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Getting a handle on feeling overwhelmed

Getting a handle on feeling overwhelmed

Do you have so much going on that you feel overwhelmed? A busy life with too many demands can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Work, family, and other obligations can prove to be too much at times. Working even harder to rectify the situation seems unreasonable when you feel as if you’re already working at full capacity.

Just remember that you’ve felt overwhelmed in the past and made it through to the other side. Things get better.

Minimize your feelings of overwhelm and stress with these 10 strategies:

1. Take a deep breath. Once you start to feel overwhelmed, things tend to go downhill quickly. Give yourself a break by relaxing, taking a deep breath, and slowing down your brain. Scan your environment and describe it to yourself. It will disengage your mind from your stressors and bring it back to reality.

2. Focus on what you can do. In any situation, there are things you can control and things you can’t control. Keep your focus on those things within your influence.

3. Let go of those things that are out of your control. There’s no reason to think about it and get yourself more agitated if you can’t do anything about it. Learn to let go of anything you can’t influence.

4. Focus on solutions. Most of us make the mistake of focusing on the problem and imagining negative outcomes. This strategy decreases your capability and causes even more stress. If you’re going to put your brain to work, use it to find the best possible solution!

Ask yourself what you can do to eliminate or lessen the sources of your stress. Write down your ideas.

5. Avoid making assumptions. Are things actually as stressful as you think they are? Is it possible that you’ve misinterpreted the facts or made poor assumptions? Gather all the facts before deciding if there’s a reason to be overwhelmed. Question your judgment and ensure that you’re on solid ground before hitting the panic button

6. Give yourself a change of scenery. Get out of the house and the office for a few hours. Your environment affects your perspective. Spend some time in nature if possible.

7. Spend time with a friend. Go out for pizza and movie with a good friend. Rely on those in your social circle for advice, comfort, and a quick distraction. Which of your friends is best at making you feel better?

8. Take part in a relaxing activity. What relaxes you? Lying on the couch with your headphones? Going for a run? Getting a massage? Spend an hour or two decompressing and you’ll feel better.

9. Cut down on your obligations. Maybe you’re trying to do too much. Consider limiting the number of activities you participate in. Are you taking on too many responsibilities at work?

Consider which of your obligations are most important and get rid of the rest.

10. Remember when you’ve been overwhelmed in the past. You survived. In fact, you might even laugh today about how stressed you were back then. Hindsight is 20-20. Consider that you’re likely to feel the same way in the future regarding your current situation.

Slow your mind and take a deep breath when first faced with feelings of overwhelm. Try to maintain an objective perspective. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re feeling stressed! Take a timeout and make a list of the items you can control. Search for solutions that address those items.

Let go of those items you can’t control. Rely on friends and family to help you cope, since you’d do the same for them.

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Dealing with criticism

Dealing with criticism

Would you rather hear that you have beautiful eyes or that you’re a horrible dancer? Compliments are easy to take. Criticism isn’t quite as easy. But criticism can be invaluable to your long-term success. Criticism is nothing more than advice in disguise. You can choose to benefit from it or ignore it. However, not all criticism is accurate, well-intended, or beneficial.

Receive criticism and use it to your advantage. Check out these 9 ways to benefit:

  1. Change your perspective. We naturally love to hear compliments and shy away from criticism. While compliments feel good, they don’t accomplish much else. Criticism can sting, but can ultimately be extremely helpful. Learn to appreciate criticism. You might even consider seeking out criticism as a tool for learning and self-development.
  2. Determine if the criticism is constructive or destructive. Destructive criticism can be ignored. The other person is the issue when criticism is intended to cause harm. Constructive criticism has the potential to be helpful. Consider the source and the situation before deciding on the intention of the criticizer.
  3. Swallow your pride. No one enjoys hearing about their shortcomings or errors. However, criticism can be a gift. Maybe you’re learning something that would have taken years to figure out on your own. Leave your ego at the door and listen. No one is perfect.
  4. Take your time. There’s a tendency to responds quickly and negatively to criticism. You might have the right to be upset, but then again, you might not. Take the time to think about it before responding. If possible, sleep on it or take the weekend.
  5. Be compassionate with yourself. Just because you may have done something the wrong way doesn’t mean you’re less valuable as a person. Give yourself a break. Handling criticism well is one way to show yourself that you really do stand above the crowd.
  • Few people can take criticism well. You’ll have a big advantage over others if you can.
  1. Consider the validity. When criticism comes from the right source, it’s likely to be helpful and true. Be objective and determine if there is truth to the criticism. Sometimes people are operating from false impressions. Not all criticism is valid. It’s up to you to determine if the criticism has any value.
  2. Incorporate the information into your life. Now you know that you can be impatient, cheap, distant, or that you’re a bad driver. Make a plan to address this issue if it’s important to you. Remember that if a trusted source was willing to bring it up, it might be important. Give it the attention it deserves.
  3. Determine that you’re going to do better next time. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to put your new knowledge to the test. Bide your time until that opportunity arrives. This attitude can do wonders for your self-esteem and feeling a sense of control over your life. Just keep trying to improve. There’s always tomorrow to try again.
  4. Be thankful. It’s not easy to give constructive criticism to a friend, employee, or family member. Be thankful that someone was willing to do that for you.

