Archive: Anxiety Stress and Fear

Aloneness

 

I was listening to a close friend agonize over her failing relationship, remembering what it was like for me when my past marriage was failing. That feeling of being alone in a space crowded with others – even if all that space was taken up by one other person. That person who used to care about what I said or did and so clearly no longer cared.

“There’s nothing worse than being alone when you’re with somebody” – my friend responded when I empathized with her.

That’s not the only time I‘ve felt this kind of aloneness. I’ve felt it when I’ve accomplished something that nobody else I know has. Whenever I’ve had to make hard decisions that impacted others, I’ve felt it.

My friend wanted and needed connection and wasn’t getting it. Instead of ignoring that feeling, she saw it for what it was – a signal for change. A confrontation, an action, a re-arrangement, perhaps a leaving. A change.

Sometimes feeling alone is the only way. Sometimes it’s a signal for change.

Connected, but alone?

 

Quote of the Week 

God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly.”
― Paul Valéry

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 .

Aloneness

 

I was listening to a close friend agonize over her failing relationship, remembering what it was like for me when my past marriage was failing. That feeling of being alone in a space crowded with others – even if all that space was taken up by one other person. That person who used to care about what I said or did and so clearly no longer cared.

“There’s nothing worse than being alone when you’re with somebody” – my friend responded when I empathized with her.

That’s not the only time I‘ve felt this kind of aloneness. I’ve felt it when I’ve accomplished something that nobody else I know has. Whenever I’ve had to make hard decisions that impacted others, I’ve felt it.

My friend wanted and needed connection and wasn’t getting it. Instead of ignoring that feeling, she saw it for what it was – a signal for change. A confrontation, an action, a re-arrangement, perhaps a leaving. A change.

Sometimes feeling alone is the only way. Sometimes it’s a signal for change.

 

Announcements 

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

 

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 .

Hiding in plain sight

hiding

I’ve been anticipating that the response I get from a colleague to something I put out is one I won’t like, and when I do receive her response, I’m ready to load my anticipations onto my interpretation of it. As a result, I will react emotionally to what she does say. But just so there’s a possibility of dialogue after the reaction, I will do this in private, waiting until I’m cooled down enough to respond.

Another colleague reads about new requirements that he feels he “should have” caught earlier and didn’t, and he reacts by retreating until he, too, can respond in a more measured way.

It isn’t until I reach out for a one-on-one live conversation that I can put aside my expectations and projections (because that’s all I really have up till now) and gain a truly measured understanding. Similarly with my colleague, it isn’t until he has the conversation – live – that he can really appreciate the reality of the situation.

I know I react. I know I can explode. I know that when I explode, the result is rarely anything but destructive. So I hide behind propriety, keeping my opinions to myself until I can express them in a way that I believe will be more acceptable to those I’m expressing them to.

This seems to be the way of everyone in our society, and is leading to an ever-spreading reaction against “political correctness”.  Political correctness gives us the code for being agreeable, and for expressing our anger in a way that is deemed acceptable. But this modern security blanket we use is wearing thin, because just like any security system, it can – and is – used to launch grenades.

We hide in plain sight behind our words and our mask of maturity. We all do – well, most of us – because most of us are afraid of what would happen if we were spontaneous instead.

I grew up believing that I had freedom of speech, that I could say something controversial, or even wrong, and not be punished for it. But in these recent years, that’s changed. My society today isn’t the same comfortable and secure-feeling one of my youth. People – including me – don’t feel secure any longer, right or wrong. And that makes me careful about what I say and how I say it.

I believe that given today’s atmosphere, suggesting we be more spontaneous isn’t helpful or even possible. We need to feel safe to be free with our words and actions, and that simply isn’t true.

I believe that what we can do, and can nurture in others, is real connection. Of deferring judgment – as much as possible – until we can talk. Until we can see that person we have thoughts and judgments about as a human being who is doing their best, just as we are.

Morgana Bailey – on coming out

 

 

Quote of the Week

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”
― André Malraux

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Hiding in plain sight

hiding

 

I’ve been anticipating that the response I get from a colleague to something I put out is one I won’t like, and when I do receive her response, I’m ready to load my anticipations onto my interpretation of it. As a result, I will react emotionally to what she does say. But just so there’s a possibility of dialogue after the reaction, I will do this in private, waiting until I’m cooled down enough to respond.

