Six secrets to making your new life in France a happy one

Gillian Harvey asks stress-management coach, clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist Irena-Marie Makowska for tips on creating a happier life in France, and talks to three people who have managed it

Moving and living abroad comes with its unique stresses and worries — and, if they are not dealt with they can quickly turn a lifelong dream into a nightmare. Here are Irena-Marie Makowska’s six tips to make moving to France more manageable.

Let yourself worry - but only when it suits you

If you feel overwhelmed, try assigning a 'worry hour' at a certain time each day. When you feel anxiety coming on, remind yourself that you are going to address that particular problem later. By the time your allocated hour arrives, you will be able to think rationally about any genuine problems, but dismiss any meaningless anxieties.

Recording worries can also help to get them out of our heads and see them in a more practical light.

If you are dealing with a difficult renovation, or wading through challenging paperwork, it’s good to have a notebook in which to jot any thoughts, ideas or concerns.

This can be an important way to start taking control of our lives, and seeing worries from a new perspective.

See the positives

Rather than focusing on your problems and how to overcome them, try focusing on a positive future, using creative visualisation.

Our brains are programmed to respond to feelings and images, so this can be the fastest way to change how we feel. Create a 'success image' in your mind — whether it is simply living ...

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