Marie Shriver has a new book out entitled I’ve Been Thinking…. I just started reading it and what I’ve read is wonderful.
I came across the following bit that I thought was excellent to keep in mind:
…Because, let’s face it: Life is one hell of a roller coaster ride. At times we feel totally in charge of the journey and love the ride. At other times we feel completely overwhelmed and want to get off. Throught out our lives, we’re by turns strong, then weak. We’re quite sure we know what we’re doing, and then we’re utterly and totally lost. We feel elated, and then depressed. We act powerfully, then feel like victims. We’re buoyed by courage, then scared out of our wits. We feel a part of a community, and then we feel totally alone. We take pride In our accomplishments, then want to crumble with shame over our mistakes…
With that paragraph, Marie Shriver sums up all of Life’s experiences for each one of us. It’s comforting to know that we “common folk” aren’t the only ones tossed about by Life; the achievers, the successes, are just as thrown about as we are!
The next time you want to envy someone who seems to have a better job, more money, or a better family, remember Maria Shriver’s wise observations, not to take them down a peg but rather to understand that we are all equals on our journey here on Earth..
When using the tips mentioned in yesterday’s post, give yourself credit for every little bit you do. Acknowledge it; own it. What you do doesn’t have to be perfect, especially when you’re working through difficult feelings. Pat yourself on the back for the small actions that you’re taking.
Reward yourself. More importantly, feel the warm glow you get inside when you acknowledge yourself for trying, and for doing, the best you can. It’s really important to focus on what it feels like to feel good about yourself. This is how you build self-respect and self-appreciation. These glowing feelings go a long way toward healing that part of you that gets anxious or fearful or that feels worthless from time-to-time.
What do you do to appreciate yourself and the efforts you’re making (no matter how small and how imperfect)? I like to read a book of fiction. 🙂
This week we’ve been talking about anxiety,fear, and worthlessness. From time-to-time, we’re all stunned by one or a combination of these feelings. When they hit, they cause us to slow down and even stop.
And stay stopped.
Staying stopped is another way of saying that we’re stuck.
Researchers, experts, and those who have Been-There-Done-That will tell you that the quickest and surest antidote to fear and anxiety and worthlessness is to take action.
Here are the tiny baby steps I take when I’m in the throes of anxiety, fear, and feelings of worthlessness:
First, I sit quietly for a few moments and reflect.
I take the time to tune into myself. I ask where these feelings of anxiety/fear/worthlessness are coming from. What happened to trigger these? I listen and jot down–WITHOUT JUDGMENT–the answers I get.
Then, I ask myself what can I do about this right here and right now. Again I listen and jot down the answers I get–without judgment. There may be a few “I should do this or that…” and that’s fine; I jot those down, too.
After I gather the answers, I ask myself what is doable right here where I am in this moment. What I’m looking for is a little piece–a toe or finger hold–that I can grab onto and start working on. I look for the little bit that isn’t too big or overwhelming and doesn’t require a ton of anything from me right now.
Sometimes I find that even the little toe or finger hold is too much to face right at this moment.
Yikes! If this happens, does it mean we’re doomed? NO! Read on to the second thing I do!
Secondly, I start to do something, anything.
Perhaps I know what the toe hold activity is, but it’s too much for me to do right at this moment. In that case, I look for something easy to do or something I enjoy doing. For instance, on sunny days I love to do laundry and hang the items outside to dry. If I’m at work, I might choose something easy like clearing and straightening my desk or my files.
Once I’m going the task that I’ve chosen that’s easy or enjoyable, I gather the momentum and slingshot myself over to the toe or finger hold activity.
If I find that I can’t quite do the finger hold task yet, I go back and do a fun or easy task. I repeat this as often as I need to so that I have enough momentum–in the form of feeling a little more sure of my ability to handle the finger hold task–to slingshot myself to it.
Third, I keep in mind to be kind and gentle to myself.
I do little treats for myself throughout the day. For instance, at work I’ll take a break for a few moments and gaze out the window or make a cup of tea for myself. At home, I’ll set the timer for 10 or 15 minutes and read in a fun book.
Another think I’ll do is cook myself one of my favorite comfort foods, even if it’s eating a breakfast meal at dinnertime or making miso soup with fresh vegetables for myself at breakfast instead of saving it for lunch.
Which leads me to…
Making sure I eat nutritious food, drink enough water, and get rest and sleep.
Often I find that I’m more susceptible to anxiety and fear and feelings of worthlessness when I’ve been grabbing convenience foods and skimping on my sleep. When I’m well hydrated, eating good food, and getting a reasonable amount of rest and sleep, I am less likely to allow things to bother me, I’m more resilient, and when something does get to me, I can bounce back quickly.
