This Question Might Just Save Your Life

Ever gotten to that breaking point when you're just about ready to lose it? Whether it's your dog barking, your child crying, another car cutting you off, a bill in the mail, or even a glass of spilled water--the next thing to demand your attention might just send you over the edge? For me, it's never really the small thing that's truly doing me in, though at the time when I want to scream, it sure feels like it. No, stress is a result of a larger issue--one that is only compounded with all those small annoyances. It's one thing after another. It's the weight of it all. And I sit there wondering if I have the will power to remain calm under all that pressure. Will I give in to the mere exhaustion of stress? Or will I ask the one question that, in the end, could save--yes, save--my life?

Was I able to get through this before?

Yes or no. 

And that's it. Simple. You don't need a long, exhaustive list of reasons why you should or shouldn't be stressed. You don't need to convince yourself you're not stressed. And you certainly don't need to enable that stress button any further, because, well, it can eventually kill you. 

All you need to do is ask yourself:

Was I able to get through this before?

Yes, yes, I think I was, so that means I can get through this again. Or, no I didn't, so I need to learn how to get through this. 

Either way, you have an answer. You don't have to throw crap or yell or melt in a ball of tears (though, you're more than welcome to do so; I often find all three to be quite liberating).

When you ask such a question you gain clarity. Wisdom. Awareness. And most importantly, you access all the necessary resources inside to make it through whatever BS life is laying on ya. Those resources never vanish; they are loyal servants, ready and waiting for your commands. 

Stress bites the big one. It's as vicious as its frenemy, guilt. So, give your heart and lungs and blood a break and remember that whatever it is, you will get through it. You've got everything inside to make it happen.  

Posted on December 29, 2014 and filed under Save Your Life.

4 Steps to Handle Those Random Bouts of Sadness

If you’re an evolved human being who can connect with his/her feelings, then more often than not, you will discover the derivation of your sadness and deal with it in a healthy manner (i.e. getting to the root cause, expressing the emotion, and releasing it if necessary).
 
But what about those times when sadness arbitrarily shows up with very little warning or cause? What about when we suddenly feel like an emptiness has just invaded our souls? Do we search for its starting point and demand a reason for its presence? Or do we accept that it might be random and simply needs some cajoling in order to be released?
 
Here are 4 steps to handle those random bouts of unexplainable sadness:

  1. Do nothing: That’s right, NOTHING. Sit. Sleep. Cuddle. Crouch in a corner. Watch endless hours of stupid television or movies. Zone out. Just chill. Don’t force yourself to go fix your sadness or somehow “snap out of it.” And anyone who tells you to “get over it” should try doing 1000 jumping jacks completely jet-lagged and then see how fast he/she gets over it, cause that’s often what ‘random sadness’ feels like.
  2. Express yourself: After you start to feel a little more nurtured and a little less mind-numbing ‘blah,’ allow yourself the freedom to truly express whatever thoughts and feelings you’re having. Even if you have no idea why you feel so sad, express it. Write about it. Talk about it. Cry. Scream. Shove inanimate objects. Clench your fists. Punch a pillow. Bottom line: get the energy out of your body.
  3. Choose mood boosting foods, vitamins, oils, and activities: When you’re ready—and I really want to stress this part, because again, if you force it, the sadness will only return with more power than before—eat things like eggs, dark chocolate, yogurt, or honey to regulate your sugar levels and boost serotonin; rub lavender, lemon, or jasmine oil on your body to calm and soothe your nerves; do slow activities, such as cleaning, cooking, or going on a light walk to generate some energy and purpose.
  4. Get creative: Create something new. Think of new ideas for businesses, dream of a vacation or a new adventure you’d like to go on, start an art or household project, redesign your bedroom or living room, make up a dance or song—do anything creative to get your brain visualizing again. When we are sad, the creative part of the brain shuts down, making it difficult to imagine something new or positive. But creatingsomething new or interesting can actually activate our imaginations and our sense of hope, in turn releasing mood-boosting hormones.

We won’t always know where sadness comes from, and that’s okay. Sometimes, there’s just no explanation for its presence. Sometimes, we just feel a void, a sense of loss we cannot fully conceptualize. And in those cases, there’s really no need to sit pondering or analyzing why. Instead, move out of it slowly in your own time, comfort, and space. You may find that in doing so, the next time a random bout of sadness emerges, you are far better equipped to release it in a way that works for you. 

Posted on December 29, 2014 and filed under Bouts of Sadness.

The Truth About Priorities

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I owe you an apology. My newsletter is a bit late, and I'm sorry. I chose to allow other distractions (i.e. starting a new company, going on vacation, and building my network on social media) to monopolize my focus. With only so many hours in the day, I made a choice to focus on other things. Such a choice, however, led me to a greater understanding of prioritizing--that it's not merely about putting one thing ahead of another, but more so about examining exactly what pulls at my attention.

Often, when we assume something needs our immediate attention, we drop what we're doing. But is what has diverted our focus really that important? Or is it just one more thing to distract us from an objective or goal? More importantly, what do we miss out on when we allow our attention to be diverted to something else? This is the real kicker, because it forces you to examine the true nature of prioritizing, which is that wherever your attention goes, energy flows. 

Where does your attention go? What distracts you from an objective or goal? Is that distraction really that important? If so, what's at risk? 

For me, other creative ventures pulled at my attention--worth the risk. Shopping on Amazon or scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest--not worth the risk. If I desire my energy to flow towards my passions (my work, my relationships, and my health), then any other distractions aren't really that important, right?

Bottom line about priorities: Get clear about what you want your energy directed towards. Everything else can wait.   

Posted on December 29, 2014 and filed under Truth About Priorities.