The Power in the way we Think

Posts tagged ‘perspective’

Resolutions

resolutions comic

At the close of one year and the beginning of the next many people pledge that they will “change their ways”.

Lose weight, stay organised, join a gym, give up sugar, start a business, take better care of family, save money.

In the last few days of December most of us make the resolution to “make it happen”. For the first few days or weeks, or even months, you go great. Then stuff happens and everything falls over. You end up feeling like a failure and start believing that you’ll never be any good at anything.

The following year you repeat the same process. And again the following year. And again. And again and again.

You create a pattern of: set resolution, go well for short period, fail, beat self up, repeat.

And within a very short space of time you hate yourself because you can never do anything right.

Sound familiar?

What if you could change your patterns, achieve what you set out to do and feel great about it?

Here are some tips that may help:

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  1. Find your passion – you’re much more likely to achieve something if you are emotionally invested in it. So choose something that you can get excited about! If joining a gym and working out on weight machines, treadmills and rowers has you almost falling asleep with boredom, don’t go near it! But if your aim is to get fitter, and you love football, consider joining a team in your community. If it’s not something that really gets your juices flowing, forget it! Seriously. It’s not worth the angst you would put yourself through.
  2. Don’t try to do everything at once – losing weight AND saving money AND staying organised AND being a better parent AND giving up sugar AND quitting smoking. I’m exhausted just thinking about all that! You’ll overwhelm yourself with new things to do and adding it all into an already full weekly schedule puts you behind the starting gate even before the horse is out of the stable! This stuff needs to work FOR you, not against you! Our brains can only hold a limited amount of information at a time, so don’t try to cram too much in there at once.
  3. Take the word “resolution” out of the equation – like diets, they just don’t work. There seems to be a societal smart goals explainedmindset about them. Instead set goals. And set SMART goals. If you really want to achieve them, make sure that they are (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)ealistic, and (T)ime based. Let’s say we use the example in point 1. Your overall aim is to be fitter. You love football and decide to join a team. So, you could set a goal of being able to run the length of the field 5 times without stopping during practice, by February 1, 2014. This goal is very specific. You’ve stated exactly what you’re going to do. It’s measurable. You can count 5 laps of the field. Achievable and realistic? That depends. If, right now, you find running 50 metres difficult, you might like to adjust your goal to something more achievable for you, such as running 2 lengths in 1 month. Or extend the time frame to 3 months. However, if you can currently run 3 lengths without any problems, another 2 lengths inside a month shouldn’t pose too many difficulties. Time based? This one is pretty self-explanatory. You put a time frame around the goal. So running the 5 lengths within the month. Or 2 months. Or however long you think would be realistic for you. Plan it out, and make it work for you. If you don’t think it will work within the constraints you have in your life (other commitments like work, family, managing a house and so on), either adjust it so it does fit, or drop it entirely. It’s not worth the angst.
  4. Create a plan – break your goal down into manageable steps so that you know how much work you need to do to reach it. Start from your end point. For example, for the “run 5 lengths of the field” goal in 4 weeks (Jan 1 to Feb 1), you can break that down. You would need to run 2.5 lengths in 2 weeks, and 1 ¼ lengths in 1 week. If you know that, you can assess whether it is realistic and then plan your training so you can reach each weekly goal. There is a saying that goes something like, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
  5. Reward yourself – let’s say you’ve set your SMART goals, created a plan and scheduled in the steps to reach them. Plan in some rewards for yourself at regular intervals. For example, if you want to lose 15kg in 6 months, set yourself up some smaller goals in there. When you reach 5kg, treat yourself to a new haircut. At 10, maybe try a massage as a reward for all that hard work. And at your biggest milestone, a new wardrobe! You’ll need new clothes by then anyway, right? Whatever rewards you choose, plan them in advance and schedule them in. And use rewards that excite you!
  6. “What if?” scenarios – plan in some strategies for when things get tough. Because they certainly will! Things don’t always go smoothly. Kids get sick, extra bills crop up. Stuff happens. Accept that and go with the flow. The key is to not allow a few hiccups to derail you. So what if your child has to have emergency surgery and you end up sitting by the bed eating vending machine food for a week. What is more important to you in that moment? Being there to support and love your child, or getting into the gym at 5am? Life happens. So your goal is delayed a couple of weeks. Big deal. You could try minimising the impact by calling in a few favours from family or friends and asking them to provide you with some healthy, quick meals while you’re at your child’s bedside. But even if the contingency plan doesn’t happen, don’t stress it. A few weeks out of the rest of your life should not be a big enough thing to derail what you are passionate about. It’s much more important to keep your stress levels down so you can deal with the crisis at hand and then, once you’ve recovered, get back to your plan, revise it, and keep moving forward.
  7. Be flexible – things change. Priorities change. Obstacles crop up. You need to be flexible enough to go with the flow and readjust things as you need to. Don’t allow a few obstacles to dictate how you live for the rest of your life. YOU are way more important for that.
  8. Get very clear on why – you need some clarity on why it is you want to achieve your goals. What values do you have good stuff always worth the work it takesthat the goals you choose help you meet. For example, if you want to be a better parent and you decide that you will schedule a weekly “family night” (whatever that looks like for you), ask yourself why. Why is a family night important? Maybe because you love your family and you want to strengthen the bond within the family unit? Whatever it is for you, get very, very clear on it. Write it down, display it. Have it in your face every single day as a reminder (see point 10 as a creative way to do this).
  9. Remind yourself that you are worthy – of the time and effort it takes to improve yourself and your life. Of the reward you will see at the end when you have achieved what you set out to do.
  10. Create a vision board – I published a post back in July about how to create a vision board. They can be an amazing way to keep you focused and remind you of why you are doing what you are doing.

