I Have Decided – Have You?

Have you ever heard someone say: “Oh, I will quit on Monday! That’s it, I truly had enough on this junk! Let the weekend go buy and then I will quit” or “From January I will change, I will go on a diet and get myself down at the gym” or “That’s it, from tomorrow I will stop drinking at night”?

Seriously, think about all the people who made these kinds of statements and see if you can recall any of them who actually acted on that statement. Chances are that if you have caught anybody say anything similar to the above, none of what wad said has ever come to reality. The person who said “Oh, I would so like to lose some weight” whilst eating a pizza, is still overweight and the person who said that cigarettes will no longer control his life whilst blowing the smoke out, still coughs in the morning while he looks for the lighter.

This is down to one simple but very significant fact: none of the above statements constitute a decision; none of them is structured as a decision nor is it meant as one. They are simply verbalization of preferences, verbalization of what these people would like to have happen in their lives, they would like life to just give them those things but they are not willing to do anything about it.

A true decision is always, with no exception, accompanied by an action; immediately. That means that one must do the most that one can do the moment the decision has been made. This concept represents the most effective way to start, and consequently complete, anything and seems very simple. In some ways in fact, it is simple although, maybe because of its simplicity, many people fail to apply it and thus fail to reach their goals whether that is quitting smoking, losing weight, getting a new job, making money etcetera.

The power of decisions is responsible for the success of people like Thomas Edison who decided that “every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward” and, straight away, carried on seeking the right way. Edison decided that he will keep on trying until he found the right way and he did carry on until he did. Henry Ford who decided that he wanted an 8 cylinder engine mounted in one piece and invested time and money persuading his employees, who declared the project to be impossible, to find a way. Ford decided that he wanted such engine and took action right away. Silvester Stallone decided that he would have been Rocky and even when the 2000 agencies he went to refused him 3 times each, he still persisted. His wife left him, he had no money to eat, he had to sell his dog because he was no longer able to look after him and still, when the one of the agencies he went to, decided to offer him $60,000.00 for the script as long as he gave up on the desire of wanting to play Rocky, he refused and walked away with nothing. He refused and he persisted until the agency accepted with the condition that Stallone would have only received nominal pay and a cut of the profits because they would not believe that a guy who, at least to them, did not look good, did not sound good and simply did not have the right presence to be an actor, could drive Rocky to be a successful movie. They were right: Rocky was not a good movie; Rocky turned out to be a legacy!

Of course, persistence, drive, motivation, ambition, vision and desire all played key roles in the monumental achievements of Edison, Ford and Stallone and others like them, but it all started from a true decision; a decision to accept nothing less, nothing different from the dream they have carefully designed, not even the smallest compromise.

All these amazing outcomes above were once ideas, like the ones that many of us have, like the ones that remain in one’s mind and eventually become regrets. Unless we take these ideas and turned them into Decision and the one and only way known to turn ideas into Decisions is to take action; not tomorrow, not in one hour but right now. This is, symbolically as well as practically, the equivalent of giving the big wheel the first push; it makes the second spin almost inevitable.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” – Anthony Robbins

Image reproduced from http://www.lesca.ca

Do You Live It?

As a trainer and therapist, I constantly find myself being sized up when meeting potential clients. Being asked what I eat, how often I train, and whether my life is in order are questions I am asked on a daily basis.

The potential client looks me up and down as I answer and process the info, building up a picture in their minds, working out if I practise what  I preach, if I truly believe what I advise, if I truly live it.

As it happens I do live it. I am a personal trainer who has always trained twice a day – days a week even when working in exess of 60 hours a  week. I am a nutritioinist who eats superfoods 95% of the time and who recommends clients a similarly clean tailored program incorporating a weekly cheat meal to keep them sane, which is something I do and immensley enjoy.

Nadia Tejani

 I am a life coach who like many has had various ups and downs but has managed to get my life in order and get my dream job and lifestyle, and am lucky enough to be able to help others to do the same.

But how many nutritionists actually eat clean? Many dieticians and nutritioinsts are more than capable of advising clients to lose weight and maintain a healthy eating plan, whilst indulging in less than healthy snacks.

Gyms around the country are filled with personal trainers and fitness instructors of varying shapes and size all with a client base or following. Some trainers say clients seed them as more normal, more personable if they are less than in shape, but isn’t it hypocritical to tell a client to do something you wouldnt do yourself? Is it fair to be expecting a person to fit exercise into their lives when you can not or do not make time?

On the other hand, would a larger person prefer to be trained by a trainer who has been obese and has managed to lose the excess weight and so sympathises with the plight of the bigger person, or one who has always strictly controlled their food and kept fit.

Some people have more respect for the larger trainer, who they believe to be more sympathetic to their needs, who understands the reasons for their weight gain. Looking down at the more svelte trainer who would clearly have no idea of the clients struggles, putting the reasons for slimness of the trainer down to good genetics, not having a busy life, or the worst excuse, being fit because it is our job to do so. This couldn’t be furthest from the truth, we make it our job to train clients because of our immense love for fitness.

The truth is, that as trainers, therapists and nutritionists, we all have the tools to change and be the best versions of ourself, if we chose to use them, but can or should a client really respect a professional who does not practise what they preach?

Explore, Dream, Discover

Change is an evitable process we all have to go through. Sometimes we chose to make changes, starting new jobs, changing careers, new relationships, moving home. At other times in our life we have to adapt ourselves to a changing environment, for example, redundancies, divorces and illnesses.

As humans are creatures of habit, we feel safe when our lives contain a balance of consistency and predictability, change can be quite disconcerting and as a result we can often resist by putting up barriers.

We all have an inbuilt mechanism called homeostasis. This ensures that every part of our body stays in balance, at an optimum level. For example, if the core temperature of our body deviates from the optimum temperature of 37 degrees C, various actions will take place, either the shivering response if the core temperature has dropped, or we will start sweating if the temperature is too high.

This homeostasis emulates into the rest of our life and ideally our lives as a whole would remain balanced. However life is never as simple as we anticipate, but the way that we deal with problems can not only make us more resilient, but can teach us what we value in life.

