, therefore being shy and cautious is a completely natural thing and should not be looked at in a negative light. Knowing this can already begin to make an improvement on your confidence. 

For more information on Confidence please view the previous post titled "Build Your Confidence".

Courage and confidence go hand in hand. When you feel confident you will be able to tackle things that normally you would not have the courage to do. So first, understanding your confidence, and after the courage will be easy to discover. One of the most well known forms of courage is stepping out of your comfort zone and standing up for something you believe is right, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, each one of these individuals are known for this type of courage and have changed the way that many people act and think. You do not need to change the world to be more courageous, the simple act of stepping up to the plate when the moments present themselves and not letting an opportunity pass you by, this only gets easier with practice on smaller matters first and slowly developing the courage with experience. 

One of the starting points to help build your courage is to become more confident about what you are saying and speak from a place of conviction, simply practice saying what you think and feel about small subjects and move up to things that you are more passionate about, say these things politely and pleasantly however remain firm. If this is something that you are scared to do then consider the other things that you have done that you have been afraid to do in the past. Eventually you will start to realise that you do these things all the time and there is not much that you cannot do, and speaking with conviction to others is not something to be feared.

Do you ever notice yourself being able to be more courageous on behalf of others than for yourself? This is very common. Standing up for others is usually much easier to do as it is a kind act that can improve someone else's state of mind as well as build positive relationships with others. Showing courage and standing up for yourself however can be a difficult thing as it has more of an effect on you and sometimes what others think of you. Start standing up for yourself and what you are passionate about in the way that you would stand up for others, think of yourself as someone else in situations like this and this will build up your confidence and your courage.

Negativity is something that is more noticeable than positivity a lot of the time, when you are speaking publicly it can be very common to focus on the more negative people and let them drag you down however, one of the best ways to build your confidence with speaking is to focus on the people that are showing a more positive influence. Focusing on the positive is a great way to train your mind to associate courage and positivity rather than fearing a negative response. 

For more information about positivity please visit the posts titled "The Power of Positive Thinking" and "Think Yourself Positive".

To encourage some of these courageous traits you should surround yourself with people that show positivity and courage. A role model can be a constant reminder of what you can grow in to and the type of person you can be. It is completely natural to feel discouraged sometimes, at times like this it is good to channel your role model until it feels natural and their traits become part of your personality. Over time you will not feel the need to look up to someone for their confidence and courage and instead you will be able to look in the mirror and see the person you want to be.

Finally, you need to trust yourself. You have made it this far and you have tackled problems with courage and conviction in the past, trusting in your abilities is such an important part of building confidence and courage. Standing up for what you value, speaking out for others, taking action when you know you can and feeling capable of helping yourself are all forms of courage that cannot only helping yourself but the people that you love and possibly others that you may not even know yet. 

You are braver than you think.

Monday, 14 August 2017

What Your Body Language Says About You

Body language is often thought of and referred to being a way to show someone that you are attracted to them or to figure out if they are attracted to you, however the way that you hold yourself is more than for physical attraction. It is employability, confidence, comfort and many more things in your everyday life that you would not initially expect your body language to effect.

The way that you hold and present yourself to others can completely change what they think of you, you can seem more professional, more comedic, more relaxed. Your body language can say whatever you want about you and it is always an asset to know what you are revealing to others. When used appropriately strong body language can make you more approachable to others, more employable and can even help to motivate yourself and others.

Your body language can have a large effect on your life, in both business and personal life it is very important to consider your body language. We spend our lives learning how to understand other peoples behaviour but never our own body language. When you want to show other people how you are feeling in a more subtle way than speech then the use of body language can be a very positive and social practice when used appropriately, this isn't always easy to do, especially if you are not a particularly emotive person however this is an easier way to express the way you feel without oversharing or can even be a way to further emphasise something that you are discussing. 

  • Head

One of the most well known forms of body language is eye contact. It shows others when you are interested and focused as well as being able to show so many other emotions. When having a conversation with someone eye contact is very important because it can reveal your interest or disinterest in the topic you are discussing. Too much eye contact however can make the other person feel uncomfortable because extended or forced eye contact is considered an overcompensation of interest, however too little and you will seem disinterested also, it is all about finding a balance. 

