So says the famous song from the Disney movie, Frozen. But what does it actually mean? Letting go is something we regularly need to do. Beliefs become outdated. Baggage, we held onto once, we find we no longer need. Fears we had start to limit us. All these things are examples of where we need to let go. In the song, the character is undergoing a transformation. She has magical powers, which had caused problems in the past when she was too young to understand or control them. We all have powers, even if our powers aren't seen as magical in the Disney sense. Leadership in adults is often seen as being bossy in children. Intelligence can be defined as being a "know it all"; confidence as a show off. Extreme sensitivity can be labelled as weakness by people who don't understand the gift it can be. Many of us have learnt to hide our light under a bushel as did Elsa.
Why do we procrastinate? Hang on a moment... and I’ll tell you. Oh, you want to know now. Well, that means taking action and to be honest, it’s not something I’m very good at. Or rather, it’s something I’m sometimes not very good at. I can take action. Give me a straight forward situation that needs some straight forward action, and I’m there. I mean really there. I’m the one saying “Let’s just do it now. Why wait until later?” I figure I have enough to do without adding things to my list, so by taking immediate action, I’m reducing the number of items on my “to do” list. However other things don’t seem to work quite so well with me: things like getting going in the morning, sitting down to write a blog, planning my jobs for the day.
by Ros Kitson
I read an article recently detailing how stress can actually be a good thing for us because it helps us rise to challenges and improve our performances. I think the author was thinking about the kind of stress we face when we're trying to achieve a project we've chosen to do. For example, training for a marathon. I found I did agree with most of the content, but as a practitioner who works with stress with clients, I was concerned that this might be giving out a message that we should be accepting of all the stress in our lives. This I definitely disagree with. So I decided to reflect on the difference between the type of stress discussed in the article and the type of stress that, if left unresolved, can make us very ill. So, how do we differentiate between them? Well, I believe it comes down to two things: choice and power. I'll deal with each in turn, although they are intrinsically linked.
Emotional illness is a complex subject. The first being that it is often quite difficult to define. When does moodiness become more of a condition? Is it always so? Emotional illness is just as real as physical illness and there is the same degree of variation in the severity. In the same way as a cold is very different from cancer, so there are different levels in our emotional health too. But for some reason it is perfectly socially acceptable to have the flu or a migraine but often not to be paralysed by low emotions. Yet this can happen just as easily. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations which we can't deal with immediately. They can shock our systems, and make us angry or upset. We actually need time to process them so it's not realistic to expect them to become resolved overnight. In some cases we can do this alongside other activities, but sometimes they can floor us to such an extent that we need to take time out from our day to day lives to work them through.
by Ros Kitson
I get asked this question a lot. In fact, it's probably the most common thing people say to me when I explain what I do. However they do not all rush to book appointments. So I was wondering why this was, if they felt they had a perceived need for my services. And the answers I came up with are here in this blog. Firstly, what do people mean when they say they're stressed all the time. Well often, they're just very busy people; sometimes they like living their lives at high speed, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there are areas of conflict in their lives; maybe they don't get along with someone they feel they have to spend time with. Sometimes people just don't like the life they've made for themselves; sometimes they believe that life has to be tough/painful/etc. Stress can take many different forms. A certain amount of stress can be useful to us. It can be the impetus that drives us forwards or protects us from harm or failure. They key is for any experience to contribute positively towards your life. So once I'd found out the nature of the stress, the next question I'd ask is, "what do you want the solution to be?" It is very important to understand our expectations. If you have conflict with someone and you want the solution to be that you are able to change that person in some way, you will be disappointed and I cannot help you. We cannot impose our will on another person with much success. Even if we do manage to control them, behaviour like that usually leads to resentment which is not an ideal situation. Far better to work on yourself and you'd be surprised what can change. You may feel stressed due to the amount you do, but you don't want to give any of it up. You like rushing around for 90% of the time. You just don't want to feel uncomfortable for the 10%. While it is possible to create more energy through better nutrition and by clearing the emotional baggage you carry around, I cannot make you super-human. Often