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Kirsty writes regularly here

Are you Mindful to practise Mindfulness?


Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness that focuses our attention on the task at hand. – A moment by moment awareness. When we are mindful, our attention is not caught up in the past or future, and we are not judging or rejecting what is occurring at the moment. –  We are present.

This kind of attention creates acceptance, energy, clear-headedness and a feeling of joy.  I have found it is a skill that can be learned and cultivated by anyone.

When you have a mindfulness practise in place some examples of what you will experience are:

  • Having a better relationship with stuff that is happening
  • Being aware
  • Being more flexible
  • Experience a Relaxed state more
  • Not being stuck in the past, fear or worries
  • A Stronger immune system
  • More energy
  • More happiness
  • Management of anxiety and depression
  • Have the skills to overcome overwhelm
  • Creating a positive and calm experience of daily life
  • Paying close attention, on purpose, right now, without judgement in your life.
  • Being in the moment for what it is, not a reaction or prediction.
  • Body Regulation & Better Health
  • Better Communication
  • Emotional Balance
  • Insight
  • Empathy
  • Creativity & Intuition enhanced
  • Resilience
  • Feelings of Stability
  • Kindness & Compassion
  • Non-Reactivity or you Act and not React

Mindfulness has been adapted for use in treatment of depression, especially preventing relapse, anxiety disorders, stress, behaviour problems, interpersonal conflict, confusion, despair and for assisting with mood regulation.

The potential of these mindfulness and acceptance based approaches have bought in a new wave of cognitive behavioural treatments for familiar problems.

Everyday do a mindful ‘self-check’. You only have right now. Use it to its best advantage. Mindfulness trains you to become aware of what is going on inside you and how your inner world of thoughts and feelings are reacting to the events that are taking place in the world around you.

When you develop this kind of awareness, you will be more aware of inner disturbances if they arise, and therefore more able to take steps to maintain a positive outlook if they do.

Often, stress and anxiety build up over a period of time because we are not paying attention to what is going on inside us.

How do your thoughts and words impact how you feel?

How do your emotions unconsciously drive your behaviours?

Without conscious awareness of these subtleties we have very little chance of changing them. With awareness and mindfulness we have the opportunity to determine the amount of happiness and joy in our life. As we become self-aware we have the opportunity to make choices instead of just react from habit or negative emotions.

A quick mindfulness exercise is S.T.O.P.

  • Stop,
  • Take a Breath,
  • Observe what you are feeling and thinking,
  • Proceed and Participate in what is most important.

Be mindful and watch your life expand to become extraordinary.  Kirsty

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The Most Important Relationship – The Relationship with Self

Carl Jung said “the most terrifying thing is accept oneself completely”. I also believe though once you overcome that terror, embrace all the perfect and imperfect things about you, the sense of freedom, peace, acceptance, drive, determination and certainty is priceless.

Knowing yourself is important in relationships because everything that happens to you, every one you attract, is a reflection of what you believe about yourself.

You cannot outperform your level of self-esteem. You cannot draw to yourselves more than you think you are worth. So take time to:-

  • Find out who you are.
  • See yourself and your place in your relationships as it is, not worse than it is.
  • Be aware of how you feel, think and act at all different times of the day.
  • Accept yourself completely the way you are, what you believe, what you love and like and don’t like.

The relationship you have with yourself is arguably the foundation on which your other relationships are built, and credible studies are now supporting this view.

High self-esteem predicts better relationship satisfaction and less mental, emotional and physical illness.

People with self-worth appear to respond more constructively and positively during conflict or when challenges or pressure appears in their lives.

When was the last time you checked in…

  • Are you your own best friend?
  • What is important to you?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What do you like?
  • What are you good at?
  • What are your habits, good and bad?
  • What emotional state do you allow yourself to be in most of the time?
  • What don’t you like?
  • What sort of people do you like being around?

When you can answer these, confidence will surely follow as you can be more mindful of your needs and what you would like to improve on in your life.

You will also become more trustworthy to others as they will feel and see that there is no ‘funny’ feeling about being around you as you are honest, genuine and self-assured.  You are being yourself, not someone you think others will approve of.  The only approval you need is your own.

Kirsty O’Callaghan

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I Want What She’s Having

Winter is here, a time of reflection, rest and shorter days and longer nights.  I think a lot of people are reflecting lately because a question that has been asked of me regularly is “how do you do it? How do you stay on track, fit it all in and still seem to be smiling?” I have even had said to me “you are so lucky and it must be good to not have anything going wrong for you!”  Well, let me tell you a secret…. My life is filled with ups and downs, challenges and happy moments.  There are times I feel overwhelmed and there are times I experience such a sense of peace that it brings a tear to my eye.  So how do I do it?  I want to share with you what comes to the top of my head that works daily for me.

