Growing Your Brain, Forever

emb7   How’s your education coming along? While there is a good chance that you are out of school, that is no reason to stop learning.
When you think about the people you have known, the ones who are most fully alive, invariably, it is those who have never stopped learning who come to mind. These same folks have developed creative strategies to keep themselves from becoming stuck in a rut, no matter how comfortable that rut may seem.
I recently worked with a couple, who had both worked in the NHS all of their working life, in one role or another, they had looked forward to their mutual retirement and having time together. After a few weeks of being at home, I got chatting to them at a local charity open day,  they tried to do things together during the day, but they felt that their evenings at home in front of the TV were becoming dull. So, they agreed to turn off the television every night for an hour and spent the time taking turns reading aloud to each other and then discuss the reading. They decided magazines and romance or detective novels were off limits, but everything else was open. They read some philosophy, some theology, and a great deal of biography. They really got into Churchill’s history of World War II. After doing this every evening for a few weeks, they found that their powers of concentration had increased. Most evenings, they never turned the television set on at all.
Many large organisations require some of their staff members to take a certain amount of continuing education every year. Many corporations help their employees pay for tuition. For some, this continuing education may seem difficult, but is education a line item in your personal budget? If it isn’t, should it be? With the proliferation of on-line courses – a lot of them free or with a minimal charge – you don’t even need to leave the house to learn something new.
Just because you are no longer in school, it doesn’t mean that learning has to stop. If you are like most people, you have probably learned more since you graduated, than you ever did in school! Education is a lifelong endeavour. It’s good for your brain, because it doesn’t have to stop growing. In fact, the brain loves to learn and build new neural pathways. The brain stops growing because you stop challenging it.
If you are serious about personal growth, you will take the time to nourish your intellect as well as your heart and soul. It is a great way to evade that Law of Entropy…
Caring for yourself no matter what age you are, is not a luxury it is a necessity.
I have a FREE self-care bitesize video platform with loads of great tips about caring for yourself –  You can access it at any time.
Be kind to yourself.


Low Frustration Tolerance = High Stress Levels

Things must be the way I want them to be – otherwise life will be intolerable.

pulling hair out   We all want life to be organised according to our preferences. This surely makes sense! What then is the problem? Unfortunately, we often go beyond just wanting – we believe that things must be our way. This reflects a human tendency called ‘low frustration-tolerance’.

I suspect that this tendency is one of the most common, underlying causes of distress in human beings. Paradoxically, it seems to be the one of which people are most unconscious! A concept developed by psychologist Albert Ellis, low frustration-tolerance (LFT) arises from believing that frustration is unbearable and therefore must be avoided at all costs.

What is low frustration-tolerance?

Low frustration-tolerance (LFT) is caused by catastrophising about being frustrated and demanding that it not happen. It is based on beliefs like:

  • ‘The world owes me contentment and happiness.’
  • ‘Things should be as I want them to be, and I can’t stand it when they are not.’
  • ‘It is intolerable to be frustrated, so I must avoid it at all costs.’
  • ‘Other people should not do things that frustrate me.’

LFT is closely related to low discomfort-tolerance (LDT), which arises from catastrophising about discomfort (including the discomfort of negative emotions), with an internal demand that it be avoided. The two types are similar and closely related. Frustration is uncomfortable, and discomfort is frustrating. Often one expression is used to refer to both types.

Low frustration-tolerance arises from demands that things be as we want, usually coupled with awfulising and discomfort-intolerance when this does not happen.

The problem with low frustration-tolerance

Low frustration-tolerance creates distress in many ways:

  • Anxiety results when people believe that they should or must get what they want (and not get what they don’t want), and that it is awful and unbearable (rather than merely inconvenient or disadvantageous) when things don’t happen as they ‘must’.
  • Short-range enjoyment, a common human tendency, is the seeking of immediate pleasure or avoidance of pain, at the cost of long-term stress. Examples include such things as alcohol, drug and food abuse; watching television at the expense of exercising; practising unsafe sex; or overspending to avoid feeling deprived.
  • Addictive tendencies. Low frustration-tolerance is a key factor in the development of addictions. To resist the impulse of the moment and go without is ‘too frustrating’. It seems easier to give in to the urge to misuse alcohol, take drugs, gamble, or exercise obsessively.
  • Negativity and complaining. Low frustration-tolerance may cause you to become distressed over small hindrances and setbacks, overconcerned with unfairness, and prone to make comparisons between your own and others’ circumstances. Negativity tends to alienate others, with the loss of their support.
  • Anger. LFT leads to hostile anger when someone does something you dislike, or fails to give you what you want.

The alternative: high frustration-tolerance

High frustration-tolerance means accepting the reality of frustration and keeping its badness in perspective.

To accept frustration is to acknowledge that, while you may dislike it, there is no Law of the Universe says you ‘should’ be exempt from it (though you may prefer to be). You expect to experience appropriate negative emotions like annoyance and disappointment. But you avoid exaggerating these emotions (by telling yourself you can’t stand them) into depression, hostile anger, hurt, or self-pity.

Changing what you tell yourself about frustration

See the list of typical frustration-intolerance thoughts below. Alongside each is a more realistic alternative.


Realistic Thinking

It is awful and intolerable to be frustrated from having things the way I want. If I tell myself that frustration is awful, I’ll only set myself up to get anxious when I think it’s coming – and bitter and twisted when it does happen.
I can’t stand it when people don’t act as they should. I don’t like it, but I can survive it – and survive better when I don’t lose my cool over it.
My circumstances have to be right for life to be tolerable. It is disappointing when things aren’t the way I’d like them to be, but it is not awful — and I can stand less than the ideal.
Because I can’t stand being frustrated, I must avoid it at all costs. Total avoidance would mean a very restricted life. Though I don’t like frustration, I can tolerate it.

How to raise your tolerance for frustration

  • Know when you are engaging in LFT behaviour. Keep a log of such behaviour for several weeks or longer. Watch for things like overusing drugs or alcohol, compulsive gambling, shopping, exercising, or bingeing on food, losing your temper.
  • The technique of exposure is an important way to increase your tolerance. Make a list of things to which you typically overreact – situations, events, risks and so on. Commit yourself to face at least one of these each day. Instead of trying to get away from the frustration as you normally would, stay with the frustration until it diminishes of its own accord. You might, for instance, go without desserts for a while, have two beers instead of four, leave the children’s toys on the floor, or the like.
  • Another useful technique is rational self-analysis. Analyse your frustration – while you are feeling it, if possible, otherwise, as soon as possible afterwards.
  • Other techniques you may find helpful are rational cards, the catastrophe scale, and reframing.

Learning to increase your frustration tolerance has an immediate effect on lowering your stress level.

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Linda Sage MA, BA Ed (Hons), DTM                                                                                                Unlocking Your Mind Blocks


More Today Than Yesterday

get better   One of the most powerful techniques available for personal growth – and it works for individuals, teams, organisations, communities, even nations. And you, as a leader in any of these categories, have the capacity to spark tremendous, purposeful change.
It is a simple technique that has incredible power to change lives and expand potential. In fact, there may be nothing that has more power to inspire positive change. It’s a technique you can use to help your own life grow richer and to help others, as well.
When you can see yourself, not as you are, but as you can become, you stimulate incredible growth and previously unbelievable change. People who find life exciting and who continue to grow and expand their accomplishments are people who have an expanding self-image.
wall  Now, this doesn’t mean that you go around completely out of touch with reality. It does mean that you have a vision of reality that includes not just the past and the present, but also the future. It also means that your primary focus is not on what you are today, but what you can be tomorrow. It is this technique, this ability that motivates people to grow, to surpass themselves, to break records, to change in positive, exciting ways.
After all, if you can’t see it, how can you be it? This is what you want to do for your children, friends, relatives, co-workers – indeed, all whom your life touches. Keep painting a vivid mental picture for them of all that they can be and do. Let them know you believe in their abilities, and watch them move toward that picture. 
Help them be more today than they were yesterday, and on their way to a greater tomorrow.
Here’s to your success.
Linda Sage MA, BA Ed (Hons), DTM

Day of Awareness

Do you know anyone who is addicted to negative thoughts? Perhaps it is someone closer than you think.