Another colleague reads about new requirements that he feels he “should have” caught earlier and didn’t, and he reacts by retreating until he, too, can respond in a more measured way.

It isn’t until I reach out for a one-on-one live conversation that I can put aside my expectations and projections (because that’s all I really have up till now) and gain a truly measured understanding. Similarly with my colleague, it isn’t until he has the conversation – live – that he can really appreciate the reality of the situation.

I know I react. I know I can explode. I know that when I explode, the result is rarely anything but destructive. So I hide behind propriety, keeping my opinions to myself until I can express them in a way that I believe will be more acceptable to those I’m expressing them to.

This seems to be the way of everyone in our society, and is leading to an ever-spreading reaction against “political correctness”.  Political correctness gives us the code for being agreeable, and for expressing our anger in a way that is deemed acceptable. But this modern security blanket we use is wearing thin, because just like any security system, it can – and is – used to launch grenades.

We hide in plain sight behind our words and our mask of maturity. We all do – well, most of us – because most of us are afraid of what would happen if we were spontaneous instead.

I grew up believing that I had freedom of speech, that I could say something controversial, or even wrong, and not be punished for it. But in these recent years, that’s changed. My society today isn’t the same comfortable and secure-feeling one of my youth. People – including me – don’t feel secure any longer, right or wrong. And that makes me careful about what I say and how I say it.

I believe that given today’s atmosphere, suggesting we be more spontaneous isn’t helpful or even possible. We need to feel safe to be free with our words and actions, and that simply isn’t true.

I believe that what we can do, and can nurture in others, is real connection. Of deferring judgment – as much as possible – until we can talk. Until we can see that person we have thoughts and judgments about as a human being who is doing their best, just as we are.

 

Announcements

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

 

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 .

Time Travel – it’s exhausting!

 

time

I’ve been having trouble with US customs lately that apparently stems from a comment my boyfriend innocently made when he had crossed on his way home.  He’s American; I’m Canadian. In that comment, he mentioned my name, and for that reason, it appears, my name was written up. Since that time, I have been stopped, questioned, searched, etc.. It is aggressive and I don’t deserve it. And yet, as with many other travellers, it’s happening.

I tend to dwell on things that scare me, and unreasonable behavior scares me.  What’s happening at the border is to me unreasonable. So I find myself attempting to make it make sense, going over and over in my mind what could possibly be behind it.

The truth is – and I know it – that I might never know. So why dwell on it? The past events are past; the future events will be whatever they are going to be.  I have put into action what I can, and now it’s time to let it go. It’s out of my hands and will be whatever it’s going to be.

Well, it isn’t that easy.  I find myself asking: have I looked at every angle? Is there anything I haven’t tried? Then, at some point, I’ll think of something and won’t let it go till I try it out. I’m like a terroir latched onto its favorite bone, gnawing away relentlessly.

Then for some inexplicable reason, I’m tired.  Too tired to see friends, or work out, or even go for a walk. This gives me something more to worry about: my health.

It’s a pattern that you might be familiar with in your own life. If you were to begin to journal every time you found yourself worrying and dwelling, you might be astonished to find that the reason you’re so tired is because of all the energy used up on this activity.

It’s a form of time travel, the kind that uses up energy you could otherwise put to good use. It’s exhausting.

There’s a way of disconnecting ourselves from this pre-occupation. It isn’t easy. It involves coming to terms with our fears; in my case, it’s a fear of what isn’t reasonable, or seemingly logical. For you, it might be a fear of the unknown; of what’s around the corner that you can’t yet see.

It involves letting go of our plans, or our need for understanding and certainty, or for justice, or whatever it is that we feel is missing. It also involves retraining ourselves to re-focus on what we have the power to influence instead on what is out of our hands. Looking at new possibilities that we might otherwise never entertain.

When I begin to think that way, the fear that grips me disappears.

What about you?

The psychology of your future self

Quote of the Week

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.”
-John Lennon

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.

Time Travel – it’s exhausting!

 

time

I’ve been having trouble with US customs lately that apparently stems from a comment my boyfriend innocently made when he had crossed on his way home.  He’s American; I’m Canadian. In that comment, he mentioned my name, and for that reason, it appears, my name was written up. Since that time, I have been stopped, questioned, searched, etc.. It is aggressive and I don’t deserve it. And yet, as with many other travellers, it’s happening.