Material objects do not seem so important when a relationship ends badly, large amounts of money don’t seem to matter when faced with a serious illness, and moving away from family and friends can make us remember why we love them and just how much we miss them.

Taking every opportunity to embrace change can make us better people. Losing a permanent job through redundancies can be a chance to find temporary positions, learning new skills and working in differing environments. Showing future employers how adaptable we can be.

Alternatively it can be a chance for a career change, starting up something completely different that we have always wanted to do.

The ending of a relationship can be the start for a new friendship. Time is never wasted, and we learn something from everyone we allow ourselves to become close to.

Although having a routine can be beneficial and is certainly good for children and pets to get used to, a steadfast routine, or being “set in your ways” can make change particularly hard and can be very trying for those around you.

Instead, try doing something different. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, try to do something that scares you at least once a week.

Instead of having a bucket list of things you want to do before you are 30, or before you die… do it now.

Ask yourself, what makes you come alive? Dispel fears of failure and have confidence in yourself. There is no such thing as 100% certainty so there will always be an element of risk in every decision you make in life.

So to conclude, change is healthy and life is a process of growing and creating oneself, as Mark Twain said, “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, catch the trade winds in your sails, explore, dream, discover”.

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A Healthy New Year’s Resolution

A new year just started and again how many of us decided to loose weight on top of the list? Many of us are constantly thinking of trying to lose a little weight and shape up for the new season ahead.  However dieting can be a daunting task and can turn out in a disaster for many as they lose a little weight in the short term, only to put it straight back on again once they finish the diet (or even sooner).  Diets can work in the short term, then once the target weight has been reached, the dieter will begin to eat normally and the weight will go straight back on. It is a never ending battle.

So, what is the alternative? Hypnotherapy can help with weight loss by addressing the issue from a more mind related viewpoint.  Many people have reported a weight loss of up to 6 pounds per week using Hypnosis, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Time Line Therapy.

How easy would it be if temptations are not temptations anymore? What if your stomach could feel full with less food? Hypnotherapy does just that; by reaching the unconscious mind, hypnosis can clear reasons for emotional eating such as stress, sadness, boredom etc. It then establishes alternative behaviours and resources which will cause a natural new approach to food in general and a complete new attitude and the weight stays off. Most people who undertook hypnotherapy to lose weight, reported improvements in other areas of their lives whilst losing weight.

So how does it really work? It’s simple really: when we see, hear, touch or even just think of something, that something creates a certain thought, image of feeling in our mind. This then produces a state of mind and consequently a sensation, mood and/or behaviour.

So if for example you are trying not to eat chocolate (which you like very much), you think that you don’t want to eat chocolate. It must be mentioned that the mind cannot process negative statements and therefore when we think “I don’t want to think about chocolate” we are already thinking about chocolate in the first instance and this alone creates a focus on that thing we do not want to focus on.

When we think about chocolate, we make a certain representation of it; whether this is an image, a sensation or a feeling (this changes from person to person).

For this example, let’s say that when you think of chocolate you get an image in your mind, now that image, which is normally in vivid, bright colours, creates a certain thought and consequently a feeling or sensation which is normally making that piece of chocolate even more compelling. This is, in a nutshell, why it is so hard to resist that temptation and, after a struggling internal battle, you end up biting that piece of chocolate with intense emotions, either passionate love or frustration and revenge.

For many people this can cause a vicious thinking pattern that creates guilt for having given in and therefore, now that we failed, we may as well eat the all block of chocolate. Sounds familiar?

Now stop and think: what would happen if chocolate would create a different set of images, emotions and feelings in our minds? What would happen if this representation would not be that appealing anymore? I guess that we would probably not be attracted to chocolate that much, would we?

This, added to letting go of any emotional issue which may have caused you to look for comfort in food and eat when your body didn’t really need it, generate a natural motivation to exercise and perhaps use the immense power of the unconscious mind to provide you with the sensation that your stomach shrank and that you therefore no longer can eat as much as before even if you wanted and you have found yourself a brand new behaviour, attitude and personality which will help you lose weight like no diet could ever do. And the best part is that all of this will feel ever so natural to you.  Happy dieting now.

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Therapeutic Theatre

The relationship between the Call to Adventure and the journey towards self actualization is one of the most common themes of mythology and one of the richest in symbolic value. This call to adventure helps to establish the stakes of life’s personal and professional games and makes clear our goals as an active participant.

A very special experimental cutting edge theatre group that is dedicated to empowering individuals to freely nurse their imagination and originality in a safe supportive space is Drastic Productions founded by Liz Clarke and Lotty Lowri in 2006 as a positive response to offer performance experience to groups of people who might not normally have access to it.

Super Heroes & Alter Egoes - Lottie Psychottie

The highly committed team at the theatre helps people to identify those aspects of self that require creative release, discharging exciting new energy into the psyche and dissolving long held inhibitions in the process and activating powerful archetypes. These archetypes could be said to represent specific functions and parts of the personality which resolve the tension in responsive feeling.

The valuable work that Liz and her talented team facilitate is unique in that it draws on a broad spectrum of post modern climate and cultures. As a combination of professionals they radiate enthusiasm and warmth as well as being vitally interested in creating an environment that offers a variety of mental stimulation, movement and experimentation. The team strength lies in their highly specialized approach to working imaginatively, providing a catalyst to bring about a profound transformation in others. Like a true catalyst in chemistry, they help bring about a change in a system and help guide others in their growth. Drastic Productions helps individuals to explore their surroundings in unfamiliar ways such as the use of taste, touch and sound. They believe that we are all creators and artists of our own individual experiences and responses to life. By living art, we become art.

In the concept of the Holy Grail an ancient and mysterious symbol for all the unattainable things of the Soul that all heroes and heroines search after, the ultimate boon or reward is a certain self knowledge and transformation that follows when we take possession of whatever we are seeking. It is the fundamental character of the universe to be active in the production of wholes and that the evolution of the universe, inorganic and organic, is nothing but the record of this whole-making activity in its progressive development.

