Loneliness is difficult to handle and can have a detrimental effect on your quality of life. If you are struggling with loneliness, it may be time to consider how you are coping with it and how you might overcome it.
Grief is defined as the expression of the feelings that you experience when something important to you is lost. The pain of grief goes through several stages and not necessarily in a set order.
Grief can be overpowering
At Startpoint Counselling, we understand how grief and loss can feel overwhelming to many people…
Often having too much to do and not enough time to do it leads to feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelm impacts us mentally, physically, and emotionally and in turn, impacts those around us. When we are in this situation, it’s tough to see how we can change anything. Here are five tips for reducing overwhelm and increasing the amount you get done.
Take the time to sit still and breathe for a moment
When we feel stressed and overwhelmed the first thing to suffer is our breathing. We tend to shallow breathe. Taking time to stand still and do a breathing exercise will help get more oxygen into your body, correcting or shallow breathing and will have a calming effect on your physical body and your mind.
Square breathing is one good way to do this
- Begin by slowly exhaling all of your air out
- Then, gently inhale through your nose to a slow count of 4
- Hold your breath in for a count of 4
- Then gently exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
- Hold your breath out for the count of 4
- Repeat as many times as you need to calm down
Have a look at what you have to do and get a few of the quick ones out of the way first
By doing a few of the simple, quick tasks, this will shorten your list for the day and give you a sense that you are making some progress.
Be realistic as to how you are going with what you’re trying to handle
We are so quick to beat ourselves up when overwhelm makes us feel that we are inadequate and failing because we can’t get everything done.
Overwhelm starts with us believing that we can handle anything no matter how big. It is reinforced by the idea that not being able to do so is a failure.
If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t try to multitask
Actually, there is no such thing as multitasking. What you are quickly doing is shifting focus from one task to the other very rapidly. Doing that can be very tiring, particularly when you’re feeling low on energy.
It’s best to focus on one task at a time so that it can have your full attention. When you do this, you will realise how quickly you can get things done. Doing so will require much less energy than trying to focus on several things.
Change your energy level
Continually pushing ourselves to try to complete everything in the same location can make us feel like we’re trapped in a rut. It doesn’t matter where that location is it starts to feel a bit like a prison. Change your location, and you can change how you feel. Get outside in some fresh air. Go for a short walk in an area where there are plants as nature revitalises you. Try going for a quick run. Go outside and call someone on the phone. Have a little bit of a chat to get a change from what you are doing.
Time spent doing this may seem like we’re procrastinating. To ensure that you don’t set a timer so that you don’t overextend this time out. When we are overwhelmed, we tend to waste time stressing out about things. Using that time to get a break is much more productive.
Startpoint Counsellors are experts in reducing the stress of overwhelm and increasing happiness in life.
Call us for a free 15-minute session with one of our counsellors to discuss how we can help you to change your situation. 07 3458 1725
Often failure in life is blamed on a lack of willpower. There is, however, increasing evidence that what you “see” happening is what is holding you back.
Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
How often have you heard people say “I can’t imagine……… happening “
Most people struggle to imagine themselves as healthy or fit or anything else that they want. They apply willpower to achieve what they want but end up failing because they cannot achieve things that they cannot imagine themselves achieving. However, instead of realising what is happening, they blame a lack of willpower.
The problem is if you imagine something as impossible then it is impossible.
Emile Coue, (French psychologist ) said, ”when the imagination and the willpower are in conflict, it is always the imagination that wins, without exception.”
In other words, if you cannot imagine yourself as being successful, then willpower will not make you successful.
Emile Coue also said, “when the imagination and the willpower are harmoniously pulling in the same direction, irresistible force is the result.”
Willpower is defined as the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave:(Cambridge Dictionary)
Willpower is beneficial in the short term for resisting short-term temptations or desires to achieve long-term results.
Kelly McGonigal a health psychologist, a lecturer at Stanford University and the author of “The Willpower Instinct” sees willpower as being comprised of
- I won’t
- I will power.
- I want power (remembering what you want).
There is an increasing amount of research showing that resisting temptations depletes us mentally and as a result decreases our willpower.
