Spiritual Influences on Mental Health

We all form unhealthy thinking habits.

I have recited that line as I begin the spiel to explain where unhealthy thinking originates so many times I can almost say it in my sleep. Client after client, I have explained the general concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy and how our thinking habits affect how we feel and therefore how we behave or react to situations. It’s such important information, yet so infrequently taught.

I used to wonder, though, how we could tell when presentation of mental health illness was a result of spiritual oppression, possession, or simply Mental Health. I’m realizing now that is not that cut and dry.

From a mental health perspective, we really do form thinking habits, whether positive or negative. We form core beliefs that shape how we view the world and interpret every situation we face. Like looking through colored glasses, they impact how we see and process our experiences.

Where do your core beliefs originate?

Did you grow up surrounded by criticism and anxiety? Anger? Depression? What are you surrounding yourself with now? Do you watch television shows that dwell on those themes? Do you spend time with people who respond in those ways?Sometimes core beliefs form as a result of abuse or traumatic experiences. Is that true for you?

Scripture says that the devil roams around the earth, looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

We know from scripture that satan is not omnipresent. As a created being, he can’t be everywhere at once. God is omnipresent and can take care of everyone at the same time. Satan’s following is limited. The demons that fell with him are limited. He works against us in different ways, but here, he and his demons commonly interfere by planting those seeds of thought. Fears, doubts, insecurities, thoughts of injustice… they begin to grow. He may whisper in our ear, “come on, you don’t really think they could love someone like you, do you?” “You have a right to be angry. How dare they do that to you.”

He stirs the pot.

“You have made too many mistakes for anyone to love you.”
“You’ll never be enough.”

These statements are such a stark contrast from last month’s affirmations, aren’t they?? Because they are lies!

He pokes and prods. He pours salt in wounds. He gets the water churning. He plants weeds among the healthy plants.

If we’re not alert, we fall for it. We take the bait and start chewing on those thoughts. They’re a bit like poorly prepared squid that seems to become more and more rubbery the more you chew.

While you’re busy chewing, and really working those thoughts over in your head, he’s free to move on to the next individual and wreak havoc there too.

The thinking habit takes shape.

If we start to realize it and make changes, around he comes again to fight a little harder. He wants to keep us distracted, and defeated. He doesn’t want us to replace that unhelpful self talk with truth because then he can’t win. He wants us to keep the “stinking thinking.”

So, as we say about the stinking thinking, we have to change it. If you’ve followed Every Day Incredible at all, I’m sure you’ve heard a few ideas by now about how to catch and challenge the negative thoughts that come.

Some tips are:

1. Keep a record of how often you have the negative thoughts. Use a journal, use a thought record smartphone app. Use your phone. Just keep track, whatever you do. As you become more aware, it becomes easier and easier to resist.
2. Surround yourself with people who are in the habit of focusing on the truth rather than the lies of satan.
3. Replace the negative thoughts with affirmations, scripture, and prayer.

The more you recognize those unhelpful thoughts, the stronger you become in the war against any evil forces of this world. Like Jesus as He was tempted in the desert by satan, challenge those temptations and lies with what you know to be truth – what can be backed by Scripture.

What truths can become part of your defense against evil forces? Come discuss this and your own wellness goals in the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group. Be sure to check out the Victory Wall and share when you are able to successfully resist the negative thinking habits. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do you find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Stinking Thinking: Special Guest Episode

Hey, ladies! It’s a surprise bonus episode! My three-year-old, Keegan chose the topic for this episode, and I thought you all may enjoy.

 

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

What suggestions do you have for changing the stinking thinking? What stinking thinking invades your thoughts?

Come to the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group to discuss!

Resist the Devil and He Will Flee From You (Affirmations Series #5)

Throughout this month, we have focused on affirmations as positive, healthy, and helpful self-talk. However… affirmations are not limited to self-talk. We live in a society that is quick to point out the negative. Any time spent on social media will certainly highlight this! Check out any political post, any article on public breastfeeding, or …. Well… really, any article that goes viral and is seen by keyboard warriors who care nothing about the poster or person referenced. It is both frightening and discouraging how quick people can be to tear others down just because they can.