I am not an expert on addictions, but I’ve been told that an addiction is behaviour that is usually harmful and that controls you, rather than the other way around. Can negative thinking be an addiction? You bet it can. Can it harm you? It sure can. How can you tell if your negative thoughts are out of control? Well, the first step is awareness.
Let’s make today your Day of Awareness. As an experiment, here is something you can try, something I often ask my seminar participants to do. Try going through one whole day, 24 hours, without thinking a single negative thought. No sarcasm, no put-downs, no belittling – of others or of yourself. Yes, that includes time spent driving in traffic and during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Now, most people notice quite a few negative thoughts during that day of awareness. But that is not all they do. They get upset at themselves for thinking those negative thoughts, and they end up caught in a mental double negative.
So give yourself a break. Just pay attention without blaming. Notice your thought patterns for the next 24 hours. Once you become aware of how much control negative thinking has over your life, you may choose to change it. It may be a snap to change, it may not be so easy, but you can do it! First, though, raise your awareness of what is happening today – your Day of Awareness.
Here’s to a happier, more positive day and tomorrow…..

From an Owl in the Dark, to a Peacock in the Park

There is so much to be said for comfort, or is there? Over the past few weeks, I have emerged from my snail-like comfortable environment, cocooned in my known and comfy surroundings and belongings to being invited into a new colourful, mesmerising world of fashion and feel-good factor.

There is an old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young,” we do not always value it when we have it and it is also true that as one gets older it is easier to slip into and stay in a rut. August was the month I decided my motto would be Ask for Help, and this is exactly what I have done on many areas of my life and business, coming to the close of the month I am amazed at the progress and change that has happened in less than 30 days.

On the 4th August, I contacted Keren Beaumont to help me prepare for the High Profile Launch on the11th September, her patience and guidance through some online meetings, has certainly helped me out of my hiding owl state to joining the peacocks in the park. My last nearly 13 years has been casual comfort, 6 in Spain, light dresses and sandals and 6.5 years under an abaya in the Middle East, prior to that I literally burnt my professional garb, as I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I opted out in a massive burnout. Living in denial is very comfortable and becomes very insular, keeping others out, keeps you locked in.

I knew I was not comfortable going to meetings and feeling like the odd one out, but if you are bigger than a size 10 most fashions seem uninviting and even daunting. It is not that I stopped caring for myself, it was just that I had one style and I stuck to it, thinking it covered a lot of lumps, bumps and areas I thought were awful.

Even though Keren is petite and young, she was always warm and open, full of great ideas, helpful solutions and never saw any of the issues I saw as problems as obstacles. In fact, she saw some as bonuses! (not too much detail for our male readers). I tried clothes and colours I had not dreamt of, never in my life have I owned any trousers other than jeans, that were not black! But I do now…..

From cuts, to fabrics, colours to combinations it was a magic carpet ride to a new outlook and a new outline. The last meeting we had was talking about accessories and make-up, I have never been a person into bags and baubles, but I can see that the finishing touches make all the difference.

 After my expeditions into the shopping mania of Leeds City Centre and a couple of outer area malls, taaaa daaa the look was done and to my great pleasure, Keren was happy with it too. I felt like I have shed the rut and entered into a kaliderscope, the peacock effect and transformation was in place. A new me for the new High Profile Club Leeds. We will see how the members and guests, see it on the day.

 My experience was wonderful, I cannot thank Keren enough for her support and ideas, they were solid and easy to follow. as well as being very sound advice. I never questioned or doubted what she told me and I am so pleased that she could share her expertise and know-how with me.

 Our mind causes us to seek comfort and ease, but when we jumble that up and stretch ourselves it is amazing what we can achieve, it is never too late or too soon to start, a new start, a fresh look and set off to new horizons is never dull. Go for it and see, just like me. 

Here’s to your success.

Linda Sage MA, BA Ed(Hons), DTM

My Journey from Frumpy and Grumpy to Party Princess

bagShopping, shopping, shopping; since when did it get to be a national event? I have not been into the centre of Leeds on a Saturday since I moved here just over a year ago; now I know why! Everyone has told me that Leeds in a great shopping centre and although I have visited a few times – well as far as the station and M&S, last Saturday was my first emersion into the city centre shopping experience.

Let me just recap, in case you have missed the plot thus far. I have been out of the UK since 2005, when I burnt my corporate clothes and image before departing, since then I have lived in smart casual and sandals, first for 6 years in Spain and then covered by an abaya in Saudi for a further six and a half years. My personal style to say the least had become lazy and comfortable. Since joining the High Profile Club and subsequently becoming Director of the new Leeds Club, I felt it was time to revamp and create a new me to accompany the people and places I was now finding myself in.

