More and more, I am encountering discussions about anxiety in both my coaching and my personal life. What is going on? Are we changing in some way and adjusting to the change?
Are the speed and uncertainty of our world affecting many and inducing anxiety? We should stay aware of the presence of anxiety in both ourselves and in others. It is an indicator that something needs attention. When anxiety shows up, examine if you are living your life in alignment with your values, if time is getting the better of you or if something is wanting your attention.
Anxiety does not serve you or others. It may take time and effort to deal with, but will be totally worth your while. Best to face it and find your way through.
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Do you strive to be “in control”? Many people do. It strikes me how many varying perspectives there are regarding what being in control means. Some go overboard, thinking they must control every aspect of their environment – an almost impossible thing to do. Others are selective and want to control only certain aspects of their work and lives. Some aim to control themselves, thinking that is the only true control they have. Some try to control others, which often causes harm.
How about you? What must you control in your work and life? If you “lose control” is it catastrophic? How realistic is your perspective on what you can and cannot control?
Control is fine, when you are you able to do so. Having control can also be an illusion. Know how to discern this and your life will be “under control” in the best way possible.
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A recent BBC Capital article, How Faking Your Feelings At Work Can Be Damaging, introduced me to the concept of emotional labor. The term emotional labor refers to the work you do to regulate your emotions to create “a publicly visible facial and bodily display within the workplace”.
Whoa! Do you find yourself doing this often? The article goes on to say that studies have found that burnout can relate more closely to how employees manage their emotions during interactions, rather than the volume of interactions themselves. Those who report regularly having to display emotions at work that conflict with their own feelings are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion.
Now you have emotional labor to add to all the other labors work asks of you. It is worth paying attention to. Emotional labor can clearly have a negative impact on your life balance and fulfillment at work.
I say this both lightly as well as seriously – perhaps your organization should pay you for the emotional labor involved in your work!
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In my training at The Coaches Training Institute, they introduced a concept called “Chunking It Down”. It is a very effective way of managing, organizing and dealing with overwhelm. Chunking it down is simple – you take a task that has multiple parts and break it down into small, actionable steps.
Anything you are working on now that could benefit from chunking it down? Give it a try. It keeps you moving and is great for reducing stress.
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How often do you look at the actual act of balancing your life? You may know when your life is balanced, when it is not and the level of balance you want to achieve. That’s good. From there, how do you, day-to-day, maintain that balance?
Balancing is a “present moment” thing. It asks your awareness of when you are slipping out of balance, your knowing how to regain your balance and your agility in dealing with time. Think of a situation when maintaining your balance was very challenging. It may have been a time when you were facing competing demands, had too much to get done in the time you had or were experiencing work – personal life tensions. What did you do? Were you able to maintain balance or did things go awry?
Focusing on the act or art of balancing serves you. How do you best maintain your balance on a day-to-day basis? What do you do to regain your balance if it is lost? Develop your skill for balancing and you’ll soon find yourself mastering it.
Sometimes the amount of work you have to do starts getting to be over the top. There isn’t time and stress is building. As stress builds, you can lose perspective and focus while the work keeps on coming.
What can you do when work is overflowing and you don’t know how you can handle it all? Here are some ideas:
• Get yourself out of the way – step aside and look at the situation, rather than letting it control you
• Find some ways to lower your stress, right now
• Once your stress is lowered, realistically assess the situation – what is possible to get done and what is not?
• Take a break to regain focus and perspective
• And, the old standby ☺, remain fully in the present moment as you proceed.
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1. Try 15 minutes of silence at the beginning or end of day. Work up to it, if 15 minutes is a lot for you right now.
2. Find ways to recognize when you are overthinking.
3. When you are overthinking, stop and get yourself fully into the present moment.
4. Try writing things down instead of keeping them in your head.
5. Try an app such as Calm
6. Before you go to sleep just “be”. Do not read or otherwise tax your mind.
7. Observe if there is a pattern in your overthinking, such as in specific situations, at certain times or for certain subjects.
8. Put some focus on balance. Are you countering stress with exercise and relaxation?
9. Determine if reluctance to make decisions is contributing to your overthinking.
10. Do not allow your mind to be king or queen. Acknowledge that the physical, emotional and ethereal aspects of your life are equally important.
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During the holidays, how about planning some time to get away from it all? There are lots of reasons to do this: managing stress, maintaining perspective and balance, enjoying yourself, making sure you don’t lose it when it matters and getting to the end of the holidays in one piece.
It can be just a day or a few hours or it can be longer. It is up to you. What do you think you need? What will you do? Where will you go?
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Sometimes you can get yourself into a state of confusion without realizing you are there. Many things can create confusion: overwhelm, not knowing what to do, not wanting to face something or losing your center. When this happens, your performance suffers, sometimes in a big way.
Confusion can be stealthy and difficult to recognize. When you recognize the signs of confusion – perhaps extreme emotional reactions, getting stuck, prolonged inefficiency or ineffectiveness, frustration, conflict or too many things going wrong – you are halfway to getting out of it. Take some time to re-center yourself. Look carefully at the source(s) of your confusion and take appropriate action to get back on your game. Confusion does you no good. Limit its ability to get the better of you.
If you’d like more, see my blog post, Ten Steps To Get Out Of Confusion Fast.
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In many arenas now, the change and chaos never seem to stop. At times, they come at you rapid-fire. The challenge is that you cannot control what is happening. However, you can control yourself and your response to it all. In work and other areas of life, what do you do when it keeps on coming?
To start, you can pull yourself out of the fray for a while. You can discriminate on your sources of information. You can be aware of when things get to be too much and take appropriate action. You can find a context for it all, so it does not seem inexplicable. You can take action, if you want to be part of a solution. When it keeps on coming, take care of yourself. Find a way to stay standing, until it passes.
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