Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

Mindfulness and compassion: Sunday sessions with Susan Chan

Mindfulness and compassion:

Sunday sessions with Susan Chan

It is vital that you manage to spare a little time each week for yourself. Now is a perfect time without interruption or distraction, when you can relax and complete an MOT check-up for your mind and body. Make that commitment for well- being and health.

During the year, Susan is re-running her regular monthly mindfulness and compassion sessions. Check with her the date of the next sessions (which normally run between 13.00 and 16.00).

Posted in: Compassion, Mindfulness, Relaxation
January 6th, 2017 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


Mindfulness in 20 minutes. A guide for beginners by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

‘Bitesize Mindfulness’ in 20 minutes. A guide for beginners

Mindfulness is

  • a skill that can help you to relax
  • a skill for health and well-being
  • a skill to sooth and calm the mind

A skill that can be introduced in a few sessions and be with you for the rest of your life

Mindfulness, a meditation technique aimed at focusing the mind on the present moment, produces measurable improvements in symptoms of anxiety and depression, alleviate feelings of stress and enhance quality of life.

So what is mindfulness, and how does it work? Mindfulness aims to achieve a relaxed, non-judgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings and sensations by direct knowing what is going on inside and outside us, moment by moment. In everyday life, mindfulness is about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, rather than ‘living in our heads’.  The challenge is that the pace and stress of modern living leaves us caught up in a stream of thoughts and feelings, trapped in past problems or overwhelmed by future anxieties. By connecting with the present moment, calmly observing our thoughts, feelings and sensations so as to become more directly aware of them, mindfulness practitioners become more able to manage our stresses and challenges.

So how do you do it? First, by becoming more aware of the world around you: switching off your auto-pilot to be aware of your thoughts and feelings, wake up to the physical sensations of things around you. I recommend a set period every day of formal mindfulness practice. The techniques sound simple enough: sit in a quiet place, deep-belly breathing, pay attention to your body, train the mind to observe, focus and filter. In fact, setting aside 15 to 20 minutes a day is often tough, and stopping the mind wandering even tougher, but though practise it becomes easier. We have courses that can help you and have our own range of mp3 downloads that can assist you.

Posted in: Compassion, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Stress Management
January 4th, 2017 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


A 10-point plan for a happier life! Ian Geddes and Susan Chan

1. Do less…not more!

Make a conscious choice to do less. How can you slow down when you are trying to do twenty things? Decide on what is important, what needs to be done, and let go of the rest. Put space between tasks and appointments, so you can move through your days at a more leisurely pace.

2. Be in the present. Be mindful.

It is not enough to just slow down — you need to be mindful of what you are doing, so attempt to be ‘in the moment’. Focus on what is going on right now. That means, when you find yourself thinking about something you need to do, or something that’s already happened, or something that might happen … gently bring yourself back to the present moment. This takes practise but is essential.

3. Disconnect. Have a rest from the ‘race of life’.

Don’t always be connected. You know that button at the top of your iPhone or Blackberry? Turn it to silent or even off! Better yet, learn to leave it behind one day a week. How did we cope before mobiles? Well, we did! Being connected all the time means that you are subject to demands. It is hard to slow down when you’re always checking for new messages.

4. Focus on people. That’s what really counts in life!

A little time spent with your family and friends can go a long way. It means you can really connect with people rather than just being in the same room as them. Again, be in the present. We can spend time with friends and family, or meet with colleagues, but we’re not really there with them. We don’t listen, we’re really thinking about ourselves and what we want to say. Just be present with the person you’re with.

5. Appreciate nature. Go for a walk now!

How often can we be stuck in our home, office, car or train, rarely getting the chance to go outside? Take the time to get out and observe nature, take a deep breath of fresh air and enjoy the serenity of water and woodland. Exercise outdoors when you can, or find other outdoor activities to enjoy such as gardening, walking, taking the dog a walk, swimming or even just relaxing! Feel the sensations of water and wind and earth against your skin. Do this daily.

6. Eat slower. Be mindful.

Learn to eat slowly. Be mindful of each bite. Appreciate the flavours and textures. Eating slowly has the double benefit of making you fuller on less food and making the food taste better. Eating can be a social/ family event.

