The importance of being emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills.

  • People with higher emotional intelligence find it easier to form and maintain interpersonal relationships and to ‘fit in’ to group situations.
  • People with higher emotional intelligence are also better at understanding their own psychological state, which can include managing stress effectively and being less likely to suffer from depression.

My newest video on my youtube channel, talks about emotional intelligence in more detail.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Working with children who have been abused

Working with children is something that I have very much enjoyed doing on and off for 9 years.

After graduating from University 14 years ago, I spent part of my time running my jewellery business and the other part of my time was spent working as a nanny with children aged 3-11 years of age.

Being a part-time nanny, allowed me to have enough time to work on my jewellery whilst also earning a little extra money to keep things stable financially.

At present, I find myself in slightly different circumstances.

Although I will not be pursuing anymore nanny jobs, I am considering coaching a young teenager in the next few days.

In a few hours, I am meeting her and her mum for an initial consultation, to see if she would feel comfortable enough opening up to me.

Here in the UK, when you work with vulnerable individuals, such as children, special needs adults or the elderly, you need to make sure you get a DBS done.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), is able to provide information about an individual as to whether or not he or she has a criminal conviction or has been charged with a criminal conviction which has expired. This provides the employer, which in my case is the mother of this girl, with peace of mind.

I haven’t actually applied for this yet as I will ask the mother how she feels about this.

Although I have never had a conviction in my life, it is still important to do things properly.

Coaching a young girl, who has just been through an abusive situation at home with her stepmom, is vulnerable territory.

Things have to be dealt with very carefully and I will have to refer her to a psychotherapist, if I see that her symptoms are serious. As a coach, I can only guide her with compassion and validation of her feelings but I can’t offer much more. Her mother has said that her daughter hasn’t found any of the counsellors at school helpful and that child services are happy that she will be talking to me, due to my background and focus of my business.

If I can help this young girl, I will be extremely grateful.

When I was that age, I had no idea that I was actually suffering from abuse. I thought my life was normal, even though I had no confidence and felt empty and unloved.

All children deserve a chance to be supported and have their feelings acknowledged. All children deserve to feel safe, loved and to feel happy.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

New beginnings & change

tree-2718836_1920

Before I talk about today’s topic, I just wanted to remind you that I have released my first PDF course which is aimed at helping you become more assertive and stop your people-pleasing habits.

To view the contents of this course, please click the link below:

Assertiveness course introduction

There are 5 places left for the discounted price I am offering so if you are interested then get in touch now by leaving a comment below.

In today’s post I wanted to talk about the challenge of new beginnings..

As much as they can be exciting and refreshing, new beginnings can sometimes be very tough. The fear of the unknown can be very daunting.

When things don’t go as we planned, how do we deal with the fallout?

No matter how perfectly we may have planned everything and thought everything through, the uncontrollable will always be there..

What if we moved to a new location and then our dream job ended up being a nightmare?

What if our new partner cheated on us?

What if we changed careers only to realise that it isn’t what we thought it would be?

How do we cope with life’s unexpected challenges?

After the initial disappointment or grief, how do we keep moving forward?

What if we get very scared and anxiety starts creeping in to our daily lives?

Owning our fears gives us control over our worries rather than our worries and fears controlling us.

Asking ourselves ‘What am I scared of?” can be very helpful. Writing down our fears can also help us clarify things a bit more.

Trying to change our negative thoughts into more positive ones, can make a huge difference in the way we feel. CBT works wonders for this!

If we think to ourselves that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, then we can give ourselves a temporary boost of hope.

Having supportive friends or family around us can also greatly help..

Sometimes though we can feel more down than we had anticipated and sometimes we may feel so unmotivated that all we want to do is stay in bed and hide all day! That is also okay, as long as it doesn’t become a habit!

The following quote is one of my favourites regarding change:

“When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as a result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental health and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change.” — Jeanette Winterson

When we look back on the tough times in our life, do we ever find that they taught us something useful?

I have had 2 of these moments..The 2 toughest times in my life, helped me make huge changes in my life for the better and for those times I will be forever grateful!

As Freud once said:

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” — Sigmund Freud

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

Taking on others’ emotions-Having weak boundaries

When you have grown up in a dysfunctional narcissistic home, taking on others’ emotions becomes the norm. Narcissistic parents teach their children to cater to their feelings & moods and the child learns to ignore their own emotions.

A great book which can help you understand whether you have weak emotional boundaries, is by Charles Whitfield: Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self. 

The following statements from his book, can help you identify whether you struggle with taking on others’ emotions and neglecting your own.

Answer with “never,” “seldom,” “occasionally,” “often,” or “usually.”

  • I feel as if my happiness depends on other people.
  • I would rather attend to others than attend to myself.
  • I spend my time and energy helping others so much that I neglect my own wants and needs.
  • I tend to take on the moods of people close to me.
  • I am overly sensitive to criticism.
  • I tend to get “caught up” in other people’s problems.
  • I feel responsible for other people’s feelings.

If you reply mostly with ”often” or ”usually”, then this is something you should consider getting support for. This means that you are extremely affected by the emotions & moods of those around you and aren’t able to focus on your own needs first.

If this is something you relate to and need support for, then please leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Self-growth

How do we develop ourselves into better human beings?

What steps can we take to become wiser, more self-aware and more humble?

Self-growth is a topic that I think about a lot and when I am interacting with others in my environment, I feel saddened by the fact that so many people don’t seem to acknowledge their weaknesses, don’t find time to make improvements in their life and just seem to be on a path of complaining & under-valuing their lives.

FontCandy

Although I acknowledge that in my own journey there are many things that I may not be able to completely change, due to circumstance or mental illness, I definetely aspire to bettering myself on a daily basis.

One of the biggest motivations for most people to make changes for the better, comes from a feeling that something isn’t quite right in their lives. They are either too stressed, too angry or just simply feeling depressed. They may start noticing certain destructive patterns repeating in their life and feel completely stuck in trying to make changes.

This is where coaching can be really useful and for the more complex mental health issues, therapy can also be an invaluable source for self-growth.

Although many people think that they have things under control, it is those same people that actually live chaotic lives and just don’t seem to prioritise their own self-development. They aren’t able to be introspective and they remain in the same state of mind most of their lives. They end up reaching the age of 60 and are still acting in ways that are either unhelpful, harmful to others or self-sabotaging.

So what is the first step to self-growth?

What is the one, most important thing that can motivate us to start making lasting changes?

  1. We must acknowledge our weaknesses- It is helpful to write a list as honestly as possible about the things we really struggle with and want to work on. It is good to spend as much time on this as possible, looking at all areas in our life: relationships, work, spiritual, physical health, mental health etc..It might also be helpful to ask close family or friends for feedback about this. Which areas do they think we struggle in. It might not be easy to hear about our struggles at first, especially if we are not aware of them. In the long-term however, it could be very beneficial to us.

 

  • It is important to set 1 goal at a time in the area we would like to improve in.

 

  • We need to realise that change happens when we break out of bad habits and form new healthier ones. Again this needs to be broken down into smaller goals, by breaking out of 1 bad habit at a time and forming 1 new healthy habit.

 

  • We have to accept full responsibility for all areas in our life. This means that we have to fully accept that we are the only ones who can make changes. We can blame others until we go blue in the face but at the end of the day, it is our job to improve our lives. Accepting responsibility of course, doesn’t mean that we completely ignore certain disabilites we may have or certain traumatic events that we may have experienced. It means that we fully own our journey and embrace the unpleasant things we aren’t able to change by grieving them whilst also trying to have gratitude for the things that we are fortunate to have and are able to do.

 

  • Enrich our world with learning and doing courses in self-development

 

  • Growth comes when we face certain challenges. We have to push ourselves to move out of our comfort zone. Sometimes the things that scare us the most hide the biggest opportunities for self-growth. It is important to face these fears and see how far we can get.

 

What is your experience with self-growth? Have you looked inside yourself to see if something needs to change?

Feel free to comment or share this blog post.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

 

 

 

 

Giving unsolicited advice-Why do people do it?

When we ask for advice from someone that is very knowledgeable in certain areas or from someone whom we admire, this can be very useful both in the short term and long term.

On the other hand, unsolicited advice from close family or even from complete strangers can be an annoying and sometimes insulting behaviour.

MjAxMy1iN2ViMzMxYzczNzQ0ODQz

It could be done in a well meaning manner by some people but in most cases unsolicited advice is self-serving.

img_0541

The more well meaning reasons someone gives unsolicited advice are firstly because they are trying to be friendly, secondly they are just excited to share something that worked for them or thirdly they are just completely altruistic.

Some other motivations that might be harder to spot however are listed below:

Helplessness & wanting to solve your problems: If you are sharing some thoughts on how you are struggling in a certain situation, the listener may think that you need them to fix your problem rather than just validate what you are saying. They think that by giving you some sort of solution you will feel happier. This isn’t the case though in most situations.

The need to be needed:
Some people just have an intense need to be needed and to feel important. It’s as simple as that.

Narcissistic tendencies: People who may have a Narcissistic Personality, think that what they have to say is very important and they tend to be in the role of ‘teacher’ very often. They think that they are better than you and that their opinions are of high value, so they tend to offer advice all the time.

Dominance: This is similar to the behaviour of a Narcissist. Being dominant in a conversation is very important to some people. They want to be the most influential person and they have difficulty understanding why somebody might not want to hear what they have to say.

Being judgemental: If someone doesn’t like the way you are doing something, then they will give you advice so you can change it. This is when unsolicited advise becomes insulting.

So how do you respond to someone giving you unsolicited advice?

This can be rather tricky. If your reply is too detailed then this might encourage more unsolicited advice. If your reply is too agressive or defensive, then this may cause an argument or even damage your relationship with this person.

Simple, clear and short responses are the best. It is important to set clear boundaries and to be assertive when necessary.

”I will think about it”

”That’s an interesting point of view. I will consider if this is right for me”

”Thank you but I would rather do it this way” or ”I would rather stick to my plan”

”I am not looking for any advice right now”

”That doesn’t suit my values”

9b169ab7213cf06403d1034be7140be1--unsolicited-advice-relationships-love

What are your experiences with unsolicited advice?

If you liked this post then please feel free to share & comment.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

 

 

High functioning depression

Happy Monday dear friends & followers!

After a wonderful 10 days off work, celebrating my birthday with friends and exploring new places with my husband, I am feeling grateful and refreshed.

Today’s topic is especially important to me, as someone I care about deeply is currently suffering with this type of depression.

Although high functioning depression is a milder form of depression, it is equally as important as other types of depression.

When it comes to depression, many of us envision a person caught in the depths of despair and hopelessness, who wants nothing more than to stay in bed and avoid people and work completely. We envision someone who has lost all interest in the things they love, who may be feeling suicidal and is barely holding it together.

Although the above isn’t inaccurate, it doesn’t portray life as a high functioning depressive.

When someone suffers with mild or high functioning depression, the typical joy and laughter they once felt, is usually replaced by an absence of emotion and a very deep feeling of emptiness.
This is known as anhedonia and it is the loss of interest in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities.

To the outside world they seem like they are coping fine. They are still able to go to work every day and communicate effectively. They are still able to reach goals and get out of bed in the morning.

The most unfortunate part of those with this milder form of depression is that when they talk about their feelings to loved ones and even doctors, they aren’t taken seriously enough.

Unless someone is literally unable to function, they seem to be dismissed as not having anything to worry about. This isn’t good!

When life circumstances change, those experiencing mild depression may be at greater risk for moderate to severe depression if treatment isn’t sought early enough.

This is also discussed in my youtube video, so feel free to share if you think it may help someone you know.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

The aftermath of a traumatic incident

As much as I dislike watching the news and tend to limit what I take in, it is increasingly difficult to not be affected by the constant bombardment of war footage, terrorist attacks, murder and suffering.

When you are a highly sensitive & empathetic person, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sadness of others. I am very much aware of the cruel injustice in our world and it hurts me deeply to see so many suffering. It is even tougher when this is repeated in your own country. Due to the fact that I know what it feels like to have your life threatened, I decided to make the following video on the aftermath of trauma. This is my small contribution towards all those affected.

Despite my traumatic childhood, I was also once caught up in armed robbery, where a gunshot went off right next to me and a woman was lying on the floor with blood on her leg. The disbelief of what I had witnessed was indescribable. The terror I felt shook me to the core. I couldn’t comprehend how someone could shoot a gun, when everyone at the cashier was cooperating and the robbers had managed to get their money.

This armed robbery happened at a time where I was very vulnerable already as my CPTSD was really bad. All I could think of after this robbery was ‘not again, not another trauma to add to my list’. Life felt so unfair and scary on that day and my mind was telling me that there was more damage done and that I would not recover this time.

If it wasn’t for my kind therapist at the time, to ground me and tell me that I wasn’t going to let this swallow me, I don’t know how I would have coped in the long term.

So this video is for those of you who are new to trauma. It is helpful in understanding yourself after a traumatic experience and it gives you the tools you need to ride the emotional waves that may at times feel like they are taking over.

Although I am not a qualified psychotherapist, I do have a lot of insight into trauma through my own journey and I know the many things that helped me, as well as others. If you are someone who is in deep distress, then please call a qualified mental health professional.

Thank you so much for reading & watching! ♥

Please share this post if you think it will help others.

Check out my patreon page below, if you would like to support the creation of more videos, documents and fact sheets.

https://www.patreon.com/AthinaEhlen

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain is tough..

Inspired by a comment made by a friend on her facebook page, I wanted to address the difficulty of finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain. I also wanted to write about what it actually means to self-soothe.

Self-soothing is about allowing yourself to experience any uncomfortable emotions by using healthy techniques to comfort and restore balance. Successful self-soothing doesn’t mean that you make the feelings more intense. It means that you will eventually enable the emotions to pass. Self-soothing is about tolerating an uncomfortable experience, without acting in ways that are not helpful in the long run. This is when running away from emotional pain comes in. If you choose to block your emotions or run from them, this will then make the emotions grow in intensity or come out in ways you didn’t intend in the future.

Running away from emotional pain looks like the following:

  • Compulsively drinking, smoking or self-medicating
  • Using meaningless sexual encounters to numb emotional pain or fear of abandonment
  • Compulsively working or keeping busy to avoid feeling
  • Sleeping too much to avoid feeling
  • Comfort or emotional eating – Eating too much sugar or fatty foods whenever you feel low
  • Compulsively exercising
  • Gambling
  • Compulsively shopping

Do you see a pattern here? The more addictively or compulsively you do something, the more it means you are running away from what needs to be dealt with. It’s like an ostrich burying its head in the sand — just because you are hiding from everything and pretending everything is okay, does not mean that it will be okay.

We are all guilty of running away from our emotions. Sometimes they are just too painful to deal with and nobody wants to feel pain of any sort.

My biggest vice seems to still be comfort eating. I love my cakes & biscuits unfortunately, although apart from those, I generally eat a very balanced diet. Chain smoking used to be my biggest coping mechanism from the ages of 15-22 but I am so glad that I was able to quit.

Luckily, I have become better at self-soothing. I have realised that the more I deal with my emotions, the better I feel in the long term.

When feelings are dealt with head on, you talk about them, you cry, you blog about them, you ask a friend for support and you do something in that moment that will help you feel a little better, safer or comforted.

Self-soothing means that you wrap yourself in a blanket and play your favourite music. It means that you take yourself for a walk in nature. It means you find a quiet space in your home and you focus on breathing slowly and deeply and calming yourself down. It means that when you are feeling especially low, you read out some positive affirmations to help empower you. It means that you run a bath with your favourite oil or bath foam.It means that you engage in something creative. It means that you listen to your body.It means that you practice self-compassion and kindness to yourself. Self-soothing can be done using all 5 senses.

86a0c01601368977b6e64d14c8ef2eff
Image source

There are so many ways to self-soothe and everyone has different ways of doing so.

What is your experience?

Do you feel you are somewhere in the middle of self-soothing and running away from your problems or not?

Please share your experiences.

Thanks for reading

Love Athina♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.