Tag Archive: fear

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 .

 

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

The gift and power of emotional courage

 

Quote of the Week 

Problem is, the bathroom pass can’t help you escape life. It’s still there when you come out. Problems and crap don’t go away hiding in the can.”
― Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry

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.

 

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

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 .

 

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 .

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 .

 

Being vulnerable – what does it really mean?

 

Listening to Krista Tippett  being interviewed (for a change). The topic was Vulnerability.

Her point, when asked about her own vulnerability, was that it is ever-present. Otherwise, why all the many studies that continue on this topic?

It’s something we learn to hide at an early age – that’s why we armor. Something that we protect the most. Something that we know is precious, and that we therefore treat as fragile.

I know I do at times. I can become highly protective of my own vulnerability whenever I’m with someone I don’t trust, or who I feel is attacking me.  What I tend to do is to attack back. It’s a natural response: one of two that we have at our disposal when feeling threatened.

My challenge – and I suspect this is true for may of you – is to learn to treat my own vulnerability as powerful, and not fragile. So that when I feel threatened, I can still show that I’m vulnerable – can still show the tender parts – and know, deep down, that I am safe.

 

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 .

Releasing the Handcuffs of Attachment

attachments

 

The father who insists his son take over the family business.  The mother who over-mothers. The boss who micro-manages.  If they don’t drive their intended victims crazy, they definitely drive all their onlookers nuts.

But, in case you think that’s somene else, recall the last time you wanted something to work out so badly – and were afraid it wouldn’t – that you found yourself “nudging” people, places and things to get to your desired effect.  If you managed to stop and take a look around you, you might’ve noticed a lot of annoyed onlookers. You know, those guys you just handcuffed to your idea of what the future should look like.

Nobody likes to be manipulated or “lead”, including us.  But worry and desire can turn us into this kind of person.

The antidote to being attached is self-awareness. Plain and simple. Becoming aware of our impact and value in any situation can bring us back to our senses and into balance and harmony with ourselves and our fellows.

I know that, for me, the times I find myself manipulating a situatin for a desired end is when I’m afraid I’ll loose something precious to me. That someone more powerful than me will somehow destroy that possibility.  When I bring this feeling in front of me and examine it, it seems pretty foolish. After all, as an adult, the only way someone else could really do that was if I had no other alternatives.  But that isn’t likely. It’s really only my fear, my insecurity and lack of awareness that lets me think so.

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

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

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

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

On Anxiety

Stayed up way too late last night…reading a fantasy novel.  That way, didn’t have to think about the things on my “must do” list – way too many things.  Woke only a little late…that’s good.  Having a quiet coffee and letting the day unfold in peace, if only for a short while.  Now what… I can feel my heart begin to race.  HOW AM I EVER GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS?!?!  Two people here in less than an hour, an offsite meeting after that, then pack up my car with stuff for a friend, then research on a new project, then clients …. and I haven’t even got to quality time with loved ones yet!!!!!!

The first thing that has to go is the list…just let it go.  Lists always mean, for me, that I’m too wound up already.  Deep breateh in, ,…..then out.  Ahhhhhhhh.  Priorities.  What is priority today?  My friends, quality time, my clients.  Forget about the rest, for now.

See how it goes.  And to begin, a short quiet walk to remind myself how lucky I am for my health, my loved ones, my opportunities, and this gorgeous day….

Martha Beck – Calm all fear

Quote of the Week
Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
― Corrie ten Boom

Announcements
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 .

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