Ever Stress? Read if you want a better way vs coping!

stop stressing

What’s the root of daily stress? Why is it such a major factor in our lives? 

Is it just the way we’re made? 

Kind of, yes. Your brain, my brain, everyone’s brain is wired to do these three things:

  1. Go negative
  2. Protect
  3. Automate 

We are predisposed to look at the worse case, predict negative ‘what-ifs’, and stress about shit on the daily because our minds think they need to protect us and keep us safe from danger (perceived or real). 

The mind naturally automates experiences and emotions and lumps discomfort (perceived or real) into a big vat of ‘Whoa! don’t go there it might be dangerous! Let me protect you!’ shit soup.

Example: You know you need to have a difficult conversation with your boss and as you think about it you start tensing up. Your brain registers this discomfort and assigns the emotion you've got on speed dial — stress — and begins its process of keeping you safe from this perceived danger.

It makes up negative ‘what ifs’ that you might make the situation worse if you speak up or that you may even get fired. Your mind (Inner Critic) makes this a very strong and believable case.

So instead of having the conversation you spend weeks stressing about it, losing sleep, emotional eating, and feeling worn out. 

Here’s the absolute great news:

Your brain is totally malleable and can be rewired to:

  1. Naturally go to the positive
  2. Distinguish what you actually need protection from
  3. Automate positive and healthy responses to stress and discomfort

Knowing this about your brain gives you superpowers to combat stress and remove the majority of it without work-around systems and (often negative) coping mechanisms.

Want to start rewiring how your brain views stress? Answer these questions and take action! 

What stress loop do you have on repeat? 

Is your brain stressing about a) a negative perceived threat or b) an actual physical danger happening in the moment? 

If it’s A do this:

  • Recognize the discomfort and ask yourself better questions. Based on the example I gave above you may ask yourself questions like these:
    • Is continuing to avoid this conversation really keeping me safe or is it stalling me out from growing/getting a raise/ gaining clarity/making things better? 
    • Is this stress just my automatic response to discomfort?
    • What are some positive ‘what ifs’ that could happen when I have this conversation? 
  • Visualize the situation going right. Are you prepared? Confident? At ease? Asking for what you need? What does that look and feel like? 
  • Take action! Do the thing! 

If it’s B do this: 

  • Get the hell out of there fast ;) !!

Re-wiring your brain is absolutely within your power and with regular practice you will start producing positive and lasting shifts in as little as 30 days. Sure, you may have some discomfort along the way but what's better -- finite discomfort while re-wiring your brain or infinite discomfort by allowing your brain to keep you stressed and stuck? 

Want to be in on a pilot brain-shifting workshop that moves you away from stress? Email me. 

My Class Motto Didn't Prepare Me For Real Life

Ida High School class of 1985

Once upon a time I was Senior Class President and one of my biggest responsibilities was planning our graduation. 

I remember being on a student and staff committee and an important task was choosing our class motto.

Burning question: *Why didn’t anyone sit us down to tell us how life really worked?

Perhaps then we would have tweaked our motto to read:

“One step at a time (mostly not forward) and on all kinds of paths with wide-ranging terrain and extreme weather conditions.”

Who’s with me?!

I had two real paths back in high school:

The path I traveled less often was one I created behind my house that led into the woods.

Sunshine would dance through the trees and highlight the trail where my feet would walk happily and carefree on the soft grass in summer, crunchy leaves in fall, and the quiet snow in winter.

It lead to my secret tree on the edge of a field with Strasburg Road in the distance. I would climb the tree at the end of the path and sit on a long branch with my back against the trunk. I was like a motionless hawk, incognito, watching the cars and life pass by. 

This time was magical to me because I could just be. Be one with nature and with myself. I used the time to create, imagine, pretend, and dream. And most definitely, it was a time to clear my head and ‘reset’. 

The path in front of my house that lead me into the world daily, Hubbard Road, was no joke. It was a dusty dirt road filled with potholes and ruts. 

Every spring the road would morph into a thick muddy cauldron of car-swallowing mud. More than once Calvin Smith, the local farmer, had to pull me out of the deeply grooved channels.

I’m thinking about all of this because my high school reunion is coming up which is cool but more importantly, this is also the summer that my daughter graduated from high school. 

I’ve been very reflective and emotional about her milestone because it hit me that I’m here witnessing the next cycle of life.

Kennedy’s about to start on her path and I’m sad, happy, nervous, and excited all wrapped up into one big crazy emotion.

My role went from being Class President to Family President, aka Mom, and choosing a motto for her to follow has taken on so much more significance.  It takes my breath away, actually, because she’s mine and I don’t want to mess her up, you know? Even though I’m sure I have in countless ways because being a parent is the ultimate definition of ‘crap shoot.’

Kennedy, this is especially for you:

 

  • The potholes, ruts, and stop-you-from-taking-any-steps-forward thick mud are all part of life. They’re gonna happen to you. They happen to everyone. 

 

  • You will keep landing in the same potholes and ruts until you figure out how to go around them so always keep your eyes open so you can see and learn from the lessons they’re teaching you.

 

  • You will stay in and be overtaken by the quicksand-like mud the more you struggle against it so learn to surrender to what is so you can break free and continue moving forward.

 

  • You will take many more consistent steps forward throughout life when you find your peaceful path and go there often to quiet your mind, be still, and allow yourself to reset so you can fill up with life, intuition, and genuine happiness.  

So yeah, this is my extended version of the original motto that started me on my journey years ago. I’m super excited to see what you add to it after you’ve lived a long while. Let’s keep this motto growing, girl!  

*Why didn’t anyone tell us how life really worked? Well, they probably did but I’m sure we weren’t listening because we were F**#ing Seniors ready to concur the world!!  

 

LET ME HEAR FROM ALL OF YOU OUT THERE: 

What was your school motto? Does it still apply? What have you learned since high school? Please share your comments below!