Valentines – celebrating love and relationships

Be my slow-motion dance.
Be my birthday earthquake.
Be my spiral marble staircase in the middle of a Vermont meadow.
Be my handstand on a barstool, my whirlwind week in clown school, my joke shared with a Siberian shaman
while shopping for t-shirts at Sears.
Be my last because.

Rob Brezny

Anxiety Coping Mechanisms

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and its theme for 2014 was Anxiety. (Next year’s theme will be on Relationships).

Anxiety is one of the more common issues that I work with in my practice. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression at some point in our life.

A YouGov survey of 2,300 adults in Britain was carried out for Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 and it revealed that:

Almost one in five people feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time.
Only one in twenty people never feel anxious.
Women are more likely to feel anxious than men.
The likelihood of feeling anxious reduces with age.
Students and people not in employment are more likely to feel anxious all of the time or a lot of the time.
Financial issues are a cause of anxiety for half of people, but this is less likely to be so for older people.
Women and older people are more likely to feel anxious about the welfare of loved ones.
Four in every ten employed people experience anxiety about their work.
Around a fifth of people who are anxious have a fear of unemployment.
Younger people are much more likely to feel anxious about personal relationships.
Older people are more likely to be anxious about growing old, the death of a loved one and their own death.
The youngest people surveyed (aged 18 – 24) were twice as likely to be anxious about being alone than the oldest people (aged over 55 years).
One fifth of people who have experienced anxiety do nothing to cope with it.
The most commonly used coping strategies are talking to a friend, going for a walk, and physical exercise.
Comfort eating is used by a quarter of people to cope with feelings of anxiety, and women and young people are more likely to use this as a way of coping.
A third of the students in the survey said they cope by ‘hiding themselves away from the world’.
People who are unemployed are more likely to use coping strategies that are potentially harmful, such as alcohol and cigarettes.
Fewer than one in ten people have sought help from their GP to deal with anxiety, although those who feel anxious more frequently are much more likely to do this.
People are believed to be more anxious now than they were five years ago.
There is a tendency to reject the notion that having anxious feelings is stigmatising.
People who experience anxiety most frequently tend to agree that it is stigmatising.
Just under half of people get more anxious these days than they used to and believe that anxiety has stopped them from doing things in their life.
Most people want to be less anxious in their day-to-day lives.
Women and younger people are more likely to say that anxiety has impacted on their lives.
Anxiety is a symptom that can have a multitude of causes. It can be in response to specific issues or experiences, or a general feeling of overwhelm and feeling unsafe in the World.

Anxiety can be exacerbated by feelings of worry and concern about the anxiety symptoms themselves. This can start a reinforcing cycle of avoidance, withdrawal and inward focus on our anxious sensations and how to get away from them.

The statistics show how anxiety is becoming an increasing problem in the U.K. And I don’t think this is a surprise as society trends, media messages, demanding schedules, general economic instability and uncertain futures can all contribute to feelings of overwhelm and insecurity.

However, there are a number of coping mechanisms that can be used to help with anxiety.

I’ve put together a website to help with a number coping mechanisms for anxiety at

Many of these include building an awareness of causes, the harmlessness of symptoms and lifestyle changes.

The other main mechanisms involve understanding why we might feel overwhelmed or unsafe and using counselling tools and approaches to develop helpful thoughts, behaviours and actions.

We can then ultimately learn how to reassure ourselves and build inner resilience and confidence that we can handle ourselves and the World in general; letting go of the things that can’t be controlled or changed.

With these tools under our belt we can actually free ourselves to be stronger and happier than before – personal growth that has come from working through and understanding our anxiety.

How to change your job with 5 easy questions

Many of my clients want to explore career coaching as they are looking for a way in which they can:

understand what they would really like to do
Find a way to do it
Have the confidence to do it
Take action and make it a reality
And these are the sort of issues that regularly get in the way :

I’d like to move jobs but I don’t know how

I don’t know what I’d really like to do with my life

I’d like to work for myself but how will I pay the bills

If I leave my career I’ll have to start all over again

What if I’m no good at something new

I feel stuck – I want freedom, but I also want security

I’m too old to change now

So we can at least take some comfort in knowing we’re not alone!

In fact this was me 10 years ago. I was commuting to London every day from Brighton, getting the 7.11am train to work for a bank.

There didn’t seem to be any balance in my life, especially as I wasn’t getting much sleep having recently become a Dad.

I wanted to change jobs and get some balance in my life, but didn’t know where to start.

Fortunately, what I did have was roughly 3 hours each day on the train to think about it.

And eventually I started with a process of questions. (informed from some NLP reading I was doing at the time).

So what were these questions?

The 5 Career Coaching Questions

1. What do I most value now? What are the things that are important to me now?

2. What do I believe – about myself, about what I should be doing, and how much of it is actually true?

3. What skills do I have that I enjoy using and that are marketable/portable.

4. How would I like to work – where, how much, who with?

5. What could I do that would fit with these answers.

This process of enquiry helped steer my thinking towards exploring options in an informed and structured way rather than feeling stuck and desperately searching for job alternatives aimlessly.

