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Archive for the 'Stress less' Category

Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

The other day while celebrating my partner’s birthday, and while seeking refuge from a considerable period of stress, I noticed a tourist deeply entranced in capturing an image of a local child with his Canon camera.

 

I took this snapshot on my phone and then showed it to him. He was very surprised and exclaimed, “You got me!”

 

The energy was infectious, pure, spontaneous joy – or as Deepak Chopra writes in his book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing The Infinite Power of Coincidence—divinely inspired.

The man I spontaneously photographed was Suresh Lala, who I later discovered was on the last day of his trip to New Zealand from Mumbai. He also spontaneously reciprocated his joy by taking an image of me which he entitled, “Me photographing the photographer who photographed the photographer.”

“I shall certainly cherish this memory. Keep that high wattage smile going!” he wrote to me. Little did Suresh know that my partner and I have been experiencing a time of profound stress. Suresh’s passionate camera-presence was a gift to me, and immediately boosted my deflated spirits.

As I write, I am not sure where this coincidence will let. Yet it is remarkable that yesterday I also received my first truly spine-tingling review on Amazon India for my newly released book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More

 

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!

21 May 2018

Cassandra Gaisford’s book- Your beautiful mind – is the first book I read after completing my three day counseling session at a major alcoholic rehabilitation center in Indian state of Kerala. Her straightforward way of writing hooked me and motivated me to hold on to my decision- to quit alcohol- strongly. She handled the menace of alcoholism from the level of basics to the level of an expert in a language even a layman can understand.

‘Your beautiful mind’ inspired me to think beyond my alcoholic lifestyle, which wasn’t possible before and helped to transform my mind completely. She motivated me to take up my passions- reading, writing, stock market analysis- as fruitful additions rather than following self destructive addictions like alcohol, nicotine and drugs. Today, I can enjoy my life more and feels like I have been freed from a prison – a self created prison of addictive behaviour. Keep inspiring and keep up your great work, Cassandra!

Now, I am hoping to visit Mumbai too! And loads of other places in India too.

Thank you Justin Raj—I’m so thrilled to have been able to help. Justin’s feedback is even more significant because, as I share in my books, one of the main reasons I wrote Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, and also my follow-up book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, was following the desperate plea for help by a beautiful woman I met on a wellness retreat.

“I’m an alcoholic,” she sobbed, “I can’t stop drinking and they’re going to take my kids.” At the time I felt powerless, ‘How could I possibly help you? I wondered. What did I know about treating addictions?

Little did I know that my frustration and feelings of inadequacy would spur me to find answers. So to know that Justin, not only found self-empowered healing, but that in the process he also reawakened dormant and neglected passions is especially poignant. As he shared on his Facebook page and blog he is looking forward to replacing a negative addiction with a positive obsession with writing and researching and has rekindled his then-dormant blog.

Coincidentally – or what I call ‘go-incidentally’ my dream has been to visit Kerela one day. I hope we can meet!

Are you struggling with anxiety or feeling overwhelmed? Have negative addictions and substance abuse claimed your creative power? Below is a powerful reminder about the life-enhancing magic of creativity—a short edited excerpt from Your Beautiful Mind.

 

Powerful Creativity

Creative expression and communicating what you truly feel is one of our greatest joys and freedoms. It is a simple and effective way to inject more happiness into your life without needing alcohol. Creativity in its various guises is also a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy is such a potent and popular tool.

Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery and healing that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. People don’t need to have a background in the arts or any artistic talent to participate.  They need only to be open to experiencing and engaging actively to benefit.

I have trained in a technique called Interactive Drawing Therapy and have found it to be an incredible tool in my own life and in my sessions with others. The simplest of drawings, a line, a color, a scrawled phrase or word can powerfully access parts of the psyche we often repress, bringing it to light. In an alchemical process, wounds are spun into gold.

When I first trained in Interactive Drawing Therapy the teacher asked for a volunteer. No hands were raised so he picked me. What harm could it do, I thought, being as skilled as I was at keeping a lid firmly on my feelings.

“Draw an animal,” he said.

Sure, I thought. Great. Harmless. I drew a giraffe.

“Put some color on the page,” the teacher gently guided.

My giraffe became pink with green, purple and yellow spots. What fun I thought.

“Where is she?” the teacher asked. “Draw this on the page.”

I drew large grey and black rectangles, symbolizing office blocks, cars belching smoke, and a road, not unlike Lambton Quay, in Wellington, New Zealand where I went to work in a job I hated every weekday.

“Put some words on the page,” the teacher whispered.

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

And then it dawned on me, just as the words slipped onto the page. That giraffe was me. And the fact was I did stand out—naturally. I had always been different. And I had struggled unsuccessfully to belong.

“She can’t help but stand out,” my tutor affirmed. “It’s who she is.”

For me, this awareness was so new, so potent, so transformative, that I knew instantly there was work to do. I began to understand the deep social anxiety I had felt as a child and carried with me through adolescence—and with it the drinking to belong, to bolster the confidence I never felt, to hide the discomfort of living in my own skin.

I wonder, if you were an animal who would you be and why? Asking this question so directly, often yields substantially different, more rational, carefully considered choices, than those which arise through the techniques of tools like Interactive Drawing Therapy (IDT). The strength of IDT is its ability to access what is repressed, hidden and buried in the subconscious and bring it to light for healing.

Job stress, as we have discussed briefly, is a major reason many people over-drink. Again, drawing came to my rescue. I had become quite accomplished at pretending I loved my job—I couldn’t afford to admit the truth.

As I share in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue The Call for Change, “I was a single mum, the only one able to support my young daughter and myself. I used to go home with a brave face, but inside I was tired and depressed. My self-esteem was so low I thought no one would hire me. I tried to go to work, grit my teeth and bear it.

I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. But that wasn’t what my boss wanted from me. “You could make a lot of money here,” he said. “You just need to be more selfish.”  For a while, I tried to be someone else—motivated only by money, but every day my values were compromised, and the skills I loved weren’t used.

My job started making me ill. It got so bad I got shingles—a painful virus affecting the central nervous system. I felt trapped and unable to leave. My colleagues at work had similar experiences. It really was such a toxic workplace. Several people had heart attacks, and the amount of alcohol people consumed after work to numb the pain was staggering.

I needed a career rescue. In desperation, I agreed to see a career counselor. During my first session, I was asked to draw a picture. I drew a grey bird in a black cage.

“The door is open, but she’s forgotten how to fly,” I told her.

This drawing brought tears to her eyes. Although I didn’t understand why at the time, I can see now that she felt my pain at feeling so caught and trapped by my situation.

Through our sessions and the structured exercises we completed together, I rebuilt my confidence and strengthened my awareness of my skills, and most importantly, I learned how to dream.

The work the career counselor did with me was so important, so vital—saving me from despair. It led me to not just finding a job I loved, but later creating one that gave me a sense of purpose.

What she taught me literally gave me my life back. Happily, I can now serve others in this way too—as an author, qualified holistic energy psychologist, career counselor, life and career coach, and a trainer of other coaches who also aspire to make a difference in other people’s lives.

If you’re reading this book and recognize yourself in my story, if job stress or a toxic workplace is causing you to over drink, don’t wait too long for help. I promise that your happy place is out there—it may even mean employing yourself. Now, that’s ultimate freedom!

 

Therapy Can Be Fun—and Free!

Many addiction and rehab centers use art therapy as part of their therapeutic offering, and report that clients find engaging in creative arts highly satisfying and fun. It’s a playful way of relaxing and an enjoyable way to address some of the more complex aspects of rehab.

Creative activity provides a way to process some of the stressful emotions and anxieties that can emerge during treatment. After rehab, activities like painting, sculpting or drawing can be used throughout the individual’s life as a way to express feelings, explore creativity, and reduce stress.

Best of all, it’s a tool anyone can access, anywhere, at any time, and the effects are long-lasting. You can engage in creativity whenever you feel the need to escape the madness of this world.

But you don’t need to go to rehab or analyze how and why creativity works to understand it’s magic.

Art in all its guises heals and empowers. Have you ever wondered why silencing or controlling peoples creative expression is the first things marauding tyrants and dictators silence or destroy?

Leonardo da Vinci, a great scientist once said, “Art is the queen of all sciences communicating to the world.” Art permeates the inner and outer worlds and elevates our soul.

My grandmother Molly was a naturally gifted and self-taught artist. Her escape, when she needed one, was painting flowers and landscapes in oil colors.

Molly also loved to play the piano, the accordion, and even the banjo and sing for others. Perhaps it was her Irish ancestry which unleashed the happy, confident entertainer. I can still hear her beautifully manicured nail tapping along the ivory keys of the piano. Art banished her heavy episodes of drinking—when she sang, painted, created she never needed a drink.

I have a tiny painting of Molly’s in my shed, a small bunch of violets framed in a custom-made frame my grandfather made for her. Reg Fairweather (beautiful name) was a talented wood turner and furniture maker. This was a hobby, a beautiful retreat he found great joy and personal expression in.

Molly also loved to play the piano, the accordion, and even the banjo and sing for others. Perhaps it was her Irish ancestry which unleashed the happy, confident entertainer. I can still hear her beautifully manicured nail tapping along the ivory keys of the piano. Art banished her heavy episodes of drinking—when she sang, painted, created she never needed a drink.

I wonder now, was that his way of escaping and coping when my grandmother’s drinking got out of control? Or was it Reg’s way of coping or distancing himself from his own pain? At the time of writing, I’ve only just learned that Reg’s mother, my great-grandmother, died not long after giving birth. It’s a trauma that had until now, remained a secret.

“I write songs to deal with things I otherwise might not be able to,” a young woman once said about her budding music career, hobbies and dreams.

“For me to be happy is about pleasing only my heart and not worrying about what others think,” says Interior designer Olimpia Orsini about her magically surreal lair in her home away from home in Rome’s bohemian Campo Marzio.

“I love what a camera does,” says landscape photographer Alicia Taylor. “It opens up people to connect with you, it can take you on an amazing journey, and probably is the only time I feel I’ve got the guts to do something is when I’ve got the camera in my hands. I feel like it’s a key to the world.”

“Knitting saved my life,” the waitress at my local cafe told me recently. She told me how her hobby has provided the ultimate cure for her anxiety, and of the joy she finds in knitting for friends.

Without the anxiety of feeling different, author Isabel Allende, says she wouldn’t have been driven to create. “Writing, when all is said and done, is an attempt to understand one’s own circumstance and to clarify the confusion of existence, including insecurities that do not torment normal people, only chronic non-conformists.”

What do these people all have in common? They harness the power of creative expression to rise above the challenges of life.

Personally, I love to write paint, take photographs and have dabbled in a great deal many other things during my life—including making stained glass Tiffany-style lampshades, pottery, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch. You name it, I’ve tried it. They take me out of this world, out of my mind, into the realms of the divine. I find great comfort there.

Get drunk on creating—yes, please! It’s a positive addiction I’m happy to feed.

“I love the chaos. I do everything I’m not meant to do. I used to drink like an animal, but now I use my art to express the chaos in my mind,” says Sir Antony Hopkins about the joy he finds in painting. “I used to take myself so seriously. I have an obsessive personality. I do everything fast. I want to do everything I can because time is running out”, he says. “I want to express color. Maybe it’s reaching for some sort of divine.”

Don’t get caught up in the classical definitions of an artist when you think about creativity, you don’t have to be an artist, painter or sculptor to be creative. Expressing your thoughts or imagining what doesn’t yet exist and then bringing it into being lies at the heart of creative expression. You could harness the transformational power of creativity by:

• Imagining or dreaming what could be, for example, your life of sobriety

• Challenging the status quo, as I am in the writing of this book, or generating solutions and new ideas

• Designing new products or services, perhaps instead of drinking you will pour your heart and soul into creating something you are proud of

• Expressing thoughts and feelings, visually, that are too big or too difficult to put into words

• Or doing something else that helps you deal with life and creates joy in your heart.

One of the most liberating features of the creative process is that it triggers moments of vitality and connection.

“The arts address the idea of an aesthetic experience,” says Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity.

“An aesthetic experience is one in which the senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing, when you are fully alive.”

Being fully alive is part of the enchantment that creative expression holds. This transformational process connects you to your authentic self. But to free yourself you must act. As Shakespeare once said, “Joy’s soul lies in the doing.”

How can you harness the power of creativity in your own life?

In the next chapter, we’ll explore more deeply the transformational power of pepping up your peptides and changing the way you feel naturally.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

Simple, Powerful Ways to Stay Positive

Monday, May 14th, 2018

 

Having to fight hard has made me a better architect.

~ Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, architect

 

What’s your default position when things go awry, obstacles challenge your resolve, technology goes belly-up, unforeseen demands on your time derail your plans, or you receive negative feedback?

Does your mood darken? Setbacks are normal foes you’ll meet on the path to success, but how you greet them will determine the outcome.

Keep your thoughts light. You may need to bring out the big guns to wage war against doubt, despair, and other dark, heavy thoughts.

While they’re often part of the journey to success, you will need to slay them to stay motivated and optimistic.

Prosperous people turn again and again toward the things that create light. They don’t ignore the shadows, but they don’t allow their mindset to be overloaded by darkness.

Acceptance, optimism, willpower, grit, stubborn determination, and a resolve to persevere are critical skills to cultivate, as is flexibility and the willingness to adapt.

Sometimes when it’s all too hard and you need to hibernate, you may temporarily quit. You can take a lesson from nature in this regard.

But as sure as night follows day and the seasons have their rhythm when you follow your gift, your purpose, the thing that makes you happy, before long you’ll be up and thriving again.

 

Mining for Gold

Resist complaining and victim talk—it increases toxicity in your mind and body, hampering your progress.

Throw your energy into positivity—strive to engineer and implement solutions, no matter how small.

Ask for help if too much darkness creeps in.

Peer into the darkness and look for the gift. How can you move from darkness towards the light?

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

The Truth Every Perfectionist Should Know

Monday, May 14th, 2018

 

Perfectionism will keep you poor.

~ Carla Coulson, photographer

 

“All of us failed to match our dream of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible,” wrote author William Faulkner. “In my opinion, if I could write all my work again, I am convinced that I would do it better, which is the healthiest condition for an artist. That’s why he keeps on working, trying again; he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off,” Faulker said. “I believe that all artists are possessed by this silly ambition: they want to do something no one else has done before. They want to create something that’s perfect. And they try, again and again, and they always fail. It seems to me that this is what truly motivates us. We keep on writing because nothing we write is good enough, or at least, as good as we think it should be. Or as good as we think it deserves to be.”

No story, no painting, no work of art is ever ‘finished.’ There’s always something to change, to add, to remove. Good art pulsates with living energy—just like we do. There’s always room for growth.

I know writers who have been “polishing” the same novel for tens of years. I was once one of them.

The challenge is knowing when to let go. Your task is to know when to stop editing and editing, reading and re-reading your work, over and over again.

The truth is if you overwork your creative project you can ruin its vibrancy, its essence, the energy that inspired you to create it in the first place. You run the risk of becoming paralyzed by perfection, becoming sick of your creation, and losing your passion.

Someone once said, “It’s like an itch you don’t have to scratch, because every time you read your story, you’ll always find something that needs to be changed. And if you feel like your story is perfect, just take a few weeks’ off and then read it again. Suddenly, it won’t feel as good as you previously thought.”

Adopt a new mantra—the good enough mantra. Remind yourself that your work is “good enough.” Know that you can always go back and improve it later. But for now, get things done, finish your work, and release your gifts and talents to the world.

Just like blowing bubbles, some projects will fly just for a few seconds, some will never get off the ground, and others will soar eternally towards the sky.

But working on the same project for much longer than is healthy is just as bad as starting a hundred different things and never finishing any of them.

I used to be afraid to let go of my work. I was terrified of what people might think of my books; I was worried they weren’t good enough.

I still care, but I care less. I think it was Leonardo da Vinci who said that those who don’t doubt their ability will never reach their heights.

We all want to be better, but I know from experience that advancement is made only by moving forward. We learn most from experience—not ruminating, overthinking, and over-perfecting.

If people like the books I write, great. If they don’t, then I know that I have done the best I can do right now.

I know from experience that I only get better at writing by writing a lot, not by editing the same project for two decades.

 

Mining for Gold

Done is better than striving for the impossible—perfect. Avoid over-working your projects—let your work go out into the world knowing it is as good as it can be right now.

Set a definite date for completion.

Adopt a growth mindset. Commit to continual improvement—in your new work and the projects that follow.

 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

Saturday, May 5th, 2018

My little secret…

Mollie MathewsWhen you’re a mature worker and you find yourself in a position where you have to look for work, age bias can be a factor, but it doesn’t have to be a barrier. Although some employers might look for young, less mature hires, older workers have lots to offer, as many smart organizations realize. Successfully finding a job takes skill and confidence, but once you know the rules, you’ll feel more confident, more successful and a whole lot happier.

Some people find job hunting very challenging. Perhaps years of conditioning that you should be seen and not heard, acute shyness or lack of practice and experience in the art of self-promotion may be affecting you.

In my new book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work—book.at/JobSearchStrategies— I’ll share the secrets that recruitment agencies will never tell you. I should know—I was once a recruitment consultant myself.

You will also discover how to:
•Harness the law of attraction by focusing on areas of passion and purpose
•Tap into the hidden job market
•Let people know what you have to offer confidently
•Overcome stress and doubt
•Boost confidence, courage, and self-esteem
•Help you find and get the job or career you want

Whether you love the idea of the 4-hour workweek, want to find a job that reflects who you are and what’s important to you, or thinking about starting a business, career change after 50 and finding a new job can be yours. 

As Richard N Bolles, author of ‘What Colour Is Your Parachute’, once said to me, “sometimes all it takes is one book, one sentence to transform your life.”

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want.

Preview or purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work today. Available for immediate download from Amazon here—getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

The strategies in this book will also help job-hunters in their 20s, 30s or 40s successfully change careers. The tips I share are the exact ones I used to move from despair to joy.

