Ep 95: Find your own little breeze

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So yesterday I was talking about how it’s okay to quit sometimes. Now today, I want you to find ways to give yourself a break and keep going. Life sure is confusing sometimes! 😂

I find inspiration everywhere, and a few years ago I found it in a simple song that helped me refocus on a bad day. Here are a few things to remember when “one of them days” blows in.

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Full transcript 👇

 

Ep 95: Find your own little breeze

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

A few years ago I remember having a really tough morning getting ready for work.

It was one of those days when you wake up with kind of a cloud over your head.

Have you ever felt like that?

I tried all my usual stuff to get past it but I still felt like my brain was moving through peanut butter.

I had about an hour commute in those days so while I was driving I decided to try a couple of podcasts I liked.

But it just wasn’t taking, you know? It felt forced and my cynicism had me shooting down all the positive stuff I was hearing.

That peanut butter cloud and I flew right down I-95 together that morning. I couldn’t shake it.

There was a lot going on at my job that was pretty tough, and I knew it was going to be hard to be the positive one today if I didn’t figure this out.

I finally gave up and just turned on my 80s station, which is my go-to place because I like to think I was cool in the 80s. I wasn’t, but if I think I was, then I was, right?

That moment allowed the work of a great American philosopher to change my perspective.

Billy Joel’s hit from 1985 called “You’re Only Human” began to play.

Now I had heard that song a million times before, but I guess I’d never really stopped to hear the lyrics.

Parts of the song spoke to where I was sitting in that moment.

I won’t be singing the lyrics to you here. In fact, my solemn vow to you in Mental Health Moment is that you’ll never have to hear me sing. But I can recite with some skill so here’s what I first heard:

It’s not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You’re gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It’s alright
It’s alright
Though you feel your heart break
You’re only human
You’re gonna have to deal with heartache

I felt like he was singing directly to me right from 1985. It was a legitimate “Back to the Future moment,” only I was in a Mustang not a Delorean. 😂

I remember thinking as I pulled off the highway exit, you know what, he’s right. Billy Joel’s right!

I AM only human! These feelings are part of the experience even though it’s not fun.

In fact, these feelings are the things that make me human.

Philosopher Joel continued on:

But I survived all those long lonely days
When it seemed I did not have a friend
‘Cause all I needed was a little faith
So I could catch my breath and face the world again
Don’t forget your second wind
Sooner or later you’ll feel that momentum kick in.

You’re totally singing this song in your head now aren’t you?

As I pulled in the parking lot I was reminded that I had been here before and I had been able to deal with these feelings.

I would catch my breath again, maybe even in the next few minutes if I chose it. I had faith in my ability to to wrestle with these feelings and win.

I sat in the car for a couple of minutes after the song was over and reflected for a second (I call this taking a mental health moment, by the way).

Here’s what I told myself.

You don’t always get to know why.

We want answers for everything these days, don’t we? We’re just not satisfied with some things remaining a mystery in our Google-centric world. I don’t typically wake up feeling like this, and it was frustrating to not understand this state of mind I found myself in.

But you can’t always draw a direct line back to the source of difficult feelings. Sometimes they just are because they are.

Welcome to the human experience, I guess.

This too, shall pass.

That sounds cliche, I know, but honestly it’s so true. If you hang on long enough, something else will get in your field of vision and take those feelings down a notch if you allow them to.

That means simply accepting that you’re having the feelings and feel them. We’re kind of afraid to feel our feelings. We want them to go away so we can just get on with it.

But we have to pass through this particular forest if we want to get to the open meadow.

Accepting your feelings doesn’t mean you’re okay with them. But you can’t move through them until you acknowledge their existence.

Billy Joel was right. That breeze did blow in later. The cloud eventually lifted once I got busy with my work.

Take the time to care for yourself.

Those feelings clued me in to how I was feeling about my work. It was like a little flag telling me to pay attention here.

It was a tough environment, and I was getting weary of the struggle. My strong feelings that morning reminded me that I have to be proactive about managing myself. I was the only one who could choose how to respond in that environment even if I wasn’t responsible for things being difficult.

This experience prompted me to be kind to myself that day. I made sure to schedule regular breaks and I made sure I took care of myself emotionally as I navigated a tough environment.

I had my selfcare radar up all day.

What makes this song so great is how uptempo it is. It’s a pretty happy sounding song with a serious message.

I guess I heard that message when I needed to hear it.

I won’t say I went skipping in to work that day, but the song reminded me that powerful emotions are part of this human game.

Sometimes the little things can give you what you need to get through the day. While it may be a little silly that a 35-year-old song helped me through the day, I used what was available to me to help me refocus my attention.

That’s about as hard as it needs to get.

Here’s hoping you find inspiration and courage in small ways today!

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 94: When is it okay to quit?

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We all know that saying, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Is that true? There are plenty of folks in history who stopped doing one thing that wasn’t working for them so they could pull a lever on something that does. But how do you know?

We can get a few clues from this weekend’s kerfuffle over NFL quarterback Andrew Luck. He’s a quitter. For all the right reasons. Here are a few things to take away from his story.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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Full transcript 👇

 

Ep 94: When is it okay to quit?

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

This past weekend all of sports was aTwitter over the sudden retirement of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Literally days before the start of the regular season, Luck decided to pull the plug on a pretty great NFL football career.

In spite of some injury challenges in the past couple of years, he’s been able to soldier on to remain one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

And all at the age of 29, which seems very young when you haven’t been 29 for a while. 😂

One of his reasons for retiring was the mental game that came with the physical game. Battling back from injury is just as hard emotionally as it is physically, because of all that injury can represent.

  • Will it end my season?
  • Will it have long term repercussions?
  • Is this all worth the wear and tear on my body?

That narrative is always running in the background for athletes at his level.

