Friday, 29 July 2011

Living Your Healthy Life With The 3 Ms

I've been working with people for a while now and experience has led me to the conclusion that focusing on three key areas can do you and your mental, phyiscal and spiritual health a lot of good.

I call these areas the '3 Ms' and - in no particular order of importance - they are as follows:


Mindfulness means paying attention to whatever is going on at this very moment - sometimes referred to as 'being in the zone' and include things like:
  • Smelling the roses on a walk or watching a deer
  • Consciously eating your food without doing anything else simultaneously
  • Actively listening to someone speaking with an open mind
  • Focusing on writing a report with no distractions
  • Playing with your child

Why is mindfulness really important to your health? Because you are focusing on the now which is where you are truly alive and not in the the past or the future.

When you think about the past and the future, worries and fears are likely to come into your mind causing some degree of anxiety and negative emotion which are damaging to your health.


Meditation is helpful because - like mindfulness - it helps you to focus on the now.

Meditation takes many forms - even day-dreaming counts - and you can join a meditation or yoga class to learn from experienced practitioners.

You can also listen to a relaxation CD or visit a therapist who uses meditation as part of their practice.

Everyone has experienced some form of meditation and so you already know how to do this.

You already know that meditation makes you feel at peace - even gazing out of a train window without thinking of anything else counts.


Perhaps you are someone who likes exercise or perhaps not. Many people associate the word exercise with going to a gym or something else that 'is not for me'.

I use the word movement to aim to remove this association as it can mean anything which involves moving your body.

In my experience, this term works for even the most 'anti-exercise' individual as long as it meets the 2 following condition:
  • It's something you enjoy doing i.e. it is fun (I'm sure you can think of a number of things)
  • It can be incorporated into your daily life rather than being an add-on to an already busy day

Examples of this second condition would be taking the stairs rather than the lift at work, lifting dumb bells whilst watching or listening to the news or going for a walk at lunchtime.

For all but the most debilitating health conditions there is usually something we can do to generate the positive feel-good chemicals - including serotonin (the happy coping chemical that counters depression) and noradrenalin (the motivational neurotransmitter) - which movement helps us produce.

I hope you find this post useful and would love to receive your feedback - just leave a comment or contact me at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Being Happy

For all of my clients 'being happy' is at the heart of their goals and objectives whether these relate to work, personal or life in general.

This blog lays out quite simply my thoughts on how to 'be happy' or any other state for that matter - peaceful, focused, hedonistic, confident...

States such as happiness are nominalisations i.e. what is happiness to you is different to what is happiness to me.

Firstly, we need to work out what happiness - or peaceful or confidence - is to you in the context that you want it, for example, in your career.

We do this by answering the following questions:
  • What would you notice if you were happy in your career that you have control over? For example, a different boss may not be realistic if you want to stay in your current role.
  • What would be different to what you are currently experiencing that you have control over?
  • What would you see, hear and feel that would tell you that you are happy in your role?
  • What would you realisitcally be doing if you were happy in your role?

Having identified what 'Being Happy' means to you, in the context in which you want it, the next step is really to simply 'Be Happy'.

You can 'Be Happy' by acting out the answers to your questions over and over.

Repeating these actions habitually creates a neural pathway in your brain and each repetition reinforces it. Hence the adage 'what you focus on is what you get'.

After reading that you might think 'It's too simple. Things just don't work like can't just be happy'.

Learning new habits is difficult - especially if you haven't walked such a path for many years - but you can do it and you will do it if you are 100% committed to achieve your happiness.

Enjoy this journey and let me know where you end up by responding to this post.

If you would like support on your journey sign up for a Complimentary 'Better Results Today' coaching session at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Coach Yourself Confident

The most common coaching objective includes an individual wanting to increase their confidence at work and in social situations.

It is really important to know that confidence is a learned behaviour, so in order to increase it we need to practice being confident in the same way that we need to practice to acquire any skill such as riding a bike.

A good starting point is to think about things which you are sure of - where you are already confident - as a foundation on which to build.

List these in an 'Achievement Journal' and every time you take on a challenge - at work or socially - make a note in your journal.

At the end of each month you can read through your journal and be proud. Furthermore, noting - or 'journalling' - your achievements in this way will become a good habit which is easy to keep up.

Being confident does not preclude mistakes - it relates to values which you would not compromise on, such as, defending someone whose life is being threatened.

Also lack of confidence is just a label we give ourselves and it not written through us like words in a stick of rock.

Another tip is to create a strong and leading voice in challenging situations which overrides the 'I can't do' voice.

The best thing to do to sabotage your confidence is to try to please other people. Instead, aim to be respected or interesting or even controversial, not liked.

