How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty

How to easily improve your relationship with uncertainty can sound like one of those too-good-to-be-true promises. It’s that word ‘easily’.

You may be wondering if it can be that easy. Because you may find it really hard to live with uncertainty.

Especially in these challenging times when we are living with it every day on so many levels. There may be the uncertainty around the health issue you’re living with, politically, the pandemic, etc, etc. It’s a shed load to contend with.

But what if it’s easy to improve your relationship with uncertainty?

What if you told yourself, ‘I can learn this and I can learn this pretty quickly.’ Sit with that for a moment. Feel what it’s like to learn quickly. Keep holding the belief, that yes, ‘this can be easy for me’.

A woman is standing holding her belief in her ability to learn. She is saying, "Ooo! This feels big to hold. But it's not heavy." A man of colour is standing with her. He is holding uncertainty and saying, "It's possible to learn. I did and I don't worry as much now." The point of this picture by Return to Wellness® is that believing in your ability to learn will help you to improve your relationship with uncertainty. We have to learn how to deal with uncertainty and that is very possible to do.

Here are easy-to-use techniques that will help you improve your relationship with uncertainty

Each technique listed here is easy to do. It’s not rocket science. But you need to practice them to make them more automatic.

I provide 11 techniques with some inspirational quotes interspersed among them. (I love a good inspirational quote!)

It’s like a pick and mix. Use what resonates with you.

Aim to choose several. Having more than one way to help yourself can be a potent recipe for improving your relationship with uncertainty.

This blog is packed full of easy-to-use techniques to help you learn to deal with uncertainty without stressing yourself out so much about it #takecontrol #uncertainty #wellness Click To Tweet

The 11 techniques to improve your relationship with uncertainty

1. Be mindful of your thoughts

Start to notice how often you criticise yourself, worry about the future, the past, other people, etc. as compared to how often you are self-compassionate. Self-awareness can be powerful.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "Is the garden of your mind full of weeds or flowers." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

2. Remember, you don’t have to believe every single thing you think

Particularly if you’re thinking and worrying about the future, worrying about what others may think of you, and what they do and don’t do.

An original quote by Return to Wellness® states: "You don't have to believe everything you think." - This is especially important to remember when you are seeking to improve your relationship with uncertainty. Read the blog to learn all the other techniques to help you do that.

3. Bring yourself into the here and now

You can do that by noticing five things around you that you can see and touch around you – your cup of tea/coffee, your phone, a book, a pen, etc.

4. Seek ways to reassure yourself

Tell yourself

  • It will be ok.
  • That you’ve been in a similar situation and survived that.
  • Etc.

Have a number of ways to reassure yourself.

5. Sense check how much in control you are

Do that by listening to the language you use. To learn how, watch this video. It’s 11 minutes long.

6. Figure out what you can control and what you cannot and therefore need to let go of

Learn how by watching this video on Stephen Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern (1989). It’s also 11 minutes.

7. Talk about it with someone you trust who won’t judge you

This helps you to:

  • Acknowledge what is going on for you which is a powerful thing to do. This helps you make the unknown known
  • That in turn helps you to say how you are feeling. When you do this, you ‘contain’ your feelings so they don’t turn into overwhelm.
  • And doing that helps you to identify your needs.

8. Self-compassion helps too

You can’t have too much of this. Stockpile it. Use it regularly.

9. Ask yourself: What has enabled me to get this far?

This is a great way of reminding yourself of your strengths.

10. Focus on the good stuff happening in your current situation

Even if it’s small stuff. You’ve got to keep exercising your appreciation muscle. Writing it down helps to reinforce it.

11. And remember, everything is figure-out-able

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

What is your relationship with uncertainty currently like? Which of the techniques above will you try first?

Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND 

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Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

References

Covey, S.R. (1989) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. London, UK: Simon & Schuster UK Ltd.

Why you don’t need to move on from your illness

Why you don’t need to move on from your illness

When others tell you to ‘move on from your illness’ or ‘shouldn’t you let it go now’ whenever you speak about it, you can feel guilty. Like you’ve done something wrong. It can also feel like your experience of the illness or injury, treatment and everything it means for you going forwards in your life, including all the difficulties, are completely disregarded. You can feel lonely.

Maybe you had cancer, the onset of a chronic neurological condition, heart attack or something else. Whatever you had, it has fundamentally changed your body. You have also changed as a result.

Two friends are standing and speaking to one another. A woman with short dark hair is saying, "I still feel the impact of the illness and treatment." Her blond hair friend is rolling her eyes and saying, "You need to let it go and move on once and for all." The point of this is the illness still impacts the woman physically and emotionally. So what do we mean by letting go and moving on from an illness or injury? Read the blog to find out why I don't think you need to move on from your illness.

