Asking questions and eliminating uncertainty

I’ve often found that the feeling of anxiety grows and becomes more heightened when questions go unasked.

When we have uncertainty it creates a gap. And for those that are prone to anxiety that gap gets filled with pessimistic possibilities. Often once the feeling of anxiety has started to grow, asking questions feels too difficult or overwhelming. And so the anxiety grows further.

You can attempt to manage the unease until the situation occurs or you can push through the discomfort and ask the questions you have. A helpful reminder to go back to is that you don’t have to feel the way you feel and that you’re worth speaking up for.

From the outside it may seem strange that a person wouldn’t just ask a question if they knew it would ease their anxieties, yet from the inside it’s not so easy.

But anxiety doesn’t have to leave you paralysed. It’s possible and incredibly helpful in the long term to feel anxious and take action in spite of it.

Worth sticking up for

How many times have you held your tongue or put the needs of others before your own? Often the idea of being selfless is something that is praised but the reality is that it’s often just self-sacrifice.

When the person that puts others first is around people that put themselves first, they end up losing. The unfortunate truth is people won’t always be considerate of you so you have to be considerate of yourself.

Not sticking up for yourself can be a combination of people pleasing, avoiding conflict and a lack of self-worth. It often shows up in the smallest of ways.

It might seem like it’s not a big deal and it isn’t if it happens every now and then. However, if you spend your whole life not sticking up for your wants and needs then you’ll end up living a life that caters to other people.

Start slow, take it easy and remember that sticking up for yourself will always be worth it even if it feels difficult in the moment.

What is the most loving thing that you can do?

Imagine bearing the weight of all that is difficult and challenging in your life on your shoulders all at once. Then, imagine having to go out into the world with that load and pretend that everything is fine.

After a while the load becomes too much to bear and you reach a point where you need to step back, to withdraw and retreat.

That is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.

When you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel well (as in your overall wellbeing is in poor condition), you need to take care of yourself.

Being in situations where you can’t fully honour and accept where you’re at only makes things worse.

When you’re burdened by challenges you need to replenish and care for yourself rather than constantly be in situations that require you to put on an act and pretend you’re okay.

That can be a a difficult lesson to learn when you struggle with being vulnerable or want to be seen as someone who always has it together.

NLP changed me

When I first discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it felt pretty radical. I was going through a difficult time and it helped to have something new to learn about that could in turn help me. I bought a book, read it and it changed my life.

It wasn’t so different that it felt weird or hard to take it. But it was new enough that I found myself evolving in order to become open to it.

I was a fairly pessimistic person at the time with a lot of unhelpful beliefs so the idea that underlying every behaviour is a positive intention was hard to take in. Yet at the same same, something like if what you are doing isn’t working, do something else felt pretty wonderful.

When you’re going through a challenging period life can feel very rigid and brittle, as though change isn’t quite possible. But then I had this book telling me that I could just ‘do something else’ which almost didn’t even occur to me at the time because I felt so stuck.

And so today lets highlight and celebrate the journeys we’re on, the things we’ve overcome and our ability to embrace life with a little more flow because change is always possible.

A life changing perspective

A running theme throughout a lot of my posts (and what has become the baseline for this blog) is this idea of life’s challenges and difficult moments having a lesson or a takeaway.

Having this perspective completely changes your life.

You go from things like blaming other people, being overly self critical, treating yourself unkindly and feeling stuck to feeling empowered with the ability to move through challenging situations with greater ease.

Let’s say you like the way you look but someone makes fun of your appearance. On one hand you could get upset, feel bad about yourself and feel anger towards the other person for how they made you feel.

On the other hand, you could accept that this person has an opinion, remind yourself that how you feel about the way you look is what matters most and see if there’s something worth learning there.

If the persons comment upset you, perhaps the lesson is that you need to work on your self-confidence. The takeaway could be a reminder that other peoples opinions of you shouldn’t matter more than your own, that you don’t need to take on the opinions of others or that you need to become more comfortable with not fitting into other peoples standards/ideals.

And then maybe you’ll go away and work on these things. An example of this might be embracing the way you want to look by going a week wearing whatever you want as a way of learning to become more comfortable with looking different. In doing so, you’ll probably realise that it’s exhausting to allow yourself to be bothered by everyone else’s opinion and that you feel at your best when you’re just being yourself.

This might seem excessive to some but the truth is that you can choose the way you look at things and how you handle them. Imagine if you faced every difficult or challenging situation with this kind of perspective. How different would your life be?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

But more specifically, what do you do to support yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

The answers might be exactly the same or perhaps you can’t find an answer to the second question.

Maybe when you’re overwhelmed you go into an unconscious downward spiral. You might not know it yet but maybe taking deep breaths, doing EFT or going for a walk are things you can do to support yourself.

Those are some things that I find useful.

If you don’t know what works for you, it might be worth taking the time to figure it out.

A resilient mindset

Seeing the bright side of every situation has it’s perks.

It’s not about pretending that nothing bothers you or acting as though every experience is positive.

It’s more about adopting the kind of mindset that makes you resilient to the challenges of life.

So perhaps in moments of sadness, you can remind yourself that it’s okay to be sad and you will get through it.

And a challenging situation can serve as an experience for you to practice everything you’ve learnt.

The alternative is to wallow and complain which is okay for short while but pretty unhelpful in the long run.

5 things to do for when you feel stuck

It is really easy to give advice in hindsight or just from an outsiders perspective. However, when you are in the midst of a personal challenge it can be difficult to know how to help yourself in the moment. It’s something that takes time and practice.

I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve felt stuck. Sometimes sitting around, wallowing and doing the bare minimum feels like the only thing that you can muster the effort for. However, if you’re willing to step outside of yourself and whatever situation you’re in you’ll see that there are plenty of other things you can do that would be much more useful.

Things like:

Doing a workout because endorphins make you feel good.

Going for a walk in nature because nature is a healer or will at least help you feel calm.

Venting to someone that won’t give advice because often you just want to be heard and don’t need someone to tell you what to do.

Have a solo dance party because your favourite music will always brighten your day.

Journaling to work through your feelings because it helps bring clarity.

Figure out what you need

Through periods of overwhelm it’s easy to feel lost and stuck. When there are 101 problems finding a solution can be challenging.

Often, the best place to start is by figuring out what you need in the moment.

Finish the sentence:

When I feel anxious in a crowded place, I need…

Perhaps you’re in a crowded place feeling anxious, sirens are going off in your mind and part of you just wants to go home this instant.

But all you need is a moment alone in a quiet place to do something soothing like count, a sensory exercise or tapping.

It takes practice to know what you need, practice to know when to apply it and practice to be able to take space to care for yourself.

But practice makes perfect so it’s worth a try.

Anxious

In a recent post I wrote about embracing awkward. Shortly after I realised that what I was referring to was anxiety, specifically social anxiety.

I then got thinking about what being socially anxious looks like. I think when a person becomes aware of their own behaviour, they can end up amplifying it. You’re sitting there doing the thing and instead of catching yourself, stopping and doing something else you just do it more whilst your inner monologue runs wild.

It’s like you’re paralysed unable to do what you know would be helpful. And from the outside you appear awkward like it’s some sort of quirky personality trait which is often easier to accept than anxiety.