Tapping down the Stress Response

Recently I have increasingly been using the intervention of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping.  I qualified in this treatment over 4 years ago and have been incorporating it within my holistic approach alongside coaching, NLP and Reiki.

However it seems to me that more people are becoming aware of this effective yet powerful approach and are keen to know more.

I liken it to the flow of traffic!  When we have clear roads with no hold ups the traffic flows smoothly but when there are roadworks, stop signs or too much traffic then the traffic slows down or even stops.  Our energy pathways or meridians are like this, when all is well our energy flows however when we are stressed, distressed or unwell our energy can become sluggish and blocked.

By tapping on the end points of the meridians we ease the congestion, the tapping clears the blockages and allows the energy channels to flow again.

So what is going on? Any negative thought, situation or trauma puts the brain on high alert and sets up a stress response within the amygdale, limbic system, deep inside the brain. This effect can also be triggered by similar situations and past threats.  By tapping on certain points the response is calmed and the brain learns that the situation is no longer threatening.  So EFT retrains the limbic response.

This is obviously only part of how EFT works as talking about the event is a crucial aspect of clearing the high intensity of the emotion.

My clients have used EFT for all sorts of different reasons from phobias to traumatic childhood events and the great thing is that they can continue to work in between our sessions on themselves by knowing how and where to tap.

There is a lot of information about EFT and I can recommend the following sites:-

The Tapping Solution

Gary Craig


If you would like to know more about how you can benefit from using EFT or Tapping book in a no obligation FREE Insight session with me here or join me in a workshop on using this tool for everyday life.

with warm wishes


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The Rise of Happiness

The latest survey recently came out with ratings for the “happiest” countries.  The Scandinavian countries once again coming out on top with Norway replacing Denmark at number one.  Although Britain had risen to 19th place it is still not a good indictment of our country.

Happiness is subjective but the fact that Denmark has consistently been in the top 3 over the past 5 years suggests they are doing something right as a nation.   One explanation is “hygge” pronounced “hoo-ga” with the closest explanation as being one of coziness.

The sense of being together and belonging creates coziness.  It’s when we allow ourselves to relax in a state that feels warm and comforting that we can recognise a sense of happiness.  These moments and opportunities do not always need money to be achieved.  In fact it has been proven that over the decades although our income has increased our levels of happiness have not.

It is our responsibility to seek out our own happiness and when we are in this emotional state we can affect other peoples’ levels of wellbeing and happiness too.

So how can we experience hygge?  First of all we have to be mindful to it.  Appreciate the moment; savour the sense of whatever we are doing in order to absorb those warm feelings.  If our minds are closed or focused on what’s not right or what is wrong then we will miss those times of happiness.  I have mentioned before about “destination addiction” – Andy Cope, if we are constantly thinking that we will be happy, relaxed, chilled only when it is Friday or on holiday that we are missing out on the present.

We can all make our own hygge.  Connect with people, whether that is family or friends, at home in the work place or out socially – talk to people.  It has been proven that being with people that are supportive, fun, encouraging greatly improves mental wellbeing.

Take up hobbies and do things just for fun.  Be a child again – put on the wellies and splash through puddles!

Here are a few of my hygge moments:-

Walking along the Pembrokeshire coastal path looking out over the Irish Sea.

Snuggling up to watch a good film on a dark and wet winter afternoon.

Being aware of the garden bursting into life in Spring.


Being part of a team, working together to achieve a goal.

The list can go on and on!  For the rest of the year seek out, be mindful and saviour your hygge moments.  Place them in your memory jar so you can recapture the feeling of happiness.

I would love to hear about your hygge moments.

Warm regards



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Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Everyday we are faced with making decisions from what to wear, can I stay in bed a bit longer to prioritizing tasks for the day.

Every decision we make has an outcome which will affect us but can easily affect others.  This can make it difficult at times to make decisions, the fear of the outcome.  Luckily I am not in the position to make life or death decisions as some people are but having worked in the NHS, I was faced with many decisions that affected peoples’ lives.

The small everyday decisions we make, we often don’t think too long or hard about because the impact upon making that decision is not too great.  Already today I have decided upon what time to get up, what type of breakfast to have and what work task to do first.  All of these would have just impacted upon myself with no great consequences.

It’s when we are faced with “bigger” decisions that we can hesitate or bury our head in the sand.  Mistakenly we can believe that if we do nothing then it will go away.  Sometimes this may happen but someone else makes the decision for you but then you’re stuck with not making that choice.  We can also put ourselves into a state of limbo – where nothing happens apart from frustration and worry building up.  Limbo can be a horrible place to be in, nothing changes or shifts and you get stuck there.  It is often said that it is much better to at least make a decision than none at all.

