Flow State - the positive psychology method you need now.
Some of you may have heard about Flow State, especially if you're a frequent listener to Podcasts from the likes of Melissa Ambrosini, however for many, it is a completely new concept. With no real inkling as to what it might actually be about!
So you know when you're doing something - like icing a birthday cake, cleaning the bathroom (if you're like me and find cleaning therapeutic), hiking through a forest, driving and listening to an audiobook, meditating, writing a letter or story (if you're the creative type) or even stand-up-paddle-boarding?
What you're doing there - right then - is called Flow State.
You are IN THE ZONE. You are LOST IN TIME. You are ENJOYING yourself.
It is a place within our psyche that involves concentration, attention and intrigue BUT it is not majorly difficult or challenging. It might tweak our determination a bit and engage us, but it is not so hard that we are reluctant to do it nor do we not enjoy the process.
Flow State is a state of mind that is at play when your attention is captured and for that very moment (or moments, if you're like me, and take an hour to ice a cake) you are no where else but completely present to what you are doing.
Nothing else matters. Nothing else is popping into your mind, or if it does it is quickly shunned away by your concentration.
Why is it so important?
The clever little people over in neuroscience and positive psychology realised that when your brain is in Flow State it is:
You see, being in the Flow State actually improves your health!
It improves our health so majestically by reducing blood pressure, reducing excess stress chemicals in the brain, stabilising your blood sugar and in the long run balancing your hormones and reducing adrenal fatigue!
So including 15-30 minutes of Flow State activity - whatever tickles your fancy - each and every day will improve your health and therefore your quality of life!
We hear about people spending hours crocheting, building something in their shed, exploring the wilderness, dancing freely to music... these people are in their FLOW STATE and they are likely to be happier and healthier than those who do not engage in this kind of activity.
Now, you might liken it to spending quality time doing something you enjoy - and it is definitely that.
As long as when you are doing it, you are immersed in it completely and time seems to fly by?
Then you know you are in your own Flow State, and isn't that wonderful you are doing something for YOU.
Something that fills your cup, whilst also reducing your physiological stress and making you healthier.
Yay for neuroscience and positive psychology!
Watch below for an in-depth understanding of the FLOW STATE...
Enjoy! Light and love,
If you're one of those women like me, who love their kids sooooo much, but let's face it, are completely ready for the return of school routine and some peace and quiet - then read on..
Because now that the little angels are back into the classroom or into day care or kindy, what will we do?
Do we go back to work? Do we continue working? Do we get to that mammoth pile of personal admin that went to the way-side during the holidays? Or perhaps the cleaning and mountainous job of sorting through washing and clothes that they've grown out of?
Whatever we choose to do, OFTEN we choose to do 'stuff', to do things that 'need to be done' (and they very well may) but how often do we choose to STOP for a moment. And breathe. Just breathe. Reflect. Then, find ourselves again.
Because wow - what has just happened?!? The 6-8 week whirlwind of kid craziness has just stopped, like a tornado losing all its momentum!! I feel as though the summer holidays ride is one I have to hang on to like crazyyyy. One minute they're playing like best mates and the next its "such and such did such and such to me" or "Im hungryyyyyyyy" (that last one multiply by 5000). I get to the end of every day - and I mean 7:30pm - once I've put the kids to bed, and Im exhausted! Honestly, it was only that the tennis was on that I didn't roll my old pregnant body to bed right then and there!
I've looked forward to school going back for the kids sakes - for their individuality to be redeemed, for them to step outside of the familial hierarchy and just be themselves again.
But for me, as a Mum, I know the return to school means the return to more hours at work and more organisation needed on my part with dinners, lunches, washing, ironing, extra-curricular drop offs and so on..
However today I got to thinking, wouldn't it be nice..... just for a moment....to STOP.
To reflect on all that was; to be thankful for all the good moments; to let go of all the frustrations from bickering and tantrums and then to visualise what is to come. How I want it to look and feel. And, most importantly, ask myself what I need right now, for me. For no one else, but for me.
So I did this. I sat in my car, after the drop off (which went fairly OK, despite Miss 6 refusing to enter the classroom......) and I thought about where I was at.
I took a breath and felt blessed for the holidays, and then equally blessed for this next stage. I then decided before I rush into my office, I would get a coffee and just enjoy that moment in time. To reset.
And Mammas, I cannot tell you how beneficial that felt. Whether you have the flexibility right this moment to walk away from your desk, or out of the kitchen or wherever it is that you are... and just take a moment. For you. Because we are so many things to so many people - both big and little. And in there, sometimes (probably often) we lose touch with who we are and what we need, until we are bursting it seems!
Take that moment, right now. Reflect on what was, be thankful for the good, release the bad and visualise the new. Our families are often a reflection of our mental state, so if we are able to be connected and present to PEACE and GRATITUDE then that should flow effortlessly into our households. So even if it is with a glass of wine tonight, or 5 minutes alone at the clothes line or in the car.. take that time for YOUR sake.
A little glimmer of light and a moment for your sanity, your peace and your restoration - make sure you don't forget that my dears, in all the happenings around you.
Ill finish up my sharing my favourite Chinese Proverb. I've loved this since I was 11... and it still resonates more deeply with me than any other thing I have ever read.
If there is light in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
Are you one of the unlucky one of us who experiences a really heavy flow?
Or perhaps you aren't sure if its heavy or not, but you suspect it is?
A normal flow is considered to be 30-40ml per period, with an upper limit of 60-80ml. To measure this, it is most accurately done with a Menstrual Cup (such as Lunette or Juju for example) taking note of how many mL are contained within the cup size you're using. Keep track of the loss over the bleeding period and total it to get an idea of what your body is doing.
However, if you are someone who is changing a Super Tampon more than 3 times per day as well as using pads, or someone who experiences "flooding" when they go from sitting to standing or at random, or someone who experiences clotting and/or someone who bleeds for longer than 5-7 days, then it is likely safe to say that you have heavy periods - medically known as Menorrhagia.
Why does this happen? And what can you do?
This can be happening for a few reasons, all of which have been shown to be effectively reversed with the use of herbal and nutritional medicines. Unlike the Oral Contraceptive Pill, natural medicines look at solving the root cause of the heavy bleeding, rather than just masking it with hormone therapy.
Low iron levels, high stress, poor sleep, oestrogen dominance (too much 'bad' oestrogen), low progesterone, Endometriosis, excessive inflammation in the body and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can all be factors causing heavy blood loss during your period.
As a Naturopath, it is the time I spend with you investigating your "whole life" picture to determine the main drivers for your heavy periods. From there, we formulate a treatment plan that looks to correct the discrepancies and create, overall, a better monthly cycle for you (not just limited to heavy bleeding but also including PMS, bloating, cycle length etc).
The good news is iron levels can be tested and replenished; stress and poor sleep can be measured and supported with herbal and nutritional medicines and changes are seen usually within a 3 month period. If however, there are other underlying pathologies such as Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Inflammation it can take 3-9 months to resolve, however the best part is that with each passing cycle, there are usually changes noted as everything improves little by little.
To achieve these changes we implement herbal medicines such as Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-cactus), Peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Then if there are other irregularities or whole system concerns, to support those herbal medicines we would use Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis), Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), Withania (Withania somnifera), Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) or Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) for example.
Nutrients that are useful in heavy periods are Magnesium, Calcium, B5, B6, B12, Zinc, Folate and Broccoli Sprout.
You see, its not just Oestrogen and Progesterone we want to address - its the whole reproductive and endrocine systems that affect flow. Supporting the healthy function of these is the most effective way to change your flow in the long term, whilst actually serving your wellbeing.
So before you consider going on the Oral Contraceptive Pill, or before you put up with heavy periods for yet another cycle: know that there are options for you!
Book in for a thorough Initial Consultation and then follow ups are usually every 6-10 weeks depending on your presenting symptoms. Full support via email and SMS is provided throughout your time in my care and refills are able to be done at any time.
Here's to less Super Tampons ladies!!!
Love and light,
We are wrought with stress these days and one of the most common statements I hear from women I talk to in friendship circles, in the street and in Clinic is that they "Don't want to take antidepressants".
