Tag Archive: worry

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 

Time Relativity

 

When I’m crazy busy, time seems to stop until I take a breath and realize the day has gone.  Or when, as happens more mornings than I’d like, going through my to do list for the day has me already at 7pm that night. Then there are a few days when I find myself free of anything “to do”, and gaze into nothingness in wonder of the possibilities.

On rare occasions, I wake up, allowing the day to unfold, being present to what enters into it. Being with what is.

Time is a kind of human construct. It’s a measure of motion. But it’s more than that … it’s also a measure of expectation, anticipation, and presence.  Its speed is relative to what we do and where we are in our minds. That may be why time isn’t a problem for kids – they have no expectations, anticipating joy or wonder around every corner, and being fully present and engaged with whatever is. It’s us grown-ups, formerly kids, who let our worries and expectations get in the way of living.

How to gain control of your free time

 

Quote of the Week 

Time is an illusion (Einstein). It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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 Relativity

 

When I’m crazy busy, time seems to stop until I take a breath and realize the day has gone.  Or when, as happens more mornings than I’d like, going through my to do list for the day has me already at 7pm that night. Then there are a few days when I find myself free of anything “to do”, and gaze into nothingness in wonder of the possibilities.

On rare occasions, I wake up, allowing the day to unfold, being present to what enters into it. Being with what is.

Time is a kind of human construct. It’s a measure of motion. But it’s more than that … it’s also a measure of expectation, anticipation, and presence.  Its speed is relative to what we do and where we are in our minds. That may be why time isn’t a problem for kids – they have no expectations, anticipating joy or wonder around every corner, and being fully present and engaged with whatever is. It’s us grown-ups, formerly kids, who let our worries and expectations get in the way of living.

 

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 

Making much about nothing

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a goal in mind – something you want to accomplish by the end of the week, because you have other goals in mind that depend on accomplishing this particular task. But it means getting the cooperation, time and effort of others, without which that goal is not possible. Well, that’s worrying! Having to depend on the good will and cooperation of others! I don’t know about you, but it makes my stomach double in on itself: I immediately and automatically begin to think of all the things that might go wrong, that I have to cover somehow. It doesn’t take long before I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted … without having made a single move towards getting the task done.

If it isn’t familiar to you at a personal level, then you have heard about it. There are books, papers, clichés, even movies made about this single thing: making much about nothing.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, building a mountain out of a molehill are 2 of those clichés. I still do it  – make something out of almost nothing – far too often. If I don’t snap myself out of it, I could end up making my fears come true. At the least, I might miss the opportunity I had, living instead in fear of something I’ve imagined.

It’s a mind game. I know it’s a mind game. And yet it happens again and again.  I really want to know how I can stop it, and move instead in a different and better direction. Even though it still happens to me, it doesn’t happen with the frequency or intensity that it once had. I’ve found a way of regaining control over my anxieties of future worrying possibilities. Here’s what I do:

  • Feel it. I’ve learned to know what it physically feels like to go into worry and “what if’s”: a body awareness that is unique to each of us, and that tells me when I’m going down that particular trail. For me it’s my stomach, and a clenching in my upper chest behind my breast bone.  When I feel this sensation, I gain a valuable awareness that I’m about to do something that will cause me pain.
  • Stop it. There’s one thing I know with certainty about going down that road: it’s a waste of time and will generate nothing good. So the best thing I can do is to stop the progression in its tracks. There are probably many ways to stop yourself: I do it by saying (shouting, in fact) “Stop it!”, or “Don’t go there! It’s useless.” That works for me; it gives me a breather. It gives me a few seconds to go down a different path: one of my choosing.
  • Change it. That other path is something I’ve built up for years, refining and reinforcing it over and over, until it’s smooth, stable, steady – able to carry heavy loads. A major throughway – autobahn – in my mind. Without that road, all I have is a void – a hole – that I don’t trust and that makes me nervous.  I need to replace that hole with a new path, then reinforce that new path until it is at least as well constructed as the old one. It’s called building a new habit. It takes time and persistence. At first, it’s astonishingly hard, but over time, it gets easier.  My way is to take a big breath, then bring out of hiding the fear that is always at the root of my worry. It calms me, and gives me the energy I need to do something truly constructive.