I hope these four baby steps can help you the next time anxiety, fear, and worthlessness knock you off your stride.
Do you have techniques that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, feel free to share them with us. Thanks!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for the final and most important step!
There are times, though, when we are hit really hard by Life and we just can’t seem to turn those ‘what ifs’ around. In fact, we might be so discouraged that we begin to wonder about our worth in the world–and wonder if we have any worth at all.
I’ve had times like this–we’ve all had times like this. When we’re in the midst of these thoughts it can seem like they’re the truth about us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Here is an article I came across that had excellent suggestions about how to help ourselves out of this thought pattern:
Please note: if feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness persist, please seek assistance from professionals trained to help in these circumstances. Please call a health care professional, a therapist or counselor, or your spiritual leader. Please reach out for help!
Each of the suggestions outlined in the article are powerful:
~Don’t expect the world to validate your worth.
There is always going to be someone who–by the world’s standards–is “better than” us. First of all, it’s a big wide world and there’s plenty of room for everyone’s talents and gifts, plus there’s plenty of room for everyone to live a soul-prospering life.
Secondly, people can’t really be compared fully to one another, even when performing the same skill, because each of us has our own unique perspective on it and our own original mark to the way we do it.
Although this is easier said than done: don’t compare yourself to others!
~You will never find your worth outside of you.
Yep, the world is a fickle place. What’s popular and hot one moment is kicked to the curb in the next moment. If you try to mold yourself to please the world, you’ll wind up a knotted mess that’s pretzeled into a shape that you don’t recognize.
Keep your focus on your own heart and soul and sharing their gifts with the world.
~Be careful who you spend your time with.
Frenemies. Yes, there may be one or two within your circle of friends. Be aware of who drains your energy and who, even though they say they’re being supportive, find clever and subtle ways to tear you down or make you feel bad about yourself.
When you discover these people, either eliminate them from your life or keep your distance from them.
~Don’t believe everything you think.
You’ve been wrong before–you may not want to admit it, but it’s true. Therefore, you could very well be wrong about your feelings of worthlessness and that there’s no hope for you.
I guarantee you that you are valuable and needed in this world and that there is hope. Hang in there and keep moving forward, even if it’s in slow tiny bits of steps.
~If you’re feeling worthless, disconnect in order to reconnect.
This is so true. Get off of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like. Stop watching the news. Turn off the stupid sitcoms and reality shows!
Pick up a good book, read something uplifting, connect with someone who makes you feel better about yourself!
~Tell yourself what you want to hear from others.
Give yourself a pep talk. Also search the posts here at YesICanPepTalks.com and I guarantee you’ll find at least one post that will lift your spirits!
~Be kind and gentle with yourself.
When you’re feeling bad, the last thing you need is to come down like a ton of bricks on yourself. Give yourself loving-kindness: Take a hot bath, treat yourself to your favorite home cooked meal, read a favorite book, talk to someone who cares about you, take a walk in Nature, play with your pets, play with your kids….
Do you have other techniques you use? Please share them with us in the comments below. Thanks!
Crafting our soul prospering life requires that we step out of our comfort zone–do things differently than what we’re accustomed to as well as try new things, meet new people, and go new places. This can–and often does–create anxiety and fear.
No matter how strong we are, from time-to-time we can become anxious and fearful. Here are a few quotes I came across that I think will help you think your situation through and put your fears and anxieties to the side.
If you gathered up all the fearful thoughts that exist in the mind of the average person, looked at them objectively, and tried to decide just how much good they provided that person, you would see that not some but all fearful thoughts are useless. They do no good. Zero. They interfere with dreams, hopes, desire and progress. ~Richard Carlson
P.S. You’re not going to die. Here’s the white-hot truth: if you go bankrupt, you’ll still be okay. If you lose the gig, the lover, the house, you’ll still be okay. If you sing off-key, get beat by the competition, have your heart shattered, get fired…it’s not going to kill you. Ask anyone who’s been through it. ~Danielle LaPorte
If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience. ~Deepak Chopra
I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear. ~Steve Maraboli
As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does: It improves your hearing, your eyesight, lowers your blood pressure, increases pulmonary function, cardiac output, and helps wiring the musculature. So, if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So, this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh love yourself honey. This is hardcore science. ~Dr. Christiane Northrop
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
For fast acting relief, try slowing down. ~Lily Tomlin
Slow breathing is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm: the anchor won’t make the storm goes away, but it will hold you steady until it passes. – Russ Harris
We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.~John Newton
Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive. ~Ziggy Marley
Which quotes did you like best? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
From time-to-time we all get walloped by Life and become discouraged. Usually, we can pull ourselves out of these feelings but sometimes…not so much.