And honestly, I can't blame them. The side effects can be nasty and coming off them, I've been told, is worse than the anxiety or depression they originally experienced.
Now before we get started, I want to clear up something. As a Naturopath - I understand the mechanisms of the body during Anxiety are very different to that of Depression. So, when we look at supporting these conditions with herbal and nutritional medicine - we use DIFFERENT approaches. Because DIFFERENT things are happening in the body. Plus, people can have BOTH conditions concurrently.
What I seem to get confused about, is why do doctors prescribe antidepressants for people with anxiety? It is not always to do with serotonin!! Anxiety is often to do with stronger neural pathways to the amygdala (our flight fight response area) and less to the pre-frontal cortex and hippocampus (logical reasoning and healthy perception of emotions and feeling). These things need to be supported differently than with SSRIs (antidepressants). Hence why when people with anxiety are prescribed antidepressants, their symptoms aren't often changed. Some doctors will prescribe anti-anxiety medication (known as benzodiazepines) however the side effects of these include drowsiness, fatigue, nausea and nervousness.
So what can you do if you're suffering from Anxiety or Depression and you DON'T want to take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications?
Naturally, there are numerous options. Here are the top 10 tips for you - whether you seek support with a Naturopath or self-medicate (look for a good over the counter brand) always be careful with combining your medicines and remember that the body needs BOTH herbal and nutritional support AT THE SAME TIME to create a significant and lasting change.
(The reason for this is that Herbs make your body do something, like a drug. But if you're deficient in nutrients to do those things in the body, then taking the herb is almost pointless)
The top 10 Natural medicines to take when you are experiencing Anxiety or Depression:
There are so many amazing more options, which I could choose for you if your symptoms are more widespread, however the above 10 are my personal favourite to use.
Now you know that you DON'T have to take antidepressants and that there are actually a wealth of options for you to feel 100 times better, naturally.
Book in for an individualised consultation if you need any support with this.
Love and light,
Are you the kind of person who makes New Years Resolutions?
If yes, what are they?? Do they reflect little habits you want to change? Or perhaps they're big behaviour patterns or toxic relationships you want to walk away from?
If no, then perhaps you are the kind of person who rolls along throughout the year making changes if and when they see fit.
If however, you are the kind of person who does like to make resolutions.. then I have these simple GOLDEN RULES for you.
Set resolutions that are POSITIVE based.
For example, "I will stop eating/doing/seeing *insert bad thing here*" is not a positive based resolution.
Why? Because as humans, we actually all have an inbuilt REBEL in us. No matter who we are, how diligent we are, how strict - there are natural rebellious instincts in us that will come to play if we feel that our FREE WILL is taken away. The difference is that with some people it will happen in a day or two, and others in 3 months.
It isn't a fault or something that needs to be punished, it is a basic human reflex that will pop up eventually when restriction is placed upon us.
This is why, NEGATIVE based resolutions don't work as well as POSITIVE ones.
So, what is a POSITIVE RESOLUTION??
They need to:
Negative Resolution: "I won't eat any junk food"
Positive Resolution: "I will enjoy nourishing my body with whole foods at least 5 days per week by the end of _____. I will enjoy healthier processed food options on weekends and on special occasions"
Negative Resolution: "I will lose weight"
Positive Resolution: "I will lose 5kg by _____. To do this I will exercise by going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and I will walk my dog 5 mornings per week before work. I will see a Nutritionist/Naturopath/Dietician by the end of January to develop a Meal Plan for Weight loss"
Negative Resolution: "I will stop drinking alcohol"
Positive Resolution: "I will enjoy time with friends and family without the need of alcohol. I will have mineral water with fresh lime/herbal tea (etc) instead.
If I choose to have alcohol for special occasions, I will have 1 glass or 1 serve only and not regret my choice"
Negative Resolution: "I will put myself first more often" (yes, keep reading)
Positive Resolution: "I will enjoy 15 minutes of alone time every day when I first wake/right before bed to journal, do yoga, read or listen to music and relax" or "I will go on two retreats this year to rejuvenate my body and soul, one in April and one in October" or "I will go to a concert, dinner or other activity with my friend/s once per month and my husband will take care of the children"
Are you seeing the pattern here?
