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The FlowStyler Articles

How to get your inspiration & focus back?

Aspiration Achievement Posted on 05 Jun, 2017 07:48PM

Goals are
not rigid – Allowing a shift in priorities

In March I
was back from my wonderful holiday to Finland; visiting my family and roots. I
felt relaxed, connected to myself and my goals and itching to get back to my
work routine. This time however there had been a shift in my priorities.
Whereas I had mainly focussed on my Flow Styler practise these past few years I
sensed that now was the time to re-shift my focus and make more space for the
ultimate reason why I started doing what I do; My love and secret deep passion
for the Arts.

Since I can
remember I have always been creative; drawing, story writing, singing, clay
making, creating games and directing imaginary plays with my childhood friends
but after a certain age I stopped as school became the prevailing focus. At
sixteen I realised purely by accident that I could draw exceptionally well
compared to my age group. But at the time none of this registered. I was
rejecting my creative Flow as it did not fit in with my internalised world view
of what constituted a valid career and what the criteria were to choose that
career. Deep down I knew I wanted to be an artist and work in the creative
field. It took me another ten years to actually start to dabble again in the
creative field, trying to find my medium to express my creativity in, and to slowly
believe that indeed they could come true.

Now you
might think; What has this got to do with
coaching
? Well, everything. Without my search and development of my Flow(s)
there would be no Flow Styler programme. I have found the journey to finding
and following my Flow(s) so fascinating and challenging that I wanted to reach
out and share the knowledge and research I have gained with you but also to find
others who have been or are in a similar situation. My Flow Styler programme
has thus been the end result of my owner search for my Flow(s).

Where to focus

When I talk
about Flow people many times say ‘I don’t have flow. I’m just not talented in
any area’. I did question this too at one stage. Paradoxically my belief has
also always been that everyone has potential, as Mihaly Csikzentmihaly, founding father of positive psychology writes
in ‘Flow – The classic work on how to
achieve happiness’
. It is just hard sometimes to see it in yourself, says Lucy Whittington – Finding your Thing. Everyone has their unique Flow – and we don’t always
just have one but several Flows, as Sir
Ken Robinson
author of the ‘Element’
believes. Finding your Flow is like finding natural resources, he says, they
need to be unearthed from the depths – of yourself (or the earth). This can thus
seem that you do not possess them. It is difficult to see them at times and
takes patience, trial and self-analysis. And once you find them you can make a
choice in where you put your most attention into developing and when.

What do you believe
are your Flow(s)? What would you want to be? What would you want to develop?

Goals are fluid

Once your
Flow(s) are clear you know what goals need attention. Being in tune with yourselves
and working towards connecting to yourself, you can sense when there is a true
shift needed in your focus.

My start of
year goals did not, for example, reflect my recent shift – focusing on my creative
work more strategically. This does not mean the goal wasn’t important it just
meant that at that stage I wasn’t ready yet and the prevailing focus was on
other things.

Goals are
fluid, reshaping themselves and growing as you grow and shift. If you have
found your Flow(s) – created by your passions and talents – you will know that your goals usually revolve
around these few areas that you have chosen to pursue, working on them on a day
to day basis, shifting and changing depending on the stage of development you
are at with them.

Where do you
see a shift coming? Is a shift in focus due or not?

What do you
do most of your day? What could you do less to inject what you really want to
get done in the daily routine?

Re-shuffle and re-prioritize

Going away
helps you to rise above the routine and mundane rut and can be used to reassess
if you are focusing on the right areas. That is why getting away regularly is
so important to me. It enables your brain to take the distance and reshuffle
the cards, draw out the most important next goals to work on and the most
important areas to focus on.

What do you
do to take distance form your day to day life? How do you help yourself to see
the bigger picture?

Unplugging

Unplugging
all devices is delicious. And it’s not only in Finland that I switch off the internet
or don’t check my phone hourly. When I am home or with friends my internet is
off and phone on silent unless I need it or am expecting a call. Immersing yourself
100% in the moment and being present for those you are with also releases the
brain from thinking about your actions. This is the time to let your brain
immerse itself into the new experiences and enable the creation of that
distance in your everyday reality at home and come up with new solutions.

When do you
disconnect from your devices?

Read my
article on sleep and see how unplugging helps you sleep. Here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/surprising-benefits-walking-petra-tourunen?trk=mp-author-card

Away and with friends

Taking time
off is a must on my list, even if it is not getting away from the country
staying away or being with friends in a place nearby can have the same
distancing effect. I love the seaside so Brighton is a great quick getaway for
me as are immersing myself in a great chat with a friend, exercise, nature
walks, inspirational talks or a gallery visit. Not thinking about home or your
goals helps to take that fresh new look at your actions and prioritize.

What do you
do to distance and get away? Is this something you do regularly? How does
getting away make you feel when you get back?

Gain new inspiration

Going away
also enables you to be re-inspired by the current projects and gain new
inspiration that feeds our passion and drive. We can’t leave out our own food just because we are feeding others.
In fact, this is when the whole idea of focusing on the self becomes so
important. When you take care of YOU first you will be happy and so will
others. Coming back from my holiday I had a bag full of energy and new insight
into what I will work on next and re-adjusted my goals for the next five months
to include more planned creative time.

What other
ways are there to get your inspiration back? What will you re-adjust?

Have an
amazing start to the summer…what beautiful weather we have had! I think it is
time for my next holiday soon!

If you liked
my article LIKE me on Facebook or
twitter and connect with me on Linked In.

I’d love to hear back from you about
the ways you help yourself see the bigger picture?

Big love

Petra



Ten reasons why you should laugh more

Aspiration Achievement Posted on 29 Sep, 2016 09:31PM

When was the last time you laughed so hard that the next day it felt like you’d done some sit ups? In Psychology Today’s article ‘Happily Ever Laughter’ a study shows that children at kindergarten age laugh 300 times a day compared to adults who only laugh 17 times a day. There is a lot of research these days to show that laughter really is the best cure for a many different types of ailments including depression. Alike exercise, gratitude, healthy eating, a good night sleep, me time, meditation etc., laughing has an important purpose in our lives to keep our bodies balanced and running smoothly.

Smiling and laughing makes our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and compassion. But it also makes others feel good. It’s contagious, states Laughter University. The brain is so wired to respond positively to smiles and laughter that the brain can’t help it, even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror or mimic laughing, to respond in a positive manner. But there are other reasons research can show smiling and laughter can affect us in a positive way.

You live longer

Interestingly research published with the Archives of General Psychiatry published a study where over 65’s, who had an optimistic outlook on life, were more likely to live longer than their pessimistic peers who expected the worst to happen. Those who were expecting bad things to happen were more likely to die of any causes than the positive thinking counterparts. Make an effort and smile! It’s harder to get sucked down by the daily bad news when we have a laugh.

Boosts your immune system

The neuropharmacologist Candace Pert conducted a study that showed a close association of our immune system to our emotional worlds. When we harper negative thoughts they manifest themselves into chemical reactions that subject our body to more stress, and thus reduce our immunity. The research found that positive thoughts and emotions boosted the neurochemical changes that reduced the impact of stress on our body and the immune system. Berk et al reported that, when 52 healthy men watched a funny video for 30 minutes, they had significantly higher activity of natural killer (NK) cells, that help to contain viral infection, compared with men who watched an emotionally neutral documentary. Really fabulous!

Relieves pain

15 minutes of good laughing alleviates pain by 10% LiveScience.com claims. Not only does it distract you from our discomforts, it also releases endorphins into your brain casing a natural high that soothes and alleviates the pain, Healtland.time.com states. So put on a comedy show when your muscles are cramping or you are on your monthly cycle and feel the natural painkillers work.

