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Changeability Podcast: Manage Your Mind - Change Your Life
53 minutes | Jul 2, 2016
CA100: The Changeability Podcast past and future
The Changeability Podcast past and future We celebrate 100 episodes as we take a look at the Changeability Podcast past and future. Here’s some of the top 3s from the past 99 episodes followed by a look at the next episode in the Changeability Podcast story. Audience top 3 episodes The 3 favourite episodes of our audience to date. These are the shows with the highest number of downloads so far. The longer the episode’s been on iTunes or our BrilliantLivingHQ.com website or Stitcher or TuneIn the longer people have had to listen to it, so we would expect the older shows to have more downloads than newer ones and that’s reflected in these results. Third most popular episode - ‘What is Mind Management’ Episode 6 In episode 6 of the Changeability Podcast we were thinking about our strap line phrase – ‘Mind Management’. What is mind management and what’s in it for you? In episode 6 you found out about: Kathryn and Julian’s acting skills (you’ve been warned) How many thoughts you have in a day Why sports people love mind management How thoughts have energy How you are not thoughts How mind management needs training Mind management can improve your personal and professional life Second most popular episode - ‘The Brilliant You’ Episode 2 Do you know how truly amazing you are? Well that’s what episode 2 is all about. You might not always feel like a magnificent being, but by the end of this second episode you be agreeing with us that you’re pretty smart. Because in this show we talk about just how brilliant you and your marvellous mind and what it means. What you’re doing as you listen to the episode (really?) How you’re like an iceberg and why that’s a good thing. How many things we can focus on at a time What Julian learnt from a Memory World Champion (or rather - didn’t learn!) The role of the conscious and unconscious brain and how they manage our minds. Understanding a few basics about how your mind works, will help you understand what’s getting in the way of doing what you want and what to do about it. Most popular episode - ‘Changeability – The Start’ Episode 1 The first episode saw us introducing ourselves and the Changeability show. The Changeability podcast is for you if you’re interested in changing or improving something in your life or business, big or small. It’s for people like us who’re interested in finding ways to make our lives the best they can be – so we can be more successful (whatever that means to you), happy and fulfilled. Through discussion and interviews we look at practical mind management and change techniques, tactics & tools - taken from the worlds of personal development, psychology, neuroscience, business, sport, entertainment and spirituality – to empower and inspire a happier, successful life or business. In the first episode you find out: What is Changeability? And why should you care about it? Why is change hard? How we can self-sabotage our best intentions Why it’s not your fault - and why it’s good. Our story and what we’ve learnt Top 3 countries We love you being here wherever you’re from – so this isn’t our favourite countries – but rather the top 3 countries with the highest number of listeners out of the 167 countries we currently have listeners in. Third – UAE 6% Second – USA 19% First – UK 48% (And just in cast you’re interested the fourth is Australia with India in fifth place.) Kathryn and Julian’s favourites This was so hard to choose, especially as we decided not to include any interviews in our top 3s (maybe they’re deserving of a separate post) – but here’s three each with a couple of extras thrown in for good measure. Kathryn’s favourites Episode 3 – The Library in your brain Episode 19 - Why use affirmations to manage your mind? Episode 31 – 5 mind management techniques for changing your life. Julian’s favourites Episode 43 – What is mindfulness and why you need it? Episode 46 - 21 simple tips for mindfulness meditation. Episode 56 What is happiness and the neuroscience behind it Couple of extras Episode 85 How to recognise toxic people and relationships Episode 89 What does success mean to you 3 of our favourite reviews on iTunes Very hard to pick 3 out of the 78 we have so far across the different iTunes countries as we obviously love them all. So we can’t really call these our favourites but they are reviews we’ve especially like. Excellent - iimmmii from United Kingdom One of the best ‘change your life’ resources I’ve come across. If you like to understand the theory and evidence (be it scientific or anecdotal) behind advice on how to change your life, this material is presented in an engaging way in this podcast. Of course they also make recommendations for how best to go about taking action. A few episodes in and you will feel like you’ve made two new friends who are supporting you on your journey of change. Well done Kathryn and Julian, listening to you makes me proud to be from the same Sceptred Isle! A Homely Serving Up of Sound Advice/Wisdom - Ola-B. from United Kingdom Where has this amazing couple been all my life?! :) Love Kathryn, love Julian, and let's not forget Dude!!! Love this podcast - the topics, the delivery of it all...it's simply unique, uplifting and inspiring! Thank you guys! Kathryn and Julian's chemistry rocks! - LornaLi from United States I love the concept of this show! It's so unique and refreshing! I absolutely LOVE the hosts' chemistry - their exchanges are such a joy to listen to. Thank you for all the useful tips you provide to your listeners on how to plan and achieve their goals, I'm sure many are reaping so many benefits from this show! Thank you to you for taking the effort and making our day. By the way – we’d love more reviews. We don’t always ask for them in every episode as it gets tedious for you to listen to – and we want to provide you with a good listening experience. However, reviews are important to us not only because it’s great to find out what you think but it means iTunes makes our show more visible to people looking for podcasts. You know yourself the power of reviews on sites like Tripadvisor and Amazon – so if you feel like helping us out that’s one way to do it. Dude’s top 3 Who’s been with us all through every single episode and every phase of the podcasting process – in fact he’s always with us – Dude the Dog, our faithful hound and black labradoodle. We’ve joked we have a contractual obligation to mention him in every show – not that we’ve quite done that but he’s had more than his fair share of mentions and even made it onto the show on a few occasions. So here’s Dude’s top 3 favourite Changeability Podcast moments as chosen by him (woof). Episode 83 ‘Self-love Rituals’ – The 10th of our self-love rituals is to have Pet Time. Walk, cuddle, play with or groom your dog or cat or talk to your budgerigar. You might not get this if you don’t have a pet – but if you do have one you’ll know what we mean! Episode 63 ‘How to start and finish anything with Tom Boother’ – Dude features in a cameo role when Tom starts talking about Dude and how they met! Episode 98 ‘What are habits and why we need them’ – Dude gets his own moment in the spotlight. You’ll have to listen to this episode to know what we mean, or just listen to episode 100 to hear the extract. Our top 3 bloomers You wont know what we’re talking about here if you’ve never listened right to the end of our shows – but listen to episode 100 to hear 3 of them for your entertainment – and why they’re called Kathryn’s bloomers! 3 lessons we’ve learned from creating 100 episodes of the Changeability Podcast Here’s just 3 of the many things we’ve learned from creating 100 episodes of this podcast over the past two years, and they’re all relevant to you. You can’t always measure your impact Sometimes it’s hard to measure your impact – this goes for measuring the success of a podcast or many things. How do you measure your success or the impact you have? On the whole people don’t tell you and it’s not always possible to make a connection e.g. between who’s listened to the podcast and who’s visited the website or bought an Affirmation or audio mind management tool or a course like our ‘Beginner’s guide to mindfulness meditation’. That’s not to say there aren’t any clues. Ways of gauging if we’re having a positive impact include comments in our FB group or page and reviews on Stitcher or iTunes. Plus nomination for national / international podcast awards – being a finalist for the New Media Europe Audience Appreciation Award and winner of the UK Podcaster’s Best Self Help Podcast Award. But the truth of it is that for the thousands of our podcast listeners each month, for the most part it’s hard know the difference, if any, it makes to them. Does that matter? Yes and no. Yes because from a resource and business perspective it’s helpful to have a handle on the impact but also no because sometimes it’s not just possible to know but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. This is an important lesson for us all because you don’t always know the impact of what you do in your work, relationships and everyday life – but that in itself doesn’t mean you should stop what you do. Stickability and focus Creating 100 episodes of a podcast, especially one like this, is an achievement. This is an important lesson for us and maybe also you as well. When we do something consistently and with focus it creates results. We may not know the full impact of those results but there are some clear results for us. 100 episodes of a podcast are out there in the world being listened to in 167 countries. 100 blog posts which are the show notes on this website. Winners of a national podcast award
39 minutes | Jun 25, 2016
CA099: Habits willpower and motivation
“Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.” ― Mortimer J. Adler Habits are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we function. Habits are fundamental to how we think and behave, which makes them key to how we live our lives and make our decisions. The achievement of our goals and success are more the product of our daily habits than any one off transformative situation or action on our part. Habits are a key part of mind management because; your mind use habits like a shortcut or brain power saving device or mechanism if you manage your mind in a helpful way you can utilise the power of habits. Rather than viewing habits in a negative light as something we need to control and overcome, they become an empowering tool to enhance our lives, help us make changes and be happier. To do this we need to know which habits are good for us and to continue and critically which habits are not supporting our goals. The first step therefore is to identify a habit you want to change for a helpful, empowering, positive, healthy or wealthy habit, or a new habit you want to cultivate. This an important step as the funny thing about habits (like limiting thoughts) is we’re not always aware of them. We have to take a deliberate step back to identify the habit or to acknowledge that thing we keep doing but would really love to change is indeed a habit – an habitual way of behaving in response to a situation or action. Willpower Now you know the habit you want to change, is it a matter of using your willpower to change it and your motivation to keep going? Yes and no. Yes because when it comes to habits willpower and motivation both have an important role to play but they’re not enough on there own as there are limitations to be aware of. Willpower is the power to exercise your will. To have control over what you do and self-discipline. But the thing about will power is you only have so much of it and when it runs out – because we’re tired or hungry or sad – it’s hard to rely on. This is why you can wake up with good intentions and lots of willpower but by the evening it’s decidedly harder to exercise your will. Although you can get better at exercising willpower the more we do it, your brain likes your habits so wants you to keep them. So although willpower has a role to play in changing your habits, it can’t be relied on to do it alone. The same goes for your motivation. Motivation Your motivation is the purpose or the ‘why’ behind what you do – in this case behind the new habit you want. I think of motivation as having different levels or layers and each level or layer has a different strength. Think of it as concentric circles –circles within circles like an onion. The outer layer is your big ‘why’ or the purpose that motivates you. Say you want to develop some health and fitness habits– the big outer layer motivation is to be healthier and fitter because it makes you feel better, gives you more energy, to get the most out of life, you look better which makes you feel better, and that makes you a better happier person in yourself and relationships. In short the outer layer is you want to develop healthy habits because being fit and healthy feels good and makes me a happier person. That’s all very well and good but it’s hard to keep that at the forefront of our mind in everything we do – and we know that willpower will only take us so far. Especially as we move in onto the next layer. The next layer or circle in is your situation. For example, you have a busy life, you’re looking after your house, maybe you have a family or a hectic social life or many commitments, and you’re always rushing around from one thing to the next. Then we get to the next layer in which is your career or job that maybe demands a lot from you in terms of energy and time. Next comes the final layer because right in the middle (like the bullseye on a dart board) is a circle which represent you. It has the word ‘you’ of ‘me’ written in it. This is you at this very moment or in the present moment when you’re thinking about it. That’s the model but it’s not static, because the thickness of these layers changes over the day and over the week, they may be different at the weekend to a Monday morning, The point is your motivation which starts off with the best of intentions can get hijacked or watered down as you move through the layers. So first thing in the morning you start off with good intentions about changing your habits but then you get busy getting the breakfast done, getting to work, your energy dips and then the you in the middle circle – i.e. the you at that precise moment – isn’t so worried about the bigger picture because the needs of the moment are nearer to you than the big circle on the outside. And the needs of the moment are that you’re hungry, you’re busy and need something quick to boost your energy but more importantly in that moment to overcome the hunger and to do it quickly and easily in a satisfying way. That’s when you don’t want to just be relying on willpower and motivation and can do with something else to help you. Let’s think about what that could be and to do this we need to go back to the idea of what a habit is. The habit loop Habits have a cycle they go through. These are the elements or phases a habits exhibits or has h to be classed a habit. A habit is made up of the cue or trigger, the routine, action or behaviour and the reward or what we get out of it – the benefit. This whole habit process or framework is sometimes referred to as the habit loop and it’s a crucial concept to changing your habits. Disrupt the loop Now comes the clever part. You take this habit loop and use it to your advantage to reduce your reliance on willpower or motivation to help you form new empowering habits to support your goals. In practical terms you do this through disrupting this existing habit loop and tying the new habit you want to cultivate to an existing one. In that way the existing habit or activity becomes the cue or trigger for the new one you want to do. So you take a habit you do every day like cleaning your teeth or having a shower and disrupt or interrupt it – because you’re not necessarily completely changing the habit, you might be adding in a new habit. You’re effectively hijacking or piggybacking an existing habit. I’ve been doing this by interrupting my morning bathroom routine to insert a push-ups and stretching directly in-between cleaning my teeth and having my shower. And it works as I’ve done it every day this year. It’s now intrinsically tied into my morning routine so it doesn’t feel right to get in the shower if I haven’t done my little exercise habit. Try it for yourself. Tie or link your new habit to an existing one and see how long it takes to create a new pattern of normality, in other words a new habit. Let us know how you get on. “Habits aren’t destiny. Habits can be ignored, changed, or replaced. But the reason the discovery of the habit loop is so important is that it reveals a basic truth: When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.” ― Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do The Changeability Podcast Hear us talk about all of this and more on episode 99 of the Changeability Podcast. Links Habits and why you need them - Changeability Podcast episode 98 The Library in your brain – Changeability Podcast episode 3 Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What we do Thank you and next steps If you like what you’ve read or listened to please help us spread the word by sharing this post and leaving a review on iTunes and subscribing to the show while you’re there. Thank you. Keep in touch Like our Facebook page Join our private free Facebook group Follow us on Twitter
38 minutes | Jun 17, 2016
CA098: What are habits and why they matter
