Good Facts for Building Resilience

Writing a list of ‘good facts’ is a helpful way of reminding myself that there’s a lot of positive things going on in my life. This helps me to build and maintain resilience through more stressful times.

The great thing about a good fact list is that these are undebatable, they are facts, not hopes or opinions, they are actually happening.

They can be very small or highly significant, and we all have loads of them I’ve discovered.

They help balance the innate negativity balance of the brain that is programmed to look for threats. And my goodness are we not bombarded by negative news these days! So I need all the tools I can find to restore and maintain balance inside. To remember that many positive things are going on right now.

  • My son is coming back for a week soon, and it’s giving me something to look forward to. I have a good close relationship with him.
  • My dog is adorable good company, healthy, well behaved and gets me out in nature in all weather
  • The work is pouring in, keeping myself and the guys afloat with an income
  • I have a delicious cup of warm tea ready to drink in front of me
  • There’s an interesting audiobook playing at the moment
  • The temperature in this room is perfect
  • This flat is very quiet and so are the neighbours
  • I can listen to nearly any music I wish at this moment
  • The robotvac has just cleaned the house and it’s lovely and clean
  • I have the internet which connects me to the world which is such a joy when I feel lonely
  • Friends and family are well and healthy
  • I have friends whose company I really enjoy and enjoy reciprocal benefits of learning, connection and affection with
  • I have a wonderful dog walker who takes her for 6 hours a day when I’m busy
  • I have a lovely new client and in fact a run of good clients recently which increases my optimism and heals some of the wounds from previous negative experiences
  • I have the freedom to have a lie down and a rest when I’m tired during the day
  • I have a talent as a designer and enjoy creating beauty for people and myself
  • I am acclimatising myself to a happier state and allowing it more
  • The flowers are beautiful out in the park just now
  • I benefited from mindful walking this morning

Overall I have had a positive week, and my mood has been stable and optimistic. I have taken steps to address a major stressor – money – and this has successfully reduced my underlying daily level of anxiety. My head is back above the water and I’m building on that to cheer myself up and change the habit of stressful thoughts.

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My Journey from Unworthy to Worthy

This has been the focus for the last week or two. Realising that as a result of some beliefs I picked up about what I deserve in life I have created the stressful messy scenario (in particular financially) I’m currently in (and many others before it) that reflects that sense of unworthiness. So no more blaming my upbringing and the beliefs I picked up from that. It’s time to take responsibility.

Even though I can see a progression since I started practising self compassion and mindfulness about 6 years ago, the old core belief still exists and can cause me to unconsciously throw curve balls where things are going ‘too’ well. Millions of pounds have gone through my hands over the years and I have engineered it so that I earn just enough to get by and not enough to pay suppliers on time.

It’s useful to remember how far I have come with befriending myself and learning to love myself. I don’t have toxic relationships or negative people around me, my income has increased somewhat, I look after myself more, i exercise regularly, eat healthily and I bought an apartment for the first time and made it beautiful. These are acts of self love and feeling worthy.

However I still find myself in a situation where I’m constantly worrying about money, the lack of it, find it hard due to anxiety not to procrastinate, and have a response of uneasiness about doing really well and being happy.

I’d love a live in coach who could take me through this process, but alas, it’s up to me. With help though, and I am getting help. As a trainee cbt counsellor I’m now getting cbt counselling, partly to increase my own skills as a counsellor and also to help with some of these recurrent unworthiness issues.

I know there is a way towards allowing greater success, love and creativity in my life and I am on that journey.

It does require recognising how unworthiness sneaks in and to counteract it with new healthier belief, I am deserve happiness, success, love and creativity.

