Category: <span>Anxiety</span>

Five Toxic Thinking Styles Holding Back Your Business

We don’t always realize as women that we are the most important assets to our business, and it’s our thinking that leads (or gets in) the way of our success. The thinking patterns that drive our everyday interactions also carry over into how you show up for your business and feel about yourself. 

Why do some of the most intelligent people sabotage their success?

We all have this humble inner voice that tells us what we should be doing with our lives, who we want to be ultimately and how we should behave. It’s often influenced by our past family relationships, traumas, environmental stressors, and all the stories you’ve decided to hold on to or have trouble letting go of. Even the most brilliant woman has a story that she probably needs to release.

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Overall, the issue isn’t the stories or our mindset and thinking around our experiences, but that you’ve believed that these anxiety-provoking, limiting, or shame-based stories are true. Over time, these self-critical internal stories create an automatic narrative of how we view the world and respond to it, which also plays out with our business moves. A woman who defines her worth by her external success, and see herself as a failure when she isn’t a top performer, is more likely to be self-critical. That woman will probably feel less motivated when things don’t go as expected, may even question her whole business, and often think, “I’m not enough”. 

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Stay fresh under stress

How to Recognize Toxic Thinking Styles

Leading a business can trigger a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions. We want to focus on the more negative thoughts or cognitive distortions that typically show up when you are worried, anxious, or upset. The clients I work with often struggle with overthinking, are huge procrastinators, and are good at talking themselves out of taking risks in their business. I find it empowering to help these women recognize how their thinking patterns play a role in their motivation, frustration, sense of self, and even problems like anxiety, stress, and making decisions. 

How you can recognize if your thinking is an issue is to listen to how you speak to yourself. Do you hear a lot of self-defeating, harsh, or critical statements like “I can’t do this,” “this is going to fall apart,” or “If I don’t succeed at this, I’m a failure?” Another sign of toxic thinking is giving up easily. You are ambitious and driven with impressive goals and ideas but often focus on the failures, not the successes, and give up on them too quickly. 

How to Know If Your Negative Thinking Is Affecting Your Business

While a few common unhelpful thinking styles can keep the most ambitious and intelligent woman stagnant in their business, do you know which one is common for you? Let’s take a look at five common thinking patterns that can damage your business strategy.

The Checklist of Unhelpful Thinking Styles:

Thinking styles, toxic thinking, mindset
What is your go to negative thinking pattern?

One: Should statements are prevalent and are laced with critical messages (and usually unattainable standards) and often trigger guilt and anxiety. It involves thinking about things that you believe you “should” “ought to,” or “must” do. 

It may sound like “I should be able to handle this,” or “I should be doing better by now,” or “I ought to be able to handle this .” These statements tend to dial up the pressure and make it very difficult to keep working on those business goals when you don’t achieve what you connected to those should statements. 

Two: Catastrophizing is when you jump right to the worst possible outcome for a situation. When you are constantly worried about what could happen in a scenario, it can intensify your anxiety and minimize your actions when it comes to your business. So if I go live, no one will watch, and I’ll be an epic failure. . .so instead of leaning into the fear, you avoid and don’t go live, sound familiar? 

Three: Discounting the positives is all about discounting your accomplishments and minimizing the positive qualities about yourself. For example, if you do an excellent job with that launch you’ve worked so hard on and it goes well, you reason that it was luck, it isn’t a big deal, and fail to give yourself credit for your role in the success. 

Four: Jumping to Conclusions is when you interpret a situation without the facts. There are two parts to this thinking pattern; you can either be a mind reader or a fortuneteller. 

Mind reading is when you assume that people react negatively to you or judge you when there’s no definite evidence for it. 

Fortune-telling is when you decide things will turn out badly, “I can see it now, this just isn’t going to work” or “no one is going to come .”Have you ever done that? 

Five: Mental filter is when you dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives, aka negative Nancy. 

How many of those toxic thinking styles show up for you?

The next time you find yourself overlooking the good, procrastinating, or struggling to get out of bed to slay those goals, it could be you are engaged in a toxic thinking pattern. The good news is you can learn to shift your thinking so it’s more balanced, resilient, and encouraging to help you reach your goals and tackle the most challenging situations.

