It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay…….. But it’s Not Okay to Stay There

 

When just thinking positive doesn’t seem to cut the mustard!

When anxiety feels like it’s taking hold of us, and everyone around us is saying “try and stay positive”, it can sometimes feel, despite our best efforts, like we are trying to push a rock up a hill.

 

Continuing to hold onto negative emotions can get in our way and hold us back. Imagine if those negative emotions were heavy rocks that were continually weighing us down. Before we can begin to think positively, we first must clear these negative emotions and figuratively let go of those heavy rocks.

 

We may want to hide away from negative feelings, as understandably it can feel truly uncomfortable to address them. But, bringing out these emotions, by talking about how we feel, can actually be the most important step towards feeling positive. We might feel nervous about showing these vulnerabilities; it may take great courage, bravery and strength to share with others that we are not invincible. However, we must recognise that nobody is invincible. Every one of us will have to face our own ‘kryptonite’ at some point in time.

 

Reaching out and asking for someone to listen can help us begin to face our negative emotions.  The power of a good listener is understanding what we are saying and recognising that our fears are unique to us. We all experience things differently, no two people will manage a situation in exactly the same way. And so, having someone to acknowledge that our feelings are understandable and valid can be really significant.

 

We may recognise that our negative emotions are not serving our best interest, but ensuring these emotions are validated is still vital. We need to feel that our concerns are important, before ‘solutions’ are offered to ‘fix’ them. Otherwise it may feel like we are not truly being heard and that our worries are irrelevant. If we are offered ‘solutions’ before we are ready to receive and accept them, it can result in us rejecting them – this can then lead to conflict or upset.

 

After expressing our emotions and receiving validation of our worries, we can begin to change our perceptions. We should now be in a position that is more accepting of helpful suggestions from others. We can now be thankful for those suggestions and start to consider what is right for ourselves.

 

So, hearing from someone who is supporting us, “it is okay to not feel okay” is a crucial stage in moving forward. However if we really do want things to change, we must also accept the message: “…….but it’s not ok to stay there.”

 

Our unhelpful emotional state may be reinforced by continuously repeating the same worries in our thoughts and conversations – we just keep on repeating the same old record.

If we are to feel differently, we need to play a different record!

 

It is important to remember that whilst other’s ‘solutions’ may have worked for them; our situation is unique. Therefore our ‘solutions’ need to fit to our world in a way that makes sense to us.

 

So, when others greet our anxieties with offers of a solution, be mindful of their good intention. Try politely asking for a listening ear as the first supporting step on our journey into a more positive place. We are then able to put our attention and focus to the action that can change how we are feeling.

In doing so we are releasing those heavy rocks and negative emotions; we are creating that new record…

those new thoughts, new feelings and a different result.

 

 

We hope you have found this blog helpful, but If you need more help to shift away from anxiety please consider signing up for a free Transforming Thought consultation session, we are here to help.

www.bodymind-solutions.co.uk ©Sandra Lamb 2020.   Sandra@bodymind-solutions.co.uk

Creating More Certainty from an Uncertain Situation

It may seem, at this point in time that there is complete uncertainty around what’s going to be happening over the next few months. Uncertainty, for most people can be a real source of discomfort within us. When we feel that we have no control over what’s going on around us it can bring us to a point a feeling extremely distressed. How are you feeling at this moment in time? Are you worried, confused or perhaps beginning to panic?

When I’m working with clients, uncertainty is one of the key themes that often arises as a trigger to feeling unsettled and causing the symptoms of anxiety.

For most of us we feel safer when we know what to expect and with the current situation unfolding around us, not knowing what to expect next can seem very daunting.

So what can we do to help this?

When looking at change I advise to focus on these six key steps

  • Awareness
  • Perception
  • Purpose
  • Emotional Intention
  • Action
  • Resources

This can be our framework for change. Let’s take a look at how we can make the shift.

Becoming Aware of The Triggers.

