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The Importance Of Investing In Yourself

One of the most important things you can do for your mental wellbeing is to invest in your most important asset, YOU. It’s vital that you take the time and make the decisions that are going to be best for your mental health. In today’s world things can get quite stressful; many of us are overworked and constantly staring at our phones and computers. Many people are not taking the time so set these things aside for a moment to regroup and focus on themselves.

Finding the Time     

One of the most common things I hear from people is that they struggle to find the time to dedicate to themselves. It’s not about finding the time, it’s about making the time for yourself. One of the key pieces of advice I can give to people is: create boundaries.

Smartphones and social media has become an unavoidable part of our lives that can cause a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety. I’m not saying that all social media is bad and you should go and delete your Instagram and Facebook accounts; but it’s important that you set boundaries for yourself and take a break every once in a while. One of the best ways you can set some time aside for yourself is not to look at your phone right at the beginning of the day. Take time when you wake up and enjoy getting ready, eat nice breakfast (slowly!) and relax with a cup of coffee before you start your day; you will be amazed how much healthier your outlook will be when you start your day off on the right foot. Even 5 mins is better than 0 mins!

Good Friends with Good Attitudes

Everyone wants to be part of a group and one of the most important things for mental health is having a good group of people to socialise with. Problems occur when the people you surround yourself with are not adding towards you becoming a better person.

We learn a lot from others and we fall into similar habits as the people we surround ourselves with. This is why it’s so important for us to keep those who are good to us close. In order to be the best you, you need to be around people who have a positive energy and love you for who you are. Constantly being around people who don’t really care and are friends with you out of convenience is not going to put you on the right path to a more positive life.

Finding Joy

Even when you’re feeling buried in a dark place, I guarantee light will find a way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. No-one has a perfect life or a perfect day every day. But everyone has some form of joy – all we need to do is look for it. There is always a silver lining, even in the dark times. Even in the times when things feel tough, there will be moments – whether its a loving conversation with a friend, or a stranger being kind to you, that will come into your life. It’s important to recognise these moments and say to yourself: ‘not everything is bad and I can and will come out on the other side of this’. Appreciating the little things is what brings joy. Every day you’re alive is a blessing and should be thought of as nothing less.

Taking the time to invest in yourself and appreciate the small victories is going to go a long way to turning a negative outlook around. It’s important to remember that the most valuable person in your life is always going to be yourself. Mindset is everything. It’s mindset that helps you find the joy even in the darkest of times.


How To Deal With Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is a problem that lots of people face. The most important thing that I remind people who come to me with an emotional eating issue, is that you are not alone. I have helped thousands of men and women with emotional eating and body image issues and I want to assure you that not only is this a common issue that affects people from all walks of life, but it’s totally possible to change it.

Don’t use a diet   

When most people try to fix their eating problem, they immediately gravitate towards a strict diet and restriction to curb the amount of food they eat. So many people have the mentality that a diet is impossible to stick to but still try to do it anyway meanwhilst constantly resetting day after day as they fail to meet their targets.

But ‘diets’ are not a good idea for anyone let alone people who are emotional eaters. Diets create the binge/restrict cycle and this is the opposite outcome of what you are going on a diet to do.

With this being said, a different strategy needs to be taken into account when you’re trying to change your eating habits. The way I have helped lots of people with their emotional eating problems may seem counterintuitive, but trust me it works!       

Eat More Not Less

What I tell people to do in order to start to change emotional eating is to, at first, start to allow all foods.  Now I can hear the gasps through the computer screen, ‘are you crazy Jacqueline? I’m going to gain so much weight!’ The short answer to this is that if you are focussed purely on weight being your only drive to learn how to have peace around food you will never get to where you want to be.  Trying to let go of weight obsession by purely focussing on your weight will never get you there !

This work is of course a process and everyone has a different journey but the important thing to remember is we are here to fix the mental side of the problem first. Once the mindset is changed, the physical side become secondary.

As a tip, for example, if pizza is the food of choice that you go to when you’re feeling down and/or stressed, the first thing I would tell you to do is to eat more of it; eat pizza for every meal.  For like a whole 7 days.. By the seventh day of eating pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I guarantee you pizza is going to become something that holds no power over you anymore. This is one baby step towards how we retrain your brain to find peace with food.  There are of course many more steps but every journey starts with with the first step.