It seems Andrew Luck got weary of that battle.

Most of the responses I heard to his announcement were similar to my own when I heard the news: Hey, you’re 29, you’re wealthy, live it up!

But I wonder how hard it is to quit your life long dream.

I’ve never done that. I’ve quit some jobs, sure, but none of them were representative of my entire work history since I was a kid.

What is it like to intentionally remove yourself from all you’ve ever known, while things still seem to be going well?

Quitting something big and important SHOULD be hard because quitting shouldn’t be taken lightly. But it should be something you’re willing to do.

As much as we’re encouraged to never give up, sometimes giving up what we’ve been working towards is what might actually move us forward.

There’s no easy way to know what’s not working for you anymore but we can draw a few clues from Andrew Luck’s story.

One thing that keeps us distracted is all the resources our race to the dream may be giving us.

As you keep moving up and hitting new goals, there are benefits and perks. It’s exciting to see what extra stuff your hard work can bring.

But sometimes the chase becomes more about those resources than the dream itself.

Who has more resources than an NFL quarterback? Imagine that your week starts with everyone focusing on what YOU need to be successful.

  • Here’s your training schedule, just show up and a trainer will tell you what to do.
  • Here’s some films to look at. You don’t have to watch all of last week’s game. We already curated the most important parts for you to watch.
  • Your nutritionist has coordinated with your personal chef to make sure your nutritional needs can be met.
  • Make sure you get your nap in before today’s practice so you can be fresh.
  • And everywhere you go people applaud you for your performance at work last week.

Is that how your job goes? I’m guessing most likely not. But there’s probably really good stuff about your goals and pursuits that makes it hard to walk away.

It’s easy to lose sight of yourself in a place like this. This is why it’s so important to interact with your values and internalize them. It helps keep the seductive extras in their proper perspective so you don’t get stuck.

Another measuring stick for quitting is what that dream is costing you.

Is your health at risk? Does your goal or dream keep you from a healthy state of mind? It seems this is where Andrew Luck hit a wall.

No one expects that playing football at such a high level is going to be easy on your body and mind. That’s the trade off and that’s part of the negotiation for their crazy expensive contracts. Even the best dreams have a cost.

But when that cost starts affecting your ability to function well or keeps you from what you value most, that’s a problem.

We tend to glorify this intense approach today. If we look at our business heroes, many of them encourage this extreme version of hustle and grind.

Now, you definitely can’t move forward with anything unless you apply some pressure.

But hustle at any cost can leave you empty, angry and alone. I’m pretty sure that’s on no one’s bucket list.

The mental game can wear you out because you’re so deep in your head you can’t see what others see. So it’s hard to take any constructive feedback, and it’s really hard to know when you’re getting to an unhealthy place.

Taking a step back can sometimes reveal what you can’t see when you’re in the middle of it all trying to move everything forward.

This is why it’s so important to make time for reflection. When you’re on the field all the time you just can’t see what others see from a higher view. So it’s harder for you to know when it’s time to move on to the sideline for a bit.

Here’s a less compelling reason for quitting something hard: it may be time for you to let others take the field.

This is especially true when you’re in leadership. If you’re effective as a leader, you will have someone coming up behind you who is preparing to be the next one with the ball.

This sounds good on paper but it’s hard to reconcile in real life. Chances are you have made your mark in your own way in your pursuit of this goal. Others have noticed.

Why would you give this up so someone else can get the recognition?

Andrew Luck knows that his team has been working with his backup to be ready for any situation. No doubt he has played some role in that preparation, too.

It takes a lot of humility to understand that the team may be better off with this fresh approach than if Luck stayed in his current disengaged state.

Moving out of that spotlight allows someone else to shine, sure. But it also lets you find a new light for yourself.

You can’t explore that if you’re not willing to let others move forward in their journey, too.

Andrew Luck made a decision that most of us are unwilling to make even without as much at stake. In today’s world of material success, people just don’t walk away from that kind of future.

I’m certainly not saying you should quit something because it’s getting hard. There’s a part of the pursuit where the difficulty builds endurance and resilience in you.

But I think you also have to be willing to quit sometimes to go to the next level.

Part of our stress today comes from directing our efforts at things that just don’t matter to us. Or that we’ve simply outgrown. Or that we’re doing because that’s what we’ve always done.

There are no absolute clues for when to step back. That’s why knowing your values is so important.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the very pursuits that used to bring you joy, or you’re emotionally exhausted from the hunt for your goal, it may be time to assess your game plan.

Don’t be afraid to ask yourself good questions about where you are and where you want to be.

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 91: The little beanie that could

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Have you ever looked at a plant growing up through your driveway and thought, “Man, that’s impressive!” It is, but not for the reasons you think. Plants understand how to use the existing structure to get where they want to go.

You can do the same in your own life.

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! 

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Full transcript 👇

 

Ep 91: The little beanie that could

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

One of the first science lessons most of us get is about plants. Maybe you did the same experiment I did with a styrofoam cup, a bean seed, and a windowsill.

This experiment was more about hope than science.

It didn’t seem possible that a tiny bean seed would contain any kind of material that could overcome the heavy dirt laying over the top of it.

If you were impatient like me, you probably dug it up a few times because nothing was happening.

But about the time you think nothing’s happening, BOOM! A little green shoot pops up through the soil and away it goes.

We’re pretty impressed by that but at the same time we know that seeds do grow in dirt. So it’s in its natural environment.

But when a plant busts through concrete, well that’s a whole other thing. We’re pretty impressed by that.

The idea that a tiny plant can bust through concrete defies logic.

But here’s the thing.

The plant isn’t so much busting through, as much as finding its way through.

Concrete contains microscopic cracks. As our little plant deepens its root system, it uses sensors on the roots to sniff out these little cracks.

