*

Posts Tagged 'Finding Joy'

Did you know you can die of a broken-heart? Make sure you know the cure.

Friday, September 13th, 2019

“It was such a depressing time. I didn’t look very depressed maybe but it was really dire. I made a conscious decision not to stop, but it could have gone the other way.”

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid

Did you know you can die of a broken heart? Science has recently validated what we know to be true. Only yesterday, I received the email below from a client whose daughter had been caught in New Zealand’s broken mental health system:

Dear cassandra,

my news is a sad one my daughter past away sunday the 8/9/2019 at Bay of Island hospital.
There’s no more suffering and dealing with the system any more. It was more the stress that mental health did within a year, and my daughters heart couldn’t take any more.
Thank you for been there when i needed someone who understood me the journey was tough but I have placed my self in the hands of heavenly father who keeps me safe and heals my wellbeing.

 

I’ll address the brutality of the mental health system in a separate post and share with you my intimate knowledge of what’s wrong and how it can be fixed. But first, I want to spotlight the very real threat to our health that emotional and physical stress can inflict. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken-heart syndrome, occurs almost exclusively in women, medical researchers say.

Harvard Medical School reports that the condition is caused by a weakening of the left ventricle, often as a result of emotional or physical stress—such as the loss of a loved one or a sudden illness.

When things we love or value end we can feel as though life itself has died. We can feel depressed, despondent, stuck in a wasteland of ‘nothing matters anymore’.

Life is a never-ending series of beginnings and endings. Life has its births and deaths. We have full moons and no moons—or new moons. An ending is not a failure, but an opportunity for a new, and often better, beginning.

It’s okay and healthy to ‘keep it real’ and allow yourself to feel bad. If your boyfriend cheats on you or tells you he no longer feels ‘the love,’ or friends abandon you, how could you possibly feel happy about that? It’s normal to feel sorrow. It’s okay not to succumb to toxic positivity and think that life is only about having ‘good vibes’ and feeling continually inspired.

When painful things happen in our lives, this adversity may temporarily dull our joy, but remember that joy is energy. Like the sun, it will rise again and charge and enliven our lives.

Sometimes, hanging onto the light during periods of darkness means cutting yourself some slack and cultivating serenity. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” the Serenity Prayer encourages.

Ultimately, surviving life’s ups and downs involves being in touch with our Higher Power (God, The Divine, The Universe—whatever we believe in).

If we can practice radical acceptance, cede control, and hang onto the spirit of hope, every ending does bring a new and happier beginning. As sure as day follows night and spring follows winter, we can, and will, experience the joy of new and healthier jobs, careers, and relationships.

 

How can you heal any sorrow in your life? What worked in the past? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to hang onto?

What would it feel like, and what would it take to strengthen your connection to a Higher Power, cultivate courage and wisdom, and nurture the possibility of a fresh start?

 

This is an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

Create The Ultimate Happiness Mindset: The Holistic Blueprint to True Success

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

“The very essence of diamonds is to bring joy into the lives of people.”

William Goldberg

Who or what inspires you? Think about the sorts of books and magazines you love to read, or people and things you love to listen to, learn about, follow or be around.  What about them is interesting to you? How do they bring joy into your life?

Look for your heroes and heroines and allow others’ enthusiasm and passion to excite you! Play detective. Do some research, go and talk to people who are joyful and purposeful about some aspect of their life, read books about inspiring people or themes that really capture your imagination. Listen to podcasts, watch Youtube, and other uplifting sources of inspiration.

As I write this chapter, I’m inspired by the 2020 US Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. I love the values she espouses. I love her tenacity and eloquence. I love her inclusiveness and willingness to use her voice to create positive change. I love her powerful spiritual manifesto.

She has inspired me to become more active in my community to reduce alcohol harm. This is just one example of how she has inspired me.

I began planning my three billboards to increase awareness of safe alcohol consumption leading up to and during the Christmas season.  At such times drinking spikes and so does domestic violence, sexual assault, drink driving deaths, suicides and other forms of harm.

