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Archive for the 'Career & Happiness' Category

Survival Tips From Anxiety Experts—‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Dress Joyfully

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Lorenzo and I dressing ‘joyfully’, Valentine’s Day 2016

 

The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.

~ Coco Chanel

 

Anxiety can feel like cancer—all invasive and equally as disruptive. But it’s not cancer. You can’t cut it out, section it, or annihilate with chemical warfare. Anxiety is a feeling. It’s got plenty to say and very often a lot to teach you.

You can ignore it, befriend at, or tackle it—but you can’t repress it for long. Somewhere, somehow your body keeps the score. The best approach is a multifaceted one, as you will discover, in many of my books, including The Anxiety Cure and The Art of Success, and Coco Chanel: Life Coach.

Shame, guilt, blame, loss, grief, privilege, insecurity, addiction, identity, love—anxiety feeds off them all. Anxiety is part of being human. It tells us we’re still standing. It tells us we’re still alive.

But too much anxiety, like too much of anything, is toxic to our mind, body, and soul.

 

What is Anxiety?

Definitions of anxiety vary. Anxiety to me is a crawling, ever-circling predator that feeds on fear and devours the things I love. It’s an overwhelming feeling of worry and sense of dread that can spiral out of control sometimes. Which is why I put a lot of time and energy into self-care.

Anxiety is the big brother of stress, toxic stress. It’s good to know this because, as you’ll discover proactively managing your stress levels and engaging in activities that increase resilience can help you tame this bully easily.

Most of us feel worried at some point in our lives and experience situations that can cause us to feel anxious. While the ‘right’ amount of anxiety can help us perform better and stimulate action, too much anxiety can tip things out of balance.

Feelings of worry or anxiety are part of a healthy emotional experience. Feeling anxious can warn you and urge you to take care. But when it comes to an intense, prolonged experience, anxiety can be excruciating, unbearable and even debilitating.

In the absence of panic attacks, we may think we are just worrying too much. Our struggles of constant worry may be ignored, minimized or dismissed and, in turn, not properly diagnosed, healed or treated. This is also the case for those with undiagnosed trauma.

You may be surprised to learn how dismissing the impact of traumatic events is negatively impacting your anxiety. You may feel, as I once did, that things that have happened to you are, “normal” and “just a fact of life.” You may be heartened to discover that in no way has your life been normal. Sometimes unearthing the truth provides tremendous clarity and healing. It did for me. It will for you.

Actress Glenn Close recently revealed how her childhood gave her ‘a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)’. Only in her sixties did she seek help to heal the emotional trauma of being raised within a right-wing religious cult for thirteen years when she was just seven.

“I visited a childhood trauma specialist not too long ago—even at my age which is kind of astounding. But it establishes these trigger points that affect you for the rest of your life,” Close revealed in an interview in 2018.

“I think anybody who has gone through any kind of experience like that doesn’t want to be affected by it. I think it really is interesting how deep it runs,” she said.

Similarly, a client of mine who had suffered childhood sexual abuse as a young boy, waited forty years before seeking therapy. He felt so liberated finally purging those wounds and regaining his life.

We’ll look more closely at the intersection of trauma and anxiety, and discover strategies to heal in the chapter inThe Anxiety Cure which I have called, Trauma Triumph.

 

Symptoms

Anxiety can quickly spiral out of control and contribute to a range of mental health challenges.  The primary source used to classify mental illnesses is provided by the American Psychiatric Association and their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders known as the DSM.

Professionals referring to the DSM look for factors like excessive, hindering worry paired with a variety of physical symptoms, then use assessments to make a diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.

The DSM-5, for example, outlines specific criteria, or symptoms, to help professionals diagnose Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and, in turn, create a more effective plan of care. While some professionals may prescribe medication, as you’ll discover in this book, this is not the only, nor always, effective way to treat anxiety.

When assessing for GAD, clinical professionals are looking for the following:

1. The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive.

2. The worry is experienced as very challenging to control. The worry in both adults and children may easily shift from one topic to another.

3. The anxiety and worry are accompanied with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms (In children, only one symptom is necessary for a diagnosis of GAD):

• Edginess or restlessness

• Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual

• Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank

• Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)

• Increased muscle aches or soreness

• Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)

Many people suffering from GAD also experience the following symptoms:

• Sweating

• Nausea

• Diarrhea

However, diagnosis can be an imperfect science, and other medical conditions, lifestyle choices (including excessive alcohol consumption, cannabis, and drug use, and undiagnosed traumas) can also lead to similar symptoms.

 

Your Anxiety Cure

If you are struggling with excessive worry, which makes it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities or increasingly leads you to feel depressed, some of the solutions that follow may be just the rescue remedy you need.

But like any medicine, you do have to take action.

For example, part of my self-care plan includes many of the things we’ll discuss in The Anxiety Cure, including regular:

• Massage

• Talk-therapy or counseling

• Time alone

• Prayer

• Meditation

• Low consumption of alcohol

• Defragging from social media regularly

• Journaling

 

One of my other favorite strategies is inspired directly by Coco Chanel—dressing joyfully. Here’s an excerpt from my books, The Art of Success: Coco Chanel and Coco Chanel: Life Coach.

 

Coco was a trailblazer in women’s fashion. When she arrived in trousers in Venice people were shocked, but shock quickly turned to awe. Women wanted what she had—and Coco was only too happy to sell it to them.

Her joyous color was black. She loved its simplicity and understated elegance. Perhaps it reminded her of the habits the nuns, who so tenderly cared for her, wore.

Whatever the catalyst was, Coco had the vision to turn black, the color of mourning, into the symbol of independence, freedom, and strength. She also created the now iconic little black dress!

Your joyous color may be yellow, blue, or gold. Or it may be multi-patterned and have all the colors of the rainbow. Floating dresses in the finest silk may instill you with confidence, or perhaps you prefer something more tailored.

Whatever you color, whatever you wear be sure that it makes you feel joyful.

Your Challenge

Act as if. Take a job or lifestyle idea you are considering, or have always wondered what it would be like, and act as if you are living that role. Dress the part.

Have your colors professionally confirmed by a trained image consultant—when you dress in the colors that suit your skin tone you’ll look younger and feel fabulous.

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

~ Coco Chanel

 

To grab your copy of the Art of Success: Coco Chanel from Amazon, click here>>
getBook.at/CocoChanel

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3npKQK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

Don’t Just Live Your Passion—How To ‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Achieve Success

How to Age Positively in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

How to Age Positively in Your 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Embrace The Changing World of Work!

It is a great time for mid-lifers to make the leap to a new career, but for some people, this means reframing their expectations of employment. 

Embracing the new world of work, where it seems likely that many people will continue to work in paid employment into their late 60s, 70s and beyond means a mindset change for not just employers but also, more importantly, for individuals themselves. 

Many countries and organizations are facing a critical skills shortage as fewer and fewer younger people enter the workforce and mature workers continue to opt-out of mainstream employment. 

Among these messages of impending disaster at a conference I attended in Italy it was refreshing to hear delegates from France, Italy and Australia reframe the issues from a problem to an opportunity and to speak about positive aging and the “gift of longevity.”

But so many of the more ‘mature’ clients I coach still feel their age is a problem. They worry that they are too old to change careers, and despair they have left it too late to change. 

“My life has been a life of regret,” one of my clients said. At the ripe young age of 45, he couldn’t see much hope of improving his situation. 

Similarly, Mike, a professional man in his late 50s told me he was too old to change career. He also worried that employers would feel the same way. After reading this book and some follow up coaching he changed his mindset and opportunities flooded his way. 

He’s now working in a role that his friends say looks like it was tailor-made just for him.

You’re never too old to learn new skills and you may even discover a new talent.

If you feel your age is against you it’s time to get a mindset shift. There are numerous ways to maintain a positive approach to increasing age. Here are just a few examples:

 

1.) Start collecting evidence of positive aging. Compile an inspirational mid-life file and add clippings, photos, quotes, and ‘case studies’ of people who have made it big, or are happy at work, in their twilight years. Look for your role models.

Gather at least 10 examples of successful people in your age group and above. You’ll see a few of my favorite examples further below.

2.) Create an image board or journal. Paste inspirational quotes, pictures, and clippings which celebrate maturity in the workforce and life. Motivate yourself by adding to it and looking at it regularly.

3.) Turn age into an asset. Don’t be disheartened by people who think your age is against you. Write down a list of the benefits of hiring a mature worker. Widen your awareness of the positives by asking others to add their views. Armed with your own self-belief and a few powerful strategies to market yourself, you’ll be unstoppable.

4.) Network with other like-minded people. Talk to other mature job seekers, check helpful websites, and network with organizations that provide tips and examples to help you succeed and stay positive.

5.) Get career fit. Learn a new skill or get up to date with new technology that will help you gain the job you want. You’re never too old to learn, and you may even discover a new talent.

 

I’ve reinvented my career numerous times, and a big factor in my success has been my willingness to learn new skills and invest in my development.

Recently, I’ve entered the brave new world of audiobook narration and creation.  The wonderful thing about being an author is that there is absolutely no age discrimination and it’s a role you can enjoy well into your twilight years.

I’m currently editing my audiobook file (narrated by me) of Midlife Career Rescue: The Call For Change, and I’m super excited to have found out today that The Boy Who Cried is now available in audio. Check it out here, and listen to an excerpt for FREE!

To check out an excerpt for FREE and grab your Amazon, click here>> getbook.at/TheBoyWhoCried

 

“A wonderful tool…

This book is a wonderful tool for anyone seeking to begin the journey to self-reflection and healing from difficult childhoods. Therapists will find this book useful for their patients young or old. To return as a child to discover where the source of the pain begins has always been valuable, but actually relating it to present day is key to understanding. Highly recommended.”

~ Alma Hammond, Author

6.) Rekindle a sense of adventure. Re-awaken dormant creative skills and adopt a playful approach to life. Take on some FTEs – first-time experiences. Can you think of anything you’d love to try? Like Carla Coulson, who in her 40’s gave photography a go, found a new passion and has now made it a rewarding career.

7.) Challenge your assumptions. Divide a page into half. List any negative assumptions you might have about your age and on the other side write some counter statements. Here’s an example to get you started

Negative Assumptions

Employers prefer younger workers

Affirming Counter Statements

Demographic research shows that companies are going to need to recruit from a more mature labor pool

“There is no substitute for bravery, creative thinking, and imagination if you want a rewarding career.”

~ Peter Biggs, Former CEO of Creative New Zealand

Plenty Of Time To Make It Big

The encouraging news, according to some experts, is that life begins in the late 40s. Evidence suggests that many people don’t reach their potential until well into their 50s and 60s.

American grandfather of motivational books, Napoleon Hill, whose best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, was published for the first time in 1937, discovered from an analysis of more than 25,000 people that those who succeed seldom do before the age of 40, and usually do not strike their real pace until well beyond their 50’s.

This data should be encouraging for those who ‘fail to arrive’ before 50 and offers compelling evidence that people should approach the mid-years with hope and anticipation!

It’s never too late

Here are just a few people who have achieved success in their later years:

1) Author Helen Hoover Santmyer was 88-years-young when her book And Ladies of the Club was published. It stayed on the New York Times Best-sellers list for eight months. It was her first novel in 50 years.

 

2) A failure at 65, Colonel Sanders was world-famous and wealthy at 80. His father was a miner and his mother worked in a shirt factory. Harland Sanders had to give up school in the sixth grade because he was so poor.

He eventually opened a small home-town restaurant in the Kentucky hills. All looked well until the highway was rerouted and he lost everything. He was 65 at the time and faced with a future barely surviving on social security, his motivation to try again kicked in.

“My government is going to give me a hundred and five dollars so I can eke out an existence. Surely there is something I can do for myself and other people.”

Tapping into powerfully creative questions like this unlocked the key to what would be his major success—his mother’s secret chicken recipe.

Turned down by numerous restaurants at the time he turned potential failure into another inspired idea—franchises. It was an instantaneous hit, and the rest is history!

 

3) Fifty-five-year-old Rhonda Byrne’s life was at an all-time low. 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 went on to become some of the biggest-selling self-help resources of all time.

At the heart of Rhonda’s inspirational series of products and resources 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.

Action Questions: How can you think positively?

Take a leaf from Rhonda’s secret to success and change any stinkin’ thinkin’ that may be lingering. Answering the following questions may help:

What results are you currently experiencing that you would like to change?

What thoughts would you need to change?

What thoughts would remain the same?

What things have supported you in maintaining a positive state of mind in the past? How could they be helpful now?

Can you think of some other strategies to help you keep your mind on what you want and off what you don’t want?

“We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”

~ Harrison Ford, Actor

Client Success Story: From Unemployed to Franchise Manager

Aged 48, Ngaire returned to New Zealand after running a business in outback Australia. Things had not gone well after an economic downturn in the rural economy and she walked away from her business. Ngaire tried her hand at a few other things but realized there were few prospects for her in Australia so came home.

She returned penniless and alone with no work prospects. She was unsure if her skills were suitable for more modern careers, and initially thought about learning computer skills.

However, a friend encouraged her to read this book and work through a career coaching process. This helped her recognize and value her experience and realize how her current skills could transfer into other jobs.

Ngaire had always walked easily into work because she had lived in a town where everyone knew her and there was plenty of work.

After learning how to value and communicate her transferable skills and experience she re-wrote her resume and was successful in getting a job as a shop manager for a national food franchise. Her new employer valued her prior experience, maturity and management potential.

Ngaire achieved great success in her role and turned around many problem stores. She was quickly promoted and given more responsibility. Her pay packet received a nice boost too!

It takes courage and strength of character to leave a situation and start over again. Ngaire’s secret to success was drive, determination and a solid work ethic.

Initially despondent and fearful, she is now happy, confident and not worried about her future. Ngaire realizes that there are more opportunities out there and that she has the power to create her own luck and seize opportunities that come her way.

Her employer had the foresight to take on a mature person, and together they benefit in ways they hadn’t foreseen.

Robert Kiyosaki, multi-millionaire entrepreneur and author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, is right when he says, “There is no one in your way except you and your doubts about you. It is easy to stay the same. It is not easy to change. Most people choose to stay the same all their lives. If you take on your self-doubt and your laziness you will find the door to your freedom.”

 

A Time Of Renewal

You are as old as you choose to feel. I know many people in their 70’s and 80’s who are still leading active work lives and enjoying a more healthier existence as a result.

“If you retire you expire,” says 88-year-old Boyd Klap who vows never to stop contributing.

Check out this video (https://vimeo.com/122707475) and watch the value of being mutually inspired and inspiring, and of maintaining a spirit of curiosity through and beyond your middle ages.

You’ll see Mandy Scott-Mackie who had just embarked on a mid-life career adventure in outback Australia and hear Boyd Klap who tried retiring many times and got bored! I apologize for the sound quality—Wellington’s infamous wind got the better of us.

 

Action Task! Visualize Your Future

For some, getting older can herald more opportunities. While for others, especially those without a nest egg, or a working partner to fall back on, seeking help to reinvent their lives and careers is critical.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, going with the flow and waiting for life to ‘happen’ won’t provide the emotional and financial security you seek. Actively plan for your preferred future, because that’s where you’re going to be spending the rest of your life.

The following sensory visualization exercise will not only help you clarify your preferred future, but it will also help you power up your subconscious mind:

 

1) Draw a timeline and put yourself on it.

Project yourself toward your preferred future – 10, 15, or 20 years from now. How old will you be? Note this down. Now create your ideal life in your mind’s eye. Engage all your senses and record your responses to the following questions (try visually displaying your responses on an image or dream board).

What sights are around you? Are you surrounded by people who love you, or enjoying the solitude of nature? Are you living overseas in an elegant, romantic, calm environment or are you somewhere more high energy, bustling and commercial? What colors and things surround you? What do you see?

What can you hear—the peacefulness of the country, cries of acclaim for something you have done, laughter, live music, birdsong or something else?

What smells fill the air? The smell of your partner’s cologne, or perfume as you work from home? The sweet aromatic smell of freshly picked grapes from your vineyard? What does your preferred future smell like to you?

How does your preferred future feel? Is it like the warm, smooth earth surrounding the lifestyle home where you live and work? The silky coats of the horses you train? The fine linen of your business suit, or the smooth denim of your jeans as you turn up to deliver a seminar? Notice all the textures that surround you.

How does your ideal life taste? Are you enjoying the foods from your organic garden? Fine cuisine on your overseas travels? Amazing meals out dining with clients as you travel the world? Or something else

By visualizing your preferred future and engaging your senses you have taken the first step in making your dreams your reality.

2) What’s stopping you from living your dream now?

Note these things down, but resist the feeling of being stuck by actively willing your mind to create solutions. Ask generative questions like: How can I make my dream real? Where can I get help? How can I make a change?

Look back along your timeline and think about all the steps you would have to do to make things happen.

Who would you need to talk to? What information would you need to know? What finance would you need to acquire? How can you acquire it? What training or new skills would you need?

3) On your timeline begin to map out the stepping stones to your success and do something every day, no matter how small, to move you closer to your dream.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. This is only the beginning of your career adventure. The rest of the exercises in this book will help you fill in any gaps.

Preparing For Success

There is only one security in this life—the ability to manage change. Below are a few strategies to help you prepare for a successful change:

1.) Increase your self-awareness. “Pause for a cup of tea, David Lange, former Prime Minister of New Zealand once said, when people were rushing prematurely into critical decision-making that affected the country’s future. Increase your self-awareness. Take time out to clarify what it is that you really want—and why.

How can we have a knowledge economy if we lack self-knowledge? Listen to my interview on Radio New Zealand about this and other issues related to changing careers—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/media.

2.) Play. Approach the career planning process with an adventurous, curious spirit. In the early stages remind yourself that you are exploring. Deciding can come later. Nurture and encourage curiosity and allow yourself to dream. Ask yourself, “what if…”

It’s also interesting to note the increasing emphasis being given to adults now to embrace their inner, fearless child. Tap into the ‘kidult’ trend to help with modern-day challenges, advocate a range of experts, and work towards an idealized world, free of restraint. You may just surprise yourself.

3.) Spend time researching your options and generating alternative possibilities. Actively challenge any assumptions that may be holding you back.

4.) Affirm the positive. Keep your mind on what you do want and off what you don’t. Your truest beliefs become your thoughts, your deepest thoughts become your words, your spoken and unspoken words become your actions, your concrete actions become your habits, your conscious and unconscious habits become your values and your values become your destiny.

5.) Get inspired! Surround yourself with all the things that give you joy. Sidestep the things that give you stress and look after your health so you have energy to make changes.

6.) Plan for success and set yourself free. Know when it’s time to stop thinking about changing and time to take concrete steps toward your preferred future.

Work through the exercises in this book and buddy up with someone who believes in the beauty of your dreams and can help you stay on track.

 

Client Success Story: From IT Account Manager to Travel Agent

Bill Kwan’s wake-up call happened in his 40s when increasing stress levels made a career move not just a nice thing to do, but a necessity. As his wife said, “If you don’t leave now it will kill you.”

Some people may have taken the easier option by taking stress leave or an extended holiday, but Bill chose to take a career leap and shift from a senior account management role with an international IT company to work in an area that had always interested him —travel.

He initially worked as a travel consultant for a local travel agency. However, changing careers did come at a price.

“I didn’t just take a salary drop—it was a salary plummet,” he says. However, what he sacrificed in salary was made up for in personal fulfillment. “I gained more time to spend with my wife and daughter, play golf and work in an area that I love.”

“Follow your desire, but make sure you plan for success,” Bill says.

Bill already had his eye on his longer-term goal when he accepted the junior role as a travel agent. Two years after making his first move he purchased his own agency.

“Often people try to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.”

Margaret Young, Author

 

This is an edited extract for 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​

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> getBook.at/CareerChange

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3Roqyn

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

What Makes You Happy? The Success Secret Midlife Career Changers Need to Know

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

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

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

Are You Ready to Manifest Your Dreams Effortlessly?

Monday, July 8th, 2019

Dear friends…

Mollie MathewsWhat intentions have you set this month? Winter (here in NZ) and summer, for my lucky northern hemisphere readers, is a great time to revisit dreams. The energy is so powerful.

What I’m working on now…

I had a great business coaching session with one of my mentoring clients. At 62, she’s a girl on fire. In less than a year she found the courage to leave a toxic job, throw herself (with help from me) into her own passion-inspired business, sell her house, move cities, purchase a new home and become mortgage free—and so much more.

My goodness, she is so inspirational and I love mentoring her to help her overcome self-limiting blocks and soar toward her true potential. Right now, we’re focusing on how she can create passive income and a location independent business—just like me!

I love helping people achieve their dreams. Reach out if you’d love some one-to-one mentoring from yours truly.

 

I’ve just returned from the most amazing trip to Turks and Caicos. And two weeks before that we were in Japan. And before that American Samoa…and yes, I was working. Being location-independent sure beats being chained to the desk in a windowless cubicle with a narcissistic boss. Yes, that was once me! I share my transformational career change stories in my popular Mid-Life Career Rescue series.

Why Ethics Matter in Coaching

Stay tuned for my blog post about the importance of ethics in coaching. I have heard some truly dreadful stories of people being taken advantage of. Did you know, anyone can set up shop and say they are a life, career, wealth – or “something” else coach. A journalist here in New Zealand was so disturbed by how people are being taken advantage, she’s writing an article for mainstream media. I’ll keep you posted! Long story short, if you invest your money (and hopes) in mentoring or coaching be sure that whoever you trust has been around for a long while and is qualified.

Can’t afford one-one-mentoring with me? Of course, you can also get some coaching via my self-empowerment books. Plus, I have an online course—(doesn’t everyone these days!).

If you need more help to find and live your life purpose you may prefer to watch inspirational and practical videos with me and other strategies to help you to fulfill your potential.

 

Follow your passion and purpose to prosperity—online coaching program

Easily discover your passion and purpose, overcoming 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 me and gain 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—the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

 

Fit More Knowledge Into Your LIfe

 

And I have exciting news too, this month I’m focused on finishing audiobooks for my most popular self-empowerment titles. I’m so excited to have just completed recording “How To Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love.”

I  loved reminding myself of these really simple and successful strategies. If you’ve already got the paperback or ebook go and re-read it – it will definitely give you an inspirational post. It did me!

Did you know that “How To Find Your Passion and Purpose” is now in hardcover? How yummy! Available from all good online bookstores now.

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts from the book:

 

DAILY TONIC

 

“Filling your own needs is not something

that you do randomly, it’s something that needs

to be done on a regular basis.”

Cassandra Gaisford, Author

Make passion a regular event. Do you regularly spend time doing things you enjoy? Can you do something every day to help keep your passion alive?

Only 15 or 30 minutes a day devoted to activities you love, and to those that move you closer to your dreams, can make a big difference to your health and happiness.

If finding the time or lacking energy is preventing you from doing more of the things you are passionate about, develop a strategy to restore the balance.

 

Next up I’m going to record “The Little Princess” because I know this story has touched so many people’s hearts. It’s where I share my own experience of being discouraged, shamed and bullied and what I did to follow my purpose anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

Now you get to chose. Which of my bestselling books would you like to hear me narrate and release in audio? “Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness”? “Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety ”, or “Midlife Career Rescue: The Call For Change” ? Or something else?

Please let me know and go in the draw to win a free advance audio edition. I have three to give away.

Enter & WIN!

Please let me know which of my books you’d love to see in audio and go in the draw to win a free advance audio edition. I have three to give away.

Featured reader of the month

Are you a midlifer who thinks you’ll never find love? You’ll love hearing Vicky’s* story. When I was working as a counselor for a community based-organisation Vicky came to see me. She was so sad, so full of grief, so many personal things (death of loved ones, the hospitalization of her daughter in a psychiatric ward – and more).

She shared how she was lonely and full of grief and anger. Gently, I encouraged her to think about the things that sparked joy and gave her comfort. Vicky shared how she dreamed many years ago of meeting a lovely man—but now, in her sixties, she’d given up hope.

I encouraged her to ‘create’ her dream man in her passion journal – but to also add what kind of qualities her dream man was looking for too (something I talk about more in “How to Find Your Passion and Purpose” and also The Passion Journal:The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Love, Life, and Career Goals)

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

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

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

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

What Makes You Happy? The Success Secret Midlife Career Changers Need to Know

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

 

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”  ~ Patanjali, Yogi and Mystic

 

Dear friends, I am currently re-editing one of the books in my popular MidLife Career Rescue series, What Makes You Happy.  It doesn’t matter how often I cast my eye over the text looking for pesky typos, sometimes, like mosquitos in summer, a few manage to slip through the net. But, happily, I am enjoying reacquainting myself with this book—and in the process, I’m reminding myself of what makes me happy too.

Here’s an updated look at one of my favorite chapters, including the true career change story of one of my favorite authors, Annie Featherston. Annie is a former New Zealand school teacher who left a job she no longer loved and upgraded her life as the bestselling historical author Sophia James.

A healthy obsession can be a liberating and clarifying catalyst to your true calling and career direction—especially for people in the mid-life zone. With maturity comes renewed confidence and determination to pursue the things they are truly passionate about.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt

JOB DISSATISFACTION

Fully alive

Being passionate is a vital part of being human. Passion is love—hard to define, but easy to see and feel when it is alive. Passion is about emotion, feeling, zest and enthusiasm. Intensity, fervor, ardor, and zeal. Passion is about fire, eagerness, and preoccupation.

Passion is about excitement and animation. Passion is about determination and self-belief. Passion is about being willing to change. Passion is about following your heart’s desire. Passion is about doing something you love.

It’s not an intellectual thought. It’s a feeling. Feelings matter, and feelings are where the real power is. But Western society tends to predominately value thoughts, reason, logic and clear thinking more highly than feelings, intuition, spirit, and soul.

Perhaps because of this, people have become desensitized to the clues and callings of their own passions.

Some of the strategies I’ll share with you in this book may be criticized as ‘fluff’ or ‘snake oil.’ People often fear that which they don’t understand. I was attacked in this vein when I once offered a doctor some lavender oil to help reduce her mental strain. But understand this, the heart has its own reasons, its own desires, its own magical way of making itself heard.