Once it finds a good one, it forces its way in. Our little beanie draws power from its growing root system, and over time actually displaces the concrete near this crack, breaking it apart and crumbling it in search of light above.

It doesn’t do this because it’s so tough. It finds sunshine because it found the path of least resistance.

We busy humans associate the path of least resistance with laziness. But it’s a pretty common principle in nature.

  • Water flows downhill pretty much all the time.
  • Predators prey on the weaker ones.
  • Even electricity looks for the easiest way.

There’s no glory for that plant in using all his energy to raise that concrete. It might be more impressive but his goal isn’t to bench press the driveway.

The goal for our little beanie is to find his way to where he can find sustenance so he can keep growing.

Why would he use all of his best energy to try to break through something ridiculously heavy when he could just find his way through an area that’s already open?

What can we learn from our little beanie?

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go.

The right way might be the easier way, and that’s okay. We’ve developed a kind of martyrdom about our modern lives. If it’s not a gladiator-style effort, somehow it’s not worth doing.

Your Herculean effort might give you a great story to tell, but it may very well take energy you could use for something else.

Sometimes it’s okay to push the easy button if it gets you where you want to go.

It’s okay to exploit the cracks.

It’s not cheating, it’s practical. And in some cases, it might be the only way to move at all.

The right crack can lead you to the top where the light shines. That’s where you need to be.

You can’t grow unless you have sustenance.

Stubbornly staying under a heavy rock on principle will only suffocate you. You might be able to say that you didn’t take the easy way out. But no will hear you because they’ll be up top high-fiving and growing with our beanie friend.

Finding your way through to the light is just the first step.

Once you get up to the top you might be tempted to think you’ve made it. Take a break and mark your progress, but just know that now is when the real growth can start.

Because you didn’t spend all your good energy trying to do the hardest thing, now you can focus on taking in all that the world has to offer.

You’ll still have to overcome some challenges up here but you already know you have what it takes.

Don’t be afraid to use what you already have to make your life work better.

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 89: How you feel and what you do

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Do feelings matter the most in good mental health? Or is it more about how well we function? Well, it’s both, really. But I think we place so much value on how we feel that we forget how much our behaviors contribute towards our mental health.

Here are a few ways to use behaviors to influence your feelings.

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! 

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Full transcript 👇

 

Ep 89: How you feel and what you do

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

Having good mental health is all about feeling good, right?

If things are going well, we feel happy and grateful that things are going our way.

We may not actively seek out help or support because we have good feelings about where we are.

But it also feels good when you get things done, when you make things happen for yourself. If you’re like me, sometimes you make things happen in spite of feeling cranky or like life isn’t cutting you any breaks at all. You demonstrate healthy behaviors regardless of how you feel.

You wouldn’t necessarily say you feel good but you can see that the train is inching forward, and so that’s good.

So which is it?

Feeling good or demonstrating the behaviors that are working for you?

Welcome to our modern quandary.

I’m not sure we know which one brings us what we want from life. We like to feel like we’re accomplishing something here but we also just want to wake up with happy and content feelings just because.

Fair enough.

Even the psychological community doesn’t settle it. Consider the diagnostic bible called the DSM (or The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

The diagnosis of a mental disorder is based quite a bit on observable criteria that look a lot like behaviors, because they are.

If you’re demonstrating symptoms of depression, you may:

  • sleep less or more,
  • isolate from others,
  • lose interest in things you used to enjoy,
  • become more tearful or irritable,
  • lose or gain weight,
  • become more forgetful,
  • or abuse substances.

All things I can see without asking you. To be fair, there are some subjective criteria for depression: feeling sad, hopeless, or restless, feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of death.

But the overwhelming focus in a diagnosis is on what behaviors I can observe about you.

In fact, in spite of of how you feel, the diagnosis comes when those behaviors keep you from performing well in some way.

  • Like you call in sick to work a lot because you just can’t get out of bed.
  • Or your productivity at work suffers because you can’t focus.
  • Or you abuse drugs or alcohol. I don’t need to tell you how damaging that can be in all the important domains of your life.

I’m not saying your feelings don’t matter. But your behaviors or lack of behaviors, are what can make your life so hard to manage well.

And that can make you feel unhappy or sad.

So getting some progress going with your behaviors can go a long way to helping you feel better.

That’s why people with severe depression may be encouraged to just do a few small things to get moving, even if they’re not feeling it in the moment.

The reality is that good mental health is somewhere in between feeling good and functioning well.

Most of us understand that life has ups and downs that affect how we feel and how we act.

But one thing I’ve observed is just how powerful behaviors can be on those days when you can’t seem to put it together otherwise.

Focusing on your actions can be an agnostic way to lean in to something that feels more objective until your feelings decide to come along on the ride. Hopefully you can accomplish this without judging the outcome or beating yourself up.

So how can you leverage some healthy behaviors to help you on the feeling side?

First, you can make healthy behaviors a ritual part of your day, a habit.

You commit to the time, and take action because you already decided you would. These behaviors can be things like exercise, reading uplifting materials, or helping others. But honestly, they can be anything that you do every day that helps you.

Keep in mind, it takes time to develop a kind of muscle memory with a healthy behavior. But once you do, you find yourself thinking a little less about the merits of the activity itself, and it’s easier not to talk yourself out of it. You’re just on “go” mode, so you go.

This is very powerful and will carry you on the days when you’re not feeling it.

Second, you need to get some accountability and real connection in your life.

If I can see your behaviors, others can, too. You don’t need to be a therapist to notice that someone is struggling, withdrawn and isolated. You need people in your life who will miss you when you’re not around, notice things about you and who will check in with you. That may mean you have to reach out to others first to get this connection and accountability going.

But it is one action that can improve your life exponentially.

