Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Overwhelmed – Stress Is Pulling Me Under- 8 Techniques To Pull Free

Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

Overwhelmed. Feeling like I am sinking, the water pulling me under. I struggle but I cannot pull free. What is wrong with me?

What’s happening? I feel like I can’t breathe. I need to get out. I want to run away.

Why can’t I do better? Why is this so hard. Am I stupid? I feel stupid, I’m a real failure.

Stress. Those are just a few of the symptoms of stress. We can respond both mentally and physically in stressful situations.

Stress affects us all and we each respond differently. Put two people in the same stressful situation and one may immediately show their distress while the other shrugs their shoulders and walks away thinking it was no big deal.

Short term stress usually will not hurt us and may be beneficial. It causes us to react and pushes us to respond quickly to get something done. Long term stress can be detrimental to our health causing insomnia, stomach problems, headaches, nervousness and can eventually lead to long term health problems such as heart disease.

What can we do to help eliminate stress?

  • Talk to someone about what you are experiencing. Talk to a friend, a mentor, your doctor or a therapist. Heck, talk to your imaginary friend. It’s important, let it out. Talking will help you release some of your emotions and the tension you are holding inside. You may be able to relax and look at the situation differently, and even start to work on a solution.
  • Exercise. Sometimes just going for a walk will help. Doing Yoga, Tai-Chi or Pilates is super relaxing. Any form of Aerobic Exercise is always beneficial and will release endorphins into your blood stream which will help you deal with anxiety and stress.
  • Write about it. If you are not comfortable talking to someone about your problems, write about it. The process of writing will have very similar benefits. It will allow you to sort through your emotions and look for solutions. It will help take the pressure away by releasing some of your tension. Writing will help you visualize and see your problem better. It may give you a different perspective. Writing in a notebook and using it as a reference for the future is a good practice. It may help you sort through and manage recurrent stress.
  • Manage your Time. Quite often we become overwhelmed because we are not managing our time well. We place unrealistic demands on ourselves and allow others to do the same. Take a deep breathe and really look at your schedule. Is there a better way to do things? Can you eliminate excess stuff that you really do not need to spend time on? Can you delegate it to someone else? Learn to say No.
  • Try Relaxation Techniques. Splurge and have a professional massage. Listen to music. Try Meditation. Read a book, poems, positive quotes or the Bible. Spend time with an old friend. Play a game and laugh. Take a walk with your dog. Watch a funny movie. Volunteer.
  • Learn to take care of problems as they occur instead of pushing them away or trying to ignore them. We know they are there. They will sit there and fester and your stress level will go up as a result. It will take less time to deal with them immediately. Just do it and move on.
  • Change your attitude. Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. We lose track of what is really important. Take a little time to think about why you decided to do your job or whatever it is that is causing you stress. You wanted to start a business, write a book, have a family. You were committed and you were happy doing it. Give yourself a chance to refocus.
  • Redo your daily schedule by prioritizing what is important. Do the most important thing first. Get it done and out of the way. You will be more relaxed and be able to accomplish more of the smaller items later in the day.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”

Viggo Mortensen

Life is after all what we make it. We are the one responsible for the choices we make and how we react to what happens every day. Life can throw us a lot of curves. Slow down, relax and be happy.

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Mistake – Danger – Failure – 7 Ways To Jump Forward To Success

Ulrike Mai – Counselling on Pixabay

So something negative happened and you feel like you are a failure. It happens to everyone at some time in our life. It’s our reaction that counts!

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Colin Powell

No one is perfect. It is rare that someone tries something they have never done before with no preparation and gets it right the first time. Just does not happen.

We learn by trying something and failing.

No one wants to fail, but it is a fact of life. When we fail we open ourselves up to the opportunity of learning.

We can read about how to do something and have all the knowledge available to us, but until we attempt it ourselves we truly do not understand. Even when we feel totally prepared we may not be successful. We might fail.

Failure sucks! When we fail we are usually devastated. We want to tuck into a fetal position, cover up with a blanket and sulk. That doesn’t help but it is part of the process.

