10 simple ways to stop overthinking

overthinking

Overthinking causes huge problems.

One minute your fine and the next you are on the edge of your seat waiting for all of your nightmares to come to life.

The weird thing is that even though your fears may feel real and indeed give you the same sweaty anxiety of actual problems – they are entirely fictitious.

They are nothing more than figments of your imagination.

You simply went from 0-60 by just over-thinking. Scary right?

Well, when you overthink, your judgment gets clouded and your stress gets elevated. It can feel so real.

If this sounds familiar then here are 10 simple ideas to free yourself from overthinking.

1. Self-Awareness

Before you can begin to address our habit of overthinking, you need to become aware of it when it’s happening. Any time you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious – take a step back. Look at the situation and how you’re responding. Verify what’s actually real and what is not. In that moment of awareness, if you just take a step back, you can really make some long-lasting changes.

2. Reframe your thoughts

Overthinking is all about negativity. Instead of obsessing over what can go wrong, start to think over what can go right. In the majority of cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion: fear. When you focus on all the negative things that might happen, it’s easy to become anxious and trapped. Next time you sense that you starting to spiral just stop. Visualise all the good things coming your way. Swap the bad for the good thoughts and before long your mind will reframe its thinking to become more positive. 

3. Force yourself into happiness

When we feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts the best tactic is; distraction. Just get up and do happy physical activities such as dancing, learning, running, drawing or meditation All of these things can distance you from the issues long enough to shut down the overanalysis. You’ll find that after these activities your brain will have stopped overthinking.

4. Get real

Put things into perspective. It’s always easy to create huge daunting problems but how many of them are even real? The next time you catch yourself freaking out ask yourself how much it will matter in five years. Or, even, next month. Get some objectivity and fly out of your over-thinking trap.

5. Stop trying to get it right, all the time

This is a huge factor. For those of us in need of perfection – stop waiting right now. Because it will never happen. Perfection is an idealism. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic and debilitating. The moment you start thinking “This needs to be perfect” is the moment you need to remind yourself, “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.

6. You only live once

No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Sound like a postcard but it’s true. Spending value time and endless worry on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time, instead, on things that give you joy in life.

How to walk away from stress

stress

We all deal with stress on a daily basis.

The problem isn’t actually the stress, it’s the way in which we deal with it.

Even if we think we are coping with stress, it can impact us in subtle ways until one day, we just crack.

The key way to avoid feelings of overwhelm or any other detrimental impact that stress might have on our life (including causing problems with relationships, family life and health) – is to be aware and actively manage our stress.

Stress has some strong effects: it makes us unhappy, unproductive, less open-hearted in our relationships, it exhausts us and decreases our health, mentally and physically.

Even if you don’t feel the impact of stress, presently, it does still and at least will, affect you.

So let’s look at how to let go of our stress.

Start with the why

What are your stress triggers? Is it work, relationships, family or all of them!?

Why do we get stressed?

Quite simply – we want the world to be a calm, orderly and peaceful environment. Stress ruins these plans.

Life cannot (and never will) stick to our exact plan and stress is a simple example of this.

A quote from Leo Babauta, a regular contributor to Zen Habits, has really stuck in my mind;

Stress comes not because the world is messy and chaotic, but because we desire it to be different than it is.”

Babauta goes on to say “We have ideas for how our life should be. How other people should be. How we should be, how everything around us should be. These ideals aren’t a problem it’s our attachment to these ideals that’s the problem and this attachment  — the is that we are attached to these ideals. And this attachment causes us stress.

The good news is that we can let go of our attachment and we can feel less stressed. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well believe it, we can let go and in doing so we let go of our stress.

How to Let Go of the Stress

Imagine you’re experiencing a moment of stress right now.

You’re feeling the pressure.

You might feel it physically (with a headache) or your mind might be spinning into overdrive.

However, when you know you are facing a period of stress, try to use this easy to remember practice;

1.Notice how the stress feels

Embrace it.

Let it take over your body and feel comfortable with it.

Be present and understand the feeling.

Before long, you won’t feel stress as a threat but instead something familiar and something that you can handle.

2. Recognise why the stress exists

What’s causing this stress in your body?

What do you say to yourself during times of stress? Does it make the stress worse?  Can you calm yourself down by being kind to yourself?

Also, notice if your mind is exacerbating a stressful scenario. Is it really as bad as you’re making out? Try to be objective when analysing the causes of your own stress.

3. Just let the stress be

Try to feel as liberated as you can in what would normally be a very confining, stressful situation. Try to find peace in your chaos.

This is a state of openness that you can drop into at any moment.

Just notice how it feels to not be dominated by your stress. See how easy it is to choose to be unaffected by the stress.

You don’t have to be joyous in every moment of your life, but this freedom of realising that you’re more powerful than your stress is liberating. Maybe before long, you’ll even appreciate the beauty of the chaos.