When I first decided on a career as a recruitment consultant I thought it would be a great opportunity to help people find jobs they enjoyed and to use my coaching skills.

I didn’t realize that the major part of the job was sales and business development. The seeds of dissatisfaction festered as I realized that I was not using the skills that I enjoyed.

In addition, the things that were really important to me, such as the value I placed on helping people, were compromised. It was a sales culture where the commission earned by putting people into jobs or a workplace, that I knew wasn’t a good fit, was more important than helping people find the right job.

For a long time, I tried to ignore my unhappiness. Finding another job seemed like too much work and secretly I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe I expected too much from my job. Shouldn’t I be grateful to have an income? My self-esteem plummeted and I felt too frightened to look for another job—what if nobody else wanted me?

Before long my growing ‘dis-ease’ with my job bubbled out into painful blisters. I was quickly diagnosed with shingles.

Until I’d experienced what it was like not to do what I enjoyed I didn’t realize how important these things were to me. I started to look for ways to do more of what I wanted and less of what I didn’t. When the opportunity came to move into the career management team I leaped at the chance. I enjoyed it but I still didn’t get to do what I really wanted—hands-on coaching.

Several years later, with my eye to the future, I left the company altogether and aligned myself with a role much more in tune with my soul and my longer-term goals. As I share in Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work The way I found that job was by clarifying what really made me happy and what I wanted in a job, and then, armed with this knowledge (but still a lot of fear and low self-belief )by feeing the fear and tapping into the hidden job market anyway!

Then later still I left the security of that salaried job and embraced the freedom of self-employment and owning my own business. I was a single mum—the sole breadwinner—with a mortgage. There was no safety net other than the preparation I’d done and the belief and knowledge that I had salable skills which were in demand. I’ve never looked back.

Saying Hello And Goodbye

Some of the things I said hello to when I made a move were increased freedom, autonomy and earnings.  I said goodbye to being controlled, and having a cap on my salary.

While there were trade-offs, such as no longer having paid annual leave and statutory holidays, the benefits, including the ability to work from home and the flexibility to care for my daughter—especially during her school holidays—more than compensated for any losses.

Action Task! 

Say hello to your preferred future and goodbye to the past by creating your own hello-goodbye list in your passion journal. Remember to include the benefits you’ll gain by releasing what no longer serves you. Add to this list as you gain more insights from the exercises you’ll discover in Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work.

 

“Change is the end result of all true learning. Change involves three things: First, a dissatisfaction with self—a felt void or need; second, a decision to change—to fill the void or need; and third, a conscious dedication to the process of growth and change—the willful act of making the change; Doing Something.” ~ Dr Phil

 

Quit feeling trapped. Reclaim your power! Find a job you love and finally live the life you want.

Preview or purchase Mid-Life Career Rescue Job Search Strategies That Work today. Available for immediate download from Amazon here—getbook.at/JobSearchStrategies

The strategies in this book will also help job-hunters in their 20s, 30s or 40s successfully change careers.

 

6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Staying happy and motivated is like caring for delicate roses, you need to nurture your fragrant dreams every day and be vigilant in keeping predators away. As a coaching client, who suffers from reoccurring bouts of depression, said recently, “Changing my view from one where I am trying to motivate myself, to one where I am inspired by the things that motivate me will help me achieve my goals.”

Successful people don’t force themselves into submission, instead, they harness their love and enthusiasm for their projects to lift them higher. Successful people also know how to bounce back from inevitable setbacks. Guided by the  wisdom of Leonardo da Vinci, here are 6 things successful people do to become and stay motivated:

 

1.) HARNESS THE POWER OF PASSION

 

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.  It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

Sadly, when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, the things that you love are the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that feeds your soul you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me”. Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

2.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN SIGHT

 

There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Beginning with the end in sight is a powerful way of strengthening motivation, persistence, and perseverance. The future does belong to those believe in the beauty of their dreams and schemes

Every extraordinary achievement starts as someone’s daydream. Dream big, become audaciously obsessed, and fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles!

Let desire propel you forward by acting as if, seeing as if, feeling as if, tasting as if, touching as if your success has already been achieved.

Jessie Burton’s empowering words, “Always picture succeeding, never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things seem to be going in the moment,” may inspire you as much as they do me.

Her advice reminds me to watch my tendency to visualize and picture failure. Sometimes when I embark on an inspired quest I tell myself messages of failure, and as a result, I feel failure. This is hardly a formula for success!

Jesse Burton, the bestselling author of the highly acclaimed books The Muse and The Miniaturist, is very inspiring to me because she is so honest about her own battles with mental health—including anxiety.

Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, and Julia Cameron, playwright and author of phenomenal bestseller The Artist’s Way, all understand the transformational power of keeping words, thoughts, and feelings in journals. As did Leonardo da Vinci.

He was a prolific recorder of all things that interested and excited him. He maintained over 13,000 pages of scientific notes and drawings on natural philosophy, life, travel, and mysteries.

“Preserve these sketches as your assistants and masters,” he once wrote in his journal.

His notebooks not only log his interests and the things he witnessed with his own eyes, but it was also a medium by which he channeled his intuition. They also helped him shape his vision for future creations he wished to transform from his mind into tangible reality.

Whether you keep a passion journal, dream board or store your vision in your mind, visualizing your preferred future is an essential tool for your success.

 

3.) BE AMBITIOUS

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, loss. Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.

Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines. As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.

“Dream big,” encourages James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world. “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a #1 thriller.” 

Given that science has barely even begun to explore the real potential of the human mind, it’s a funny thing how easily we persuade ourselves of its limitations and settle for less.

You’ve probably caught yourself thinking about a big dream, some inspired course of action, and at some point talked yourself down by saying, “I could never do that!”

Or perhaps you’ve come up with a bright idea about something and then shelved it because somebody said dismissively, “You can’t do that!” or “That’s crap.”

Or perhaps, as I have so often said to myself before reconnecting with my millionaire mindset, “I can’t do this. I can’t write this book. It’s too big. Who do I think I am trying to write such a complex book?”

But how do you really know what you are capable of unless you try?

Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist, once said: “Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations. Improve your dancing, practice a lot, and set a very high goal, one that will be difficult to achieve. Because that is an artist’s million: to go beyond one’s limits. An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”

Thinking big demands a long step outside the comfort zone of what you know.

It can feel scary to contemplate stepping out of the space where you feel you know what you’re doing and you feel fully in control.

It can feel frightening to explore what it would be like if you were to leave the comfort-rut and attempt to climb toward a new summit. You don’t know for sure where it will lead. But everyone who’s ever made a success of anything started with a big dream.

And you can, too.

Tim Ferris dreams big by adopting and cherishing his beginner’s mind. Rather than succumb to the fear of failure, he changes his mindset, and affirms his love of variety and challenge and being a perpetual debutante.

“Think small, to go big” encourages Gary Keller in his book The One Thing. “Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do.

“It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make a focus.”

When you think too big, achieving success can feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and complicated. Calendars can become overloaded and success starts to feel out of reach. So, people opt out and either quit or settle for less.

“Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much, and in the end, accomplish too little,” says Keller.

“Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.”

 

4.) PLAN FOR SUCCESS

 

God sells us all things at the price of labor

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Planning and effort prevent poor performance. This is such a powerful message when it comes to our goals, especially if you’re someone who equates planning with feeling controlled. You may be looking to the future thinking, “Someday! Someday I will achieve that.”

How can you be assured that things will happen if you don’t plan your action steps effectively, efficiently and productively?

So many people end their lives disappointed that things didn’t come to fruition. “Why didn’t it happen for me? Why, when it happens for other people.” Successful people don’t sit at home waiting for things to happen. They go out and conquer things.

If you’re sitting back waiting for ‘someday’ you have a problem—you think you have time!

Successful people set goals and start breaking them down into bite-size chunks. If you want to generate $100,000 out of your business in a year what do you need to do to get there? If you want to start a new relationship, or improve the one you’ve got, develop your success strategy. Your efforts will be repaid in exchange for your labor and your courage to try.

Planning for success also means planning for possible failure. As Oprah once said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

Planning to for success also means showing up! Successful people don’t spend their time thinking and strategizing about success.

To be inspired is to be in spirit, and inspiration has to find you working or it won’t come out to play. Eighty percent of success is empowering your mind, body, and spirit by showing up.

Showing up requires the ability to balance creativity with flexibility and discipline.

To be disciplined is to be committed, devoted, able to control your SELF in accordance with, and sometimes against, your desires.

You may be a genius, gifted or have an IQ of 160, but if you lack self-discipline and follow-through your success will be limited.

Leonardo affirmed the importance of this by writing reminders to himself of the superiority of doing to knowing.“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough: we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

 

5.) CHASE THE LIGHT

 

Darkness steeps everything with its hue, and the more an object is divided from darkness the more it shows its true and natural color

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

What’s your default position when things go awry, obstacles challenge your resolve, technology goes belly-up or unforeseen demands on your time derail your plans?

Does your mood darken? Setbacks are normal foes you’ll meet on the path to success, but how you greet them will determine the outcome.

Keep your thoughts light. You may need to bring out the big guns to wage war against doubt, despair and other dark, heavy thoughts. While they’re often part of the journey to success, you will need to slay them to stay motivated and optimistic.

Leonardo would turn again and again toward the things that created light. He didn’t ignore the shadows, but he didn’t allow his palette to be overloaded by darkness.

Acceptance, optimism, willpower, grit, stubborn determination and a resolve to persevere are critical skills to cultivate, as is flexibility and the willingness to adapt. Sometimes it’s all too hard and you need to hibernate. You can take a lesson from nature in this regard.

Successful people resist complaining and victim talk—they know it increases toxicity in your mind and body, hampering your progress. Instead, they throw their energy into positivity and strive to engineer and implement solutions, no matter how small.

They also ask for help if too much darkness creeps in, and, rather than suppress, numb or try to ignore problems they peer into the darkness and look for the gift.

The astoundingly innovative and talented British architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, faced unimaginable obstacles on her road to success, including battling the predominately male industry who viewed her curvaceous designs with destain. “Having to fight hard has made me a better architect,” she once said.

6.) SAVVY SOBRIETY

 

Here again, many vain pleasures are enjoyed, both by the mind in imagining impossible things, and by the body in taking those pleasures that are often the cause of the failing of life. Extremes are to be avoided

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Alcohol and success don’t make good marriage partners, but they’re often fatally attracted.

While there’s no evidence that Leonardo was a teetotaller, he was a clever man. Experience would have told him what we all know—too much booze muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit.

Many successful people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve, however, often takes extraordinary willpower.

Spiritual guru to the stars, Deepak Chopra, gave up drinking, saying “I liked it too much.”

Julia Cameron, the author of The Artists Way, fought her way back from alcoholism. Others like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it.

Drink to success? Destroying your career, ruining your relationships, sacrificing your sanity, and taking your life is a massive price to pay to celebrate success.

Benefits of not drinking are many, including:

  • Authentic happiness
  • Increased memory and mental performance
  • Better control of your emotions
  • Increased productivity
  • Sweeter relationships
  • Improved confidence, self-esteem
  • Stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams
  • Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

The choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the toll it exacts. Consider trialing sobriety—take the 30-day challenge. Experiment with living an alcohol-free life.

Do you need help to moderate or quit drinking? Consider purchasing any of my books in the Mindful Drinking series, including Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

Mind Your Drink—Pep Up Your Peptides and Feel Stronger, Happier, and Lighter Fast!

Sunday, April 8th, 2018

 

“As our feelings change, this mixture of peptides travels throughout your body and your brain. And they’re literally changing the chemistry of every cell in your body,” says neuroscientist Dr. Candace Pert.

Many people seek happiness in a bottle, mistakenly turning to booze to fuel a happy-high. But there are happier and healthier options to feel more joy—minus hangover hell and drinkers remorse. You can trick your brain and stimulate the reward networks by losing the booze and pepping up your peptides—your body’s natural feel-good opiates.

What you feel has a powerful effect on your mind and your behavior, attracting, or repealing from you what you desire—including health and vitality. Call it the law of attraction, the law of manifestation, or whatever you like, but know that the mind-body connection is backed by strong empirical science.

Dr. Candace Pert, formerly the chief of brain biochemistry at the National Institutes of Health in the US, revolutionized her field by discovering that emotions create biochemical compounds called peptides that serve as messengers in the brain; her team’s work won the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, which is often a precursor to the Nobel Prize.

Pert’s breakthrough discovery changed the way scientists understood the mind-body connection.

Her discovery of the opiate receptor, the mechanism by which a class of chemicals (peptides) alters the mind and body, and subsequent research, led her to an understanding of the way emotions function as a regulatory system in the body.

Because of her revolutionary work on emotions and the mind-body connection, Dr. Pert appeared in the film, What the Bleep Do We Know, and her work helped shift the paradigm from “emotions as neuroscience” to “emotions as biology, ” and “emotions as physics.

So, what does all this mean for you and your quest for sobriety?

Many people use alcohol to numb their emotions and mask their pain. But as Dr. Pert’s research highlights repression creates imbalance and leads to ill-health.

“My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed—which is to say that the biochemicals that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely, all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and behavior,” says Pert.

As you’ve already discovered alcohol is a depressant and aggravates anxiety and other mental imbalances. Too often, when people start to experience low mood or suffer mental illness they head to the doctor or schedule an appointment with a therapist.

However many psychologists and western doctors treat the mind as “disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body,” says Pert. “Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard for the mind or the emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.”

I endorse this professionally and personally and have seen many people return to good health when they stop ingesting toxins, particularly alcohol. My daughter was too-quickly diagnosed as having bipolar and prescribed medication. She was never asked about external events that may have been triggering acute stress, nor asked about her health behaviors (or rather, non-health behaviors) that may have exacerbated her condition. Nor was she counseled in any way so that she could process and transcend feelings that kept her blocked.

After a period of counseling, particularly trauma therapy following a violent assault and attempted strangulation by her then partner, Hannah is now alcohol-free and healthy.

Extensive counseling, having a constructive outlet for her feelings, changing her environment and removing herself from negative influences, and working on her self-esteem has transformed her life. Dr. Pert would no doubt say that she has ‘pepped up her peptides.”

“I’ve always kind of known that the energy you emanate from within attracts the situations and people that you need,” Pert explains.

“We’re not just little hunks of meat. We’re vibrating like a tuning fork

—we send out a vibration to other people. We broadcast and receive. Thus the emotions orchestrate the interactions among all our organs and systems to control that.”

Emotions are meant to be felt temporarily, flowing through and out of you so they don’t become stuck in your cells and tissues. This is why having an outlet to express your emotions healthily is so vital—especially when painful emotions keep replaying through your conscious and subconscious mind.

Memories are emotions tangled with thoughts, and these can become implanted not just in your brain but in your body too. There are different theories about how exactly this works, but Dr. Pert explains that memories can be found stored biochemically in the synapses where neurons (brain cells) connect to each other.

“The sensitivity of the receptors are part of memory and pattern storage,” she once said. “The peptide network extends beyond the hippocampus, to organs, tissue, skin, muscle and endocrine glands. They all have peptides receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just the brain. The autonomic nervous system is pivotal to this entire understanding.”

We are all a bundle of nerves

The autonomic nervous system is where you experience the flood of physical reactions to your emotions—it’s the system that switches hormones on and off, changes your breathing and heart-rate patterns, and more in response to fear and stress.

As Colette Baron-Reid, a survivor of rape and a recovering alcohol and drug addict, shared in her book, Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility, “Even if you haven’t studied the science of how energy affects and forms patterns in the physical world, you have experienced it, as I have. Once, I ran into an old friend with whom I had severed ties years before. My relationship with this person had been constantly in chaos, unhealthy, and not serving either of us, so we had grown apart.

“I had tremendous anxiety whenever I was around this friend, triggered by the friend’s history of anger and my history around abuse. Over and over, I found myself back experiencing the energy of my 19-year-old self and the rape, when I couldn’t defend myself and capitulated out of fear.

“After the friendship ended, I rarely thought about this person, and I assumed I had simply moved on, but when I saw this person approaching on the sidewalk, I felt a sense of panic and quickly crossed the street. I asked myself, “When am I?” (not where but when) and realized I wasn’t present in the now; I was experiencing the energy of the past.

“Deep breathing and tuning into the Observer reconnected me to my soul and small self. I imagined myself in the hand of God, surrounded by love and light, and I sent my former friend the intention of compassion. The nightmare ended as the energy in my body shifted. I was no longer disempowered by the stored energy that had infused the memory.”

Pep up your peptides—find a healthy outlet for your emotions. Make finding a way to release all those stuck energies your mission.

Journaling and writing morning pages are some of my favorite ways to express any stinky feelings that bog me down in a rut. Meditation is another—it’s an amazingly alchemical tool that helps me stress less, and eliminate so much unnecessary negativity from my life. They are all some of the daily rituals I share in the next chapter, Magic Mornings.

 

Blank bookcover with clipping path

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

Mind Your Drink—why experimenting with sobriety will surprise you

Friday, April 6th, 2018

December 2016—the year I took control of my drinking. Perhaps like you, I’d grown concerned about how much, and how regularly I was consuming alcohol.

I knew the side-effects, and I didn’t like them—insomnia, depression, aggression, muddled thinking, bloating, weight gain and more.

I tried to cut back and even stop, but couldn’t quit.

One month of sobriety was the longest time I’d ever managed to not let a single drop of alcohol pass my lips.

I tried reading books, used self-hypnosis, made a star-chart and ticked off my alcohol-free days. There were two ticks one week, none the next, then some longer stretches. But despite my positive intentions and extraordinary will booze always ended victorious.

Nothing worked.

Until Christmas 2016 when I finally got angry—and scared—enough to make a change. To protect others’ privacy I won’t go into detail, suffice to say my turning point involved a rifle, shots fired, and fearing for my life.

But my motivation and my personal story of alcohol harm began earlier than that. My grandmother was an alcoholic, her father was too—and both their stories, like many people affected by alcohol, was one of tragedy.

