Inspired to Change

How to live a Solution Focused Life



Inspired to Change Market Harborough based Hypnotherapist, Carmen Harrington, explains what it means for her to live a solution focused life. Read on to discover Carmen’s experience of walking her talk!

What is a Solution Focused Life?

For me there are a few very simple principles to living a solution focused life:

1. If it works, do more of it.
2. If it is not working, do something differently.
3. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? So why can this be so hard?

For me, this means I have to be aware of how I’m living my life. I need to notice if there are any areas which aren’t working for me and need changing. This can be really difficult if you’re in a rut and can’t see a way out. Many of us fall into the trap when something’s not working to just try harder. But sometimes you need to stop doing that thing and try something else instead.

So adopting these principles above helps me to assess the various aspects of my life and how I’m living it, so I can gain control and recognise any changes I need to implement to make my life easier, calmer and improve my productivity.

What do I do to live a solution focused life?

One of the important aspects of teaching solution focused hypnotherapy as well as having clients is to make sure I authentically live the way I help my clients to live. After all I see amazing progress with them – why wouldn’t I want the same results for myself?

Watch your language

The first major change I implemented for myself was paying attention to the language I used and really noticing when it’s being negative. We have up to 100,000 thoughts every day and if most of them are negative through worrying then that’s a lot of negativity building up in our stress buckets. It’s so easy to make derogatory comments and try to be funny by being self deprecating, but actually your brain is hearing that narrative and interprets those stories as factual. The use of the word ‘but’ is usually followed by something negative, so I really try hard not to use that word, and it’s interesting how quickly you can change your choice of words so it’s your new normal.

Remember to Breathe

Recently I went on the zip line at Penryn Quarry in Wales. It’s supposed to be the fastest and longest zip wire going at speeds of up to 100 mph over 1.5 kms. When I booked the experience, it seemed a good idea, but the morning of the actual day I started to feel scared. When we got there it was fine until they had completed all the safety checks and I was dangling looking down the quarry beneath me waiting to go for what felt like forever, but it was actually only a few minutes. I really wanted to be in the moment because it would be over very quickly so I practised 7/11 breathing. I breathed in for 7 counts and out for 11, breathing out for longer, I knew, lowers your heart rate. It’s something I regularly mention to clients when they’re in a panic situation so I was pleased I remembered to do the technique and thankfully it really worked. I loved the amazing experience and was so happy to know I was able to remain calm and implement an approach I knew would work.

One of the reasons I was pleased with myself is because I realised I was able to stay in control. When our thoughts start racing and we start to feel fear it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and overloaded with stress hormones. Because I took control through something as simple as concentrating on my breathing, I was able to fully live each second and make it feel like the adventure it was.

It’s the small steps that make the difference

It’s always those little steps we take, making those little tweaks that make all the difference to our progress and ability to live a solution focused life. Making changes that are too big for us are too difficult to maintain and this can feed into so many areas of our lives.

For example I’m wanting to loose weight so I can fit into a winter coat (I bought two years ago), and have made the change not to snack and cut down on eating carbs. So many of our habits we do through association and having a biscuit with my morning cup of tea doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if I have tea on it’s own, that’s 365 biscuits I haven’t eaten over the year. Those little changes over time can make a big difference, and all those small modifications we make, are progress.

Those small steps that help us achieve our goal are doable and we then have the ability to be consistent and form new positive habits such as appreciating your tea on it’s own and not needing that biscuit.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is one of the benefits of living a solution focused life, once you start doing something which works well for you, such as going out for a daily walk, it becomes easier as you start to embed it into your daily life.

Your brain really likes repetition so once you have decided 100% this is something which works for you, you no longer need to have that internal discussion about whether you do it or not – that decision has already been made so your brain is working out ways to make sure it happens and they become non-negotiables in your life.

I know walking helps me to clear my mind and feel like I’m helping my fitness, so I have challenges to also make sure I get out. I have a target each day and I don’t want to fall behind and this is a great incentive for me as well as recognising how lucky I am to get to places under my own steam.

Believe You Can Change

Living a solution focused life also means truly believing change is possible. As I start to pay more attention, I realise those things I’m doing aren’t always the best option, and making a small adjustment can make all the difference to my happiness.

I used to get up in the morning and mooch about a bit before doing anything worthwhile. Now I get up and do yoga first thing before I can make excuses and this really sets me up for the day. It helps me realise I can choose my mood and even turning up the corners of my mouth can make me feel far more positive. It feels like I’m being kind to myself and supports my self-care which is so crucial for my mental health to remain in a good place.
Work to your strengths – I know I work better in the mornings and at the start of the week. Knowing this I include the things which are harder and less enjoyable to do at the start of the week as I’m more inclined to do them then. I leave those things I’d much prefer to do until the end of the week when my enthusiasm and energy has depleted.

I also came across the default diary recently which helps me to put key tasks in my week at regular times. Applying this to my week has really helped because if my week is structured to include the tasks I’m likely to avoid, I’m more likely to actually do them.

Benefitting from Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

I have monthly hypnotherapy sessions with another Inspired to Change hypnotherapist, which are undoubtably useful because they keep me mentally accountable. It’s so easy to remember to exercise the rest of your body, so why not your brain as well?

The sessions help me to keep moving forward so that I’m always developing and not stagnating. I want to keep getting better and make progress in all areas of my life, and this becomes even more important the older I get. Each session surprises me when I come up with my next little step forward, realising I can always be doing things more effectively.

Keeping positive can be hard, so it’s important for us to understand that we do have the opportunity to change our mood. Every so often I find myself getting irritable and I know this is my way of being aware my stress bucket is filling up and I need to do something to help empty it again. Our stress buckets can so easily fill up if we’re not paying attention, so it’s in a constant state of maintenance and regular hypnotherapy sessions help me to do that.

Write down your good things

Every evening I write down all the things which have been good for me during the day. It’s something I suggest to all my clients and seeing the benefits to them makes me want to do it as well. It makes me look out for the opportunity to see the good things and it really helps with the awareness of all the good things happening around me and actually noticing them instead of going through the motions. It’s also a good excuse for new stationery – notebooks in particular!

Do more of what works for you

The more I practise doing those things that are working well for me the more I’m noticing how many 10/10 moments I’m having. Perfect 10/10 days don’t happen very often, but there are several moments you can feel pure joy – such a being at a live concert and really being in the moment and loving the music or going out to a new place for lunch and having delicious soup on my day off. Having a client who has made significant changes and are in a better place is a fantastic way of having a 10/10 moment. I read somewhere recently they’re also called ‘glimmers’ and I’m noticing these with more and more frequently and it makes life so much more enjoyable and worthwhile, especially if you share these moments with someone else.

My Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, for me, living a solution focused life means you’re always like a meerkat up on its hind legs scouring for ways to enhance your life and observing either what needs a little revamp or what’s going really well that you need to do more of.

If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy could help you to reduce stress and anxiety and live a solution focused life, get in touch with one of our Inspired to Change hypnotherapists and book your FREE initial consultation.

About the Author: Carmen Harrington practices from her therapy room in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. As someone who has struggled with confidence and anxiety in the past, she knows how positive and lifechanging hypnotherapy can be. Carmen’s specialties include: Anxiety, Confidence, Addictions, Teenagers, and Phobias.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.