Moving House Can Be An Uplifting Experience

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Despite the barely bearable stress that it creates

It is said that wisdom comes with age.

I am still waiting, not so very patiently anymore, but I haven’t given up hope.

I have stumbled across one or two golden nuggets in the past 50 years and these share with my readers in my books, articles, blog, courses and workshops.

I am moving house. If you read my article Moving House In The South Of France you’ll know that it is no easy endeavour. Bien au contraire.

I am at the packing stage. I hate packing. I have been packing now for thirteen days. I spend from 3-5 hours a day packing depending on how much time I have available. The most time-consuming part, as everyone knows who have ever moved house, is not the packing itself, it is deciding what to keep and what to let go.

Trying to make move less stressful, I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. According to a survey from a moving company, it takes 182 days for the average person to unpack every box after a move, and some boxes never get unpacked at all. When I started packing, I had several boxes in the attic that I have not unpacked since the last move. I was very tempted to send these straight to the dechetterie (waste disposal unit,) but I could not. So I started packing by clearing out the attic. It was a tedious process. Reading the book did help, without Marie’s guidelines, it would have taken twice as long and would have been much more painful.

My Personal Packing Strategy

My version of the sorting and packing process looks a bit like this:

Have I used this in the past two years? If yes, and I am sure I would continue to use it, I keep it.

If no, I ask myself if owning it makes me happy. If it does, for whatever reason, I pack it.

If I have more than one item, exactly the same, I try to determine why this was the case. I have two microwaves, two irons, two ironing boards etc. because my current house includes a self-catering apartment. I am moving to a house without self-catering accommodation, so I gave some of these items to friends and sold the rest online.

For some or other reason, I also had, for example, four hairdryers. I had kept all four, just in case, one day, my current hairdryer breaks. Handling this one was difficult. I decided to give the current one to the charity shop, keep the newest model, give one to a friend and sell the remaining one.

If I wasn’t sure if something still makes me happy or whether I would continue to use it, I ask myself if it was time to pass it on to someone else who might find owning it a pleasure, or just plain useful. If the answer was yes, it went to a friend (as did one of my horses) or the Emmaus (a charity shop.)

If no, I ask myself if it can be recycled. Recycling things make me feel virtuous, so a lot of things went off to the recycle bin, including an Audi that was no longer roadworthy.

How My Packing Strategy Benefits Others

So.  Who benefits from my updated packing strategy?

  • A few of my friends who now own my precious pre-loved and in many cases, still-loved possessions.
  • I got rid of at least 30% of our possessions so far, which means we have much less to move. The move will be less stressful, and my immediate family benefits significantly from my lowered stress levels.
  • One of my horses has found a new home with one of my friends, where he will be dearly loved, spoiled rotten and will live out the rest of his life in luxury.
  • The Emmaus Community benefited from my donations, which they will resell and so maintain their independent status.
  • The environment benefited from my attempts to recycle as many of our possessions that we no longer need. It is easier to part with stuff when you know it is going to be used to produce useful items and will not end in a landfill.
  • I did. Although I did not make much money selling things, but this did not matter, at least I made an effort. I also met some interesting people on and off-line.

I benefitted in several further unexpected ways:

Decluttering lifted a burden from my shoulders. I intended to get rid of our unwanted, no-longer-used and no-longer loved possessions for a long time. Moving forced me to stop procrastinating and to get to it. My motto these days is: Collect experiences, not possessions.

I make a point to hold everything I no longer wanted in my hands for a moment and to thank it for what it had bought to my life. This has been an empowering experience that I highly recommend. If you are familiar with my writing, you will know that gratitude and generosity are two of my favourite subjects. The sorting, sharing and packing process give me yet another opportunity to be grateful and generous. The short- and long-term benefits of this practice are extensive, as I explain in my book Embracing Change – in 10 minutes a day.

Finally, I recently read that being grateful is a potent anti-ageing activity. We are already more likely to pause and reflect on what we have to be thankful for as we grow older than we were in our 20’s and 30’s. In the video below, Dr Wendy Mendes of the University of California, San Francisco, discusses the anti-ageing effect of gratitude in more detail:

Knowing that I am benefiting from packing in these various ways, helps me to deal with the stress of moving house. On balance, I would say that the stress of packing is just about balanced by the benefits of packing. But only just.


