Anxiety That Lingers

Anxiety is worry about worry.

Once we hit anxiety overload, we panic.

When we panic, we run.

Here’s how I faced down anxiety that bordered on panic.

I have a violent reaction to MSG.

I unknowingly ingested it in salad dressing on a flight to a radio convention.

Within minutes my face was red, my heart was palpitating out of control and I was very aware that I was stuck in a tube called an airplane with no ability to get any help.

I knew many people on that flight from Philly to Las Vegas making my anxiety worse.

Do you know what worked for me?

I repeated to myself “I can handle this” over and over.

Almost immediately although the symptoms were still going strong, I felt less anxious and then the symptoms eventually let up.

Reminding yourself that you can handle anxiety is when the help arrives.

Resting Your Fatigued Brain

In pre-historic days surviving was the main goal.

Over time a negativity bias creeped into humans where we focus on negatives in order to go after the positives.

Our brains wander.

We forget about the good things in life.

That leaves us walking around with what Mayo Clinic Dr. Amit Sood calls “a fatigued brain”.

Rest the brain – multitasking exists but it is not good for us emotionally.

Stress is not related to any weakness in the body, it’s due to how the brain works. 

Out of the 100 events that are affecting us every day, 4 are bad and 96 are good – focus on the good.

Getting Butterflies Under Control

It’s normal to have butterflies in the stomach when facing challenges like public speaking or taking the lead on a project.

Get butterflies to fly in formation.

You are in control of them not the other way around 

Butterflies are a good thing – they remind you that you care and that you are committed to doing a good job

Reliving the Past

It’s a waste of time to try to relive the past.

Invest the emotional power that is being wasted on yesterday on that which can make you happier today

The past is a file, the future is a blueprint – the only thing that matters is the present

The happiest person I know has the ability to put the past in a mental file with few regrets.  She looks at the present with eager anticipation.

She is 96 years young.

Letting go is how you gain control over life’s ups and downs

The Art of Persuasion

Don’t try to win anyone to your way of thinking – it doesn’t work.

Look for areas of disagreement and actually go there

Show them your heart – facts rarely win people over until the heart is touched

The prize goes to the best listener – not the best or fastest talker

When people feel they are being heard, you’ve done more than anything you can say.

Black musician Daryl Davis hangs out with Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazi’s – they’ve given him their robes and hoods and Davis has persuaded many of them to give up the Klan as documented in a recent Nicholas Kristof article here.

Trying to Make Others Like You

The more you make people like you the more you won’t like yourself.

Some are gifted at being ingratiating.

Some avoid disagreements and confrontations.

Some use power or money to gain approval of others.

When you worry more about liking who you truly are, the more people are attracted to you.

Unplugging from Tech

It takes about 23 minutes to return to an original task once work is interrupted by a digital distraction.

We let others know we’re working every time we send an email or message, take care to send it when both parties are likely to be available 

Use social media to let people know when you are taking time off and when you’ll be back on the grid 

Working from home may require setting an alarm to go off at the end of your work day so that you can leave the work behind physically and mentally (from Irresistible:  The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by NYU marketing professor Adam Alter)

Take a day off from being connected 

No one who ever took a day of rest regretted it – do it more often.

Michael Jordan On Failure

Michael Jordan thought of himself as a failure in many ways.

Missed over 9,000 shots.

Blown over 20 “game winning” shots.

Everyone obsesses about the negatives even when there are so many positives.

Take personal credit for something well done to balance thinking about shortcomings

Use what you consider “failures” to think about what to do next time

Then let go of mistakes and focus on doing your best

Being Heard

Ever notice when someone whispers, we lean in to hear them?

Volume has little to do with being heard.

Listeners remember only approximately 30% of what they hear on the radio and 50% of what they see and hear on TV – at best – even when THEY control the volume.

There is a better way to be heard.

Speak from conviction.

Show empathy toward others in your comments

Something interesting needs no amplification

Use examples that include action verbs and colorful words.

Passion comes from the heart not from the lungs – nobody can resist a whisper.

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Restarting a Bad Day

They say a great hockey goaltender is the athlete who can forget about being scored upon immediately after it happens.

But that’s not how most of us recover from a series of setbacks that can ruin a day – we often let disturbing things marinate in our heads.

Cultivate a short memory for things that irritate

Focus on someone else – helping, talking or even just listening

We “restart” many times a day on our digital devices, don’t we deserve at least one restart when we’re having a challenging day.

If all else fails, write your top 3 irritating problems out and if that doesn’t do it remember that when people are asked to trade their problems for someone else’s they always prefer their own. 

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