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Psychologies Life Leap

You may want to change your job, or you may want to re-invent yourself or perhaps you want to re-invent the way you’re living your life, or create a new business or BIG change in your life. One of our tag lines at Psychologies – is ‘your life, your way’. It’s about defining what success means to you on your own terms; living a life that makes you happy and makes you feel fulfilled. That's why we've created our new Life Leap coaching club exclusively for you, our subscribers. Each month you'll get access to a coaching programme which sits alongside the dossier in the magazine, to give you extra resources such as workbooks and coaching videos to help you make real change in your life. Interested? Click here to register now: it’s free for print subscribers.

Stop procrastinating, start taking action.

Do you:

  • Want to change your life but always procrastinate?
  • Consistently set goals that you never reach?
  • Indulge in negative habits – drinking too much wine, eating junk, never exercising?
  • Always take on too much and never achieve what you want to achieve.
  • Consistently break promises to yourself.
  • Wake up every morning and think ‘there has to be another way’.

Do you want to:
  • Set achievable goals and make them happen.
  • Set yourself up to succeed versus fail.
  • Build healthy habits that feed your energy.
  • Live a life of inspiration versus desperation.
  • Think differently, not just do something different.
  • Be the creator of your life, not the victim of it.

Get the professional support you need – for free.

At Psychologies we believe with a little help, support and inspiration, it’s far easier to make those changes. In our new Life Leap coaching club, we have world-class experts who are going to be working with you over the next year – we’ve got everyone from Gabriel Bernstein, who Oprah calls a ‘new thought leader’ to Shaa Wasmund, MBE, best-selling author and award-winning entrepreneur coming to help and support us to move forward with inspirational live masterclasses. Plus each month you'll get a full coaching programme, with interactive workbooks, videos and live online coaching sessions, created by the top Barefoot coaches in the country, including Becca Forshaw, Louise Rodgers and Simon Hague. 

Plus every month, there will be:

  • Practical downloadable weekly workbooks and journaling prompts
  • Weekly coaching videos
  • Themed Podcasts
  • Monthly live coaching sessions with top Barefoot coaches 
  • Plus an exclusive Facebook community forum where members can chat, interact and get support

To start getting coached today, simply register using your unique subscriber Customer ID here.

You are not alone.

And of course, I’ll be here – not only am I the editor of Psychologies, but I’ve also been a coach for the last 18 years so I’ll be coaching you every month and also inviting the top coaches in the country to come and coach you too – on navigating these life leaps. And, we’ll also have each other. We’re just starting to build our Life Leap Community – we’ve put the call out for ambassadors – who are already in the process of making their own life leaps and we’ve been inundated by brave women who are already making big changes, so we’ll be in great company.

Here's what Alison has to say:

Alison Hammond 2

Be brave, make the leap

At the heart of the Life Leap Club is courage. To make any changes in your life, you need to brave – but that can be incredibly scary. So it will be great to be able to lean on each other when the going gets tough and work together on our mindsets. Because as we know, sometimes change does not always feel positive -  if you're made redundant, or your relationship breaks down, or we lose someone we love, it can feel awful. However, although we might not have the ability to change what’s happening out there, we do have the power to change the way we see it – or react to it – and that’s something we always have control over. So we will be working a lot on our mindset here, in order to make anything feel possible.

In the Life Leap Club we’ll be mostly encouraging each other to be brave, to be honest about what’s going on. It's is not about being mindlessly positive - it's about being real and being kind to yourself and each other as we take a really deep breath and begin our journey towards creating a life that we truly love. The best thing is it’s free as part of your subscription to Psychologies, so not only will you get our beautiful magazine but you also get free access to the exclusive coaching within the Life Leap Club. 

One of our top contributing coaches is Simon Hague. Simon is a trained and qualified Barefoot Coach providing coaching to his many clients and supervision to other coaches. He enables his clients to see through the complexities and conflicting needs of living in an increasingly chaotic world. This helps them to create a decluttered calmness and focus that takes them forward to their desired outcome. Check out his coaching programmes 'GO SLOW: Simplify Your life' and 'Improve Your Sleep and Wake Up Happier'.

In GO SLOW: Simplify Your life, we ask why does life feel so hard sometimes, and discover how to make it feel easier. Over the next four weeks you'll be taken on a journey using simple and practical tools to give your life a shake-up and find new easier, more streamlined ways to live your life. What if your life could be all about flow, ease and gently taking baby steps every day, which bring you joy?

Click here to register now: it’s free.


Test: What stops you from changing course?

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How to get a good night's sleep:a podcast with UKCP

We all sleep. But when we start to experience issues with getting rest how do we know when it is time to reach out for psychological support?

In this episode, UKCP’s CEO Sarah Niblock talks to UKCP psychotherapist Heather Darwall-Smith to find out how prevalent sleep issues are and how psychotherapy can help us find relief. Listen here:

women stretching in bed after good night's sleep

Are you struggling with insomnia or waking up in the night with disrupted sleeping patterns? Getting enough sleep is critical for our physical and emotional wellbeing. Learn more about the science of sleep and the stories we tell our ourselves that keep us awake at night in this special dossier report...

by Psychologies

by Psychologies

Test: Why are you so hard on yourself?

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How to deal with a bully at work

Bullies are always 100 per cent responsible for their behaviour. But, the repeated use of the wrong strategy to deal with a bully – such as avoiding and complying – can result in in you becoming stuck in a bullying dynamic.

Complying is the desire to submit as a way of getting through a challenging encounter with a bully. If you ‘submit’, often you do so in an attempt to preserve your connection with the bully. You hope that doing what the bully wants will enable you to keep the relationship as viable as possible. The desire to retain some form of connection with a workplace bully is understandable, but there is a difference between:

• Wanting to preserve a working relationship with a non-bullying, but challenging, colleague


• The strategy of compliance or submission towards a workplace bully. 

The former makes complete sense, no matter how difficult it may be in practice. The latter isn’t wise. A bullying colleague is a dangerous person to want to preserve connection with. 

Avoiding is motivated by the desire to prevent potentially overwhelming levels of anxiety and fear, which result from encounters with the bully. Many of us may feel paralysed and disabled when in the presence of bully. To avoid feeling this toxic mixture of incapacity and fear you are likely to avoid situations where you will encounter the bully, and avoid confronting abusive behaviour during or after an encounter with the bully. 

Every time the bully’s aggressive behaviour goes unchallenged, they receive the message that they can continue to attack as and when they want to, and there will be no consequences for them to deal with. For many of targets, the fear of confronting is actually a fear that, if they do confront, the bully will retaliate even more powerfully and destroy them. And it is quite true that an ineffective, emotional confrontation won’t go well for many of us, because a skilled bully will hear the wobble in your voice and turn your emotion back onto you. 

Avoidance and compliance have their place as strategies for dealing with workplace bullying – but only in the short term as one-off methods of managing the surprise and shock of being bullied. If they become established ways in which the target handles the bully they become counter-productive, making it straightforward for the bully to carry on bullying.

However, the good news is that a skilled, clean and clear confrontation will alter the bullying dynamic at the time of an attack. A skilful rejoinder results in the bully going onto the back foot, and the balance of power between you and the bully alters in the favour of you. Learning how to confront safely and skilfully is a key goal for people vulnerable to workplace bullying. 

It’s about identifying the choices you have, behaviourally, verbally and intellectually, which at the moment of attack, changes the balance of power. As soon as it’s altered once, the bully is wrong-footed and you can regain some of your power, self-control and self-belief.

For example, if the bully says to you: ‘That report that you wrote was absolutely rubbish.’ This is a fuzzy, unclear, general criticism. In this example, let’s imagine the report was OK – maybe not perfect, but certainly good enough, and you might find yourself saying: ‘Oh sorry, can you tell me what’s wrong with it?’ And what they’ve done is open the door for the next piece of abuse from the bully: unjust, unfair, and undermining.

A better response would be to say: ‘Ok, what I just heard is that you think my work is really poor. So what I’d like you do to is write down your criticisms of it and then you, me and my manager can discuss them.’ Now, most bullies won’t take up that challenge because the point of the criticism wasn’t that the report was wholly inadequate, but was simply to undermine your self-esteem. If you make it clear that you are not affected by the bully’s statement, and instead hold the bully responsible for what they said, the dynamic is changed completely and the bully gets the message the tactic of undermining doesn’t work.

 For more tips:

• Access free downloads on how to recover from and combat workplace bullying from

• Read Free Yourself from Workplace Bullying: Become Bully-Proof and Regain Control of Your Life (Mint Hall Publishing, £21.99)

Photograph: Getty Images


by Psychologies

5 steps to a better relationship

women friends charring

Express your gratitude

A great way to strengthen the bond with your partner, family member or friend is to express gratitude – and we are not talking about an exercise of politeness, where you say 'thank you' for something someone has done for you, or something that has been given to you. True gratitude lies on the heartfelt recognition of your appreciation for the other. It is when you can say to the other person how grateful you are for the things they do for you.

When you express gratitude and appreciation, you are conveying that you are not taking them for granted. You are recognising the ways in which they positively contribute to your wellbeing and happiness. Think about it as a platform to highlight the other person's qualities.

Implement a 5:1 ratio of positive vs negative interactions.

Researcher John Gottman tells us that for a relationship to flourish and better navigate the waters of life, we need to increase positive contributions so that we have a 5:1 ratio of positive versus negative interactions. This means that for every negative interaction you have with your partner, family member or friend, you need another five positive ones to help your relationship flourish. When you infuse your relationship with positivity, you make it more resilient to life’s challenges. So start thinking of small things you can do to infuse your relationship with a positivity boost.

Use empathy as a way to connect.

Empathy is when we are able to shift our perspective in order to adopt that of another so that we can see and experience the world like they do; empathy is the engine that fuels the bond in our relationships. It allows us to put ourselves in the other person's shoes so that we can feel more connected to them.

