I’m just back from a lovely day with teachers at the union’s SW annual conference in North Devon. I love working with teachers. A key principle of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is that three key ingredients are required for thriving in life – positive action (doing something you value and believe in) positive interaction (working – and playing – cooperatively with colleagues, family and friends) and positive thinking (the conviction that your contribution to the world will be positive and successful). The vast majority of teachers I have dealt with have shown they possess these ingredients by the bucket load!
What was inspiring for me about the “Hypnotherapy, Coping and Wellbeing” workshop that I led on Saturday was that these teachers were giving up their weekends to find out how to help struggling colleagues thrive. Thanks to them all for their interest and contributions – at a time when the education system is under so much pressure, it’s good to know that our children are in such caring hands.
It would be fair to say that most of our house is fairly tidy most of the time and a sense of order does contribute to my personal sense of wellbeing. However, there were a couple of places in our home that were draining me of energy, weighing me down.
One is the garden shed where we keep equipment and tools – despite numerous attempts at creating order, it was generally difficult to find things, doubling the time required for even the smallest job.
The other is the “store room” where unwanted/infrequently needed items were placed in a random fashion, generally meaning that finding an item (a sleeping bag for example) involved taking most of the other things out first.
So I bought a copy of “Clear your Clutter With Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston and got cracking on the living room and our bedroom as preparation for the ( I have to admit) daunting store room challenge. That was when a principle common in hypnotherapy became really evident to me. It’s called “Control Constant Theory” and highlights the fact that taking the first small step to control one area of your life drives you on to take control in others.
We don’t feel comfortable, for example, being highly organised in one area of our life and chaotic in others – that first small step, whether it’s buying trainers or booking a health-check or getting back in touch with old friends, is the start of the better future we are all looking towards.
My store room is now fully organised and every object in there is easily accessible. I also police any attempts from other members of the family to disturb the system, meaning that any future clear-outs will be speedier and more efficient.
In case you were wondering if the clear-out was really necessary, I have to admit that among the debris I found another copy of “Clear you clutter” which I had bought about six years ago! Right, now on to the shed….
For the first time in many years we had a family holiday in hotel on a half-board basis. With cooking or clearing up being unnecessary we were able to devote even more time to relaxation. We could actually spend time deciding whether to have a swim or read or walk or….
What I found was a sense of time being abundant, and that there was nothing impelling me to hurry, or to finish one task so I could move on to the next.
In itself, the experience provided a real break and rest from everyday life, but it also accomplished something much more important.
Modern neuroscience has shown that when we step away from a problem (even for a few moments) our brains go into “default mode” where the subconscious continues actively working towards solving our problems, while we consciously relax.
So I returned from holiday not simply rested, but also bursting with ideas that surfaced at odd times – ideas that were fresh and spontaneous, different from the results achieved through focused thought and effort.
I am now giving myself a “mini-holiday” each day – 15 minutes of nothing, and feeling the benefit of subconscious assistance in everything I do.
Sometimes (as many successful bank robbers will confirm) you can achieve more when no-one is looking. Back in the early 80s I used to make regular New Year’s resolutions to give up smoking, but they tended not to last – sharing my goal with so many people (and having endless conversations about that goal!) tended to drain my energy and determination. When I did give up for good, it was in February 1987, and I didn’t tell anyone, I just got on with it. (Interestingly, no-one noticed for a month.)
Maybe you have had this experience, driven mad by a fellow-quitter’s longing for a fag, or the well-meaning encouragement of a loved one… My advice is just to stop now while no-one’s looking – you’ll be amazed! I believe you can do it on your own without me, but if you need a little help get in touch.
Either way, keep it quiet….