Most of us have a bad habit we’d like to break, such as; the evening glass of wine, comfort food or a bit of retail therapy.
Perhaps you’ve tried unsuccessfully to cut down the behaviour or maybe you’ve just accepted it’s unbeatable. What you might be surprised to know is that all of these addictive type behaviours are linked to your dopamine levels.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain, which acts on the reward and pleasure centres. When your dopamine levels are low you crave a hit, and as you’ve learnt that you can get that boost from buying a new outfit or eating a cake it becomes difficult to break the habit.
Why would your dopamine levels be low?
One reason can be that you aren’t getting fulfilment from your lifestyle. Perhaps you’re stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy, a relationship that’s gone cold or you are struggling to feel good about your body image?
This means that you aren’t living a life with enough reward in it and so you aren’t triggering the release of dopamine.
How do you break the cycle of craving an instant hit of dopamine, which reinforces your bad habits?
It’s less about battling the ‘addiction’ and more about ensuring you include more inspiring and rewarding actions and activities in your life. These are the activities which you feel in flow with and time flies by without you noticing. Such as; being creative, exercise, listening to music, reading, meditation or other hobbies.
If you don’t have much room for ‘me time’ in your life, then ensure you include some tasks in your work day you enjoy, alongside those that are more dull. Take just a few minutes out to focus on you, and plan things that will inspire and reward you.
As a first step, when you have a craving for your bad habit, just notice if that day you have done or had anything that felt rewarding to you.
If you see a link between your need for instant gratification and a lack of reward or motivation in your day, then go and boost your dopamine levels!
Good luck, and please share this article using the buttons below.
Do you ever feel like other women seem to have the secret for getting ahead?
They juggle everything beautifully, never a hair out of place, impressing the right people, grabbing the right opportunities and leaving you wondering, “How do they DO it!?”
I used to wonder the same thing. What was the magic formula for success??
What I found out was that it wasn’t just ONE thing.
Success is a recipe; one that requires a balance of skills, strategies and a go getting mindset!
My friend and colleague Paula Clay (a leadership & Career expert), has put together something that will allow you to peek inside the minds of industry leaders who have coached thousands of women to unprecedented career success!
This is a totally F*R*E*E virtual training called “Unlock Your Super Powers: How to Leverage Your Strengths to Get the Promotion You Want, the money you deserve and the career you love!”
I recently read an article about Karen Brady (Baroness, Business woman and Sir Alan Sugars right hand woman) in which she talked about career advice and how to be a successful woman.
The key career tip that stood out to me was Be confident in who you are and what you can do.
This got me thinking about what are the qualities we need to be a successful woman?
I came up with the following is there any you would add?
Know what success means – For me this is the most important quality. Success to some women may mean a career or money or fame and to others means a happy, balanced life or a combination of the two. So be clear on what success means to you and don’t be influenced by other peoples definition
Passion – Successful women, what ever they are successful at, have a deep passion for their goals. Achieving success requires commitment and motivation, and loving what you do is necessary to maintain that
Self-Acceptance – A successful woman knows that she can’t be perfect and accepts her weaknesses as well as celebrating her strengths
Self-Confidence – As Karen Brady said this is about believing in your abilities to achieve your goals, as well as believing in your value in the world. As a result a successful woman is prepared to speak up for herself and have her voice heard
Resilience – Behind every success there are stories of setbacks and tough times. A successful woman will refocus on her goals and get up again and again, believing in herself and her abilities
Compassion – This doesn’t just refer to compassion for those around you, but more importantly showing yourself compassion. Treating yourself with kindness, understanding and forgiveness are essential to be being happy and succesful
What do you think? Have you got all the qualities to be successful at your personal goals?
I’d love to have a chat and discuss your goals further and you can contact me here.
I am a Facebook user, although not it’s greatest fan. I do however often flick through my newsfeed when I’m relaxing in front of the telly at night. It’s through this experience and what my clients tell me, that I’ve realised how damaging it can be to your confidence.
