Author Archive for Lisa Bardell - Director Lisa Bardell Coaching Ltd

Six Ways to Shine 6 #BeHereNow

BeHereNow
Do you recognise that most of the time your mind is away with your thoughts? Do you get distracted to the point that you can’t follow what people are saying? Are you missing key chunks of the day due to wandering off? Do you find your concentration muscle is withering away so that tasks take hours when they could take minutes?

Well you are in great company! In our modern culture, where we are overloaded with incoming streams of digital information and technology makes it easier and easier to flit between one thing and the other, our brains are changing accordingly and we are losing the ability to #BeHereNow. I notice how lacking in presence people are and I have begun to find it unsatisfying to be around people who are constantly distracted and can’t really hold the conversational space or tune in to what’s really going on… Having a busy, distracted mind is one of the most common symptoms my clients talk about when we first meet.

So if our minds really do go #AWOL, what sorts of problems do we face?

  • poor absorption of facts, figures and information resulting in what feels like a bad memory
  • low productivity leading to having to work longer hours than necessary and frustration that this happens
  • poor quality connections in relationships due to the other picking up on the distraction, or the lack of presence
  • lack of empathy or intuitive connection
  • unfulfilling conversations or unsatisfying interactions
  • creating an inner environment of stress caused by negative mind wandering
  • lack of capacity for really enjoying the moment as it is
  • lethargy and tiredness caused the the unnecessary syphoning off of mental energy into overthinking
  • no off switch, often leading to insomnia

The good news is, despite the modern epidemic of distraction, it is extremely easy to remedy with the right brain training tools and techniques.

Many meditation methods are designed to train our attention onto a specific focus instead of wandering off into the wilderness or our minds. When I created SHINE Meditation I included this as a key element within the techniques, because I realised the power of training attention and concentration and the #PowerOfPresence. I’d go so far as to say it’s a total game changer. SHINE is like a bootcamp workout for your attention muscle, meaning you can become the master of your attention. Tony Robbins, the global personal development guru, coined the phrase “Where your attention goes energy flows”, and this is so true. What gets our attention is what we become. What you focus on and create in your inner world, will literally raise your state of being. In addition, when you learn to use the power of your focus, your external world will benefit in two ways. Firstly, as you create a positive thriving inner state through mind and body, you create an inner harmony primed for health, happiness and success. This affects what you radiate outwards, how you perceive people, and how they perceive you, in a way which forges stronger connections and relationships. Secondly, when you can focus in your inner world, this up levels to focus and greater discernment in your outer world, meaning that you can strengthen your capacity to focus on what is important, on what will build you positive results, and you can more easily let the rest go.

I like the metaphor of the garden hose. The force of the water in the hose is like the force of energy in your mind through your attention. You can imagine a hose which has been left unattended, and the water is spraying out forcefully, but no-one is holding or guiding it, and it is causing utter chaos, swirling wildly and spraying anything and anyone in its path. Now picture the alternative, someone is holding and guiding the hose, directing it in a specific way. Same force, very different results.

Left untrained your attention wanders off, and why is this so bad I hear you cry? A little daydreaming never hurt anyone surely? And no a little daydreaming is fine. But what happens in the modern human mind is this: Your mind will wander and get distracted in all sorts of directions, but mainly, because of the way our brains are naturally predisposed to ‘negative’ writing, our mind wandering takes us off into stressful, anxiety producing thoughts, often in loops. This is called rumination, and it’s a top cause of stress, anxiety and depression. We produce the same stress response from our stressful thoughts as we would do from stressful events actually happening. Our brains do not know the difference.

When we drift off this is a borderline level of thinking that is mainly unconscious, we activate a ‘default network’ part of the brain called the posterior cingulate cortex – so a lot of the time we are not aware we are looping through these negative, stress producing thoughts. However, even thought the thoughts are just rumbling away under our radar of conscious awareness, our bodies are still making and physiological connection to these thoughts! Yes we are actually feeling our thinking at a cellular level through our bodies, without even being aware of it!! No wonder stress builds up to chronically toxic levels within our inner systems!

I designed The SHINE Program with simple techniques which train you in how you can shine the light of your attention onto positive thoughts, feelings and sensations. It’s SO easy when you know how. SHINE has been tried, trialled, tested AND proven for it’s positive results on mood, emotions, focus, happiness and stress busting. But SHINE subscribers also report being more present, attentive and empathetic in their relationships due to being able to focus on their friends, family and partners when in company, and being received as much better listeners, which of course creates a greater sense of connection.

I am currently offering my SHINE program for a special #FabulousFebruary offer. For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #BeHereNow :
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

Six Ways to Shine 5 #ChangeYourChannel

ChangeYourChannel
Imagine if you could change the channel within yourself like you change it when watching the TV, looking for something more fulfilling or fun to get absorbed in? Imagine if you could even choose in advance rather than as a reaction to something you didn’t like?!

Well the good news is….and this might sound a bit odd until you understand the science, but as human beings we can choose our state of being through using the right tools and techniques. We can choose to change channel. And the even better news is, that with a little training, we can entrain our inner systems, our inner environments created by neural patterns which then create physiological patterns. Yes we can train ourselves to such a degree that our inner environments sort of ramp up the scale, week by week nudging up our inner default setting so it can move upwards on the barometer, towards a new and improving level of greater happiness, satisfaction, fulfilment, gratitude, peace, joy, love and freedom.

I’ve been using meditation style techniques like this for four years now, and in practical terms what it means is this. I know my inner state is not just a conditioned reaction to my outer world, i.e, ’things are going well’. When life is going great, we actually have no real clue as to how resourceful we are, or how resilient and anchored our inner feeling of security and empowerment is. When everything is hunky-dory we just cannot test the power of our inner state in the face of adversity, because all our external boxes are getting ticked.

However, when life is throwing you a smorgasbord of set-backs, a medley of messiness, and a daily dose of dilemma – you know, the way REAL life does – at this point when you are able to acknowledge and honour what’s happening, when you are able to lean into it instead of by-pass the mess, when you are able to calmly focus on what needs to be done and and making the best decision within an imperfect and complicated situation…. AND you can also settle into an inner state of peace, loving acceptance and creative fluidity AT THE SAME TIME – then you know you have mastered the art and the science of changing your channel.

I face many tests in my life, but I have reached the point where I’m able to remain calm, creative, connected and resourceful throughout, and I don’t have to turn to distractions or to self medicate to soothe the soreness. It’s through my own personal transformation and knowing what is possible for us all (because believe me I didn’t used to be this way! But that’s a story for another day…) that I felt genuinely inspired to share what I’d learned and create something for my clients which was a highly effective and reliable amalgamation of the resources I’d gathered over the years. That’s how The SHINE Program was born, and I designed it to form a delicious daily practice, so that whilst you’re training your brain, and learning to #ChangeYourChannel – it feels good! If it feels good, and you ‘get it’ you are going to stick with it and receive all the beautiful longer term benefits further down the line.

As I was researching and studying, I became increasingly interested in the cutting edge science of the electro-magnetic field of our hearts, and of the enormous power and output of our hearts as energy centres within the body. It was as a result of this work that I designed SHINE Meditation which you receive within The SHINE Program, as a heart centred meditation. The science on this subject is growing, bringing facts and figures to marry up with the ancient and handed down wisdom of many meditation traditions. I LOVE it when science catches up like that!!

