How the Foods We Eat Can Help Improve Our Anxiety

Doctors and dieticians are beginning to appreciate more about how the nutritional properties of the foods we eat affect the brain. There is a clear and important connection between the brain and the gut; some researchers are now referring to the gut as the second brain. They now know when essential nutrients are deficient, there is a direct effect on the production of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry that can increase anxiety-related behaviours.

Here are some foods to start eating to help with your anxiety and stress today: –

1. Asparagus

Studies going back to the 1960s indicate that many people who suffer from anxiety and depression have shown a folate deficiency. Asparagus is one vegetable that contains a valuable amount of this mood-boosting nutrient. One portion provides two-thirds of your daily recommended folate value.

Try adding asparagus spears to your meals, or even eat as a snack, dip the spears into salsa, hummus or other dips.

2. Avocado

 Avocados are rich in B vitamins and healthy fat; all the B vitamins have positive effects on the nervous system. However, deficiencies in these stress-relieving vitamins have been linked to increased anxiety in people. Avocados also contain vitamin E, which is important for vision, reproduction, and maintaining healthy skin. It also widens the blood vessels. Helps with cognition and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin E is fat-soluble; it is found in foods with high-fat content like nuts and avocados.

When you next want a chocolate dessert, try blending an avocado, some cacao or cocoa powder and sugar or stevia to taste, chill in the fridge, you will be surprised how good it tastes.

3. Blueberries

Our bodies crave vitamin C when stressed or anxious. Vitamin C is an antioxidant; this helps repair and protect our cells and provide anxiety relief. Blueberries are full of this vitamin and antioxidants.

When you are craving a sugary snack, reach for blueberries instead of sugary sweets and snacks. Sugar is not good for our brains; it causes the brain to work at a sub-optimal level, creating a larger risk of anxiety and depression symptoms. The vitamin C in blueberries will also give your immune system a boost.

4. Turkey

Turkey contains tryptophan, this is nutrient that helps you to sleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate sleep and mood.  With this in mind it may help reduce anxious feelings.

Instead of having a takeaway of KFC, try cooking a turkey breast with vegetables as a more healthy option and help your anxiety at the same time.

5. Almonds

Magnesium found in almonds and other nuts may also be effective for helping anxiety-related symptoms. Insufficient magnesium also reduces the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.  12 almonds contain approximately 19% of our daily recommended magnesium. Magnesium can also be found in seeds, legumes, and avocados.

Instead of snacking on biscuits high in trans fats, which will make your anxiety worse and increase the risk of depression, eat a handful of nuts and gain from healthy fats and fibre; these will improve your gut health. Add some dried fruit or dark chocolate chips if you need some sweetness.

6. Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a fermented food; these foods can help your anxiety too.  There is a link between eating fermented and probiotic foods and the reduction of social anxiety.  Greek and plain yoghurt are best; they contain live active cultures, which is the nutrient that will help your anxiety.  Other probiotic foods: pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso.

For breakfast swap the milk with yoghurt with your cereal or have plain yoghurt with fresh fruit.

7. Kale (or Arugula)

Research has found having a lower antioxidant level is linked to anxiety symptoms. Any dark leafy greens like kale are

high in beta carotene, antioxidants, and vitamin C.  These boost our antioxidant levels and help our brains function optimally.

Add kale to your salad; if you do not like the bitter taste, have it as a cooked vegetable, or add to an omelette, soup, or a smoothie to hide the bitter taste.

8. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly effective when it comes to foods that help with anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like salmon, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts, as well as cold-pressed olive oil. The correct dietary fats are essential to our brain health. Replacing red meat with fish and other omega-3 foods will help support a healthy brain-gut microbiome.

Consider having salmon instead of steak to help keep your cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you are feeling stressed.

Experiment with these foods to see if your anxiety improves.

Links to more information on anxiety.

