The secret to a successful life is that it’s not a secret. Risk believing in yourself, value yourself, be willing to endure discomfort in order to achieve, and never fall prey to negativity. Cultivate optimism, do not dwell in doubt, and manage your fears. Most importantly, trust that you will find you need.
#success #successsecret #optimism
Patients complain about swirling, ruminative, worry-thoughts that haunt them preventing restful sleep and causing anxiety. Chet Raymo, one of my favorite authors, writes: “The night is the beginning of terror, as every child knows. Who is not afraid of the dark? The gods are creatures of daylight. The gods work nine to five. At night we are on our own.”
Perhaps this is the answer. At night, “we are on our own,” meaning that at night we are without our daytime world of distractions. When everything quiets down in the external, world and we are left with what’s underneath, that which is unsettled and frightening. These are the unresolved doubts, fears, and negatives that percolate up at night. These are the things that make us feel out of control. Relationship discord, a medical issue, or fear of losing a job, these are the demons of the night. Perhaps the best we can do, as the dawn arrives, is to recognize that these issues need to be addressed and not left buried for tomorrow night’s anxieties.
#fears #nightmares #nightterrors
No one grows up in a perfect world, everyone suffers loss, illness, separations, and so on—to some degree, insecurity is an inevitable, inescapable part of life. Insecurity—the excessive fear of vulnerability—acts as mental friction creating hesitations and doubts. From a Self-Coaching perspective, it’s insecurity that feeds the “habits” of anxiety, depression, and all emotional struggle. Security, on the other hand, is a relative term. Rather than seeing it as something you achieve; see it as an ongoing muscle-building process of living your life courageously (i.e., not yielding to insecurity’s doubt, fear, and negativity). Rather than allowing insecurity to insist on trying to over-control life, be willing to take a leap of faith and risk trusting—self and life.
The reason why an anxious person gets caught up negative, ruminative, worrisome thinking is simply because they’re trying too hard to “figure out” how to handle the endless doubts, fears, and negative anticipations. I call this “over-thinking.” Over-thinking is a manifestation of insecurity and only fuels the problem, making you more and more anxious. The key isn’t trying harder; it’s learning not to try!
Try this experiment. Begin by “de-focusing” your thoughts and re-focusing on your unfolding moment–whatever you’re doing–listen, feel, see, breath, but DON’T think or judge, simply participate with full attention. Pretend that you’re a video camera, simply recording every external nuance and detail in your environment. This simple exercise will help you begin to detach from (and break the cycle of) ruminative anxiety (a.k.a., over-thinking). Do this and you’ll be teaching yourself something very important, i.e., anxiety -over-thinking is worrying about future events, liberation and solace is learning to be “present.”
#overthinking #rumination #selfcoaching
1.) It’s user friendly. Self-Coaching from its very inception was designed to minimize the dependency of a patient on his or her therapist.2.) The concepts make common sense. You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand what’s going on and what you need to do to progress.3.) By treating anxiety, depression, and emotional struggle as habits, you eliminate the need for endless interpretations. You learn what you’re doing that feeds these habits and what you can do to starve them.4.) By learning specific exercises that require active practice, you actually restructure your brain. Old brain-habits are neutralized (unlearned), and new positive habits are established.
And now, two words that will change your life:
5.) Insecurity and Control. Once you understand that insecurity is the source of your suffering and trying to compensate by controlling life is your neurotic remedy, you will begin to see that anxiety, depression, worry, compulsion, phobias, and even addictions are all feeble attempts to ward off vulnerability in a world where self-trust, confidence, and hope have been compromised.
#unlearningdepression #unlearninganxiety #selfcoaching
All too often we tend to “over-steer” our lives, worrying, anticipating, micro-managing, trying desperately to control what’s ahead. If you really want to find solace, happiness, and psychological well being, try loosening your grip on life’s steering wheel and let things unfold, naturally, spontaneously. Mythologist, Joseph Campbell said it best: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” As the AA adage goes, “Let go, let god.”
