Back in July 2016 the chief executive of the European Tour stated: "...golf must embrace new formats" and suggested that 6 hole tournaments must be embraced by the golfing community. Golf has to be "...more open to letting the youth actually participate".

His statement was followed this week with the announcement from the R & A and the USGA that new rules for the game of golf are scheduled to be implemented in 2019. The idea behind them is that they want to make a game of golf quicker with simpler rules. They want the game to appeal to more people, younger people and attract people back onto golf courses. 

Other sports that have been around for a very long time have added new formats, versions of the game: cricket with Twenty20 and snooker with One-frame Shoot-out. Not only have the formats changed but so has the way in which the spectators participate: shouting out, music, shot clocks and PA announcements all aimed to increase the 'noise'. Even a change in dress code is being allowed. 

Is this a sign of the times that even our leisure activities need to speed up? Everything in our lives must happen quicker and faster. When we want something we want it NOW, instantly, we're not prepared to wait. We no longer seem to have the ability to wait, to ponder, 'to smell the roses'. Boredom seems to be banned, not allowed, a thing of the past particularly in our free time (well if you can call it free time nowadays). We must fill every second, every moment with something... anything! If we're not engaged in a conversation out comes the smart phone to 'connect us' to the wider world, afraid we are missing something. I remember when I was younger (I'm sounding like my grandfather now, let alone my mother!) and we went to someone's house or they came to ours, having to just sit and listen to adults talking, being bored - which actually meant having time to think, space in my brain to slow down, to create, to imagine and not worry about what I was missing out on.

Scientific research is showing that our attention spans are actually decreasing as opposed to increasing. So it's comes as no surprise that everything in our lives must happen quicker and faster. When we want something we want it NOW, instantly! We get anxious and stressed when things don't happen straight away and interestingly we also get anxious and stressed because things happen straight away, meaning we struggle to or can't keep up. We send a text and expect an immediate response, when we don't get it we start worrying: did I say the right thing? have I upset them? don't they like me? has something happened to them? Worry, worry, worry - whole days are spent worrying, getting stressed and anxious because we are trying to catch up with a world that WE are actually making go faster and faster. 

Should we be surprised that anxiety, stress and depression along with a whole range of mental health issues are on the increase at a younger and younger age? Should we be surprised that people in corporate life are getting burnt out because of the hours they have to work just to "keep on top of their emails"? When we're the ones sending them!We're the ones creating this stressed out, ever faster-paced world. But don't worry, it's OK, we can relax by watching or participating in a game of golf. 

Phew...thank goodness for that. 

Just as long as it's quick, keeps my interest for every second and doesn't take up too much time!

Posted on Mar 03, 2017 - Posted in Lifestyle
I was on a train travelling into London thinking about the course I was planning to run at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, to help people overcome their fear of flying. I started pondering on what makes people afraid of flying, travelling on trains, the underground etc. and it lead me to think back about my experiences of flying and why I wasn't afraid. 

I remember my very first flight, it was on a school skiing holiday when I was 14 years old. It never occurred to me to be afraid. Like many others I'd never flown before as it wasn't very common back in the early 1970's but I remember I was so excited to climb up the rear steps (which seem to come out of the tail) into the aircraft. I guess I didn't overthink it, I didn't have lots of negative stories or images to scare me. I thought nothing of it. I was so excited with butterflies in my stomach. I loved the flight out and the one back.

I never had the chance to fly again until I applied and was accepted to join Laker Airways as a member of their cabin crew. I was 20 years old. What on earth was I thinking?! It never occurred to me when I applied and accepted the job that having only done 2 flights I wouldn't like it or I'd be afraid.

The next flight I took was to Los Angeles via Bangor, Maine (aircraft couldn't get there in one hop in those days!) as a member of cabin crew. I had learnt all about the things I needed to just in case something went wrong: we practiced evacuating the aircraft, jumped down slides, fought fires, wore breathing apparatus, up-righted life rafts and much more. Did this new found knowledge about what could happen put me off? Did it make me afraid of flying? No not at all.

When I was crew I never really understood why people had a fear of flying or how crippling it could be. Some people manage to fly but are anxious and fearful throughout whilst for others the fear is so intense they can't even look at the photo of an aircraft let alone board a flight or they used to fly with no problem but have now become anxious. So what is going? What makes me and everyone else that happily board aircraft different to those who have a fear? The answer is very simple, in basic terms, the difference is in what we are thinking, what we are imagining is going to happen, the story we are telling ourselves. The brain will then react accordingly: activating the appropriate parts, releasing the necessary chemicals that in turn prepare us physiologically to respond - either to relax and enjoy the flight or prepare for danger. 

What do you need to do to overcome your fear? ANY fear? Again the answer appears to be very simple - change your thoughts, think differently. But being able to do it is the interesting part! 

For further details on my half-day courses at Brooklands Museum go to /course-at-brooklands-museum/
Posted on Feb 23, 2017 - Posted in Lifestyle
How many things do we start to succeed at in life only to then self-sabotage our efforts? One of the most common examples would be people on a diet who start to lose weight, feel better about their achievements and then, for what appears to be no reason, go and put all the weight back on again. What makes us self-sabotage our successes in life?

We start developing beliefs both positive and negative about ourselves at an early age from the things people close to us say. We then look for evidence to support the belief, ignoring any evidence that contradicts it. A negative belief is kept going or supported by our own inner critical voice. An example would be that as you were growing up you were constantly told, "You'll never succeed you can't stick to anything!" We'll start to generalise this belief to include everything we do in life including losing weight. The result is that as we start to control our eating habits and see that we are losing weight - contrary to our belief about ourselves - our inner critical voice starts telling us "Why bother? You'll never succeed, might as well eat that cake/crisps/chocolate". We've self- sabotaged our chances of succeeding.

Often there is an underlying fear or deeper belief that brings about the self sabotage. The deeper belief can take some work to uncover and the question I work through with my clients is, "What belief about yourself do you have which must be true for you, that makes the self sabotaging behaviour to true?" For example: your belief is all chubby / overweight people are popular and funny, therefore to make that belief true and for you to still have lots of friends and be popular you must stay chubby / overweight. The deeper fear might be that if you lose the weight you won't be funny and therefore people won't like you as much so you won't have as many friends. The inner critical voice will do all it can to support your belief and therefore self-sabotage your efforts.

Other examples of deeper level beliefs behind self-sabotage are: that you don't deserve to succeed, be thin, be loved, be happy, have a good job. Once you work on challenging and changing those beliefs: where did they come from? Did you create them to fit a certain situation / event? Are they still relevant today? It becomes much easier to stop self-sabotaging your successes.

Focusing on the negatives around what you want to achieve create a build up of frustration, which gives way to the inner critical voice, and you give up. Start mentally celebrating and focusing on the small successes and achievements around your goal, it's far more motivating and will quieten that critical voice! 

If you would like to know more about self sabotage, or want help to overcome your emotional eating, I have linked up with Janey Holliday, lifestyle mentor and health coach. We are running an online course to help people tackle their Emotional Eating. For further information click here: http://makingthingseasy.com/project/emotionaleating/.
Posted on Sep 08, 2015 - Posted in Lifestyle
How do triggers and anchors affect emotional eating?

Emotional eating can mean either over-eating or under-eating to affect how you feel. I'm often asked by clients to help them overcome the emotional eating cycle they know they are in but can't seem to stop.

The best way to change a behaviour is to understand what drives it in the first place. Once you can work out and understand the reason for the behaviour it becomes so much easier to change.

In very simple terms we create the trigger that results in the behaviour, in this case emotional eating. The behaviour combined with the trigger then makes, and strengthens with repetition, the anchor for that behaviour.

If emotional eating is the resulting behaviour then what triggers it? I hear you ask. I'll explain:
  • - something happens during your day, the thoughts you create about that situation are                                             determined by your beliefs
  - your thoughts then determine the feelings you experience about that situation
  - often people feel there is no opportunity to express those feelings so they remain repressed
  - as a result we turbot food to avoid those feelings and to help ourselves feel better.

However this 'triggers' the vicious cycle of emotional eating. There is usually another belief about over-eating which...creates the thoughts (guilt, shame, disgust), which creates the feelings, which we can't express to anyone so we eat more to feel better. And so it continues.

The most common triggers are: stress and anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger, frustration, sadness, depression or a feeling of hopelessness unable to do anything. There are ways in which to break the cycle which include:
  - taking a 10 break before heading for the food, re-learning what it means to be hungry so you can             distinguish between hunger and habit 
  - finding other things that make you feel good which you do instead e.g. ring a friend, go for walk, take a bath, pamper yourself.
  - have a drink of water, it helps you to distinguish between thirst and hunger

If that's a trigger then what's an anchor?

An anchor is an unconscious connection between one or more experiences that brings on either a positive or negative emotional response. These responses aren't necessarily logical but have become 'wired', so to speak, into your hard drive. A well-known example would be an experiment known as Pavlov's dogs. Pavlov rang a bell then fed his dogs and repeated this many times so the dogs made a connection - anchor - between hearing the bell and being fed. So when Pavlov simply rang the bell the dogs started to salivate. The more you repeat a behaviour the stronger the connection and emotion becomes. 

Common examples that lead us to building our beliefs about food making us feel better are started in childhood. Hw many times have you heard something like "Never mind let's go and get some sweets/ice cream/cake/chocolate to make you feel better". An anchor is then created between a 'bad feeling or experience' being made better by food.

In summary something we experience pulls the trigger, which literally fires off the anchor, which results in the emotional eating behaviour.

If you would like to know more about triggers and anchors, or want help to overcome your emotional eating, I have linked up with Janey Holliday, lifestyle mentor and health coach. We are running an online course to help people tackle their Emotional Eating. For further information click here: http://makingthingseasy.com/project/emotionaleating/ and read Janey's blog 'Can You Re-train Your Mind http://http://makingthingseasy.com/can-you-retrain-your-mind/
Posted on Sep 02, 2015 - Posted in Lifestyle