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Stress is everywhere right?
It's in the work environment and home environment. It’s in our relationships with our partners, kids, bosses and colleagues. It’s in politics (hey there recent US election!), economics, world issues, and COVID-19. It’s all of THOSE issues triggering all of the stress our lives isn’t it?
YES, these external elements cause us stress, but guess what?
There’s another cause as well, and one that’s more hidden and personal.
This is the (daily) stress that comes from our OWN destructive thinking. Our own fearful, doubting, criticising, and second-guessing thoughts. It’s our negative mindset and perhaps lack of boundaries.
Step One: STOP
When we think these thoughts, or worse get them looping around in our heads, we need to STOP and not do anything at all. Why? Because this thinking often leads to feelings of lack, confusion, and discontent.
We become paralysed by our own doubtful thoughts and the stresses that come from these negative and often looping self-talk. We stay stuck battling inside our heads all day.
We feel and create that stuckness because we’re not moving forward and we're not moving back.
We’re half in and half out. Not committed and not rejecting it either.
And then we start with the shoulds. I should be doing this, I should be doing that… And then the shoulds build up… and then we cringe inside because we're unable to listen to the part of us that says, “Yes! Go do that thing that you want to do.”
Enter Step Two: OBSERVE
What if once you stopped you then became the observer of your thoughts? What if when you stopped you could catch that thought when it starts? What if you could catch it, observe it and work to reframe it and ask it where it comes from?
Let’s try it.
For one day (why not today?) decide that you’re going to be an observer of your thoughts. You’re going to catch just one negative thought before it spirals. You’re going to stop and follow it and keep following it until you know where it comes from. And once you know where it comes from, you’re going to explore it and be curious about why it’s here. And then you’re going to consider whether or not it’s a thought that tends to show up a lot in your life.
Another thing you could try is catching that negative thought and deciding to reframe it to a positive thought instead. Reframe it by taking the thought from “negative” or “bad” so that its context is changed so you can see the positive, or at least the neutrality of it.
Step Three: BOUNDARIES
In working with clients I’ve learned that it’s important to help them set healthy boundaries around (for example) people in their lives that trigger them emotionally or in other ways. You know the people. The ones who are vying for your attention. The ones calling you and contacting you, needing you now, now, now. Everything is now. Everything is urgent.
Well again, let’s try something.
For one day (perhaps today?) try NOT responding to all those (non)urgent cries for your attention. Put your email on auto-responder. Let the phone call go to voice mail. Change your status to offline. Silence your phone (or at least the notifications). Choose one person, some people, or everyone to implement these actions and boundaries with. The important thing is that you protect your time, energy, concentration, and thoughts by building healthy boundaries to prevent that stress from creeping up.
And Step Number Four: AFFIRMATION.
You know I love positive affirmations, and use them daily in my journal and life. Start with one positive affirmation, just one. Practice writing it out and saying it to yourself or out loud.
Now the trick with affirmations is to say them, write them, and use them daily. To repeat. Repeat. Repeat until you believe and there is no doubt in your core.
I want you to think, write, and say aloud one or more of the following:
Repeating your affirmation(s) is guaranteed to shift your negative beliefs and quiet the destructive thinking that so often leads to stress.
After reading over these four steps, how do you feel? How do you feel about acknowledging the external stressors while also taking responsibility for your OWN stress-inducing thoughts? For reframing negative thinking? Setting up boundaries? Reciting affirmations?
Yes, it’s not easy to do straight away. And yes it will take practice. Start slow, go gentle and know that you’ve got this.
Now pop a comment down below or send me an email to let me know how you’re going or how I can help. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter as well so you never miss any stress-busting learn-to-thrive tips again.
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Why is it that when we have so much to do, to run your business... that we sit and spin out wheels and do nothing at all?
To do lists a mile lone, calls to make, leads to follow up, deadlines looming like dark clouds. And we just can't get moving, zero motivation. Negative self-talk kicks in, and the anxiety.
Procrastination would have to be the most guilt producing blocker on the planet!
Why do we delay the work, when we know it’s got to be done? When we know working our business and client work is what brings in the income? Why is it so hard to jump in and tick things off the list?
Procrastination is a sign of overwhelm.
It is how our mind responds to the fact we are overloaded by the sheer volume of work and noise we have in our life.
As a business owner the to do list is never ending. We become overwhelmed by what is required of us. There is the pressure (financial and other) of running the day to day business and managing life outside of the business.
With so much going on it seems impossible to even choose what is most important, or what to do next.
So, we procrastinate.
It is easier to delay and postpone and find something else to do that takes our mind off all that we have to do. The issue with this however, is that it exacerbates the problem feeling we had in the first place.
