Posts tagged ‘positive change’

April 24, 2011

From overwhelmed to calm

by Dandy

We are all powerful people.  But powerful people have their limits.  How is your power being weakened throughout the days, weeks, months as we lead our professional, home, and personal lives?  There are aspects of our lives that can be creative, happy, and engaging in the right setting, but all too frequently we find ourselves overwhelmed and doubting our abilities.

We certainly all know the feelings of being overwhelmed and over extended.  Of having to put our time and energy into the frustrations of life.  In a state of being over extended we may find that our personal relationships are suffering.  We may find ourselves uninspired to connect in meaningful ways with our loved ones.  For some of us may find our jobs have become our primary relationship and our job has become an unforgiving taskmaster.

Health can suffer.  We may find ourselves unable to fall asleep or stay asleep with the nagging worries we have.  Unhealthy eating or not eating enough, our bodies become lethargic and weakened.  Purposeful exercise feels like it would be a luxury.  We are in a state of overwhelm when…

*Our shoulders feel the weight of the world on them.

* We wake up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts of worry.

*  We don’t look forward to doing what once brought us great happiness.

*  We find ourselves thinking if we only worked harder or did better than we could make it all work out.

Different choices need to be made when we are overwhelmed.  The following strategy will be able to help identify and get out of the over extendedness and prevent it from happing again.

  Know Your Limits

We must be able to recognize when we are over extended.  So many of us have been fighting and pushing for so long that we see it as normal.  Everyone of us has signs that let us know we’ve hit our limit and those signs are present before we are overwhelmed.  This is the line between being happily busy and productive to being overwhelmed.  To discover our limits we need to think back to a time to when we were happily busy and productive…functioning, not stressed.  What were we doing?  How were we doing it?  Discovering our limits requires an inner journey to discover how we want the rhythm of our life to happen.  By knowing our limits we can avoid or notice it more quickly and be able to correct it sooner.

  Change Priorities

When in the state of overwhelm there is a different way of prioritizing  that supports us, it is a mindset of crisis intervention, so to speak.  Rather than looking at the most important items and plugging away, look to complete the easiest.  So the project that can be done the fastest and easiest.

  Focus On the Inner Journey

Being overwhelmed is a state of mind.  Thoughts such as, “how am I going to get all of this done?” and “I don’t have any time for me anymore.”  Feelings of anxiety, frustration, and fatigue are telling us that we are running on fumes.  We must be mindful of filling ourselves up, with creativity, positivity, joy, and vitality.  This is our fuel.  When we recognize that our positive emotions are depleting, we must give ourselves the time and attention necessary to bring balance back into our lives.

  Restful Days

Just as our bodies need recharging, so do our minds.  This requires rest on a regular basis.  This means taking a day out of every week where the focus is on rest.  The rest of our days are already filled up with work, school, laundry, and grocery shopping.  A day of rest requires a different sort of energy… one of calmness, recharging, relaxing, and fun.  By taking this one day a week for ourselves, we are supported in keeping our creativity high and the ability to meet whatever presents itself to us in a positive manner.

Make the choice to choose a strategy that will have you transforming feelings of being over extended into feelings of calmness.  Know that you deserve it.

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February 28, 2011

On Seeking Closure

by Dandy

Do you need to close the book on an event that has caused you pain?  Is it a book you take out often and reread it in the hope of finding a different ending only to feel the same old anguish?

It is inevitable, there will be times when we hit a bump in our relationships, leaving us wondering what happened and why.  If you are in need of closure continue reading.

Loose Ends

What is behind that lingering feeling?  What thoughts are still tying you to this person?  Usually anger and guilt are the emotions felt.  Anger over what someone did to you, their lack of accountability.  Guilt over what you did (or didn’t do) to someone else and your resulting feeling of regret.

Acceptance

In order to free ourselves from anger and guilt requires acceptance.  To look at the truth for what it is without self-deception.  Accept your mistakes.  They happened, there’s no going back.

