It can be challenging to keep ourselves motivated and to remain focused. I struggle with that all the time.
I always have good intentions, but it is easy for me to wander away from following through. I am retired, so I do not answer to any one else. If the sun is shining, like it has been the last two days, I would much rather be outside. These were probably the last two days of spectactular fall weather this year so, yes, I did spend my time outside.
Consequently, I did not write anything. What to do? Get down to it and get it done. There is no opportunity left from the last two days, so I have to create the time and work fast.
So how can you create opportunities?
I already did the first one…I made the decision to go ahead and write the blog now, even though I am very limited on time. Sometimes when we are busy, like I was today, we pass over an opportunity. In my case today, I could have changed my morning schedule around and put off something else until later. If I had done that, I would not be worrying about it now.
Imagine opportunities everywhere you look. As you go about your normal activities always be looking for ideas. Watch other people, listen to conversations, and maybe you will find an idea. In my case, it would be something to write about. Someone else may find an idea on how to improve on an existing product or service.
Don’t sell yourself short. You have more potential, and therefore, more opportunities than you may think. Most of us discount our talents; it’s human nature I guess. Whenever we interact with someone there may be an opportunity we are unaware of. When you are at work, or out in public, your interactions may impress someone. How you speak, your smile, your compassion may be an opportunity for a promotion at work or a job offer from an unexpected source.
Think of your work as important. Most of us do not respect ourselves. We are important, what we do is important. When you make a decision to place more value on yourself, you will automatically have a better attitude and be more confident. Others will notice the value you place on your work which may lead to more opportunities in the future.
There is a lesson learned from what I did today. I took advantage of time outside and getting lots of major work done. I needed to do that. The downside is I did not prioritize my inside work.
It is so important to have a plan and a schedule we follow. It is even more important to be flexible and have the ability to make adjustments in our day so we can get everything done. I was stressing from not writing this blog so it was ready first thing this morning. If I had made the needed adjustments first thing in the morning and did some prioritizing, there would be no stress.
Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.”
As always, thanks for reading my blog. Have a great day.
Sometimes life gives us surprises and that is okay…most of the time. There are times when it feels overwhelming. It may not even be a big deal, but it feels that way. Sometimes it really does become a big deal because of one small nugget that pushes us over the edge.
Everyday “stuff” piles up and we keep pushing through it, telling ourselves it will be okay. Then there is one day, a small moment in time, when it is just too much. Our resolve to just keep pushing comes tumbling down.
You have a lot of responsibilities and you are so busy. You have a great attitude and you are happy. You love your life. You love your family, your job, and all of your day to day activities.
You are making it work. You are tired but that’s okay, it’s all worth it. That’s what you tell yourself and you are right, it is worth it.
The question is, can you keep doing it when one more thing is added to your pile of “stuff”. Can you? Hopefully. But what if you can’t?
You may not realize you are feeling stress. When you operate on overload day in and day out, it feels normal. You don’t want to acknowledge that something could go wrong. Even when there might be little niggling doubts circling around in your peripheral vision. If you do not recognize it, it is not really there.
Some people thrive on stress because it pushes them to be more productive. But how much stress can you handle?
That’s a good question, one that is difficult to answer and will be different for everyone.
How will you realize when enough is enough? When will you recognize it is becoming too much? There will be signs. You may have been experiencing them for some time, not realizing what they were. Those little niggling doubts, that you chose to ignore.
What are some of the possible signs? Here they are:
Fatigue – it is one thing to be tired, you are used to that, it is normal. Fatigue is something different. When you are tired, which happens to everyone, a good night’s sleep will usually take care of the problem. You wake up refreshed and with energy. Fatigue is overwhelming. A good’s night sleep will not eliminate fatigue. You may find that, although you are so very tired, it is difficult to sleep. You may develop anxiety, have difficulty concentrating,and experience a decrease in stamina.
Headaches – when you are stressed your body may react by increased muscle tension. Stress can also cause your body to release chemicals which dilate your blood vessels causing a headache.
