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Food as Medicine for Anxiety Disorders | Guest post by Joanne Van Der Linden

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The foods you eat have a profound effect on your physical, mental and emotional health. Most people know that when they eat well, they feel well. The “good days” they have can often be attributed to times that included the sufficient supply of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and good fats, whereas the “bad days” can be traced back to times when they consumed a diet high in sugar with too much caffeine, with the combination of unhealthy fats mixed with white carbohydrates, with too many missed meals and/or too many late nights with the excessive intake of alcoholic beverages. Eating well and feeling good have a far better outlook than the alternative. It comes down to making a decision to really look after yourself.

Getting into the habit of eating well all the time can be tricky when your life is busy. If you suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions, you will benefit from being more vigilant about what goes into your mouth on a more regular basis. The rule of thumb when doing your best to eat well is to work with a ratio that helps you to stick to your decision. Most people use an 80/20 ratio where 80% of the time they eat well and 20% of the time they “let their hair down!” If you suffer from any mental torment or trauma, what’s going on in your mind can be very connected to what’s going on in your belly. In order for you to live in your most well state, the ratio of GOOD : NOT SO GOOD foods needs to be higher. A 90:10 ratio works better for most people with anxiety or better still, 95:5. The more consistent you are with eating well, the better you will feel. When you provide the best diet for your body with good sources of macro and micro nutrients plus fibre, your body has a much better chance of standing up under the stresses of modern, everyday living.

While sticking to a higher good food ratio can be tricky, the rewards outweigh the effort by giving you more time when your mind and your body feel ok. This is step one in a process of change for dietary control of anxiety and depression.

For more information on altering your diet to live more comfortably with anxiety or depression, you can contact Joanne at her clinic using the contact details below.

Guest post by Joanne Van Der Linden. Naturopath, NLP Practitioner and Hypnotherapist @

Holistic Healthcare Services, Tea Gardens NSW

Nature: how we need it to maintain mental health

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This week marks World Environment Day (5 June) and World Oceans Day (8 June). As with these recurring annual days of celebration or recognition I like to use them to acknowledge and engage in new conversations and thinking, especially with respect to mental health.

I must admit, as a dive instructor for many years, and being married to an environmental scientist, I’m pretty passionate about the natural world. But with our busy work schedules I feel as though I just don’t get into it as much as I’d like to. I am incredibly lucky to live near a beautiful waterway where my old boat, Phoenix is moored which I like to potter around on as much as possible.

Having an old boat has given our family so many amazing experiences. My kids were swimming confidently much younger than most. My daughters have both experienced breathing under water (SCUBA diving) much younger than many would. I feel as though I need to take every opportunity to give them as much nature time as I can so they learn to love it as much as we do. But it’s not just about learning to respect nature that’s important for my kids, it’s essential for their mental well being.

You see, being ‘earthed’, where your bare feet touch the soft ground or sand, where you get to really breathe, where you’re away from man made constructs is essential for both your physical and mental well being.

Nature deficit disorder is a phrase coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods meaning that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Anxiety is way up there among them. Kids need to be outdoors, playing, jumping, exploring, just being and the rise of the micro-managed child means that they’re getting less and less time to be in nature. Screen time is dominating their every waking hour. Any parent can vouch for the fact that they struggle to get their kids off their device, with a range of negative consequences from tantrums and aggression to an inability to free play. And this goes for adults too.

But the lack of time in nature is having dire consequences for another reason. The constant and unrelenting pressure on our natural resources is leading to what scientists predict as being the 6th wave of extinction. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), some 41 percent of amphibians and 26 percent of mammal species are currently facing extinction. Some of the world’s most beloved species are among them. Can you imagine a world without koalas, polar bears, elephants, orangutans, or even the cutest little dolphin you’ve ever seen (30 Vaquita dolphins left in the wild)? We don’t know it enough to love it, to save it.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum, 1968.

That’s pretty heavy stuff. And we’re starting to see huge mental health challenges arise as a result. I know I’ve witnessed an increased level of anxiety and depression in my wife and her scientist colleagues over the past few years. In fact at global science conferences the mental health issues associated with those at the conservation coal face is a growing stream, not only for those working in the field but for humans that have an innate sense of a loss of connection to the natural world. There’s even a thing now called conservation grief for those who have witnessed species and habitats in the midst of the extinction process.

This is not about watching too much depressing news on the TV. This is about humans destroying their own home.

So what can I do I hear you ask? The problems are so huge, I’m just one person. It gives me anxiety just thinking about this stuff. I’ve got my own problems to deal with.

I hear you. Loud and clear.

