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Mental Health Moment on break

It’s summer, and my son is getting married this month! 💞❤

So I’m taking a short break from new episodes of Mental Health Moment.

I’ll return with NEW EPISODES on June 24.

Until then, here’s a few early episodes you may have missed!

 

Episode 2: Sticky note wins the day

 

 

 

Episode 3: Don’t stress exercise

 

 

 

Episode 4: Deep breathing isn’t just “take a deep breath”

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

in your inbox every day.

 





 

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

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Ep 58: Finding meaning and purpose through resilience

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

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

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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

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

 

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in your inbox every day.

 





Full transcript 👇

Ep 58: Finding meaning and purpose through resilience

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

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

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

Do you think about your purpose a lot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funny how that works.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it is truly my purpose.

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • Leave a note below or ask me a question in the comment section below.
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Help spread the message about good mental health!

 

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Ep 53: Dig right where you are

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A trip to the beach earlier this week had me thinking about opportunity and childlike wonder. If you’re a kid, there’s not much else to do at the beach besides dig in the sand. It’s where you can create whatever you want, or just see how far you can dig.

How do we rediscover some of that same curiosity in pursuing what we want? How do we find the courage to dig right where we are now?

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 👇

Episode 53: Dig right where you are - A group of kids digging in the sand

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

The other night my husband and I found a few minutes to slip away to the beach in the early evening.

It’s one of the best ways for us to have a few minutes to put the stress of the day aside.

We use this time to catch up on anything and process our goals.

And sometimes we just sit there and say nothing.

After we got settled in, we saw a small, young family wander on to the beach just next to us.

The parents had their fishing gear fully in tow.

At the end of a long day, here was an opportunity to cast a line and enjoy the water while the kids have space to run out all their energy before going home.

Their two kids appeared to be about seven and five years old. This looked like an impromptu visit because the kids were still wearing their uniforms from school.

We definitely knew this little family was there because our quiet pondering was broken with sudden squealing and laughter as the kids ran straight to the water.

Those two wasted no time getting to the business of being at the beach.

The youngest one, the little girl, immediately knelt down and started digging in the sand.

She didn’t seem to notice she was still in her uniform. Both of her hands were expertly casting unneeded sand aside and making piles all around her.

I don’t know what she was digging for but she wasn’t messing around about it.

When her brother came back up from the water, she smiled at him and squealed in such delight.

“Hey, let’s dig a bunch of big holes and see how many we can make!”

My husband and I looked at each other and smiled.

I said to him, “Do you remember when your only goal in life was to just see how many holes you can dig? And how many people you can get to dig them with you?”

We both laughed. And then my husband said, “Isn’t it interesting how there’s really only 15 feet between being five years old and digging holes, and being in your 40s sitting in a chair talking about all the holes you’ve already dug?”

He was so right.

We start out curious and eager to see what we can do with our lives.

We don’t give much thought about whether there’s a real point to what we’re doing.

We just know that if you’re surrounded by opportunity, why wouldn’t you just start digging in and finding out what you can do?

But in what feels like just a little bit of time and distance, we find ourselves digging a little less.

After all, digging is messy.

We decide we might get more insight from watching others dig.

This will help us figure out what we still want to do.

Instead of engaging and being curious, we spend much of our time qualifying the value of the effort itself.

Digging just to dig loses its value.

What’s the point in that?

I’m not sure how much real meaning there was for the little girl in digging those holes.

All she knew was that she was at the beach where there was sand and lots of it. And she had two very capable hands.

What else could she do but dig?

She wasn’t thinking about if she should save some holes to dig for tomorrow, or try to make as many holes as she can to please someone else.

And she certainly had no thought for what others around her might be thinking about whether digging holes was a good idea in the first place.

Digging holes was enough for her.

Maybe there’s really only 15 feet between where we are now and where we would really like to be.

How can we get back to that original feeling of curiosity and delight to just be surrounded by opportunity and not even know where to start?

Could our dreams and goals really be as simple as racing to the one spot where we have everything we need to just dig holes?

Maybe it’s as simple as deciding to just dig in to what we want right where we are.

Can we just dig the holes and celebrate that with anyone who will listen?

Maybe this weekend you could find some time to simply enjoy the pleasure of something you love.