Go, get yourself a piece of paper or a beautiful journal or a whiteboard.. whatever!
Start writing down some resolutions. If you write a lot, then narrow them down to the ones that really truly motivate you easily and will improve your quality of life.
Remember that taking away things or depriving yourself will ultimately lead to rebellion and isn't conducive of a more fulfilled life.
Be gentle and focus on things you want to bring into your life!
Contact me for more on how you can transform your life and bring wellness in to as many aspects as possible.
Love, light and blessings for a glorious 2019...
If you are like me any many other, you probably know first hand how completely paralysing this condition can be. It can completely rule your life at times.
Well, rest assured, it is my greatest passion to share with as many people as possible the ways Natural Medicine can support this condition, and in doing so, I am hopefully going to make things seem a whole lot better for you.
It was my own debilitating experiences in anxiety and from being a particularly 'sensitive soul' that led me to want to explore how to help myself and others more by using natural medicines and natural techniques.
I was so over feeling like one little incidence would create this massive wave of physical sickness within me. I was sick of being shaky, nauseous, sweaty, nervous and fidgety..
I didn't like that my heart felt as though it was going to explode out of my chest.. or that I needed to run to the toilet every five minutes when I was anxious.
While I had always been someone who experienced a bit of anxiousness here and there throughout my life, it wasn't a huge issue until I went through massive life changes (insert "motherhood, then later on divorce" here) that what was originally controllable, occasional anxiousness around public speaking or difficult conversations... was now full blown anxiety in all its ugliness.
When I couldn't control it, it permeated every single inch of my mind.
I would feel about as small and helpless as a cute puppy. Unfortunately, thinking about cute puppies didn't work either!
I didn't know at the time, which I know now, was that my brain was undergoing some massive changes. They were both biochemical AND structural. These changes, due to prolonged exposure to high amounts of stress, were creating what seemed like irreversible behaviour patterns.
So "What the F*** should I do now?" I thought.
Well, this is where some research into natural ways to support myself came in. I was already studying to be a Naturopath, so I luckily, had access to some of the most amazing natural medicine resources.
I scoured as much information as I could about what happens in the brain, in the endocrine system and the emotional self during stress; and I started to treat myself with a nutritional and herbal medicine.
Alongside this, I used techniques to help my energetic body and emotional self try to process the anxiety better and heal through the stress I was experiencing.
It is this wisdom, many many months and years of trial and error and learning at both a personal and professional level, that I wish to share as much knowledge as possible with those who need it.
Now, I will touch on some amazing and proven ways to support anxiety for you.
However, I realised that because this is such an in-depth topic and SO many people are affected,
I will be running a completely FREE WEBINAR on Friday 5th October, 2pm AEST, to cover all of this information in more detail.
I will give you so many amazing tips and tricks to navigate anxiety for up to 25 minutes and then we will have 5 minutes of Q & A.
If you miss the webinar, there will be a downloadable recording link to access later.
Sign up below......
In the Webinar, I will cover more in depth about what is occurring in the brain when we suffer from anxiety. But, loosely explained, it involves the HPA axis, Amygdala, Pre-Frontal Cortex and the Hippocampus.
All of these parts play really important roles in functions such as understanding true threat to survival, our cortisol or adrenaline response, our logical reasoning and how we interpret emotions.
The long and short of it is, that people who suffer from anxiety, have firstly - either overdeveloped and/or underdeveloped neural pathways to these parts of their brain; and secondly - an altered nutrient pool available to them to create calmer responses to stress, maintain sleep and mood etc..
What this means, is that anxiety is so very real not only to them, but also to their brain and its function.
I hated being told it was all in my head, or that I was too sensitive, or that I just needed to "let it go".
If you can relate to that, then you are probably, like I was, relieved to know that it is completely normal to experience these symptoms IF THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR BRAIN!
And if you have anxiety, then it most probably is!
SO... how do we help change this??
Well, its a multi-angle approach. We need to do the following things:
1. Support the nutrient pool available to the brain to not only improve function but to encourage long term neuroplasticity (neural pathway changes) and healing.
