Blog Archives - Headgym

USE YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Comfort zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone is something that we can really use to make progress and overcome obstacles we may have had for years. We are all familiar with the fight, flight or freeze scenario, we may have physical feelings that accompany these situations. Hot sweats, stomach churn, headache etc what I am going to suggest turns this situation on its head.

 

 

Fight Flight or Freeze

When you get the feeling of FFF take note this is your mind/body telling you that there is an opportunity to make progress. Stop for a minute and think is there any danger? Are there any sabre tooth tigers about? 99.9% we are safe, and this is an opportunity. It will feel uncomfortable for a short while but once you have stepped out and Identify what is it that you want to pursue set your goals using the |HeadGym goals path, you can then use those goals to drive you and be inspired by what you want. It will be a lot easier to push yourself outside of your current comfort zone if you have set targets rather than pushing against fear for the sake of it.

 

  1. Move toward your fear.

If you feel fearful about something, then feel the fear and do it anyway. Your fear represents the things that lie outside of your comfort zone. Stepping into the emotion of fear you are literally expanding your comfort zone and therefore your progress.

  1. Do things you wouldn’t normally do every little thing you do that is different from your usual routine is a step outside of your comfort zone. Do small things first remember step by step is the way forward Take a different route to work. Try a different meal from your usual. Speak to somebody whom you normally would not talk to, all the small things add up.
  2. Accept the discomfort. Learn to be okay with being uncomfortable to accept the uncomfortable. Whenever you feel uncomfortable know it’s a good thing because it means that progress is available don’t resist that feeling of discomfort embrace it.
  3. Do new things. Make a point to do something new every week. It can be as simple as reading a new book, trying a new recipe, speaking to somebody new to be open to doing different things, if they fall within your personal agenda and are not life-threatening.
  4. Take the challenge Life is supposed to be challenging. There will be ups and there will be downs which are sometimes unavoidable or even self-imposed. These moments may not feel good, but they do help you to grow and make progress. Once you are through the challenge you will improve at what you do. Acceptance that life is meant to be a challenge is something to work on say “yes” more often.

FEELING STUCK?

Comfortably uncomfortable

This is something that I have come across time and time again and am certainly guilty of myself as we all are. We all get comfortable and will prefer to stay within our comfort zone doing what we know; staying where we feel safe and not venturing outside our “safe” parameters.

We get the fight, fright or freeze instinctively kick in and listen to it on autopilot, preferring not to take a risk. Sometimes that instinct will have accompanying physical feelings churning in the stomach, hot sweats, a rash, shaking and even panic attacks or physical sickness.

This instinct is in place to keep us safe it is a legacy in our brains from our ancestry where we may have been attacked by saber tooth tigers or a woolly mammoth. These days the dangers are usually less severe, and risk of life is less common, although there are exceptions.

Using the 3 F’s

Learn to notice when your fight, fight or fear instinct is triggered when you get the butterflies in the stomach or the hot sweats stop for a minute. Take a moment to think, this instinct kicking in is usually telling you that something outside your comfort zone is ahead. First, check there is no threat to life or real danger and consider what is causing the FFF instinct to kick in; 9 times out of 10 it will be safe. Your FFF is telling you that there is an opportunity a chance to make progress, opportunity and progress are usually outside of your comfort zone.  Practice using the FFF for you instead of against you and holding you back, the more aware and tuned in you become the more you will notice and be able to use them to progress. HeadGym have many techniques and strategies that can help with that push for shifting your comfort zone.

Here are just a couple of simple strategies you can use.

No

Saying no means, you can stay in your comfort zone, avoid the fear failure and rejection and avoidance becomes a carefully crafted skill. Ironically staying in your comfort zone can be very uncomfortable, many people I have worked with have chosen to stay “comfortably uncomfortable” for many years. What I mean by this is quite often people will be desperately unhappy, in a state of heightened anxiety or experiencing long term depression and rather than take the risk of stepping out of their “uncomfortable comfort zone” they stay put.  Maybe some will pop out of the “uncomfortable comfort zone” for a short while only to retreat in again, this can become a pattern and can go on for years or even a lifetime.