From a Self-Coaching perspective, if you suffer from emotional struggle, it’s probably because you’re trying to over-control life, which is an attempt, although misguided, to protect you from perceived vulnerability. Controlling life isn’t the answer, it’s the problem. Here are 15 reasons why?
1.) Yes, buts.
“Yes, I didn’t get the job finished, but I couldn’t help getting sick..” A yes-but strategy allows you to side-step accountability by first feigning responsibility and then qualifying it with a “but.”
“I have to be the best.” Have-tos are compulsive strategies designed to help you control yourself, others and life.
3.) Worrying or “what-iffing.”
“What if I fail?” Worry is an attempt to eliminate doubt by trying to know what’s coming before it arrives.
“I can’t relax.” When you say, “I can’t…” you’re giving up and excusing yourself in order to feel less out of control.
“I have to go, she’ll be mad if I don’t.” Guilt is a powerful emotion that tries to help you avoid impulsivity and feeling that you did something wrong.
6.) Black & White thinking.
Black-and-white thinking is all-or-none thinking. If you can convince yourself that something is either black or white, you’re done. Case closed. No more discussion. In control.
“Maybe I shouldn’t call her? Maybe she’ll be mad at me?” Doubts act as a brake trying to postpone, avoid, or somehow protect you from perceived danger.
Shoulds are similar to have-tos. Both are compulsive strategies attempting to control life. Shoulds are more closely related to guilt and societal expectations.
9.) Name Calling.
“I’m such a idiot!” Putting yourself down is a cheap way of excusing yourself from conflict. After all, you can’t really expect an “idiot” to handle life.
10.) Not caring.
“I don’t care if I upset her.” Not caring is a form of denial. If you can insulate yourself with callousness, then you can remain in control, even if you mess up.
“As far as I’m concerned you can go straight to hell.” Hostility repels. By pushing someone away, you create an insulation between you and them. Insulation is control.
Why take any responsibility when you can control others by lying. If one reality doesn’t suit you, create another with lies.
People are malleable—a little white lie here, a bit of coercion there, and perhaps some feigned hysterics—these are all useful tools if you’re trying to twist someone to your will. If you can manipulate others, you control them and the situation.
14.) Mountain-out-of-molehill generalizing.
Generalizing is an attempt to prepare for the worst. If something is catastrophic and you anticipate it, then you’re not going to be unprepared. It’s all about not being caught off guard and unawares.
15.) Fatalistic thinking/doom and gloom. With mountain-out-of-molehill thinking, you’re at least trying to prepare for and defend yourself from adversity. With fatalistic thinking, you’ve already thrown in the towel and given yourself permission to retreat.
What we call something is very important. Words shape the way we think and feel. When I think of an illness, I think of a sickness that infiltrates your body leaving you its victim. You catch a cold or the flu, if you step on a rusty nail, you contract tetanus. In my opinion, you don’t catch or contract anxiety or depression. You generate it! If you think of anxiety and depression as illnesses, than you can’t help but feel victimized! So, let’s change the language. Rather than illnesses or diseases, I’m going to suggest the rather heretical notion that anxiety and depression be seen as habits. Habits that you inadvertently generate by acquiescing to insecurity’s incessant chatter of doubts, fears, and negative thinking [Please understand, in no way am I minimizing the seriousness of a clinical depression. From a Self-Coaching perspective, I’m only trying to empower you to take a more active role in your liberation from your suffering].
Sometimes, when you’re walloped by life struggles you may feel you’re at a dead end. Perhaps a more apt perception would be a bottleneck. Because of habits of insecurity, you may find yourself constricted or bogged down. Just because something feels dead-ended doesn’t mean it is. Why? Because feelings aren’t facts! It’s important to understand that insecurity will own you if it can convince you that things are hopeless. In life, if the front door is blocked, try the side door, the back door, the window…there’s always a way, especially if you’re patient and persistent. Your Self-Coaching motto needs to be: “Whatever it takes!”
If you’re feeling frustrated with your life, perhaps it’s time to recognize the simple truth that there are only two choices when it comes to getting what you want out of life. Choice #1: Moving toward what will fulfill you. Choice #2: Not moving at all. Don’t waste time over-strategizing, deliberating, or hand-wringing, simply pick a goal and move. It’s your motion that creates answers–not your caution.
Being human means accepting the fact that life can challenge us in many ways. Insecurity, emotional vulnerability, fear of making mistakes, uncertainty, anxiety, social survival, competition, loss, abandonment, and so on, represent just some of the many potential threats we encounter in our emotional “jungle.” In this Self-Coaching episode, Lauren and I discuss how the myriad array of circumstantial threats can make us feel like we’re lost in a jungle of mixed and frightening emotions. As disquieting as these emotions can be, it helps to have a strategy for navigating life’s inevitable challenges, and yet, as simplistic as it seems, sometimes all that’s necessary is a change of perspective.
A big part of why we struggle is because we’ve become attached and identified with our problems–insecurity is the tar and bad habits the feathers. If you’re like most people, you probably feel that leopards can’t change their spots. For leopards this may be true, but for you it’s dead wrong. If you’ve been limited by your “spots,” whatever they may be–lethargy, anxiety, self-doubt, fear, panic, depression, or apathy–then you need to be convinced that the power for change, real change, is a choice. Therapy, whether it’s Self-Coaching or some other modality, can teach you that change is, in fact, a choice.
I was working with a man recently who wanted to leave his wife because of a head-over-heels office romance. Throughout the session he kept telling me how much he “loved” this woman. When I asked how long he knew this person, he replied, “Not that long, she was just transferred to our office a month ago.” Clearly, what this guy was feeling was infatuation, not love. Infatuation and love are truly apples and oranges. In fact, one of the best examples of this can be found in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; two star-crossed lovers, caught up in the ecstasy of infatuated love. Symbolically, Romeo and Juliet had to die. Why? Because true love begins when an infatuation dies.
There’s a saying that goes: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” The longer you do nothing about what you want out of life, the longer you will live with empty dreams. Wishful thinking can never replace purpose-driven action. A successful life doesn’t come looking for you; it must be sought, pursued and embraced. Starting today, aim at something, then pull the trigger of action.
Do you worry what people think of you? Do you typically find yourself focusing on your negatives? Are you always comparing yourself with others? If so, this EPISODE of Self-Coaching is for you. Whether you’re too sensitive or even hypersensitive, it’s important to get a handle on how low self-esteem can create a life of torment.
Join Lauren and I as we discuss various Self-Coaching strategies involved in combating the myriad struggles related to a lack of self-confidence, self-worth, or insecurity.
We allow ourselves to become victimized by pressures and incessant demands. Days come and days go, as we keep saying, “tomorrow I’ll relax.” Life is too precious to rationalize away with mindless compulsive striving. If you’ve never read the poem, Dust If You Must, than please take a minute to read it. Then after you’re done, take another minute and decide how you want to spend your day. Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better,To paint a picture or write a letter,Bake a cake or plant a seed,Ponder the difference between want and need?Dust if you must, but there’s not much time.With rivers to swim and mountains to climb,Music to hear and books to read,Friends to cherish and life to lead.Dust if you must, but the world’s out thereWith the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair,A flutter of snow, a shower of rain.This day will not come ’round again.Dust if you must, but bear in mind,Old age will come and it’s not always kind.And when you go and go you must,You, yourself, will make more dust.Author unknown
Most people experience social fears and anxieties from time to time. And for most people these fears are mild and short-lived. But for someone suffering from a Social Anxiety Disorder, the fears and anxiety are anything but mild or transient. Simple things like eating or drinking in public, making eye contact while talking, or using a public bathroom can all become insurmountable challenges.
