Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

Are you writing your own Christmas movie?

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Picture the scene, as though it was the start of a film.

Christmas tree: Are you dreading the family christmas?Christmas music rings out as the camera swoops down snow-covered streets, decorated with bright colours. And as the opening credits fade, we peer in through one of the well-lit windows and into a familiar scene. The family round the table, with everyone there: parents, grown up children, teenagers and maybe even little ones running around.

There’s no mistaking the time of year – it’s holiday season once again, and all around, families gather for their annual get together. You’ll most probably be attending a social occasion of some kind yourself during the coming weeks, and how do you feel about it?

Be honest. Are you excited? Happy?

Or is it more like dread at the thought of yet another family fiasco replaying itself once more?

Holidays can be hard

Taking time off to spend with family sounds like it should be so idyllic. But as the holidays approach, we often find ourselves cranking up a gear, just when our bodies are feeling the need to slow down.

So we often arrive at the big events with our families tired and run down, maybe a little bit stressed, and almost always anticipating what’s about to unfold. After all, the collision of family is what tends to make the day so memorable.

Most of us could probably rattle off an account of the past five or so Christmasses – maybe there was an argument, an unexpected disaster, or a memorably wonderful time.

There’s not many other days of the year that are repeatedly so memorable.

All in all, it’s the perfect recipe for a whole lot of conflict – spoken or suppressed – to unfold. And the truth is, we can’t change anything about how other people show up to it. What we can look at is our own reaction to what takes place.

We create our reality

A great place to start is by examining the assumptions and expectations we bring before things start.

One of the ways we can be at War with the people around us involves us gathering evidence to support our take on things, and this is something that often comes up at Christmas. It’s almost as though we have a script already written – a movie of What Christmas is Like that we’re running in our heads.

Within this framework, we can actively see those around us behaving exactly as we knew they would. Sure enough, you start to accumulate evidence: there’s your bossy aunt, your selfish father, your tactless brother-in-law. All showing up and playing their roles, exactly as you expect them to.

But if this were a movie, where would we place ourselves? Quite often it’s not as a character in the film, or at least not one causing any of the issues. We think of ourselves as being the neutral party. Or, if pushed, we find justifiable reasons for why we revert to certain behaviours. When your mother’s being her usual controlling self, it’s only natural that you slip back into defensive teenager mode.

We just can’t help it when we’re around them!

Flipping the script around

Now, it’s absolutely possible that your family might be composed of people who are difficult to be around. We’re not saying that your reading of the situation is wrong.

But choose one person you find especially challenging, and try for a moment imagining that you’re in their shoes.

How might they be feeling about the coming season? What ruts do they wish they could escape from? And how might you be unconsciously feeding into them?

Perhaps being around a mum who stifles you has you feeling sullen and resentful. You know that you end up speaking less and feeling less enthusiastic when she’s around.

But from her side, your reticence makes you seem quiet. She goes into full-on cajoling mode, to try to encourage you to take part. And so the cycle repeats itself.

Most of us are really good at identifying family dynamics and how they play out. We’re not always so gifted at seeing how we too play our part in creating those dynamics.

This year, instead of expecting a certain script to play out, why not see if you can remain open to what “film” is about to be shown. Who are the characters going to be? What are they like, and how do they show that? How are you "being" and what character are you playing, in turn?

You might find something you weren’t expecting opens up.

Time for a real change?

Our workshops are really effective in the workplace; the feedback that we get from leaders and managers tells us War to Peace® has a huge impact on their results. And the reality is, what holds us back most in our lives is very often our longstanding relationships with those around us. It’s interacting with our parents, siblings and children that can be the sources of our deepest pain and anger, and finding a way to navigate them can be what makes the difference to every other aspect of our worlds.

If you’re interested in learning the tools you need to resolve conflicts with ease in any area of your life, the first open access workshop of 2018 is on 2 March 2018, and we currently have just 10 spaces left. Click here to find out more and book your place.