Sickness – Your immune system can be affected by your stress level. You may be at an increased risk of multiple colds which may lead to respiratory infections. Sniffles become normal, and you blame them on allergies, but they may be a result of stress.
Digestive issues – I know this one well. I was experiencing a stressful situation and all those niggling doubts all cascaded at once. I developed IBS, Irritable Bowl Syndrome. It was excruciating, embarrassing and very inconvenient. Having IBS was stressful which, of course, made it worse.
Appetite – Stress has an impact on your eating habits. You may lose your interest in food and lose weight, or go in the opposite direction and eat when you are not hungry. Many people eat to attempt to make themselves feel better.
Anxiety – Anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress. It is not a physical reaction so much as an internal or mental response. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event, or something with an uncertain outcome. Let’s face it, we may all experience anxiety on some level, like when you have to give a speech, or you are having an interview. That is normal and it is okay. It is when anxiety becomes excessive and recurring that it becomes a problem. It is a concern, and considered a disorder when it is severe and lasts for an extended length of time.
“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.”
We all know about stress on some level, but none of us want it to become overwhelming. None of us wants to live a life filled with the negative, mind numbing issues listed above. What can you do to get back to your “feel good” place? How do we nourish our soul?
You may be wondering about “soul”. How do your define it? There are many theories about what the soul is, and what entity has a soul. Do humans, animal, earth, etc.? I won’t attempt to discuss that here. As far as humans are concerned I do believe we have a soul. It is your essence. It is not physical, you cannot see it. It is more ethereal consciousness, an awareness of ourselves, our energy and emotions.
Here are some ways to feed our soul:
Breathe – We rarely think of our breathing. It is an involuntary action, automatic. We rarely think of it, but on some level we should. Make it a practice a few times a day to stop, and just breathe. Think about the movement and relax into it. It will calm you and make you feel better.
Smile – Smile often and mean it. When you smile there are all sorts of good neurotransmitters activated that make you happy and relieve stress.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Be Still – Stop, be quiet, Rest and take time to listen to yourself. Listen to you soul. What is it telling you? Find a quiet, restful spot. Somewhere peaceful. Sit in the shade of a tree, look at the sky, watch your child sleep. Let yourself go and find peace. Learn meditation and practice it, if for only a few moments each day.
Go outside – I have mentioned many times before, being outside is my happy spot. It will calm me each and every time. Take a walk, go to the park. Take a ride in the country, some place where it is quiet and little traffic.
Spend special time with special people – Your family and the people your always feel good being with. Spend quality time, have a quiet conversation and be sure to smile and tell them how important they are to you. Give out more hugs!
Music – music soothes your soul. It is relaxing, refreshing and can transport you to a calm contentment. Everyone has a different type of favorite music. Sing along, maybe dance, and let the music work it’s magic.
Read – Transport yourself into another world by reading a bit of fiction. I love Science Fiction, Fantasy and a good Mystery. Relax and read, if it is just one chapter a day, it will make you feel better.
There are many things you can do to feed your soul and you need to do it each and every day. You also need to recognize when you need to make some changes to eliminate the cause of any stress.
It is important to take a step back and look at the cause and effect. It may be time to make some important changes in your life. Life is short and it is precious. Do not let stress ruin how you experience life. Accept how you feel, that you are stressed and that it is negatively affecting you. Start making changes.
“Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Don’t be “Blorft”, relax and do something joyful today.
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.”
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.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”– John Lennon
When I started writing my blog I had the purpose of assessing my life, looking back at what I had done and also looking forward to what I still want to do. Life is short and I do not think we truly appreciate that until we are a little older. We are not mindful.
We are too busy living our life to step back and appreciate it. What a gift ! There is so much joy available in virtually most any experience. The simple things that are there everyday if we would just slow down a little bit. To me it is like Spring, that wonderful season when everything is new and fresh. The “greening effect” of the buds on the trees, flowers popping out of the ground, the sound of a Robin, the “peepers” sounding by the pond. Glorious !
