Do you know who you really are? – Being Confident and Energized Comes With Being Yourself

Do you know who you are?

In order to be energized every day and to have confidence and self assurance you need to have some inkling about who you are.  A lady I know recently revealed that she had left her seemingly happy marriage because she didn’t know who she was.

This is an uncomfortable position to be in because it means you are buffeted by the stream – always pushed this way or that because of others’ opinions.

To give you a small example of being influenced by others …

Joan Small Photos Collage

My various hairstyles

I have always coloured my hair, and worn it in different styles, short, mid length or long, and when it is long I sometimes tie it up.  My friends and others often comment on which style they prefer. Some will say, ‘I like your hair short’, others like it darker or fairer, and some prefer it long or tied back.

At times I have styled me hair to suit the person whose favourable opinion I most want at that time. However, I have now come to realise that it is impossible and downright silly to change my hair style because of what others say. I should be choosing for me – what I think suits me best, and varying the way I wear my hair depending on who I am and how I feel.

Can you see how this translates into larger things?

If we allow ourselves to put our own instincts and preferences after everybody elses; if we are always trying to please others and be how they want us to be we just lose ourselves. We end up not knowing who we really are.

Perhaps you have experienced times in your life when you felt you were not really yourself. This is what happened to me.

A Young Wife and Mother

Joan Small with Raymond and Robin

Young Wife and Mother

When children come along they bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in us. I had grown up around a dominant father who was bossy, irritable and sometimes angry. My mother was the opposite, gentle, easily upset and sympathetic. So when I had my own children stressful situations caused me sometimes to become  irritable and angry, and at other times to dissolve into tears.

I am happy to say that most of the time I was even tempered, patient and loving. However, when these moods came upon me I felt that I was ‘not myself’. I had turned into someone else, and I didn’t understand what was happening and making me behave this way.

Awareness Allows Change

In one of my sortees into personal development I discovered that these mood shifts are because of taking on the personality of another person. In my case my mother or father. Once I became aware of this I could ‘catch myself out’ when I was going into these valances that were not the real me. As I took measures to handle stress in different and more positive ways, I became more of myself and a much easier person to live with.

Can you relate to this?

I have done a lot of personal development work over the years, and it has helped me to recognise that the real me is the best person to be. I know and like myself now, and this has helped me to gain the confidence I have in all situations.

It is also wonderfully energizing to know I am my own person and can choose for myself.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with becoming more of the real you.

Joan Small Being Yourself

Being Yourself - Click on the Link at the right ->

 Beautiful Thoughts to Help You Become More of Yourself – Click Here 

This powerpoint presentation is well worth a few moments of your time.  The suggestions are energizing and uplifting, the images absolutely beautiful and the music easy to listen to.  Pass it on to others when you have watched and listened to it, and help to make their day or their life.

 PS: If you want to ‘vote’ on which look you prefer in the above photos I will be interested in your opinion. (Not that I will allow it to over-ride my own preferences, of course.)

 Click on the title of this post and it will take you to another page where you can leave your reply. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Live with Energy
Visit: to find out about my latest book, ‘Confidence Is Key’  or

Beat Stress to Energize Your Life – Book Review

Energy, Confidence and Stress – ’28 Days To Beat The Blues™ – Michelle Mark & Wayne Parrott’ – Book Review

28  Days To Beat The Blues - Michelle Mark & Wayne ParrottHow is Stress Related to Energizing Your Life and Having Confidence?

For a start, you can’t maintain your energy if you are stressed.  Lack of confidence and low self esteem go hand in hand.

Wayne Parrott and Michelle Mark, know this only too well, as they have helped more than 4000 people to reduce stress on a daily basis through the Fountainhead Method.

The book they have written together, called: 28 Days To Beat The Blues™ – A practical guide to reducing stress,  is more than just a book – it is a program to be undertaken over a 28 day period with specific outcomes. Testimonials and case histories demonstrate the efficacy of this program.

The book is easy to read with diagrams and relevant illustrations to take readers through a step by step program to being able to manage stress and change their lives.

