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Relationships – Bestselfology http://bestselfology.com Be the best version of yourself Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:28:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.0 81660203 3 powerful ways to remove drama from your life http://bestselfology.com/3-powerful-ways-to-remove-drama-from-your-life/ http://bestselfology.com/3-powerful-ways-to-remove-drama-from-your-life/#respond Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:21:50 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1693 ‘Maturity starts when drama ends’ ~ Unknown   A lot of the drama in our lives takes place in our own heads. It’s often not the situations we find ourselves in that cause drama, rather how we react to these situations. On occasion, we’re too deeply involved to recognize that things aren’t actually as bad as they […]

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‘Maturity starts when drama ends’

~ Unknown

 

A lot of the drama in our lives takes place in our own heads. It’s often not the situations we find ourselves in that cause drama, rather how we react to these situations. On occasion, we’re too deeply involved to recognize that things aren’t actually as bad as they seem.

Stephen Karpman (1968) was a psychiatrist who created the concept of what he called the Drama Triangle. This is a model of human interaction that describes three psychological roles (or ego states) which people often take on in response to certain situations:

  • Victim
  • Persecutor
  • Rescuer

Drama Triangle FINAL

The roles in the drama triangle are strategies that the ego creates in order to manage its anxiety about what it doesn’t like. The Victim sees themselves as being at the mercy of a Persecutor. This is a person, event, or situation that’s having a negative impact on their life and they’re hoping for a Rescuer to come and save the day and fix everything for them.

Playing these roles can limit our effectiveness and prevent more creative ways to deal with the challenges we face.

Victim

Being a victim is an identity that we create for ourselves. Most of us take on this role every now and again. For others it can be the state we live most of our lives in. It’s where we hold beliefs about how unlucky we are, how awfully we are treated by others and what terrible situations we find ourselves in.

Adopting this victim mentality takes away our personal power. It means that we often avoid taking responsibility for the outcome of a situation. This is due to the belief that we are not in control of our own lives but rather at the mercy of others or the situations we find ourselves in. It limits our ability to find solutions to our own issues or solve problems.

The Persecutor

The Persecutor can be a person, a situation or a condition. It can be an illness, a colleague, your boss, the weather, a natural disaster, anything that creates a sense of helplessness in the Victim.

The Persecutor is the ‘bad guy’ in the drama triangle. The Victim takes the position of placing all the blame for their situation on the Persecutor, reinforcing to themselves that they are helpless to control the situation.

It’s so easy that we blame others for the circumstances that we are not happy with. It’s much more comfortable to firmly believe that someone else is responsible for our unhappiness and the drama in our lives, rather than owning our own decisions and reactions.

The Rescuer

The Rescuer can be a person, a distraction or anything that helps the Victim escape their feelings.

If you recognize the Rescuer role as something that you have a tendency to adopt, it means that you would usually like to be recognized for saving the day. The issue is that this approach doesn’t help the Victim to become more resourceful and take charge of their life, it reinforces that someone else needs to fix things for them. Rescuers often crave feeling needed. If they are surrounded by Victims it makes them feel like they are important and great problem solvers.

I often find myself operating from the Rescuer role. If someone is feeling upset, anxious or unhappy, I want to remove that problem for them, so I look for strategies to solve their problems for them. I feel good being recognized as someone who has been able to fix everything.

 

Now that we have explored the roles in the drama triangle in more detail, let’s identify how it can help us to minimise the amount of drama in our lives:

1) Recognise that we are playing a role in the drama triangle

The first step is to recognise that we are in the drama triangle and which role we are playing. If we see or hear ourselves in a certain situation and we can identify that we are playing one of the roles, acknowledging this can be a positive step in the right direction. Instead, we can choose to take on a more empowering way to think and take action.

2) Replace the role with a more effective one:

In David Emerald’s book The Power of TED, he describes the toxic nature of the roles in the drama triangle and offers a more effective counterpart for each one. He recommends that the Victim adopts the alternative role of Creator, the Persecutor as a Challenger, and a Coach instead of a Rescuer:

Victim to Creator

Rather than coming from the disempowering view of the Victim, feeling that you’re being acted upon by circumstances outside of your control, the Creator role supports you to take control of your life. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, as a Creator you can realise that you always have a choice of how to respond to every event. Be powerful. Start moving in the direction you want your life to go in. Bad things happen that we often can’t control, but we can always choose our response to them.

A great example of this is Nelson Mandela. Mandela served 27 years in prison in South Africa. He could have operated from a Victim role, but instead he chose to be a Creator. He chose how he would respond to his circumstances whilst in prison and also upon his release.

Rescuer to Coach

Rather than swooping in to save the day, if you take the position of coach, you help the person find their own solution. A coach sees people as capable and resourceful and able to figure out solutions to their own issues.

A Coach asks rather than tells. They can help you assess a situation and recognize how you’ve been responding to situations in an ineffective manner, and then support you to decide for yourself what steps to take in order to move forward. They empower you to make your own choices, never taking power from you.

Persecutor to a Challenger

Changing from a Persecutor to a Challenger is a shift from blaming everyone around you and  your unfortunate circumstances for all your problems, to looking for ways in which you can grow and develop as a result of the situations you find yourself in. It’s looking for ways to provoke others to take positive action.

The Challenger role can help us focus on learning a new skill, acquiring some new knowledge or making a decision we’ve been avoiding. Rather than looking for someone else to blame,  a Challenger provides a Creator with an opportunity to choose their response to situations based upon the outcome they desire. It can support us to learn from our experiences and take steps toward achieving our dreams.

3) Avoid other peoples drama

If the you are getting dragged into other peoples drama it can leave you feeling drained and unhappy. You have a few options. The most extreme is that you can stop seeing the person altogether. We want to surround ourselves with awesome people rather than those that bring drama to every situation.

If you don’t want to do that, instead you can minimize the time you spend together. The alternative approach is to recognize the other persons drama triggers. Anticipate when the conversation is starting to go down the drama route and steer it somewhere else.

 

Can you recognize whether you play any of the roles in the Drama Triangle? Are you ready to make the shift to the more effective behaviours of Creator, Challenger and Coach? Please share in the comments below which role you most commonly fall into and how it plays out for you.

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Are you talking the right love language? http://bestselfology.com/are-you-talking-the-right-love-language/ http://bestselfology.com/are-you-talking-the-right-love-language/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 05:49:50 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=823 ‘Sometimes you love people in a language they can’t understand’   I’ve received some amazing presents over the years. Actually the older I’ve got, the better the gifts have become. I believe this is because the people close to me have really got to know me well. Some of the best presents I have received […]

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‘Sometimes you love people in a language they can’t understand’

 

I’ve received some amazing presents over the years. Actually the older I’ve got, the better the gifts have become. I believe this is because the people close to me have really got to know me well. Some of the best presents I have received in the last few years are:

  • Home made CaraMEL vodka (something I love and you can’t get in Hungary)
  • A soda maker (so I can make sparkling water without using lots of plastic bottles)
  • An online learning course on writing
  • A little book of lists (a notebook for me to write my ‘to do’ lists, that I am famous for in)
  • A wall hanging signed by all of my old team with good luck messages on it
  • A photo collage from all my friends in South Africa
  • A t-shirt with all my favourite sayings printed onto it

Do you see the theme for these gifts? Each and every one of them is really thoughtful and personalised specifically for me. Do you know what it shows me? It gives me the impression that my friends and family know me so well and really listen to me. It also shows me that they care about me, based on the fact that they had really spent time thinking about what present I would like to receive.

For someone else these could be the worst gifts in the world. Gifts are so unique. One persons soda maker is another persons designer handbag or diamond earrings! Getting me diamond earrings would be such a ridiculous waste of money as I would not appreciate them at all.

If you don’t understand what is important to the person you are buying for, the whole gift purchasing process can go horribly wrong! Have you ever had the feeling that you have completely misread what gift your loved one would appreciate? Or maybe they didn’t seem that excited about their present at all, when you thought it was something amazing and thoughtful.

According to Dr. Chapman, who has over 30 years of experience of couples counseling, there are five universal ways that all people express and interpret love.  Chapman developed a quiz that helps you to determine what he calls your love language. 

Although it is also highly possible to figure out your preference just by reviewing the list below and determining what is most important to you, by completing the quiz, you will receive your love language profile which will explain your primary love language, what it means, and how you can use it to connect to others.

 The 5 love languages are:

1) Words of affirmation – giving and receiving compliments, hearing ‘I love you’. Words that confirm their love for you.

2) Acts of service – doing something that eases the burden for each other. Lessening the work that you have to do.

3) Receiving gifts – thriving on the love, thoughtfulness and effort behind a gift. Feeling known and cared for through the choice of gift.

4) Quality time – giving and receiving undivided attention, totally focusing on each other, having your phone off and no other distractions around, committing to doing something together and sticking to it.

5) Physical touch – Giving and receiving hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and  physical contact to show your love and affection.

 

Although I started off by discussing what gifts I had recently received, this is actually the least important love language for me. My primary love language is quality time followed by words of affection.

What makes me feel loved is when someone allocates quality time for us to spend together. I need to feel that they want to spend time with me, organise fun things for us to do together and give me undivided attention. The issues arise when someone else doesn’t realise the importance of this to me and shows their love in another way. If someone else showed their love through gifts, but did not make time to spend together, whatever gift they had got may seem meaningless to me.

This can be a problem in many relationships if you do not understand each others love language. You can believe you are showing love, but it is totally missed by your significant other if it is not the way that they feel loved.

Fear not, if you are not in a relationship, this is still relevant, as it doesn’t only have to apply to romantic love, it can also be important with how you communicate with friends and family. When my mum has done a big pile of ironing for me (regularly!!) I know that is her showing her love for me through acts of service. When I feel upset if someone lets me down at the last minute, it is because of my quality time love language, it makes me feel that they don’t care about me and no amount telling me otherwise will help!

Knowing your love language won’t fix everything in a relationship, but it might well help you to communicate more effectively with each other and and to understand and empathise with others better.  You can take the test here to discover your love language.
It would be great if you shared your love language profile and whether knowing it helps you to communicate better with your loved ones.

Image: Designed by Freepik

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How to give thoughtful gifts that show you care http://bestselfology.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-that-show-you-care/ http://bestselfology.com/how-to-give-thoughtful-gifts-that-show-you-care/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2016 06:51:22 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1514 ‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel’ ~ Maya Angelou Nothing beats the satisfaction of coming up with the perfect gift for someone you care about. Something you know they will love. Recently I have received some amazing gifts and it’s made me think […]

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‘At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel’

~ Maya Angelou

Nothing beats the satisfaction of coming up with the perfect gift for someone you care about. Something you know they will love. Recently I have received some amazing gifts and it’s made me think about what is required to choose something that will make the person you are buying for happy. Something that will show them how much you value your relationship with them.

Contrary from what you see in the adverts, you don’t always have to spend loads of cash to find the right present. In fact, often the most meaningful gifts are the ones that don’t cost much, but take a little more thought, time, and creativity.

The gifts that I have most appreciated are from people who have really listened to me and picked up on something I mentioned that I wouldn’t even have imagined myself. It’s where people have spent time making something for me, or hunting for something they know will make me happy. It’s from the people who I feel know me so well and have given me something that I love, but that I wouldn’t have thought to get myself.

So how do you find that perfect gift for your loved ones?

1) Listen intently

It is always wise to actively listen to your loved ones, but there is no better time for this than on the run up to Christmas, or to a birthday or another occasion that you will be getting them a gift. If you really take notice of what they are saying, you should hopefully be able to get some good ideas for gifts for them. Be conscious in every conversation you have with them, to pick up any ideas you can from what they are saying. If you find inspiration for a gift idea from what they have said throughout the year, write it down so you don’t forget it later on.

2) Ask for advice

Don’t think you need to have all the answers yourself. If you chat to their friends and family, maybe they will have some inspiring ideas for you. Ask their best friend, ask their mum, ask the people that they spend the most time with. This can be especially useful if you don’t live close to each other and you don’t frequently see each other.

3) Make something *

Depending on the person you are buying for, making something can be a hugely thoughtful gesture. Home made gifts show that time was spent on them. Homemade cards with a thoughtful picture and message inside can be really appreciated. A picture of the two of you together, a gift basket full of small thoughtful presents, their favourite food or a journal of the time you have spent together can all be great thoughtful homemade gifts. There are some awesome ideas here of things you can make.

4) Spend time

There are two elements to spending time; the first is not leaving it until the last minute and then panic buying something, and having to rush into a purchase. The second is showing that it is well thought through and you have spent time thinking about what they would like and that you have sourced something special for them. If you see something someone you know will love, pick it up then and there and save it for an occasion you will be giving them a gift, don’t leave it too late.

5) Focus on experiences

Gifts don’t need to be material items. Many people appreciate the gift of getting to spend quality time together. For many, spending time with their loved ones can be the best present they can receive. If you think of something that the recipient of your gift would like to do with you, this can be a great present. Theatre tickets, an evening out at a lovely restaurant, a hot air balloon ride, wine tasting, afternoon tea, the list is endless. To ensure there is something to unwrap, you can make a voucher and put it into a box that you wrap up, to ensure there is a nice package to open.

I’d love to hear in the comments below if you have any ideas on how to buy thoughtful presents.

*Disclaimer: everyone is different, if the person you are buying for likes material possessions and is expecting a large expensive shiny gift, I can’t take any responsibility for the trouble you get into if you have gone for something small homemade and thoughtful instead! You need to know your audience!

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7 easy ways to deal with emotional exhaustion http://bestselfology.com/7-easy-ways-to-deal-with-emotional-exhaustion/ http://bestselfology.com/7-easy-ways-to-deal-with-emotional-exhaustion/#respond Wed, 23 Nov 2016 05:42:45 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1508 ‘Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out’ ~ Katherine Dunham Exhaustion can occur both mentally and physically. It can result from anxiety, difficult relationships, overwork, lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet amongst other things. It can leave you feeling totally drained with low […]

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‘Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out’

~ Katherine Dunham

Exhaustion can occur both mentally and physically. It can result from anxiety, difficult relationships, overwork, lack of sleep and an unhealthy diet amongst other things. It can leave you feeling totally drained with low tolerance levels for stressful situations that you come across and snapping at any little thing. It can mean that you start to see the negative in everything and struggle to find any answers or solutions. You might experience the following:

  • Lack of motivation for everything
  • Low emotional strength
  • Feeling anxious and tense
  • Lack of good quality sleep
  • Lack of focus and concentration
  • Feeling tired and lacking in energy
  • Feeling like nothing is possible
  • Feeling defeated
  • Feeling teary and sad
  • Run out of capacity to handle emotional stress

In order to replenish your energy reserves you can try the following:

1) Focus on your health

If you are in peak physical health, it will give you more energy to deal with everything on your plate. Getting enough high quality sleep is of key importance to your health, as well as eating a healthy diet and taking exercise. If you are feeling emotionally drained, it can be wise to avoid drinking a lot of alcohol, as although this can make you feel temporarily more relaxed, it can often make you feel more vulnerable in the long run. The healthier you are and the more you look after yourself, the stronger you will feel emotionally.

2) Fresh air 

If you are feeling run down a great way to help renew your energy levels is by getting outside, getting active and getting fresh air in your lungs. Find a beautiful spot in nature, go for a hike, take in the views, admire the beauty around you. This can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

3) Mindfulness

When your energy levels are low and you are feeling drained, the practice of mindfulness meditation can help you to calm the chaos going on in your mind and bring you clarity and focus. By concentrating on your breathing you can begin to feel calmer and more grounded. It can help you let go of all the cluttered thoughts flying through your mind and result in a clearer outlook.

4) Removal of ‘dementors

When you feel emotionally exhausted, it won’t be helpful to have others negativity bringing you further down. Surround yourself with people who can bring out the best in you, who have a lust for life, who see the positive in every situation and who can help you find your own positive energy. Try to minimize the amount of time you spend with energy ‘dementors‘, those people who suck the energy from you.

5) Distract yourself

If you are feeling drained about a particular situation, maybe a failed relationship or a stressful work situation, rather than focusing on that, try getting busy on something you love and are passionate about. Rather than dwelling on the areas in your life that are causing you stress, focus your energy on the positives. Spend your time doing what you love. If you concentrate on this, it will help shift your energy away from the negative situations that are draining you.

6) Make a change

Lastly, if you are suffering from emotional exhaustion caused by something specific, try to identify what exactly it is that is making you feel this way and identify how you can change it. You are not in control of every situation, but you are in 100% in control of how you react to every situation. Maybe you can manage things differently or if you can’t maybe you have to remove yourself from the situation altogether.

If you try following the steps above, it should help you to make you stronger in yourself and tackle all challenges sent your way, with a renewed energy. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.

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How to stop caring what people think of you http://bestselfology.com/how-to-stop-caring-what-people-think-of-you-2/ http://bestselfology.com/how-to-stop-caring-what-people-think-of-you-2/#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2016 05:30:46 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1469 ‘The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.’ ~ C. JoyBell C Most of us are guilty of worrying about what other people think of us. If we’re not careful we can end up spending way too much time considering how we come across to others, rather than focusing on being […]

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‘The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think.’

~ C. JoyBell C

Most of us are guilty of worrying about what other people think of us. If we’re not careful we can end up spending way too much time considering how we come across to others, rather than focusing on being happy with ourselves.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to fit in to how we think we should be. Blending in with the crowd, not being noticed, wanting to please others. Instead, let’s be fearless, behave like we once were as children and don’t pay attention to what others think of us. If we can crack this, we’ll be much more content.

Easier said than done right? Here’s a few tips to help stop worrying what others think of us:

1) Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves

The truth is everyone is too absorbed in themselves and their own situation that they are not paying any attention to us and what we’re doing. So many times when we confide in people that we were worried what they thought of us, we realize they were thinking exactly the same. We can spend considerable amounts of time thinking about how other people might be judging us, but very few people have any time or head space available to think about us, they are too busy thinking about themselves and their own shortcomings to worry about what we are doing. This is the biggest realization I have had that stopped me worrying what others thought.

2) Find your inner confidence

Everyone is different. We need to be happy with ourselves, no matter what anyone else thinks. If we are 100% happy with ourselves then it will be much less important to us what other people think. Check out My Book of Life for ideas on how to document your values and beliefs. Once we become clear on our values, it can help to become much more confident with ourselves and what we stand for.

3) Accept you can’t please everyone

We’ll never stop everyone from judging us as it’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. There will always be people who aren’t satisfied, no matter what we do or how we behave.  We might not be able to stop people judging, but we can choose how we react to it and choose to not let it affect us.

4) Don’t overthink things

Worrying too much about what other people think can influence our behaviour. Spending too much time analyzing what others think and trying to accommodate them can have a negative impact, resulting in us becoming people pleasers rather than being true to ourselves. Try to spend less time analyzing what others think and more time focusing on whether we are happy with ourselves.

5) Know your values

If we can figure out what’s important to us in life, what we truly value, what we stand for and what matters to us, what other people think of us becomes significantly less important. When we are clear on our values, we have a strong ground to stand on and will worry a lot less about others judgments of us, as we know we are being true to ourselves.

6) Surround yourself with awesome people

If we surround ourselves with awesome people who are self-assured, and stay true to their values, this attitude will rub off on us. Awesome people won’t judge us, they will make us feel safe to air our own thoughts and feelings and be comfortable with being ourselves.

 

I’d love to hear in the comments below if you have managed to stop worrying about what other people think of you and how you did it.

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How to reach a more attentive level of listening http://bestselfology.com/how-to-reach-a-more-attentive-level-of-listening/ http://bestselfology.com/how-to-reach-a-more-attentive-level-of-listening/#respond Fri, 14 Oct 2016 06:42:09 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1459 “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ~ Stephen R Covey   Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was so completely present with you in that moment that it was almost slightly unnerving? When someone truly gives you their full attention and focus […]

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“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
~ Stephen R Covey

 

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was so completely present with you in that moment that it was almost slightly unnerving? When someone truly gives you their full attention and focus it can feel like only the two of you exist and everything else shrinks into the background. If you experience this, the person you’re talking to is a great listener.

I’ll be honest, I don’t often experience this. The fast paced, tech savvy world we live in means that many conversations take place with only half focus and attention being divided by many different things. My personal goal is to change this for myself and work on becoming a great listener.

The key thing I have noticed is that I listen with the intention of replying and I constantly come from my own frame of reference. This is something I am trying to change. I have a constant dialogue going on in my mind whilst the other person is speaking that I would like to quieten allowing me to truly focus on what the other person is saying.

We can split listening into 3 levels:

  • Conversational listening
  • Active listening
  • Super aware listening

Conversational listening is what most of us do in everyday life when we are chatting with our friends. Although we listen to what the other person is saying, we usually focus on what it means to us. We are making judgement’s, forming opinions and often thinking about a solution. It is listening from our own perspective rather than the person who is talking.

Much has been written about active listening where we are listening to understand the other person,  we show we are listening through acknowledgement and encouragement and then summarizing what they have said and reflect it back to them. This type of listening is more focused on the person doing the talking than conversational listening.

I would like to progress to the third level of listening. A level where there is acute focus on the other person. A level where we let go of all judgement and opinion and are completely attentive to the person talking.

How can we move to this super aware level of listening?

1) Let go of judgement and opinion

When we listen to someone else talk, we are constantly forming judgements and opinions about them and what they are saying. It is very difficult to stop this from happening, but what we we can work on is acknowledging to ourselves that we have formed a judgement and then immediately let it go. As soon as that opinion pops into our head, notice it and then move on from it and get back to purely listening to the other person. It’s quite tricky to master and is similar to the concept of mindfulness.

2) Listen with fascination

A good tip to take listening to the next level is to start the conversation with the belief that everything the person we are talking to will say, will be completely fascinating and interesting. If we go into a conversation with this mindset, it can support us to listen with super awareness.

3) Notice more than their words

Sometimes what people say and how they say it aren’t aligned. Pay attention to their body language, their expression, their emotion and their tone. It is often possible to understand a lot more about what someone is saying from how they say it, rather than what they are saying. If we are really acutely listening to them, we will pick all this additional information up.

4) Let go of a personal agenda

Make the conversation about them, not about us. When talking to someone it is most common that we are focusing on what the words they are saying mean to us. We use our own frame of reference and understand things from our own point of view. If we ask questions, it can usually be to ask about what we are interested about and we shape the conversation in a way that is meaningful for us. Super aware listening is the ability to listen just at what they are saying and asking questions to encourage them to say more without leading them down a particular path.

5) Quieten our internal dialogue

If we focus intently on what someone is saying, we let go of any judgement and we listen with fascination, it should reduce our internal dialogue. If we notice that we are listening and thinking about the next question to ask, or even what we will make for dinner, notice it and let it go and move back to listening with full focus. Constantly formulating the next question I’ve heard referred to as ‘listening whilst loading your gun’. This automatically takes attention away from the listening. Being able to stop thinking about the next question and instead just focusing on what the other person is saying can take the conversation to a whole new level.

 

I’d love to hear how easy you find listening, whether you have managed to practice super aware listening and how you did that. Let me know in the comments below.

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6 wonderful ways remarkable people can enhance your life http://bestselfology.com/6-wonderful-ways-remarkable-people-can-enhance-your-life/ http://bestselfology.com/6-wonderful-ways-remarkable-people-can-enhance-your-life/#comments Tue, 19 Apr 2016 04:00:53 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=525 “Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” ~ Karl Marx People have the biggest impact on your life. With this in mind, you should […]

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“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” ~ Karl Marx

People have the biggest impact on your life. With this in mind, you should choose wisely who you spend your time with. I am truly blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. I can think of countless examples where I have felt a bit low and one of my friends has cheered me up, I have felt a bit lost and someone has been there to help me find direction, I have felt uninspired and someone I know has inspired me, I need advice and have countless people around to chat to, I need reassurance and my friends are there ready to give me the strength I require.

Some people can be what I like to refer to as ‘Dementors‘, those characters from Harry Potter that literally suck the life out of you. They drain you of your energy and your happiness. If you spend time with them, you can often come home feeling flat and exhausted. They seem to take the fun out of everything and put a dampner on things you are excited about. You would have been better off sitting inside in a dark room, on your own, eating junk food and watching terrible TV than spending time in their company!!

Then there are the kind of people that will inspire you, motivate you, encourage you, uplift you,  cheer you on when things are going well and support you even when times are tough. When I spend time with these sort of people I find myself skipping home with a big smile on my face, ready to take over the world!

The people that you chose to spend your time with are so important for the following reasons:

1) Inspiration

When you get an insight into what brilliant people are doing, you listen to their ideas, plans, successes and views of the world it can give you courage to try things out for yourself. It can make you feel like anything is possible and that you can reach your dreams and make them become a reality. When I spend time with positive people I often feel inspired. I find that I come away with lots of ideas of things I want to explore, investigate, implement and focus my time on. I feel excited about what is possible after I spend time with inspiring people.

2) Action

You can really make things happen with the right people at your side encouraging you. Rather than talking about all your grand plans, and dreaming of what ‘could be’ one day in the future, you can start taking immediate action towards achieving your life vision. When things have previously seemed impossible, spending time with awesome people, can often be what you need to start to see the way forward. This is especially powerful when you see someone you look up to taking action. You might be able to see how you can do the same. When I interact with people who inspire me, I often come home totally pumped full of ideas of things I want to get started on. Ideas I have been thinking about for a while, but not known how to start suddenly seem possible and the first step to achieve them can be taken.

3) Motivation

Spending time with remarkable people can motivate you. When I hang out with inspirational people, I usually come away feeling highly motivated. Motivated to take action, motivated to make changes I’d like to implement, and just generally feeling a positive buzz about life and plans.

4) Idea creation

If you are spending time with people in a similar field to you or with similar interests or mindset, you can get ideas from them. It may be ideas about how to behave, how to set up your own business, how to follow your passion, how to live life in general or any topic at all. I find the more I surround myself with people that are interested in the same things as me, the more I learn and the more ideas I have about what I want to pursue in life. Ideas can range from big life changing visions, to small changes you want to implement.

5) Energy

If you have low energy, don’t reach for a can of red bull, spend time with someone you find remarkable! Energy is infectious. Your energy will be uplifted in no time if you are hanging out with positive, motivated high energy individuals.

6) Happiness

Quite simply, when you spend time with awesome people it will make you feel happier. Awesome people have a tendency to make you feel awesome too.

 

When you’re surrounded by great people it will have a positive impact on your life. If you haven’t done this already, analyse who you are spending your time with and how they are making you feel. Start spending more time with the great people in your life and less time with people that do not make you happy.

