What’s the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind?

Randi asks…

“Is it the subconscious/unconscious mind that generates thoughts, which are then popped into our conscious mind for us to become aware of? Just want to fully understand how the mind works.”

Your conscious mind is like a fairly narrow spotlight. It’s bright and clear but can pretty much only focus on one thing at a time. As you use this “spotlight,” you’re feeding that information to your subconscious mind, all the time.

So you could be thinking “I need to buy more bananas,” “I need to pick up Johnny from soccer practice,” or “The world is a terrible place”… all this information is processed, sorted, matched and organized by your subconscious mind. Continue reading

How to cope with bereavement

Sinead asks…

Do you have any advice on bereavement?

Tips

  • Be present. “Witness” your thoughts and emotions. Grief, anger, fear… whatever it is, just watch. This brings light (awareness) to everything and stops you becoming it.
  • Remove attention to get relief from the feeling of loss. Focus completely on whatever you’re currently doing. Lose yourself in a movie or book.
  • Be ok with feeling ok. Don’t feel guilty about feeling better or having periods of “normality” while grieving. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love the person. It just means you’re choosing the focus of your attention.
  • Minimize thinking. Now is not a good time for active thinking. Give yourself the time and space to let everything settle down. Delay important decisions until you’re feeling better.
  • Help others with their grief. Being a rock for them means staying alert and present. In that state, you are much less likely to get lost in emotion yourself. Be spacious and loving and you will find your own grief easier to bear.
  • Appreciate your time together. If you’d like to think about the person, focus on their life and the relationship you enjoyed with them. They wouldn’t want you to be sad.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s easy to get into unhealthy habits during a period of mourning. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as you can.

Best wishes,
Michael Kinnaird

I feel burnt out and zoned out

Ian asks…

I am CEO of a company and my life has been great — focus minded, career tracked and stress free (good stress only).

But a few months ago I had an anxiety attack (heart palpitations and faint feeling). I had a huge number of tests and was diagnosed with adrenal exhaustion. I also felt hyper sensitive and hyper aware, and my thinking patterns changed.

Then I began experiencing deep sadness, a feeling that time is passing me by and insomnia. I am now also experiencing a sort of ‘derealization’ like I am zoned out and losing touch with reality. I have an emotional numbness… even my family are starting to feel like strangers to me. Please help.

© Daniel Horacio Agostini
© Daniel Horacio Agostini

Everything you’ve described tells me that you’re experiencing burn out. Our vitality can trick us into thinking that what we’re currently doing is fine.

With health, there is usually no immediate cause and effect. We can run on adrenaline, drawing on our “base” vitality for a long time, years even.

But eventually you’ll get a sign, a message from your body that you can’t keep doing what you’re doing. In your case, it was an anxiety attack and the discovery that you were experiencing adrenal exhaustion.

You can have all the tests in the world but I can tell you with 100% certainty that there’s only one true cure: to correct your lifestyle. This is the only way to take the pressure off your mind and body, and experience health and vitality in the long-term.  Continue reading

How to forgive and let go

Sanjeev asks…

What is your view on forgiveness and letting go?
HOW do you do that?

© Chris Ford
© Chris Ford

If we have high vitality and feel happy and care-free, then we naturally “don’t care” — because we have no need or desire to control anything. We are automatically “letting go” all the time.

The ego mind — our mentally constructed sense of self, is always trying to control others and events, whereas the care-free mind is lacking nothing, and so there is no desire to control, and there is nothing to forgive.

This state is achieved through a lifestyle that’s conducive to health and peace of mind. In particular, meditation — listening / awareness, allows us to return to that natural state of “let go-ness”.  Continue reading

How to concentrate on studying without getting distracted

Ashok asks…

“I am a 22 year old student and am sick of my uncontrollable thoughts. My main problem is I can’t concentrate on my study matter. When I try to study I just sink into another world of imagination. After a few minutes I start thinking about college, family, my aims, girls.

I am highly sensitive. Others enjoy themselves, have fun and also study hard but I can’t do any of those things so easily. For every action I think about pros and cons. While talking with friends I try not to hurt anyone and I get too attracted towards girls. If I like someone I can just think about her, for whole days to months.

Please help me in getting rid of useless thoughts of hero imagination, girls, judging others behavior, of living a luxurious life, becoming popular etc. I just want to study, get high scores and be successful in my life.”

© Mer Chau
© Mer Chau

What is success?

First of all, I want you to relax about any ideas you have of being “successful.”

There’s a lot of pressure these days from parents and teachers to get qualifications and well-paid jobs. I understand this from a parent’s perspective.

Apart from notions of “success” they also worry that their child will live a life of financial struggle, and feel unfulfilled, by only being able to get low-paid, “menial” jobs. The common perception is that jobs like sweeping the streets or serving food represents failure.

The reality is that many high earners are in positions of great responsibility and their day is usually unhealthy and stressful. These jobs are often sedentary and demanding — people to manage, targets to hit, deadlines to meet. Stress, fast lunches and unhealthy snacks, a sedentary indoor lifestyle — these things are conducive to poor health and unhappiness. Continue reading

A simple lifestyle blueprint to cure depression naturally

Depression turns into happiness by correcting the true causes.

Is depression caused by a serotonin deficiency in the brain?

After 25 years researching health and happiness, the idea that a disease state is caused by lack of a single neurotransmitter in the brain seems ludicrous.

Human biochemistry is incredibly complex with countless interacting processes mediated by genetics and lifestyle factors. The serotonin hypothesis of depression is really a house of cards with no foundations.
Continue reading

Is happiness a choice?

happiness is a choice

I see this idea floating around the web, especially on social media a lot. Is happiness really a choice? If you’re depressed are you really choosing that state willingly? It kind of reminds me of the type of advice depressed people used to get all the time — “just snap out of it,” or “pull yourself together.” As if. If a depressed person were to see this idea, I think it would make them feel worse not better.  Continue reading

Happy Guide: Make 2015 a Happy New Year

Today, James and I are shocked and speechless because of this wonderful and thoughtful review of Happy Guide by Jessica Thompson on Beautiful Health. Thank you so much Jessica!

Beautiful Health

Happy Guide Cover

I don’t usually review books on my blog, but recently I’ve read a couple that have stuck with me that I simply must write about. The first of those books is Happy Guide: 6 Simple Lifestyle Changes for Health and Happiness by Michael Kinnaird.

I must say, this post has been a long time coming. I first read this book back in May, and I reread it just last month. It’s certainly one of those books that you can keep referring to when you need a little guidance.

Happy Guide, as the name suggests, is a guide to happiness. And no, it’s not one of those self-help books that makes you jump through hoops in the pursuit of happiness. It provides six very simple, very achievable steps that you can follow to achieve the happiness you truly deserve.

Let me just take a second to mention the time of year…

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Design your weekly diet to optimize results

woman eating at table
© Mark Nye. Designing your weekly diet pays off massively for your long term health and happiness.

I do a lot of number crunching to ensure the Happy Guide diet advice is perfect. But because we are all different, have different health concerns and like different foods, I highly recommend designing your own diet on cronometer.com. And you can use the Happy Guide diet structure as a template.  Continue reading