Positive Emotions.

During my coaching training we completed modules on positive psychology. Standard psychology = broken people need fixing. Positive psychology = focusing on the positive aspects of human life and how to enhance them. The world definitely has a need for both but 2020 has highlighted to me so far that there is a special need for positive psychology in the general population at the moment. So far this year has been scary to say the least, a lot has happened, a lot IS happening and it is easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of worry and fear. 

Broaden and build theory suggests that emotions are very functional. Where negative emotions serve a purpose by limiting our thoughts and behaviours allowing us to act more decidedly in times of stress, positive emotions broaden and build our conscious awareness. When you are in a bad mood, you are very closed off & stuck in negative thought patterns. When you are in a good mood you are more curious, sociable, creative & healthier. You become better at problem solving and are able to persevere longer at tougher tasks. More importantly right now, your immune system works better!

On a personal level, we should be looking to nourish and increase positive emotions in order to get the above benefits, but also on a company level. For any business, big or small, i fully believe in the importance of looking after the mental health and overall well-being of your employees. In coaching we look at each person as a whole. We understand that in order to feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy, one must have balance in key areas of their life. If one of your team members is not performing well, instead of focusing on their current lack of achievement, have you thought about the possibility of something outside of work that might be affecting their performance? If they feel unfulfilled in life, the negative feelings and thoughts will seep through in to their work life. If they are having trouble at home, or if they are having health issues, the same thing will happen. When our lives feel balanced and fulfilled, we can increase positive emotions and in turn improve our lives even more creating an upward spiral.

A meta analysis study by Lyubomirsky, King & Diener in 2005 on positive emotions shows that positive emotions have the following results within a company – 

  • Lower turnover at work.
  • Better reports of customer service.
  • Better supervision evaluations.
  • Lower emotional exhaustion.
  • Higher job satisfaction.
  • Better organisational citizenship behaviour.
  • Fewer work absences.
  • More social club involvement.
  • More volunteerism.
  • Perceived by others as being friendlier more assertive and more confident,
  • Higher annual salaries,
  • Higher longevity.
  • Lower incidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Faster recovery from illness or injury.
  • More likely to resolve conflict through collaboration.
  • Increased motivation.
  • Better decision making efficiency.

I have just provided you 17 good reasons to work on interventions to help increase positive emotions in yourself and in your employees.

Business hats to one side though, couldn’t we all use a little more of this? I know my anxiety has started to creep up on me the past few weeks and with the current COVID-19 pandemic i know i can’t be the only one. From the fires across Australia devastating the native wildlife, to multiple deaths & tragedies, now countries going in to lock down due to the coronavirus, what a year so far. I think of myself as a very positive and open minded person and i tend not to get worried or sucked in to things that we have no control over, but even so i can’t help but feel overwhelmed at how the year has started. 

So this post is just as much for me as it is for you. Whether you apply this just to yourself, or if you are in a position where you can apply this to your company and employees, let’s look at some interventions to increase positivity and get ourselves into that upwards spiral.

We’ve all heard of ‘name 3 things your grateful for’, right? I want to take it a step further. 

Although studies show that naming 3 things your grateful for each day does in fact increase positivity, they also show that people tend not to stick to the practice after the study has ended. It just doesn’t feel worthwhile enough for people to continue long term. In coaching, we focus on creating long lasting habits so i’m going to suggest gratitude to you, but in a slightly different format. 

At the end of each day, instead of naming 3 things your grateful for, i want you to think about it in a bit more detail. Keep a journal of this and ask yourself questions that focus on the positives such as – 

  • Who supported me today?
  • What were today’s successes?
  • What did i do well today?
  • What did others do well today?
  • What was the highlight of my day?

Keep this up for at least 1 month, it should only take a few minutes each night, you will be surprised at how much you notice. Make sure to leave your journal somewhere you will see it each night so that you don’t forget. It might also be helpful to think of a trigger such as brushing your teeth before bed or getting changed in to your PJ’s, so you know when i get changed in to my PJ’s each night i will take a few minutes to write my journal. This is a great way to integrate it into your routine and form a new habit. 

If you are in a business environment, you could also do this as a team at the end of each work day. Ask your team to reflect on these questions and write them down, either individually or as a group. 

This is such a small step and will only take a few minutes each day, you have read the amazing effects of increasing positive emotions, we could all use a little boost right now i’m sure, so let’s all do this together. Let’s start today!