Below you can see the image which represents the measurable energy field of our hearts, and you can see how fields of energy overlap and interconnect. What I found fascinating was that changing our inner state, changing our channel, actually then changes what we’re broadcasting outwards energetically to others and to our environments. Our heart output is 5000 times more powerful than our brain output, and when we are radiating love, peace, gratitude, compassion and joy in our inner environment, we are also sending these messages outwards through specific frequencies and electro-magnetic wave patterns through our heart fields. The wonderful news is, we can influence and lift others through our own powerful channel of choice. And interestingly, when we choose these high vibe channels, because we are like human tuning forks, we will resonate with even more of these like frequencies externally (remember tuning forks resonating in physics and getting REALLY loud when two like frequencies blend together?!) which means through changing our own channel we are raising the vibration around us too.

Electro magnet

Even more fascinating, is that our hearts also act like information processing centres, both broadcasting and receiving energetic information to and from our environments, so the channel we choose even starts to form a perceptual filter THROUGH which we perceive the world. This explains exactly why it’s possible to experience love, joy and gratitude in times of challenge and dilemma – it’s because we are receiving information and perceiving it through the channel of a higher state.

I have designed SHINE in such a simple, practical and step by step way, that all of this training is made easy for you. All you have to do is watch a few video tutorials, and take advantage of the four guided meditation audios and you will have all you need to build your own routine which suits you.

I am currently offering my SHINE program for a special #FabulousFebruary offer. For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #ChangeYourChannel here:
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

Six Ways to Shine 4 #FeelYourWay

FeelYourWay

Have you forgotten how to feel? Or do you fear feeling too much? Or do you get overwhelmed by your feelings? These three relationships with feelings are all equally common across my coaching practice, and all in their own way equally unhealthy.

What happens for many of us when we have become chronically stressed (which we absolutely do not realise has happened) is that we become so completely caught up in mental energy, in analysis, problem solving, thinking, overthinking and rumination – that we live in our heads and get cut off from our bodies. Emotions and feelings are bodily events, we feel them in our bodies through our sensory capacity. Feelings, by design are waves of valuable energetic information coming up and through for expression. For us to thrive, rather than merely survive, we need to be tuned in, listening and allowing of this energy to move, flow and complete its journey through us. When stress shuts us off from our sensory experience, we lock the doors and block the routes to vital information. This means the body has to keep sending louder and more ferocious messages to get our attention. Often the body will resort to producing physical pain or a physical condition when all other attempts of waving the reg flag have failed. Either that or wild outbursts of stress fuelled emotion build up and erupt when we are triggered, causing us to behave in ways we later regret, as we reflect on our shameful losses of control.

Equally, many of us just dare not go there when it comes to emotion, we are subconsciously and occasionally consciously just sweeping pain and discomfort under the emotional carpet or holding it at arms length to protect ourselves from having to get our hands dirty or deal with the mess. We tend to like to keep things neat and tidy. But under the surface lurks the reality of our hidden carnage, causing insecurity, anxiety, irrational behaviour, and all forms of self sabotage including the old broken inner record of our negative self talk.

The only healthy and sustainable relationship to have with our feelings is one of allowing, welcoming and presence. Imagine being a really solid, loving best friend to your feelings. Imagine being able to hold the space for your own inner communications to show up and speak up, in the same way as you would do for a friend in need who wanted a loving ear just to listen. Not to fix, not to be hurried off, shamed into shutting up…. But to be heard and held. This is the sort of presence we need to develop towards our own emotional experience. And if we are one of those people who has become shut down to our emotional experience, we must first become intrigued and curious as to what has been numbed out.

When it comes to long term emotional balance, self awareness, social intelligence and reaching our full potential to shine brightly as our true selves, there is no short cut, we simply have to learn to get fluid, flowing and at ease with feeling our way through life. Anything less will steal our joy or at worst make us sick.

When I first developed SHINE as a daily self coaching program, I knew it was essential to include an evening ritual which encouraged and entrained self reflection, and was designed to honour the emotional challenges of the day in order that they could be released and transmuted, instead of clogging up our systems with subconscious clutter. Last year when I fine-tuned and revised the program I also felt it was important to offer a guided meditation technique through an MP3, which built on this important theme of emotional integration. It’s time we all gained this mastery, so that we believe there is nothing to fear from our feelings. Everything we think we want in life, every material achievement we think is important is really all for a feeling, it’s never about the ‘thing’ itself, but it’s always about what inner experience we will gain from getting the goal, reaching the level, fixing the problem….. Yet the less capacity we have for our ‘negative’ feelings the less we have for the ‘positive’ ones too. This leads us on an endless and often exhausting quest where the joy, the satisfaction, the love or the intimacy we desire is all but fleeting. We cannot hold it, we move the goalposts immediately and we end up getting just the merest whiff of what we wanted before we realise that’s not enough and we set off on the next mission to achieve more, do more, or create more drama or intensity so we can feel more of what we think we want to feel. All the while focussing on the destination instead of the vehicle itself. All the while doing the exact same thing but expecting a different result.

If you are ready for a different result, a deeper and more sustainable feeling of fulfilment, joy, contentment, peace or happiness which resides deep on the inside rather than the outside, then it sounds like you’re ready to SHINE.

I want to share SHINE far and wide, and I have a very special #FabulousFebruary offer on to celebrate a re-launch of a fine-tuned version of the original program, my offer is at £20 OFF, for just £87.

For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #FeelYourWay here:
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

Six Ways to Shine 3 #SlowDownForSuccess

SlowDown

I used to want everything in my life to happen at high speed. Certainly everything in my business career happened fast, and I believed it needed to because that was the culture of the businesses I was brought up in, and later on it was the culture I created when I was leading businesses.

Anything less fell short. Yet I realised back then, even before I knew the science about how speed can ironically slow us down and make us inefficient, that people seemed to work themselves up into a frenzy, and in doing so they were not flourishing. Myself included probably! When you have concrete deadlines, plenty of people to please and the goalposts are constantly being moved at the very last minute, you barely have time to catch a breath.

As I took the conscious decision to slow down, to retrain to work one to one with coaching and therapy clients and to run my own business, I knew that I finally wanted space to breathe, to eat, to sleep. I realised I wanted space and time for myself, and I created a life with a lot more pottering time built in. Immediately this brought me huge joy and I was perplexed as to how I had ever managed without it, but I realise not everyone is in the position, or has the inclination to do this. So this blog is not actually about slowing your life down, it’s about slowing you down. I soon discovered the science of slowing down on the inside, for greater success on the outside, and it’s what I teach many of my executive clients who are struggling to find balance in their high pressure jobs, or are feeling jaded despite being seen as ‘successful’…

So what does the science show us? We stimulate our fight or flight response in our brains when we have too much to do. Our thoughts set off our stress response in just the same way is if were were really under threat. Thoughts of ‘what will they think?’ ‘I’m not good enough at my job’, ‘they don’t like me’, ‘I must climb the ladder because I can’t survive on this salary’, ‘why did they promote her instead of me?’, ‘I don’t fit in here’… can all trigger us into a state of chronic stress.

Chronic stress is the most common way we sabotage our success, yet most people are totally unaware that it’s going on inside their bodies and brains and they just assume it’s effects are due to their external environments, putting all the focus outside of them instead of focusing on the inside. We can always take responsibility for our inner environments to change them in a way which is supportive. We do actually have control over this with the right techniques and insights. However it’s ironic that most of us are entrained and conditioned to put ALL of our focus on trying to control our external environments, usually other people, where in reality we have very little control at all!!

I wanted to tackle all of this in The SHINE Program, I felt it was time to help people address the issue of their inner environment unwittingly working against them being able to create the outer success they really want and deserve. The SHINE Program trains you into creating an optimum inner environment for health, energy, focus, good decision making, great memory and recall, and generally feeling good and ready to take on the world!

You will have heard me talking about Flow and Coherence in the previous #SixWaysToShine blogs. However, when we are talking about slowing down for success, there’s another aspect of your body’s functioning that specifically needs to slow down in order for your to be in your most resourceful state, and that is your brain wave frequencies!

