Ep 63: Face your problems by taking the next step

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The answer to solving your problems isn’t actually solving your problems. 😳 The answer lies in just focusing on taking the next step.

Your success in therapy or personal development is more about trusting yourself to take a whole bunch of brave little steps on your path.

Learn how to find that path.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 63: Face your problems by taking the next step

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

One thing I hear a lot from people who are jaded by therapy is that therapy doesn’t solve problems.

I’ve heard that more times than I can count.

And you know what?

They are absolutely right!

Therapy doesn’t solve your problems. You solve your problems.

Therapy helps you find the next step to help you do that.

This is true in any kind of self development process, not just therapy.

Where we really miss out on growth is when we think that setting a big, new goal or working through an issue is going to solve our problems.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself.

When someone comes to me battling severe depression, there’s no way that we even consider solving their depressive symptoms.

The very first thing we try to find is the most immediate next step the client can take to just feel a little bit better.

A little bit.

If the client hasn’t left the house in a few days, can they simply take a walk to the stop sign at the end of the street today?

That one simple task won’t make them feel less depressed necessarily, and it really doesn’t have terrific health benefits.

But it’s the absolute next step to take the client to the next place in the process. The place where they might find that their next step is to take a right turn to get to that next stop sign.

And so on and so on.

Before you know it, you might look around and find yourself in a new place with possibilities for new direction.

Hey, how did I get here? I mean I’m not exactly where I want to be yet, but I’m hopeful about where I’m headed.

If we can accomplish that, then we have inched that depressed person just the tiniest bit closer towards feeling good.

Any incremental movement forward at all is progress.

If you can acknowledge that progress and celebrate it, then that’s like a bonus next step.

In the Western world we are very caught up with “go big or go home.” We get super stoked about making a big mess and figuring it out along the way.

That’s fine for some. But I find that “go big” can create a lot of unnecessary chaos.

Stirring things up so fast like that creates muddy water that can easily conceal the very stepping stones you need.

That’s when people start searching for help.

Sometimes it takes someone who understands the terrain a little bit to help you find the stepping stones lying just under the surface of the water that will get you where you want to go.

Trying to solve all of your problems in a “go big” way is a quick way to wear yourself out.

And it’s a recipe for anxiety because the answer always seems to be out there just in front of you.

For each problem you face right now that doesn’t have a clear answer, resist the urge to solve it right now.

Instead ask yourself, what is the very next step I can take?

That step may not produce any real results. That’s okay. But those couple of inches you moved will take you to the next step after that.

Take a deep breath and be okay with that.

Then…take the next step.

If you like to journal, document your journey through this problem.

Later you can go back and see a clear picture of the steps you took that got you to that hopeful place.

You just created a little roadmap for how you can handle similar problems in the future.

I think you might find that these small steps do require some courage and bravery.

Because at the end of the day you are probably facing your fear about the problem even as you are taking this small next step.

That’s good. You need courage to take the steps.

Otherwise you’re not giving up anything in this and you won’t learn from this experience.

But it doesn’t have to require Braveheart-style courage.

You don’t have to yell “freedom“ as you race headlong into a crowd of opponents who way outnumber you.

That may not end well, and that may create more problems than it solves.

Find your non-Hollywood style courage and simply trust yourself to find the next step that’s right for you.

Then just keep doing that.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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 62: How to regulate your emotions when under stress

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How do you regulate your emotions when you feel like everything is bearing down on you? How can you set yourself up to respond to your emotions in a healthy way?

There’s no one answer but here are a few ways that will set you up to regulate your emotions on those stressful days.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 62: How to Regulate your Emotions When Under Stress

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

Keeping your emotions in check can be hard sometimes. Things can come at you very suddenly and you find yourself grappling with strong emotions.

How do you prepare yourself to keep your emotions in check so you can use them in a healthy way?

Well, there’s no one way to do it. But there are a few intentional things you can do to ensure you can use your healthiest emotions to stay resilient to what comes your way.

You can learn to regulate your emotions in a few simple ways.

Part of managing your stress is understanding what keeps you functioning every day.

What are the main drivers for you in your day? These are the things that, if they are missing, will make your day seem a lot harder.

For me, I have three things that are non-negotiable to help me function well in a day. These are the things that I absolutely make sure that I get done every day.

The first one is sleep.

Everything hinges on me getting good sleep. It feels like a different day when I am sleep deprived and I have a hard time managing my emotions on these days.

The next one is downtime.

I am very introverted. Even though I love engaging with people, I know that in order to keep engaging with people I need to spend time alone to recharge my batteries.

I try to get at least an hour every day. That’s the amount of time that works for me.

The third one is food.

I can’t even think straight when I’m hungry. And I’ve noticed that I feel exasperated if I’m trying to handle something and I’m hungry.

So I always have healthy snacks around and I try hard not to go too long feeling hungry.

Exercise is super important, too.

And that one comes in at a very close fourth place.

But honestly if I miss exercise on a day I can still function pretty well. If I go without one of these other three it is noticeable to me and others around me.

Identify two or three things that you know help you function well every day.

Then prioritize them in your day before anything else.

The second way to help regulate your emotions is mindfulness.

Mindfulness is one of those hard to define words.

But mindfulness is basically just staying in the moment and using all of your senses to experience that moment.

