When does thinking become overthinking? By Matt Halfin

Too many lightbulb momentsMost of us who overthink know from the reaction of our friends and family that there are certain areas of life we take more seriously than other people, but when does thinking become over-thinking?

For me overthinking is when we inhibit the natural flow of life, tying ourselves (and often others) up in mental knots trying to work out The Answer, trying to anticipate any potential outcome, and basically not being able to see the wood for the trees. We of course do this in all innocence and with the best possible intentions – to make good decisions and minimise the risk of things happening to us that we think we might not like. Continue reading

Contemplating Valentines Days of the Past – Confessions from a ‘Suspicious Bridget’

Why am I singleWith the onslaught of Valentine’s Day fast approaching it’s got me thinking about my days/endless years as a single Bridget and how the thoughts I held to be true unknowingly kept me single for so long.

You see being an overthinker it will not surprise you know that I had a lot of thinking during my many years of being single. In fact looking back I would probably say I was at the zenith of my overthinking during this period of my life. Most of which I was not aware of until it came into my view. – So much thinking and mistrust of people/men especially in fact that I had an invisible force field around me to keep men away. – To the degree that my friends called me ‘Danger Stranger’ to my face and I still never got the hint!!! Continue reading

Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere If You Let It

butterfly pictureOver the summer my 4 year old suddenly started drawing beautiful pictures of butterflies. When I looked at them they were a source of wander to me, because although over time he has been gradually drawing people – first the face then the body, now adding legs, arms, hands and feet, he had never drawn like that before. To me it came out of nowhere and I got a very special feeling from looking at it, and not just one of love that came from being a parent.

On reflection what I see that inspired me was to me this picture appeared to come out of nowhere. That over the years he has been taking things in and building knowledge and wisdom and this came out on the page. I find this inspiring because as an adult we do things here and there never knowing where they lead. We learn and take in things from our surroundings and our lives we are not even aware of. Yet somehow we believe we know what we are capable of and put limits on ourselves based on what we think we can and can’t do when really we have no idea.

If you have enjoyed this and want to know more, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to offer you a half hour introductory Skype call at no cost. If you want to meet in person join our growing band of overthinkers at Overthinkers Anonymous. We will meeting up on Wednesday 16 September in Queens Park where we will be discussing ‘If it’s really true that there is too much to do and too little time to do it’ , it would be lovely to see you there.

Also if you or anyone you know have recently had a baby and want a chance to let off steam and get support from other mums as well as learn something that will help them deal with life with a baby then join me for our next NapChat on Thursday 17 September. To find out more click here.

Contemplations on Make Up and Money

make up and moneyThanks  to Lian Brook-Tyler who kindly originally published this article as ‘What A Fabulous Lipstick Taught Me About Happinness’ on the Born Happy website in August this year.

A few months ago I happened to be in Primrose Hill and feeling indulgent popped into Space NK tried on some green lipstick that enhanced your natural lip colour. To me it felt fabulous, but as I felt it was frivolous to spend money on something I didn’t need, decided not to buy it.

A month or so later I happened to be going to St Johns Wood on a course so I had two days to myself without the kids in tow (Yippee!). The lipstick had been on my mind, and since I knew there was a Space NK there too, I thought I’d treat myself to it. But that morning I went to withdraw money and there was none left in my account. Since I didn’t want to check it from my phone I realised I’d have to wait until I got home to see what had happened. I decided not to let it dominate my day and just enjoy my course which I did. (This was a huge achievement for me because in the past I would have obsessed about it all day and not been able to concentrate on anything else.)

At the end of the day I thought I’d try the lipstick on again anyway just in case my bank statement was wrong, so I did and I liked it. Then the sales assistant showed me a similar type of lipstick that was more expensive and had more ‘benefits’. I liked this one even more! I thought if I could wear this when I did my talk at Tikun that was being screened live, the lipstick would make me glow and I would feel fabulous!

Trouble was my bank statement turned out to be correct, so I couldn’t buy it even though it was really tempting. Then I thought: ‘Well, I’ll use this as an incentive to get clients and earn money so I can spend money on frivolous things like lipstick.” and got into very determined thinking. This led to more thinking about money and not having enough and not earning enough and not contributing enough!

What a lot of thinking I got into just from trying out a lipstick!

The funny thing is as people know me know, I’m not big into make-up. I see it as a treat and wear it sparingly except for on special occasions. Even thinking about make-up, gets me into lots of thinking about it! For instance, I was kindly given a voucher for my 40th birthday and I spent it on expensive make-up and sometimes when I look at it I feel bad cos even though I like, it I’m sure I could get similar products that were the same at a fraction of the price.

On reflection we buy into make-up and into conversations about needing things because we think it will make us feel good.

I didn’t have the special lipstick on when I did my talk at Tikun that’s now been watched by over 170 people. You can watch it here (start it at 2:00:54 as it’s unedited) and I felt fabulous and glowing and I know that wasn’t from the make-up… it came from inside.

My thinking about money and perceived lack of it was just that – thinking about money. Once I saw that all the obsessing and striving was coming from me and getting me no-where fast it naturally dropped away. My situation hasn’t changed. I have what I need and my family has what we need and that’s all that counts. If we didn’t I trust that I’d know what to do ensure that we did. So my circumstances are still the same but I don’t see money, or a perceived lack of it as a problem any-more. Nothing has changed… just my perspective.

That’s how life is, if you focus on something as a problem be it money, your job etc it becomes a problem until it doesn’t.

Now I guess I’m onto the next thing – lack of time anyone?!? Tee Hee.

If you have enjoyed this and want to know more, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to offer you a half hour introductory Skype call at no cost. If you want to meet in person join our growing band of overthinkers at Overthinkers Anonymous. We will meeting up on Wednesday 16 September in Queens Park where we will be discussing ‘If it’s really true that there is too much to do and too little time to do it’ , it would be lovely to see you there.

Also if you or anyone you know have recently had a baby and want a chance to let off steam and get support from other mums as well as learn something that will help them deal with life with a baby then join me for our next NapChat on Thursday 17 September. To find out more click here.

Lessons From Chicken Pox – Going With The Flow Of Life

Chicken pox!!!!Just over a month ago my eldest son got chicken pox. He was OK and it cleared up with 7 days.

The trouble was the week after he got it me and my husband were due to go to The 3 Principles Conference an annual event organised by Tikun (where I used to work) where the best teachers from around the world come to teach. We had managed to get childcare lined up for both boys for the 3 days and we were really looking forward to it.  As aside from getting to see all the speakers it was a chance for us to see lots of people we knew and catch up on a personal and professional basis.

The conference started on the Sunday and my eldest son was due to go back to school on Monday. As soon as my elder son got the chicken pox all our childcare started to fall through because people were concerned that either he or my baby (who was potentially a carrier of it) would pass it on.

Now people often ask me as a Three Principles teacher ‘if you trust that everything works out as it should.- Does that mean you sit around and let life happen to you?’ The answer to this question lies in how I responded to this situation. – I desperately wanted to go to the conference and resolved to do everything I could to make this happen but I was not attached to the outcome. What I mean by this is that deep down I knew that if it didn’t work out then that was meant to be. So when we found out that the various people who had been lined up to look after the kids couldn’t do it at very short notice, I didn’t panic, feel sorry for myself or get upset – I just set about finding someone who could.

After several phone calls I managed to find someone for the Monday and Tuesday to look after our one year old but not for the Sunday to look after both of them. – So we decided that I would stay home and my husband would go since he could only take Monday off work. I was fine with this and had a really lovely day with the kids. -Venturing to the local park where I met someone who had recently started a business doing baby massage locally. – So a very helpful contact for me as I’m keen to continue to teach mums of babies The 3 Principles in a way that works for them.

I went to the conference on the Monday only to find out at 3pm that the person looking after our baby could no longer look after him on the Tuesday. She recommended her sister so I visited her on the way home to see what she was like. Then I took my baby there the next day and only once I felt comfortable that he was happy, attended the conference.

The conference was a richer experience as a result because I truly appreciated every moment I was there. This experience humbled me as I saw that we are never really in control and that is OK. The pressure for things to work out as we want comes from us and us alone. Therefore the feelings and the drama that get associated with this like disappointment, upset, anger come from us alone also – not the situation.  If we are able to drop this and open to new possibilities who knows what can arise and if they don’t then that’s Ok too.

