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.

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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.
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Ep 85: Your awkward self

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Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who feel awkward. But it’s something we all go through. Here’s one of my own spectacular displays of awkwardness.

Not only did I survive it, but it has given me something fun to look back on. It’s okay to just be your awkward self.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 85: Your awkward self

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

This back to school time is a good reminder of what awkwardness feels like. It’s hard enough to be a kid or a teenager, but then worrying about how you’re coming across to others can be a real mind wrecker.

Unfortunately that awkwardness doesn’t always go away when school’s over, does it?

Here I am pushing the half century mark, and I still have way too many Lucy Ricardo moments in my week.

And these moments aren’t things I can really plan for or prevent. They just kind of happen, and I’m suddenly faced with a moment where I feel like I look silly or did everyone hear this weird thing I just said?

In all honesty, publishing Mental Health Moment can be awkward sometimes because I’m always wondering if maybe this episode was a little too quirky.

So that little high school awkwardness is still roaming around my own yard a bit.

I come by this feeling honestly because when I do get really awkward, I tend to do it in a big way.

A few years ago we were visiting family in Texas for the holidays. Our connecting flight home to Florida was supposed to take us through the very large Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Naturally, our first flight was running late — very, very late. When we got off our plane, we realized we had just 15 minutes to change terminals and get to the very end of the largest concourse to catch our next plane.

It seemed like there was no way but we had to try, right?

We immediately started that zombie walk-run-swinging arms move you do in an airport when you’re in a hurry.

We managed to change terminals with no issues. But once we stepped off the tram that took us to Terminal C, I knew we were in trouble.

Our window to board the plane was now at about five minutes and we had still had to go all the way to the end of the concourse.

If you fly enough, you know once they close the door that leads to the plane, it’s game over. Capt. Sully wouldn’t be able to pry that door open.

My husband was chivalrously pulling most of the suitcases so I figured this was my moment.

If it’s to be it’s up to me, you know?

So I just took off running towards the gate.

If you know me, you know I don’t run. At all. Ever.

In fact, if you see me running you should run too because I’m probably being chased by something.

I kept my focus firmly on that gate number and let my feet fly through the busy crowds. My husband told me later that I hurdled a couple of pretty good sized strollers but I’m not so sure about that.

Still, I was on the move.

Once I got close enough, I saw the gate attendant make his way to the jetway door — and open it!

Oh no, no, no, I said to myself.

I raced through the pods of seats at the gate and yelled, “Hey!”

The man turned around.

I slammed my boarding pass down on his little desk, and with zero air in my lungs declared like a warrior princess, “I’m supposed to be on this plane and so is my family!”

“Yes ma’am,” he said, completely devoid of any emotion.

“You and the 200 people standing behind you.”

They hadn’t even boarded the plane yet. 😲

I turned around and to my horror, those 200 people were now clapping for me.

I almost always sit in the back of the room so this kind of attention felt like 14 different kinds of hot flashes happening all at the same time.

I didn’t know what to think. I tried to laugh. I may have taken a bow, I don’t remember.

I felt so awkward and embarrassed.

As I took my spot in line with my family and fanned myself with my boarding pass trying to calm down, my husband leaned over and said, “Do you see that man over there?”

I saw a man standing just a few feet from us, smiling and talking to the people in line behind him.

“That’s Romeo Crennel,” he said. “He’s the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans. He was clapping for you, too!”

🙈

And that’s when I decided, the whole thing was just too freakin’ funny.

  • Was he impressed with my speed?
  • Did he see me throw a few blocks when I was moving through that crowd back there?

The football jokes started spilling out. I realized that even though this was, I think, THE most awkward and embarrassed I’ve ever been, I created this pretty great memory for my family.

No one has let me forget it.

Now I wasn’t perceiving my awkwardness here. This is about as real as it gets.

But you know what?

Within a few minutes, those 200 people had already moved on.

They were more focused on getting home to Florida than thinking about the awkward girl running through the airport.

I did get a few thumbs up as we walked to our seats on the plane, but mostly the experience was over.

So now it was up to me to decide how I was going to conceptualize all this.

