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.
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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!

 


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

Ep 51: Stop howling and start moving

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I love the story of the old dog on the front porch. I think it illustrates the place most of us are familiar with at some point in our journey.

What changes will you make to stop your pain and start moving in a new direction?

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series a couple of weeks ago on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

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

Full transcript 👇

Ep 51: Stop howling and start moving - Beagle dog staring at the camera

This was a good excuse to put a cute dog in this post. You’re welcome! 😊

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

Today I have one simple thought for you.

Have you heard the story about the old dog?

There are a few versions of it, so here’s mine.

A man was taking a walk in a country town on an old dirt road.

He could see an old farmhouse in the distance.

As he got closer, he thought he heard a strange and sad sound. He stopped for a minute and listened, thinking it could be coming from the same direction as the house.

Sure enough, as the house became larger in the distance, the sound turned into the most God-awful wailing he’d ever heard.

On and on it went, one horrible gut-wrenching howl after another.

With the house right in front of him now, the man saw an old, floppy-eared dog sitting on the front porch.

It was super clear now where the sound was coming from.

Man, he thought, who knew all that weeping and wailing could come from one little dog?

The man saw an old farmer sitting in a rocking chair just next to the dog.

The man couldn’t help himself.

“Sir, your dog sure is making a lot of noise.“

“Yep,” the farmer replied as he rocked slowly in his chair.

“What’s wrong with him,“ asked the man.

“Why, he’s sittin’ on a nail,” he said.

The man smirked a little.

“Well that’s easy enough. Why doesn’t he just move off the nail?“

The farmer shrugged.

“Doesn’t hurt bad enough.”

What nail have you been sitting on?

If you’ve been hollering for a while and it’s not changing anything, maybe you’re missing the simple solution.

How much longer are you going to howl about your unsatisfying job?

Could you move off that nail to put yourself out there and find something better?

Or would moving the nail simply mean finding ways to re-engage your work right where you are?

Do you keep returning to the same place over and over again in your relationships?

Maybe your nail involves getting some therapy to figure out your unhealthy patterns that bring you right back to the same place every time.

Doing real work on your issues just might keep you from all that wailing on the front porch.

One thing is for sure, there will come a point when the pain will finally just be too much.

When that happens, you will have to face fear and discomfort to feel better. Somehow, that will seem like a more viable option than where you are right now.

This is where you will finally feel like you’re making progress.

The ironic thing is that you probably only need to move six inches in one direction to change your whole outlook.

And once you move off that nail and see how it wasn’t as hard as you thought, you’ll wish that farmer would’ve pointed it out to you long before.

What do you have to do to move off your nail?

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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 50: How to worry less and figure out what to let go of

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Worry always seems to be with us. I hear from people every day who ask me how they can simply worry less.

There’s no magic technique, I’m afraid.

Worry is a hard habit to break, and you might wish you could just let go of it like a red balloon at the fair.

But part of working to figure out what to let go of is to know what healthy things can replace your worry.

I have a little exercise here that might help you. It includes a Worry Less Action Plan downloadable exercise you can work through over the next few days. This episode will take you through the exercise.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series a couple of weeks ago on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

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

Full transcript 👇

Ep 50: How to worry less and figure out what to let go of - person sitting against a wall with a red cardboard frown face placed over their face

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

Worry creates a mess inside your head.

You can take a perfectly nice day, with vibrant sunshine, birds singing their very first songs of the day, the beautiful glisten of morning dew on the grass, and you can mess all of that up with your worries.

Give yourself five minutes to start thinking about what’s not working in your life and:

  • those birds will sound warbled and annoying,
  • the sun will get too hot, and
  • the dew will have now attracted mosquitos who can’t seem to stop feasting on you.

How did you get here so fast?

I mean, haven’t you heard all the quotes about worry?

  • “You’re borrowing from tomorrow.”
  • “Robbing yourself of joy.”
  • “Worry is like letting birds build a nest in your hair.” I don’t know what that means but I kinda get the visual.

We know worry isn’t helpful. We don’t need to learn that.

But how do you let go of worry each day?

How does that work in real life?

How do you face the day knowing there are a million possible scenarios out there that could take you down any road?

Worry is a decision you make.

And if worry is a real problem for you, then it’s probably the FIRST decision you’re making each day.