Note: The more excitement there is, the more likely you are to stick with it. So, find your passion and go get it! Feel free to share your 2014 goals and strategies! I’d love to hear them.

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Emotional words and substitutions

I found a blog post on another site that I thought might be useful for some people. If you have ever found yourself caught up in the cycle of negative thinking, this article may help.

“I can never do anything right”. “I feel so lonely”. I can’t do this, it’s too hard”.

All of these and more.

This article gives you a few choices to change some of the words you use. If you can change just one or two words whenever you catch yourself voicing the negative words, over time you could change your perspective and be living a life with less negative emotions and more of the ones that help you. The full link can be found here. http://www.misterpma.com/1/post/2013/11/the-negative-to-positive-emotion-transformation.html

Also take a look at one of my previous posts here that will give you a little information about how these thought processes work. https://themindseteffect.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/they-made-me/

I’d love some feedback on how helpful you find both articles, so feel free to comment below 🙂

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We are emotional beings, this is what we are. Everything that happens in our life makes us feel some sort of emotion. Whether it’s the satisfaction from eating our morning breakfast, the anger from our daily commute to work, the challenge from working out at the gym, the joy from spending time with loved ones, the calmness from relaxing in a quiet place alone, or the sadness from dealing with some sort of loss, we feel emotion in everything we do and we will continue to do so for the rest of our life. Therefore if we are bound to feel emotions for the remainder of our life, why should we be stuck feeling negative emotions?

Well for some reason, over the years that the English language has been developing, we have decided to create almost two times as many words describing negative emotions over positive ones . It is estimated that there are over 2000 words describing negative emotion, while at the same time just over 1000 words describing the opposite. Luckily we as humans were given one amazing gift, which is the ability to choose.

This ability to choose allows us to do something pretty amazing, it allows us to change the words we use to describe the emotions we feel. As such we can simple turn a words like depressed to on the road to a turn around, frustrated to challenged, or I hate to I prefer. By simply choosing to use a not so negative word to describe your emotion you will slowly, but surely start to feel more and more positive one word at a time.

Let’s take a quick look at some negative words and a more positive twist on them:

emotions alternatives

As you can see, your emotional state can quickly be altered just by simply changing the words used to describe such feelings. Although you will still be describing the emotions you’re feeling from the situation, you now will be feeling it in more of a positive light.

I now challenge you to choose five of the words above you think you will use today and try to use the positive transformation version instead. I promise if you do this long enough the emotions you feel will become more positive.

