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Be Kind to You

Be Kind To You

My friend Calgary Avansino from British Vogue asked me if I would write an article for her website about how to be kind to yourself. This is obviously one of my most favourite subjects as teaching ourselves how to be nice to ourselves is the key to a happier life. I wanted to share the article with you here. I hope you enjoy it! x
Developing a positive body image and healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman’s happiness and wellness; except in today’s society, we are finding it harder than ever to be body positive.
We are in a society where we are constantly bombarded with unrealistic images and photographs of women that have been ‘Photoshopped’ or doctored, which is unhelpful if your body image isn’t strong and confident. If we have a healthy body image, we are eating normally, feeling good and taking care of our health because we like ourselves. If we have an unhealthy body image, we are likely to be eating emotionally or in some form of diet disaster, cutting out food groups or throwing ourselves into the gym in an unhealthy fashion. Struggling with body image is not uncommon and I teach people that this can be changed by the way we think, instead of trying to change our bodies! Here are my top tips to quit body bashing once and for all.

Calm down

Stressing out about your body is not helping you. Take a breath and relax. The first thing you need to learn is to get your head in the right place. If you are constantly judging yourself and being mean to yourself, it is going to make everything worse. Remove your judgements.
Exploring ‘why’ you think what you think about yourself and asking yourself kind questions speeds up the process of understanding yourself and therefore changes your perspective and your behaviour. Judging yourself means you remain stuck and closed. Quit the judgement and be kind.

Stop placing yourself as ‘less than’

You are not. You are equal to. There will be some things that you can do and some things that others can do. This is called life. If we could all do and look and be exactly the same as each other, what kind of boring world would that be? Step into your uniqueness and own it. No one is you, and that in itself is a superpower.

Body bashing doesn’t get you where you want to be

If you want to get out of a rut with yourself or you want to stop eating emotionally or draining yourself at the gym, the truth is you have to learn to accept yourself first. You cannot hate yourself thin. Hating yourself leads to bingeing and dieting and restriction and more binging and more dieting and… You get my drift. Learning to accept yourself – where you are now – is the first step towards overcoming any issues you have with your body.
Even if you can try to turn one thought around each day, that will be a great start. Instead of looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking ‘I hate my…’, try ‘I can accept my… because…’ You will be amazed at how learning to accept yourself can bring you the peace you are looking for, and it is then that your body will return to its natural set weight. Quit the hate!

You are more than the size or shape of your body

Today’s society tells women that to be ‘worthy’ you have to be tiny. That is not true. Quit conforming and start questioning. Question who is telling you that to be worth something you have to be a certain size? Who is telling you that to be beautiful you have to be thin? These people might not be right. We live in a culture where people feel it’s okay to comment on your size and shape. It isn’t. Everybody’s body is unique to them and no two are the same, so trying to define your worth by your size is unnecessary. You are more than the shape of your body.

Healthy is more beautiful than any size

Start thinking about ‘health’ rather than ‘size’. Remember that reading magazines and looking at six-packs on Instagram just contributes to the brainwashing of our society and culture. It’s important to remember that a lot of pictures are doctored. Most ‘real’ people look real – that includes scars, stretch marks and spots! If you are going to obsess over social media and pictures in magazines, do it with the right head on.
Get cool with being imperfect. We are all perfectly imperfect and trust me, in the years of coaching I have done, the thousands of clients I have seen, I am yet to meet a ‘perfect’ one. So if you think you know someone who is perfect, I would suggest stepping out of your imaginary world and looking at the facts.

Body love through social media

Social media can actually help you overcome any body issues if you unfollow the people that you think make you feel bad and follow people who are health- and body-loving. Following women with a positive body image, who are real – for example, the new supermodels Ashley Graham or Robyn Lawley, will be beneficial for your confidence. Size and confidence come from within, so looking at pictures of people who promote this will help your body image.

