I am in my 50s and have been on disability for three years. Part of my challenge is that I can't do anything physical. My yard is a disaster and is a constant reminder of just how worthless I am. My sweet little wife does everything, and I am so blessed to have her. She is not so lucky to have me. I have been on depression medicine for eight years so I should be fine, but I’m not. I have thoughts of suicide, at least weekly. My focus is gone and I am lost as to what I should do and who I even am. I was once a helper and a problem solver, people talked to me when they had problems to feel better. I don't know where that person is now. What can I do at this point to get my life back?
It sounds like you are feeling rather hopeless. The most important thing when going through times of hardship, illness, grief or depression is not to lose hope. You must hold onto belief around two things:
1) This experience is in your life for a reason, and that reason is to serve you in some way.
2) It will change, because no state lasts forever.
Victor Frankl’s book "Man’s Search for Meaning" has always helped me get through rough times, mostly because he has credibility with me when it comes to suffering. If he found the strength (both physically and mentally) to survive a concentration camp, torture and I’m sure horrible discouragement, then I can do it. Frankl said that “suffering ceases to be suffering in the moment it finds meaning.” What he meant was if you see every experience as here for a purpose, to serve your growth, it makes it at least count for something, which helps.
I would recommend you sit down with some paper and answer Frankl’s question to his fellow prisoners after the war, “Can you write down 10 positives this experience has created?”
When you can see the ways this might be making you stronger, wiser, kinder or more compassionate toward others, you will see life as a wise teacher trying to educate you, you will see this whole experience from a more positive perspective.
But when your challenge is one that most likely will last the rest of your life, I have another suggestion (and I have a health problem like this myself, so I know how discouraging it can be). In this situation you must focus on this hour or this day — and no more. If you try to carry the weight of all the coming years today, it will crush you. Don’t think about the long haul. Focus on getting through this hour as positively as you can and keep doing this every hour.
Claritypoint coach Kristena Eden interviewed an inmate from the Utah State Penitentiary recently to talk about hanging on to hope (since this is a place where life often feels hopeless). These are some other key principles that came to light.
1. Keep believing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Allow room in your heart for dreaming about better times. It is easy to let our dreams go because we just feel they are impossible or we are not good enough to accomplish them. But take a look around your world today. All the amazing technology and the conveniences we now enjoy were at one time thought to be impossible. If you can dream, then you can hang onto hope.
2. Give sincere encouragement to others. This is a big one. Giving encouragement to others is one of the greatest ways to validate them and make them feel valued. You don’t have to agree with what they are choosing in their life, but a few minutes to just ask questions and listen to them can make a world of difference. When other people feel that you care about them, they feel better and you do to. Even when you can’t do much physically, as long as you can talk you can encourage others.
3. Replace destructive thoughts with positive ones. Your thoughts are the building blocks of your quality of life. Your thoughts become feelings, so you want to monitor your thinking and recognize when negative thoughts show up, you have the power and agency to embrace them or replace them. In my book "Choosing Clarity," I teach a four-step process for choosing trust and love in any moment.
4. Be an overcomer, not just a survivor. A survivor is still a victim, an overcomer is a victor who understands it was just a lesson and you were meant to get through. Overcomers don't complain about the hardship forever because they leave it in the past.
5. Focus on gratitude. It doesn’t matter how bad things seem, they could be worse. There are always things to be grateful for. Sometimes it’s things you are grateful you don’t have as much as for what you do have. Count your blessings (especially the small ones) every day and you can’t slide into hopelessness as much. There is a greatGratitude Worksheet on my website you ought to try.
6. Keep your confidence, you are meant to overcome this. You are not in this place to fail or be crushed. You are here to grow and meant to find solutions, courage and strength to get through. The answers you need are around you somewhere, but they may require work and effort to find and only when your lesson is done. For now stay solution focused and ask for help from every resource and person that shows up in your path. Greg Thredgold suffered with depression for 40 years before finding a solution and climbing out. He has written a wonderful book called the "Depression Miracle," where he explains many ways to stay positive and optimistic.