  • Have a to do list, with at least 7 things on it each day to keep your wheels moving.
  • Know what you love doing, need to be doing and want to do and include regularly.
  • Gain support of others.  Friends, family, those that inspire you and have a mentor to keep you on track and can share their secrets to success with you.
  • Smile and laugh everyday.
  • Be aware of taking things personally, and attempt not to.
  • Honour your feelings, whether good or bad, sit in them for a time, and when the time you have given them (5 minutes, 1 day, overnight) has passed, get on with it.
  • Know who you are, why you are and who you want to become.
  • Listen to your body and mind.  Fuel your body (eat) for health and energy and when your inner dialogue is negative, replace with more purposeful thoughts.
  • Don’t be afraid, there is nothing too big that you cannot overcome it; you have got this far haven’t you?
  • Not everyone is going to agree with you and some people will let you down.  How you choose to react to this is part of how you will feel in your life.
  • Take stock daily of all the wonderful things and people and opportunities you have, then build on it.
  • Look after you first, then there is more of you to give to others.
  • Whatever is important to you, put this first, then let the rest roll out.
  • Always know what you want to your future to look like, include and become.  This way you have a path to walk with purpose.
  • Get involved, get out there and support, help and mingle with your community.
  • Life isn’t unfair, life is full of lessons, experiences and tests to allow us to become bigger than we were yesterday.  Seize the moment of expansion with all you got!

I hope some of these have given you an insight into how I find my centre daily and may have given you a couple of light bulb moments too.

Have a fabulous day, Kirsty 🙂

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Picking your state and intention for the day – YOU GET TO CHOOSE!

Do you just get up every morning, head hung low, would rather be back in bed? Do you just get up and start going through your morning routine, putting one foot in front of the other? Do you wonder where your motivation,let alone inspiration have gone?

I have realised that beginning the day with no clear direction, no high expectations and on automatic pilot does not get me the results I want or need. I am going to share with you a couple of tricks to get you feeling more energetic andinspired each day.

Know your overall picture/goals for the next couple of years. It always brings more meaning to your life when you know where you are headed. Where do you see yourself in 2 years’ time? What is happening? Who is with you? How are you feeling? What are you doing? Remember, it’s not what you don’t want, it is what you would like to work towards and where you want to be.

Once you know where it is and what you want, pick a state that suits this part of your life. Is it happy, healthy, open, engaging, pumped, peaceful, in control,respecting and respected, grateful, confident, valued, or the like? Once you know the state that feels right, get in that state from right now. Remind yourself constantly I am……. today.

Set your intention for each day. What do you intend to do, to be, to achieve,to overcome, to create? Know this, write it down and begin.

Try this for the next month. I will guarantee you will see your life become more enjoyable, you will get more meaningful things done and you will move away from what you don’t want because you are too busy getting what you do want and enjoying yourself!

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On the Move

0_0_0_0_250_334_csupload_55155405How is your year been going? I know here we have had lots of exciting changes, met a lot of amazing people, welcomed new clients and learning so much as we go.

We are also moving this month. Not far, just a few minutes away. As with all moves there is excitement, exhaustion and lots of organising, list making, phone calls and interruptions. I have also had my eldest son move back home and I caught a bad case of the dreaded flu bug.

My motto’s that everything happens for a reason and never give up has helped me immensely. There is no challenge to large on the road to change and there certainly hasn’t been anything yet I could not handle. So I take a breathe, do what I can, smile and laugh with my kids, my husband and friends and keep the wheels moving.

I find that if I can just change my thinking when it all seems to be getting a bit ‘heavy’, even just put the issue to one side for an hour, I normally come up with a brilliant way to get around what could of potentially been a problem. I just keep clear on where I am going, and if things get in the way, unexpected things and people turn up that just tells me I am moving.

So my advise for you as we head into Autumn is keep your focus, keep moving and believe that you will get there with many more great opportunities that you could of imagined.

Kirsty O’Callaghan Be Fabulous Today 🙂

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Be Resilient In Times Of Change

There is a lot of change happening at the moment. Changes in the private sector, the public sector, schools, retail, just to name a few. During times of change you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, frustrated and unsure of what you can do to cope.

Resilience is a constant belief in you to be well,to be happy, and to be better. Resilience is an inner quality that allows you to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever.

Rather than letting failure or change overcome you, you can find a way to get back up, get back in control, re-invent yourself and your circumstances and use this as an opportunity rather than a misfortune. After experiencing hardship resilient people are able to change course and soldier on.

