When you get Stuck: Slow down to Speed up

 

When I get stuck, it is usually I have too many things in my brain at one time. I cannot pick what to do or where to start.  I have too much information. Too many choices create stress and anxiety. I have to slow down to speed up.

 

What does slow down to speed up mean?

 

Slow down means to stop and think. Sit and plan before you act. Set up your day by thinking first. Getting a list on paper to capture what is important right now. Consider what things can be passed to others, done later or not at all.  Once you have a plan that makes sense: you then can speed up because you have the priority of your actions set up.

 

Urgency and stress start in our brains

 

Everything is not urgent. Very few things are actually urgent.

 

What one thing is the most important thing to accomplish today?

That one question can save you time and stress.

 

Think before you act.

Plan ahead.

Slow down to speed up.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.

Why are you in such a Hurry?

 

 

Do you push yourself to meet every deadline?

Do you consider every task a top priority?

Do you multi-task every thing?

Do you feel guilty when you have free time?

You quality for a new group  of behaviors called excessive- time- urgency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are you in such a hurry? Because you excessively worry about schedules and rush as a habit even when it is not necessary to hurry.

 Why hurry up no matter what?

I realized that my father was rushed and rushing us when going places because he was worried about the appearance of being late. He was stuck on the idea that if you cannot get there on time, don’t bother showing up. That created a lot of stress in the getting ready to go anywhere for all of us.

You might have a friend that is constantly in motion. If there is not enough activity, this friend will make a new project and attempt to pull you into the activity. If you want help cleaning out your closets, invite this friend over. However being around constant high levels of energy can be exhausting when you just want to sit quietly with a cup of tea. So consider your needs and activity levels when you plan your down time. Do you allow yourself down time? Time with nothing in particular planned for you to do?

What are the consequences of getting stuck in this pattern of hurry up no matter what?

You will have high stress levels based on your constant whirlwind of activity. Part of your rush is based on getting everything just right. This perfectionism creates unrealistic expectations and more stress. When you hurry you are more likely to make mistakes which leads to rework. Rework adds to an already busy schedule.

You will miss out on the everyday joy around you.

There is no time for self-care and playtime when you life is in hurry up mode.

Why are you in such a hurry? What are you missing out on?

Check yourself  Take why are you in a hurry assessment

How do you break this pattern of hurry up no matter what?

  1. Focus on one thing at a time. Give your full attention to one thing; see how that feels for a change.
  2. Rethink, reflect and prioritize your tasks. Not everything is high priority.
  3. Separate work from play. Allow time to be flexible with your recreational activity
  4. Plan ahead. Planning avoids the rush because you did not think ahead. Set up planning time so you can think ahead without the pressure of instant decisions on what is up next.
  5. Get realistic about your expectations of time. Are you trying to do too many things in too short of a time?
  6. Slow down. Pay attention to life and people around you. Listen first before you jump into action. That alone can save you time by having all the information first.
  7. Allow down time everyday just for you. Start with 10 minutes. Take that time for doing nothing. It might be uncomfortable. Try it and see what happens.

Hurry up no matter what is a pattern of activity that leads to burnout and overwhelm. When you slow down to recognize that you have choices, time can be a gift instead of another stress factor.

Simple ways to Reduce Stress

 

 

Thinking about stress relief can relieve stress in reality. When it comes to simple ways to reduce stress, what we think about matters.

 

 

When you engage in positive thinking, visual relaxation and affirmations, you could lower the levels of stress. Because stress is usually resulted by over-thinking, if you change your thoughts, you can get an instant relaxation.

Change your attitude can change your stress level. True or false? True.

This is particularly true for those pessimists, perfectionists and “type A” personalities. Those people with the features above usually have certain behavior and thought patterns that cause their body to have too much to deal with.

What can you do to reduce stress?

Simple ways to reduce stress. Even those simple things like dark chocolate, music, meditation, laughing, exercise or even sleeping can help you reduce stress effectively and leave you feeling bright, fresh and rejuvenated.

Laughing can lower the stress hormones such as epinephrine, cortisol, and adrenaline, and strengthen the immune system by producing health improving hormones.

Playing with your pets can reduce stress. Pets offer non-judgmental companionship, which is a big plus to your mental outlook. Playing or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Exercise can reduce stress

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.

