Listen to the Audio version narrated by Suzie Doscher - 4.30 mins
You choose what you will wear and eat, what films you see, who you socialize with. You make choices all day long in your professional and personal life. In the same way, you also have the choice of which thoughts to focus on. The nice, happy thoughts, of course, are not a problem for they give energy, put a smile on your face, and are inspiring as well as motivating.
Everybody has negative thoughts. They are the ones that are easy to obsess over and rob you of energy, leaving you feeling drained. Believe it or not, how long you allow negative thoughts to influence your mood, day, or even life is up to you. Every thought you have either weakens you or strengthens you.
It is important to realize that thoughts are not reality. Assumptions are good examples of this. Just because you assume something does not make it true.
When you are struggling to stop obsessing about something, remind yourself that you have a choice to move on to a thought that might make you feel better in that moment. It is best to acknowledge negative thoughts when they come up and then choose not to stay with them by distracting yourself.
No one can eliminate all bad thoughts, but you can make the conscious decision to be in charge of your thinking. Filter through what is real and what needs your focus. Your mind is yours to control. You cannot control the first thought, but you can control the second. Choose to consciously override thoughts that weaken you. This will allow you to feel you have some personal power.
Some suggestions to explore:
Someone makes a choice you simply do not understand. The consequences may or may not touch your life, involve you, affect you. One way or another you cannot see what they are basing their decision on. This is the part that makes accepting their choice so difficult. I am going to break this down into two parts.
Part One: Understanding
Take the view that:
Part Two: Acceptance
If listening is easier check out the audio version narrated by the author (Suzie Doscher).
In my own life one of the important realizations was that balance is possible and it was mine if I wanted it. What followed was a fair amount of self-reflection, openness, and honesty with myself. Setting aside time to explore my definition of balance, by questioning what was missing and what I was already doing successfully, was time well spent. Since then, I have a good grasp on the various elements of day-to-day life. For me personally knowing my heart and mind are working together is what keeps me balanced. The sense of calm, of being grounded and clearheaded, motivates me to keep my life in balance.
Choosing to create balance will reflect in these six areas of your life:
Most of us spend a large part of the day working. Making sure the remaining hours offer some form of nurturing and reenergizing is vital. There is a difference for single people versus married, with or without children, whether you travel, live internationally and interculturally. Choose the area most in need of attention and nurturing.
More research showing that a little can do a lot
In the quest for fitness and health there has been a focus on exercise as a key factor - we all know that. And recommendations are normally about increasing heart rates over long periods of time or possible also shorter more intensive sessions. These have also been shown to improve cognitive function - making your brain more effective.
However, the route to greater health may be easier - or more specifically of enhanced brain function. The effects of light activity in the focus on more intensive and extensive exercise has been largely underestimated - and is considered by some to be a key factor in public health. Our engagement in light activity has over the decades decreased significantly - see my previous article here.
Become a free or paid subscriber.
In this research just out Ryuta Kuwamizu and colleagues of the University of Tsukuba in Japan conducted a simple but effective experiment. In this participants did 10 mins of easy exercise - in this case light pedalling while seated. During this they measured pupil dilation because this is also related to brain function specifically executive function. Executive function refers to harder cognitive tasks such as decision making, short-term, memory, calculation, and analysis - basically what many consider the heavy lifting of the brain in our daily lives.
Yes, and indeed just this short light exercise intervention increased delation of the pupil and this was directly related to improved executive functions which was determined though scanning the frontal part of the brain where our executive functions reside with a technique called near infrared spectroscopy.
This therefore points to, as I have mentioned in other places, the significant benefits of short bouts of light exercise on improved brain function - something of particular interest to businesses no doubt. I have long since promoted the idea of regular short walking breaks - this shows again why. For a review of the benefits of walking see this article here).
Not that it has to be at work - a walk or light exercise will improve your brain function - and that is good for all of us, all the time.
by ANDY HAYMAKER
Photo credit: Pexels
Ryuta Kuwamizu, Yudai Yamazaki, Naoki Aoike, Taichi Hiraga, Toshiaki Hata, Michael A. Yassa, Hideaki Soya.
Pupil dynamics during very light exercise predict benefits to prefrontal cognition
NeuroImage, Volume 277, 2023.
In the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a “control freak” is “a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.” The Merriam Webster dictionary says that a control freak is “a person whose behaviour indicates a powerful need to control people or circumstances in everyday matters.”
This personality trait could stem from a chaotic childhood, alcoholic parents, abusive behaviour, or early abandonment. Such experiences can make it hard for people to trust or relinquish control to others. The fear of falling apart pushes them to control what they can. As their emotions are all over the place, they feel loss of control. For this reason control freaks will micromanage whatever they can with the belief that this makes them strong. People who feel out of control tend to become controllers.
I imagine each and every one of us is a control freak, or takes on the behaviour of such, at some point or another. The fear of failure is what makes it so important to control everything when you do not trust anybody else to do a good job.
One difficult aspect of being around a control freak is accepting that they do not understand how their behaviour and choice of words affect the people around them. Another difficult aspect is not to take it personally. This behaviour comes from deep inside and the person is actually quite unaware of being a control freak.
Thoughts about change usually only occur when life no longer offers you the feeling of being satisfied. They can also emerge when things are basically alright but there is room for improvement. The difficulty frequently lies in finding out specifically what you can improve, what you should move on from, what you should let go of.
Change is not easy or simple. It can only really take place if you are ready to take action. Research shows 90% of the strategies designed for change assume people are ready to take action. In reality only 20% of the people already involved in some process of change are actually ready to take action. This helps explain why so many attempts to keep New Year’s resolutions, lose weight, change behaviour patterns, etc. are doomed to fail. If you have been told you should change, but are not really convinced this is true, you are more likely to fail at completing the process.