What are habits and why they matter Your habits are key to who you are and the change you want. Habits underpin what we do at Brilliant Living HQ.com and on the Changeability Podcast – mind management for your best life and business and how to make changes. Lasting change, i.e. achieving your goals – is not the result of a one off transformation but a product of daily habits. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to change? Whatever it is, getting it is the result of your habits. Habits play a role in what you look and feel like, in your success and relationships. All of which makes it slightly surprising we’ve got to episode 98 of the Changeability Podcast before dedicating and episode to habits – but here we are and this is it. So what are habits? Habits are the things we do, but also and maybe as importantly, the way we think and what we believe. They include the self-beliefs that influence what we do, our behaviour and the actions we take. A habit is the repeated thinking and behaviours that become automatic, so we don’t mostly think about it. We need to know how we form habits in order to change them. Habits have certain characteristics or constituent parts that keep us doing them. Cues, routines and rewards There’s a cue that initiates the behaviour. A cue is a trigger, or reminder, something that triggers our thought or behaviour. Like the cue line in a play, (the line before you come in) which on hearing it reminds you to say your line, or triggers you to deliver your line. Then comes the routine. This is the behaviour or action that the cue has triggered – and the bit we think of as the habit. This is followed by the third part of a habit – the reward. This is the bit that is of benefit to you in some way, even though it might not actually feel like that, your brain is seeing it’s benefit. Because it’s a reward or benefit your brain wants you to repeat it and so you do until you’ve done it often enough it becomes a habit. This forms what Charles Duhigg in ‘The Power of Habit’ and Stanford professor B.J. Hogg in ‘Tiny Habits’ call the ‘habit loop’. Many of our everyday activities involve habits with a cue, action and reward. Here’s a few you probably repeatedly do and don’t really think about them : Cleaning your teeth Tying your laces Riding a bike Driving - remember learning to drive and how painfully slow it was having to think of each step every time. Whereas now it’s such an ingrained habit not only do you not think of each step, sometimes you can’t even remember driving somewhere. Then there’s certain ways of behaving we get into which quickly become habits for example, Getting in the habit of going to bed or getting up early or late. Eating certain types of food or at certain times of the day. Why do we tend to eat different things for breakfast to dinner? There’s not really any reason, it’s a habit born out of convention. Then there are the habits you think of as bad or unhelpful. Julian bites his nails and worse! Kathryn procrastinates, gets distracted by social media and emails and eats snacks late at night. That’s just for starters... If you want proof of the power of habit – if proof were needed – just look at your pet. Our dog Dude not only knows the time of day but exactly what should be happening in his world at what time and what order. Especially when it comes to food and walks. Why we need habits Habits help us manage our minds. Habits save us brain power – or rather free up our brains to do exciting creative thinking. Making habits out of the things we do repeatedly, our behaviours and actions – provides our brain with a power saving or effort saving mechanism. An automatic response requires less creativity and complexity of thinking from us. Gretchen Rubin in her book “Better than before” sums it up nicely: “When possible, the brain makes a behavior into a habit, which saves effort and therefore gives us more capacity to deal with complex, novel, or urgent matters.” ― Gretchen Rubin Why habits matter Habits matter because they hold great influence and sway over how we think, act and feel – which just about covers everything we do. We get into habits of thinking, doing and feeling. And because it’s the brain’ shortcut to behaving and feeling certain ways, it becomes automatic behaviour. “We become what we repeatedly do.” - Sean Covey, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens This is great if it’s good automatic behaviour – but what if it’s not good behaviour? We’ve mentioned a few of our bad habits, those unhelpful habits that don’t support us in the changes we want to make and the way we want to live. And the truth is we all have unhelpful habits. That’s why habits matter. They matter to us because they are such a big part of who we are and what they do. The results of their influence is felt and seen in every aspect of our life and work. They help to determine how we feel and what we do. Habits underpin our mind management and how we can manage our minds to change what we do and how we do it. And habits matter because lasting change is a product of daily habits. The little small daily things we do that day in day out, week in week out and then month in month out, go into making the person we are - how we think, feel and act. In other words, we and our lives are the sum and result of our habits. Mind Work What can we do about it? Before we think about how to change our habits – we need to identify them and decide which are helpful and which are not serving us in what we want to do or the person we want to be. The mind work is to take a day really notice what you think are your habits. Notice what you do and how you feel and note down a word or two or you’ll forget (you think you wont but you really will) and then determine if it’s linked to a habit and if that habit is helping or hindering you. To take it one step further you can relate it to the there being the three aspects of a habit. This will not only help you determine if it actually is a habit but also help you understand what triggers it, (the cue) how it shows itself (the routine or behaviour or action) and what that habit is doing for you (this is the reward and benefits bit). This will not only give you an increased level of self awareness and understanding but will put you in a good place to take forward some of next week’s suggestions when we look at how to change your habits. Changeability Podcast Episode 98 Hear us talk about all of this and a lot more – including some more of Julian’s unsavoury habits, on episode 98 of the Changeability Podcast. Thank you Thank you for reading or listening today. We appreciate you spending your time with us and if you appreciate us we’d love you to share this with someone you know. Send them an email or share on social media. Links and resources Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habits B.J. Fogg: Tiny Habits Samuel Smile: Self-Help Gretchen Rubin - Better Than Before Steven Covey - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
42 minutes | Jun 11, 2016
CA097: Healthy happy eating with The Merrymaker Sisters
Healthy happy eating with The Merrymaker Sisters Kathryn and I first met Emma and Carla when we were attending a business entrepreneurs’ event in the Philippines. Meeting these two vivacious and fun loving entrepreneurs made a mark on both of us. Their joy of life was infectious, and we wanted to know more about them, their journey and what they did. Emma and Carla Papas, known as ‘The Merrymaker Sisters’ are real life sisters who went from being communication professionals to health and happiness advocates and health coaches! They're the founders of themerrymakersisters.com where they inspire hundreds of thousands of Merrymakers around the world with real food recipes and ways to find and follow your bliss! “If we hear ourselves say ‘we want this to happen’, we have to focus some energy on it.” - The Merrymaker Sisters So, what better than to invite them onto episode 97 of The Changeability Podcast laugh and chat healthy happy eating with The Merrymaker Sisters. Packed into this week’s Changeability Podcast Emma and Carla’s inspirational story from food obsessive mindsets to health and wellbeing. Find out what it means to be a ‘merrymaker’ and what it hopefully doesn’t mean! What on earth does Carla and Emma mean when they say ‘follow your bliss’ and why you should consider it? Why you are a hero of your own journey. Where to start with healthier, happier, eating habits. What makes healthy, happy food? The effects of mindful eating. Foods to give up and what we should we have more of. What is a Paleo diet? Why we need to be free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars. What gets in the way or stops you eating healthily, even when you want to? Suggestions for healthier sweet snack options when you get the munchies in the evening. And more laughter and giggling you can cram into a podcast show than is good for you. Plus, don’t miss my blooper at the end of today’s show! “Life is too short to say no to dessert. You just have to make your dessert healthy” – The Merrymaker Sisters Links mentioned on today’s show: Emma and Carla’s website – themerrymakersisters.com Emma and Carla’s on Instagram – warning: don’t look at this when you’re hungry; it’s yummy-lichiously addictive! Make it Merry: A Healthy Cookbook – by Emma and Carla Papas Dr John Demartini - The Values Factor or The Breakthrough Experience The Paleo Diet – Loren Cordain Change your brain, Change your body – Dr Daniel G. Amen
44 minutes | Jun 4, 2016
CA096: Change your brain, revitalise your body
Change your brain, revitalise your body – really? Sound too good to be true? We’ve been talking over the last few weeks about how to use the power of your brain to reach your ideal body weight, look younger and boost your energy. And let’s face it, who couldn’t do with a bit of that! As part of our wellness and wellbeing series we’ve explored Dr Daniel Amen’s book, Change your Brain, Change your Body, including 10 brain principles for the body you want and four ways to use your brain to change your weight. Today we conclude our exploration in change your brain, revitalise your body. How your brain can help beautify your body and improve your overall health and well-being. Dr Amen puts forward 6 solutions: 1 - The Skin solution Your skin is directly tied to the health of your brain. People spend a lot of money on skin care products and more. It’s a huge multi-million pound business. From skin-care products to laser treatment, to the plastic surgeon, but Dr Amen argues these are only temporary fixes and the real solution lies in your brain. It’s your brain that tells your skin to produce more or less oil, supervises the production of supportive collagen and is responsible for skin regeneration; so it’s there we need to begin. “The health of your skin is an outside reflection of the health of your brain.” – Dr Daniel G. Amen So what’s bad for our brain (and therefore our skin)? Well it’s the usual suspects: Caffeine, alcohol, smoking, poor diet, too much sugar, yo-yo dieting, inadequate water intake, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, stress, unresolved emotional conflicts or PTSD, hormonal changes, untreated psychiatric conditions, dementia, medications, sun exposure, pollution and environmental toxins, climate. And the solution: Get more sleep, distress, exercise, balance your hormones, have more sex (really), limit caffeine and alcohol, quit smoking, eat a brain healthy diet (more of that next week), maintain a healthy weight, drink more water, balance your sun exposure (some sun is good for your Vitamin D) but not too much which can cause premature aging and sun spots. 20 minutes during the day after which protect yourself with sunscreen. And finally treat mental disorders and memory problems. Plus you can take some supplements, e.g. Vitamin D, fish oil, evening primrose oil and grape seed extract (good antioxidant) 2 - The Hormone solution Did you know your hormones have a huge impact on brain function? When your hormones are balanced you tend to feel happy and energetic. And in contrast Dr Amen cites evidence pointing to low hormonal levels being responsible for amongst other things: low libido, depression, memory problems, midlife crises and divorce. While high hormone levels lead to: hyper competitiveness, acne or aggression. Once again it’s the brain that controls all the hormones in your body. Types of hormonal imbalance include thyroid, adrenal, testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone to name but a few. Different hormones require different treatments but often begin with blood tests depending on the symptoms. 3 - The Focus and Energy solution If you want more energy and focus (and frankly, who doesn’t) then you are probably prey to one or more focus and energy robbers. These fall into different categories including; infectious causes, hormonal issues, low or erratic blood sugar states, anaemia, brain trauma, environmental toxins, inherited brain disorders, medications, chronic stress, untreated past emotional traumas and bad brain habits. So if you find yourself wondering if your lack of focus could be something more that just being disorganised or lacking focus, it might well be. The good news is there’s lots you can do to counteract this. The first step is to get any of those focus and energy robbers treated and at the same time develop and maintain a brain-healthy lifestyle – adequate sleep, a brain-healthy diet, exercise (4-5 times/week), a stress reduction program if chronically stressed, and meditation is a particularly good energy booster too. Plus, certain foods are energy boosters including fruit, veg, beans, and whole grains and protein. 4 - The Sleep solution And then we get to solution 4 – the sleep solution. Always a favourite topic of conversation between us. One of us a night owl who can survive on considerably less than the other. Dr Amen suggests resting your brain for a slimmer shape and smoother skin, pointing to a small study by the University of Chicago which suggests people who are sleep deprived (the test was on 12 healthy men in their twenties who slept only 4 hours a night) were more likely to choose sweets, cookies, and cake over fruit, veg and dairy products. Practical action steps in the sleep solution include: maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoid exercise close to bed time, and what causes sleep deprivations which includes amongst others medications, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and a number of others along with these usual suspects. 5 - The Stress solution A little stress can be a good thing but excessive stress both in good and bad forms can spell trouble for your brain and body. Chronic stress affects the flow of blood to the brain, lowering overall brain function and prematurely ageing the brain and can also affect the body making you look older. A 2009 study of 647 women found the physical effects of chronic stress were similar to the effects of smoking, being obese or being 10 years older than their actual age. Techniques to help calm stress and thereby have a better body include: meditation, yoga, learning to delegate, practicing gratitude, getting enough sleep, exercise, soothing music, lavender, rehearsing or practicing situations that cause stress, living in the present (mindfulness), laughing more, seeking help, self-hypnosis and avoiding substances that harm your brain (the aforementioned usual suspects). 6 - The Negative Thoughts solution The last solution is around thinking your way to being thinner, younger and happier through avoiding negative thoughts. Dr Amen cites 9 types of ANTs or Automatic Negative Thoughts that get in the way of your being thinner, feeling and looking younger and being happier. We’ve looked at these and more in a previous post and episode of the Changeability Podcast which you check out at – Episode 39 – 11 Negative thoughts to avoid. And how to swat them. Change your Brain, Change your Body ‘Change your Brain, Change your Body’ is an interesting book that really got me thinking about whether some of the things he talks about, which I’m sometimes frustrated about in my own behaviours – tiredness, fogginess of thinking, could well be around imbalances, or poor dietary considerations and I was left wanting to explore that more. It’s a dense book with many useful actionable steps in it, plenty to ponder and take action on and return to for further reading. It will really make you think about the mind-body connection. Where to start? Start by changing a few vital habits that will have the maximum impact. That may mean replacing ‘anti-nutrition’ with brain healthy foods, or taking supplements geared to your brain type, or by gradually starting an exercise program, or getting a bit more kip (sleep). Then fine tune your life changes to ramp up your brain and body health. Episode 96 of the Changeability Podcast Hear us talk about all of this and more on episode 96 of the Changeability Podcast on iTunes, Sticher, Tunein or in the podcast player at the top of this post. Links mentioned in the show Vote for our podcast if you appreciate us – finalists for the Audience Appreciation Award What the heck is wellbeing – episode 92 10 brain principles for the body you want – episode 94 How to use your brain to change your weight – episode 95 Change your Brain, Change your Body by Dr Daniel G. Amen Vote for the Changeability Podcast We received some excellent news this week. We’re through to the final of the Audience Appreciation Award 2016 at New Media Europe 2016 – which is incredibly exciting and down to you lovelies who all voted for us in stage 1 of the Award process. The winners of this award will become known later this month at an Awards event in London. We could do with your help to vote for us from now to 10th June. The competition has moved to Twitter and all it requires is that you vote for our podcast on Twitter, by going to: BrilliantLivingHQ.com/awards2016, scrolling down to and click on The Changeability Podcast link under ‘The Audience Appreciation Award’. This will pre-populate a tweet which shows your support for our podcast. One final thing– if you felt super-duper kind – please vote for us once a day up to 10th June – thank you.