Our fears about possible consequences to our decisions are often assumptions and linked into our own belief system – “what if…….. I make a mistake, I’m wrong, they won’t like me?”  Some of these outcomes may happen but at least you have moved forward and learnt something from it.

In work/management situations a more cognitive approach is taken often without an emotional component in order to achieve an end result.  To give decision making a definition: “Decision making is the process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions”.

In these situations there are step-by step processes that can be adhered to:

7 Steps in Effective Decision Making

6 Steps in Decision Making process

When I work with my coaching clients the decisions to be made are often loaded with emotional content and the most effective way I have found to help clients through this process is to use 4 Outcome Questions.

I have used these questions over many years to enable my clients to broaden their thinking about the decision to be made.

Just by asking these four questions will raise awareness of the consequences of the decision and also identify what is really important.

Here they are:


¨ What would happen if you did make that change?


¨ What would happen if you didn’t make that change?


¨ What wouldn’t happen if you did make that change?


¨ What wouldn’t happen if you didn’t make that change?


They may seem simple but write down your answers to each and then go back and add more, think laterally and allow your subconscious to guide you.

At the end of this process you should have a clearer picture on what decision you are going to make.  Then the most important aspect is to act upon your decision, don’t leave it on paper or keep it in your head – DO IT! Whatever the consequences are at the very least you have taken action, stepped out of limbo land and learnt from the process.

If I can be of any further help in understanding how to apply this process please do not hesitate to contact me www.redoakcoaching.co.uk


Warm wishes








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Start as You Mean to Go On!


New Year resolutions seem so old-fashioned nowadays as many people don’t bother to set them because in their minds they already feel that they will not achieve them.

Even if we don’t name them “resolutions” it is important to have goals.  Human beings are very much task and goal orientated and we are setting goals unconsciously every single day.  What time we have to be at work, cleaning the house for visitors, buying birthday cards etc.  Research has shown that having goals and working towards them increases success, happiness and health.  If we don’t set goals for ourselves that maybe other people are doing it for us and we can drift along without feeling in charge of our own lives.

Goals can be big such as learning to drive or can be small like planting Spring bulbs.  It doesn’t matter what your goal is, as long as it is important to you.  90% of the goal is knowing why it is important to you and how it will benefit your life, 10% is how you go about achieving it.

Throughout our lives we have all succeeded at things so we know it can be done.  We need to be aware of our motivation strategy and make it work to our advantage.  Are you a person that sets a goal and can work towards, it visualising what the end result is?  This is TOWARDS motivation.

Are you someone that waits until things become so uncomfortable before you take action?  This is AWAY motivation.  Neither is better than the other, it is for you to use the strategy that works best for you.    If you are an away motivator perhaps increase the discomfort or focus on what you are putting up with or losing out on to kick start your motivation.

There are loads of suggested ways that help with achieving goals but here are a few that I still use:-

  • Write the goals down and place them where you can see them everyday
  • Write down why that goal is important, how it will affect your life, health, relationships, career etc
  • Share that goals with someone you trust who will be supportive – don’t keep it to yourself. Ask them to check in with you every week to see how you are doing
  • If the goal feels overwhelming break it down into small manageable chunks and focus on each step at a time
  • Reward yourself for each step you take towards your goal. Rewards can be treats such as a manicure, coffee out with a friend, time to read a magazine – make it meaningful for you
  • Every time you come up against a “block or obstacle” remind yourself why you are doing this and how important it is to you


If you still feel daunted by your goal and don’t know where to start seek help from others.  What you could achieve with support, guidance and encouragement could be priceless.

Currently I am offering two coaching packages to help people kick off their New Year with motivation and determination.  This can be online with weekly support and exercises or face to face sessions that will keep you on track.  Further details can be found here or on my website

I have set my goals for the year ahead- some small, some much bigger and slightly daunting!  They range from watching the British Lions in New Zealand to lowering my golf handicap to establishing a Reiki business. They are all important to me in so many aspects of my life that I would be foolish just to do nothing and hope that things happen.  I am not trusting to chance!

Good luck with yours and if you want to share them I would be delighted to hear from you.


Best wishes





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The Essence of Time

It seems that nowadays that we have a scarcity of time although 24 hours has always been 24 hours!  I know when I worked for an organisation that had targets and outcomes to achieve that time felt as if it was rushing away and certainly at times there were not enough hours in the day.

Now being totally self-employed, time has taken on a different meaning.  I still have 7 days a week 24 hours in the day but my perception has changed.  I feel as if I have enough time to do whatever I need to do.  I recognize that I am setting my own targets which allow them to be realistic in the time frame I choose.  However, once again, it is our mind and thoughts that create scarcity of time.  If I believe that I have “enough time” then I will, if I think that I won’t have enough time then it’s likely I won’t!

