Don't You Know Who I Am?
So often we hold ourselves in such high regard. We take ourselves so seriously. Whenever the smallest of things happen we interpret it as a personal attack on us. HOW DARE THEY!
Picture the scene ……
Another driver pulls out in front of you on the way to work, it’s a close call but you were never in any real danger. But wait, our stress levels SOAR, toxins are released into our brains, the red mist descends and fight mode kicks in.
How DARE they do that to me! Don’t they know who I am?! I AM of greater importance and they shall feel my wrath! I am the king of the road, of all things and I shall never be wronged! “Orf with his head!” would be shouted back in ye olde times (if it were a horse and cart). You become stressed, tense, all rational thinking and logic explodes out of the window. Your foot presses down hard on the accelerator, you wave your arms around wildly, gesturing like a maniac. All sorts of obscenities come pouring out of your mouth.
STOP! YOU HAVE BEEN HIJACKED BY YOUR CHIMP! “wait, my WHAT?”
Your chimp is the emotional part of your brain. Your chimp lives in a world dominated by raw emotions and left untrained can have a catastrophic negative effect on your daily lives.
HOW TO CHILL YOUR CHIMP?
There are many ways to keep your chimp in check. The best way is the simplest! So simple you are doing it now. You have been doing it since the day you were born and will continue to do it until the day you die. Breathing.
THE ANSWER IS IN THE BREATH!
In any situation where you perceive danger, experience stress or anxiety then be mindful of your breath. Take several BIG DEEP breaths and talk to your chimp.
Say something like “sure, that person drives like a fool but perhaps they are in a hurry. Maybe they are upset or are going through a traumatic time in their life. Anyway, it’s ok, their problem is not my problem. I’m safe and I will continue on my merry way.”
If you take everything as a personal attack then you will lose the ongoing battle with your chimp. Get the chimp on side. Stop holding yourself with such high importance. Let go of this illusion and you’ll open yourself up to so much more.
Laugh at yourself. Lighten up and accept that somethings are out of your control. Trust me, life will flow through you if you do.
Be mindful of your breath and the rest will follow ….
"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing."
3 simple steps to start acknowledging, accepting and living with your modern day fears.
FEAR! We've all experienced it. Even the word FEAR invokes terror (especially if I keep capitalising it).
You have known fear and your natural, physiological responses exist for your survival. You've heard of the 'fight of flight' response, I'm sure. The problem is, that response is a few hundred years out of date.
It worked AMAZINGLY well for survival but often times, for most of us, there is no immediate danger. You no longer live in the jungle fending off dinosaurs (man and dinosaurs co-existed, right?) and wondering where your next meal may come from.
On my journey I was always riddled with self-limiting beliefs. "Jon, you're not good enough!" Or "Who will ever listen to you"? My favourite "you don't deserve true happiness, keep self sabotaging". My fear was VERY powerful. It consumed me. Stopped me in my tracks. That is how powerful and limiting it can be.
Perhaps some of these resonate with you?
I decided to accept my fear and listen to my intuition. I left a 14 year career in IT to teach what you are reading today. If I let my 'flight' get the best of me that would NEVER have happened.
Truth is it took me many years to overcome these fears. Do I still have the doubts? Of course I do. Fear will never go away and we should thank it. However, we now have the ability to accept it, bow to it and realise that it is not your truth. It serves a purpose but it does not control you.
Try this exercise next time you feel the FEAR sneak up on you. It could be that you have a big meeting or presentation. Perhaps a date you are going on, a bill you don't want to open or a conversation with a loved one that you know will be particularly fear based or emotional.
1. Thank the fear - Bow to it. It is there to protect us.
2. Feel the fear - Where is it in your body? Maybe your jaw or stomach. Perhaps it takes the form of tension in your shoulder. What colour is it? Does it have a particular shape or vibration.
3. Stay with the fear - Accept the fear and watch it slowly shrink, fade, disappear.
Did you try it? How do you feel?
Doing this for just 90 seconds whenever fear arises can lead to a huge shift!
Never run from your fear (tigers and fires are BIG exceptions).
All of life's thrills live on the other side of fear.
Please like, share and comment below if you found this useful.
Breathe. Smile. Live.
What Will Your Excuse Be? Start Today!
My alarm went off at 5:30am today. Bleary eyed I dragged myself out of bed. As I struggled to put my running stuff on (honestly put my shorts on inside out) I kept reminding myself of how awesome I will feel after 💪"No excuses, do it!"
Whilst running, as always I was struck with thoughts and ideas. I noticed how aside from one person whom looked to be dragging herself to work, the Usain Bolt of cats and a handful of pigeons basking in the morning sun - I was the only person out and about. I felt I was already ahead! I was already WINNING! I felt unstoppable.
Then as I looked up I saw the moon smiling back at me. That big lump of rock has always seemed unreachable. So much like my own dreams several weeks ago.
However, NOW! NOW those same dreams are in touching distance and like this morning, I feel like I am running towards them. Head on. Mindset shifted, like a freight train. Determined.
SO, WHAT WILL YOUR EXCUSE BE?
I'll start tomorrow. I need to have this first. That person is doing a better job. I'm not good enough!
GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!
Start today! Write that blog, apologise to your loved one, go for a run, eat that fruit, cut out the chocolate, smoke one less cigarette, choose water over a fizzy drink. Just do one thing. One thing that will make you feel awesome. One small change is all it takes and see how you feel. It will empower you and enrich your life.
This is MY time. YOUR time. OUR time.
When All Else Fails? Faith!
There are days, weeks and even months when life will beat you down. It will make you question everything you are and everything you have. Everything that you don't have and everything that you want to become.
You'll wake up and dread the day ahead. You'll stay up at night and not sleep. Dread will be filling you up with what the next day will or will not hold.
Your appetite for life has gone as well as your hunger for passion. You look for answers in food, drink, drugs, sex, material possessions but the short term hit will NEVER satisfy you.
In a world where you are always told you are not good enough, what will stop you from sinking? What will help you swim to shore and avoid being pulled under?
How do you survive when you feel that life itself is against you? When gravity itself, the force created to keep you planted is just another thing keeping you stuck.
FAITH! HAVE FAITH!
Have faith. Have faith that things will get better. Have faith that there will come a time when all of your pain and hurt is a distant memory. Have faith that no matter how low you sink you will rise again.
Have faith in you, me, the universe or even god! Whatever it is, just have faith.
If you were with me now I would take your hand and you would see the faith in my eyes. The belief that all things can change. The belief and conviction that I have would show you that life does not have to be a hopeless cause. You would see that you are not alone.
I have been there and I made it through. I made it through so that I could help you.
Your eyes must be opened to a life that is filled with endless possibilities. A life that is not written and can be shaped from moment to moment. A life that is a gift and one that you deserve to live filled with joy and boundless energy from one day to the next. No matter your age, race or sex.
When all hope is gone. When the day seems darkest. If the pain and anxiety in your chest and stomach become too much to bare. Have faith. Faith that someday, one day in the near future you will wake up, smile and leap out of your bed.
You'll remember that life is precious. That you are alive and that there is no secret to living.
Change is in you. It's there. You are closer than you think. In that, have faith.
Take a few BIG DEEP breaths in. Feel your heart beating, lovingly, unconditionally.
You are perfect. You are safe. You are loved.
Become an Observer of Your Mind
Meditation is an extremely powerful tool to help us manage and even transcend our negative emotions.
Realise that when a powerful emotion comes in it is fleeting. It may seem impossible but it will pass.
Gently analyse where they came from? What is the reality of the situation? Have you been here before?
Are you comparing to a previous, similar situation?
Our minds are brilliant but they are also unreliable. We forget, confuse and warp memories.
Become an observer. Watch your thoughts, feelings and emotions from the outside rather than be trapped by them.
It's Time For A Shift!
Part of my vision is to create more awareness around the subject of mental health. Especially in the workplace.
It is my view that employers must take a more proactive role towards mental health and understand that they too have a responsibility to the employee.
The times they are a changin'.
Great leadership starts at the top and moves down the hierarchy. If you don't have someone at the top, whose primary focus is on the people underneath them then the foundations of that business are as shaky as a skyscraper built on wet sand.
Nobody wants to work for a company where they do not feel supported, secure and safe.
How do we build that element of trust?
We must make sure that the leaders have an awareness of mental health. These issues alone cost the country billions in absence and low productivity.
We must make sure that every company has a strategy to work with their employees and support them during difficult times.
We are told how to lift a bloody box during our inductions. NOW is the time to be taught how to cope under stress. How to incorporate daily mindfulness and how, if the time comes, we can rely on our companies to be there for us. Support us. Lead us.
If we do this then we create a community of trust, security and stability.
That will ripple through the entire business if it is driven from the top.