Gratitude and Well-Being: How To Improve Your Well-Being and Self-Esteem:

In my last article I wrote all about the impact of gratitude on anxiety, depression and self-esteem (have a read here: The Impact of Gratitude on Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem and Well-being). The research I talked about there shows that gratitude is strongly related to several aspects of well-being and mental health. 

People who have a disposition to notice and appreciate positive aspects in their life and their world tend to be happier, more optimistic, have positive self-esteem and are more positive and they also experience less depression and anxiety symptoms. In fact, gratitude can be considered to offer some protection against depression and anxiety because you are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring towards yourself when things go wrong in life and when faced with challenges.

As the researchers concluded, "gratitude is also associated with an improved "relationship with the self," in the form of a more positive and compassionate way of treating ourselves when things go wrong in life, which partially explains why grateful people are also less depressed and anxious" (Petrocchi & Couyoumdjian (2015)).

As I mentioned in that last article, with so many mental health benefits of gratitude, it really does make sense to purposefully apply it in your life. You are more likely to feel happy, have positive self-esteem, a better sense of well-being and experience less anxiety and depression symptoms. 

And if you do want to benefit from these good things then I'll be covering some ways you can do so in this article.

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It's Peculiar People Day so celebrate your individual uniqueness!

Today is Peculiar People Day!! Now I bet you probably didn't know that...and nor did I until an e-mail mentioning it landed in my inbox. Yet it turns out that January 10th every year has indeed been assigned to be Peculiar People Day. So let's celebrate it!

Actually, when I saw the e-mail that mentioned it, I showed it to my wife and told her that they've finally created a day just for her!! I'm hilarious...

I've no idea where the idea came from or who decided that this day every year should be marked in celebration of the strange and unusual. The Days of the Year website describes it like this:

"Peculiar People Day is here to celebrate the leaders of the strange and unusual, those who refuse to succumb to the world’s idea of what is normal and sane. They challenge the status quo and utterly rebuke the concept that that which is out of the ordinary is bad. Whether they simply dress in their own style, or have very clear ideas of what is right and normal, Peculiar People Day is their opportunity to shine."

I'm not sure 'peculiar' is the word I'd use for those who do their own thing and express their own style and thoughts and ways of being. I think it's more about being unique and celebrating being who you are and who you choose to be.

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Self-Esteem: You Gotta Sing Your Own Special Song:

Recently I've been working with a lot of people who are seeking to boost their self-esteem because they believe they aren't good enough or worthy in some way. And of course, whenever they learned this or adopted this, it now affects their sense of self-worth, their belief in themselves and their perceptions of how others will view them and judge them. 

And like all patterns we run, the more you consciously or nonconsciously act, react and think in this way, the more habitual and automatic it can start to feel.

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Comparing Yourself To Others & Self-Esteem:

We've probably always done it, yet comparing yourself to others has hit boom time with the rise of social media. I like to think that, had he been alive today, Shakespeare would have changed his sonnet from 'shall I compare thee to a summer's day' to 'shall I compare how I feel and my own self-worth to your instagram and facebook profiles.'  

Now before anyone accuses me of blaming social media for leading us to compare ourselves with others, I'm not, and I should know it's been around longer because it's something I used to do incessantly before I'd ever heard of instagram, twitter, facebook and so on. There were times I could barely force myself out of the front door because of my anxiety-fuelled comparisons with others and worry about what they might think about me (and it was never something good).

Yet there's no denying that these days it's easier than ever to compare our own thoughts, feelings, perceptions and levels of self-esteem with the filtered, published results that someone chooses to portray online. We compare our inner self worth with someone else's carefully selected public profile. And if you are going through a hard time right now, then those images of smiley, happy people enjoying every moment of life can only make you feel a bit worse (after all, how come everyone else is so happy and you're not, right?).

It's something that comes up in my office, and I can reference a recent client where such a thing was adding to her feelings of low self-esteem.

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Is your inner critic keeping you anxious and stuck?

Are you your own best friend or our own worst enemy? Whether we realise it or not, all day long we are running a self-talk commentary in our heads of what is going on within us and around us. If you have learnt to be self-critical in your thoughts then you may spend your time telling yourself that you aren't good enough, or talking yourself out of doing things you want to do, or convincing yourself that you'll probably fail or make an idiot of yourself.

It's a bit like having a little devil on our shoulder all day long who delights in highlighting your perceived inadequacies, flaws or in naysaying any signs of confidence, hope and progression. 

When I used to struggle with anxiety, I'd told myself I wasn't good enough so many times that I'd stopped even noticing that I was doing it. It became so habitual that I just assumed that the stuff I was telling myself was fact and reality. I was sure that other people would think I was rubbish or boring or an idiot. I was always living on edge at some level in case I was 'found out' for being inadequate. I lived with a mind crammed full of inner criticism which projected my anxiety into each and every situation. I avoided things, I ducked out of things and I prayed no one would notice.

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Life Changing Hypnotherapy - Gaining Self Confidence

Do you ever struggle to interact with other people? I remember how, when I struggled with low self confidence and social anxiety, even the most straightforward of interactions would be an anxiety fuelled process full of potential minefields.

There were times when even standing in a queue in a corner shop would cause my anxiety levels to rise and I would be frantically rehearsing what I would say to the cashier over and over in my mind so I wouldn't mess it up and make an idiot of myself. And yes I did all those other things that socially anxious people do like avoiding people in the street, worrying about what other people thought about me, and spending waaaaayyyy too long thinking about what I was going to say rather than actually being present in the moment.   

And not only is all that worry mentally and physically draining, it also means missing out on doing things you want to do and having to endure rather than enjoy being around others.

So it's always a real delight to me when someone comes to me for help with self confidence and social anxiety when I can help them find a way to make the changes that mean they can happily achieve the things that they want to. 

Recently I worked with a lovely guy called Tom and you can read what he had to say after our sessions below.

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Last weekend I took my children to watch the latest Disney film called 'Zootropolis' at the cinema.

If you've never heard of it, Zootropolis is based around a city where animals of all shapes and sizes live side by side. From elephants and rhinos to mice and lemmings, the animals live in a city, performing every day job and roles (in a world where humans don't exist). My kids and us grown ups thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

So what has this to do with self esteem and being judged (or the fear of what other people think)?

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I love helping people increase their confidence and self esteem with hypnotherapy in Ely.

Having known what it is like to live with low confidence and self esteem, it is a wonderful thing to help someone let go of that burden and move on to living their lives doing what they want to do.

In this article, I'll be sharing some constructive actions you can immediately start taking to strengthen your confidence from today. I've also included a video testimonial from Marc who put these actions into place and is now more confident and happier in presentations, video conferences and in many other areas.

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With the festive season well and truly upon us, and all those Christmas meals and parties, your social anxiety may be getting to set to rise a few notches.

For some, just the thought of being around friends, relatives and work colleagues can create worry, anxiety and stress. After all, there is all that small talk to endure and all those 'what ifs?' about saying the wrong thing, messing up or being judged in some way.

And even if you decide not to go due to those fears, there may still be that nagging concern over what they will think if you don't show up. So you're kind of caught in a trap of worry about going versus the worry of not going.

Just like with presentations, social functions may lead to worry about making an idiot of yourself, perhaps by drying up during conversations, not knowing what to say, or worries about being thought of as boring.

So what can you do to lower social anxiety at social events?

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This week is National Anti-Bullying week and as part of that I thought I'd share some of my own experiences and learning from being the victim of bullying.

Personally I found it very hard to even admit (to myself or others) that I was being bullied. I was a grown man, working in a full time public sector role at the Legal Services Commission and I was living in a cycle of fear, misery and dread.

And one of the hardest things for me was that I hadn't even really noticed the bullying growing and deepening through the weeks.

In fact, as someone who at the time struggled with self esteem issues and a belief that I wasn't good enough, I thought it must just be me - that I wasn't up to the job, I was too weak, I was a failure, I had been found out at last...

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