Month: April 2016

Living and Learning

Living and Learning

My school’s motto was “living to learn, learning to live” designed to inspire you to achieve decent qualifications and give you a head start in life. In my case it opened the door for me to gain a degree in Psychology, without which I wouldn’t have the career I do today ūüôā

Official learning is valuable, but so is unofficial learning…

I’m talking about us learning on the job!

What do you think you have unofficially learned during your life so far?

What wisdom have you gathered?

Here is a light¬†afternoon tea selection of life learning for you… Enjoy!

  1. You are unique Рthere is only one version of you. The best thing you can do is be true to who you are. Embrace your personality, opinions, body shape, humour, likes and dislikes. You want to travel? Do it! You want to learn to read the tarot? Great! You want to start a blog? Go for it! You want to climb the highest mountain in Scotland? Have fun! You want to vote to leave the EU? Ok! Your overall happiness will improve when you tune into your true self, engage in activities & make decisions that suit you, and when you vow to stop comparing yourself to others Рthey are not you!
  2. Social media is not representative of real life. Instagram pages are the worst culprits I think for displaying photos of how wonderful life¬†is, in a¬†delightful filtered fashion. Now don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a Valencia filter as much as anyone, but social media does require a caution before use. The photos are highlights. Celebrities and generally famous people can afford/are paid to live a¬†certain lifestyle. All snapping their new designer handbags in moody lighting. Friends can also enhance their experiences. Enjoy the photo, take a pinch of salt, and carry on with your day ūüôā
  3. Receiving feedback is a good way to learn. Negative feedback can be¬†tough to take, but it is recommended to take constructive¬†criticism¬†in the spirit it was intended. None of us are perfect, and most of us could benefit from the odd tweak. If someone is genuinely trying to help you and wanting to encourage positive change – be open to it. Top tip: Taking things personally only makes you feel bad – don’t waste your energy.
  4. I can’t do the splits, but I have learned to be flexible in other ways. We are the same person 24/7, but when it comes to interactions with others we can adapt. Being flexible is a positive approach to relationships. As we get to know people, we know what presses their buttons, what they feel comfortable with, and we gain understanding about where they’re coming from; others get to know this about us too.¬†Ideally, we meet near the middle and both enjoy the results. E.g. meeting a friend in the daytime, rather than the evening, so they can have family time. If you rigidly stick to your idea of meeting them in the evening – you might not see them at all!
  5. We can’t control what happens to us, we can only control our reaction to it. This list wouldn’t be complete without some CBT learning ūüėČ It speaks for itself really; we have choices. We can choose our response. We can choose our behaviour. We can choose to rise from flames like a phoenix! Or something less dramatic but along those lines hehe.

Let me know if you have any wisdom to share – I’d love to hear it!

Have a good week,

Take care,








Words vs Actions

Words vs Actions

As a ‘wordy’ type a.k.a a chatty blogger, I appreciate words.

Most days we all engage in writing, reading and talking. Word central!

Definition of talking:¬†To express one’s thoughts or emotions by means of spoken language

We share information, we engage in conversation, we ¬†problem-solve, we debate, we plan, we commit…

How much weight does a verbal commitment have?

Depends on person, on the situation, and on the day.

wedding couple

Question: Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, and forsaking all others, be faithful only to her, for as long as you both shall live?

Answer: I do

Two tiny words with a huge promise; your wedding day vows are possibly the most powerful words you will ever say.

On a worldwide scale, some momentous speeches have gone down in history.

Martin Luther King,¬†The Queen, J.K Rowling…

Click here for a list of the best


In my day job, I offer a ‘talking therapy’¬†a.k.a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.¬†I work with clients to formulate their problems; we discuss them and strive to understand them.

Sometimes, especially in the early stages, the talking alone can be therapeutic.


Sometimes talking is not enough

Once the problem is understood, the next question is always eager to leap out into my therapy room:

What can we do about it?

