REGISTER/LOGIN | ADVERTISE | CONTACT

Change your life

Published: Sunday, January 01, 2017    



By Emma Procter

For many people, January will be a month of strict dieting, intense job hunting, or one of a range of typical New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, all too often these noble intentions fall by the wayside just a few weeks down the line. Therefore, OL decided to ask some of the country’s leading life coaches and therapists for their top tips on making 2017 a year of individual transformation.

THE ISSUE:

I’ve lost my passion for life

THE EXPERT:

Dr Oudi Abouchacra, Founder of Inspired Results – a performance, training, and coaching company

Q: WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU’VE LOST YOUR PASSION FOR LIFE?

I truly believe that instead of trying to fnd your passion, consider aligning with your inspiration. Passion to me inevitably leads to crashing. The reason for this is because passion is an excited state, a 'dancing on the ceiling' kind of space, that eventually lands you in the basement. Think of a passionate relationship that swings between the extremes of passionate romance and complete lack of respect. Passion, like over-the-top excitement, has the potential to cause you to fall hard.

Inspiration on the other hand is not a temporary state of feeling high, but a centred state that involves a clear vision for the future and purposeful action in the present. You may be feeling lost in life for a myriad of reasons – due to your personal or professional relationships, or your fnances – but you can eventually trace them all back to the state of your mind.

The minute your mind looks away from the opportunity you have before you to accomplish something deeply fulflling while you are alive, expect to feel lost. The minute your mind comes off the high of passion or excitement expect to feel lost. The best way to overcome feeling lost or decrease its frequency and duration, is to have a crystal-clear vision for what lies before you. If you can capture your vision in a high defnition image that touches all your senses and inspires your mind, you now have something to turn to any time you are lost.

Consider keeping this image on your desktop, in your wallet or in your purse, and every time you stray, take a peek at that image to reconnect. I personally run a series of images in my mind frst thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Maybe we feel a bit lost in life because we have lost sight of what life can really be?

Q: WHAT IF THE THING YOU REALLY WANT TO DO SEEMS RECKLESS IN OTHERS’ EYES?

I addressed an audience of 300-plus teenagers in Dubai, when one young lady asked me an interesting question. She said, “what if you know exactly what you love to do but your parents are not supportive.” My response to her was if you are certain about what you would love to do, then do it and trust me your parents will eventually get over it.

I advised her to be empathetic with them and know that they really care, but to chase her vision regardless, because chances are they didn’t chase theirs. On the other hand, if the lack of support from one or both of your parents gets you doubting yourself, the question is: how bad do you really want this? Not bad enough to stand up to your parents? Well then maybe you don’t want it in your heart, but only want it in your head.

Whatever path you decide, you will eventually have to exercise the skill of selling what you want to your parents or your spouse. The key players in your life just want to make sure you have thought your dream through and that you will not take them down with you with a serious mistake.

Q: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WHO SAID: “I HAVE NO TALENTS”?

No human being is born without a gift – something they are naturally excellent at doing or being or thinking. Most people consciously or subconsciously suppress their talents for fear of one thing or another. I would challenge this person to make a list of everything they enjoy doing, then take the top three items and do them more often than they currently are and I am sure that they will recognise a talent that they were overlooking and underappreciating. Everyone has at least one talent, but not everyone honours it and sharpens the skills required to polish it.

Q: WHO DO YOU ADMIRE FOR FOLLOWING THEIR PASSION IN THE RIGHT WAY?

First, I think too many of us look outside our family for people to look up to. Sure, there are plenty of celebrities who have led inspired lives and followed what they love, despite what the world around them thought they should be – including great artists, athletes, writers, healers, and political fgures. However, I believe more of us need to appreciate the stories of those whom we live with – perhaps because they are familiar, we don’t give them the credit they deserve.

Q: ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEIR LIFE IS GOING NOWHERE?