17 Affirmations to help cal your anxiety

Anxiety and Exercise

The effect of anxiety on your body

How mindfulness and meditation can help your anxiety

How trapped emotions cause distress, pain and muscle tension in our bodies

17 Affirmations to Help Calm your Anxiety.

Calm your anxiety with affirmations. Using the right affirmations for your anxiety, you will be able to calm your attacks be they take hold.  Below are some affirmations to help reduce your anxiety when you are on the verge of an attack. I would suggest keeping a list in your bag or on your phone until this becomes second nature and you have memorised the affirmations.       

How you can calm anxiety attacks with affirmations or mantras

These affirmations bring you into the present and allow you to ground yourself.  Repeating positive affirmations or phrases instil these messages in your brain, helping you become calm and in control. Affirmations are really simple and extremely useful to use when your anxiety strikes. Well known mantras are “om”, “om mani padme hum”, personal mantras could be “I am full of light”, “I belong, I have faith” mantras are most commonly used in meditation and have a more spiritual background. Although I have used these when out walking on my own. Mantras again are repeated frequently in your mind and will immerse you completely in an idea and bring you closer to your goal. Whatever you use to calm your anxiety has to feel right for you.

Challenge your negative thoughts with these affirmations.

To manage our anxiety, we need to learn how to change our anxious thought patterns using affirmations or mantras. When you start to feel your anxiety rising, instead of listening to the negative thoughts your mind immediately gives you, thoughts like, “I am having an anxiety attack” or “I am panicking”, these often lead to negative self-talk like, “I am so stupid, why did I do …….” Or I hate myself. Why do I do …………….”. As soon as you feel an attack coming, start to read your affirmations from your phone or written list. “I am calm”, “I can feel this fear and let it pass”,, and “I am in control”.

Breaking the cycle of anxiety with affirmations

Anxious thought patterns get embedded in the brain each time you experience an anxiety attack. You can either programme your brain to react to the situation with the negative thought patterns creating anxiety or use positive affirmations to reduce your anxiety. Therefore, you can break the cycle of anxiety by using positive affirmations and mantras to rewire your brain through plasticity.

Not using any form of positive strategies like affirmations or mantras, you feed your fear of a situation, confirming to your brain that this situation results in panic. Using affirmations, you lessen the fear, forcing your brain to see this situation is not scary and not needing to release fear and panic and the fight and flight hormones.

Using affirmations can serve as a distraction to your anxiety.

Using affirmations serves as a distraction from your anxiety, giving you something else to focus on. Having positive affirmations in places around your home, on your phone as wallpapers take your brain away from the panic. By focusing on these positive affirmations, reciting them, so you memorise them will immediately bring your focus away from the anxiety attack, which will end your attacks quicker after time.

Rewire the brain with positive affirmations

Studies and science have shown that our brains can be rewired by our thoughts. Therefore, positive affirmations and thoughts can change your brain to be more positive and creating less panic. We have all heard of positive thinking and positive self-talk; this is why it is so important. Your mind will always believe what you constantly tell it.  Continually affirming you are having a panic attack or will have one, your brain is more likely to make it happen. By repeating to yourself regularly, “I am calm,” your brain is more likely to make this happen.  Affirmations can change your life.

Affirmations to use when you are feeling anxious.

Below are some affirmations to use when you feel your anxiety and fear rising. These are short, so they are easier to remember and use: –

  • I am calm and in control”.
  • I feel the fear and let it go”.
  • “I am not defined by my anxiety”.
  • “I let my anxious thoughts flow in one ear and out the other.”
  • “I am okay.”
  • “I am getting through this anxious moment, just as I have done a million times before”.
  • “I am strong and resilient”.
  • “I choose to feel calm and peaceful”.
  • “I have survived this before; I will this survive now”.
  • “I am free from my anxiety. I am in control”.
  • “I am in charge of my breathing, and I can slow it down”.
  • “I can do this”.
  • “I am above stress of any kind”.
  • “I am familiar with these feelings, and they do not scare me”.
  • “I am surrounded by people who understand”.
  • “I am supported, loved and cared for”.
  • “I have the techniques and tools I need to persevere”.

