Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

Hard talks

 

I’m conflict-averse. How about you? My dear friend, Andy, says he’s conflict-averse, but I don’t know anyone who deals with conflict and confrontation better than he does. When confronted with a conflict, he’s always available, fair-minded, and to the point. And what happens is that the conflict dissappears.

I’m talking about those times when you either keep quiet and sit on something that bothers you, or speak up and bear the consequences.  You might imagine the consequences will be big and painful, and that will keep you quiet. Then feel bad because you didn’t speak up. And, to compound the bad feeling, end up berating yourself for being such a coward.

Sometimes it’s true, the consequences are as bad as you imagine. But not always, and there are ways of mitigating them. It could be that you’re right in what you believe, but not great at effectively managing the confrontation, or being respectful of the other person.

Dr. Deborah Plummer, author of “Some of My Friends re…”, spoke recently at a Psychology gathering on conflict management. She advocates that when the goal is to reach a mutually acceptable conclusion, it might be better to opt for being effective and respectful instead of right.

Here are some of her examples: When the other person is…

  • Racist in some way, she suggests that you approach them with curiosity, looking for common values rather than blaming and shaming;
  • Not well-informed, focus on gathering common facts and testing assumptions (theirs and yours) instead of trying to “educate” them;
  • Being authoritarian, respond as an adult (rational) instead of a child-like (dependent) position, in order to shift the dynamic;
  • Demonstrates bad logic or bad thinking, recognize that you aren’t going to be able to change that, and move on with grace.

With every one of these examples, there is a common factor – maintaining your own inner balance and openness to the other. Once closed, none of us can deal well with conflict.

 

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Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Courage and Vulnerability

When I’m stressed, it’s usually because I’m scared.  It might show up as worry that something I’m doing won’t be accepted, or fear that I won’t get done what I’ve decided I must get done. The bottom line, though, is I’m scared, and it’s this fear that drives me into stress and anxiety.

I tend to shut down when I’m scared, and all this does is increase the probability that I’ll ultimately fail at what I’m trying to do. If it’s a presentation, then this preoccupation means I won’t connect to my audience. I’ll end up falling flat and inspiring no one. If it’s preparing for a presentation, then by the time I feel I’m ready, I’ll be worn out and have no real energy for anyone.

My way of not stressing and getting overwhelmed is this: being vulnerable.  It’s kind of odd, not seeming to relate at all to stress and overwhelm. But it does relate, in this way: When I let myself be vulnerable, I always relax. I let go of the worry and preoccupation. I cry if I need to, talk out my sense of inadequacy to a friend, perhaps. I move that pent-up energy through my body. And most importantly, I stop worrying about what other might think, and let me be whoever I need to be in that moment.

Being vulnerable like this takes courage – of dropping my need to please and be accepted. Of accepting whatever consequences that brings and focusing solely on meeting my own needs. This (for me) will include being very prepared, knowing as much as I can about my audience and my topic. But it won’t include second-guessing my audience. And that means I’ll be available for them instead of closed to them.

With that, I’ve just increased the probability that I’ll ultimately succeed.

“You can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brené Brown

 

My program Burning the Candle at Both Ends will help you gain the courage you need to be vulnerable.   It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in registering.

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

Overwhelmed?

Overwhelmed

Every once in a while – every time I get wound up with something I really want to get done – at some point, I end up in a place of overwhelm.  At some point, I’ll find myself standing staring at nothing, wanting to drop it all and run away.

If you’ve ever felt that way, then you know the feeling. I don’t run away. Not any more. Because I’ve learned how to deal with it.

If you’re looking for ways in your own life to deal with that feeling of being overwhelmed, here’s one thing you can do: close your eyes – wherever you are – take 3 really deep and slow breaths, then ask yourself “What’s the most important ONE thing I need to do?”

Then do it, and only it.

If what you’re thinking is too big and complex to get done easily, then make it smaller until it’s simple and doable in less than an hour.

Seriously, if you do this one thing, that sense of overwhelm will either disappear completely or become very small.

Try it!

 

If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

Is it Draining? Or, is it Energizing?

I have a lot on my plate these days.  Actually, I almost always have a lot on my plate.  Even knowing that I tend to overdo it, having cut down considerably, I still have a lot on my plate.

I’ve stopped apologizing for it. Stopped seeing it as a defect of character. I’ve come to embrace it, even. It is simply a part of who I am.

So, last night, I found myself eating a bag of pistachios at 2 in the morning because I was over-tired and wanted to keep my body going till I finished one more thing. Then at some point I realized what I was doing might not be a good thing, and promptly stopped eating and went to bed.

How did I do it? I’ve been practicing an awareness technique that I learnt from Martha Beck. She calls it shackles on and off. That’s too much of a mouthful for me. I simply ask myself the following:

Is what I’m doing (or contemplating doing) draining or energizing?

That’s all.  And after practicing this regularly, it’s become automatic. I no longer have to ask that question. The minute I catch myself in an act that might not work, my body lets me know.

If this simple technique helps you – great!

If you think you’d like more tools, check into my online workshop Burning the Candle at Both Ends. It starts this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Dream-Chasing and how to do it successfully

Have you got a dream? A big one, that your passionate about and that, deep down, you feel you might never realize?

It might be working every day on something you love. Or meaningfully contributing to a cause you’re passionate about. It might be becoming a mom or dad. Or owning your own home, mortgage-free.

Whatever it is, there’s one sure way of realizing it. Turtle steps.

That’s right! Turtle steps. Especially if it’s a big dream.

Turtle steps make it hard to procrastinate – and we are all procrastinators. You might believe that you’ve dreamed too big, that you somehow don’t deserve to realize your dream, that you’re not good enough, not disciplined enough. Not enough!

But the truth is you are enough. We are all procrastinators when we step into something new that we care about. It’s normal and natural. We want so much for the outcome to be a certain way, and there is no guarantee it will happen. So we get scared, then overwhelmed. Then we procrastinate.

That’s where turtle steps come in to save us.  This term was coined by Martha Beck after she learned to successfully teach her young son how to do what she considered to be pretty simple things.  They were – for her. But not for him.  For him, the steps were too hard, and too overwhelming. Martha learned to make the steps smaller and smaller, until her son was able to do each one easily.

We can do the same. If you need to learn about social media (like I do), and it’s foreign to you (like it is to me!), then come up with a way to learn about it in small and easy steps. So easy you hardly notice. Like creating an account one day. Then browsing for 10 minutes the next. Then asking one or 2 people you know to “friend” you and beginning a conversation with them. Every day, or once a week, adding to your knowledge, understanding, and comfort using social media. Until one day, you realize that it’s no longer a problem. Something else is – the next thing on your path towards your dream.

There’s a parable about turtle steps – you might have heard it: the story about the turtle and the hare, with the moral being slow and steady always beats fast and furious.

If you’re worried about actualizing your dream, and want to make sure you realize it, then you can’t go wrong with turtle steps.

Take it from a hare.

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

Burning the Candle?

Interested? CLICK HERE!

Quote of the Week

Turtle has just one plan at a time, and every cell buys into it. -Ted Kooser

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.Need more? At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

Turning into a wilted flowed from burnout

burnout

I have a dream. And today I’m discouraged and disheartened because my efforts in realizing that dream aren’t going as well as I’d like.  It’s so hard sometimes: spending hours that I thought were going to be minutes on one task after another, then discovering a flaw and starting over.  Those are just the every-day issues.  The worst thing that gets in my way is me: my own discouragement, my own loss of faith that I can do this.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like this, and it won’t be the last.  I haven’t given up on my dream, and honestly, don’t see that I will. I know there are a lot of people out there just like me, and I hope that what I say next will help you, as it helped me.

I have to remind myself on days like today that how I feel right now will pass, if I let it. And I ‘let it” by taking care of myself in every way. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I get clear on what’s important, and I find ways of de-stressing and maintaining faith in myself.

Sounds simple. We all know it isn’t.

But it works. I know.

My online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Beating the Odds

There are many kinds of disasters. Some life-shattering, most not life-shattering. Those that are truly awful aren’t usually the kind we can predict or avoid. The rest usually are.

Like driving down a major highway in traffic, wearing white and eating cherries.

I did exactly that 5 days ago. My thinking went like this: You know this could be disastrous.  But it’s OK.  I’ll be careful.  Well, the inevitable happened … I wasn’t careful enough.

I predicted it. I could have avoided it easily. I didn’t, instead convincing myself that I could beat the odds. This time.

I take silly risks like this every day, filling the void created from avoiding worry or boredom with something that brings excitement and distraction.

How would my day be different if, instead, I acknowledged my worry or boredom, and truly nourished my spirit?

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletter. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Stressing out again?

