Inner critic nagging you to do something?

Does it often feel like the negative voices in your head are taking you over? When they are speaking loudly it can feel as though they have actually become us, all of us, rather than just being a part of us.

It’s actually good to get to know our inner critics (sometimes also called our saboteurs), to be aware of which are the negative voices that come up most often for us. Are you aware of yours? Could it be the Perfectionist, the voice that says it’s not worth even starting something if…

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Self-sabotage — the act of getting in our own way, stopping our own success. We all do it because we are all in the grip of our saboteurs. Those voices in our head that tell us we’re not good enough, we can’t do certain things, that others will laugh at us or that we will fail.

Our saboteurs arise in childhood as a form of self- protection. They become our defence mechanism against a world that feels unsafe. We each have our own saboteurs, unique to our life experience as we grow up and how we (usually unconsciously) chose to…

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Everywhere we look, we are being offered life hacks: biohacking to make the most of our body or immune system; short cuts to health, fitness, better eating; quick tips to bring us wellbeing, resilience, even spiritual enlightenment. In practically every area of life it seems there is someone offering a quick fix answer to whatever we want to achieve.

It’s easy to get sucked in. Who doesn’t want to get things done more quickly, to feel like they’re making progress, to tick things off their to-do list, to hit some goals?

The problem is that this constant quest for speed…

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What is state management and why would you want to be able to do it?

Put simply, being able to manage your state, your emotions, is a key indicator of your ability to survive and thrive in life. Early self-regulation ability as a child is a significant predictor of performance later in life, so learning new skills in this area is likely to be beneficial to adults as well.

This ability to self-regulate is a core part of emotional intelligence, generally thought to include three skills*:

  • Emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions
  • The ability…

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When we are struggling to cope in a world that seems impossibly changed, it can be helpful to look at what we can take control of, rather than fixating on things that we can’t.

One thing we can take control of is how we are in our bodies. Our posture, how we move, our breathing all have a significant influence on what we think, how we feel and what we achieve. By making a shift in any of these areas we can make a shift in our experience of the world.

The power of breathwork

An easy way to create…

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This week I have been thinking about sharing a different kind of story — the story of my Embodied Life.

I decided to take on this powerful exercise last year as part of my own journey of discovery into my patterns and preferences, and this week I’ve been revisiting it again. I’d invite you to try it for yourself. It’s a simple exercise, using free flow creative writing, starting with any memory that comes and reflecting on how it felt in your body, how your body responded to what was happening to you at the time.

It reveals huge amounts about what makes us happy, sad, excited, inspired… It also helps us to recognise familiar patterns as we start to see similar responses (which may be life-enhancing or not) that perhaps we had not been aware of previously. That gives us choice, as once we are aware of our patterns we can then decide if they are working for us, or against us, and do something different if that feels right. It also reminds us of the debt we owe our own bodies, as the physical vehicle which transports us through life, shaping and remembering our life experience in a way that complements and enhances the memories we hold in our minds, so we get a fuller, richer, juicier picture, one that is more real, more vibrant and more meaningful.

I’d like to share some fragments of my own embodied life story with you. I discovered much that was long-forgotten and buried.

Small remembered pleasures such as the joy of racing friends in homemade go-carts down the hill where we lived, hair flying in the wind, screaming with excitement, uncertain how we were going to stop at the bottom — thrilling, if somewhat lethal to the neighbours’ hedges which we grabbed to slow down when it all got a bit too exhilarating.

Being outside in my Dad’s garden where I used to go when I wanted to be peaceful and alone, even as a small child. I used to sing to myself and plan to run away to Australia — I once even picked a bucket full of vegetables to take with me! That memory really made me laugh, and reminded me how much I love to be outside. I could almost feel the sun on my face as I planned my ‘escape’, enjoying watching the butterflies among the flowers, and the soft breeze tickling my skin. It brought back to me how freeing it feels to be outside, a great reminder at a time when I seem to spend more time than ever indoors, glued to a screen, that my real pleasure and aliveness comes when I am out of doors, in nature.

There were also painful memories of times when my body felt like it was failing me. Sciatica brought on by the stress of a house fire which meant I spent months of long exhausted nights walking from my kitchen sink to the front door and back as, unable to sleep, the only relief came from movement and it was too dark, cold and wet to venture out. The shooting pain, I can still almost feel it rising in my hip, radiating down my right leg all the way to the ankle and then making its return journey, startling and sharp, up and over my knee. Round and round in a never-ending arc of agony. It brought me to tears. Nauseous. Aching. Yet my body was simply trying to tell me that I really needed to slow down, rest, allow myself not to be superhuman, who somehow should be coping with all this with just a flick of my hair and a knowing comment about life bringing you lemons…

It forced me to finally ask for help. And at the end, it also taught me that my body can regenerate itself. This was such a powerful lesson. The consultant wanted me to have surgery but I was determined not to, I love to dive and was afraid surgery would stop me enjoying my deep dives, so I focused on healing through exercise. Amazingly, what eventually became obvious, was that for my body, being outside and exercising was by far the best cure — as proven to me when I did the Inca Trail a few months down the line. The holiday had been booked for months so I was determined not to miss it but I had a shaky start, and the first few days were marked by quite a lot of pain. Then the days of rhythmic walking, slowly and gently immersing myself in the spectacular landscape, seemed to lengthen my spine, gently opening up space between the vertebrae and easing the pressure on the discs until finally they felt free.

That was 14 years ago and I have found that writing my Embodied Life story has been like rediscovering an old and once-loved poem. A subtle yet powerful reminder of what is important and what makes me happy, an allowing, and a chance to refocus my daily practice so I am pursuing what truly works for me and my body.

It has reminded me of how far I have come, and how far I still have to go. It’s still hard to ask for help. It’s still hard to take the time to really look after myself — in a meaningful way that isn’t just a scented bath and candles (lovely though that is) but is about taking the time to exercise properly, taking joy in preparing a good nutritious meal for myself, getting enough sleep. In theory it’s easy, in practice it can be difficult to maintain, but having reminders like this really do help.

Originally published at

Allison Lindsay

Embodied coach and breathworker. I run the School for Wellbeing helping women build emotional resilience & find purpose and direction. Unleash your dreams.

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