Using affirmations to relieve your anxiety.

Affirmations can be used in meditation, while you are out walking when you are not experiencing anxiety, this further helps rewire our brains, there are many ways you can use them, you choose what is best for you. The one rule for helping anxiety is to recite an affirmation at least 10 times or until you feel it resonating with you, every time you are feeling anxious wherever you are.

When you have an attack you can, recite the affirmation silently to yourself, read it from your phone or paper list, or sit and write them down. Our brains all work differently, so choose the way feels most comfortable for you. You must keep repeating the affirmations for them to rewire your brain.

The above are only a few affirmations; there are hundreds more online and plenty of apps that will send you an affirmation each day. We are all at different stages of our anxiety, and using affirmations may not be enough for you. If you feel you need more support, please do not hesitate to contact me to support you further. There is lots of help out there, and you do not need to suffer in silence and alone.

If you are already on medication, DO NOT stop taking this without getting advice from your doctor.

How Trapped Emotions Cause Distress, Pain, and Muscle Tension in our Bodies.

Many of us carry repressed and trapped energy or emotions within the cells of our bodies, and we are completely unaware of them. We journey through life, oblivious to the blocked energy our cells and muscles are holding. Is this blocked suppressed energy causing your health condition and suffering? Every cell in our body has a memory, not just our brain cells.

The cause of Muscle Tension.

There are four different causes, your conditioning as a child, trauma, psychological tension, and your environment.

From when we are born to approximately seven years old we absorbed everything going on in our environment. A fair amount of our muscle tension is developed at this time and continues into adulthood. One of the unspoken beliefs we were taught as children, so we were acceptable or likable was “only babies cry”, so during our early years we learned to suppress our tears and sadness in order “not to be a baby”.  Many of us were punished for showing anger, therefore as children we thought it was bad to show anger and not taught how to deal with it positively.  All this energy is stuck somewhere in our bodies causing us pain or illness.

Traumatic experiences can range from being smacked to extreme abuse as a child. The trauma may have been deliberate (rape or assault) or accidental (car crash or other accident). These experiences can result in fear, stress and possibly even PTSD if they are not consciously dealt with.  All the anxiety, fear, anger, and grief are stored in your body, becoming muscle tension, and contributing to other illnesses, like fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, mental illnesses, and even cancer.

Psychological tension develops from our perceptions of life and causes anxiety, frustration, sadness, or anger. The more negative, fearful, or fault-finding our perspective is, the more tension we will store.

Our environment and habits also contribute to our muscle tension. Working at a desk all day and not exercising our muscles does not allow any tension to be released. Poor posture, lack of sleep, drug use, unhealthy eating, and environmental pollution tend to increase the likelihood of developing chronic muscle tension.

In Louise Hay’s book Heal your body, she writes about the probable cause of mental thought patterns have on the various parts of the body.

Shoulder Tension = Burden and Responsibilities.

Our shoulders represent our ability to carry out our experiences in life with joy. We make life a burden with our attitude. We have all heard the expression “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders”. Louise’s affirmation is, “I choose to allow all my experiences to be joyous and loving.

Neck Tension = Fear and Repressed Self-Expression.

Our neck represents flexibility. Refusing to see other sides of a question. Stubbornness, inflexibility, and issues with communication. Affirmation “It is with flexibility and ease that I see all sides of an issue. There are endless ways to do things and see things. I am safe”.

Our back represents the support of life.

Upper Back = Grief, Sorrow, and Sadness.

Lack of emotional support, feeling unloved, holding back love.  We store our grief, sorrow, and sadness in this part of our back. Louise’s affirmations “I love and approve of myself, life supports and loves me”.

Middle Back – Insecurity and Powerlessness.

This tension can come from guilt, being stuck in all that stuff back there. “Get off my back”. Feeling unsupported by people. Louise’s affirmation, “I release the past; I am free to move forward with love in my heart”.