From a Self-Coaching perspective, a habit-loop of insecurity has created a profound state of self-distrust and loss of confidence. This distrust is so pervasive that one is forced to constantly monitor every action, always trying to access the social dangers of the moment. Everyday life can become a living hell as someone with social anxieties tries to navigate in a world where they feel constantly in the spotlight, where every act is scrutinized and judged by others.
Typical symptoms associated with Social Anxiety Disorder are:
● Anxiety about being exposed to possible scrutiny or judgment by others
● Anxiety that you will act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing
● Anxiety in most social situations
● Attempting to avoid social situations, but if endured, creating intense stress and anxiety
● Persistence of social fears, avoidance, and anxiety
It’s been said that the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength or knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.” From a Self-Coaching perspective no one actually lacks “will,” it’s a matter of whether you apply it or abandon it.
Tired of endless dieting? Not getting results that last? IT’s time to change your relationship to food and change the way you look—for life!
This episode of Self-Coaching explores the emotional triggers and ingrained behavioral habits driving overindulgence. Lauren and I discuss powerful, simple Self-Coaching techniques that will help you break self-sabotaging cravings, compulsions, and emotional eating. You’ll learn to lose those extra pounds for good.
.See if you can resist the temptation of over-thinking your life today and instead, allow the day unfold, naturally and spontaneously. Be reactive rather than proactive. You might be surprised how effortless life can become. The late mythologist Joseph Campbell once said that we must be willing to relinquish the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. Lose the self-doubt, be courageous to let go of your chronic fears, and by all means recognize that negativity is a habit that you don’t have to indulge…do this and you’ll find the life that’s waiting for you.
When caught in a depressed mood, it’s tempting to feel that life is too hard, that you can’t go on. It’s this type of thinking that winds up feeding and sustaining the mood. Consider trying this: do nothing!
All too often we go to battle with our negative, spiraling thoughts. We beat ourselves up, which only adds fuel to the dark mood. Instead, next time you’re in a slump of negativity, don’t engage in debate, guilt, or self recrimination–in essence, don’t resist, simply yield. Just allow yourself to ride out the mood with the understanding and conviction that, ‘this too shall pass.’
The key is not to get caught up in a dance with your depressed thoughts. The more you ruminate, worry, or antagonize yourself, the more you feed the mood instead of starving it. By letting it go, turning away, distracting yourself and not engaging a mood with persistent doubts, fears, or negatives, the more you allow yourself to reduce psychological friction while ensuring that you don’t become a victim of your mood.
Our hectic high-pressure world seems to reward multi-taskers. There is, however, a down side to squeezing more and more into your day-to-day life. Multi-taskers are prone to inheriting a fractured, stressful, life. Today, rather than doing your usual juggling, try doing less. Just keep in mind that whatever you do, do it with full attention, complete awareness, and a focused heart. You, may not accomplish every task, but you will have lived a less stressful, more fulfilling day. Sometimes, when it comes to happiness, less is more.
In this episode, Lauren and I discuss the importance of sleep along with various Self-Coaching suggestions for falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up refreshed. Learn how bed-time rituals and day-time habits play an important part in allowing the body and mind to naturally wind down at the end of the day in preparation for an easy transition to a restorative slumber. You’ll find out why sleep is a critical component in daytime productivity, mental well-being, and emotional balance.
Dreams, nightmares, dream paralysis, and sleep walking are a just a few of the nocturnal phenomena discussed in this episode.
It’s critical for you to recognize that the issues that come up in a relationship are rarely about who’s right and who’s wrong (although it may feel this way); it really has to do with perceptions of right and wrong. One spouse may feel that cheating on your taxes is a moral outrage, while the other partner may feel it’s a God-given right. Perceptions are about individual views, not necessarily about facts. It helps to embrace each other’s differences rather than the condescending partner insisting, “You’re wrong, I’m right.”
What’s the difference between compulsive eating and addictive eating? Clearly, when it comes to food, not all compulsions are addictions. If however, you’ve been historically unsuccessful at “dabbling,” moderating, or limiting yourself with certain comfort food(s) (highly palatable salty, fatty or sugary foods), you may do well to suspect a food addiction. The essential difference between compulsion and addiction is that with compulsion you don’t build a physical tolerance (requiring more and more to get the same comfort, high, or relief that you once got), with addictions, you do. Another crucial difference is that compulsive behavior is typically driven by three factors: stressful circumstances, stressful emotions and/or habits, whereas addictions to food, although they may be spawned by life and emotional stressors (and may, in fact, incorporate compulsive striving), are primarily driven by a physiological need to experience the chemical “high” associated with a dopamine surge in your brain. Putting it bluntly, addictions alter your brain in such a way that it’s not far-fetched to say that an addiction simply winds up using you as its delivery system.
#foodaddiction #foodcompulsion #compulsiveeating
There once was a monastery that was so strict its inhabitants were only allowed to speak two words every ten years. A novice monk, after spending his first ten years at the monastery, was asked by the head monk, “It’s been ten years. What are your two words?”
The monk replied, “Bed, hard.” Another ten years passed and once again the novice monk was asked for his two words, “Food, stinks,” he replied. After thirty years, the now elderly head monk once again asked for his two words, “I, quit,” said the younger monk.
It doesn’t surprise me,” replied the old monk, “All you’ve done is complain these past thirty years!”
What about you? Have you been stuck, year after year, in endless complaining about your life? Isn’t it time to say, “I quit!” Translation: stop being victimized by life.
● Remind yourself that anxiety and stress are not the same thing. Stress is a legitimate and objective response to a real life challenge. Anxiety is an illegitimate response (perpetrated by insecurity) that has you convinced you can’t handle the challenge.
● Self-trust is a willingness to believe. The sooner you take the risk of believing that you can handle whatever life throws at you, the sooner you will be eliminating anxiety and reducing stress.
● Stress is experienced both physically as well as psychologically. When stressed work to distract yourself from the stressor. Try taking a time-out by meditating, going for a walk, watching a movie, or petting a dog. Anything that pulls your mind away from the stressor.
● In all life situations, recognize that you have a choice. You will experience more stress if you feel that you are a victim. Victims by definition are powerless. In order to empower yourself, you are going to need to recognize that, even if you can’t change the circumstance of your stressor, you can change the way you think and interpret your circumstance.
● Don’t wait until you are stressed, start building that trust-muscle today! Recognize that learning to trust is learning to risk believing in yourself, begin with small steps. Keep in mind, it isn’t about always making the “right” choice, it’s just being able to risk being you in the moment and finding out that even a poor choice, isn’t the end of the world.
● As the AA adage goes: Let go, let God. Let go of the ego’s insecure, controlling tendency to over-think and then, whether you call it God, fate, a higher power, or that in you which goes beyond the narrow view of the ego, trust the vast instinctual, intuitive potential that resides in you—waiting to be realized.
Bumble bees are not supposed to fly. Their body weighs too much and their wingspan is too short. Thank goodness the bumble bee doesn’t know these facts.
Maybe you should ask yourself what are your “supposed facts” that are holding you back?
In this EPISODE my daughter Lauren and I discuss numerous Self-Coaching techniques for understanding and managing stress.
What causes stress in one person may be of little or no consequence to another. Some people are better able to handle stress than others, while others may start to panic over small insignificant challenges. Our bodies are designed to handle the inevitable stress of living (i.e., small doses of stress), unfortunately, we are not equipped to handle long-term, chronic stress without ill consequences. You may not be able to eliminate stress from your life, but you don’t have to be victimized by it either.
In graduate school we were assigned the rather morbid task of writing the epitaph for our tombstone. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to sum up your life in one sentence. After much soul searching I came up with my tombstone epitaph, it will one day be etched with the following sentence: I’d rather be reading this.
Regardless of the circumstances that may be pressing against you, always keep in mind that as long as you’re reading this, everything is possible.
If this sounds like you, this little story might help. Once upon a time, a monk who, walking along a mountain path encountered a man-eating tiger. Seeing a vine growing on the cliff face just below his path, the monk leaps off the edge grabbing hold of the vine. The vine begins to loosen and in the frozen moment before his fall and death, the monk notices a strawberry growing in the cliff face next to his vine. His last words before his death are, “What a magnificent strawberry, I think I’ll eat it.”
This story illustrates being totally in the moment. For the monk, there was no past, no future, no tigers, no cliffs; there was only that pristine moment filled with an appreciation of that magnificent strawberry. As you practice letting go of your doubts, fears, and negatives, you put yourself in a position of noticing the wonderful strawberries that populate your world. Living more in the moment takes practice and patience, but the payoff is enormous. You will begin to grow in confidence and self-trust. And once you’re no longer living with chronic anticipatory fear and worry, you can risk letting go of any struggle and become totally engrossed in watching a sunset, listening to an opera, playing with your children, or soaking in a warm bath.
When you think of a turtle, what comes to mind? Its shell, right? When life gets too rough for turtles, they just pull inside their old shells and wait for better times. Humans don’t have shells, but sometimes they act as though they do. Anxiety and depression can encourage turtle behavior. For the overly anxious person, pulling into a shell of avoidance may provide an effective vacation from chronic or intense stress, and for the beleaguered, depressed person, crawling into a shell can provide a sanctuary that makes the intolerable tolerable.
All turtle experiences have one thing in common: they allow you to retreat from some aspect of life where you feel a loss of control. Once in your shell, you feel protected and secure, in control. When used occasionally to recharge your psychic batteries, turtle behavior can actually be beneficial. Unfortunately, an innocent tendency to “kick back” and regroup, especially when combined with insecure thinking, can progress into a serious habit of avoiding life’s demands.
#avoidance #insecurity #selfcoaching
Imagine that you’re on your patio. You notice a cute little pigeon milling about, pecking and minding its own business. You toss it a few crumbs from a sandwich you were eating. The next day you go out to your patio and within minutes your little pigeon buddy reappears–with a companion. Enthusiastically, you throw out a few more crumbs. By the end of the week you’re inundated with hundreds of pigeons leaving your once pristine patio a shamble of feathers, droppings, and a cacophony of cooing. You ask, “What should I do?”
The simple answer is, “Stop feeding the pigeons!”
If you allow reflexive, knee-jerk, insecure thinking to flock into your life with needless worry, fear, or negativity, then you’re feeding the pigeons of insecurity. And if you insist on feeding your insecurity, the distasteful truth is that you will suffer. From now on, keep the image of the pigeons in mind every time you find yourself spinning with insecurity-driven thinking, then remind yourself to, “Stop feeding the pigeons!”
It’s a mistake to think that being courageous means you’re fearless. The courageous person doesn’t eliminate fear, he/she manages it.
A line from the comic strip Pogo read, “We have seen the enemy and he is us.” Take heart, because in life it is not adversity, hardship, or even bad luck that is our enemy—it is us! Insecurity, doubt, fear, and negativity are the enemy in us. Trust, confidence, hope, and optimism are the heroic in us. Which side will you fight for?
The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for counseling with your physician or other qualified mental health professional. Self-Coaching.net provides access to resources and other information as a public service. Although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all electronic information made available is current, complete and accurate, Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D. (Dr. Joe) does not warrant or represent that this information is current, complete and accurate. All information is subject to change on a regular basis, without notice.Joseph J. Luciani, Ph.D., assumes no responsibility for any errors in the information provided, nor assumes any liability for any damages incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of the Self-Coaching.net Website.Any electronic information or inquiries that Self-Coaching.net receives from visitors shall not be considered as or treated as, confidential. The inclusion of, or linking to, other Website URLs does not imply my endorsement of, nor responsibility for, those Websites, but has been done as a convenience to my website visitors.