This is something I’ve really focused on with The SHINE Program, which is probably best described as a meditation style brain training system for inner relaxation, happiness and health – all of which equips you to shine brightly as the best and most successful version of yourself.

I have created four guided meditation MP3’s within SHINE, which use the very best in cutting edge technology to have you relaxing, re-couperating and replenishing at the deepest level. I have used binaural beats to literally entrain your brain wave frequency to a deep and slow Theta Wave as you listen!

What are the benefits of this? Well in our daily state of stress or focus on tasks we are in a higher frequency brain wave state called Beta, the more stressed we are, the faster our brain waves, and with this fast and chaotic brain wave activity comes fast and chaotic mental activity…

Have you ever experienced…

  • a super busy mind which will not switch off
  • insomnia due to your mind whirring and ruminating late at night
  • constant distracting thoughts which ruin your focus on what is important and take you off track
  • over thinking and over analysis leading to analysis paralysis
  • a constant voice of your own inner critic
  • poor recall of facts, figures and words, just when you need it most
  • feeling drained of energy and numb after big projects

Well this is all due to fast and chaotic brain wave activity, which literally saps your body of precious energy diverts it way from more important roles within your body! These are signs you might want to learn some mastery over your brain activity and to #SlowDownForSuccess

Once you have learned to slow it all down from using SHINE, or by listening to the Theta Wave audios every day or so you will receive these blissful benefits and will be wondering how you ever managed without it! You won’t want to go back…

  • clear and fluid thinking
  • improved problem solving
  • better creative flow
  • more focus and concentration on the task or project
  • feeling more grounded and emotionally resilient
  • absorbing and recalling facts and information more easily
  • communicating more clearly with access to the language and the expression you desire

I want to share SHINE far and wide, and I have a very special #FabulousFebruary offer on to celebrate a re-launch of a fine-tuned version of the original program, my offer is at £20 OFF, for just £87.

For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #SlowDownForSuccess here:
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

Six Ways to Shine 2 #ShrinkYourStress

ShrinkStress

Did you know you could shrink your stress without having to shrink your life?

You see most people mistakenly put all their focus on their external world when thinking about shrinking their stress. No wonder it feels like a big deal! We are not taught the truth about what stress really is, and as a result we are all fuelling the lie that we live every day…. We believe that other people cause our stress, that our jobs cause our stress, our families, or our partners, or that there is too much month at the end of the money and it’s that which causes our stress.

But the truth is, none of these outside factors have the power over you to cause you stress on the inside. Your stress is an inside job. No matter how routine or long standing your stress has been, it is not inevitable at all. Your stress is just a response. If someone is sitting indoors in sunglasses and says it’s dark, we can all see that that’s not true. Once they take those glasses off, they will realise that the room wasn’t dark, it was the lenses that were making it look dark. Now you might think this a a simplistic metaphor, and I’m about to launch into some sort of campaign to extol the virtues of ‘positive thinking’. Yes and no. Yes positive thinking is OK, I’m not going to knock it, but let’s be clear – if you just made a decision to try your best to think positive, but you did it with the same negative thinking brain you started with, it would be a very flimsy strategy and wouldn’t bring about much change. In fact what a lot of my clients say when I first meet them, is that they know they ‘should’ think positive, they try their best, and then they end up using their failure as yet another stick to beat themselves with. Which, yes you guessed it….causes more stress!

So I’ll explain to you what needs to happen on the inside, in order for you to have a truly transformed experience of the outside. Just like the sunglasses have a filter which cause the outside world to look different, your brain has a filter too. Through this filter your perceive the world. We all have our own unique blueprints for how we perceive the world, based on all our years worth of programming and conditioning. Before we are seven years old, a huge proportion of our perceptual filtering system is in place, based on our emotional experiences. These emotional experiences, especially our negative ones, or our traumas, get etched into our bodies through our limbic system. The limbic system is the survival, fight or flight system. It does a brilliant job, and it is primitive, it likes to keep things simple rather than cerebral. Our limbic systems rule our subconscious minds, and our subconscious minds rule us. Rather than using logic or reasoning, the subconscious limbic system think in terms of lack or white, good or bad, right or wrong, safe or scary.

In our brains there is an extremely important area called the amygdala. This is the limbic brain, it controls the triggering of our fight or flight, which means it knows and decides what will stress us out. What happens in the modern human, because we have so many information streams coming in, and so many roles to fulfil and dilemmas to reconcile compared to our more primitive ancestors who lived simpler lives with less technology, our amygdala gets over stimulated and as it keeps firing off the fight or flight response it gets bigger. Bigger and better at doing the job of stressing us out. Genius. And there you have it. We are walking around with over exercised, over developed amygdalae, which completely distort our perceptions of the world around us to the point that we find anything and everything stressful. And we feel overwhelmed, under resourced and like we haven’t got enough time to boot.

So you see, not much is going to change, until you literally #ShrinkYourStress by shrinking your amygdala. Positive thinking will not cut it…Professor Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist from Harvard University proved that meditation shrinks your amygdala. When we use a specific brain training tool or technique, especially of we use it regularly, it will literally re-wire our brains for positive change. How we perceive our world can totally change, without the world having to change at all. So as we change our perceptual filters, we perceive our world differently, which means we can reduce our stress, feel happier and more positive, improve our concentration and memory, feel more connected and at ease in relationships and behave more confidently and assertively. All from the INSIDE!

I have created something wonderful which can help you achieve all of this, because I am passionate about helping my clients move from stressing out and burning into shining brightly as the best version of themselves. I designed my own brain training system, called The SHINE Program, and I know how powerful it is at shrinking stress, because I have tried, tested and proven it!

When I trialled The SHINE Program last year, it came through the study with 100% positive stress busting results for all of the forty people who took part in the six week protocol. We used three standardised stress measures before and after the six week period, and everybody reduced their stress significantly. But that is only part of the story! The reason I know for sure that stress is not caused by our circumstances is this….

Whilst I was testing the group, three of my lovely participants had some really bad luck, and they had to go through three of the most ‘stressful’ life events as they were on my program. One lady received a cancer diagnosis, another suffered a bereavement of her father, and another broke up with her long term partner. And for all of their deep emotion as they navigated through these awful challenges, still their stress levels were REDUCED by the end of The SHINE Program!! Even after all that ’stress’, their stress levels were LESS not more. Isn’t that phenomenal!!??

I want to share SHINE far and wide, and I have a very special #FabulousFebruary offer on to celebrate a re-launch of a fine-tuned version of the original program, my offer is at £20 OFF, for just £87.

For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #ShrinkYourStress here:
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Start shrinking your stress and shining brighter right now.

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

Six Ways to Shine 1 #GetInFlow

 

GetInFlow

We hear so much casual talk of flow. Everybody wants more of it. But what the heck is it? And more importantly how can you get it for yourself?

Most people find that their flow comes when ‘life’ goes well, but goes again as soon as some challenges crop up. Well you don’t need me to tell you that you’re probably not going to shine your brightest light out into the world if you only have access to fleeting, fair weather flow.

As with most words which appear in the world of personal development, flow is more than just a metaphor. It’s a real thing. There is a science to flow. The power of your flow, the longevity of your flow, and how quickly you can return to flow is a scientifically measurable phenomena, with real results, and tangible benefits for the flow-er!

The good news is you can totally train yourself into the state of flow, and you can consciously choose to return to flow when you realise you’ve lost it.

But what is flow specifically? How would you know if you were in flow? And what’s the big deal with it?

