Sex After Prostate Surgery

Sex after prostate surgery

And now to a topic for those with prostate cancer and their partners. This is a topic which is important and for some very emotional. What about sex after prostate surgery?

My own journey is just that, mine. What I experienced and continue to experience is unique. Nevertheless, there’s something in every person’s individual journey for each of us to take away.

Sex After a Radical Prostatectomy (Non-nerve-sparing)

I had a radical robotic prostatectomy on November 30/2020. For those reading who don’t know, a radical prostatectomy is different from a nerve-sparing robot prostatectomy. After nerve-sparing surgery, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be able to have erections again sometime in the future.

Nerve-sparing surgery is suitable for cancers that are less advanced. With advanced prostate cancer, (mine was a 9 on the Gleeson scale), nerve-sparing is not really an option. There’s a significant risk that some cancer cells will be left behind and further treatment will be required down the track.

What Can You Expect?

I’ve described in earlier posts what you can expect in general terms. Today I want to talk about the impact on your sex life.

  • It won’t be possible to have erections spontaneously.
  • There will be no ejaculation.
  • Your penis will be slightly shorter, somewhere around 10mm.

Some reading this will recoil in horror, anxiety or fear at this news. I’m aware that some men have even chosen not to have treatment because of their distaste for these outcomes. Unfortunately, the result of taking no action is death. As far as I know, that also means the end of erections and ejaculations anyway, so I figured an operation was a far better outcome.

Is this the End of your Sex Life?

Does the loss of ability to have an erection and to ejaculate have to mean the end of your sex life? The answer is a resounding no! But to have a satisfactory sex life after your surgery it requires you to shift your picture of what that looks like.

If you maintain a picture that sex is only about penetration and ejaculation, then you’ll be constantly comparing what you now have with what you’ve lost. That road leads to anger, anxiety, misery and depressing. So lets look at some information which can help and see if you’re able to develop an alternative picture.

Firstly sex is far more than the physical act of erection and ejaculation. Making love with your partner is what you do 24 hrs a day and 7 days a week. An enjoyable sex life best exists in the embrace of a loving relationship.

Procreation, (making babies), mostly does require an ability to have an erection and ejaculate, though even this is changing with new technology and procedures. However, having penetrative sex is only one part of our sex lives.

If you have a radical prostatectomy, you’ll still be able to have a great sex life and satisfy yourself and your partner. So how does it work?

The Big O

Firstly, regardless of whether or not you have an erection or ejaculate, you can still have an orgasm. It was only 24 days after my surgery that, with the help of my wife Deb, I was able to experience my first dry orgasm.

It was every bit as good as it had ever been, in fact, I would say more intense. It was a surprise because we had been following our doctor’s instructions for penile rehabilitation and not expecting an orgasm.

I had been using a penis pump regularly to prevent permanent hardening of the penis which is irreversible. We had engaged in sexual play and touch which still felt pleasant because those nerves remain intact and active, it’s only the nerves that control erection that are cut.

To achieve orgasm it’s important to be in the moment and enjoy what you have rather than what you’ve lost. If I’d been dwelling on the lack of an erection, I doubt very much if I would have achieved an orgasm.

Deb and I had agreed that we wanted to continue making love, and our sex life, albeit different than before, was always going to be a part of this. We knew we didn’t need penetrative sex to have an orgasm. After the first surprising and pleasant orgasm, it was very easy to continue to have them with the help of manual stimulation. It can be pleasant and fun to help your partner reach orgasm manually.

Erection Injections!

As part of my follow-up, I was linked up with an erection dysfunction nurse called Gill. She talked me through the next step and I began taking regular Cialis in small doses. This was not for the purpose of having an erection, but to continue with blood supply to the penis and to prevent the build-up of collagen in the penis. This causes the irreversible hardening I mentioned earlier. We also discussed the options of penile injections or penile implants so I could have erections again.

On the 5th of February, just over two months after my surgery, I had a session with Gill to learn how to inject trimix into my penis. I have to say the thought of putting a needle into my penis was very off putting. Fortunately, it’s a very small and very fine needle. You could say it is one small prick so you can achieve a large prick, though not bigger than it ever was before. Remember you still have a slightly shorter penis than before, though I believe that in time and with use, most if not all the original length will be regained.

The injections really don’t hurt much. As I have got used to injecting the trimix and have relaxed more it has become very easy to do.

Penetrative Sex Needs Planning

Here’s how we do it. If we want to have penetrative sex, I will inject trimix into my penis and we will engage in foreplay. 10 to 15 mins later the penis will become erect and harder than it ever was naturally. The erections also last longer and don’t disappear after orgasm, which is a bonus. It can take a bit of trial and error to get the dosage of the trimix right.

So yes, you can have penetrative sex but it is different than before. Holding onto what you had previously and not enjoying what you have and can do now is the road to misery and unhappiness.

The Future

So what of the future? It’s onwards and upwards! We are as close as we were before because whilst the cancer was mine, the journey is ours, and the support and love we give each other means we can have a sex life different to, but every bit as enjoyable as before.

Remember this journey is mine/ours and yours will be different, but the key to the best result is letting go of what you have lost and focussing on what you now have. The surgery isn’t the end of your sex life, it’s the start of the next stage and there is no reason for it to be any less enjoyable and successful just because it is different. How good it becomes is up to you!

Online Counselling Session

I know this journey is not an easy one and many people struggle. If you would like to book an online counselling session with me you can do that here. 

Jeff Steedman
Jeff Steedman – Riviera Counselling

 

11 Ways of Building Self Confidence

Truth is what we agree on anti more information comes along

When you’re confident you feel secure in yourself and your abilities. Not arrogant but quietly certain that you’re capable of handling what shows up in your life. Confidence is necessary for you to back yourself to move forward into the unknown to reach your goals and your dreams. Everyone agrees that confidence is important but far fewer people have solid advice on how to become more confident.

External events and outcomes can increase or decrease your confidence. You have no control over those externals except in the way you choose to respond. Stronger self-confidence creates better responses. So here they are, 11 ways of building self-confidence you can start implementing today. 

1. Make your Relationship with the Most Important Person in Your Life the Best it can be

William Glasser said that everything is a relationship issue. What you probably forget is that the most important relationship you have is with yourself. When you relate to anyone, including yourself, you are either connecting or disconnecting. 

Build your confidence with connecting habits
Smash your Confidence with disconnecting habits

2. Take the Best Care of your Body that you Can

When you value something you take care of it, right? Your body is the only vessel you have to experience life through. It’s a marvel of engineering but it can also cause you a lot of pain. Some of this pain is outside of your control but you do have a lot of control over the way your body looks and feels. The way your body looks and feels can add or detract from your confidence. 

Instead of taking care of your body do you have a tendency to use your body for comfort? If you’re comforting yourself with food, alcohol or vegging out you’re not caring for your body you’re abusing your body.  

You can keep doing this or you can look at the underlying causes of your stress and manage the symptoms better while you sort those causes out.

3. Meeting your Needs

You have five genetic needs: survival, power, love and belonging, fun, and freedom. Everyone has the same five needs to varying degrees. If you can meet those needs successfully you will be confident and happy. 

Enter your email address on the sidebar so we can send you our Needs Profile and Satisfaction Questionnaire. You can then see how well you’re meeting your needs and how this could be dragging down your confidence.

4. Focus on what you can Control

There’s only ever one thing in life that can you control and that’s you in the present moment. Blaming yourself for your past choices, or allowing yourself to get down for long over things that are outside of your control is waste of time.

Practice being the best you can be in everything you do then let everything else go. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by what’s going on around you. Most of this will be outside of your control. Pull your attention in around what you’re doing and focus on it fully. Bring joy and enthusiasm to your tasks and appreciate your efforts.

5. Do what Brings You Joy

Joy is the greatest currency of the universe. Feeling joyful builds confidence.  It feels great to feel great.

Doing the things that you love is usually the first thing you drop when you’re under pressure. When you do that you’re telling yourself that you aren’t as important to yourself as other people, and other things.

6. Accept what is Showing up

Accepting what is showing up in your life and learning how to deal with it successfully is an amazing way of building confidence. Unless you’re in imminent physical danger, the basis of most fear is the idea that you won’t be able to handle something that might happen. So each time that you do handle something successfully you’re building your confidence. 

7. Glance in your Rear Vision Mirror Every Now and Then

You can’t get where you want to go by staring at your rear vision mirror. That’s why your rear vision mirror isn’t very big and your windscreen, by comparison,  is huge. It does help your confidence however if you glance at where you’ve been and how far you’ve come, now and then. 

2017
2020 – A Largely DIY Project

8. Stop Comparing Yourself

Part of having a great relationship with yourself is to really value and appreciate who you are, your unique talents, and your journey. It’s very difficult to do that if you’re always comparing yourself to other people. So STOP IT!!

9. Check your Perception

Truth is the information you agree on until more information comes along. If the information that you’re giving yourself, via your thoughts and actions isn’t working for you go out and get some different perspectives. Ask people who you trust what they think. Gather information from reputable sources and if necessary change your perception or change your behaviours until you’re in alignment. 

10. Check your Quality World Pictures

Your Quality world pictures are the ideas you have about the things that you need to be happy. Confidence is part of happiness because it takes confidence to be able to meet your needs. If you’re having trouble meeting your needs there are three things you can change: your thoughts and actions, your perceptions, or your quality world pictures. If your quality world pictures are unrealistic or unattainable your confidence will keep getting battered. You don’t have to completely wipe your dreams and aspirations but they might need tweaking. 

11. Learn how to Manage Stress and Anxiety

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively

Stress and anxiety are a vicious cocktail when it comes to wrecking self-confidence. When you’re highly stressed your lizard brain kicks in and your lizard brain only has a couple of options: fight or flight. It developed that way to save you from physical threats. Today’s issues require the more modern parts of your brain to help you strategise yourself out of your problems. You need to think clearly and you can’t do that with old lizard brain in charge.

