6 Ways to Overcome Negative Feelings When your World is Falling Apart

 

 

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” — J.K. Rowling

 

Be gentle with yourself. As we work through our negative emotions we are typically healing from Challenging or devastating experiences. Realize that not one person ever escapes going through a time when they feel like their world is falling apart. Yet how people respond to it makes all the difference in the world.

It takes time to process and release negative emotions but it doesn’t have to take as long as you might think. It is about being ready to let go of these emotions and not let them control your present situation!

Having said that, life events are never completely predictable. I know I have found myself feeling blind sighted and wondering, “How did this happen? How did I get myself into this?” Or “I hate this!” We aren’t always prepared for what we face and feel is out of our control.

Start with awareness of these emotions whether it is hurt feelings, your feelings of inadequacy, resentments, deep disappointment, anger, or fear. FEEL them and acknowledge them. You chose how you want to feel and react and that’s okay. If you turn to temporary band-aid fixes such as self-medicating, numbing out or going into denial, you will find yourself in the name-blame-shame game. You might be blaming or judging others, which places you in a victim role where you feel powerless. Don’t let these emotions control you! Be present and mindful of your feelings. Your emotions are a part of you and acceptance is key.

Here are six tips to help you deal with your thoughts and the feelings of your heart to overcome these challenging situations.

1.  Change Your Perspective on the Negative Experience

Remember it is our thoughts that cause our feelings. Our minds are very powerful and especially our subconscious mind. Ever gone to work or school and some people are smiling having a great time while others look like they just lost their best friend?   It is our attitude and perspective on the given situation that determines our feelings.

In order to move on and experience more positive feelings, you have to search for the silver lining in the situation. Finding those silver linings may take some inner reflection. I know when I was going through what felt like ‘the dark night of the soul’ I could still find a glimmer of light as I discovered the silver linings in my situation.

I learned a greater sense of self-love and compassion for myself through my breakup. I also became far more helpful with my clients who were experiencing a bad breakup.

Maybe you will learn to take better care of yourself, or you could become more compassionate for people who lash out because you realize how much pain they are in. Remember that wisdom comes from our experiences!

2. Understand that Change is inevitable

Change is the one thing we can count on in life. It occurs in all areas of our lives such as relationships, health, finances, career, and interests. Life is like a river that ebbs and flows with occasional rapids. The best thing we can do is to expect and accept that change will happen. One way to get through it is to be gentle on yourself and always look for the good in those challenging times. Remember that life is a duality. We know the light because of the dark. We know joy because of experiencing sadness. Find the good in those bad situations and you will be able to move forward faster!

3. Spend Time with Friends who are Positive and Supportive

One of my silver linings was the number of friends who contacted me and were there for me to open up to and talk! I love my kindred Spirits (both men and women)! Can you relate? I hope so because this is priceless!

When going through loss and grief, It can be difficult to reach out to people. You feel vulnerable due to intensity of the emotional roller coaster ride.

By surrounding myself with positive and supportive friends, this devastating journey was doable. I borrowed their faith and belief in me when I was at my darkest point. It does work! Everyone goes through these dark times, so don’t think you have to go it alone! You’ll be grateful and surprised at how supportive friends and colleagues will be during these times. Do not let your fear of being seen as weak stop your of the chance to experience support from people. You might just make new friends through it!! I certainly did.

4.  Schedule Play Time

It is easy to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed all day. Don’t become a hermit. Get outside in nature! Any movement will improve your outlook especially in sunshine. Go for walks, meet with friends, go to a concert, or plan a vacation. The best thing I did was to walk and run everyday consistently. Constantly dwelling on the negative is unhealthy, so focus on healthy, fun activities. This will give you a fresh perspective and help you move forward faster. Trust me.

5. Use this Experience to Expand and Grow

I contacted a colleague of my who was a therapist in relationships to due some real introspection on my own patterns and stories. This provided me with the opportunity to look at my triggers and change my story around abandonment and rejection. For me, there was no closure, which triggered my fears. I was able to explore where this came from and then release my old story. Sound familiar?

Our negative experiences provide us with the opportunity to grow so that we can release our baggage, change our stories and live life in a more positive way. Too often, people will stuff these feelings or blame other people as they fall into the victim role. Some people never open their hearts again and live in what I call the black cloud. They let their fears control them. So, if need be find a good therapist or life coach to help you expand and grow! It is totally worth it!

