Happy New Year and the first Personal Effects of 2017 …… this month I’m including articles on ‘Resting’ and ‘Finding Confidence’ from two associates which seem just right for shaping thinking as we start a new year…… I hope you find some inspiration there……and announcing upcoming course dates for 2017 !

5 Simple Ways to Take a Rest

Madeleine Allen NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner

You might have seen this quote recently – “You have permission to rest. You are not responsible for fixing everything that is broken. You do not have to try and make everyone happy. For now, take time for you. It’s time to replenish.”

It seemed to resonate for a lot of people, but one person commented “I’m not sure I know how to!” Does that sound like you? If so, we’ve put together a short list of five simple ways to take a rest.
According to American sleep specialist Dr Matthew Edlund “Many of us are so busy we see rest as a weakness – a waste of precious time, but rest is, in fact, a biological need. All the science shows we need rest to live, just like we need food.”

1 – Put “Rest” on your To Do list.
If you’re having difficulty switching off, because your mind is always busy and you’ve always got a million and one things on your to do list then you’ll like this one. Some people find it really helpful to treat rest just like another task on your To Do list. This makes resting an active process, rather than passive. Instead of feeling guilty that it is taking you away from something else, it is a way to give equal value to the activity of resting.

2 – Distract your busy mind
The busy mind can often get in the way of a rest. It chatters away reminding you of all the other things it thinks you should be doing, or nags you about worries, concerns or even trivia that stops you from resting. So give your busy mind something else to distract it. For example, choose 3 calming songs, and sit still while you rest and listen to them. As you listen, really focus on the lyrics. A busy mind likes to be busy even when resting, so giving it a job to do can really help. Even better if you choose songs with insightful, intriguing or inspirational lyrics.

3 – Creative rest
You could set aside 30 minutes to do something creative. Mix a cake, or do some colouring in, or draw a picture. Fold some origami birds, play an instrument or make some hand-made birthday cards.

Giving yourself a creative activity that you enjoy is another way of resting actively as it occupies both the brain and the body. By stopping you from doing anything else in that moment, the creative activity gives you rest and recovery time.

4 – And breathe …
Simply by paying attention to the rhythm of your breathing for a few minutes, you will give yourself a break and allow some restful quietness into your day. For example, breathe in deeply, counting to four, then breathe out slowly as you count to eight. Feel the rise and fall of your lungs, and visualise the air rushing in and the oxygen passing into your bloodstream. Keeping your breathing relaxed and slow, repeat this a few times.

5 – You’ve only got 5 minutes to rest? Practise mindfulness or meditation
There is much evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness or meditation. It is possible to take as little as 5 minutes in a worthwhile meditation. And it’s very easy to do. There are many apps which can guide you through meditations, such as Headspace. Or you can find some useful videos and guides online. Follow this link to one person’s list of favourite guided meditations.

There you have it – 5 easy ways to get some rest.

And what about you?

• What can you do to give yourself time to rest?
• How else do you like to take time for yourself, and to replenish?

About Madeleine Allen: The author is a specialist in Leadership, Communication and Personal Development for business professionals. An NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner she conducts in-house corporate training (learn more at www.allentraining.co.uk) and public courses in NLP (learn more at www.nlpedinburgh.co.uk)

Book: The Power Of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough, by Dr Matthew Edlund, published by HarperOne
Article: http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/what-is-mindfulness/evidence-for-the-effectiveness-of-mindfulness/

Finding confidence from the stories we tell ourselves

Claire Bradshaw NLP Master Practitioner, Development Consultant and Executive Coach

I’ve been struck recently by the number of women and men I’ve been working with who have expressed a need to ‘feel more confident’, whether that be about their decisions, their leadership, the way they appear, how they feel in a group, a new experience.

And this got me wondering…what is it about this feeling or this state of ‘confidence’ that we believe will unlock our potential and help us lead happier more courageous lives? And how can we invite it in?
The stories we tell ourselves

Our need to feel confident can be fuelled by feelings of not being good enough, a fear of failure and by over-thinking. We tell ourselves stories (and often they are stories, carefully constructed to substantiate a belief we may have held for a long time, suitably lacking in solid, recent evidence): ‘they don’t really think I did a good job; they’re just being nice’ or ‘they haven’t answered my email yet. That’s because they aren’t interested in my idea’. cb2We tell ourselves these stories so frequently and so eloquently that they become our reality, the version of ourselves we hold to be true. These stories shape who we are and who we become.

But what if we were to edit the stories or even re-write them? What if we could discover those stories which would, rather than stopping us doing things or getting in the way, nourish us and enable us to do the things we really want to achieve. What would that be like?

Confidence is….

Confidence is like…’standing tall; it’s shiny and purple; it’s grounded and strong; it’s like sparkly new shoes which are bouncy and light; it’s energy; it’s knowing it’s right; confidence is trust in yourself; it’s honouring who you are’. Just a few responses to the question, ‘what is confidence like’? Close your eyes. Breathe in deep. Think of a time when you’ve felt confident, at home, with friends, at work….what is confidence like for you?

The first step to re-shaping our stories and therefore ourselves is to understand exactly what it is we are telling ourselves. What beliefs am I holding on to which limit me? And then….what will I believe instead which will empower me, to be confident and at my best? And finally….to really believe it…it’s no longer a story but a truth. It’s who you are.

The Mind-Body connection

Our experience may tell us that feeling confident can help us do things we might ordinarily shy away from, that presentation at the annual meeting, for example. It may tell us that how we feel can affect our behaviour and our performance. Amy Cuddy, Harvard Business School Professor, social psychologist and presenter of one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’, asserts that if we manage our physical selves we can influence our thinking and therefore our confidence levels. In other words, our minds and our bodies are interconnected; a change in one will affect a change in the other. Try it for yourself. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Close in your body, lower your head, make yourself small. Stay like that for a moment or two. What is that like? What are your thoughts? How is your confidence? Now, slowly open up, stretch, reach upward, make yourself really big. Stay in that position for a few moments. Notice what that is like. What has happened to your facial expression, to your breathing? What are your thoughts now? How confident do you feel?

Cuddy’s research shows that by managing our posture we generate hormonal responses, increasing levels of testosterone (that which can make us feel powerful) and decreasing levels of cortisol (that which can make us feel stressed). And these play into our thoughts and our actions. That presentation becomes more achievable, that difficult conversation much easier. Have a look at the TED talk – it certainly changed things for me.

The next chapter

How we are in the world can impact on the stories we tell ourselves. And the language we choose to narrate our stories is vital to our sense of self and to how confident we feel.

By noticing our stories and learning to create them afresh, we can narrate for ourselves a different outcome, a different reality, a different truth.

The Didsbury House Hotel is the setting for ‘Shine Brighter’, an opportunity to discover your own story and feel more confident. The lovely Lisa Jeskins and I will be working together to deliver this on 3rd March 2017 with more workshops over the course of next year. To book your place click on Claire Bradshaw Associates website:


You might be interested in…………

Judson Brewer’s TED talk on ‘A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit’…. a good one for New Year ! Click to view


NLP International Conference April 28-30, 2017 in London where my friend and associate Eleni Sarantinou is one of this year’s speakers…. come and join us !!

Click on this link to book your tickets:

https://www.universe.com/events/nlp-international-conference-2017-tickets- J9FK3N?ref=ELENISARANTINOU