My life changed when I began to *really* and truly learn how to value what I brought into the world.
I was awful at doing this and what’s worse is that I was BLIND to how it affected the quality of my life.
I used to breeze through “all the things” I had to get done. They were things to tick off, or do to get paid.
It never occurred to me to stop and put them all together.
They were so mundane, non-glamorous, or so routine that I did them on auto-pilot without giving it a second thought. When I started to pay attention, I began to see a much bigger picture of what I was capable of achieving.
That’s when the light bulb went off: I started to examine everything I did. I mean, nothing was too small–and I started to praise them all by articulating their value.
“Congratulations, Jeffrey on waking up at 5:00 AM! You just started the day early and gave yourself so many advantages.”
“Jeffrey, you tackled that project by starting the first small task–way to go; you are building a momentum.”
Sure enough, by sticking with this process, do you know what I discovered?
I discovered my fucking confidence.
Yep. My confidence was like, “Bitch, what the fuck took you so long to see how amazing you are!? And, by the way, stop giving people free shit.”
LOL. My confidence is a total bitch boss with a potty mouth and I love it.
Seriously though, I was also left in shock. For so many years, decades–hell, most of my life–I never properly valued ALL the things I was doing right. They were at best after thoughts. That way of thinking became so normalized in me that I was no longer capable of actually seeing when I did something truly remarkable.
Instead, I became hypercritical of what wasn’t done, what had yet to be accomplished. This attitude was horrible. It became a psychic cancer that ate away at my self worth. It filled my world with the message that I was not enough.
I could not do enough because there was always something unfinished. I could have cared less for everything else that was successfully completed.
This made me blind to what was valuable and turned me poor. I became the proverbial beggar living on a mountain of gold, incapable of seeing what I was really worth and believing myself to be chronically deficient. This had another unintended horrible side effect: it made me open to exploitation.
A lot of other people were not blind to my worth and quickly figured out that I wasn’t able to value it. They made a lot off of me, getting tons of value for pennies on the dollar. I’m not mad at any of them because it’s on me. It was always my responsibility to know my worth.
Now, I do the work: I evaluate all my actions and it’s given me a much deeper sense of the value I create and put into this world. All that value adds up and gives me a huge dose of confidence. It gives me faith in myself:
I really can weather life’s storms.
I really can adapt.
I really can evolve.
I really can be amazingly successful.
That confidence allows me to move forward to advance in a healthy way, not from a place of feeling deficient.
It’s also improved my relationships with others. Now that I know how to articulate and measure value in my own work/activities/decisions, I can also see the value in others more broadly too. This creates an opportunity to bond with someone else by pointing out their value. That has become a magic elixir for taking relationships to new levels and of course boosting my own feeling of worthiness!
Practice Emotional Anchoring Using the 4G’s Method
Is your head still spinning?
Mine is and I’m pretty sure it’s not COVID-19. Although, every time I cough, clear my throat or feel warm I’m convinced I’m COVID-19’s next victim.
The exhaustion, the stress, the anxiety is everywhere and in everyone. It’s real and we have to move past it, in order to survive: in order to have something resembling a decent life.
It’s not easy having the rules of life change so suddenly and so shockingly. And yet here we are. What are we to do when everything is a convulsive state of flux?
Here’s what we can do: we can practice the 4G’s of emotional anchoring. By consistently processing what we are grieving, gaining, grateful for, and giving we can become the anchor that weathers the chaotic swirl around us.
Best of all it’s really simple and really effective. Practice this exercise twice a day: in the morning and in the evening and observe your levels of confidence rise.
We Can Adapt and Evolve in a World Shaped by COVID-19
I’m a huge believer in growth, even during something as mind-boggling as the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s true that our world is undergoing a massive change so profound we will not be able to fully grasp it for a few years.
The changes are going to be many. Some will be fast and furious while others we can expect or will be predictable. Despite all this massive upheaval–there is great room for growth and opportunity.
The thing to keep in mind is that a lot of what we’re experiencing can follow a process, stages that if we choose to become aware can lead us to a place of profound personal evolution.
This evolutionary point is probably one of the most desirable places to get to because of the changes that are afoot. At that evolutionary place not only can we adapt to change, but we can actively play a role in influencing it.
Attached are some infographic worksheets that detail an emotional map of how to move forward. It includes the emotional stages that many have found ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read, digest and leave some comments. What do you think of this. Is it helpful or did I get it completely wrong? I’d love your feedback.