Today I met with the police, my local MP and set up a meeting with my Mayor and spoke to a major booze retailer to gain support, and began to build awareness of my initiative. I was encouraged when the policeman in charge of reducing alcohol harm said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing your billboards.”

I was inspired by the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri about a mother who was frustrated nothing was being done to find her daughter and so she created billboards to build awareness of her plight. And also my friend Christine who said, “Gosh that billboard woman reminded me of you.“

That was three years or so ago. Now I have finally become passionately angry enough and joyfully sober to do something about it. I’m not talking about teetotal I’m talking about safe drinking.

Because nothing is being done by the government who only seem to talk, talk, talk I have decided to do something myself.  As I write in  “Mind Your Drink: The Joy of Sobriety” and “Your Beautiful Mind” the booze barons and litigious lobbyists currently yield more political and economic power than those whose lives they destroy.

I give thanks and gratitude to presidential candidate Marianne Williamson for her activism and encouraging us all to be the change we want to see and reminding us that we as a people can and do wield power.

What could you do to get more inspired? How can you, too, become a source of inspiration for others?

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

 

Finding Joy—Why High Vibe Energy is Health and Happinesses New Superstar

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

“We store memories in our bodies. We store passion and heartache. We store joy, moments of transcendent peace. If we are to access these, if we are to move into them and through them, we must enter our bodies.”

Julia Cameron

Our bodies are storytellers. Like any great story, there are chapters with villains and heroes, plot twists, hidden dangers and deeper truths within the pages. Our storytelling body never lies, however, many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs their body is narrating.

When you don’t do the things you love your health can suffer. Common signs of neglecting your joy and purpose can include, headaches, insomnia, tiredness, depression, anger, frustration, and irritability. It’s easy to ignore or rationalize the feelings of discomfort, but the reality is your body—and your soul—is screaming out to be saved.

When we enter our bodies, we enter our hearts. Have the courage to say ‘enough’ and pursue more satisfying alternatives.

 

When you feel unfulfilled, or frustrated where and what do you notice in your body? How does this differ from times when you are joyful?

 

 

Listening to The Signs—How I Avoid Burnout

Looking back now I count myself lucky that I developed shingles when I was a stressed-out employee. The company offered me a lot of support—albeit reactively, including career counseling, time off to see the doctor and wellness leave.

None of this is available when you are your boss, at least not without directly affecting your pocket. Having had shingles and being warned that I might go blind, and also witnessing people have heart attacks at work, I knew this was a place I didn’t want to revisit.

So I am super vigilant to heed the early warning signs and 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.

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 work 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 working long hours is not smart.

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 click with

• 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 in to the spiritual realm

• Spending time in nature

• Regular silent retreats

• Eliminating negativity

• Exercising regularly

• Following my mantra, “If it’s not fun, I’m NOT doing it!” Sometimes this requires an attitude shift.

• And making room for joy

It may look like a long list, but in reality, most of these things only take a few minutes—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.

 

What can you do to stress less, and laugh more?

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”

Deepak Chopra

Recently, I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who were holding an art auction to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me – “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

The photo above is me feeling joyful at work—successfully narrating my story of how I overcame bullying, The Little Princess.

Sharing my story to help others, is the same joy I experienced when I donated my paintings.

Grab a free sample or purchase from your favorite audiobook retailer. To listen on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. 

Available for pre-order NOW!

 

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Health, Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence, and self-belief? What if you could hit your career, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with joy, purpose, and profit.

Amazon bestselling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue, and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, Cassandra Gaisford (BCA, Dip. Psych.) and Spiritual Conduit and Intuitive Healing Coach, Hannah Joy provides simple but powerful and easy to implement ways to find your joy and purpose. Based on survey research, personal experiences and their professional expertise and success as career and life coaches helping people achieve outstanding results – including lawyers, teachers, back-to-work mums, accountants, school leavers, and creative entrepreneurs – Gaisford and Joy answer the question: how to overcome adversity, find your destiny and follow your bliss.

In How To Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, you’ll learn:

  • Why successful people follow their joy, not their comfort-rut
  • How to identify your REAL priorities
  • How working with joy can cure many modern-day ills – depression, anxiety, overwhelm and stress
  • Why cutting yourself away from certain friends and family is for your highest good
  • How to be happy, healthy and successful
  • How to boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change
  • How to change jobs and find a career you’ll love, including self-employment
  • How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths
  • How identifying your PPT will increase profit, peace, and prosperity
  • BONUS: Find Your Passion Workbook
  • BONUS: Living with Purpose Workbook
  • BONUS: Making Decisions and Choosing Your Best-Fit Career Workbook

If you’re like many people who don’t know what sparks joy or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.

If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with joy and purpose, this book will help change your mindset.

If you’re too busy, too tired, too ill or too stressed out to read a lengthy book, this concise guide comes to your rescue.

Quit just existing and start really living!

Pre-order this book now to start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

Pre-order your copy today! To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/FindYourJoy

I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

Art is the highest form of hope

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”
Deepak Chopra



Prior to writing this chapter from my book, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose, I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who were holding an art auction to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me – “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

And today I felt joy seeing my paintings in The Little Black Gallery in Kerikeri. And I felt joy feeling gratitude for how much help and encouragement Anna, the owner has given me.

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW. Grab your copy from Amazon.

 How to Fulfill Your Dreams—Why Giving Joy to Others Leads to Success

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

 

 

“What we seek with deep longing, here and there, outside and beyond; we find at last within ourselves and we give with joy to others.”

Cassandra Gaisford

What do you care deeply about? What are your deepest beliefs?

Your values are your deep, personal needs, and the things that are truly important to you. They represent who you are, who you want to be and what you want to contribute to the world.

You may have a deep need to be creative, to help others, to entertain people or to change the world. Anything.

When your values are met there can be an incredible sense of joy, but value conflicts can also be a powerful clue to your joy and purpose.

Discovering all the things that you feel strongly about is not always easy. Look for some clues to your beliefs by catching the times you use words such as  ‘should’ or ‘must.’  Or, even the times you find yourself saying or feeling that you really ‘want to’ do something.

I did this today when I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who are holding an art auction next month to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me, “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

My values are my beliefs and they are woven through who I am and what I do.

“Cassandra believes in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives,” I say on my website. “On this site you’ll find resources she’s created to uplift, encourage and inspire.”

Real joy is more than a fad or fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a light switch. It’s a full-bodied belief or commitment to something.

What do you really believe in? It might be honesty, openness, freedom, equality, justice, compassion, generosity, kindness—or something else.

 

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”

“If you want joy, give joy to others,” encourages Deepak Chopra. It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

 

Identify and acknowledge your values.  What do you really need to feel satisfied and fulfilled?

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

Record your insights in your joy journal.

 

This has been an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love—COMING SOON.

Caste Fear Of Fumbling Out—How FOFO Can Change Your Life

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

 

“I try to focus not on the fumbles, but on the next plan.”

Barak Obama

In our Western culture, we often spend more time thinking of ways we could fail, fall, and fumble rather than ways we could succeed, soar and shine.

Focus is everything. By being kind to ourselves we give ourselves and others permission to make mistakes, grow and learn.

The hardest lessons and biggest fumbles often yield the biggest fruits. When was the last time you tested your fears?

If you felt the fear and fumbled anyway what’s the worst that could happen? Embrace FOFO—cast fear of fumbling out and make room for intentional joy.

How could you shift your focus from fumbles to fortuitous fortune? What’s your next plan?

Look for and collect examples of people who have turned ‘failure’ into joyful success.

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.

 

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

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

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

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

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

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

Call to Action

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

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

*