Less comparison

If you still feel the need to compare, take a look at where those thoughts stem from. Did you learn somewhere that you were not good enough? If so, question the hell out of that thought and teach yourself to turn it around. It isn’t true. We are all given a set of beliefs and we all, as adults, have a choice as to whether we choose to hold on to those beliefs or challenge and change them.
My suggestion is any belief you think is keeping you small or holding you back needs to be worked on. Challenge it, look for evidence to prove the opposite is true and then go out into the big wide world with a thought that feels amazing. Because the truth is, you are.
See the full article here.


7 Secrets of Restful Sleep

If you haven’t read The Wellness Report over at matchesfashion.com it’s really worth taking a look at their super cool fashion and wellness blog.  I was honoured to have been asked once again to appear on their blog with my advice, this time on how to get a restful and revitalising sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, this article is for you!

7 Secrets of Restful Sleep

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, once said, ‘The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.’ Indeed, lack of sleep can have severe effects, ranging from weight gain and dry skin to heightened emotions and excess cortisol levels. So how can we learn to sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed, energised and ready to face the day? Jacqueline Hurst shares her wisdom…

1. Be consistent
Consistency promotes good sleeping patterns. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day will teach your body what you want it to do. It will help to keep your body clock in time and promote your natural drive to sleep. If you are awake at night, choose to stay in bed and conserve your energy by lying still and breathing. Don’t disrupt your pattern.
2. Mood lighting

 The blue light from your laptop or smartphone is a lot more stressful on your body than you may realise when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Many of us still relax in the evenings with bright, artificial lights, which prevents the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Dim the lights in your bedroom and living room, or use candles to stimulate the production of melatonin. Think about putting a baby to bed, you wouldn’t put them in front of bright lights just before bed time, instead you wind them down with soft lighting to ease them sleep. Do the same for yourself.

3. Meditate and breathe
Meditation can help maintain a healthy sleep rhythm and is a great way to relax the mind. Meditating for just 10 minutes a day should help you to notice an increased sense of wellbeing. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t need anything for it, just somewhere quiet and relaxed, like your bedroom. Begin by just following your breath: inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts and don’t worry if you have some thoughts – that’s normal – just keep coming back to the breath.
4. Accept and be mindful
Worrying about not sleeping or imagining how bad things will be if you don’t sleep only helps to increase night-time stress. It’s important to slow your mind down to stop catastrophising or creating anxiety. Bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on the now. Getting the right thoughts in your mind really matters.
5. De-stimulate
Knowing what not to eat or drink can really help with insomnia. Avoiding caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol (which is a stimulant as well as a depressant) and anything high in sugars is key. Caffeine is one of the worst offenders – if you love your coffee or caffeinated tea, drink as much as you want but make sure you stop by midday. That gives your body a good 10-12 hours to recover from the caffeine hit and ensures you’re in a wind-down mode in time for bed.
6. Think natural
Sleep is a natural physiological process that cannot be controlled. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating and drinking and breathing. Having a reliance on unnatural night-time rituals or pills can fuel sleep anxiety and further sleeplessness.
7. Exercise
I’m not saying stop exercising altogether, but be careful not to exercise too vigorously or too close to bedtime. Intense exercise can lead to the elevation of some hormones (such as cortisol), which may prevent you from drifting off easily. If you’re suffering from sleep issues, try to work out early in the day.
You can read the full article over at Matches Fashion here.

If you are struggling with restful sleep, or any other issues, you can contact me for a 1:1 session in my office, on the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, if you want to feel better but do your self-development online, you can head on over to my school The Life Class and take the Foundation Course.


5 Tips For Boosting Your Self-Esteem

5 Tips For Boosting Your Self-Esteem

If you are your own worst critic and find yourself tortured with feelings of self-doubt, do yourself a favour and take some advice from GQ Therapist, Jacqueline Hurst. You will definitely feel better for it!

Life nowadays can seem like a constant juggle. We are bombarded with unreal images daily on social media, TV and magazines and we can all feel a little overwhelmed as if we haven’t quite reached our full potential. A little bit of this is normal, however, if you feel constantly held back by a sense of self-doubt, it could be more than just the occasional “off day” we all suffer with from time to time. Preventing you from ever achieving your full potential, low self-esteem can be both a debilitating and miserable. Thankfully, for those who do suffer from self-esteem issues, there are a wealth of tips and tricks you can try to help break the cycle and build your confidence back.

