You can listen to our Find Your Balance podcast here or read the transcript below — hopefully, the rubbish bin image will make sense once you do!
Liz: Hello and welcome to episode 2 of the Find Your Balance podcasts, I’m Liz.
Jo: And I’m Jo, welcome.
Liz: That’s very perky.
Jo: Well, you know, it’s Spring.
Liz: It is Spring, it’s beautiful outside today actually, the sun is shining, and the daffodils are out. It’s actually been really hideous all week, Jo. Jo has actually been in Glasgow this week, in Scotland doing some work, what was it like up there?
Jo: It was very grim.
Liz: It was pretty grim down here too. So, today is a bit of an anomaly, but I like it, this is how I would like it to be.
Jo: Soon enough the bunnies will be out hopping about.
Liz: I think our podcast it’s going to be like a piece of Spring.
Jo: Yeah. “Boing”!
Liz: Anyway, the first thing I want to talk about is just a little recap from the last podcast.
Jo: Yes, so we talked about how the themes of these podcasts are going to be about finding your balance and some techniques and ideas that we’re going to give you to help do that. One of the ones that we talked about on the last podcast was about not complaining.
Liz: Yes, this is always a tough one because it’s difficult because obviously, we complain all the time, in our heads, lots of negative thoughts and really the technique is about awareness, awareness of how much we can complain. It’s not entirely possible to do.
Jo: It’s actually very, very difficult to do. In fact, if you can do it you are probably a superhero, you’ve probably got a cape somewhere.
Liz: Somebody really good.
Jo: Yeah, you’ve got a superpower.
Liz: No negative thoughts.
Liz: I can’t think of anybody… Betty White?
Jo: Betty White?
Jo: Wasn’t she a Golden Girl?
Liz: She seemed like she was really nice, like she doesn’t think badly of anybody.
Jo: If she is superhuman, I don’t know, we’ve really gone off pissed here, anyway piste even.
Liz: What did you say, pissed?
Jo: Quite possibly. Anyway, the whole thing about it is it’s not something that is actually achievable but it’s not about being able to tick something off and say I’ve achieved that, what’s next?
Liz: Yeah, that’s right.
Jo: It’s about raising your awareness and understanding, your thought process and how much you end up, spending time complaining and being negative about things.
Liz: Yeah, it’s actually about changing your brain awareness. There’s a really good technique, actually, I saw, I can’t remember what it was on, it’s to do with positive psychology. You can go online, I’ll have to find it and I’ll post it somewhere, post it on our Facebook page because it’s actually quite good. (here it is! )
Basically, you have a page of faces, of miserable, grumpy faces and there’s a smiling face, one smiling face and you have to click on the smiling face. So, it forces you to look for the smiling face and the point of the exercise is you’re training your brain to look for the happy person and it actually changes your brain wiring. It’s quite clever, a lot of the time we tend to look for the negative.
Jo: It’s our default as human beings, that’s what we do, it’s much easier to look for the negative. If you ask someone to write a list of 10 things that they like about themselves, they would go, “Oh, I can only think of five.” If you ask somebody to write ten things that they don’t like about themselves, they will go, “Well, actually I could give you 20.”
Liz: It’s probably a struggle with five to be fair.
Jo: Well, yeah, but it’s actually human nature as a default that we think negatively, it’s far easier for us to do. So, something like not complaining is a sort of thing to just do quite easily to get you going in terms of raising your awareness and noticing how often you do complain and trying to reduce that over and over again.
Liz: Yeah, so that’s last week. Hopefully, that answers any questions anybody might have.
Jo: Or last month even.
Liz: Oh, sorry, last month, time, it goes so quickly. So, let’s start with this month’s topic, which is “Letting Go” and the reason we picked this is because it really is a beginning stage of anything when you want to change, you have to let go of your current belief system. You have to let go of your current negative thoughts and you have to let go of what’s stopping you from moving forward.
Jo: Yeah, and actually there’s a very simple physical thing that you can do right now just to help clarify what it is that we’re talking about. This is something that we learnt from super coach Michael Neill, if any of you haven’t heard of him, you should read his books, he’s a really good transformative life coach. It’s about balance and it’s about helping you balance and it’s about letting go. Even though we’re not in vision here, I’m going to get Liz to do it as I talk through it, so Liz is going to stand up and for you at home listening or wherever you are listening…
Liz: They won’t know whether I’m doing it or not but I’m going to do it.
Jo: It’s just something to help with your awareness of letting go, so what I want you to do is just stand up and Liz is now standing up. I want you to stand on what you consider to be your weaker leg, okay, just stand on one leg, your weaker leg. Try and lift that leg up, the leg that you’re not standing on so that the bottom half of your calf is tucked at a right angle, that’s it. Just notice how difficult it is to remain balanced and how much your body fights that physically.
