TRIGGER, not just the name of the Roy Rogers horse.

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We all have triggers, some good and some bad. Positive triggers can bring back good feelings like the smell of coconut oil that takes your mind back to your wonderful holidays in Bali as a smile draws across your face, laying on the beach, soaking up the sun and enjoying your time away from the stresses of day to day life. Laying back on the beach with a cold refreshing drink just watching the sunset slowly over the ocean on another glorious day. These bring to you a closeness with happier times of carefree enjoyment as you sit and soak up the smell to wring every ounce of enjoyment you can pull from that fond memory. Or in the case of negative triggers they can bring back quite traumatic memories that can leave the affected person, often times feeling helpless, alone and scared.

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Triggers be it good or bad are your bodies coping mechanisms to a situation. An emotional trigger is something that brings up certain feelings within us. These feelings may be positive or negative.
We naturally prefer to experience positive rather than negative emotions, so it’s valuable to know what triggers us to have negative emotions. Examples of negative triggers include:

  • Being rejected by someone.
  • Having one of our personal values violated.
  • Being ignored by someone.
  • Someone blaming, shaming, criticising or judging us.
  • Being controlled or threatened by someone.
  • Not being included in a decision that affects us in some way.

There are many things that could be added to the list that can triggers us, which is why it’s important to learn to identify them and also be aware of them when they’re actually happening. As part of our ongoing mental health and growth, learning to identify our emotional triggers and manage them better, is really important.
The better we can manage our emotional triggers, the less reactive we’ll be, which means we’ll not let external events or conditions affect us in a negative way.

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  5 Ways to Become More Aware of Your Negative Emotional Triggers

  1. Observe what you’re feeling in your body. A negative emotional trigger will cause our bodies to react a certain way. It may be feeling knots in our stomachs, feeling tense or nauseas or starting to breathe faster. As soon as we start to feel something different, we know we’re having a negative reaction to a situation. This is when we need to take action to prevent further emotional damage to ourselves.
  2. Determine if certain words or behaviours cause a reaction. Words have power and they can cause us to experience different emotions. Likewise, there may be things other people do that bring us certain thoughts, which then cause certain emotions. By paying more attention to these triggers, we can be proactive and take appropriate measures to deal with them beforehand.
  3. Identify activities that bring up negative responses. There are things we do that we may not necessarily enjoy, but we do them because we feel we have to. There are other activities, which we may have more control over, that may be generating certain responses. An example could be watching the news on television. If negative news triggers us, we have the choice to stop watching the news.
  4. Determine if certain people or conversations bring up negative emotions. As we become what we are surrounded by the most, we have to be more conscious of the conversations we have with them. For example, if certain people prefer to talk about politics and that generates heated discussions, we can choose not to talk about politics with them.
  5. Identify if time is a trigger. Sometimes things may happen at a certain time that bring us negative emotions. For example, being in rush hour traffic or even the thought of being late may trigger a negative reaction so we can choose an alternative means of travel, or choose a different time to travel, or be better prepared mentally ahead of time to deal with rush hour traffic.

Awareness is often the first step to any lasting change. The more aware we are of our negative triggers, the better we can manage them and have the experiences we want. If we don’t develop a higher level of awareness, we’ll continue to be triggered by past or current events, and not behave in a way that will support us in being the best we can be.
Action Step: Identify a negative trigger you have and reflect on how you have dealt with it. Review the things mentioned above to become more aware of when and how you get triggered so that you can better manage them.

Trust and distrust

How would it be to live in a household where not only did one parent not like you but they also hated you enough to not trust you and blame you for anything and everything.

This was my life growing up, my stepfather and I never saw eye to eye and never really liked each other as much as tolerate each other. It didn’t matter what happened because I usually, or more often than not, got the blame as well as the resulting punishment, and with this man there was always punishment and it was always brutal.

The bearings in the wheels on my skate board wore out, I got blamed for how I rode it, if I got a flat tyre on my BMX bike again it was my fault and he refused to fix it or even help fix it because I damaged it so it was my problem, I would have to go and earn money myself if I wanted it fixed. And when I snapped the frame after coming off my bike, if the pain from the crash wasn’t bad enough the hiding I received when I got home was.

