Friday, 23 December 2016

Looking forward to a healthy 2017

One of the things I love about this time of year is getting messages, emails or cards from clients saying how well they are doing or how much they are looking forward to a healthy happy future. So I thought I would share this one with you (with her permission!):
“I am heading into 2017 feeling calm, strong, healthy and happy and that is thanks to all your support through the course and beyond.
So a massive thanks, with your support I have changed my life and I couldn’t have asked to achieve more in 2016!
Also I love the Bristol and Bath newsletters- the one about oxytocin was a great reminder of the importance of enjoying doing things together and being in those moments of laughter and connectivity with others.” G
So enjoy all your moments of laughter and connectivity, and Happy Christmas, Joyful Festivals, and have a great New Year!
Hilary

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Steffan's Story

I recently caught up with what one of my clients has been doing since the Lightning Process: here is what he wrote. And congratulations Steffan on the birth of your baby son!



"I did the Lightning Process (LP) in May 2014 for my moderate M.E (CFS) which I had suffered with for around 6 years.

I was resigned to fact that I would probably never work enough to afford a house and I would never have the energy required to have children.

A typical day before doing the Lightning Process:

Waking up 10-11 am but stuck in bed with intense anxiety and lack of energy, feeling like I hadn’t actually been to sleep. Usually up by 12 noon. Having breakfast and showering (when up to it), after extra fatigue from this usually lying on the bed or sofa or floor up to 4pm. Force myself to get up from intense hunger, make myself meal which probably has little nutritional value but too exhausted so do something quick and easy.

Having dinner, maybe trying to help cook dinner but not being much help. Trying to get an early night and usually difficulty getting to sleep, tired but wired. Often awake until 3am or later for no reason just trying desperately to go to sleep. Cycle repeats. Even worse next day if I tried to do any extra exercise.

Biggest Achievements since doing the LP:

·         Being on top form for my own wedding.  The day could not have gone better.

·         Succeeding in securing two jobs during the last year, both physically demanding. Both more hours than I have worked per week during the 6 years.

·         Getting up around 8.30am. If working that day always on time to work and always time to get ready properly beforehand.

·         Going for walks measured in miles rather than meters.

·         Achieving all goals in my pre LP form listing “ideally I would like to…” including finally starting a band, and finishing building arcade machine in time for wedding reception and stag party.

·         Joining gym and attending it (even on a work evening),

·         Running around field near home (never done before).

·         Making new remix 27,554 views and counting on youtube. Recording singing and guitar in recording studio, always wanted to do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqs1b0rx8Jc

·         Homeowner since June 2016.



·         Father since September 2016!" 




Friday, 11 November 2016

Thoughts

We have talked in several blogs about the power of our thoughts: positive or negative. But what do we do when we notice a thought that isn’t helping us? Recently I came across an interesting exercise to use; I liked it partly because it has similarities to some of the tools you learn on the Lightning Process course.                                                                                                        

Take a thought like “I’m not good enough”, or whatever your “favourite” not very useful thought is. If we think that thought many times a day it is going to have a major impact on our life. Notice (briefly!) how you feel when you think it, and you will start to see why this is so.

Now change it to “I am having the thought that I’m not good enough”.
How does that feel different?

And now change it to “I notice that I am having the thought that I’m not good enough”. What effect does that have?


I find that it subtly changes my relationship to the thought. After all, it is only a thought........ and my thoughts are changing all the time. It is normal to change a thought, in fact they change on their own automatically. So if that is the case, what thought would you rather be thinking?

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Hilary's story

Listen to my own story of using the Lightning Process in this podcast on our Bristol and Bath Team website:

http://lightningprocessbristol.com/episode-8-my-recovery-story/

Friday, 21 October 2016

What do you want?

I am often amazed at the power of this one simple question.

Many a time I have listened to clients telling me in detail about all the things they don’t want, don’t like about themselves, their life, or the world, the things they want to change..... yet when I ask “So what DO you want?” I am met by a stunned silence, as people realise that they don’t really know!

It is a bit like having a filing cabinet with two drawers. The first one contains what you don’t want, the second what you do want. Your “Don’t want” drawer is neatly organised, you open it daily, you know exactly what is in it and can find things quickly. Your “Do want” drawer, however, may not have been opened for years, and when you do it is dusty and confused, you don’t know where anything is, and you certainly haven’t got a system to tell you what is important, and what unimportant.

Once you start to open your “Do want” drawer regularly, you will find out what is there, and begin to organise it. You will also clear out any goals from years ago that are no longer right for you, keep the goals you still like (you might be surprised to find some lovely ones that had got buried!), and have space to add new ones.

If you are at the stage of not even knowing what you do want, do remember that finding out is a process, and like most things it can take a little bit of time and practise to get really good at it. The key is starting. And even if you feel that you have a fairly good idea, it is good to do this process from time to time, because like all housework, you need to keep doing it!

Then, when someone asks you what you want, you will be able to find the answer quickly and easily. And, even more importantly, you will be able to start taking steps to achieve what you want in your life.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

This two part documentary on BBC One is available for the next few days. It charts the changes that patients have made in chronic pain, high blood pressure and depression, amongst other things, using simple life changes. Well worth watching!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w532p

Thursday, 29 September 2016

For anyone who feels they are too busy....

How often do you say "I am too busy" or "I am so stressed"? 

I really recommend listening to this series "Oliver Burkeman is Busy" on Radio 4. It's a fascinating insight into what may really be going on when we feel busy all the time.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07w1dpx/episodes/player

Friday, 23 September 2016

All or Nothing Thinking

Have you ever thought about what happens when we use words like always, never or everybody?

For example:
Everything has gone wrong today”
“Why can’t I do this when everybody else can?”
“Women / men always......”

Words like these are often a sign that you are doing “all or nothing thinking”. They imply “this is the way it is”. They make things absolute, definite. They frequently leave you with a sense of getting it wrong, of criticising yourself or others. And, they are almost never true (Really? Everything has gone wrong? What about breathing?!). Yet we can go on to base the rest of our day, or life, on this statement that isn’t true.

For example, a friend of mine decided to give up smoking. She didn’t smoke for 3 months, then had a cigarette after a difficult day. Immediately afterwards she said to herself: “I knew I would never be able to give up, I always ruin things for myself .......” If she had continued down that line of thought she would have felt terrible, had another cigarette because she had already failed........ and returned to smoking.

Fortunately she noticed what she was saying and instead asked herself “Is that really true?” She then noticed that for 3 whole months she hadn’t smoked, and that she had only spent 5 minutes smoking. Instead she decided to say to herself “I know I can give up smoking, I have done it for 3 months already so of course I can do it again!” She stopped using her “always” and “never” sentences, chose to focus on the 3 months rather than the 5 minutes, and decided to go back to being a non-smoker. Which she still is!

All or nothing thinking can get us into all kinds of problems. It has been shown to be a key element in anxiety and depression, for example. So whenever you hear yourself use one of these “all or nothing” words, just ask yourself “Is that statement really true?” Most of the time (but not always, of course!!) you will find it is not. Then that frees you up to look for other evidence, possibilities, or ways of understanding the situation. And noticing that can change the rest of your day.... or even your life.


All or nothing thinking is a bit like living in a black and white world, rather than enjoying the full range of beautiful colours around us. Which world would you rather live in?



Saturday, 23 July 2016

How our body is trying to help us

Here are a couple of interesting ideas that I have found to be true when working with people as a Lightning Process practitioner:     
  • Our minds and bodies are always trying to help us
  • We can learn things very quickly

It certainly might not feel like that if what you experience is negative or destructive. If, no matter what you do to change something, it continues to happen, it might even feel like your body or mind are against you and there is nothing you can do about it. But could it be that these negatives are your body’s or mind’s attempts to help you, and they simply need updating?

Say your young child wanted to make breakfast for you because it was your birthday, but when she brought it, the toast was burnt, the orange juice was dripping off the tray, and the eggs were completely uncooked. You would probably say thank you, be delighted, and attempt to eat what you could, because you recognised her intention to celebrate your birthday. But you also might teach her how to do it better next time! And you would know that, with good teaching and a bit of time and practice, of course she would learn to make breakfast well.



So if there are behaviours, thoughts, feelings or even physical problems in your life that are limiting you, you may just need to help your body and mind to help you more effectively. To do this you need to: 
  • Gain new information and better tools. 
  • And use them to retrain your brain and your body to do things in a different way.


You might not know how to do this at the moment, if you are feeling stuck, but one effective way is the Lightning Process, which is very good at helping people learn to  change their lives. And as humans we are very good at learning! 

The Science of Resilience

This is a great programme about increasing your resilience, and the science behind it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07cvhrs

Monday, 13 June 2016

More mind-body connections

Recently I watched a BBC programme called "How to Stay Young". A few things jumped out at me, because they fitted so well with what we know through the Lightning Process.
  • Excess stress can shorten life by up to 5 years. "A happy brain is a healthy brain".
  • Brisk walking increases both memory and learning, by helping you grow the part of your brain responsible for them: a great example of the connection between mind and body.
  • Positive attitudes to ageing can mean you live 7 years longer, and in a younger person can halve your risk of a heart attack. That is how powerful it is when we change our beliefs about ourselves and life!        

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0770cpf


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

5 ways to wellbeing

Last week a friend told me about www.fivewaystowellbeing.org. These are 5 things that are proven scientifically to improve our wellbeing, and a great way to check in with how your life is going:

Connect                                         Be active
                      Take Notice
Keep Learning                               Give

So I took a look at how I had been doing in the last week or so:
  • A friend’s birthday weekend ticked connecting and being active (walked up a big mountain) plus quietly taking notice of the freshness of the new leaves and the lambs.
2014 230
  • Dancing which, as well as being great exercise, involves lots of learning.
  • And I ran a Lightning Process course, in which I was able to share with others (giving) these amazing tools. When I look at my life now I still have a sense of amazement sometimes that I wouldn’t have been able to do most of the above before I did the Lightning Process for my own health and wellbeing over 8 years ago.
What one thing could you introduce to your life this week, whether big or small, that could help you increase your sense of wellbeing?

Dealing with other people's negativity

Here are two good articles about handling other people's negative states of mind.

David Hamilton says in http://drdavidhamilton.com/how-to-deflect-negative-emotion/

"Just as you can catch a cold by hanging out with someone who has one, so you can actually catch emotion too.... You don't just catch emotion from others, you transmit emotion too. Other people catch what you are feeling. So if you want to help others to be happier, one of the best ways is to work on your own happiness. Then they will catch it from you." 

The second article looks at how it is possible to have too much empathy:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201605/negative-empathy


Sunday, 24 April 2016

An art lesson on acceptance

At an art workshop I did recently, the facilitator said something that got me thinking about our ideas of right and wrong, criticism, and acceptance. She challenged us to draw something that was in front of us, without rubbing any lines out. She suggested that we just accept all the lines we had drawn, without judgement.

She pointed out that if we draw a line 5 times in slightly different positions, one of them is likely to be where we want it to be. However, if we rub each of them out before we “try again to get it right”, we will lose the line we wanted as well as the ones we didn’t want. If, instead, we leave all the lines in and continue, at the end we can look at the whole effect, and we will have a whole range of lines to choose from.

All we need to do then is strengthen the line we choose. I discovered that doesn’t actually matter if we leave the “wrong” lines in, because our eye is so clever that it naturally creates shapes that make sense out of a set of lines on a page. And in fact, the most powerful art is often the most abstract or the least “accurate”, because then we find our own meaning in it.


I wonder where we are rubbing things in our lives because they don’t seem “right”, and how many opportunities we lose in the process?

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Podcast: The Power of Seeing Things in a New Way

Here is my first podcast! It is about the importance of thinking about things in a different way. And I have been busy changing my thinking about my ability to make podcasts: it is actually surprisingly easy!

http://lightningprocessbristol.com/episode-5/




Sunday, 3 April 2016

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

What our Lightning Process clients said

We held a Lightning Process Bristol Team celebration event in January 2016, and asked our clients to write down their experiences of before and after the Lightning Process. Here are some of their comments:

Monday, 21 March 2016

A better way to learn

When learning something new, a simple change can make a big difference.

Try focussing on getting better rather than being good at it.

When we focus on being good at something we tend to notice our failure (“that’s not good enough yet”). This creates anxiety, which immediately reduces our ability to think clearly and to learn. So we are actually more likely to make mistakes. We also tend to struggle on alone, because we are comparing ourselves to others (usually people far more experienced than us) and feeling a failure, rather than seeing other people’s experience as a resource, and asking for help.

When we focus instead on getting better, we can recognise that when you learn something you WILL make mistakes (which baby ever learned to walk the first time it tried?). So when we do make mistakes, we see them as part of learning (useful feedback, instead of failure). Also, in thinking about getting better, we compare ourselves to ourselves previously, and so focus on our improvements and successes. As a result, we stay calm, focussed and motivated. We continue to be able to think clearly, and so we tend to learn more quickly.

So when you start something new, whether it is a new job, a leisure activity, study, or other goal, tell yourself, “I know I am not going to be good at this immediately, and that’s ok.” And as you go along, notice your small changes and improvements, praise yourself for them, ask for help where you need it, and keep your focus on getting better at your goal.

Friday, 26 February 2016

The power of changing your language

This is a great little article about the power of swapping just two words in your speech or thoughts:

changing BUT for AND
and replacing HAVE TO with WANT TO 

Read about the effects this can have here:

http://www.businessinsider.in/A-Stanford-professor-says-eliminating-2-phrases-from-your-vocabulary-can-make-you-more-successful/articleshow/50883012.cms?from=mdr

Saturday, 23 January 2016

A client's video and blog of his life after the Lightning Process


Take a look at this video, made by a client who did the Lightning Process course one and a half years ago. 

He has also written a blog all about his experiences at the time and everything that he has been able to do since:

A Celebration!

The Bristol and Bath Lightning Process Team have a big Celebration coming up on Wednesday 27th January and we are very excited about it! We have invited everybody that has done the Lightning Process with us in the past to get together, meet each other, and to celebrate their achievements and the amazing changes they have made in their lives. We will also be eating, drinking, and generally have a bit of a party, in a delightful venue in Bristol.

Phil Parker, the designer of the Lightning Process, will be coming down from London to join in the festivities and meet everyone. Those of you who are coming, if you have one of his books and want him to sign it, bring it along. Otherwise, we will have some books for sale.

We will also be celebrating the launch of our Bristol and Bath Lightning Process Head Office Team. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

New Year and a new Bristol and Bath Team

Happy New Year! What are you planning to do in 2016 to live your life the way you want to? What changes do you want to introduce? What do you need to let go of? And what do you want to bring in or have more of?

My new year's resolution is to return to blogging, which I neglected in 2015 as I got on with the rest of life. So here we are!


There is another exciting new development for my work with the Lightning Process in 2016: four of us in Bristol and Bath have got together to create the new Phil Parker Bristol and Bath Team. We are going to be working closely with Phil and with each other to offer Lightning Process courses in the Bristol and Bath area. In addition, we will be offering free introductory talks every couple of months, Refresher courses for graduates of the Lightning Process, and other fun and interesting things! To find out more, visit our new website, www.lightningprocessbristol.com