Do you feel depressed after Christmas?

Many of us feel depressed after Christmas. When the festivities are passed, we’ve welcomed in the New Year, or watched others do so, and the tinsel is put away, we’re left with ourselves and what is unfulfilled or not working in our lives.  It’s the post-Christmas let-down for some, while others may not really enter into the spirit of the occasion in the first place. It can be a hard time. It’s like a massive bump back to earth, back to seeming reality. We get caught up in the pre-Christmas rush to buy presents, get in the food (“Get ready … Read more

We fear taking action to make our lives better

We often know what we need to do to make our lives better, except that for one reason or another we don’t do it! Sometimes when I give people feedback in coaching they often respond with “Yes, I know.” So, why don’t they take action and deal with whatever it is and move on? One reason is the “comfortable discomfort” syndrome, where we know it isn’t really OK but we’ve found ways of living with it. The effort required to make changes is greater than that of the status quo. Somehow we fear taking action to make our lives better. … Read more

Being committed can be challenging

One major but underestimated hurdle for people considering undertaking some kind of self development is making a commitment and sticking to it, remaining committed.  Being committed can mean we encounter all sorts of obstacles, often of a very real nature, or so it seems, and we find reasons and excuses to pull out or not get engaged with the challenge in the first place. To commit to something means we’ll get tested on that commitment and the reasons we come up with to pull out can include, or sometimes mask, the very reasons for getting the help in the first … Read more

You can make yourself feel happier if you choose

In contrast to the conventional wisdom, the World Happiness Database has found that having goals doesn’t make you happier. Given that very many in coaching start with questions around goals, this can seem a challenging proposition until we reflect on the relationship between having goals and happiness. The point that is being made in this research is that intellectual concepts like goals, meaning and purpose aren’t in themselves things that create a sense of wellbeing, although they can help. Goals help us move towards something that is life-enhancing. As is argued, it is in the action and thus the experience … Read more

In memory of a very special person

I was very sad to learn recently that a major inspiration in my life, a very special person, has just died of a heart attack. Graham Browne led a very powerful program, Turning Point, that I attended at a very low point in my life in 1989 and it was through the work that followed that a very rapid transformation occurred for me. Many people have come out of seemingly nowhere to confirm what this man, with his fellow teachers, has achieved for them too. It’s one of those very big occasions when people sense another turning point. When someone … Read more

Being stuck in the past with unresolved grief

People can get such powerful upheavals in their lives that it can get very hard to move on as a result. They can be very stuck in the past, although it might not seem like that. The challenge can be very much about finding ways to let go of what happened, and bring it to completion so that they can free themselves up to move on. A classic example of this is a bereavement, where someone might so miss say their dead partner that for years afterwards they feel unable to let go of the dead person. This might be … Read more

Weathering the depression in our minds to find new light

Sitting in a local Costa Coffee, I’m watching the rain pouring down. While no doubt typical in meteorological annals for May, it must be depressing to experience this day after day. People’s moods can seem to be linked to the weather, and prolonged bad weather may seem to contribute to depression, as a return to sunny weather can lift people’s spirits. So too can the sheer effort of getting about and doing things when faced with getting an utter drenching may seem to contribute to stress, let alone the prospect of being flooded out. While there’s a debate as to … Read more

Not dealing with the real issue

Many are commenting that this is the worst recession they’ve experienced in very many decades. The tendency might therefore to be to “ride it out” in some way rather than invest in themselves and the future. It’s a common syndrome I see. It’s as though people think they can almost enjoy the relative slack. However they might be missing the opportunity to develop their resources. At one level of course, why not enjoy it? There’s great merit in being in the moment and taking time to savour joy. If this serves as the trigger for that, well and good. We … Read more

Letting go when we’re really down

I was struck on Friday by how low morale was in a particular organisation. It had plummeted after the 2008-9 slump and subsequent restructurings and has stayed low ever since. Not surprisingly people wanted to know about ways of motivating their staff and seemed to have run out of ideas. As individuals we can also get stuck in low points in our lives and when whole groups get like this too, the effect can seem like it’s magnified. This is when it is so important to have our own strategies for lifting ourselves up. This may well need to be … Read more

Heal your own pain if you want to help others

Have you used a skilled helper like a counsellor, a therapist or a coach and found during the work you were doing that the problem you were discussing with them was one they weren’t really comfortable with? It might show in the body language or in the interventions they make, as they they don’t seem quite appropriate or too judgemental, or you feel the issue isn’t really getting addressed, you aren’t any further forward and your hunch is that they aren’t very comfortable with it. This is a thorny subject but to trained, very experienced practitioners a key part of … Read more