Lower Back = Guilt, Shame, and Unworthiness

The tension here can be a lack of acceptance, low self-worth, fear of money, lack of financial support. Feelings of guilt, shame, sexual inadequacy, and trauma. Louise’s affirmation “I trust the process of life; all I need is always taken care of”.

Stomach = Inability to Process Emotions.

Our stomach represents nourishment and digesting ideas and emotions. We hold dread, fear of the new, and possibly have an inability to assimilate the new. Hence the expression “I can’t stomach it”. If you have tension is this area, you may struggle to process negative and positive emotions. Louise’s affirmation “I digest life with ease”, and Life agrees with me; I assimilate the new every moment of every day, all is well.

Buttocks = Anger and Rage

Our buttocks represent power; loose buttocks loss of power. Our suppressed anger and rage are often held in our buttocks. Hence the saying “pain in the bum”. Louise’s affirmation “I use my power wisely, I am strong, I am safe, all is well”.

If you would like to know more about how to release your suppressed energy and emotions, email Rosemary for more information or download my tips here

How Meditation and Energy Healing can Relieve your Arthritic Pain

Meditation is a way of training the mind to be still, and focus on your breath, a candle flame, another object, or voice. By doing this, we learn to relax and be in the present moment.

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

When we are stressed, we release stress hormones, which cause inflammation and pain, irritating your joints more.  By relaxing your body and reducing your stress, your body will stop releasing stress hormones that aggravate your joints’ pain.  Meditation helps to release endorphins, our natural pain reliever into our bloodstream. These endorphins will help the muscle and tissue around the joints be more relaxed, and your brain will then be calmer, so you feel less pain.

Studies show that mindfulness/meditation stress reduction can reduce the pain being felt in the body. Our minds are a lot more powerful than we give them credit for. Now I am not saying everything is mind over matter, but we all know a cut often does not hurt until we see it bleeding. Meditation or healing will not cure arthritis, you will still need the drugs prescribed for you, but it can do a lot to help you manage the pain.

Chakras

Reiki and Energy healing are two very relaxing therapies. They help with dis-ease in the body. Everything is energy vibrating at different frequencies. Therefore, with energy healing, the therapist runs energy from the earth through your body and energy centres (Chakras) to help bring them back to their optimum frequency.  The environment, our thoughts, what we eat and drink all unbalances our bodies. Regular basic healing sessions can help relieve your pain and stress. Should you want to go deeper to resolve actual energy blocks, this will help keep your body balanced longer.

Email Rosemary to book a session now to manage your arthritic or other pain.

10 Healthy Living Facts to Help you Improve your Life.

During my training as an energy healer, we covered nutrition and how processed food affects your health and energy levels. This post will cover a little about nutrition, straightforward ways to move more during the lockdown, and help your physical body. We will also cover ways to help your mind and spirit.

To work with me as a therapist or join our fortnightly online meditation group email Rosemary

Healthy Eating,

Most of us know sugary and processed foods are not the best choices for a healthy diet. Processed foods are any that have added ingredients. Try to eat at least 80% of fresh food.

  1. Vegetables are packed with the nutrients our body needs; they should be a major part of your healthy diet. Try experimenting with different recipes, finding ones you like, and use them in your lunches and dinners.
  2. Eating proper meals and healthy snacks. Snacking all day makes us think we are not eating much, but we miss out on essential nutrients and eat wasted calories. Eating healthy fats and proteins in complete meals helps to fill us up. If you need a snack, the following are more nutritional and keep you fuller longer, hardboiled egg, a portion of cheese, avocado, apple or other fruit, nuts, and red pepper with guacamole, cucumber slices with hummus, dried unsweetened coconut, and olives.
  3. What we drink, there is no nutritional benefit to alcohol, fizzy drinks, or fruit squashes. The caffeine acts as a diuretic, we, therefore, need to drink more fluids to replace those lost through drinking drinks high in caffeine.  Opting for green tea, herbal tea, or black coffee (keeping our coffee intake to no more than two cups a day, preferably cutting it out altogether).  The best fluid to drink is pure plain water, there are no calories or additives to worry about.  Drinking a glass of water before every meal will make you feel less hungry, and you will be drinking three glasses a day.