Excessive blinking is normally considered a sign of lying, however it can also mean that you feel uncomfortable, nervous or worried. When talking to someone, try to focus on their facial features, look at their expression and you will find yourself distracted from your own nervousness whilst still remaining engaged in conversation. Smiling can also help with this as it will make you seem much more welcoming and confident so that overtime the nerves and worry will not be part of your focus. When you are truly smiling your eye muscles are engaged, therefore you will not blink as much or as fast. On the other hand, smiling with only the lips can be a very recognisable sign that the smile is insincere and can also be considered a sign of lying as it is a forced and compensational expression.

When you are having a conversation with someone have you ever noticed yourself touching your hair? This is a combination of nerves and flirtation, it brings attention to your facial features and neck which highlights the feeling of attraction. Touching the face is similar to the nerves associated with touching the hair however it also represents a heightened activity of the mind and shows interest in the subject, this can be applied to both professional and personal situations. Touching your nose is a very different form of body language in comparison to touching the face because it is an indication of lying. When someone is lying they produce more adrenaline and a side effect of this is an itching sensation in the nose, this does not mean that every time someone scratches their nose they are lying but it is the action that is mostly associated with not being truthful.

Showing interest with head movements is a very popular form of body language that is universal. Tilting your head is a very common sign of being considerate and counselling someone however the real reason why it is such a popular sign is because with the movement you are angling your ear towards the person you are talking to and this makes you appear much more attentive. Raising or furrowing your eyebrows can be both positive and negative as it is a true expression of peaked interest as well as confusion, when talking to someone you will often see their eyebrows raise which shows curiosity and interest in what you are saying whereas lowered eyebrows indicate fear, concern and confusion. Usually if you are not interested in a subject your face will remain unanimated and still. 

Nodding is another head movement that is understood by most people and can be used to communicate with others. Surprisingly the amount you nod shows how engaged you are, for example, if you nod in clusters of three it shows that you are interested and eager and will encourage more from the speaker, however if you nod only once it shows that you are relatively uninterested and this could cause the conversation to slow. Nodding once and averting eye contact shows either an understanding that a mistake has been made or that there is a complete lack of interest in the conversation, if it is a response to a mistake then it is normally considered a guilty response when lowering your gaze as it shows a vulnerability that is often seen with children and it usually encourages a parental response from others.

  • Body

Facial expressions aren't the only way to show emotions. The way you stand and the way you move your body can show off your personality and make a lot of changes to the way that you feel about yourself. Standing straight with your head up shows confidence and power, when you stand straight you are making yourself taller and more dominant which will give you an air of leadership. A development on this is standing with your legs apart which shows the same confidence however it also signals determination and is normally a form of body language that is used during an argument as a way to literally stand your ground. 

Sitting with your legs tightly crossed presents to others a closed view of yourself, as though you do not want to interact with others and would prefer to remain isolated. However this does not mean that you should slouch and splay your legs out carelessly in front of you as it will tell others that you are lazy and not capable of being professional. The goal is to find a balance, sit comfortably with your back straight and allow for your legs to relax so that you do not look too stiff, by sitting like this you will appear professional whilst still being approachable and friendly. 

When you stand do you often find yourself shifting your weight from one leg to another? If so this is normally a sign of being anxious or upset, the swaying motion is a way to comfort the anxious feelings and is a reflection of the mind shifting between thoughts. Crossed arms are normally paired with this stance as they usually represent anxiety, boredom or anger. One of the many ways to overcome this is to stand with your arms relaxed by your side or sit with your hands on your lap, you can replace the weight shift with crossing the ankles.

Slouching is one of the most well known negative parts of body language, it shows insecurity and a complete lack of confidence. When you slouch, you can look uncomfortable and in a bad state of mind which could cause people around you to show concern even if you feel fine. If you stand straight with your shoulders back then you will give the impression of being confident and in control. A constant sagging of the body tells others that you don't feel very good about yourself and could cause health problems with curving of the shoulders and problems with the disks and vertebrae in the spine. A good posture doesn't just make you more approachable now, it makes you more comfortable in the future. Leaning however, is not the same as slouching, you lean towards the people you like and pull away from those you don't, you can maintain an air of confidence when leaning in comparison to slouching that is unflattering overall.

