Slowly, bring attention to your breath. Breathe in through your nose, pause and out through your nose. Let your shoulders lower. Unclench your jaw. Slowly continue this breathing for a few more breaths. Feel yourself beginning to relax. How do you feel now? A little more relaxed, I hope!
Has this exercise just made you realise that you’ve been holding your breath for the past 12 months? You are not alone! We are a quarter of the way into a new year and a full year into a global pandemic, predominantly spent in lockdown so it’s natural if you have found these past few months stressful and a little challenging.
Fortunately, we have an incredible, inbuilt way of being able to self regulate and calming our central nervous system, it’s called breathing! Breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation and exhalation, signals our parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down. Long, deep breaths can also manage our stress responses to help decrease anxiety, fear, racing thoughts, a rapid heartbeat and shallow chest breathing*, which can leave us feeling dizzy. And yet so often we find we do not take advantage of this incredible resource.
When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit. Goraksha Shataka, an early Hatha yoga text, written in around the 10th century in the tantra tradition.
Someone else who knows all about the amazing benefits of good breath work is the fabulous Aimee Hartley. Aimee has devoted her career to sharing and educating children and adults on the amazing power of breath and good breathing technique. Click here to try one of Aimee’s wonderful exercises. Or, to learn more about your breathing ‘style’ and the various exercises you can include in your day to day life to help keep you in balance, Aimee’s book Breath Well is available to purchase online from Amazon. And for some inspirational posts, lovely, quick breathing exercise videos, why not follow Aimee’s Instagram @breathe.well
Why not introduce aromatherapy into your breath-work and your day. Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell. Molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass to the lungs, and from there, to other parts of the body. In this way, essential oils can have a subtle, yet holistic effect on the whole body. Formulated using four pure essential oils chosen for their anti-inflammatory and restorative qualities, and created with the intent for healing, Our Angel Oil, Original Blend is a wonderful allrounder. Simply dab a few drops on your pulse points as needed. Or massage all over before a hot bath for a wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
And to help reduce your stress levels even more, don’t forget to join me for a FREE Healing Meditation on Wednesday 14th April at 4pm GMT, 5pm EU and 8pm UAE. Registration is free, and easy, simply click here and fill in a few details. You will then receive a confirmation email containing a Zoom link to the meditation session.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
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PS I am offering guidance and healing sessions over Skype/Zoom/Facetime/BOTIM/Facebook Messenger etc. get in touch if you'd like to book an appointment! Just click here or email me at email@example.com. For Dubai clients, I've found that Teamviewer and ToTok also work very well.
Source: www.cbc.ca | Photo credit Max van den Oetelaar
How nature can help raise our frequency and restore balance
I am always telling my clients to get outside and into nature! My daily walk is a must to help create balance and focus my mind. Many cultures have long recognized the importance of the connecting to the natural world as a way to improve our physiological and psychological health.
During the 1980s the Japanese government conducted an exercise called shinrin-yoku, translated as “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere” to see how a spending time in nature, away from tech, pollution and the stresses and sensory overload of the modern world could help improve the health of its population – and guess what?! It worked! Results of Japanese studies have shown forest bathing improves both physical and mental well-being such as; sleep quality, mood, ability to focus, and stress levels. Even Japanese doctors prescribe forest bathing!
‘Everything in life is a vibration’ Albert Einstein
But what is it about being in nature and amongst the trees that helps makes us feel better?
Humans and the universe and inextricably linked – everything is made up of molecules vibrating at different speeds - faster, slower, higher and lower. Being in nature, your body more easily tunes into the Earth’s natural frequency, which is around 7.83 hertz, and can restore, revitalise, and heal itself more effectively. Interestingly, 7.83 hertz is also the human brain’s average alpha frequency. Alpha waves, induce relaxation but not quite meditation.
So, we know it’s good for us, but how do we practice of Forest Bathing?
Forest Bathing can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you. This sensory experience can provide a great alternative for people who struggle with meditation.
Forest Bathing How To: Sit or stand if you want to. Take a moment to appreciate your surroundings and listen to the sounds around you: twittering birds, rustling brush, trickling streams. Breathe in clean, fragrant air and soak in the sights of the textured ground and the shapes of the leaves in the sky. Touch the soft, green moss carpeting the shaded stones, or the rough bark on the trees. Let the stillness around you influence your state of mind and make you forget the constant motion of day to day life.
Mother Nature is so clever, get outdoors today, tune into Earth’s frequency and connect with the universe.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
PS I am offering guidance and healing sessions over Skype/Zoom/Facetime/BOTIM/Facebook Messenger etc. - get in touch if you'd like to book an appointment! Just click here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Dubai clients, I've found that Teamviewer and ToTok also work very well.
PPS Follow me on my Facebook page here www.facebook.com/zoehendersonhealer or on my Angel Oil Facebook page at www.facebook.com/zoehendersonangeloil
Source: Japan Travel | National Geographic / Brain World Magazine
Here we are in what is traditionally the month of romance - chocolates, flowers, red hearts, cherubic angels with arrows, and all that. I feel though, that this year Covid has us seeing everything in a different light. It's hard to get carried away by Valentine's Day nonsense when so many people are struggling, when so many people are grieving loved ones, when so many are lonely and isolated. This is why I am suggesting we make this month about self-love and self-care. Forget buying chocolates and flowers for someone else, buy them for yourself! I urge you to really take care of yourself this month, in the way the most attentive lover would look after you. This is why this month's free healing meditations are on self-love and romance.
LOVE MEDITATIONS: Don't miss my two free, half-hour meditations this month, we'll be healing love - clearing out any blocks you may have to both loving yourself and attracting romance into your life.
We CHOOSE LOVE this Valentine's Day
Choose Love is a charity which does whatever it takes to provide refugees and displaced people with everything from lifesaving search and rescue boats to food and legal advice.
Started by one young woman just five years ago, it's now a fast-paced global movement across 15 countries that has reached one million refugees and raised tens of millions for nearly 150 organisations providing vital support at every stage along migration routes from Europe to the Middle East and along the US-Mexico border.
Here at Angel Oil HQ, we LOVE this organisation so much that we are donating 10 per cent of all Angel Oil sales to Choose Love for February - the month of love. Instead of buy chocolates or flowers for your beloved this month, why not go to the Choose Love store and buy a gift for a refugee on their behalf?
I'm sure you've heard somewhere about the importance of loving yourself enough. You've probably read articles or books; been told in a webinar; watched a documentary on it, or heard experts expound on the importance of self-love, as well as how a lack of self-love is the root of so many problems, including physical and mental illness.
Why then does it seem so terribly hard to actually do it? Why are we all so quick to criticise ourselves and so reluctant to praise ourselves, or to accept compliments?
First, let's understand what ever-present, insidious self-criticism looks like in daily life. For example, do you regularly say things about yourself, or to yourself, like the following:'Oh silly me,' 'You idiot', 'For God's sake, what's wrong with me?!', 'that's typical of me', 'I've never been good at ...', 'I hate it when I do that...', 'what am I like!?', 'Ugh, I've gained so much weight', 'I've got a great face for radio!', 'I've never looked good in yellow/stripes/skirts...' , 'I've messed up again...', and so on.
Many of us spend many of our waking hours basically apologising for ourselves, or trying to compensate for our self-perceived 'failings'. Always putting the needs of others before your own is a lack of enough self-love. Working yourself into the ground to 'prove' your capable and worthy stems from a lack of enough self-love.
As well, compare how often you find fault with yourself, with how often you say something nice to, or about, yourself, such as: 'I've got a great memory', 'I'm really knowledgeable on...', 'I'm a wonderful cook/ baker/ gardener/ craftsperson/musician/ writer / listener...', 'I deserve some time off this weekend so I'm taking myself to a spa or cafe...', 'I love my hair / eyes / hands...'
Why is this important? Because self-love is the key to EVERYTHING! This is not just about your personal happiness, it's about saving the world! I mean it! More of us loving ourselves, knowing our worth as Divine beings, is the key to solving the climate crisis; the key to ending poverty, wars, inequality and injustice. it's the key to shifting life on planet Earth. How?
Because it is a lack of self-love that drives mean, cruel, jealous, thoughtless, ruthless, selfish, fear-based behaviour. It is when we do not love ourselves enough that this spills out into the world as abuse, submission and oppression, environmental damage, apathy, violence, greed, and more. On a micro level, when we do not love ourselves enough, we feed our bodies 'dead' food like processed sugars, we fill our amazing bodies with alcohol, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, etc. We end up feeling hopeless, lost, despairing, powerless.
We cannot care for others or for the planet if we do not love ourselves first. Love is like a fountain that must be flowing within us before it can spill out into the world around us. If our fountain is flowing with self-hate, then that is what we spill into our world.
When did we learn to criticise, denigrate and belittle ourselves? Mostly in childhood, which is where almost everything is seeded. It comes from our parents and relatives, from media and culture, from teachers and religious leaders. Some of it is learned behaviour that we absorb from our parents. For example, if we saw our mothers belittled or put down by our fathers, we may absorb the belief that women are lesser; women must stoically bear suffering, women are unworthy of love and must 'earn' love through struggle and sacrifice, etc.
How do you get more self-love into your life?
1. First, see it. Notice your self-critical behaviour and start to change it. If you hear yourself chivvy yourself, or judge yourself, say 'no, cancel that, from now on I am kind to myself.'
2. Listen to your language. A sign of subtle self-bullying is the word 'should' and shouldn't. Hearing yourself tell yourself that you 'should' do something. 'I should do the cleaning', 'I shouldn't eat that'. Why should you? Swap it out with the word 'choose' and notice how better than feels. So, 'I choose to do the cleaning because I feel good when the house is tidy' or 'I choose to not eat that because it is not beneficial for my body, I choose to eat this instead...'
3. Forgive yourself for everything in your life that you regret. 'I now forgive myself for all the times I was less than kind, I forgive myself for all my perceived mistakes, I forgive myself for holding myself back, I forgive myself for the missed opportunities, I forgive myself for not being as rich / famous / educated (or whatever) as I hoped to be by now...'
4. Be open to the idea that you can accept yourself as you are: Each day, say, 'I am open to the idea that nothing about me needs to change. I am open to believing that I am already good enough. I am open to the idea that I have nothing to prove.
5. And forgive yourself when you find this hard and fall back into the old criticisms like 'I'm too fat/old/stupid...': Each day, say to yourself, 'I am now walking the path of self-love and acceptance and I forgive myself when I stumble.'
6. Forgive everyone who played a part in your lack of self-love programming: 'I forgive everyone who ever taught me that I was lesser, unworthy, undeserving, inferior, powerless... I forgive them because they were also programmed with a lack of self-love; they were doing the best they could from a place of their own pain. But I now choose to do better than that. I choose to love myself unconditionally. I choose to appreciate myself, I choose to appreciate the gift that is my life, I choose to appreciate my body, my talents, my abilities. I choose to allow myself to feel joy and have abundance in all areas of my life.'
All the very best with loving yourself more! We are all a work in progress on this!
Lots of love, Zoe xx
Here we are on the cusp of 2021. At last, how exciting! There's a lot of hope riding on this new year, isn't there? And I'm sure that you, like me, are praying for an easier time of it in this new year - tentative high hopes!
Regardless of what is going on in the world at large though, I believe that now is a good time to remember that you hold the reins of your life and your happiness.
So if you really do want to shake things up in your life in this coming year; if you want to transform emotionally, physically, spiritually and/or mentally, then you need to address what's keeping you stuck. What better time to do it than the start of fresh new year? This is a wonderful time to take stock, to evaluate where you're at and plan for where you want to be. The good news is that the only thing keeping you stuck is your own subconscious beliefs. It's not your boss who's keeping you stuck, or your partner, or your children, or your job, or your finances, or your health... it's your thoughts. Shift your subconscious patterning and your life cannot do anything but follow suite. In other words, it is impossible for your life to stay the same if you change your thinking.
So, how do you do that? First you identify the type of limiting beliefs that you have rattling around in your subconscious mind; beliefs that are fuelling self-sabotage behaviour, second, you use one of the many methods available to evict these thoughts from your brain, methods like NLP, EFT Tapping, journaling, ThetaHealing, and more. As an example, I'll give you a link to a DIY 5-step process for releasing limiting beliefs, below.
The stumbling block for many of us is identifying our limiting beliefs because most of us are blind to them, even though they're the kind of things we often repeat - we think these beliefs are facts (eg, 'all the best women/men are already taken', 'women in my industry never make much money', 'nothing ever works out for me', ''I'm too old/too young to get that promotion', 'I'm too old/too young to change careers', 'it's too late for me, I should've done it years ago', 'I've never been able to lose weight before so I won't be able to in future', and so on.) As well though, limiting beliefs are like a Jenga Tower, they are stacked on top of each other and you have to get to the ones at the bottom before the whole tower comes tumbling down.
So let's start unpacking some of your limiting beliefs. Choose one thing that you want in life. Do you want a new relationship? Weight-loss? A new job? Getting out of debt? A career change? Overseas travel? To write a book? To start your own business?
Now, without thinking about it, I want you to take note of the first answer that comes to mind when you read the next question.
Question: This thing you want, why don’t you have it already?
Whatever comes out of your mouth next is a limiting belief or fear, eg, ‘I don't have the time', 'I don't have the money', 'I don't have the talent', 'I procrastinate too much', 'nothing ever works out for me’, ‘My body is determined to stay fat no matter what I do…’, 'Maybe I'm destined to be single all my like, I don't think The One exists for me...'
And this top-of-the-Jenga-stack belief is where you start your unpacking.
First, simply ask 'What if it's not true? What if it's not true that [I can't lose weight/can't change jobs/can't start my own business etc] What if I CAN have this in my life? And even if I can't see how that's possible right now, maybe there is a way, maybe it is possible...'
Second, ask yourself 'where did my limiting belief come from?' and look to your childhood. Limiting beliefs and fears are formed by past experiences and imprints from other people, eg, ‘everyone in my family is fat’, 'I failed before and I'll fail again', 'in our family we have to struggle to get by'... An imprinted belief is one you've simply absorbed from someone else, usually a parent, and taken it on as a truth. So if your mother or father always said to you, 'no, we can't afford it...' you will most likely absorb this scarcity belief and possibly spend your life playing it out as your own financial problems.
Third, and very importantly, ask yourself, 'how does holding onto this belief serve me?' This is where many of us stumble; we cannot see any good reason for holding onto a limiting belief. But if the belief is there, you are keeping it for a reason. For example, 'rich people are mean and greedy; I'd rather have less money but be a nice person', or 'if I get a new career it would take up all my time and my marriage would break-down, just like my parents' marriage', or 'If I found The One, he/she would leave me and the rejection would be unbearable, it's safer to stay single'...
We are all in some way trapped by our own minds as explained in this article by Mike Bundrant of the iNLP Center. Called Trapped by Your Mind? Learn This Five Step Process for Releasing Limiting Beliefs, Mike offers a simple DIY process for self-healing. But if you think you need some help with releasing your old programming, find a professional healer and book a session. To work on this with me, click here to book.
AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Lots of love, Zoë xx
PS I am offering guidance and healing sessions over Skype/Zoom/Facetime/BOTIM/Facebook Messenger etc. - get in touch if you'd like to book an appointment! Just click here. For Dubai clients, I've found that Teamviewer and ToTok also work very well.
PPS Follow me on my Facebook page here www.facebook.com/zoehendersonhealer
As 2020 comes to a close, I hear a lot of people already looking towards 2021 and hoping for a brighter and lighter year ahead. As the saying goes though, 'if nothing changes, nothing changes' so I thought that, in this blog, you and I could have a think about how we can make different choices that would allow a 2021 that is a lot more fun and enjoyable than 2020 has been for many of us.
The challenge we now have, as a species, is that so many of us have moved into fear, despair, anger, blame and judgment. Unfortunately, thanks to the immutable laws of the universe, what we feel and think about, we get more of! And if thousands, or even millions, of us are going around feeling despairing and hopeless, what does that achieve? A dispirited world. And you do not get to joy and harmony city by walking down the road of despair!
Admittedly, it's very easy to get riled up these days. Just watch or read the news. Let me summarise the current news headlines for you: 'Doom! Economic ruin! Panic! Hide! Be afraid!...'
Let me offer you a different news briefing: 'Amazing people are doing amazing and generous things to help others; the majority of people who get sick recover in a few days with only mild symptoms; many businesses are thriving in this new environment; people are discovering innovative ways to work and connect online; the planet is getting a much needed break from the pollution of the aviation and petrol industries, as well as a respite from our insatiable consumerism; many people have reprioritised relationships with friends and family; and so on... can you add anything?
What if this watershed in human history is a time for us to re-evaluate, regroup, realign, and rebirth ourselves? What do you want from your life going forward into 2021? Who do you want to be? What are you ready to let go of? What limiting false beliefs are you ready to release? (eg 'I'm not good enough/ I'll never succeed / I'm too old/fat/short/broke...') How would you like to spend more of your time in 2021? What new passions and interests do you want to explore? Maybe you want to try paranormal investigating, or pottery, or Pilates, or pigeon racing... let your imagination run wild. As with everything in life, it is we who put the limits on ourselves.
Here are my suggestions for how you can roll out the red carpet for a sensational 2021:
1. Write a list of all the things you would like to do more of in 2021
For example, 'I want to see more stand-up comedy; I want to do an online yoga course for beginners; I want to bake a show-stopper worth of The Great British Bake-off; I want to get a dog or cat from an animal shelter; I want to volunteer at an animal shelter, I want to take an acting class or join a choir...
2. Write a list of the emotions you want to feel more of, eg:
Love, compassion, excitement, pride, connection, joy, calm, appreciation...
3. Now write a list of how you might be able to feel more of those emotions, eg:
4. Finally, write a list of all the things you want to let go of
Why should you bother taking this stock of your life? Because this is how you transform your life! Remember, 'if nothing changes, nothing changes'!
When we remove or reduce the stressors and limiting beliefs in our life, we transform our reality. Really! Our bodies transform and our lives transform. Say for example, you are carrying the subconscious beliefs, picked up in childhood, that ‘my best is never good enough’ or ‘I’m only loved when I struggle’ or ‘I mustn’t be too clever for my own good’, ‘I don’t belong here’, and so on. These are stressful things to believe and so these subconscious beliefs have us feeling slightly on edge a lot of the time, they activate our nervous system… ‘I have to struggle all the time, I have to struggle all the time…’
What does this do? It keeps us in a low grade ‘fight or flight’ state for much of the time. This means our adrenal glands are working over-time to produce cortisol and adrenaline; as soon as you have cortisol in your system, you get insulin, and when insulin is around, you’re storing fat around your middle. The thing is though, you cannot feel your body pumping out these smaller, continual squirts of cortisol and adrenaline. It’s easy to feel a big hit of cortisol and adrenaline, like when you bungee jump off a bridge into a canyon. Your stress hormones are pumping like there’s no tomorrow and you can feel it in every cell of your body. However, the smaller, continual amounts are not so obvious. And if you’ve lived in that low level anxiety state for years, even decades, you think it's normal to feel this way. It is the norm for you and you know no different. It’s like when an air-conditioning unit is whirring in the background but you don’t hear it until it gets turned off and then you realise how loud it was and you feel your body relax.
If left unaddressed, ongoing low-grade stress can lead to adrenal exhaustion and chronic fatigue. From there, conditions like fibromyalgia and diabetes can develop. I see this in my clients all the time. Years and years of continual low-grade stress slowly erodes their health... and yet most of them will say to me 'but I'm not that stressed...' Our society has become so sick with busy disease that we think it's normal!
Change your beliefs and you change your hormonal balance, and you change your life. Repeat after me: 'I AM good enough!'
Lots of love, Zoë xx