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Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan  Coaching, Training and Consulting

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Tips and thoughts on how to have a great life.

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Love of Learning

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on August 29, 2019 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (1)


I remember about 4 years ago attending some training and we were asked to discuss with someone beside us, what our goals for the future were. I have one goal that rarely changes even if the specifics of it do and that is to continue to study. I mentioned that I wanted to go back to study and do a Masters. The person was incredulous and couldn’t understand why I would do something like that for pleasure and not because I had to.

I have been engaging in some form of study every year since 1998. I realise that love of learning is one of my strengths and as a friend and colleague says, ‘it’s my drug of choice’. What I learn varies but there is a common thread, I am continually learning about myself and about they way in which people engage with the world and deal with each other.

According to Martin Seligman’s PERMA Model of Wellbeing, having a purpose and feeling in flow with what you do it an integral part of happiness and wellbeing. People who don’t have goals or who aren’t trying to improve themselves are less likely to feel their life is worthwhile. The great thing is, it doesn’t matter what you learn.

The internet is such a wonderful resource that you can fulfil your preference for learning and find out about pretty much anything. I love to read, I am not so good with videos or podcasts, although I do a daily yoga practice using video instruction. My husband prefers videos and talks, which gives us great insight when we share knowledge about the same subject as we often get slightly different perspectives. If you are into more academic learning you can download any course from Harvard University and study their course modules, although you won’t get any accreditation for it. The opportunities for learning are endless.

Another way I love to learn is through my meditation practice. As I teacher I find most people come to meditation to relax or de-stress. The reality is that meditation was actually for the purpose of self-awareness and is an essential tool if you are trying to develop your Emotional Intelligence. Time spent in silence can surface all sorts of thoughts and ideas about yourself and the world. It can also help you to identify the patterns of thinking that are most destructive to you and others. Additionally, meditation can improve inspiration. If you haven’t already checked it out, look at my earlier post about the ‘Eureka Factor’ by John Kounios. He explains how open awareness can give us ‘aha’ moments and help with problem solving.

As we start the academic year again next week, it may be time for you to set some goals. Perhaps it’s time for you to develop your strengths of ‘Love of Learning’ or ‘Curiosity’. You can find out more about strengths at www.viacharacter.org. When we are passionate about something it gives us the drive and momentum to keep going and it fill us with a sense of purpose. I know I am biased as both a teacher and a life-long learner but try it, you’ll be amazed at what you might learn about yourself.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email info@mett-morphhics.com, phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,

Elfreda

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Authenticity

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on July 26, 2019 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Firstly, I want to apologies for the lack of blog posts recently. I know many of you have been very supportive in the past reading my posts. This year has been taken up with study for my MSc and so my usual time spent writing on a Friday has been spent reading and researching instead. Anyway, here’s a little pondering for you this week.


I had the pleasure of participating in some new research into authenticity in coaches and coaching. Although the results of the research won’t be available until next year it did get me thinking about authenticity again and as I spoke to the researcher it helped me to clarify some of my own thoughts about my own experience.


One of the key questions asked was 'how do I know when I am being authentic?’ As I answered the question, I began to realise that I am more aware of when I am not authentic than when I am. Which reminded me of the answer I often get when I ask clients what they are thinking about when they are in the moment or are not feeling stressed or anxious. The answer is always ‘nothing’. This is the same for me when I am authentic. For me to be authentic means I need to be fully present in the moment. If I am projecting my thoughts into a situation, or if I am trying to project an image that may be perfect or knowledgeable then it pulls me out of the reality of who I am. When I am authentic, I am present warts and all. I know only so much, and I am aware of how much I don’t know. It has taken me years to be able to accept myself with all my flaws and successes.


To be genuinely authentic one needs to be able to admit your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions but most importantly know that you are enough. Being and feeling that you are enough allows us to present the truth of who we are, as we are no longer afraid of the judgements or opinions of others. For me, it also an ongoing journey. I need to be mindful of the moments of when I slip back into old patterns of defending or trying to be something I am not. I love that I am awesome and crap all at the same time.


I was asked if I had any tips for being authentic for new coaches and my answer, is the same answer I would give anyone. To be authentic you need to continually work on understanding yourself, on accepting who you are and overcoming the misguided assumptions you make about yourself and others. You need to free yourself from blame and be able to sit with the sad, angry and crappy parts of yourself. You have to thrive on the feedback that tells you who you are, even when it means you have to admit that some problems or difficult relationships are as much your fault as they are others. You also have to be present. Get out of your head and the stories you tell yourself about the world and other people. As long as you stay in a place of judgement and assumption you will miss the beauty of the moment and wonderful lessons it may bring. Working on your self-awareness, whether it is through meditation, yoga or emotional intelligence practices, is so important. If you don’t know who you are, or why you do what you do, how can you be authentic even with yourself.