The Coronavirus is reshaping our lives and causing major stress, learn how to manage these changes
Talk about a crazy March, right!?
The novel Coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, is officially re-writing the rules of living for the entire world.
One of the most important things any of us can do right now is to keep our head screwed on tight and protect our mental health. We need to not panic: you do not need to buy a mountain of toilet paper. In fact, protecting your mental health is the most powerful weapon against this virus.
This is where I can help.
Below are some strategies for reducing COVID-19 induced anxiety and making sure you can function while keeping the stress levels to a minimum. What matters most is that you know how to replace fear with facts, replace panic with planning and stress with self-care.
When you are not managing your stress levels and anxiety your immune system weakens, giving COVID-19 an unforced advantage. When you panic, you make poor decisions. These are all real costs that can derail your ability to come out of this successfully and healthy.
Right now, whether you are sequestered or quarantined at home, or having to travel to work–there’s a great deal of control you still have.
When we focus on what we can control, we remain empowered. This is essential for maintaining and protecting your mental health.
The greatest form of control against the Coronavirus is about taking as many preventive measures as you can. By now, you should already know how you can contract the virus. If not read here.
You have the power to stay home and practice social distancing, which has already been proven in past pandemics to be highly effective. You also have the ability to limit who comes into your home and thus reducing the chance of exposure. Both of these are firmly in your control.
What else can you control that will reduce your stress?
You can find things to do to occupy your time that are also meaningful, productive and valuable. You can arm yourself with facts, you can find ways to help and assist others without compromising your own exposure. In short, you can do a lot.
Keep in mind that when we choose to focus on the things we cannot control it’s an act of irresponsibility. What we are really doing is running away from real-life and using doom-and-gloom scenarios to justify our own unraveling.
When we feel justified in unraveling then we do not have to take any kind of personal responsibility. We can cry and fall apart and play victim and hope the world takes pity upon us.
Not only that, but these people have exposed themselves to the virus and may then unwittingly pass it on to those they love who may not be strong enough to fight the infection off. Is that who you really want to be?
Focusing on what you have control over is a sign of strength. So, wash your hands, train yourself to not touch your face, be productive and use your time wisely, practice social distancing, make an action plan if you or your loved one becomes ill and requires treatment.
2. FACTS OVER FEAR
Where are you getting your facts? This matters because believing information that is false can influence poor decision making.
For instance, there are people on the internet selling “cures” to the virus. If you believe them, you may be inclined to think you are safe from infection and you would be wrong.
The FTC and FDA jointly issued warning letters to Vital Silver; Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd.; Xephyr, LLC, doing business as N-Ergetics; GuruNanda, LLC; Vivify Holistic Clinic; Herbal Amy LLC; and The Jim Bakker Show. The products cited in these warning letters include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.
No vaccines or drugs have been approved specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19.
It also pays to look on your local hospital, town/city hall, grocery store websites for any kind of important updates that affect you locally. This is how you properly prepare and maintain your center of control: FOCUS ON THE FACTS.
I strongly recommend avoiding over-consumption of the news. It’s designed to be laced with both facts but also speculative prognostications that are designed to hype and inflame your fear button. It’s the “Doom and Gloom” cycle that is click bait on steroids.
By keeping focus on the institutions and authorities that matter, you have access to the facts and that allows you to make the very best decisions while effectively managing your anxiety and stress levels.
3. SLEEP AND REST MORE
You probably already know that you should definitely be eating as healthy as possible and exercising on a regular basis–but did you know how integral sleep is to maintaining your immune system?
It’s vital, which is why you need to take sleep seriously. If there was ever a justification to get 8+ hours of sleep or to make room for cat naps, now is the time.
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.
Eric J Olson, MD-Mayo Clinic
One of the great benefits of a cat nap is that it can effectively wash away stress, leaving you revitalized. It can also act as an insurance booster if you didn’t get enough sleep during the prior night.
In our country, there’s a stigma associated with napping. People who nap are perceived as being lazy, but let’s move beyond that ridiculous judgement to realize the solid medical benefits. In fact, napping especially when stressed, is one of the most important things you can do for your beleaguered body.
Research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity. Slow-wave sleep — napping for approximately 30 to 60 minutes — is good for decision-making skills, such as memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. Getting rapid eye movement or REM sleep, usually 60 to 90 minutes of napping, plays a key role in making new connections in the brain and solving creative problems.
So when you are feeling overwhelmed, full of stress or anxiety, especially after reading something related to COVID-19 or due to a major change in your life, make some time to relax and unwind with a nap. This will go a long way to making whatever is happening more manageable.
4. CONNECT WITH OTHERS BY PHONE
If you’re a child from the seventies, eighties or even the nineties then you remember how integral the phone used to be before the internet. It’s now made a comeback, albeit for a host of undesirable reasons.
Social distancing, the practice of avoiding any kind of social gathering is central to preventing infection of the virus. The only downside is that as social animals it deprives us of the connections we need to maintain our mental health.
This is the time to start making phone calls. When was the last time you called your grandparents (if they’re still alive)? Now is the time. Now that so many of us are working from home, we have the flexibility to weave in and out of work and blend in the personal.
Think about giving those people in your life who you haven’t spoken with in a while a phone call, see how they’re doing. The more you do this with parents, old friends and new friends you’re going to strengthen your emotional connections and that will go a long way to warding off loneliness, stress and anxiety.
5. LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Now is the PERFECT time to learn something new. If you are going to be on lock down, like most of us, that means most places except for grocery and drug stores will likely be closed.
Not only that, but you’re probably going to be practicing social distancing too which means the bulk of your time is going to be at home.
How many times have you told yourself you were going to learn something if only you had more time!? Well, it’s time to take advantage of this silver lining.
Now is the time to start writing that novel, learning how to use that new camera you bought, learning how to code, or practicing your French or Mandarin. Is there is a work-related skill that can take you to the next level? Learn it, now!
Learning is one of the best ways to take advantage of extra time because of all the value it creates. It forces you to keep your mind clear and focused on the subject at hand, it also strengthens your mind’s plasticity and cognition–and reduces your levels of anxiety.
So, start now, what does the first step look like? Do some research online to find learning resources that can help you actualize your learning goals.
6. INDULGE AT HOME WITH FUN & GAMES
Creating levity under a stressful time can be a powerful tool against COVID-19 induced anxiety.
Just like learning, now is the time to dig in to those series and movies you’ve been wanting to watch but haven’t had time for. If there ever was an excuse to binge watch everything under the sun, now is it.
Are there books in your household library that you want to read? Grab a cup tea, find a cozy spot and have a wonderful time! If you are looking for more material, try connecting with your public library online. Many libraries will now allow you to check out e-books through your electronic reading device.
There’s also video games and social media, which might just preserve your sanity if you have children. This is a unique moment in human history, let them have those extra hours of playing online, because fun equals stress reduction. When your children are content, that keeps your own stress levels down.
Making time for doing the fun stuff is absolutely necessary to reducing your anxiety levels and keeping your mental health in peak condition.
7. CONNECT WITH NATURE
Cabin fever is a natural response to being sequestered at home during a period of social distancing. So, this is why it’s important to get outside and enjoy some fresh air.
Fortunately for all of us, you cannot get infected by simply breathing in fresh air. You have to be close enough to an infected person to acquire the virus. So, knowing this, have a walk in the park, or if you feel more comfortable, sit outside in your backyard.
As you’re out there, take some deep breathes. Listen to the bird song, let the sunshine touch your skin and feel the breeze that’s blowing through the leaves. Exhale and let the calm wash over you like a fog.
Next Steps and Beyond…
Really, so much of what we’re going through right now is about our own fear and anxiety in dealing with the unknown. It’s about learning how to manage that fear. We must learn to process it and not leave it unchecked. Otherwise, it can ravage our mental health and compel us to make poor decisions that can have unwanted consequences.
No authority can say for certain what the next few months will be like. How fast can we get back to normal? At this point, does that even exist? What’s happening right now will most likely have long reaching consequences for all us.
What I also know is that this can also be a huge opportunity for many of us. We can grow deeper into our strength having learned how to care for our minds, bodies and souls during a profound moment of peril for our way of life.
Just imagine for a moment how extraordinary that is, to realize that in this time of peril and calamity–the hero in you, that so many of us need, is being forged and shaped–and it all began with learning how to protect your mental health.
If you liked this article, please subscribe! I’m officially launching this website in September of 2020, but given what’s happening in the world today, felt compelled to do my part in trying to help others. -Jeffrey