Loneliness is a feeling that much of the world is struggling with right now, in epidemic proportions. That feeling can be lessened by taking more intentional action in how much you interact with others.

Third, have some go-to behaviors in your pocket to counter your difficult feelings.

You know your triggers and many times, you know when you’re likely to feel vulnerable. On the days we struggle, one of the hardest things to do is to sit with those difficult feelings without knowing what to do.

That’s when rumination and obsessive thinking take over.

If you struggle with a certain feeling in a certain situation, have a plan for what you will do when you have that feeling.

If your coffee time this morning had you worrying about how the rest of this week is going to go, take a few minutes now to go for a walk. Exercise is a slam dunk for anxiety. If that works, make that your plan. Then, any time you feel anxious, you go for a walk. That’s just what you do.

Now you don’t have to think about it in the moment when your feelings have already hit the floor.

Feelings and behaviors go hand-in-hand for a life that helps you feel productive and purposeful.

You need both.

It’s nice to feel good but it’s not the only metric of a life that is taking you where you want to go.

Part of good mental health is being resilient to handle the challenges that come your way and being able to take real action to stay on track.

Leverage both your feelings and healthy behaviors to feel good.

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!

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 88: Take care of your own “at-bat”

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Okay, I managed to go 87 episodes without bringing up baseball…until today! ⚾😀 I was hoping for a comeback win in today’s Yankees game, but alas, it was not to be.

But if they had pulled it out, it would have been because each player owned his turn at the plate. You can find some parallels for this in your life outside the ballpark.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 88: Take care of your own "at-bat"

Photo credit: Me! Derek Jeter taking one of a bajillion at-bats at a game in Yankee stadium on April 10, 2010. I sure did love taking pictures at Yankee Stadium. 😊

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

If you’re a fan of baseball, or any sport, you know the feeling when the game’s almost over and your team’s down by a lot.

It’s not a fun feeling, and usually at this point of the game the concession stand is closed so there’s no way to distract yourself.

Your team’s down by six runs and it’s the bottom of the eighth inning. You appreciate your pitcher’s efforts to keep the other team where they are, but you have low expectations for that ninth inning coming up.

The other team’s lead looks insurmountable. I mean, physically a comeback in the bottom of the ninth could be possible, but not likely.

Heaven and earth would have to move to make that happen.

You wonder if you should join the trickle of fans you see heading towards the exits.

Maybe they’re right. It might be more practical to get out of the parking lot without a hassle than to witness the inevitable end.

While you’re scanning the expanse of empty seats around you, suddenly you hear that unmistakable cracking sound.

You whip your head around to see that the ninth inning started while you were doing all that looking around. And your team just got a hit.

You’re on base, yes!

Still, you’re not too pumped up. There’s a lot of room between where you are now and actually winning this thing.

There’s still a lot of baseball that has to happen in a short period of time.

And besides, how can the players even get themselves in a position mentally to do that? Don’t they see the bleak picture here, too?

You watch in stunned silence while your team racks up hit after hit, brings in a few runs, and works a few walks. Finally, the winning run walks up to the plate.

  • Now your expectations have come up.
  • Now a win seems doable and real.

But this player isn’t your big bopper, your clean up guy, or your superstar. It’s a utility player. A solid player for sure, but not the one that has the pitcher shaking in his cleats.

And then, CRACK! He gives that ball a ride! Right over the wall!

Game over and your team just came from being down six runs in the ninth to win this thing.

The remaining true fans like you rise to their feet, high fiving everyone in sight and saying how you knew it all along.

Your team just moved heaven and earth apparently.

While you were gazing around trying to figure out when to leave the ballpark, your team was focused on winning.

Kind of.

All teams would say they focus on winning.

But your team understood that winning is simply the result of each player taking care of his own at-bat.

What does that mean?

First of all, let me give credit to former Yankees pitcher David Cone for using that phrase a lot; which is ironic since he knows more about pitching a perfect game than focusing on at-bats.

Anyway, an “at-bat” is simply a player’s single turn at the plate. An at-bat could result in an out, a strikeout or a hit. If the player gets his bat in perfect position to the incoming ball, he might hit a home run.

Now he’s a hero.

But that doesn’t happen often. Statistically he’s more likely to strike out. That’s just the reality of baseball.

But if he’s a decent player there’s about a 25% chance he’ll get a hit that can put him in position for a run.

If he focuses on all that while standing in the batter’s box, though, he’s going to add to his strikeouts for sure.

He knows that his task is simply to keep his eye on each pitch as it comes.

Not the next pitch and not the one that came before.

And he’s certainly not thinking about his teammate’s at-bat just before him or whether or not the next batter will bring it home like a hero.

That’s not how you keep your head together when it looks hopeless.

He’s focused on being in HIS box with HIS pitch in HIS present moment.

He’s doing his very best to take care of what HE’s responsible for.

He’s taking care of his own at-bat.

The winning part isn’t really up to him.

How do you handle your days when you’re in a deep hole with no way to win outside of heaven and earth?

Do you trust in your ability to take care of what you can take care of? To keep your eye on what you know and trust your training?

Do you focus on what you bring to the plate in this moment for this situation and just execute that?

It’s easy to lose sight of all that when you feel like there’s no way you can win.

When things look pretty hopeless, it’s so easy to want to look outside of our own box.

We look for other people to blame and desperately grapple for any solution that doesn’t require us to just focus on our one part.

You can’t control how others play the game.

And you certainly can’t control how others standing behind you are seeing the pitches.

You can only focus on where you choose to place your attention right now and how you respond to each situation that comes across the plate, as it comes.

If you can relax and stay focused on what’s in front of you right now, you may look up and realize that you put yourself in a position to actually win.

Now you just need a little extra effort to get you over the wall.

Find ways today to focus on your own turn at the plate.

Do what you can do to inch this thing forward and stop worrying about the result.

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!

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 87: 895 ways to find impact and purpose

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We want to have a great impact in our lives. But sometimes it’s not as hard as we think. It’s less about grand actions and more about just being consistent and steady in the small things.

I found some great lessons on impact and purpose in a documentary about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. 🚋

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! 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 87: 895 ways to find impact and purpose

Photo: David Pinkerton

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

When you’re in the thick of your life, it’s kind of hard to see the impact you’re making.

  • If you’re a stay at home parent, you don’t always connect the one million dots in each day with some greater purpose.
  • At work, life can take you down some pretty jagged paths and it’s hard to see exactly how your good work is really moving any bars at all.

It’s easy to think it’s just not leading anywhere. Maybe you feel like you’re in the world’s biggest roundabout and you keep seeing the same signs over and over again.

How can you change the world if you just keep going in circles and doing the same things?

Last week I watched a documentary about Fred Rogers called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

If you’re old enough you will remember Fred Rogers as Mister Rogers. For more than three decades he hosted a children’s show called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

The show featured Mister Rogers and his friends — humans and puppets alike — as they lived and supported each other as part of a close-knit community.

The show was in its prime during a time of constant cultural change in the world.

Fred used his show as a platform to help kids walk through some difficult concepts, like:

  • war,
  • racial segregation,
  • divorce and even
  • death.

What struck me about the documentary film was that it wasn’t a typical documentary about his early life and his motivation for creating the show.

It focused mostly on his impact: to his audience, to his show crew and ultimately, to the nation.

Mister Rogers wasn’t flashy or larger than life; he was that kind neighbor who likes to wear a sweater.

He modeled what it looks like to be engaged in the lives of others around you. And his message was kind, simple and clear.

He demonstrated these concepts over an astounding 895 episodes through stories, music and illustrations.

I’m sure at times he felt like he’d been on that same roundabout with you.

Telling the same stories, repeating the same messages. Did it really help? Should he be more like everyone else?

Should he still be doing this at all?

I’m sure it was tempting to think beyond the neighborhood or expand into something more attention-getting.

But the basic format of the show didn’t change too much. Fred didn’t try to compete with the more complex animation that eventually came on the scene in children’s entertainment.

He didn’t resort to the game of capturing eyeballs for eyeballs’ sake.

His impact came from his steady pursuit of his principles and convictions in the same way, day after day after day.

What can we learn from Mister Rogers about impact and purpose?

You don’t need to be someone else to be effective.

Fred’s show started at a time when other TV shows were using clowns and comedy gags to spread their message. Mister Rogers was never anyone other than Fred.

He didn’t create a persona that others thought would be more interesting or that would appeal to his audience’s insecurities.

He was authentic and purely himself.

How else do you explain a guy in a sweater and sneakers talking about being worthy of love and being capable of loving becoming a national icon?

Mister Rogers also taught us that you can show others what a life of healthy pursuits and meaningful purpose looks like with everything you do, even the small stuff.

Much of his show centered around the tiniest tasks like feeding the fish, taking care of plants, and talking to neighbors.

He knew the children in his audience were watching him consider life’s larger issues while at the same time taking care of everyday stuff.

He showed them that even though there are challenges in our world, the basics of life do go on.

We’re so focused on having a powerful impact on the world. But It’s just as much our responsibility to change our neighborhood and take care of our homes even if no one sees it.

He showed us what that looks like 895 times.

He also knew that complexity doesn’t give birth to purpose.

The most powerful things in life are usually the most simple ones.

Mister Rogers had a clear, concise message that never wavered over all those years.

You are worthy of being loved and capable of showing love to others.

He knew exactly what he wanted his audience to know, and he used that as his GPS for 33 years.

Anything more than that would have just muddied the waters.

I think that’s an important distinction because we find so many ways to complicate our lives, don’t we?

We always think more education is the key or taking on more responsibility or crafting some image that we think others want to see.

In the end, our simple, consistent approach is usually what gets us through.

The biggest takeaway from the film for me was this: even when you have great impact, you still aren’t going to have all the answers.

Fred’s last show aired just a couple of weeks before 9/11. In the days that followed he was asked to record a public service announcement to speak to parents about the importance of talking to their kids and showing them safety and trust.

A member of his crew talked about how overwhelmed Fred was during that shoot. He wondered what he could possibly say that would help in the wake of such an evil event.

Despite all the years of guiding kids through some pretty scary and tragic days, even Mister Rogers didn’t have the answer for THIS one.

You aren’t always going to get the answers, and the dots may not seem to ever really connect despite all that you accomplish.

That is one of the bigger mysteries in life and it’s not easy to accept.

But it doesn’t lessen the impact of staying in that circle a bit longer, taking care of those who need you and modeling kindness where you can.

Mister Rogers may have taught us about kindness and love, but his life showed us that impact comes from consistency and faith that what we do really matters.

How will you impact your neighborhood?

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!

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 82: The trappings of a small life

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It’s easy to think that what you’re doing now is all you’re capable of. That’s how we get stuck with small visions.

This episode came out of a little motivation for myself earlier this year. I’m always challenged to think bigger and more expansively, because I get so comfortable with where I’m at.

Maybe this helps you a little, too.

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! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 82: The trappings of a small life

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

Sometimes I feel challenged by the smallness of my life.

I don’t mean that I Iack resources, blessings or opportunities. I am beyond blessed. 🙏

But if I’m honest, I push back kind of hard against a wide open, spacious life. A life where anything feels possible and I’m not limited by what I can see right in front of me.

That kind of life requires enormous commitment and sacrifice.

I know what I’m capable of, and I have these super inspiring and confident moments. But the security of what I already have keeps me in such a small space that it’s hard to see the vastness of what lies ahead.

Have you ever experienced this?