You can choose to get angry or become thoughtful when criticism comes your way. Some criticism is only intended to be hurtful and should be ignored. Constructive criticism from a trusted source can be a great learning opportunity. Consider whether the criticism is accurate and valid before applying it. Be grateful for the constructive criticism you receive. It wasn’t easy on the person providing it.

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Building self-worth

Building self-worth

Happiness is elusive without a sense of self-worth. If you’re not happy with yourself, how can you be happy about life in general? Self-worth is about believing that you have value as a person. It’s not how you compare to others. It’s your belief in your intrinsic value as a human being. We’re all important. Some of us just require a little more convincing than others.

Maximize your feelings of self-worth with these 11 ways:

1) Forgive yourself. You have plenty of guilt and resentment toward yourself that you’ve been carrying around for years. You chose the wrong major in college or broke up with your significant other via text. Give yourself a break and vow to do better in the future.

2) Volunteer. Spending your time in a valuable and selfless way is a quick means to raise your opinion about yourself. Just two hours a week has been shown to make a difference.

3) Avoid gossiping. Gossip probably has gotten you in trouble in the past, and you know you shouldn’t do it. Try pointing out positive traits and actions in others, instead. You’ll both feel better!

4) Face a few of your smaller fears. We feel bad that we’re afraid of things that we know we shouldn’t fear. Face a few small fears and overcome them. You’ll be impressed with yourself.

5) Set personal boundaries and enforce them. There’s no reason to allow others to use or manipulate you. Decide what you consider to be reasonable behavior and enforce it. Word will spread, and your life will be smoother.

6) Set goals you can achieve. It’s important to have big goals, but small goals are important, too. Big goals lead to big accomplishments, but smaller goals can provide a great lift to your self-worth. Make it easy to succeed on a regular basis. Completing your daily to-do list is an example of completing a smaller goal.

7) Define your values and live by them. It’s important to determine what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do, as well as what’s important and unimportant to you. If you’re able to live by these values, you won’t have a reason to think badly of yourself.

Most people don’t take the time to define their values. They rely on a vague sense of right and wrong from childhood. Give it some thought and put your ideas down on paper. When you’re stuck with a tough decision, pull out the list.

8) Be willing to make changes in your life. The same life will provide the same results. Some changes will be necessary if your goal is to enhance your self-worth.

9) Voice your opinion. Do you keep your opinion to yourself because you think no one cares? Maybe you put everyone else’s happiness above your own. Neither is good for your self-image. Your opinion matters. Share it.

10) Minimize time spent with others who don’t appreciate you. Do you have a friend or family member that drags down your self-worth? Think about letting them go or spending less time with them.

11) Make decisions. Indecisiveness creates stress and frustration. It’s also a way of avoiding responsibility. Take a reasonable amount of time and then pull the trigger. You’ll feel more in control of your life.

When you think negatively about yourself, you lower your expectations. You even begin to look for reasons to support those thoughts. This is the ultimate in self-defeating behaviors. Your feelings of self-worth influence your ability to be happy and successful. Be proud of who you are as a person. Life will be easier and more enjoyable.

 

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Pushing forward when you want to quit!

Pushing forward when you want to quit!

The most successful people have an uncanny ability to keep going when everyone else would quit. Your success is tied your ability to keep working after you have the urge to quit. Quitting is a bad habit, and it’s often learned at a young age. Learn how to continue making progress no matter how strong the urge to quit grows.

Consider the reasons you feel like quitting in the first place:

  1. You lack energy. A lack of energy isn’t just a reason one might quit a marathon. It’s also a common reason for quitting other pursuits. Exhaustion can be physical or mental. To help counteract your exhaustion:
  • Get a full night of sleep.
  • Get better control over your schedule.
  • Streamline your life.
  • Eat more nutritious foods.
  • Learn how to relax.
  1. You lack focus. Too many distractions can result in the desire to quit. Are you trying to accomplish too many other things? Some people can deal with more goals than others. If you feel overwhelmed, narrow your focus to your most important goals.
  2. It’s not that important to you. Do you have a good enough reason to keep going? Why are you doing this activity in the first place?

Remind yourself of why it’s important to keep going. Maybe the best motivation you can find is setting a good example for your children. Maybe the most important issue is self-respect. Find a good reason to continue.

Understand the reasons you feel the desire to quit. It’s natural to want to quit. And most people do. Will you be one of the few that’s able to persevere? It’s just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until you’re finished.

