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Tag anxiety

Let your breath be your guide

Tags: , , , , Health, Stress Relief
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When we feel anxious, panicky, or even unconsciously stressed, we tend to take short breaths (called shallow breathing or chest breathing). As a result, our body doesn’t receive enough oxygen, which limits blood flow to important organs and creates tension in our muscles and joints.
This is a physiological reaction to perceived external danger, so when we continuously take shallow breaths we are actually sending signals to our body that we are under threat.

Anything from being stuck in a traffic jam or standing in a long queue, to feeling claustrophobic in a crowded space or even remembering a past traumatic event, can make us anxious and put us into stress mode. Our minds can perceive these situations as threatening/stressful and our body reacts to our thought patterns.

It is imperative to start becoming aware of when we are putting ourselves into stress mode, as these are usually subconscious reactions.

When we breathe full, deep breaths using the full capacity of our lungs, not only are we nourishing our cells with more oxygen, but we are sending calming signals to our body.

In the same way that stressful thoughts in our subconscious mind can create negative changes in our physical body, initiating conscious changes (breathing) in our body can create a calmer state of mind.

  • Stressful thoughts = shallow breath & tightness in muscles
  • Deep, full breaths = calmer mind + calmer body

Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson, MD, identified the flip side of the stress response, which he called the “relaxation response.” Benson demonstrated that meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques can bring about physiological changes including a lower heart rate, lower breathing rate, and decreased muscle tension along with positive changes in brain waves. Mind-body techniques that elicit this relaxation response have been successful in treating many stress-related disorders.

Correct and conscious breath is the first and most simple step toward releasing stress and anxiety.


Try this exercise:
To find out how you are breathing, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. On every inhale, notice your chest rising. Notice your abdomen too – does it move?

  • If it doesn’t, then your breath is shallow.
  • If your abdomen moves in on an inhale, your breath is inverted (and still shallow).
  • If your chest as well as your abdomen rise when you breathe in, you are breathing good, relaxed breaths – well done!

If you find it difficult to breathe into your abdomen, try this:

  • Try to imagine that your abdomen is like a balloon
  • As you breathe in slowly, let the air fill up your abdomen as if you are filling a balloon with air, letting your abdomen rise before your chest
  • As you exhale, let your chest go in then your abdomen, as if deflating the balloon
  • Do this exercise 3 – 4 times and feel your body become calm.

There are many breathing techniques and exercises that we can use to release stress from our body & mind. The first step, as always, is to be mindful, to become aware. Only then can we pause and step back before we can breathe our way to a sense of calm and to new perspectives.

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Counselling in Hong Kong

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Integrative Counselling

Counselling therapy

Why Counselling?

Life comes with ups as well as downs for all of us, and while we are usually good at processing the happiness and joys of life, we sometimes have trouble dealing with the downs. Talking with friends and family is helpful, and yet many differing opinions or expectations from those closest to us may lead to confusion and additional stress.

Our current society and culture seems to propagate the belief that we should be able to cope with everything, that we should be strong and do it on our own. And if we find we are unable then we simply look for the pill or quick fix to sort it out for us. Counselling offers the possibility of a more sustained sense of wellbeing.

When we choose exploration of self it opens us up vs. a shutting us down; we can start to identify the causes of current concerns, notice factors that perpetuate problems, and become aware of fears and beliefs that limit our emotional freedom. An understanding and working through of our difficulties, anxiousness, or moodiness enables a falling away of old patterns.

Counselling offers a safe and confidential space for you to voice your concerns and difficulties while being heard. A space in which you can reflect on what you might wish to change to live a more meaningful and fulfilled life. To set goals and practice healthier ways of being, as you feel supported to move beyond past patterns of limiting thoughts, perspectives and attitudes. A counsellor is supportive and non-judgemental, someone who strives to understand thoughts and feelings from your point of view.

People seek counselling for a wide variety of reasons:

  • Relationship difficulties
  • Stressful or distressing experiences which need to be shared in a safe environment. These may include relocation to a new city, separation or divorce, loss of a loved one, an accident, or even witnessing something traumatic that is difficult to recover from.
  • A desire to change certain behaviours, like food cravings or addictions, excessive anger, overwhelming or uncontrollable thoughts, or certain social behaviours.
  • Support through a serious illness.
  • Experiencing low moods, anxious feelings or both.
  • Feeling uncertain about a change in life path/career.
  • Personal crisis, because life does not always flow in the way we want it to, and we may not have the resources to cope with unexpected events.
  • Wanting to succeed and experiencing an inability to achieve goals.
  • Counselling also serves as a guide for personal development, to expand awareness and grow into one’s full potential, and can be beneficial for anyone.