I’ve encountered a few personal issues lately that could, if I let them, stress me out. Dealt successfully with one yesterday, and dealing with the other today.

In the middle of all this, I recall a client asking me how she could help herself cope with a stressful living issue that she couldn’t immediately change. I am constantly learning from my clients, and thought I’d give what we jointly came up with a try.

What stresses me most is confrontation. I don’t like having someone’s finger pointed at me; I don’t like being judged and blamed. Hate it, in fact.

My immediate reaction is anger, even rage. And I don’t like feeling rage … I want the world and everyone in it to be fair, adult, and just.

Well, put that way, I can see that my desire is pure fantasy. Not that the real world is a dark place, but people – me included – can be unfair, dishonest in ways that fool even them, and definitely judgmental.

So, following the advice of that long ago collaboration, here’s what I did:

  • I acknowledged my pain – my worry, my anger and rage – as legitimate and real.  I do this because it’s easy for me to discount my own feelings.
  • Then, I deliberately altered my perspective by taking deep and anchoring breaths, and thinking about all the good things in my life. Those good things make anything else that happens seem a lot less focal.  This exercise effectively puts things into perspective for me – and that’s a good place to be.
  • And now I have a better chance of dealing with the latest issue – even-handedly and with good perspective.

No magic wand. No clever trick. Just self-acknowledgment, making space, and upping my perspective.

Marie Forleo – Stress

Burning the Candle?
If you’re someone who feels like you’re burning up and burning out – from too much ongoing stress, from too much responsibility and too little recognition, or simply from wanting to have everything done Now!, then you might be interested in my online programBURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS.

Registration is now open for October. Check it out!

Quote of the Week

We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.
― David Mamet, Boston Marriage
Announcement
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

Chaos

chaos

… A word that terrifies me. When I think of that word – Chaos – I immediately imagine everything out of control. Then I get overwhelmed. Then I get anxious. Then I get stuck.

It doesn’t take much. Just that small moment of imagining one word.

Even writing this generates panic; a need to go off somewhere and regroup. And yet, in this year of my life, chaos rules.

I expect I’m not alone in feeling uncomfortable around chaos. Chaos can mean disorder, confusion, disarray. It can also mean that “formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe” (from Google).

The ancient Greeks thought of Chaos as a primordial void (very similar to our modern scientific version). Chaos was the first thing to exist, and out of Chaos were born the gods and goddesses that governed all life.

Chaos is all of these things. It’s what isn’t known. It’s where we must go to create anything new. With anything new, we start with the raw materials, then create a thing that is unique, that is more than simply the sum of it’s parts.

Chaos is change.

It’s also destruction, because whatever it is that is changing is also being destroyed, making room for that shiny new thing.  Like what happens when I create a new dress out of a bolt of material. That bolt is gone, and in it’s place is a dress. Or when I take last year’s decomposed vegetables and use it to grow new ones this year. Or when I take what I’d tested a month ago to generate a new untested idea.

In truth, we all live in chaos all the time. Every time we move – even if it’s from the couch to the kitchen and back again – we are generating a bit of chaos.  But, admittedly, sometimes there’s more chaos than other times.  When we move locations, when we break up, when we marry, when we have a child, when we begin a new venture.

I’m thinking of chaos because I discovered how my until-now-undiscovered-fear of it has stopped me from going with it.  From working with it. From enjoying it.

Now I’m wondering – how would my life be if I embraced it?  How would other’s lives be?

How would your life be?

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

On Pace and Power

power

 

I’m a go-getter and that worries my friends, because it seems that I never stop.  When they’ve been with me for a day, they often – with good intent – suggest I slow down.

Sometimes, they’re right on. When I’m worried that I’ll miss a deadline (usually self-imposed), or obsessed about getting something right (driven by fear of failure or rejection).

Sometimes, they’re mistaken. When I’m creating or doing something I love, for instance.

Sometimes it’s both – when I’m venturing into new territory. At those times, I’m both energized and terrified – mostly terrified of how my life will change if I succeed.

Does this sound familiar?

Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

That’s true for me. What I’ve learned is to pace myself.

When I pace myself, I can …

  • catch moments of terror and take the time I need to deal with them before moving forward;
  • discover how I really feel about what I’m doing, and make change that make better use of my time and energy;
  • learn as I go with awareness and presence.

When I pace myself, I feel powerful, and feel like I’m gaining more and more energy as I go.

When I pace myself, I am the author of my own life.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .