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Write Your OWN Oscar Speech to Set Health + Happiness Goals

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write you own oscar speech and increase happinessCelebrating yourself and practising gratitude can increase happiness, motivation and help you set goals.

As the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards are revealed today, think about this:

When was the last time you prepared an acceptance speech?
Ooh, what was that?
“Can’t remember”?
“I never win anything!”?
Or maybe “I have my lottery winner press conference all figured out!”

Well it’s true that unless you’re Meryl Streep you probably don’t have a mantelpiece heaving with gongs (your parents spare room still decorated with your childhood swimming certificates don’t count, sorry). Not so many opportunities for us regular joes to take the spotlight and acknowledge the people who have helped us reach such lofty heights.

But I think there’s an opportunity being missed here…
As we launch ourselves into this fresh new year, maybe filled with energy for our resolutions, perhaps not so much, I encourage you to take a break and think about this:
You ARE a winner. You are here right now in 2013, doing your thing. And if you’re reading my blog, you most likely have an interest in making this year even better than all the ones you’ve lived so far.
So, how about writing your own acceptance speech for your life? Your life so far, right up to this point of existence.
How about giving thanks and acknowledgement for everyone who has played a part in where you are right now?

Think about the archetypal Oscar speech. Our celluloid heroes take the opportunity to thank the people who have helped them and who collectively deserve recognition in their achievement.
And although our own speech may not include our Hollywood agent, we are all people having a life experience of other people.
It is possible to achieve some things on our own, but most of us have been blessed at some point with the support/inspiration/example of another person.

Can you run a scan of your life and pinpoint those people?
The ones you remember and think “yeah, a part of me exists today because of that experience”.

Go on, take a moment and write a list…

I feel lucky that my own list is long. Here is just an excerpt (what can I say, I’m going through my glittery pen phase):

my oscar thankyou list

I am so happy that I have had the honour of adding my clients to this year’s list.
Being a part of the power of people working together to overcome chronic fatigue, reverse type2 diabetes, manage stress, begin exercising regularly, get their dream job, increase their confidence, regain their cognition, eradicate PMT, etc, has been truly amazing. It also shows that being of service to others deserves just as much space on your list, because by helping others we help ourselves.

So, back to your list and the people on it:
what is/was it about them that had such a profound effect on you?
Sometimes the reason is hard to pin down, but somehow we were able to relate to that person, connect with them, bounce off them, trust them.
They were also probably in exactly the right place at the right time for you.

Most of us possess enough knowledge and skills to complete a task, but we work better with people around us. In our corner. On our side.

This was exactly my experience during my health coaching training.
Technically, I had the skills and the resources to complete the course on my own. But even if I had been able to muster the motivation with only myself to be accountable to, it would not have been the enriching, life changing experience that it was without my health coach and my fellow students to support me and keep me on track.

When we think about the people who have helped us become who we are today, very often what they did was give you a safe space and provided the right tools for you to step into your own power.
They didn’t do it for you. They empowered you to do it for your self in your own unique way.

So, you’ve taken the time for an energising gratitude practise. What happens next?
This is the really exciting bit – the BIG BANG ACTION STEP to move you forward.
It’s a brand new year with fresh new goals. Keeping in mind the lesson that we people are connected to each other through our experiences, who will feature in the goals you want to achieve this year? Who do you need in your life to help you achieve those goals? Who will be in your speech this time next year?

  • It could be a career advisor to help you get that job you know you can shine in.
  • A friendship that could develop into a linchpin of support for both of you.
  • A health coach to give you that safe space and the tools to achieve your health and happiness dreams.

Get proactive in your search for the people who will become your collaborators in the life you really want to lead!

Leave a comment below about who you want on your list! Or post some gratitude about who is on your list right now. Studies show that writing notes of gratitude increases our own happiness, promotes quality sleep and helps us reach our goals.

If you want to give yourself the gift of some space to explore the possibilities for your health and happiness in this fresh new year, contact me to arrange a free, no obligation Health Breakthrough Session and see how the power of partnership can transform you!

I’ll leave you with a fab video that shows how expressing gratitude in your own unique way can make everyone in the room (including you) feel amazing!

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4 Steps to Help Overcome That Fear and Achieve Your Goals

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We can overcome our prehistoric genes, swim through those scarey moments and reach our goals.

overcome your fears

I could taste the saltiness in my throat as my breathing quickened, magnified and menacing through my snorkel.
I thought about the magnitude of what I was doing. For me, that is: a lifelong underwater phobic with an ironic obsession for coral reefs.
Others around me were swimming and diving with carefree ease. I was surrounded by water babies whereas I felt like a cat that had fallen into the fish pond!