Persevere when you want to quit:

  1. Revisit your original purpose. Is that motivation enough? If it’s not, you’ll need to find a new reason. If you can’t think of one, that might be a sign that you should be doing something else. But don’t give up too quickly. Look deeply. You’ll almost certainly find a compelling reason to continue.
  2. Create small successes. Nothing is more motivating than success. Set yourself up for regular success by setting easy goals that move you forward. These baby steps can result in the momentum you need to carry you to the finish line. Just focus on the immediate task and forget about the rest.
  3. Focus on the endpoint. The path might not be enjoyable, but the end result should be. Keep your eye on how great you’ll feel when you’ve reached the end. By focusing on the endpoint, you can maintain your motivation more easily. Visualize your ideal endpoint twice each day.
  4. Stay on schedule. Once your motivation begins to wane, it’s easy to lose track of your goal. Other activities seem to take over your schedule and it becomes easier to procrastinate. So, make a schedule that will ensure you stay engaged. Make time so you don’t have an excuse to quit.
  5. Ask yourself how you’ll feel if you allow yourself to quit. Quitting sounds good in the short-term, but we usually regret it later on. How will you feel in a week, month, or year from today if you let yourself quit?

Learn to keep going, no matter how strong the desire to quit grows. This is the best indicator of your ability to be successful. You will eventually succeed if you can continue moving toward your goal. You don’t have to quit just because you feel the urge to stop.

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A new start for 2019

A new start for 2019

Useful tips for changing your life:

1. Develop systems that support your desired change. For instance, if you want to meditate daily, create a schedule that ensures you’ll be compliant. Use a timer so you won’t worry about spending too much time or falling asleep.

2. Visualize the change. See yourself with a healthy body or bank account. Allow yourself to feel successful and proud. Project yourself into the future and enjoy the changes you’ve made.

3. Be willing to fail from time to time. It’s not easy to change. In fact, your brain is highly resistant to change. You’re doing well enough to be alive, and that’s good enough for your brain. It views any change as potentially dangerous, so it’s not going to allow you to change easily. Expect that you’ll struggle during the process. Commit to persevering. Success will be yours.

4. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Any progress is great news, so enjoy it.

The decision to make a fresh start is exciting. Give careful thought to the changes you want to make. It’s a mistake to believe that any change is a good change. There are many changes you could experience that are worse than your current situation. Make conscious decisions rather than clinging to the first log that floats by.

Making a fresh start can result in a new and exciting experience. Aim high and be diligent. You’ll be glad you did.

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Being a creative caregiver… to help with balance!

Being a creative caregiver… to help with balance!

Creativity is the ability to make something new or to develop new ideas. Developing more creativity can benefit your career, relationships, and hobbies. Children love to be creative, but many adults have less motivation to create. There are also many obstacles to creativity.

Stack the deck in your favor by dealing intelligently with most the common barriers to creativity:

Fear of ridicule. As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. No matter what you do, someone will provide criticism. Learn to ignore the naysayers and let your creativity shine.

Fear of failure. It can be the fear of losing money or valuable time. Or it can be a simple fear of failure. You’re tough enough to handle it. You’ve already failed thousands of times in one way or another and you’ve survived. What would happen if you did fail?

  • Time and space energize creativity. It’s more challenging to come up with a brilliant idea if your kids are calling your name or your phone is chirping at you every 30 seconds. Schedule your creative time to minimize as many interruptions as possible. Early in the morning and later in the evening can be the best options for many.
  •  A distraction is an interruption you give yourself. How do you commonly waste time? Remove those distractions from your immediate environment. Put your cell phone on mute and throw it in the drawer. Turn off the TV. Focus 100% on your creative activity. Distractions are controllable. Have the self-discipline to control them.

Past experiences. Your past affects your current thinking and beliefs. Attempt to open your mind to all the possibilities. Just because something didn’t work once in the past doesn’t mean it can’t work today. Let go of the past and free your creativity.

 Stopping too soon. Once a good idea is found, it’s common to stop looking for a better solution. Are you sure you’ve chosen the right color for your painting? The right word for your novel? The right idea to make $10 million?

  • Once you’ve found a good idea, keep looking for an even better one.
  • Stress and creativity rarely go hand in hand. Whether it’s the stress of being tired, running out of time, financial issues, or illness, creativity is more challenging than when you’re relaxed. Find time to relax and decompress before starting a session of creativity. Your results will be enhanced.  

Negative moods. It’s not just stress. Anger, jealousy, fear, impatience, sadness, or hopelessness can also be barriers to creativity. Studies have shown that creativity tends to peak while experiencing strong, positive moods.

  • Do whatever is necessary to boost your mood before accessing your creativity. Take a walk, call a good friend, or listen to uplifting music. What makes you feel better when you’re in a bad mood?

Too many options. It can actually be easier to find your creative streak if you limit your choices. Try to make a painting with only three colors. Write a short story with only 300 words. Or compose a song with only a few chords. Having too many choices can be a challenge in itself. Try limiting your options if you’re stuck.

If you can’t get your creative juices flowing, maybe something is in your way. Your creativity is a significant part of your uniqueness. Avoid the common obstacles to creativity and show the world what you have to offer. To really boost your creativity, try using it regularly. And start today!

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