Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 5 of 5

Another way to support this is through ‘play’.  I’m taking this in its broadest terms, to refer to something that you enjoy doing, that lights you up inside and that ‘makes your heart sing’ – the things that, when you are engaged in them, time ceases to exist and you’re just enjoying the moment.  This releases endorphins and boosts our immune system, helping the body to deal with stress and repair from injury or illness.  It also helps to keep us looking and feeling young!

Another passion of mine is nutrition.  As someone who’s experienced food intolerances in the past I’ve become very interested in knowing what’s in the food that I eat.  Also, stress, medication and toxic chemicals can take their toll, upsetting the healthy balance of our gut bacteria, leading to dis-ease.

Many of us lead busy lives and so have come to rely on ready made and microwaveable meals, however these often contain high levels of sugar and salt and the processing that is done in their preparation destroys much of their goodness.  In addition, our fruits and vegetables are produced through intensive farming methods using chemical sprays, which result in fewer nutrients and a variety of toxins that overload the liver.

I believe it is very important to source ingredients that are as healthy and natural as possible.  Buy organic where you can or, even better, grow your own.  Cook from scratch (if you’re short on time perhaps you can do this in advance and freeze portions for later meals) adding herbs and spices for extra flavour rather than salt or sugar.  Include a wide range of foods and colours to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.  If you eat meat, fish, eggs and/or dairy I would again recommend buying organic and unprocessed options where possible, to avoid the hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that can often be found in these foods.

It’s also important to keep well hydrated, particularly during times of stress or illness, as this helps to flush out toxins and to keep our cells functioning at their best.

Running my own company, I know how important it is for business owners to stay healthy.  We want to give our clients the best possible service and this means maintaining our productivity and creativity while also keeping fit and avoiding sickness and burnout.  This is where I can help.  I can support you, and any members of staff you may have, in finding ways to look after your health so that you enjoy your work and thrive on the challenges that it brings.

Here are some of the things that previous clients have said about working with me:

Robyn … provided a warm and welcoming space and I quickly relaxed. I found the session very intriguing as it brought up some interesting things that I was very happy to release. Robyn has a very gentle approach and at the same time gets right to the heart of the matter.

I felt very relaxed and energised.
I continued to flow with a very gentle ease…

It was a really enjoyable experience and allowed me time to reconnect with myself,

It’s now two months on and I’m realising the benefits of the session. Thank you Robyn

Rosie Withey

 

I have been going through a really tough time for the last 5 weeks and have been struggling to pull out of it. Today I had a therapy session with Robyn who is not only lovely but also very talented. My sorrow has lifted and for the first time in ages I can look back and smile. I also have new clarity and direction for the future. Thank you so much

Victoria Denning

 

Robyn is such a lovely person to work with. Her calm and friendly manner immediately put you at ease and her Reiki skills are just incredible. Her knowledge is vast and you know you’re in expert hands when you spend time with her. Thoroughly recommended

Becky Barnes

 

I went to see Robyn as I found myself ‘running around in circles’, feeling stressed and like I was going to ‘hit a brick wall’. I had a session of Reiki, and Robyn also helped me focus on being positive and relaxing, giving me extra activities to do at home. I followed these, and instead of ‘crashing and burning’ I got through it. Thank you Robyn for your support and help.

Clare Davis

 

If you have any questions or comments on anything that I’ve mentioned here, or if you would like to book in for a tailor-made wellbeing session with me, then please get in touch:

email:              robyn@equenergy.com

phone:             07980 6699303

website:          www.equenergy.com

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Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 4 of 5

When we’re in stress our bodies are effectively in Fight or Flight mode.  This can be necessary, for example if we need to escape from a dangerous situation, however our bodies were not designed to stay in this state for longer than about 10-15 minutes at a time.  When we remain in stress for long periods it affects our immune system leaving us more susceptible to illness.  We can also suffer from dis-eases such as adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue.  In addition, being in this state means that it is more difficult for our bodies to recover from injury or illness.

When we are relaxed it allows our bodies to enter into the parasympathetic nervous system of Rest and Repair.  Here our breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to a healthier level and our gut is able to digest more effectively, meaning that we can better absorb the nutrients that we need from our food.  Also, it is only in this state that our cells can shift their focus away from preparing for attack or escape and towards work on maintenance and repair.  Being in this state therefore helps us to recover from illness and injury and to remain in a state of balance and wellbeing.

Each body has a blueprint of how it should be in order to be functioning at its optimum.  It is an intelligent system with a variety of processes that are always aiming to return to this healthy model.  Taking time to be still, enables our cells to reconnect with this inner wisdom, allowing the body’s processes to work as they were designed to do, and bringing us back to balance and wellbeing.

