Let’s talk Uncertainty

My coaching and researching over the years have resulted in the awareness that stress and anxiousness are rooted in three main drivers. Only one of these drivers needs to be present for anyone to start experiencing nervousness. This can easily lead to feeling powerless over time.

The three drivers are:

  1. A perceived lack of control
  2. Perceived lack of information, knowledge, and wisdom
  3. Perceived lack of feeling safe and sure.

When these drivers present in our lives for extended periods, they can show up in our bodies as uncomfortable feelings like heaviness or resistance. We use names for these bodily feelings like fear, unease, worry, overwhelm, stress, and anxiety.

It’s Only Natural

As human beings, we naturally crave certainty. We want to feel safe and secure in our environment and for our future. Our ability to accept and live with heightened levels of uncertainty has become second nature since the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as the economy, employment, finances, and health (both mental and physical) are challenging us like never before.

Everyone is different in how much uncertainty they tolerate before they feel the strain on bodily and neurological systems. For some, taking risks and living unpredictable lives is fun, exciting and they can’t imagine running their lives any other way. For others, high levels of randomness are deeply distressing.

The bottom line is that we all have a limit and that if you are feeling overwhelmed by the current level of current uncertainty, you are not alone. Many people are experiencing the same emotions right now. Know that no matter how helpless and hopeless you may feel right now, there are valuable steps that you can take to better deal with the level of uncertainty, alleviate your anxiousness and allow you to face the unknown.

Learning to Copy

Let’s face it, this feeling of uncertainty is not going anywhere. It has been with us since the beginning of time and an unavoidable part of life over the millennia. Very little is constant and you can’t control everything that happens. The 2020 pandemic has shown us that life can change radically and very quickly.

To cope with uncertainty, we try to predict the future thinking that will help us avoid any nasty surprises. In many ways this is a waste of time and energy, as this type of thinking only leads to overwhelm and worry. Conjuring up endless scenarios of negative outcomes is simultaneously robbing you of the enjoyment and pleasure of the present moment. It saps your energy, eliminates joy and many times creates unwanted and unnecessary behavior and habits.

Two Coping Mechanisms

Two ways to cope with uncertainty are more healthily are:

  1. Focus on what you can control

Whatever your fears or personal circumstances are, instead of worrying about the uncontrollable, refocus your mind to acting over the aspects that are within your control. For example, if you are worried about your health during the pandemic, act by regularly washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, and avoiding crowds. You can also amplify your ability to control your outcome by relentlessly focusing on you and your family being healthy. Allow only those images and thoughts to come into your awareness. Refuse to engage in any dialogue that does not support this as a reality.

  1. Accept that life is uncertain

The one thing that is sure about life is that it is unsure – but that isn’t always a bad thing. For every unpleasant surprise, there are good things that happen out of the blue as well. Think about the job offer that appeared, the unexpected phone call from a friend, or the chance awareness of information when you needed it. An opportunity arises from the unexpected and learning to deal with uncertainty can allow you to reap the rewards of the unknown.

Life is filled with uncertainty and these times are especially trying with so much unknown. Taking positive steps to reduce your overall stress and anxiousness can help interrupt the downward spiral of a negative thought. It will help you find your inner calm, and better cope with the ups and downs in your life. If you are interested in learning how my proprietary coaching method, Rewire Your Mind® can help you go from stressing to progressing in 3 proven steps, click HERE for a complimentary consultation.

 

Newmarket Chamber Women in Business Luncheon

It was an honour to be chosen to be a co- panelist at this year’s Newmarket Chamber Women in Business Luncheon, along with Erin Cerenzia from Magna Neighbourhood Network and Jennifer Walker from Carruthers Financial. Both women had inspirational messages about corporate social responsibility and personal financial management. I led a discussion on living with anxiety and gave some insights and learnings from my own personal life experiences.

Living with Anxiety

Some of the key points outlined in my talk were:

  • Anxiety is our natural response to a perceived direct threat to our wellbeing. Whenever we sense a threat to our wellbeing our natural flight or fight response kicks in. This triggers our sympathetic nervous system and releases a cascade of hormones into our body such as adrenaline and epinephrine. These hormones cause a change in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and eyesight.
  • Anxiety becomes a problem when our flight or fight response is triggered by cues that are not threatening at all – either physically or otherwise. This is called an imagined threat as opposed to a real threat. This is known a maladaptive anxiety.
  • Maladaptive anxiety sets off “what if”, worse-case scenario thinking.
  • Maladaptive anxiety can also trigger a core negative belief(s) that is based in our unconscious thinking about ourselves.
  • This maladaptive anxiety is causing the same body response as adaptive anxiety that is caused by a real threat.
  • One of the key differences between maladaptive and adaptive anxiety is that unlike adaptive anxiety, maladaptive is not founded in reality or truth. It is chronic and never ending.
  • The key to reducing the experience of maladaptive anxiety and experiencing relief from the feeling of it in our body is to address the core negative beliefs that are deep in our unconscious thinking.
  • Addressing these negative core beliefs can be done through a number of approaches, one of them being through the recognized somatic treatment offered by NLP.