If you can wake up for it, and stay up for it, and look forward to doing it again and again, you better fnd a way to schedule that thing into your life every day. If you do this, it will only be a matter of time before you get out of your rut. I’m not talking about something unsustainable, I’m talking about what you love to do more than anything in this world and working that into your agenda.

THE ISSUE:

I am struggling with my weight / my eating habits are awful

THE EXPERT:

Maria Romeralo, Nutrition Consultant at SHA Wellness Clinic – a renowned European health brand

Q: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH THEIR WEIGHT?

Put simply, diets don’t work. The important thing is to learn how to eat healthy, enjoying nutritious food that makes you feel good and full of energy, aiding good digestion and even helping with a regular sleep pattern.

Consider a diet based on whole grains, vegetable protein (beans, lentils, hummus), local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, seaweeds, seeds, olive and sesame oil. On the other hand, I recommend avoiding – or reducing as much as possible – animal protein such as meat, eggs, and milk, and processed and refned food full of chemicals and additives.

Doing all of this brings stable weight as well as good energy and digestion

Q: WHAT IS THE SHA PHILOSOPHY FOR GOOD HEALTH?

Our philosophy is to prevent problems. We understand health as a combination of physical, mental, spiritual, and environmental wellness, and therefore our approach is holistic with special emphases on natural therapies.

SHA nutrition is based on a plant based diet. We don’t use meat, chicken, eggs, dairy, sugar, refned or processed products in SHA. Our guests come to us and after just one week they feel so many benefts: improved weight, energy, sleep, and analytical results. Our philosophy is to show people how to be healthy by creating healthy habits.

Q: WHAT COMMON MISTAKES MAKE PEOPLE FEEL SLUGGISH, TIRED, OR FLABBY?

In general, people don’t know how to eat healthily. Some of the bad habits are eating too much, eating bad quality food (refned, processed), consuming too much protein that then needs to be compensated with stimulants like sugar or coffee. Many people eat way too much food at night, skip breakfast, don’t do enough exercise, and worry too much. It all adds up to a feeling of poor health.

Q: MOST PEOPLE CAN’T AFFORD FANCY WELLNESS CENTRES – ANY TIPS YOU CAN GIVE FOR FREE?

Follow the above recommendations about food, do regular exercise, have some fun hobbies, start to meditate or pray, and always be appreciative of what you have.

Q: CAN YOU SUGGEST A PLAN FOR A QUICK DETOX?

We believe it is more important to create healthy habits than do quick fxes. Remember the importance of having breakfast, a balanced meal at lunch, and not that much at night. Also, try to leave at least two hours between having dinner and going to bed. Highly recommended foods: green vegetables, roots, whole grains, soups, vegetable protein or white fsh. And eat slowly – this is crucial.

THE ISSUE:

I feel down in the dumps about modern life

THE EXPERT:

Kasey Conrad, Managing Partner at Change Works HRC – a provider of personal and professional development coaching

Q: 2016 WAS QUITE A TRAUMATIC YEAR GLOBALLY. HOW CAN I SHAKE OFF THAT FEELING?

2016 was certainly an interesting year, with its share of not-so-good occurrences, which are made bigger, brighter, and bolder by the Internet, along with the ever-growing human need to be fed by drama.

Before writing the outgoing year off as a complete disaster, I’d like to share a few very good things from 2016 you may have missed while being overwhelmed with social media-induced melancholy: child mortality rates are in a steady decline globally; tigers, pandas, and manatees are growing in number; 50 million trees were planted in 24 hours by volunteers in India; the ozone layer is beginning to repair itself; renewable energy ran the entire country of Portugal for four days in a row; crime across the globe is in decline; and drinking coffee has been proven to help inhibit cancer as well as suicide rates.

TIP: Feel free to add your own positive things to the list, now that your mind is heading in that direction!

Approaching the new year with a plan to maintain a balanced perspective will help shake off the doom and gloom. If you fnd it diffcult to tweak these feelings on your own, there are several complimentary care options available to help you help yourself fnd balance. Why not consider hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic psychology, yoga or tai chi, meditation, reiki or other energy treatments, massage therapy, or sound, colouring or art therapy. Do some research and see what you fancy trying.

Q: HOW DO I STOP NEWS REPORTS GETTING ME DOWN?

Exposing one’s self constantly and willingly to the neverending drama that is cable news and/or social media, (a lot of it exaggerated opinion, and a growing bit of it, made-up), locks us in a perpetual state of past. Eagerly and hungrily, going back day after day, hour after hour, afraid to miss all the news of the latest catastrophe.

Being consistently stuck in the past is a leading cause of depression, which if left unchecked, can lead to physical ailments. Pay attention to how you feel after 10 minutes of watching the news, or scrolling social media pages, are you feeling good or not so good emotionally? Now, really scan your body, notice the tension in your muscles, which muscles do you notice being the most tense?

Turn it off! It’s that simple. Unless it’s your job, spending as much time as you do with your TV, phone, tablet, or computer, ravenously keeping up with the events of the world, family, friends, 24-7 is your choice. Good news is you can make a different one.

It may be scary at frst, start slowly. Begin by scheduling ‘no tech’ time, one hour a day for fve days, along with observing the no technology at the dinner table rule. During your hour make a point to be present, consciously notice your surroundings, become aware of things that you may not have seen before. Maybe choose the hour the sun sets, quietly observing the different colours that paint the sky that time of day. After the frst three days, pay attention to how you feel. How much less tense are you? Do your muscles feel more relaxed? You can easily expand these fve ways to six, and maybe seven - who knows, maybe one hour becomes two, three, four…

Q: GIVE YOUR TOP TIPS FOR FEELING GOOD TODAY, WHATEVER YOUR SITUATION?

Be present – which means keeping your mind here and now. Our mind has three frames of time: past, present, and future. Once you start to pay attention to your thoughts, you will be able to recognise which frame you’re in. Most people spend less than 1 per cent of their thoughts focused on the present. Becoming aware of the content of your thoughts can allow you to begin to draw them more and more back into the present, avoiding the judgment of the past and the worry of the future.

Be grateful. This allows you to focus on the things that make you feel good, creating an optimistic attitude, which creates a more positive perspective.

Also, schedule at least 10 minutes of ‘me time’ every day to do something just for you, maybe 10 minutes of your “no tech” hour. No phones, no social media; you can walk, listen to music, just sit and look out the window, the 'what' isn’t important. Taking time for yourself every day confrms that you matter

Q: ANY OTHER WORDS OF WISDOM?

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

THE ISSUE:

I hate my job / want a new career path

THE EXPERT:

Zabeen Ahmed, Small Business and Innovation Expert, SEVIA Consultancy UAE

Q: IF SOMEONE ABSOLUTELY HATES THEIR JOB, WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?

People must differentiate between hating the actual job they do, hating the type of work they’re in, and hating the company/managers they work for. If they are dissatisfed with the type of work they do, or their role, they need to understand what scope there is for them to change their role, progress, or amend their work.

If there is an opportunity to change the nature of the role, and the employee is happy in the company otherwise, this is often a good solution to what would otherwise be another employee turnover. Good HR departments in companies are able to identify these issues through employee engagement and feedback and ongoing reviews before an employee resigns for an issue that could otherwise be resolved.

On the other hand, if the employee absolutely hates everything about their role, it’s critical that they frst understand why, and then honestly think about what it is they would like to be doing instead, as well as what fnancial restraints they have (how much of a lower salary are they willing to work for to start over in a new feld for example?). They need to understand what their individual skills and strengths and interests are, and pursue a career in that feld, otherwise they will be stuck in the same position in another year’s time

Q: ARE YOU EVER TOO OLD TO SWITCH CAREERS?

Never. The key is to have the confdence and the persistence and the drive to take on new roles, and perhaps start from an entry level. A lifelong willingness to learn and improve is key to making successful career moves and progressions

Q: IF SOMEONE WANTS TO START A BUSINESS, BUT HAS ZERO CASH – WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE?

Starting up a business in the UAE can be quite cost prohibitive, what with steep trade licensing fees, offce and warehouse rental requirements, and visa costs. Some sort of savings is generally required to begin, not only here in the UAE, but anywhere. I would advise working, saving money, while simultaneously developing a business plan.

Q: WHAT ARE YOUR DO’S AND DON’TS FOR WORKPLACE HAPPINESS?

Most of the onus is on the employer to ensure employee workplace happiness. A culture that is open, welcomes feedback and acts on it, celebrates success and new ideas, and allows employees to fail and learn from their mistakes, is one that will create happier and more motivated workers.

Managers that are collaborative and ensure a culture of professionalism and respect are key. A company that encourages and promotes work/life balance (hours, working from home, annual leave, maternity, etc.) is the one most likely to retain employees.

Q: WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE GET DEPRESSED AT WORK?

Long work hours, poor management, poor corporate culture, poor work/ life balance, lack of satisfaction in the role, lack of satisfaction in the job, and not feeling challenged are the usual problems. Most corporate work is also quite sedentary – sitting at desks staring at screens and answering emails or writing reports all day.

The lack of movement, or dynamic activity is another source not only of depression but also increased levels of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Many companies have taken steps to help employees combat these sources of depression – constantly seated employees are encourage to work at standing desks, and even take meetings standing up to ensure speed and brevity.

Creating opportunities for employees to take breaks from their tasks throughout the day and engage in unrelated hobbies or physical activity like yoga or exercising at the gym has also proven to be effective in lifting worker mood and productivity. Creating cultures and work flows that allow employees to have personal time and not spend their whole days at the offce also improves employee retention.

Employees who have time to leave work and still get home to spend time with their families and pursue personal interests are happier in the workplace.

THE ISSUE:

I feel I am not getting enough sleep

THE EXPERT:

Dr Irshaad Ebrahim – Consultant Neuropsychiatrist and Medical Director, the London Sleep Centre

Q: WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY WHEN IT DOESN’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP?

In the short term, sleep deprivation induces signifcant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 per cent. Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability -- your ability to think and process information. There is also a decreased quality of life due to a reduced ability to sustain attention – for example not being able to watch a movie, or being unable to concentrate on seeing your child in a school play.

Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater risk of sustaining an occupational injury by twofold. It also increases the risk of an automobile injury – in the US, the National Highway Traffc Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

In the long-term, lack of sleep increases the risk of depression and anxiety disorders. Immune dysfunction can also result from chronic sleep deprivation.

Q: WHY ARE WE VIEWED AS A GENERATION OF BAD SLEEPERS?

The post-industrialised society and the Internet have created a 24/7 society that has in many respects advanced faster than our physiology has been able to keep up with. The power of social media and the dependence we have on being connected all the time has resulted in us neglecting our sleep health and set us up for an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea, and other chronic medical disorders including cancer.

Q: WHAT IS THE OPTIMUM NUMBER OF HOURS PER NIGHT FOR SLEEP?

The US Based National Sleep Foundation conducted a rigorous study last year and concluded that, for healthy individuals with normal sleep, the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, infants between 12 and 15 hours, toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, pre-schoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.

Q: IF SOMEONE THINKS THEY HAVE INSOMNIA, WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?

They should get in touch with a properly qualifed and accredited sleep specialist. For more information view our website: londonsleepcentre.ae
 
Tools
Print This Page
 
Email a Friend
Contact the Editor
 
Bookmark
     
Share
Facebook
 
Twitter
 
del.icio.us
Yahoo
 
StumbleUpon
 
Newsvine
Google
 
Reddit