I tend to dwell on things that scare me, and unreasonable behavior scares me.  What’s happening at the border is to me unreasonable. So I find myself attempting to make it make sense, going over and over in my mind what could possibly be behind it.

The truth is – and I know it – that I might never know. So why dwell on it? The past events are past; the future events will be whatever they are going to be.  I have put into action what I can, and now it’s time to let it go. It’s out of my hands and will be whatever it’s going to be.

Well, it isn’t that easy.  I find myself asking: have I looked at every angle? Is there anything I haven’t tried? Then, at some point, I’ll think of something and won’t let it go till I try it out. I’m like a terroir latched onto its favorite bone, gnawing away relentlessly.

Then for some inexplicable reason, I’m tired.  Too tired to see friends, or work out, or even go for a walk. This gives me something more to worry about: my health.

It’s a pattern that you might be familiar with in your own life. If you were to begin to journal every time you found yourself worrying and dwelling, you might be astonished to find that the reason you’re so tired is because of all the energy used up on this activity.

It’s a form of time travel, the kind that uses up energy you could otherwise put to good use. It’s exhausting.

There’s a way of disconnecting ourselves from this pre-occupation. It isn’t easy. It involves coming to terms with our fears; in my case, it’s a fear of what isn’t reasonable, or seemingly logical. For you, it might be a fear of the unknown; of what’s around the corner that you can’t yet see.

It involves letting go of our plans, or our need for understanding and certainty, or for justice, or whatever it is that we feel is missing. It also involves retraining ourselves to re-focus on what we have the power to influence instead on what is out of our hands. Looking at new possibilities that we might otherwise never entertain.

When I begin to think that way, the fear that grips me disappears.

What about you?

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters for an 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

 

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 .

A False Sense of In-Security

 

A few weeks ago I listened to a friend, passionate about safe bike riding, speaking about how bikers seems to have a false sense of security – they feel safe when they aren’t, and lull themselves into complacency when they need to be alert.

I began to muse on how our society as a whole seems to have, in other arenas, exactly the opposite – a false sense of insecurity:  from our politicians and political policies down to the belief that anyone with children must have a metal-clad SUV to drive their kids around in.

How often have I witnessed lately – and even participated in – people opting for solutions based on protection and nothing else? How often have I witnessed overly aggressive reactions to anyone disagreeing to such a stance? Before I became a therapist and life coach, I was often involved in leading teams to protect companies from potential disaster. I’m used to thinking about protection – probably more so than most others. And this may be why I can recognize this trend today.

As a former disaster recovery expert, I’ve learned that the best solutions to protecting ourselves from possible disasters are always the simplest ones: building in redundancy; ensuring that whatever backup solutions you have are seamless and easy to implement by anyone.

Ironically, experts tell us that we in the Western world live in a time of unparalleled safety. And yet we feel insecure. It may be that we are unused to feeling safe and suspect it. Or it may be that our expectations are unrealistic.

Whatever the reason, this false sense of insecurity is epidemic, and it generates mistrust. Even aggression.

What can you do about it?

  • First become aware of what it looks like, and how it makes you feel. That, in itself, will help you begin to change your approach.
  • Develop a healthy scepticism to anything that generates this false sense of insecurity, by learning to question it and determining its legitimacy.
  • Once you have a clearer picture of what’s happening, you will also have a clearer picture of your options.

Just because we live in a culture of insecurity doesn’t mean we have to participate in it. Feeling insecure is disempowering. You don’t have to live that way.

What fear can teach us

Quote of the Week

One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.” ― J. A. Konrath

 

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

A False Sense of In-Security

 

A few weeks ago I listened to a friend, passionate about safe bike riding, speaking about how bikers seems to have a false sense of security – they feel safe when they aren’t, and lull themselves into complacency when they need to be alert.

I began to muse on how our society as a whole seems to have, in other arenas, exactly the opposite – a false sense of insecurity:  from our politicians and political policies down to the belief that anyone with children must have a metal-clad SUV to drive their kids around in.

How often have I witnessed lately – and even participated in – people opting for solutions based on protection and nothing else? How often have I witnessed overly aggressive reactions to anyone disagreeing to such a stance? Before I became a therapist and life coach, I was often involved in leading teams to protect companies from potential disaster. I’m used to thinking about protection – probably more so than most others. And this may be why I can recognize this trend today.