44 minutes | May 28, 2016
CA095: How to use your brain to change your weight
How to use your brain to change your weight This week we’ve gone from consuming 5 course dinners every night in a lovely hotel on holiday in Wales, to thinking about weight and the brain. It’s sweetly ironic and rather timely. As part of our mini series on health and wellbeing, this week we think about weight and if we can use our brains to help us lose weight. Today’s featured author certainly thinks so as Dr Daniel G. Amen devotes the second section of his book, Change your Brain, Change your Body, to the subject. Last week we looked at 10 brain principles for the body you’ve always wanted. Continuing with our exploration of the link between your brain and body and how having a healthy body and making healthy decisions all starts with your brain, we turn to the subject of weight. Weight is an aspect of our bodies that many of us want to do something about. We might want to change our weight upwards or more commonly downwards, for our health and because we think it will make us feel better about ourselves. So what does Dr Daniel G. Amen say about this? How can you use your brain to achieve lasting weight loss? Dr Amen, puts forward four major solutions to how to use your brain to change your weight. 1 - The Craving Solution This is about using your brain to increase your willpower and calm the urges that prevent you achieving your goals. How often do we have a day where everything’s going well and then someone offers us a cream cake? In Dr Amen’s case it was a caramel apple which he resisted it by walking away – but why was everything in him craving it? Essentially, there are centres of the brain responsible for focus, judgment and impulse control – the pre-frontal cortex in the front of your brain – and there is also a pleasure and motivation centre deep within your brain plus we also have emotional memory centres that trigger behaviour. All this comes together to influence our behaviour. By understanding these brain circuits of willpower and control you can work towards gaining mastery of your brain and body. It starts with our first experiences of pleasure or intense emotional experiences. These first experiences can get locked in the brain and lay down the tracks for later behaviour and addictions, because we want to replicate and repeat what led to our first pleasurable experiences. For Dr Amen it was linked to the pleasure he associated with some of his earliest memories of making fudge with his sweet-maker grandfather. What about you? What are your earliest memories of pleasure or intense emotional experiences? I remember eating ‘milky way’ chocolate bars at my Grandma’s house when I got home from school and my Mother’s sherry trifles were legendry at family parties and celebrations of every kind. For Julian the stodgy puddings of school dinners and getting enough of it after it had been passed down the table of older children first, loom large in his memory (yes he is that person that loved school dinners)! So going back to the idea there are different centres of the brain responsible for focus, judgment and impulse control plus a pleasure and motivation centre, it’s the relative strength and weakness of each of these brain areas that goes a long way in determining how much control we have over ourselves and how well we are able to stick to our plans. Regaining control of these different centres of the brain depends in part on the area in question but it generally involves balancing your brain systems. If, for example your Prefrontal Cortex is out of balance, you might need to treat any PFC problems that exist but in more general terms you can strengthen this area by: Good sleep Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level Exercise Meditation And creating focused, written goals. All of which are designed to boost activity and blood flow to this area of the brain. (Couldn’t agree more with this and if you want to know more sign up for our Changeability Starter Kit) Solution 2 – The Weight Solution Here, you’re using your brain to achieve your optimal weight. While according to Dr Amen we might exhibit different clinical presentations and brain patterns and require different approaches, he outlines 13 things all of us should do to maintain a healthy weight. Know your brain type – not everyone has the same brain type. There are six main types (detailed in the book) Get a complete physical and focus on having healthy vitamin D, DHEA (a hormone in the body which can become depleted), and thyroid levels Know your BMI and caloric need numbers – the approximate number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. He gives you a formula which you can use to calculate the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight. Know the approximate number of calories you eat a day by keeping a food journal and calorie log and work on getting ‘high-quality calories in versus high-quality energy out’. This is useful because people lie about their food intake, or to put it more kindly, we often underestimate our daily intake and keeping a food journal overcomes this tendency. You start using your brain to become educated about the nutrition you put in your body and can then take control over it. You can not change what you can not measure. Exercise 4-5 times a week, starting with walking fast and light strength training. Optimise your hormone levels Get great sleep Use simple stress-management techniques Stop believing every negative thought that goes through your brain Use hypnosis to keep you slim Take supplements to keep your brain healthy Use the advice in his book, to keep your brain young and active in order to lose 10 pounds (5 kilograms) Take control of your weight and do not let other people make you fat Solution 3 – The Nutrition Solution This involves feeding your brain nutritious foods to look and feel younger, on the basis that we are what we eat, and that the foods we eat affect our moods and our energy levels. We’re constantly getting the wrong or unhelpful messages about food. As a society we’re bombarded with messages encouraging us to adopt bad eating habits. ‘Do you want to supersize that?’, ‘Do you want bread first?’ ‘Do you want a larger drink? It’s a better deal’, the All you can eat buffet! Many of us send out the wrong messages to our children ‘If you’re good, you can have a treat when you get home.’ We use poor nutrition as a reward for good behaviour which later in life translates to us rewarding ourselves with food that is not good for us. To follow the Nutrition Solution of how to use your brain to change your weight: Drink plenty of water, some green tea, and not too many calories Watch your calories Increase good fats (unsaturated fats) and decrease bad ones (saturated and trans fats) Unsaturated good fats include: avocadoes (thought you’d like that one), olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil and nuts such as almonds, cashews and pistachios. Increase good carbs and decrease bad ones. Carbs are a necessary part of a healthy diet, the amount you need depends on your brain type Good carbs are complex carbs which take longer to digest: fruit, veg, beans, pulses and whole grains. Bad carbs or simple carbs are digested quickly and provide little or no nutritional value: e.g. sugar, pastries, sweets, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, doughnuts, white bread, pasta and white rice Dump artificial sweeteners and replace with small amounts of natural sweeteners. Limit caffeine intake to one or two normal cups of coffee or three cups of tea a day. Eat great brain foods, which include Acai berries, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, spinach, raspberries, brussell sprouts, plums, broccoli, beetroot, avocadoes, oranges, red grapes, red peppers, cherries and kiwis Reduce salt intake and increase potassium intake Plan snacks. Interestingly, he says don’t listen to the idea of avoid snacking. Going too long without eating can wreak havoc on your brain function and make your blood sugar levels drop too low. But make them healthy snacks. Take a multivitamin supplement and fish oil Recognise when you or someone you care about has hidden food allergies. Solution 4 – The Exercise Solution Exercise your body to strengthen your brain. “Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley We’re becoming more sedentary – driving to work, sitting all day at a desk, lounging on the sofa. This is bad news for our brains, our bellies, our backsides and our backs. Exercise is part of the solution because it: Encourages the growth of new brain cells Enhances cognitive ability at all ages Enhances your mood Helps alleviate depression Calms worries and anxiety And helps us sleep better, amongst other things Episode 95 of the Changeability Podcast Join us to hear us talk about all of this and more in episode 95 of the Changeability Podcast What about you? Is this something you’d like to change – sign up for our free Changeability Starter Kit. Links mentioned in the show: Take our survey. It’s super quick and easy. Changeability Starter Kit Change your Brain Change your Body by Dr Daniel G. Amen Episode 94 - 10 Brain Principles for the body you’ve always wanted
39 minutes | May 21, 2016
CA094: 10 brain principles for the body you want
10 brain principles for the body you want Is it possible to utilise the power of your brain, to reach your ideal body weight, to look younger and boost your energy? That’s the question we’re asking today. And it’s the bold claim Dr Daniel G Amen makes in his New York Times bestseller, Change your Brain, Change your Body - the subject of this week’s blog and Changeability Podcast. What’s the idea behind Change your Brain, Change your Body? In his introduction, Dr Amen tells us “Fifty percent of the brain is dedicated to vision. How you look plays a large role in how you feel. To look and feel your best, you must first think about and optimize your brain.” Let’s unpick this a bit. We’re visually orientated, with our brain devoting half of its processing power to sight. Being visual creatures – how we look, or how we perceive we look, plays a large part in how we feel about ourselves and that can often determine our ultimate success. For our own underlying health – and not just for vanity sake – we should therefore concern ourselves with how we look and feel. And that ultimately, to look and feel your best you need to first think about and then optimize your brain. So as the title suggests, this book is about understanding and optimizing your brain to help you reach your ideal weight, look younger, boost your energy, change how you feel about yourself and that process of changing your body (via your mind) will in turn ultimately determine your success. In essence then, this book is about body/mind integration, mind/body connection and how you can use your brain to improve your body and health. And I’m sure you’ll agree, that’s an interesting premise. But what do we know about the author and how he comes to make these claims? Background and credentials of the author Dr Daniel G Amen is a doctor with three decades of clinical practice at the Amen Clinics. His interest in the brain-body connection started over 30 years ago – where intriguingly he was influenced by an oncologist who taught people to use visualization to boost their immune system in order to fight cancer. At medical school he became trained in hypnosis and saw the effect it can have on healing the body in a variety of treatments. But it was in 1991 that he truly started to understand the mind-body connection when he started doing the brain imaging work which he now does at his clinics. “Our brain imaging work opened a new window into why people do what they do. It provided the missing link and allowed people to see what was going on in their brains, so they could do things to improve their brain and bodies.” Addressing the effect rather than the cause of body dissatisfaction How often do we look in the mirror and see things we don’t always like? We look at our reflection and we see lines on our face we don’t always want there, or we catch a glance of ourselves sidelong and see a tum which frankly we’d prefer not to have. We notice a few split ends in our hair or excessively dry skin on our face. What do we do? Well, we could make an appointment with a hairdresser for a haircut. The wrinkles – we might slap all sorts of lotions and potions onto the skin to moisturise, cleanse and fill the cracks, so to speak – and some might nip along to their doctors to make an appointment for Botox. Basically we try and fix it ourselves (diet to lose the tum) or get some professional help. We address the effect. But Dr Amen would say that we need to address this issue by thinking about the health of our brain, the cause. And that many of us are walking around with brains that could do with some serious help, but we don’t know it, so we don’t do anything about it to address the issue. The things we see in the mirror are symptomatic of our brain health and instead of addressing the causal symptom we address the effect. 10 brain principles for the body you want Amen’s book is based on 10 key principles about the brain and its relationship with your body, and ultimately the health and wellbeing of our bodies. Your brain is involved in everything you do. It is at the core of your very health and wellbeing and the good or bad decisions we make with our brain ultimately determine whether your stomach bulges over your belt or your waistline is trim and toned. Essentially, the moment-by-moment functioning of the brain is responsible for the way you think, feel, eat and exercise. When your brain works right, your body looks and feels better. Here the idea is that when you have a healthy brain, it’s easier for you to have the best body possible. When your brain is working at optimal levels, you are more likely to stick to a diet, follow an exercise routine and adopt wellness lifestyle behaviours. The brain is a complex organ and we should respect it. The brain is an incredible organ, more powerful than the most sophisticated supercomputer. It is also responsible for our personalities, our character, our intelligence, indeed who we are. Yet often we don’t respect it, with the things we put into our bodies or the lifestyle we live. Your brain is soft and housed in a really hard skull and needs protecting. The consistency of the brain is not firm and rubbery as we might believe but very soft – like butter or custard. Although protected by a hard skull it can still be damaged easily. Many studies indicate that a lot of contact sports can damage our brains and demonstrate that even people who have suffered minor brain injuries can often experience emotional, behavioural or cognitive problems. The brain has only so much reserve. The more reserve you have, the healthier you are. The less, the more vulnerable. In times of stress some people deal with the situation better than others and the conclusion from Dr Amen’s brain scan work is that this is something to do with brain reserve – the cushion of healthy brain function we have to deal with stressful events or injuries. Specific parts of the brain are involved in certain behaviours. Trouble in specific parts tends to cause certain behavioural problems. The brain is divided into various parts or systems. If these parts of the brain show low or high activity (which can be seen with brain scanning) we exhibit certain behavioural problems. By addressing that under or over activity through the use of supplements and lifestyle changes we can help our ability to have the best body possible. Many things hurt the brain and make it harder for you to get and keep the body you’ve always wanted. Many things help the brain and make it easier to get and keep a body you love. Things that harm include: physical trauma, drugs, alcohol, obesity, hormonal imbalances, malnutrition, inflammation of the body, stress, sleep deprivation, smoking, too much caffeine, too much TV, violent video games, dehydration, lack of exercise, negative thinking, and also making the list - excessive texting and social networking on the internet. Brain imaging gives insight into healing the brain so you can have a better body. Brain imaging can often give clues as to the type of issue – from the list above, but also the area of the brain affected, which can then be treated. One prescription does not work for everyone. We are all unique and you need to understand how your own personal brain functions. We need individualised approaches based on our own brain type and needs. You can change your brain and body! Here Dr Amen imagines a really exciting breakthrough in medicine where by targeting specific interventions and lifestyle changes, you can improve both your brain and body. So that’s it, the 10 principles that explain why it is essential to love and nurture your brain to have your best body possible and optimal wellness. Next time, we explore how to use your brain to achieve something many of us struggle with – lasting weight loss; plus the many ways your brain can help you beautify your body and achieve lasting wellness and good health. Episode 94 of The Changeability Podcast Hear us discuss the 10 principles and more in episode 94 of The Changeability Podcast, or subscribe to all our previous episodes on iTunes. Links mentioned in today’s show Dr Daniel G Amen – Change your Brain, Change your Body