Yes

Starting to say yes where previously your automatic response was no this can be the start of shifting the comfort zone this simple step can expand and deepen your life very quickly. Saying yes allows you to open your life to more happiness.

We have many more strategies and techniques for overcoming fears and combating any physical feelings that may be stopping you from shifting your comfort zone. You can join HeadGym free get tips, advice, and access to free webinars.

THE FEAR FACTOR

The fear factor

The Dalai Lama once said, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”

Letting go of fear can be the greatest challenge to overcoming fear. Sometimes we hold on to something thinking it empowers us; however, holding on only weakens us. Letting go of our fears allows us to focus more on the present moment and less on the fear itself.

Below are 10 techniques that can help with overcoming fear

  1. Reading a book can help and be motivational and provide inspiration.
  2. Action Fears are created by imagination which can make reality seem scarier than it is. When you act upon and face your fears, they can weaken remember the HeadGym blog on using your comfort zone. (no 3 Above)
  3. Watching a film or YouTube video can be as useful as reading a book to help with inspiration, motivation or learning new techniques or strategies for overcoming fear.
  4. When fear strikes, turn it around. Instead of thinking of something bad that can happen, think of something positive happening. imagine yourself being successful for example.
  5. Remember our brain will tend to focus the negative, consider all the options, you can often realise that you’re making a big deal out of nothing.
  6. Be kind to others. If you focus on helping people every now and then it may help with being self-conscious and make you feel good as well as the other person, it’s a win-win.
  7. Consider the challenges and fears your life, you may see that often, they have delivered a valuable learning that you needed.
  8. Mirror neurons. If you can find someone who had the fear you have but managed to overcome it. Contact them and find out how they did it, it could work for you. You may be able to find somebody who has written a book or made videos on the subject that you could access.
  9. Failure = learning Failure is not the end of the world failure is just a stepping stone to success and most of our fears are fear of failure.
  10. Focus Create a visualisation of yourself at the end of what it is you are fearful of (see yourself at the end of the task don’t focus on the details get a picture of you being ok with a smile on your face perhaps putting your feet up and relaxing) and use the visualisation when you start to feel fearful. More details and in-depth visualisation strategies can be gained at HeadGym’s webinars.

IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

Neuroplasticity: “It’s not rocket science” part 1

HeadGym Neuroplasticity explained

Mental activity strengthens the neural pathways in your brain that are linked to what you focus on with your thoughts and feelings. Focus on happiness with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen happiness pathways. If you focus on stress with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen stress pathways. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens your neural pathways. Neural pathways are the basis of your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are what you believe is true and why you do what you do in areas such as relationships, food, money, career, health, and happiness.

Focus & Feelings

Mental activity strengthens the neural pathways in your brain that are linked to what you focus on with your thoughts and feelings. Focus on happiness with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen happiness pathways. If you focus on stress with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen stress pathways. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens your neural pathways. Neural pathways are the basis of your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are what you believe is true and why you do what you do in areas such as relationships, food, money, career, health, and happiness.

Tips for rewiring

  • Awareness: “neurons that fire together, wire together,” direct your attention is a simple way to shape the brain over time. Spend a lot of time thinking about negative things and criticism your mind will react emotionally with anxiety and negative moods. Focus on positive things around you at the moment and practice gratitude as in our previous blog the mind will become calm and peaceful, be mindful of what you focus on.
  • Focus on the Good:  Our brain has a preference for the negative it will look for bad news then can become fixed on this, spin different scenarios and overreact. Capture the positive experiences in your awareness and hold them for at least 30 seconds. Take notice of the positive by writing them down or practicing gratitude be deliberate and let them filter into your brain.
  • Compassion:  Self-compassion will build your resilience and self-worth. We will have difficulty in connecting to others if we have no love and connection to ourselves. Build self-compassion by supporting yourself tell yourself “I AM ENOUGH” If you feel hurt by a situation or another person validate rather than deny your feelings, move on and work out how you can address it.
  • Relaxation:   There are both physical, mental and neural consequences to stress.  It can affect our immune and other systems the increase of the stress hormone cortisol creates a vicious cycle between the mind, the nervous system, and behavior. Practice meditation and mindfulness, see our previous blogs for more strategies for relaxation.