What would I take away from it?

If that story didn’t normalize awkwardness for you, here’s a little additional ointment to put on your own awkwardness.

First of all, as you can see, awkwardness happens to all of us.

I can’t tell you how many people have told me how awkward they sometimes feel in therapy. They wonder later when they play the tapes back in their head if they said something silly or that I must think they’re the most awkward person I’ve ever met.

These are people from all walks of life who are accomplished and purposeful and don’t appear to have an awkward bone in their body.

I let them know that feeling awkward is sometimes just part of getting to know someone. It’s part of the process.

We’re all sailing in this particular boat together.

Second, you’re probably not as awkward as you think.

We are so wrapped up in our own heads, dissecting every thought and analyzing our every action.

How much are you thinking about someone else’s awkwardness right now?

You’re not, right?

You’re too focused on your own issues and circumstances.

Others are doing that exact same thing, too.

I wonder how many of those people in that airport even remember my little amazing race today.

If you do have a genuinely awkward moment, then just know that this is part of what makes us human.

Taking awkwardness too seriously only serves to drive you underground and keeps you from taking the risks that will move you forward.

Unless it costs you something tremendous, most likely an awkward moment was just simply that … one awkward moment in time.

Keeping a healthy attitude can provide you some great stories for the future. I love telling my awkward and embarrassing airport story because it’s just so me.

I can get so focused on something that I miss really obvious stuff sometimes. Like a crowd of 200 people!

Accepting those awkward moments can help you weather some of the crazy stuff in life because none of us can predict anything anyway.

You may as well be able to learn from it, laugh at it and enjoy some of it.

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 84: Moving to the center of conflict

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We spend a lot of time avoiding conflict because we’re not always sure where it might take us. But avoiding conflict keeps you stagnant and can take you right off the board.

Learn how to embrace conflict and make it work for you to create the healthy relationships you want to have.

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 84: Moving to the center of conflict

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

One of the hardest things to navigate in a relationship is conflict.

Not because it’s so difficult to resolve but because so few people are willing to to actually deal with conflict directly.

In a previous episode, I talked about passive aggressiveness, those indirect ways that we communicate to the people in our lives that there’s a problem to be solved.

Instead of approaching the issue with honest feelings, we let our actions speak for us. This puts us in a game of “guess what I’m feeling and I’m very angry that you can’t see what I’m feeling.”

This kind of interaction almost always misses the mark.

On the other end are people who go out of their way to avoid conflict altogether. They will take the responsibility for things that don’t belong to them just to keep the peace at any costs.

In both of these cases, conflict is seen as a threat.

If I tell you how I’m really feeling, then you may get upset.

And I may not know what to do with that.

Instead of coming to you with the idea of resolving the issue, I place my hope in the conflict magically going away.

That almost never works.

You may be able to slide by for a bit dancing around the issue but it almost always comes up in some way, somehow.

  • Your frustration with your boss works you up so much that you decide to leave the company looking for a less war-like situation.
  • Your spouse suddenly tells you the marriage is over and you didn’t see it coming at all because you had no idea there was even an issue.
  • You stop talking to your best friend because she made you really angry when she made that comment last month about your kids.

In each of these cases, there is a loss of an important relationship.

In each of these cases, issues boiled under the surface but never made their way to where you could interact with them and figure out what’s going on.

You just find out when you see the water suddenly moving and the steam burns you.

That’s the result of poor conflict resolution.

You see, the most important thing in your relationships isn’t communication.

I think we all know people who communicate constantly but never really say anything.

The most important thing in a relationship is the ability to resolve conflict. That’s where progress in a relationship happens.

Taking time to resolve an issue with someone means that you both put something in this and that you’re both invested in the relationship getting better.

Resolving conflict together brings you closer.

It forms a bond in the relationship because now you’ve been through something together.

Healthy relationships aren’t based on how well you get along. They come from the ability to hear and validate others in spite of your own feelings, and to have others do the same for you.

That’s not something to run from.

So how do you approach conflict in a way that grows your relationships?

A big way to start is to speak from your own experiences and emotions.

