The working week is tough. Anyone knows that. There’s data to show it too.
I’m sat in a coffee shop with Jenna Collins of Firstbeat Technologies. Why? Because I’m interested in Heart Rate Variability, and their business is built on measuring it.
HRV is an indicator of our stress levels.
Our hearts don’t beat like metronomes.
This is a new model of anxiety that I have devised. My aim is to help clients understand what is happening, and to understand how best to overcome it.
I give particular thanks to the research work of Lisa Feldman Barrett. Her concept of the “predictive brain” was the missing piece in my thinking on anxiety. It also provides an extra, important element to models that currently exist.
Meta-thinking can be a useful way to get back on track when we feel miserable or anxious.
Meta-thinking sounds fancy, but it just means thinking about thoughts.
Whenever you notice yourself thinking something, that’s meta-thinking. You’re not just having the thought. You observe yourself having the thought.
I often write about the life changing power of tiny changes. In this post, I want to give you a technique for personal change that is actionable. It follows the principle of small changes. It also helps you build a winning habit in the area of life you would like to be different.
There are some people who know things long before science catches up. They are at the rock face, so survival means they find a way to figure it out.
Take public speaking. If you want to know how to do that well, talk to a comedian. Comedians depend on their public speaking skills, more than anyone else.
The phrase mental health doesn’t always sit well with me. It suggests that some of us have it and some of us don’t.
I see it more as a continuum.
We all have deep struggles. We can all lose touch with reality. We are all challenged with ourselves and the world we interact with to a greater or lesser extent.
Perhaps we smoke too much. Eat too much. Argue too much.
Perhaps we sit on the sidelines when we long to be in the game.
Perhaps we stay quiet when we want to ask someone on a date.
Perhaps a million things that get in our own way and we know it.
In this post, I’m going to share a 4 minute exercise that will soothe your anxiety. I do it myself several times a day whether I need it or not. Then I use it at those times when I feel jangly. I use it with my clients too. It works. So I’m sharing it with you.
In my therapy practice, I use a number of approaches. But my bedrock is Solution Focused Therapy. In this article I break down the philosophy and approach of Solution Focused Therapy so you can understand the ideas behind it, and why it is so effective.
When people come for therapy, they usually want one of two things: support or change.
Support while they travel through one of life’s inevitable sticky patches.
Change to bring about some transformation in life. This post is about change.
Often, when people think about change and therapy, we think it is the person who needs to change.
We’ve all witnessed this scene. We are at a party or family function. There’s a DJ. The music is too loud to talk. The tables are those huge, round ones that mean nobody is close enough to connect. A lot of people look bored and flat.
And then the DJ puts a new song on.
When Brene Brown studied people, she found something strange.
The nice people who accommodate everybody else were not nice at all. They were seething with resentment.
They seem nice. No matter what you ask, they’ll do it. Any change to agreed plans, they’ll accept it. Any extra mile you ask them to go, and they’ll go there.
You don’t have to go back into painful memories to feel better. This is one of the ways my approach steps out of the mainstream. Therapy should not be an ordeal.
Yet when I explain this, people often express doubt.
“But what about trauma?” they ask. “Surely you have to go back and heal it?”
In my role as a therapist, I get to watch lots of people feel better about life.
I am able to observe the steps they take and the difference those steps make for them.
Everybody, of course, is different. What works for you won’t necessarily work for me.
I see many guides around that help you review your year or your life.
Many of them seem self punishing. Many want to invite you to look back and beat yourself up for all the things you didn’t do.
What’s the point of that?
I’d rather use a review that celebrates progress, and connects to your hopes going forward.
In this post, I’m going to show you 5 areas of your relationship that you most need to keep track of.
Then I’ll show you the 5 questions that will help you create the relationship you most want in each of those areas.
I call it the 5×5 approach to enriching your couples relationship.
We all have a gremlin. It’s that voice that tells us things that don’t help us. The voice that has us feeling scared or self conscious or silly.
Whenever we least need it, it pops up and starts yabbering.
Let me tell you about mine. As you know, I am a musician in my spare time. The singing psychotherapist, if you like.
She was an acclaimed writer. But she had writer’s block. There was nothing she could do to get her creative mojo back.
Her psychotherapist was a writer too by the name of Irvin Yalom.
So he suggested an exercise for them both, in an attempt to inspire her.
At the end of each session they would each write up an account of it.
My clients teach me things. They’re a smart bunch.
If I did therapy the old fashioned way, I’d likely miss their wisdom. It would all be about clever old me.
The benefit of a collaborative approach like mine is that it makes full use of the smarts you have too.
They say that the left brain is for language and logic, and the right brain is for creativity.
That’s a bit simplistic because the left and right brains are connected. They talk with each other.
Unless, of course, you have had split brain surgery.
Some epilepsy sufferers who have severe grand mal seizures undergo split brain surgery. It severs the connection between left brain and right.