For more information on this topic read Leo’s excellent blog for Zen Habit’s here

Finding calm in the midst of frustration

frustration

Do you ever struggle with managing your emotions when you feel overcome by frustration? Instead of lashing out or doing something else you’ll regret here are a series of practices that will start to shift how you deal with feelings of frustration.

1. Pinpoint your reaction

Self-awareness is key. Once you start to know how you react to feelings of frustration you can then start to work on changing them. Notice your urge to go to your habitual pattern (shutting down or lashing out), but instead of indulging in that reaction, pause it. Float outside of your emotions. Stop yourself from reacting in this way. It sounds easy and it actually is.

2. Embrace your feelings of frustration

Again, pause, and let yourself take a breath. Drop your attention into your body and notice the feeling of frustration and anger. Stay with these sensations. Remember how they feel. Notice how strong the urge to lash out feels, and just savour that strong feeling instead of acting on it. Treat the emotion differently, instead of feeling overcome feel curious. Study it. Open up to it, relax around it, be with it. Love this feeling, if you can. Once you practice this, you become comfortable being in the middle of frustration and this is the absolute objective to mastering your frustrations.

3. The third practice is to use this newfound space to connect to the other person

Your heart is closed to whoever because you think they are the problem. The problem is your closed heart.

Try opening yourself a little. This is a challenging but hugely productive practice. From this place, notice the other person — they are acting the way they’re acting because they are feeling some kind of pain themselves. Maybe your negativity towards them is making them feel cornered or defensive. You’re in this together. both of you feel bad. Now how can you work on this together?

4. The final practice is to try to find an appropriate, loving and compassionate response

You have empathised with the other person, but now you need to take action. What action to take – is always a question based on the facts – the most important factor is that you are not reacting with anger – which gives rise to inappropriate responses like lashing out.

What is an appropriate, loving, compassionate response? Some examples:

  • The other person is upset, so you help them calm down, listen to their frustrations and offer compassion.
  • The other person acted inconsiderately but perhaps was unaware of how that affected you so you should compassionately, share the impact of their actions on you and asking calmly for a specific thing they can do in the future instead.
  • The other person is not willing to engage in a compassionate dialogue. You can’t talk to them calmly, because they argue with everything. In this case, you might want to think whether this person is willing to change their behaviour. If you can’t communicate, you can’t ever grow together, so you should seriously consider their future in your life.
  • The other person is abusive. You empathize with the pain they must feel in order to be like this. But you also remove yourself from the situation to protect yourself from harm. You try to help them get the help they need while being firm about your boundaries.

A quick trick to stop you feeling like a failure

failure

The irony is – we are more likely to make ourselves feel like a failure than others.

It’s highly rare and unfortunate for someone to tell us repeatedly, that we are not good enough. Just think, who is more likely to launch into a monologue of failure about how “we can never do anything right”, about “how we are a failure” or “not good enough”. Is it third parties or is it ourselves?

The sad thing is that more often than not, the negative speak is coming from our own minds.

The positive side is that all of this negative self-talk – it’s not real, is it? In reality, it’s just a story that we replay, over and over, until it beats us down into submission.

The thoughts aren’t true. There’s no objective panel of judges in the sky who have judged us unworthy. We just made up this story, and we pick out evidence to match the narrative. When someone says something remotely critical, we take it to heart, and offer it up as yet more proof that we’re not good enough. Sound familiar?

Well, news break. The story isn’t true. The worst part is, we are preventing our own success by constantly beating ourselves down. We hide from the truth. We are too scared to hope for success in case we fail. We are too anxious to put ourselves out there and do our best in case our best isn’t good enough. This is in essence, choosing a life of negativity and self-doubt instead of challenge, liberation and success. If you take a step back and analyse how you feel when you fail, compared to how you feel everyday living in your own shadow – I guarantee failing sometimes is a better way to live.

How can we stop feeling like a failure?

So how do we stop believing this untrue narrative that simply serves to knock our confidence?

The first practice, recommended by Leo Babauta in his blog for Zen habits, is to write out a mantra and repeat it. His personal mantra is, “The world craves you and your gift.” He explains that this simple mantra, keeps him grounded in times of high-stress. He advises to say it over and over until you believe it. Whilst repeating it may feel artificial at first, it works.

The second practice is to be self-aware.

What does this mean?

Notice when you are negatively talking to yourself. Remember how it makes you feel. Float outside of your body and objectively see how this type of talk is ruining your chances of success. Put a firm stop to it.

How?

Think in that exact moment *what would it be like, in this particular moment, if I didn’t have this negative self-talk?*

It would for sure be better, right?

Just by simply, saying this to yourself you can snap yourself out of your negative spiral and focus on what’s important.

Don’t let you hold you back. Make the change now.

For more great insights on this topic read Leo’s blog here on Zen Habits.

