Ep 10: This is gratitude

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Gratitude is a big part of a healthy, happy life. But gratitude is more than just feeling good about what you have.

Learn how you can use gratitude to help others, and help yourself in return.

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Ep 10: This is gratitude

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

When I was a kid my mom used to tell me that I should be grateful for what I have because so many others around the world were doing without.

No doubt someone important in your life may have said the exact same thing to you.

But gratitude is more than just being grateful that you have more than others.

It’s appreciation for what you’ve been given and you want to share with others out of that gratitude.

Gratitude is more than a feeling.

It’s a practice that takes your focus off of your own needs and places it squarely on what you can do for others.

It helps you appreciate the contributions that other people are making in your life. This goes a long way in building your own resilience to stress.

So, how do you practice gratitude?

Quite a few years ago Oprah Winfrey made the gratitude journal quite popular. Then again, Oprah makes everything quite popular.

Gratitude journals are a way to capture daily reminders of the goodness in our lives. They’re effective, and I do recommend them to my clients.

But the practice of gratitude really takes off when you go beyond capturing good things on paper. You can take specific actions to show your gratitude to others who have helped you.

  • Like writing a thank you note to a coworker who helped you solve a problem that came up right before you left on Friday.
  • Or sending an encouraging text to a friend who helped you through some really tough stuff. You never know when OTHERS need that little notification to pop up on a tough day.
  • Maybe you buy someone’s lunch just because you’re grateful you’ve always had enough food on your table most of your life.

Those are just a couple of ideas.

This kind of actionable gratitude has some science on its side.

In a recent study out of Berkeley, researchers studied three groups of 300 college students who were seeking counseling for depression and anxiety.

All the groups received counseling.

But one group, in addition to counseling, wrote one gratitude letter each week to another person. (Gratitude letters describe what someone did for you and how it affected your life.)

The group kept up this practice for three weeks.

The second group wrote about their negative thoughts, feelings and experiences.

The third group just received the counseling.

More than four weeks after the writing exercise ended, the first group reported the most improved mental health of all three groups.

Here’s the interesting thing: only 23% of the participants in this group actually sent the letter.

And this positive effect lasted an additional eight weeks after the study was over.

The writers felt less depressed and anxious long after the exercise was over. They also probably improved someone else’s life with their kind and grateful words.

Take a moment and come up with a few practical ways you can show your gratitude to others this week, big or small, it doesn’t matter.

It will make you feel better and help you not just be grateful, but create a gratitude mindset.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 9: What’s your story?

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Do you know your story?

You may not realize it but you’re narrating your story every day with your thoughts and perceptions. So how important is it to have the right thoughts? How can you create the story where you’re the hero?

How can you know your story if you haven’t left yourself any clues? Learn how childhood supersleuth Encyclopedia Brown can help you create a powerful narrative for yourself.

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Ep 9: What's your story?

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your mental health moment.

Any Game of Thrones fan will tell you that today’s stories are powerful and shape attitudes.

We root for, or in some cases vilify, our favorite characters. We talk about their decisions and actions as if they were our own neighbors.

We love our stories so much that we binge on them now like Doritos at the end of a tough week.

So what about your story?

What’s the story you tell yourself that moves your life forward?

Life is sometimes like an Encyclopedia Brown book. Do you remember this delightful series of children’s books?

Encyclopedia Brown was a super smart kid who operated his own detective agency out of his parents’ garage. He charged a whopping 25 cent fee for his super sleuthing services.

In every story, after interviewing wacky characters and gathering intelligence on a case, young Encyclopedia Brown always arrived at a critical decision point.

At the end of the story, you, the reader, were presented with Brown’s last clue. And you, the reader, had to figure out the end of the story on your own.

How you interpreted all the clues Encyclopedia Brown uncovered determined where you might take the story.

If the only clues you leave for yourself in your story are negative or unhealthy thoughts and perceptions, then how will you advance your story in any meaningful way?

How do you expect that you’ll get to the end and go, “Ah-ha, yes, I knew it!”

I get it. Most of the time we want to focus on what’s not going right because it’s so tangible. You can feel the bad stuff pretty easily and with very little training.

Maybe those negative clues also remove some of our responsibility as the author of our own story. My story was so bad because I got bad clues, so yeah….

It’s true that you have no control over the series of events that enter your story and ultimately, change your plot.

You don’t.

But you can determine what decisions to make to keep your story going in a direction that benefits you. You always, always have that power.

