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Exams – How to Stop Stressing and Recall the Answers Faster!

20 May

Guest Blogger Profile: Maggie Lawrie is the author of audiobooks with mind programming relaxations to help you de stress and achieve your goals. 

About this time of year at least one of my CEO coaching clients will ask me to see their son or daughter who is stressing out over their exams. They are usually very bright children who have studied hard all year and are now tying themselves in knots over actually sitting in the exam room taking the exam.

Some feelings of anxiety are normal but you’re feeling totally overwhelmed by a collection of thoughts which include ‘What if…I don’t pass and don’t get into Uni/College/The Job I want’ or ‘My mind went blank once before in an exam, what if it happens again?’ and ‘What if I can’t think of the answers?’  There are more but these are the top ones I’ve noticed going round in people’s heads. The symptoms of these thoughts can manifest themselves as a shaking and panic, not sleeping and feeling ill.

The following tips work very well to reduce the stress and help hugely with focussing simply on the exam and best of all you can do them at home.  If you have or know anyone who has a child who is stressing out over their exams please let them know these really do work.

1. Just as they have been disciplined in learning their chosen subjects, they need to be disciplined now in controlling the thoughts around ‘not passing’. What happens is a negative thought comes in and is allowed too much ‘airtime’ in the mind. It gathers momentum like a snowball rolling down a steep hill and is harder to stop as it gets bigger. So, STOP the thought in the very beginning of its journey by SWITCHING tracks. Think of a memory that is happy one, think of a previous success like winning a race, or an award or anything that you’re proud of achieving. Write these memories down and look at them in the first moment the negative thought pops up.

2. Resist the temptation to call a friend and discuss ‘not passing’. Go for a walk instead. As you walk, bring your attention to everything around you. Really notice the colours and sounds, feel the surface that you’re walking on. As you really focus on the scenery your mind becomes clearer and clearer.

3. Here’s a really easy one you can do before and during the exam: Put your hands on the top of your rib cage, breathe into that area to the count of 5, hold it for 5, breathe out for 5 and SMILE. You may notice your shoulders will drop, and the mind becomes much clearer.

4. As it gets closer to your exams, practise thinking of them as one step. You may have previously thought about what comes after the exams but for now leave those thoughts alone. Now is the time to have your study plan, practise breathing calmly and focus only on the next step. ‘Thinking’ is a powerful tool, you might as well use it wisely!

The truth is everything you learnt is still in your mind but negative thoughts that pop in are in the way of you seeing it. When you relax the mind, stop all thoughts it will come up to the surface as clear as when you were in the classroom learning it. The mind is an amazing tool, the power of it is immense and it hasn’t forgotten what you spent all those hours studying. So take a deep breath, relax and allow the answers to float up to the surface.

You can buy ‘The Secret Guide to Relaxing and Banishing Stress Forever‘ by Maggie Lawrie from AudioGO.

The Art of Raising Your Profile

15 Apr

The Art of Raising your Profile by Joanna CrosseIn this blog post, Joanna Crosse talks about raising your profile. You can find her audio titles, among others in our Self Help section.

We all need to be able to promote our skills and abilities because if we don’t, who else is going to?

Whether we’re selling ourselves or a product we need to learn ways to raise our profile. It’s not about being a pushy salesperson but if you don’t let your potential customers know about something that could help them, even change their lives, then nobody else will.  We have to learn how to network effectively and build our business in a natural and confident way.

Research your product and your market. Then you can start to plan where and how to get your message across. It’s no good turning up at endless business breakfasts if no one there is going to benefit from what you can offer. Think about how you and your skills can help someone else then you can work out how to target them.

Networking and raising your profile can be done in a natural way from outside the school gates to playgroups and social events. Think of ways in which you can describe yourself and your product in a short easy-to-understand way. Be informative rather than pushy. Remember even if that person doesn’t need or want your product they may well know someone else who does. If you come across as a natural and likeable person then that’s a great start.

I believe good customer service is not necessarily about the company but about the individual that we end up talking to on the end of a phone or sitting next to at a work function. It’s all about connections and all of us want to be seen, heard and valued. So work on those people skills, think about what you have that can benefit others and make a New Year’s commitment to get out there and promote yourself.

And remember raising your profile is also about self promotion. Work on being kinder to yourself and valuing what you do for your friends, family and colleagues.

You can buy The Art of Raising Your Profile by Joanna Crosse from AudioGO.

Maggie Lawrie’s Blog: Why diets DO work & 3 tips to get you to the end of your diet!

16 Mar

In this blog post, Maggie Lawrie gives advice on weight loss. Maggie has made a number of our self help titles including The Secret Guide to Weight Loss.