 

 

 

Why creativity should be your new habit

creativity

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” — Albert Einstein

When people think of creativity, they think of artists, writers or painters. But, what if I told you that creativity matters more than ever to the business world.

Being creative doesn’t mean artistry. Yes, creativity can be found in the arts, but it’s also found in software engineering, mathematics, sales and start-ups.

What does it actually mean to be creative?

LinkedIn Learning Instructor Stefan Mumaw, who has authored six books on creativity, has this definition: “Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty.”

This definition can be broken down in the following way:

  1. Relevancy: Relevancy means actually solving the problem. As in, it was relevant to the problem at hand, and provided an actual solution to it. A solution without relevancy is no solution at all
  2. Novelty: Novelty is harder to judge, but it’s when you are able to solve a problem in an original way. A way that isn’t what’s expected or has been done before.

Putting it together, creativity is really just solving problems in original ways.

Creativity is not an innate gift, it takes practice. If you are still unsure about releasing your creative flair here are all the ways creativity can add value to your life.

1. Boost endorphins

Research tells us that doing something creative gives us an instantaneous boost of positivity So if you’re feeling a bit blue all you need to do is get your creative kick on and you should be smiling in no time. This can be painting, to problem-solving an ongoing project. When you have a creative breakthrough your endorphins go through the roof but research shows that the journey to your creative breakthrough gives you positive vibes too!

2. Brings us back to our childish routes

There is no right or wrong way to be creative. We have the freedom to let our minds wander. When we create, we engage with the world without judging ourselves or trying to conform to another way. It gives us the feeling of freedom we may have experienced during childhood. It gives us permission to take risks, try new things, and strip away inhibitions in a healthy way.

3. Defines our authenticity

When we create we access our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. When we take the time and energy to develop our own ideas, we learn to understand and trust our inner self. This allows us to better express ourselves. You may be surprised at the thoughts and ideas that you discover there.

4. Gives us confidence in our abilities

When we create, we start to value our work. We learn to trust our instincts and gain confidence from expressing them. When we break outside of the norm and come up with novel ideas, the only person we can trust is ourselves, because there are no other leaders making that same path.

5. Stress Relief

Being creative is meditative. Creativity is fun, and doing anything that brings joy reduces our stress levels and improves our quality of life. When we create we take our mind away from feelings of fear, or worry and focus on positive new things.

6. Problem-solving

Last but by no means least – one of the most important benefits of creativity is that it enhances our problem-solving abilities.

There isn’t a manual to being creative, and there isn’t a manual for being alive. Obstacles and challenges are inevitable. However, when we make creativity a habit, we start to view problem-solving as an art.

 

How to add magic to your morning routine

morning

If you’re looking to take better care of yourself (mind, body, and spirit) the morning is the best time to do to this.

Firstly, who wants to do anything after a long day of work.

Secondly, what if I told you that all you needed was 15 minutes in the morning and you could make significant improvements to your mental and physical health.

The way you start your day sets the tone for your day.

Self-care coach, Elena Lipson writes in her blog for Tiny Buddha about her successful “Magic Morning Mindset” which she claims prepares you to be calmer, more joyful, more connected to yourself, and better able to voice your needs.

By prioritising self-care and putting it at the top of your to-do list, you’re telling yourself that your needs matter.

The MAGIC Morning Mindset

M – Movement
A – Alignment
G – Gratitude
I – Intuition (or Intention)
C – Connection

How Can You Start?

1. First, set the intention behind your Magic Morning Mindset.

2. If you have a hard time waking up, commit to going to bed a bit earlier (even fifteen to twenty minutes will make a difference)

3. Decide what you want to do for your mind, body, and soul (you can find some ideas below).

4. Set yourself up for success – if you want to lose weight – remove garbage food from your cupboards 0r lay out a yoga mat the night before.

6. Notice how you feel throughout the day after doing the Magic Morning Mindset practice.

Some ideas on each topic

Mind

  • Journal your thoughts, understand how you feel throughout the day.
  • Write down your dreams.
  • Write ten to fifteen personal mantras.
  • Write any thoughts or ideas floating around in your mind until you feel lighter.
  • Journal about anything that you notice while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go – this improves your self-awareness.

Body

  • Do some push-ups, abs crunches and jumping jacks and kick start your day.
  • Put on your favourite song and dance.
  • Do three to five yoga sun salutations.
  • Stretch and improve your flexibility.
  • Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.

Spirit

  • Sit quietly for three to five minutes just noticing your breathing.
  • listen to a guided meditation.
  • Meditate any way that feels good to you (walking, sitting, running).
  • Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.

Don’t confine yourself to only 15 minutes for your morning practice. Over time you might find that you need/want to spend more time on your morning practice.

As long as you are showing up for yourself in some meaningful way each morning, you are giving importance to your well-being.

