Overcoming Anxiety, Stress & Burnout with Emotional Intelligence

One of my most helpful mentors when it comes to learning to manage anxiety is a guy named Nicholas de Castella. I did his brilliant breakthrough workshop Passionately Alive, and I always remember a private session with Nicholas where towards the end he said to me:

"The reason you're anxious is because you don't know who you are"

Nicholas is an extremely compassionate and genuine guy who gave up his previous career as an architect to teach emotional intelligence to other people for a living. Since then he has helped thousands of people go from feeling stuck, blocked and frustrated to creating a wonderful life, relationship, and career of their dreams.

If you happen to be feeling anxious, burnt out or overwhelmed and would like to ignite some energy and move forward in your life, then Nicholas has an exciting opportunity for you.

Nicholas is holding a complimentary emotional intelligence webinar called:

IGNITE: Energy for Life! Continue reading

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How To Help Your Adult Child With A Mental Illness

I often meet parents whose adult children who are suffering from a mental illness such as anxiety, depression or anorexia, or who are suicidal. When I hear these parents talk about how they're dealing with this situation, they often appear very stoic. They say things like “I need to be strong in order to support my son”, or remark that “I've told them that they are very strong”.

At the same time, I often notice my own feelings of emotional disconnection around these same parents during our interactions. They often talk a lot about themselves in great analytical detail but without much real emotional engagement, and rarely ask me about my own life or how I feel.

Empathy is the key to helping your adult child with a mental illness

I sense that they're avoiding something in our conversations: a sense of emotional connection.

Unfortunately these behaviors are exactly the opposite of what a person with a mental illness needs in order to feel the sense of emotional safety, love and support that could potentially heal their brain and help them through a time of deep crisis.

While all parents instinctively love their adult children, mentally ill people need to be surrounded by love and support that they can actually feel.

This means being empathic rather than being stoic.

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How I Healed My Boys High School Choir Bullying Trauma

I went to an all-boys high school where the first grade rugby team enjoyed the highest social status. Anyone who wasn't into aggressive body-contact sports got their head kicked in other ways, and boys on each level of the social hierarchy boosted their flagging self-esteem by bullying the boys on the level below. Any innate sensitivity in a boy was crushed both in the classroom and in the play/battle-ground.

Although I was highly intelligent and generally got good grades, this wasn't valued as highly as sporting prowess at my high school and being a thin, nerdy kid who was the youngest in my year, I didn't do so well at school socially.

I spent my lunch times singing in the school choir or hanging out in the computer room learning to use the new machines that the teachers didn't know what to do with. This was a couple of years before the computer revolution went mainstream and decades before Big Bang Theory made nerds hot prime-time-viewing commodities.

Childhood bullying can leave our adult selves feeling self-conscious and hyper-vigilant to criticism from others.

Since I was a late developer my voice didn't break until well after high school. It was embarrassing still being in the alto section of the all-boy choir as I headed into Year 11 so I quit and joined the lighting crew in the hall instead where I could feel good about solving technical problems backstage and wouldn't have to perform in front of people and end up feeling so self-conscious.

Fast-forward 30 years to 2017 and I'm studying music full-time at a local tertiary college. My dream is to use a combination of music and comedy to teach the principles of trauma awareness and emotional intelligence to the masses. I think that would be great fun for me because along the way I'll get to overcome my remaining insecurities in terms of freedom of self-expression, and it would also give an extra dimension of meaning and purpose to what I'm doing. Continue reading

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3 Steps to Manage Anger and Other Emotions More Effectively

This is a guest post from Anger Management Coach Igomene Joseph.

Anger is one emotion that we have all felt at some point in our lives. However, the way we express and manage it can vary from person to person. For many around the world, anger is just a common emotion. Most have not felt it to an overwhelming amount in their lives.

For me, the story is different. Anger was a fierce emotion and it would consume me. I eventually realized that anger was not just an emotion in my case but a problem that needed to be resolved.

Why I Needed the Control?

Using FPS Can Help You Take Your Anger Less Seriously

When you let an emotion overwhelm or consume you, it can become a weakness. Emotions should be expressed but they say excess of everything is bad. Too many emotions make us vulnerable to the harsh world. But in case of anger, the situation is slightly different. Anger is not just something that affects you but the people around you.