I will speaking on Wednesday 8 July at 8pm in Queens Park on ‘There is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself’ . It would be great to see you there. To find out more click here.

Contemplating Reality – Lessons From Sick Days Off School

Contemplating Reality - Lesson from sick days off schoolMy 3 year old was off school with a bug last week. It started with him throwing up in the middle of the night so we kept him home a day. Then he was well again so we sent him back to school but they sent him straight back because he had a temperature. That afternoon he was lively as anything. The day after he was very weak and lay on the sofa feeling really poorly. – To the degree that if the slightest thing went wrong – like the milk evaporated into his Weetabix in the wrong way I was in trouble! Meanwhile the baby now 10 months was in classic maniac mode – cruising round our living room like a mountaineer discovering new terrain without a safety harness. – So lots of tears there too!

Even though this lasted only a few days I really got a new appreciation for what Syd Banks could have meant when he said “The brain acts like a computer. Whatever you put into it is all you get out.“* I noticed I would go into the kitchen to ‘do something/take a breather/have a sneaky bit of chocolate’ and I would start to think about being desperate to get out of the house so I would feel claustrophobic.  Then I would be in the living room with the kids and I would start to think about all the work I had to do to get the questionnaire I was creating about ‘the emotional support available to parents of babies’ done and I would start to have feelings of impatience and stress. I would then not buy into these and they would pass naturally and then I’d be back with the children seeing how cute they were and feeling love and compassion again. Continue reading

Lessons From A Bottle Feeding Mum – How To Have Peace Of Mind When Life Doesn’t Work Out As You’d Expected Or As You’d Like

Getting over our beliefs about bottle feedingBefore I start this article I want to state for the record that I really believe in both natural birth and breastfeeding, they just weren’t meant to be for me. By sharing what I learnt from my experiences I hope that this will help give comfort to women who are struggling after having a baby, whatever challenges they are facing.

My first baby was back to back and was born eventually after a 4 day labour by emergency caesarean. Thanks to getting fit before the birth and having a degree of understanding about Innate Health  I was able to see the labour as a moment by moment experience and not be fearful about it. Therefore I was fine about the birth and had no negative thinking or feelings about it afterwards. It was the shock of trying to breastfeed and not being able to that really affected me.

I was so exhausted from the birth I wasn’t producing enough milk so he got jaundice in hospital and I had to start topping him up with formula. We took him home and I sought out lots of breastfeeding support and started on the road of obsessively pumping through the night to try and produce more milk to satisfy his ever increasing needs. In the meantime we fed him via various methods from cups to finger feeding (with a syringe) a mix of formula and breast milk. In the meantime I became so determined to breastfeed to the extent that this became my focus to the detriment of my relationship with my baby and my husband.

Unfortunately all this thinking and obsessing about breastfeeding really affected my state of mind to the degree that I didn’t speak to my friends or really leave the house for about 5 weeks until after he was born. Eventually I felt I couldn’t try anymore and so gave up. This left me feeling very guilty and upset that I had let my baby down for a long time after, as I felt I had not been able to provide for my baby in a natural way. Eventually after about a year a half of seeing my baby was just as healthy as everyone else’s I made peace with myself about it and realised the baby would be absolutely fine.

I have since spoken to mothers who have breastfed successfully but found it very difficult for various reasons, be it mastitis or whatever complications, who managed to carry on but also felt equally effected by the experience. Someone even told me they had extreme feelings of guilt having breast fed successfully for one year but had to give up because they had to go back to work.

With my second baby I tried again for a natural birth but never went into labour so ended up with another cesarean. Again my baby fed well in hospital but was too hungry and I couldn’t provide what he needed so I had to top up with formula. Again I got breastfeeding support and again I hired a pump and pumped when I could. The difference was that this time I realised that maintaining a healthy state of mind and building the bond with my baby as well as looking after my toddler was more important than obsessing about breastfeeding. I did what I could when I could but to no avail, so I ended up with another bottle fed baby. I made peace with myself very quickly this time because I realised I was only hurting myself with my thinking about feeling guilty and he would be absolutely fine.

