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!

Using Affirmations to Release the Juggernaut Within (August 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!

The Monster in the (Emotional) Closet

 A few weeks ago, we discussed the dangers of “stuffing,” or putting off dealing with emotional events because they seem like they would be too difficult to manage. The problem is that putting off dealing with difficult emotions doesn’t make them go away. The pent-up emotions keep building until you spring an emotional leak. We’ve all had them. They often come out in the forms of anxiety, depression, anger, health problems, or some combination. Simple point – it’s not healthy to let your emotions sit and simmer. We have to deal with them to find a healthy balance.
When we talk about “dealing with issues,” we’re generally talking about unpacking them so you can explore them, name them, and lay the back down so they’re not controlling you.
If you imagine being a kid and looking over to the closet at night because you thought you saw something move…. in the closet, you see something that seems to be peeking around the door, and it’s furry…. so your brain fills in the gaps…. and in your mind, it’s a huge, furry, mean monster with big teeth capable of eating you in just a few bites…. you tell yourself you should go check it out, but then convince yourself it’s just too big and you wouldn’t survive…. but then eventually, either you work up courage, or a parent comes in the room, opens the closet door, and turns on the light.
Then, you see it’s a pair of fuzzy house slippers. and you realize you can totally handle that.
If we stuff emotions in long enough, they grow and grow into these big monsters we tell ourselves we wouldn’t be able to handle if we were to release them from the closet.  In reality, what looked like it could devour us in childhood… maybe as an adult it looks a little different and we can handle it better than we’ve given ourselves credit for.
It’s time for a spring cleaning of your emotional closet.
1. Come up with a plan… what are you going to do with the items in the closet (how are you going to cope with the difficult emotions? What healthy coping skills can you use if you begin to feel overwhelmed?  How can you allow yourself to enjoy the positive in what you find buried under the difficult, etc.?)? As you get started, be sure to pray for wisdom and guidance.
2. Open the closet door and turn on the light. Allow yourself to acknowledge what is IN your emotional closet.
3. Take the items out of the closet, one at a time, taking time to name each item and allow yourself to experience it. Take coping breaks as needed. Use a journal to write about what you find, or talk to a trusted friend, spouse, therapist, or mentor.
4. When you come across something that is overwhelming, stick to your coping plan and recognize that you have the ability to get through it… then celebrate the progress when you do. If you are feeling overwhelmed (or even if you’re not), be sure to find a mental health professional to help you through the process.
5. Keep moving forward, one piece at a time, until you have worked through the piles.
As you do some spring cleaning, you’ll realize you are now looking at all those things piled in that emotional closet from an adult perspective, rather than the child perspective you had when you pushed them all in there. Even emotional baggage that was shoved in the closet as an adult will be a different experience when you look at it after taking a break from it. Give yourself some grace and remember that you can’t expect your past self to have dealt with those emotional piles from your present perspective.
You have the strengths it takes to tackle those monsters in the closet. Once you flip on the light, you may be pleasantly surprised to find a pair of fuzzy house slippers.
Come on over to the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group and talk to us about what strengths you think can help you and the other ladies like you as you work on cleaning out your emotional closets!

Setting SMART Goals to Stay Motivated

How long has it been since you took the time to revisit your goals. We’ve been talking about figuring out where you’re going, what your personal mission is, and more, so today I wanted to dig a bit deeper into goal setting.

In the grand scheme of things, where do you want to be in 6 months? 6 years? What are the big goals you want to achieve?

If you could really nail it down, looking into your future, what are your top priority goals that, when you reach them, you can look around and think, “This. This is what I wanted to do. I have succeeded.” Obviously, we always have goals, but what big goals are next?

When you are setting goals and finding motivation to move forward, it is very helpful to be very clear, and use “SMART” Goal-setting.  SMART goals are goals that are:

S- Specific  M- Measurable  A- Attainable  R- Realistic  T- Time-based

When your goals are SMART, it gives you more of a road map with a clear path highlighted.

Let’s apply it.

Goal(s) – What is the dream, vision, hope, or desired change? What will it look like when you have reached the goal? What will be different than your current situation? For example, maybe you have a goal to be able to rate your anxiety as a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 and it’s currently staying around a 7. Or maybe you want to meet a goal of improving your physical health, “as evidenced by” weight loss, loss of inches, improvement in bloodwork from your doctor, your self-rating of your energy level, or any other measurable goal. Do you have a professional goal, such as completing a certification? What goal or goals do you want to give focus right now?

