How to overcome your fears

April 16th, 2014

How to overcome your fearsIf fears are holding you back, read this guide to overcome your fear of anything.

Almost all of us are afraid of something, whether it’s spiders, public speaking or even being alone. While fear is a normal part of life, it can become a problem when it affects your life and you don’t take steps to overcome it.

So how can we overcome our fears? Well, according to new research from Ohio State University in America, the key to conquering fears is a positive attitude to whatever it is you’re afraid of, combined with exposure therapy (i.e. confronting the source of anxiety head on).

The study in question looked at adults with a fear of public speaking, and it was found that those who had developed positive associations with public speaking maintained their progress while those who continued to associate speaking in public with negativity did not. Those with improved attitudes were also the ones who credited themselves for mastering public speaking, as opposed to those who credited the therapist.

If you are looking to conquer a fear of your own, try the following steps:

Ease yourself into it

First of all, make sure you do your prep work and ease yourself into the fear-inducing situation. You want to start off at a level that will challenge you, but not overwhelm you. For example, if you are afraid of speaking in public, start by practicing in a mirror before moving onto practicing in front of close friends, then eventually a couple of colleagues. After this, giving speeches in front of large groups may still be nerve-wracking, but at least you will have overcome your crippling stage fright.

Come up with a game plan

Having a go-to strategy in place for when you do face your fears can help you to regain some control over the situation. If confrontation makes you nervous for example, plan exactly what you’re going to say before you enter the conversation. Having this sort of game plan will help to diminish that powerless feeling.

Visualise the outcome

Visualising success is a proven tool for top athletes and it can help you too. Take some time to think about the situation you are afraid of and visualise it going well. Alternatively, visualise the worst-case scenario, the more ridiculous the better, and realise that this is not only unlikely to happen it is unlikely to have any serious consequence.

Talk yourself into it

Every time you say to yourself ‘I can’t', you are giving your fear power. Challenge these thoughts with positivity and be kinder to yourself. By thinking like this, your body will eventually catch up and the fear will have lost all its power over you.

If fear and anxiety are inhibiting your potential, a life coach could help. Find out more by visiting our confidence page.

View and comment on the original Women’s Health article.

Scientists claim ADHD is not a real disease

April 13th, 2014

Leading experts claim ADHD is merely a description of symptoms and not an actual disease. 

Two world-renowned scientists have now come forward to contest that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not a disease.

Dr Bruce Perry – a neuroscientist at the ChildTrauma Academy in Houston, Texas – has said that the condition is more of a “description” and that most people are likely to show signs of ADHD symptoms at some point in their lives.

Perry’s claims follow in the footsteps of US neurologist Dr Richard Saul, who recently declared that ADHD as a disease does not exist. He said that it is merely a set of symptoms that could be caused by something as simple as iron deficiency.

Saul’s argument also contested that treating hyperactivity in children with drugs is similar to giving heart attack patients painkillers – rather than treating the cause of the problem, they ignore it and provide only symptom relief.

Typically, symptoms of ADHD include short attention span, restlessness, constant fidgeting and easily being distracted.

Similarly, Perry also expressed concerns about the drugs used to treat the condition. He believes psychostimulant drugs given to ADHD sufferers – such as Ritalin – may have long-term adverse effects.

“Taking a medication influences systems in ways we don’t always understand,” he said.

Instead, Perry recommends alternative therapies for helping to relieve the symptoms of ADHD – claiming yoga can be just as effective as medication.

Graham Allen, a Labour MP and EIF chairman, said Dr Perry was the “best in his field”, adding many senior politicians are already “convinced by the philosophy of his research”.

If you, or someone close to you suffers from ADHD you might want to consider coaching. An ADHD coach will offer encouragement, constructive criticism, motivation and support wherever necessary to help individuals manage the condition more effectively. Find out more by visiting our ADHD coaching page. 

View and comment on the original Daily Mail article. 

Six steps to dealing with a break up

April 9th, 2014

Six steps to dealing with a breakupEase the pain of a break up and reduce post-split stress with these helpful tips.