Let’s Connect

If you are interested in knowing how my coaching can help you manage your emotional state so that you are experiencing more joy and less fear, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Release Your Emotions and Redirect Your Thoughts

What emotions should I be feeling given what is going on in the world today? Given the level of uncertainty and unpredictability in our environment, it is appropriate and proportional to be feeling fear, overwhelm and anxiousness. These emotions appear when we feel our wellbeing is under threat. And who isn’t feeling that their life, health, and livelihood is under attack? What we want to watch out for however, is to not linger in these negative emotions for long periods of time.

So, what can we do to manage our emotional state? My suggestion is to apply two approaches that together, can move you gently and effectively out of negativity.

Approach #1:  Releasing

This step involves having awareness of what emotions you are feeling and accepting those emotions fully. Be careful not to shame yourself or call yourself down for having a negative emotion.

Just have awareness and appreciation for the awareness.

Next, recognize where or what triggered these negative emotions. Realizing what the trigger was is valid so that you avoid or reduce these triggers in the future and therefore increase the chances of staying out of negativity.

The last and most important step is to release your negative emotions. You can do this by a number of productive actions such as journaling, meditation, breath work or distracting yourself with a good book or movie.

Approach #2:  Redirect

In this next step, you are choosing to redirect your thinking to better feeling thoughts and therefore calm down any negative emotions. Be sure to choose sources for your information that are reliable and truthful. This is one of the best things you can do to redirect your thoughts.

Just like choosing organic produce to feed your body, you want to feed your mind with well-researched, balanced news facts.

Secondly, you want to recognize when you have consumed enough information and that additional information will not helpful or healthy. Be sure to avoid over-indulging in information and facts. This is the same as not wanting to over-indulge in food at a buffet table to avoid making yourself sick.

And lastly, choose to redirect your thoughts to any better feeling thought. Choose to think about the beauty of your family, the appreciation you have for your pets, the improvement of the weather now that spring is upon us, the deliciousness of your last meal, etc. Think about anything that makes you feel better. This redirection of your thinking will naturally pull your emotions out of negativity and into positivity and possibility.

By releasing your emotions and redirecting your thoughts in a conscious and conscientious way you can effectively manage your emotional state and move through any powerful external event.

Let’s Connect

If you are interested in knowing how my coaching can help you manage your emotional state so that you are experiencing more joy and less fear, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Living with Anxiety

Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Stress in this type of situation is normal and it is a proportional reaction to an external pressure. Most people will experience some form of anxiousness in their lives and for the majority, the feelings of nervousness and worry disappear as soon as the event has passed.

Anxiety Disorders

Having an anxiety disorder however is usually diagnosed when the cause that is triggering the person to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy has no apparent reason. New research shows that anxiety disorders can run in families and that they can have a biological basis much like allergies or diabetes. Anxiety disorders may also develop from a complex set of risk factors including personality and life events.

Anxiety dramatically reduces a person’s productivity and quality of life. For these reasons alone, it is imperative that the person struggling with these feelings seek help sooner rather than later.

Symptoms of Anxiety

If you are experiencing anxiety you are not alone. Over 20% of adults have expressed some degree of experience with anxiety. Some of the more common symptoms experienced are:

  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle pain, tightness or soreness
  • Difficulty sleeping (both falling asleep or staying asleep)

Anxiety is all about worry and fear. Worry and fear happens when something causes you to learn to be scared and worried. This learning process affects your thoughts and your body, for example by causing your heart to race or excessive sweating. You can address your anxiety by examining your thoughts and physical reactions that are happening in your mind and body. For example, you can re-learn how to be around the thing that scares you and NOT react with fear.  This is done by reprogramming your thinking and behavioural habits.

How to Address Anxiety

Some examples of how to address anxiety are:

Coaching or Therapy: There are many different types of coaching as well as therapy options. It can be a great way to change behaviours, gain confidence, learn new skills and talk with someone openly and honestly.