38 minutes | May 14, 2016
CA093: The Art of Epic Wellness with Nicole Keating
Nicole Keating is on a mission to live a life of Epic Wellness, and to inspire and help others in their quest for The Art of Epic Wellness – a life of physical, spiritual and emotional vitality. Nicole maintains: “If you treat your body as a temple, then your body is going to treat you with beautiful energy and epic vitality” And who doesn’t want more energy and vitality? We know we certainly do. Behind the concept of epic wellness is the belief you have the right to know what’s going into the temple that is your body, and the responsibility to share what you know with the people you love. “It’s all about becoming involved with your food”, Nicole tells us. And this carries on from ideas we explored on last week’s Changeability Podcast where we were talking about wellness and wellbeing. Nicole’s website, theartofepicwellness.com and her podcast of the same name seeks to do just that, to explore, uncover, question, unburden and uplevel your wellness journey. After all… “When you invest in clean food going into your body you won’t to have to invest later in your healthcare.” With a life voyage of such life changing proportions, we thought the only decent and British thing to do was to invite her onto the Changeability Podcast to discuss not the science but the Art of Epic Wellness. And when the California State (where Nicole lives) and good old blighty meet – that’s home to Kathryn and I – there’s bound to be room for lively discussion on living a life of such epic proportions. On today’s Changeability Podcast Hear Nicole, Kathryn and I discuss: What is Epic Wellness? What is Nicole’s new Art of Epic Wellness Manifesto? Food integrity – the importance of source, and eating seasonally Nurturing our four quadrants: the heart the mind and creativity the spirit and the body. Nicole’s tragedy that brought urgency to the idea of epic wellness. The changes you might need to make in your life to achieve your own epic wellness. Why you might need to try an elimination diet to determine potential allergens in your body How we can live more in a state of physical, spiritual and emotional vitality. The concepts of unburdening and uplevelling ourselves Mindfulness and eating – creating one mindful meal a day How you can start that wellness journey And more “I like to think of my meal as a palette, I’m building a beautiful canvas of food in front of me and I want to see all the different colours, I want to have different textures, I like to have some things cooked and some things raw and whenever I am cooking, I’m thinking about it that way.” Links mentioned on this week’s show We’d love your vote for The Changeability Podcast – it’s up for the Best UK Podcast of 2016 Award – and while you’re there Kathryn would appreciate a vote for Podcast Divas as well! (Voting closes: 29th May) Nicole’s website – The Art of Epic Wellness – theartofepicwellness.com Nicole’s email – email@example.com Nicole’s podcast - http://www.theartofepicwellness.com/the-art-of-epic-wellness-podcast/ The Secret Poison in Your Mouth: Banish the Hidden Cause of Cancer, Heart Disease and Arthritis – M. L. Sarlin
33 minutes | May 7, 2016
CA092: What the heck is wellbeing?
What the heck is wellbeing? Here at Brilliant Living HQ and our Changeability Podcast we’re all about helping you and us manage our minds to make changes and have more success and our best life and business. As well as looking at mind management techniques and processes to do this, we thought it would be fun and hopefully helpful to look at some of the key areas of life that many of us want to do something about. Earlier this year we did a series of podcasts and posts about relationships and today we start thinking about wellness and wellbeing. “Everything that brings us well being is achieved through allowing ourselves to flow with life and be in harmony. Pain happens, it is our attachment to the pain and our resistance to change that causes suffering.” Alaric Hutchinson Today is a beautiful day. It’s the first week of May and spring has sprung here in our little corner of England. The evenings are light and the days getting longer every day. The sunshine is making us feel better and it’s amazing the difference it makes. In fact we could say it’s increasing our sense of wellbeing - it certainly feels like that to us. But what the heck is wellbeing? What does wellbeing and wellness mean to us? This notion of wellbeing seems to be everywhere, in the work-place, in magazines, all over the internet, in fact there is a whole wellness and wellbeing industry out there. Wellbeing is big business. It’s a world populated by spas, therapists, therapies, fitness, gyms, dancing, exercise classes, weight loss, relaxation, supplements, closely associated to the health industry and being in a healthy state. Wellness is the manifestation of wellbeing. Wellbeing is a particular way or specific state of being encompassing many different aspects such as: Body and physical health Mental and psychological wellbeing Emotional wellbeing Economic wellbeing Social wellbeing Psychologists, economists and policy makers are all interested in wellbeing and try to measure it, so they can use it to understand more about populations and the policies needed in the future. While our focus at Brilliant Living HQ and in the Changeability mind-work is on mind management, it doesn’t mean we ignore the physical or body side of things. The two are totally entwined. We know this is area where lots of us want to change things – and that’s great because we believe mind management is key to making those changes, as much as it is to making any changes in life or business. Is it an area you want to change? Ask yourself if your level of wellbeing is having an impact on your life, work, business, interests, family or relationships? Mind body and spirit When we talk about wellness in terms of Brilliant Living, we see wellbeing encompassing body, mind and spirit. For us it has to be a holistic definition and approach to wellbeing that takes all three elements into account. How do you define wellbeing? What the heck does wellbeing mean to you? We asked our Changeability Facebook Group and is what two of our members told us: ‘Giving your body what it needs (fuel, movement, rest and recovery) self care, connection, emotional support/nurturance... Just some ideas off the top of my head 😉 ‘ Vicky ‘Wellness for me has to do with both mind and body, but I sometimes have to go along with wellness also including pain/discomfort as well. So it isn't the absence of problems, more like being happy where I am, appreciating all the good things, having a sharp mind to play with and a very useful body! Other people, communication, meaningful activities, and all the basic needs met are of course in the mix. (There’s no of course about that list for so many people, so gratitude is in there too!)’ Janet Thanks to Vicky and Janet for these insightful definitions. Positivity Just as health is not the absence of disease, there’s something much more positive to it rather than being just an opposite to a negative thing, wellbeing is something positive in its own right. As Jan points out, it isn’t about the absence of problems, but about being happy where we are – which is a relief for all of us as we’re never going to have a completely problem-free life, but we can still have wellness and experience wellbeing. How we think and feel about wellbeing is context dependent, as wellness and wellbeing are a relative concept. It might change at different times and stages of life, and different levels of health and fitness, but the key to wellbeing remains the same. The key to wellbeing is feeling good That’s it really isn’t it? The answer to what the heck is wellbeing is – ‘feeling good’. As our feelings and emotions are connected to our mind this brings us back around to mind management as the way to help us experience wellbeing. So how can we summarise what wellbeing means to us? Wellbeing is a combination of factors, some of which are more important at different times than others, but all impact on our levels of wellbeing including: health and fitness - both physical and mental self-esteem and self-worth confidence energy enthusiasm and a zest for life happiness feeling good That’s our quick introduction to wellbeing, what it is (and isn’t) and we're looking forward to delving into this subject a bit more and talking to some guests about it over the next few weeks. The Changeability Podcast Episode 92 Hear us talk about all of this and much more – including how and 11 year old Kathryn got this definition of wellbeing and times she hasn’t been feeling it – on episode 92 of the Changeability Podcast. Getting to Know You survey Thanks to those fantastic people who’ve completed our ‘Getting to know you’ questionnaire. If you haven’t done we’d love to hear from you. It’s very quick and easy with only handful of questions. It’s anonymous unless you want to leave your details and will help us get to know and serve you better. Thank you.
26 minutes | Apr 30, 2016
CA091: A new measure of success
A new measure of success How do you quantify success? What is it you actually measure? Should it be statistics, figures, numbers? Or how about the effort put in to achieving it? Maybe it could be a combination of these, rather like those school reports where you get a grade for achievement and a score for effort. Or should we more concerned with experiences rather than numbers? Statistics are certainly the easiest and most obvious way to measure success. With money wealth, income being one of most popular ways for people to measure their own or others’ success. But it’s all relative. What constitutes a measure of success in monetary terms fluctuates according to age, the circles you move in, geographical location and your time in history. Money can be measure in it’s own right or as an indication or measure of success. It’s not necessarily the money per se that’s important to measure, but it’s rather the way some people choose to quantify their success. The success is what drives them, not the money, but income is a useful indicator and measure of that. That’s all very well and yes numbers and effort are a good way to measure anything, but let’s not ignore the role of feelings and the experience itself. Otherwise we run the danger of seeing success as one-dimensional and we’re not one-dimensional beings, so if we do this we fail to capture the true meanings of success. So how are we measuring success? During my reflection time recently (a part of my Changeability mind-work where I write whatever comes to mind during meditation or visualisation) I came to a realisation as I was musing on this very subject. I realised that for much of my life I’ve equated success with validation. Validation for what I’m not sure, but it’s something to do with feeling valued and wanting to be seen to be good enough or for people to think I’m good at doing what I’m doing. This was quite a revelation! I was interested in what it meant. Did I see my self-worth wrapped up in other people’s idea of my worthiness? I don’t think of myself as someone who worries too much about what others think of me, or let it stop me doing things. But maybe it’s not so much about what others think, but more that I want to be seen as good enough so I think I’m good enough myself. There’s a lot more to be said about this and how it shows up in what I do and don’t do. You can hear all of this in much more detail in episode 91 of The Changeability Podcast. A new measure of success If you haven’t got time to listen to the episode now (and it’s quite a short episode for us) here’s a flavour of what I wrote in my Changeability Daily Journal: I am going to have a new measure of success from now on. My new measure of success is around enjoying every day. So essentially I will measure my daily success in terms of whether I enjoyed the day and found it fulfilling in some way. Now of course what constitutes an enjoyable day or a fulfilling day will change from day to day depending on what I’m doing – but in many ways that is the point. There is no real single measure of success, but many different measures depending on what we’re trying to achieve at any time. Therefore, I’m using this as an overarching catchall that can encompass any other measure within it. After all, what I (and I think most people) want to achieve in life and business is to be happy and fulfilled and enjoy this amazing experience of being alive. What makes each of us happy and fulfilled will be different and that doesn’t matter, because my new measure of success allows me to capture this for me. Listen to the podcast to hear me read the full extract from my Changeability Planner and Journal. “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan Getting to know you If you listen to our podcast or come to this website regularly then you know a bit about us – and we’d love to reciprocate and get to know more about you. So we’ve come up with a quick questionnaire to help do this. We recorded a short video to explains why – or you can skip straight to our Getting to Know You Questionnaire. There’s just a few questions which only take a couple of minutes to complete. It would be fantastic to hear from you as the more we know about you the more we can talk about things and create things you’re interested in and will help you. Thank you.
35 minutes | Apr 23, 2016
CA090: 6 ways to measure success
6 ways to measure success Have you thought about what success looks like to you? If so, how do you measure your success? Actually the first question is – do you need to to measure success? We say yes. One, because when you measure your success it makes you think about it. What is success and what does it mean to you? It makes you aware of what you want in life or business, rather than wandering aimlessly. Two, it gives you something to aim for, and we know that as humans we thrive and are generally happier and more fulfilled when we have a sense of purpose. Three, what gets measured gets done. It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” ~ Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents So how do you measure success? That depends on the sort of success it is. Here’s 6 ways to measure success – or 6 different types of success and our (some obvious and some not so obvious) suggestions of how to measure them. Academic success Test results, marked work, grades Qualifications success at taking tests or being good at exams a test of memory a specific skill or ability such as art or sport Ability to reason Create a coherent argument Work and career success Salary Title Promotion Status Achievements Bottom line –sales, bonuses Social impact Business success Number of products produced Number of products or services sold Success statistics according to the industry e.g. online - the number of website visitors or signups; podcasting - the number of downloads and listeners The ultimate measure of success is business is profit – with the possible exception of social enterprises. Body, health and fitness success Weight including: calories consumed in a day weight loss and gain Body measurements Percentage of Fat Cholesterol, blood pressure etc. Fitness Number of repetitions weight lifted time spent running distance covered number of visits to the gym or sports played in a week Inches lost or gained % of fat or blood pressure or cholesterol reduced Softer measures increased self-esteem and confidence look good feel stronger and fitter, able to walk further or do more Lifestyle Experiences Travel – locations, time away holidays Making enough money to support travel lifestyle hobbies experiences you want Enough money to live where and how you want e.g. on a beach for a year like a digital nomad It’s a different way of measuring success but just as valid and maybe more fun Love and Relationships Number of years in a relationship or anniversaries reached Love hard to define and therefore hard to measure Something to do with feelings and compatibility Happy family Number of friends or people in your networks (although can be superficial) Episode 90 of The Changeability Podcast Hear us talk more about this in episode 90 of the Changeability Podcast Links Get your free Changeability Starter Kit at com Or buy the Changeability book at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk Thank you for listening and reading this. If you like the show, please go to iTunes now and leave us a review – we will love you for it.