Flow is measured through the variance of the spaces in between your heartbeats. It’s not your heart rate, that only gives you half the story. Your heart rate can be fast or slow but that won’t tell you if you’re in flow.

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Flow doesn’t even mean that your heart beats are evenly spaced (that’s not natural, it’s not how hearts work). What it does mean, is that if you plotted a graph of your heart beats they would be getting faster. And then slower. And faster again. But this graph would be a smooth and even wavy line.

The proper term for what is measured when we are in flow, is called Psychophysiological Coherence. It means all the body’s systems are energetically coordinated, in harmony, fluidly communicating fully and optimally with each other.

When we are in heart coherence aka in flow, we are in the most energy efficient state possible. Mind, body and emotions are all in sync.

Flow comes with SO many benefits you will wonder how you ever got on without it!

If you imagine in your body there is a store cupboard of ingredients, and from those same ingredients your body can produce two different recipes. The flow recipe is what we produce when we are in heart coherence. From the parent hormone pregnenalone, we produce the wonder hormone called DHEA. This is all about health, anti aging and vitality!

However, there’s also a rather toxic recipe the body can make from the same stores of pregnenalone, and that is the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the no-flow hormone that causes us to age, get sick, store fat and gain weight by slowing our metabolism. It also erodes the neural connections in the hippocampus area of our brains which makes us lose our memories, lowers our mood and causes erratic emotional outbursts, sensitivity and reactivity.

When we are in the no-flow state we are stressed, fearful, angry, impatient, lacking empathy, distracted, ashamed, guilty or sad.

We also experience a shutting down of our higher cortical functioning which means we lack discernment, are more likely to get addicted or dependent, lose concentration or lack focus on goals for the future, and have a much lower level of self perception and intuitive awareness of others.

The graph of the space between our heart beats would be random and utterly chaotic. Many people are stuck with the no-flow state most of the time, they are anxiety prone and more likely to rely on substances to feed the starved reward centres in their brains with a quick but fleeting fix (nicotine, alcohol, drugs, food, sugar).

Flow = Harmony  No Flow = Chaos

When you’re in flow you will experience more…

  • Emotional stability
  • Emotional awareness – it’s actually easier to honour and observe our true emotional experience through flow, and therefore it’s easier to articulate and express our emotional experience with others
  • Energy
  • High quality rest & sleep
  • Mental sharpness
  • Focus & concentration
  • Access and recall of information and words
  • Creativity & problem solving genius
  • Joy, happiness & bliss!! (even when life deals you a smorgasbord of setbacks, it will not steal your joy or rob you of your resources)
  • Empathy & connection with others
  • Present moment awareness & presence to hold space for people

Discovering flow and training myself into it, was my number one motivation for creating The SHINE Program and helping other people to learn it too. SHINE is all about heart coherence and flow, and within it I have combined the two best and globally recognised techniques for creating flow. I have followed and researched the latest neuroscience and heart science findings to bring you a #GetInFlow method which is so simple and reliable anyone can learn it. You can literally go from no-flow to flow in a matter of weeks. I have proven the results of SHINE through a standardised trial study too, so you can trust that it is tried and tested.

If you would like to learn a simple and highly effective technique for yourself, I have developed a practical program based on modern Applied Psychology and Mind-Body Science, called SHINE – ‘A Daily Meditation, Relaxation & Self-Coaching Technique’ which teaches you to access and
nurture the optimal Brain – Heart – Body state of Psychophysiological Coherence for improved Health, Happiness & Success – SHINE was statistically validated in January 2016 through a standardised trial protocol with 40 people, for its effectiveness and positive results on health, emotional wellbeing, mental wellbeing, stress management and improving productivity.

I want to share SHINE far and wide, and I have a very special #FabulousFebruary offer on to celebrate a re-launch of a fine-tuned version of the original program, my offer is at £20 OFF, for just £87.

For just £87 you can access your own SHINE Program here…. #GetReadyToShine and #GetInFlow here:
https://lisabardellcoaching.leadpages.co/shine-program/

Lisa Bardell – BSc (Hons) Psych, Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, Coaching & NLP Master – is a coach and therapist who retrained to follow her passion into Psychology after a 16 year business career at executive level. Lisa runs two busy practices in Cheshire and London and works with coaching clients all over the world via Skype. For a FREE 30 min consultation mail on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk

2017… Goal setting that gives you wings…

goalswings

 

I’m not sure I’m supposed to utter these words as a coach…. but traditional ‘goal setting’ leaves me cold. Really. Even the words sound corporate and sterile and make me shudder.  I can barely believe I’ve used them in the title of a blog. What was I thinking?

Well let me tell you what I was thinking. If I want to inspire you with some ideas and guidance which will serve to light your path into 2017, which will ignite your passion and excitement for the year ahead, which will fuel your creativity to design the year of your dreams, which will indeed give you wings….. I must make some distinctions.

Goal setting is often a hollow, box ticking exercise in the same camp as the dreaded ‘New Year’s Resolutions’. At the very least goal setting can often be pointless (yes I’ve read all the coaching books, and I still stand by this!) and at worst it can be toxic and actually feed our patterns of self sabotage. The first problem with what we tend to call goals, is that we are taught to set them around things, stuff, quantities, titles, status and money. We need to be putting much more emphasis on how we want to feel, rather that  what external ‘benchmarks’ we think will deliver us a dose of feeling good.

The second problem with setting goals is the intense irony in using a ‘process’ which in the wrong hands just formalises how we routinely disempower ourselves. The beliefs that we are ‘not good enough’, ‘not enough as we are’ or ‘not worthy’ are rife and endemic in our culture. Every single client I work with as an executive coach, life coach and therapist – whether they are outwardly seen to be ‘successful’ or ‘stuck’ – we are inevitably working on some shade or fragrance of these core beliefs, embedded in childhood. So without the holistic approach of coaching and it’s emphasis on many deeper aspects, other than just the ‘goals’ for the future, the whole premise of goal setting tends to just reinforce the idea that we are not OK yet, not there yet, not good enough yet. BUT when / if we meet that condition, reach that level, do that thing, accumulate that stuff, earn that salary, meet that guy, buy that house etc…etc… THEN we will be OK. Only then will we be good enough. Only AFTER we have ticked the box can we start living, feeling satisfied and deserving. It’s the most ridiculously routine way we hand over our power to some future version of ourselves that doesn’t exist yet, whilst the current version is still stuck here is the present moment feeling a bit overwhelmed by having to get so much done in order to start the ‘feeling good’ chapter – the ultimate irony is that with this mentality that chapter never really starts, because no matter how many goals we think we are on track to score, the part of our subconscious which houses the ‘not good enough’ belief simply keeps moving the goalposts, and to mix up the metaphors….has us jumping through hoops.

Which leads nicely onto the third problem with setting goals, especially in the ‘dream big’ school of personal development… We set them so high that what we feel is the LACK of where we are now in comparison to where we want to be. Instead of feeling the warm glow of joyful inspiration. We feel the cold heavy weight of being miles away from our destination. Nothing kills our enthusiasm faster than a toxic goal. A goal which just reminds all us the more what we are NOT yet, and what we DO NOT have yet.

If you are still with me, and wondering when I’m going start talking about the wings, thank you for hanging on in here. But I’m sure you will agree it’s worth moving away from the old paradigm because like me, you have probably already realised it doesn’t really deliver what it promises.

What I’m going to present to you here is designed to help you fly this year. When I think of flying, as well as wings,  I think of… Ease.. Passion… Fun… Gracefulness… Intuitive skill… Pleasure… Thrill… What the heck has all that got to do with creating and attracting a year of holistic success? A lot…

Our greatest progress towards our goals will always come from pleasure, from feeling good. In turn, making progress towards our purpose also brings us pleasure. Even before we start making progress, pleasure is our most important foundation when it comes to creating and attracting what we want in our lives. This is because we must set our intentions, make our promises and commitments to what is a priority and focus our ideas and planning from a state of feeling good, from a holistic high vibration inner environment. This is the vital ingredient missing in old paradigm ‘goal setting’… If you want to  plan for pleasure you have to plan with pleasure.