Exercise

We all know exercise is good for our bodies, however, it is so easy to sit and watch telly with a snack instead.

1.Walk More

Regular movement is key to so many health benefits. Aim for at least 10,000steps a day. Start easy, with these smallways to walk more and be healthier!

  • Decide to only take the stairs if you are walking less than six floors.
  • Park further away from supermarket entrance when you go shopping.
  • Walk during your work breaks.
  • Plan a walking meeting, or take your phone call while you walk.
  • Get up ten minutes earlier in the morning and take a short brisk walk before the chaos of the day.
  • Walk your kids to or from school, walk to work if it is close.
  • Take a family walk with the kids after dinner.
  • Schedule a once a week walk with a friend.
2. Short Workouts  

Long workouts are not necessary to be healthy.  For most of us, trying to fit in more than 20 minutes is a challenge.  We can try running on the spot or doing some squats while waiting for the kettle to boil or any other time we have a spare five minutes. We can do several basic exercises at home, squats, lunges, push-ups, tricep dips, plank, wall sits, burpees, and mountain climbers, these all get our muscles working again. There is lots of information on how to do these on the internet if you have never done them. You may want to get a professional to show you, though.  Build on this slowly over time, if we have been sedentary for a while, it will take several weeks to get our bodies moving again.

Healthy Mind

This is a balanced mental and emotional state. Where you are productive, feel confident, face your fears, and learn from your mistakes. To keep our minds healthy, we need to exercise and eat healthy as I have already discussed above and get enough sleep and stay mentally active. Your brain is similar to a muscle and needs to be used like any other muscle in your body.

  1. Sleep, getting seven to eight hours of sound sleep, should be our aim. Tracking your sleep with a Fitbit or similar helps you see how well you are sleeping. In a deep sleep is where tissue growth and repair take place. If we are not getting enough deep sleep, we will not feel as refreshed in the morning. Download my tips for a Good Nights Sleep.
  2. Mental Activity. Things to keep your brain healthy include mental activity, crossword puzzles, sudoku, reading, playing cards, and doing jigsaw puzzles. These all help train your brain. There are electronic games for brain training available too. Watching television does nothing to stimulate the brain as it is a passive activity.
  3. Stress has a significant impact on our minds and can contribute to memory loss. Therefore it is important to try to reduce your stress levels. Exercise, relaxation, good sleep, many of the things already mentioned will help reduce stress. Social interaction also helps our stress levels look for ways to connect with loved ones, friends, and others, especially if you live alone. Brain atrophy has been linked to solitary confinement, making the recent periods of lockdown hard for many. Therefore, it is important to stay socially active via the many online means during this time until we can meet face to face again.

Healthy Spirit

The spiritual part of our wellness is the most personal and overlooked piece of living a healthy life. We all would like to live with meaning and purpose, when this is met, we have harmony in our life. Here are some tips for spiritual wellness.

  1. Your spiritual core. By working with a group or therapist exploring your spiritual centre, you will ask yourself deep questions about who you are and your meaning. You may meditate on Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I value most?. Doing this will help you think deeply about yourself and help you achieve fulfilment in your life, possibly clearing energy blocks that are holding you back.
  2. Meditation this is a healthy spiritual practise, where you connect to yourself. Meditation has many benefits for your health. Start slowly, if you are not used to the practice start with clearing your mind of thoughts and focusing on your breath for 3 to 5 minutes each morning before you get up and evening before you go to sleep. Once you have mastered 5 minutes increase to 10, gradually increase by 5 minutes until you can do 20 minutes.

Benefits:-   (for more information on these benefits read my post “About Meditation and the Benefits)

  • Improved health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Decreased stress
  • Deep rest
  • Reversal of the ageing process
  • Increased perception and memory

To work with me as a therapist or join our fortnightly online meditation group email Rosemary

Bring Back Happiness in your Life Doing These 10 Things.