One of the High Profile Club members is Keren Beaumont a prestigious stylist, so I asked her for help and miraculously she agreed. We had our first visual meeting after several exchanges of emails and photos, I was amazed at her accuracy and understanding of me and my needs, before we had even spoken. That hour was productive and thought-provoking, Keren is patient and detailed in her explanations, with easy to follow guides and comments.

 By the end of this call I knew my colour scheme, textures and shapes that I would be looking for, I jumped right in with a sneaky shopping trip to a close by mall, and tried on many things that I would never have thought of. To my delight, there was a new me emerging. I did my homework and looked at more fashion images than I had done in my life and once again I was surprised with my outcomes. I decided on the look I liked and suited me.

 My second call with Keren was as or maybe even more productive than the first, I came away with an idea of a shopping list and a format of what I was actually looking for. Armed with this I went into town Saturday morning, I stuck to the big names, Debenhams, Monsoon, House of Frazer, John Lewis and Harvey Nicks, (not in that order) some were enlightening and some not so, a hot day to be trying loads of clothes on, but I persevered and emerged from the last one carrying several bags and with a bounce in my step.

 I had managed to get 2 x jackets, 1 x trousers, 2 x skirts, 1 x blouse, 2 x dresses, all in those few hours, in a variety of colours new to my wardrobe. I had a friend come to the house and take pictures of the fashion parade to send to Keren and woohoo, I got a gold star. The right shapes and colours, one item immediately took my fancy and to my pleasure it took Keren’s too, so progress has been made for the launch on the 11th September for the High Profile Club breakfast.

Our next discussion was on accessories, and that is where I am today….. my next shopping venture really is into a new land of optional extras, as I sometimes change my ring, hardly ever swop necklaces, bracelet and watch are almost permanent fixtures and ear-rings never change that much. Now, I have to look at alternatives, so I will be keeping you updated on my next venture into the fashion world.


Watch this space, the launch will be worth waiting for, Keren is like my Fairy Godmother and I will be going to the ball feeling like a princess.



Linda Sage MA. BA Ed(Hons), DTM

Successful Mindset Ltd.

Change = Growth = Change

changeWhy is it so hard for some people to change? Some people deny the need to change, push back against any change, and can make the workplace a difficult place to be. They defend the anchors that keep the organisational “ship” from moving. Before “throwing” these people “overboard,” it is helpful to understand what happens when we try to behave differently.  
Did you know that whenever you act differently than you really believe yourself to be, you produce stress?  It doesn’t matter whether the new behaviour is worse or better than the old. If it’s significantly different, it will generate internal stress. So how in the world do people change? One way is to just grit your teeth and go ahead and throw yourself into the situation, force yourself to act differently, and hang on until the new behavior is repeated often enough to feel comfortable. Change like this takes longer, and the stress involved affects the mind, body and emotional states . . . and cascades to everyone around you.
There is a better way, a less stressful way, a way that takes much of the pain and anxiety out of change. You change the mental picture you have of yourself first. You literally rehearse the future in your head, and you see yourself acting in the new way. You take yourself through it safely and comfortably in your mind, over and over again. Soon it doesn’t feel like new behaviour at all. It feels like something you routinely do. It feels normal, or natural.
Then, when it comes time for you to actually change, it’s not such a big deal. You are already in the changed state. It is “like you” to be that way. Any stress you experience will feel more like the excitement of an adventure than the anxiety of change. And those around you will thank you for not stressing them out.
By the way, the process of repeatedly seeing yourself behave in a certain way is called visualisation, and it works for countless individuals. Watch the athletes during the next swim meet, track & field contest or gymnastics competition. Formula One drivers. FIFA players – a lot of them are visualising their performance, seeing every twist and turn. Chess masters are champions at visualisation, as they plot out their strategy many, many moves ahead of time.
Visualising change can work for you, too, and you don’t need to be a professional athlete. Why not give it a try? Decide what change you want, then see it in your mind first. And remember: it’s not so much change, as it is growth.
There are many new horizons out there, so why be limited?
Here’s to your success.
Linda Sage MA, BA Ed(Hons), DTM
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