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More Kindness. Less Judgement.

3 Apr

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Do right. Do your best. Treat others as you want to be treated – Lou Holtz.

Wobbly times can bring out the worst in people.

Hoarders and xenophobes is how the worst broke through, followed closely by profit motivated price hikers and reckless rule breakers. As the days pass and lockdown has many of us glued to our computers, unkind keyboard warriors are now bordering on being boringly predictable.

Whilst it’s easy to want to throw up our hands or fight back, from a compassionate viewpoint, if they knew better, they would do better. Their quick automatic behaviours often come from

  • not taking the time to get to know or consider the situation of another
  • overly looking out for oneself
  • bad experiences and conditioning
  • being scared, suspicious and self-centred.

If you’re on the receiving end, just avoid and delete or report to admin.

Don’t blurt what might hurt. We are all in this together. Let’s express the best of ourselves.

Imagination Can Take You Anywhere.

2 Apr

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Join them in their world when they’re little, so you’ll be welcome in their world when they get big. – L. R. Knost.

Thanks to Libby Clews for her “paper bag head child” inspiration, and my beloved Wolfie for making my day by day images x

Ignite Hope.

31 Mar

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Hope and fear cannot occupy the same spaceMaya Angelou

Hope is allowing ourselves a peek into a positive future. It’s about expecting and desiring that this will work out. It’s about believing that good things really do happen. It’s about remembering that magic exists, beauty surrounds us, and miracles are possible.

Hope lends us slivers of happiness which uplift us and make difficult situations easier to bear. Hope grows into optimism which encourages a positive belief that we really do have the inner power and strength to step into the unknown.

All the things we do for ourselves or with our children that are prevention measures,  show we’re in control and can solve problems. When we’re proud of washing hands and wiping things down, when we celebrate covering our nose and mouth with a tissue or elbow when we cough or sneeze, when we follow the rules, we shoo away feelings of helplessness. 

If we seek to make the best of a situation we’re in by seeing new experiences more as a challenge and we laugh and share our failures and successes, we role model hope.

Keep activating logic and facts which are reassuring because reassurance offers hope. Our immune systems are incredible and fight off germs all day every day like a super hero. Keep quoting hopeful facts. Most people who do get the virus recover 100%. 

Answers do exist and the more we cheer on the great people helping others and put our trust in the experts out there working around the clock, using their incredible brains to discover breakthroughs, advances in medicine and solutions for all the problems, the more we keep hope alive.

People are amazing and helpful and resilient. Let’s keep using heartfelt encouraging words to ignite hope in ourselves and others, and once we ignite it, keep it alight so it illuminates the way forward. We’ve got this.

 

Inhale Courage. Exhale Fear.

30 Mar

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If posts about people cleaning cupboards, doing yoga, crafting, making preserves and cookies is causing you to worry or panic that you’re not in that “positive” space, breathe low and slow, and know that you are not alone. This isn’t a sprint to a predetermined finish line, it’s a marathon and we are all in it together.

Covid-19 has changed how the world works. It’s ok to pause and it’s more than ok to be experiencing grief (whether we recognize it or not) because the new reality is that there are people all over the globe that are sick or afraid of becoming sick. They have lost loved ones, jobs, clients, incomes, autonomy, roles, identity and hopes and dreams. Fear and anxiety comes with the territory.

Shallow, upper chest breathing is part of a typical stress response but if your ribs are a bit sore, your chest feels tight, or you feel more light headed, a bit dizzy and feel tingly in your face or hands, chances are you are over-breathing, which can prolong feelings of anxiety.

The good news is, it’s not too late to notice it and fix it. We breathe effectively when our lower belly rises when we fill our lungs with air.  Slow it down. Breathe in and out slowly through the nose and extend the exhale so that it’s longer than the inhale.

Don’t

  • overthink
  • catastrophize
  • hyperfocus on the future, and get caught up in what-ifs
  • drown in negative, doom-filled thoughts. 

Do

  • meditate and relax
  • do things that truly soothe you
  • face fear and feel it and if you find it hard talk to a trusted professional
  • remind yourself that you are resilient and resourceful, and full of courage.

 

When we are afraid, we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger.  –Mark Rutherford.

Ease into Uncertainty.

26 Mar

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Our NZ government declared a State of Emergency, and our current COVID-19 Alert Level is Level 4 also known as lockdown which is in place for four weeks or more. In summary, this means

  • Everyone must now stay home, except those providing essential services.
  • Only make physical contact with those that you live with.