In part 5 I’ll look at another couple of great ways to support our wellbeing and alleviate the effects of stress.

 

(You can read the full article here)

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 3 of 5

Another way to look at stress is to imagine that we have a ‘stress bucket’.  The capacity of the bucket can vary from person to person depending on the experiences we’ve had in our lives and how these have shaped our beliefs and mindset.

 

Stress comes in to the bucket from a variety of different sources.  (Doing a regular body scan as described above can help you to become aware of the things that add to the level of stress in your bucket.)  We can start some days with a high level of stress, meaning that our bucket is already nearly full, and it only takes another small amount to make it overflow!

However we can take steps to help us deal with the stress.  This has an effect similar to turning on the tap and allowing some of the contents in the bucket to drain away.  Again this can vary from person to person but here are a few examples:

  • journaling
  • mindfulness and meditation
  • practicing saying No
  • recognising and honouring our own needs, eg for sleep, rest, nutrition and hydration
  • gentle exercise, such as swimming, walking, yoga, gardening
  • spending time outdoors in natural light and fresh air
  • doing things that you enjoy – reading, singing, dancing or other hobbies
  • self care: booking in a session of aromatherapy, reflexology, massage or Reiki, for example

One very simple technique that can be used anywhere is simply to become aware of your breath.  There are a variety of breathing exercises available so it’s worth trying a few to find out what works for you.  One of my personal favourites is to place your hand over your heart, then breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 6.  Visualise the breath coming directly in to, and going out from, your heart.  This helps to calm your heartbeat into a smooth rhythm which in turn ‘entrains’ your brain to a more relaxed wavelength.  Just taking a moment to be still and taking a deep breath  in this way, can help to give you that second to pause and choose how to respond in a situation rather than just reacting out of fear or anger.

Next week I’ll look at what’s happening in the body when we’re in stress and why it’s important to make time for rest.

 

(You can read the full article here)

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 2 of 5

Unfortunately we have become conditioned to a culture where things are expected to be instant: access to information, or entertainment, and even fast food.  This means that we often look for a ‘magic wand’ – a pill or procedure that will make us well – but in doing this we are relying on external things to heal us, when the only real and lasting healing comes from within.  We can end up giving our power away to doctors, ‘gurus’, or usually associate with this term, but also shopping, exercise and even apparently ‘healthy’ diets) trying to find a way to feel better.

But in fact we are our own expert!  When we tune in to how we’re feeling, and observe and listen to our bodies, we can detect the early signs of possible issues and also begin to get a good idea of what kinds of solutions might work for us.  Of course there is still a place for doctors and medicine and asking for help, but when we do this from a place of knowledge and understanding of ourselves, it is so much more empowering and effective.  It means that we will have a better sense of what we are aiming for, and what questions to ask in order to achieve this.

As I mentioned above, emotions are just there to give us information.  They show us whether something is serving us, or not.  It is when we don’t listen to them, or bottle them up that we can experience problems.  After all, e-motions are just Energy in Motion.  We need to allow them to flow and to listen to the insight they bring in order to maintain our balance and wellbeing.  For example if you’re feeling an emotion that makes you uncomfortable in some way, explore where this discomfort is coming from and how you could turn this around and ‘lean into’ something that feels better to you, something that makes your heart feel lighter and gives you a sense of greater space and freedom.

“The body doesn’t make mistakes, it makes the adaptations it believes it needs to make in order to feel ‘safe'”

So what’s happening when we feel overwhelmed?  Basically it’s when we feel that the demands placed on us outweigh the control we have in that situation:

Those demands can be external, such as workload placed on us by our boss, or internal, such as the high expectations that we place on ourselves.  When we feel that we have ‘no choice’ or that we have no control in a situation, meaning that our needs go unmet, then we can tip into overwhelm.  For example if a mother is taking care of a new baby she can feel under pressure to be a ‘good mother’ and have her child clean and neat at all times.  She might be tired due to interrupted sleep but not be able to take a break because her baby needs attention.  If she doesn’t feel that she can ask for help, or she has no-one to delegate to, this could easily lead to her becoming overwhelmed.

If, however, she has someone who could watch the baby for a while so that she can take a nap, this will help.  Or if she knows that exercise and a change of scene helps her to feel better, and she’s able to take the baby out for a walk to the park, it can help her to regain a sense of perspective and balance.

In Part 3 I’ll explore stress and things we can do to help us deal with it constructively.