Passion, some say, can be difficult to find, but if you’re awake it will find you. Stay open-hearted and open-minded. Don’t be like so many adults who fail to discover it at all, and in the absence of any encouragement, give up.

“People pride themselves upon their willpower, their indomitable courage, upon the fact that nothing frightens them,” writes T. Lobsang Rampa, in his classic book, You Forever. “They assured bored listeners that with their willpower they can do anything at all.”

But the truth is there is no greater power than imagination, passion, and the incredible power of love.

If you are serious about being happy, if it’s your desire to be the best that you can be, then the integration of your mind, body, and spirit is essential. Make a commitment to working and living with passion—I’ll show you where to look!

Passion’s Pay Cheque

Pursuing your passion can be profitable on many levels:

When you do what you love, your true talent will reveal itself; passion can’t be faked

You will be more enthusiastic about your pursuits

You will have more energy to overcome obstacles

You will be more determined to make things happen

You will enjoy your work

Your work will become a vehicle for self-expression

Passion will give you a competitive edge

New Zealand motorcycling legend Burt Munro proved that passion is the key to success. “All my life I’ve wanted to do something big,” he said. In 1967 Burt achieved something huge.

At the age of 68, against all the odds, he set a world record of 183.586 mph with his highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle. To qualify he made a one-way run of 190.07 mph, the fastest ever officially recorded speed on an Indian.

Like so many inspiring people the road to success was not an easy one—it involved much personal hardship and numerous setbacks, but armed with his passion and a compelling desire to “go out with a bang,” Burt Munro mortgaged his house and set out on the greatest adventure of his life.

His truly awesome achievements were bought to life in an inspiring and uplifting film, The World’s Fastest Indian.

The World’s Fastest Indian not only gives movie-goers an inside look at Munro’s passion, but it also gives them an idea of New Zealand filmmaker Roger Donaldson’s overwhelming desire to tell the story.

“This project has been a passion of mine since I completed a documentary about Burt Munro back in 1972,” Donaldson said. “I have been intrigued by Burt’s story for many, many years; some would say my obsession with this film matches Burt’s obsession with his bike.”

Donaldson’s passion for his subject has won him international acclaim from Academy Award-winning actor Anthony Hopkins. “I thought it was a terrific movie. It is a unique script… it is just so well written, very well written, beautifully written, and so refreshing. I’ve worked with a lot of great directors, Steven Spielberg, and Oliver Stone, and Roger Donaldson is there with that lot, you know. He really is,” Hopkins said.

Obsessions Boost Health

A healthy obsession can lead you to many things, including your:

1) Life niche—creating a breath of fresh air and giving you a competitive edge

2) True bliss—leading you to your vocation where being paid is the icing on the cake

3) Your point of excellence—unleashing dormant talents and natural gifts

4) Your life purpose—spreading seeds of joy and inspiration and benefiting others.

Authentic Happiness: 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.

From Teacher to Romance Writer

As Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares below, 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.

“I’d taught for fifteen years and loved it. And then I didn’t.

It wasn’t the students or the workload. It wasn’t the noise or the constant worry of, ‘was I doing enough’ that pushed me out either.

I was a good teacher but underneath was a passion that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I wanted to be writer, a historical romance writer, and I was beginning to get offered some wonderful opportunities that did not meld with the structured teaching year and the constant pressure of it.

I felt like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. I was teaching half time, taking tours to Europe with my husband to help him, running mentorship programs…. and writing.

Writing was my complete and utter love and yet it was always taking a secondary place. I wrote at night. I wrote in the weekends. I wrote when the kids were asleep. When I wrote I didn’t think of the time or the problems, all I saw was the joy and passion of it. I loved forming characters and thinking of stories. I lay in bed at night asking my protagonists questions and spent many hours trawling over history books to place them into a context.

I have a degree in history so it was as if all the things I had enjoyed were coming together at last. History and writing. I knew that at 54 I couldn’t be patient any longer.

I needed to be in a field that I felt fully aware in, that I loved beyond the weekly paycheck and that filled my spirit with lightness.

I’d just won a New Zealand based competition for a completed romance and it was validation, I suppose. If I didn’t make the jump and do it now perhaps I never would. And if I never gave myself a chance I would feel bereft.

I penned my resignation letter and left to Australia to be a mentor on a five-day intensive scheme the Romance Writers of Australia were running. It was scary and hard but when I finished it successfully I remember standing alone in front of the mirror, a cold sore from exhaustion and worry on my lip, but my clenched fist punching the air in triumph.

To feel like that is to know you live.

When I got picked up by Harlequin Historical and published it felt like all the dreams I had hoped for so long were finally happening. I had visualized this. I had walked the lonely windy beaches of Gisborne and shouted my hopes for it into the wind. I had sat in the mall with three crying children in the car and written scenarios on the back of the supermarket docket because the story just wouldn’t wait until I got home.

If I had not been paid one cent for my writing I would still have done it somehow. But the strange thing is that money does follow passion and suddenly I was making as much as I ever did in part-time teaching.

Writing is hard work. A book does not come fully formed from thin air or dreams for me. But I’ve persevered and sat and written. I’ve made deadlines. I’ve written blogs. I have delved into social media and stood there with a smile on my face when the reviews have not been what I wanted.

But I have always believed in myself and my stories. I’ve kept going. I have never given up.

And I have loved my writing life, my freedom, the creativity, the possibilities.

If I had my time over I would have left my teaching career earlier. I would have been braver and less worried by all the sensible advice others were giving me. I should have listened to my heart and taken the jump into a lifestyle that is my perfect fit and even if I had never succeeded I would have known that at least I tried.”

I love Annie’s story of reinvention. So-called sensible advice is no replacement for the wisdom of your heart, your soul, your intuitive knowing about what choices are right for you.

“When you show a bit of courage, The Universe rewards you. ~ Laurie Wills, Change-maker

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 tap. 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 ones give you a buzz or a huge sense of personal satisfaction?

6) What inspires you? Passion goes in all directions. It could be as tangible as a job or a person, or as intangible as a dream or an idea. 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. It’s staggeringly, and dishearteningly, true that many people don’t know what they are passionate about, or how they can turn it into a rewarding career. Some research suggests that only 10% of people are living and working with passion. Hence my passion for passion – to bring about positive change in the world. Creating a passion journal is one simple but powerful technique to help achieve this.

This 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.

Client Success Story: From Manager to Visual Merchandiser

Jane wanted to change her profession from a background in retail sales and management to something more creative and hands-on. She was struggling to identify how her passion for fabric could be combined into a new career.

I encouraged her to gather clues to her preferred future, by collecting examples of others who enjoyed successful careers working with fabrics. She began a passion journal, which she covered with her favorite fabric, and regularly updated her journal with aspirational images, inspirational quotes, confirmation of her strengths and clues to her passion.

After focusing on all the facets of her passion, including her natural gifts and talents, the laws of manifestation, focus and intention kicked into gear, and she successfully transitioned into her dream job.

“I have just been offered the position of visual merchandiser for a furnishings chain. This job is going to enable me to use all those key skills that I have and a huge bonus is that I also get to work with fabrics, which is just perfect. I know I came across with confidence and the right attitude thanks to you reminding me that I need to ‘blow my own trumpet’ and allow my passion to shine.”

Jane’s story is a powerful reminder of how you can manifest your preferred future by making passion your priority, allowing no doubt and visualizing your dreams into reality.

What Were Your Childhood dreams?

“Persevere with your mid-life, bring into consciousness your childhood dreams for they will become your living realities.”

~Max Gimblett, Artist, and Zen Buddhist Monk

At the age of eight, Donna Hay skipped into a kitchen, picked up a mixing bowl and never looked back. She later moved into the world of magazine test kitchens and publishing, where she established her signature style of simple, smart and seasonal recipes—all beautifully photographed.

Her unique style turned her into one of the first celebrity chefs—an international food-publishing phenomenon and best-selling author. Like many passionate business people, Donna has many outlets all unified by her abiding passion for food. Along with publishing cookbooks and producing her own magazine, she’s created a line of homewares, a food range, and at the time of print, now has her own general store.

Many experts say that your passion reveals itself early on in your life. If you’re lucky, someone close to you will have noticed your natural inclination and encouraged you towards your true vocation.

Chances are, you weren’t that lucky. Many baby-boomers weren’t encouraged to follow their childhood bliss. Pay it no mind. It’s not too late to follow it now.

Action Questions: What did you love as a child?

What were your childhood dreams? What did you love to do as a child? What steps can you take to make these your living reality? Perhaps a hobby could be a stepping-stone toward a new career.

As you contemplate making changes in your life, how can you maintain a spirit of curiosity, and allow yourself to be childlike?

Never Grow Up

“…stay in part a child, with the creativity and invention that characterizes children before they are deformed by adult society.”

~ Jean Piaget, Educational Psychologist

“When will you grow up?” asks Jenny Regels’ husband, affectionately. While visiting Russell in the astoundingly beautiful Bay Of Islands in New Zealand, I had the great fortune of wandering into Jenny’s crystal and spiritual haven—aptly named ‘Peace and Plenty.’

We immediately connected and I had a great time ‘playing’ with one of the many pendulums she has for sale. I gained confirmation from Spirit that the choices I was considering were right.

When Jenny, then a youthful 69-year-old, shared with me the great joy she feels every day being childlike I asked her if she’d share a few words of wisdom with those of us, who at times, take life too seriously.

“It’s really, really important not to grow up, and to keep a young mind and be interested in everything going on around you. And keep your inner child active the whole time. Really active. And keep a positive outlook on life. Don’t be the glass half empty person. Be the one-half full. Always.”

I left feeling uplifted, reaffirmed in the knowledge that I want what Jenny’s got—ageless grace, peace and plenty.

Surf The Net

Take a peek inside Jenny’s crystal haven and listen to this delightful, ageless lady here https://vimeo.com/147984220

Tune Into Your Body Barometer

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.”

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

During my time in the United States, I was very lucky to have been able to stay in New York and to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was even luckier because while I was there I unexpectedly rediscovered a passion I had forgotten.

I share the following excerpt from my passion journal at that time (which incidentally was bright red!), in the hope that it illustrates some of the strategies I am encouraging you to try.

“To see these paintings makes my heart sing, my eyes sparkle, and a smile settle upon my lips. I feel a shortness of breath and my heart rate quickens. I want to take them all in and love the ones with texture so rich you can almost feel the paint. I have to stop myself from reaching out to touch them. I am flushed with excitement and a thirst that cannot be quenched.”

And so it was that my ‘body barometer’ reminded me of the deep joy and love I feel when I paint with oil. I had traded my passion for the convenience of acrylic, but I found it joyless and plastic.

I thought it was a great confirmation of the power of passion when an art gallery owner, who bought some of my paintings not long after I returned from New York, said to me, “You have a rare ability to capture an emotion.”

I later won the Supreme Art Award for an oil painting I did of my grandmother. It was the first portrait I had ever painted. I’m not a formally trained artist, more of a dabbler. So yes, magic can happen when you follow your passion.

“You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want.”

~ Margaret Young, Singer, and Comedienne

 

This is an edited extract from Midlife Career Rescue: (What Makes You Happy):  How to Confidently Leave a Job You Hate, and Start Living a Life you Love, Before It’s Too Late​

To grab your eBook or Print copy from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/MakeYouHappy

To grab your paperback copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores go directly to your favorite retailer.

 

New Release and Free Giveaway: ‘I Have to Grow’

Sunday, May 26th, 2019

28 years ago today I created Hannah Joy! Giving birth to such a beautiful angel was, and continues to be my greatest achievement.

To celebrate Hannah’s birthday today my new release, ‘I have to Grow’ is my gift to you.

Download for FREE only on Amazon. But be quick. Today only!.

Click the universal link for Amazon here—getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

About this book

I originally wrote I Have to Grow twenty-four years ago when Hannah was four-years-old and was experiencing some very horrible bullying. When I look back, this really was my first book and heralded all those that followed with there focus on self-empowerment and overcoming shitty things that happen to good people.

Last week, following the galactic success of my own story of being bullied in The Little Princess, I prayed and prayed that I could find my original handwritten manuscript. I rated my chances as slim. After all, twenty-four years is a long time to keep pieces of paper. Thankfully, when it comes to keeping words that inspire me, I am a hoarder.

After tearing through my old filing cabinets in the garage I found it!

Thankfully, also, technology upgrades and advancements in publishing have made it so easy to share my creations with the world. I’ve made a few minor enhancements to the hand-written story and have also included some of my original hand-drawings for fun.

As you’ll see, my cover was cute but needed a professional’s touch.

Sing Your Song! Heed the Call for Courage

Feeling discouraged, bullied, sabotaged or held back?

Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography I Have to Grow is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young girl who leaves the security of playing small, to follow her heart and heal the world.

Little Hannah, is a beautiful and kind-hearted child, with a very special voice. When the cruel and jealous Angie tries to rob Little Hannah of her gifts she believes the answer is to stay small. But, things go from bad to worse.

Bullied and taunted Little Hannah doesn’t stand much of a chance. Until a magical creature appears and encourages her to stand tall and shine like a star.

As my good friend Vesna Hrsto, a Naturopath and Holistic Life Coach, said I Have to Grow is so fitting for any woman of any age. Always a good reminder to step up and become the woman we are meant to be, and always follow our Spirit for guidance as it will lead us to the best version of ourselves.

However, I Have to Grow has a universal, genderless, and ageless message too—which I’m thrilled about.

Such a powerful message.…

 This is a splendid little book for any person aspiring to reach another level, with such a powerful message. Of never, ever listening to anyone who steals your light. Cassandra is a shining example of turning every situation, including setbacks, into learning & growing opportunities.

As one who has taken advantage of the wisdom, knowledge & ability of Cassandra, to communicate, over a number of years, I would encourage you to read this book thoroughly & think deeply on your own situation.

For her daughter Hannah, with the voice of an angel & heart of God, you have indeed been blessed.”

~ Kenn Butler, CEO

 

Based on a true story

My daughter Hannah was born with an exceptional and innate gift which was later honed into an accomplished skill as a soprano singer.

But when my daughter was four the little girl next door told her that she couldn’t sing and that she had no talent.

When the little girl next door didn’t stop Hannah from singing, she tried to take something else from her. She cut Hannah’s beautiful long hair.

But guess what? Her hair grew back! And so did her talent!

Hannah’s talent grew and grew and grew—and it is still growing. As a teenager, she successfully auditioned for a place with Dame Malvina Major’s singing academy.

“She kept her eyes shut,” Hannah said enthusiastically, after her audition, “all the way through my song.”

Apparently, this was a good sign.

You can learn more about Dame Malvina’s passion to share her dream and help other gifted singers take their voices out to the world, here—http://www.dmmfoundation.org.nz/

Hannah decided not to pursue a career professionally as an international singer. But, as a hobby, she went on to enjoy a lot of success with her voice, including winning the lead role in a musical movie produced in Peter Jackson’s studio in Wellington.

Peter Jackson is best known as the director, writer, and producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit trilogy. The fabulous New Zealand Symphony Orchestra played the background music.

Importantly, Hannah now uses her voice in the art of healing as a spiritual conduit and counselor—sending love songs to the world.

Many moons ago, Hannah and I enjoyed a magical time on the Pacific Island of Samoa. A newly married couple asked Hannah to sing and she gifted them a beautiful performance of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s, Ave Maria.

A European man was sailing his large yacht and heard her voice and came to shore. “I heard the voice of an angel,” he told us. I share more about this story in my travel memoir, Four Days Out of the World (to be released in 2019).

The European man’s feedback inspired my cover—Hannah as an angel.

When the resort owners in Samoa heard Hannah’s song, they asked her to sing for the whole resort. We found some old footage Hannah had saved on Youtube—https://youtu.be/tqri33bDzKU.

The video also has a wonderful performance of Hannah singing solo at Queen Margaret College.

 

src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/tqri33bDzKU” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen>

 

I hope by sharing Hannah’s story, you realize how important it is to share your gifts. Whether you have a talent for singing, helping others or solving puzzles—whatever it is that sparks joy within you is your gift.

You may or may not want to share it with the world but what matters most is to do what makes you happy and never ever listen to anyone who tries to steal your music.

Read to the end of I Have to Grow for an excerpt from the first book in this series—my #1 bestselling book The Little Princess. As a special thank you for reading my book I have also included an excerpt from my popular book How to Find Your Passion and Purpose. I’ve included some of my favorite chapters. Please note these aren’t in the order that they appear in the book.

To learn more about the inspiration behind this book and the series please subscribe to my blog. You may also enjoy my regular inspirational newsletters—with sneak peeks, advance reads and free giveaways. Be the first to know when the audio version is released!

Liberate the music inside

Life is about learning to have the courage, confidence, and self-belief to follow your inner voice, live your truth and share your gifts. It is also about reclaiming your power, not hanging back, playing second best and being discouraged.

Find and cherish your unique abilities and raise your voice to the heavens. Liberate the music you have inside. Share your song.

Reconnect with your magnificent soul self and don’t allow self-doubt or the envy of others to hold you back—you will reach your potential.

There are so many reasons why you should follow your dreams. If you need some inspiration, look no further than this book.

 

JOIN ME IN CELEBRATING HANNAH’S BIRTHDAY & DOWNLOAD FOR FREE TODAY ONLY

getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

This is a book for ‘kids’ of all ages—and super short for the time challenged!

P.S. if you come across this post too late and miss the free giveaway, you’ll be able to pick up a copy for less than a double-shot latte!

If you love I Have to Grow would you leave the ultimate gift and write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. It would be such a blast for Hannah to wake up and read how her story touched your heart.

 

Author’s Update! We Are Jumping For Joy

Thank you! As I write this post it’s Hannah’s birthday today and she’s woken up to the news that I Have to Grow, inspired by her experience of being bullied, is #1 on Amazon in all three categories. And important categories they are to Hannah too as they are all centered on spirituality.

Thank you to those of you who have downloaded and left reviews. Still free today – but only for the next three hours….my gift to the Universe for Hannah’s birthday.

 

 

 

If you are opened minded and curious about the power of sound to heal check out the following—https://youtu.be/5CAnnkx4eXQ. So much flow too, re this message about the ills of telling people they can’t sing, and the benefit of raising your voice.

You can connect with Hannah and find out how she has been inspired to use her voice for the well-being of others here—https://www.hannahjoyspirit.com

Grab your copy of the first book in the Transformational Super Kids series:

THE LITTLE PRINCESS

A Little Book with a Powerful Message…

Follow your heart!

Feeling stuck, depressed or demotivated? There are so many reasons why you should follow your dreams. If you need some motivation, look no further than this book.

Part moral allegory and part spiritual autobiography, The Little Princess is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young woman who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else, to follow her heart.

Be inspired by this journey to transformation and self-acceptance, and self-belief as she learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. Her personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

Reader Reviews

 

“A Beautiful and Life Changing Message…

This book shares a powerful message for all women of any age, I wish I had this when I was growing up. Today more than ever, we have to stay true to ourselves, follow our Spirit and do the work we’re here to do – amidst disapproval and criticism. The simple steps in this book will guide your way, and help you to navigate through the confusion, uncertainty, and inner blocks, so you live your one precious life in a big way.”

~ Vesna Hrsto, Naturopath and Coach

The Little Princess is ‘brilliant.’

Short concise & full of tremendous vision & wisdom, expressed lovingly.

Many of the comments read true for my own journey. I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks.

~ Kenn Butler

Available Now in eBook and Paperback!

To purchase on Amazon>> 

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase the eBook on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

New Release! The Little Princess

The anxiety cure: How I avoid depression, get energized, find joy, and stay inspired

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

Hooked on A Feeling—Trust Your Gut to Choose and Grow Your Purposeful Business

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

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

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

New release! The Little Princess

Friday, May 17th, 2019

 

It’s Pink Shirt Day here in NZ. A day we all come together to stand unanimously against the tyranny of bullying.

Standing up for yourself and saying ‘no’ to bullies Are important in common themes and all myself empowerment books. It’s a key theme that weaves through my story “The Little Princess.”

It may surprise you to know that I’ve been bullied more times than I remember. I’ve had people threaten me in the schoolyard.  I’ve had bosses threaten to smash my head in, while I was at work. I’ve had older people throw verbal abuse at me when I just wanted to share my dreams and help people.

I’ve counseled children as young as four who were being bullied. I’ve helped myself and my clients win the war against bullies.

Discover more in The Little Princess and learn how you too can stand strong and overcome bullying to live a life of passion and purpose.

To purchase on Amazon>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>> https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Someone gave me the ultimate compliment the other day—they told me I was prolific. That might not mean anything to you, but as someone who was the ultimate procrastinator, it means a lot. I’ve mostly been prolific in writing my self-empowerment books (as Cassandra Gaisford). But now I’m also dedicating myself to achieving the same quality and productivity in my love stories and romance novels. And I’m having fun writing short stories.

I’m super excited about the new release of The Little Princess.

It’s a timeless charm which tells the story of a young woman who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else, to follow her heart. Be inspired by this journey to transformation and self-acceptance, and self-belief as she learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. Her personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

 

I’m so thrilled with this early review by a reader in the UK.

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration!

This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.

The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder.

Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”.. .so you get two little books in one really. Very uplifting and inspiring. “

 

thankQ for the PDF copy of your little princes book this morning. In a word, ‘brilliant’, short concise & full of tremendous vision & wisdom, expressed lovingly. I have enjoy the read this evening on my couch relaxin

Kenn’s feedback was especially lovely to receive:) Now in his 60’s we first met many years ago, after (in his words), he “had been unceremoniously dumped by my employer of some 32 years @ 49 years & 10 months & still reeling from the grief & resentments to a degree.”

“Many of the comments read true for my own journey. I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks,” he wrote to me.

One of the things I love most about being an author is hearing from my readers and knowing how my words touched their hearts.

Kenn also shared the following observations:

 # 10 “the little princess suddenly felt grateful for what the nurse was teaching her” &

“the little princess knew she would never be able to find & honour her soul purpose if she kept trying to please others”

# 11 & then: Thank you the little princess said to the older women silently. Thank you for the gift you have given me”

Then, Fear of Disappointment ~  “you cannot possibly net the prize if you are thinking about all the ways you can miss”

& I just loved the comments:

‘Some people die with their music still inside. They opt to cling to the hope of their aspirations rather than the reality of a possible disappointment & the risk of a shattered dream.

What is worse ~ the disappointment of a few setbacks, or the disappointment of a life spent unfulfilled & filled with regret?

& especially:    ALL LIFE ARISES out of choice. What choices are you making now?

 

I remember when we meet some years back now Cassandra, & now, 15 years later I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks.

I agree being passionate is an ongoing commitment which takes time & effort some days, however, I guarantee it is certainly worth the effort.

I still receive your regular emails, inspired by many. Thank you for being part of my journey.”

 

Kenn’s comments and other feedback from my readers makes my heart skip with joy.

Oh, Yeah, bring it on!” writes a reader in the UK in her Amazon review

 

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration! This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities, when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.. The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder. Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”… so you get two little books in one really.

Very uplifting and inspiring.

I would just like to add that Cassandra’s books on beating the booze are absolutely brilliant, exceptional… There’s just something about the way she writes that hits home for me. 18 months on and still leading a healthy and happy life. I will never go back to my mind/heart/body numbing way of life ever again. Thank you 🙂

~ Amazon Review U

 

Here’s a wee excerpt from The Little Princess with my author’s note

The Little Princess was inspired by a true story. You may have already guessed that—especially if you have purchased and read my Amazon #1 bestselling book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

I learned so much from my experience in the wake of the other woman’s attack.

I learned to stay true to myself, and realized that there were always going to be people who didn’t like what I did or who I was.

It would have been easy to be stopped in my tracks.

It would have been easy to stay small. It would have been easy to have done nothing at all.

But then what sort of life would I have had?

Writing How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love opened so many doors and windows and galaxies for me.

So many people have written to me and told me how that book changed their lives. It continues to change mine.

Importantly, my experience that night, made me realize that finding our passion and purpose is not simply about being inspired, but also knowing how to conquer obstacles—sometimes we don’t obliterate them, we just don’t let them get in our way.

I hope by sharing my story, you realize how wonderful it is to be a little princess. Isn’t that every girl’s dream!

 

Special bonus:

Read to the end for a short poem called The Loving Tree and wee excerpt from How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. I’ve included some of my favorite chapters. Please note these aren’t in the order that they appear in the book.

Follow your bliss dear readers—don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your passion and purpose with the world.

Grab Your Copy of The Little Princess. Available Now! 

To purchase on Amazon>> 

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Grab your copy of second book in the Transformational Super Kids series:

I HAVE TO GROW

Sing Your Song! Heed the Call for Courage

Feeling discouraged, bullied, sabotaged or held back? If you need some support, look no further than this book.

 Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography, I Have to Grow is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young girl who leaves the security of playing small, to follow her heart and heal the world.

Little Hannah, is a beautiful and kind-hearted child, with a very special voice. When the cruel and jealous Angie tries to rob Little Hannah of her gifts she believes the answer is to stay small. But, things go from bad to worse.

Bullied and taunted Little Hannah doesn’t stand much of a chance. Until a magical creature appears and encourages her to stand tall and shine like a star.

Reader Reviews

Courageous, compassionate and inspiring…

Courage is more than just standing up for yourself or doing hard things—it’s doing so with compassion. Little Hannah is courageous, compassionate, talented and inspiring!”

~ Sheree Clarke, Midlife Courage Coach

 

Available Now! 

To purchase the eBook exclusively Amazon>> 

getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

 

Other Resources Mentioned in this Post

 

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

 

 

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love

Amazon Best-Seller. Focus your energy and time to achieve outstanding personal and professional results.

Available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getBook.at/Passion

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

New release I Have to Grow

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

Life transformed by faith in the stars

 Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Restore Your Energy. Awaken Your Passions. Experience Freedom

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

 

I’m knackered! Are you?

Need a rest. Fed up of the daily grind (It’s non-stop, isn’t it?)
 
Life has gotten you a little fatigued, and you need to feel re-energised, right?
 
We feel rushed all the time. The ol’ waistline keeps expanding, along with the to-do list. But, if we’re being really honest, nothing on that list excites us anymore.
 
If this sounds all too familiar, then we have a very special invitation, just for you…

Register now for The Woman Reinvention Project
 
The Woman Reinvention Project is for those who are ready to have the life they desire



 

Is it time for you to reinvent yourself?

What if I told you there was a way to get exactly what you want out of your life? An easier way to:

  • Go from frazzled to fabulous
  • Get your sexy body back and maintain your perfect shape
  • Reclaim your authentic self as both a woman and mother
  • Re-find your libido & have healthy, satisfying sex (at any age!)
  • Have a more meaningful life, on every level

What if I told you there was a way to create your very own version of a have-it-all life, and you could create that life by doing less, instead of more?
 
Would you be interested in that?
 
Well, lovely, there IS a way, and this opportunity is just a click away.


The Woman Reinvention Project is an online summit that will connect you to the world’s most inspiring speakers over 21 days, from the 6th May – 27th May.


I’m so excited to be catching up again with my good friend, Vesna Hrsto is an Australian – Melbourne based, Naturopath who has made it her mission to reinvent the modern (busy), woman. She’s created this event for smart, driven women, just like you, who want to find more balance and get (so much) more out of life.

If you’ve read my Mid-Life Career Rescue series you’ll have read about Vesna’s amazing story of reinvention—from burned out and depressed to fired up and energized! In Mid-Life Career Rescue she shares her exact career reinvention strategy.

It’s not good enough to have a great career or family, when behind it all you’re rushing around ticking off your to-do list, feeling frustrated, unsatisfied and burnt out.
 
Doing it all, and putting yourself last, is so old! It’s time for a change!

Click here to Register for The Woman Reinvention Project.
 
Vesna has found the top experts on reinvention, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been interviewed.
 
I’ll be sharing the (online) stage with over 21 vibrant leaders – who have been featured on TedX, Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and more – sharing how to get your inner spark back and have you feeling radiant again.

Oh and did I mention this unique event is entirely FREE? That’s right, you pay nothing, no strings attached. Why? Because we believe every woman should be able to lead her life free of guilt, overwhelm or burn out.
 
But you have to hurry, this special event starts on Monday 6th May, grab your spot here.
 
I’d love you to join me in what promises to be a full 21 days full of rejuvenation, positivity, and inspiration. Take time for yourself to digest this material… you deserve it.


Put the 6th May-27th May 2019 in your diary now, and
register your free spot today:
 
 http://www.thewomanreinventionproject.com

 

Latest from my blog

Here’s a quick round-up of my 3 latest blog posts:

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: The All-encompassing Secrets to a Longer, Happier, Healthier Life

Discover Your Burning Desire in Life and Your Work with Cassandra Gaisford

As always, I hope you find something of value in them.

 

Enter & WIN!

Have you enjoyed one or several of my books? Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing force in the universe. If you found my books useful, I’d appreciate you leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads. You don’t have to say much—just a few words about how the book made you feel or how it helped you learn something new.

I recently received these 5-star reviews on Amazon for my new release, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy.

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application – this book is for committed self-helpers.”

Catherine Sloan, Counsellor

“Cassandra’s book is for anyone interested in ending anxiety issues, but also, for those who seek deeper meaning in their lives. Anxiety Rescue covers a range of healing methods and a variety of topics, from self-acceptance to prosperity. It’s a book about total well-being. Cassandra restates the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, Coco Chanel and other important historical and modern-day figures who have much to teach about authenticity and success. An uplifting, informative and inspirational work! I highly recommend Anxiety Rescue.”
 ~ Valeria Teles, author Fit For Joy 

Amazon reviews are really important for independent authors like me to receive—they provide a morale boost and important social proof to people trying to find good resources. 

Vesna and I will be talking about this book and the easy peasy strategies that will help you get your groove back on her Reinvention Summit)

If you would like to grab a copy of Anxiety Rescue Click here – getbook.at/AnxietyRescue

Thank you so much for leaving a review for my books.  I appreciate you!

Send me a screenshot of your review and go in the drawer to win a FREE copy of my newest release:

No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You—getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

 

Client success story

I can’t tell you David’s real name as that would be breaching his privacy, but I can tell you that I am so stoked for him. He contacted me for help to give up drinking and he’s now two weeks sober. It may not seem like a long time but anyone who has gone from a binge-drinking habit to zero can tell you it’s not easy—especially in a culture that worships alcohol as much as we do here in New Zealand.

Armed with a copy of Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life) and sobriety coaching with me, he’s recovered his relationship and found his waistline again!

Mind Your Drink is 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

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: The All-encompassing Secrets to a Longer, Happier, Healthier life

Discover Your Burning Desire in Life and Your Work with Cassandra Gaisford

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Monday, April 8th, 2019

 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~ Coco Chanel

 

 

Like me, Coco Chanel loved to be surrounded by flowers and to spend time walking amongst, or gazing upon, nature to replenish.

“I often found her alone sitting at her dressing table, gazing down into the garden, looking at the chestnut trees,“ recounts Claude Delay, now an imminent psychoanalyst who once knew Coco in her youth.

We all know the physical benefits of nature—being amongst plants and flowers boosts mental well-being. A series of published studies have shown clear links between gardening and positivity.

One study found levels of the stress hormone cortisol in those who gardened were considerably lower those who people who relaxed by reading.

Even the simple act of looking out a window to green space has been linked to reduced stress levels and faster recovery from illness.

“The garden brings stillness,” says Lisa, a marketing executive who says she couldn’t have survived her working life without a garden.

“Touching the soil is one of the most reenergizing things I can do. Everything slows down. My mind works differently. I don’t set out to solve problems but the answers seem to come.  These days if ever I am stressed it will be because I haven’t been in the garden.”

Similarly, Cathy who suffers from anxiety and depression finds solace in a small vegetable garden she started behind her flat.

“When I become immobilized by my anxiety, the garden gives me something achievable to get started on. Gardening is methodical I can go out there and think, ‘What does my garden need?’ It could be as simple as pulling caterpillars off some broccoli. Tuning in to this helps me get more in touch with things outside of myself.”

As I share in my latest book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, I have suffered from social anxiety a great deal of my life. Since my move to a lifestyle property immersing myself in nature has been one of my favorite rescue remedies. Just look at these wee beauties my partner and I grew and harvested this autumn.

 

 

Eating organics, time in nature, meditating daily and doing my best to stress less, are some of the many strategies I share in

 

As Coco said, Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. This year I’m turning 54. Last year, when the photo was taken of me flying a with a friend I was 53. I think, all things considered, I do merit the face I have in my 50s. I don’t smoke, rarely drink, don’t take drugs and invest in wellbeing lifestyle strategies daily. I’ve worked hard and continue to work hard to be of service to myself and others—and to be of service to my vege garden.

 

Your Challenge

Experience the healing power of nature. Whether you’re blessed with green fingers or not, it doesn’t matter what you doing—just that you get outside in some green space every day.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Schedule regular fresh air time.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually,

we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

~ Rumi, Persian poet

 

My story—living well with anxiety

I’ve experienced some horror work experiences during my life and career—everything from toxic shaming, acute bullying, and being physically threatened. As recently as last year, I experienced the ruthless, underhand, malicious tactics of a narcissistic woman who tried to destroy my career.

Unsurprisingly, all of these experience increased my anxiety levels. Had I not trained to be a therapist and invested so much time and energy in self-care and resilience strategies I’m not sure I could have coped. Many of these strategies, and those that have helped my clients, I share in Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

For most of my childhood, and well into my adulthood, I suffered from what I now know was social anxiety. For many, many years it remained undiagnosed and untreated.  Were it not for the wise counsel of a psychic when I was in my teens who encouraged me to turn my wounds into healing by training to become a counselor, I may still be suffering silently. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as the ‘helpers high.’ Helping others feels good.

The source of my anxiety can be attributed in part to narcissistic abuse and toxic shaming. Some healers have attributed it to a past-life trauma that I carried forward into this life. They told me that I walk the path of jealousy and that relationships are my greatest challenges, but also my most powerful avenue of healing.

You may not believe in past lives or reincarnation and you do not need to in order to benefit from the help contained within this book and others in the Anxiety Rescue series.

But, in the spirit of authenticity, it feels important to share how I have experienced much healing by journeying into the mystery of mysteries—both the body’s and the soul’s journey. It is for this reason, amongst others that I have devoted a whole section to spiritual health.

I learned later in life, and continue to learn, that healing my family trauma and helping others is my soul purpose in this lifetime.

My purpose can be summed up in one word—love.

To help others love and be loved in return, including self-love and valuing ourselves more than the poisons we may have ingested from people, experiences, circumstances, as we go through this lifetime, is a great joy.

However, it took me many years to find the gift of my anxiety. My hope is that by writing Anxiety Rescue, I may speed up this journey for you.

My anxiety was so bad for most of my teens I tried to drink my way to confidence and numb my anxious feelings with alcohol. In fact, for many years I was so acutely self-conscious I wore green foundation under my makeup to try to hide my blushing face.

People used to call me ‘beetroot’ and laugh at me. I was also mercilessly body shamed during my childhood and teenage years. Honestly, for so much of my life all I wanted to do was hide. Often I didn’t care if I lived or died.

Anxiety will do that to you—until you befriend it and learn what it wants you to know.

When I was planning my wedding in my late twenties,  I wanted a table down the back where no one could see me. Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride wanted to hide?

That’s why, untreated, anxiety is so cruel. It can make us want to stay in the shadows. It can prevent us from standing in the light. Anxiety left unchallenged can deny us from acknowledging our gifts. It can also leave us splintered, in denial or fear or shame, of those aspects of our personality we need to wield from time to time—but have been taught to devalue and deny.

Saying no to denying who we really are and who we truly want to be and showing up, warts and all reduces anxiety. Self-acceptance and integration of the polarities within us—the light and the dark, the fear and the courage, the sadness, and the anger, the anger and the joy, and the other dualities that, unless befriended wage war within, is the road to inner peace.

We’ll dive deeper into the value of integrating shadow work in Anxiety Rescue.

For many years I didn’t live authentically. I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to be someone else. I tried to be who others wanted me to be. Sometimes this was an act of self-preservation driven by fear. Often it was a mistaken belief about my value and the value of my gifts.

As I’ve shared in many of my other self-empowerment books, I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy.

As you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, reclaiming joy and living on purpose is a powerful antidote for anxiety. It offers holistic, integrated healing on so many levels—mind, body, and soul.

Recently, in my early fifties, I was been diagnosed with generalized trauma. All I can say is “Wow! What a relief!”

No wonder life has felt such a struggle,

Generalized trauma is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, except that rather than being caused by one traumatic event, it covers a multitude of traumatic events.

Essentially, as Dr. Diane Langberg, Clinical Psychologist and Co-Leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute,  says if you suffer generalized trauma you’ve effectively been marinated in trauma from an early age.

Talk about toxicity in the body.

I count myself lucky. Which may surprise you. But as you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, when we befriend our anxiety we can find great fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

As the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi once said, “Our wounds are where the light comes in.”

Light, love, kindness, hope—these positive energies provide the healing balm we all need.

My trauma,  my anxiety, and my depression have led me to my Dharma or my purpose in life. My hope is that all that I share in Anxiety Rescue will help you too.

Much love to you

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this wee edited excerpt from Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy.

Midlife can be magic—it’s largely determined by you. We can make midlife a mess or we can invest in creating something truly remarkable. If anxiety, depression, despair or any other cloud of negativity is robbing you of the life you truly want, take heart. There is a cure.

Join me in learning the success strategies of successful men and women throughout time—including two of my favorite muses, Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel.

 

 

Praise for Anxiety Rescue

“Cassandra’s book is for anyone interested in ending anxiety issues, but also, for those who seek deeper meaning in their lives. Anxiety Rescue covers a range of healing methods and a variety of topics, from self-acceptance to prosperity. It’s a book about total well-being. Cassandra restates the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, Coco Chanel and other important historical and modern-day figures who have much to teach about authenticity and success. An uplifting, informative and inspirational work! I highly recommend Anxiety Rescue.”

~ Valeria Teles

Author of Fit For Joy

 

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application—this book is for committed self-helpers.”

~ Catherine Sloan

Counselor

 

“Lighthearted and uplifting! Anxiety Rescue is a book with a catalog of ideas, intertwined with the historical endeavors of Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Learning about these two people while navigating how to rid my life of anxiety was fun and playful. I’m grateful to the author for taking this approach as I feel like I have a path that can easily be followed now. I highly recommend this book!”

~ Chelsea Behrens

Creator of Leading with Authenticity

#1 in Four Categories

 

 

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

 Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

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

How to Develop More Grit and Perseverance – Consult the Oracle

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: The All-encompassing Secrets to a Longer, Happier, Healthier life

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Like me, do you struggle with saying, ‘No’? Does people-pleasing, guilt or some other control strategy prevent you from doing and saying what’s truly best for you?

It’s amazing how such a tiny but liberating word can sometimes be so difficult to voice.

Everything in our world is made up of positive and negative charges, which together make a whole. You have been guided to choose this book by your soul because you are ready to question long held-beliefs and make choices in alignment with your sacred path.

By consciously affirming the Holy Trinity of yes’ you will move to the next level of conscious awareness.

No is a word of strength, and yes is the road to peace, purpose, and prosperity.

Yes, yes, yes. Set your intention on this day and forever more.

My new release, No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’  will empower you with the life-enhancing ability to step into your authentic power.

Yes!Yes!Yes!

No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’  is short on words but big on ideas and huge on transformational change.

This year I set an intention to say ‘no’ to procrastination and perfectionism and yes to releasing one new book every month. And so far, I’m on track. And guess what—achieving intentions feels great! Yes, yes, yes—it feels awesome!!!

At the time of writing this post we’re three months through 2019—what New Year intentions did you set? How are you tracking? Perhaps you’re like me, or Catherine who also needed to say ‘no’ to perfectionism and procrastination. Or Tim Ferris who needed to master the art of saying ‘no’ to FOMO and other things that distracted him from his goals.

“I’ve been burned enough times by FOMO-based and ego-based decision-making to know that I’ll always regret choosing to do something for the wrong reason,” Tim once said.

I share more of his tips in this book.

Or perhaps you can identify with Ces who lost his beloved wife Rolin to invasive cancer…and every day says ‘no’ to giving up the will to live without her…

…and who said “Yes, yes, yes I’d buy that book” because he still needs to get better at saying no. (Especially to the insensitive person who, as Ces’s wife lay dying, told Ces he needed to stop using his wife’s illness as an excuse.) Perhaps what Ces needed to say, “You know what? No, I can’t do your job. It’s a no because you care only about yourself—not me, or what I might be going through.”

Discover how this one little word will change your life.

Available in eBook and Print from Amazon here—getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

You can also use this link to download or scroll through sample chapters to see if this book is for you.

What others are saying

“No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You is a beautiful collection of important parts of ourselves, our lives, how we live in this world and how we live with ourselves and with each other. 

Each page is dedicated to one thing we often say no to that keeps us stuck or hurt or procrastinating and turns the No into a vibrant Yes. 

Cassandra has again proven herself as the Warrior Woman of Positive Living, Loving, and Being. She reminds us to live in our truth with love compassion and boundless energy for the joy of life.”

~ Catherine Sloan, counselor

 

 

 

Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun and be Authentically You

Available in eBook and Print from Amazon here—getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

Discover Your Burning Desire in Life and Your Work with Cassandra Gaisford

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

 

 

“Midlife is the Best Life!”

— Lori Ivy Massicot

Would you like to make a midlife career change? Have you been laid off and struggling to find a new job? Are you tired of your soul-sucking day job?  Are your passions not being met in your day-to-day life? Are you ready to unleash your burning desire and find the secret that you don’t want to admit? Do you believe you can’t do anything else?

 

Discover Your Burning Desire in Life and Your Work

I was so honored to have been contacted by Lori after she discovered my sobriety book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life)

“I love your book,” Lori shared when she reached out to me. “Thank you for writing it.”

Lori is the host of the podcast, To 50 & Beyond. Her inspiring show shares the joy of sobriety and celebrates women in the middle of life. She talks about topics that empower women to change what isn’t working in their lives and become better than ever in their 40s, 50s and beyond.

 

It’s a passion and purpose we both share.

As I write in all my self-empowerment books when passions collide magic happens. Passion is energy and love attracts.

 

Lori helps women over 40 stop overdrinking and numbing out with alcohol to feel better, look better, and live a happy, healthy life free from guilt, shame, and regret; to 50 & Beyond. She has the ultimate career combo weaving her passions into love and service inspired offerings—coach, podcaster, entrepreneur, and expert in sobriety and lover of all things midlife.

Like me, she believes in the power of women in the middle of life.

“I know that you can harness control over your life to live out your wildest dreams so that you don’t leave anything on the table of life. How do I know? Because I’m living my dreams today, and if I can do it, you can too.”

Lori invited me to be a guest on her popular show and talk about my book Mid-Life Career Rescue and how it can help women get out of jobs and careers they feel stuck in and move forward in the middle of life.

“I would have loved to hear this episode when I was in a j.o.b. for twenty years that sucked the life out of me.” ~ Lori said. “It’s is an episode of EMPOWERMENT and one that I would have loved before I was laid off in 2007.”

Some of the many things we talk about is that it’s never too late to become who you were meant to be and how to find your burning desire in life and in your work.

Lori was stuck in a job she didn’t like for over twenty years and it was one she says she was not suited to. She says she was so happy she finally got laid off.

If you’ve read my midlife career rescue series of books you’ll know my story of being so stressed and ill with shingles, while I wasn’t pushed, I knew I had to leap. The environment was so toxic, my values were conflicted every day, many people were selfish and mean (some were great!). I’d lost my confidence and I’d lost my hope.


But I was determined to survive. I share how I and other midlifers who felt trapped in jobs they hated discovered our burning desire, our spark—and found what we were meant to do.

“The Mid-Life Career Rescue books came to me at just the right time—at a really low time, with a LIFE decision to make, not just a career decision. Hearing from others in a similar situation that there was life after a toxic work environment allowed me to see light at the end of the tunnel and know that everything would be okay.”

~ Cate Walker

Everything will be okay! Check out the latest episode of the To 50 & Beyond podcast with my friend, Lori Ivey Massicot to learn how to discover your burning desire—before it’s too late.

Topics discussed:

How to discover what your burning desire is

How to find and commercialize your natural knacks and talents

Falling in love with self-doubts, fears, and failings

How to be who you are and who you truly want to be in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’, and beyond!

 

Go to my media page to find Lori’s link and listen to the show. Be sure to share with anyone else who needs to be inspired, encouraged, and heartened. http://www.cassandragaisford.com/media/

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

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

Hooked on A Feeling—Trust Your Gut to Choose and Grow Your Purposeful Business

Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

New Release! Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

New Release!

Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

 

Uplifting Relief. End Anxiety and Panic Attacks. Embark on a Life-Changing, Scientifically Proven Fast-Track to Happiness—in Only Minutes a Day!

Are you driving through life with the handbrake on? Is anxiety, fear, stress, or depression preventing you from finding happiness and achieving your fullest potential?

Is anxiety preventing you from having the ultimate career, loving relationship, excellent health?

End fear. Stop crippling anxiety and panic attacks now… easily and naturally—medication-free.

 

 

 

From the best-selling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue, Stress Less and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about boosting resilience, overcoming obstacles and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks. Everyday problems solved by history’s most remarkable men and women. Fresh, fun, perspectives to help you tame anxiety, manage stress, overcome depression, change careers—and more.

These successful people and others like them thrive by capitalizing on and leveraging off the power of their creative strength, resourcefulness, and optimistic, resilient ‘can do’ mindset.

Gently, conversationally, and with humor, Anxiety Rescue offers actionable strategies for seeing and thinking differently. For many people, the approach is nothing less than transformational. More than a collection of thoughts for the day, Anxiety Rescue offers a progressive program of holistic—mental, emotional, physical and spiritual—study, guiding you through essential concepts, themes, and practices on the path to well-being, joy, and happiness.

Bestselling author, award-winning artist, holistic therapist, and creativity expert Cassandra Gaisford (BCA, Dip Psych) shares strategies that have worked for her personally through many of her own life challenges, and for her clients in her professional work as a holistic therapist and self-empowerment coach.

If you suffer from generalized anxiety and panic attacks

If you suffer from stress or burnout

If you lack confidence or self-esteem or fear failure……

If you’re a perfectionist or find the challenges of life overwhelming…

…then Anxiety Rescue is exactly the right book for you—because it will cheerlead, motivate and encourage you to fight for your dreams and achieve your goals.

Anxiety Rescue is the ultimate prescription and medication free cure. Gaisford reveals in six easy steps:

✓         How to define success on your own terms…

✓         How to find your truth and live an authentic life…

✓         How to set and achieve audacious goals…

✓         How to take strategic risks (rather than reckless ones)

✓         How to overcome your fear of failure, criticism, and change…

✓         How to make money, follow your passion and still pay the bills…

✓         How to beat low self-esteem…

✓         How to identify real priorities that are central to your life’s true meaning…

✓         And how to empower your business and personal life…

There is not only wisdom on every page, but actionable, immediate steps you can take to make a difference in reaching your own goals and dreams.

Broken into small, bite-sized segments—you’ll soon find yourself jotting notes down, finding someone else so you can share the insights and experience, and resources made available to keep you happy, healthy, motivated and focused.

Dig into this book and let Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel and other successful men and woman be your mentors, inspiration, and guides as they call forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

Say YES to happiness NOW! It’s never too late to end anxiety and follow your joy to live a life you love.

 

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application – this book is for committed self-helpers.”

~ Catherine Sloan, Counsellor

 

Available Now 

Amazon: getbook.at/AnxietyRescue

 

ENJOY the First Three Chapters FREE—click here>>

Be your own boss: how to manifest your dream of running a holistic business from home

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Passion unites!

Mollie MathewsIs your job stressing you out? Do you dream of running your own holistic, location independent business? As you know, I’m passionate about helping people change careers and create businesses they love and still pay the bills!

If you share my passion for helping others and are seeking work that is fulfilling, financially rewarding and flexible becoming a career and life coach may be just what you have been looking for!

Work with passion and purpose! Become an accredited life coach.

As well as being an award-winning artist and bestselling authors I’m also the director of Worklife Solutions—we train passionate, purposeful people to become career and life coaches and I mentor counselors and life coaches to level up their business.

Manifest your dream of running a holistic business from home.  Learn more here >> http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training/

What others say…

I have always been passionate about empowering and motivating others and when I learned about life coaching as a career I knew it was something I was being drawn to pursue.

As you can imagine, a google search for life coaching courses brought up hundreds of providers all with their own content of what they believed life coaching to be.

I was lucky enough to come across Worklife Solutions and their Certified Life Coaching Course. I sent through an email requesting information as I had through other providers, but was pleasantly surprised when I received a response from Cassandra and not someone employed to help with enrolments/course advice, I found her to be very warm and helpful in answering all my questions.

As a mum and student I was looking for flexibility, content that would really help me develop my skills and confidence as a life coach, a personalised approach and for me to be able to learn from someone who not only has the skills and qualifications in the field of Life Coaching but tons of experience too.

The one on one mentoring was what really sold me as I will not have to contend with a large group of other students. And will be able to use that time to perfect the skills I learn in a way that some online courses could never assist. I am confident that with this course alongside Cassandra’s mentoring that I am on my way to my dream career as a life coach.

My Mid Life Crisis and Becoming a Coach

I was in my mid-30’s, a single parent, holding down a steady job when I started my first business, Worklife Solutions (worklifesolutions.co.nz). I was worried and fearful that I’d fail, but I did it anyway. It’s one of the most creative, joyful endeavors I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve created many more businesses and helped people all over the globe become successfully self-employed.

It’s hard to believe that I was ever an employee, feeling trapped and miserable in a job that gave me zero flexibility, capped my income and shackled my independence.

I know what it’s like to reach the middle of your life and yearn for something better, but wonder if you have what it takes to make it on your own. I was a single parent, with no one else to pay my mortgage. I wanted more time and freedom to balance child-care with my own desire to have control over my own destiny. And I wanted my income to be determined by my own efforts, not by the mood or whims or dictates of a boss. I wanted to be in control, riding the winds of fortune and navigating the fluctuating economic landscape.

More than that I wanted to rekindle my passion and creativity in both the workplace and home. And I wanted to make a living doing the work I felt born to do.

I was uncertain about how I could employ myself and create a coaching business I’d love with such a passion, that one day I would say, “This isn’t work; this is fun.” But it did happen, and it can happen for you too.

I’m not a risk-taker. Not a reckless, foolishly optimistic one anyway. I was afraid like you might be. I doubted anyone would hire me, or that I could convince others to buy my products and services. I worried that if I severed the safety chord of a regular wage I may not be able to pay my mortgage.

I’d lost my confidence, and worse, I’d lost my self-esteem, trading in my health and happiness for the ‘security’ of a regular pay cheque. I had a mortgage to feed, and a daughter to support on my own, and so I boxed on. But I never gave up on my dream.

I started feeding my soul by reading books by, and about, inspired entrepreneurs. I subscribed to entrepreneurial magazines and devoured articles. (Back then podcasts and YouTube weren’t alive and streaming.) I drew up a list of benefits I felt I’d gain from being self-employed, and trained myself to focus my mind and heart on what I hoped for, not what I feared.

I calculated my hourly rate as an employee and quickly realized I could work less hours and earn more if I employed myself. The final push I needed to take the leap came when my friends, who were turning fifty, encouraged me to join them on a girls trip to Italy. My boss turned down my application to go on leave. “You’re needed here,” she scolded.

“I quit,” I replied. And I haven’t looked back.

