Category: <span>Anxiety</span>

My Thoughts Nurture and Support My Success

If you have a tough inner critic or get caught in worry, stress, near debilitating anxiety, overwhelm or wrestle with your self-worth, then you know some of the symptoms of negative thinking first hand. Unfortunately, negative thinking can paralyze your best efforts. This piece will explore the topic of negative thinking and what you can do to change your thinking to promote a life and business that’s more fulfilling, joyful, and meaningful.

The next move you make in your life will be a reflection of what you think will happen. 

Most people don’t realize they are responding to fear (or others know they are clearly panicking) and catapulting themselves into worse-case scenarios. Scenarios that aren’t true but are pretty freaking believable like:

  • I’m not good enough to be here (ignoring your experience and degrees)
  • This isn’t going to work 
  • I failed, the business failed, I’m a failure
  • I can’t let people who depend on me see how I feel; they’ll never trust my ability to lead

“We spend all our time and money and energy trying to change our experience on the outside, not realizing that the whole thing is being projected from the inside out.”—Michael Neill, Author

If you don’t check your thinking style, it can have a strong and sometimes devastating impact on your relationships, health, business, and life.

 

The Link Between Thoughts, Feelings, And Behavior 

Your thoughts influence your mood and contribute to your actions. That makes our thoughts pretty darn powerful. Yet, like most people, you probably don’t spend a great deal of time reflecting on the way you think. After all, who thinks about such an automatic thing as thinking?

I do. 

 

My thoughts have a tremendous impact on my actions and my life, so I refuse to maintain a thought that takes me further from the life I have in mind. However, the reality is we live in a world of thought, with an average of 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts each day- mostly nonsense, with a dash of irrational thoughts. This makes the ability to reframe counterproductive thoughts an essential skill to overall wellbeing and positive outcomes. 

 

I often see this connection play out with clients who come in saying, “I don’t think I can take this business to the next level.” That assumption is a catalyst for feeling defeated, contributing to her second-guessing her years of skill and consequently avoiding the tasks she needs to grow her business. That shift in effort prevents her from really seeing the potential of her business and herself. So basically, if you think you are a failure and repeatedly engage in the same thought patterns and reactions, your behaviors align, and you are more likely to fail. 

Positive Thoughts Lead to Success

Most of us have heard that we are what we eat. In the same way, we are what we think. Thoughts are energy. They are vibrations. They are manifestations. They are statements about our world. Suppose you want a better life, a more prosperous, accessible, and successful life? In that case, it’s strongly connected to your ability to maintain a positive mindset. 

 

Do you have a problem with a part of your life? You have a problem with your mindset, and the real problem is your thoughts about that part of your life.

 

English philosopher James Allen wrote: “As a man thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”

The good news is that you can choose what thoughts you act on, so invest that mental energy carefully. I have several goals that are important to me. Before I choose a course of action, I ask myself what do I really think about this task and what actions will support my goals. I favor actions that nurture my goals. I avoid thoughts that lead to actions that make my goals less likely to happen. 

 

A positive thought approach allows me to embrace a more favorable perspectiveIt supports and uplifts me. With that in mind, I take responsibility for my thoughts and my future.

 

Do your thoughts support what you want? Let’s assess. 

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Are my thoughts predominantly positive or negative? How could I increase the number of positive thoughts I think about daily?
  2. What are some of the labels I’ve placed on myself? (I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible leader, I don’t have sufficient skills, I’m not the expert in the room, I can’t be a mom and boss) How accurate are these ideas?
  3. What would happen if I focused on maintaining positive thoughts? How would my life change?
  4. What do I think I accomplish by thinking negatively?

 

 Your thoughts have the power to nurture and support the life you want. 

Save this article. 

Reread it often. 

Pay attention to the thoughts you give attention to. Remind yourself that your thoughts become your beliefs, and those beliefs shape your life and how you experience it.

You are what you think.

 

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a passionate advocate for positive workplace culture, supporting the ambitious mindsets of women, and improving mental health in all settings. The goal is to simply help you get out of your head, stress less, and focus on your success. 

How Much Do You Know about School Anxiety?

