Young Minds

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I have just finished watching a programme on TV where a group of celebrities undertook an experiment where they tried to reduce their physical and mental ages over a period of three weeks 100 years younger in 21 days

It was fascinating to see how the aging process was affecting them all very differently due to either current habits or prior lifestyle bad habits having taken their toll. Throughout the three-week period some individuals needed to focus on their mental capacity while others had more health and physical challenges.

The physical challenges where they were encouraged to exercise more and eat better weren’t surprising as most of us know what we should and shouldn’t eat and that we need to keep moving. What I learnt most were the changes that occurred that radically improved some of the participants mental health scores in such a short period of time.

There were dramatic improvements in mental ageing in fact reversing the effect resulting in three key activities the celebrities were made aware of

  1. Meditation
  2. Learning new skills
  3. The sense of belonging that came from being part of a group

If we take each I turn there were just a few take home messages that I think are useful to us all.

Meditation doesn’t appeal to everyone and certainly in the programme the person that benefited the most initially demonstrated a lot of resistance to even the idea let alone the practice of it. It took another person in the group who had personally benefited themselves from the practice to buddy up with the individual and persist gently through the initial reservations and difficulties to the point where it started to become an enjoyable habit with huge quick positive effects that reinforced the new habit further. The correlation between the habit of regular meditation and improved sleep quality was amazing and without question a good reason to continue.

When it came to learning new skills, the key point was it doesn’t have to be a particular type of skill. Initially the group were introduced to learning a new language however if anyone struggled with this challenge then other more practical rather than cerebral activities were suggested to get a similar result. The key message here aww keep the brain active by exposing it to new challenges.

The final factor was the sense of belonging and the obvious communication involved from being part of a group or team was evident. The mutual support they gave each other at various stages of the process especially when an individual was finding part of the regime tough was an equally important bi product of the process.

  • So, are you continually learning?
  • Do you actively engage in a community/group that provides support and encouragement?
  • Have you explored a meditation practice? maybe just try for 5 mins a day for a couple of weeks see if you find it beneficial

 

Sandra works as a coach for both businesses and private clients. She is also author of the book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms. More info can be found at www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

 

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Personal Wellbeing – Two Critical Lists

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In the last post I mentioned meeting a lot of people recently who were running on empty, in danger of becoming ill and being stopped in their tracks.

I am much more aware of recognising key signs in both others and myself now than I was in my earlier years ; this is as a result of both personal experience and watching when others have been stopped in their tracks, forced to take corrective action and start looking after themselves better.

Sometimes it is at exactly this point that potential clients pick up the phone and come and see me for the initial coaching conversation when they realise they need to do things differently and make some changes in their lives either professionally, personally or sometimes both.

There are two books that I have read that I totally recommend on this subject when it comes to either recovering from burn out  or ideally preventing from happening in the first place

  • Adrenal Fatigue – James L Wilson
  • The Body doesn’t Lie – Vicky Vlachanis

Both of these take a completely holistic view and encourage us to take care of ourselves mentally and physically on an on going basis along with recognising when we are going off course as early as possible.

A practical exercise I get clients to do and I also practice myself is to generate two simple lists that we can regularly look at to ensure we are following the right one

  1. List one – things that make me feel good
  2. List two – things that make me feel bad

These are obviously going to be very unique to the individual and could contain things like activities that make you feel good or bad, places that make you feel good or bad, food that makes you feel fantastic or rubbish, people that make you feel downbeat and negative or make your laugh and bring your energy up.

You can start making these lists immediately however what happens is that when you get used to using them you find yourself adding things to both lists on an on going basis as you discover new people, new ways of eating,  new activities, new places and to reflect changes you make in your life.

How you use these lists practically is in partnership with the signs and signals you identified in the last post so for example if you find yourself going down the low energy, no patience with anything, not thriving route you look at the “things that make me feel good list” and schedule time for these things. Also take a look at the “things that make me feel bad list” and make a note of anything that you have been doing too much of on this list and stop doing it to reverse the trend.

If you feel you are heading down the “burnt out” route then check out the books above and start creating your lists based on the holistic approach , add to both lists at least monthly for the first couple of months. Keep them to hand in case you need then.

If you are feeling good at the moment create the lists anyway as a preventative measure and out of interest it should reflect the reason you are feeling good is that you are doing stuff list number one – keep doing what you are doing.

 

Sandra provides coaching for both Businesses and Private Clients. More information about coaching can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com

 

 

 

 

Spot The Signs

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Over the past few months I have been struck by the number of people I have met who are running on empty! When meeting these people, they are physically exhausted and mentally drained

From my own experience I have been in such a similar position about twice in my life and both times have been fantastic learning opportunities to add tools to my own kit bag that will hopefully prevent returning to that territory. It’s a place where if you find yourself entering you need to quickly act before the feeling of exhaustion becomes your norm and then if left for long enough often results in the body saying enough is enough and stopping you in your tracks with a serious enough illness where you need to take time off to recover.