2. Encourage a different response to stressful stimuli with the use of both nutrients but also herbal medicines.
3. Engage in activities that will encourage the neuroplasticity changes to occur at a greater rate (such as CBT, EFT tapping, journalling, pranayama, yoga, meditation and mindfulness).
Can you do this on your own??
Yes and No.
Some things you can do on your own easily - such as attending yoga, journalling, exploring EFT tapping, practising mindfulness, eating a whole food diet that is rich in protein, essential fatty acids and nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc.
You can also consume herbal teas and use high quality essential oils.
However to really get a thorough support system in place, you may need a little help.
This is where Naturopathy comes in.
While you can usually get your magnesium and other vitamins from the health food shop, you need to check their quality and you may not have access to some other nutrients that are super important for anxiety - such as glutamine or 5HTP.
Herbal medicines are available over the counter too, but watch their quality and PLEASE don't even contemplate taking anything herbal if you are taking pharmaceutical products without having a Naturopath check their safety interaction.
If it was me, I would personally see someone like myself, to get it right the first time.
What I may need is likely completely different to what the next person needs for anxiety.
Our unique reasons for developing this condition make our treatments unique.
As a Naturopath, I may prescribe some of the following anxiolytic (meaning they help reduce anxiety) herbal medicines such as Passionflower, Skullcap, Lemon Balm, Zizyphus, Magnolia, Kudzu vine.
If you are also having trouble sleeping I may use Kava, California Poppy or Jamaica Dogwood for a short period.
I may prescribe Chamomile or Lemon Balm alongside sensitive tummies that accompany anxiety.
Your HPA axis might be shot and you are also suffering from adrenal fatigue, which means I might prescribe adaptogenic herbal medicines (help the body adapt to stress) such as Withania, Rhodiola, Schisandra, Siberian Ginseng or Licorice.
If you also experience thyroid concerns or hormonal conditions alongside your anxiety that may be indirectly affecting it, then I would use different herbs again.
It can get pretty complex, which is why its useful to see a professional
and get it right from the start!
The long and the short of it is, you don't have to resort to pharmaceuticals if you don't want to.
We have so much choice with natural medicines and can tailor it to suit exactly what you need at that exact time.
Coming at it from a multi-level approach is the most thorough and effective way to support anxiety.
I have witnessed it first hand and in many of my clients.
This is why I am so dedicated to getting that information out there!
Come along to the FREE Webinar on Friday 5th October at 2pm - or listen in later to learn more about how anxiety may affect us all and what we can do to change that.
Don't ever feel as though there isn't an answer.
APRICOT BLISS BALLS - Nut Free, Lunch Box Friendly
Soak 1.5 cups of dried apricots (the brown ones, with no sulphites) for 5 mins in boiling or hot water.
In a food processor, or high speed blender/thermomix/vitamix combine:
1.5 cups oats
.5 cup dessicated coconut
protein powder ( I use The Healthy Chef Organic Pea Protein)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon sprinkle of sea salt
Blitz until combine/fairly fine.
Add in the apricots, a couple at a time, along with water to reach desired consistency
(usually between 2-4 tablespoons - i use the water they've been soaking in).
Roll into balls.
Serve as is, or rolled in coconut or oats etc.
Enjoy one or two before, during or after exercise.
Great in lunch boxes as they're nut free and provide balanced sugars (LOW GI is as well), protein and essential fatty acids.
Self love, respect of self, unconditional love of self - THIS is what will drive you to make choices that benefit you in every aspect of your life. In health, thoughts, emotions, relationships, work... every aspect! I teach this in my Nurture Your Wellness workshops which commence this month! Listen to the end to see why I felt so prompted to post this!
I just wrote this little blurb on this Positive Psychology practise for Natulique Australia - QLD monthly newsletter. While it is written specifically for those in the hairdressing industry, it is still however applicable to anyone who enjoys a sense of 'engagement' and 'flow' within their work.
Plus, remembering that this practise can be done at any time! It is only limited by your imagination and willingness to try!
E N G A G E M E N T.....
Positivity can be fairly easily adopted and brought into many aspects of your life; and has been shown clinically to reduce depression, increase mood and wellbeing in general.