It is most helpful and supportive and will increase your chances of successfully completing change if you
They are building all around me. This week even with a jackhammer below me. It is unbearably noisy. This noise totally robs me of my focus and consequently motivation.
So, I am now sitting in a quiet restaurant right by the lake writing this. :) Hotel lobbies seem to be my place for creative thoughts.
Nothing against the builders or the need to repair / renovate something in the building. That is life and we need to do maintenance on buildings, as much as we need maintenance in the form of self-care.
My struggle this morning is the level of noise. It makes me realize how much noise makes focussing difficult for me.
I intended to attempt my morning brain training before I started work but found the sound of the drills and jackhammer below me disrupting. In fact so disrupting that I left the house and retreated to this lakeside location.
No matter how much I encouraged myself I could handle it - the truth is I could not.
There is nothing like being comfy and cozy in our comfort zones. Right? The problem with that is, of course, that we can’t change or grow if we hold on to our comfort zones. As Susan wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “Most of us operate within a zone that feels right, and outside of it we are uncomfortable. For each one of us that zone of comfort is different, but whether we are aware of it or not, all of us—rich or poor, famous or unknown, gay or straight, male or female or whatever our gender identity— make decisions based on the confines of that comfortable space.”
While we may feel secure in our comfort zone, we likely are living with the pain of neediness and the fear of change. While comfort zones can make us feel secure, they also keep us from feeling powerful. If we want to grow, to experience, to learn, we have to start moving out of complacency in that comfortable space. We have to start expanding our boundaries. To do so, we have to take action, we have to put in the work—even if it means being uncomfortable. That is the only way we can know our own power.
The first and most important step is to realize and truly acknowledge that unless you take care of yourself nobody else can or will. When I say, “truly acknowledge”, I mean that you have accepted the following:
These are a few examples, expressed in simple terms: You have taken charge of your life, know your Values and maintain your Personal Power. You can live your life … it does not have to be living you!
As an independent adult you have become the “director” of your life. If you are feeling stressed, one of the simplest yet most effective ways to reduce the tension is to spend some time doing something that involves your senses. Look out of the window, take a walk, listen to music, sing, do something creative, draw, bake, cook, garden, pot a plant, take a bath and light some candles, buy some flowers, look at nature, or revisit a long forgotten hobby – to name just a few options. Taking a few breaths does not take a long time, but does 'break the energy of the stressful / challenging moment. Once the energy is broken you can think more clearly to deal with the issue.
Whenever possible take a break from technology, even if only for one hour. If that is not possible, try 10 minutes during which you turn off your computer, your phone, TV, etc. If you cannot go outside, then look out of the window at the sky. Regardless of the weather, the sky can be inspiring and energizing.
Here are some helpful suggestions to ask yourself:
by Suzie Doscher, Professional Executive Coach focusing on Self-Development, Self-help Author since 2014.
3 Editions (2014, 2018, 2022) of BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments.
Photo credit: Pexels
Contact Suzie for a chat on how she can help support you.
How about going out for a sail, swim, drink, run, or meet friends, play with your children,
talk to your partner – without your head still being full of work-related information?
It can be difficult to leave work related thoughts behind at the end of the day. Too many people arrive
home and are not really present. Their body might have walked through the door but mentally they are miles away. This seems to be the reality in today's world. Remember: There is more to life than just work.
You do need some kind of balance between down-time and work to be the most effective.
Clarity will come easier if you give your brain a rest. It is amazing what thoughts, ideas, solutions and insights can come to you by creating some space for them.
This is a common topic with my coaching clients. I might work with five different clients all on this particular topic, yet each one will find his or her own unique way to help themselves unwind and reenter their personal life.
First of all, it helps to remember and accept as an important truth that your work is only part of your life. It is wonderful if you love what you do and have passion for your work, but do not forget that your personal life is at least as important as your work.
The goal is not to neglect your work but also not neglect your family, friends, and self.
Establish and maintain a routine of self-care – start by unwinding from work on your way home.
Some examples that help my clients include: listening to music or an audiobook in the car or on the train, taking a walk and being more mindful while doing so, meeting a friend, or exercise.
Start instilling this habit and you will experience life as more satisfying, rewarding, happy, and healthier in mind and body.
If you recognize the warning signs of impending burnout in yourself; remember that it will only get worse if you leave it alone. But if you take steps to get your life back into balance, you can prevent burnout from becoming a full-blown breakdown.
In case you haven’t heard, work-life balance is a myth. At Thrive, we’re all about work-life integration. It’s different from work-life balance in that it’s a more holistic — and realistic — approach. The truth is that none of us will ever achieve perfect balance, and striving to get there just stresses us out. Work-life integration acknowledges that sometimes work will demand more of your attention, and other times life will, but by setting boundaries and making sure you’re prioritizing healthy habits, you’ll be able to thrive in all facets of your life.
We asked our Thrive community for their best tips for leaving work at work, and they had some pretty great strategies.
Listen to the Audiobook narration by Suzie Doscher of the exercise: Work of Family Hijacked Your Life?
It is all too often that we feel our life is no longer our own. Too many commitments and responsibilities taken up all your time. No time for yourself and your self-care.
Listen to the exercise from BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments narrated by the author Suzie Doscher.
Paperback and ebook available on any Amazon store worldwide
BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments
is exactly as the title states: A handbook to reach for when life is difficult.
Click below to listen to Audiobook samples
Raise your self-awareness with this: