Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

The story we tell ourselves

 

I’m a worrier. That means that I have the ability to worry myself into building something small into something big in my head, and then believing it as true, or at least truer than anything else.

For instance, just as a wild example, let’s say my kitchen tap starts to leak. After changing washers, it continued to leak – not very badly, but still there. If I let myself, I could begin to wonder how bad that leak could get, and under what conditions it might cause major problems – say, something gets stuck somewhere that causes a build-up in pressure; then I decide to go away for 3 weeks, and just in that time, it blows. By the time I get home, there’s major damage.

That could happen, but it’s really very unlikely. And yet, dwelling on this worst-case scenario has turned it, in my mind, from tiny and remote, to huge and probable.

I no longer worry like that, but I know a lot of us do, especially in these uncertain times. And there’s reason for it: while I’m worrying about that tap blowing, I don’t have time to dwell on things I’d rather not think about. It keeps that busy mind of mine occupied, and in a kind of weird way, entertained.

It’s a story I tell myself.

Here’s a different story: The tap begins to leak. I fix it and it still leaks. I call the plumber, and he installs a new tap.  End of problem.

In the first story, I’m kind of helpless in the face of things happening beyond my control. In the second, I’m the one in control. I like the second story better. Less drama, though.

We are the stories we tell ourselves

 

Quote of the Week 

Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves….”
― Cheryl Strayed

Announcements 

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.

The story we tell ourselves

 

I’m a worrier. That means that I have the ability to worry myself into building something small into something big in my head, and then believing it as true, or at least truer than anything else.

For instance, just as a wild example, let’s say my kitchen tap starts to leak. After changing washers, it continued to leak – not very badly, but still there. If I let myself, I could begin to wonder how bad that leak could get, and under what conditions it might cause major problems – say, something gets stuck somewhere that causes a build-up in pressure; then I decide to go away for 3 weeks, and just in that time, it blows. By the time I get home, there’s major damage.

That could happen, but it’s really very unlikely. And yet, dwelling on this worst-case scenario has turned it, in my mind, from tiny and remote, to huge and probable.

I no longer worry like that, but I know a lot of us do, especially in these uncertain times. And there’s reason for it: while I’m worrying about that tap blowing, I don’t have time to dwell on things I’d rather not think about. It keeps that busy mind of mine occupied, and in a kind of weird way, entertained.

It’s a story I tell myself.

Here’s a different story: The tap begins to leak. I fix it and it still leaks. I call the plumber, and he installs a new tap.  End of problem.

In the first story, I’m kind of helpless in the face of things happening beyond my control. In the second, I’m the one in control. I like the second story better. Less drama, though.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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 

The power of anger

 

I’m feeling anger and despair right now – and grief, finding myself tearing up throughout the day. I’ve discovered that a lot of us are feeling this, after seeing the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent demonstrations by many and riots by a few all over the US.

I won’t say much here, because I strongly suspect that you are feeling the same just now. For my part, I intend to take this anger and grief and use it to propel me even more towards creating the world I want to live in – a world where color and station and sexual preference mean nothing more than an expression of individuality.

I’m white. I don’t know what it’s like to – every day – be treated with suspicion and disrespect. I’ve had a taste of it, and that was plenty. But I can stand for what I know is right and good, and add my voice and whatever power I have to create the world I long for.

What’s been with me through tears and no tears today is Louie Armstrong’s “What a beautiful day”, which I know by heart. While I can’t shake hands to express love and connection, my focus from now on – more than ever – will be to reach out, mend, and heal.

Tyler Merritt – Before you call the cops

Louie Armstrong – What a Wonderful World

Quote of the Week 

Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” – Eckhart Tolle

Announcements 

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.

The power of anger

 

I’m feeling anger and despair right now – and grief, finding myself tearing up throughout the day. I’ve discovered that a lot of us are feeling this, after seeing the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent demonstrations by many and riots by a few all over the US.

I won’t say much here, because I strongly suspect that you are feeling the same just now. For my part, I intend to take this anger and grief and use it to propel me even more towards creating the world I want to live in – a world where color and station and sexual preference mean nothing more than an expression of individuality.

I’m white. I don’t know what it’s like to – every day – be treated with suspicion and disrespect. I’ve had a taste of it, and that was plenty. But I can stand for what I know is right and good, and add my voice and whatever power I have to create the world I long for.

What’s been with me through tears and no tears today is Louie Armstrong’s “What a beautiful day”, which I know by heart. While I can’t shake hands to express love and connection, my focus from now on – more than ever – will be to reach out, mend, and heal.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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 

Quality in difficult times!

I read a blog about 2 months ago that looked at the excuses we all make when we rationalize doing less than great work for someone (or ourselves) – because he or she is too demanding… because this isn’t really our job … because I’m having a bad day.

Well, these days of pandemic lockdown, every day can be a bad day, and it is so very tempting to turn on the TV and stay in front of it for as long as possible, feeling helpless and controlled, over-restricted and deprived. All of us have these kinds of days in the best of times. And the reality of today is not the best of times for anyone.