  • Before you get out of bed, you’re already wondering what your boss is going to throw on you today.
  • You’re worried that if you don’t leave home on time you’ll get caught up in the crazy traffic.
  • You’re worried that your kid’s teacher will call you AGAIN today because Johnny just won’t sit still in class.
  • This week you’re already feeling overwhelmed and you’re worried that you won’t get it all done.

None of these worries are things you control.

But making the decision to give those things space in your head before you brush your teeth?

That’s all you.

And what follows this first decision to worry is the feeling of dread about the day.

Not about any one thing in particular. Just an overall sense of dread that you can’t shake.

Does that feel real to you?

You can change this, but you have to make a deliberate effort to believe you can change it.

And YOU have to be the one to make the change. No one can take this one for you.

If it’s Monday, maybe you heard in church over the weekend about how God doesn’t want you to worry, that you can just give your worry and anxiety to Him.

Or maybe you read a great book from one of your favorite influencers about how your thinking shapes everything. Change your thinking, change your life.

Sounds easy enough, right?

You can interpret either of those as some magic formula where one grand effort gets you where you want to go.

  • If you give God your worries on Sunday, then Monday will magically be worry-free.
  • Or you close that influencer’s book and feel pretty amped up about seeing all that great success just from changing your thinking.

But by the next day, you’re right back to hot sun and mosquitoes.

Both God and that influencer would tell you that you need to do daily work to free yourself from that worry habit.

You won’t nail it on day one or maybe even day 12. In fact, you may very well still be worrying on day 12.

Because worry is a habit that you have to change, not a condition that you can improve.

And just like any other habit, you have to decide you will change it and come up with a plan for what that looks like.

The answer is simple but not easy.

Here’s one way to deal with worry and find ways to let go of some stuff.

Start your day with a Worry Less Action Plan.

Fancy name, I know, right?

Write down and list exactly what you’re worried about today.

In detail.

Give yourself something visible to look at.

One of the hardest things about worry is how it creates confusion and chaos and sends random thoughts bouncing off the inside of your head.

After a while you’re not really sure what you’re worried about. You just know you’re worried.

It’s all jumbled together in one big, giant hairball.

Give that worry some space and a voice so you can actually see it.

So look at that list you created.

  • Where are the areas where you feel responsible?
  • Do you feel like you could be doing more in some area that you’re just not engaged in right now?
  • Can doing that action take away some of that worry?
  • Or are you taking on responsibility that doesn’t belong to you?

This is important to figure out. Many of the things we worry about we may not even have a role in.

It sucks to worry about things we can’t actually do anything about.

After you have a visible idea of what your worry looks like and what you actually own, write down a few statements about who you are.

What do you bring to this situation?

This takes your focus off of what’s not happening and how you can influence what’s actually going on.

Are you a good problem solver?

Then use your capacity to find solutions to generate some possibilities. Start applying your problem-solving skills to those things.

Are you reliable and steady?

Write down specific statements to remind yourself that even though you’re not sure how things will turn out, your ability to show up matters. Write down a few ways how your SHOWING UP could change the situation.

Think of as many things as you can about who you are. This is the best way to defeat worry.

You are countering those worrisome thoughts, which may or may not be true, with what you know to be true about you.

So letting go of worry feels a little less like a faith leap into the unknown, and more like a lever you can pull that’s right in front of you.

Do this every day. Yeah.

Write down what you’re worried about, which of those worries you can actually do something about, and document how you can influence your situation.

Every day.

That’s it. That’s the Worry Less Action Plan.

If you’re really jazzed about doing this, you can download this exercise in a printable format on my website at LoriMiller.me.

Just click on the blog post titled “How to worry less and figure out what to let go of.”

I’ve also thrown in a worry scale at the back of the exercise so you can rate your worry over the next week.

⬇ DOWNLOAD: Worry Less Action Plan

Here’s the deal. This isn’t a plan to address the actual things you’re worried about.

Right now just get in the daily habit of addressing your thoughts about your worry and your ability to handle it.

Do this when you first wake up.

You don’t have to get up at 5 AM. But it may mean you get up 15 minutes earlier.

Do this before you turn on any other input for the day.

In fact, I would suggest while you’re working through creating this new habit, maybe you don’t watch that morning news show while you’re getting ready for work or catch up on the news on your phone while drinking your coffee.

