Therapy Digest 16

Therapy Digest 16

 

In the latest edition of Therapy Digest Therapist Sally Baker looks at how students in the US are taking legal action against their Colleges for failure to support their mental well-being. She looks at how the UK compares. Plus how the death of an ex-partner or previous spouse can prove to be disruptive to your current relation even when you’re happy and content with the life you currently have.

It was recently reported in the New York Times how freshman Harrison Fowler’s mental ill-health was handled at the prestigious Stanford University, one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions in the US when he enrolled last year.

He took the decision to finally address the angst he had been struggling with for a long time. When he approached the on-campus mental health counselling centre he was advised to admit himself into a hospital which he agreed to do. From there, he was sent to a private outpatient treatment centre where he was prescribed an antidepressant that he said triggered suicidal fantasies.

Fowler’s mental ill-health meant it wasn’t long before he was back in the hospital, being urged to return home to Texas.

Fowler didn’t want to leave his studies and he blamed the decline in his mental health on the medication he had been prescribed. In the end, he had no choice to take a year off from his studies and he is now part of a class-action lawsuit accusing the university of discriminating against students with mental health issues by coercing them into taking a leave of absence, rather than trying to meet their needs on campus.

It is interesting to compare how UK universities compare with their treatment of undergraduate students presenting with mental health issues. Stories abound in the British press about underfunded and over-subscribed counselling services at prestigious universities where it can cost students as much as £22,200 per year to study.

Stanford University says it has behaved properly. But the case lays bare the conundrum universities face on both sides of the Atlantic with an international epidemic of students and young people dealing with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts — in responding to a broad array of mental health issues on campus.

It would seem that both American and the United Kingdom educational institutions make the same or similar mistakes. Both are accused of not intervening soon enough even when alerted of concerns by fellow students; waiting too long to notify parents when students are in trouble, or not notifying them at all. Others condemn institutions for writing off students too quickly to avoid lawsuits or bad publicity.

These problems are not going away any time soon. As it stands only half of the young college students in the US who are experiencing a mental health crisis seek official help largely due to the justified fear of stigma and negative consequences. It was reported that too often, universities respond to disability-related behaviour with exclusion, blame and draconian measures such as a forced leave of absence.

America is a more litigious society than the UK and the class action lawsuit against Stanford is the latest in a series of challenges to mental health leave policies, at prestigious institutions such as Princeton, Hunter College, Western Michigan University, and George Washington University.

Stanford’s own website says that a leave of absence may be encouraged or required for a student whose psychiatric, psychological or medical condition “jeopardises the life or safety of self or others, or whose actions significantly disrupt the activities of the university community.”

The cases before the court describe when one student who had an anxiety attack, another who was harming, and others who had suicidal thoughts or who had tried to kill themselves. Quoting the legal experts they say that under federal regulations, it is clear that students can be barred from campus if they pose a threat to others. However, there is less clarity if they pose a threat to themselves and not others.

“The law is unsettled,” said Karen Bower, a lawyer who has represented students suing universities for making them take mental health leaves. “‘Disruption’ is the new buzzword. Universities have claimed that students who use too many resources, inform friends of suicidal ideation or require wellness checks have all disrupted the campus or campus operations.”

The Stanford lawsuit says that students who were placed on leave were effectively banished from the university and stripped of their privacy and autonomy. Their own doctors were second-guessed by the university’s, the lawsuit says, and the students were required to immediately withdraw from all classes, programs and housing. To return to campus, they had to write personal statements “accepting blame” for their behaviour.

In the UK the number of students who disclosed a mental health condition almost doubled between 2012 and 2015 to nearly 45,000, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. In 2015 alone, a record 2,050 students with mental health problems dropped out of university. The number of suicides among full-time students in England and Wales has also tragically jumped – from 75 in 2007 to 134 in 2015.

Universities UK, the trade body for UK Universities has recently published new guidance to improve the link between the NHS and care provision at university, admitting that students moving from home to campus “may slip through the gaps in the health system, when they are most vulnerable”.
Unfortunately, gaps in the NHS health system, especially mental health are endemic across the whole country and students are at risk as much as any others sector of society.

While most universities now offer counselling support and train teaching and some auxiliary staff to spot signs of mental illness and have complex care packages in place, not all provide the same level of support. It’s worth would-be students taking a detailed look at what’s on offer.

University league tables do not as yet include a chart to measure pastoral services on offer but now that potential undergraduates are paying consumers they may be able to effect improvements in services or spend their education pound elsewhere else.

If you are struggling with mental health issues while at university or worried about a fellow student make sure you are as pro-active as possible to get the support you, or they need. If this resonates with you please make contact and book a discovery call with me to better explore your options to transform your mental well-being by resolving the issues that are blocking your abilities to succeed.

Sally Baker was recently interviewed by journalist Liz Connor about how the death of an ex-partner or spouse can negatively impact your current relationship. The press interest was sparked by the recent news of the broken engagement between US singer Ariana Grande and comedian and actor Pete Davidson following the death of her ex-partner rapper, Mac Miller.

Grief can take us by surprise so even when you are very content with your current relationship you can feel blind-sided and distressed by the death of someone from your past who was once important to you.

How does grief affect your relationship?
Everyone handles grief differently but what always happens is that a loss, even of an ex-partner, can cause an upheaval of emotions. Situations and relationships that were left permanently in the past can be suddenly brought into sharp focus by the death of an ex-partner.

The effect of grief on a relationship can be detrimental when one part of a couple is not comfortable with how their partner is manifesting grief for an ex. It can make the non-grieving person in a relationship feel vulnerable that their partner may still have a strong sense of loss for someone from their past and it can make them mistakenly question their partner’s commitment to their current relationship
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Can a relationship survive bereavement – particularly the death of an ex-spouse?

