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Life Coaching & Counselling News

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How I practised my own therapeutic techniques to help me through a challenging time

The path to freedom

We have all had one of those nights. A long, dark night which reaches out endlessly until the morning and your only companion is your thoughts. Dark, scary thoughts which torture and keep you from rest until the necessity of the next day dawns. I had one of those nights at the end of last year.

The next day I went to see my GP; one of my nipples had doubled in size and was showing red pimples. After examining me, he told me that if my symptoms hadn’t reduced or improved within a week I needed to undergo further investigation to eliminate the possibility of cancer…

Back home I was filled with an intense panic. I was in floods of tears, I couldn’t organise my thoughts. During the previous night before seeing the doctor, I concluded that I was OK about the possibility dying but now it was a real possibility, the idea I would leave my 16-year-old daughter behind without a mum was terrifying me. I repeatedly heard a voice in my head telling me “she wasn’t ready – she still needed me”!!

I brought up my daughter without any support from family who all live in France and without much support from her dad as he moved away soon after the divorce. All the school runs, exam anxiety, high temperatures and sleepless nights had just been us two, sticking together – trying to make it through, a little team. The fear of Ashlie not being strong enough to emotionally deal with my loss was tearing me apart.

I did what I often do, I prayed. Prayers have always been my refuge, one of my coping mechanisms. They are for me, like airbags, protecting me in the middle of a collision.

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The languages of love – how I realised my love tank needed filling up

We overfeed ourselves, but are starving at a cellular level

Something happened to me recently that reminded me of the importance of the 5 Languages of Love – and it got me thinking about how a lack of the right kind of love manifests itself and what you can do about it. Let me explain….

Since starting up my business, I have wanted to be featured in Muddy Stilettos (, a brilliant local guide that started as a fantastic blog covering Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and that has now grown into a multi-territory UK franchise. When Hero, the editor, agreed to have a treatment with me to then write a review of my services, I should have been elated.

But I was terrified. What if she wrote something negative? What if a negative review destroyed my business in the local area? What if my services just weren’t her thing?

I felt so anxious about it that I nearly cancelled the appointment. But I thought about what an opportunity I’d be passing up if I cancelled, so I took a deep breath and went ahead.  On the day I was incredibly nervous, determined not to say or do the wrong thing. But as we settled into our counselling work, I forgot that Hero was here to review my services. She simply became another client with whom I connected on a deep level.  After our Reiki work, we even had a mini life planning session on the doorstep as we said our goodbyes. All my nerves had faded away. I could just be me.

A few months later, her review appeared. It was brilliant and I could not have been happier. When I read her kind words, it felt like it was my wedding day.  I was buzzing! I hadn’t realised how much I needed someone to tell me that I was doing a good job.  That’s when it hit me: my love tank needed topping up.

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Do you feel stuck in a rut?  Here’s how to get out...

We overfeed ourselves, but are starving at a cellular level

Feeling stuck in a rut is overwhelming, confusing, draining and extremely stressful.  Sometimes its hard to imagine how we will ever get out of it.  

The human ‘hierarchy of needs’ is a useful, simple and highly effective tool to help us understand why we are stuck, and how to move on.  The diagram below shows our needs in order of priority (with our essential requirements shown at the bottom of the pyramid).

Unless those most basic of needs are met, we simply cannot reach the higher levels of self-fulfilment.  And once we have reached a level, we may not always remain there.

MOVING THROUGH THE LEVELS:  We can find ourselves moving down to the lower levels at certain times in our lives, as our minds  may unconsciously abandon the level we are on in order to meet the lower needs.  

For example, a major life event such as a redundancy, or a divorce may mean we have to refocus on our financial affairs and find a new home. A feeling of financial and domestic security are the essential building blocks of the pyramid.

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Are you constantly eating but still hungry?

We overfeed ourselves, but are starving at a cellular level
How to lose weight by nourishing your body and your mind

Do you find yourself in a cycle of eating and soon thereafter, feeling hungry again? Are you gaining weight or know you need to lose weight but can’t stop feeling hungry? Here’s probably why:

Despite our food portions getting bigger, the nutritional value our food gives us is declining. Fast food, ready meals, diet sandwiches, sugary snacks, processed and refined foods – all of these are so poor in vitamins, minerals and healthy proteins that we are starving on a cellular level.

