The Self Help Bible

Simple Self Help

The Self Help Bible - Simple Self Help

Self Esteem – Why it’s Important and How to Improve Yours Easily in 10 Days

Self Esteem – Why it’s Important and How to Improve Yours Easily in 10 Days

A healthy level of self esteem is major factor in determining how you do, how you feel, how and even who you are.  It really is essential to keep your self esteem as high as possible and there are some really simple ways to do that.

How to improve your self esteemWhat is Self Esteem?

First of all, let’s look very briefly at what self esteem actually is.  I think the easiest way to explain it is to start by thinking about who your ideal you is.  You might do this by thinking about someone you really admire, someone you think is beautiful, someone who has achieved things that you would love to achieve, or someone you consider to be a good or clever person.  Or, you may prefer to do this in a more abstract way, by considering the qualities you would like to have, or the things you would like to accomplish.  Or, you may like to think about the things about yourself that you would change and in what way.  However you choose to do it is just fine, as long as you can get a clear idea or picture, of what the ideal you is like.

The next thing to do is to compare where you are right now, with the person you would like to become.  Where are the differences?  Are they physical or intellectual? Are they mainly things constrained by values and beliefs you hold or emotional issues?  Again, however you measure and compare them is just fine.  This isn’t a black and white issue, so whatever answer you give yourself, as long as it is honest, is the right one.

Now that you have two markers, the ideal you and the you as you currently see yourself, you can measure your self esteem.  It’s basically the gap between the two! It’s worth remembering that this is only how you see yourself, pick one of the things you dislike about yourself and ask your kids about it, for a different point of view!

Now, it doesn’t need me to point out, that if your image of you as you currently are is very poor, then the gap between that and your ideal you is going to be huge; and the bigger the gap, the lower your self esteem.

It’s a vicious circle.  If your self esteem is low, you will have all sorts of unhelpful beliefs about yourself and are less likely to move quickly towards your goal.  So, what can you do?

Think about your best friend.  They’re no more perfect than you are and yet you love them just the same.  Imagine them making a mistake or an error of judgement. Would you get angry with them? and if you did, would you hold it against them forever?

Would you remind them at every possible opportunity how stupid they are? Would you punish them by making them overeat, even though they want to lose weight? Or deny them things they enjoy, to teach them a lesson?  Chances are, if you did they wouldn’t be your best friend for long!  It sounds silly and yet this is exactly the kind of thing we do to ourselves all the time!  Trouble is, that unlike a friend who can distance themselves from you, you’re stuck with yourself!

What has this got to do with anything you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you, it’s very simple.

Your unconscious mind, the part of you that runs your body for you, stores all your memories, protects you, heals you and controls your emotions, is like a young child.  It’s listening in all the time to what goes on around you and inside you; and it takes everything very personally.  Every time you put yourself down, or beat yourself up, your unconscious mind is listening in and taking offence.

How to Improve Self Esteem – Fast!

So, here’s a challenge for you.  For the next 10 days:

  • Speak to yourself – and that means inside your head too – as though you were your best friend.  When things go wrong, learn how to get it right next time and move on.  You wouldn’t shout at a toddler for falling over would you?  Of course not.  So, don’t dwell on the mistake, focus on a successful outcome next time.
  • When you look at yourself, look for the positive things instead of noticing every little flaw, and if you see something that isn’t as good as it could be, think about it as you would say it to a friend.  Be kind to yourself.
  • Find things you like about yourself and notice them out loud (you can do it when you’re on your own so you won’t feel silly!)
  • Praise yourself when you do something well. If you really want to make this super effective, combine a verbal congratulation with a physical gesture, like patting yourself on the back or squeezing your thumb and first finger together.  This creates a neurological link between the great feelings you associate with praise and the physical thing you do – then when you feel less great, repeat the physical gesture and you’ll find the great feelings come back too!

It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for anyone to fit these simple steps into their daily routine. I guarantee however, that if you do all of the above for 10 days, you will have installed a set of really beneficial habits in yourself and you will feel better.

Once you have mastered these easy steps, you can begin to add to them and really build your self esteem.  Then you can concentrate on your goals and the steps that you can take to move towards them and becoming that ideal you; developing your focus and recognising the opportunities that will occur with increasing frequency, as you attune your mind to be open and seek them.

Treat yourself as though you were your own best friend, because ultimately you are the only person you can count on 100% and the only one who will be with you 24 hours a day, every day of your life.  The only thing you have to lose is low self esteem.

PS …….. For more ideas on how to understand and improve self esteem, why not take a look at a copy of my book About Self Esteem and How to Be Confident. You can see more about it and take part in a fun quiz on my Facebook page.