The unifying force of all life phenomenon suggested by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who lived about “ 546-470 BC” was named physis and was conceived generally as the creative force of nature. It is the healing energy behind illness, the energized motive for growth and the driving force of creativity in an individual. The human will playing a crucial role as it represents the seat of primal power-the striving force that can be found in all creative individuals. Any act of deliberate creativity is a reaching out to create or co-create a relationship with another. All creativity therefore implies relationship and a desire for connectivity. The creative expression of the individual towards life is closely mirrored in the relationship between the creative individual and the collective –society. We are pro-social relationship-seeking beings who in order to evolve and rediscover ourselves have to continuously pay attention to our experiences, preserve our integrity, to experiment and promote our creative impulse.

Drastic Productions through its innovative programme of workshops and interesting series of seminars intends to heal the splits and divisions of the person and in doing so, valorizing personal responsibility and freedom to choose one’s life based on making healthy choices through the celebration of curiousity and joy in learning and unlearning for oneself, inspired by welcoming diversity, spontaneity and playfulness in an abundant sharing of emotional experience. Their workshops offer an opportunity for playful improvisation, communication and idea sharing. Liz and Lotty delve into character, story telling and physical theatre, always striving for inclusion and promoting positive images.

Each workshop leader has professional qualifications and experience in working with minority groups in quite challenging and unusual environments ranging from high security units, psychiatric wards, prisons and even nightclubs! Referrals by mental health services are accepted with participants presenting with an array of health issues such as depression and schizophrenia. The team do not work with a social label or medical diagnosis but with the whole person. They are not a drama therapy group and all their work is carefully planned and complies with their Vulnerable Adults Policy. Their skill in working with vulnerable people ensures that they manage any creative risks sensitively. Each session offers an opportunity for reflection and feedback.

Their most important and exciting work to date is dealing head on with how women with mental health issues are portrayed in the media. The team’s social and theoretical influences range from sex positive artist Annie Sprinkle to the work of long standing theatre companies such as Candoco and Back to Back in Australia. As Liz Clarke is a practicing live artist her work is mainly body based and so she brings in influences from this sphere. At present the team are planning to bring out their ‘The Dare Devil Divas Compendium of Super Heroes and Alter Egos’ which will be a graphic novel working in partnership with Bristol organizations and leftfield art book publishers. They have also been asked to perform and facilitate at several festivals this year and are hoping to take their place in national Arts and Health debates.

Super Heroes & Alter Egoes - Betty Bruiser

Good teachers and Mentors are enthused as the word comes from the Greek word en theos , meaning god-inspired or being in the presence of a god. Drastic Productions as modern day mentors who seek to empower individuals to make the most of themselves are strongly concerned with collective issues, what we all experience in common-the major victories and tragedies of our times and especially the expansion of consciousness and understanding that help us on our heroic journey to wholeness.

In the anatomy of the psyche, mentors represent the Self, the god and the g-ood within us, the higher noble self or conscience that acts as our inner guide when there is no one there to protect us or teach us right from wrong. Symbolically mentors stand for our own highest aspirations. Another important function of the Mentor is to motivate us and help us overcome our fear through encouragement.

If you would like to unleash the hero or heroine inside of you then I am confident that you will be fully supported in your personal quest by contacting www.drasticproductions.co.uk E-mail: info@ drasticproductions.co.uk or call Liz Clarke on 07748 805 674.

May the force be with you.


Capra, F.( 1978) The Turning Point: Science, Society and The Rising Culture. Toronto: Bantam.

M,Leau-Ponty, M (1962) Phenomenology of Perception. (C. Smith, trans) London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Zohar, D (1990) The Quantum Self. London, Bloomsbury.

Images reproduced from drasticproductions.co.uk

The Healthy Heart Academy

City Connect introduces Adam Shaw and the Healthy Heart Academy.

Thank you for taking your time in getting to know me. Your time is precious and can never be replaced. I truly appreciate yours used to connect with me here.

A different start in life.

I grew up within the grounds of a Psychiatric Institution. My parents both worked there, as nurses and we lived in the staff housing within the grounds. During my youth I used to answer the door to old ladies and gentlemen, sometimes in their nightgowns or pyjamas, asking for cigarettes. I saw many crazy, sometimes very funny things and people growing up.

I learned that laughter is a great gift.

Much of my time growing up was spent exploring the natural surroundings of the hospital, playing with my friends in nature and getting very curious about what mental health was.

After brief careers as a waiter, chef, banker, children’s counsellor and supermarket checkout clerk, I trained as a nurse in 1992. Here I discovered drugs for both treatments in the hospital and recreational use in the nurse’s home. I simultaneously worked part-time as a circuit-training instructor.

Did you ever experience a paradox in your life?

I found a health service that, although providing some critical and life-saving interventions, was very dependent on drugs. I also became dependent on drugs.

I was extremely fit physically, yet increasingly unhealthy mentally by being surrounded by sickness, death and various herbal and pharmaceutical interventions.

I have spoken with hundreds of people who were about to die and witness them realise what was truly important to them in their final hours.

Some people suffer because of things that they had done but couldn’t change. The people who suffer the most always get to regret what they didn’t do. Some had huge shifts in their final moments. If only they had been helped earlier, much pain could have been avoided.

Not only did patients suffer but many families were destroyed by the aftermath of a relative’s death and the unresolved issues left behind. Witnessing this several times led me understand that your heart is always guiding you. Unfortunately, many people become experts in ignoring these messages. Then one day a loved one dies and it’s too late to say and do the things that were unsaid and undone for so long.

Death is so final.

One day we will all be dead. In my experience, very few people consider this and what they hope to have done before that day comes. The only question that will matter at that point is what purpose did your life serve?

A very common theme in hospital was people full of regret because they spent so much of their lives investing money in their retirement, whilst compromising their happiness in jobs and relationships that made them feel trapped.

So many people waste the best years of their life being too unhappy to appreciate their health.

Many people hold regret about things that they could have done in the past. However, if you have any health at all then you can change. I became aware that all was not well in my world and that I was not particularly happy. Consequently, I used my nursing years to save up money and travel the world.

As others collected assets, I collected experiences in 6 different continents, spending over 6 years travelling overseas.

During these adventures I was caught up in riots, where hundreds of people died (I was not involved, just happened to be there!), earthquakes, hurricanes, pursued by gunmen on mopeds, rolled down a mountain in a vehicle with no seat belts and entertained by witch doctors at a party! These are just some of the adventures that I ended up on.

I then decided to leave nursing and discover the worlds of personal development, complimentary therapies and energy medicine. Despite spending over £100,000 on courses to find the answers to life’s questions I still felt that something was missing. Yet, I had no idea what it was.

For all of my classroom-based learning I realised that I was more productive and better able to think when I was on the move. It is a simple principle, yet incredibly powerful when used regularly. It fitted in with my time issues, as I walk anyway.

I realised that physical movement, when associated to learning, was the missing link to all that I had learned.

How was it possible that I had learned so many potentially powerful tools but was not using them regularly?

Time was my biggest issue and I stopped using my many tools for positive change and searching for something that I would remember to use regularly.

I then discovered my own method for enacting positive change at my pace.

By using a set of simple steps each time I walked I could work on my issues at my own pace, taking positive steps every day towards a better place.

In the past 3 years this process has led me out of a job and relationship that I did not love and into a life of discovery. I sold everything that I owned and used the money to learn all of the things that I had been putting off. I spent 3 years training in personal development, energy medicine and business-based courses.

Simultaneously, I took many risks, made many mistakes, had many hard lessons and ended up over £20,000 in debt. I had no assets and had to rely on friends and family to even be able to afford to eat. This was a humbling place to be and taught me many lessons. The main thing that I knew from this place was that I would never make a difference in the world if I didn’t look after myself first.

My natural instincts were to help everyone else and not ask for anything in return. Whilst this made me popular , I found that it was not working for me in the world of business. In order to help more people I had to help myself first. Installing this principle in my life and the lives of others is a key principle to having a healthier heart.

In the past, I would have dropped out and retreated back to my comfort zone, taken a job that I didn’t love and lived a life of mediocrity. However, this process has guided me towards many people who have supported me, believed in me and helped me through the toughest periods of my life.

Despite this, it was only discovering a renewed belief in myself that allowed me to pursue my goals and dreams beyond my comfort zone. This has led me to a much happier and healthier place.

Most of my interventions and resources will not offer you a quick fix for instant happiness. My path has been one of daily, positive steps. There have been ups and downs and still are. What is different now is that I have created a wonderful network of friends and my vision for The Healthy Heart Academy has carried me through many dark days along the way.

I believe that true health is accepting all aspects of oneself, balancing the less healthy aspects of my life with ones that restore balance. Through balancing any activities that may not be considered 100% healthy by some experts in the field, with the techniques that I have developed, I have cultivated a more harmonious relationship with myself.

It is my aim to not just improve the heart health of the world but also to create a movement that leaves a legacy of a healthier, happier planet for our future generations. I am not sure exactly how this will happen but I do know that unless I spend the rest of my life moving towards this goal then I will not be living a life that is true to my heart.

I invite you to join me. You can get in touch with me through City Connect or my website.

Image reproduced from http://nneteworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Healthy-heart.gif

Inspirational Quotes

This week, I will present some inspirational quotes again, which will hopefully inspire you, dear reader, to reflect on your life and the relations you have with other people.

Often we live one hectic day after the next and forget to sit down and contemplate about what we are doing. Personally, I find it very useful to have some time for myself every evening and reflect on the day and think about my actions, including my planned future actions.

The three topics covered in this list are leadership, success and overcoming failure.


The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Harold R. McAlindon

What chance gathers she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
Martin Luther King, Jr.


Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.

Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.
Theodore T. Hunger

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
William Shakespeare

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein


 It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

Theodore Roosevelt

Go back a little to leap further.
John Clarke

Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them.
Washington Irving

Our greatest glory consist not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Oliver Goldsmith

Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.
Napoleon Hill

We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do.
Samuel Smiles

Experience teaches slowly, and at the cost of mistakes.
James A. Froude

He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Let us know what you think about these quotes and contact us directly via e-mail at: editor(at)city-connect.org or via our comment section below.

Images reproduced from http://kenweinstein.blog.lemonde.fr and www.watersedgelifecoaching.com

Lift Your Energy in the Morning

A very quick and easy way to energise yourself in the morning is to spend just 2 minutes giving yourself a mini head massage. You can even do this before you get out of bed!

This will help you to wake up, feel alert, positive and ready to start your day with enthusiasm. It has the effect of boosting your circulation and getting rid of any tension in your scalp and face. This also reduces the likelihood of eye strain, headaches, neck and shoulder problems and also hair loss.

It’s also a great way to help eliminate any feelings of stress and anxiety which might be lurking around! So here’s how you do it:

  • Sit (or lie if you must!) and place your left palm directly over your left top part of your head. This has the effect of steadying your head.
  • With your right hand, use your finger tips to create a friction movement from the centre of your head down to your ears and down towards your forehead area. Don’t forget to work down the back of the head to your neck area as there is often a lot of tension held here.
  • When you have covered all areas well in a minute, swap hands and work the left side of your head with this friction rub.

Incidentally, this is a great exercise which you can nip off and do at work to lift your energy and release any tension. It helps you to remain focused on your task.

Image reproduced from http://www.joliecarte.com

 This article was written by Jenny Wilson, a practitioner at Salus Wellness Clinic in Cambridge

The Insider’s Guide to Living with Depression

I am a young woman who has suffered from clinical depression intermittently throughout my life. I have had counselling, psychotherapy, anti-depressants and cognitive behavioural therapy; whilst these treatments work and should always be carefully considered in a case of mental illness, I have learned to manage this condition in my own little ways. I can tell you this: it gets easier every time and fighting is the only way you’re going to get out of it. You deserve to get better and be well. You deserve to do all the things you want to do. And let nobody tell you that you are a failure or a weaker person because you have depression. No-one would say that if you had diabetes! It’s a disease, nothing more, treatable and manageable and much more common than you think. There are many things you can do to help yourself. Just give it a try. You have nothing to lose, right?

