Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Anxious? Ask these questions.

Everyone gets worried and nervous at times. But it seems more and more people are battling anxiety, a persistent, generalized fear. That’s just not the place we’re meant to live. While there isn’t a formula or quick fix for anxiety, there are some questions to ask yourself to slow down your anxious mind.

Do I have all the information?
Anxious minds are good for freaking out prematurely. This is because they’re proficient in anticipating disaster before it arrives. Anxious minds react to imagined possibilities, but calm minds respond to what’s before them. Calm minds deal with facts and the reality of what is, not what might be. Therefore, it’s good practice to shift from an emotional mind state to a logical mind state by asking if you have enough information to reach certain feared conclusions.

Will anxiety change the outcome?
The next good question to ask yourself is whether or not your worry will change the outcome. If you’re waiting for test results, wondering where you stand in a relationship, or looking for a call or email about a job, will your worry and rumination do anything to change the outcome? No. Probably not. At that point, it’s out of your hands. It’s important, then, to learn to calm and soothe that anxiety because it won’t change your situation.

What can I do?
A final question to ask is whether or not there’s anything you can do. A big part of managing anxiety is about discerning your locus of control. The big, scary thing might be out of your control, but you can usually find one or two things within your control. Maybe it’s getting more information on what concerns you. Maybe it’s distracting yourself until things play out. Maybe it’s reaching out for support. Maybe it’s reflecting on what the real fear, the one underlying the obvious fear, is. If you realize you’re equipped to handle the underlying fear, then the surface level fear doesn’t pack as much punch.

I think most would agree the world can be scary and life can be unpredictable. That’s enough to make any of us fearful at least sometimes. Fear is normal and even adaptive depending on what’s happening. It can also get in the way when it emerges too often and impedes our ability to function. When it does you can regain control by asking these three questions, knowing you can handle whatever the answers might be.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

I do hard things

I don’t know who the first person to say this was, but I love this mantra. I do hard things. It’s simple. It’s strong. It echoes a hardiness that’s rare these days.

In thinking about resilience do you ever wonder what makes people mentally strong? What helps them rebound when they’re knocked down? While there aren’t definitive answers to these questions, there are some helpful perspectives that allow people to cope effectively when the going gets tough.

Stuff happens

Similar to, I do hard things, Stuff happens is another simple and helpful saying. Think of how easy it is to act surprised when challenges come. We act like we’re being personally attacked. We question the reasons for misfortune, which only heaps more suffering on us. Resilient people, however, accept that good and bad are part of life for everyone. They don’t believe God is picking on them or turning a blind eye to their hardship. They believe they’re just journeying through a not-so-fun part of the human experience right now. It might stink, but they know it won’t always be this way.

Change is inevitable

Knowing things won’t always be this way might be comforting or disturbing depending on your life at the moment. If you’re struggling, then the promise of change might be the only thing keeping you going. If you’re content with things, the notion of change could feel threatening. Unfortunately, there’s no cosmic remote that allows you to fast forward beyond hard stuff and pause on the good stuff. The story of our lives is constantly unfolding at its own pace and twists and turns are part of it. Nothing lasts forever on this side of eternity and learning to embrace change can help you navigate all seasons of life.


Lastly, you can endure the changes of life resiliently when you believe you can. You can even and you can deal. When you insist on things going a certain way and believe that you can’t handle it if they don’t, then you’re setting yourself up for a meltdown. The reality is you might not like what you’re facing. It might be extremely uncomfortable. But when you have the mindset that (enter in whatever your biggest fear is) happening would be the absolute worst thing in the world and you would never recover, then guess what? You’re less likely to recover. When you face that big scary thing if it happens, feel all the icky feelings associated with it, and decide for yourself that you can overcome, then guess what? You overcome. Hence, why they say whether you believe you can or you can’t, either way you’re right.

Life is a mixed bag and we all know it. It’s mundane, messy, and magical all in one. But we’re made for it. Think about it. Our lives are about growing and transforming into the best version of ourselves we can be. Sure, that growth might come from the magically delicious times when we’re walking on sunshine and everything’s going our way. More often than not, real character is forged during the God-I-wish-I-could-fast-forward-through-this times of pain. It hurts and it’s hard and when it is just remember, I can do hard things