Managing conflict in relationships

Managing emotional conflict

In relationships, it’s easy to notice the perceived flaws in our partners and think if only they would change all would be well. However, the only person we can change is ourselves. When conflict occurs instead of blaming the other ask yourself “What did I contribute to this, and how can I assist to de-escalate the conflict and build relationship?”

 

What is an emotional trigger?

Emotional triggers are intense emotional reactions usually based in past experiences. When something looks, acts, feels, and sounds similar our brains make assumptions and react as if it is the same.

 

Due to the way emotional memories are stored, when something arises in the present that reminds you of a past event, you may feel the feelings associated with the past event. We call the present-day events triggers because they trigger the emotions associated with the past. We have a hurt part that is defended by a protector part often this is the behaviour seen in times of conflict. Often couples have well entrenched patterns, assumptions and behaviours that reoccur frequently during conflicts.

 

Common situations or events that trigger intense emotions include:

  • rejection
  • betrayal
  • unjust treatment
  • challenged beliefs
  • helplessness or loss of control
  • being excluded or ignored
  • disapproval or criticism
  • feeling unwanted or unneeded
  • feeling smothered or too needed
  • feeling insecure
  • loss of independence

 

How to recognise a trigger?

The reaction can be sudden and stir up intense emotions that can change the mood or pace. It feels big and looks bigger in response to the trigger and can feel out of proportion or make no-sense. However, as our brains like to join the dots and make sense of the situation. So, something occurs, you react, and then your brain instantly concocts a reason for your reaction that seems to justify your behaviour. Leading to blaming the other; you did this and you made me feel X Y or Z because of A, B or C.


How work with strong emotions and conflict

  1. Be aware of when a strong emotional trigger is occurring
  2. Be curious about your own inner reactions and learn about your triggers.
  3. Pay attention to your inner voice, and meaning you are making of the experience.
  4. Although this current stimulus may have similarities to a previous experience, it is different.
  5. Rein in the desire to blame the other or defend yourself self-righteously.
  6. Take ownership of the emotional reaction and name the emotional reaction you’re experiencing – fear, anger, hurt, or shame.
  7. Observe the feeling and take time to calm the nervous system. Be compassionate towards yourself, and/or your partner when you observe a strong reaction. You may need to take time out.
  8. Pause if necessary and take a break when you realise the communication isn’t helpful. Physically leaving can help you avoid emotional overwhelm. If you can, excuse yourself to take a short break. This can help you avoid an instinctive reaction you might regret later. A break isn’t to avoid the issue so comit to return to the discussion later when you both feel more settled.
  9. Take control over your contribution to the dynamic. Use an I statement. When I hear/see/notice (name the specific behaviour in the other) I feel (name the emotion). Then formulate a request. Remeber a true request is open to the repsonse from the other whereas a demand cannot tolerate no!
  10. Listen to understand the other rather than to respond in defence or counter argue. Seek to understand each other’s worlds and look for oppertunities to work together and collaborate

 

 

Making Progress

As we learn to take charge and understand the internal workings of our emotional reactions, we can extend this compassionate, curious attitude to our partner. When we take a gentler, more honest, open, respectful, and vulnerable approach to ourselves and our partner, we are more likely to get the same response in return. Here are signs that you’re making progress:

  1. You’ll recognize your emotional triggers more easily and therefore be less likely to project or accuse the other.
  2. You’ll practice taking responsibility and blame the other less.
  3. Become better at caring for yourself and soothing your emotional reaction.
  4. You’ll notice a gradual reduction in your triggers, and less reactive intensity
  5. You’ll experience less conflict and more collaboration

Why talk to a professional?

Emotion regulation is a difficult skill to master for most people, and it’s not always easy to identify triggers on your own. A therapist can help you practice using more productive communication strategies to express yourself and offer guidance and support as you work towards a more satisfying relationship.

