“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?“ – Maya Angelou This is a good, and a thought-provoking, question! I wonder how good we really are to ourselves. Here are some journal prompts to help you think this through … 1. Without thinking too deeply […]
“Finding yourself is really the process of returning to yourself. It’s a process of unlearning, an excavation, the process of remembering who you really were before this world got its hands on you.” The following four steps for breaking free from unhealthy, self-destructive beliefs was first suggested by Jeffrey M. Schwatrz, in his book […]
It can be hard to say ‘no’ and to do your own thing. We expect disapproval or rejection by our friends. So how do you say ‘no’ in a respectful way when you can’t, or you don’t want to, say ‘yes’ to them?
1. Listen with respect to what the person has to say. Don’t interrupt; it’s just a question at this stage.
2. Simply say ‘no’ in a calm and an even voice. Don’t sound like you’re upset, or start to whine or raise your voice. Just simply say ‘no’ in a calm, confident way.
3. Transfer the reason and the blame to something else. For example, say something like, ‘I’m really sorry but my calendar is full’. This focuses annoyance on your calendar – not you.
4. Don’t react or be confrontational. They can ask what they want, and have the right to make requests – and you have the right to accept or decline. Say: I’d love to say yes, but … (and then turn them down)’. This will help to build a bridge, and conveys empathy.
5. Don’t feel you have to give an explanation when you answer. You don’t have to give a reason or explain yourself to others. You can simply decline, and then politely change the subject.
6. If you want to give a reason then keep it short and simple. Don’t justify yourself or start to argue your case. True friends accept your answer and respect your boundaries.
7. Stand firm in your decision. If the person starts to pressure you, just tell them you’ve decided, and nothing they can say is going to make you change your mind.
“Anxiety is an urgent, deafening thing. No matter how many logical reasons you have to remain happy or positive, when it is present, you can hear nothing else.” Beau Taplin
According to Dr T.A. Richards, we can stop thoughts that lead to anxiety by consciously replacing them by more rational thoughts like the following:
When anxiety is near:
1. I’m going to be all right. My feelings are not always rational. I’m just going to relax, calm down, and everything will be all right.
2. Anxiety is not dangerous — it’s just uncomfortable. I am fine; I’ll just continue with what I’m doing or find something more active to do.
3. Right now I have some feelings I don’t like. They are really just phantoms, however, because they are disappearing. I will be fine.
4. Right now I have feelings I don’t like. They will be over with soon and I’ll be fine. For now, I am going to focus on doing something else around me.
5. That picture (image) in my head is not a healthy or rational picture. Instead, I’m going to focus on something healthy like _________________________.
6. I’ve stopped my negative thoughts before and I’m going to do it again now. I am becoming better and better at deflecting these automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) and that makes me happy.
7. So I feel a little anxiety now, SO WHAT? It’s not like it’s the first time. I am going to take some nice deep breaths and keep on going. This will help me continue to get better.”
When preparing for a stressful situation
1. I’ve done this before so I know I can do it again.
2. When this is over, I’ll be glad that I did it.
3. The feeling I have about this trip doesn’t make much sense. This anxiety is like a mirage in the desert. I’ll just continue to walk forward until I pass right through it.
4. This may seem hard now, but it will become easier and easier over time.
5. I think I have more control over these thoughts and feelings than I once imagined. I am very gently going to turn away from my old feelings and move in a new, better direction.
When feeling overwhelmed
1. I can be anxious and still focus on the task at hand. As I focus on the task, my anxiety will go down.
2. Anxiety is a old habit pattern that my body responds to. I am going to calmly and nicely change this old habit. I feel a little bit of peace, despite my anxiety, and this peace is going to grow and grow. As my peace and security grow, then anxiety and panic will have to shrink.
3. At first, my anxiety was powerful and scary, but as time goes by it doesn’t have the hold on me that I once thought it had. I am moving forward gently and nicely all the time.
4. I don’t need to fight my feelings. I realize that these feelings won’t be allowed to stay around very much longer. I just accept my new feelings of peace, contentment, security, and confidence.
5. All these things that are happening to me seem overwhelming. But I’ve caught myself this time and I refuse to focus on these things. Instead, I’m going to talk slowly to myself, focus away from my problem, and continue with what I have to do. In this way, my anxiety will have to shrink away and disappear.
“Make sure that, in the end, the story is about your strength, and not the pain.” Pain is an inevitable part of life. And often the heartache is outside our control. But there’s also a strength that we never knew we had. The strength to keep going. The strength to win the fight.
Sawubona. This beautiful word in the Zulu language captures so much more than the word hello. Behind the greeting is the powerful message: “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.” And for me, this loving greeting begs the fundamental questions (questions that I think we all should ask ourselves): “Do […]
“When there’s a fresh wound in your heart, keep it open until it heals. Air it out. Understand it. Dive into it. Be fierce enough to become it. If you ignore it, it won’t be able to breath. If you ignore it, it will merely deepen, spread, and resurface later, wanting to release. And when […]