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How Can Keeping A Gratitude Journal Benefit Me? By Tania Taylor

How can keeping a Gratitude Journal Benefit Me? by Tania Taylor

Hands up if you have heard that journaling is good for you? My hands are firmly up right now!
I have heard time and time again how important it is, and I also recommend writing a gratitude journal to all my clients, but why? 

Why is keeping a gratitude journal good for you? 

It certainly makes you feel good when you think about events and memories of your day that have been great. Later in the blog I’ll be telling you all about the latest research demonstrating that a simple two minute activity like gratitude journaling – every day – can actually rewire our brain to help us cope better with stress and anxiety, and feel happier and more able to cope! 

….But what about when you’ve had a terrible day. Life feels crap, and you can’t think of anything that has been good?  

Can I still keep a gratitude journal if my life feels like shit right now? 

The answer is YES! 

Often our first instinct when thinking about gratitude and events and memories that we feel good about are major celebrations like Weddings, big birthdays, holidays etc. A gratitude journal is different though, yes of course we can write about the huge celebrations, but let’s consider events and objects in our life that makes us feel grateful. Events and memories that give us a little pleasure in our day. 

I gave an example recently in my Facebook group about something as simple as a broken radiator. Who knew we were so grateful for radiators? Well, we didn’t, until we were at a friend’s house, their radiator broke, the water had to be turned off which meant no heating, no water, and no flushing toilet! Boy, were we grateful when the radiator was fixed again! 

But…. Let’s not all start writing about how grateful we are for radiators!
When we write about what we’re grateful for, it’s important to write about something that resonates with you. For example, this morning I sat looking out of my window and saw some blue tits flying to and fro from my neighbours’ tree to a bird feeder. I loved seeing them all taking it in turns, some being cheeky and pushing the others away. It certainly made my bleary-eyed breakfast more interesting. 

Whilst I’m writing this, I have a box of tissues next to me, a woolly jumper on, and some yoga pants. I’m full of a head cold and I’d like to go back to bed, but I have more clients to stay awake for today.

We could look at this from two angles, yes I’m poorly and I feel like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, but I’m also grateful. 

I’m grateful for the soft tissues that aren’t going to turn my nose into Rudolf’s. I’m grateful for the woolly jumper keeping me warm, the fact I have a lovely bed I’ll go and jump in later as soon as I’ve seen my last client of the day. I’m grateful that all my clients today are online clients, so I can wear my comfy yoga pants, and no one knows I’m secretly slobbing it! I’m grateful for my clients and the strength they use every day to get through challenging times. I’m grateful for the little bit of sun that has just begun to poke through the dreary day. 

And there you go……before I know it, I’ve got a whole list of objects and moments I’m grateful for even on a day that doesn’t rank high in my “Best days of my life” rankings! 

How do I see the good in every day? 

Practice is definitely a factor. It’s taken me a long time to be able to see a dreary day where I’m feeling poorly and sorry for myself and turn it around into finding loads I’m grateful. So, please don’t beat yourself up if you find it really difficult at first! It takes time, and practice, but ANYONE can do this. You included! 

How do I start a gratitude journal?
First off, let’s begin by finding a notebook or diary of some kind that you can write in. I’m sure if you muster up the motivation, you’ll probably have a notebook lying around in a cupboard somewhere in your house, but if that’s not an option you can usually grab one from a local shop for under a pound. If a notebook doesn’t feel like the right idea or you let’s be more creative. What about journaling what you’re grateful for throughout your day by taking photos? 

When is the best time to journal? 

At night right before you go to sleep. So, it might feel good to leave the notebook at the side of your bed to remind you. It’s also something great to wake up to and have a little read of too. If you’re taking pictures, it can be helpful to do a rerun in your imagination of the pictures you took that day right before you fall asleep. 

What can I journal about?

Start small, think of three times during your day today whenyou felt grateful or pleased with yourself, or maybe you felt good about something? Maybe you had a nice hot shower, you enjoyed your breakfast, or you chatted to a friend and found you both laughing at something funny?

Beginning with just three items a day will soon increase, but don’t put pressure on yourself to increase it. Give it time and when the times right, it will begin to increase all on its own, and before you know it, you’ll be struggling to fit everything you’re grateful for that day onto a page in your book! 