But there is one simple thing that you can do right now, this afternoon or this weekend that will instantly make you feel better. Guaranteed. Whether you care about the environment or not, this will help heal your soul regardless.

Get back to nature.

The science on the role of nature to heal and improve mental health is in. We need to get out of the constraining, oppressive four walls that surround us at work and home and get some sand or grass under our feet. Frequently. We need to breathe pollution free air. Frequently. We need to lie on the earth and stare up at the clouds. As much as we can.

Check out this cute video for a laugh, but it’s so true.

Happy World No Tobacco Day?!

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Did you even know there was a World No Tobacco Day? No? Well you’re certainly not alone. But we thought it might be a perfect  segue way into talking more about anxiety and the various things that trigger it. And smoking is definitely a trigger, on so many fronts.

“Smoking is highly prevalent across most anxiety disorders. Tobacco use increases risk for the later development of certain anxiety disorders, and smokers with anxiety disorders have more severe withdrawal symptoms during smoking cessation than smokers without anxiety disorders.” Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, Tobacco Use, and Nicotine: A Critical Review of Interrelationships. Morisette, S. et al. Psychological Bulletin 2007, Vol. 133, No. 2, 245–272

Firstly there’s the actual act of smoking. The ironic thing is that peak anxiety attack, and despite all the associated physiological effects, many people grab a cigarette to ‘calm them down’. What they’re actually wanting to do is to just stop and breathe. And stopping for a smoke is a way to to slow down and breathe. Only problem is what they’re actually breathing in and how it effects the body. Cigarettes contain an addictive stimulant drug, nicotine. Nicotine is known to cause excitement and intensify your worries to make them seem bigger than they are… which can lead to more anxiety (ref). The physiological effects mean that smoking is making your anxiety worse! Researchers have found consistent evidence that stopping smoking is associated with improvements in depression, anxiety, stress, psychological quality of life, and positive feelings compared with continuing smoking (read more).

Secondly there’s the nicotine withdrawal. Quitting cigarettes can be a very stressful process, particularly due to the nicotine being one of the most addictive substances there is. Common symptoms include: cravings for nicotine, restlessness and difficulty sleeping, irritability, anger, anxiety, depressed mood and even getting cold like symptoms, constipation and mouth ulcers (www.quit.org.au). But once you’re through the tough part, and it’s tougher for some than others, you’re done. You’ve got a better chance of reducing your anxiety and depressive mood once you’ve quit.

Thirdly there’s the global impact of the tobacco industry. The top 3 producers of tobacco are China, Brazil and India (www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au). Massive amounts of land is deforested each year to make way for tobacco farms (4% of annual global deforestation, www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au). Pesticides and chemicals are used to maximise crop success but leach out into nearby waterways. Child labour is commonly used on farms in developing nations. And that’s all before the issue of butt littering and fires caused from tossed, lit butts. Cigarette butts are the most common item found in beach cleans ups, globally.

If you’re a smoker, there’s no time like the present to quit, for your health and the health of the planet. Hypnosis and NLP have tried and tested techniques to help you quit the cigs today. If you’re keen to quit and feel like you may need some help feel free to contact Brad.

Anxiety about being a perfectionist

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Do you suffer from Anxiety due to your desire to be perfect? Is being a perfectionist causing you to not get things done which just leads to more anxiety?

The other day I was working with a client in a coaching session that had completed 10 blog posts on her LinkedIn profile that by all accounts was great content yet she was not comfortable publishing them as she wanted them to be perfect. The questions I asked to find out if this was warranted were as follows:

  • Have you had someone check them for spelling and grammar errors (one of my own personal issues)? The answer was yes.
  • Do you think that the content is of value? The answer was that she had a friend read over them who was in the industry that the content was intended for and her friend said it was very good.
  • So my next question was, if the content is good and will be of value to people that read it and you think it will help your business how do you sleep at night by NOT giving the information to those who will benefit from it? This was a bit of shift for her so as that question was working its way to an answer I asked her “are you a perfectionist?” She smiled and said “well yes I do believe I am”. It was at this point I rolled out my favourite line with our perfectionist.

“If you don’t put it out there how will you ever improve so you can get to perfect?”

You see by not letting yourself get feedback to improve you will never be perfect. Accomplishment and success are a process. You need to not be afraid to put yourself out there in order to improve. As a perfectionist you have to get feedback in order to be perfect (I would suggest that perfection is a worthy goal but shouldn’t be an obstruction), so by not publishing the articles you are not being a perfectionist.