THE GRATITUDE ATTITUDE

Get the gratitude attitude

Most of us are thankful for what we have in our lives. We may have families we love, jobs that help us provide, good health, friends etc, but gratitude isn’t just listing all we have every night before we go to bed. It’s a mindset It is a real and true acknowledgment that our lives are blessed by what and who we have in our lives. A true understanding that we would not be as happy as we are now if we didn’t have those blessings.

We create what we focus on.

When we are truly grateful for what we have in our lives, and we take time to appreciate them, we automatically begin to draw more.

Gratitude may not be so simple and may be hard to grasp depending on your situation you could be experiencing some hard life challenges if you have just lost a job, or a loved one or have financial problems perhaps experiencing depression. It’s hard to feel grateful during these moments.

Not everything in our lives will be the way we want it, but some things are and the things that aren’t will improve having faith will affirm that. Healing will come as we go through the grieving process for our loved ones. Financial struggles will come and go. Depression and sadness can be overcome

Be thankful for the ways in which you touch the lives of those around you. Some of which you may not be aware of but know that they exist.

Reflect on the good things every day let yourself feel the good and love surrounding you. Tell your family what they mean to you and be thankful for having them in your life.

 Tips for getting the gratitude attitude

  1. Be generous. Make this a way of life this can affect those around you and the wider population the knock-on effect will be that you become happier.
  2. Appreciate. Be thankful for your situation in life, don’t be a victim.
  3. Be mindful. Appreciate the present and be mindful of the moment.
  4. Have a gratitude list. Express thankfulness on a weekly basis and build a list this will help you be aware of how lucky you are.
  5. Make gratitude a way of life. The more you can express how grateful you are, the happier you will be. This also attracts more positive things into your life
  6. Set an example. This is a great way to give back to others who can follow your lead especially family and children.
  7. Give. Giving your time is the best way to give back and feels good at the same time, volunteering and helping others can be rewarding and will help with your gratitude attitude.

10 TIPS FOR WELLBEING

 

In our busy lives, we are constantly challenged by the day to day tasks and duties that we complete just to survive. As well as the duties we have there are work commitments, social events, kids clubs and so on here are 10 tips to help you keep a healthy balance with body and mind.

 

 

 

 

  1. Step by Step

Do one step at a time you may find that you become more efficient, this will help in cutting down the stress don’t multi-task.

  1. Slowly but surely

Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random focus on the task in hand and take note of the results.

  1. Organise

Manage your to-do list whether you have small jobs or a big project that could affect your life in the long term.

  1. Be mindful

Get away from everything to clear your head. Turn off your phone and TV, breathe and let your thoughts gather. This will give you a clear head when you start another task.

  1. Eat Healthily

As covered in previous blogs your diet can have a huge impact on the way you feel create dietary awareness as a way of life. You can treat yourself from time to time, in small doses!

  1. Use relaxation techniques to encourage mindfulness

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga.

  1. Capture moments

Remember the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the feelings. Look back on previous positive memories to appreciate how you’ve got to where you are today. Practice using the HeadGym REBOOT technique

  1. Listen and be present

Focus on really listening to the person you’re talking to, you’ll notice you’ll spend a lot more time enjoying yourself and other people’s company.

  1. Stop forecasting the future

Spend time appreciating and enjoying the present moment.

  1. Put yourself first

We are so used to putting others first especially with such busy lives and when we have children to consider, however constantly putting yourself last can impact negatively on you and those around you. Look after yourself first and you will be at your best for those around you.

