Moods – As Changeable As The Weather? By Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAs someone who is prone to low moods – by which I mean periods of days or weeks that I feel flat, and more negative, impatient, dissatisfied and heavy – what has been incredibly helpful to me is to understand the true nature of moods.

I used to think that there had to be something causing a bad mood, that they were an unwelcome deviation from being creative and switched on caused by some situation or person to be resisted at all costs. If someone or something was bringing me down then the logical thing was to work out what was doing it and try and fix it. As such I would routinely enrol those closest to me trying to diagnose the cause and cure, which was inevitably a fruitless exercise as I lacked the clarity and perspective to have any fresh thinking. Continue reading

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Why What Other People Say Need Not Affect Our Mood.

Bad moodsWe ended up going away for Easter and had a really lovely time in the countryside with the kids but when we got back my husband and I both somehow found ourselves in a low mood. I had been happy during our break but very tired. My husband had been in a slightly bad mood and not sleeping but when he was with the kids he was great. However to me it occurred that he was being a bit snappy.

I had been reading a book while we were away about a husband who undermines and snaps at his wife, deceives her and then doesn’t realise what he’s lost until there’s no going back. –So maybe that had seeped into my mind-set a bit. Continue reading

New Job / Old Job – Finding Wisdom In The Eye Of A Storm

Lightbulb momentToward the end of last year my husband was out of work and suggested it may be a good time for me to think about getting some part time work. He was very positive about the opportunity to look for something new and explore different avenues and I was happy for him but I wasn’t happy for me!

His situation brought up lots of past memories of the times I’d been made redundant.  Like my husband my background is in marketing both client and agency side. In my experience it’s quite a volatile market and my career path has had shall we say lots of twists and turns in it. This path has led to what I’m doing now teaching Innate Health which I see as a true expression of what I’ve done to date.  Therefore the thought of going back into working for someone else doing marketing again filled me with dread and self- oathing for all the things/overthinking I can now see I innocently did that held me back in my career and at times made me desperately unhappy. Continue reading

Family Relationships – An always on connection

Guest post by fellow overthinker Matt Halfin

Matts experience of family relationships bigger

For many years my mum has told me that when I was 13 I ‘turned’ from a  loving, model son into a rebellious, uncommunicative teen- and never turned back (I’m now 37 and counting). This always raises a groan, and latterly a smile from me, but turns out she might have been right…well partly…

Several years ago I was on a personal development course where I saw for the first time the degree to which my experience of past and present circumstances and the people in my life were a product of the judgements and interpretations I had made in my head rather than being true or objective as they had previously seemed (as I now see, only 100%). 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

It’s just a diary or is it? – Lessons from the ultimate search

Which diary do I choseMy husband had been out of work for 3 months so naturally we have been tightening our belts, but one new thing I needed was a new diary for 2016. Yes, I know I have a smart phone but for an old Luddite like me there something comforting and helpful about writing your commitments down and seeing a week on one page – on paper not a screen!

So I was very excited about the prospect of buying a diary. To me it was a treat something for me, something I could indulge in. Therefore I had lots of thoughts and expectations of what I wanted. It had to be A6 to fit in my handbag and pocket, but still have enough room for what I anticipated to be my increasingly busy and inspiring life. It had to be colourful and inspirational and it had to be an expression of me. You can see where this is going can’t you… Continue reading

Why I say ‘Bah Humbug’ to reflecting on last year and making resolutions for 2016

2015 is history 2015 is a mysteryThere are lots of posts in my head still to be written from 2015 but I’ll start with a new year’s post because it seems appropriate (and then if I delve into past reflections for future posts I’m sure you’ll forgive me).

So as the end of the year was approaching my husband suggested I reflect on the past year as he often finds this a constructive and helpful exercise. As I happened to be drifting in and out of a bad mood/negative state of mind, for me this was not a good idea and even though I sensed this couldn’t help myself. – I was drawn to reflect as he suggested and it did indeed prove to be a really bad idea!

You see we can view our lives in any colour of the rainbow depending on where our mood is. If we are feeling content we can see the past as rosy, if we are feeling sad we can see at as grey and we have feeling downright unhappy we can see it as very bleak indeed. Since our feelings come from our thinking if we dwell on something negative we are going to experience a negative feeling about it, and this what happened to me. Continue reading

Moods – Lessons From A Tired 4 Year Old Not Wanting To Go Home

dark clouds raining down on my 4 year oldSo I’ve just started a contract working 2 days a week and then 1 day a week I work for myself. This means that my eldest who is 4 and half has to join his brother at the childminders after school at least 2 days a week until 5.30pm or 6pm.

So last week I went to pick them up and I noticed he was a little upset about a Halloween bag my childminder had kindly got them both for a present. He didn’t want his and he was very upset when I insisted on taking his brother’s one home because he didn’t want him to have one either!

The bags had pictures of bats and spiders on, and I sensed this may be scaring him. As we were walking to the bus in the dark and the rain he got upset and told me he didn’t want the bag at home and I should throw it into a bush. I said no and told him that the bags just had pictures of bats and spiders on just like the pictures he drew of bats at home. He said no they were real and the rats he saw were real and everything was real, real, real!!!

We proceeded to have a ‘profoundish’ conversation about this for 5 minutes before we got into ‘I don’t want to go home, I just want to stand out in the rain!’ which he kept repeating and repeating and repeating! He looked so sad and tired all I felt was love and compassion for him so I kept reassuring him and saying ‘I know, I understand’ and then encouraging him to walk on. I then explained how it wasn’t good to stand out in the rain as we may get cold or worse and our feet would hurt, but he went on and on and on! 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.

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.