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Mindfulness

Mindfulness

mindfulnessMindfulness is paying attention in a non-judgemental way to what is happening in the present moment, what is happening in our mind, our body, our thoughts, our emotions and what stories we are telling ourselves and others.

Focus is on what is happening not why.

Science behind this: When we use mindfulness meditation it helps us to switch from the alarm of facing a threat (ie the flight or fight response) to a calming response. When we are in flight or fight the hormone Cortisol is released to provide increased sugar levels for the body to use to get away from the threat. However Cortisol can have an affect on the Amygdala, the area of the brain that processes fear and threat, therefore strengthening negative networks in the brain which have a compounding affect.

Mindfulness meditation shifts the focus from thinking about the threat to simply examining how the body is responding to the threat. It takes a “scientific, removed approach” which should have a calming effect, reducing Cortisol in your brain.

Through Mindfulness meditation you check in with how your body is going, if there is fear you ask yourself – what does this fear look like? What areas of your body is it affecting, what are the physical sensations, do they move, what thoughts are arising out of the fear, what stories am I telling myself. It is like a scientific questioning process that pulls the focus out of the emotional, away from focussing on the threat. It is a stepping back, a non-judgemental questioning technique that shifts the focus and soothes the body and mind.

Mindfulness meditation is not a relaxing meditation, it is opening up to whatever arises. It is also not positive thinking, it is about opening up to all of the experience – the good, bad and neutral. Its purpose is not to find out why, but simply a shift of focus.

 

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like business like babies

I went to a dinner party recently, half of the table had babies and children at various ages, 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 7 and 9 years and half of the table had businesses of their own, brand new businesses, 2 year old businesses, 5 year old businesses, you can see where this is going can’t you…

Yes while we were discussing the trials and tribulations of both it struck me how similar the experience of starting your own business is to having a baby and how having a baby is similar to starting your own business…

Baby LOC TherapiesYou start off with grand ideals of how it is going to be with all those opinions on how best to handle every situation of an experience you have not had.  You don’t or won’t listen to anyone about how difficult the process is, it is something you must experience for yourself!

With your mind made up, you find the first few months joyful, memorable, exciting, overwhelming, difficult, and isolating.

And just when you get a routine sorted, a good night’s sleep, a brand new client and things are going well, though you may be too scared to admit it – then some spanner gets thrown in the works, a tooth, a cancellation, a cold, a no-show.

I have raised two babies and cuddled and handed back many more…  the undisputed formula to happy times in babyhood is taking the time to get to know your baby through routine and structure, spending time alone together and seeking help when you need it.  It means working out the signs, following the signs and surrendering to the signs – balancing what is best for them without obsessing or becoming isolated and keeping your sense of humour.

so you get to know your baby, understand your baby and become your baby’s expert.

New mothers listen to the mothers with older children, taking in every word, yes it gets easier, the difficulties change – but the experience is one you wouldn’t change and is truly wonderful as you intimately get to know (and influence) another human being.

I started my own business earlier this year, so it is still in its infancy, and I am looking to those who have mature businesses with awe, taking in every word, yes it gets easier, the difficulties change – but the experience makes you YOU, you are your own master answering to no-one else and is truly wonderful as you intimately get to know (and influence) yourself.

Business LOC TherapiesAgain, it appears, the formula to happy times in business infancy is taking the time to get to know and understand your business through routine, structure, trials and tribulations, spending time together alone and seeking help when you need it.  It means following the signs, achieving balance by not becoming obsessive or isolated and keeping your sense of humour.

So for all those of you who have had a baby and are starting your own business now or in the future, for all those who have started their own business and are considering babies now or in the future, and for all those crazy enough to do both together – draw on the expertise/the experience you have had in one of these areas to help you through the early times of the other.

Do so in the knowledge that loving and understanding your business/baby is key and that it does get better – that is why so many people do it, you are not alone and at the very least you can happily contribute to a dinner party conversation and smugly share your experiences

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In a Nurturing World

Nurturing Tree

From early we are taught in order to THRIVE we must STRIVE.

We go to school and then do homework and for the less fortunate, tutoring.

We play sport and then train.

We play music and then practice.

We sit exams to tell us just how much we should have/could have worked harder.

As young adults we have temporary relief as we gain freedom and play – for a short time.

Then as adults we are back to working hard, striving for a better salary or actually in todays world, striving to keep our jobs or find another one because we are surrounded by people striving to keep their job…  And then we strive to be better people, to change, to fix, to become successful in body, mind and spirit.

Nurturing workWhat do we gain from all this striving/hard work besides tiredness, anxiety, paranoia?  How can we succeed if we don’t obsess and commit extensive hours and energy to seeking what we consider we need to be successful – I would be rich if I could get a penny for the number of times I have heard, if you don’t work hard you won’t get anywhere (and probably richer for the number of times I have heard myself say it).

