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

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!

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

Blogging Is Like Therapy-How It Helps You View Your World

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Really? No way, that is what I would have told you before starting my blog. It’s true though. By writing I have opened myself up to all sorts of ideas and different ways of looking at just about everything.

Writing makes you think and it makes you contemplate. Research is virtually an everyday occurrence which in turn opens you up to even more ideas.

When I am gaining knowledge about what I am researching I am also learning about myself. The topics I research tell me about myself and my reactions tell me even more.

Writing this blog allows me to share my thoughts and opinions. This is something that I did not have an outlet for before. I am an introvert, no way around that. It is just who I am.

When I was working in the business world I had to force myself to communicate well with people. It was something I learned to do because I had to. It was not something I was ever truly comfortable doing.

Strangely, even though I am definitely still an introvert, I miss having the interaction with other people. Strange. It does seems strange but it is true. Writing my blog allows me to have that interaction. I cannot see you, I cannot hear you but I am talking to you, just not verbally.

So that is therapeutic. It allows me to talk. Something I did not realize I missed or needed so much.

I have things to say. I have events, feelings and emotions to share. This is my outlet. This is my therapy.

More than the simple act of writing is the idea that I am being recognized. I have something to say, I have an audience and someone is listening. You see me, you hear me. I feel as if I have value.

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I also am starting to write, attempting to write, articles or short stories. These stories are more about my own personal life experiences. They tell my story. My last attempt can be found here: https://medium.com/@lindalatt/panic-in-the-er-the-fear-and-terror-of-the-unknown-722513da811a?source=friends_link&sk=76b202b949769d8c145cc1c7692021e8

This story allowed me to go back and feel emotions that deeply affected me many years ago. I would love to have you read it and let me know what you think of my writing. It would mean a great deal to share that with you and to hear your thoughts.

See what I mean? Writing is therapeutic.

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There are many events that happen to us in life that affect us deeply. We are very emotional creatures, we humans. Writing in any form allows us to take note of how we feel and to bring our emotions out a little at a time. Writing allows us to investigate our feelings.

Many of my blogs are more business related but they also talk about our personal interactions and feelings. They talk about our mindset and about personal growth and gratitude. One blog was about dealing with defeat. All of these are emotional for any of us. We react to them at work and they also affect our personal life.

Most of what I write I have experienced in one form or another. Writing about them has given me the opportunity to revisit those events and poke around a bit in my feelings and reactions.

Writing about our experiences allows us to look at things through a different lens. It can be enlightening.

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When writing about our past experiences we may become aware of something we did not recognize at the time. We did not see it clearly either because we did not take the time or it was painful and we pushed it away. If we ignore it then it will not hurt us. Oh, but it can!

Writing allows us to address issues created by something we chose to push aside which can lounge in the recesses of our mind and fester. Writing about these past experiences helps us clean house, dust out the attic. We all need to do that because we all have “stuff” we hang on to and we shouldn’t.

From my perspective I think writing is very therapeutic. Just randomly writing down your experiences and your feelings is a good practice. You can write it in a blog if you want or write it in a notebook or journal. If you choose to write in a blog, you never have to publish it. It can be your private personal record.

Everyone has wonderful feel good experiences you want to relive. We have the normal everyday ho-hum events which can be humorous and delightful. We may also have some gut wrenching life experiences that have deeply affected you, your family and perhaps your friends. Writing about them will allow you to document your life. *I am going to post one of my gut wrenching family stories this week, so stay tuned.

Writing will also allow you to analyse yourself. It gives you the opportunity to put your “stuff” in order, rearrange your thoughts and be a better person for it. It might be painful at times but in the end you will benefit from it.

A word of caution. If you have some really earth shattering events in your life, sure you can write about those but always realize you have more options available to you as well. Seeking professional help is always a good idea.

I do not know why but writing about something instead of just thinking about it and reliving it in our mind is somehow different. When we write down the words and see them on paper it makes our thoughts clearer. Maybe it makes them more real, I am not sure.

Maybe, it is because when we think about something we have a tendency to go over and over the same thing. Especially if it negative. It can feel like we have it on automatic re-wind.

The act of writing and seeing it on paper, or the white screen of our computer, helps us get rid of the attached emotions. It helps us move on so we don’t have to keep recycling the same old story.

Writing is a journey from what you think you know to new places in your mind and soul.

Linda Joy Myers

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Writing has been therapeutic for me and I hope it will be for you as well.

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