As the beginning of the school year is upon us, we want to acknowledge what that means for the many families navigating the anxiety of the upcoming year. Most students have spent over a year learning remotely, disconnected from friends and their routine, and have been catapulted back into school, and not everyone is excited about that.

Many students (and even parents) are experiencing anxiety just thinking about this school year, but what is anxiety, and what does it look like?

More on Anxiety 

Anxiety is a feeling of worries, fear, and/or nervousness about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. By technical definition, school anxiety in our children can look like separation anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety.

What you and your child may experience daily:

  • Separation Anxiety- or children basically being afraid of being away from their parents. This makes sense after being home with you for most of the past year. The idea of leaving parents or the safety of their home can become distressing for students. This can express itself as difficulty waking up in the morning, crying to enter the school building, and in some cases refusing to attend class or school altogether.
  • Social anxiety is an intense fear or worry in social situations or just thinking about being in a social context. Your child may express concerns about fitting in or feeling embarrassed amongst their peers and describe feeling self-conscious in social situations. It can show up as a reluctance or refusal to go to school, dropping extracurricular activities, being more withdrawn at home, or children visibly distressed at the end of the day or going out of their way to not be seen.
  • Generalized anxiety is when they anticipate the future with every possible negative outcome, usually characterized by many “what if” this or that happens questions or scenarios. With this type of anxiety, young people are just worried about everything- be it getting good grades, if they’ll get into college, if they will get covid by stepping outside, etc. Usually, these worries have no discernible cause.

Supporting and Encouraging Your Anxious Child

The most important thing you can do is pay attention to any significant changes in your child as parents and educators. Are they struggling to pay attention in class, not socializing with other classmates, avoiding eye contact, or trying hard to avoid school or different social situations? You can even look for physical symptoms (because distress often shows up physically): Nausea, headaches, trouble sleeping, or changes in their appetite. The article “How to Help When Your Child Is Anxious About Going Back to School” suggests a few ways in which parents and teachers can help with children experiencing anxiety. The most important one is recognizing the signs of anxiety. Once you do, we suggest the following:

  1. Talk to your child or students about why they are anxious, along with discussing any possible scenarios that cause them to be worried. Helping them prepare for upcoming stressors and interjecting realistic outcomes can be helpful. The key is to approach with support and never brush off a child’s fear, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, because it is a significant issue for the child.

 

  1. Don’t judge or criticize what your child or teen is experiencing. The intense anxiety and unhelpful thoughts of those dealing with anxiety may seem ridiculous to someone who has never experienced it, but it still is a real experience. That said, take time to educate yourself on your child’s experience. As parents, we don’t always have all the answers.

 

  1. Be careful not to reinforce avoidant behavior. We want your child to learn to navigate their fears, but they may need more coping tools to do so, instead of staying away from school or social situations or being forced into it with a do what I sayor else approach. We want them to learn that some anxiety is ok. If you keep trying to protect them from that, you’ll reinforce their lack of confidence in handling stressful and anxiety-provoking situations.

 

  1. Notice your own anxious reactions. Anxiety sometimes runs in families as well. Notice how it shows up around your children or other aspects of your life. Either way, your goal is to model healthy coping skills for your child. If you are struggling with anxiety yourself, it might even mean seeking professional support for yourself as well.
Download the FREE Depression and Anxiety Checklist

5. Try creative ways to get their worries off their minds. One activity that can be done is journaling. Having them write down whenever they are feeling anxious. Then have them rewrite that story with a more helpful ending or practice leaving the worry behind in the journal.

 

  1. Remember to celebrate progress (and even yours in holding back and letting them fail and/or thrive on their own). No matter how small it may seem, encouragement equals continued positive action.

If you are all out of ideas, and things are escalating, it’s ok to ask for help. Globally, social anxiety disorder is the third most prominent mental health issue- that means you or your child are not alone in your experience- so no shame in talking about it.

Start with your school counselor for ideas on supporting your child, maybe their primary care doctor, or reach out and contact a licensed therapist for an assessment and plan of action. Anxiety can be addressed with skills and support, both from a professional and the entire family system.

 

Article written by Kilcy Martinez, Social Work Intern at York College, and Amanda Fludd, Executive Director at Kensho Psychotherapy Services. Our goal is to support your wellbeing and strive to do that in many ways including therapy, group experiences and corporate wellness events.

 

Why We Should All Set Goals So Big They Scare Us

The better version of yourself starts with challenging your limits. The magic in extraordinary goals is that it requires you to take massive action, forces personal growth, and the payoff — even if it’s an epic fail — is worth the risk.

Three reasons to set big goals:

1. Big goals require you to think on a higher level. It forces you to stretch what you believe is possible. To challenge your thinking, this level of goal attainment requires that you start with planning your approach and invoking a level of innovation and creative thinking that may not be necessary with small goals.

2. It requires you to take inventory of your skills and assess what you really need. Many of us are forever students, consuming information, hoarding our skills, rehearsing scenarios in our heads. Yet, we still feel we are too inadequate to act and execute our knowledge. This resistance to risk and embracing opportunities only feeds fear. However, have you challenged that lately? Fear doesn’t always give us an accurate assessment of danger, or in this case, how well prepared you really are. To determine that, you have to take your assets and use them.

Have you registered for this training yet?
Click: https://www.amandafludd.com/girl-get-your-goals

Here’s how- Take a look at what you want to achieve, list 3 skills and strengths that you already possess that can get you there, and use that data to support following through on your SMART goals. Athletes are a great example of this. Each time they compete, they execute their plan that incorporates their training. Once the event is over, they reassess where they are based on their performance. Audacious goals require you to have a plan to take your training and compete at your highest caliber, then fine-tune your skill sets and get back out again.

3. It fosters a sense of mastery. The more you practice executing all that knowledge and skill you’ve spent all this time building up, the better you’ll get in your field of expertise. Even if you’ve recently experienced failure or rejection, shift your focus to the lessons you can learn that will support mastery of your craft.Repeated failure for example can indicate a lack of preparation – that some skill or combination of skills is missing. For example, I haven’t been as active I would like to be in the past year (pandemic and all) and if I get out and try to run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes, it’s just not happening (even though your girl is a Marathoner). However, it’s not that I’ve failed at running, I have to start over and focus on mastering an aspect or one piece of the puzzle that supports reaching my goal. In my case, it may be learning to manage my breathing again so I don’t pass out at .2 miles or setting a mini goal to build my physical endurance by adding CrossFit to strengthen my dormant muscles, which can then support that endurance towards the goal. Master the parts, get closer to the whole.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary as hell to set goals beyond your realm of comfort and in those moments our minds have a funny way of finding all the challenges to help you change your mind. This is where procrastination begins to set in: as we try to avoid what we perceive might be overwhelming or hard work, we find ways to get sidetracked and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re busy. So rather than working towards our big goals, we hesitate to commit, we ignore, we lose motivation, we settle, we quit.

If the goal doesn’t scare you a little bit though, it probably isn’t big enough. Big goals require a big commitment and will inspire you to become a completely different person than the one you are right now. In order for those big shifts to happen, that discomfort has to be significant enough to get under your skin so you consider something else besides that status quo.

Just know that when you do take that one small action towards what is required to achieve that next level of success, you short circuit that internal system built around fear, and if you do that enough that feeling of fear becomes a positive experience, making it easier to continue the small steps needed towards your goal.

We all have plenty of fears and excuses, but all it takes is to do that ONE thing. Embrace the big-ass goals and keep at it day after day, you’ll be surprised where it takes you personally and professionally.

How about you, what is your big audacious goal? What’s one step you can take towards it today or in the next week? Share it with us in the comments. 

 

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

 

 

Give Yourself a Break: The Gift of Self-Compassion

When you have a setback towards your goals, treat yourself as you would a friend: with kindness and understanding

Self Compassion Supports Motivation

Even with the best plan and intention, things can go wrong. For most people, their initial reaction in the presence of failure at work is to turn up the inner critic more harshly than we’d find acceptable by anyone else.  I have no idea what’s going on here or why I’m on this team. You’re an idiot; you blew that presentation. Get it together, you’ll never have another opportunity at this.  

We often assume that criticism will motivate us to do better. In fact, most highly productive and driven people seem to be quite unforgiving of their own mistakes.  