So with this in mind, here is my step by step guide to bringing passion, and awareness to your planning process…. Prepare to fly…

#Reflect & Review 2016

Before starting anything new, it’s always a good idea to review what came before, just the same way you would start your new year business strategy with a review of the previous year’s performance, you can adopt this approach for yourself too.

1/ Begin by Celebrating Your Successes – Put emphasis and time into this part of the process. Give yourself permission to be your own best friend. Pat yourself on the back for what went well, where you performed well, where you achieved what you set out to, where you acted resourcefully in the face of challenges or where you gained important insights about yourself or others.

One very useful and interesting fact about our brains and emotions, is that when we remember events from the past, and really associate and connect into the feelings, we actually produce the biochemistry of those positive emotions all over again – the brain does not know the difference! – All the neurological pathways of chemical and electrical messages get sent around our whole bodies once more. Feel how good it feels to relive your finest moments, to appreciate yourself for your skills and talents, be grateful for the way you handled yourself through dilemmas.

2/ Acknowledge What Was Challenging – without getting stuck into lamenting mistakes and mishaps! Do this succinctly to allow you to move on to point 3

3/ Now Reflect on what Lessons you have Learnt from the above. Note how you will take these forward in a way that will support you.

4/ Let the rest GO! Yes just set a clear intention to let it go, the least useful thing you can do is to hang on to old emotional clutter. When you carry frustration and resentment forward with you, it shows. And more importantly you unwittingly send it out as an unspoken message. Every emotional state has a vibrational quality to it, and you will be broadcasting out your message, whether you intend to or not! Neurologically, physiologically and energetically it can assist us to release old outdated information or ideas if we choose a combination of writing, speaking out loud, visualising, or even actually throwing out objects, clutter or anything which is a symbolic association of the ‘old’. You can choose the best approach for yourself, but don’t skimp on this stage, let your consciousness indulge itself a little in this process of release.

#Dreams & Desires

After letting do, dreaming and desiring are next in line. Getting creative is important. Feeling good is important in getting creative.

When I work with my clients on specific projects or problem solving, I walk them through the ‘Disney Strategy’ (I won’t cover this in full here). Walt Disney was a man who knew the power of dreaming, and conjuring up ideas…so much so he built it in to his business strategy. In fact he put so much emphasis on creativity he spent whole days or even weeks intentionally immersed in a creative, fluid mindset which he ensured was unhindered by being too practical, logistical or problem focussed.

So I would encourage you to do the same, here are the rules to adding ‘Dreaming Time’ in to your planning for pleasure process:

1/ Only dreams and ideas are allowed – schedule in your ‘Dreaming Time’, and when you have set the time aside, this time is only for IDEAS. Do not start criticising them, or checking them for practicalities at this stage. Just let the ideas flow, and make a note of them. You don’t have to plan and focus on every idea you come up with, but it’s important to nurture ideas from which you can choose.

2/ Ask yourself this – ‘If I could guarantee it would work out, what would I do?’ – this question can help you start the flow and be more imaginative.

3/ Relax & Expand– We are at our most creative in relaxed and expansive brainwave states – our brains are constantly sending out electric waves of information to other parts of our brain, to our bodies, and to the space around (including other people). Brain wave frequencies affect our thoughts. The busy brainwave state that we are in most of the time is called Beta, it is fast, analytical and logical – the opposite of what we need for creative thinking! To help us be at our most fluid and inspirational, we need to slow our brainwaves down into the Alph and the Theta waves. Whatever you need to do to relax and to feel good, do it. Whether it is yoga, meditation, reading, listening to music, lighting candles, laying crystals around you, bathing in bubbles… Give yourself permission to do this, it’s an important part of the planning for pleasure process. Overlook pleasure at your peril.

#Be Elaborate – Ask yourself what you want to BE, to DO and to HAVE. The more elaborate you are the better, this will help with all of the following steps. So you will be wanting, dates, colours, locations, people and all manner of details. It’s important. Make it real, make it personal to you. Connect with what you want. This leads nicely on to….

#Embody the Experience

For the most powerful results, for the strongest wings, we must learn to bring our bodies into this process of connecting with what we want to create in our future. This means cultivating the feelings, the emotions and the bodily sensations by setting the intention to do so and by using our minds, our imagination as the force to fuel our flight. Step in to the future, to already having, being or doing what you want. Now notice how you feel inside from having done it already. Notice your external environment, people, settings, notice how you look, and really get in touch with your inner experience as you observe all this from your mind’s eye, feeling how good it feels to see it. Your brain will be forming neural connections for you, which will already be creating an inner antennae to align you with this future by helping you to form a sort of ‘perceptual filter’ through which to take in messages. Most important of all is this inner experience of emotion, feeling and sensation. This will be some sort of positive feeling; maybe satisfaction, contentment, freedom, love, happiness, joy, abundance. Whatever it is, really make a note of it because this is what you are going to be motivated TOWARDS. Using this embodied experience will help you to express what you WANT in POSITIVE language. Most of the time, left to our own devices, we talk about our goals and futures by telling ourselves and others about what we DON’T want or about some PROBLEM we are trying to solve…..eg, get out of debt, stop feeling anxious, get away from an ex, move on from a bullying boss etc.

When we express ourselves in this language we are setting off all those neural pathways in our brains and bodies associated with the problem, and we are also triggering our emotional response to that problem too eg, fear, frustration, anger, sadness. OK it may be a diluted response, but still we are sending it to every cell of our bodies, and because emotions have a molecular structure, they also have a vibration. If we vibrate negative emotion we attract it back in, just like a human tuning fork, we resonate with other negative vibrations. Now this might all sound a little ‘woo woo’, but actually it’s science, Albert Einstein, who put it like this:

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy, this is physics.”

Connect with the feelings and sensations in your body, those very bodily experiences that the future you dream about and desire will bring you. And immerse yourself in those feelings, embody them and ignite them into life through your entire human system, through every cell of your body through the power of your imagination. This is why feeling good, taking time for yourself, looking after yourself, ensuring lots of nurturing self care, is SO essential in the grand scheme of us creating and attracting the future we dream of and desire. Feeling good now, even before our life circumstances have changed, is the only reliable route to feeling good then.

Put another way, if you are feeling sad, lonely, fearful, lacking or overwhelmed – this is what you will be broadcasting outwards energetically, like the human tuning fork you will be resonating (i.e. making bigger, fuelling and attracting) even more of this experience and it is highly unlikely you will align yourself with the positive future you desire.

You have to match the frequency of what you want FIRST, in order to create and attract more of it.

You have to begin giving yourself permission to feel good, OK and positive BEFORE you reach your future, and each step of the way as you take your aligned actions to create that future.

If you are simply relying on reaching your ‘goal’ as your only way to feel OK, you will be handing your power over to the future.

#Say it out Loud – Use the power of announcement to express the elaborateness of what you want, and how you WANT TO FEEL – and say it out loud. When we use language and speak (out loud, or in your head) we light up specific neural pathways in our brains, the more positive neural pathways we light up in connection to what we want, the more solid the foundations we are laying, the stronger and clearer the signal from the inner antennae is broadcast. This way our brains can become more familiar with what we want, and send signals through more branches of other positive pathways, so neural information spreads out and can integrate more fully across and through our brains.