How to Deal with these Mindset Missteps  

A great place to start is by noticing when you are dwelling on any negative thoughts or when there is a significant change in how you feel (like maybe more anxious). Start to get into the habit of slowing down to reassess the situation by observing and cross-examining your thoughts with the following questions:

1. Is this thought realistic?

2. Am I basing my thoughts on facts or feelings?

3. What is the evidence for this thought? Don’t simply assume your negative thought is accurate, and don’t be afraid to prove yourself wrong. 

4. Is there another way I could look at this? 

5. What would a friend say, or is there someone else I can ask for perspective.

Over time, with practice, you won’t need to consciously ask yourself these questions to shift your negative thinking. It will become automatic, and you will better be able to catch them way before they spiral out of control and get in the way of your success.  

Remember, many of these cognitive distortions or thinking patterns are common. Still, if you believe that it is negatively impacting your follow through with your business goals or your confidence, it’s a good time to talk to us about business coaching from a mindset perspective.

Psychotherapist, Coach for Women

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R isn’t just a Psychotherapist and a Mindset Coach for Ambitious Women who are business owners or striving to be. She is here to help you move from fear to success, master your emotions, and use your strengths to achieve the next level in your business. For 1:1 coaching, or to take a look at how she can support you, learn more at amandafludd.com/coaching.

Sources: American Psychological Association. What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.

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MINDSET SHIFTS TO DISMANTLE DOUBTS AND BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

A lot of side hustle queens are not taught the right growth mindset to start their own business and grow their side hustle dreams to a successful business. This blog attempts to look at some of these mindset shifts and why they are essential to your success.

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Starting your own business can be intimidating. You’re now responsible for your own income, your own money, and your own success. If you’re used to working for someone else, you might be excited about the opportunity but anxious as hell too. The issue for most minority women in business is the road can seem lonely with few mentors, families who don’t understand your work (or look at you with a side-eye), and a closed-lipped community of colleagues when it comes to the how to’s of growing a successful empire. This is one of the reasons that I started my journey as a coach. I wanted to give women a place to know their feelings are valid and to feel free to share what they were going through. 

Before you even started your business, you probably experienced a lot of self-defeating thoughts. And, if you are like most business owners, these thoughts trigger strong emotions and reactions like procrastination, overthinking, and overwhelm that threaten your success.

HERE ARE 10 OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MINDSET SHIFTS TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

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Old Mindset: I don’t know enough to do this. I’m not sure I can be as good as the next entrepreneur. 

Growth Mindset: I am unique in my approach, talents, and viewpoints. My education and expertise give me an excellent viewpoint to serve and help others. 

 We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.  – Bob Goff

Something in you brought you to the conclusion that you have something to give or the ability to solve a problem in the first place- don’t forget that queen. As humans, we are prone to find the negative in situations, leading to self-doubt and avoidance. Is this a good idea? People won’t like it. Can I do this? 

Yes, sis, you can. You’ve been doing many things in life that have gotten you to this point. You’ve been grooming yourself this whole time for this moment, and you didn’t realize it (you are the expert in the room). We are always learning, with areas to improve on, and as you put yourself out there, you will know exactly what you need to develop to fine-tune your approach.  

Avoid comparing yourself (or your business) with other entrepreneurs and overthinking because it can work against you and create resistance instead of action. It’s ok to use others in your industry as inspiration. Explore what is working for them, how they get over their challenges, and what methods you can incorporate into your approach, but limit the time spent doing that. The amount of time you spend working on your business should be greater than the time spent learning about it or looking at what other people are doing.  

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

Better use of your time would be to reach out to those other bosses, and who knows, end up collaborating instead of emotionally competing with them. To expand your knowledge base, you can also enroll in continuing education classes, read business books and blogs, or join the local chamber of commerce (I just learned about them this year and a tip is to look for the more active groups in your area).

“Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.” – Denis Waitley, motivational speaker.

Old Mindset: This is going to be great, and success will happen like right now. 

Growth Mindset: My race. My pace. 

All that pretty stuff you see out there took time: the massive followers, beautiful websites and pages, organized systems, hefty contracts, and increased income. Social media tends to make it seem like it happens quickly and right away, but this is a marathon. That means there will be days it sucks, the doubts will come, there will be days you need to walk away, but understand that greatness takes time, grind, and commitment. Even more motivating is that you’ll constantly be pushing your limits as you supersede them. 

The key here is to start from a realistic standpoint and acknowledge that your efforts will reflect your success. It’s what you want to do, how you want to do it, and the pace that works best for you. 

“…you must always be yourself and do things at your own pace. Someday, you’ll catch up.” ― Natsuki Takaya

That said, come up with great short-term goals. I want you to have the more significant milestones for your business, but it’s equally important to set short-term, attainable goals. Otherwise, you will get discouraged when your big dreams aren’t realized quickly and may give up to soon. 

Old Mindset: What If I fail?

“I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.

Growth Mindset: What If I succeed? 

I don’t think I ever had the direct thought of what if I fail at the businesses. However, that fear of failure shows up with aspects of the industry like, will this launch be successful? Will I make enough to sustain my family now that I’ve left my career job, etc.? Failure may sound different for each woman in business, and it’s ok to have that experience. The next time you notice those failure-related thoughts, challenge them or get curious about them. 

Here is an exercise I do with clients. Once they notice the fear, I have them explore why they feel afraid. See, our feelings have a lot of information for us, like a friend coming over with the latest tea, we have to get curious about why they showed up. So lean into the fear, figure out what the fear is trying to tell you- determine if it is a want or a wish, and ask yourself how can I move closer to that instead of allowing the fear to trigger any avoidance. You can download the complete Fear Reflection worksheet here.  

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb.

Take this potential fear of failure as a learning opportunity. It’s a chance to succeed at many other things like trusting yourself, exercising courage, learning a new trade, and making additional income. 

Old Mindset: I don’t know what I’m doing. 

Growth Mindset: I am doing the best that I can. I am capable of figuring things out.  

QUOTES FOR ENTREPRENEURS, WOMEN EMPOWERED QUOTES, GROWTH MINDSET QUOTES

Girl, who knows what they are doing? Many of us know how to play it off really well or figure it out. As women, we sometimes have this false narrative that we need to know everything, but is that realistic? 

When we faced audits at my prior position, we were trained to say, “I’ll get back to you” when asked something we didn’t know, and that was ok once you took time to find that answer and came back with a response. It’s OK to give yourself grace and space in that way and be clear on your limits. While people may expect a certain level of ability, you should never lie to anyone about your experience. Still, you don’t have to minimize your value either or be critical of yourself for not having an answer. Just like you’ve done your entire life, your confidence is in your ability to figure things out. 

“Women have the power to choose which path they wish to take. We have to believe great things are going to happen in our lives, and we have to do everything we can to make them happen.” – Gabriela at w4.org 

To develop your confidence, it’s a good idea to take a few minutes every day or at least reflect once a month on your achievements so far. Remind yourself of what has gone well for your side hustle and your role in that.  

Old Mindset: I have to do this by myself. It’s all on me. No one gets it.

Incfile.com

Growth Mindset: I need a tribe. 

While the responsibility of your business is yours (and no one will love that baby as you do), you can’t grow without the proper nourishment. It sounds super cheesy, but your business / the boss behind it will be as good as the company she keeps.  Find a tribe that understands the world of entrepreneurship and who can pour into you and celebrate you. You can even join a mastermind group to exchange ideas or hire a business coach whom you trust. 

“The best bosses do more than charge up people and recruit and breed energizers. They eliminate the negative because even a few bad apples and destructive acts can undermine many good people and constructive acts.”

 ― Robert I. Sutton

Old Mindset: I have no idea how to start this business. 

Growth Mindset: Well, somebody does, and I am open to guidance and coaching to create a profitable business I enjoy.

As a black woman in business, I’ve struggled to find people who were open to sharing tips and strategies about their success to support mines. There is an intense competition factor (or intimidation) within minority communities. Outside of that, in larger (more white based) coaching circles, the information may be there, but not the level of connection to the psychology behind success and the skill to move someone through that process. Maybe my expectation is different with a background as a psychotherapist, but that’s how I coach and mentor- from this place of your success is my success and incorporating proven strategies to engage your Mindset to get you there. If that’s what you need, you should be working with me, and here is how.

Suppose you are worried about the legalities of a business, like how to form an LLC. In that case, I think the easiest way is to use Incfile to take the overwhelm out of the process and get all that support in one area.  

So now we’ve covered a few essential mindset shifts to dismantle the doubts and build a successful business. Which Mindset shifts do you need to make? Let me know in the comments below. 

Changing your mindset and embracing a growth mindset is not easy, but they are necessary to take your business to the next level. When I started my business, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know logistically and how much of my skills as a therapist would be needed to thrive as an entrepreneur. That’s why I coach now and want to help my fellow sisterpreneurs move past the fears and achieve their goals. 

Psychotherapist, Mental Health Trainer, Black Therapist, Coach

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist and Mindset Coach for high-achieving coaches and online entrepreneurs. Her joy is helping them move past their fears to practical business goals.

Related Reads:

15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

How to lean into the fears to achieve your goals

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea-drinking habits at no cost to you. 

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15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety When Stressed Out

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These 15 anxiety quotes are meant to encourage you and help calm that feeling of overwhelm when anxious or feeling like life is out of control. Understanding how your mind works and how you talk to yourself when stressed out is key to reducing Anxiety in your life. 

We all have that humble inner voice that tells us what we should be doing with our lives and who we ultimately want to be. Unfortunately, many women push this inner voice aside and instead listen to the one that says things like, “You can’t do this”, “How am I going to make money from this?”, “What will people think of me?” “I feel like a fraud,” “This is too difficult”, and “What if I fail?”. 

That critical voice is like a neon yellow highlighter finding all the negatives. Its presence can be painful, limiting, and paralyzing. What you may not know is it is often connected to anxiety or depression and fuels destructive habits shortchanging your progress, and the progress of the other 40 million adults in the United States alone that are diagnosed with Anxiety or Depression (and that’s just those who know). 

The Thought, Attitude & Action Connection

Anxiety is pretty common, and a hallmark trait is the fear-based worry thoughts that hold women hostage creating doubt, imposter syndrome, and not much action. See your thoughts, attitude and actions are strongly related, and you can take a look at an example of that hereNegative self-talk triggers emotions like worry, anger, or sadness, kicking up a negative or defeated attitude, which then causes you to engage in self sabotaging behaviors with things like procrastination or avoidance. Sounds familiar?

Learning to correct negative thinking patterns and your response starts with understanding the source of these unhelpful stories running around in your mind and beginning to seize control of your inner mean girl. If you want to take a closer look at what this means for you, download the free inner critic workbook to help you calm your inner critic. 

I’m curious, what would you be doing if you didn’t second guess yourself? Or talk yourself out of amazing opportunities? Share those thoughts in the comments below

Retraining Your Brain

As you ponder the impact of your inner mean girl, please note the good news- changes made to your brain by negative thought processes are reversible. While we use strategies based on cognitive behavior therapy to do this with clientsyou can start to do some of this work yourself simply by introducing more positive comments to your life. The research has found the more you engage in positive thought work, the more it stimulates the front of your brain or the pre-frontal cortex- positive self-talk is like a workout for your mind. 

And real talk, reading something positive is just uplifting and is a powerful way to help you feel calm and in control when stress or Anxiety threatens to overwhelm you. 

Managing Stress

Navigating anxiety, stress and overwhelm in the moment is critical. Here are a few ways some of our clients do that:

  1. Embrace mindfulness or regular meditation practice (try apps like stop, breathe, think or calm.com)
  2. Schedule breaks within the day
  3. Brain dump to-do lists and work on the top 3 items at a time instead of being overwhelmed by EVERYTHING on the list
  4. Eat junk free snacks throughout the day to support a consistent mood 
  5. Learn to say “no” and assert boundaries with significant others 

Embracing the positive

Using affirmations, mantras, the above approaches, and working with a therapist or a business mindset coach may be the missing element to fighting against your mind and consistently showing up for your self and your business. As you continue to work on yourself, here are a few positve quotes to get some perspective on your Anxiety and soothe your soul!

Quotes to Navigate Anxiety and Lift Your Spirits

This one is one of my favorites from the Inner Critic Workbook for Ambitious Women:

1. “Thoughts are not facts or realities. They do not define you” ~Amanda Fludd

anxiety, dealing with stress

2. “I give myself permission to suck…I find this hugely liberating” -John Green

3. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”

—Charles Spurgeon

4. Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot, and you’ll survive whatever is coming. – Robert Tew

5. Smile, breathe, and go slowly. — Thich Nhat Hanh  

6.”You can have it all. Just not all at once.” ~Oprah

And another from the Queen herself: 

7. “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.” – Oprah Winfrey

8. “You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits.” – Michael Phelps

  1. “Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t pretend that you do and, and some point, you will.” Venus Williams

10. “The only person who can stop you from reaching your goals is you.”

— Jackie Joyner-Kersee 

11. “You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.

– Dan Millman

12. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Isiah 41:10

13. “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” – Roy Bennett

14. “It’s OKAY to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” – Mandy Hale

15. “The way you tell your story to yourself matters.” – Amy Cuddy

That said, continue to challenge that inner critic and the mean girl stories it tries to tell you. It’s most likely not true, and you are more powerful than your mind will have you to believe. 

If any of these quotes or parts of this blog resonated with you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Also, if you like any of the images featured in this post, sharing it through your favorite social media platform like Pinterest or tagging @amanda.fludd on Instagram is appreciated.

Related Articles:

Calming the Anxious Mind

Getting Clear on Goals to Reduce Overwhelm

Ending Self Criticism and Liking Yourself More

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R is a Licensed therapist and coach for high-achieving women. It’s important to note when resolving complex thoughts, it can be challenging, and it is helpful to enlist the support of a therapist or a coach. If you are unsure what you need, reach out, and we can help you figure that out.

Note: There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you decide to buy to support our tea drinking habits at no cost to you. 

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4 Clever Tips To Find Your Purpose and Redefine Yourself

Discovering who you are is a way to understand your purpose and reduce the anxiety and disconnect you feel in your life.

Do you ever wonder why you’re here? Or reached a point in life that you question, is this all life is about?” It’s like getting to the end of the action-packed ride you waited an hour for only to come off like, “that’s it?” 

This is the same feeling many of us experience who have checked all the boxes, aligned with cultural or familial expectations, and did “all the things” only to one-day wake up with a life that’s far from what they expected.

Before we hit this realization, it sometimes gets lost in a tirade of energy-sucking complaints. It may start with minor things in life, like why won’t he pick up the laundry off the floor? To forever late to everything, or dreading going into work- finding yourself more reactive, envious, or defensive to others, to escalating unhappiness. This dynamic is more about our own avoidance of what we don’t like about ourselves. Let that marinate.

When you are out of Alignment

When we are out of alignment with what we want in life or are living in a way this is not an expression of who we are (our likes, values, etc.), it is sometimes projected outwardly as complaints, victimization, or blaming other people for something you instead need to address within yourself.  

For me, purpose is redefining who you are or who you thought you needed to be. It’s finding what you love, and that’s the work I love to do with the women I work with. After all, you were created with a unique set of gifts, passions, and talents that no one else in the world can duplicate! You have to find space for that in your life, which is sometimes outside the expectations that have guided your life so far.  

Your success is connected to how you leverage your strengths and navigate your own wants and everyone else’s expectations. Taking the time to discover your purpose allows you to redefine yourself in a way that brings you greater self-fulfillment and promotes emotional wellness.

When you’re doing what you feel like you must have been born to do, you can create a life you enjoy every day.  

Your goals will have more meaning to you, and challenges will be naturally easier to overcome as you operate with intention and expectation instead of out of obligation and dread. This process for finding your life purpose enables you to tune in to your inner self and figure out what drives you. Take the time to find your purpose – your life will undoubtedly change for the better!

Do Not Disturb. It’s Time To Get Honest With Yourself  

For this process, an open mind is optional but helpful. Some of this may seem too deep — too personal. You may ask yourself how it has anything to do with my career, purpose, or having a business. But ultimately, all of this is connected.  You will need piece of paper, something to write with, and a stretch of quiet time (anywhere from 15mins to 1 hour), so throw up that Do Not Disturb Sign on the office door and let’s do some work.

As you are doing this exercise, try to empty your mind as much as possible. A great way to help you do that is with a mindfulness practice, as the less cluttered your mind is, the easier the process will be.

