Think more, think less

The idea of always saying the first thing that comes to mind is great in some ways. However, it doesn’t work well in every situation.

If you’re someone that excessively analyses everything you say before you say it, practicing to say what comes to mind could be a great way to combat your anxieties.

But if you’re someone that is quick to react and easily enraged, taking time before you speak could save you a lot of hassle.

It’s useful to look at certain aspects of yourself and think about what works well and what doesn’t. The result of that self-reflection might make you realise that you need to think more about what you say or think less.

Waiting for a cue

Sometimes when there’s something you want to say the easiest way to bring it up is to wait for a ‘cue’.

My dictionary defines a cue as ‘An action or event that is a signal for somebody to do something’.

In this case the thing to do is bring up a topic that is difficult to speak about or difficult to for people to listen.

However, the problem with waiting for a cue is that sometimes other people will not consider your approach genuine. But furthermore, it stirs up the question of why you’re unable to bring the topic up on your own.

Why do you have to wait for a cue?

Perhaps because you’re not ready to admit how much the topic matters or maybe you just don’t dont have the confidence yet.

It might not be easy the first time but get used to talking about what matters, you don’t need to wait for a cue.

Short-term pressure

In the right environment pressure can be a really good thing. For example when you’re focused and working hard a couple days (or hours) before a deadline.

But that feeling isn’t something we should rely on to get things done or have in our life on a daily basis.

Although it can be helpful in the short-term, the long-term effects are best avoided.

Things like low energy, insomnia, chest pain, headaches and tense muscles can all come as a result of pressure.

But a little pressure here and there isn’t so bad if you know how to make use of it.

Making difficult decisions

The feeling of regret is always uncomfortable, especially when you think that making a different choice would have led to a better life.

When you reach this conclusion, what do you do next?

Do you take charge, choose the other choice and commit to it in order to reach the outcome you believe is possible.

Or do you get swept up in the feeling of regret and allow your mind to go round and round in circles telling stories about how that single choice you made has ruined your life.

The other option is to stick with the decision you made and make the best of the path you’re on.

It can be difficult to decide but if you put less pressure on the decision you make, things start to feel a whole lot easier.

What also helps is knowing that whatever you pick, things will turn out totally fine.

The right people

A message I’m always keen to get across is that as much as it’s important to open up, what matters even more is that you do it with the right people.

For some that may be obvious but others might find themselves wondering who qualifies as ‘right’.

It really depends on the individual.

However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself like…

How do I want to feel when I open up?

What do I want from the person I open up to?

Then come up with the answers and think about the people you know that align with this.

For example, if what you want from the person you open up to is emotional support and a listening ear, it’s no use opening up to someone who is just going to tell you what to do. Or if you want to feel calm and supported it’s no use talking to someone that leaves you feeling anxious.

Further to that think about your past experiences. Can you think of a time you opened up to someone and regretted it? Can you think of a time you were glad you opened up to someone?

I’ve found that these types of situations, when you know what you want, you’ll know what you’re willing to accept.

Sometimes that means being a little more picky about who you choose to open to.

Rest, reset and refresh

If you go through a period of stress or anxiety, something that can work wonders is taking a break.

It might seem counter productive and you might feel like the better thing to do is pull yourself deeper into what ever has gotten you off balance.

But further exposing yourself to thing that isn’t making you feel good is probably not going to make you feel any better.

What you might need is to take a break.

In this day and age, in our go, go, go society it can be challenging to really take a break from your day to day life.

And so I think it’s important to figure out what helps you rest, reset and refresh your mind.

It could be a walk in nature where you’re away from buildings and cars but surrounded by greenery and wild flowers.

It could be a massage, something that forces you have to stay still and you have to put your phone away.

And once you’re done you’ll know that it worked when you can go back to thing that had you feeling stressed but you now feel calm and at peace.

The worst possible thing

What do you do when the worst possible thing happens.

And by worst possible thing I mean something unanticipated, something that you didn’t plan for that throws you off course.

The common and perhaps most easiest way to react is panic.

Like a sort of ‘Oh my goodness, what I am I gonna do, everything is going wrong, this has gotta be liek the worst possible thing, what am I gonna do now?’

Turns out the popular and easy reaction isn’t particularly helpful.

Instead my experience has taught me that the much more useful thing to is think. Go through the possible scenarios and come up with a solution. Once you’re able to remove some of uncertainty suddenly the worst possible thing isn’t so bad.

Granted you can’t control how things will turn out. However, what you can do is remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming the unexpected.

Self-deception and the power of checking in

Sometimes we trick ourselves into accepting things that we don’t want. We make excuses and convince ourselves that we’re so totally content with our current circumstances.

This happens for a variety of reasons but a major factor is our core beliefs. If you don’t think there is something better out there for you then will always settle even if that means being perpetually unhappy.

The wake up call that you’re not as happy as you think will come when you least expect it. Perhaps you will encounter someone or something that represents what you really want. Then suddenly you find yourself wondering how you could have ever thought that you were happy with what you had accepted.

It’s like clearing the colour from your rose tinted classes and finally seeing things as they are.

A great way to stop yourself accepting less is to check in with yourself regularly. When you’re not where you should be you can end up getting so used to the anxiety that you don’t even realise that it’ there until you leave

Make a note of what you want in different areas of your life and think about how it would feel.

Lets say you moved into a tiny apartment in a neighbourhood you don’t like but you tell yourself you’re happy because you’re saving money and you don’t even spend much time at home anyway. That’s you convincing yourself that you’re okay with not feeling comfortable in your local area and that you don’t want to spend time at home.

But if the notes you make on what you want from your home and how you want to feel don’t align with your reality then you might want to make some changes. That might mean paying a little more to be in an area, in a bigger apartment or both.

That’s the power of checking in, it allows you to identify whether the life you’re creating is the life you actually want.

Self help

Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.

Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.

The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.

Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.

But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.

It helps.

You feel calmer afterwards.

In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.

Don’t just talk to anyone

I think I’ve used the phrase talking helps at least half a dozen times on this site (turns out I was exactly spot on as shown below).

Talking helps

Making a breakthrough

Worth seeking advice from

Managing stress and deadlines

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Unexpected but needed

I say it because that’s what has works for me and like everything I share here it comes from my experience. If this was around 3 or 4 years ago things would have been very different. Back then, I wasn’t talking about the challenges that I was facing or things that I struggled with because I didn’t know how.

Plus, at the time I didn’t think that talking would help.

But I also think a lot of people forget to mention that it’s more than just talking to anyone.

For example, the person that is feeling suicidal might not to find much solace in talking to their friends. Their friends aren’t equipped or trained to help in that kind of situation.  Friends not knowing what to say doesn’t make them bad people.

Instead they might find it more helpful to talk to a professional, someone with training or someone who can relate to their experience.

Further to that, think about you want the outcome from talking to be. Of course there’s no magic fix but if you just want someone to listen and leave you feeling hopeful, talking to the person that will just dismiss your issues probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, that’s okay too.

If you live in the UK or Ireland call Samaritans on 116 123.

For anyone else the country you live in probably has a helpline you can call too.