1. Attitude:

Your attitude to your illness is one of the main things that defines how you deal with it and how quickly you can recover. I used to think of myself as a ‘depressed person’ who would always have a tendency towards the condition and never get out of it. Why should I try to get better? It’s who I am, right? Wrong. That is simply not true. A quarter of UK adults suffer with some form of depression at some point in their lives, so you are not different or less strong than everyone else. You are not a ‘depressed person’. You are a person with depression. Do you see the difference? It is only a chemical imbalance in your brain, an illness just like diabetes or flu or anything else, and of course it doesn’t change who you are to begin with. You can manage it just as other conditions are managed and you can be sure that it does not define you. Think about all the other things that you are! For example, I am also a writer, a friend, a daughter and a sister. I am a student, a wine enthusiast and a French speaker. What are you? What have you achieved in your life? Depression is something inside your head that shouldn’t even be there. It’s not your fault, it’s not your personality and it’s not here to stay. Remember that no-one has a right to judge you for the way you feel. You didn’t ask to be depressed and you have every right to work through it in your own way. There is hope, there are treatments and you aren’t alone. If you see this as a battle against an outside enemy rather than yourself, you have no need to beat yourself up. You aren’t the problem, even if it feels that way. Depression is not who you are.


2. Exercise:

Believe me, I know the feeling. It’s 3pm and you’re on the sofa, in your dressing gown, watching your 10th episode of Friends that day and feeling so tired and unhappy you just can’t move. I know that in this situation, the last thing you want to do is get on a treadmill. But consider this: 10 minutes of exercise in the morning raises your endorphins, gives you energy and ultimately makes you happier. I can’t understate the power of an energetic dance session around your room to your favourite song. It’s actually fun. Swimming is another good one too: No sweat, no pressure, you can go at a quiet time of day and you can easily build up laps each time. It’s scientifically proven that cardiovascular exercise raises your mood. You won’t regret it.

3. Food:

I am not going to bang on about fruit and vegetables here, don’t worry! I watched an interesting programme recently on Channel 4 called ‘The Food Hospital’ (http://foodhospital.channel4.com/) which sought to prove that medical conditions could be cured with food. There was a case of a woman named Debbie with severe depression who didn’t change her medication or treatment, just her diet, and in 10 weeks she was happier, more confident and scored very low on the PHQ9 questionnaire (a measure of depression used by doctors). Did she have to cut out carbs? Go vegetarian? Eat goji berries and nettle soup? Guess again. To boost her serotonin, Debbie ate more protein, which contains tryptophan, an important amino acid which the body uses to boost serotonin. That’s the same thing SSRI antidepressants do: boost serotonin to make us happier. Some good proteins are eggs and cheese. The other important feature of this diet was wholegrain carbohydrates (good news for me, as I love pasta). She also ate foods rich in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, which include nuts, chicken and oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. Of course, fruit and vegetables are important too.

Since watching the programme, I have taken to eating a lot more chicken, fish, nuts, eggs and green leafy vegetables. I’ve switched my rice, pasta and bread to wholegrain but still eat a lot of it! Not only have I lost weight but, along with a few other factors, it’s really helping kick my depression. I call these foods my ‘happy food’ and the beautiful thing is, it doesn’t even feel like a diet! I also recommend taking an Omega-3 supplement, this has been proven to be effective and many people, including myself, swear by it as a supplement to diet and anti-depressants. I also take B-vitamins for energy. (I strongly advise you to talk to your doctor before taking any new medicine).

4. Keeping Busy: 

Sitting and doing nothing, though you may feel like it’s what you want, is the worst possible thing to do. It gets you feeling more and more trapped and irritated and you then find it harder to get out of it. At first, just try to plan to do one useful thing a day: help with the washing up, take the dog for a walk, go and visit a friend, bake a cake, sort out a messy drawer, or go shopping. If you achieve something, you will feel better at the end of the day, just by knowing that you didn’t give in to depression completely that day. When you become more confident at doing things, you could then start making yourself a rough schedule, divided into morning and evening, for what you will do on particular days of the week. Try to get into a routine, just so that you know that your day will not be empty. It’s a daunting prospect getting up in the morning and not being sure what to do with your day; often if this is the case you will just stay in bed or switch the telly on. After you’ve done what you said you were going to do, treat yourself: listen to your favourite CD, watch a film, eat some cake or have a bath, whatever makes you feel happy. I know that it’s hard to find something that you do want to do, but it helps to self-motivate and make the effort worthwhile. For example, I’ve spent the morning cleaning the house, so I’m going to have a cup of tea and watch my favourite programme. It’s as simple as that. The sense of achievement is reward enough: If you feel useful, you are fulfilling your own needs and you will feel better about yourself. Prove that you can win over self-loathing thoughts and lethargy. Get up and do something!

These four factors are the things that have helped me the most in dealing with my depression and I have seen that with a positive attitude and a little bit of effort, every bout of depression is easier to cope with. I have also seen a very good psychotherapist and would always recommend this, as a lot of issues can trigger depression and talking about them can help. I have also been on anti-depressants, so I have taken every possible avenue of treatment and sincerely believe that, though I have been hugely aided by medical help, some of my depression was due to my own lack of effort and my utter surrender to the way I was feeling. It was when I started fighting for my own mental health that things began to look up. I’m now talking to my doctor about reducing my medication and I believe that the end is definitely in sight. If depression comes back to plague my mind again, I will be ready for it. I hope that you will be too.

Images reproduced from: http://www.depression-survival.com, http://www.questmachine.org, http://www.prairiespine.com, http;//www.orientalmedicine.co.uk and http://4.bp.blogspot.com

A Metaphor for Self-Esteem

Where does your self-image come from?

If your opinion of yourself often comes from what people say to you and how they treat you, then perhaps you will find this idea helpful.

Imagine yourself as a blank canvas. When you hear negative comments, if you take them to heart and start to believe them, you are letting others splash paint on your canvas. They can make of you what they like; your sense of who you are is then defined by other people’s opinions. This is their arrogance winning over your confidence; it leaves you confused, doubting, miserable and self-loathing. You are allowing them to tell you who you are. You have no control and no significance in your own life.

