Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Acknowledging Thoughts and Feelings

Acknowledging thoughts and feelings is an essential part of making changes. Health issues begin to emerge when we supress or ignore the prevailing thoughts and feelings.
That is what this video is all about

Monday, February 22, 2016

Apprehension {22 Feb 2011}

Today marks five years since the February 22nd 2011 Earthquake in Christchurch. For many it is a time when we are still feeling the effects of that fateful day and how that day has continued to influence so much of life. It is a time when feelings of apprehension can arise and steer out thoughts and feelings in ways that we would rather it didn't.

Having not been in Christchurch at the time of the quakes, I cannot begin to understand the level of emotion that must still be felt by many, and yet I feel it may be useful to share a few tools that have helped me regarding apprehension from my own personal experience.  

Many years back on a motorcycle trip from the Coromandel Peninsula I carelessly misjudged a corner and before I knew what was happening I was off my bike and sliding across gravel towards the edge of the mountain pass which terminated all of sudden into a 100 metre drop.

Similar to one of those not quite believable stories, my bike, and then I, came to a stop just before the ‘termination’ moment. The bikes front wheel ended up hanging over the edge of the drop and I lay in the gravel catching my breath thinking that I really need some more motorcycle training.

For many months afterwards there was a feeling of apprehension when riding my motorbike, and sometimes it would come even before I started the engine. The old memory was triggered by a bend in the road, or a bit of gravel that looks familiar to the mountain pass. The apprehension could arise simply by thinking about the ride ahead.

Apprehension is really another signal that there is is potential for a higher degree of caution - thats what we call a ‘reframe’. Similar to feelings that parallel anxiety, apprehension is about the future and wondering what the possibilities and probabilities are for the future, and this can lead to an unnecessary level of fantasising or imagining about all manner of uncomfortable possibilities.

If I feel apprehensive, the chances are I am thinking there is something up ahead that could cause problems or where I could be harmed or where I could feel out of control - or any other possible problem for that matter. I could also feel apprehensive if I really want to do well, or get something right.

The key to defusing the apprehension, if that is what you want to do, is to change the meaning we are giving the feeling that we are experiencing - or reframing those thoughts. Reframing thoughts is a powerful and often surprisingly fast way to change the way we are feeling about anything.

Heres a few to start with.

1. Apprehension is a sign that we are tuned into what is right for us and that we can expect to be using all our resources well in the near future.
     When starting up my Vespa for a trip through the hills, I expect to have to be alert and ready for any eventuality. I expect that I will have access to all my riding skills and resources if and when necessary.

2. Much like excitement, apprehensive feelings are a sign that the body is geared up and ready for action and that we can expect to be prepared.
     Once again, when starting up and preparing to take off, I picture myself at different points of the ride - kind of like ‘benchmarks’ of the trip. 

3. Feelings of apprehension are an amazing way of knowing that I am ‘switched-on’ and alert. That my unconscious processes are alert to all possibilities and that they are indeed worked very well and looking after me.
     Reframing the feelings of apprehension into a resourceful state has the potential to literally transmute those feelings into feelings of excitement. 

If the apprehension is about a specific event or date in the calendar - picturing ourselves after the event and in good health is a nice way to inspire the part of us that is wanting to ‘get there safely’ to dig deep and generate new strategies to make it happen.

Your imagination is an ally and using it fully can become a gift to the heart. Experiment with ideas that you would like to see happening in the future, or more simply, just picture yourself tomorrow night having dinner or brushing your teeth. If you have an event coming up that you have had feelings of apprehension about, change the picture to just afterwards where you can see yourself healthy and well. Start simple and before you know it, you will know that it is you that can take control of your thoughts and experience more good feelings.

Today is a day that may indeed have triggered thoughts and feelings from the past, and as we recognise that these feelings are a deep response and a sign that we are indeed functioning well and do know what is right for us, maybe we can also reframe these feelings so that they mean that we can move forward with grace and personal clarity.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Not Just for a Sunday

Photo by Aaron McLoughlin

“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.” Winston Churchill

Seriously, if where lucky, we will make time for a nap on Sunday, however more so than ever before we fill our weekends with 'stuff to do'.

The Nap is a lost art adopted by most of the notable minds of the past. 

Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying that he could sleep “as sound as a bug in a barrel of morphine”, which was a nap sometimes as long as three hours.

A New York company released a 'Pod' a number of years back that revolutionised napping at work, The MetroNap  http://www.metronaps.com is an elegant and sophisticated way of getting a good 'bit-of-kip' at work.

Why would we do this you may ask? 
A nap helps to lower blood pressure which makes sense really. High blood pressure can be the result of stress and fatigue and so taking a nap will help to reduce stress.

A nap helps to integrate new information and to balance activity between the two hemispheres of the brain. Mark Waldman has been  working in the neuroscience of napping, rest and meditation for wellness and creative success.

My own experience with training and receiving feedback about napping and mindfulness at work demonstrates that by taking a 10 - 20 minute nap a day actually increases the amount you can get done, while reducing the degree of stress you take home at night.
And how does a nap positively influence sleep? Well when we nap or meditate during the day, we effectively reduce the amount of stress we are taking into bed with us. Stress can often be the fuel to an over-active mind when a restful sleep is what we really want.
Something as simple as a nap can actually have very positive and powerful influence in not only your day... your night too.

Aaron McLoughlin

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sleep Makes You Look Younger

Here is an article from the daily mail in UK  and it talks about how sleep makes you look younger. 


Apparently the old adage that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth three after is correct and it because the SWS or Slow-Wave Sleep occurs in the first few hours of sleep. Some research suggest that this will happen no matter what time you get to bed, however most people get to bed before midnight which backs up the adage. https://www.sleepio.com/blog/2014/04/22/sleep-fact-or-sleep-fiction/ 

The interesting thing about before midnight as part of a healthy sleep protocol is that it fits with an ancient and not so ancient strategy used today in Ayurveda. There are three cycles to the day and the 10pm-2am cycle (repeated every 12 hours) is the Pitta time and is when the metabolism begins to heat up in order to fulfil the deep sleep cleansing program. The body literally 'burns' away the toxins and debri from the day and also rebuilds. This is also the time when deep consolidation of memory is done.

So, getting to be around 10 pm will put you good stead for having a very deep sleep for longer and at the same time helping you body to do its daily maintenance more satisfactorily.

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing and of course if our general health and wellbeing are taken care of we feel better and may indeed even look a little younger.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

What About Curiosity

To me this has to be one of the most important factors for any change process.
In this video there is a little process that I use that many people have found not only fascinating, they have found it to be very effective.

Video transcription.

Listen, you know something that keeps coming up, and that  is curiosity and I love the whole curiosity discussion because there are very few people in the creative fields, in the artistic fields, in the scientific fields, Einstein, Leonardo da-Vinci, even James Dewey - the Dewey Decimal system. It's just fascinating what they said about curiosity and for me, curiosity is the leading edge really on all creativity and intelligence and it's the leading edge on making change. 

Think about this for a moment. as an older and wiser person as you are, even before yesterday or a week ago or a year ago or two weeks ago, think how differently you might do something that didn't work so well a year or two or ten years ago and think how differently you might do that now. So think about knowing what you know today and think about having an attitude of curiosity and imagine going back in time. So if you went back in time to a place where something didn't go quite well, you can't change history as such and yet we can change how we feel about that history or we can even change how we remember that history or we can educate ourselves to do something different because we change something in that history. Try this out.

If you went back to a time and you went back to just before, and not a big event. A small event, a not too significant thing and you went back to moments before that thing even happened. You'd be going back with fore warning. You'd be going back with knowledge. Now if you went back and said "wow I'm back before this even happened. It's kind of like going back in a time machine. It's like wow I'm back before it even happened. It's like wicked!" So you'd naturally have a kind of curiosity. You'd be fascinated because this is the time where that thing happened. Wait a minute! What would be different if I just walked into there with knowing what I know? [unclear 2:10] but it's still that Back to the Future thing. What would I do that's different? It's not necessarily that what you'd do or what would happen would be necessarily better or it would fix something because you know things aren't generally broken. We're not broken things, us human beings. We just do stuff, but what if I went back to just before that thing happened and just changed my attitude?

I have fore warning, I know now what's coming up and I'm not going to try to fix anything. I'm not going to make it different. What I am going to do though is I'm just going to step into that past experience or event with an attitude of curiosity and then notice what happens. What I've noticed with most people when we do this is that something different happens. Something completely different happens or something is subtly different or something "wow I didn't know that was there" happens. If that's there I can do this or maybe, wow I didn't think of that. So when we have an attitude of curiosity and we take it back in time, we're almost retrospectively educating ourselves to go into a new experience with an attitude of curiosity. What we have learned from folks like Einstein, da-Vinci, artists and musicians is that when you step into, comedians even, you step into the world with an attitude of curiosity and go "this is weird", then different things happen than the norm or useful things happen or new ideas occur. It's something to consider and it's really, really fascinating. 

Once again, the concept is what if I just stepped into that past experience with an attitude of curiosity and then just notice what happens? Now here's the beauty of it. The past is always there to learn something from so I can step into it with the attitude of curiosity and go "that was interesting" and then step back and then do it again and then do it again and again and again, but you can keep doing it until something shifts and that's the case. Something shifts, something shifts inside us and then it's done. What that can mean, it doesn't always mean it, but what it can mean is that as we go into the future, we start identifying things differently because we're no longer replicating that past kind of situation in order to try and learn from it. Our future experience can be more unique and more new and we start attracting uniqueness because we've kind of learned something or re-evaluated something from those past experiences just by having an attitude of curiosity.

Curiosity is like the prime mover. It makes things really different so give it a go. Step back into just before a past experience and then two simple things. Not something that's really, just test it out and see what you notice. Just step into that event from before it even happened and step into it with curiosity, remembering what we're really also bringing with us is an older knowledge and awareness, an older wisdom. There's a lot in there. 

Have fun!