What was interesting was that the real problem becomes apparent and that was that she had anxiety about what people might think so she wanted it to be perfect, however this was stopping her from putting her articles out for people to read and therefore get feedback and clients.

What is 100% for sure is that by holding back on tasks from being complete you are going to have more spinning plates and this burns up your energy and resources leading to anxiety.

So what do you do about this double bind, catch 22 about putting “it” out to get feedback vs being perfect? Well here are some steps.

  • Have someone who will be honest to give you feedback
  • Embrace feedback in whatever form to improve yourself
  • Understand that feedback is nothing personal, its feedback
  • When you are given feedback be it in person or via no response at all, say thank you!

This will enable you to adapt to improve. My last point is that in order to get to your destination quickly, whatever that destination is you need to take action. Taking action is not thinking, writing it down or talking about it. Taking action is doing something that is tangible, tactile and real. This creates completion towards feedback to improve. Now if you have anxiety about improving then get really specific with the thinking, take baby steps forward, they might be small however they are small steps.

One of the tasking options I give all my clients now is a 3-month task of setting daily goals towards their 3-month goal, whatever goal that is. This helps them get really specific on a daily basis. It also forces them to focus on what they want to achieve on a daily basis.

This eliminates anxiety, creates movement and taking action on the task in the future.

I suggest you do the same, set a 12-month, 9-month, 6-month, and 3-month goal in one context –  be it relationship, health and fitness or career and then set daily goals towards that 3 month goal; little action steps that move you towards the 3 month goal.

Now one way of making it real is to have someone hold you accountable, so if you are up for the challenge write your 3-month goal in the comments and like the Facebook post (link) here and we can all hold each other accountable.

What did I do with my client that was procrastinating on her LinkedIn blog post articles? I had her log in to her account and post one live! That’s taking action. Watching her fear dissipate at the time it went live was very interesting: “now that was not so bad was it?”

PTSD – Post Trump Stress Disorder

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Yep, the completely unexpected happened. Donald Trump, an openly divisive, openly racist, openly misogynistic, self-confessed sexual assaulter, climate denier and blatantly hostile candidate is now the President Elect of the United States of America.

Irrespective of your politics and just looking at the man himself, his values and his behavior, you’ve got to question where people are at to have enabled such a thing to happen. What has happened that has brought such an apparently immoral and potentially criminal character with questionable financial records to such a position as to lead a super power?

In the days following the election it has become apparent that Americans supported Trump as a protest vote; to air their grievances at a system or establishment that they feel has failed them. A king hitter from that very establishment is who they chose. It didn’t matter that he’s corrupt, a failed business person, a groper, a spreader of hate and division. It’s a pretty diabolical thing to do given what’s at stake.

I’m not sure about you but my FB feed has been in free fall since. The one thing that’s common is that there are many, many reasonable people all around the world who are now filled with a deep sense of dread and anxiety about what this means, not just for the US but for the world. And that anxiety feels very real for many. My wife was in a deep state of angst. She knows what he’ll do for the environment and climate change, and the subsequent impacts that will have on all of us, human and non-human.

So I wanted to share something that she found on her FB feed from her network and that helped her.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ has a call to action for herself at deeply challenging moments. And that call to action to herself is asking the question: ‘Who do I want to be in this situation?’

In a world that feels as though it’s lost its marbles (think Brexit, Syria, climate change to name a few) it’s easy to feel a sense of hopelessness, angst, depression, and even anger. But this doesn’t serve anyone, least of all you. Yes, crazy, horrible things are happening all over the place, but plugging your emotions wholeheartedly into those horrific things is not going to change the outcome, once done. That’s not to say you can’t feel emotions; of course you will, if you’re anyone other than Trump (and other psychopaths) you are going to feel emotionally affected about horrible things. That’s what normal human beings do. But you need not let it affect you to the point that you can’t function effectively. Being energetically depleted can exacerbate your feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and if not addressed, can lead to physical ill health. You need to feel empowered at challenging times so you can feel as though what you do matters, no matter how small or trivial.

The one thing you CAN control in out of control situations is how you want to respond to it.

This is simple but not easy.

Think of all those babies and children being killed and injured in Syria. Think about what’s happening to species around the world, being wiped out for human profit and greed. Think about people close to you, or maybe even you, going through ill health and potentially terminal illnesses. Think of Trump taking over the Western world. These are big, horrible, devastating things. But you can still choose how you are going to respond to them.