There are a million things the news people will tell you to worry about and almost none of them involve you. This isn’t gonna be helpful.

Try this for a week and chart your level of worry today and every day for the next week. You can use a basic scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning worry is off the rails.

Again, you can download from my website a page of seven worry scales to use over the next week.

Worry Less Action Plan - Click to downloadDownload the Worry Less Action Plan

 

Every fiber in your being will tell you that this is stupid.

It won’t work. Worry is worry, and that’s how it goes.

Well, what would you say to a random stranger who walked up to you and told you, completely unsolicited, something you knew wasn’t true?

You would either ignore them because you think they might be crazy or refute their statement with what you knew to be true.

You can do the same here.

Don’t take your unsolicited thoughts at face value.

You get to choose who you will be this day and what you’ll believe about yourself and your world.

No matter what happens to you today, this one is all you.

We’re not generating any grand epiphanies here. Just creating a day-in and day-out habit to learn to trust yourself and believe that who you are can make a difference in how your life turns out.

Don’t forget to download the Worry Less Action Plan on my website at LoriMiller.me and to read more articles on mental health.

You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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 49: How to handle sensory overload at work

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We take in so much at work through our senses. At times it can feel like too much. It definitely feels like sensory overload.

Other times, we don’t notice how these sounds, sights, smells and touch are affecting our stress levels.

Learn a few ways to identify these sensations at work and how to manage them to reduce anxiety and stress.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series a couple of weeks ago on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

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

Full transcript 👇

Ep 49: How to Handle Sensory Overload at Work

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

Do you ever get bothered by the noise and all of the activity that goes on at work?

Many people don’t think they’re too bothered by the sensations going on around them.

Others hear and see every little thing that goes on.

We know that modern office spaces introduce more sensory experiences.

That’s part of being at work now.

But you may be more affected by this extra sensory load than you may think.

What you’re experiencing with your senses all day can definitely contribute to that feeling of just not getting anything done and feeling overwhelmed because of it.

You may have heard of sensory processing disorder.

This is a condition where some combination of visuals, noises, smells, and touch are so overwhelming that it makes life unbearable.

A person with sensory processing disorder is keenly aware of everything going on around them all the time and it interferes with their ability to perform simple tasks.

But the worst part is that all of this sensory overload comes with constant anxiety. Being able to handle those sensory issues or have some relief from it can go a long way to reduce anxiety.

Maybe you don’t have sensory processing disorder.

But, I don’t know, would you agree that the world today is full of non-stop sensory overload?

My new favorite pet peeve is the little news stations at the gas pump. As soon as I start pumping gas, a tiny little TV starts loudly trumpeting news and weather information. You know, the same stuff I can literally get anywhere else.

So I can no longer ponder my life in all its woe and wonder while spending three minutes pumping gas.

I’m already assaulted by noise before I even get to work.

Or how about all of the strong smells in your workplace at lunchtime.

There’s nothing quite like the smell of curry or reheated fish to pull you from your deep thoughts.

For extra bonus points, just throw in some burnt microwave popcorn to really seal the deal.

We laugh about it, but does that sudden curry smell jar you from your critical thinking about that problem in your new project?

And how about your freezing cold office?

People in the workplace just don’t do well in cold temperatures.

A Cornell study showed that typing errors were reduced and productivity increased in an office temperature of 77°. When was the last time you worked in an office that was as warm as 77°?

Maybe this is just part of modern life.

But these constant encroachments on our senses do have some effect on us.

Any sensory input coming in requires that your brain do something with it. Most of the time your brain does a marvelous job of filtering out all kinds of things that you don’t even remember experiencing.

  • But just because you don’t realize it’s going on doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
  • So the more input, the more work your brain has to do.
  • This can keep you from deeper focus and concentration on your tasks.
  • There’s always something pinging your brain with a new request to manage so you really can’t dive in and put your best mental energy in to your work.

What can you do?

First, simply be aware of the noises, visual stimulus and other sensory inputs you may be exposed to.

Sit for a minute.

Listen and look for what’s really happening around you.

Second, track the anxiety you feel.

Jot down those moments in your day when you feel particularly overwhelmed and anxious. See where there might be some correlations.

Maybe you laugh about how your coworker never sits still and always has to be moving around.

But that visual stimulus of constant movement near you just might be distracting you enough to keep you from finishing something.

Is someone near you having a conference call on speakerphone at their desk?

