Beating Stress, Coping Strategies

March 19, 2019

How do you handle stress? Take a moment and think about that. When something uncomfortable happens what is your go-to method for getting through it. You might have different degrees of stress with different coping mechanisms.

Daily Stressors could be:

Your work schedule

Your kids’ schedule

Financial obligations

Health problems

Where you live, what you drive

Not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need or want to accomplish

 

You could also have deep stressors that might take a different technique:

Long term health issues

Loss of a loved one

Divorce

Loss of a child

Childhood trauma

Relationship trauma

Starting over

No matter what your stressor is today, you own your reaction to it. You OWN your reactions. You might think about that statement and tell yourself that you aren’t in control and that outside influences are doing this to you. But the fact is, stress, trauma, death, and continued life is a fact and how you get through it will make all the difference.

The challenging situations we face in life are often the ones that offer us the greatest opportunity for personal growth. Looking honestly at your situations, experiencing the emotions they bring up, and searching within yourself for the answers can bring positive outcomes that you can draw on in times of trouble.

Here is a FREEZE FRAME exercise I like to use to channel energy in a positive direction.

  1. Freeze: Recognize the stressful feeling and Freeze-Frame it! Take a time-out.

 

  1. Focus: Make a sincere effort to shift your FOCUS away from your racing mind or disturbed emotions to the area around your heart. Pretend you’re breathing through your heart to help focus your energy in this area. You may place your hand on your heart if this helps. Keep your focus there for at least 10 SECONDS.

 

  1. Feeling: Recall a positive enjoyable feeling or time you’ve had in your life; FEEL the feelings again in your body, not just a mental thought about it.

 

  1. Ask: Using your intuition, common sense or sincerity, ASK your heart, “What would be a better way, a more efficient, desirable response to this situation, one that would minimize future stress?

 

  1. Listen: Pay attention, tune in, LISTEN and reflect on what your heart says in answer to your question. (This gives you access to your own internal solutions and common sense and puts your reactive emotions and mind in check.)

Evaluate each stressor individually. When you lump them together, you can exaggerate the weight and importance of their presence in your life. Take them one by one and ask yourself some qualifying questions:

  • Do I have the power to change this situation?
  • Am I ultimately responsible for this situation?
  • What could I have done or will do in the future to avoid this from happening again?
  • Why am I allowing this to affect my day, month, or year?
  • What can I do this minute to bring myself peace/joy/comfort?

 

Challenge: Remember, stress and your reaction to it,  is not an out of body experience. You are in charge and YOU will be the only one working through the steps to take control of the situation. Don’t assume busy is productive. In all things, strive for a healthy balance to beat stress!

 

I know YOU can do it!

 

Self-Centered, Centering One’s Self

March 12, 2019

We’ve all heard it before,  “don’t be selfish”, that person is “self-centered. “Look at him, he’s all about himself”. It’s all about ME! Many of us have been taught the order: God first, then your children, then your spouse, then your family, so on and so on…..”

Why is it that WE continually come in dead last? And more importantly, why are we ok with that? What does it even mean to take care of yourself, and to make yourself a priority? How would you go about doing that?

Let’s start with our emotions. How do you feel? How often do you even stop and “feel”? Sure we feel rushed, or overwhelmed, sad or happy about a situation, concerned or worried for a friend. But, How do WE feel about US?

Putting yourself first can be as easy as doing a mental check-in to see how you are feeling about a situation before you act. Before you stop to consider everyone else’s feelings, consider your own.

Let’s think about a tree with all its many branches and leaves. The tree trunk is vital. It creates stability and carries and distributes all the nutrients to keep it healthy. If the trunk is comprised, everything else suffers. At this rate it may not grow to its full potential, it could bend and stoop while trying to support the weight.  Yep, you guessed it, you are the trunk. It’s important for you to have a solid foundation before you push nutrients to every branch on your tree.

How do you create this stability?