This is actually one of the things I focus on in my trainings and coaching. What Elizabeth Gilbert is suggesting is being at cause rather than at the effect. Are you at cause of what’s happening to you in response to a situation or are you letting yourself be at the effect of what’s happening? When I say ‘letting yourself’ I’m not saying it as a weakness. A lot of this happens at a deeper conscious level. It’s about how you habitually respond to difficult or challenging situations. Do you blame others or do you accept responsibility for what has happened and empower yourself to carry on?

In response to Trump’s win, Elizabeth Gilbert & her partner switched off all devices, lit candles, meditated to gain clarity of what was happening and consciously asked themselves who they wanted to be in this situation. As was their usual response (yours may well be different) they wanted to be: calm, strong, open-hearted, curious, generous, humorous and patient in response to this challenging situation. They chose the same response to a terminal cancer result in Elizabeth’s partner. It doesn’t get more challenging or distressing than that, yet they still chose who they wanted to be in that situation, which undoubtedly made the situation more tolerable, given the circumstances. 

To be human is to be a flawed and emotional creature. You will get plugged in to what’s happening around you but when it all gets too much ask yourself ‘who do I want to be in this situation?’. Take back control over your emotional response. It will make all the difference to you, and everyone around you.

And as for Post Trump Stress Disorder, take comfort that more of the world are feeling what you’re feeling than you can possibly imagine. Now it’s about projecting the person you’re deciding to be in this situation.

 

Does a Life coach need to learn how to sell?

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On the weekend I ran a small workshop for a bunch of life coaches that are wanting to improve their business through improving how to sell their services. What was very clear to see was that these people knew their products and services were very valuable however being able to get this point across was a challenge.

So this post is about what I learned about coaches and their sales processes and how I think you can improve your selling by understanding a very basic step.

First up there are lots of “how to sell” programs and methods to improve your ability to sell. Fact is there are many different techniques for different products. If I was to make this easy as to what technique I would use for what type of sale I’d break it into two options:

1. Tangible product;
2. Intangible product, an outcome or solution.

So a tangible product is something you can hold, DVD, TV or book. The client gets instant gratification once they complete the transaction as they get to “hold” or “take” the item.

An intangible item is something that you do not get to hold, like a live training, online course or coaching.

With coaching everyone needs the product but it’s not like when you are sick and have to go to the doctor. In coaching the client does not really just decide to come to you. There are a number of things that happen before that takes place.

For example someone has a bad breakup from their partner. They are anxious and upset. At this stage they feel that it’s not going to get any better. The same can go with someone losing their job. As a result of this event other negative things may start to happen to them.

They may put on weight.
They may end up with self confidence issues.
Their self esteem takes a hit which may lead to mild depression.

They may then look for some answers to solve their problem. They talk to people, friends and family. Maybe they look online. It’s at this stage the person is ready to do something about it. Many people take years to get to the point of doing something about it.

If it was as simple as buying a pill or a “go away problem tool” they would. It’s at this point they start to look for alternatives.

I have found that the clients I often have are people that have tried many things, only to not get a result.

OK, so let’s get to the point here. A person is ready for coaching.

Now they have the option of talking to a coach about coaching. They start to way up the option or alternatives, do they go down the traditional path of Psychologist and Psychologists or seeing a medical doctor or an alternative health option.

So all this is going on with the client before they make the call

Here is the simple steps to the 5 step sales process that I teach in trainings so coaches can learn how to sell. It is ideal for anyone that does not feel comfortable with the process of “selling”. As it comes from a serving point of view rather then to “sell” them

So the 5 steps are:

  1. Build rapport
  2. Ask questions
  3. Find a need
  4. Link the need to the value
  5. Close

In this post I am not going to get into the detail of the other points I want to get into point 3 and 4.

These seamed to be the hardest part of the sales process for them to understand how to do it well.

Here is an exercise for you to do, make a list of all the reasons someone comes to you for coaching.

Is it:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Weight loss
  • Overcoming fear, like phobia or anxiety
  • Increasing confidence

Then make a list of all the question you would ask a perspective client in a specific context.

I will take the smoking option for this example.

  • How long have you smoked for?
  • How often have you smoked?
  • What have you done to stop smoking?
  • What does smoking cost you?

Then taking answer to these questions and looking for the need.
for example.

How long have you smoked for? I have smoked for 15 years.
How often do you smoke? I smoke everyday about 25 a day
What have you done to stop smoking? I have tried cold turkey and patches
What does smoking cost you? It cost me $150 per week.

So now we have a bunch of questions and some answers, so now what? Well we feed them back to the client to build value.

