Feeling Less Stressed and Anxious

Two Steps to Feel More In-Control and Less Stressed

Feeling stressed and anxious at times – you’re not alone. Feelings of stress and anxiousness are more common than not in our busy lives.
Stressed Anxiouis
Maintaining that crucial balance between work and life whilst at the same time trying to multitask what seems like an endless stream of jobs, can at times seem rather overpowering, and can lead to overwhelming emotions.

How do I cope? The answer might be simpler and less time consuming than you think:  Whenever these feelings and emotions present themselves try these two simple steps:

  • Two-Step Control
  1. Without changing your regular breathing, count your breaths from 1 up to 10 – 1 being breathing in and 2 being breathing out and so on.
  2. Keeping going, in your mind now concentrate on the sound of counting the numbers themselves. If you begin to notice your thoughts intruding – simply acknowledge them and let them go. Then refocus back on the counting.

Completing these two steps doesn’t need lots of time. You can have a calm and peaceful mind in as little as 1 minute, perhaps even on your way to the next busy part of your day. Alternatively, you can choose to take as much time as you need. That is the best part about this exercise- you are in total control of your time in this part of your day.

This article is first in the series, of less-stress, tips to a better life articles. I hope that you enjoyed it and found it useful.

Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy helps clients to live life fully. We use a range of creative and traditional techniques to help you to sort out key issues in your lives in an efficient and effective manner.

Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: https://counselling-newcastle.co.uk .

Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support for treatment for addictions. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Ken McLeish BA DMS MBA MSc MSc Cert Ed UKCP Reg
Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy
Alderman Fenwicks House, NE1 6SQ
0191 5805080
https://counselling-newcastle.co.uk

Addictions: Rewiring Brian pt3

Left & Right Brain FunctionsAddictions: Coping Strategies – Rewiring Brian Part 3

In Stopping Addictions pt 1, we looked at  addictions research which demonstrated that the brain’s capability to learn is based upon what we “feed” it. This is true for porn addictions as much as sexting or other compulsions. Through feeding it our addictions this leads our brain to learn powerful but unhelpful neural connections. This then leaves you with wiring “faults” and a “Brian” instead of a brain. These neural connections create links between your feelings, thinking and behaviour and it is these patterns that we call addiction and why it is difficult to stop.

Quite simply, to get new habits you need new connections.

Addiction and Relaxation

This brings us to some techniques which you can use to help you to “rewire”. We looked at 3 techniques in part 2 Stopping Addictions pt 2, of this series. The next technique is a combination technique. Firstly, Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) is great to use as, not only does it provide you with a distraction technique  in itself  but it feels great to do and gives you health benefits. PMR is one of the easiest ways to relax and it’s really pretty quick to learn. Even better, when combined with a simple breathing technique and visualisation you get something really very powerful at your service.

PMR

These relaxation exercises have been very widely used and  whilst they might indicate a tight muscle they should not cause you any pain to undertake. If you feel in any pain simply stop. Equally, if you have any concerns about your health see your GP.

It is easiest to start from your feet and work up to your head. Hold each stretch moderately hard for about 13 seconds and then relax, feeling the difference between your state of tension and relaxation. At you feel the relaxation tell yourself in your mind that you are warm and relaxed.

  1. Curl your toes down hold (for 13 secs.) Feel the tension. Keep holding, then relax.
  2. Curl your toes up and hold for 13s. Feel the tension in your shin. Keep holding, then relax.
  3. Tell yourself  in your mind that you are warm and relaxed
  4. Tense your thighs and hold; keep holding,  then relax.
  5. Tense your tummy muscle (abdominals/six pack), hold, keep holding for 13s and then relax.
  6. Tell yourself that you are warm and relaxed.
  7. Make a fist with both hands and feel the tension in your forearms. Hold for 13 and then relax. Feel the relaxation.
  8. Push your shoulders up to your ears and hold for 13, then relax
  9. Tell yourself that you are warm and relaxed.
  10. Push your eyebrows up to the ceiling. Hold and then relax.
  11. Bring your eyebrows together as though you are scowling. Hold and then relax.
  12. Inside your mouth, push your tongue up behind your top set of teeth, hold and then relax. Repeat with front bottom set of teeth.
  13. Clamp your jaw shut and hold and then relax.
  14. Move on to breathing and visualisation.