One of my best friends when I was young betrayed me when he stole a few hundred dollars  from a local retail store and bought a remote control car, which he then bought to my place to play with and left it there so we could play with it during the week after school. I had no Idea he had stolen any money but my stepfather had already read about the theft that day and the story said it was a child involved in the theft, he found the toy car in our garage and instantly had it in his head that I must be the thief.

He asked me where I got the car from and I told him it belonged to a friend that had bought it over. Now instead of believing me he put me and that toy in his car and we drove to my friends house, all the while he was telling me about the theft of money and that if he found out it was me he was going to kill me. When my mate was confronted by his mother at the front door about his toy car he told both his mum and my stepfather that it wasn’t his, it was mine and that’s why it was at my place.

My stepfather hurled me back into the car and got in the drivers side slamming me in the chest with the back of his hand and telling me what was in store for me when I got home. We got home and as soon as the door was closed I copped the hiding of my life up until that point, he flew into a verbal tirade of calling me a thieving little (expletive) and a lying little (expletive) and laid into me physically until I nearly passed out.

These episodes with him in my teenage years were frequent and bought with them a lot of anger and trust issues for me, I had created a survival mechanism where I would make sure I always got in first and put the other person down, both physically and verbally. These where some very dark times for me and I had very little to no friends.

This is just one of the many bad times in my book entitled Walking with the black dog.

Failure is growth, If we don’t fail, we don’t learn, if we don’t learn we don’t grow.

If you want your life to change, don’t wait for it to change because you’ll die waiting.
You must change yourself, you must change what you are willing to accept, you must change what you are doing, or what you are not doing and you MUST do it now.
Because if not now, when.
If not right now, you are giving your mind the opportunity to talk you out of it, and it will, because it’s scared of changing or it’s scared of failing or it’s scared of the unknown and that’s because your brain has been there before and it doesn’t like it, and in doing so is trying to protect you by not letting you fail.
Let me tell you this, EVERYONE FAILS, if we don’t fail, if we don’t grow.
How do you think an athlete would be if they always beat the competition, would they train harder? No. And you will never grow if you continue to compete against the people you are better than.
The only people training harder than the winner, is all the athletes that failed to beat the winner.
Some athletes may give up and stop running, others will continue to run and continue to fail.
But they will continue, they will continue to train, they will continue to fine tune what they do and they will keep going, adapting, changing and working harder than the one person they have to beat, and eventually one of them will.
This will be the one who wanted it, who saw that end goal, who fought through all their failures, who kept working harder than anyone else, who ignored their brain telling them you can’t achieve this.
One of the best quotes I ever heard came from Arnold Schwarzenegger, “The mind always gives up before the body does, the trick is to get your mind working for you, not against you.
Are you going to listen to your mind, or are you going to listen to your heart? It’s a known medical fact that a developing baby heart while in the womb will start beating at approx 5 weeks, while there brain doesn’t start any sign of functioning until approx 21 weeks.
So how if the baby’s brain isn’t yet fully developed can it’s own heart start beating, medics will always have many theories on this, but I believe that the heart has it’s own intelligence similar to the brain.
I also believe this is why anything bad that happens we associate with the brain, like nightmares, bad ideas, etc. Yet anything good in our lives we associate with our heart, our loves, our passions, our desires are all heartfelt.
Chase what’s in your heart, force your brain to get you there and never let your brain tell you to give up on yourself because YOU are worth the effort.

Belief systems, we all have them.

We all have belief systems, or a system of beliefs that we have adopted throughout our lives. These belief systems are typical human behavior designed by us to protect ourselves, create an emotion, justify an emotion and even to make us accept or not accept a certain situation.

Negative emotions are a part of our belief systems, however negative emotions aren’t negative emotions, you’ve just been missing the message this emotion is trying to give you. Negative emotions are really emotional messages, or calls to action.

Fear is a call to action, your adrenaline starts pumping, your body starts tensing up. Emotions are a call to action, but we tend to ignore and suppress this message because we don’t recognize it for what it is.

Every emotion is a message, it’s a call to action and the action our message is trying to give us by this is we need to realize and do one of two things, or both. We need to change our perception of this or we need to change our current actions. Every negative emotion we have ever felt is not negative, we may over use them and indulge in them, but what makes them negative is that we are not getting the messages these emotions are trying to give us.