At times, to us, the outlook is bleak and our discouragement turns into melancholy and depression.
An important note:when you can’t seem to shake the blues–and especially if you have thoughts of self harm or harming others–then it’s time to seek professional help. Oftentimes after a few visits to a trained counselor, spiritual advisor or medical professional can help you get back into your natural swing.
For times when you can still handle the feelings on your own but you need a few new techniques, here is an excellent article that lists a few:
The 5 techniques Dr. Leahy talks about are simple enough that each of us can do them–and incorporate them into a busy schedule.
Doubt your hopelessness:
We can all look back and see other times in our lives that we were deeply discouraged: we thought we were done for; we thought there was no way to overcome that particular difficulty; we doubted ourselves. But eventually it passed. As time went on, we continued living; we figured out how to solve the problem or how to handle it enough that we could keep going; we even experienced happiness and satisfaction in at least some areas of our life.
So all wasn’t hopeless then and it probably isn’t all hopeless now.
Try something new:
We don’t have to do anything drastic to do something new. It can be something as simple as trying a new fruit or vegetable, reading a different type of book than what we usually enjoy, exploring a side street on our way home from work.
When we do something new, fully engage in the here-and-now of the experience. Savor it through as many senses as possible.
Look at what isn’t hopeless:
When we’re in the midst of a tough, tough problem, it can seem that everything is bad. But if we look a little closer at our lives, we can see that while we may have a serious financial difficulty for instance, we also have a friend who is inviting us to dinner and sending us home with leftovers. Or we may see that in spite of our troubles, we’re still good at knitting or playing music or fixing things. Engaging in these activities brings us joy but then we can increase our joy and satisfaction by sharing them with others and bring them joy, too.
Realize that no one thing is necessary for your happiness:
We all have losses that go deep and it can seem that we’ll never be happy again, especially since we won’t have that person or that thing in our life any longer. Certainly we should take time to mourn and grieve, but we also need to know that we can–and we will–have new opportunities and new joys in our lives.
Appreciate the present:
Even though it might seem to us that there is nothing in our lives that’s good, we can prove to ourselves that this isn’t completely true. When we pause and immerse ourselves in the here-and-now, we find things such as we’re alive right here and right now in this moment; we have enough air to breathe and we’ll probably continue having enough breathable air; we can think; we can choose our thoughts…. These are all things to appreciate because they are ingredients that make up hope.
When Life hits hard, it’s difficult to stay hopeful. I’ve been there, done that. When I’m stumbling my way through these times here are a few things I do to help myself:
If I can, I find a way to experience Mother Nature. Ideally, I sit outside or go for a walk but many times for various reasons I can’t do this. Instead, I’ll gaze out my window at the landscape or I’ll look at pictures of flowers, trees, the beach, or a lake scene.
~Sit in Silence
I pause for a few moments and sit quietly, tuning into my inner self. I take several slow, steady breaths and repeat words such as ‘peace’ or ‘all is well’ or some other word or phrase that’s calming. Even if I’m at work or in the midst of others, I can still pause and tune inwardly.
~Get Away from Negative People and Hang Out with Positive People
When I’m in the middle of a rough patch, the last thing I need is to hang around Negative Ned and Debbie Downer. I need people who will encourage me and help me hold onto the shreds of hope I have left. These people are realistic in that they acknowledge I’m in a tough spot and that I may be scared, but then they remind me of what I’m good at and achievements I’ve enjoyed.
~Fill My Mind with Good Stuff
I go to YouTube and turn on messages of hope and encouragement. I’ll also read books that are uplifting and encouraging–and books that are fun, too!
~When I’m with Others, I Am Cheerful and Helpful
I do the very best to be pleasant and kind. Everyone has struggles and worries of their own and the last thing they need is for me to dump all my angst on them. Of course it’s fine to consult with professionals who are trained to help people in difficult situations, but co-workers, friends, acquaintances are not the same as trained professionals.
~Clean and Clear
I choose a small section of my home or office and throw things out. Then I’ll clean and organize what I’m keeping.
These tips may not instantly change my circumstances or me, but doing one or more of these really does lift my spirits.
If you try these, you may not be whistling and dancing and smiling huge afterward, but you’ll feel a little bit lighter and a little bit better afterward. I usually do!
What are some things you do to rejuvenate your hope? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!