We talked last week about the spiritual influences around us, and this is no different! The spiritual battlefield is real, and finding balance means we have to learn to acknowledge it for what it is. With that said, I’d like to turn this post toward affirming those around us.

Negativity can be an easy habit to form and a hard one to break. How many of you have found yourself in a vicious cycle of “no, stop, don’t” with your children, or in pointing out the negative in situations you face with your spouse? Telling yourself it’ll never get better? Telling your friends only the “bad stuff” happening to you?

I know I have! It wears us all down if we get into that mode. Misery loves company, so the saying goes. BUT… I’d like to stop here and share the verse that has played over and over in my head lately.

 

James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

I am realizing more and more what resisting the devil really looks like. It’s not only telling him to go away (but I totally do that too, in determined defiance), but it also looks like replacing those negative thoughts, criticisms, and hopeless statements with what we know is true and healthy. It looks like going against that sinful, selfish human nature when you are tempted to fire back a jab when your feelings are hurt. It looks like giving your child a hug when you feel like screaming. It looks like going to your spouse and saying, “I love you, how can we work on this together?” instead of slamming the door as you walk away.

 

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

 

I’m being completely real with you when I tell you, I had really gotten myself pulled into that negativity cycle for a while. With God’s help, I’m really working to change that. This morning, my 6 year old dumped his entire bowl of cereal in his lap. I kept my cool. He helped clean it up, the morning went on, and there was a lot of giggling going on about various things that happened (such as letting my three year old brush MY teeth so he wouldn’t whine about me brushing his… THAT was entertaining). At one moment, I looked at my husband and commented on the difference. I realized THAT is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice.

In another recent situation, I said something through text that came across poorly. It nearly caused a big blow-up between my husband and me. I felt that nagging temptation to snap at the response (though I completely understood how it had come across and why he was upset). I hesitated. I responded with an apology and reminding him that I love him and I didn’t mean for the statement to come across like it had. The moment passed, and it didn’t escalate. I later realized again… THAT was is what resisting the devil often looks like in practice. I thanked God and thought, “Ha! you didn’t play me that time, satan!”

I’m learning how important it is to not only resist the devil for my own self, but also to build up those around me. I’m trying to make a conscious effort to give more frequent affirmations to my family and others I encounter. Have you heard something positive about someone you know? Tell them. Is your spouse having a tough time at work? Tell him how appreciated he is. Tell your kids how great they are. Be sure you are taking time to acknowledge what is true of those around you. You will often be able to see their strengths much more quickly than they will. Help them resist the devil’s tactics by affirming them every chance you get with what you know is true. I’d like to get you started with some examples, but I would love for you to share your own as well!

 

You are loved.

You are appreciated.

You are a great kid!

You are such a great worker.

You inspire me when you _______.

I’m so thankful you are my husband.

I’m so thankful for your friendship.

You are a great listener.

You are a blessing to me.

You brighten my day.

You bring me joy.

You did such a great job with that.

You rock!

I’m so thankful to be your mommy.

You make me smile!

You are doing fantastic, thank you!

 

 

Think about what affirmations you would love to hear from others. Can you think of someone else who needs to hear the same? Tell them!

I’d like to leave you with one more passage for the week.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on finding Christ-centered life balance. What areas of life do find are most difficult to balance? I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

15 Affirmations to Survive Parenthood (Affirmation Series #4)

Parenting is tough.  Any of you out there who are parents, this post is especially for you, but even if you don’t have children, I think you can still gain something from it. Before we get to some helpful affirmations about parenting, I’d like to share a personal spiritual growth moment with you.