When we’re angry with someone, it’s so tempting to assign motives to their actions. That’s usually the first thing we want to get into when we do decide to approach someone.

And it’s the thing that makes conflict blow up, the thing we hate about it the most.

We make comments like, “You always make me feel like that.”

That’s a quick way to put someone on the defensive.

Instead of focusing on their actions, describe the actual emotion you felt as a result of that action.

“When you speak to me in that tone, it makes me feel hurt, angry, sad,”…whatever.

Describe your specific emotions without assigning motives. You’re just a reporter of information about you.

While they may not agree with you, they can’t take away your feelings. You own those.

Then, let them respond.

When they do, listen to understand, not to reply.

This is really hard.

We’ve all had those conversations where we’re crafting our witty response while the other person’s talking.

You may come up with a great response, but you just missed a whole bunch of great info coming from them while you were inside your own head playing speechwriter.

You’re listening so you can come up with your own response instead of really hearing them and validating their feelings.

That doesn’t help them feel heard either.

Listen to what they have to say and summarize it back to them to make sure you got it right.

This is an easy way to actively listen because you’ll have to pay attention to make sure you don’t miss something.

It also allows them to clarify the details so they can walk away feeling heard.

Above all, lean in to your own responsibility to keep the relationship healthy.

So many times we wait for the other person to kind of “get it” and come to us first.

If you value the relationship at all, you may need to make the first move. Maybe that doesn’t feel fair, especially if you feel like you’re not in the wrong here.

But making the first move says that you value this relationship enough to get this process going, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Waiting only serves to let the issues continue to bubble and increases the chance of a much bigger event later.

Besides, you’re part of this relationship and it’s on you to do what you can to keep it healthy. You play your part, too.

What the other person does or doesn’t do is on them.

The best part about approaching conflict in this way is that once you engage, you find that there are some things you just didn’t know.

You get knowledge that can help you understand their perspective sooner instead of stewing over assumptions and assigning motives.

You may not like the knowledge you get, and that’s fine.

Maybe you do decide to make a drastic change in the relationship after walking through this process.

But at least you can make a more informed decision before you just shut everything down.

Conflict resolution allows you to keep the air clear so you can move ahead together as a team instead of viewing each other with suspicion and anger.

This is the price of admission for healthy relationships.

It requires some humility and intention but it can bring you closer to more satisfying relationships.

Isn’t that all any of us want?

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! 

 

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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!

 

Get Mental Health Moment 🎧

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Ep 80: Focus on the nuts in front of you

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The effects of stress are what can sneak up on us and cause us the most grief. Research is showing just how important it is to engage in something for the sake of being in that moment.

Hear about that research, and also how I found some stress relief with an assortment of nuts.

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 80: Focus on the nuts in front of you

Check out my mindful handiwork! 😂

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

Have you ever been so wrapped up in something fun or different that you kind of forgot for a minute that you were stressed or upset?

That’s kind of the goal of mindfulness.

I know we think of mindfulness as meditation or yoga or other activities that we can channel our minds into.

But mindfulness is even easier than that. It’s really more about finding ways to access the present moment, however you do it.

So for example, one day last week I was chopping nuts by hand for a homemade granola recipe.

I know, I could’ve used a food processor, but I was trying to be quiet in the kitchen.

I had put all of the different nuts on the cutting board at the same time — almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans.

These nuts all have different textures and respond in different ways to chopping motions.

Once I really got started, I realized I was making lots of different shapes depending on how I turned the knife.

  • Since the almonds are harder, some of them scooted across the room when the knife hit them.
  • The walnuts stayed right where they were and made very distinct shapes.
  • The softer cashews just folded without a fight.

I realized after about 10 minutes that I’d been chopping for a good little while. In fact, I might have reached the point of mincing them.

But I was so focused on what I was doing in that moment and seeing all the colors and shapes take place that I kind of lost track of time.

This kind of thing is why it takes me forever to cook, which is why I don’t do so much of it anymore.

But it illustrates mindfulness really well, I think.

I honestly wasn’t thinking about what I was going to do with all those nuts once they were chopped, and I really wasn’t thinking about where they had come from or how much they cost.

And I definitely wasn’t so meditative that I was emptying my mind or overly focused on my breathing. I wasn’t trying to make this a thing.

I was just completely engaged in that activity, creating my little stash of nuts there on the kitchen counter. Maybe I missed my calling as a squirrel.

I would’ve missed all that if I would’ve just thrown them all into the food processor and whacked them all in less than 10 seconds.

Research is now showing that this kind of mindfulness is a critical part of handling stress.

A recent study from the University of Washington showed that teenage girls who reported stress induced headaches showed a reduced number of those headaches — 40 percent in fact — after practicing mindful art therapy techniques.

Their art therapy included working with oil paints, trying different mediums and immersing themselves in that experience for 50 minutes.

And they found this result in just two sessions a week.

What’s interesting is that the teens didn’t report that their overall stress levels had improved. Just that their headaches had been reduced.

If you’ve ever had a stress induced headache than you know how that can really impact your performance and how well you feel on any given day.

Any kind of relief can go a long way.

As a side note, teens report higher levels of stress than adults, most of it related to school. That’s a recipe for work-related stress in just a few years so it’s worth all of us getting some understanding about handling stress.

In order to handle our stress more effectively, we have to find ways to immerse ourselves in present moments.

Our modern life is turning up the dial all the time and we have to be the ones to slow it down, to ground ourselves for at least a few minutes and just notice where we are.

Being engaged in our current moments gives us the best shot to walk through our difficult emotions with purpose and understanding.

Here’s what’s cool.

If you can’t still long enough to meditate or develop a breathing practice, then this kind of mindfulness is for you.

Because you don’t have to sit still. You just have to pay attention to one thing right in front of you for a wee bit of time.

You should probably pick something more interesting than chopping nuts to bring you back to your present moment.

It can be anything that can engage all your senses and places you in the middle of something that captures your attention but doesn’t require anything of you.

When you feel the weight of your responsibilities today, take a minute to notice where you are.

What can you slow down and just observe?

What’s around you that you can experience without needing it to turn out a certain way?

Find those opportunities, they are all around you.

It’s the first step to handling your stress and feeling 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 .

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Ep 79: Power blend: a lesson from my favorite coffee mug

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The small stuff can take us to powerlessness in a flash. We manage so much anymore that even one unexpected event can leave us scrambling to get some control.

I had a little mishap last weekend that illustrated this dynamic in my 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 79: Power Blend: a lesson from my favorite coffee mug

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

One of the hardest things about feeling stressed out is how powerless you can feel.

We never really have control over anything, but we like to convince ourselves we do.

This is why we plan and analyze, and for some of us, over plan and over analyze.

It’s all an attempt to wrestle some control from the universe and say you know what? This is MY little pony. I’ve got the reins now, sister universe.

And it’s pointless.

We know that, but still we carry on – taking care of our own stuff, other people’s stuff, and all points in between.

All while striving for that moment when we can stand on top of the mountain with our hands on our hips, our super cape flying behind us and proclaim that we are in charge now.

We talk a good game don’t we?

We sound pretty menacing up there until something comes along and kicks us off our mountain.

What knocks you off your mountain?

If you’re like me, it’s the small stuff.

  • A comment from a coworker that sounded a little too cutting.
  • Running late for an appointment and getting stuck in traffic.
  • An unexpected phone call from your child’s teacher.
  • An extra automatic draft from your checking account.
  • A less than ideal number on the scale – again.

For me, the small things are like a broken dish.

Last weekend I cleaned my house like a mad woman.

I never have time to clean the whole house in one day like I used to. So I’ve gotten more comfortable with just hitting a couple of things a day here and there.

Eventually it all gets clean but not at the same time. It’s not satisfying, but for me, right now, it’s the only way.

Well, last weekend I decided I’d had enough.

Nothing was spared.

Baseboards, tile and grout in the shower, pockets of piled up crap and clutter in every room. Mopping with a real mop and actual water.

It was a revolution.

I felt like Mr. Clean standing in my living room, my mop at my side like Excalibur surveying my efforts.

When I was done, I propped the mop up against this little shelf mounted on the wall in my coffee bar.

The shelf has four little pegs on the bottom where I like to hang my favorite coffee cups.

When I was done talking trash to the universe about how clean everything was, I grabbed the mop to wring it out for the last time.

In mere seconds ceramic pieces suddenly covered the floor and countertop and little shards were scattered everywhere, including one sticking out of one of my knuckles on my right hand.

WHAT just happened?

My now shattered favorite coffee cup has a quote on it:

“Nothing comes between a girl and her coffee..”

Except…for a marble countertop.

Somehow, I had managed to maneuver the top of the mop handle around this little peg in such a way that it lifted my favorite coffee cup from its resting place and sent it crashing to the marble countertop below.

Keep in mind that I have a pretty hard time backing an average sized car into a reasonably sized parking space.

Yet somehow I managed to thread this tiny little needle with the dexterity of an Ivy League brain surgeon.

I’m not sure I could do it again if I tried.

But there it was.

My housekeeping show of power and order now laid in a heap of ceramic dust.

My unbroken coffee cup

My coffee cup in better days!

I felt pretty powerless in that moment because I just didn’t see it coming.

And now I had to clean it up!

It occurred to me as I was vacuuming and mopping…for the second time that day, and looking for a band aid… that my run in with the coffee cup is a lot like an average modern day.

I mean, hopefully you’re not breaking coffee cups every day.

But you probably encounter all kinds of unexpected things in each day that can take you down a different path.

Or at least add to what you were already struggling with.

I think that’s when it’s easy to feel powerless because how can you get ahead with all these coffee cups getting thrown around you?

If you’re spending all your time cleaning up after your broken cups, then how are you getting to the good stuff?

What are your options here to find some power?

Well, you can accept that no matter how in-control you feel, something will come along to challenge that.

That is called life.

If you are living and moving in your deep values and chasing some strong goals, expect it.

Now when I say accept I don’t mean tolerate. There’s a difference.

Tolerating something means that you still think you will have some control but for now you’re just putting up. You’re still worked up about it, and there’s probably some judgmental comments and a lot of eye rolling on your part.

Acceptance is removing yourself from the entanglement with the thoughts and feelings in your situation.

You become more of an observer and acknowledge that, yes this is happening.

You take note of what you’re feeling but instead of wrapping yourself in those emotions, you let them go and move on to action.

What can be done now?

You trust that the answer will reveal itself in time.

Until then, you’re still able to function.

You can also allow your curiosity to enter the stage.

What can you learn from this?

Could this become a course correcting event instead of just an annoying and disruptive commercial break from the universe?

Curiosity opens you up to new possibilities because it forces you to consider other options behind the ceramic mess in front of you.

Some of my best ideas have come from my most powerless moments when I learned to lean in to my curiosity.

Learn to foster a curious attitude instead of allowing yourself to fall victim to the lamentations about how life isn’t fair.

Because when you look outward at others and the universe as the reason for your struggles, that’s when you lose your power.

Now you’re a victim and that’s a broken coffee cup all day long.

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 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! 👆

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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.”

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 74: You might be passive aggressive…

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How do you know you might have some passive aggressive behaviors? The same way you know you might be a redneck. You make a list!

Here’s a fun and informational take on the Jeff Foxworthy classic, “You might be a redneck…”

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 74: You might be passive aggressive

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

You’ve no doubt heard the comedy bit from comedian Jeff Foxworthy called, “You might be a redneck,” where he lists all of the behaviors that might tell you you’re a redneck.

I’m no comedian but I have a little list I like to call, “You might be passive aggressive…”

What does it mean to be passive aggressive?

Passive aggressive is when you communicate your anger or displeasure about something, but you do it indirectly.

Instead of approaching someone in a straightforward way with the intent of resolving a conflict, you let your behaviors do all the talking.

This leaves the other party trying to guess how you might feel based on what they’re seeing from you.

We tend to associate passive aggressiveness with people we don’t like or people that are difficult to get along with.

And it’s true, for some people passive aggressiveness is a way of life.

But lots of people demonstrate passive aggressive behavior. And it’s not because they’re bad people.

It’s mostly because they like to avoid the conflict that arises from a direct and honest conversation.

Many times, a passive aggressive person simply lacks the assertiveness skills to ask directly and politely for what they want.

Instead, they prefer to just show you and hope you get their meaning.

It’s like the world’s worst game of charades , where the actions don’t make any sense and people’s feelings get hurt.

Actually, that sounds like most games of charades I’ve ever played.

You can see how much this might go off the rails pretty quickly.

Being passive aggressive is not an efficient or ideal way to communicate.

But it goes on in homes, schools and workplaces every day.

So here we go, without the witty southern Jeff Foxworthy accent, I present to you my version of “You might be passive aggressive…”

  1. If you’ve ever slammed kitchen cabinet doors while unloading the dishwasher you asked your son to unload this morning, you might be passive aggressive.
  2. If you consistently show up late for work and justify it because nobody really understands how hard you work anyway, you might be passive aggressive.
  3. If you talk about your coworker’s shortcomings behind their back, you might be passive aggressive. Also you might be a gossip, just sayin’. Watch out for this one.
  4. If you avoid eye contact and give your spouse the silent treatment after they went on an unplanned night out with their friends, you might be passive aggressive.
  5. If you’ve ever used the words “fine, whatever” in a discussion about something you’re having trouble getting, you might be passive aggressive.
  6. If you’ve ever used sarcasm as a response to someone and your neck got hot and red, you might be passive aggressive.
  7. If you’ve ever ignored a text or email so that the other person will know just how mad you are, you might be passive aggressive.
  8. If you’ve ever said yes to something you really didn’t want to do, then silently blamed the other person for making you feel awkward about saying no, you might be passive aggressive.
  9. If you’ve ever put on your very best smile and nodded in agreement like a Derek Jeter bobblehead even though you really, really disagree with something, you may be passive aggressive.
  10. If your response to someone who has just told you no is to make them feel guilty by recounting for them all the times you’ve helped them, you might be passive aggressive.
  11. If you’ve ever disallowed someone to use their blinker and move in front of you in busy traffic because earlier they pulled out in front of you unexpectedly, you may be passive aggressive.
  12. If you’ve ever been asked to do something at work you didn’t want to do and you didn’t give it your best effort because it’s not really in your job description anyway, you may be passive aggressive.

These are just a few examples.

But in each one of them, simply communicating from your own feelings and experiences would at least get a better ball rolling.

Granted, this kind of conversation can be uncomfortable because the other person will have something to say.

There absolutely will be conflict.

But learning to identify your own emotions and express them in a way that honors both people goes a long way to resolve the conflict.

You miss all that when you play this passive aggressive game of charades.

And in the end, resolving conflict brings you closer together because now you’ve been through something together that required each of you to grow.

What does this have to do with your stress, especially your stress at work?

Well, how unhappy are you when you don’t feel like you’re getting as much out of your work experience as you would like to?

How do you feel when you see others realizing their potential and somehow figuring out how to keep the pieces together?

Are they any better than you?

I would propose that they are not.

Not getting what you want, and not being able to ask for what you want is a sure fire roadmap to stress and anxiety.

And believe me when I tell you this is a skill that you can learn. It will change how you engage with the world and keep you from feeling helpless and left out.

You’re expending a lot of energy in every day. Let’s make sure that you’re using all the tools available to you to get what you need to feel engaged, focused and purposeful.

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 72: Use a flight checklist to pilot the small stuff

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I’ve used the concept of a flight checklist to help parents of kids with ADHD get mastery over things like remembering the backpack and finding the homework.

You can use it for grown-up stuff, too. Check out this super simple tactic from our friends in aviation to help you manage the small stuff.

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 72: Use a Flight Checklist to Pilot the Small Stuff

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

Sometimes in our world of strategy and big pictures, it’s good to just get tactical.

So here’s a really super tactical stress management tip for you.

One handy tool that I use with clients with focus and concentration issues is to develop what I call a flight checklist.

I got the idea from an article I read by Dr. Atul Guwande called “The Checklist.”

