Busting through the Summer Blues

It’s the last day of my holiday as I’m writing this and I must confess to have been suffering a little with the holiday blues; that feeling that you just don’t want it to come to an end and wish that every day could be filled with lazy hazy sunny mornings and that feeling that the day ahead is yours to fill in exactly the way you want to fill it!
Like many I will be going back to organising returns to school, starting new ones, mountains of washing and the like as my thoughts turn to the forthcoming Autumn and dare I say that one day in the year that starts with C!

For me, the year always seems to start in September, there are other times of the year when I justify a little boost of enthusiasm but I think that years at school always gave September that special quality and so it has become a marker in the sand that point in time where we compare where we were last year and perhaps where we want to be next year too.

So as I sit here mourning the end of my holiday I of course recognise that there are two sides to every story and that whenever there is an ending, there is always inevitably a beginning and so whilst I could focus on what has been, it makes me feel so much better when I focus and dream about what is yet to come.

Of course none of us know what the future holds and it’s a conversation that I have frequently with clients who worry about the future – it is merely a creation of our thinking, a story that we tell ourselves, we don’t know whether our thinking is true or not! How many times have you worried about something in the future only to find that when it happens it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be? So I’m always of the view that if we are going to make something up I may as well make up something to get excited about! Ok so it may not turn out exactly how I think it will, but remember it’s not a prediction, it’s not set in stone, it’s merely a ‘wouldn’t it be fab if this happens?’

So for me the key to busting those holiday blues as I’m sat here in the sun (sorry I couldn’t resist that bit) is to dream about how exciting the next year is going to be and about how next year I’ll look back and think ‘wow wasn’t that a journey!’ I have no idea what is going to happen but I know if I approach it with dread and trepidation I’ll miss all the good bits, I know if I worry about it I won’t enjoy the moment I have now, a moment I know I won’t get again.

So if you are coming to the end of your holiday, instead of feeling fed up and blue, allow yourself to dream your ‘what ifs’ and ‘wouldn’t it be great if’ and create an amazing year ahead, that way your holiday end won’t seem like an end at all but a fantastic beginning.

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days.

 

Crushing the Critics

One of the hardest things that we come up again in life is when someone is critical of us, it could be a colleague, a friend or a family member, it could even be someone we don’t like very much! However, it doesn’t seem to matter where it originates, criticism is the one thing that seems to stick to us like glue, leaving you wondering if in fact that terse comment is the reality of the situation.

For example, when I was about to publish my book Feel Good Factor in 30 days I remember someone I knew at the time literally throwing the draft at me and telling me it was complete rubbish; I was crushed. I didn’t know where this criticism had come from as everyone else had been very complimentary about it. However, I then proceeded to do an enormous amount of thinking about it, was she right, did she see something in it that no one else had done, was she the only person telling me the truth? I nearly didn’t publish because I wondered if she had got a point, would others then criticise me, was I setting myself up for a fall?

This is where the problem lies, because when we receive criticism it often speaks to our fears and insecurities, those issues that we’ve probably thought about already and tried to ignore. When we hear them from someone else they seem to have more weight, are more persuasive, it is like our fears are being validated. The difficulty is is that we don’t do the same with all the compliments, it’s not as if we weigh it all up in a rational way and conclude on balance as we have more compliments than criticisms the idea, or whatever it is, is clearly sound. No it’s more like one criticism cancels out pretty much all the compliments in their entirety, as though the compliments carry no weight at all!

Clearly I went on to publish my book and that criticism proved completely wrong, so what can we do to regain some balance, how can we get over the critics that crush?

First of all, take a moment to stop. Put aside the negative comment and focus on the positive comments that you have had or the positive aspects of what you are doing. If it helps write them down so that you can see them in black and white.

Secondly, so often with these things it isn’t about you, the critic has their own ‘stuff’ going on, they have probably talked to your own fears & insecurities because they are their fears & insecurities too. It may be that they are scared of failure or being criticised so it is easier to point out the negatives in whatever you are doing to prevent you from failure or being criticised by others.

Thirdly, it’s a good idea to ask yourself, is going over this one piece of criticism really helping me? Often it isn’t, it doesn’t make us feel good at all! It’s also important to remember than unless the person is there in front of us saying it, it’s us repeating that message over and over again, not them.

Finally, if all else fails, ask someone you really trust what they think about what has been said. This is what I eventually did with my book, it wasn’t that the other strategies didn’t work because they did. I realised that the person in question was projecting their insecurities onto me and that I was making the issue worse by going over it in my head. So as a belt and braces approach I ran it past someone I trusted and you could say the rest is history!

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days.

How not to get frustrated by other people

How not to get frustrated by other people

The other day I was reminded on a song that my kids used to sing at a little Church group we used go to when they were toddlers, in a nutshell it was about a wise man who built his house upon the rock whereas a foolish man built his house upon the sand, which when the floods came of course his house was washed away whereas the one built on the rocks stood firm.