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Two Surprisingly Easy Ways To Manage Stress

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For those stressful days when you cannot think of anything that could possibly make you feel grateful

I have recently applied to become a writer for a Medium publication called A Few Words. The publication is called A Few Words because each post is limited to 500 words or less. Most of my posts are more than a 1000 words long, sometimes more than 2000. Below you’ll find my first attempt – it is currently 568 words – I shall have to make it shorter before I submit it for publication.

Some days, it is more challenging to feel grateful than others. Some stressful days, trying to find something to be thankful for seems like an exercise in futility. At times like this, I do one of two exercises.

5-minutes Mindfulness Gratitude Exercise

You can do this exercise anywhere and at any time. All you have to do is to take 5 minutes out of your busy day, look up from whatever you are doing and notice what you can see, hear, feel, smell and taste in your immediate vicinity that makes you feel grateful:

  • My laptop, my connection with the world
  • My favourite coffee mug
  • The alarm clock that my cousin gave me
  • The little antique table that I got for a song
  • The great book I am reading at the moment
  • The perfume of a bunch of my roses
  • My grandfather’s paintings on the wall
  • My mother and grandmother’s Bible
  • The gorgeous skirt that my friend shortened for me
  • The first rays of sunrise falling into the room
  • A cat purring in my lap
  • The taste of a home-made rusk dipped in coffee
  • The quietness of the early morning

The five minutes fly past and soon I start to feel less stressed. I also remember that I have to send a text to my friend who adjusted my skirt to thank her, and that I should let another friend know how much I am enjoying the book she lent me, and that I wanted to bake another batch of rusks and share them with someone I know who loves them as much a I do…

Small Suff Gratitude List

The other exercise I sometimes do, when I run out of obvious things to be grateful for was inspired by the “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”- concept. I call it my “Small Stuff Gratitude List.”

Once again, I take five minutes out and I try to focus on the small things that I am grateful for.  Not the rusk that I am eating, but the sunflower seeds in the rusk, that took me ages to find. Not the glorious sunrise, but the particular salmon pink colour that I love and that is part of every sunrise. Not the apparent beauty of my horse, but the adorable way the hair curls in whorls on her forehead.

The idea is to notice and list the small stuff, the fine detail, the little things, sounds, events and actions that we miss when we are trying to cope with a stressful situation:

  • The first sip of coffee of the day
  • An unexpected “thank you”
  • The refrain of a song from my childhood
  • A friend’s voice on the phone
  • A well-crafted sentence in an article I read
  • A recently-emptied dustbin
  • My cats devouring their breakfast with relish
  • Home-made cherry jam
  • Looking forward to an upcoming holiday
  • The dawn chorus
  • A smile in someone I care about‘s eyes
  • A sigh of contentment

Taking a few moments to do one of these exercises, at the beginning or the end or at any time during the day not only makes me happier, but it also makes me feel calmer. Both exercises are great stress-dissolvers. Both activities very effectively remind me of what is really important in life.

Not sure how I can shorten it, what I should leave in or cut out. Any ideas? Any insights?

To help you handle stress, I have created a “Coping with Change Checklist and Cheatsheet” and a “10 Steps to Instant Self-Confidence” Guide that I share with the subscribers to my mailing list. Claim your copies here.

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I spend many, many hours every week researching, writing, editing and distributing my articles, and in the process, I drink many, many cups of coffee. If you were empowered, educated, enlightened or entertained by this article, please buy me a cup of coffee! (you choose how much you want to donate) and help me transform more people’s lives. After all, giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference.

3 Stress Management Strategies To Help You Weather Any Storm

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Facing a Major Life Transition

We sold our house and bought another.

Impossible to put the ever-escalating anxiety, nerve-wracking worry, overwhelming panic and threatening despair associated with the seven words above into words and onto paper.

Why does it have to be so complicated to sell a house and buy another?

Here in France, it is a confusing and cumbersome process. First, you have to make up your mind to sell. Since every time you buy a house, you have to pay 10% on top of the asking price in fees and taxes; it is not a decision to make lightly. Let’s assume you have thought things over carefully and have made up your mind to sell. Now you have to find a buyer. Easier said than done. Here in the south of France, it can take months, even years to sell your house. Some of our friends have had their houses on the market for 2, 3, 4 and even five years.