You can see adventure and accomplishment just ahead. You see others doing it so you know it’s possible.

But you also know that it requires you to live with such narrow focus. Isn’t that ironic?

In order to live a life that is wide open and adventurous, you have to have a narrow field of vision.

Living a wide open, spacious means trading something that feels more sure in the moment for the fog of the mountain in front of you.

We hide behind our ability to bring order to our days. We very much like that each week we have some idea of the outcome.

And we surround ourselves with enough comforting distractions to keep us from letting that vision of a wide open, spacious life take root in our hearts.

How do we cut through the noise and engage this wide open, spacious life?

Is there a portal door for this thing?

How do I tap into a spiritual sense of adventure, significance and impact?

Well, the first step is to let go of the past.

The past can be painful and shameful. We all have things we wish we could’ve done differently.

And it’s no secret that the past is history and cannot change. But the past is so comfortable to us.

We know exactly how certain chapters ended and we take comfort in the predictability of that.

That’s why we play the past over and over in our minds. It’s a way to try to work it out again and maybe this time feel better about ourselves.

It’s kind of like watching Gone with the Wind yet again, hoping that Rhett Butler doesn’t leave Scarlet this time.

We resort to the drama of our memories and fantasies about different outcomes to try to make sense of the past.

But this leaves you stuck in that story, and places an enormous amount of drag on your energy as you’re trying to move up that foggy mountain.

If you let it go, then what will then replace the excuses and justifications for why you’re not living your wide open life?

Adventure requires that you step up and trust that your painful past equipped you to move into the open.

It’s your move.

Living a life of wide open adventure means serving with joy.

Serving takes me outside of myself. I can’t easily worry and ruminate about my own life while I’m busy helping someone else.

I can tell you that in my work in therapy I have honed my ability to focus purely on my clients in that session. Helping others walk through all of the details of their struggles pushes my own fears and worries aside.

I absolutely have to be fully engaged to make sure I understand and hear my clients.

If I can’t do that, then I really can’t help them.

Serving others in this way challenges me to consider perspectives outside of my own. It conditions me to not always ask myself how something affects me.

If I’m serving others, then I am helping to expand someone else’s life.

In turn I also expand my own life.

Serving with joy means choosing to find hope in spite of my own challenges and shortcomings, even if all I feel is cynicism.

Joy always opens things back up and creates space and room for growth.

Finally, living a wide-open life means embracing discipline.

Fill each day with tasks and activities that move you a little closer to your adventure.

You know what those things are.

And you also know the things that waste your energy and let you avoid stretching yourself.

Do less of those things and more of the things that have a direct line to where you want to go.

You kind of have to become a disciple of your own adventure.

When we think of a disciple, we think of someone who trades their previous existence for a completely new and uncertain life.

We might even think of a disciple as a fanatic of sorts. Someone who has sold out completely to a thought or an idea.

Selling out sounds negative in today’s culture because it paints the picture of what you have to give up. To sell out to something, you may have to lose part of yourself.

But becoming a disciple of your adventurous, wide open life may mean that you gain yourself with what you decide to lose.

That is always the trade-off in every adventure.

How differently can you engage this week with more intention and purpose?

What do you need to focus on that will create the rhythm and purpose you need to live your adventure?

What simple choices can you make that will clear the path in front of you and reveal the openness of what’s possible for you?

What can you do today to step out of your limited vision and into an expansive adventure of significance and impact?

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!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 81: Fail to plan, plan to fail, but you’ll fail if you don’t start

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Do you struggle to just get started on your plans? Maybe you’ve given your goals and plans a lot of thought and consideration, but you may just be missing one thing.

How do you just get started?

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! 

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 81: Fail to plan, plan to fail, but you'll fail for sure if you don't start

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

“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.”
— Ivan Turgenev

I don’t know Ivan Turgenev but I think he and I might have had a lot in common when it comes to starting things.

I adore planning. I get my ho-ho’s in life by taking a jumble and mess of unrelated details and creating order from it.

To me, much of work and life is like a puzzle just waiting to be put together.

My biggest challenge, though, is that I spend so much time creating and revising a beautiful plan for something amazing.

But then I’m terrified to start actually working that plan.

The internal magpies start almost right away.

  • This is a pretty big plan, sister. What if you don’t finish it?
  • What if you do get there and it doesn’t work?
  • What if other people have better ideas for your plan?
  • What if you get going and have to change the plan?

Fear sets in. Everybody says you have to fail a lot on the way to success so that could definitely happen.

Analysis paralysis tells you putting together just one more set of numbers will give you a tighter goal.

Before you know it, you’ve shut yourself down before you started.

Do you have a plan for something that you just haven’t been able to get moving?

Maybe writing a book, or finding a better job, or improving your public speaking skills, or starting a side business.

There are a lot of moving parts to any of these things so having a plan is definitely an important first step.

But what happens when half a year goes by and you haven’t even started?

It’s not like you don’t want to start but you’re resisting pulling the trigger.

What can you do to finally explode off that starting block?

When I look at others who manage to bring their plans to life, I see a few common threads.

Go after the low-hanging fruit first

Productivity gurus say to start first with the hardest things, or the stuff you’re really dreading. This way it’s not hanging over your head. You can just get it out of the way and the rest will be easier.

In my experience, that can sometimes be the quickest way to a Netflix binge.

Tackling the hardest stuff first requires a mountain load of energy and motivation you haven’t stored up yet.

Your internal Tony Robbins will have to spin out of control just to get you to sit in the chair.

That’s a good waste of Tony Robbins.

Now you’ve made starting a “thing.” And you’re also bringing a fair amount of overthinking into play.

Instead, going after the easy stuff first serves to get the ball rolling in some way. Seeing that ball move, even slowly, builds confidence.

Taking action always comes before motivation.

Years ago, they used to tell writers who had writers’ block to simply start writing out the phone book.

This simple and boring exercise helped connect the hand with the brain and got the creative process started.

It’s as if your brain realized, Hey, look at that, we’re writing something!

I’m not sure who Bob Smith on Topeka Avenue is, but I feel like we’re on our way to a great story.

Movement begets movement.

Find the things in your plan that you can easily color code, highlight, strikethrough, checkmark, pin, whatever, so you can see some forward motion and create excitement and confidence for the hard stuff.

Acknowledge and make peace with resistance

Steven Pressfield explains this a lot better than I can in his book, The War of Art.

Pressfield beautifully personifies the resistance we feel in starting anything. He conceptualizes it as a fierce dragon that is hell bent on stopping us.

A dragon that breathes the fiery vapor of excuses, lies and justifications.

Distracting you is this dragon’s sole purpose, and he’s very good at his job.

No one is exempt from this creature, not even crazy productive writers like Stephen King.

People who work their plans well anticipate the dragon’s arrival and have their swords already drawn up when he arrives.

They set up their environment and routines in a way that make it harder to wiggle out of the commitment.

Plan your schedule in ways that will make it more likely for you to get things done.

If you do your best writing without your offspring wildly enjoying life around you, you may need to get up earlier in the morning to ensure you have that time.

If you’re easily distracted by social media, put your phone out of reach for an hour and use that time to start something. Even better, give your phone to your wild offspring; you may never get it back.

Problem solved.

If you have a hard time getting your work done at the office because of the constant flow of visitors, come in before everyone gets there, or set some boundaries with your coworkers. Or stop being so helpful (I’m kidding, don’t do that).

Prepare for the resistance you know will be there, and you’ll be less likely to go down in a blaze of smoke for the day.

Trust your plan

On some level, in order to get a good start on your plan, you have to be a bit agnostic about all of it.

When you put a plan together for anything, it becomes your creation. You brought it to life, and now it’s a part of you.

But if you’re judging or second guessing every single objective as you’re working on it, you’re going to create a terrifying new mashup of tasks, metrics and new ideas in your head.

Now your plan just seems confusing. You might even be tempted to trash your existing plan and start building a completely new one.

Now you’re way off track. And you haven’t even really started.

I’m not saying don’t reassess or measure your success along the way.

But if you know you have a good plan, then trust the experience and insight you brought to the initial planning.

Make yourself stick to what you’ve already put down on paper and start doing the work.

Have someone hold you accountable

Knowing someone is counting on you, or at least knows what you’re supposed to be doing, counterbalances some of the fear of starting.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like to be embarrassed because I missed a deadline that I bragged about in front of my peers.

It takes a certain amount of humility to allow someone to speak in to your life’s work in a meaningful way. It means you need help and can’t do it all on your own. That’s a bitter pill for many of us.

But knowing someone expects something of you, and believes you can do it, can be the catalyst to get you started.

Don’t be afraid to share your plan with someone who is not afraid to challenge you in a kind and respectful way. If you don’t have a friend or coworker like that, find a coach. They are literally everywhere now.

Let others run with you at the starting line

Sometimes the deepest regrets happen when we start seeing our plans actually working, and we realize we could have started sooner. It’s hard to swallow that the only thing keeping us from moving forward was actually…moving forward.

Make it difficult for yourself to find excuses and not start.

You don’t need the perfect plan. You just need to work the plan you’ve got.

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 78: The most wonderful time to have a new year

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The back-to-school frenzy has begun. But did you know you can model your own goals and plans around an academic year?

It may be a bit more effective than setting goals right after the holidays, when we’re still in sticker shock over all that spending and eating.

Here are a couple of ways to piggyback on all that energy you’re spending getting your kids ready for new school adventures.

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! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 78: The most wonderful time to have a new year

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

I was at Walmart earlier this week to pick up a few things. It was abundantly clear the time of year we currently find ourselves in.

School is definitely about to start!

On my way to the office supply aisle, I had to pass the school supply aisle. It looked like a war zone in there.

Crayons were scattered like skittles, notebooks were stacked helter-skelter, most of them upside down, and Hello Kitty peered out at me from every shelf like some cheery Chucky doll.

The only indicator of summer was a random pack of bubbles sitting precariously right in the middle of it all.

It was like the last gasp of summer bidding farewell.

Just blow some bubbles, please, and maybe this all won’t actually be happening.

I was so happy to make my way to the nice 90° angles of copy paper packs, post it notes and stackable office trays. I said a prayer for those scattered crayons as I quickly rolled by with my head down, and I tried hard to avert my gaze.

It’s definitely a busy time of year, where parents bring their best organizational skills to the plate to make sure their adorable critters get back into the routine of school.

All the focus is on what this year will bring for students.

Amidst all of the anxiety and chaos, this is actually the best time of year to set new goals and start your own new year.

I read an article from a CEO of some company a few years ago who said that he had long ago ditched the idea of starting new goals in January.

You know, the time of year when we’re all worn out from the holidays and socially overextended.

Instead he found he could engage his goals with more focus at the same time his kids were preparing to go back to school.

He had learned to piggyback on the energy and effort he and his family were expending to prepare his kids for new and challenging goals.

So when they started off with anticipation and adventure on their first day, so did he.

This makes sense.

From a practical standpoint, you actually get more workable time by starting new goals in an academic year than right after the holidays.

And you don’t get slowed down by summer distractions that take you off course right in the middle of your work year.

In this academic kind of setup, you can enjoy the relaxed pace of summer while also making it your planning time for your new year.

Now you’re ready to start your new year full of energy and motivation.

So here are a few ways to make the shift to making a new school year your new year.

First, use this remaining time of summer to really dig in to what you want to achieve.