Now some people may not be expecting something like this to overcome emotional eating, but after years of working with hundreds of people who I have helped overcome their emotional eating problems I can tell you that this works!  

Come and have a chat with me so I can help you to stop looking at food as the enemy or something you battle with, and instead find real food peace.

Click here to book your free consultation.



Dealing With Depression When You Have It All

What people post on social media doesn’t always translate into who and what they are like in real life. What people forget sometimes is that social media only shows the best moments of someone’s life, the experiences and moments they want to share with others, most of the times skating around the realities and struggles of their day to day life.

Having it all    

I have a lot of people coming to me asking ‘why do I feel so miserable when on the surface my life seems so good?’. You can have what seems to be the perfect life, great clothes, plenty of handbags and a large house and still feel awful about where your life is going. These thoughts are common and something that you shouldn’t fear, in fact if you recognise that you are feeling this way you are already one step closer to getting on the path to happiness.

The Dalai Lama has a great line stating, “Happiness is not something ready-made, it comes from your own actions.” This is the crux of the point I’m trying to make, it doesn’t matter how nice your life can look online, or how many pairs of shoes you have in your closet, happiness isn’t something you can go out and buy or wrap yourself up in; these things may bring you temporary fulfilment but I guarantee you it will soon fade. Happiness is something that you have to train your brain into choosing straight off, it is  something you must strive for as your best result and learn how to find it effortlessly via your mind.

Guilt

One of the most common aspects of people coming to me with their problems when they claim to ‘have it all’ is that they feel guilty for feeling sad; as if their sadness is less important compared to other people who are worse off than them. Now there is an element of truth to this, you could be out in some field digging ditches for a living so let’s take a moment and be thankful that your not; but one thing that you shouldn’t do is tell yourself that your feelings don’t matter, because no matter what your background or means, happiness is something available for everyone.

What I want people to know is that they shouldn’t feel bad about feeling bad, you’re just making yourself feel worse for no reason. You need to recognise these feelings and understand that having it all comes from you and not your possessions. It’s ok to feel sad or even depressed, what’s not ok is to sit there and do nothing about it. Only you hold the keys that can set you on the path to a happier life.  

The message I hope that gets through to the people who pass through my office is that you should try to avoid getting wrapped up in the material aspects of life. Now I don’t mean you should sell everything you own, shave your head and move into the nearest Buddhist temple, but it is healthy to take a step back every now and then. If you’re someone with good friends, a loving family and can find the value in themselves you are a winner and already have so much going for you. It’s ok to feel upset and depressed, just not for too long because you often have a choice. You  also need to see the good things you already have in your life and finding strategies that can change your thinking and put you on the path to a happier mental attitude.



What to do when you can’t fix something

This week I’m talking about the journey of trying to fix something in your life even when you feel that it’s not possible.

Often when people come to me about problems they have, they want a quick solution to get rid of the negativity in their lives. Every time I have to remind them that the only person who has the power to get themselves out of this funk, is themselves – via their mindset. You are the only one who can truly make the decision to think and act more positively and I think that is an empowering statement that everyone should understand and remember. You have to fix your brain and train yourself to be a more positive thinker, when you can’t control the situation you’re in at least you can control how you think about it. This is the key point that I try to teach people with my life coaching sessions by showing them how.

Day by Day      

One of the best ways to tackle a problem is to break it down. It can seem overwhelming when you look at an issue in your life and keep bringing it back to the same big picture. The suggestion that I make to the people who choose to come and see me is to simply take it day by day. A mantra that I like to use is, ‘just for today’. When you break the problem down into bite sized pieces it ends up taking a lot of the fear out of the situation and can allow you to positively focus on solutions to the predicament you are in.   

Open for Learning

The stress and anxiety you feel when there is a problem you can’t fix can either make or break you. But it’s just as important to remember that even if think it is breaking you at first, it is always something that can make you in the end. The sun will always rise tomorrow, so you will always have a new opportunity to face the challenges that lie ahead of you. There will always be something amazing to learn from your experience, good or bad. The key to achieving happiness and getting on the road to solving your problem is learning from every experience you have. Even if you believe you are in a situation that you think is going to break you, there are things you can learn from it to see how actually, it could be the making of you.