How much willpower you have in a day is a finite amount, and that amount is dependent on a multitude of factors. For example, if you’re not feeling very well, tired or stressed you’ll have less than if you’re feeling rested and refreshed.
POWER OF IMAGINATION
Imagination is defined as: the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the creative ability to form images, ideas, and sensations in the mind without any immediate input of the senses (such as seeing or hearing). (Wikipedia)
Let us look at imagination and willpower in the world of a smoker. Logic says that smoking is detrimental and as a result, a person may be trying to stop smoking using willpower. However, during certain times of the day, something calls to them to smoke, and that call is coming from their imagination, and they submit. Subconsciously they are following the images embedded in their mind which are images of them smoking.
A person who has a weight issue will apply willpower to eat the right things but if they have an image of themselves as an overweight person that image will win and they will not lose weight.
If I have a metal plank that is 60 cm wide and 4 meters long and I place it on the floor and ask you to walk along it, you should not have a problem in doing that. If I then raise that plank to a height of 4 meters and asked you to repeat the action, you may be able to do it, but there may also be some hesitation as you start to imagine what would happen if you fell off. Now I raise it to a height of 10 meters. How do you feel about walking across it? More than likely your imagination about falling is way stronger than your willpower to walk across it.
Willpower is important but is given too much credit as being the total answer. Initially, the decision to make any change requires willpower. Once the movement towards change initiates, visualisation and imagination are the next two important components. Vividly imaged images draw us forward to the realisation of that which we imagine.
Visualisation is not about dreaming or hoping something will change. It is, however, a well-developed method of improving performance which is supported by scientific evidence and used by successful people such as athletes.
Neuroscience tells us that the brain can change based on what we often do. If we do something over and over again, it strengthens the neural connections relating to that behaviour meaning that it is more likely that it will continue to occur without a lot of effort. We know this as a habit.
To create a new neural pathway in the brain requires 21 to 30 days. That is 21 to 30 days of imagination and visualisation plus focusing on learning new information and exposing ourselves to new situations.
When we first learnt to drive a car, it was a series of steps that needed to be coordinated to achieve the goal. At first, these steps required focus and the sequence became imaged in our minds. With the application of imagination and experience, the brain over time created the neural pathway that now automates those steps. Now you can now get into a car and drive without thinking in detail about what you are doing.
The interesting thing is that imagination built through visualisation works because the neurons in our brains (building blocks of neural pathways) see imagery as equivalent to action that occurs in reality.
The following Universal Laws help us understand how the mind processes suggestions into a belief system.
These were formulated by a Physician Emile Coue in the 19th century.
The Law of Concentrated Attention
When you repeatedly concentrate on an idea, it tends to become true for you.
The Law of Reversed Effect
The more you think about not doing something the more you imagine yourself doing it and imagination will win.
The Law of Dominant Effect
Focusing on something is more effective when combined with strong emotion.
Human beings process information and retain information in combination with our five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling). The more that we associate sensual information with the thing that we imagine the stronger it becomes.
The brain cannot distinguish between imagined and real.
The building of neural pathways can be triggered, simply by imagining it happening.
Exercise to build a Vivid image in your imagination
- Decided what you want to accomplish and write it down.
- Close your eyes and imagine what it will look like (see) when you achieve it. Write it down.
- Write down what you are hearing
- Write down what you are feeling
- Write down what you are smelling
- Write down what you are tasting
- If you cannot list all five senses that is ok
- Refer back to what you have written several times a day and reimagine it
- Repeat for at least 30 days
The image needs to become very vivid in every detail. The image overtime will draw you towards the goal. The how just comes. It is not your job to work out how. It is your job to do and trust the process. Take whatever steps you are prompted to take.
As Albert Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
The knowledge is what we are trying to grasp at when we focus on “how”. Focus on the imagination and follow the mental/intuitive prompts that follow.
(c) StartPoint Counselling 2018
It is common to hear people complain that they work so hard, try everything that they know but can never seem to get ahead. Asked if they deserve to succeed, they say of course they do. But if that is true why don’t they have what they want?