Once we are aware of the sources of our feelings, in this case uncertainty, we can then set about changing things. Awareness is the first step to change. Reflect and clarify what is the trigger for our emotions. Talk to others about how you feel, it can make so much difference when you talk it through.

 

Change Our Perception of the situation

We might believe that we have no influence over the situation affecting us but it is entirely possible for us to change the way we feel about it.

If we can step away from the emotional discomfort for a period of time and ask ourselves how can we see this from a different place, we can begin to notice a shift in how we feel.

What is our Purpose, what’s important to us? If we keep out attention on the good things that we we value it can help to bring us back to to a place of comfort.

It’s not just about positive thinking, though that is part of it for sure, its about connecting with our  Emotional Intention.

It may that we don’t want to feel unsafe and want to get away from the feelings of chaos, however, when all our focus is on what we can’t do or don’t want to feel, this can result in us reinforcing these feelings.

So, if we shift our focus to what we can control, what we do feel certain about, and connect with the positive emotions associated with that we can connect with more comfortable, safer place.

This doesn’t mean we dismiss completely what’s difficult but we place our attention onto something else. Focussing on what’s around us that does brings us happiness, looking at how we can add positivity to the situation, what good can we find from the situation? Think about looking at things form a different place.

Take Action 

We need to support this shift in attention by changing our actions too. Placing our efforts into doing something different that will move us away from the negativity and create a more positive feeling. What actions can you take towards shifting towards  more positive feelings and outcomes?

What Resources do you have or need to help you to take action ?

Here’s a list of the key areas that you might like to consider that can make a real difference to us feeling in a better place.

  • Meditate or deep relaxation – this will help us to switch on our “rest and recover” response, clearing our mind and relaxing our physical body.
  • Exercise – take action to move often and create the “feel good boost” from activity and exercise
  • Connection with others – keep talking, sharing, and supporting
  • Connections with nature – whether in person or virtually, connecting with nature is a calming and grounding activity
  • Learning – stimulate our brain with leaning something new
  • Creativity – draw, make, sing, design, bake … be wonderfully imaginative and resourceful
  • Contribution– give your time in anyway you can to support others in some way
  • Healthy fuel– nutritious food and sufficient fluids ensures good mood and a healthy body
  • Gratitude– focussing on what we are appreciative will ensure our focus remains on the good things around us.
  • Fun without purpose – just do “stuff” for the fun of it and enjoy……!

 

So, if you have been feeling panicked or constantly worried by the situation we are all in, consider spending some time focussing on what we can control, place our attention into actions that will make a difference to you and others around you.  Create some new helpful habits, the benefits of which you will continue to enjoy long after this time has passed.

 

I’d love to know what you’ve decided to do to move towards a more positive place.

Please share your ideas, success and lessons learned, with us all.

 

 

If you know anyone who is affected by anxiety please support them by talking them through some of these points and let them know that at BodyMind Solutions we offer specific support to help people through these steps to move beyond anxiety for good.

 

 

 

www.bodymind-solutions.co.uk ©Sandra Lamb 2020

 

Putting Pain in the Past

 

Helping persistent pain is actually simple process of understanding a complex story.

 

Having been a physiotherapist for many (many!) years, I have spent a lot of time listening to patients in order to understand  the persistent pain they are experiencing.

They may have had numerous investigations and have been given a medical diagnosis, or may have been given the results that there is nothing more to done.

Sometimes after extensive tests nothing is found to be the cause of the problem but still the pain continues.

I often see clients who are in this position of ongoing pain, they have been given diagnosis, maybe of fibromyalgia, disc problems, arthritis, to name just a few. When they arrive to see me they are frustrated, tired and fed up of being so restricted by the pain that they are in; perhaps you can recognise this situation, or know someone just like this ?

They may have believed that the only reason pain is present is because of some ongoing physical damage, but I can show them that this, so often just isn’t the case.

It all becomes quite clear to them when I explain how their emotions can impact on the persistence of pain.