Forgiveness

Another thing that unties the binds that hold us is forgiveness.  In order to free ourselves from someone who has hurt us and all associated negativity is to forgive.  Our hatred has tied us to the person responsible for our anguish.  When the one who has harmed us or their negative actions come to mind, send them a blessing.  The first 100 times we try this it may seem forced or empty, but keep tying.  Eventually, it will turn into a habit.  Then peace will come to us.  Peace will replace anguish.

The Apology

If we have guilt or shame because we were the transgressor then apologize.  It’s not as simple as a, “I’m sorry.”  There must be genuine depth and full accountability.  No excuses.  An apology with an excuse is a false one.  Take complete responsibility for your actions.  Also no blaming.  Do not bring the other persons actions, behavior, or feelings into your bad choices.  Explain the underlying problem or issue, describe it, then tell them what you intend to do to rectify the problem, so that you can avoid making the mistakes again.

Symbolism

If it isn’t possible to have direct closure with the transgressor we can still have a formal goodbye.  This even helps if we did have a face to face meeting with the person.  Gather things that remind you of the person and burn them, or donate to charity.  Write a eulogy to the relationship and sy it out loud, then burn the paper it is written on.

Write it Out

It may be helpful to document the relationship with the offender, from beginning to end.  This can be very painful, but it will give us a broader perspective.  We may choose to keep the story or destroy it.  The very act of documenting and “closing the book” will help us to find emotional closure.

Start a New Book

The memories of the person we need closer from will never be erased.  But we can use the experience to our advantage, to better ourselves  and to help others.  If we are the transgressor, resolve to never make the mistake again, then go another step forward and help others to not make your mistakes.

Make the end of this relationship a turning point.  We can move forward in a positive new direction.

Remember, we must give ourselves time to heal.  The healing process never happens overnight.  Also visualization can do powerful things.  Whenever we think of the person send a blessing and visualize them in front of us, then imagine blowing him or her away with a breath.  Let them go.  Everytime we find ourselves we must do this visualization.  So take a deep breath and let them go.

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up, but rather accepting that there are things that cannot be.  -Anon

February 7, 2011

Self-gratitude

by Dandy

With so much emphasis on gratitude and how it positively affect our lives, I would like to focus on self-gratitude.  When we have self-gratitude, we can appreciate ourselves without any outside influence.  It can be difficult to do, but it is one of the most powerful things we will ever do.

There are so many wonderful books and articles that focus on self-improvement.  There is only one thing that makes the advice and tools work or not – the user.  It’s how the user feels about themself that will determine if the self-improvement technique will work.  That is the key to positive change.  Gratitude is a powerful attitude that will bring results and self-gratitude can change everything about your life. 

We all play the “lets beat ourselves up” game.  We replay over in our heads the mistakes we made, regrets we have.  We tell ourselves we’re not good enough.  It is a self-defeating cycle that is heart breaking.  So learning self-gratitude requires that we begin to appreciate ourselves where we are less than satisfied with our choices.  It’s time to give ourselves a break already

One way to do that is to write out a done list.  Not the things we need to do, but have already done for ourselves.  We are the most important person in our lives. If we fail to recognize the things we do for ourselves, we will be discounting our value.

Always start by being grateful for what is.  If we make ourselves a delicious breakfast, acknowledge and feel the gratitude.  Write down everything on the list that we’ve done for ourselves, even if it’s finishing the laundry.  Also the needed time to refocus and recharge and let the gratitude felt, spread to the other things we do.

Eventually we’ll see our done lists get longer and longer.  The magic that happens from having self-gratitude is we will find that we get better at the things we do.  As we start to have more appreciation for ourselves there will be less and less beating ourselves up. 

As we write our life done list and our daily done list we can get creative and even crazy.  No one else needs to see the lists.  We will shine in our own excellence.