 

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References – 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching – Robert Biswas-Diener.

 

 

To blessed to be stressed.

If you follow my instagram & snapchat you will know already that the past few months i have been really struggling with joint pain. I don’t know where it came from but it started back in July, it came on so suddenly and very quickly spread throughout all of my joints and has continued to get worse and worse.

For the first few weeks i thought i had just very coincidentally injured both of my knees at exactly the same time. I stopped squatting & deadlifting immediately thinking that i maybe had runners knee or something like that and i just carried on with some light stretches and mobility exercises for my knees for a few weeks. I was so confused as to how i could have injured them both in the first place as my squat/deadlift form is always spot on and i couldn’t remember any incident where i might have hurt them both but if i hadn’t injured them then why could i barely walk?

A few weeks in and unable to train legs i was just focusing on my upper body exercises. I didn’t want to go crazy and over train upper body so i was just sticking to my usual exercises and one day in the gym when doing tricep dips i started getting such bad elbow pain. I stopped the exercise straight away as i know tricep dips can be quite notorious for elbow pain. I did think it was a bit weird though as i have been doing tricep dips for years with no pain. Never mind i’d just pick another exercise for a few weeks instead.

Well that was it, from that point on i was like an old woman. I can’t believe how fast something like this can spread but from the first bout of knee pain it only took about 8 weeks until all of my joints were in constant agony. I started having to get the bus in the mornings as i was unable to walk my usual 15km a day, the pain and stiffness in my knees and ankles was so unbearable. Going to the gym i was doing my best to keep the muscles firing and keep my strength but its so disheartening having to use machine weights all the time instead of being able to squat/bench/deadlift etc.

Some days it would be so bad that i couldn’t even hold my phone or a book in front of me as my wrist would be to sore to hold it. Waking up in the morning my joints would be so stiff and painful that i would have to spend 20 minutes just moving about and doing some light stretching before i could even get down the stairs.

It’s so weird because the pain seems to move around the joints and the pain doesn’t always feel the same.  Sometimes it feels like a pulling pain, sometimes it feels like burning, sometimes my hands or fingers will go completely numb, pins and needles, shooting pains, throbbing sensations. Some days is worse than others. On the days where the pain feels a little less i have been trying to get some light workouts in just to keep active and keep the muscles firing but at this stage i’m just fed up of not being able to exercise properly without being in extreme pain.

Anyway the Dr doesn’t seem to have a clue what can be going on. My blood tests came back absolutely fine. I know finding out your bloods are fine should be good news but for me i was  upset as it meant i was no further forward with finding out what is causing this. I was hoping something would come back in the bloods and the Dr would just say ok take this or do this and in a few weeks you’ll be grand. But no such luck. I’m back at the Drs tomorrow and i’m also waiting on an appointment to see a rheumatologist so i’m crossing my fingers that we get somewhere.

This post might come across as me having a bit of a moan but i promise it’s the opposite. The reason i’m writing this is because what is the point in being a blogger if your not going to be honest and share the bad times as well as the good? This past few months have been very tough on me physically, but mentally i am still in top form. I learned a long time ago that there’s no point stressing about things you have no control over. This is one of those things. It is what it is, i just have to take it on the chin and work through it whatever it may be. Luckily i have amazing friends around me who have been keeping me positive and looking after me when i need minding. To blessed to be stressed.

 

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Listen to your body.

I spend a lot of time lifting weights and working out. For a long time I wanted to spend every minute I had spare in the gym working out and I started to neglect all of the other things that contribute towards a good weightlifting session and good overall fitness.

I got to a point where I was working out 6 days a week, not giving my body time to rest and rebuild, not giving my muscles time to recover and not getting good quality sleep. Even though I was only having one rest day a week I hated it I didn’t want a rest today I wanted to be in the gym working on my body. If I knew I only had 90 minutes to spend in the gym I didn’t want to waste time stretching or working on mobility I wanted to spend that full time lifting weights, so I would have a quick 2 minute stretch before each workout and that’s all. My workouts were getting longer and longer and I was doing more and more sessions and less and less of the other stuff.. the ‘boring’ stuff AKA. the IMPORTANT stuff.

That was last year and since then I have learnt so much about myself. I have learnt to really listen to my body and work with it instead of against it. I got so caught up for a while in what other people were doing and started to lose sight of what works for me. It’s easy when you spend so much time on social media to see how these beautiful people are training and you want to look like that so you start to train like that to. Seeing somebody posting their training routines, training splits, how often they train, their macros etc and thinking well if it works for her/him it will work for me. This is so far from the truth and I learnt the hard way.

