Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 19

November 24, 2015

addicted

Addicted

By Paula O’Sullivan

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” ― Edgar Allan Poe (Quote)

Whatever you may be addicted to, in order to be free, you’ll need to find out what your addiction appears to be giving you. We won’t give something up unless there is the promise of a better life waiting for us. Every behaviour has a payback, we get something out of it, or we wouldn’t do it. We are motivated in two basic ways: by the ‘Promise of Pleasure’ or the ‘Fear of Pain’.

When we are addicted to something, it can appear that this helps us to deal with our needs and desires, but usually it’s just a quick fix, a band aid solution. This is why people remain addicted for so long. The effects of the alcohol or drugs wear off and we are painfully aware of our reality once again, the adrenalin kick from gambling or sex wears off, and we have to re- experience it again to feel good, hopeful or less lonely. The stressful situations keep happening and we have to keep smoking to help us ‘cope’.

You think the addiction is helping you to cope, but it’s not really solving the issue for you, it’s actually creating more problems. Unless you focus on the benefits of quitting the addiction, and begin to imagine how good that will feel, and how your life and relationships will improve in so many ways, you will remain stuck.

Most of us find it difficult to imagine what we DO want.  Mostly we focus on what we DON’T want to happen. This is the fear of pain again, which stops us from moving forward.

When we’re addicted, we have given up our own power. We are saying to the thing or person ‘Save me, I am powerless without you’.

Most of us who are or have been addicted to something, have very deep emotional needs that weren’t or aren’t being met in a healthy way. This is not so easy to address, so we reach out for something to make it all better, but the pain is still there at the end of the bottle, cigarette, drug, gambling slip, one night stand or whatever. The story is and will remain the same, unless you decide now to change the ending.

Remember that no matter what has happened to you in your life, you still have a choice how to think about it. You can be a strong survivor, or a helpless victim of your circumstances. Most of us just want to feel loved, accepted, and respected. If we are expecting the world to meet our basic needs, we may be disappointed. This creates havoc within us, we feel we aren’t good enough, and we become our own destroyers. We have to find a way to love, accept and respect ourselves first and to discover our own power, regardless of others, then we can be free.  Check my blog for articles that help with this.

Part 20 – It’s A Generational Thing

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 18

November 6, 2015

Interdependent

Interdependence

By Paula O’ Sullivan

Most of us interact in only two ways in our relationships, either through a state of dependence or independence. We have not learnt that everything we seek is inside of us already. We are not aware of our inner power. We seek happiness outside of ourselves, in relationships, or in the accumulation of material possessions etc. Dependence on others or things to completely satisfy our needs can leave us very vulnerable, as our expectations invariably won’t get met a lot of the time. Independence means we don’t really seek out the help of others, we become kind of disconnected from each other, as we strive to meet our own needs only. But there is another way of being, it’s called interdependence.

Let’s compare the three ways of being in relationships.

Interdependence is a way of being and acting that takes into account your needs and at the same time cares about others’ needs, instead of trying to just please or ignore others’ needs.

Dependence is being guided by what others think or what they ask you to do, it’s about trying to please others without regard for what you want. Sometimes it can also be about what you will get from an interaction, as opposed to what you can give. This can build up great walls of anger and resentment.

Independence is, in a way, ignoring others and our coexistence, it’s about wanting to deal with everything on your own, and in your own way and not acknowledge a need for support.

With Interdependence, we strive for balance in all our interactions. We aim for ‘win /win’, i.e. both parties have their say, both parties get their needs met without compromise, or it’s a ‘no deal’. If we make a sacrifice, then the other party will also make one to balance the arrangement. With dependence and independence, most of us don’t really listen, we base what we hear from others on our own autobiographical experiences. With interdependence we seek first to really understand the wants and needs of others, before we try to be understood ourselves. We begin the dance of creative cooperation between each other.  We begin to value our differences and respect each other’s uniqueness. We aim not to blame when things don’t work out, but seek instead to examine, the causes and effects of all behaviours involved, with each party accepting full responsibility for the part they have played.

Being interdependent with others becomes a balanced energy exchange, with neither party draining the other. Each stays true to their selves, and become involved without the demand that either should sacrifice their values or integrity. It paves the way for open communication and honesty. It creates a safe environment where both parties can become aware of their needs. We realize that we can’t change anyone, we can only change our behaviour, so we treat others as we’d like to be treated, and we won’t tolerate for long, not being treated with respect.  We begin to view ourselves as already whole, balanced and complete, there is nothing to gain from anyone. Our interactions become a mutual giving, to enhance, not to fill a void. We create and maintain healthy boundaries, knowing how to give help, but also knowing when to protect our own energy and health by saying no.

Part 19 – Addicted

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


Tips & Techniques for Quitting Smoking

October 19, 2015

By Paula O’Sullivan (RC Hyp, Dip Hyp)

quit smoking

So you’ve decided to quit smoking? Maybe this is your first real attempt to quit, or maybe you’ve tried everything you can think of and haven’t succeeded so far.