One night recently, I was reading the story of Balaam’s talking donkey to my children. As I read it to them, I felt God speaking to my heart. First, I want to back up though. Because of some life experiences this year, I’ve been paying more and more attention to the fact that there is a very real and active spiritual realm around us. While scripture makes frequent references to it, it seems we don’t often treat it as real, and even as I was writing out this post, I had that inner voice ask me if I was sure I wanted to talk about it because… well, people don’t talk about these things. It’s something that makes people look like fanatics, right? Well… to that, I say, hush, satan. Leave me alone. I’m going to share about it anyway because it’s very real.

I’ve been reading more about spiritual warfare over the past few months and coming to some major realizations. I believe some of satan’s biggest methods of attack are found in that inner voice. Self-doubt and criticism, resentment and anger, distraction, and the list goes on. My husband and I have three boys here on Earth. They are six, three, and a newborn. Yes, in response to the question I often get, I do have my hands full. But, I love my boys more than I could even say. Obviously, they are kids, and if anybody wonders about sinful, selfish nature, just watch kids for a little bit. Yes, we are all born with it. Before children learn to put themselves after others, the world revolves around them in their own minds. In today’s society especially, we see lots and lots of individuals who never really learn that. It creates a lack of compassion and a lack of happiness. As we discussed in the post about what we can learn from the world’s happiest man, it takes thinking outside ourselves to be truly happy.

Okay, now back to the Bible Storytime. I chose the story of Balaam and the talking donkey because I thought my boys would enjoy it. It turns out, there was a real lesson for me in it.

Balaam was not doing what God want him to do, and was trying to go in the opposite direction. If you remember the story, there was an angel of the Lord in the path in front of him with a sword, ready to do battle. The donkey could see him, but Balaam could not. The donkey veered off the path into a field, and Balaam struck him. When the angel moved further up the path, the donkey tried to avoid him by walking against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. Again, Balaam was angry and hit the donkey. A third time, the angel stood in the path where there were walls on both sides and there was no way to avoid him. So the donkey laid down. For a third time, Balaam became angry and hit the donkey.
At this point, the donkey spoke. It asked Balaam why he had hit him the three times. Balaam responded that he was angry that the donkey had made a fool of him. As I told my boys, if a donkey were talking to me, looking like a fool would be the least of my concerns at the moment. I would be more focused on the fact that a donkey was talking to me. But not Balaam.
He was so caught up in his anger and that underlying fear and belief that other people would think he looked like a fool. Then God open his eyes and allowed him to see the angel as well. The angel also asked him why he had hit his donkey, and told him that he was acting foolishly…. by not following God’s leading.
So I’ve read the story many times, but as I was reading it to my boys, it had a much different impact. Balaam had gotten so angry at his donkey that he hit him three times. The Donkey was responding to something the Balaam couldn’t see… Something in the spiritual realm.
I thought of my role as a mom. Sometimes it is so tough. When the kids are not listening, tearing up household items, dragging out a mess, Etc. It can all really try my patience sometimes- especially when I’m tired and overwhelmed because of other life stresses. I try to keep my cool, but I am definitely not perfect.
I know that kids often respond to being overtired, being over stimulated, having sensory needs that are not being met, if they’re sick or tired… Yet sometimes I still act like they are simply just being stubborn like donkeys. But that’s not even the truth. I think satan uses all of those things to try to keep us focused in the wrong directions. He tries to tear us down using all the distractions of life, whispering those lies into our ears about how we’re not good enough parents or how our children are simply trying to make us mad. It’s not true. Kids react to their environments and their bodies and any number of other influences. They are just figuring out this whole thing called life, and so are we.
Now I find myself praying that I will have my own eyes opened to the influences my kids have to face. I almost cried reading the story to my boys because I felt like it was really putting me in check. I always try to keep my cool, but I need to work on reminding myself of affirmations I need to hear most. My boys are not trying to work against me as much as it may feel like they are. When they are sick, tired, have too much sugar, have been over stimulated… Satan will use all of those things if we let him. But I know what scripture says, and I know that if we resist satan that he has to flee. In the name of Jesus. Because greater is He who lives in us than he who lives in the world.
So ladies, in this moment, I’m asking all of you to pray for me and my household, and I am praying for you and yours. I hope to hear from you in the Every Day Incredible ladies Facebook group where we can all keep one another accountable. We all need reminders, and that’s just what affirmations do. They help keep the truth fresh in our minds so we can resist satan’s attempts to bring us down and distract us from God’s will for us. He wants to disrupt our balance and steal our joy, we need to call him out in the name of Jesus and cling to our joy in Christ.
I’d like to end this post with some affirmations. Share with us which affirmation hits home for you, whether it is on this list or not.