 

Finding the Calm

stress cartoon

I found the following article whilst trawling my Facebook newsfeed this morning so I thought I would share it with you all. The link to the full article is below, which has the original source (and links) and information on the author. The tips are great! I have used many of them myself, have recommended them to my clients and their feedback has been positive. They work well 🙂

Number 2 is the only one that presents any kind of issue to me. Not because it doesn’t work. It does! My issue is a professional one. Sometimes it can be really difficult to get some perspective if you are personally involved in the situation. You might sometimes end up going around in circles in your head. So I would suggest that if you find yourself in that spot, consider firstly taking some space and time away from the situation before coming back to it. If it is still an issue, consider talking with a professional (counsellor or psychologist). They may be able to help you gain some clarity and break things down into manageable chunks.

Enjoy the article 🙂

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11359/15-ways-to-find-calm-in-less-than-5-minutes.html

1. Spray some lavender

Studies have shown that this popular flowering herb can be applied topically to relax your muscles or it can be inhaled for calming effects. It’s an effective remedy for anxiety, depression, irritability, panic, stress and sleep problems.

2. Find a new perspective.

Change your perspective on the situation; ask yourself why you’re feeling overwhelmed. Is this really worth stressing over? Can you solve this problem? Do you have a roof over your head and food on the table? Are things really as bad as your mind is making it out to be? Gain a positive attitude and be sure to laugh along the way.

walk cartoon3. Go for a walk.

To reap the calming effects of walking, you don’t need to pound the pavement for hours on end. A comfortable stroll can be just as effective as a power walk. The secret is to use your mind, focus on the present moment and connect with nature.

4. Play soothing music.

Pick music that is soothing with a slow tempo and light instruments. Music is my anchor to calm. Every time stress sneaks in, I can play this song by Paul Fogarty, and I’m instantly peaceful.

5. Meditate.

Meditate in short intervals throughout your day. Relax, relax, relax.

6. Smile! smile cartoon

When you smile, a sense of peace and well-being develops; simply put, you just feel happy. Try smiling, even when you’re stuck in traffic.

7. Breathe deeply.

When you feel agitated, you tend to breathe rapidly or shallow. Pay attention to your breath and you will experience quick and instant relaxation. Slow down your breath, and in particular slow down your exhalation.

8. Water the plants.

Gardening and spending time in nature can help restore your attention and relax your body and mind. If you don’t have time to get dirty in the garden, simply watering your plants can induce the same results.

9. Write down everything. journals

Journalling will allow you to clarify your thoughts and feelings, and will help you gain valuable self-knowledge and reassurance. It can also be a great problem-solving tool; sometimes it’s easier to come up with a solution on paper. You can also release powerful emotions, gain clarity and let go. Let go of what you don’t need and stop worrying about what you can’t change.

10. Stretch.

We all know the stress-relieving benefits of yoga, but if you don’t have time to attend a daily yoga class you can still reap the benefits by incorporating a stretching routine into your day.

visualisation11. Visualize a more peaceful scenario.

The mind is very powerful; when you visualize peaceful, serene scenes, it invokes calming feelings, as if you were really there. Though visualization our bodies can relax and the stress will melt away. Close your eyes and imagine rhythmic waves on a long, white sand beach.

12. Call a friend.

If you’re chronically stressed, you probably haven’t figured out how to change your perspective. Friends who make you happy will help you bounce back and regain your inner peace.

13. Ring a mindfulness bell.

This might seem silly, but it’s actually an effective way to bring you into the present moment. Yes, there are mindfulness bell apps. Set an alarm as a reminder; when this bell or alarm goes off, it bring you into a different frame of mind. Tell yourself to breathe and relax.

14. Don’t turn on the TV (or turn it off!).

Don’t watch the evening news while eating, and every now and then take a break from stressful, fear-based media.

15. Put your phone away. keep calm and put your phone away

Take a break from the outside world and connect with your inner world — after you’ve talked to a friend, of course!

Tell yourself peace is in this very moment. Peace is not in tomorrow’s moments, or yesterday’s; it’s right now. So go on and relax. You deserve it!

Working with shame.

shame

You’ve been unfriended: 5 tips for unpacking shame.

I read this article on the Rebelle Society website today and found it very helpful. I often use these tips with my clients. Bring the feelings closer to you, don’t fight with them, monitor them, bring them closer to you, breathe, look for the positive and put things in perspective.

There are some great great tips here. Have a read. If you have some comments or questions please feel free to voice them, I would love to hear them.

🙂

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