We can be convinced logically that we deserve good things in our life but on a deeper level we don’t believe it. The result is us not experiencing the very things that we logically believe we should have.
Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this situation, but effort is required.
FIRSTLY, IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
Most people say that they deserve the best of everything but in fact don’t believe that
Deep down there something that says no you don’t
We need to be honest about that, and that’s difficult
Try looking in the mirror looking yourself in the eyes and say you are a worthwhile and deserving person. What comes up for you? Do you feel comfortable saying that? Be honest; you have to be open to see the truth.
If you are missing out constantly in your life, at some point, you have developed the belief that you don’t deserve to have things.
What makes you think that you are undeserving?
What qualities or characteristics make you believe that you are undeserving?
Write them down
Find out where your belief originated
Look at your list
How long have you had these beliefs?
Can you think of a time when you first were told what you believe by someone outside of yourself?
Most of these things are rooted in the past
Past regrets need letting go
The past is a period of time which is fixed in stone. You cannot change it.
Mistakes that you have made opportunities that you have missed cannot be changed.
The main purpose of the past is for us to look at it and learn from what we have done and what’s happened to us. Armed with that information, we can make changes in the present moment and stop those things from happening again in our future.
Every decision that we make, and the actions that we take based on those decisions, occur because you are trying to do the best that you can with what you have at the time and what you know at the time.
Certainly looking back from where we are in the present moment we can be critical of things that we have done or believed in the past.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but hindsight is based on our current knowledge and wisdom.
You are a different person in a different place than where you were a couple of years ago. Please don’t judge your past shelf harshly; you did not have the benefit of what you have now.
Certainly, if it’s possible to make amends for what you’ve done in the past then do so, but mostly you can’t do anything.
TIME TO CHALLENGE THE PROBLEM
Look around yourself
Looking internally and feeling that somehow there is something about you that makes you undeserving is fairly deflating and it is easy to want to give up.
Have a look externally.
Pick out some people who have what you are desiring and ask yourself are they more deserving than you?
In fact, there are people in the world who are successful regarding material assets, but they are also known as thieves or con men.
These people can hardly be classified as deserving based on who they are, but that doesn’t stop them from having things. Obviously, they see things differently to you.
View yourself from somebody’s else’s perspective
We are way harder on ourselves than we are on someone else. We are the worst critic possible when it comes to ourselves. We are harsher than anyone else will ever be.
We need to step outside of ourselves and see if we can view ourselves as someone that we are supporting through whatever it is we are experiencing.
Would you be as critical as you are with yourself with them?
Think of the things that you would say to them to encourage them and then say them to yourself.
Stop making comparisons
Comparing yourself to other people is one of the most dangerous things that you can do because quite simply it is discouraging and causes us to overlook the things that are worthwhile in ourselves.
Every single person on this planet has a set of skills and a purpose in life. Most people never work this out.
Our combination of talents is unique to ourselves.
How can we possibly compare ourselves to someone else?
By looking at what somebody else does and saying I wish I could do that to will blind you to your talents.
The only person that you can compare yourself to truly is yourself.
Look at your life day by day and ask yourself “Am I better than I was yesterday?”
Then ask yourself “Am I better than I was a week ago?” and so on.
The great secret here is less instead of looking how far you have to go and feeling like you’re falling short, you are looking back to where we came from and realising how far you have come.
Looking how far you have to go, can be discouraging. Realising how far you have come is encouraging.
Separate reality from fiction
The expectations that you have of yourself have largely been implanted in you by other people.
Your parents may have had ideas of what you should achieve in your life, your schoolteachers would have had ideas of what you’re capable of achieving in their opinion, and there are other authority figures that put expectations upon us, and we accept those as well.
Are your expectations realistic? If there’s one thing that unrealistic expectations do it is cause you to believe that you are a failure. Striving to achieve expectations that cannot be achieved leaves you feeling a sense of shame and shame is very toxic.
It’s only when you understand your unique combination of talents and what you’re meant to be doing with those, can you really get a sense of your self-worth.
Nobody else knows what it is you really should be doing with your life, only you do. You need to set your own standards and let go of those standards which have been set by other people.