All those things make me happy and there are so many other common everyday things like my first cup of coffee and the second cup in late afternoon. My cat waking me in the morning and then leading me to the outdoors to start my day. My happy little dog who always brings me something he loves; one of his balls, a worn, chewed stuffed animal or his favorite squeaky.
Hearing the voices of my children and the wonderful “little” voice of my grandson. My teenage granddaughter who offers me so much hope for the world watching her grow and mature. See her forming her opinions and values and developing her wonderful artistic talents.
So why do we have a “problem” being happy ? We all have bad days and that is understandable. We work hard and we get tired. Something will happen that is discouraging and ,yes, bad things do happen. The loss of a good friend, an accident and someone is injured, you, or someone you love, is diagnosed with cancer. Just turning on the nightly news can be disheartening.
But why are we not happy with our day to day life, when it is not filled with the real bad stuff, but just those ordinary days. We get up, we have breakfast, everyone goes off to work or school, we come home, spend time together and then it’s time to go to bed. Those kinds of days, normal days. The feel good days that we take for granted.
When someone asks how are you and you want to answer honestly and tell them you are depressed, you are not happy, you feel lousy, life sucks. Do you even know why you feel like that ? Sometimes we wake up that way. You did not sleep well and you are tired but what is the real reason behind it.
Sometimes I think we expect too much or we try too hard. Everyone has expectations of how you will feel when you finish doing something; like planning a vacation or completing a big assignment at school or work. When you are home from vacation or you have completed that assignment you expect to feel good, really good, and then you don’t.
So what can we do to be happy ? I think it is possible to change our way of thinking about what we do each day and to adjust our way of doing things, change our perspective. Some refer to this as mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or be overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
I really like how she expressed it, ” Living authentically and intentionally, doing what we love, and expressing our feelings with the people we love – these are the most common things people deny themselves of throughout their lives. ”
So how do we practice Mindfulness ? Like with most important things you have done in the past, or what you perceived as important enough at the time to put in the effort, you make a plan and you set goals and you form new habits.
First things first though, you have to decide what is important. What do you value, what makes you feel good, and at the end of the day you know it helped you feel happy ? I go back to those simple things in life that make you feel good and add value to your life. The things we usually take for granted.
If you are working there will be decisions to be made so you can balance your work and your happiness. Learn to schedule in little breaks whenever possible to do something that will bring joy and alleviate stress. Get up from your work area and move around, get some coffee, read a quote that makes you feel good, look at pictures of your family, make a quick call home. There are many things you can do to relax even when doing an important task at work. When in doubt just smile; it will make you feel better.
Whenever possible take a moment to do a mental scan of how you feel. Close your eyes and slowly think about each part of you. Are you relaxed ? Are you clasping your hands tightly in a fist, does your neck or any part of your body feel tight ? If the answer is yes then you are showing signs of tension or stress. Do an evaluation of what you were doing that made you feel that way. By doing so you are learning more about what causes you stress and you can look for ways to change.
I like to write things down. Make a daily journal about your day and how you feel. Make a list of what you do each day and break it down into pros and cons. Decide what it is that makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad. Then think about what, and how, you can change. Decide how you can spend more time doing what makes you feel good and how you can eliminate those things you spend time on that really do not help you or that make you feel bad. Make it a habit to once a week take some quiet time, read your journal for that week, and keep working on your plan.
We all push ourselves to move forward and make ourselves better and to make a better life for our families. Is that important ? Yes, of course, it is. But at what cost ? There is a balance that we have to learn and most of us ignore. There may be something in our subconscious mind that tries to tell us that we are out of sync but we usually ignore it and keep pushing forward. We are not being mindful.
We are competitive beasts and we always want more and that has become quite normal. Many people when they retire have a problem dealing with the changes retirement brings because they no longer have anything to strive for. They never learned to have a balance in their life and now they have nothing to turn to except maybe regret. They come to realize that what they had worked so hard for did not have the value they had thought. At the end they may ask, “Is That All There Is?
Learn to live in the present. Learn Mindfulness.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a great “mindful” day.