What January goals did you mull over on your summer vacation that you were wishing you had moved faster on or that you’ve completely pushed aside?

Now’s your chance to push the restart button on those goals.

Set aside some time to think about where you want to end up next May.

What achievements will you want to graduate this year?

Make yourself a syllabus of sorts to get you on track and keep your milestones right in front of you.

Second, have yourself a little orientation.

Take some time to think through some of the working parts of your goals and ask some questions.

What kinds of guidelines do you want to have in place so that you meet your objectives?

What resources will you have available to you this year and how do you find them?

Who can you reach out to when you need help?

Familiarize yourself with your goals so that when you show up on your first day you can just get going.

Finally, back to school is back to bedtime – for you and your kids.

You don’t think twice about a strict bedtime for your kids. It gives them the routine and structure to make sure they can keep this whole thing going.

But you need this too. Maybe more than your kids.

Start looking at your own bedtime and your rituals just prior to bedtime.

If you don’t have a bedtime ritual it’s probably time to get one.

Your body is built on sameness and rhythm.

If you do the same things on the same schedule every night before bed, your body starts to get the point and learns when it’s time to bring this thing in for a landing.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, not having well established sleep rituals may be a big reason why.

Sleep is you’re most important school supply and it’s your number one weapon to fight stress as you meet new challenges and transitions.

So don’t skip this one. Put your whole house on a back to school bedtime bonanza.

Hopefully your summer was good to you and gave you some perspective on where you are so far in the calendar year.

Use that insight to create some action and momentum for yourself in a new kind of year.

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!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 77: What are you running from?

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We find all kinds of ways to avoid discomfort, don’t we? We’re kind of wired to find ways to run away from pain and uncomfortable feelings.

I don’t care how early you get up in the morning to start your uber-productive day, we all fall victim to avoidant behaviors.

Learn how you can use your scary thoughts and feelings to stop running and keep moving.

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! 

 

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 77: What are you running from?

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

When was the last time you ran toward your problem?

When was the last time you embraced your difficult feelings and just powered through something?

Yeah, if you’re like most of us, you find it easier to run from uncomfortable feelings and see if you can avoid confronting your problems head on.

How’s that working out for you?

When we struggle with our emotions and face difficult decisions, we can find great comfort in just avoiding these experiences altogether.

  • Maybe it’s easier to put off actually starting on that challenging project if you tell yourself you still need to do more research and planning.
  • Maybe it feels better to demolish that pint of ice cream instead of dealing with how you’re not handling the strain and stress of work very well.
  • Maybe it’s just easier to stay home than put yourself out there and get rejected.

We perform these kinds of avoidant behaviors all the time because we think it gives us what we need.

They do give us momentary relief from our pain and fears.

But unfortunately they also keep us from getting to the other side of our pain. And most of our victories are just on the other side of discomfort.

If we’re not careful, we can look up and realize that we’ve spent much of our time just trying to keep from feeling bad.

But not feeling bad isn’t the same as moving toward healthy goals.

And how long do you think not feeling bad will last anyway?

So what’s the alternative?

Well for starters, it’s important to accept that we have uncomfortable feelings at times.

We all do. It’s okay to not feel okay.

And it’s okay that you don’t want to feel that way.

That doesn’t mean you’re not being a positive person or that you lack leadership skills or that you’re emotionally deficient.

It means you’re exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen, like all other humans.

You’re one of us.

Welcome to the show, and please enjoy the complimentary refreshments. 😂

Second, stop playing the psychological version of “stop hitting yourself” with your thoughts.

Your thoughts are not the only thing that make you who you are and you can’t outright control them, not in a significant way.

Your thoughts are the symbols you can point to that help create the mental visual of you. A visual only you can see, by the way.

But guess what? You’ll have something like 80,000 thoughts in a day. Do you seriously think you can make a dent in that kind of traffic?

So why do you impale yourself on the sword of giving your full attention to every single thought that pops in your mind?

No wonder it’s so easy to slide into a Netflix binge instead of journaling your thoughts. That sounds exhausting doesn’t it?

You can find the courage to run toward your problems and embrace your uncomfortable thoughts when you realize that your thoughts are best consumed like fried chicken at a picnic…while the crust is hot and crispy and never after four hours.

You do yourself no favors by chewing on old, negative thoughts until they’re unrecognizable.

  • Accept your thoughts as part of your experience,
  • take from them what you can,
  • then let them wander on by like your rowdy nephews at that picnic.
  • Those little guys are never a problem until you start pointing out how loud they are.
  • All you’ve done is give them energy and the motivation to keep being loud.

Nice going.

If you can do this, if you can start to view your thoughts as less of a judgement about who you are and more as a simple measure of your experiences, you’ll find you may need less to escape from.

Instead of focusing on all that your thoughts are not doing for you, you can focus on doing stuff. Meaningful stuff you really want to do and that takes you closer to your goals.

Last, you can choose to commit to what you believe in, commit to your values.

I talked about this in episode 76. Your values aren’t the things you feel you should do or that you’re expected to do or that everyone else is doing.

Instead, it’s that deep inner voice that keeps dropping you back to the same exact place. If you know how to look for them, there are some common threads in your life that tell you a lot about who you are and where you want to go.

But you can’t hear that voice over the roar of a multi-episode Middle-Earth battle scene and a mouth full of Chunky Monkey ice cream. 😋🍦

This requires some soul searching and a fair amount of imagination.

Once you connect with that vision, though, it becomes less important to find ways to pass all this time and more urgent to just get started.

Running toward your problems won’t necessarily solve them, and you may still have days when you feel like a loopy and wide-eyed emoji. 😵

But at a minimum you’ll be engaging in the very days that make up your life instead of just trying to distract yourself.

And all that engagement and action will empower you to keep moving forward.

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.”

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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.

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