46 minutes | Apr 16, 2016
CA089: What does success mean to you?
What does success mean to you? We start every episode of the Changeability Podcast with the words ‘brought to you by Brilliant Living HQ .com’ because that’s our online home. That’s where you find us, our products, the 89 podcast episodes we’ve published to date, and hundreds of blog posts. But this week we asked you if you’re experiencing ‘brilliant living’. If you take the dictionary definitions of the two words and put them together it brilliant living means something like ‘living life in a way that is excellent, bright and marvelous, pursuing a lifestyle that feels very good to you.’ We define ‘brilliant living’ as living life on your own terms. Ok, so its not always 100% possible, but it is definitely more possible than most people think. Sure there are physical and social parameters, but we can push those boundaries and look at what are the real boundaries and which are those created by the cultural norms and social expectations we go along with. What brought all this on you might ask. Well this week we had a fabulous day in London. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was the first warm day of spring. We met our son Alexander for a full works English breakfast sitting outside at the Bankside Café – they even had three vegetarian options for me. We walked along the Southbank of the River Thames - past Tate Modern, past Shakespeare’s Globe and down to London Bridge, where we ambled round Borough market, saw the house from Lock Stock and ended up drinking smoothies in the Refectory Garden at Southwark Cathedral – all by lunchtime. Returning along the river to the Royal Festival Hall we met with some Tropical Think Tankers for a Mastermind Session and had a fun productive great time talking business. Then back to my sister’s house for family dinner before driving home to pick up Dude the Dog and get back to our house and bed. Reflecting on it in my appreciation time the next day I thought to myself – that was a brilliant day. This triggered thoughts about what makes a successful day. Because in a way success is another way of looking at what brilliant living means to you. So how do you define success – what does success mean to you? “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” Abraham Lincoln The definition of success The Oxford Dictionary describes success as ‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ ‘The attainment of fame, wealth or social status.’ ‘A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame wealth,' These last two definitions are interesting because this is the sort of thing that springs to mine when we think about what success means. Conceptions of success: Moving up the ladder There is the idea that success is about getting to the top of the ladder especially in terms of career and moving up the corporate hierarchy. Any organisational chart will make it obvious where you are in the scheme of things, but at what point on that ladder of success will you think you’ve been successful? It will partly depend on why you’re doing the job. Is success about the status or b the influence and impact you will have? Is it connected to the benefits or trappings of success? Expert status Another way of looking at success is about reaching an expert status. We call people a success when they reach a level of expertise like actors, musicians and sports people. An interesting question is at what level do you become a success in your own eyes and in the eyes of those around you. Financial success The most common definition of success is probably around financial or monetary success. There’s a wealth connotation implied when we think about success. When we say someone’s done well or they’re a real success, more often than not the implication is around wealth, but it doesn’t need to be. Social success Success can equally encompass social impact as seen in social enterprises and community based initiatives and roles. Then there is success in terms of social standing where success is being in with the right people and networks or getting into the right club and achieving some perceived level of social acceptance. Academic success When we’re at school, college or university, exam success is a massive part of our lives – whether we want it to be or not. People are seen as successful or not depending on the qualifications they achieve and then the occupation they go into. Once you get into the work place that academic success which you needed to get you there becomes less and less important. Personal success Most of us would want to include definitions of success that revolve around success in aspects of our personal life. It could be in terms of health or fitness or around weight, or success in a hobby we love doing or learning a skill. Relationships success What about defining success in terms of our relationships. It could be being a good friend or a good partner, husband or wife or a family member or a great parent or being popular. Career or business success Success to you might be about your career and business and it may or may not be associated with money or that it gives you the means to lead the sort of life you want to live. Part time working might not make you successful in terms of your finances but allows you to be a more successful in your parenting role. In thinking about what success means to you it comes down to what makes you feel like a success or what makes you feel successful. Success at different ages and stages Success looks different at different ages and stages of life e.g. someone leaving school will define success differently to someone about to retire. But there are elements and characteristics of success that remain consistent throughout, even if the way they’re played out changes over time. As you think about what success means to you, think about whether your definition of success allows you to experience these. A sense of achievement: From being able to use your talents and skills and getting things done, seeing something through to a good outcome. Recognition and validation: One aspect of success is having our efforts or talents recognised and respected and feeling validated. A sense of self-worth and self-esteem: We feel successful when we feel valued and recognised but also when we value ourselves and our individuality and capability. Purpose and values: Success can be connected with purpose where you have an idea of what you want to achieve and where that purpose is aligned with your personal values. Real success only happens when its in line with what’s important to you. So if integrity is important to you, it doesn’t matter how successful you are in the eyes of the world if you achieve that success in dubious ways. You will not experience success because that wouldn’t be your definition of success. Security and control: These are key characteristics of success for many people. Being successful means feeling secure in who you are and what you do and in the basics of life but also having a sense of control or being in charge of your own life and destiny. Being able to choose the sort of life you live. Contentment Contentment with your life and the in your relationships is another facet of success. This is about inner contentment rather than being accepting of things as they are. It doesn’t mean you don’t strive for more or for changes but that this striving helps you grow rather than scuppering you. Because when you are content inside you don’t have to rely on others for that contentment or inner happiness. Love Love has a key role to play in success. To love and be loved is an important part of what success means to many people. It’s a big part of what makes them feel successful. Fulfilment Last but not least comes fulfilment. In a way I think this is one, if not the most important characteristic of success. We feel successful when we feel fulfilled. This could be in so many ways but its about fulfilling potential in any area of your life or work. Its about doing something you feel good about and getting a positive outcome for you or for others. It can also be about contribution. “Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” Marianne Williamson So what does success means to you? How do you define success in your life - any area of your life? In fact that’s an interesting place to start. What areas of your life spring to mind when you start trying to define what success means – start with those and then move on to others. Because brilliant living starts with being aware of what you mean by that, what does brilliant living mean to you, what does success mean to you. Next week we’re going to think about how we can measure that success. If you want a bit of help with thinking about these things sign up for our free changeability starter kit. Episode 89 of the Changeability Podcast Hear Julian and I talk about all of this and more besides in episode 89 of the Changeability Podcast. If you like listening to the show we’d love you to let us know by leaving us a review on iTunes – we will love you even more and at some point we will read it out on the show.
33 minutes | Apr 9, 2016
CA088: Why you need mind management
WHY do you need mind management? What do you want to change in your life? Do you want more or less of something or to learn a new skill or experience different things? Or do you want to change something about your relationships or body or work or finances? It doesn’t have to mean you hate your life or work now – but you just want it to be better in some way. Yes, we all want changes but WHY do we need mind management to do it. ‘Life management begins with mind management. The quality of your life is influenced by the quality of your thoughts.’ Robin Sharma Your marvellous mind Your brain is amazing and has enormous power. Its big job is to keep you alive and it does that by keeping you safe which tends to mean maintaining the status quo – because that’s what’s worked so far. This is fabulous for keeping you alive – but it’s not always so fabulous when you want to make changes – in other words you want to move away from the status quo in some way. It’s important to know that although you think you make your decisions and plans – including what you want to change – much of your thought processes go on at an unconscious level and decisions are made without you being aware of them much of the time. It has to do this. We have control over the conscious part of your mind, and although amazing, your conscious mind has limitations. It loses focus easily and typically holds about 7 chunks of information at any one time. This is why the subconscious takes control of most of what’s happening in our bodies. It’s the engine driving us – leaving our conscious mind to focus on other things. Changing your mind This is critically important when we want to make changes, because your unconscious mind, which is a million times more powerful than your conscious mind, is running the show. And it does much of this based on the beliefs and habits you’ve built up over your lifetime – not all of which are serving you well. Both parts of your mind are crucial not only to survival but also to getting the changes and living the life you want. The real trick is to get them working together to make this happen. This enables you to use the whole of your marvellous mind brain to work for you and not against you –otherwise it’s all to easy to end up self-sabotaging what you want to achieve. We’ve all done that! Why when you want to lose weight do you still eat the very thing that you know will not help you get the body you want? Because your mind is screaming at you that you’ve hungry and want to eat and want to eat something that tastes nice – and your belief and experience tells you that cream cakes – especially a Victoria sponge with butter cream icing – will fill you up quickly and taste nice, and you’ve had a hard day so of course you deserve a little treat. Now that might be irritating and throw you off course a little but it also happens in really important decisions and situations. You want to leave a job and set up a new business for yourself, but your subconscious is screaming at you – ‘are you mad, you’ll never make a good business person, why do you think you can do it, you never see anything through.’ Or whatever it might be for you, based on your past experience. Mind management is about becoming aware of the impact your thoughts have on yo,u and using your mind to your advantage. Your Thoughts Time to take a step back - because underlying all of this is the notion that the way we think and the thoughts we think, influence what we do. Our thoughts influence how we feel, which influences what we do or the actions we take, which impacts how we live our lives. It sounds obvious when you say it like that – but just take a moment to think about it and see if you really believe this is so or if you’re aware of it in your day to day life. The thoughts you think lead to the action you take. It therefore follows that if you change your thoughts (that’s the way you think) then you can change your actions. This means you can make the changes you want in your life, work or business. You are not your thoughts It’s a fabulous concept to accept and goes hand in hand with the concept that your thoughts are things. Your thoughts are not you and you are not your thoughts. You are not defined by your thoughts. Which means that you can change your thoughts to help you live how you want to live. That’s what we mean when we talk about mind management. We’ve been talking about why you mind management to help you make changes, but it’s not just about doing things differently. It’s also about improving the everyday experience of being alive. After all, one of the changes you could look for is to be happier in your daily life, or more enthusiastic for life. It’s not just about things, its about ‘being’ as well. And mind management is the key. Do we have to learn mind management? Yes - to a large extent we do have to learn mind management because we’ve not been taught how to manage our minds. We don’t learn it at school – although some schools teach subjects like critical thinking but that’s something different. At best, we may have learnt something about the component parts of the brain and its functions. Most of us don’t pick it up from our natural interactions with our parents, probably because they never learnt it themselves. But this is your opportunity to learn about mind management now. So what do we know about the mind? We’ve talked about the two major components of the mind being the conscious and the subconscious. And we know that our brain is in effect an information processing system, containing nerve cells (neurons) which are connected through synapses. These neural pathways are influenced and strengthened by what we do, the influences in our lives, our previous experiences, beliefs and values we have stored in our minds. And these neural networks or pathways are strengthened by repetition. One of the potential problems of the mind is that it can be consciously (by our thoughts) or unconsciously influenced (by our subconscious). And the subconscious is the more powerful. We’re suggesting you get the conscious and the subconscious to work in harmony through mind management. So there’s no dissonance or disagreement between the two component parts of the brain and between your actions and your beliefs. That is the key to getting what you want and making the changes and why you need and want mind management. We know we can influence our conscious mind – we can determine our thoughts, so we need to influence our subconscious so it aligns with the subconscious. We also know that our subconscious mind was itself programmed, and can therefore be reprogrammed, but the process is slow and incremental. The captain of your ship It’s likened to a super tanker (the subconscious) being controlled by the captain of the ship (the conscious). The captain (the conscious mind) may be in charge, but the instructions the captain give take a long while to affect and influence the super tanker that is our subconscious. But the subconscious, like the formation of any habit, including thinking habits, can be influenced through repetition. Advertising relies on this repetition of key messages to get you to believe and then buy into their product, concept or ideas. This is why you can recall adverts from years ago, even your childhood, because of the power of repetition. Particularly when you add in a few tricks of the trade to make it even more memorable, tricks incidentally we can use to our advantage in mind management terms. The bottom line is mind management will help you change what you want to change and achieve what you want to achieve. HOW to manage your mind You manage your mind by training your mind to think in certain ways – so you develop habits and ways of thinking to support change, happiness and success for you. Training your mind might sound a far out or like some sort of trickery, but all it means is using certain techniques and ways of thinking that you can develop through practice. With the result that you can improve and transform your life and business through your thoughts, self-beliefs and the action you take. What techniques help us manage our minds Key mind management techniques include: Goal setting or vision setting Affirmations Visualization Hypnosis Mindfulness and Meditation Learning and internalising new skills through repetition and practice Developing yourself through reading and writing. These are the very techniques we talk about here at Brilliant Living HQ and on the Changeability Podcast. They’re also captured into a 10 step framework which shows how they all fit together and build one on the other in the Changeability framework. You will find the full version of this written out in a logical practical step by step framework on Amazon in the book Changeability: Manage your Mind - Change your Life either in Paperback or in Kindle. This is the best place to get the full explanation and exact steps. Or you can of course listen to the last 88 episodes of the Changeability Podcast! But it will be a lot quicker to read the book! Episode 88 of the Changeability Podcast Hear us discuss all of this and more in episode 88 of the Changeability Podcast. Links Changeability: Manage your Mind - Change your Life book on Amazon Thank you Thank you for being here and being wonderful. If you like listening to the show please leave us a review on iTunes. If you’ve read the Changeability book please leave a review on Amazon.
