Therapy or Tough Love?

One in 5 Britons has had therapy and the number of qualified counsellors has tripled in the last 10 years to keep up with demand, but does therapy work in the long term?

Hypnotherapy is often used to help obese clients and those with eating disorders, obsessive disorders or generally unhealthy habits such as smoking. This aims to change bad habits for good ones.

With the help of the therapist, a trance-like state alters the state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert and receptive. The brain is inhibited from using any conscious processes and the subconscious mind is more directly accessible than prior to the hypnotherapy.

During this time under the trance, the therapist can start to suggest ideas and concepts and can add healthier more beneficial adaptations to the client’s lifestyle directly into the long term memory.

The advantage over traditional types of therapy is that hypnotherapy achieves results much faster and avoids the need to explain your life story to the therapist, opening up to them and working backwards to understand what went wrong and how and why.

Traditional therapy attempts to fully understand the conscious mind and delves into deep rooted issues of the past, to shape a new and brighter future. This can be slow and arduous and at times ineffectual as the conscious mind has many barriers. The therapist has to work through various emotions and analyse insights to desensitise the client to making progress.

NLP aims to improve one’s your life by installing positive attitudes to life and uses goal setting. Unlike other approaches to therapy, NLP is a how to technology that tells you how to be what you want to be. Widely used to achieve personal success, it helps you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and enables you to take responsibility for your actions in all areas of your life.

Behavioural therapy aims to change any behaviours that are harmful or not helpful. Various techniques are used such as avoidance and exposure. Using deep breathing techniques the therapist helps you cope and control the anxiety when a feared situation arises.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a mixture of cognitive and behavioural therapies. They are often combined because how we behave often reflects how we think about certain things or situations. Depending on the condition being treated, the particular emphasis on cognitive or behavioural aspects of therapy can vary,

Cognitive therapy can be very useful in dealing with depression, but behavioural therapy is useful where repetitive compulsive actions take place such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

One of the disadvantages of therapy is a feeling of dependency. It may be the first time you have someone to talk to who actually listens without judgment. Finding someone to take over this role once the therapy ceases can be tough but necessary, as long term therapy can actually inhibit a career or lifestyle change. You can always visit kasyno online.

Long-term psychotherapy may encourage self-absorption and narcissism. Two qualities that make relationships at work and at home very difficult.

There is the possibility that therapy may also rationalize inaction and encourage procrastination. Certain therapists also encourage inaction by resisting giving advice, whether this is due to a conflict of interest or a general unwillingness to be blunt with the client.

Although therapy may bring a new insight into why you do what you do, is your life any better? Has it enabled you to blame your past for your actions and give you a reason to be the way you are today?

Perhaps instead you should try tough love, a method widely used in military forces throughout the world. You may think you need sympathy and support, but in fact being shown that your problems are not life threatening, may actually be relatively insignificant in the complex web of life and being told to “man up” may work much better for certain individuals.

If you are still unsure, ask yourself, are you holding yourself back from achieving your goal? Are you blaming others for your failures? Whether that be your parents, partner or boss, do you find a barrier to changes?

We don’t need to see a therapist to tell us to focus on the positive in life. Mother Teresa always said she was not Anti War, she was Pro Peace, she preferred to focus on the positive rather than the negative, an attitude which stood her in good stead and for which she will be well remembered.

Try writing down your goals in life and in business. Each night take a moment to write down 3 things that you have done during the day to work towards your goals.

When a stressful decision arises, ask yourself which action would be most beneficial to achieving your goal and go do it.

You may just find this approach quite liberating, making you more productive and helping you develop a more positive attitude about yourself and your life.

Images reproduced from dheesanyogini.blog.com, mybindi.typepad.com and ivyleaguedandunemployed.org

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 4

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

We are now in Part 4 of the Overcoming Procrastination series and some of you might have even booked that summer holiday or beach break and have made a promise to yourself that you will lose weight to fit into your bikini or swimming trunks before your plane takes off. However have you found that the diet is either hard to stick to or, as like with all types of procrastination, that it keeps getting put off perhaps to the start of the week after your friend’s birthday, after that weekend barbecue, the list seems never-ending. This type of procrastination is tantamount to New Year’s resolutions. It’s the type of promise you make yourself yet there is no guilt if you give it up within hours or days of the original idea. This is normally because there has been no strong commitment and / or action plan thought out and therefore it is easier to procrastinate. This type of procrastination is often referred to as Promissory Procrastination.