Does it work?  Is success being busy fixing and bettering and earning?

If you listen to Louise Hay or follow the Secret, should we not be able to just attract what we want through positive thought and positive attitudes… change your attitude, change your negative thoughts, change your habits, phew that sounds like more hard work.

Can we trust that the Universe is on our side, that magic happens and that everything happens for a reason.  Yes I believe in that, but what if it takes a year to find a new job or 18 months to find a new partner or a heck of a long time to manifest what we determined needed fixing in our lives… think I am in need of some new energiser batteries.

So what is the solution…

Could we possibly consider taking timing away from what we are desperately trying to achieve to focus more on what is good in our lives… A MORE NURTURING SOLUTION  and still succeed in changing and bettering our circumstances.

One way to nurture yourself may be to work out what you love about your life, relive it often, do more of it, nurture it and keep loving it.

Then work out what you don’t love and yes commit to changing it but through a simple plan of action within a predetermined, fixed amount of time – this is time taken from what you love to do so yes limit it.

MAKE IT SIMPLE : Make a plan, have a series of steps to take, if one doesn’t succeed move to the next, all within realistic time frames and Nurturing ourselvesmost importantly, because you have a plan, remove any attachment to the outcome, emotional or otherwise.  No result?  Then try the next action on your list.  And with the rest of your time, enjoy the good stuff.

And maybe, just maybe because you are overall generally happier and lighter for not carrying the emotional baggage of situations that you cannot control you will attract more good, adopt a natural pace to life and the knowledge that the hard stuff will change too in time.

Without emotions involved the value may well shift and become more about how the action will benefit you and less about the hard work of it.  And perhaps you will even be more open to finding new solutions/actions.

So the message:

Focus more on the good, have a plan for the bad and go forth with patience and humour

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Working in Human Resources – Support the Supporter

Most of the time working in Human Resources is a rewarding, challenging and supportive profession.  You are, or at least you should be, a direct link between employees and management, you get to be part of the people strategy, the training strategy, the employer of choice strategy and driving the business forward through people management strategy.

You are the once a year bearer of pay review news, incentive plans and training plans (usually which are good) and for those involved in payroll you are the sender of notices of payment, the reason people go to work in the first place.

You get to set policies on behaviour, standards and performance, you guide, encourage, counsel and reassure.

And then there is the OTHER side to HR.  You are terminator, the messenger, the one to deal with the desperate, the angry, the bitter ex-employees.  You are the one to receive the pleading letters for reinstatement, the letters that ask “what did I do wrong”.  You deal with sick workers, the bullies, the poor management decisions and the lack of communication.

These alone are difficult enough to manage, but the fact that there is a LEGAL IMPLICATION behind nearly every action HR takes and the pressure is really on.  HR professionals have to consider how they communicate, how they behave, how they present themselves and, particularly in an unsupported office, are always open to interrogation.

The legal profession must be a buzz dealing with HR professionals wondering if they have done the right thing – tell me has the law changed YET AGAIN…

So HR then becomes a liability, a cost to the company, a legal fee magnet – a four letter word.

It goes without saying, therefore, the use of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and providing support in this area is paramount for HR professionals.  Emotional intelligence is the ability to control and manage emotions in the face of adversity.  HR professionals, in particular, must remain emotionally objective in order to provide unbiased advice, action and judgement.  We are all human, and it takes practice to remove that emotion and stay in control when the pressure builds.  Insecurity, fear and stress of doing the wrong thing can lead to emotionally charged reactions and consequences that are not in the best interest for the employees, the Company OR THE LEGAL BILLS.

Human Resources is a function of support to both the business and the employees, who is therefore supporting the supporter…

There are more and more companies being established to provide services to enhance emotional intelligence, not only for HR professionals but to all professionals across the board.  With demand comes the supply – so perhaps if you are a HR professional or are a company representative who can instigate such support, it may be time to think outside the square on employee support/investment.  After all, all good companies are in search of the best personnel and the best personnel will happily move if they are not valued…

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Criticism – Friend or Foe

I am worthy – criticism friend or foeCriticism - Friend or Foe

I had a day recently where I forgot to send my daughter’s recorder with her to school, was the victim of road rage thankfully within the confines of my car and his car, couldn’t provide the report my boss wanted at work, threw away most of the school lunches which the kids had refused to eat and had a visit from a friend who told me I was obsessing too much over something and it was getting boring.

So all in all it was a normal day, but a day full of criticism.  If I wasn’t criticising myself, someone else was stepping in and doing it for me.

So what do I do with all this criticism, how much does the constant bombardment of “you are doing the wrong thing” become the “you are not good enough”.  I mean really I could have paid more attention to the road while I was driving.  Does this mean I am a bad mother, driver, employee, cook and friend?… am I likely to have a road accident before long, not be able to hold down a relationship, soon be looking on SEEK for my next career move?

Well constructively taken, yes I could definitely tweak some of those areas. 

HOWEVER, how constructively we take that criticism depends on the value we attribute to our sense of self worth.  Isn’t it strange how well we take criticism in some areas of our lives and how badly we take it in others.   If we have the sense that “I am not worthy” then criticism is going to fuel the poor me or defensiveness and anger at the least and at the worst, lead to unrealistically high standards and the criticism of others to help us feel better about ourselves.

So herein lies the SECRET, where you cannot take criticism, whether it be aggressive or a passing comment from a friend (who is now an annoying friend!) or you find yourself criticising others, is where you need to focus.  What is wrong with your sense of self worth if it cannot sustain a little criticism or why do you feel the need to be on higher moral ground.

You have squirmed over a comment or made an angry retort.  Be honest with yourself and admit whether there is some truth in the comment or whether your criticism is valid.  If you have got to this point and are asking the question then you already know the answer…

Yes there may be a little truth in it but why do I feel so uncomfortable, why are my defences up and claws out.  If someone criticises me or I am being critical then just perhaps I will have to admit to myself that Houston there is a problemLightbulb

What we need here is:  PERSPECTIVE!  Chances are you were criticised or humiliated some time in your life and therefore learned that you were not good enough at that thing that someone is picking on you or you are picking on someone, for now.  OR ARE  YOU? 

Do you in fact do a reasonable job at the subject in question, do you 90% of the time send the kids to school with the 101 things they need to complete a single day of learning (including a well thought out, healthy lunch), drive on the correct side of the road and generally follow the road rules, provide your boss with what they need most of the time to get the job done and listen to your friend tell you about the 101 issues in her life.

And if you don’t, then be honest with yourself and do something about it.

The crux of the matter here is:

Don’t decide you are not good enough because someone else made you feel that way.  Don’t base decisions on passing emotions. 

Get perspective, know your qualities, value yourself on who you are and what you have achieved.

Release the emotion and then make a mature judgement, take the criticism move it around in your head for a bit, do you need to tweak something here, improve something there.  So learn/improve away… but do not define yourself or your self worth on someone else’s opinion (especially as that person is very likely to need to take their own criticism) think again – YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE.

worth

:  google’s definition: The value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued

And last but not least for those who know they do it

Don’t Criticise – GUIDE

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Personal Development for Women

My womaness is missing.

This is a common theme I have recently encountered from a number of people who I work with at Left of Centre Therapies and is a common discussion amongst friends too. Maybe not in these exact words, but the theme is there.

With all the caring, protecting, providing, responsibility, communication, support etc, that is required in every day life, have we lost our womaness?

So where does this stem from? 

Women have grown over the centuries, from primarily ‘gatherer’ to ‘everything…er’.  As we move ever closer toward gender equality (I am not discriminating here but will stay focussed on the topic), we have taken on the role of hunter, protector and provider while continuing the role of nurturer, gatherer and carer.

With all of this responsibility, where do we find the space to be that juicy woman? Perhaps we are living the reality of what was so passionately fought for in the 60/70s, but with all that taking on, have we let anything go?

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So this got me thinking, how do we create the space to be that juicy woman?

Maybe to start it’s as simple as putting in a few boundaries. Perhaps we have overloaded ourselves with the ‘everything…er’ responsibility and now we need to offload.

So how do boundaries work? Should they be rigid or flexible? Should they be put in place gently or forcefully?  How do we put in boundaries without hurting anyone, our partners, our children, our extended family?

Ever tried to put in boundaries and someone has flown off the handle or thrown it right back at you?  Well I say do it anyway, but do it smart.

When you put in boundaries there are 4 key considerations:

1. What is your motive? Why are you putting in the boundary? Is it ultimately for your best interest? Is it done with respect for yourself? Eg. As a role model, will it teach your children to have respect for themselves? (rigid)

2. Does this new boundary affect the needs of any other person, and if so, are these real or false needs?  Eg. Are you doing something that someone could very easily do for themselves?  (possibly slightly flexible)

3. When the boundaries are in you must LOSE the desire to control what happens beyond those boundaries (rigid and while this may be hard, it is a must!)

4. There will be pain before the gain

So be strong, stick to your decision, bear your teeth… And find some freedom.

Tree Woman

Ok boundaries are in – where to from here…

This is the fun part, why not start with asking yourself, what would I really like to do right now? Besides take yourself off to a deserted island with your bestie and drink margaritas all day…

How would I really like to spend some time right now?

Maybe read the newspaper with a cup of takeaway coffee, read a book, buy some matching lingerie, have a cocktail with your bestie but at the local or get a massage?

Decide, and then just DO IT.

And while you are doing it, focus on the physical feeling of being a woman and try an old but your new mantra…

“I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!”

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Corporate Wellness – In the Media

Useful links to resources for self development and managing stress in the workplace

Continue Reading

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