Whether the relationship you were in lasted four weeks or four years, break ups can leave us feeling lost, heartbroken and even physically ill. Sadly there is no magic cure for a broken heart, but there are healthy coping mechanisms you can put in place to help you move on with strength and grace.

The first thing you’ll need to do is accept that there is going to be a grieving period and a process of adjustment going from ‘we’ to ‘me’. Treating yourself well during this period can help to speed up the process and help you take control of your own well-being.

1. Talk it out

While it may be tempting to suppress the unpleasant feelings that come with a relationship break up, avoiding your emotions will only prevent you from moving past them. Instead, confront your feelings head-on either by talking it out with someone, or writing your thoughts in a journal. Just getting the thoughts and emotions out of your head in this way can help you feel better.

2. Eat well

It can be all too easy to use food (or the restriction of food) as a coping mechanism during a break up, but this can do harm to both your physical and mental health. Focus on eating nutritious, whole foods that are high in protein, fibre and vitamins to boost mood and energy.

3. Get active

Getting physically active may seem like the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling so emotionally drained – but exercise can lower stress, improve your mood and help you get out of your own head. Pick something you enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

4. Practice gratitude

It can be hard to be thankful when you’re feeling low, but practicing gratitude and thinking about all the good things you have in your life can offer a sense of perspective. Try writing down all the things you have to be grateful for and have a read when things get tough.

5. Do things you love

Give yourself some quality me-time and do everything possible to make you feel better – whether that’s getting a massage, meeting friends for coffee or just watching a much-loved boxset (bonus points for any activities that get you laughing too).

6. Give back

Performing acts of kindness towards others can help to improve well-being and has been shown to relieve depression. Do something that gives you a sense of empowerment and opens your heart.

With any transition comes the opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you think you could benefit from a little guidance, you may want to consider hiring a life coach. Find out how they could help on our relationships and personal development pages.

View and comment on the original Huffington Post article.

Motivation – the facts

April 5th, 2014

Motivation - the factsAll you need to know about motivation and how to inspire yourself to get things done.

Many believe that a person who is motivated is born with significantly more drive and determination than those who are not. According to experts however, motivation is something you can learn, as well as something that is hot-wired into your system.

Psychologist and business consultant, Paul White explains:

“We do have different temperaments and different personality styles when we’re born, but research shows that clearly our behaviour, personality and motivation can be shaped.

“If you think of the word ‘motivate,’ the root is ‘motive’ – which is a reason to act. When we’re trying to motivate someone we’re trying to give them a reason to act.”

A key factor in shaping our motivation habits is our environment. Living or growing up in chaotic or unpredictable circumstances is particularly unhelpful, as is being in a situation in which everything is done for you.

Cognitive psychologist Shlomo Breznitz says that subjects from these environments are more likely to develop “learned helplessness”, in which they become passive and severely unmotivated.

If you could do with a motivation boost, take a look at the following ideas on how to rediscover drive and determination:

  • Write down your goals – Just by writing down the tasks you want to accomplish, you can make them seem far more achievable. List them in priority order and add pointers about what you need to do to achieve them. This can break them down into smaller actions and bring about inspiration.
  • Get support – Many of us feel more motivated if we are accompanied by a friend. This is because having someone to go running with, or to accompany you to fitness class can provide an important boost in terms of confidence, courage and support.
  • Stay active – Physical activity can significantly improve your energy levels and this will positively impact motivation. Even a brisk 20 minute walk in the morning on the way to work will do wonders for making you feel more energised and ready to start the day.
  • Reward yourself – To stay motivated, promise yourself something special once you reach your goals. If you are losing weight, try to avoid rewarding yourself with food. Instead treat yourself to a special day out or a complementary therapy treatment to relax and unwind.
  • Seek inspiration – Consider investing in self-help books to inspire goals and boost your motivation. You can also find some inspirational videos, quotes and moving speeches on the Internet.
  • Consider life coaching – Many find visiting a life coach can add valuable structure and purpose to their life. A life coach will help to maximise strengths and build upon weaknesses, whilst teaching ways in which you can motivate yourself and keep it up in the long-term. For more information, please see our motivation coaching page.