Well I’d like to share a few things that might help you to succeed once and for all. Remember we only fail when we stop trying. Although ‘Yoda’ from ‘Star Wars’ tells us, to ‘do or do not, there is no try’. In a way trying actually gives us an excuse to fail. ‘Look I’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked, I’m never going to quit etc’… well it doesn’t have to be that way.

Begin with being very honest with yourself, yes yourself! Forget about what everyone else in your life wants or thinks about you smoking. Do YOU really want to quit, for your OWN personal reasons? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being very committed, where are you? If you are under a 6, you just haven’t put enough focus on this issue, let’s see if I can help you change that. If you want to that is!

Get a sheet of paper, it’s time to make a plan.

First, in order to change anything in your life, you need to know what the habit of smoking actually gives you. Every behaviour has some form of payback, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. We are primarily motivated in two ways, by the promise of pleasure or the fear of pain. Your promise of pleasure mostly wins out, although the fear of the pain of something can also be a strong motivator which could stop you from even trying to quit.

Ok so you have a piece of paper? Draw a line dividing the page in half. On the left side, write the title: Reasons why I smoke. And on the right hand side of the page, write the title: Benefits from quitting. Now list all those things, reasons may be relaxation, dealing with stress, etc. Benefits may include better health, more money, etc

Be very honest with yourself. Money will not be a benefit, if you are already financially well off, unless you decide on something to spend that extra money on.

Your list will look something like this:

Reasons why I smoke

 

  1. Relaxation
  2. Dealing with stress
  3. Clears my mind and helps me think clearly
  4. Social inclusion etc.

Benefits from quitting

 

  1. Better health, I will feel fitter
  2. More money
  3. Clothes smell cleaner
  4. Feel empowered and a sense of achievement
  5. Food tastes nicer
  6. More energy
  7. Better relationships etc.

Now you have an idea of what smoking is giving you, and what would be the benefits of quitting.

Let’s see if we can balance some of the reasons, with some techniques. Ok if you have reasons like, 1,2 & 3 above, think about this. What are you actually doing when you smoke?

You are breathing in very slowly and deeply, and you are breathing out very slowly and deeply.

When we are ‘stressed out’ or need to relax, it is because we have triggered the ‘Stress Response’ in our body. If you think of it like this: Your body and mind is like a very busy building site with lots of workers rushing around doing many jobs. When you are stressed, a signal travels up to the brain area and puts these workers on high alert.

Oxygen gets pumped immediately from your brain down into your heart and lungs, so that you can’t think clearly, it puts you into survival mode. Cortisol and adrenalin gets pumped in excess. This all allows you to have the strength to fight or flee from whatever is distressing you. Ha! But most of us can’t fight or run away. So we grab an oul smoke to help us, but what are we really doing? We are breathing! Why? Because the only way to reverse the stress response is to breathe deeply!

Now that you know that, here is a breathing technique, which, if you really want to quit, will give you everything that, reasons for smoking 1,2 & 3 gave you, except the chemicals !

Breathing Technique:

Find a quiet place initially, where you won’t be disturbed, lock yourself in the loo if you have too!

Close your eyes, uncross your arms and legs. Now breathe in very slowly and deeply. To help you with this, imagine that the breath is travelling up from your fingertips, all the way up your arms, to your head and chest on the in breath, and out and down through your body, down through your legs, feet and toes on the out breath. Do this slowly at least 5 times.

Now doing this sends the signal to all those hard workers in your body to go take a tea break! They can relax and do what they normally do!

You will now feel calmer and more relaxed and your mind will be clearer. But wait, we’re not done yet. We still have to deal with your thoughts. It is your thoughts and beliefs about things that are keeping you stuck in the habit of smoking. A belief is a thought you keep thinking over and over.

Every time you think a thought it strengthens a neural pathway in the brain, this becomes a belief, which then forms a habit, and will then affect how you behave. This will in time become your unquestioning automatic response to things in life.

How do we change this? Use the breathing technique on a regular daily basis, for example every morning and evening and during the day, when stuck in traffic, a queue, or when being challenged by life, then you’ll have enough oxygen to be able to reason this out more effectively.

Then remember this: There are TWO ways of thinking about things.

The Worst Way: Focuses on all that is going wrong or may go wrong, you play movies in your mind about not being able to cope with quitting, you feel all the dreadful feelings of failure etc. You can’t see yourself doing it. In the battle between imagination and reality, imagination will always win, so as long as your focus is on the pain or the fear, then that is all you will see and experience.

The Best Way: Focuses on all that could go right, you play movies in your mind about all the ways quitting smoking can benefit you. You see yourself using the breathing technique, you see yourself choosing a different way to think. You imagine how wonderful it is to be finally free of this habit. You see and feel the excitement, the empowerment of achieving something in your life. You use your imagination to focus on the pleasure of being free of smoking. In your mind you play out your daily routines and plan what will be different now that you are a non- smoker.

Now you have two things to try, a breathing technique and the choice of how to think about this, but there is one more thing that will help you. The mind movies that you play in your mind and the feelings they conjure up, will either keep you stuck or will help to liberate you.

Remember a RUT is only a Record of Unhelpful Thoughts. Stay out of a RUT, by choosing the best way of thinking. Talk back to any thoughts that tell you to give in.