Can anybody make yo feel bad? Absolutely not! You are responsible for how you feel. Most of us are too busy indulging in negative emotion that we don’t get and understand the message the emotion is trying to give us, and for us to understand the message we must first change the meaning of the message.

What is this emotion trying to tell us, change your perception and ask yourself what does this emotion truly mean, is this person yelling at me because he hates me or maybe  he’s not not really upset about me he’s just upset about something else, maybe he isn’t in a good mood right now, maybe if he was in a good mood he would have acted differently to this.

If someone is in a bad mood it’s because they have allowed themselves to get in, or be put in a bad mood. But moods are still emotional states and emotional states can always be improved by changing our perception, (ok, this person is upset, lets see if I can help him with his problem instead of me getting upset, because then you now have two upset people throwing their anger outward in an ever increasing circle.) Or change your actions because what you’re doing isn’t working ( stay calm and not feed the fire making the situation even angrier, try offering assistance to help fix the problem and not take the problem on as your own.)

We don’t need to hate negative emotions or even see negative emotions as negative, negative emotions are only negative because this is the label we give it based on our emotion toward a given situation and even just a thought. How many times have we had something that needed doing and just because you couldn’t be bothered doing it, you made it so bad in your head in order to really hate it and avoid having to do it instead of taking the five precious minutes out of our lives and just getting it done? We need to identify what this emotion is trying to tell us in order for us to fix the problem and not allow ourselves to be ultimately weighed down and controlled by this emotion.

Nobody can ever make you feel bad or angry or hurt or frustrated or negative, these are all emotions or emotional states we have given ourselves or allowed ourselves to be in, and like I said before all we need to do is to recognize and acknowledge this emotion for what it is and then work on ways to either fix the problem or communicate a solution. Be it changing what we do or helping someone else to change what they do, because without change there’s now growth, there’s just the same old problem.

Can Depression Be A Positive Thing?

There has been a growing controversy both about the effectiveness of anti-depressants — that half the people taking placebos do just as well – as well as concern about biological effects, such as increasing the risk of relapse, causation of brain neuron deterioration, bone mineral loss, etc. A different spin in the controversy comes from an evolutionary psychology perspective, some researchers and clinical psychologists believe that maybe there is something useful about depression after all.

What prompts their questioning is the prevalence of depression – 20-30% of the population compared to single digits for other mental illnesses – why is this so different? They make the analogy to fevers where the fever process is the body’s way of dealing with infection, and the use of drugs to kill the fever actually weakens the body’s homeostatic functioning. Maybe depression too has some beneficial effect after all. When they look at the biological impact of depression they discover some interesting ideas:

Depression leads to more analytical thinking.
What they found is that the way we think about problems actually changes with depression. We are able to break down complex problems into smaller components. Depressed people actually do better on certain tests than those who are not. We also do a better job solving social problems when depressed.
Depression makes us more focused.
The deep seeded thoughts – the circling around the same thoughts with seemingly little control – is considered one of the negative symptoms of depression and what medications try to target. There is only some much we can actually hold in our minds at any one time. Depression helps keep us from being distracted by other issues and instead pushes the most important to the for front. So we think, think, think, analyze, analyze, analyze until we can put what is most bothering us to rest. If we try to avoid the negative thoughts through use of drugs or alcohol, they in fact last longer.
Physical symptoms keep us on target.
The desire to be alone, the decrease in libido, the lack of energy, sleeplessness actually reinforce the focus. Our bodies are actually joining forces with our minds to keep us from moving forward and dealing with our problems, keeping us from being lured away by additional distractions.
The take-away from this is that they are reluctant to immediately try and kill symptoms with medication. While a small percentage of the population are struggling with a biologically rooted disorder, for a majority of us our depression is most often situational – there is something we need to pay attention to and fix in our lives and relationships. So, they say, look at what there is to fix. Doing therapy to talk through your thoughts, or doing expressive writing helps work with overthinking and speeds up the recovery process. Rather than mentally or pharmaceutically running away from problems, slow down and give yourself the time to sort it out.

Mental Health

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Learn more about specific mental health problems and where to find help.