The reason I’m writing this is to say that it’s not breastfeeding or bottle feeding that is the problem. It’s what we do to ourselves by taking our thinking and ‘our beliefs’ so seriously and judging ourselves that’s the problem. While I experienced the prejudices of people against bottle feeding I know breastfeeding mothers experience prejudice about their choices as well. We can internalise this and get upset about it or we can just let it wash over us and let it pass, because the more we internalise it and take it seriously the more we are hurting ourselves and no one else.

This experience helped me to see that beliefs are just thinking that we take very seriously. They are not right or wrong. As Grayson Perry says in one of his tapestries ‘Hold your beliefs lightly’. – This is something that thanks to this experience I am learning to do.

When you care passionately about something and life doesn’t work out for you in the way that you’d anticipated, it’s very compelling to beat yourself up for it, which leads to enduring feelings of guilt. By doing this you are only hurting yourself and prolonging the pain. If you can learn to accept that we all do the best we can in any given moment (given what we know at the time) and that none of us are ultimately in control, no matter how much we’d like to be. – Then you can make peace with circumstances you find difficult in your life rather than keeping them alive with your thinking and prolonging your pain.

Get in touch
If what I’ve written resonates with you and you would like some postnatal support via Skype or in person get in touch to find out about one-to-one sessions either by calling me on 07901 514 113 or filling out the form below.

Lessons From An Upset Stomach – Learning To Live In The Present

Being in the presentA few weeks ago we were due to go a good friend’s wedding. It was going to be the first time we had gone out without the baby and because I was so happy they were getting married and I knew it would be really special I was really looking forward to going.

Then on the day before the wedding, disaster struck. I went to bed feeling not quite right and spent the night with an upset tummy.  The next morning it continued. As well as not feeling well, I started to think into the future about the wedding about how I may not be able to go and this made me very upset. I could have taken some pills to help (how can I put this delicately) stop my ‘ailment’ but I felt I should let it ‘run’ its course (tee hee). Alongside this I started to have thinking about it being more than just something that could be solved by taking something to stop it – to being a bug that could be passed on to others despite none of my family having any sign of having it. This made me think more about the future and not going to the wedding, thus feeding my upset. Continue reading

An Insight About Insights From Potty Training

lightbulb moment in potty trainingFor the past few months I’ve been trying to potty train my 3 year old. A friend of mine who has 6 children and a good knowledge of the 3 Principles told me that potty training is just like thinking in the sense that when we are ready to drop thought we just drop it. It’s not something  we can make ourselves do – ie If you’re in a bad mood or have negative thinking about something the more you tell yourself to stop thinking about it the more you think about it! – Just so with potty training. If a child is ready to go to the toilet they are ready and no amount of cajoling bribing and anything else can make them.

I’ve discovered this is very true! The nursery my son went to was encouraging me to potty train him a few months ago when the baby was born and even though we had misgivings about it, we tried but he just didn’t seem to care if weed or poohed wherever he was. Despite trying to encourage him onto the potty with sweets and other incentives he just wasn’t interested. So we put him in pull ups and just took him to the toilet regularly.

Continue reading

Too Much Choice! – Are Too Many Options Bad For Our Health?

mobile phone choices I just had to get a new mobile phone because my old one had stopped working deleting my entire address book from when I first got a mobile phone in its wake! Joy! –Not even putting it in rice as my 3 year old suggested could save it this time!

What struck me about this was the amount of choice and options I had and how much information there was to steer me in different directions. I went into 2 phone shops on 3 days running to look into what I should get and then spent an additional 2 hours on the computer checking my bill history and researching further. As we all know with the internet there is no end to the research you can do and in terms of reviews you can always find someone who has found a fault with something!  – And even though we know that’s the case part of us wants to doubt our choices and use the ‘research’ as evidence. Even when I thought I had chosen the phone and the tariff and was about to make a purchase I was given even more options which led me into another spiral of thinking and doubt. By then I’d had enough of the overthinking and analysis so just went with the phone I had agreed with my husband was a good option the day before. Continue reading