Growth points

It could be difficult, challenging and uncomfortable. But it also serves as an opportunity to learn and grow, if you’re willing to be open.

If you’re a regular reader then growth points is a term you’ll have seen me use every now and then in posts such as Bravery and uncontrollable outcomes, Day 183, It’s okay to be you and Unexpected and interesting.

However, I recently realised that I’ve never really explained the term or idea in great detail. I made the term up for myself and to be honest it’s just an alternative to the word challenge. However, the focus is on growth and overcoming rather than the difficulty of the situation.

When you face a situation that perhaps in the moment you wish wasn’t happening, it’s easy to just think that ‘it’s the most terrible thing in the world’. You then might find yourself getting caught in a downward spiral of unhelpful thoughts that leave you feeling stuck.

That mindset or perspective that you find yourself in never leads to growth. You have to find a way to get through it and see things differently.

I think the getting through it part is most challenging because it can be easy to stay stuck. A moment of sadness can turn into hours or days of wallowing.

One thing that helps is to be very conscious in how you think about the situations that come up in your life instead if just getting caught up. Acknowledge it as a challenging situation rather than blowing it out of proportion and allowing one situation to become your entire life.

And from that perspective you can begin to think about how you can grow from it. The great thing is that once you grow from it, you can now take that lesson forward with you for as long as it serves you well. Then next time something happens you can fall back that all that you’ve previously experienced, learnt and grown from.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question

If you aspire to allow your curiosity to come out and play then this quote is one to live by.

Asking questions can be scary and uncomfortable so taking on a mindset that no question is stupid may help to relieve some of those feelings. But after mustering up the courage to ask, if you don’t get the kind of answer you’d have liked then you can end up feeling disheartened and wishing that you’d just said nothing.

However in this situation, it’s important to focus on the action, not the outcome. keeping quite may leave you riddled with fear and anxiety which comes with little to no benefit. But if you can relieve that by simply asking a question then why not?

Granted nobody wants to hear ‘no’ when they were pining for a ‘yes’. Nevertheless, I think it’s much better to unburden yourself and perhaps end up a little disappointed than it is to keep carrying the burden of an unanswered question even though you know you don’t have to.

Can’t keep up

It can be incredibly frustrating when you find yourself falling behind and struggling to keep up.

You end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you and you might even begin to question yourself in order to figure out why you can’t keep up.

And sometimes it leads to wondering whether you’re good enough or wondering if you should quit.

In these moments, think it’s useful to offer yourself a little bit of kindness. If you can’t keep up, berating yourself won’t help or make it any easier to catch up.

Perhaps it would be much more useful to offer yourself some kindness instead.

Bored of anxieties

It’s been said that reassurance is something that we can’t get enough of. It’s strange to think about how we seek reassurance to keep our fears at bay but each time we get it we crave more and more often finding ourselves feeling stuck without it.

When you sit and watch a persons anxieties and fears play out in front of you, your immediate response is probably to console them with reassurance. You’ll find yourself saying things like ‘It’ll be alright’, it’s not necessarily because you believe it but instead because you don’t want them to feel low.

But reassurance is never enough so when the person continues on you might find yourself bored of the anxieties. It’s not that you don’t care but instead that you’ve accepted no amount of reassurance will change this persons mind so there’s no point in trying.

The lesson in all this is that sometimes people just want to vent, be heard and feel supported. Often that will work better to ease the anxieties rather than trying to use reassurance to make it go away.

A new routine

An easy way to simplify your life and get into the habit of doing things you care about is to create routines.

It could be a morning, evening or exercise routine.

Lets take the morning, start by thinking about what the best way to start your day would be.

In-fact make a list. Maybe you want to feel a certain way or you know that if you don’t do x, y, z your morning won’t run smoothly.

And so that might mean setting an earlier alarm so you have the time to fit in what you want to do, not watching YouTube or going on social media so you can start your day by just focusing on you or preparing things the night before.

Your morning could consist of a combination of things like: meditation, journaling, reading, stretching, Twitter, coffee, tea, Instagram, YouTube, exercise, visualisation, nature sounds, stretches, podcasts, praying, gratitude etc.

You don’t need to do what anyone else does, experiment and find a routine that works well for you.

The recovery net

After a difficult or challenging life experience whether mental or physical, you end up in a recovery period.

For example, imagine you fall off your bike and break your leg. Your recovery period would be the cast and crutches but eventually you’re walking again. Another example is a breakup, it could take a few weeks or even months to emotionally recover from a relationship ending.

The recovery net is where you end up when you’re not willing to let go of the comfort/safety of being in recovery.

If we go back to the bike story. Imagine, you’re at the point where your leg has healed and you no longer need the crutches but you can’t seem to let them go.

You’re physically ready to ride again but you keep making excuses because you need them when the truth is you’re scared without them. You’re scared of falling.

And with a relationship ending your recovery net might be never committing to one person so that when one situation ends you’ll always have someone else.

The recovery net is the method that we use to protect ourselves from things that brought us some form of harm/pain. Not because we’re in any danger but because the idea of the potential danger scares us so much that we aren’t really ready to make the true leap and risk being hurt again.

3 simple things to do for when you feel overwhelmed

If only it was as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Something for you to refer back to when you need it.

Write down how you feel. Write until you have nothing left to write. Write without trying to be perfect, let it be messy and make no sense. The important part is getting it all out and down on paper. Sometimes our feelings of being overwhelmed are caused by a build up of feelings or words unspoken. Even though writing them out won’t directly change the situation often all you really need is to let it out.

Exercise and get your body moving. It could be skipping, a HIIT workout, dancing or whatever works for you. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good but the movement also allows you to dispel the heavy energy of a low mood. If you don’t feel like doing a proper workout, have a solo dance party instead.

Listen to music that will boost your mood. I’ve previously written about having a pick me up playlist, it’s so easy to create and it actually works. Once you get into associating certain songs with boosting your mood you’ll get to a point where just a few seconds of the intro will be enough to make you start to feel better.

What’s best for you?

Sometimes when it comes to doing what’s best for you, you don’t consider yourself to be important.

And so, instead of making a decision based on what’s best for you and your wellbeing you put other people first.

You make choices based on people pleasing and fear of letting people down or having them be disappointed.

When you do that continuously, you’re the one that ends up feeling disappointed. Meanwhile, everyone else is totally oblivious to the fact that you’re over extending and on the brink of being worn out.

You have to learn to set clear boundaries such as not over working yourself to please people and being okay with saying no when you know you don’t have the time or energy.

Minimising uncertainty

One of the triggers for anxiety is uncertainty.

It’s fair to say that uncertainty is a part of life. However, there are plenty of times in life where you can seek clarity to help fill in the gaps.

This can be done by asking more questions.

Questions like:

When would you like me to complete this?

What time do you want to meet?

How do you feel about this situation?

You don’t have to play the guessing game, you don’t have to wait for someone else to initiate the conversation and you don’t have to live life on someone else’s terms.

Asking questions might also make you feel anxious but maybe that bit of discomfort is worth it now if it means you won’t feel anxious later.

Making time for good habits

I think most people have a list of at least a few things that they can do to improve their days.

Some examples could be exercise, being out in nature, mediation, yoga, drinking water, herbal tea, solo dance party, listening to music, journaling or going for a walk.

None of those things necessarily take a lot of time but they’re things that you have to make time for. They require more effort than sitting on the sofa binging episodes of a show but they come with way more benefits.

So, when you feel like you can’t be bothered, keep that in mind.