Today, I had what began as a difficult meeting online. At the end of it, I’d planned on going for my (now) daily jog. But instead, I was really tempted to “take the day off”, simply chill out and forget about this blog and the studying (an opportunity I’ve picked up, given I’ve got more time). Only do what was absolutely necessary and let go of everything else.

Every once in a while, it’s OK to do just that. However, if I do it too much, it becomes a habit and I can end up missing days of living a life that makes me feel good about myself.  Those days that make me feel good are the days I do quality work, either for myself or for others.

There are basically 2 kinds of things we can do that make us feel good: things that give us pleasure, and things that give us mastery. Things that give us pleasure might occasionally include watching TV and taking a break, but they will stop giving us pleasure if that’s all we do.

The things that will always give us pleasure are those things we feel we’ve earned – a long hot bath after finishing a project, or sharing a glass of wine, or being with a loved one, or going for a leisurely walk after finishing something that needed finishing. The things that give us mastery could be learning a new skill. It might be paying a bill, or cutting your bangs, or going for a jog, or writing a blog. Doing it well – with quality.

These 2 activities often, as you can see, go hand in hand. Quality work à earned pleasure.  Even if all you can do that day is one piece of quality mastery for 10 or 15 minutes, rewarding yourself with one small pleasure, it makes the whole day feel worthwhile. It might also make you feel good enough about yourself to go to bed looking forward to tomorrow.  Even more importantly, it’ll help you do a better, more quality job on the things you need to do today, because there won’t be anything at the back of your mind distracting you.

Now for that jog.

You don’t have to be an expert to solve big problems

 

Quote of the Week 

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” 
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Announcements 

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.

Quality in difficult times!

I read a blog about 2 months ago that looked at the excuses we all make when we rationalize doing less than great work for someone (or ourselves) – because he or she is too demanding… because this isn’t really our job … because I’m having a bad day.

Well, these days of pandemic lockdown, every day can be a bad day, and it is so very tempting to turn on the TV and stay in front of it for as long as possible, feeling helpless and controlled, over-restricted and deprived. All of us have these kinds of days in the best of times. And the reality of today is not the best of times for anyone.

Today, I had what began as a difficult meeting online. At the end of it, I’d planned on going for my (now) daily jog. But instead, I was really tempted to “take the day off”, simply chill out and forget about this blog and the studying (an opportunity I’ve picked up, given I’ve got more time). Only do what was absolutely necessary and let go of everything else.

Every once in a while, it’s OK to do just that. However, if I do it too much, it becomes a habit and I can end up missing days of living a life that makes me feel good about myself.  Those days that make me feel good are the days I do quality work, either for myself or for others.

There are basically 2 kinds of things we can do that make us feel good: things that give us pleasure, and things that give us mastery. Things that give us pleasure might occasionally include watching TV and taking a break, but they will stop giving us pleasure if that’s all we do.

The things that will always give us pleasure are those things we feel we’ve earned – a long hot bath after finishing a project, or sharing a glass of wine, or being with a loved one, or going for a leisurely walk after finishing something that needed finishing. The things that give us mastery could be learning a new skill. It might be paying a bill, or cutting your bangs, or going for a jog, or writing a blog. Doing it well – with quality.

These 2 activities often, as you can see, go hand in hand. Quality work à earned pleasure.  Even if all you can do that day is one piece of quality mastery for 10 or 15 minutes, rewarding yourself with one small pleasure, it makes the whole day feel worthwhile. It might also make you feel good enough about yourself to go to bed looking forward to tomorrow.  Even more importantly, it’ll help you do a better, more quality job on the things you need to do today, because there won’t be anything at the back of your mind distracting you.

Now for that jog.

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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 

Who we are in hard times

During my days as a project manager, I would periodically get a new person to this field wondering why I was getting paid so much when everything seemed so straight-forward. The answer was that I wasn’t getting paid a lot for the straight-forward part; I was getting paid for those times when everything became chaotic. Project managers are known for their stoic stance in the face of insanity – it’s often the thing that makes the difference between a successful project and an abject failure.

Now I’m a therapist and coach. People see me for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the reason is that they are experiencing their first hard time and don’t know what to do. They have no skills for such times, and feel their world falling out from under them.

There’s a saying that goes something like: it’s easy to be moral when life is good. The real test happens when life isn’t so good. That’s when the ability of taking the long view, having a steady heart and a cool head is so important. Even more importantly, this is when self-honesty and clear boundaries and values count, because without these, you may be able to look like you’re calm, but inside you will be anything but calm.

We’re defined for who we are when times are hard. It’s the testing ground of life, and our opportunity to grow. As many wise men and women of the past have reminded us, it isn’t what we get handed in life, but how we deal with what we get that matters.

How the worst moments of our lives make us who we are

 

Quote of the Week 

It’s the hard days – the days that challenge you to your very core – that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”
― Sheryl Sandberg

Announcements 

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.