So let me do a little exercise to counteract the undeserving belief and look at some benefits of allowing more abundance in

  • I have worked really really hard building a business that is in high demand for 15 years. I have gone through many extreme challenges in order to keep it going through difficult experiences. I deserve to be rewarded for this feat of perseverance
  • I’m really good at the design part and people value and express their appreciation for what I do. I deserve to be rewarded for developing my talent and expertise
  • I am a good kind person and that won’t change if I reward myself more financially
  • I am a good friend and make a caring partner and deserve and welcome more loving friendships and a relationship with a kind stable man who I sense is out there
  • Allowing myself to have more money would reduce my stress enormously and allow me to be more creative and loving. That would be good for my clients and for everyone I come across.
  • Yes I was brought up used to a sense of impending danger but I don’t have to continue living on the edge all the time because of that. I can allow and s]daily step into greater ease and wellbeing, lower stress levels.
  • While I appreciate all I have, imagining an even better situation does not make me ungrateful for what I have. I don’t have to feel guilty about being open the very best that life has to offer me and to life getting better in all respects.
  • When I imagine an improved life, it’s simple things like having my own garden with a pond, and a partner and being able to save for my old age to look after myself.
  • I had a fear that if I had more money I may become greedy and removed further from others who suffer in poverty. Actually I trust myself fully now and more money would bring with it more ability to help myself and others.
  • It is my goal to fulfil my potential in every way I can and this must involve allowing change, good positive change.
  • It is my goal to be free. To do this I need to challenge the belief that I deserve to suffer and struggle and to allow new possibilities to open and take more risks.

So here’s to allowing more abundance of the good things in, cheers!

Good Facts

  • I love my dog and she loves me and she is healthy and seems happy and is very well behaved
  • My son is healthy well and seems happier than ever
  • My mum, uncle and a few of good friends are around to talk to
  • My flat is lovely, comfortable and beautiful and I enjoy my achievement of making it like that
  • My business is probably the best in the city and is doing well and I celebrate my effort and skill to take it there
  • I’m nearly half way through this difficult course
  • I have a therapist who is really good support and I’m learning more about myself
  • I eat healthily
  • I have a massive gorgeous wooded park across the road
  • Spring has arrived and there’s greenery outside the windows
  • The sun is shining right now
  • My sister and her family are well and happy
  • I am safe from physical danger and live in a fairly safe area
  • My neighbours are pleasant and friendly
  • I have a great car that keeps on working and that is paid for
  • I have a lovely oak kitchen table I’m sitting at
  • I have the possibility of a new romance with this guy Jon who I liked
  • My old friend Michael is back on the scene and we enjoy regular walks
  • I’m fairly fit and in good health and getting regular exercise
  • I have an endless supply of delicious comforting tea
  • I have central heating that keeps the flat cosy
  • I have a dishwasher and washing machine that work
  • I’m training for a new career to give myself choice in the future of something different
  • I have enough money to buy food and pay my electricity and heating bills
  • I haven’t smoked cigarettes for 6 years
  • My robot vac is cleaning the house as I write here!
  • I have nearly finished my essay and prepared for my speech due this Friday
  • I am comfortable on the seat I’m sitting on
  • I have a beautiful comfy bed
  • The bluebells and rhododendrons are out just now and are beautiful
  • It’s Sunday and I feel more free today from tasks responsibilities and obligations
  • I’m not addicted to anything except nicotine
  • The plants are starting to grow in the kitchen and I enjoy looking after them
  • I had an enjoyable meal at my mums with my uncle and girlfriend last night
  • This flat is beautifully quiet almost all the time
  • I can choose to do what I want today
  • I can listen to almost any music I want on Alexa
  • I can read any book I want on audible
  • I think I look pretty good for nearly 54!
  • I am kind, loving and wish the best for others
  • I’m learning to be kinder to myself

So that’s quite a long list for today. Good facts, things that exist and are true and are positive about my life. I still feel anxiety but think this exercise is worth doing.

More sunshine and more anxiety

Just had a walk up the river with the dogs, yesterday it was through the bluebells in the woods with an old friend. So many quality experiences. Yesterday I also had a session with my therapist, and after it my anxiety had nearly gone.

It’s good to talk! I decided to get some cbt therapy since I’m studying it so that I can experience being on the other side of it, as a client. I’m benefitting from it. She is already drilling into core beliefs that conflict with my goals…so we have plenty to work with.

When your feelings are disregarded as a child, then you grow up believing they are not important, that you are not important.

So you don’t look after yourself very well. Or know how to receive love easily. Or feel you deserve it. If someone else is there that does love you it mitigates it to an extent, like it did with me.

When you grow up in a ‘dangerous’ aggressive environment then danger becomes normal and you don’t know how to or have a desire to avoid it as an adult. Security is alien so you don’t relish or seek it and don’t look after yourself. You hang out in dangerous situations without a second thought. Until you become aware of it that is, and it no longer runs the show unconsciously.