As your counsellor I listen, and help you connect to your inner resources, so you can cope with and overcome any challenges you are experiencing and live your life in a way that is most meaningful and satisfying to you.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

Counselling with FalguniAre you living your best life? If not, what’s stopping you?

Get in touch with me for a consultation or to book a session:

By e-mail falguni@freeingemotions.com
Use the Online Booking Form

Phobias and Fears

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Phobias and Fears

Big or small, fears and phobias are like roadblocks in our lives. Our lives get smaller based on these limitations, keeping us from living our lives to the fullest.

Big fears, like not being able to ride in lifts, or fly in planes, are apparent in their limitations, and when overcome, create visible, life changing shifts.

Phobias However, there are also the less obvious fears that we carry around with us. These are the things we procrastinate about, feel slightly anxious about, the ones that we are so used to that they even feel comfortable. They have become part of who we are.

Most people have an irrational fears about something, for example, cockroaches, bees, or a visit to the dentist. These fears are usually relatively small and don’t impede our lives in big ways. When little fears become so extreme that they cause immense anxiety and interfere with our functioning in life, they are called phobias. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) works efficiently to manage and resolve fears and phobias, big or small.

Having helped many clients overcome fears and phobias that they have been holding on to for years, I would love to help you to overcome any limits so you can live your life with renewed confidence.

freedom from fears and phobiasWhat more could you do with your life if you could let go of your fears or phobias?

Get in touch with me for a consultation or to book a session:

By e-mail falguni@freeingemotions.com
Use the Online Contact Form


Testimonial:
“I have overcome my fear of cockroaches. Panic, a rush of blood, hastened breathing, anxiety, a constriction, a breathlessness. My fear of cockroaches may be laughable to some, to me, it was real and terrifying. 47 long years I bore with it. Whew!!! now, it’s gone.

Falguni’s warm, nurturing manner, her completely non-judgemental attitude and her unique ability to be able to look at different perspectives effortlessly make sessions with her a treat. And make her a healer-therapist who’s hard to come by. A rare gem.” – L.D., Mumbai, India

Cravings : When the Mind is Hungry

Tags: , , , , Health, Stress Relief

The title of this article does not refer to craving intellectual pursuits, but to that intense desire to keep eating a specific food after our hunger pangs have been satisfied.

There’s a real distinction – cravings are not the same as hunger:

  • Hunger is regulated by the body, while cravings are dictated by the mind.
  • Hunger is usually a general need for food while cravings can be for very specific foods
  • Hunger is about surviving physically. Cravings are often about surviving emotionally

Seen in this light, cravings are not the actual problem,
they are merely symptoms of underlying issues.

Some of these could be:

Association
This is when we link certain foods with certain activities. For example, you could be perfectly happy reading a book for hours on end but as soon as you turn on the television your mind goes to the kitchen. Or as soon as you come home from work you reach for a glass of wine. As soon as you have the kids in bed you feel the need for cake. Etc.

Procrastination
Write this report, or get a snack?
Do the laundry? Hmmm I feel hungry, I’ll just have a bag of chips first.

Boredom
This is a popular time for cravings to surface. God forbid we have to sit with ourselves for a few minutes.

Emotional States – Comfort/Distraction
Food often gives us comfort, and when we experience intense negative feelings, we can reach for food to feel soothed. This is especially true if, as children, we were given food to calm and quiet us by well meaning caregivers.
Loneliness, Anger, Sadness, Guilt, Depression, etc., these are all states that can feel very uncomfortable. Not many of us have been taught to sit with discomfort and see ourselves through, so food becomes an instant comforter. As well as a distraction from the discomfort.

Physical States
Certain foods, like sugar, can trigger an increase in our endorphin levels, serving to boost our moods and make us feel happier. So though sugary foods may result in instant happiness, it is short lived, and fails to address the real cause of the negative feeling that we are experiencing.

Then the guilt/criticism etc. that we may feel as a result of having eaten the desired food ends up making us feel worse in the long run.

The reasons why we intensely crave certain foods at certain times are different for everyone.