We may deny it. We may blame it on something else. Placing the blame somewhere else is counter productive. There is no benefit in doing so. We learn nothing.

Once we move past the devastation and denial we can start looking at what happened. It is necessary to poke around a bit and keep poking until you gain some understanding and acceptance.

Failure is telling you that you did something wrong. You need to analyze what you did. Break it down step by step and come to an understanding of why you failed.

Try again and keep trying. Next time you may fail again. If you give up then you are accepting failure. You really don’t want to do that.

How do we benefit from failure?

  • Growth Opportunity. Use failure to be better at your craft. I failed recently and it was mind numbing. I was angry and depressed. After I went through the initial trauma I understood that I just have to keep trying. It is a challenge and I know I will learn a great deal because of it.
  • Strength. We learn how strong we are. How we react to failure defines us. Do we give up? No, we fight through to success one step at a time.
  • Determination. Determination is what keeps pushing you forward towards your goals. We learn something about ourselves. We become better and stronger.
  • Resilience. We learn to adapt and accept change We look for other ways to make it work. You learn to understand that failure is a part of life and that we are capable of overcoming it.
  • Confidence. When we fail and get up and try again we are winners, not failures. We come to realize that we can succeed with the right amount of work and effort. We become more confident in our abilities.
  • Mindset. Our mindset changes. When we overcome failure it changes our perspective about everything in our life. Our mental strength will become stronger and we will believe that we can learn and grow and overcome obstacles.
  • Passion. We learn what is truly important to us, what we are passionate about. Passionate enough to keep trying. Having enthusiasm for what you do changes everything.

 “No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” 

Chris Hardwick

Failure is a part of life. It will happen over and over again but it doesn’t mean we should give up. Failure is not a life or death situation.

I actually think experiencing failure makes us stronger, better people. Like Chris Hardwick, I believe it certainly makes us more interesting human beings.

Embrace failure. Use failure for your personal growth. Tell some interesting stories and make someone laugh. Laugh at yourself. You survived.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have some fun today!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How Do You Become A Better Version Of Yourself? 8 Steps You Can Take To Become Better

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

There is a better version of me. I know there is. Everyone has one but it is easy to just ride the wave of good. You know, good, better, best? It’s comfortable being good.

We are not perfect human beings, nor do we have to pretend to be, but it is necessary for us to be the best version of ourselves we can be.

unknown

I do not remember a time when I did not want to be better. I’m not sure I always recognized that I was good. This is probably true of most people.

What steps can we take to become the best version of ourselves?

  • Recognize where you are now. What are your strengths and weaknesses. Build on your strengths and look for ways to eliminate your weaknesses.
  • Make the commitment to change. I think about doing things all the time, like exercise. I think about it, I actually want to and I know I need to. Problem is I have not committed to doing it.
  • Develop a plan. Recognize where you are now and what you want to do. Determine what steps to take to achieve your goals. Then start acting on them.
  • Have a support system. Tell someone, a friend, your family, your coach or mentor. Discussing your plans and your progress makes it all real. You will benefit from their support and recognition.
  • Schedule a time every day to read. Even just 30 minutes a day will be beneficial. Reading is relaxing, it introduces us to new ideas and expands our minds.
  • Strive to exercise everyday. Exercise is so beneficial. It is relaxing, it helps us sleep better, makes us stronger mentally and physically. Experts say just 30 minutes a day will help us.
  • Determine a time frame to complete your goals. Make sure you are comfortable with it. Realize this should be realistic and flexible. It is important to choose a length of time that is not too short and not too long. If it is too short it may be too stressful and you will think it is unattainable and give up. If it is too long the tendency may be to approach it with an attitude of “it’s okay, I can work on this tomorrow”. With that approach you likely not achieve your plan.
  • Celebrate your successes. It is important to acknowledge that you were successful. It makes you feel great and it will reinforces your behavior. Celebrating is a great motivator.

Becoming a better version of yourself is an ongoing process. Develop a plan to get better and do everything you can to complete it knowing when you finish you will be better. Do Not Stop There. Continue to do all the things you were doing.

Life goes on and things change. There will always be reasons to grow, adapt and get better. Always strive to be the best version of yourself.