Mental Health and Wellness

Positive mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Getting professional help if you need it
  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills

Learn More About Mental Health

Chase Your dreams or live your fear

Many people aren’t living their dreams, they are living their fears.

Many people aren’t living their dreams, they are living their fears. They are living their fears because in order to get to where you want to be, financially, physically, spiritually, you’ve got to make some hard decisions, you have to go through hard times. Nothing in life that’s worth doing, is worth doing easy, at the end of the day if you want to chase your dream, not what others have in store for you, I’m talking about your dream, your passion, your gift. Then you are going to have to do it hard, put in the extra work, do the extra hours, practice and practice and practice what you have to do to achieve this, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing hard and never be afraid to fail.

Walt Disney filed for bankruptcy 7 times and had 2 nervous breakdowns before he became successful. Before April 1954 the 4 minute mile was considered an un achievable goal because so many had tried and failed. A man named Roger bannister came along with one goal in his head, to break the 4 minute mile, he trained different, thought different, did everything he could, different to everyone else that tried and failed. He had that one focus and that one goal, he trained harder than anyone, he thought differently to everyone and he was never going to accept failure, sure he failed and failed and failed, but he never gave up on his belief that the 4 minute mile could be broken. Since that day over twenty thousand people have run better than his time, and many of those have been school kids, why is that. Because somebody had already done it so everyone knew it could be done, this gave them the leverage to overcome the negative thought that it was unachievable.

Don’t be afraid to fail, failing doesn’t make you a loser, giving up makes you a loser.There are losers, there are winners and there are people who haven’t figured out how to win yet. Which one are you.

Learn to live with failure because everybody fails, there is not a person on this planet (and I don’t care how successful you are) that has not failed. The difference is the people that failed and kept going became successful, if you fail, try something else, if you fail again, try something else, if that fails keep changing what it is you’re doing, keep going and never give up until you succeed, failure is not an option.

Let me tell you something I know, I wasted 47 years of my life doing nothing, I did try a few things, I tried inventing things, I tried my own businesses, I’ve taken jobs that I knew I hated before I even accepted them, but I took them because my own belief system was so low that I believed this is as good as I thought I could ever be.

I am now pursuing something I have knowledge about and that I can help other people with, it may not pay anything, but money isn’t my driving force behind this. It’s helping others to not to have to live the life I’ve led while helping myself grow as a better human being. The change you are chasing will come but first you must change yourself.

Motivation, or the lack there of.

We all lack motivation from time to time, but we do need to find the motivation before our depressed state is that comfortable in your life that it takes a seat because once it sits down you are going to struggle to get rid of it. For most people they don’t know what their motivation is, they have absolutely no Idea what excites them at all. I agree, it’s hard to find motivation on the lounge or in front of the tv or if you spend all your time on your phone or ipad or computer. most people say i’m not depressed, depression is simply a low emotional state. Everybody in this world gets depressed, it’s only the depth of the depression that varies. When you get hurt, lied to, upset, annoyed, beaten, betrayed, these are all depressive states. How often we are subjected to these, the longer and more frequent these happen to us dictates how quickly we succumb to clinically diagnosed depression.

I spoke with a bloke the other day about he had no motivation for his job, I told him that was rubbish, I told him that his motivation wasn’t big enough. I said to him what if I told you to come and see me here tomorrow morning at 4 am and I’ll give you a hamburger, he said he wasn’t getting out of bed at 4 am for that, I said but what if you were starving, he said he didn’t care. I said ok what if I said be here at 4 am tomorrow morning and I’ll give you 3 million dollars, he said he would be here at 3:55 am knocking on my door for that money, I said even if it’s pouring rain and freezing cold outside and he said hell yeah it would be worth the 3 million dollars. I told him he had more chance of getting a hamburger from me at 4 am than he ever did at getting 3 million dollars from me, but he wasn’t concerned because his motivation was  so great, his motivation was the 3 million dollars.

Unfortunately we are so often too focused on the little things in life that are much easier to reach with no commitment and little motivation, that we don’t chase the goals that are right under our noses, and so easily accessible if we committed and found the motivation to go out and get it. but we talk ourselves out of this by making our end goal much smaller in our heads than it actually is, so that our brain will never find the motivation your body needs to commit to seeing your dream through.