How do we keep happiness in our life?

How do we define happiness? Psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar defines it as “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning”.  Meaning gives you a sense of purpose in life, and pleasure gives you a sense of joy and wellbeing in the present moment.

Therefore, to keep happiness in our lives, we need to add pleasure and meaning to it. This allows you to increase your happiness in the moment and in the future.

Negativity is hardwired into our brain, to help us be aware of threats, problems, and stressors in our environment. This bias has helped us survive over the centuries. However, we also need to wire some positivity and happiness into our brains, so we are not ruled only by our negativity.  Happy experiences and thoughts help us to grow new neural circuits in our brains. These neural pathways provide you with inner strengths such as resilience, gratitude, enthusiasm, and happiness. 

The following ideas will help you keep happiness in your life.

If you are suffering from depression or serious anxiety, you may need more than these tips. Please continue with any medication or therapy you have been prescribed. If you would like to work we me as a therapist, please get in touch.

  1. Taking a deep breath – by taking deep breaths, we can turn off our “fight-or-flight” response, and feel calm and more relaxed, helping our confidence and happiness. Taking this one step further, and learning meditation is another great way to help your happiness grow.
  2. Gratitude – Find things in your day that give you a feeling of gratitude. Examples are, I have a job, I have a loving spouse, I have time to engage in my hobbies. Let that feeling of gratitude sink in, by continuing to plant positive experiences in your thoughts it will begin to embed them into your brain.
  3. Focus on the positive things that happen – my car got through its MOT, I didn’t get angry with anyone today, these are similar to the above, but help you programme your thoughts to be positive to help create happiness.
  4. Smiles are contagious – the deliberate decision to smile activates happiness-inducing chemicals too. When someone smiles at you, often we smile back even if it is a complete stranger. Make yourself happy and someone else with smiling.  
  5. Consciously swap a negative thought or emotion with a positive one immediately. When we feel sad, helpless, or anxious, try to remember a situation, you were happy and focus on that memory.  This will change the brain from the emotional part to the thinking part, which will help you feel more in control.
  6. Posture – studies have shown slouching can cause you to experience more bad moods, lower self-esteem, and less confidence than people who sit upright. Good posture helps physical wellbeing, also prevents neck, shoulder, and back problems. All this will help with you feeling happy.
  7. Appreciate the small pleasures of life – good experiences; however, small help our feelings of happiness. Focus for a few moments on the small, pleasant experiences you have like, “I have completed one item on my to-do list”, “I have chatted to a friend”, “I have had a relaxing bath”, “going for a walk and seeing wildlife”. The more you can reflect on good experiences and let them become your thoughts, your happiness will slowly increase.
  8.  Appreciating yourself – Begin by listing things you have accomplished today, examples; – written an email to a friend, made an important phone call, or finished a project. Bringing your attention to all your strengths will lift your spirits.
  9. See the positive in your setbacks – Remember we all have setbacks when a problem arises and blocks a project you are working on, or something is cancelled at the last minute. Instead of getting upset and angry, look at it as a challenge, not a failure or block. Think of ways to move forward, a new opportunity.
  10. Positive screensavers and wallpapers – seeing pictures of happy experiences regularly throughout the day can help us focus on our happiness. These can also be inspirational quotes, there are many screensavers you can buy which give you a new quote each day. Looking at pictures and enjoying nature or a quote can help promote a healthy life, lowering our stress, blood pressure and increasing our happiness. Changing the pictures regularly, so you do not get used to one picture is a good idea.

How to Increase your Confidence and Self-Esteem for Success

How do you see yourself? Do you feel like a superhero? If the answer is no, and you do not believe you will do well in the world, you probably will not. We manifest what you believe, not what you want. Start to improve your confidence and self-esteem by believing in yourself.

