Posts

Do you ever wonder why you continue to attract the same types of partners? Or, is the same problem showing up in all your intimate relationships?

Relationships Article Annie 2

So many people claim they are “bad at relationships” but the question they need to ask themselves is, what attempts are they making to tend to them? It’s fair to say I am bad at long distance running because I have never brought awareness to why I keep getting injured at the six-mile stage to change some of the bad habits I have picked up over the years. The same is also true for intimate relationships, until you develop a loving relationship with yourself and pay attention to what is going on beyond the superficial, you will unfortunately continue to repeat these same patterns. Ask yourself, where your “injuries” show up in your intimate relationships and be honest with yourself. To engage in a healthy intimate relationship you must develop self-awareness and a range of skills to prepare you for love and the maintenance of it. The idea that love is an action can be quite startling for some, because it is in stark contrast to the social expectation we have picked up about dating, romance, intimate relationships and marriage our whole lives.

For many years I was the person complaining about my inability to attract a healthy intimate relationship but doing nothing to tend to what was actually going on. It was too painful to look inwards at my own behaviours and much easier to highlight all that was wrong with the guys I was meeting. After a particularly bad break up I decided to reach out and seek support but I discovered it was impossible to find the kind of tailored service I was looking for. Back then there was no such thing as Relationship Coaching. Once I had done all the necessary personal work to heal and attract only healthy intimate love I decided to set up my own relationship coaching practice. I didn’t want others to go through what I did. When I think back to those years, although they were so transformative they were lonely, especially when all around me were people who appeared to “have it all”. At that time, I identified those markers to be; a man, career, baby. For me now, “having it all” thankfully means something entirely different and much more in line with who I am rather than fitting a societal “norm”. Understand yourself, honour your needs and take care of your emotional self rather than waiting for prince or princess charming to come along and take care of all your woes. By far it’s a much surer bet.

It is important to mention that domestic abuse differs from a “bad, unhealthy or disconnected relationship”. In a healthy relationship or even one going badly or ending – neither individual fears the other or is controlled by the other. Domestic abuse doesn’t always have to mean physical violence but it can be part of the abuse.

Contact Women’s Aid if you feel unsafe or confused in your relationship. 1800 341 900 National Freephone Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Today’s world is often referred to as fast paced, busy and chaotic. We are overfed stress and worry and we are undernourished in areas that truly matter. This concept of being ‘overfed and undernourished’ goes far beyond any food we put on our plate. 

 

I would go as far as saying, that our country is becoming a nation of human beings that are over worked, tired and are operating continuously at maximum capacity. What happens our minds, our bodies and our souls when we get tired, bombarded or run down? We become sick. We become fatigued. We become anxious. We become ill. 

Having worked as a Pharmacist for almost a decade – I could see first hand the frantic, stress ridden, pill popping nation that we have become. I witnessed the rising scale in antidepressants being prescribed. I saw the rise in sleeping tablets, anti-anxiety medication and stress related diseases, ranging from auto immune diseases, inflammatory disorders, skin problems, stomach disease and cancer to name a few. From behind the dispensary – I could see with my own two eyes our society crumbling into sickness and disease. 

Dis – ease, the very word meaning “a lack of ease”. 

I could see both young and old becoming a nation where the concept of “ease” in our lives was merely non existent. A nation where our norm was to be “busy” and “stressed” and if you weren’t busy or stressed, then you weren’t successful. 

But this doesn’t have to be the way. We, as human beings have an infinite inner well of consciousness that wants to be healthy. We inherently want to be happy. We want to have inner peace. We crave to live a life that is healthy, and prosperous and rich in creativity and exhilaration. 

But we tend to get caught up in the rat race, we can often get stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfil us, or a relationship that doesn’t ignite us. We somehow can find ourselves living a life that is not full of “ease”. We can find ourselves feeling “stuck” or stale, and our life can lack meaning or inspiration. When this happens we can turn to food, or alcohol or some external source to try and bring some light or life back into our lives, only to find that, this too falls short and leaves us feeling worse off than ever before. 

So what’s the solution? How can we go about finding some “ease” in our lives? How can we begin to find some meaning in our world? How can we reduce the anxiety, the stress, the overwhelming emotions that surge us on a day to day basis? One way that helped me immensely was Yoga. 

If you read my earlier article on ‘Why yoga really can be for everyone’ and the benefits behind yoga, you will know that Yoga goes far beyond just the physical. One of the main benefits that I find, and that many of my clients experience, is the escaping healing feeling that yoga brings to ones life.

 

Yoga – meaning union, unites mind with the body, and body with the soul. 

In today’s world – this connection is vital. We don’t need more noise, or more busyness, or more loud music, or more adrenaline. What the world needs is more stillness. More silence. More space. More time out. More recovery. More rest. More breathing. More connection. Yoga delivers all of the above and more. 

