Change

20 Lessons for Happiness

After having a roof over their heads and food in their belly, happiness is usually the goal that most people aspire to reach. It may sound simple enough however many things can get in the way. If you are looking for ways to feel happier in your own life here are some things to remember.

  1. Stop caring about what others think. (Especially strangers) Embrace the quote: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch  
  2. Learn how to deal with endings. Endings happen ALL the time, you move, a friend moves, you change job, a relationship finishes. Ideally we should be able to learn from all of our experiences (even the hard ones) and move onto something better.
  3. Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Staying fit doesn’t have to be about looking a certain way, it will help make you feel better emotionally as well. If the gym isn’t your thing, try running, yoga or join a team near you so you can make friends as well as breaking a sweat.
  4. Notice how food affects your mood. Serotonin is the brains natural mood regulator, depending on what foods you eat it can increase or decrease. Food also affects our energy levels, food high in sugar will give you a boost followed by a crash. Once you become aware of the impact of your diet it will be easier to choose food that keeps you on an even keel. 
  5. Let go of people who bring you down. Having a negative person around can make the world seem like a pretty bad place. Try to limit the amount of time spent with that kind of personality. If that’s not possible then try to be around in body but not in mind. 
  6. Find friends who you can have real conversations with. There are so many facets to life, make sure you have people who you can debate the big questions with, it will make you feel less alone.
  7. Don’t believe everything you read/see/hear in the media. Often you are being sold to, be critical.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. Like you, everyone is just trying to get through each day. You can’t know the journey of another at first glance so don’t make assumptions.
  9. Start speaking to yourself like a friend. If that sounds too difficult try speaking to yourself like an acquaintance who you would like to get to know better. Therefore it would not be in your best interest to constantly put them down.
  10. Everyone feels like they are a little crazy. And in truth we all are, I am convinced there is no such thing as ‘normal’.
  11. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. 
  12. Don’t judge your feelings. Our emotions don’t have to be good or bad, they just are. Telling yourself that you should feel any different then you do isn’t helpful. If a friend came to you upset would you tell them they are being stupid? I doubt it and remember, you are talking to yourself like a friend now.
  13. Be comfortable with your own company. Who do you spend more time with but yourself? 
  14. Embrace change. Change is constant, the better you can adapt to it the less overwhelmed you will feel.
  15. Be positive. You’ll live longer.
  16. Be aware of your ‘baggage’. We all have our own emotional issues, that’s okay. Knowing what yours is will make it easy to connect.
  17. Find your passion. 
  18. Let go of ‘should’ and ‘should not’. Why shouldn’t you be exactly where you are, doing exactly what you are doing?
  19. It’s never to late to change. If you don’t like your life/relationship/job etc. then change it. Yes it may be difficult but if you don’t want to be in this same place in 5 years time then change has to happen.
  20. Fear is a liar. Fear will gain your trust and make you think it knows best, it doesn’t. Be hopeful and excited about things to come.

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” – Ayn Rand

 

Workshop – A Reflective Journey

Life moves quickly. So quickly, that most people spend all of their time focusing on what’s next and what needs to be achieved; rarely taking the time to reflect on the journey thus far. Always looking to the future can lead to feeling anxious and unfulfilled. Instead of appreciating everything you have accomplished you may end up comparing yourself to others and focusing on what you lack.

Have you ever given yourself the time to reflect on all the ups and downs that have lead to you being here today?

Rick Warren

It’s difficult to know where you are going if you don’t understand where you’ve been. Although one day is not enough to reflect on a life’s journey, it’s a start.

Through the use of exercises, visualisations, discussions and an introduction to the stages of psychological development, you will gain personal knowledge and understanding. This learning will help give you a further awareness of your own patterns and how they have shaped your life and reactions. Gaining self awareness will help put you on the right path to living in a more positive way.

Further Information

When: Saturday, April 23rd 10am – 5pm

Where: 9 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2

Cost: €100 – all supplies, snacks and tea included.

If you are interested in joining or would like to know more please contact Angela, spaces are limited:  085 133 6644, or by email: adastratherapy@gmail.com

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” – Ralph Ellison

5 Resolutions With a Difference

January often means many of us want to make changes in our lives. I believe we don’t need a new year to make those changes, you can start any day you choose. However, if you feel like this is the right time for you then I recommend you make changes that will benefit your overall well being, not just your health.

Usually the reason that New Year’s resolutions fail is because people give themselves a list too long. “Quit smoking, drink less alcohol, loose ten pounds…” It’s great if you want to be healthier but changing every aspect of your lifestyle is a huge under taking. If you want to make changes start small, choose one thing and work from there. Or better yet, make changes that will make you feel better from the inside out.

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Speak to and about yourself in a more positive way – I have spoken about the importance of self love in the past. I will continue to preach about it until everyone realises they are awesome. You should speak to yourself like a friend. However, most people speak to themselves with little patience and have demands that are unreasonable. Thoughts affect the way we feel, if you think kindly about yourself you’ll feel that way too.