In the 1930’s a drunken brawl outside the local pub in New Zealand left one man dead and my great-grandfather charged with murder.

My grandmother was four, and her brother aged six when they were taken into foster care. They never saw their mother, father, or each other again.

I’ve always wondered had it not been for the trauma Molly experienced as a child, and throughout her life, would she have sought happiness in a bottle?

The tragedy didn’t end there. Years later her brother, then in his 30s and married with three children, took his life.

Recently, at the time of writing, my mother shared how her childhood was scarred. “Mum was always drinking. We would come home and she would be in bed. I don’t recall her ever not being drunk.”

Their story, my story, your story is a far too common one.

“My step-father was an alcoholic and I lived through rough times with alcohol,” a reader shared with me as I wrote this book.

“I hope your book does help many people. I personally believe a book like this would not have helped my dad. Only complete removal of alcohol would have helped. Just my opinion that you cannot control alcohol. You must remove it,” he added. “I do hope your book does help many lives that are affected by alcohol though.”

Hope, as you read through this book, is an important element of any recovery—as is a desire for change.

An advance reader of this book, who has many members of her family suffering with alcoholism, recently wrote to me, “Drunks believe they have ‘freedom’ because their stupor releases them from what they cannot face in life.”

For many, many people complete removal of alcohol is the only cure. Our booze-loving culture does not make this easy to achieve. Many people don’t know why they drink, nor how to find alternative help. I have written this book to change that.

Mindful drinking

This book is not an anti-alcohol book, although I don’t sugar-coat the truth about booze, and the powerful economic and social forces that profit from misery.

Mind Your Drink offers a fresh approach, encouraging you to be more mindful about your relationship to alcohol, and the reasons you drink.

While I feel it’s important to highlight the dangers of drinking too much, my aim is to highlight the life-changing benefits of drinking far less.

Importantly, I’ll share some simple but effective ways to build greater resilience to triggers, and provide alternative strategies to—not just survive life, but love life—without trying to find happiness in a bottle. You’ll also learn how to mix, mingle and practice sober socializing—and still feel happy.

A Fresh Approach

In 2014, I was struggling through my psychology degree after a 10-year break from study.

For years prior to this, I had been obsessively collecting newspaper articles which highlighted the social harm alcohol imposed. I didn’t know why, I just knew it bugged me.

And I began to get frustrated not just at my own inability to control my own drinking, but why, when everyone knows the harmful alcohol creates, were the problems only becoming worse.

Bored and frustrated with my studies and the tendency of Western psychological approaches to pathalogize alcohol dependence, I decided to research spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. I went from D’s to A’s in my grades and found passion, purpose, and a calling.

But importantly, I found something that resonated with me in my own quest to stop drinking.

Drinking too much didn’t make me psychologically abnormal—as those who pathologize alcoholics, and alcohol-dependent people would have us believe.

It’s time you knew the truth…

Drinking too much is a culturally sanctioned, actively encouraged ‘cure’ for the dis-ease of modern life. Except it isn’t a cure at all. It’s not a sustainable quick fix. It doesn’t heal the damage, stress and unresolved wounds of your past.

Many people are using alcohol, consciously or unconsciously, to self-medicate all or some of the following:

• Stress

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Low self-esteem

• Sexual Abuse

• Trauma

• Shame

• Guilt

• Boredom

 

There Is A Cure

Many people who have battled their alcohol addiction overcame obstacles just like you and I. But the single biggest factor was their ability to take control of their own life.

Sometimes they deferred to experts. Sometimes they turned to God. Sometimes they joined a support group, or they embraced spontaneous sobriety and went it alone.

But the one thing they all had in common was the knowledge that their drinking was taking more than it was giving.

In every instance, when people nailed their drinking demons, they universally agreed that their life was more beautiful sober.

 

Why I Wrote This Book

The pursuit of sobriety born from my own experience, both professionally as a holistic psychologist, and personally as a woman with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, fueled my desire and determination to liberate others from the clutches of booze.

During a recent interview, I was asked: “What do you hope readers get out of Mind Your Drink?

My response was, “wisdom.”

If I can help you gain new knowledge, enhance your awareness and stretch your mind—not necessarily agreeing with what I’m saying but at least starting a conversation, or helping others along in their lives in some way—then Mind Your Drink will have enhanced many lives.

My hope is that you will discover freedom, find happiness, and change your life. And that one day, should our paths cross, you will tell me that your life truly is more beautiful.

 

Who Is This Book For?

If you want to control your drinking and live a life on your own terms, this book is for you.

If you’re a heavy drinker, or you love someone who is, Mind Your Drink will provide support and encouragement to continue the journey to health and happiness.

If you suffer from stress, fear, doubt, or are excessively trying to fit in with others, Mind Your Drink will come to your rescue.

Or, you might just want to inspire others and lead the way by controlling alcohol, either by cutting back or giving it up completely.

This was one of my motivations for writing this book, and for sharing the strategies that have worked for me and also for my clients.

We have to be the change we want to see. Part of this involves passing on the knowledge that we’ve learned.

As New Zealand psychologist and television personality Nigel Latta says, “It’s interesting, don’t you think, that given the alcohol industry thinks education is so important, their contribution to ‘education’ of the public is so… well… limp. They don’t even bother to put any real resources into ‘education’ even though they say it will make a difference.”

As you’ll discover throughout Mind Your Drink, many techniques which have helped people successfully control alcohol and overcome addictions have their origins in body-based healing. Others originate in the mind, others still by resolving harmful emotions. And then, there is  the transcendent empowerment gained from spiritual approaches, including meditation, yoga, and prayer.

I had originally thought to separate the chapters into mind, body, and spirit, but as everything truly is connected I felt it was important to present the information as such. Therefore, what you will find is a smorgasbord of offerings for you to digest at your leisure.

All I ask is that you maintain an open-mind, follow your curiosity, and trust that with knowledge and the right support, you truly can heal yourself.

Where to draw the line? When you’re worried that you’re drinking is getting out of control or are suffering from the effects of alcohol it’s likely you’ll want a quick cure. Something instant to take the pain away.

I can honestly say, that I wrote Mind Your Drink to find my own quick-fix. But once I began to research, uncover the lies and awaken to the truth,  this fascinating area became a full-blown obsession.  As you’ll discover in this book cultivating new healthy purpose-driven cures can totally and quickly cure harmful addictions.

You may not find all the answers here, I had to stop somewhere, but there are a great many helpful resources at your disposal—many of which lie within this book and some of which I have included in the Further Resources section towards the end of this book.

We have always been told that drinking lots of alcohol will make us happy, cooler, more relaxed—that sobriety is for losers. These are big fat lies.

We’ve also been told that it’s our fault that we drink too much—we lack will-power, we’re weak, we just can’t handle it, we’re self-centered, too lazy—plus a truckload of other insulting and disempowering myths

These are also big fat lies.

It’s also a big fat lie to say that only drug companies and their rainbow-colored pharmaceuticals are the only relapse-safe cure for addictions.

So, stop listening to people with hidden agendas, quit putting yourself down, and read this—really read and absorb this—because it will empower you to achieve the results you want….fast!

 

My Hope

Profit-driven alcohol companies may not be driven to make a difference, but I am.

My hope is that you step into this journey joyfully, that despite any trepidation, you may have, that you’ll discover with surprising joy that learning to control alcohol is a pleasure that you will never forget to enjoy.

 

What others are saying…

“I work with people and their whanau/families on a daily basis who have, have had or have recovered from Alcohol and Other Drug issues.  The damage caused by AOD overuse and abuse is enormous and has ongoing negative effects on our society and future generations mainly due to observation and learned behaviours.  I really like the approach that this book takes in not attempting to stop drinking totally.  It instead explains and coaches how to manage and cope with consuming alcohol so that the damaging effects may be minimised.  This is a very useful supportive book for ‘drinkers’ and their families.  It is a book that is very easy to read and understand.  I really like the quotes, sayings and tools contained therein.  This book is much bigger than just the social and familial issues with alcohol – It is in a very big way about ‘Your Beautiful Mind’.  It fits very well with my style of practice and that is to start with the basics and move onwards and upwards from there. I see in the book an AHA (awakening, honesty, action) moment in the book.  I really get the reference to wisdom (The smart person knows what to say, the wise person knows when to say it) and the associated learning.  I will be recommending this ‘must read’ book to my clients and their whanau/families and anybody else who will listen”.
~ Philipe Eyton, Counsellor, Life and Leadership Coach, BSocP, NZAC (Stud)

“One thing that I like about this book is that the author doesn’t trash other recovery programs whether she agrees with them or not.  This approach is very different (and refreshing) from other books I’ve read that claim to be the “real or only solution” which involves tearing down other methods in the process, but as Cassandra’s book alludes–one form of recovery may work for some people and not others–it depends on the person, their physiology, background, life experience, etc.

At first, I thought the segments about advertising would be boring but they actually really appealed to the part of me that loves science, facts, and proof.  Reading the explanations led to many “Aha!” moments!

I also felt so relieved to read there is a sober/not drinking movement going on. I felt relieved and hopeful. How I wish this was going on when I started my own drinking career in my early teens.
I’m feeling so grateful to Cassandra for writing it.  There is so much vital information packed into this book and I wish fervently that it ends up on the best seller list!
~ Lisa R.

“I like the content of the book a lot. As an ex-drunk who quit for both mental and physical health reasons, it’s very affirming. I like her comment that she’s yet to meet an ex-drinker who preferred life as a drinker. I think it will appeal to both people who are considering change and people who have made a change to their drinking and want both affirmation and some information so they can explain why to their friends.

I like its meandering style (it makes me think of sharing in a group). It’s too good a message to ignore.”
~ Andrew Nicholls

“I see people that I would love to give this book recommendation to.  They need this in their lives-a few of who would not consider, they have any problem with alcohol, nor have any desire to stop drinking – but I liked this book because the message is that you take control of how you steer the ship.  You can choose to decrease and manage your drinking or you can choose to omit alcohol altogether from your life.

Alcohol is abused and I know a few young people (18-25yrs) that haven’t a clue of what they’re drinking or the impacts on them physically, mentally or emotionally.  This is huge.  Yet each and every week they are returning to the bottle to find some solace in drinking or in fact getting pissed.

I love the connection Cassandra shares with herself in this book.  The Sobriety Journal she mentions and has created is a fantastic tool – and I would recommend people use conjunction with this book and your own journey- it will do wonders.  It’s a great reflective tool also to go back to down the track, as Cassandra has openly displayed herself.

I am quite surprised myself about the new knowledge I gained from what I read in this book.  And wondered why when I was drinking did I never stop to consider what I was drinking, what my drink was made of and how- never ever!  I can remember thinking, I wonder how many calories are in this beer.  Or how much sugar.  But never looked it up as such, as I didn’t actually want to know at the time.  I was in somewhat of a denial.  I just wanted to consume it anyway.  I quite often was sick in the evening or the next day after a binge.
So this information needs to be shared and is available in this book.  I think that’s fantastic.  It’s not too complex.  At first, I wondered if I would see my younger relatives reading this and relating to it.  And thought, maybe not.  But then when momentum picked up and the diverse realities were seen and heard – I thought it would relate to many soft spots they have and I hopefully allow them to take control of themselves and their drinking.

“Loving what I read. I am seeing some home truths and common vulnerabilities which makes this book relatable to many.”
~ Jo-Maitera

“What an incredibly informative read. I really love how Cassandra has different viewpoints that allow the reader to come to their own conclusions.

Mind Your Drink is a non-biased informative read based on various facts, research and readings and I feel it is a book that I could pick up time and time again, and that whatever is relevant to me at that time or moment in my life is what I’ll be able to take away when I pick it up.

I loved that information was backed up by science and offered rhetorical questions and facts to get the reader thinking, rather than preaching or telling the reader how to do something.

I loved the perception that it is more helpful to heal the root of our cause to drink, rather than try to blindly control alcohol consumption, and that each reader will feel empowered to choose their own method for sobriety rather than feeling like they have to stick to rules. (Who likes rules anyway!?).

Very empowering, honest and thought-provoking.”

~ Libby Wallace, Founder Soberly

 

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety/

The simplest, cost-effective, hassle-free way to reduce stress

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

 

You’ll never find peace by avoiding life or anesthetizing yourself with booze. Pouring alcohol down your neck just ups the stress levels and ultimately pours more unwelcome mayhem into your life, but all too often to help us deal with life we reach for the bottle.

How often have you said the following things to yourself—and believed them?

“Alcohol helps me relax.”

“I need a drink to destress.”

“A glass of wine takes the edge off.”

“I want to clock off.”

True relaxation is not about numbing your brain and flooding your body with toxins.

True relaxation is not about making yourself sick or worrying about having made a fool of yourself, saying the wrong thing, or waking up exhausted because you’ve ruined your sleep.

Buying into the myth that alcohol relaxes you is a dangerous delusion. Any respite it gives you when dealing with life only offers a temporary fix.

When you’re stressed, tired and fuzzy-brained you are less effective, make more mistakes, suffer more and are prone to illness. Add more alcohol to the mix and you intensify its negative impact.

Very often people turn to ‘medicine’ to receive stress—chemical highs, alcohol, and prescription drugs—to manage the symptoms.

But the reality is that these only offer temporary relief, masking symptoms which, left unresolved, can set fire to everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Stress-overload has been described as the disease of our modern society. When you are under too much pressure, take too much on and don’t take time out, you tend to live your life in overdrive and on the verge of burnout.

Stress and burnout disrupts your brain’s happy hormones.

On a typical day in the brain, trillions of messages are sent and received. The messages that are happy, upbeat messages are carried by the brain’s ‘happy messengers’ (scientifically known as the Biogenic Amine/Endorphin System). Other messages are somber and disquieting. They are carried by the brain’s ‘sad messengers’.

Most nerve centers receive input from both types of messengers. So long as this input is balanced, everything runs along on an even keel; however, stress causes problems with the brain’s happy messengers.

When life is smooth, the happy messages keep up with demand. But when too much stress is placed on the brain, the happy messengers begin to fall behind on their deliveries.

As the stress continues, the happy messages begin to fail. Important nerve centers then receive mostly sad messages, and your whole brain becomes distressed and chemically imbalanced.

When sad messages overwhelm the happy messages, you can feel overwhelmed by life. You may feel more tired, unable to fall asleep or to obtain a restful night’s sleep. Depression, anxiety, or just feeling unable to cope with life often ensues.

Tip the balance back into your favor by making room for the happy messages! Some simple but effective ways include:

• Noticing something beautiful every day

• Daily appreciation of things you are grateful for

• Taking time to indulge and feed your hobbies

• Being with people who make you feel special

• Laughing

• Doing nothing at all!

Be on guard for the “new normal”—burnout.

Tap into as many effective stress-busting relief strategies as you can—eat well, stay away from negative people, keep your thoughts positive, exercise, do things you love, play, spend time in nature, experience the quietness of solitude, and other effective stress management techniques—many of which I share in the pages which follow.

A helpful place to start is to identify what’s really stressing you out. Develop a stress reduction or stress management plan. This may mean quitting a toxic job or relationship; working on your self-esteem or learning how to better handle your feelings.

Would you die for a drink? Destroy your relationships? Sacrifice your mental health? What can you start, stop, do more of, or less of to keep your stress levels at a healthy optimum?

Needless to say, there’s a wealth of information and help to manage stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Make finding something that works for you a top priority.

If you need help my book, Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness, available as a paperback and eBook will help. Navigate to here—getBook.at/StressLess.

If your job is the stress-causing culprit you’ll find plenty of practical and helpful strategies in Mid-Life Career Rescue: The Call for Change, available as a paperback and eBook. Navigate to here—getBook.at/CareerChange.

In the following section, Strategies for Sobriety you’ll discover simple, but powerful way to instantly feel better, including how to effectively channel and transcend anger.

You’ll also find some excellent strategies to deal with emotions and memories, including subconscious memories and scripts that keep you stuck.

We’ll also look at some powerful and simple ways to increase the feeling of joy into your life—including how to get naturally high! Importantly, you’ll enhance the desire for wellness, amp up your sober-is-cool expectations, and empower your belief, all of which will deliver positive results in all areas of your life.

All life arises out of choice. The strategies in the next section will help you spontaneously choose the right action.

Who needs the short-term booze-spike when you can find true and lasting peace, happiness, and strength in so many fun, simple, and uplifting ways? Love is the drug, and positive addictions your new replacement therapy.

Unconvinced? Read on! We’re heading for the revive-your-life rehab retreat.

 

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

Are You Worried about your drinking?

Download the first 66 pages of Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More for FREE—navigate to here

Why not making mistakes is the biggest mistake you’ll ever make

Sunday, March 11th, 2018
“And then, out of many years of silence and failure and feeling that my whole life was a disaster, the writer came, like a blessing, like a door that opened into another space.”

~ Isabel Allende


 
Conquering failure often requires learning the hard way to reach dizzying heights and allowing room for disappointment. 
One successful author, whose name escapes me, once advised aspiring authors to affirm the following, “I am willing to write badly; I am willing to do the work whether it is any good or not; I am also willing to allow brilliance.”

 
Many people stagnate under the weight of perfectionism or fear of failing because they worry about making mistakes. 
It may be challenging, but investing in strategies to create more tolerance and acceptance towards making mistakes will prove liberating.
 
One strategy is to learn from others’ misfortune.
With hindsight, sometimes the greatest fortune comes from making the biggest blunders.
 
Here are just a few mistakes that turned out well:

 
Isabel Allende started her career in journalism and soon found herself offside with people who didn’t appreciate her outspoken views. For years she felt under-appreciated—until she decided to tackle her first novel, The House of Spirits.
The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country’s Panorama Literario award. The House of the Spirits has been translated into over 37 languages. It was also adapted into a film of the same name starring Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, Winona Ryder, Glenn Close, and Antonio Banderas.
 

Musician Ornette Coleman’s mistake led her to be acclaimed as the inventor of “free jazz.” She was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the Genius Award) in 1994 and the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2007.
“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something,” she once said.
 

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper for lack of ideas. He also went bankrupt several times before he and his brother co-founded Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture production companies in the world. Disney’s revenue last year was $US45 billion.
Dr. Suess’ first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold six million copies of the book. He went on to write numerous other books which still sell well today.

 
Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. Fifty-five and twice divorced, her father had just died and her career was in crisis. 
That was until, acting on an inspired thought, she created the DVD The Secret and later produced a book, both of which galloped away to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.
 
 

At the heart of Byrnes’ inspirational series of products is the Law of Attraction.
“Everything in your life is attracted to you by what you are thinking,” Rhonda says. “You are like a human transmission tower, transmitting a frequency with your thoughts. If you want to change anything in your life, change the frequency by changing your thoughts.”
Refuse to be a victim.
 
Next time you feel you’ve made a mistake, ask yourself, “How could this work out for my highest good?” 
Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes making mistakes heralds a time of new birth and energy.
 
Draw on the lessons you have learned to help you move forward
Notice how you have grown and changed as a result of everything that has happened.
 
Gather information as you go and be ready for a new adventure. Look for positive signs for successful outcomes in the future.
 





Mining for Gold


 
What is the biggest mistake you ever made and what did you learn?
 

Buoy your resolve by collecting stories about other people who felt like failures, or were treated harshly by peers, critics, family, and other disbelievers.
 

Collect a file of inspiring stories about mistakes that turned out well.
 

Follow your inspiration.


 

 

This is an edited extract from The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing a Millionaire Mindset by Cassandra Gaisford. ORDER THE EBOOK TODAY, and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Happy as a frog in the mud—why laughter and play are drug-free antidotes to stress

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

 

This wee soul is ‘happy as a frog in mud’ – I took this wee snap on my iPhone.

Laughter, humor, and playtime are great tonics during stressful times. Taking yourself or your life too seriously only increases stress. When you learn to laugh despite your difficulties, you light up the world.

“When people just look at your face,” the Dalai Lama said to the Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The Book of Joy, “you are always laughing, always joyful. This is a very positive message. It is much better when there is not too much seriousness. Laughter, joking is much better. Then we can be completely relaxed.”

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good chemicals, setting off an emotional reaction which makes you feel better.

“Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too,” says Archbishop Tutu.

“Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”

You have to be able to laugh at, with, in spite of, yourself—and what- ever situation you find yourself in. Have you ever wondered why?

Right now, we’re thigh deep in mud during our home renovations. It’s summer, it’s not supposed to rain!

I went in search of scientific articles to validate what I already knew—humor is a fantastic antidote to stress. But I wanted to know what was happening in our brain when we decided to look at something in a more humorous and positive light.

An article posted in Science Direct cited numerous studies validating the benefits of nurturing laughter.

“Without humor, life would undeniably be less exhilarating. Indeed, the ability to comprehend and find a joke funny plays a defining role in the human condition, essentially helping us to communicate ideas, attract partners, boost mood, and even cope in times of trauma and stress,” the authors say.

These beneficial manifestations are complemented physiologically, including acting as a natural stress antagonist and possibly enhancing the cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems.

Some studies the report says, “have documented increased hemodynamic signal in the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system, a system known to play a pivotal role in drug reward and motivational behaviors.

“This system encompasses a variety of distinct, but interconnected, dopamine-enriched structures, including the ventral striatum/nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area, and the amygdala.” fMRI studies also reveal important clues about the neurological systems involved in regulating reward.

All good to know—and more fuel for reminding myself to laugh and play.

So instead of wallow in misery, the builders and I stood around and cracked a few jokes and laughed a lot.

“I’m going back to play in the mud,” one of them finally said, whistling as he walked.

Personally, as we all headed straight back into the sludge, I didn’t feel the difference in my brain, but I did in my heart. We love mud. Okay, I’m lying, but the truth is after joking around it did feel better.

The other thing that helped was playing with my camera for a moment. Using my macro lens and my iPhone I took several stunning photos of a frog surrounded by muddy water. I posted the photo on my blog and called it “Happy as a frog in the mud.”

You may not feel like it, but give laughter a go. Watch a funny movie, stream a stack of whacky comedies, go to a comedy show, or watch a video on YouTube. Hang out with people who know how to have a good time, go to a Laughing Yoga class, or ask someone to tickle you!

Inject some more laughter and playfulness into your life.

Playfulness is bounciness at its best. Cultivate your inner child. Act up a little, goof-off, experiment, relax and detach—if you find yourself in trouble, smile.

Benefits of play include:

• Increasing your productivity

• Boosting your creativity and problem-solving skills

• Reducing stress, anxiety, and depression

• Improving your relationships and connections with others

• Bringing more balance, fun, lightness, and levity into your life

• Diminishing your worries

As play researcher and psychiatrist Stuart Brown says in his book Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, “A lack of play should be treated like malnutrition: it’s a health risk to your body and mind.”

The Dalai Lama agrees. “I met some scientists in Japan, and they explained that wholehearted laughter—not artificial laughter—is very good for your heart and your health in general.”

Some of the many ways I play include: “wagging” work sometimes and taking my inner child on a playdate to the movies, going for a massage, or indulging in my hobbies and playing with my paints. Listening to music from the 70s is also playful and brings levity. While traveling internationally recently, I watched the Disney children’s movie Frozen. I haven’t laughed so much in years.

I also love reminding myself of the magic of writing and reading. As novelist Caroline Gordon once wrote, “A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.”

Author Deepak Chopra confirms the power of lightening up,  “When we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease,” Chopra says.

Check out my blog for some strategies to reinforce play and create more bounciness in your day—http://bit.ly/29RPQis

Blank bookcover with clipping path

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life. To purchase your copy and discover the surprising joy of sobriety, click here to go to your online bookshopgetBook.at/Controlalcohol

 

 

p.s. Nora Roberts once said, “I need to write my books in peace.” Hmmmm, so do I, but right now, we’re in the midst of a renovation project. It’s supposed to be summer here—it never rains, but this year it has poured….and poured…and poured.

My true love had a dozen red roses delivered to cheer me up this Valentine’s Day—I thought it would be fun to share this photo with you!

 

Mind your drink: discover the surprising joy of being sober!

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Many people mistakenly believe drinking alcohol will increase their happiness. But the reality is for many people alcohol steals more than it gifts. As American actor Mathew Perry says, “The thing is, if I don’t have sobriety, I don’t have anything.”

Experience may have already taught you that too much booze muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness, and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit—alcohol is one of the most addictive legalized drugs on the planet.

It’s also a well-documented neurotoxin—a toxic substance that inhibits, damages, and destroys the tissues of your nervous system.

To bounce back from depression, anxiety and stress many people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve often takes extraordinary willpower.

Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra gave up drinking. “I liked it too much,” he once said.

Steven King, after almost losing his family and destroying his writing career, managed to quit.

Other people like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it. Aged only 27, in 2011 she died of alcohol poisoning.

As I’ve already discussed, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking is a major cause of anxiety and depression, impairs mental reasoning and critical thinking—increasing the likelihood of making tragic and often impulsive choices.

The risk of suicide increases for many people who turn to drink.

Risking destroying your career, ruining your relationships, sacrificing your sanity, and in the extreme, taking your life, is a massive price to pay for a mistaken belief that to be happy, or to numb your anxiety, or cope with stress you need to drink more booze.

But you know this right, or you wouldn’t be reading this book, the focus of which is to help you explore your relationship to drink and approach alcohol more mindfully—perhaps even skeptically? Does alcohol really deliver on all its fancy promises?

If you’re not in the mood to quit for good consider, a period of sobriety. Instead of focusing on what you may be giving up, turn your mind to what you may gain—a better, more energized version of yourself.

The many benefits of reducing your alcohol intake, or not drinking at all, include:

A stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams

Improved confidence and self-esteem

Increased productivity

Increased memory, mental performance, and decision-making

Better control of your emotions

Sweeter relationships

Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

Authentic happiness

Improved finances

Reduces dehydration and slows down the aging process—making you look and feel sexier for longer!

As Melinda wrote in a review, “I’m emailing you is to let you know the impact your book has had on me. I cold-turkey stopped imbibing alcohol and I’ve gained twenty years in energy. We all know we don’t drink a lot but what an insidious thing nightly alcohol is.Thank you for your book – it’s become a bit of a bible, or should I say they’ve become bits of bibles.”

More energy, yay! Looking younger naturally—double yay!

Not everyone battles with booze. Whether you cut back or eliminate alcohol entirely, the choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the success it destroys.

Experiment with living an alcohol-free life—join The Sobriety Experiment Facebook group. You’ll find a legion of supportive collaborators and plenty of encouragement here—https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment

 

Problem Drinking?

“Not everyone who has a drinking problem will be able to see it,” says recovering alcoholic and author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, Anne Dowsett-Johnston

Is your drinking already cause for concern? How do you know if you have a real problem, versus a temporary itch that you’re using alcohol to scratch?

‘If you want to know if you’re getting into trouble, ask yourself … are you drinking to numb? To numb feelings, to numb stress, to numb depression or anxiety?’ Dowsett Johnston says.

Alcohol makes us love life, we’re told. If this is true, why aren’t we a happier lot? Burnout, stress, anxiety have become worldwide epidemics—and with them alcohol and food addictions. We’re either eating our way to happiness or drinking—or both.

The problem may not be the booze, but our maladaptive attempts to mask the causal factors.

Addictions and alcohol abuse, in particular, are essentially attempts to escape from pain. The nature and causal factors of this pain and the scale of dependency will vary in specifics and severity from person to person.

We all experience painful experiences—but not everyone has learned to cope in a way that promotes, not depletes emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being, health and happiness.

Instead, too often developing and becoming dependent on unhealthy coping techniques becomes the norm—a norm that creates even more problems.

Fortunately, developing more positive ways of coping with life’s inevitable ups and downs is not only possible but even enjoyable.  Changing our habits, even very deeply entrenched ones is a learned skill—and you’ll find plenty of teachers when you go in search of answers.

Don’t wait to hit rock bottom before you do something about your drinking or whatever’s going on in your life that causes you to drink too much.

Start now. You can control your drinking—and you don’t always need to check in to rehab or pay mega dollars to sit on a psychologist’s couch. It’s totally fine if that turns out to be your sobriety solution, in full or in part. The trouble with the ‘disease’ model of addiction, is that a great number of people can lead you to believe that you are totally powerless. Being told that if you drink too much, you have a disease, an incurable one at that, is neither helpful, truthful, nor empowering—even if it does feel better to know that it’s not your fault that you drink too much.

We’ll discuss the disease model of addiction later in this book, but let’s look at how some of the pros define addiction and substances abuse—what they focus on and what they miss.

The Maladaptive Pattern of Relying on Alcohol

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and many other addiction specialists predominantly focus on addiction as being a mental disorder, rather than an attempt to self-medicate or anesthetize ones way through life.  Very often a person’s personal history of trauma, bullying or societal factors which aid, abet and accelerate their drinking are ignored.

The primary source used to classify problem drinking is provided by the American Psychiatric Association and their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders known as the DSM.

Over-consuming alcohol is a disease we’re told. A disorder of the mind, or an inherited genetic defect. DSM followers turn a blind eye to the fact that alcohol is a self-prescribed, self-served, legalized drug of choice turned to by many as their stress, anxiety, depression, trauma or grief-numbing cure.

Granted, not a particularly robust one, but perhaps, not the ‘only-able-to-be cured-by-medical-professionals’ illness we have been lead to believe.

“There’s an enormous sense of self-medication.… The fastest thing you can do at the cutting board is open a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass. It’s faster than going to your doctor to say ‘I’m suffering from burnout,’ it’s faster than going to a yoga class and relaxing in a different way,” says Dowsett-Johnston.

Johnston finally realized that she herself had a drinking problem.

“I got into trouble with alcohol in my 50s when I was over-performing at a job and used alcohol for self-medication,” she said.

Even though Johnston knew she was getting into trouble with her drinking  she says “It took two family members and a sweetheart who confronted me, and luckily I took a sledgehammer and went to rehab and I’m in my 10th year of sobriety.”

As you’ll discover later in this chapter, with the passing of time alcohol has shifted from being viewed as a problem of faulty, or maladaptive behavior, to one of disease.

This has opened the route to funding, and the creation of profitable business lines by drug companies scrambling to cure the ‘disease ‘(or what I call the dis-ease) created by the world’s most popular and legalized drug.

As a result, they have created a range of pharmaceuticals and manufactured drugs promising the ultimate (and profitable) cure.  I recently heard they are trying to create an alcohol vaccine. Really? When did loving alcohol too much equate with Swine Flu, or Chicken Pox, Aids for that matter?

But what if the ultimate cure lies in your own hands—a more mindful, holistic and therapeutic approach to how much you drink and why.

We’re told loving alcohol too much is something we can’t cure ourselves—that total abstinence is the only remedy. In my professional and personal experience, very often people choose to quit alcohol for good because they’re just so over it. Once alcohol is unmasked for the troublemaker it is, like a shitty lover, people choose never to go back. Whether it’s fear of the havoc booze creates, or love—the joy and bliss they discover being alcohol-free—people who choose abstinence know that life is better, way better, sober.

As 36-year-old Hayley Holt, former ballroom dancing queen, snowboarding legend and TV star, and the former girlfriend of ex-All Black Captain, Richie McCaw, once said, “You know, I never thought I’d never drink. I loved it, but going sober has forced me to face up to who I really am. I don’t always have to be the life of the party. I can just leave and it’s okay. So I’ve realised I’m a lot more serious than I pretended to be.”

So serious in fact in 2017 she turned her intellect to Parliament and campaigned in the electorate held by former Prime Minister, Sir John Key, on behalf of The Green Party.

Actor Colin Farrell also testifies that once problem drinking is kicked life is infinitely better—you are better. I have yet to meet a person whose sobriety has made their life worse. I have yet to. But I am open to it. If you find someone please get in touch with me because I would love to have a chat with them and ask them a couple of questions. I have yet to meet a person whose sobriety didn’t make a better father, a better friend…”

Kristin Davis, most famous for her role as Charlotte York Goldenblatt in Sex and the City, has been alcohol-free since 1987. “Sometimes it would be nice to just have some red wine with dinner, but it’s not worth the risk. I have a great life, a great situation. Why would I want risk self-destructive behavior?”

What do these people and others have in common?Their drinking was a problem—until it wasn’t.

The chances are that you don’t need a book and checklists to tell you that you have a problem, but just in case you’re amongst the group of people who truly don’t know how out of hand your drinking is getting you may be interested to learn what the American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies as problematic.

What is problem drinking?

Regardless of whether you side with alcohol being or not being a disease, the APA classifications of problem drinking include:

• Tolerance and the never decreasing requirement for more

• Withdrawal symptoms when you can’t get your fix

• Difficulty in giving up

• Persistent physical, psychological, social, mental and emotional problems that are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by your alcohol

The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change.

Addiction (termed substance dependence by the American Psychiatric Association—APA) was once defined as,  “a maladaptive pattern of substance use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”

This maladaptive pattern manifests by three (or more) of the following, occurring any time in the same 12-month period, say the APA:

1. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: (a) A need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication or the desired effect or (b) Markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.

2. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following:

(a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance, or

(b) The same (or closely related) substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.

4. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.

5. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance, use the substance, or recover from its effects.

6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of substance use.

7. The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance (for example, current cocaine use despite recognition of cocaine-induced depression or continued drinking despite recognition that an ulcer was made worse by alcohol consumption).

“We just liked to have a good time.”

Can you tick-off three or more of the above? I bet you never thought of yourself as being maladaptive. As psychologist and Soberly founder, Libby Wallace writes,

“I remember a lecture I went to for one of my psychology papers, around 9 years ago, and the lecturer stood at the front and did a ‘drinking quiz’ similar to the Ministry of Health one to find out whether or not you have a drinking problem. About 60 out of the 100 students put their hands up to say that they had rated themselves with a score that effectively meant they were an alcoholic. After discussing with a few friends after, and in the tutorial later, we thought it was funny and that because we were students, it didn’t relate to us, we just liked to have a good time.”

In 2000 the DSM-IV criteria for substance dependence included several specifiers, one of which outlines whether substance dependence is accompanied by physiological dependence (evidence of tolerance or withdrawal) or without physiologic dependence (no evidence of tolerance or withdrawal).

In addition, remission categories are classified into four subtypes: (1) full, (2) early partial, (3) sustained, and (4) sustained partial; on the basis of whether any of the criteria for abuse or dependence have been met and over what time frame.

The remission category can also be used for patients receiving agonist therapy (such as methadone maintenance or drugs designed to control alcohol dependence) or for those living in a controlled, drug-free environment.

The Disease of Alcohol

This definition was altered in the 5th edition of the DSM. As compared to DSM-IV, the DSM-5’s chapter on addictions was changed from “Substance-Related Disorders” to “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders” to reflect developing understandings regarding addictions.

The DSM-5 specifically lists nine types of substance addictions within this category (alcohol; caffeine; cannabis; hallucinogens; inhalants; opioids; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics; stimulants; and tobacco).

These disorders are presented in separate sections, but they are not fully distinct because all drugs taken in excess activate the brain’s reward circuitry, and their co-occurrence is common.

Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD in the DSM-V and is defined in the DSM-5 as a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have AUD.  Approximately 6.2 percent or 15.1 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older had AUD in 2015. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million women. Adolescents can be diagnosed with AUD as well, and in 2015, an estimated 623,000 adolescents ages 12–17 had AUD.

To be diagnosed with AUD, individuals must meet certain criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Under DSM–5, the current version of the DSM, anyone meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period receives a diagnosis of AUD.The severity of AUD—mild, moderate, or severe—is based on the number of criteria met.

How do you measure up?

To assess whether you or loved one may have AUD, here are some questions to ask.  In the past year, have you:

• Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer than you intended?

• More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?

• Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the after effects?

• Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?

• Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?

• Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?

• Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?

• More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?

• Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?

• Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?

• Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

Remember that meeting any two of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period means you receive a diagnosis of AUD.

If you have any of these symptoms, your drinking may already be a cause for concern. The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for change,” say professionals. But you know this already—or you wouldn’t be reading this book.

Remember, there is no shame in admitting you have a problem. You’re in good, or is that poor company? You decide. The true tragedy is not the problem, but not seeking help.

Like cocaine and heroin, shopping for things we don’t need, eating sweet sugary food is addictive and satisfies our brain’s craving for dopamine until we get our next fix. Marketing moguls have known this for a long time and target people indiscriminately. Everywhere you look you’re bombarded with ads about alcohol and sugar fixes that will make us supposedly happier and healthier. Even the stuff dangled as healthier often has something to hide. Loaded with essential nutrients, natural flavors? Or concealing more than double your daily sugar requirement.

It’s time to get wise!

Forget about waiting for law changes, forget about lobbying government for more enlightened regulations. Take back your power. Open your eyes. It’s not easy to change but you can begin by asking yourself more empowering questions, such as:

• Do I really need that fix?

• Will it impact on my wellbeing? How?

• How does alcohol work? Can I find a healthier, cheaper, more effective way to feel better?

The answers may prove illuminating. You may discover, as I have, that a swim in the ocean, a soak in the local hot mineral pools, a night at the movies, a massage, twenty-minutes mediation, or diverting the money I’m saving by not drinking booze for treats like pedicures, delivers a far-faster, friendlier fix.

Mind your drink: discover the surprising joy of being sober!

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life. To purchase your copy and discover the surprising joy of sobriety, click here to go to your online bookshopgetBook.at/Controlalcohol

Stress Less, Reduce Anxiety, Discover Happiness: The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Palomino horses cantering in field

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

 

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.

Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

 

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.

 

Dive Deeper…

Take a real break from work—check out my interview in the New Zealand Herald, “Escape the Always On Culture,” navigate to here—http://bit.ly/2s7PEWd


Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

MIRACLE MASSAGE

“Massage has had a positive effect on every medical condition we’ve looked at.”    

~ Tiffany Field, Ph. D.

One of my favorite ways to rest is to go for a massage; but, so many people mistakenly think massage is an indulgence rather than a health-behavior.

Some of the many benefits of massage include reduced stress and higher levels of neuroendocrine and immune functioning—which means better hormonal balance and more immunity to disease and illness.

Some studies also suggest that a one-hour massage results in benefits equivalent to a 6-hour sleep.

Sounds good to me, especially when I’m feeling fatigued.

If getting naked isn’t your thing, consider an energy healing treatment with a trained Reiki practitioner.

Reiki is a Japanese word. Rei means universal transcendental spirit and Ki stands for life energy. Hence, the word carries the sense of universal life energy. Many scientific minds, as well as sage healers, have throughout the years believed that the universe is filled with this invisible life energy, and life and health of all living beings is sustained by it.

 

Healing hands

Increasing evidence suggests that there does exist a superior intelligent force which contains all creation and out of which all life arises. The energy of this force pervades everything and this is the energy that flows through our hands in concentrated form when we treat with Reiki.

Reiki healing is the ancient art of “hands-on healing” and offers a natural and holistic approach to mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

You don’t have to believe in any religion or be particularly spiritual to benefit from Reiki. It’s an inclusive, non-religious form of healing and safe for everyone.

When I was experiencing a huge period of stress, I gained so much immediate benefit from my Reiki treatments that I decided to learn this beautiful healing technique. Recently in Bali, I completed my master level training.

You don’t have to be Reiki-trained to live by the principles developed by Reiki founder Dr. Mikao Usui: “Just for today do not worry. Just for today do not anger. Honor your parents, teachers, and elders. Earn your living honestly. Show gratitude to everything.”

 

Call to Action

Give yourself the gift of a therapeutic massage or Reiki treatment.

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, navigate to: getBook.at/StressLess to go to your online bookshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise for Stress Less. Love Life More

“Currently, my workload is pretty intense and a little stressful. After reading this book I felt less stressed and more focused. I highly recommend adding this helpful book to your collection.”

~ Paul Brodie, Eight-time Amazon bestselling author

“This is another of Cassandra’s well researched and thought-provoking books, this time focusing on stress and how to best manage it. Cassandra has packed this book with great suggestions to help the reader cope with stress; brings statistics to life with colourful side stories and includes many helpful quizzes to enable the reader to gauge for themselves where their stress levels are at.

I particularly liked the Happy at Work tips. But mostly I  enjoyed the way the book moved along the subject never allowing the reader to consider whether there were better books out there as this book contains everything a stressed reader, or even someone wishing to help a person who is stressed,  maybe looking for in the way of practical suggestions and thought-provoking information. I highly recommend this book.”

~ Catherine Sloan, counselor

“Reading Stress Less brought me real inspiration to incorporate Cassandra’s stress-busting strategies into my daily routines. While it was not news to me to read there is a correlation between reduced stress levels and self-care, meditation, and not over- “boozing,” the book (and it’s revealing quizzes) really drove home to me the necessity of actually putting self-care into practice.

Cassandra effectively demonstrates how high-stress is largely self-perpetuated, and anyone can become empowered to free him or herself from stress-inducing patterns and environments. Stress Less is well-researched, full of helpful links for further reading, listening, and exploring, and is an easily navigable resource to which I am sure I will return.”

~Amy Stokes, editor

 

P.S.

Recently I was contacted by Kristina Mastrocola, an editor with Woman’s World magazine in the States with a circulation of over 1.6 million readers. She writes a weekly feature called “Ask the Ultimate Experts” for which she asks experts at the top of their respective fields for their tips and advice on everything from how to keep your brain young to how to lower your medical bills.

Kristina is writing about surprising ways to help readers reduce the high cost of medical care—something I am personally and professionally passionate about. So, I was thrilled to hear from her. She came across my book Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy on Amazon and said she would love to share a few of my tips and insights with her readers.

 We completed our interview last week, for an article due to hit stands in the States on the 8th of March. If you live in the States you may love to grab a copy—it will only be available in glossy print (not on the Web). For those readers not in the US Kristina has generously offered to provide a PDF I can share on my website. I’ll keep you posted!

In the meantime, I’m busy finishing the final draft of my book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, due for release 18 March. 

Why Pursuing Your Passion Not Your Pension is The Ultimate Mid-Life Career Change Strategy

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

 

 

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”

Napoleon Hill, Author, Think and Grow Rich

 

First things first! Start from the heart.

The first and most important commandment of choosing and growing your business is to follow your passion.

Creating a successful business that you’ll love is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Passion is a source of energy from the soul, and when you combine it with a product or service that benefits others, that’s where you’ll find your magic.

Kevin Roberts, former CEO worldwide of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, passionately believes that love is the way forward for business. Meeting peoples’ needs, hopes, dreams, and desires, or offering something which helps them solve problems for which they’d love a cure, is good for people and its good for business.

“For great brands to survive, they must create Loyalty Beyond Reason,” he writes in his book Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. Roberts argues, with a ton of facts, and emotionally evocative images to support his premise, that traditional branding practices have become stultified. What’s needed are customer Love affairs. “The secret,” he maintains, “is the use of Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy.”

Other experts such as Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling book Start With Why, and Robert Kiyosaki entrepreneur and author of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books, may urge you to begin with rational, head-based logic.

I’m advocating a similar, albeit less analytical approach to begin with. But the premise is similar, to create something meaningful for yourself, and for the customers and clients you wish to attract, you must believe in what you are doing. Your business idea must matter. You must know why it’s important—to yourself and to others.

“‘Why’ is not money or profit—these are always the results. Why does your organization exist? Why does it do the things it does? Why do customers really buy from one company or another?” challenges Sinek in his book.

I would add, what is its purpose? Roberts, would add, how can you make them fall in love with you and inspire loyalty beyond reason?

 

How to Find Your Why

When you discover and tap into your passion, you’ll find your why. You’ll also find a huge source of untapped potential that seems to be fearless and knows no bounds. Pursuing your passion in business is profitable on many levels.

Firstly, when you do what you love, this is most likely where your true talent lies, so you’ll stand out in your field. Passion cannot be faked.

Secondly, you will be more enthusiastic about your pursuits. You will have more energy and tenacity to overcome obstacles, and more drive and determination to make things happen.

When you do what you care most about and believe in with such a passion, your work will be not something that you endure, but something that you enjoy. More importantly, work will become a vehicle for self-expression.

Thirdly, passion attracts. As multi-millionaire businesswoman Anita Roddick once said, ‘We communicate with passion and passion sells.

Ms Roddick founded her company, The Body Shop, on one simple premise—beauty products tested on animals was cruel, barbaric, unnecessary and immoral. Millions of men and women around the world agreed.

People like to do business with people who are passionate about their products and services. When global financial services company KPMG re-branded with passion as a core theme, profitability soared. Check out my presentation on Slideshare to find out how:

http://www.slideshare.net/CassandraGaisford/passionslides-with-kpmg-slides

Hearts on Fire

The key to sound business planning begins from the inside out. First you need to determine who you are, who you want to be, and what you want to contribute to the world. In working this out, there is no better place to start than with finding out what sets you heart on fire and why.

Michael Jr. Comedy, a stand-up comedian and author, explains how discovering your why helps you develop options that enable you to live and work with purpose.

“When you know your why, you have options on what your what can be. For instance, my why is to inspire people to walk in purpose. My what is stand-up comedy. My what is writing books…. Another what that has moved me toward my why is a web series that we have out now called Break Time.”

Check out this clip from one of Michael’s most successful episodes http://bit.ly/1PnOTrH. You’ll see how working with passion and purpose awakens dormant talents and enables souls to fly higher.

“When you know your why your what has more impact because you are walking toward your purpose,” says Michael.

We’ll dive deeper into discovering your life purpose in the following chapter.

 

Surf the Web

http://www.eofire.com: Fuel your inspiration by checking out this top-ranked business Podcast where some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs are interviewed 7-days a week. Founder and host John Lee Dumas shares his journey from frustrated employee to inspired entrepreneur via video here http://www.eofire.com/about/

 

Discovering Your Passion 

Everyone is capable of passion; some people just need help taking it out of the drawer. Look for the clues. Often this involves noticing the times you feel most energized and alive, or when you experience a surge of adrenaline through your body.

Sometimes it’s the moments when time seems to fly. Perhaps it is something you love to do and would willingly do for free.

Passion is not always about love. The things that push your buttons can lead you to the things that you’re most passionate about.

Working long hours, too much stress, financial strain or a whole raft of other constant pressures can soon send you drowning in a sea of negativity—killing your passion and robbing you of the energy and positivity you need to make a life-enhancing change.

If stress is taking a toll on your life you may want to check out the first book in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series, The Call For Change. The strategies and tips in the book will help you restore the balance and get your mojo back. You’ll also learn how to boost your ability to generate ideas. Available on Amazon in paperback and eBook by clicking the following link >> getBook.at/CareerChange

If you need more help to you manage stress my book, Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness, available as a paperback and Ebook will help. Navigate to here—getBook.at/StressLess.

 

Action Task! Find Your Passion

Real passion is more than a fad or a fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a light switch. Answering the following questions will help you begin to clarify the things you are most passionate about:

  1. When does time seem to fly? When was the last time you felt really excited, or deeply absorbed in, or obsessed by something? What were you doing? Who were you with? What clues did you notice?
  2. What do you care deeply or strongly about? Discovering all the things that you believe in is not always easy. Look for the clues to your deep beliefs by catching the times you use words such as ‘should’ or ‘must.’
  3. What do you value? What do you need to experience, feel, or be doing to feel deeply fulfilled?
  4. What pushes your buttons or makes you angry? How could you use your anger constructively to bring about change?
  5. Which skills and talents come most easily or naturally to you? Which skills do you love using? What skills do you look forward to using? What gives you such a buzz or a huge sense of personal satisfaction that you’d keep doing it even if you weren’t paid?
  6. What inspires you? To be inspired is to be in spirit. What bewitches and enthralls you so much that you lose all track of time? What makes your soul sing? What floats your boat? What things, situations, people, events etc. fill you with feelings of inspiration? List all your obsessions and the things that interest you deeply. If you’re struggling to identify your interests and inspirations, you’ll find some handy prompts in the next chapter.
  7. Keep a passion journal. My passion is passion—to help others live and work with passion and to bring about positive change in the world. If you’re not sure what you are passionate about, creating a passion journal is one simple but powerful technique to help achieve clarity. Your passion journal is where manifesting your preferred future really happens. I’ve been keeping a passion journal for years and so many things I’ve visualized and affirmed on the pages, are now my living realities—personally and professionally.

Love Is Where The Magic Is

Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion you’d do it for free this is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shared in my second book, What Makes You Happy, “When you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your True Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable.”

Download my free tip sheet to help you create your own passion journal here: www.worklifesolutions.nz/books/career-rescue

Passion in Business

A good way to find your own passion and identify ways to turn it into a fulfilling self-employment opportunity is to look for examples of others who have started businesses they are passionate about.

Here are just a few of many examples:

A passion for bugs! Brian Clifford is passionate about helping people and bugs. He has combined his passion into a successful business as a pest controller.

“All the rats, all the maggots, all the cockroaches all over the place, these are the things that I love doing,’ he says. His business motto is, ‘If it bugs you, I’ll kill it!”

Check out his business here >> www.borercontrolwellington.co.nz

 

A passion for bones! John Holley has turned his passion for bones into a business, Skulls Down Under, selling skeletons to museums all over the world.

Check out his business here >> www.skullsdownunder.co.nz

 

A passion for Maori food. Charles Royal’s passion for finding a way to incorporate traditional Maori foods into modern dishes led him to start his own business – Kinaki Wild Herbs.

“I had learned a lot about the bush during my time in the army and have taken that knowledge through the years, developing food tours and cooking classes using what we gather from the wild. I love organics and making something out of nothing, but you have to know what you are looking for,” says Royal. Air New Zealand now serves pikopiko and horopito in its First and Business Classes.

Check out his business here >> www.maorifood.com

 

“Passion is Everything-If You Don’t Have It You Will Not Succeed”

A love of good food and a lifelong dream to open their passion-driven business in London fueled Wellington restauranteurs Vivienne Haymans and Ashley Sumners’ move to the UK.

“We both felt we had gone as far as we could with our business in New Zealand and wanted to move further afield,” says Vivienne.

“I came here for a three-month holiday, secretly wanting to stay longer and build a business overseas. On arriving I discovered that London seriously needed a restaurant like our Sugar Club in Wellington. There was nowhere in London doing anything like it. I called Ash and a year later he also moved to London after selling our Wellington restaurant.”

They relocated the restaurant to Notting Hill in 1995, then to Soho in 1998, winning the Time Out “Best Modern British Restaurant” award in 1996 and “Best Central London Restaurant” award in 1999, along with several Evening Standard Eros awards.

Since then they have expanded and diversified their restaurant business, opening a chain of modern traiteurs (Italian-style delicatessens) that offer delicious, easy-to-prepare hand-made meals and great New Zealand coffee.

The first of these is called The Grocer on Elgin, situated in the heart of Notting Hill. Vivienne designed all three restaurants and ‘The Grocer on’ stores.

Like many people following their passion Vivienne and Ash faced significant barriers before finally making it big.

“It took Ash and I seven years to fulfill our dream of opening The Sugar Club in London. When we first arrived there were huge premiums being asked for restaurant sites.

Then, with the early 90s recession they were giving restaurants away but, like now, the banks were not lending. We had no property assets at the time, limited funds, a reference from our NZ lawyer, accountant and bank manager and a handful of NZ press clippings. The banks wanted property assets and UK business records. No less.”

Just when it looked like the obstacles were insurmountable, their passion for great food and design, the quality of the produce, and the integrity of its production, produced lucky fruit.

“We were offered a site by a landlord that we had had dealings with in the past. He liked what we did and gave us the lease. We developed the old Singapore Pandang into the Notting Hill Sugar Club. I borrowed an extra £5000 from my mum and paid her back in a month. It was an instant success and well worth the long wait.”

Vivienne says that following their passion is an important ingredient in their success.

“Passion is everything—if you don’t have it you will not succeed. It is hard work; your passion will pull you through the seriously bad times, which will always occur.”

Hot Tip! Gathering your own examples of passionate people and businesses is a great way to build confidence and generate your own business ideas.

Here are some things that other people who are self-employed are passionate about:

  • Creating BusinessesEntrepreneurs Melissa Clarke Reynolds and Eric Watson
  • AirportsGraham is an airport designer
  • BoatsBill Day runs a specialist maritime service business
  • BeautyJoy Gaisford, Designer
  • FoodRuth Pretty, Caterer and food writer
  • AstronomyRichard Hall, Stonehenge Aotearoa
  • DesignLuke Pierson, runs a web design business
  • RocksCarl created Carlucciland—a rock-themed amusement park
  • PassionCassandra Gaisford helping people work and live their passion! www.cassandragaisford.com

Here are some things that some businesses are passionate about:

  • Animal Welfare and Human RightsThe Body Shop
  • TechnologyMicrosoft, Apple
  • Helping peopleWorklife Solutions, Venus Network
  • EqualityThe EEO Trust, and the Johnstone Group
  • The EnvironmentThe Conservation Department
  • HoneyThe Honey Hive
  • ChocolateChocaholic
  • Pampering OthersBox of Chocolates and East Day Spa

 

Tune In To Your Body Barometer

What pushes your buttons or makes you angry? Having my manager threaten to ‘smash my head in,’ and working with others who were bullies and tyrants, the relentless pursuit of profit at the expense of caring for people, and numerous work restructurings, motivated me to gain my independence.

That and getting shingles—something I wrote about in my first books, The Call for Change, and also What Makes You Happy.

Shingles was definitely my body barometer sending me a red alert! As was seeing my colleagues suffer heart attacks.

As Neale Walsch, the author of Conversations with God, says, “Judge not about which you feel passionate. Simply notice it, then see if it serves you, given who and what you wish to be.”

So, as I’ve mentioned earlier, rather than become bitter, I thought how could I use my anger constructively to bring about change?

I decided I wanted to help people find jobs that made them happy, and I wanted to help victims of workplace bullying. That was my why and my what.

Stepping Stones to Success

I started a career counseling business for an established workplace counseling organization before going out on my own.

Working as an employee first gave me the confidence to fly free. I became more motivated when the CEO changed and the new boss tried to manage me. Increasingly, the job began to frustrate me.

It lacked challenge, my salary was capped, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to balance childcare. The final clincher, however, was when I did the math.

I worked out my hourly rate as a full-time salaried employee, versus what they charged me out per hour, and how much business I was bringing in for them, and came to the conclusion they were buying my skills, but they weren’t paying me enough. I could work less and earn and achieve more if I employed myself. I started to feel excited!

 

Action Task! Tune into Your Body Barometer

Notice the times you feel strong emotions. These could be annoyance, irritation and anger. Or they could be a sense of excitement, a state of arousal, a feeling of limitless energy, a burning desire, a strong gut feeling, a feeling of contentment or determination. Notice these feelings and record them in your passion journal.

Go deeper. Ask, “How could I make a living from my passion?” or “How do others make a living from things that excite or motivate me?”

Explore possibilities. Even a simple Google search, or generating ideas with others could get you started down the right path.

** FREE BONUS **

If you haven’t downloaded the free copy of the Passion Workbook, download it here >>

 

This is an edited extract from Midlife Career Rescue: (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late” by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

The truth about Alcohol Addiction and Recovery—Wrestling With the God Thing

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

“Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”
~ Dr. Gillian Craven, Massey University (personal email, 2014)

As I wrote in the foreword to this book, while finishing my psychology degree at the young-old-age of 49 I decided to take a spiritual approach to the treatment of alcohol addiction. The topic proved challenging.

It was the final assignment needed to complete my third-year paper, Abnormal and Therapeutic Psychology. A lot was resting on it. I’d failed my first assignment where I had researched the causes and treatment of obesity. I was told this was because I hadn’t consulted enough empirical data and scholarly articles—relying instead on people’s personal accounts. I was keen to avoid the same mistake.

But I quickly discovered a lack of psychologically-validated research to cite.

Perplexed I asked my lecturer why, when so many alcoholics swear that taking a spiritual approach was instrumental in their recovery, there was a dearth of research?

“The theoretical etiologies of disorders do focus on cognitive, genetic, neurobiological, personality-based theories —this reflects the bias of both the authors themselves and the current Western approaches,” my lecturer, Dr. Gillian Craven, wrote back to me.

“This is for better or worse the zeitgeist of our time. Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”

This was back in 2014. In my view, spiritual approaches were, and continue to be, adopted by mainstream practitioners, including Deepak Chopra who offers addiction recovery programs at his Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center.

Alcoholics Anonymous also addresses spiritual issues, and many followers attribute placing their faith in God to their recovery.

The challenge for many psychologists, particularly those focused on academic research, is their inability to measure, quantify, and place spirituality in a test-tube.

“Science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves,” writes Jarret Liotta in a National Geographic article, ‘Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?’

The purpose of Your Beautiful Mind is not to prove or disprove anyone beliefs or to discredit any profession, but to present you with options, backed by my own experience, and the experience of others who have struggled to control alcohol—and succeeded.

An increasing number of people also adhere to the belief that God lies within us all—we are God—and it is time to connect to our inner guidance and the ultimate source of empowerment. Many great minds, including Leonardo da Vinci, subscribed to this view.

As we explore an eclectic and holistic range of strategies—spiritual, cognitive, feeling-based, and scientifically validated, to help you control alcohol, I encourage you to adopt an open mind and ‘do a Leonardo da Vinci’ and experiment with different approaches until you find what works for you.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released. Sign up for her newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f

Would you like to drink less? Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life.

Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Sexy Sobriety: Alcohol and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life. Available in ebook and paperback here—getBook.at/SexySobriety

The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals

Friday, January 5th, 2018

 

I love this picture that my daughter Hannah shared recently—it illustrates so powerfully the life-changing magic of creating a Passion-driven business and career planning journal.

When she pasted images of oracle cards in her passion journal she was only 12. Now a beautiful woman in her late twenties, and after many, many horrid work experiences (she would often ring me up in tears—after being bullied shouted at, and working in toxic work environments), she’s now a soulful entrepreneur. Check out her new passion and purpose inspired business as a Spirit Conduit and Intuitive Healing Coach, https://www.hannahjoyspirit.com.

The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals

Are you thinking of starting a business? Would you love to employ yourself but have no idea what to do or how to begin? Or do you have an existing business but yearn for a fresh start? This ultimate guide contains all of the obvious and not-so-obvious best practices of creating successful businesses. Think of this guide as your key to manifesting a prosperous business easily.

First things first: start from your heart.

Growing and creating a successful business is impossible without passion, enthusiasm, zest, inspiration and the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that delivers you some kind of buzz.

Unlock your unique wealth code. Ignite your passion and purpose!

The first and most important step to choosing and growing your business is to follow your passion. Passion is a source of energy from the soul, and when you combine it with a product or service that benefits others, that’s where you’ll find your magic and transformational success.

Kevin Roberts, former CEO Worldwide of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi, passionately believes that love is the way forward for business. Meeting peoples’ needs, hopes, dreams, and desires; or offering something which helps them solve problems for which they’d love a cure, is good for people and its good for business.

“For great brands to survive, they must create Loyalty Beyond Reason, he writes in his book, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands. Roberts argues, with a ton of facts, and emotionally evocative images to support his premise, that traditional branding practices have become stultified. What’s needed are customer Love affairs. “The secret,” he maintains is the use of Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy.”

Your passion-driven business planning journal is the perfect place to begin your love affair.

The easy Passion-Driven Business Journal four-step template won’t chain you to a fixed way of doing things. You’ll have the freedom to dream, create, plan, and structure your beautiful business how and when you like.

Discover the Secret Successful Entrepreneurs Are Using to Create Their Way to Wealth…

Using the 10x Passion-Driven Prosperity Strategy

You’ll learn how to:

• Discover your passion and purpose

• Define your criteria for work satisfaction and happiness

• Develop Grit: The power of passion and perseverance

• Be inspired, gain clarity, and plan for success

• Manifest success easily

• Create a passion-driven business—working from home or anywhere in the world

 

Create Your Passion-Driven Business Today with This Easy-to-Follow Guide and Follow Your Passion to Prosperity!

 

This is an edited extract from The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here—

viewBook.at/PassionBusinessJournal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow your passion and purpose to prosperity—online coaching program

 

If you need more help to find and live your life purpose you may prefer to take my online course and watch inspirational and practical videos and other strategies to help you to fulfill your potential.

Easily discover your passion and purpose, overcome barriers to success, and create a job or business you love with my self-paced online course.

Gain unlimited lifetime access to this course, for as long as you like— across any and all devices you own. Be supported by practical, inspirational, easy-to-access strategies to achieve your dreams.

To start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

Click here to enroll or find out more— https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

Booze and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life

Monday, January 1st, 2018

 

 

 

 

How did you enjoy the holiday season? Did you drink too much, wake up in hangover hell or did you resolve to quit or reduce your drinking in 2018? Perhaps you’re like me and are looking for some sexy sobriety alternatives to support your health and wellbeing goals during the year ahead. My latest book offers some carefully curated, sexy and sophisticated booze-free alternatives. Here’s an advance read of the blurb and a few healthy alcohol-free drink alternatives:

Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life

Cassandra Gaisford, a health counselor, holistic psychologist and the #1 bestselling author of Stress Less, Mid-Life Career Rescue and Find Your Passion and Purpose, (BCA, Dip Psych) provides the ultimate sobriety solution— easy to prepare alcohol and guilt-free drink recipes you’ll love.

Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Alcohol-Free Recipes for Happier HouJoy-Filled Filled Life brims with a range of a range of sexy, wonderfully refreshing and healthy alternatives to drinking alcohol.

Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life. These easy to prepare drinks and pre-purchased alcohol-free alternatives can be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home, office party or hip location.

“For readers who sincerely want to stop or rescue their drinking, but lack awareness of healthy alcohol-free alternatives, the recipes in this book will pave the way.”

Not everyone wants or needs to join a support group to adopt a more mindful approach to controlling their alcohol consumption or to deal with their drinking problems

Gaisford provides readers with a series of carefully curated, delicious, and healthy alcohol-free alternatives.

Anyone who needs to be kept on track or inspired by living sober will find genuine help in this refreshingly insightful and solution-focused book.

Mind Over Mojitos grew out of Cassandra Gaisford’s decades-long work in self-esteem, well-being and success coaching.

Organized into two volumes, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter this book guides you through a variety of different mocktail recipes and booze-free alternatives that will make your tastebuds sing and send your dopamine levels soaring.

Over time Mind Over Mojitos enables you to more easily make positive choices again and again.

Mind Over Mojitos is a companion guide to Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life—integrating neuroscience, cognitive therapy, proven tools, and teachings to help people suffering from alcohol dependence and addiction.

Mind Over Mojitos’ easy recipes for happier hours & a joy-filled life will help you achieve your goals—whether that’s getting sober or just cutting back—and create positive, permanent transformational change in your life.

Mind Over Mojitos will help you:

  • Take control of your drinking
  • Relieve stress and still have fun
  • Enjoy the taste of sexy and healthy alcohol-free alternatives
  • Eliminate alcohol to do a life and career reset
  • Love drinking minus the booze, hangover, and guilt
  • Join the trend toward tantalizing tee-totaling
  • Enjoy happier hours
  • Improve your relationships
  • Live a joy-filled healthier life.

 

Stop drinking now, here’s a sneak-peek at some of the booze-free recipes to help you love life sober.

Virgin Island Fox

A mocktail version of a classic created for me by the hip-cool folk at Charlotte’s Kitchen in Pahia, The Bay of Islands, New Zealand—my spiritual home. An elegant and restrained cocktail with subtle richness balanced with lovely zest.

Ingredients

• 1 tsp orange marmalade

• 90mls grapefruit juice

• 30mls lime juice

• 15 mls sugar syrup

• Ice

Instructions

• Add all ingredients except the ice into a mixer

• Single strain over ice into a wine glass

• Garnish – grapefruit

 

Asian Pear Sparkler

 

This Asian pear sparkler is smooth and refreshing with an enticing undercurrent of warm autumn flavors and mellow warmth. Rosemary and ginger with discrete tastes of honey finish this splendid drop.

Ingredients

• 1 cup freshly pressed Asian pear juice*

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 3/4 cups honey

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary

• 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins

• Small grating of fresh nutmeg

• Ice

• Soda water

Instructions

Combine pear juice, lemon juice, honey, sugar, rosemary, ginger, and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugars.

Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let syrup cool completely.

To serve, fill an 8-ounce glass halfway with ice cubes, add 3 tablespoons of syrup, fill with soda water, and stir. Add more syrup for a sweeter or stronger flavor.

*Note: Use the most flavorful Asian pear you can find; Hosui is a consistently sweet variety. Making 1 cup of juice requires about 1 (12-ounce) pear, peeled and cored. If using a juicer, follow manufacturer’s instructions to extract the juice and discard the pulp. If using blender or food processor, puree the pear until smooth, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard the solids. If you wind up with a little less than 1 cup, top it off with water.

Source: https://www.thekitchn.com/drink-recipe-as-161626

I was thrilled to receive this review for my latest book, especially because Niki is the daughter of an alcoholic.

“More motivating inspiration from Cassandra. Be honest with yourself … do you drink too much? Do you want to take back the control that alcohol has over you? Cassandra shows you how you can do this without missing out on the fun. Complete abstinence does not have to be the answer, neither does drinking water in boring tumblers at social functions have to be subject to questioning peers.

As the daughter of an alcoholic father, I am well aware of my own predisposition. When he fought for control, he would drink orange juice on ice, in a highball glass with a splash of soda and a wedge of orange. It looked just like a Screwdriver and no-one ever questioned it. 

With Cassandra’s advice and delicious mocktail recipes, you too can release the grip of alcohol and regain your life.” 

~ Niki Firth, 5-Star Amazon Review

As she writes, she is mindful of her own genetic predisposition. She’s generously shared a few of her own personal booze-free, healthy alternatives—including the Virgin Screwdriver her Dad would drink when trying to stay sober. “When he fought for control, he would drink orange juice on ice, in a highball glass with a splash of soda and a wedge of orange. It looked just like a Screwdriver and no-one ever questioned it.

Here’s Niki’s recipe for a Virgin Moscow Mule:

Virgin Moscow Mule

 

A refreshing taste of lime with the added zest of ginger but no hangover. World class!

Ingredients

• 1 Lime (quartered)

• Ginger beer (not dry or ale)

• Ice, lightly smashed

• Ginger toffee (optional—recipe follows)

 

Instructions

• Add ice and 2 lime quarters to a mug style glass

• Muddle lime and ice to release juice and flavor

• Top the glass with ginger beer and serve with 2 straws

• Decorate with clapped mint leaves and a slice of lime or alternatively …

• Decorate with some smashed ginger toffee (optional)

Serves 2 / Prep Time less than 10 minutes

 

Grab a copy of Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life, and see the scrummy Ginger Toffee optional add-on.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Mind Over Mojitos: Available in ebook and paperback here—viewBook.at/MindOverMojitosRecipes

Pop along to Cassandra’s Facebook page and join the 2018 Alcohol Detox challenge. The best New Years present to give yourself and others may be the gift of your beautiful sobriety

Share your stories and experiences, we’d love to hear from you! To join, please visit our dedicated Facebook group— https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment

What’s the ultimate Christmas present? The gift of your sobriety

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

When I cut out alcohol, my life got better. When I cut out alcohol, my spirit came back. An evolved life requires balance. Sometimes you have to cut one thing to find balance everywhere else.”

~ Sarah Hepola, author

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain and Behavior

You may think that alcohol relaxes you, but in reality, you’re disrupting your brain’s natural functioning. Every time you drink alcohol you’re slowing down, impeding and even destroying your beautiful brain’s ability to do its job.

Scary and true.

Your brain is your body’s control center. It’s the maestro of the orchestra, directing a wide range of abilities and vital life processes, including breathing and maintaining a regular heartbeat, and influencing your emotions.

When you introduce booze into the mix the melody changes from one of harmony to potential discord.

While all the systems in your body feel the effects of alcohol, the Central Nervous System (CNS), is acutely sensitive. The CNS is made up of billions of neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord.

Alcohol seeps through the blood-brain barrier, reaching and affecting neurons directly. Once alcohol touches these cells it alters them, resulting in changes in your normal functioning and behavior. And none of these are for the better.

Alcohol seeps through the blood-brain barrier, reaching and affecting neurons directly. Once alcohol touches these cells it alters them, resulting in changes in your normal functioning and behavior.

 

The Great Depression

Alcohol depresses your CNS—slowing motor function, thinking, comprehension, and reasoning.

Booze makes nerve cells in your brain dull and less excited. This may surprise you. You may think that alcohol is a great ‘pick-me-up.’

In the short-term drinking alcohol can make you become more animated and socially confident. But this is only because the first wave of alcohol affects parts of your brain that involve inhibiting your behaviors.

The first drops of alcohol are like a green light signaling to your neural network, ’Let’s go! It’s happy hour. Time to party.’

But look more closely and you’ll see many warning indicators that your brain is either slowing to a crawl or getting ready to brawl.

Take a look at the list below. How many have been true for you after knocking back a few too many?

• Slurring and altered speech

• Hazy thinking

• Slowed reaction time

• Blurred vision

• Uncoordinated muscles

• Foggy memory

Let’s take a closer look at how alcohol affects your brain and behavior.The role of different parts of your brain and how alcohol compromises optimal functioning follows:

Central striatum and prefrontal cortex: Contains connections that make up the brain’s reward system and regulates impulsive behavior. This is also the part of the brain that is affected first, causing your behavior to become looser, less guarded and increasing the likelihood you’ll do something impulsive you may later regret.

Hippocampus: Your brain’s memory storehouse. Even a small shot of alcohol can cause forgetfulness and memory loss.

Cerebellum: This part of your brain works with the primary motor cortex to control your movement, maintain balance, and enable complex motor functions. When you’re drunk, your motor function is impeded and reaction times slow. If you can’t stand or walk in a straight line after a night on the booze you’ll know why.

Frontal lobe: Your judgment, behavior, and emotions are controlled by this part of your brain. Alcohol affects the natural rhythm of your emotions and may cause anxiety, depression, crying, fighting, and aggression. Alcohol can make good people turn bad, and happy people become sad.

Reticular activating system: This part is in the midbrain, and controls sleeping and waking. Alcohol can depress these systems, causing you to pass out. Alternatively, it can disrupt your normal sleeping patterns, causing insomnia and waking you up at annoying hours. Lack of sleep increases irritability and low mood.

Medulla: This part is in the hindbrain, and it controls your heartbeat, breathing, and other important life functions. Heavy drinking sessions can disrupt everything, putting your life in danger.

Neurons: Your brain has billions of these nerve cells. As you’ve already read, alcohol can reach and enter these cells and damage, or even, at high enough levels, kill them off completely.

Blood vessels: When you’re intoxicated, alcohol causes your blood vessels to relax and open wide—slowing blood pressure to crawl. At very high levels of intoxication, booze can shrink your blood vessels and send your blood pressure soaring, exacerbating such conditions as migraine headaches, or worse, compromising your heart.

Hypothalamus: Finally, alcohol depresses nerve centers in the hypothalamus, which control sexual performance and arousal. Sexual urges may increase, but sexual performance and sensory pleasure decrease.”

Shut off, shut down…and worse

Okay, now you know what happens in your brain when you drink, and how this compromises your behavior and health. The chances are high that you know that alcohol can be dangerous. But very often, it’s not a story that’s often heard.

Many people don’t abuse alcohol and enjoy a good time. But a lot of people don’t.

Alcohol affects just about every part of your brain and your nervous system. It ‘shuts down’ different parts of the brain and compromises your health, causes you to engage in unhealthy behaviors and engage in activities you wouldn’t normally do if you weren’t ‘under the influence.’

In essence, you’ve lost control. At worst, letting alcohol get in the driver’s seat could take your freedom and your life.

Drinking alcohol increases the likelihood of making bad decisions, engaging in risky behavior, increasing the alcohol dependence, and can lead to addiction and alcoholism.

In the following chapter, we’ll look at why some people develop alcohol dependence and how relying on booze to deal with life can escalate to alcoholism. You’ll then be better armed to avoid getting immeshed in the alcohol trap.

Sexy Sobriety: Your Challenge

Educate yourself. Next time you decide to hit the bottle monitor what happens to your brain, your mood, and your ability to function. If you’re around other people who are on the booze, study how excessive drinking affects them.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when my new book, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released. Sign up for her newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f

Would you like to drink less? We value your advice—help customize this book to peoples’ needs, navigate to here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5K8KSN7

Pop along to Cassandra’s Facebook page and join the December Detox challenge. The best Christmas present to give yourself and others may be the gift of your beautiful sobriety https://www.facebook.com/YourBeautifulMindControlAlcoholBook/

Mid-Life Career Rescue 2018

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017
 
I’m super excited to be creating a revised version of the books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. And I’m thrilled that Sheree Clark, a healthy living (life) coach, is sharing her amazing story of mid-life reinvention. Sheree Clark followed her enthusiasm—her passion for helping others and sharing what she had learned through her own life challenges led her to start her coaching business. The seeds of change were also cultivated during a stressful time in her life and her former job.
 
“Fork in the Road is truly a crescendo of all of my life experience. I work with my clients to transform their health, reclaim vitality and mental focus, and help ensure they gain clarity on their vision and purpose. These are all things I have done for myself over the course of the last 6+ decades of life,” she says.
 
“My current business began after I decided to leave the agency world and (my now-ex) behind.During my time owning the agency, I had taken a variety of classes simply out of an interest in personal development. Many of the courses had to do with health, nutrition and emotional maturity.
 
Eventually, as I became less interested in the marketing work and more involved in the business of human potential, it became harder to rally enthusiasm for owning an agency.
 
Finally, just as we were preparing to commemorate 25 years in business together, I told my partner I wanted to exit our partnership to begin something new. At that point, I still wasn’t certain what my new work would look like, but I knew it wasn’t fair to anyone (most especially me!) to stay where I knew I was no longer fully engaged.
 
So, in essence, I quit—and then I figured it out.”
 
If you’d love to quit your soul-sucking day job, or would value some help figuring out your next move, you’ll love the expanded 2018 edition. More news soon about this new release. If you can make it to Wellington, New Zealand in Jan 2018, or Bali, Indonesia in Aug 2018 I’ll help you first hand! Contact me for more details – cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

Boost happiness, joy and prosperous productivity by 600%—create a magic morning

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

“If you win the morning, you win the day,” says millionaire author, podcaster and polymath Tim Ferriss. Despite his phenomenal success Tim suffers from anxiety and credits a robust morning routine and other health behaviors with giving him more bounce throughout the day.

Ferriss kick-starts his day with 10-20 minutes of transcendental meditation, five to 10 minutes of journaling or Morning Pages, making his bed, and a healthy dose of positive vibes. He also does at least 30 seconds of light exercise. 30 seconds!

“Getting into my body, even for 30 seconds, has a dramatic effect on my mood and quiets mental chatter,” Ferriss wrote in his book Tools of Titans.

I’ve followed a similar ritual for years—long before I discovered Tim Ferris. But whenever I am tempted to flag my meditation or my ritual of writing in my journal, I find it helpful to remind myself these are the tools Titans like Tim use to achieve phenomenal results.

Below are just a few of the many Magic Morning routines and rituals you can use to prime your day for miracles:

Meditation and mindfulness—enjoy some sacred silence

Affirmations—empower your beliefs with feeling-based reminders of your intentions

Goals to go for—set your priorities, including health and well-being activities (exercise etc.)

Inspiration—journaling, visualization, reading

Co-create—partner with spirit, tap into your Higher Self, evoke the muse…and get ready to create

 

Importantly, complete these crucial focusing activities before you get to work.

I experience many of these activities simultaneously when I meditate, write my Morning Pages, and consult the oracles; and also when I go for a walk in nature, listen to an uplifting audiobook or podcast, or sip my morning coffee.

Ferriss, in a podcast episode, sums up the potency of similar mindful practices: “It’s easy to become obsessed with pushing the ball forward as a Type-A personality and end up a perfectionist who is always future-focused.

“The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. That allows me to not only get more done during the day but to also feel better throughout the entire day, to be a happier person, to be a more content person—which is not something that comes naturally to me.”

I’m not alone in knowing the positive difference daily habits like journaling or taking the time to reconnect with my higher self, makes to my resilience and happiness levels.

Get your day off to a high-vibration start.  Choose, develop, and apply your own Magic Morning routines.

 

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness and, overcome obstacles and elevate your success read the book here—myBook.to/Bounce.

stress less this holiday season

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

 

Shortly, I’ll be sharing my strategies for a stress-free Christmas and holiday season with a journalist from the New Zealand Herald. It’s a super important topic – so many people find it hard to switch off.

Here’s an easy to implement strategy to help boost your joy over the holiday period:

 

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.


Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

 

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, navigate to: getBook.at/StressLess to go to your online bookshop

Thank God it’s Friday—Stress Less

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Weekly end of the week kickstarter

Is Friday the end of your workweek and a highlight of your career?  What if, the opposite was also true? What if Friday was the day you dreaded most because it meant your work was finished? What if you loved your job so much you never wanted the week to end?

At the end of every week, I’ll send a few short snippets of excerpts from my books. Sometimes all we need is one sentence, one word, one timely reminder to pursue our dreams.

Whether you’re in job hate or job love here are a few reminders from my self-empowerment books, to help you end the week on a high(even if it’s just more fuel to find a way to escape)

During the last week, so many people have shared with me the extraordinary level of stress they have been experiencing. So, in this end of the week Kickstarter, I’m sharing a few timely reminders from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

Personally and professionally this week has been a real challenge. I’ve had a lot of extra demands on my time—many of which stem from moving out of the city and taking on a neglected 10-acre lifestyle property. It’s not all sunny days and organic peaches.

Only today we learned that our plumbing is going to need a major overhaul. Read into that—a $10-15k overhaul and you’ll feel some of the stress. Many of the things that stress me out are things I haven’t allowed for or predicted. They are the things I can’t control. But I can control how I choose to react. I find resilience strategies like meditating, getting outside, helping uplift others and making room for joy help put more fuel in my tank. More fuel means more energy and creativity so I can start working on solutions—that and trying to see how a ‘curse’ may be a blessing in disguise.

Below are a few of the many other strategies that I have found helpful professionally and personally to manage stress, first up – control alcohol. Which is also the topic of the book I am currently working on, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life. More about that later.

Working with passion and purpose also put more fuel in my tank. I’m about to launch a new course to help people discover how to live and work with passion and purpose – if you haven’t already, can you spare a moment to offer some advice…https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VNFV5DY

Excerpts to soothe & inspire…

Not everyone has a battle with booze. Whether you cut back or eliminate alcohol entirely, the choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol deliver or the success it destroys. As one advance reader wrote to me:

“I’m emailing you to let you know the impact your book has had on me. I cold-turkey stopped imbibing alcohol and coke and I’ve gained twenty years in energy. We all know we don’t drink a lot, but what an insidious thing nightly alcohol is. Thank you for your book; its become a bit of a bible, or should I say they’ve become bits of bibles.”

I’m so pleased to know this! It’s amazing how much productivity is gained by making changes to our health habits.

***

“Our brains never get a break and the results can be increased stress, anxiety, insomnia and if left unchecked, even depression. But there is something you can do—nothing.” ~ Mathew Johnstone, author & cartoonist

Stressed, fatigued, or overwhelmed minds will never be productive. The opposite is also true—peaceful, calm, and clear minds elevate success. Many of the most influential authors, creative artists, and business people today credit their meditative practice for their increased productivity and prosperity. “It’s the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large,” writes Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post and author of Thrive.

When Tim Ferriss, who practices transcendental meditation, sat down with more than 200 people at the height of their field for his new book, Tools of Titans, he found that 80% followed some form of guided mindfulness practice.

***

“A grit mind strengthens all of your strengths.” ~ Pearl Zhu, digital visionary

Ups and downs, highs and lows, troughs and peaks are a rite of passage for everyone. The fickleness and unpredictability of the world, the extremities of your emotions, the quick and ready insights you experience, the acute sensitivity with which you feel almost everything, can make you vulnerable. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By strengthening your inner power, your ability to handle stressful situations, and your skill in persevering after setbacks threaten to fell you, you’ll develop resilient grit.

Grit comes in many shapes and sizes: courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, spirit, steel nerve, resolve, determination, endurance, guts, spunk, tenacity—and the strength of vulnerability. Add the flexibility and determination of resilience and you’ll have a winning combination.

 

All excerpts from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness
Available from Amazon as an ebook or paperback here—getBook.at/StressLess

Thank God it’s Friday

Friday, October 27th, 2017

 

Weekly kickstarter

Is Friday the end of your workweek and a highlight of your career?  What if, the opposite was also true? What if Friday was the day you dreaded most because it meant your work was finished? What if you loved your job so much you never wanted the week to end?

At the end of every week, I’ll send a few short snippets of excerpts from my books. Sometimes all we need is one sentence, one word, one timely reminder to pursue our dreams.

Whether you’re in job hate or job love here are a few reminders from Mid-lIfe Career Rescue: The Call For Change and some of my other self-empowerment books, to help you end the week on a high(even if it’s just more fuel to find a way to escape)

Excerpts to inspire…

“Sometimes in life, as in photography, you need a negative to make a positive image of the life you want to capture. Are you showing signs of job dissatisfaction? Did you wake up this morning excited to face the day ahead? Or did the thought of getting up and going to work make you wish you could stay in bed? If Monday mornings are a low point in your week, it may be a sign that it’s time for a new career.”

 “Unhappy people: complain more, produce less, get sick more often, worry more, have fewer creative ideas, have lower energy levels, are more pessimistic, less motivated, learn slower, make poorer decisions, have lower confidence and self-esteem, are more prone to mental illnesses, including depression, and are slower to bounce back from setbacks—and these are only some of the symptoms of unhappiness.” 

“Copycatting his way to success by studying the styles of his three favorite artists (Picasso, Modigliani and William Dobell) Mark blended the three to come up with his own unique style.” 

 

 

 

All excerpts from Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change):  How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late, by Cassandra Gaisford—available in print and ebook here: getBook.at/CareerChange

If you already have a copy, don’t forget to top up your motivation well by referring to it, or my other self-empowerment books regularly.

Are you feeling stressed? Anxious? Or just plain “over it?”

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Are you feeling stressed? Anxious? Or just plain “over it?” My newest release may provide the mojo boost you, or someone you love, need:

 

Praise for Stress Less. Love Life More

“Currently, my workload is pretty intense and a little stressful. After reading this book I felt less stressed and more focused. I highly recommend adding this helpful book to your collection.”

~ Paul Brodie, Eight-time Amazon bestselling author

“This is another of Cassandra’s well researched and thought-provoking books, this time focusing on stress and how to best manage it. Cassandra has packed this book with great suggestions to help the reader cope with stress; brings statistics to life with colourful side stories and includes many helpful quizzes to enable the reader to gauge for themselves where their stress levels are at.

I particularly liked the Happy at Work tips. But mostly I  enjoyed the way the book moved along the subject never allowing the reader to consider whether there were better books out there as this book contains everything a stressed reader, or even someone wishing to help a person who is stressed,  maybe looking for in the way of practical suggestions and thought-provoking information. I highly recommend this book.”

~ Catherine Sloan, counselor

“Reading Stress Less brought me real inspiration to incorporate Cassandra’s stress-busting strategies into my daily routines. While it was not news to me to read there is a correlation between reduced stress levels and self-care, meditation, and not over- “boozing,” the book (and it’s revealing quizzes) really drove home to me the necessity of actually putting self-care into practice.

Cassandra effectively demonstrates how high-stress is largely self-perpetuated, and anyone can become empowered to free him or herself from stress-inducing patterns and environments. Stress Less is well-researched, full of helpful links for further reading, listening, and exploring, and is an easily navigable resource to which I am sure I will return.”

~Amy Stokes, editor

 

Here’s a wee excerpt:

 

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.


Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

 

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.

Dive Deeper…

Take a real break from work—check out my interview in the New Zealand Herald, “Escape the Always On Culture,” navigate to here—http://bit.ly/2s7PEWd


Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, navigate to: getBook.at/StressLess to go to your online bookshop

My story: how my dark nights of the soul awakened my passion and purpose

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

 

  • Do you feel trapped in a job that pays the bills but fails to give you a buzz?
  • Do you yearn for something more from your work and your life but can’t see any alternatives?
  • Have you ever been told it is unrealistic to expect job satisfaction?
  • Are you feeling uninspired, lost and uncertain about what you can offer and how you might move forward?
  • Deep down do you feel you’re too old to change, or trapped by your current circumstances?
  • Perhaps you’re a mom returning to work, or you’re like I once was—a single mom trying unsuccessfully to juggle parenting with work
  • Have you been made redundant and looking for a new job?
  • Maybe you’re still trying to figure out what you want to be ‘when you grow up.’ Or how to make a meaningful contribution as you contemplate retirement.

What if all this pain and feeling trapped could lead you to your purpose—helping others escape the career rut and create a life of meaning and fulfillment?

I truly believe that all we need to make us really happy is something to be passionate about—and helping others thrive is a passion for so many. It is for me.

If you’ve read my Mid-life Career Rescue series or any of my self-empowerment books you’ll know there was a time that I felt so unhappy at work it made me sick, but I felt I had to make that job work or I’d be fired.

I was a single mom, the only one able to support my young daughter and myself. I used to go home with a brave face, but inside I was tired and depressed. My self-esteem was so low I thought no one would hire me. I tried to go to work, grit my teeth and bear it like others did. I felt trapped, anxious and depressed.

I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. But that wasn’t what my boss wanted from me. “You could make a lot of money here,” he said. “You just need to be more selfish.”  For a while, I tried to be someone else—motivated only by money, but every day my values were compromised, and the skills I loved weren’t being used.

I was working as a consultant in one of the world’s biggest, swankiest HR and recruitment companies. Everyone thought I had it made—status, glamor, high earnings. But I hated the hours, and I hated the culture. As I shared in, Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late  my boss once threatened to smash my head in—any he had the gall to say this in an open-plan office in front of over a hundred people. No one batted an eyelid. Everyone was scared. But it was a turning point in my life and my career.

 

The Call For Change

My job started making me ill. It got so bad I got shingles, a painful virus affecting the central nervous system. My health was compremised—physcially, emotionally and mentally—and still I couldn’t leave. I felt trapped and unable to escape. My colleagues at work had similar experiences. Several people had heart attacks, and the amount of alcohol people consumed after work to numb the pain was staggering.It really was such a toxic workplace.

I needed a career rescue. In desperation, I agreed to see a career counselor. During my first session, I was asked to draw a picture. I drew a grey bird in a black cage. “The door is open, but she’s forgotten how to fly,” I told my counselor. This drawing brought tears to her eyes. Although I didn’t understand why at the time, I can see now that she felt my pain at feeling so caught and trapped by my situation.

But with her help, I found a way to fly. Through our sessions and the blend of creative and structured exercises we completed together I rebuilt my confidence and strengthened my awareness of my skills, and most importantly, I learned how to dream.

The work the career counselor did with me was so important, so vital – saving me from despair. It led me to not just finding a job I loved, but later creating one that gave me a sense of purpose.

What she taught me literally gave me my life back. Happily, I can now serve others in this way too—career counselor, life and career coach, qualified holistic energy psychologist, author and a trainer of other coaches who also aspire to make a difference in other people’s lives.

How I got started – it all begins with an idea

When I was stuck in a career trap I was inspired by the career counselor who was helping me, and I began to wonder, ‘How could I do that? How could I help empower men and women who felt like hopeless, stressed and broken as I did.’

I looked at her skills and background and asked her what it would take to be like her, and what training she would or wouldn’t recommend.

I then set out to forge my path in a similar way—training to be a counselor. I even learned the interactive drawing therapy techniques that she had used and what I’d found so liberating when she first got me to draw that bird trapped in the cage yearning to fly.

A stepping stone-role

I decided I wanted to work for myself. But I was scared. I’d never run a business before. I didn’t know if I could make it work. So, I took a role that didn’t tick all my career nirvana boxes but I knew it would give me the experience I needed. It was a Greenfield’s role starting a career counseling business for a non-for-profit Employee Assistance Program provider. They already offered personal counseling services but they wanted to expand and reach the thousands of professional men and women who were stressed by their work, or who wanted to move forward in their careers.

As I was starting this service from scratch I wanted it to be the best possible solution for people who were job stressed and desperately unhappy at work. I looked at programs which were considered ‘best practice” and interviewed a few ‘top-notch” coaches. But I felt their approach was soulless. Missing something. Too formulaic. And it wasn’t just me who felt that way. Clients of these coaches told me that they felt like sausages in a factory, they felt they were just being put through a process that cared little for their individual needs and more about the people who stood to profit.

I knew that the cookie-cutter approach just didn’t work for me. And I knew it wouldn’t work for the people I wanted to help. I knew my clients deserved better.

One glaring example of how woefully inadequate many of the other coaching systems were, was that one extremely large, extremely cash-rich, and extremely internally dysfunctional international consultancy, which specialized in providing outplacement support for people who had lost their jobs, didn’t even help them to look at their deepest interests or stop to consider what they were passionate about.

Instead, it was considered, irresponsible, setting people up for failure, a distracting focus. Yet I knew, and fervently believed, both from my professional and my personal experience, that to succeed at anything and to be truly happy it has to be something about which you care about deeply. So many of the people who had lost their jobs were naturally feel down and said they felt depressed. The organization I worked for panicked when they held the “d” work – and send these clients off for counseling to cope with their depression. But in reality, very often, they just needed someone empathetic, and skilled who could help them find hope, and provide them with practical skills to find work again.

 

Stepping-Stones to self-employment as a life and career coach

After three (not always fulfilling years) in my stepping stone job, I made the decision to quit and employ myself fulltime. But I didn’t go 1oo percent self-employed at first. I started my business on the side, working nights and weekends from my kitchen, and cafes, and some of the many rent-by-the-hour office spaces around town. That was almost 17 years ago! Things are easier now—the Internet had created so many opportunities to work when and how you want and to attract a global audience.

Are you like me? Are you like the thousands of people who have contacted me or read my books seeking help to escape a soul-sucking job and find happiness at work?

You and I are probably alike. I’m a mid-lifer who wants more from my life than to go work, grit my teeth and bear it. I want to work with joy, passion, purpose, and fulfilment—and I still want to pay the bills!

I’m grateful to say that I’ve achieved all of those desires, and more. I’ve reinvented my working life multiple times in the search for career nirvana and I’m happy to say I’ve found it.

Equally as satisfying is the fact I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned and have helped thousands of people from a myriad of diverse backgrounds and circumstances find or create work they love and enjoy their lives.

I’m the founder of an internationally successful career and life coaching business (www.worklifesolutions.nz) and the author of a vast library of personal empowerment books and programs. I enjoy what I call a career combo—coaching, counseling, training, writing, public speaking…

…and a few other creative things I do on the side. Like writing historical art-related novels, painting, and photography. And I’ve had the joy and privilege of helping thousands of people successfully reinvent their careers and lives.

I know what it’s like to feel trapped. I know what it’s like to doubt you’ll ever be able to make a change for the better. I know what it’s like to feel down, stressed and anxious. I know that in today’s world when finding work is harder than ever, finding a job you love, a job that aligns with your values and affords you a lifestyle other envy, can feel like an impossible dream.

I agree with Audrey Hepburn who once said is “impossible” is just another way to say, “I’m possible.”

Perhaps you’re like Clive who felt trapped stuck in a job that paid the bills but was low on fun, joy, challenge, and fulfillment. He was so stressed at work he burnt out and collapsed.

 

“A big draw card was the individualised approach – which just one week into training has already proved its worth! I simply wouldn’t be making the same progress if I was say, hooking into a weekly webinar with a dozen or more others and one trainer.” ~ Clive, EAP and Corporate Coach

 

He contacted me during his recovery wanting my help to become a skilled helper—a life coach able to help people experiencing what he had survived. Two years on he is thriving – well and happy in his new vocation! Clive’s passion? Helping people create lives of significance. His coaching business is inspired and inspiring—http://www.significantlives.com/

Or is your job, like Odile’s—so insecure you don’t think it will last? Her passion, empowering men, and woman to make life-affirming choices.

Do you yearn, like Sarah, for something more from your work and your life but can’t see any alternative options? Do you want something age-proof that you love so much the thought of retiring never crosses your mind?

Deep down do you feel trapped, hopeless, sick? That was me. And it has been many of my clients and the students I’ve trained and qualified as coaches. Once. But not anymore.

 

Join me in career nirvana—train to be a Rapid Transformational Coach

 

 

 

 

Are you thinking about what drives you, why you are doing what you are doing, is it making you happy, are you using your full set of skills, what can you do differently and how can you change?”

Hundreds of people, many of them mid-lifers, like you, have been rescued from unfulfilling work, changed careers and found their dream jobs by implementing the tips and strategies found in my certified coaching programs. Following the bespoke system that I designed to fast-track results worked for me—and it will work for you.

‘I dream I’m on vacation, it’s the perfect career for me.’ These lyrics from a song by the Eagles was a theme around which manifesting my perfect career centered. Clarifying my skills, values, and interests provided further focus as did confirming my life purpose and the longer-term goals I have for myself, my partner and my family.

We now live in a lifestyle property in The Bay of Islands, in New Zealand—a popular holiday destination, working from home with clients all over the world. Sometimes when I’m coaching a client over the phone I walk around the garden. It’s so much fun—work always feels like a vacation.

Here are a few of the many other benefits I’ve experienced since changing careers and working as a life coach, I can:

• Earn as much or as little as I like. There is no glass ceiling, and no mean boss telling me I didn’t make bonus this year or I don’t deserve a pay rise. I love having unlimited earning potential

• Learn and update my skills and follow my enthusiasms. Goodbye boredom and hello growth and knowledge

• Work anywhere in the world – I said goodbye to a soulless cubicle, toxic air conditioning and the daily grind of a tortuous commute

• Balance my life. When I started I was a single mom. Being able to work from home and take time off during school holidays meant everything to me

• Make a difference. I love encouraging others, I love helping people overcome obstacles, I love seeing people thrive as they follow their passion to prosperity

• Create an asset that I can grow and sell – whether that’s my business, my services or the more books and other products that I’ve added to my range of passion and purpose driven-offerings?

• Unlimited creative expression. I unleash the power of creativity and manifestation in each and every one of my sessions. Plus, I can express myself through art, writing books, photography, marketing activities and branding. So many people tell me that their jobs like creativity. Not mine! Not coaching!

Are you nodding your head? Is your heart skipping? Are you feeling excited and saying I love to have a career and life like that too?

 

My Training Is Powerful
My training is powerful. I know it is. The life I have created using this awareness is amazing. The strategies are ones I have successfully used—professionally with clients and personally during numerous self-determined or sometimes forced reinventions.

I stand by every one of the strategies you will learn here, not just because they are grounded in strong theoretical principles, but also because I have used them to create successful turnaround, after successful turnaround in nearly every area of my client’s lives and my life too.

Rapid Transformational Coaching is the culmination of all that I have experienced and all that I have learned, applied and successfully taught others for over two decades. I don’t practice what I preach; I preach what I have practiced because it gets results—FAST!

Like Nicola, who has always wanted her own business and would love to meet her soul mate. She had read my book Mid-Life Career Rescue 18 months ago while on holiday in Thailand and said it changed her life. She moved to Italy, left, what was once a dream career (Interior design), and started teaching. She’s ready for a career change again – and another move. Blending her passion for photography and décor.

In 20 minutes, I helped intensify her desire and showed her how to begin manifesting her heart’s desire in a passion journal. “I completely forgot about that,” she said. “And because I am so creative, it will work perfectly.”

It does! I should know. Everything I dreamed – including meeting my soul mate, and living in an idyllic location began in my passion journal – something I shared with Nicole and you’ll learn to facilitate as a result of completing my training.

One thing I know for certain is that your life is too important to stay in a job you hate. You have treasures buried within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so do others. And bringing those treasures to light takes faith and focus and courage and effort. It takes a willingness to answer the call for change, and people to help and support you along the way. People like me.

 

Is training with me to become a coach right for you?

 

 

Do you:

  • Love personal development and get a kick out of helping people
  • Feel excited about the idea of being your own boss
  • Want to boost your income doing something you love—with no glass ceiling and cap on salary
  • Love the idea of being able to tap into a global client base, and work anywhere at any time in the world?
  • Want an age-proof career?
  • Feel bubbling joy at the idea of receiving positive feedback from clients you have helped and knowing you’ve made a practical, inspiring difference?
  • Want expert help building a beautiful passion and purpose inspired business from someone who’s been there first?

 

Why I Developed This Course
Someone once asked me, “What was the catalyst for creating my Rapid Transformational Coaching certification courses?” In part, it was my experience with clients, but also the emails I received from people who I knew would never be able to see me professionally, and their depth of hopelessness and despair—despair that reached beyond the individual, but affected those who loved them.

Like the lady who emailed me, “No one will employ my husband because he was 55 and had been in the same job for 25 years until he was made redundant. He keeps being told that he has no skills employers would want.”

It broke my heart every time I had to reply to emails like this with, “I’m sorry we are not taking new clients at this time.” Because I knew from experience it didn’t have to be that way. I knew what he needed to learn was how to find his passion and clarify what gave him a sense of meaning and purpose, and how to sell his age and experience as an asset.

It was the experience of this man and many others like him, and the practical knowledge that on my own I could never reach all the people that needed help. It was this, and my passion to help people who wanted to be fantastic, skilled helper and who believed in the beauty of helping people live and work with passion and purpose, that lead me to share my proven, results-focused training program and systems.

As a recruitment consultant, I’ve seen first-hand how employers and recruiters can be ageist when it comes to hiring decisions. As a coach, I’ve helped people overcome this and get hired. As a trainer, I’ve helped people like you start age-proof passion and purpose inspired businesses

I’ve also seen people put self-imposed limits on what they believe is possible at their age. “Don’t you do what you love when you retire,” one 28-year-old once said to me! “I’m too old to change,” said another man in his early thirties. I’ve helped people successfully challenge those limits—and I’m proud to say that the coaches I’ve trained have too. Like Lynnie, who in her sixties has rebirthed a new career by training with me to become a certified career and life coach.

 

 

Even though I have been a midwife for 26 years, it is what I have known.  I have worked in NZ and overseas and in many challenging situations.  Stepping into a new situation and the unknown and training as a coach is both exciting and challenging as I am moving outside of my comfort zones…While looking at other education providers for coaching, I had also downloaded Cassandra’s free booklet on finding your passions (available to people who subscribe to the newsletter here www.cassandragaisford.com).  I worked through the workbook and the light dawned when I realised that none of my passions were in midwifery now.  That was ‘a light bulb moment’ or what I would call ‘a God moment’ as I had had the sense for a few years that I was been led out of midwifery.  I was filled with such a sense of peace about it that I knew it was right to contact Cassandra again.”

” You can read more of Lynnie’s story, including how she felt the fear and did it anyway, here 

 

As a career coach and counsellor helping mid-lifers reclaim their lives after redundancy, rebuild self-esteem after workplace bullying, and bounce back from the depression that staying in the wrong job can create, I felt strongly that people needed both practical and inspirational ways to reclaim their lives—and I wanted to share this passion with like-minded people from all around the world that felt the same. I’ve trained people from Brazil, America, Australia, and New Zealand…to name just a few exotic locales:)

I also believe that people need fewer check boxes and career assessment inventories and more creative, out-of-the-box thinking to help them succeed. My views resonated with many—and I was interviewed on television and on the radio about this very thing. You can check these out on my media page here >> (include link)

I have also presented my unique Passion Driven Model of career design at conferences around the world. I’m not saying these things to boast—but to reassure you that if you’re considering training with me that you’re in expert hands.

When I attended an international symposium of career practitioners in Venice, Italy, we were warned of the crisis an aging workforce presented and were told that the greatest skill career coaches needed was…

wait for it…

to help people have an imagination!

As an artist and creative soul myself, that was like candy to a child. And since then, I’ve proven over and over again, with the successes the people who have trained with me have gained for clients that thinking differently and creatively, as well as rationally, while also harnessing the power of intuition, and applying the principles of manifestation, really works.

In my Rapid Transformational Coaching Training Programs, I’ll show you why and how.

A large part of my philosophy and the reason behind my success with clients is my fervent belief that to achieve anything worthy of life you need to follow your passion. And I’m in good company.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Without passion, you don’t have energy, and without energy you have nothing. You have to let desire, not fear, propel you forward. Yet worryingly, research suggests that less than 10% of people are following their passion. Perhaps that is why there is so much unhappiness at work.

Setting you up for success

“Aren’t you setting people up for failure?” a disillusioned career coach (who trained with someone else) once challenged me when I told her my focus was not on helping people find any job but finding one that gave them joy. I couldn’t help but wonder if she needed a career change.

Twenty-five-years cumulative professional experience as a career coach and counselor, helping people work with passion and still pay the bills, answers that question. I’m setting people up for success. I’m not saying it will happen instantly, but if you follow the advice in this course, it will happen. I promise.

 

Your life Is waiting

“I’ve spent 40 years looking out of the window wishing I was somewhere else,” one of my clients told me. That’s not only depressing but also such a huge waste of talent and precious time. Life’s too short to spend days, weeks and years in a job that robs you of energy, zest, and enthusiasm.

Are you ready to make an inspired change?

We spend over 3,000 hours a year at work, and when we’re not at work we’re thinking about it. Work-related issues are major sources of stress and career unhappiness. Left unresolved they can spill over into other areas of your life, infecting your relationships with colleagues, family and loved ones.

Don’t waste another day feeling trapped. Don’t be the person who spends a life of regret, or waits until they retire before they follow their passions. Don’t be the person too afraid to make a change for the better, or who wishes they could lead a significant life. Make the change now. Before it’s too late.

You can wake up to wonderful feedback in your inbox like I do:

“A coaching session with Cassandra is like a light switch to a light bulb. My ideas were there but without that light switch I wasn’t able to see them and manifest my dream of running a holistic business from home. Straight away, Cassandra was able to get to the heart of my core values and how to put them into a dream business. I now have the sense of purpose and drive to achieve my business goals. Cassandra’s warm personality and positive approach make her a joy to work with. I recommend her to anyone who wants to unlock their personal and professional potential.” ~ Shelley Sweeney.

It was lovely feedback to have received from Shelley who I am helping build and market her Reiki business to clients—http://www.lanternreiki.co

Your legacy can be like the one I created for Mandy (and many other men and women I’ve had the privilege to help like her), who in her 50’s, after reading the book I wrote as a result of my experience as a life and career coach, wrote to me and told me how the book had changed her life:

“To be honest, I couldn’t put the book down—it was as though Cassandra had got inside my head and written it specifically for me! It helped me process the what/where questions I was asking myself and discussed all the aspects that had been tumbling around in my head like a washing machine for many months.  It helped me process my thoughts, clarify my thinking, formulate a real plan and prepare myself for my new life.”

And what a new life it was. Mandy packed up her old life as a disillusioned consultant and unhappy wife in New Zealand and moved to outback Australia after successfully applying for a new role. She landed a three-year contract as an Infrastructure and Assets Manager, overseeing the construction of the Art Centre and new houses, as well as the commercialization of the airport and the development of major roads.

“I wanted a new adventure and I’ve found one!” she wrote to me. “I’m excited and terrified.” Others saw Mandy as an inspiration, paving the way for other mid-lifers to make courageous life and career changes.

My clients, and readers like Mandy, tell me they value the fact that my advice is gained from both my personal and professional experiences and is both practical and inspirational.

Keith was 55 when his position was made redundant after 38 years of loyal service. “The biggest thing I am dealing with is a hit to my self-worth,” he wrote to me.

“I am a proponent of the law of attraction and have proved this law many times but that does not stop me having serious doubts about my ability to pull above the ‘mind chatter’. Your book is a great resource for boosting my energy and confidence. Honestly, your book is a treasure. I have found it very useful in terms of the information provided and tools available for self-awareness and future planning.  This is an awesome book and one I would recommend to anyone looking to change their career, not just mid-lifers.I feel energized every time I pick it up and I go back and re-read sections I have already read. I thank you for your foresight in writing this book and the energy and enthusiasm you pass on through the book.”

 

Reach for your dreams

Passion, happiness, joy, fulfillment, love—call it what you will but my deepest desire is that this book encourages you to reach for your dreams, to never settle, to believe in the highest aspirations you have for yourself. You have so many gifts, so many talents that the world so desperately needs. We need people like you who care about what they do, who want to live and work with passion and purpose.

My Promise
I promise that if you follow the steps in my training you’ll discover what you really want to do, clarify what you can do, and create powerful but simple strategies to make your dream a reality.

And I promise you’ll either create or find, a job you love, one that adds more joy to your life and gives you a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.

And what I can promise you is this—whatever your circumstances, it’s never too late to re-create yourself and your life. So, what are you waiting for? The clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and you simply do not have time anymore to waste. It’s time to start living a life you love before it’s too late.

The practical and inspirational tips and strategies in my Rapid Transformational Coaching Program been proven to create positive results for students—personally and professionally, and provide knowledge that you can use again and again.

Be empowered. Answer the call for change, take control of your career and your life right now. As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited.” Make your life count, and enjoy the new future you’re creating.

 

P.S.

If training to be a coach doesn’t feel right for you, but you’d like someone to work with you to light up your life and support you to find your best-fit career, achieve your dreams, or know someone who does, I’d love to hear how I can be of service.

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

~ William James, psychologist and philosopher

Research proves that people who organize their whole life around their work are more prone to develop Post-traumatic Embitterment Disorder – a disorder that covers almost every negative emotion a person can have at work.

On a typical day in the brain, trillions of messages are sent and received. The messages that are happy, upbeat messages are carried by the brain’s “happy messengers” (scientifically known as the Biogenic Amine/Endorphin System). Other messages are somber and disquieting. They are carried by the brain’s “sad messengers.”

Most nerve centers receive input from both types of messengers. As long as this input is balanced, everything runs along on an even keel; however, lack of balance leads to feelings of stress.

Stress causes problems with the brain’s happy messengers. When life is smooth, the happy messages keep up with demand. But when too much stress is placed on the brain, the happy messengers begin to fall behind on their deliveries.

As the stress continues, the happy messages begin to fail. Important nerve centers then receive mostly sad messages, and the whole brain becomes distressed. The person enters a state of brain chemical imbalance known as over-stress.

Over-stress makes people feel terrible. When sad messages overwhelm the happy messages, people can feel overwhelmed by life. They often complain of being tired, unable to fall asleep or to obtain a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack energy, and feel less enjoyment of life. Depression, anxiety, or just feeling unable to cope with life often ensues.

Tip the balance back into your favor by making room for the happy messages! Some simple but effective ways include:

• Noticing something beautiful every day

• Daily appreciation of things you are grateful for

• Taking time to indulge and feed your passions

• Being with people who make you feel special

• Laughing

• Hanging out with children

• Keeping a daily log of at least one thing that makes you happy

Call to Action

Have you taken too much on? If so, what can you let go of? Remember to focus on one goal at a time; then it is achievable.

Find time for the things you enjoy and prioritize the things that are most important. Isolate all the key areas of your life and check to see if you have got the balance right.

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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