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

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One Christmas movie to avoid in 2017, from @halcyonglobal (Dreading the family Christmas? This is for you)




Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Do you need a clear head?

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Are you feeling under pressure? Does it sometimes feel like your head is going to explode with the number of thoughts and tasks racing through it?

You are not alone. It is very common for the mind to become so full of our thinking that we struggle to have any mental clarity or peace of mind. This makes decision-making seem ever more urgent, yet ever more difficult. It leads to exhaustion, yet often results in a lack of sleep, as the mind whirs and leaves us unable to fall to sleep or suddenly wide awake in the middle of the night.

Head explode by Pat Gaines

Photo by Pat Gaines

Pressure from the boss, pressure from your spouse, pressure from your kids, pressure from your finances. It all feels very real, and for many people, until they have insight about the true nature of our experience, they are left in a place of mental overwhelm, often warring with themselves and with others.

David's story

"Before I experienced War to Peace, I was in conflict with my boss and I couldn't stand the sight of her. She was unfair, she didn't listen to me and she just kept piling the pressure on me. I was stressed and when I got home, I took it out on my wife and kids, which left me feeling terrible and led me to hating my boss further. I felt like I'd tried everything, but nothing made a difference and it was even affecting my ability to sleep at night.

I was pretty skeptical about a workshop called "War to Peace" and wondered what on earth it could achieve in just one day. I was very pleasantly surprised. Aside from learning how to quickly change how I felt, which is a resource I now draw on regularly, I gained insight about the nature of my thinking and how I was the person creating my experience at work.

That's not to say that things became different over night or that my boss is a changed woman, but what I have found is that I am experiencing her differently. I have more understanding of her motivations, because I realised that by being at War with her, I couldn't listen and wasn't interested in what was going on for her. Even though I often don't agree with the way she handles things, learning to be at Peace with her has allowed me to have much more clarity at work and I take things less personally. And though my workload hasn't changed, I don't feel anything like the pressure I felt before the workshop. Best of all, the constant mental whirring has stopped and I can be present and enjoy my family when I get home."

There's more good news

There is no pressure in life. At all. Ever. Even when it feels like it. It is all self-created through thought. How we think about something determines our experience of it. Unless we have a thought about something, there is no feeling; it is not in our consciousness. As soon as we have this realisation, we see that all that 'pressure' out there is only as real as we make it in our thinking.

With this realisation, that we are the creator of all our experiences, all this unnecessary thinking tends to fall away. We realise it is us who is doing it to ourselves (not the circumstances or people outside of us) and it's no longer required. In the space that opens up, where worry and anxiety once resided, new thinking, ideas, creativity and clarity come forth.

Accessing your mental clarity easily

If you ask around, you’ll probably find that people will tell you that their best ideas or solutions to a problem happened: "when I was in the shower", "when I was on the golf course", "whilst I was driving".  They were all doing anything but looking at the problem or situation that needed addressing.

Realising that we are the creator of our experience provides us with the power to minimise the time we spend feeling anxious, stressed or hard done by. We can become the observer of our state of mind, rather than the victim of our negative feelings.

Over to you

  • Begin noticing your warring, stressful thoughts - and stop listening to them. We do not have control over what comes into our head, but we can still see that they are just thoughts, nothing more or less.
  • Instead of trying to change your thoughts (or fix your circumstances or the person you’re finding difficult), just become an impassive observer of your thoughts. For example, you might observe yourself in this way “oh there I go again blaming my boss (family member, neighbour, ­­­­______ fill in your own blank) for how I'm feeling.” Or “Ah - I’m having those stressful thoughts again. Glad I noticed those and caught them before they fooled me into believing them.”

Give it a go, remember not to take your warring, stressful thoughts too seriously and do let us know how you get on.

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to become more clear-headed, resourceful and achieve the relationships they want with their family, colleagues and friends, we are running our next open-access War to Peace workshop in London on 7 October (just 5 spaces remaining). To book a space, click here.

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    “Do you need a clear head?"


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©Halcyon Global 2016