Category Archives: Combating Stress

The Value of Questioning Your Naturally Occurring Thoughts

courage-1c

Our thoughts tend to lead to the emotions we feel.

In the past, cognitive psychologists have made advancements in this field.

I have some really good books and audio programs that deal with these advancements.  Many people have been helped with valuable ideas and insight.

I think that’s the major purpose of this blog.

It’s been an interesting, yet challenging experience for me.

My hope is that you’ll be able to apply ideas I’ve learned – many times through trials and difficulties- to build a happier, more meaningful and inspired life.

I think that part of experiencing a better quality of life involves taking better care of the thoughts we choose to dwell upon.

Questioning the “Validity” of our Thoughts

If you’re struggling with emotional stress of fear, anxiety, anger or discouragement, ask yourself:

“Are the thoughts I’m adopting coming from a valid source?”

When we’re struggling with thoughts of discouragement, it’s a worthwhile exercise to evaluate two things:

  • the validity of the thought, and
  • the validity  of the source

For instance, someone else’s opinion of you, your potential, your work, or your inherent worth is simply that: someone else’s opinion.

I have written that last phrase in italics- as it’s worth emphasizing.

In the past, I became distressed if I didn’t meet another person’s approval or acceptance.

I’ve recognized, though, that there are as many opinions out there as there are different faces.

We can learn to deal with the stress that comes with rejection, disapproval or a lack of acceptance.

We’re able to handle these things more effectively when we question the validity of the things we hear about ourselves.

I like how Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines the word “valid”:

“Well-grounded or justifiable: being at once relevant and meaningful”

When our emotions are fed by thoughts of stress, anxiety or discouragement, it’s valuable to ask ourselves:

“Is this thought valid?  Is it one that would be well-grounded, justifiable, relevant or meaningful?”

If it’s not, make it a point (and a practice) to discard it.

Sometimes the source of our gloom is the opinions and perspectives others try to impose on us.

Naysayers and critics will never help you get ahead in life.  If there’s a grain of truth to what they say, use it to your advantage.

Otherwise, my recommendation would be to reject the ideas that don’t fit the definition I’ve given for the term “valid”.

If we accurately evaluate the people we end up listening to, we’ll recognize sometimes that their ideas hold very little relevance and meaning for our lives.  In such instances, we need to run from those who hinder our progress in life.  It’s sad but true.

Questioning the Truth of Our Thoughts and Beliefs

For me, this is a big one.

If we accept as true that life is overwhelming, there’s no point in making progress, achieving goals, then we will feel overwhelmed, hopeless about making great strides in life or in achieving our goals.

There’s a natural link between our thoughts and our emotions.

To me, that’s why I’ve needed to be careful about the ideas, values and beliefs I’ll go ahead and adopt in my own life.

If there’s no truth or “basis for reality” for any kind of thought or belief, you’re better off making a conscious effort to question its validity and then reject it without reservation.

It’s not something I’ve made a habit of doing, but I’m now realizing how valuable it would have been to me if I’d done so in the past.

Would You be able to Classify Your Thought or Belief as Final?

As children, there’s a sense of adventure to life.  Their lives are often filled with anticipation, hope and optimism.

For example, the great enthusiasm they’ll have for their last day of school and upcoming summer vacation illustrates my point.

As we grow, we encounter a mixture in life.  We may have a few good friends and close relationships, in which we experience enjoyable times with.

We may have had a few mentors, teachers or classmates who tried to tear us down, or tell us that we’re incapable or somehow inadequate- that we don’t “measure up”.

Why do we accept their words as final & without need for further question or evaluation?

Their ideas held no finality.

They knew nothing of your capabilities, skills, values, ideas, courage to face detractors in life, or the strength to endure and overcome adversity in your life.

In the same way, if you’re telling yourself that you can’t, that you’re incapable or inadequate to meet your current challenge…how do you know?

You don’t really know how capable, strong or courageous you will be to meet future challenges.

I have discovered in my own life that I’ll make greater progress as I reject limiting beliefs.