The chapters are:

Chapter 1: Power of Thought
Chapter 2: Life, My Teacher
Chapter 3: Incorrect Beliefs Around Goals
Chapter 4:  What is Stress?
Chapter 5: Get Your Life Right
Chapter 6: Goals, Your New Medication
Chapter 7: Working My Way Out of Stress
Chapter 8: My Personal Development
Chapter 9: 28 Day Plan to Beat the Blues™

Since 2002 Wayne has been welcoming guests to the Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat in Maleny (Sunshine Coast) Queensland.
Wayne’s story is of his inspirational mother and her battle with cancer, which led him to look for the cause of illness. He was not restricted in his thinking by a university education, but was strongly influenced by meeting and being influenced by  many life-changing healers such as:

  • Patch Adams
    Patch Adams

    Patch Adams founder of the ‘Gesundheit Institute’ where therapy centres around compassion humour and play

  • Nathan Pritikin, author of “The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise”. The Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa offers controlled diet, counseling in lifestyle change and exercise in a resort/spa-type setting. Pritikin had a decades-long fight with leukemia but obtained remission for 27 years. 
  • Norman CousinsNorman Cousins author of ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ who recovered from a life threatening illness by developing a program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. 

I have written about the influence of Patch Adams and Norman Cousins on attitudes to ‘laughter the best medicine’ in my book ‘The Energy Book For Life’

I will be checking out Wayne and Michelle’s methods in person, and will keep you posted. In the meantime, I will be writing on ways to reduce stress and gain more Energy for Life in forthcoming posts.

I would love to receive your feedback, so please Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below to add your successes or share your opinions.

Live with Energy
Visit: to find out about my latest book, ‘Confidence Is Key’ .

How Lack of Confidence Can De-Energize You

 Do you have confidence, or are you de-energized by  lack of confidence in some areas?

Confidence Creates Energy - Dance Like No-one Is Watching

Confidence Creates Energy Dance Like No-one Is Watching

 I conducted a survey of my peers and was surprised to find that, even though most of them seem successful and happy in their lives, there were areas where they felt they needed to be more self confident.

Lacking confidence drains our energy. Conversely, lacking energy drains our confidence.

I wrote a book recently called ‘CFS in Men’ with a lovely guy called Max who had always had a lot of energy and zest for life, but after a series of stressful work situations he found himself feeling constantly tired, unable to get out of bed in the morning, achy and totally lacking in energy.

Max was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a disease which appears to be on the increase because of the stresses of our modern society.

As you will know, if you have been reading my posts, I believe that stress is largely responsible for most, if not all,  illnesses and disease in the body. Certainly in Max’s case his work history clearly showed the increasing levels of stress leading up to the time when he ‘went down’ with the disability.

But illness and disease aside, lacking confidence can have an instant or long term de-energizing effect.

The main areas where my survey participants lacked confidence were:

  1. In Social Situations
  2. Speaking in front of an audience
  3. Handling new stuff – particularly new technology
  4. Speaking with their work colleagues, bosses
  5. Applying for jobs
  6. Change – taking on a new business or major life change
  7. Positioning themselves as ‘experts’ in their areas of expertise

Do feel you lack confidence in any of these areas?

What are the underlying fears around lack of confidence?

The most common fear is the fear of rejection.
Someone told me that the fear of rejection goes back to our ancestors. Life and survival depended on being part of the group and having the support of others in it. When that support was withdrawn and the group member was rejected and outcast he died.

So instinctively, when we are rejected, we feel like we are going to die.
This undermines our confidence. We may be fearful of being an individual, exposing our true selves to others in case they disagree, ridicule or shun us.
How to overcome this?

Low Self-esteem is more prevalent than you would think. Scratch the surface of even the most charismatic or confident person you may find something in the past that has contributed to the feeling of low self esteem. Celebrities and movies stars and examples of this, compensating for their lack of confidence by taking drugs, alcohol, or become recluses.

There are strategies to overcome lack of confidence, to raise your energy levels and give an air of confidence that will attract confidence from others.

In my previous post I talked about the importance of posture – standing and sitting tall. In future articles I will expand more on how to raise your innermost self esteem and emanate confidence.

In the meantime, you may like to answer these questions:

  1. Do you lack confidence?
  2. In what area/s do you lack confidence?
  3. What are the underlying fears that create this lack of confidence? (e.g. fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of looking foolish, fear of making mistakes, not believing you are good enough etc.)

I invite you to leave your results in the ‘Leave a Comment’ box below. I moderate all comments, so if you don’t want it to be made public let me know.
I am writing a book about confidence, and your  response will help me to make it more relevant.

Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below and provide the answers to the questions above.