As always thanks for visiting and I hope this post has helped you gain some clarity over confidence-building. If you don’t already receive regular communication from us sign up for the Needs Profile in the sidebar so we can keep in touch. You can also book an online counselling appointment with Jeff below.

To a more confident you 🙂

Deb

Jeff Steedman and Deb Burns

Am I Really in Control?

In Control

Do you feel stressed and anxious because your life seems out of your control? Believing that you are ever really in control of your life is a fantasy. There’s only ever one thing in life that can you control, that’s you and that’s enough.

We often measure wellbeing against how “in control” we feel. That’s fine as long as we remember that the only thing we can really control is ourselves.

When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it’s relatively easy to be in control of your thoughts and emotions. But it doesn’t take much for that control to jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course. The impact of other people, illness, or maybe even your own ambitions can throw your control of yourself off course.

Your Time is so Precious

Your time is the most precious thing you have. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?

The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of your thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified. But by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you’ll have so much more control over your life.

Knowing that upsetting yourself with things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t upset is another.

Take Responsibility for your Thoughts

Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step is even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.

Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. This is evidence that you can use to create more positive thoughts.

You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take control of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. And there will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.

What if I’m Not Good Enough?

This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, with all your evidence displayed right where you’ll see it. But if the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to have as much control over your life as you can.

Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. And good enough for what anyway? This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.

If your scales continue to tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. Ask people who you trust what they think to make sure that your perception is valid. Maybe there are things you could do that would increase your confidence in yourself? Ultimately there’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work.

Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts

The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you. Maybe with more information it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.

Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough to do or have what you want, then align with your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to achieve. If not consider one of our life-changing courses.

Life-Changing Courses from Choice Theory Online

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Deal with Stress & Anxiety Effectively
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Feel More in Control in Just Four Days

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How to Create an Awesome Morning Routine you’ll Stick to

Create a morning routine you'll stick to

Have you noticed that when you set an intention for the day things generally work out better than days when you don’t? This is because you’re taking responsibility for your energy, your thoughts, and your actions. Set yourself up each day to do this with a morning routine. 

Setting a Wake-up Time

First, think about your optimal wake-up time. If you’re not a morning person trying to get up a 5:00 am is probably not going to give you the best start to the day. You’ll be better getting up later and using your evenings to achieve things. 

Now set your wake-up time so that you have time for your morning routine before you start your day.

Setting an optimal wake-up time can be tricky if you have young children because you’re never quite sure when they’ll surface. Get up with enough time to move through your routine according to their usual wake-up time but be prepared to change as they change.

Once you have your routine set in place you can break it up If you have an early riser. Just slip in the elements of your routine as your morning allows. A morning routine should serve you, not the other way around, so be prepared to go with the flow. 

Your morning routine can include anything you want that helps you set your intentions and your energy for the day. Following someone else’s routine will never be as effective as a routine that you’ve put together yourself. You’ll also be much less likely to stick to it. 

This Way of Creating a Morning Routine is Different and here’s Why?

No morning routine will work if you don’t get out of bed in time to move through it. That’s why it’s important to make the first thing in your routine something that you love to do. This way you’ll have the best chance of maintaining it.

For years I’ve forced myself to get up to exercise or cram in a couple of hours of work or study. It wasn’t particularly enjoyable and as a result, I never really cemented it into my day. 

Now I get up at 5:00 am to write, watch the sunrise, and enjoy a couple of big cups of coffee, on the couch. Not your average morning routine but it works for me because I find it blissful.  

You can create a full routine all at once and then move things in or out depending on how well they work for you. Or you can start with one element and do that for a week or so before adding another element.

Here are the basic elements that are great to include in your morning routine. Depending on the time you have available don’t hesitate to add others.  Be careful not to overwhelm yourself though. 

The Basic Elements of a Choice Theory Morning Routine

1. Decide on something you love and that will get you out of bed joyfully at least 5 mornings a week. You can reserve the right to change it if it doesn’t work for you, or even do different things on different days. A morning routine should serve you, not the other way around. 

2. How do you choose to show up today? This is something that you can decide on the night before. I try to stay aware of how I’m feeling throughout the day and this gives me ideas about how I want to show up tomorrow. Encapsulate your ideas about showing up into one or two words. 

Today I’m a human being…. and …

If you’re fearful you might set the following intention: – Today I’m a human being brave and optimistic.

If you’re feeling lacking in energy and drive you might set the intention: -Today I’m a human being energetic and enthusiastic.

3. Find a few things to be genuinely grateful for. Gratitude helps you to focus on what you’ve got rather than what you think is missing in your life. It helps to maintain a positive mindset. 

…and the rest is up to you…

Some Ideas for your Morning Routine 

  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Journalling
  • Reading
  • Taking supplements, juice, or drinking a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice
  • Prayer

These are all great things to include in your morning routine. But anything that you do with your full attention and that helps set you up for the day that you choose to have is fine. It’s perfectly possible to make school lunches, hang out the washing and empty the dishwasher mindfully and joyfully. 

By starting your day with a personal morning routine that you’ve created you’re setting it up intentionally. You can’t control everything that happens during your day, but you can control how you respond to it. Setting up a morning routine that you love will get you off to a very good start. 