I’d love to hear in the comments below what impact surrounding yourself with awesome people has on your life.

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Does overthinking drive you crazy? http://bestselfology.com/does-overthinking-drive-you-crazy/ http://bestselfology.com/does-overthinking-drive-you-crazy/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 06:12:04 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1098 I have a real skill for overthinking! As an alternative career I could have been a novelist, that’s how inventive I can get! I have a tendency to make up complete stories in my head based on snippets of information and this can drive me (and everyone round me) mad! It usually takes over all my thoughts and means […]

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I have a real skill for overthinking! As an alternative career I could have been a novelist, that’s how inventive I can get! I have a tendency to make up complete stories in my head based on snippets of information and this can drive me (and everyone round me) mad! It usually takes over all my thoughts and means that I don’t have the capacity to think about anything else. I would categorise the types of stories I make up into 2 distinct categories at opposite ends of the scale, which both have a negative impact on my life:

Fairytale Overthinking – this is when I make up that something is going to be great and have a magical ending. The outcome I have made up is usually quite unrealistic and unlikely to happen. The main issue with this type of thinking is that I set the bar really high and reality rarely tends to happen in the same way, so I then feel disappointed.

Dramatic Overthinking – this is when I dramatize that something small thing is way worse that it really is. This can be predicting a worse case scenario, or manufacturing a negative story that is not based on any fact, but usually just on a strong feeling.

As both these scenarios impact me in a negative way, I have been looking at how I can get out of this overthinking loop. I have found many techniques that when added together do help:

1) Direct your attention elsewhere

This is a very good distraction method. If you can find something else to focus on, your mind will be taken off whatever it is your overthinking about.  The key to this working best, is finding an activity that’s absorbing that will totally take your mind off things. Aimlessly watching TV will probably not do the trick, but attending an exercise class, or finishing off an article you were writing, doing a Sudoku puzzle, a board game with family, going for dinner, a cinema trip with a friend, or doing some yoga should be able to distract your thoughts. Fully absorbing yourself into something else, helps take your mind off whatever was absorbing your thoughts.

2) Try to think rationally

Try analyzing why you are overthinking something. Have you totally made up what you are thinking about, is it based on any shred of truth or reality? Sometimes, we get caught in a loop where we’re recreating an event in our minds over and over, or attempting to analyze a future outcome from every possible angle and perspective you can imagine and if you stop and think rationally you can tell yourself you are overthinking and it is not based on facts or logic. Being able to acknowledge you are overthinking, is one step towards stopping it.

3) Stop rehashing it with friends

It might feel good to share your problems with your friends and if they help reassure you and stop you overthinking, that is great. But reviewing every element of a problem in great detail and revisiting each negative aspect with someone can make things worse as it is just overthinking out loud! We often want to get confirmation from other people that everything will be OK in the end, but limiting the amount of people you share with can be helpful to stop constantly overthinking out loud and reliving the issue time and time again.

 4) Practise being mindful

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that consists of focusing on the present moment without judgment. It’s being aware of your thoughts and being able to acknowledge them and let them go, without being impacted by them.

The more you practice mindfulness, the greater your ability will come to pay attention to what you’re thinking and feeling in the present moment without judging those thoughts and feelings as good or bad. It has been shown that this ability helps to lower anxiety, and provides you a greater resilience to stress. It can help you tolerate your thoughts and feelings rather than being overwhelmed by them.

Mindful breathing a common form of mindfulness where you focus solely on your breath. This helps you stay present in the moment, rather than being distracted by events in the past or worries about the future.

5) Take Action

Depending on the subject of your overthinking, you might be able to turn it into something you can take action on. You can try writing down the issue and also the solution you desire. You can then make a plan to achieve the positive outcome you are looking for.

This approach won’t work if you are overthinking something that has happened in the past as you can’t change history, but you can shift your energy from rehashing the event in your mind to addressing the consequences. Look for any action you can take to make yourself feel better about what happened.

6) Tire yourself out

One of the main reasons you over think is because you have time to. The more you can tire yourself out during the day, the better. Last time I was totally overthinking something, I took myself off for a long hike in the countryside. The fresh air, the physical exhaustion and the nature not only distracted me, but exhausted me to the point that I did not have the energy to keep overthinking and my mind was finally at rest!

7) Focus on other people

If you are in a habit of constantly overthinking things, you can become quite self obsessed and miss what is going on in others lives. If you are aware of this, you can consciously put your personal problems to one side and spend time with others, helping support them with their issues.  Helping others can be useful in a number of ways. It reminds you that it is not only yourself with issues in your life, but that everyone is dealing with their own things. It puts your problems into perspective, whilst you realize that you are not the only one that sometimes struggles with things and it can also be a good distraction method.

 

I’d love to hear in the comments below if you are an overthinker, what sorts of things do you overthink about and how you deal with it in your everyday life.

 

 

 

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15 top tips for building trust in a relationship http://bestselfology.com/15-top-tips-for-building-trust-in-a-relationship/ http://bestselfology.com/15-top-tips-for-building-trust-in-a-relationship/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 06:46:32 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1090 ‘Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and years to repair’ The definition of trust is ‘the firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something’ In the past I have had found it very easy to trust and have started off all my relationships trusting and giving the benefit of […]

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‘Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and years to repair’

The definition of trust is ‘the firm belief in the reliability, truth or ability of someone or something’

In the past I have had found it very easy to trust and have started off all my relationships trusting and giving the benefit of the doubt. In my late 20s my trust was broken beyond repair, and I now pay extra attention to not let that turn me into someone who struggles to trust others. Something one of my friends once said to me really sticks in my mind, she told me she thought that my ability to trust was a huge strength and to be sure not to let any negative experiences alter that. So that is what I have tried to do, but it is sometimes very challenging.

Trust in a relationship is so important, once it has gone, it can send you slightly crazy. Lack of trust can make you paranoid, uncomfortable and miserable. It can consume you and take over all your thoughts.

As part of the Science of Happiness course I am studying I came across this very interesting model by Dan Yoshimoto. He has discovered that the basis for building trust is really the idea of attunement. He has broken this down with the acronym ATTUNE, which stands for:

Awareness of your partner’s emotion;

Turning toward the emotion;

Tolerance of two different viewpoints;

trying to Understand your partner;

Non-defensive responses to your partner;

and responding with Empathy.

I think this is a great model to help support keeping trust in a relationship. There are a number of things I find important to help built trust in a relationship which I have detailed below:

1) Communication

Being able to talk to each other is the number one most important point in building trust. Talking about how you are feeling, any worries you have, what you like, how the other person made you feel. Communicating your needs and asking your partner to do the same. You can try to anticipate the others needs, but openly communicating is most effective. Being able to discuss everything with each other, including the more difficult and uncomfortable things will bring you closer together. Communicating in person rather than relying on messages will help you build a greater sense of security as you become more open with each another. Communicating calmly without heightened emotions is also important, it will help you create confidence in the relationship, which can turn into trust.

Learn all about each other, ask questions, listen, be interested, share personal information, values, experiences and history. Confide in each other. Be open, reveal information about yourself and reassure each other how you feel, this will further strengthen the foundation of trust.

2) Keep things confidential

Keep what your partner tells you in confidence to yourself. If you share this information with others it will destroy the trust you have built.

3) Be yourself

Be confident about who you are and keep true to yourself. Don’t try to change your personality to make someone else happy. If you try to become someone else for your partner, it may seem inauthentic and that will not help build trust. It’s also important to be yourself in front of others. If your partner see’s you putting on an act with your friends or family, it might make them wonder how honest you are. Present your true self no matter who you’re with to show that you’re a trustworthy person.

4) Honesty

I heard a great quote recently about the difference between truth and honest. Truth: I’m having an affair. Honesty: I’m having an affair with your husband. It’s important to be honest and not to hide things. Even small white lies will start to put an element of doubt in someones mind. People often hide some elements of the truth with the intention of protecting the other person, but it often has the opposite effect. It’s also wise to avoid unnecessary secrecy as this can cause suspicion and lack of trust.

5) Consideration

Consider your partner’s interests. The more you do for them and the more considerate you are, the they will know that they can count on you and that you have their best interests at heart. If your partner feels like they can count on you, it will make it much easier for them to trust you.

6) Reliability

Do what you say you’re going to do. Keep your promises, be dependable and accountable. Show up when you are meant to, call when you have said you will, keep your word, be someone your partner can count on. Small actions matter toward helping you to build a strong foundation of trust.

7) Vulnerability

Be confident to show the real you, flaws and all. Don’t feel like you have to be perfect, never showing any weaknesses. By revealing all of yourself, including your insecurities, trust will grow.

8) Apologise

Learn to apologise when you make a mistake or disappoint your partner. Follow the advice in this blog post in order to give a truly authentic apology. If you can learn to apologise for your mistakes, it will build the trust in your relationship as receiving a sincere apology builds trust in an important way.

9) Forgiveness

Practice forgiveness when you are upset with your partner, and let go of a hurt after the two of you have talked it through. Follow this advice on how to forgive.

10) Space

Make sure you have time for yourself and give your partner space. This allows both parties to reflect and hopefully miss each other. Having a break from each other it will make you appreciate the time you spend together more.  If you are excited to see each other after some time apart, this helps to form a deeper connection and builds trust.

11) Don’t judge

Every time your partner tells you something personal try to make them feel accepted, and express empathy, this will encourage further sharing in the future. If you criticize them or judge them, it may put them off confiding in you going forward. Supporting them can strengthen your intimacy.

12) Be supportive

Let you partner know you are there for them, both by telling them and also ensuring your actions mirror this. Take their side, offer encouragement, have their back. You don’t always have to agree, but it’s can be more important to be supportive than it is to be right, or even if you disagree, there is a way to do it in a supportive way.

13) Spend quality time together

Spending quality time together reawakens a sense of excitement about the other person, which can build a deeper sense of connection and trust. Try not to get stuck in a lifeless routine of watching TV, playing on your phone and not communicating properly with each other. Spend some good old quality time together focusing on having fun, enjoying each others company and appreciating each other. If you are open to new experiences and spend time together doing things that make each of you happy you will build the bond between you and trust will follow.

14) Don’t take each other for granted

It can be an easy trap to fall into that you get so comfortable with each other and the relationship that you take each other for granted. You can start noticing the little things that annoy or irritate you and start picking at those. Remember the awesome things about your relationship and take time to appreciate what you have and how you would feel if you lost that. Being grateful for what you have can invoke feelings of trust and appreciation for each other.