I share my personal story from stressed out salary-slave to self-employed nirvana in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series—check out my boxset – 4 books for one! Great value! Mid-Life Career Rescue Series Box Set (Books 1-4):The Call For Change, What Makes You Happy, Employ Yourself, Job Search Strategies That Work—getbook.at/CareerRescueBox4

Self Employed Bliss – Be Happy: Work With Passion

I have more freedom, work-life balance, creative control and autonomy, and greater work security as a self-employed worker. I get to choose the work I will or won’t do. I earn more than I did having my salary capped as an employee, but  I love what I do with such a passion that I would do it for free. “That wasn’t work, that was fun,” I said to a client recently

If you feel like I once did, wondering if being your own boss will ever happen for you, help is at hand. If you fear that if you leave a job you hate, you won’t be able to pay the bills, my latest book, Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself will help you start smart.

If you’ve bought into the mistaken belief that owning your own business will cost a bomb, or wreak havoc with your work-life balance, this book will set you straight. If worrying about the taxman or legal stuff is putting you off starting a business, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Or perhaps you worry running your own business will be all-consuming. If so you’ll love the section, “Burnout Blitz.”

If you dream of being happy and working with passion and joy, I encourage you to consider taking a calculated and inspired leap into self-employed bliss.

Self-employment is an excellent option for Mid-lifers

While some employers may consider your age or wealth of experience to be a liability, that same experience is an asset when you are running your own show.

Prospective clients and customers care more about the value you can provide than they do about your age. And running your own business can also offer you the freedom, flexibility, purpose, and autonomy you crave. Plus, if you structure things right from the outset you’ll end up with more money in your wallet.

In Mid-life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself you’ll be inspired by Leigh Johnson. After establishing a successful recruitment business, and following a period of depression Leigh yearned to help others. I share her story of reinvention in the book. She also contacted me to help her define her brand and gain the skills she needed as a wellness coach.“I want people to know how great they are already,” she says of her new mission.

“I give credit to Cassandra Gaisford (www.worklifesolutions.co.nz) for helping me unclutter my thoughts and clear the way to make the decision to become a Well-being & Transition Coach,” she shares on her blog.

Read the other stories of entrepreneurial rejuvenation I share in my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself (http://Amazon.com http://amzn.to/1SwgzAV) and learn from people who have felt the fear and become self-employed anyway! Let love, inspiration, and passion propel you forward.

I felt especially inspired by the true accounts of people who beat the odds by starting a business and how they became successful. The variety of examples of entrepreneur stories given makes you realize that anything is possible with enough will and determination! Cassandra paves the way for you to have belief in your ideas and to run with them. This book will have you excited about the future, dreaming big and living boldly…” ~ Amazon review

Employ yourself! Live the entrepreneurial life and create a product and service so good that people will pay for it.

I read a book once—it changed my life: The Work We Were Born To Do, by Nick Williams. My hope is that I can change yours. Whether you opt to train with me, or decide to chase another dream you’ll find plenty of additional support in my book,

Mid-Life Career Rescue (Employ Yourself): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late, is available in paperback and eBook from:

Amazon.com http://amzn.to/1SwgzAV

Or Amazon.com.au  http://bit.ly/1OmXh9g

Passionately yours

Cassandra

 

Are you ready to quit?

Or perhaps, you’d like to do what I did, trained to become a coach and started coaching on the side until my income grew and I could make coaching my full-time gig.

Contact me for a free 30-minute discovery call to see if training to become a certified life coach is the right move for you.

 

If you’re not working with your authentic, compelling joy— you are not living your true purpose…and life is too short for that!

Check out my blog here and learn more about my story here>> http://cassandragaisford.com/my-story-how-my-dark-nights-of-the-soul-awakened-my-passion-and-purpose/

 

 

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The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

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Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Why do coaches need a coach? The secret to success….

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

“I have deep relationships. AND I have a coach. That may sound odd because I AM a coach, but I believe those of us who are most successful, have gotten where we’re at with help in identifying blocks, challenges, and opportunities. That is what a coach does!”

~ Sheree Clarke

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. She shares her journey of mid-life career reinvention below:

“My current business is Fork in the Road. I am a healthy living (life) coach. I chose the name initially because I was focused on food and healthful eating, and since “fork” conjures up the idea of eating, it seemed to fit. I also believe that at any given point we are all at a proverbial fork in the road.

That fork can be a major one—such as a career choice or the decision to enter or leave a marriage—or a small one, like whether to say yes to dessert or being on another committee. So, when the focus of my business shifted to life coaching for women over 40, the name was still (and perhaps even more) fitting for my practice.

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.

 

Deciding what to do

My first business was a marketing communications (advertising) agency that I was “talked into” co-founding in 1985 by a (then) new boyfriend. The truth is, I had grown bored at my job at a local university and had even announced my resignation, effective the following academic year (long notices are an accepted practice at US academic institutions). In the meantime, I had met—and fallen in love with—my later-to-be business partner, and the rest fell into place.

He convinced me that my skill set as a teacher, advisor, and mentor would transfer easily to the business development aspect of running an advertising agency. We stayed business partners for 25 years (although the romantic aspect tanked after the initial 14 years).

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.

 

Finding an idea that would be successful—ask your way to success

I found the right product for the right market by trial and error! Next, to creating a vision board, the informational interview is my favorite tool for helping me get back on track when I’m feeling lost.

When I was feeling unfulfilled in my business I scheduled a series of interviews with fellow entrepreneurs. I picked women who owned businesses. The only thing they had in common was that I really respected them, even though some I had never met in person.

One of my interviews was with the publisher of a local business newspaper: a fabulous lady who is probably 20 years my senior. We had our meeting over lunch and I told her, candidly, about my inner feelings. I told her I was hoping she might shed some light.

I asked her what she thought my skill sets and offerings were and where I might be able to plug the gaps. Her feedback? She said she had always thought of me as a teacher and a coach. She said she saw me as articulate, smart and capable, (which in itself is nice to hear, especially coming from someone you admire).

And then she offered up a casual suggestion. She said, “You’ve always had a way with words. Why don’t you write a column for a publication in your industry or some area of your life that brings you joy.” Well, that was an idea that resonated, and if nothing else was worth seeing if I could make happen.

 

The payoff

I went back to my office and sent a query letter to the editor of a graphic design magazine I had written for once or twice before, and asked if they were looking for writers.

Within an hour my phone rang. It was the editor himself. His words nearly knocked me off my chair. He said, “Wow, what timing! We are starting a business advice column in the next quarter, wanna write it?”

I ended up writing that column for five years. Not only did it help scratch an itch I was feeling, but I also made some extra money in the process. Now, I am not saying you’ll have such epic results. But I do know that I have never had an informational interview without a payoff, even if it was just that I got to know somebody a little better.

 

Working your offerings into your own area of genius

It’s not just about finding the right products and services, it’s also about working your offerings into your own area of genius.

At this point in my life, while I enjoy making a good income, it’s not only about maximizing revenue. I want to do work that brings me joy. I want to work with clients who are a fit for me so that when I look at my calendar/schedule, I feel excitement, rather than dread.

In my instance, I am what we call a “Baby Boomer” (defined in the USA as being those born between 1946 and 1965). My generation and those slightly after, are all experiencing some major life challenges right now. Our jobs are changing or we’ve been laid off or deemed “redundant.”

Our marriages and family structures are shifting or crumbling: we may suddenly become caretakers or divorcees or widows. Hell, our own bodies are changing and often it feels as though they are betraying us. And for many women over 40, after putting the needs of others first for much of our lives, we can finally say, “it’s MY turn now.”

What I just described is my area of genius. It’s the arena I do best in and it’s where I feel most at home. Having for the most part successfully navigated the challenges of being a 40, 50, 60-year old, I get to share my secrets and techniques with other women.

 

Starting fresh—financing a new career

In both cases when I started my companies I left what I had been doing to embark on the new thing. In the first instance (co-founding the agency) I felt safe doing so because I had a partner and so my risk/exposure was shared.

In the second instance (becoming a coach), I had the luxury of having built savings from the first endeavor, so I could plunge into the second. I recognize that not everyone will have such good fortune.

In both cases, I didn’t need any start-up capital.

If I were to give advice, I’d say that while of course you have to consider your own financial situation, also take stock of your risk tolerance.

Entrepreneurship is not certain. There are all sorts of risks and no guarantees. If a lack of financial uncertainty makes you nervous, it’s certainly safer to ease into being a business owner, but it can also be more challenging. There are only so many hours in a day!

 

Finding the confidence to leave the security of a regular salary

It wasn’t confidence that propelled me into my second business. It was the pain of not living authentically.

It would be an understatement to say that to close the ad agency I had co-founded was not a decision my former partner and I made easily or lightly. For almost half our lives we had been partners and close friends. But the time had come and we each wanted to do other things with our lives.

I had found a passion in the health and nutrition arena after receiving my certifications as a raw vegan chef and nutrition counselor.

My business partner discovered a love of fine art, and a desire to work more independently. Quite frankly, we both had become rather miserable in our roles as principals and we each needed new challenges.

Despite my excitement for my new future I struggled to dismantle what we had so carefully created. At the time, we decided to close the agency, it was still healthy but my partner’s and my passions were on life support.

There were many signs that it was time for a change. I started to dread the out of town travel for clients that I had once so loved. He began to come into the office later and leave earlier.

We both had less patience for employee mistakes and client indecision. For me the defining moment came on a Sunday at church when I actually cried not because the sermon was so moving, but because I knew that in less than 24 hours I had to “go back to work.”

It was clearly time to do something.

There are those who have applauded both of us for having the courage to do something so drastic, and others who deem us insane when we could be ‘so close to retirement.’ All I know is that, as scary as it was, it has rekindled the adrenalin rushes I have not felt in a very, very long time. It was absolutely the right thing to do.

 

Finding customers

My clients typically follow me online for a period of time before contracting with me for services. Often they run across me because I am a guest speaker at live events, or a subject matter expert on television, or a guest on an online interview series or summit. Others may have been referred to me by a friend or a colleague.

The marketing activities which have been most important and successful for me are speaking and interviews. I also write guest blogs and articles.

 

Maintaining balance

Running a business should not be a 24/7 thing! Although there are absolutely “push” times, especially in the beginning, I think downtime and rest are essential to business success

Downtime, time to refuel, is made possible by setting priorities, delegation and hiring (or subcontracting) efficiently. I personally find balance by planning my days the night before.

Each night before I go to bed, I establish what the most important project or priority is for the next day, and that project is the first thing I address after I do my exercise and meditation.

I also find that sometimes I have to actually schedule in my fun times. With my current work schedule, I coach clients in the first three weeks of the month.

The last week of every month I take off from individual coaching, and that is when I attend to personal matters such as doing errands, scheduling salon services and meeting friends for social engagements.

I still do work during that fourth week, but because I don’t typically schedule client appointments, I have time for other things.

 

Keeping energy levels high

It’s not hard to have high energy when you have high enthusiasm. I love what I do and it keeps me young, vital, engaged and energized. That said, taking care of yourself mentally emotionally and spiritually is also critical. I get adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition. I spend time in nature and in contemplation or prayer.

I have deep relationships. AND I have a coach. That may sound odd because I AM a coach, but I believe those of us who are most successful, have gotten where we’re at with help in identifying blocks, challenges, and opportunities. That is what a coach does!

 

The secret to success, managing cash flow, and generating regular income

For me personally, I have always benefitted from finding and utilizing a good business coach and what is often called a ‘mastermind community.’ A mastermind is a group of like-minded people who meet regularly to share strategies and tackle challenges and problems together. They lean on each other, give advice, share connections and do business with each other when appropriate.

It’s very much peer-to-peer mentoring, and it works! In terms of managing cash flow: one piece of advice is to not take your foot off the ‘new business development’ gas pedal when you get busy with other things. What you do today will determine your level of success tomorrow.

 

The learning curve

The biggest learning curve I had was going from owning a company that sold its services in a business to business arena (the communications agency) to one that provided services via a business to consumer model (my coaching practice).

These two ways of conducting business are drastically different. Again, by seeking guidance from peers and by hiring a coach I was able to manage the amount of growing pain.

The best times in my business have usually been the “firsts.” The first client, the first employee, the first million-dollar year. The worst have usually been the result of going against my own intuition. Hiring someone I had a gut feeling about because they looked good on paper. Taking a poorly calculated risk because I was listening to my ego instead of looking at the facts or my intuition.

One of the best business books I have read is, Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. It applies to everyone, but entrepreneurs especially.

 

What advice would you give to someone who has never started a business or been self-employed?

Start by taking the time to meet with other entrepreneurs and ask them a few questions about things that may have you concerned or sparked your curiosity.

Cassandra’s book, Mid-Life Career Rescue: Employ Yourself, is a great start because it gives you a general ‘peek under the tent’ at being a business owner, but I would also speak to others in real time.

I often urge my clients to schedule what I refer to as an ‘informational interview’ when they are considering going down new paths or are feeling stuck in some area of their lives.

 

What are the steps to self-employment? Is there a “right” order?

I have taken the leap to self-employment twice, and each time was different from the other. I think there are too many factors to make a generalized bit of advice valuable here. One caveat I would say to the analytical readers is “don’t overthink it.”

With my current business, I began by sending a letter to everyone I knew from my former business, telling them what I was transitioning to, and straight-out asking them if they might be interested in my services, or if they would be willing to make a referral. I had enough takers to be encouraged to keep going!

 

Making the leap sooner

I would have left my first company to start my second company sooner. I was afraid of letting people down: my former partner, my employees, my clients. By the time I left, my passion was on life support.

If I could offer one piece of advice related to starting your own business and employing yourself it would be to know that being an entrepreneur can be lonely sometimes. Your friends, the ones who are employed by others, will think you have it made now.

They will believe that you have all the time in the world to do what you want and that you’re rolling in the money. They’ll think you can go on lavish vacations and that you don’t have to answer to anyone. Take heart: The other business owners you meet will know the real story.

 

The secret to self-employed success

Passion. Without it you may be mildly successful, but you’ll never be wildly successful!”

Find out more about Sheree’s passion-driven business here—www.fork-road.com. Listen to our interviews here http://www.cassandragaisford.com/media and http://www.cassandragaisford.com/podcast/

 

 

I loved, loved, loved what Sheree shared and devoured every word—best of all there were no calories…so that was marvelous. What resonated with you?

Identify and record any lessons can you learn from Sheree’s experience of discovering her calling and setting up her business which you could apply to starting your own business. Summarize some possible action steps.

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—getBook.at/EmployYourself2018

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

 

You might like:

 Mid-Life Career Rescue: Job Search Strategies That Work

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

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

How You Can Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and Unlock Your Creative Potential

How to Develop More Grit and Perseverance – Consult the Oracle

The Fastest Way to Go From Stress to Joy Without Being Overwhelmed

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

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I had come across Worklife Solutions (Cassandra) as a training provider back in 2014 but just wasn’t sure at that time.  Decided on another education provider which has provided me with a foundation in coaching but last year realised that I wanted more discussions regarding putting sessions together, evaluating and discussing this with a mentor and someone whom had been walking the talk for a long time.   This was not provided by the previous education provider. The above factors influenced me to contact Cassandra again.  I was looking for a different type of training, wanting someone who has such a solid background in coaching and whom could offer more input regarding sessions planning and feedback, starting a business etc. I’ve now realised my dream!”

Mind Your Drink—How to become sexier, slimmer, and healthier

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

 

Me enjoying sobriety at Tisa’s barefoot bar in American Samoa in Feb 2019. Heavenly—and the coconut infused mocktail was divine!

 

Many people mistakenly believe drinking alcohol will increase their happiness. But alcohol is a depressant and in large quantities is draining on your body and mind.

Alcohol has been found in many studies to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. The sleep rhythms of people who have drunk alcohol the day before are significantly different from control groups who didn’t drink alcohol but very similar to patients with depression.

Numerous studies suggest that low serotonin is the mechanism behind both depression and anxiety after alcohol consumption.

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

It’s also hard to quit—alcohol is one of the most addictive legal 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 improve their mental health 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. At only 27, she died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.

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

There is also clear evidence between alcohol consumption and violence and other types of aggressive behavior. Aggressive behavior is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels. Some experts suggest that aggressive behavior after a period of alcohol may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism—as little as two standard drinks can ignite anger.

To better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol, researchers in Australia used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to measure blood flow in the brain. They noted that after only two drinks, there were changes in the working of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the part normally involved in tempering a person’s aggressive levels.

Risking ruining your relationships, ruining your career, 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.

Boost your resilience beautifully by exploring your relationship to drink and approaching it more mindfully. 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

Your body never lies, but many people soldier on, ignoring the obvious warning signs that it’s time to scale back their drinking or lose the booze.

• Headaches

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Insomnia

• Aggression

• Blackouts

• Low energy and fatigue

• High blood pressure

…are just a few of many signs that it may be time to control alcohol before it controls you.

It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, but the reality is that your mind, body,  and soul are screaming out for liberation.

Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more energizing alternative.

Your body is a great source of wisdom and counsel—one that is increasingly respected by psychologists and medical professionals. Somatic Psychology, a branch of traditional psychotherapy, addresses what for so long was missing in the field of talk therapy.

Soma is a Greek word meaning “the living body” and is grounded in the belief that not only are thought, emotion and bodily experience inextricably linked (creating a bodymind), but also that change can be brought about in one domain of experience by mindfully accessing another.

You may consider asking your body next time you feel tempted to drink or feel the first flush of alcohol hit your system, “what does this beer (or whatever you are drinking) want me to know?” This may seem weird, but stick with me!

When I tried this recently, my body told me, “This alcohol makes me feel sick. I don’t want it. Don’t drink any more of it.”

My mind, however, was telling me a different and conflicting story as it rattled through a range of old stories and false beliefs.

In this case, as in others, I trusted my body barometer.

Very often people don’t listen to their body barometers until it’s too late and health havoc can set in. Leonardo da Vinci once said that people were more motivated to act by fear than they were by love. I’ll let you decide, but whether the joy of health nirvana or the fear of health havoc rules supreme, as long as you heed the call for change you’ll always win.

Health Nirvana

Controlling alcohol consumption or quitting for good has numerous positive benefits. Everything is interconnected but let’s try to categorize a few of the health benefits you can expect with sobriety:

Physical Health

• Improved liver function and health

• Better sleep

• Better eating habits

• Younger, healthier looking skin, hair, and nails

• Improved vision and clearer eyes

• Weight loss or healthy weight gain

• Increased energy and vitality

• Strengthened immune system, warding off illness and disease

• Lower blood pressure

• Optimal digestive function

 

Mental Health

• Increased mental clarity

• Newfound motivation and determination

• Natural resilience

• Boost self-esteem and confidence

• Greater resilience to stress

• Improved memory

• Clarity

• Heightened intuition

• Heightened brain function

• Improved productivity

• Heightened sensory skills—everything looks, feels, tastes, sounds clearer and brighter

• Heightened willpower

• More truthfulness and honesty

• Long and short-term memory improves

• Aversion to negative thinking

• Improvement of coexisting conditions (anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc.)

• A desire to help others

 

Emotional Health

• Persistent and lasting feelings of joy

• Authentic happiness

• Improved relationships

• The increased joy of looking and feeling healthier and better about yourself

• Increased ability to create lasting, loving relationships

• Improved interactions with people

• Feeling younger

• Feeling empowered, in control and free

• More laughter and spontaneous joy

• An improved general sense of contentment and wellbeing

• Greater self-awareness

• Higher emotional intelligence and ability to self-regulate

• Improved sleep-related benefits

• Increased interest and engagement in new activities, hobbies or learning

• Feelings of freedom, hope, self-worth, and self-empowerment

 

If alcohol is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, I’m betting sobriety is a known cause of more than 60 different positive health conditions—maybe even triple that. But finding data to back me up is hard to find. It seems more money is poured into measuring harm than keeping statistics related to health.

Keep your own stats and set yourself up to succeed. To support and maintain your sobriety, really absorb all the benefits.  Enjoy the anticipated positive results of sobriety at the start of your day, in the evening, or whenever you have a spare moment.

When you are sober, be sure to be mindful and really enjoy the results of your efforts. For example, as I write this chapter,  notice I’m feeling energized, clear-headed, purposeful, and excited. I have the youthful expectant energy of a child. I feel a sense of self-worth with all that I have achieved today. I think I may take a wee break now, reward myself and go out and play!

I also draw my attention to how much I appreciate and value my improved relationship with my partner and my mother, and I love, love, love that I’m a positive influence on my 26-year-old daughter who has chosen to go alcohol-free and is not only loving it but is positively influencing all her friends. Her anxiety has disappeared and she is glowing.

I have way more self-belief and am both less critical of others and myself, and no longer hypersensitive to others barbs and attacks when I don’t drink.

Did drinking less alcohol do all that? Not entirely. As I said earlier, controlling alcohol requires a systemic approach and making lifestyle changes both in health behaviors and other factors which I discuss throughout my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind.

Putting the spotlight on the harm alcohol caused me, my family, my loved ones, within my community and the world at large also drives me. Negatives can be positives when seen in the right light and used constructively.

I no longer feel like the booze hag who once wrote this:

“Pretty much four months after I decided to say no to booze, but the little bugger has slipped into my psyche again. Last night and the night before I had two vodkas and orange—freshly squeezed. 4pm-ish. I watched myself, observed myself. The knowledge that I was tired, weary, that I needed to meditate.

But I wanted that quick fix.

That nice little forgetting of alcohol. But who’s paying now? 12:15 A.M. and I’m wide awake. I haven’t woken like this in months. I don’t feel flash either. Yesterday I was excited about my book Flight of Passion—now I feel like it’s crap. It’s the depressing booze, my head aches, my throat and chest burns.”

 

Instead, in my journal ‘sober me’ wrote:

Hello Sunday Morning! I’m so grateful for John’s drunkenness last night. It’s strengthened my resolve. I want nothing to with the poison of drink—unless it’s with a refined meal or a celebration. I’ve woken up clear-headed, clear-hearted, my energy bright, looking forward to the day.

“When you are full of food and drink an ugly statue sits where your spirit should be.” ~ Rumi

Even if people think it’s no big deal to drink a glass of wine at dinner it’s important to know your body’s reaction to alcohol and not just go along with the crowd.

I’d forgotten my assignment on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction. I must revisit it.

A blackbird rustles amongst Autumn leaves. John is at his desk. The door is shut. I walk past the front window. “Would you like an orange juice?”

No, he wouldn’t.

His eyes are dead, remorseful—as though regretting his foolishness. His skin is gray, pallid, like that of a dying man.

Rumi is right….an ugly statue sits where his spirit should be.

Even the Romans once ate and drank from a lead cup. Poison in poison.

 

You’ll find plenty of yummy, sexy, and sober recipes in Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life—Easy Alcohol-Free Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy Filled Life

 

Health Havoc

When you pollute your body with alcohol, a known carcinogen, and neurotoxin, it’s going to play havoc with your health. Big time. Perhaps not today, not tomorrow, but it will happen, and when it does, I doubt you’ll be happy about it.

You may even swear and curse your stupidity, as my step-father did when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, “You bloody stupid fool,” he said, sadly and stoically accepting his fate when told he had a month to live. Having enjoyed smoking for many years, I know he would have done anything to undo the wrongs of the past.

Alcohol, as I have said, is a known cause for more than 60 different adverse health conditions, listed below are just a few:

 

Physical Health

• Carcinogenic—causes cancer in living tissue. Strong links between cancers of the liver, breast, bowel, upper throat, mouth, esophagus and larynx

• Negatively affects brain development in young people

• Depresses your entire nervous system

• Compromises your immune system, making you less resistant to illness and disease

• Interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, resulting in bones that are weaker, softer, and more brittle

• Kills cells and disrupts cellular metabolic processes

• Distorts your eyesight, making it difficult to adjust to the differing light and compromising clarity

• Diminishes your ability to distinguish between sounds and perceive their direction

• Slurs your speech

• Dulls your sense of taste and smell

• Damages the lining of your throat

• Weakens your muscles

• Inhibits the production of white and red blood cells

• Destroys your stomach lining

• Poisons you and can cause death

• Disrupts your sleep cycle, reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, creates insomnia

• Suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea

• Increases weight or causes unhealthy weight loss

• Strips your body of vital nutrients and causes malnutrition

• Increases the likelihood of indulging in risky, unsafe and unlawful behaviors

• Heightens suicidal thoughts

 

Mental Health

• Causes anxiety and depression and other mental disorders

• Lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain—a chemical that helps to regulate your mood

• Destroys your brain cells

• Increases suicidal tendencies

• Negatively impacts memory

• Causes permanent damage to your brain

• Alters your brain chemistry

• Escalates aggression

• Increases stress levels

• Triggers dormant mental illnesses (bi-polar etc.)

• Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and low mood

• Depletes willpower

 

Emotional Health

• Undermines your self-esteem and self-respect

• Depletes your courage, confidence

• Undermines your relationships with your partner, family, and friends

• Contributes to depression

• Reduces self-control

• Increases the difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships, including with bosses, co-workers and, clients

• Creates financial strain, leading to more stress, worry any and anxiety

 

And that just a few ways that alcohol can play havoc with your health. The increased risk of developing arthritis, cancer, heart disease, hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, kidney disease, obesity, nervous disorders, and many psychological disturbances can all be attributed to alcohol abuse. And as you know, acute alcohol poisoning can cause death.

Find out more about short and long-term effects that drinking alcohol has on many different parts of your body here—https://www.alcohol.org.nz/alcohol-its-effects/body-effects.

Your mind and body may seem like separate entities but when you let your body override your craving mind you find a reservoir of unbridled power. Your body barometer never lies, and as we’ve seen, can save your life by expelling toxins from your system.

 

When you drink alcohol or feel hung over what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel sober?

If you fall off the wagon and start drinking again don’t be too hard on your beautiful self. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion and tune into your body barometer.

How do you feel? Have the headaches, nausea, depression, aggression or anxiety returned again?

Journal your experience as I did to reinforce your awareness and to strengthen your resolve to stop drinking again.

You’ll find helpful sobriety journalling tips in my book, The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without Alcoholgetbook.at/SobrietyJournal

 

The Path to Sobriety

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind, I break down the path to sobriety in ways you can easily understand and apply to your own life.

Knowledge is power. Ultimately long-term success in winning the war on alcohol can be explained through medical science and psychology—and understanding the psychological warfare tactics of the world’s best marketers. You do realize that the booze barons act narcissistically to encourage you to act against your best interests, right?

Understanding alcohol from all angles offers substantive reasons for why it keeps you hooked.

Importantly, what I’d love you to take away from reading this book, and those focused on controlling alcohol is that there is no one path to sobriety. You may or may not be able to go it alone, you may need help, you may need therapy, but regardless of the approach you take, controlling alcohol is a long-term lifestyle change.

Very often, as I’ve said, it may mean spotlighting and healing the wounds of your past.

In my books Mind Your Drink and Your Beautiful Mind comedian and former addict Russel Brand shares his story of childhood sexual abuse in his book Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions. In his book, he reinterprets The Twelve Step recovery process and champions the call for abstinence.

Similarly, Duff McKagan, the former bass guitarist of Guns N’ Roses and one of the world’s greatest rock musicians, shares how he used alcohol to self-medicate his agonizing anxiety. The origin of his pain he says stemmed from being asked to lie to his mother about his father’s affairs, their subsequent divorce, and his father’s own heavy drinking.

McKagan devised his own program of anxiety treatment and alcohol recovery. Read the inspiring story of a man who partied so hard he nearly died, in his book It’s So Easy and Other Lies.

Anne Dowsett Johnson, a journalist and self-described recovering alcoholic, and the daughter of an alcoholic herself, urges us all to wake up to the willful blindness to the damages of drinking in our culture, and explores disturbing trends and false promises peddled by alcohol barons in her book Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol. For Dowsett, medical intervention through prescribed anti-depressants played an instrumental role in her recovery.

AA’s 12-step approach didn’t work for stressed entrepreneur Russ Parry. But years of therapy, couple counseling, renewing his faith and a program of recovery offered by his church did—alongside changing his relationship to work. He shares his journey to abstinence in his book, The Sober Entrepreneur.

These are just some of the many people and books I have come to admire as I embarked on my own journey to understand why I once drank so much and why I couldn’t stop.

For these people, sharing their stories was part of their healing process—that and the desire to pay-it-forward. In my book, Employ Yourself from my bestselling Mid-Life Career Rescue series, I share how health coach Sheree Clark numbed her anxiety, stress and job blues by over-drinking until she realized booze was never going to be a long-term sustainable solution.

She’s sold her business and created a new career as a healthy living coach. She still enjoys a drink—but that since her career change that she couldn’t be happier or healthier.

As the former addict and leading neuroscientist Marc Lewis writes in this book, The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease, alcoholism, and addiction “can spring up in anyone’s backyard. It attacks our politicians, our entertainers, our relatives, and often ourselves. It’s become ubiquitous, expectable, like air pollution and cancer.”

Shaming, blaming and naming is not the cure, compassion understanding, and living life on your terms is.

As Lewis also notes, “Many experts highlight the value of empowerment for overcoming addiction. In fact, most former addicts claim that empowerment, not powerlessness, was essential to them, especially in the latter stages of their recovery. Sensitivity to the meaning of empowerment in recovery may be greatest for those who’ve been disempowered in their social world, including women, minorities, the poor, and those with devastating family histories.”

Abusing alcohol is not a disease. It’s a coping strategy—one, before reading this book, you may not have been aware of.

As you read this book, you’ll reclaim your power and decide whether alcohol has anything positive to contribute to your life at all, or whether you’d be better off putting your money, your energy, your time, your happiness and your health into something, or someone, who’s a less abusive lover.  Yes, you will decide—it’s that simple, and at times, that difficult.

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.

You may enjoy reading my blog post on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/spiritual-approaches-to-the-treatment-of-alcohol-addiction/

If you’d like to experiment with a period of sobriety or you need help to you moderate your drinking, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available as a paperback and eBook will help.  You can also find a range of books and resources offering help to quit, including alcohol-free alternatives on my website—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/books-and-resources/control-alcohol/

 

My daughter, Hannah, and her fab partner Josh, enjoying alcohol-free wine at Christmas.

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?


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Why Sobriety is Cool, Sophisticated, and Savvy

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The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Does talk therapy actually work?

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.


You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

 

Discover the joy of sobriety. Listen to Cassandra’s interview with Melinda Hammond—https://writerontheroad.com/128-name-poison-writers-alcohol-creative-muse-cassandra-gaisford/

How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

Monday, February 11th, 2019

 

If you suffer from generalized anxiety and panic attacks

If you suffer from stress or burnout If you lack confidence or self-esteem or fear failure……

If you’re a perfectionist or find the challenges of life overwhelming… …

then my new book, Anxiety Rescue is exactly the right book for you—because it will cheerlead, motivate and encourage you to fight for your dreams and achieve your goals.

 

Anxiety Rescue is the ultimate prescription and medication free cure. Using the timeless wisdom of other successful men and women who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and despair—and succeeded anyway,  Anxiety Rescue  reveals in six easy steps:

✓ How to define success on your own terms…

✓ How to find your truth and live an authentic life…

✓ How to set and achieve audacious goals…

✓ How to take strategic risks (rather than reckless ones)

✓ How to overcome your fear of failure, criticism, and change…

✓ How to make money, follow your passion and still pay the bills…

✓ How to beat low self-esteem…

✓ How to identify real priorities that are central to your life’s true meaning…

✓ And how to empower your business and personal life… There is not only wisdom on every page, but actionable, immediate steps you can take to make a difference in reaching your own goals and dreams.

Available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books

It always really touches me when I realize that what I do has an impact on people. We’ve all been through tough situations. Not many of us escape childhood unscathed. Few of us survive working life or relationships without scars. I work from that experience. If what I say, write, or do inspires people or gives them strength, courage, or hope, I’m over the moon.

Like many of my books, I write to inspire myself. I take issues I am struggling with, or new learnings that have deeply impacted me, and share them in my books.

Anxiety Rescue is one of these books. I’m tempted to say that it’s a concise guide to overcoming anxiety and making the most of your life. It is. And it isn’t.

As I wrote this book, so many factors which impact anxiety came to light. Many of them are ignored by general practitioners and doctors—the very people many of us go when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or just plain unwell. Some, are viewed skeptically by psychologists and psychiatrists.

Yet times are changing, the old ways aren’t working. Prescription medication and pharmaceutical drugs are being consumed in exploding quantities, and still, anxiety rates and other mental illnesses are still soaring.

Increasingly science is validating what ancient wisdom has been telling us for years. You only have to consider how main-stream meditation, yoga, acupressure, and other holistic therapies have become, to witness the emergence.

Anxiety Rescue is based on clinically-proven techniques and integrates modern science with other healing modalities. Yet it also harnesses the magic of creative approaches to healing. Which is why I’ve turned to two of my greatest inspirations—Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Anxiety Rescue summarizes their timeless wisdom and strategies to tame anxiety, quell despair, overcome obstacles and maximize health, wellbeing and success.

we can heal ourselves

From my own professional and personal experience, I know we can heal ourselves. A great deal many people don’t need pills to feel calm, happy, healthy, and inspired. Some do.

I am not against prescription drugs, but what concerns me, as it may you, is that many anxious, stressed, and depressed people are not offered a choice. Nor do they benefit from someone taking an inventory of their life and analyzing the traumatic events or stressors that may be impacting their anxiety levels.

Like Len, who, aged 42-year-old man who had suffered work-related burnout, and sought relief from his doctor. He was, quite rightly, alarmed that his doctor told him that the only cure was medication. He left his doctor’s office empty-handed.

Ten years later, a diagnosis of complex trauma, not only made sense but also provided a roadmap to lasting healing. I’ll be sharing more of his story in a book I plan to write called, Leaving Jehovah—Surviving the Cult of Toxic Control and Shame.

Or, Sarah, who’d been taking anti-depressants for years but had noticed her anxiety rates returning and no longer wanted to be on medication. Counseling and engaging in talk-therapy gave a voice to wounds she had repressed. When darkness was brought to light, and armed with new tools of self-care, including meditation and nutrition, her anxiety rates disappeared.

I’m not bagging medication. Not by any means. My purpose in writing Anxiety Rescue is to share alternative routes to healing—lasting ones that enable you to be empowered and chose the best course of action for you.

No two people are the same. We have not had the same childhoods, the same school experiences, or workplace trauma. I speak from my own experience—both what has worked for me, and what has worked for my clients.

With over twenty-five years of expertise working in therapeutic professions, most lately as a child therapist and relationship counselor, I know what works.

As you’ll read in the chapter, “My Story,” I’ve swum through a tsunami of trauma, hurts, and humiliations and drawn on a range of modalities to help me not just survive, but also thrive.

My hope is in reading this book, you will emerge stronger, happier, healthier, and more thankful too.

A large part of my healing has involved following my joy—something you’ll learn to discover for yourself in this book.

I use my passion journal to visualize, gain clarity, and create my preferred future—including my health goals. My clients find this works for them too—along with the other strategies I share in Anxiety Rescue.

In this era of anxiety and distraction, the need for simple, life-affirming, health-enhancing messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a page at random, or work through the four pillars of health sequentially.

I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your guide, as it has been mine. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’, and embrace how you feel, or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

Laura, who at one stage seemed rudderless career-wise, did just that. Workplace stress was a major source of her anxiety. Finding her passion and following her joy sparked a determination to start her own business.She felt the fear and went for it anyway, emboldened by a desire to live and work like those she looked up to. It was that simple.

As with all of my books, many of the examples I share were inspired by true events in my own life. At the time of writing, I recalled one of the first times I trusted the spiritual realm. I was a teenager when my paternal grandmother was channeled by a psychic and my disbelieving and skeptical self was asked, “Your grandmother says you don’t believe she is here. But she is holding out a flower, and she is asking, ‘Do you remember the jasmine flowers growing over the house?’

I didn’t.

But when I drove home I called into to Araby Lodge, where my grandmother used to live, and where until her death, she bred and trained her beloved horses. At the time my father lived in her house. I asked him, “What is that vine growing over the house?”

I didn’t want to tell him anything about what the psychic had said because I was still skeptical and I didn’t want to influence the answer. My father said, “Oh, that old jasmine vine? That’s been there forever.”

My heart nearly leaped out of my chest. It was at that point that I began to believe in spiritual and psychic phenomena, and in time, many years later, to awaken my own gifts. These gifts weren’t awakened without considerable anxiety—something I talk more about in the chapter, “Shadow Work.”

It’s a timely reminder of just how far following my passion and being free to be me has taken me—the shy girl who was once afraid of being seen and was terrified of her ability to channel.

As I share in many of my books I hope the following quote is as apt for you as it was for me:

“Your staying in the shadows doesn’t serve the world.”

Here’s to learning from our anxiety and transforming our lives with passion, joy, and purpose!

Broken into small, bite-sized segments—you’ll soon find yourself jotting notes down, finding someone else so you can share the insights and experience, and resources made available to keep you happy, healthy, motivated and focused. Dig into this book and let Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel and other successful men and woman be your mentors, inspiration, and guides as they call forth your passions, purpose, and potential. 

Say YES to happiness NOW! It’s never too late to end anxiety and follow your joy to live a life you love.

Anxiety Rescue is available in eBook for immediate download from Amazon

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

enjoy the free excerpt from Anxiety Rescue below

 

Your Body Barometer

The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

The more you truly care about something, the deeper the consequences can be when you don’t act on your desires.

When you aren’t true to yourself and you don’t do the things you aspire to do your mental, emotional and spiritual health can suffer.

Common signs of neglecting the call for success and forsaking your ambitions can include: tiredness, depression, anxiety, irritability, and strained personal relationships. In short, you’re lovesick—starved of the things that spark joy.

The body never lies, but many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs. It’s easy to rationalize these feelings away, But the reality is your mind, body, and soul is screaming out for more. Have the courage to say ‘yes’ to pursuing a more liberating alternative.

 

Your Challenge

When you feel unfulfilled, bored, unchallenged and demotivated what do you notice? How does this differ from times when you feel the fear but love life passionately anyway?

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe, artist

 

 

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.

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.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me.”

Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

Your Challenge

What will passion do for you?

The really important stuff is not in my résumé. It’s what has gone on almost unnoticed in the secret chambers of the heart.

~ Isabel Allende, author

 

 

DRESS JOYFULLY

The grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then their outlook changes. They feel more joyous.

~ Coco Chanel

 

Coco was a trailblazer in women’s fashion. When she arrived in trousers in Venice people were shocked, but shock quickly turned to awe. Women wanted what she had—and Coco was only too happy to sell it to them.

Her joyous color was black. She loved its simplicity and understated elegance. Perhaps it reminded her of the habits the nuns, who so tenderly cared for her, wore.

Whatever the catalyst was, Coco had the vision to turn black, the color of mourning, into the symbol of independence, freedom, and strength. She also created the now iconic little black dress!

Your joyous color may be yellow, blue, or gold. Or it may be multi-patterned and have all the colors of the rainbow. Floating dresses in the finest silk may instill you with confidence, or perhaps you prefer something more tailored.

Whatever your color, whatever you wear be sure that it makes you feel joyful.

 

Your Challenge

Act as if. Take a job or lifestyle idea you are considering, or have always wondered what it would be like, and act as if you are living that role. Dress the part.

Have your colors professionally confirmed by a trained image consultant—when you dress in the colors that suit your skin tone you’ll look younger and feel fabulous.

 

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.

~ Coco Chanel

 

 

 

 

“Love your work”

Prior to writing this post I had sent out news of my new book to my email subscribers. Immediately I received an email from one of my readers.

“When I read the first few sentences I could immediately relate – it’s exactly how I feel at this very moment (sadly).

I feel so tired and overwhelmed just trying to get through each day, let alone any curveballs that may come my way.
It’s so debilitating and I feel like this is ‘my lot’ and no happy ending.
I will be sure to download your ebook. I have your Passion Workbook sitting next to me in the car – yet to read… Too tired (always tired).
Keep being awesome! Love your work 🙂
Her email made me happy – and sad. Happy the words spoke to her. Happy that even though she felt so low, my email sparked some energy—the energy of love. I could sense some enthusiasm…even in the darkness. I also felt sad—sad that she feels this way. I know EXACTLY how this feels. Millions and millions of people feel this way. I know that there is a cure. I know you don’t need medication, drugs, or alcohol to rescue you. I know the difference that the power of love and healthy obsessions can make—I talk more about the power of positive obsessions in my sobriety books, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Your Beautiful Mind.
As I wrote back to her, she also inspired me too also get moving with creating an audiobook. That way when she and others who also suffer from anxiety, fatigue, and despair, when they are driving can be fed some inspirational juice…
I also invited her to consider scheduling a coaching session with me—sometimes it’s just too hard to go it alone. If this sounds like something you could benefit from click the following link to schedule an appointment
http://www.cassandragaisford.com/schedule-an-appointment/

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

 

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her next book, The Anxiety Cure: Love Your Body, will be released.

 

Here’s a quick round-up of our 5 latest blog posts you may also enjoy:

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

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tame the Email Monster: How to Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Email Overload

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Are you suffering from information obesity? Subconsciously, are all your unanswered emails sending your stress levels soaring? Or have text messages become the source of your anxiety?

Email overload is frustrating—and sometimes terrifying. An over-crowded inbox is distracting and will divert your attention from what is important if you don’t take charge and do something about it. Your inbox can also house infectious contact from toxic people.

Email, or as my partner calls it, the Email Monster, is the source of many people’s anxiety.

 

Remember that anxiety feeds off fear, uncertainty, overwhelm, and overload. It also loves to distract you from doing the things you enjoy—burying you in a pyre of often meaningless distractions.

In the last few years, I’ve also noticed a level of toxicity creeping into emails. Some people are discourteous, and in some instances downright rude and inconsiderate. People rant and vent and type things they might not otherwise have had the courage or lack of manners to say in person.

I’m sure, rather than cowering behind their phone or computer and firing off emails if people stood face-to-face with someone before sending their tirade they wouldn’t feel so empowered and emboldened.

The rise in bullying has also led to a whole new malaise—cyberbullying.

Research by Swansea University in 2018, cites that children and young people under 25 who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behavior.

The findings also suggest that the perpetrators themselves are at higher risk of experiencing these same suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s worth remembering that it’s the sick who vomit over others, so don’t ever take it personally. This is easier said than done.

I’ve experienced a few toxic battles provoked by others, and there’s nothing that spikes my anxiety than the thought of opening my email. It’s hard to escape and the scathing words do tend to linger.

Some people clients and customers also send incessant demands, often during the oddest of hours, that they might not request if sending an email were not so spontaneous and instantaneous. Some emails are also lengthy and often arduous to read.

I’ve also worked with clients, who rather than have honest and frank conversations with each other send emails and texts—corroding their communication with all the mixed messages words not spoken convey.

My partner Laurie feels anxious if he ends his day with one email remaining in his inbox. He receives over 1200 emails a week, and many of his tasks are deadline driven. He manages his anxiety by slaying the Email Monster. He doesn’t subscribe to erroneous marketing campaigns promising the golden elixir that will cure us all. Nor does he subscribe to marketing campaigns offering some redundant e-book he would never have time to read and does not care for.

Me? I’m an email hoarder or was. It’s stressful and anxiety-producing running my eye over old emails.

This year it’s time for the old ways to die.

Before writing this book I was storing over three thousand emails!

It was liberating to press delete. You may gasp in horror at this strategy. But I thought, ‘will it really matter, six months from now?’ If it does, I’m sure the sender will email me again.

My partner, who I consider to be the king of email efficiency, says you have four choices: answer, unsubscribe, file—out of your inbox and into a ‘to answer’ file—delete.

“If I don’t answer within the timeframe that I feel intuitively is acceptable,” he says about his parking strategy, “I go back and delete it. Clearly, it wasn’t as important as I first thought.”

Consider, simply picking up the phone, or, if you can meet in person, and deal with the issues in the old-fashioned way. It’s a myth to think that emails always lead to greater efficiencies.

Be on guard for the Email Monster’s equally insidious brother, “Text Dragon.” With the advent of voice activation software, I’ve noticed a lot of people sending lengthy texts.  In addition, many people are leaving voice messages on their phones saying, “I don’t pick up my messages, if you can’t reach me, text instead.”

Considerable bullying and abusive behavior, spiking not just anxiety, but also suicidal thoughts and behavior, is being triggered not just by email but text messages too.

Cyber-bullies and those they bully don’t just exist with the young, naïve, or immature. In 2019, New Zealand Police began investigating a ‘you deserve to die’ text sent by one Minister of Parliament to another Minister. Hardly, model leadership behavior.

The recipient received the text well before being sectioned to a mental institution months later, but said in an interview that he re-read the text that day and after texting the MP to say she was going to get her wish, he ended up contemplating suicide.

The text was sent at 1:19am on a Saturday morning—making it even more abusive.

“It was my children that actively stopped me from going through with hurting myself,” he told Newshub. “I was just lucky there were people looking for me and lucky that I thought about my little girl’s happy face – and not wanting to crush that.”

The text message is potentially a breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed under the then National Government in response to cyberbullying. The law regulated digital communications, including text messages, making it illegal to urge someone to self-harm.

Become skilled with how to block contact from malicious people, and become affirmed with new legislation which offers some protection. Be the change you want to see. Cut down on your digital communication and get real—if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t text or email.

If you are ever the target of bullying or abusive behavior seek help and know your rights. Don’t horde abusive messages. Slay the Text Dragon and Email Monster and put them firmly in their place.

Think how great it will be with hardly any messages in your inbox. This is how to manage email overload or cyberbullies and reclaim your life!

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue, due for release in February 2019

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her new book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, will be released.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

One of my clients described 2018 as annus horribilis, roughly translated this means it was an absolutely horrendous year. Perhaps you can relate to that. 

And I’d have to agree. What a beastly year! I had copyright craziness, scary moments with certain industry giants, and drama galore—including narcissistic bosses and bullying builders during our home renovation process. But, as I once read, “you need chaos to give birth to a dancing star.”

Through all the mayhem I’ve emerged stronger. Where others may have given up in despair or drowned their angst in a bottle or a sea of pills, I’ve gone through it all unmedicated and sober. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and even collapsed. But I bounced back and I’ve thrived and grown. And I have been blessed to have been both supported and able to support others.

I’ve benefitted from integrating and applying many of the strategies I share in my self-empowerment books—most importantly:

 Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life)

Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love

and my Art of Success Series, inspired by Coco Chanel and my mentor Leonardo da Vinci.

A lot can happen in 60 seconds. The minute that altered my life forever.

“Nobody speaks to God these days.“Maybe its time to let the old ways die,” sings Bradley’s Cooper character in the lyrics of A Star is Born. 

I couldn’t agree more—emotional, mentally, spiritually, it’s time for a rebirth in 2019. In 2018 nearly dying physically was my wake up call. In his book, How to Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries, Deepak Chopra sums at beautifully how fate can come calling when god the protector intervenes.

“A miracle Ìs a display of power from beyond the fìve senses…Any miracle involves direct contact with spirit.” Level one of the seven levels of miracles that Chopra summarises is the Flight-or-Flight Response. “Miracles involve surviving great danger, impossible rescues, a sense of divine protection.”

This was my experience in late 2018.

I don’t know why but as I was driving back from Auckland after a particularly traumatic experience I fell asleep at the wheel. Miraculously, I woke up as my car careered across the road. I was 60 seconds away from driving down a steep ravine.

I didn’t panic as instinct would normally dictate I didn’t grab the wheel and swerve. I didn’t do anything. I recall an intense feeling of peace and a deep knowing that I should surrender.

I felt a presence, as though someone took the wheel and gently guided me back onto the main road to safety. I just allowed God to take the wheel and lead me back to the safety of the right side of the road.

I look back now and see the deeper meaning of staying in my own lane, of following my authentic path and my soul’s purpose.

I’ve had that experience once before when I nearly drowned after being encouraged by a friend to go free-floating down a river. Not long after I got into trouble. Serious trouble. Somehow I became entangled in a whirlpool.

I was being sucked under the water, trapped in the maelstrom of opposing currents. I was struggling to get free when I heard a voice say “relax it’s not your time.“

And even though every part of me instinctively wanted to fight because I was drowning, even though every cell in my body biologically kicked into the stress-response, I forced myself to relax.

I allowed my body to go limp, I talked to the memory cells in my body and recalled past knowledge of letting go, I surrendered. And when I let go and let God, when I put my faith in the Divine Intelligence, when I trusted that the Universe had my back, I floated to the top of the water.

Further downstream my friend, sensing something was wrong, lay await in a tree. As I sped past in the racing current, he reached in and pulled me out of the water. I put my faith in God and I put my faith in my friend.

It’s a moment I had forgotten until some 15 years later when I nearly drove to my death. So, 2018 was a game changer for me. This experience, and all the hurtful behaviors I have personally experienced, and those I witnessed as my counseling clients shared their wounds and their pain, transformed my life.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve become less enamored with the fear and the aggression directed at so many. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found it incredibly exhausting fighting a daily battle to ward off lower energies that incessantly attack all that is good.

In 2018 I made a decision to let go of the wheel. I made a commitment to stop trying to control everything and allow. This is not allowing in a victimized, passive sense. This is allowing in a spiritual sense. In some ways you may consider, as I have, loving what shows up. Because what shows up guides us back to our soul purpose—to heal our wounds and help others in return.

As I share in my soon to be released book Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, trying to control everything is a learned behavior I have somewhat unsuccessfully employed to keep myself sane. But I have discovered that the greater power is to let go and let God.

Two months ago, in November of 2018, I reinforced this commitment to allowing the old ways to die in a session with renowned Psych-k therapist, Jane Bromley. I stated my intention, “I’m just going to allow, I’m just going to stop needing to be in control, and I’d like your help getting rid of old programs that are preventing that.”

That exact day, less than three hours after our session a contract that I thought would be mine for several years was terminated. My manager’s behavior was vindictive, malicious, and clearly designed to destroy me. I won’t go into this in too much detail here. In fact, it may well become a book on its own because I know how many of my followers and readers of my Mid-Life Career Rescue series of books suffer at the hands of narcissistic bullying bosses.

Enough is enough. 

I see it now, with the benefit of time and therapy, as divine providence. After all, hadn’t I asked for the old ways to die? I wasn’t meant to be there. I had allowed myself to be dishonored the moment she reneged on our agreed terms of employment. The people pleaser and the victim was still in residence.

I was forced to accept that which felt unacceptable.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks beautifully about of the power of acceptance in The Book of Joy, co-written with The Dalai Lama. Below is an excerpt from this book:

Prayer practice involves reading quotations from the scriptures as well as quotes from the saints and spiritual masters throughout history. One of his favorites is the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich, whose Revelations of Divine Love, penned shortly after she recovered from a life-threatening illness in 1373, is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language. In it, she writes, . . .

“Deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well.”

As if he said, Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time, you will truly see it in the fullness of joy. Acceptance—whether we believe in God or not—allows us to move into the fullness of joy. It allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is not as we would wish. It allows us not to struggle against the day-to-day current. The Dalai Lama had told us that stress and anxiety come from our expectations of how life should be. When we are able to accept that life is how it is, not as we think it should be, we are able to ease the ride, to go from that bumpy axle (dukkha), with all its suffering, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, to the smooth axle (sukha), with its greater ease, comfort, and happiness.

The experience, or rather my treatment by others was hurtful and traumatic. Healing my wounds lead me back to therapy.

I discovered the teachings of Dr. Jordan Peterson and through him rediscovered the teachings of Carl Jung. I earned about the shadow side and the importance of healing trauma, especially releasing it from the body.

I also learned about the power of community and reaching out to others and talking, just talking, and of honesty. Sharing my vulnerabilities, my wounds, and my sorrows. (You may also like my post, Does talk therapy actually work?)

I also placed value on the importance of taking responsibility. I had asked God to lead me. I had affirmed, “thy will be done.”

And I was clearly shown the door. Coincidentally I came across the below which I had written in the tiny book of wisdom I keep by my bed

I was reminded that I hadn’t trusted my intuition. From the beginning, God had told me something was wrong. I write more about  spotting narcissists and overcoming narcissistic abuse in my book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

People told me to stand up. Important people came to my aid and told me they wanted to support me. Where once I had just thought I don’t need the drama or allowed myself to be victimized I decided, in spite of the intense feelings of stress that I was still working through, that I had to take a stand.

In this respect, I took strength from the teachings of Jordan Peterson who urges us all to “Grow some teeth and bite. Bite hard.” Peterson is not urging us to attack with violence, he is urging us to integrate the shadow side so many of us kinder souls may have been taught to disown. Check out his lecture here—https://youtu.be/iDQ8DiP_Y_A.

When you allow bullying you become a victim and you set yourself up to be bullied again. In a perverse twist, you effectively bully yourself into believing you are worthless and powerless, and you’re colluding in this mistruth and this abuse with the perpetrator.

I also took wisdom from the Dalai Lama, “You must not hate those who do harmful things,” he has explained. “The compassionate thing is to do what you can to stop them—for they are harming themselves as well as those who suffer from their actions.”

I put the matter to the attention of my professional ethics committee, to my local member of Parliament, and the perpetrator’s professional supervisor. It’s what my intuition guided me to do.

Again, as the Dalai Lama sagely teaches in The Book of Joy, “We stand firm against the wrong not only to protect those who are being harmed but also to protect the person who is harming others, because eventually they, too, will suffer. So it’s out of a sense of concern for their own long-term well-being that we stop their wrongdoing. This is exactly what we are doing. We do not let anger and negative feelings develop toward the Chinese hard-liners, but in the meantime, we strongly oppose their actions.”

And so rather than allow a wrong to continue I have begun the journey of seeking justice… for myself and for those who may follow.

My energy and intention is not born from vindictiveness or a desire to punish my narcissistic manager. My desire is to stand up for myself, to honor the truth and bring light to darkness.

Bullying affects self-esteem, your identity, your perception of, “am I safe in the world?” It affects how you view yourself, your skills and abilities, it cripples your growth and diminishes your ability to shine brightly in a world that needs your light.

 

Bullying and narcissistic abuse and other hateful, hurtful behaviors needn’t be a life sentence, But it does require you to show up, stand up, speak out. Something we all witnessed in 2018 as the pandemic of sexual assaults was finally called “time” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Enough is enough. More than enough!

A similar thing happened when I received an email out of the blue accusing me of trying to leverage off another woman’s brand when I released my title Sexy Sobriety containing sobriety recipes.  The email was aggressive, intimidating… designed to strike fear.

I sought advice from my writing community. Many authors told me there were no grounds and told me this was just bullying.

“Aggressive grandstanding,“ one best-selling author wrote. “They should have trademarked the name if they wanted to lay claim to it..(I imagine they are in the process of doing that). Otherwise, you could probably fight and win this—if it was important to you.”

But the aggressive emails threatening financial penalties, keep coming. I asked them if the term, “Sexy Sobriety” was trademarked. They told me it wasn’t. Several weeks later they filed for copyright.

I decided this wasn’t important enough for me to fight. Unlike, the issues arising from the narcissistic boss.

 

Income wise, for sure, the road was rocky. With the benefit of being able to look back in review, this was understandable for several key reasons.

Firstly, our home renovation was a nightmare. The tradespeople were great, the finish fantastic, the end result, a dream come true. But the cost, both personally and professionally, fuelled by the budget blowout was beyond belief. Our troubles lay largely at the feet of the main contractor—of course, he didn’t see it that way. Another bully. Another narcissist—as others who had the misfortune of working with him also revealed. But he seemed so nice. So agreeable. Narcissists always do—until you’re screwed.

As I share in Anxiety Rescue: “Narcissistics are fear-based people. They tell a lot of lies and they put a lot of these lies onto you”, says psychotherapist Dr. Les Carter. “As you engage with a narcissist, you quickly realize that person has an agenda for you.”

Things unexpectantly took a turn for worse toward the very end of the rebuild. Thankfully we were back in the house and were in this respect back under control. We only just narrowly avoided a nasty and potentially costly litigious battle (I’ve learned, as you may have, that the only people who really win are the lawyers). We arrived at an uneasy compromise. Better uneasy peace than the stress of warfare waging on.

If only some of our world leaders would act similarly.

Needless to say, all this chaos made it nearly impossible to write and I was nowhere nearly as industrious and prolific as I was in the previous years.

Secondly, USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch summed up some of the changes which affected many authors like me.

“Amazon shook up the industry first by a shift to favoring paid advertising over organic search results, then with policy changes that led to decreased revenue

Other interesting turns included dubious trademark claims, leading to the addition of terms like Cockygate being added to every indie author’s lexicon. Some authors attempted to trademark generic cover layouts and common words to (allegedly) protect their intellectual property. In general, it was a year filled with questionable practices on the IP front.”  

Many lessons were learned, and I have attempted to adapt with the times.

However, December was my best ever month, ending the year on a high as my best year yet author-wise.

It wasn’t always like this, and like any new endeavour, there was a lot to learn. Baby steps, passion and perserverennce and a big wallop of tenacity and self-belief  (often feigned) were key.

2016, my first year as an indie author. I remember being thrilled with my first royalty payment—$136. I was so cuffed, I pasted the notifcation in my Passion Journal. I’m still proud of that result. 

2018, also heralded a greater focus on my counseling work, and it was an absolute honor and joy to have worked with so many varied and beautiful people—some as young as eight. I developed a new passion for working with trauma and child therapy, as long as the other areas of passion I have—all unified by my purpose to help create more love in this crazy world.

As you’ll discover from reading Anxiety Rescue, I believe the best solutions integrate mind, body, and soul. Whichever way you define spirituality you’ll benefit from tailored approaches that feed and nourish and empower your spirit.

As Kiri*, one of my New Zealand-based clients shared with me recently,

“In Maoridom for me, I will relate to you as a  Kaitiaki, meaning ‘guardian’. How I became to have you in my path was purely by spiritual contact—a nudge an inner tiny voice directing me to you. Cass, you don’t realize the great healing you have in the pit of your soul and you were born to spread compassion. You have those who watch over you, and mine in return, and yet they all speak the same language to us who are willing to hear and feel.  In such a long time have I never met a beautiful soul who finally understood me who went within and helped me grow from our sessions.”

 

This feedback made my heart glad—especially when I was going through such a toxic work situation.

Therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives.

Kiri, who came to see me following a period of grief and trauma, had become so unwell she could no longer work, and struggled to find meaning in her life. In just one session, where we ‘played’ with crayons in a session of Interactive Drawing Therapy, she experienced a complete transformation. In her picture, she drew vibrant threads of colorful energy and empowering words that encouraged her to seek joy.

As the sessions continued I introduced her to the healing power of meditation. And of course, we talked. Or she talked, and I listened. Very often, all we need is someone to listen to our story and help us reintegrate who we truly are.

Or, you may find, as many of my clients have, that working with a life coach, rather than a counselor is the most effective strategy.

A problem shared can lead to a problem solved. Talking with someone objective is often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life.

To learn more about my approach or to schedule a session I invite you to visit—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellness-therapies/

 

If there is only one insight you take away from my year in review, I hope it is a newfound belief in the importance of being yourself. This often requires embracing the shadowy aspects of our personality and shedding alll the layers of debri that prevent you from being authentically you. It also involves clearing away the crap that may have been thrown at you, and baring some teeth at those who try to attack you. But even more importantly it means remembering who you truly are.

The doorway to this is co-creating with spirit in the energies of passion, purpose, and love.

I can personally testify for the life-transforming effects of this philosophy.

With hard work and inspired products and services created with passion and purpose, miraculous things are possible.

Good luck in 2019.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her new book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, will be released.

You might like:

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

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

The anxiety cure: How I avoid depression, get energized, find joy, and stay inspired

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

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

Why passion is a powerful healing tool

 

* named changed to protect privacy.

what are you grateful for?

Monday, November 19th, 2018

 

Happy Thanksgiving! Where ever you are in the world it’s a fabulous time to celebrate the things we are most grateful for.

I’m really grateful to you and to all my clients who teach me so much. I love witnessing the transformation and change and I’m honored when my clients, and people who read my books, reveal their deepest longings, and all the hurts and vulnerabilities they feel stand in their way. And I’m so thankful to have people able to help people discover freedom, find happiness and change their lives.

I’m grateful that in my work as a holistic therapist I’ve been lead to become very passionate about helping others to do their shadow work—bringing to the surface those parts of ourselves we don’t like or deny.

Sometimes shadow work also involves bringing to light the gifts, talents, and deepest desires that have been shamed or forbidden throughout our lives.

Discovering the spiritual path and spiritual gift of shadow work and realizing why for so long I denied so many aspects of me (and in turn, why they often acted out and sabotaged my success) has lead me to revalue and reclaim my truest self.

Shadow work shone a healing light on the repression of my own creativity and spirituality. Even now as I prepare to more fully embrace these parts of me, I feel the flickering flame of judgment. But now that I more fully understand the source, and also the soul purpose of loving my shadows, I’m also feeling empowered, energized, and elated!

I’m thankful for how liberating and freeing it is to embrace my shadow side and my light!

I am grateful to have been guided to this work to the work of Jordan Peterson, a Canadian author, clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Peterson has exploded onto the world-stage, shining a spotlight on what others have turned our “addiction to happiness”. Listening to his impassioned call to embrace and take responsibility for the darkest aspects of ourselves I’m reminded of Buddhist wisdom, “Life is suffering.” It’s how we react to the suffering that enables us to flourish and transcend our pain.

So many people are in denial of this aspect of our reality, running away from the shadow—self-medicating or numbing through alcohol and drugs, prescription medicines, and doing whatever it takes to run from the shadow which evokes those feelings of unworthiness, sadness, anger, guilt, shame—and regret.

But escapism provides no long-term sustainable relief. It only entrenches the shadow deeper—given depth to an aching sadness, or madness, that can’t even be alleviated truly through medical intervention.

The only true healing can come by bringing the shadow into the light and Integrating those aspects of our personalities that we have denied, or in some cases, trauma has disembodied.

I’m grateful that America celebrates a day of thanksgiving. And I’m especially grateful for all the suffering I’ve experienced—the transcending of which has enabled me to grow spiritually and emerge a kinder, more compassionate, happier person.

I’m thankful for the talent God has given me to use my gifts to help others down the path of healing, love, life, death, and the rebirth of a better version of themselves. Like John, 25 who has kicked a 10-year habit of drug abuse. Or, Callum, aged 10, who now has tools to manage his anger. Or, Hannah who has embraced her spiritual soul self and has set up a spiritual practice. And Justin Raj who posted the following feedback after reading Your Beautiful Mind—I’m so thankful he won the fight after a lengthy battle with alcohol addiction (something historically people said was incurable)

5.0 out of 5 stars.Discovering 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!

~ Justin Raj, journalist and investment banker

I’m grateful to my clients who are seeking my help to save their relationships and to do the inner work of healing childhood traumas that infect their sense of self today.

 

work with me!


If you’d love to transcend whatever is holding you back, work with me!

Whether your relationship needs rescuing, you need a career rejuvenation, or anxiety and depression are pushing you to despair, or perhaps addiction has you in its grip… I’d love to help.

Perhaps you just need someone to talk to—someone skilled and objective.. Schedule your personalized counseling session TODAY and enjoy a limited time offer …all sessions booked prior to 27 November will receive another session absolutely free. Saving you USD $100!

 

 

Or perhaps some of my self-empowerment books are calling you——or you feel they’d be perfect for someone you love, as this Amazon reviewer of Mind Your Drink wrote when he left his 5-star review.

I have been going through a tsunami of stress! Right now, my favorite go-to ones to help me self-soothe, include:

 

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety

If you’d like to experiment with a period of sobriety or you need help to you moderate your drinking, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, available as a paperback and eBook will help

getbook.at/MindYourDrink

 

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love

Focus your energy and time to achieve outstanding personal and professional results. Find your point of brilliance and purpose in life. Available in print and eBook—getBook.at/Passion

The Art of Success: Leonardo da Vinci

The 8-Step Blueprint to True Success for Your Relationships, Your Bank Account, Your Body and Your Soul. Leonardo da Vinci had to overcome obstacles to succeed just like you and I. Be inspired by his blueprint for success. I know I am! Available in print and eBook—

getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

 

Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

Bounce features the most essential and stirring passages from my previous books, exploring topics such as meditation, mindfulness, positive health behaviours, and working with fear, depression, anxiety, and other painful emotions.

Bounce encourages a more playful approach to the seriousness of life and the ever-present stressors we all face. Through the course of this book, you will learn practical, creative and simple methods for heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block happiness and joy and hold you back.

Available in print and eBook—viewBook.at/Bounce

 

Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

If you need more help to you manage stress my book, Stress Less, available as a paperback and Ebook will help. Navigate to here—getBook.at/StressLess

 

Mid-Life Career Rescue: The Call for Change

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.

Or you may prefer to take my online course and watch inspirational and practical videos and other strategies to help you to fulfill your potential—https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity.

 

Amazon reviewer of Mind Your Drink—getbook.at/MindYourDrink

What’s stopping your version of extraordinary?

If you’re feeling thankful for the wisdom and encouragement I’ve shared above and would like more personalized help to discover, embrace, rejoice in your shadow and live your best life, I really would love to work with you—what are you waiting for? Schedule your session now and receive an additional session for FREE. http://www.cassandragaisford.com/schedule-an-appoi…

   

The anxiety cure: How I avoid depression, get energized, find joy, and stay inspired

Monday, October 29th, 2018

 

People often compliment me for my sunny disposition and bubbly, passionate nature. So it may surprise you to learn that I don’t always feel up-beat and inspired. I’m just like you. Sometimes I feel despondent, depressed, and stressed. Like many of my clients and people who are drawn to my self-empowerment books sometimes my outlook can be intensely bleak.

These are not feelings I like to stew in, so I’ve learned a few simple strategies to help my soul and spirit soar.

It often surprises me when people say to me, “It’s easy for you, Cassandra. You’re always happy.” Or, when people criticize me, as a former colleague once did. “You know your problem? You’re too happy.”

As I read somewhere recently, “Being positive is an act of courage—it’s easier to be negative.”

Thank you, whoever you are— I found your words inspiring.

Below are just a few of my favorite ways to spark joy and become inspired—even when I felt like s**t. If you’re feeling down, flat, discouraged, fatigued or beaten up by life, I hope you find some encouragement in my words which follow.

 

Lost your mojo? Heed the early warning signs

I’m super vigilant to heed the red flags that warn me that I’m heading for a depressive or anxious state. I put preventive strategies in place, and draw on these (topping them up when I need an extra boost) during times of heavier-than-normal workload or life hassles.

I’m as guilty as anyone of having a propensity to over-work. I love what I do with such a passion it doesn’t feel like a job at all. I’d happily work weekends and nights if need be. But I know I’m not a machine. I know I need to rest. I know that lack of balance between work and play is not a smart success strategy.

Some of the things I do to look after my health include:

  • Regular massages
  • Meditating twice daily
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Working only with clients I enjoy
  • Taking time out for my passions and hobbies
  • Making time for my relationships
  • Writing morning pages
  • Writing my daily gratitudes in a journal
  • Looking at and updating my passion journal
  • Switching off from technology
  • Surrounding myself with inspirational people whenever possible
  • Reducing, and at times, eliminating alcohol
  • Eating healthily
  • Tuning into the spiritual realm
  • Spending time in nature
  • Regular silent retreats
  • Eliminating negativity
  • Exercising regularly

It may look like a long list, but in reality, most of these things only take a few minutes and many can be batched. Others, like meditating and going for massages take more time out of my day. But they replenish my energy and allow my mind and heart and spirit to work more effectively.

I’ve been meditating for over 25 years now and love it. And while it can be challenging to find time during busy or stressful periods, it really is the key to boosting creativity, harnessing intuition, building resilience, and creating a calm and happier outlook in general. These are all important factors in maintaining the energy and focus to create and sustain your well-being.

I also remind myself to follow my mantra, “If it’s not fun, I’m NOT doing it!” Sometimes this requires an attitude shift. 

Someone asked me recently what my strategy for handling job stress was. One of my winning strategies is to list all the things that are causing me stress and find a way to minimize their impact. For me – the biggest change happened when I took control of my career and planned for my future. That helped me let go of taking everything in my old job so seriously.

If you, or someone you love, is impacted by work stress I have loads more tips – instant access and all for less than the price of coffee:

Mid-Life Career Rescue (The Call For Change: How to change careers, confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you love, before it’s too late Take the stress out of making a change, confirm your best-fit career and move toward your preferred future. Available in print and eBook from Amazon—getBook.at/CareerChange

Work can be your greatest joy

I am continually inspired by my clients. Work is my greatest joy. They inspire me with their courage, their tenacity, their incredible resilience and tremendous ability to open themselves up to me and reveal their vulnerabilities. I love that they come to see me to free themselves of blocks and to plow through obstacles that are holding them back. So many people never seek help. Too many people go it alone or stay stuck.

Many of my clients have said they could do anything if they only knew what it was. Finding the job of your dreams and standing out from the crowd begins with an idea, a dream or a hunch about what you would love to do and why.

However, this is not the way that many of us have been conditioned to think about careers.

Traditional methods used to choose careers like checklists and assessments are being transformed by some creative thinking. If you haven’t listened to my interview on Radio New Zealand, check it out on my media page—we’re discussing this very thing.

As Nick Williams, author of The Work You Were Born To Do, shares in the foreword of my book, Mid-Life Career Rescue, “Too few of us have been bought up to believe that it is possible to make our living doing something we love, that lights our hearts up and stirs our passions. This is what I call the work we were born to do, and is our true work. To find your true work is a great blessing, one of life’s greatest blessings I believe. And to be paid for your work rather than work for pay is one of life’s greatest joys.“

Are you ready to find your greatest joy?

 

Darkness can herald great light

I once counseled a young girl who had been sexually assaulted five years earlier and who had tried to take her life the night before her family called for support.

Not fun. Not fun at all.

At first, I felt overwhelmed by the horror and enormity of what this beautiful soul had suffered. But then inspiration struck—to me inspiration is all about being in spirit. It’s source energy, it’s God essence, it’s a higher vibrational power. It’s love.

I began to think, “How could I help this child rediscover joy? How could I help her feel fun and find laughter again? I drew inspiration from the work of Viktor Frankl, best known for his inspired book, ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’, and also the teachings of Dr. Edith Eger which I discovered in her book, ‘The Choice: Embrace the Possible.’

Both therapists draw upon the life survival lessons gained in the most horrific of places. Auschwitz

In 1944, Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. wrenched from her parents on arrival, she endured unimaginably evil experiences. When Auschwitz was finally liberated, barely alive, she was pulled from a pile of bodies.

But she refused to let the horrors of the Holocaust to break her. She refused to let evil rob her of joy. Instead, in the process of healing herself, she found her purpose.

During her healing, Dr. Eger also discovered the work of Viktor Frankl and he later became her mentor.  Slowly and with great power she learned to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

Rather than let her painful past destroy her, Edith chose to transform it into a powerful gift. It’s a gift she uses in her work as a therapist to help others heal and to recover from all kinds of hardship.

As Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate writes in the foreword to her book,

The Choice is a gift to humanity.  One of those rare and eternal stories that you don’t want to end and that leaves you forever changed.  Dr. Eger’s life reveals our capacity to transcend even the greatest of horrors and to use that suffering for the benefit of others.  She has found true freedom and forgiveness and shows us how we can as well.”

“Even in hell hope can flower,” her book blurb reminds us.

Dr. Eger’s experiences and those of many other great souls’ who have endured unthinkable hardship provides an empowering message for us all. I am particularly encouraged by Dr. Eger’s belief in, and driving purpose, the knowledge that the greatest wound, can with guidance, herald the greatest joy.

And it is this central message and way of working with clients that I wish to use as my guiding philosophy. For joy, not hatred, fear, vengeance, guilt or shame, is (along with love) the greatest healing power there is.

I am also inspired in my work the performer Lady Gaga who has spoken so openly of her struggles. She was sexually assaulted when she was just nineteen. Check out her emotional speech on surviving sexual assault and mental health—https://youtu.be/14KX7xOJsqE

I am also inspired and encouraged in my work as a self-empowerment author and therapist to help people find joy and purpose by Oprah, who credits her strong sense of spirit as her greatest transformational tool. “Turn your wounds into wisdom,” she says.

I have been very, very lucky not to have been sexually assaulted. But I have escaped many, many attempts—including a man exposing himself to me when I walked to school  when I was around six; a known rapist climbing in my bedroom window when I was a teenager; a stranger breaking into my bedroom; a guy trapping me in his car and masturbating; a man exposing himself to me when I sat on a beach in Wellington; and an Arab man asking me if I would like to “make love in the caves” when I had (naively) accepted his offer to take me into the desert to look at ruins.

A Māori healer and seer once told me that I had a kaitiaki, or guardian angel protecting me. Kaitiaki is a New Zealand term used for the Māori concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land.

Following these experiences, no human helped me. Nobody offered a guiding hand. They didn’t even point me in the direction of the mental and emotional healing I so desperately needed. It wasn’t until I trained to become a counsellor in my thirties that I finally received the help I needed. I had learned to suppress these memories.

But spirit helped me. Spirit protected me.

I remember when the man trapped me in his car—I felt my soul leave my body. I shut down. But then a great power came over me and told me clearly to break out of the car and run for my life. I ran to a house, and he chased me in his car. I knocked on the door and told them what was happening to me. They shut the door in my face. I was a terrified 19-year-old. But I knew I had to survive. So I pretended the people had let me in, and I hid in the bushes instead. I only emerged when I felt ’sure’ that it would be safe enough to walk the long road back to the backpackers where I was staying with a friend.

Everyone encouraged me to go to the police. I was reluctant. I feared judgment and blamed. I wondered if anyone would they believe me. At the time of this experience a young woman, Kirsa Jensen, had also gone missing. She was abducted in broad daylight, in the same city (Napier) that this man had taken me. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/98509935/the-lost-what-happened-to-missing-girl-kirsa-jensen

I wasn’t offered any help, any emotional healing, but the Police were good to me. And I was lucky. They found the man who had exposed himself. But his version of events was very different. He told them I had encouraged him. For me, it was enough that the police knew who he was. I hoped that perhaps by spotlighting his behavior, if he was the man who had taken Kirsa Jenson, that my willingness to tell them what had happened to me might save another.

“Beckon the world to kindness,” says Lady Gaga. “Turn kindness into plutonium and change the world.” It’s a wonderful mantra. Imagine how different people’s lives would be if more people adopted this call to action.

My favourite spiritual tools to reawaken inspiration, healing and kindness

Some of my favourite tools to reawaken inspiration (and healing) lie in the realm of spirituality.

Here are just a few:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Morning pages
  • Gratitudes
  • Sobriety
  • Helping others
  • The Akashic Records
  • Creativity
  • Writing
  • Inspiring others

One of my favorite strategies involves oracle cards. And I’m in good company. Coco Chanel and many successful people also turned to the invisible realm for inspiration. I share more about how Coco Chanel used oracles, including Tarot cards, in my book, The Art of Success: Coco Chanel.

As I share in my book, At the time of writing this post I referred to a new deck by Collette Baron-Reid, Postcards from Spirit. It was headed, ‘Your destiny’ today’s card revealed, “Is to be present to all life’s adventures, to discover your talents and full potential through allowing inspiration to lead you, and to risk standing apart from the crowd to listen to your soul.”

These words sparked the idea for this post and to share more of my personal story. Another spark came from a negative review one of my books received on Amazon, “Her story would be more interesting,” the reviewer wrote. I have been toying with a personal memoir for some time, and now (thanks to some unexpected encouragement) I’ve made a start.

I haven’t decided on the title yet. Here are a few ideas I am considering:

Living in this world: A Rational Woman’s Quest to Spiritualize Her Life.”

The Promise: A Rational Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Spirituality.”

Like many, mid-lifers it’s taken a long time, lots of reading and more than a drop of therapy, to shed past conditioning and the stigma of anything ‘woo woo.’’

Here’s a wee draft excerpt and a mock up of a cover

Introduction

2012, the year I truly embarked on my spiritual quest – (qualifying to become a Reiki Teacher) not realizing until many years later auspiciousness of that date, given changes to the Crystalline Grid.

A spiritual journey is an act of discovery. It is not always embraced by all those who you meet on your spiritual path. As Viktor Frankl said, “Those who give light may also be burned.”

That certainly has been my case. Take some of many work experiences where I was persecuted for shedding light on injustices or for doing my job too well—spotlighting others incompetence. 

“You walk the path of jealousy,” psychics have told me. ‘You have suffered many lifetimes of loss and persecution.”

Great I think? Why me? Why do I have this karmic atomic flame that sometimes makes living in their world so painful?

Back in 2012 as I began my spiritual quest. I was tired of feeling life was a constant uphill battle. I reflected on that recent work experience and others like it.

“You have denied for so long who you are that you have forgotten who you are,” wrote Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God.

His words spoke to my spiritual, intuitive self. He spoke to the soul I saw when I looked at photos of myself as a child with my grandmother and cousins—me, the child with the all-seeing eyes. Sometimes I see too much. Named, Cassandra, like my namesake, given the gift of prophecy and not always believed.

Life has taken me on a long journey to reclaim my creative self. Growing up I was never nurtured, never told I was loved. As an adult the dominant message is that I am a disappointment.

“Your thoughts about yourself is that you are not good enough, not wondrous enough, not sinless enough to be part of God, in partnership with God,” wrote Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God.

In 2012, when I began my quest, that phase spoke to me, shouting, ‘Who am I to lay claim to being spiritual?’

“You are spiritual,” Claire, another woman on my Reiki Attunement Course, said to me. I wrote it down and tried to own it. I struggled. I struggle still. But then, I have never liked labels.

Years later, as I write this book, it’s beginning to fit. Like a dress too sizes too large, something you hope to grow into when you grow up, my confidence and self belief and trust in Spirit has expanded.

 

Journal Entry July 2012

The winds of change

The wind raises its throat to the sky and roars. The rain sinks through the clouds and pours. Nothing remains the same, nothing is still. All is impermanent, restless, moving.

Get your essence back, find yourself, stand on your own two strong feet. You may be vilified, chastised, forsaken to the streets, but take comfort, know for evermore, your heart beats. Beats with the passion that infuses your body whole. For you have risen, transformed, discovered your soul.

I awoke in the night, just before midnight to the phone ringing. I pulled it from the wall but sleep won’t come still. So as the wind roars and unleashes its impatience upon stoic trees who refuse to yield, refuse to be swayed from the place, the purpose to which they are rooted, I awake. I am reminded by the following passage from Conversations with God (which I flicked open after initially ‘rejecting’ the call to pick up the book – putting it to one side instead):

“Life will ‘take off’ for you, then, when you chose it to. You have procrastinated, prolonged, protracted, protested. Now it is time that you promulgated and produced what you have been promised. To do this you must believe the promise and live it. You must believe the promise of God…”

I flicked to the page which spoke to me when the phone that rang in the night and was reminded that I can not let the winds of change deter me from my course, I cannot ‘fight’ but must surrender, go with the flow, flex and bend as do trees, and anchor myself to the true me…

…The Buddha within.

 

 

New stuff sparks inspiration

 

If you need to awaken your inspiration, check out this video…

It’s a sneak peek into how I manifested my 2016 goals

Very often inspiration lies at the edge of what we already know. This is something Leonardo da Vinci knew very well. Da Vinci was the ultimate experimenter and he allowed a child-like curiosity to lead. Yet so often we resist embracing the realm of the unknown. Either, that, or we don’t create space in our crammed schedules, distracted instead, by habits that take us nowhere interesting or inspiring.

Recently, a young man in his twenties came to me for anger management counseling. At the heart of his issues was frustration that he hadn’t achieved what he felt he was capable of. That and a ‘time-suck’ habit of substance abuse. He told me he was always getting in his way and struggled to maintain focus.

Amongst other strategies we brain-stormed together, (including kicking his drug habit) I suggested awakening inspiration by keeping a passion journal. I suggested that by keeping clippings and ideas that inspired him it would help create a clarity of vision.

“I don’t do that cutting out kind of stuff,” he said, looking at me as if to say, ‘that sounds babyish.’

“Have you ever tried?” I asked.

“No,” he said, softening a little as realization dawned.

“So how do you know it won’t work?”

He shrugged.

“Would you be willing to experiment?”

“Okay,” he replied.

Another client, who came to me for help moving past entranced feelings of grief, leaped at the idea of creating a Joy Journal. Similarly, a teenager who was feeling fatigued created an Energy Journal. She showed me it the other day and I noticed how her face lit up when she shared with me the images of the people and things that energized her and made her happy. She also added a section with mood foods—things to eat less of and those to eat more off (including drinking more water).

Whatever you call your book of inspiration, the important thing to embrace is a spirit of play.

You’ll find more tips to help you create a passion/joy/energy journal and manifest your dreams and goals easily in my books, The Passion Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Love, Life, and Career Goals, Available in ebook and Paperback here—getbook.at/ThePassionJournal. And, if you long to create a business or begin a side hustle, The Passion-Driven Business Planning Journal: The Effortless Path to Manifesting Your Business and Career Goals. Available in ebook and Paperback here—viewBook.at/PassionBusinessJournal.

 

Your vibe tribe

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is always a fantastic and simple way to spark joy, minimize anxiety and boost your inspiration.

The simplest definition of your Vibe Tribe is a group of supportive people that share the same values, beliefs, and aspirations. Sometimes to flourish you need to break free of your current tribe and find one that breathes fresh air into your life, lifts you higher and brings out the best in you.

Recently, for example, I tuned into the Being Boss podcast  https://beingboss.club/podcast. I listened to an awesome interview with Modern Mystic Kelley Knight https://beingboss.club/podcast/episode-197-modern-mystic-kelley-knight±

Check out Episode #196 if you’d love to learn more about using tarot in everyday life—https://beingboss.club/podcast/episode-196-everyday-tarot-biddy-tarot. You may also like #51 Getting Witchy with Carolyn Elliott—https://beingboss.club/podcast/podcast-episode-51-getting-witchy-carolyn-elliott

As you may have noticed, I find huge inspiration from collecting inspiring quotes. I either paste these in my journal and/or keep a file in my computer of inspiring quotes in differing categories. Whenever I need an inspirational boost I turn to these sources for timely reminders.

 

Follow your inspiration

After listening to the podcast I was inspired to know more about the people that Kelley Knight mentioned in her interview and who she was inspired by, one of whom was a Kundalini Yoga teacher Guru Jagat

As a result, and following inspiration when it strikes, I purchased the book,

Invincible Living: The Power of Yoga, The Energy of Breath, and Other Tools for a Radiant Life by Guru Jagat. Guru Jagat, as the time of writing, is the youngest senior Kundalini Yoga teacher in the world and the face of the new Kundalini movement. I love, love, love book and her philosophy.

“There is energy to beauty, a frequency, and it’s inherent in your human birthright to behold it, live it, and embody it.” ~ Guru Jagat

My daughter had also told me the previous day how she had recently discovered Kundalini Yoga and was loving it. Hearing this, and then the ‘go—incidence’ of hearing how Kelley Knight was inspired by Guru Jagat’s classes on her channel, RA MA TV, awakened a desire to learn it too. Said by some to be the “Netflix” of Kundalini Yoga, as a result, I signed up for a $15 monthly subscription to access her classes anytime, anywhere.

In Kundalini Yoga, there is no “beginner’s” or “advanced” yoga set. You can tune in to any class, at any level, and have your own experience. For students looking for a step by step introduction, our Beginners Series focuses on the foundational breaths, postures, and meditations of Kundalini Yoga.”

On the Being Boss podcast, Kelley Knight described the differences between other meditation and yoga modalities how a daily practice of Kundalini Yoga expands her capacity for success.

“It’s meditation heavy. It’s not big on postures. You’ll do the same things for minutes and minutes on end. There’s also of mantras and chanting and mudras*, so it’s a very active meditation. I have a very hard time sitting in silent meditation. When I’m doing Kundalini Meditation, when I’m chanting or touching my fingers, there’s some movement, it helps me go deeper and move my energy. But the main philosophy, I would say, or the main benefit I get from Kundalini Yoga as opposed to other modalities I’ve tried is that it is focused on the aura, and it’s really focused on your electromagnetic field and that’s what makes you radiant and helps you attract success and actually lodge things and programme them in your aura as part of a manifestation practice. So it helps you, the stronger your aura gets the more you can hold and sustain success. It’s a business strategy for me.”

(*A quick search of Google tells me that a mudra is a “gesture that facilitates the flow of energy in the subtle body. Mudras help you draw yourself inward. Each is a symbolic gesture that can stimulate different areas of the brain transmitting an exact goal of channeling energy flow during meditation.”)

The first class was only 3.33 minutes long (or short!) I loved learning how, by using a mantra, it taps into the hypothalamus and boosts brain chemistry, and increases oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ which helps us feel happy. The ‘Tune In’ exercise, the video explains, begins with the mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This translates as, “I am the Universal totality, I am a clear teacher for myself, and for others.” It’s a nice affirmation to empower intentions for the day.

It’s the first time I have experienced this kind of mediation, but I love the fact that it uses breath work and sound (and mudras)—rather than pure silence and stillness. Fast forward to around 29 minutes into the Being Boss interview with Kelley Knight for further details about the benefits.

 

Bliss of breath

Recently, I have had the pleasure of experiencing a stunning Bliss of Breath class with Shannon Rose, Breath of Bliss, Breathwork Facilitator. And highly recommend her work—http://byshannonrose.com/. Again, it was an FTE for me (First Time Experience) and I loved it.

Here’s a testimonial from her website,

“I went to Shannon’s breathwork ceremony and the transformative experience cannot even be put into words. It was truly two hours of deep emotional release and connection that has shifted things in me that I’ve been trying to deal with for such a long time. The exercises, the music, Shannon’s guidance was all so perfect, I could not recommend her ceremony any more to absolutely everyone, it is such a beautiful way to come back to feeling like a free and happy person.”

 

Following inspiration also includes reminding myself of the magic of writing and reading and watching movies. 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.”

Recently I came across an excerpt of Liane Moriarty’s new book, Nine Perfect Strangers. The story takes us inside the world of health retreats. Could 10 days of wellness really change your life forever? I’m intrigued…and inspired to read more. Reading the excerpt also reminded me of my love of writing fiction Something I haven’t been doing enough of.

I’ve also just watched Bradley Coopers inspired adaption of A Star is Born, starring himself and Lady Gaga. WOW! Great storytelling with a powerful message to share.  Cooper was on Time’s list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2015, and when you see this movie, his first crack at producing, it’s not hard to see why.

 

Golden moments

Another way I become inspired is by reminding myself of my most inspired times—including places I’ve been and people I’ve met. Like the time I met Zen Buddhist Monk and renown artist Max Gimblett (

http://www.maxgimblett.com/).In 2008 I was thrilled to meet Max Gimblett while he was exhibiting at the Paige Blackie gallery in Wellington. And even more thrilled in September of that year to attend his Sumi painting workshop in Maui, Hawaii. I used the money I won when I was notified that I was the Supreme Winner Wai Art Awards, for my artwork, “Love Stain” – a mixed media triptych to study this beautiful art form with him.

I also felt super inspired and zenned out after receiving my Reiki Master Teacher attunement and having a massage on the beach—at Balian Beach, near Tabanan, Bali. I named this photo my ‘Bliss Super Smile.

 

The flames of inspiration are also ignited when I share wonderful times with those closest to me—like my mom who took me with her to Bali.

 

Other golden moments included traveling with my partner to Sicily for his 50th. and also travelling one year with 12 fabulous photographers to Puglia, Italy to learn photography tips from the uber-inspiring Carla Coulson. definitely refueled my  waning inspiration. You can see some of my photos and  the other inspiration-seeking photographers here—https://carlacoulson.com/they-had-a-dream-and-look-where-it-took-them/

Finally got my panning shot…yay…red Vespa in Bari

I love food photography! Here’s my fig shot!

 

What’s Your Inspiration Plan?

Often when people are feeling stressed they tell me they don’t have enough time to do what they know will make them feel inspired. They tell me that they feel drained, sluggish and lack energy. Rather than default to a time management plan, consider creating a maximizing energy plan.

One of my client’s, who was recovering from serious depression, chose to call hers a sustainable energy plan. Things you may wish to consider including are:

  • What times of the day do you experience your peak mental energy?
  • What time of day is your physical energy at the optimum?
  • What foods give you energy? Which deplete you or only give a short-term benefit?
  • What people and situations give you energy? Which deplete your energy?

Plan to make changes to your daily schedule so that your energy flows rather than stagnates. No excuses! All the time in the Universe won’t help you achieve your goals if you’re too run down to achieve them. Manage your energy—and your sanity!

Here’s a brief sample of my new energy plan:

  • I will totally eliminate alcohol consumption for three months and journal how I feel
  • I will stop taking on new projects before I’ve finished current ones
  • I will increase my spiritual practices, including a daily practice of meditation and Kundalini Yoga, and listening to talks by spiritual teachers, and reading their books, to both strengthen and learn new skills.
  • I will rise early and begin my day with a walking meditation
  • I will do less listening to people rant and rage, and more self-care by walking away (respecting their right to express themselves and my right to protect my energy).
  • I will stop procrastinating by releasing my unreasonable demand for perfection and enjoy instead the creative process of alllowing
  • I will do more beckoning the world to kindness and follow the inspiration set by Lady Gaga to  Turn kindness into plutonium and change the world.”
  • I will stop trying to “fix” other people or get them to see and do things our way, instead of accepting them for who they are and accepting their choices
  • I will surrender to spiritual guidance

 

Could you do Christmas sober?

I stopped drinking booze two days before Christmas in 2016. Can you imagine Christmas sober? And New Years, and then the work week, the weekends with friends?

And guess what. I DO NOT miss it one little bit? What made it easier? Getting angry. Angry at the people killed by drunk drivers, angry at the increase in domestic violence and murders, angry at normally placid young men locked in prison for alcohol-related offences—and angry at the lies the booze barons tell to feed people’s addictions and line their own wallets.

Angry, and gutted and sad when Amy Winehouse drank herself to death.

I’m not angry in a negative way, I’m angry in an empowered way. And I’m glad my stand has encouraged my daughter, now in her 20’s, to give booze a break too. Last year she went to see Adele sing in Auckland. I’m gutted she’ll never get to see Amy Winehouse. That nobody will be to see Amy Winehouse—and thousands of other people whose lives are lost to booze.

“The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.” ~ Bede Jarrett.

Are you angry enough to control alcohol before it controls you?

Many people struggle to control alcohol because they’re not motivated by sobriety. But being sober isn’t just about not drinking.

Sobriety is achieved by putting energy and effort toward something you really desire.

Knowing why you want something is just as important as knowing what you want.

Why do you want to control your drinking? To feel better about yourself? To achieve wellbeing goals? Because you’re afraid that your drinking it taking over your body and your life? To inspire others? Because you’re curious that what you’ve been hearing is true—life really is better sober? Or something else?

Here are just a few benefits of achieving sobriety:

• Improved mental health and wellbeing

• Better physical health

• Improved emotional health

• Elevated spiritual health

• Saves money

• Enriches your relationships

• Is an indispensable part of fulfillment

• Energizes you

• Liberates you

• Will change your life and the lives of those who matter most to you

Being sober sounds great, and it is. But the challenge is that so many of us have been brainwashed into believing it’s awesome to be drunk.

 

If you’d like to trial a period of sobriety I write about the life-changing benefits of giving up alcohol in several of my books, including, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety, Your Beautiful Mind, and Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life. Sobriety is a superpower—when you detox your mind and body you free your soul.

 

Resilience Is the key to thriving

The key to being inspired and attracting everything we want to is master the art of resilience. As I say in Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, resilient people are flexible, they bend with the winter gales and arc with the summer breeze. When the fury of a hurricane knocks them down, they get back up again— and it’s the getting back up that elevates your bounce.

In the absence of deflation, you become like a magnet for more greatness. This is your attracting power. When you feel good and align with inspired love, your energy radiates a signal to the Universe. Your energy vibrates the clear message that you’re aligned with joy and you’re up for more if it.

We need to be tough in a way that enables us to bounce back from setbacks, get up the next day, and start over again. Resilience is a mental, emotional and spiritual muscle—it’s one we can and must exercise regularly and make stronger.

To be resilient we must learn to set our own standards and have the confidence not to be distracted or disempowered by others who may try to set standards for us.

Resilience can be learned. There is a myriad of resources helping people create greater mental and emotional health, spiritual empowerment and personal strategies like exercise, relaxation, exorcize anger and frustrations and finding the positive.

Sometimes I’m more resilient than other times, and when the balance of power tilts in favor of the negative I amplify my resilience strategies.

It’s not easy to stay inspired, sometimes life is struggle, but a groundswell of research and personal success stories point to resilience as the key to survival.

That’s why I meditate every day, and kick off with my MAGIC mornings routine (meditation, affirmation, goals, inspiration, co-creation). As Tim Ferriss writes in his book, Tool of Titans. “When you win the morning you win the day.”

 

If you’ve lost your mojo, check out this video…

 

Reminding yourself of golden moments can rekindle a spark you thought you have lost, and remind you of things to do to get your mojo back.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

You might like:

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

Four Good Reasons for Starting a Passion Journal

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

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

Why Sobriety is Cool, Sophisticated, and Savvy

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

Friday, October 12th, 2018

 

Workaholism is an addiction for many passionate people. Others use overwork to medicate their unhappiness in other areas of their life—most commonly dissatisfaction with their relationships.

When you work slavishly, particularly at something you love, your brain releases chemicals called opiates which create feelings of euphoria. No wonder it’s hard to step away!

Euphoria stems from the Greek word euphoría—the power of enduring easily. But consider what the state of endurance implies. Enduring implies force or strain, or gritting your teeth and bearing it at times. Force or strain with no respite leads to stress, overload, and burnout—robbing you of vital energy and depleting your millionaire mindset.

Many people find when they don’t step away from their work they suffer disillusionment, and things that once filled them with passion, including their current writing projects, no longer fills them with joy. Resentment builds and relationships with family, friends, and colleagues can also suffer.

Working addictively offers a short-term fix, but lasting happiness needs variety and nourishment. Being with family or friends, engaging in a hobby, spending time in nature, learning something new, helping others, or just being solitary will help you avoid burnout, nourish your brain, heart, and soul, improve your judgment, and restore harmony.

To be truly happy and successful, you must be able to be at peace when you are working and when you are at rest.

Leonardo da Vinci would often take breaks from his work to refresh his mind and spirit. While others claimed that he took too long to finish things, he knew the importance of replenishing his focus to maintain a clear perspective.

Here we are still talking about him over 500 years later.

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen,” he once said.

Leonardo also valued sleep, noting in one of his journals that some of his best insights came when his mind was not working.

Even if you love the work that you do, and think your current obsession is the greatest thing since women were allowed to vote, it’s fun to get away from it and have objective-free time to unwind and reset.

One of my author friends shared recently how she was feeling totally overwhelmed and close to burnout. To sustain her life, and her career, she’s promising herself a reward for all her long hours—three-months off over winter. She’s planning to go on a retreat, somewhere warm, maybe the Bahamas or Mexico.

“The whole point of living life is to enjoy it, right?! I’m coming to grips with that mindset,” she wrote to me.

Schedule time out—and be firm with yourself. Stay away from anything that feeds your addiction.

When you return to your work, your focus will be surer, your vision refreshed, and your confidence bolder.

 

Rest

When your stress levels are high and you get depressed, angry, tense, and lethargic, or begin to experience tension headaches, it should be a very simple biofeedback signal that you need to stop, re-evaluate your choices and take some time out.

Sometimes this can be easier said than done. In our overachiever, overstimulated society, where many people spend more hours every week with their eyes riveted to their iPhone, instead of spending quality time on their own or with family and friends, the whole concept of stopping and resting to restore ourselves seems unusual. But resting to replenish is essential to well-being.

We’re pushing ourselves all day long with energy that we don’t have. The most common complaint people take to the doctor is fatigue. Research conducted by a company helping people suffering from adrenal fatigue claims that 80% of people don’t have as much energy as they’d like to have.

“It’s because we’re pushing and using caffeine, sugar and energy drinks and nicotine and stress for energy rather than running on our own energy.”

Long-term stress and long-term cortisol will literally alter a person’s hormonal profile.

Rest allows the adrenal glands to restore, enabling cortisol levels to return to normal. Long-term stress and long-term cortisol overload can lead to adrenal fatigue and burn-out, altering your hormonal profile, changing your personality, and making it more difficult to return to the real, inspired, happy and creative you.

Give yourself permission to take time every day and every week to have fun, rest your mind and rest your body.

 

Get outside

It’s hard to feel fantastic when you’re suffering from low mood. Very often a lack of outside time is the culprit. You’re like a flower—you need at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day just to make your hormones work effectively and enable you to blossom to your fullest potential.

To feel and behave normally you need to be exposed to full-spectrum daylight on a regular basis. Medical research suggests some people need as much as two hours a day of sunlight to avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Combine outside time with exercise like walking and not only will you get the light you need, but you’ll also recharge your batteries.

Walking outside can also help you gain a new perspective on a troubling situation. When you for a walk, you increase the electrical activity in your brain, and you breathe negative ions and see three-dimensionally.

All this helps you see with fresh eyes the things which are worrying you. Often you’ll find that things are not as bad as they first appear, or discover a relatively simple solution.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Bounce away from habits that so many people have, like spending too many hours inside in front of two-dimensional computer monitors and TV screens, and then topping off a 12-hour day at work by trying to read themselves to sleep on their Kindle. These are all two-dimensional visual activities, which seldom spark joy.

Let mother earth, the sea, and the infinite sky boost your mood. Get outside and allow the sun and outside energy to lift your spirits. Schedule regular fresh air time. Improve your breathing, and take a brisk walk to increase your oxygen levels.

My friend Jim from negativeionizers.net has recently written a detailed article on negative ion benefits for your health here https://negativeionizers.net/negative-ions-benefits. If you’d like to see what a good ionizer looks like then check this detailed review of the best 3 negative ionizers that Jim has found on Amazon for 2018.

If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness, overcome obstacles, and elevate your success you may enjoy reading Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford, available for preview or purchase heremyBook.to/Bounce.

How to unlock your destiny, heal the past, manifest a wonderful future

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

What really inspires me is feeling like there is something you IMPROVE ON. I’m a rare mix of 50 % rational, cognitive and 50% intuitive, empath. Devoted to finding my soul purpose from an early age, I’ve spent many hours and invested a significant amount of time and money finding ways to transcend difficult situations and emerge stronger and more empowered. I’ve found personally and professionally the best solutions are positive, holistic, inspirational and practical ones.

2017 was a deeply transformational year for me. I completed my Reiki Master Teacher– Master Level of the Usui-Tibetan System of Natural Healing on the 5th of September, 2017, Balian Beach, near Tabanan, Bali with renown Reiki teacher, Alison Eaton.
And I also was gifted with the incredible opportunity to receive my Akashic Records Soul History Level 2  training in healing, transformation and manifestation using the quantum energy of the Akashic Records, one-to-one with Chris Wilson, author The Magic of the Akashic Records: Understanding Our Soul History.
I first discovered the Akashic records while researching my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret. I know personally and professionally how powerful it is and I am excited to be sharing this truly transformational and life-changing experience with you.

What are the Akashic Records?

The Akashic Records are a spiritual tool that contains the soul history record of your life on earth. They are the gateway to your soul and provide an energetic blueprint of your unique and authentic highest self. Some people describe the Akashic Records as, ‘energetic connective tissue’. It is a powerful transformational energy which, when channeled effectively, yields rapid transformational results.

Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit are waiting to answer all of your questions and help you shift anything that is out of alignment with your true self and highest potential.

If you have any worries, questions or concerns or there is a situation in your life that you are ready to unblock and shift, the answers are waiting for you in your Akashic records. Finding these answers is simple and effortless. An opening prayer will open the Akashic space, and then we can move directly into answering, shifting, and healing the elements most important to you.

The Akashic Records are a space of pure love, non-judgment, non-fear, and non-resistance. It is a completely beautiful, open and safe place to shift anything that is coming up for you. Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit can heal wounds and traumas, take the darkness and turn it into pure light, Confusion willl be turned into clarity, uncertainty into confidence, anger, into acceptance, purpose, and peace, hatred into love.

Accessing your Akashic records will reveal hidden strengths and treasures and make sense of past hurts so that you are able to come to your fullest potential.

How will an Akashic Records Soul Reading reading help you?

  • Your Soul Reading will help move stagnant energy and transform situations in your life that are stuck
  • Discover, and clear energy blocks preventing you from achieving your highest potential
  • Confirm areas of passion and prosperity
  • Provide added confidence and clarity to guide you in the right direction
  • Accelerate your ability to achieve your soul’s purpose
  • Enable you to claim and stand in your power
  • Access and discover your soul’s path
  • Easily step into your authentic self and move into your true life purpose.
  • Live a life of happiness and joy
  • Take your life from ordinary to extraordinary…..amongst many other wonderful things

Healing through the Akashic Records

The Akashic records are a profoundly powerful way to gain healing in your life and connect directly with your soul. They provide transformation at the deepest level

Family and Ancestral Patterns

We all have patterns, habits, belief systems that have been passed down for generations. They say we hold onto the karma of our ancestors seven generations back. Opening your Akashic Records can help you heal and release these old patterns.

Energetically removing these belief systems and ancestral wounds from your consciousness, understanding and making peace with them will free you to achieve your highest potential

Past Lives

Whether you believe it or not we have all had past lives. You may have heard it said, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience on this earth. Our souls reincarnate to help shift and release old patterns. Accessing and understanding what past lives you have experienced, and which ones are affecting you NOW in this lifetime will help you makes sense of so many aspects impacting you in the here and now and guide you toward a happier, more inspired future.

Relationships

Healing relationships with yourself and with others,  whether through self-acceptance or forgiveness of others, will help you find freedom in and joy in your life.  You will open up to new awareness and release fears and resistance you once held in your relationships. You will discover and find truth in your current situation and move into acceptance and love.

Careers

An Akashic Soul Reading will help you discover your true soul purpose – the reason you have incarnated in this life, and provide meaning and purpose to situations that may have previously held you back.  Any negative experiences will be transcended with renewed passion, so you can fulfill your soul’s potential. You will open up to new confidence, belief, and determination to do the work you were born to do.

How Clients Have Benefited 

“While I had a tiny bit of knowledge about Akashic readings I was unaware of how deep this experience would be and how accurate the information would be. The whole reading was profoundly comforting as I felt during it, and have continued to feel, a sense of ‘coming home’ to myself. It makes sense of so many aspects about myself in the here and now and explains so much about me and my past 60 years. I woke this morning with a feeling of wholeness not experienced before and I am looking at my life with a whole new awareness. A wonderful experience, thank you so much.”

~ Catherine S.

 

“I have been buzzing the whole time after my Soul Reading, mostly I feel so different, I wake up thinking differently, I find myself just ‘being’ with people and finding my reactions so different. I have so much more energy. I am excited to be in the world.”

~ Eileen S.

“It was the first day at work today and I loved it! So good to be back in the industry I read my husband out my Akashic Soul Reading reading, he didn’t say much—just what did I think of it. I told him I thought on the mark! It’s been a pretty crazy period in my life. It’s nice having time out from overthinking to be actually doing. As a result of the reading, I’ve experienced a movement of energy and am inspired again, finally!”

~ Terri D.

“Thanks so much for the reading.   I found it very interesting.   One of the things I thought after I sent you my questions was “aaargh”, I should have asked about my real passion: property and what I can look forward to there” but it seems I didn’t need to ask as you hit on to that straight away.”

~ Lisa V.

Experience the magic and alchemy of the Akashic records for yourself. Schedule your Akashic Soul Reading Today.

If you would love to understand your past and unlock your future, schedule your personalized reading here

Learn more about my approach from reading Testimonials to my work.

 

Enjoy that article? Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews

on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

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Endings and beginning – just for today don’t worry

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Recently someone close to me went through a very stressful relationship ending, and a client of mine was experiencing a profound sense of grief when she thought about a dream job she walked away from.

As I was talking with these people I was reflecting on the best way to help. During my Reiki training we discussed the work of Elizabeth Kuler Ross and her profound work on the stages of grief – a timely reminder given the above and taking me right back to my counselling training.

I like the way Elizabeth “normalises” the feelings we all experience during times of loss. It is “normal”  and healthy to grieve the loss of someone/something when something ends – whether this is a job you really hoped would work out or a relationship that has come to an end.

Many people get caught up in the shock and anger stages of grief and suffer profoundly.

In my Reiki training we learned the principal – “just for today don’t worry”.  This could help with the shock stage where feelings of worry and anxiety can be torturous and make us feel out of control. Not worrying does not mean not caring, it refers more to the state of mental anguish that occurs when we spend time in our heads over-thinking, catastrophising or fearing things that may actually never come to pass.

We also learn the principal  “just for today don’t be angry” – a helpful affirmation should these feelings arise. Anger is a valid and normal emotion but a very toxic one when abused or sustained too long.  Anger can be a positive force for change, however. It can motivate you to make a change for the better.

I wrote the following, incorporating some of the above, to the young woman whose relationship had ended very traumatically:

Happily, when one door closes another opens – you will return to a meaningful life and by the sound of it quite quickly because you are doing all the right things:

  • Talking with others who care about you and can help.;
  • Acknowledging your feelings; caring for the person you are losing but not being controlled by them;
  • Tapping into your own intuition and sense of what is right for you;
  • Taking care of yourself and recognising the need for rest;
  • Acknowledging that the relationship you are in no longer works for you. This is important as so many people try to hang on – finding comfort in the known rather than the unknown – even though the known is no longer comfortable at all. Sometimes the comfort rut can be the most uncomfortable place of all

In Reiki we learn that energy flows where energy goes. Focus your energy on the things, people, and circumstances that bring you peace. Keep looking ahead to the dreams and goals you have for your own life.

What can you do to help move through the stages of grief when you experience loss?

 

If you are interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness, overcome obstacles, and elevate your success you may enjoy reading Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford, available for preview or purchase heremyBook.to/Bounce.

 

You might like:

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

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

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Life transformed by faith in the stars

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

True Stories: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

 

“Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could make changes to the life of others.”

 

Giving up alcohol is a heroic journey—it’s not easy and it’s not a quick-fix, but inevitably there is a happy ending and you are rewarded with a life more beautiful. The journey to sobriety very often takes extreme courage, tenacity, and resilience in the face of obstacles, setbacks and, occasionally, defeat.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear.  There are millions suffering alone, afraid to ask the question, ‘am I drinking too much?’ Reading and hearing about others who felt similarly and share their stories of triumphing over addiction is inspirational and transformational. I know this personally and professionally.

I honor and give thanks to Justin Raj for being willing to share his hero’s journey (I use this term in a gender-neutral way). The word “hero” comes from a Greek root that means to protect and serve. The hero is connected with self-sacrifice. He or she is the person who transcends the ego and incorporates all the separate parts of themselves to become a true Self.

I asked Justin that as he responded to the questions he may like to recall the details of his journey from alcohol to sobriety as though his journey was a movie, recalling all the aspects that had the greatest impact and both his decision and his success in controlling alcohol. I have structured the questions I asked Justin by drawing on Christopher Vogler’s Story Structure.

“The reader is usually invited to identify with the hero”, says Vogler. “You admire the hero’s qualities and want to be like him or her, but the hero also has flaws. Weaknesses, quirks, and vices make a hero more appealing” – again, I honor Justin for not sanctioning his responses. He has been brutally honest, shared from this heart, and spoken the truth in the heartfelt desire that those who read his story may be emboldened and inspired to join him in joyful sobriety.

 

Q. You recently gave up alcohol. What was your life like when you were drinking? What, if any problems, or issues did you face?

 

I started drinking at the age of 18, I still remember clearly the day I experimented with alcohol.

It was during a Christmas party at my home. I took some brandy from the bottle from which my dad was drinking. I felt dizzy after two drinks and I puked. Next day I woke up with a headache and I was not well for two days.

During my days of higher studies, I started drinking with friends and it became a norm to celebrate with drinks.

It was when I started my own business in 2011 that I realized that my drinking was affecting my business and life. In 2014 my business failed terribly.

I joined an Alcohol Anonymous group in my hometown. I thought AA could help me quit drinking. But, AA here is filled with spirituality, prayers, boring lectures and public confessions. I quit the group after two months and continued with drinking.

When I was drinking, I was failing at any endeavor I undertook. The only thing I thought about was getting drunk and having fun. I even thought of making money just to have drinks. I was penalized for drunken driving several times, ended up in a number of illicit sexual relationships and also involved in a fist fight with strangers and friends in a bar.

 

Q: What was the catalyst for change?

The catalyst happened on the night of 24th February 2018. I had a road accident in which I hit an elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. My left forearm was broken and dislocated. I had to undergo a surgery. My family and friends came to know that I was drunk when I had the accident.

Even after the accident and surgery, I continued drinking regularly. I visited a nearby bar with my broken hand resting in an arm-sling. After observing this addictive behavior of mine, my family took my drinking seriously.

One of my cousins who is a psychiatrist-counselor recommended me to attend a counseling session with a friend of hers. It was after the counseling session that I decided to quit.

 

Q: Was there ever a point when you knew you needed to stop drinking but refused ‘the call’ or had second thoughts about giving up? What obstacles did you face in order to stay firm in your decision?

 

Yes, whenever I decide to quit alcohol, I had second thoughts: ‘why should I?’ Alcohol is the only answer I have to escape from my boredom, to have fun and pass my free time. I didn’t know anything other than drinking alcohol to engage myself with. To me, peer pressure was less. I don’t have any friends who compelled me to drink. I can’t blame anyone other than myself.

 

Q: What sources of aid did you receive to continue on the path to sobriety? i.e. Did anyone appear to help you? A mentor, friend, adviser, support group etc.

 

Counseling sessions were great. It was those three days of counseling, that changed my attitude towards drinking. Then the books the counselor recommended. One of the books was yours, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Your Beautiful Mind happened to be the first book in my life I read on alcoholism. It was a well written, informative and inspiring book.

I spent three weeks after the counseling sessions to read books on alcoholism. Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power. My family and friends also gave great support. Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could help make changes in the lives of others.

 

Q: At what point did you truly commit to giving up drinking and follow with action? Describe the point when you crossed the threshold.

 

It was the road accident, counseling sessions, reading books on alcoholism and knowing more about the menace of alcohol, that motivated me to strongly decided to quit alcohol for life.

 

Q: Once you gave up drinking did you face, or were you confronted with, any difficult challenges (ranging from minor struggles to setbacks) that threatened your resolve and may have defeated a lesser person. What tests did you face, what allies did you meet?

The only enemy I have to face was myself. As I said earlier, none of my friends compelled me to drink ever in my life. It was my decision to start drinking and it is the addictive nature of alcohol which kept me hooked. Today, I’m getting great support from my family and friends. The happiness my mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends experience after I embraced sobriety is priceless.

It has been two months. I have been sober and I will remain so for the rest of my life.

 

Q: Did you emerge wiser from these trials? In what way did these tests help you prepare for the ultimate test—unwavering sobriety. Looking back now, what advice or warning would you give to others about what could go wrong, and possibly derail their decision to give up drinking?

Our life is a great teacher. Out of my drunkenness and reckless riding, I hit an innocent, elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. He was 73 years old. Still today, I can’t recollect how I hit him or what happened that night. If that elderly person was dead, I would have ended up in jail. To me, thinking about that incident is still scary.

Alcohol is a legally available addictive substance. People cant stop drinking because they are hooked by its addictive nature and nothing else. People think drinking is fun. Even I thought so till a few months ago. But the truth is, I still can’t remember the fun I had while I was drinking.

It is saddening that our society and media is all praise for drinking and smoking just trapping youngsters into the mindset that drinking and smoking are essential for a fun-filled life.

Life is more beautiful if you take away alcohol from it. We can have everlasting, memorable fun and experiences without the influence of alcohol. My advice is don’t try alcohol if you haven’t already and quit it if you are using it.

 

Q: What were your deepest fears during this time? Some people describe this as a battle with “the dark villain” – an inner battle whereby they faced and overcame their own demon and inner fears. Was this your experience? In what way?

The dark villain is me. I was engaged in an inner battle with my own demon. If we need to change our life, we have to take that decision by ourselves, don’t we?

Even before going to counseling I had determined with a half-heart that I had to quit drinking. My family has a background of alcohol and drug abuse. My father died from alcohol-related disease, my maternal grandfather died due to heavy drinking. My paternal grandfather was also a heavy drinker. A few of my uncles, cousins, and family friends are also suffering from alcoholism.

I started experiencing alcoholic depression for the past few years which I didn’t recognize. It was only after counseling that I realized that I was suffering from depression—not from a hangover. I have a great many reasons to quit alcohol not a single reason to continue with it.

 

Q: Describe/recount the time you truly knew you had succeeded in defeating the enemy of alcohol when you transformed into a new state of being – where fears were vanquished and the new you was born.

When you find no reason to drink alcohol, you will quit. What I thought was fun wasn’t fun anymore. When I get bored I have better things to do today other than drinking.

Why should I drink and invite trouble as well as create a deep hole in my purse, if I can do productive, enjoyable things like reading, writing, working out and talking with friends which add value to my life and myself?

We are basically our thoughts. When we change our thoughts, ultimately we change ourselves.

 

Q: What rewards did you reap—external (knowledge, a promotion, career success, improved relationships, better health etc.) and/or as an inner reward (personal growth, fulfillment, freedom, self-respect etc.)

As I said earlier, I don’t have any reason to drink. Moreover, I have more reasons not to drink. Even after two months of alcohol-free life, I can really feel the changes in myself and things I do.

First and foremost, my financial situation has improved. I spent too much money on this destructive habit of mine. I started doing things I love with more vigor and passion. I’m getting an everlasting, joyful and positive high from it. Alcohol disconnected me from my life, my business and myself. Today, I feel that connection is back. It is priceless.

 

Q: Having gained the rewards, and with nothing left to prove, how was your early experience of sobriety?

For the past four years, I was struggling with my drinking. I tried to quit in all ways I can but in vain. I couldn’t stop drinking even for a week. I never read any books like yours in those days.

Today, I feel if I had read the books I read today or attended a good counseling session, I should have got the power to quit alcohol for life earlier. And also I should have avoided all the troubles I had to overcome in those alcohol-filled days.

 

Q: Was there ever a point where you felt lulled into a false sense of security, but in reality, there was one last challenge you had to face? Perhaps the desire for alcohol was not completely vanquished or perhaps something plunged you into a temptation to drink—just when you thought it was safe to breathe easy again?

It was my lack of knowledge and the addictive nature of alcohol. You know, I quit sugar two years ago when I learned the bad effects of it on my physical and mental health. I was too much addicted to sugar from my childhood and when I learned that it was doing me harm I quit.

Why couldn’t I do it with alcohol, even though, I knew it is bad for health, mind, and my purse?

The only reason is alcohol is addictive. It is normal that we defend our addictions by stating ‘today is Saturday’ ‘my friends are here so we are going to party hard’, ‘I can stop it anytime and many more excuses. These defensive mentalities last only until the day we realize the habit we are nurturing is gradually destructing our mind, body, finances, and relationship with our loved ones. I have met with that stage of self-realization and freed myself from a self-imposed prison of my addictive behavior.

Do you think, I want to go back to the prison again? I don’t think so.

 

Describe the moment when you felt truly reborn into a new, joyous form, with your beautiful mind – able to control the desire, temptation or compulsion to drink alcohol. In what way have you been rewarded for your courageous and determined journey?

I can give full credit to the psychiatrist who counseled me. He has a decade-long experience in dealing with alcohol and drug addicts. His level of knowledge fascinated me. He made me realize that drinking alcohol, which I thought was joyful fun, is, in fact, an illusion.

The counseling sessions usually last for three days. By the second day, I learned that what I was doing is wrong and decided to quit alcohol for life. The last day of the session was just a friendly talk and he recommended a few books to read including your book.

Today, I’m not thinking the way I used to be. I have changed and I can feel that transformation. I have got myself back. My business has grown, my passions have started blooming and my financial condition has improved. Today, I started welcoming mornings without hangovers and regrets. It feels great!

The book I prefer from all those I have read since committing to sobriety is your book: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

 

I’m so thrilled to have been able to help! As I write this post, Justin is working on his business plan and also preparing for an entrance exam for his doctoral degree in journalism—something he doubts he’d be achieving if he was still drinking.

Below is a copy of the review Justin Raj left on Amazon.

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 the 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 addictions 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!”

 

It was lovely feedback to receive! All power to Justin… I’m so proud of him!

 

Are you struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction? Are you worried you’re drinking too much? Or are you curious about the life-changing magic of sobriety?

I hope Justin’s story of self-empowered, purpose and passion-filled sobriety provides hope, courage, and determination for you to achieve the same.

“Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power.”

 

Life really is more beautiful sober. You can learn more about Justin Raj and follow his blog here—www.justyjots.com

 

 

This is an edited testimonial for 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

You’ll also find plenty of ongoing support and cheerleading in the Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment/. Pop along and join us now.

 

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 Tattooist of Auschwitz—his secret love and one woman’s passion and purpose behind telling his story

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

I first met Heather Morris when she came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand from her home in Melbourne to visit her brother, and my friend, who had been given a terminal diagnosis of cancer.

As you can appreciate, this was a very distressing time. Yet, as we discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, and as we shared our writing inspiration, we all felt encouraged, emboldened, and filled with light.

And with this came renewed hope.

Not just for her brother, who was inspired to crack on with his own writing projects, but I was also reminded of the finality of life. This provided added motivation to crack on with my own writing projects.

For a small moment in time, we all escaped our worldly concerns and became excited by Heather’s “overnight” (not!) success with the publication and resulting worldwide interest in her novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz (released to great acclaim in 2018).

The novel is based on the true story of Slovakian Jew Lale Sokolov, who was forced to tattoo the numbers on his fellow victims’ arms that would mark them for survival.

Sokolov used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that his position gave him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a remarkable love story.

“My book is the true story of the girl he fell in love with when he held her hand and tattooed a number on her left arm, and how they survived for two and a half years in that Dante-esque circle of hell, got separated, found each other, married, and lived very happily for over 50 years, ” Heather told me.

After first meeting Heather I invited her to share her story and she generously emailed me the following:

“I met Lale Sokolov in December 2003. I was 50-years old and had been dabbling in learning and writing screenplays; he was 87-years-old and his wife, Gita, had died two months earlier.

A friend of a friend of their son, Gary, asked me to meet Lale to hear the secret he’d kept for over fifty years and which he wanted to tell someone before he ‘hurried up and joined his beloved Gita.’

Over the next three years, our friendship grew as, slowly, his story was revealed to me piecemeal, often told at bullet pace with limited coherency and with no flow or connection to the many, many stories he told.

It didn’t matter. I fell under his spell.

Was it the delightful Eastern European accent? Was it the charm this old rascal had lived his life dispensing? Or, was it the twisted, convoluted story I was starting to make sense of—the significance and importance of which was beginning to dawn on me.

It was all of these things and more. I was spending time with ‘living history’ and was being given a story to tell for which I am honored and privileged to have been entrusted with.

Fast forward to 2017—14 years after my fateful meeting with Lale Sokolov. It took me two years to get the story I would eventually write into a screenplay. He got to read it and loved it.

I sat with him and held his hand and said goodbye to him the night he died. At that time, I vowed to never stop trying to tell his story.

A film production company optioned the script from me for three years, then another two years, but failed to ‘get it up’.

I took the option back and, after a rewrite, started entering it in screenplay competitions around the world. It did well, and was often a finalist and won the International Independent Film Award in 2016.

I was receiving comments from film executives that the story ‘not only should be told, but must be told;’ that it was ‘Oscar bait’. But still no-one came forward to talk production.

Then a light-bulb moment came when I decided to write it as a novel, something I had no experience with and had never written or studied as a writing medium.

On the advice of one of my sons to help with ‘free promotion,’ I did a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to self-publish. From this campaign, a local publishing company in Melbourne approached me and signed me up.

I attempted to write while working full-time in a large Melbourne hospital and being the accommodating grandmother to my son and his wife, my daughter and her husband and their three little ones.

I was getting no-where.

I’m lucky to have family living in San Diego, California, who have a holiday house on the top of Big Bear Mountain. In the middle of their winter, in six feet of snow, I squirreled myself away for four weeks and as Sir Edmund Hilary once said, ‘knocked the bugger off.’

The parent company of my publisher came to Melbourne in February and heard about my story. They have now taken over the publishing, sold foreign language rights to 13 countries, and done a deal with Harper Collins in the U.S. to publish there.

And the screenplay? Stay tuned—some heavy hitters in Hollywood are vying for it.

I am now 64 years old and about to embark on a journey beyond my wildest dreams as I travel promoting the book and hopefully, in two or three years’ time, a film.

Giving up on telling this story was never an option for me. Yes, months went by when I did nothing to further it as life got in the way. I told myself it was The Tattooist’s time, I had to hang in there, seek out avenues to have the story heard and eventually one paid off.

I don’t kid myself that I’m a great writer. I am privileged to have been given a great story to tell and I hope Lale and Gita would be proud of the job I’ve done telling their story. I have received the ultimate validation of my attempt from their son who doesn’t want a word changed.

A lot of very talented people/editors both in Melbourne and London will produce a book which I am honored to have my name on. My family keep telling me they wouldn’t be doing that if I hadn’t written it in the first place.

I have two quotes on the wall near my desk, the one mentioned above by Sir Edmund and one from one of my favorite screenwriters, William Goldman, who references the children’s book The Little Engine That Could.

‘Just get the @#%&% engine over the mountain.’”

 

Heather’s story is a powerful reminder not to give up on your dreams. Tenacity, perseverance, patience, and the ability to adapt are big factors in her success—and many other attributes as well, including talent!

Harper Collins came on board as the publisher in the U.S. and Canada, and, at the time of writing, major film companies are bidding for the movie rights. Stay tuned!

What’s also interesting about Heather’s story is that she adopted a growth mindset. She began with a film script and then taught herself how to turn a script into a novel. She also taught herself to fund her dreams via Kickstarter and the Internet—and then an opportunity came knocking. But, importantly, success came because she put her work out there.

It’s a reminder to us all that you grow into your dreams, and a commitment to continual learning is essential. As is hanging onto a success mindset.

As Heather said, giving up on telling this story was never an option for her. Heather also proves what Napoleon Hill so famously wrote in his classic book Think and Grow Rich—most people don’t achieve their success until their sixties and beyond.

Winners never quit and quitters never win, Heather’s brother John Williamson, a screenwriter, told me recently.

More good news came, too—her brother’s cancer has taken a “u-turn.” The medication he is on has slowed, and in one case slightly shrunk, one of the tumors in his lung and his oncologist is extremely happy with the slow progress of the disease.

Who knows what further miracles the future will bring? But we all agree—there is power in story and creativity!

Mining for Gold

Brainstorm or list as many ways as possible that you could finance your career. Seek suggestions from others to widen the possibilities. Ask your way to success.

Which of Heather’s success strategies could you experiment with? Going AWOL? Learning a new skill? Crowdfunding? Affirmations on the wall—or something else?

Read the BBC review of Heather’s book and meet the man who inspired this unexpected love story—http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42568390

Check out Heather’s Kickstarter Campaign here—www.kickstarter.com/projects/thetattooist/the-tattooist

 

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, SAVE and SEND YOUR ORDER CONFIRMATION AND RECEIVE YOUR FREE BONUS GIFTS—Click the Amazon link here getBook.at/TheProsperousAuthor

Develop A Millionaire Mindset Today!

Although this book was written for writers, the principles and strategies can be embraced by business entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, and thousands of others around the world who want to enhance their productivity, do less and make more.

 

 

 

Do you have a secret you’d love to share? A story of passion, hope, and survival? Or have you always dreamed of writing a book someday?

 

  • For anyone who has dreamed of becoming an author.
  • For anyone who wants to make a living from books.
  •  This is the book to make your dreams a reality.
  •  Follow your passion to prosperity.

 

 

The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living With Your Writing (Book One: Developing A Millionaire Mindset)

 To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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

Savvy Sobriety: The New Happiness Trend You Need to Know

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

 

Many people struggle to control alcohol because they’re not motivated by sobriety. But, being sober isn’t just about not drinking.

Sobriety is achieved by putting energy and effort toward something you really desire.

Knowing why you want something is just as important as knowing what you want.

Why do you want to control your drinking? To feel better about yourself? To achieve wellbeing goals? Because you’re afraid that your drinking it taking over your body and your life? To inspire others? Because you’re curious that what you’ve been hearing is true—life really is better sober? Or something else?

We’ll explore more ways to help you discover your driving purpose later in this book, but first, here are just a few benefits of achieving sobriety:

• Improved mental health and wellbeing

• Better physical health

• Improved emotional health

• Elevated spiritual health

• Saves money

• Enriches your relationships

• Is an indispensable part of fulfilment

• Energizes you

• Liberates you

• Will change your life and the lives of those who matter most to you

 

Being sober sounds great, and it is. But the challenge is that so many of us have been brainwashed into believing it’s awesome to be drunk. As I share later in this book, many of the people we look up to, including our political leaders have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol—no wonder it’s hard to implement laws aimed at reducing alcohol harm.

But if it’s cool to be high, why do so many of us want to quit? Why do thousands of people sign on for Dry July or make New Year’s resolutions to lose the booze only to be coerced or bullied into drinking again?

Giving up drinking can feel like losing your best friend, even your lover—until you remind yourself how alcohol is a  fickle companion who lets you down again and again.

Sobriety, now there’s a forever friend.

She won’t turn sour, she won’t piss you off, or get mad at you, and she won’t rob you blind. Sobriety won’t hijack your brain and make you say and do things you’ll wildly regret in the wake of hangover hell.

Sobriety is not seedy or unpleasant. Sobriety is a sophisticated, serene, stabilizer in a world gone mad.

 

Sober

Synonyms

1. Not drunk

2. Thoughtful, steady, down-to-earth and level-headed

3. Serene, earnest

4. Not addicted

Who doesn’t want a friend like that?

Sadly, the opposite is also true. Some of my best, most trusted friends turn into tyrants, either at the time of drinking or in the days that follow. These are just a few of the changes I notice when they drink alcohol:

• Overly critical

• Short-tempered

• Tyrannical

• Moody

• Solemn

• Angry

• Silent

• Withdrawn

 

Here’s a short excerpt from my Sobriety Journal:

29 Dec 2016.

“A terrible, terrible evening. Me hiding in fear. Brett on a rampage. Smashing my fridge (taking it physically out of the studio and hurling it to the ground). ‘Stress’  brought on by the windows he shattered when he mowed the lawn, his frustration at the fountain not going, mowing the front paddock and returning, his eyes flaming and puffy.

And then drinking. Three bottles of beer, then driving to the store and returning with a giant bottle of Mount Gay rum which he knows I hate him drinking. It always makes him so aggressive. He drinks it straight from the bottle. I feel panic rising in my chest. I feel real fear. I fear for my life.

Smashed pots, plants, my canvases strewn with horrid words I cannot decipher.

I’m cowering because I could quickly become a victim of his frenzied attack. I fear he has lost his mind. He has lost his mind. He has lost control.

I really hate alcohol. I hate what it steals from me. Our love. Our dreams.

 

Although this frightening, truly terrorizing episode happened so long ago, I still feel the fear. That’s what traumatic episodes do to us—their linger in our body waiting to be triggered—or, with help, resolved. It’s a chilling reminder, but also a motivating one, which fuels my commitment for sobriety, and my devotion to helping others free themselves from harm,  save their relationships, regain their sanity—and so many of the other benefits sobriety promises and delivers.

Unlike alcohol, sobriety can be trusted.

Throughout this book, I’ll discuss some of my strategies for living in a booze soaked world, including how I keep my energy and vibration levels high and don’t allow drunks to dull my sparkle.

One simple strategy I do find helpful, however, is to pin inspiring quotes somewhere visible to remind me to censure the tendency to demand others change or to judge.

Letting go of judgment creates peace, strength, and ultimately increases joy. Becoming judgment-free and leading by example is also one of the key sobriety steps recommended by many successful addiction programs. This includes self-judgment and self-criticism.

My current go-to quote is by Abraham Hicks, “Let others vibrate how they vibrate and want the best for them. Never mind how they’re flowing to you. You concentrate on how you’re flowing because one who is connected to the energy stream is more powerful, more influential than a million who are not.”

This quote, along with the image of a young woman in a glass jar, sending her loving light into the world, is pinned on my wall. The jar represents the shield she places around herself, to protect her from negative people and dark outside forces.

I also invite love, not fear or anger to guide my day. I’m not saying it’s easy—if it were the world would be a happier place. I work to remember how my loved ones are when they’re sober—how kind they are, how caring. This love extends to me too. I know I’m a nicer, kinder person sober than I am drunk.

Exercising self-love, however, means accepting that sometimes there comes a time when being around people who abuse alcohol becomes too toxic. Their drinking may undermine your health, threaten your resolve, or cause you to constantly fear for your life.  There are times you may have to quit not only the booze but people, places, and relationships that hold you back.

Finding joy in sobriety is a lifestyle choice—a very personal, and very empowered and empowering choice. It’s a choice you make with eyes wide open, determined to celebrate and make the most of your one precious life in every way.

Humor, as you’ll also discover, goes a long way.

This man is giving birth to a six-pack…‘Father and beers are doing swell.’

It’s a picture I drew in my Sobriety Journal, in part to remind me how staying sober improves my waistline.

Call it like it is….would you like a shot of ethanol and a gallon of sugar with that?

 

Check out the video below and discover 5 simple ways to moderate your drinking.

 

 P.S.

Did you know that drinking non-alcoholic beer is good for winning gold medals?

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

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!

 

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. 

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