A Choice Theory Meme a Day

Another great addition to a morning routine is to read one of our original memes that we send out every day for about six months. You can sign up for those by clicking the image above and then choosing the option on our homepage.

Thanks for reading 🙂  What kind of human will you be tomorrow?

Best Regards

Deb

P.S If you’d like to work with us on an organisational level head over to Choice Practice Institute

P.P.S If you’d like to book a counselling session with Jeff head over to Riviera Counselling

Deb and Jeff

Your Best Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions
New Year's Resolutions

2021 was being welcomed in a way that has not happened before in my lifetime. There was a sense of hope that the world will begin to right itself. Skyrocketing Covid-19 cases around the world and even a new breakout in Australia may have dampened that optimism somewhat but most people are still hopeful that 2021 will be a better year than 2020. I could see this by the number of people out exercising this morning and working on their New Year’s resolutions.

We can’t control the world, in fact, the only thing we can really control is ourselves. Some people made the most of 2020 by changing something in their life for the better. They hung in there even when the world seemed like it was going to hell in a handcart. They can look back with a sense of satisfaction in having achieved something worthwhile.

Others soothed themselves, stressed, and worried. As a result, they probably didn’t hang onto their 2020 resolutions and haven’t come out of the year as well.

New Year’s Resolutions often revolve around reforming habits like unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, using addictive substances, overworking, etc. All these habits have one thing in common. They’re avoidance of discomfort in favour of pleasure. 

Pleasure vs Happiness

There’s nothing wrong with authentic pleasures like spending quality time with friends and family, enjoyable outings, taking care of yourself, hobbies, educating yourself, exercise, and even relaxing at the end of a full day’s work. Pleasure-seeking becomes problematic when it doesn’t move you towards sustainable happiness. Instead, you use pleasure to reduce discomfort and to avoid dealing with behaviours that you know need to change for your overall wellbeing.

We often justify this kind of behaviour. We tell ourselves that we have to put up with whatever’s causing us stress, and pleasure-seeking is the only option available to feel better about it?

Your partner’s abusive, but you can’t leave because you’re in love. Your job may be horrible, but you have to stay because it pays well or there aren’t any other good jobs around. You’re locked down, bored and frustrated so it’s OK to calm yourself with sugary snacks. This kind of thinking is incredibly destructive because it’s managing stress with destructive behaviours. It’s a poor substitute for sustainable happiness.

Making Sustained Change

Making New Year’s resolution is easy. Sustaining change isn’t so easy but long term it’s easier than continuing to seek pleasure and comfort via unhealthy behaviors. Motivation also plays a part in this. A lack of motivation is often brought about by unresolved fears that lead to a “head-in-the-sand” mentality.

One of the reasons that New Year’s resolutions don’t stick is because you start them during the holidays. At some point, life as you knew it before, re-starts. You have to find the time and the discipline to incorporate your new behaviours into your old life.

If you allow yourself to believe that there’s not enough time to maintain your New Yeat’s resolutions, or to address big issues, the next best thing is a bit of pleasure-seeking right? Wrong; pleasure-seeking is like a low-grade addiction to a multitude of things. Of course, everyone needs some pleasure; a bubble bath, a piece of cake here and there, and to watch some Netflix. But spending significant time doing these things when there are bigger things that you know need addressing, is going to lead to trouble down the track. 

Creating a Wellbeing Scale

A well-being scale is typically a scale between 1 and 10, showing a vision of yourself at your perceived worst and your perceived best. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest. 

Create a vision of yourself and your life that’s balanced, happy, and healthy. This is you at an 8-10. Now think about what you at your worst might look like. You don’t need to see yourself as a homeless drug addict. A smoking, workaholic that lives on takeout food and has no friends will do. This would put you down at a 1-2. Now place yourself on your scale according to where you see yourself at present.

This can be confronting, especially if you’re a long way short of your best version of yourself. The gulf between where you would like to be and where you are can seem insurmountable, but all sustainable change begins with just one small step. 

Begin with the Biggest Problem

New Year’s resolutions work best when you focus your efforts on what you can control. Stay in your lane and let other people figure out their own resolutions. What’s the thing about your life that upsets you the most? What can you do about it? It’s likely that you’ve tried many times to address this issue and, for whatever reason, you haven’t been successful.

This isn’t unusual. It often takes many tries to make sustainable change. Change isn’t easy, if it was everyone would be doing it. And everyone would be walking around as their best version of themselves. If you could take just one small step towards that vision you have of yourself at your best, what would it be? Each step you take will lead on to another and before you know it you will have stepped your way into your best self. 

Identify your Needs

You will have much more success with any behaviour changes if you can identify your needs and learn to be resilient to discomfort, which is a form of stress. 

You can download your Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar. Or if you’re ready for more check out our Stress-less training. You’ll still get the Needs Profile Questionnaire, but you’ll get a whole lot more as well.

Choice Theory Online is all about making choices and changes to improve your life. Don’t let the New Year’s resolutions you make this year fall by the way by February. If the first two options don’t appeal, you can get a free original meme each day to help maintain your motivation right through to 2022.

