Lost Motivation For Life… The Ending and Stepping Back
We are born to a world where we experience good and bad. However, our social world is structured by being constantly stimulated by the negative song of the news and negative influence of people around us. It is essential to realize that life is a matter of perception where we can look at any marvel that life offers us to instill us with hope and determination to grow as human beings.
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Psyche News April 2015 (CLICK THE LINK ON THE LEFT)
The Art of Attractiveness
The word “attractive” always makes me think of classic pinups and beauty queens, but when I really enquire into the word, it holds far more essence and depth to the point where each and every individual on this planet can embrace this one word and change their lives significantly. Not only will this induce change, but lead you towards manifesting abundance in your life.
I believe that one of the goals in this life is to become a more attractive person. What this doesn’t mean, is making the word sound superficial and focus simply on looks… Essentially looks fade and we all age, whereas attractiveness transcends all superficialities and is timeless.
So what makes YOU attractive?
I have named a few categories which I feel are necessary in making you more attractive.
We have all been conditioned to believe we have one personality type and this is something was we have to live with for the rest of our lives. I believe that because we are social animals and we have learned mostly everything through socialisation, our personalities are one such example. What we have been shown (usually by a person who is a secure base for us), is to believe that we have strengths and weaknesses and because there is no “handbook for parents”, our folks just go on instinct and advice and attempt at equipping us with the best tools for living in a quite tricky and at times dangerous world. What happens in this instance is that they strengthen and reinforce our qualities or ‘natural’ abilities instead of focusing on our weaknesses and assisting us into working on our shortcomings to become well rounded individuals. This aim for balance in our personality can be achieved by anyone willing to work on their weaknesses. I guarantee you, spending half an hour a day on personal development will help you achieve this. ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND: that the reason why we go back to using old behaviours is because we haven’t invested enough time at introducing new behaviours and thinking patterns for them to become second nature and ultimately becoming muscle memory.
I absolutely love fashion. I love the fact that the canvas that we are adorning with beautiful things is the human body. Its fascinating to see how people use this either to their advantage in the game of attractiveness or decide to opt out completely (usually because they need some education here too). Style is something that needs to be worked on, to the point of knowing how to dress your body and achieve a look that you feel confident in, which represents your personality. Remember: style is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma, whereas fashion is something that comes after style.
Impeccable manners have historically been a sign of good breeding. Pease forgive the quite bourgeois statement, but this is true in my opinion. Manners are not prescribed only for the rich. On the contrary, good manners should be upheld in a public and personal space at all times. This should be a representation of who you are as a human being. If you feel this is a skill you have not mastered, DO SO! This is not meant to inflate the go and make you sound pompous but instead the intention is to enhance the individual to flow with grace and uphold a poise of absolute attractiveness to others around them.
The general use of the word applies to ones ability to adapt themselves and their behaviour to the conventional requirements of society or a particular environment. This is an art unto itself. The ability to read your environment and the people in it allows you greater access and opportunity in being completely present in the experience and interaction. This can only play to your advantage, as you will experience complete acceptance from others and be remembered as being flexible enough to adapt to any situation. Ones relational ability is a key ingredient to being successful in this world. Take note of your persona, style, thinking and manners of being and adapt them where necessary. In strengthening each skill and mode of relating you will develop yourself into a fully rounded and complete individual.
Every individual on this planet has a choice. And with every choice comes a set of consequences of which we need to take responsibility for. Although there are certain events in this world that we cannot control (e.g. Sudden Death), we always have a choice in how we want to relate to the event. For a moment think what our world would be like if we were all held accountable for all the transgressions that each and every individual in the world made… if that is not enough of a deterrent, think that each and every time you did something morally wrong the closest person to you would be beaten or caused severe harm… No doubt this would make you think twice about doing anything other than leaving a person in a better off position than when you met them last! Making yourself accountable creates an inevitable situation where you will grow immensely on five levels: spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially and socially.
Respect begins with oneself. Unfortunately many of us do not respect ourselves and we develop an underlying belief that we are DESERVING of all the heartache and pain that is inflicted in our lives. The essence of respect is founded on knowing how to soothe and be kind to oneself. Don’t fool yourself… This is not a process of being wrapped in cotton-wool, instead this is knowing and feeling exactly what is needed in your life at that particular point. If you need more stringent boundaries you know how to solidify them or activate strategies to keep you contained, all the way to knowing how to spoil yourself with kindness and goodness when you need it the most. Respect begins with the self and is then applied to others.
