We all know new year’s resolutions don’t work. Probably from our own, personal experience. Yet every year we seem to get swept up in the January frenzy of gym memberships, new eating habits and grand plans to suddenly change every area of our lives.
There is usually nothing wrong with our intentions or our motivation. We genuinely do want to change and become healthier, happier versions of ourselves. And why shouldn’t we? As humans I believe we all have a tendency for growth and development. So, why is it that about 80% of new years resolutions fail by February?
I was recently asked to write a guest blog for a wellbeing colleague, who is a massage therapist. She wanted to feature a series of interviews with people who are passionate about their work. Here’s what I wrote:
As a counsellor and mindfulness coach, specialising in health, wellness and personal development I help people to connect more deeply to themselves, so that they can find their own answers and ways forward in life. I work with people 1:1 as well as lead courses and workshops teaching mindfulness and other techniques for wellbeing and self-development to help people realise their potential and live their lives to the fullest.
As an independent interfaith celebrant I help people create ceremonies for special occasions like weddings, funerals and baby blessings, that are deeply personal and meaningful, drawing on any religious, spiritual or secular beliefs as required by the individuals. In an increasingly secular world I find that people want options that are flexible and truly reflective of who they are as they celebrate their special moments.
I have always had a deeply rooted desire to help people grow. Through my studies and experience working with people I have found that people naturally want to grow and develop. They just need the right support and encouragement to do so.
I believe that most people will at some point in life ask themselves the big questions like “Why am I here?” “What’s life all about?” and when they do I would like to be there to help them figure it out for themselves!
I love seeing people connect more deeply with themselves and accessing their own wisdom within. Nothing gives me more pleasure than when clients are empowered to be more themselves and change their lives for the better!
Seeing couple’s well up on their wedding day and getting to say: “I now pronounce you husband and wife” is a close second.
I know for sure that everyone has everything they need to realise their potential and live their lives with authenticity and joy. I never lose sight of a client’s wholeness and innate wisdom as we work thought their presenting circumstances together.
My calm, caring nature and flexible approach, the fact that I don’t tell people what to do or think, I trust them to work it out for themselves.
Slow down and go within, everything you need is already inside you.
21st century ministry
When the Buddha set out his noble truths, which form the basis of Buddhism he established that 1. All is suffering and 2. The cause of suffering is desire.
Modern psychology also agrees that it is part of our human nature to always want more. It seems to me that our capitalist and consumerist society is based on these principles and when we buy into them we end up “living in the gap”. The gap between where we are in life and where we would like to be. This is a painful place of dissatisfaction, envy, self-pity and frustration.
There always seems to be something missing, a new car, a bigger house, a better job, more time with friends, more fancy holidays, clothes, experiences, etc. But have you noticed that when you acquire the new things, desire doesn’t stop. At least not for long.
Soon the new clothes are old, the holiday has been and gone and there is another new job or even bigger house on your wish list.
It is not only material things we desire, it is feelings and states of mind as well. If you think about it, what is it you hope that the new job or car is going to bring you? Happiness? Joy? Peace? These states can not be obtained by outside circumstances. This is like the biggest scam in our human lives. We all go around believing that we can make ourselves happier by achieving and / or acquiring things. But this is impossible, for as long as we rely on things outside of ourselves, we live in the gap.
When we want things to be different than they are, we are living in the gap. We are actually disagreeing with reality. What could be more painful or more futile? If you are stuck in an unpleasant situation, does it help to disagree with it? It is basically a childish response, like a toddler throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their way. It is disempowering, upsetting and completely pointless.
Here are some ways to help you get out of the gap and into the Now:
As a counsellor I often ask people I work with what their main priorities are in life and what they would like to focus on. Health is rarely top of the list, if it’s even on there at all.
I often find myself reminding clients that their health is their number one asset. It is the foundation upon which you build your life. Without your health it may be very difficult to do all the things you want to do and to enjoy life to the fullest.
Looking after ourselves inside and out is a fundamental part of living a happy, fulfilled life. So, why are so many of us neglecting our own wellbeing?
I know that those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy good health and freedom from illness or symptoms often neglect our health. I also know that for those who have been diagnosed with conditions and / or suffer from symptoms, it can be that much harder to take control, find motivation and really commit to a plan for promoting health.
There are many factors that contribute to good health and they all interact with each other in different ways. It’s important to create a holistic and realistic plan that suits your needs and lifestyle. Regardless of your current circumstances, there are things that you can do every day to improve your health, build a strong foundation and be the most well you can be. The most important thing is to discover what is stopping you from investing in your health. This is often a deep-rooted feeling of not being worthy or good enough. Working through these limiting beliefs can help create an attitude of worthiness, so that you can start to treat yourself with utmost respect and care.
Some of the main elements for promoting good health are:
If you would like to talk about what’s getting in the way of you prioritising yourself and your health, contact me for a free consultation.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a counsellor. As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I pictured myself sitting with someone and helping them figure things out in a deeply meaningful way.
As I grew up I didn’t have a term for this and I couldn’t find a job title or an education that quite fitted my internal image. So I went travelling instead. I studied people, cultures and languages as well as spiritual practices and philosophy until one day I came across the term counselling and I knew that was the right job for me.
I studied counselling and psychotherapy at Edinburgh University, to get a solid foundation for working with people in a therapeutic way, using psycho-dynamic and person-centred principles. Then I went on to do continuing professional development with the Interfaith Seminary where I learned about implementing a mindfulness-based approach that takes the soul or higher self into account.
Using a mindfulness-based approach adds another dimension to regular counselling. It aims to go beyond the mind to a deeper place, where truth and connection can be found. As human beings we tend to spend a lot of our time being led by our minds, getting caught up in thinking and even identifying with the thoughts that the mind produces. This can be confusing and sometimes painful, when the thoughts we are having are triggering feelings like fear, guilt, anger or hopelessness.
When we learn to connect to a place beyond the mind, we can learn to process and understand our thought and emotions, whilst not identifying with them. We can also learn to have compassion for ourselves as we realise that we are something more than the sum of our thoughts, actions and experiences.
What that something is, whether you call it your soul, inner self, awareness or something else, is totally up to you. Some people may even experience a connection to something beyond themselves, like a powerful force for good, infinite intelligence, divine presence or universal consciousness. Again, what you choose to call this experience is completely up to you. The main thing is to have a direct experience of that deeper place within and find discover what truths it holds for you.
My job as a counsellor is to guide, accompany and facilitate your journey within. I do not tell you what to believe, but allow you to discover your own truth and help you to find ways to live that truth in the world. Working from an Interfaith approach I have an awareness and understanding of the world’s faith traditions and will work with you in a way that is respectful and inclusive of your beliefs, whether you identify as religious, spiritual, atheist or agnostic.
Counselling is a deeply therapeutic process, which can help with things like:
If you think that counselling might be right for you, contact me via the form below for a free initial appointment to find out more