Truthfully, your canvas is not blank. You are covered in complex painted images, accumulated throughout your life. You are a painting, complex and unique in your own way. You are the only one who holds the paintbrush, because your self-esteem is all in your own mind. The only one who is living your life, the only one who has the right to decide what you are is you. People may mistake you for a blank canvas but that simply isn’t true. You are a complete painting already, with your own talents, interests, values and thoughts.

All paintings invite interpretation. That’s as far as others can go; they can interpret you, but they cannot change what’s on your canvas. Art critics are not painters. Some people enjoy portraits, some enjoy nature scenes. Just because someone does not understand or appreciate your personality, they do not change you. You are no less valuable. Some people hate Picasso’s paintings but he is still one of the greatest artists in history. His work speaks for itself.

What’s on your canvas? What do you believe in, what are you good at and what have you done in your life? Nobody can change those things. Frame your painting, study it, and own it. It’s the only one of its kind.

Image reproduced from http://paint-brushes-guide.blogspot.com

Khloe Kardashian & Lamar Odom Divorce

Relationship Expert and London Life Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about the divorce of Khloe Kardashian & Lamar Odom and how Divorce Coaching can help a couple facing the end of their marriage. Sloan Sheridan-Williams is a London Life Coach, Relationship Expert, Wellbeing Consultant, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Sports Performance Coach. Watch Sloan’s relationship advice video and check out the links below for more on London Life Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams.

Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter: @SloanSW_London

Like Sloan Life Coach on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sloanswlondon

Check out the website of Sloan Life Coach: www.sloansw.com

Can Hypnosis Help Me?

London Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about hypnosis. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Thank you very much for your question. We often get asked if hypnosis can deal with this type of health issue so I thought it best to clarify what hypnosis can help with, what life coaching can help with, and when it’s time to seek a different therapist.

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that allows you to understand how the subconscious or unconscious communicates with your conscious mind and how it does most things for your protection – although its idea of protection is sometimes very different to what you actually need.

The types of things that hypnosis works well with are things like:- Weight Loss, Stop Smoking, Fears and Phobias, Eating Disorders, Stress, IBS, Interview Nerves, Exam Nerves, Addictions, Self Confidence & Self Esteem, and Infertility to name just a few.

On the other hand, life coaching deals with the conscious mind taking you into a new chapter of your life and leaving the old one behind. It is very good for letting go of ex-boyfriends, work colleagues you no longer get on with, and painful memories that belong in the past.

At its best, life coaching can help you achieve a life you both desire and deserve whilst all the time breaking things down into manageable, easy to complete tasks. A good life coach can explain your personality type, work on your intrinsic drives and create coping strategies incorporating all their tried and tested techniques to help you attain each and every one of your goals.

In relation to your question about whether hypnosis is clinically effective, I would highlight a quote from the Royal Society of Medicine which states:

“A wealth of scientific evidence has emerged in the last decade relating to the scientific basis of mind and body interactions. This has allowed for a neurologically plausible model of hypnosis to be developed which aids our understanding of the role of hypnosis in health and enhances the clinically effectiveness of hypnosis.”

It is excellent that we have seen hypnotherapy be recognised by a body of such standing as the Royal Society of Medicine and hypnosis can be useful for a lot of your complaints apart from your muscle complaint of Repetitive Strain Injury.

I would like to highlight here that Bowen Technique therapists across the country are now conducting a study into treatment of this particular type of injury. If you are interested in being treated by a Bowen Technique therapist, log on to www.bowen-therapy.com and you will be able to find a practitioner taking part in the study near you.

As for the other conditions you mentioned, it would be really useful for you to see either a hypnotherapist particularly trained in clinical hypnosis and/or a life coach.

Unfortunately until hypnotherapists are more widely recognised, which hopefully will come very soon after the Royal Society of Medicine’s acknowledgement, we are not able to offer any treatment on the NHS. You can get referrals from some NHS doctors but you do not need them. Saying this, a note from your doctor is very useful if dealing with a clinical hypnotherapist.

I am sorry that I can’t see all clients unless they are located in London or Cambridge but I will e-mail you personally to give you details of other therapists in your area.

For anyone else wanting to try hypnosis or life coaching, more information can be found at www.baileybradmore.com.

Image reproduced from spiritcharmers.co.uk

How Do We Rid Ourselves of Negative Emotions?

London Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about negative emotions. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Thank you for your question. There are many ways to rid ourselves of unwanted negative emotions but further to my response on energy therapies in one of my previous articles I thought it would be interesting to look at how we rid ourselves from negative emotions via energy psychology. There are other ways to deal with the same issue and as most people reading this will know, as a hypnotherapist/life coach myself I also use those techniques when addressing this problem. However, for the purposes of this article I am going to focus mainly on energy therapy.

How do we rid ourselves of negative emotions?

The basic factor that encapsulates energy psychology and all other meridian energy therapies is the fact that they base themselves on the belief that “All negative emotions are caused by a disruption in the body’s energy system.”

This disruption can be measured and is calibrated in units called SUD also known as Standard Units of Discomfort. Such a measurement system was first used in order to evaluate a therapeutic technique called systematic desensitisation as developed by Joseph Wolpe (1958), but they are now common place and used as a standard evaluative measure of the success of energy psychology treatments. The optimum read is Zero i.e no discomfort and this is completely achievable with this form of therapy.

Often client’s come in for treatment and they say that they want to lose weight or quit smoking but however hard they try they just cannot achieve their goal. This is called psychological reversal and can be described as when the subconscious mind does not perform as the conscious mind requires. For example the client who says they want to lose weight may have a secondary gain embedded in their subconscious that prevents them from carrying out their conscious will, perhaps their love of food, or a belief that thin people are unhappy or that thin people are unhealthy. Although these beliefs may not be based on objective facts and evidence, they will feel very real to the client and will hinder their attainment of the original goal.