Liz: Yes, it’s fighting.
Jo: Yes, it’s fighting, Liz is wobbling all over the place. So, now if you really concentrate and it’s sort of a backward way of saying but actually let go and stop fighting to remain balanced.
Liz: You relax.
Jo: You relax yourself, it actually becomes easier. So, Liz now is, I’m looking at her body which has lost a lot of the tension. She’s not got her arms out to her sides to help her to balance and she is perfectly balanced on her one weaker leg without too much of a struggle. So, that is a sort of physical way of being able to explain that if you hold on too tightly and you try too hard, you hold on and you can’t let go of things. Whereas actually, when you relax and go a bit more with the flow of things it becomes a lot easier. So, that is an example of actually letting go, your body has its own inner gimbal inside of it. It doesn’t need you to fight to remain upright, it already has that gimbal inside and when you relax and allow that gimbal to take control you can hold your balance and you’re not fighting it and you’re relaxed and you’re in flow.
Liz: Disclaimer, if you fall over it’s not our fault!!
Jo: Don’t fall over or do it near something where you’re going to bash your head.
Liz: Yeah. So, that is good exercise actually, we’ve learned quite a lot from Michael Neill over the years. He’s a very good teacher and it’s one of the regular things that he does actually just to show us how hard sometimes we try to control things and to hang on and cling on to that control. But actually, when you let go, life has a funny way of just evening out.
Jo: Yeah, and actually I’ve used that technique or something very similar in a lot of mindfulness classes as well.
Liz: We use it in our workshops as well which is quite funny watching everyone stand on one leg.
Jo: Yeah, I think letting go is very much about, as human beings we have habits, we have habits that we follow day in day out and a lot of those habits can be quite negative, and you don’t even realise that you’re doing them a lot of the time. Similarly, those habits can be very big or very small, but the more you tell yourself that those things are the way things are, the more they become the way things are. So, it becomes a learned helplessness thing where the more you tell yourself, “Well, that can’t happen” or the more you say, “Well, this situation went wrong because of me, because of something I did” the more that becomes a reality and the more you believe it.
So, next time around when you have a situation like that, you haven’t let go of that previous situation and it comes along with you and you carry it with you. So, it’s about understanding that you don’t have to carry things with you. I often use with clients, I talk about a rucksack of rocks and everybody has a rucksack of rocks that they carry around on their back. You don’t have to have a heavy load of rocks in your rucksack, the rocks symbolise all the issues and the problems that you carry around with you. When you start to raise your awareness and understand that you don’t have to carry those things around with you anymore, you can take them out of the rucksack and leave them behind and you feel lighter and you’re able to move forward quicker.
Naturally, we tend to load ourselves up with a lot of rocks and we carry them around and we get so used to carrying that weight that we almost forget how heavy it is. It contorts our body and we carry it in our minds and it’s much harder to move forward. When you realise that some of the things that you worry and think about you don’t have to, it doesn’t mean anything and you let go of them, you can actually use all that energy and that time thinking about positive things and things that you really want to do.
Liz: Yeah. Obviously, we’re not being flippant expecting everyone to suddenly not worry about everything that’s going on in their lives. What we are trying to say is beginning the process of letting go can help you see how change can be made. So, it’s just beginning the process more than anything, that’s the most important thing. Also, I think it’s important to say that when you let go, you have to really let go to change your perspective on anything. While you’re still clinging, that’s how I always think of letting go, I always think I’ve got this-, you know that Where’s Wally, where he’s hanging on to the edge.
Jo: Yeah, you get those cartoons where they’re on the cliff edge hanging by their fingertips and they’re trying to grab on.
Liz: That’s how I think of it and I have always imagined letting go and just going ahhhhhh, okay. Meanwhile, in your version you are falling off a cliff but never mind, in my mind, you just slip down. So, it’s really a case of the fact that you can’t change your perspective until you let go of old beliefs, old thought processes. I often remember a guy who was obsessed with Diet Coke, this guy said to me, “No, no Diet Coke, it’s good, there’s nothing wrong with it.” I’m a bit of a reformed Diet Coke drinker, so there’s nothing good about Diet Coke but for balance, of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a Diet Coke once in a while but this guy just drinks gallons and gallons of it.
Anyway, he wouldn’t listen to a word I said about it and I said to him to find something on the internet. He said, I’ve seen loads of things that have said that Diet Coke is good for you and I was thinking I have no idea what he’s talking about, but he went away, and he found an article that said that Diet Coke wasn’t as bad. It didn’t say it was good, it said it wasn’t as bad as other articles will tell you, but what he’s choosing to do is ignore the million articles that tell you that it’s not good for you because he’s found that one. It made me think about this, I thought you can always find something on the internet to support whatever thing you’ve decided. That’s true of our brains, whatever we’ve decided we will find something to support it.