Think about one thing you could do for them to convey that you understand what life is like for them. How do you think this will make them feel? What difference will it make in their life? Put your empathy into action, and through an act of love, let them know that you understand what things are like for them.

Let go of assumptions.

We all walk into our relationships with numerous assumptions about life, children, money, home etc, that we often take for the only truth, and forget to check with the other person if we share the same view. A lot of conflicts between couples and friends are the consequence of unspoken assumptions that clash. One of the key points to creating an easy flowing relationship is to have open, honest conversations about all the beliefs, assumptions and expectations that each of you is bringing into the relationship, then to choose together which ones you let go, which ones you want to keep and which new ones you want to create.

The beauty of a relationship is that each one is a whole new universe, and together with your friend or partner, you get to shape it. Spend time understanding yourself, your partner or friend and how you want your relationship to be.

Have skilful conflicts.

The quality of our conflicts is very important for the quality of our relationships. Successful, fulfilling relationships are not those where people have no conflicts or avoid them, but those where conflicts are navigated in a skilful manner, so that relationships are stronger for them. Remember that behind every complaint there is a request, so communicate the request rather than the complaint.

For example, instead of saying: “You are always late”, say “Can we please leave at 7:30 tonight? It would mean a lot to me.” Sprinkle your conflicts with humour – couples that do that have longer-lasting and more fulfilling relationships. And finally, be willing to listen. Take the time to hear what the other person is saying.

Photograph: Corbis


by Psychologies

TEST: How do you get on with your mother?

Focus on your relationship with your mother: negotiating your role as a grown-up child, understanding your mother's influence - good and bad - and discover what sort of daughter you are. Take this test to discover how you get on with your mother.  

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by Psychologies

Let’s play

As we become older and busier, the opportunity to play diminishes and we begin to view the idea of spontaneous pleasure as a frivolous extra, a distraction from ‘real’ life.

Yet play is important for emotional and intellectual development. According to the California-based National Institute For Play, that ability to let go, explore and push boundaries can help us solve problems, while doing things with our hands (modelling clay, painting eggs) helps our brains find solutions. Genuine play can also allow us to enjoy the moment rather than focus on the end goal. Or, as Dr Stuart Brown, the institute’s founder, says, ‘the opposite of play is not work, it’s depression’.

Children learn about the world through exploration, role play and imagination. As we grow towards adulthood, we become less spontaneous and more self-conscious. It is this self-awareness and fear of judgement that inhibits a desire to play, yet this desire is very important in adulthood if we want to experiment, explore and push boundaries. Tim Brown, CEO of global design consultancy Ideo, places great emphasis on the connection between childhood play and creative thinking.

That childlike impulse to experiment and continually ask questions is crucial for adult creativity. Children are more engaged in open possibilities, says Brown. They look at an old cardboard box and ask not just ‘What is it?’ but ‘What can it do?’ Tapping in to that childlike experimentation to encourage our creativity is something he refers to as ‘serious play’. 

To illustrate these connections, he suggests a simple exercise. ‘If you’re in a group, take it in turns to make quick sketches of one another and note your reactions. What you’ll hear is lots of people saying sorry and plenty of embarrassment,’ he says. ‘This is because we fear the judgement of our peers. Ask kids to do the same exercise and there’ll be no embarrassment at all.’ ‘It’s a playful activity that we need to re-learn,’ says Brown. ‘The adult desire to be original and self-edit just isn’t that productive. Instead, going for it like a child and getting something into the real world quickly, whether it’s a drawing, prototype or concept, is a much more creative form of play.’

Counter-intuitive as it may seem, cultivating a sense of spontaneity in our adult lives does take some careful planning. As Brown says, ‘we need rules to break rules’. Two rules that he employs in his creative meetings are ‘Defer judgement’ and ‘Go for quantity’. Staff are encouraged to write down lists of ideas without self-editing with the aim, Brown says, ‘of quickly getting ideas on the table’.

Even if there are rules to encourage our playful side, all forms of play require an emotional letting go — whether it’s laughing, horsing around with friends, flirting or teasing. These are moments when the intellect — and that judgemental inner voice — are quiet, moments that become crucial for forging bonds of trust. ‘Many people have spoken to me of their sadness that they no longer “play”,’ says psychotherapist Martin Lloyd-Elliott. ‘But it is something you can rediscover,’ he says.

What we miss is the playfulness of a team sport where we can feel part of a group and compete without taking ourselves too seriously. Card games and mahjong are traditional forms of adult play that have an almost sacred place in the players’ week, while reading groups offer opportunities for connecting, expressing yourself and exploring different ideas in an intimate, supportive atmosphere. ‘You can seek play in many areas of your life, whether it’s sport, cooking or doing the crossword — as long as there’s a playful aspect to the task and you’re not spoiling it by judging,’ says Lloyd-Elliot. ‘With judgement comes criticism — the enemy of play.’

Photograph: Jupiterimages

Better You

by Psychologies