Category Archives: Emotional Resilience

Why does love hurt?

Painful relationshipsPicture this. It’s a special occasion, and you want your husband to remember it, to treat you in a special way, buy you a small gift or take you out, or maybe to speak those special words to you in that special tone of voice. Or maybe you’d just love to held or hugged in that perfect way.

But what happens? He forgets. He comes home in a grump. There’s no outing, no gift, no special words and no hug. And maybe even worse. All the efforts you made to mark the occasion have gone to waste.

How would that make you feel? If you’re most people – probably pretty bad.

You might feel justifiably angry. He should have remembered after all! Or perhaps you’ll just feel sad, that you didn’t get to feel loved in the ways you wanted.

Maybe you feel afraid that your relationship is danger. Is he going to leave you?
Possibly you feel hurt, that all your efforts went unnoticed, ignored or rejected?
Or do you feel guilty? Perhaps you didn’t love him enough for him to reciprocate.

All these emotions are actually the resistance to LOVE, and it’s triggered by the inner desire for some outer experience.

A painful emotion is the tension we feel when there’s a difference between what we want, and what we have.

So the bottom line is that all emotional pain comes from expectations. When you expect someone else to be or do or give you something and you don’t get that you feel pain.

Now many people would say the way to feel more love is to create more experiences that fit your expectations.

But what if you turned it on its head?

What if you decided that you had all the love you could possibly want already flowing in you? Maybe it comes from your direct connection to source energy.

And what if you have no need for anyone else to do anything in order for you to feel that love? Indeed the very desire or expectation that someone else will cause YOU to have love moving in your neurology makes no sense. The energy of love is already within you, and it can move any time you choose it to.

Try this experiment…

Let go of any expectations of anyone, any group of people or anything, or to be or do or give you anything in any way. Run this experiment for a whole day.

Notice how much more love you feel within your own being.

How to overcome childcare guilt

familyfrustrationThere’s no doubt that raising children is a challenge. When you are working or running a business on top of it the challenges are even greater. Being a parent is a role that everyone on the planet seems to feel entitled to have a say in how you’re doing.

Most women entrepreneurs experience childcare guilt at some point in the growth of their business. It can be challenging finding yourself torn between these two important roles in your life.

It’s ironic really because often one of the reasons women work is so they can give their children a better life. And those who choose self employment do so to create flexibility to be there for their children whilst growing their financial independence.

There is enormous pressure to be the perfect parent with no other desire than to be there for your children, and this can take its toll on female entrepreneurs.

Let’s face it. Your business is one of your children. And if it’s not, you’re probably just playing at this business game. It takes that level of passion and commitment to your business to grow it.

But that leaves many women torn. When they’re working on their business they feel guilty, and (paradoxically) when they’re with their children they feel guilty that they’re not dedicated to their business.

So what’s the solution?

Here are some simple things to help overcome childcare guilt

1.     Don’t feel guilty, make decisions.
The purpose of guilt is for you to make changes in the future. Let’s say you feel you’ve spent too much time working and not enough with your children, and that makes you feel guilty. Either use that guilt as a sign that you need to change your behaviour or use it to decide to change what you believe about childcare. If you decide to change your beliefs, you can choose to believe that what you are doing is fine and let go of the guilt. Either way you will stop feeling guilty.

2.    Recognise that you are always doing your best.
Although you best may be different on different days and at different times, you are always doing what you believe to be best at the time. So some days you will spend more time with your children than others. Some days you’ll be an attentive parent, other days when lot’s is going on at work you’ll be distracted. So what! You’re still doing your best.

3.    Don’t be influenced by other people’s ideas about childcare.
Never before has there been more societal pressure on parents to be perfect or more conflicting views on what is the best way to raise children. Children now rule family life in a way that they never did before. In past generations outsourcing childcare to grandparents (for the less affluent) and nannies or boarding schools for the more affluent was considered entirely normal.

Nowadays if women show any sign of not wanting to be surgically attached to their children until they are 25 seems to be taken as evidence that that they are not “proper mothers”.

The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to bring up your children. Some mothers like spending more time with their children than others and that doesn’t make them bad mothers, it makes them different mothers.

4.    Children will always want more attention.
Even if you were with them 24 hours a day, they would probably still want your attention when you were asleep if you let them. Growing up is about learning to be independent and that starts by you allowing them to play without your intervention.

5.    The purpose of childhood is to learn to be adults.
With so much emphasis on having a “happy childhood” it’s easy to forget that the real purpose of childhood is to learn to be adults. So by showing your children how you behave responsibly and that you expect them to do so too you are teaching them a valuable lesson. By saying “no not now” you teach them boundaries. By having others look after them you teach them “you’re OK even when I’m not here”. By asking them to behave responsibly and independently when you need to work you’re teaching them how to entertain themselves and behave responsibly. That’s much more important for their happiness right into adulthood.