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

It’s A Little Late (Maybe) But I’m Betting On Myself. It’s Never Too Late To Have A Plan!

I am on a journey. Call me a late bloomer.

Photo by Leanna Cushman on Unsplash

I am a small part of the universe, a speck really, but I have a need. I want to be more. I want to be special. Now more than ever before I need to feel special. Not for you, or anyone else. This is for me.

Is it important for you to know my need? No! It is only important that I feel, know and understand that I am special. That has to happen first. I have to feel it in my soul first before anyone else will see it.

I am not a young person. I had to smile recently when I read an article about someone being in their 40’s and their plan for the future. They wanted to be secure and to be able to retire and have a wonderful life in their 60’s, 70’s and beyond.

Guess what? I am in my 70’s and all the wonderful plans I made for myself all went to shit. Life happens baby.

There have been many ups and downs on that roller coaster ride.

Sometimes I wonder if all those people who have no plan and just slide through their lives are better off.

Whose happier? Is it the person who plans and shit happens and they stress out and have to start all over again? Is it the person who has no clue?

I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it.

Why is it that humans have so much trouble with living? We are supposed to be smart. We are supposed to be caring, loving individuals. How do we get it so wrong?

There are no simple answers and no perfect plans. Right now I am working on mine. It’s a new plan. It is a simple plan and it has this ebb and flow feel to it. Is it a solid plan? Who would know that? I certainly don’t.

The more you are positive and say, ‘I want to have a good life,’ the more you build that reality for yourself by creating the life that you want.

Chris Pine

Should my age dictate my plan? I am sure a fairly large number of people would say, “Heck Yeah” but I am choosing to say, “Hell No”.

Life is a toss up. There are no guarantees. I want to live a long life, a life with a lucid mind and a healthy body. No guarantee on either of those. As I am typing this my life could end. Pop goes the weasel, I’m dead.

What’s my plan? Be active. Exercise more, both my mind and my body. Spend more time with my two wonderful sons. Be kinder. Try not to stress, that is the most difficult. Be compassionate. Tell my husband I love him more. Stop taking life for granted. Be adventurous. Ziplining anyone?

That’s it. Plain, simple and flexible. Some people will look at me and say you can’t do that. You’re too old. Hell yes I can and I will.

I will not go gentle into that night.

Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash

As always, thank you for reading my blog. I’s me betting on you and me today!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

How Do You Make Everyday A Victory? A List of Things To Do.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Today I was browsing Twitter and I saw an image of a very physically fit man talking about finding victory every day. I could not ignore the image and whatever victory he was having was definitely working for him physically.

I cannot say the same for his video. It was not effective for me because it was virtually full of expletives which ruined the message. I am not sure he was giving off the message he wanted.

He was explosively selling victory but I don’t think he reached it. At least not with me. I did not like his perspective. It may have worked for a different audience.

I liked his focus on victory so I decided to do research on how to obtain victory for ourselves each and every day. What an interesting concept. Here is what I found.

The first article I read made total sense and I really liked it. It is a simple concept and one that would definitely work in your personal and professional life.

  • Easy-Peasy. Pick what is your highest priority to accomplish each day and do that first.

In your personal life if you want to exercise each day do it before you leave for work. I used to get up early each day and get on my Treadmill. Doing that meant I did not have to worry about doing it at night which truthfully would not have worked for me.

When you get to work be sure to concentrate on whatever is the most important thing you have to do for the day. Do you have to complete a report or is there a project you are working on? Do it first.

Each day you will end up having at least one victory by doing this practice. It will benefit you on many levels and the rest of your day can be used to do the less important tasks.

  • Do an assessment of yourself.

Everyone has a list of things we know we could be better at. You know, the stuff that sometimes plays mindlessly in our head. What are they? Take an evening or a weekend and do some contemplation. Write them all down. Okay now you have a list and if you are like me it might be long. Here are a few examples:

Calling your parents or siblings or returning their calls. You always mean to but something else comes up. We should not put them on the back burner but it is so easy to do. Decide you will call them back and do it. This is an important victory.