we can get the most energy by learning when to rest. If you believe that life is meant to be hard or that in order to reach any goal, you must have pain and suffering, then that will be the life you create. Our beliefs are powerful and tend to define us. If you want to change something, it might involve changing a belief that you've been holding on to. The good news is that if you are open to making changes, then I can help you. There will always be a reason for why we are having our experiences. Even if we don't consciously know what they are, they can be revealed during a kinesiology session. Often we are carrying around unresolved baggage, for example, stuff from our past that we couldn't deal with properly at the time. Hanging onto this will determine how we react to events happening to us now. For example, if you find yourself in a situation that you hadn't wanted to be in, and it was unpleasant, you might project that similar experiences happening now will also be unpleasant and feel huge amounts of stress at the thought of having to do them. I struggled with travelling for many years, because of an unpleasant French exchange experience as a teenager. For seemingly no reason, I'd become almost paralysed at the though of having to go away anywhere. We also inherit certain beliefs which we then often hold dear. People sometimes feel that changing beliefs is a sign of weakness, but as we go through life, we learn more and it's healthy for our view of the world to change. If our beliefs were formed initially from another person, then it might be that they don't really suit us at all. For example, my father has a belief that financial security is one of the most important things in life, whereas although I have an inherited belief in financial security, it's not the most important thing for me. This is fortunate as the uncertainty of being self-employed requires me to step out into the unknown and trust. When we clear these blockages, we can make new choices and it's often surprising how easily and quickly things change. I've worked with clients who have had a totally different experience from a similar situation before and after a session. Even the way they talked about a stressor changed during a session itself. So if you'd like to make changes in your life, even if you have no idea of where the problems come from or how it will work, come along and see me - I can help you.
I've been talking recently with people who struggle to make a success of their passions. The confusion that comes out of this is that, if we're following our passions, then life should be plain sailing. In other words, it should be easy. I've fallen in to this trap of thought myself. For some reason, I've often found that I get an initial success when I'm following a passion. I've chosen to interpret this as "being on the right track". Therefore, I deduce, if I'm on the "right track" more successes will follow. But then they don't. So what's going on here. Am I actually on the wrong track, or is something else going on? Well, I'm not on the wrong track. I know what my passions are and even if I'm aiming for something that isn't my number one passion, that shouldn't be a reason to fail. What is far more likely is that in order to succeed in my chosen area, I have to put myself out there in a far bigger way than I have before and it scares me. We are genetically evolved to try and stay safe. Back in the times when real physical dangers lurked round every hill, it made more sense to stay close to your community. Those with a sense of adventure were rare because we have an innate instinct for survival. So when we start a new venture nowadays, we're usually stepping into unknown territory. There is unlikely to be actual physical danger in most of today's projects, but we will often be stepping outside our comfort zone. Maybe we have to use skills we're not very confident at. Maybe we have to work with new people. It might not seem very difficult but if we're not used to it, it can feel quite terrifying. So, in order to feel safe, we have to fail. We can't have it both ways. So, unconsciously, we self-sabbotage. This might mean we don't give a task all we could. Or maybe we don't take up an opportunity that presents itself. Because these behaviours are usual subconscious, we don't realise we're doing them. So we believe we're doing all we can and wonder why the results aren't coming in. The solution doesn't lie in beating ourselves up for what we're not doing; the solution lies in overcoming our natural fears of pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. No amount of therapy will get rid of all these fears. It's a case of "feel the fear and do it anyway". However, that's not to say that we don't have other blocks too that can be helped by therapy. I've personally found that the key to pushing myself out of my comfort zone, is to take steps that are big enough to move me forwards while staying small enough to make them achievable. What some people don't realise is that outside our comfort zone is a "terror zone". Pushing ourselves too far too fast is counter-productive as too much fear will paralyse us. Finding the balance is what will enable us grow and move forwards. This balance will be different for different people. It's no good trying to copy your friend or colleague. It will come down to experimenting and good self-awareness. So if you feel like you are failing when you should be thriving, check out whether you are triggering your fears.