This is because the WHAT question came last.

Most of the time we search for answers randomly and within known boundaries based upon our experience.

Something like this :

I don’t want to do this, but WHAT else can I do? WHAT have I done before? WHAT could I apply for now? WHAT else could I do?

But the 5 questions above actually help find out the WHY (is this important), the WHERE, WHEN, HOW, and WHO with first.

This then gives us a lot more information to start narrowing down the WHAT that meets these criteria.


By first determining the things that matter to us now, we’re on our way to understanding our values and the qualities that are important in our life in this moment. This is where our passion lies and what give us meaning and purpose.

These values change over time so what may have been important for us 5 or 10 years ago may no longer apply. For me Balance and Freedom were important values once I became a dad. Previously Experience and Excitement were important and so a job in London had worked just fine.


By exploring our beliefs, we can also test whether some of them were never really ours in the first place. They may be ones we took on from our parents, teachers and society as a whole :

You have to work hard and work up the ladder
NLP logical Levels
Status and job title are important
You’re judged by how much you earn
It doesn’t matter what you do now as long as you’re saving for the future…..
and so on.

Working with someone else like a coach/counsellor is useful for this stage of the process.

Now you may still believe these statements. And that is absolutely ok. But beliefs are not truths. In response to the belief that status and job title are important I might ask “Who says so?”  – It may be important to you but not to everyone. So is it a truth or simply a belief you are holding.

By exploring our beliefs in this way we can ensure that any we hold have been consciously chosen, and are enabling rather than limiting. This opens us up to explore a much wider range of possibilities. For example, maybe working part time is actually ok, working from home, developing a portfolio approach with a number of ways to earn income, going back to study….


Next, by listing all of the skills and experience we have under our belt that are portable and marketable, we usually surprise ourselves and instantly get a confidence boost.


By asking ourselves When (would I like to work, how often, full/part time, Winter only etc), Where (e.g. locally, abroad, in town, outside..) and Who with (on my own, in a team, with my partner…) you’re getting detailed and specific information that can help with the last question.

and then finally What….

…would satisfy most of what I have identified. What combination of skills will I be using and what do I need to do next to start taking action to make it a reality.

And then we’re off! Off exploring real alternatives, researching and building a plan with a timeline. Speaking to people, targeting opportunities and getting excited! We’re able to direct our energy towards tangible goals and know that we’re moving towards a way of being and doing that ultimately fits with who we are now.

By following this process and with some assistance from a counsellor I enrolled on a coaching and psychotherapy diploma, set up a counselling practice in Worthing as well as an e-commerce business with a partner, and have been lucky enough to work from home and enjoy being with my family rather than on the commuter train.

For more information on this process and NLP logical levels see my article that was printed in the quarterly publication for The Career Development Association of Australia.

For help in identifying what’s right for you and taking action to change your job, and a free phone consultation, contact me here.

Coaching is available here in Worthing, or by Skype or telephone. See some of my testimonials here.

How to achieve financial freedom

One of the main drivers for coaching and career change is to achieve financial freedom.

Financial freedom can mean different things to different people, but generally we are looking for ways to be able to choose :

what we want to do, when we want to do it, as much as we want to do it (or as little), with who and where we want to do it!

Financial freedom can release us from stuck positions towards these goals – from employee to investor, from full time to part time, from monotony to variety, from meaningless to meaningful.

There are some basic principles to be learnt from the financially free that can set you on your way to be like them.

There are a number of great books and cd’s out there discussing these principles.

Here are my top ten that I regularly recommend to my clients :

1. Think and Grow Rich: The Original Classic

Thought provoking, because it shows how important our mind is, and our attitude to money.

2. Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind: Think rich to get rich If we work on our mind and beliefs first, financial freedom will follow.

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad – Easy, yet fundamental lessons on how the rich become rich, shifting from being an employee to an investor.

4. Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom More detail on applying the lessons using his cashflow quadrant.

5. Creating Wealth: Retire in Ten Years Using Allen’s Seven Principles of Wealth! More specifics on how to generate income and financial growth.

6. Multiple Streams of Income: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth! Second Edition Here Allen sets out the importance of creating numerous passive income streams to earn whilst you’re not working.

7. The Richest Man in Babylon A must-read for anyone seeking financial freedom.

8. My Daughter Wanted a Pet so I Bought Her a Greyhound and Other Everyday Wealth Building Strategies by Gill Fielding (Nightingale Conant 65001PCD) Detailed financial strategy advice from the ‘Secret Millionaire’ Gill Fielding.

9. The Naked Trader: How Anyone Can Make Money Trading Shares Funny and informed advice on share trading.

10. Successful Property Letting:How to Make Money in Buy-to-let The definitive guide on property investing in the buy-to-let market.

Are there any others you might recommend?