Mindful activities take you out of your planning, analyzing and goal setting mode and put you in a moment where you can just experience that moment for what it is.

Meditation is a form of mindfulness. But you don’t just have to stick with meditation.

One of my favorite mindful activities is washing dishes by hand. There’s something about feeling the warm, soapy water on my hands and seeing dishes get clean.

For you that may be feeling the texture of soft dirt in your hand while gardening.

Or sitting in a pretty setting with beautiful, fragrant flowers.

It can even be just enjoying the sound and feel of a paintbrush moving across a canvas.

The sky’s the limit on this one.

Mindfulness is powerful when it uses all of your senses to bring you into the present.

This is important in helping to regulate your emotions because it gives you a break from all of that constant planning and anxiety about the future.

So find a few things in your life that let your senses experience what’s happening around you right now.

Another way to regulate your emotions is just to go ahead and accept that you’re experiencing them.

We spend so much time trying to keep our emotions from overwhelming us.

But sometimes they just do.

So go with it. Even though it’s scary, you will survive it, I promise.

Let the emotion wash over you like a wave. But do this in a nonjudgmental way.

Instead of berating yourself for feeling so emotional, take a deep breath and allow yourself to simply be an observer of how the emotion feels in your body.

  • Do you feel it in your chest?
  • Does it stay there or does it move to another part of your body?

Instead of fighting it, you can observe and follow what that emotion is doing and where it’s going.

You’ll find it’s easier to accept that it’s happening and just ride it out.

Then you get to let it go.

Find the most important things you can do every day to help put in the best position to regulate your emotions.

Start finding opportunities to experience the present through mindfulness and let go of the chase for productivity and results for just a few minutes.

Practice accepting that you have these powerful emotions and know that you can have control over how you feel.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting my website at LoriMiller.me.

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 61: The difference between thoughts and feelings

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How can you tell the difference between thoughts and feelings? It starts with the way you use the word “feel” when describing what’s happening around you. Reframing your thoughts starts with identifying your emotions.

Learn how pumpkin lattes can help you discover the difference. ☕❤

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 61: The Difference Between Thoughts and Feelings

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

If you’ve been hanging around for a little while, you’ve heard me say that your thoughts affect your feelings, which then affect your actions.

One of the most popular forms of therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, is based on this one principle.

How you think about and perceive the events in your life has a direct line to how you ultimately behave.

So your thoughts are the biggest enchilada in this stress-busting party platter we’re making here.

But sometimes we confuse thoughts and emotions.

What we may think is a feeling is actually a thought.

I learned this in my very first class in my master’s program with Dr. Henry Virkler, my advisor at Palm Beach Atlantic University. This was one of the first things he told us, and he mentioned it in every class I took with him for the next 2 1/2 years.

I never forgot it.

A feeling is an emotion. A thought is an evaluation.

So for example if I’m wondering if you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes, I might say to you, you know, I FEEL like you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

We use the word “feel” like this all the time.

But me wondering if you’re judging me isn’t a feeling, like anger or sadness.

In this case I am evaluating whether or not you were judging me for liking pumpkin lattes, maybe based on something you said to me or your behaviors.

I form an opinion or a perception about your actions.

So it’s more accurate to say, I THINK you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

I considered the evidence and formed an evaluation in my mind that tells me that based on your behavior, you just might be a judgmental foodie.

And now you’re looking down your nose at me for liking delicious, comforting pumpkin lattes.

But because it’s an evaluation from my perspective, I might be completely wrong about this.

For the record, if you were judging me for liking pumpkin lattes that would make me FEEL really sad.

Lori, why does this matter, and why do you like pumpkin lattes so much?

It matters because the way to change and challenge your emotions and feelings is to reframe your thoughts.

Your THOUGHTS get this whole cognitive train moving.

So it’s important to be accurate about the content of those thoughts so you can come up with more adaptive ones BEFORE you get to the train wreck emotions.

If you’re confusing your thoughts with your feelings, that’s going to be a lot harder.

Remember yesterday we talked about learning to identify and label your emotions. This is why it’s important to have a good emotional vocabulary so you know if you are dealing with an emotion or thought.

Continuing the pumpkin lattes analogy here, this is how it might go.

I think you’re judging me for liking pumpkin lattes. I think that’s the case because you just rolled your eyes when I mentioned pumpkin lattes.

What are my options here? What else could be going on?

Well, your face may not even have to do with whether or not I like pumpkin lattes.

  • Maybe you just saw someone behind me throw a cigarette on the ground and you rolled your eyes because you hate littering.
  • Or maybe pumpkin lattes give you heartburn and you rolled your eyes because just thinking about pumpkin lattes is so not enticing.

Neither of those things has you judging me for liking pumpkin lattes.

There is always the possibility that you’re judging me, but I can walk away wishing you good luck with your heartburn and go on feeling good about myself.

Because I decided not to pick the one where you’re judging me.

Try to listen to yourself over the next few days.

See how many times you use the word “feel” in place of “think.”

If you’re paying attention, I guarantee you will find yourself doing this.

When you catch yourself, take some time to restate that evaluation as the thought that it is.

Then be a little detective and list all the possible reasons this thing you think is happening could be happening.

This will take you right down the line to more adaptive emotions and healthier actions.

And maybe while you’re there, you will find a delicious pumpkin latte! If you do, get me one, too!

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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 60: Why you should identify your feelings

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What does it mean to identify your feelings? Well, have you had those moments when you can’t quite put words to what you’re feeling? You may not have a well developed emotional vocabulary.

Part of handling your emotions is to know what those emotions are to start with. Here are some ways to identify your feelings and improve your emotional language.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 60: Why you should identify your feelings

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

When dealing with emotions, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you’re dealing with.

We don’t always have the right words.

We start learning vocabulary words in kindergarten to describe everything from trees to animals.

But we don’t get words to describe how we feel.

Part of being able to manage your emotions is to be able to identify what they are in the first place.

I’ve heard several teenaged clients tell me that they get so frustrated when their parents constantly beg them to tell them how they feel.

How can they tell their parents how they feel, they say, when they can’t even describe it themselves?

Being able to speak from an emotional vocabulary is an important step in understanding what you feel so you know how to address it.

Usually we group emotions into larger categories.

In the later part of the 20th century psychologist Paul Eckman identified five basic emotions that he believed were experienced by all cultures around the world:

  • anger,
  • disgust,
  • fear,
  • happiness,
  • sadness, and
  • surprise.

He and other scientists believed that these were the hardwired emotions that early humans needed for survival.

These five emotions helped early humans know if they needed to defend a territory or respond to danger.

Who knew that we would all one day live in a world where a device in our pocket would allow us to peek in on our friends Facebook page and get angry about their POLITICAL stance?

That’s a long way from feeling angry about the clan leader from the next village stealing the food from your last hunt.

We can get emotional about just about anything now.

Our lives now are lived on a full spectrum of emotions.

  • You may not feel angry but you might be annoyed.
  • Maybe you’re not disgusted per se, but you might feel suspicious.
  • Maybe you’re not necessarily happy but you do feel content.

Part of having good stress management skills is being able to identify and label exactly what emotions you’re feeling.

I don’t have to list them here. You can simply Google “list of emotions” and find some great lists out there.

Just like your teacher gave you a vocabulary list to study in the third grade, download one of these lists and take some time to define each of these emotions.

  • How do they play out in your life?
  • How do you typically respond when you feel, say, embarrassed?
  • What does it look like for you when you feel proud?

Become familiar with each of them so that you will know when you’re experiencing them.

Once you have a working emotional vocabulary, then you can use these words to quickly label how you feel in an emotional moment.

You can actually make a verbal statement right in the middle of your emotional experience that describes how you feel.

If you’re annoyed because you’re stuck in traffic, you can simply state to yourself, “I am so annoyed right now.”

The person sitting next to you might be like yeah, no kidding?

This is called affect labeling. And it is a physiological response.

This part is very cool.

Affect labeling slows down a part of your brain that’s responsible for your emotional responses.

That part of your brain is called the amygdala which is part of your limbic system and helps you manage your mood.

Functional MRI’s have shown this area of the brain quite literally cools down after simply putting feelings into words.

That almost sounds too simple, right?

Making a simple statement about the emotions you feel causes your physical body to respond.

It may not make the traffic any better, but it will take the edge off the annoyance you feel in that moment.

But in order to label that emotion, you have to know what you’re dealing with.

That’s why the vocabulary is so important.

This is a great little skill to learn to help you not feel so overwhelmed by the full range of emotions you might feel in a day.

Learning to identify your emotions is the first step to understanding what you’re feeling.

Articulating to yourself what you’re feeling helps you understand better what solutions you might need to look at.

And all of this forms a terrific foundation for better communication skills with others because now you can explain what you’re really feeling.

Take some time to explore your emotional vocabulary and find ways to increase your knowledge of your emotional experiences.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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 59: Are strong emotions bad for you?

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Did you grow up thinking your strong emotions are bad for you? We get the message early on that emotions are either bad or good. This is mostly based on what we do with those emotions.

It’s easy to avoid emotions that make us uncomfortable because we don’t think they have a role to play in our lives.

But emotions, especially powerful emotions, can tell us a lot about ourselves.

Learn how to let all your emotions find their natural place in your life.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on resilience, you can check out all the episodes here.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 59: Are emotions bad for you?

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

How many times have you missed the mark with something because you just couldn’t handle your emotions? And then you chastised yourself for feeling such difficult emotion?

You don’t need a therapist to tell you that emotions are powerful.

Even though this therapist did just tell you that. 😀

Emotions represent some of the most basic needs that we have as humans.

The ability to love, fight for justice, feel joy, and move bravely through sadness is what makes us human.

We are absolutely wired for emotion, even the messy ones that spill out all over everybody around us.

From the minute we enter the grand stage of our life, one of our earliest, most basic needs is to attach to others.

This happens through a profound process of love and physical nurturing from a caregiver.

Attachment is a dealbreaker for every baby human to start healthy development.

And all that happens from powerful emotion going from one person to another.

Since we’re little kids, we are led to believe that some emotions are good and some emotions are bad.

The evidence for this is largely due to the behaviors that we show when we feel certain emotions.

  • If we get angry and we throw something, then anger is bad.
  • If we do something that pleases others and we didn’t get upset about having to do it, then we must be happy.

One fun exercise I like to do with kids is to give them a page full of different emojis. The faces range from happy to angry, and all points in between.

I simply ask the kid to cross out the bad faces and circle the good faces.

They waste no time crossing out the obvious angry face, the frustrated face, the sad face, the worried face, and sometimes the confused face.

It takes them a lot longer to pick out the good faces. Once they get past the obvious smiling face, you can see the philosophical war going on in their head with silly face and rolling eyes face.

They’re fun faces, but are they good?

When they’re done, I ask them to pick out one of the faces they crossed out.

In almost every case they pick the angry face. What makes that face a bad face, I ask.

Because that face was mad and did something wrong, so they got in trouble for it, comes their reply.

I keep probing.

So…it’s bad to feel angry?

They look at me as if I suddenly grew a third eyeball right in the middle of my forehead.

Of course it’s bad to feel angry because when you get angry you get in trouble.

So you shouldn’t feel angry.

And there it is.

Before you even hit puberty, you’re taught to avoid emotions that make you uncomfortable.

Yelling back at your mom or throwing your Xbox game controller on the ground is bad, so anger is bad.

Unfortunately, well-meaning parents focus just on correcting the negative behaviors that stem from unhealthy emotions instead of helping their kids listen to what those powerful feelings are trying to tell them.

And there’s almost no focus on healthy emotions and understanding how to appreciate that for the gift that it is.

Hearing what your emotions are trying to tell you helps you learn what to do to manage them when things get difficult.

Emotions are dashboard indicators that tell us what’s important to us, or to pay attention to something that’s bothering us.

  • Anger may tell you that you were actually hurt by a situation and you need to repair a relationship in order to move forward. You don’t need to run from that.
  • Contentment and joy may tell you that your focus on prioritizing your family is actually making you happier. Keep doing what you’re doing!

Emotions are less good or bad and more healthy or unhealthy.

Unhealthy emotions can lead to unhealthy behaviors, but that doesn’t make YOU bad.

Framing emotions in this way gives you more power to actually feel like you can have some mastery over them.

When you lose your cool with your kids, instead of beating yourself up for reacting in anger and thinking you’re a bad parent, you can spend some time trying to understand what’s really happening here.

  • Are you overwhelmed with all of your other responsibilities?
  • Have you set up clear boundaries with your kids so that they clearly understand the role they play in the family?

Figure out what’s laying underneath that unhealthy emotion.

Do you feel like you’re going to lose it every day at work? Maybe you feel like you’re swimming in a cesspool of frustration, powerlessness, jealousy and boredom.

That’s a recipe for disengagement for sure. But this isn’t a bad thing. You can tap into each of these emotions and investigate the situations that got you here.

  • Are you jealous of that coworker who got promoted ahead of you? Maybe you’re feeling hurt that you didn’t get chosen and you feel rejected.
  • Fine. It’s okay to feel that way. Now you know that promotion was important to you.
  • What role can you play to make any changes that might set you up for the future?
  • What other options might you have?

In order to do the healthy work to improve yourself, it’s important to lose the idea of good or bad when it comes to emotions.

That’s a super fast way to judge yourself and others.

There are just too many variations on our emotions to think that just one set of emotions is good and the rest are bad.

Learn to be curious about what your emotions are telling you.

Emotions add color and joy to our lives.

They complement logic and reason because sometimes things are not always so black-and-white.

Even difficult emotions add value because they are a testament to what we’ve been through.

And if we’re still standing, our emotions and our ability to use them can show us just what we’re capable of.

You can catch episodes of Mental Health Moment by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

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Ep 58: Finding meaning and purpose through resilience

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Meaning and purpose aren’t just a one-stop destination you fulfill at the end of your life. You can find meaning and purpose in every day. And you create it every day with those around you.

Tapping into your strengths and looking forward — the ingredients for resilience — frees you up to settle in to your purpose by doing what you do best.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

Check out the other episodes in my series this week on resilience.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 58: Finding meaning and purpose through resilience

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

So far this week in this series on resilience we’ve defined resilience as being able to identify resources and taking action to help yourself.

When we start focusing on our strengths and looking to the future, we discover that our purpose starts to reveal itself.

Do you think about your purpose a lot?

I know ever since I was a little girl I thought maybe there was this one thing that I was supposed to do. One way that my life would impact other people.

I was pretty focused on it. I sure didn’t want to miss my purpose because I wanted my life to matter.

I was a very serious little girl wasn’t I? 🤓

My teen years and early adulthood centered around trying to figure out that one thing that would take me to my purpose. Never mind that I wasn’t 100% sure what that purpose was exactly.

This put pressure on me because every new effort required some kind of direct line to this ill defined purpose.

I surely didn’t want to waste any time doing something that wasn’t going to lead me to that ultimate singular purpose.

I remember this time being full of busyness and constant activity. I felt overwhelmed a lot.

But I just thought this was part of having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life.

What I’ve discovered now that I’m a middle aged adult, is that my purpose isn’t measured by one destination.

It’s lived out hundreds of times a day in how I interact with others.

My purpose isn’t about one big thing that I can put on my tombstone one day.

The more I understand that the more I am able to give myself a break when I miss something. And the more I give myself a break the less stressed I feel.

Funny how that works.

I heard Tony Robbins say one time that this relentless search for meaning and purpose that we modern world citizens are looking for is a relatively new thing.

Just a little more than 100 years ago, people did not expect to to live a very long time. And for whatever time you were alive, life was more about survival and taking care of immediate daily needs.

Your meaning and purpose was most likely to put food on your table.

Meaning and purpose didn’t have the same front row seat that it does now in our profoundly abundant world.

This search for so many of us is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of humanity.

So it’s totally okay if you don’t have this figured out yet.

Part of staying resilient to stress is knowing that your efforts are leading to something.

Of course you want to be intentional and make sure you’re doing the best you can to live out your purpose.

You want to know that you can have some kind of control over where your life goes and how you can impact your future.

We all want to know that our time here on earth is well spent.

But sometimes I think we make this purpose thing too hard.

I think one of the greatest contributions to our stress is this constant push to be accomplishing something. Every activity, every effort has to lead to something.

And if you can’t find common themes or draw some lines, then you freak out because you start wondering:

  • Where is all this going?
  • What’s my purpose?
  • And is all this activity leading toward something?

Your purpose is not an event that you’re trying to get to.

It is something that you live out every day with the people you work with, with your family that you love and take care of, and with the parts of yourself that you share with others.

It’s entirely possible that you exist purely for other people to help them and to give them meaning in their life or encouragement that they need.

For me, this is exactly my purpose. The technical skills I bring to my whatever work I’m doing take a very distant backseat to the way that I encourage others and help them find their way to the next step.

I do this without thinking about it and I couldn’t tell you exactly how I do it.

But it is truly my purpose.

For all of the soul searching, the assessing of your skills, the focus on intention and disciplined effort, you may already be living your purpose.

Don’t get so caught up in finding your why that you miss the what that you bring to the world around you every day.

You can catch the previous episodes of this series on resilience by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

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Ep 57: Use power and confidence to build resilience

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Resilience is all about finding your strengths and using them as power to move you forward. You can use power and confidence to build resilience.

We get a little confused by personal power and confidence. We think they’re emotions. And neither of them are things you’re born with.

Action always precedes power and confidence. That’s where you build the courage to put yourself out there.

Learn how that can play out in your own life by listening to the fourth episode in my series on resilience.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

Check out the other episodes in my series this week on resilience.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 57: Use power and confidence to build resilience

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

So far we’ve been talking this week about how resilience can help you find power in the middle of a challenging situation.

Resilience isn’t just about weathering stuff.

It’s about tapping into your strengths and figuring out what actions you can take to change your situation.

Being able to impact your circumstances, even in small ways, is one way to feel like you have a little more control.

And all that is fueled by having a sense of personal power and the confidence to exercise that power.

What does it look like when you don’t have personal power?

That’s when you let others bring out the worst in you with their actions. So for example, you let someone else’s negative response to a situation at work affect how your whole day goes.

You give your power away when you let others decide who you are and what you’re all about.

Exercising your personal power makes you feel like you have mastery over your circumstances. You feel like you have the skills and the knowledge to influence your situation.

Confidence is where you take that personal power and use it to take risks.

When someone trusts you with a task or challenges you with an interesting project, they’re giving you the vehicle to demonstrate your power with your skills and experience.

But you have to be willing to take the action and walk it all the way through.

So confidence is really a behavior.

But we treat it like an emotion we experience. We even articulate it that way.

“I don’t FEEL confident about my test tomorrow.”

Confidence about a test is less about feeling and more about how prepared you are.

And how do you prepare for a test?

You use flashcards, you study a little every day, you drill yourself on your knowledge of the subject.

You perform behaviors that will put you in place for the best possible outcome.

Like all behaviors, confidence is first affected by your beliefs and the emotions that stem from those beliefs.

By choosing what we believe about ourselves and what we choose to act on, we can influence our confidence.

So personal power and confidence is something you give yourself every day with the actions you choose to take.

Here’s something that happened to me in the third grade that maybe illustrates this. Apparently I’m waxing nostalgic about elementary school a lot this week. 🤣

When I was in the third grade, I tried out for my elementary school choir. I come from a musical family so I knew I had the skills to get in.

So I was pretty shocked when my music teacher didn’t pick me.

I don’t remember her explaining why. I just remember feeling confused.

I mean, it’s the THIRD GRADE. How exclusive do we need to be here? It’s not like we were airing our performances on network TV here.

At about the same time, I had an opportunity to try out for a community choir in our town.

This was definitely a more prestigious outfit, with students from all over our entire school district, even the private schools.

Those guys were good.

There was definitely a chance I wasn’t getting in.

But I don’t remember dwelling on that.

What I remember is practicing the audition music every day.

My mom, who is a singer and classically trained pianist, worked with me every day to help me get ready.

On the day of the audition, I simply had a task to perform. Sure, I was a little nervous but not about getting in.

I simply wanted the performance to go well because I knew I was capable of it. I’d already done the work.

So I walked in with that power and placed myself in a situation where the outcome could really go either way.

There was a risk that I wouldn’t meet the criteria they were looking for.

But I had done enough work before the audition to feel comfortable taking that risk.

I was confident.

I don’t want to leave you hanging. I got in.

And I stayed in that choir until I aged out in the 7th grade. I learned music theory, made some great friends and learned how to perform in front of an audience.

I’m glad I didn’t miss all that.

But I would have missed all that if I hadn’t trusted what I knew I could do and placed myself in a situation where I might fail.

So instead of allowing that music teacher to make the decision for me about my musical skill, — taking away my power — I dug in and learned even more.

The outcome of that audition didn’t matter as much as the power and confidence I gained from the experience.

But it was pretty cool that I got in.

Instead of letting others influence how you respond to your situation, focus on your strengths and all of the experience you bring to the table.

Get in there and learn. Lean in to the experience and really develop your skills.

Then use that power to put yourself out there in a way that honors your journey.

That’s resilience all day long.

You can catch the previous episodes of this series on resilience by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. Don’t forget to subscribe to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Just search for “Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller.”

If you want Mental Health Moment delivered right to your inbox, visit mymentalhealthmoment.com to sign up to get these delivered to your email every day.

If you’re STILL wanting for more, you can find articles and videos about stress and mental health, by visiting 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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

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Ep 56: Get what you want without feeling entitled

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You know you can’t always get what you want, the Rolling Stones told you that. But when entitlement sets in, it’s easy to focus on what you’re not getting.

Maybe you don’t think entitlement is a problem for you. That’s for celebrities or younger people, you might think.

I used to think that, too. But when I looked over some of my more stressful times, I realized that one common theme was always in play: Why can’t I get what I deserve?

If you are focused more on how to get what you deserve, instead of how you’re moving forward, you might be swimming in some entitlement waters.

Feeling entitled can take away your ability to stay resilient to stress because it removes your power to change your situation. Learn a few ways to get yourself out of those choppy waters.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

Check out the other episodes in my series this week on resilience.

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 56: Get what you want without feeling entitled

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

Have you ever thought about whether or not you’re entitled?

When we hear that word, we picture someone who asks for more than they deserve, or who thinks they should be able to cut to the front of the line, so to speak.

“That doesn’t sound like me. I’m totally okay standing in line like everybody else.”

But entitlement can sneak in in some very crafty ways.

From my own experience, I can tell you that when I feel like I’m carrying too much, that’s when I feel entitled.

  • I’ve always been a hard worker. I meet my deadlines and I try to stay positive for myself and others.
  • People know me as the person who can help you push something on through.
  • I bring value. I know that.

But sometimes that backs up on me because then, when I don’t get what I want, I’m taken off guard.

“In what universe do I not deserve to get what I want? Don’t you see how hard I work?”

I may not say it out loud but this is definitely what I’m muttering under my breath.

What does all that have to do with resilience?

Well, remember resilience is about focusing on your strengths and being able to access resources and options even right in the face of challenges.

This is where you find the energy to move forward to help yourself.

Entitlement, though, gets you focused on what everyone else is not doing for you.

Instead of keeping your eye on what you can do to get what you want, you start looking around for all the ways that people aren’t helping you.

So you start using language like “I deserve more than this.”

There’s always this tension between what you don’t have and what you feel like you’re owed.

This is both an energy drain and a zap on your resilience.

Because if you are wallowing in those kinds of negative thoughts, you’re definitely not going to get what you feel like you deserve.

And you’re not focused on taking any action to just go get it.

You’re stuck in a victim mentality.

And there’s nothing resilient about a victim mentality.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive to be more and do more.

You deserve to have the best shot at achieving your goals and dreams.

Every human does.

I’m talking about that constant undercurrent that says you should have more just because you’re good and you’ve been here a while.

You can see this in your family relationships.

Maybe you’re the one who’s always taking care of things and making sure everybody has what they need.

Maybe they don’t always return the effort. Or maybe they don’t even acknowledge it. At least not when you want them to.

It’s easy to feel like you deserve better treatment than that. And maybe you do.

But by focusing on what others are not doing to recognize your contributions, you can quickly lose sight of where you were headed in the first place.

And all that negativity and rumination about what you’re not getting can make your mood go south.

Does the company you work for really owe you anything more than paying you for the job that you do for them?

I don’t mean to sound cynical.

But at the end of the day, your company isn’t paying you for all the extra gifts that you bring to your work, just the basic job description.

So when you feel like you’re doing all this extra stuff and you’re not getting recognized, it’s easy to feel like you’re not getting what you deserve.

That can leave you feeling less engaged in your work. Instead of looking to the future, where all the goodies are, you’re stuck at where you are right now.

All that can start to sour you on your relationship with your company really fast.

If you don’t feel Iike you’re getting what you deserve, you have three options to stay out of entitlement land and keep you focused on what’s ahead.

One, you can simply ask for what you want.

Shocking, I know.

But most of us don’t do this. We prefer our passive-aggressive style of wringing our hands about what others aren’t doing for us.

So just ask them to do something for you.

This forces you to define what you really want and put words on it to articulate it. That in itself is a great exercise.

Second, find out what you need to do to get what you want.

You know as well as I do that if you really get what you want and what you deserve, it’s because you committed yourself to take action.

Honestly, there are very few situations where other people truly have all the power over you to keep you from getting what you want.

I feel like this is true in fast food drive-through restaurants. 😂

How many more levers can you pull to see this through? I know, you’re already carrying so much of the weight.

But to get what you want, you may have to carry a little more and forget about what everybody else is doing or not doing.

Lastly, if you’re not getting what you want, maybe it’s time to go somewhere else.

Opportunity exists in so many places anymore. You should always be assessing what’s working and what’s not.

Sometimes getting what you want lies in another place. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean that you failed.

It just means that you don’t have the resources you need in this place to get what you want.

That’s how resilience works.

Sometimes you have to look at what you have available to you right now and just be brave enough to make the decision that where you are now just may not be cutting it.

That really has nothing to do with anyone else and everything to do with you.

Feeling entitled takes power away from you and makes you a victim.

It’s hard to get what you want, and it’s hard to help other people succeed when you feel like you have no power over your situation.

Give yourself a few tools to help you get in the habit of accessing what you already have and focus on what you can do to get what you want.

You can catch the first episode of this series on resilience by visiting mymentalhealthmoment.com. You can also find all the other episodes there, too.

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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

GET THE BE WELL DO WELL DIGEST!

Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!

Ep 55: How to find your power when dealing with change at work

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Change at work has become the new normal. You can fight it, or you can figure out how to find your power right in the midst of change.

Part of being resilient is knowing what you can hang on to to get through change.

As part of my series this week on resilience, in this episode, I share a story from the fifth grade to illustrate how you can find resilience and find your power even as everything is changing.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 55: How to find your power when dealing with change at work

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

One day when I was in the 5th grade, I was riding my bike to school on a small country road.

I was about halfway to school when I heard a vehicle coming up behind me. I turned my head to see a white pickup truck bouncing down the road in my direction.

I was pretty sure he saw me but I made sure I was fully on the right side of the road on the shoulder. I grabbed the handlebars tightly and steadied myself as I braced for the truck to go by, my little legs still pedaling so hard.

This was not the first time a truck had passed me on this road. So I fully expected to feel a breeze from the truck as it went by.

What I didn’t expect was a loud, obnoxious “Woof!” in my left ear as the truck flew by.

Okay, that was my attempt to sound like a very large barking dog.

Turns out, there was a big dog in the back of that truck who decided to say hi to a little girl on her bike right in that moment.

I was so startled I drove straight into the ditch next to the road and flew head first right off my bike and in to wet grass.

Books, lunchbox, glasses and all.

I’m sure it was a YouTube worthy moment. Thank goodness there was no YouTube in those days.

I can promise you the next time I heard a vehicle come up behind me on that road, I had some extra information in my pocket to prepare myself.

I became more keenly aware of the possibilities for what could happen when a truck goes by you on a country road.

And I learned what I need to do to become more resilient to prepare myself to stay out of that ditch.

Does this experience describe how you feel when change happens all around you at work?

We all just want to get on our bikes and get to school, for crying out loud. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and that can be really frustrating.

Constant change is just part of being in the workforce today.

It’s lovely to say that we wish it wouldn’t change so much and remember how it used to be.

But work is now very competitive and companies have to run fast to keep up with changes in your industry.

This means that:

  • leadership teams shuffle around more often,
  • technology gets outdated more quickly and has to change, and
  • markets get more unpredictable and require fast changes for companies to stay afloat.

And all that can add up to uncomfortable changes in how you do your work.

Remember in yesterday’s episode we talked about how resilience isn’t just about what you’ve already been through. You can use your own strengths to help you stay forward focused to weather what’s ahead of you.

The same formula applies here.

The first thing you have to remember here is to not take change at work personally.

It’s rarely about you and almost always about trying to survive to live another day.

Instead of complaining about how all these changes are affecting you, you can take a more offensive approach.

Use this time as things are shuffling and moving around to assess what you would like to see in your job.

  • Are you really feeling SO challenged and engaged in your job?
  • Is there some scenario where you would be okay with seeing some things change so that maybe you can re-engage in your work?

Ask yourself a series of questions to help you come up with some ideas in the middle of all this change happening around you.

  • What’s working for you?
  • What’s not working?
  • What skills would you like to continue to develop or deepen?
  • What other levers could you pull to achieve some larger career goals?
  • What do you want to do? There’s a wild question.

You don’t have to necessarily share your answers with anyone. But knowing what options you might have can help you have a little more power in those times when you feel like you have very little control.

The second thing to remember is to avoid sitting and stewing about all the negative possibilities in your situation.

Ruminating about all the things that are going wrong or could go wrong with all this change leads to a feeling of hopelessness.

And it certainly removes your power from the situation. Resilience is all about keeping your power so you can access it when you need it.

Because you answered those questions I mentioned earlier, AND you made a list of your strengths from yesterday‘s episode, you already know what you bring to the table. 😉

Now you can walk through a different perspective.

Not a paranoid one that thinks all of these changes are about making me miserable.

But a perspective that helps you learn how you might contribute to some of this change in a positive way.

Instead of replaying your scary movie in your head over and over again, challenge yourself to look for all of the possibilities and sniff out your opportunities.

Which leads me to this.

One of the most important things you can do to stay flexible and resilient through change at work is to stay away from gossip and rumors.

This is your kryptonite.

Sorry I just mixed a barking dog in a pickup truck analogy with Superman. That’s just how it goes sometimes.

Gossip is the one thing that sinks many good people. When things change at work, we can be filled with fear.

Every little snackable morsel of information that comes your way is like kindling on a fire that stokes your fear.

To be fair, sometimes poor communication during times of change makes you desperate for any communication at all.

But the more you poke at gossip and entertain it, the more oxygen it gets and the brighter it burns.