As I’m also a  psychological therapist I’m very interested to understand their story… the one behind the pain.This often opens up a whole new chapter which they have never considered to be significant to their situation.

However once we start on this journey it all becomes so clear……

 

So how can our past impact our pain?

If we have experienced stress for long periods or been exposed to an extremely distressing situation in our past it can lead our ‘protection mode’ to be set at a state of high alert. When this happens it leads to ongoing physical changes which result in increased pain sensitivity and muscle tension, both of which can be a source of pain in our body.

Our brain is programmed by the experiences we have encountered and so emotional difficulties from our past, can continue to create worries about the future and so bring us a feeling of stress to the current moment. This will all be happening in our unconscious processing in our brain.

If we’re not aware of  these patterns existing then it can make it difficult to change things, but once we are it is entirely possible to deal with them. We can then reset the ‘alarm system’  and return our systems to a more comfortable level, allowing us to leave the pain in the past.

Paula Story 

This is clearly seen in the story of  ‘Paula’ who suffered many years of persistent pain since having a prolapsed disc. She had Physiotherapy at the time of the problem which helped restore her to moderate function. However, she was left with sciatic pain. She had undergone two spinal injections and was taking Pregabalin medication to keep pain to a manageable level. She also regularly practised Pilates which helped to keep her moving. Despite this, she was plagued with intermittent episodes of severe, debilitating pain. She understood this to be because of  nerve damage following the disc prolapse.

 

A Life Without Limitations

Once I explained the connection between emotions and pain Paula was keen to work with me and joined my Freedom from Pain Programme.

In this programme we work initially on Clearing your Mind, which helps let go of unhelpful beliefs and fears that are getting in the way of  being who you want to be.

We then look at how to Free your Body, ensuring your physical body can move freely and easily, discovering both the  positive emotional and physical benefits of exercise and movement.

The third pillar of the programme is to Feed Your Soul, exploring what is it that makes your heart sing and understand how important it is to prioritise this into your life.

We explored Paula’s beliefs and uncovered that she had a huge fear of the pain worsening.  She felt the need to be careful with all that she did in order to protect herself from further damage. She was fearful she would end up crippled by persistent pain and unconsciously protected herself with guarded movements. She hadn’t previously acknowledged  this fear or realised how it was impacting on her progress.

We also explored other reasons why her alarm system may have already be on alert, and discovered a chaotic childhood. Her past experiences had left her with the unconscious belief that there would always be another crisis.

She also discovered that she had lot of unresolved emotion attached to the death of her father.

Paula was completely unaware that her alarm system was on high alert or that these emotions and beliefs could be contributing to her pain. However she did recognise that she was a worrier,  it was part of her…how she always has been. What she didn’t realise was that these were only patterns of response that her brain had programmed. Once she could see this, it became perfectly understandable that new patterns could be learned too to move past the situation that had been holding her back in a life of pain.

Having worked together over a number of weeks Paula was experiencing considerably less discomfort and her confidence to move was much improved.

She was really excited to share that her expectations of the programme had been greatly exceeded. She felt that her reduced pain levels had drastically improved the quality of her life. Her sense of wellbeing and confidence had greatly improved too, noticing positive changes in many areas of her life.

She noticed not just freedom from pain but also had discovered a whole new approach to life that filled her with more happiness than she ever had expected.

This is the story of just one person, but it’s a pattern I see repeating in my consulting room on a regular basis. Clients arrive living in the shadow of pain, but discover through our work together, that it’s quite possible to leave pain in the past and so discover a whole new way of life.

I’d welcome comments or questions and would be interested to hear how others deal with similar clients.

Sandra Lamb is a Chartered Physiotherapist, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist, helping find freedom from pain at BodyMind Solutions. Sandra@bodymind-solutions.co.uk

What’s the Impact of Stress on your Health?

Stress is a part of everyone’s life, isn’t it?”

This is a question that a client asked me recently and I wish I could say ‘no’. However, in current times many of us are living a life in what could be described as a state of chronic stress. Many of us are often unaware this is even the case.  

Stress has become such a part of the way we live our lives that we see it as normal. However, the dangers of ignoring a life under stress can have huge costs to our health in the long term.  

So, what is stress?

We all talk about being stressed but what actually is it?  

Feeling stressed just means that our brain is perceiving that we are in a situation of danger or distress. This triggers our fight or flight reaction (our protection mode) and results in physical changes within our body to deal with that.  

This ancient reaction within us would prepare us to run, fight or freeze in the face of danger. The body prepares us by increasing our blood pressure and heart rate, tensing our muscles, and emptying or stopping our digestive system. This can be helpful in the short term, especially in days gone by when we might have needed to scarper away from a sabre tooth tiger!  

These physical responses are designed to be active for short periods. When we get to safety, our ‘relax and rest’ response kicks in and we are back to a more natural physiological balance. 

But in today’s world what tends to happen is we don’t find ourselves back in that safe place.

The consequences of this is prolonged exposure to stress hormones, which can have a detrimental impact on our health. It’s connected to Heart Disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, immune conditions, chronic pain conditions and the list goes on... 

Stress is more about what is happening inside us rather than whats going on around us

Much of the stress we experience is not actually caused from what’s going on outside of usIt’s predominantly caused by our perception of those things going on in our life and how we feel we should be dealing with them. It’s all about our beliefs and expectations.  

To measure how stressed your life is, perhaps it’s easier to look at the opposite. How often do you feel in balance, feel full of energy, have clear thinking and focus on what you want to do, feel happy and fulfilled?

These feelings are what you should notice when you are not stressed. If you can tick all of those boxes then you’re probably not living a life led by stress and that is fabulous!  

However if these qualities don’t feature in your day, it’s quite likely that you’ll be living life under the driver of your stress hormones. It’s vital you take action to change that situation. 

Finding things that connect you with calmness is a good place to start. It’s like tipping a balance scale, one counteracts the other.   

So what is your usual ‘go to’ to feel better?

  I

If your usual response to stress is to grab a  sweet treat, cigarettes, alcohol or maybe a trip to buy new clothes,  you’re probably already aware that these will actually add to the long term problem.  We get temporary comfort from these actions but it is not a long term solution. It has just become a habit, a learned pattern that gives us that short term fix. 

However a habit is often an unconscious response so we find ourselves following this pattern automatically and in a time of stress autopilot takes over.

So whats the key to escaping these unhelpful habits?

 

Quite simply its about creating and replacing them with new more helpful habits, this is the key to finding a better coping strategy. 

Why not make a list of a few things that you know Feed Your Soul, that bring you to a feeling of calm or happiness. 

It might be a phone call to your favourite friend, or perhaps a walk in the park. It could even be listening to your favourite music or just looking though photos of times you’ve had fun. They only need to be simple things but they must lift your spirits.  

Try bringing at least one of these things into your day, every day. Keep that list to hand so you can turn to it when you are noticing that you feel stressed or feeling that urge for usual ‘unhelpful’ comforters.  The more that you practice this the easier it becomes. 

This is just one small step that can help begin to turn things around for you and  there are likely to be many more that could help you to take more control stress in your life. 

I’d love to hear what changes you’re making to bring yourself to a happier and healthier place ?

Please comment and share any good ideas you have!

If you would like more help to shift stress in your life please do get in touch and I would be more than happy to help. 

Clear Your Mind Free Your Body * Feed Your Soul *  

Your BodyMind Solution!  

Sandra@bodymind-solutions.co.uk

Health Matters Radio Show

Channel Radio Health Matters Show with Neil D’Silva

 

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Sandra from BodyMind Solutions appearing on the show, where she talks about her work. In particular, how she helps clients with persistent pain to change the way they think, feel and move in order to improve their lives.

Please click here to listen to a replay of the show. The Podcast can also be found on iTunes by clicking here.

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