It’s always best to be open and honest about your problems, and like I said before, taking it day by day is going to be the best thing for your mental health. Re-energising your thought process and learning the skills to shift to a more positive vantage, is key to not only achieving happiness but facing life and everything that lies ahead on the road of life.         

For more inspirational posts from Jacqueline, just click here.


How To Find Perfection In A Dark Place

In this week’s blog post I am exploring how to find perfection in any dark place that you experience in your life.

First and foremost, finding yourself in a dark place or rattled with negative thoughts is a completely normal thing. I don’t think I have ever met someone who has just set cruise control on life and not hit a bump along the way. These types of things happen to everyone and the big questions to answer are always the same.  

Do you have the skills to take this negative experience and make something positive out of it? Can you make it a learning experience to grow from so that on the other side you can be a stronger, healthier version of you?

You’re not alone

One of the most common statements I get when sitting down and talking to people is that when they are going through dark times they feel as though they are all alone in their feelings. Each and every time I have to reassure people that this couldn’t be further from the truth; you are absolutely not the only one caught in a dark place. I find that reminding people of this fact, and helping them understand that the good times as well as the bad times are just an unavoidable part of life, brings a certain sense of solace to the people I speak with.

Once people feel and understand that they are not alone I can then help them to start the process of regaining control by giving them the skills they need to climb out of the dark place and go forward with a more positive attitude. Every individual holds the keys to their own mind and there are endless ways to make yourself feel better in the moment. Ultimately this is why I love being a life coach, helping people to see the potential in themselves and giving them the tools to help them realise that they are in control, and that happiness is something that can be achieved.

Seizing opportunity   

When people come to me with problems or negative feelings, one of the things I often tell them is that even if you can’t control the situation you’re in, you can control the way you think about it.

Being able to feel better in the moment and take control of your thoughts is the most useful thing you can do when trying to find happiness.

People also tend not to recognise the opportunities of being in a dark place and this is one of the key ways I try to help people who come to see me. I’m a big believer in contrast; if you don’t know what you don’t like, then how can you know what you do like? It’s important to remind people that being in a bad place is not a bad thing, it’s only bad if you ‘think’ it’s bad and don’t do anything about it.

The dark times are part of our life journey and everyone will go over some speed bumps along the way, believe me I can speak from my own personal experiences.

The most important two points to remember are: you’re not alone and only you hold the keys for your own success. Finally, you’re stronger than you think and believe. Don’t let the bad times dictate how you go through life, seize the opportunities they offer and grow from all of your experiences, good and bad.         


How To Actually “Let Go”