  • Hands/Feet

Your hands and feet can reveal a lot about how you are feeling because they are usually the parts of our bodies that we fidget. When you shake or tap your feet it shows that you are anxious to leave, you want someones attention or you are in a hurry but you don't want to seem rude. It is a way of signalling that you are feeling pressured without yelling or engaging in conflict. Tapping your fingernails also represents this but a lot of people also use fingernail tapping as a way to concentrate on something which eventually becomes a habit that can go unnoticed. 

When thinking about body language hands are not always the first thing to come to mind, moving your hands whilst talking is very common and is simply a way to further express the subject that you are discussing however the way that you position your hands can give others a subconscious impression of you. Open your hands, this symbolises trust and being open to new ideas whereas closed hands or palms down shows that you are not flexible and can be very closed off. Hiding your hands by placing them in your pockets or holding them behind your back indicate signs of deceit and mistrust, instead use hand gestures when talking to someone as it shows energy and warmth as well as an interest in the conversation.

Picking at fingernails or messing with fingers is a sign on low confidence and timidity. Picking makes someone seem very nervous and vulnerable which is not something that most people want to advertise. Try holding your hands in a different position or holding something to keep yourself from picking, this will also help to make you appear more self assured.


Your body's actions, consciously and unconsciously, reflect your mental state and learning to control your body language can be very effective on your life and the ways that other people view you. It is always good to remember that during this time you do not need to make yourself feel worse about your body language, you can just work on finding ways to control it.

Every gesture, from a head tilt to a smile, tells a story. It is your turn to decide what you want to say.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Motivation Part 2

Previously I spoke about the different types of motivation and the importance of remaining motivated. This week I will be discussing different methods for motivation and ways to encourage constructive behaviour. Stress and anxiety are a controlling force in todays society which can cause a complete lack of motivation as well as confidence. The aim of this post is to not only encourage motivation but also to promote confidence and positivity which will further enhance the motivational thoughts.

To recap, there are four main types of motivation, all of which can be catered to different scenarios in life.

  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation - Turning energy into performance.
  • Motivational Confidence - Reinforcing your motivation with confidence building strategies.
  • Motivating People - Motivating others using creative language techniques.
  • Motivation and Reward - Keeping yourself and your team focused on the goal.

As well as the four types of motivation, there are also methods to help to encourage and maintain motivation that fall into the categories listed above. Some of which are small things that can be quickly incorporated into everyday life however some are methods that could take longer to take effect. Although some of the methods can show positive results quite fast, there is not always a quick fix, this will all take time and will need extended exposure to the methods to have lasting effects on everyday life.

  • Visualise yourself achieving your goals:

One of the best ways to motivate yourself in preparation for tasks or goals is to visualise yourself completing the goals. By picturing yourself achieving what you are aiming for it will help to push you further towards that end result and also allow for a slight sense of achievement before the goals have been accomplished that will motivate you further.

  • Plenty of sleep:

A good amount of sleep and a good diet can make a drastic change not only to your health but to your mind. When you are tired and hungry you will feel much less motivated and more sluggish, however with a decent sleep and a healthy diet you will feel much more refreshed during the day and open to more ideas, when you are feeling like this you may find yourself completing tasks quicker and feeling much more motivated and positive overall.

  • One step at a time:

Do not rush into things. Take one step at a time. You do not have to immediately immerse yourself in a project, take it slow and handle one small part at a time. When trying to rush through a task or rush towards a goal you can become overwhelmed and your mind can become cluttered. Focus on small tasks and know that with every completed task you are moving closer and closer to achieving your goals.

  • Reward yourself:

Another way to motivate yourself is to reward yourself for the things you have done. If you set yourself tasks to complete over a certain time frame then once they are completed you can treat yourself to further motivate you to complete future tasks. Another benefit to this is that you will have the choice of the rewards and these can be made larger or smaller depending on the size of the task but they will be personalised to you. 

  • Don't be self critical:

You are your own worst critic. It is one thing thinking about what you could have done better or giving yourself constructive criticism but it is another to doubt your abilities and negatively criticise yourself. Putting yourself down will discourage motivation and can be one of the hardest things not to do however by making a conscious effort to say "i could have done better and i will next time" in replacement to "i was awful at that" or "i could never do that" you will be able to think more positively about your abilities and feel much more motivated to complete tasks in the future.

  • Set yourself a deadline:

An easy way to motivate yourself is to give yourself some deadlines for your tasks. Do not be unreasonable with this, pair this with the smaller tasks that are easier to complete and the sense of achievement that you will feel can be very positive. Knowing that there is a deadline usually encourages time keeping, organisation and hard work, all of which are skills associated with motivation.

  • Clear your mind and focus only on the task:

A cluttered mind can be overwhelming and cause you to lose motivation completely due to stress and confusion. Spend some time clearing your mind so that you can focus on one task and complete that task much more effectively and efficiently. Drop the multitasking and just do one thing at a time. (for more information on clearing your mind please view the post about Decluttering the Mind)

  • Declutter your environment:

To clear your mind you must first clear your environment. When you are working in a clear space you allow more room for clear thinking, you won't be sat there thinking about the mess around you and can instead completely focus on the task in front of you. When working in a decluttered environment you will feel like you can get more done and this will further motivate you.

  • Allow for others to motivate you:

When you feel as though you are losing motivation, talk to someone. At times when you cannot motivate yourself you can open yourself up to motivation from others and allow for yourself to be encouraged by the people around you. When someone else is feeling down you are there to support them, this is a similar concept however rather then trying to improve your mood others will help to magnify your passion for the goals that you want to achieve.

  • Take a break:

Sometimes taking a break can be one of the best ways to get your motivation back. Stepping away from your tasks for a moment to re-evaluate and re-consider your plan of action can greatly improve your ability to complete the tasks in a more efficient manner. Stepping away from a goal does not mean that you are quitting or failing, it just means that you need some time away before throwing yourself back into the tasks.

  • Have realistic expectations:

Unrealistic expectations can completely discourage you from completing a task. You need to go into a task knowing what you are capable of and how far you are willing to push yourself. If you set yourself unrealistic expectations then you will bring on more stress and confusion than needed and will eventually need to either discard the goal or complete it to an undesirable standard. Another part of this is not comparing yourself to others, everyone has different capabilities and standards and you should only work to your own limits, do not try to compare or criticise yourself based on other peoples achievements. 

  • Don't be discouraged if things go wrong:

Things go wrong, it's the way of life, do not allow for yourself to be discouraged by a mistake. When something doesn't go as planned just work on resolving the issue in a calm and professional manner and continue, if it is beyond repair then take a break and start again. At times this can seem tedious however it is better to resolve the issues and progress than to give up and wish you hadn't. 

  • Affirmations:

Reading yourself affirmations can greatly improve a variety of things in your life, from positive thinking to motivation. Looking into a mirror and reading out positive things about your self, goals for the day and things you want to change can help to set all of them into motion because they act as a pep talk and hearing something can usually be digested better than simply just reading something, even if it is your own voice.

  • Reflect:

Think about a goal that you have tried to achieve in the past, have you succeeded? Or did you lose motivation? If the latter is the correct answer then reflect on the time that you lost this motivation, think about what caused it, think about how you would change that now. We are constantly changing as people and the way that we work and think changes with us. The way that you would have handled something 5 years ago, a few months ago even a week ago is always different in hindsight, go back to it and work on it the way you wish you had and picture the sense of achievement that you will feel when you finally finish this goal.


Motivation can be a difficult thing to achieve and an easy thing to lose however the act of working to keep your motivation surprisingly can encourage motivation, it is a strange thing but so incredibly effective. Positive thinking can have a massive effect on you motivated you feel so please give The Power of Positive Thinking post a read to help improve your motivation as well as your mind in general. 

It is always good to remember that it is completely normal to lose motivation occasionally, just don't let that consume you or damage your want to take on new tasks.