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Stop Your Worrying! My Simple Tools to Ease Your Mind.

October 30, 2014

Frustrations and worries are just our fears in disguise. Think about the last time you felt frustrated. Perhaps, it was because you didn’t feel you were connecting with your boss. Maybe, you didn’t get that promotion. Or, the ever-popular one for parents, my children aren’t listening to me!

The storylines of your worries can be different each time, but if you want to ease the feeling of frustration, anxiety and overwhelm that washes over you, then you need to understand the root cause of your feelings.

I am no stranger to frustration. I have felt it at work, at home and with myself. But when I have been able to stop and create some awareness, it is extremely powerful.

I would like to share with you some tools for better understanding your worries, and yourself, along with ways to calm the internal rough waters so you can keep a clear head to focus on being a strong leader and leading a fulfilling life.

1.Look inside – Ask yourself, “What is the root cause of my worries?” It is never really about your boss not agreeing with you or your spouse making you crazy. Dig deeper. What am I scared of? Is it I am afraid I’ll lose my job? Okay, then what happens if you lose your job? That I have lost control…and I would be a failure. Okay, now we are getting somewhere. When you can see your fears for what they really are, they tend to have less power over you. Often when we take a moment to reflect, we will see how we’ve blown things out of proportion. Our minds can weave big stories out of our fears if we let them.

2.God Box/Universe Box – This activity requires you to reflect upon what your higher beliefs are about what governs the world and universe. Do you believe in God, Allah, Brahman, destiny, fate or in the power of the universe to help and nurture living beings? You need to take some time to figure out what you really think is in control of the world. If you come up with nobody and nothing is at the helm of the world, then you can call this box your Happy box or another name that resonates with you.

Every time you have a fear, frustration or worry, you write it on a piece of paper and insert it into a box. I use an empty Kleenex box for this. But, you can decorate up something fancier too. The idea behind this exercise is that you first write down your fears and worries, which gives your feelings a physical visible form so you can acknowledge them more clearly. Plus, it takes a few moments to write it down so you are forced to examine it more than just a fleeting thought in your mind.

The second step is to insert the piece of paper with your frustration or worry into the box. This represents a physical letting go of that particular worry. The first few days I tried this exercise, I could have used a God Fanny Pack. I became aware of how many worries I had and seemed to have them emerging every few moments. But then as I kept up with the exercise, I noticed a strange thing happen. I stopped worrying so much. I was more aware of my emotions. I felt I had a tool to help take some pressure off me. It worked, so I tried this out with some of my clients who face frustration, fear and anxiety in their role as a leader. And they are reported some really positive findings about their ability to let go and aren’t plagued by their everyday frustrations so much. Seriously, try it. It can’t hurt anything. And I’d love to hear your feedback, so please email me after you’ve tried it.

3.Stop! Once you are aware of your thoughts and emotions, now you can start to exert some control through your choices. I have learned a lot about the brain through my brain injury several years ago. One thing I found really interesting was that when we are in a situation where someone upsets us or we hear frustrating news, our bodies reacts with the flight or fight response and release cortisol into our systems.  Adrenaline levels go sky-high. This physiological response occurs in our body for 90 seconds and there is not much we can do about it for that time except acknowledge it is happening, pay attention to your body’s signals such as accelerated heart rate or feeling flushed. Just let it wash over you. Then at the end of that 90 seconds, your decision to stress it or not, lies completely in your hands.

If you continue to hold onto your worries, cortisol levels will remain high. If this continues on an ongoing basis, you’re opening yourself up to a plethora of physical and mental illnesses. You have to ask yourself if it is really worth it to hang onto these festering emotions and thoughts.

After the 90 seconds passes, you can say to yourself STOP! Picture a stop sign as you say this. I actually find it is most effective for me to say it out loud. It seems to get my mind’s attention more this way. Now you have stopped that train of thought for a moment. If you don’t replace it with something else, it will likely go back to your original worrisome thought. So, find something that feels right for you to replace it with. It could be a phrase or mantra, such as ‘Everything is good or I am healthy.’ Or it could be replaced by something more physical like you getting up from your desk and going for a walk.

Be prepared to practice and repeat as needed. Sometimes there are those pesky thoughts that keep rearing their heads. Accept them for what they are, but then let them go and replace them with things you’d rather be thinking about. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat on your emotions. The sooner you spot the waves start crashing inside, intervene, and it will be easier to bring you back to balance.

Visit Potential Unlimited to learn more about services available to help you find inner peace while achieving success as a leader!

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