6.    Teach your children the importance of care of themselves.
You teach your children how to take care of themselves by showing them how you take care of yourself.

Take time out for yourself and say NO to all and any interruptions. This shows, by example, that we all need to take responsibility for our own health, and happiness. Working yourself to the bone, only to then work yourself even harder when you’re with your kids only teaches them to become a martyr. Instead take time out for a lie down, watch a movie, take a bath, meditate and let your children know that you are NOT to be interrupted unless they are on FIRE! It will only take a few times so just keep enforcing your boundaries, and don’t reward interruptions with attention.

7.    Be a role model not a martyr.
Studies show that children of women who don’t work can grow up with very limited expectations of women. Boys can grow up to believe that women don’t or can’t work and that women are not as important as men.

Girls grow up with low aspirations. By showing your sons and daughters how to be happy and successful and dedicated to achieving your dreams and ambitions, they are more likely to have higher aspirations and enjoy working towards achieving their dreams. They will be less likely to grow up with an entitlement mentality too. Stop feeling guilty that you’re not with them all the time, and change your attitude of one of teaching by example that this is how people achieve their dreams.

If you put your dreams on hold till they have grown and left you will miss this opportunity to teach them how to be successful. Rather than apologising for working and not being with them, celebrate your successes with them even talk to them about how much you enjoy working for and achieving your goals. You will inspire them.

8.    Consider learning how to release guilt from the past.
Feeling the emotion of guilt in the present has the positive purpose of guiding you to change behaviour, but if you continue to feel guilt in the present that results from actions taken in the PAST then this is useless and damaging. Consider a therapeutic intervention to release it.

Emotional Eating

Weight issues almost always have an emotional element. We all know the secret formula for losing weight. It is to eat less and exercise more. Every single diet and slimming regime is nothing more than a variation of this theme.

So if we all know what we should do, why is it so hard to eat less and exercise more?

Certain foods release chemicals that cause us to feel relaxed and happy. If we are stressed we will crave those foods for the chemical response they trigger.

So here are some things to do to help you cope with stress that can keep you from scoffing the chocs.

1. Stay conscious. It is impossible to keep doing something that is bad for us and do it consciously. Most emotional or comfort eating is a knee jerk reaction. We do it without being conscious of it. We know we are doing it but are not fully conscious of actually doing it. Next time you find yourself eating when you are stressed just pause and do it with full consciousness. You may still eat the food, but when you do it with full consciousness, you will soon find that you no longer want to comfort eat or that you stop eating sooner.

2. Notice and acknowledge the emotion or stress.  Emotional eating is a way we suppress our emotions. We try to distract ourselves from them by eating. Unfortunately it doesn’t work very well, not only does the stress come back, but it is usually compounded by additional feelings of guilt for eating food we don’t need. Instead, pay full attention to the emotions you are feeling.
Ask yourself and write down:

  • What am I feeling now?
  • Where do I feel this in my body?
  • Does it have a shape or colour?
  • Does it have a voice? What would it say?
  • What does it want for me (that is positive)?

3. Take deep breaths. When we are stressed we breathe shallow and high in the chest. This both creates and is caused by stress. If you breathe high and shallow you will become stressed. If you breathe low, slow and deep you will relax. Try it now. Take a deep slow breath. Keep breathing, very deep and very slow. Don’t puff all the air out in one go, instead, allow it to come out slowly.  Now, notice that you feel more relaxed.

4. Spend a minute (or longer) in silence every day.  We are bombarded by sensory overload, noise, other people, the radio, iPod, TV constantly. Most people very rarely allow themselves time for their thoughts. Even if you are not overworked or in a high pressure job constant stimulation of the nervous system is tiring. Sit in silence (no reading) for at least 5 minutes, and ideally 20 minutes each day. If you close your eyes, even better. Do this sitting up rather than lying down or you will likely fall asleep. When you do this you will be practising a simple form of meditation, the emotional and physical health benefits of meditation have been well researched and proven.

5. Peripheral vision vs. tunnel vision. There are actually two ways we can use our eyes. One is known as foveal vision, which is a form of tunnel vision. We see only what is right in the centre of our visual field. When you are in foveal vision you are stressed. This triggers the sympathetic stress response in your nervous system equivalent to the fight or flight reaction.

Conversely, peripheral vision triggers a parasympathetic nervous response of relaxation. When you are in peripheral vision you are aware of the complete panorama of your full visual field. You can practise this by finding a spot on the wall, fix your gaze on that spot and keep it there. Expand your awareness to the edges of your visual field. You will notice movement more easily so if it helps bring your hands up to the side of your head and wiggle your fingers whilst keeping your gaze fixed on the spot or point straight ahead. This relaxation response is actually hard-wired into the brain making it impossible to feel a negative emotion (like stress) when you are in peripheral vision. It does not solve the problem that is causing the stress but will help you relax when you need to.

6.  Suspend judgement. Nothing is good or bad in and of itself. It’s WE who decide that everything is either good or bad. When things are not going the way we want, because we have decided or judged this to be ‘bad’ it causes us to feel bad about the situation. When things are going very ‘badly’ we can feel very stressed indeed. We can take the pressure off ourselves by deciding to suspend judgment and stop resisting the way things are.

Next time things are not going the way you would like them to just pause and say to yourself “How Interesting! This is not what I would prefer. What I would prefer here is this…..”

7. Pay attention to what you want.  It is only possible to feel anxious or stressed when you are paying attention to things NOT being the way you want. Worry is only possible if you are thinking about things turning out not the way you want. So next time you find yourself feeling stressed, worried or anxious, change your thoughts away from what you DON’T want and towards what you DO want instead.

8. Identify the source of the stress. Sometime we feel inexplicable stress, worry or anxiety.  We feel bad but don’t know why, this is a common cause of comfort eating. The emotions are a sign from your unconscious mind that you need to pay attention to something. Some people might say it is a sign from your intuition that you need to take some action or make a change or just take notice of something.

Next time you feel anxious or stressed, take a moment to go inside and ask your unconscious mind what you need to pay attention to. What action do you need to take? What do I need to know the knowing of which will have this problem disappear. Then trust whatever comes up.

9. Identify what is REALLY important. Often we become stressed because we have a ‘to do’ list 3 pages long. Go through all your tasks and commitments and put them into two lists. Important and Urgent. Then go through the Urgent list and cross off any that are not important, and go through the Important list and highlight any that are also Urgent.

Then rip up and throw away the Urgent list, and only do those tasks on the Important list that are also Urgent. Notice how much better you feel.

10. Turn off the inner chatter. Most stress is caused not by what is happening NOW, but by what we are thinking or saying to ourselves. Have you ever run over and over a conversation in your mind after the event? This is stressful and is not generally helpful. If you can turn off your inner chatterbox you will find yourself being significantly more relaxed and less stressed. Here is a quick fix to quieten the prattle.

  • Relax your jaw. If your jaw is tense it is probably because you are talking to yourself.
  • Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, the high part about 2 cm behind your teeth.
  • With your tongue still and your jaw relaxed the chatter stops.

10. Laugh. Do something every day that makes you laugh. Watch a funny movie, or TV show or get together with a bunch of mates who make you laugh. Laughter triggers a variety of chemical changes in the brain and body that neutralise stress.

11. Work out to work out your problem. Exercise reduces the chemicals and hormones associated with stress, and increases those that generate feelings of wellbeing. Exercise lifts our mood and literally ‘works out’ all our problems. That’s why it’s called a work out. Next time you have a problem, go for a work out and notice that your problems just don’t seem so bad any more, and many times the solution will miraculously appear when you exercise.

Life is meant to be fun, and interesting and exciting. Don’t let negative emotions or stress lead to comfort eating or to stop you from being, doing and having the life you want to live.

Is this love in disguise?

loveindisguiseIt doesn’t seem possible to live without emotional pain does it? Well what if emotions were actually just love in disguise?

Imagine that there’s really only one emotion – the emotion of LOVE. Anything else you feel is resistance to love or the absence or even withholding of love.

Think of love as an energy that flows through you and if that flow is blocked, either from coming IN to you, moving THROUGH you or from LEAVING you, you will feel it as emotion. The word emotion breaks down into E (energy) motion (movement) so it is literally the movement of energy.

When you feel a negative emotion what you actually feel as pain is the resistance to love. What you feel inside is the result of an inner resistance to love. The label we give to a painful emotion refers to the way in which love is being removed from us or resisted.

For example, when you feel sad, that feeling comes from the loss of something or someone you love.

  • Anger is the feeling that you were denied love.
  • Sadness is the emotion you feel when you have lost someone you love.
  • Fear is the feeling that you might lose love.
  • Hurt is the feeling that another withheld love, or rejected your love.
  • Guilt is the feeling that you didn’t love enough or didn’t give or show enough love.

When love flows freely the feeling is GOOD. When we give love and it is accepted and when we feel that we are loved and are able to accept it. When we don’t feel love being given and we want it, we feel it as pain.

How do you stop the pain?

Most people try to stop the pain by changing the OUTSIDE. They try to get others to change. Sometimes they even change the actual person. The problem with this is that if you still have an underlying need for love then you will likely repeat the same pattern with different people.

However if you change the INSIDE, i.e. you change your need to be shown or given love in a particular way then the tension is gone.

Of course, you can still choose to accept love, and enjoy being loved, without it being a need. Without the tension of that unmet need, and the accompanying painful emotions it makes it much easier for people to love you, show you love and you get even more love.

Think how much easier it is to feel love towards happy, cheerful people, and how much harder it is to show love to people who are resentful, needy or demanding, or gloomy.

Once it’s no longer a need, paradoxically, you’re more likely to get it. You show more love more willingly and you receive more love.

What to do when your world falls apart

A simple 5 step process for rapid recovery from emotional shock.


When you have a setback you get a rush of thoughts and emotions, you try everything to stop them but they keep flooding in. How do you get back into the good space again?

First here are few things to avoid…

DON’T blame others. It might make you feel a little better in the short term but long term it’s damaging to relationships and doesn’t’ solve the problem.

DON’T blame yourself. It will just make you feel bad and damage your self esteem.

DON’T try to numb out. You know what I’m talking about. Eating chocolate, having a drink because you’ve “had an awful day”, watching TV or surfing the internet. It distracts you but doesn’t solve the problem.

Instead here is a simple 5 step process that enables you to simply and easily recover from any setback.

  1. Give yourself some time to really feel what you feel. We get socialized to block out and numb out our emotions, to pretend not to feel them so we don’t’ give ourselves time to feel our disappointment, upset, anger or whatever label the emotion is.  So take some time out and really allow yourself to feel what you feel. Don’t try to block it or stop it, just feel it.
  2. Remember that all setbacks are there to help you learn and grow. So as the emotions start to ease off, start to ask yourself some questions that will empower you… like: what could I do differently next time? How can I change this? What do I need to learn from this? How can I use it to grow bigger than this problem? Everything that happens has its root cause somewhere in the past. It might be a thought, a word or an action. Ask the right questions and you can move away from being “problem focused” to feeling OK no matter what is going on.
  3. Develop a sense of trust that all is well. Nothing is ever lost – it just gets moved around. So you never really lose anything. It will come back to you. You WILL recover. Don’t think about things in terms of “mistakes”. Imagine that nothing is a mistake, that everything is unfolding perfectly. Ask yourself “what if this was the best thing that ever happened to me? What would a likely outcome have to be for that to be true?” Even if that doesn’t happen, just thinking it will make you feel better in a positive way.
  4. Find the hidden opportunity. Napoleon Hill says that opportunity usually comes disguised as a setback. So dig a bit deeper and find the hidden opportunity. If you do this you will be one of the rare few people who do this – and those rare few end up being the successful ones.
  5. Consider doing some personal development work to improve your emotional resilience. Just like exercising to improve your body, you can improve your emotional and mental strength too with coaching, which is specifically designed to move people forward in all ways.

The 5 Most Powerful Words In The English Language

Let’s face it. Relationships are HARD. Despite all our best intentions, regardless of how much we love the other person they can still be HARD.

No matter how great your relationship is there are still times when you argue when all you want is peace. Sometimes, when you really need to feel supported, it’s just not there. Sometimes when you’re feeling insecure and need a little reassurance you just don’t get it.

On top of that there are the times when someone behaves in a way that upsets you or annoys you. It’s hard enough to speak up when it’s someone you love and downright impossible when it’s your boss or your mother-in-law. How do you get them to stop what they’re doing without getting upset yourself, or without upsetting or angering them?

Standing up for yourself without upsetting others

I'm not OK with that

“I’m not OK with that”

Well. Here’s the answer. This is the most powerful phrase in the English language. This diffuses all the emotion out of the situation. And it’s a phrase that is impossible to argue with.

So the next time someone behaves in a way that you don’t like say this:

“I’m not OK with that”

The reason it works so well is that it has NO judgment. You are not telling them they are wrong. You aren’t even telling them there is anything wrong with their behaviour. What you are doing is simply stating that what they are doing is not OK with you.

Here’s how you apply it

Let’s say your husband (or wife) comes home and tells you he’s planning on spending Saturday with his friends when he’d previously promised to spend the day with you.

Now instead of sulking, ranting, or just feeling hurt and rejected silently. Here’s what you say

“I’m not OK with that”

Or your husband (or wife) assumes that they can borrow your car. You say.

“I’m not OK with that”

If you want you can soften it with an “I’m sorry…” if you want.

Try it next time someone does or says something you’re not OK with. Just tell them.

How to say no with grace

Have you ever found yourself doing things that you really don’t want to and wondering how that happened? You probably said yes when you wanted to say no but didn’t want to upset of offend someone. It happens in families and in business. As a business owner myself I regularly get approached by people who want me to promote them, give them free stuff, give them discounts as just a few examples.

The hard part about saying no is that we often feel we have to give a good reason why (or why not)

But that simply isn’t the case. It’s possible to say no with grace. Here’s how – with some more words of power.

“That won’t work for me”

Again you can soften it with an “I’m sorry” if you want.

Give it a try. Post a comment below to let me know how you get on.