40 minutes | Apr 2, 2016
CA087: Mind management
At a recent business event I had 30 seconds to introduce myself and what I did. This is the so-called elevator pitch and it’s not as easy as you might think. Having seen how some people were struggling to get their description done in 5 minutes let alone 30 seconds it was suggested we use the quick little formula – I help …. To …. By…. I was the next one up so I sat there and said: “I help people make changes in their life or business by managing their minds”. It worked because everyone went ‘oooohhh’ and wanted to know what does that actually mean and how do you that. And it got me thinking that it's a long time since we've actually talked about what it is we actually do or rather the idea behind what we actually do. So today we're going to put that right because we’re going back to basics and thinking about what fundamentally underpins everything we talk about at Brilliant Living HQ. It’s also the subject matter of my Changeability book and underpins the whole Changeability process and practice and Brilliant Living products. It is mind management! What is mind management? The key question is what is mind management and why do we all need it. At it’s most basic level mind management is about managing your mind. Which maybe isn’t saying much – or more like it’s saying the same thing twice – there’s a nice word for that – tautology! But mind management is about managing your mind and we’re very keen on the whole idea of it. Our strap line here at Brilliant Living HQ is ‘Mind management for your best life and business’ or at least it was until we changed our site recently – we thought our logo looked better without it but maybe we should put it back somewhere so people know what it’s about! And the strapline to our podcast (and the Changeability book) is ‘Manage your Mind – Change your Life’. Why the obsession with mind management – what lies behind it? Mind management is the idea you can: ‘Harness the amazing power of your mind to help you get what you want in life.’ In other words you can reprogram or train your mind to create the right mindset to change what you don’t like into what you do like, and achieve your desires and live life to the full. “The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer. That’s a good start, but can we define it further and look at the individual elements of ‘mind management’ to get a better working definition? How do we define mind management? The Business Dictionary defines management as: “The organisation and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary adds a useful extra dimension defining management as: “The act or skill of controlling and making decisions about a business.” If we take these definitions together and replace business with the mind we come up with: “Mind management - The act or skill of controlling, organising and coordinating the activities of the mind in order to (make decisions to) achieve defined objectives.” This does assume that you have already determined what you want from your life, and have a vision of your defined objectives (goals) and what you have to do to achieve them. And for us that’s where it always begins – getting clear about what you want – because there are clear mind management reasons for doing this and for using the power of your brain and mind to help you achieve those goals and the changes you want. It has to start with intention plus inspiration which equal your vision or goals. If you want to know more about that go to brillliantlivinghq.com/goals to be one of the first people to find out about our goals challenge. So that’s the management bit. Now for the second part. The Mind There are basically two major components of the mind - the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious which is the bit we’re aware of – e.g. as you’re listening to this, the thoughts you’re thinking about what you want to eat or drink or what you’re doing later or reacting to what you’re hearing. This is what we think about and what we’re aware of. We tend to think of it as us – ‘this is me’ – but there is a lot more to you than that. Your conscious mind is like the tip of the iceberg because underneath it is what’s often called your subconscious, the bit below the conscious mind. We think of it below if thinking about an iceberg – but it’s sub (as in submerged or submarine) in terms of our not being aware of it. The other name – which is probably more accurate – is the unconscious. This is the part we’re not aware of – but keeps us alive because it carries out millions of actions every day without us even thinking about it. Taken together these two components of your mind create what is in effect an information processing system whose purpose is to keep you functioning and alive. The brain and mind When we talk about our mind we’re really using the term to describe aspects of what goes on inside our brain. People often use the two terms interchangeably but they’re not really the same thing. There are different physical elements to our brain, which you can easily see in any diagram of the brain, but our mind is what goes on within that physical organ. Your mind is where your consciousness and personality are. It’s a a bit like the software inside a computer. The brain is the hardware and the mind the software. But it’s not as straightforward as that as our thoughts are the result of our experiences and interpretations and feelings – so it’s more mixed. Essentially our brains contain nerve cells (called neurons) that are connected through synapses. This is how thoughts are formed. These neural networks or pathways can be and are strengthened by repetition. Likewise, these pathways can be consciously and unconsciously influenced and strengthened by what we do, by the influences in our lives, by the previous experiences, beliefs and values we have stored in our minds. This is not only one of the facets or characteristics of how your mind works but is also one of the reasons why we need and want to manage our minds. Next week we’ll be exploring this further when we talk more about exactly why you really do want mind management to be an everyday part of your life. Changeability If really can’t wait until next week to learn more – then you will find it all neatly explained in my book Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life - together with a 10 step logical framework of ten practical mind management techniques, you can start using right away. Get it here now (and it’s on special offer this week!) Episode 87 of the Changeability Podcast You can hear us talking about this and more in episode 87 of the Changeability Podcast. Links: Join our free Changeability private Facebook group Like our Brilliant Living HQ Facebook page and keep up to date Get on our mailing list to find out what we’re up to Buy the book of our mind management program Changeability: Manage your Mind – Change your Life – on Amazon Thank you for reading or listening If you like listening to our show we would love you to leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher – like Alex did – thanks Alex – really appreciate it! alex 18 butterfly from the UK – October 23rd 2015 Brilliant Podcasts - 5 stars "I look forward to listening to these podcasts in the morning on my way to work. They really help me feel positive towards the day ahead! Thank you so much for making these podcasts and please don’t stop."
30 minutes | Mar 26, 2016
CA086: Emotionally draining vampires - dealing with toxic relationships
Last week we gave you the ultimate guide to recognising toxic people and relationships. Now it’s all very well recognising toxic people and the characteristic behaviours of these relationships, but it’s not much good if you can’t deal with them. So this week we thought we’d look at those emotionally draining vampires and the process of dealing with toxic relationships. “You let go of a toxic and unhealthy relationship not because you are weak, not because you no longer love the other person, but because you are strong enough to understand that there are times when two people will be a lot happier if they go separate ways than if they stay together.” Dealing with toxic relationships and people So how do you deal with toxic relationships, toxic people and their behaviour? By literally detoxifying! Or as the dictionary would define it: “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.” And we like that definition of ‘detox’ for that is sort of what you are doing here. Taking time out: “a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of the toxic source” (in this case the person). It’s a process of distancing and this can take the form of mental, physical or emotional detachment. But what if these are people that you can't necessarily extract from your life or your situation? So this could be someone you work with, or a member of your family. And in this instance, the approach would be about how we manage these people and their behaviours. Essentially a process of controlling what you can and eliminating what you can’t. We’ve identified 15 ways that can help you can do just that. 15 ways to deal with toxic relationships or emotionally draining vampires Realise that you are more in control than you might believe. Toxic people will typically focus on problems rather than solutions. And what is it that they want from you in that situation? They want you to join in this conspiracy, so you can typically find yourself listening to these negative people and being sucked in to their negativity. To overcome this, set limits in your mind to this type of behaviour and then at the end of that time distance yourself from the behaviour or person. You can combine this with another useful technique, which is to ask the person how they would solve the problem they are complaining about. This redirects their attention in a more productive way and makes them more responsible for their actions and resolving them. Rise above the behaviour. Rather than reacting to the irrational behaviour, or finding yourself getting caught up in the emotion of it all, view it as an experiment with you as the experimenter and the toxic person as the subject of the experiment. See in your mind if you can identify some of the behaviours we identified last week – as a scientist noticing and noting down the subject’s response. This will keep you more distanced from the toxic behaviour and less likely to be drawn into the drama. It’s a sort of emotional distancing. So in this dispassionate state you can have thoughts in your mind like ‘O look, there’s that person behaving, negatively - or look they’ve just tried to manipulate or exaggerate the situation. And if you want to get really scientific, you can mentally observe your own behaviour – observing how you might go about trying to justify your own behaviour, for example. Establish your limits. Just because you live or work with a person doesn’t mean you have to put up with every aspect of their behaviour. The first key to this is to recognise a toxic person’s behaviour patterns and then you can go about establishing what you do or don’t put up with. In any situation we interact more with some people than others (often on the basis of how much we like that person’s company) – so have limits on the amount of interaction time you’ll have with that person and then stick to it. This can be quite tricky but do it consciously and on the basis of you being in charge of it, as almost certainly your limits may well be probed or tested. Stop trying to please the person and pretending their behavior is ok - in your attempts to get them out of their mood (whatever that is) or gee them up. Toxic people recognise that decent people like you will go to great lengths to ‘please’ and if your attempts aren’t working or lasting long then maybe it’s time to stop. So distance yourself from them and come back to them when their mood has shifted. Don’t continually justify your actions. In inappropriate toxic behavior the person will often project their own feelings onto you. For example, they might say – Why are you in a bad mood today, when you certainly felt you weren’t in a bad mood. In this situation remember - you don’t need to justify or defend yourself or deal with a false accusation. Be aware of the characteristics of a person’s toxic behavior. In so doing, you can spot more easily the manipulations and can name them. That way there will be less chance of you tying yourself up in knots trying to please them or excessively defending your actions. Know that it’s them – not you! We’ve said it already, that toxic people like to project guilt or imply you’ve done something wrong and guess what, as decent people we feel that guilt. But it’s important to understand this is not about you in this instance, it’s about them projecting their feelings onto you. Evaluate the relationship – ultimately, in any relationship you need to see if it’s doing you more harm than good. So evaluate the relationship, embrace the ideas that come from this evaluation and take action on that. If it really isn’t good for you, chances are you’ll know that on some level. Discuss your feelings with the other person – Tell the person how you feel in an assertive (not aggressive) way. So for example you could say something like: “When you do/say/act ________, I feel ________. What I need is ___________ (and here you would lay out the boundaries you would like from that person). It’s also helpful to add something such as - the reason why I am sharing these feelings and needs with you is _____________. (Because I love you, I want to build a healthy relationship with you.) Set and maintain your boundaries. Once you’ve set those boundaries. Maintain them. In the end, this is a process of self-preservation, so focus on taking care of yourself. Find ways in which you can protect yourself from their toxic behaviour, such as those we’ve already outlined. Take time for yourself – toxic behaviour can be exhausting, particularly in work situations where we feel obliged to deal with that person in a professional manner. So take time to recuperate and excuse yourself if need be to give yourself the breathing space to recharge your batteries. If need be - distance yourself from that relationship. This can be physically, emotionally or mentally distancing yourself. Ultimately, if their behaviour towards you doesn’t change, or you find it just too difficult, release them by letting the relationship go – this may be difficult and indeed painful but you may just need to move forward with your life and give yourself room for healthier relationships which will encourage you to grow. And finally, if it’s an abusive relationship, seek professional help. Episode 86 of The Changeability Podcast Hear us discuss all this and more in episode 86 of the Changeability Podcast and be certain to catch last week’s episode on ‘How to recognise toxic people and relationships’. After all, if you can’t spot it, how can you deal with it? Until next time.
