A Surprising Method to Handle Anxiety


Choking under pressure is a common response whether you’re playing the lead in the third grade Christmas play or giving an important business presentation. Unfortunately, about 90% of people handle stressful situations poorly.

A recent experiment shows that getting excited works better than trying to calm down. During a public singing contest, students were given various instructions. Those who said, “I am excited,” scored an average of 81% compared to 69% for those who said, “I am anxious,” and 53% for those who said, “I am calm.”

Learn how to use anxiety to your advantage when you’re in high-stress situations. These tips will help you to perform better even when your palms are sweating.

Encouraging Yourself to Get Excited 

  1. Remain fired up. It’s difficult to calm down when your body is on high alert. Excitement is an easier state to capture when you feel anxious and your heart rate is up.
  2. Distract yourself from self-doubts. You may have an interior monologue going on criticizing what you’re saying or how you look. Divert your attention to pleasant mental images or focus on the people around you.
  3. Focus on the positive. Think about what you have to gain in the situation. Focus on entertaining or helping your audience rather than worrying about forgetting your lines or losing your job.
  4. Generate flow. Put aside the outcomes for the moment. Lose yourself in the process. Enjoy what you’re doing for its own sake.
  5. Rename your feelings. Tell yourself you’re excited. Your brain will like that better than being anxious. 
  6. Remember the benefits of anxiety. Anxiety has its positive side. It motivates us to take action. Without some anxiety, we would have little incentive to work or do anything challenging.

Additional Tips

  1. Accept your feelings. Realize that anxiety is natural. Everyone experiences uncertainty and wonders what will happen in the future. By some estimates, about 20% of people report that their performance suffers when they feel tense. 
  2. Seek long term peace. While it’s difficult to calm down on short notice, serenity is still a worthwhile goal. Your mind and body need time to recover after demanding experiences. Manage stress, get good quality sleep, and make time for relaxation.
  3. Evaluate advice. High anxiety makes people more likely to seek outside advice and less likely to assess it accurately. Think before you follow someone else’s recommendations. Consider how to adapt them to your own circumstances.
  4. Engage in rituals. Even irrational practices can help. Many athletes hold onto lucky bottle caps or wear a certain pair of socks. Find your own good luck charm!
  5. Beware of manipulation. Unfortunately, researchers also found that anxious people were more likely to attract advisors who would deliberately mislead them. Be extra careful if you have any doubts.
  6. Acknowledge genetics. There’s a strong hereditary basis for stress responses. Some people are more physiologically sensitive. But, everyone can learn to become more resilient.
  7. Empathize with yourself and others. Anxiety is often confused with weakness. While you’re learning to manage your emotions, give yourself credit for becoming more adept. Encourage others who are going through similar struggles.
  8. Seek professional advice. If anxiety is interfering with your life, there are effective treatments. Talk with your doctor to see if medication or therapy may be helpful.

You can make anxiety work for you. Just stop calling it anxiety and tap into your excitement! You’ll feel better and enjoy more success 

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Life After Birth; He Wants Sex, She Doesn’t…

Recently, someone asked the following question:

“My husband is a being a complete nightmare. My baby is 8 months old and I’m breastfeeding. I really can’t think of anything I want to do less than have sex. He’s now acting like a toddler, stomping around the house and having a tantrum because we have only had sex three times since our baby was born. He told me he’s going to stay in a bad mood until I put out, lol! I just want to know if after 8 months my sex drive should be back or whether I’m still normal!! Men, eh?”

My response to this is:
Both of your feelings are perfectly valid 🙂 The problem comes from each of you viewing the other person’s feelings as unacceptable, which creates disconnects in your relationship. Men tend to view sex differently to women; to them, we show our love for them through our sexual interest in them, so that very valid feeling we have of feeling touched-out, in pain, exhausted etc, is interpreted by them as “My partner doesn’t love me any more”, the thought of which would create sadness and a sense of rejection in anyone, regardless of gender.

His behaviour, whilst seeming ‘childish’ to you, IS a cry for attention, but not perhaps in the way you might think. He needs to feel still loved by you, which for men, as I said, is more about sexual interest in them, and also respect and appreciation. The huge changes we go through during pregnancy and birth, and parenting afterwards, affects both partners, but in different ways, and both parents need to still feel they are getting some of their needs met.

Can you show sexual interest in him again, even without the actual act of full sex, if that is painful/uncomfortable for you? Even something like giving admiring compliments of his body again, or trying to make a point of kissing him more passionately when he gets in from work, could give him a sense of “She DOES still love me” and start healing that disconnection in your relationship that you both feel is starting to happen.

The key is to rebuild that connection between you, IF you want the relationship to last, by trying to understand what is going on for the other person at a deep level, rather than just surface behaviour. I’m sure you equally feel unheard by him and that is causing some of your exasperation, but if the long-term goal is to stay together, it’s important to start connecting again by attempting to start meeting some of his needs, in a small way that isn’t compromising your needs either.

I recommend The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts as a great resource for helping identify each others needs and working towards meeting them, something you could do together and rebuild your sense of yourselves as a team working together rather than both at different ends of a spectrum, pulling against each other…

“But not all men act in this manner and behave so childishly when they don’t get their needs met…?”

No, people don’t all act the same way in certain circumstances. But since you are asking about your OWN husband’s behaviour, and since I’ve studied relationship psychology, counselling, and communication skills, I was attempting to understand what underlying thoughts and feelings might be driving his outward behaviour from a point of rebuilding connection in their relationship, because calling someone names usually creates MORE tension, negative feeling and disconnection, rather than rebuilding connection.

If you had said you’d had enough and wanted to leave, my response would have been very different, but my sense is that you want to stay with him rather than feeling more conflict with him. If I’ve misinterpreted your intentions, then, just like everything else on the Internet, you can take what resonates with you and ignore anything that doesn’t 🙂

I have a view that it’s better to have access to a full tappas bar of perspectives to listen to and choose from, and even between a couple that have been together for a long time, each individual can have their own views/beliefs/values that drives their outward behaviour, often without them even realising it. Attempting to interpret this man’s behaviour in the context of his sense of rejection (something research shows occurs a lot after the birth of a child) wasn’t an attempt to justify his behaviour, but to explain it in a way that might help you view it from a more connecting perspective rather than getting into a more “him versus me”, he’s selfish etc etc mindset. There are other perspectives that offer that view; I just offer an alternative that may or may not be correct, so you can take what I’ve written and decide for yourself if that could be what’s going on with him from the context of what you know about him as a man already. If he’s always behaving in this manner, even before the pregnancy, it’s up to you to weigh up if this behaviour is something you are not prepared to tolerate. But if he’s a generally decent man who normally is kind and considerate, what I’ve said could allow you to view him as just having a ‘blip’ and even save your marriage….

The point here is about intimacy. Things have changed, of course, with the arrival of a little one, but if you both try to make sex/intimacy one of life’s priorities, not as a chore or to please him, but as something that could bring you closer together on all levels, you may find things shifting for the better between you again. It can be such a powerful ‘connector’ for couples and it’s so easy to put off, but it’s another way of ‘connecting’ with each other and I can imagine he just wants to feel close and intimate with you again after the arrival of a new baby has brought such a steep learning curve and drastic change of lifestyle into both your lives.

You have all that rush of the love hormone oxytocin that helps with bonding with your new baby, something which happens physiologically with every feed naturally. But he doesn’t have that at all as men obviously can’t breastfeed, so his only source of hugs and kisses (and that delicious feeling of being loved) is now only interested in someone else, even if that someone else is his child. For men, when a new baby comes along and his partner falls totally in love with them, it can feel like she’s having an affair on an emotional and physical level, even if logically he knows it’s his own child that is taking all her attention away. But emotions are rarely logical!

So I offer this perspective to any new parents struggling with this issue, and strongly suggest that you recognise the need to keep intimacy alive in your relationship, prioritising it in ways that strengthen your connection. Heart3.2 copy

Further Resources:
https://www.powerofpositivity.com/5-ways-make-love-to-your-partner-without-having-sex/

http://www.5lovelanguages.com/

 

What if You Don’t Know What You Want to be When You Grow Up?

It’s a common question that people ask themselves as they go through life, and can cause a great deal of anxiety when you reach certain stages in life (such as choosing which GCSEs to focus on studying in high school, choosing a career to focus on etc) and you don’t know.  This great TED talk has answers for people just like you (and me!), who have reached middle-age and STILL don’t know what we want to be when we grow up…

What if Everything You ‘Know’ About New Year is Wrong??!

As we come to the end of a year and look towards the new one, it can be a time of unsettlement in our minds.  Our minds start to ask us questions as we attempt to evaluate and judge our worth against some benchmark we’ve mentally created; “What did I achieve this year?”, “What losses did I incur?”, “Did I achieve my goals?”, “Did I even bother to SET any goals?”, and then we can slip into a sense of ourselves as a failure when we don’t ‘measure up’ to our preconceived expectations.

We can mentally put pressure on ourselves JUST by focussing on the concept of a year as a finite resource, which is contrary to the concept that the universe is abundant. So we look at that concept of these 365/6 days defined as ‘2015’ and imagine we have to achieve X,Y,Z by the time they are ‘over’.

But that’s a mental construct that keeps us trapped into limited thinking. How about seeing each new day as the start of the next cycle of 365/6 days, and giving up the idea that any goal is to be achieved within the limited container of the 365 days that have been called ‘2015’, or we’re a ‘failure’?

My 2015, as our part of the world calls it, has been pretty bloody awful in many ways; lots of letting go and releasing old attachments, illness etc etc. But there were also some highlights in there too, which I’ve added to my Page of Gratitude 🙂  I’d previously written off this cycle of 365 days as unlikely to achieve anything positive in for my business, due to all the personal challenges and transformations I’ve been going through. BUT today I’ve signed up to start a 30 day challenge for December with a biz mastermind group I’m a member of, and I’m going to see what I CAN get done between my self-care days (what I call the ‘bad days’ when I don’t feel well enough to do anything!), and see today as the start of a new cycle of 365 days to move forward from!

Just because the rest of the world tells you a year starts on Jan 1st doesn’t mean you have to stick with that thinking! Nature didn’t define Jan 1st as the start of her new year – she just continues on her journey each day, regardless of the mental constructs some of us humans place on defining and labelling her 🙂 If she HAD to choose a date to label as her new year, she’d have probably chosen a time when she was in a state of renewal, like Spring. But then, we can’t even define THAT properly because the concept of Spring differs depending on where in the world you are! Which is why it’s kind of ridiculous to slap labels onto nature in the first place 😉

We can take that view too and start exactly where we’re at right now! In those terms, nothing has failed ‘this year’ because a 365 day cycle is constantly renewing itself, just like our whole bodies are in a constant state of renewal!

Hope that helps shift your perspective to a more positive place!

Much love and support to you all, Love Your Lifers, as always… Heart3.2 copy