How To Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs by Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAt a moment where uncertainty, fear and anger are all around, there is no greater need to understand that our experience comes not from what is happening around us but by the meaning that we choose to give it, however much it looks the other way. You may notice that watching the news or reading Facebook comes with certain feelings, whilst when we are absorbed in our day to day lives those feelings recede, the reason being that we feel our thinking in the moment. The most helpful thing for us to do is to see any insecure thinking for what it is and as far as possible – difficult I know- try not to feed it.

All we can do is what makes sense to each of us to stay in a clearer state of mind where we have greatest access to the wisdom, creativity and fresh thinking which are undoubtedly required if we are to navigate our way gracefully through the unknown .

If you would like to get a deeper appreciation of what becomes available to us in life and in work when we drop the thinking that holds us back come and join our ‘Go Deep Urban Retreat’ on Monday 11 July 9.30am – 4pm. To find out more and to book click here.

 

That Insecure Feeling – Reflections from a sunny day with stormy thinking

FearIt’s funny I was having a lovely day enjoying the sunshine with my toddler and all of a sudden I started to feel a bit angsty and a bit insecure. Then I started to question myself about things I’d said and not said, done and not done which led me to more insecure feelings. Sometimes I can experience these feelings and then blame them on feeling tired and somehow that takes the edge off them because I naturally know not to trust them no matter how alluring they seem. Other times these negative thoughts draw me into their web and then whatever happens in the day I seem to use them as ammunition to fuel that thinking and make myself feel worse and worse. Continue reading

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

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.

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

Why People’s Insistence That You Move Onto The Next Life Stage Need Not Bother You

Life CycleMy baby has recently turned 6 months old and for the last month or so, people have started saying ‘Aren’t you going to wean him now?’ This didn’t bother me but it struck me that in the past I have allowed comments like this to really affect me. Why is everyone in such a hurry for people to move onto the next stage in their lives?!? It’s like when you have a partner people say ‘when are you going to get engaged?’ and then when you are engaged they say ‘When are you going to get married?’ Then as soon as you are married they say ‘When are you going to have a baby?’

I remember when we were desperate to have a second child and it just wasn’t happening and I took this very badly and was upset and emotional for months about it. People kept saying things like ‘Shouldn’t you be having another one by now’ and to me this felt like they were stabbing me because I took it very personally. I was lucky enough to be studying on The 3 Principles Professional Institute at the time. I remember my supervisor Dr Aaron Turner pointed out that people were just innocently saying what they were saying. It was me who was creating the experience of what they were saying that was affecting me, not them. It was only when I could see that I was causing pain to myself that I was able to hear these comments and not be affected.

I now see that people innocently ask life cycle questions just as they would ask what the weather is like and it’s up to us how we hear and interpret these comments and how we let them affect us or not.

Expectations Are Your Enemy And Not Your Friend

Picnic in the kitchenJust over a week ago we were planning a family day trip to the countryside for the first time since the baby was born. We were very excited about the trip and despite the rain got up early to make our picnic. As we were about to leave the baby woke up for another feed, the weather took a turn for the worse and when my husband checked the traffic report it was dire. Despite our desperation to go we realised it wasn’t going to be a good idea.

We were both very disappointed and half-heartedly scrabbled around on the internet for an alternative plan, but none really appealed to us. We started to feel very downhearted and fed up. In the past this would have led my husband and I on a downward spiral resulting at us snapping at each other all day. But that day we decided not to let it get the better of us.

In the spirit of having our day trip my husband set up the picnic on the kitchen floor and insisted on having the door open to make it more real even though I was  freezing! He kept saying ‘Well at least we are not at the Glastonbury Festival in the mud’ – which I very much appreciated. – Since the year we went it was mudtastic and hence bickertastic (but that’s another story).

I in the meantime managed to arrange for us to go to friends nearby and we ended up having a lovely afternoon. We even had a glass of wine which may not be much to you but to us felt very grown up and indulgent! I’m not saying we didn’t have a few thoughts about still feeling we wanted to escape but we managed to put these aside for the most part and have a good time. We even joked about how we had travelled to another London borough even though it was only a 5 minute drive away.

When I reflect on this experience it wasn’t the fact that we weren’t able to go on our planned day trip that was the problem it was our expectations about the day that caused us to have to unhappy thoughts. In the past these could have led us to having disgruntled thoughts about our lives and worse! -Instead of appreciating what we have.

Because we both deeply know about the power of thought we just didn’t want to go there so were able to quickly jump out of our upset. It made me think about all the other times in our lives where we get excited and build things up, whether they be holidays, day trips or even other people -expecting them to behave in certain ways, only for the reality to fall short of our expectations. How much do these failed expectations affect us in our lives and how much do we really take responsibility for the fact that they are our thoughts and expectations and therefore problems of our own making and not reality?