Support Groups: Support groups are made up of individuals with similar experiences who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Talking to people who are also going through the same experience can make you feel less alone and more connected. It also creates a space where people can share what has worked for them.

Medication: Medications prevent your body from reacting in a fearful way. They create a sense of calmness by slowing down your brain activity.

Lifestyle Changes: Research has shown that exercise, meditation and yoga can all improve mood and overall well-being. Research also shows the importance of nutrition and certain supplements in supporting brain and mood. Other things like taking time to take care of yourself, trying activities you enjoy, and spending time with people or environments where you feel supported can help as well.

While there is no specific answer, there are many options and combinations of options that can all address living with anxiety. It can take some time to find what works for you and sometimes just knowing that there are approaches to try can be all that we need in this moment to feel calm.

Watch for my next blog where I discuss the best stress reduction techniques.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

If you are curious about how my coaching services can help you access your greater, unlimited self and move you away from a life of anxiety, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy

Thinking Errors That Cause Anxiety

Wherever You Go, There You Are is a wonderful book on mindfulness written by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It reminds us that we cannot escape our thinking and that no matter what we do, our mindset goes with us. We can try to run away from ourselves by vacationing, shopping, eating and so on however, it is still you who is doing all of those things.

The Anxious Mental Narrative

For those of us who experience anxiety, our mental narrative tends to be skewed to the negative disproportionally and inappropriately. Since our thoughts are often not realistic and instead fabrications of our over-active and often destructive imagination, our lives get tossed around like a leaf blowing in a windstorm. We end up feeling overwhelmed and in a state of panic by the narrative that we are playing in our minds. We spend more energy and time reviewing what may be showing up as opposed to enjoying the beauty and peace of the present moment.

The best strategy to deal with this internal narrative is to first to realize that our thoughts are not always based on fact and that often these thoughts can lead to problems in our lives. Who hasn’t had a conversation with someone based on some crazy assumption that was conjured up in our own mind, only to find that the assumption was completely without merit? If you are lucky, you walked away only with egg on your face. However, sometimes these conversations lead to the destruction of a relationship. How about the dialogue that we tell ourselves about our health? If you are honest with yourself, is your self-talk helping you or hurting your health?

We all slip into erroneous thinking from time to time. Noticing and gently amending our thinking errors can help prevent anxiety from overwhelming us. Anxiety is often the outcome of a barrage of negative thinking – so give it up, like a bad habit.

The Thinking Errors of Anxiety

Here are the main thinking errors that anxious people tend to gravitate towards. Do you recognize any of these?

  1. Catastrophizing

This is the thinking error that I am most familiar with. I have to purposefully change this thinking every day. This way of thinking is about imagining things are much worse than they actually are. It becomes like a snowball going downhill once you let in a negative thought. It sounds a lot like, “It’s all hopeless”, or “it’s the end of the world”. The best strategy is to remind yourself that there are many ways that things can work out.

  1. Disqualifying the Positive

This is the “Yeah, but…” thinking style. This thinking style involves taking anything that is positively presented and disqualifying it and slamming it with a negative angle. It is seeing the glass half empty instead of half full. It is seeing the whole week as bad when we had maybe one bad day or maybe only one bad hour or meeting. By seeing the positive along with the negative, this thinking error can be toned down simply.

  1. Overgeneralization

When you overgeneralize, you think that “one bad apple ruins the bunch”. It is taking an experience and assuming that all experiences will go that way. For people with anxiety, overgeneralizing greatly limits their world because they tend to avoid repeating any experience that may have not gone to plan in the past. Recognizing the thought pattern and pushing oneself to face the experience again is the best way to change this habit.

  1. Mindreading

We sometimes convince ourselves that we are psychic, and that we know exactly what another person is thinking. When we do, we are trying to mindread. We never know what someone else is thinking and yet we hear ourselves saying “I know that he/she doesn’t like me.” When you catch yourself mindreading, challenge yourself with a simple question such as, “how do I know with certainty?”

  1. Black and White Thinking

Do you allow for shades of grey in your thinking? Is it all or nothing? Is your thinking, “you are either with me or against me”, or “take it or leave it”? Black and white thinking does not allow for options to be discovered and many times the answers to the problems causing our anxiety come from solutions that we could never have imagined. Recognize that shades of grey do exist and can open up to new ideas and amazing outcomes.

Regardless of if you are wanting a better personal or professional life, recognizing the thinking that is triggering your anxiousness and replacing it with more constructive thinking is a great way to experience more calmness. Soon you will see how you can re-write the story of your daily life in a more productive and happier manner with a lot less anxiousness.