His article, which later became an entire book, centered around the creation of checklists in medical settings, specifically intensive care units.

He highlighted research that showed that when medical staff used checklists for procedures in an ICU, mortality rates decreased by quite a bit.

This was true even with procedures staff had performed thousands of times and knew cold.

If the mortality rate was high, it wasn’t necessarily that the staff wasn’t skilled.

It’s just that over time when you perform a procedure enough times, you kind of assume you did something you may not have actually done.

It’s kind of like when you think you locked your front door and then find out when you get home that you completely missed that step.

And you didn’t even realize it until that moment.

In his article Dr. Gawande used the example of inserting a central line in an ICU patient. This life saving procedure involves about five small steps, which include things like washing your hands, disinfecting the skin and wearing sterile clothing.

Kind of a no-brainer for an experienced ICU medical professional. But any one of them left out can set the patient up for infection.

How easy do you think it might be to forget one of those simple steps on a busy day in the ICU?

  • The research showed how a simple checklist that captured each of these steps was responsible for the reduction in mortality.
  • No fancy interventions, not even a modified procedure.
  • Just checking everything off a list.

He likened it to a flight checklist that a pilot performs before operating an aircraft.

Pilots in commercial settings have thousands of hours of flight time. So they are definitely experts.

But even with all that expertise, the pilot and crew still run through a checklist prior to taking off.

They make no assumptions.

The cargo is precious and one missed part of the preflight process can be tragic.

Maybe your tasks and activities on any given day don’t save lives or potentially put lives in jeopardy.

But you can use this same concept to help you reduce some of your stress.

You can set up a flight checklist of sorts to help manage the tiniest working parts of your day.

I don’t know about you, but when I have trouble managing the tiniest parts of my day, it seems to create a ripple effect to the big stuff.

How many times have you carried all your bags out to your car, raced to work then realized you forgot something silly like your lunchbox?

That’s a dealbreaker for me because no food, no good mood for Lori.

I pack a lunch almost every day, so you would think I’m already in the habit of remembering to bring it.

But all it takes is for something else to come along to grab my attention for a second. Lo and behold my lunchbox stays in my kitchen all day, doing me absolutely no good.

Having a checklist ready to go right at my front door, with all the things I need already listed there, means that I can do one last check before I fly out the door.

I’m not relying on my assumption that I remembered it, but I can “perform the check” and check it off the list.

If this sounds painfully simple and obvious, it’s because it is.

But we spend so much time focusing on getting the big stuff on our lists that we ignore some of the smaller stuff that stresses us out when we don’t have it.

Lunch isn’t a sexy thing to have on your list but it may change how you handle your hectic afternoon if your healthy lunch isn’t right where you need it.

You can do this with anything you need to make sure you get done, as long as you keep it simple and manageable.

Don’t be tempted to recreate Luther’s Ninety-five Theses here. Talking to you Type A people.

Using a flight checklist helps you in three ways:

One, it reduces the cognitive energy you need to manage your time.

If it’s on your flight checklist, all you have to do is find it and check it off the list.

Now you don’t have to stand there and try to remember what you forgot knowing that you’ll get to work and remember THEN what you forgot.

I hate that!

A second thing a flight checklist does is it gives you a visual to look at to make sure you have what you need.

If you get your ho-ho’s from seeing things getting crossed off or removed from a list, then this will serve you well.

Use your list-making enthusiasm to help you see what’s really in front of you.

The best part about a flight checklist is that it helps you simply create habits and rituals that let you put your best energy on your big goals and tasks.

You’re wasting more time and energy than you realize just trying to mentally keep up with the small steps that could make a big difference in how your day goes.

Let your flight checklist do that for you so you can focus on your flight.

If you want to read Dr. Gawande’s article, you can find the link at mymentalhealthmoment.com. It’s a fascinating read.

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.

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 68: Find your carefree

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What does it mean to live carefree? Is that even possible today with so much grabbing for our attention?

So much of being carefree is in letting go of what’s not serving you. Here’s a little of my experience.

You can listen to this episode right here! 👆

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Full transcript 👇

Ep 68: Find your carefree

Hi. I’m Lori Miller and I’m back! This…is your Mental Health Moment.

How’s your summer so far?

I took a little break there because my son just got married. It’s hard to believe that the little toddler who used to stand in his diaper next to the window and laugh and wave at the guys on the back of the trash truck… is now a married man.

That was so fast.

I wanted to drink in all the fun and happiness these past few weeks, and experience every emotion and feeling.

And we surely did that!

I’ve spent the past few days since the wedding quietly reflecting on what it all means.

Because I’ll tell you, watching my son and his wife look at each other and how they can see their future together just in the way they smile, literally nothing else mattered in that moment.

Sitting there watching all this, I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to get through all my emails, or how much paperwork I had to do, or if there was going to be time to fit in all my writing sessions for this week.

That day in my life, watching them start a new life, was simply…carefree.

It wasn’t so much that I didn’t have any care in the world. But it was more about what I chose to focus on in that moment.

All that other stuff just didn’t make the cut that day. Not even close.

And I liked feeling carefree very much.

I don’t know that I’ve given the idea of carefree living too much attention before now.

When I think of carefree I think of someone running through a field of tulips or something, maybe letting your hair run wild and free. I was a teenager in the 80s and there were a lot of hair commercials back then so maybe that’s where that came from.

If you’re a taskmaster like me, being carefree sounds slightly horrifying because it means something else is probably not getting done while you’re running through all those tulips.

It took me a while to even put that word on what I was feeling.

I guess I equate being carefree with fun and they’re really not the same thing, are they?

When I think of fun I think Disney World or a trip to New York or watching the Yankees win (and that is soooo happening this year, my friends, mark my words).

But these fun things are wrapped up in specific events. I can’t do fun things like that very often unless I win the lottery.

But carefree, well, I think I can live like that.

Because being carefree is just focusing on letting go of what’s pulling on me.

Do you ever feel like this? Like everything’s just pulling on you all at the same time?

Wouldn’t it be nice to just not feel that pressure for a nanosecond?

You can actually make that happen for yourself.

Feeling carefree is less about not having any cares at all but caring more about what’s important to you.

There’s no magic formula or mantra for being carefree. When I decide to focus and give my attention to one thing that matters to me, everything else seems to kind of fall away on its own.

I feel room and space around me to breathe a bit.

So carefree is a place I can choose to go anytime I want.

What are some benefits of choosing to live in a carefree state of mind?

Well for starters, it takes you out of that “just existing” mode.

I know you know what I’m talking about.

It’s not hard to fill your life up with so much stuff to do that you feel like you’re just checking the boxes and doing it all again tomorrow.

Same time, same station, same snacks.

Choosing to be more carefree means maybe you leave a few boxes unchecked today.

Stop the hamster wheel for a minute and experience just one different thing, something that’s not on your list.

Sometimes this is enough to help you feel like you can breathe again.

Second, being carefree is a slam dunk when it comes to staying in the present moment.

You can’t be carefree and be thinking about next Tuesday’s meeting or stewing over how your mechanic ripped you off last week.

Most of our stress and anxiety is wrapped up in the moments we’re not currently living in.

I mean, your life is happening right now.

Choosing to give yourself a carefree moment gives you a shot at actually experiencing that.

Last, finding carefree moments helps you let go of your stress.

You’ve probably had that experience on vacation when you finally let go of your to do list and then you’re like, what was I thinking? Why do I let that stuff bother me?

I’m totally gonna stop doing that.

You get clarity in that moment because it’s so obvious what is giving you energy and strength. But honestly you can have that realization on a smaller level every day.

When you stop and make the choice to experience where you are in any given moment, you take your stress down a notch.

I wish I could give you a recipe for carefree but honestly you have to define this one for yourself.

What’s carefree for me may seem ridiculous to you.

The truth is that we are trying to do too much. And much of what we do on any given day is just not that important, if we’re honest.

Life isn’t just about getting stuff done and achieving goals.

There’s such a rich tapestry of experiences that we’re missing out on because we’re bound up by our task centered existence.

Choose to find a few random carefree moments in your days and see if it doesn’t change your outlook on your stress.

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