Seeking professional guidance to invest in your relationship will help with:

  • Improved ways to communicate
    • Increased understanding and appreciation of each other
    • Build relationship skills
    • Find problem solving strategies
    • Discover ways to reconnect

Making time to work on your relationships, is an investment in your future happiness. Why wait until it’s too late? Speak to Heather about improving your relationship on Ph: 0405 821 880. In person sessions in line with current health advice or video telehealth consultations available at 10% discount. BOOK HERE

 

 

Buddha Nature: Ocean waves

  1. Everything changes

 The constant nature of change exhibits itself more profoundly in the ocean. While storms may visit, they never last, and calm waters will triumph once more.

“No man can ever step in the same river twice for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man.” ~ Heraclitus

  1. Living fully means taking risks; but choose wisely

If you choose to enter the ocean you take a risk. Surfers strategically pick and choose the best waves. Swimmers chose the calmest beaches. If you don’t take risks, you will never get the ride of your life. Staying safe on the shore may feel comfortable, but you’ll miss out on the fun.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

  1. Patience and persistence

Water flows and because it is persistent in its efforts over time, it can cut through the strongest of rocks, smoothing their hard surfaces. Water does not apply force; it applies persistence over time.

“A river cuts through rock not because of its power but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins

  1. Calmness brings clarity

When ocean waves are churning up the sand and debris it’s hard to see anything. On a calm day the waters are crystal clear. Your mind is like this water when it is agitated it becomes difficult to see. If you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?” Tao Te Ching

  1. We are all connected

The vast ocean can’t exist without each particle of water. Rain falls and flows into streams and rivers which flow into the ocean. Each wave emerges from the ocean and retreats into the ocean. Each of us are part of humanity. We are all one small part of the greater whole.

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”― Brené Brown

What wisdom do you receive from the ocean?

 

The BIG Relationship Test: Lockdown

Is it a ‘love in’ or’ let me out’?

5 ways to improve your relationship right now.

Let’s face it lockdowns are hard for everyone; if you live alone, you may long for company. If you are in a relationship, it may be tough going being together 24/7 add a few kids and no holiday and you could find yourself at breaking point.
You’re not alone, many relationships are being tested right now, the important thing is to work on the issues before they become longstanding and critical. Seeking hep with communication, misunderstandings and habitual disagreements is important for long term relationship health.

Often, we find ourselves stuck in the same patterns, going over the same arguments and it seems to be no way out. This pandemic has highlighted typical problem areas in relationships such as parenting, finances, roles and responsibilities, and intimacy.

Here’s 5 ways to improve your relationship right now:

1. Show an interest in each other. Spend time asking about your partner’s day, listen and be interested in things that are important to them.
2. Develop communication skills. Listen to the other person, use I statements and take responsibility for your feelings and actions.
3. Discover your love languages. How does your partner like to be shown love? Quality time, words of appreciation, acts of service, gifts or physical touch?
4. Be supportive and show appreciation. Ask how you can help, give complements generously and be a good friend.
5. Spend quality time together. Remind yourselves of what you enjoy doing, share a hobby or create a new one, unplug from screens and be together even if it’s just a walk.

Sounds straight forward. What stops us giving and receiving the love we desire? Attachment theory says our relationship patterns were laid down in our early experiences. Our attachment behaviour towards primary caregivers, and their response often determines our patterns in future adult relationships. However, this can be changed by seeking professional help to uncover any blocks and discover the emotional triggers to repattern attachment behaviour.

Seeking professional guidance to invest in your relationship will help with:

• Improved ways to communicate
• Increased understanding and appreciation of each other
• Build relationship skills
• Find problem solving strategies
• Discover ways to reconnect

Making time to work on your relationships, is an investment in your future happiness. Why wait until it’s too late? Speak to Heather about improving your relationship on Ph: 0405 821 880. Video consultations available during lockdown at 10% discount.

People pleasing; the problem with being nice

Are you often accused of being a people-pleaser or too nice?

Do you:
• struggle to say “no”
• find it hard to be speak up
• on the look-out for perceived rejection
• fear ‘negative’ emotions
• often do a favour for others at your own expense
• have a weak sense of self
• have difficulty with boundaries
• become emotionally dependent/co-dependent in relationships
• constantly need approval from others
• have a need to be liked
• collapse when someone criticises you
• worry what other people think of you

Consequences of being too nice:

Your happiness is in the hands of others
If you base your sense of worthiness on other people’s approval of you, the power is with others. You have subconsciously given away your sense of self-esteem to the whim of other people’s ability to notice, be grateful, polite or express their opinion.
You suppress feelings and build resentment
If you’re so anxious to make others happy, you suppress your own feelings. Suppressing emotions leads to a build-up of resentment and often sparks acting out of anger or frustration. This is often because your actions are conditional and come with expectations — that others will appreciate or reciprocate your efforts. Suppression of emotions eventually results in physical or psychological breakdowns.

The Cost of Pleasing in relationships

Our pleasing habit denies others the opportunity to help, give, and love us equitably.
Relationships are based on dishonesty, so there is no authentic connection.
We give up our power, happiness, and freedom to truly contribute.
Our unwillingness to risk being authentic and speak our truth creates hidden agendas that damage relationships.

Unconsciously or otherwise others can take advantage of you and, as you enjoy feeling needed and wanted, you unwittingly continue the toxic cycle

How to stop the cycle

  • Remember that you always choose to say yes or no
  • It’s OK to say that you’ll need to think about it
  • Ask yourself “What do I need?”
  • Know your priorities and values
  • Set limits and boundaries
  • Remember “What other people think about you is none of your business”
  • You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s OK
  • Seek feedback from people you trust
  • Learn to rely on your own judgement and assessments
  • Practice speaking up

Heather is a Mindfulness-based Psychotherapist at the Lotus Centre in Brookvale.

Tips for success for your small business

As a business owner and coach I’m often asked by new practitioners “What do I need to do to succeed?”

Of course you need to be good at what you do, but there’s many people who are fantastic practitioners yet struggle to earn enough income. Why is that? Practitioners need to consistently have the right mindset, and be good at business as well as their chosen field.

Luckily other’s have researched and compiled the date and here’s what it takes to succeed:

Business owners who are successful have developed personal attitudes and characteristics that are reflected in their business:

They have a positive mindset and are not afraid of failure instead they learn from their mistakes. 

They are committed to their goals and flexible in their approach.

They are patient and persistent.

They are willing to invest in themselves and their business.

Wantrepreneurs are full of ideas and dreams. Entrepreneurs are action takers.

Successful businesses owners have developed support systems that help them grow. 

In the well-being and therapy business this translates as well structured support systems that relieves practitioners from many day to day routine activities. This gives practitioners more time to see clients, maintain their business and do what you love. These are some of the most sort after supports:

  • Phone answering service when you’re busy or with clients
  • Efficient and reliable client booking service
  • Office support
  • Implementation of ongoing marketing strategies
  • Effective time efficient bookkeeping programs
  • Reliable referral systems

Successful businesses are visible and known in the community.

Poor location is a disadvantage that might be too much to overcome. If your business relies on word of mouth, visibility and location is a strategic necessity. Working from home may save you money in the short term but cost you clients in the long run. Most professional practitioners value the support gained from aligning with a successful well established business. They view their associates and location as their most valuable asset and resource.

Successful businesses make plans and set effective marketing goals

Their plan includes personal and business goals, and have set out specific time lines and strategies to achieve them. They include good cost effective marketing, with a solid web presence, reliable referral systems, that help your business stay competitive while getting more potential customers interested in your products and services.The lack of an effective business plan will kill your business before you ever get off the ground.

Understand their unique qualities and skills – So you’ve studied hard, invested much time and money in your qualification and now you want to share your skills to help others. You’re offering a great service or product, so how will you avoid getting lost among the competition. What sets your business apart from other practitioners? What makes you or your business unique?

Are focused and  accountable –  Many businesses fail because people treat them like hobbies. From day one treat your business as a business and yourself as an employee.  Even if you only plan to work part time, set measurable goals and hold yourself accountable. If you are only willing to put in a few hours a week ad hoc, expect to get a few hours a week of ad hoc income.

Surround yourself with other successful people. You will get great idea’s, you’ll learn from others and receive the best feedback from fellow business owners. The best kind of peer group is where your business is the newest or smallest business. When you are the smallest you will be pushed harder to catch up to the others in your group.  Connecting with mentors and networking with peers helps you discover what it takes to flourish.

Be patient and give it time. Ideas are fast, but making them happen will take time. Even if all goes well, almost everything you do in business will take longer than expected.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

If you’re looking to start or grow your wellness or therapy business book an appointment with Heather on 0405821880

Hypnosis – the fast way to retrain your brain

Hypnosis is known as the fast track therapy because it works within 3-6 sessions rather than over many months or years with other types of therapy.

How does it work?

The brain operates on different levels of consciousness, ranging from fully alert through asleep, with variations in between. Hypnotic states occur naturally and spontaneously such as when we are day dreaming, reading a book or absorbed in a movie. Dr. Mark Jensen, a psychologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, found that hypnosis and meditation have similar neurophysiological profiles. These brain states can be measured by EEG tracking brainwaves from high frequency to low frequency:

Beta: (14-30Hz) Normal awake state the more stressed you are the faster the brainwaves.

Alpha: (9-11 Hz) Associated with calm relaxed but alert states occurring naturally in everyday life.

Theta: (4-8Hz) Associated with deep relaxation, creativity, deep meditation and hypnosis.

Delta: (1-3 Hz) Sleep, deep physical relaxation and rejuvenation.

Re-educate the subconscious, to alter perceptions and change behaviour

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Hypnosis works, by the therapist deliberately inducing a relaxed state spanning from alpha through to theta states, and then offering therapeutic suggestions which are absorbed into the mind to reeducate the subconscious, alter perceptions and change behaviours.

The Hypnotherapist will carefully craft an individualised script focusing on the desired agreed goal which is tailored to each client.  Hypnosis works by updating the subconscious mind with new and more helpful information, like updating the software in a computer.

Since the subconscious mind controls our emotions, behaviour and autonomic bodily processes, hypnosis can releive anxiety, depression, distress, and pain. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t be hypnotized into doing things against your will; neither can you be forced into a hypnotic state. Instead, you allow yourself to be hypnotised. Want to know if you can be hypnotised? FREE demo and workshop.

 

How is Hypnosis different?

Hypnosis is different because it taps into the power of the subconscious mind. Hypnosis is a solution focused experiential therapeutic intervention. As you relax your mind is being re-shaped to reflect the solution you want.

Rather than just talking about the problem we use the power of the mind to intervene and change the outcome

If you examine your daily routine you’ll find that most of what you do say and think is habitual, and all habits arise from the subconscious. From waking up in the morning we faithfully follow a usual routine as if you’re on auto pilot. Habits are often useful, but sometimes we realize they hold us back, get in the way of success or are not in line with how we want our life to be NOW. Once we have a different experience we have started the change process- no-one can take that away from you. Keep going and repeat often enough to change the subconscious habit or pattern permanantly.

What is a habit?

Habits are subconscious behaviour repeated regularly. Our habits are often physical emotional and behavioural, i.e. thoughts, feelings or behaviours that seem to be almost involuntary.

Habits are often learned responses to triggers or events that when repeated often over time becomes automatic unless questioned. Habits can also become obsessive, compulsive or addictive in nature.

possible-rf953169_640Habits are usually formed as an attempt to find relief or a solution from a ‘problem’, and they become firmly embedded in the subconscious mind over time. Sometimes the automatic habit ends up being more of a problem than original issue for example smoking to fit in or ‘be cool’ or drinking to help you sleep only to find drinking in excess causes sleep issues. Hypnosis communicates directly with the subconscious mind, to directly reverse or re-train the mind into something healthier. Hypnosis is known as the fast track therapy, and is often described as the most pleasant and relaxing way to make a change.

We can be unknowingly run by old beliefs, feelings and behaviour

The adult brain remains open to change throughout its lifespan. Most people pay little attention to the flow of thoughts, yet what flows through our mind literally sculpts our brain. Our unconscious mental programs (or thought, feelings and core beleifs) influence the way we think, feel and behave. These mental programs are usually formed in childhood, and if we are unaware or haven’t updated them we may not realize that these beliefs no longer serve us.

We can be unknowingly run by old beliefs, worn out faulty thinking and repetitive habits that are long overdue for a renovation. By focusing our attention and becoming more conscious of our inner experiences we can use the mind to change or re-wiring the brain. One of the best ways to practice this is through mindfulness practices such as meditation and psychotherapy.

According to better health, Hypnosis can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Changing habits
  • Compulsions & Addictions
  • Moderate drinking
  • Chronic pain
  • Fears and phobias
  • Quit Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • White Coat Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • Public Speaking
  • Studying /Exam taking
  • Social anxiety
  • Stress
  • Relationship issues
  • Managing anger
  • Migraine
  • Nail biting
  • Skin Picking /Hair pulling
  • Thumb sucking
  • Sleep problems
  • Stuttering
  • Weight management

Want to try it for yourself?

Heather Cavill Greer is a Clinical hypnotherapist and psychotherapist with many years’ experience. Heather uses Clinical Hypnosis, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) most people feel better within the first session and have resolved their issues within 3-6 sessions. For a free 20 minute consultation either call or book with Heather on 0405821880

The compassionate art and practice of Self Care

What is Self Care?

The art of self-care is deciding to take personal responsibility for your own physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being. Practising self-care is preventative, not selfish.

Why is it important?

Lack of self-care can lead to a build-up of stress, resentment and dissatisfaction with life. The stress hormone cortisol builds up in the body causing our immune systems to become more susceptible to illness and disease.

If you don’t take the time to exercise regularly or eat healthy, balanced meals this further increase the chances of chronic health problems.

Why is it especially important for women?

Women often suffer more from immune illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid disorders, ailments that experts believe are often exacerbated by stress. Women suffer emotionally from a lack of self-care can leaving us anxious, depressed and less productive.

Women often carry most of the mental and emotional load – women are the managers of the household and often the main caretakers of the family. We organise and manage the kids, the family social activities, the diary, the household chores, the bill payer, the meals, the list is endless. This mental managerial role often goes unnoticed. Women also carry the emotional load of the family.

Often women postpone self-care to better serve those we love — taking that bath can seem petty when your kids need help with their homework — although forgoing our own needs can actually damages those relationships in the long run.

Even though it feels like there’s no time for you, looking after your own health (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually) is essential.

Here are some self-care suggestions:

  • Find time for friends – Laughter is the best medicine. Take time to watch a funny movie or laugh with a friend on the phone.
  • Learn to say ‘no’ and set boundaries. Identify situations where you habitually say ‘yes’ and notice if you become resentful – this is a clear sign that you have taken on too much.
  • Learn a mindfulness or meditation tool to help when your feel overwhelmed.
  • Accept help from friends, family members and professionals so you can have break for a few minutes, hours or a day or two. Learn to delegate.
  • Exercise: It has a positive impact on both your physical and emotional well-being. Aim for small enjoyable things try walking, run, swim, garden or learn yoga. It’s a natural way to relax body and mind.
  • Be your own best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
  • Make a list of activities or hobby that you used to enjoy and add some that you think you might enjoy.
  • Let yourself be cared for. A regular massage or Energy healing session or treatment might help to develop a sense of well-being and is something to look forward to.
  • Talk it over: A therapist can help assist with stress management techniques and will be a sounding board when you need to make decisions that are appropriate for your personal situation.

Heather is a mindfulness-based therapist, Hypnotherapist and Energy Healer at the Lotus Centre. Heather has three grown up kids, a husband and a dog. To book an appointment call 0405 821880.

Is Fear holding you back?

What is fear?
A collection of physical sensations experienced from an emotional response to a perceived threat. The collection of physical sensations we label as fear or anxiety are often labelled as unpleasant signalling an immediate threat of harm, pain or danger. Fear tells us to pay attention, and prepares us for or induces the fight flight freeze response in the body.

Common fears of modern life
Fear doesn’t discriminate, we are all familiar with it. It can be crippling or empowering. As a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and business coach I see many clients and practitioners with fear based thinking and behaviour holding them back. I have learned to face many fears in my life because I don’t want to restrict myself my life or feel dis-empowered by fear. Here are some of the common themes I’ve encountered as a therapist that you may relate to:

  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of rejection
  • Fear of judgement
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of losing something

 

5 Telltale signs that fear is holding you back

So how do you know if you are being restricted by fear?

  1. Are you focused on the negative? Fear selectively draws our attention to what could go wrong, what we could lose or the potential downside of any situation. The mind can get stuck in distorted thinking patterns of what if’s, disqualifying the positive, and imagining the worst.
  2. Do you feel stuck? Fear tells us to avoid the new or and be scared of the unknown, even if we are not entirely happy with our present circumstances.
  3. Are you avoiding discomfort? Fear constricts rather than expands us, and it feels uncomfortable. Emotional reasoning is when we treat our fears as if they were facts.  If you have a low tolerance to this feeling it will continue to have power over you. If we let fear guide our version of reality we remain stuck.
  4. Do you feel lost or not aligned with self? When fear is present we often can’t hear our intuitive voice. Intuition is only available to us when we are relaxed and in flow with ourselves and the world around us.
  5. Do you feel unable to make a decision? Fear freezes us and stops us making decisions or taking action. Often there is fear of making a mistake, doing it wrong, or failing leading to self doubt ruminating thoughts and anxiety. Are you experiencing analysis paralysis where over thinking leads to doing nothing?

How to successfully engage with fear

Antidote to fear of the unknown: be aware that we cannot know all the answers or predict the future. Stay in the present moment and be mindful of automatic fear based thinking patterns. Trust you’ll be OK – you don’t need absolute certainty to know that you’ll manage, because no-one knows all the details of the future.

Antidote to fear of change: understand that change is inevitable, it is the only constant. Relax and accept what is, practice going outside your comfort zone. A wise person once said, “Choose a path or a path will be chosen for you.”

Antidote to low self esteem: Ask yourself how you would view this situation if you were feeling more centred, or more confident? How would the situation be different if I truly believed in myself, or knew i couldn’t fail?

Antidote to feeling stuck: Decisions can be made both rationally and intuitively. The conscious mind informs the reasoning brain of the rational choice and the subconscious mind informs the body about the intuitive one. Decisions can be made using both strategies.

 

 

How to shift from fear to excitement?

Consider that fear and excitement are essentially the same – it just depends on how the mind labels it.

Adrenalin and cortisol are chemicals released during moments of arousal to prepare the body for action. The chemical response to fear and excitement are the same in the body, it only changes when we label or give meaning to the sensations we feel based on how we interpret whats happening. So how do you decide?

We all have the power to change our responses to our present moment experience. We can decide to label it excitement, or anticipation instead of anxiety and fear. What we focus on is what we get, or what we become. Every thought, feeling and experience alters our brain wiring in some way.

Acknowledge, accept and respond to the feelings of fear

Be aware of your response, accept it and embrace the present moment with compassion. Use tried and tested methods to calm the nervous system.

Feel the fear and take fearless action

Fear is part of life. However you don’t need to allow fear to stop you moving forward. Remind yourself you don’t need to have it all figured out in detail. Know that whatever happens you will handle it.

Take charge of your story

Change the context. Take charge of your thinking and focus on the positive. If you tell yourself you’re exited and chances are you’ll feel more confident and empowered.

Do you want to release your fear? See our practitioner list for hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling services.

They say life can be like a roller coaster, you can scream in fear or throw your hands in the air and enjoy it. First you have buy the ticket and get on it to experience the adventure.