When one partner is mourning the death of someone for whom they’d had feelings for in the past any unresolved issues or insecurities in their current relationship can come under more pressure.

If the relationship is strong, with good clear communication between them then ideally a person will be able to mourn the loss of an ex and have their feelings acknowledged and respected without their current partner feeling threatened by their obvious sadness and grief.

When someone is experiencing the death of an ex-spouse their emotional response can be complex and contradictory. They may feel surprised by the intensity of the sadness they feel for the loss of someone whom in reality treated them badly or let them down. They are an ex for a reason but empathy, care and even love for past partners isn’t linear and doesn’t stop entirely when the relationship is over.

The more loving, open and in touch with their authentic emotions a person is then the more likely they are to be open to experiencing sadness and grief for an ex-partner or ex-spouse.

However, a current partner can be impatient with their feelings of grief for an ex-spouse and feel their grief is not permissible or is even inappropriate. The person mourning their ex will soon learn to hide their emotions so as not to upset their current partner or family.

With their grief pushed down they will often feel unsupported, and their sadness can take longer to process and release than it would have in a more supportive environment. Not having their feelings respected sows seeds of doubt too that they are in the right relationship for them after all and this will weaken their current relationship.

How can you stay connected as a couple during grief?
It is possible to stay connected as a couple during grief and allowing your partner to mourn for an ex-spouse is to show the strength of the current relationship. Grief isn’t logical and as well as mourning the loss of an ex a person is also mourning the loss of that particular time in their life and everything that episode conjures up for them.

Experiencing feelings of grief for a past partner isn’t a measure of commitment to their current relationship either, but it can be a test of a relationship.

It’s important to make it clear to a partner experiencing the death of an ex that their sadness is valid and its okay for them not to be okay.

The whole experience can improve a couple’s bonding, help build better communication and connection and prove to both partners in their current relationship that they are resilient enough to cope with painful emotions and that they can still hold together.

If you are struggling with the emotional fallout from a loss or experiencing grief then reach out and connect. Grief doesn’t just happen when someone dies. When faced with chronic disease or a serious diagnosis we can feel grief for who we were or how we previously thought and felt about ourselves. Make that call. The link is on this page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Therapy Digest 15

Therapy Digest 15

In Therapy Digest 15 Sally Baker explores unhelpful thinking styles and how they can be making your life harder for you so she offers you some techniques to increase your awareness plus tips on how you can take back control of your thoughts. Also in this Digest, Strictly Come Dancing is BBC’ flag ship autumn programme that is supposed to be about ballroom dancing but has a growing reputation as a hotbed of affairs and indiscretions. Sally looks at what the dynamic is that makes SCD such a disruptor for some of the contestants. Sally Baker explores unhelpful thinking styles and how they can be making your life harder for you so she offers you some techniques to increase your awareness plus tips on how you can take back control of your thoughts. Also in this Digest, Strictly Come Dancing is BBC’ flag ship autumn programme that is supposed to be about ballroom dancing but has a growing reputation as a hotbed of affairs and indiscretions. Sally looks at what the dynamic is that makes SCD such a disruptor for some of the contestants.

2 Self-Help Hacks To Change The Way You Think

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you losing sleep worrying about what might or might not happen in the future?

Do your thoughts go around and around in your mind on an endless loop?

Does negative thinking spoil your enjoyment of life?

If you feel anxious all the time and plagued by worrying thoughts it may be because you have developed an unhelpful thinking style.

People’s thoughts and reactions to circumstances and events are influenced by their style of thinking. In fact, your thinking style can make a difference between being burdened by worry or being someone who can glide through life and never be overly concerned about anything.

Let’s take a closer look at thinking styles and perhaps you can recognise patterns in your own thinking.

The Black and White Thinker
This is an ‘either, or’ style of thinking that tends towards the extreme in any situation. Black and white thinkers generally fail to recognise all the shades of grey in their life and have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. An example would be if they fail at a task then they berate themselves as a total failure and forget all the times they’ve succeeded before. It is as if they cannot acknowledge or own any track record of achievement for themselves.

The Catastrophic Thinker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This kind of thinker always thinks the worst. If something challenging happens in their life the thoughts they have will automatically go to the extremes of negativity. An example would be if a friend turns down their invitation to meet up it is because their friend no longer wants to know them or ever see them again and they’ll end up alone without anyone to care about them. This type of thinking is exhausting and can reinforce feelings of powerlessness and overwhelm.

The Over-Thinker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This kind of thinker ruminates about everything thinking and re-thinking and the outcome is never positive. If a colleague at work says something to them that can be taken two ways for instance or is ambiguous they would never think to dismiss the comment as a throwaway remark or ask for clarification. Instead, they spend endless amounts of time and energy trying to work out what this person might have meant by what they said. It bothers them and makes them feel unsettled. An example of this type of thinking could be if their partner says you look slim or fit in that outfit they can’t just accept the compliment without ruminating on whether perhaps their partner has been thinking they looked previously heavy or overweight.

Identifying Your Thinking Style
These types of thinking are considered to be disordered thinking which means your emotions are sub-consciously determined by your thoughts.

These are thinking styles you may have developed over time and it just felt natural for you to think in this way but you can see how they have a negative influence on your mood and how you feel about yourself. Identifying what thinking style or even the mix of thinking styles that is your default setting is one of the first steps to taking conscious control of your thoughts so that you are no longer a passive casualty of your thinking imperatives.

When considering what kind of thinker you maybe it’s also useful to explore whose thinking style reminds you of. For instance was one or both of your parents’ catastrophisers or black and white thinkers?