One way is by creating a healthy balance of JOY:

  • Love
  • Friendship
  • Relaxation
  • Success
  • Spirituality

Love: Giving and receiving love from another human being. Family, friends, children, spouses, significant others. Having someone in your life that you are truly connected with -heart, mind, body, and spirit.

Friendship: positive and healthy interactions with other people. People who connect with you on multiple levels, who share your passions, support your goals, celebrate your successes, and comfort your losses.

Relaxation: Quiet time, plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, and consistent doses of joy. Taking time away from the pressures of life to renew your soul.

Success: Setting goals both personally and professionally and celebrating achievements. Receiving appreciation for tasks well done. Taking personal satisfaction from making an impact.

Spirituality: Find time for gratitude  - whatever your religious or non-religious practice may be. Start your day appreciating what you have and the opportunities that lay ahead.

 

Challenge: Let go of limiting beliefs that say taking care of you is selfish. Instead, spend some time learning what makes you happy, healthy, and fulfilled. Set aside time to focus on YOU, your wants needs, and desires.

 

I know YOU can do it!

When is Enough, Enough?

March 4, 2019

When do you ask for help?  When do you give over power and realize YOU can’t do it all….successfully? How many attempts do you make? How many failures do you have? Why is it so hard to admit defeat? We are going to be looking at these questions from two different angles. When have you had enough and are ready to make a change and when do you have enough and realize you still aren’t happy?

Webster says Enough is Enough is used to say that one wants something to stop because one can no longer accept or deal with it.  

You don’t have to be at rock bottom and completely depleted to recognize a need for change. You just have to know your limits. Let’s take a moment and check your limits.

Are you at your wits in because life is overwhelming and you aren’t sure who you are anymore?  Brace yourself before you hit the bottom and start saying NO. There is a gentle art to saying no and it starts with valuing your own time and resources more than you want to please others. Instead of giving your default answer to YES or adopting the mantra “I’m always here for you no matter WHAT…” start asking yourself some pre-qualifying questions. Do I really have the time? What would I be eliminating by taking on another task? Do I have everything I need to be able to give to someone else? Stop apologizing for not being able to save the world. It is not your job or your cape.

Are you tired of being tired, sad, or unhappy? Before you throw in the towel start getting to the root of the problem. Junk can come at us from all directions. It leaves its mark and its residue and before you know it, you’re buried. It’s hard to detect one issue from the next and it just feels painfully heavy. You’re stuck. Are you ready to smile? Then reach out a hand and pull yourself up. Enough is Enough - you will have to make the first move and you may have to leave old ideas and unhealthy patterns in the dust. It’s time to take responsibility, make peace, and decide today that you’ve had enough and YOU deserve better.

Are you bored and unfulfilled? Before you turn into a statue unable to move, break through your limiting beliefs and trying something you’ve never done. Life is so short and the opportunity to experience new things is endless. If you are afraid you won’t like IT or be good at IT then you are preventing yourself from learning, growing, and the possibilities of joy. Remember when you were a child, what were some of your interests? This was before life told you “no everything is possible” you believed you could do anything. Tap back into her. What would she want to do today? Pick something, private or public and go for it!

CHALLENGE: So I challenge you to give in, stop pushing in the opposite direction. Stop yourself well before the bottom and ask yourself, why. Embrace change and most importantly love, laugh, and live!

I know YOU can do it!

 

Nurturing Faithful Friendships

February 26, 2019

I used to think when somebody left my life that I must have done something wrong. I would search for an answer, obsess really on what I must have done. The reality is, usually there isn’t a clear answer. I am, as you are continually growing and evolving. As a result, needs and wants change.

You will meet people along the way that will play all types of roles in your life. Some are to lead you, support you, love you, and laugh with you and in others, it’s your turn. Every connection will have some significance even if you can’t clearly see it.

In some seasons of life, you may be surrounded by friends. Calling, writing, making plans, they seem like your whole world. In other seasons, you may struggle to find someone you trust, that you can rely on or share deeply with. It’s in those times you may have to extend yourself and do a little networking and marketing.