Reduces depression

Not only does a happy mood boost our immune system it also enables us to be less stressed and tense, lessens anxiety levels and irritation. According to a study conducted by psychologists Herbert Lefcourt, of the University of Waterloo, and Rod Martin, Ph.D., at the University of Western Ontario those who were stressed with a good sense of humour became less depressed and anxious than those with less well developed sense of humour. When we relax and laugh our mind relaxes too. Researchers at West Chester University in Pennsylvania also found that students who used humour as a coping mechanism were more likely to be in a positive mood stopping them from sliding into the blues.

Improves your relationships

Having a laugh with a friends and family is a way to bond and get through the touch times with humour. As laughing is contagious you will help other to relax and lift their mood too. You will be remembered as a positive influence. Research interestingly suggest that women laugh more than men. Luckily men love women who smile and laugh.

Lowers blood pressure and boost Oxygen

The Laughter Foundation states that laughter has the ability to reduce the production of stress hormones. This not only happens when we laugh but continues for a time after. Laughter also works our muscles, which heightens our blood pressure and dilates blood vessels to enable more oxygen to circulate through our body, due to the deeper breathing that happens when we laugh. The ‘heartier’ the laugh, the better. Laughing 15-20 minutes a day is good for heart health the Laughter Foundation says.


So get laughing and feel the wonderful benefits. Try out some of these
tips to get you giggling.

Watch a funny DVD or show

Go to a comedy club

Share a joke

Smile and see who responds

Visit the humour section at your local book store

Surround yourself with people who share your humour

Go to laughter classes

Connect through meetup.com with like-minded people

Play a game

Visit magic shops or toy shops

Play and spend time with dogs

And just smile at
yourself in the mirror when you pass.

Have a good laugh!

Big love

Petra x



The surprising benefits of walking

Aspiration Achievement Posted on 31 Aug, 2016 01:31PM

I grew up in Finland always surrounded by nature. My parents were keen to get us children out into ‘fresh air’ so we spent most of our free time (even when it rained) playing outside and in the forest close by. Apart from my parents gaining some valuable ‘breathing space’, we children also reaped the rewards of playing outside in nature. Research suggests that walking outside in nature has a huge beneficial effects on how we survive the stresses and trials of work, education and relationships (so life in general), it ‘restores’ the brain’s health and makes us more creative, not forgetting the physical benefits it brings with it.

In Japan the power of the outdoors has also been known for centuries despite any scientific evidence. The Japanese call going walking in the forest Shinrin-yoku meaning ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ or ‘forest bathing’. I have always been very close to nature, so when I moved to London what dictated my choice of habitat was the proximity to nature. I currently live a short walking distance from Richmond Park. This is my escape, my exercise ground and the place I do my daily afternoon walk.

Better immune system

There is a general recommendation of 10000 steps per day for walking to reap the rewards on your immune system. If you are wondering how much this is; this is on average of 5miles or 8.04672 km per day. So you can imagine this amount of walking a day is bound to have some benefits. However walking just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health helps the body function better through this light whole body workout. Walking (and exercise in general) is one component of creating that healthy immune system, helping you from catching every flu that goes around.

Lowers blood pressure

Walking lowers your blood pressure, the risk of heart disease and blood clots. After a meal your blood sugar levels and glucose levels go up, which is normal, however for those suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes (glucose) this can be a problem. A brisk 30minute walk, Healthy Food House.com writes, especially after a meal, lowers that blood pressure and keeps glucose levels under control in all of us.

Lubricates the joints

Walking keeps the joints lubricated and interestingly helps with back pain too. “Exercise is definitely helpful in back pain. It’s very important to keep as gently active as possible.” Daniel Steffens from the University of Sydney states. And those who suffer from Arthritis are encouraged to walk too as this is the most gentile form of exercise. So if you have not been exercising for a while or have back pain walking can be a great way to get back into moving the body and thus preventing reoccurring health problems.

It lets your cells ‘see’

I believe we are not born to sit in front of computers all day. Our ancestors were hunter gatherer roaming this earth, moving from place to place. I believe this is still in our genes. One of the reasons we get depressed and blue is when we do not use our body and regenerate our minds in nature. In the ‘Super Brain’Deepak Chopra and Professor of Neurology at Harvard – Rudolfe E Tanzi write about billions of cells ‘seeing’ the outside world through the movement of our body…I find this a fascinating way of describing it. The brain transmits chemicals to the body when exercising or walking and this way enabling our cells a sense of contact and stimulation from the outside world. I love it!

Mind control

Research has shown that walking those 10.000 steps a day has a great positive effect on our physical health but when we combine the walking with nature the results are even more significant on your mind. Just 30minutes of walking in nature will recharge your brain’s batteries and enable you to be more focussed and creative. Walking improves your memory and cognitive control and even improves academic performance (the US Institute of Medicine’s). Already Aristotle famously believed in taking his students for walks when teaching them enabled them to focus better. Our minds get tired too and need recharging David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah believes, that is why hiking and immersing ourselves in nature are important components to include in our balanced lives.

Better sleep

If the day has been stressful a walk after work can be a godsend as it helps you reduce your stress levels, distance yourself from the hassles and bring your mind to a relaxed state to enable a good night sleep. The National Sleep Foundation writes that research conducted by Brad Cardinal, Professor of exercise science at Oregon State confirms that those who exercise more than the 150 minutes a week also sleep better. And in return if we are able to have a good night sleep, where the body regenerates itself, we are more likely to feel more alert in the day and have more energy to keep doing our walks.

Tool to reduce stress

These days there is ample evidence to say that stress really is a choice says Professor John Perry form Southampton University. Regular walking therefore is a tool to lower that blood pressure, increase the endorphins in your blood stream that lifts the mood. Regular walking (and any type of exercise) enables you to take on the trials at work, deal with difficult people and circumstances in a completely different way. Professors at Harvard Medical School show that exercise relaxes and calms the mind and counters depression and stress. Clinical trials shown exercise can even treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression. What happens is that exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol , stimulates the production of endorphins, our natural painkillers and mood elevators. It is like a buffer helping to withstand the trials of life. And when we are able to keep to our walking routines it gives us the feeling of achievement which in return boosts our confidence.

Soul food

It is very therapeutic to be in nature. Just watching the beauty of it all makes our hearts sing. Walking , especially in nature, let’s your brain recharge itself from the hustle and bustle of the city by immersing into the soothing sounds of nature and reflective practise that comes with walking in nature. David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah who specializes in attention, is a firm believer in the power of nature on our mind, body and soul. But we must make the time to be consciously aware of being in nature and not get side-tracked with thinking of all the things that still need doing when we get back from our walk. Focussing on seeing what is happening ‘now’ in front of our eyes lets our brains, like in meditation, purely focussing on the ‘now’ generating a meditative effect. Therefore if you find sitting still hard when meditating try walking in nature. It serves a similar purpose.

So if you want to increase your daily walking and reap the benefits of the practise see the small list below of things you can do to increase your walking. Start small even a 5min walk around the block is great! Weaving the walking into your daily routine can also help you reach the 5km target. Think about what days are you free in the evenings or in the day to go for a walk or when you could swap your transport for your feet.

Try these to get closer to the 5 miles walking a day and reap the rewards on your mind , body and soul.

  • Take a walk with your friend, partner, children
  • Pick up the kids from school, gym, hobbies without a car
  • Walk the dog
  • Walk into town
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Take out the rubbish
  • Park your car further away when shopping
  • Walk to do your food shop
  • Get up to change the channel
  • Window shop
  • Go for a hike down your favourite part of town
  • Plan a walking meeting
  • Walk to the station in the morning
  • Get off a stop earlier and walk
  • Walk over to visit a neighbour

What will you do differently from now on to get more walking under your belt? Let me know I would love to find out!

Big love, Petra x



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