Banishing Fear

Recognize your fears and turn them into action.

  • Busy people have less anxiety so come up with an action plan at the first signs of concern.
  • Fear is fed by compounded worry so acknowledging fear prevents us from piling one worry on top of another and another.
  • The feelings you embrace are multiplied so if they consist of many layers of concern and anxiety, they never need to become reality to make us ill. The more positive things we can cram into our brain, the more it dominates our head.

First acknowledge the fear and turn it into action.

2 Mood Boosters

No matter what is bringing you down, there are two things that can be done to pick up your mood.

  • Relentlessly find ways to be grateful – This doesn’t just mean show gratitude, it means spending time and effort busily finding things for which to be grateful. A friend told me he was actually grateful for the seasonal flu.  Why?  Because he knew it would go away within a week and that his health would return.  That’s working at gratitude. (He was almost back to 100% in less time).
  • Never giving up hope – Try this: the next time you or someone else is down in the dumps, see if you can identify their lack of hope.  Humans don’t do well without hope and sometimes we are the ones to kill it off because of how we think.  Think of hope as fuel – the more we pump it in, the further we can go.

Rewiring Happiness

Only 40% of our happiness is in the genes, the other 60% is up to us supported by research in The Journal of Happiness Studies.

“[It’s] completely possible to rewire our brains for happiness … You have a choice.  It’s no different than deciding what to wear or what food to order.  When it comes to happiness, there’s a lot we can do about it.”

The words of Santa Monica psychotherapist Susan Zinn who suggests:

  • Abandoning the pursuit of perfection.
  • Volunteer, laugh, feel grateful, eat well, exercise and connect with a higher power.
  • Be spontaneous and enjoy short-term pleasures to achieve peace of mind.

More than half our happiness is from nurture not nature according to Zinn.

A COVID Bucket List

Bucket lists are a popular way to live the life you want to the fullest so why not make one for COVID isolation.

  • Accept the feeling of loss and even anger and let go of anxiety that makes close quarters isolation even tougher. 
  • Spend more time in the present – being close together does mean being closer in relationships. Cultivate periods of 100% presence with others not just being close by.
  • Practice gratitude by thinking about those who have it worse and the simple joy of survival as an individual, family or group of people.

Fear, anger and anxiety fades when you focus on acquiring skills needed to endure and by letting go of the roadblocks to acceptance.

Self-Love

This says it all about showing kindness a main part of your life from Dr. Amit Sood, the resiliency trainer at Mayo Clinic:

“When you are wishing somebody well, you are wishing two people well … One person is the person you’re wishing well… and the other is yourself.” 

The world is tougher than ever but the solution for making it nicer one person at a time is to be an advocate for someone else and share in the benefits.

Improving Relationships During Lockdown

Okay, here it is –

Spend two minutes with your family or friends at the end of each day but here’s the trick – treat them like you haven’t seen them in a month!

We’ve been on top of each other since last March so it is understandably difficult to show the enthusiasm and person-centered interest to those close to us as we may have been able to do prior.

The script is:  “I am about to come in contact with some special people and I am going to make them the sole focus of my attention at the end of each day.

Another technique that breeds gratitude which makes us feel better is to not get out of bed before thinking of five people who are a big part of your life who care about you.

Worth a try?

Ending Self-Criticism

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably been on your own back for years.

How did that work out?

Try approving of yourself instead.

This is not an act of arrogance but a source of gratitude for the things you bring to the table.

Self-criticism doesn’t work but finding ways to be more approving of yourself does. 

Finding More Hope

When you have no hope, you tend to see anything you can do to change things as hope-less.

  • Get your mind off yourself
  • Initiate an act of kindness – As crazy as that may sound doing acts of kindness for others increases the serotonin in the brain acting as an anti-depressant and stress reliever.
  • Focus on what has worked out for you in life – to obsess over things that didn’t work out or that are painful creates more hopelessness.

Imagine outcomes in your mind’s eye that work out for you instead of replaying scenarios that didn’t – that’s a positive step toward cultivating hope instead of despair.

Doing Something About Worry

The more we worry, the more stressed we become.

The more stress, the more cortisol our brains make leading to health problems.

We worry because we learn to worry but we can unlearn it as well.

  • 99% of the time what we worry about never happens
  • The 1% when it does, it rarely happens the way we think
  • Replace worrying with thinking with your head not your heart.
  • For every worry no matter how large or small, you need a suitable plan to deal with it.

Concern is forethought – worry is fear thought.

How to Become a Free Agent

Athletes benefit from their “free agency mindset” in which they see their skills as a marketable benefit.

Non-pro athletes should, too.

Not testing the market with our skills is leaving money and happiness on the table.

    • Everyone knows their strong suit – test the market.
    • There is no such thing as the right time – the right time is when someone believes they need you.
    • Becoming a “free agent” doesn’t always mean it’s time to leave a job but can serve to confirm staying another year.

Most people don’t look for their next job until they’ve lost their last job but with a “free agent” mentality, you’re always where you are supposed to be.