View and comment on the original Business Mirror article. 

Kat’s Happiness Project – March

April 2nd, 2014

Kat's Happiness Project - MarchAs we step into April it’s time to see how Life Coach Directory blogger Kat got on with her work-related goals for March.

Hello1At work it felt as if this month flew by, partially due to a smattering of holiday days taken here and there. Because of this, I have to admit I found it difficult to keep up with my goals in March, but I did discover that sometimes it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.

1. Achieve a qualification to help expand my knowledge at work

There was an online course I was keen to do this month, but before I knew it the exam date came and went with me being none the wiser. The course material is still online however – and while I won’t be able to pick up the qualification I wanted, I will still be able to learn some valuable skills.

2. Be proactive in all areas of work

I would like to think I achieved this goal, however with the few days holiday I took it was difficult to keep up the momentum while keeping up with everyday tasks. There is still time for this though and I know I’ll have ample opportunity to be proactive in the coming months.

3. Go outside for a walk every lunchtime

Thanks to the warmer weather we’ve had this month, this goal was a pleasure to keep. Of course there were one or two occasions where rain/laziness stopped me from walking, but I’m happy to say that I fitted in a walk most days. Getting out of the office and moving around really helped my energy levels and helped to clear my head before the afternoon.

4. Make my desk a nice place to be

A work in progress, my desk is looking decidedly prettier than it did before. Complete with uplifting pictures, a dreamy screensaver and a cactus (having plants on your desk boosts creativity don’t you know), my desk is becoming a very nice place to be. The next step will be to update my mouse mat and pen pot to something a little more exciting. These tiny changes have really made a difference and prompt a smile every morning when I sit down for work.

April goals

In the book I’m basing my project on (The Happiness Project), April is dedicated to parenting. I am, at present, without child so this isn’t an option for me. Instead, I have found something a bit different to do in the month of April – a 30-day challenge. Rather than a list of goals, this month I will be completing a 30-day journaling challenge that will see me journaling every day for 30 days. I am a writer by trade and in the past journaling was something I did religiously. These days however, I rarely write outside of work. I am hoping that forcing myself to journal will release some creative juices and rekindle my passion for the written word.

Fancy joining me on my 30-day challenge? Keep me posted with how you’re getting on via Facebook or Twitter.

Smartphones and social media are ruining our sex lives

March 29th, 2014

Smartphones and social media are ruining our sex livesTechnology may have numerous benefits, but new research shows it is destroying our sex lives.

A new survey from condom brand, Durex has revealed that a third of Britons feel technology is having a negative impact on their sex lives.

Durex quizzed 2,000 adults as part of the study, which showed mobiles, computers and the Internet are the biggest technological threats to moments of passion.

Results showed one in six of us are likely to answer the phone or read a text message during sex, while 5% admitted to checking Facebook. A huge 60% even confessed that they prefer to spend time playing with technology in bed rather than playing with their partner.

This means our favourite gadgets are quite literally getting in the way of our passionate embraces.

In light of this research, sex and relationship expert Susan Quilliam said: “Many people find love through dating websites or social media – but it’s a worrying trend that many are also feeling gradually ousted in their relationships in favour of interaction online.”

Many believe that advancements in Smartphone technology, and the growth of social media are responsible for the decline in the average number of times couples have sex each month.

Ten years ago, women were having sex on average 6.3 times a month, and men 6.2 times. Today however these figures now stand at 4.8 and 4.9 respectively.

If you feel your relationship could do with a boost to improve your sex life, why not consider life coaching? Please see our relationships page for more information on how a life coach can help. 

View and comment on the original Yahoo article. 

Creative ways to de-clutter your home

March 26th, 2014

Creative ways to declutter your homeKeep reading for tips to reduce clutter and keep your home tidy.

