Time to Grow


Life is in a constant state of change, some good some not so. In fact the world we live in is changing faster than we can keep up with in many ways as we strive to make life smarter, simpler and more efficient with more and more complex technology.

Yet it has been a long time since we faced a common global problem that seems to affect the entire world to the degree that this pandemic is. COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, is forcing the entire world to adapt to a serious health threat. This is creating a serious dent in economies causing many people to lose their businesses, their jobs or are being placed on furlough for several months with huge uncertainty hanging over all of us.

Ironically we only really thrive when adversity hits home because comfort is the biggest reason why people get stuck and fail to achieve extraordinary things. It’s rare to find a success story that isn’t accompanied by hardship and struggle. Most people who succeed are often motivated by adversity.

If you find yourself in a situation that allows you to take things easy, you’ll probably fall into a false sense of security and this is what keeps you from engaging in any activity that can help you achieve more than the average person or more than you have previously. This happens when our mental health takes a downward turn, and when it’s not addressed we learn to feel helpless, hopeless and at the mercy of life. This is not the case, we are in control of ourselves and have next to no control over what happens outside of ourselves. We have a choice in how we respond to people and events.

The point is that we are often scared of what will happen if we take chances and make decisions that will help us improve our lives, but the coming year is likely to force us to make decisions we’ve never had to make before, and we have to make the most of this situation in order to thrive rather than just survive.

This is the time to really focus on yourself and work on all the things you’ve not had time to work on up till now. This internal focus is about being able to help you clarify and enlarge your vision and will help you discover your true dreams and establish your goals to make them come true, ensuring that the outcome of achieving those goals is congruent with your beliefs and values and that you are aware of, understand and accept the sacrifices and changes you will have to make along the way.

This is about empowering you and encouraging you to move forward and to break through your self-imposed barriers that keep you from achieving more.

The ultimate aim is to help you take your life to that higher level that most people never achieve. Just think of how important it is for you to develop this awareness and adaptability, because we are in a very difficult period and people are going to need to adapt to this crisis and you could be the on that helps them do just that.

This could be the perfect opportunity for you to start doing what you love. It may be the time for you to start your own business or even quit your job and start doing something completely different with your life.

Uncertain times call for people who are driven to succeed, those who take challenges head on and are adaptable and responsive to change. Sometimes we fail to realise that our mindset is going to determine how far we get in life. We’ve all read about successful people in self-help topics, books and videos, but if your mindset is not in tune with your desires, you are never going to take action.

I want to help you change your mindset and give you clarity because when your perception of life changes your ability to commit to your goals is going to be increased tenfold. This is the true secret to a life of success, to have the opportunity to change your mindset and that is the reason why taking the time to invest in your own growth is so valuable.

We are facing challenging times, but we can always find ways to rise above those challenges and make the most out of what is happening right now and define or redefine our purpose in the world and thrive in doing what you truly love.

Simon-Maryan-black-high-res

P.S.

If you would like to use this time in lockdown for your own benefit then sign up to my online course which will help you to discover and define the changes you want to make and where you want to go in life. It gives lifetime access and you can work at your own pace.

Sign up here to start your next growth phase.

 

 

Maintain Order in Chaos


In a fast changing, seemingly chaotic world right now, it is so important to maintain order within yourself so that you can navigate stressful times with relative ease.

What can you do to maintain structure in your life, what can you focus on that helps keep you motivated and positive as much as possible?

There’s plenty of choice when you look around.

 

Managing Anxiety in Stressful Times


stress-2902537_1280

One of the most important things in working with anxiety is helping people change their relationship with their anxiety.

With any intense emotion, in some ways, it’s important to make friends with it, to tolerate it and recognise that any emotion is a form of communication with your and from yourself. It’s a signal to pay attention, to pay attention to what is this trying to tell me? What is this feeling, this emotion, this anxiety trying to tell me about myself, about my relationships, about the world?

