At the turning of the New Year it’s a great time to review how our life is going and set new goals for moving forward. We can all just unconsciously drift through life without purpose but this is usually when we find ourselves becoming unhappy, restless and reaching for the biscuits or wine. As George Harrison sang, ‘if you don’t know where your going, any road will take you there.’ I am all for ‘living in the moment’, but having goals gives us a reason to keep moving forwards. After all, what is life? why are we here? Philosophers and sages over the years have concluded there is more to life that than just paying the bills. Sometimes our goals change and this is fine too. When I was young I trained as an actress and thought I’d spend my life at with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Having flexibility to acknowledge change and adapt is important. We all want to feel that we are living a life of purpose. So I ask you what is your purpose? What goals will you set for yourself this year? One of my goals is to feel more peace in my life. Having three children, one of whom is into everything as a toddler I can get overwhelmed with all the things I have to do, so I am actively going to spend more time chilling out, reading, meditating and exercising to reduce the stress levels in my body. As Donald Trump says, you get stressed when you are not focused. We can achieve an incredible amount when focused, and that means calmly doing one thing at a time. Of course, some stress in our life is a positive thing; it gets us out of bed and engaged in what we are doing. But too much of it has a massively detrimental effect upon our health. I have just got Dr Chatterjee’s new book, The Stress Solution. It is brilliant, revolutionary and I hope will be read widely. He starts the book by saying that 60-80% of all GP consultations are linked to stress. One of the dangers with being under stress is that the body produces adrenaline (the ‘fight of flight’ hormone and cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone). Both of these are necessary and useful for the body to function, but when the body is over-stressed the amount of adrenaline and cortisol in the system can play havoc with our health – affecting other hormone levels, nutrients, endocrine function and our nervous system. Here are a few ways to get on top of stress. So as spiritual teacher Sunbird used to say, ‘Hocus Pocus – let’s get some focus: Affirmations One great ways to reduce stress is to focus on the positive things you want to bring into your life through the use of affirmations. When we make up an affirmation it’s important to frame it in a positive light so instead of saying ‘I want less stress in my life’, you would say ‘I feel calm and balanced’. If we say these things to ourselves daily, especially first thing in the morning and before sleep at night, we can start to retrain the subconscious mind. Vision Boards I like to create vision boards as these are great visual representations of the things you want to attract into your life. There are many ways to make one; you can get a corkboard and pins or some cardboard and glue or simply pens and paper. It’s a chance to cut out or draw images and words that create the feeling of what you would like to manifest in your life. I will be running a Manifest Your Purpose workshop on Thursday 17th Jan from 10-12 in Clare where we will be creating our own vision boards and using other manifestation techniques. Visit www.juliettebryant.com for more details Movement Moving the body in a joyful way is one of the best stress-busters and can bring about a great sense of calm. Exercise is a fantastic way to help focus the mind and bring about a positive state of wellbeing. This can be really simple and doesn’t need fancy equipment. Go for a nice walk, learn some simple yoga stretches, or as Talyor Swift suggests ‘Shake it off’, and shake the body a bit every day. Nutrition Another key to reducing stress and feeling better within ourselves is through the food we eat. People often think that in order to have a healthy diet we have to spend a lot of time and money. But healthy food can be simple. One of the things that has the biggest impact upon my families health is our morning smoothie. It only takes a few minutes to make but is a great way to start the day. Adding in super nutrients to your diet is a great way to start the new year. I suggest adding in a good supergreen mix, plant-based protein, essential fats and plenty of clean water for a balance of nutrients to supercharge your year. If we add in good things instead of taking away we can start to see the positive difference that nutrition can make and slowly some of the old dietary habits will fall away.