Friendliness Down Under

Kia Ora

It was so good to return to New Zealand with my last visit being in 2000.  I had lived and worked there 27 years ago and it still felt like coming home.
The devastation of the Christchurch earthquakes 6 years ago was still very much in evidence in this beautiful garden city.  I cannot begin to imagine the trauma and the perpetual anxiety that people lived through with every consequent tremor.  To date there have been over 10,000 tremors since 2011, luckily most are not noticeable.
On travelling over the to the West Coast of the South Island I went back to where I used to live, Hokitika.  The beauty of the Southern Alps, clear running rivers and the Tasmin Sea was just stunning.  Hokitika has grown from a small town with one roundabout to a larger tourist place promoting their greenstone and scenery.  What hasn’t changed is the friendliness of people.  Everywhere you go – shops, cafes etc people are always willing to chat to you.
Staying up in the North Island in Waikato, wearing a red British Lions shirt always provoked conversation and gentle teasing!  People are interested in you and where you come from, conversations just happen with complete strangers. Once I had a conversation about water buffalo, of which I know very little!
I love the warmth of the Kiwis and although they can be tough in character are always wiling to help and are genuinely welcoming which only enhances my desire to return.
Maybe in the UK we have lost a little of that willingness to engage with others – too busy looking at our mobiles or just in a rush.  We know that a key aspect of good mental health is to engage with others be it fleeting or not.
I’m going to make an effort to keep the friendliness vibe going.  A small exchange of words may make a huge difference to someone’s day.
If you have experienced similar situations in other countries I’d love to hear from you.

Keep smiling and talking!!!

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The Panic Cycle

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with clients as individuals and in groups who can get caught up in a panic cycle.  I’m not referring to full blown panic attacks or a clinically diagnosed panic disorder but low grade panic/stress that really hampers progress.

When we put off tasks or sit in front of something that we don’t want to do we are in a state of stress/panic and not at our absolute best.  I know that stress can be used in such a way to elicit peak performance as with sports people and performers.  I’m referring to the everyday thoughts and tasks that generate physiological changes in us that stop us doing what we want or even giving up.

A panic cycle related to wanting to lose weight is a great example.  I came across this from The Tapping Summit as explained by Jessica Ortner.

Step 1 – we panic about needing to lose weight

Step 2 – we create pressure and stress with self-criticism

Step 3 – the pressure leads us to take drastic action

Step 4 – after a few days we become tired and exhausted, resentful

Step 5 – we release the pressure by reverting to self-sabotage patterns and give up

And then the cycle begins again!

Although we may not always recognise that we are under stress or in a panic the physiological effects still occur with the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin.

If we can put ourselves in a neutral space in our minds before attempting a difficult or unwanted task, or reduce the intensity of the emotion about something then we are able to think and function at a much more optimum level.

We can get to this neutral space through various ways such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, distraction, relaxation or tapping (emotional freedom technique) to name a few.

I use tapping before I start putting together a monthly newsletter.  At times it can feel like a real effort to know what to include in the content. The “panic” is about will it be good enough? So I sit and tap for a while to bring down the “panic” and put myself in a more comfortable and aware state – and it works!  I still have to do the newsletter but I’m less resentful and stressed about it.

Be aware of the panic cycles you may be in and give your mind and body a chance to come out of that cycle so you can perform even better.

If you have any further suggestions to reduce the “panic” then I would love to hear from you.


Warm wishes   Karen


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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


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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