 

My children rely on me to be a spiritual example.

I enter each day with my kids’ best interest at heart.

I am growing and learning as a parent.

I learn and grow from my mistakes.

My children bring me joy.

God gave me exactly what my children need from me.

My children were designed for me!

I was designed for my children.

God always gives me what I need just what I need it and I can trust Him to continue.

Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.

I focus on what is true and helpful for my family.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

My children respond to their environment and I can be a positive influence on them.

I have the strengths and resources I need to parent my children well.

My children are resilient and I can continue to help them grow and learn.

 

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for our final post in the August Affirmations series. I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

 

Where Affirmations Are Born: Finding Affirmations That Work for You (Affirmations Series #3)

A few weeks ago, we talked about how to be happy by taking advice from a man considered to be the happiest man alive – to think positive thoughts, meditate on compassion, and focus on others instead of self. Week before last, my dear hubby shared his thoughts on using affirmations to release the juggernaut within. Last week, we talked about using affirmations to build on your grit and increase your success in life.

In fact, if you have been following this blog at all, you have already seen multiple references to the power of affirmations, or positive self-talk that is healthy and helpful. In this post I want to talk to you about finding affirmations that work for you. Affirmations will be different for every individual. It wouldn’t be very helpful if everyone had the same affirmation because not everyone has the same struggles.

When you are deciding what affirmations you would like to focus on each day, start by looking at the areas of the biggest struggle for you. We’ve talked about doing thought records and recording details about arguments or situations that cause distress for you, then looking more closely to explore what thoughts or beliefs may have influenced those situations. When you’re looking at what your underlying thoughts are, and working to challenge any unhelpful/unhealthy thoughts or beliefs by replacing them, that is where affirmations are born.

Affirmations need to be positively stated (try to avoid any “negative” words such as don’t, not, can’t, etc.), present tense, and true. Whether you find an affirmation that resonates with you from a list of affirmations, connect with a scripture passage that states a message you need to hear often and make into a habitual thought, or you come up with your affirmation by challenging an unhealthy belief, it’s important to make an effort to repeat the affirmation until it becomes more of a habit than the unhelpful self-talk was. Be creative in finding ways to keep your chosen affirmation fresh in your mind. I’ve given you lots of suggestions for this, but I’d love to hear YOUR ideas! Comment here or visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group to share your ideas (or ideas you find on pinterest of course).

In the meantime, I encourage you to find the affirmations that work best for you. Here are some examples:

 

I like myself.
I am enough.
I exist free of fear.
I can do it.
I achieve the goals I set for myself.
I am loved.
I’m a loved child of the Most High God.
I live and follow God’s perfect plan for my life each day.
Success is within my reach.
I have the right to feel how I feel.
I am proud of my progress.
I am proud of my success.
I am proud of myself.
I am secure in my identity as a child of God.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I am likable.
I am lovable.
I am interesting.
I trust God and His plans for my life.
I have access to the resources I need.
My life has meaning and purpose.
I have a right to say no.
I have hope.
I am calm and confident.
I am responsible.

What affirmations do you need to hear most?