Does it matter what type of exercise? No. Anything that you enjoy will decrease stress. Getting outside in natural sunlight can be the most enjoyable activity and easy to do.

Simple ways to reduce stress starts with your thoughts and attitude. Look for one easy thing you can do. Make that new habit part of your daily self-care plan.

Contact Coach Gwen Schedule a time to talk

 

 

How to lower Stress / High Blood Pressure Naturally

 

Learning to take a deep breath will lower stress and manage high blood pressure naturally. There are a few surprising things you can do that help with both stress and high blood pressure.

Stress increases your fight or flight reaction in a crisis. This is a helpful response in an emergency. The problem is living in that highly reactive state is harmful to both your physical and emotional self. Studies show that blood pressure is and stress are related. Stress can effectively raise blood pressure and managing stress with breathing can lower blood pressure. This relationship is dynamic with many other factors. What we do know is that learning to use relaxation techniques like deep breathing help both high blood pressure and stress. How can you get out of that stressful reactive state naturally?

Simply taking a deep breath is a good way to start. A focus on breathing is at the core of various relaxation techniques.

10 ways to lower your blood pressure naturally

  • Learn breathing exercises- Deep slow breathing is the oldest and best-known technique to decrease stress.

Taking 4 deep breaths in through your nose and out for a count of 5 is a method you can do at work without any special equipment. If you have the time, than imagine yourself in a relaxing place while you focus on deep breathing for 1-3 min.
Power Walk- 30- 60 minutes a day can help bring down your blood pressure numbers. Walk outside when you can, fresh air and sunshine add to the fun

Play with your pet – Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Music is effective for relaxation and stress

  • Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. … Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.
  • Reduce salt intake- The AHA recommends limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. That’s a little over half a teaspoon. 
To decrease sodium in your diet, don’t add salt to your food. One teaspoon of table salt has 2,300 mg of sodium! Use herbs and spices to add flavor food.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits and fiber. Eliminating foods that are high in saturated fats, such as processed foods, full-fat dairy products, and fatty meats It helps to cut back on desserts and sweetened beverages, such as soda and fruit drinks.
  • Lose the extra weight. Pay attention to your food intake, increase your activity level. All calories are not the same. Contact Gwen about the Transitions Lifestyle program.
  • Manage your stress- look at the root causes of your stress triggers
  • Get full nights sleep- Sleep allows our energy level to replenish and physical body to rest. Follow a pattern to set yourself up for sleep by avoiding technology and visual stimulation 30 minutes before your normal bedtime.

Need a free app to help the habit of deep breathing? Try Breath2Relax

Read more about exercise that helps click below:

AHA guidelines for exercise that lowers blood pressure

Contact Coach Gwen Schedule a time to talk

 

Responsibility- Is this Mine?

When did I first learn that I was responsible?  Some where in the lesson of responsibility – I twisted up what I was responsible for. I took on the belief that I was responsible for all others first, that I was responsible for other people. That I was responsible for happiness, feelings, outcomes, being perfect, doing it all.

That other people’s feelings and needs came before mine. I used to think that doing things for others was important and I was not important.  Now I reject that belief and have let go of my idea of being responsible for the entire universe.  Are you really in charge of the universe today? Only when I ask myself that out loud does it sound silly.

Responsibility is a habit that is difficult to sort out at times. I am at heart a responsible person. It is the order of my belief that has changed. I cannot be helpful, compassionate or caring when I am overwhelmed or carrying the weight of all responsibility around with me. What happens if you pick up every task or problem that you see? How many of these problems or rocks can you carry and still keep moving without impacting your own health?

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On good days, I will gently hand you back the responsibility you attempt to pass over to me. On bad days, I will say yes to anything asked of me, and then get angry or upset when I realize I have taken on too much responsibility again. When I carry around things for other people, there is no space in my life for me. I am important. I need to be responsible to me before you.  Another lesson to be learned.

When I do forget and slip back into that outdated idea of what is mine, I am able to remind myself by asking better questions.  Is this really mine? Pause. Say no before yes. Who does this belong to? Why would you ask me that? Is this mine?

I am responsible.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

I am responsible for self -care, honoring my feelings, being kind to myself.