It’s a normal, universal feeling to feel fear when faced with the unknown. As our news feeds fill with all kinds of stories, real, fake and funny, the reality is that 738 people died in one day in Spain yesterday, and 683 in Italy. It is vital that we all do our best to stick to the rules put in place to save lives and flatten the curve. The more careful we are, the sooner this thing will be over.

As a therapist, relationship expert and goodness influencer with 30 years of experience I’m here to help ease the possible psychological effects of these times. One of the first things to know is that unexpected and unforeseen events can cause a grief response which can take people off guard, especially when our daily lives have been full of work, social interactions, distractions, takeouts, and the freedom to move around however we want.

Everyone experiences grief differently.

  • It’s not linear, and it’s not predictable.
  • Don’t run from your emotions but do relax and regroup and don’t let them overwhelm you.
  • Know that confusion, sadness and anger in a time of change jumps around a bit while we all redefine our new normal.
  • Reassure yourself that each stage is normal and won’t last forever.
  • Take time to ease into what all of the changes you are faced with might mean to you.
  • Know that you don’t have to work it all out on Day One.

For reliable information on Level 4 go to https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/

If you want me to write about something specific, I welcome your questions. Stay safe. Much love.

 

Eco-Grief & Eco-Anxiety. Help For A New Reality.

12 Jan

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Eco-grief is the grief felt in response to experienced or anticipated ecological loss. Eco-anxiety is a chronic fear of environmental doom. Creeping environmental changes are now cascading ahead at a catastrophic pace and have been rightly upgraded to a climate emergency. 

When our senses are inundated with a torrent of news, filled with the horror and sadness of global disasters, sensitive people begin to wobble and topple.

Scientists are telling us “like it is.” We need to listen. Dire warnings, horrific natural disasters, death, displaced people, species extinction, rising seas, soaring temperatures, extreme drought, diminished air quality, degradation of waterways and raging bushfires destroying trees, homes, animals, people and even those saving the people, are becoming more and more commonplace.

Even when it’s not us experiencing terror, fear, anger and trauma from injury, loss and damage to lives, property and livelihoods first-hand, second-hand it has the potential to flood us with helplessness. This can cause feelings of grief, anxiety, despair and panic which can overwhelm and dull our ability to act. The more we see planet Earth going to hell in a handcart, the more emotional distress we are going to feel. The social impact will make our hearts ache. We need balance. The media needs to communicate facts to make us care, rather than cause panic. We need to research positive news stories, search for kindness and gather as much information as we can to find out what we can do that’s helpful.

We didn’t expect to begin 2020 with Australia, our neighbour, burning. Areas that aren’t burning are choking from the smoke. Over a billion animals have already died horribly in those fires. And what about the frogs and bees and other insects? Maybe now their climate denial PM will stop selling cheap coal to China and India? The least we can do is to embrace this new reality. We need to wake up and quit avoiding the demise. We need to take more self-responsibility to change what we can. We need to help one person, one cause or donate to help many. Then we need to question and demand business, societal and political change.

If you’re upset, know that it’s okay. Validate your feelings, know that we are all in this together in this world and if you are suffering, reach out and get help expressing and normalising difficult feelings. Part of the solution is to take action. Action counteracts hopelessness. Below are some of my ideas to encourage action.

  • Look at humanities better traits. Who is working to fix things? Read articles like this one from Skip Spritzer and learn more about climate change and disrupted eco systems.
  • Keep being self-responsible. Make many changes. This is the time to turn me into we and think of the greater good of the planet.
  • Find even more ways to be mindful of your impact, like how you use and produce food, water, and energy. Read this brilliant article by Jonathan Foley.
  • Learn from people trained to deal with long term catastrophes. The world is full of passionate people. Policy makers. Climate researchers. Trauma researchers. Infrastructure experts. Mental health workers. Animal welfare specialists.
  • Every problem requires different solutions. Try to pick one or two that resonate the most with you.
  • Practise mindfulness and meditation and bear witness to both joy and suffering and help build your emotional strength and resilience.
  • Empathy leads to right action. It encourages and motivates us to become a part of the solution. If you can’t do it alone join a group.
  • Sign petitions. Write letters. Donate if you’re in a position to.
  • Speak up and question business practices that could be improved.
  • Vote with your dollars. Food is a good starting place where personal action can impact the planet.
  • Inspire social change and follow accounts that do.

Is it time to give up? I say a big fat NO. Get therapy to grieve healthily, reduce anxiety and keep hope in your heart. And this one I love – Find a way to be a force of good.