To Motivate or To Berate—That is the Question

We hold on to this belief that with enough self-abuse, it will change whatever we believe to be “wrong,” “inadequate,” or “imperfect” about us. Yes, that degree of negativity you drop on yourself falls under the category of abuse, and it really doesn’t move you any closer to your intended outcome. Self-criticism can be paralyzing, and it’s a response that has brought many to my couch as a psychotherapist. While I am grateful to have you, I would like to offer you this instead- what if you were to treat yourself with a bit more understanding and compassion?  

 

When things don’t go as expected, or a goal seems out of your reach, what would you tell a friend in the same situation? That is called self-compassion, and it’s an approach that allows leaders to increase their resilience and outthink their setbacks.  

 

The Science Behind Compassion 

There is growing research supporting things like compassion and gratitude, supporting its motivational power on a psychological level. It’s becoming a valuable tool for enhancing performance and improving professional development. Self-compassionate people set high standards for themselves, and in the face of setbacks, when they don’t meet their goals, they are more likely to regroup quickly. They are less likely to get hung up on mistakes or sidetracked by feelings of embarrassment, frustration, and disappointment. In fact, according to recent neuroscientific data, those who exhibit compassion are more likely to have the emotional resilience to combat suffering, anxiety, burnout, or stress, according to Frontiers in Psychology.     

 

“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” – Kristin Neff

Let’s put this into action: 

 

I’m inviting you to try a short experiment. Bring to mind a situation when you didn’t achieve your goal. Please take a few moments to recall the response of your inner critical voice and note what it says and how you feel, especially in your body. 

Now, bring to mind the same situation and imagine what you would say to your colleague or good friend in the same case if they brought that same failure to you. Say the exact words you would tell them to yourself (that’s self-compassion). How does that feel in your body?

 

If you did this short exercise, you probably noticed the following:

Self-criticism made you feel:

· Small

· Incompetent

· Embarrassed

· Tense

· Wanting to quit or give up

 

 Self-compassion made you feel:

· Validated 

· Understood

· Good enough

· Relaxed and calm 

 

Self-compassion is a mindset shift leaders and managers can benefit from because it reinforces worth, optimism, personal initiative, self-determination, and a sense of control even in the context of the pressure to succeed. These traits tend to be contagious and have a consequent ability to foster resilient teams. Developing a self-compassionate self and team does take time but is possible with intentional effort. Organizations should look at ways to create space for conversations and resources around compassion and navigating stress and change in the workplace.   

A few additional ideas to foster the overall resilience of your organization:

Improve your self-talk. Practice responding to yourself in ways you would to support a colleague, embrace criticism from others as a means to personal growth, and engaging with others without judgment or in a tone that would hurt their feelings.

Bring in workshops to grow as a team. Create opportunities for staff to learn from each other, for leaders to take their teams’ temperature, and boost morale and promote better staff engagement.  Bring in professionals with fresh ideas or a similar option is to set aside funding to allow staff to pursue outside opportunities (books, webinars, training) that will support their emotional wellbeing. As they invest in themselves, they become a more incredible asset to your team.

Prioritize communication and mental health at work. Having regular meetings where people are encouraged to share not only work achievements but mistakes and experiences around that make workplaces safe for learning. Also, work to improve access to support services onsite (training, consultations, mindful breaks) and outside of work (like EAP). Making compassionate and supportive workplaces a priority reduces pressure, anxiety and improves an organization’s resilience to stress, burnout, and turnover.

It’s innovative approaches that focus on self-compassion and overall well-being that will determine if teams, individuals, and organizations can embrace a more adaptive attitude and thrive through challenging experiences and transitions.

In the comments, make sure to share with us how well you think organizations are embracing concepts like compassion and emotional wellness at work and whether you believe well-being training might be valuable to your team.

 

Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.

If you would like information on how to infuse mental health support at work and facilitate practices like self-compassion, schedule a call here to discuss program options.

 

 

Why Does Success Elude You?

I’m guessing that you’re holding yourself back because of one of the following reasons

Examine Your Role In Success

It’s human nature to want to be successful at everything we do in business and life. Yet, most of us aren’t experiencing the level of success we desire, and to be honest, it’s a pretty unsettling feeling.