7. Slow down. Stop and look around you. Drive slower.

Avoid living life at 100 mph! Make it a choice to slow down when you drive. Appreciate your surroundings. Make it a peaceful time to live your life, and the things you’re passing. Driving will be more enjoyable, and much safer. You’ll use less fuel too!

8. Find pleasure in anything and everything

Learn to smile and laugh again. This is related to being ‘in the present’, but take it a step farther. Whatever you are doing, be fully present, appreciate every aspect of life, and find the enjoyable aspects.

9. Focus on what you are doing now.

This is the opposite of multi-tasking. Focus on one thing at a time. When you feel the urge to switch to other tasks, pause, breathe, and pull yourself back.

10. Breathe.

When you find yourself speeding up and becoming stressed: pause and take a deep breath. Immediately you will experience the benefits. Feel the air coming into your body, and feel the stress going out. By fully focusing on each breath, you bring yourself back to the present, and slow yourself down.

Check with Susan for the dates and times for the monthly relaxation meetings.

Susan Chan Associates

Posted in: Happiness, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Relaxation
January 1st, 2017 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


‘Living the Dream’: Dealing with Stress: Ian Geddes and Susan Chan

Living the Dream. Dealing with Stress

Stress can affect us all in different ways.
A little stress is good. It increases the levels of hormones flooding through the body and this improves thinking performance. Too much of it is bad. In the animal world we talk about the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response’. But there is a point where stress levels increase beyond the body’s ability to deal with it and performance drops quickly and people face ‘burnout’.
So how can we be strong and be able to overcome all the negative aspects of stress?

Relaxation and the Mind: Have you ever noticed how it seems as if your brain won’t switch off? Also, your ‘inner voice’ is constantly nagging, criticising you and you can’t get to relax. You can use a combination on modern psychological techniques and relaxation methods to improve your general feelings of happiness and motivation.
Tips on dealing with stress
When you are under stress, stop what you are doing and apply any of the following:

  • Stop worrying about the future, think about today. You can influence the future, but stop worrying about things you have no control over
  • Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? It may not be so bad
  • Remind yourself that you are hurting your body. Take ten minutes out
  • Do not let the trivia get to you. It is trivia!
  • Laugh at yourself. Make decisions and act on them. Share your fears and tears with someone close to you
  • Return to the sources of stress and act on them
  • Cut back on the caffeine
  • Listen to music
  • Exercise
  • Watch what you eat
  • Practise a range of relaxation exercises including mindfulness techniques, visualisation and deep breathing exercise
  • Remember that it is easier to overcome the symptoms of stress with a ‘healthy body and a healthy mind
  • Listen to our mp3 downloads

One of our courses for individuals and groups is that of ‘Stress Management’

Over the day we cover many issues:

  • Understand the effects of stress (physical, emotional and psychological)
  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of stress
  • Psychological responses to stress.
  • However the bulk of our time is spent on the techniques and strategies to deal with:
  • Challenges of life and work
  • Developing a positive self-image
  • Challenging negative thoughts, behaviours and attitudes
  • Applying practical mindfulness and relaxation techniques and motivational skills to remain positive

Posted in: Compassion, Happiness, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Stress Management
December 19th, 2016 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


The Power of Positive Change

Depending upon the meaning we give to situations or events, we feel and behave differently. It is amazing how we can be motivated by what gives us meaning and purpose. Your mind has a massive unconscious control and influence on what you think, what you do and how you feel. So is the glass half full or half empty? You have the ability to change the way that you look at life, events and relationships. When you view something in a more positive way , we use the term re-frame.

Advertising is based on the power of encouraging you to view a product in  a positive way, to persuade you to feel good about buying a product. Public relations, marketing and spinning  information and even the shopping experience all place emphasis on providing you with a relaxed, enjoyable environment or ‘frame’. You are more likely to buy, be persuaded or convinced when you feel good.

Values: Create the right path for you: We need to accept that we can change and we have the power to create those changes for the better. Use the table below to help identify your barriers, spark ideas that could motivate you to positive change, then set your intentions to create that change.

 

What is holding me back from positive change?

