Goodbye to 2020, the year that caught us ALL off guard. 2021: New Year, New Start? We certainly hope so.
But, if we still have this pandemic…have to be in lockdown…anticipate the vaccination… hold off seeing our loved ones, where is the new start? It can feel demoralising, frustrating and cause a ton of anxiety.
In all honesty the only changes we can make will take place within ourselves. What transformed my life and still does, every day, is something that I learned when I studied with a Buddhist monk:
A simple but powerful mantra for living an anxiety free life.
But what does it mean? It means to not try and resist the reality of what’s happening right now. Instead, accept it.
A fundamental principle of Buddhism is that ‘anxiety lives in between the gap of where we are now but wishing it were different.’
How many of have sat in front of our screens wishing for things to be different? I have. But...
It's becoming a regular part of the conversation: What’s happened to my brain?
Dealing with life in lockdown is making us more forgetful than normal. It seems we can't plan or make decisions and our cantankerousness has gone through the roof. We’re so far from the well-organised, competent adults we used to be. In fact, this second lockdown seems to be ten times worse than the first.
We know that as soon as we become stressed, anxious, depressed or suffer from any kind of trauma, our brain becomes impaired. The brain goes into a very rudimentary state of cognitive ability so that all the routine things that we do every day are going to be OK because we’re biologically hardwired but as soon as we need to do anything that requires higher order planning or thinking outside the box, we're going to find this more difficult.
Because of the stress and anxiety that the pandemic is creating, we’re...
There are times when life throws you the most enormous challenge, and this is one of them. Tier 4, lockdowns and the Covid pandemic are creating havoc. And now, Christmas is cancelled.
When we feel particularly distressed, anxious or depressed, self-soothing is the perfect antidote. This is a way to calm ourselves, especially when everything seems to be going wrong.
It’s a way to nurture and comfort ourselves that’s so simple you may not believe it will work. I can promise you it does and is so effective that you may continue to practice it long after lockdown.
Follow these 8 suggestions to help bring about a sense of calm in these crazy days.
There’s no point in doing anything else. Hand wringing, getting angry and wishing things were different won't make a jot of difference. In fact, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Trying to change the unchangeable is like pushing wet sand, it just gets harder, creates stress hormones and...
Christmas is known as 'The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.'
But is it?
As millions are preparing their homes, wrapping gifts and getting excited for the holiday, others are getting seriously stressed out. Add in the complication of Covid 19 and you could have a recipe for a personal mental health disaster.
I used to suffer debilitating anxiety and found ways of isolating myself from Christmas get-togethers to keep it down to manageable levels.
It was the increased pressure to spend time with extended family, the expectation to be 'happy' and mixing with people who were having a great time that was difficult. I felt extra sad that I just couldn't be as happy as everyone else. On the outside I looked like the party girl but inside I was crying.
Before I was able to beat the anxiety, I remember the one Christmas that turned into a nightmare. Thursday just before Christmas Day and I’d just left one party and was heading home to Lymington to pick up my...
There are several secrets about anxiety that you didn’t know and which I’m going to share with you over the coming weeks.
The #1 you may not know is this:
Whether you suffer from OCD, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), sexual anxiety, eco anxiety, health anxiety, financial anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, general anxiety disorder etc., the origin of all anxiety is the same. It all comes from a deep-seated fear because fear is the root of all anxiety.
Fear of what? … I can hear you asking. A fear of something that you have seen, heard or thought. But, as is the way with our minds, it’s much more complex than simply being afraid, it’s being afraid of something that you cannot control.
Before we look at anxiety itself imagine, if you will, walking along the pavement when you see in the corner of your eye a car...
We’re upset and we’re angry and we’re grieving. We’ve suddenly lost everything that we'd not only been taking for granted, but also had never considered would be taken away… twice! Who could have foreseen that there would be strict rules about leaving the house in 2020?
Yes, we got through it the first time but then it was a bit of a novelty, at least to start with. A bit weird - like Armageddon come to life. But now we have to do it again and we know what shutdown feels like and we’re mourning the life we knew.
Of course, it’s important to acknowledge that many people are thriving through this shutdown, let’s not forget that. There are also thousands who have lost someone because of Covid-19, an unimaginable pain and scenario that pales in comparison to frustrations about our day-to-day lives.
But there is a different sense of loss about losing the life we had and it’s leaving...
We keep hearing the phrase ‘the new normal.’ But what’s going on in the world isn’t normal, far from it. It’s crazy, like it’s all gone quite mad: lockdowns, protests, deaths, clashing data, overflowing hospitals, viruses, isolation, economic disasters, environmental meltdown. Who knows where this is going? No one!
In the midst of all of this, what’s become more apparent is that we need to take care of our mental health more now than any other time.
How about we don’t just take care of our mental health, how about we actually use this unprecedented time to make ourselves really, really serene and invite peace into our lives?
I have a trick up my sleeve I’d like to share with you. It’s hard won because it’s taken me years to cultivate. But, I have it honed! This is now a part of my daily routine. I use it to lighten my mood and make myself feel calm. It’s so simple you might dismiss it out of hand for its...
Whether it’s OCD, Pure O, Post traumatic stress disorder, sexual anxiety, eco anxiety, health anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, general anxiety disorder etc., fear is a very physical reaction to something scary that you have seen, heard or thought. You may have seen a car driving up on the pavement next to you. That would cause anybody to be frightened. “Oh my God is it going I hit me? I better run as fast as I can the opposite direction.” You may hear a scream from someone close by. That would trigger fear – what the hell was that? What’s going on?
If that car is mounting the pavement, you just react - you don’t think about it. In fact, you have no control over how you react. Just like when you’ve got a tummy ache, you don’t have the control to fix it. Yes, you can take medication and hope that fixes the problem but you are not fixing the reason...
Here is another excerpt from my Anxiety Tool Kit video course, where we look at how anxiety controls your life:
When you’re very anxious, It’s impossible to be rational because the brain is in survival mode and it’s not able to receive or process rational explanations. At the same time it’s important to understand how anxiety is controlling you because it will help you stop beating yourself up for not being able to easily overcome it.
You’ve signed up to this program because you want to overcome anxiety, but the anxiety is stopping you from grasping how this program works. So, I’m going to be your rational brain and give you just enough information to help you see why you need to do what I ask you to do.
So, imagine you are driving the car down the road and a cat runs out. Immediately the fear spikes and then the brain follows up by assessing the critical risk. In a split second it thinks: can I slam the brakes on in time?...
It’s super important to understand how anxiety starts. And unsurprisingly, it all starts with fear, fear of something you’ve seen heard or thought. Something stressful or scary.
The fear kick-starts a reaction and that fear is always fear of the unknown - whether it’s real or imagined.
The brain listens to our fear and when we indicate we feel stressed or frightened it knows we need help.
This is a normal response by a normal, and healthy, brain. It is the brain’s job to keep us alive. By jolting us into action, it’s fulfilling its role.
Consequently, it will kick-start the adrenals, which shoot out a hormone called cortisol.
This cortisol acts as a super charger, giving us extra strength for either fighting or fleeing. It can make us see better, respond faster, hear better and become more aware of everything around us so we don’t miss anything that could be a threat.
It’s called the “fight or...