Who we are in hard times

During my days as a project manager, I would periodically get a new person to this field wondering why I was getting paid so much when everything seemed so straight-forward. The answer was that I wasn’t getting paid a lot for the straight-forward part; I was getting paid for those times when everything became chaotic. Project managers are known for their stoic stance in the face of insanity – it’s often the thing that makes the difference between a successful project and an abject failure.

Now I’m a therapist and coach. People see me for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the reason is that they are experiencing their first hard time and don’t know what to do. They have no skills for such times, and feel their world falling out from under them.

There’s a saying that goes something like: it’s easy to be moral when life is good. The real test happens when life isn’t so good. That’s when the ability of taking the long view, having a steady heart and a cool head is so important. Even more importantly, this is when self-honesty and clear boundaries and values count, because without these, you may be able to look like you’re calm, but inside you will be anything but calm.

We’re defined for who we are when times are hard. It’s the testing ground of life, and our opportunity to grow. As many wise men and women of the past have reminded us, it isn’t what we get handed in life, but how we deal with what we get that matters.

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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 

The Valley

 

I’m sitting in my new temporary coffee shop doing what I usually do at the coffee shop – writing blogs and things.  I have internet. It’s cozy. A little cramped but better than being inside for another minute.

Got a great view: in front of me are a mother and her 2 young daughters practicing on their roller skates. Where I am is pretty empty, even though it’s usually hard to get a parking spot. Yes. That’s right. I’m in my car just outside of Starbucks, sipping my latte and typing away.

Today I’m cool. Yesterday I was in the kind of fog I get into when everything suddenly changes.  I planned on joining the rest of Toronto in the park along the Lakeshore, but when I got there it was so crowded I went home instead. I’d already made alternate arrangements with my clients, and was set for isolating for up to 3 weeks, but it didn’t matter. What I arrange for voluntarily is one thing; what is arranged for me involuntarily – even if it’s the same thing – is another thing.

As the expert I heard on Youtube put it, washing our hands for 20 seconds each time – and frequently, staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask if we’re around others and we have a cold – those are the major things we can do to contain the spread of the virus. It is a good idea to stay home whenever possible, and other measures people have taken to curtail the spread.

Having said all that, the very best idea in my opinion is to remain calm, accept the situation, and learn to live and grow within its temporary parameters.

This brings me to the Valley: That beautiful passage from the Tao “The valley spirit never dies … use it. It will never fail.” (the full passage is in the Quote of the Week section of my Newsletter).

Our life is made up of a series of peaks and valleys. The peaks are where we all want to be all the time, because it feels wonderful being up there, feeling the beauty of our growth and accomplishments. And yet, that isn’t where we grow – we grow in the valleys – that fertile ground filled with the compost of our past mistakes, and of what life hands us. (For more on this subject, read my blog post, Peaks and Valleys).

Yesterday, I was in a fog. Today, I am wondering what this new set of changes will bring.

Coronavirus is our future

Quote of the Week 

The valley spirit never dies;

It is the woman, primal mother.

Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.

It is like a veil barely seen.

Use it; it will never fail.

-Lao Tsu – Tao Te Ching

Announcements 

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.

The Valley

 

I’m sitting in my new temporary coffee shop doing what I usually do at the coffee shop – writing blogs and things.  I have internet. It’s cozy. A little cramped but better than being inside for another minute.

Got a great view: in front of me are a mother and her 2 young daughters practicing on their roller skates. Where I am is pretty empty, even though it’s usually hard to get a parking spot. Yes. That’s right. I’m in my car just outside of Starbucks, sipping my latte and typing away.

Today I’m cool. Yesterday I was in the kind of fog I get into when everything suddenly changes.  I planned on joining the rest of Toronto in the park along the Lakeshore, but when I got there it was so crowded I went home instead. I’d already made alternate arrangements with my clients, and was set for isolating for up to 3 weeks, but it didn’t matter. What I arrange for voluntarily is one thing; what is arranged for me involuntarily – even if it’s the same thing – is another thing.

As the expert I heard on Youtube put it, washing our hands for 20 seconds each time – and frequently, staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask if we’re around others and we have a cold – those are the major things we can do to contain the spread of the virus. It is a good idea to stay home whenever possible, and other measures people have taken to curtail the spread.

Having said all that, the very best idea in my opinion is to remain calm, accept the situation, and learn to live and grow within its temporary parameters.

This brings me to the Valley: That beautiful passage from the Tao “The valley spirit never dies … use it. It will never fail.” (the full passage is in the Quote of the Week section of my Newsletter).

Our life is made up of a series of peaks and valleys. The peaks are where we all want to be all the time, because it feels wonderful being up there, feeling the beauty of our growth and accomplishments. And yet, that isn’t where we grow – we grow in the valleys – that fertile ground filled with the compost of our past mistakes, and of what life hands us. (For more on this subject, read my blog post, Peaks and Valleys).

Yesterday, I was in a fog. Today, I am wondering what this new set of changes will bring.

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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