Instilling appreciation in your life is one of the most simplistic yet most effective means of creating abundance and converting yourself into an attractive individual. Start each morning the second you wake up with the phrase “thank you for being alive”… Open those curtains and regardless of what the weather is like, take a few minutes to watch in marvel at the magnificence that is our world. Rain or shine this doesn’t matter, the essence of the process is finding the beauty in everything. There is an opportunity to do this in every scenario, because part of this process is learning how to appreciate that even the worst case scenarios have been placed in our paths for us to learn something very significant and life changing. Embrace everything wholeheartedly and we then learn how to face both pleasure and pain in a balanced way.
Being in the moment:
When we live in the past we are prone to depression, when we live in the future we induce anxiety and when we live our lives in the present we are at peace. A motto to live by on many levels, but the most important part is realising that one of the hardest yet most life changing experiences is being able to live in the moment in your entirety. Buddhist monks don’t practice for years because the process is simple, but practice with the intention of reconditioning themselves with the belief (developed from their realisation) that they can be completely in the moment and nothing else matters other than the experience they are having.
As a therapist I am often asked about forgiveness and the mechanism of forgiveness. Please do bear in mind that there is a massive difference between someone being out right stupid in remaining in a situation because you have forgiven their partner/family member/ friend for the transgression or event that has caused you harm, Versus the belief that because you have forgiven them it means you have to stay in the difficult situation. It is essential in being able to trust that YOU have made the best decision for yourself. Forgiveness is an art of letting a painful event go which takes us off the metaphorical hook that often keeps us stuck. We want justice when we are hurt by another, we want soothing and we want things to be made better… Usually from the person that has caused us harm.
I have hurt and been hurt by my own actions and the actions of others and the experience of being hurt is never nice to encounter. But one thing I know for sure that the worst thing I can do is hold on to my pain and resentment and not allow myself to move on. Wish the person well with love and kindness. This is especially difficult when the person has hurt us to the point of wanting to throttle them… Metaphorically that is. MEDITATE on your ability to forgive and embrace techniques like loving kindness meditation to assist you with this, as it can be rather repulsive to meet someone with a well of resentment and bitterness towards others.
I think of boundaries as being particularly applicable to others and in relation to oneself. If we have developed a solid set of boundaries we always know where we stand in relation to others and ourselves, but more importantly, if we are transparent with these boundaries, others very seldom find themselves in conflict with you. Instead what begins to happen, is that you’ve provided others a key bit of information in knowing how to get on with you and engage more intimately. This makes one immensely attractive because there are no longer any games played and if something seems obscure, it can always be clarified because the person with a thought-out set of boundaries will be able to explain themselves and relate in a more effective manner.
Reflect on how your boundaries are and how they differ in each and every context, because, in essence we are not the same in every context and we change, adapt ourselves and often hide who we really are.
Mindfulness practice first arose in Buddhist culture. Tibetan Buddhists saw this as a process which was to be utilised in daily living to still the mind so that the individual practitioner could live in the present moment in their entirety and reap all the benefits for a healthy mind and body. The process of mindfulness means being completely present in one’s body and mind, and in the moment on a daily basis. Being present contrasts our day to day experience of being distracted and engrossed on the future, the past or any day to day disturbance that we may centre on.
An unassuming question to ask yourself when doing daily tasks is: am I completely present with the task at hand… In my body and in my mind.
Take eating as a simple example. When was the last time you spent the entire time eating (even a sandwich) being completely present with the task at hand? So present in fact that the experience became so exhilarating that nothing else mattered in the world other than the process you were engaged with… namely eating mindfully.
This is just one illustration of how distracted we can become with life. How disconnected we are with our inner functioning especially on an emotional level. How disjointed and unnatural our thinking and feelings are, and how often we are caught up in the mix of everything and don’t know how to regain a sense of control.
Mindfulness practice is a process that need only take 10 minutes a day to assist in feeling connected with the present moment, becoming aware of thoughts and feelings but not necessarily being distracted or deeply impacted by either to assist you in achieving a life that is invigorated and fuelled with meaning the way it should be.
The experiential change through mindfulness group run by Harley Street Psychology LTD hosts a variety of diverse groups and workshops focused around the benefits of mindfulness based practice. One of which is the weekly mindfulness and meditation session which assists individuals in focusing their thoughts and feelings and learning to work with their body to master acceptance of one’s thoughts and emotions so that a very unique and unadulterated state of consciousness can be reached. This state I name nothingness, in which the individual practitioner reaches a heightened state of awareness in which they are able to be unperturbed by thoughts or emotions because they feel more able to observe and notice their thinking and feeling without needing to engage and react.
The intention of this mindfulness group is to realign a common mind body split that occurs in all of us, where we feel detached from the happenings in our bodies and thinking. The mindfulness techniques have constant success with sufferers of depression, anxiety, OCD, varied personality disorders and severe stress related conditions.
Each week is focused on providing new and enriching techniques that can be applied to a busy life and while being practiced during the two hour session, you will be guided to a point of inner tranquillity and learn methods that have been tried and tested worldwide. These techniques can be adapted to your busy life and become part of how you live your life in reaching inner peace and feeling more connected to the world in which you live.