When I started to realise this for myself and realise how my health was being affected and how unhappy I was I made a lot of big changes to my eating and training. I now weight train 4 days a week and I actually really enjoy my rest days now instead of worrying that I shouldn’t be resting and should be in the gym. I have also reduced my weightlifting sessions to 60 minutes max.

Since cutting back on the weight sessions I have been using the extra time I have to work on my mobility & flexibility. I do yoga at least twice a week which really helps with my flexibility and I also make sure to get a good long stretch in before each workout. I bought a foam roller and some resistance bands and make sure to spend a good amount of time each week rolling out those tight areas and doing mobility exercises at home. I also now know when it’s time to REST. I’m all about pushing my limits and going all out in the gym and working my ass off, but now I know when to listen to my body and skip the gym and go for a walk or yoga instead. Sometimes that is exactly what we need. In the past this would have never been an option for me, now I can easily do this without feeling guilty like I used to.

It’s amazing what our bodies can do when we just listen to them. In my head I thought if I trained less days a week and cut down the amount of exercises I was doing per workout FOR SURE this must mean I would not make progress / lose gains / jump up weights slower and I was so wrong. Since training less days a week and working more on getting enough rest, working on my flexibility and mobility etc I have made sooooo much more progress than I was ever making before. I am making serious progress whilst still being happy with my training, getting a good sleep in and managing to actually have a life outside of the gym. I am getting so much stronger and all of the strength goals I had set myself this year I have smashed and surpassed more than I could have imagined. My cut went really well this time round even with a few diet breaks along the way and I am delighted with the result.

I guess what I am trying to say is just listen to your body. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. We are all unique so we all need to train according to our own needs and who knows your body better than yourself? It’s fantastic to get training tips and ideas off instagram/facebook or off friends but what works for one person might not necessarily be for you so just remember that. Also I hate to say it but a lot of what we see on social media is just not the reality of it, so try not to get to wrapped up in ‘well if she trains like this and she’s in amazing shape then I’m going to train like that too’.

Do your research, experiment a bit, listen to your body & TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!

Love and Light x

Self-Care

 

 

Recommended Podcasts.

Since I started video logging throughout the day I have been mentioning what podcasts I have been listening to and have had so many people messaging me directly to ask what podcasts I would recommend so I thought I would write a post with my favourite podcasts.

I listen to podcasts all day every day, when i’m getting ready, while i’m travelling to and from work, when i’m in the gym, when i’m writing for my blog, when i’m cleaning, basically as much as I possibly can. I think podcasts are such a great way to get new information, I love to be always learning about new things, always hearing different opinions, always expanding my knowledge on any subjects that interest me. Sometimes in today’s busy life it can be hard to sit down and read endless books on subjects that interest you but with podcasts you can listen to up to date discussions from experts in the industry while you go about your day to day business. This is why I love to listen to fitness and nutrition based podcasts to gain as much knowledge as possible. Of course it can’t always be learning all the time we’ve got to have that bit of laughter to, which is why I also have a few podcasts from comedians which I regularly listen to just for those real big belly laughs.

Here are a list of my favourite podcasts at the moment. I’m always chopping and changing what I listen to and these ones below are in no particular order, these are just the podcasts that I am currently listening to at the moment. There’s a good mixture in there so I’m sure there will be something for everyone!  Also if anybody has any podcast suggestions for me I am all ears I’d love to find some new ones so drop me a message if you know of any you think I might benefit from.