I can't believe I haven't written about this yet. Sugar is my "pet subject" at the moment. I'm constantly talking about how horrendous it is. So I thought it was time I wrote something here.
Sugar has only been widely consumed in this country since the 19th century. Before that, we would mainly have sweetened foods with honey. Only the very rich would have been able to afford sugar and its price would have meant that it was eaten in moderation.
Over the last few decades, sugar consumption has risen drastically. Sugary snacks - chocolate bars, biscuits, cakes, sweets and fizzy pop and available in most shops (even those not selling other food) and often positioned right by the till. We are sold it at cinemas. We watch it being advertised on TV, We even herald the Christmas season by a certain fizzy drink ad appearing on our screens. Sugar is firmly in our culture.
Now, let me talk about sugar. It either comes from sugar cane or sugar beet, but we're not eating a vegetable when we consume it. The sugar crystals we eat are a highly processed substance. And therefore they are a lot stronger than what we would every consume directly from nature.
And that is where the problem starts. By consuming such a strongly sweet product, many of us get a "hit" as the sugar releases neurotransmitters in our brains. Unfortunately when we eat some more, our brains have re-regulated their neurotransmitter release and the hit is much lower. This leads sugar to be one of the most addictive substances around as people crave that original surge of pleasure.
If you disagree with that last statement, try giving up sugar completely. And if you are one of the lucky people in today's society who don't have an addictive personality, try asking your friends to give up sugar and see what their reaction is.
I've heard it said that sugar wouldn't be legal if it was discovered today, but it's very difficult to make a decision against a substance when many of the decision makers will be addicted to it.
Addiction is a complex issue and not one I'm going to tackle here.
However, I am going to talk about the negative effects sugar has on our body.
Let's start with teeth. I remember as a child going to the dentist and seeing wrappers from chocolate and sweets and cans from fizzy drinks pinned up on a notice board along with clear bags containing the amount of sugar they contained. It was quite shocking. I also distinctly remember a poem by Pam Ayres tell the foolish what would happen if they didn't look after their teeth. Both stuck wth me.
Sugar will rot your teeth. Since more or less giving up sugar, my teeth are the most healthy they've ever been. My dentist is amazed and even he, when I tell him my lack of sugar, stares at me with disbelief and admits he couldn't do without it. Strangely, the bags of sugar are no longer pinned to the notice board.
Then there is the effect sugar has when you eat it. We like it because it gives us a "hit". If we're tired, we may eat a biscuit or a chocolate bar to give us some more energy. But this is a short term hit and if we use sugar in this way, we are likely to be stuck with a slump fairly soon afterwards. Either that, or we have to continue to eat sugary snacks.
The pancreas is designed to regulate our blood sugar levels by releasing insulin. This works fine if we consume just a little amount of sugar, but when we over consume it, more pressure is put on the pancreas which eventually wears out and leads to type-2 diabetes.
There are many different types of sugars. Glucose is the type of sugar our bodies use. When we eat healthy carbohydrates, eg starchy vegetables, the body breaks them down into glucose and this is used directly by our organs. However refined sugar has a high fructose content and this cannot be used in the same way. Instead, it gets broken down by the liver. If we are just consuming a small amount, say in fruit, for example, our livers cope fine. But if we are consuming the sorts of amounts found in fizzy drinks and sugary snacks, then our livers can become overwhelmed.
This process in the liver produces higher amounts of uric acid. This puts more pressure on the kidneys and can raise blood pressure.
Fructose doesn't trigger insulin in the same way as glucose, so our bodies don't register when we are full up. That and the inefficient way it metabolises, leads it to be converted and stored as fat in the body. Refined sugar is the fastest way to put on weight.
