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Personal Growth

Gray Crawford

Personal growth is real. I know the term is a bit vague and hard to pin down but for me it means the intangible process that people go through to either survive or thrive, even flourish. It's what happens to people who used to be unhappy in dead-end jobs but then change and are now doing what they love. It's the elusive factor that helps people finally walk away from bad relationships, embrace a new spiritual path or find a new passion. It's something we all want, even if we don't always know what to call it or how to get it.

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The Art of Acceptance

Gray Crawford

As human beings we like to remain in control.

This is why when things happen in our lives that we can't control it really bothers us. This happens even though we know deep down that, in reality, we can’t change something once it has happened and we can’t predict the future. The only thing we can control is how we react in the present to these events.

When I lie awake at night worrying about the past or the future I, instead, think about, what I call, the art of acceptance. This is all about surrendering to what’s beyond your control. It’s a way of cultivating presence, awareness and calm in the NOW. And once this is achieved it can change your life for the better.

For me, I’m never more calm, clear or confident than when I adopt the art of acceptance.

It is an invaluable tool when managing stress as it has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure, calm the nervous system and regulate the immune system plus so much more.

So, how do you incorporate the art of acceptance in your life?

It comes down to 3 simple principles:

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Gratitude 101

Gray Crawford

Did you know that practicing gratitude everyday enhances brain function and can even help prolong your life?

This is because when you focus on gratitude it helps calm down your limbic area of your brain while enhancing the judgment centers.

As a result people who express gratitude on a regular basis are therefore healthier, more optimistic, make better progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being and are more helpful to others.

Here are 4 practical steps to bring gratitude into your everyday life.

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I worry a lot. Do I have an anxiety disorder?

Gray Crawford

“I am a professional worrier,” Gray Crawford, Business Manager at Petersgate Counselling Centre admits. “I sometimes joke to others that the amount I worry every day really worries me.”

“I would sometimes lie wide awake in the middle of the night, my brain, which should be resting,  somehow finding the energy to start pulling apart, piece by piece, every single thing that I did the day before and catastrophizing what might happen tomorrow.’

“I often think that it would be great if I could just reboot my brain, deleting all these negative messages, just like I would do with my computer when it gets jammed. Then again that could be fatal for humans.”

We are all different. Everyone has their own unique battles, sometimes arguing with themselves, sometimes feeling like we are failing in life, the imaginary devil on our right shoulder becoming stronger than the competing imaginary angel on our left shoulder because we give it far too much more attention than it deserves.

I am not crazy. I am just human. Everyone feels anxious and worries sometimes. It just goes hand in hand with our stressful lives.

Who I can thank for all this worrying is a small part of my brain called the amygdala which has evolved since caveman days to keep us safe. When cavemen were roaming the plains trying to avoid being eaten by lurking sabre tooth tigers the amygdala saved them by telling them that sabre tooth tigers don't like their tummies rubbed. In our modern age however there are not the same number of animals out there wanting to eat us (well at least not in New Zealand), so our amygdala creates  the same panic, sending cortisol and adrenaline throughout our bodies, as a result of more mundane, non-life threatening things like our meeting people for the first time.

The problem is knowing when being mildly anxious becomes serious anxiety and you need to seek professional help

Here’s how to tell the difference.

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Worry Versus Anxiety

Gray Crawford

Do You Know the Difference?

In today's cruel and random world of Covid-19, a certain amount of worry and anxiety are normal.

Most people use these terms interchangeably but they are entirely different things and have entirely different implications for our health and well-being.

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