  1. Joe Rogan Experience – Definitely my favourite podcast at the moment, mainly because he has such a wide variety of different guests on the show and it is so regular that there is always something new and interesting to listen to. He always has guests on talking in depth about different areas of fitness and nutrition, psychedelics, spirituality, sports and so much more.
  2. Found My Fitness, Dr Rhonda Patrick – Nutrition and how it affects our health is one of my biggest interests. Dr Rhonda Patrick lays down the facts on her podcast with the ins and outs of nutrition and how it affects our health, diseases, cancer, ageing, basically how nutrition is the key to everything. She also talks a lot about different supplements/products/fasting techniques/fads etc to give the low down on each one and her educated opinion on them.
  3. Danny Lennon, Sigma Nutrition – All things fitness related, training and nutrition wise. Danny Lennon has guests who discuss at length different topics in relation to fat loss, physique athletes, competitive cutting, cutting for women, fat loss plateaus and so much more. For anyone interested in fitness and more specifically bodybuilding this is a great one to listen to.
  4. The Ricky Gervais Show – Now this one is purely for the laughs. We’ve all heard of Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad, right? Well rewind to how Ricky & Steve met Karl Pilkington was when Karl was producing their radio show XFM. They thought he was that hilarious that they decided to start a podcast just the 3 of them, that’s when The Ricky Gervais Show was born. No matter how many times I have listened to every single one of these I still laugh my head off so much every time, it never gets old.
  5. Duncan Trussell Family Hour – A mixture between the most fascinating of topics and rambles of randomness. Duncan is such a fascinating guy and he always talks about deeply spiritual subjects. His views on psychedelics, virtual reality and different dimensions are just a few of the reasons I love to listen to his podcast, also for the laughs of course.
  6. Skeptic Tank, Ari Shaffir – Ari is a regular guest on The Joe Rogan Experience which is how I got listening to his podcast. Such an interesting character and a little ‘out there’ as well as a good joker his podcast is always a good listen.
  7. The Church of Whats Happening Now, Joey Diaz – Another regular on The Joe Rogan Experience, Joey Diaz is absolutely hilarious and man has he lived a crazy life! Any and all of his stories have me rolling on the floor laughing, mostly just because of the animated and fiery way in which he tells them. Always a good listen and it always has me in knots laughing, listen to one podcast and you will see exactly what I mean by his story telling.
  8. The True Geordie Podcast – The main reason I listen to this podcast is because hearing a Geordie accent just gives me that familiar ‘home’ comfort feeling. But the guys on this podcast always cover up to date and interesting topics and of course the magpies regularly crop up and football in general, Geordies through and through.

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New Beginnings.

As most of you will know by now i recently handed my notice in at my job of 2.5 years.

I’ve had a great time there but over this past year i’ve been feeling kind of stuck. I felt a long time ago that i had gotten everything i could from this job, there was nothing more that i could do here, no new skills to learn, no room to progress and grow. It started making me feel really bored and unhappy, so i finally bit the bullet and started applying for new jobs.

Luckily something fell right into my lap and very quickly i got an amazing new job offer. I’m so excited to start this new chapter in my life and this new job is exactly what i was praying for. Last year was very tough for me, a lot of ups and downs but i somehow managed to power through and this year things are looking so much better.

Last year there were a lot of days where i struggled to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, a lot of days where i was afraid to talk to anybody and i was afraid that things would never get better. Around me everybody would have thought i was the happiest person ever but that’s just because i was afraid to tell anyone what was going on in my head in case they told me i was crazy. The best decision i ever made was to confide in a friend and to get help. Its been a long road so far and i’m not naive enough to think that my troubles are behind me, anybody who has suffered with mental health will know its an uphill battle where you get knocked back down again and again.

So far in 2017 i feel like one good thing has been happening after another, it feels almost to good to be true. My blog has been doing amazing, my training is going really well, i’ve had a few photo shoots, and most of all i feel happy again. Unfortunately with anxiety there’s always that little voice in my head telling me this won’t last, something will go wrong. What i’ve came to realize is that that little voice is probably right, the good times don’t last forever, but neither do the bad times. Life is fleeting and no matter what happens nothing lasts forever.

So while all of these good things are happening to me i’m going to focus on vibrating higher, live right in this moment and appreciate every single good thing that is happening to me right now. The big things and the small, getting a new job and finding a lucky cent. Because they all matter and they all make me smile and it’s these things that manage to keep me going even in my darkest days.

One thing that has really helped me in not being so worried about the future is how i have such an amazing group of friends who have been so good to me through everything. On days when i have felt low and felt empty, its my friends who have helped raise me back up and fill me back up with love.

It’s weird how much things can change in one year, how your perception can change. I once remember writing that life is not meant to be lived in pain. Oh how naive i feel now for writing that, but that’s genuinely what i thought at the time. Now i realize that that’s what life is, it’s painful and it’s unfair. We just have to not let that pain consume us and drag us under. For it’s the pain that makes us who we are. The pain makes us stronger.

So here’s to new beginnings. Here’s to 2017. Here’s to being stronger than ever.

Even in my lowest lows I have unwavering faith that the universe has my back.

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