Whoever first said ‘diets don’t work’ probably didn’t understand what its like to put on weight and want to lose it. Any of the healthy eating and exercise programs out there will work but only when the mind is clearly fixed on success not failure. The end result- what we truly want to look like and feel like when we’ve lost the weight has to be clear enough in our minds to make the diet worth the effort. The catch is always managing to deal with the cravings. We all know that eating too much junk food isn’t a good plan and makes us unhealthy, but it can also make us crave more and more of it. The real trick in getting to the end of the diet is getting your mind around feeling a little bit hungry for a short while and reminding yourself why you want to be in great shape in the first place.

After a few days of removing things like sugar from your diet, there’s likely to be an energy slump and then you have a real battle going on in your mind, which can cause stress. For a way through the cravings and not giving in try these 3 simple things:

1. Keep the image of you in your best shape ever in your mind, you being able to walk faster, fit into those skinny jeans and feeling free to choose the clothes you really want to wear instead of ‘covering up the real you’.

2. Have a plan for when you might get tempted. Look at your diary for the next 2 weeks – where are the pitfalls and remember what works for you. Manage your mind by not focussing on the times when you’ve failed at something but remember the times when things went well and you got the results you wanted.

3. Relax, don’t panic if you go slightly off your diet its not the end of the world or the diet – just get straight back on it! I know the temptation is to feel you’ve failed and to give up but its simply not true. Anyone setting a goal might incur a problem or two along the way but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the goal. Take a nice deep breath, smile and think of a time when you felt full of energy, go for a walk, clear your mind and think of the end result of your diet.

I’m sure there are lots more ways to stay on track and it would be great to hear about your top tips in the comments box below, please share as it might just be the one thing that helps someone get into their skinny jeans!

Maggie Lawrie is the author of Audiobooks with Mind Programing Relaxations to help you with achieving your goals and de stressing your life, including The Secret Guide to Weight Loss. Browse our Maggie Lawrie audio books.

The Art of Interview Skills

5 Mar

The Art of Succeeding at InterviewsIn this blog post, Joanna Crosse talks about interview skills. You can find her audio titles, among others in our Self Help section.

Interview techniques are something we all need to embrace, whether we’re applying for a place at University, a new position or in some cases reapplying for our own job. Many people spend time worrying about the interview instead of planning and preparing properly.

What you have to remember is that interviews are really opportunities in disguise to show someone how good you are. If you’ve got to the interview stage on the strength of your CV then you want to ensure that you capitalise on the chance to impress your future employer.

You need to look at what makes you stand out. What have you got that they need? Research the company or college you’re going to and not only does that help you to see if your skills make a match but also to decide whether they’re right for you!

The absolute number one rule is ‘know yourself’. Go back over your life (however long or short that is) and look at all the interesting things you’ve done and what you’ve learnt from them. I honestly believe that everything in life is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and others.

In an interview situation you need to show your wisdom and life experience. How you can help them and others through the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over the years. Make sure your story is engaging and interesting – you don’t want to be bored or bore them – and of course they want to see the real you not a pretend one.

So if you’ve prepared your key points and know what you want to say, you’ll find on the day you’re much more able to be natural and confident. Think about your appearance, give yourself plenty of time for travel and take all the contact details and your key points with you. Also remember to smile and enjoy this opportunity to show yourself off at your very best!

Buy The Art of Succeeding at Interviews by Joanna Crosse.


The Art of Assertiveness

5 Feb

The Art of Assertiveness by Joanna Crosse
In this blog post, Joanna Crosse talks about assertiveness. You can find her audio titles, among others in our Self Help section.

In my experience many people get the word assertiveness muddled with aggressive so I thought would start by explaining what being assertive means!

Assertive behaviour is about being able to communicate clearly and confidently, getting your message across and being heard.  Learning assertive communication means knowing who you’re talking to, targeting your message and being able to listen well. Using the right language for the right situation and finding the best way to say the most difficult things is assertiveness at its best. Learn how to break patterns of aggressive or passive behaviour and find your voice.

Aggressive behaviour is when someone is blaming or insulting. It’s also when someone gets into your personal space or you feel invaded in any way. If someone uses angry language we can feel as though we’re in the wrong or that they’ve imposed their view on us.

Passive aggressive behaviour is when a person expresses their negative feelings in an indirect or silent way. Think about the phrase – cut the atmosphere with a knife- sums up this kind of unpleasant communication.

If you store up your resentments and say yes or when you mean no it’s like having a book of stamps and when the last un-dealt with negative feeling goes in then you explode with rage or with tears of sheer frustration.

Use the ‘I’ word. If you own your feelings and experiences it is so much easier for someone on the receiving end to hear what you’re saying and respond well.

Finally a New Year’s tip – if someone offers you a compliment accept it like a gift. If someone gave you a present it’s unlikely you would shove it back in his or her face – well treat compliments in the same way. Besides which who are you to say you know better than the person offering you the praise?!


Relax and De-Stress your Life

25 Jan

The Secret Guide To Relaxing And Banishing Stress Forever In this blog post, Maggie Lawrie gives advice on relaxing and de-stressing your life.

Executive stress is on the increase can get easily overlooked. The person who goes out to work in a high powered job is expected to be able to cope with high levels of stress and anxiety. The business world makes changes much faster than it used to – it has to in order to stay ahead of the game. But what happens to the people that have to cope with it all? One of my clients told me recently “It’s 24/7 working now – I get contacted all hours because we are global and I’m expected to respond straight away – I can’t get away from it”. Smartphones, iPhones , Blackberrys and every device under the sun is designed to make it easier to keep in touch but sadly it also makes life potentially much more stressful.

More than ever before its vital to have a plan and make time to relax and de-stress. It’s no longer an optional extra that you can put off to sometime in the future when everything is calmer, more settled (insert list of excuses for not relaxing).

Whatever you are doing, if it’s playing with your children or going for a walk, keep your full attention on what you are doing. One CEO told me recently she now reluctantly has two phones so that the work one can be turned off while she is with her family. Once you realise it’s vital for health to practise letting go, switching off becomes easier and strangely you may find your work time is more productive too.

Maggie Lawrie is the author of audiobooks with mind programming relaxations to help you with achieving your goals and de-stressing your life.

Buy ‘The Secret Guide To Relaxing And Banishing Stress Forever‘ from AudioGO.

The Art of Giving a Presentation

13 Jan

The Art Of Giving A Presentation Joanna Crosse Audio BookIn this blog post, Joanna Crosse  talks about giving presentations. You can find her audio titles, among others in our Self Help section.

Many people have a fear of giving presentations but the reality is that we’re always presenting ourselves to others  – whether it’s to one person or a hundred. The key is to know your audience, put the preparation in and plan your message and then you can be your natural self.

Even broadcasters and presenters invariably started out disliking the sound of their own voices and could end up tuning in to their inner critic rather than focusing on what they’re saying. It’s not just about how you sound but having the confidence to find your voice and tell your story. You need to capitalise on your natural talents and skills and discover the best way to express them.

I believe the secret of a successful presentation is to be to yourself and be engaged with your content as if you’re interested in what you’re saying then your audience will be too. But the key to this success lies in knowing who your audience are and what you want to tell them. The foundation stones are critical because without them the end result will be unfocused, unclear and probably nerve wracking for you!

So with the advent of a New Year and resolutions for a new you why not set yourself some practical and achievable goals around your communication skills? And of course it goes without saying that communication starts with how we talk to ourselves so you could start by being kinder and more tolerant towards you – and that’s not a race to the finish line but one step at a time!


Buy ‘The Art of Giving a Presentation

Getting The Life You Really Want

9 Jan

New year’s resolutions are always a challenge, but you can make them easy with our collection of Self Help audio titles from expert authors! In this blog post, Maggie Lawrie talks about getting the life you really want.

The Secret Guide To Getting What You Want In Life by Maggie LawrieHere we go with all our fab goal setting for 2013. Full of energy and enthusiasm we write down our goals and if we’re smart we put pictures up on the walls of things that we want. But how long does this enthusiasm last? Well sadly statistics show us that about 1 week later few will still be on target to get their goals.

You need to start with the right mindset. No matter what kind of year 2012 was for you, for now, for the purposes of getting the life you really want, you’ll have to take your focus off the things that didn’t work. Here’s 3 very simple steps to actually get your goals:

  1. Write out all the things that were great about 2012. Start talking about all the great stuff that happened. Notice how you feel differently when even the smallest success comes to mind.
  2. Pick 6 of your best memories throughout your life that are similar in nature to the goal you want. So if your number one goal is making more money, write out times in your life when you made more money, notice what you saw and how you felt at that time. Don’t worry if the amount of money was small, this is your mind re programming itself to attract more into your life. If your goal is better health or fitness find memories where you felt stronger and fitter – even if it was running for the bus.
  3. When you write out your goal, write out a plan for what to do if you fail one day – how fast can you get back on track? If you fell over learning to walk you didn’t give up did you, you kept on trying because failing wasn’t an option.

Maggie Lawrie is the author of audiobooks with mind programming relaxations to help you with achieving your goals and de stressing your life. Buy The Secret Guide To Getting What You Want In Life by Maggie Lawrie.