Psychologists have identified some of the factorsthat make someone resilient, among them –

•           a positive attitude,

•           optimism,

•           the ability to regulate emotions,

•           and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback.

Resilience is the process by which you adapt to changes or crises, like death, tragedy, the loss of a job, or financial problems. Resilience is not a character trait – it can be learned by anyone, but learning it does require time and effort, and the effort you put in is well worth the rewards.

Here are 10 resiliency-building tips:

  1. Get adequate restorative sleep. Poor sleep patterns and stress go hand-in-hand.
  2. Engage in adequate physical exercise daily. Exercise is a major buffer against stress, including stress from depression.
  3. Maintain a healthy diet. You will not feel good about yourself, have enough energy or promote your bodies healing process if you continually eat junk food, or have an unbalanced diet, or eat food that is loaded with preservative, additives and chemicals or have above recommended portion sizes.
  4. Have a loving support system; relationships which convey understanding, respect and interest and are grounded in good listening and establishing safety and basic trust. Quality social support correlates with higher levels of resiliency.
  5. Meet challenges as they occur and avoid procrastination and the stresses that come from it and crises that arise from delays.
  6. Build tolerance for doubt and uncertainty, attempt to stay in the present moment being Mindful, and you are less likely to experience anxieties related to a need for certainty.
  7. Express values, such as responsibility and integrity. This gives you a firm base for change and decisive action.
  8. Work to build high frustration tolerance. High frustration tolerance, cognitive flexibility, and a problem-solving mindset are the corner stones of resilience.
  9. Be an optimist. Make lemonade out of lemons!  This type of sunny disposition with a small dose of realism is the best way to, achieve your goals and meet your commitments, overcome challenges and keep a smile on your face (which of course sets off beneficial health promoting hormones).
  10. Boost resilience by reducing your risk of negative thinking and increase your chances for realistic positive and pro-active thinking.

There are times when we are put off course, dramatically and painfully, to begin again and become more, better and brighter than we were previously.  There are times when we question the method of redirection.  What I know is that greatness is born of adversity, so if there is a grand opportunity in this time of change for you, what could it be?

To get your pack of resilience cards personally designed and created by Kirsty click here

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What worth do you put on you?

This is one of my favourite ‘thinking’ stories.Isn’t it funny how sometimes a simple metaphor can put things in perspective.  I wanted to share this today to inspire you to feel your worth no matter how ‘crumpled’ and ground down with life you may feel.  As you go into the next year, let go of your limiting perceptions and embrace your true worth and who you are, that is the place of miracles!

A $100 Dollar Bill Author Unknown

“A well known speaker started off his  seminar by holding up a $100 bill.  In the  room of 200, he asked.  “Who would like this $100 bill?”

Hands started going up. He said,  “I am going to give this $100  to one of you –  but first, let me do this.”

He proceeded to crumple the  100 dollar note up. He then asked.  “Who still  wants it?” Still the hands  were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied,  “what if I do this?” He dropped it on  the ground and started to grind it  into the floor with his shoe.  He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.  “Now, who still wants it?” Still the hands  went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned  a very valuable lesson.  No matter what I  did to the  money, you still wanted it because  it did not decrease in value. It  was  still worth $100.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped , crumpled, and ground into the dirt   by the decisions we make and the circumstances  that come our way.

We feel as  though we are worthless;  but no matter what happened or what will  happen, you will never lose your value.

Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased,  you are still priceless to God and to those who  love you.

The worth of our lives comes, not in  what we do, what we have or who we know,  but by…WHO WE ARE.

You are so special in all the world  there is only one you — don’t ever forget it.

Remember, you may be only one person in  the world, but you may also be the world  to one person.”

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Understanding and Overcoming Workplace Stress

Workplace stress complaints are becoming more common.  The effects of enduring stress at work may result in:-

  • Feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed
  • Boredom and a loss of interest in work
  • Problems sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering things
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Illness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of energy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope

In workplaces where stress is an issue there are higher rates of absenteeism and staff turnover, reduced productivity, increased customer dissatisfaction and increased health compensation claims.