If your story has some really painful and hurtful events, this is harder to do, for sure. You have some work to do on your back story to get to a place where you can make healthier decisions.

But you still have the power to use the clues you’ve been given to keep going to the end of the story.

And with the help of compassionate characters in your story, those events can find their rightful place in your narrative.

So, what will be your story?

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 8: It is what it is

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Where you are now is where you are now. You know that.

Now how do you deal with it?

One of the most powerful ways you can gain real control over your mental health is to practice radical acceptance. We really don’t own much, but we do have the power to decide what to let go of.

In this episode, I share a bit about this radical acceptance and why it’s so important to add this tool to your toolbox.

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Ep 8: It is what it is

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

It is what it is.

Have you ever said this? Boy I sure have!

If something doesn’t go my way, I take that deep breath and say, reluctantly. “Yep, it is what it is.”

It sounds like I’m giving up, but there’s a way to make “it is what it is” work for you.

There’s a specific type of therapy called dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT.

In DBT, “it is what it is” has a more clinical name.

It’s called radical acceptance.

Radical acceptance means accepting your circumstances. It doesn’t mean you approve of those circumstances or even expect them to never change.

But you help yourself understand that where you are now is where you are now.

DBT was mainly developed for people with borderline personality disorder.

Clients with this disorder struggle with extreme emotional dysregulation. It’s really hard for them to simply manage their emotions when things happen that they just don’t understand.

They can’t even think of moving forward because they’re completely ruled by their past and their emotional response to their past. It’s a very difficult place to be and hard to change.

Radical acceptance helps people with borderline personality disorder to better manage their emotional selves.

Because you can’t control what you can’t control, right?

You can’t really move forward and take meaningful action until you acknowledge that things are the way they are, for whatever reason they are.

The serenity prayer is based on this idea. Having the courage to accept what you can’t change is very powerful.

Because it allows you to leave a lot of junk behind you.

Sounds simple but it’s hard, I know.

Practicing radical acceptance is a deliberate and purposeful action.

You have to commit to accept something regardless of how you feel about it in that moment.

But it allows you to look ahead and really weigh your options. Now that you accept what you can’t control about your life, you can decide what you do have control over.

And more importantly, what you CAN change.

Radical acceptance creates a line in the sand that you can step over.

It engages you in your options instead of looking back and wallowing in things that may never change.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 7: Churning up change

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Nothing good happens without something changing first. Change, on your own terms, can create new opportunities.

We can look at change as a bad thing, or we can consider it a welcome force to uncover new possibilities lying just under the surface.

You can learn to create your own change and churn up your own opportunities.

Don’t be afraid to be the instigator of your own change.

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Ep 7: Churning up change

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

Is it just me or does everything about the world seem to be changing constantly?

If you’re maintaining any vital signs at all you may feel this, too.

Adapting to change and flexing with the times seems like a requirement anymore.

We tend to put change in a negative light.

  • Relationships end badly.
  • We lose our jobs or our company reorganizes.
  • Middle age brings lifestyle changes for suddenly new health issues.
  • Aging eyes now require readers from Walgreens. So great.

But change also can be a wicked catalyst for growth if you know where to look.

Change creates movement and friction that uncovers new possibilities.

I live on Florida’s Treasure Coast. This area on the east side of the state got its name from ships carrying gold and jewels in the Atlantic Ocean in the 1600s and 1700s.

Back then hurricanes barreled through the ocean and sank those ships.

So a gazillion dollars of treasure now lays buried on the ocean floor. Much of it is unrecovered and undisturbed hundreds of years later.

Now during a hurricane, the force of the water hitting the beach eats away at the sand on the shore and out in the water. It’s cleverly called erosion.

Erosion is violent and destructive.

It tears away at foundations, destroys delicate coral reefs, and it can close your favorite beach for a year.

It also moves stuff, like gold coins that have been buried for hundreds of years, for example.

It’s hilarious to watch treasure hunters trip over themselves to be the first one to hit those waters after a storm.

Finding loot worth possibly millions in the newly-stirred up environment motivates these modern-day mateys to keep looking for change.

Churning up your own change is the secret to staying engaged in your life and work.

There’s no moving forward without something changing.

Get comfortable being the instigator of change in your life.

Stir it up and move things around.

But maybe don’t shoot for total erosion. Just change one small thing that’s not working for you.