You might blow it off as just a casualty of the modern open-office plan.

But there’s a good chance that it’s adding to your anxiety because you may not be able to do your best work when you’re listening to a whole other conversation.

So document some of that stuff.

Once you know what’s adding to your sensory load, then place a few things in to your day to give you a break from it.

Take regular breaks to give yourself time away.

There are a million reasons to do this anyway.

Going outside for a few minutes can be especially helpful because it can warm you up.

And for whatever reason nature sounds soothe you in a way that people sounds don’t.

Use headphones or earplugs for the noise stimulus that affects you.

This one is an old standby, and it really works.

You would be shocked at how well simple earplugs can diminish those small sounds you don’t think you notice.

A big way to combat sensory overload is to get some more sleep.

Sleep deprivation makes everything seem 1,000 times worse.

Not sleeping well makes you less resilient to the small annoyances that happen every day.

If visual distractions are your thing, see if you can arrange your desk to where you can’t see the visuals as much.

I worked somewhere once where my cubicle was right next to the main hallway.

I was always looking up, and I felt a little like I should acknowledge everyone and say hi. I’m friendly like that.

So I flipped the configuration of my cubicle around to where it wasn’t as easy to make eye contact. This made a really big difference in my ability to focus.

You probably are filtering out more sensory things than you realize in a day.

Just because these things bother you doesn’t mean you have sensory processing disorder.

What it means is that our modern life has ramped up our sensory experience by just giving us more to deal with.

So it’s on us to put more boundaries around our workspaces.

You do have some power to find pockets of quiet and peace in your day.

This goes a long way to help you reduce some of the anxiety you feel during the workday.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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 48: Play the long game to manage your energy

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Earlier this week I experienced a stressful day that kind of drained me. When I worked backwards, I saw a few places where I could have intervened to help myself.

Hear some of my own solutions for being intentional with stress at work. It’s the best way to manage your energy.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series a couple of weeks ago on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

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

Full transcript 👇

Ep 48: Play the long game to manage your energy

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

I’m always amazed at how wiped out I can get from just sitting in a chair all day.

I don’t lift heavy things.

I don’t move at breakneck speed anymore.

I don’t manage anyone.

How is it that some days I feel like I’ve been hanging on for dear life to one of those old school, brightly colored metal merry go rounds for eight hours?

One day earlier this week, I came home and took a short nap at 6:00.

I was beyond tired and I couldn’t imagine any kind of evening without taking the edge off a bit.

When I feel like this, it’s usually because I haven’t managed my energy.

I’m very task driven and it’s hard for me to stop until I’ve completed something. So it’s easy for me to work for hours on end.

If I’m not seeing clients, I’m doing paperwork. Paperwork is the evil side of mental health. It never gives you a break and if the paperwork is how you get paid, then there is always great incentive to get it done.

So I went all day without a real break.

I managed to swallow some healthy food I brought from home but other than that I was on task all day.

This was no bueno.

I didn’t give my body and brain a chance to replenish for almost seven straight hours.

Sometimes we forget that knowledge work requires a lot of us physically.

Critical thinking is just as much physical as cognitive. In fact, research shows that our brains use about 20% of our day’s calories.

Thinking is work.

We have to plan ahead of time to ensure that we have energy for the work in front of us.

I guess it’s like that age old debate: should you put gas in the car when it’s almost empty, or when the tank is at 1/2 full?

Neither one is wrong. But one of them will cause you a whole lot more anxiety.

So how would I replay this day if I could?

First, I would have set some timers for me to get up and go outside.

We are having amazing weather right now in south Florida and I missed all of that. Just stepping outside in the sun a few times would have given me little spurts of energy throughout the day.

Second, I would have made sure to take some time with my food.

I had brought some pretty terrific chipotle steak I had made for dinner the night before. Everyone in the vicinity of the microwave said it smelled great.

But I didn’t really enjoy it.

I worked in one pressure cooker environment once where we would joke around that we didn’t eat anymore. We just swallowed food so we wouldn’t die at work. That’s not okay.

Third, I would have taken several times throughout the day to stop what I was doing and re-assess my priorities.

Am I going down any rabbit trails here? Outside of seeing clients, which are time-anchored into my schedule, I have autonomy over my day to decide what is really important for me to work on right now.

But it’s too easy for me to get underwater in the tasks and just focus on crossing things off.

This is one of my biggest challenges in both my previous marketing field and now in mental health. I don’t always submit myself to work on those important things.

The urgent is sexy and will always catch my eye.

If I had taken that time, I might have identified some things I could’ve pushed off to today when my schedule is not as intense.

I’ll pat myself on the back a bit and say that I stayed hydrated and I did lots of deep breathing.

Learning to breathe from my diaphragm has been a game changer for my stress. I can calm myself right on down now in any situation.

But even though I’m putting those measures in place, the long game is in giving myself more time during the day. And to plan for all those breaks on days that I know will be intense.

By doing this, I’m showing kindness to myself.

If I was managing someone working like this, I would want to help them find their way through this. I wouldn’t want someone else to work so intently.

It’s always easier to see it in someone else, isn’t it?

As you can see, I’m still learning how to manage myself.

Our 21st century life requires us to be super intentional in how we manage our energy. There are just too many things in our lives looking to drain our energy from us.

I wish I had done that earlier this week but I have the opportunity to do that today.

And so do you.

Decide today how you will manage your energy.

Make good decisions ahead of time about how you will walk through this day. You have more control over this than you think.

It just might keep you off the merry go round today.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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 45: The best way to change others

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You know full well you can’t change others and what they do. But it’s hard to live this out in real life.

Instead of worrying about whether or not others are changing, you’ll feel less stress and anxiety if you focus on what you can change about you. Learn a few ways this might show up in your life.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

If you missed my series last week on how thinking errors can stress you out, check them out all in one place.

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

Full transcript 👇

 Ep 45: The best way to change others

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

“The only person you can change is you.”

How many times have you heard that, or read it in a self-help book? We know this.

It even sounded super cliche to me when I said it just now.

It’s kind of a big duh. But it’s super hard to put this one into practice, isn’t it?

Deep down we like to think we can actually have some hand in others changing themselves for the better.

Because then we can take some credit for the change. Okay, we like that!

I hear this perspective every single day.

  • Marriages that are going off the rails because one person has zero insight into how badly they’re screwing this up.
    “If only they would just change how they talk to me I would be happier.”
  • Bosses that have blinders on to how their micromanaging work style is driving you nuts.
    “Why can’t they understand that if they would stop treating me like a child I would feel better about my work and do a better job?”
  • Kids that make unhealthy decisions no matter how much you try to help them.
    “I’ve been there already. How can they not see that what I’m trying to tell them will actually help?”

This is all a quick way to stress and anxiety.

  • First of all, you’re placing your happiness in other people’s hands, where you have no control.
  • Second, you’ve decided that you alone have the answer to the problem, even though you may not have all the facts. Are you a wizard or something? Most likely you aren’t even privy to all the variables that might help you understand what’s really going on.
  • Third, expecting others to change puts you slam dunk into that victim role. You get to throw darts willy nilly but you aren’t accountable for your own change simply because you’ve been so wronged.

You’re making a big, unnecessary mess of it if you’re in this place.

The offenses of someone else can so easily blind you to your own options. And that has nothing to do with anyone else.

That’s all you.

The answer is like making a good hollandaise sauce — simple but not easy.

Mind your own stuff.

The only way to feel less anxious about all the ways people are messing up your life is to simply decide what you will change about you.

That’s really all you have here.

Your ability to be thoughtful in your own responses or look for ways to improve yourself are the only things you own and have complete control over.

Your spouse may still talk to you in that tone even though you’ve already said you don’t like it.

They’re clearly not changing.

What is the healthiest way for you to respond so you have the best chance of feeling heard, not just so you can feel like you’re in the right?

There’s a good chance your micromanaging boss isn’t going to change.

I’ve never seen it happen, and I’m guessing you haven’t either. I don’t even think that’s a thing.

So why are you so focused on them making that change?

  • I’ve said before that micromanaging isn’t about controlling you, it’s about your boss’ own fear and anxiety.
  • So your boss has to wade through their own stuff to make that change — just for you. That doesn’t seem likely or fair.
  • Can you try to meet them halfway by providing a more frequent status update on your work to help them feel a little bit calmer?

I know, making them feel better isn’t your job but if you make this change to accommodate them, would it help you a little too?

If you look back on your own young adulthood, do you remember taking much advice from your parents?