When you get on the mat, you centre yourself. You ground yourself. You connect. To find more ease in our lives and in our world, it’s important that we first find some balance and stability within ourselves. 

Yoga empowers connection back to our inner world. It enables you to actually stop for a second and scan your body. Scan your emotions. Scan your thoughts. Check in with yourself and listen to your intuition. One of the best ways to reduce stress in your life, is to give yourself a break. In order to find some ease and relaxation in our lives we need to first stop, listen and feel. To take some time out from the busyness and connect to a space of stillness. 

Yoga Breathing or Pranayama: 

When you get on your yoga mat – you connect your mind and body through the breath. The breath – which is our life force energy – our Prana. Once we engage with deep mindful breathing we reduce the anxiety by activating our para sympathetic nervous system. This is our rest and recovery system – the opposite to our fight or flight system where we operate most of our lives from.

When we engage in yogic breathing (see the simple excerise below) we reduce anxiety and nervous tension in our central nervous system. When we are anxious – our nerve endings can become irritated and excited. They become heightened and activated, and we thus, become “on edge” and anxious and develop nervous tension and irritability. 

Doing this breathing along with certain yoga poses (asanas) we can calm down our entire nervous system. We activate this para sympathetic nervous system and as a result reduces our stress hormone cortisol. This reduces heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. 

Yoga breathing (pranayama) is the foundation of your yoga practice. It begins with deepening your breathing and engaging is a 3-part breath technique.

Try this simple breathing technique at least once a day for a week and observe how it affects your body, breath, and mind. This mindful excercise can be done at just about any time of day, though preferably not immediately following a large meal.

How to:

  1. Lie comfortably on your back (with your knees slightly bent and your feet flat on the floor) about hip-distance apart or lie in savasana (corpse pose), whichever is most comfortable for you.

  2. Place one palm on your abdomen and just breathe comfortably for a few moments. Notice the quality of your breath. Does the breath feel tense? shallow? rapid? strained? Simply observe the breath without trying to adjust it or change it, or without any judgment.

  3. Then gradually begin to relax your breathing. Slow your breath down, deepen the inhalation and try make the breath as smooth as possible.

  4. Begin to draw the breathe in for a count of 4.

  5. Slowly introduce a slight PAUSE after each inbreath.

  6. Then gracefully release your breath through a nice slow relaxed exhalation to the count of 8.

  7. So the breathing goes something like this;  inhale – count 1,2,3,4… Pause and hold for 1,2,3,4…. Exhale count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8… Pause and hold 1,2,3,4 and repeat.

  8. Once the breath feels comfortable, relaxed, smooth and rhythmical, notice the movement of the body. As you inhale, the abdomen naturally expands; as you exhale, feel the slight contraction of the abdomen. To experience the pleasure of giving yourself a full, relaxed breath, gently try to actively expand the abdomen on the inhale and contract the abdomen on the exhale to support the natural movement of the diaphragm.

  9. Continue this breathing practice for 6 to 12 breaths.

  10. Check in with your body, mind, thoughts and emotions afterwards. (Have a pen and paper near by as you may get some moments of insights or clarity afterwards).

 

Benefits: 

  • Quietens the mind
  • Calms the entire nervous system
  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Promotes restful sleep
  • Improves self-awareness
  • Promotes focus and clarity 
  • Develops inner peace 
  • Reduces blood pressure and can ease bodily aches and pains 
  • Promotes overall EASE in the mind, body and soul 
  • Promotes a sense of wellbeing and relaxation 

Examples of some Yoga poses (asanas) that can really help with reducing anxiety and stress are the following:

  • Cat/Cow pose (Marjaryasana/Bitikasana) 
  • Child’s pose (balasana)
  • Trees pose (Vrikasana)
  • Headstand or supported headstand (sirsasana)
  • Corpse Pose (savasana) 
  • Abdominal twists 
  • Legs up the Wall pose (Viparita Karani)

The trinity of Yoga, meditation and mindful breathing, is just one way that can help alleviate stress and anxiety in our modern world. It has helped me and so many of my clients. I really hope it can also help you. 

 

Happiness levels, alison canavan, positive life, smile more, exercising, gratitude, meditation, life coach, wellness coach,So we all want to be happier but some days it really feels like we’re playing tug-o-war with ourselves. However, did you know that YOU actually have a huge part to play in how happy you are! According to research happiness is like a muscle that needs to be exercised daily.

“It’s a choice and it’s a practice. “according to author and Harvard trained researcher of positive psychology Shawn Achor

 

But how many people do you know who are addicted to negative thinking and why is it that negative thinking seems to be a much more comfortable space for a lot of people? Well it’s actually a bad habit that people have become very good at after all they practice it non-stop.

So according to Shawn Achor, we can actually retrain our brains to be happier and the best news of all is that it only takes 5-10 minutes out of your day.

So, if we are what we attend to in this life, here are some simple happiness habits you simply must attend to every day:

 

  1. GRATITUDE

Practicing gratitude every single day can have enormous benefits for our health and happiness. Choose 3 different things every day that you are grateful for and really feel the gratitude. I keep a “Thankful Journal” and writing in it each day is very simply just another habit like eating and sleeping for me now. In research studies even people testing as low-level pessimists after practicing gratitude for 21 days became low-level optimists. A 2-minute habit for 21 days can change and increase your happiness levels. (Martin Seligman) Gratitude has even been shown to trump your genes and environment and it also changes your vibrational frequency in the world.

 

  1. SMILE MORE

A simple smile can actually change your brain chemistry. Yes it’s that powerful so smile more today and every day for yourself and others. You never know you might just brighten someone’s day.

 

  1. STRETCH AND MOVE YOUR BODY

Build muscle and happiness by moving your body every day. Get out for a walk; take a class or just dance around your living room! Your body was made to move. Jump up and down for a few minutes and see how different you feel. As I always say its possible to shake your booty and dance your mood away!

 

  1. EAT FOOD TO FEED YOUR MOOD

Good fats feed our mood so make sure you are getting your omega 3’s daily and if you are not eating oily fish 3-5 times a week you should probably consider a supplement. I take ESKIMO OMEGAS daily because I know I don’t get enough in my daily diet and during my recovery from Post Natal Depression Omega 3’s helped greatly.

Omegas are what we call Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) The term ‘Essential’ in nutrition means that your body cannot synthesise/make it itself so you need to get it from your diet or supplement. I also love avocados and I use a lot of coconut oil daily too along with nuts and eggs. Eating fresh wholefoods in a variety of colours is also important and essential for good health and mood so my top tip is – shop and eat the rainbow.

 

  1. MAKE REAL CONNECTIONS

We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. It’s imperative that we get back to nurturing our deep connections with each other. Real life relationships have a powerful affect on our happiness. Friendship and love are so important but these days some of us are so busy we forget to connect so pick up the phone to that special someone today.

 

  1. MEDITATE

All you need to do is stop, sit and focus on your breath from as little as 2 minutes a day to see a real difference. Meditation has infinite positive benefits for our health and wellbeing. Check out my beginners video right here.

AC_days_MindfulMonday4 5th oct

The word therapy can scare people sometimes. The thought of entering a room where your deepest darkest secrets might be uncovered or even worse you might find out you have problems that you never even knew about before!

Believe me I can understand these fears because I have experienced them myself and putting yourself in that position can make you feel vulnerable and insecure. What I have realised though down through the years is that therapy in that sense is not always the ultimate answer. Yes it can help you take the first step towards wellness and that first step on the ladder can generally be the hardest, but good health is something that needs daily attention and heading to a therapist once a week is not going to solve your problems if you are still living a destructive lifestyle outside of therapy.

Simple everyday things like dancing and singing are examples of great therapy that we can include in our daily life. Art is therapy, friendship is therapy, meditation is therapy and self-care is therapy. How about a bubble bath, a walk in the park, coffee with friends or if you’re a parent enjoying a cup of tea by yourself! To me therapy is anything that contributes to a positive and balanced lifestyle.

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis so we need to find tools to help us cope that work for us personally and sometimes you need to try a lot of tools before you find the one that works for you.

For example if yourself and a friend were given a box each containing 100 keys and you were told that only one of the keys could open the door. What would you do?

You would have to try the keys one by one in an effort to find the one that unlocked the door. You might be lucky and pick the right key first time round or you might have to try 99 keys before you finally find the one that works and the same applies to life.

What works for one person will not work for another and you need to find what works for you. Different things will work on different days but the most important thing is to have fun along the way.

20 THERAPEUTIC THINGS FOR YOU TO TRY:

  1. Buy yourself flowers
  2. Take a bubble bath
  3. Swing on the swings in the playground and see how high you can go (my favourite!!)
  4. Listen to your favourite music
  5. Have a disco
  6. Sing your heart out
  7. Read your favourite book
  8. Have a cup of tea and your favourite treat
  9. Organise a get together with friends
  10. Meditate
  11. Colour (yes adult colouring is wonderful)
  12. Knit or sew
  13. Laugh!! At yourself, a funny movie, a silly book
  14. Go for a walk
  15. Cook your favourite meal
  16. Take a nap
  17. Journal- yes, write down your ideas, dreams, hopes and worries. I find writing one of the greatest forms of therapy
  18. Write that thank you card to someone special (There is always someone we need to thank!)
  19. Try yoga or Pilates
  20. Give yourself a compliment