Common workplace stressors (however, not limited to):-

  • How secure you feel in your job
  • Your workload is too much or there is constant distractions
  • You have no say in your workload, the work you are asked to do or there is confusion over priorities, deadlines or standards
  • Your job does not offer you flexibility and you cannot balance work and home life
  • Your work is boring or not stimulating you
  • You have too little or too much contact with people while doing your job
  • Your job negatively impacts your physical health or there is the threat of physical danger
  • You don’t have supportive relationships with co-workers, supervisors and/or clients.  You may feel the victim of bullying, intimidation or inappropriate ‘humour’
  • You don’t have a clear understanding of what is expected of you. There is minimum praise, feedback and positive conversations about areas of improvement
  • Any changes are not communicated effectively and encouragingly
  • There are no or little opportunities and support for training, learning and career development

The causes of stress can be many and varied and each person will experience and deal with stressful situations differently.  The key is to acknowledge that unless you take action this will adversely impact your productivity, relationships, health and wellbeing.

Tips for dealing with, managing and reducing stress:-

  • Take care of yourself so that you are more resilient and stress resistant.
    • Be mindful of eating to promote your health, strength and energy.
    • Drink enough water each day to keep hydrated.
    • Exercise regularly, even a short walk in a park at lunch time will be of benefit.
    • Get enough quality sleep, so that you can recover from the pressures of the day and feel more energised each morning.
    • Have a relaxation practise where you can relax your whole body and release any tension in your muscles.
    • Take time during your day to take some deep breaths.  Shallow breathing tells your body it is stressed where as deep breathing sends the message that you are calm.
  • Be organised and focused to minimise overwhelm.
    • Have a diary and lists of priorities.
    • Don’t over commit yourself or attempt to multi task.
    • Include regular breaks/downtime. This time is important; it does not take away from your productivity, you will find this time increases your output at work and in your personal life.
    • If you are unable to complete a task, ask for help, delegate or approach your supervisor or client and suggest another way to get task completed.  Don’t leave it till it is too late.
    • Take the ‘elephant beetle’ approach – if you are feeling a task is unpleasant or concerning you, get it out of the way first thing.  Minimise procrastination.
  • Cultivate and encourage a good relationship with yourself and others.
    • Recognise your stressors and your emotions.  The trick to managing stress is identifying triggers before they have a chance to affect your results.
    • Have a positive attitude and laugh regularly, a sure fire way to reduce the pressure build up.
    • Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust.  Keep specific rather than generalise about the issues and situations you find challenging.
    • If you are unsure, ask. If you think you have missed something, clarify.  If you need help…. Ask.
    • Notice and give praise for good work performance, to yourself and others in your workplace.  There are always opportunities to recognise a job well done.
    • If you would like opportunities for professional development, actively seek workplace policy on this.  If there is none, find out if one could be developed, and point out the benefit to the business and yourself.
    • Be a part of social interaction in the workplace.  Keep it appropriate and positive.
  • Be clear on the values and direction of your workplace and how working there benefits you.  There is a reason you are there, focus on that rather than the things that get you down.

Kirsty 🙂

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Quick tips for Balancing work/home life for parents.

The concerns, pressures and just plain overwhelm that seem to go hand in hand with working parent’s lives will affect your whole being.  It affects how you feel, how you behave and has the potential to create very real physical symptoms.

At first these feelings may be just vague and unsettling, and you may find yourself saying “I just need to get used to the new routine and handing over the kids to someone else, then I’ll be OK”.

However, what happens if you don’t address the real issues and solutions, and when the appropriate time has passed and you are not coping with the ‘new routine’, the kids aren’t coping with the new situation, does that leave you feeling guilty or like you can’t get it right; or worse you are a failure?

So let’s get real about it now.  Being a working parent creates stress triggers at some point in our day to day lives. Some of us are more vulnerable to these stressors than others, but even those who become stressed easily can learn to manage it well.  It is the stress that is the problem not being a working parent.

OK, so what can you do to manage the stress and feel better?

  • Keep an eye on pressures and deadlines and make a commitment to taking time out when you need it.
  • Learn a variety of relaxation techniques. Physical relaxation methods and meditation techniques really do help.
  • Look after your physical self. Eat healthily, get regular exercise and try to keep a regular sleep pattern. Avoid too much alcohol, caffeine and junk food.
  • Practise deep abdominal breathing. This consists of breathing in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking the air right down to your tummy. Visualise the breathe going right down to your tummy and say “I am calm” to yourself as you breathe in. Then breathe out slowly and gently through your mouth. As you breathe out visualise the stress and tension leaving your body with your breath.
  • Learn to replace “negative self-talk” with “coping self-talk.” When you catch yourself thinking something negative like “I can’t do this, it’s just too hard,” try to change it to something more positive, like “This is hard but I can get through it.”

Being a working parent can have its ups and downs, and comes with added responsibilities.  However if you are organised, communicate positively to your family on a regular basis, laugh and have an awareness of your needs your will certainly be on the right track to feeling back in control, confident and finding the elusive work/life balance you have been seeking.

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