 

My positive values that move me to change

 

  • It’s hard to change
  • I’ve always done it this way
  • I don’t deserve good things
  • I feel helpless
  • I’m a failure
  • I’m not clever enough
  • I can’t change
  • Life is always against me
  • I am afraid of the unknown and taking risks
  • I have an inner voice holding me back
 

  • Change is exciting
  • I choose change in my life
  • I deserve the best
  • I take responsibility for my life
  • I am successful at what I chose to do
  • I have the skills I need
  • I can change
  • I create my own options
  • I am ready to take a step into the unknown

The brain has a negative bias. In evolutionary terms we have to be ever ready for anything! This creates a fear, a need to have our minds concerned about other things. This can be hard work and there is a tendency to be negative in outlook. Knowing this means we have to be clear about ‘setting our intentions’, just as we would ‘set our sat-nav’ when setting out on a journey.

It’s the journey, not the destination that brings the joy!

 

Posted in: Educational Motivation, Happiness, Mindfulness, Motivation
August 3rd, 2016 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


Top 7 Golden Rules for Healthy Eating by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

We work with clients on a regular basis on issues relating to ‘weight control’ and healthy eating

Several techniques can work.

Mindfulness techniques can be successfully used to be more aware of your what you are eating.

Savour your food. Be aware of what you are eating. Eat calmly and be aware of your body becoming healthy.

You will need to break some habits.

The 7 ‘golden’ mindfulness rules for eating healthily

  • Give 100% attention to your food
  • Present your food attractively
  • Appreciate your food
  • Excite the taste buds! Take time to really taste your food
  • Eat when you are hungry
  • Chew your food slowly. Make the pleasure last!
  • Did you enjoy the experience? Do you feel good?

Mindfulness works most effectively when combined with regular practise.

 

Posted in: Confidence, Happiness, Ian Geddes, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Motivation, Stress Management, Weight Control
December 8th, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


Step into Christmas! By Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

December already!  Weeks ago I heard the first warning of Christmas.….the dreaded sound of Noddy Holder from Slade asking me if I was ‘hanging up a stocking on the wall?’

‘So here it is merry Christmas ……………..Everybody’s having fun’

Everybody’s having fun’. If only. It is the season of goodwill. Yes, time for friends and family, good food, parties, exchanging presents and being able to forget about work and problems for a few days.  However I wonder if our expectations are not too high. We want it to be perfect. After all, Christmas is really for children.  However there is a darker side to it bringing some anxiety. The Samaritans, recognise the two weeks either side of Christmas as their busiest time of the year.

I am Susan Chan, change and motivational coach, and encourage you to identify the three common stresses at this time of year:

  • Money
  • Relationships
  • Stress and anxiety

I heard a mum saying that her three year old was getting a ‘Silver Cross Toy Pram’ for Christmas….at £320! Wow. It was easier when ‘all you wanted for Christmas was your two front teeth!

The media bombard us for months about Christmas. At midnight on the 25th they have moved on to New Year and a week later it is all about losing weight and going on a holiday! Have a great day, but don’t put yourself under financial pressure for months or even years.   ‘Look to the future now………………….It’s only just begun’

The kids have been up since 04.15 and been feeding on chocolate and fizzy juice. They are higher than the Eiffel Tower! Dad opened the first beer at 09.20. Mum is frazzled. The turkey is still frozen and the tree lights have blown! Relax, the Master Card Bill will not come for four weeks.  However we can do a lot to overcome the December blues and as Elton John said, ‘step into Christmas’.

So how can you survive the final two weeks leading to Christmas?

Decide on a budget for food, booze and presents. Post it up on a wall so you can see it.

Start your planning now.

Live within your budget.

If folk are coming to your house, delegate. Who brings what? Who does what?

Get all the taxi/car driving duties sorted out.

Talk with your loved ones about expectations. Get the reality check in place.

Compromises must be made. Everybody cannot be happy all the time.

Track down the presents early. Amazon is great but don’t leave it for last minute delivery. You are just putting pressure on yourself.

Be aware of the early sign of emotional stress. (Sleeping problems, anxiety, food and drink excesses, arguing)

Learn relaxation techniques to help your mind and body.

Practise Mindfulness to really know what ‘s happening.

Buy some treats for yourself.

If all else fails then have the telephone number of the United Nations peace keeping agency on speed dial if WW3 breaks out!

You can get help and support over this time and set yourself on a new path with promise and vigour.

 

Remember to have a great time!

