Caught in the act

Noticing your unhelpful habits as soon as they start to emerge is a skill worth learning. Instead of getting carried away and indulging in behaviour you’re likely to regret, stop.

Realise what you’re doing, realise why and make the conscious choice not too continue.

Before you get to that point you might find that you regularly have situations where you don’t show up as your best self, you don’t put in much effort or you’re not treating people how you want to be treated.

But those things aren’t helpful. It doesn’t benefit you to be half-hearted with your efforts or unkind to other people.

As soon you realise that, the more likely you are to catch yourself in the act the next time it happens until eventually you’re no longer giving in to your unhelpful habit.

Don’t check the stats

It’s easy to fall into thinking that having access to and analysing the numbers will improve your work.

But sometimes it just makes you miserable.

When you sacrifice what you want to do with what will make the numbers go up you’re less likely to be satisfied with the work you produce.

If you focus on producing work that will make the numbers go up but instead they go down, you’ll be even less satisfied.

Sometimes the numbers are helpful when they give you information about what is or isn’t working.

But other times, they’re not worth checking at all.

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.

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.

Things that help

Just a little reminder for whenever you get overwhelmed with everything that is going on. It can be easy to forget how far you’ve come or all the helpful things that you’ve learnt.

Going for a walk – I think this must be one of the most popular things that people do to clear their head plus it gets the body moving.

Sitting in silence – We rarely sit in silence there’s always something whether you’re listening by choice or it’s background noise like music, TV or a conversation.

Talking to a friend – Choose someone that will listen but be mindful and ask before offloading. You don’t have to even talk about the issue at hand maybe just have a random chat about life.

Talking to a stranger – Not literally but some that is unbiased and not part of your everyday life like a therapist or a helpline set up to support people with different issues they’re facing.

Meditation – Maybe your mediation is sitting in silence but maybe it’s a guided mediation to ease stress or anxiety. It helps to be still sometimes and we often underestimate the impact it can have because we feel like it won’t help to just stop or at least slow down.

EFT – Also known as tapping. This is probably one of the most unexpectedly helpful things I’ve ever come across. I love that it doesn’t require any materials and is easy to do.

Laughter – They call laughter the medicine of life and I believe it. Something funny can totally shift your mood on days when you feel down.

Dancing – Dancing brings me so much joy and it’s another way to get the body moving. When your feeling down and remain still it enables the emotions to become heavy and weigh you down. Plus if dancing is something you associate with fun or celebrations it’ll actually help you feel better.

Uplifting words – Whether it’s podcasts, talks, songs or books, find words that uplift you. I even find it helpful to read back my own words because much of what I write is timeless and based around overcoming challenges.

If I was you…

It’s easy to pass judgements on other peoples choices.

‘If I was you I’d have…’

‘Maybe if you ….. then this wouldn’t have happened’

But your judgement is rarely being sought out so maybe think about ways to be helpful instead.

Sometimes when a person is riled up, frustrated and they take action it’s not from a place of clarity. If they’d have waited a few hours or a day or two they’d have done things differently. But everybody makes mistakes, we’re all just learning as we go.

Finding your rhythm

Good things take time.

When you start something new you’re likely to be unpolished to begin with, you’re still learning afterall.

But that initial stage is what puts many people off. They get caught up in the idea that they’re not good enough. They play the comparison game, often looking at people with much more practice and experience.

The reality is that it takes time to find your rhythm. After a couple of weeks you can’t expect to be perfectly polished. That’s not even reasonable.

It’s so helpful and a much more enjoyable process, when you put the focus on doing the work instead of the end result.

Slowly building

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were helpful habits.

If you want to start reading more, getting up at 6am every morning, eating more nourishing food or committing to your creative projects, one day won’t make a difference on it’s own.

It’s a series of days, one by one, bit by bit that make the real difference.

One day isn’t enough to build a habit but that’s where things start. That one day will become 30 days and then 90 until that thing you’ve been doing each day is now part of your daily routine.

When you’re getting started, it’s worth remembering that change takes time. Don’t be disappointed after 3 days if you don’t feel like it, your brain is still getting used to your new way of doing things. Instead focus on it one day at a time and remember that you’re working towards something long-term.

And on days when you don’t feel like practicing your new habit, it won’t matter in the short-run but in the long run you’ll probably be glad you committed to it.

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.

Finding comfort in moments of pessimism

I have this idea that sometimes there is comfort in moments of pessimism, in thinking about and accepting the possibility of the worst case scenario coming to life.

It’s not so that you can dwell but instead so that you can understand¬† life sometimes turns out differently to how you expected.

You just have to learn to be okay with it which might be a hard pill to swallow.

Of course there is always a place for optimism but sometimes it isn’t helpful. Sometimes what you need is to accept that a situation isn’t going to turn out well.

And once you do that, things get a little bit easier.