*

Posts Tagged 'resilience'

Powerful Creativity: How Making Room For Hobbies is The Ultimate Cure For Addiction, Stress, Anxiety, Depression and More

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Very few happy, healthy people are naturally born this way. Dig into their pasts and you will find that they have cultivated optimism by learning and applying techniques that help them transcend negativity and keep it at bay.

Throughout my book Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy I share a wide variety of ways to overcome adversity, build resilience and find joy. Regular exercise, good diet, relaxation exercises, and rest are a few of the many techniques covered. Holistic and self-empowered strategies to feed your soul and achieve your highest potential also including following your passion, engaging in activities you love and ways to bounce back from setbacks are also included.

As several reviewers noted:

“Loved the fact it is an easy read and is so incredibly comprehensive in its spectrum of tools covered: eastern and western/physical and psychological/science and esoteric. It’s hard to find books that capture this in one space–a comprehensive manual containing a tasting platter of techniques.”

~ Tina Drummond, Health and Safety Consultant, Wellness Motivator

“Cassandra has mastered the art of speaking in clear and simple terms and has presented Bounce as an easy to read, concise—yet completely comprehensive guide to overcoming all the obstacles that stand between yourself and your passion. She has taken a truly holistic approach and leaves no stone unturned. She lays out all the facets of overcoming your obstacles in a no-nonsense fashion and covers everything … Mind, body and soul … the physical, the spiritual, and the scientific. She evens touches on topics that may be considered ‘airy-fairy’ with believable and inspiring confidence.

 While Bounce is a concise presentation, do not be fooled by its quick two-hour read, it is incredibly comprehensive astoundingly holistic—and effective.”

~ Niki Firth, Amazon Review

Listed below are some helpful reminders of some of the many holistic coping strategies you’ll find in Bounce that you can call upon during times of current or anticipated need.

Physical

• Learn to listen to your body       

• Adequate exercise                 

• Physical touch/massage          

• Muscle relaxation         

• Sleep     

• Warmth

• Relaxation breathing                

• A healthy diet, i.e. reducing stimulants (coffee, nicotine etc.), increasing water, and eating organic non-processed foods

• Yoga

 

Behavioral

• Balanced lifestyle        

• Support groups / Counseling          

• Sharing with friends and family

• Humor        

• New interests / activities      

• Hobbies        

• Socializing

• Entertaining          

• Taking time out       

• Music / dancing / singing/creative expression    

• Meditating

• Yoga

• Being proactive and taking control of the situation

• Change careers

• Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

• Making time to do nothing at all

 

Cognitive / Perceptual (thinking)

• Rational thinking techniques to help change the way you interpret the stressful situation

• Positive thinking/cultivating optimism      

• Self-assertion training      

• Personal development

• Building self-esteem      

• Realistic goal planning      

• Time management

• Learning to say “No”       

• Priority clarification      

• Reflection

• Mindfulness

• Acceptance

• Hypnosis

 

Emotional

• Releasing emotions and expressing feelings (laugh, talk, cry, write in a journal, paint etc.)

• Learning how to “switch off”

• Taking time out          

• Solitude and space           

• Intimacy

• Counseling and support

• Challenging your emotional reactions to situations

• Passion/Joy

 

Social

• Scheduling time to spend with important people in your life

• Making plans with friends, family and loved ones in advance

• Sharing your experiences of stress with certain people in your life, especially letting them know the ways that stress has been affecting you, so they understand

• Practicing assertive communication within your significant relationships to decrease conflicts, while also continuing to find ways to show people around you that they are important

 

Spiritual

• Prayer and mediation—scheduling regular time

• Helping others (talking, writing, supporting)

• Reiki and other energy healing techniques

• Talking with a spiritual confidant or leader to explain any spiritual issues or doubts that you may have encountered

• Forgiveness (of self or others)

• Compassion / loving kindness

• Continuing to read and learn about your faith, belief or value system

• Connecting with others who share your beliefs

 

 

The above list is by no means exhaustive; however, you may note a reoccurring theme—the power of creativity.  Many people have that that making room for hobbies is the ultimate cure for addiction, stress, anxiety, depression and more.

Recently, after experiencing a tsunami of stress I realized my hobbies had been horribly neglected. But not anymore! What looked like a horrible situation of having to leave our home during renovations turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The accommodation we rented was owned by a wonderful lady and talented artist and jewelry designer.

I’m not sure how Anna Hamilton discovered that many years ago I had painted and exhibited my art but she quickly asked if I would be interested in exhibiting alongside her during the upcoming Koast Art Trail in The Bay of Islands—http://koast.org.nz/koast-artists-jewellers-potters-kerikeri/.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t say yes straight away. I hadn’t painted for years. “When was I possibly going to kind time to create? And where?” Everything was in storage. Nothing was organized. Everything was chaotic.

But Anna was persistent and persuasive. And my weary soul began to sing. I began to feel excited. I felt encouraged, excited…and Koast was still some few months off.

“Yes, “ I said. “I will do this,” I agreed, feeling a bit of fear and deciding to act anyway.

And then Anna asked if I had any paintings to share in her gallery?

And now I have three paintings hanging in her beautiful gallery. And I feel so excited. And all that stress and tiredness has floated away. And most exciting of all, I’m looking forward to creating a new body of work for the Koast exhibition in October.

 

 

 

 

So what is it about creativity? Why is it such a potent tool of healing?

It’s not easy to overcome many of the things that hold you back. But you can do it—if you’re willing to be strong and fight for your dreams. Within many of us lies an innate seam of strength, which, when mined skilfully, will produce an endless source of pure gold. Part of this strength is our ability to create infinite joy—and creativity fuels that.

As Buddha once said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

When you follow your bliss, do things you enjoy, seize the reins of control and take responsibility, you will empower your life, your joy, and your health.

 

Jumping with Joy

Joy has phenomenal energy and incredible versatility. In The Book of Joy the Dalai Lama shares that Paul Ekman, a longtime friend, and famed emotions researcher, has written that joy is associated with feelings as varied as:

• Pleasure (of the five senses)

• Amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh)

• Contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction)

• Excitement (in response to novelty or challenge)

• Relief (following upon another emotion, such as fear, anxiety, and even pleasure)

• Wonder (before something astonishing and admirable)

• Ecstasy or bliss (transporting us outside ourselves)

• Exultation (at having accomplished a difficult or daring task)

• Radiant pride (when our children earn a special honor)

• Elevation (from having witnessed an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion)

• Gratitude (the appreciation of a selfless act of which one is the beneficiary)

 

Buddhist scholar and former scientist Matthieu Ricard has added three other more exalted states of joy: rejoicing (in someone else’s happiness, what Buddhists call mudita) delight or enchantment (a shining kind of contentment) spiritual radiance (a serene joy born from deep well-being and benevolence).

When you tap into your joy, you tap into an unlimited reservoir of energy and enthusiasm.

The French take it further—of course! Jouissance, literally means orgasmic joy. It’s derived from the word from jouir (“to enjoy”). Jouissance is to enjoy something a lot!

One of my favorite creativity experts Mihaly Czikszentmihaly, refers to this as a state of  “flow.”

In a popular YouTube talk, he asks, “What makes a life worth living? Money cannot make us happy,” he says. Instead, he urges us to learn from people who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about this state of transcendent flow.

Many years ago I held an exhibition of the paintings I did after I participated in a Sumi Ink workshop in Maui with Max Gimblett. Our exhibition was held in Wellington, New Zealand with two other artists. We named the exhibition, Joy’ance. (One of the artists didn’t like the association with ‘orgasmic!)

 

 

Gosh, it was fun! And best of all I received wonderful feedback:

“Beautiful images for a dreary day”

“What a warm surprise: joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art!”

“Great to see and feel the enterprise and the energy.”

“Inspiring” 

“This has really made my day. I’m quite cynical—but you have achieved what I would expect from something like this (my sumi_e ink Gimblett inspired works). They are so beautiful and simple Their simplicity inspired so much emotion”

“Wonderful art in a wonderful city”

“What a surprise! Joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art.”

“Thank you, beautiful artwork! Love the bright colors – you have brightened up a dark, gloomy day.”

 

Find something that sparks joy and keep hugely interested in it by feeding and nurturing your jouissance every day.

It’s what I’m doing now—by planning my exhibition, reading books about art, and following some of my favorite artists. I don’t necessarily need to make my living from my art, but I do need to make room for creativity in my life. Do you?

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford

If you’re interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness and, overcome obstacles and elevate your success read the book here—myBook.to/Bounce.

 

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

If you loved this post you may like to check out Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

http://www.cassandragaisford.com/true-stories-your-beautiful-mind-control-alcohol-discover-freedom-find-happiness-and-change-your-life-justin-rajs-journey-to-joyful-sobriety/

Stress less—love life more. How to build real resilience

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

 

 

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

 

Have you been unhappy at work for so long that some of the symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched?

Or is the idea of making a change causing you to feel anxious? Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.

Stress is something we all feel every day. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain, your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will.  If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted – making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

 

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

 

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as – OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learned. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression, and suicide. It’s that serious – no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being. 

 

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind, and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work or your life.

This is an edited extract 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. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

*