What’s your reason? Here’s one way to find out:

The next time your mind prompts you to reach for the food you crave, do this : just pause. Go ahead and eat it, but just pause for a few moments before you reach for it.

In that pause, ask yourself what you’re feeling. Become aware of the reason behind the craving in that particular moment.

You may be surprised to discover every time you stop to do this that the reasons are not always the same! One time it may be sheer boredom, another time may be anxiety, and the next time you may be trying to avoid feeling sad.

See for yourself. What’s under your craving?
That’s the issue that needs addressing, should you wish to do so.


Notes on Willpower

If cravings come upon us in times of stress, when we are not feeling our best, when we are tired, how on earth are we going to summon reserves of willpower to stave off eating the very foods we think are going to bring us comfort in those times?
How sustainable is it?
How guilty/bad/ashamed/weak/etc. do we feel if we “give in”?

A study conducted by Hertfordshire University (2007) found that women who tried to stop thinking about eating chocolate ended up eating 50% more than those who actually talked about their cravings*


Trying to cut out all thoughts of your favourite, fattening food may actually make you eat more!

* Source : BBC News

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How are you Breathing?

Tags: , , , , , Stress Relief
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“Hello. How are you breathing today?”

Quality of breath = State of being

Our fast paced lives have turned us into shallow breathers. Check your breath now: how are you breathing?
Take a deep inhale all the way down to your abdomen.
Exhale all the way out.
And then do it again.

Deep breathing brings many blessings:

  • Relaxes in the body, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Improves circulation of blood and oxygen in the body (fewer wrinkles, imagine!)
  • Increases energy, physical and mental
  • Reduces fear and pain
  • Cleanses the blood of toxic stress chemicals
  • Improves power of mental concentration and observation

Breathing is managed subconsciously, which is great because that means we don’t have to remember to breathe. But know that we can send calming signals to our bodymind by taking control and consciously changing how we breathe.

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Counselling Hong Kong, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) therapy Hong Kong

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Live your best life!

Are you living your best life? If not, what’s getting in the way?

Let me help you resolve stress, increase confidence, and live a life that is meaningful and satisfying to you.

Specialising in recovery from trauma, relief from chronic issues and enhancing self-esteem, I can also help you with issues of anxiety, panic attacks, relationship struggles, parenting stress, performance issues, public speaking, grief and loss, personal crisis, life transitions and finding direction including a career change.

Integrative Therapy

My therapeutic approach is integrative, which means I integrate body-oriented approaches like EFT, breath work and movement with traditional talk therapy in my practice.
Research shows that ultimately our stresses and limitations are held not only in our mental narratives but also in our physical bodies; that both somatic, as well as cognitive approaches, are essential for healing, recovering and making positive life changes.

This integrative approach allows me to meet your specific, individual needs in our work together. I aim to create a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment, so you can voice your concerns while feeling heard.


Falguni Mather, Counselling, EFT, Hong Kong

Individual Sessions :

Wherever you are at right now, I believe in you. I am fully invested in doing my part to help you connect to and use your inner resources; so you can heal and live your life in a way that is most meaningful and satisfying to you.

Book a Session

Physical symptoms, Chronic Pain:

My integrative body-mind-social approach enables me to assist you regardless of the kind of difficulty you are facing. If you’re experiencing chronic symptoms and can’t find relief, chances are there are underlying unresolved aspects. Together with pain management techniques, we will explore and understand the triggers and root causes of your chronic symptoms. Resolving these can help the stuck energy and tension in the body to release, letting your body heal. As Dr. Gabor Maté says, “The physiology of one individual cannot be separated from the psychological and social environment.”

Workshops & Groups:

Working in groups can be a powerful way to access change within you. It can often bring new perspectives to help you see your situation a new light. Sharing and listening to others can also help to know you’re not alone in your struggles. Consider attending the 6 Week Well-being programmme or the drop-in online EFT Tapping Groups. You could also get together a group in your workplace or community. All groups are completely confidential. A cost-effective way of accessing support.


“We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we stand
And know the place for the first time”
– T.S. Eliot


I hold a Masters in Counselling (Australia), am an Accredited Certified EFT Practitioner and Trainer NQT with EFT International, a META-Health Master Practitioner with MHI, and a registered yoga teacher (RYT®) with Yoga Alliance.
Member of EFTi, MHI, The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association (HKPCA) and the Australian Counselling Association (ACA).

Counselling Hong Kong