Tag Archives: self-development

Unsticking the Stuck

Stuck. That’s where I am. Not in the middle with you. Just stuck.

In fairness, today was a day that invited melancholy. It dawned grey and grisly, with a thorough downpour. And not forgetting it was a Monday. Factor in a house undergoing renovations (read: no roof. I repeat: NO ROOF!) and you are probably getting an idea of how my week kicked off. (Ferrying soggy cardboard boxes around as their bottoms fell open spilling my worldly goods on the ground and generally feeling sorry for myself.)

But actually the weather and the worldly goods spilling on the ground weren’t really the problem, if I’m honest. I was just having one of those stuck days. Those days where the awareness of the length of your to-do list weighs so heavily on your shoulders that you can’t hold your head up straight. But equally you’d rather check in on Facebook just one more time rather than face action-ing just one of those suckers. And let’s face it, it’s not your fault. If you can’t hold your head up high enough to look at your to-do list then you can’t really be expected to tackle it, now can you.

So that’s how my Monday went. Avoiding. Sitting. Hitting ‘like’ on Facebook. Letting my woes mount. And then it struck me. The way to become unstuck.

There is no one item on my to-do list right now that will make me feel immeasurably better through doing. But there is one thing. And that thing is writing. Which is why I’m here. Unsticking the stuck.

Please bear with me. And you? What do you do when you need to shake things up? Have you a cure I need to know?

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Anger Management

I can be a *tad* moody sometimes. (Read: I have been known to scream in a Basil Fawlty-esque manner and kick inanimate objects over what might seem minor irritations to more zen-like beings.) Not all the time, but some times. And it’s never nice. Not for me or for those around me.

The problem is that once you find yourself in that wound up state it’s very hard to get yourself out of it. At least that’s my experience. And the truth is that the kicking and screaming doesn’t help. You think it will be a release, and it may be for a micro-second, but then the anger bounces back and winds you even tighter.

Tonight I found myself escalating into one such mood. I caught myself tossing toys into their boxes with increasing force as I tidied up the play room. I was snappy and belligerent with my other half. I made more noise doing the dishes than a jumbo jet on take off.

Luckily for me my other half isn’t one to let me get away with it. He challenged me to explain my mood. I couldn’t at first. I really didn’t know why I was feeling so goddamned grumpy but I was. As he probed further and I got rattier, eventually it sprang to the surface. I was actually feeling hurt and left out by a friend. I blurted out my grievances in a rush, surprising even myself with the source. I cried a little. (Well, quite a lot actually.)

I got it off my chest. And then I felt better.

The key is finding the source. Generally speaking it’s not actually the thing at which we are throwing the shoe and mostly it’s not even the person at whom we are snapping. More often than not it’s some hurt within ourselves. Looking in and asking the question can really take the wind out of the gale of anger that is blowing.

Once my brave other half had helped me to identify the source he went so far as to propose a solution. If I’m feeling left out then I need to make the effort to reach out. Instead of feeling angry with people for not calling me or including me in their plans I need to be the one making the calls and the plans. Taking control of my life and my moods.

Simples eh? Like all the best things in life, it’s magnificent simplicity and profound complexity all rolled into one. Now there’s something to meditate on.

 

Remembering What Makes You Feel Good…..

…..and doing it. A simple recipe for happiness. Note the good things, the good sensations. And repeat. From the small to the big. If a cup of camomile tea makes you feel good then brew it. If taking a walk shifts your mood then do it.

Take your focus off the negative things. What makes you feel bad, what you haven’t yet done. Look at what makes you feel good, the great stuff you have done. And then do more of it.

My thought for the day…… And with that, I’m off for a walk.

Scary Stuff

Yesterday I had to do some stuff I really didn’t want to. It was scary. But I had promised that I would do it. When I got to where I was going I actually walked past the door, heart pounding, mind racing through scenarios: could I lie? say I’d been when I hadn’t? The answer was no.

I turned on my heel and in the rapid, no time to think way of a jump into cold water, I pushed the door open and flung myself into the reception. With the receptionist’s eyes upon me, I had no choice but to open my mouth and start talking. It’s the getting going that’s always the hardest.

When I got to my next meeting the surroundings were even more intimidating than in the first but buoyed by my earlier success (I’m judging being brave enough to attempt something scary as success in itself here) I found myself confident enough to just push on through.

By the time I got home yesterday evening I was on a high and feeling super-motivated and inspired. I could do anything. I could take on the world.

It reminded me of why I like climbing. The digging deep we do when we really need to pull it out of the bag, when we’re facing down our fears. The fight we have to put up when flight is not an option. The hanging on because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. Pushing yourself and how good that makes you feel. Retrospectively, at least 😉

Scary stuff. It keeps us on our toes.