Your body is made from water and living cells that have to be fed vitamins and minerals in order to survive. Our skin replaces itself every 35 days, our liver once a month. Our body makes these new cells from the foods we eat.

When we eat foods that stop hunger but don’t give us the nutrients our bodies need to regenerate these cells, our bodies stay hungry and send signals to our brains to eat more.  This constant eating adds to weight gain without giving our body what it needs.

We all know that the ideal would be to fill our plates with fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and lean proteins, but with the best of intentions, our busy lives often get in the way of this food ideal. Even when we try diets, old habits kick in and temptation takes over. When we don’t see results fast, we give up.

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Overthinking ... can be harmful to your health and your relationships

It's about the journey ...

Do you ever think about past mistakes; worry about current stresses and how these could negatively impact the future? Do you over analyse other peoples' comments? Do you read into things that aren't actually there?

The thing is, the more we worry about the things that could go wrong, the more anxious we feel in the present.  If you recognize yourself in the above, you are what psychologists call a ruminator (an over-thinker). Ruminating on stress and disappointments can be harmful to your health and relationships.

When we find ourselves in this state of mind, we often push away those that we are worrying about or seeking love from. We become anxious, negative, depressed and not very pleasant to be around.

This is not something that we can turn on or off, but skills that we have to learn, memorise and reproduce again and again. It requires perseverance and work to let go of old behaviours, no longer useful and replace them with new ones.

This is where NLP and mindfulness become useful tools to prevent over-thinking and find peace in the present moment.

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How strong is our inner critical voice

It's about the journey ...

Our critical inner voice can have a devastating effect on us, leading to low self-esteem and a debilitated self-image.

It’s important to take a moment to reflect on how strong a critical inner voice we have.  Are we permanently berating ourselves for our guilt, our shame, our wrongdoings - and how does this make us feel?   

A critical inner voice is a bit like poison ivy, invading us on the sly and then attacking, blaming, comparing and criticising.  It can be abusive and judgemental, leaving us with the overwhelming feeling that we are not good enough.  We may listen to it for so long that we come to believe that we are fat, stupid, selfish, unlovable, ugly (or whatever it maybe telling us).  We may even start to think that this is how others perceive us too!

Listening to this voice could be the only way we know to try and become ‘A Better Us’, or perhaps it's learnt behaviour from our childhood. Either way, we can become so accustomed to the negative things it tell us that our mind may believe what we are hearing.

Enough is enough! Now is the time to stop inflicting this pain upon ourselves, and to replace this old destructive habit with a useful new one.  But how…?

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It’s the journey that’s important, rather than the ultimate destination

It's about the journey ...

We all have dreams.  Some of us dream big, and others dream small.  Either way, dreams and goals are a very important part of all of our lives.

We often link our happiness to achieving these goals, and they have a significant impact on our self-esteem.  

For example, the day we feel like giving up, and then pull ourselves together and carry on, is the day we develop a strength we didn't know we had within us.  This strength never leaves us, and we build on it day after day and week after week.  It is this journey towards our goals which so often help us to develop into a better person.

So whatever our dreams may be, the journey will be worth it.  

Whether we aim to lose a few pounds, start a new career or travel the world…with a small leap of faith we can start our journey today and start working towards our goals.  

And when we get there…then what?  That's the time to take a while to enjoy our accomplishment, to live in the moment and to enjoy the benefits.  It’s so important to recognise our own progress, to look back at our journey and see just how far we've travelled.  

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Ginger Shots! Shots! Shots!

Caring for ourselves

Well believe it or not both my daughter and I became addicted to taking one straight after waking up. It is now part of our little routine. I used to wake up earlier and prepare them but after 4 weeks away from home, she missed them so much, she surprised me by getting them prepared before I even got out of bed.

They are warming to the body, something you will experience first-hand when kicking back 2 oz of this nutritional gem. Before going any further believe it or not they are alcohol FREE! In fact they are massively packed with nutrients. They’ll provide you with a mega boast of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Perfect remedy if you feel a cold coming on, run-down or just want a surplus of energy.

It’s ever so simple to make (timed it: 8 minutes incl. cleaning my juicer). All you need to do is juice one apple with approx. one inch of ginger.

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