If so, that can defiantly have an influence on your thinking style you and once you can identify ‘Oh my father was always a worrier or an over-thinker’ then you begin to make a space or create boundaries around your thoughts so that when you slip into worrying you can consciously say to yourself ‘I’m just thinking the same way my dad always did.’

This insight you can help you to consciously choose to interrupt your thinking with the aim of letting it go.

Changing a thinking style will take vigilance and insights and with practice, you can have a thought; decide whether its a helpful thought or not; interrupt it, and formulate a more helpful positive alternate thought instead.

How To Change Your Thinking Style

There are several ways you can change your thinking style.

Break State

Breaking state is purposely doing something to interrupt your thinking and to stop your negative ruminating circular thoughts. So instead of just submitting to hours of negative thinking the best way to break state is by doing something physical. In Energy Therapy there is a well-established technique called ‘Cross Crawl where you stand up and alternate raising your left knee to tap that knee with your right hand and then lower that knee and raise your right knee and tap with your left hand. Repeat five to ten times. Alternatively, you can run up a flight of stairs or go outside in the fresh air. You need to break the pattern of negative thinking and stop allowing your thoughts to dictate your feelings.

Breathing

When you are caught up in worry and anxiety your breathing becomes much more shallow. This happens without people realising. An effective way to change your thinking is to assess your breathing by taking three gently in and out breaths so you can score your depth of breathing on a scale of zero to ten. Just take an intuitive guess. A zero score means no breath in your body at all and a score of ten signifies you are breathing deeply and freely.

You may be surprised to find your breathing is below five and to increase the depth of your breathing you can tap with a soft fist around your collarbone and focus on breathing more deeply for a few moments. The tapping around your collarbone is another energy Therapy technique to help you feel more grounded and secure. Reaching and touching the collarbone is a natural response for many people when they hear bad news. It’s a natural non-verbal self-comforting reaction and you can use it to move out of negative thinking to feeling calmer and more secure.

Is your style of thinking getting in your way of happiness and success? If you want help to transform how you think and feel about yourself then reach out and make contact. You can book an obligation free discovery call on this page.

Strictly Come Dancing Disrupts Relationships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strictly Come Dancing has always been about more than gliding around the dance floor performing a stylish American Smooth or a non-stop, high energy Jive.

The enduring appeal for the devoted fans of BBC Television’s annual dance competition appeals to more than fans of ballroom dancing.

What compels the audience to keep tuning in is catching glimpses of humanity in the newsreaders, bit-part soap actors and past-their-prime sporting heroes as they struggle with the highs and lows of their metamorphosis.

From mostly awkward and unsure two left feet to increasingly engaging degrees of competence and elegance the celebrities master the complexities of modern ballroom dancing with varying degrees of success.

It’s not only the contestants’ footwork that becomes unrecognisable. The Strictly experience disrupts the celebrities’ sense of self too. Spray-tan alone is not that transformative so what else is going on?

Over its fifteen series SCD has also become notorious for blossoming romance between couples who have been paired together as dance partners. ‘The Curse of Strictly’ has been blamed for instigating several marital breakdowns and for ending some long-term relationships too.

What makes Strictly Come Dancing a disruptor of family life is more than just the close physical proximity of celebrity and professional partner. The emotionally loaded power-play of the teacher/student dynamic with the students’ out of their comfort zone vulnerability versus the guidance, commitment and encouragement of the professional teacher. Dance couples rehearse, often body on body, for up to fifty hours a week during the series’ peak. The intimacy of the dance moves, the exhilaration of achievement and the release of feel-good hormones mixed with powerful pheromones make mutual attraction almost irresistible.

As the trainee dancers learn to find their balance on the dance floor conversely for some of them what had held them in check in their personal lives becomes unbalanced and no longer tenable.

For successful contestants who improve week on week, the experience is deeply affirming. Contestants take the judges’ votes and the public votes as tangible signs of more than just their competency at dance steps but as an indicator of their self-worth and value. Processing this feedback gives the contestants a chance to re-evaluate how they think and feel about themselves too.

Regular viewers have seen many of the celebrities coming into their own during a Strictly season as they’re confidence builds on the dance floor so does their self-esteem.

Plus their professional teachers, although often strict, are well versed in flattering and encouraging their dance partner to deliver their best performance. Daily tactile contact and positive reinforcement while working physically hard in a rehearsal studio is a significant factor of the Strictly ‘bubble.’ All of which contributes to the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine which makes the whole experience more compelling than ever.

Few lives are ever lived with such seductive amounts of feedback or attention. Hence it is often devastating for the contestants when the judges deride their efforts, and the public votes go elsewhere.

It is no surprise with such a roller coaster of emotions that real life pales into insignificance and long-term partners can’t compete with the all-inclusive world of Strictly. This unique experience would disrupt even the most stable of couples.

Every season of Strictly seems to bring one or two high profile relationship breakdowns or rumours of affairs. Disruption always causes casualties, and broken hearts are left unfortunately in its wake.

However, like any transformational experience whether its ballroom dancing, detoxing at a clinic or coming into therapy the energy generated by changing by how you think and feel about yourself is an opportunity to create a clear pathway through emotional confusion and go forward with greater clarity and if the price of that is disruption of the status quo its a price worth paying.

If you are living your status quo and it’s not fulfilling enough for you then it might be your time for a little disruption in your life too. If you’re ready for greater clarity and to transform how you think and feel about yourself then you can reach out and book a discovery call with me. The link is on this page.


 

 

 

 

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Strictly Come Dancing Disrupts Relationships

Strictly Come Dancing Disrupts Relationships

 

 

Strictly Come Dancing has always been about more than gliding around the dance floor performing a stylish American Smooth or a non-stop, high energy Jive. 

The enduring appeal for the devoted fans of BBC Television’s annual dance competition appeals to more than fans of ballroom dancing.

What compels the audience to keep tuning in is catching glimpses of humanity in the newsreaders, bit-part soap actors and past-their-prime sporting heroes as they struggle with the highs and lows of their metamorphosis.

From mostly awkward and unsure two left feet to increasingly engaging degrees of competence and elegance the celebrities master the complexities of modern ballroom dancing with varying degrees of success.

It’s not only the contestants’ footwork that becomes unrecognisable. The Strictly experience disrupts the celebrities’ sense of self too. Spray-tan alone is not that transformative so what else is going on?

Over its fifteen series SCD has also become notorious for blossoming romance between couples who have been paired together as dance partners. ‘The Curse of Strictly’ has been blamed for instigating several marital breakdowns and for ending some long-term relationships too.

What makes Strictly Come Dancing a disruptor of family life is more than just the close physical proximity of celebrity and professional partner. The emotionally loaded power-play of the teacher/student dynamic with the students’ out of their comfort zone vulnerability versus the guidance, commitment and encouragement of the professional teacher. Dance couples rehearse, often body on body, for up to fifty hours a week during the series’ peak. The intimacy of the dance moves, the exhilaration of achievement and the release of feel-good hormones mixed with powerful pheromones make mutual attraction almost irresistible.

As the trainee dancers learn to find their balance on the dance floor conversely for some of them what had held them in check in their personal lives becomes unbalanced and no longer tenable.

For successful contestants who improve week on week, the experience is deeply affirming. Contestants take the judges’ votes and the public votes as tangible signs of more than just their competency at dance steps but as an indicator of their self-worth and value. Processing this feedback gives the contestants a chance to re-evaluate how they think and feel about themselves too.

Regular viewers have seen many of the celebrities coming into their own during a Strictly season as they’re confidence builds on the dance floor so does their self-esteem. 

Plus their professional teachers, although often strict, are well versed in flattering and encouraging their dance partner to deliver their best performance. Daily tactile contact and positive reinforcement while working physically hard in a  rehearsal studio is a significant factor of the Strictly ‘bubble.’ all of which contributes to the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine making the whole experience more compelling than ever. 

Few lives are ever lived with such seductive amounts of feedback or attention. Hence it is often devastating for the contestants when the judges deride their efforts, and the public votes go elsewhere. 

It is no surprise with such a roller coaster of emotions that real life pales into insignificance and long-term partners can’t compete with the all-inclusive world of Strictly. This unique experience would disrupt even the most stable of couples.

Every season of Strictly seems to bring one or two high profile relationship breakdowns or rumours of affairs. Disruption always causes casualties, and broken hearts are left unfortunately in its wake.

However, like any transformational experience whether its ballroom dancing, detoxing at a clinic or coming into therapy the energy generated by changing by how you think and feel about yourself is an opportunity to create a clear pathway through emotional confusion and go forward with greater clarity and if the price of that is disruption of the status quo its a price worth paying.

If this resonates with you and you would like some help to create your path through confusion then reach out and make contact. You can book a discovery call with me vai the link on the page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Therapy Digest 14

Therapy Digest 14

Latest Observations from the world of therapy. What’s really happening when you eat your emotions and three simple hacks for you to supercharge your motivation to be fit and active.

 

Emotional Eating is Never About Food

Breakups, money woes and stress at work can all trigger emotional eating
But real reasons for gorging on food are more deep-rooted, say experts Sally Baker & Liz Hogon.

From strict parents to hating change, having an emotionally absent mother and eating while watching TV, their new book uncovers the real causes of
emotional eating – we all do it whether it’s down to a breakup, money stress or work overload.

But what is the real reasons our drive to eat our feelings is so strong?
Comedian and actress Rebel Wilson is reported to have recently said: ‘I don’t think my emotional eating is ever going to change’ and physiologically, she could never ‘go skinny’.

The Pitch Perfect star said she can do a week of being healthy and then reaches for an ice cream sandwich. Sound familiar?

In the UK, 67 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women are either overweight or obese, according to the Global Burden of Disease study. This makes us home to the highest levels of overweight people in Western Europe except for Iceland and Malta.

However, there is a common misconception that all emotional eaters are overweight people who eat when they are sad.
Not true.

Emotional eaters can also be people of ‘normal’ weight, guilty of binge eating or yo-yo dieting with a distorted view on eating habits.

Emotional eaters who have an initial goal to lose weight may also wish to feel ‘normal’ around food with the ability to make rational decisions.

Everyone makes an emotional connection with food as we grow from a dependent, vulnerable baby through to the beginnings of self-definition in adolescence, and into the autonomy of adulthood.

Food and eating become complicated for many people when they become something other than an aspect of being alive and well. Social, cultural and psychological constructs influence everyone, and not all these influences encourage a healthy relationship between oneself and food.

In their new book, Seven Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating: Targeting Your Body by Changing Your Mind Sally Baker and Liz Hogon uncover the reasons why people may emotionally eat and form negative relationships with food.
Here’s a rundown of some of the reasons we are driven to eat by our feelings…

AN EMOTIONALLY ABSENT MOTHER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottling up emotions has never been beneficial for relieving stress, and emotional eating has been linked as a coping mechanism for lack of a supportive family.

Families that do not permit children to express uncomfortable emotions such as anger and sadness often indicate through non-verbal ways that these emotions are unacceptable or shameful.

In particular, a child with an emotionally absent mother can suffer difficulties with this type of neglect and will turn to food as a way to swallow down their feelings.

An emotionally absent mother may be withdrawn because of depression, mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse, or be emotionally immature herself, often putting her own needs above her child’s.

If a mother is living under the threat of sexual or violent behaviour, their child’s natural search for other’s care may be blocked as they grow up observing the world as unsafe.

A maternal absence can lead to a child learning to not express their emotions and to withdraw – and later in life to cope with food.