Stop feeling selfish
Feeling selfish when it comes to having things that you deserve steals from you the things that are rightfully yours.
Just because you deserve something doesn’t mean that somebody else doesn’t also deserve it. It’s not like if you get it, no one else can have it.
We need to honour our own needs and desires first. If we look after ourselves first, if we emphasise ourselves first then we are in a far better place to help others. Having resources allows us to be less selfish towards other people
Need some help with this process? Please contact me on 07 34581725.
Next post part 2 – Moving Forward (changing your deserving level)
(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017
07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115
Loneliness affects everyone whether it is a loss of a relationship, a partner who is away from home due to work or other commitments or the desire for a relationship that you have not experienced yet.
We experience loneliness because we are social beings who are biologically programmed to be in a relationship. When the relationship aspect is missing, we feel lonely. Loneliness can be debilitating and can lead to depression. We need to be able to manage those times when we feel lonely. The first and most important strategy is to have a plan and to identify the thoughts that are pulling us down.
Have a plan
Identify the times that you are most likely to feel lonely. At these times make plans with friends or family or plan to watch some movies or TV series. Consider joining a class that interests you, reading a book or learn new things.
Identify the thoughts that you have when you are lonely
Write down the thoughts that you have when you are lonely. These thoughts might include
I will always be alone
I must be a loser because I am alone
I can’t stand feeling lonely
These are fairly normal thoughts for people who feel lonely. It is important that you question the validity of these thoughts that pop into your head instead of just accepting them.
For instance, to say that you are always alone is saying that you are never with anyone. That simply is not true. It is probably true to say that you are often lonely.
To believe that you are a loser because you are alone is also questionable because everyone is alone at some point so is everyone a loser? Loneliness is a situation and not a reflection of you.
Not being able to stand to be alone is a strong statement. You may not like to be alone, but you can control the way that you relate to it. You try to repel it by being angry, resentful and depressed or you can realise that you can take action to deal with your feelings and accept that loneliness is a part of life and it comes and goes.
With a plan in place and our thoughts identified it is time to consider some useful strategies.
Coping with loneliness
Laughing has been scientifically proven to benefit your health. When you’re lonely laughter is the farthest thing from your mind. Learning to laugh by yourself is empowering. You do not need to rely on others to make you happy.
Watch a funny film or funny clips on Youtube, read a joke book or look at funny pictures. Laughter is great for the release of feel-good endorphins in your brain again.
Take care of yourself, physically and mentally
It is easy to neglect yourself when you are feeling low. Taking care of your body is the beginning of feeling better. Try a nice bath, a massage, listen to uplifting music, watch a good movie or TV series.
Pets are important
If you have a pet, then you don’t live alone. Pets are great companions, and you can talk to them. Even if a cat or dog is out of the question, there other pets like fish. Interaction with a living thing other than yourself will help hold off loneliness.
Try new things
Occupy yourself with things that feel creative and exciting. Master a new skill, take on a new hobby or find other ways to express yourself.
Don’t physically shut off from the world – fight the urge to isolate yourself
Open the house up every day. Create an outdoor space where you can interact with nature. Looking outside or being outside reminds you that you are not alone.
Have people over
Invite people you know over for food and drink or watching a movie.
Be around people
We are social beings who crave the physical, emotional and psychological company of fellow human beings. So if you are feeling lonely, you need to go out and be near people. You can go and sit in a public space and by watching other people as they pass by you can be near them. While this will not fully meet your needs, it will help.
Volunteer and work with others
Get out of your comfort zone and get involved in a common goal with other people. Volunteering is a way to meet new people.
Recognise that being alone can be beneficial
Being alone can be peaceful, quiet, and give you space and the opportunity to connect with your deeper self.
Relate loneliness to your values of connection
Loneliness reminds us of the value of connection, intimacy, and sharing experiences with others.
Counselling is a proactive way to learn to overcome the self-defeating behaviours that heighten your feeling of loneliness. With the support of a counsellor, you can learn to change your thinking and relationship patterns and improve the way that you view life.
(c) Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2017
07 3458 1725 / 0409 272 115