Use a journey statement to help you, one like:

‘As I become and stay a non-smoker, my life improves in many ways,’ or write your own one that resonates with you.

As you change your thoughts, you will change how you feel. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes, think of something sad, go on bring it all up. Open your eyes, feel really good do you? No? Ok close your eyes again, think of something that made you happy, go on bring it all up, that lovely feeling in your chest, or tummy. Open your eyes, feel really good do you?

Now here’s a little visualization exercise for you. Find a quiet time when you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly, so that you can think clearly.

Mind Movie

Use your imagination to imagine that you are walking into your own private movie theater.

You are perfectly safe in here and you choose a seat. You look up at the screen and see a scene from your life on pause. Think about how you DO want to be in this scene. Not how you ‘don’t want to be’ (that’s the worst way of thinking!) Now think about how you want to be as a non-smoker. What will you be wearing, what will you look like, what will you feel like? See, hear, feel, and imagine your life as a non-smoker. How wonderful does it feel to have achieved this? Imagine yourself doing all you can to make sure that you remain a non-smoker. What kind of things are you telling yourself? What kind of scenes are you imagining for yourself?

Press play and let the movie unfold as you would want it to be, take your time with this. Now press pause, re think what you could improve on, then rewind it back very fast and press play, imagining any changes you want to make, take your time. Press pause, review if there is anything you can improve on, then play again and so on, do this at least three times or more, regularly. It is no different to what we already do, except that we usually play disaster movies instead.

If you can see yourself doing it, then you are already halfway there. The next thing you do when you have a clear idea of what you want your experience to be like, is to put into action all the techniques that feel right for you.

Now finally plan out your first week as a non-smoker. Get rid of the spare cigarettes, roll ups, cigars etc. Yes even the little glass box on the wall, with the break in case of emergency! If you decide to do this right there won’t be a need for it!

Break the habit easily by slightly changing your routine. If you have a smoke with a cuppa in a certain cup every morning, change the cup for the first week, so that you break the habit association with the thing you smoke. Ever hear a song, or smell a scent that brings back a memory? Well it might be the same with letting go of smoking. Be prepared. If you smoke before you shower, change the routine and shower first, then do something else where the smoke would be, read, or go for a walk, or use the breathing techniques etc. Plan out your day and be prepared.

  1. Use your breathing technique.
  2. Challenge your thoughts and change your focus to what you Do want.
  3. Play your Mind Movie in your imagination.

If you want it badly enough, you’ll make it happen, if not, you’ll just make an excuse. The choice is yours!

Paula O’ Sullivan is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist & Photographer, based in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Her website is http://www.i-want-a-better-life.ie


Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 7

November 18, 2014

Self Esteem

Self Esteem

“There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.” 
― 
Laurie Halse Anderson – Quote

 

I love that quote with the line ‘A mirror that doesn’t matter anymore’. It kind of sums up the result of building your self – esteem. I spent 44 years living with low self- esteem, where the mirror mattered and I really didn’t like what I saw there.

The term ‘Self-Esteem’ refers to a person’s general emotional evaluation of their own worth. It is an attitude and a judgment towards the self, it is all about the stories we create about ourselves.

We’re not born with low self-esteem, but we soon become trapped in a triangle of disempowerment. We begin to identify with the roles of either Victim, Perpetrator (forcing issues) or Noble Rescuer (saving people) or else we’re looking for someone to save us. Have a look at your life right now, which role are you playing? I’ve played all these roles over the years, and the problem is, we begin to identify with them. When I was a victim, life was unfair, it was out of my control, when I was a Perpetrator I found I couldn’t actually control everything, and when I was a Noble Rescuer, I found that if people really wanted to be saved they would do it themselves. I was also looking for a Noble Rescuer, to solve all my problems. I found this disempowering. The only person we can control is ourselves. The only person who can save us is ourselves, we are our own magic wand!

We also become identified with roles of being a parent, or our job, our status, our possessions, our illness etc etc. Problem is, what happens when your children grow up? Or you lose your job or possessions? Does your sense of worth go too? Yes! Who are you without these things? Most of us tie up our self -worth in external things, and this affects our self-esteem, because nothing is permanent.

To maintain low self-esteem, you will have to continue to identify your worth with these types of things, and you will have to constantly judge yourself on this performance. You will need to be critical and have negative self-talk. Knowing this, how do we turn it around and begin to build our self-esteem and tackle the enemy within?

  • Become aware of your thoughts (part 1) and choose alternative ones that make you feel good.
  • Develop positive self-talk (part 5) if you catch yourself putting yourself down, focus on what you are good at.
  • Write down the roles you’ve identified with, awareness is the first step towards changing something.
  • Accept responsibility for the part you play, no more blaming, it gives our power away.
  • Stop judging yourself, you’re doing the best you can with what you know right now, and when you know better, you’ll do better.
  • Don’t tie up your worth in external things. Find out who you really are without these things.
  • Find things to like about yourself, and practice doing things that you enjoy.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Be patient with yourself, this takes time. Start creating a new story for yourself, this will build your self-esteem!

 

Part 8 Managing Stress & Anxiety

Paula is an Author/ Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com


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