If you were interviewing potential friendship candidates, what would be in your list of requirements? How about “nice to haves”? What qualities do you value in a friend?

Let’s say you have a new hire, what will be your onboarding process? How much time will you take nurturing your new found friend? Friendship comes at a price. Acquaintances are free but to develop a deeper connection and possess a valued friend, you must invest time, effort, and energy.

“Uh huh, yes, oh that’s nice, you don’t say, good for you, that’s marvelous….ok bye now” Have you ever had a conversation like that? How did it make you feel? One-way conversations are selfish and should be limited to an informative text. Considering listening more than you talk - you’ll learn so many more interesting details that way.

Make a date. Actually, schedule time to be a friend. Everyone starts with good intentions but actually SHOW UP. Just show up even when you feel like you’re too busy or you should be doing a host of other things. We all treasure that friend who was always there for us.

Katie Lowenstein recently published an article in Time where she said: “Humans tend to get maximum pleasure and vitality from social bonding - and the payoffs start before you even leave the house, “the anticipation of an experience can be as valuable a source of happiness as the experience itself”

CHALLENGE: to say YES, to go beyond the 4 walls of your mind and extend yourself a little. Evaluate what you need and what you can give and then SHOW UP. Make the intentional effort to nurture and grow your friendships. The pay-off may just be your most valued asset.

 

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Bosco & Whiteford www.boscoandwhiteford.com

Care, Giving More Than You Take

February 19, 2019

Are you a People-Pleaser? Someone who goes out of their way to help other people and rarely finds the word NO?

When does your pleasing cross the line and become control and manipulation? Let’s dissect the differences between GIVING and TAKING when it comes to caring.

GIVING represents giving freely or without expectations. The intention to help someone who needs help for the moment without any preconceived notions of return on investment.

TAKING represents giving to receive something in return. The intention is to give to someone to get something like attention, validation, or to push your own agenda.

Think about the times you’ve stepped in to help without being asked. What were the situations? Why did you feel the need to help? How did it make you feel? What was the result?

It’s important to evaluate your own intentions and do a gut check on expectations. One survey I like to use is “are they capable of seeing this through on their own? Does it concern me if it doesn’t work out the way I think it should? NO? Good, get back in your own hula-hoop. It’s easy to think you are being helpful because you believe YOU have all the right answers - the reality is, you don’t. Life is a journey full of learning opportunities. Stepping in to solve everyone’s problems will not make you Teacher of the Year.

Cynthia Orange, an author who has written extensively on addiction and recovery, parenting, and post-traumatic stress disorder retitled a few phrases to give us a glimpse of a skewed perception and the need for rewiring.

"Love knows no bounds, SO it needs boundaries."What the world needs now is love, sweet love, WITH reasonable limits." "All you need is love AND balance."

She describes caretaking as an out-of-balance and ‘self-centered' behavior that reflects a person's deep need to be in control and accepted. It is perfectly acceptable to be helpful and love others but when you are seeking approval and power over the situations, you’ve gone too far.

CHALLENGE:  To value and care for yourself beyond your desire to please another person. Find joy and celebration in your own accomplishments and then listen and love and when asked, give care freely without expectations of return.

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Ronny Criss www.ronnycrissmusic.com

Vulnerability, Showing Your Softer Side

February 12, 2019

Do you associate hard and tough as being in control? When you feel vulnerable do you feel weak? Perhaps it’s fear, hurt or betrayal. Our ideas of these terms could have evolved and morphed throughout our lifetime. Through childhood, adolescence, or adult experiences.

Vulnerability in the technical term means the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

But consider this: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage,” affirms research professor and author Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong.

Vulnerability is an act of courage because you merge with your authentic self, instead of hiding behind a facade to appease others. But it can be uncomfortable to ask questions, express your opinion, or talk about your emotions with people. You expose yourself to their criticism and judgment, but you also expose yourself to answers and opposing views.

