Don’t let your thoughts get in the way of a great time
“There’s often a lot of pressure on summer,” says psychoanalyst and life coach Steve McKeown.
“We spend the whole year looking forward to it, so we have very high expectations which aren’t always met.
“One of the main issues is the perception that everyone else is having fun and your hopes don’t match the reality.”
This, coupled with the extra pressure to look a certain way, can lead to feelings of discontent.
“There’s a pressure to show more skin in summer, so people start to feel self-conscious which can lead to anxiety,” Steve says. Here he gives his five top tips for a happier summer
Don’t let body image blues beat you
In modern life, we often spend our days in a state of constant stress.
POWER OF VISUALISATION
Visualisation is one of the most powerful things you can do to feel happier.
Studies show that when you imagine doing something, the same parts of your brain are stimulated as when you do it.
So the next time you’re feeling anxious about a particular event, such as going on holiday with a partner’s family or getting back into your swimsuit, take a few moments to play out the situation in your head beforehand.
Imagine every detail of the scene. What can you see, hear and feel? Now imagine what would happen if everything went as well as it possibly could. If any doubts or anxieties creep into your mind, push them away.
Do this every day in the run-up to the event. When the situation does occur, it will trigger memories of all the times you imagined it going well and you’ll feel much happier and more confident.
Even if it doesn’t go as smoothly as it did in your imagination, you’ll be in a better state of mind to deal with it.
Try to visualise confidence in yourself
LIVE IN THE MOMENT
In modern life, we often spend our days in a state of constant stress. We spend a lot of time feeling concerned about the future and very little focusing on what’s happening at the time.
The summer is a good time to interrupt this pattern of continual stress by doing something out of the ordinary, whether it’s going on holiday, getting outside or spending more time with your family.
By doing this we interrupt the cycle of anxiety and allow our brains to focus on something different.
When you’re on holiday, try to live in the present and forget about past grievances or future concerns.
Turn your mind to the things which matter, such as spending time with people you love, and allow yourself to relax.
When you come back, you’ll feel much better for having a break. Try to make the holiday feeling last by living in the present in your day-to-day life too.
Live in the moment and have fun with friends and family
There are always going to be things which play on your mind and make you feel anxious, whether it’s entertaining children over the summer break or saving enough money to go on holiday.
Worrying about things we can’t control not only spoils the present but makes us more nervous about the future too.
So next time you find yourself worrying about something, interrupt the thought process by getting up from your seat or doing a sum in your head.
Then, while your brain is distracted, turn your thoughts to a time when you felt great and think about that instead.
It could be a weekend away or a time you did well on a project at work.
Do this every time an anxious thought pops into your mind and soon your brain will retrain itself not to dwell on worries.
You should start to feel better after just three or four days of trying this technique and the longer you stick with it, the more it will become ingrained.
We often compare ourselves with others and it’s not helpful
CUT OUT COMPARISON
In day-to-day life, we often compare ourselves to others. But we only ever see other people’s highlights reels, both online and in real life.
A colleague might tell you they had a fantastic holiday but gloss over the argument they had with their partner.
And falling into the trap of comparing yourself to others will only make you feel less happy and more anxious, as you try to live up to unrealistic expectations.
Try to avoid comparing yourself to others by reminding yourself that other peoples’ lives are never as perfect as we imagine.
Limit the time you spend on social media and focus on the things that matter to you.
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After spending the winter in chunky jumpers it can be daunting when the summer months roll around and we’re faced with the prospect of wearing more revealing clothing.
But while it can be scary to flash more flesh, part of the reason we feel self-conscious is we’re not used to seeing ourselves in summer clothing.
If you’re nervous about donning a shorter skirt or shorts, try putting them on at home for a few hours to see how you feel.
The more you get used to seeing yourself in summery attire, the better you will feel. And the next time you want to wear a more revealing outfit, you’ll be filled with confidence.
Read more here: Daily Express :: Health Feedhappy wheels
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