Redefining Yourself and Finding Your Purpose

Rediscovering and reinventing yourself is a natural part of self development. It’s essential for honest and valuable growth.

1.    Focus on your intention. Write at the top of your paper: “Finding my purpose.” This simple act sets your intention in your mind for the next hour (or whatever time you decide. You can always start with a smaller period of time and repeat the exercise when you have more time).

2.    Begin listing your thoughts – even if it’s doubts about this process. As you clear your mind and focus on this process, write whatever comes to mind, no matter what it is. If you think to yourself, “This isn’t going to work,” then you would write, “This isn’t going to work.”

3.    Brainstorm.  List what you think your purpose or gifts, strengths, and talents may be. Feel free to incorporate a few of these questions below to help generate some ideas. Keep writing until you believe you’ve arrived at your purpose. Eventually, you will see connections. And likely notice the connection between the things you enjoy doing and the things you were meant to do in your life.

· What is the most important priority in your life? Family? Work? or something else?

· What brings you joy in those spaces, or what do you find challenging at the moment?

· Is there someone triggering you in those spaces? What types of stories are you telling yourself about this person/situation? 

· What are your talents and abilities? What are you good at? (Try to get a list of 5 – 10, but don’t overthink it).

· What are your weaknesses? (Be kind to yourself here. It shouldn’t exceed your strengths list).

· Which skills would you like to develop further? Why?

· What are you passionate about / what do you love to do?

· What are you not so passionate about / what do you hate doing?

· Do you get joy from helping others? Who?

· Based on your knowledge, experiences, and what you like to do, who do you like to help? 

· What problems do they have?

· What have you always wanted to do, but you haven’t done it yet?

· Who do you most enjoy being around? Adults? Children? Why?

· Do you like to travel?

· Do you want more excitement in your life?

· What are your favorite books or movies? Why?

· How do you feel about your relationships?

· What or who kicks up your anxiety or perfectionism the most? What insights can you gather from that dynamic?

· What do you value?

· How important is money?

· What are three things you would do over differently if it were up to you?

4.    How will you know you’ve arrived at purpose? You’ll know. It will be the answer that fills you with the most emotion. It may even bring you to tears. The idea will resonate with you completely; simply continue writing whatever comes into your mind until you reach that point.

A few of your answers may repeat itself and that’s ok. You may also notice a bunch of nonsense, but our brain can get distracted or be a little cluttered, and this exercise sometimes exposes that. Howeve, your brain will expose your innermost dreams as well. There may be a few answers that feel good, but remember you are looking for the most meaningful to you.

When you see good ones but not “it,” this means you’re close but not entirely on target yet. You’re looking for that one idea that feels overwhelming to you. In this exercise, it’s common to take several ideas before your purpose takes shape, even as many as 400 ideas. Keep writing!

How can my life purpose benefit me?

Hopefully you’ve discovered your purpose, or have a good sense of it. Now the work is to honor it. To do that, keep it in mind consistently as you make decisions in your life. Ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with my purpose or values?” A life lived like this, with direction and intentionality, is a life with less overwhelm and more joy.

So don’t wait any longer; schedule a time to do this exercise when you know you’ll have some peace and quiet. Understanding the core reason you’re here and ensuring that it aligns with the life you have created is a beautiful gift to yourself

Psychotherapist, Mental Health Trainer, Black Therapist, Coach
Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R Therapist, Mindset Coach for Women in Business and Corporate Mental Health Consultant
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase an item I will receive a commission at no cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

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Simple Ways to Calm an Anxious Mind

Do constant worries and anxious thoughts plague you? These three simple tips can help calm your anxious mind and lower your anxiety.

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Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

At any time in the day, do you have at least five things going on in your head and three things happening at your desk simultaneously? When we are constantly trying to problem solve, fix, plan, save or organize something, it can be the gateway to anxiety in your life (well disguised as multitasking or being somebody’s hero). 

I see a lot of professional and ambitious women who are constantly on the go and pride themselves on their ability to multitask. They are often surprised that they are overwhelmed, always overthinking, stressed, physically a hot mess, and anxious. Does that sound like you?

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

  • Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
  • Having a need to constantly be doing something
  • On the verge of panic or afraid, you will have a panic attack
  • Constant worry, overthinking, or feeling like you always need to be doing something
  • Trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Disrupted relationships (passive aggression, easily reactive, anxious attachment, fear of rejection)
  • Avoiding things that trigger anxiety (projects, pending deadlines, socializing, etc.)
  • Headaches, stomach issues, tiredness, shortness of breath, butterflies in your stomach, sweaty palms, or everything

What anxiety steals 

Anxiety not only affects the mind but the bodies of individuals. The most concerning part for the clients I support is it’s a feeling that keeps you from being present in your everyday life. It’s sometimes a false sense of doing, but in fact, you have accomplished much of nothing and drained yourself physically and mentally. 

You can inadvertently be involved with multiple projects and ideas, but not giving each the full attention it needs- so really making little progress, missing mistakes, and not as efficient as you could be. You could also be responding to internal fears and avoidance that your busyness gives you the luxury of avoiding. On a day-to-day basis, anxious overthinking, constantly doing, and this drive for constant achievement can make you overlook the details of life. Details like your strengths, success, reasons to smile and celebrate, social connections, opportunities to help and serve- the things that give life meaning and value. 

Let’s dive in deeper. How often have you worried, dreaded things that never happened, or thought yourself out of doing something? How often do your worst fears come true? How much time and energy did you spend on those what-if scenarios that could happen in the future? Facts- it only robbed you of the present.

 

 

 

When you are overly focused on future fears, it contributes to anxiety. When we look back too much on past issues and what could’ve been, it kicks up depression, both of which don’t allow you to enjoy what is.

What can you do to calm your anxiety?

The first step is recognizing that you have anxiety. That drive you wear as a badge, the trouble turning your mind off at night, those heart palpitations and GI issues, yup, that’s anxiety and anxiety is exhausting. 

It’s valuable to learn to live in the moment and stop waiting until everything is perfect before doing the things we feel we need to do. Mindfulness and the power of stillness and awareness is one way to calm the anxious body and mind. 

ANXIETY, OVERTHINKING

Tip 1: Infuse Mindfulness Into Your Life

You can improve your health every day by taking time to pause and create space for yourself. By starting a mindfulness practice, you will notice that you can calm your anxious mind. You may first notice how hard it is to sit still or be comfortable with “doing” in a different way. Still, you can interrupt the endless loop of anxious thoughts and worries by being fully engaged in the present moment. 

Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. That means noticing what you are doing and where you are, without worrying about the future or the past.

Let’s practice: I invite you to take three deep breaths. After each breath follow the instruction.

First breath: Bring your full attention to the breath in your nose and out your nose or mouth. Whatever feels right at this moment. 

Second breath: Relax the body. Drop your shoulders.

Third breath: Ask yourself: What’s important right now? 

To be clear, the practice of slowing down doesn’t stop the thoughts. Thoughts will come and go while you tune into your breath or your focal point, but the key is to notice and let it go. It’s about not entertaining the bazillion ideas that come to mind. Attachment to these thoughts and outcomes is often where our pain and distress are often rooted. 

When I was walking out of the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew that if I didn’t leave behind my bitterness and hatred, I’d still be in prison.”

Nelson Mandela, after being release from prison

Tip 2: Add a Guide to Strengthen Your Experience

Left up to our devices we sometimes deviate from the plan. An easy way to stay on course is to introduce a guided practice. I often use Stop, Breathe, Think on youtube for guide exercises with clients and they also have an app. Calm.com is also another great option, and to add tapping which is another way to use your brain to reduce stress. Try this example by black Psychologist Damon Silas.  

Tip 3: Practice often 

Being Mindful is a practice that gets easier the more you do it. So get creative, and RIGHT NOW, think of 5 places or times you can intentionally pause to engage in this practice. My top 3 places:

  1. With clients in session 

(Join our next pay what you want mindfulness session for Minority Women who lead here)

  1. In the car before I go into the house after work
  2. After a workout or before bed  

The most important thing you can do is give yourself a moment to breathe and be still. Learning how to become still is a gift in itself. 

Don’t forget to share where or when you will practice mindfulness in the comments below.

Amanda Fludd, Psychotherapist, Mental Health Trainer & Mindset Coach

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