Feel it. Stop it. Change it. Making something about something, instead of much about nothing.

The 4 AM Mystery

 

Quote of the Week 

I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.”
― Oscar Wilde

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 .

Making much about nothing

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a goal in mind – something you want to accomplish by the end of the week, because you have other goals in mind that depend on accomplishing this particular task. But it means getting the cooperation, time and effort of others, without which that goal is not possible. Well, that’s worrying! Having to depend on the good will and cooperation of others! I don’t know about you, but it makes my stomach double in on itself: I immediately and automatically begin to think of all the things that might go wrong, that I have to cover somehow. It doesn’t take long before I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted … without having made a single move towards getting the task done.

If it isn’t familiar to you at a personal level, then you have heard about it. There are books, papers, clichés, even movies made about this single thing: making much about nothing.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, building a mountain out of a molehill are 2 of those clichés. I still do it  – make something out of almost nothing – far too often. If I don’t snap myself out of it, I could end up making my fears come true. At the least, I might miss the opportunity I had, living instead in fear of something I’ve imagined.

It’s a mind game. I know it’s a mind game. And yet it happens again and again.  I really want to know how I can stop it, and move instead in a different and better direction. Even though it still happens to me, it doesn’t happen with the frequency or intensity that it once had. I’ve found a way of regaining control over my anxieties of future worrying possibilities. Here’s what I do:

  • Feel it. I’ve learned to know what it physically feels like to go into worry and “what if’s”: a body awareness that is unique to each of us, and that tells me when I’m going down that particular trail. For me it’s my stomach, and a clenching in my upper chest behind my breast bone.  When I feel this sensation, I gain a valuable awareness that I’m about to do something that will cause me pain.
  • Stop it. There’s one thing I know with certainty about going down that road: it’s a waste of time and will generate nothing good. So the best thing I can do is to stop the progression in its tracks. There are probably many ways to stop yourself: I do it by saying (shouting, in fact) “Stop it!”, or “Don’t go there! It’s useless.” That works for me; it gives me a breather. It gives me a few seconds to go down a different path: one of my choosing.
  • Change it. That other path is something I’ve built up for years, refining and reinforcing it over and over, until it’s smooth, stable, steady – able to carry heavy loads. A major throughway – autobahn – in my mind. Without that road, all I have is a void – a hole – that I don’t trust and that makes me nervous.  I need to replace that hole with a new path, then reinforce that new path until it is at least as well constructed as the old one. It’s called building a new habit. It takes time and persistence. At first, it’s astonishingly hard, but over time, it gets easier.  My way is to take a big breath, then bring out of hiding the fear that is always at the root of my worry. It calms me, and gives me the energy I need to do something truly constructive.

Feel it. Stop it. Change it. Making something about something, instead of much about nothing.

 

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 .

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 .

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 .

 

Beating the Odds

There are many kinds of disasters. Some life-shattering, most not life-shattering. Those that are truly awful aren’t usually the kind we can predict or avoid. The rest usually are.

Like driving down a major highway in traffic, wearing white and eating cherries.

I did exactly that 5 days ago. My thinking went like this: You know this could be disastrous.  But it’s OK.  I’ll be careful.  Well, the inevitable happened … I wasn’t careful enough.

I predicted it. I could have avoided it easily. I didn’t, instead convincing myself that I could beat the odds. This time.

I take silly risks like this every day, filling the void created from avoiding worry or boredom with something that brings excitement and distraction.

How would my day be different if, instead, I acknowledged my worry or boredom, and truly nourished my spirit?

 

Announcements

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