Shortcuts to a Positive Mindset

Shortcuts to a Positive Mindset

I’m often asked how I stay positive and whether or not there are any easy ways to get a positive mindset. At the risk of losing my air of mystery, I thought I’d share some with you!

So here is the first in series of short audio posts on shortcuts to a positive mindset.

Positive mindset shortcuts 1

I hope you like it and find it useful, please be sure to leave a comment if you do!

Three Harmful Habits You Should Drop Today

Three Harmful Habits You Should Drop Today

Do you harbour a grudge?

Worry unnecessarily?

Spend time going over things long after they happened?

Three habits guaranteed to do nothing but waste your time and energy and wear you down. Like many of the negative emotions on our spectrum, they contribute nothing positive to your life

I read a fantastic blog post this week, which illustrated this point beautifully, using the powerful medium that is a story.

The post was on my friend Mike Smiths blog so why not head over there right now and see what I’m talking about…

Go, on! Click the link here and go and read it for yourself :-)

Be the Best You Possible!

I didn’t really get caught up in the Olympic fever, but one story really resonated with me because it reaffirmed one of my strongest beliefs. Whilst this is no surprise given the way our unconscious filters in the things which fit in with our beliefs and values, as I explained briefly in a post on my other blog, it still feels good when it happens!

It’s my belief that every child has a seed of greatness in them, that if nurtured and cherished will blossom.

Not everyone will go on to be an Olympic champion, but they can go on to be the very best version of themselves and that’s all any of us can hope for.

Here’s the story, taken from Sky News….

“While 80,000 people in the London Olympic stadium held their breath, wondering if Mo Farah could become the first Brit to ever win gold in the 10,000m, one man had no doubt.

Alan Watkinson, Farah’s PE teacher and the man he credits with turning his life around, knew he’d be a champion from the age of 11.

“He was a lively kid,” Alan recalls with a wry smile. “He was swinging from the goalposts and doing all sorts of crazy things in lessons but he loved PE. He loved sport, he loved to be active and that was something that needed to be harnessed.”

Farah came to south west London at the age of eight, an asylum seeker from Somalia.

In a mainly white school he stood out and the language barrier didn’t help matters.

Mo Farah

Farah came to the UK from Somalia as an asylum seeker when he was eight

He fell behind in lessons and started to get into scrapes, but Alan spotted Mo’s talent and persuaded him to try athletics.

Back then, Mo was more interested in football than running, and Alan had to resort to bribes to motivate him to win competitions.

“I said if you win the English Schools (he had come ninth the year before) I’ll buy you a football kit. And he did win the English Schools.

“So before the Olympic final yesterday, I sent him a text message saying ‘If you win I’ll buy you a football kit’.

“He hasn’t sent me a text back yet so hopefully he won’t expect it!”

Far from being just another teacher in Mo’s past, Alan has stayed close friends with the long distance runner, even standing as his best man at his wedding.

Watching his protege cross the line in the Olympic Stadium was an experience Alan says he will cherish.

“I was jumping up and down and screaming. The people next to me must have thought who’s this guy? What’s he doing?

“It was just a remarkable feeling. From knowing him 17, 18 years ago and seeing him develop from that youth who had a few troubles at school but who was charming and good humoured … to see him go from that to the stadium in London was just … you couldn’t make it up.

“Tears were rolling down my cheeks, I don’t think I even saw him go across the finish line I was so emotional.”

He’s gone from a mischievous child to an Olympic champion, but Mo Farah can’t relax yet – he’s scheduled to compete in the 5,000m final next week.”

Isn’t that a wonderful story!

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a teacher like Alan Watkinson. Many don’t even have a friend or parent to believe in them.

What I would like to say to you if you have grown up feeling unloved, unworthy and unfulfilled is..

It’s never too late!

At any moment in life we all have choices. Choices to do, say, think, feel and be what we will. It may not always be easy to make the right choice and your race may be starting way before the start line, but the past does not equal the future.

You can build a great life despite a poor start.

You can be so much more than you know if you will just give yourself a chance.

Mo Farah became an Olympic Champion with the help of his PE teacher, who saw and nourished that seed.  You can become a more brilliant version of yourself by routing out and cherishing your own shoots of brilliance.

Why not start a new race today.

The race to be the ultimate you, whatever that might mean. Build yourself up and start the journey to the life of your dreams.

I know it can be done because I have been fortunate enough to work with people who have changed their lives around. You can do it too!

You deserve it, all you have to do is believe that, want it and be prepared to make the choices to make it happen.

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends and leave a comment below :-)

Positive Parenting

I know that I’m sometimes very deliberate in my parenting and I am aware that I might go on a bit sometimes to make my point, but let’s face it, no-one teaches you how to parent do they? You don’t get a guide book on ‘Good Parenting for Kids’ or how to acquire the necessary parenting skills with your first born!  We all hear lots about bad parenting and I don’t want to fall into any of those traps.  I probably drive my children mad! Positive parenting I like to call it, and those moments when they naturally demonstrate a lesson I know I’ve purposely taught them, make it all worthwhile!

A couple of weeks ago, whilst camping with my children, our great British Summer weather struck and our tent was destroyed. Not just buckled a bit, or frayed; completely and irrevocably broken.

We were in a museum avoiding the rain when I got a call from the camp-site to tell me. It was one of those moments where time starts speeding round in your head and at the same time standing still, or so it seems. Part of me wanted to panic, cry and ask someone else what to do. Part of me wanted to laugh. Yet another part wanted to stamp my foot, cross my arms and shout “It’s so unfaaaaair!” To begin with I did none of these – thankfully!

I have trained myself to look for learnings everywhere in life and so once I’d got into the car and started driving, my brain switched into ‘Ok, what can we get from this mess then?’ and I put on what my Dad always called my ‘determined head.’

Sure enough, the tent was destroyed, but the camp-site owners gave us shelter that night in their ‘Campers Lounge’ (a lot like a big shed!) and we collected another tent the next day. The immediate problem of where to sleep was solved.  In a way, that became irrelevant. What was important to me, was that the boys see that I wasn’t defeated and that we could find a solution. We stayed positive and we still had fun. We turned a disaster into an adventure.

Yesterday, my eldest was stringing some green beans, with my ‘safe’ bean stringer. He pushed instead of pulled and deftly sliced off the side of his thumbnail! ouch! Without much fuss, he then continued, only to slice the top off of his other thumb!

I tended to his wound – it was pretty deep – and told him to go and sit down and that I’d finish the beans. He said “No. “I won’t be defeated by this mum!” and having sussed out that the problem was his technique – he was pushing the stubborn beans onto the blade rather than pulling them through – and in doing so stringing his thumbs too! – he finished them off.

“Great attitude” was all I said, but it was one of those positive parenting moments for me and I was grinning inside. I always try to encourage the children to look for other ways to do things and above all, to never give in, and this little episode was great proof that my message is hitting it’s target somewhere!

 

You Need a Change!

The quote in the picture is from an 18th Century French writer and philosopher, Denis Diderot. Funny isn’t it that some things remain true no matter what the era you live in. Charles Darwin talked about ‘survival of the fittest’ but I think it’s much more accurate to say survivors are those best geared for adaptation.

In my work as a coach and when writing my books, I see my role as being to guide my clients/readers through change, to a more empowered and enlightened position. Interestingly, one of the first questions I am often asked is “Why do I need to change?” My answer is always the same!

Your current mindset, skill set, perspective, habits and behaviours have got you to where you are today. If you are looking for a coach, then I’d guess it’s because there is an aspect of your life that you’re not entirely happy with. If that is the case, then at least one of those things needs changing!

For many people the fear of change is so great that it over shadows their dislike of things the way they are.

Do you fear change? Do  you find reasons and excuses why you can’t have, do or be something more than at present? Not enough time, not enough money, too many demands already, don’t deserve it, it’s too expensive/good/decadent for me… the list goes on, but in the vast majority of cases it comes down to the same old things. Low self esteem and/or self worth and fear.

Perhaps the first change you need, is to change the way you view change! That’s almost a tongue twister isn’t it! You need a change of perspective. The way you think and feel about change will determine your success rate and be the deciding factor in whether you even begin the process. Does the word change sound like a death knell to you? tie your stomach in knots and make it difficult to think clearly through the ensuing mental fog? or does it sound like an invitation to have fun, feel great and make progress towards a brighter future and achieving your goals?

Change doesn’t have to be scary. It can be liberating, exhilarating and life changing. It doesn’t mean you have to stop being who you are or change all the great things about you; it means doing more of those and being and even better version of yourself! 

What one thing would you like to change if you could and what’s holding you back? I’d love to hear so please do leave a comment below.

 

 

 

Positive Parenting

 

As parents we constantly put our children first, often going without ourselves in order to give to them the best we can. We do this because we love them and want to be the best parents we can.

If I was to say to you, that you may be creating all kinds of problems for your children and even limiting their potential, you may think me rude or harsh. That isn’t my intention. You see your example is perhaps the most important gift and lesson that you will ever give your children. From the day they are born they are watching you and learning from you. Seeing how you interact with others, how you behave in different situations and how much, or little, you value yourself.

Many of the beliefs you now hold as the pillars of your life, you will have taken on from someone around you when you were very young. Someone who may not have known any better. The way you feel about yourself was created when you were too young to understand what was true and what wasn’t, and again, will reflect those who peopled your life.

If you want to be a great role model for your children, and I think almost all parents do even if they’re not sure how, then the best way to begin is by working on yourself.

Freeing yourself from limiting beliefs and increasing your self esteem and confidence will not only enrich your life, it will also set a shining example for your children, one which they can follow and which will allow them to lead more empowered and fulfilled lives.

If you have thought about self improvement and shied away, perhaps through lack of time, lack of motivation or because you ‘just couldn’t see the point’, I’d like to urge you to think again.

Do it for your children or do it for yourself. The results will be the same and you and everyone around you will benefit.

Dreams Are Real!

It’s an accepted fact, that your brain does not differentiate between what you actually experience and what you only imagine; what happens outside your body versus what happens inside your head.

It’s what allows you to feel real emotions when you watch a film or listen to a piece of music and to recall and refeel an event from your memory. It’s also what makes your dreams seem so real, and if you’ve ever had a nightmare or seen someone else experience one, then you know how life like they appear.

Now scientists have found a way to demonstrate the effect on the brain during dreams, using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and other sophisticated equipment; to prove the point.

Their studies showed quite clearly that the area triggered in the brain by a real action, squeezing a fist, was also triggered when the dreamer dreamed they squeezed their fist. So to the unconscious, there was little, if any, difference between the two.

 ”Our dreams are therefore not a ‘sleep cinema’ in which we merely observe an event passively, but involve activity in the regions of the brain that are relevant to the dream content,” explains Michael Czisch, research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry.

This helps to explain why techniques like visualisation and hypnosis, therapies like Time Line Therapy™ and other self development tools like dream boards, well formed goals and affirmations work so well; because your unconscious accepts them as real. As far as your brain is concerned, the scenario you just imagined in your head is real. So when you worry about what might happen, you experience all the dread, fear and other emotions as well as the chemical processes within your body, that would arise if it really did happen – for nothing! Just one great reason to focus on positive things and occupy your mind with happy endings!

As well as helping to explain why the techniques which use an element of active imagination work so effectively, this also gives us carte blanche to daydream! So next time you get caught ‘miles away,’ ‘away with the fairies,’ or with your ‘head in the clouds’ you can smugly explain that you are merely dreaming your future into reality!

 

To read a full report on the findings of the study carried out click here

 

 Time Line Therapy TM is a registered trademark of Tad James, licensed exclusively to the Time Line TherapyTM  Association, Inc.  

Is Your Mind Making You Ill?

I read a really interesting piece today on what ‘s called the Nocebo effect, whereby people suffered real side effects when given placebo drugs. In other words, they had a real reaction to something which could not cause this reaction. The nocebo effect occurs when people experience unpleasant side effects, from medicine or a medical intervention, after being told to expect them. It’s a bit like the opposite of the placebo effect, where the patient has positive results from taking something inert and differs from hypochondria, or health anxiety, whereby the sufferer imagines his or herself to be ill.

This has been known about since the 1970′s, when a man told he had a few months to live due to a liver tumour died as expected. Less predictable was the fact that the post mortem revealed that his tumour was actually much smaller than had been diagnosed and the cancer was not in fact serious enough to have been fatal. It was as though he’d died because he expected to.

A study more recently conducted has now shown, that you are more likely to suffer the possible side effects of medication for example if you know in advance what they are.  Reactions from headaches to nausea, dizziness to skin rashes were seen in the study. Pretty much anything you might find listed in a packet of pills.

What this shows is that the mind is able to create real and unpleasant physical symptoms from mere suggestion and pessimistic expectation. The article went on to suggest that many modern day ailments may be caused in part by this phenomenon. Things like headaches usually attributed to electronic equipment and PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) it suggested, may be due in part at least to your negative expectation. In other words, you create a self fulfilling prophecy. You expect to feel ill and so you do!

Personally, I never read the contra-indications or possible side effects on medicine before I take it! and interestingly, I’ve only ever reacted badly to one – an allergy to an antibiotic.

I had a client however, who seemed to get every possible side effect, regardless of what the medication was for, and yes, they did read the list before they started and fully expected to suffer the consequences! Perhaps I am just made of resilient stuff, or maybe I am just not giving my mind the unhelpful suggestions to feed on and manifest from….


I’d love to hear what you think of this…..

 

 

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