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Your thoughts are not real.

Most of us live our lives mistakenly believing that every thought we have is real. This just is not true.

Our thoughts are like the rudder on a ship they direct our lives in the direction they think we want to go.

Sometimes we pass through choppy sees sometimes it’s calm, but it’s all driven by our thoughts.

Our experience of life comes from the inside out, not what happens to us but rather by what we think about what happens to us.

I was once told I don’t have a lack of self confidence I just think I do.

This was like an enlightment for me, all of those years believing I had no self confidence, when actually it was just me thinking I had no self confidence. In fact you could add that to esteem, self worth, and any other negative feeling I used to get.

If it was true I had no self confidence, how come I spent 10 years as a holiday rep, away from home, working with people I had never met before and dealing daily with holiday makers hoteliers and on the problems that happen on holiday. How can someone with no self confidence do all that not to forget the singing and dancing on caberet night and entertaining bus loads of holiday makers on tours. All of this done with no self confidence, it just doesn’t add up, yet on the inside that’s how I felt.

Another example I can use is this, I’ve moved house twice in the last 12 years, the first move was a nightmare, this is when I believed in my thoughts, they told me it was going to go all wrong and it certainly did, I’ve never been so stressed and anxious in the days both leading up to and after that first house move. But, and here’s the strange thing about this, nothing actually went wrong, no disasters actually occurred, in fact now I recall it with a mind that is now far more calmer I realise that everything that went wrong went wrong in my head. It was the inside out catastrophic thinking that caused the feeling of it going wrong.

Now I still get good days and bad days just like we all do, the difference now is I understand that all I’m experiencing is my thinking, I also recognise if I ignore a thought and chose not to follow it a new one will replace it.

Going back to that rudder steering the ship through life’s High seas the journey can be changed just by steering a new course just the same as in our lives our journey can be changed by waiting for the right thought to come along.

If your having a bad time at the moment ask yourself what you are thinking and has any of it actually come true.

Have a peaceful day

Woody.

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How to become more mindful.

The word mindful sounds like your head is full but in fact it’s the total opposite, to reach a mindful state you become aware of the present moment. Most of us spend a good deal of our time in our heads thinking about the past or worrying about what might happen in the future.

There are many ways of becoming mindful but most people never really achieve it and that is for one simple reason they try too hard to be mindful.

There are many apps and breathing guides that you can watch many of which if you follow them you can if you try too hard end up becoming more stressed just trying to be mindful.

Monkey mind.

Monkey mind is the expression given to your mind when it just won’t settle. You have a constant internal dialogue with yourself and most of this consists of never ending to do lists and things that have happened in the past and things that might happen in the future.

Sometimes this monkey mind can be exhausting and can even effect our general mental health and our sleeping patterns. A head full of thoughts that won’t stop is the easiest way to become worried anxious and chronically stressed.

Sometimes you feel like your head could explode and you just want it to go away.

With a mind this chaotic you will be surprised to discover that most people that dive into mindfulness and expect it to switch the monkey mind off fail miserably.

Firstly mindfulness should become a habit that becomes regular practice and should start off very slowly without trying or expecting too much to happen.

So here’s a quick guide about how to be mindful that I find works for me.

This is firstly a simple exercise that you can do at anytime when you are feeling a bit stressed.

Find a quiet place.

Sit down and take a couple of deep breaths that are comfortable for you.

Then just for a few minutes pay attention to your breath, don’t hold it just relax and breath normally but ensure your inbreath is through the nose and the out breath is from the mouth.

Try just for a few minutes notice everything about the breaths, how your body rises and falls with the breath through your chest area, notice how the breath feels in your nostrils and through your mouth on the outbreath.

You should start with just a few minutes at a time and you become more relaxed you can go for longer.

Now if you expect your mind to instantly calm you will be dissapointed, but what you will start becoming aware of is the thoughts you are having.

You can’t stop thinking, thoughts will come and go as they always will, but the first goal to achieve the first steps is becoming aware of your thoughts.

Most of the time we are unaware of exactly what we are thinking, the more stressed our life is the faster and more mixed up our thoughts become.

With regular mindfulness practice you will after a short time begin to notice your thoughts slowing down.

