Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

Enlightenment always tastes of freedom

“Enlightenment” is a term I hear used a lot these days.  It’s often in the context of gaining some kind of spiritual excellence.

I do wonder about this: it comes close to smacking of superiority and so I’m suspicious of it. So, is this something real and something worth moving towards?

I think so.  The Buddha said that you will know enlightenment because it always tastes of freedom, just as you know the ocean because it tastes of salt. This implies that I achieve enlightenment every time I can flow with the process of life, without feeling triggered or reactive in any way.

Sometimes, I do feel that way. And, no doubt, you do too.

One thing for certain, then, is that when I’m anxious, or stressed, or lost in worry, I’m not in a state of enlightenment. I’m in an opposite kind of state: frozen in time, fighting off inner daemons.

I’ve been there too?  What about you?  If you’ve been in a place of anxious stress, were you able to find your way to a better place?  If not, you may find my online course Burning the Candle at Both Ends worthwhile.

It’s starting now.  Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

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 .

 

You don’t need more time!

time

When what you’re about to do matters – when it’s important – and you’re worried you’ll screw up, or make the wrong choice, or get the timing wrong, or any countless other possibilities that run through your head just before you hit “start” …

You’ve been careful, considered many options, weighed the plusses and minuses of going ahead.

Then the best time to start is now.

That worry is fear talking. Not logic.

 

It isn’t our brain that lets us down. It’s our spirit. It’s that age-old fear. I’m offering a program that looks at our spiritual blocks, and it’s called Burning the Candle at Both Ends. It’s starting October 8th. Click here to register.

 

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 .

Excitement without oxygen

 

Dr. Margherita Lobb, in a recent talk on Anxiety, defined anxiety as “excitement without oxygen”.  In a visceral way, we can all relate to this: if you’ve experienced anxiety, it’s hard to breathe.  In fact, when anxious, a person either stops breathing, or begins to breath fast and shallow, filling only the upper part of their lungs.

We are excited, and we aren’t filling our lungs with oxygen.

Ms. Lobb then goes on to lay out what happens to our body when we’re in this state: when we deprive our body of oxygen, we must necessarily disconnect. This means we detach our bodies from our brains. To understand this, remember when you were last anxious and what it felt like. The rapid heart-beat, sweaty palms, shallow breathing; but also the mental preoccupation that begins to take over and spirals out of control if we let it.  This is what disconnection feels like. The mental take-over.

Knowing and understanding this is power, because this knowledge is key to reversing the effects of anxiety.

Here’s how:

  • Slow and deep: If we detach through shallow breathing, we can counter it by breathing deeply and slowly.
  • Bra-strap breathing. A “trick” I learned a few years ago and now share with my clients is to do what one client dubbed “bra-strap breathing”: imagine breathing into that area of your back where a woman’s bra strap usually sits, just below the shoulder blades; then breathe out slowly, pushing the sensation down to your belly button. If you take more time breathing out than you did breathing in, then you will also activate your parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for calming and relaxing.
  • Ground yourself… by focusing on your feet connecting with the ground beneath you. This will literally lower your centre of gravity and provide stability.

The next time you experience anxiety, try these three things – slow and deep breaths, bra strap breathing, and grounding your feet – and feel the difference.

 

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 .

On Fear and Power

 

Uncontrolled fear that becomes habitual is a major source of anxiety.

I’m offering a program that addresses this kind of fear – it’s called Burning the Candle at Both Ends. If you’re interested in learning more, click here. It’s starting October 8th; registration closes October 7th .

 

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 .

 

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.

 

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 .

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.