The problem is that social media activates your subconscious to compare and judge. A certain amount of this is natural, but when you are constantly seeing pictures of others having fun and looking good, it triggers your insecurities.
Seeing photos and posts about friends on nights out when you had a quiet weekend can send you into FOMO (fear of missing out).
Or updates about peoples latest gadget or holiday can cause you to want ‘more bigger, better’. These thoughts don’t always go away immediately and can lead to you questioning if you are ‘good enough’.
Recent research from Albright College in Pennsylvania has shown that people with less confidence are more likely to boast on Facebook, especially about their relationships. By showing others that their relationship is okay, they get the external validation that they are okay too.
My advice to clients is to always remember that you aren’t making a fair comparison. What you see on Facebook is generally the window dressing of someones life, whereas you have the full, behind the scenes picture of your own.
I’d love to know whether Facebook is affecting your confidence or what tips you have to ensure it’s just a fun hobby? Do leave me a comment please.
How do I stop comparing myself to others? This is a question I’m often asked by clients.
As women we often find ourselves falling into the habit of comparing our homes, bodies, careers, children and behaviours to others.
Even though I know the dangers involved in being caught in the comparison trap, I still find myself being drawn in.
Picture the scene, I’ve just come back from a fabulous 2 weeks in Turkey with my family. On the day of arrival, I’m by the pool in my bikini feeling white but relaxed and pretty good. My focus then drifts to other women around the pool and before I know it, I’m in full on ‘comparititis’ mode!
Thoughts like “That’s a lovely bikini, but how would it look on me?” or “Wow she has a fabulous figure“
These thoughts as observations are harmless, but if I then use them to judge myself against, it will knock my confidence and body image.
So how do you stop this ‘comparititis’?
It’s all about changing your mindset around how you define yourself. Have a read of these quotes
A flower Does Not Think Of Competing With the flower Next To It, It Just Blooms – Zen Shin
The Only Person You Should Try to be Better Than is Who You Were Yesterday – Unknown
Back to the pool in Turkey. To avoid falling into comparititis I reminded myself that how other people look has no affect on how I am perceived, how my family love me and my value as a person. Whether a supermodel sits down beside me or not, I am still okay and good enough.
I chose not to let any passing negative thoughts affect my self-esteem and instead to look at others with curiosity not judgement.
Does this resonate with you? Do you struggle with comparititis?
A friend of mine, who is married with children, recently went to visit her sister. She lives alone in a tidy, minimalist house and has lots of freedom. My friend mentioned how lovely it must be to be her sister with no responsibilities, then she reflected that actually it must feel quite lonely?
But does being alone mean you must be lonely?
Being alone means literally you are by yourself, and in that situation you may or may not feel lonely.
Being lonely means you crave social contact and connection with others, so there is a difference. You can be in a group of people or with the one you love and still feel lonely.
Loneliness also has a scale or spectrum, with each end having extremes from constant loneliness to occasional loneliness.
If you are occasionally lonely, it’s usually due to the circumstances, such as having no plans and being bored or being away from home. At the other end of the scale is when you are constantly lonely, and it’s generated from you rather than from your environment. This can quite often be a result of you not feeling cared for or understood.
A recent survey found that 43% of older adults felt alone, although only 18% of them actually lived alone.
As with most scales, the majority of people are located somewhere in between the two extremes. So if you feel lonely at some point think about what is making you feel lonely:
Are you feeling isolated and need to see or connect with people more often?
Do you feel that those around you don’t understand or care about you?
Here are some other things for you to consider:
Loneliness can be a sign that your mind needs more social contact or that the contact you’re having isn’t fulfilling
Having lots of connections that are at acquaintance level and whom you don’t feel close to, can feel more lonely than being alone
Open up to family and close friends about how you’re feeling
Start to share with those acquaintances to build a deeper rapport. Nothing bonds people like sharing your vulnerabilities, be brave and open up
What hobbies or interests do you have, can you use these to meet like minded people?