If you are curious about how my coaching can help you permanently change your thinking errors and allow you experience a life with less anxiousness, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

Let’s Connect 

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing! 

If you are curious about how my coaching services can help you access your greater, unlimited self and move you away from a life of anxiety, sign up for a complimentary consultation. 

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram. 

To our Health and Wellbeing, 

Karen 

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy 

Kindness Can Reduce Anxiety

Years ago, when my anxiety was at its worst and before I experienced the powerful transformation that can come from neurolinguistics, there was one activity that helped me reduce my relentless anxiety. This activity was volunteer work. I chose to become a volunteer with a local pet therapy organization. I was fortunate to have an amazing chihuahua as a pet. She had a kind and sweet personality and socializing seemed like a good fit for both her and I. I looked forward to getting out of the house each week, interacting with others and witnessing the joy that my little dog brought others who were struggling with their own health challenges.

How Volunteering Can Help Anxiety

I soon noticed that making a deliberate attempt to brighten another person’s day by doing something thoughtful and caring made me feel less anxious in my own life. I realized that volunteering took me out of my mind and forced me to focus on the present moment. Very soon after signing up, I was feeling much happier and content overall. I found I could stay centered in gratitude for my life and all that I had. My awareness of my own good fortune was heightened. As an added bonus, I was blessed with some amazing friendships formed on the basis of our shared sense of connection to the hospital.

Today, I find other ways to volunteer my time. I am still involved in the local hospital however, now working on a committee that raises money to fund vital, underfunded equipment.  Each and every time I get together with the people in this organization, I get a strong sense of community and belonging.  This sense of belonging brings a huge sense of calm to me.

Why do Acts of Kindness Help Anxiety?

So why does practicing acts of kindness help with anxiety? First, it releases energy and when we are feeling anxious, we typically have an over-abundance of energy. Secondly, it releases the neurochemicals that are associated with feeling good. Neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. And generally, it enhances physical health because usually negative physical health is precipitated by stress.

Today, volunteer work is on my list of ongoing activities that I undertake to manage my anxiety.  It is part of my anxiety-management routine along with exercise, getting enough sunlight and managing my sleep routine.

I encourage you to look into what volunteer work might interest you and then get involved.  You will soon find that the more you give, the more you get.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

If you are curious about how my coaching services can help you access your greater, unlimited self and move you away from a life of anxiety, sign up for a complimentary consultation.

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

You Can Walk Away from Anxiety

Picture it. You are struggling with anxiety again. Your heart is racing. You haven’t slept well in weeks, maybe months. Your mind is jumping from thought to thought and no matter what you do, you can’t make it stop. You’ve been here before and you know it is a long, tough road ahead to get out.  You just want it gone.

And then you talk with someone who tells you assuredly that you are not broken and all you have to do is get rid of some thinking that is running and ruining your life. She makes it sound so easy and effortless. You can’t believe it. You don’t know if you should believe it.  Oh, but you so want to.

This is How I Walked Away from Anxiety & Now My Life’s Mission

This is how my personal story of walking away from anxiety started and it ended up with me experiencing the liberating relief of my life-sucking anxiety gone. This led to my life’s mission: to tell as many people as possible that there is a way to walk away and it is achievable for everyone because the approach works every time.

What Would You Gain if You Had No More Anxiety? 

Would you gain your health back? Would you repair an existing relationship?   Maybe you would attract a new relationship?  How would your interaction with money change?  I bet you would be able to attract and hold onto money better. How about your family life?  Maybe all those relationships would improve as well. How about your performance at work?  Imagine the benefit and advantage of being clear-headed and focused every day.

Real Change Requires Real Commitment

In order to make lasting change, we must commit.  The reality for me was that if I wanted my anxiety gone I needed to commit to the therapy this woman was offering. The commitment was for 3 months.   I also needed to commit to doing the work, showing up to my weekly sessions, and having an open mind.  I also needed to let go of my illusion that I could do this alone.  I needed help and that was okay.

I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter how your anxiety shows up.  There are many different types of anxiety. From social anxiety to fear of uncertainty to panic disorders; they are all rooted in some catastrophic, self-limiting, disaster-predicting thinking that we just can’t get past on our own.  The thing about this thinking is that it took root when we were just kids and by now, it has been running on autopilot for so long that it has become full-on belief with all of the support and validation that it needs to run the show on a daily basis.

How Would Your World Change When Your Belief is de-mythed?   