Maybe you would get delight in doing something for the sake of doing it, with no internal chatter about its worth or if it takes you somewhere closer to your goals.

How can you reconnect with the curiosity you started out with by just enjoying the dig?

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.
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Ep 46: Commit to small changes to keep it real

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I read a terrific book this weekend that helped give me some practical tips on starting a solid writing process.

One of the principles was called “Inflating the Investment.” I saw some parallels with this principle and how we like to manage our mental health.

Learn a little more about “Inflating the Investment” and how to keep it at bay in your life.

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 46 - Commit to small changes to improve your mental health

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

Do you have trouble getting off the block to start something new? It’s a common problem.

Lots of people tell me that they’re waiting to begin the hard work of improving their mental health in some future time.

There’s too much going on to start now. I’d rather wait until X number of things is off my plate first.

I guess the idea of all that improvement seems just too daunting to tackle right now when so much is unpredictable.

Better to wait until you can really focus on it, you know, make it your main thing.

The problem with that is that you probably won’t get a huge chunk of dedicated time to work on your mental health.

If you do, it probably means you’re going through a crisis. Unfortunately that seems to force your focus where it needs to go.

Tell me the last time you got a huge chunk of dedicated time to work on anything?

I read a terrific book this weekend that really nailed this concept right on the head.

It’s called “The Heart to Start” by David Kadavy.

David’s book is geared towards people working in the creative industry and gives practical ways you can finally get started creating your art.

But I found his principles went way beyond art, design and writing.

One principle he talked about is called “Inflating the Investment.”

You may recognize this in yourself.

When you inflate the investment, you postpone beginning something you know will move you forward.

You really want to do it.

But you just don’t feel like you have the commitment right now to see it all the way through to the end.

It feels too big.

You blow it up in your head and make it feel like a waste unless you can spend large amounts of time doing the work.

Instead, you fill your time doing things with a lower level of commitment that don’t require as much effort on your part. That’s just so much easier.

The problem is these particular smaller things are not the things you want to be doing to get to your larger goal.

And for extra bonus points you may feel guilty about doing them because now you’re procrastinating.

Do you really need another way to beat yourself up?

So, for example, let’s say you want to start exercising to improve your physical health and boost your mood.

You know that’s a good idea because you’ve heard me say that on a Mental Health Moment. 😜

But in your mind you feel like you should exercise for 60 minutes every day in order to see any benefit.

That’s a tough one for you because you have a lot of constraints in your schedule. How will you carve out that kind of time? It feels like such a huge sacrifice.

So when you hit that time of day that you want to designate for exercise, you start miraculously finding other things that need to be taken care of first before you get out the door to completely focus on exercise.

Before you know it, you’ve missed your window for today and you vow that you will definitely do it tomorrow.

Instead, you could have just decided to exercise for 15 minutes.

  • Anything is better than nothing when it comes to moving your body every day.
  • And what you might find is that once the 15 minutes is up, you may want to just keep going.
  • So that 15 minutes indeed may stretch out into 60 minutes. But you started with a much smaller time commitment to not overwhelm yourself.

Improving your mental health can’t be done in short spurts, can it?

I mean it’s your mental health, right? All we’re hearing in the media is how we have to start really focusing on our mental health.

Most of the gains you will make in your mental health will be short and incremental changes over time.

If you’ve listened to me for a while, you know I’m not a big fan of epiphanies and overnight insights to see real and lasting change.

In order to see the big changes you want to see, you have to submit to the idea of making smaller commitments each day.

That’s where you’ll find the marshmallows in the Lucky Charms.

And you don’t have to wait for a special time to focus on having better mental health.

You can start now with smaller time commitments that you are willing to keep and that don’t feel so costly to your precious time.

This is actually what moves you forward. You see progress because you’re actually completing things.

Here are a few things to look for to keep this “Inflating the Investment in check in your life.

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

When you start something new you always overestimate how much time you have to dedicate to it. You also waaaay overestimate how excited you’ll be about it every single day.

Give yourself some margin and start small.

For example, if you want to start journaling to help you work through your anxious thoughts, let’s not go all Hemingway here.

  • Spend maybe 10 minutes writing down your impressions of the day.
  • Or commit to writing down five bullets if you don’t like writing a narrative.
  • This is your enchilada, you can make it however you want!

Make those small chunks of time work for you. If you go into a longer writing session then great! Either way, at the end of the week you will still have some really good data to work with.

2. Start being honest with yourself about how you’re really spending your time.

One of the biggest fallacies today is that we just don’t have time. But in fact, we have about a trillion ways to WASTE time now. None of us are immune to this fallacy.

Look for those little pockets that you know are not really doing anything for you, and replace them with little spurts of improvement.

  • Maybe that’s reading a section of a motivational book or a short devotion. I like to go back through a favorite Kindle book and read my highlights.
  • Or you can set a timer on your phone to remind you to do some deep breathing in your favorite meditation app or,
  • To take a walk outside for a few minutes.

These few minutes here and there go a long way to helping you feel relaxed and more resilient for all the little barbs that fly your way every day.

This will make the biggest difference in how you handle the stuff in your life.

3. Give yourself time to understand that it will take at least a minute to change your perspective about all this.

Like anything else, you have to recondition your thinking a bit. In the same way you wouldn’t start out training for a 10K by running 10k on the first day, you’re not going to nail this new concept on day one.

If you’ve struggled with this “inflating the investment” mindset, then it will take time to build newer and healthier habits.

Give yourself a break.

The most important thing is that you are aware of how you’re responding in your day and giving yourself the space you need to improve.

Stop waiting for the ideal moment in your life to start feeling better.

Look for those small opportunities that you can leverage every day to improve your outlook.

Take advantage of your most valuable commodity — your time — to improve your mental health.

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 43: Why you should be okay with scraping some paint off

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Today’s episode is inspired by a quote from the unmatchable Bob Ross. There are so many good words to live by in his show, “The Joy of Painting.”

Learn why scraping off some paint isn’t such a bad idea. It just might help you get where you need to go.

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 43 Don't be afraid to just scrape off some paint

Bob Ross and his Happy Tree at our church’s fall festival a couple of years ago.

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

This is one of my favorite quotes:

“Don’t be afraid to scrape the paint off and do it again. This is the way you learn, trial and error, over and over, repetition. It pays you great dividends, great, great dividends.”

That was my very best Bob Ross impression. I know. I’ll keep working on it. 😜

Before motivational speakers became an industry, there was a happy artist named Bob Ross.

After a long career in the Air Force, he became a public television star in the 1980s and 90s with a serene and mesmerizing how-to painting show called “The Joy of Painting.”

Each week we watched him paint a simple nature scene.

At least that’s what we thought he was doing.

Bob was in fact dropping some serious wisdom on us while he moved his brush over that canvas.

Quietly and patiently he would show us how to use the simple tools available to all of us — line, shadow and color — to create something beautiful.

  • Something happy.
  • Like a happy little tree or a cloud.

But he wasn’t afraid to show the mistakes, too. Because the mistakes led to what he called “happy little accidents.”

How did Bob know we needed these reminders?

  • To embrace the happy little accidents for the gifts they bring us?
  • To appreciate the value of scraping it all off and doing it again with a new direction?

I don’t know anyone who enjoys scraping off the work they thought was going to be the real deal.

  • Have you ever been disappointed by a job that you realized just wasn’t for you?
  • What about a relationship you could see was going nowhere?
  • Maybe this was the year you decided to focus on your personal goals and you keep ending up right back where you started.

To scrape it all off and start over seems like a waste, right?

Am I supposed to just be okay seeing all that effort I put into this now piling up in colored dust around my feet?

What about my beautiful picture?

Why can’t I get what I see in my head to connect with the effort coming from my hands?

I know, it feels like you keep seeing the same dull picture over and over.

But there is some hope in all that scraping.

The scraping is a necessary part of discovery.

Scraping requires that you put your first idea aside, no matter how inspired you thought it was.

That’s an act of humility.

You have to go through what’s not working to find what does work.

So what if your job isn’t what you thought?

What matters is what you take with you from the experience that you can use somewhere else.

Now you know.

Every experience matters and nothing is ever wasted.

All that scraping will be messy, yes.

That’s your hard work piled up on the floor around you.

But that pile gives you the chance to prove that you have yet another idea up your sleeve.

That carnage shows that the learning process is at work in you.

You’re not afraid to engage it, even if it means your whole picture has to change.