Some possible signs to watch out for in either yourself or team members are

  • Do you wake up and feel tired routinely?
  • Are you living off endless cups of coffee, sugary snacks or processed convenience food?
  • Loosing or putting on weight we all react differently some people emotionally eat more when feeling stressed while others forget to eat under pressure
  • Are you thinking about work all the time even during leisure hours?
  • Would you struggle to be away from your phone or email for a few hours or the weekend?
  • Are frequent colds or headaches now your norm?
  • Is it difficult to concentrate?
  • Have you given up any hobbies or exercise routine you previously enjoyed
  • Are you forgetting or missing deadlines?
  • Are you making mistakes?
  • Do you have little time or patience for those around you?
  • Do you feel guilty about taking time out for yourself?
  • Are the people who know you well worried about you or making comments that you look tired or unwell?

We will look at what corrective and preventative action you might consider in the next blog post.

Hopefully you won’t be experiencing all of these at once and you will know yourself well enough to know what  your normal state of wellbeing is. It is important to recognise what do you feel like when you are thriving and completely aligned with what you are doing and what you feel like when you are moving in an unhealthy direction in need of corrective action. Learn to recognise your own personal signals.

 

Sandra works as a professional coach for both Businesses and Private Clients. More about coaching can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com . She is also author of the book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms which is available from Amazon http://bit.ly/1JhAkst

 

The Pie Chart Model of Happiness

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If you are like me a book worm with an interest in self-development and personal growth you will have a mountain of books many of which touch on the subject of happiness, how to achieve living life full out. I even wrote one of my own! see link at tend of the article in bio if you are interested in this one.

It wasn’t until I embarked on my current positive psychology coach CPD that I had ever seen the subject of happiness broken down into a model that really resonated with me and I am sure it will be a framework worth discussing with both existing and future clients. I came across the model while reading one of books on the required reading list, The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky  https://amzn.to/2q7DWql in this book the model in question suggests that 50% is genetic ie. we are genetically predisposed to either look on life with either a positive or negative view and she calls this our ‘set point’ 10% is dependent on circumstances that surround us or that we find our self in and 40% is down to actions we can choose to take which in the book she refers to as “intentional activity and habits”

I loved this model straight away as I am often challenged from mainly friends and family who ask the question ‘isn’t it easier for some people to be “Rays of Sunshine”, those positive energetic uplifting people that we like to be around. Some of these people suggest they could never be like these Rays of Sunshine because of their situation or circumstances. What this model suggests is  that although they may have a point to a certain extent that action can definitely be taken by everyone to improve their overall happiness by 40% at least. The only segment we have got no control about according to this particular book is our genetic disposition.

I have always known that people who live life with a glass half full attitude the majority of the time have often done a lot of work in identifying the actions they need to take on a regular basis to maintain this outlook on life. It doesn’t come without taking action to develop good habits and choosing to do this is optional. When you see that taking time to learn how to do this and discover which are the actions that have the most positive impact on you personally then its easier to invest the time to build these into routine; habits that can contribute to the 40% intentional action segment of Sonias model.

I found this book quite encouraging to see how much is in our control if we choose to accept this. So even if genetically you are born with a glass half empty bias and your life circumstances aren’t great at the moment there is still stuff you can do to make the situation better.

 

Sandra works as a coach for both Businesses and Private Clients largely based in Bristol/London or Palma Majorca find out more at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com or her book can be found on amazon  Own It – regain control and live life on your terms  http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

Wellbeing 2018

water-drink-detox-detox-water-122444.jpgSo, following on from my last post I had cause to review my own health and wellbeing at the end of 2017. During my enforced rest and relaxation period I couldn’t help but take stock and ask myself, in classic end of the year review mode, whether I need to make any additional changes to my own health and wellbeing practices this year.

 I have never been unhealthy in my lifestyle, but I am a great believer that as we age we do have to continually tweak our habits further to keep as vibrant as possible both mentally and physically.

 In recent years I have drastically reduced my reliance on sugary and processed food. I have replaced intense competitive exercise with equally physically challenging but kinder on the body and soul yoga. Each year I have challenged myself to “learn to like “certain nutritious foods that previously I had avoided e.g. eggs, yogurt and avocado as examples. Majority of time I eat sough dough bread and don’t enjoy normal bred now.

On the more cosmetic side I have broken my reliance on hair straighteners that were ruining my hair and acrylic nails that were ruining my nails (the nail addiction was only broken in 2017) which as well as being healthier choices have freed up an incredible amount of time.

 So, what next in 2018, what other changes could I make?

  •  I love my morning coffee, but I would benefit from reducing my daily caffeine intake via reducing the number of cups of tea and replace this with herbal teas from midday.
  •  I have no desire to go vegetarian at all however I could ensure more of my meals are fish or poultry based with more vegetables and less carbohydrates.
  •  I need to ensure when out on the road at business clients I don’t eat processed rubbish, this means planning and taking healthy food with me.
  •  I am going to keep learning Spanish as intellectually this is good for me and very challenging.

 My daily Ashtanga Yoga practice is a well-established habit however I have lost my way with my regular meditation habit which used to be good. 10 mins a day would be a fab discipline to get back into.

So you see there are always things that can be improved. No matter where you are starting from what few shifts can you make to take things up to a new level to aid your health and wellbeing in 2018?

 

Make Plans Then Accept Changes

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I am writing this sat in a cafe in Palma in the final few hours of 2017. When I originally planned a few days away over the new year period I had many ideas of how I would spend my time away. Last year we did a similar thing and spent a very pleasant few days based near the marina in Palma mooching between shops and cafes in spring like conditions with scheduled yoga practice and triathlon training punctuating our days. My original plans this year was much the same however with the intention this time of exploring the island more by using the local buses rather than hire care. In my normal goal orientated way, I had a mental list of the places I wanted us to visit and I planned on visiting my Yoga shala here at least twice.

Well the universe had other ideas, I started feeling unwell on Christmas Day and by the time the plane had landed on Boxing Day I was experiencing the familiar signs I had witnessed in others over the last few weeks of work to illustrate the winter lurgy had finally got me in earnest.

The first part of the planned adventures worked ok, and we managed to find the right bus at the airport to reach our hotel and when we got to the hotel it was a nice one (thank goodness as earlier in the year we ended up staying in a really grotty place for a week, that as not good). Again, in my normal driven way I tried to carry on as normal for the first few hours however this is when my learnings since catching glandular fever four years ago did kick in and I am thankful for that. It became obvious after these initial few hours that this lurgy was a nasty one, it wasn’t just a cold it was rendering me completely exhausted. I needed to accept my plans needed to change and I would be foolish to push on in a bloody minded way through and this. My old self would have tried to fight it for longer and probably made it worse. This is what happened in 2013 I didn’t listen to my body or read the signs of illness. In that year the moment I thought I was getting better I started to recommence my triathlon and sometimes even crazily enter a race! Then I would have a relapse and be back where I started ill again, and this went on from February to September in a cyclic way until I was diagnosed with Glandular fever and the penny finally dropped.

 So rather than months for the penny to drop it now takes a couple of days. that’s what I call progress. It doesn’t mean it’s any less frustrating, but I am better with the acceptance and adaptation phases than I used to be. Although I am disappointed to have missed out in my daily yoga over here in Palma and we haven’t managed to see as many new parts of the island as I planned too does it really matter in the whole scale of things? I have taken much more rest over here in a hotel environment than I would have done at home where I would have been tempted to muddle through domestic chores as a minimum. Hours spent lying under blankets in a hotel room is new territory for me but that is obviously how I was meant to spend the end of 2017 resting physically and mentally.

 

 

Inspirational First Impressions

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We are all familiar with the phrase “first impressions are important” and it is so true still. What is it that creates that positive first impression when we meet someone that means we go away from this initial encounter saying how inspirational this person was to anyone we meet. Over the past few years I can vividly remember a few people I met briefly that left this impression on me and I have been trying to work out what were the qualities these folks had.

Firstly, the people I have in my mind were all very passionate and knowledgeable about their profession or had a clear purpose to their enthusiastic about wanting to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise with others.

The other trait these people had was they looked after themselves and took time to do this. They were all varying ages and physiques however they had healthy habits prioritising their self-care and daily wellbeing regimes. A saying “you can’t give what you haven’t got” comes to mind here as these individuals were helping others in some way by being of service, teaching or helping develop students and clients.

They all showed genuine interest in me from that first encounter, they went out of their way to try and work out areas of difficulty or subjects that were important to me. They weren’t in a “one solution fits all” mode, their approach and their listening skills enabled them to tailor their offering to my circumstances.

Continual learning was a priority, and this was evident quickly in that they weren’t standing still, they all had new projects they were working on or new countries they planned to visit. In each of their chosen professions they knew there was a lot more to learn and they were hungry to first take on this learning themselves and then share it with others.

Finally, they were all generous with their time and their knowledge demonstrating the ability to identify people, books or resources that they thought might help each individual and they then facilitated those connections which demanded their own personal time and commitment to action,

None of this stuff is difficult however rarely is it all packaged together which makes this a winning cocktail of behaviors that creates such a positive first impression. Think back over the year who has created this impression with you? Any other qualities to add to the above list?

Sandra is professional coach working with Businesses and Private Clients http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com