Think about all the things that you wanted out of life, forget about your bills, forget about your job, or anything that’s not going right in your life at the moment because these things will always be there, we just need to learn to deal with these but not stay focused on them.

We ALL have that dream, that end result of how we want our lives to be. Envision it, feel it, become it, focus on that picture every day of your life and use this as your motivation. Then start taking MASSIVE IMMEDIATE ACTION because the longer you wait the more chance of the negative depressive thoughts taking control of your mind and filling you with self doubt, telling yourself that you can’t do it, that your not worth it, that is rubbish.

You can do it, you are worth it and you owe it to yourself to achieve it, because no one’s going to hand it to you. You have to be willing to stand up off that couch or get out of that pub or break that bad habit and start the process. The greatest motorcycle stuntman of all times Evil Knievel once said “if something is possible, it has been done. If something is impossible, somebody will find a way to do it”. Nothing is impossible, your only limitation is you, not money, not time, not motivation, just you. If you want something bad enough you will figure out a way to get it.

Understanding Depression.

The term the black dog has been used throughout the centuries before being made famous by Winston Churchill’s chilling account of his own battle with the black dog of depression in the 1930’s.

We quite often find ourselves in times of self doubt, self pity, hate and uncertainty that we seem to focus more and more of the negativities in life and forget about the positives. I myself discovered I was suffering depression due to family abuse and break up dating back as far as 1976.

I had grown up in a family affected by sexual, physical and emotional abuse with both a father and a step-father that had unfortunately left me psychologically and emotionally scared to the point that I trusted no one. I inherited this self destructive behavior from my own family, and for years found it hard to communicate and even deal with people.

I ended up homeless on the streets of Kings Cross Sydney in 1985 at the age of 15 where I was surrounded by street kids, bikie gangs, drug dealers, sex workers, drag queens, transvestites, corrupt cops and extreme violence.

I had gone through life working jobs short term, this isn’t because they were short term jobs, this was mainly due to my attitude. I would work for months and sometimes years with no problems when all of a sudden, out of the blue something would go wrong and I would not let it go. I would always blow it up to be bigger than what it was. I would attack not so much other workers but senior employers, I would challenge them, talk down to them, intimidate and often fight them.

I could see that I was putting my loved ones through hell, particularly my wife. In April of 2017 I wrote a short 15 page story to myself about my life and some of the things I had been through to see if I could make any sense of my life. After quite a bit of soul searching and internal conflict I decided to let my wife and my mother in-law read it. My mother in-law cried while reading this as she had always seen me as this hard person and could now see why.

My wife convinced me to expand on this as she knew there was a lot in this story that I had not said and she believed it would help me to understand everything I had been through a lot better, both the good and the bad if I wrote it down. I decided to do this and I was blown away by not only how much I remembered but how much detail and how all these situations made me feel. I grew up feeling alone whilst in my family, I felt scared, overwhelmed, anxious, hateful, but mostly I felt hurt. Not because of the abuse, I grew used to that but I was hurt that I had absolutely no protection by my mother from any of this.

I know there are a lot of people out there that know exactly what I am talking about from their own experiences, but there was one thing I could also see by doing this that it wasn’t all bad times, there where some good times as well, and although I may not have been able to help what happened to me as a child I now see that the negativity I was so focused on while growing up certainly dictated where my life headed as an adult.

Everything we do in life, every decision we make is based on emotion, how we feel about a situation or someone, previous things that have happened to us. How we react to these situations determines the direction our life will go, once we understand this basic principal we can make the fundamental changes within our lives needed to achieve positive outcomes.

Everyone is different when it comes to the amount of abuse they have endured or the amount of time spent suffering from depression, My hope is to help people discover that although life may not be going your way at this point in time, and let’s be realistic here, things are always going to go wrong from time to time. We don’t have to stay stuck in that moment because of our emotion towards a problem. As Tony Robbins once said, a problem is merely a question that hasn’t been answered yet, If you can’t find a solution to a problem, ask better questions.

You certainly don’t need to beat yourself up about it, acknowledge what has happened by seeing it as it is but not worse than it is and allow yourself to move on, at the end of the day the only thing preventing any of us from being happy is ourselves. I will share with everyone the tips and techniques I have been using to stay focused via blogs, links and apps in future publications.