So leaving that toxic relationship lets you create the space in your life to learn what a healthy relationship looks like for you.

You’ll leave some good stuff behind for sure, but you won’t need it because you’ll be working on a much better picture.

Scraping gives you the space you need to get it right.

What did you miss the first time that you can add in now?

Do you realize you need more “happy tree people” around you to support you in your goals?

Go ahead and add them here.

You have room now because you took away what wasn’t working.

You can just put those trees everywhere now.

Scraping isn’t a destructive act.

It uses material from the past to create room for what’s to come.

It’s the territory where the war between your past and your future is fought.

What will you scrape off and just leave behind?

How much will you leave on the canvas to create something a little different?

Will you be brave enough to start scraping?

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 42: How obedience to the process can free you up

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We don’t use the word obedience too much these days. It’s not a word that demonstrates power and mastery.

But obedience is the main driver behind anything you do. In order to see real change you have to submit yourself to a process that will get you moving.

In this episode, learn three ways to make obedience work for you.

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 42: How obedience to the process can free you up - Babies crawling to walking

We start obedience to a process from the very beginning, don’t we?

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

Are you an obeyer? We don’t really like that word anymore, do we?

Here’s me raising my hand. I’m an obeyer.

In the past few weeks I’ve dedicated myself to write a Mental Health Moment episode every weekday.

It’s a writer’s dream to write and publish every day.

I love the idea that I can get my ideas out there so I can develop them and work with them. I thought the voice format would be something I could commit to more so than video, and it works well for how I like to write.

So I created a process to help me get it all done and keep the episodes coming.

This was so much fun because I got to play around with editorial workflows. Nerdy, I know but workflows are kind of my jam.

I’ve got a plan, and I think it’s a good one.

I’m all set to write and publish every day.

But where this thing gets real is in how I’m now committed to write and publish every day. Insert surprise face emoji here. 😂 😳

It doesn’t matter if:

  • My brain feels like peanut butter,
  • I’m super tired,
  • I’m not feeling inspired, or
  • My voice is jacked.

The plan says I do a Mental Health Moment every weekday.

I don’t want to upset the plan.

So I obey, and I do a Mental Health Moment.

And you know what? I get enormous pleasure from checking that “Mark Complete” ✔ box for that entry. (Actually there are about 8 subtasks for each episode, so technically I get to check off 9 boxes. Yes!).

As author and supreme majestic marketer Seth Godin says, I shipped something today.

I took an idea that formed over my morning coffee and made it live.

And I learn something new about myself with every episode.

I decided from the beginning that I’m going to be obedient to my process and not give in to all the noise in my head talking smack about how this is too much, or it may not work, or nobody’s listening.

I work the plan, and I obey the process.

Obedience doesn’t get the hashtag love like hustling, grinding, winning and inspiration.

Obedience is a hard sell on the motivational track.

That’s too bad because obedience is a very sexy player when it comes to making real change in your life.

Change doesn’t happen on its own, you know?

Whether it’s a goal for your health or career, or finally working through your issues, obedience is the engine that will power your change.

I mean, at some point you have to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it. That’s just how stuff gets done.

But you have to be humble enough to trust the process and just go with it.

So what are the principles of this kind of obedience?

First, to get the full value of obedience, you have to “set it and forget it.”

What results do you want to see? Make that decision now, and be super clear about what you need to do to get there. This removes any ambiguity about what you should do next.

Ambiguity will steal your best cognitive energy.

Don’t arm wrestle with yourself. Spell out what you want to see and do.

Once you set your direction, this isn’t the part where you get to ask questions that don’t matter.

  • Will this actually work?
  • Will others show up?
  • Will this matter a month from now?

Did any of those questions ever work when your mom told you it was time to mow the lawn? Probably not, right?

It’s Tuesday, and Tuesday is the day you always mow the lawn. Getting into a Law-and-Order-SUV-style 😜 discussion about the merits of mowing the lawn today don’t apply.

Be an obeyer, stay in your process and just mow the lawn already.

Second, obedience requires that you get comfortable not getting feedback right away on what you’re doing.

Everybody says this is a real issue among millennials. But I pretty much see this from everyone.

Just because someone doesn’t applaud you or recognize what you do, doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for doing it.

And it certainly doesn’t mean that what you’re doing isn’t working.

Part of obeying the process is being able to measure your own progress and link it back to your larger goal, regardless of what anybody else says or does.

This is especially important in the beginning of something new.

No one may really get what you’re doing. You may not even get what you’re doing.

If it takes you awhile to see this thing take shape, imagine how long it’s going to take for someone who’s not as close to it.

So feedback from others can’t be your only metric.

Learn to soothe yourself and be okay moving forward in obedience even when you don’t know how some stuff is really going.

Third, don’t let your feelings strangle your willingness to obey your process.

You simply can’t rely on your feelings to let you decide how invested you plan to be.

Part of obedience is being a bit agnostic about what you’re feeling or not feeling in this experience.

Do you ever remember a teacher or parent asking you “And how are you feeling about what I just asked you to do?”

I’m guessing no.

Because at that point your feelings don’t matter as much as your obedience to the task.

But you will hear that chatter in your head, won’t you?

  • I didn’t wake up feeling awesome and motivated today.
  • This is so hard!
  • What if this doesn’t work and I look stupid?
  • Or my personal nemesis, I’m just not feeling it today.

Obedience to the process ignores this emotional kind of feedback.

Obedience doesn’t always feel sexy, even though it totally is.

But it will give you the courage to keep moving toward your goal because you are doing something.

What would happen in your life if you just decided to do the work you’ve already decided to do?

No judgments.

No questions.

No hand wringing.

Just hard work every day with the nuts and bolts of this thing you want to change.

You see, all of this obedience ultimately frees you up. Look at you!

You put some stuff on the table! You worked with it and now you’re closer to where you want to go.

Obedience just showed you what you’re capable of.

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!

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Ep 30: Use Discipline to Find Inspiration

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How do you find inspiration on the days when you’re not feeling inspired? Many times we rely on external things to pump us up for our day.

But inspiration comes after the work. Disciplined action always precedes motivation.

Learn where to place your focus so you can inspire yourself.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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

Full transcript

Some days are just uninspiring, aren’t they? If you’re working towards improving your life or meeting a new goal, then you are probably very focused on discipline, change and discovery.

But some days seem to contain exactly zero discipline, change and discovery. 😏

And that’s perfectly okay.

Not every day is supposed to look like a Forbes feature article.

We have access to millions of stories of achievement and motivation. There are some incredible people out there doing some amazing things.

Those stories are inspiring, no doubt.

But they’ve also conditioned us to believe that our own lives are somehow lacking if every day isn’t a grand adventure of some sort.

So we’re disappointed when we don’t feel like we conquered something at the end of the day.

But that’s not how a disciplined life works.

Discipline is about being a principled student (a disciple, if you will) of whatever it is you’re trying to become.

  • Do you want to be a world recognized chef?
    Then you must become a disciple of all of the time tested traditions of a world-class kitchen.
  • Do you want to develop a well-rounded yoga practice?
    Then you must submit yourself to explore multiple forms of yoga and learn from those with experience and wisdom.
  • Do you want to lead a more mindful and centered life?
    Then you must have the courage to acknowledge that there’s a better way than the frenetic, scattered life you’ve been living so far.

In order to master something, you have to find humility to submit yourself to the process.

Regardless of the outcome in every day.

This means still honoring the path you’re on even when you’re just not feeling it.

You become a disciple to the process.

What does it mean to be a disciple?

  • A disciple learns by applying what she’s gleaned from others wiser than her.
  • A disciple applies those principles no matter what the external circumstances may try to dictate.
  • A disciple looks past the raw emotions each day brings and chooses to focus on what she’s already decided for the future.
  • A disciple never loses her keen focus on the destination, even if the path to get there gets a bit crooked and rough.
  • A disciple passes on those same principles to others walking behind her to create more little awesome disciples.

Become a disciple of your own life.

Do the work that pushes back against you every day.

Learn to celebrate the process, not the progress.

Apply your focus and concentration to what’s present and right in front of you.

This is where you will find inspiration in your days.

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 Lori Miller.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 29: How writing helps you find solutions in your stress

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Writing is a pretty basic tool to express emotions and discover new insights. But writing can also help you gather the data you need to generate solutions.

Maybe you don’t consider yourself a writer, but you can use this powerful skill in a strategic way to hone in on what you want to see change in your life.