Visualisation is very powerful – most of the connections you make in your head are the same as if you were doing the actual activity itself.  As part of your distraction techniques to combat addictive behaviour it is important to choose an enjoyable activity to visualise as the visualisation will reinforce that activity almost as much as doing it. For most people visualisation works better if you are relaxed first. This simple breathing exercise helps many people to get “see” their image more clearly by feeling more relaxed. PMR plus breathing is ideal but you may need simply do this breathing technique as it often does the trick.

Relaxation: Breathing Technique 1

  1. Sit comfortably, “grounded”, both feet on the floor.
  2. Place one hand on your belly/tummy and one on your chest.
  3. Now focus on your breathing, breathing just from your belly. If you are doing this well, your hand on your belly will move in and out, whilst the one on your chest will not move.
  4. Concentrate on your breathing, thinking about each breath and feeling your tummy moving in and out.
  5. Then, when you feel more relaxed, visualise/see yourself doing your chosen distraction activity. Make the pictures you see very bright and colourful. If you can, imagine the feeling and sounds of the activity.

Remember, as you practice, your automatic (addictive) patterns of behaviour are weakened and you start to develop positive associations. This takes time and you will sill have addictive cravings/ images or other things for a long time.

Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: https://counselling-newcastle.co.uk .

Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support for treatment for addictions. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Relationships: Boundaries & Self-Esteem

Relationships-Good Boundaries

Relationships & Boundaries

Developing Better Relationships & Building Esteem

Research has shown us that boundaries are central to the way you feel about yourself in the world. They operate a little like your own personal force field which you use to let people in or keep them out; both emotionally and physically. Creating healthy boundaries helps you to have better relationships, less stress and greater self-confidence.

Do you have effective boundaries in relationships?

• Are you able to say no?
• Can you ask for what you need?
• Are you a compulsive “people pleaser”?
• Do you get upset when others around you are upset?
• Do people often seem to take advantage of you/your “good nature”?

Boundaries are where our needs and feelings stop and where someone else’s begins. Without boundaries you would let someone treat you how they wanted or do whatever they wanted with your possessions. Where your boundaries are weak you might feel that you have no rights to  – for example – say no or do what you want.

If you have been in an abusive relationship or been brought up in a dysfunctional family you may have little experience of what healthy boundaries are. Setting boundaries is one of the most important aspects of looking after yourself, tackling low self-esteem and allowing the “real you” to emerge.
Boundaries which are too rigid literally shut people out. You are very self-sufficient and don’t let anyone get too close to you.
Boundaries which are too loose can be seen where you may put hands inappropriately on strangers or let others touch you inappropriately. You might be sexually promiscuous or be confused between love and sex or get too close too fast. This is where your personal force field is faulty and allows people to come and go as they please and is often linked to a chaotic life full of drama.

Tips for Effective Boundary Setting in Relationships, Marriage and with Partners

  1. Understand that setting a boundary for the first time often results in a feeling of being uncomfortable (you may feel selfish, or guilty or embarrassed) as those around you, initially at least, bump into it and test you out.
  2. Set boundaries respectfully, simply and clearly using few words.
  3. Remain calm
  4. Do not apologise or justify to others the setting of a boundary.You only set the boundary and are not responsible for someone else’s feelings. If others get upset with your boundaries that really is to do with them and not something you need to feel responsible for. Remember that you can’t control how someone else feels. Good friends will accept your boundary needs.
  5. Boundary setting takes time, practice and determination.
  6. Expect to be tested on your boundaries and have a firm plan of action – which may involve help or in extremes the police.
  7. Develop a system of people who will support you and respect you & your boundaries and at the same time move away and reduce contact from those that do not.

Ken McLeish is Principal Therapist at Reflexions Counselling and Therapy in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Reflexions provides counselling and therapy for a range of issues including addictions. He can be contacted through the website: https://counselling-newcastle.co.uk .

Information contained in this blog is not a substitute for face-to-face therapy. It can only every be one view of a situation and may not be applicable to your situation. You are advised to seek specialist support for treatment for addictions. The work here is a personal view which may change over time and should not be taken as representative of Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Resources

Boundary Issues: Using Boundary Intelligence to Get the Intimacy You Want and the Independence You Need in Life, Love and Work;  Adams, (2005), Wiley.

More resources can be found on Reflexions Counselling and Psychotherapy Couples page:Couples Counselling Resources