How many times do you hang back in a conversation because you’re afraid that what you have to offer will be silly or irrelevant or even stupid? How much are you missing because you worry about what other people think vs how you feel? The fear of vulnerability may even stunt your growth, staying in your cocoon because you’re afraid to express yourself.

Our outer shell was developed to protect us, to be more assertive, mingle and mix with anyone we come in contact with. Sometimes we let this outer shell lead like a protective piece of armor. Sometimes we get to a place where we are carrying two distinctively different people in one.

I am an assertive businesswoman who isn’t afraid to insert her opinion or fight for what is right. Personally, I’m a pushover who can become consumed with people pleasing and worrying about everyone else's comfort level vs my own.

How can we blend the best qualities of each to find our true selves? The more we embrace our softer side, the easier it becomes to connect with who we are and express ourselves from an authentic place. So be gentle. Just like I asked you to think about what you really value about yourself - your true self, let’s think about what you like about your persona. This is the person you send out to fight your battles so you must respect and trust their strength. Maybe it’s their work ethic, their ability to stand up for what they believe in or ask for what they want. If that persona was going to be gone tomorrow, what would you want to keep and adopt for yourself?

CHALLENGE: Take a quiet moment and be gentle with yourself. If you’re sad, nurture your feelings. If you’re mad, take some deep breaths and help yourself relax. If you’re happy, celebrate with yourself, well done you! In all you do, be there for yourself today and tomorrow, we want to meet YOU.

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Jenn Bostic www.jennbostic.com

 

Self-Acceptance, Embracing YOU

February 5, 2019

Why are we our own worst critics? Why are we so hard on ourselves and each other?

 

It’s ok to push yourself to learn more, be healthier, love harder etc but at some point, we have to be happy with who we are. We have to learn to love ourselves even during the process.

According to Wikipedia: self-acceptance is an individual's satisfaction or happiness with oneself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths are harder to identify than weaknesses for some but let’s start the process now. Even if you’ve never told anyone or feel weird saying it out loud. What is one thing you actually like and value about yourself? Just like a house starts with a solid foundation so too does your self-acceptance. Ultimately, liking ourselves more (or getting on better terms with ourselves) is mostly to do with self-acceptance. And it's only when we stop judging ourselves that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are.

Mel Robbins says: The more you practice self-acceptance, the more you'll realize the only person you ever needed is you.

What can you do to build a bond with yourself, develop trust so that you can start loving yourself:

  1. Be willing to accept. It’s finally time to get to the root of the feelings you’ve been carrying around. Everyone says “get over it” but first you may need to understand it, accept responsibility, and then make peace.
  2. Be willing to learn. You are never too old or too set in your ways to see a new perspective. Limiting beliefs may have you trapped believing something you’ve always heard but isn’t true.
  3. Be willing to listen. When you open your heart and mind and seek new understanding about yourself, you need to find patience and listen for the answer.
  4. Be willing to move. Move out of your comfort zone where being down on yourself is common practice. Take a compliment and give yourself many. Start your day with self-praise and a smile.
  5. Be willing to grow. As you start loving and accepting yourself your confidence will grow. Be open to new relationships, friendships, opportunities, and find a reason to share this love with others.

CHALLENGE: So I challenge you to use this momentum to start building on your self-acceptance foundation by uncovering another characteristic you value about yourself. Be your own #1 fan and start your day with a positive pep-talk. When self-doubt and negativity creep in, say NO, not today - today I’m accepting myself just like I am.

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Daniel Champagne https://danielchampagnemusic.com/

 

Exercising Your Authority

January 29, 2019

Would you say you just “go with the flow”....handling what every life throws your way? Are you in charge or are you letting fate dictate your next move?

Let’s evaluate your current situation and ask yourself this question, “Who is responsible?” Are you struggling with missed opportunities or a bad hand because of something you did? Or is life handing you the lemons?