As a former disaster recovery expert, I’ve learned that the best solutions to protecting ourselves from possible disasters are always the simplest ones: building in redundancy; ensuring that whatever backup solutions you have are seamless and easy to implement by anyone.

Ironically, experts tell us that we in the Western world live in a time of unparalleled safety. And yet we feel insecure. It may be that we are unused to feeling safe and suspect it. Or it may be that our expectations are unrealistic.

Whatever the reason, this false sense of insecurity is epidemic, and it generates mistrust. Even aggression.

What can you do about it?

  • First become aware of what it looks like, and how it makes you feel. That, in itself, will help you begin to change your approach.
  • Develop a healthy scepticism to anything that generates this false sense of insecurity, by learning to question it and determining its legitimacy.
  • Once you have a clearer picture of what’s happening, you will also have a clearer picture of your options.

Just because we live in a culture of insecurity doesn’t mean we have to participate in it. Feeling insecure is disempowering. You don’t have to live that way.

 

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 .

 

That Darn Inner Critic

At a recent conference, standing in front of her peers, Maria had a moment of panic: she found herself wondering why she thought she could impress these people in any way; that if they only knew, she’d be exposed as a fraud.

Never mind that she’d been in practice for over 40 years and was well respected in her field.  In that moment, she felt like a phony, an outsider, unable to belong.

It also didn’t matter that she was mature, astute, and knew what was going on. At least, it didn’t stop the voice – the inner critic.

Our inner critic is powerful – awesomely so. Unchecked, it can and will run our lives. Even Maria’s awareness and experience couldn’t stop it.  But, that awareness did alter its power.

We all have an inner critic, but it isn’t same as being that inner critic. You might say that our inner critic is that part of us that keeps us safe. Some call it our lizard brain. It’s a pre-logic part of us that we share with all other animals. Its only function is to keep us safe. As a result, it sometimes ends up undermining us in order to protect us from shame and possible failure.

That darn inner critic isn’t bad. It isn’t something we need to get rid of. In fact, we never could – nor should we. But it is something we can learn to use in a way that works for us and for it.  Think of it as a little person who is under our protection. That little person lets us know right away when it’s feeling unsafe. When that happens, if we pay attention to it and are aware of it, we can learn to heed what it’s feeling and take action that makes it feel safe again.

Back with Maria, she reassured her inner critic by reviewing what she’d done to prepare for her talk. She’d done a lot, really knew the topic, and had something to say that she knew would interest her audience. That calmed her critic. In fact, what began as fear and anxiety suddenly turned into excitement.  That little critic of hers – in that moment – became her ally.

Self-Compassion

Quote of the Week

We are all failures- at least the best of us are.”
― J.M. Barrie

 

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

That Darn Inner Critic

At a recent conference, standing in front of her peers, Maria had a moment of panic: she found herself wondering why she thought she could impress these people in any way; that if they only knew, she’d be exposed as a fraud.

Never mind that she’d been in practice for over 40 years and was well respected in her field.  In that moment, she felt like a phony, an outsider, unable to belong.

It also didn’t matter that she was mature, astute, and knew what was going on. At least, it didn’t stop the voice – the inner critic.

Our inner critic is powerful – awesomely so. Unchecked, it can and will run our lives. Even Maria’s awareness and experience couldn’t stop it.  But, that awareness did alter its power.

We all have an inner critic, but it isn’t same as being that inner critic. You might say that our inner critic is that part of us that keeps us safe. Some call it our lizard brain. It’s a pre-logic part of us that we share with all other animals. Its only function is to keep us safe. As a result, it sometimes ends up undermining us in order to protect us from shame and possible failure.

That darn inner critic isn’t bad. It isn’t something we need to get rid of. In fact, we never could – nor should we. But it is something we can learn to use in a way that works for us and for it.  Think of it as a little person who is under our protection. That little person lets us know right away when it’s feeling unsafe. When that happens, if we pay attention to it and are aware of it, we can learn to heed what it’s feeling and take action that makes it feel safe again.

Back with Maria, she reassured her inner critic by reviewing what she’d done to prepare for her talk. She’d done a lot, really knew the topic, and had something to say that she knew would interest her audience. That calmed her critic. In fact, what began as fear and anxiety suddenly turned into excitement.  That little critic of hers – in that moment – became her ally.

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 .