Gossip takes away your ability to ask meaningful questions and find out where you have real power.

Instead it wants you to position yourself as the victim.

Now you’re more concerned about what’s happening to you and how you can protect yourself instead of focusing on your strengths and what you’re grateful for.

And for what might still be ahead.

You can’t avoid change at work.

And you can’t avoid all the ways it might affect you.

But you definitely have the power to use what you know about yourself and challenge your thoughts about what you see happening around you.

You have this power all day long.

Knowing what strengths you bring to this equation will help you keep your hands firmly on the handlebars, and hopefully, keep you out of the ditch looking for your glasses.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how stress can lead us to feel entitled and how we can find ways to live in a different mindset.

You can catch all the previous episodes of mental health moment at its new web address at mymentalhealthmoment.com.

As always you can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify.

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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


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Ep 54: Building resilience to fight stress and find opportunity

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Building resilience isn’t just something that happens after you go through something challenging. You can build resilience every day. It’s a skill, a habit that will help you weather whatever comes your way.

In the first episode of this series, learn how you can focus on building resilience for creating a buffer against the stress of change and find opportunities to feel more powerful.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes of Mental Health Moment wherever you are! 

Full transcript 👇

Ep 54: Practice building resilience to fight stress and find opportunity

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

This week I want to look at some areas related to resilience.

We really don’t think about resilience a lot, do we? It’s hard to define.

You can put a number on how depressed or anxious you are, but how do you measure resilience?

Resilience is like that Jell-O salad at Thanksgiving. No one can define it, really, and everybody makes it a different way.

And it almost never looks sexy.

But thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without it, right?

The Google box defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” Another definition is “the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Those are pretty good definitions, but they focus more on resilience as a result of something we’ve already been through.

How can you leverage what you have right now, in the middle of what you’re dealing with right now, to become more resistant to the effects of change and challenge?

Resilience is simply this: how can you identify the resources available to you today and take action to help yourself when stuff gets real?

To find your resilience you have to look beyond your situation and figure out what YOU can bring to the table.

  • What strengths can you activate to deal with your situation?
  • When should you use those strengths?
  • How can you set yourself up for the next situation that rolls around?

Resilience, then, is actually a skill that you can build with intention and purpose.

The choices and decisions you make can empower you right in the middle of all your drama.

And with the right focus, you can make resilience a habit, and a powerful one.

How can you focus on building resilience?

First, identify your strengths

What strengths describe how you move through your life when you’re successful?

These are more like positive character traits.

  • Do you have courage?
  • Are you positive-minded?
  • Are you a rational thinker?
  • Are you enthusiastic?
  • Are you known for your integrity?
  • Do you like to show kindness to others?

You need to identify and develop a foundation of strengths to build on. This is what you can draw from on a dime when things get hot.

It doesn’t matter what’s happening around you.

If you can use your courage, for example, to make a simple decision to change something about your life today, then you can feel like you still have some power in the middle of your situation.

Your strengths are like health in a video game.

The more you have, the longer you can last. And you always want to pick up as much as you can, even if you don’t feel like you need them right now.

So, figure out what you’re really good at when things hit the fan.

Second, building resilience means you need to stay forward focused.

Your past plays a big role in building resilience because you can learn from what you’ve been through. I mean, hopefully at least you can learn from what you’ve been through, right? But that’s where it ends.

If you’re constantly replaying what happened to you over and over again, it’s easy to get stuck. You can take yourself right back to those same hurtful emotions and re-injure yourself.

Create the habit of being curious about what’s ahead.

Take a look at that list of strengths that you just built and figure out how you can leverage those strengths to impact something, or create a future opportunity for yourself right now.

Make a list of all of your possible options, even the weird or less-likely ones.

Sometimes this kind of brainstorming can generate solutions you hadn’t thought of yet.

Third, practice a gratitude mindset.

This is the special sauce you can come back to every time because gratitude reminds you of what you’ve already come through.

Gratitude is more than just being grateful that you have more than others. It’s appreciation for what you’ve been given and drives you to share with others out of that gratitude.

Maybe you can encourage someone with a text or a written note, or buy someone’s lunch today just because you’re grateful you’ve always had enough to eat.

So gratitude is more than a feeling.

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

A gratitude mindset is the cornerstone of building resilience because it helps you appreciate the contributions that other people are making in your life and in the lives of others.

Much of the stress we experience is reacting to stuff that happens to us.

Part of weathering that stress is making sure we have enough resources we can draw on to withstand what comes our way.

But you can take this a step further by asking yourself, what can I do to set myself up better for the next challenge that comes around?

That’s how you practice resilience.

Over the next few days we’ll look at how building resilience can help you in a few ways.

  • How can resilience help you create a buffer against the stress of change, especially at work?
  • How can you feel less entitled when you’re most stressed and really want to feel entitled?
  • How can resilience help you create your own opportunities to feel powerful and confident, and finally,
  • How can it help you find purpose and meaning in spite of your struggles?

Make sure you don’t miss any episodes this week by subscribing to Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Spotify.

I would just be over the moon if you could leave me a review in any of those places.

For even more 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.
  • Share this episode on Pinterest, Facebook, and LinkedIn .

Help spread the message about good mental health!

 


Subscribe to the Be Well, Do Well newsletter

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Info and tips each week to help you improve and change your life!