So its clear that you have been smoking for 15 years, that would mean you are consistent!
It’s also clear that you have been wasting a lot of time each day smoking.
When you gave up in the past for how long did you give up for? Client says “Well a few weeks”
Ok so you have shown that you can overcome the addition, its just the habit of smoking that you need help with, does that sound right? client says “yes”

So if I could help you change the behavior so you did not have the habit to smoke would that be useful?
If I could help you with finding the trigger that makes you want to smoke, would that help?
What would it be worth for you to stop smoking? how much would you save a year?
If we could do all that do you think that the need to smoke would be less or removed?

That’s the point that you then close the sale, that is ask for the booking or order. (remember this is just an example)

So I want you to construct a number of questions that you will ask your clients/ friend in a specific context then I want you to ask real people these questions and note the response. Then with that response pull out of the clients answers the “need” that you will feed back to them.

If you want help feel free to post the questions and response in the comments and I will help you find the key words and construct the response.

The good news is once you have a pool of questions you will have typical responses you can fine tune it for the best outcome

Can you really use one technique to improve communication?

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Welcome to my first “Drive to Work Video Blog”.
I am doing this for two reasons. First because it’s a great use of time, and second to prove to people that talk about not having time to do content for their website.

In this video blog I talk about a conversation I had with my 5 year old daughter’s kindergarten teacher regarding the techniques I use and how they assist in communication. We talk about how by using one set of skills I can assist and train so many people in so many different areas.

I hope you enjoy it and please join in the conversation.

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SMART Goals, how to keep on track

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Consult your goals for 2011!
Many people say “OK this year is my year” or “Last year was bad, this year is going to be different”
After saying this people can soon find themselves on the same path of repeating the behaviours and events that lead them to be less resourceful in previous years. We know that the year will have passed us by and we will be saying “wow that was fast”. So it’s important that we look towards completing our goals and put those things holding us back, behind us.
So now, being March is a great time to assess those goals you set in January, remake the ones you have achieved already and set new ones for the remainder of the year.
If you want some help then join the Secret of Creating your Future® weekend in Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney. If you would like to know more click here.
Re-looking at your goals
It is important that you focus on the last step and the action plan to make your goals a reality! It will keep you focusing on creating what you want.

Create a SMART goal
If you have attended a training you will now know all about this, if not here is a bit on SMART goals.
• Chose an area of your life you want to write a goal for.
• Your goal should be 2 short sentences. It is now DATE and I am….or I have…
• Write the goal and make sure it is SMART
• Set the goal
• Put the goal somewhere you can see it each day
• Goal: “An aim or an end in mind.”
• Aim relates to direction
• End relates to outcome

S Specific, Simple
M Measurable, Meaningful to you
A As if now, Achievable, All areas of your life
R Realistic, Responsible / Ecological
T Timed, Toward What You Want.

Set Goals
Now that you have your goals set, work backwards from 1 year to 9 months, 5 months, 3 months and 1 month. Now look at where you are up to and what action you need to take this week to get the result you want.

Assess Your Action
If you have already set your goals for 2011 then now is the time to revisit the action you have taken or not taken! What can you do each week/day to move forward towards the end result.

Break it down into smaller sub goals or action steps to be taken for that day or week. It could be, “ok tonight I am going to go shopping and buy the right food for my food plan for the week”. Or “ok today I am going to go for that run or walk”. Or if you are in business, “today I am going to enter 10 invoices or call 10 customers”. You must take action!

Keep At It!
We all know that we will come across obstacles in life and as we say at our trainings “obstacles are our friends”. So if you do come across an obstacle take note of it, deal with it and keep moving forward. Remember to say “thank you obstacle for reminding me that I’m on track”

Plan the Next Goal Evaluation
Set a date in your diary for 3 months time to look at your goals and your action plan in order to take note of what you have achieved and what you need to work on for the next three months.

The best way of getting all of this sorted is to join us for the Secret of Creating your Future® weekend with Brad Greentree.
To find out the next dates shoot us an email

To book for the early bird price of $195 with your $50 deposit click here.
*Limited seats of the $195 price, regular price are $595. Book 2 seats and get the 3rd Free!

The Mentor Program

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Currently I have a selected few that have taken up the challenge to become successful Coaches and Trainers. This group all started at one of my Hypnosis weekends and decided that they wanted to be a full time coach and trainer.

The process is a step by step program teaching them about online marketing and building a coaching business from scratch. Each step of the way they have myself to assist them with their journey.

I know what it takes to make it as a coach and it’s not easy you really need to keep at it and build yourself as an expert and find a good niche.

Keep a eye out on this website as I update their progress and success.

The next intact will be taking place very soon so if you would also like to join the program than be sure to contact me so I can go over the requirements and make sure you meet the criteria.