Tag Archives: Stress Management

Love what you do

love what you doWhen you love what you do and are engaged in the activity, hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin (happy hormones) are released and stress is reduced.

As stress is reduced, wellbeing is increased. When you love what you do, you may discover or rediscover something that  you yearned to do as a child but put aside due to societal or cultural expectations.

What dreams did you put aside?

Pursuing what you love to do will bring you  a great sense of satisfaction and completion. The joy in creating has immense benefits. It could be cooking, woodwork, pottery or another craft.  Not only crafts but writing or art can bring great joy to both creator and observer.  Have you noticed that when someone is engaged in their passion, their inner energy is apparent and they radiate that out to those around them?

If you need help in rediscovering your dreams let’s have a chat.

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Workplace Art Therapy

Why Workplace Art Therapy?

A workplace art therapy program has benefits for both the employer and employee in that for the employer, it can fulfill their workplace health and wellbeing criteria, lower stress in employees as well as increasing productivity, creativity and performance.

Art therapy in the workplaceParticipating in a workplace art therapy program encompasses relaxation techniques and can be described as a preventative measure in addressing employee stress.

Staff and management alike can experience art therapy sessions as a part of a “Wellness in the Workplace” program that actively encourages mindfulness and creativity which has benefits beyond the session.

As the participants focus on any particular exercise, their conscious minds can be distracted from their daily tasks and demands of the job. When stress is reduced  with a tailored art therapy and EI program,  you can look forward to increased performance and achievement, better decision making and productivity.

How does it work?

Firstly, it would be necessary to discuss the length of a session or sessions; how many participants; their physical needs; and finally the venue itself. When working in a corporate environment, it is taken into account if the venue is most likely to be unsuited to having paint or clay used. It is also necessary to ascertain that there are no materials that may have an adverse effect (such as glues) on the health of the participants. Introductory sessions would include a guided meditation followed by doodling or Mandalas where there would be no prerequisite for artistic comparison.

For more details contact me via the form below:

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Reiki Support Program

Reiki for Stress managementHave you been attuned to Reiki?

Too often practitioners neglect themselves, so I’ve put together a Reiki support program for practitioners at all levels. With stress levels at an all time high, it is vitally important that practitioners look after themselves.

What’s in the program?

ReikiIt’s a private group  where you will receive Reiki once a week at a set time and you are also invited to attend a monthly online group discussion and guided healing session. This is a safe place where you can re-focus your intentions and connection to the energy.

Open to all levels of practitioners from Level 1 to Teacher and from any lineage.

Register here...


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Hexagon

The hexagon

five day challengeDay 4’s shape  for the Five Day Challenge is the hexagon. A six sided figure, the hexagon is found in nature from bees to bubbles.  In man made items such as nuts and bolts to tessellated tiles it is used.  Snowflakes are based on the hexagon and perhaps the most easily recognizable group of hexagons are to be found on soccer balls.

Even items we use on a daily basis are constructed using the hexagon.  Most pencils will have six sides…. go ahead and count if you doubt me! Modern use of the hexagon can be found with mobile phone towers constructed  in a hexagonal grid – hence the term “cell phone”.

Today’s shape took a while to come together

I dusted off my compass and protractor and set about to construct a hexagon.  After a couple of tries and much rubbing out of pencil lines, I eventually got the shape right. Then to fill the shape….. pleased with the pattern that emerged, I then allowed my conscious mind to take over. Big mistake. I thought that I would “improve” the pattern by colouring in using the chakra colours.  From simple to dreadfully contrived in just a few minutes.

HexagonTake two…. now that I had the hang of constructing the hexagon, it was much easier to stay with a black line marker and see what transpired. With the addition of some compass work and very simple lines and shapes the following emerged.  Perhaps I could add colour, but it was relaxing not to have to think about which to choose.  It would be interesting to construct a series of hexagons and see what evolved from that.

From an Art Therapy point of view the benefits of “doodling” are that there are no preconceived ideas as to what the finished product will look like. It is a free form of expression and the shapes emerge from deep within the one’s psyche.