But what if you DON'T naturally feel drawn to the usual methods - such as meditation, affirmations, gratitude journaling etc..? Are you doomed to a mediocre life? Hell no!
Positive Psychology practises, as taught by its founder, Dr. Martin Seligman actually include a number of approaches that might not seem like they are actively creating positivity, but sneakily do so in their processes.
For example, one of the practises within this movement, is ‘Engagement'. This one in particular I want to raise with you today because you are working in a career that is creatively based - which for you, means an automatic bonus in the practise of ‘Engagement’ in your life!
Engagement is an activity that creates a sense of “flow”.
You’re doing it; its challenging …. not too much, but enough to get your brain heavily focused on it, that for a most of the activity, you don’t even realise the time is passing.
You could be working as a hairdresser and creating a masterpiece for your client that not only requires their faith in you but also your full, loving, passionate and creative attention. You are focused on the details, but considering the big picture and end result - and you’re talented enough to do this all while holding a conversation! At the end of the task, there is a sense of accomplishment. Your hard work and passion has created something beautiful! Feels good hey!? *Kick in of happy hormones now!*
Does this resonate with you? If it does, then it is fantastic you are able to work in an environment that also gives you the opportunity to experience a sense of ‘flow’ and ‘engagement’; and, it doesn't have to stop there!
‘Engagement’ can be experienced in art, music, gardening, craft, cooking, sports, travelling, shopping (for some!)..… all that matters is that if YOU are in a state that is completely absorbed in a task, its a little challenging but enlivening and rewarding, and at the end you feel a buzz of accomplishment, a sense of peace or relaxed happiness.. then you have been ‘engaged’.
So while this kind of activity doesn’t necessarily seem as though it is a form of Positive Psychology, in fact it is just that. More of these practises in your life can significantly increase feel good hormones and reduce stress - leading to a greater sense of purpose, accomplishment and wellbeing.
Go get you some!
In February, the month of LOVE, most of us would have spent some time planning to do or give something special to someone we love. We might have also anticipated receiving a gift or gesture in return. But how many of you spent some time loving YOU?
Nowadays, ‘self love’ is almost hotter than Fluro was in the 80’s, but what does it really mean - to practise ‘self love’?
Does it mean to have long bubble baths, paint your toes and put on a detoxifying face mask? Well kind of, it very well could and those things are beautiful ways to love yourself! But, its important to highlight that there is a difference with ‘loving yourself’ practises versus ‘self love’ practises’.
Self love, self esteem, self actualisation are all similar concepts that reflect a practise which champions your Self, in its imperfect perfection. They are about making a conscious effort to practise self love each day, in the face of challenges and adversity. In other words, its about loving yourself for the beautiful and unique individual that you are and applying that to the way you live your life and how you allow others to treat you.
Are you the kind of person who believes they are good enough, but others are probably way better; the kind of person who squirms a little at the thought of charging enough for your professional services, chooses the flight response over standing up for yourself in difficult situations?
If this is you, then perhaps your inner self is struggling a little, as it is missing your crucial undoubting support!! Your inner cheer squad is on holidays, and you want it back!
But how? Well, thankfully, even the littlest efforts can encourage long held beliefs to start changing.
Try by practising this simple, reflective exercise once or twice a fortnight.
Set aside a little time once a week to look at yourself in the mirror. Stand there, for 3 minutes and look. Look at everything you see on yourself. Notice what thoughts pop into your mind “I don’t like.. I wish I had.. I love… “. When you have finished, write down the thoughts that really stood out.
With this list, I want you to analyse them - ask yourself:
Where do these beliefs come from? (media, parents, friends, ex-partners)
Are they useful for me? (do they hold me back?)
Do they make me feel less adequate, and if so, how do I feel about that?
Do I believe them? If yes, how would I feel if I didn’t believe them?
I want you to think about these answers, and start to build a picture in your mind of your own beautiful unique self and how perhaps you have not been your own best friend. From here, the choice is yours to start to become that self-loving person, to champion your own awesomeness and apply it in how you live your life.
Warmth, peace and love to you,