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How Journaling Can Help Anxiousness

As someone who actively manages her anxiety every day, journaling has become one of my must-do activities. I find it both easy and fun to do. It relieves my level of stress as well as works though my anxious feelings and thoughts. When anxiety shows up, typically I am ruminating, and my thoughts are going unchecked. With a little focused examination of my thoughts, I can often see the errors in my thinking, and I can experience some relief to my anxiousness.

Often my clients ask me how they can get started journaling. I coach them through the following steps:

Steps for Journaling

  1. It is important to carve out at least 5 to 15 minutes and to find a quiet spot where you can be alone.
  2. Grab a pen and either a notebook or a pad of paper and then just start by writing whatever is on your mind, whatever is bothering you. I like to have a special journal that I use just for journaling.
  3. Write about your concerns and worries. Don’t worry about your grammar or penmanship, just write. Focus on what you are thinking right now, describing the events that are most troubling. Most of the time, anxiety doesn’t have to do so much with what is happening right now but instead about what will happen in the future. If it is the future that is troubling you, then write about those thoughts.
  4. Make sure you write about your concerns and fears in chronological order. In other words, start with what is worrying you right now. Then, explore what you think might happen next and then what you fear will happen after that. Write about how all of this will affect you.
  5. Next, read and re-read what you wrote.
  6. Now re-think about what you wrote by exploring all of your concerns and thinking about other options or perspectives that could change the circumstances. Be a little tough with yourself. Ask yourself, how do I know that this will happen? Couldn’t the outcome be a different, much more positive one? How likely are the circumstances that I am most fearing? Challenge your fears. Often when we challenge our thinking, we relieve our anxiety because we see that things are less likely to happen than we think.

End with a Quote

Now that the anxiety and fear has been reduced, I like to finish off my journaling by writing out an inspirational quote. The quote does not have to be well-known, it usually is just something that I find motivating for me to stay positive. I like to write about why the quote has deep meaning in my life and how I want it to reflect the message in my daily activities.

Three of my favourite inspirational quotes are:

  1. Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. When a man has quietly made up his mind that there is nothing he cannot endure, his fears leave him. – Grove Patterson
  3. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

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

Disclaimer and Privacy Policy 

Fear of Failure

Are you ready to take that step forward towards something new, untried, and adventurous? Do you find yourself imagining your desired future and then pulling back when it is time act? Why is it that some people see all the reasons why not to do something instead of all the reasons why to do something? 

To be able to embrace our future in ways different from our past, we must be ok with uncertainty, the unknown, and the untested. For a lot people however, the fear of failure is a huge barrier that holds them back from this new way of experiencing life. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are so closely entangled with their business that their identity and ego are immersed in their venture. When things do not go as they desired, it can feel that they are broken at their core. It can be devastating, and it can be paralyzing.    

With all the uncertainty that entrepreneurs face daily, it is a wonder that they get anything done at all. I know that as an entrepreneur myself, there are days that I feel smart and able to face anything. Other daysI am convinced that my ideas are stupid, doomed to fail and that I will never succeed. I believe however, that these two parts of me both serve a positive purpose. It is when one part plays a bigger role, drowning out the other part, that I need to pay attention. It is the cocktail of anxiety and nervousness mixed with excitement and anticipation that makes the best formula for me to go forward in a balanced way.   

Beware of Low Self-Esteem 

What we need to be on the look-out for however, is low self esteem. Low self-esteem can de-rail any effort. It is the belief that regardless of how hard you work, how many hours you put in, how much risk you take, you do not deserve success. This belief needs to be overcome and the best way to do this is to be aware of any negative thoughtsstopping them as soon as they are identified and replacing them with positive self-talk. I like to have about half a dozen positive statements about myself and my success pre-written and easily accessible on my phone. When I find myself stuck in negative thinking, I either read these positive statements or listen to my stored recording of myself saying them. then repeat them few times until I feel a shift in my mood.   

That Voice is NOT You 

Most of us have a naturally critical voice in our head. What we need to be aware of is fact that the voice is most likely not our own. It is probably the voice of either a parent, grandparent, past teacher or boss. What we need to do is identify where this voice is coming from and then decide if we want to let it go. We took on these beliefs of others most likely when we were a child and we were powerless. Now that we are adults, we are free to accept or reject them, recognizing they represent the opinions of others and we are allowing these opinions to shape our lives. 

So how can you use the dance between excitement and fear of failure to your advantage? Try these five ways to reframe fear and turn it into your friend rather than your foe. 

Figure Out Why You Want the Change:   

Ask yourself what it is exactly about your current life, job, relationship and so forth that you want to change. Knowing why you want to change will keep you motivated to go forward. 

Acknowledge the Fear:   

For many, fear stops any movement forward because nobody likes the feeling of fear. If you simply allow yourself to feel the fear when it shows up, you will notice that is quickly dissipates and suddenly life feels more manageable and less scary. 