We also highly recommend finding a coach or counselor whose approach works for you. You may have to try a few to find the right one. Don’t give up if the first one doesn’t click. Stay optimistic, because pessimism doesn’t help.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be achieved without hope and confidence” — Helen Keller.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com and is a life coach, speaker and people skills expert. Kristena Eden is a coach with www.corelivingessentials.com
This article was first published on KSL.com
I'm a social worker and am struggling to find the emotional energy to deal with the serious problems and people I deal with at work — and have anything left for my family at night. I feel run down, less confident and my patience with my family is running thin. I think I’m burned out. Do you have any advice since you are also dealing with people problems on a daily basis? How can I keep giving to others and not get so drained?
You are not alone on this one. To help me answer your question I called on Marette Monson, LCSW, an expert with “compassion fatigue.” This kind of serious burnout is a common problem with helping professionals of all types, including police officers, firefighters and therapists. Compassion fatigue also happens to individual citizens who are caregivers, parents or who have demanding church callings.
A 2009 survey by the American Psychological Association (Nursing and Health Sciences (2014), 16, 3–10.) reported that psychologists had depression at rates three times greater than the population they serve. Another study (Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, Vol. 23, No. 3, May 2010, 319_33) showed 100 percent of humanitarian aid workers reported symptoms of compassion fatigue. Health care workers, veterinarians and police officers had similar statistics. It is also difficult for helping professionals and caregivers to get help so they can continue to do the work they love. Most helping professionals face a stigma when or if they ask for help, and there are very few places in the community where they can go.
Monson has opened the Center for Counseling Excellence here in Utah, and it is one of the only places in the United States where helping professionals can go for compassion fatigue treatment. She learned the accelerated recovery technique (ARP) from the nation’s leading expert, Dr. Eric Gentry, who created it to help professionals and others struggling with burnout. The ARP is much more than just tips on self-care to prevent the problems. It is a method for treating those who are experiencing compassion fatigue and it helps them recover and get their energy and motivation back.
Susan Gleason, LCSW, who also suffered from compassion fatigue, said, “I want to make sure people know about compassion fatigue before they are right in the middle of it. When I was deep in compassion fatigue, I was losing weight, became horribly paranoid, and was acting in childish ways I would have never done in the past. I knew something wasn’t right but I didn’t know what to do about it. By then, it was so pervasive that I couldn’t have figured out how to get out of it on my own. It’s not just knowing about it, but also being able to prevent it from going too far. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms right now, you need to be able to see it happening in yourself or other people, because they won’t be able to heal themselves.”
Here is a link to a compassion fatigue checklist from Gleason, which may help you understand the symptoms to watch for. Go through it and see if the symptoms sound familiar.
Then, here are some tips from Monson, Gleason and me for preventing and overcoming compassion fatigue:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I am, admittedly, a drama queen. I overreact to things and am even prone to temper tantrum-like behavior. I get offended easily and am almost always mad, sad or upset about something. What is wrong with me? Can you give me any advice that would help me not feel this way? I know these upset feelings are having a negative effect on my marriage, and I really want to change.
I’m going to give it to you straight if that’s OK. You are basically psychologically immature. You let your subconscious programing and your emotions drive. It’s not your fault though. You were probably never taught another way of being, and you have been doing the best you could with what you knew. You may have had a parent who was the same way (reactive, easily offended or emotionally defensive).
Some people were lucky enough to have psychologically mature parents who taught them how to think situations through accurately and logically, and talk about feelings in a respectful way, but I would guess you didn’t get that.
The good news is that you change and learn to handle your life with more wisdom, compassion and mindfulness, but it is going to take some work. I would also strongly suggest getting some professional help. A guide who knows how to get you there would make changing a lot easier.
Tal Ben-Shahar, an author and lecturer at Harvard University and the author of the book "Being Happy," says psychological maturity has three components.
Go through this process before you react to anything:
The path to eliminating the inner drama queen lies in seeing situations more accurately and learning to respond with more maturity, love, wisdom, honesty and compassion. It lies in learning to communicate better with more understanding and respect for yourself and others.
Even if you have never learned to do this, it’s not too late to change.
You can do it.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach and professional speaker on people skills.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
I read your article last week about processing emotions and choosing my inner state, but I’m really struggling with negative thinking and I think you underestimate how difficult some of us have it. My life has been so much more difficult than most people get, and my situation is frankly miserable and unfair. When I try to choose gratitude for what I do have or think positive, I can literally feel my subconscious mind resisting this whole idea. I’m not sure it’s possible for everyone to just choose to think positive. I find myself complaining about my situation quite often but I think that expressing how I feel helps me. Isn’t it good for us sometimes?
Expressing negative emotions can be healthy (some of the time) as long as it is part of your process to work through them and get to a better place. If you are constantly expressing your negative feelings though, without working through them, you are just complaining, which is giving more power and energy to the negative and making it bigger in your life. This doesn’t serve you.
The steps I gave you last week to process through emotions would serve you much more, but there could be another factor in play that is making it difficult for you to choose a positive outlook. You might be getting some quirky subconscious benefits from the negative state and you might not be ready to let those benefits go.
Let me give you some examples of how this happens. Someone who is holding onto feelings of anger or hate toward another person may be getting the benefit of staying distracted from their own feelings of inadequacy. By staying focused on anger toward another person, they don’t have to deal with their own faults. If they let go of their anger they would have to deal with their pain, so anger feels like a win.
People who are constantly dwelling in feelings of inadequacy or have low self-esteem often apologize a lot, worry about what others think and need to vocally explain every aspect of their behavior. At the subconscious level they may think this fear mindset protects them at some level, because it makes them very careful what they do and say. It might even make them more polite or gracious toward others so people will like them.
They could be afraid that thinking positively about themselves would make them selfish and less cautious. They may also see self-deprecation as humility and think it's righteous. This means that low self-esteem may make them feel better in some ways. The problem is that low self-esteem makes people see you as weak and lose respect for you. Loving strength and confidence are much more attractive.
Someone who is overburdened with work, who feels stressed out and exhausted all the time, may get all kinds of benefits from these negative feelings. They may subconsciously believe this state means they are working really hard (they may believe if you don’t feel this way you aren’t working hard enough). So, they get a sense of accomplishment or self-esteem from being stressed. Complaining about being overworked may also protect them at some level, discouraging others from asking anything more from them, or giving them an excuse to say no to anything they don’t want to do. They may also like the sympathy love they get from others, who feel sorry for them when they complain.
Sympathy love is a common benefit to being in a negative state and many of us learned to use this as children to get the attention or love we needed. You may subconsciously complain about life mostly for this reason. Why else would you need to voice your complaints out loud so often? Why not just feel this way on the inside and keep it to yourself?
If you find yourself complaining a lot about how unfair your life is, how difficult you have it, how awful you are, or how miserable you are, you must ask yourself these questions:
One other thing you mentioned was that your life is unfair and more difficult than most people get. I want you to see that you have placed a label on your experience, and just because you have chosen to do this doesn’t make it true.
Beliefs like these are only true in your life if you believe they are true. They are a perspective you have chosen, but you could just as easily choose a different perspective, one that might make you feel more grateful, loved, safe and blessed even in the very same circumstances.
When I was going through a difficult time in my life, I wasn’t very happy with people who gave me the very advice I’m giving you. I felt they needed to walk a mile in my shoes (and suffer like me) before they could know how impossible it was to be positive here.
Then I read about Viktor Frankl, who suffered through the concentration camps in World War II, lost everything and everyone he loved, and who (in much more miserable circumstances than mine) found the power to choose his attitude, to find meaning and purpose in his experiences and to choose love over fear, and I realized that if he could do it — I had no excuse.
Having said that, I also know it isn’t easy and it takes time and work. I usually work with a coaching client for 3 to 6 months to teach them how to process their experiences in a different way and learn how to choose their inner state, but I promise you can get there if you keep reading, learning and practicing.
Steven Richards, who wrote "Think Your Way to Success," said, “You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.”
I believe this is true. You can change the way your life is going! I see people do it every day. Just know that you are way more powerful than you realize and you can create change by changing your thinking.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
I am dealing with some tough challenges including a really difficult job, and the stress is taking a huge toll on my health. I am very discouraged and frustrated and I don’t see things changing anytime soon either. I just really wish I could control my stress level. Do you have any advice for me? Is there anything I can do to feel less buried?
It is a normal part of the human condition to feel stressed and burned out on occasion, and there are definitely things you can do to brighten your outlook, lessen your suffering and lower your stress level. You can do things like get more organized and plan your time better, but I suspect from reading your letter that your real issue isn't a time management issue as much as an attitude issue. I think you would benefit most from understanding human emotion at a different level.
One of the most amazing books ever written on dealing with human emotions (in my opinion) is "Letting Go: The pathway to Surrender," by Sir David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. a nationally renowned psychiatrist. Hawkins says, “The real source of stress is actually internal; it is not external as most people would like to believe. The readiness to react with fear, for instance, depends on how much fear is already present within … to the fearful person the world is a terrifying place. To the angry person the world is a chaos of frustration and vexation. To the guilty person it is a world of temptation and sin. What we are holding inside colors our world.”
In other words, we see the world as we are. Circumstances just give us a chance to express what we already have inside us, and most of us have a great deal of fear of failure and loss inside us. We learned this fear from our parents, who probably learned it from their parents, and it probably is driving your attitude toward problems like an autopilot in your subconscious mind.
What this means is your circumstances are not the real cause of your stress, fear and discouragement, your reactivity (the way you subconsciously react) to the circumstances is. You subconsciously react to life with fear and stress.
This is good news (not bad news) because it means you have power to change the way you react to circumstances. You can change yourself on the inside and that will change how you feel about your life on the outside, even if you can’t change the negative circumstances you are in.
The first step to changing how you feel is to understand human emotions in a different way and so you can process them more objectively. Dr. Hawkins created some fascinating charts on emotion and the levels of consciousness you should see. You can download my version of the levels of consciousness charts here.
These charts show that there are two main kinds of emotions. The first are fear-based negative emotions that produce unhappiness and suffering, and the second are trust- and love-based emotions that bring peace, joy and clarity. When you live on the lower end of the scale, you tend to have lower energy, poorer relationships and worse health. When you live on the higher end you tend to have more joy, more energy, better relationships and better health.
It is interesting to see the range of emotions laid out this way and it will help you to see all emotions as mindset options. It will also remind you that you are in control of your reactions. I keep these charts handy all the time to check myself on. Also remember that you may have a subconscious tendency towards a certain level of consciousness, but you can always consciously choose your way to another.
In a specific moment, you can step back from an emotion (like stress, anger or frustration) and look at it objectively and process the thinking behind it. When doing this focus more on the emotion though, than the thoughts. Thoughts are often illogical and can keep you going in circles. If you focus on resolving the emotion, like magic, all the negative thinking that came with it will disappear. Just like a picture is worth a thousand words, an emotion is worth a thousand thoughts.
I am going to teach you a simple procedure in this article you can use to help you process emotions, but first you might need to break what you are feeling down into small pieces. Hawkins says you sometimes experience a bunch of emotions at once (especially if we are dealing with a huge issue like the loss of a loved one or big life problems like divorce). If this is the case, you will want to process one small piece at a time. Start with one thing, like feeling that life isn’t fair or the feeling of being overburdened by work.
Dr. Hawkins also says you must watch out for the three ways you might subconsciously deal with emotions, if you don’t consciously choose to process them in a healthy way. They are to:
I recommend processing emotions in a healthy way using the procedure below.
This will be an ongoing work to master your subconscious tendencies, but you can get control of yourself and experience more peace, energy and love. Learning to do this might be the main lesson you are on the planet to learn. Just keep working on it. Keep the levels of consciousness charts handy and practice doing what you do today from a state of calm, safety and trust that things will work out.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
I have a tendency to let people guilt me into doing things I don’t want to do. My mother for instance. I can’t say no to her or maybe the problem is she won’t accept no. She always comes up with logic to counter everything I say. In the end, I always give in and do what she wants. I am just too nice? Do you have any advice for me?
Your problem is not that you are too nice. Your problem is that you are weak and afraid of what others think of you. This isn’t a “nice” problem, it's a fear problem. You are so afraid of looking bad, mean or selfish that you put other people’s wants and needs ahead of yours. You are overly selfless, and yes that’s a big problem.
When you consistently sacrifice yourself for others, everyone ends up happy and liking you, except yourself.
The problem is that most of you think you only have two choices when someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do. Option one is to say NO and hurt or disappoint the other person, who then might think less of you (or think you are selfish) which is really terrifying to those of you who already fear you aren’t good enough. This option also feels like you are valuing yourself over the other person, which feels wrong.
Option two is to betray yourself (and value the other person more than yourself) and give the other person what they want. This option feels safer because even though you aren’t happy, you are at least assured the other person likes and approves of you. This option feels more righteous and loving, but at the same time it leaves you feeling taken from.
The good news is there is a third option (one that many people don’t know exists). Instead of being strong and selfish, or loving and weak, you can learn to be strong and loving at the same time. In this place you accurately value yourself and the other person the same amount. You can clearly see everyone's needs as worthy of being honored, yours and theirs. In this place you strike a healthy balance between standing up for yourself and honoring your needs, and sacrificing to serve, love or give to others. If you want to be emotionally happy and healthy you must have this balance.
If you don’t have a healthy balance between giving and receiving there will be problems in your relationships. You may start to resent the people you constantly sacrifice for and they will stop appreciating your sacrifices, because they will take them for granted. You will also have low self-esteem (if you are overly selfless) because you are constantly giving power to the idea that other people are more important than you.
In order to fix this tendency to betray yourself, you must embrace some new principles of truth around your value and life. Read the following often:
Principle 1: What other people think of me is irrelevant. I am the same me no matter what they think. Their opinion doesn't affect or change my value. I have the same infinite, absolute value whether they like me and my decisions or not. I do not need their approval. I just love them and myself where we are.
Principle 2: I teach people how to treat me by how I treat myself. I honor my own needs because I want other people to honor them. If I always put others' needs first, I am literally teaching them that my needs are not important. I believe all human beings have the same value and we are all equally important.
Principle 3: If I disrespect myself and allow people to push me around, they won’t respect me. Weakness is never respected. I may think my sacrifice and love will win their approval, but do I really want approval at the cost of respect? In the end, I will create what I feared. Even though I give them their way, they will think less of me anyway. If I make sure my own needs are met, people will respect me for it.
Principle 4: It is not selfish to take care of my own needs. The Bible says to love your neighbor “as” yourself, not “instead” of yourself. This means I am just as valuable and important as everyone else. When I honor my own needs I demonstrate to the world that all people deserve to be honored and respected. No one is more important than anyone else. My needs and wants should take precedence over others about half the time. This is not selfish, it’s healthy.
Principle 5: If I don’t love myself first, I am not really capable of giving love to others. If I don't value myself, I basically have an empty bucket, which makes me needy all the time. From this place I really have nothing to give others. When I give to others from this place, my gifts have strings attached because I need something (approval) back. From this place all my loving behavior is driven by my need to get validation. That is not love. Real love can only happen when I experience the same amount of love for myself as I feel toward the other person. When I love myself I can give from a full bucket and people will feel this and appreciate my gifts much more.
Using these principles of truth to guide you, I recommend that you redefine your boundaries and write some rules for yourself about when you are going to say YES and when you are going to say NO. Here is an example:
I give to others often, I also say NO to other people’s requests if doing what they want would:
— Make me resent them for asking
— Make me feel taken from
— Force me to miss something that’s important to me
— Push me over the edge of sanity.
This is the loving thing for all concerned. I do not need to hold fear around how others will feel when I say no. I know it is the right thing for me, and that is enough. I will tell them with love that I can’t do it (without having to explain why). In the end, they will respect me for my strength and love.
Taking the time to write on paper exactly how you are going to feel and behave the next time your mother tries to guilt you into giving in will really help. If she won't take your loving no for an answer, say, “Mom, is there anything else I could do to show you I love and respect you, if I can’t do this?” See if there is another way to show her you love her — something that works for you.
It is really hard when you have someone in your life who is overly selfish and doesn’t honor your needs, and there may be times you have to let her be mad at you and process her frustration. She is the one choosing to be bothered, and that isn't any of your business. Let her be mad without letting it affect your self-esteem. Remember that just because she is choosing to feel upset, doesn’t mean you were wrong to say NO. Her opinion and feelings don’t affect your value.
If you really struggle with this problem, I would highly recommend seeking out some professional help with fear and rebuilding self-esteem. It would make a big difference.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
I have some friends who complain constantly about their problems but get offended if I give them any advice on fixing what’s wrong. Do they just want to stay where they are? Should I just listen? Is that a good friend? Or is there anything else I can do to get them to listen to me and make changes? Maybe I’m giving advice the wrong way?
We all know people we would like to advice, change, or help, but we must handle these situations the right way or people will get offnded, turn a deaf ear or even passive aggressively dig further into their bad behavior.
To give advice the right way you must understand a few basic principles of human behavior. These principles will help you to understand why people react negatively to advice and how you can create a safe space for advice that won’t offend.
This is great information for parents, managers and leaders.
Principle 1: Remember everyone on the planet is battling a deep core fear of failure (a fear that they aren’t good enough), and this fear causes a great deal of pain.
We also have subconscious programs which encourage us to avoid anything that might trigger this fear. We are never excited about conversations around our need to change because they obviously mean we aren’t good enough now. The more subconscious fear of failure a person has, the less open they are to advice. This is unfortunate because they are the ones who need the advice most, but this is still how it works.
When people have good self-esteem they can handle feedback without pain or fear, but most people don’t have good self-esteem.
Principle 2: People will not be open to advice or changing themselves until they first feel fully accepted as they are right now.
If they don’t feel accepted now, they will insist on staying where they are until you do. Don’t be discouraged by this. You can fully accept someone as they are right now (even with behaviors you don’t like) and create a safe space where they will be more open to changing. You just have to focus on their intrinsic worth and remember it matters more than their current behavior. Never lose sight of the truth, that they are a one of a kind, irreplaceable being with the same value as you. Loving them unconditionally must come first. Once they feel your love they will be more open to your influence.
Principle 3: Listening to them and validating them — honoring and respecting their right to be who they are — is what most people need most.
Listening to someone validates their intrinsic worth. Listening without giving advice is a great gift and remember being an active listener is more than just nodding and repeating what they say. A good listener is also a good question-asker. You can often help someone figure out what they need to change on their own by just asking questions that help them look at the problem from different perspectives. The most powerful way to help another person is to empower them to help themselves.
Principle 4: The person to whom this challenge belongs — the one who is in the class — is the only one entitled to inspiration about his or her situation.
You may have been in a similar situation but that doesn’t mean your right answer is the right answer for them. They are the only one who will know which path is their perfect journey, so don’t forget this and presume to know better.
As a life coach, I have learned most people already know the answers to their problems, they just don’t trust themselves. They are hoping we will tell them what they already know to quiet their fears of being wrong. Don't let them use you as a crutch. It doesn't serve them. Keep asking questions about what they think and feel until they own their inner truth. This technique also leaves room for their inner guidance to direct them. All the answers they need God and the universe will provide. If they aren’t getting the answer yet, they may not be ready for it, or they may still have lessons to learn in this place.
When they are ready and if you are the right teacher for this lesson, you may feel prompted to share and give advice, but make sure you use the fifth principle first.
Principle 5: Always ask permission before you share your story, give advice, make suggestions or tell someone what you think.
This makes a person feel honored and respected, and it means they really are open to hear you. Never tell another person anything unless you have asked permission to go there first.
A permission question may sound like:
If they say no, respect that. Respecting how they feel this time will build a relationship of trust where they will be more likely to trust you next time. Parents, your teens will feel respected when you honor their "no" and they will respect you more back.
Principle 6: Use more "I" statements than "you" statements. People tend to get offended when you start with "you do this" or "you have a tendency to ..." It goes over much better when you say "I have found that when I …” Speak to what you personally know and feel instead of making statements about them.
Principle 7: Focus more on future behavior than past behavior. People get defensive and frustrated when you talk about their past bad behavior because they can’t change it. Instead, focus on their future behavior because that they have control over. “Would you consider in the future, moving forward, working on … ?” “Do you think moving forward it might help to … ?” Also notice how phrasing suggestions as questions delivers them in a softer way.
Principle 8: Base any advice you give on principles of truth. Here are some basic truths which help people to see themselves and their situation more accurately. Most people know these, but they forget them in times of crisis when they are emotional or scared.
You can do this.
This article was first published on KSL.com
I am so stressed out that I’m falling apart physically. I’m sick, tired, worried and grouchy most of the time. In this state, I’m not the greatest parent and my marriage is struggling. The problem is I can’t change my situation. I have to keep this job and I have to keep giving to my family. So how do I change my feelings, outlook and behavior when I’m stuck in this situation. My stress isn’t going anywhere, so how do I handle it better?
The Urban Dictionary defines burned-out as “What occurs when you overwork yourself into a state of limited mental acuity, depleted emotions and strength completely drained from your body.” You sound burned-out and running on empty. You cannot live for extended periods of time without serious negative effects on your body and spirit. You also can't show up for others when you have nothing to give.
Even though you can’t change the situation that is causing your stress, There are lots of things you can do that would make a huge difference and fill your emotional tank back up.
First, you must identify all the things in your life that are draining your tank:
Some people struggle with self-care because they associate it with being lazy, self-indulgent or selfish. It is very important you don’t think this way. Keeping your own tank full is not self-indulgent, it is wise. You also perform better with a full tank. You are more creative, effective, giving and powerful when you are filled up emotionally.
Self-care is not self-indulgent. It is a sign of self-respect.
If people in your life don’t get this, that is not your problem. Even if they are bothered. If they reset you for this, they probably need some self care too, but feel too guilty to take it.
Also, if you have given too much for too long, the people in your life may have grown accustomed to your giving all the time and they now take your sacrifices for granted. They expect you to give without ever taking care of you.
The only way to change this (so they appreciate you more) is to show them that you are valuable and take care of yourself. This may mean saying no and on occasion sacrificing their needs for yours. They may not like this at first, but they will respect you more in the end for doing it, I promise. (Though don't go overboard and become selfish either. You must find a healthy balance.)
Here are some signs that your emotional tank is running low and you need more self-care:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular coach and speaker.
This article was first published on KSL.COM
Every time I get assigned a big, overwhelming or difficult project at work, the same pattern shows up. I want to start working on it and get it done, but I end up putting it off for weeks or even months. I procrastinate until the last minute and then have to rush it. I never do things as well as I wanted to, either. Why do I repeat this pattern every time? How can I stop getting overwhelmed by big projects and feel more confident and get them done earlier?
Most people think procrastination is a time management issues — but it really isn’t. It is a fear problem. (I know some of you still aren’t convinced yet that almost every problem is a fear problem, but it is.)
Joseph R. Ferrari, an associate professor of psychology at DePaul University, says, "Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up."
It’s a little more complicated than that.
The real cause of procrastination is a basic, instinctive, subconscious program that has been with us as long as we have existed as a species, it is our fight and flight response to scary things. This subconscious response is obviously necessary for our survival, but it can cause some serious problems in modern-day life.
Imagine you were walking down the street and a hungry crocodile came running out of the bushes at you. What would you do immediately without even thinking about it? You would run!
You are literally programmed to always run and hide from scary things if you can. If you can’t run or escape, you will fight, but if running or avoiding the scary thing is an option, you will always choose that.
This makes sense when we are talking about wild animals. Avoiding these is a good idea, but you have the same subconscious reaction to big, difficult projects. Your first inclination or unconscious reaction is going to be avoid it, hide or run.
The question is what are you afraid of?
This is the question you must ask yourself every time we feel overwhelmed or catch yourself procrastinating. “What am I really afraid of that is causing this behavior?”
The fear is probably based in one of the two core human fears: failure or loss.
You may be afraid you won’t do the project well enough and it subconsciously feels safer to avoid it than to try to not do it perfectly. (This is the fear that made me procrastinate publishing my book for six years. I was deathly afraid it wouldn’t be good enough and I would be a failure.)
You could also be afraid of losing your reputation, losing the respect of other people or having the failure affect the way others see you, meaning you would lose their friendship or love.
When you are overwhelmed with the size of a project, you might be afraid it’s too big and you will never complete it or that it’s just too complex. It might feel safer to put it off and avoid it so you don’t have to find out that you weren’t capable.
Here are some suggestions for conquering your fears and making yourself take action:
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is also the author of the new book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and is a coach and speaker.
First Published on KSL.com
I honestly feel my difficult situation is hopeless and it is ripping me apart. I would love some advice on how to cope when you feel all is lost because right now I am just miserable. I’m not suicidal or anything though, just really discouraged by my lot in life. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. What advice do you have for helping me pull myself up in spite of a hopeless situation?
I appreciate you mentioning that you aren’t suicidal, but if your dark, hopeless feelings don’t go away with an attitude shift, you may still want to visit with a mental health professional to make sure depression is not a factor.
Hopelessness is defined as believing your situation is beyond any optimism, impossible or incapable of solution or improvement. It is not a state of depression, but a discouragement in that your just situation can’t be changed. Hopelessness is often a self-fulfilling prophecy too, because when you believe your situation is hopeless, you usually don't try too hard to change it. Then, when you do nothing to change your situation, and nothing changes, you think you were right.
Aaron T. Beck, the father of Cognitive Therapy and creator of the Beck Hopelessness Scale, found that everyone has negative, hopeless thoughts that pop up spontaneously at times. The problem is that if you spend too much time in these hopeless thoughts, you can start to believe them. Beck helps people identify their hopeless thoughts, evaluate them for accuracy and change them. This simple, but not easy, process almost always leads to greater happiness and more solutions.