This is not to be confused with a mother who is physically absent due to work, as the child can still gain an emotional connection when she is at home.

STRICT PARENTING
Ever felt like your parents pushed you for their gratification rather than yours?

Or that you wanted to do well as not to disappoint your parents, rather than yourself?

This may be the reason you have developed a negative relationship with food from childhood.

A recent scientific paper presented by the clinical psychologist Jonathan Egan, at the 2014 annual conference of the Psychological Society of Ireland, looked at a group of 550 individuals, most of whom were women.
It highlighted that the daughters of strict parents who put their own needs first ahead of those of their children had a higher incidence of emotional or comfort eating, and were typically most likely to gain weight in the long term.

The daughters of easy-going, liberal parents fared somewhat better.
Parental behaviours can have a significant impact on the way we view food.
The most favourable outcome for the women: having the lowest levels of emotional eating and correspondingly lower body mass index (BMI) was to be found in those households with a strict but responsive mother and an easy-going father.

Children who want to do well so as not to disappoint their parents – rather than for themselves – tend to develop a negative relationship with food from childhood onwards.

AN UNCONSCIOUS DESIRE TO REMAIN OVERWEIGHT
You’ve tried every diet, every juice detox, and every fitness trend.

All the motivation to be slimmer is there, so why do you keep going back to old habits?

Despite how much you think you want to change your ways, you may have an unconscious desire to remain overweight.

It sounds mad, but when you imagine the obstacles that stand ahead of you and your goal weight, you may have an unacknowledged fear of change.

Perhaps you have a crisis of confidence that causes you to believe it will never be possible for you to lose your excess weight or you don’t have the ability, because if you did, it would have worked by now.

The fears do not need to be logical, and these feelings and beliefs can often be at odds with your conscious efforts, buried profoundly below your level of conscious awareness.

When you’re on the verge of cracking and giving in to those cravings, you may have thoughts such as:
‘It’s too late to lose weight, I’ve wasted all these years already being big.’
‘Being fat makes me invisible.’
‘What happens if I lose this weight and my life is still awful?’
‘I can stay safe being fat.’

Your resistance to change is much like your resistance to leaving your comfort zone.
Despite the benefits you know it will reap, deep down you’re not convinced you’re capable.

Some dieters may have an unacknowledged fear of change and so unconsciously want to remain fat.

THE QUEST FOR THAT ‘PERFECT’ FIGURE
No one is exempt from some degree of negative self-judgement about their body.

This not-being-good-enough influences everyone to varying degrees, and inevitably affects how they relate to food.

The degree to which negative versus positive emotions are triggered by food and eating is a critical factor in whether a person develops emotional eating issues.
The definition of an acceptable body-type for women, and increasingly men, is force-fed to us through the media.
What many people forget to remember is that it imposes an impossible ideal.
Unattainable standards of physical perfection are loudly proclaimed on all media platforms by ‘body fascists’ who deride anyone, especially the famous, who fails to comply with their narrow definition of perfection.
The same negative judgements emotional eaters make about themselves are common to the overweight and obese, and the dangerously underweight for that matter.
All share the trait of unrelenting over-thinking about food coupled with harsh, critical self-judgements.

A LIFE-CHANGING OBSTACLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotional eaters often focus a lot of their attention and time thinking about food, whether it’s dieting or binging.
People who don’t emotionally eat nor have a distorted view of eating have a calm take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards food, and can focus their mind on other things such as hopes and aspirations, their career, their interests and their loved ones.

Unlike emotional eaters, non-emotional eaters do not define themselves entirely by how much they weigh or their appearance.

Therefore, for them losing weight is no more of a challenge than any other aspect of their lives, such as learning conversational French or taking up pottery as a hobby.

If they do eventually pile on some extra pounds, they don’t torture themselves over it or immediately lose their self-esteem.
Being overweight is not an important issue, and it doesn’t bother them enough to do much about it.

Even if they do decide to shed some excess weight, they have the option of just applying their tried-and-trusted methods until they are at their goal weight again.

YOUR STOMACH ISN’T EATING
Food is entering the mouth, but your stomach isn’t acknowledging it.

Increasingly, people are eating as their secondary activity while watching television, surfing the net, walking or driving.

Many people now eat as a secondary activity to watching television, surfing the net, walking or driving. This means their brains may not register when their stomach is full.

Some people are confused and amazed by their excess weight as they are barely aware of how often they eat, or even what they eat because their consumption is barely registering with them.

Eating mindfully is the exact opposite of the zoned-out eating or eating on the run that is now so popular.

Fifty years ago it would have been a rare sight to see anyone eating anything except when seated at a table.

The widespread modern habit of walking along the pavement eating fried chicken from a cardboard box would just never have happened.

The takeaway culture and the on-the-go food is contributing to an informal way of eating without fixed meal times.

Because of this, you may also find yourself grazing all day, because you aren’t thinking about the food going into your mouth, or when you are hungry and when you are full.

YOU CAN’T STAND WASTING FOOD
Wasting food may be a challenge to you – even if you know you are full, you can’t leave the last two mouthfuls on your plate or the last cookie in the packet.

Many of us recall growing up and hearing phrases such as, ‘You can’t have your dessert until you finish your meal’, or ‘Some children are starving, don’t be ungrateful’, and have carried this into adult life, believing wasting food is unappreciative.
Perhaps you believed wasting food was a criminal act if you suffered economic hardship while growing up. Or you were raised by parents who had experience food scarcity themselves and wanted to send a clear message to their offspring that wasting food was unacceptable.

CHAOTIC MEAL TIMES
Growing up as a child in a dysfunctional household can be a fraught and stressful experience, a veritable minefield to tiptoe through on a daily basis.