This procrastination is seen more in less detail orientated people so for example NFs (the big picture feelers) are the most likely to be so caught up in the big picture of being thinner and fitting into the bikini that they have not thought each step through. STs are less likely to fall into this trap however although they have an action plan they sometimes lack the willpower and determination to get there as they have less visualisation on the long-term goal.

Therefore to conquer Promissory Procrastination not only do we need to have a clear vision / wish but also an action plan detailing the hows, whys whens and wheres. To do this we need to take the “Feelers” temporarily into a thinking zone and get the “Sensors” to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Every personality type can find a path taking small steps to completing their new goal, be it controlling their eating habits, enlarging their social circle, volunteering their time in the community, taking up a new hobby or satisfying the basic need of significance.

If you want to keep the promises that you make to yourself, follow the bullet points below to help you on your way:-

  1. Decide out of all the Promissory Procrastination goals you’ve made which is the first you want to deal with.
  2. List all the activities you do to avoid keeping to your goal.
  3. List the reasons you use to justify the delay.
  4. Look at each reason in turn and decide if there is more pleasure in the activity or justification you use to avoid attaining your goal.
  5. Write a list of all the positives about reaching your goal.
  6. List the actions you would have to take to make it more pleasurable to reach your goal than procrastinating, justifying and avoiding the challenge.
  7. Ask yourself whether the change you are trying to make is meaningful enough to you personally to want to spend the time and effort of going through all the stages in step 6. If it is, put step 6’s list into action one small step at a time. If it isn’t, understand why this didn’t work for you, let go of the goal and move on without guilt.
  8. Repeat this process for all Promissory Procrastination challenges – do make sure you only take on one at a time. Although some challenges can be worked on in conjunction with each other, do not try to overload yourself as this is commonly a set-up for failure.

 

Unlike Promissory Procrastination where we often set resolutions and goals without thinking the steps through, the next type of procrastination I will be talking about is where both the wish and the plan are present but it’s like watching helicopter blades starting to cycle but never fast enough to allow it to lift off the ground. This type of procrastination is called Behavioural Procrastination and it is very common in N types, because such procrastinators can have outstanding visions which come from their big picture thinking and can even be organised but what they lack is motivation and follow through.

You will often see this type of procrastination in people who try to start their own businesses who have fantastic ideas but still don’t manage to sell their product or in employees who accumulate case files that are close to being finished but never quite ready for presentation. It also happens in S types, for example the eternal student who keeps re-writing their thesis justifying the need for change on the small level but never finishing the project to hand it in. For these types of people, the planning and the detail is fun but the execution, production and completion is either frustrating or feels out of their reach.

If you identify with Behavioural Procrastination and you would like to redefine yourself as someone who follows through to the end of a project, follow the steps below:-

  1. Define your most pressing Behavioural Procrastination and give a list of reasons why you want to be able to complete your project.
  2. Take each reason and attach as many pleasurable images in your mind to completing the project.
  3. List all the details you concentrate on to avoid completing the project.
  4. Ask yourself how many of these details are absolutely necessary for the completion of your project and list how many are actually hindering completion.
  5. Ask yourself what you tell yourself to justify the delay.
  6. Ask yourself how that makes you look to yourself and others.
  7. Find out if there is more pain attached to handing something in that’s not ‘perfect’ than making people wait.
  8. Address why this is.
  9. Ask yourself what you would need to change to understand that projects need to be finished to completion and that the details should not be all-consuming.
  10. List all the actions you can take to make sure you complete each stage of your plan without getting overloaded in excuses and justifications.
  11. Take each step in turn.
  12. When you have completed the challenge return to step 1 and choose your next procrastination to deal with.

Following through to the end of your projects not only makes you more productive but helps you lead a life with integrity when you start being your word whether that’s executing a document, building up your own business or handing work in on time. Others will treat you with respect and in the long-term this will create even more of an advantage to you.

In the next instalment of Overcoming Procrastination series we will be discussing how once you have kicked the procrastination habit it is easy to get into a cycle of procrastination then action then procrastination which is a slippery slope and often referred to as Fallback Pattern Procrastination. We will also be addressing Lateness Procrastination which is just as disrespectful to yourself as it is to others.

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Overcoming Procrastination – Part 3

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

As we discussed in Part 2, there are many different types of procrastination patterns and although we do not believe that humans can be labelled we have, for ease, labelled the patterns to help you understand how they work and how we can work together to benefit you.