 

January 17, 2011

Cognitive Distortions: Win against it

by Dandy

When you think about your negative thoughts do you see a possibility that your mind plays tricks on you?  Can you see how negative thinking can distort your view?  Cognitive distortions-where your mind puts a spin on the events we experience, and attaches a not-so-objective interpretation to what we experience.  These distortions of thinking happen all the time.  They are especially common in people with depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. 

The theory of cognitive distortions came about in the 1960’s with Aaron T. Beck leading the way with his research.  Cognitive therapy has helped multitudes of people since then.

When we know to be aware of these thoughts, it becomes easy to see the cognitive distortions in ourselves and others.  Doing so in ourselves can bring lasting positive change in the way we experience stressors in our lives.

Here are the 10 most common (and officially recognized) cognitive distortions

  1. Overgeneralization: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  2. Mental filter: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
  3. Disqualifying the positive: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. You maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
  4. Jumping to conclusions: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion.                                                                                                               >>Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you and don’t bother to check it out.
    >>The Fortune Teller Error: You anticipate that things will turn out badly and feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
  5. Magnification (catastrophizing) or minimization: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”
  6. Emotional reasoning: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
  7. Should statements: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
  8. Labeling and mislabeling: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him, “He’s a damn louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  9. Personalization: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external event for which, in fact, you were not primarily responsible.
  10. All-or-nothing thinking: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these?  To conquer over negativity and depression/anxiety, we can and must stop these automatic thoughts and replace them with more positive ones.  We have the power to change negative thoughts.  We have the power to live a happier, more fulfilling life.

November 17, 2010

Accept and be free

by Dandy

There is so much stress coming at us from all directions.  Some of it is avoidable, some is not.  Sometimes we bring it upon ourselves by trying to fix people or wishing they would change.  Learning to accept things and people for what and who they are means stepping out of the self-imposed stress and letting go.

There are people we look at and see what they are doing wrong and the various ways they could improve themselves and their lives.  That is judgement.   We are all guilty of it.  Sometimes that judgement can cause us anguish and heavy amounts of stress.  When we are wrapped up tightly around people who have qualities we disapprove of it affects us in profoundly negative ways. 

People are who they are.  Just because we see room for improvement in their lives doesn’t mean they’ll change.  People won’t change because we want them to be happier, better, or different.  No matter how many times we kiss a frog it will still be a frog.

Start by choosing to accept yourself.  We all pick ourselves apart at times.  Women especially are notorious for this.  When we feel we aren’t good enough we either have high expectations of our partners, or have none at all.  Just because we feel a person should be a certain way doesn’t mean they will feel obligated to meet those expectations.  Nobody is obligated to adopt or adhere to our belief system.  Do not speak or think the words, “ought to”, “should”, or ,”why can’t she”.  If you are profoundly unhappy with someone, move on and away from them if possible.  If the someone is someone you can’t say toodles to, strictly limit your time with them.  Look after your own well-being.

That’s the wonderful benefit of learning to accept others for who they are…it frees you from having to problem solve, giving unwanted help, and unsolicited advice.  It frees you from all the energy it takes to try to change someone.  Take all that precious energy and put it into your precious self. 

Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable, and remove yourself from the anacceptable. – Denis Waitley

What are the things you need to stop judging yourself on?  Who have you been trying to change?  Can you wish them well on their journey and let go?

October 25, 2010

Mastering our thoughts

by Dandy

Do you ever have moments where you think everything is out of control? That there’s chaos and turmoil whirling about you? Moments where you are short-tempered and sarcastic to your loved ones? I certainly do. Sometimes I huff and puff, and stomp around the house with an ugly scowl on my face. I say things I later regret. I feel the physical symptoms in my body. My face is hot and flushed, my heart races, my mouth goes dry, and my head starts to pound. I feel that loss of control and it distresses me even more, because I’m letting it happen. Then I feel shame for loosing control over myself. Shame for showing my partner my ugly behavior.