Live with Energy
Visit: to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’

Do You Breathe Like A Baby – Energize, Be Happy And Healthy

Relaxation Is Good, But Relaxation With Breathing Energizes, Youthens and De-Stresses

breathe like a baby to relax and energize

Breathe Like A Baby To Relax And Energize

In my previous blog I talked about my brush with Cancer and how I used relaxation, along with other things to recover from it.

I used four main strategies and they worked for me. It is more than 25 years since I had the malignant lump removed from my breast and I haven’t had a re-occurrence.

These are the four strategies I used:

  1. First I examined my lifestyle, and more importantly my attitude. I realised that some of my actions were causing worry and stress, so I handled these by making changes. Not only was I trying to fit too much into my life, but I was having a problem with a few people I had to deal with on a regular basis. I had to find a way to cut back on my workload and handle the upsets.
  2. Secondly I increased my nutritional intake and supplements daily.
  3. The third action was to re-read ‘Relief Without Drugs’ by Dr Ainslie Meares and carry out the relaxation techniques for an hour morning and night. The meditation exercises had a calming effect and made the day flow more smoothly. Some people call the state I go into the Alpha state. I have since attended a workshop on Alpha and learned how to use it in the whole of life to make things flow more easily, to increase efficiency and to reduce stress.
  4. The fourth thing I did was to let go of negative self-talk and change my thoughts to the positive, uplifting and optimistic. This has been a much longer journey, and even now I occasionally find myself dropping back into old patterns of thinking, especially self-criticism, but I am aware of myself doing it and can quickly ‘change my mind’.

That was back in the 1980s, and since then I have lived through many challenging circumstances.

After lapsing for a while, I re-discovered meditation and its value, but even more importantly I discovered deep breathing.

Controlled Breathing

Some people will tell you to do ‘controlled breathing.’ One technique is to say ‘in’ when you breathe in, and ‘relax’ when you breathe out. Another method says breathe in for 3 and out for 3.

Tony Robbins’ breathing method is:
• Breath in for 1 count
• Hold for 4 counts
• Breath out for 2 counts

For example – if you were to breath in for four seconds, then you would hold your breath for sixteen seconds and then breathe out for eight. He suggests doing this this ten times, three times a day (morning, evening and before bed). One of the real benefits I obtained from listening to Tony talking about breathing, was to learn the effect breathing  has on the lymphatic system, and therefore health and energy. More about that later.

The Breathing Method That Worked For Me

About three years ago, I met a lady here on the Gold Coast called Helen Johnson, a naturopath who has devised the ‘Johnson Breathing Technique’.

This breathing technique  made such a huge difference to the stress and tension I was carrying, especially around my neck, shoulders and upper arms (see previous post – ‘Being Energized and Looking Younger With Relaxation’).

The beauty of The Johnson Breathing Technique is that it changes the way we breathe all day, not just at specific times like ‘three times a day’, before sleep, when meditating / relaxing etc.

Of course it is still necessary to practice it until it becomes natural.

Helen says in her book ‘Natural Stress and Anxiety Relief’: ‘We were born breathing the right way and the physical body will easily go back to it if we let our learned conditioning go. The physical body is not made to run on adrenaline all the time; we have programmed it to run on adrenaline and we can change the patterning’.

What she means by ‘running on adrenaline’ is, that when we are stressed the body’s fight or flight mechanism clicks in and adrenaline is released throughout the system. This is not good for the body.

The Johnson Breathing Technique is simple but not easy. It requires some practice to change the body’s programming.

The simple steps in brief are:

  • Place your hands one on top of the other – palm to the back of the other hand – three finger-widths below the belly button.
  • Allow your stomach and abdominal muscles to fall outwards / forwards towards your thighs and allow your shoulders to drop down and forward, just relax them, in other words – slouch. … Many of you will feel the tension go out of your neck, shoulders and back if you can relax these muscles, immediately releasing neck, shoulder and back pain. (This was the case with me).
  • Start by taking a breath in – inhale, then, as you breathe out (exhale)  use your hand to push, gently, the lower abdominal muscles in towards the spine. .. as if you are pushing the air out of your lower abdomen (power center) rather than from your lungs alone. At the same time, pull your muscles in towards the spine. 
  • Then let the muscles go so that the body can breathe in again. When you relax your gut muscles you will feel the air going right down into your stomach. Push your lower abdominal muscles out from the inside to help the natural action.

In summary – pull your lower abdomen in to expel all the air from your lungs, and push the lower abdominal muscles out to allow the air to fill up your lungs completely.

