Archive for wellbeing

Six Ways to Shine 4 #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:

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

Six Ways to Shine 2 #ShrinkYourStress


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:

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

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: ). 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.


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.


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 –

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

–      Mind CALM Meditation taught in a relaxing retreat setting ( Ibiza or Bordeaux ) –

–      ‘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 –

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: