The Mindset Behind My Couch to 5k Expedition [Part 1]

If you’re thinking of embarking on a running program, or any similar fitness program, here’s a run down (pun intended) of my story and the mindset shifts that helped me. 

 

I knew WHY I wanted to do it

The discomfort of being breathless on flights was a big motivator for me.  This wasn’t just in my head, or caused by anxiety, this was physical breathlessness caused by altitude and I knew this would be a great problem to solve (especially as I knew I wanted to travel more).  But I was confused.  I knew this was linked to poor cardio ability (I HATED cardio and avoided it like the plague) but, the question was, did I need to do HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) or more endurance type stuff?  An athlete friend suggested endurance and she recommended the Couch to 5k app.   So I signed up.  

 

I had to BELIEVE my body could do it

I exist in a heavier body and running made me feel like a big ole heavy lump.  I...

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Why Knowing About The Reticular Activating System Can Help You Make Changes

We painted our hallway blue, beautiful Marrakech blue, now I can't stop seeing it everywhere I go. 

My husband is the same.  Whenever we watch a film, go into a shop or restaurant, we see it.

Somewhere.

On the wall, in a picture, someone's wearing it. 

I'm sure it's always been there, we've just never NOTICED it before. 

But now, because this blue has MEANING to us, we are seeing it everywhere!  


Ta Dah

Ok, I'm making a meal out of this for effect, because I knew this would happen after we'd painted our walls. 

And I knew this would happen because I'm fascinated with the Reticular Activating System.  

Here's a quick 101 on the RAS. 

The RAS is a network of neurons in the brain which acts as a filter for sensory information determining what stimuli are important and deserving of our attention.  We need this filtration system in our brain because in reality, there's just too much information in the world for us...

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It Takes More Than it Just Being January to Make A Lasting Change

Deep change takes a recognition of where we have split off from the authentic self. 

Having helped many clients deal with a range of things they want to change (from avoidant attachment styles to skin picking) what we’re really finding at the heart of the matter is a split from self. 

Therefore to heal is to reconcile with self and live in a more empowered way making every decision with authencity at the core, dissolving cognitive dissonance, the presence of which drives thoes pesky symptoms. 

People talk about authenticity a lot though but what does it really mean?

When we operate authentically we make choices from a place of our true identity, NOT an identity that  belongs to our childhood or that has been intervoven with beliefs rendered from traumatic events. 

When children have been parented in a way that over-rides their natural intuition using co-cercive control or manipulation, dis-empowering the child’s inner widsom,...

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Reviving Your Libido: 6 Ways to Boost Your Mojo During Menopause Using Your Mind

Have you heard of the expression, "You don't stop playing because you age, you age because you stop playing."  ?

Well I think something similar is going on with our libido during menopause. 

Yes the initial hormone decline may cause our libido to drop but it's OUR job to re-ignite it otherwise we end up in the trap that goes:  'you don't stop having sex because of menopause, you menopause because you stop having sex.'

Maybe that's not actual science, but there's something in the idea which feels important and certainly goes along with the theory of stereotype embodiment

The health benefits of sex and orgasms are phenomenal. 

The increased levels of nitric oxide released during orgasm bring improvements in: 

cardiovascular health including blood pressure.
exercise performance.
immune function.
memory and overall brain function.
wound healing.
anti inflammatory.
emotional regulation.

all of which support a healthier menopause and so I...

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Why You Don't Really Want Happiness And What You Probably Want Instead

 

I can't believe I'm about to say this...

I NEVER want you to be happy because what I want for you is so much bigger than happiness. 

Ok, let’s dig. 

Why do we only strive for this one emotion when there are so many more beautiful ones to experience? 

I have a theory.

Because we’ve been hypnotised to believe that happiness is the thing we SHOULD want and there are certain things that will get us there.

The swimming pool, the house, the pay rise, the Gucci, the 5 star trips, the accolades, the milestones, the glitterati friendships.

But why is it that when we get there, it only feels good for a moment and then the emptiness settles in again?

It’s because happiness, like all emotion, is fleeting. 

After working with people deeply for 23 years, I am 99.9% certain that happiness is not what most people want.  They want something more enduring, something more foundational.  

When my clients tell me that all they want is to...

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Hot Flushes: Surviving the Fiery Inferno of Menopause.

Ah, menopause, the rollercoaster ride of hormonal changes that can make even the most composed woman feel like she's in a never-ending heatwave.

One of the most notorious symptoms that women experience during this phase are the dreaded hot flushes. But fear not because I am here to guide you through this hellish inferno with a touch of empathy, a sprinkle of humor, and some counter intuitive advice.   

So, grab a fan, sit back, and let's dive into the world of hot flushes!

Understanding the Heatwave: Hot flushes (or hot flashes depending on what side of the pond you reside), are sudden feelings of intense heat (that usually starts in the head) and can spread throughout your body, leaving you sweaty, red-faced, and feeling like you're trapped in a sauna. These episodes can strike at any time, especially when we feel anxious, causing embarrassment, discomfort, and a desperate need to either leave the building or for a personal portable air...

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The Red Flag in the Happy Childhood

There are a couple of things that fascinate me about my job as a therapist.  One is the type of issues that people need fixing and the other is what scenes come up during regression related to that. 

I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I get blindsided and I have to think on my feet.  I can have an expectation that what I’m going to find is neglect but actually what I find is the opposite.

TOO MUCH ATTENTION.  

If, when I ask my client’s inner child “are you happy?” and the response is “yes, I’m so happy, I couldn’t want for anything more, my childhood is perfect, I like it here, I want to stay”…

I see a red flag .   

Not that your childhood shouldn’t be safe and affirming, but if you’re coming to me with an issue and you’re telling me your childhood was perfect, I know we need to dig deeper.

Now what I start to look for is something called enmeshment or covert...

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The Medicine in Your Menopause

Repeat after me:  Menopause does NOT have to be miserable!! 

Some aspects of the media would have us believe that we need to hunker down, get supplies in and be ready for the s**t storm that is coming…because it’s ominous and it’s going to be, well frankly, terrible. 

Without wanting to diminish the hurricane that many women find themselves in (I was one of them), it’s often about how we frame it. 

The more we can frame is a powerful metamorphosis instead of a nightmare hormone deficiency, the more likely we are to experience it as such. 

This is down to the incredible power of stereotype embodiment.

Stereotype embodiment is the concept that societal stereotypes and cultural beliefs about a particular group of people can influence the health and mindset of individuals belonging to that group. So in the context of menopause, stereotype embodiment suggests that the cultural expectations and stereotypes surrounding menopause can affect...

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The Dark Side of The Fight Against Patriarchy & What To Do About It

The growth mindset has dug me out of a few crises, especially recently.

 

You see, over the last year, I went down a big rabbit hole into systemic oppression, patriarchy….that kind of thing.

 

I did some major deconstruction of my biases, as a therapist, that's REALLY important. 

 

The idea about 'smashing the patriarchy' found me through the work I do in the menopause space. Before that, I was 100% growth mindset and believed that no matter what the circumstances, ANYONE could make positive changes in their own lives. 

 

At first I found the whole patriarchy thing incredibly validating but after a while it started to depress me.  I could only take so much. It’s heavy shit and changes absolutely EVERYTHING you thought you ever knew.

 

You really need to take a breath and take a moment.  

 

It was completely necessary though and I learnt so much about my privilege, decolonisation, social determinants of health,...

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Are Your Ageing Symptoms a Result of Stereotype Embodiment?

How much of the ageing symptoms that we experience is actually just stereotype embodiment?

 

Stereotype embodiment refers to the process by which individuals internalize and embody stereotypes that are prevalent in their culture or society. It suggests that stereotypes can influence people's self-perception, behavior, and even their physical and mental health.

 

When individuals are repeatedly exposed to stereotypes about a particular social group to which they belong, they may begin to internalize those stereotypes and incorporate them into their self-concept. For example, if someone repeatedly hears that older adults are forgetful and frail, they may start to believe and exhibit those characteristics themselves, even if they were not true for them personally.

 

Stereotype embodiment can operate through various mechanisms. One mechanism is stereotype threat, where individuals are aware of negative stereotypes about their group, which can lead to anxiety and...

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