Saving money. That should be on everyone’s list but quite often we just don’t do it. We see something we want and we buy it. You figure you will start your savings account next paycheck. Do it and add to it each and every week. Big Important Victory.

You get the idea. Small things or big things that we let slip by can all make a difference in our life. I know I have enough items on my list to do one thing each and every day. That would be a victory.

You can apply the same concept to your professional life as well. What are those things you think about doing that would help you professionally? You may have some great ideas so don’t keep putting them off? Make a list and make it a priority to get them done. It may not be realistic to complete one a day but how about one a week. Count it as a bonus victory for the week.

  • Keep a journal.

Write down what you did that day. We are busy and we do not take the time to evaluate ourselves. You might find that you did have a victory and maybe multiple victories.

How many times have you had someone tell you you did a good job and you just brush it aside. Pay attention and write it down. That is a victory and you should take credit. Congratulate yourself!

When it comes time for your review you can also use a journal as a reference of what you have accomplished for the year. If your company requires you to do a self evaluation you are ahead of the game. Big Victory!

Victory is the child of preparation and determination.

Sean Hampton

Victory will be determined by many factors.

  • Perspective.

How do you view life? How do you react? What do you consider a victory? Your perspective can either hold you back or push you forward. Your perspective determines what is important and what is not.

  • Attitude.

Do you take responsibility for your actions? Do you have a positive attitude? Are you prone to negativity? We do not pay enough attention to our attitude. Attitude determines how you look at the world and how the world looks at you will also be determined by your attitude. Make sure it’s a good one.

  • Determination.

Are you willing to put in the effort needed to achieve victory? Determination is what drives you, helps your work hard and keeps you focused on achieving your goals.

  • Visualization.

You need to be able to see what you want, how to get there and see the end result. Being able to visualize the result you want helps overcome fear and it helps build self confidence. If you can see the result in your mind it makes it easier to practice and have great results sooner. Have you noticed people in sports doing visualization before they compete?

The most valuable advice I can give is plan for your success. Write down your ideal goal, creating checkpoints for yourself along the way that align with the end goal. Set up rewards for achieving both little victories and big ones.

Hilary Knight

Everyone can benefit from practicing these skills. I’m retired so you might think it is not important to me. You would be incorrect. It seems now more than ever it is indeed important to me.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Go out and score a Victory today!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Taking Risks. Can You ? Should You? Is It Worth It?

Photo by Artem Beliaikin @belart84 from Pexels

Looks scary right? Sure does, but is it? Images, both real and imagined, can be deceiving.

We will all come face to face with what we consider to be a risk. There is some sort of conceived danger. Sometimes we walk away and we never know what if? Maybe if we choose to go for it we will find out it was only scary for a second. Once we commit to doing it we find it was not scary at all. There was no risk involved.

Does our culture promote risk taking? Not so much. Each of us will have a different take on that question depending on our family and friends. Did our parents encourage risk taking? Do we have a friend who is all in for adventure? Overall, I believe it is more common for us to hold back and take the safe road.

Why take risks? Are there any benefits?

Ask your adventurous friend, what do they think? Do they go over the top explaining how awesome it was, the feeling of excitement, the satisfaction and pride when it was over?

Here are some of the benefits of taking risks:

  • A feeling of pride and satisfaction
  • Confidence in your abilities
  • Learning something new or improving your skill set
  • Gives you an overall feeling of competence
  • A desire to continue trying new “risky” things

What little steps can you take to strengthen your resolve and start taking risks?

  • Talk to someone that intimidates you or makes you unsure of yourself. Say hi for starters and then dive right in. Ask them a question.
  • If you never go anywhere by yourself, try it.
  • Go somewhere you have never been before or try eating something different. If you’ve never tried, use chopsticks.
  • Apply for a different job.
  • Stand up for your beliefs or defend someone else’s.
  • Try something totally new like karate, boxing or yoga.
  • Tell someone you trust that you are afraid of doing new things.

By starting out doing less daunting activities we will realize that it is okay to move away from our comfort zone.

For some these will seem like simple and easy things but not everyone will feel that way. The point is to try new things that you may have thought of doing but you were afraid of. You do not want to be uncomfortable.