6. Positive Affirmations are Awesome

Using positive affirmations help to reprogram our brain and create positive thoughts. Try monitoring your thoughts for a day! You will be surprised how programmed we are to negative thinking. When we use things like positive affirmations, it becomes easier to stay positive.

I use neon colored index cards to right my affirmations on. I also record them in my voice to play back to myself especially before going to bed. I do this for 30 minutes a day and I am always amazed at how positive I feel just after a few days (I recommend at least 30 days). Remember to write them in the present such as “I now have plenty of time to meet my goals” or “I am now surrounded by people who love and support me”.

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” ~ Unknown

Please comment below on what you do to stay positive and let go of negative emotions.  Feel free to sign up for my ebook up above on stress and receive valuable tips on living an extraordinary life!

 

Beware: Staying Stuck in Your Story will Cause Stress!

2014 certainly ended with a number of challenges and experiences that lets just say, well made me stronger!  It started with a breakup of someone I cared deeply about and there was no closure. I felt blind sighted.  Why did this happen?

It sent me into my story of what did I do wrong?  I started the name, blame, shame game!  How could HE do this to me when we promised each other best friends for life and open honest communication?  What did I do to deserve this???? I can’t find a man who wants an authentic real relationship with open, honest, face to face communication.  Sound familiar? 

Then a friend reminded me not to take it personal especially when I had no communication and did not know why it ended so abruptly.  He also reminded me that I am only 100% responsible for my 50%! 

I then realized we are all human with wounds that have not been healed.  He was wounded from a divorce and was lucky to have come out of it intact at all.  I found compassion, forgiveness and I pray for his healing.  As my sister once said during her divorce, “the black cloud will eventually lift”.

So, um, yeah – don’t take anything personal and I am only responsible for my 50% of the relationship. I know this, but when the heart is involved and we really care about someone it is all too easy to get triggered and caught up in our stories! 

Yes, it caused me much pain, stress and anxiety. 

Then I lost some friends and family members this Fall to cancer and illnesses.  I discovered that my foster father had died and no one contacted me.  I was angry, hurt and again went to my story of why didn’t “they” love me enough to let me know so I could attend the funeral? 

Afterall, this was the man who fought to take custody of me when I was 15 so I could live in a normal home with a caring family.  My family was very dysfunctional at the time.

Anyway, it caused me lots of stress, hurt and anxiety.  I worked through it with my close friends (some are therapists :)!!  I was again reminded not to take anything personal because we don’t know what other people are going through at the time and they most likely are stuck in their own stories.

Eight weeks later I was reunited with my foster sister whom I adore and have not been in contact with for 20 years!  We were at dinner two nights ago and I expressed my condolence for the death of her father.  She told me that she was in the middle of a nasty divorce (married for 15+ years) and hiding from the ex.  Then she was dealing with the loss of her father. 

She apologized for not contacting me the last ten+ years, but it was all she could do to survive and start over.  I realized she was in survival mode all that time.

IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ME!   She thanked me for finding her and said she was so grateful that I have always searched for her.  I smiled through tears as I realized that once again I had been caught up in my story.  Many times it is not about us and we make it about us and our story.

Here are some tips for getting out of your story and reduce the stress!

1.  Talk with your closest friends or someone you trust.  Your friends will side with you and comfort you.  Hopefully, you have a trusted friend who can be honest and challenge you gently on your stuff.  I have several who will do that for me to help me see that I am in my story.

2.  Walk or Exercise to release immediate emotions.

I like to walk or go for a run to release anger, stress, or tears.  Once I release the buildup of these emotions, I can then take more of an observer role and began questioning my thoughts.  I will reach for my journal to release emotions and began the process of looking at why I am triggered.

3.  Use Katie Byron’s 4 Questions to change your thoughts!

  • Step 1    Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
  • Step 2   Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  • Step 3   How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  • Step 4   Who would you be without the thought?

By journaling and answering these questions, I have been able to come out of my story.  I look for examples of how each “turnaround” thought is true for me.  For example, is it true that my sister does not love me enough to contact me regarding our foster father’s death?  No, the only true thing was she did not contact me.  I did not know why.

With most situations such as breakups or miscommunications we go into our stories. This causes stress and anxiety as we continue our journey down the rabbit hole.  By using a few simple techniques and be willing to explore our feelings we can then step out of our stories.  We will be a lot less stressed and happier for it!

I would love to read your comments about what you do to get out of your story!

How to Release Stress and Lose Weight in 1 Hour a Day!

This is a quick video from Tempe, Arizona on releasing stress in just one hour a day!  Also, a great side benefit is toning and losing weight.  Watch the video to learn how I deal with stress and tone the body.

7 Essential Core Habits For Living a Stress-Free Life

 Stress.   We have all felt stress at one time or another in our lives.  Your heart pounds as if it is going to burst right through your chest followed by rapid breathing and  sweating.  We have been told that stress causes everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease.  

 

In fact, the research shows that IF you BELIEVE stress is bad for you then it will cause these dis-ease.  However, Harvard researchers found in one study that if  you believe that your stress response is helpful and preparing you for the situation, you are actually less stressed, have more energy and more confidence.

It is true that almost every thought and action you take is directed by the underlying beliefs you hold.  Yep, your personal perception of reality comes from your beliefs.  

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

There are 7 essential core habits or practices for living a stress-free life.

 

1.  Eat Well – Whole, real, and natural foods that come from the earth are fuel for the body.  And, yes, food affects your moods!  Veggies, fruits, grains and lean protein are very healthy.  Not only will you feel energized, but your hair, nails and skin will benefit as well.  What you eat affects your energy, your emotions (mood), how you sleep, and how well you think.  Spinach, turkey, seafood and walnuts are on the top of list for mood boosters because of the nutrients they contain such as antioxidants, magnesium, tryptophan, Omega 3’s and selenium. 

2.  Sleep Well – studies have shown that not getting enough sleep really affects your moods and how you handle challenges in life!  People  who sleep less than 5 hours a night report feeling more irritable, angry, stressed, sad and mentally exhausted.  In addition, lack of sleep suppresses the immune system.  Studies suggest healthy adults need 7-8 hours a night and these adults sleep better when they go to sleep before midnight.  More importantly, establish a regular routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time even on the weekends.

3.  Meditate – deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation technique especially when combined with meditation.  This is “belly breathing” or breathing from the abdomen.  One techniques that works for me when I am stressed is to inhale to the count of 4, hold for the count of 7 and exhale for the count of 8.  I do this 5-8 times until I feel relaxed.  You can do this sitting up, laying down or standing.  There is no right or wrong way to meditate.  You can use visualization such as your favorite vacation spot or focus on relaxing groups of muscles beginning with your head and moving down towards the feet.  

4.  Movement – find something you love to do that gets you moving!  There are many ways to move the body such as belly dancing (or any other dancing), swimming, yoga, running, hiking, biking, exercise class, and walking.  Exercise relieves stress, improves your mood, releases endorphins, improves sleep, tones muscles, and maintains weight. Start off scheduling 30 minutes a day.  You can do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night if you need to break it up.  Work towards an hour a day and you will be amazed at the benefits!

5.  Journaling – keeping a journal is a great way to release emotions and reduce stress.    Take some time in a quiet and comfortable place without any interruptions.  In addition to journaling about my emotions,  I like to keep a gratitude journal.  At night I write down 5 things that I am grateful for during the day.  This helps to keep me focused on the positive things happening in my day. 

6.  Hydrate – your body is 70-80% water depending on which study you read.  Every organ in your body needs water to function properly.  When you are dehydrated, your cortisol levels (stress hormone) increases.  The correlation between water and stress reduction is well documented.  While drinking water won’t put money in the bank or stop the kids from fighting, it will help you deal with the challenges better without the added stress of being dehydrated.  A good rule of thumb is to drink one ounce of water for every pound you weigh.

7.  Invest in You – Schedule time in your day (not just your week) for you!  Put it on the calendar and make it non-negotiable.  I know, you’re busy taking care of everyone else.  Hey, I have been there.  Start off with 30 minutes a day even if you have to split it up, but work up to one hour a day.  You and your family will be grateful.   It could be the time you spend walking in nature.  Go get a massage, manicure, or go dancing.  Take a bubble bath, read a book, listen to relaxing music or take yourself out on a date night.  Change it up and you won’t get bored.  THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF!  JUST DO IT!

What are some core practices in your life to reduce stress and be happy?  Please leave a comment below!  In addition, if you want more tips on less stress, sign up for my free report up above “7 Steps Successful Women Use to Stay Calm During Chaos” http://bit.ly/1tElx0h

How To Breathe To Release Stress

Breathing exercises can be a great way to release stress and they can be done anywhere at anytime.  People who practice yoga are introduced to breathing exercises that will cleanse and tone the lungs and increases their capacity. In addition, because you are delivering more oxygen into the bloodstream bringing energy, healing and vitality to all the cells.  It also helps people to focus better thereby increasing their concentration.  

Much like meditation, breath work is an inner and outer game.  

These breathing exercises can strengthen and ton your back and abdominal muscles.   Many people experience shallow breathing so when they participate in breath work, it can be a deeply healing experience.  This is especially true when it is combined with yoga or meditation.  In the video below, a short but powerful breathing exercise is described.  This exercise can be effective in dealing with stage fright, anxiety or panic attacks and the fear of flying.

 

Next time you feel yourself getting upset, try the breathing exercises.  It is a SUPER STRESS BUSTER!  In addition, deep belly breathing for 20 minutes a day has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress.  Remember to combine visualization like a favorite vacation spot or any image that creates a calming feeling will work wonders for lowering the blood pressure and heart rate.

Want more tips on how to reduce stress?  Sign up for my free seminar and pdf on Creating Less Stress (top right in the opt-in box).

Yoga Significantly Reduces Long-Term Stress

We all know that yoga relieves stress as demonstrated on the infographic listed below.  In one study published last year Yoga reduces the proteins that are known to increase inflammation in the body according to a study published in 2012 from University of California, Los Angeles researchers.  In this article http://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/news-releases/2014/yoga-regulates-stress.html, Yoga Regulates Stress Hormones and Improves Quality of Life for Women with Breast Cancer Undergoing Radiation Therapy.  Please share this post and comment below! 🙂



“9 Clear Strategies to Making Better Decisions” by Ali Brown

Posted on August 8, 2013 by Ali Brown

How do you usually make a decision? Do you act impulsively, or overcomplicate?  Knowing our personal quirks and decision drivers can help control irrationality and impulsiveness, which can then lead to better decisions in tough situations.

Let’s take a look at nine strategies for making better decisions in crucial moments.

1. Weigh the consequences.
If you start at the end first, it can help simplify a decision. For instance, think about what you CAN and CANNOT live with. This can help eliminate options and keep things in an appropriate perspective.

2. Think first.
This one is for the impulsive decision makers out there. When you’re caught up in the momentum of something, try to take a deep breath. Give yourself a few seconds to re-evaluate the choice. Even better to sleep on it or at least give yourself some space to process the decision with a walk or some quiet time.

3. Do what’s right.
As they say, “You can do what’s right or you can do what’s easy.” The whistleblowers throughout history (think Erin Brockovich, or those at Enron or Bernie Madoff’s office) had to choose. While their lives became tough for a while, they could look at themselves in the mirror and sleep at night knowing they’d done the right thing. We all deserve the same peace of mind. Choose right over easy.

4. Listen to your intuition.
Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book Blink publicized what most of us already knew—sometimes that gut feeling is the right feeling, even if we don’t know why. If perfectly logical choices—to take a job, date someone, or purchase something—have our stomachs in knots, we need to examine that red flag. Many times what we can’t consciously explain can be the difference between a good choice and something we’ll regret.

5. Understand emotions.
Understanding our feelings and how they motivate our behaviors can be the key to changing personal patterns. We may be surprised by how much of what we do is based on irrational emotions. Think about that intelligent girlfriend you know who always dates the wrong men. (Or, perhaps it’s you. ;))

6. Feel the pressure.
Knowing what is driving the people around us can make a big difference in the way decisions are made, and the outcomes down the road. Are things being driven by pride, desire to advance, greed or power trips? Or, is there a truly sensible reason that the pressure is on? Knowing the answer can help you move forward or stand clear of unnecessary stress and drama.

7. Know your motive.
Making a decision to keep up with the Joneses, because it’s what our parents want, or to prove something to somebody, can be the right course of action, but only if we understand what we are doing. Looking at our personal motives behind a decision can help us evaluate if it is a good choice. If the answer to “Why am I doing this?” isn’t a motive we’d be proud of, it is time to re-evaluate that decision.

8. Decide not to decide.
When it comes right down to A or B, sometimes the right decision is—C. Simply say, “I don’t care for either at this time” or suggest a third option to alleviate the pressure and get a better outcome. One thing I’ve realized over time is that one opportunity follows another, so there will always be another one coming. It just may not be as big or perfect as the one you see now.

9. Flip a coin!
Yes, really. I’ve done this myself. When you get down to A or B and flip a coin, it does more than give you a choice. It shows you how happy you are with that choice. If you get the outcome and your heart sinks, then you get an instant read on what your gut thought of the decision. Works every time!

QUESTION: What do you do when you have a tough decision to make? Please share your strategies in the comment section below.

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© 2013 Ali International, LLC

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