Say goodbye to negative people – It’s hard to speak to yourself in a positive way if you are surrounded by negativity. Pay attention to the way you feel in the presence of certain friends and family members. If you are drained then that’s a good indicator that the relationship is unbalanced and it might be time for a change.

Trust your intuition – Also known as ‘trusting your gut’ this is a part of ourselves that we often ignore. I have yet to know of any bad decisions that have come from trusting intuition. Although not also an easy path it is most commonly the best for us. The next time you are faced with a tricky choice see what that little voice inside is saying. Not the fear or judgemental voice, but the part of you that feels like it’s connected to something bigger. This will also lead to further self trust because you will be doing what’s right for you and not someone else.

Open up – The main reason that people don’t start therapy is because they fear what may be discovered/uncovered. With that understanding comes a knowledge that there is a darkness inside of us. Talking to someone you trust or with a therapist means you can familiarise yourself with that part of who you are. We are all light and dark, yin and yang. It’s not bad and doesn’t have to be scary, sharing this part of you without judgement leads to personal acceptance. If you want to accept who you are, you have to accept all of you.

Figure out your truth – Give yourself some time to make sense of this life you are living. What do you believe? What really matters? Life can be busy and unrelenting, so much so that we don’t give ourselves time to ask the important questions. If you feel like life is pointless than it wouldn’t matter how you speak to yourself, or anyone for that matter. Take some time to decide what is important to you and see what happens when that leads your decision making.

Make 2016 the year that you make changes that will have a long reaching impact. Changing the way you feel about yourself and your place in the world is far more beneficial than loosing a few pounds.

“If you don’t have peace, it isn’t because someone took it from you; you gave it away. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.” – John C. Maxwell

Don’t Bite

There are times in our lives when we are surrounded by people we feel connected to. Over the years these relationships can change. The ones that affect us most are usually the ones within our family. In most cases, no matter what whey will always be in our lives. However, not everyone feels safe within the family environment.

The same issues can arise within our friend groups, work or any situation that involves interactions with others. Above all else you should feel safe and grounded. If you have begun to recognise there are certain people that make you feel very ungrounded or uneasy I invite you to trust that feeling. Begin working towards what you need to feel better in yourself when you are around this type of energy.

Bridging Gaps Between People, Processes, + Data.

What can you do?

  • It’s important that you acknowledge these feelings and if you can, try to understand what they are connected too.
  • Before meeting with these people take a few slow deep breaths and envision a bright light emanating from your heart or stomach. With every inhale and exhale it gets brighter and surrounds you.
  • This light will project from the things they say or the things they don’t.
  • Don’t spend too much time in their presence.
  • Stick to your boundaries. Only give them the amount of time you can without leaving you overly effected.
  • Don’t bite the hook. Without trying there are many people who know exactly how to draw us in. Allow them to fish all day without you biting and that will help stop the cycle of reactions.

You will being to realise that in most of these interactions it is both parties that causes the cycle to continue. You can only control you. Stop allowing them to have the power and choose to feel grounded and centred in yourself.

“Standing up for yourself doesn’t always involve verbal confrontation. Sometimes it’s about not wasting energy on people who are negative.” Sherry Argov

Autumn Course: Changing Negative Patterns

Our brain loves patterns and the familiar. Sometimes patterns had to develop to help us deal with difficult situations. However, once those situations have changed the patterns can still remain. This can result in carrying anxiety, guilt and anger from the past into present day. Your worries may have helped motivate you in the past but now they just keep you up at night.

These negative patterns can have a huge effect on your life and happiness levels. Are you tired of feeling negative/guilty/anxious/angry? Do something positive for yourself and participate in this six week course.

Above is an outline of the subjects being covered, from insecurities to how to cope with these difficult emotions. The only person we can change is ourselves and the only things we can control are our reactions. When we are better equipped to understand where these reactions are based we can deal with life in a calmer way.

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Past participants have said:

“Excellent content, very clear, positive and engaging. I would highly recommend this course.”

“I now see within my family that I have to change myself and not allow them to control my life. I need to let them deal with their own issues.”

“I came to this course with one particular problem. The six weeks have enabled me to sort out what was happening and why I felt like this ‘problem’ was running through my head, as if on a loop. Glad to say I am well on way to dealing with this and I know I will get there.”

“It helped me face some difficult situations. Something that I thought was a problem, now doesn’t seem so bad.”

Further Information:

  • When: Tuesday’s beginning October 13th and running for 6 weeks, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
  • Where: Siochan Counselling, 9 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2.
  • Cost: €15 a week which includes all supplies, tea, coffee and snacks.

If you are interested in joining please contact me immediately as spaces are limited                           at: 085 133 6644, or by email: adastratherapy@gmail.com

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” – Rick Warren

Draining Energies

Have you ever spent time with a friend or acquaintance and felt exhausted after a visit? Some people in our lives can make us feel energised, while others can make us feel drained. It’s the people that drain us that we need to be weary of.