Action is needed.

A significant proportion of therapy gains are achieved outside the therapy room.

The introduction of small improvements to a routine, new techniques to manage unhelpful thinking, and brave out-of-the-comfort-zone behaviours are all recommended, but they require implementation to actually be effective.



They say talk is cheap;¬†I say…


It is a really positive thing to commit to something, and then follow it through.

My friend recently completed a marathon – a huge commitment – which was backed up by months of training, and rewarded with the final achievement of finishing a 42km run! ūüôā

It’s reassuring when people mean what they say.

I have several friends who are married; they love each other, they stick together, and they look after each other – standing by their vows everyday.

It’s inspiring when people value their commitments.

It’s tough to complete a course of therapy. In 12 – 16 hours you open your vulnerable self up, and commit to improving several aspects of yourself and your life to overcome depression or anxiety. Some people do drop out; for those who finish, I always highlight¬†their commitment to therapy as something to be proud of –¬†I ¬†hope they’ll see the benefits in the days, weeks & months that follow, if they haven’t already!

It’s reaffirming when people¬†consistently match their words and actions.

We can trust and rely on people who back themselves up with their actions

We can be like this too.

Back yourself up.

Take care,







Everything could be tickling along well, when…


What’s this?! It all sounded so positive and now Jaws has made an appearence.

The emotions triggered by this photo is what anticipation can feel like .


I’m specifically talking about birthdays and anniversaries of loved ones who have passed away.

Often the anticipation for these type of events is usually worse than the actual day


Anticipation is our mind’s way of preparing us for “something” – because we don’t know for certain what these days will be like, our mind wants to prepare me for the worst.

Worst = Anxiety


Ways you can help yourself during these times…

1. Face what is comingwrite in your diary or talk to a loved one

Facing your fears is always better than avoiding them or pretending they don’t exist, the latter only increase their power.

2. Remember anxiety peaks and then gradually passessimilar to a shark’s fin I noticed this morning!


Anxiety can be triggered by our thoughts and our anxiety rating can shoot up to 100%. Over time it’s been proven if you tolerate this feeling rather than resisting or avoiding it, your anxiety rating gradually reduces. It won’t feel comfortable but it will be worth it.

3. It’s normal to have anticipation about birthdays and anniversariesthey are sharp reminders our loved ones aren’t here, rather than a regular Wednesday.


4. Predicting the worst happening on those days is unhelpfulimagining yourself, for example, having a meltdown makes it more likely to happen…

We can inadvertently programme our minds to be hyper-aware of upsetting triggers, we imagine the day will be awful, and predict we won’t be able to cope with it. A build up like this makes the original prediction part of a self-fulfilling prophecy; it doesn’t have to be this way.

5. The day will bring what the day brings – we might be upset, we might not, we don’t know.

Accepting the day is coming, and making an agreement with yourself to deal with whatever happens on the day is the most gentle and kind thing you can do for yourself.

The sea looks & feels much better shark-free…


Take care,


Sneaky grief

Grief follows it’s own path. Some bends you expect, you anticipate, and prepare yourself for…

Sorting through belongings – it’s understandable to become nostalgic.

Looking at photos – it’s natural to become tearful.

Attending events where they should be – of course you will miss them.


Sneaky grief occurs on days when everything appears fine; there are no obvious triggers, you’re in a different environment, and maybe the ‚ėČ is even shining.

A simple “how are you?” can open floodgates you didn’t even know were loose.

Your friend hugs you and it feels like you’ve needed one for days and never realised.

These rougher moments throw you off course when you’re not expecting them, catching you off-guard.

Three insights about moments like these:

*They’re normal – everyone has them, it’s ok to have them
*It’s ok you didn’t predict it – it’s not possible to know every rough & tough moment you’ll experience during grief
*They will pass – emotional waves always break, it’s a natural fact


Steady yourself.

Then do your best to keep going – you can handle it.

Take care,