4 SIMPLE IDEAS TO HELP YOU PUSH THROUGH THE PROCRASTINATION
1. Start Yesterday
Prep your day, the day before. Write out your to do list the night BEFORE you leave the office. Make it the last thing you do before shutting down your laptop. List 3 things you do tomorrow.
Just 3 things. Be realistic, this is not a brain dump of everything that you have circling your mind that needs doing. Sometimes your “to do list” of 50 URGENT items is the biggest trigger for procrastination. It is too overwhelming, where do you even start?! Instead, write a short list of your top 3 MUST DO’S.
Remember: You can do anything, but not everything!
2. Start Early
Studies tells us that your brain functions best an hour after you wake and is running at maximum productivity for the first 2-3 hours. Knowing this – find out when your peak productivity time is … and use it!
3. Eat the Frog
I know it sounds like a strange concept (and now you’ll probably remember it!), but when you get to the office and look at the 3 things from your list ask yourself:
What is the HARDEST thing on your list to do?
This concept shifts you forward into action, just imagine how productive you could be if you made “eat the frog” a daily habit?
4. “Chunk Down” Out of the Overwhelm
You might be thinking “Well, I don’t even know what to write on my list I am that overwhelmed with what is coming at me right now”. When the brain fog is thick from stress and E V E R Y T H I N G feels overwhelming then here is a simple tool called chunking down, that will help bring you out of the overwhelm.
Book 15mins of quiet reflection time, take a deep breath and asking yourself a couple questions to find clarity:
What specifically is causing me to feel this way?
Chunking down allows you to get into the details and specifics of what is causing the overwhelm, understand what is blocking you and allows you to break it down into steps. Then everything doesn’t feel so daunting.
Taking the first step helps you to kick start the momentum and push through that procrastination!
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One of the key reasons I was drawn to the coaching methodology of NLP was because the foundation itself is based on communication. It is all about our language. The way we speak to ourselves, speak to people, use our body language and our ability to actively listen to get to the root cause of a problem.
I have always had a fascination with communication. Creative writing was one of my favourite subjects at school, later in my 30’s I studied Public Relations which is essentially communicating a message to influence with words, still and moving imagery, and media.
Words have meaning, and often they have double meanings. It is the way we speak words that gives them emotion.
After learning how certain words have a NEGATIVE charge on our life I opted to delete a few from my vocab; here’s why:
The word “TRY” – a wishy washy word, that we all know means you won’t do it!
The word “DON’T” – I hear this one too often! “I don’t want that, or I don’t like it when he/she does this it makes me feel X”.
Now that little rant is over… let’s talk about the word of the day:
Louise Hay, author of many many personal development books explains this word the best:
“The word should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use should, we are, in effect, saying it's“WRONG”. Either we ARE wrong, or WERE wrong, or we are GOING TO BE wrong.”
I have to agree with her.
Think about it for a moment. Can you think of a situation when someone recently has said to you:
“You SHOULD do this, or you SHOULD handle it like that, or you SHOULD go this way” – How does that make you feel?
When I’ve been on the receiving end of “Should” talking - I know full well I am not taking that persons advice/suggestion. Even if its amazing advice! HA. Why? There is some sort of internal radar to the word “should” that tells me DO NOT DO IT! (especially if it’s my husband telling me, for some reason HAHA!).
How about you?
It is because we feel like the person is saying we have handled it WRONG, or we cannot handle the situation so we need to be told what to do.
Seriously, most of the time – women just want to be heard! Agree? We actually really want to communicate and connect - not be told what we should be doing.
SHOULD (replaced with) COULD
Now, imagine the same scenario where you’ve been told you “SHOULD” do something… and imagine hearing the word COULD instead?
“You COULD do this, or you COULD handle it like that, or you COULD go this way”. How does that feel? Better, right?
Why? Because when we replace our language with the word COULD – then we feel as though it gives us a CHOICE.
We don’t feel wrong, we just see it as being offered multiple options. And it puts a whole new light on the subject.
SHOULD (replaced with) WOULD
In a recent Instagram video I shared with my thrive community the power of replacing the word “SHOULD” with “WOULD” when delivering our communication wanting to help a person to come to a decision, or give direction.
I received some incredible feedback on how this simple shift in language has helped in the workplace when Managing a team, as well as in discussions with loved ones. Check it out here:
Now that I have opened up your awareness to the power of your language, and the negative charge certain words create - you may start to notice how often you use them?
And, if you want to delete these words from your vocab – then go head!
This shift in language will help to move you closer to where you really want to be.