I think I could safely assume that you’d be honorable in your dealings with others.

Each day, it’s quite likely that you don’t go around and impose limiting beliefs upon other people.

If so, why would you do so with yourself?

- Reflect on the past- there are struggles, challenges and trials in life you never thought you’d see the “light of day” so to speak.

If you’re to tell yourself you can’t make it through your current challenges- you have something from the past to draw upon.

This is where valuable past experiences come into play.

I hope I have encouraged you to question and think differently about any limiting thoughts or beliefs you now hold.

Your life, significance, goals and purpose are worth defending and nurturing.

All the best to you in your quest for an inspired and successful life.

My next series of posts will be on the topic of Building Confidence.

I encourage you to test the validity, truth and finality of any thoughts you struggle with.

Until my next post, have a great day.

courage 1c The Value of Questioning Your Naturally Occurring Thoughts

Becoming Skilled with Our Inner Communication or “Self Talk”

success-and-belief

Our inner communication affects so many aspects of our lives.

I’ve found this to be particularly true in my own life.

My inner thoughts- or “self talk” affects my actions, how well I do what I set out to accomplish, whether I’m resilient or not and my entire outlook on life.

With this post, I’d like to provide a few tips that will help you get a better handle on decreasing stress in your own life- as well as for generally improving your own outlook on life.

Your productivity, happiness and well-being depend a great deal on your own inner dialogue.

Value Progress not Perfection

This tip or idea has been a challenge for me to follow.

I tend to be very goal-oriented- and I have an over-arching type of goal to stay on track and make progress each day.

I have a very busy work schedule.  I only have certain portions of time during the week to attend to my blog and online business.

When I fall short of what I intend for a certain morning, it tends to set the tone for the rest of the day.

I begin to question my capabilities and adequacy for the goals I’ve set.

Many doubts begin to surface in my mind, such as:

“How will I be able to handle this?”

“I’ve fallen short again.  Maybe this isn’t for me.  Should I consider a different career path?”

On and on it goes with such thoughts.

If you listen to your own inner dialogue, you may find that it can easily become defeating, discouraging, filled with uncertainty or fear.

Each thought of doubt tends to raise more questions.

I have heard it said that if we can’t come up with answers to “why” types of questions in life, our minds will tend to come up with even more unanswerable questions.

This morning is a prime example of valuing progress, not perfection.

There were certain things I wanted to accomplish, but I didn’t get to them.

As I focused on one thing at a time, I valued the progress and good things I did accomplish.  My mood improved and I carried forward with the actions I could take.

I like how Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines progress as “a forward or onward movementas to an objective or a goal.  A related word they used is advance.

Here are a few benefits of advancing, moving forward and making progress in life:

  • You feel better about yourself- as you’re striving towards the goal you’re dreaming of achieving
  • You can experience reserves of strength and courage you never knew you had
  • You can become involved or engaged in an enjoyable process or journey towards your goal (an exceptional benefit of goal-setting)

If you’re struggling with self-doubt- or with perfectionism in your life, I encourage you to reflect on the above benefits.

I’m feeling more encouraged about what I’ve accomplished so far- as I reflect on the benefits I’ve just written.

I’m grateful that I’m experiencing these benefits, and hope that you’ll be encouraged to move forward.

Develop Thoughts of Unconditional Love and Acceptance

I think affirmations have great value for our lives.

I’m not overly fanatical about repeating them.

However, they can be greatly beneficial in defeating the doubts and for combating the negative thoughts we tend to have.

I’ve had a battle in my own life with self-acceptance.

It’s a personal thing that I would rather not admit.

I think there’s a value within the struggle I’ve faced.

The ability to reach out and help you in this blog is something I wouldn’t trade in or give up easily.

I think there’s always a reason for the challenges we face.  Eventually, as time passes, we may discover a greater purpose because of our “valley experiences”.

As you know, I have learned many things along the way (through trial and error).

I’m grateful for teachers, mentors and the coaching I have experienced.

I’m valuable apart from my accomplishments.