Posted in: Happiness, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Motivation, Relaxation, Stress Management
December 8th, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


Making a positive change through relaxation and visualisation by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

Making Positive Change. Utilising the tool of relaxation and visualisation.

I remember a character called Eeyore out of ‘Winnie the Pooh’. He always sounded sad and he looked unhappy. Eeyore did not know what happiness and positivity would be like. So what about you? Does it affect how you think? Does it affect how you feel? If you give yourself time, peace and calm then a deeper tranquility will come and within this, answers. By the way, no matter what you think, you can effect a positive change. You are reading this now with what could be curiosity and that is a positive step. Now let your mind drift, taking yourself to a special place, where you can have calm, peace and space. Let your body relax and your mind will take you there. It you tune into your breathing, just a little slower, just a little deeper, creating space in a place of positivity. By asking yourself and by allowing yourself to go to a special place, your mind will present you with an answer. A wonderful book by Rick Hanson, entitled, ‘Buddha’s Brain’, suggests that so much of our body is built from what we eat and that our mind is built from all the experiences that we have. To a great extent the flow of what we experience, can have a way in which our brains and our minds shape up. Often we can recall different events. For example what we did last summer, or how it was to fall in love. Somehow most of what shapes our mind can stay locked in our unconscious and within this implicit memory it can hold many of our expectations, such as how we view relationships, even how we respond emotionally and our overall outlook. What is referred to as implicit memory hold the interior landscape within our minds. This includes how it feels to be you and that this can be built on a number of echoes from our past experience. In a way, some of those echoes are sorted into two piles, one that can help you and one that can harm you. So it is in our best interests to create, save and enhance the ones that are positive and let go of the others, that highlight the negative and harmful ones. As humans, there is a problem. We have a negative bias within our memory. The remedy is not to suppress negative experiences when they happen, they happen! Rather it is to foster positive experiences and in particular to take them in so that they become a more permanent part of you. Taking in the good, to help you in your positive change.

Posted in: Confidence, Happiness, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Relaxation
December 4th, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook

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Keeping our children free from stress by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

Childhood is supposed to be a carefree time when life is free from worries, with fun and laughter. All too often the reality is different. In the last few weeks I have been asked to help children to learn about mindfulness as a way to overcome stress. Having recently held a workshop with 30 15 year old children, I found out that there was not one child that did not have stress in their lives. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to remove that anxiety and reduce that stress? In the short time I shared with these young people, I realised how the day to day expectations put so many pressures on them. Sometimes there may be bullying, pressures to be family young carers, the demands of school work, body image, not having friends and even from having friends! The list is endless. So much for having a carefree life!
As adults we have days when we are anxious and having it tough. Many of us have developed the resources to pull us through. So what can we do as parents when our children start to show the same symptoms of unhappiness and anxiety? There have been many recent newspaper articles about bullying and cyber-bullying. Anxiety problems are becoming increasingly common in children, with over 1/3rd of 5 to 14 year old children showing symptoms. A recent report indicated that children, whose parents had training in mindfulness were twice as likely to show reduced levels of anxiety, when compared with traditional pill/ counselling treatment. A Millennium Cohort Study involving 6,500, 7 year old children who had a very sedentary lifestyle concluded that they experienced higher levels of emotional stress, anxiety and depression than those children who were more active. There appears to be a correlation between well- being and physical activity. Anxiety is a normal part of childhood and we have all gone through tough times, which tend to be temporary and harmless. However children who suffer anxiety disorder tend to experience fear, nervousness, shyness, avoidance, sleeplessness,’ clinginess’ and emotional numbing.
Basic mindfulness techniques help by keeping you focused using your senses, going with the flow, being attentive in the present. You can learn to be non-judgemental and letting go. The wonderful thing is that children and young people can be brilliant in mindfulness. As we learn to connect with ourselves then we can connect with others, and you can do it anywhere and anytime. Mindfulness life skills are an antidote for both parents and children.
So what can you do? Pay attention to their feelings. Stay calm when the child becomes anxious. Practise breathing and relaxation techniques. Never punish mistakes or lack of progress. Avoid belittling the child when he/ she fails to take part in an event or holds back. Modify your expectations and plan for difficult times. (E.g. take more time to get your child to school). Be aware of some of the stresses that your child may experience, e.g. at school or on social media sites.
There is no doubt that mindfulness practice can help children to become calmer and more focussed. It is a natural process that can be practised by children from a young age. Even before a child learns language, they can
see things as they are. All actions are spontaneous. They laugh, cry and sleep. They can instantly let go of the immediate past and move on.
As the child grows and develops he/ she can lose the sense of focused calm and their mind may lack the attention to ‘stay with it’. This is where mindfulness exercises can give the child relief from an over active mind. Happiness means different things to each one of us. I rarely meet any client who is ‘over’ happy! One of the things I ask new clients to complete when they come to see me for coaching is to complete a ‘life focus chart‘. This is useful to measure where the client is at the moment and recognise what they wish to change. Coaching explores these feelings and works with the client to set goals and take action to achieve their desired outcomes.
So, would winning £50 million on the lottery make you happy? Research by the New York Times indicated that we each have a baseline level of happiness. People easily adapt to living with less or more, without suffering many negative or positive consequences, but that when we are constantly pursuing more, we have to get even more to stay happy. This is called, “hedonic adaptation.” No matter what happens, good or bad, the effect on our happiness is temporary. Our happiness level can be influenced by how we think.

So you can’t buy happiness. So there!

Posted in: Confidence, Happiness, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Motivation, Relaxation, Stress Management
December 2nd, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


Work- Life Balance with Susan Chan and Ian Geddes

Lifestyle surveys identify work life balance as the number one concern. When that balance is wrong then you have a problem.

Burn out. Overwork.  Stress. Ill health. Depression. Sleeplessness. Relationships. Performance.

Living the Dream. How to manage your lifestyle.
Take control. Make decisions and gain some power
Never take your personal life and family for granted. Complete this simple task. Make a list of all the things that are important in your life. Now attempt to place them in order of importance to you
Be choosy. Do not try to balance work and life. Adjust according to their value to you

So where lies the problem? Know your limits. if you are concerned about your work life balance then what can you do about it?
Review your situation every 4 months. Review your priorities
Allow space in your life. Stop and relax. Dedicate time for yourself every day

  • Have you actually accepted a pattern out of habit? You do not need to accept that. Allow your brain to be re-programmed to accept that your life is in many parts.
  • Do you have an addiction to work? What are you trying to avoid?
  • Be unavailable for a part of each day and for at least one day a week, to appreciate all aspects of your life.
  • Recognise that you need to look after yourself. Only then can you look after others. If you are healthy in mind, body and spiritually, then you will be happier.
  • Practise relaxation, self-hypnosis and mindfulness every day Remember you can say no! Why should you do something you don’t want or like?

Re-evaluate your perspective on life. Give yourself a regular check up by completing the ‘Wheel of Life’, every few months. Establish where you are and where you want to be.
Remember the most that you can ever give is 100%
What can you do  this month. Make an action plan. Remember the little steps add up to make the big leap.

You can get the balance right. How to manage your time. To focus on your priorities. To ‘de-clutter’. To change bad habits. To regain control.

The rewards make it worth the time and commitment to take far more care of your self. as the advert says, ‘you’re worth it!’

It’s your life and your balance. You have to do it your way. We can help you.

Excepts taken from ‘Living the Dream….The secret of being happy’, by Susan Chan and Ian Geddes


Wheel of Life analysis:

Coaching: Present situation: self analysis
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being poor and 10 being fully achieved/ happy], grade each of the categories below, as they are at
this moment.

  • Social/ Leisure
  • Personal Growth and Development
  • Marriage/ Partner
  • Spiritual
  • Health and Well Being
  • Relationships, Friends and
  • Family
  • Wealth, Job and Money
  • Careers/ Job Satisfaction
  • Outlook in Life/ Attitude
  • Physical Environment/
  • Home

Total Score /100                                                    Date


• How has this changed since the last time you completed the chart?
• How do you feel about your life as you review this sheet?
• Which elements are you most happy with?
• Prioritise. Which elements would you like to improve?
• What steps can you start to make today to make those changes?
• What would a score of 10 feel like?
• How would you describe your work/ Life balance?

Posted in: Coaching, Confidence, Happiness, Living the dream, Mindfulness, Motivation, Relaxation
December 1st, 2015 Share On Twitter Share on Twitter Share On Facebook Share on Facebook


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