Play Out the Worst-Case Scenario:   

This is one of my favourite strategies to keep moving forward. I ask myself what is the worst possible way that this could go. If I can handle whatever it is that I imagine, then I keep moving forward.  

Remember There is no Real Failure:   

Everything we do creates a result, so ultimately, there is no failure. There may be disappointment or unhappiness with the result however, it is important to take away information that you can use going forward, even if it is what not what you will do next time. 

Look at How Far you Have Already Come:   

If you honestly look back at your life, I am sure that younger you could not have imagined how far you have already come in your life or your business. Congratulate yourself on the process.  Recognize that there is unlimited number of versions of success.   

If you are interested in getting past any negative thinking and moving forward without self-defeating fear 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 

It’s All In Your Imagination

Sitting in my home office and looking outside my window onto the street below I see the neighbourhood children playing. The boys are practicing their basketball skills, each imagining that they are the next Kawhi Leonard. A group of younger girls are kneeling down together as they draw a colourful game of hopscotch on the sidewalk with chalk.  Farther down the street I can see a lemonade stand being attended to by a bunch of cheerful want-to-be entrepreneurs.

Remember When We Were Children?

Taking all of this in has made me wonder, when did I stop using my imagination and why? When was the last time I imagined that I was the “star” player, an artist, or even a successful entrepreneur?

As we grow up and move into our teenage and then adult years, we begin to stop “pretending”. We begin to believe that we need to take life seriously. Many of us get repeated messaging from adults like, “get your head out of the clouds”, “quit dreaming” or “act serious”.

Imagination is a Gift

This move away from using our imagination does us a disservice in the long run for it is our imagination that keeps life interesting. It is in our imagination where new ideas flourish, we solve our problems in unique ways, and where we develop our self-confidence. Imagining ourselves successfully facing a job interview or nailing a work presentation, or even imaging ourselves enjoying a first date wires our brain with the necessary neurology to execute that act exactly as desired.

Actively using our imagination also turns on positive, super-charged chemicals in our brains and we get an immediate lift in how we feel in the moment. And the more we run the imaginary events over and over again in our brain, the better and more positive and confident we feel and the probability of the positive result actually occurring goes up exponentially. And isn’t it better to live in an imaginary world of positivity than rooted in fear or anxiety?

This gift that we have of imagination is just that, a gift for it is what separates us humans from most other forms of life on this planet. No other animal has the ability to garner imagination. Only us humans can look forward, plan, and “see” our imagined future from where we stand today.

We must stop assuming that imagination is only for children.  It is for anyone who wants to set goals, achieve results, or generally become happier in life.

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

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

How accepting are you of the notion that it’s okay to not be okay?

Think about it.  Be honest with yourself.  Initially, you are probably saying something like, “Sure, I can handle not being okay.”  But can you really?  When those days show up and you are dealing with feelings such as sadness, hurt, anger, guilt – what is your reaction?  Is it to push those feelings away and get rid of them as soon as possible?

What if I told you that it’s okay to not be okay?

Well, it’s true.  You don’t have to be totally together all the time – have all the answers, be calm and poised, look glamorous, present yourself as collected, etc.  Trying to keep it together all the time is exhausting and debilitating and leads to anxiety, nervousness and stress.  It can become a fertile breeding ground for some destructive coping habits and health issues.

So what is the best way to deal with not being okay?

First of all, assess whether or not it is a short-term situation or something that has been going on for a long period of time.  If it is something that you feel will most likely pass, then facing and acknowledging the feelings is the key to handling the situation in a healthy way.  Accept that the feelings are present and that you cannot and should not ignore them.   Stillness and being with our emotions can bring forward clues about what is happening in our world and what we need to feel in that moment.

You Are Not Alone…

Also, recognize that everyone has days during which they don’t feel okay. This means you are not alone and you are not broken.  It is a normal, expected part of living.  Having days of not being okay should never be anything that you are humiliated about.

And here is some good news, having an off day opens up space to take care of yourself, to meet your needs, to receive help and step into solutions that might result in some positive changes.  Be open to the opportunity that is being presented to you and explore with curiosity of what it could bring for you.

Knowing When to Seek Help

If however your days of not being okay are becoming many and they are more the norm than the exception, then seeking out opportunities for help to manage your emotional states is a positive step.   There is no shame is getting help.  Find someone you trust like a friend of a family member to talk to.   Recognize that the first step in moving towards health and happiness is to have awareness. So congratulate yourself on achieving that step.  Professional help is also available.   There are people trained specifically in addressing negative emotions  and can help guide you towards a life of living without the burden of toxic, unhappy feelings.

Put yourself first and realize that with a little effort It Can Be Different.

You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.

To our health and wellbeing,

Karen