Consider it as a metaphorical force of nature that leaves you wrecked as it leaves your body and then damages all other people in its way. It is ironic that subduing anger can also be a problem. In an attempt to save people, we often let the anger fester inside ourselves. And that is so much worse. The anger that festers rots us from the inside and erupts ferociously at some point. That explosion can cause lots of destruction in one’s life. Continue reading

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Benefits Of The FPS Technique For Anger Management

This is a guest post from Anger Management Coach Igomene Joseph.

Anger as an emotion is neutral, it is neither bad nor good. It is a normal reaction of man to situations and circumstances of life and it may either be productive or counterproductive. It is productive when you use it to make some self-assertion and demonstrate how passionate you are about something. However, it becomes counterproductive when it regularly spirals out of control or flares up too often. Chronic fits of anger emotion may have negative impacts on one’s health, relationships and state of mind.

FPS is a Method of Communicating Feelings that helps Manage Anger Effectively

However, the fact is managing and transforming anger emotion into positive vibes is one of the easiest and most natural things you can ever do, but that is only if you apply a practical, workable technique to deal with it and that is where our heuristically developed technique, FPS (Feelings + Problem = Solutions), comes in handy.

FPS is not one of those scratch-at-the-surface, superficial and hence, ineffective techniques of managing anger, rather it is a down-to-the-root approach of managing and transforming the negative emotion of anger into a constructive emotion that could enhance your health, self-esteem, communication skills and emotional mastery. Continue reading

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How To Choose An Effective Therapist

Many of my coaching clients often complain to me about their previous experience with psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and therapists who just "don't get it". I'm often impressed that they even persisted to find me after having such unpleasant experiences.

So I created this series of videos to explain How To Choose A Therapist: Continue reading

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What To Look For In A Therapist

Effective therapy heals emotional trauma in your brain and central nervous system by providing a safe environment for you to express your true feelings, with the support of an empathic non-judgmental connection between you and the therapist.

The three main things to look for in a therapist are:

  1. You feel emotionally safe to share your feelings with them
  2. They communicate empathically so you feel understood
  3. Ability to handle strong unpleasant feelings without criticism or judgement

It's normal to feel nervous when seeing a new therapist for the first time, but trust your instincts to tell you whether these three things are present. If not, look elsewhere.

Here's a video explaining this in more detail: Continue reading

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How Therapy Heals Emotional Trauma

Effective therapy can heal emotional trauma. It works by providing a safe space to express and release the residual emotional charge on unpleasant memories.

Here's a video describing the process in more detail: Continue reading

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How Emotional Trauma Works

Trauma is the unpleasant residual emotional charge left in our brain and central nervous system connected with memories of emotionally overwhelming events from the past.

Here's a video on how it works:

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Using Music To Express Anger and Rage

Since the beginning of the year I've been studying Music Performance full-time at a local tertiary college, and the experience has been extremely healing for me. The interactions with teachers and other students have brought a lot of my unresolved adolescent insecurities to the surface: in some ways, going to college is like going back to high school. My fears about whether I would fit in brought up a lot of anxiety for me, coupled with a very strong desire to try hard to make other students like me. I often had to take a deep breath and remind myself to focus on what I was learning and just have fun participating instead.

“Full-time” at the college I'm attending is only 2.5 days per week; although I spend pretty much all the rest of the week doing homework of various forms: learning to play new instruments, practising songs for our performance night, writing my own songs and getting them recorded.

In the process I've found music an excellent way to express anger and rage. A lot of the songs I've been writing have a great deal of anger in them, inspired primarily by life circumstances and/or other people's behaviour. Writing, performing, recording and releasing these songs has been extremely cathartic for me and the feedback from the other students has been very positive and accepting. Over half my fellow students are straight out of high school and also have a lot of anger and rage to express. Although I'm more than twice their age, they get where I'm coming from.

Finally, my inner teenager is beginning to feel accepted.

The Song To Play When You're Having A Bad Day

After six months hard work, I've even released my first single: a song titled Everything Is Fucked that I wrote in a yin yoga class in North Bondi at 6:37pm on 17th February 2017 while in Frog pose for seven agonising minutes.

At the time, I had been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for nine years and after five months pushing myself through three excruciating yoga sessions a week, wasn't getting the results that I had hoped for: I had totally failed to pick-up at a yoga studio full of gorgeous young women, I was rapidly going broke because my Life Coaching business had failed to take off (who wants a sick Life Coach?!?), both my elderly parents had been diagnosed with cancer, a sweet hot girl I met online and completely fell for had started going out with a musician who lived 12,000 km closer to her than me; and I was still chronically ill. When the dishwasher in my apartment appeared to have stopped working properly, that was the last straw for me.

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