To practice being confident choose to do something daring. For example, a client of mine recently went speed dating and enjoyed it because he met some interesting people.

Presenting ourselves to others in social situations and big groups is not the fondest way to spend time for many people but if you know how to do it you can make it at least more bearable.

Before you enter any challenging situation - like a business networking event or meeting new people socially - assume the tree pose.

Imagine your feet are rooted to the ground, make your legs strong and tighen your core and then pull your shoulders back and smile with your eyes i.e. with a slightly turned up mouth not grinning like an ape.

Ask open-ended questions which start with 'What' and listen as trite and friendly is all people want when they first meet a new person.

Perhaps most importantly when it comes to building your confidence and surviving in difficult situations, create a mental firewall so you can hear and refuse to be affected by others' negative opinions.

Please do let me know if this blog helps you and please visit our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Could Coaching Improve Your Life?

What have you done for you lately?

Perhaps you are a leader / manager in an organisation and have significant changes to lead and manage moving forwards in a challenging economic climate.

I think it may be helpful to you to explain the most common areas that I provide coaching for so that you can decide if coaching might be helpful to you now.

About 40% of clients have or are about to take on a new role - often with a transformational / change remit requiring upskilling in a number of areas often related to communication, such as influencing, negotiating and delegating as well as requiring them to act as a confidential sounding board for ideas and decisions.

About 30% experience challenging personal and work issues resulting in symptoms such as stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and low confidence.

I help clients to understand how their mind works providing them with a number of tools they can immediately use to gain quick and lasting relief and results.

About 20% feel stuck or at a crossroads in their career, not knowing what path to take to achieve the life they want.

I help these clients to articulate clear goals and objectives, to move at their pace, to be inspired and to achieve their purpose in life.

The standard programme I offer involves six sessions over six months - though some cients prefer a session every every second or third month whilst they still have challenges and goals.

For every client-coaching relationship the objective is to help you to achieve better outcomes, more smoothly and quicker than would be the case on your own.

I would really like to help you to sky rocket your life so please visit our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling where you can book a Complimetary 'Better Work Results Today' Session session.

As an added bonus, I am currently offering website visitors 'The Ultimate Relationship Building Workbook' which contains tips, tools, strategies and techniques which I have successfully applied over two decades in business.

Monday, 11 July 2011

How Your Mind Works

You may already know that your thinking determines the quality of your life.

Why is this and how does it work?

When we have a negative thought pattern such as 'I am not good enough / not loved enough / not confident enough' these thoughts are converted into anxiety because our minds do not distinguish between what we think and what is real.

There are two main ways in which we create negative thought patterns - Negative Introspection about the past and Negative Forecasting about the future.

For example - 'I shouldn't have said x / should have said y / shouldn't have done z' or 'I won't be able to do x' or 'I won't feel comfortable doing y' or 'I am dreading doing z'.

When our anxiety goes up a number of things happen.

Our serotonin levels drop - the neurotransmitter responsible for us feeling happy and coping - as well as our noradrenalin levels - the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation.

Does this sound familiar at all? When did you last feel anxious or demotivated and what triggered this?

When our anxiety levels go up our intellectual control and our ability to function rationally as an adult goes down.

When our intellectual control goes down our subconscious / unconscious / emotional mind takes over and - according to experts - this part of our mind has the intellectual age of a seven-year-old.

Our subconscious mind always responds with three primitive response patterns which we have inherited from our ancestors - anger, anxiety and depression - and sometimes two or more of these.

Symptoms vary greatly and include stress, low self-esteem, feeling low and self-medicating for example with alcohol.

Our subconscious mind is vigilent, not innovative and always looks at things from a negative viewpoint - looking for the reasons why not to do something so when we are in the 'negative loop' we will not be fed solutions - rather we will we fed all the reasons to justify the initial negative thought.

Most of us do not want to live our lives out as a seven-year-old particularly as at that age we are not great at solving adult problems.

Clearly the key is to challenge the negative thoughts which arise in the first place - even if there are compelling reasons for thinking that way - because the route is always to end up in an emotional childish place.

We need to catch the negative thought consciously - thinking about it or saying it out loud or writing it down.

Next we need to challenge the negtaive thought - is this helpful? The answer is always 'No'.

Then we need to change the negative thought into something more positive - even if it is a challenging belief to come to terms with.

When we have a positive perspective we stay calm and in intellectual control - there is no need for the emotional mind to step in.

The reward for persevering with this technique is a better functioning mind able to find life relatively easy and having a better quality of life.

Please let me know how you get on by leaving a comment or by getting in touch via my website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.