There is a theory that as we get older if feels as if time is rushing by and speeding up but that may be because we have so many past reference points to compare on our continuum of time.  Children live in the present, they don’t look back and see what has been or they don’t look into the future – wanting time to hurry up.  As Andy Cope says in “The Art of Being Brilliant” don’t be a “destination addict” always wishing that it was the end of the week or that holidays would hurry up.  The more we slow down the more we are in tune with the reality of time.

Research has been done by Professor Phillip Zimbardo on time perspective and concluded that our attitude to time is defined by key personality traits such as optimism and sociability, visit  PsychCentral to take the test on your perspective of time.

We can use time management strategies and techniques that may help with organisation and avoidance of procrastination whether that is writing lists, setting only 3 tasks a day or applying the urgent/important time matrix.  It is vital that you find the strategies that work for you.  If you are not sure where to start contact me  but if we really want for time to be your friend stay in the present moment, appreciate each thing you are doing at that particular time and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the ever increasing cycle of pressure and scarcity of time.

What are your ways of managing your time?


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From NHS to Reiki

I have been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years working within mental health.  I worked very much using a social care model rather than a medical model which allowed me to look at the person’s whole needs in their lives.

I considered their ability to look after their personal care, how they related with others, their self-esteem, involvement with activities and interests as well as work performance.  I worked alongside the person through the use of therapeutic activities.

I was aware of the physical, emotional and intellectual needs of the person.

However many years later as a Reiki Master I added another dimension to my work – spiritual needs.  This is not about religion or faith but recognition of using and being aware of energy that is in us and around us “an innate human need to connect to something larger than ourselves”  Cindy Wigglesworth.

Quantum physics recognises life force/energy that makes up the Universe and us! These blogs explain how we are affected constantly by energy.  Click here and here to read more. We can sense energy from others, negative and draining or positive and energising.  We may sense things as our “gut reaction” and whether we choose to believe it or not is our choice!

My own process with Reiki has been quite rapid but probably there was always an awareness of our own ability to “heal” ourselves, of the ability we all had within us to create change.  I view change now in a much bigger context, not just as physical or emotional but with an additional “spiritual” presence and need.

One of the biggest changes in my practice now is not having outcomes.  As an NHS employee outcomes and targets were an integral part of my work with some being absolutely crucial and vital.  However I felt that some outcomes limited the extent of progress and reduced creativity and flexibility.

As a Reiki practitioner I now let go of outcomes and trust that the Reiki I deliver will manifest itself for that person’s good.  I trust that the body, mind and soul will receive what it needs. I heard someone once talk about Reiki using this example:-Take a piece of paper and write the word “sugar” on it.  Then lick the paper.  Does it taste like sugar? No.

Reiki has to be experienced as everyone’s experience will be different and unique to them.  We can talk and read about it but can never really get a sense of it until you receive it.

Reiki can be used alongside conventional treatment to enhance the healing process and also to ease pain and discomfort and reduce stress.

I have used Reiki for people with low mood, stress, anxiety and fibromyalgia.

I feel truly privileged to be able to offer Reiki in my work as a coach and therapist as I feel it brings that additional dimension to wellbeing and health.

For more information on Reiki go to my website or to book a session click here



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The Art of Being Brilliant


Last month I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Andy Cope one of the authors of The Art of Being Brilliant” http://www.artofbrilliance.co.uk/

It was an absolute pleasure to be at the workshop as the focus was  about how we can all achieve happiness.  We may be living our lives faster but are we living them better?  The solutions and strategies he talked about were incredibly simply I wondered why we are not all using them!  So I’d liked to share a few with you:-

  • How many of us have “destination addiction?” Do we hear ourselves say “I can’t wait until Friday” or, “only 2 months, 3 weeks and 4 days to go before my holiday!” We are waiting for happiness to be in the future when in fact is starts in the PRESENT.  To quote Andy happiness is the STARTING point not the END point.


  • Happiness is a thought that creates a feeling so in fact we are only one thought away from happiness. A lot of the work I do with  clients is around challenging and changing thoughts. The more accomplished we become at choosing our thoughts the more control we have of how we want to feel.  Keep looking for the “ordinary beautiful” in life to promote inner feelings of happiness.



  • Apparently you only need 4 minutes for others to latch onto your emotions. This works both ways – negatively and positively.  If you go into work head down, moaning about what’s ahead, complaining about things that haven’t been done then, that will impact on others around you.  You only need 4 minutes of being brilliant to affect people and they in turn will start to affect others – apparently your mood could affect 27,000 people a day!!


  • Put in place the 10/5 principle – if anyone comes within 10 feet of you smile, if they come within 5 feet of you – make eye contact! Mental health studies have shown that connecting with others is a crucial part of mental wellbeing.


There was so much to take on board that I would encourage you to seek out any of the workshops that Andy runs or read the book.  I hope these few tips and suggestions will get you going on your path of brilliance!


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