I took a moment to tread water, risking being left behind by the group. I glanced back to where our boat was anchored. Both directions felt like a mile away!
I hesitated. At this point I could swim back to the boat and a reassuring dry deck with my panic abated. But I had visualised the experience ahead of me for a whole two years: floating above a coral reef, marvelling at the beauty, the colours, the serenity. At this moment, any available serenity was being drowned out by the din of my panicking lungs!
Another moment: Slow, regular breaths just like my meditation practice, a word to myself that I can do this. I turned away from the boat and started swimming.

And there it was. Everything I had imagined. The colourful corals, the fantasia of fishes elegantly swimming about their watery business, the sun’s rays penetrating the cyan water like the gods were shining a spotlight for us to witness the beauty.
And so I floated, I marvelled, I accepted every emotion. I allowed the fear to be, but not consume. I kept breathing.
And eventually I swam back to the boat buoyant with excitement, gratitude and pride.

Why am I writing this story all about me, me, me?
Because the experience pulled some important life and health lessons into focus.

Whether your goal is to eat healthier, exercise or pursue a more fulfilling career, there will be times when no matter how much you prepare, you will encounter inner resistance. Times when your familiar habits feel so much closer than your desired destination. But those are exactly the times when we need to take a breath and remind ourselves that we wouldn’t have started the journey if we didn’t know that what we are travelling towards is better than where we started from.

Here are some tips to overcome those moments when the leap ahead feels so much farther than the retreat to familiar territory:

  1. Be prepared
    Visualising achieving your goal and how your life will be when that happens actually changes you on a physiological level: your brain can’t tell the difference between a real and imagined action. When you imagine an action, your body produces the same electrical impulses as if you were doing it for real. This strengthens the neural pathways, creating a mental navigation plan for the action. This is why so many athletes use visualisation to gain a competitive edge.
  2. Acknowledge your fear/doubt/panic
    Say hello (or flick your tongue) to your lizard brain! Yes, we have a pre-historic lump near the brain stem that sends out those feelings of fear and resistance. And it isn’t going anywhere any time soon so we may as well make friends with it. Recognise that it’s just a part of you, trying to protect you. But that fear of the unknown need not be your whole story.
    Finding a way to acknowledge this part of our experience without allowing it to take over and hold us back is part of becoming the whole person you want to be.
    The visualisation from step 1 will help you keep the lizard in its cage. And if the lizard gets loose at the point of action, then deep, steady breathing works really well to calm your prehistoric pet.
  3. Take a bite at a time.
    It’s so daunting to look at your end goal, whether it’s life without your love handles or earning the salary you know you are worth. But breaking down your ultimate goal into achievable chunks makes changes much easier to adjust to plus you get to celebrate each step on the way. Take some me-time to figure out the ‘hows’ on the way to your goal.
    And here’s another cool factoid about Step 1 that supports this practice of breaking up your plan into bite size chunks:  There is a part of your brain called the posterior parietal cortex that is responsible for creating a navigation plan for action. It’s a busy bit of brain, gathering information from our skin, internal organs and vision to create these action plans. If we give it too much information at once through visualisation, it gets overloaded and your well-laid mental plans become less effective. Treat your visualisation as a practise. Imagine your end goal vividly to get your creative juices flowing, but also create a plan to visualise each step of your plan as you work through them.
  4. Take Action!
    Imagination is a wonderful gift, but Intention + Action = Miracles
    You have prepared yourself mentally for the steps required. Now it’s time to let those strengthened neural pathways do their job. You have your bite-size steps all ready to execute, so go get ‘em!
    And remember, when the resistance appears, you have the tools and understanding to KEEP. ON. SWIMMING.

Do you have a dream, a goal, an ambition that feels kinda scarey when you think about it? You know, that fluttery, knotty feeling in your stomach or a slight quickening of your breath.
Is your pet lizard flicking it’s tail at the thought of you getting outside your comfort zone?
THAT’S GOOD! That’s the place where the real magic happens.
Tell me what your dream is, what that deep down burning ambition is. Let’s imagine it together.

If you would like to talk through your health and life goals and discuss how you can achieve them, contact me for a FREE Health Breakthrough Session.


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You Have A Cold, Not A Failure Infection!

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woman with coldFor most people, catching a cold is an inconvenient few days of sniffles and general under the weather-ness.