 

(You can read the full article here)

Feeling Your Way from Stress into ‘Flow’ – part 1 of 5

“Only by being in harmony with our inner nature,

 and the Nature all around us, 

can we truly experience wellbeing and flow”

Robyn Harris

It almost seems that ‘busy’ is the new black!  In our culture it appears that this is the way we measure success, or value, but when we put pressure on ourselves to maintain an unnatural level of busy-ness it can lead to overwhelm, burnout and dis-ease.  So what can we do to look after ourselves and keep ourselves healthy, happy and productive?

The first step, I believe, is awareness.  Often we are so focused on just getting through our busy days that we don’t take the time to tune in to how we’re feeling and what’s really going on in our bodies.  We’ve become used to ignoring the little niggles in order to keep going and get through our list of daily tasks.  Unfortunately this will probably only be a temporary solution, because these gentle alerts from your body that something isn’t working could just increase in volume until you have no choice but to listen.  This is when we find ourselves suffering from conditions such as adrenal burnout, fibromyalgia or chronic back pain.  If, however, we could pay attention to the earlier signals, then we could take action before things reach a crisis point.

One way to develop this awareness is to do a regular body scan.  You can do this while standing, sitting or lying down.  Close your eyes and take a deep breath, in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Take a few moments to fully tune in to your body.  Feel the parts of you that are in contact with the floor, chair or bed and imagine roots growing from here into the earth, grounding you.

Gently feel your attention sinking down, from your headspace, into your body.  And just check in with how you’re feeling.  What emotions are you experiencing?  They generally fall under one of six broad categories as shown in the centre of this diagram:

Try not to judge the feelings, but just to notice them.  They are not right or wrong, good or bad.  They just are.  They are there to give you information which can then help you to find ways to move closer to how you want to feel.

You might also notice that your emotions can be multi-layered and even, apparently, contradictory, in that it is possible to feel both happy and sad, or angry at someone, and yet at the same time be proud of them.   Emotions can be complex and this can mean that, if we’re not aware of how we’re feeling, we can tend to react to situations rather than taking the time to choose how to respond.  This is why ‘Emotional Intelligence’ is such an important tool in helping us to keep balanced and conscious in our actions.

Now, slowly working down from the top of your head to the tips of your toes notice the physical sensations that you can feel in your body.

Doing this exercise helps you to become more aware of what being stressed feels like for you.  For example you might feel tense, closed, anxious, uptight, overwhelmed, unable to cope, drained, or on edge.  You might also experience pain somewhere in your body.  When you check in regularly and notice these sensations, you can become aware of what makes you feel this way.  If you do this several times throughout the day, you will be able to catch these signs at an early stage so that you can then take steps before the stress builds any further.

Scanning can also help you to identify what being relaxed feels like for you.  For example you might feel open, chilled, happy, content, expansive, empowered, in the zone, or in control.  In contrast to stress, you might also notice a lightness or a lessening of pain.  Again by increasing your awareness you can notice what helps you to feel this way, so that you can then find ways to bring more of this into your life in order to reduce stress.

Next week I’ll look at emotions and what is happening when we feel pushed into overwhelm.

 

(You can read the full article here)

Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 2 of 2

Last week I shared the start of my journey from feeling overwhelmed and powerless to creating greater balance and wellbeing.  Having explored the inner wisdom behind what I was feeling I started to work on the underlying emotions and beliefs using EFT.

I also picked out some power cards to see what insight and support they might offer.  For me, this was another way of ‘getting out of my head’, in that I wasn’t rationalising or over-analysing things, which I can tend to do.  Instead the cards, and any wisdom they might bring, would draw on my intuition, something that I wanted to reconnect with.  These are the cards that I drew:

The colour cards were:

  • Bronze – strengthening
  • Purple – for developing mental clarity
  • Pink – encouraging me to let love in
  • Ruby – rejuvenation for the body

The White Lion cards were:

  • creativity
  • trust
  • renew

I found the overlap between the 2 sets very interesting.  It seems that my intuition is telling me to relax, trust and allow love in to renew and strengthen me.  This will then support my mental clarity, allowing my creativity to guide me.

Through these exercises I also became more aware of my need to take the time to rest and reconnect so I used some Reiki, energy exercises and visualisation (using the images from the cards above).  Another important thing for me was to spend time outdoors in Nature, enjoying the energy of the sun and the trees and other plants around me.

these were actually taken on the same day, as part of a mindfulness walk during this process

As a result of working through this process, I felt as if a huge dark cloud was lifting and I had more clarity and determination going forward.  Yet again I was amazed that such ‘simple’ steps could help to start turning things around.  I recognise that the steps aren’t always easy though, and for some of my issues I will need to work with another therapist, rather than trying to deal with them on my own.