Begin It Now

There’s no time like the present, as the old saying goes. And in a very real sense the present moment is all we have. The past is gone, the future not yet here and none of us knows what our lifetime ration of moments may be. So we have the present moment.

I am a thinker and a dreamer. A planner of great plans. I am also a prime procrastinator. Always put off till tomorrow that which would be better started today is my undesired but deeply engrained motto. It’s not what I would write if I sat to write a motto but sadly it is written in my veins.

There are many problems with being a prime procrastinator. Deadlines missed, fines incurred, opportunities missed. Why would you choose to do that to yourself? You wouldn’t. It is not a conscious decision. It is a behavior born of fear.

Nameless, unspecific fear. Fear of revealing too much of yourself and realizing you don’t like what you see. Fear of really going for it and failing. If you don’t ever really try you can’t ever really fail.

But if you never really try you can never really succeed either. And you can learn a million times more from an honest failure than from a cowardly act of self sabotage. And if you really try, and really allow yourself to learn along the way then eventually, at some point, success is guaranteed.

All you have to do is stop playing the procrastination game. Take your dream and begin it now.

Treating Your Self

I’m an acupuncturist by profession. As such I know very well the power of this ancient holistic treatment. And yet I can go months without having any acupuncture treatment myself. This, despite expending a lot of my own energy in treating others and despite my own wise recommendations to patients about the importance of maintaining health and preventing illness and not waiting until symptoms appear before looking after one’s self.

I’m reminded of this because yesterday I felt shocking. I was stressed and anxious and drained and as a result felt unable to tackle any of the tasks that I needed to do and that the doing of would have made me feel better. The classic vicious circle. And so it was that I spent most of the day in a fug of mental wheel spinning.

The good thing about feeling bad is that it can force you to look for ways out. And so it was that at about 3pm yesterday that I remembered that I am an acupuncturist and I can help people who feel stressed and anxious. *Light bulb* I took a half hour out of my busily unproductive day to give myself a treatment. And I eased up on myself a bit, taking it steady for the rest of the day, feeling confident that I would feel better the next day and that then would be the time to get stuff done.

And I was right. Today I feel great and I’ve had a really positive, productive day which in turn has fired me up even more. The classic virtuous circle. Now I’m not telling you this to big up acupuncture (although, really, if you haven’t tried it go get yourself some!) I’m telling you this because it made me think how so many of us are rubbish at treating ourselves. Or, indeed, our selves.

Somehow it can be so much easier to give great advice to a friend than to oneself. To see how someone else can help themselves, to have compassion for another. Sometimes we all need to turn inwards and treat our selves, whether that be with a trip to an acupuncturist, a therapist, a friend or with a drop of auto-compassion.

The real trick is remembering to do it before the need becomes vividly apparent. My promise to myself is to treat my self regularly. It’s going in the diary, in a different coloured ink to the rest of my ever expanding to-do list!

How about you? Are you prepared to commit to treating your self? And how will you do it?

Step 2

My commitment to not checking every social media and online news site first thing in the morning has continued. I have actually managed to do it. Just. So, well done me. But. After the first couple of days of my new, slimmed-down internet regime the rewards became less noticeable. Day 1 and 2: a massive surge in productivity and optimism. Days 3 and on: meh. I seem to have slyly managed to slip my tendency to mindless internet use into spaces in the rest of my day. Squeezing my chewing gum for the mind into slivers of gaps that then gradually open up into massive craters. Black holes of mind-numbing wasted time.

Time to do something more. I guess we just become accustomed to our new ploys so quickly that if we’re not constantly reviewing and renewing there is a tendency to stagnate. Now I need to look at regulating my internet use more generally. Which bits of it are killing my creativity and which are enhancing it? Blogging helps. Facebook doesn’t.

I don’t have anything against Facebook per se. It’s the way I use it. I have it open on my desktop and it is the perfect time kill when I should be doing something else that maybe I’m not so keen on. I can browse photos for hours. Aimlessly. Mindlessly. Not because I’m enjoying it particularly but because it’s such a perfect form of procrastination. And then I end up hating myself because I haven’t achieved the things I want to. It’s not like reading a book or going for a walk or doing something that I genuinely enjoy and that feeds my energy and enthusiasm. It’s a non-activity that serves purely to sap my energy and prevent me from doing.

So. Step 2. Curb Facebook use. Close that tab. Check it once a day. In the evening. *Does one last, nervous check.* Think I can safely close it for the day without fear of the world tumbling in on me.

This may be more difficult than Step 1. But perhaps that means it will also be more rewarding. Stay tuned to find out.