Here are a couple of affirmations I like to refer to when self-doubt tends to “rise up” in my mind:

“I love and approve of myself aside from my accomplishments.”

“I am loving and accepting of who I am and who I am becoming.”

It will always move you forward in life as you affirm your own value and worth aside from the things you accomplish.

Recognize the “Process” of Fine-Tuning Your Inner Thoughts or Dialogue

It’s always helpful to remember that we haven’t yet “arrived”.

Recognizing the benefits of growth, learning and development helps us value these activities more and more.

For instance, as you step out beyond your comfort zone with new ideas, a great deal of growth takes place.  You’re developing and becoming the person you’re meant to be.

Life takes on a sense of adventure for you.

You can experience greater motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm for your goals.

This is the power we can all experience as we develop an “empowered” thought life.

Supporting ourselves is an active, ongoing choice that we need to make.

I’m recognizing more and more each day that my thoughts have become my own personal choice- and that each day I’ll have many occasions to exercise this choice.

I encourage you to exert your own power of choice with any self-defeating thoughts you experience.

Recognize as well that it’s an ongoing process.  It will go on throughout your life.

I’ve had to realize this- I’m not “bad” or “abnormal” for experiencing self-doubt, fear, and anxiety about the future.

Growth and development are becoming daily choices for me.

I saved a printout of an Abraham Maslow quote from a few years back.  For me, it’s very meaningful and valuable – and hope it will be of great encouragement to you.

Here is the quote:

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth.  Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

All the best to you today as you pursue your goals in life.

In my next post, I’ll provide four valuable ideas to monitor and questioning limiting thoughts.

Until then, have a great day.

success and belief Becoming Skilled with Our Inner Communication or Self Talk

Three Tips for Overcoming Possessiveness and Regaining Joy

Gratitude-Quote-by-Emerson

Some days, coming up with ideas for these blog posts can be a bit challenging.

I always hope to write about effective and practical ideas for success.

It will be more meaningful to you, and I recognize that I’ll benefit as well.

Today, I’d like to write about a few ideas I’m acting on- to overcome possessiveness in my own life.

It’s easy (or “natural”) to think of life in terms of what we own or possess- and to live in an egocentric world.

Consider for a moment where your thoughts are often directed.

If you’re like me, many of your daily thoughts are directed towards yourself- your feelings, wants, desires, needs, goals, obligations, responsibilities, challenges and daily trials.

We could probably add a few more categories to the last sentence, right?  Such as concerns for family members, friends, or your work, job or career issues.

Looking at the above list, it’s no wonder that life can tend to be overwhelming.

Here are a few categories we where can become “possessive” if we’re not careful.

In these categories, my hope is that you’ll be able to use these tips to overcome this type of negative emotion- and alleviate the feelings of stress that accompany it.

Our Time

Valuing and investing time wisely is a very good daily habit to develop.

Becoming very possessive about our time can lead to impatience, added stress, and tension in our relationships.

Recognizing the value of time with things like work or class projects – anything associated with a deadline- helps us do our best and do things efficiently.

Lately, I’ve had to learn a lot about time management.

As I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve taken courses on things like blog and website development.  It has been a very interesting experience.

On top of my other work (away from my home office), my responsibilities can seem overwhelming.

I’ve had to revise my expectations every now and then.  I may not be able to fit all the things I’d like to do within the time I planned.

In the same way, I encourage you to do your best with the time you have available.

If you become overly possessive about your time, it will affect you.

Rather than beat yourself up over your shortcomings, congratulate and affirm yourself for making progress, trying out new things, and for stepping outside your comfort zone as you work on your goals.

In a spiritual sense, our time is a gift- one that’s been given to us.  No matter what your spiritual beliefs may be, I encourage you to explore what they are- and to take time out each day for keeping fit spiritually.

Our Money & Resources

It’s also human nature to become possessive about money and resources.

However, it’s been helpful for me to be reminded that I didn’t create my own strength to make a living.

This may be a valuable reminder to you as well.

