This is a video about the my Anxiety Workbook & some feedback that I received. The feedback was that it is empowering & helps people problem solve fro themselves. This is very much the aim of my book & my therapeutic approach. I am giving away 6 copies of th ebook to people who are willing to try it out themselves or in their work environment & give me ( hopefully positive!! please!!) feedback.
LAURA MORRISSEY COUNSELLING·SATURDAY, 22 DECEMBER 20181 read
This time of year often calls upon us to reflect on the past year and think about the year ahead. It can be a time of happy memories or of sadness or a combination of the two. It can be poignant on so many levels.
Dreaming about how you want the next year to shape up is a vital tool for making it happen. It is true that we have very little control about so many things, life and death are part of the human condition. We cannot make people love us again but we can have some control over things that are within our reach.
It is true that what we visualise is very likely to happen. We imagine disaster or failure and manage to make it come true. The opposite is true also and this is the amazing part of our brains and how we choose to use them. We can spend hours ruminating over disasters that may never occur or past events that we cannot alter, so why not spend more time on shaping our dreams and making them a reality?
Athletes use visualisation in order to ensure they succeed, they imagine the training session, the race or the game going well and them winning. They realise that to imagine failure will result in failure:
“When athletes visualize or imagine a successful competition, they actually stimulate the same brain regions as you do when you physically perform that same action. Visualization in sports or mental imagery is a way of conditioning () your brain for successful outcomes.” ( www.peaksports.com/sports-psychology-blog/sports-visualization-athletes/)
I know that we can make (some) dreams our reality. A tool for helping us is that of the ‘Vision Board’. This is a visual board that encapsulates what we want from the year ahead. It is a visual reminder of our hopes and dreams. They can take any form that suits you as an individual. It can be completed on the computer, laptop or phone or images can be pinned to an actual board or printed off so that it that hangs on your wall, somewhere that you can see on a daily basis.
It can be made up of just images or images & words. It can have inspirational quotes…whatever works for you! The process starts by collecting images in the first instance, images that appeal to you. Cut them out from magazines, take them from the computer…write down phrases that speak to you, collect motivational quotes.
Next blog: I shall offer some hints about how to create your board or if you feel like it, create it now! The beauty is that it is yours, individual to you and cannot therefore be wrong. Have fun, dream big, imagine the what ifs….
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
LAURA MORRISSEY COUNSELLING·FRIDAY, 4 JANUARY 2019
In my last Blog, I talked about how important it is to visualise what you want rather than what you do not want to occur in life. Visualisation is the opposite of anxiety, it allows us to dream of how we want our life to look. It is anticipatory rather than fear driven. It is liberating and actually helps us to achieve our hearts desires…On elf my goals
The thought of creating a vision board may sound daunting but it is far from it. My last blog encouraged you to cut up magazines or mine images or quotes from the internet. The only rules were that they should be aspirational and positive in nature. Things that make you feel happy, hopeful and positive, as things that we visualise are very likely to occur!
The next part is up to you and how you like to approach projects. There are no rules, so if you are naturally creative and free thinking then make up your board exactly how it appeals to you. You can have several boards for different facets of your life or one large board. You can have an image on your phone, tablet or computer that is a compilation of all your images, available to look at whenever you use your device. As long as it speaks to you, the you have a vision board!
If you are wary of getting started then you can follow these guidelines:
Prepare your images &/ or quotes
Separate them into different categories i.e relationships, exercise, healthy eating, job or education.
Dream about what you want to have achieved by the end of 2019. Write it down i.e I want to get that promotion, be in a relationship, have travelled to..? Dream big!
Create your success in images or words. If you want to write a book, design the cover & write your name on the cover. Write No1 Bestseller! Want to receive an award? Then create the image of you receiving it!………..you get the idea.
Start sticking, copying & pasting. You can divide the board into as many sections of your life as you wish and then start applying them.
Stand back & admire. Then add to the vision or be happy with it as it is, your choice!
Make sure you hang it up or keep it in a place where you can see it regularly.
Update it as you meet the goals!
Sharing your vision board with others, if you wish, can be a good idea because it makes the dreams feel more tangible & you can enlist their support.
Enjoy! it is your board! If you like it & it speaks to you, then well done!
I hope this process is an enjoyable one. It does work!
Exercise is vital to keep our minds and bodies healthy. We as human beings, were not designed to sit behind a desk and then go home and sit on the couch. Our bodies are amazing, they self heal, they create new cells, without them we do not exist. It is worth keeping our bodies well and this positively impacts on our mental health. A lot of people say they hate exercise, but there is something out there for everyone!
I personally, have found that British Military Fit (BMF) 3 or 4 times a week ( when well!) for the last 10 years, has saved my sanity. For that 1 hour I cannot think about anything other than breathing. Our instructor Taz is always amazing, calm but encouraging. BMF is not for everyone, I do appreciate that but it is about finding your own personal remedy.