But when you are living with a chronic health condition, or even if you are a self-critical ‘perfectionist’ type of person, it can feel like so much more than that.

Not only do you feel worse because you are already dealing with your daily symptoms and now this dastardly bug has taken residence.
But it can also bring with it a lot of negativity surrounding your efforts to improve your health.

“I try so hard to be healthy, and yet I still caught this cold.”
“My body must be weaker than I thought.”
“I’m not doing enough for my health.”
“I feel like I let my body down.”
“I feel like my body let ME down!”

Do any of these sound familiar?

Don’t worry, you are not alone. It goes with the territory of chronic illness.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to feel better, both physically and emotionally.
Here are some action steps to improve your mindset and your body’s recovery from those cold bugs.

Give yourself a break
In these modern times of deadlines and heavy schedules, we often feel guilty for taking time out to care for ourselves. If you have already taken time off to deal with your chronic health symptoms, the guilt and fear can be overwhelming. But it is essential to put your health first.
Keep these things in mind:

  • No one ever gets a thank you for spreading that germ love around the workplace!
    Keep in mind that if you drag yourself to that meeting full of cold, your colleagues may think you’re a trooper, but they’ll also be seeing that imminent cold spreading to themselves and their family.
  • Investing some rest and recuperation time at the beginning of your bug-attack will mean a speedier recovery and get you back to full working condition quicker.
  • Your immune system relies on sleep time to perform its important tasks – give it what it needs to get your body better.

Choose Your Comfort Foods Carefully
When you are having an involuntary duvet day, it’s easy to console yourself with foods that you find comfort in but don’t exactly support your recovery.
You’re in that mind set of “well, I feel crappy so I may as well eat crappy”.
But diving into the biscuit tin will ultimately bring guilty thoughts as well as giving your body more work to do in regulating blood sugar and coping with further energy dips.
You can turn that mood around to positivity by choosing comforting foods that will support your body in recovery.

  • Drink plenty of fluids in the form of warm drinks like herbal teas, fresh veg and fruit juices and water. Good old warm water with honey and lemon is a great choice. Add some crushed ginger for extra anti-bacterial benefits.
  • Your immune system is working hard at this time, and 80% of your immune system is in your gut. Give it a break by choosing foods that are easy to digest. Comforting soups are an excellent choice, especially for sore throats. Try the super easy cold-fighting soup recipe at the end of this article.

Resting versus Relaxing
It is easy to think because you’re on enforced rest that you are actually relaxing. But the two aren’t necessarily the same thing. Loafing about in your pyjamas whilst running a tape on loop in your head about all the things you aren’t doing isn’t going to get you better quicker.
Take this time to really implement some proper relaxation and check the health of your thoughts as well as your body.

  • Take a warm bath with relaxing essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and rose. Add a scoop of Epsom salts if you can to help draw out toxins and absorb essential minerals. Be sure to relax for 20 minutes – no body maintenance allowed! Play some relaxing music if you like, or use this time to clear your mind of those negative thoughts. When a thought pops up, imagine the warm water washing over it and floating away…
  • Visualisation or meditation can be a powerful tool in your bug-busting box of tricks. Use an audio file to get you started if you are new to the practise. Your thoughts have a powerful effect on your physiology – think of it as a way to heal your body through your mind.
    Tip: You can search ITunes for free meditation/visualisation podcasts.
  • Most important of all, remind yourself often that this state is temporary. Your body will fight the bug and win! And working with your body in that task will reap quicker rewards and leave you in a more positive frame of mind.


Oriental Cold-Fighting Soup
This liquid cold remedy contains lots of cold-fighting compounds thanks to the garlic, onion, ginger and cinnamon. Shiitake mushrooms are known for their healing and restorative properties, and goji berries are packed with VitaminC and anti-oxidants.


2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion finely sliced
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 small cinnamon stick
6 Shiitake mushrooms or any dark-skin mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
Handful of kale, finely chopped
1 sachet of instant miso soup dissolved in ½ pint boiled water  or  ½ pint of stock

Make The Magic
Heat a small amount of oil (olive, avocado or coconut) in a large pan and sauté the onion with the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes.
When the onion is softened, add the mushrooms and stir until softened slightly
Add the cinnamon stick to the pan followed by the miso soup or stock
Increase the heat until the liquid simmers and then add the kale
Simmer the soup for 5 minutes to soften the kale and then take off the heat
Add the goji berries and stir for a few minutes just until the goji berries have rehydrated.

Serve with a handful of fresh sprouting seeds/beans

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