For those of you who identified that Social Procrastination was an aspect of your behaviour that you wish to change, a good starting point is to analyse whether you have a fear of saying no when it comes to doing a task an acquaintance / friend / work colleague has asked you to do. For those of you who come under the typology category “SF”, you have a greater want to be liked by your peers however this is not limited to just SF personalities. Either way, until you realise that the request is discretionary and learn to say no if you really don’t want to do the favour then it will be inevitable that your delays will occur impacting your social interactions and attracting that which you feared the most – i.e. the disapproval of others. As for impersonal delays such as the late payment of tax bills, overdue library books or RSVPs to invitations, you are again placing yourself between a perpetual tug of war between punctuality and postponement. In addition those of you who socially procrastinate within groups often do so due to concern that your input won’t favourable compare to the others in the group.

For all these social procrastination patterns one needs to escape from the habitual trap, accept responsibilities and act on them showing a sign of maturity and realising that by combating delay you are actually avoiding the disapproval of friends, the fines from the tax office or library, the cold shoulder or lack of invitations for showing up late or not at all, and you show yourself that you are in charge of your emotions and rather than fixating on the small picture, are playing a longer term game resulting in achievement, high accolades and advancement.

To aid you get a grasp on your Social Procrastination, I would like you to take a few minutes to write in your journal about the challenges you find in this area and define a positive and uplifting avenue for change.

  1. Write down you most pressing Social Procrastination challenge.
  2. Name the catalysts you use to avoid completing the challenge.
  3. List the excuses you tell yourself and others to justify not meeting the challenge.
  4. List all the actions you are prepared to take to follow through and meet the next challenge coming your way.

Unlike Social Procrastination, Personal Procrastination occurs when you constantly put self improvement tasks low on your priority list which can in turn be detrimental to both your physical and emotional health. Such justifications for this type of procrastination involve low self-importance, an inaccurate and idealised timeline that there is no rush to improve oneself which inevitably shows that your sense of responsibility towards yourself is heavily diminished. Often clients are resistant to emotional change  due to time constraints or not wanting to delve into the past. It is in this area that much resistance is often noted as some challenges can be both uncomfortable and painful. However by taking the leap to break these fears of emotional insecurities, one can progressively master any type of Personal Procrastination and enhance any self-development and grow in ways you cannot even imagine. As with any procrastination problem the challenge is to start sooner rather than later. I have devised a few questions below for you to work through to get you started to vanquishing the fear and moving that step closer to a life that you will love.

  1. What is your most pressing Personal Procrastination challenge?
  2. What are the consequences for not carrying out the challenge?
  3. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  4. How do you limit yourself in your abilities to progress and what are you losing?
  5. What do you tell yourself to justify not completing the challenge?What are your fears?
  6. What actions will you take today to feel more in charge of your life and gain the benefits of finally meeting the challenge?

In addition to these procrastination patterns there are also a group of Mild Impact Procrastinations. These are important to some people but appear lower on your priority list than they should and more often than not get put off until the next day and so on until they never get done. Such activities seem to be small matters and invariably you will take a calculated risk that they won’t affect you in the long run – often justifying that they will be a waste of time spent on the little things that you think can be done later. Unfortunately it is these little things that can blow up into larger challenges and such accumulations can leaving overwhelmed as they now will all have to be done all at once. To stop Mild Impact Procrastination before it starts a little organisation is needed especially for routine activities. If your personality type is not one to already be making lists it may be a useful activity to introduce this into your routine. Listing each mildly important activity, giving it a due date, allowing you to enjoy ticking them off as they are completed. Each tick that you produce not only shows that you’ve accomplished the activity without undue delay but reinforces that you are kicking your Procrastination habit to the curb and allows you to recognise that taking charge of these smaller aspects of your life will have a major impact on the running of your life as a whole. Again below, I have added a quick exercise for your journal to help you effectively deal with Mild Impact Procrastination which should enviable free up some brain space to more important matters such as Personal or social Procrastination matters.

  1. What is the most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge?
  2. What do you typically do to avoid the challenge?
  3. List all the activities that you need to do regularly but delay.
  4. Write beside these activities a one word answer to justify the delay.
  5. What action will you take to follow through meeting your most pressing Mild Impact Procrastination challenge mentioned in 1?
  6. What actions are you going to take to combat your justifications for delaying the list of activities mentioned in 3.

I hope you take this time to promise yourself that procrastination is worth beating and to acknowledge that you have all the capabilities inside you to rise to the challenge and bring about a change for the better today.

I look forward to working with you in Part 4.