Oh, happy days! You manage to find a buyer, and he makes an offer of less than 10-15% of the asking price. You do not start to stress yet, because this is not the first time you sell a house in France and you have added 10-15% to the asking price to cater for this eventuality. Now the diagnostics immobiliers have to be done. Take out your cheque book, because this is going to cost you a lot of money. Now you can start feeling anxious because if the expert finds termites in your 200-year-old beams, you will either have to have your beams treated (at great expense) or you will have to lower the asking price.

So you worry about this for a few days. Finally, the expert shows up, does all the tests, and after you have paid the exorbitant fee, he releases his report. You have termites, but they are not active. Probably haven’t been for decades/centuries. You advise the buyer and bite your nails for a few days until it becomes clear that since he has already gotten you to lower the price of the house by 10-15%, he is not going to insist that you termite-proof your house.

Next, you and your buyer have to sign a compromis de vente (provisional sales agreement) in the presence of a notaire (notary,) but all the notaires nearby are fully booked for weeks. The first appointment you can get is a month away, a month during which the buyer can change his mind about buying at any time. You ring every notaire you have ever had dealings with until you eventually manage to get an appointment two weeks away.

In the meantime, you have been househunting. You would think that it would be easy to find a house to buy in a buyer’s market. You would be wrong. There are lots of houses for sale, but since you are the much-maligned owner of 5 opinionated horses, you need a house with a bit of land. Not just any land either. It needs to be pasture, not wood, and it needs to be attached to the house, not 5 km away. It also needs to be reasonably flat. In addition, it would be nice to find a house with some character that has not been renovated to death or a house that is not falling to pieces because of the diligent attention of said termites. French farmers covetously hold on to their land and will not be parted from it unless offered a small fortune in compensation. In France, houses are not routinely assessed by surveyors before purchase, so it’s caveat emptor (buyer beware) and good luck to you. Also in France, artisans (carpenters, plumbers, electricians, plasterers, etc.) have to guarantee their work for ten years, so any renovation you will need to do is going to be costly.

Let’s assume that you do find a house. Once again, you need to find a notaire, and you need to get a buying appointment to sign a compromis de vente as close to your selling appointment as possible so that you do not find yourself, with your five displeased horses, on the street in three month’s time. Three months, because that is how long it takes for the notaire to process the sale, before you can sign the final acte de vente (final contract.) In these three months, your buyer applies for a mortgage. If he doesn’t get his mortgage, the sale falls through, and you cannot buy the house you wanted to buy.

I have bought four houses in France so far, I know precisely how hair-raising an experience buying and selling property in this country can be. The last time was four years ago. We were “homeless” for 15 months. 15 months of having the horses at livery, at great expense. 15 months of renting and living in temporary accommodation, the shortest period we stayed in one place were two weeks, the longest, three months.

So you might wonder why we decided, yet again, to step onto the buying-and-selling emotional rollercoaster.

 

Dealing with a Major Life Transition

Let me assure you, if we could, we would never have moved again. I am, however, much less stressed this time around, because of the valuable lessons I learned four years ago. During those 15 seemingly-endless months of insecurity, I developed a couple of coping strategies that kept me from losing my marbles. One of these was a stress management strategy that I had already been using for several years. The unrelenting stress of those 15 months forced me to fine-tune my approach to such a degree that it became more-or-less failproof. I am so convinced of the effectiveness of this strategy that I wrote a book about it called Embracing Change – in 10 Minutes a Day, just in time to help me cope with the strain of going through the selling-and-buying mill again.

It is a very simple strategy, as the most effective strategies often are.

I discovered, a long time ago, how efficient daily expressing how grateful you are for what you have can be to counteract stress. It is challenging to remain stressed out of your mind when you are focusing said mind on a breathtakingly beautiful sunset (some of the very best ones materialise unfailingly every summer’s evening here in the south of France.) Or on the pure exhilarating pleasure of a walk through a fragrant, thousand-year-old oak forest. Or on the mindblowing, entirely addictive aroma of freshly baked French bread, cordially being pumped onto the pavement by your favourite patisserie. Or on the mind-shattering taste of that first spoonful of decadently delicious dark chocolate mousse, that melts in your mouth so profoundly satisfyingly that your taste buds promptly start trumpeting Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.