5 Stress-Reducing Habits for the Holidays

Stress reducing habits for the holidays

Good habits are an important part of a successful life. Especially if they become your default setting. Things that you genuinely feel bad about not doing. Deeply ingrained good habits are like positive addictions. They will help get you through the most stressful times in your life and the holidays can be a very stressful time.

This holiday season comes with even more stresses and strains than usual. Many things that stress you these holidays you’ll have very little control over. Developing and maintaining good stress-reducing habits will not only help you to enjoy the holidays but they’ll also set you up very well for whatever 2021 has in store. 

1. Thought Control

An unruly mind, full of negative and pessimistic thoughts causes a lot of stress. Taking control of your mind is a stress-reducing habit that really works. To manage your thoughts, especially in a situation where you know that your needs aren’t being met, takes practice. But it’s extremely beneficial and well worth the effort. 

Only allow thoughts that serve you. When thoughts that undermine you or won’t lead to happy holidays pop-up, replace them authentically with better ones. It’s fine to feel disappointed because you can’t be with loved ones. Or because you don’t have enough money to give your children everything they want. But balance that out with thoughts of gratitude for what you do have. Think creatively about how you can make the holidays a wonderful time. Your thoughts directly impact the way you feel. Better thoughts lead directly to feeling better and having better experiences. 

2. Moderate Exercise

Moderate exercise turns on endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural defense against stress. Do some form of exercise you enjoy, where you enjoy doing it. For some people that will be walking in nature. For others, it will be doing a gym session or even a yoga session at home. Any form of gentle to moderate exercise works to reduce stress. Do it every day if you can. Exchanging your usual exercise for a pleasurable physical activity like gardening or playing energetically with the kids now and then, works well too.

3. Get enough Sleep

Sleep is so important in keeping stress levels down and yet it’s often one of the first things to elude you when you’re stressed. When you’re under pressure with too much to fit into each day it’s tempting to reduce your sleep hours. Having more waking hours each day won’t make you more productive if you’re sleepy and stressed. It will also make what you’re doing unsustainable and unpleasurable.  

Good sleep hygiene habits are a must.

– Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool.

– Keep regular sleep hours.

– Stop working intensely at least an hour before you try to sleep.

– Don’t drink coffee or energy drinks late into the day.

– Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol might send you off to sleep but it won’t  give you a good sleep and it can leave you feeling hungover the next day. 

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, practice relaxing your body, quietening your mind, and focusing on your breathing. If you have problems or a to-do list going around and around in your mind get up and write it all down. 

4. Redirection

Recognize when things are getting on top of you and break the stress cycle. Think of your stress levels like the heat that builds up in a pot on the stove. Ideally, you’d turn down the heat but when that isn’t possible you can take the lid off to keep everything from boiling over. 

You can redirect yourself by doing something relaxing and enjoyable. Whatever you choose to do take your thoughts with you. There’s no point in spending an hour in the garden if your thoughts are still on how you’re going to find a job.

You can also redirect yourself by doing something that needs to get done but is easy and low stress. 

5. Keep up your Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is your happiness hormone. Sleep, exercise, and doing enjoyable things increase dopamine levels but there are other things you can do to give yourself a hit of dopamine.

– Cuddles … and they don’t have to be with people, animals will do.

– Eat enough protein. Keep your diet as balanced and as enjoyable as    possible.

– Listen to your favorite music.

– Meditate … and you can meditate while you walk.

– Get enough sunlight, it really does make a difference

– Keep your lifestyle as balanced as possible.

You hopefully already have a number of these stress-reducing habits in your life. If you do hold onto them tightly. Don’t be tempted to let them go in because it’s the holidays or because you don’t “feel” like it. 

When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed it’s easy to let things go, thinking that will help you feel better, but the opposite is true. While there can be a little initial relief by giving your morning work-out a miss, you’ll get more long-term benefits by pushing through and doing it. 

By making these habits the non-negotiables of your lifestyle you’ll be able to handle more stress when you need to. Good stress-reducing habits will make it possible for you to operate better in high-stress environments. 

Everyone goes through periods of high stress at some point in their life. Good stress-reducing habits will help you through these periods, but you should always look at the bigger picture. Why are you under so much pressure? Are you on a learning curve, dealing with something new, or managing something out of the ordinary? Under these circumstances, the period of overstress will be limited. You’ll eventually get back to less stress. 

If you’re stressed over something that’s a long-term part of your life and is likely to always be there, you need to start addressing the underlying causes. A great place to start with that is by downloading our Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar.

To everyone who is reading this post we wish you the happiest holidays you can create. It can be a stressful time of year but it’s also a beautiful and special time of year that can be rewarding and rejuvenating if we let it. 

Best Wishes

Deb and Jeff

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively

The Power of your Thoughts

Thoughts are Things...Important Things

The Power of your thoughts can empower or disempower you.

Empowering thoughts help you to take charge of your life. They’re necessary for you to make empowered choices. Empowered choices are the result of empowering thoughts and draw to you what you really want in your life. True empowerment comes about when you effectively convert intention into action.

When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it seems like you’re in control and you’re reasonably happy. When life seems out of control you can quickly shift into feeling stressed and anxious and your happiness can jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course in alarming ways.

Using Your Time to the Fullest

Time is your most precious resource, the most precious thing you have to work with. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?

Knowing that upsetting yourself over things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t unduly upset is another and requires self, or personal empowerment

The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of your thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified but by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you are empowering yourself to make better use of your time. Better use of your time means you will have so much more control over your life.

It’s OK to spend some time in sadness, worry, stress, fear, or anxiety. If you can accept that those feelings are the result of past and/or present thoughts, and just be with them in acceptance and compassion you will move on far more quickly. Buying into those emotions and creating new disempowering thoughts will keep you stuck in them for much longer.

Taking Responsibility for your Thoughts

Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step can be even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.

Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. These thoughts are the foundation from which you can use to create more positive thoughts.

You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take charge of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. There will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.

…but What if I’m not Good Enough?

This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, ask other people who you respect for their opinions. If the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to use your thoughts to empower yourself.

Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.

If your scales tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. There’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work. But there are things you can do that may balance out your scales, or even better, tilt them in your favour.

  • Skill development to increase your confidence
  • Re-think your journey in a way that may work better for you
  • Enlist more support
  • Do our Needs Profile Questionnaire in the sidebar to make sure you are meeting your most important needs

Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts

The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you, but maybe with more information, it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.

Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough, then align your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to do.

Create a Mindset that Serves you

You’ve probably heard the word mindset bandied around a lot lately. But what does it actually mean? There are lots of complex definitions, but mindset is simply the way you think about things. The set of beliefs you’ve developed according to your life experiences and influences. These beliefs create the material for your thoughts.

Some mindsets will serve you a lot better than others. If you believe that your success, or lack of it, is the result of innate traits and talents you’re limiting your potential. Believing that your success is based on the choices you make, learning, and determination, gives you have a much wider platform on which to succeed.

How does Mindset Affect Self Empowerment?

Mindset is now taught in schools. It’s recognised that children who believe they can succeed at most things if they put in enough effort, are more likely to be optimistic and resilient. They’re also more likely to maintain better mental health and achieve better outcomes.

A mindset that serves you, rather than holds you back will interpret challenges and failures as temporary setbacks, feedback, and even see opportunities in them. Having a mindset that doesn’t serve you is more likely to leave you stressed and anxious. You might blame yourself for setbacks, believing that they arise out of your inadequacies. You might believe that you’re just unlucky, or always taken advantage of. Any set of beliefs that doesn’t serve you will get in your way and disempower you.

How to Develop a Mindset that Empowers you

Seeing yourself as limited is not going to empower you. Seeing life as hard and cruel is not going to serve you. Everyone has certain limitations. Life can be harsh, cruel, and unjust at times. Focusing on what you’ve got, what you can do, and what’s right with the world, is going to be far more beneficial than focusing on what you can’t do, what you haven’t got and what’s wrong with the world.

Focus on what you can control and what does work for you. Do your best with that and let the rest go. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of who you are rather than who you or anyone else thinks you should be. Choose thoughts that are loving and appreciative of other people in your life for who they are. Focus on their qualities rather than their shortcomings. Don’t try to change them or even wish they were different.

Appreciate your life as a journey of discovery. Lean into what shows up with curiosity, value your growth whether or not it’s giving you the specific outcomes you were hoping for. This is how you’ll cultivate a mindset that serves you and thoughts that will empower you. You’ll be far more likely to be happy, peaceful and productive.

If you’d like some help with any of this we have an online course called How to Deal Effectively with Stress and Anxiety. We’d love it (and we really do mean LOVE it), if you’d connect with us via the course. We answer all comments personally, or if you’d rather connect privately while you’re doing the course you can email deb at deb.burns@choicepratice.org. Check the course out below.

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively
Deb and Jeff

The Best Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer?

After my robotic-assisted prostatectomy!

3d rendering robot surgery machine with surgery lights


JEFF …Well! Who would have thought that we would one day be operated on by robots 🤖 with the surgeon looking at a monitor? It really is futuristic right now!

I have recovered remarkably well. There were only 7 small incisions made in my abdomen and the dressings have been removed from those already. My operation began at 12.30 on Monday, and I was returned to my bed at 7.00 pm, so this was no small procedure.

I was up and walking the next day, on solids by the Wednesday and home and seeing clients by Thursday. I have been working every day since then and Deb and I have even launched our affiliate program!

My pain medication since leaving the hospital has been the occasional paracetamol. I am walking 🦿every day, in fact I feel so good I have to be careful not to overdo it.

There’s a lot of healing needing to take place internally where the prostate was removed, the Vas Deferens cut and sealed, and the urethra rejoined. On Monday I will have the catheter removed and will need to learn anew how to control my bladder.

Time to cover the kiddies’ eyes, or gents if you are squeamish, skip down a bit! Upon waking up from the surgery I had testicles the size of a bull elephant, extremely tender, sore, uncomfortable and difficult to manage as they get in the way of everything, nine days later I still have the cowboy walk going on as they have reduced to around twice their normal size and the scrotum is pitch black from bruising…. I wasn’t expecting that!!! 😂

Now for the best news, today my surgeon rang and said the pathology is excellent. Even though I had a Gleeson score of 9 and very advanced cancer, there is no sign that it has escaped the prostate. All the surrounding tissue was clear. I will have PSA tests in January to confirm, but it is all really good news. He said he was really happy, but I assured him, nowhere near as happy as I am.😄🥳

This experience has reaffirmed for me how important it is to focus on what we can control and let go of what we have little or no control over. My surgeon was delighted that I had done everything I could to prepare myself for the surgery and recuperation. I am fit, strong, a healthy weight and, have been practicing my kegel exercises for when the catheter is removed. He said he really appreciates it when it’s a team effort and the patient takes care of their part because the results are so much better.


Whilst I would never wish an experience like prostate cancer on anyone, it remains true that how well we do once we’re diagnosed is to a large degree up to us. In particular, the thoughts, attitudes, and actions we choose will have a huge bearing on how well we get through the experience and recuperate afterwards. I’ll let you know the PSA results when I get them in January.

I consider myself to be a thriver, not merely a survivor. I am enjoying my life to the fullest and looking forward to the next adventure, building partnerships to help spread Choice Theory throughout the world!

…and What can Partners Do?

Deb: Treatment for any kind of cancer, or in fact any form of illness does not begin or end with doctors. A huge part of treatment is a personal responsibility. The responsibility to live a healthy lifestyle, manage your mind, and make informed choices.

When Jeff was first diagnosed I asked him what I could do. He said he wanted me to keep doing what I was already doing. He didn’t want our life to change. He acknowledged that there would be times when I would probably be sad and that was OK too.

Anyone who knows anything about prostate cancer knows that it has a huge impact on the sufferer’s sex life. From the outset, I knew that my ability to deal optimistically with this aspect of Jeff’s diagnosis would be vital to him remaining positive in this arena.

Instead of focusing on what we’ve lost, at least in the first year; I focus on what we’ve had, what we can have, and what we will have again. Of course, there’s a sense of loss in this area and grief is normal. But the main focus of a partner needs to be around behaviours that will help the situation, not cause more harm. Fortunately, prostate cancer is much more likely to affect older men and so the risk of it interfering with fertility is greatly reduced.

A Cancer Journey

Dealing with the day to day outcomes of prostate cancer treatment is challenging. Jeff’s initial diagnosis that his cancer was so advanced without having shown any symptoms came as a shock. Since then however, all our news has been excellent. But what about people who have to deal with the day to day challenges PLUS news that isn’t so great. My heart goes out, especially as my own father died aged forty-two from cancer that started in his lungs.

How do people stay positive with news that their cancer has progressed further than they hoped? I actually don’t know the answer to this. I’m interested to find out however, because I not only have my husband Jeff dealing with prostate cancer but my ex-husband of 28 years has a very serious, probably incurable cancer. I’ve joined some Facebook PC support groups.

Choice theory is an amazing tool for cancer recovery. I can see this first hand in the way that Jeff is handling his cancer versus the way that my father handled his. Most people, in Australia, rely on counseling with the Cancer Council. If anyone has been through this I’d love to hear about it.

Tomorrow is catheter removal day. Jeff has been counting down the days to this but is also anticipating that it will be painful. I’m sure he’ll handle it with the resilience he has handled everything else so far.

If you would like share anything regarding your cancer journey or a loved one’s, we’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading

Deb🌻

Affiliate Program Marketing

Affiliate Marketing Program

If you have a presence online and you’re re not earning money through affiliate marketing, then you’re leaving money on the table.

Whether you’re a blogger, some kind of online influencer, even a coach or counsellor, you can create an additional income stream through affiliate marketing. And you can do it in a trustworthy and authentic way. But it isn’t as easy as throwing up a review post with some links and hoping for the best. 

It requires the same learning curve and the same commitment that any new income stream would. 

The first step in becoming a successful affiliate is to decide on a sphere of influence you want to be known for. Then only promote products that you genuinely believe will benefit your audience. This way you won’t turn your followers away, you’ll turn them into customers. 

The bottom line in any successful business is to provide usefulness that you can be fairly compensated for. Affiliate marketing is no different. 

Choose products to promote that naturally fit within your brand and then put effort into the promotion. If you don’t have a “brand” start thinking about what a brand might look like for you. What kind of branding would you most like to be associated with.

It makes sense to promote products from people you can build a relationship with. That way it’s more like building partnerships. If you get to the point where you create a product, or have a service that would be useful to their client base, they’re likely to promote you. 

You can do guest posts for each other with sign-up forms on each other’s sites. Interviewing each other on podcasts is another good way to create synergy between your brands. 

Perhaps you’ve tried affiliate marketing in the past, or you’re trying it now with limited success? Why not change it up and see what happens? What have you got to lose?

Invest some time researching products and services that you think would be useful to your audience if you have one. If you don’t have an audience yet, think about your ideal audience and what would benefit them. 

BUT REMEMBER THIS!!! If you are looking for a niche, BEFORE you commit, make sure that others in that niche are making good money in it. It’s hard enough starting out ….  starting where no one has gone before is not something you want to try. 

Not all niches are created equal. Pick something you have a passion for, that other’s are profitable in, that fits with your brand and that has the opportunity for growing needs. Building a business is a lot of work, you want to be able to grow with your customers and keep offering them products and services that they need. And that they’re willing to pay for. 

The Personal Development Niche?

Richard Bach: “You teach best what you most need to learn.” This quote highlights what a great niche personal development is. You get to develop your audience at the same time as you develop yourself. It’s a niche that’s endlessly interesting and can be targeted to more specific audiences like parenting, seniors, entrepreneurs, mental health, the law of attraction. The possibilities are huge!

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, or that you’re already in and our partnership philosophy sits well with you, we’d love to partner with you.

We’ve just opened up our online course “How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively” to affiliates. If you’re interested in learning more you can click the button to sign up.

We also have just released a bundle of new PLR content to support sales of our course but also for anyone in MMO, Parenting, Productivity, Wellbeing, and Law of Attraction Niches. Sign up as an affiliate, use your link to buy it and you’re effectively getting it at half price! This material is brand new and hasn’t been widely promoted. If you get in now it’s like having your own articles because you might be the first to use a post. For a few cents you can run the posts through Copyscape to see which ones haven’t been used yet. Click the button to check that offer out. There’s an example of the quality of the posts on that page.

If you have any questions you can leave a comment and we’ll get back to you asap.

Thanks for reading

Deb🌻

Surviving Prostate Cancer and Thriving

By Jeff Steedman My view through the prism of prostate cancer.

Achieving the Outcome you Want

To Survive or thrive, it’s my choice!


It is interesting to note the different outcomes which occur when using and believing these words and the corresponding belief systems underlying them. I responded to another post recently with a similar theme and my own experience with prostate cancer has me thinking about this again.

Some background. In past years I experienced skin cancer and recovered from it, leading a healthy, happy, and enjoyable life ever since. Six years ago I had a total thyroidectomy because of thyroid cancer and have led a healthy, happy, and enjoyable life ever since. I am a thriver and I believe that this road is open to all of us if we allow ourselves to take it.

Survivors

Cancer Survivors

In my counselling work, I come across people who have taken another path, they see themselves as victims who have managed to survive and lead their lives accordingly. It seems that many of those who take this path do so with fear, anger, anxiety, grim determination, and watchfulness which gets in the way of them leading a full and joyous life.

These are the survivors, hanging on grimly to their lives and not experiencing all that life has to offer. I don’t judge this, but I do recognise that it comes from a relief that they somehow survived, which can then become a self-limiting picture of themselves. Survivors often become watchful and even hyper-vigilant to potential threats.

This isn’t an issue if you can still live a joyful, need-satisfying life. But when your picture of yourself as a survivor who is potentially still under threat becomes too strong, it can become a limiting belief. You can spiral into depressing, anxiousing, or simply unhappiness as you restrict your connection with those around you and all that life has to offer.

Thrivers

Happiness is the awesome outcome of successfully meeting your needs

The alternative is to be a thriver. When you’re a thriver you accept whatever has happened to you in the past. Your focus is on what you can control now, your own behaviour, and connecting with the people and things that can help you meet your needs into the future.

As a thriver, you look to what you can do, rather than what you can’t. You focus on meeting your needs in connecting ways rather than worrying about what might happen and not engaging in needs satisfying behaviour. Of course, you would not have had the illness, accident, or adverse event happen to you, but given it did, become determined to live the best life that you can from now on.

Thrivers do Better

As a thriver you’ll do much better for many reasons. You’ll be less anxious and have fewer downtimes. When you experience downtimes, they don’t last long, because you can move quickly to shift your thinking and action, to choose and engage in behaviours that better meet your needs.

When you engage in needs satisfying behaviour you impact your immune system in a positive way and experience better healing and health outcomes. Emotionally your outlook is brighter and more open to possibility and connection.

“Fantastic! How About You?”

When people ask me how I am, I answer “fantastic…. how about you?” That is still my answer now.

No, I am not putting on a brave face. I know that there are risks, dangers, and challenges ahead. I also know I will have short periods of time when I feel less than great, but I choose not to get lost in those miserable thoughts and feelings.

It is my choice to see life as a fun and enjoyable journey with lots of possibilities and to focus on what I have and what I can do rather than what I can’t. Fear and misery have no place and no space here. So yes I am feeling fantastic and all of my thoughts are going into how I can take charge of my recovery after my total prostatectomy surgery on Monday.

In the coming days, weeks, months and years, how fantastic I feel will be totally up to me!

Cheers Jeff

Learn how to be a Thriver

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively
Learn how to be a Thriver

 

Jeff Steedman
http://rivieracounselling.com.au/session.php
Jeff Steedman – Riviera Counselling