• Relationships

    How To Overcome Jealousy

    In my experience of open relationships, jealousy often stems from comparison. Do you find that you compare yourself with your partners’ exes, other lovers, or even their friends? Does it bring up a feeling of competitiveness, fears of not being enough, and maybe even of being abandoned? If so, I have something that might help. (And this applies to monogamous folks too – jealousy is definitely not an issue that only crops up in polyamorous relationships.) The first thing to know is that comparing is a very human thing to do. It’s how we understand who we are and make sense of the world, by being able to identify the…

  • Relationships

    How To Say No (After Saying Yes)

    Do you ever end up in a situation where you’ve agreed to something that isn’t feeling good any more? Maybe you said yes because you thought it’s what you wanted, or because you thought it’s what the other person wanted. Maybe you didn’t want to cause an argument or upset anyone. Now, however, you’re realising that your body doesn’t feel great about that decision. It’s more than you’re willing or able to tolerate, and you know you’re no longer a ‘yes.’ Perhaps you’ve been working on being more clear in your communication, and you don’t want to ignore those signs any more. For people who have been socialised not to…

  • Relationships

    The Ultimate Guide to Setting Boundaries in Relationships

    Maybe you’ve heard that having boundaries in your relationships is really important. While this is good advice, it doesn’t begin to explain exactly what boundaries are, how you can find yours, or communicate them to the people you’re in relationships with. In my intimacy coaching work, boundaries are often among the first topics I address with my clients, as so many of us didn’t grow up learning how to feel our boundaries – let alone assert them. In this post I’ll cover what boundaries are, what they’re not, and how to start finding and communicating yours. Let’s start with the basics. What Are Boundaries? Boundaries are limits that anyone can…

  • Personal Growth

    What Is Psychosexual Somatics Therapy (PST)?

    So many of us are in our heads most of the time. Our minds are useful for thinking about the future or the past, whether remembering, fantasising, planning, or ruminating. Whether anxiously going over the last conversation to figure out whether you said the ‘right’ thing, or imagining all the possible outcomes that could happen just in case. What our minds are not so great at is being present. Being present in the here and now requires us to bring our awareness more into our whole body: the experience of being alive, right now, with all its associated sensations and feelings. The thing is that this can often feel scary,…

  • Trauma

    What Happens When We Get Triggered?

    Arguing with someone I care about is one of my clearest triggers. I’ll start out fine: I’ll stay rational and reasonably calm. I’ll be able to remember to have compassion for their alternative view. If the argument continues and I feel unheard, I may start to raise my voice and feel myself getting frustrated. But there’s always a very obvious point at which some little switch flicks in my brain, and I totally lose the capacity to engage with the other person. I’ll feel myself quite literally freeze; sometimes I’ll notice that I’m opening my mouth but I have no idea what to say. I won’t be able to follow…

  • Relationships

    How To Change Your Mind

    This is a big topic for me. Not because I have an awful lot to say about it, but because the resistance I feel to changing my mind is colossal. For a whole bunch of reasons, some known and some unknown, I have reached adulthood with the belief that to change my mind is to be flakey, inconsistent, and unreliable. Sticking to my word, on the other hand, means I am deserving of trust and love, and so being dependable is something I often strive for – at the expense of taking care of my own needs. Naturally, this comes up most acutely in relationship. Open relationships in particular require…

  • Personal Growth

    Short Term vs Long Term

    Short term thinking is a trap. The long term approach to healing and growth identifies that change happens slowly over a period of months, years, decades… A sensible mindset that doesn’t dwell on failure and instead acknowledges that the process often isn’t linear.  In these terms, short term thinking is unhelpful because it focuses on the everyday fluctuations that are inevitable, even when over a longer period you might be making huge progress. Zooming out, in this context, provides motivation in the form of comparing yourself to, say, two years ago: perhaps you’ve had a difficult week, but unless you’re only thinking short-term then this isn’t a reason to worry.…

  • Embodiment

    Trusting The Process

    Lifting weights at the gym makes you strong. Focussed effort a few times a week, over time, is rewarded with stronger muscles and increased mobility. But while these benefits are initiated in the gym, you won’t see them until you rest: it’s on the days off, when your body can relax, that your muscles can repair, rebuild, and grow. Realising that we want to feel more pleasure might begin a journey which involves attending workshops, reading books, sitting in meditation, maintaining daily practices… these are all ways that we might focus our attention and put work into what it is that we want. But the actual benefits of this effort…

  • Trauma

    How To Stop the Fight or Flight Response

    Different parts of our brains are responsible for the four responses we often default to when in a situation we perceive as threatening: people-pleasing (hyper-socialisation), fight, flight, and freeze. Because these responses don’t distinguish between real and perceived threat, it doesn’t matter whether we are actually in danger or not: most often we’ll go into one of these responses in everyday situations when in fact we’re perfectly safe, such as when we’re socialising in a large group or in a disagreement with someone we love. What Is The Fight or Flight Response? We’re actually talking about four different survival responses. In brief: hyper-socialisation appears as trying to keep everyone happy.…

  • Personal Growth

    Working With Intention

    Setting an intention is a simple practice, for me mainly associated with a meditation or yoga session. It’s a conscious decision to gently direct my energy towards something specific, without holding too tightly onto reaching a particular goal: making an intention conscious and then letting go of it allows it to still be present, ideally without introducing attachment to an outcome. It changes the flavour of whatever it is I’m about to do, into an activity that I am doing with a clear idea of why I want to do it, and what its benefits could be. Something I am learning to do more often is to use intention in…