I’ve been talking a lot this week to clients and people in my community about how we interpret other people’s actions and how they invoke feelings and thinking in us; from managers who reply without patience to partners who reply using two words in a text, friends who say one thing but clearly mean another, to colleagues who become quiet and withdrawn and/or who are no longer available. We spend an inordinate amount of time trying to work out ‘where we stand’ with our fellow man and what it all means, which often creates a whole host of feeling from frustration to worry, from anger to disillusionment, upset to confusion; leaving us not knowing which way is up, let alone knowing where we stand! Unfortunately, often it is when we are in this state that we attempt to make important decisions about those relationships, we try to ‘sort’ them out, or ‘talk’ them through, often resulting in matters becoming much, much worse.
Which to me felt a lot like building your house upon the sand…

So how do we approach relationships where the other person is making us feel upset, frustrated, angry or any other negative emotion so that we have more chance of resolving it in a positive way, like building a house upon a rock?

First of all take yourself on a fact finding mission. What is it that you know to be true? Often we think that a text sent in a certain way, or a lack of response, or a certain response means something when in fact that is only our perception of it. We interpret behaviour based on our past experience or of the experience of others and we then try to fill in the gaps with what we think is true. In other words, we tell ourselves a story. A beautifully crafted, believable story, but a story nonetheless. When we don’t know something for certain, i.e it’s open for interpretation, it’s our thinking that is making it up. Now often a client will argue that they do know ‘for sure’ it means whatever, but of course we can never be sure what someone’s intention is behind their behaviour unless they tell us (and then can we really be sure) we can only suspect.

Which then leads me onto the second step towards creating a firmer foundation, if we can’t be sure and we are only telling ourselves a story which is based on suspicion, those feelings that we are creating within ourselves, surely are being created by us, not the person with whom we are cross, frustrated, upset or the like and when we recognise that actually we don’t know for sure why that person is acting in the way they are, often those feelings subside.

Finally, when we allow these feelings and thoughts to settle, and we allow those that have no foundation to pass, we return to a state where actually we feel OK, we feel calmer, more rational and we can see the relationship in a clearer light. It’s at this time, when we are in this state, we experience ‘seeing things in a different light’, and all of those negative feelings often give way to feelings of compassion and understanding. When we approach a relationship from this space, this is like building a house upon a rock as you start to build the relationship based on reality which is probably the most solid of all the foundations I know.

If you would like more clarity in your life, Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days you can find her at andreamorrison.co.uk to book a free consultation or join her Free Seize Your Life community on Facebook.

The Best laid plans……

I was having a conversation with a friend last week about an occasion she had coming up and she started to explain that even though it was a really exciting event, one that she ought to be really happy and excited about, she really wasn’t looking forward to it. This intrigued me, because I thought it seemed a little sad, because often the build up becomes all wrapped up in the event itself and it’s so nice to have something in your calendar to get excited about. So I thought I’d dig a bit deeper and it transpired that she knew she was going to be disappointed by it, because whenever she looked forward to something, it never really worked out how she wanted it to.

So I asked her how she wanted it to turn out and she got that whole dreamy look and described the perfect day, the perfect weather, how people were dressed, what the food was like, she described meeting with people she hadn’t seen for ages, catching up with them, what the entertainment was going to be like. It sounded perfect, but then she added ‘but of course it won’t be like that!’ So I asked why she thought that, and she replied, that generally it doesn’t turn out like that, it was bound to rain, she wasn’t sure about what she was wearing and would probably feel uncomfortable, there were some people there she didn’t get on with and she’d end up not speaking to many people at all and ‘let’s face it, bands and discos are never as good as you think they are going to be!!’

What my friend was doing was something very natural and I’m sure that you have done it from time to time too, I know that I have. We create a whole bunch of thinking about what we think ‘might happen’ good or bad, but the truth is we simply don’t know, the vast majority of us cannot see into the future with that degree of detail or certainty so we create a scenario that either raises our expectations that will never be met or one that we won’t be disappointed by. But neither of them makes us feel really good because even when we create an amazing fictional story of what we think will happen – there is still that voice of doubt that creeps in.

So how can we plan for things that haven’t happened yet?

Well there is one aspect that we can focus on, something that we can have control over that isn’t dependant on the weather, the disco or the turned up sandwiches and that is how we feel.

I learnt during my journey that when I put my focus on feeling good, on enjoying myself, on having the very best experience I could, the detail of the ‘outside’ stuff simply pailed into insignificance because I know that the outside stuff doesn’t make me happy. I now look forward to events, not because of the detail of what is going to happen – I just let that happen in whatever way it wants to – but because I know I’m going to have a great time, I know I’m going to be happy whatever and I will embrace whatever happens from that place of feeling good.

So if you have something coming up, whether it be a life changing event or something as simple as meeting a friend for coffee, let the details go, stop planning it in your head, and focus on the most important aspect – YOU.

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days.