Images reproduced from epicponyz.com and associatedforensic.com

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 2

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

Procrastination is an often talked about problem, however the media often trivialise it using it as the butt of many jokes be it in sitcoms, films, talk shows or stand-up comedy. Although entertaining in the moment and often providing comic relief, it does not provide a solution. Unfortunately, such a solution does involve battling your inner demons and we all know this to be unpleasant however the improvement and success you will achieve will hopefully replace any temporary negative concepts you will have to address on the way.

More often than not the biggest negative contender that comes up in my seminars is blame. I stress to my clients and emphasise this here that this series takes a non-blaming view towards the triggers of your procrastination and focuses mainly on areas for positive improvement and advancement. However as we live in a blame ridden society you may have found yourself procrastinating to either avoid or defend social norms or personal standards where “blame culture” is rife. It is a global norm to spend the majority of  our spare time blaming others, blaming ourselves or looking for someone to blame. Blame is in many countries linked to performance which makes up social values and is often is extrapolated to personal worth. The reason this series does not focus on blame is that, whether internalising or externalising blame, such negativity only hinders our self growth distracting ourselves from spending the time more usefully on improving the situation in front of us and taking responsibility for the remedy which is unrelated to the cause or mistake of that situation. In addition, the “blame culture” we often find ourselves in leads us to create justifications which are nothing more than self deceptions that our subconscious uses to avoid the acceptance of personal responsibility. It has no bearing on solving legitimate problems and only allows us to re-focus our energies on small irrelevant details rather than looking at the big picture.

In addition, the use of the word blame seems synonymous with other negative terms such as lazy, careless, stupid and indolent which only puts up our defence barriers which again hinders rather than fixes the problem. In this article we concentrate on using our brain to reason why we procrastinate making sense of our triggers allowing us to positively alter our brain patterns and reactions resulting in a better solution.

For those of you interested in the science behind the theory, your pre-frontal cortex is responsible for the reasoning aspect of your personality. It is here that you override the brain’s defence mechanisms setting off a protective element to avoid discomfort, hurt or upset. Such an element can be in the form of procrastination.

Below I have highlighted some of the more common procrastination patterns so that you can identify which areas of your life you would like to work on to overcome your brain’s diversion tactics to discomfort.

  • Behavioural Procrastination – having great ideas and plans that never get off the ground and/or a to-do list that never gets quite finished.
  • Deadline Procrastination – often receiving final reminders for your bills or only just making deadlines set by your boss.
  • Decision-making Procrastination – constantly second guessing yourself, deferring making decisions and/or having trouble making the simplest of choices even down to a restaurant menu.
  • Habitual Procrastination – you mean well yet time just seems to pass you by and deadlines arrive before you even realise it.
  • Health Procrastination – not attending the gym even though you’ve paid for membership or feeling overly stress yet not taking time out to relax.
  • Hinderance Procrastination – making people wait in a passive aggressive way or delaying them or yourself.
  • Lateness Procrastination– showing up late for appointments and lacking the ability to be on time even if you want to be.
  • Organisational Procrastination – finding it hard to write down clear, measurable and achievable goals, lacking in plans and living in clutter.
  • Personal Procrastination – knowing you have bad habits but never getting round to breaking them, delaying facing up to problems and having the feeling that you are drifting through life.
  • Social Procrastination – delaying others with a lack of commitment to being your word, inconveniencing others by causing delay, expecting people to accommodate you when you’re late.
  • General Procrastination – you are unable to fulfill your responsibilities, you waste too much time, often under-delivering, do not stick to your priorities, start assignments at the last minute, find ways to extend deadlines, put things off that you’re not passionate about and rarely seem to get things done on time.

Reading the above procrastination patterns, work out which ones strike a chord with you and note them down for later on in our series where I will give you coping strategies for each type of behavioural pattern.

I will also look at the catalysts for the above procrastination patterns which include avoidance, fear of failure, mood, perfectionism, diversion tactics, discomfort aversion, self doubts, low self-esteem, overwhelming information, time management and readiness to change.

After reading this article I would like you to write down your top three procrastination patterns and the catalysts that you feel drive you towards avoiding responsibility. Throughout the series you will become familiar with procrastination forms and styles and the more you learn about these patterns the easier it will be for you to reprogram your habitual responses to your catalysts turning what you previously viewed as procrastination into efficiency.

I look forward to working with you to overcoming your procrastination.