So why not just spend a few minutes in the Now and switch off from the past and the future and give your mind a break.

There are many ways to be mindful my next blog will cover a few more.

Have a mindful few minutes untill next time

Woody

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What burden are you carrying around.

Hi, I want to tell you a story, it may be true it may not but the message is one that I heard a few years ago and is a valuable lesson in life.

The story takes place in a mountain range in Tibet and two monks are making a journey through a flooded valley to get back to their secluded monastery, their normal route has been cut off by a landslide caused by the rains.

The monks belong to a particular strict monastery with strict rules. One of the monks is in his 60s and his companion is just into his 20s. They have been walking for days and the elder Monk suggests they take a rest.

The rains are still falling and he knows that they need to move fast to reach the monastery before they are cut off.

Whilst contemplating the journey ahead the elder Monk hears a women’s voice crying for help.

He stands up and listens and then walks towards the sound much to the disbelief of his younger companion. “Brother you can’t go to the women, you will break our sacred vowels”

He continues walking and ignores the pleas of the younger brother. He arrives at a clearing and in front of him a women is struggling to cross the small stream which is rapidly becoming stronger and stronger due to the torrential rains.

He wades out and without a word scoops the women up and carries her across the stream, sets her down gently smiles warmly and walks off to join his younger brother.

The younger brother is furious “why did you pick her up you know you have broken your sacred vow”.

The elder Monk just smiles at him and walks on. The young Monk doesn’t stop and continues to complain and harass the elder Monk.

Finally he stops and with a warm smile to the younger Monk he says “enough brother, I put that women down hours ago it is you that is still carrying her” and with that he smiled once again and walked off with his companion now silent.

The story has a simple message, we often carry our thoughts around with us untill they weigh us down, sometimes it is just better and easier to just let go.

Have a nice day

Woody

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Why a random act of kindness goes such a long way

These ambulance training students were hit by a random act of kindness by a kind stranger.

They say that when you perform a random act of kindness you start a ripple of events that changes the world just a little bit, much like if you drop a small pebble into a pond, the ripples will slowly but surely spread out to change the surface of the pond.

Random acts of kindness can have so many invisible effects that you as the giver will never see but the universe will certainly feel. It’s like a disturbance in the force (star wars nerd confession time)

The side effects from doing a kind deed.

Every act of kindness has an affect on the person who does the kindness , it’s known as a helpers high. That lovely feeling of doing something good. When your feeling good it’s impossible to be sad depressed angry or any other negative emotion.

Feeling good creates a tidal wave of chemicals such as Dopamine, a neuro transmitter that makes us feel a sense of pleasure, this is part of your brains reward system, when you do something good it rewards you with the feeling of pleasure. serotonin which is the chemical hormone that controls our mood and sleep appetite and digestion, and most importantly our moods, a lack of serotonin is often responsible for depression, in fact most antidepressants are based on stopping the serotonin inhibitors that stop the release of this vitaly important chemical messenger. People with higher levels of serotonin frequently experience feelings of happiness and well being. Oxytocin also known as the love hormone which helps with relationships and bonding and endorphins these are our bodies natural pain killers. Each and everyone one of is has its own chemicalĀ  factory in our brain which releases the feelings we experience.

Imagine just smiling at someone and setting off a chain of bio chemical reactions that will make you feel good. When you are being kind to someone you are also being kind to yourself.

Today someone performed a random act of kindness on my ambulance students today whilst they were training for their blue light driving qualification.

We had parked up in a car park for a quick rest stop and a fabulous young lady gave us two huge Bars of chocolate and said thanks for the great job we are doing.

What an uplift that is, the feeling of gratitude is powerful. It’s makes you feel worthy, needed and respected. My students certainly loved the surprise, was it any coincidence that their driving improved straight after šŸ˜ƒ maybe!

Being kind is one of the best ways to change your mood if it’s in a low state. Just an act of kindness can change both your day and the person who you are kind to, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.

Think how nice it feels when a complete stranger smiles at you and says good morning, or when your driving and a complete stranger lets you out of a junction, someone opens a door for you , pays you a compliment in fact any act of kindness makes a difference.Ā 

Think back to the last time someone did something kind for you, I bet it gives you a nice warm feeling, you see that act of kindness is still producing ripples just thinking about it.