I’ve learned to value stability security and being a better friend to myself. But it’s still not the norm and I feel that I’m in an alien world at times. And importantly I always keep an element of danger in my life too. Behaviours that are a bit close to the edge…it’s a little like an addiction. But it’s stressful too, to keep a business running without any financial buffer that could end easily.

Even my apathy about the business could be a response or a rebellion against success. I’m not sure. I’ve never been very driven by money though so that comes into it too.

When you grow up in a drama filled environment drama becomes the norm and stability is boring, or scary so you end up in drama filled life situations.

Becoming conscious of these unconscious patterns an childhood imprinting is the key to unlock the door to greater choice.

It’s hard work facing the old wounds, and learning nearly from scratch how to be a friend to yourself. I was lucky that I had a grandmother who showed me love and respect and apologised even for my mum’s behaviour. Somehow having an adult that believed in me made a huge difference.

Welcoming the Good Times

For a start I went on a date and it lasted 7 hours, is that good sign or what?! Intelligent attractive guy, and I enjoyed it. Didn’t feel anxious at all. He sent a positive text after and I sent one back. Meeting again next month….so let’s see.

it’s been the long Easter weekend and we have had 3 whole days of glorious sunshine. It raised my spirits and I spent almost all day for these days in the park and woods, by the river, walking and sitting and chatting. One day with the date and 2 days with an old friend M. He has been unusually keen to hang out recently…and we were imagining our ideal futures which was fun. Started to sense a possible direction.

I was able to forget almost, my extensive ‘to do’ list and just be in the moment, free of obligations enjoying nature and chat. Bliss. No anxiety at all for 3 days. Well except when I got home and was alone again, but even then, the positive feelings carried me somewhat. I do prefer having people around me, though I get the value that comes with facing oneself alone and learning to manage that.

And been chatting to Tobie who is still in Thailand and recovering from dengue. So glad to be in such regular contact with him.

I’ve been listening to an audiobook called Resilient by Rick Hanson – can’t recommend this book highly enough. Allowing the good in more and more….is the general theme.

That’s all for now. Working week has begun and I’m off to start the tasks….

Bit of a diary entry this one

Don’t expect anyone to read it as it’s long and a splurging out of troubles. Just need to express how I’m feeling and my stress levels are sky high…..And feeling low.

Got news that my son is ill in Thailand and before we discovered it was ‘just’ dengue fever it took me over the edge. Worried out my mind, in tears, feeling helpless while he’s ill in bed for days. Ready to jump on a plane then realised I can’t find my passport since I moved house.

I know it’s okay to have down days but I’m having so many these days. There’s been a build up over the last couple of years of the constant financial insecurity of running a business alone with all its responsibility, the loss of so many friends, through moving away (zeta and Steph) death (gonzo, Tamba, Fiona) and voluntary letting go of some (Dave and family, mark, Alex, and even Jamie) the death of my old dog, my son leaving home, and now see very little of Glen and Mary having moved away myself from being next door to them. And people I love moving away from me for their own reasons like Barry and Michael. I find myself feeling isolated and often lonely. Feeling sorry for myself here! Slowly new friends are appearing. I’m liking Euan, he’s honest good company, see him about once a week, but have a feeling there more than meets the eye I’ve yet to find out.

I thought joining the cbt course would fill a hole, but I don’t relate in some ways to the type of therapy or many of those on it, and find it intensely challenging alongside running the business. It’s very cerebral. Also seeing highly distress and depressed clients as a beginner is extra pressure.

I don’t know what to do. I woke up feeling anxious today, those sneaky scary thoughts crept up on me in the middle of the night when the boiler woke me up rumbling loudly….strange how the middle of the night can be a vulnerable time for scary thoughts to take a hold. I did the mindfulness technique of noticing acknowledging and letting them go, but not before my threat detection system had been activated and cortisol and adrenalin were coursing through my veins. Still, I got 7 hours sleep, not too bad.

So it’s time for practising some CBT on myself and writing down some ‘good facts’ to remind my activated threat detection system that actually things are well, and I’m not in the danger my brain is suggesting so often.