I have heard the term ‘energy vampire’ in the past. Although a good description of what it feels like to be in the presence of someone like this, it’s not entirely fair. Mainly because a vampires goal is to suck the life from you, for the most part the individuals that drain us are not doing this on purpose. In many cases they are completely unaware. Which is why you need to watch yourself around them.

It’s often this lack of awareness that causes the drain. If you aren’t aware of your own process (journey/struggle/ability to make sense of why you’re here) then you may get stuck in a ‘poor me’ cycle. Where instead of learning the lessons the universe keeps throwing at you, you complain that the same things continue to happen. Often insisting that everything needs to change but not starting with yourself.

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For those of us that are caregivers this type of person can very easily pull us in. They are looking for an outside source to rescue them, while the carer, in turn is looking for someone to rescue.

Are you being drained? Here are some things to note.

  • They are taking more than they are giving: if you feel drained that means the energy is going only one way. Healthy friendships and relationships are a two way street.
  • Some people love to be the victim: there are times in our lives when we are going to be miserable. Grieving, feeling sad/angry/fed-up are all normal parts of life. However, anything can become a pattern, that includes wallowing and feeling victimised. Some people begin to feel they only get attention when being the victim, you don’t have to be a part of that cycle.
  • You choose to give your power away: you have to decide what treatment is okay, that includes how much of yourself you give to others. Boundaries are important in all relationships.

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If you have a friend who’s feeling like a drain these days and just needs extra support than make sure you’ve protected yourself. Follow the steps above and imagine there’s a strong force field that surrounds you before you spend time with them. Imagine it keeps you grounded and protected.

If until this point you had never noticed how you felt around others then start checking in. When you’re with your best friend, partner or work colleagues, take a few slow deep breaths and notice how you feel in your body. You are more than a well of energy for others to take advantage of. The more tuned in you are with yourself the better you will know where there are imbalances in your life.

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” – Joel Osteen

10 Lessons learned from a 3 year old

I have a beautiful god-daughter who I think is one of the smartest, sweetest, most beautiful kids on the planet.  After minding her I have a further appreciation of sleep and for all parents out there. Kids are wonderful teachers as they can see a world filled with joy and opportunities. I think we could all benefit from having such beliefs.

Below are some things I have learned from her and other children, they are all adding light to an often dark and cynical world.

  1. The world is an amazing place. With fresh eyes we can appreciate so much more around us. Helicopters and airplanes are a marvel. Our imagination is an incredible tool that we rarely use for good. Every morning is a gift and we should all wake up as excited as a child because it means a new day full of possibility.
  2. We rarely check our needs, also known as the: ‘Do you need to wee?’ principle. Kids can get so wrapped up in playing, laughing or watching cartoons that accidents can happen. As you spend your day rushing around do you ever stop and notice your needs or how you’re feeling?  Take a second and close your eyes. Take a slow deep breath through your nose, down into you belly, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Do that a few times then ask yourself: How am I feeling? What do I need? Take note and follow through if you can.
  3. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. This kid only had a few mouthfuls of ice cream then stopped. I repeat, ice cream. Her body told her she was full so she stopped eating. We can get very detached from ourselves, our bodies and what they need. You can change that by trying to eat mindfully (pause between bites and appreciate flavours) then wait at least 10-20 minutes before getting a second helping.
  4. Sometimes a hug and a kiss can make it all better. Life can be difficult at any age. Even more so when we feel alone. A hug won’t make your problems disappear but it can make them feel more manageable. Feeling connected to someone else makes the hard times easier to bear and makes us feel safe. The small child in all of us needs to feel like it will all be okay.
  5. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. From a young age being independent makes us feel strong, capable and in control. But there are times when we can’t do it alone. Try to quiet the judge in your mind, you aren’t weak for needing/wanting help, you’re human.
  6. Bubbles are amazing. No need to elaborate.
  7. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. We want to instil in children that there is nothing wrong with getting it wrong; you will learn and grow. As we get older we forget about that. So many strive for ‘perfection’ feeling that every mis-step is a failure, that we are failures. That simply is not the case. Mistakes are an opportunity for growth. Grieve if you need to, show yourself some compassion then move forward with new knowledge.
  8. Make time to rest when you’re exhausted. Give yourself permission to slow down. Sometimes we all need a nap.
  9. Sharing can be difficult. When we’re young we are taught how important it is to share. As adults with jobs and families we have to once again learn that lesson. Sharing our space and time isn’t easy and we can sometimes feel as though we are stretched too thin. That’s when we refer back to #5 and #8, share with someone your vulnerability and your need for naps.
  10. Love and be loved. Of all the lessons we will ever learn this is of the utmost importance. I believe this is the reason we are here, to learn how to love and how to be loved. Children epitomise this as they love without condition and judgement. They do not question why others love them, they just know it to be true. I think they’re onto something.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu