Category: <span>Personal Growth</span>

The Importance of Celebrating Your Progress: An Overlooked, Yet Powerful Motivator

Celebrating your wins, how to get motivated at work
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Do you ever take the time to celebrate your progress? For most, it’s barely a thought, only focusing on the outcome, but is this hurting your potential?

Suppose we continue to push this mentality of working hard and hustle culture without space for acknowledging just how far we’ve come? In that case, you leave room for the disappointment of perfectionism and actually increase the likelihood of poor follow-through.

Join me as I dive into this blog on celebrating your wins, valuing your worth, and leveraging that to motivate you or your team. 

WHY YOU MIGHT STRUGGLE TO CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS:

Do you ever take time to celebrate your success or accomplishments? Or even acknowledge the small wins in those around you?

I can picture you saying, “hmm….I don’t know” or “haven’t thought about that.” Well, think about what the message to yourself is or your organization when you don’t do that.

We are often so caught up on the daily to-dos and the pressure of unrealistic demands that we actually forget to notice what we’ve accomplished, or acknowledge the accomplishments of our peers sharing office air or zoom rooms around us. Well, I don’t think we forget, I think we are conditioned to discount the small wins as “not good enough” because we haven’t reached that destination, completed the project, achieved the goal, or received praise for it. 

However, something powerful happens if you take the time to think about what it takes to get to your end goal and the tasks you’ve managed to pull off along the way.

When I trained for the NYC Marathon a few years back, 26.2 miles was the outcome. Still, there were many important milestones along the way- like actually deciding I could run that far (absolutely not a distance runner), hitting key milage like 13.2, 15 miles, 18 miles, and positioning myself for 26.2. What was more important at race day wasn’t the race itself but what it took to get there. Each time I hit a milestone, it reinforced that this was possible, and I also saw the shifts in friends and family around me and their excitement that this was actually happening. All of the above was motivation to complete one of the most challenging events in my life, next to birthing babies. 

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THE POWER OF PROGRESS IS FUNDAMENTAL TO HUMAN NATURE

Whether you are trying to bring in a big sale, develop a high-quality product or service, forge a new path in life, or get a handle on your anxiety, acknowledging everyday progress can make all the difference in how you feel and perform. That same concept of having and acknowledging the small milestones is not just a great way to motivate yourself, but also your team. If you can help them see the value of the steps, they have accomplished and find ways to acknowledge that as their leader, you are building their intrinsic ability to perform (and maybe even like what they are doing).

self reliance, building motivation, progress over perfection

The power of progress is fundamental to human nature. Think about the excitement of parents encouraging a child to take a few steps as they learn to walk and the level of trust that child feels in themselves and the external motivator to take that step. Then the joy of the accomplishment. That celebration is an inspiration for that impressionable tiny human to keep walking until it turns into a full-out run. That concept of internal self-reliance is one we have to foster through our personal self-development. However, externally, a powerful and underutilized motivator by managers and leaders is praise.

We never stop being that little kid that responds to external praise, guidance, and support. 

REMIND YOURSELF OF THE GOAL

I collaborate with clients to set goals and meaningful milestones because it’s the GPS for our work. It’s a sign of progress that we are going toward their goals, and for my clients, it becomes a focal point for the work. It’s easy to get distracted by the expectations of others or the disappointment we feel if we aren’t working fast “enough” or we aren’t where we should be. Those steps become a blueprint for reframing our focus and keeping us motivated.

BUILD A STRONGER SUPPORT SYSTEM BY SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN YOU.

As I’ve hinted so far, part of your success is dependent on your ability to slow down and acknowledged your progress, or to embrace even the small wins. I encourage my high-achieving and driven women in business to enjoy the journey regularly as we look at developing a flexible growth mindset. Their drive can easily distract from the small but significant gains. 

Another critical factor is who is on your team to provide external support? Does your team even know what you’re working on, and are they equipped to recognize those steps and high-five you along that process? You want a team that can nourish your progress and see it as essential to the larger objective. If you want to achieve bigger goals, build a support system of people with whom you can share your goals and who can also believe in your journey and recognize your progress.

Progress is a complex formula of how we view our support systems (organizations, management, workers, family, or friends) and how confident and equipped we feel in our abilities and ourselves. These join forces to either push us to higher levels of achievement or stunt our growth, contributing to resistance like overthinking, procrastination, stress, and inaction.  

Stop minimizing your wins. It’s part of your progress and worth celebrating.

You are worth celebrating. 

DO THE WORK: AN EXERCISE TO BUILD MOTIVATION

Let’s switch gears and do some heavy lifting to practice the ideas we’ve discussed so far.

An exercise to build your motivation in ten minutes

Take a moment to reflect on this question I recently shared with several of the leaders doing a recent mindset workshop: 

  1. What beliefs about yourself do you have that may not be a fact?
  2. When you think of your goals, what are some of the thoughts that come up around them that create obstacles to action?
  3. How does the expectations of you based on your identity (such as gender or race) influence those thoughts?

Remember the work starts with your understanding of yourself and how your life experiences or expectations cause you to respond both internally and externally. Have you considered what parts of those thoughts or processes are getting in the way of your progress?

Let’s take a look at your progress: Take 10 minutes to brainstorm your wins for this week. Go ahead, set a timer, start writing, then come back to this piece.

How many wins were you able to come up with? Celebrate that.

Notice how it feels to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Permit yourself to feel the pride, joy, or even the discomfort that comes up with acknowledging yourself. Sit with that feeling for 15-30 seconds as you remind yourself you are worth celebrating, you are doing a great job, and you are fully capable of navigating the next step towards your goal. 

You can easily do this for the team as well. What wins did your staff or business hit in the past week? Who had a role in that? Celebrate them.

As you get into a regular practice of reassessing and acknowledging yourself, it gets easier to motivate yourself and build and support those around you. 

Well done.

Related Reads:

Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety

End Self Criticism and Learn To Like Yourself

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on celebrating the small wins and your progress as a source of motivation. Or share your experience with the exercise above.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Psychotherapist, Coach for Women

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R. Licensed Psychotherapist & Mindset Coach. Mental Health Consultant & Speaker

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how to follow through on goals, goal setting, achieve your goals

How To Follow Through On Your Goals

Goal setting for the new year is a process loaded with emotions like excitement, hope, disappointment, and anxiety as you reflect on what you weren’t able to accomplish and where you want to be. 

If we pull the curtains back on these emotions, we probably find a mind ruminating on mistakes and setbacks and having a hard time with why they can’t follow through with goals and plans and keep their most important promise – the one to themselves. If you think about setting New Year’s resolutions alone, we get excited when that ball drops with all the possibilities, but by February, all the machines are empty again at the gym, all the items on our to-do list suddenly feels too complicated, and we are too busy to keep our commitments and our motivation tanks. 

But committing to – and crushing – your goals doesn’t have to be this exercise in overwhelm. 

In this blog, I’m sharing some thoughts I’ve had about following through on your goals (even past the resolutions) and the role of mindset in staying on task. 

But before we break down the struggle with follow-through, let’s first take a minute to get on the same page about what the word even means. What do I mean when I say follow through?

Well, according to the websters dictionary, follow-through means “to complete (an activity or process that has been started)”. In other words, follow-through is an action (or set of actions) that you do in order to continue something you’ve already started, hopefully to an endpoint, or a goal.

We follow through with a lot of things in our lives, like getting up in the morning and getting dressed to get to work, when we cook a meal from prep to finish, pulling into a parking spot, etc. There are a lot of things we do often and easily get to the endpoint.

The obstacle comes when we want to follow through on a task that is challenging, unfamiliar, or new.

It’s when we set a goal for ourselves- whether it’s finishing a project by a certain deadline, learning a new language, building your side hustle after you get home from work, or getting to the gym five times a week (at the same time as all of the above), that follow-through gets to be more challenging and we fall off the wagon.

Why Do We Let Ourselves Down?

It’s not on purpose. Who wants to break a promise? And to ourselves!

The truth is, we tend to fight harder to keep our commitments to others than we sometimes do for ourselves. For example, you may find yourself working late to meet a deadline and put off going to the gym. Somewhere in our human development, we’ve learned to put the needs of others before our own, without the counterbalance of boundaries and self-advocacy. 

Another reason we may not keep our commitment to self is our perfectionist and high achieving self, set the bar too damn high with unrealistic standards that are not attainable. That’s right, you set yourself up for failure.  

It also doesn’t help that as a society, we are saturated by images and messages around us that say you should be able to do everything and make it look effortless. Growth and achievement are the opposite- it’s complex, dirty, messy, requires mistakes and flexibility. 

beliefs, negative thinking, goals, how to follow through on goals

Our success, performance, and happiness are deeply connected to our own beliefs about ourselves and our thinking styles around our capabilities. It’s easy for audacious goals to trigger doubts and avoidance- maybe I don’t know enough to do this, this is too hard because I’m not good enough or strong enough or as [blank] enough to attain that level, or I’m just going to fail at this too. 

These negative thoughts and ideas easily trigger undoing actions like talking ourselves out of things or finding what we believe are more critical things to focus on. 

It always helps to track those goals and work on changing them and we have several pages that tackle that in our new Digital Wellness Planner.

How to Follow Through On Your Goals:

  • Write them down. Decide on a goal and write it down. Place reminders of your goals on your desk, on your phone, and anywhere else you look often. The reminder to stay on track is sometimes all you need to help you make better decisions.

  • A dose of reality. Reassess your goals from time to time. Is it realistic? Well, neither were Elon Musks’ goals. You do want to dream outside of your limits, but note how it makes you feel. You do want to eventually experience some progress in the direction of your goals, however small. Aim for a balance of intrigue and challenge, with a dash of struggle, but lean away from delusional.   
  • Let go of limitations & finally work on yourself. Learn to tune into your own limiting beliefs that have been well crafted to keep you safe. It’s harder to achieve your goals when you respond to those beliefs and fears. Embracing a growth mindset is key here. Read more, make time for podcasts on your way to work, surround yourself with other ambitious people, and get connected with experiences that will challenge your mindset and optimize your outcomes. 
  • Please don’t do it alone. It can be tough to keep resolutions on your own. Yes, you can probably do a lot by yourself, but all the quotes on success talk about the village and going further and faster together.
If You Want To Go Fast Quote If You Want To Go Far, go together. Goals and vision.

 According to research from The American Society of Training and Development, people with an accountability partner are 65% more likely to reach their goals.

Related Post: Mindset Shifts to Dismantle Doubts

  • Small digestible steps. Once you are clear on what you want, set the goal, and don’t look at it as one big overwhelming whole, but break it up into small, realistic objectives that collectively will help you get to your destination. If your goals are too big or vague, it is also more challenging to sustain. 
  • Repetition is key. Repetition speaks to the process required to get to your outcome. We often focus on what we want, like losing 30lbs or writing a book, but not on what is necessary to get there. Maybe it’s going to the gym twice a week or if you want to be an exceptional writer getting up at 5a and writing for an hour every day. It’s the repetition of those actions that lead to achieving those goals. 
  • Mix in self-compassion. That critical self will probably appear several times as you work on your goals. By adding self-compassion to the mix, you can change the impact of negative self-talk. When you notice a negative thought, just notice it and visualize it floating away- like a balloon floating away. The better you get at slaying that inner critic and replacing it with something more positive or helpful: Like a hug, encouraging yourself like you would a friend, or shifting to your favorite mantra, the greater your chances of success. 
  • Get your stress and anxiety under control. It’s hard to focus on your goals when you are not in optimal physical or emotional health. Things like overeating, alcohol, withdrawing to your room all day, self-harm, or engaging in avoidant behaviors are counterproductive to your success and a sign you need professional help to support your progress. Knowing your triggers and adding to your coping toolbox is an excellent self-care strategy. 

Maybe your goal this year is to find two to three healthy ways to relax and cope with stress. 

  • Don’t forget to have fun. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the process that we forget to enjoy the journey. Work hard, celebrate the small victories, and find ways to make fun a priority. It’s much easier to work on a task when some part of it feels good. Don’t just look it where you want to be, think about how you want to feel. 

Question:

Do you ever struggle with follow-through? What is your top strategy to follow through on your plans? Let me know below!

If you are a woman in business, entrepreneur, educator, coach, etc, and would love to be a part of our accountability group for women of color, visit the Mastermind page here for details. Sometimes we just need consistent support and accountability to hit those goals.

Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R isn’t just a Psychotherapist. She is here to help women in business tackle the fear behind success, master their emotions, and use their strengths to achieve the next level in their business. Take a look at how she can support you here: amandafludd.com/coaching.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission for anything you decide to buy.  We only recommend quality products, but you should do your research before making a purchase.

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15 Quotes to Calm Your Anxiety When Stressed Out

Cheerful stylish African American lady. Able to manage stress and anxiety.  Happy.

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. 

motivation, how to find your purpose

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.

overthinking, anxious thinkin

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.

faceless unhappy woman covering face
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
Free Child Anxiety Test

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.  

Turnaround

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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