So, I think the first piece of the work is to try making friends with it.
An often useful metaphor is:  A child is laying in the bed and fears the monster under the bed. What does the parent do?

We might always think that it would be a good ideas a parent to turn the light on. Get a torch and look under the bed for the monster rather than sitting on the bed and saying tot he child, “Oh my god, the monster’s there.”

If we sit on the bed and don’t look at the monster, and we don’t say, “Hi, monster. What’s going on?” – then the monster continues to grow bigger and bigger. Yet when we turn the light on and really look at what’s there, it’s then that we can begin to manage how we’re going to deal with the monster if there’s a monster there. And if there is, how are we going to deal with that monster and communicate with it effectively?

Another way of managing anxiety is to find a message and meaning in it. I believe meaning-focused work can be helpful with many issues.

One of the dynamics that present barriers to managing anxiety has to do with focusing on the future or the past, and not being able to stay focused in the present.

If we think about worry, it’s focusing our attention on the future. If we think about rumination, it’s focusing our attention on the past. Worry and rumination both take us out of the present.

So, intervening in ways that help people ground themselves in the present moment can reduce anxiety. That way, we’re not living in the future of worrying what’s going to happen? or living, ruminating the past, playing over and over in our minds some past situation we regret.

danger-4931411_1280

Another metaphor that many people have heard, and is attributed to Cherokee people is the story of the two wolves.

The grandfather is telling his grandson, “There’s a war going on inside of me between two wolves. And one of the wolves is very, very evil and bad and is filled with anger and arrogance and envy and all these negative emotions. And the other wolf inside of me is really good and filled with empathy and love. And the same fight is going on inside of you, my grandson, and going on inside of everyone.”

And the grandfather pauses, and the grandson reflects for a moment and asks the grandfather, “Well, which wolf is going to win?” The grandfather pauses and says, “The wolf that you feed.”

So that idea that it’s what we feed that grows. And if we’re feeding anxiety and fear and anger, if that’s where we’re focusing our attention, then that’s what’s going to get bigger and bigger and bigger. If we feed kindness and love and self-compassion, then that’s what’s going to get bigger.

One of the things that I’ll work with clients on is what their life would look like if they fed the good wolf.

If your energy was put towards feeding the good wolf, what would that entail? What would you need to do differently to nurture and put energy towards those things?

The first one is in relationship to what I was just sharing, and it’s called the FACTS. F-A-C-T-S — Foundational Attention Centering Techniques.

The FACTS are things like meditation, breathing, and visualization. These are strategies to focus attention in different ways. And these are skills that can be learned.

Particularly for people who have a lot of anxiety, being able to ground themselves in the present, in their bodies, in their breathing, and assemble a visualisation or a mantra, is centering and meaningful to people. So, that’s one set of the core four strategies – again: the FACTS, Foundational Attention Centering Techniques.

The next cluster of techniques that I think is helpful for anxiety are the expressive-creative strategies.

We can help people identify whether it’s expressive arts— drawing, painting, finding expression for the turmoil that’s inside. Active creative activities – problem-solving in terms of inventing something or fixing something, where the attention is on using cognitive processes in the service of creativity. Creating arts as well as daily things — fixing a car, working on a car — having those kinds of outlets are creative expressive strategies. Or, physical movement — dance, sports, athletics, things where we are engaging in expression. So that’s the second.

The third is reflection exploration strategies. Another set of techniques for managing anxiety would be, as I mentioned with the other question – journaling, writing, avenues for reflection where we can take a step back and get a little observing self-activated, really ask ourselves questions about, “What am I thinking? What am I feeling?” Self-monitoring. “When do these things come up? What triggers my anxiety?” So the reflection exploration is about getting to know yourself better. Any strategy that can help you be aware of, again, the triggers, to be aware of the thoughts and feelings. That could also involve dialog, talking with someone, having a sounding board for one’s thoughts and feelings. Again, reflection. Reading, learning, reading articles, getting informed — that gives you a stimulus for reflection.

So the first three — the FACTS, the expressive-creative strategies, the reflection exploration strategies. And then the fourth is what I call healthy lifestyle and values congruent self-care.

We’re looking at four areas of turning your attention. And again, all these have a commonality of where we put out attention – turning our attention to healthy habits, healthy relationships, healthy pleasures, and a healthy world.

So, what kind of healthy habits can we develop? The healthy habits that relate to diet, nutrition, and exercise all help with anxiety management. Healthy relationships, healthy pleasures.

So how do you relate to anxiety: you can go down the list of all the ways that you respond once anxiety has come up. One of the first ways you can change your relationship is to change your initial interpretation of what it means that you’re feeling anxious.

Most people’s initial interpretation of anxiety is, something really is wrong, or something really bad is going to happen, or there’s something really wrong with me – I don’t belong here.

And one possible other interpretation is, this anxiety is arising because I care about this; I care about this person; I care about this situation.

There are other possible interpretations: this is a moment that matters, or, anxiety is arising because anxiety is how I do life. I mean, there’s a lot of different interpretations you could have. But that’s one relationship you can change: that very first thing you say to yourself about what you believe it means. You can also change your habits of behavior, which is the sort of non-avoidance; if you know that, when you feel anxious, the first thing you do is you try to escape it by avoiding the cause of the anxiety – maybe you start to work on that behavior if that happens. Maybe you notice, when that’s not possible, you try to numb what you’re feeling with a drink or with food; maybe you start to change that habit.

You can also change your relationship to your anxious self. You can have more compassion for the part of you who is anxious rather than feel like if you were the right kind of person, you wouldn’t have anxiety; there’s something wrong with you; there’s something wrong with your brain – that sort of broken brain model of anxiety. You can also develop different brakes for the anxiety.

So, what do you do when the anxiety feels like it’s spiraling out of control?

cyclone-2100663_1280

Most people’s attempts to break it are avoidance, or control coping – where people have rituals where, if they do something, they can make themselves feel better. In dysfunctional anxiety, often people are insensitive to safety or support to you – so something that you can change your relationship to is, when you’re trying to put a brake on the anxiety spiralling out of control, you can maybe think about attending to safety cues or support cues: In this moment, are you safe? Are you breathing? Who supports you? Who cares about you?

The resources that I know we’re going to talk about – that there are a lot of other things you can use as brakes to the system spiralling out of control. So those are all things that I would consider part of your relationship to anxiety.

The great thing, as we’ve been talking about, is, when you change these things, you really do change your experience of anxiety – and sometimes the anxiety goes away, sometimes it doesn’t. But you have so much more freedom and flexibility in response to the anxiety and having the choice in how you respond to your anxiety is a key art of relieving it to some degree.

 

 

References:

Four Core Strategies to Neutralize Stress and Anxiety

Shelly Harrell, PhD, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, Rick Hanson, PhD and Ruth Buczynski, PhD

NICABM

ICARUS Online


File 24-04-2018, 14 59 03

I wanted to share a link to an update from ICARUS Online, the non profit organisation I set up this January with my freind and colleague David Bellamy.

It is gaining momentum really fast and we are helping more and more people, and more and more people are helping us which is awesome. It’s all about teamwork and really positive and powerful collaboration to get things done.

So here’s the link to the website and another directly to the blog post.

https://icarusonline.net/icarus-online-supported-by-scottish-fire-rescue-service/

https://icarusonline.net

Simon

Mind-Matters Podcast Series #4: Judith Hammond


This episode is a conversation with Judith Hammond who I first met in 2013 as we were on the same NLP Trainers course. Judith tals about being abused by her mother physically, mentally, verbally and psychologically/emotionally.

Judith explains how this conditioned her through her life and how she coped with this and work place bullying, abusive relationships and always managing to find the reserves to be there for her own kids despite all this.

It’s a deep and emotional conversation full of amazing insight into her life and how she has dealt with traumatic experiences. I have no doubt that like me, you will gain so much from it.

If you enjoyed listening to this episode and the others then please share them with your friends, family, colleagues and leave your thoughts and comments and your own experiences.

 

 

Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline


It’s been a busy time since before Christmas in my house with a trip to New York to speak for the NYPD Hostage Negotiation Unit and the New York Association of Hostage Negotiators and the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force. This month I’m speaking as part of the Seton Hall School of Law in Newark’s Spring 18 Crisis Negotiation Course, to talk about hostage survival.

We also sold our house and found a new one just before I left for New York, so straight after Christmas and New Year, it was all hands on deck to pack up the house ready to move on the 19th January so it’s been a tad crazy, to say the least.

In amongst all this, I have been discussing, planning and beginning the creation of two new initiatives with a very good friend of mine and fellow psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, David Bellamy, read all about his work here: www.davidbellamy.org

Through David, we have connected with three former Generals; Peter Currie, John McColl, and Andrew Graham. We also have onboard former Colonel David Richmond CBE who is about to finish working as Recovery Director at Help 4 Heroes and chairman of the Contact Group.

The first initiative is to update the working structure of the military charity sector. At present it is unregulated, there are no minimum standards of operation required for start-up and ongoing and this has lead to many people being neglected, ignored and falling by the wayside. Over the last ten years, these are the people I have treated for PTSD and all it’s associated conditions and this working group that has come together is in complete agreement that things must change. The irony is that the system is not failing people because of a lack of funding, it is failing them because there is far too much bureaucracy, red tape, and BS.

I am not by any means saying that it’s all bad, there are some great people doing great work for many people, however, as with any system there is always room for improvement and it is now time to implement changes that mean more people can benefit from those positive changes.

Some of the changes being discussed are:

  • a national standard on military charities that require them to furnish proof of certain minimum standards and accessibility in return for which they become approved on a national list.
  • sharing of resources, information, and learning because at present this does not happen. There are 350+ military charities and mostly working in isolation which is crazy considering what could be achieved with total collaboration and cooperation. This would entail national sharing of resources, treatment, response and technical ability.
  • run both initiatives as a not-for-profit organisation

The second initiative which has been easier to get going is a national free phone number for serving and veterans to access advice, help, and guidance on mental health issues.  Ironically, while I was looking into setting something like this up, Lord Dannatt wrote an article in the Daily Mail on 14th January, you can read the full article here, Lord Dannatt’s article in the Daily Mail

In the article, he states that the government had declined the option to set up a 24/7 mental health helpline for serving personnel because it would not be cost-effective. The outcome of their assessment of needs concluded that it would require 40 therapists, cost £2m and attract less than 50 calls per year. This does not make sense because if they needed 40 therapists then they would be expecting far more than 50 calls a year surely?

My own research into costs showed that it is cheap to get started and can be increased as demand requires, so we have set up a freephone number 0800 6890864 for all serving and veterans to call should they have mental health concerns for themselves or someone they know. The company we chose to provide the phone service has given us 90 days free trial and then its £24.99 +VAT per month, we have two therapists available at present and we are building a list of volunteers to help as demand grows. So the cost is far from prohibitive as the government suggested.

Our aim for this is to provide unbiased, impartial, confidential, free advice, guidance and help for people serving in the British Armed Forces and veterans with mental health issues. We no longer want people to feel ashamed, afraid, embarrassed about asking for help, and as we are not connected with the MoD or government in any way we offer complete confidentiality. A large part of what we aim to achieve is to create a network of charities and organisations that we can steer people towards to access the specialist help they need that’s local to them. We also provide counseling, therapy, and coaching as part of our service.

I emailed Lord Dannatt and through his PA I now have a telephone conversation booked for Monday 12th February to discuss what we have done so far, what our future plans are and take advice and guidance from Lord Dannatt to ensure that we at least match his expectations of this sort of service.

I have also been in touch with ITV’s This Morning and my email is with the planning team who do the scheduling so I am keeping my fingers crossed. On top of this, a new friend Stephen Finlayson is helping by speaking to his connections at the BBC who he dealt with for a programme about him from a couple of years ago and also introducing me to people he knows at the CTP, (Careers Transition Partnership) who organise resettlement for people leaving the forces.

We are looking for funding and support across the board, so if you have any ideas or would like to help us in any way then please get in touch via my email simon@simonmaryan.com or via the facebook page which is Forces & Veterans Mental Health Helpline Facebook Page 

Please share this with your friends, family, colleagues etc and help us to spread the word about the service we offer and what we are striving to achieve.

Here’s to a very successful 2018 for all of us.

Simon

Mind-Matters Series Video#9: Why Do We Limit Ourselves?


It’s a strange thing about human beings, we are often our own worst enemy because of how and what we think. We deny ourselves the opportunity to improve and grow purely because we limit ourselves through a lack of self-belief, lack of confidence and all because we think we can’t do it, can’t have it, can’t be it, don’t deserve it. These thoughts come about through conditioning from other people as well as our own homegrown rhetoric and are often developed through a lack of focus and understanding of what it is we actually want for ourselves.

This lack of awareness and focus can be hugely detrimental to our lives in terms of achieving what we want, yet it can take just a few minutes a day of learning to focus our minds, clearing the crap (thoughts and behaviours) and setting it on the right path at the beginning of each day enables you to become aware of what does make you happy, what really flicks your switch and then you can start to take action and make changes in your life and design the one YOU want and not one that others want for you.

I hope this video gives you food for thought and is a starting point and/or a catalyst for you to start from.

As always I’m here for guidance.

Simon

Mind-Matters Series Video#8: Get Shit Done


head-1345060_1920

 

If your head has ever felt like it is full of too much shit and you can’t think straight, can’t make a decision, can’t get motivated to do what you want and/or need to do and you find yourself procrastinating.

Well, here is a short video explaining why we procrastinate and what we can do to change those negative habits of creating excuses not to do what we want or need to do. Below is a link to my Goal Setting pdf that is yours to download for free and while you’re there take a look at the other downloads available there for free too.

https://simonmaryan.com/free-stuff/

 

Being Sceptical and Open Minded


Yesterday I had a comment from a lady who had watched the video of a session I did with a client where I used my Emotional Release Technique. This lady’s name is Paula and she followed along with my instructions as the video played and in her comment she admits that she was sceptical before hand as she did not believe it would be so simple or so effective. Here’s her comment:

“So impressed! I did this along with the video & was amazed that it does actually work,

this is not set up or fake at all. No disrespect but I was sceptical & could not understand

how this was possible & that maybe she was deliberately moving her arms but I was soooo

wrong! My arms actually moved with the negative & positive thoughts. It was an

overwhelming realisation that I have so many strengths & qualities but was overburdened

with a sense of not being good enough & being insecure. That has now changed! I burst in

to tears when focusuing on the distance between the two but that was because I realised

with so much clarity how much i was holding myself back by allowing negativity being so

dominant. I feel so free & unburdened now & will definitely use this often to redress the

balance & reafirm the positive. such a profoundly amazing feeling of calm, feeling light &

happy. So Simple yet so effective, wish I’d discovered it sooner! Thank you!! 🙂 x”

I completely agree with her initial doubts and scepticism, I think it’s important to be sceptical and not walk headlong into things that you have no evidence to prove or disprove it. It is also important to have an open mind and test things out so that you can prove or disprove it for yourself, this is how we progress and learn as human beings, we test theories, we study and test other peoples strategies, how they work and see if they work for us as well.

So be sceptical and keep an open mind or you could miss out on some amazing experiences and not learn something extremely valuable for you. Paula wouldn’t have had the amazing experience she had if she hasn’t kept an open mind and would not have learnt a valuable skill that she now has for the rest of her life.

Here’s the video again so you can watch it and maybe even try it out for yourself.