Confidence

Why Your Relationship With You Is The Basis For Well Being & How To Improve It

Life is already hard enough with its constant surprises, struggles and tough times.  When all we really feel like is a duvet day, there's a reason for that.  The mind and the body need recovery time from the constant stimulation and 'go go go' nature of today's busy life commitments.  What makes the whole thing seem even more unmanageable however, is the background self criticism and judgment that so many people so often find humming at a low level in their minds, some to even greater degrees and volumes. 

Every cell in our body responds to the chemical factory in our heads.  When we are feeling positive, at ease and without stress, our body responds accordingly with good health, extra energy and a feeling of being on top of things. But when we put ourselves down, or over-stretch ourselves, the body will respond in kind.  Tiredness, overwhelm and a lack of energy are sure signs of a run down nervous system and are likely due to neglecting a vital component in well being - self care.   

There is lots of information available about the connection between the mind and body and how the former can influence the health of the latter.  In one particular scientific journal, published in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1456909/ online, the author looks at how widely accepted this premise has become: 

"Although the understanding that emotions affect physical health dates as far back as the second-century physician Galen and the medieval physician and philosopher Moses Maimonides, modern medicine has largely continued to treat the mind and body as two separate entities. In the past 30 years, however, research into the link between health and emotions, behaviour, social and economic status and personality has moved both research and treatment from the fringe of biomedical science into the mainstream."

Relationship dynamics with other people are also subtly influenced by the way we perceive ourselves - we have a unique set of filters on how we interact in the world around us, and these filters are intrinsically linked to self esteem and self worth. 

There is a lot of talk in the media these days about mindfulness, positive thinking and well being practices.  One of the most under-rated is that of self care.  We weren't always taught how to recognise when our needs weren't being met and we certainly weren't guided to understand that we ourselves could do something about that.  We were often taught that it was selfish to look after ourselves, or that we weren't enough as we were unless we were doing more, giving more or in some way being more.  These misunderstandings can have their roots quite far back in life and as such have become an ingrained part of who we are.  The good news is that in any given moment, new beliefs can be adopted and the beginning of a new relationship can be formed - the most important relationship we can embark upon; the one with ourselves.  

So whether you're a seasoned self carer, or it's new to you, it's never too late to start adding more tools to the wellbeing kit.  Here are a few recommended practices, delightfully simple and yet incredibly effective at cultivating a more positive relationship with you, and improving ways of looking after yourself even better:

  1. Try to catch yourself whenever you start to berate, criticise or judge yourself.  When you do find yourself doing that, instead take a couple of deep breaths and say to yourself, this or in whatever words feel most natural "you're doing just fine", "you've got this", or "everything's working itself out no matter how it might seem right now"

  2. In time, try to shift the wording of this new found self talk to be even more encouraging e.g "you're actually kinda great" or "I've got your back", and eventually "I love and accept you".  This may seem uncomfortable at first, but with daily practice it won't be long before you're able to do this even in front of a mirror.  Louise L Hay who wrote the book 'You Can Heal Your Life' was a huge advocate of mirror work, and countless people that implemented this simple practice into their daily routine have spoken of astounding results - improved self esteem and confidence, increased joy and feelings of contentment and even attracting more success, abundance and positive relationships into their lives. 

  3. Make sure you speak up and assert yourself, gently but firmly. Say no when you really need to. This way you retrain yourself into believing you've got your own back!

  4. It's more than okay and in fact should be essential to take regular time outs, sleep and recharge. The less time you think you have for this, the more you probably need it!

  5. Learn as much as you can about what you need to do to soothe and nurture yourself.  Make a list, then commit to doing at least one thing on the list each day.  

  6. It takes a bit of time to make a new habit, whether that habit is good or bad for us. If you can try to practice this for at least a month, it will start to become easier, and eventually will become a habit, the more you practice; and over time you'll find the self talk has shifted from negative and berating to positive and encouraging and you'll start to fall in love with the amazing person that you already are. 

  7.  

Part 2 - A Quick & Easy Way To Gain AMAZING Self-Confidence Even In Hyper Stressful Situations

Following on from last week’s article, in part 2 I will be providing more tools and techniques on how to boost your self-confidence. This week I will be talking around a Ted Talk from well known psychologist, Amy Cuddy, as her research had led to some amazing outcomes, and her own personal story is both rather moving and inspiring.