“Taking part in physical activity can improve our self esteem (3) and reduce stress (4), thus helping to stave off the development of mental health problems (5). It improves the quality of our lives (6). It can show us measurable improvements that we can reflect on and this improves our feelings of self worth.
Regular exercise can improve our body shape, our body confidence and can improve our lung efficiency and our auto immune system, thus benefitting our general health as well as our mental wellbeing.” taken from my Anxiety Workbook .
Exercise is an investment. Our bodies sometimes are not truly appreciated until they stop working well. Body and mind need equal attention, they are connected.
(3) lfermann, D. & Stoll, O. (2000). Effects of Physical Exercise on Self-Concept and Wellbeing. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 31, 47–65.
(4) Salmon, P. (2001). Effects of Physical Activity on Anxiety, Depression, and Sensitivity to Stress: A Unifying Theory. Clinical Psychology Review, 21 (1), 33–61.
(5) Zschucke, E., Gaudlitz, K. & Strohle, A. (2013). Exercise and Physical Activity in Mental Disorders: Clinical and Experimental Evidence. J Prev Med Public Health, 46 (1), 512– 521.
(6) Alexandratos, K., Barnett, F. & Thomas, Y. (2012). The impact of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of people with severe mental illness: a critical review. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75 (2), 48–60.
Anxiety is becoming more prevalent. In my counselling practice the majority of my clients suffer from anxiety. The effect of anxiety on our systems is cumulative, a bit like repeatedly filling our coffee cup without first rinsing it out from the last time we used it. Anxiety takes hold of us and restricts our lives.
Anxiety at work or school can prevent us achieving what we are actually capable of, thus making us more anxiety ridden. This is an extract from the Anxiety Workbook:
“Anxiety and stress can affect the ability to perform at school or work. It can make us not want to go into school, college or work. Missing school has a massive impact on our ability to achieve academically. Missing work will often result in disciplinary warnings and possibly dismissal.
Wanting to achieve can make us anxious but it is likely that depression affects academic achievement not the other way around.
It affects ability to socialise, perform well and concentration. Anxiety can make people too scared to go into examinations, make them ‘go blank’ and fail to get their knowledge out onto the exam paper. Fear prevents us doing well and this effects future career goals. This fear and anxiety, unless dealt with, can follow us throughout our lives, stopping us achieving our full potential. This can also lead to depression.(8)”
This is the second part of the Anxiety Compass, contained in my Anxiety Workbook. The book has more information and a guide to help you overcome this condition that can be so invasive.
I designed the Anxiety Compass so that you can evaluate your life, your balance. I have come to realise that our lives need balance in order to make us feel connected with ourselves and with others. This connectivity reduces feelings of isolation and allows us to see our lives as a whole rather than in fragmented pieces. It is only by looking at our lives as a whole that we can see the parts that out of kilter. With knowledge we can then concentrate on that part that is lacking balance, helping to restore equilibrium. With balance comes less stress and inner turmoil.
“Families are complex. Media portrays the idyll, smiling families with 2.4 children, happy, wealthy, often living by the sea in an amazing house. The reality for many is starkly different.
Understanding your family dynamics and personalities can help you understand yourself.
Anxiety does not like to be alone, it feeds off others peoples anxious thoughts and actions. It is all too easy to gathers the traits from those around us, influencing us. Anxious young people often have anxious parents, it becomes the family script “we are all anxious in our family”.
In addition to this is the fact that not all families are supportive, living together or indeed in contact. These realities cannot be altered but can perhaps be accepted rather than railed against. If a family is too dysfunctional then support may be needed from external people.
It can be useful to identify who, if anyone in your family is a calming influence and encourage spending more time together.”
Please read my Anxiety Workbook available on Amazon or through my shop for more information and worksheets to help assess your life!
I am going to share how I developed this model of working. I would sit in the counselling session, some clients talk a lot, some not so much! I have worked in schools and a college for 5 years and you can imagine that some teenagers can be even more extreme at times. I found that a good way of entering the clients world was to plot out their life on a large piece of paper.
As time went on, the themes we covered became more clear, commonalities were everywhere. I then decided to consolidate my approach into a model that can work for anyone.
Life is an intricate web of many interrelated parts that make the whole, the you. If one or more of these parts is out of balance or neglected completely then more often than not we feel unhappy, dissatisfied, out of kilter.
We know things feel wrong but are unsure why or how to make it better. This imbalance means that we use all sorts of coping mechanisms to self soothe. These are wide ranging and varied but here are a few examples:
• Avoid all social occasions
• Stay in your room/home
• Make your life shrink
• Self medicate with drink/drugs • Stop doing things
• Self harm • Give up
If we are able to identify which part is out of balance, then we can adjust it, a bit like balancing a wheel on a car. I have drawn up a ‘Compass’, with you at the centre and all your life parts on the circumference.
I have identified 8 parts that make up a balanced life, each one represents the most important components of a persons life. One part or many may be out of alignment.
The parts are:
1. Home life
2. Educational or work life
6. Digital life
The aim is to look at each ‘part’ in depth, see how you now feed it or starve it.
The next stage is to collect ideas about how that part of you could be nurtured and then you plan for how to address the missing elements.
Each part is taken in turn and can be worked on over the course of a week or a number of sessions. It is up to you!”
Taken from my Anxiety Workbook available on Amazon or copy link one my shop.
Anxiety is the disease of the 21st Century. It creeps into our lives and takes over, piece by piece. It effects our health, our relationships, our joy. We can wake up feeling anxious, go through the day with the feelings of stress and go to bed feeling worse. It can impact on all aspects of our lives and yet all too often we do not know how best to manage it. We put up with it and let it dominate our thoughts, hope and dreams. Anxiety is a ravenous beast that demands feeding. It has a voracious appetite and is never replete. If steps are not taken to tame anxiety, it can be all consuming.
Anxiety is just a word. It is a construct of our over active imagination. We imagine disaster, embarrassment, failure, loss, pain. We struggle with conversations where we should have, could have been so different. We worry about people and how we have offended them, why they seem distant. We ruminate.
What we fail to do is ruminate on the good things. The positives that are in our lives, the successes. This takes discipline, to look on the bright side. However, it is still a choice. We can choose to look for the chinks of light rather than focus on the shadows. I wrote this workbook to help shift mindsets!
“I have been working as a Counsellor for some time now and I would say that a constant theme for most of my clients is anxiety. For some this is unexplained, it is just how they have always been from a toddler onwards. For others there is an obvious trigger- a traumatic event, a loss of a loved one, a crime committed against them. These traumas can be worked through but in the meantime anxiety is invading their daily lives.
Anxiety is a small word and is often minimised, but for the person suffering from it, it can be crippling. Upon searching the internet for solutions I discovered that there is a lot written on the subject but not enough simple interventions that a person can try, before seeking specialist help or medication.
I thought that it may be useful to share one of the tools that I have developed in my practice. I use it with adults and teenagers alike, sometimes as a starting point to alleviate distress and then deeper work follows on or sometimes this approach is enough.
This workbook gives control to the individual. They can see where things are going wrong for themselves and can then change things. I have found that change is the key to feeling better. Whether that be a change in behaviour or acceptance of the things out of their control, change is at the root of managing anxiety.
I have included some theory, but have deliberately not made this workbook too wordy. There are many books available on this subject and I will include some links if you desire more in depth knowledge but it is not essential to know all of the theories before using and benefitting from this book.
It can be used by you, no matter your age, or with you by a parent ( if you allow it!), teacher, pastoral person or a counsellor. The worksheets can be copied and therefore used more than once.”
I have three teenagers in the house aged 19, 18 & 16. Although this blog is not going to offer any great new insights , I thought I would write about the challenges as I am experiencing them!
When our children are young,the worries about them are within our scope of influence . The sleepless nights, the endless questioning. Are they ill? Do I need to seek medical help? Am I a good parent? Are they happy? We can by enlarge keep them safe, love them and enjoy them.
Then with their maturity, the rollercoaster of parenthood really takes hold. They grow and become more independent, turning away from parents towards their peers. This is all part of growing up.
As a parent you become less important in your teens world. They become secretive and share all of their angst on line with any one who will ‘friend’ them, but they will not share with you, the person still responsible for keeping them safe. You become a house sitter as they become older, they need you around but do not wish to be around you. They migrate to their rooms, devices clutched in their sweaty hands, tapping away, sharing or sometimes over -sharing with a world that does not really care. You are a glorified boarding house with food in the fridge, meals cooked if they want to eat at home, heating and all other needs still on tap.
At this stage in teenage development it is like steering a car without brakes or steering wheel. You feel that you are the parent and should be in some degree of control. You want to help, to guide, to avoid them plummeting off the cliff edge of a bad relationship or decision. You, with your years of hard earned wisdom, see the chicanes and the sharp bends that life throws up. You see that the road in front seems to launch itself over a cliff. But, as in a car without a steering wheel or brakes, all you can do is hang on, take a breath, cross your fingers and be there when the crash has happened, hoping that the injuries sustained are minor, a graze or a heart ache that will mend, given time.
One of the main lessons in surviving teenage years as a parent, is to stop believing that you are still in total control. You have to release the reigns in order that they can grow. I have been told to “pick my fights, accept that they are becoming independent adults and please just stop giving advice! Stop being too involved, too concerned.” My role now is to sit back, ready to engage if asked, but don’t meddle.
Surviving this stage is about being loving, from an acceptable distance. I think my only option is to focus on my own life and stop obsessing about things outside of my control. Hearts will break but they will mend. Be there, laugh & have fun whenever the opportunity arises! I will do my best to heed these gems of advice………but it won’t be easy. It’s just not me.
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