Images reproduced from sherrymalcolm.com and zazzle.ca

Overcoming Procrastination – Part 1

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

Procrastination affects us all – it is not only the stack of unopened mail, the size 8 garments hanging in your wardrobe when you’re now a size 12, that phone call you dread but know you should make or that deadline imposed on you by your boss that is creeping up on you; but more often than not procrastination involves beneficial or exciting activities that have slipped down your list of priorities. Such activities include going to the gym more, combating a phobia, taking up a new sport or hobby, meeting up with old friends, or even a pamper day with just you time.

It may help you to know that 9 in 10 people procrastinate in at least one area of their life and research from the late 90s shows that as much as 20% of successful business people still squander away their time procrastinating and an enormous 60% of university students do the same.

I have written this series to help diminish your procrastination impulses allowing you to take charge of your life furthering your achievement of everything you not only desire but deserve as well. Procrastination can affect all ages from all walks of life however the coping strategies that I have set out throughout the series will not only educate you but provide you with options and choices in assisting you to minimise if not eradicate the effect that procrastination has on your life.

Please make sure you follow the exercises in this series in the order they are presented, practice each technique until it becomes routine and then, and only then, begin on the next.

Procrastination simply means to put off something until tomorrow, it comes from the Latin pro meaning forward and crastinate which means tomorrow; however for most of us tomorrow never comes and we spend our lives needlessly postponing, delaying and avoiding that which we should have done today. Procrastination itself is comprised of two components – the first part is an impulse to delay normally governed by mood or anxiety and the second part comes from your inner critic which reassures you that your reasoning for delay is acceptable. Therefore one can look at procrastination as having both an active and passive phase, however these phases in themselves often take more brain power and time than if we had carried out the original activity. This in turn makes us operate ineffectively which for some people can result in negative consequences.

You may have heard that the best solution to overcome procrastination is to simply jump in with both feet and action the task now. More often than not this is simple to say but much harder to do. Such advice is rarely sufficient in breaking the procrastination habit because of its many complex features. The first and best step to overcoming procrastination is acceptance that you have a problem and a positive intention to establish control over such. To assist you in the first step towards breaking your procrastination habit follow this 6-step process as bullet pointed below.

  • Stop and take stock of the Big Picture goal then break the task ahead into baby steps and action only the very first goal
  • Resist the urge to deviate from the list of steps that you created in step 1 and re-affirm that you are committed to completing the task
  • Reflect on those inner voices creating excuses and justifications to not complete the task and accept that your subconscious is trying to help you but again re-affirm your commitment to carrying out the task.
  • Use logic and reasoning to understand that the justifications and excuses in step 3 or just a delay tactic and counteract this with three positive statements about why you need to finish the task and how it will feel to have stuck by your word.
  • Review the baby steps needed to complete your task and once you have completed the first one set the rest in motion.
  • Reward yourself by completing any procrastination tactic only when you have completed all steps of your original task.

Through these self-regulating actions you will train yourself to overcome procrastination. Do not be too hard on yourself as even with this technique improvements of 10% each time you employ the technique means that you are well on your way to progressive mastery over procrastination.

In the meantime, for those procrastination moments that you have yet to get a handle on, it would be useful for you to diarise in a journal what they are so that we can analyse them later during this series. The questions to ask yourself in the journal are:

  • What activity have I put off?
  • Why have I delayed this activity?
  • What was my feeling during the delay?
  • What were my thoughts when I first put off my task?
  • What were my justifications after I entered the cycle of procrastination?
  • What was my outcome?

These journal exercises have been used by thousands of clients and although time-consuming are a surprisingly effective way to pattern interrupt the automatic procrastination processes thus enabling you a better understanding of why you do what you do and the triggers behind it.

The overall objective from this exercise is to move away from subjective action and see beyond your automatic processes and allow you with the aid from information gathering exercises later in the series to create an action plan finally curbing your procrastination.

It is really important during these exercises not to be too hard on yourself, often procrastinators are either highly sensitive people or often put in situations where they are blamed. Such environments put people in positions where they self-label themselves “stupid”, “slow” or “less than” which only increases negative feelings such as humiliation and low self-esteem.

Do make sure that you re-affirm to yourself while following this series that procrastination is no more than a habit, it is not something that you intentionally created, it took hold gradually over time and likewise takes time and effort to reverse. You are not alone in being a procrastinator however you are already on your first step to overcoming this challenging part of your life.

Before we finish this article, I’d like you to write out three action steps that you can take now to help you on your way, whether that is buying a journal, becoming more aware of your feelings and thoughts, taking half an hour out once a week to follow the series or listing the reasons that cause you to procrastinate.

I look forward to working with you throughout this series.

Images reproduced from edwardrecommends.com, deviantart.com and fromseremban2melaka.blogspot.com