 It’s easy to see successful people thriving in their lanes and get caught in the trap of holding yourself to their standards, not understanding their story. From your vantage point, it would appear that everyone (but you) is “crushing it,” and as a reflex, you wonder what the hell is wrong with you?

 There’s no magic formula for success; even those business people or influencers, who seem to be overnight sensations, worked hard for many years out of the limelight before attaining their level of success. How you select your goals and your process to navigate the stress that comes with a high level of achievement is a big part of the formula. 

Even though you may have some setbacks along the way, if you prepare yourself for the road ahead and visualize what you want to accomplish, then the only person standing in your way of success is you.

Skillfully move through the process, and you WILL find success in both business and in life.

  1. You keep asking, “why not me?”. It’s a waste of energy and time to keep asking why other people are hitting these incredible milestones, and you are not. Worse yet, it’s contributing to your anxiety around success, making it less likely that you’ll take action towards your goals.  

 

  1. You are not clear on your goals. Not having clear goals or feeling like your goals are out of reach can be frustrating —try asking yourself, “What do you want out of life/business?” Having clarity on what you want – no matter how big or small they may be –sets you in the right direction and positively impacts your emotional wellbeing. According to an
    Get Clear On Your Goals

    18 year-long study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, people who were good at keeping up with goals or got better at sticking with their goals over time had better mental health than those who didn’t. 

It helps to break your goals down into smaller milestones that feel attainable to you. If you’re starting out in business or early in your career, you probably won’t make multimillions your first year. Instead, break that multimillion-dollar goal into something smaller that is more realistic. The goal should be meaningful to you, and the milestones shouldn’t dampen your spirits but serve as your next action steps.

 

  1. You don’t have habits that support consistently reaching those goals. Your results in life are a reflection of your habits. You’re moving either closer or further from success each day. The processes you create to reach your goals are much more important than the actual goal itself. Consider following a checklist for your daily tasks with a time limit for each task, tackling more difficult tasks first. For instance, allow yourself 10 minutes to check and respond to emails, then sign out of email for a few hours. Time blocking also works to focus on one task or one client for a certain amount of time.

If you feel like your processes have stalled, focus on improving the processes instead of changing the goals. Maybe you need to add or subtract a step or add more time to specific tasks. Or perhaps you need to take time to explore the root causes of inaction that are negatively impacting your progress. Self-awareness and effective habits ensure that you make consistent progress.

 

  1. You are afraid of failure or uncomfortable with change. Failing can be hard on the ego, and that fear can be so intense that avoiding failure obscures the motivation to succeed. Insecurity about doing things incorrectly, or maintaining extremely high standards, often causes many people to sabotage their chances for success unconsciously. 

 

Every time you try something new, there will be a level of discomfort. You have to learn to deal with uncomfortable feelings all along the way. Also, keep in mind that the most successful people have failed the most and the truth is, most people won’t even notice the failures on your way to success.

 

  1. Your mental attitude is blocking success. A pessimistic attitude brings negative results. When you expect a poor outcome, you won’t do the work necessary for success. This is tied closely to brain function with negativity slowing activity in the cerebellum- the part of your brain that works to develop creative solutions for the issues you face. Keep your mind filled with positive thoughts.

 

Success is a twisting road with many obstacles. It’s easy to become discouraged and feel left out of the club, but know that most successful people know what they want and have a high level of persistence. Avoid the common reasons that impede success, and you’ll begin to see opportunities arise that will bring you toward your ultimate goals.

 

ARE YOU READY TO BE BOLD & PLAY BIGGER?

Our zone of genius is helping ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders learn to navigate the anxiety of high standards in pursuit of their biggest goals and unapologetically live their lives. Our academy is for you if you are ready to get out of your own way and finally feel the confidence, capability, and control you crave. The Performance Academy will help reinforce the skills that typically impede success and build your motivation to wake up each day feeling calm, clear, and confident in your abilities.  

Not sure what you need? Feel free to schedule a consultation to see how this or another one of our programs would fit you. Your most successful future starts here. 

 

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