And on top of this, refined sugar contains no useful nutrition. All the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and fats have been stripped out. So when we consume it, we are eating empty calories. Then in order to metabolise it, the body has to take certain nutrients from our cells. In this way, it strips the body of nutrients rather than putting them in. Unless, you are in the middle of a famine with nothing else to eat, there is no good reason to consume refined sugar.
So before you reach for that next slice of cake, consider what you're doing to your body.
A client came to see me wanting to stop eating sugar. She said she had sugar cravings, mainly late at night. After dinner, she’d put the kids to bed and sit down for a cup of tea and a sugary treat. But instead of just having one treat, she’d have 3 or 4 and it felt like it was getting out of hand. She also admitted that she used to have wine for her treat time, but had cut that down. In the first session we looked at the issue and the work took us back to a time in her life when she partied hard as a reward for working all week. Fun for her at that time was letting go without considering her boundaries. So we worked on being able to have fun while still holding her boundaries firm. By the second session, her pattern of eating sugary snacks had changed slightly. She would now sneak a snack while putting the kids to bed, but once they were in bed, she would stop snacking. She was also holding her boundaries better in other areas of her life. This time we went back to time in her childhood where she was aware of her mum’s behaviour. She told me her mum never took a break and it seemed that she had learnt behaviour from her mum that she was trying to take on – namely that being a mother means you are always busy doing something. We discussed a different way of being, maybe taking a break during the day, before the evening rush of dinner and bedtimes, so she didn’t feel the need for a sugar fix to get her through this. By the third session, the pattern had changed again. This time, she was craving a sugary treat after a savoury meal and feeling that she “should” be allowed to have one. However she really wanted to be able to have sweet foods and it not become a habit. The boundary issue was also coming up again in her life so we also worked on that. This time we went back to a time in her childhood where she had to do something she really didn’t want to do and she was bought sweets as a treat to cheer her up. So there was the connection between “sugar” and “treat”. This client only came for 3 sessions. When I spoke to her a while later she said that she felt much more in control of eating sugar. It was no longer controlling her.
by Ros Kitson
I've spoken to people who, when their lives take a turn for the better after a period of stress, suddenly find they start to struggle rather than finding that things become easier. I'm talking about fears, barriers that come up, unpleasant feelings, all happening when things start to improve.
So, why does this happen and what is going on?
Well, when we've been struggling with whatever challenge we've been facing, whether it caused stress or made you feel unsafe, we start to put up our barriers. If we feel we need protection, we will do this to the exclusion of everything else. Issues that we faced along the way may not have been processed, but instead filed away until we were in a better place emotionally to deal with them.
When things start to go right in our lives, we relax. We no longer need to be on red alert all the time. We finally feel safer and we start to open up.
And guess what? All that stuff we buried when we weren't feeling so great comes up. As human beings, we have an innate draw towards healing ourselves, so as soon as it's safe to do so, this instinct takes over.
However, because we're often not versed in the ways of emotional healing, we can find this a bit overwhelming. When unresolved issues come up, they don't have a flag attached saying "emotional residue from that time when I felt hurt by my ex" or similar. Oh no. We just get an unpleasant feeling. We may feel upset, we may feel angry, or any other emotion might come up.
The most logical assumption is that the present situation is causing you to feel that emotion. This will either cause internal conflict as you try to work out why you're crying when your current situation is so great or you will find problems in your current situation to match the emotions, where there really aren't any.
The good news is that these things have come up because we're feeling safe enough to deal with them. So, if you are experiencing this, life is probably going well for you and you are in a place where you feel supported.
It is, however, important to process these issues and let them go in order to move forwards with our lives. We don't need to understand them, but often a memory of where they came from will also surface which might give us some clarity we need. Then once we've let them go, we're free to carry on enjoying the good times that life has brought us.