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Live. Laugh. Love.

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Did you find January and February a bit of a slog?                                           

Did you struggle between your need to curl up by the fire, eat and sleep more and the need to obey your environment that screeched “New Year New You!” messages at you?

We try to take on New Year Resolutions and make changes in winter time when our natural tendency is to rest and nurture. Our bodies try to keep up with the powerful mind that wills us to get up, get out and make changes. It highlights a resistance between the body and the mind.

This resistance creates much stress within ourselves which often manifests itself in the weakest part of our bodies for example throat infections, bronchitis or my personal gripe: sinusitis. Once this grabs hold, we fall like wilted flowers and wait for the sun to bloom to pick us up again.

However, in this country, we could be a long time waiting for ‘the sun to bloom’, so, is there any way that we can reduce the impact of this stress? Here are a few tips:

  • Stop – when you’re still, you leave yourself open to thinking differently
  • Become aware of your thoughts and feelings- look to disprove them if feeling overwhelmed
  • Be mindful and ask yourself: what do I need ?(Mind, Body and Soul)
  • Connect with your friends and hobbies
  • Laugh – find moments of joy with friends and family, laugh out loud!
  • Finally, show yourself compassion, give yourself permission and show gratitude!

Only very recently, I was reminded of the therapeutic power of laughter. A few friends and I took off for a well earned night away and belly laughed for 24 hours! It was ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and I am still living the benefits! I had forgotten the positive impact that laughter has, in fact, some research states that “laughter increases the level of antibodies in the body by 20% helping to destroy viruses and tumour cells”[1] . Of course, it’s also a mini work-out (think facial and abdominal muscles), it helps to relieve stress (by decreasing our stress hormone, cortisol and releasing feel good endorphins). Laughter connects us with others and oh! It also burns 1.3 calories per minute!

So, be aware and take note of any resistance between your body and your mind as we enter March and the rest of the year. Aim to minimise stress by living, laughing and loving!

Go Gently.

[1] psychofactz.com

Building Resilience

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I have wanted to write a blog on ‘Resilience’ for a few months now. I threw the topic “out there” with friends and colleagues and what became apparent is that this is a subject matter that seems to attract lots of different viewpoints and opinions.

I asked, “WHY do we need resilience?” Again, the response was varied as we all face and experience different stressors in our day to day, but it did come down to one thing: survival.

  • How do we survive our day to day without feeling overwhelmed?
  • How do we survive the chaos that is being a working parent?
  • How do we handle rejection? (this could be the job seeking process or a child who no longer wants your help!)
  • How do we manage tricky relationships (personal or professional) or even some challenging behaviours?
  • How do we deal with bad news?

There is no doubt that reminding ourselves on how we can build resilience will benefit us all.

 

Developing resilience involves 5 key areas:

  1. A mental shift in attitude and outlook. Changing how we think about a challenging task or situation can optimise our resilience- perhaps you’ve come across the saying “it’s not the issue but how we view the issue that can be the problem.” So, instead of sighing “why does this always happen to me”, reframe with “this is not personal, I can move on from this…”

 

  1. Adapting to your environment and being flexible. Consider a bamboo tree- even in the strongest wind, it will bend but not break. It’s deeply rooted but flexible enough to deal with adverse weather conditions. Being able to “go with the flow” while facing life’s challenges is important in building resilience.

 

  1. Sometimes, resilience is all about the recovery– how do we recover when we fall off track? Resilience comes from our ability to learn from “the fall”, restore ourselves and renew. Growth is the core message in recovery. Empower yourself. Ask yourself- what is your healthy way of coping? Make a list and review when needed!

 

  1. Ask for help!! Having awareness around when to ask for help is important in building resilience. “A problem shared is a problem halved”- who is the person that you turn to? Is it a friend? A sibling? A Partner? Maybe it’s your Life Coach or GP?

 

  1. Healthy body = healthy mind. A good diet and exercise will help to build your resilience. Patrick Holfords book “The Feel Good Factor” offers a useful breakdown of food groups and how they can benefit us. Of course exercise feeds both the body and mind, so try to get that blood flowing- there no excuse now that there is a stretch in the evening!

 

The 5 key areas listed above are my tips but I’m sure it’s not definitive, get in touch and let me know what boosting resilience means for you! Let’s share the message and stay strong for ourselves and each other!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Life and Business Coach and Trainer and founder of www.changegrowsucceed.com who resides in Cork. For more information, please contact her on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

4 Reasons why you should ask yourself questions in 2015?

 

“Begin with the end in mind” in one of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” according to Stephen R. Covey, so, it seems to be quite a fitting way to commence a blog in January!

The start of the year brings with it a sense of change and a general atmosphere of excitement and potential. We might pause to think about our new year’s resolutions, we might ask our friends and colleagues to share theirs. We might even go a step further and think about what we might achieve if we stick to “the plan”- a holiday? A 10K run? No more stress? A full time job?

Great results and accomplishments start with (great!) questions. As you’re reading this, have you asked yourself what you would like to get out of this year? Have you given thought to what you would like to do differently?  Having identified the changes we want, we should work back to determine the actions we need to take.

The most powerful questions are definitely the ones we ask of ourselves. Why? Asking ourselves carefully crafted questions will directly determine the path we follow and here are 4 reasons why:

  1. It effects change immediately (you’re already in the ‘open-to- change zone’)
  2. It engages (all of a sudden you’re examining what it is/ why it’s there/ how to change etc.)
  3. It’s directed at a positive outcome (e.g. ‘where do I want to go?’)
  4. It fosters ownership and action (you start looking at things you can do)

So, what do you want to get out of this year? What questions will you ask yourself to kick start the changes you wish to effect, so you can live the life you want?

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