If you would like some more personalized support as you work to balance your life through affirmations, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more thoughts on how affirmations can help you find balance! I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

The Grit that Leads to Success (Affirmations Series #2)

Last week, we had a guest post from my dear hubby, Aaron, about Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within. Think for a moment of the most successful people you know. Think about their attitudes and their actions. What stands out about them compared to others? What characteristics do they have that set them apart from the rest? How are you like them or different than them?

I recently listened to a TED talk by Angela Duckworth about what makes people successful. She spoke about her research and how she discovered that the common factor in successful people is what she referred to as “grit.” Dr. Duckworth describes grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

The successful people I know definitely have grit. They are the ones who are able to stay focused. They are the ones that are resilient and keep getting up every time they get knocked down in life.

Dr. Duckworth went on to reference “Growth Mindset,” an idea presented by Carol Dweck of Stanford University. She describes growth mindset as the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed; that it can change with your effort. Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.”

What I take away from this TED talk is the power of positive affirmations. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy revolves largely around, as we’ve discussed before, “changing the stinking thinking.” As she noted, the ability to learn is not fixed; it can change with your effort. Thinking habits are not set in stone, they can be adapted to be more healthy and helpful. Practicing the mindset that you can be successful regardless of failure can dramatically shift the direction of your life.

It’s safe to say that if you indulge in thinking that you aren’t enough, that you are a failure, that you can’t be successful… you’ll be right. A growth mindset is what gives you the grit to hang on and keep pushing your way forward even through difficult times.

What about you? Are you gritty? Do you stick with your goals and plans because you believe you are capable, or do you let the fears and doubts knock you down and rob you of your grit like a city street mugging?

I agree with Dr. Duckworth that you can’t teach grit. But if someone is seeking to develop grit, it can be acquired. What unhelpful thoughts rob you of your grit? I wanted to give you some ideas of affirmations that may help you work toward a growth mindset. To gauge your own grit level, you can visit Dr. Duckworth’s site at https://angeladuckworth.com/grit-scale/. Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies’ facebook group to share your grit score and offer encouragement to one another.

I’d like to leave you with our Bible verse for this week, and it is found in Philippians chapter 4, verse 13. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” This verse is a great reminder and affirmation to help you practice your growth mindset and grow your grit. If you are focused on seeking God’s will for your life, you truly can do anything He puts in front of you. I want to encourage you to keep this verse in the front of your mind however you can. Add it to a post-it and put it on your mirror, above your coffee pot, on your computer screen – anywhere you will see it often. Set it as a reminder on your phone. Write it on a card and put it in your wallet so you see it every time you open it. Practice it. Exercise your thoughts like you would exercise your body to prepare for a marathon. It is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint.

If you would like some more personalized support as you develop your gritty worldview, check out the “take the next step” tab here at everydayincredible.net. Check back next week for more affirmations to help you develop a gritty worldview. I look forward to hearing from you in the groups and want you to remember that every day is full of opportunities, so make every day incredible!

Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within (Affirmations Series #1)

  1. Brian Tracy once stated, “Using affirmations… our potential is literally unlimited.” I would certainly agree with his assessment. Affirmations are without a doubt one of the most powerful personal development tools I have come across in not only my quest to realize my full occupational potential, but also in dealing with fear and anxiety. In addition to being an incredibly powerful stand-alone tool, I have also experienced that they work quite effectively when paired with goal setting and visualization as part of a daily personal and professional development routine.

For example: Each morning, I pour my favorite donut shop blend coffee in my giant Captain America mug, grab the day by the invisible horns, and say “Alright day. The stage awaits, so let’s rock!”

My rhythm section, if you like, consists of goals and affirmations. The work I do in my goals journal acts as my in-the-pocket beat commander. For those of you unskilled in the art of being a wannabe rock star – I’m referring to my imaginary personal development drummer. Along with goals, affirmations add some attitude and flavor to the established focus areas by laying down some beastly low end and supplying an abundance of drive and determination. This rock n’ roll party (think Paul Stanley) all gets kicked off within the first hour of being awake. How do you think this sets the tone for the remaining 23 hours? Since establishing this routine, I have personally experienced a dramatic increase in my willingness to get into the work day and immediately take on tasks that might normally frustrate or discourage me.