Mealtimes will often be the arena where all the deficiencies and pressures on the household come into sharp relief.

Or perhaps mealtimes didn’t even exist.

Busy parents and after school clubs may mean the rarity of a sit-down meal with the whole family, and the food was just a fuel to shovel down before the next task.

This article originally appeared in Healthista and had been reproduced in The Daily Mail. It is based on the work of Sally Baker & Liz Hogon in their book 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating. Available from Amazon.

If this post resonates with you are you are ready to work direct achieve the results you want in the most effective and transformational way then reach out and book a discovery call. There’s a link on this page.

 

3 easy hacks for increasing fitness motivation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost everyone struggles with motivation. For instance, it’s hard to go back to the gym after an extended break. You know the voice in your head says how tough it will be and how sore you will feel so why not go back tomorrow instead?

Everyone has a busy life, so its easy to find valid reasons to put your well-being on a back burner and get on with a million other things that fill our days.

Overcoming this mental procrastination is a key to developing long-lasting wellbeing habits and every day you say to yourself I’ll do it tomorrow’ is another day wasted and lost for good.

So, what is the first step to regaining control of that part of your inner self that wants you to put off getting fitter and healthier for another day?

The 20-minute Motivation hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It works like this – you need to go and do whatever is your thing. Whether that is training at a gym, running around the park, or swimming, or a weekly Zumba class. You need to show up.

But here is the deal you make with yourself.

You commit to going for only twenty minutes. You do whatever your activity of choice is for 20 minutes, and if you still hate it after the 20 minutes are up, then you get out of the pool, turn around on your run, or leave the exercise class and go.

The length of time is not arbitrary. Twenty minutes is time enough for your mind to recognise the endorphins, the feel-good hormones that are released when you put your body through moderate physical exertion.

By all means, set your watch for 20 minutes and be adamant that’s all you are going to do. For most people, within the 20 minutes, they will have experienced a change of state and most likely will not want to cut their session short at all.

Now, how about the challenge of not just turning up for the odd isolated session but making your well-being a vital part of your life and schedule.

That’s where the next hack comes into play.

21 times motivation hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychologists have worked out that it takes 21 repetitions to embed a habit. That’s 21 times of doing something such as going to a session at the gym or attending a class at a yoga studio before it becomes a habit.

So set yourself the target of repeating whatever your activity is 21 consecutive times without excuse. 21 times to embed your activity into your subconscious mind so that your mind recognises that this is what you habitually do and on a deeply subconscious level it will establish this expectation, and that will help you make sure you make it happen. If for any reason beyond your control you had to break your commitment to a run of 21 repetitions you’ll need to start counting from zero again and commit to achieving your 21 reps without faltering.

Sometimes it’s the type of exercise you do that can make it harder to keep motivated.

For instance, solitary sessions are excellent until the day you don’t feel like turning up at the gym or going for your regular run, and if you can skip one workout, you can easily skip another, until you find you are no longer working-out on a regular basis. If you play on a team, even an amateur team of pretty basic ability you are more likely not to skip a game as all the team members are relying on you and each other to turn up and play.

Training Buddy hack

If you are not involved with team games, then a training buddy can make a big difference to your motivation as you are statistically much more likely to turn up if you are accountable to another person. Together you can mutually motivate each other to achieve your fitness goals and improve your health.

Finally, there’s the advantage of healthy competition between training buddies that can enhance performance levels and encourage buddies to raise their game and achieve more from every training session. Two is always better than one when it comes to training.

Are you still struggling with your motivation? Maybe it’s not even about getting fit perhaps it’s about eating healthily or cutting down on drinking…You know the things you do to self-sabotage. If you need some help breaking procrastination habits and blocking your health goals, then reach out and book an obligation free discovery call with me. There’s a link on this page.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Two little known lessons in sport

sport and lessons in emotional intelligence

Boys and young men have had poor examples of leadership in sport in the UK for too long, and it has added to the growing trend of toxic masculinity that can seem so prevalent today. When your heroes misbehave it can influence fans to behave in the same way.

Often fanatical about football our young men in the have seen their favourite team players arguing and disputing the judgments of the referee or match officials on countless occasions.

Earning on average £50,000 a week in the UK premier league the players have demonstrated the manners and habits of the gutter so much so that it has become the new normal to respond to unpopular decisions on the pitch with dissent, visible disrespect and aggression.

Even football managers act up on the sidelines and in post-match interviews. Snarling and blaming. Carping or in their petulance even refusing to comment at all.

It’s no wonder that similar behaviour is commonplace in schools and out on the streets with some of our young men. How could they know better when all they are doing is following the lead?

Even fathers are sometimes ordered to rein in their behaviour or are banned from watching their son or daughter play in their Saturday morning kids league game for unacceptable language or threatening tone. Poor behaviour begets poor behaviour as there is no-one of influence raising the bar.

It felt like the old-world style of Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United for 26 years until his retirement in 2013 had gone for good. Never again would we see his measured approach of toughness balanced with fairness. The days were gone when players were encouraged to improve their performance instead of being undermined and berated for failing.

What this summer’s World Cup bid from England gave us was a glimmer of the traits of heroes we can all appreciate and value.

In brief, the English team behaved well. They were unified and played with commitment. 

With Gareth Southgate, England had a manager with a high quotient of emotional intelligence. He even comforted the opposition player from Sweden whose penalty chance was thwarted by the English goalkeeper.

In one of the many memes flooding social media was a photoshopped image of the waistcoated Southgate of today comforting his younger football playing self when he too missed a penalty opportunity in The Euro 96 championship.

The meme reminded me of a powerful hypnosis-visualisation I might create for a client to heal his or her younger self. As part of a therapeutic approach, it can be a transformational experience that works on a profoundly deep level to go back through time and rescue one’s younger self and place them somewhere they will be safe for evermore.

