Archive for Wellbeing

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 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

The Mechanics of Meditation – How it changes your Brain and your Life…

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”

mechanics of meditation

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 book the SHINE Meditation Online Program – click here: BUY HERE

To book your FREE slot to ‘test drive’ my new book ‘Shine Brighter – 7 Easy Steps to Less Stress and More Success’ and the accompanying Theta Wave Hypnosis Audio Program, mail me on info@lisabardellcoaching.co.uk telling me a little about why you would like to be considered and I’ll get back to you by September.

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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, and through Corporate Coaching Programs with businesses in Manchester and London. Her regular schedule of EVENTS, WORKSHOPS & RETREATS can be found on: LISABARDELLCOACHINGLtd.eventbrite.co.uk .To view more information on all services click website link: LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk

The Science of Stress: How to Resolve It….Without having to Change your Life

Some of us wear Stress like a badge of honour

stressStress has become such an overused word in our day to day language, and this normalisation has distracted us from the inconvenient truth about its physiological, psychological and emotional toxic load. It’s time to wake up…..Ignore this at your peril!

 

I wrote this article for National Stress Awareness Day last year, 5th November 2014. It presents you my take on the modern Science of Stress – and the latest research which supports how a practice  which has been around for centuries is increasingly being seen as ‘cutting edge’  solution….

 

What is Stress?

Stress is caused by the activation of the Stress Response also known as the Fight or Flight Response, it is designed to get us out of danger – it can be thought of as a turbo boost of energy, like the body going into a different gear to prepare us to have the strength and energy to fight, or to flee from threat. Our ancestors would have used it to survive from predators or danger. It revs up the body like this:

 

  • Increases heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilates blood vessels to muscles to pump through sugars and fats
  • Kickstarts the respiratory drive so we start to sweat to keep ourselves cool
  • Thickens the blood
  • Pumps out inflammatory chemicals to activate our immune cells ready for tissue repair if we get wounded in fight or in escape

It is a major physiological, neurological, immunological and metabolic event! It effects changes throughout our whole system.

Clearly, it is an evolutionary adaptation designed to help us respond to a clearly perceived present moment threat, to save our lives….

So what’s gone awry?

Well put simply, as modern humans we are too ‘clever’ for our own good. Now what happens on a weekly, if not daily basis, is that our cognitive function works against us. Our ability to think, to analyse, recall the past and predict the future is what causes us stress.

Our everyday thoughts cause our stress. They do so in a way that physiologically is as ‘real’ as if we were genuinely having to escape a wild, hungry tiger, an axe wielding intruder, or a high speed bus with failed breaks…

What drives or produces our stressy thoughts?

Let’s look at some Psychology. If we break the human experience down into very simple terms, we have three important ‘need systems’ which we are driven to meet.

  • 1/ Safety – This is the drive to feel safe and secure in order that we can experience peacefulness.
  • 2/ Satisfaction – This is the drive to seeking rewards in order that we can experience contentment.
  • 3/ Connection – This is the drive to seeking attachment in order that we can experience feelings of love.

These three need systems and their respective drives influence our behaviours in two ways….Firstly ‘avoiding’ behaviours so we can avoid pain, harm and danger. Secondly ‘approaching’ behaviours so we can illicit rewards and pleasure.

If one or more need system is not being met, we activate the Stress Response.

We might consider the constant activation of the response as a modern violation of the evolutionary model, where the Stress Response was designed to come in short bursts. Today, sadly it has become a chronic and ongoing reaction.

So how does this effect us?

Well the emotional and psychological effects are broad ranging, any of the below might be what you would notice in yourself or others:

  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor decision making
  • Creative blocks
  • Worrying
  • Negative thinking
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frustration and irritability
  • Tearfulness

We have all been there!

Physically there’s a whole other batch of symptoms, due to what science terms the Allostatic Load, this is the bodily wear and tear that becomes a burden on our physical as well as mental health due to our natural ‘Adaptive Responses’ to external perceived stressors getting worn out, and simply shutting off.

  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle tension and teeth grinding
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Allergies and skin irritations
  • IBS
  • Weight gain
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Dizziness and palpitations
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss due to shrinkage of the Hippocampus
  • High blood pressure

All in all it’s rather unpleasant, but more importantly in the long term this toxic load causes inflammation in our internal environment, and taxes the immune system very heavily meaning we succumb to illness and chronic disease as the body’s self healing mechanism gets switched off.

Please say there’s some good news!

Indeed there is….What science has now shown us, is that once we learn how to switch off the Stress Response, when it is not necessary, we can reverse all of the effects of stress right through the body, at a cellular level, and throughout the brain as well.

The major breakthrough in this understanding came from Herbert Benson MD, who discovered that the body has a capacity for an opposite response to the Stress Response, which works as an antidote to it, it is called the Relaxation Response.

Ok, how do we do it?

There’s a really simple solution which will only take 15-20 minutes of your day, and it has been around for over 2000 years! Meditation is the answer

Scientific research into people who meditate discovered there were dramatic physiological changes versus non-meditators:

  • Decreased metabolism
  • Quieting of the body
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slower breathing rate
  • Slower brainwaves

All of the above are integral to the Relaxation Response, and these studies allowed it to became recognized by science, it was measurable, predictable and reproducible.

MRI scanning has allowed science to look at the brain in a way which was not possible previously. Modern research has looked at how meditation changes the structure of the brain, something which it has always done since it’s origins, but which had not been measured until the last decade.

What goes on in the brain?

The amygdala is the part of the brain which produces the Stress Response. Recent research by neuroscientist Dr Sarah Lazar, Assistant Professor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and associate researcher in Psychiatry at Massachusetts Genera Hospital, has shown that with regular meditation, the amygdala gets ‘turned down’ and shrinks, it gets quieter in a way which is consistent with decreased arousal and greater feelings of peace.

What’s interesting is that in the study the external life of the participants had not changed at all, it was simply their response to their external ‘stressors’ which changed. Reducing stress is not about changing your life, it is about changing your relationship to your life. Simple!

Mind Calm Meditation

If you would like to learn Mind Calm Meditation with me, get in touch. It is a simple, modern and highly effective technique created by best selling author, acclaimed meditation teacher and award winning trainer Sandy C. Newbigging. I have been trained personally by Sandy to teach this method and I offer it as One to One coaching or in Group Workshops.

Take a look at these pages of my website for all of the information you will need. Or book on to one of my UK Mind Calm Workshops which take place most Saturdays all over the country:

Workshops – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Events

Retreats – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Retreats

Mind Calm Information and Testimonials – LisaBardellCoaching.co.uk/Meditation

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