It is very possible at this point you could be asking yourself “what is an affirmation?” That’s actually a great question. An affirmation is simply a positive and assertive statement that can be repeated out loud, as self talk, for many different purposes.

You might develop affirmations for personal growth, professional development, achievement, success, or any number of topics.

In my case, I personally relied on affirmations for dealing with fear and anxiety prior to ever using them in the context of achievement or any similar topics. For example, one of my favorite affirmations for anxiety reads “I exist free of fear.”

Compared to the effect that goal setting has had in getting me laser-focused like the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair going after a figure-four leg lock, affirmations have been wildly successful in pairing that focus with a fired-up attitude towards success and achievement.

Here are a few additional examples of affirmations I use regularly:

– “I can do it.”
– “I am responsible.”
– “I feel incredible.”
– “I earn $________ per year, as an exceptional _________.”
– “I achieve the goals I set for myself.”
– “I am unstoppable.”

I should also mention that in my experience, there is no more powerful mental quality to be equipped with in life than resilience. When it comes to affirmations, one of the most important side effects I have noticed is that I am able to rebound far more quickly from rejections, disappointments, and outright failures at any time they may occur. Prior to my current routine this was definitely not the case for me. Affirmations have also provided me with the mental clarity to recognize and be reminded that failure does not exist in and of itself. Failure, in my opinion, is a very important stepping stone to success. Failure is to success as Peter Parker’s spider bite is to swinging from buildings via self-generated web.

What kind of experience have you had with affirmations? Are you in need of a tool in your daily routine that may have the ability to drown out negativity while increasing the level of optimism, resilience, drive, and excitement in your life? No matter where you are in your personal development journey it’s never a bad idea to begin incorporating affirmations into your daily routine. Don’t wait until a better time to begin learning more about the amazing resources that are available at your fingertips. Make a decision to unleash your inner juggernaut today and feel the positive effect that affirmations can make for you!

Are you ready to learn more about the unbelievably positive effect that affirmations could have in your life? Visit http://www.EveryDayIncredible.net and pick up some tips, tricks, motivation, and entertainment for your personal development journey!

Beating Anxiety: Freedom from Fear and Negativity

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I’ll never forget that Monday morning.  June 17th, 2013.  It was the only morning I had ever experienced quite like it…

Panic.  A complete and total state of fear had somehow overtaken my body during sleep.  That morning, as I rose to consciousness, I was nauseous, sweating, breathing heavier than usual, and somehow hyper-sensitive to the fact that if my feet touched the floor only bad things would happen.

This, boys and girls, was my first go-round with anxiety.

Unfortunately, this first time experiencing the full effect of anxiety’s pleasure-less curb stomp was just that – the first time.

The daily struggle was so intense that for the following 8 months my life was completely shaken.

The beauty of that anxious week-starter was that it required me to reach a low I had never experienced.  From that low, I was able to begin crafting the life that I wanted to experience more than anything:  a closer walk with God, an abundantly loving relationship with my family, freedom from fear, freedom from debt, and enjoying the career I had been blessed with instead of approaching it with crippling fear and the paralyzing concern of making a mistake.

Thankfully, all of the resources I needed to rid my life of anxiety made their way to me in the coming months.

Since then, over 18 months later, I’ve become incredibly passionate about this topic of anxiety.  Although my experience with anxiety was a difficult and unwelcome one, in retrospect I am very thankful for it.  You see, without being forced to confront my anxiety I wouldn’t have discovered books and audio books on goals, affirmations, visualization, achievement, and a plethora (one of my favorite words) of other tools and resources that helped me lay a beat-down on fear.

Now, as I tell myself each morning, “I exist free of fear.”

And if you are reading this – I want the same thing for you.  My goal for Every Day Incredible is that anybody struggling with fear and anxiety or challenges in their life would have access to resources and encouragement that will enable them to punch fear in the mouth, make a decision to craft the life they have been dreaming of, raise both fists in the air, and scream in an obnoxiously loud fashion, “I REFUSE TO BE DENIED!!!”

In summary, 4 ways to beat anxiety are:

  1. Be positive…

I decided early on in my dealings with anxiety that nothing good would come for me as a result of being negative.  I mean, one of the fundamental things we picked up in math was that a negative X a positive = a negative, right?  I remind myself of this regularly these days when the mental weeds pop up in my mind.  If those same mental weeds are popping up in your mind, try this:  Read Jeremiah 29:11, claim positivity (yes, out loud), and begin thinking of not only the exciting things that tomorrow holds – really give yourself a chance to dwell upon and be excited about the positive things that your life holds for you right now that you may be overlooking.

2.  Believe you are, you can, and you will…

As I’ve listened to Brian Tracy say in “The Psychology of Achievement” many times, “nobody is better than you, nobody is smarter than you… you have more potential in you than you could ever tap into in 100 lifetimes.”  Make a decision right now, make it a do-or-die decision, put it on paper right now (yes, I’m serious), and leave the fear that has plagued you for far too long securely in the rear view.

     3.  Take control…

I came to a pretty simple conclusion a few months into my struggle:  “It’s my life – I’m responsible.  It’s my attitude – nobody else can change it.”  Although, initially, there were days that this affirmation didn’t have the result I was hoping for, eventually it made all the difference in my anxiety-fractured world.  When I accepted that this struggle was mine and mine alone to deal with, I got confrontational with it.  I talked to it (yes, out loud).  Sometimes in the house (not sure if anybody heard me?), sometimes in the car (yes, I’m pretty sure passers-by saw me and wondered…), but always reminding whatever fear occupied me that the party was over.  I made a decision that I was once again taking over the role of party host, and that this body and this earthly existence were given to me by my God Almighty along with a very detailed instruction manual that reminds me to “FEAR NOT” many, many times within its pages.

     4.  Have freedom… from fear, negativity, and those who inspire fear and negativity in your life. 

I’ll focus on the last part of that bullet point.  I have formulated a humble but accurate opinion that negativity is as or more contagious than any illness or disease we will ever experience as human beings.  As a part of my recovery, I engineered a Negativity Radar (c) (TM) (Patent Pending).  It’s awesome.  It’s a box-like structure that is Stanley Thermos green, remotely wired to my psyche and emotions, and it beeps within my innards when my spidey-senses ((c) 2015 Peter Parker Enterprises, LLC) start to tingle and advises that I’m within the realm of negativity’s dark presence.  Often times, this “presence” comes in the form of other people.  And often it takes the shape of them verbalizing their life’s minor inconveniences or poor decision results that manifest themselves as problems in their lives.  Sometimes it’s opinions – you know, “ahh, the little guy can’t get ahead”, “you’ll never be debt free”, “you’ll always have a car payment”, “you can’t start a business in this economy”, “insert misc. negatively-spouted garbage that’s a waste of gray matter here”, or whatever else they can pour on you like Nickelodeon slime to suffocate your life’s awesomeness.  Do yourself a favor and create some space when you notice your radar getting active.  When your radar is jamming some old-school funk, like blasting “Ladies Night” by Kool and the Gang – don’t create space.  Run away.  Far away, as in Luke Skywalker leaving Tatooine, far away.  Get out of town as it relates to those people.  “But dude, some of those people are family!”  I concur.  “Hey man, they might be offended.”  Yes, they’ll be offended and you’ll be in the break room at work doing the robot as you wait for the Keurig to finish your donut shop blend.  I’ve done it (the separation and the robot).  It’s hard (the separation more than the robot – but both have their complexities).  It feels weird at first.  You’ll get used to it. Some will take it personally. For sure.  Yes, in all cases… but choose the robot.

As you work to conquer anxiety and live life free of fear, remember that life gives us opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

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