FIND OUT WHAT IS STOPPING YOU FROM BEING HAPPY

coverfind

Each of us has unique strengths and talents and we are also uniquely challenged. What is hard for one is easy for another and vice versa. Do any of the following issues stand in the way of your happiness?

Are you:

Lacking in self-belief
This will always undermine you and stop you feeling happy. If you can’t demonstrate inner conviction then you will lose your self-respect and this leads into a deeply negative place. Focusing on your insecurities only makes them seem bigger and more important.

What to do
Tackle your negative beliefs head on. Simply stop taking any notice of that self-critical voice that is always telling you that you are not good enough in some way. You are good enough! Remind yourself that you always do your best and that it is quite acceptable for you to make mistakes.

Acting like a victim
It’s so easy to fall into this trap when things are not going so well. We are all inclined to look for someone or something to blame when we are challenged. But this tactic never works. If we lay the blame for our misfortunate on anything or anyone then we give away all the power we have to make the situation good. For example, if ‘he is to blame’ then I must wait for him to change his behaviour, or, if the circumstances are at fault, then I must wait for them to change. And if the rain is to blame, well who knows how long I might have to wait?

What to do
Accept responsibility for whatever is going on in your life. Yes others make mistakes and can affect us badly but we have the power to change our lives and this feeling of control is vital to our happiness. Stop any blaming activity and seek ways to improve your situation. Decide not to let yourself be victimised by anyone or anything: walk away if necessary, or wait patiently until a more auspicious time or buy an umbrella! Do whatever it takes to take charge of your life.

Feeling shy and self-conscious
Is it hard to step forward into your own spotlight? Are you hanging about in the shadows watching others do what you want to do and have what you want to have? If you are in the habit of shrinking into the background you will always feel like an underachiever and this is guaranteed to take away life’s sparkle.

What to do
Realise that you will never be happy until you can take the lead role in your life. When shyness beckons turn your attention away from your perceived shortcomings and focus on someone else. Look around for others who are lacking in confidence and give them a boost, you will soon forget all about yourself.
Shyness is linked with feelings of not being good enough so fight back with positive affirmations and assertive action. Take that risky step and you will feel like a new person. Happy people are always ready to take a chance because who knows what golden opportunities might be around the next corner?

Having difficulties with intimate relationships
Do you find it difficult to stay in a long-term relationship? Is it hard to make good decisions about prospective partners? Are you in an unhealthy relationship (ie one that is not good for you?). Do you have difficulty in communicating your needs? Are you afraid that you might lose control in an intimate relationship? If you are struggling with relationship issues then join the majority who would also love to be in a happy and fulfilling partnership.

What to do
Recognise that you attract the sort of relationship that you think you deserve. If you believe in yourself then others will be drawn to your aura of confidence and if you are self-critical then you will attract partners who will criticise you. Women are often keen to change a man in order to create the perfect relationship but as we all know this method never works. You can only alter a relationship by changing the way you are. So start to work on the relationship you are having with yourself; when that one is happy you will find it easier to have a happy relationship with someone else.

Lacking body confidence
90% of the 5,000 women taking part in a major survey said that they were ‘depressed’ by the appearance of their body, and one in ten admitted to being on a ‘constant diet’. I think that these figures are actually quite conservative; most women have a poor self-image and this cuts into their happiness in a profound way.

What to do
Stop comparing yourself with others and in particular with those gorgeous, perfect, airbrushed girls in glossy magazines. Love your body and what it does for you and appreciate your unique features. And if you are feeling depressed about your looks at the moment just get over yourself. You will never ever be happy if you are constantly obsessing about your appearance. Who do you think is looking at you and judging you in such a superficial way? Remember what matters most in your life and get a grip on what is really important. Did you choose your best friend because of her beauty? No of course not, you care for her because of her inner qualities. It might help you to remember that it is unlikely that anyone is judging because they are far too busy worrying about themselves!

Unable to make decisions
Sometimes it is hard to know which route to take and we might start asking around for other peoples’ opinions. It’s fine to get feedback but in the end whatever you decide is down to you. If you are struggling with getting the clarity you need in order that you can make a good choice, just try the following technique.

What to do
Discover your intention by asking this question: ‘What do I want to happen?’ Be clear and specific. Now consider the steps that you must take to reach your goal. Take the first step and the next step will become obvious. Trust your decision making process and trust your own judgement and the more you do this the happier you will feel.

Coaching and confidence boosting at http://www.lyndafield.com

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015

Extracted from the book Fast Track to Happiness by Lynda Field

WHY FORGIVENESS MAKES US HAPPY

WHYFORG1

After all the years that I have worked in personal development, searching for practices and strategies that work to increase wellbeing and happiness, I still value one practice above all others. For me, forgiveness is the most vibrant and life-changing procedure, it never fails to lift the spirits and lighten our lives and touch our hearts with love; it moves negative energy faster than any technique I know and it brings with it the wonderful gifts of peace, calm, balance and compassion.

People often react strongly to the concept of forgiveness, feeling that they have a right to hold on to their anger towards another who has treated them badly. And of course we are angry when we feel victimised. But if we continually hold on to that initial anger we can never be at our brightest and happiest. The quality of our thoughts creates the quality of our lives and if we hang on to past hurts and slights our anger only grows and hurts us even more. So think of forgiveness as a means of letting go of negative energy and opening yourself up to a happier future.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, ‘To forgive is not just to be altruistic, it is the best form of self-interest.’ I often hear clients talk over and over again about people who have hurt and upset them; they sometimes spend more time thinking about these people than they do about those who care for them and support them. If we cannot forgive (let go) of those who have upset us then we carry forever the memory of them and the pain that they inflicted upon us. This is a heavy negative load to bear but it is possible to release this burden however badly we have been treated.

Forgiveness of others calls for a radical rethink of your past hurts; it doesn’t mean that you don’t care about how others behaved towards you. In fact it means exactly the opposite: you care enough to reconsider whatever happened in order to be able to finally let it rest. Are you holding angry thoughts about someone? If so, would you like to find a creative way to let them go?

The Four Steps to Forgiveness

Step 1 State the facts. View whatever happened as objectively as possible. At first you might have to pretend that it happened to someone else in order to get a true perspective. Write down the facts in your journal. Stick to the reality and don’t embroider it with your emotions. So, for example you might have written, my mother was an alcoholic when I was growing up.

Step 2 Accept the facts. Don’t get lost in blame and tears; you are no longer a victim of the past. A creative response (non-blaming) will allow you to move forward and leave the hurt behind, so be creative in your approach. If you need to express your feelings about what happened then make sure you do this but don’t get stuck in repeated emotional discharge (this might feel like you are working through something when you are really only going over the same old issue).

Step 3 Decide to let go. This is a defining moment. Are you ready to let go or are you still gaining more from moaning, blaming and feeling angry? Once you have definitely confirmed your desire to forgive, then the process really starts moving. Don’t expect 100% success immediately, it might take a while. Sometimes it’s only possible to forgive a bit at a time (I can forgive this but not that at the moment). Later you might bring yourself to let go of that, but only if you hang on to something else. Forgiveness is a process that has a profound curative effect on the wounds of the past and eventually these wounds can be healed.

Step 4 Enjoy the freedom that forgiveness brings. The more you can forgive the better you will feel about yourself and the rest of the world, and as you let go of pain your heart will fill with love and peace. Forgiveness is the ultimate gift as it brings love to both the forgiver and the forgiven.

Coaching and confidence boosting at http://www.lyndafield.com Copyright © Lynda Field 2015 Extracted from the book Fast Track to Happiness by Lynda Field  

DISCOVER YOUR 6 TOP ENERGY DRAINERS

coveryour6

1 Negative thinking. You know that this is always bad news. As soon as you indulge in this you lose your calm self-assuredness and begin to sound like a loser, not a good image! When you catch yourself wallowing around in the negative cycle of defeat just ask yourself, ‘Do I really want to be in this state? Am I sounding and looking good.’ This should be enough to zap you out of your pessimistic mind-set. Your thoughts are only as real as the energy you give to them. Get positive, get charismatic, get happy and get a life!

2 Blaming others. This really puts people off you as well as cutting you off from your own creative powers. Confident people are high in ‘can-do’ energy because they take total responsibility for their personal circumstances. Look at it this way: if someone else is to blame for the position you find yourself in then you are left helplessly waiting for them to act on your behalf. Blaming energy is unattractive and creates all-lose situations.

3 Trying to be like someone else. This is such a tiring and futile exercise. Every time you wish you look like ……..or want to be like…….., you are denying your own specialness. It’s OK to have role models but it’s not OK to be continually dissatisfied with what you are and what you have to offer. Decide to become a first rate version of yourself and life will get so much simpler and more interesting. When you have the confidence to be yourself you no longer feel the need to compete with others to prove that you are worthy. Believe me, you are worth it, just the way you are.

4 Having regrets. So you made a mistake and you wish you hadn’t! But if there is nothing you can do about it now at least accept this one benefit: Learn from it. One of the most obvious features of a confident person is their ability to learn from personal faults and then to let go of them. If you are living in the past you are in the wrong time zone; shake off those cobwebs and get into the present moment, this is where the real powerful action is.

5 Feeling resentment. This ties up so much of your energy in a useless and totally negative activity. If you are feeling resentful of anyone at the moment just stop and look at it logically. What good are you doing? What harm are you doing to yourself? Every time you have an angry thought about another person you increase your bitterness quotient and that is all that you do. You don’t need me to tell you that anger and sourness will always make the wrong impact.

6 Being critical. Whether you are self-critical or are judging others you will diminish yourself. Have you noticed how the most unpopular people are the most critical? You cannot and will not show yourself off to advantage if you are looking for the worst in yourself or in others. If you know that you are inclined to do this, stop immediately. When you are tempted to say something negative about another person just don’t go there. As my dad says, ‘If you can’t find anything nice to say about someone then don’t say anything.’

Stop all energy draining activities and you will find that your energy levels will shoot up; you will also feel lighter and brighter and more optimistic. As your electromagnetic energy increases you will notice that you are attracting new and interesting people and opportunities, and you will find it easier to resolve personal difficulties.

Take a moment here to ‘tune into’ your personal energy field. Imagine that your aura is shining bright and crackling with electricity. Feel the energy surrounding your physical body and become aware of it as you move about your daily business. You take your vibrations with you wherever you go so make sure they are good vibrations!

Extracted from my book, The Self-Esteem Coach by Lynda Field

Coaching and confidence boosting at http://www.lyndafield.com

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015

DO YOU KNOW THE REAL RULES OF LOVE?

coverdoyou

Frankly, many women we know find it easier to relocate to another state, switch careers, or run a marathon than get the right man to marry them! If this sounds like you, then you need The Rules! What are The Rules? They are a simple way of acting around men that can help any woman win the heart of the man of her dreams.
Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider authors of The Rules

The ‘Good Wife’s Guide’

Extracted from an article in the magazine Housekeeping Monthly May 1955.

• Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.

• Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

• Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all the noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

• Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

• Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement or integrity. Remember he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

• A good wife always knows her place.

These are just a few choice pieces of advice from the 1950’s article (you can find the complete version on the Internet, just type in good wife).

I know, you don’t know whether to be scandalised or to laugh your bobby socks off. Perhaps the most common reaction is, ‘We’ve come a long way, girls’, but when I read the book The Rules I just wondered how far we had really come. This million copy bestseller dedicates itself to teaching women how to play hard to get and how to let the man think he is taking the lead in all things. And so the authors advise us: not to get sloppy about our looks and to keep fit if we want our man to ‘keep drooling’ over us; to end the relationship if we don’t get jewellery or some other romantic gift on our birthday; to be mysterious and act in a ladylike way; not to say much and let him do all the talking; to have interesting novels or non-fiction books lying around our flat so he gets a good impression (and to hide any self-help books!); to always show ‘utter contentment’ with him because he will desire us more and (just wait for this), to read newspapers so that we can talk to him about something other than our work or dirty nappies because apparently men ‘want wives who can fulfil them mentally as well as physically and emotionally’.
This view hardly fits with our concept of the confident and assertive love magnet and sex goddess; it sounds suspiciously like the Good Wife’s Guide to me. These old 1950’s rules are based around the principle that women are lost without a man and that snagging a husband (any husband it would seem) is our top priority.

Forget the old rules

………there is an unwritten contract between single people and their non-single friends (especially the ones with families) that states that you should be out there and living it up in the fast lane. If you are not an irrepressible life force, spinning around town in your hopelessly impractical shoes, then you are really exactly like them-only without a man. And that would be just sad.
Shane Watson

Whether you are living it up in the fast lane or not and even if you love the freedom of the singleton lifestyle, there may still be moments of panic. When you are on your own life sometimes seems to revolve around twosomes doesn’t it? I remember walking in a park in Bristol pushing my children in a double buggy and everywhere I looked there were couples and I felt such a failure. To a newly separated woman it seemed as if the entire world was happily married, but of course this was far from the truth. I soon discovered that there were definite advantages to being single (especially after being in a bad relationship).

And if your biological clock is ticking and/or all your friends are pairing off, you might easily find yourself having the odd Bridget Jones moment. Whenever you feel alarmed by your single status just remember these two important things. The grass is definitely not always greener in the paradise of marriage, so enjoy ‘spinning around town’ while you can. And, it is more likely for you to meet a great guy if you just slack off a bit and stop trying so hard. Forget any terrible advice that is based on you putting on some sort of act in order to date and ‘catch’ a man. These old rules are based on such desperate thoughts as:

• I am incomplete without a man
• I need a man to fall in love with me
• I want to be just what he wants me to be
• I must get him to marry me

Any action you take whilst in this state of mind will not work to your advantage. When you find yourself musing over such words as ‘spinster’ or ‘left on the shelf’ just stop immediately and take a reality check. Remember that you are a fascinating and interesting woman who is independent and assertive. Because you respect yourself and have got a life of your own you are a strong and attractive love magnet. As a woman of taste and discernment you are never prepared to settle for less than the best in life and this includes your love life.

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015

Life coaching and confdence boosting at http://www.lyndafield.com

Adapted from my book, Weekend Love Coach.

WHAT MAKES US HAPPY?

coverwhatreally

Clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner hosts a radio show in America called The Rational Basis of Happiness where she has talked about the enigma of happiness. She says that ‘There are many people who we think should be happy but are not’ and that ‘There are many people who we think should be miserable but are not…. Some people who seem to have nothing are very happy. Some people who seem to have everything are not. Yet some jet-setters seem happy while some moral crusaders have become miserable grouches.’ Happiness can indeed seem very unpredictable, inconsistent and impossible to measure.

We know that money can’t buy it, but on the other hand we have a sneaky suspicion that a hefty salary rise would definitely raise our spirits; well Richard Branson always seems to have a smile on his face (in spite of all his cash!). We also like retail therapy because it gives us a great buzz but we also know deep down that a new lipstick, a new bag and even some very fancy La Perla undies can only bring us a temporary blast of the feelgood factor.

Would more money, sex, status and power do it for you? Do you think that if you had more of these things in your life that your happiness levels would increase? It has been suggested that our culture is fixated on how to get more of these four items. And yes, you will no doubt agree that these things certainly sound pretty attractive. However all the scientific research data points to a rather different conclusion.

In 2004 the New Economics Foundation published a well-being manifesto for government and policy makers. The think tank stated that : ‘…..despite unprecedented economic prosperity we do not necessarily feel better individually or as communities. For example data shows that whilst economic output in the UK has nearly doubled in the last 30 years, happiness levels have remained flat.’ The report shows that while genes and upbringing influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (income and environment) only affect about 10%. After basic needs are met extra material wealth has little or no effect on life satisfaction or happiness. The remaining 40% is accounted for by our outlook and activities: our relationships, friendships and jobs, our engagement in the community, and our involvement in sport and hobbies. These findings have great implications for us and for our future happiness because they mean that we really can take control of our wellbeing by simply altering our outlook and behaviour: the ball is in our court; we only need to make the right moves.

As you might imagine, the Dalai Lama’s recipe for happiness does not include a trip to the shops and makes absolutely no mention of sex, status or power. He says that: ‘The purpose of our life needs to be positive…. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities – warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful, and more peaceful – happier.’ As we contemplate these words of wisdom we can begin to see happiness in a slightly different way. Yes, we are part of the material world and of course we can enjoy the goods on offer but we need to remember that happiness is an inner state; we can never find it outside of ourselves in any shape or form. Your happiness is a feeling within you; it is a state of mind and is a response to what is happening around you. The great news is that you can learn to feel this response whenever you wish, just by changing your way of thinking and acting with more positive awareness.

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015

From Lynda Field Life Coaching at http://www.lyndafield.com

Adapted from my book, Fast Track to Happiness.

7 STEPS TO A SUNNY OUTLOOK

7stepsto2

You really can change the way you feel! If your mood needs lightening and brightening then just try the following tips and strategies to discover a fresh, new, optimistic and upbeat outlook.

Step 1 Expect success

Sometimes an immediate change in attitude is all it takes to turn a negative pessimistic feeling into a positive and optimistic one.

• Next time you find yourself visualizing the worst possible outcome become aware of what you are doing and then stop yourself, just refuse to go there.

• Imagine the very best scenario and visualize that instead. See it happening and make it all as real as possible.

• Your optimistic view will make you feel much more upbeat and will also help you to attract success.

Step 2 Increase your smiles per hour

• Even a fake smile will make us feel happier because as soon as we smile our system fills with endorphins (feelgood hormones). So try this now; it’s such a simple and effective technique.

• Become a smiley person and others will be attracted to your energy. Research shows that people are more likely to speak to someone who has smiled at them (naturally!).

• Check in to your facial expression whenever you remember and put on a smile and you will feel fabulous!

3 Make way for the new

If you want to bring exciting positive changes into your life then you need to let go of something first. Don’t let old negativity drag you down.

• Let go of dull routines and replace them with exciting new experiences.

• Let go of old complaints and grudges and you will feel more at ease with life.

• Let go of the thoughts that make you unhappy; focus on happiness.

• Let go of useless clutter and you will feel an amazing lightness of spirit.

4 Become a pleasure seeker

• Healthy pleasures are fun and increase our levels of optimism and light heartedness. Make a list of your top ten pleasures:
…………………………………………………………………….

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Visit a friend.
Eat something delicious.
Take a walk in the park.
Curl up with a new book.

• Now choose one of your top ten pleasures to enjoy today. Choose another one tomorrow. Make sure that you do something just for pleasure every day.

Step 5 List your reasons to be optimistic

You have so many reasons to be positive but sometimes you might just overlook them. Write a list to remind you using the following categories.

Think of…
• A person who loves you
• Someone who you love
• Something you do very well
• The best thing that happened today
• A time when you felt valued and appreciated
• An occasion when someone was kind to you

Step 6 Talk yourself up

With positive self-talk you can ‘talk yourself up’ and lift your energy whenever you need a boost. Try talking yourself up with the following positive statements:

I love life and life loves me back
I feel great and am ready for anything
Today I am on top of the world, anything is possible
I believe in myself 100%
I am not afraid of anyone or anything.
I feel confident and assertive.
I am so lucky to be alive.

Notice how your levels of positivity and optimism rise when you make these upbeat declarations.

Step 7 Enjoy the moment

• When you are busy stressing about the future you cannot feel happy, so stop this immediately.

• When you are worrying and fretting about the past you will always feel low, so stop this too!

• Replace these two misery making habits with a fresh new approach – decide to enjoy the present moment. Begin to appreciate each moment of your life as it happens and you will be amazed to discover a new buoyant mood and a real lift to your spirits.

Quiz – How optimistic are you?

Answer  TRUE    or    UNTRUE

When things are difficult I believe that I can cope.
I usually look for the silver lining.
I love trying out new things.
I can always find something to be grateful for.
I am generally buoyant.
I trust my decision making powers.
More often or not I can raise a smile.
My glass is half full rather than half empty.
I can usually rise to life’s challenges.
I am a friendly outgoing person.

Score 2 each time you answer UNTRUE
Score 4 each time you answered TRUE

Scoring:

34-40 You are a Super-optimist. You know how to maintain a positive outlook.
26-32 You are a Sometimes-optimist. There are occasions when you let
negativity spoil your mood but there are ways to overcome this.
20-24 You are a Pessimist. It’s time to lighten up and enjoy life; it is surprisingly easy to do this.

Coaching and confidence boosting at http://www.lyndafield.com

Extracted from the book ~The Self-Esteem Coach~ by Lynda Field

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015

YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AUDIT

COVERSELFESTEEM

A useful exercise to help you to smoke out the type of thoughts, behaviours and actions which build your self-esteem. It might also point out where you are sabotaging your confidence levels. There are no scores here; this is a process of reflection that might reveal some new and useful insights. Would love to hear your comments!

1 When I am feeling high in self-esteem I ……………………………

2 Self-doubt makes me……………………………………………….

3 My self-worth is high when…………………………………………

4 I feel like a success when……………………………………………

5 I am at my best in relationships when………………………………

6 I lose confidence in myself when……………………………………

7 When I am facing a big challenge I…………………………………

8 If I make a mistake I feel……………………………………………

9 If someone criticizes me I feel………………………………………

10 Increasing my self-esteem would make it possible for me to…..

Consider your answers and reflect upon anything new that might come up for you in the way of fresh understanding.

Are there any changes you can put in place that would help increase your feelings of confidence and self-esteem? If so, when will you take the first action step?

For more confidence boosting ideas visit Lynda Field Life Coaching at http://www.lyndafield.com

Copyright © Lynda Field 2015