Things like strength and the ability to use our minds and bodies to earn a living is something for which we should all be grateful.

I have often overlooked this gift.  It’s been easy to focus on shortcomings, or the things I lack with the job I do have.

This past weekend, I participated in a food drive, where we picked up food for our local food bank.

We were able to pick up a car trunk filled with food – as a result of the generosity of many people.

In my local area, this city has affluent people, and people who are struggling- and often don’t have the resources to keep food on the table.

Participating in this annual food drive made me more aware of people who are in need.

On TV, we’re able to recognize how valuable it is to invest in the lives of others.

We can all experience joy and meaning as we help others out- by giving of our time, money and resources.

I remember seeing a type of “Habit for Humanity” TV show some time back.  It’s great to see how a meaningful cause can help people in need.

The meaning and satisfaction as we freely give (and become less possessive with our resources) provides us with a valuable lesson: it is more blessed to give than receive.

Our Challenges & Trials in Life

In one sense, I’m not sure that we can really become “possessive” about our difficulties.

I think we can, though whenever we think that we’re unique or alone in our experience.

If we accept these thoughts of discouragement, it leads to self-pity.

Are challenges and problems really unique to us?

Not really.  There are many who face challenges finding work, making ends meet, battling negative emotions of fear, anxiety, or discouragement.

If you’ve had challenges with these types of emotions, be encouraged.  There are many who have experienced the same things, and they can provide the support network and advice that can help you.

Whenever I face times of discouragement, I reflect on things like daily gratitude for what I do have: skills, abilities, talent, character, resiliency and the determination to succeed.

These are the same things that you have in your own life.  My hope is that you’ll reflect on the good things that you have going for you today.

If you’re facing great challenges today, reach out for help.

Recognize, too, that you don’t “possess” unique problems in your own life.  My hope is that you’ll realize you can make a difference in the lives of others who struggle.

That’s a major goal that I have with this blog- one where I can make a significant difference in the lives of my readers.

With this post, I hope I have encouraged you to:

  • recognize that time is a valuable gift- and to have realistic expectations about the things you desire to accomplish with it
  • experience joy and satisfaction of making a difference- as you give of your time, money or resources to causes most meaningful to you
  • realize that your struggles are not unique to you- and you can reach out and help others as you overcome challenges in your own life.

In my next post, I’ll discuss a key component in handling stress effectively- through the words we speak and becoming skilled with our inner communication.

Until then, have a great day.

Gratitude Quote by Emerson Three Tips for Overcoming Possessiveness and Regaining Joy



Practical Tips to Overcome Stress About Our “Limitations”

31TRY6A90NL_SS500_

In today’s post, I’d like to help you with a few more valuable tips.

I’m using these tips to combat the stress I feel about my own weaknesses.

We all have strengths and weaknesses in life.

It’s easy to focus on areas of our lives where we feel limited.  When we try out new things or stretch outside our “comfort zones”, feelings of self-doubt creep in.  At that point, we tend to get stressed over our adequacy to handle things.

In my post title, I put the term “limitations” in quotes because many times our thinking becomes inaccurate.

If you’re like me, you’ve tended to think of your own limitations as something unchangeable or as a “personal flaw”.

Relinquish Our Inner Power or Responsibility

It’s good to be open to input in life.

Sometimes we make mistakes.  Other times we’re prone to making errors in judgement that really derail us.  Or we develop flaws or habits that will really hinder our future.

It’s valuable to be open to input of other people and accountable for our actions in life.

However, if we adopt and personalize the negative views of other people, there will be devastating effects on our own lives.

I have experienced this firsthand.

I had accepted the views of others- telling me that I was limited, flawed or inadequate in life.

It was easy for me to become “jaded” and to reject other people and their ideas.

For instance, if someone tells you that you can’t manage time effectively, it’s a limitation that they’ve placed on you.

You may have made a mistake, but it doesn’t have to become a character or personal flaw unless you accept it as a fact.

It’s always best to distinguish between fact and opinion.

Life will always have its share of critics, friends, and those who say “it can’t be done”.