The good news is that our brains are plastic, the term ‘neural plasticity’ explains how new neural connections are made as our brains learn. With the right information and intentions, we can feed our brains, we can mold and shape them in new directions, away from old stuck patterns and into new territory.

#Write it Down – same principle, different pathways – writing down information lights up different areas of the brain, this is why journaling has become so popular, there is a science to it.

#Build a Dream Board – get visual – same principle, different pathways – visualising lights up different areas of the brain, and is one of the most powerful ways to fire together new neurons in the brain, so that they wire together. Putting lots of images and key words together in a board can help you to keep reminding yourself of the visual information and connecting up with your future in a way which will change your brain. But remember, there is nothing more powerful than the feeling, so spend time feeling how it feels as you look at your vision board, so you are not just relying on the visual, but using it to help you connect with the fully embodied experience. As with all these steps, allow yourself time and don’t skimp on the experience itself.

#Planning & Chunking it Down – to reduce a potential sense of overwhelm that can come from having lots to do, chunk down your steps, your practical planning into bite size and achievable chunks which are set against REALISTIC timescales. The last thing you want to do is be beating yourself up for not having enough time! Diarise what you are doing, it can help to use a colourful, wall planner which again appeals to the very powerful visual senses which are equally useful when planning as they are when imagining.

#Find an Accountability Partner – tell someone else your plans, and ask them to hold you accountable, to check in on you. Give them key dates when you will be doing certain things and give them permission to chase you on where you are up to. Accountability makes us much more likely to meet our deadlines. We only have to compare our productivity and focus at work with our bosses and line managers with the way we are at home to know this is true!

#Be Flexible – I’m all for having a strategy, for formalising steps and actions and being specific about what we want to create. However, I would encourage a sense of relaxed fluidity and flexibility in every approach.

For many people (myself included) setting rigid action plans can tend to pile on the pressure and have you stressed out, tired and stumbling around in clouds of brain fog. Fact: Stress fogs your brain and switches off your clever, creative and resourceful functioning! This is the opposite of what we want.

So remember, it’s all about ‘Progress not Perfection’. Again, the importance of finding time to relax, unwind and feel good will ultimately fuel our wings for flight.

Finally, through staying fluid and flexible, we might actually find we start to get drawn towards another, even more brilliant and suitable route than the one we had planned. Being too tunnel visioned on an outcome can actually close us off energetically to receiving other wonderful possibilities which might serve our highest evolution all the better! When we stay relaxed and open, we can begin to attract and subtly engineer all kinds of amazing opportunities, potentially quite different to what we originally had in our planning.

Think of this process as etching what you desire deeply into your consciousness, having it resonate through your field of awareness like a loud clear broadcast to the universe. It is for the purpose of channeling your energy, focussing your attention and galvanising your efforts towards the future your desire with momentum and flow. It is of course no guarantee of what will happen, but when we can bring order to what might otherwise have been chaos, we are certainly ensuring we set off in flight, stay in the air, and have a clear idea of where we are heading.

I have developed the perfect Guided Hypnotic Meditation MP3 to accompany this blog called Powerful Promises. It has been dowloaded by 14k people already from all over the globe, and it’s rated at 95%. It’s FREE and you can download yours via this link TODAY:

POWERFUL PROMISES FREE MEDITATION MP3

Lisa Bardell BSc (Hons) Psychology, is an Executive Coach, Life Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Accredited Meditation Coach and Creator of The SHINE Meditation & Coaching Online Program. To read more about The SHINE Program or to access the January only OFFER for just £87 (RRP £107) click here: The SHINE Program

 

More information about Lisa Bardell can be found on her website: LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk

The Mechanics of Meditation

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How many of you have nothing but a passing curiosity about meditation, or are actively resistant to the very idea of it?

Are you wondering what all the fuss is about? Why on earth are cross party reviews considering funding modern meditation training for schools, front line health workers, prison workers, and even prisoners? Why are CEO’s, entrepreneurs and business leaders taking to modern meditation techniques to help them perform at their peak in business, and reach their full potential?

Well, it’s not just about ‘relaxing’ and sitting still for a while. There’s a proper science to meditation, which literally re-wires your brain for improved success, wellbeing and emotional resilience – on a scale you most probably can’t even imagine if you have yet to dip your toe in to mastering your own mind.

I think it was Osho who said so wisely…

“Your mind can be a beautiful servant. Or a dangerous master”

The chances are, if you have not yet learnt mind mastery in the way meditation allows you to, you may well be at the whim of your mind. It’s probably using and abusing you. At the very least it will be tricking you and limiting you, in ways which are so insidious and familiar, you will have just accepted them as your lot.

To cover all the key findings of Neuroscience, and how meditation changes your brain is unrealistic for this blog post, as there are thousands of studies to comb through. However I will just focus on a couple of key areas, which I hope will make sense and resonate.

Scientists working in the field of meditation, researching it’s effect on the brain now even have their own name – ‘Contemplative Neuroscientists’ – and the magical piece of equipment they use to measure neural activity and changes in grey matter, connectivity and functionality is the MRI scanner. Neural Plasticity is the term used to describe the well established fact that the brain is able to ‘collapse’ and destabilise old connections and patterns, and to wire together new ones. Although establishing new neural connections both within an area of the brain, and between areas, sounds rather sci-fi, the good news is, it’s actually remarkably easy to achieve with the right techniques.

Default vs Awareness

There is an area in the middle of the brain called the Posterior Cingulate Cortex, this can be thought of as our ‘default network’ which ( unless we have been taught meditation ) we drift into unconsciously most of the time – where we dwell on the past, ruminate, predict the future and get caught up in loops of thinking about our ‘self’, life, external circumstances, and how they might affect our ‘self’. We tell ourselves stories about our ‘identity’ – it’s the home of self referential thinking. Sometimes we can get so absorbed in thinking about our own lives we barely notice what is going on around us.

What meditation techniques teach, is to quiet this area of the brain down. When we do this, we experience ‘effortless awareness’, where we are fully aware of our selves, and our environment, without engaging in an internal dialogue about it, and what it ‘means’ to us. It is not just a form of concentration, but rather a quality of experience which is ‘non-clinging’. This state of awareness is associated with slower brain waves, it uses much less energy, and it returns us to the absorbed awareness we had as children when we were in rapid and expansive learning mode.

We may still be aware of thoughts when we are in this state, but we can learn to just notice them as they pass through, rather than jumping in to the seat of the emotional roller coaster with them. When we are engaged in self-referential thinking, we start ‘feeling the thinking’ and we produce a physiological and measurable response to it. This is how we create chronic stress for ourselves – without meditation most of us have no mastery over our self-referential thinking, and we unconsciously trigger off the ‘Physiological Stress Response’ with our own thoughts about our selves and our lives.

What researchers have discovered, is that the common element of drifting into ‘thinking’ which causes Anxiety and Stress is ‘judgement’ – as opposed to just noticing. Meditation techniques allow you, through increased awareness, to consciously notice thoughts, even thoughts about stressful events, without producing a ‘Physiological Fear Response’. So meditation is actually not about stopping your thoughts completely, instead the benefits come from forming a different relationship to your thoughts, and reducing their emotional charge. The result is having mastery and choice over which thoughts you engage with and think about.

As well as feeling good for the meditator, this also conserves a lot of bodily energy, because it is no longer being sapped by the most exhausting and labour intensive of all brain functions – unnecessary and unproductive thinking – this previously wasted energy can be directed back into the active processes of healing and repair in the body, and allowing the immune system to keep us vibrant and healthy as designed – rather than literally just muddling through in survival mode!

