Category: Articles


Humans are reactive thinkers, feelers and doers.

Great skills when such traits result in us thinking and feeling good, not so good when they trigger constant negative thoughts, or lead us to behave in a way which we wish we hadn’t.

A prime example of this is Christmas when the aim is to be happy. But because of life pressures such as wanting to get things done; have enough money; buy the right presents; feel appreciated by and please others; be invited to parties; become special to someone; not be alone; mend old relationship wounds; miss a loved one who has died, many find self pressures rise, moods fluctuate, some become depressed and most become stressed. 

It’s not pressure itself which is the problem, us humans were made to absorb and cope with enormous amounts of pressure. The problem is when we seek to keep pressure contained thus allowing it to ‘fester’ so that body and mind become stressed.


Think of your mind like a CD player, switched on by something you see, touch, hear, taste, smell, a thought or an emotion. Ok when these triggers lead to happy thinking but when under rising pressure, negative thoughts speed up, intensifying mood and promoting awfulizing e.g. ‘I can’t stand this’, ‘why am I so pathetic’ thinking. Eventually you manage to switch off this CD, but those distressing/depressing thoughts just rewind waiting to play again. Thus adding greater intensity to any regurgitated thoughts/feelings/emotions and reactive behaviours. For example: most people nowadays when stressed feel they want ‘comfort’ such as something nice to eat or drink or someone to talk too.  Talking to someone is always good but if you are a worrier thinking ‘I don’t want to bore them, upset them, let them think I’m pathetic” you tend to try to suppress it, of course it will come out but not as controlled as you would want it to be. So to with thinking I need a drink, first one does indeed act as a relaxant, subsequent drinks just add fuel to the depressive fire you were trying to put out!


Every time you feel internal pressure rising take a sheet of paper, write down exactly what you are thinking about yourself or others. Be as vitriolic as you like, (no one is going to see it) finishing with a positive statement such as: “that’s my stress out, now I can relax and get my energy back”. Read it only once, finishing with the positive statement. Tear it up into tiny, tiny pieces thinking “that’s where you belong in the bin”.

Worried someone might be able to piece it together or not in a place where you could do this easily. ? Keep a pen with you at all times, go to the loo write down your feelings or express it in just two words!! (loo paper is good, lets out the frustration trying to write on it). Tear it up, flush it down the loo, thinking “that’s where you belong with the crap” and let yourself smile.

With practice you will find you can take the sting out of the intensity of your stress very quickly, reducing it back to normal manageable pressure. Just remember:

NEVER KEEP THE WRITINGS OR TELL ANYONE WHAT YOU WROTE – they’re your thoughts/feelings/beliefs and you’ve just let them out. If it’s not in you, it can’t hurt you.


Regaining health after experiencing a condition that affects the heart or indeed heart surgery can feel like an uphill struggle, a life experience fuelling self-questioning as to why this happened.

Recovery initially primarily supported by medical intervention and guidance which when used alongside this self-empowering book assists a person to learn effective rehabilitative and resilience building recovery strategies. Ultimately, assisting individuals, to build personal resolve to adapt life style practices which contributed to their heart problems.

Using over thirty years’ experience of providing self-empowering, resilience building rehabilitation programs, Irene has put her knowledge and the personal experiences of those recovering from a heart condition or surgery with whom she has worked, into a self-help rehabilitation guide. Its content includes comprehensive and practical guidelines covering rehabilitation, such as post-surgical symptoms and how to breathe without hurting your wound, to the wider aspects of lifestyle management – overcoming stress and conquering habits that may have contributed to heart problems.

Shirley Hall,

British Heart Foundation Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager

Having reviewed this book reported:

“This is a very useful and down to earth book, with very practical tips on how to deal with areas such as stress and anxiety. It is easy to read and understand and should be very helpful to anyone who has had a heart problem and their family.

Topics covered include:

  • Taking medication and seeing your doctor again
  • Practical issues such as work, driving, holidays
  • Coping with emotions and stress
  • Using the power of the mind to stimulate a healthy immune system
  • A step by step rehabilitation programme including detailed exercises and safety tips
  • Diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation and imagery techniques to reduce tension and induce a calm state
  • How to give up smoking and stop drinking to excess
  • Develop Balanced eating habits

The message is simple: It’s never too late to make changes to improve and maintain your health and wellbeing, so start today, read this book and become your own wellness coach.

You can purchase this book at a reduced price of £5 & £1 p & p by accessing it on this site under eBooks/cCd’s main heading.



1.     DON’T wait till JanuarySTART NOW – Why? Because by the time the New Year comes we are likely to have over-indulged in a lot of things, such as drink, food, partying through the night and overworking to get things finished both at home and at work. Essentially we become exhausted. Fatigue in both mind and body is not a good place to be, let alone provide us with the energy to keep our desired goals going. Habits form easily especially when they appear comforting, so doing without is going to be harder to maintain. So start now by moderating what you know in the new year you want to change e.g. Usually drink 4 glasses of wine a night – cut down to 3 a night by having a glass of water (served in a wine glass) between drinks.

2.    LEARN about yourself & what might make it difficult to keep your resolution on track – Why? Because we need to understand ourselves in order to stimulate motivational belief needed to maintain change. Ask yourself these questions and write your answers down:

·         What do I want to change?

·         What is my purpose of doing this? 

·         What do I want to achieve?

·         Am I doing it for myself, because I think it will please others or  to

       be part of a group?

3.       LEARN what stops you from maintaining your goal?

·         Do you think about it but never start it?

·         Do you start well and then give up? 

·         If so, what stopped you from keeping it going?

·         Were there influences from others that affected your willpower?

·         Once you can identify triggers which encourage you to give up, you

       can act in advance to prevent them.

NOW take all these answers and ask yourself are you resilient?

4.   RECOGNISE RESILIENCE means ‘ability to recover’ – have you got it?

  • Humans are forged from resilient abilities, they are the core of everyone of us, but sometimes they become rusty, particularly if we ‘believe’ we do not have the ability to ‘keep going’, think ‘I can’t stand it thoughts’ or beat ourselves up when we fail to keep it going.
  • We are all natural copers. You cope every day with minor or major happenings. But if you do not believe in your coping abilities you will lose your motivation and are less likely to value what you do, probably focusing instead on what you haven’t done. In another blog I will explore how to build confidence by valuing what you do
  • Remember every time you say No to yourself you are strengthening your resilient ability to keep going


5.    Setting a reasonable goal for example: ‘I’m not going to eat cream cakes anymore’ when you have been eating them for years is likely to be too difficult to keep up, because an ingrained habit has been set. Self damning “I knew I wouldn’t do it, I’m useless” thoughts will become the norm and you are likely to give up trying. Whereas thinking “I will only eat cream cakes as a treat on a Saturday”, is a more realistic and attainable goal, based on reduction rather than absolutes.

6.    Think of your challenge in small manageable steps instead of the end result e.g. ‘want to lose a stone’ – think of it in bit size chunks – ‘want to lose 2lbs by the end of the week’

7.    Take one day at a time – if you didn’t manage to keep your resolve going for one day there is no point in beating yourself up for it, just makes it harder the next day to get going. Much better to accept the fact you’re a normal fallible human being, that no one is perfect. Accept yourself on your off day and you will like yourself more on your good days. Thus resolve to keep going gets strengthened.

8.    Instead of doing it alone join with a friend/colleagues or family.  Because motivational resolve to keep going is something we can reflectively support within each other just by being there, seeing each other succeed and at times stall.

9.   CHALLENGE the WAY YOU THINK with evidence based thinking

  • You are a coper – when you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t stand it’ – challenge it with evidence “I can stand it, I’ve stood it before, I can stand it again’, because you can and you have, many times
  • Any habit can subconsciously make us feel that we have no choice or we have to do this, match others etc. Challenge it, because everything you do is your choice (there’s no gun at your head). Remember you can only control in life what you choose to do. For example ‘I can’t say no to a drink because everyone else is having one’ challenge with “I don’t have to follow everyone else, I can choose not to drink another one, if I don’t I will be happier with myself’.

10.   Consider using a variety of aids to support your journey

  • Listen to music when exercising or jogging
  • Use a pedometer to measure the steps you take in a day, helps to motivate movement
  • Get your firm to set up a yearly sponsored getting healthy new year’s resolution program (always start in December) e.g. they provide pedometers – departments choose the theme, could be walking program; diet; swimming; taking constructive breaks; walking between floors instead of taking lifts
  • Join a class, learn something new that interests you
  • Ensure one day a week you have a treat day – relax and enjoy – no need to cut something out completely UNLESS it is affecting your health.
  • Aim for everything in moderation.

LAST but not least read the ‘Best tip for reducing pressure at Christmas’ on the articles page of this website, it has a great tool for ‘binning’ frustration, if, when you find yourself not keeping to your resolve. Get out the feelings and you will find yourself more able to maintain the change you want.