Today I’m on the path of taking responsibility and am developing:

  • peace of mind
  • confidence that I can make a difference with each valuable moment I have
  • faith in a bright or successful future

I encourage you to develop these traits or characteristics on a daily basis. Use these new “character habits” in thought, word and action to overcome any limiting thoughts or beliefs you’ve previously adopted.

The Power of Affirmation

The power of affirming new thoughts, ideas and beliefs about ourselves is amazing.

I have addressed this topic in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating.

With my work schedule, I get very busy- and it’s easy to set aside things like using affirmations or taking quiet time for reflection and journaling.

There is a new type of power we can gain with our thoughts lives- as we affirm- or validate our worth, significance and potential with these statements.

I refer to a few of my favorite affirmations quite frequently.  It diffuses the “defeating beliefs” I developed and adopted in life.  My mood and productivity improves.

Here are a few of my favorite affirmations:

  • I respect my abilities and always work to my full potential
  • I live each day with passion and purpose
  • I have tremendous energy for achieving all of my goals

I’d encourage you to reflect on a few affirmations you could bring to mind throughout the day.  They can even be related to your personal spiritual beliefs.  You’ll gain confidence, strength and the will to persevere towards your goals.

Frequently Review Your Top Achievements

This morning I had a great reminder from the past.

It came in the form of a Word document I’d created called “Top 15 Achievements”

It was a great reminder for me.  I had been struggling a bit this morning with my writing and blog activity.

I had questions about my adequacy for writing this post.

My accomplishments document reminded me that I faced trials, difficulties and challenges but I ended up achieving success as I kept trying and persevering.

I feel grateful for the people I was able to work with and learn from- they’ve become part of my short success stories in this document.

You’ll be encouraged as you refer to previous times you achieved great things- when you demonstrated courage, strength and the will to succeed.

Keep Taking Action and Press Forward

I read a valuable quote the other day.  I’m not sure who said or wrote this quote, but it really speaks to me about success, confidence and taking action in life.   I think it said that “Success breeds confidence, but confidence also breeds success.

To me, this quote speaks of a “cause and effect” type of relationship.  There’s a vital link between confidence and success.

For instance, you may be about to take a final exam for the course you’re taking. As you’re confident in your success, you’ll achieve a more successful grade (given that you’ve studied and prepared yourself to succeed).

You can’t achieve greater confidence or success without taking action.  You may stumble and make mistakes, but as you persevere (again, by taking action), you’ll be able to achieve your goal.

I’d like to finish this post with a quote from W. Clement Stone, a great businessman and philanthropist, who gave $275 million to charity:

I think there is something more important than believing: Action!  The world is full of dreamers, there aren’t enough who will move ahead and begin to take concrete steps to actualize their vision.

Today I hope I’ve encouraged you to overcome your own perceived “limitations” by:

  • reclaiming your personal power and responsibility
  • using affirmations to defeat self-doubt and limitations
  • reviewing your greatest achievements, and
  • taking action and persevering towards your goals

In my next post, I’ll share a few tips for overcoming the habit of possessiveness.  Until then, have a great day.

31TRY6A90NL SS500 1 Practical Tips to Overcome Stress About Our Limitations

Three Tips to Stay On Track with Your Inspiring Purpose

Dream

Sometimes in life, we need to take time to pause and reflect on valuable insights.

This has been my experience whenever I’ve heard a radio message or an audio series that really inspired me.

I’d like to encourage you today to take the time to take meaningful action whenever you’ve been inspired.

It reminds me of CD a friend of mine would play once in a while in his vehicle.  He really gets a lot out of the teachings and insights of Jim Rohn.

In one CD, Rohn talked about how he’d be at a seminar and one guy would resolve to change his life, while someone else would say “I’ve heard this all before.”

Jim Rohn was rather mystified that one person would be motivated and enthused about making meaningful change, while another guy would go home unchanged and in reality, uninspired by the message.

In my own past, I’ve experienced the consequences of lacking purpose and motivation.

