Generosity of Receiving

Did you just read the title and think what?? Did she type that out right?

Stick with me! I meant it and I’ll show exactly what I mean and why it makes sense.

Before we go any further, this is not about how to feel good about taking advantage of generous people with big hearts. Nor is it about giving people permission to expect anything from anyone.

Ultimately, we are all responsible for ourselves, our own words and actions and it is not anyone’s job or responsibility to save you.

That being said…

We all go through difficulties in life and it would be ridiculous to expect anyone to know how to navigate their way through hardship that they’ve never experienced before. Sometimes we need help from a friend, loved one or a professional. Sometimes we just need time to process things and start putting one foot in front of the other even if we’re not entirely sure where we’re going or how we’ll get there.

Now let’s talk about receiving.

Have you ever bought a gift for someone that you was so excited to give them? Because you thought it was the perfect gift? Or a funny gift? Or a little gift that you knew would put a little smile on their face?

What about if you’ve ever helped a friend or loved one (or maybe even a stranger) during a time of need? It might have been to give them a lift when they were late, or perhaps loaned someone money during financial struggle or maybe even just been a shoulder to cry on when they needed to vent and feel heard. Being a glimmer of light (no matter how small) during someone’s darkness and feeling like you contributed towards their recovery feels so good (even if you wished you could do more)

When we give from a place of love, kindness and generosity, it doesn’t just benefit the recipient, it also has a biological effect on the giver.

When we help, or give, to others, our brain produces hormones such as Oxytocin (also called the “love” hormone), serotonin (makes us feel happy, content and aids good sleep), dopamine (“pleasure” hormone that also regulates your mood, sleep and appetite) and endorphins (which relieve pain and stress while boosting happiness).

This is why it feels so good when we give.

Now, imagine when you’re about to give generously to someone (be it time, expertise, love or money) and that person blocks you from giving.

Not only is that person shutting off the help you were about to give them, they are also denying you the opportunity to experience the benefits of oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.

Of course, I’m sure they have their reasons for rejecting your help, and if it’s because they feel they need to do this alone in order to gain the knowledge and tools for future reference, then that’s fine. They are just trying to be self-sufficient.

But what if they are rejecting your help because they don’t feel they deserve it?
Or if they struggle to accept help due to their pride? (This one is so me!)
Or if they are worried what other people would say?
Or if they feel like a burden?

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Have you been rejecting receiving help because of one of these things (or maybe something else)?

When we say no to receiving someone else’s generosity, not only do we deny that person the opportunity to experience those feel-good hormones, we also send a very powerful message to our sub-conscious mind that “I’m not worthy or deserving enough to receive this” which then, of course, puts you in an even lower place.

Now let’s flip the script.

We hear stories ALL. THE. TIME. About people who have had difficult pasts, been in dark places and felt lower than low.

Maybe they were homeless and then started living in government-assisted housing.
Maybe they had difficult and abusive childhoods and then got fostered or adopted by incredibly loving parents.
Maybe they suffered with their mental health and then went to a charity to receive help.
Maybe they (or a family member) suffered with their physical health and a certain organization offered kindness, support, help and guidance.
Maybe they were struggling financially and didn’t have enough money to feed their kids so a food bank helped to keep them going during that difficult time.

A common theme that runs in stories like this is:
After people have given themselves permission to receive the help and support and started to rebuild their lives and after they come out of the hardship (or even just that stage of hardship), they usually want to pay it forward and end up helping others that have been through the same or something similar.

It’s natural, right?
We can empathize with people who are struggling with something similar to what we’ve been through, and as we were given help and support, we want to be that beacon of light and hope to someone else whether it’s with time, money, resources, exposure or something else.

Now, thinking of all those people who decided to accept and receive the help and pay it forward and have made a huge difference in the world collectively and individually. What if none of them gratefully accepted the help? What if they wouldn’t allow themselves to receive the help and support?

They might not have ever been able to rebuild their lives.
They might not have ever got to the place were they could pay it forward and contribute towards making positive impacts on other’s lives.

And let me be clear, not all help and support is free. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to be able to receive professional help or even an experience that we know will help us. Sometimes we have to pay for those privileges and that’s OK too because we are allowing ourselves to receive that next step in our growth or in our journey.

The truth is, giving has a ripple effect on the world.

If someone gives to you, it makes you want to give to someone else, which then makes them want to give to someone else and so on. It’s not always straight away and you don’t always get to give back to the person who gave to you (although when you can, it feels even more amazing!) but not only does it feel good and allow you to start building up from where you are, it also restores our faith in humanity and brings us closer together as a species.

Giving is generous.
Of course it is!
But in order to give, someone else has to actually receive.

So if we want to give generously, someone has to receive generously, otherwise our giving will feel icky and not good.

Receiving will benefit both parties and you then send a powerful message to your sub-conscious mind that “it’s OK for me to receive this. I deserve to receive this” After all, what if you have to receive this in order for you to go on and help others? In that case, it’s selfish for you to not receive…

If you’re in a position where you need to receive some help, ask yourself (or journal out) these question:
What help do I need?
Who can I ask for help that will be able to direct me to my next steps?
What would be my ideal outcome?
Why is it good for me to get this help?

If you don’t need help at the moment, how can you give help to someone else?
Can you phone someone that may feel lonely?
Can you surprise someone you love with something that will make them smile?
Can you buy a stranger a coffee anonymously?
Give yourself permission to receive those feel-good hormones in exchange to giving to someone else!