Also, I need to remember that, while I feel so much better, this is not an overnight fix!  It took time to get to that low point – a series of small, and not-so-small, things building up to a critical point – so it will also take time to work through them; but I’ve made a start, and I know that this journey will be a learning adventure.

I’m also a believer that things happen when we’re ready, and in the right frame of mind, for them.  Having made this small initial shift, I got a supportive phonecall out of the blue and connected with some wonderful new people.  A couple of days previously I was questioning my ability to carry on with some of the threads of my life and now I’m feeling recharged, excited and grateful again.  I know that I am so blessed to do what I do and I’m looking forward to how things will develop from here.  We really never know what’s just around the corner, or what help or support might suddenly appear, ‘as if by magic’.  As long as we can hold on to Hope then there are still endless possibilities.

If your life is not currently making you happy, you can create a path that works for you.  It’s about finding your balance and not pushing too hard.  Allow your feelings and intuition to guide you while also keeping a clear head to best discern the next step.  And if you feel like you could do with some help at any point, then reach out.  It’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

As so many wise teachers have said, it is up to us as individuals to consider What we want and Why we want it and to put our energy into these things in order to create the future that we desire, but the How is not for us to worry about.

If you too have been struggling recently, please remember that you are not alone.  There is a lot going on at the moment, and at a fast pace, which is affecting the energy around us.  Please remember to look after your self.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, look at what needs are not being met and then explore what you can do to support yourself.  This is not being self-centred and selfish in a negative way, it’s self-care which then allows you to be there for others too.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Connecting with others can in itself be very healing.  And if anything here resonates for you, or you have questions about anything that I’ve shared, then please feel free to get in touch:

            email:              robyn@equenergy.com

           mobile:           07980 669303

           website:           www.equenergy.com

 

(You can read the full text of this article here)

Even therapists need to look after their Mental Heath and Wellbeing – part 1 of 2

This topic has been big in the news this year, with Prince Harry working to help change attitudes towards mental health issues:

Prince Harry helping to reduce stigma around mental illness

Prince Harry to help tackle mental health in the armed forces

 

I decided I would share a personal experience as, yet again, I’ve been reminded how fragile our mental health can be and how we need to make a point of looking after our own wellbeing.  On the down side, it can take seemingly ‘small’ things to set ourselves plummeting to the depths, but the reverse can also be true, as often it can be relatively simple things that result in great positive shifts.  Highly Sensitive individuals, those whose Stress Bucket is already heavily loaded, or those who are feeling fragile due to earlier trauma, can be particularly prone to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotion.

Over the last few months I’ve noticed that people around me, both locally and online, have been experiencing considerable challenges, resulting in increased stresses and strains.

I too have had a few testing times, both personally and professionally, and I succumbed to the negative spiral of too much work and not enough ‘play’, leading me to feeling in a very low, dark place.  I lost sight of the fact that life is about enjoying the journey rather than worrying too much about the destination.

Sometimes though, this can be a necessary part of the healing process.  For me ‘hitting the bottom’ acted as a springboard from which I could push off again.  It forced me to take a look at what was really going on, identify the limiting beliefs I was buying into, to realise that these were not Truth, and that they weren’t serving me, or those around me.

This brought me to a new level of self-awareness.  It wasn’t pretty, and I had to remind myself to exercise self-compassion, but it did give me a framework for addressing the issues.  I no longer felt powerless and instead gave me a good grounding from which to create a plan of positive, supportive action.

Thankfully, as a therapist, I have a range of skills that I can use to work on my wellbeing.  I started by looking at what was going on in my body and realised that there was a range of niggling issues that I’ve been largely ignoring, or avoiding, for some time.  Starting to listen and to explore these was a first step, as they connected me to my inner wisdom.  They were my body’s way of communicating that something wasn’t working – that a need was not being met – and they also brought clues about how to address, and hopefully resolve, the issues.

Journaling, particularly somatic journaling (tuning in to, and writing from, the perspective of the body / body part) is a great tool for this, as are grounding and mindfulness exercises, which help to get you out of your head and into your body, and so to move away from that awful feeling of ‘analysis paralysis’ and overwhelm.

Using the information that this gave me, I started working with EFT (emotional freedom techniques, or ‘tapping’) to further explore my underlying emotions and beliefs.

In next week’s instalment, I’ll share some other steps that I took as part of this process.

 

(You can read the full text of this article here)