We all pick up on other people’s body language, both on a conscious (aware) and subconscious (unaware) level. It is often easy to pick up on who the confident people by the way they hold themselves, sit, stand, walk, etc,

It has long been known that the way we feel (our minds) impacts our bodies and subsequently our behaviour. But can our bodies change our minds?

Amy’s research explored this extensively. By employing NON VERBAL power moves (opening up the body, arms, legs – making oneself big, taking up physical space), how does impact people physiologically and emotionally?

By separating research participants into two groups, with one performing high power poses (big, open, taking up space etc), and the other performing low power poses (closed, fiddling with face/hair/body, crossed arms/legs, hunched over etc), each for 2 minutes, the observed differences were incredible…

High Power Poses Vs Low Power Poses:-

Testosterone – the dominance hormone

20% increase vs 10% decrease --- a 30% swing in one’s ability to dominate/feel in control of a situation.

Cortisol – the stress hormone.

25% increase vs 15% decrease --- a 40% swing in one’s stress levels, which naturally impedes the ability to effectively navigate difficult scenarios. 

Now how absolutely amazing is that!? Our bodies change our minds –-- our minds change our behaviour –-- our behaviour changes our outcomes. Our non-verbals govern not only how others view and perceive us, but also how we think and feel about ourselves…this is KEY!

Every time you feel this way (positive, empowered, confident, etc), even if for a short while, you take a step closer to it becoming your new norm, If you practice it enough, it will become your new reality.

“Tiny tweaks can lead to BIG changes” – Amy Cuddy. This has had a big impact on my life…I hope it does in your life too.

Here is the full video from Amy.

https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

Part 1 - A Quick & Easy Way To Gain AMAZING Self-Confidence Even In Hyper Stressful Situations

Pretty much all of us at some point in our lives have been in a situation or environment where we’ve felt confident, empowered and like we’re just ‘in the zone’. Why is it then that so many people are not able to feel this way in much more situations? The answer lies in what is known as ‘the comfort zone’.

Some people are confident at work but not socially, others socially but not at home, some at home but not at work, etc etc. It can also be more specific than this – maybe you’re confident around certain people, in particular locations, wearing a specific outfit, talking about your favoured topic, etc etc.

As you can see from the above image, people’s “zones” will vary and will also differ given a particular set of circumstances. Longer term we want to work our way towards having a large comfort zone, in many different areas, which is is achieved by gradually spending more an more time in your “learning” or “stretch” zone. This takes dedication and continuous action, which as you all know I am a big advocate of! HOWEVER….

 Image courtesy of Leadership Sculpture

Image courtesy of Leadership Sculpture

…there is an amazing method we can use to help us in the short term… a technique called “anchoring” which enables us to access the benefits of a time WHEN YOU HAVE FELT CONFIDENT BEFORE. Studies have shown that there are physiological changes that occur within us when we are able to focus on positive, empowering memories.

So, I’d like to ask you to do the following:

-        Think back to a time where you have felt amazing! Where you were confident, energised, empowered, passionate, focused. Basically a time when you were operating at the level you desire (or as close to it as possible).

-        Close your eyes and visualise being back in that situation. Get REALLY clear on it. What do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel? How is your body positioned? What are your facial expressions? What are you saying? What are people saying to you?

-        Write down all of your answers to these questions…read them back and imagine being in that situation regularly (this is important).

-        Next time you’re in need of a confidence boost, because you have focused on the past positive experience many times, you will have easy access to those memories and thus the confident feelings evoked from them, at the time you need.

You can repeat this as many times as you want so you have more examples to draw upon in the future. I’d highly recommend building out a bank of various scenarios that you can always refer back to.

I want to make you aware of this very important point – nobody is born confident or unconfident. We are the outcome of all our conditioning and experiences in life to date. THIS IS A GREAT THING as it means that you can always LEARN to grow and build your confidence and self-esteem.

 

Next week I will share part 2 of this confidence boosting series of articles, which is equally as, if not more powerful, that today’s content. Have a great week!

How To DRAMATICALLY Increase Your Productivity In As Little As Just 5 Minutes

Most people (myself definitely included) love taking a nap. The problem is that we are either “too busy” or feel guilty about taking one, when we all have such busy daily schedules, and so CHOOSE not to take this time out.

Ultimately though, naps are hugely beneficial for state of mind, productivity, alertness and a great source of self-care.

 As You Can See Clearly - The Rested, Well Slept Minds At The Top Exhibit Far Greater Brain Activity Than Their Sleep Deprived Counterparts Below.

As You Can See Clearly - The Rested, Well Slept Minds At The Top Exhibit Far Greater Brain Activity Than Their Sleep Deprived Counterparts Below.

There are all sorts of things we tell ourselves as to why we can’t find the time for such self-care techniques (as the saying goes “if you don’t have 10 minutes to meditate, you should do 20 minutes”…I think this should extend to naps too). Do any of these sound familiar?

-       “If I have a nap it means I lose that time to do XYZ”.

-       “I’ll be deemed lazy if I take a nap”.

-       “I don’t have the time to take a nap”.

-       “What will people think of me if I take a nap, everyone else is so busy?”

-       “No one else is taking a nap, I feel bad if I do”.

It is worth remembering that we are in fact human, and not robots, thus managing our bodies and our minds are of massive importance. We cannot operate at our most effective level continuously throughout the course of a day. We’ve all been in scenarios before before where we are physically there, awake, in the room…however mentally we are unable to effectively navigate the task in front of us to the (or anywhere near to) best of our abilities. There in body but not in mind!

A study by NASA studied the effects of napping in 747 pilots. Each participant, on average, napped for 26 minutes a day, with NASA concluding that the nap increased performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.

How AMAZING is that!? By remembering these types of stats from official, credible research, it can help you overcome the guilt associated with taking some time out for yourself, as you begin to realize, that in actual fact, by taking say 30 minutes out for a snooze, over the course of working for 10 hours your net productivity gains will be around 3 hours (make sure to share this with your bosses, haha).

There are different types of naps as you can see from the infogram – though in terms of increasing focus, alertness and productivity 5-30 mins is the desired range.

The rule of thumb is that the best nap time is between 1pm and 4pm, though you should remember that sleeping is highly individual, and the amount of rest one person needs can be entirely different from someone else.

Evolutionarily speaking, the human body was not meant to stay awake for 16 consecutive hours on end which means it’s normal to feel tired somewhere around seven hours after waking up. Check out the circadian sleep cycle image – this is for someone waking up at 6am so you will need to shift the times according to your own personal requirements.

You will need to pay attention to your body’s energy levels to ensure you time your naps right to maximise their benefit…which will give you the right amount of energy for the remainder of the day.

Take note from Winston Churchill and schedule in your daily naps the same as you would a business call or a meeting.

So there you have it – all the information you need to feel just in your desire for a nap, and why it’s in everybody’s best interest (including most importantly your own) that you do so regularly.

Feeling Stressed, Anxious Or Mentally Fatigued? This Technique Will Help Greatly

The cool thing about the technique I am about to share with you is that it can be incorporated very easily into your every day routine. As with many things in life, we must consistently apply ourselves to experience the full effect of them, however, in my own personal experience I started to see benefits materialise after using it for about a week.  

You may or may not have heard of the concept called mindfulness. One definition of this practice is, “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

What ultimately is a sizeable cause (along other things) of stress, feeling of overwhelm, anxiety and mental fatigue is scattered thoughts worrying about the past and the future…and not enough time spent focusing on the here and now! Society today is running at a faster pace than ever and we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day whizzing through our minds (how crazy is that!?). It is very easy, without the necessary mental training, to get swept away in the stuff that either isn’t important, is negative imagination or doesn’t serve your best interests in living a happy and fulfilled life. By being present we life a fuller life.

 Calm the mind by living in the present

Calm the mind by living in the present

Now I’m not saying we cannot learn from the past, in fact it is imperative that we do (by learning from our past, it means we do not fail, but rather grow and develop). But as we cannot change the past, to do anything other than take the learning points from it and move on, is a huge waste of energy and can be a source of major unhappiness!

Similarly, having goals for the future is important too, but it’s key not to associate that future with becoming happy and successful…both of those are born by living in and appreciating the present.

By implementing mindfulness for as little as 5 minutes per day (I would recommend 15-20 minutes+) you will soon feel a calmer nature about yourself, more focus, less irritability, stress reducing, feel less on edge and more focused and energized

Here’s a few examples of how you can use in every day life…

·      On the walk to the car or the station, listen to how the trees rustle in the wind, how the birds chirp, or how the sound of a car’s engine changes?