No one likes being embarrassed and no one likes to fail.

 “There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

— Oprah

Failure allows us to learn and become better. Failure really makes us stronger. Fail once, step back, assess what happened and try again. You may fail more than once but each attempt will benefit you in some way.

Your life will be more meaningful for having made the attempt. You will be successful.

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.

C. S. Lewis

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Try something new today!

Posted in Communication, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

We Are Not Alone-Relating To Other People – How Can We Be Better At It?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It is easy to forget we are not alone. When I was working in the garden this morning with my cat, Isabella and talking to her about what I wanted to do today, it suddenly popped into my head that she was my friend. She was easier to talk to than anyone.

That’s great and I have no problem with that. I am quite content with having a cat as my best friend.

She really is my therapist. I can talk to her about everything and she is not judgmental. I always feel better after our conversations. She helps me sort through my thoughts and my emotions. She calms me down.

Hold on a second. Do you ever talk to your animals like they are humans? If you do, good for you because you have an outlet for all your “stuff”. You know. The things you may not be comfortable talking about. Maybe you do not have anyone to talk to or more importantly someone who will listen, truly listen. Someone who cares enough.

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” 

Ernest Hemingway

Why is it that we do not listen? Thank goodness for Isabella and all the other animals that fill the void left by humans.

How do we fill that void in ourselves? Can we teach ourselves to listen with intention?

We are trainable in most every aspect of our lives. We learn all sorts of skills throughout our life at all different ages, young and old. I hope we have the ability to learn to listen.

There are a few life skills that immediately come to mind. We talk and write about them all the time. We talk about how important they are for our personal and professional lives.

Sympathy and Compassion are certainly life skills we should all have. Both are important. Sympathy means the act or capacity for sharing the painful feelings of another. Compassion is feeling sympathy toward someone’s pain together with a desire to alleviate it.  Both require the ability to listen and comprehend the feelings of another person.

How about Mindfulness? What exactly is mindfulness? According to the dictionary it is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Certainly focusing one’s awareness on the present moment would apply wouldn’t it? The problem being that in this definition the focus is on one’s self not the other person.

What about Empathy? Empathy is simply recognizing emotions in others, and being able to “put yourself in another person’s shoes” – understanding the other person’s perspective and reality.

Okay, to be empathetic you have to think beyond yourself and your own concerns. So guess what? We would need to listen, really listen, to be able to understand the other person’s reality.

Gosh darn, cats are good at this you know? I always feel great after talking to Isabella.

How do we learn to Listen? How can we become more Mindful, show more Sympathy and Compassion and be Empathetic?

Put yourself in the moment, not your moment but rather their moment. How is the other person acting? Do you have any idea why they are acting, or reacting, that way in that moment?

What attitude do you have? Do you want to win or overpower the other person? Do you want to move on without understanding or do you want to respect them by acknowledging their opinion?

How about simply asking the other person to explain their opinion? That should be the easiest thing to do right? Now you can put your listening skills to the test.

So you have asked the question, are you truly going to listen? Body language is key here. Believe me if you are not listening the other person will know. Be careful about what message you are conveying.

Listening is a skill. When you truly want to listen to what the other person is saying you are going to use their body language to judge them and to help you understand. Just like they are using yours.

Listen and block out other distractions. Is the phone ringing, is there someone else talking? Get rid of the distractions.

Listen to what they are saying. What tone of voice are they using?

Watch them as they are speaking. Are they making eye contact? Are they sitting or standing with their body turned away from you? Are they hunched over? Are they showing emotion?

By listening and watching their body language you may feel like they are not being totally open or honest. You may see their fear or apprehension.

To truly show empathy you have to care and attempt to understand what they are feeling. What are they saying? Do you understand? Do you care? If you do not care they will know.

It has been my experience that when you are truly empathizing with someone you will know that you have been able to connect with them. You will know and so will they. If you are able to achieve that then you have been successful. Keep that door open. Let them know you will be happy to talk to them at any time.

Sound easy? Ask my cat. She’s an expert!

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great day!