Just like how the bigger world changed when the belief that it was flat was debunked, your world which includes your family friends, work, health will also change when your “the world is flat” belief is no longer showing up.

You can recover from anxiety. I walked away, well actually I ran away, from my anxiety and you can too.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Life’s Ups and Downs

There are not many guarantees in life. However, here’s one – life will have both ups and downs.

The fallacy that some of us buy into is that the least amount of ‘downs’ is an assurance of a happy life.  But that is simply not true.  Life isn’t about the number of ups and downs a person experiences as much as it is about how smoothly we ride these inevitable hills and valleys.

Recognizing a Down Period in Your Life

Recently, I have been going through what I would label as a down period in my life.  Something that I was looking forward to happening has turned out to now be highly unlikely.  Initially, my reaction was one of sadness, frustration and even anger.  I felt ripped off and I convinced myself that I was the only person who ever had to experience such disappointing news.  I heard a lot of “poor me” self-talk going on in my head.

Change the Focus from that Specific Event to Your Life as a Whole

Once I caught myself doing this. I kicked myself in the butt.  I told myself to get out of the narrow focus that fixating on the disappointment creates.From that vantage point I saw nothing other than the down side.   I spent some time expanding my focus, pulling back and getting my perspective to be anchored in the middle ground of my life.

From this vantage point, I could see my life in its entirety, my past and my future and from that perspective I could then appreciate that this “change of plans” was just one of the many detours that my life has taken already or will likely take in the future.  It was no longer the pivotal moment that would define my entire life.  It was no longer the one event that would change everything.   And then something magical happened.  The event lost its negativity.  And I was able to start imagining how this event may open up new opportunities that I could not even conjure up right now.  How this “change in plans” may make my future life even better.

Our Ups and Downs Are the Spice of Life

These ups and downs in life is what gives our life colour, story, direction and even humour.  Imagine being on a teeter totter and you only stay in the up position, you never experience coming down and seeing the ride from that position.  You would lose so much of the ride’s excitement.  You would not experience the anticipation of going up again and being at the top.  What a dull and uneventful ride it would be!  Who would want to experience that?

So, the next time you or I are riding the down portion of our teeter totter life, let’s remember that, like being at the high point, the down point also won’t last forever.  And it is the experiencing of both extremes, the up and the down, that make the ride enjoyable.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen

Balancing Life’s Priorities

Over the years, I have come to realize that multi-tasking and taking on too many duties is a direct contributor to symptoms like increased heartbeat, fatigue, headaches, difficulty with concentration, nausea and sweating.  Many times, I mistakenly attributed these physical symptoms with anxiety when in fact they were symptoms of simply not prioritizing my life. I foolishly thought that because my life was running in all directions and I was feeling frazzled that there must be something wrong with me and most likely it was anxiety.

The Busier We Get, The Quicker We Lose Sight of Our Priorities

In actuality, as I became more and more trapped in the endless cycle of work, errands and other responsibilities, I lost sight of the things that were important to me: maintaining a good emotional state and a good quality of life.  I was so consumed with meeting everyone else’s needs and wishes that I did not give myself the time to check-in to make sure I was putting my energy on what was foremost for me.  Days, weeks, months and even years would pass by. All without me ensuring that I was focused on what was genuinely important to me.  This behaviour led to sleepless nights because I could not shut off my brain. Then during the day I felt debilitated by all that was still ahead of me to do.

Today, how do I stop myself from falling into this trap of feeling those out-of-control feelings? 

I surround myself predominately with people that support me, my priorities and my values.  I make sure I have relationships that inspire me and energize me rather than only demand energy from me and hold me back.

Also, and very importantly, I frequently evaluate where I spend my time. I do this in order to discover how I can find more time for my priorities.  I track where I am spending time in the areas of work, exercise, meals, time with loved ones, time spent on hobbies, sleep, meditation – everything and anything.  Then I step back. I look at how I can change the way I am spending my time to focus on my priorities.

Take Stock of Your Relationships

In addition, I take stock of my relationships.  Who do I want to make more time for? And who do I need to let go of to be able to thrive?  I have also become okay with not everyone supporting my core values and priorities.  I have found that when I think about my relationships, some people drain my energy and harm my sense of well-being. And when I realize that my priorities have shifted, I re-evaluate who I spend most of my time with.

By holding myself accountable for my priorities and making small changes to focus on what’s really important, I feel more confident, joyful and less anxious every day.   I also remember the old adage, we are only busy with the things that we say yes to.

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our Health and Wellbeing,

Karen