It takes a bit of coordination at first, but if you start by practicing the breathing lying down, and then sitting up comfortably and straight –  also while meditating – you will find after a while it comes naturally. Helen suggests using the technique constantly for six weeks to re-educate and re-program the body.

This is our natural way of breathing, and after a while you will find you can do it while driving the car (great de-stressor in traffic), while walking, exercising or just going about your daily routine.

For a full description of the Johnson Breathing Technique or find out more visit and you may choose to buy the book which contains a more detailed description of how to do the breathing.

What Does Correct Breathing Do For Me?

  • Allows me to get rid of the stress and tension around my neck and shoulders. This not only relieves pain, but I feel more energized, youthful and attractive
  • Calms my mind and my thoughts
  • Enables me to better handle stressful situations  – to ‘respond’ not ‘react’ when I am faced with negativity
  • Helps me maintain a healthy weight.
    The list is endless.

We don’t call it ‘the breath of life’ for nothing.

If we learn how to breathe properly – as we did when babies – then we will not just live, but enjoy life more, be healthier, happier and more energized.

Relaxation and correct breathing go together. Give it a try, and do let me know your thoughts and results.

Live with Energy
Visit: to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’

Being Energized and Looking Younger With Relaxation

Relaxation and Stress – Feel Younger, Look Younger, Have More Energy

relaxation to feel and look younger and be energized

Relaxation shows in the neck - Before and After (At Left 2002, At Right 2011)

 We all have stress in our lives, but how can we handle it, and how can we prevent it from making us feel and look older?

In the 1980s I had a brush with Breast Cancer, which resulted in a biopsy and then an operation in which a malignant lump was removed from my left breast. The surgeon was confident that he got all the harmful cells, but I was scheduled for follow up scans three months later.

What is the Cause of Cancer

I will get into a controversial arena if I make firm statements about the causes of cancer, but I can express my beliefs and you have the right to agree or disagree. (I would love to hear what you think).

My belief is that Cancer, along with other diseases of the body, is caused and created by stress. I also believe that it is important to look after our bodies, but in this blog I am dealing just with stress as a cause.

When the cancer showed up I set out with this belief in mind  to make sure  it didn’t return,  and it hasn’t.

I have been free of any symptoms for more than 20 years, without medical follow up treatment.

What did I do?

The first thing was to look at what was causing the stress in my life and eliminate / handle it.

The second thing was to practice relaxation techniques so that I could continue to handle stress when it came up.

I found a wonderful book called ‘Relief Without Drugs’ by Dr Ainslie Meares. Morning and night, I spent an hour relaxing. It was amazing the difference this made in my life. Not only did it help to prevent the cancer returning, but it helped me deal with stressful situations more effectively. (This out of print book can be bought on the internet for between $70 and $200 – an indication of how valuable it still is.)

Forgetting How To Relax

However, as often happens, once the crisis is over and life catches up we can forget to do the things that are good for our health and well-being.  This happened to me, and I fell off the relaxation bandwagon. After I moved to Australia’s Gold Coast in 2001 I became immersed in many challenging situations – and the stresses showed up in my body.

Where do you carry your stress? 

With me, it is mostly in my neck and shoulders. In fact, many years ago a physio- therapist (physical therapist) gave up on my entirely because she tried everything to un-knot the knotted muscles. She tried hand massage, an electrical machine to ease the tense muscles, and she even put me ‘on the rack’ to stretch out my back – all to no avail.

Neck Tension – Looking Older

In the first picture above, taken in about 2002, you can see that the tendons around my neck are standing out with the stress and tension I was carrying.

 Relaxation Plus Deep Breathing

About 18 months ago I re-discovered the value of relaxation along with deep breathing.

The benefit of deep breathing is that I can do it all day, not just night and morning. Once I learned the technique I have been able to practice it so that it becomes second nature to me. 

In the second picture (above) taken recently, you can see how much more relaxed I am around the neck area. No longer do I have that ugly ‘chicken neck’ that clearly shows that I am tense and stressed despite the smiling face. I not only feel more energized and relaxed, I feel and even look younger.

In my next blog I will write more specifically about the breathing technique, how and when to practice it, and the physical and energizing benefits it can have on your life too.

Live With Energy

I would love to hear your views about this, or other blogs I have written. Please Click on ‘Leave a Comment’ below.

Visit: to find out about my book, ‘The Energy Book For Life – The Guidebook To Energized Living’