15) Know when to end the relationship

Of course, the main effort should be working on making a relationship a success, however there does come a time when you might have to accept that the trust has been broken and there is nothing more you can do to fix it. Often through desperation of trying to get the trust back and trying to get the relationship back to how it used to be when it was great, can mean that you stay trying to fix it for a long time whilst one or both parties are miserable. You can start questioning yourself and driving yourself mad, so there comes a time when the healthiest option is to end the relationship. This is when you know you have done everything in your power to make it work, but there are no options left and you are unable to mend it.

 

I’d love to hear in the comments below how you build trust and what you have done when it is broken.

 

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The lasting impact of Dry January http://bestselfology.com/the-lasting-impact-of-dry-january/ http://bestselfology.com/the-lasting-impact-of-dry-january/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 05:28:04 +0000 http://bestselfology.com/?p=1021 I decided to embark on the dry January challenge because I was unhappy with my lifestyle for the last few months before Christmas. I was out every night, drinking to excess, wasting lots of days with a hangover and staying out really late meaning a severe lack of sleep. I considered committing to cut down, but knowing […]

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I decided to embark on the dry January challenge because I was unhappy with my lifestyle for the last few months before Christmas. I was out every night, drinking to excess, wasting lots of days with a hangover and staying out really late meaning a severe lack of sleep. I considered committing to cut down, but knowing what I am like, I felt that probably wouldn’t have much of an impact, so I decided abstaining all together would be the better option.

Many people sent me all sorts of evidence on why Dry January was a terrible idea and why it was actually bad for me, in order to try and persuade me not to do it. What surprised me most was how anti it some people were. Some admitted they were nervous I would realize they were not much fun if I was sober! Some said that having one month off booze was pointless and wouldn’t improve anything, others said that they just wanted their drinking buddy back.

After a while when people realized I was dedicated to this challenge, they gave up trying to persuade me to start drinking again. Many actually said they were impressed with my willpower. The funny thing was, I didn’t actually need strong willpower after a while. I really got used to not drinking quite quickly and what I loved about it was that need disappeared and I realized that living my life without alcohol was easily possible.

I really am not waiting until the 1st Feb and thinking YIPPEE I can have a drink. I definitely think this has changed my habits for the long run, not just for a month. Will I never drink again? No, I will enjoy a drink, I especially missed a glass of red wine with my friends on a Friday night, but will I go back to my previous overindulgent ways? I really think not. Having a month of drinking nothing has changed my outlook and has broken the habit I was in.

It has also reinforced to me that as per Gretchen Rubens definition, I am an abstainer. I don’t do well with moderation, but I find abstaining much easier. I seem to be all or nothing! This is good to know when trying to change a habit, as I get very frustrated when I try to cut down on something and don’t succeed.

I have listed some of the awesome benefits I have found from having a month off the booze:

1) Friendships

I feel like I have created deeper friendships in the month I have not been drinking. I am much better at listening when I am sober. Its one of the things I need to work on most even when I am sober, but after a few drinks I’m at my worst! Not having any alcohol helps me to focus more on my friends, ask questions and find out what is going on in their life rather than keeping conversations at a surface level.

2) Exercise

In November and December I had lots of good intentions to exercise but they were often hampered by my hangover! I have now got back into the routine of regular exercise, as I wake up fresh in the morning. I’ve created a good routine of doing HIIT training most mornings from YouTube and also Bikram yoga. You definitely can’t do Bikram with a hangover, so it’s been great for me to get back into that.

3) Microadventures

I have been more creative in the things I have organized to do as I don’t want them all to revolve around drinking. Since moving to Budapest, I have fallen into the habit of going out drinking and partying quite a lot as there is so much choice and great places to go. Not drinking has made me consider other activities to get involved with which has helped me with my micro adventure challenge. It has also helped me make more of the days as I have got up earlier and I have not had a single hangover day wasted in bed or on the sofa.

4) Health

I look better, I feel better, my skin looks more healthy, I feel less tired. One of my friends said they thought I was glowing when I caught up with them lately. I can notice that my skin looks a lot fresher and I feel much healthier in myself.

5) Sleep

I have slept way better since not drinking. I have got 7 or 8 hours of good quality sleep every night and its made a big difference. I recently read Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and she emphasizes the importance of getting a good nights sleep. I was, as she described, quite proud of needing little sleep, but since I have been more relaxed about getting more sleep over getting up super early, I have felt more awake and I am more productive during the day as I am not nearly as tired.

6) Responsible decisions

Since I have had a month of no alcohol I feel that I have been more true to myself. I’ll be honest, I think that it can become quite easy to make poor choices and hide behind the ‘I was drunk’ excuse. Not drinking means you have to take 100% responsibility for your actions, therefore resulting in more sensible decisions.

7) Happiness

I have spent January doing things that I enjoy. If I was not enjoying myself then I left and went and did something else. Previously, I may have stayed and got a bit more drunk until I started to enjoy myself, I don’t think this is a healthy position to be in. I want to be enjoying myself without alcohol, not just drinking through it until everything seems better!

 

So yes, I am feeling the health benefits, absolutely, but the real advantages have been much more than health. I now view drinking alcohol differently, it’s not something I need in order to have fun. I had got to the point where I really questioned whether it would be possible to go a full month with no booze at all, which in itself is a worry! I saw some people doing dry Jan but making an exception for one or 2 particular events, which worked for some people, but for me being an abstainer, I would just start making more and more exceptions, so the full month without a drop was better.

I’d love to hear your comments about whether you did dry January, how easy it was, what you think about it and if you did it, whether you found any benefits from it.

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