These beliefs and or secondary gains will disrupt the body’s energy system, and as we saw in my previous article, they can be addressed with many of the energy psychologies available. However, I have chosen to look at EFT as devised by Gary Craig (who trained with Dr Callahan the brains behind thought Field Therapy). Gary Craig reduced TFT to make a simpler approach more accessible and applicable. Craig reduced the 361 meridian points down to 13 which are used in EFT with the first 12 being percussed no matter what the emotional upset followed by a 9 step Gamut on the 13th point.

An overview on the process I would use with a client if they came to me for a treatment in this area (if they did not want to go down the route of hypnosis) would be as follows:-

I would start with the Set up. The “Set-Up Protocol” refers to the process by which the psychological reversal (PR) is solved. It consists of finding one’s sore spot (most likely found on the right or left side of the chest). This point is a pressure point/reflex on the lymphatic system. The sorer the spot is an indication of how strong the psychological reversal. Once found the client would make an opening statement that resonates such as ‘I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself’. More often than not this will not feel comfortable for the client and we would work together on finding out how true each statement is on a scale of 1 to 10 and then re-evaluating after the percussion of all the points. Once the set up point has been calibrated the 12 step tapping routing can commence.

After completion of this the final stage is called the 9 Gamut Routine.

The 9 Gamut routine is carried out by continually tapping on the TH03 meridian point while following a 9 step routine slightly oversimplified this would be – eyes closed, eyes open, eyes down right, eyes down left, rotate eyes clockwise, rotate eyes anticlockwise, hum, count to five and hum again.   Its purpose is to engage and balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain – creating activity and balance bilaterally will also increase the number of neuron firing in each hemisphere allowing communication as well as balance.

Once this has been achieved the original statement would be re-evaluated and the client would then see how they feel about the change. More often than not clients who are new to this type of therapy are surprised at how much emotion is let go by what appears on the surface as such a simple process. The great thing about tapping is that you can do it at home and in between sessions be improving each and every day.

I am pleased to be able to use this procedure in my treatments where necessary and when the client is interested in a different approach to the issue before them. If you have any further questions contact me through City Connect, leave a comment or ask a question through our Q+A page.

Images reproduced from ehow.co.uk and attract-a-life-of-abundance.com

Banish Those Bad Habits Forever

London Life Coach & Wellbeing Consultant Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about bad habits and self control. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Many of my clients come to me and ask how they can have more self control in breaking what they perceive as a bad habit. This could be in the form of smoking, eating too much, laziness including lack of exercise and even things such as personality disorders. We all know what it’s like to make a New Year’s Resolution only to break it within a week or two of 1st January. We tend to take the view that as we are not alone in breaking these resolutions and assume it’s not as bad for us as we once thought. Although you may not be alone in having a perceived bad habit, just by making a resolution you obviously realise that you want to change your habit. The following article will only help people who want to change themselves and are not being forced into it by a partner, child or friend.

So we often bandy about the word “willpower” and what it means. We often couple it with words such as self-control or bad habit or lack of determination and all these words make the brain go into cycles of guilt or shame which ultimately result in avoidance. So how do we realise that words such as willpower and determination are extremely positive words and easily attainable by all of us? At the end of the day, willpower is just a measurement of how well you achieve that on which you intend on doing and as we have seen in other articles such as Five Steps to a Better Life, willpower is quite easily achieved over a matter of just a few days.

It is scary to think that 8 out of 10 people who decide to change a bad habit fail to do so by any given length of time. It is interesting to note that this is down to a particular area of the brain which is located in the front part which is often referred to as the prefrontal cortex. It’s this area that helps you solve problems, keep focused, and create logical thought patterns. So you would think that given it’s function, willpower would be very easy. The catch here is the prefrontal cortex is also involved in short term memory so what happens here is if you try and use willpower, focus and short term memory at the same time your body and brain finds it hard to multitask. It really is as simple as that.

So what is the solution I hear you ask? Well, just like any other muscle in the body, willpower just needs to be trained and exercised. It really is that simple to increase and strengthen that part of your brain and allow it to get used to multitasking. The best way to go about this is to set small achievable challenges (or daily goals if you prefer to call them) and make sure that no matter what you get them done. For example, for someone who is depressed and finds it hard to get up, get dressed and go to work and as such has taken off time from work, it is useful to draw up a chart of all the things you need to do to achieve your goal. For example:-

1. Get up
2. Get dressed
3. Put make-up on
4. Leave the house
5. Walk to the end of the road
6. Catch a bus/tube/train
7. Arrive at work and be sociable

So if you take each point in turn and just add one point to your goal list each day, you will find that in just over a week you are able to actually get yourself out of bed and go to work. Likewise for those of you who want to add the gymn into your routine, it is also possible to write a list of goals. So perhaps your goals would be:-

1. Buy stuff for the gym
2. Pack a bag
3. Get in your car/train/bus/tube
4. Get to the gym
5. Do a work-out of up to an hour
6. Return home

Likewise, if you take each one of these little steps in turn, so on Monday just pack your bag ready for the gym but don’t actually go. On Tuesday pack your bag and walk to the end of the road with your backpack ready for the gym and then do nothing else. On Wednesday, pack your bag, walk to the end of the road, go to the gym, turn round and go home. By the time the end of the week comes, you’ll have found that you will have probably got to the gym and done 10 minutes and then gone home. Then using the 10% rule of going up just a little each time that you feel, whether you go from 10 minutes to 15 or 20, or by the time you are on about 50 minutes you just go up in increments of 10 % and you’ll find that each and every day, you’re getting used to going to the gym and finding it within yourself to actually accomplish a lot more than you thought.

The same is relevant for food. If you know your daily intake is 3000 calories, each day just reduce your calorie intake by about 5%. So if your calorie intake is 3000, just every day reduce it by about 150 calories and before long you’ll realise that you’re only taking in 2000 calories and you haven’t even noticed any negative effects on how you feel or whether you missed the surplus food.

By working on small tasks and baby steps then sizeable goals, no matter how lazy or reluctant you feel or even if you’re hard on yourself by suggesting you have lack of willpower, you will be able to overcome any resistance that either your body or mind has to exercise, food, work or the likes and you can actually train your mind to do exactly what you want it to do.