Start Before You’re Ready; Getting Pregnant at 19

Did you read that title and think What is she talking about? How can you start if you’re not ready? Well, I’ll tell you.

When I was 19 years old, I found out I was pregnant. I was terrified and overwhelmed and didn’t know if I could be responsible enough to raise a tiny human let alone keep it alive. I didn’t know how my boyfriend of less than a year would react, or how my parents would take the news.

I think it’s safe to say that I was terrified. I didn’t know how to raise a child, and if I’m completely honest, 11 years later, I’m still making it up day-by-day and just trying my best.

After a lot of tears, a lot of confusion, a lot of second-guessing and a lot of consideration of what would be best, not just for me, but for this life growing inside of me, I decided to keep my baby, regardless if anyone would be there to walk my journey or not, and trust me, the news was not welcomed gratefully by everyone.. at least, not at first.

Once I made the decision to bring this life into this world I also made the decision to always try to be the best parent and role model I can be. If I decided to bring this life into the world, I was going to try my absolute best to provide everything I can to help him grow into a good person to have all the tools he needs to be kind, respectful and happy.

Let me just reiterate, I had NO idea what I was doing, but let me be clear, despite the difficulty, despite the stereotypes, despite the sleepless nights and stress, having that baby was the best decision I’ve ever made. It completely changed me as a person in ways I didn’t expect.

I’m not saying that anyone should choose the same path I did, I just did a lot of soul-searching and consideration and I took the path that was best for (and I believe, meant for) me.

My point is, I made a decision. A decision. I didn’t agree to try until it got hard, I didn’t agree to only stick around for the happy moments and the good times, I made the decision to bring a human into the world and provide everything I could and try my best with whatever my “best” was at the time. I was not ready. I was living with my parents, I hadn’t even been with my boyfriend for a year, I had minimal savings and being the youngest child myself, I didn’t know how to raise a child or what it required of me.

I just took each challenge as it came, and yes, they’re still coming.
I cry when it gets too much.
I feel overwhelmed about 99% of the time.
My work and chores are never done and I can’t just take a sick day off.
I don’t get the luxury of resting when I am unwell.
Living in my house with 3 boys and my husband, I feel outnumbered and like the black sheep and I have meltdowns regularly, but despite all of this, I have never been more driven, I have never experienced so much love in my heart, I have never appreciated my own parents so much, I have never been more grateful and I didn’t know 11 years after making that decision, that it would be the best decision of my life. Even on the difficult days, even when I’m stressed and overwhelmed, I wouldn’t trade my life… I might want to escape for an hour or two, but trade it in completely? No way, sister!

I’ve heard so many people say “Oh I do want kids, but maybe in about 10 years, I’m not ready yet.”
Trust me, you’ll never be ready for kids. EVER.

Or I hear “Yeah, I do want to launch my new business but I just want to do X first.
Sounds like procrastination to me..

Here’s another common one “I’d love to do that, I just don’t have the time.”
Hmmm, is that really true or are you making excuses to excuse you from starting to excuse you from potentially failing?

Most things in life happen to us without warning. You don’t have time to prepare for these moments, you just get thrown in the deep end and have to work out how to swim when you’re in the water.

Of course, yes, it’s great to be prepared and lay solid foundations, and I’m not for one second saying you should act recklessly, but are you laying solid foundations? Or are you falling into the trap of letting time slip away from you and finding excuses to never live your dreams?

It’s great to plan for the future you want and it’s great to build safety nets in case of a tragedy, but are you really doing those things? Or are you procrastinating? Sometimes you have to make the decision to run and jump into what you want rather than just dipping your toe in to see how it feels. Sometimes going in slowly is more painful and uncomfortable.

What are you holding yourself back from? Where are you making excuses?

Write down 5-10 things you’d like to be, do or have.
Now pick 2 things you’d put at the top of your list. One that you’d love to do and seems a little out of reach and one that seems a little more likely. What are you actively doing to make these things happen?
Also, where are you making excuses to not do them?

Brainstorm all the ways you can possibly think of that would help you get a little closer to being, doing or having these two things.
Now pick one thing you can do for each of these things right now and do it. Right now. No excuses. Get the ball rolling. Start the momentum and start before you’re ready.

Don’t Predict the Future, Create it

In my last blog, Do You Want to be Happy? Or Right? I explained to you that our brains alter our memories of events to justify the emotion we feel about it. Therefore our memories can’t be fully trusted as an exact account of factual events that occurred.

Yet, our memories are what we base everything on. We look at the ‘evidence‘ (AKA memories) of our past and develop belief systems about the things and people in our lives and take these belief systems to be the truth (you can read more about belief systems in these posts, you don’t have to believe a belief and how to change a limiting belief).

But now that we know our memories are altered and sometimes completely fabricated, it begs the question: Is my view on reality, correct?

Well, the answer is like this quote:

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

You are your own limitation for what is possible. If you think you can do something, you will. If you believe you cannot do it, your subconscious mind will sabotage any attempt you make to try to achieve it and therefore prove your belief ‘correct‘ that you couldn’t achieve it.

So, you could say, that your memories of the past are determining your future. This was a mind-blowing concept for me that I heard from a brilliant man, named Dr Joe Dispenza. You can find thousands of videos of him sharing his wisdom on YouTube, but here’s a great 10 minute video that will bow you away.

