Posts Tagged ‘worrying’

2 Extra Tips to Stop Worry

April 30, 2008

Other handy distractions:

These are great when you’re driving or otherwise occupied and you can’t use traditional distractions like puzzles or sports to keep your mind from drifting to worried thoughts. Examples include: Counting backwards in three’s from 100 (ex. 100, 97, 94, 91….); Reciting to yourself boys’ names from A to Z (ex. Aaron, Brian, Carl, David….), and then reciting girls’ names A to Z; Naming cities from A to Z (ex. Austin, Boston, Chicago…); or Finding the alphabet in the letters of street signs (ex. finding letters A and B in the sign for The George Washington Bridge; finding letter C in the sign for the Cross Bronx Expressway, etc….Attention New Yorkers: signs for Queens really come in handy for Q’s and U’s). The object is to use these fun and easy mind-teasers to keep your mind OFF worry. They really work…I encourage you to try them next time you’re driving and fretting. Perfect for traffic jams!

A great way to quiet nerves when giving public speaking presentations:

One thing that works really well involves shifting your mind AWAY from thinking about how you’re doing. The more you can GET INVOLVED with the audience, the less nervous you’ll be. To quell nerves just BEFORE “show time,” think about the audience rather than focusing on yourself and your speech. Think about what the audience is eager to learn, why they might be interested in attending your talk, and what value you can provide to them. Better yet, greet and talk to attendees as they arrive, asking them these same types of questions. Again, place the focus squarely on them. If nerves strike DURING your presentation, again GET INVOLVED with the audience by looking different audience members in the eyes as you speak. You will find your nerves running higher if you direct your gaze over the audience as one large group. Rather, by looking at distinct individuals as you speak, your mind will interpret that you are having a series of individual conversations, and your nerves will calm themselves as a result. These techniques work great for office meetings, too!

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4 Ways to Stop Worrying

(the full article from this week’s ZoomLetter…..To sign up for Jen’s newsletter, click here.)

Many years ago, a dear friend shared a powerful and liberating piece of advice with me. After I had “entertained” her with some worries on my mind — insignificant enough (when judged in hindsight) for me to have trouble recalling them now — she turned to me and said, “You know, you don’t have to believe every thought you have.”

She had lighted upon something important in the way I was worrying. She detected that I was granting my worried thoughts the authority of facts — as if they were sure to occur, or worse yet, as if they had already occurred.

It’s true that some of us worry more than others, but if one thing is true about human beings, it is that each of us worries at least some of the time. And unlike healthy and useful preparation, worry is unnecessary and wasteful “wringing” of the body and mind. Worry gets us nowhere, except for making us feel more upset. It’s no wonder that the dictionary definition of worry begins with the phrase “to torment oneself”.


So, if worrying is a waste, how can we stop doing it?

The following are 4 techniques to end worry.
(and they work pretty well on negative thoughts, too)

1) GET TURNED OFF: As soon as your mind brings up a worry or negative thought, dismiss it. When you catch yourself worrying, picture a bright red STOP sign in your mind. Use the image of the STOP sign to block giving the thought further time or notice. If a STOP sign doesn’t work, try keeping a rubber band on your wrist, and snap it every time you notice a worry or negative thought. The harmless sting will focus you outside your worry and will remind you to stop doing it.

2) GET ARGUMENTATIVE: If the worry or negative thought doesn’t take STOP for an answer, talk back to it. Be your own best defense attorney and line up evidence that runs counter to the invading worry. If it’s helpful, jot down a quick list of counter-arguments to the negative thought. No one has to see your list but you. Keep the list handy, because negative thoughts can be persistent and usually need a good thrashing on more than one occasion.

3) GET DISTRACTED: This technique is one reason why hobbies are so popular. If you’re having negative thoughts or worries, one of the very best things you can do is distract yourself. The human mind has a beautiful way of not being able to focus well on more than one thing at once. Take advantage of this. Occupy your mind with very tangible things that distract your attention. Some of the best distracters include: puzzles of all sorts, needlework, crafts, sports, and cooking. Keep in mind that if you really needed to do something about your worry, you’d be doing it. By the very fact that you are worrying (and not acting), it’s likely you are wasting energy and are better served by keeping your mind occupied in other ways.