Shrinking the Fear Centre

Within about 8 weeks of taking up a regular meditation practice, it has been shown through research that the Amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for setting off the ‘Physiological Fear Response’ actually shrinks. So rather than it acting like a pumped up, over-exercised muscle which becomes genius at stressing you out over the slightest little thing – it shrinks and calms down allowing you to feel calm, peaceful, safe, secure and able to get on with life and perform to your full potential.

Reclaim your Attention

With the ability not to drift into stress producing thinking, or to get overly distracted by the (often pointless) self-referential thinking, we learn to reclaim our attention and to master our minds. Another main benefit of this is that we can be much more focussed and highly productive, and we listen much less to than annoying inner critic who tells us it might all go wrong / that we are not clever enough / pretty enough / confident enough etc….

Live in Flow 

Stress acts like a switch. It switches off our clever, resourceful, creative thinking, and instead switches on emotional and reactive thinking. When we are free from those old stress hormones coursing through our systems ( even the ones we didn’t realize were there ) this opens up our experience to living much more in flow, accessing our best creativity, problem solving and intuition. Life and opportunities can begin to come to us more easily, instead of living with a sense of constant striving and effort, achieving becomes easier and more natural. Sometimes there is less to do than you think….

If you would like to learn a simple and highly effective technique for yourself, I have developed a practical program based on modern Applied Psychology and Mind-Body Science, called SHINE – ‘A Daily Meditation, Relaxation & Self-Coaching Technique’ which teaches you to access and nurture the optimal Brain – Heart – Body state of Psychophysiological Coherence for improved Health, Happiness & Success – SHINE was statistically validated in January 2016 through a standardised trial protocol with 40 people, for its effectiveness and positive results on health, emotional wellbeing, mental wellbeing, stress management and improving productivity. 

To read more or to register for The SHINE Meditation Program – click here for the LIMITED offer for January of £67 (value = £107): SHINE 

shinelogo

 

Lisa Bardell BSc ( Hons ) Psych, Dip NLP Coach Clin Hyp – is an Executive Coach, Author of  ‘Shine Brighter’, Creator of the statistically validated SHINE Meditation & Coaching Online Program,  NLP Master, Accredited Meditation Coach and a Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist working with private clients One to One from her practices in Cheshire and Central London. Lisa is also the Director of the Manchester ‘Damsels in Success’ group, leading entrepreneurial women in their personal and business development, through group coaching and mentoring.

To view more information on all services click website link: LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk

Are you too Cruel to be Kind? A guide to being both Authentic AND Kind in a Modern World…

Have you abandoned Kindness in your quest for Authenticity?

Authenticity. To be authentic is apparently nowadays a highly desirable way to operate in the world. To be authentic is an elusive yet very impactful way to lead, accordingly to HR directors and executive recruiters across the globe. To be able to be authentic is seen as key to enjoying fulfilling relationships and vital to feeling a sustainable sense of emotional balance. But what is it to be authentic? How do we do it? How do we juggle it with keeping people happy, with maintaining friendships, and with actually staying employed? And what is it not?

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Recently I’ve witnessed people fall off their authenticicty pedestals and also abandon kindness or compassion in the mix, and as a result I’ve asked myself this question more and more. How can we communicate authentically and purposefully, so we feel true and aligned with our beliefs and feelings, without acting cruelly and causing pain for someone else.

Here’s a guide based on what I’ve observed from many years in a corporate career, from what I’ve officially learnt through training and working full time as a coach and therapist, and from the insights which have fallen softly in to my awareness over the last few years of my own daily meditation practice.

The irony is, that it seems ( if feedback was ever to be believed ) I was pretty consistently credited with the authenticity badge right from the early years of my career. Yet in reality, I know that whilst I was probably rarely knowingly inauthentic, only the last few years have I made a more honest acquaintance with my own self….never mind dared or cared to share it with others.

So let’s start with a brief definition. Here when I’m talking about authenticity I mean expressing yourself honestly, expressing yourself in a way which really reflects how you feel about something.

Let’s just linger on the ‘how you feel’ part of that sentence a little longer. That’s the important part. We’ll be coming back to that later.

So should we be navigating some sort of territory, some grey, ill defined border between speaking our own authentic truth on the one hand and blatantly abusing the honesty card on the other – as an ill considered license to just say whatever the heck we want, with little or no regard for the welfare of others?

Well in the spirit of authenticity at this point I’m going to answer yes to that. That’s my current opinion. It is only my opinion. And it would have been an uncomfortable opinion for me to hear about 10 years ago, when my own personal brand of communication was what was politely called ‘cutting’, but in reality it often took the form of character assassination – in the name of ‘authenticity’.

If, like the old me, you are tempted to be brutally honest and your ‘authenticity’ is giving you the green light to go ahead without any regard for the welfare of others, you may be fooling yourself.

Can we express our opinions authentically in ways which benefit, instead of harm others?

Firstly, let’s remember that what true authenticity really is. Back to the ‘how you feel’ comment above.

Authenticity is a sharing of YOU, a sharing of your feelings and your vulnerabilities.

Many people, just like the old me, are completely bypassing their own feelings – either on purpose because the they don’t feel comfortable to share them – or by accident because they are so stressed, so routinely distracted from their feelings by their mental analysis or by what their ego wants them to portray – that they do not know or express their true feelings at all!

Authenticity is about you. It will sound something like this: ‘I feel alone / judged / compared / under attack / singled out / threatened / scared / out of control / ashamed……’. You get the gist…. This is the sort of authentic commentary we hear…….never. Right?

Now I’m not suggesting that we all want to start pouring out our hearts to others just to be seen as authentic. But what I’m drawing your awareness to, is that you can be authentic with yourself first. Quietly. Get to know yourself first, and own your ‘stuff’. It makes a difference.

However, what we are used to instead,  is mirroring and modelling our ‘authenticity’ on something else. What we usually mistake as ‘authenticity’ is the defence, the deflection the distraction, and these versions of authenticity end up being judgements and opinions about how others are wrong / bad / stupid / irresponsible / not enough / hurtful / thoughtless / not up to the job / crazy / too much…etc.

Very often what we assume is authenticity is simply an act of passive aggression ( I was the expert in that ), a defence mechanism, or a thinly veiled justification for a blatant personal attack.

So if you would like to bring your awareness to authenticity, to observe it in yourself and others in a new light, maybe even from the curiosity of what you might learn or change, you can start to ask this.

What is my genuine intention for sharing this? If I share this opinion right now, who will benefit, me or them?

To admit that sharing our opinion is actually in our own best interest rather than someone else’s takes a great deal of awareness, and a little practice. As a coach it’s what I’m trained to do. In fact my earliest memory of my coaching training was back in an executive capacity, in my corporate career, and I’ve held on to this simple rule.

Is it truthful AND useful?

If it is both truthful AND useful go ahead. If it feels truthful, but will not be useful, that’s the red flag to stop. Go ahead by all means, but do be prepared for the ensuing conflict and hurt ( or the detrimental effect on morale and performance in a corporate setting ).

It is very tempting to share opinions which might be damaging to others in the guise of authenticity, and to convince ourselves it is actually for the benefit of the other person, when in fact it is simply an act of selfishness. Sometimes we act selfishly in what we communicate to others for our own release, a sense of freedom or relief, a need to express ourselves, or because we have got triggered back into our own personal wounding. There will be times when this is unavoidable, but there will be many times when we can make a conscious choice if we want to.

How do we know whether or how to share our opinion for the good of others?

So if we are conscious and intentional about authentic communication for the good of others, rather than just to make ourselves feel better, how do we do it?

1/ Gauge their receptivity – Did they ask? Do they want advice? Is now the right time? If you were them, in their shoes in their life right now, with all they have going on….how would YOU react?

