Make fear your friend

Hallowe’en, horror films, scare events, Day of the Dead, gigantic roller coasters… there’s a reason we’re transfixed by fear.

In terms of evolution, it makes sense to keep things we’re scared of right in front of us, where we can keep an eye on them.

Perhaps that’s why we have an innate fascination with scary experiences. And that’s great while fear stays in its place – but when it bursts out and affects our lives, we may need some tips on cutting it down to size.


Fear is an illusion

As Lao Tzu said:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

Dr Camen Harra, writing in the Huffington Post agrees that fear is an illusion.

“We… bring fear to life, many times without need. I’ve seen plenty of clients who were so afraid of losing their marriage that they couldn’t see there was nothing wrong with it to begin with”.

“But they needed to validate their irrational fears and did so by exaggerating already-existing issues in their relationship. In their case, their fears ignited needless doubts, false conclusions and empty arguments with their partner. They began to cause external problems driven by internal fears. Then, their marriage really did begin to display the issues they had feared all along.”


What is fear for?

Fear, of course, keeps our wildest impulses in order. It stops us stepping off tall buildings and walking into the middle of busy roads.

As a basic safety mechanism, fear is one of our most innate instincts. Modern life, though, blurs the boundaries between healthy wariness and unnecessary knee-jerk reactions that come from our inner chimp.

That can leave us in a constant state of fight or flight, eventually leading to chronic anxiety.

When fear gets in the way

Fear can also make us freeze, holding us back and stopping us from achieving our goals, while our rational brain battles with those fear feelings.

There are various ways of dealing with fear, depending on how it affects you and your own preferences.

Here are a few suggestions:


  1. Face your fear

Working out that you’re afraid – and what you’re afraid of – can hold the key to beating the fear. Challenge those feelings, face them head on and ask yourself if your fears are real or imagined.

Try asking yourself what’s the worst that can happen. It might be worth chatting this through with a friend. Sometimes we place irrational beliefs around a situation and saying them out loud – or writing them down – can cut them down to size.


2. Embrace change

Change in itself can scare people because it takes you out of your comfort zone. But change is sometimes necessary – if it’s moving you towards your ultimate goal.

Chunk your goals down into easy, achievable steps and they’ll feel much less daunting. All you have to do is tackle them one at a time.


3. Remember to relax

Constant stress and pressure can lead to long term fear. Slow down, relax and take time out of your busy schedule for calming activities such as mindfulness or yoga. Not only will you feel calmer, you’ll be more effective too.

If you’re literally shaking with fear, take yourself out of the stressful situation, place the palm of your hand on your stomach, focus on your breathing and remember you have a choice of how you react to any situation.

Another technique is to close your eyes and picture yourself in a safe and relaxing place – perhaps laying on a tropical beach, curled up in your own bed or revisiting a happy childhood memory.


4. Believe in you

Much fear comes from low self-esteem. Work on your self-worth and you’ll feel the fear melt away. Nobody is perfect – stop trying to be. Real life is messy and full of changes.

Remember: whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right!

If you need any help and want to explore working together then just let me know.

Wishing you calmness

Joe 🙂


Autumn inspiration

I recently attended a Scaravelli-inspired Yoga workshop with Bill Wood and heard him read the quote below. I thought it was so beautiful. It’s a gentle reminder for us all to accept and appreciate all of our bodies, to acknowledge all of ourselves and accept that what we are and to make the most of each moment.

With the Autumn equinox just passed it’s also an ideal time to consider oour dreams and goals and to take steady steps towards making them a reality over the coming season.

Enjoy and fee free to share and remember to cherish you body! Joe 🙂

The human body, at peace with itself,

Is more precious than the rarest gem.

Cherish your body – it is yours this time only.

The human form is won with difficulty; it is easy to lose.

All worldly things are brief, like lightning in the sky;

This life you must know as the tiny splash of a raindrop;

A thing of beauty that disappears even as it comes into being.

Therefore set your goal; make use of every day and night to achieve it.

Tsongkhapa (1357-1419)

Therapeutic Thai Herbal Compress offer

There is a special incentive for anyone that signs up to a massage pass before the 7th September 2018. An ideal investment to support your wellbeing over the Autumn and Winter period.