Barriers What specific challenges stand between you and your goal(s)? Include challenges resulting from mental illness or addiction. Do you engage in negative self-talk? Hear a lot of criticism from others? Maybe you have a physical condition that keeps you drained and makes it difficult to focus. Everyone’s barriers will be unique in some way. What are yours?

Strengths  – What individual/family abilities, attributes, attitudes, past accomplishments, motivations, etc. can help you overcome barriers and reach your goal(s)? Be generous! Give yourself credit for your strengths! This is not the time to be modest, it’s a time to be real with yourself and acknowledge those strengths. What do you have going for you that is going to help you in your success?

Objectives – Specifically describe how you will be able to measure progress. Include action words and target date to complete your goals.         S- Simple M- Measurable A- Attainable R- Relevant/Realistic T- Time-based

What are the small steps you could take that lead up to the bigger steps? For example, if you want to complete the professional certification,  you may need to obtain a study guide, schedule time for review, complete necessary coursework, take practice exams, or organize a study group. Keep the steps doable so they aren’t overwhelming, and set a reasonable time-frame for each objective.

Interventions How can your support network help you? What specific things can others do help keep you on track and motivated?

 

Be sure to visit the Every Day Incredible Ladies Facebook group to find other ladies like you who are interested in supporting each other in their own goals. For a more personalized, private membership, check out “Take the Next Step” from the top menu at everydayincredible.net. I look forward to hearing about your goals!

What Every Christian Needs to Know About a Fellow Believer Who Struggles with Anxiety


20160128_082117_20160128150214272 (1)Have you ever been going through a difficult time, only to have a fellow Christian give you poor advice with good intentions? It can be pretty insulting sometimes!

In one of my darkest times, when I was buried in my grief fog, I was given the advice to, “just give it to God.” At the time, I sent a friend a very frustrated, venting text, exclaiming, “It’s already His! I have nothing left to hold!” For me, at that time, it had nothing to do with trusting God with the situation – I already DID trust God with it. The fact remained that I was hurting. Deeply. I know the advice was given with good intentions, but it wasn’t helpful. At all.

We’ve also all had times when, because we didn’t understand what someone else was going through, we have said or done something unhelpful or even hurtful. It happens.

As individuals,  it can be very difficult to try to understand what someone else is facing.  Even if we have experienced something similar,  we’re not going to be able to fully understand the layers of their unique experiences. Every person’s story is different, and that how it is designed to be.

With all of that said, for Christians who struggle with anxiety, feedback from others within the Church can be defeating, to say the least.

Advice from fellow believers may be propelled by good intentions, but come across as dismissive, destructive, and discouraging.

When I asked a dear Christian friend who struggles with anxiety what she thought should be included in a post with the title, “What every Christian needs to know about Fellow Believers who Struggle with Anxiety,” her input reinforced my thoughts as I worked on my outline for this article. So, feeling validated in what I want to share with you, I’d like to share what, from my professional experience, personal experience, and experiences of loved ones,  Christians who struggle with anxiety wish fellow believers would understand.

 

1.  Anxiety is a physical response to a perceived threat.Pixlr_20160129131411269_20160130003232215

While anxiety is also a descriptive word for emotions related to fear and worry, there are physical symptoms as well. Sometimes, our bodies have difficulty determining whether or not something is a legitimate threat, so they respond as if the threats are immediate and physical, even when they are not.

If you’re familiar with the concept of “fight or flight,” you probably already understand this. When our bodies sense danger (real or perceived), there is a series of physical reactions which take place that naturally prepare us to either fight or run away.

If you look at the physical symptoms of the body’s natural “threat system,” you’ll notice that they are basically an anxiety symptoms list – you’ll find the same symptoms experienced by someone struggling with significant anxiety.

It’s also important to note that there are many physical conditions that can prompt anxiety-like symptoms.