2/ Be aware of your HOW – Delivery is everything! Are you being KIND? Are you being cruel? Is this coming from a place of love and respect? Are you being critical?

Authenticity from love and kindness will look, sound and be received differently than authenticity from your own fear, anger and judgements. Tune into yourself, and pay special attention to your tone, your language, and your body language. Consider removing the shoulds, musts and oughts from your language, and  when asking questions ask HOW rather than WHY – all of the above, although very much a part of everyday language, can be implicitly ‘finger-pointy’ and allude to a sense of blaming or shaming.

Remember, to be truly authentic is to express and own up to your own experience. As we begin to seek to understand and be understood through our communications, rather than to be simply be right and to assert our opinion, some of our old automated responses can be looked at, challenged, and may begin to fall away completely, when we repeatedly and intentionally hold them in our awareness and shine a light on them.

What I have have witnessed in myself, and through working one to one with clients, using techniques like Meditation and EFT which both build awareness and honour our wounding, is that we can become more present to, and authentic about all of our triggers. In myself I have found the more authentic a relationship I have developed with my own ‘stuff’, feelings, stories and patterns, in turn the less I need to rely on expressing my opinion to feel good, connected or validated. To some degree, many of my old opinions are simply redundant. What my clients report, also reflect my own experience, we are able to observe and tune in much more to ourselves and others in a neutral way, which means we are less likely to get pulled off track into opinion based content which ultimately serves no real useful purpose or may even cause damage.

Lisa Bardell is an Executive Coach, Integrative Therapist, Life Coach and Accredited Mind CALM Meditation Coach working from private practices in Cheshire and London Liverpool Street. Lisa runs regular Mind CALM Meditation Workshops across the UK, Corporate Programmes and Personal Development Workshops, as well as Meditation Retreats in Bordeaux and Ibiza.

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How exactly does Stress cause Illness and Disease? The latest Science on the ‘Allostatic Load’

Stress is bad for us…

stressApparently. Well we all know that by now don’t we, because even the medical profession say so quite openly? But HOW exactly is stress bad for us? HOW exactly does something as commonplace as stress affect our immune systems and cause illness, and later disease? ( Aside from the emotional and psychological havoc it wreaks as well! ). If you’re interested, read on – I’m going to summarise the findings of recent research carried out in the U.S. by J G Logan at The University of North Carolina which introduces a more tangible and robust link, and certainly adds credibility to the role of mind-body based clinical interventions to help resolve, reverse ( yes really ) and prevent physical and mental health related problems.

Allostatic Load

It turns out it’s all to do with something called the Allostatic Load ( anyone who has attended one of my Mind Calm Meditation workshops will have heard me talk about this before: LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Events ). The Allostatic Load is an immunity-sapping burden which gets placed on our bodies and organs when our natural adaptive process of ‘Allostasis’ fails. So let’s just understand Allostasis before we go on.

If you remember back to Biology lessons in school, you will recall a similar term: ‘Homeostasis’ – the two processes are designed to keep us stable and well, they are similar but different.

Homeostasis is a sophisticated feedback mechanism, designed to reduce variability and maintain a constant environment throughout our bodily systems.

Allostasis actually favours variability over constancy, because it is our flexible adaption process – it is our internal environment adapting and changing in response to our external environment, or our stress producing psycho-social challenges.

So the Allostatic Load refers to the way in which normal allostatic adaption processes simply wear out or shut off – meaning that our internal physiological systems are rendered unable to adapt. Frequent or chronic responses to stressors, produce this shutting off in several of our important ( and essential for health and wellbeing ) physiological systems:

  • Immune system
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis

This forces our bodies into several types or combinations of ‘response patterns’, which can be thought of as ‘overactive or inefficiently managed allostatic responses’ – It is these energy sapping and inefficient responses which ultimately result in chronic illness. Let’s just dig a little deeper into the science to understand HOW that happens…..

These responses involve the whole brain and body.

The brain is where our response to stressors begins. It is here that the individual’s brain ‘decides’ what is going to be perceived as stressful – although we recognise some obvious common ‘stressors’ in the modern world, they are in fact different for everyone – The perceptions of the brain are influenced by individual differences including: genes, historical experiences, early development and learned behaviours. So it is our own individual ‘perceived stress’, which then initiates the physiological and behavioural responses, and these responses then lead to allostasis across various bodily systems.

A combination of health damaging effects then happen:

  • Adrenaline and cytokines cause tissue damage or receptor desensitization in the organs
  • Glucocorticoids cause a suppression of the immune system
  • Cytokines cause atherosclerosis ( clogging of arteries ) and obesity
  • Cortisol results in atropy ( dying off ) of nerve cells in the brain which leads to anxious depression – in fact certain areas of the brain can actually shrink and become less functional, one example of such is the hippocampus which is important for memory and new learning
  • The amygdala – the part of the brain most important in setting off the physiological stress responses – actually grows. Yes the more stressed we get, the better our brains become at triggering us into even further stress!!

This is why we need to start taking stress seriously rather than normalising it and wearing it with a badge of honour. It may be an overused word in everyday language, but it is a potent force which is making us sick, less capable, emotionally unstable and in many cases – seriously ill.

Resilience

So why do some people seem to succumb to the effects of stress yet others fare better? And how can we use this knowledge to help vulnerable people?

Resilience, as defined by Fossion and Linkowsi ( 2007 ) is:

“The ability to successfully adapt and function proficiently when faced with traumatic circumstances”. Resilience minimises wear and tear, keeps the Allostatic Load to a minimum. 

Some people, down to a combination of their genetics, their childhood experiences and their early developmental environment, are just ‘wired up’ in their brains for better resilience. Others are conversely ‘wired up’ for less.

Firstly, the good news is the brain is plastic – meaning whilst it can shrink and grow in a way which is not useful – it can also grow and shrink in reverse, in ways which are helpful and reverse the effects of stress and boost resilience. This ability of the brain to change is called Neural Plasticity, it describes the brain’s inherent ability to ‘re-wire’.

In other words, people who have become less resilient can change their brains, with the right interventions to enhance their resilience and completely change what might have seemed like their biological fate and their physiological outcomes. Many recent studies have shown that clinical interventions increase resilience, reverse stress and change health outcomes.

Meditation

One practice, which has gathered a robust body of clinical evidence over the last 10 years is meditation. A modern meditation practice such as Mindfulness, has been shown to reverse the signs of stress, at a cellular level, and to completely re-wire the brain in as little as 8 weeks ( Professor Sara Lazar – Harvard Medical School )  – Modern forms of meditation are growing on popularity in integrative therapeutic approaches to improve emotional health, as well as with growing number of professionals who want to resolve their stress levels to perform better, feel happier and create more success in their lives.

If reading this has inspired you to make some changes to your own stress / life / health – and you would like to work with me One to One or in a Group Coaching format, you can read more or make enquiries via the following links:

–      My website – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk

–      Mind CALM Modern Meditation Workshops held all over the UK – MIND CALM

–      Mind CALM Meditation taught in a relaxing retreat setting ( Ibiza or Bordeaux ) – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Retreats

–      ‘Serenity & Success Coaching Workshops’:

MANCHESTER Thursday 10am-5pm 14/05/15

LONDON Thursday evenings (x3)  4/06/15 & 11/06/15 & 18/06/15

–      Corporate Coaching Programmes – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Corporate

Lisa Bardell is a Performance Coach, NLP Master Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Modern Meditation Coach running private clinics in the heart of the City of London ( Liverpool St ) and Cheshire, and Corporate Coaching Programmes for businesses in Manchester and London. Lisa leads regular Coaching Workshops and Retreats, tickets and details can be found in the Eventbrite link:

LisaBardellCoachingLtd.eventbrite.co.uk