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.

The other day I heard a song from Kelly Clarkson called Piece by Piece. It’s a story about a young mother confronting the father who left her at six years old.

It’s an emotionally charged song. Kelly wrote the song based on her own experience of her father abandoning her at the young age of six.

The song intrigued me.

Many song writers write about painful experiences, that’s certainly nothing new.

But she took it a bit farther than just a cathartic experience to ventilate her emotions.

She turned the song into a declaration of what kind of parent she would be. She would find a father for her children that would be the father he never was.

Kelly made meaning out of the experience by writing about it, sure.

But she went a step further to spell out how she would move her own life forward in a very prescriptive way.

That’s about as therapeutic as it gets.

Writing about your experiences and trying to make sense of events in your life is nothing new. It’s one of the first things many therapists pull out of their toolbox when they work with a new client.

Writing is the best and easiest way to capture data spinning around in your head where only you can see it.

How can I help you if you can’t tell me what you’re thinking and feeling beyond right this minute?

You can’t change your thoughts until you know what those thoughts are.

In order to make progress, you have to interact with the thoughts and feelings that are getting in your way.

Writing is the best way for you to collect meaningful data about your thoughts.

Trying to remember how you felt last week on the fly means that you’re relying on anecdotal information and what you might remember.

Good luck with that.

You’ll have an average of 50,000 thoughts fly through your head just today. How in the world are you going to pull out the important ones you need to work with?

If you were doing a science experiment, you would record your data along the way, right? You wouldn’t wait until you present your findings to try to remember how it all went down.

No, you would have listed all of the possible results and logged the events that led to the outcome.

So at a minimum, writing is a way to capture raw data without judgment so you know what your variables are.

Here’s another great thing about writing.

Recording your progress and your impressions along the way helps you see the patterns in your thoughts.

As you look back on your writings, you’ll start to see similarities in how you perceive certain events. Or you may see that you respond a certain way when confronted with specific stressors.

You may have never noticed these similarities before because it all just floats around in your head with all the other stuff you’re managing today.

Writing helps you pinpoint exactly how your thinking is holding you back.

Once you do that then you can decide what thoughts and patterns will be more helpful for you.

It’s like putting a puzzle together.

Once you’re in the act of writing, your brain starts to make associations that it doesn’t do in any other way.

The words you use when you reflect on something can prompt you to remember something else. So you write about that, which prompts yet another remembrance.

It’s a living, active process.

Writing engages the part of your brain that processes thinking and decision-making.

Leadership expert John Maxwell says that writing marinates your thinking. That’s such a great description, isn’t it?

Those associations you make between words and thoughts take you down a path of discovery and help you find solutions you really can’t find any other way.

So how do you do this?

What if you’re not a “Dear Diary“ kind of person?

Think of it less as a journal or a diary and more of a recording exercise. You don’t have to be Hemingway, here.

Here’s an idea to get you started.

  • Spend a few minutes this evening reflecting back on the day.
  • Think about one thing that was difficult for you or that tripped you up today. Just one thing, please.
  • Write down the emotions you felt when it happened: sadness, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, whatever you can identify.
  • Try to remember what thoughts went through your mind.
  • What did you tell yourself right in that moment?

Don’t judge it, just transcribe it.

Write down any other things that come to mind.

Now just do that again a few more times this week.

At the end of the week, go back and look at what you wrote.

You should see patterns emerging.

  • What specific behaviors do you see in how you responded to things?
  • What words did you use in what you told yourself in those moments?
  • What were your most common emotions?
  • What interesting observations can you make?

Use that information to figure out what’s not working for you and the behaviors you’d like to see.

This is how you start making real change in your life because you’re making one small change based on evidence you’ve already captured.

Even if you’re not a writer, you can use this powerful skill to help find solutions to the things that keep getting in your way.

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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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! 👇👇👇

 


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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.

Visit my Amazon page for more information.

Amazon Alexa skill - Mental Health Moment with Lori Miller


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Ep 9: What’s your story?

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Do you know your story?

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

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

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 9: What's your story?

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

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

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

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

So what about your story?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You don’t.

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

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

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

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

So, what will be your story?

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

Thanks for listening!

I’d love to hear what you think!

  • 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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