36 minutes | Mar 19, 2016
CA085: How to recognise toxic people and relationships
You’ve probably heard of the phrase toxic person, and are aware at least of the importance of not surrounding yourself with this type of person. Particularly, if you consider: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~ Jim Rohn And one of those five is either someone you’re living or work closely with and has a toxic personality. So what is a toxic person? The dictionary definition of toxic is a poisonous substance with the synonyms: dangerous, unsafe, harmful, destructive and even malignant (with connotations of evil, or hateful). If we apply this to the term toxic person we might consider this to be a person who is dangerous, harmful or destructive to us as an individual. The Urban Dictionary gives a rather nice definition of a Toxic Person as being: “Used to describe a person who is tainted by a subconscious malevolence or psychosis that affects the lives of those who come into contact with them.” But we’d probably put it less strongly than subconscious malevolence or psychosis and describe it as behaviour which drains you - the receiver of this toxic behaviour - of energy and life. A person causing social tension or indeed unpleasantness, might be described as having a toxic personality, for example. So is it a toxic person or toxic behaviour? It is of course important to separate the behaviour from the person. It’s not the person in their entirety who is toxic, rather it is their behaviour which is toxic. And it’s also worth pointing out, it is your response to their behaviour, i.e. the power you are giving that behaviour in your mind that determines whether or not they are toxic to you. Not such a comfortable thought! Perhaps of more comfort then is the fact that you always have the power to choose your thoughts and responses to that behaviour however difficult that may seem. And it’s important to recognise that both the person displaying the behaviour and the person who might be on the receiving end – both play a part or a role in the toxic interactions. So if you feel you are on the receiving end, it is equally necessary to consider your own personal role as well. What are the signs you’re in a toxic relationship? What are the indicators or signs of this toxicity? Toxicity – a great word isn’t it? “The degree to which a substance (or person in this case) can damage an organism (or in this instance another person) as well as the effect on the substructure” – Wikipedia (Note, our additions are in brackets) In that definition, the actual word refers to the effect on the whole organism, such as a person, as well as the substructure of the organism. We even hear that effect on part of us in the language people sometimes use to describe toxic behaviour, saying things like: “His behaviour does my head in!” And we know that having a toxic person around can have quite an effect on a group of people. Within an organization, like the workplace, for example. And maybe the toxicity of the individual relates to the amount of contact, or degree of proximity or closeness you have to that toxic person. Or the amount of credence, you give to that person’s behaviour. It is quite incredible, how one person can affect so many others around them. Why do toxic people behave in this way? Often the person has been deeply hurt or is suffering themselves, and on some level are unable to take responsibility for that hurt and suffering and the subsequent problems that causes in their life. So they may typically project their behaviour onto others. How do you know that you’re dealing with a toxic person or toxic relationship? Here it’s useful to separate the behaviour of the toxic person from the behaviour you find yourself enacting when you’re dealing with it. Toxic behaviour of the toxic person Typically, the toxic person will exhibit some or all of the following characteristics. They might: Create drama in their lives and the lives of those around them. ‘You’ll never guess what’s happened to me again…!’ Be jealous and envious of others fortunes and complain about their own lot in life. ‘Well, you’re alright – things like that never happen to you.’ Try to manipulate or control others – ‘Don’t you find that so and so (whoever that might be) really gets on your nerves?’ Be very needy (it’s all about them!) Use other people to meet their needs Have very narcissistic parents who have fanned this behaviour, or indeed allowed it to go unchecked Be extremely critical of themselves and others Indulge in substance abuse or harm themselves in other ways Not own their feelings – it’s someone else’s fault, or they will project their feelings and thoughts onto you. So, for example, if that person is angry they won’t take responsibility for the anger themselves rather they might accuse you of being angry with them. ‘What have I done to upset you today?’ – When you weren’t even aware of having done anything! Be typically prone to exaggerate. You know the sort of phrases: ‘You always react in this way’. Or ‘You never side with me!’ And they’re often rather good at remembering the one occasion when you did react in that way or didn’t side with them as evidence that your behaviour is like that as a rule. So, we’ve looked at the toxic behaviour of the so called ‘toxic person’ How might we describe your behaviour or feelings when dealing with a person’s toxic behaviour This could be characterised in the following ways or behaviours: Overly justifying and defending your own feelings when you’re in their company. Trying to prove yourself to them or continually tying yourself in knots to please. Wondering what you’ve done to upset them or why they’re ignoring you. The toxic behaviour can colour your day and behaviour. Feeling as if this relationship is one sided and you are the only one contributing to it. Having to choose between them and something else “If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t go to that (whatever that is), but you’d stay and look after me.” Whatever you do with that person appears to be wrong! Every day is like another challenge, where you’re trying to modify your behaviour to suit their expectations or prove your worth. You feel uncomfortable around that person – they restrict your ability to say what you want to say, to have a meaningful, mutual two-way conversation of respected views. In your mind, you’re ‘walking on egg-shells’ so to speak when you’re in their company – always weighing carefully what you’re going to say. You feel like you are being controlled, or are overly controlling What impact do toxic people or toxic relationships have when you’re trying to make changes in your life? Tell-tale signs include: Feeling like you’re not ‘good enough’ as the other person can be constantly putting you down. A lowering of your own self-esteem, which is not a good basis for self or personal development. Feeling like the person who you’re living or working with is not working for your own best good. You compromising your own ideals and goals, or that they are significantly secondary to the needs of this other person. No longer recognising your true self, because you are tying yourself in knots to please someone else. You are in effect giving away your own power to that other person. Sustaining that relationship long after that relationship has ceased to be of value or benefit to you – in an attempt to not be seen to have ‘given up’ on it. Not being allowed to grow and change – or whenever you try to grow, you’re met with objections or indeed drama by that other person’s behaviour which takes you off course in your process of change. Episode 85 of The Changeability Podcast Hear Kathryn and Julian discuss how to recognise toxic people and relationships and their own experiences in the latest episode of The Changeability Podcast. And next week… We’ll discuss the tricky task of ‘How to deal with toxic people and relationships.’ But in the meantime let us know if you recognise these behaviours where you are. We’d love to read or hear your comments below.
49 minutes | Mar 12, 2016
CA084: Better relationships with Susie Miller
The heady heights of a budding relationship can quickly fall into the treadmill of something more humdrum and yet it doesn’t have to be that way. So, what makes better relationships in both life and business? Well who better to ask than a relationship coach. Susie Miller, known internationally as The Better Relationship Coach is an Author, Speaker and Coach. She is dedicated to helping people create better relationships and is the bestselling author of Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less! She teaches us that by being willing to listen, open to learn and therefore ready to love – truly, deeply and kindly – any and all relationships can be reignited beyond our imagination. Over the last few weeks of the Changeability Podcast we’ve been exploring the many facets of love and relationships: In episode 80 – Celebrate Love, we took a light-hearted look at love in all its many forms in today’s world. Episode 81 – turned our attention to self-love. What is self-love and what are the signs that we don’t always love ourselves, plus six reasons why you should Episode 82 taught us 10 ways to build the self-love habit And finally, last week we looked at the fascinating topic of rituals and how to build self-love rituals into your life, to become a happier, more fulfilled, confident and effective person, with more self-esteem and a better sense of our own self-worth. With all that talk of self-love, we thought our mini-series on love and better relationships with ourselves deserved to be broadened to include better relationships with our loved ones and those other key relationships we have with friends and work colleagues. So to help us ‘put deposits in our relationship bank’, we invited Susie Millar to come and speak on that very subject of better relationships, in episode 84 of the Changeability Podcast. And what a great interview it turned out to be. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, I will try again tomorrow.” ~ Mary Anne Radmacher In episode 84 of The Changeability Podcast Hear your hosts Kathryn and Julian interview Susie and discover: How important love and relationships are to making changes in life How difficulties in these areas impact all aspects of our lives Why relationships are the ‘currency of today’ How, with all the pressures of everyday life, we go about creating and sustaining lasting and meaningful, better relationships The importance of ‘intentionality’ in our relationships Why we can easily find ourselves taking our relationships for granted Why we need relationship goals, and concrete examples of what those goals would look like Susie’s take on a ‘hierarchy of relationships’ and the need to be ‘present’ in your relationships How to achieve balance between the different types of relationships we have, with our spouse or partner, our children, business and work colleagues and friends How much of our relationships goes on in our mind Plus, practical tips on how we can improve all our relationships All this, and a little extra bonus for Changeability Podcast listeners you’ll want to check out. Mentioned on today’s show: Susie’s website – susiemiller.com – the Better Relationship Coach Susie’s book – Listen, learn, love – How to Dramatically Improve Your Relationships in 30 Days or Less! Susie’s offer to Changeability listeners – susiemiller.com/brilliantliving
46 minutes | Mar 5, 2016
CA083: Self-love rituals
Love yourself if you want to be a happy, fulfilled, confident, effective person, able to give and receive love, have self-esteem and a good sense of your self-worth. But it’s one thing to understand this intellectually and quite another to really know and believe it. One of the best ways to accelerate a self-love habit is through using self-love rituals. Practicing self-love rituals is an easy enjoyable way to implant and build your self-love habit and behaviour until it becomes natural. Today we look at 11 self-love rituals to get you started, but first what’s so special about rituals? What are rituals and why are they so powerful? A ritual involves a series of actions, sometimes in a prescribed order – which are a type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone – in this case you! Because that’s what we’re after isn’t it – a way of behaving you do regularly and invariably, habitually and consistently. That’s why developing rituals is powerful, because rather than leaving it to randomness and chance or how we’re feeling on a particular day, by creating rituals we build them into our life and are more likely to do them. Once you’ve created the ritual you don’t have to think about it – it’s part of a system. It’s internalised. Rituals will supercharge your habits and are better than habits in some ways. You can encompass more than one habit within a ritual and because rituals focus on specific ways of doing something, they are very focused. Apart from building the habit, the other great thing about using rituals is that by following a set way of doing something you’re creating space and time in your life for it. Just doing these rituals will send your brain the message that this is important to you – you matter. These rituals we’re talking about of themselves nothing out of the ordinary. You might think that’s not a ritual that’s just how I’m spending my evening. Great if that’s the case – but by virtue of thinking of it as a ritual and labelling it as a ritual – it makes it a thing. It raises it up out of the everyday and mundane and it becomes something more. It becomes that thing that you do, and what’s more you’re doing it with intention. ‘You’ time Most of these self-love rituals fall into the category of how to spend ‘you’ time. This is time you put aside where you focus on yourself. Scheduling ‘you’ time is one of the key self-love habits. These rituals are a great way to help you do this. How you interpret them and make them your own will depend on your lifestyle, situation and preferences, but we’ve included a few suggestions to give you the idea. 11 Self-love rituals Relaxing or pamper time Spa Proper moisturise and self massage Brush your skin Take a long bath or shower Nurture / nourish time Self-development Visit a museum Watch a documentary, Joy time This will mean many different things to different people. It doesn’t really matter what it is – what matters is that you make a ritual and habit of scheduling time to do something that gives or brings you joy. Something just on your own or with others. Volunteering Get in the zone writing a novel or book A hobby like painting, sketching, or a sport Even better if it’s something you’re good at so you’re building your self-esteem at the same time. Go for a walk in the country or around the city Go to see a great film, show or play Schedule it to make it a ritual. It doesn’t have to be the same thing every day or for the same amount of time every day. Make a ritual of asking yourself – what am I doing today that it going to bring me joy. Laugh time Read a funny book or cartoon Watch comedy TV program or film Go to a comedy club Listen to a funny podcast The power of laughter is immense. You’re telling yourself you deserve to laugh – you deserve to be happy. Sometimes when we’re stressed or not feeling very loving towards ourselves we almost don’t feel right doing lots of laughing and having fun – especially if others are suffering – but we all deserve to be happy and making laughter a goal for your day or a ritual will help nudge it up the list and keep it on your radar. Gratitude time – for yourself Of course at BrilliantLivingHQ.com we’re big on gratitude and appreciation of what’s going on in our lives. It’s one of the most efficient and pleasing ways to ground us in our present, but more often than not it’s about other people and things around us. The difference with this self-love appreciation ritual is it’s about self-appreciation. If you already practice appreciation each day e.g. you write a list every day keep going but ensure at least one item out of your three or however many you do is just about you. Or create a separate note of 1 to 5 things you appreciate about yourself today. It can be something you’ve done – maybe something you did well today, something nice someone said to you – a compliment or feedback – or something you appreciate about yourself. For example – your body might not look exactly the way you’d like it to look in every aspect, but it sure does an amazing job of keeping you alive. There are hundreds and thousands of things to appreciate about it – so you will never be stuck again for something to appreciate about yourself. It’s not always easy, we tend to feel a bit funny about writing down what we like about ourselves. It goes back to the old idea some of us were brought up with that there’s something unseemly about blowing your own trumpet or fishing for compliments. But this ritual will help you counteract those unhelpful beliefs. And gratitude and appreciation stop you taking things for granted, like how amazing your body and you really are. Coffee, tea or smoothie break Take a break – on your own or with a friend, colleague, partner or family Make the conscious decision to take ten (or longer) Meditation Being mindful is one of the best ways of loving ourselves. Practice living in the here and now – not worrying about the future or ruminating on the past – but being present with your thoughts. Spend a few minutes in mindfulness meditation. Focus on your breathing and observe the thoughts as they come up and let them go. Don’t judge your thoughts but just be with them and let them go. Affirmations Affirmations are one of our favourite rituals. Affirmations are positive statements that affirm (or make firm) the behaviours and ways of thinking and being that help us be the person we want to be and achieve how we want to be. You can use affirmations for anything but they are by their very nature a great self-love ritual because they have all the essential elements of a great self-love ritual. They are repeatable – indeed their efficacy relies on repetition – it’s the constant repetition that helps to counteract previous thoughts and beliefs and starts to build and reinforce the positive affirming statements that you want to make into your new way of thinking. They are very personal – they relate to you and your thoughts. Some people might say that by using affirmations you’re reinforcing what you don’t like about yourself – but it’s the opposite. You’re accepting that this is how things are now and opening the door to creating new thought patterns and beliefs that will serve you well – this is a loving thing to do for yourself. This is putting yourself first so you can become more effective at something or happier or more fulfilled in some way – which will have a positive effect on others but it is primarily about you and how you feel. We start off our Brilliant Living™ affirmations and suggest you do it too with with the words ‘I fully love and accept myself’. This is an immensely powerful statement of self-love. If you want to be more loving towards yourself, start with our Brilliant Living™ affirmations for love. Treat yourself (they’re very reasonable) to bring more love into your life, including love for yourself. Food self-love rituals Be intentional with a meal and make it into a ritual – so you’re intentionally feeding yourself health-giving food Instead of rushing to get something on table, take your time to do something special or different (maybe bake a cake). Put some nice music on and accept it’s going to take you an hour and that you’re going to enjoy the experience. Pet time Walk, cuddle, play with or groom your dog or cat or talk to your budgerigar You might not get this if you don’t have a pet – but if you do have one you’ll know what we mean! Say ‘I love you’ Tell yourself ‘I love you’ everyday Look in the mirror and say it out loud It’s like an affirmation but is worth stating separately. Say it first thing in the morning or last thing at night or both. That’s enough to be going on with for now. We would love to hear your suggestions which you can leave in our Facebook group or on our Facebook page. We’re not suggesting you do them all every day (but how great would that make your day!) But make some ‘you’ time that is non-negotiable. Decide what’s going to be in that ‘you’ time, and it might include 1, 2, or 3 of these self-love rituals. Have a lovely time this week being purposeful about it. That’s the secret to all of this - remembering to do it and bringing it to your awareness on a daily basis so it becomes a ritual and then a habit. Episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast Listen to episode 83 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talk about all of this and more. Links mentioned in the show: Episode 82 -10 ways to build the self-love habit Six reasons to love yourself Episode 81 - Self-love Join our free Changeability Facebook Group Like our Brilliant Living Facebook Page BrilliantLivi
41 minutes | Feb 27, 2016
CA082: 10 ways to build the self-love habit
It’s all very well knowing we should love ourselves but how do we do it? Find out how with these 10 ways to build the self-love habit. ‘To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.’ Oscar Wilde What a lovely quote from the unique and fantastically brilliant Oscar Wilde but what did you think when you read it? Did you think that’s a clever little quip, or it’s a bit over the top or fanciful? Maybe you think it’s narcissistic or you haven’t thought of loving yourself as a romance with yourself. Whatever thoughts came to mind are an indication of your view towards you and self-love. Self-love is an inner love and acceptance of who we are and how we are. Last week we talked about what self-love is and why we all need it, in our blog posts and on the Changeability Podcast (episode 81). We looked at 6 ways or clues that show us we’re not being loving towards our self. We understand what self-love is and why it’s good for us, we’re looking out for those times we’re not being self-loving, but how do we go from the ways we tend to behave where we’re not being loving to ourselves, to growing our self-love until it becomes the norm or a habit. 10 ways you can build a self-love habit for yourself Choose yourself Give yourself permission to do what you want. Don’t wait for others to give you permission. You might think this doesn’t apply to you, but ask yourself if there’s anything you want to do in your life or at work where you’re waiting for someone else’s permission to do it. You might not have realised it before, but tacitly you’re waiting. It can be more explicit or obvious in our close relationships. You seek someone’s permission before starting something new or maybe even to go out. This isn’t about not caring about what your family, partner, boss or colleagues think. It’s about not holding back from being who you want to be or doing want you want to do because you’re scared or reluctant to ask or because you think you need someone’s permission. When often it’s an excuse for procrastination and you don’t need that permission at all – you only need your own permission. So give it to yourself. Create ‘You time’ and use it Neglecting your own needs was one of the key signs for not loving yourself and this is the antidote. Make space in your life for you. One practical way to do this is to make time for you. Carve out your own personal time to do something that pleases or excites you, or enhances you or your skills in or just makes you feel better. This is a time when you put yourself first. This doesn’t mean you don’t look after children or do your job well, but it does mean there is a time when you’re not putting other first. When you create ‘you time’ you become a better parent, wife etc. You set a great example to your family and colleagues of one of the ways of being an effective person, and send a strong message that you matter and want to be treated as if you matter. You matter enough to yourself to spend time on yourself and tend to your own needs and desires and they need to respect that. And they will respect that – even it it takes a little while to get you and them into the swing of it. If you find this an uncomfortable prospect, ask yourself if rushing around, doing lots of things for others, however worthy, is feeding an underlying limiting belief (like I need to be busy or look after everyone else to be valued) or is it because you really want to do it. Be realistic and double it. Unless we’re talking about SMART goals you don’t normally hear us talk about being realistic. However, we’re not talking about a lack of ambition or not having big dreams or goals; this is about being realistic about what you can achieve in a given timescale. Or to put it another way – don’t overstretch yourself or take on too much. One of the times we hear our inner critical voice is when we get impatient or cross with ourselves that something’s taking us too long or we’re not as far along with a project as we think we should be. When you find yourself signing up for something, whether for you or someone else, stop and ask yourself Am I being realistic here? Can I really get this done in this time or am I expecting too much of myself What will be the price of doing it in this timescale – will I have to stay up all night to finish it or will something else I really want to do suffer? However long you think something is going to take – double it! Or even triple or quadruple it depending on the sort of person you are. This is about self-knowledge. Basically don’t give yourself so many things to do. Don’t think you can fit in ten things before you go out for that appointment when you’ve only got tine for two – you’ll either fall short and be disappointed with yourself or be late! Examine your beliefs around being busy and time. Is your time something to be used or enjoyed? Do you feel that you have to be rushing around filling up every moment in order to be valued? Because let us tell you - you don’t. Learn to say no This fits with the above three and is one very practical way to help you accomplish them – to choose you, create and use your time and curb your expectations of yourself. Learning to say no is a very practical skill. You learn it by doing it – but there are a couple of techniques to help you. If you’re the a person whose automatic reaction is to say yes, then you want to break that automatic response – which is a habit. One easy way to do this is to buy yourself some time .This doesn’t mean you won’t say yes to a request, but that you will not automatically say yes – without thinking about it. To give yourself some time say ‘I’ll get back to you’ (if you might need a little while) or say ‘I’ll go and check my diary or calendar’. This gives you the option to think about it and obviously see if you have something on or not. But it’s not just about if you are free, but if you actually want to say yes or not. Don’t just say yes because you’re free. You can even practice saying no. Start with very small things, or when it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve done it a few times it will get easier and you wont feel you’re letting people down. Watch out for being a people pleaser and thinking that people will only like you if you say yes. Be kind and gentle on yourself Much of the time we can be quite hard on ourselves – I should have done this or why didn’t I do that or can I do more or why didn’t I achieve that or why did I fail to reach that goal. This is not self-love and can be rectified by being kind and gentle on yourself. Do you sometimes expect more from yourself than you do from other people? We often have higher expectations and standards of ourselves than we do of others. But if you want to love yourself more - then accept you’re not perfect, and life will be a lot easier. Perfectionism is a scourge and one to be avoided or downgraded. Doing a good job is great but there comes a point where it tips over into more than good enough to the detriment of you and your performance. So be kind to you. Be gentle. Give yourself a break – both physically, in real terms but also figuratively speaking. Calm your inner critic Your inner critic is never going to go away completely and that’s a good thing. It’s helping you stay safe and keeping you on your toes or on track, pointing out when something could be improved or isn’t helping you – but it can also be detrimental to your happiness and to loving yourself. So accept your inner critic for what it is. An inner voice trying it’s best to help you out – albeit in a often misguided way. It is working from the confines of its experience of you and the world and that’s not your inner critics fault, it’s just a matter of fact. So you need to help it to see where it’s not helping you and retrain it to be more supportive and helpful. Accept that your inner voice and critic is a part of you. And loving yourself also means loving this inner voice but that doesn’t mean that you need to accept everything it says or let it stop you making the changes you want in your life. Be aware of it, listen to what it’s saying but don’t accept it as the truth. Examine it and take notice where it’s helpful or overrule it where it’s not. You can even talk to your inner critic – ask it why it feels like that, thank it for it’s observations and opinions, answer back by suggesting ways in which you can modify your behaviour. Sometimes it will be telling you the truth, maybe an uncomfortable truth, But often it’s reflecting the results of the experiences you’ve had throughout your life – particularly in your formative years. This experience might have left you thinking you’re not good enough in some way, or your behaviour is inappropriate or you’re veering into new and therefore dangerous territory. Listen out for your inner critic, acknowledge it, see what’s underneath it, accept it, deal with it, negotiate or quieten and calm it. One of the best ways to raise your awareness and calm and quieten it is through our next suggestion. Be mindful One of the ways to address, put into practice and tick off the things we’ve talked about so far, is to be mindful and practice a simple form of meditation. Because when you meditate you put yourself first – you are with yourself in that very moment – your mind might be thinking about a million things but you bring it back to the present moment and are aware of you. This is your time – so you’re taking or creating some ‘you time’. And you’re setting a specific time – however small that might be – to use for yourself and be realistic about it. In that ti
43 minutes | Feb 20, 2016
‘Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.’ William Shakespeare, Henry V Last week we were celebrating love and Valentines, which inevitably led to thoughts of romance and different types of love. But despite a lot of talk of love everywhere – from card shops to films to books and the media – we see evidence of a lack of love all around us. That lack of love is not only evident in the terrible things we hear on the news, but also in something closer to home. And that’s the love we have for ourselves – or self-love. What is self-love? What are we talking about when we talk about self-love or loving yourself? A good place to start is by saying what it’s not. It’s not about being selfish or self-centred – even though it’s easy to jump to this conclusion when we talk about loving ourselves. And it’s not about showing off or having an over-inflated ego or sense of self. Nor is self-love about being narcissistic. In fact narcissism is the opposite of self-love because we’re seeking approval of ourselves, as this quote from Emily Levine illustrates: ‘I am a recovering narcissist. I thought narcissism was about self-love till someone told me there is a flip side to it. It is actually drearier than self-love; it is unrequited self-love’. Emily Levine So that’s what it’s not – but what is it? Self-love is about our ability to deal with and cater to our own needs and desires. It’s about having a healthy view and sense of our self. It’s tied up with our sense of self-esteem, self-worth and confidence in ourselves. Yet how often we don’t love and respect ourselves. 6 ways we don’t love ourselves What does it look like when we don’t love ourselves? Here are 6 tell tell signs to look out for, clues that indicate you’re not being loving towards yourself. Negative and derogatory self-talk This is the inner dialogue that goes on in our mind. For example: I can’t or I couldn’t do that I’ve never been any good at… Why would they want to hear what I’ve got to say… They wont be interested in me I’m not clever enough to… Stupid man …. Why am I so silly or stupid (one of Julian’s favourites) I feel disappointed in myself that….(one of Kathryn’s favourites!) Being Critical and impatient It’s not just what we say to ourselves but also what we say out loud and in front of others, including when we put ourselves down in front of others. This is where you’re critical of yourself e.g. ‘why can’t I do that’, or where you’re impatient with yourself for getting something wrong or with how long it’s taking you to get something right. Think about when we’re learning something new. It might be a new or complicated skill like playing a musical instrument, so of course we’re not going to pick it up straight away. But still we somehow think we should be able to do it much quicker than we realistically can. We’re impatient, as if it’s some defect or lack in us that’s the cause of our slowness. We get frustrated or even angry - when really it’s our expectations that are unrealistic. The same goes for when it takes long time to do a task or our work. Impatience or criticism creeps in and we question why we can’t focus more or why’s it taking so long to get it done. These are the signs of being hard on yourself that we both recognise only too well! We don’t look after ourselves One of the classic signs of a lack of self-love is when we don’t look after ourselves physically. We might show a blatant disregard for our health and what we put into our bodies or what we do with our bodies, such as indulging in risky or dangerous behaviour. When you love someone you want the best for them. Yet many of us fill our bodies with food and drink that’s no good for it and harmful in the long run. Is it we don’t love ourselves enough to give us the best we can, or is the quick reward of eating something we like the taste of, more appealing? It’s a complex subject and might not apply to you – but it’s worth thinking about what you eat and if you’re being loving to yourself. Or is that little something you call a treat and reward, really the opposite? Neglecting your needs This applies to you if you run around looking after everyone else whilst neglecting your own needs. Many parents will relate to this. Of course most people love looking after their children and doing things for their family, friends and community but there is a point at which it becomes about everyone else - which is fine until you find yourself neglecting your own needs. Another form of neglecting your needs is when you live how others think you should live rather than following your own dreams and aspirations. Shame Sometimes shame gets in the way of loving our self. You might shame yourself about the decisions you make or have made in the past. Or you try to hide something from your past because you think it puts you in a bad light or you regret it. But you might also try to hide parts of you from those around you because you’re ashamed or don’t like some aspect of yourself. Maybe you’re afraid they wont like you if they were aware of it, or you fear opening up the whole you will make you vulnerable to getting hurt. Lack of self-worth These are examples of when we exhibit behaviour and characters lacking in self-love, but they also describe a lack of self-worth. This is when people don’t consider themselves worthy or deserving of looking after or nurturing themselves, because or an underlying, possibly unrecognised, sense that they don’t think they’re worth it. But they are worth it – we’re all worth it. We need to think of ourselves in loving ways and to feel and experience that self-love. Not in a selfish way but because self-love is good for us, our families and society. What to do next Be on the look out for how you do or don’t love yourself, especially those signs of when you’re not being loving towards yourself like your inner voice and critic. Catch it out and if you’re serious about this make a note of it. Write down the thought or word or action and the time and date. This will help you in two ways: It will help you to look out for when you’re not being loving to yourself by raising your awareness of how and when you do it. If you do this practical action and note the date and very importantly the time, you might be able to detect a pattern. So does it happen when you’re tired or stressed or when you’re around particular people or a specific situation or you’re doing a particular activity, like learning or practicing something. In case you’re worried about being selfish, it’s not selfish to look after yourself, or want to change yourself and your situation. The fact is we have more to offer others when we care for ourselves first. Love starts with you. Improve your life and you’ll improve the lives of those around you and have more love to give. Episode 81 of the Changeability Podcast In episode 81 of the Changeability we discuss all these aspects of self-love and more. You can listen now either on this page or on iTunes, Sticher or TuneIn. If you enjoy listening to the podcast you can subscribe to it from here or your phone and get each episode downloaded automatically. Share the love If you get something out of reading our blog posts or listening to our podcast, please share this with your friends, or leave us a review.
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