Running Loops

RunningLoopsLike a broken record… or an endless audio loop.  Those thoughts that just keep turning in your mind.  Okay, in MY mind.  But I bet it happens to you, too.

Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that I get up to 2 emails.  One is complimentary, thanking me for resources, books, podcasts… things like that.  Then there is another email, critical and harsh, telling me how useless my info was.

I read them both and head off to walk my dog.

Do you think I ponder that kind one?  Or keep looping back to that unkind one?

Yep, you guessed it.  And I bet you guessed it because it happens to you, too.

And that thought… it isn’t just a passing thought.  No.  I find my body tense up, the anger/hurt churning in my gut.

The other day, I was out for my morning walk with my sidekick, Ziggy (our silver lab).  We were about half-way through and I realized my palms were sweaty, tightly gripping the leash (which is a waist leash, so I don’t even need to be holding it!).  My chest is tight, my stomach is tight.  I ask myself, “why am I ready for a fight?”  Nothing had happened.

Nothing.

Except a thought I was having… not just having… looping.  It was about an experience that happened 3 decades ago.  One I don’t typically think about.  But today, it popped in my head and I was stuck in a loop.  Looping on an old thought that was making me feel a certain way in the present.

I dropped back and followed my own little routine when I find myself looping.

You can’t stop the loops from starting.  But you can decide how long you run the loops.

Let’s talk about how to stop those pesky loops.  Podcast below.

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Book:  The Immutable Laws Of Living

Fear Versus Courage

FearVersusCourageI don’t know about you, but I don’t much enjoy feeling fear.  I’d rather it not be a part of my life.

And yet, it is.

Fear is part of our wiring, deep in our DNA and deep in the circuitry of our brains. It keeps us safe — sometimes super-safe.  Which is the problem.

There is a central life coaching question:  “Where do you want to be?”  (Few people seek out coaching because everything is great, they are happy, and life is where they want it to be.)

The next question is “What keeps you from getting there?”  When I dig in with clients, that question often hits against external barriers.  Things the client can’t change.

But dig long enough and dig deep enough, and you hit fear.  Fear is what often keeps us from getting what we want in life, from getting the life we most deeply dream about.

If fear is a fact of life (it is), then fear isn’t really as much in our way as we let it be.  After all, other people (who also have fears) have made it.

What breaks through the fear, to get us to the life we want?

It is not being “fearless.”  That won’t happen… although you can have LESS fear.

Nope.

It is COURAGE.  And courage is not the opposite of fear… it is action in the direction of fear.  Which is what dissipates fear.

Let’s talk about fear… and more important, courage… in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.

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We ALL Have Fears
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Book:  Thrive Principles
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How To Handle Tough Days

HowToHandleToughDaysKinda like taxes, tough days are unavoidable.  You may see the tough times coming.  But sometimes, they just roll right over us.  A conversation, a text, a phone call, or an event.  Something hits and the bad time is here.

Some people will say that tough times are a sign that you are “off-course,” not living right, not doing what you “should” be doing.

But guess what?  One cost of living is dealing with tough times.  Illness, accidents, losses, and deaths — they are all a part of life.

You don’t have to like the tough times.  But we do have to get through them.

Which raises the question of how to get through the tough times.

I cover handling tough times in this episode of the Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

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Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain

CleanDirtyPainAnyone who tells you that you can go through life without getting hurt and feeling pain is either lying or hiding.

Life is rough-and-tumble.  Pain is unavoidable.

But there is a type of pain that we can leave behind.  That is more a result of our own thinking than anything external, any injury either physical or emotional.

Call it “Dirty Pain.”  Which is distinguished from “Clean Pain.”  Clean pain, that is the initial hurt.  When you hit your foot, it hurts.  That is the bodily response to the injury.  When someone says something to you that is mean and spiteful, your feelings are hurt.  That is the emotional pain.  It is initial.

But what if you chastise yourself about your being “clutsy,” or about your “stupid action” that led to that foot injury?  Or what if you made that hurtful comment about you, and not about the person who said it?  What if you kept dwelling about it?

Let me be clear:  it is fine to ask how you might prevent an injury in the future.  It is fine to listen to feedback from others, that might give you some insight into things you need to change.

It’s the next step after that.  When you keep berating yourself.  It’s when you take the next step… you attach to the pain.  Buddhism refers to that as suffering.  You and I can think of it as “Dirty Pain” (a term coined by ACT – a mode of therapy).  It is dirtied by our own mental state — not the cause of the pain.

What do you do about that?  We discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

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Embracing Discomfort

EmbraceDiscomfortHave you noticed how we all like to keep things in a narrow band of comfort?  We keep our houses not-too-warm, not-too-cool.  Most homes, all year long, stay in a very narrow band of temperature.

Most of us go to the same restaurants, listen to the same music, hang out with the same friends, and do the same activities.  Every now and then, something new.  And then, back to the comfortable.

But not much growth happens in comfort.

If you want to improve in yoga, you have to stretch a little bit further, hold the position a little bit longer… be uncomfortable.

Discomfort accompanies growth.  Sure, you can be uncomfortable, and it just be that — discomfort.  But if you are growing… if you are changing… there will be discomfort.

If we simply avoid discomfort, we also avoid growth.

Or, we could embrace discomfort.  See it as a sign of growth.  Use it as a potential sign that we are growing.  And accept that when we grow, we will be uncomfortable.

I discuss Embracing Discomfort in this podcast episode.

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Embracing “I Don’t Know”
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Embracing “We’ll See”

EmbraceWellSeeFor me, “We’ll See” was my philosophy of survival when I was sick.

The doctor gave me a diagnosis with a bad prognosis.  Lots of ways I could be sick and die.  Lots of ways my body could betray me.

Oh, and this was 15 years ago.  WebMD was the “go-to” for facts on how we would die from any symptom or condition.  So, family and friends let me know all the ways my body could fail me, based on my diagnosis.  And shared the facts in excrutiating detail.

I was not in denial.  I simply knew that there were many ways things COULD go wrong.  But that meant little on how things WOULD go wrong.

It was overwhelming to face the “could’s.”  I had only space to deal with the “would’s.”

So, I took to a single response, “We’ll see.”  For a bit, the tone and volume would go up.  Until the person realized that “We’ll see” was where I was standing.

I find it most helpful to deal with things as they happen, not trying to figure out all the many things that might happen.

This is something I suggest for all of us.  So many things we could worry about.  Or we could just use the energy to deal with what is.  What becomes.  What happens.

Embrace “We’ll See.”  I discuss it in this episode of the podcast.

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Attacking Anxiety

AttackAnxietyDo you feel anxious?  Have anxious moments?  Maybe even struggle with anxiety attacks?

If so, I want to offer some strategies to help you deal with those feelings… the emotional storm that can hit.

Anxiety isn’t a sign of weakness.  It is actually a sign of ancient survival strategies that have ramped up to the point of over-reaction.  Hyper-vigilance has taken the survival strategy of fear and caution to a level that can interfere in daily life.

There are some strategies, though, that can help you cope, re-wire, and live with lower levels of anxiety.

Don’t let it run your life!  Learn to cope and move beyond anxiety.

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Dealing With Anxiety
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The Immutable Laws of Living

 

Free of Fear Series

The Other Side of Fear.Fear is an unavoidable part of life.  The question is whether fear rules your life, or is just a part of life.  Your brain is built for fear — it is attempting to look for all the threats possible… and does a better-than-helpful job at that!

There is no way to be “fearless.”  But you CAN have less fear.  And you can decide how to act, regardless of fear (not because of fear or even in spite of fear, but regardless).

My podcast episodes on dealing with fear can help you decide how to live, regardless of fear in your life.

Here are the links to the episodes:

The Other Side Of Fear

3 Myths of Fear

4 Steps to Taming Your Fear

Worry Less, Live More

2 Magic Questions To Live Beyond Fear

3 Ways Fear Keeps You Stuck

Fear Life or Fierce Life?

Beliefs, Behavior, and A Fierce Life

 

 

Are You Bending Your Map?

BendingTheMapDid you know that it is common to find a lost person with a broken compass?  No, they are not lost because their compass was broken.  They broke their compass because they didn’t believe the compass.  They believed they were somewhere other than where the compass said.  And many times, they decided that the map they were using was also wrong… and they were right.

Survival experts refer to this as “bending the map.”  They are trying to force their map to match what they perceive, rather than letting the map inform their understanding of where they are.

Guess what?  It doesn’t just happen in survival situations.  We do it every day.  We bend our perceptions to match what we want to see… not what is there to be seen.  And we often find ourselves way off-course.  So far off that we might have just compromised our values.

The good news is there are some simple ways to keep this tendency in check.  This is a skill we desperately need these days.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn how to not bend your map!

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Time Affluence / Time Poverty

Do you have Time Affluence or do you suffer from Time Poverty?Have you noticed how we talk about time and money the same way?  You can spend time/money, waste time/money, or save time/money.  But never confuse the two.

Money… we can always make more.  Time… it is passing moment by moment, day by day, not to be recaptured or held.

We all have the same 24 hour days live.  The question is whether you feel like you have some time to “spend” as you want (Time Affluence) or whether all of your time is claimed and out of your control (Time Poverty).

Research repeatedly shows that material purchases (buying stuff) does little to influence our overall happiness (once basic needs are met).  Interestingly, experiential purchases (doing something, going somewhere) has been shown to increase happiness.  But you can’t do stuff and go places when there is no time left to do it.

In a study a couple of years ago, over half the respondents said that they would give up a day of pay each week for a day of freedom each week.

And yet, many times, we “spend” our time in ways that don’t foster time affluence — leading to a feeling of time poverty.

How can we make shifts in life that bring us more Time Affluence?  That is the topic of this week’s Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

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Time As Precious Resource
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