Why is journaling about gratitude good for us? 

There have been all kinds of scientific studies over the last decade or so, and time and time again they keep coming up with similar results. In a nutshell, people who keep a gratitude diary or journal scale themselves as happier than people who don’t. One of the most recent studies in 2019 demonstrates that journaling our gratitude through taking photographs decreases our stress levels and increases our life satisfaction. 

More than that though, neuroscientists have begun using MRI brain scanners to see whether changes occur in the brain because we’re journaling about gratitude. A Neuroscientist in Psychology who dedicates his work to the neural changes in the brain related to gratitude has found numerous times nowthat our prefrontal cortex in the brain changes its activity levels. The activity levels and neural pathways change so much that results demonstrate a significant effect on people coping with anxiety and depression just by journaling about gratitude for as little as three weeks. These benefits increase with the longevity of the gratitude journaling. 

Is keeping  a gratitude journal worth the effort? 

Absolutely! It only takes a couple of minutes out of your day, but it leaves you finishing the day feeling good, which is a great way to fall asleep. It changes your ability to cope with challenges, it lowers your stress  and anxiety levels, increases your happiness scale and even rewires your brain to help you cope so much better! 

Tania is a proud MIB and a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist practicing in Milnrow, Rochdale. She sees people for 1:1 and group sessions, both face to face and via video link worldwide. Tania has a first class honours degree in Psychology, two hypnotherapy and psychotherapy diplomas, and keeps up to date with post qualification training. Tania also lectures for the Clinical Hypnotherapy School and for her own business, supporting other therapists with a variety of topics

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TaniaTaylorHypnotherapy/

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1067244220102675/

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCos7z3Tc87AQoEIsAMwXxqg

Website: www.Tania-Taylor.co.uk

Instagram: www.instagram.com/TaniaTaylorHypnotherapy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TT_Hypnotherapy?s=09

Email: Tania.tay[email protected] 

Phone: 07442 169 033 

Guest Blog – Websites by Danielle Holmes

Guest Blog – Websites by Danielle Holmes

MIBA Website Blog

Let us start by thanking MIBA for this opportunity, it is a real privilege and honour. We have been in the website and hosting industry for around 10 years and wow, have things changed!

10 years ago, social media was still new, websites were thousands of pounds and only a few businesses were ‘experts’ in either of these areas. Now all you need to do is turn your phone on and you’ll see an abundance of social media notifications, and a website or IT expert just around the corner.

So, with all these changes and new found ‘experts’ who and what can you trust? Everything is available at the touch of a button these days; the internet is at our fingertips wherever and whenever.

The internet allows people to reach a worldwide audience and allows you to find things worldwide without too much effort. More and more people have moved to purchasing and hiring things online and maybe you should be taking advantage of that.
There is often this misconception that if you are a start-up business, a solopreneur or even an established small business, your chances of being able to afford a professional Web Designer are slim to none. We’ve chosen to devote this blog to expel this myth, and show how you as a small business owner can benefit in more ways than one from hiring a professional to design your website.
If you post on social media, “I’m new to business and looking to build a website, can anyone help?” I can almost guarantee you will be totally inundated with replies, private messages and experts all pushing your from pillar to post with their best deal or sales pitch to convince you to use them.

“Disclaimer, I own and run Black Nova Designs Ltd, a website design and hosting company but I am truly passionate about making sure everyone knows the ins and outs before committing to anyone. We provide free support and advice and pride ourselves on that.”
How can you tell a professional from an amateur? Who can you trust?

Firstly find someone who is insured, qualified and honest! Trust your instincts and don’t get caught up in anything you feel uncomfortable with. Ask as many questions as possible, ask to know any ongoing fees or upfront costs.

A professional Web Designer combines their creative graphic design skills with their technical skills to bring your concept, and the vision you have for your business to life online. They can create a website that will stand out from your competitors, and tailoring its design and functionality to help to convert and generate sales for your business.

Before entering into a website design or if you would like to build your own here are our top tips:

You could get a budget website on a short turnaround by using one of the DIY website builders like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, and settle for generic, pre-fabricated templates and limited functionality.
Or, you could Hire an agency to design and build a custom website that meets your specific needs — complete with a higher price tag and longer development timeline.

