Overcoming problems is simpler than you have been led to believe

You really can make changes for the better

One of the most frustrating things about making changes in your life is finding that you are simply recycling old, bad habits. Cycles of anxiety, fear, depression, marital rows just seem to be repeating themselves throughout your life. It is as if 'you' are not in control of 'you'! 'Why do I / we keep on doing what I / we don't want to do?' you ask. What is it that makes us keep on doing what we don't want to do? It is a frustrating situation to be in.Psychologists call this "running on autopilot" as if the brain is making it up as it goes along without any reference to you. Many therapists and self-help books now start the process of trawling through your past. Upbringing, parenting, schooling, early relationships and so on until you are overwhelmed with the amount of information you are exploring about your life. Incidentally, when this is done in an attempt to 'solve' your relationship issues it frequently makes matters worse. I can never see the value of dragging up past pain from the horrendous week you have both just had and then throw you out to drive home furious about what you have both just been saying about each other.

No wonder so many couples don't last the course. Despite what you may have been led to believe making changes for the better in the future is easier than you think. It is not complicated (despite that feeling that you can never get to the bottom of it all). Even the new psychological 'industry' of Mindfulness over complicates things. (Did you get a mindfulness colouring book for Christmas?) It is all very well being mindful of your emotional state but what you need to know is how to do something about it. It doesn't help the road-rage driver very much to know he is angry but it does help him to be aware that he has the ability to turn off and let the other idiot driver who upset him race off into the distance. Our programme teaches clients to create new habits of thinking. Remember your brain doesn't know the difference between a good and a bad habit. If you are determined to take tennis lessons from a poor player you will also learn to play poorly. Your brain won't warn you and tell you to get lessons from a pro.

You will get better at practising a bad habit as you will a good one. That is why phobias worsen and unhappy marriages get unhappier. You are practising getting 'better' at it every time you row. We teach aspects of brain control which most clients don't realise they have but have stopped using. Usually because they are too rushed and leading aline on autopilot. Simply use your smart brains ability to 'remember' and to be 'aware'. Try this : REMEMBER to be AWARE of your BREATHING (the more stressed you are the more likely you will be hyperventilating); REMEMBER to be AWARE of WHERE YOU ARE (it's not use coming home stressed from the office and taking it out on the wife and children); REMEMBER to be AWARE of what you are DOING (concentrating while motorway driving is preferable to using your mobile phone); REMEMBER to be AWARE of what you are SAYING (why are you shouting back at your partner with the result that the row is escalating - again?); REMEMBER to be AWARE of what you are FEELING (fear overcomes rational thought, just because you are feeling scared doesn't mean the lift is going to get stuck between floors); REMEMBER to be AWARE of what you are THINKING (this is the clincher - you ARE what you are thinking!). With couples I always add REMEMBER to be AWARE that you are meant to be LOVING (not shouting, yelling, screaming, sulking, walking out or throwing crockery - all very unloving behaviours). These are concepts from ancient wisdom, way before psychology got in on the act. It's what's Buddhism, Christianity and most world religions have been saying for thousands of years. "The unexamined life is not worth living" [Socrates]. This is not rocket science - you can learn to do this and reverse the bad habits of your past.