It was an illuminating and inspiring conversation as we explored my thought for the research. It’s funny when we talk about things out loud how much insight we can have, I guess that is why coaching works and why I love it. I’d love to know your thoughts on authenticity and how you know when you are authentic and when you are not. Please post in the comments.

Thank you for reading. If you want to get in touch or have any questions email info@mett-morphhics.com, phone 00353868373582 or PM.

I hope our paths cross again in the future,

Elfreda

 


The 5 Domains of Post-Traumatic Growth

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on May 3, 2019 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

What Leads to Post-Traumatic Growth?

I doubt there is a single person on the planet, or any one of you reading this blog post, who hasn’t experienced some type of traumatic event in their lifetime. Oftentimes, when we think of trauma, we think of the more known ones such as abuse, bereavement, illness, accidents or the threat of losing a loved one. However, we can experience trauma with less extreme events, as trauma is an event that causes us to feel threatened in some way, either physically, emotionally or mentally and one that makes us feel fearful, unsafe and insecure or afraid for our own life or that of a loved one. For a child, moving house, or having a loved one move away, or seeing something frightening, even in a film, can be traumatic. One of the most fascinating things about trauma is that a huge number of people recover afterwards and move on with their life. Whilst studying Positive Psychology for my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, I have been drawn to the whole field of Post-Traumatic Growth and what the ‘difference that makes the difference’ is, when it comes to growth.


According to Tedeschi and Calhoun, highly stressful events have a major impact on individuals that range from numerous psychological problems; anxiety, depression unpredictable emotional states, negative thinking, fear as well as physical problems such as aches and pains, muscles problems, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue, to name but a few. These problems can last for years, after the event has long passed, as well as unwanted memories of the trauma, flashbacks, regret, guilt and feelings of not being able to move on with one’s life. It can be especially challenging when other people appear to have moved on and you feel like you are stuck in some kind of limbo between how the past was and how it is now. I know this from my own personal experience after the death of my parents when I was in my twenties. For many years, research into trauma has focused on those individuals who ended up in a therapeutic setting because they were suffering severe psychological effects from highly stressful events. However, Tedeschi and Calhoun chose to look at those individuals who had experienced growth after a traumatic event which is why Post-traumatic Growth (PTG) is part of the field of study of Positive Psychology.


One interesting aspect of PTG is the fact that the trajectory of growth is more advanced in individuals who are younger because as we age, we have already had much life experience as well as having developed greater levels of resilience. However, anyone can experience PTG at any stage of their life. Adolescents and individuals in the in twenties often demonstrate the greatest levels of growth whilst older individuals often display higher levels of hardiness and therefore their ability to cope with major stressful events reduces the potential for growth.


Tedeschi and Calhoun in their research discovered five domains of PTG, which are the changes that occur in an individual when they experience PTG. They are as follows:

Personal Strength: the feeling that you can cope with life’s adversities and have more wisdom and maturity as well as feeling stronger for the experience

• Closer Relationships: knowing the value of close relationships as well as having a greater sense of who the important people are in one’s life

• Greater Appreciation of Life: feelings of gratitude, hope, kindness towards others, love and teamwork

• New Possibilities: working towards goals, prioritizing values and time commitments and greater understanding of friends and family

• Spiritual Development: readjusting beliefs to encompass the trauma or revising spiritual beliefs altogether.

I am sure many of you already identifying with these aspects of your own growth. If you haven’t experienced this yet, there is still plenty of time. PTG can take time as it is necessary to go through the emotions associated with the stressful event and move towards a place of recovery. There are, however, also a number of factors that can support you in moving towards growth after a traumatic life event.


• Brutally Honest Optimism: believing that you can be ok and that you have the power to get over this experience

• Perception of Control Over Events: taking action after the event, as well as reframing it into a context that makes sense.

• Coping Style: having an active coping style that leads to problem solving rather than an avoidant coping style that leads to denial and impedes recovery

• Strong Sense of Self: having a purpose in life and a healthy narrative that makes sense of what had happened to you and prevents you from repeating some of the mistakes that may have been made by others that lead to the stressful event.


One of the most important things to remember when you are going through an intensely stressful life event is to get the support and help you need. If you are struggling with your mental health then working with someone who can diagnose what you are experiencing, especially when it comes to Complex PTSD, PTSD or Personality Disorders and provide you with the right kind of therapeutic support. If you are feeling it’s time to make changes and move forward in your healing then working with a coach who can help you work on your ‘New Possibilities’ as well as help you to develop a healthy narrative around your trauma is an excellent way to move to a more healthy place in your life, or what Positive Psychology calls flourishing.


Of course as always, if you have any questions that I can help you with or if you want advice about the kind of support you, or your loved may need, then please get in touch via email: info@metta-morphics.com or via phone: 00353868373582. I see clients face to face and online and can support you using Coaching Psychology, Positive Psychology, NLP, Hypnosis, CBT and Mindfulness.

Thanks for reading.

I hope our paths cross again in future,

Elfreda

 

 

The Mental Health Continuum and Wellbeing

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on March 28, 2019 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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Staying Mindful When Life Gets Difficult

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on January 25, 2019 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)


 

As many of you who follow my blogs post or who know me will know, I am no stranger to heartbreak and loss. When my parents passed away, in my twenties, I had no mindfulness practice to see me through that challenging time. In more recent years I’ve lost two uncles, my father in law as well as two cats and a dog. When each of these occasions arose, I returned to the present moment as best as I could and although I was sad, I was able to cope much better than I had previously.


As I write today my beloved dog McLovin is very ill with a suspected brain tumour, how much time he has or whether he will recover enough to have some time left is uncertain. Times like these have the ability to pull you from the present moment very easily, like leaving money at the atm in a supermarket, only for a staff member to find you after a customer had handed it in, that happened yesterday. That situation had two lessons for me, one is that I need to be more present and the second was that there are some kind and honest people out there in the world.


I am acutely aware that when I dwell on what’s happening, I fall into tears and a sense of loss but if I bring myself to what is here, right now, I can still work and take care of what’s important but most importantly be there for my ill dog. It is every easy to slide into the past, remembering how he was before, going over the events in the run up to this day, wondering what we could have done differently and yet none of that will change where I am now, other than make it harder. If I rush ahead to the future, I am consumed with potential grief, loss and imagining my life without him. This is neither useful or beneficial either.


Staying in the present allows me to be with my emotions as they arise, letting them ebb and flow knowing that they will soon pass to be replaced by another. Focusing on what is right in front of me keeps me in the here and now and helps me to experiencing gratitude for what I have. I am glad that Mc’s illness gives me time to prepare for what is yet to come. I am grateful for all people who are supporting me and James through this, friends, family and the veterinary staff who have all been so kind. I am grateful for the concerned comments from colleagues and neighbours as they enquire about his welfare and I am grateful for my mindfulness practice that keeps pulling me back to the present.


I cannot know what will happen but for now I can rest in what is within my power and allow myself to experience the fullness of my life in each passing moment.


Thanks for reading. If you want to get in touch PM me, or email info@metta-morphics.com.

I hope our paths cross gain in future,

Elfreda (Mind Coach, Trainer & Meditation Instructor)

 

Time to Reflect

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on December 27, 2018 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (0)


As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect before beginning the New Year. Practising gratitude is a regular part of my life and as I am sure many of you may know it is an essential practice in Positive Psychology. The Count Your Blessings intervention has been made well known by the father of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman. This time of year, is a time of huge gratitude for me as I look back on all I’ve achieved, gained, received and shared in this past year.

As a year 2018 has been an eventful one. There have been many changes for me, some disappointments and health issues. However, each of the challenges I faced brought me more gratitude as I realised how amazing and supportive the people in my life are. I have also been blessed with sharing my time with some wonderful people. To all of you who attended classes, listened to me speak and sat opposite me in a coaching session, I am truly grateful. You are the reason I do what I do, and your presence encouraged me to get out of bed even on those days it was struggle.

To my colleagues, those I teach with, train with and my fellow coaches, you are a constant source of support and encouragement. I know when no-one else may see my social media posts one of you will always respond. You encourage me to be my best and challenge me to push my boundaries. This past year some of you have gone above and beyond to support me and help me, especially when things got difficult. I won’t name you but if you are reading this you know who you are.

I am also blessed with a wonderful network of friends, family and loved ones. It is always a joy to be around people who get me and who will accept me, warts and all.

Next year is already looking exciting. I have seen more clients in the past few months than I ever have before and thanks to you and all the referrals I already have bookings for the New Year. I will be speaking in schools to students and staff and delivering lots of mindfulness, well-being, confidence and stress management courses. My studies will continue and by May I will have my Post Graduate certificate in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, the first step in my Masters. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait.

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year, I hope it brings much joy, success and achievement. Thank you for all the comments, Likes, Loves and Shares, you have no idea how much it helps.

I hope our paths cross again in the New Year,

Elfreda (Feeling Grateful)

info@mett-morphics.com/ 00353868373582

 

 

 


Two Short Mindfulness Practices to Get You Through the Festive Season

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on December 21, 2018 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Whether you love it or hate it the Christmas holiday period can have stressors. It may be the build-up, as you try to get everything ready or it may be on the day when you juggle family with present opening and the big feast. This week, as my classes ended for this year, and this term, I taught two short practices to help students if the pressure cooker of stress starts build. I’ve decided to share them with you here too. They take less than five minutes. One is done with eyes closed and the other you can do either with eyes open or closed.

3 Minute Present Moment Awareness.

Sit up straight with your eyes closed. Notice your feet, lower legs, knees and upper legs. Then, notice your pelvis and the feeling of your body on the chair. Notice your stomach and chest and feel the breath entering and leaving your body. Notice your lower back and upper back and then your shoulders. Notice your fingers and thumbs, hands, wrists, upper arms and lower arms. Then notice your neck, back of your head top of your head and face. (This should only take one minute).

Next notice any sounds you can hear, keep listening and if your mind wanders come back to the sounds. Listen for loud ones and quiet ones. Try not to think about what they are, just notice that you can hear things. After a minute move on to the next stage.

Lastly, for one minute, notice your thoughts. Are they thoughts from the past or future, are you worrying, talking to yourself or going over something in your mind? Just notice what is there, without trying to change anything or judge yourself for your thinking. After the minute is over just notice your breath and then open your eyes.

The Power of Three

With your eyes open or closed, notice three different sensations in your body. They may be just in different parts of your body, or you can see if you can find three different specific sensations.

Now see if you can notice three different sounds. Start with louder ones and then move on to quieter ones.

Finally, notice three different types of thoughts you’ve been having. They may be repetitive or recurring. They may have been momentary; pleasure, pain, happiness or discomfort. See if you can find three then, move your attention outwards to what you can see. If you wish you can then look for three things of a specific colour, such as three blue things. Then you can look for three things with numbers. If you are in a public place you can look for three people with hats, bags and so on. As soon as you feel your focus has moved from whatever has been stressing you, you can stop.

You can do either of these exercises at any time, to pull you away from any stressful thinking you may be experiencing. We can’t stop ourselves thinking but we can change our focus.

Wishing you have a very happy Christmas, if you celebrate.

I hope our paths cross gain in future,

Elfreda info@metta-morphics.com 00353868373582

 

 

 


Two Short Mindfulness Practices to Get You Through the Festive Season

Posted by Elfreda Manahan-Vaughan on December 21, 2018 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Whether you love it or hate it the Christmas holiday period can have stressors. It may be the build-up, as you try to get everything ready or it may be on the day when you juggle family with present opening and the big feast. This week, as my classes ended for this year, and this term, I taught two short practices to help students if the pressure cooker of stress starts build. I’ve decided to share them with you here too. They take less than five minutes. One is done with eyes closed and the other you can do either with eyes open or closed.

3 Minute Present Moment Awareness.

Sit up straight with your eyes closed. Notice your feet, lower legs, knees and upper legs. Then, notice your pelvis and the feeling of your body on the chair. Notice your stomach and chest and feel the breath entering and leaving your body. Notice your lower back and upper back and then your shoulders. Notice your fingers and thumbs, hands, wrists, upper arms and lower arms. Then notice your neck, back of your head top of your head and face. (This should only take one minute).

Next notice any sounds you can hear, keep listening and if your mind wanders come back to the sounds. Listen for loud ones and quiet ones. Try not to think about what they are, just notice that you can hear things. After a minute move on to the next stage.

Lastly, for one minute, notice your thoughts. Are they thoughts from the past or future, are you worrying, talking to yourself or going over something in your mind? Just notice what is there, without trying to change anything or judge yourself for your thinking. After the minute is over just notice your breath and then open your eyes.

The Power of Three

With your eyes open or closed, notice three different sensations in your body. They may be just in different parts of your body, or you can see if you can find three different specific sensations.

Now see if you can notice three different sounds. Start with louder ones and then move on to quieter ones.

Finally, notice three different types of thoughts you’ve been having. They may be repetitive or recurring. They may have been momentary; pleasure, pain, happiness or discomfort. See if you can find three then, move your attention outwards to what you can see. If you wish you can then look for three things of a specific colour, such as three blue things. Then you can look for three things with numbers. If you are in a public place you can look for three people with hats, bags and so on. As soon as you feel your focus has moved from whatever has been stressing you, you can stop.

You can do either of these exercises at any time, to pull you away from any stressful thinking you may be experiencing. We can’t stop ourselves thinking but we can change our focus.

Wishing you have a very happy Christmas, if you celebrate.

I hope our paths cross gain in future,

Elfreda info@metta-morphics.com 00353868373582

 

 

 



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