Monthly Archives: May 2012

27May/12

Are you Ready to Jump?

While I was weighing up an important decision this week, a friend posted me this card.

It immediately made me feel clearer about what I wanted to do.  It showed me that the doubts I had about taking on this new opportunity were more to do with being scared and nervous about the challenges ahead rather than whether it was the right thing for me or not.

Often we forget that in order to grow and develop personally and professionally we have to take scary leaps of faith. We have to say yes to an exciting adventure rather than choose to sit in the shade and watch others get out there and do it instead.  We need to accept that we will feel uncomfortable and out of our depth at times, but that the rewards are well worth it.  And the more you get into the habit of stretching your comfort zone, the easier it becomes.

What do you need to do to step over the edge of your comfort zone?

22May/12

Stop Resisting

So, I was having a bad day. The car broke down and had to be towed away for the second time in a week. I missed a meeting, the kids were grumpy and argumentative, I felt guilty for giving the kids chocolate biscuits again, the fire alarm kept beeping and I couldn’t make it stop, and I found myself thinking that the whole day had been waste of time.

Try as I might I couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling that because I hadn’t actually achieved anything, then it meant that not only did the day score low on the worthwhile scale, but so did I. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was somehow of lesser value because I hadn’t accomplished enough with my time that day. It sounds crazy I know, but trying to rationalise it away didn’t seem to help. The fact that I had a bad day meant not only that I felt bad but that I was bad.

Even when I told myself that actually, most of the component parts of the day (even the two hours waiting for the tow truck) were ok, and that I hadn’t got particularly stressed or upset or frustrated throughout the day it didn’t seem to help.

And when I told myself that actually I have achieved a lot today (fed, clothed, cared for and loved 3 children) it still didn’t make me feel any better about myself.

But then – eventually – I remembered what I’d learnt in my mindfulness classes about not resisting my negative feelings and thoughts, but simply letting them come and then go. To be able to experience them without judgement and let them pass through me.

So I said to myself: “I am feeling upset and a bit inadequate because I didn’t get done what I wanted to get done today, but that’s ok. I’m allowed to feel that.”

And do you know what? The bad feelings just floated away.

I accepted them without judgement and they floated away.

14May/12

What are you Grateful for Today?

I was chatting to a friend after the school drop off this morning and we ended up talking about how lucky we are that we have children, and that they are healthy and happy.  Driving home I started to think more about what I was grateful for about my children and how – despite (or perhaps because of) all the challenges they provide – they help me to constantly improve and learn to become a better person.

Today I give thanks to my children for being feisty and funny, crazy and chaotic, sensitive and insightful, and for putting up with an often grumpy but ultimately dedicated and loving mum.

What are you grateful for today?

09May/12

Want to Increase your Willpower?

Do you have much willpower? How easy do you find it to leave the wine unopened in the fridge on a week night? How often do you succumb to a sugary snack mid afternoon when you promised yourself you wouldn’t? Have you come to the conclusion that you actually don’t have much willpower at all?

Well, I’ve recently learnt that willpower is not something that we have lots of or not. Researchers studying willpower (which is another name for self-control) have concluded that it is like a muscle. It gets tired and it’s energy gets used up, which means that we don’t have access to the same quantity and quality of willpower at all times throughout the day or week, just like our physical strength varies at different times. So this will explain why we open the bottle of wine when we’ve spent the day trying not to lose it with an obnoxious work colleague, or why we shout at the kids when we’ve spent all day avoiding bad food. Willpower is finite. It needs to be recharged. So next time you shout at yourself for not having any willpower, pat yourself on the back and acknowledge all the ways you have controlled your impulses already that day, and focus on recharging your willpower batteries instead.

What recharges them – well sleep and glucose. But that doesn’t mean reaching for the sugar because the ensuing sugar low makes things even worse. Eat healthy slow release carbs and proteins and make sure you don’t go hungry.