As it is a non verbal form of expression, the doodle literally can help you to “connect the dots”. It allows you to engage in sustained attention to a task without needing to create perfection or a recognisable image and is a useful tool for stress reduction. This is helpful in using art therapy as a means of unconscious expression.

 

Five Day Challenge

A five day challenge for the fifth Melbourne lockdown…. five day challengeArt therapy is a great way to reduce stress. This five day challenge is designed so you can take five minutes or so to focus on a shape and change it with simple lines and colours.

When we are engaged in doing something that we love to do, hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin (happy hormones) are released and stress is reduced. As stress is reduced, wellbeing is increased. You may discover or rediscover something that you wanted to do as a child and put aside due to societal or cultural expectations. The pursuit of this activity and the joy in doing it will often bring about a great sense of satisfaction and completion. Not only that, when you are engaged in your passion, your inner energy is apparent and you will radiate that out to those around you.

The challenge is on my Facebook page if you would like to contribute your creation.  I used Yellow for happiness & positivity; green for renewal & energy ( full moon tomorrow); blue for intuition, imagination and understanding, and a spiral path to lead inward and outward.

Day 1 challenge

Lockdown

Another day, another lockdown. We can choose how we respond to these times and I won’t go  into the politics of whether it is right or wrong or who may be at fault. What I will do is to choose to use this time as a reset, a chance to create and as we move into winter…… perhaps a little hibernation.

I’m taking my own advice and doing a little art therapy to relax my mind and take myself away from listening to or watching the news. Having created some mandalas for an online program, I’d like to share one with you so that you can relax a  little during this lockdown or circuit breaker.

Download it HERE.

If you don’t have a supply of colour pens or pencils – not to worry, I did one using just a black pen and lines and I think it turned out OK!

A Balanced Life

Imagination

We all have an imagination. Whether we use it creatively or destructively is ultimately up to us. Art and Music can transport us to places that allow our imagination to run free, you don’t have to be a VanGogh or Matisse to create beautiful art, even the act of colouring in a mandala in a purchased book can create beautiful images that relax our conscious minds and allow the subconscious to find solutions or a better way of doing things.

When our imagination is less than helpful by focusing on negative things  or overthinking The art of Stress Managementoutcomes, it is time to pick up a pencil, a brush or some clay and allow the subconscious mind to have a play. Likewise, we don’t have to be an accomplished musician to enjoy the benefits of music. The notes can transport us to a different time and place as the subconscious retrieves the memories of times gone by. An added benefit of being able to play an instrument is that it engages the kinaesthetic as well as the aural senses. The powerful effect that art and music have on the psyche and our wellbeing cannot be underestimated.

The Stress Response

In these challenging times I have been able to work with several groups (online) and deliver workshops that explained the stress response and gave them tips and strategies for managing stress. After delivering these Stress Management presentations some participants have asked for copies of the slides. I have a conundrum…..to share or not to share – that is the question. There are polarizing views about this. One is if you have put up a presentation, then they are in the public domain and should be freely shared. At the other end of the spectrum the viewpoint is that the slides are secondary to the actual presentation.

Some participants are polite enough to ask if they can share with others the slides that they have saved by taking screen shots and I am grateful that they asked. With this in mind, I am going to share some of the graphics from a variety of recent presentations alongside some of the commentary I would have used.

Managing stressThe stress response is elicited when we realize that we can’t control events. When this happens, we can often start to feel anxious and this can lead to a cascade of other emotions or behaviours if we don’t have the appropriate tools and strategies to manage this response. Subconsciously our nervous system is on high alert as we look out for the risks in our environment.

Currently, many people are experiencing  fear regarding either their or a loved one’s health with the end result of the flight/fight or freeze stress response.

One of the first things I suggest is to develop a regular deep breathing session which helps to managing stressdampen down the effects of the stress response. The wearing of masks also anchors the emotion to the subconscious and it is important to spend a few moments in deep breathing after removing your mask. The next step is to acknowledge the problem and then to view it from a new perspective. By understanding the phases that we go through during times of change, we can come to a degree of acceptance. This is similar to the five stages of grief that Elizabeth Kubler Ross wrote about in her groundbreaking work in 1969. Another helpful strategy is to use a Gratitude Journal. You can also follow my most recent 30 Days of Gratitude challenge on Facebook or LinkedIn – feel free to contribute what you are grateful for as well.

The stress response also causes various hormones to be released in our bodies. The most well known are adrenaline and cortisol and these are released in response to a fearful or dangerous situation. The effects of long term stress can impact upon your health – lowering your immunity, increasing blood pressure and having an impact on your digestive system.

This is why it is so important to have strategies that you can use automatically when faced with a stressful situation. Not all stress is bad. There is the flip side – eustress and when this is experienced, you get a flood of what I like to call “stress managementhappy hormones”.

By making sure you take time to look after yourself – remember when we could fly and the pre talk was about using the oxygen mask for yourself first? Meditation, being out in nature, exercise, eating healthy foods and love and laughter are all key elements how you can get these “happy hormones” and manage your stress response.

With Stage 4 restrictions still in place, Hypnotherapy and Coaching consultations are still by phone or online should you feel that you need some help in managing your stress. Reiki is also available and a distant/remote session is often useful in reducing stress.

The following form will need to be completed, along with an intake form if you are a new client and returned before your scheduled session. 2020 Teletherapy Informed Consent

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Focus

So here we are….. in lockdown #2 for Melbourne.  I’m actually not complaining as I have more than enoufocusgh to keep me busy with the distraction of Lucy the Labrador and studies that not only nourish my mind and soul, but will create a new focus in my business later in the year. It’s a well known adage that what you focus on, you will find. If you have ever been shopping for a new car and decided on the make and model, then you will most likely start to see these more frequently. Likewise, if you start to focus on negative things or calamities, then you will most likely start to see or experience these things too.  I know a person who constantly expects the worst of people and businesses that they buy from and you can guess  what they create.  Vehicles that  break down or have defects,   dream holidays that turn into nightmares (& litigation) .. the list goes on….

In regards to the current situation, I certainly don’t want to minimalize the seriousness of the situation, but if the precepts of the Buddha are applied, then a positive outlook will support  you at this time.Imagine your good health (& take appropriate steps), keep in regular contact with like minded, positive souls to check in and buoy your spirits, reach out to those who you think might be struggling and offer some time to listen and affirm how they are going.

Let me explain…. if you are fearful – then you are in a stress response. Your stress hormones will signal  – and animals are sentient to this – your current emotional state.  Are you in  flight, fight or freeze mode?

Your imagination can create any amount of scenarios – good, bad or catastrophic.  By regular meditation/visualization/hypnosis- whatever you want to call it, you can create in your imagination a better or positive future, which your subconscious mind (like a 2 year old) will think is your current reality.  Imagine feeling good more often than feeling fear – you still need to to be sensible about precautions around social interactions.

 

 

Coaching vs Counselling

What suits you?

Both have advantages and disadvantages, but having received sessions in both, I feel that the coaching model is more effective.

With coaching you don’t need to stay stuck in our stories, in fact the coach often doesn’t even need to hear your story, just where and how you want to move forward. Combined with some NLP (neuro linguistic programming) techniques and a little Hypnotherapy, personally I have found that amazing changes can be made with a minimum of fuss (and no snotty tissues…… bonus!)

Athletes have been using coaches for decades to improve their performance and there is a growing number of people using coaching for various other pursuits. Many executives and business owners have a business coach, singers have a voice coach and there are other niches such as health coaching and of course, Emotional Intelligence coaching.

However, for certain people, counselling interventions such as CBT are really valuable in changing thoughts and behaviours over a longer period of time. Most importantly, the rapport you have with your coach or counsellor is the defining factor in the success of your session.