Did you have any epiphanies about their great wisdom? Probably not and your kids aren’t any different.

So wasting time wringing your hands and fretting over what epiphanies you think they should be having is a big ol’ waste of time.

Epiphanies are highly overrated anyway. You know as well as I do that the best wisdom comes through small revelations over time.

Spend your time instead focusing on how you can find the healthiest ways to be supportive for those times when they do fail. They will need you to come alongside them in those moments and who knows, they might ask for your advice.

Be ready for that moment by learning how to change the way you show up for your kids.

All of this requires humility and some faith that the things you change about you will make a difference.

This is the hard part because there are no guarantees.

You might make some wonderful strides and still be left doing all the work. Was there value in improving yourself, though?

Please know I’m not saying to change for somebody else, or to overlook an abusive situation.

I’m speaking to those everyday annoyances that:

  • eat away at you,
  • occupy your valuable brain space, and
  • leave you feeling stressed, helpless and worn out.

Changing things about yourself may not make a difference in the behaviors you see from others.

It will absolutely change how you think and how you view what happens to you.

Minding your own change will change you.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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 28: Five Ways Anxiety Shows Up in Your Life

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If you’ve ever had a panic attack then you know what anxiety feels like for sure. But you can experience anxiety in some different ways that are more subtle.

Learn some undercover symptoms of stress and how you can learn to manage them.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

And don’t forget to subscribe to hear future episodes wherever you are! 

Full transcript

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

When you think about anxiety, what does it look like? For many people, anxiety looks like a panic attack.

An elevated physical response to some unknown stressor that seems to come out of nowhere.

If you’ve ever had one, you know they can be frightening.

But there’s more to anxiety than just anxiety attacks.

Sometimes the signs of anxiety are more subtle. It can be easy to miss the signs or think that because you aren’t having panic attacks that you’re not dealing with anxiety.

But if you listen closely to some of the things you may be struggling with, you’ll see some interesting patterns.

One sign of anxiety is overthinking.

I talked a bit about this yesterday. I called it playing the tapes. You can find the episode on my website. Rehashing and reviewing your day over and over again serves to keep you out of the present and stuck in the past.

When you stack up all that against your worries about the future, then you experience anxiety.

Overthinking becomes a desperate way to control a world that is already behind you while trying to second-guess what may happen in the future ahead of you.

Another symptom of anxiety is difficulty with short term memory and concentration.

Do you suddenly find yourself forgetting the simplest things and struggling with basic organizational skills?

Or maybe you can’t focus on one task long enough to actually complete it. You know this isn’t normally what you do.

What’s happening?

Memory and focus take a big hit when anxiety is in the picture. Because you’re overthinking and ruminating, the cognitive abilities you would normally be able to bring to simple tasks is just not available.

Your brain has to spend an enormous amount of energy to keep that information close by in your short term memory so you can grab it when you need it.

If it’s busy stewing over something that happened at work, then there’s little room for trying to remember where you put your keys.

Another symptom of anxiety is gastrointestinal issues.

Things like heartburn and irritable bowel syndrome are becoming more common, in the workplace especially.

These kinds of issues are very physical, legitimately painful and can make it difficult to focus on your work.

While the symptoms are physical, in many cases the root lies in anxiety. Recent research is showing that your gut is the key to your mood.

Your gut produces most of the serotonin your body uses. You may know that serotonin is a key player in boosting mood and controlling depression.

The link between the gut and mental health is so strong that many researchers now refer to the gut as the second brain.

Have you ever felt butterflies before giving a presentation at work?

That is your gut absorbing your nervousness and responding with a physical symptom. While that in itself isn’t unpleasant, chronic anxiety can lead to more long term, uncomfortable gastrointestinal distress.

So if you’re struggling with unexplained digestive issues, you may want to ask yourself what else may be going on.

The last symptom that can sneak up on you is anger and frustration.

Anger is a necessary emotion that tells you when something you want is being blocked from you. All that overthinking and worry about what you’re not getting can leave you feeling helpless and powerless.

And that’s a surefire recipe for anger and frustration.

In my work with children I’ve noticed that anxiety can be a huge driver in oppositional behaviors. On the surface, it can look like anger that the child just cannot control.

But if you ask questions about recent events in the family or living situation, you will most likely find transition or major change that creates instability. The child uses those oppositional behaviors to process and express the anxiety they feel about everything changing.