Mood food

Mood food

  1. Cut out processed foods and highly refined carbohydrates– Processed foods are basically foods in a packet with a range of names and ingredients that we don’t recognise and can’t pronounce. Highly refined carbohydrates are foods like breakfast cereals and processed bread. These turn to sugar in the body very quickly and can have a detrimental effect on your mood.
  2. Cut your sugar intake– Adding sugar to food can have a negative effect on your mood. A great deal of our sugar intake comes from drinks, both soft drinks and not so healthy options such as fruit juices. Cutting out sugar can be hard to start with but within weeks our taste buds start to change. Try sticking to plain water or infuse water with fruit or decaffeinated tea and coffee.
  3. Increase healthy natural fats– Stabilise your blood sugar by eating more eggs, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.
  4. Eat more veg and pulses–by eating more green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and kale, for example, chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts,  lentils and other pulses. One of the best non-animal sources of Omega-3 fats is seaweed sounds scary but you don’t know until you try!
  5. Eat more prebiotic fibre– There millions of bugs that live in your gut. The health and composition of these bugs play a critical role in how you feel. The best way to increase them is to eat more plant fibre. Best sources are leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Men and mental health the stigma

Men and mental health the stigma

HeadGym have worked with many men who have found it difficult to talk about mental health below are the results of a study conducted by Priory healthcare which show some interesting results

In 2015 Priory (Priory healthcare) commissioned a survey of 1,000 men to look at men’s attitudes towards their own mental health.

  • 77% of men polled have suffered from anxiety/stress/depression 
  • The biggest pressures in men’s lives are work (32%), finance (31%) and health (23%)
  • Majority of men claim their mental health is having a negative impact on their work performance, parenting ability and relationships in particular
  • 40% of men polled said it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help

Men’s preferred confidant

The results showed that 66% would share their feelings with their partner above anyone else.

The reasons men don’t talk about their mental health:

  • ‘I’ve learnt to deal with it’ (40%) 
  • ‘I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone’ (36%)
  • ‘I’m too embarrassed’ (29%)
  • ‘There’s a negative stigma around this type of thing’ (20%)
  • ‘I don’t want to admit I need support’ (17%)
  • ‘I don’t want to appear weak’ (16%)
  • ‘I have no one to talk to’ (14%)

Almost one quarter (22%) of respondents said they would not feel comfortable even speaking to a GP or any other professional; the main reason is is that they worry it will waste their GP’s time.

It is interesting that the survey identified that men worry about wasting their GP’s time with these sorts of problems. It does need to be made clear that depression and anxiety are perfectly legitimate reasons to seek medical care, after all, GPs spend about 30% of their time dealing with psychological issues”.

Work-related stress and financial concerns

Respondents were asked about the biggest causes of pressure in their life.  Work-related pressure came top of the list at 32%. This was followed closely by financial pressures at 31% and health concerns at 23%.

A more seasonal pressure felt predominantly by men aged 35-44 years of age, is the pending cost of Christmas – also a more popular concern felt by those living in London.

The survey highlighted that for 40% of men it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help.

Encouragingly, 60% of men polled have shared their feelings of anxiety with someone at some point. Based on the 77% who admit to suffering mental health issues, however, there remain a number of men living in the UK who feel unable to speak to a friend or professional about potentially serious symptoms.

If you would like to talk with somebody in confidence contact us or join our community at 

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Using the 5 ways to wellbeing to maintain good mental health.

Using the 5 ways to wellbeing to maintain good mental health.

When you are not feeling at your best these are often the opposite of what you feel like doing if you can create a routine that incorporates all 5 you stand a far better chance of maintaining good mental health.

1) Get active

Evidence shows that physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health. You don’t need to be a gym member or an athlete. Getting active can be as simple as going for a walk this can be enough to have a significant impact on your health.

And if you can take a walk through the local park, even better: research shows positive impacts of nature on physical and mental wellbeing.