Our next lesson in a sport was from Serena Williams who had hardly played any tennis in the last couple of years since her marriage and the difficult birth of her daughter almost a year ago after which she needed several surgical repairs.

Every time she plays she is pitched against the latest top player from the newest crop of young, perfectly fit and expertly trained aspiring tennis players hungry for their chance of taking the top accolade.

Even without winning key games and having to face defeat her record this year of recovery and intention is her most significant victory. 

To come back as a mother and to sometimes win when so many entirely wrote her off.

Several commentators have also noted profound changes in her personality.

Although always the pro when interviewed and ready with the typical sound-bite she expressed herself in ways they hadn’t heard her before with by being more open and vulnerable.

In particular of course, the commentators noticed Serena’s sheer joy when she speaks of her daughter but additionally they said it seemed as if her intuition and sense of herself was deeply assured.
She was playing like a titan for sure, but there is a sense that she’s emotionally grown and more at peace with herself too.

As with many working mothers, her commitment to her profession has not come about without the personal sacrifice of missing special times with her child. Recently she spoke about missing her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia, taking her first steps because she was training. It caused a social media storm as working mothers the world over commiserated and supported her choices to juggle the impossible demands of work and family. Many working mums supported Serena’s struggle to balance work and home by sharing their sacrifices too.

Working mothers are titans too who achieve super-human feats on a daily basis while giving themselves no credit for how hard it is to accomplish in the work arena while also being present for the family. If anything Serena, even from her elevated and privileged position has reminded all of us of our humanity and human strength.

So for me looking back at this summer’s little-known lessons in sport what has shone through is the impact emotional intelligence has on how famous sportsmen and women express themselves and how when they are vulnerable and empathetic we the audience and lifted and carried along in support of them – even when we don’t really know why. Except that on a profoundly primaeval level when they open up and share their humanity we can all hear, and all connect, and it’s powerful and enriching beyond all measure.

Do you want to speak your truth better? If you struggle to make a human connection, then you can link here with me on this page to book an obligation free discovery call, and together we can transform how you think and feel about yourself.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.

 

Therapy Digest 13

Therapy Digest 13

Therapy Digest 13

Therapy Digest 13

Is the media making you dissatisfied with your body?

media and body image

 

Now this long, hot summer draws to an end it would seem from many different news sources that the media’s obsession with body perfect, good-looking men and women has increased ordinary people’s dissatisfaction of their bodies.

This influence can be especially powerful for girls and young women who were the target audience of the UK’s ITV2 television series ‘Love Island’ that aired almost nightly for eight weeks in the prime-time 9 pm slot.

It has been reported that the incidence of self-harming amongst young women in the UK has recently alarmingly spiked. There is also the case with an increase in the number of mainly, although not exclusively young women, who dissatisfied with their bodies are seeking professional help for anxiety and depression.

Also, there has been a reported increase in people looking to have plastic surgery for themselves so that they can look like their often surgically enhanced role models on television who have made breast augmentation, lip fillers, botox and other procedures look like the new ‘normal’.

Love Island is now in its fourth series and this year broke all previous UK viewing figures especially with the 14 to 23-year-old female audience segment. Its influence is not going away either as next year it is rumoured, the series will move to ITV’s main channel which will potentially increase the programme’s audience share.

We live in an age of disclosure and the sharing of private and personal information across many social media platforms is commonplace now. Love Island plugged into the trend of disclosure with more people than ever encouraged to share personal information about themselves on social media platforms.

Statistics of body dissatisfaction and body dysmorphia have in the past probably always been under-reported. It might feel as though this is a bigger problem today only because more people are now disclosing how they feel about themselves.

The perfect physiques of Love Island competitors have acted as a catalyst for some people to feel and express their dissatisfaction with their looks. It would be easy to demonise Love Island and blame the programme as the sole culprit for the increase in body dissatisfaction, but the programme is only one aspect of a much more complicated situation.

Some families boycotted the programme as they thought its influence was potentially toxic for their young daughters. However insidious influences on our young people are much more prevalent and numerous than many would like to admit. It’s doubtful that the banning Love Island in households would have kept any children safe from experiencing anxiety and depression about the negative feelings they have about their bodies.

Perhaps better to watch the programme and study the dynamic of the contestants so that scenarios can be discussed and de-mystified.

For instance to audition successfully to be a Love Island contestant their physical attributes was a major deciding factor, (interestingly another factor was the number of followers they already had on key social media platforms).

It’s helpful to acknowledge that the Love Island boys and girls are not ordinary folk. They have committed time, energy and in some cases, large amounts of money in how they look to compete in a particular ‘celebrity’ career trajectory where how they are visually is key to their chance of fame and success.

Many of the contestants were from the world of modelling, or personal trainers, or professional dancers and for them being selected to take part in Love Island is a career move. It may as looked as though they were idling around the pool but they were working!

Those finally selected by the producers came from a very narrow range of body types, ethnicity and age. Using the parlance of the show, all the ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ were young; almost all the girls were white while more of the boys were black or Anglo-Caribbean; all of them had perfect physiques – muscular for the boys and slim bodied, and almost all blonde haired and blue eyed for the girls.

All of the contestants said their ideal partner was blonde and blue-eyed – even Samira the only black female to take part said this was her favoured type of boy.

What the programme has done is to shine a light on the the pressures our young people are under from many different sources to comply to almost impossible to attain physical standards, and it is up to parents, carers, peers and elders to engage in conversation with the young to discuss and decide the values they want in their lives.

social media is a major influence and its not always positive

Love Island cliches are a rich-seam to mine for how young people are pressured to think and feel about themselves. It serves us all poorly if it is treated as an endgame.