I believe that self- care is critical to self- development and growth.

I am responsible for me.

Words can be used as Weapons

Words can be used as weapons

Words can be used to shame, blamarchere, humiliate, hurt, discourage and intimidate.

Words used as weapons can create emotional distress even when the intentions are careless instead of deliberate. Words can be thrown out in anger or frustration. Words can be used in a deliberate pattern of verbal abuse. I think we fail to recognize the effect of verbal abuse on our physical and emotional health. We have been told to toughen up and ignore hurt feelings, that we are too sensitive and cannot take a joke.

 

In reality your response or understanding of the intended meaning of words is what counts. If you think you have been insulted or ridiculed: then you have been. Trust your internal instinct on how the words were intended.

Suzette Haden Elgin reminds us, “ That verbal violence is a toxic menace. The majority of illnesses and disorders that develop in the workplace have emotional stress as their direct or indirect cause.” (1.)

Words can be carefully crafted as a verbal attack. Elgin describes here how

to recognize the “Verbal Attack Pattern”.

“The most reliable clue you have to verbal abuse is to listen to how different words are stressed in the spoken sentence. Listen for odd or abnormal emphasis to be placed on words spoken.”

Examples: If you really cared about your health–you would get off the couch and start exercising

What is so difficult about eating healthy? It is so simple any one could do it.

In both these examples the attacker is not interested in your answer.

These words are not used to encourage or support. A verbal attack is meant to injure, blame or shame. You don’t have to apologize or explain when under attack. Here are some short ideas about how to defuse a verbal attack.

The attack will include a bait: Some part of the sentence will attack you personally and expect you to defend against that part of the sentence.

Your best defense is to recognize that attack pattern and ignore the bait.

Instead keep your voice calm and address the situation at hand or agree with something that has been said.

All words spoken are not absolute truths. Just by understanding and recognizing a verbal attack can help you reduce its impact or power to inflict pain. It saddens me to realize how often we accept criticism as our fault without questioning the intention behind the words spoken to us. My hope is to raise awareness of the words we hear and speak. That we focus on how to communicate with sensitivity to others and learn to defuse or deflect words used as weapons. I have gathered many tools and skills over the years as a martial arts instructor and teacher of verbal self-defense. I hope this blog gives you some new ideas and would be happy to discuss your specific situations with a coaching call. Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Elgin, S. (2000). The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work. Paramus, NJ. : Prentice Hall Press

 

 

How to manage your stress

stress does not have to wreck your day

stress does not have to wreck your day

Stress is a normal reaction to events that occur around us. How we manage or react to stressful situations is the key to stress being a positive challenge or a negative impact on our health. Here are some ideas to put into action so your life feels more under your control.

  1. Practice gratitude. This one action alone has been linked to increased happiness. Start small with writing down one thing that you are grateful for at the end of every day.
  2. Positive self talk. Too often our internal self talk is negative and critical. How helpful is that to learning from our mistakes? Listen to your own self talk. Be kind to yourself and consider what you have achieved every day instead of what is left undone
  3. Learn to say no.  Stop saying yes to all requests or taking on new responsibilities. This is the path towards overwhelm. Stop and consider what each request really means. Does this request fit my goals? What will I learn? What will I have to give up to start this new project. Then only say yes if this new idea fits your needs.
  4. Plan ahead. Take the time to plan out your day or your week. You make better decisions on what is important when you are focused on what you need. Identify one most important thing for each day.
  5. Avoid negative people. You know who they are. These are the people who complain, blame and point out the negative of every situation.
  6. Reduce your clutter. I know why we get piles of things, there never seems enough time to deal with the  stuff on our desk or in a closet. Start small and take 30 min to sort out your piles.  See how it feels to clear out one area.
  7. Socialize with friends.  Being out with other people in a social setting gives you a different perspective on life. A strong connection with other people supports your own wellbeing and emotional health.
  8. Play. Play with your kids, your friends and your pets. Do something fun. Laughter and play are great ways to lighten your mood.
  9. Practice self care. Be aware of what you need to recharge or reenergize at the end of a busy day. Take the time to do something nice for yourself today.
  10. Appreciate beauty around you.  Sometimes we get so stuck in the clutter of our brain that we forget to focus on the external environment. Stop and notice the bigger things in life. Admire a sunrise, clouds, work of art or anything that grabs your attention.

Any change takes a while to become a habit. Try one of these ideas and see what happens. A healthy lifestyle is based on making small changes over time. Get started by takin this stress assessment. Do you know your stress triggers?

Extreme Kindness Week

Collegiate West CO Trail/ CD 12,548

I live in a mountain town, where extreme sports and outdoor adventures are common.

People will spend weeks and months getting ready for a local event because they enjoy the challenge and like to be in top physical shape. I enjoy outside exercise and it does reenergize me by just spending time outside. I think it is important to recognize and start any exercise program right where you are. Recognize that most of us are not and will not be top competitive athletes. So rather than compare our performance on anything to the top elite competitors, what if we appreciated ourselves for where we are performing right now.

What if there was a competition for extreme kindness?

What if you had to practice being considerate of others and kind to yourself every day to get ready for this event?
How would you treat yourself if being kind to yourself was the key to success?

I am going to define kindness as when you recognize all the positive things in your day and appreciate what you have accomplished. Unkindness would be to point out and focus on any mistake, disappointments or things not done exactly right. Then you would berate yourself for all of them repeatedly.

For extreme kindness week take up this challenge for yourself.

Be aware of how much of your talk is positive.

Can you rephrase things to point out the positive side first?
Listen to your self-talk this week and be aware of what you are saying to yourself.

How much of your talk is negative?

How much of your talk is positive?

Do you allow for mistakes and learn from them?

Do you review every mistake over and over again feeling worse each time your review it?

How would your treat yourself if extreme kindness was your only focus?

Take up the extreme kindness week challenge with a friend and see what you learn

Kindness is part of the ability to be optimistic. Optimism is a key characteristic of resilient people: those people who are good at handling stressful situations. Looking for the positive aspects in self and others is a way to build up your own internal optimism, while practicing kindness.

Amazingly when you focus on kindness  in your own life, you will find kindness does exist everywhere.

Why Solitude is Important

Have you ever just craved some quiet alone time?

Little girl with a book

I have had two clients last week who brought up the issue of needing some more space and time to themselves. The hectic pace of their lives and the sheer volume of interactions with people in their own home were becoming an irritation instead of a joy. This brought up the discussion of the effect on not getting quiet time as an adult. This I understand. I was the kid who climbed up into a tree to read- so no one would bother or interrupt me. My mom understood this need for quiet time- because she pretended not to notice where I was- even with all three of the family dogs sat patiently under the tree waiting for me. Now I understand the term introvert and how well that fits me.  According to Susan Cain one our of every two or three people out of the population are considered introverts.  Cain has a TED talk and a book-Quiet- on The Power of Introverts. Yet how many quiet spaces are there in your work environment? Most of our work spaces are designed for interaction and extroverts. In a busy household with different schedules and tasks that need doing- where is the quiet conversation? If solitude is part of what matters to you- then finding the time to be quiet is important to your ability to cope with the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of solitude? Solitude allows you to unwind and rest your brain. The absence of stimulation allows your brain to slow down and stop processing information. Solitude gives you time and space to consider your own needs and choices- rather than just going along with the group. It is easier to focus and concentrate on a specific issue or project with no outside distractions. You think more deeply about a topic when you are alone. I consider solitude the antidote to too much outside stimulation. I avoid big box stores partly because of the noise, lights and general level of activity there. Am I a hermit? No. I like social settings with friends where you can talk and interact. I am not as comfortable in a loud, crowded environment where you have to talk over loud music. Solitude for me is a choice that allows be to replenish and recharge my brain, my energy and my emotional levels.  If a quiet space fits your needs- then make choices that give you that space to recharge.

  • Schedule time alone
  • Walk outside at lunch for a change of environment
  • Swimming- or exercise outside can provide solitude
  • Get up early
  • Meditate
  • Pause before you start on weekend projects- enjoy your morning coffee outside

I have found the simple solution for me is to drink one cup of tea alone in my office without doing anything else. Just sitting and doing only one thing is enough to provide a calm  start to my day. This week – be aware of where you can find moments of solitude and enjoy them for what that quiet moment gives back to you.

If you have trouble finding a calm space- contact me for more ideas.