Some of us are stuck in the role of the victim, blaming everything and everyone but ourselves for what is and what is not happening for us. In psychology, this is known as the self-serving bias and refers to people’s tendencies to attribute successes to internal factors and failures to external ones. By doing that, we get a comfortable way out of taking responsibility for our own situation.

Once you accept responsibility it’s time to take action. You are going to have to speak up. Not just to your family, friends, or the universe but to yourself. It’s time to have a heart to heart. “What are you waiting for self?” “It’s time we get it together and push over the hump” It’s GO TIME!!”

Start with those affirmations and then add to them when you need a positive kick in the pants. An affirmation is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us. We have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives. In essence, you’re saying to your subconscious mind: “I am taking responsibility. I am aware that there is something I can do to change.”

The brain doesn’t communicate in future or past-tense. Everything that happens is happening in the moment for your brain. So this has to be a daily pep talk. Use language like I WILL instead of I COULD. It’s time you take charge and you can’t exercise authority if you are using passive language.

Your new found power can be asserted over any situation. It doesn’t have to be life-altering involving a major move. It could be finding an extra moment to yourself - take it, then demand more. It could be a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try - step out of your comfort zone and give it a try, then try it again. Things get easier and more fun with practice. Maybe it’s a new job or going back to school - what are you waiting for, search for the opportunity and put your hat in the ring - every day you don’t is a day you’ve lost.

Challenge: So I challenge you to take responsibility, find your voice, direct your focus, and SPEAK UP. You have the power to make it happened and NO ONE wants “it” more than you.

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Danika and The Jeb

www.danikaholmes.com

Going Further, Accomplishing More

January 22, 2019

Do you have a clear idea of what you want your life to look like? Would you say you’re more of a dreamer or a goal setter? How are you on the execution?

Getting to the next level starts with a clear assessment of present state, where you are and what you are doing.

It might be time to get REAL.

What does your day look like?

  • What time do you get up
  • How do you start your day
  • Where are your thoughts
  • Where do you go
  • Who do you see
  • What do you do

Every day of life is a HUSTLE. We can relax in our accomplishments. You can hustle to stay alive, make ends meet, get ahead, go further, or impact more. Where are you on that scale?

Stay Alive: What is preventing you from making ends meet? What can YOU do to alleviate the stress and become more productive?

Make Ends Meet: What is preventing you from getting ahead? What can YOU do to get over the hump and relieve the pressure of just getting by?

Getting Ahead: What is preventing you from going further? What can YOU do to unlock the key to hitting new goals?

Go Further: What is preventing you from impacting more?  What can YOU do to propel your life and reach the next level of impact?

Impact More: What is preventing you from sharing your success and ideas with others. What can YOU do to create a legacy?

Getting from A-Z is a process and a journey full of ups and downs, bad turns, smooth sailing, big hills, low valleys...you see where I’m going. Rarely is it a straight shot.

Where do you want to go on this journey? Does it seem impossible? Well, it isn’t. With planning, progress, and patience you can get to where you want to go.

PLANNING:

It's starts by makeing SMART Goals:

S- specific

M - measurable

A - attainable

R- relevant

T- time bound

PROGRESS:

It’s ok to have a 5, 10, or 15-year plan but create mini goals along the way. Managing a bigger vision can seem overwhelming and as a result, tiresome and soon you will lose focus. Consider thinking of your year in quarters - First, Second, Third, & Fourth. What can you do in 90 days that will help you get to your goal?

When you hit a milestone you have reason to celebrate! Celebrating your progress will keep you encouraged. Take stock of your success and if needed, modify action steps for the next quarter. Remember, it’s easy to get stuck in the ditch doing all the work. At some point, you have to step outside and look at the horizon to make sure you are navigating with accuracy.

PATIENCE:

Rome wasn’t built in a day. They didn’t get in a rush and create lean-to’s because they were impatient. They made a plan and besides all the crazy war, sin, and murder they stayed the course. My point is it is a process and if you rush it, you will get less than you deserve. In all you do, you should be building a foundation for stability. Before the walls were erected (or the Roman columns) there was first a solid foundation. Then the roof, then the sconces and tapestries.  Think of building something as sustainable as the Parthenon which still stands today. SO Breathe - evaluate - modify - and push forward. Your goals may change along the way but if you’ve planned correctly, it won’t be starting over it will just be taking a new path further down the road.