Make this practice your own and notice the changes in your life as you prioritize your own needs and get you back on the top of your to-do list.

For more on this topic read Elena’s insightful blog here on Tiny Budda.

Why process always trumps outcomes

process

Process trumps outcomes, every time.

The secret is this – if you consistently do your best every day, instead of obsessing about the outcome, you will get the results you’re looking for.

Why?

Being process orientated means doing your best work without focusing on the outcome. It’s having a bullet-proof plan – something that has a proven success rate.

In other words, you have to design and commit yourself to a process for success where positive outcomes are an inevitable outcome.

Even if your work hits a few rough patches, your process will get you through.

When you’re committed to a process you always win because you’re always doing your best.

How to commit to a process

Outcomes are not so predictable.

Think about how many variables there are (or could be) from your efforts to your desired result. We can never really know or prepare for the inevitable issues that crop up – and that’s why having a process in place is so important – in times of high stress you can turn to your process without having to think too much.

If you are completely focused on the results it means whenever you fall short of your goal you are frustrated (often worse). Sometimes the most important lessons we learn are from our “near misses” or failures, as they help us to refine our processes.

So, instead of only giving yourself permission to be happy when you’ve achieved your desired outcome and celebrate your growth and respect your process.

Processes are what matters.

Your process could be simple tweaks to your daily routine that enhance your output or a complex systematic approach that you’ve built through experience. Whatever the process, if it works for you then its the key to your long lasting success.!

Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavour.”

The commitment to the process makes all the difference.

In other words, good outcomes follow good processes. Success is not just blind luck.

There are no shortcuts to mastery.

Start to change how you view your work. See your projects, even finished ones, as work-in-progress. This rules out the need to focus on the outcome at the expense of the important process.

Don’t forget to routinely review your results. Figure out what is and isn’t working in your processes and amend them accordingly.

And always remember, even if your expectations take years to achieve, each step you take towards them is just as important. And, when you commit to a purposeful process, the outcome will inevitably be a positive one.

10 Tips to Boost Your Energy Without Caffeine

energy

“While there are some health benefits of coffee consumption, research also shows that it can actually make you more tired,” says Jeanette Kimszal, a nutrition and fitness expert. “It becomes a vicious cycle of being tired and reaching for coffee only to lead you to become more tired.”

There has to be an improved, healthier way to get energy without all that caffeine circulating in your system, right?

Well, fear not. We´ve gathered a list of the 10 best ways to get energy and raise your alertness without the side effect of caffeine overload.

Rise and shine! From now on,  you can go out on the weekend and stay awake during your Monday morning like a champ! Here are 10 guilt-free ways to boost your performance.

1. Short walk or stretch

A short walk can get rid of your drowsiness. Physical activity boosts your heart rate, metabolism and blood flow. As an alternative just stretch it out, a quick session will pump you up to. Just do whatever you would enjoy the best.

2. Rehydrate

We doubt you spent the night topping up on your water, instead of sleeping. Be sure, as soon as you wake up, to rehydrate with a large glass of water. Water helps to maintain blood volume, allows proper circulation, helps regulate body temperature, and acts as a shock absorber for your brain.

3. Get some air

Expose yourself to fresh air, open your windows, try to get some sunlight if possible. Sunlight helps muscles and improves brain function.

4. Log off before bedtime

Using electronics before sleep has shown to disrupt a good nights sleep and can lead to increased tiredness and less cognitive function the next day.

5. Crank up some tunes

Play something upbeat and positive. Get in the right mood to start a new day full of possibilities and new experiences.

6. Eat more veggies

They are rich in nutrients that keep your energy levels pumping throughout the day and they also keep “false hunger” and unhealthy cravings away.

7. Supplement your diet with magnesium

Magnesium is known for its abilities to break down glucose into energy. Meaning you can add an extra fuel channel into your body!

8. Micro workouts

If you are feeling low, just do a quick stretch, climb some stairs even drop and do 10 push up or simply jump a couple of times to get your blood pumping and oxygen to your muscles and feel an instant kick of energy.

9. Write

Access your mind by writing your thoughts, dreams and how you feel. Even jotting down your to-do’s free up your mental space. This is a powerful practice. It helps you to see what going through your mind and encourages you to organize your priorities for the day.

10. Pump it up with some fibre

Usually, a standard breakfast of meat, dairy and process food will inevitably lead you to energy crash a few hours after taking it. A high fibre breakfast will help slow the absorption of sugar and will improve blood sugar levels. Get some fruits and seeds make sure you have it all.

 

 

ABOUT US

PCA Law (the Personal Communications Academy For Lawyers) are the legal sector’s specialist providers of conversation-based experiential training products

We are the only Personal Communication Consultancy in the world to work exclusively with lawyers...

CONTACT US

We are happy to come in to talk with you at your offices, wherever you’re based, so please contact us at: