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Questions to Ask When Making a Decision

know this

1. What is holding me back from going ahead and making the decision?

2. What is my biggest fear?

3. What will my life be like if things turn out badly?

4. What will my life be like if things go exactly as I hope?

5. Who else is affected by my decision, and what are their thoughts and feelings?

6. How important are their thoughts and feelings?

7. Is there any other information I need, or facts that are important, for making the decision?

8. What would make the decision easier?

9. Can I test the water first, or take a few small steps?

10. How will I feel 10 years from now – if I say “yes” or if I say “no”?

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Coping Statements for Anxiety

you can totally do this

It is often possible to manage anxiety by actively replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced and reasonable thoughts like the following:

1. I’m going to be OK. Sometimes my feelings are irrational and false. I’m just going to relax and take things easy. Everything is going to be fine.

2. Anxiety may feel bad but it isn’t dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with me. Everything is going to be OK.

3. Feelings come and feelings go. Right now I feel bad but I know this is only temporary. I’ve done it before so I can do it again.

4. This image in my head isn’t reasonable or rational. I need to change my thinking and focus my attention on something that’s healthier, and generally helps me to feel good about myself. For example _____________.

5. I’ve managed to interrupt and change these thoughts before – so I know I can do it again. The more I practise this, the easier it will become. Anxiety is a habit – and it’s a habit that I can break!

6. So what if I anxious. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to kill me. I just need to take a few deep breaths and keep going.

7. Just take the next step. Just do the next thing.

8. Even if I have to put up with a period of anxiety, I’ll be glad that I did, and persevered, and succeeded.

9. I can feel anxious and still do a good job. The more I focus on the task at hand, the more my anxiety will ease, then disappear.

10. Anxiety doesn’t have a hold on me. It’s something I’m working on, and changing over time.

How to Leave the Past Behind

be brave enough to travel

When you’re feeling overwhelmed with your sadness and loss, it’s hard to believe that your life will ever change, or you’ll ever be able to smile or laugh again. But the truth is you will – it won’t always be this bad – and there are things you can do help move on with your life:

1. Decide to face your pain. An unresolved past never really goes away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened, and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So try and find the courage to revisit all the pain.

2. Accept there’s nothing you can do to change the past. What’s happened has happened, and what’s done is done. There’s nothing you can do to turn back the hands of time, or to rewrite the story so the ending’s happier. But you can change how you think, and you can start over again, and build a different future that’s not poisoned by the past.

3. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad – or write off any good times and happy memories.

4. Consciously let go and set your focus on the future – Don’t let the baggage, or the failures of the past, affect your identity or self esteem. You are NOT what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.

5. Remove your past from your future. We all have a tendency to think that the past will morph into our future – and become our lot in life. But that doesn’t have to happen. The future’s a blank page. You can change your expectations – and work towards those goals. Instead, look hard for the exceptions – the times when things went right – and notice what you did that resulted in success. You still have those same strengths, skills and great qualities.

6. Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers – and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days – but if you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

Exploring Emotionally Abusive Relationships

not all wounds are visible

Characteristics of an emotionally abusive relationship include:

  • Using money as a means of control
  • Threatening to walk out or abandon you
  • Creating fear through looks, words, threats and actions
  • Destroying things (and often things you value) – either in a cold and heatless way, or in an angry outburst or fit of rage
  • Using blaming, shaming, minimizing and denial to control you
  • Verbally attacking and demeaning you (includes name calling, shouting at you, criticising and putting you down – especially in public)
  • Attacking and putting you down in private, and acting loving and charming in public
  • Minimising the abuse; acting as if you’re over-reacting and it’s “no big deal”
  • Deliberately withholding approval, affirmation, affection and as a means of punishment or control

The effects of living with emotional abuse include:

  • A fear of being natural and spontaneous
  • A loss of enthusiasm or their old joie de vive
  • Insecurity related to how they coming across to others
  • An inner belief that they are deeply flawed
  • A loss of self-confidence and self esteem
  • Growing self-doubt (so they’re afraid to make even the smallest decision, or to take on even the simplest of tasks)
  • Never trusting their own judgments (as they believe that they misunderstand or misread everything)
  • Having a constant critic in their head
  • Feeling they should be happier and more upbeat than they are (in order to meet the approval of others)
  • Feeling they’re too sensitive, and ought to “toughen up”
  • Fearing they’re going crazy, or losing their mind
  • A tendency to live in the future (“Everything will be OK when/after ….”)
  • A desire to break free, escape or run away
  • A distrust and fear of entering into any close relationships again.

Five Easy Steps to Keeping your Cool

canmore river sunday pm.jpg

It is surprisingly easy to lose your cool, and to react to minor stresses and to irritating people. However, most of us would rather feel relaxed and in control, and the following guidelines can help us reach this goal.

  1. Keep things in perspective: Often we catastrophise or over-react when the issue or offense is insignificant. Here, it is best to force yourself to take a balanced approach and remind yourself, “it’s minor, and not worth the energy!”
  2. Visualise yourself coping: Take a few deep breaths and let your feelings settle down. Draw a mental picture of a calm, unflustered “you”, who takes their time to respond and is able to cope. Then, in a calm, low voice – with a few well chosen words – respond as you would like, so you maintain your self-respect.
  3. Be aware of your triggers: When someone pushes our buttons we generally react. However, if we know what those are then we can regain control, and can practice how to cope when our feelings are stirred. Also, if we’re tired or hungry, feeling cold, or over-stretched then we’re much more likely to over-react.
  4. Create a calm environment: Stay one step ahead by preparing yourself for inevitable setbacks and infuriating people. For example, play some music in the car, or take a walk during lunch, or keep some photos in your office of the people that you love.
  5. Distract yourself: When you feel the pressure building, or you start to ruminate, think of something that’s amusing, or a fun event you’ve planned.

 

These are just a few suggestions to help you stay detached so that stresses and people don’t make you lose your cool.

Help with Learning to Love Yourself

be you.jpg

1. Treat other people with kindness and respect. Choosing to bring joy to other people’s lives will increase your happiness and self respect. Also, often when we treat other people well, they start to treat us in the same way, too.

2. Learn to let go of what happened in the past. You deserve a new start and a fresh beginning. We’ve all messed up and experienced bad things. So don’t allow these memories to rob you of your future. You’re not just a product and a victim of your past. Acknowledge and work through any negative emotions – then put them behind you and start to live again.

3. Work on forgiving yourself. Related to point 2, don’t punish yourself for past failings and regrets. Instead, see them as a lesson, and a chance to learn and grow. Don’t ridicule, demean or devalue yourself. That was then – this is now … You are different – so move on.

4. Keep a journal where you write your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling positive, try to savour those emotions and a build a memory trace of all that’s good and positive. When you’re feeling negative, try to show some self-compassion, and seek to be gentle and kind to yourself. You need to work on validating and affirming yourself – not treating yourself like your worst enemy.

5. Be persistent as you work on accepting yourself. A key part of love is unconditional acceptance. So work on loving who you are right now. Only then will you be able to work on changing – because you’re able to accept who you are at the core.

6. Trust yourself. You’re not here to please others. Learn to trust your intuition. You can trust you own judgments as you know what’s best for you.

7. Practice saying “no”. It’s okay to say “no” without feeling guilty. You have the right to decide what you’ll do with your life.

8. Practice receiving and accepting love from others. Know you’re worthy of love – and other people really mean it when they say that you matter, and they love and care for you.

How to Stay on Top of Life when you Feel Depressed

we don't have to do it all

  1. Acknowledge how you feel, and accept that this is going to be a more challenging day.
  2. Commit to doing the absolute essentials but don’t push yourself to do everything.
  3. Prioritize what’s important. For example, if you have a report that has to be submitted, then decide to work on that. However, if it is something that can wait, set it aside for now.
  4. Work through your to-do list in small chunks of time – making sure you get plenty of breaks.
  5. Tell someone who will understand. We need to get support when we’re feeling low.
  6. Be wise in your use of social media. It may be good to deactivate your facebook account, or to switch off your phone to protect yourself from images and chit chat that leaves you feeling worse.
  7. Make sure you leave the house and get a change of scenery.
  8. Deliberately invest in some form of self-care … but make sure it is something that you know will help your mood. And remember that tomorrow is another day.

12 Things Happy People do Differently

it's not what you say

Happy people value and choose:

1. Love over Fear: People, who are truly happy, are less fearful and more loving. They perceive every moment, every challenge, and every person as an opportunity to learn more about themselves and the world.

2. Acceptance over Resistance: Happy people know that you can’t really change things by denying and resisting them. So when bad things happen, they don’t fight, get angry and complain. Instead, they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I do make this better?

3. Forgiveness over Unforgiveness: Truly happy individuals understand that it’s destructive to hold on to feelings of anger. Instead, they choose to forgive and let go, understanding that (in the end) forgiveness is a gift they give themselves.

4. Trust over Mistrust: They trust themselves … and they have learned to figure out the trustworthy people – and those they should avoid.

5. Meaning over Ambition: Happy people do the things they do because it adds meaning and purpose to their lives. They’re not driven by the need to gain acceptance, praise and approval from others.

6. Challenges over Obstacles: Happy people see problems as challenges, and as opportunities to explore new ways of seeing and doing things. That is, challenges are something that help them to grow.

7. Selflessness over Selfishness: Happy people seek out ways ways to give to others – of themselves, their time, of their money, and their gifts. That is, they’re not self-focused and self-absorbed.

8. Kindness over Harshness: Happy people are gentle and kind with themselves and others. They know the importance and power of self-love, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance – and they freely love, forgive and accept other people, too.

9. Gratitude over Ingratitude: No matter where they are, or who they are with, happy people have the capacity to see beauty where others would only see ugliness – and they’re quick to express their gratitude, as well.

10. Being Present over Being Disengaged: Happy people know how to live in the moment, appreciating what they have and who they are with. They are not constantly being dragged down by the past, or distracted by what could happen (or go wrong) in the future.

11. Positivity over Negativity: Regardless of the circumstances of life, happy people are able to adopt and maintain a positive, and upbeat, attitude and perspective.

12. Taking Responsibility over Blaming: Happy people assume full ownership for their lives. They assume responsibility for their life, choices, decisions, actions, reactions, beliefs and attitudes.

How to Live a Simpler, More Contented Life

misty mountains2

1. Ask yourself “What’s important?” Take a step back and think about what’s important to you. What do you really want to be doing, who do you want to spend your time with, what do you want to accomplish with your work? Make a short list of 4-5 things for your life, 4-5 people you want to spend time with, 4-5 things you’d like to accomplish at work.

2. Examine your commitments. A big part of the problem is that our lives are way too full. We can’t possibly do everything we have committed to doing, and we certainly can’t enjoy it if we’re trying to do everything. Accept that you can’t do everything, know that you want to do what’s important to you, and try to eliminate the commitments that aren’t as important.

3. Do less each day. Don’t fill your day up with things to do. You will end up rushing to do them all. If you normally try to do 7-10 things, do 5 important ones instead. This will give you time to do what you need to do, and not rush.

4. Leave space between tasks or appointments. Another mistake is trying to schedule things back-to-back. This leaves no cushion in case things take longer than we planned (which they always do), and it also gives us a feeling of being rushed and stressed throughout the day.

5. Eliminate as much as possible from your to-do list. You can’t do everything on your to-do list. Even if you could, more things will come up. As much as you can, simplify your to-do list down to the essentials.

6. Now, slow down and enjoy every task. Try to slow down and enjoy whatever you’re doing. Try to pay attention, instead of thinking about other things. Be in the moment. Enjoy the present.