Here are some suggestions: –

  • Improve your mind – Self-confidence starts in the mind.  Setting yourself some “me time” to nurture your mind, body, and spirit for an hour a day if possible, is a good habit to form. I like to read, meditate, walk, and do some light exercise. If you do not take time for yourself, you allow the opportunity for someone or something else to shape your perspective of the world.
  • Stop the negative thoughts – how negative is your self-talk? Practising mindfulness or meditation is a great way to reprogramme our negative thoughts. Positive affirmations as you go to sleep, or doing the housework also helps.
  • Learning – we should never stop learning, whether this is a professional course, a hobby, a spiritual practise, these all help our personal growth. By completing a course or project helps our confidence.
  • Impostor syndrome – it is so easy to tell ourselves what we have created in our lives was all down to luck, and let the feelings of inadequacy and fear set in.  We need to learn to adopt ways to accept our accomplishments, chatting with our peers helps with this.
  • Dress – During the recent lockdowns, many of us are working from home and staying in our PJs. If you want success, you need to get up and dress like you would if you were going to the office. When you look good, you feel good, which will then show in your attitude and confidence.
  • Learning a skill – public speaking, amateur dramatics, anything where you are in front of an audience, helps you think and react quickly. Any of these will help at meetings and improve your confidence massively.
  • Your value – self-confidence is not all about the success you have in business. You also need to find ways to connect with yourself and grow. This could be volunteering, meditating, exercise workout, and going out with friends. It needs to help you see your value outside of your work, even if your work is a parent.

Soul-Essence runs a fortnightly online meditation group email rosemary@soul-essence.com if you would like more information on meditation, energy healing or integral core therapy.

Effortless Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem Fast

Self Esteem – what is it?

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves.

When your self-esteem is healthy, you tend to feel positive about yourself and about life in general. It makes you more resilient to life.

When your self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life more negatively and critically. We also feel less able to take on the challenges in life and are less resilient.

Causes of Low Self Esteem

In childhood, we absorbed the positive or negative messages around us, from our teachers, siblings, parents, teachers, and possibly the media.

The most common message we take on is “We are not good enough”. You could never please your parents, teachers or other adults, therefore, creating thoughts about how we are expected to be or not be.

Life events, losing loved ones, serious illness will also impact our self-esteem.

How Low Self-Esteem Affects us?

Low self esteem or a lack of confidence encourages us to: –

  • Hideaway from groups or social situations.
  • Avoid trying new things.
  • Prevents you from challenging yourself.

These will temporarily make you feel safe, but hiding and avoiding situations, reinforces your doubts and fears, teaching you the only way to cope is to avoid people and situations. This will possibly lead to depression anxiety and habits like drinking and smoking.

Improving Your Self Esteem

Ideas to boost self-esteem and confidence.

  • Identify and list the negative beliefs that you have about yourself.
  • Think about when you first had these beliefs and why.
  • Now list positive evidence to counteract the negative beliefs.
  • List all the positive things about you, example “I am kind”, “I am good at ….”
  • Keep this list somewhere you see it regularly.
  • Add to this list each day and pick 5 to focus your attention on. Reminding yourself, you are GOOD ENOUGH.
  • Try to avoid spending time with people who bring your mood down. Let them know how you feel about the way they talk to you.
  • When you listen to that inner voice that is being very self-critical, think of how you would talk to a friend, and talk kindly to ourselves.
  • Stop saying yes to please others, when you don’t want to do something, let people know honestly how you feel. Learn to say no, so you do not become overburdened and stressed.
  • Remember, no one likes to be outside their comfort zone, by giving yourself a challenge and achieving your goal will increase your self-esteem. Start with small challenges and build to more complex ones.

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Stress Now!

Taking control.

Remaining passive, thinking there is nothing I can do about my situations, makes your stress worse. Remember, there is a solution to every problem. That feeling of being unable to control your life problems is a leading cause of stress and anxiety.

Taking control is empowering; it is part of finding the solutions to your problems. The solutions need to help you, not someone else. Identify and write down your options, choose the best option, and accept the outcome, even if it is not what you expected.