What is self-esteem?

The term self-esteem refers to how we view ourselves. Self-esteem is the overall opinion we have and hold about ourselves and the value we place on ourselves as people. Low self-esteem is all about how we view ourselves internally – what we believe about ourselves – and is based on negativity: for example, “I’m unlovable” or “I’m useless” or “I’m worthless”. Of course, most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are inadequate or inferior, or if you feel that you have no true worth and are not entitled to the good things in life – that you are “undeserving” – then this means your self-esteem is low.

Low self-esteem can be due to the beliefs you have about yourself which you think are fact, but in reality are only really thoughts. These beliefs and thoughts are based on the experiences you’ve had in life, and the messages that these experiences have given you about the person that you are.

As low self-esteem is based on thought process rather than fact, it is really important to gather all the thoughts you hold about yourself that are negative and then start to look for evidence to prove that the opposite is true. For example, if you believe that you are not “lovable”, instead of finding evidence to prove this thought true, you need to start looking for evidence to prove this is not true. You could ask yourself instead “Who does love me?” – you will be able to say “My mum, my dad, my friends, my family, my girl/boyfriend” etc. It becomes hard to believe a thought when you have evidence to prove the opposite is actually true.

If you are suffering from low self-esteem here are my top five tips to overcome it:

1. Question your thoughts

Are you conscious of what you are thinking? Thoughts create feelings, so starting to think carefully about your thoughts is key. Positive thoughts create positive feelings.

2. Be kind to yourself

Tell yourself kind, loving statements that you would say to someone you love. Imagine your best friend next to you talking about you as a person – they would say lovely things like “She’s funny, kind, thoughtful” etc. When you start looking at yourself from a friend’s point of view you will be amazed at how good you really are.

You are unique and perfect just as you are. Comparing is a waste of your time. Instead, remember that someone else’s beauty does not mean the absence of your own.

4. Gratitude is key to feeling better

When you feel down, think about all the wonderful things in your life and the things you have achieved – you’ll soon realize you are pretty special. You cannot feel grateful and miserable at the same time.

5. Perfection does not exist

Good enough, really is good enough.

You can read the full article over at GQ here.


How to Go Sober for October

If you are worried about your alcohol intake, the GQ Therapist (that’s me) has some tips to help you cut down and why you will definitely feel better for it…

Dear GQ Therapist,

I think my drinking is getting out of hand. How can I get it in check? 

As a life coach, one of the most common questions I receive is: “How can I control my drinking?”

In other words, most people do not want to give up drinking entirely, they just want to find some “moderation” with their intake. It is usually because they feel slowly over time that their drinking has gotten “out of control”. Or perhaps they feel “depressed” (alcohol has a depressing effect – the alcohol you drink today can make you feel depressed days and weeks later). Or they are realising they are depending on it more than they’d like to be.

Unfortunately, we only start to think about moderation with alcohol once we realise it is getting out of hand. And if you are at that place, then now is the time to start looking a little further at “why” this is happening and then “what” you can do to help yourself.

  1. Cut back in a way which works for you
    Consider lowering your limit and/or decreasing the quantity, frequency, duration and intensity of the alcohol you consume. Decide, for example, to choose not to drink on a weeknight or only have a maximum of two drinks when you go out. Or try and only have one really great bottle of wine once a week. Find a realistic, limited amount that works for you and your lifestyle.
  2. Only reduce your intake for a limited time frame at first
    Anything in terms of forever is pretty scary, so try saying to yourself you will limit your alcohol intake for one or two weeks only while you are working out the limits you are happy with. That way you have a goal to work towards and something to keep you from falling off the wagon. Also, every day say to yourself “Just for today” – anyone can do anything, just for today. It takes the pressure off and helps immensely.
  3. Pay close attention to what thoughts and feelings emerge throughout this period
    Let’s be honest, we all know that alcohol serves to mediate feelings by dulling, numbing, or blocking them out completely. So when you reduce your alcohol consumption, your feelings will come back. This is really important to be aware of so don’t think you are going mad if you feel a little down before you feel start to feel amazing.
  4. Don’t feel pressured to drink
    If you have to go out for work drinks or celebrations where you know there will be alcohol and you don’t want to drink that night, one of my favourite tricks is to hold a fizzy water with some lime and it always manages to deter others from asking the question: “Why aren’t you drinking?” It is also less likely they will offer you another drink. Remember, you are more aware that you have reduced your consumption but, everyone else isn’t so don’t stress!
  5. HALT is one of my favourite expressions
    It stands for “Hungry”, “Angry”, “Lonely”, and “Tired”. It helps you keep yourself in check as you reduce your alcohol intake. HALT helps you stop and reset by paying close attention to what you really need. As your feelings will be coming back it is also important to note that if you start to feel sad, anxious, lonely, fearful or stressed out, this is the time you should figure out healthier ways of coping without using alcohol.
  6. Think of alcohol like fine food
    A small amount feels amazing, you can get a real buzz from it and not get into any serious trouble. But continuing to drink past that buzz means you are pretty much heading for trouble as you are “assuming” more alcohol equates to more buzz. However, inside you really know, it doesn’t. It actually makes you head the other way – not so buzzy just completely fuzzy. And fuzzy never leads to good.

Try these tips out for yourself and see how you go. If you find this really difficult or keep failing at the first hurdle then you may be wondering whether you have a bigger drinking problem than you first thought. If you want to you can always ask for help. And help is at hand. There are many places to go for 1-to-1 or group support and you can always come and chat to me where we can develop a plan together for you that over time will help you fully understand the role that alcohol plays in your life and make decisions together about what changes you can be ready to make. Help is always at hand. Good luck!
If you are struggling with alcohol or any other issues, you can contact me for a 1:1 session in my office, on the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, if you want to feel better but do your self-development online, you can head on over to my school The Life Class and take the Foundation Course.

For more information on Going Sober for October, visit: gosober.org.uk/

This article appears on GQ here


The Life Class

The Life Class has gone LIVE!
I wanted to share with you my recent activity which literally involved sweat and (happy) tears but luckily no blood! The Life Class is my online school which runs two courses, one to become a Certified Life Coach the other is the Foundation Course which is for anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to become their happiest self in less than 5 mins a day.
It’s been sitting online for around 5 years but this year I decided to revamp it, re-brand it and add a tonne more information – I’ve made it even better and I am super excited to share this with you! Here is a short synopsis…

What?

My online courses are a collection of my life’s work. I’ve seen the material transform hundreds of lives. Will it work for everyone? I wish. Will it work for everyone who works it? In my experience, yes!

How?

The course runs automatically and once you sign up you get six stunning modules of life-changing information, with videos, worksheets and notes that you get to keep forever.

Why?

Silly really because, hell, why not?!

When?

Now! Head over to www.thelifeclass.com, there is no time to lose!
What are you waiting for? Go!
Big love,
Jacqueline x