Then look for the opportunities in the sands of discomfort you created.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Here’s what else I’m saying about this topic

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 6: Manage stress by living in the present

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So many of our anxious and depressive thoughts stem from focusing on some ambiguous future moment that will make us happy. The future always seems out there, and we feel anxious about how it’s all going to come together.

What are some practical ways to appreciate the present moment you have right now? Here are a couple of ways to do that.

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Ep 6: Manage stress by living in the present

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

We live in the present, but we’re not necessarily always present.

This is where stress gets us.

Our 21st century world is almost exclusively forward focused.

We’re always thinking about what’s to come.

  • Create your own future!
  • Prepare for retirement!
  • Get ahead at work!
  • Develop a life plan!
  • Be happy!
  • Change the world!

No pressure!

We scoot around trying to take advantage of it all. We’re so anxious to “get there.”

But once we get there, how do we appreciate who we are in that moment?

So many of our anxious and depressive thoughts stem from this constant focus on some ambiguous future moment that will make us happy.

Our future feels like it’s always “out there” because it is.

And even if you achieve all that you want, guess what? That future moment will — one day — become your present moment.

So how can you appreciate the present moment?

Here a couple of things that might help.

First, create a done list.

You probably have a to do list for sure. But do you have a list of what you’ve already done?

Don’t just look at the checkmarks on your list or the things you drew a line through. Separate them and give them their own list. They deserve it!

Those are the things you got done!

The present moments that you engaged.

Mark that!

Second, focus on how to master today.

Today is already here, and you’re apparently already awake and moving around. Nice job!

What are the things you can do today that will move you toward those future goals?

Focus on just those things, and shove the rest aside for now.

Direct your energy and focus toward just today’s present moments and see where it goes.

Don’t let the future steps, which don’t really matter right now, encroach on your present.

Third, stop moving.

This may sounds simple, but in order to focus on the present, you may have to stop moving for a minute.

  • Do you have to go right on to that next thing?
  • Or can you take a minute to enjoy a little self-imposed buffer zone?

I like to daydream in these moments. It gives my brain a break from all that analyzing and planning, which is my default mode.

Stop moving when you feel like it’s an inconvenient time and you feel like you just can’t spare the time.

These are probably the moments you need to connect with where you are right now.

Enjoying the present isn’t hard but it does require intention.

There will always, always be something in the future calling you out of it.

Learn to engage the present on your terms to change how you feel about your future.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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How to simplify your week to reduce stress

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“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Steve Jobs

I’m not one to quote Steve Jobs too much. He was brilliant, no question. But I’m not sure he’s the model to follow for a low-stress life in the workplace.

He seemed to ooze complexity. At least that’s what it looked like from my judg-ey overstuffed reading chair and ottoman.

I think he was onto something here, though, in understanding how we can simplify one of our real stressors at work — our workload.

Simplifying your work helps you do work that matters

If we think about the Apple products we use, they are dead simple.

My iPhone requires almost no instruction. The apps on it reduce complicated processes down to one or two steps I can do while I’m in the bathroom. (Don’t judge me, you do it too. 🙃)

In spite of the challenges the smartphone era has brought us, it’s also made so many things in life easier.

  • Don’t you remember what it was like trying to find answers to life’s big questions on Yahoo using your two-inch-thick Compaq laptop?
  • Remember scribbling tasks in your Monticello-themed, double-binded Franklin Planner?
  • Have you forgotten just how complicated it was to take your own pulse by using two fingers on one hand?

This was the crazy world the iPhone entered back in that dark age.

Apples’ development team started with the simplest version of what they thought could work and built on it from there. I’m sure they had a veritable scroll of features they probably could have included in that first phone (known then sweetly as “iPhone”).

But we’d probably still be waiting for that first iPhone, clumsily walking around with two fingers on our carotids and using hash marks to count our 10,000 steps.

The ensuing versions of the iPhone — all the way to today’s iPhone XR — came about once humans started actually using the phone.

I mean, who knew one day we would rarely even use these things as a phone? Who saw that one coming? 🤷

Use an MVP to simplify your work

You business-minded folks may recognize this process as a principle called “Minimum Viable Product,” or MVP.

(Bear with me. The therapist is using a business principle to make a point here.)

Entrepreneur Eric Ries was the first to toss this definition of MVP around in his book, “The Lean Startup:”

A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

In regular-people speak:

  • Build the simplest version of your product that will let you learn how people use it,
  • Gather feedback from them while they’re using it, then
  • Add new features from what you learned.
  • And so on, and so on….

This can save you time and energy because you’re not trying to build the best product ever by just guessing what might work. That’s so old school.

  • MVP gives you a real-life lab to build a product that helps people solve the annoying problems in their lives.
  • MVP helps you see what really helps people, not just stuff you and your team think is cool.
  • People tend to celebrate and buy stuff that helps them solve problems.

Maybe you don’t build a tangible product per se.

(Actually you do! Your work is your product. Make work your product!)

Apply the MVP principle on this Monday to simplify the rest of this week

This frees you up to do the work that solves real problems and creates forward momentum.

I don’t know about you, but nothing stresses me out more than doing work that doesn’t matter.

Here’s a little MVP roadmap I made for you:

1. Create and plan a wicked simple baseline for what you want to accomplish this week

I’m showing my INFJ skin a bit here, but planning is essential to reduce stress at work. Sorry.

You have to create some buckets, even leaky ones, to capture your important work or you’ll just end up with a messy pile of pointless doo-doo on Friday.

I know that may fly in the face of your possibly more spontaneous nature, but spontaneity and joy are not mutually exclusive.

Don’t go crazy and overplan (see also: procrastination).

But do plan, please.

Give some thought ahead of time about how you want this week to end up.

  • What do you want to hold in your hand on Friday (besides a cold beer)?
  • What MVP product can you produce this week that you can then build on next week?
  • Put everything else on a “next release” list of some kind.

Be honest about what you can really do. This is an area where we create a lot of our own stress.

Our work eyes are sometimes bigger than our work stomachs, if you will. 😋

Create a workable plan that is do-able with the time and resources you have this week and focus the week on that.

2. Protect your plan by establishing boundaries around your work

I know what you’re thinking. That’s great and all, but what about when my boss runs in with a little project on fire, and I’m the one who’s supposed to put it out? 📝🔥

What happens to my well-crafted plan then, sister girlfriend?

In many cases, you can give your boss some options on how you put that fire out.

“Sorry this project is on fire, Susie. Take a deep breath. Here are a couple of things we could do. Which one do you like?”

  1. Use the fire extinguisher. This will put the fire out immediately but it will also trash everything around us. It will resolve the problem immediately but we’ll spend two days cleaning up. This will delay all our other projects.
  2. Use the sweater slung over the back of my office chair to put out the fire. This will suffocate the fire and ruin my sweater, but it will most likely resolve the problem and preserve the working environment. We’ll need a minute to regroup, and I’ll need a long lunch to go buy another sweater. But we can get back on track today.

(Fire people are going to kill me on this one. It’s an analogy. If there’s an actual fire in your office, please be safe and follow your company’s fire safety plan.)

Of course there are plenty of unexpected things that pop up in the work week. But they don’t have to completely derail your work.

Unless they truly have to.

The best part about having a plan is how you can adjust it to meet changing needs.

But you can also protect it by offering other options besides you always having to set everything else aside.

And you still have a shot at maintaining momentum with your plan while getting credit for helping put out a fire, too.

3. Capture feedback to build your next version

In building an MVP, capturing feedback is what drives the best new version of the product.

Thoughtful and engaging feedback makes your work better.

If you work in a team format, you absolutely should be open to feedback. Unless you’re freakin’ Leonardo da Vinci, you need other perspectives to do great work.

Here’s the dealio with feedback, though.

You’re not necessarily required to convert that feedback into action items. And certainly not this week.

If the feedback is a game changer for where your work is headed right now, then be for real and change your plan.

But don’t feel like it’s always required. Put the feedback on your “next version” list and see how it may fit in later.

Put a little fence around your work and be your own gatekeeper.

This serves to focus your best cognitive energy on the feedback you can use now to do your best work this week.

4. Make it your task to understand how your work ties in to a larger goal

Why do you do the work at your job? I don’t mean to start you on an existential quest here, but really … why are you doing this work?

Part of an MVP is knowing that your work is accomplishing a specific outcome. You can touch it, define it and explain it.

Apple’s slogan for the first iPhone was “Apple reinvents the phone.”

Apple reinvents the phone - 2007 Macworld Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone

“Apple reinvents the phone” by Nobuyuki Hayashi is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Did the developers working then understand that? I hope so because they did reinvent the phone. They absolutely did.

This is where Steve Jobs’ focus on simplicity comes to bear. He was obviously great at painting a vision, not just for customers but for the people doing the work.

And it made all the difference.

Many leadership teams lack the skills to communicate business goals in simple ways.

How does Allison in accounting understand how her weekly report contributes to the company’s quarterly success? To her, it may be just a thing she does on Monday before lunch.

Yes, the burden of that understanding should really fall on Allison’s company.

But remember, the power to reduce stress is in our hands, not waiting for someone else to figure it out for us.

So Allison may have to ask that question of her boss or someone else at her company who’s in the know.

This is an excellent way to make sure the work you’re doing is needed.

If not, you can apply your efforts toward something that will.

Now what?

Companies who use the MVP approach have seen enormous, even overwhelming success. It allows them to put great work out there and let others help them refine it.

You can do the same in your workweek if you resolve to keep your stuff simple and workable.

  • Be honest with yourself and others about what you can do.
  • Don’t be afraid to set boundaries around your work.
  • Let others use their perspective and knowledge to inform your work and make it better.
  • Seek out the larger picture for yourself, and bring it back to your desk every day.

 


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Ep 5: Five things (and also 20 things) to reduce stress

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We try to take on too much, and it keeps us from doing our best. It’s great to live in a time where we have so many options.

But having too many goals can derail you.

This story about Warren Buffet can help you hone in on your most important goals.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 5: Five Things (and also 20 things) to Reduce Stress

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your mental health moment.

One way to reduce stress is to simply reduce what we have on our plates.

Easier said than done though, right? Everything begs for attention now.

If you look at your list of to-do’s for this week, no doubt there are some things on that list that you feel like you just can’t do without.

Well, maybe.

There’s an interesting story from Warren Buffet that illustrates how you can easily figure out what to eliminate.

As you know, Warren Buffett is a gazillionaire who has been making good money for a very long time. And he seems like a pretty relaxed guy, too.

That’s not always the case with gazillionaires.

Anyway, the story goes that he was helping his personal airplane pilot develop some career goals.

He asked him to write a list of 25 things that he wanted to do, goals that he had for his life.

Who knows maybe he wrote it on one of those tiny square airplane napkins? That’s how goal setting works in my house. 😜

Well, after he had written that list of 25 goals, Warren asked him to circle five goals on that list.

Warren then had him write those five circled goals on one list, and write the uncircled 20 goals on another list.

This poor Pilot probably thought that Warren was going to have him just prioritize the top five things he was going to work on.

All the while he could just poke the other 20 goals with a stick, and make them like a secondary priority.

Does that sound familiar?

I mean, after all, if you want to accomplish 25 things in your life, you can’t get there by not working on them at all, right?

Yeah, that’s exactly what the gazillionaire asked this pilot to do.

Warren told him to put those 20 goals on a separate list, and then… completely avoid them.

At all costs.

It didn’t mean he was never going to get to those 20 things.

It just meant that his focus and energy would go to those five — and nothing but those five — first.

Why?

Because Warren knew the mere presence of those 20 uncircled goals would continue to steal his precious focus.

Not only that, but seeing 20 goals that he’s not working on but feels like he should be working on wastes precious mental energy.

I hope you don’t have 25 things on your list for today.

If you do, that may be why you’re stressed, just saying.

Maybe you have 10 things on your list. But you know what? Right now, circle just three.

This may not be easy. You may feel like everything on your list for today is super important.

But the reality is you’re going to waste a lot of time worrying about seven of those things.

And you’ll jeopardize the three that could make a real difference for you.

Put the other seven on tomorrow’s list, or even the next day.

Remove them from your line of sight.

And focus on getting those three things done.

In order to reduce your stress and manage your anxiety, you have to find ways to eliminate the noise and mental clutter that fight for your attention every day.

Don’t be afraid to make surgical and brutal decisions about how you will spend your time today.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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Ep 4: Deep breathing isn’t just “take a deep breath”

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Deep breathing isn’t just breathing deeper, as crazy as that sounds. There’s a specific technique that allows you to use your breath to actually change how your body responds to stress.

Learn how to use your breath to calm yourself down.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 4: Deep Breathing Isn't Just "Take a Deep Breath"

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your mental health moment.

When we get stressed, we may tell ourselves to just take a deep breath.

Easy enough, right?

But so many times I hear clients say they’ve tried to take a breath when things get nuts, and it just doesn’t seem to work for them.

But deep breathing isn’t just breathing deeper, as crazy as that sounds. There’s a specific technique that allows you to use your breath to actually change how your body responds to stress.

How does it work?