The stress was increased by having no work for 6 weeks in the winter and feeling my whole livelihood was under threat, my flat, my ability to support myself. So here are my stress producing thoughts and a counter thought to provide a reality check

  • having suppliers demand money you don’t have – that is now being resolved and the money owed is lower than ever
  • having difficult to please clients – I’ve had some great clients too including the current one. I can be more choosy now.
  • Redoing work that hasn’t worked or been done or designed properly – I’m going to avoid potential problematic design features such as rendering which often goes wrong
  • Not enjoying this work much any more and procrastinating – just doing it anyway, a little a day and I’ll feel some achievement
  • Feeling very alone with all this responsibility – I’m joining groups out there, going to a singing bowl sound bath today, and have started a new 10 week course on a Tuesday night.
  • Having hard essays to write for the course and procrastinating – do a little each day even if I don’t feel like it
  • Having to remember so much new information on the new course – forgive myself, I’m a doing learner so the time will come when I know the info and techniques by trying it out
  • Having therapy clients with difficult issues and doing my best for them knowing I’m only a student – both clients are coming back and also reporting they are benefitting from coming to see me.
  • Having to do a group presentations which I feel uncomfortable about – just accept the discomfort and appreciate the opportunity to get over a lifelong fear of public speaking. Plus I joined a public speaking club.
  • I’m in the difficult transition between a sole trader and a ltd company status – I have a transition period so can relax a bit about it, it doesn’t have to happen overnight and I’ve done most of the difficult

This is actually what I’m learning in CBT that stress producing thoughts have a more reality based basis that can reduce the threat level caused by the anxiety thought.

The idea was to give myself another occupation option in the future. I have to see clients each week too, which I’m feeling responsibility of, being a student and wanting to do my best for these people in high levels of anxiety and distress.

I’m just writing this down to explain to myself really why I feel the weight of obligations and responsibilities just now. And aloneness in it all is hard. I do feel so lonely. Being on my own most of the time is just so boring. I’m at my happiest when connecting with others. I’m feeling so low these days, when actually things are going well!

Time for some Good facts

  • I have legs that work, and a whole body that is healthy and relatively fit
  • I cycle round the park next to me regularly and love it.
  • I enjoy the company and love of an adorable well behaved dog
  • I have a lot of business coming in and am able to pay off what I owe
  • I have a friendly loving mum who lives nearby
  • My friend Steph is always there for me
  • I’m slowly making new friends

And be aware that how tough times are is very much up to me. Things are as they are and it’s my perception and the meaning I give to experiences that determines my emotional response to them.

Questions arise about my purpose and direction in life at the moment. What future do I want to create….I have no idea.

Celebrating Bad things that Haven’t Happened!

Part of reprogramming my mind towards noticing more ‘good facts’ is reminding myself of some of the adversity that isn’t happening in my life.

This is a minor part of the process compared to noticing good facts, it’s still relevant though, and increases a sense of soothing and safety.

The bad things that didn’t and haven’t happened to me. How fortunate !

Here are a few

  • I haven’t been born in a war torn country
  • I haven’t been involved in a serious car crash or been knocked down by a car
  • I haven’t been diagnosed with a disease
  • I haven’t had a fire in my home
  • I haven’t been sexually abused or raped
  • I am not a drug addict
  • No broken bones
  • No shortage of food
  • Nobody close to me has been murdered
  • I haven’t fallen off my bike
  • I haven’t had a partner I love who has died
  • I haven’t been burgled
  • I haven’t seen anybody being killed in front of me

Negative things have and do happen of course to me and everyone. There’s loss and pain, and our minds evolved to focus more on these in order to avoid danger in the future.

However many aspects of our modern lifestyles encourage us to focus on the negative, the media and advertising industries know very well that the negative grabs our attention more than the positive. They exploit this and bombard us with the negative.

We are susceptible to these manipulations, and as a result, stress levels have increased, and unhappiness and mental health problems are on the rise.

I feel compassion for myself and us all, about this vulnerability. And glad that more and more of us are becoming aware, and taking back our own power to decide for ourselves how we perceive and experience daily life.

I’m taking steps to rebel against this bombardment and to balance and soothe my threat sensitive brain. I am taking an active not a passive position. I’m on a mission to take in the good. To allow it to linger and sink in and become a permanent focus.