Are you doing what you “should” rather than what you “could”?

This week I was asked a really interesting question – why is it we don’t do the things that we know we should do? The things that should make our lives easier, happier, healthier, more straightforward, why is it that we simply don’t do them?

Now I’m sure that you are reading this and you can think of some examples, it may be that if you keep track of your finances better your tax return would have been easier, or if you had done your tax return in April you wouldn’t have spent all weekend battling with it. Or perhaps you had a New Year’s Resolution to eat better, be more active or other such stuff that you should have done, but you find now that you’ve done nothing of the sort – now why is that? Why don’t we help ourselves and do the things we should?

I’m fascinated by this, the answer is really rather quite straightforward and it is all based on the premise that we all experience life very differently, so what works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for someone else.

First of all, let’s take a moment to understand the word ‘should’, you will notice that it was used in the question that was asked of me and is usually used when it is something that we think we ought to be doing rather than what we are doing. In fact it means ‘used to indicate an obligation, duty or correctness, typically when criticising someone’s actions’. So when we are saying we ‘should’ do something, what we are really saying is that there is a way of living that is the ‘right’ way and I’m not doing it!

So how do we know what is the ‘right’ way to live? The short answer is we don’t because there isn’t one. All we have is everyone else’s experience of life, what works for them. So for example, if you are a numbers person, like an accountant, making sure that your accounts etc are all up to date, is something that really works for you, you enjoy it, thrive on it even. But if you’re not, you may struggle to behave in the same way, it may become unenjoyable, demotivating and maybe even stressful; you may start to say ‘I should be like this, I should do that’, criticising the way that you are. It’s a bit like wearing someone else’s shoes, they may be the right size but when someone else has worn them, they don’t feel right to you and they’d be uncomfortable to wear!

So how do we navigate what works for us? The first step is to realise that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else, and if their ‘strategy’ doesn’t work for us, that’s ok.

As a busy working Mum I often have an endless list of ‘stuff’ on my list, including looking after myself and how I choose to work through that list boils down to one simple question – what am I motivated to do next? This is what works for me (it may not work for you of course!). The second is that I ask myself why it is that I want to achieve that ‘thing’ because if my ‘why’ isn’t strong enough, then I may not be motivated to do it – again, that is what works for me. How I’ve worked this out is that I’ve listened to what works for me, listened to what felt right, what I felt was easy, how I could do it without any inner criticism, obligation or self created stress.

So if you catch yourself saying ‘I should really be doing….’ ask yourself is it really something that you want to do? Why is it that you want to do it? Then work out a way to achieve it that feels right for you. You may be surprised that this time, you may just get it done!

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days

How Does your Garden Grow?

Have you ever noticed how weeds grow particularly quickly at this time of year? I love gardening but I’m not great at it, it’s something that always gets left to the bottom of the list of things to do, I just put it off until it just has to be done! So when the time came for me to tackle it and get out there I found an enormous bramble bush had grown behind our shed which was starting to creep all around the bottom of the garden. As I was tackling it, and it was attacking me (or so it seemed) it made me think that this is a lot like life!! If only I’d done some gardening a bit sooner, I wouldn’t be in this position!
Have you ever had something that you’ve put off, and at the start it wasn’t such a big deal, but you didn’t want to deal with it straight away (for whatever reason) but like that put off bramble, over time, it just seemed to become a bigger and bigger deal? Then when you did get around to dealing with it it had begun to be quite deep rooted and, in your head, became such a big job that you then just didn’t know how you were going to do it?
The strange thing is, is that most people do this, we put something off, that we could easily do there and then, we put it off, then we build it up in our heads to be a bigger job than it was, put it off more and more. Often this then prevents us from doing other things, because we know we have to do this ‘thing’ first! So actually just like that bramble, because we ignore it, we don’t do anything about it and it grows and grows stopping all the other plants from growing.
The silly thing is is that we know this is going to happen, if we don’t tackle the bramble it will grow and then it will be a bigger job when we do get around to it, but if we just do it right when the first shoots are there ~ problem solved, well there isn’t a problem is there!
In reality it’s just a habit, and one that we can change if we choose to. It’s just about tackling things as they occur (if it can be dealt with then of course) and not allowing yourself to get into the habit of ‘putting off!’ but getting into a habit of just ‘doing’.
This can be a bit of a challenge and it’s all about becoming aware of what you are doing and responding. So maybe think of it as a challenge! Challenge yourself for this week to just be aware of when you say ‘I’ll do that tomorrow, later, in a minute’ and then just take a moment to pause and ask yourself ‘why can’t I do it now?’ If there isn’t a reason, then it’s really simple ~ you just get on with it!
You’ll be surprised at how quickly your garden will become more weed free!

 

Andrea Morrison is a Transformational Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist & Speaker (andreamorrison.co.uk) and is author of The Feel Good Factor in 30 days, her facebook page is www.facebook.com/andreamorrisoncoaching  Discover the Real You, together, today