Socialising with people.

We all need a network of people to talk to, friends, family, colleagues. Talking to these people helps put a different perspective on things.  Socialising and connect with people gives us a network of people that can help us when low. We can do activities with them have fun and laugh, which will help us relax and relieve our stress.

Talking with our support network helps you find solutions to your issues.

Taking some time for yourself.

Having “ME time” is essential; working in the UK, we have the longest working hours in Europe. Therefore, we are unlikely to spend as much time on the things we enjoy. We all need to take time to relax, exercise, and socialise away from work. Organising two nights a week for yourself gives you a better chance of work and personal life balance.

Take on challenges.

It is a good idea to continue learning throughout your life.  This could be in work or outside, make them relatively challenging like learning a new language, new sport, or other hobbies. You will start to feel more confident, helping your stress.

Making continued learning part of your routine, you become more resilient and are less likely to sit and watch telly for hours; you are more likely to want to do things.

Be active.

Being active can also help your stress. This can be going to the gym for a workout, but it can also be gentle walks or a keep fit routine at home. Exercise helps take your mind off your worries, so you can deal with your situations calmly.

Healthy diet and habits.

Drinking alcohol or caffeine, and smoking is not good for you, they are just ways of coping and avoiding the problems.

Men are more likely to use these to relieve their symptoms temporarily than women. Women are far more likely to talk to their friends.

You need to find the cause of the problems causing your stress.

Help others.

It has been proven that “volunteering” and community work makes us happier and more resilient.

By helping people whose situations may be worse than your own, helps you put yours into perspective. If you have a busy schedule and cannot commit to volunteering for a group, look for ways to do someone a favour daily.  These can be little things, holding the door open, treating someone to a coffee.

Work smarter, not harder.

Prioritising your day and workload, complete the tasks that will make a difference first.

You may need to accept your email inbox or your in-tray will not be empty at the end of the day, taking away the pressure of clearing all your tasks, can make you feel less stressed.  Having regular breaks, even for five minutes to take some deep breaths, you will be amazed how shallow you breathe when under pressure. You will then be able to focus more.

Be positive.

Appreciate what you have, be the glass half full person. Look for the good in people and life, find those “silver linings”.

Write down three things you are grateful for or went well for you each evening.

Accept what you cannot change.

Situations in your life are not always possible to change. Putting all your focus on these will not help your stress or anxiety. Look at ways of changing the things you can control.

How many of us complain about the weather, we cannot change it; therefore, we have to accept it, either cancel our plans or make the most of them in the rain. Getting stressed and continuing to moan about it does not help anyone.

The other thing to remember is you cannot change people, you can only change your reaction to them or your perspective.

How Can the Mind and Body Benefit From Relaxation?

Practising relaxation techniques has many benefits.

Benefits to the body: –

  • Slowing your heart rate.
  • Slowing your breathing.
  • Reducing your blood pressure.
  • The blood flow to primary muscles is increased.
  • Greatly reducing chronic pain and muscle tension.
  • Major body systems, circulatory, immune, respiratory, and gastrointestinal will function better.
  • Many common health conditions improve when regularly practising relaxation, asthma, heartburn, PMT, some skin disorders are a few examples.

Benefits to our mental health: –

  • Calms your mind and brings you into the present
  • Able to sleep better.
  • Helps you control your emotions.
  • Helps you focus and increase your concentration.
  • Can improve anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
  • Reducing stress.

There are many ways to relax and improve our health.

  • Read a book.
  • Listen to calming music.
  • Have a relaxing bath.
  • Take a walk in nature.
  • Take up painting or drawing.
  • Many hobbies help us relax.
  • Tai Chi, Chi gong classes
  • Meditation and mindfulness

Although I personally love meditation I know it is not for everyone. The aim of relaxation is to enable our minds to be totally immersed in what we are doing. We are therefore in the present not worrying about the past or future.

Soul Essence runs a fortnightly online meditation group Tuesday evenings.