2) Stay connected

We are designed to connect with others and engage with people, working with others and strengthening relationships with family, friends and the community has been shown to have a real impact on your emotional health. The Mental Health Foundation found that people with strong social support networks have greater mental and physical well-being than those that don’t. You can even combine your exercise routine with spending time with others. We feel happier and more fulfilled when we have meaningful connections in our lives, and it doesn’t take much to build them; contacting a friend to ask about their day can be enough to lift your sense of connection and wellbeing – and will mean a lot to them, too.

3) Keep learning

Research shows that lifelong learning boosts confidence and self-esteem. Access to learning couldn’t be easier with free online courses and YouTube, it’s never been easier to learn a new skill. The local library will have free books, audiobooks and information about courses as will your local college and community groups.Or why not make it a social event? Turning your hand to learning a new skill is a great way to challenge yourself and stay connected.

4) Be mindful

The practice of tuning in to the present moment is a proven tool for improving mental health and wellbeing, and it’s easy to give it a go yourself.

Try taking a few minutes a day when you wake up, on your lunch break sit quietly, and allow yourself to simply become aware of the present moment and your thoughts and feelings. If you have a hectic lifestyle and this seems daunting you can access free mindfulness apps or videos on YouTube.

 

5) Give to others

Evidence shows that volunteering results in increased wellbeing, the feeling of satisfaction of having helped someone out can give you a real boost.

Volunteering opportunities within your community can be found through libraries, charities and community groups

If you can’t make a regular commitment to volunteering, there are other things you can do each day that can make a real difference, for example, helping someone with their shopping, giving directions to a lost stranger or offering to help in small ways can be surprising at just how good it feels.

A little effort can make a huge difference. Step by step changes will add up to make you feel mentally stronger and lessen the likelihood of low mood. Give this a go practice these five steps and see how it feels?

 Join our community and receive advice and tips on wellbeing and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Dealing with stress

Dealing with stress

We all get stressed at times.

The causes of stress are countless and there are as many ways to deal with it. To make things a bit easier we put together 10 simple ways to manage stress.

  • Friendships Talk to your friends about what’s stressing you out – it might be helpful. Going out and having a laugh might take your mind off things for a while.
  • Exercise Exercise of any kind can be a good way to relieve stress. Getting rid of excess energy can leave you calmer and might even give you a better night’s sleep.
  • Set  goals Whether it’s for study, work or just dealing with everyday life setting achievable goals can help you to manage stress. Working out priorities and then moving through short and long-term goals can help you to keep a sense of perspectiveHeadGym goals strategy can be a great way to do this.
  • Give yourself options There’s never just one way of achieving goals. Whatever you’re planning be it travel, study or work, try considering other directions. You might be surprised with what you find and achieve. Goals don’t need to be set in stone they can and will change, make them flexible.
  • Mind your thoughts Your thoughts and attitude influence the way you see things. Some positive self-talk can be invaluable in helping you to sort out a stressful situation. Create a mantra or affirmation that you can use to say to yourself in times of stress.
  • Avoid stimulants Smoking, caffeine and alcohol can seem like good options for short-term stress release. But over time they can make you more stressed out, so minimising or better still not at all can help keep stress at bay.
  • Talk to somebody If you are finding it hard to manage your stress alone it can be useful to talk to someone else. Parents, teachers or therapists could be an option.
  • Breathe This is the one we’ve all heard of to help us de-stress, but deep breathing shouldn’t be underestimated. It can help to relax the body and mind, and if you’ve something important to do it can help you to focus.
  • Meditation Meditation can be very beneficial and not as daunting as you may think, it has been proven that meditation can reduce stress and actually can make permanent changes in the brain to help us become less stressed in the long term. Start with something simple try the 1-moment meditation How to meditate in a moment 
  • HeadGym REBOOT technique Use the HeadGym visualisation technique throughout the day don’t wait until you are feeling stressed create a habit.  REBOOT

Visualisation is a powerful tool that we can all use and with a little practice, it can be a real gamechanger. Watch the HeadGym short video series which explains how and why it works and how to use the skills you already have to create the changes. HeadGym videos

Join our community and receive advice and tips on dealing with stress and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!