Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

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 

Worse or better?

 

I was reminded a few days ago of how we can set ourselves up for making things worse instead of better.  It was a good friend of mine who reminded me: she was upset with a mutual friend, and didn’t know how to let our friend know how upset she was. She “solved” this problem, at least temporarily, by getting a migraine, so that she couldn’t talk this issue over with our friend.

She’d made things worse for herself, instead of better: now she had a debilitating migraine and the necessary conversation was waiting for her to worry about for a while longer.

If you’ve never done this, you’re rare. Most of us find a way to sabotage ourselves, usually subconsciously or unconsciously. If something scares us enough, some of us would rather go through an elective operation than deal with that something.

If you do find yourself going to ridiculous extremes instead of facing something scary here’s three things you can do to help you through it in a better way:

Ground yourself. When I’m anxious, most of my energy is in my chest, somewhere near my throat. When I’m grounded, it’s closer to my belly button; I feel anchored to the ground beneath me. For me, I have come to know what that feels like. I call it “being landed”. Take some time when you’re in a calm space and learn what being grounded feels like for you. Then do whatever it takes to get there when you need to. Meditation, deep breathing, a long walk … whatever works for you. Being anywhere else when you need to do something scary means you’re more likely to screw up. You increase your chance of success when you approach anything difficult from a grounded place.

Get honest. Astonishingly easily, I can fool myself into thinking I am being open and above-board when I’m really not. Especially when I feel hurt. Before addressing a sensitive issue, especially with a friend, make sure you are clear about your part, and don’t begin the talk with any judgments or accusations. Be clear about the issue rather than your opinions.  For instance, if I find myself wanting to point an accusing finger at someone, I know I’m being dishonest with myself, and that, for me, holding off until I no longer feel the need to do this, is the better way.

Open your heart. We are human – you are, I am, everyone is. And as such, we are capable of making mistakes and hurting others.  Going into a confrontation with a generous heart can make the difference between increasing a problem or resolving it. This isn’t the same as being naive, or of shuttering your awareness, or of adopting a “Polyanna” overly objective attitude. I’m guilty of doing that – not wanting to believe that someone I think well of is deliberately being a nuisance – so much easier to find fault in myself. You don’t have to do this to enter a confrontation with an open heart, if you’re grounded, and honest with yourself.

Worse or better? It’s sometimes really hard to go for better. In the end, it’s always worth it.

Our dangerous obsession with perfectionism is getting worse

 

Quote of the Week 

I don’t answer. I shut my eyes and hold my breath and hope whoever it is will think I’m not here and go home.”  ― Jennifer Weiner, Who Do You Love

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.

Worse or better?

 

I was reminded a few days ago of how we can set ourselves up for making things worse instead of better.  It was a good friend of mine who reminded me: she was upset with a mutual friend, and didn’t know how to let our friend know how upset she was. She “solved” this problem, at least temporarily, by getting a migraine, so that she couldn’t talk this issue over with our friend.

She’d made things worse for herself, instead of better: now she had a debilitating migraine and the necessary conversation was waiting for her to worry about for a while longer.

If you’ve never done this, you’re rare. Most of us find a way to sabotage ourselves, usually subconsciously or unconsciously. If something scares us enough, some of us would rather go through an elective operation than deal with that something.

If you do find yourself going to ridiculous extremes instead of facing something scary here’s three things you can do to help you through it in a better way:

Ground yourself. When I’m anxious, most of my energy is in my chest, somewhere near my throat. When I’m grounded, it’s closer to my belly button; I feel anchored to the ground beneath me. For me, I have come to know what that feels like. I call it “being landed”. Take some time when you’re in a calm space and learn what being grounded feels like for you. Then do whatever it takes to get there when you need to. Meditation, deep breathing, a long walk … whatever works for you. Being anywhere else when you need to do something scary means you’re more likely to screw up. You increase your chance of success when you approach anything difficult from a grounded place.

Get honest. Astonishingly easily, I can fool myself into thinking I am being open and above-board when I’m really not. Especially when I feel hurt. Before addressing a sensitive issue, especially with a friend, make sure you are clear about your part, and don’t begin the talk with any judgments or accusations. Be clear about the issue rather than your opinions.  For instance, if I find myself wanting to point an accusing finger at someone, I know I’m being dishonest with myself, and that, for me, holding off until I no longer feel the need to do this, is the better way.

Open your heart. We are human – you are, I am, everyone is. And as such, we are capable of making mistakes and hurting others.  Going into a confrontation with a generous heart can make the difference between increasing a problem or resolving it. This isn’t the same as being naive, or of shuttering your awareness, or of adopting a “Polyanna” overly objective attitude. I’m guilty of doing that – not wanting to believe that someone I think well of is deliberately being a nuisance – so much easier to find fault in myself. You don’t have to do this to enter a confrontation with an open heart, if you’re grounded, and honest with yourself.

Worse or better? It’s sometimes really hard to go for better. In the end, it’s always worth it.

 

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 

Inner temple

 

This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.

Ram Dass – Dissolving the Fear

Quote of the Week 

Seek the temple within, the silent place you can go in the midst of it all.
― Nikki Rowe

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 .

 

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 .

Inner temple

 

This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.

 

 

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 

Here’s to the Journey …

 

One sure way to get and stay anxious is to focus on the results you want to happen, the destination you want to arrive at – a coveted job or position, a successful venture, party, or dinner. It doesn’t matter – as long as your focus is on how you want the future to look like, it isn’t at all on what’s happening around you right now.

And that means you are missing out on so much! On how you’re impacting those around you. On the wins and learnings about what you’re in the process of creating. How you feel in your gut about what you’re doing.  Any opportunities that open up during this process of living.

If you’re not present for the process as it unfolds, you miss out big time.

So, as Harry Kim realized in the final episode of the series “Startrek Voyager”, it’s the journey that matters. With that in mind, I raise a glass of something delicious to salute the beauty and power of the process of living. Here’s to the journey!

Alive! Now what?

 

Quote of the Week 

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

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 .

 

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 .

 

 

Here’s to the Journey …

 

One sure way to get and stay anxious is to focus on the results you want to happen, the destination you want to arrive at – a coveted job or position, a successful venture, party, or dinner. It doesn’t matter – as long as your focus is on how you want the future to look like, it isn’t at all on what’s happening around you right now.

And that means you are missing out on so much! On how you’re impacting those around you. On the wins and learnings about what you’re in the process of creating. How you feel in your gut about what you’re doing.  Any opportunities that open up during this process of living.

If you’re not present for the process as it unfolds, you miss out big time.

So, as Harry Kim realized in the final episode of the series “Startrek Voyager”, it’s the journey that matters. With that in mind, I raise a glass of something delicious to salute the beauty and power of the process of living. Here’s to the journey!

 

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 fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But expect the best.

Smash fear, learn anything

 

Quote of the Week 

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist  

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 fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But expect the best.

 

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 .