How can you move on from your illness when the illness and all it represents is still with you?

It can be hard to move on because you may be living with a daily reminder of the illness or injury in terms of ongoing symptoms, medication and how you need to look after yourself.

But what do we mean by ‘move on from your illness or injury’?

Let’s unpick those phrases ‘move on’ and ‘let go’.

When someone says to you, ‘Shouldn’t you let go of it?’ or ‘Isn’t it time you moved on from your illness?’ several things could be going on.

They may be genuinely worried for you, concerned you’re not finding it easy to cope and maybe even wondering what they can do to help. They may even make suggestions of what you can do to let go and move on. This may come from a genuine place on their part.

When others say those phrases, they may be tired of hearing the same story. Even if they’re a friend or family member. This can be due for all sorts of reasons.

Some people do not have the capacity to hear the same thing again. People will have different levels of capacity for listening and responding.

Or they don’t want to be reminded of a difficult time even though the illness or injury happened to you not them. It could be what you say sparks anxiety in them whether consciously or unconsciously, and they don’t want to feel/experience that.

When someone says to you, ‘Isn’t it time you moved on from your illness?’ it could be they don’t have the capacity to hear something more than once or a few times. But it’s not nice to be on the receiving end of such a question.… Click To Tweet

Letting go and moving on from your illness can mean ‘stop talking about it’

Or even, ‘Forget that it happened.’

We can end up stigmatising difficult feelings and emotions in our society so talking about them get stigmatised too. We’ve just learned a different way to say it, i.e. let go and move on from your illness.

As for forgetting that it happened, of course some days you may feel like that. That’s normal. But trying to forget it in an unhealthy way can be a form of denial.

But talking about it is a way to make sense of your experience

Even if it is 5, 10, 15 years or more since you had the illness or injury. It takes people different lengths of time to make sense of a difficult experience. And that’s ok. There are no specific timescales for how long this could take. We are all different.

If you look at trauma literature, talking about your experience is a way to make sense of what is often a traumatic experience, which a serious illness or injury can be. McGrath (2001) states that people ‘work through their feelings’ by ‘telling their story a hundred times’ and this is the ‘means by which they begin to dispel the feelings of distress attached to their memories’.

You may talk about your experience 100 times, 50 times, 10 times, or once. There is no ‘right’ number.

Also, as time moves on, you change and so look at and review the experience of your illness or injury with new eyes. And you may need to make sense of that too in addition to the original experience of your illness or injury. You may also notice that how you talk about your illness or injury may change too.

As time moves on, you change and so look at and review the experience of your #illness or #injury with new eyes. And you may need to make sense of that too in addition to the original experience of your illness or injury. Click To Tweet

So can you say you move on from your illness?

The illness can stay with you in many forms. It’s part of you and your life.

As a result of the illness or injury, you may get involved in campaigning and advocacy work. Or you may go to a support group, run a support group, start a blog, build a website of resources and useful information, or even start a charity. You may do none of those things but get back to your life in a way that is meaningful for you.

In that way, no you don’t move on from your illness nor do you need to.

Instead, the key thing is integration of your illness or injury experience

It’s how you integrate the experience of the illness or injury, then and now, into you and your life. You want to integrate it in a way that feels healthy to you rather than it negatively dominating your life all of the time.

The woman is standing on the timeline of her life. You see that behind her is birth, schooling, first romantic relationship, university, first job, relationship breakup, redundancy, great job, promotion, marriage, first baby, serious illness, renewed purpose and return to work. The woman's life timeline is pointing towards the future. In front of her says Return to Wellness® with a plan. The woman is saying, "The illness impacts me to this day. Sometimes it's not easy. But now it's a part of my life rather than all of my life." It's about integrating your illness or injury experience into your life.

What’s it like for you?

What does ‘letting go’ and ‘moving on from your illness or injury’ mean to you? How have you integrated the experience of your illness or injury into your life? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, you can

AND

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

Reference

McGrath, E. (2001) Recovering from Trauma. Available http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200308/recovering-trauma, (Retrieved 2013, March 20).

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

How to breathe to calm yourself when you’re stressed

Do you kind of forget how to breathe to calm yourself when you’re feeling stressed? You don’t really realise it until maybe someone points it out. Or you finally get to a place of calm and think, ‘Boy, I wasn’t feeling that great!’

It’s understandable. You can get so wrapped up in the issue your focus is entirely on that. I’ve done it.

When I started studying coaching and other psychological modalities, breathing was often mentioned. Eventually (not immediately), I realised I rarely focused on my breath!

I might have been aware I was breathing differently when stressed, yet I did nothing to change it. But I also wasn’t aware of how I was breathing in my day-to-day life during times when I wasn’t stressed.

Not only was I not using a valuable tool at my disposal to manage the impact of stress, I took my ability to breathe completely for granted. So in this post I want to share why knowing how we breathe is important and a simple technique you can use to restore calm when you feel stressed.

Picture of a person feeling stressed and forgetting to breathe. The person is thinking, "This issue is so hard! I'll never get it sorted!" It's important when you're feeling stressed and anxiety to remember how to breathe to calm yourself.

What about you?

Do you know how to breathe to calm yourself?

As a way to self-regulate how you’re feeling. Self-regulation is an important life skill. It’s about you recognising and using your personal power, which you can in many different ways. Breathing is one of them. And exercising your personal power helps to feed your confidence in yourself.

There is a picture of a virtuous cycle saying: Ability to self-regulate with an arrow pointing to Recognising and using your personal power then another arrow pointing to Feeds you confidence. When we self-regulate, we are using our personal power and that helps increase our confidence. A person is looking at this, smiling and saying, "I'll try deep breathing!" Being able to self-regulate how you feel is a key life skill. Learning how to breathe to calm yourself will help you do that.

And do you know where you breathe from when you’re not stressed?

Stop for a minute and notice. Do this a few times throughout the day.

Are you breathing from high up in your chest? Maybe near the throat? Or lower down around your diaphragm? Or maybe even lower?

What is your style of breathing like?

Short quick gasps for air? A slow, deep intake of breath? Something in between? Or do you find yourself holding your breath a lot?

Breathing is fundamental to living and your life

Yet many of us are not very intimate with how we breathe. Notice how you breathe and where you’re breathing from when you’re working, cooking, preparing for bed, exercising, reading, doing household chores, errands, looking after your kids or grandchildren, doing something you really enjoy doing, etc.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed

When you are feeling stressed and anxiety, your breath can be a go-to tool to help you restore a sense of calm.

So here’s an easy-to-use breathing technique to help you do that.

Being aware of how you breathe can help you identify when you’re feeling stressed. Are you aware of how you breathe? Click here to learn more #breathing #stress #wellness Click To Tweet

How to breathe to calm yourself using the 4-6 technique

You use this technique in the moment when you’re feeling stressed.

Breathe in for a count of 4.

Exhale for a count of 6.

Repeat until you feel calm. Then keep doing it AND smile to yourself.

This technique helps to regulate your nervous system.

And it’s a great technique as no one can really see you do it.

A person is standing looking calm and practicing a breathing technique. They are saying, "Inhale for 4 seconds. Exhale for 6 seconds." You can regulate your nervous system by using the 4-6 breathing technique.

What’s it like for you?

Are you aware of where you typically breathe from – high up in your chest, from your diaphragm, from your belly? Have a go at breathing using the 4-6 technique. How did you feel afterwards? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are struggling with a challenging health issue or caring for someone who is, and would like support to get unstuck and on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

How to conquer overwhelm with ease

At times, it can feel like you can’t quite conquer overwhelm when you’re living with a challenging health issue. Particularly when you may be in the early stages of living with it. Or some kind of change happens with your health or life that throws your previous normality out the window.

The overwhelm can feel like a constant in your life. It’s not surprising as you can be dealing with a lot of change, you may not be sure how best to deal with it, and you don’t know what the future holds. So yeah, overwhelm can easily happen.

Pic of a being taking a woman's life which is in the form of a cloud it is holding with 'Your Lovely Life' written in it and the being is saying, "Take these. You won't need your previous life so I will toss that." The being is standing near a window. The being is handing two clouds to the woman with overwhelm & anxiety and chronic illness written on them. She is holding them but saying, "I don't want these. I want my life back." Dealing with a challenging health issue can feel like you're exchanging your life for overwhelm. And all you want to do is conquer overwhelm to get your life back.

So how do you conquer overwhelm?

Without it being incredibly difficult?

Here are three steps you can take to conquer overwhelm with ease

It will be a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm.

Learning how to conquer #overwhelm is a learning process. And you may not get it right from the start. In fact, don’t aim to get it 100% right as that can fuel the overwhelm. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

First, show some compassion to yourself

And tell yourself:

“It’s ok. I’ll get there. Everything is figure-out-able.”

When you show compassion to and reassure yourself, you calm your nervous system. When you feel calm, it’s easier for you to take effective action to help yourself.

This pic is an original quote by Barbara Babcock of Return to Wellness®. It says: Everything is figure-out-able. This is a great way to reassure yourself that you will figure things out eventually and so conquer overwhelm.

Second, get curious about your experience of overwhelm

Get to know what it’s like for you when you feel overwhelmed.

What sensations do you feel in your body and where?

What do you do when you experience overwhelm? Do you deny it and try to get on with life as normal? Do you hide away? Get cranky? Cry a lot? Get angry? Experience lots of anxiety? Something else?

Whatever is causing the overwhelm? How do you think about that issue? What are your thoughts?

Is it typically certain issues which trigger overwhelm?

When you are aware of how you experience overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier.

When you are aware of how you experience #overwhelm and what triggers it for you, you are in a much better position to take charge of the overwhelm much earlier. #stress #anxiety Click To Tweet

When you feel overwhelmed by a problem, the problem feels bigger than you

You need to get bigger than the problem.

When you do that, you can see how big or small the problem really is and the different parts of the problem.

On the lefthand side of the picture, a woman is looking out of sorts and is laying on the ground as problems overwhelm her. On the righthand side of the picture she is much bigger and has broken down the overwhelm into all the problems that is contributing to it. She is saying, "Ok, now I can see everything more clearly. first, I need to sort my finances and car. Then I'll have more energy for the other stuff." The point is that by making yourself bigger than your problems, it can help you to step out of overwhelm and deal with the problems. This helps you to conquer overwhelm.

To get bigger than the problem and overwhelm, the third thing you can is write about the cause of it

There is no right or wrong way to write about the problem. It may be a simple bullet list of the issues you face. So it doesn’t have to take a long time.

You might write about the different parts of the problem. You may end up writing just how you’re thinking about everything as it occurs to you. Spelling and grammar do not matter.

When you write about the problem, it does two things:

  1. It takes the overwhelm out of your head and puts it on paper. You can let the overwhelm rest on the paper and not in your head or body.
  2. You create distance between yourself and the problem. That makes it easier to look at it and evaluate it more objectively.

You are then in a much better position to start dealing constructively with the problem.

So think of your pen as your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

The woman is sitting at a table and has been writing about the overwhelm she experiences. She is holding her pen up and saying, "For something so small, you are very powerful and effective!" The point is that your pen can be your sword in helping you conquer overwhelm.

What’s it like for you?

Have you used writing before to conquer overwhelm? If not, what do you think of writing as a tool to do that? What other approaches do you use to conquer overwhelm which you’ve found effective? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else!

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

The one thing you can do to regain control quickly

When you don’t feel in control, all you want is something to help you regain control. But sometimes the solution doesn’t come quickly enough for your liking. Or it’s hard to sift through everything and determine what’s best for you because you may be feeling so much anxiety. Understandable.

You can end up not taking effective action as a result

And I don’t want that for you. I want you to take good enough action that has helps you get what you need and where you want to be. So I’ll share the one skill you already possess and how it can help you to regain control.

It requires you to notice how you’re thinking and speaking. Noticing is good because it’s the first step in regaining control. To help you do that, I share what you need to be on the look-out for. And I provide a four-step process you can follow to help you take back control.

Click on the video to watch. It’s 11 minutes long.

What’s it like for you?

What do you think of Rotter’s ‘Locus of Control’ model? Do you recognise yourself using passive language when you’re not feeling in control? What do you think about using active language to help you regain control quickly? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

You may also want to watch this video on how to determine which aspects of issues you are dealing with are in your control to manage and what is not and therefore you need to let go of. It’s a great complement to the video you just watched. (It’s 11 minutes.)

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Know someone who would benefit from reading this blog, or you just want to spread the ideas, click on the icons to share.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

How to feel more in control

How to feel more in control

Many people want to feel more in control during these uncertain times. I’m hearing from people who talk about feeling-out-sorts or are waking up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. And the anxiety feels like just one more thing to overcome. Others are saying they are trying to control too much.

It can feel draining. I know, I too am waking up in the middle of the night and sometimes I struggle to get back to sleep. And yet what we feel at this time is a normal reaction to the unusual time we’re living in.

So I want to share with you the one model I keep coming back to which helps me to

  • Manage the impact of anxiety, stress and uncertainty effectively
  • Regain control in my life
  • Use my energy wisely

I have shared this model with so many clients and they always find this to be a game changer. I think you will too.

Feeling out of control due to all the stress, anxiety and uncertainty? Want to learn a great tool that will help you regain control? My clients call this the game changer! Click thru to watch the video #uncertainty #takecontrol… Click To Tweet

How to feel more in control

What will help you feel more in control? Stephen Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern will! This comes from his book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He wrote the book in 1989 and the ideas and concepts are still very relevant. They transcend time because they are life skills. I highly recommend this book.

So click on the video, sit back and learn what you can do to feel more in control. It’s 11 minutes long.

What’s it like for you?

What do you think of Covey’s Spheres of Control, Influence and Concern? What action can you take to feel more in control? And what is in your sphere of concern you need to let go of? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).  

If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.

Pass it forward

Has this blog made you think? Helped you in some way? Share it so it can do the same for someone else.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2020

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