If You Are Stuck

You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it” Albert Einstein 
Feel a little stuck? Not living the life you want to be living? Think you might be in the wrong job, have the wrong partner or simply know there is more to life? Are you struggling with your weight and feel you can’t ‘get it’ no matter what you have tried in the past? Are you constantly saying to yourself ‘my life would be better if…’
Then you I can help you. I help people to create the life they want via their thought process. When our thoughts are off key we create a life of anger, frustration, boredem and unhappiness. We blame other people, places or things for our feelings and simply get stuck.  Life coaching helps people to become unstuck by challenging their thinking and in turn helping them to change things around to get the results they want and start to feel great.
Life coaching can help people with a variety of issues including confidence, anxiety, stress, anger and specialise in helping people with weight problems.
What does life coaching mean and what does it entail?
I ask people thought provoking questions that help them get to know themselves.
I tell my clients the truth: the truth that other people will not tell them.
I help people see the downside of being mean to themselves.
I challenge any held belief that is not in my client’s best interest.
I pull my clients up on the lies they are telling themselves.
I help my clients show up when they want to quit.
I help my clients act from a place of love rather than fear.
I ask my clients to reach for more of themselves.
I help people figure out why they do what they do so they can change it.
Who do I coach?
I coach the most amazingly brilliant men and women all around the world.
I coach men and women who are tired of being fat, tired of hating themselves, tired of being married to the wrong person.
I coach people who believe there is a better way to live life than drinking a bottle of wine every night.
I coach women who give to everyone but themselves in the hope that someone will approve of them and love them, everyone but themselves.
I coach people who think they are a victim. Being victimised and taking on the role of victim are very different.
I coach doctors, lawyers, QCs, PhD students, Oxford/Cambridge graduates and I coach clients who didn’t finish school.
I coach people desperate and in despair and holding on by a thread with only a glimmer of hope.
I coach people who make lots of money and feel awful and clients who make no money and feel awful.
I coach anyone who is willing to find a way to feel better.
So if you think it might be time to have a chat in order to see how life coaching can help YOU get a better perspecitve on life, feel better or start taking better actions and getting better results, email me today and we can get something started.  You’re worth it.
Happy Friday x


Breaking Up

My latest article for GQ discusses how to move on from a break up in the best possible way. If you or anyone you know is struggling, please take a read here. This article isn’t just for a relationship break up, it will help anyone who feels they are stuck and have ‘lost something’ or simply ‘cannot move on’.
Dear GQ Therapist,
I split up with my partner quite suddenly last year, but six months on and I just can’t seem to get on with my life. I still feel sad and depressed about it and the pain just won’t go away. How can I move on?
Ending relationships and break-ups are no fun. Whether you were the one to be broken up with or if you were the one to actually pull the plug on the relationship, it sucks to go from being a couple to being alone.
No matter how many times relationships comes to an end it always feels miserable, and because break-ups are so uncomfortable to deal with most of us simply just try anything we can to get over them as quickly as possible. We work out harder, drink more than we should, dive into a packet of cigarettes (even if we stopped years ago), head into a rampage of one-night stands, or we just decide to work more. Anything to avoid those feelings. So I want to give you a few tips to help you “move on”…
1. Process your feelings
Unfortunately, ignoring how you feel and trying to move on too fast means you miss out on something quite important. Your friends may want you to get over it quickly, but I believe you have to allow the feelings to come and go, and only then will they actually pass. You can’t force it. When we try and just decide we shouldn’t be feeling sad/hurt/angry/or upset, the process ends up taking a lot longer.

There’s also a really great way, proven by researchers at a university in Villanova, to process your break-up pain – they studied to find the best ways to move on. They came up with a process called “redemptive narrative” journaling. The idea is simple yet effective. Write about your relationship, including the whole messy break-up, the quickness of it finishing etc, but try to reframe as much of it as you can in a positive light. For example, you might focus on your growth through the relationship, such as the things you learned about yourself during the relationship. Or maybe you walked away with a new knowledge of what you do and don’t want in a partner. Or maybe you have a clearer picture of what a healthy relationship looks like. It’s important to note that what matters is finding something positive about the painful experience. The researchers found that when people were able to do that, it actually lessened the emotional toll.
3. Remember: your thoughts create your world
If you go out into the world thinking your life is over and you will never be happy, it will feel heavy and miserable. You need to know that’s your choice. You have to get your thoughts right. Thinking in a negative mindset is the worst thing you can do for yourself. So instead, start reframing things and thinking in a more neutral or happier way. For example: “I am ready for something better now” or “I am free to meet whoever I choose and do whatever I want and the world is my oyster.” Thoughts become feelings, so be mindful of what you are thinking.
4. Explore your life
When we couple up we can sometimes lose ourselves. We don’t see our friends as much, we don’t practise our hobbies and we get too comfortable. Now is the perfect time to rediscover yourself. What do you love to do? Who haven’t you seen in ages that you want to reconnect with? Who can you meet and talk to over a beer and find some laughter and joy together? Book the boxing training you love or the holiday you have always wanted to take forever. In other words, now is the time to take care of you. Be selfish for a little while and start doing the things you used to do again.

The Office For National Statistics released data in 2015 that shows 51 per cent of people in England and Wales are single. That’s over half the population. It’s important to remember you are not out in the world single and alone. Think about that positively: it means there is definitely someone out there for you, who feels like you, and could well be open and available for a new relationship at just about the time you feel ready to be, too.
6. Believe in your destiny
I am a big believer that what is meant to be will always find a way. If your partner was right for you, they will come back. If they weren’t, that’s because there is something out there that is better for you. Growth works like that. Life works like that. Now is the time to change your thinking and have a little faith that things will get better. How many times in your life have you been in a situation that felt like it would never get better, then it did, and then it exceeded your expectations? It’s like that now. So please allow yourself to grieve for as long as you need. Then, when you are ready, pick yourself up, dust yourself down and go out into the world with a positive mindset and a dash of faith that things are going to get better. Remember the Henry Ford quote: “If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
7. Talk it out
Last but not least, if you find you are still struggling there are lots of people out there you can talk to. Talking about how you feel is the fastest way to move on through discussing you feelings. If Prince Harry and Brad Pitt are open to it and Michael Douglas can do it, so can you! You know where to find me…
 


Depression

You’ve been diagnosed with depression. What do you do now?

Tackle your mental health head on with a little help from Jacqueline our GQ Therapist. This week: how to deal with depression…

Dear GQ Therapist,
I have been to the doctor and been diagnosed with depression and they have talked about me taking medication. Is that the best course of action or should I consider other options? I don’t want to rush into taking drugs, but I need to do something to feel better.
Steve, by email

First and foremost – and I know we say this a lot – you are not alone: depression can affect anyone at any time. The Mental Health Organisation statistics show that in 2014, 19.7 per cent of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression, which was a 1.5 per cent increase from 2013. From what I have seen in my office, the numbers are increasing.

Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Depression can make you feel helpless. And yet I want you to know you’re not, because there’s a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Medication is an option, of course, but it’s only one of many that you can choose from. Choosing a more holistic route works for many people and often has even better results than medication. Changing your behavior, for example, your physical activity, lifestyle, food choices and, most importantly, your way of thinking are all natural depression treatments.

1. Prioritise mind management
It’s of the utmost importance to learn how to manage one’s mind. In my personal coaching sessions with clients and in school with students, I teach people how to focus and manage their minds because once they understand this aspect, their lives change. It’s amazing to see people become happier and start living authentically, all thanks to a focused and managed mind. Simply put, minds that are managed get better results, guaranteed.

2. Learn to switch off
It’s important to switch off because you are giving your mind a break, and all minds need a break. To learn how to do this takes practice. For some, it’s about writing things down; for others, it’s about creating a space and a time in your day or night to simply stop. My top tip is to schedule time in your diary to switch off – literally call it switch-off time. Take a hot bath, read a book, bake some nourishing food, turn off the iPhone/iPad/TV and go back to basics.

3. Beat workplace woes

Stress is a feeling generated by a thought, so I recommend people start to look at their own thoughts rather than blaming anyone else at work. Ultimately, no one can make you feel anything; you create your feelings from your thoughts, and choosing thoughts that create stress is painful for you and you only. Start to consider what you are thinking about or write thoughts down. Are the thoughts you’re creating helpful or hurtful? If it’s the latter, start to find a new perspective – choosing better-feeling thoughts is always the answer.

4. Accept the things you cannot change
So much stress and anxiety is caused by trying to control things that are beyond our control. When I first got into mind-management work, I recalled the Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Being fed up and depressed about things you cannot control or influence is a pointless task. This often makes depression worse because it creates feelings of uselessness and low self-worth. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it. The past is a great teacher. Use its lessons to create a better now.

5. Find a work-life balance: Where are you happy? 
If the answer is working 24/7 then fine, go ahead. But if you are happy only working 9-5, then it’s important to balance out the times when you are not working. Balance comes in the form of joy – anything you find joyful could be part of your “balance”. Another tip is to learn how to say “no” effortlessly. Once you get on the no train, you’ll realise how much more time you have. It’s important to remember that life is short, life is there to be lived, experienced and enjoyed; it is not a trudge, it is a blessing.

There is a link between junk food and depression. Serotonin (the feel-good hormone) is made in the gut and, as result, poor gut health can impact your mood. A study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal revealed that consumers of fast food are 51 per cent more likely to develop depression when compared to those who eat little or none. It is likely, then, that the more junk we eat, the greater risk we are of not only bad digestion but also risk of depression.

7. Getting active (especially in nature) 
We spend most of our time at work, sitting down, yet we are not designed to sit in a chair all day. Neither are we designed to be inside all day long. Taking some cardiovascular exercise probably has the biggest impact on mood and reducing stress. It’s really hard to still feel crap after a long walk in nature. Spending time in nature reconnects us with our natural environment and helps to balance mood.

8. Practise gratitude
Another favorite saying of mine is you cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time. And it is so true. Gratitude is a massive help in challenging your mindset. Making time each day to appreciate all you have to be grateful for shifts your focus to the positives in your life. It can be tiny things to huge things. Having legs to walk, eyes to see, a roof over your head – all things to be grateful for. Gratitude is the antidote to fear, anxiety and depression. It takes practice and it might feel a bit dumb at the start, but I promise you if you practice it daily, you will see your life and your feelings change.

See the full article here


February Blues

If you want to beat the February blues this is the blog for you!
February is a tricky month. It’s cold outside and its dark early. We have already had a month of this (thank you January!) and February feels like it’s just one long continuation of greyness…
But do not despair, if you get your mind right then the truth is, it doesn’t matter what the weather is outside, you can feel amazing. Trust me!
January may have seen us put a lot of energy into trying to control everything to be happier or have a better life. We may have tried to control our bodies, relationships, our money, our future, our business, our families and our kids with our new years resolutions and we may have had great intentions and those may also have calmed down a little by now… and that is ok too because in actual fact one of the best things we can do in pursuit of happiness, is learn to let go.
It seems we’ve been playing by the wrong set of happiness rules and it’s time to rethink the happiness game.
It’s now about “letting go, because freedom is the only condition for happiness.”
Here are my top Ten Lessons in Letting Go:

  1. Stop trying to be perfect, it makes us feel inferior and desperate to change; owning our uniqueness makes us feel worthy and excited to evolve.
  2. Other people will judge, so doing our best and accepting that people will form opinions is far more empowering than worrying about what everyone else thinks. Have your own back and see how life starts to change.
  3. Love will be messy at times, and unless you’re in an unhealthy relationship, lean into the messiness. That’s where the intimacy is. No relationship is perfect.
  4. Tomorrow is uncertain and despite all our planning, plotting, worrying, or dreading, what will be will be and no matter how scared we may feel, it will always work out how it is meant to work out. Trust the timing of your life.
  5. We can’t change other people. No matter how much we wish someone would act differently, it has to be his or her choice. Acceptance is your answer here.
  6. We are going to redefine ourselves. It’s tempting to cling to roles and ideas of who we are, but who we are is always evolving. Life is far more fulfilling if we see changes as adventures.
  7. We will hurt at times. Pain is inevitable. It’s not a sign that something is wrong with us, or our lives; it’s a sign that we’re human, and we have the courage to care and live fully. It’s also a sign you are growing. They didn’t call it ‘growing pains’ for nothing….
  8. We have to forgive ourselves. No one deserves to cower in shame and carry guilt, it won’t do any good. If we want to be happy we need to cut ourselves some slack and believe we’re doing the best we can.
  9. There are some things we may never understand. Much of life is a mystery, and it’s human nature to try to solve it. Peace is learning to embrace the open-ended questions.
  10. The worst that could possibly happen might not be that bad . If we’re willing to consider the possibility, we may find opportunity in that “horrible” thing. At the very least, we may recognise we’re OK – still here, still strong, still breathing. Remember, it’s all working exactly as it should be.

Putting in to practice even one of these tips will help you let go and surrender this month.
It’s warming to know.
You can do it!


