What’s your love language?

 

love language photo

What’s your love language?

We all have different ways of feeling loved. Some of feel loved when our partners spend quality time with us, some of us prefer it when our partners do things for us – like cook us dinner or take us somewhere nice…. our preferred love language can cause problems when we automatically assume that our partners feel loved in the same way we do.

Just because you like gifts to feel loved and special might not mean that your partner feels as loved when you buy them a present. So, expressing your own love language to your partner and finding out what their preferred love language is can go a long way to improving the longevity of your relationship.

 How to spot your partner’s love language

Observe their behaviour – how do they express love and appreciation to others?

What do they request most – this will show you what they prefer. Do they ask for help with activities, chores around the house or do they harp on about going on a holiday with you?

The love languages

1) Acts of service

Getting breakfast in bed, mowing the lawn, fetching the dry cleaning…these are all examples of acts of service.

2) Quality time

This involves spending time together where you are focused on each other. It doesn’t count if you are in the same room but ignoring each other.

3) Gift giving

Gift giving and receiving is extremely symbolic.All gifts have an emotional value.

4) Physical touch

Affection, sex and touching can all help bond a couple together.

5) Words of affirmation

Some of us need to hear the words “I love you” as well as positive verbal affirmations about how much we mean to them, how important we are.

Relationships take work and the above five love languages can all be used to help a relationship along. Keep in mind all five and make an effort to use them all, especially the main one that you know your partner appreciates. The more loved your partner feels the more you will receive back too.

Mandy X

More info: Gary Chapman – The Five Languages of Love (Book)

Photo by Glenn Loos-Austin

Doing the right thing

 

good versus bad photo

Doing the right thing

There will be times in life when we will need to make moral judgements. Life will constantly provide us with opportunities to make decisions that test our higher wisdom as well as our petty emotional attachments to issues in life.

Forgiveness is the essence of higher wisdom, it transcends the quagmire of life that pushes us off course. Tapping into our higher wisdom makes the world a better place. A client of mine recently had to make the decision to help a sick relative that she had not spoken to in many years. There had been years of bad feeling and the bitterness had built up.

She felt that this relative had behaved badly and that they had done too many things that destroyed the chance of them ever rekindling any type of relationship.

Then one day, she came to me and explained that she had had an epiphany. We had spoken about personal responsibility in life and doing the right thing in therapy sessions. She told me that even though her relative had been despicable, she was still responsible for reacting in a way in line with her values. She was responsible for her own behaviour irrespective of how her relative had behaved. It was because of this that she had decided that she would go to his aid. She saw herself as a kind and caring person and even though her relative was not kind and caring (in her opinion), she felt strongly enough that his behaviour should not change who she fundamentally was. I found this thinking incredibly enlightened!

I wanted to share this as I am sure there are many readers who may gain useful insight from this blog post and this particular client’s way of thinking. Doing the right thing does not mean you condone bad behaviour but it does mean that you have compassion and empathy and can rise above the menial squabbles that bring us down in life.

Mandy X

Photo by seanmcgrath

Wonderful free pleasures in life

 

sunshine photo

Wonderful free pleasures in life

1) The sounds of the ocean

2) Clean linen in bed

3) A kiss and a hug

4) The feeling of sunshine on your skin

5) Petting an animal

6) Sharing a joke with someone

7) A hearty laugh

8) Birdie’s tweeting

9) A walk in a forest

10) Marvelling at nature

11) Making snow angels

12) The sound of a baby giggling

13) A tickle.. (my personal favourite!, especially on my shoulders!)

14) A good night’s sleep

15) A clear starry night

 

Wait you waiting for – go get some!

Mandy X

Photo by Jiaren Lau

Smarter Every Day

 

bicycle photo

Smarter Every Day

A friend sent me an email link this morning and I just had to share it with you. This video is a great example of the plasticity of the brain and how, as we grow older, our brains become more set in their ways. We find it harder as adults to think differently about things we have learned. Watch a guy having to learn a new way to ride a bike by ‘unlearning’ the old way – this process can be applied to many things we learn in life – attitudes, opinions and the habitual way we do things can all be unlearned.

 

Take a look – fascinating stuff:

Cognitive Bias and Plasticity of the brain:

 

Smarter every day!!

Mandy X

Those that disagree with you

argument photo

Those that disagree with you

One thing that I have come to learn over the years is that there will always be someone who will disagree with you about something. It’s a case of not being able to please everyone all of the time.

There are many ways to look at things in life, so it may be that there are many correct versions of something depending upon the way you look at it. When we try too hard to be right all the time, it can end up revealing more about ourselves. People who wish to force their view points upon others are often trying their best to convince themselves. Their irrational reasoning is that if they can convince others to think the same way they do, it reinforces that their beliefs must be correct. The mind is incredibly powerful and we can pretty much convince ourselves of anything if the intention is there.

At times, it’s best to agree to disagree. Save your energy for like minded people and learn to pick your battles. Follow your heart and be true to yourself and don’t take it personally when someone has a differing opinion to you. It’s got more to do with them than you.

Mandy X

Photo by Sharon Mollerus

6 Ways to live a happy life

happy life photo

6 ways to live a happy life

Don’t take things personally

We are egocentric beings which means that we tend to interpret neutral events according to our own personal influences and ideas. We all have existing biases that underlie our perceptions of the world. As a result we tend to think that other people’s behaviour is somehow aimed at us or that we have somehow caused them to behave in a certain way. One of the fundamental keys to being happy is to learn not to personalise other people’s behaviour.

There could be a number of other reasons as to why someone seemed to ignore you, or appeared to act angrily towards you and believe it or not, these reasons could have very little to do with you. Cut yourself some slack and give yourself the benefit of the doubt. “Act dumb” – if no one tells you there is a problem, assume everything is just fine and dandy.

Be adaptable and flexible

The more you can embrace change and the lack of certainty in life, the better off you’ll be in the happiness stakes. The more rigid your rules about life are, the more often they will be broken. Learn to go with the flow sometimes and you will find that you will ‘bob’ along the waves and ups of downs of life quite nicely instead of exhausting yourself trying to stop the waves coming.

Don’t over think

Over thinking can lead to faulty assumptions and we end up building our own stories upon things that didn’t even exist to begin with. Whilst it’s important to be self aware and have a general purpose in life, it’s a very bad idea to spend too much time in your head. Worry is generally unproductive unless it is resolution focused. If you are wondering why someone said something or whether something will happen in the future, remember that the only thing certain is the moment right now. Learn to live and take action rather than living in your head endlessly where anxious thoughts are bound to creep in unnecessarily.

Believe in your own abilities to get through tough times

Have courage and faith in your own ideas – never let others dilute your resolve. Others can be negative and can end up a source of anxiety in your life. Remember that they don’t always know more than you do, they just might be more persuasive and manipulative though. Trust your instincts. If I listen to my own advice, I am taking responsibility for my own decisions. If I take someone else’s advice and it doesn’t work out, I may end up resenting them and feeling worse. Believe in your own ideas and know that you are much wiser than you probably give yourself credit for.

Life a life with integrity

When you live a life according to your values, it is much easier to like the person staring back at you in the mirror. For me this means being kind and not gossiping about others behind their backs. I dislike two-faced people and would much rather someone told me what they felt to my face even if I didn’t like what they had to say. Be the same person no matter whose company you are in. When we stick to our core values, we develop a strong inner core that helps us feel strength and stability when things around us seem not to be constant.

Be true to yourself

This involves being assertive when you need to be. It doesn’t involve over indulgent people-pleasing. Follow your heart and live the life you were meant to lead. We all have a calling in life but sometimes we never really listen to what that is.The more you feel you are living life to your true potential the happier you will be.

The above 6 ideas are a great start to recapturing that illusive thing called happiness. Happiness comes when you are living the life you want and appreciating what you have, not chasing the one you think is still out there.

Mandy X

 

 

How to release stress in the workplace

 

stress at work photo

How to release stress in the workplace

One of the most effective interventions that I use with clients is called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Here are five ways in which CBT can be used effectively  to reduce stress in the workplace:

1) Reframing

Instead of thinking the worst, reframing involves reminding ourselves that there are always other ways to look at stressful situations. When we feel overworked and underpaid, it is easy to to feel resentful and allow stress to get the better of us. When we watch out thinking, we can always find something to tell ourselves that reduces stress. As an example – instead of telling ourselves that we have a dead end job and that life is terrible (catastrophising) we can reframe by telling ourselves that all jobs have bad days and that tomorrow is another day when things will be better.

2) Mental Shelving

Figuring out the difference between what we can and what we can’t control is the first step to efficient mental shelving. Once we have done whatever we can towards our goal, it is important to mentally ‘shelve’ the project/task until we can once again take positive action. When we worry about things that we have no control over, we waste energy that could be channelled toward more productive pursuits.

3) Mindfulness

Use an app such as “Headspace” to tune out the world. It’s important to stop and take stock every now and then. Have a calm place that you can go to in your mind, even for 5 minutes at a time to reset your stress levels. It could be a bench in a tranquil park or a hammock on a beach – whatever helps you to relax.

4) Stop trying to do too much

No one is perfect – give it up already. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a good job but you are buying into corporate exploitation when you work till midnight. Stop it. Take time out for pleasurable pursuits. You won’t get any awards for working yourself to death. Make sure you aren’t using work as a convenient escape to not have to deal with other important issues in your life. It’s all about balance.

Mandy X

Photo by Alan Cleaver

In the eye of the storm

eye of the storm photo

In the eye of the storm

None of us like to be in the eye of the storm. In the thick of it where everything is going wrong, where it’s stressful and we can’t always see a way out. I want to give you a different take on being in the eye of the storm, one that might just help you to feel more comfortable about being there…

When you feel overwhelmed and stressed by life, this is the time that you gain the most in terms of personal development. This is when you realise your strengths, you get to test your mettle. So when it all feels too much, remind yourself that this is real life, you’re not observing..you’re in the thick of it. Pat yourself on the back and remember that things will calm down again.

Mandy X

 

Photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video