4) GET INVOLVED: This one is all about taking the focus off oneself. Volunteering and helping others is a win-win all around. We feel great for two reasons: 1) we bring joy to others, and 2) we keep worry at bay because we shift our mind away from our own negative thoughts when we focus on others.

One thing I enjoy most about being a personal coach is helping clients quit torturing themselves. Clients often remark that through coaching, they get to trade worry for tangible action plans that get results. There are many more tricks where these came from. Learn more at www.JZBcoaching.com.

To borrow my friend’s line, here’s to not believing every thought we have!

Jen

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When It Comes to Procrastination, It’s About Outsmarting Fear

February 29, 2008

 

One of my favorite tricks is: COMMIT…AND THEN FIGURE IT OUT.

I’m talking about putting a deadline on the calendar. When a person makes a commitment to another person with a date marked on the calendar, it’s amazing how 99% of the time, it gets done.

This is a great trick if you find yourself putting off something out of fear that you really want to do deep down.

Try it next time you’re presented with a vague request to do something that scares you. For instance, if you’re in business for yourself (like I am) and you find yourself getting requests to give public speaking engagements, and if (like me) the thought of giving these presentations makes you weak in the knees, experiment with this: Call the point person at the organization that is requesting your presence and set a date on the calendar — BEFORE you prepare the presentation. Tell them you’ll get back to them with a topic and proposal, but you want to set aside the date well-in-advance to be respectful of them and to be able to plan around it. Once a date is set and you know it’s approaching, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the ideas will flow — DESPITE the fear (The fear itself takes scores of speaking engagements to abate).

This way, rather than the fear eating away at you as you continue to put off picking up the phone to schedule the speaking engagement, now the fear and adrenalin will meet productively as you make preparations for a real, scheduled presentation.

Jump off the cliff, and you’ll find a way to fly!

Jen

Learn more about Jen’s life coaching services at www.JZBcoaching.com.

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THIS WEEK’S ZOOMLETTER: Procrastination Fuels Stress

We’ve all been there — procrastinating out of sheer boredom or repugnance. Take the ultra-common resistance to perform household chores. Most of us can relate to the thoughts: “If I just hadn’t put it off!” or “If I had only done a little tidying up each day, I wouldn’t be faced with the piles of mail or the overflowing hall closet!”

But many times, procrastination springs from something a bit less transparent than simply not wanting to bother. I’m talking about the type of procrastination rooted in FEAR.

With permission, I share a valuable approach to just this type of procrastination, relayed to me by a client. She makes a great case for…

Why procrastination causes us more stress than it’s worth (and what we can do about it):

She writes: “I often put things off that I’m scared to do. Like if I have to make a phone call; or commit to something; or get back to someone; or meet with people. I always try to put it off. The problem is, when I put it off, I’m then spending all that extra time worrying about it. So, procrastinating only feels good for the first day or so (when I feel like there’s still a lot of time until I have to do the scary thing). But, really, I spend the rest of the time worrying.

So, I’ve started experimenting (like we discussed) — committing to things right away and setting up meetings sooner rather than later, even if I’m scared I won’t be prepared. This way, I end up getting whatever it is out of the way, and I have a lot of time left to feel good that IT’S DONE! I know it’s a simple idea, but it’s worked so far.

I’m actually finding that I’m pushing things UP (instead of BACK). What I’ve found is that I have more time to work on things sooner this way, which leaves less crunch time in the end. If I push things up, I can feel more freedom to make mistakes, because there’s more time to correct them. So, I might show my supervisor a crummy draft, but that’s not nearly as scary as if we met further along and I showed her a crummy final draft, because then I’d have no time to make corrections. I find the old saying to be true: The sooner you start, the better. Oftentimes, if you push something off, you end up having only one shot at it. Better to work the kinks out earlier than have it be too late. Plus, it’s a bonus to realize I can handle most things sooner and don’t need the extra time.

Now when I’m nervous about something, I don’t put it off, because that will just leave me more worried about it. The key is it’s better to take action sooner than set your life up constantly worried about what’s coming next.”

This client’s valuable insight is this:
Procrastination that stems from stress & worry ends up FUELING stress & worry. ACTION interrupts this cycle.

I encourage you to try this…Take a moment to consider ONE thing that you’ve put off out of fear, and imagine the stress that could be lifted if you were to look out your “rear-view mirror” at it COMPLETED.

With cheer,

Jen

Learn more about Jen’s life coaching services at www.JZBcoaching.com.