GQ Wellness Plan

The boys at GQ gave me a call and asked if I could help advise how to simply ‘ Plan your wellness year ahead’.  It was food for thought as I was wanted to write something original and have some practical and helpful tips.  It came out well and I wanted to share this article with you here…enjoy!

How to plan your wellness year ahead

When it comes to health and wellness, planning is key. Focusing on what you want your year to look like and creating a plan to follow is a sure-fire way to making it happen. Think of it like an athlete, to become the best you need to plan and practice. 2018 can be your best year yet and to help, here are clinical hypnotherapist and London life coach, Jacqueline Hurst’s, top seven tips

Reflect

Take a few moments and look back on 2017 and ask yourself some questions. What did you do really well? What did you achieve that you were proud of? What did you not get around to doing that you would like to do this year? Where did you experience the most satisfaction? Where and when did you have the most “fun”? What areas of your life didn’t work out so well? What lessons did you learn and what did you discover about yourself? Your answers to these questions will provide some interesting clues and insights into what you need to focus on and get around to doing that can make this year your best yet.

Set a goal

When we put our mind to something we really want to do, it is totally achievable. All you have to do is believe it. Believing you can, means you will. When you think about the summer what would you want to have achieved by then? What do you need to do to motivate yourself to make that happen? When you think about Christmas, what would you like to say you have achieved this year? Now is the time to make an action plan to get a goal achieved this year. There is a tonne of motivational information around for you whether it be a book to read, an audiobook to listen to, a coach to help you or buddying up with someone who wants the same thing. Don’t forget to choose a goal that interests you and plot your progress as you go. Remember, we become what we repeatedly do.

Fuel up and keep it simple

The food you eat really matters when it comes to thinking about your health, energy and wellbeing. Eating well makes you feel good and the better you feel, the easier it is to keep a healthy lifestyle going and 10 pints just wont look so attractive. The easiest way to start is to keep things super simple. You can never go wrong with foods with one ingredient – chicken, meat, vegetables, rice, potatoes. This isn’t always so easy when you are busy at work and out grabbing a sandwich so in those times, just make sure it’s something as close to nature as possible and keep to a four to five ingredient rule. Remember, if a product has more than five ingredients in it, it’s likely to be highly processed which means energy drain.

Get present

Time goes fast and goes even faster when we are unconscious and unaware. One moment it’s January and the next its September. Learning to be present is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. A good way to learn how to get present is to start your day with a ten-minute meditation. Meditation is a perfect way to learn how to slow down and take life more in your stride. It helps calm anxiety, it helps stress dissipate and it helps you become a nicer person. Getting present is about awareness, and becoming mindful means you automatically start to enjoy life more. The little things that used to stress you out become a thing of the past and everything becomes just that bit “easier”. Try it.

Do it now

Don’t make the mistake of playing the “yes, but when I get there” game. So many of us think that only when we have something different to now, will we be happy. “When I make CEO, lose the stone, get the million, buy the bigger house etc etc etc, then I’ll finally be happy”. I hate to break it to you but the truth is happiness is a mindset. It’s something you chose. This month now you are conscious and aware, make better choices. It’s all about an attitude of “Yes I can.“’.

Let shit go

We all have things that we carry around with us that weigh us down but are not actually ours to carry. Holding onto resentments or anger is exhausting and learning to let go is the best thing you can do for yourself. Make a list of situations you have experienced in your past that you are willing to finally let go this month. Let it go, stop taking it all so personally and remember that anger doesn’t ever serve you. Let it go.

Evaluate your crew

When did you last stop and evaluate who you hang with? Apparently, we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. If you look at your top five are those people you actually like spending time with or people you feel you have to? When did you last actually reflect on your circle of friends. Are these people who are supportive, helpful, kind and bring out your best? If not, now is the time to re-evaluate. Make a commitment to invest your time in good company over the next 12 months and distance yourself from people who are negative or energy-draining.

Adjust your Attitude

One of the most important things to do this year is to remind yourself daily that your attitude determines everything. Life is 10 per cent what happens and 90 per cent your attitude. The most important decision to make each day is to be in a good mood.