Jo: Yeah, I can relate to that and sometimes the things that we need to let go of are big, things that we’ve carried around that have happened during our lives, others are tiny little things. I can remember a time when I fell over.
Liz: What a shock (!)
Jo: I was walking down just past Kings Cross in London and it was lunchtime and I fell over on a pavement slab that was sticking up and I tripped up and fell over. It was quite a busy street, it was a busy time of day, there were people coming and going and what have you. One person stopped to say are you okay, nobody else did but whilst I was lying there on the floor the actual pain that I’d hurt my ankle became secondary to my brain and my thoughts in my head going “everybody is laughing at you”, “everybody thinks you’re an idiot”. But actually, when I took notice of people around me really rather than listening to the thoughts in my head, I noticed that actually, nobody was really laughing at me.
Liz: Or indeed helping you up! Ah, London, how we love it so!
Jo: Or helping me, exactly, yeah. No one was laughing at me, no one was helping me, everyone was just getting on with their own lives. They’re off thinking I’ll go and get a sandwich for my lunch, I’ve got to get back to work or wonder if I should go and buy those pair of shoes and they hadn’t even noticed that I’d fallen over.
Liz: Or I must remember to not trip over that piece of concrete that’s sticking out.
Jo: Yes, like that silly woman. Even if they do stop and notice and they might giggle or laugh or think, “Oh, what a stupid idiot she was for falling over”, it’s momentary, because then they go back to their own lives and their own angst and their own things that they’ve got going on. So, once I got hold of that and realised that, I could let go of it a hell of a lot easier than if I continued to tell myself that it was so embarrassing because everybody was laughing at me when actually nobody was at all. So, I was able to move on and forget about it and almost laugh at myself for almost going down that road of creating a much bigger something out of me just falling over in the street and not really hurting myself.
Liz: Making a big deal. No, you’re right, it’s thought. Actually, we’re going to go into thoughts in another podcast but you’re right, letting go of negative thoughts is a huge one, a lot of people ask me questions about that. So, we’d like you this month to become aware of letting go, just sit back, breathe out and just stop, see how it feels not to be clinging on so tight, not to be trying to control everything and just relax a bit.
Jo: Yeah, just go with the flow a little bit more, letting go can be many things, as Liz is saying, letting go in terms of stopping holding on too tight, trying to control things, just letting go and go with the flow. But also, if you’re carrying around negative thoughts and habits, becoming aware of what they are and deciding whether or not you really need them in your life and how you can let go of them, because you can leave them behind. They’re not offering you anything, they’re not helping you with anything and you often just carry them around with you because it’s a habit.
Liz: Yeah, Jo is going to be very happy if you lump one of your rocks out of your rucksack this month.
Jo: Yeah, lighten that load!
Liz: So, personally, I would just like you to breathe out, breathe out some of that control.
Jo: They need to breathe in first of all.
Liz: Obviously, one goes with the other, breathe out some of that angst and that necessity to hold onto things and control things so tightly and just relax.
Jo: Yeah, and also, as we’re often going to talk about in these podcasts is you can use whatever visualisation you want to help you with that. So, Liz has already talked about the Where’s Wally thing, and how they hold onto things. Whatever makes sense to you in terms of helping you to just relax and go with the flow a little bit more, just do it, whatever works for you, there’s no right or wrong way.
Liz: Yeah. I just think become aware of breathing out and just sitting back when you come up against the situation where you feel like, oh my God, I’m losing control, I need to control it. Just decide okay, do I?
Jo: And as I refer to the previous podcast where we talked about reacting and responding. Again, when you are more in flow, and not holding on so tight, you tend to give more of a response. Whereas when you’re holding on very tight and trying to control things you are much more reactive which comes from a much more negative viewpoint.
Liz: Yeah. A good example of that is when we’re trying desperately to think of a word which you can’t think of until you stop trying to think of it.
Jo: Yeah…What was that word?
Liz: I dunno!
Letting go in general this month is something I’d like you to get a hold of.
Jo: You’re not going to be able to let go of everything, we’re not saying and expecting that, it’s not a test, none of this is a test, it’s just advice for you to try. So, if there are certain things that you know that you worry about, just become aware of what they are and whether or not you really need them. You really need to be thinking about them, you really need them to be angry about and if you don’t, just let them go because they don’t mean anything, you don’t need them in your life. Once you can let them go you can move forward a lot quicker.
Liz: Obviously, there are techniques you can do to help with these things. So, I’m actually going to give you a technique for the end of the day, which is a great technique called ‘Garbage Dump’ which we teach in our workshops as well. So, if at the end of the day you’re lying down to go to bed and that’s generally when I think this is the best time to do it, you can do it whenever you like. You’ve got negative thoughts in your mind, I want you to imagine, it is called Garbage Dump, which is actually an American technique, but let’s call it Rubbish Dump and let’s go for an English version. Close your eyes and imagine a rubbish bin and you imagine all of the negative things that you feel have happened that day and include feelings into this, your thoughts, your feelings.
I want you to imagine letting them float out of the top of your head into the rubbish bin. Just do that for about five minutes or however long, a minute, however long it takes but you actually imagine them floating out the top of your head and including the feelings. Imagine the feelings floating out the top of your head into a rubbish bin and then you can imagine putting the lid on, then imagine taking it down to the bin outside and then you can imagine the rubbish truck coming and taking the bin and crushing it and then driving away and you imagine it getting smaller and smaller and smaller into the distance. This technique actually is a really good one for letting go of what’s been bothering you that day because you’re effectively saying to your brain, I don’t need that at the moment.
Now, there’s another technique you can do if you’re worried about forgetting about things, some people use a filing cabinet. So, it’s like, I know I’ve got to deal with this, but I’m going to deal with it tomorrow or later. So, I’m going to imagine that going into a filing cabinet and shutting it for later and these techniques are there to help you sleep obviously and to help you let go for the night.
Jo: The angst of that day.
Liz: Yeah, exactly. It’s a really good technique for your day’s events, giving yourself the ability to relax.
Jo: Yeah, and there’s no right or wrong way of doing this, so, your bin will look different to my bin whatever you decide as the thoughts flow out of your head, whether you decide to see them as paper and you screw them up in a ball and then you go and put them in the bin, it doesn’t matter. There’s no right or wrong way, it’s just about the visualisation of seeing those thoughts leave you.
Liz: And feelings.
Jo: Yeah, and the feelings that you’ve had, the negative feelings, if you’re feeling particularly angry or grumpy or upset or sad, try collecting them and allowing them to leave you and putting them in that bin. Again, there is no right or wrong way, everybody finds their own way to make it work for them.
Liz: Absolutely, and also some people will think well, that’s just silly, that’s silly, I’m not going to think of a bin, give it a go.
Jo: Yeah, it’s really powerful.
Liz: It’s a really clever technique and just give it a go. At the end of the day, what have you got to lose? Nobody else knows you’re doing it, so give that a go and see how you get on and please by all means ask questions on Facebook and let me know how you get on. Now, Jo is going to leave you with an ask yourself question.
Jo: Yeah, we decided that at the end of each podcast on a monthly basis, we would leave everybody with a question to mull over and think about until we all meet again in a month’s time. So, the question for this podcast is, ask yourself what is it that you’re holding onto that you don’t need anymore? There you are. So, again, there’s no right or wrong answer but what are you holding on to that you don’t need anymore? That can be as big or as little as you want.
Liz: I’m mulling it over Jo…a business partner?!
Jo: It can be anything, it could be something as trivial as, well, I’ve got a whole load of clothes that I need to get rid of. It could be…
Liz: A toxic friend.
Jo: A friend that’s not really a friend anymore, it could be a situation that’s weighing you down, that you need to walk away from, any type of thing. It can be as little or as big as it needs to be but just have a little think about that and ask yourself that question and see what you come up with. Quite often, these questions are questions that you never really ask yourself or don’t get asked by other people and sometimes you can surprise yourself with the answers that you end up finding out about.
Liz: Yeah, I agree with that, that’s true. Great, okay, so that’s the end of podcast two, we’ll be back, we’ve decided to do our podcast on the first Friday of each month. So, at least you’ve got some idea when the next podcast is coming out, it’ll be the first Friday of each month. So, thanks for listening and if you’re interested in any of our workshops or one-to-one sessions or any more information, then please go to our website which is www.equacoaching.com. If you’d like to join our Facebook group, that is EqUaCoaching and our Twitter feed is EqUaCoaching (there’s a theme here!) and we just launched our Instagram page, which is also EqUaCoaching.
Jo: Where we could take pictures!
Liz: Yeah, be afraid but come along and join us and obviously, we will add things on there that go along with the podcast. I might put a link to that happy face, which is quite good fun anyway and don’t forget to rate and subscribe. We’d love to get five stars if you like what we do. Thanks very much, see you soon.
Jo: Bye for now.
PS we have a new book out! It’s available now on Amazon, Waterstones and all good independent book stores!
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