·      At your desk at work hone in on the smell of the cafeteria, the sounds of your colleagues nattering in the background or the keyboards tapping, how the seat feels against your back and legs?

·      Standing on the bus, how does it feel to be swaying as it moves, notice how fast/slow the cars are going outside, are there any beepings of horns and do they sound different?

·      When going for a run, how does the wind feel on your skin, how does the floor feel on your feet, how does it feel moving closer to the horizon to which you’re aiming, what are the colours of the butterflies you pass?

·      With regards to being mindful with your thoughts, rather than getting swept away with them, instead observe them with your mind’s eye, without judgment asking yourself, what actually is this thought, how does it serve you by spending time focusing on this thought (positive or negative), how would you benefit positively by not focusing on this thought?

You can apply this to any sensory action. Really focus down on each thing you are being mindful of. By doing this more and more we literally re-wire our brains and train ourselves to only engage with those thoughts that WE choose!

Now how easy is that? There are very few things in this world you get for little effort…however with this, the benefits greatly outweigh the time and energy invested.

Give it a go and see how you get on. On the next blog post I will be taking things a step further and discussing the power of meditation, providing you with tips, tricks and top apps to help implement it into your life as easily as possible.

Have a great week, Dan.

How To Supercharge Your Success By Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

One of the biggest issues people face when is comes to making continued progress in their lives is the negative self-talk that goes on inside their heads. We all have dreams, but the problem is that many a time they remain just a dream due to fear.

Fear of failure? Fear of success (how will people around me treat me if I succeed)? Fear of the unknown? Fear of judgment? The list goes on!

So what is it that enables some people to overcome these fears (trust me, every single person has had them at some point)? Ultimately it’s the inner voice inside your mind that holds an immense amount of power over you, and by learning to tame, then control and eventually master working together with your mind, we can unlock a huge resource that will enable us to achieve great things.

Now of course, this will take some time, discipline and thus a degree of motivation and passion to achieve as there is no quick fix. But it is totally worth the effort…trust me!

Can you remember the last time you wanted to do something but were stifled by something your mind told you?

-       Perhaps you saw someone you fancied in the street and wanted to go introduce yourself, but then told yourself something like “they probably wont fancy me”, or “what if they so no?”, or “I don’t know what I have to offer someone like that”.

-       Or wanted to change career path but heard things like “I don’t have the skills to move”, or “what if the new team don’t like me?”, or “what if the new job is more difficult?”.

-       Maybe you want to start your own business but the inner gremlin shouts “you don’t have the knowledge to do this”, or “what if people don’t take to my idea”, or “there is too much to handle”, or “financial insecurity is scary, don’t put yourself through it”.

Ultimately you do really have to want the thing you’re thinking of going for. If you do though, here’s the way to re-program your mind to enable you to develop incredible confidence and belief that will lead you to amazing successes.

Here’s the process…

Stage 1: Awareness – firstly you need to catch yourself thinking/saying these negative things to yourself. Initially it will be slow and infrequent (i.e. some may slip by you), but as you develop this skill you will catch yourself more and more. Make sure to write them down…every single one!

Stage 2: The Change – now you need to replace whatever the negative thought/chat is with something more empowering that serves to boost your confidence and self-belief. So on a separate piece of paper (or section if digital) write down a phrase that you can replace it with. For example - “financial insecurity is scary, don’t put yourself through it”, could become “whilst financial insecurity may be scary, many people succeed in business every day. There is no reason why I cannot be one of those people, and if so, I know I will be much happier for it”.

Stage 3: Implementation – there are 2 steps to this. Firstly, you will need to read your new list to yourself at least twice per day. And secondly, whenever you actually catch yourself saying those negative things in the moment, stop and repeat to yourself 5 times, your new, confidence boosting, life changing alternative phrase.

Notice how your feelings shift as time progresses – I guarantee you will love your progress. If you have any questions on this please just give me a shout. Good luck, and bye for now!

This Simple Trick Will Transform Your Life FOREVER

Let’s face it, in modern day life we have stresses, struggles and challenges thrown at us. Some times more than others, and some people more than others. 