It can be surprising just how much having a cluttered home affects us mentally. Whether you’re tripping over objects, forever losing your keys or simply getting distracted by the growing pile of junk in the corner – chances are your clutter is stressing you out. Taking the time to de-clutter and de-stress will do wonders for your well-being.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve found the following tips:

Give yourself five minutes

Just five minutes a day can be enough to start what may seem like an epic task. Break down what needs doing into five minute increments and commit to doing one task every day.

Give away an item a day

A clever way to lighten the load in your life gradually is to give away one item every day. Pick something you no longer have use for and either give it away or donate it to your local charity. Over time you will see your pile reduce for a more minimalistic way of life.

Fill one rubbish bag

Another small goal to get you started is to fill one rubbish bag as quickly as possible with things to throw/give away. This can even be turned into a game, so don’t forget to get the kids involved.

Try Oprah’s hanger experiment

Oprah Winfrey made this hanger experiment a popular way to refine your wardrobe. Hang your clothes with hangers in the reverse direction, and every time you wear something – put it back with the hanger the right way. After a few months you’ll be able to see clearly which items aren’t getting any wear.

Use the four-box method

Often simplicity prevails when it comes to de-cluttering. Take four boxes and label them ‘rubbish’, ‘donate’, ‘relocate’ and ‘keep’. Go room to room and put every item into one of the boxes. Be ruthless and consider whether or not you would buy the item now if you didn’t already have it.

If you think you could benefit from advice like this in other areas of your life – why not speak to a life coach? Find out how they could help on our personal development page.

View and comment on the original Becoming Minimalistic article.

Six simple steps to online dating success

March 22nd, 2014
Six simple steps to online dating success
Navigate smoothly through online dating with these handy hints.

These days, the online dating industry is bigger than ever. Research suggests that around 16 million people in the UK alone have taken part in online dating, while globally one in every five new relationships will start online.

For some, online dating is an enjoyable experience and a great way to seek out new relationships. Others however will find it incredibly daunting, and may be left disappointed following a string of disastrous dates.

Ultimately, online dating is never going to be as effective for building relationships as meeting someone in person can be, but there are ways to make it successful. Take a look at these six online dating tips:

1. Make a wishlist - Make a specific list of what type of person you are looking for. Defining what you want gives you a clear goal and starting point for finding the right match.

2. Prioritise traits - Once you have decided on the traits you most value in a partner, prioritise them from one to 10. Then rank any potential date according to these traits. Depending on how they score you can identify the best people to date.

3. Choose the right site - There are various online dating websites and apps to choose from. Tinder is best for those who are not seeking long-term relationships, while Match.com provides a more general dating environment with lots of options.

4. Keep your profile short - Long descriptions will put potential dates off. Keep your profile short and sweet, featuring only the most interesting and valuable points about yourself. Read it aloud afterwards to get a feeling of how you are coming across.

5. Use positive language - Certain words such as ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ can add a light-hearted and optimistic touch to a profile. Talk about your passions and hobbies and what makes you smile rather than your dislikes.

6. Look approachable - Your profile picture should reflect the optimism of your profile language. Choose a picture of you smiling, with friends, and when you are looking relaxed and approachable. Online dating is very similar to marketing – you know your audience, you just need to figure out what is most likely to attract them.

If you are new to the world of dating, or would benefit from advice on how to improve your dating skills, why not consider talking to a life coach? To find out more about the services available, please see our page on relationship coaching

View and comment on the original Guardian article. 

Why multitasking is ruining your productivity

March 19th, 2014

Why multitasking is ruining your productivityKeep reading to find out why multitasking may be hindering your productivity potential.

We live in a fast paced society and many of us feel like we have to multitask in order to keep up with the flow. While we may feel as if this is a good use of our time, science is proving otherwise. It turns out that only 2% of us multitask effectively – this means that the remaining 98% of us are compromising our productivity in the name of multitasking.

The most common form of multitasking is when we try to do more than one thing at a time – typically while using a Smartphone, tablet or laptop. Checking our emails while we’re on a conference call or updating our Facebook status while we’re out with friends may feel like we’re accomplishing something – but research is starting to show that we probably aren’t. One study showed that our brains simply aren’t very good at doing more than one thing at once and that instead we get overwhelmed and stressed.

So, what can we do instead?

Focusing on one thing at a time may actually boost your productivity, as you’ll be working more mindfully. Take a look at the following tips for a more efficient attitude towards productivity:

Put down the phone – Whether you’re working or seeing friends, do yourself a favour and put your phone away and anything else that is likely to distract you.

Get into a routine – Setting yourself up with a schedule will help you stay focussed and ensure that you only work on one thing at a time.

Set goals – Working without goals often invites distraction. Having a to-do list with both short-term and long-term goals will help to keep you in check.

Meditate – Research suggests that meditating regularly can actually boost brain function and keep you focused. It can also help to reduce stress, which can help when that deadline approaches.

Listen well – When you’re half listening to your colleague while checking the morning’s emails, not only are you being rude, you are also not taking either task in properly. Look away from your screen and actively listen before turning your attention to something else.

Reduce clutter – Having an organised workspace will help to eliminate distractions and help you find what you need when you need it. Be sure to keep this in mind when organising computer files too – a tidy desktop equals a tidy mind.

Take a break – While we encourage focused work on one task at a time, there will be times when you’ll need a break. When you find your productivity or energy waning, take a quick break – eat something nutritious and go for a walk outside to clear your head.

If you think you need a little extra help when it comes to organising your life – why not hire a life coach? Find out how they could help on our personal development and career page.

View and comment on the original Greatist article.

Kat’s Happiness Project 2014 – February

March 14th, 2014

Kat's Happiness Project 2014 - FebruaryNow we are officially in March, let’s see how Life Coach Directory blogger Kat got on in the second month of her Happiness Project.

Hello1Another month is over and another list of goals has been written – but first, let’s see how I got on in February. My goals for this month were relationship based and I was keen to give all of my relationships a bit more attention…

1. Do something with my partner neither of us have done before

This was a hard one to accomplish to be honest, and with February being such a short month I found it hard to find the time. Eventually however we decided to go to the ballet – something neither of us have ever done before. While for me this was a fun experience, the gently closing eyes of my partner during the third act suggested he felt otherwise. So, we probably won’t be doing this again in the near future – but it was so nice doing something out of routine and next time I’ll let him pick the activity.

2. Show my appreciation for him more often

Valentines Day provided me with ample opportunity to show my partner how much I appreciate him, and while I shouldn’t do it just because of St Valentine – it was a helpful reminder. I showed my appreciation through a set of promise cards I customised and a delicious steak dinner. To my surprise, my partner expressed how he preferred this to previous material gifts I had given him – which reminded me how important the sentiment behind gifts like this is.

3. Be more proactive on the weekends and organise something special

Getting out of our dinner and cinema routine, I instigated a weekly walk with my partner instead. This gave us time to talk without distraction and is also helping us get healthier together. We have now joined a gym and are planning to run a 5K race in the summer. In terms of planning something special – it is my partner’s birthday coming up and I’m keen to plan a romantic getaway in the country.

4. Take the time to connect with all my close friends – even if it is just a Skype date.

I was quite lucky in that my birthday was in February – so I had a better excuse than usual to see my friends. Some of them are out of the country, so I made sure to schedule in Skype sessions and email catch-ups. It is so easy to lose touch with friends as you get older, so having this goal really opened my eyes to the effort I need to put in to keep my relationships thriving.

March goals

March is dedicated to happiness at work. It comes at the perfect time too as I have just had my yearly review, so I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do to get the most out of my 9-5. Goals for March are as follows:

  • achieve a qualification to help expand my knowledge at work
  • be proactive in all areas of work
  • go outside for a walk every lunchtime
  • make my desk a nice place to be.

How have you been getting on with your goals for 2014? Let me know in the comments below, and catch up with the rest of my Happiness Project.