Stop over-thinking, it’s wasted energy

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I am an over-thinker. There, I’ve said it. I spend too much time thinking things through to make a decision that I could have made in a much quicker time period, and without all the worry and anxiety that I put myself through (just ask my husband who is usually on the receiving end of this over-thinking!).

I’ve had lots of time to think lately, having the luxury of being away from the usual stressful workplace. But, for someone who usually over-thinks things, I’m surprised at how logical I am managing to be, and how my levels of procrastination are dipping (only slightly, it’s not a miracle).

93700-over-thinking-kills-happinessI’ve worked out that if you over-think, you just create negative energy which is wasted on worrying about things that may never happen. And it kills your happiness. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about things anymore, I just tend to focus a bit more on the situation, analyse and make a quicker decision.

What I have found myself doing more of, is having conversations with myself about why I feel negative or worried about something, and trying to turn it around. It’s a bit like my blog about Blue Monday – don’t let yourself be dragged down by the negatives and turn your thought process on its head. And I’ve got into the habit of asking myself the following questions when I feel worried or anxious about a situation:

  1. Why do I feel worried about it?
  2. Who has control of the situation?
  3. What can I do about it at this present moment?
  4. What would make me feel better about it?

Usually by answering these questions I can put it into perspective and talk myself into not letting it take over my day. The key thing is about control, and taking that back. Realise that you are the only one who can control your life and the decisions you make, and stop worrying about what other people think.

It really is an attitude that I feel good about adopting, and it’s making a difference. Stop worrying and enjoy life.

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Be someone’s sunshine

I know my last post was about looking after number one, but once you have that under control and a priority, you know you can look out for others. Isn’t it a great feeling when you make someone else smile?

sunshineBeing there for someone, no matter how small the task, will always make you feel good. Humans are wired to love others and naturally look to support. It can be something as small as grabbing an extra coffee for a colleague on your way into the office, or looking after your friends children for an hour so she can have a break. Or it can be buying a loved one that really special gift they have been coveting for a while. All of those things will most definitely make you feel good about them and about yourself. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love the saying ‘Be someone else’s sunshine when their skies are grey’. It reminds me to think about others and look out for people who may be struggling. And it makes me smile to think that I could actually help someone. Don’t you love it when someone comes to you for advice? It demonstrates to you that they value your opinion, and think you could help them, which in turn should make you feel good.

It happened to me last week and I recall feeling really honoured that my friend was asking for advice, and that I felt I could actually make a difference, even if I was just re-affirming their own thoughts. If it turns out you can help them, then that’s a bonus and you both come away feeling good – creating sunshine all round!

So go on, have a look around and see who could do with your sunshine in their grey day!

Blue Monday…pah!

So today is being billed as ‘Blue Monday’, mainly by the media and anyone else who wants to breed negativity. Apparently we are all feeling really miserable by now for a number of reasons:

  • Christmas is over
  • Most people haven’t been paid since Christmas and won’t be for another couple of weeks, so we’re all broke
  • Christmas credit card spend hits our bills round about now
  • It’s cold outside
  • We’ve given up on New Year Resolutions

and there’s more I’m sure….blue-monday
So, essentially we have a choice – we could  listen to all that depressing negativity, or we can use today as a day of reflection and turning things on their head.

  • So Christmas is over – get over it, there will be another one. Think of other events that are coming up and write them down so you can look forward to them.
  • It’s a while until pay day. Work out what money you have left and look at what things you can do for free until the end of the month. Use today to rally friends and plan a get together at home and have a cheap catch-up. Get planning!
  • We have bills – get them all out, write down what debt you have, and work out how to repay them. Being honest with yourself and getting it all out in the open will make you feel better than hiding those bills.
  • It’s January, it’s meant to be cold, and will be for a few more months yet so get used to it. Think of things you can do in the weather and wear dress appropriately. Get outdoors for a few minutes each day for fresh air and sunlight – get your Vitamin D. I promise you it will make you feel better.
  • So you may have had a wobble with your resolutions. Don’t worry, don’t beat yourself up and most definitely DON’T GIVE UP! Think again about why you’re doing it and re-prioritise yourself. Read my blog about resolutions to re-focus yourself.

Be stubborn and kick those negative vibes been thrown about by the media today into touch. Don’t let yourself believe it – re-focus, be positive, count your blessings, and enjoy your life!

 

 

Exercise – the best medicine

‘Exercise is the most potent and underutilised antidepressant, and it’s free….’

Someone I follow on Instagram posted this caption this morning and it really struck a chord with me as it is something I passionately believe in – exercise is the best form of medicine, the best stress reliever, the best mood lifter. I just wish more people realised it, or thought about it in that way.

I’m not saying you have to go all out and do a 10 km run every time you feel low, but even just jumping around for 10 minutes or dancing to some music can really make a difference. It gets the endorphins going and makes you feel a whole lot better.

I went for a run this morning, and I felt so much happier and ready for the day not only afterwards, but whilst I was out. It did help that it was a beautiful autumnal morning and I was running in the woods and along the canal (and stopped to capture some moments – see pic), but the mere feeling of being out and pushing my body a bit just made me feel happy. img_0212I get this burst of happiness inside when I am outdoors, and I can see the beauty of the world. I know I will feel like this when I am out, which makes it easier to talk myself into getting out! I was able to think things through that were bothering me and realise how insignificant they were (I had a moment yesterday when I stressed about something really silly), and I was able to make plans.

Taking the time out for yourself is so important, but we all tend to neglect ourselves over others or tasks when the going gets tough, or find an excuse not to go out for that walk/run/gym class. I’ve seen so many people suffer from stress or just let daily life get on top of them, and in doing so they’ve forgotten to look out for number 1 – themselves. A trip to the doctor in extreme cases can result in antidepressants being prescribed, and whilst I know these are necessary in certain cases, I wish people would try and incorporate more exercise into their lives first. This is especially true for those who suffer from long term depressive episodes, and I have seen friends reap the benefit of exercise in these situations. Don’t let excuses get in the way either – find someone to sit with the kids for 20 minutes, or take them with you; tag team with your other half so you can both get out; or just put it in your diary as a proper activity so you stick to it.

I love the feeling of being outdoors and feeling good about myself and am on a mission to help others see how just a little bit of exercise can help them!

Go on, give it a go, it might even make you happy 🙂

 

 

Reflection – you need time and space

I’m currently having some time out from work. This is the first time in nearly 20 years that I have taken more than 2 weeks at a time off, and properly switched off from work, and it has been a real eye and mind-opener for me.

I’m sure many women (and men) go through this when they have babies, or take time out to raise their families, but I have been amazed at how time and space away from the daily stresses and strains of work has opened my mind and calmed me. Despite the pressure of an instant family and adjusting to a new role in my personal life (which I am loving by the way!), I have never felt so open to life and the opportunities it can bring. I’ve realised that this has come about because I have allowed myself the time and space to consider options. My husband has noticed too as we have had lots of deep conversations about the future and our joint goals and dreams.

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pic: Grasmere in the Lake District on a trip in Nov 2015

Even though I told myself ‘work is not everything’ when I was working,  I gave it my all and immersed myself in it, stressing about things that really seem trivial now. Being away from it all I can see that there is more to life (I know it is a cliche!), and I can feel myself chilling out and being more relaxed about certain things. One thing I will always be concerned about though is finance, and that means I will need to return to work at some point, but hopefully I will do so in a much better frame of mind and with a more relaxed approach to things.

I’ve realised that in order to reflect on important decisions, and really see what options are available, you need to give yourself proper time and space away from the daily stress. not an easy thing to do when you are caught up, but I am going to give it my best shot – I’m loving this new found approach to life!