Wednesday, 25 June 2014

I'll do it when I get around to it......

For many people, procrastination is the single greatest obstacle to actually getting important things done. It's not that they don't have the time, it's just that they waste it by doing other less productive things until there is insufficient time left.

This strategy is one of avoidance. The task is usually not a particularly pleasant one so any excuse is found to put off the actual "doing" of it. Of course what is happening psychologically is that the procrastinator is running an internal movie or looking at an internal picture of themselves bogged down in this unwanted task. This makes them feel bad, so the unconscious mind finds something else to do instead to take the mind off it. Short term problem apparently solved!

Of course if the job is important enough it has to be done eventually, and then what a great feeling it is to have it done! Suddenly the world is full of possibilities again! This good feeling is the key to defeating procrastination. Instead of thinking gloomily about how miserable you could be when doing the task, deliberately concentrate instead on how good you will feel when it's done - maybe promising yourself a nice treat or a reward when you get there. That way you get to feel good before and after the task, because let's be honest, procrastination is just another form of worrying, and we can all use less of that!

If all else fails, just print and cut out the image above. After all, you said you'd do it when you got "a round tuit"!

Riverside Hypnotherapy and Coaching

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Summer holidays - be mindful!

It's a strange thing but many people's memories of childhood summer holidays are full of sunshine and of generally having a great time. I'm sure there must have been some rainy summers in my own childhood somewhere, after all I was raised in Manchester, but somehow they are not the ones that stick in the memory. Children have an inbuilt ability to live in the moment and not concern themselves with yesterday or worry themselves about tomorrow. Most of the time they are just enjoying themselves, and that is often in their own imagined internal worlds if the outside world has wished a rainy day on them.

As teenagers we tend to lose this habit. The secondary education system and beyond does not encourage daydreaming, and the world of work definitely does not! However, the current growth of interest in mindfulness and self-awareness is perhaps beginning to see a reversal in this trend. Every time you live in the moment and really appreciate the beauty of what is around you, every time you notice tiny little fascinating details in your surroundings, every time you notice how good you actually feel inside you are adding a store of good memories and thoughts in the same way you did as a child during those summer holidays. When the not-so-good times come, you have installed a wealth of great moments to dip into so you can re-live those treasured moments and can feel good at any time.

This is particularly effective if you deliberately surround yourself with things that are associated with the good memories, The triggers are there when you need them. A photo of your loved ones or a holiday souvenir are obvious examples, but you could install others too. If you take the time to really appreciate a blue sky, or a leaf, or a particular bird song, or even a tiny valiant plant forcing its way through the cracks in a city pavement then that sense of wonder rapidly becomes attached to that image and you have the equivalent of that holiday souvenir inside your own head!

Catch yourself in a good moment and then notice something that you can connect to it - a sight, sound or smell maybe. You can use that same sensory stimulus later to re-live the good feeling. The more you practice it, the better at it you get. The better at it you get, the more good feelings you have!

Happy holidays!
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