Do you have too many thoughts on your mind?

People often say to me how they have such trouble with their minds, how their thoughts run away with them and they end up in places mentally where they don’t want to be. If only they could manage their thoughts, they say. You can have so many thoughts on your mind that the mind can become the source of your greatest torment, but it can also be the place of your greatest bliss. You can do something about it. We get so caught up with our worries, problems and concerns that we don’t realise what’s really going on. Surely, we … Read more

Sometimes it’s hard getting that others feel differently to you

Realising that others have a different perspective, that others feel differently, can be one that we resist. Moreover we can refuse to accept it, let alone empathise with it or see it as legitimate. Such is often the nature of disputes that keep us separate and at odds with our actual or former loved ones, neighbours or others we fall out with. Thus reaching beyond the divide, letting go of the pain and taking a higher perspective is often a necessary but challenging path. It’s like we just don’t want to let go! As a continuing student of history and … Read more

Getting to know the different parts of ourselves can be healing

You might think that the good person whom you like to think you are is always perfectly nice and reasonable, pleasant to be around, positive, calm and agreeable, and that that’s what others want. Then you might also want to throw your toys out of the pram, have a tantrum and be perfectly obnoxious. These different parts of ourselves can feel uncomfortable to be around. For example you may know you can’t be like that, having tantrums, quite simply for various reasons of a social kind, like that’s not what one does, others don’t like it – and they certainly … Read more

Honesty and openness not secrecy and distrust heals us and brings peace

Under pressure, a knee-jerk response is to close down and defend oneself. One classic stress response after all is to prepare the bodily system to engage the enemy, or to take flight, or to freeze to the spot. Traditional cultural conditioning is arguably to be careful what you reveal. It might be a natural “free child” response in Transactional Analysis terms to be open, spontaneous and expressive, to show honesty and openness, and yet that’s not how people have traditionally tended to react in social situations. Social conditioning closed down the “free child” response. To be honest, open and direct … Read more

Are you living your life in a way that really serves you?

In these holiday months it might be customary for some of us lounging by the pool in some sun-drenched beautiful location to reflect on the pace of life, and ask why do we put up with it and why can’t we do things differently. The lazy discussion on living your life as you really want, after say some complaints about the sharing of tasks, might result in some intentions to make changes. Yet like lambs to the slaughter we go back to our driven, city-centred life-styles and very quickly all the relaxation and sense of wellbeing has vanished and we’re … Read more

Being driven can drive us to illness

People who help others can neglect looking after themselves. It’s a well-known hazard in the helping professions and Christmas here in the UK can serve as a useful reminder, if only that it is a common time for people to go down with bugs and be sick. It’s like we chase around after our own tails, get to the Christmas holiday and collapse in a sorry heap, like much of the rest of the workforce. One characteristic is not knowing you’re exhausted till you stop. It’s slipped out of our conscious awareness. For the skilled helper, like coaches, counsellors, nurses … Read more

Building self confidence can mean starting with inner quiet

It can seem an odd place to start in building self confidence in yourself and in a project by first building inner quiet. Yet if you need to re-focus, re-build, get something new going in your life and work, you may need to calm self doubt and lack of self belief and develop stillness of mind so that you have a surer base from which to grow what you intend. You may not be clear what it is that you intend and you may need to get your mind clear in order to allow creativity to do its work. In … Read more

To know the value of quiet

In trawling through a range of business articles online I came across a delight* which praised the value of quiet and affirmed the value of of introverts. As another “introvert”, I read with enthusiasm: how nice to see people being positive about introversion, and about being quiet! As the writer states, in a world seemingly dominated by extroversion and the valuing of extrovert behaviours, and the noise that ensues, the pressure is seemingly on the introvert to change. She is very clear that those of us who are quiet can also serve. I wonder how you react when you see … Read more

Beating ourselves up doesn’t make for lasting peace

Have you found that the frustration, shame or disappointment you have felt for something adverse that has happened for you has been such that you’ve turned it on yourself? Beating ourselves up can be one way of dealing with lack of success in some area of life, although not exactly the most positive way of treating the self. If we don’t take it out on others, then there’s ourselves, if that is we feel we have to “take it out” on something. The anger, shame, rage, call it what you will, needs an outlet. There’s a long history of this. … Read more

Happiness may not be the best goal to pursue

Attempts by governments to foster happiness in the population seem to have been hitting resistance. This is not only because of the well-known tendency of the population to tire of particular regimes over time and look for a change but also that the very happiness agenda itself has been controversial. It’s been pointed out that an over-strong emphasis on happiness as a desirable quality can actually have a dispiriting effect on those for whom being happy is something they are really struggling with. Even the supposed champion par excellence of happiness, Dr Seligman, has in his latest book Flourish moved … Read more