 

 

 Threat_System

2. Anxiety isn’t always a lack of faith.

 

True, sometimes anxiety could be due to a lack of faith, but often it comes more from an ambush of fearful thoughts that may have become habit over time, through life experiences. Controlling relationships, multiple failures or losses, learned behavioral habits from parents or other loved ones, or other complicated life struggles all work together to form what are known as “core beliefs” in our subconscious. We ALL form core beliefs, whether positive or negative. Even if we don’t recognize that the beliefs are there, they tend to form the basis of our reactions when there is a new experience that serves as a trigger.

For example, if someone from your past told you repeatedly that you’re worthless, that thought can be strongly rooted in your mind. Even if you don’t believe it’s true, it becomes easier to ACT like it’s true when facing new challenges. It’s how our brains work. (On the flip side, if we continually input good messages, it’s easier to act like they are true. Think Philippians 4:8!)

There is a reason that phrases such as, “Fear not!” are repeated so many times throughout scripture.

We’re human and see things from our own, limited point of view. The temptation to worry is common and can sometimes be overwhelming. For some, it can be debilitating.

 

3. You’re not going to say something that will miraculously “fix” the anxiety, and you’re not expected to try.

You’re off the hook! If a fellow believer is telling you about feeling anxious, it’s not your job to fix the problem by sharing quips such as, “Just give it to God,” “If you just had more faith…,” Maybe you shouldn’t have ______,”* or, “Don’t you have faith that God can take care of you?”

Generally, we know we need to give our struggles to God, right? It takes a constant effort.

Luke 9:23
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Daily. Pick up the cross- the symbol of self-sacrifice in favor of the will of God… daily. As I read that, it indicates to me that it is a constant, conscious effort. It’s only natural that some days may be more difficult than others. Knowing we need to do something doesn’t always make it easy.

*While anxiety is not a divine punishment, if God is convicting, anxiety can be a very real result. That is always something to give attention. As we pray, we need to listen if God is speaking correction to our hearts.

 

4. Nobody wants to be treated like a very-real struggle is “all in my head,” but we all want to feel validated!

True, anxiety is rooted in our thinking habits (among other factors, as discussed above), but just because a struggle is rooted in our thinking doesn’t make it not real. To be told something is all in our heads gives the impression that it’s not a legitimate struggle, or it doesn’t count as an affliction of some kind.

Again, nobody wants to be treated like that. We all want to be validated- reassured that what we’re going through is understandable and we haven’t lost touch with reality.

Even if you don’t understand what someone is experiencing, you can still be sympathetic and acknowledge how she is telling you she feels.

 

5. What really IS helpful is prayer, encouragement, and support.

Pray for peace, pray for comfort, pray for wisdom and discernment to be able to make good decisions about whatever struggle is ahead.

A Christian with anxiety is experiencing a constant struggle with believing that God loves them and will take care of them, while feeling afraid about day-to-day stressors, interpersonal interactions, self-doubt, and more. While quips that seem dismissive aren’t helpful, encouraging scripture and prayers can be. If you want to help, try it!

 

So, a recap of what CAN be helpful includes:

1. Don’t dismiss anxiety. It’s a real struggle, with real symptoms.

2. Validate. Even if you don’t personally understand the symptoms of anxiety, or the impact they can have, acknowledge the symptoms someone is telling you, and believe they are significant to that person. It’s a personal experience, and only the individual knows what his experience is.

3. Don’t accuse an anxiety-sufferer of not having faith, etc. Instead, encourage with prayer and scripture. (And please, don’t refer to problems by saying anything that begins with, “Well, at least….”)

4. Keep your negativity to yourself. Someone already struggling with anxiety needs to be surrounded with positivity.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
What would YOU add to this list?

 

Most of all, be loving; and when in doubt about what may be most helpful… ask!

 


For those of you who are struggling with anxiety, please check out our new eCourse,
How to beat anxiety in 5 steps!”
For less than the average price of an outpatient therapy session,
you can have a 6-week course delivered to your inbox!

Also, don’t forget to add your name to our mailing list to gain access to our free special report,
“7 Natural Methods to Reduce Anxiety”
and other freebies as they come available!

Remember, there are new opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

Beating Anxiety: Freedom from Fear and Negativity

Pixlr_20160131161811705

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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Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items from this page, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. This does not change the price you would pay, but does help support this ministry. Thank you for your support! Additionally, please note that the information provided at Every Day Incredible is not intended to replace individual treatment with a professional mental health provider. If you are not currently working with a mental health provider, you are encouraged to find one that is a good fit for you.