Invest in 12 hours of Calm Works services to receive two FREE Thai herbal compresses PLUS you get a 30 minute Calm Works wellbeing mentoring session thrown in too. You pay £600 – saving £120 in total.

Or receive a one FREE Thai Herbal compress when you purchase a 6 hour massage pass. This means you pay for 5 hours of Calm Works services priced at £300. Saving £75 in total.

You can include the therapeutic Thai herbal compresses in your usual therapeutic Thai floor massage or western style table massage.  Perfect to include as the weather starts to cool and the muscles get more tense and achey.

Calm Works – Therapeutic Thai herbal compresses

Why therapeutic herbal compresses?

This is a traditional form of Thai medicine and is part of this therapeutic healing art. Specially selected medicinal herbs are chosen for their healing properties. They are heated in a steamer and then applied either through clothes or direct onto the skin allowing the herbs to work their magic into the skin and superficial tissues making it easier to release muscular tension and relief discomfort and restore movement. Not only are the compresses incredibly soothing they smell great too.

Unsure? Next time you visit The Loft get Joe to show you them and you can smell them for yourself.

Terms: upfront payment to be received by 7th September 2018 with herbal compresses used by the end of October 2018.

Summer celebrations and afternoon tea

Scones, petit fours, dainty crustless sandwiches, chunky rolls and tea, tea glorious tea.

It can only mean one thing yes, it’s afternoon tea and from 14th to 20th August it’s be a national week of indulgence. Yah! 🙂

Photo by Angello Lopez on Unsplash

To honour my 5 years anniversary at The Loft I’m going to have a belated celebration and treat myself to afternoon tea and with national afternoon tea week I am going to be spoilt for choice!

In no particular order here are 5 York afternoon tea destinations on my shortlist. Perhaps they may tempt your tastebuds too?!

1. Probably Yorks’ best known place to take tea try Little Bettys’ or maybe take your tea accompanied by the piano tinkling at big Bettys‘?

2. A gem if you want a little something healthy and different or have anyone in need of special dietary requirements Filmore & Union have these bases covered. Top tip: ask for the table with the view when booking and make your dining guests treat that little more special with the Minster view for company.

3. If dining on the Orient Express is one of your dreams then this destination will tick your box.
Settle into your sumptuous environment on the The Countess of York this dining train carriage is now home ( and stationery) at the National Railway Museum.

4. One I’ve been been recommended which is an independent local vegan cafe. There isn’t an afternoon tea per se on the menu however you can have a DIY experience  choosing from their scrummy sandwiches and tasty sweets selection. You’ll find it on Gillygate ( pronounced Jilly-gate) and is called 2 Oxford Place 

5. The Garden Room has majestic, plush and classic written all over it situated in the York Principal Hotel, beside the railway station this is a beautiful light and elegant venue for a delectable afternoon tea.

Whether you choose to DIY at home with your best china it or indulge in a sumptuous dining experience in a dining carriage it’s fair to say that we are truly blessed to have many, many cafes and eateries in York to choose from.

What’s your favourite place to go to? Do let me know so I can investigate – purely for research purposes of course!

Wishing you calmness
P.S. If you didn’t already know it I’m a real foodie 🙂

The greatest gift you can give yourself – being present

A few years ago I saw this inspiring TED talk given by the travel writer Pico Iyer in which he talks about The Art of Stillness, of going nowhere and much of what he spoke about I could grasp.

I’d love for you to gift yourself the 15.37 minutes to down tools, make a brew and listen to his words. If you prefer to read them there is a transcript available too. Watch it here

His eloquent presentation includes travel tales and strategies that we all can use to take back a few minutes out of every day, once a month or a few days out of every season. As TED’s blurb  says it’s the talk for many of us who can at times can feel overwhelmed.

At times of overwhelm we need to simplify.

We need to focus on a singular activity – breathing, walking etc

Then from a calmer place with practice, we will know the next ‘way’.

We will know that we can make more mindful choices.

As it is just a matter of choice.


Don’t stress the small stuff

In our world of constant movement and distraction, let’s embrace stillness, space and calm.

It’s my dream that we all move forward, together as a community towards new, kinder choices in a calmer way.

If this is something that you are curious to discover more about then why not enquire about mindfulness at The Loft or an Everyday Mindfulness introductory session and begin your journey to calmness.

I’d love to support you as you explore finding your inner stillness. Get in touch with me here

Wishing you calmness