How many times have you heard someone ‘just let go’. I have, many times (!) but what I know for sure is sometimes it feels easy to say and hard to do.
Sometimes we struggle with feeling that we just can’t ‘let go’ in life.
That everything, in some way has to be under control.
We put so much energy into trying to control our bodies, our relationships, our money, our future, our business, our families, our kids etc., that it becomes harder and harder to relax and simply enjoy the moment.
So how do we actually let go?
First of all it is important to understand that letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
If you are struggling with control (and may I remind you control is after all an illusion) then here are a few tips to help you ‘let go’ a little…
Beauty cannot be defined.  Beauty is a reflection of what we deem valuable.  Try not to value your worth on the size of your body.  In this society we are brainwashed into believing that beauty is only one size. Challenge that definition. Define your own beauty. Get confident in your uniqueness.
Perfection cannot be obtained (and it’s boring anyway). Trying to be perfect ultimately ends up in emotional pain. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation which is impossible to meet and we usually then end up berating ourselves. Challenge your thinking.  You are already imperfectly perfect and that is more than good enough.
Other people will judge. Doing our best and accepting that people will form opinions and judge is far more empowering than stressing about what everyone else thinks. Let them judge, who cares anyway?
Sometimes there is no right or wrong. There isn’t always a right decision or a right answer. It’s just about what feels right and whether we have the courage to honor it. Be brave and always trust your gut instinct.
It’s all going down as it should. Despite all our planning, plotting, worrying, dreading, freaking out, stressing about what will be, it will always work out how it is meant to work out. Trust the universe. Its always working in your favour. Always.
Take responsibility for your life. Stop blaming anyone else for where you are in your life or how you feel. Grow into emotional adulthood. Be brave. Look inwards and check your thoughts.  Ultimately the only one who has real responsibility for you, is you.
We can’t change other people.  No matter how much we wish someone would act differently, it has to be his or her choice. Trying to make other people change is a total waste of your own energy. We cannot change how other people think or act or behave. The only thing we can change, is ourselves.
We are worthy, just as we are. Yes re-read this again and again.  You are enough. Right here, as you read this. You. Are. Enough.
Forgive yourself.  If we want to be happy, we need to cut ourselves some slack and believe we’re doing the best we can with what we have at the time. Being kind to yourself is taking the fast track to helping yourself to let go. Be nice. Re-read the point above. Your worth it.
We always have a choice.  We always, always, always have a choice as to how we think, feel, act and behave. Growing into emotional adulthood means there may have been lessons to learn from our past and we can make different choices going forward. Lessons are growth. Choices are yours.
We are never really alone. It might feel like it, but there is always someone to offer love, kindness, and support. We just need to be willing to reach out and ask for what we need. Letting go may mean that you need to get vulnerable but that could be just what you need. Ask for love and you will be amazed at how many places you can find it.
Everything is cyclical. For every pain, there will be pleasure. Nothing stays the same. Everything transforms eventually.
What’s the worst that could happen?  If you are holding on too tight and finding it tricky to let go in a specific situation, ask yourself this question. You may find opportunity in that “horrible” thing.  You may find ‘”growth” in the thing and you may even, find yourself.  At the very least you will work out that you will be okay—still here, still strong, still breathing. You are more powerful than you give yourself credit to be. Let it go.
We may not get everything we think we want. Despite all our best-laid plans, things won’t always turn out as we hoped they would.  There is always a bigger picture. We will though, get what we need. It may also be the best bit of luck you ever had by not getting what you thought you wanted. Seriously.
What we do matters. It might not seem like it when our efforts and outcomes seem small, but we create tiny miracles every day by doing what we do and being who we are. We all make a difference in our own ways. What you do matters. You are more loved than you think you are.
Sent with love,
Jacqueline


Scared To Fail? Lessons To Be Learnt

Scared to fail? Lessons to be learnt and opportunities to grow from.

I often hear people telling me that they have a ‘fear of failure’. As if it is something that is going to come and get them and ruin them and their whole life. Like failure is the worst thing in the whole world. And I find this so interesting because I don’t believe in ‘failure’. But I do wholeheartedly believe in growth. Lessons to be learnt and opportunities to grow from.
How else do we really learn those important lessons in life?  Certainly not by sailing along smoothly without any waves. When I was learning about my own self-development at the good old school of life I had many, many lessons. So many situations didn’t work out as I had planned.  I tried a lot of things and a lot of things just didn’t work out how I had expected them to.  Except looking back, I realise it was all so perfect.

You see there is no failure, only growth. 
Everything I experienced only ever helped me rise bigger, better, faster and stronger. In other words, I wouldn’t have got where I am now without those lessons.

It was those lessons that challenged me to think another way.
It’s perfect. Life is always happening exactly how it should be and our perspective on things is what matters. If you want to berate yourself for ‘failing’ then go ahead, be my guest! And you will find yourself going around in circles, not feeling great at all and learning a grand total of nil. If you want to challenge your thinking and ask yourself ‘what did I learn here’ you will find an amazing lesson, a new path and you will start to feel a lot better.

It is, of course, your choice…
So what is it with failure? Why do people fret it, try to avoid it, and beat themselves up for not being perfect when the simple truth is this – no great success was ever achieved without it.

It is a necessary part of growth.
Especially if you look at it correctly. Change your mind about the word failure and your life will grow. Seriously, look upon these lessons as part of being human, as a bigger plan for you, as part of becoming a better you and then simply, move on.
Here’s to many more lessons x


The Art of Surrender

I use the word ‘art’ because it is an art when it comes to surrendering. In today’s society, we are taught that to get what we want, we have to push. Hard. To get along in life we are taught to work hard, push hard, fight hard, sweat hard and not stop until you get ‘there’. In our new wave of 24/7 culture, we are engulfed in social media seeing pictures of everyone ‘working hard for it’. I’m OK with this train of thought sometimes but at other times, this is actually the opposite approach to getting what we want.

Just let go

I took a yoga class last week and the teacher said something that really resonated. Her words were ‘some of you will need to work harder to get into this pose, and some of you, well some of you will need to let go and just allow it to be what it is, surrender into it without a fight’.
It really made sense. You see it is often in the surrender of our internal battles that we grow. It’s in the surrender of our fight that we learn. It’s in the surrender that we become who we are truly meant to be. And it’s the surrendering that creates a space to allow us to change our perspective. It is a very fine balance. This is not to say you sit on your ass and don’t do your work. In fact, it is the opposite, it is learning to do your work with acceptance as your baseline and moving onwards from there. Because there is an art in surrendering to ‘what is’. And that is where the magic happens.

Acceptance

‘Acceptance’ is always the answer to all of our problems today. So if you find yourself pushing at something, having given it your all and yet you are still in the ‘fight’, then maybe it’s time to step back…
Surrender.
Let go.
And watch the magic happen.
Sending love,
Jacqueline x


Christmas Stress Free

Tis’ the season to be jolly, except that it’s not always as jolly as the TV ad’s would like it to be. We are off work, we have a lot of free time and we get to sloth out in front of the TV with beer and chocolate for what seems like days on end. It’s a great time for us to rest, relax an unwind except there are also seems to be many more moments in that little holiday period, that can be more stressful than the whole year put together.
Throw in family, free time, alcohol, gifts and a dash of boredom and we have the perfect concoction for some stressful days.
Sometimes we might think that the best way to avoid Christmas stress is to say no to all family plans and pretend to be away. But actually, not so. Ideally the best way to handle stress is to face the fear and do it anyway and your mind is right, these times can be joyful.
So here’s some top tips to stress less over Christmas.

  1. Throw away your manual. You know what I mean. We all have a manual. It goes something like this;  I arrive early so you should do the same. I give great presents so you should do the same.  I never leave a party before midnight so you should do the same.  I would never say those things so you should do the same.   Get my drift? The thing with having a manual is that you are giving yourself the unwanted present of self-induced stress. So if you get rid of your manual, remembering that everyone does things differently and it might not be ‘wrong’, you will find your stress dramatically decreases.
  2. Let it go. This season it would be helpful to remember that whoever you are spending time with is always doing or saying what they know to do best in that very moment. Sometimes we think because we ‘know better’ they should too but ultimately we are all doing the best we can with what we have. Some people just ‘cant’ and that doesn’t mean they don’t want to, it just simply means they can’t.
  3. De-personalise. Stop taking everything personally this Christmas and try a different mantra, something like ‘that might not be about me’. For example if someone at the dinner table is slightly envious of your upcoming Christmas trip or a recent work promotion and gives a little snarl, remember, that has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Rise above.
  4. Be in the moment. So many of us are walking around unconscious. We get excited to get time off work and have some chill time and in a flash it is over and we are at our desks on January 3rd like, where did that go?  Being in the moment means getting conscious of the moment.  Life can pass by pretty quickly and special times can go in a flash so this season make sure you are really there in mind and body, really take in all the amazing moments and find the joy in those times.  Joy is easy when you are conscious.
  5. Gratitude is the right attitude not only over chirstmas but in life. Its very hard to be stressed or miserable if you feel grateful. Family may be tricky but the fact is you are lucky to be able to spend time with those you love even if they have different opinions. Its so easy to look at the negative but when you really understand how powerful gratitude is, how it changes your attitude in an instant, it will really make you think twice. Life is precious, time is precious so be grateful for what you have. It changes everything.

So this Christmas I want you to remember that love always feels better than hate, anger or frustration.  But then you already know that. Choose the good feelings – it’s the best gift you could give yourself.
Merry Christmas!