Well, when you get anxious or stressed, your body does a few things:

  • It increases your heart rate
  • Your blood pressure goes up
  • Your pupils dilate
  • Your stomach starts to cramp
  • and you may suddenly be sweating.

This is called the sympathetic response, and it’s quite necessary. It’s designed to get your muscles moving and away from danger, like running from a predator, for example.

You’ve probably heard of this, it’s called the fight or flight response.

But if you’ve ever had a panic attack while sitting at your desk at work, these symptoms may also sound too familiar.

There’s no real predator at your back, but you feel completely overwhelmed, powerless and amped up all at the same time.

And you’ll notice, too, that your breathing has gotten quicker, and more shallow.

Shallow, meaning, you’re breathing quick little breaths from your chest.

What you need to focus on in that moment is breathing from your diaphragm.

That’s a nifty little organ that sits right at the base of your chest and helps you pull air into your lungs. So when you take in a breath, you focus on filling your diaphragm, your belly, with air, instead of your chest.

It’s the same breathing process singers and wind musicians learn in order to project their voices and manage their lung capacity.

So it does take some practice.

Why is this important?

Filling your belly with air stimulates your vagus nerve.

Now, that’s a long nerve that runs from your brain stem down into your abdominal area — right behind the diaphragm.

The vagus nerve is responsible for ….wait for it… slowing your heart rate, controlling sweating, regulating blood pressure and keeping your digestive system relaxed and working well.

So learning how to breathe deeply gives you the power to instantly change how your body physically feels during a stressful moment.

Deep breathing is a very powerful tool to have in your stress toolkit. With some practice, you can pull this one out on a dime and change how you respond to what’s happening around you.

If you want more information about specific tools and methods for deep breathing, visit my website at lorimiller.me. I have a recent blog post that goes into more detail.

You can also find other articles and videos about stress and mental health at Lorimiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Amazon Alexa skill - Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller

Sometimes you need some encouragement right at the top of the day so you can stay focused on what will keep you energized and productive. 🌝

I’m excited to debut my Alexa skill, Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.

It’s a little shot in the arm to start your day.

Every day I’ll talk about small ways you can inject a bit of sanity in your day.

If you have an Amazon Echo you can enable Mental Health Moment in the Alexa store. You can also download the Alexa app on your phone or tablet and enable the skill there.

Check out all the details on my Amazon skill page.

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Ep 3: Don’t stress exercise

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Sometimes we stress exercise because it feels like one more thing we have to do, and we have to do it well. Maybe we’re making it too hard.

How do you make exercise work for you in spite of all the craziness around you?

Don’t stress it. Just move!

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 3: Don't stress exercise

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your mental health moment.

Unless you’ve been living under a heavy rock somewhere, you know exercise is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to boost your mental health.

Doing some kind of physical activity every day:

  • reduces stress,
  • lowers that anxiety that’s always with you
  • and boosts your resilience to some of the nonsense in your day.

But exercise can be the hardest thing to fit in to a busy day.

It’s like one more thing to put on your list, isn’t it?

So how do you make exercise work for you in spite of all the craziness around you?

Don’t stress exercise. Just move.

The object here isn’t to add stress by feeling like you have more to do.

Just make some simple changes today to weave physical activity into your schedule, and make sure you do something.

Here’s a couple of suggestions:

First, plan for some physical activity when you have know you won’t have other obligations tugging at you.

This may mean getting up an extra 15 minutes to take a short walk, yes, even in the snow.

Or maybe you can swap out some of your normal morning coffee time to go for that walk.

Personally, I’d rather get up a tiny bit earlier than take any of my precious coffee time.

But do what works for you.

Maybe it makes more sense for you to pull up a short video on YouTube while dinner’s in that new InstaPot you got for Christmas. You have to wait anyway.

Why not use that time to invest a few minutes in yourself?

Find those little pockets of time. They do add up.

Second, don’t make it a formal thing.

Everybody’s always doing a plan or following a program. Regular exercise is less about having a beach body and more about just moving already.

Don’t focus on the number of days a week or the intensity or all that stuff.

Focus on an activity.

Things like:

  • A neighborhood bike ride
  • Yard work, or shoveling snow
  • A quick walk around your office building at lunchtime
  • Dancing. Yes, dance while the InstaPot’s cooking that roast!

High five yourself for the activity.

Move on with the day.

Then just do that again tomorrow.

That’s it. No pressure.

Pick something you can do today and just do that.

Keep it simple. And get moving.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me.

Here’s what else I’m saying about this topic

 

 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

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