Being kind is easy, take the plunge, start the ripples. Go out today or start tomorrow and perform just one completly random act of kindness and you have changed the world, one ripple at a time.

Have a kind day

Woody

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Yesterday was not a good day!

Well I’m glad yesterday is over what a horrible day. What happened Woody? I hear you asking. Well actually nothing happened yet it didn’t feel like that.

When I say it was a horrible day, you have to put it into some kind of context, I wasn’t Ill, I wasn’t injured, in fact I was as healthy as can be. Nothing had happened to me. There are of course many people that had a far worse day. Most of my problems were nothing to do with the outside they were all coming from the inside.

Sometimes we just have a bad day , no reason, just it is what it is. Sometimes we wake up in the morning and just feel like we’ve got out of the wrong side of the bed.

Sometimes I feel a bit of a fraud, I mean me the one who writes a blog about calming an anxious mind and yet can’t keep his own mind quiet, what a joke.

So why did I have a bad day yesterday and why is today a good one ?

Sometimes it’s just best not to question these things and just put it down to nothing in particular. Yesterday I just had a bad feeling all day, I felt not at ease it’s hard to really put your finger on it, but what I did notice was how much negative thinking was taking place , all of it made up and catastrophised as negative thinking often is.

Perhaps I had some bad thoughts in my dreams, perhaps that gave me the feelings I was having. Everythought comes attached with its own feeling, my belief is there are 3 main types of feeling attached to our thoughts. Positive negative and neutral. Neutral feelings come with most thoughts , probably most of our subconscious thinking contains neutral feelings neither good or bad. Positive feelings come from positive thoughts and positive thoughts come from what we are experiencing. Negative feelings are the same they come attached with negative thoughts.

Thoughts experiences and feelings seem to be all connected to each other.

Yesterday my thoughts and feelings were negative and therefore my experience of that day was also negative, today is different my thoughts and feelings have both been positive and therefore I’ve had a much more positive day.

My conclusion is that sometimes you feel good or bad for no reason , if it’s a bad day don’t try to follow it, don’t try to do anything with your thoughts just accept that the thoughts will change and along with that the feelings and the experience.

Most of the time we need to distract ourselves when we are in a low mood feeling, do something to take our mind away to a different place. Read a book or watch a movie or do a task that focuses your mind on something else and the mood and thoughts will change.

We are all human we can’t always feel good just like we can’t always feel bad. All we are ever doing is just experiencing our thinking.

Hope you are having a good day

Woody

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Why forgiveness can be the key to a calmer mind.

Hi, this blog is, as the title suggests, some thoughts of mine about forgiveness and how it helps to calm an anxious mind. It’s also possibly one of the most difficult things a person can do, but the benefits are huge.

Many of us spend years in the stress of hatred revenge and grudge, it stops us from enjoyment and calm. Sometimes it can be over something really small and yet our brain has over time blown it out of proportion and catastrophised it to such an extent that’s it’s no longer possible to tell if it’s real or not, others have had terrible things that have happened to them years ago and yet continue to live the experience as if it was yesterday, unable to focus on today or move on to tomorrow. I once spoke to a middle aged guy who was still being bullied in his head by school colleagues despite having left school nearly 20 years ago and yet he was still playing the scenes out in his mind on an invisible projector screen every day since, having a massive affect on his lifestyle and relationships. Every day he woke up the projector of his mind played the scenes on a never ending loop.

Forgiving someone who has intentionally or even sometimes unintentionally harmed you either physically or psychologically can be an extremely difficult thing to do, but what is the alternative, living a life weighted down by the burden of the thing that happened to you.

When someone has done something to wrong us we carry it around with us like a weighted sack on our shoulders and with time this sack gets heavier and heavier and makes it harder and harder to continue our journey through life.

Why should I forgive?

So the first question many ask is why should I forgive? Well you have to ask yourself a few questions to find the answer.

Is this having a positive effect on my life?

Is this making my life easier?

Can I move on and forget the past?

Is this improving my health both physically and mentally?

Most likely your answers will be no to all four questions. So in that case is there any point in continuing harbouring the grudge if you know it’s not going to get better.

How can I forgive?

By staying as you are things will be difficult to change, the mistaken belief is that if I forgive someone I am therefore complicit in condoning them for their actions against me.

The thing is you are not forgiving them for their sake you are giving yourself permission to let that person go so that you are no longer held by that tie and the bond that holds you to them.

Once you forgive, you can then let go and start to forget. You can never forget whilst still having that anchor holding you firm.

Harbouring thoughts of revenge or hatred just ties you to the past. The past is over, time to move on to a new future, drop the burden and walk free.

Woody

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Comparison the thief of joy.

When I first heard this, I thought little of it, just another quote from a long list of quotes from various people through the ages.

But today something shouted out to me, it said pay attention Woody, and I did, and now I get it. It’s taken me the best part of 50 years to get it and understand where it’s coming from.

You see comparing ourselves to others or comparing what we have to others is never going to be a good idea, is it? It just can’t help us,o and yet we do it with alarming regularity, most likely we don’t even realise we are doing it.

Just an innocent thought about a neighbour’s car or their garden can start the comparison guilt trip journey, it’s a free ticket to self doubt and self esteem and will be calling at all stations along the way including self worth, low confidence and eventually will terminate at depression.

How many times have you compared yourself to someone else, told yourself I can never be as rich or confident or beautiful as that person.

When you are comparing things you are either in the past or the future and always feeling one step down than everyone you are comparing yourself to.

Well guess what those a beautiful confident people you are comparing yourself to are doing the same thing too. Because once you get on the comparison train it’s mighty hard to disembark.

Most of us before we do anything that maybe challenges us or puts us outside our comfort zone , make unwelcome comparisons with someone else.

I will never be as good as so and so, I will never succeed like he or she does, well guess what ? If you keep comparing the things you want to reasons why you can’t have them then you most probably will succeed in not getting what you want.

Comparing starts off with a thought, you have to be thinking about something to make a comparison. What if you could catch that thought before you acted on it.

How different could your life be if you become aware when your thinking when comparing things.

We stop disbelieving our thinking once we become aware of it. I’ve spents years comparing myself, my house, my car, my laptop, my phone to what others have, it has only caused me to feel inadequate or not good enough.

Today my thinking has changed I realise that for every judgemental thought I have I’m applying a new brick to a new barrier, it’s time you took your barriers down and you can make a start by stopping the comparisons in your life, it really is true comparison is the thief of your joy.

Have a great day

Woody

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Thinking up a storm.

Many of us are finding times tough at the moment and are really struggling with their thinking whether they know it or not.

Each of us conjours up around 70,000 thoughts a day, most of which are taking place on a subconscious level that we are not aware of.

Every thought has a reaction somewhere in our body. When we become hungry we think of food, when we become tired we subconsciously have thoughts of sleeping which sets off a chain of events that makes us start to yawn and become sleepy.

Most of these subconscious thoughts are just part of inbuilt programmes that we have to allow us to function as human beings.

When we are in so called normal mode and everything is running how it should be in our lives these thoughts are just helping the mind and body to function.

But, when we add stress into our lives these thoughts multiply many times over. I like to use a weather analogy to describe this.

When everything is right in our world we have blue sky, we have clouds of thought that just come and go just as they should do, most of them don’t hang around too long they just, like the clouds dissolve and pass by untill a new one appears. Just like the clouds in the sky we can’t stop them and we can’t control them, they are just a part of us.

But sometimes all is not right in our world and our thoughts come in faster and faster and build up , just like the clouds that grow before a summer storm.

Sometimes our thoughts are coming so fast that we can’t seem to see where we are going , just like a blizzard in the winter , blinding us and leading us down the wrong path.

And if things get really bad we grow tornadoes of thought that spin around in our minds, never allowing to slow down an out of control mind. These are our very worst of times, the times where we have no idea where we are going and what we are doing, we are out of control and our thinking is manic. It is at these times that we turn to drink or drugs or some other addiction that takes is away from it all.

But tornados blizzards and storms never last for ever, they gradually slow down and they slowly fade away, then out of nowhere the blue sky appears and the sun comes out

Just like our thoughts when the mind settles the thoughts slow down and are soon replaced by new thoughts which create new feelings.

The blue sky is always there, but sometimes we just lose sight of it for a while, that’s all.

Take care, untill next time.

Woody

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How you become anxious and how to change.

Today’s world is an anxious one for many people. Anxiety is like a virus on a computer. It’s a program that you accidently download that runs silently in the background of your subconscious mind.

It runs on what ever you feed it through your conscious mind. What ever you watch listen and experience feeds your anxiety.

It feeds only on negativity, every negative thing you follow it loves and devours with a hunger. It hates positivity, it hates kindness and gratitude, that’s what makes it sick.

Anxiety is your next thought , your thoughts come from what you feed yourself. If your on a diet of bad news or your follow negative people you will develop bad thinking.

When you allow a diet of negativity to take over, your thoughts change, they tell you that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, they cloud the sky no matter what the weather, the days become darker earlier and earlier.

But what if your next thought was positive, what if you told yourself I can instead of I can’t. What if you said I will instead of I won’t.

This next thought changes everything, it’s not what happens to you that makes you anxious sad depressed or unworthy it’s how you think about the stuff that happens to you that gives you the experience and the feelings.

Most negative thoughts are connected to the past events or perceived future events that have not even happened yet, how crazy is that, that our current life experiences are based on a past that no longer exists and a made up future which hasn’t existed.

Our real experience happens when you are present, when you are aware of NOW.

The average human spends 55% of their time worrying about things that rarely happen. So many of us exist in a world of past experiences often distorted from reality by our brains ability to recall accurately life’s events, or in a future of negative imagination.

Spend time in the present, focus on now, one simple technique is to just relax and observe your breathing, let your breath flow naturally and follow it, this sets you in the present moment. Thoughts will come and go, that’s what they are supposed to do, negative thoughts will come and go too.

One thing for sure is that thoughts are only passing and if you leave them alone they will dissolve and be replaced by new ones.

Thoughts can never hurt you, they often are not based on any truth , your diet of negativity creates negative thinking.

Change your diet and you will start to see your thoughts change, it doesn’t happen overnight but the time you spend in the present the less time you will be spending in a twisted distortion of your past and your future the less anxiety you will grow.

Remember it all starts with one thought in the moment, make your next thought a good one and start the change you wish to see.

Woody

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New year new thoughts.

How many of you have made a new resolution, hands up who has broken it already.

What is a new year resolution? Well the simple answer to that is it’s just a new thought that you have had.

Do you know that we average somewhere around 70,000 thoughts a day, but you are only about aware of around 10% of those as a maximum.

So where are all the other 90% of those thoughts and what are they about? They are the thoughts that take place in the subconscious part of your mind.

Well quite simply you never stop thinking, your busy thinking every single minute of every single day. Evening at night time your busy thinking, you may occasionally be woken up by your thinking commonly known as having a nightmare.

Sometimes you may have awoken from a nightmare as if it had actually happened, cold sweats, goosebumps and a feeling of fright and anxiety all reactions to your nightmare.

Nightmares are just thoughts, these thoughts are happening in the subconscious domain of your mind in other words you are unaware of them, but they manifest themselves as feelings and emotions.

Thoughts can often feel so real to us and our brain often mistakes our thoughts for reality. Ever watch a horror movie , one that gets you really scared , your brain reacts as if you are actually there in the movie.

Where do our thoughts come from?

Well nobody can actually answer that with a concrete answer , some of our thoughts are a part of our body’s natural programmes such as hunger, we get a hungry feeling and we think of food or vica versa.

Personally I believe that our thoughts are driven by what we chose to follow and the experiences we have in our lives. The more we experience or follow negative things the more our future thoughts are painted in negativity, the opposite can also occur in that the more we follow positive experiences the more our thoughts both on a conscious and even more importantly subconscious level become trained to become positive.

So moving on to new year’s resolutions, we could all affect our future thoughts if we try to follow positivity. Don’t get stuck on following people’s social media posts that make you feel depressed, chose to follow those who make you feel good. One thing you could start with is to avoid the arguments about Covid, don’t get drawn in to them, everyone has their opinions right or wrong.

Keep positive

Woody