What about the value of intelligence and having something to say about the wider world?

What about shifting one’s gaze from the self or internal to external and the world around us?

What about the role of kindness in one’s life and compare that to how the Love Island contestants behaved to one another?

What about how female contestants were treated differently than the men for their sexual behaviour?

What about how beauty doesn’t stop feelings of insecurity or heartache?

What about discussing seeing the bluster, the judgements, even the falling in love and all those disappointments usually played out in private televised for our entertainment in high definition?

Focussing on dissatisfaction with one’s body can be a distraction instead of the overwhelming feelings of powerlessness and anxiety that are experienced when thinking about school, or university, or the world of work, or everything else external from ourselves that can feel scary and unmanageable.

Opening up channels of communication is critical. Start talking and keep talking. Keep debunking and questioning narrow media assumptions.

We are all the new ‘normal’, and we are so much more technicolour, varied and amazing than any narrow cliche of perfection Love Island and other reality TV contestants and producers would have us believe.

If you struggle with your body image or are experiencing body dysmorphia and it is harming how you feel about yourself, then you can reach out to me to make an obligation free discovery call. The link to my schedule and my contact numbers is on this page.

Sally Baker was invited as a guest on BBC Radio Wales ‘Good Evening Wales’ programme at the end of August 21018 to comment about the possible influence of programmes such as Love Island and other reality TV shows on the increase in self-harming amongst young women.

———————————————-
Two Little Known Lessons in Sport

sport and lessons in emotional intelligence

 

Boys and young men have had poor examples of leadership in sport in the UK for too long, and it has added to the growing trend of toxic masculinity that can seem so prevalent today. When your heroes misbehave it can influence fans to behave in the same way.

Often fanatical about football our young men in the have seen their favourite team players arguing and disputing the judgments of the referee or match officials on countless occasions.

Earning on average £50,000 a week in the UK premier league the players have demonstrated the manners and habits of the gutter so much so that it has become the new normal to respond to unpopular decisions on the pitch with dissent, visible disrespect and aggression.

Even football managers act up on the sidelines and in post-match interviews. Snarling and blaming. Carping or in their petulance even refusing to comment at all.

It’s no wonder that similar behaviour is commonplace in schools and out on the streets with some of our young men. How could they know better when all they are doing is following the lead?

Even fathers are sometimes ordered to rein in their behaviour or are banned from watching their son or daughter play in their Saturday morning kids league game for unacceptable language or threatening tone. Poor behaviour begets poor behaviour as there is no-one of influence raising the bar.

It felt like the old-world style of Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United for 26 years until his retirement in 2013 had gone for good. Never again would we see his measured approach of toughness balanced with fairness. The days were gone when players were encouraged to improve their performance instead of being undermined and berated for failing.

What this summer’s World Cup bid from England gave us was a glimmer of the traits of heroes we can all appreciate and value.

In brief, the English team behaved well. They were unified and played with commitment. 

With Gareth Southgate, England had a manager with a high quotient of emotional intelligence. He even comforted the opposition player from Sweden whose penalty chance was thwarted by the English goalkeeper.

In one of the many memes flooding social media was a photoshopped image of the waistcoated Southgate of today comforting his younger football playing self when he too missed a penalty opportunity in The Euro 96 championship.

The meme reminded me of a powerful hypnosis-visualisation I might create for a client to heal his or her younger self. As part of a therapeutic approach, it can be a transformational experience that works on a profoundly deep level to go back through time and rescue one’s younger self and place them somewhere they will be safe for evermore.

Our next lesson in a sport was from Serena Williams who had hardly played any tennis in the last couple of years since her marriage and the difficult birth of her daughter almost a year ago after which she needed several surgical repairs.

Every time she plays she is pitched against the latest top player from the newest crop of young, perfectly fit and expertly trained aspiring tennis players hungry for their chance of taking the top accolade.

Even without winning key games and having to face defeat her record this year of recovery and intention is her most significant victory. 

To come back as a mother and to sometimes win when so many entirely wrote her off.

Several commentators have also noted profound changes in her personality.

Although always the pro when interviewed and ready with the typical sound-bite she expressed herself in ways they hadn’t heard her before with by being more open and vulnerable.

In particular of course, the commentators noticed Serena’s sheer joy when she speaks of her daughter but additionally they said it seemed as if her intuition and sense of herself was deeply assured.
She was playing like a titan for sure, but there is a sense that she’s emotionally grown and more at peace with herself too.

As with many working mothers, her commitment to her profession has not come about without the personal sacrifice of missing special times with her child. Recently she spoke about missing her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia, taking her first steps because she was training. It caused a social media storm as working mothers the world over commiserated and supported her choices to juggle the impossible demands of work and family. Many working mums supported Serena’s struggle to balance work and home by sharing their sacrifices too.

Working mothers are titans too who achieve super-human feats on a daily basis while giving themselves no credit for how hard it is to accomplish in the work arena while also being present for the family. If anything Serena, even from her elevated and privileged position has reminded all of us of our humanity and human strength.

So for me looking back at this summer’s little-known lessons in sport what has shone through is the impact emotional intelligence has on how famous sportsmen and women express themselves and how when they are vulnerable and empathetic we the audience and lifted and carried along in support of them – even when we don’t really know why. Except that on a profoundly primaeval level when they open up and share their humanity we can all hear, and all connect, and it’s powerful and enriching beyond all measure.

Do you want to speak your truth better? If you struggle to make a human connection, then you can link here with me on this page to book an obligation free discovery call, and together we can transform how you think and feel about yourself.

If you want to lead a happier more fulfilled life it’s almost impossible when you’re doubting yourself or sabotaging your chances of success. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve ‘tried everything’ it could be just what you need. You can book an obligation-free 30-minute discovery call to find out for yourself.