He talks about how everything we do is a record of the past. It’s just the way our brains work. They take everything we’ve learned, find patterns and regularities and form habits and beliefs in the subconscious so that these things run on automation in order to preserve energy.

Creating change requires consciously changing what you create. If you live the same life day after day, you’re creating the same results. If you wake up at the same time, get out of the same side of the bed, brush your teeth in the same routine, with the same toothbrush and same toothpaste and always make the same hot drink in the same mug and eat the same foods and see the same people, you create the same internal dialogue and create the same results. If you want change, you have to change your routine in order to change your thoughts and then your behaviors change and then you notice that your environment (and the way you perceive it) changes.

The best way to predict your future is to create it. Yes, it feels a bit unnatural at first, but that’s because it is. It’s not the routines and habits you’ve created and doesn’t come naturally. But it’ll only feel like that until you train your subconscious to develop these patterns and behaviors as automatic and that only happens through repetition. You can’t give it a go once or twice and then give up. You have to make a commitment. A commitment to the life you say you want.

Do you want to loose weight but the only time you can squeeze some exercise in is at 5am every morning? Well, how bad do you want it?

Do you need a second job to pay off some debts but the only place hiring the suits your needs is the pizza delivery place? How bad do you want to be debt-free?

Do you want to meet new, friendly and inspiring people but you’re nervous to attend some of the meets you’ve found? It’s only scary once. The second time you’ll know some people. What if these people change your life? What if you find love? What if these people have the connections to give you your dream job and make you a bucket load of money?

No one is saying these things have to be permanent, they’re just a means to an end. You have to think about your why and what you want, not how you get it.

They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Step outside the norm and start living.

Make a list of all of the things you’d like to be, do and have within the next 6 months to a year in your life.
Now, pick:
-one that you think would be the easiest to achieve
-one that your heart is calling most for
-one that would upgrade your life in some way.

For each of these three things, list at least 15 ways each that could help you achieve them. No matter how big, small, good or bad the idea, get it down. The idea here is not to be logical or realistic, it’s just to get ideas flowing and show that there are more pathways to our desires than our brains like to admit.

Once you have 15 ideas for each desire, circle
-one idea that you could start today
-one that would make the most progress
-one that you incorporate regularly into your life.

The idea that you can start today…. do it. No excuses!
The idea that would make the most progress, get the ball rolling now, research whatever you have to, arrange whatever needs to be arranged and put a timeline on it. You don’t have to be rigid with this timeline, but what get’s scheduled, gets done.
The idea that you could incorporate regularly into your life, decide when and how often you will do this and schedule it into your day/week. Start training your subconscious mind that this will be a new habit.

Do You Want to be Right? Or Happy?

Can you hold a grudge?
Do you stand by your decisions even if they cause you pain?
Have you internally rehearsed a whole script about why you’re right or how this thing, event or person has held you back?
Yup, I’ve been there too.

Sometimes we hold onto so much anger or even hate for someone who has wronged us that we sabotage our own lives and happiness over an event that happened way too long ago. And in doing so, we allow our past to determine our present and even our future.

We make a big show of pointing the finger and saying “look what you did to me” or at least “Don’t think I’ve forgotten what you did to me.” We replay things in our minds and remind ourselves of why that person or thing is BAD and therefore why we’re justified to feel right about it all.

The problem is, our memories are not always as accurate as we think they are. Our recollection of what happened is never the factual version.
Let me explain…

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and felt really hurt by what happened. Then as you told someone else a little while later, even as you’re telling an animated version, you realise that it doesn’t even sound that bad?
Or, have you been witness to other people having crossed words and heard one of them relaying the events to someone else and thinking “that’s a slightly more theatrical version of what actually happened”?

It’s not always that you or the other person is lying or over-dramatic, most of the time, it’s just what they actually recall had happened. When we observe events in life, they create personalized emotional reactions within us. So when someone humiliates you, you feel embarrassed. When your kids pick you flowers in the park and give them to you, you feel love. When someone crosses your personal boundaries, you feel hurt or angry. We remember the emotion more than the event because we don’t actually care what was said or done, we care how it made us feel.

Here’s the thing:
You brain embellishes your memories in accordance with the emotion attached to that memory.

In other words, your brain alters the memory for justification of the emotion.

This is why three people in the same scenario can all have a different recollection of that event. Their brains have adapted the actual event to justify whatever emotion was brought up in them.

Also, this is a great time to mention when things get lost in translation. Whenever you say or do something, you intend it to be a certain way. This is the message you’re sending. However, just because you know the way it was intended, doesn’t mean it’s always received in that same way.

Here’s an example.
Have you ever sent an Email or text message that was taken completely the wrong way? Or you’ve been so busy that your replies are short and blunt and the other person thinks you’re in a mood or are off with them?

Our brains are problem solving machines. They try to look for answers and patterns, even if they only have half the story. Also, our egos love to make everything about us. Which is why:
Text message + short = they’re mad at me.
God forbid they actually have a life and are just really busy trying to multitask, our egos find all this false evidence that will convince you it’s about you.

This means then that the anger or hate you hold for someone might not even be justified at all.
Now, I know that’s a tough pill to swallow but all those memories you have to remind you of why that person was bad or hurtful, will be altered to justify that emotion.

By the way, I’m not suggesting that no one has even been intentionally hurtful towards you, because some people hurt others to feel better about themselves, but even those people, do they really deserve to dictate how you feel, how your life plays out or what you can or can’t do?

It is so liberating to finally be free of a person or event that weighs you down. (Actually, there’s a great exercise in my course, I Am Enough, to help you release and move on from the things that hold you back and weigh you down).

Whenever my ego is trying to hold onto a story I have to stop me from being free (and keep me being right), I always think of this quote from Buddha:

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison, but expecting the other person to die.

More than likely, the other person has completely forgot about whatever happened, meanwhile, we’re over here drinking poison, willing them to suffer the same same pain they made us feel.

The good news is, you can release that anger. First, by understanding everything I’ve told you in this blog and understanding that your brain, as well as your ego, may have been misleading… just a touch. Next, try this exercise:

Now that you understand that your brain zoomed in and amplified the emotion of the memory more than the event, try to zoom out a bit. Look at the whole situation again. Can you see it from another perspective? Remember, the ego loves to make it all about you, but is this actually the case? Was you just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is it possible that the other person had had a bad day, bad week or bad life beforehand and you was just unfortunate to experience actions caused by their pain? (This doesn’t justify or make it OK, but sometimes it can help to understand or stop us from blaming or shaming ourselves or holding onto the anger.) Try to observe through impartial eyes and throw around a few different possibilities, this helps to break down the foundations of the certainty of the belief you’ve held.
Once you’ve thrown around a few different ideas, get a pen and paper and write a letter to that person or event
Explain exactly how it made you feel and any pain or upset it caused you. Be brutal and be honest, don’t worry no one else has to actually see this letter.
Explain all the ways you’ve held yourself back because of it and express anything else that your subconscious mind is telling you to in order for you to move forward.
Now, tell this person or event that even despite everything that has happened, you have decided to forgive them, to take back your power and are no longer allowing what happened to limit you and explain why (even if they don’t deserve it, YOU do.)

Once you’ve expressed everything that you’ve been holding onto and suppressing, I want you to take that letter and scrunch it, rip it, throw it, stamp on it, scream at it, burn it (safely!) or do whatever feels good to release that built up emotion.
Now, to replace that negative energy with something that will benefit you, take another piece of paper and write a list of all the things you’d like to be, do or have within the next 6 months. Is there something you can set into motion right now?

The Secret Formula to a Happy Life

This is the truth and I’ll be honest with you now. One of my biggest pet hates is when any coach, spiritual guru or self-help teacher tells you in order to be happy, you need to just think positively.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but sometimes there’s some real issues that we have to deal with. If only the biggest issues I’ve faced in my life were finding a new job to fund my world travel plans or not having a new outfit for the weekend or arriving at the deli only to find out my favourite sandwich had sold out or whatever first world problems we complain about.

Most of us have issues that really affect out lives. Most of us can’t “just think positively” to cure our poverty or grief or legal battles or unfulfillment of the life we’re living.

However, this doesn’t make us powerless.

In order to take charge of your life, you have to do exactly that. Be in charge. To do this, you need to take 100% responsibility. Now, if you’re anything like me, your defense will be up straight away and you’ll start listing off a whole bunch of reasons why it’s not your fault that you are where you are. Am I right?

But as you’ll see in a moment, I’m not suggesting that you take responsibility for every injustice you’ve experience and every time you’ve been wronged by someone, but I am saying that you need to take responsibility for how you reacted to it and how you let it define your reality.

We are so much more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe because it’s easy to give the power (and responsibility) to someone else. That way, it’s not our fault why we don’t have the lives we want. It’s always our upbringing, our financial situation, our love life (or lack of love life), it’s our children or our work commitments, it’s the government or the state of our country. It’s always out there somewhere. We point at everyone and everything else, except ourselves.

Let me explain…

I was watching a documentary one day and suddenly my screen lit up with a brilliant man called Jack Canfield. I’ve read some of his books and seen him in many things before so as soon as I saw his gentle face and calming nature, I instantly sat a little taller and had tunnel vision for any wisdom that he was about to share.

He spoke about a formula he lives his life by, which is:

E + R = O

E + R = O
Event + Response = Outcome

The Event is the thing that happened. The Event is neutral until we put a label on it, usually good or bad. We don’t always have control over the Event and sometimes we don’t even play a part.

We do, however, have control over how we Respond to the Event. Our Response is just as important as the Event in order to determine the Outcome. Let me give you an example:

You’re driving down the road and some inconsiderate driver cuts in front of you causing you to slam on your breaks (Event). How you Respond now will determine the Outcome.
You could bib your horn and let out your aggression. Causing you to be in a bad mood for the rest of your journey (and very possibly the rest of your day).
You could race ahead to catch up to him and give him a piece of your mind. Which could lead to a dangerous altercation.
You could think “Woah there Mr, slow down or you’ll cause an accident. Thank goodness my breaks are working!

The problem is, most people want to feel right more than they want to feel happy. They don’t want to let that A hole get away with doing them wrong and they want him to know exactly what they think of him. In that moment they’re choosing to feel right instead of choosing to feel happy.

Of course, there is always the possibility that the A hole in the car has just heard that his wife was in an accident and is rushing to the hospital. Or that he just found out his mother is about to take her last breath and he wants to say his last goodbye. Or, he may just be an A hole. Who knows?

The point is, you’re judging the backstory of the Event and then Responding to the back story that YOU’VE created which then leads to an undesirable Outcome. This is a closed mindset.

A much more beneficial way to create more happiness would be to work a little backwards.

Let’s say an Event occurred. Before you Respond (or react to feel right), ask yourself what Outcome you’d want. When you know the Outcome you want, it will give you a much better indication to the Response you should give.

If this is not how you usually operate, it may not be easy in the beginning, it definitely wasn’t for me. You’re running reactive programming that you’ve been practicing for years and years, so give yourself time. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Don’t beat yourself up if you realise a little too late that you’ve Responded in a way that doesn’t give you the Outcome you want. The fact that it’s come to your attention at all means you’re making the changes necessary to create more happy Outcomes.

You have to take responsibility for your Responses and reactions and therefore, for the Outcomes you’ve created. You hold the power to your happiness 100% and now that you know this secret formula, you have the knowledge to apply it to your life.

Things won’t change overnight, but they will change and before you know it, you’ll look back and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Working on your mindset and perspective is the best gift you can give yourself because it will change your life. Empowering yourself is never time wasted.

If you want to learn tangible ways to empower yourself and improve your mindset, uncover the simple science behind why it works and how you can easily apply this information into your life, then consider taking my Rhi-vive Your Mindset course.

Where are you Responding in your own life to create Outcomes that don’t support your happiness?
Brainstorm ways you can change your Responses or things you can do to repair previous Responses.
Look into where you’d like to experience more happiness and how you can make it more of a priority.

Take 2 or 3 actions today to start building momentum. You may have step outside of your comfort zone a little bit, but my god it will be so worth it. Take the leap of faith.
You can find more info about Rhi-vive Your Mindset here.

Gratitude – What’s the big deal?

No matter what self-development book I read, YouTube video I watch, seminar I attend or course I take, it seems like EVERYONE is banging on about the importance of gratitude.

Now I’ve always considered myself quite grateful. I like to think my parents done a good job raising me and I have good manners. If someone does something nice for me, I show my appreciation. I’m sure most of us do, right?

So how is this different from the all-enlightened gratitude?

Well, it is different…. and it’s not.
I love learning about spiritual practices but sometimes I just need the science and cold hard facts about something. You can’t just tell my brain “do this because I said“, I need to understand why and how it works. If you’re like me in this respect, I have the answers for you.

Gratitude has been recognized for millennia as a powerful emotion. Some cultures believe gratitude has healing powers. But over the years, science has done it’s research on good old gratitude too and has found that regularly feeling gratitude:

  • Strengthens and deepens relationships
  • Improves physical health
  • Improves psychological health
  • Enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Increases mental strength

No too bad, eh? It almost seems too simple, but let’s look at the (simple) science.

When you feel gratitude, I’m serious, you have to feel it, not just say what you’re grateful for. When you feel gratitude, two main hormones are released, dopamine and serotonin. Paired together, these are known as the happy hormones. While dopamine regulates mood, muscle movement and contributes towards the brain’s pleasure and reward system (we get a huge dose of dopamine when we orgasm), serotonin also regulates mood but also regulates body temperature and appetite to make sure we’re at a comfortable and happy state.

In fact, scientists are calling gratitude the “natural anti-depressant” because it’s free, makes you feel great over a prolonged period of time and you’re not putting anything artificial into your system.

The more you practice gratitude, you train your brain to see more reasons to be grateful due to the repetition and the emotional charge that gratitude creates. Therefore you start to notice more blessings and amazing things, people and opportunities in your life.

Also, it’s a common misconception that if you’re grateful for where you are in life now, then that means you’re happy to settle. This is false. You can be happy and grateful for where you are in life right now but still aspire and work towards and even better future. Being grateful just means that you’re happy you’re not further behind where you currently are, like millions of people in this world are.

OK, OK, I get it Rhiannon, now, how can I apply this into my life?

Firstly, don’t judge what you feel grateful for. If it’s that cup of coffee in the morning, allow yourself to feel grateful. If it’s finding a seat on your commute after a long day at work, feel that gratitude. If it’s a quiet 90 seconds while you lock yourself in the kitchen and eat a whole chocolate bar to yourself while your kids are finally quiet, ABSOLUTELY tap into that grateful feeling.

Of course, we’d all love to be grateful for our 5 senses and the roof over heads and all these deep and incredible gifts that we take for granted on a daily basis, and of course, the goal is to feel those things too! But sometimes life can be so stressful that I’m so grateful when it’s finally time for my kids to go to bed after they’ve been awake for what feels like 348,75,93,720 hours.

Our bodies are not judging where our gratitude comes from, it just wants to feel more of it, and the more you feel, the more you’ll notice, the better you’ll feel and it is an upwards spiral from there.

When you notice something that you feel grateful for, stop for a moment longer and allow that feeling to sit in your body a moment longer than you usually would before dismissing it and getting on with your day. Bathe in the gratitude and allow it to reach every cell of your body. Allow it to intensify and multiply and leave you feeling even more grateful. Almost take a screenshot of that moment that made you feel grateful and study it for a moment or two, observe the whole situation and accept beautiful gift you have received gratefully, because you’re worth it.

When you get in bed at night, recap on all the grateful moments you experienced that day. If you take gratitude into sleep with you, that emotion enters your subconscious mind and the benefits are endless. You’ll notice that you wake in a better mood, you start your day of happier and you become luckier… just like magic.

There’s a reason why everyone talks about the power of gratitude. Simply put… because it works.

Have an attitude of gratitude
Challenge yourself to list three things you feel grateful for (remember no judgments)
Do this every every morning and every evening for 7 days.
Write them down for an extra boost of gratitude, maybe in your journal or in the notes section of your phone.

After your seven days, you can look over your list and tap into that gratitude again.

Negative People vs Positive People

You know the difference right? You know the people who are so negative that it’s draining to be around them and you want to scream at the to lighten up!! I’m sure you also know the sickening positive people who are so far away from reality that their head are in the clouds and they’re pretty much deluded.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been both of these people in my life, and still am! Sometimes my ego throws a fit and I fall into victim mode and think poor me and can’t help but tell my sad tale. It’s times like this I need a real wake up call. But I’ve got to the point in my life (after a whooooole lot of inner work and soul searching) where I’m a pretty positive person 95% of the time.

I like living in my own little world, no matter how deluded it is. I’ve experienced both sides of this coin and let me tell you that the positive side is a whole lot more fun. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

It’s actually easier to be negative, but why?
Well, Negative emotions have a stronger and more lasting effect on the body and spirit that positive ones.

Yes, lovely things happening to us feels great, and we’re grateful for them, but pretty soon, we’re over it. Whereas negative situations or emotions can linger forever, especially if we don’t know how to move past them. This is a survival tool. It helps us learn what to stay away from whether it’s the saber-tooth tiger approaching our camp or having our heart broken. We use past and perceived threats or events as a guide to keep us safe in the future.

If you’re reading this thinking “but I’m quite a negative person” don’t worry too much, it just means you’re intelligent enough to know your worth and know you’re worth protecting and trying to keep yourself safe in order to survive. However, surviving is not the same as living. There’s also no pride or glory in declaring your past traumas. It IS ok and possible to let go of something while taking the lesson with you.

It reminds me of this great Dr Joe Dispenza quote:

The memory without the emotional charge is WISDOM

I’m also not saying that you need to be a “positive person” by being deluded, pretend everything is hunky dory and open yourself up to pain and abuse. There’s nothing spiritual about suffering. There’s spirituality in healing, but suffering doesn’t make us better or worse than anyone else.

I believe that we all wear both hats. We all have the ability to be positive and negative, it just depends on the circumstance at the time as well as the people we surround ourselves with.
The real trouble is, some of us have just got too used to only wearing one hat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Experiencing a range of emotions is not only normal, but healthy. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious or worrying about something. No one can be happy 100% of the time.

When I feel a wobble coming on, here’s what I do.
Take note here because it’s very detailed… I allow it.
I embrace the wobble and I let it throw it’s little strop. There’s no sense in trying to be the bigger person or meditate or focus on my breathing. None of it will work when I’m freaking out or angry. Whatever emotion it is, is trying to tell me something and wants to be heard. So I let it. I’m not going to lie, it usually is released by me ugly crying and feeling sorry for myself and it’s exhausting and I usually like to have a little nap after that but you wouldn’t believe how much better I feel. Then, and only then, do I have the mental capacity to approach whatever it is, or even just life in general, with a clear head and the energy to try and tackle whatever it is that needs my attention.

Who care’s about being a positive person or a negative person! Who cares about the stereotypes that come with those labels. Why do we always have to be put into boxes? Be both. Be neither. Make up your own label for yourself. You are not one label my friend. You are a complex yet beautiful soul, show a little respect!

Take a deep breath. I had to get that off my chest.
Here’s a cool exercise…
Set a timer on your phone for 1 minute. Notice and try to remember all the things around you that begin with the letter P.
Once the timer goes off, close your eyes and name all of the things that you saw that begin with the letter T.
Yes, I wrote that right. When your mind is so focused on one thing (like things beginning with P), you’re blind to the abundance of things that surround that begin with T.

What are you focusing on that isn’t serving you?

What is stopping you from moving forward to where/who you’d like to be?

Make a list of all the reasons you deserve to move on from this. List all the reasons you have to be grateful in your current reality. List all the positive things you learned from this experience.

Now recognize that holding onto this things is limiting your present and your future. We cannot change our past but we can decide what we allow to hold on to. Forgive that person/event/situation for teaching you a valuable lesson and for being so deprived of love that it caused you pain and decide to release it because YOU deserve to be free from it.

Are you using your thoughts wisely?

Our thoughts are something that most of us don’t really consider very much. At least, not until a painful one comes along.

But as you now know, as you read in Are Your Thoughts Ruining You Life?, that our thoughts not only dictate how we feel emotionally and physically but they also determine our behaviors and traits, what we reach towards, what we believe is possible for us, what we believe we deserve and what we are allowed to dare to dream about.

So, if that’s the case, how can we better observe our thoughts?
Well, as we learned in Are Your Thoughts Ruining Your Life?. we have somewhere between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day and around 95% of those are subconscious and recycled from the day before as the subconscious mind is programmed by repetition.

Let’s say that we have 70,000 thoughts per day.
Now, let’s pretend that each of those thoughts represents one pound, or one dollar (or whatever your currency is), for me, I’m going to pretend that I have £70,000 worth of thoughts per day, each thought being worth £1.

At the end of each day, your thought bank will always be £0 and will always be replenished the next day. But out of that £70,000, how much did you spend and how much did you invest?

Confused? Let’s break it down.
You’re running late for work and rushing around, you finally jump on the train and as you sit down, you think to yourself “Why didn’t I get up earlier? I knew I shouldn’t have left it to the last minute. Now, my boss will be angry and I really can’t deal with this right now…” This could easily go on for the whole journey to your desk. This is the equivalent of spending your thoughts. Once you use this thought, it doesn’t benefit you in any way, you can’t get it back and it’s gone forever. It’s spent.

Whereas, instead, once you jump on the train, you think to yourself “All this rushing around makes me feel like crap. It ruins my day before it’s even started. I really do need to sort it out because I really can’t deal with my boss lecturing me again. I think tomorrow I’ll set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier… and put it on the other side of the room so I have to get up.” This, is investing your thoughts. You are assessing the situation, coming up with a solution so you don’t have to experience this (and think this) again tomorrow and the next day.

Want another example?
You jump out the shower and as you’re getting dried, you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realise how much weight you’ve put on. Are you going to spend your thoughts or invest them?

Spending your thoughts sounds something like this:
“God, I’m disgusting. When did I let myself go? I hate looking at myself in the mirror. Ergh! I feel awful now. I think I’ll wear my black jumper, it’s baggy and hopefully I can hide in the shadow so no one will notice me.”
Did this benefit you in anyway? Did it inspire, uplift or empower you? Did it evoke change or fuel you to step toward your ideal future?
No. No it did not.
It was a reactive thought that came because you decided not to see past current limitations.

Of course, the ideal investment of your thoughts after seeing yourself in a mirror would be something like:
“Ooooh-weeee! How you doing good-looking?” but I want to punch people like that in the face… mainly because I’m not people like them. A much more realistic investment of your thoughts, for most of us would be:
“Wow, have I really been avoiding looking in the mirror so long that I didn’t see how much weight I’d put on? Am I ok with my body being this shape? I’ve not been in a great place recently and I guess my body is a reflection of how I’ve felt on the inside. I’ve not really shown myself any love recently. I can’t remember the last time I wore some clothes that made me feel good or danced around the house. Maybe I need to reevaluate where I am and pay myself a little bit of love and attention. I’ll start with taking a walk to my friend’s house today, she always puts me in a good mood.”

Do you understand now?
When you spend a thought, like spending money, you give it away and it’ll never return. When you spend money on something, you don’t really want or enjoy the thing you’re getting in exchange. Or you feel obliged and begrudgingly hand over the money. It’s the same with a thought.

When you invest your money, you either put it into something that reap rewards at a later date, like a stock, share or income revenue, or you reap the rewards instantaneously by genuinely appreciating, feeling grateful for and enjoying the thing you’ve purchased. Same with your thoughts.

At the end of every day, do you want your thoughts to have been mainly spent? Or do you want them to have been invested into inspiring you, uplifting you, empowering you, cheering you on, building you up, helping you grow and evolve, helping to open new doors for you, helping to direct you to the life that you want and desire?

Ok, here’s a journal prompt to help you explore a little deeper. Get your favourite journal, notebook or even just some scrap paper and free-write on these questions:

Where am I allowing excuses to determine my circumstances?

What is my intuition telling me about what I need to do or let go of in order to get closer to where I want to be?

If you want to discover more about journaling and how you can use it to process your emotions and set your intentions, take my £15 Online Journaling Workshop

Are Your Thoughts ruining your life?

Years ago, we thought that our DNA defined who we were down to every last detail. We thought our DNA defined if we were shy or outgoing. If we could cope under pressure or crumble. If we took chances or we were too frightened or cautious. If we were a positive or negative person.

Luckily, we now know that all of these traits are not genetic, but learned behaviors. You can learn to become more positive, and deal with stressful situations better, cope with ‘rejection‘ and still have the guts to chase your dreams.

Largely, all these traits, all our behaviors and in fact, the entire circumstances surrounding our whole lives are determined and influenced by our thoughts.

Science tells us that we have around 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day, of which, 95% of those thoughts are unconscious thoughts, recycled from the day before, and the day before that and so on. These unconscious thoughts, program our subconscious mind which ultimately runs our lives.

You can’t consciously tell your subconscious mind to change. This has to be done by hypnosis or by repetition. So, this means, then, that the subconscious is running our lives without us even knowing it. And if you’re honest with yourself, I know you can think of scenarios in your life where this is true.

When you go for an interview, or give a talk on stage, you might repeat in your head “Don’t blow it” or “they’re not going to like you.” or “you’re going to forget what to say”. Your whole body posture changes. You hunch a little, even if only a fraction. The volume and tone of your voice is quiet and uncertain. You don’t make eye contact, look uninterested and people can’t engage and get excited for what you have to say because you’re not even excited about what you’ve got to say.

None of this happened because you aren’t good at speaking or you’re uninteresting. It happened because the thoughts in your head dictated the event in your life. Don’t believe me?

Imagine you’re with a group of friends and someone says something that makes you think of an amazing new film you watched, the new diet you’re trying and loving, or the cutest little thing your baby did the other day. You cannot wait to interrupt them and share this wonderful piece of news. You explain in detail everything you love about this thing and it doesn’t even occur to you that no one gives a crap or not. You have no problem communicating during this time.

Also, I know you’ve been there when a friend remembers something so funny that they can’t even tell the story. Every time they start to speak, they start laughing again and nearly wet them self. You, on the other hand, have no idea what the story is, but you’re hanging on so intently waiting to hear the story that your friend is trying to tell. Of course, the story is never as funny to you as it was to your friend, I guess you had to be there, but their excitement keeps you hanging on. Your thoughts tell you it’s going to be worth the wait and their thoughts, keep them doubled over with laughter but to attempt again and again to tell you the story because it’s going to be worth it.

If you don’t yet believe me that your thoughts are powerful, let’s take a look at the above example. Your friends funny story had happened at some time in the past. It is no longer happening, but their thoughts about it set off a series of neurons in their brain, conjured up some emotion and then they began reliving the scene as if it was happening again, causing very real emotions and physical effects.

Even now, nearly 3 years later, a thought may come into my head to do with my brother’s death or my grieving and then a series of neurons are set off in my brain, it remembers the emotions and I relive it as painfully as I did when it first happened. My brother hasn’t died again and again. I just remember it (or have a thought about it) again and again.

A single thought about a presentation at work, or a deadline or a due payment or even a date can cause physical symptoms like sweaty palms, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate. Just a single thought.

In some situations, it’s really beneficial to have these recurring thoughts. Like if you see fire, your brain says “don’t touch! That’s hot!” or if you get too close to a cliff, you have a thought telling you “danger! Stay back“. These thoughts are helping you to survive, like we spoke about in #1 Surviving. But what about normal every day thoughts?

What are you thinking when you lift a piece of cake to your mouth?
Or when your kids are arguing?
Or when you’re tired?
Or when you walk around your home?
Or when someone asks you on a date?
Or when you have a bill to pay?

What thoughts come to your mind about your health, your wealth, your appearance and your happiness?

Are your thoughts supporting your dreams and aspirations? Or are they sabotaging them? We’re going to learn more about this in #3………………

Think of something you’d like to be, do or have.
What thoughts or feelings come up? If you can’t think of anything, ask yourself “Why can’t I have this?” This should give you an insight to your thoughts around this topic.

Can you remember the earliest memory you have around this thought?
For example, if you want a new car, but your thoughts are something like ‘that’s wasteful and irresponsible as I already have a car. Ok, it breaks down every other week and you have to get in the passenger side as the driver’s door doesn’t open, but to buy a new car when I already have one is just wasteful.’ Can you remember the earliest time you remember feeling (or being told) you were being wasteful?

Can you, now that you’re older and wiser see a bigger picture? Can you see how other people’s opinions had shaped your belief based on their own limiting beliefs? Can you hold compassion for yourself or others for the actions surrounding that event? Can you forgive the person, or event to free yourself from holding onto it anymore?
If you’d like to better understand and filter your thoughts and beliefs, you can sign for my Journaling Workshop

Adrenaline and Living in Survival

You’ve heard of the flight, fight or freeze hormone, right? That thing called Adrenaline that either petrifies up or gives us a rush of energy?

We’ve all experienced it at one time or another and it’s really useful to have.

Animals have it too. When a predator approaches, the prey can either freeze and play dead or like a deer caught in headlights or run like their life depended on it, because… Well, their life does depend on it.

When you prepare for flight against a perceived threat, all your body’s energy and focused is directed towards survival. It’s only when the threat is over and we feel safe that we can return to homeostasis.

Animals recover very quickly and instantly go back to grazing in the field or merrily swimming along within moments of escaping death, but humans tend to prolong the danger phase.

When we are safe, the first thing we want to do is complain about the events that have just taken place. We tell anyone who will listen about the suffering we had to endure. We constantly look over our shoulder to see if the big bad wolf is following us, ready to launch into action if he appears.

I’m not saying caution is a bad thing, but let’s be honest. This isn’t just caution. This is survival mode. When you’re in survival mode, you’re body is in stress, when you’re in stress, it’s like putting your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time.

When you’re in survival, it is not a time for growth or renewal. What’s the point in new healthy cells if the predator kills you anyway? So when you’re in hyper states of stress, you’re body isn’t functioning to it’s fullest ability.

Have you ever noticed your health deteriorates at times when you’re in a prolonged state of stress? That’s because you’re immune system is compromised. Your body is so focused on survival that it isn’t performing to it’s highest ability.

When you’re in survival mode, you’ll know it. You feel like you’re constantly treading water, like you don’t have enough energy and like like your emotions are on high alert. You can’t even think of tomorrow let alone planning for the future. You’re in constant reaction mode.

When you’re constantly reacting to things, you will never get ahead. Life will always give you things to react to and you’ll never ‘be done’.

Survival is a blessing when we are faced with life-threatening situations, but do we really just want to survive? Why don’t we focus our attention on thriving? Why don’t we move from our defensive position to a progressive position?

When we feel safe, we tend to be more creative, more happy, flow more freely. We try new things and discover new experiences. Many of which can enrich our lives and even make it easier.

It’s much more beneficial for you to be proactive than reactive. And I definitely have some blogs to share with you to help you do that, but for right now, wherever you are, in this moment, know that you are safe. If you wasn’t you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
In this moment, not 10 minutes time, not tomorrow, not yesterday or next week, this moment right now, you are safe.

Do this now:
Place your hand on your heart and feel is beating.
With your hand resting on your heart space, take a deep breath in and let it out. Feel the air rush into your lungs when you breathe in and feel your body relax and your muscles melt as you breathe out.
Do this 5 times, feeling the air rush in on your in-breath and feeling your body relax on your out-breath.

Give yourself permission to take 2 minutes to do this 3 times a day for the next week.

Here are some of my blogs to help you get out of survival mode and into thriving mode:

How to reduce overwhelm
How to Find Your Motivation
Six Steps to get to where you want to be in life
Making Upgrades