 

3 Stress Management Strategies

Strategy no 1: Enriching Gratitude with Generosity

During those 15 months, I discovered that expressing my gratitude daily, in a gratitude journal, is not enough. Gratitude should not only be about passively listing the people/places/events/experiences that you are grateful for, it is much more effective in helping you cope with stress if it also has an active component.

You will deal much better with stress if you do not only count your blessings but if you also share them.

When we are forced to handle a stressful situation, we tend to zoom in on our own difficulties, and we become blind to the problems people around us are facing. I discovered that not only does helping others with their problems take my mind off my troubles, no matter how overwhelming, but it helps me feel less stressed and more able to cope with whatever disaster comes my way next.

Strategy no 2: Concentrate on the Here-and-Now

Forget about what might go wrong tomorrow. Stick around in this never-to-be-lived-again moment in time. I have also discovered that worrying about everything that might go wrong in the immediate, intermediate and distant future is not only an undeserved indulgence but a complete waste of time. While I am worrying if our buyer will get his mortgage or if the owner of the house we want to buy will accept our offer, life in all its glorious abundance is happening right here, right now. Do you remember “Hakuna Matata?” I chose these two words to be my motto during this possibly-sanity threatening transition. So far, so good, as far as I can gather. I am holding onto the remnants of the sanity I have left after buying and selling four times before. As soon as I realise that I have started worrying again, usually about some totally trivial thing, I sing my motto softly to myself. I focus my mind on the delicious sensations I am experiencing right now. Luckily it is summer in the south of France, was it winter, I might have found it a bit harder to be serenely mindful.

Strategy no 3: Nurture Friendships

Whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation, for whatever reason, you need your friends. To help you navigate a stress-induced storm, you will need friends who you can depend on. Friends who will be there for you at 03h00, who will drop everything and rush to your side when you need them, who will listen to you attentively for hours without interrupting but who will give excellent advice when asked, who know you through and through and have your best interest at heart: loyal, compassionate, understanding, trustworthy and dependable friends.

Where would you get friends like these? You make these sort of friends by being this sort of friend. By putting your friends first, by making time to help them with their problems when you barely have time to handle your own, by supporting them through the best of times and celebrating with them during the best of times. It takes time, energy and devotion to cultivate friendships like this, so now would be a great time to start.

So this time around, the fifth time I am buying a house in France, I am much better equipped to handle the trials and tribulations that have come my way. The process has not been entirely stressfree, so far, but mindfully reminding myself every day of what I am grateful for and paying attention to how I can help those around me, has helped me cope with the worsts of the trials and tribulations that have come my way, without losing my will to live.

My book about coping with change, as in major and minor life transitions, with gratitude and generosity, is available on Amazon.

I have also created a “Coping with Change Checklist and Cheatsheet” and a “10 Steps to Instant Self-Confidence” Guide that I share with the subscribers to my mailing list. Claim your copy here.

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I spend many, many hours every week researching, writing, editing and distributing my articles, and in the process, I drink many, many cups of coffee. If you were empowered, educated, enlightened or entertained by this article, please buy me a cup of coffee! (you choose how much you want to donate) and help me transform more people’s lives. After all, giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference.

Get real Value from Gratitude Journaling

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Forget about “the rules of journaling.” Journaling rules can never be more than mere suggestions.

I’m not good at keeping rules. I get bored if I always have to do the same thing, at the same time. I get frustrated if I force myself to keep to a strict schedule. The only thing that I have been able to do consistently to a strict(ish) schedule is Intermittent Fasting. I do benefit from committing to keep a gratitude journal, but I also need flexibility, variety and the regular recharging of my motivation batteries. From many years of gratitude journaling, I have learned that:

You don’t HAVE to list 5 things that you are grateful for each day. If times are difficult and the only thing that you are grateful for is the fact that you are still alive, that’s fine. List that and that only. If you want to list more than 5 things, do so! List 10, 20, 50 or a 100 things…there are no limits to how many items you can list.

You don’t HAVE to write in your journal every morning, or every evening or at any specific time of the day every day. One day you can write while commuting, another day you can write while standing in a cue (on your phone) or while waiting for a meeting. Or you can make up your mind to journal every morning, while you have your first cup of coffee, or last thing at night when all is quiet around you. Same time every day or different time every day. It’s up to you.

You don’t HAVE to keep your journal on paper. You can journal on your phone, your tablet or your computer. There are loads of apps available online to make it easier for you:  DayOne, Your Private Gratitude Journal, Mojo and The Gratitude 365 Journal, to name but a few.  Or you can create a document on your computer and add to it every day. Or use a simple online agenda like Google Calendar. Or you can subscribe to an e-course like the Stress to Serenity with Gratitude and Generosity e-Course and complete each day’s suggestions on paper or on your computer.

You don’t have to bother with spelling, grammar or punctuation. If you are a perfectionist, this is going to be a difficult concept to take on board. Write whatever comes into your head. Go with the flow. Don’t censor, don’t judge and don’t doubt your writing. If you absolutely HAVE to, do a spelling/grammar check once you have finished writing, with an app like Grammarly or WritingAid.

You don’t HAVE to write to keep a gratitude journal. You can take pictures of what you are grateful for, every day. Or you can keep a scrapbook with bits and pieces that remind you of happenings that make you feel grateful, like the till slip of that romantic meal in your favourite restaurant, or the tickets to that mindboggling opera performance you went to or a pressed wildflower from that unforgettable walk through the park. If you love drawing or painting, you can draw or paint in your gratitude journal. You can create a Pinterest “What I am Grateful for in 2019” board (here’s mine.) Or you can write one day, draw the next or take pictures the day after. Or everything on the same day, whatever works for you, on that day.

You don’t HAVE to invest a significant amount of time into expressing your gratitude. You can keep it simple. List whatever you are grateful for and get on with your day. Or you can take 10 minutes out of your day and get 10 times more benefit from your gratitude practice by enriching it with motivating and inspiring quotes or empowering affirmations, as I advise in my book “Embracing Change – in 10 Minutes a Day – Simple Strategies, Smart Suggestions and Insight-giving Stories (Fabriqué en France Book 3)” You can make these 10 minutes the highlight of your day: time you set apart to invest in your future, your well-being and the well-being of those you care about. Some days, you might have time for a bullet-point list only, other days you may have more time to yourself. It doesn’t matter. Do only as much as you can on any given day. It is still a million times better than doing nothing at all.

You don’t HAVE to exclude all distractions. Some journaling experts advise that you remove all distractions while you are journaling. This might well be necessary for some people, depending on their circumstances. It might be necessary some days for you too, and not others. I don’t always exclude all distractions. Sometimes distractions remind me of what I have to be grateful for: a beautiful piece of music playing in the background, my horses cavorting around in their paddock, happy to be alive, a text coming in from a well-loved and much-appreciated friend, the smell of freshly made coffee…admittedly, even though it makes my “I am grateful for”-time more rewarding, it sometimes also makes it longer, so when I have little time, I tend to narrow my focus and exclude distractions.

You don’t HAVE to look back through your gratitude journal. Take a couple of minutes out of your day, write down what you are grateful for and forget about it. You will still benefit enormously. Or you can make time each month to look back and discover how keeping a gratitude diary has improved your life. Or not. If not, you might want to tweak the way you go about it for better results. You never have to look at what you were grateful for in the past, but in stressful times, this is a very effective way of reminding yourself that difficult times don’t last forever and that you have much to be grateful for, even if things are getting on top of you at this moment in time. Makes you more resilient, also.

Journalling is one of the oldest self-help tools known to man, and in my opinion, as a self-development tool, gratitude journalling is second to none.

You are doing this for YOU. You can make your own rules and break each one as often as you like…or you can journal without any rules whatsoever. The idea is to keep a gratitude journal, daily, for the rest of your life. Be flexible. Be rigid. Be creative. Be whatever you like. Be YOU.

You will get the most value from gratitude journaling, and you are more likely to continue with it for the rest of your life, if you adjust jour journal keeping to whatever is going on in your life, whatever works for you and whatever style of journaling you enjoy most.

“Gratitude is one of the most powerful human emotions. Once expressed, it changes attitude, brightens outlook, and broadens our perspective.” – Germany Kent

Gratitude Journalling can dramatically increase your self-esteem and empower you to make the changes you want to make in your life. I have created a “Coping with Change Checklist and Cheatsheet” and a “10 Steps to Instant Self-Confidence” Guide that I share with the subscribers to my mailing list. Claim your copy here.

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I spend many, many hours every week researching, writing, editing and distributing my articles, and in the process, I drink many, many cups of coffee. If you were empowered, educated, enlightened or entertained by this article, please buy me a cup of coffee! (you choose how much you want to donate) and help me transform more people’s lives. After all, giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference.

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Misconceptions about Mindfulness

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In each book I write, I write about mindfulness. It becomes difficult not to repeat myself, so in my latest book, Coping with Change – A 10-Step Strategy to manage Stress Successfully during Transitions, I decided to write about mindfulness from a different perspective. Instead of explaining what mindfulness is, I explain what mindfulness is not:

  1. Mindfulness is not easy, but it is not complicated. Mindfulness is simply about being present in the moment, observing our thoughts and emotions without judgement and without allowing our thoughts and feelings to dictate our actions.
  2. Mindfulness is not effortless. Mindfulness requires work: an investment of time, effort and energy.
  3. Mindfulness is not a religion, though being mindful is fundamental to several faiths, incl Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish and Taoist teachings. Mindfulness is a mental practice unrelated to any specific religion.
  4. Mindfulness is not meditation. Meditation is just one mindfulness practice.
  5. Mindfulness is not about disconnecting from the world around you. It’s about being fully aware of what you are thinking where you are right at this precise moment.
  6. Mindfulness is not just another item to add to your to-do list. It is a mindset, a lifestyle, an integral part of your every day.
  7. Mindfulness is not just about stress reduction, although it can significantly reduce stress. Mindfulness enables you to cultivate awareness, tolerance, acceptance, kindness and compassion. Mindfulness increases resilience by rewiring your brain to respond to experiences positively and productively, instead of reacting in a way that can increase stress.
  8. Mindfulness is not a waste of time. Yes, it takes time to master, but as it involves being present in the here and now, it saves a lot of time, time we usually spend ruminating about the past or worrying about the future.
  9. Mindfulness meditation is not about escaping reality. Mindfulness is about being fully aware of our reality without our views being influenced by our emotions, assumptions or preconceived ideas.
  10. It does not take a long time to benefit from mindfulness. You can make significant progress in just one week of daily mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness can make you feel more relaxed, sleep better, worry less and cope better with challenges after only one session.
  11. Mindfulness is not time-consuming. If you can find 10-15 minutes/day to practice mindfulness, you can make significant progress and dramatically reduce your stress levels. Even as little as 5-10 minutes a day will yield noticeable results.
  12. Mindfulness is not for everybody. Mindfulness is not a “one-size fits all” approach. Although anyone can be more mindful, not everyone finds mindfulness useful. That’s fine; there are other ways to increase well-being.
  13. Mindfulness is not therapy. It can be an adjunct to a variety of treatments, but it is not a cure for all ills.
  14. Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind. Mindfulness is about noticing, accepting and letting go of your thoughts.
  15. Mindfulness does not always make you feel better. It is about noticing your thoughts, even the distressing ones, without judging yourself for having them. It is about acknowledging and accepting your negative thoughts, without allowing them to alter your mood or induce you to act in unhelpful ways. Mindfulness enables you to work through your feelings, positive as well as negative.
  16. Mindfulness is not something you do; it is something you are – an essential and intrinsic part of you.
  17. Mindfulness is not a shortcut to happiness. Mindfulness can help reduce and even eliminate depression, anxiety and stress but only if we are willing to work at re-training our minds so that we can cope with whatever comes our way.
  18. Mindfulness is not the only method you can use to cope with change, but it is one of the most effective ones. Mindfulness enables you to see more clearly what is happening in your life. It will not eliminate stress, but it can help you respond in a stress-diminishing way. It helps you to recognise and avoid habitual, often unconscious and unhelpful reactions to everyday events, thus improving your quality of life.

Extract from Coping with Change – A 10-Step Strategy to manage Stress Successfully during Transitions

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My latest book has not been published yet, I will let subscribers to my mailing list know as soon as I publish it. Have you subscribed to my blog’s mailing list yet? If you are already a subscriber, thank you so much! If not, please do. My blog aims to assist you in making the most of yourself and in providing you with the tools to do so. The blog has a distinctly French flavour, as I also share with you our life here in the south of France. You can subscribe by clicking here, and you will receive my 10 Steps to Instant Self-Confidence guide – straight from the horse’s mouth! as well as a copy of the Cope with Change Cheatsheet and Checklist.