Time for a change?

The UK’s biggest ever online test into stress, undertaken by the BBC’s Lab UK and the University of Liverpool, has revealed that rumination is the biggest predictor of the most common mental health problems in the country.

The report goes on to say that a bit of self-reflection can be a good thing but not when thoughts get stuck on repeat, playing over and over again in the mind? The research even suggests that a person’s psychological response is a more important factor that what has actually happened to them.

Sharing the principles with people can help them to understand that they don’t have to keep going over and over the same events and getting swamped by their thoughts and one of the most hopeful messages from the report comes from Dr Ellie Pontin who says, “It can be very hard to be told your problems are because of what you have experienced in the past or your genetics, things you can’t change. The way you think and deal with things can be changed.”

Angela Clow, professor of psychophysiology at the University of Westminster says, “and helping someone tackle negative thought processes is not something that has to be done exclusively by clinical psychologists.”

Vive Le Revolution! Time to unleash the Three Principles onto the world!

 

Letting go of thought

Many years ago my dad died, my nan died and my step-brother was murdered all within a few months of each other.  My daughter, Lucy, was around three and a half at the time and, even though I tried to shield her, was aware of my grief.

One evening as she and I walked up the stairs on the way to putting her to bed we saw a ladybird on the stairs.  Lucy got excited and shouted, “look a ladybird.”  We stopped to look at the little bug and I saw that it had clearly breathed it’s last breath and so I said, “Sorry Lucy, it’s dead.”  She put her little fists on her hips and said, “Well, I’m fed up with this.”  I couldn’t have put it better myself.

I often think of that moment and it still makes me laugh.  The truth and perception that children exhibit is wonderful and isn’t it even more wonderful to know that we still have access to that same truth and perception.

The ability that we have as children to let go of thoughts appears to diminish as we get older and we learn to hold on to resentment, upset and grief.  We might replay something upsetting that happened in the past or imagine a worrying future that keeps us awake at night.

When we realise that we create these feelings through the thoughts we are having, it’s liberating.  It’s a gift to be able to let go of habitual upsetting thinking and return to our innately healthy state the way we do as children.

So, when I notice that I am getting overwhelmed by my own thoughts I like to, metaphorically, put my fists on my hips and say, “I’m fed up with this!”

 

Are you a TOFI?

Are you a TOFI?  I’m not talking about the brown stuff that sticks to your teeth.  I’m asking if you are Thin Outside, Fat Inside?

This is when someone who looks an average weight is storing visceral fat inside. This fat is the stuff we should be concerned about and yet we always focus on the subcutaneous fat that we see in the mirror.  Why is it that when we look in the mirror and breathe in, somehow, the fat that looks like it disappears from our stomach reappears around our rear?

Isn’t it strange how we focus on what’s on the outside without thinking about what’s happening on the inside?  How many times do we look at the outside as a cause of the upset feeling we’re having on the inside? We blame the traffic jam for our stress, or our bad mood on the argument we had in the morning about where the last person to drive left the car keys.  (Surely, I didn’t leave them next to the lettuce in the fridge?)

If you’re feeling less than healthy, chances are you’re eating the kind of food that is storing up trouble inside.  If you’re feeling stressed or unhappy, chances are you’re not looking inside to see where that feeling is coming from and you’re assuming it’s coming from outside.

Instead of looking at what’s been created, the ill health or the bad mood, look at what’s doing the creating? What’s causing the build up of visceral fat?  What’s causing your unhappy feeling?  Getting an understanding of the inside-out nature of life prevents you becoming a victim of circumstance and, generally, when we feel better – we eat better.  It’s win win.

So, instead of being a TOFI embrace the inside-out nature of life and become a HIHO, Happy Inside, Happy Outside – yes, I know, but it’s no worse that TOFI and I didn’t make that one up!

 

Are you having a good day?

Are you being good or bad today?  I don’t mean good as in doing what you’re told to do and not answering back.  Nor do I mean bad as in ‘borrowing’ a pair of scissors from the office stationery cupboard to take home and cut your fringe.  Oh, wait a minute, was that just me?

I mean, if you grabbed a danish pastry or a sausage roll from the bakers on the way to work for your breakfast, does this mean that you’ve been ‘bad’.  I’ll admit that this isn’t the wisest breakfast choice nutritionally, but does that mean that you’ve been bad or, even more, that the whole day has to be a ‘bad’ day?

I’ve had so many weight loss clients come to me and tell me that they have ‘good’ or ‘bad’ days and, when I ask them what they typically eat during the day, they even give me separate lists for their good days and bad days.

Making an unwise choice for breakfast doesn’t mean it has to be a bad day or that you have to continue making unwise food choices for the rest of the day.  It just means that you made an unwise choice.  Full stop.  Holding on to thoughts about how bad you are because you had a sausage roll would be as crazy as holding on to an angry thought all day about how your other half should have put a new toilet roll onto the holder.  And you wouldn’t do that.  Would you?

Let go of thoughts about the sausage roll (and the toilet roll!) and remember that the quality of the day comes from the quality of the thoughts you are having and not from anything on the outside.

Have a good day everyone.

What to do if you feel sad

This morning I woke up feeling sad.  And I immediately thought, “I wonder why I feel sad?’  Now, like most other human beings on our planet there are numerous reasons why I might feel sad ranging from money issues to the fact that somehow, overnight, the face I see in the mirror looks like it belongs to my mother.

 

Back in the day, I would have listed to myself all the reasons I might feel sad trying to find the one that was affecting me and with each reason I would take myself deeper into the feeling.  Well, with all the reasons I had no wonder I felt sad, after all, who wouldn’t?

 

Our mind is like a google search engine and each thought we have sets off an internet search.  In seconds we can have thousands of results relating to the thought we had.  Now, these thoughts come in and go out before we have a chance to process them, or for consciousness to bring them alive, but we still feel the affect of thinking them.

 

It’s impossible not to feel your thinking. And, as thinking beings, it’s impossible to stop thinking.  So why would I list all the thoughts that make me sad in order to feel better?  It ain’t gonna happen.  When we get into a groove of thinking worrying, anxious, sad thoughts, notice we’re in that groove and let go of the thoughts so they can float away, stop poking the feeling and it will pass.

 

So, this morning I woke up feeling sad.  And I immediately thought, “I wonder why I feel sad?”  And then I had another thought and the feeling passed.  Even though I still looked like my mother in the mirror.