The only way to escape the hopelessness cycle is to question your belief about the situation being hopeless. If you can change the belief, you will then put more effort into changing things. However, this can be very hard to do if you've been dealing with your situation for a long time. Just start by choosing to stay open to miraculous possibilities and change your mindset about why this situation is showing up in your life.
I love this line from "Impossible," the inspiring song from Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella:" “The world is full of zanys and fools/who don’t believe in sensible rules/and because these daft and dewy eyed dopes, keep building up impossible hopes/impossible things are happening every day.”
You know it’s true, miracles happen.
I see them all the time. People who thought they couldn’t change who do, and marriages everyone thought were doomed turn around and start to thrive. So don’t throw in the towel too quickly on anything, unless your gut says your perfect journey is to move on. Your inner truth always knows what’s right for you.
If your gut says to keep fighting though, don't give up. Start by telling yourself it is possible to change this situation. Even if the situation won’t change, you can always change, or you can change the way you are experiencing the situation and that could change everything.
There are many factors that lead to hopelessness. Here are five of those factors and some possible solutions:
1. Not finding an easy answer. The reality is that most problems don't have an easy answer, but they do have an answer and you are meant to find it eventually. If you can’t see the solution or a way to change your attitude about your situation, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It just means you still have something to learn from the situation the way it is. When the lesson is over, you will find the solution and things will get better. Just don’t give up until then. I've seen couples struggle with their marriages for 20 years and then finally change it. It wasn't easy, but they kept trying until their efforts paid off.
2. Feeling powerless. You could be in a situation where you feel like you have no power to change anything. In these situations remember you can always change the way you are experiencing the situation. Viktor Frankl, who suffered through the concentration camps during WWII, was powerless to get out. He did, however, discover that he still had power over one thing: to chose his attitude. He chose to find positive things to focus on and to see meaning and purpose in his suffering. You have the power to choose your mindset about your situation too and this will make a difference. You can choose to see life as a classroom and the main purpose of life is to teach you things and help you grow. This means every experience is here to serve that purpose. You can step back from any negative situation — even a hopeless one — and ask “I wonder how this situation is going to help me become a better person?” The answer will put you one step closer to getting the lesson, seeing the situation accurately and getting out. You should never feel powerless because you always have this power.
3. You think you've tried everything. How many times have you said "I've tried everything!" Realistically, you haven't tried everything because that would be impossible. There is a great worksheet on my website resources page that takes you through a brainstorming process to find solutions. The worksheet won’t let you stop until you think of 50 possible solutions. I promise you there are things you haven’t tried, people you could go to for help and resources you haven’t tapped into. Remember this is a lesson and you are going to get something positive from it, and it is most likely meant to be solved.
4. You're focusing on what you can't change instead of what you can change. There are some things you simply cannot change. Don't get caught up focusing on those things. One of my clients told me that her father was diagnosed with a terminal illness and she watched him experience all the stages of grief, including denial, as he came to terms with dying. Finally, he chose to focus on changing how he viewed the situation — the only thing he could change. He decided to look for some good his dying could create. He told his children, "Your mother has always lived under the shadow of supporting me...you just watch and see how she will grow now." He chose to see a benefit in a very difficult trial. Again, even if you can’t change anything else, changing your attitude can make a huge difference.
5. You believe that what you can't change is essential. We don't get upset about unimportant things, we get upset about things we believe are essential. So you have to decide if what you're feeling hopeless about is really essential? You might have a relationship that is ending and feel like you can't live without it. But you lived without it before you were in the relationship, so chances are, you will be able to live after it. A client once said, “I can never be happy unless my wife changes.” I don't believe that is true. You can place those kinds of conditions on your happiness if you want to, but you could also choose to be happy now if you wanted to. Also, remember that you don’t have to carry years of suffering with this difficult situation today. You only have to get through this hour, or this minute choosing to be happy with things as they are. You only have control over how you feel right now. Don’t worry about how you will feel days, months or years from now. Focus on today and choosing happiness in spite of what’s missing. Also, don’t place conditions on happiness.
Take it one hour at a time and you can do this!
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of claritypointcoaching.com and is a popular coach and speaker. This article was co-written by Lisa Stirland, a Claritypoint Life Coach.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and is a
popular life coach, author and speaker. She was named
one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly
on local and national TV and Radio.