I like to think of myself as an advanced human being. I contemplate, I read voraciously, I study. I constantly seek to better myself. But in those moments of anger and distress I blame others. In those moments I feel I am a victim of my environment. Something made me feel that way. In those moments it’s like being in a black hole.
Our thoughts exist to create situations, events, and circumstances to reflect back to us what we really believe. Our thoughts help to create our experiences. What we experience is from what we believe, or think about. To change our experiences we have to change our thoughts.

We attract experiences to us that match our energy pattern – the energy created by our thoughts. Having a positive attitude comes from the way we think.  Positive thoughts literally puts us in touch with positive experiences.

 

If I believe that life is hard and unfair, then it will be so.  If I believe there is chaos in my house and life, then there will be.  If I believe I have no control over myself, then I won’t.  If I believe anxiety leads me, then it will.  Realizing that my thoughts and beliefs determine my experiences, will stop me in my tracks in those distressing moments.

 I believe the next distressing moment I have I will be able to keep my energy positive.  I believe I will be able to gain my composure and not make sarcastic comments.  The next distressing moment I have I will experience positive thoughts.  So bring it on life!

“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.”  Norman Vincent Peale

October 18, 2010

Are you being sabotaged?

by Dandy

In my post Self-sabotage, I wrote about the little and big things we do to sabotage our best efforts.  The negative self-talk, the excuses, the self-doubt all besiege our interests in bettering our lives.  We often work against ourselves and don’t realize it.  I received many thoughtful replies to that post and while writing it I realized that sometimes it’s not just ourselves that sabotage.  Sometimes it’s others.  It can even come from people who love and care about us.

It may or may not be intentional, but our friends and family might be disrupting our attempts to better ourselves.  Common tactics are complaining, temptation, and passing judgement.  For example, if you are wanting to get fit, they may complain that the gym  is taking up too much of your time.  Or you may be trying to get ahead at work and taking college classes for advancement, your friends may tempt you by asking you to go out with them instead of going to class.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your loved ones may not realize their comments and behaviors are upsetting to you.  Also they may have insecurities about their own life issues and they don’t like the pressure this puts on them to take a closer look at those issues. There is also the possibility that they fear they’ll be left behind while you are making these positive changes.  They may feel the relationship is threatened.

They may also fail to understand why these changes you are making are so important to you.  It is to your benefit and theirs if you explain that you fear for your health, which is why you’re hitting the gym.  You can explain that you are unhappy with the lack of responsibility and low wages at your job, hence the dedication to achieving more education.  Your loved ones may not appreciate your reasons if they are unable to relate.

Their negative behaviors can certainly hurt and cause you distress especially if you are stumbling down the road to self-improvement.  Of course you cannot control the behaviors of others, but you can control your own.  So how do you neutralize this sabotage?

It’s important to be honest with your loved ones.  Tell them why you are unhappy with your life and how much it means to you to try to do something about it.  Ask them for their help.  If you involve them in this mission for self-improvement they will be more apt to see your point of view.  If you have support you are more likely than not to succeed.  Ask your friends to exercise with you.  Ask them to take a brisk walk with you while you catch up on the latest.  Then reward yourselves by resting at the local coffee shop over skinny lattes.  Ask a loved one to help you study, or ask if it would be ok to call them the night before a big exam to receive a dose of “you can do it” for your shaky nerves.

If your on the tail end of their passing judgement, tell yourself it’s not about you.  That it is a mere reflection of their own personal issues.  Your life is your own.  They can’t live it for you.

It’s also good to be prepared ahead of time if you know you’ll meet up with those that have trouble with you life changes.  For the person who isn’t comfortable with your health efforts by offering you a huge slab of cake, tell them, “it looks delicious and you might have some later.”  But for anyone who keeps persisting with temptations simply say, “I’m trying to make a positive change for myself and I would love and appreciate your support.”

Our journeys are our own responsibilities and you are accountable for your choices.  For those who really do want what’s best for you, their actions will speak louder than words, by helping you achieve your dreams and goals.  Only you can decide what is best for you.   The reigns are all yours!

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