I think that’s part of my purpose for writing this blog- to inspire, encourage, enlighten and awaken you to things you may definitely and purposefully consider- as you build the life you desire to lead.

Having exciting goals is great, but when we lack the motivation and purpose to carry on and follow through, we end up feeling bored, distracted, uncertain, discouraged, and even apathetic.

I’d like to help you avoid giving in to these feelings.  With these tips, I’m learning to become “re-inspired” (if there’s such a word) by my own purpose or mission statement.

This morning, I did a quick review of these tips that I’m providing.

I think they’ll serve as a solid reminder for each day forward.

This blog is becoming more and more inspiring and encouraging to me as I write it.  My hope is that you’ll use my ideas and tips to step outside your own “comfort zone”, work through things like self-doubt and fear, and to start making a difference in your own life- and in the lives of others.

“Emotionalize” Your Purpose

Consider your own past.

You have most likely experienced time periods of “positive emotions”.  You felt inspired and enthused about life.   You were living according to a purpose, goal or dream that you might not have defined, but it was evident to those around you.

You experienced accomplishments that you never thought were possible.

You may have encountered obstacles that could have derailed you, but you persevered through them- and ultimately achieved a goal that you can still be proud of accomplishing.

During other time periods, you felt a bit lost, confused or uncertain about the direction you would take with your life.  You may have battled with depression, mental or emotional stress, or discouragement.

Having a mission statement for our lives – or a deeply felt purpose has incredible benefits for our lives.

I think we tend to experience greater hope, confidence, courage and enthusiasm for life when we live according to that purpose.

I like how Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines the term “emotionalize”

It’s a term that means to give an emotional quality to”.

I’d like to encourage you today to develop a meaningful purpose or mission statement for your life and your work.  As you develop this statement, consider this question carefully:

How does this statement reflect the dreams and wishes I have for my life?  Can I tie in my own meaning and value to this statement?  How would my life improve as I follow this statement?

As your purpose or mission statement reflects your deeply held dreams for your life, it will inspire you to take action on your goals.  It will remind you that your life and your work have more potential for greater joy, enthusiasm, progress and accomplishment than you previously thought possible.

A Vital Step: The Daily Review

Many times in our lives, we tend to battle with things from the past.

There are times in which we fail to accomplish goals we’ve set.  Sometimes we fall short.

Our minds, actions and behaviors tend to be greatly influenced by the things we review or dwell upon.

It’s easy to review our limitations, and project them into the future.

Lately, I’ve found it exceedingly valuable to review my own purpose statement- and keep it close by.  Here are a few benefits:

  • It reminds me of the meaning, value and significance of my goals in life
  • It gives me the “big picture” - a solid review for my reason for being- reminding me of values I find most meaningful for my own life
  • It helps me avoid distractions – chasing after the next “latest and greatest product” for my blog, business, or personal life.
  • It helps me evaluate my actions in life- are they leading me toward (or away) from achieving my goals and fulfilling my purpose?

The Benefits of an “End of the Day” Evaluation

Having an “end of the day” evaluation is vital.

It’s a great way to stay on track with my goals and purpose.

With this evaluation, I’m able to determine if I’m taking action on the things I desire to achieve in my life.

I’m hoping to incorporate this activity more and more as time goes on.

It’s a really good review about how I’ve used (or hopefully) invested my time.

It shows me where I’ve fallen short- and keeps me on track with doing even the things I’m tempted to procrastinate about.

I hope I have encouraged you to develop and review your own mission statement- and above all, to stay on track with your goals and purpose for life.  As a quick review, you can do so by:

  • “Emotionalizing” or tying in an emotional or deeply held dream with your purpose statement
  • Daily reviewing your purpose and keeping it on hand
  • Doing an “End of Day Evaluation” – are you staying on track?

In my next post, I’ll discuss a few more helpful tips I’m incorporating in my own life.  Hopefully, these tips will help you overcome the stress you experience about your own “perceived” limitations.

Until then, have a great day.

Dream Three Tips to Stay On Track with Your Inspiring Purpose