If you’d like to know more, please feel free to join the group forum at http://www.meetup.com/Experiential-Change-Through-Mindfulness/
Most of the studies completed on Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are more about light intake that rainy weather. However most of us have the perception that a gloomy day holds gloomy feelings and a terrible gloomy mood to follow.
By taking the time to actually stop and look at the rain we can be marvelled by the tranquil feeling it can induce in us. We naturally feel more relaxed, more tranquil and more often than not wanting to retreat to our beds because it makes us sleepy. Our immediate reaction to this sleepiness is that the rain has made us feel this way, but on the contrary this is your body’s natural reactive mechanism to the environment it is in. this reaction follows the amount of stress and strain your body has been placed under, so we naturally (subconsciously) make this association that the wet weather is a cause to our rainy blues.
Unfortunately, the hum drum of day to day life forces us to be more in our heads (thinking and processing all the time) rather than in our bodies, where we carry all our emotions and stress. By being more present with our bodies allows us to understand our emotional state and dissolve some of the pent up frustration and difficult emotions (anger, resentment, guilt, shame etc…). By being in our heads constantly we often have so much going on that we forget to listen to our internal voice (or dialogue) which is key to how we relate to any given situation be it rain or sunshine. By not listening to this internal voice prevents us from truly understanding what difficulty we are harbouring within and later we begin finding associations “like the weather” to blame our mood or dark feelings on.
A great tool to stop this mechanism of relating to our environment negatively (and in this case the weather) is through affirmations. Let’s say that our internal voice is constantly moaning about things, we are more than likely expressing these feelings throughout the day a million and one times (keep in mind that this is subconsciously most of the time). So the times when you begin using an affirmation e.g. “ thank you for such a beautiful day (rain or shine), for it to work effectively means that you firstly have to believe in the message you are being thankful for and secondly be so conscious and so present with your statement that it slowly but surely will begin overtaking the other damaging dialogues and begin feeding into your overall wellbeing.
Another great tool is surrendering to the fact that the weather is not as you’d hoped it to be. Surrendering is not a bad thing (because it does sound like failure) but more about acceptance and not fighting the inevitable. Once we have arrived at the point of acceptance or surrendering to the inevitable, this allows us to experience a sense of freedom where we are not bound by any external circumstance especially the weather—This later leads onto understanding that we have a freedom in our choices and we can react in any way to the situation we encounter, not only the weather but in every situation.
On a final note if worse comes to worst… on a rainy day there is nothing better than having a snuggle with someone we love
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A Clinical Perspective and Overview
From the experience of working with patients who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it has become evident in my practice that there is a pattern of behaviour closely tied with an anxious response.
Common knowledge of anxiety is that it presents itself in the body as a result of a fight or flight response. However, one small element is overlooked, in that this ‘anxiety’ has either been created subconsciously to fill a void in one’s life or to allow the body and mind to focus on one primary response; anxiety. The body opts for this response rather than drowning the mind and body with a multitude of different painful emotions. Simply put: ‘Would you prefer to focus all your attention on one painful emotion or focus on many painful emotions all at once?’ My answer would be to focus on one emotion at a time, because the fear and worry associated with pain is a deterrent in itself.
Once understood that this ‘new anxiety’ prevents someone from dipping into the well of pain and emotions stored away in the body. Resulting from a lifetime of suppressed emotions, one then begins to look at the anxiety from a different perspective. Anxiety then becomes an emotion rather than a feeling or response.
One aspect overlooked for the OCD sufferer is the role of trust. This is not only the inability of the OCD sufferer to trust his/her surroundings and other fears, but moreover the inability to trust oneself and ones perception of situations. In most OCD cases, the belief from another individual is highly beneficial, but equally a trap. Despite this belief being a positive reinforcement, OCD sufferers may become dependant to it rather than trusting ones own ability to self soothe and challenge the fear one has created. In many respects, due to the painful feeling, this anxiety is seen as something to get rid of. Hence, many individuals seek out assistance with OCD.
This anxiety has become a mechanism to keep the OCD sufferer safe, as a protective mechanism and something to be thankful for. I know this may sound strange, but “why would we create something that causes us pain?’ Well, our bodies have a natural ability to heal, which works on a sub-cellular level and is a completely unconscious process. So, it is not that strange for our bodies to have found a new way of protecting itself from all the painful emotions. This process allows us to ‘focus’ on one emotion, which seems more manageable. Food for thought?
By understanding more about the different states an OCD sufferer finds oneself, will allow the sufferer to identify when the self-state (different states in which one finds oneself, depending on person or situation) will arise. The sufferer will then attempt to create not only a different pattern of relating to a scenario, but also a more beneficial and affective exit out of the OCD cycle. This process will pull the sufferer out of the experience; into a position where one can face up to the emotions and sabotaging thought processes. Moreover, to create and maintain a new way of relating to ones own world and fears.
A commonly used word in OCD literature and treatment is acceptance. A definition of acceptance is the mental attitude that something is believable and should be accepted as true. There is a clear difficulty with this definition, especially when one is struggling with ones own perception and understanding of the world. Also, having to face the statement that ‘there is nothing to worry about and you can stop the OCD behaviour’. On the contrary; the world is not safe, and we are all in essence trying to establish a life that feels a bit safer than average. The quote ‘If you do not face your death, you never live’ comes to mind, as many of the OCD patients I have worked with (if not all) have shown some degree of OCD behaviour related to death; be it protecting someone from death or protecting themselves from death and tragedy. This indicates that this individual is stuck in a cycle of fearing ones own death and/or the death of others he/she cares about.
Death unfortunately is completely out of the sufferer’s control, but yet it is so terrifying that the striving for control has a great urgency to establish some sense of gravity in one’s life. Based on the quote above, would it not be useful to accept and come to terms with the fact that everything comes to an end (death) so that one can truly live a fulfilled life?
No wonder OCD thinking becomes so urgent and needs to be played out in the individual’s behaviours. There is an undertone of constantly needing to protect oneself or another person from something tragic happening, as well as using such behaviours to prevent difficult experiences from reoccurring i.e. a loved one passing away and feeling something could have been done save him/her.
The therapeutic relationship is a valuable tool in creating trust or a solid foundation in which to face the world of OCD. This is from the perspective that there is another human being who truly believes and sees the OCD sufferer’s ability to face the world, as well as the willingness of this person to struggle with the OCD sufferer through the behaviours and processes so that OCD doesn’t remain an isolating experience. Moreover, to assist the OCD sufferer in finding ways to put one’s new skills and ways of relating into practice.
Action is as important as processing the issues. Sometimes we all need a gentle nudge in the right direction. This process will allow a new mode of acceptance, especially in creating the belief in oneself to let go of old OCD behaviours and to focus and trust in the new effective modes of relating. This is not a process that an OCD sufferer needs to go through alone…one must take the necessary steps and make contact to stop suffering.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Recovery and Management Programme in Harley Street
The six week OCD programme is for those individuals who want to learn how to understand and control their OCD behaviours and thoughts effectively. You will learn practical techniques to keep your behaviours and thoughts in check in a calm and controlled way. You will look at the causes of your OCD and uncover the most effective ways for you to gain control of your life and cease the behaviours and thoughts hindering your progress in life.
To promote learning the programme is conducted on a one-to-one basis so that individuals can ask questions, comment freely and master key skills.
• What is OCD?
• Assessing and understanding OCD
• Understand the OCD styles
• Identify your style of OCD
• Setting OCD management tasks for change
• Review and discussion of OCD management tasks from week one
• Know how to express oneself in new ways not reliant on past behaviours
• Powerful steps to controlling OCD
• Effective problem solving using CBT and CAT
• Define new OCD management tasks for change
• Review and discussion of OCD management tasks from weeks one to two
• Understanding your OCD relational style and how this impacts relationships
• Advanced communication skills to move you away from your OCD ‘state’
• Recognising and avoiding OCD sabotages to relating
• Define new OCD management tasks for change
• Review and discussion of OCD management tasks from weeks one to three
• Recognising the role of negative automatic thoughts and sabotaging thoughts
• Cognitive restructuring: new ways to think and respond
• Define new OCD management tasks for change
• Review and discussion of OCD management tasks from weeks one to four
• Identify and change your stance on life using CAT
• Be familiar with the diagrammatic process of relating
• Cope with escalating states of panic by recognising and acting on symptoms
• Define new OCD management tasks for change
• Review and discussion of OCD management tasks from weeks one to five
• OCD freeing actions and OCD freeing thoughts
• Consolidation and review of learning
• Adopting a new outlook
• Looking towards the future
What Will I Get Out of the OCD Management Course?
• Management of your OCD for more positive outcomes
• New ways to remain calm in times of high pressure, panic or stress
• Self-understanding to identify the root causes of OCD
• Improved relationships at work and home
• Cognitive restructuring to combat OCD behaviours and thoughts
• Ability to use appropriate verbal and non-verbal behaviour in different situations to eradicate the need for OCD behaviours and thoughts
• Enhanced feelings of self-confidence and self-understanding
Duration and Price
This is a six week OCD Management and Recovery Programme of six hours of face to face psychological therapy. Please call to discuss the complete package or visit our fees page at: http://www.harleystreetpsychology.com/fees-and-terms/
Follow Up Sessions
If you would like to arrange follow-up or review sessions when the program has finished you can do so at any time.