Now as many of you may know, I am a firm believer that ensuring one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances is positive, constructive and empowering is HUGELY impactful! This is a skill that can be learned! As with any new skill/habit it takes time. BUT I have an incredible method that you can start using straight away to get benefits immediately.

So what is this secret trick?! Well they’re actually no secret as we use these ‘things’ every day, without most of us realising it…they are called sub-modalities.

Firstly, here’s a brief description of what they are –

Sub-modalities in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) are fine distinctions or the subsets of the Modalities (Visual , Auditory , Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory, and Ad).  They are the building blocks of  by which we code, order and give meaning to the experiences we have. Sub-modalities are how we structure our experiences.

I know that’s quite a mouthful that may sound a bit jargon-ish! But the following exercise will help it become more clear:

1)   Firstly close your eyes and imagine/visualise you are in a stressful situation that you really wish you were not in…get really vivid with the details. What can you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Touch? How does this all make you feel? What emotions are arising? Does your heart rate increase? Does you body tighten up? Use the table below to help get as descriptive as possible.

2)   Now close your eyes and imagine you are somewhere you love. What is one of your favourite places or situations to be in? Thailand? Sweden? With family for dinner? Riding a bike along a sea front? You choose! Now I want you to answer all the questions from part one again.

Did you notice how REAL both scenarios felt, even though you were not actually there? Did you feel the gulf in the way you felt in the different circumstances? So by extension of this, you can use part two of the exercise at ANY TIME to feel happier, more positive, empowered, confident, relaxed, energized…basically you choose the suitable memory or the environment that will make you feel a certain set of emotions, and then you can transport yourself there. Gaining all of the emotional benefits of being there, without physically being there.

I used to get super stressed travelling on The Tube (subway, Metro or MTS for my international readers) at peak times so used to imagine being on a beach listening to waves breaking…it completely changed my commuting experience!

The subconscious mind DOES NOT differentiate between reality and imagination! Now how amazing is that considering your mind is 90% driven by this part of the brain!? Let’s use this to our advantage and remember to use this amazing technique whenever we are in an environment that is not to our liking...you can truly transform your life with it.

Do This To Greatly Increase Your Confidence Within 1 Month

There can be a multitude of reasons as to why a person’s self confidence is low, and will vary from person to person as to whether it is a long or short term experience.  Here’s a few of the key factors…

-       Our environment at school. (how teachers and other kids treated us)

-       Our home environment whilst growing up (how our parents and other family treated us).

-       Our work environment (interaction with bosses, colleagues, clients)

-       Our social environment (interaction with friends, acquaintances, random encounters).

-       Our intimate environment (dealings with significant others, dating experiences, sex life).

-       Our home environment as adults.

-       Impactful events (such as losing a job, a bereavement, breakups/divorce, financial worries/debt/loss of a home, etc).

As humans are so all wonderfully unique, each person’s resilience, and therefore their susceptibility to being heavily impact by the various above factors will of course vary. 

Now obviously some of these experiences will have been impacting us for a very long time, whereas others a relatively short amount of time. However they can all play a big part!

THE KEY thing to remember is that NO AMOUNT of mental conditioning, is permanent…take a moment to let that sink in and think about what this means!

The bottom line is that regardless of whether your lack of confidence (or dip in confidence) stems from older or newer experiences, it can be undone and fixed. Try to view a lack of confidence as a habit that has been learned. Any habit that has been learnt (positive or negative) can be unlearned…and subsequently the ones that do not serve you, can be replaced with something else much more empowering.

Scientists believe that a new habit takes around 4 weeks to form. So if you’re up for it, I’m going to set you a “28 Day Challenge”.

1)   Grab a piece of paper and split it into 5 columns. At the top of each one, write the following 5 headings: Physical, Intellectual, Social/Personality, Unique/Other, How Your Friends Would Describe You.

2)   Now write 5 POSITIVE things under each of the headings relating to you.

3)   Read this at least once per day for 28 days.

4)   Once you’ve achieved the above, stretch yourself to write down 100 positive things in total and repeat.

Notice how your feelings shift as the days go by.  Does you negative self-talk feel lower/more subdued (or perhaps gone altogether)? Do you feel more positive? Have greater belief? Feel that you deserve good things?  If so (and you will), then it’s working.

If you would like more information on this topic, or any other I’ve covered, I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great day & bye for now!