Have you ever felt that way at work? Do you have change and transition at your work?

The anger and frustration you feel may be anxiety lurking under the surface.

So what do you do?

To really get mastery over anxiety you have to interact with it, process it and find practical coping skills that work for you.

This means probably working with a professional who can help you walk through the specific thoughts and feelings that you’ve been experiencing.

But there are a few things you can do right now that will help you calm yourself and take the edge off.

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep deprivation looks a lot like intoxication. It messes with your ability to respond and shatters your resilience to basic life events.

I know the common wisdom is to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. That sounds amazing, right?

But that may be really hard for you. That’s too much pressure.

Why not just try to get to bed a half hour earlier than usual tonight? Put your new bedtime on your calendar and work backwards from there.

Just do that again tomorrow.

A really powerful way to manage anxiety is to develop a deep breathing practice.

This is a simple, free and effective way to manage the physiological signs of anxiety. There is a specific method of deep breathing that uses your diaphragm to stimulate a response that affects multiple systems in your body.

This is a very powerful response and it absolutely works.

You can use deep breathing in any situation and over time, with enough practice, you can recondition your body against that anxiety response.

You can find an article on my website on how to do this. Visit Lori Miller.me and type deep breathing in the search bar.

The most important thing to know is that you do have control over your anxiety. I know it doesn’t feel that way when you experience it.

But with some dedication and commitment to simple and effective practices, you can get mastery over your everyday anxiety.

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at Lorimiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

 

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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How to go beyond positive thinking

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Stuffed toy sitting next to a coffee cup that reads "Today is gonna be a good day."

It’s no mystery that positive thinking is a valuable part of good mental health. You don’t have to be a genius to know that negative thinking will get you nowhere. So why should you go beyond positive thinking?

There’s nothing wrong with having optimism for the future.

It’s important to be able to believe that somehow everything will turn out okay. I believe we refer to that as hope.

But how do you make that hope tangible?

How can you feel invested in how things turn out instead of just hoping for the best?

I can remember when I was first exposed to the power of positive thinking. It was in my early married years when my husband and I became part of what was then known as Amway.

Amway was a multilevel marketing company that sold everything from toilet paper to vitamins. Not only could you buy products you used every day, but you could also make a little money and grow a business.

Well, we didn’t make a lot of money. But what we did do in Amway was make excellent friends.

Those excellent friends encouraged us to listen to cassette tapes each week. These cassette tapes had inspiring stories from people who had gone before us in business. They also contained positive messages from the big guns of positive thinking: Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Zig Ziglar, you name it.

The idea was that if you listened to these positive messages enough, you would just start to believe them. Your brain would naturally absorb these messages.

If you listened to them in place of negative feedback — for example the daily news — you would really start to see growth and progress in your business and your life.

Garbage in, garbage out. 🗑️

Makes total sense.

This was an earth shattering concept for me at the time. If I’m honest, negative thinking is kind of my default mode.

I’ll look at what’s not working before I try to figure out how to make things work. (Hmmm…..this might actually make me a good therapist. 🤔)

I’ve often been accused of always finding ways to shoot holes through things right off the bat.

I understand now that it’s part of my personality, but I know there is much power in trying to be positive first. So this was a real challenge for me to apply these principles to my everyday life.

I’m grateful for this time in Amway because I learned that I had the power to map out and visualize a life that I wanted with positive thinking.

I could choose to keep that picture in front of me. Using the power of my own thinking, I could march towards that picture.

But the hardest part about this for me was that every time I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “This is going to be the best day ever,” and “I am awesome,” I didn’t believe it.

In my perspective, there was too much evidence that said otherwise. It felt like I was lying to myself.

All I could see was that I had several issues I needed to resolve that day and being awesome didn’t really give me a roadmap for how to solve my problems.

I was just giving myself a whole lot of thumbs-ups. 👍

What I was missing was adaptive thinking.

Adaptive thinking goes beyond positive thinking.

You have to do more than just believe things will be okay.

  • What happens if they’re not okay?
  • What do I do then?
  • Am I still awesome even though I dropped the ball?

This is where anxiety can so easily enter the picture because you don’t feel like you have any control over the outcome.

In order to solve problems, you have to know what role you play and which of your strengths you will use to come up with a solution.

Adaptive thinking allows you to keep a positive attitude as your foundation and lets you build on that to actually generate solutions to your problems.

Adaptive thinking helps you form contingencies.

Being able to plan around unexpected stuff without losing your stuff is the biggest key in remaining flexible. Anymore, being flexible is everything, especially at work.

Positive thinking would tell you to hope for the best when something you didn’t expect flies in to your day. You got this!

Adaptive thinking would tell you to consider all the possible scenarios in front of you and come up with solutions based on how you’ve handled these things before.

Of course you should stay positive that you can handle whatever comes your way.

But adaptive thinking gives you some real data in the moment so you can see how this might actually turn out. This is how you calm yourself.

Adaptive thinking helps you create observable and measurable plans instead of going off of some vague feeling of trying to feel better about the situation.

Adaptive thinking focuses on your strengths.

We all have things we are really good at. Those strengths give us the confidence to solve the problems that may pop up in the day.

When you are faced with a difficult situation, using positive thinking to hope for a positive outcome can help you persevere.

Adaptive thinking, however, lets you focus on your specific skills that will help you power through this situation.

  • Are you good at bringing some order to chaos? Focus on using that skill to make a step-by-step list of the things you will take care of today.
  • Are you the person who can find solutions under a rock? Bring that strength to the equation to help you and your team see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Are you the empathetic one who can help keep the peace in tense situations? Please, yes, your strength is superhuman and can help your team survive some tough times. (Why is there no Superman emoji?)

Focusing on the strengths you’ve already developed builds tremendous confidence for the next challenge that comes along. You have results you can point back to. 👈

“I’ve got this because I’ve done this before.”

Feeling inspired or hopeful is a great place to start. But you will really succeed when you go beyond positive thinking to focus on applying your strengths and skills to a challenge.

Use adaptive thinking to paint yourself a track record of what you’ve already done really well.

Adaptive thinking allows you to be curious and forward focused.

Positive thinking is forward focused all by itself. It always points you to believing you can succeed in some future moment. This is great.

Adaptive thinking takes you to the next level by letting you create that specific future moment for yourself. It allows you to explore your own natural curiosity.

  • What questions can you ask to look at this problem from all angles?
  • What strategies can you look at now that will set you up for that next level?
  • What have I done before that didn’t work?
  • What did work?

Interacting with your strengths, skills, and investigative prowess helps you keep moving toward your goal.

How do you build adaptive thinking into your day?

Let’s say it’s time for your annual evaluation at work. Nobody really enjoys these, including and especially your boss.

But you have a bit more of a disadvantage of being judged by someone who doesn’t sit in your seat every day. Performance evaluations are ripe ground for positive thinking because you really have no idea how this may go. You want to feel as good as you can when you walk in the door.

If you’ve had a bit of a tough year in meeting your goals, you may already be a little worried.

So you tell yourself that things will be good. You’re a valued employee, you know that, and you can handle whatever your boss may bring up.

FAN-tastic.

But take that positive attitude a step further.

  1. Before the meeting with your boss, make a list for yourself of specific areas where you already know you missed completing some things.
  2. Ask yourself some questions about how and why you missed the mark. Don’t beat yourself up, but do come up with some data on what you could have missed.
  3. Generate some ideas for how you can come up with a plan to address those issues. What will you do differently next time? Who can you collaborate with in the future that might help complement your skills?

If those ideas come up in the meeting, you have some actionable and forward-focused stuff to bring up if you need it. Now you have a better chance of contributing good information to the meeting and being a little less on the defense.

This takes you much further down the road than just telling yourself things will be fine.

I wish I had done more of this when I was in the corporate arena.

When I did finally understand the importance of adaptive thinking, I came to the conclusion it was time to leave that arena.

So that prompted a whole new round of adaptive thinking.

But I was confident I could take the next step because I started a new chapter of my career based on the track record I had already built.

I was positive about my career change, but adaptive thinking helped me to be pragmatic about what I needed to succeed.

Think about it

What are some areas where you could apply adaptive thinking?

Drop me some comments below! 👇👇👇

 


Check out my new Alexa Skill – Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller

You’re busy at work and at home, and you take care of everyone else. You’re allowed to have a few minutes in each day to set your focus, regroup and feel a little more in control.

Join me every day as I bring you simple and practical tips you can use right now to gain a little more control over your life.

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Amazon Alexa skill - Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller


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