Leave stress behind

Here’s how:

When we are anxious or stressed, our whole system ramps up its alert mode, and we find it difficult if not impossible to relax. We respond by being busy and distracting ourselves, which is fine until we want to go to sleep, when, as soon as we put our head on the pillow – or when we wake up in the middle of the night – all the things we have tried to avoid thinking about come back to us in full force, and we don’t have the energy to stop them.

We think that if we stop being busy we will instead be faced with the things we are worrying about. 

Two things here:

  • It is certainly not good to ruminate on the things that are worrying – letting them go round and round in our heads without getting anywhere. This can increase our worry and make us feel even more stressed because we now have something we can’t solve but we can’t stop trying to solve either – that’s hard work!
  • It is not actually helpful to ignore the worry either, because it’s like a bubble in wallpaper – it will only come back somewhere else.

But how do you deal with it without it becoming overwhelming?

You can tackle the worries head on, and rationally. But you’ve already tried that, I guess. Here are  two good ways out of the worry trap that are a bit more gentle:

  • Instead of concentrating on the thing you are worried about, look at the part of you inside that is doing the worrying: what does that look like? Not the worry, frustration, anger, anxiety – but the part that gets triggered into those things. Maybe a tight, tangled ball, or maybe a small worried child. Ann Wieser Cornell suggests you could try saying Hello to that part of you that is worried. If you say Hello to someone, even if you don’t know them, they will probably look back at you. If you say hello to the something in you that is worried (not to the worry but the part of you that holds it) you may find it feels better: suddenly, it’s not alone.  
  • Find the silence. You may be wary of silence, because you think it creates a space to let in all the things you worry about. But the silence is like deep-sea diving. The surface of the sea can be choppy, with crashing waves and floating debris, but beneath the surface, you are in calm water. You can learn to go through the place in you where you worry about various things, and into a different, deeper place where it is much more calm.

As with anything worthwhile, both of these take practice. If you think I can help, call me on

07795 324575

and book a session (with no further obligation) to see what you think. 

You can also join me online in a reflective reading and silent meditation – details here

Finding Silence

Come to the Bleddfa Centre on Saturday 12th October for Finding Silence, a day retreat based on the book of that name by Bleddfa’s founder, James Roose-Evans.

From now until the retreat day, I will be featuring excerpts from James’s book. I hope you will find in it, as I have done, a medicine for the soul in busy and stressful times. Let it take you on a different journey…

Details about the retreat can be found here

How good are you?

words text scrabble blocks
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I have a list of words, I’ve recently discovered, that I like to think fit my personality. It’s quite long. Here is the start of it:

Good, kind, powerful, strong, intelligent, spiritual, generous, funny, interesting, brave, selfless, refined, right, calm….

You get the picture?

If I’m honest, it’s quite hard to maintain this all the time!

Unfortunately, I’ve also discovered that I have a second list. It’s not what I like to think fits me, but it is what I have the potential to be and am at times. It’s also long. It starts like this:

Bad, unkind, vulnerable, weak, stupid, materialistic, mean, dull, boring, timid, selfish, crass, wrong, angry…

You get that picture too?

The good news is, I don’t actually have to choose between List A and List B. They’re both part of what I am as a human being – surprise, surprise! How hard is it for us to accept that!

What a relief to be able to look at the second list and say, ‘Yes, I’m all of this, too’ – just not all the time.   And to say, ‘Yes, I can be the stuff in the first list – just not all the time.’ It’s enough to accept that I’m a work in progress.

Accepting the ‘shadow’ side of myself gives me a more honest and authentic place on which to stand and relate to myself and others.  I can relax from the fear of ‘getting it wrong’. Of course I’ll get it wrong. But this isn’t a fixed state to be judged by – just part of the flow. So when I look in the inner mirror, I don’t have to ‘breathe in’, metaphorically. I can say hello to my own self, just as I am, and start from there.

brown tabby cat peeking beside wall
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So I just invite you to let yourself off the hook from being perfect, and whatever it means to be ‘right’, and just be content to be human. It’s a very good, honest starting point for being more at ease with yourself and others. Good things follow!

Noticing

Noticing issnowdrops a great help in life.
We often miss what is around us because we are preoccupied by what is going through our mind.

And on the other hand we can go through life with our inward eyes shut, even when our outward ones are open.

Awareness of the different processes that make up our moments and movement through life is surprisingly difficult to cultivate. A lot of counselling work is about giving attention to things inside: thoughts, feelings and resources that we have previously ignored, or put aside, or of which we have had no awareness. Re-integrating them into our consciousness can make our life feel more whole and healthy.

Giving compassionate attention to neglected parts of ourselves can be helpful and freeing. Sometimes we might fear this process, but there are ways in which counselling can help it become a healing one.

Counselling is based on the principle that, given the right conditions, living things will begin to flourish, and grow towards the light. Acknowledging what is within with new awareness and acceptance begins with the small step of noticing.