CHALLENGE: SO Breathe - evaluate - modify - and push forward. Your goals may change along the way but if you’ve planned correctly, it won’t be starting over it will just be taking a new path further down the road.

I know YOU can do it!

Musical Feature: Dan Hagemann. Find his music on iTunes and Spotify

 

 

Staying Positive, Avoiding Negativity

January 15, 2019

Now here is a true challenge, staying positive in a negative environment. Sure there are pockets of positivity but you can’t turn on the news, browse your social feed, or have a water cooler conversation without negativity layered in.

Do you feel like a positive person? Someone who sees the glass half full vs half empty? Always searching for the silver lining, turning a frown upside down? Well, congratulations! Now, more than ever, that is a rare characteristic. Because at every turn we are met with negative emotions, situations, and outcomes. Have you ever heard “If you can’t beat them, join them”? If you haven’t it feels like everyone else has.

Negativity perpetuates itself, breeds dissatisfaction and clutters the mind.  And when the mind is cluttered with negativity, happiness is much harder to come by. Debbie Downer and Steve Stuck in the Mud are real and they want friends, lots of friends.

“They control how I feel in the morning, and are always there when I to sleep. They often cause me to feel out of control. They dictate how I react to the people around me. They often cause me to feel offended, angry or hurt, whether it was truly justified or not. They never cease to remind me of my shortcomings and flaws, making me feel inferior and often undervalued. They constantly try to pull me down with discouragement or hopelessness, stealing my peace and joy.”

Who are “they,” you ask? They are negative thoughts.

It’s time to give yourself an intervention and change lanes. If you see your self careening off the road at a high rate of speed, pump the breaks and make some healthy and positivity changes before you are so off course that you don’t even realize your there...NEGATIVE.

  1. Spend MORE time with positive people. You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.

 

  1. Redirect a negative conversation into a positive light. This starts with empathy, not sympathy. Empathy means you “understand” and Sympathy means you “agree”. If you can’t redirect, simply change the subject. No need to scold, just abort the conversation.

 

  1. Lead by example: a good day starts and ends with you. It’s all YOUR perception. When you wake up what are you willing to embrace and what are you willing to let go.

 

  1. Thoughtfully respond vs react. You can’t control the situation but you can control your reaction to it. Molehill meet Mountain.

 

  1. Seek solutions instead of pity partygoers. Of course, situations can be disappointing but instead of focusing all your energy on what you should have done focus the majority of your efforts on what you can do next time.

 

  1. Smile, even when it’s painful. Smile at someone so you get a smile back and if you don’t, that’s ok...they got yours!

 

  1. When you’ve established a healthy boundary for yourself be open to listening. Be a sounding board without offering advice or a solution. Some people just need to tell someone in a safe environment.

 

  1. Every day can’t be packed with rainbows. Real life is about highs and lows and sometimes the lows let us appreciate the highs. Take a breathe and work through it knowing it’s temporary if you make it.

 

  1. Close the vault on things you can not change. Painful memories don’t have to live in your present. It won’t change the fact that you experienced them, that you suffered, and that you hopefully survived.  Don’t let the negative points from the past steal your positive future.

 

  1. Keep your eyes fixed on the horizon. Life is short and drama is the sludge that keeps you from moving forward. Step over and onward - no one has time for that saga.

CHALLENGE: Don’t be that guy or girl who can’t let things go. Don’t be the one who has to point out the obvious shortcomings of the everything around them even the guy standing closest. Look up not down and see the bigger picture. You are the one making a strong push forward or limiting your potential.

 

I know YOU can do it!

MUSICAL FEATURE: AnnaliseEmerick www.annaliseemrick.com