Take things slowly, the best connections take time to build trust and connection
Focus on other people, their experiences and feelings. Be curious about them. Getting out of your head and thinking about others will relieve the lonely feelings
If you are single and lonely for that special person and emotional connection in your life, accept that this is understandable and okay. Then look for other connections in your life that can fill this gap, including self-love.
When you have found some good connections, nourish them, and don’t be worried about being too forward or giving more than you get. When you make more friends you can choose which are most positive in your life.
Have you heard the story about how Indian elephant trainers subdue their animals?
They restrain them by attaching one of their legs with a very strong chain to a tree. Gradually they replace this chain with smaller and weaker chains until the elephant is only held by string.
At this point there is nothing restraining him other than his belief that he is stuck.
Just like the elephant we sabotage our own confidence with beliefs that keep us stuck and unable to move forward.
4 such beliefs are:
Catastrophic thinking – Believing the worst case, such as “my relationship has broken up, so I’ll never meet another man”
Black and white or all or nothing thinking – This means thinking that either you do it perfectly or it’s a failure. For example a document at work, if it’s not perfect it’s no good
Projecting your insecurities onto others – Which causes you to think things like “they’re going to think I’m stupid or boring’ or “He’ll see I’m not attractive’
Making assumptions – An example of this would be “She didn’t acknowledge me when I walked past, I must have done something wrong”
If this sounds like you and you want to free yourself from the thin string that’s keeping you stuck, here are 4 strategies to help:
Become aware of the beliefs that are sabotaging you. What are you saying to yourself, when and where? How is it holding you back?
Look for other perspectives. Stand back from the emotions of the situation and challenge yourself, are these thoughts what you really believe or beliefs from the past? Look at the situation from other perspectives could their be a different view point?
Choose what you want to believe. You don’t have to have such high standards or focus on the worst possible scenario. Choose another outcome and remind yourself of it regularly
Practice Mindfulness. This allows you to pull your thoughts away from negative scenarios back to the present moment
I hope you found this helpful and please share it on social media with the buttons below.
Do you think you’re shy? Well you maybe surprised to hear that between 40 and 45% of adults consider themselves to be, according to Bernado.J.Carducci PhD.
Shyness can be anything from a nervous excitement or awkwardness to a totally inhibiting social phobia. So it’s less surprising that nearly half of us think we’re on the shy scale in certain situations.
Carducci says that shyness is about excessive self-focus: in other words being preoccupied with your thoughts, feelings and physical reactions, usually in a negative way.
There are 3 common ways in which shyness tends to affect lives:
Wanting to be social but not feeling you are able to. You may have agreed to attend a large social event, then as the hour comes nearer you feel uncomfortable and look for a reason to cancel
Taking time to warm up in a social situation. Perhaps you like to arrive late to not be noticed, then feel awkward and unable to chat comfortably. This could lead to you leaving early
Having a small circle of friends and doing the same things repeatedly. Which can mean you feel stuck and are nervous in new situations and in making the first move with new people
The good news is shyness isn’t something you’re born with and can be overcome.
Although some children are born with more sensitive and inhibited characteristics, that doesn’t mean they will be ‘shy’ adults.
Generally shyness is a learned behaviour and linked to an experience, which made you feel worried and want to get away from. This message then gets reinforced through life and develops into shy behaviours.
So how can you start to overcome shyness?
Accept there is nothing wrong with you. However if you feel life would be easier if you were more sociable, you can develop those skills
‘Get out of your head’. Start to be curious and really interested in other people and situations, rather than staying focused in your head
Realise others don’t care about you. Other people are more focused on themselves and how they are behaving, so try to be less self-conscious
Find a role model. Look for someone who is comfortable in the situations you find tricky. Work out what they do and visualise yourself behaving a similar way