For many people, the idea of the low-cost, quick-build website is very enticing on paper. Why hire a professional website developer when you can create your own for next to nothing?
These ready-to-go websites are perfectly okay as a short-term solution. If all you need is a homepage, about page, contact page and maybe a blog. However, a website template builder OWN the copyright to their platform – you cannot move it to an independent host at any time, you are stuck with their prices, fees and restrictions.

To explain further, website template platforms are like renting a house, you can often change the look and feel of the house but there are also a few restrictions, in the main however it is customisable.
If you ‘move’ you have to rebuild everything from scratch, it may have been cheaper and easier in the short term but renting is rarely the long term plan.

The same way a website template platform (Shopify, Wix, Squarespace etc) own their platform, you can design, customise and change many parts of the template but you are stuck with their prices and, if and when you move you can only take the content and images, not the design. The design stays so if you expand, grow or would like changes it’s rarely easy to achieve without a full redesign.

On the other hand, using a standalone CMS platform like WordPress, Magneto and Dreamweaver (to name a few) is like owning your house – everything is totally yours! You can move, change, update and decorate and there are no restrictions, and in most cases no additional fees.
Let me go through a few more things to think about:

YOU’RE STUCK WITH LIMITED TECHNICAL FUNCTIONALITY. WHEN YOU USE A DIY BUILDER, YOU ONLY HAVE SO MANY TOOLS AND ADD-ONS TO CHOOSE FROM.
Put simply, for growing businesses that need to use their website as an effective sales and marketing tool that will generate ROI, these website builders rarely fit the bill.

As a small business owner, there are never enough hours in the day to achieve all the things on the to-do list. If you were to add to that the task of creating, maintaining and updating your website as your business grows (should you choose to build it yourself), it could be the one thing that takes you away from doing what you specialise in and love doing the most.
Therefore, handing this task over to a professional, who can design and build a website and continue to look after it, could save you countless hours of work, giving you more time to be generating income.

A professional can build a WordPress site for you but so can you! Buy one of our hosting plans, install WordPress with the BND One click installer and away you go.

(FYI, the MIBA website itself is a WordPress site)

You can purchase Bespoke WordPress hosting from us but also many other hosting companies throughout the UK, you can then buy or install your own theme, install some plugins that we recommend and away you go.

We believe your website should be an investment and a positive reflection of your business. Regardless of the size of your business or blog, it deserves a website that has been designed with not only you but your customers in mind. It’s far better to have a long-term plan and create something that is not only fit for purpose right now, but can accommodate for future growth in your business.
Whether you are a start-up business or solopreneur there are small business Web Designers out there that can offer you a quality and timely service ensuring that your business can be online.

We know that cash-flow can sometimes be a big stumbling block for small businesses. However, when you take into account the hours required to “do-it-yourself” and cost that against a service or product in your business, choosing to hire a professional could prove to be more cost-effective.
All in all, a website is a great tool for your company. With the ability to help with sales, marketing, accessibility, customer service as well as much more, it really is the perfect all-in-one tool.

Guest Blog – Instagram by Danielle Holmes

Instagram Blog Part 1 by Danielle Holmes

Instagram in our opinion is one of the fastest growing social platforms, with an endless amount of features, updates and uses it really can help any business with awareness and sales.

Here at Black Nova Designs our Instagram account started with only a few followers, not really knowing how to use the platform to its best ability we didn’t see any increase in followers or benefits to the platform until we started watching learning and engaging with MIBA and Estelle.
I am not saying we saw overnight success, far from it, once you learn new skills they need to be implemented and kept consistent.
Let me start by introducing what we do, we are a service based company, in fact we are a techy based company, which made finding success on an image based platform all that more interesting.

We design, host and create websites, we optimise wifi and build custom design PC’s along with a number of other ‘geeky’ services – how were we ever going to make what we do interesting enough to grow our business with images.
Facebook pages and groups along with word of mouth referrals have always been a huge part of our work, but being the type of person to enjoy a challenge and seeing so many other succeed on Instagram we decided to really give it a go.
The other major hurdle to face was actually putting my face on camera! I know, it’s crazy to think a few years ago I honestly would do anything to avoid the camera, now I do at least one video a day on our stories, walking/talking and discussing things with our audience, daily activities or projects we are working on.

For years I had been networking and preaching that ‘people buy from people’ so it seemed logical that to be able to see any success from any platform you need to become a person, and relatable.

So we became a MIBA VIP member and purchased the hashtag directory, we even achieved putting some website material into the VIP area as well (hopefully you all find that useful)

We started to learn that we could put up to 30 hashtags on each post, that you could schedule the posts in advance (we use Later but there are many other scheduling app’s) and that the images we used made a difference to our engagement.
We started to watch and look at our audience statistics and take note of the type of content people preferred. The other major change we made was that we started to take part in Instagram challenges – sounds scary but it is truly just posting something each day on a topic that is decided by the challenge and then tagging and putting the correct hashtag on the post – as simple as that!
Posting daily seems like hard work until you work out that it can be done in advance, meaning you look incredibly active and organised even if that isn’t always the case.

I usually spend 30 minutes a day on our stories, stories are available for 24 hours at a time so doing them daily for us is important.
So let’s tell you a little more about our Instagram success.

Through following the weekly Live’s from Estelle and implementing her FEAST acronym strategy, we started to see results pretty quickly.
We started posting snippets from previous blog posts, examples of clients work, FAQ’s and so many other content ideas that we never thought of.
We genuinely get 2-5 enquiries genuine per day via DM on Instagram, of course we also get a number of junk messages, ‘pay me to increase your followers’ type messages, we always block and delete those.

We invested in a local photographer (Jasmine Punter Photography) and asked her to get images of us having fun in the office, hopefully from our feed you agree she really did achieve making our office look like the type of people and place you would like to send your business too.
We use as many of the Instagram features as we can on each post, location tag, hashtags, tagging other companies, clients and connections on any relevant posts.

Sometimes our reach varies, it goes up/down and I think Christmas 2019 week saw our lowest stats ever! But I would say that was due to users enjoying family time rather than those posts being not as relevant as before. So keep in mind if you are not seeing great results it might be due to things outside of your control.

The success of Instagram really did start to shine recently when we released our first ever website hosting sale via our stories. Just via Instagram stories alone we sold more hosting packages in a day than ever before!
How incredible is that! By implementing just a few tips and being consistent in posting about our sale every day in a multiple of ways – videos, screenshots and hosting testimonials via our stories.

I am not sure what puts people off Instagram, often hearing people say ‘Instagram does work for me, I get nothing from it’ – I do agree some industries may not have a target audience on Instagram, but for us it has been a real game changer!
To see success you have to be consistent, that is true of anything in business, I see Instagram as no different.
Show up every day, be you, show everyone your passion, what you do and why – be authentic and use the platform to its best.
IT’S FREE! So what does it matter if you get one sale or 150 sales? If you only spend 30 minutes a day on a post and some stories then that is time well spent.

We have a large number of clients who call us and say, oh I’ve been following you for months and love what you do – they have never liked or interacted on any one post! But they were watching, so no matter what you may or may not think there is always someone watching who could be that sale you are looking for.

Instagram really is useful for us and does convert into actual sales, we implement new tips and ideas as often as we can learn them, and following Estelle and her tips have been something we would recommend to anyone who is unsure about Instagram.
To find out more about us and what we offer do feel free to follow our Instagram account www.instagram.com/blacknovadesigns

Guest Blog by Debbie Marks

Guest blog post for MIBA from Debbie Marks, Qube Events & Productions

When the fabulous Estelle & Leona asked to my write a guest blog for MIBA, I jumped at the chance.

Firstly let me introduce myself, I’m Debbie, mum of 2 gorgeous girlies and owner of award winning Event management and decor company Qube Event Productions, decor hire company Qube Event Hire and light up letter company Hollywood Letters. I started my business journey 11 years ago when I went on maternity leave with my first child Dahlia. My husband said to me, ‘You have 9 months to make your business viable or your going back to work!’, I knew what I had to do and I’ve never looked back. You can read my full story in ‘Mumpreneur on Fire 4’. So for any MIB’s who are in the same situation as I was back then, you absolutely CAN do it.

Social media wasn’t a huge thing back when I started so it’s even easier for you guys now. Make sure you check out all the amazing social media content that Estelle & Leona have for you. We are super excited to be headline sponsor for the SMS Summit, it’s going to full of practical content which if you take on board and implement into your business will take you to the next level. Don’t worry if you didn’t manage to get a ticket for this years event. You can now sign up to watch a live stream.

Ok MIB’s. Especially those of you who run events and run MIBA networking events or are thinking about it in the future.

Planning an event can be a stressful process, and can often leave event organisers feeling overwhelmed, however when it all comes together and your event is a success, it’s the best feeling ever! I wanted to share my top 10 tips for Successful Event Planning with you to help you to master the fine art of planning a memorable and effective event.

1. Begin Early
Begin planning as soon as you possibly can. If your event is a large event you should realistically begin planning it to eight – twelve months in advance. We’re planning the MIBA awards next year, we’ve give ourselves 12 months to plan! (Ladies you’re in for a real treat this year!)

Smaller events need at least one month to plan. To keep the final run up to the event flowing smoothly, try to ensure that all supplier contracts are completed a few weeks before the event.

2. Remain Flexible
Over the course of planning the event, things are going to change. Whether it is event times, locations or even the type of event you’re hosting, you need to ensure that you’re flexible and can meet the changing demands.

3. Assign Responsibilities
Break up the various elements of the event into sections (e.g. registration, catering, goodybags), and assign a section to each member of your team. As they are solely responsible for their own section they will be much more clued into small detail changes.

4.Create a budget
It’s important to understand how you are going to fund your event. Get an understanding on all the costs involved with your event and then work our how you will cover them. Do you need ticket sales, sponsorship, it may be self funded and if so you need to know how much you need to put aside for it.

5. Create an Event Planning Document (EPD)
In order to keep everyone on the same page, create a master document that details everything to do with the event, including suppliers contracts, attendee information, and the floor plan. With a shared document everyone can refer back to it if they are unsure, and your entire team can spot if something is out of place.

6. Have a Backup Plan
It is rare that an event is ever pulled off without at least one issue, an item may not turn up or an important person may arrive late. Assess the most important assets your event will have, and create a backup plan for each. If a number of issues arise in the future, triage them and decide whether an alternative can be found, or if it should be cut entirely from the event.

7. Do a Run Through
About two weeks before the event, do a run through of the entire event process. Organise a meeting with your team and mentally walk through everything, from initial set up to the follow up process. Often complications are highlighted at these meetings, and you will have time to correct them. A few days before event organise another run through at the venue.

8. Photograph Everything
Pictures paint a thousand words, and posting positive photos online is an excellent way to demonstrate the success of your event. If you have the budget hire a professional photographer, they will be more clued in to the kinds of photos that are required and will approach you for specifics. Ask for a number of shots to ensure you cover all bases like a snap of the full room, photos of event branding, and lots of photos of attendees enjoying themselves.

9. Get Online
An event is the perfect way to up your social media presence. Create a custom hashtag for your event on Instagram/Twitter and encourage your followers to post about it. Similarly create an event on Facebook, and encourage your followers to tag the event in relevant posts. Upload your photos once the event is over and actively encourage users to tag themselves.

10. Follow-up Immediately.
Once the event is over, many organisers fall into a common pitfall – taking a break. While the logistics may be done it is important to be proactive in following up with attendees, be it over email or on social media, to demonstrate the success of the event. You want to entice as many people as possible to return to your next event!

So I hope I have given you all a lot to think about when it comes to planning an event. I absolutely love what I do as I’m there to hold our clients hands through every step of their planning process to ensure that their event is a huge success every time! That’s why our client come back to us time and time again, as for me it’s all about making event organisers lives easy!!

This week I’ve just launched our brand new website, I’d love you to check it out and let me know what you all think, www.qubeevents.co.uk

I’m super excited to meet you all in person at all the upcoming MIBA events.

Guest Special by Lisa Denniss

Guest Special by Lisa Denniss

My world came crashing down at the beginning of the year as my brother died from a brain tumour. He had only been diagnosed a few months earlier and he was actually doing really well. He was so positive and he thought he could beat it and so did I.

I fell apart and really couldn’t deal with it. I cried everyday…driving in the car, where ever I was going and even sat on the floor at work when I was on my own sobbing, as I was so heartbroken. I felt so sad and lost and didn’t know what to do. Some friends who I thought would be there for me weren’t, which upset me and actually changed me, while others have been amazing and there for my really dark days.

After a while I knew I couldn’t go on like this as it was making me ill. I needed to get some normality in my life. I wanted to get back to my business, it was the only thing that kept me focused and took my mind off things.

So I threw myself into it and I did lots of MIBA courses and 1:1’s with Leona and Estelle to keep me busy. I kept really active in the group and inner circle, which all kept me on track and focused.

I’ve learned so much in this short time and my business and I have grown loads. I have also started another business, helping mums with social media and content, which I love.

If it wasn’t for Leona, Estelle and MiBA I wouldn’t be where I am now. It really saved me at a time when I was so low. It’s bittersweet, as I wouldn’t have been quite this focused without all of this happening.

MIBA isn’t just a group for business advice and support, it’s a massive community which supports women and has helped so many, not just in their businesses. I meet so many amazing women from it and some friends aswell.

What I’ve learnt from being married to a MIB(A)

What I’ve learnt from being married to a MIB(A) by Adam Hulme

About 4 years ago my wife (Hayley) was made redundant whilst we were awaiting the arrival of our second son Myles. At the time this seemed pretty surreal to be happening and in some ways just felt plain wrong with the timing, it has been the best thing to have happened for both of us.

In the months that followed her redundancy Hayley decided that she wasn’t going to return to work for someone else. She wanted to flexibly work for herself, contribute to the family financially and still have the time to be a mum to our two boys. Fast forward to today and Hayley is now a successful business woman with two pregnancy ultrasound clinics which consistently deliver an exceptional level of service and care to pregnant families across Staffordshire and Cheshire.

So the acronym MIB, stands for ‘Mum in Business’, pop an A on the end – MIBA and you have Mums in Business Association. Who are a global community of fiercely driven women who support one another, care for each other, collaborate and share opportunities; driving and pulling each other up to be the best they can possibly be.

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the power of this community through Hayley and then go on to meet one of its co founders Leona. To say I am in awe of the communities spirit, drive and connectedness would be an understatement. The MIBA community following now exceeds 50K on social media globally, in just the space of 2 years! These ladies do not mess about.

As a man looking in, I feel as though I have been given rare access to a secret community that can be joined by invitation only (as I’m writing this it sounds a bit like Fight Club, I can assure you its not).

I’ve taken many things from being married to a MIB(A) here are just a few;

Don’t make time excuses. These women are Jedi masters when it comes to time and will take serious advantage of even a 15 minute opportunity to get something done. Don’t limit your ability to get something done just because you can’t get it all done at once.

Don’t let where you are be an excuse not to get to work done, Hayley works literally everywhere, in the house, parked in the car, at her clinics, at my parents, you get the idea.

It’s OK to be straight talking and honest without the fear of offending people. Having spent the last 20 years in the corporate world, in some respects I became a little bit institutionalized and constrained in what was deemed appropriate to say and to whom.

Similarly it’s OK to be you, you might not be everyone’s cup of tea and that’s more than fine. Whoever’s cup of tea you are they will find you and appreciate your style and what you have to offer.

It’s OK to ask for help, and there are always people who are willing to give it to you, all you need to do is ask.

You’re not alone, whatever you are going through someone else out there has either been through it or is going through it. The power of community is something humans thrive being part of, this one has a unique gift and strength that is a joy to be around.

Don’t ever think you won’t fit in, these ladies have welcomed me with open arms and given me a variety of opportunities to engage and work with them.

Whatever business you’re in there’s plenty of business for you, sharing your unique way of doing things is what people will connect with. There is only one you after all!

Finally, and most importantly to me, I’ve found a group of individuals that I absolutely love to connect, collaborate and work with. To connect with this awesome community use the links below:

MIBA Instagram

Facebook Group

Facebook Page

If you’d like to know more about me or my work as a coach please feel free to take a look at my website www.mycoachforlife.com or drop me an email at [email protected]

Original Article posted by Adam on LinkedIn on 23th July 2019