Now in some cases such as the earlier example of depression, it’s not as straightforward as just beating willpower and it often calls for extra help. A life coach, a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist or just a friend can be very useful to give you that added extra boost to help you focus on how you want to lead the rest of your life. So just take a step today and make a commitment to at least writing a list of between 7 to 10 things you will need to accomplish in order for your goal to be realised. The last commitment I will ask of you is to just take each one of those goals in turn one-by-one and add them to your daily schedule so that in 1 to 2 weeks you will be on your way to beating willpower and becoming, dare I say it, a high achiever.

Images reproduced from nyeducator.com and msedna.blogspot.com

Five Steps to a Better Life

London Life Coach & Clinical Hypnotherapist Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about 5 steps to improve your life. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Clients often come to hypnotherapy or life coaching expecting us to delve into the past and drag up and rake over old memories to produce a multitude of emotions for the client to then deal with. This used to be the way that the likes of Freud conducted his hypnotherapy sessions. However there is a much easier way to do this in a pleasurable and exciting construct. So rather than starting at the beginning, I often tell my client “let’s start at the end”. What would be the point of jumping into the car and driving using only your rear view mirror? You wouldn’t get very far in life. However, many of my clients and people in general often live their life concentrating solely on past mistakes.

In order to have a happier life we need to be thinking about what we want rather than what we don’t want. In a lot of circles it is believed that the Reticular Activating System (a specific part of the brain) will move you to what you concentrate on. For example, if you buy a particular brand of aftershave or perfume you’ll often smell it on other people or notice it in the promotions in shops far more than something you haven’t bought previously; just like if your car is silver you are more likely to notice other silver cars or cars which are the same make as your car. So if we apply that to everyday life it is actually quite easy to get more of what we do want by focusing on just that and ignoring what we don’t want.

Step 1

Write a list of what you do want in life, not only that which you desire but that which you also deserve. So for a moment just put out all the thoughts that are negative and concentrate only on how your ideal life would be looking at the follow areas:-

  • Love & Romance
  • Work & Performance
  • Finance
  • Friends & Family
  • Travels & Hobbies
  • Health & Vitality
  • Your Home & Personal Life

Now just as our minds are very capable of seeing that which we don’t want to see, they are also an amazing tool to create pictures or movies in our minds at any given time. The aim here is to control what your brain works towards and make those negative images obsolete.

Start by looking at the list you created in Step 1 imagining what you do want out of life and just take a second to focus on that. Your brain will use its subconscious to store what you do want be it words or images, feelings, smells, sensations and start to get rid of those negative thoughts of what you don’t want. The good thing about the brain is that it does not understand the difference between your real life and your imagined life so as soon as you start imagining all the things you do want you are like a big magnet attracting as much as that to you as possible at any given moment in time.

So just start by imagining what you want. Get a very nice vivid clear picture in your mind and just have fun with this on a daily basis for up to a week. If you find visualisation hard, you can create a Vision Board. For example, over the next week every time you read a magazine, newspaper article or just see something that means something to you, just cut out the picture or object and pin it to a pin board – also known as your Vision Board. Over time if you are not able to visualise what you want you will have a concrete pin board with everything you need to work towards. Try and fill this up over the next week leaving a few spaces for additional wants, needs and desires.

Step 2

Once you’ve got your brain clear as to what you want, you need to align your feelings with your thoughts. We all know that the better we feel the more positive a story we can create and therefore we can attract a more positive reality. So in this step keep your feelings powerful, clear and concise. We often don’t realise that we are actually in control of how we feel at any given point. So to keep these feelings positive although may seem unnatural at first is very much following the principle of “fake it to make it.” Therefore the happier we perceive ourselves the happier we become and the more successful we will be in each and every area of our life that we’ve chosen to work on.

Step 3

Once you notice good things are happening and you are beginning to achieve that which you set out to on your Vision Board, the next step is adding exercise into you daily routine. For example, if you are an early bird getting out and doing what I like ti refer to as the Hour of Power in the morning before work is extremely good for not only your endorphin level but your general wellbeing. In this hour all you need to do is play music that makes you feel vibrant, happy and energetic or repeat affirmations as you either exercise like perhaps going for a daily run or doing something as simple as some sit-ups, crunches or push-ups in the comfort of your own home, repeating a positive affirmation at each rep. For example:-

“I am confident”
“I am successful”
“I deserve to be loved”
“I am doing well in my work”
“I am excited about what the future holds”

Step 4

Once you have accomplished this step the next stage is to avoid and cut out negativity in the form of bad energy. For example, those people around you that tend to complain all the time and are emotional vampires with their moaning and whining about just everything and anything. You will find that you no longer enjoy partaking in idle gossip and the more you stay away from it you will realise that not only are you privy to others gossip but you are no longer the subject of idle gossip yourself which allows you to complete the next stage.

Step 5

We all have a story. There is a famous Sex and the City episode where Miranda realises that she’s telling the same story on loop about not having a husband and being single in her 30s. As she progresses through the episode we find that Miranda notices that she is not the only one with a story but her loved-up married friends are also creating stories of their own. For example one of her friends has a story about why they haven’t conceived after two years of marriage. What this displays is that we all concentrate on what we don’t have and make excuses for it. However this goes against the attraction of positive thinking.

So take this time to notice what stories you are telling and just stop. Remember that whatever we talk about we attract into our lives, be it through the physiology of the Reticular Activating System or the more spiritual concept of the Law of Attraction. Either way whatever is causing it, this is one of the most powerful points in the series – change your story.

Now you’ve finished the main changes, I would like you to take a moment and write down five things that you are grateful for today and five things you need to action to get you closer to your life goals.

You know need to make a contract with yourself that you are going to do everything within your power to achieve what you both desire and deserve. With every new beginning you need to have a thought, an action, a feeling and then willpower. So using these steps you will be able to take abig leap forward into the rest of your life.

If you have any further questions about life coaching, go to http://www.sloansw.com/

Image reproduced from changeoflifecoaching.com