Category: Tools

Exhausted and Unproductive? This Might Help

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

As a kid, I never understood why adults were so slow. Surely it would be more natural to run around and bounce and clamber – what was wrong with them? Why were all adults so lazy?!

Now I’m (allegedly) an adult, I get it: We’re not lazy… we’re just exhausted.

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You Probably Need to Do This One Thing More Often

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

Do your attempts to be kind to yourself ever backfire?

I’ve noticed lately that my moments of self-generosity are occasionally actively unhelpful to me:

“Fine, I’ll watch another episode.”

“I’ve worked hard, I don’t need to exercise today.”

“If I eat a second dessert… then I can free up the time that I would have spent eating it later! Genius.”

None of these things are bad, of course. (In fact, I am a tremendous fan of being entertained, resting and eating sweet treats –  and I’m even happy to multitask all three, if necessary.)

However, there’s a common theme here:

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I’m Anxious – What Do I Do Now?

Confusion by QuinnDombrowski, on Flickr

Original Photo © Quinn Dombrowski, QuinnDombrowski on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

Quite often, I get asked “what should someone do after they realise they’re anxious?”

There’s no definitive answer to that question – every person and every situation is different, so it’s impossible to give one-size-fits-all advice.

But there are a few ideas which might help someone figure out the next step for them…

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It Might Not Matter “Why” We’re Anxious

good question by e-magic, on Flickr

Original Photo © Eric, emagic on Flickr.
CC BY-ND 2.0

At my most anxious, I spent a LOT of time asking “why”.

If only I understood the reason for my anxiety – if I could understand it, explain it – then I could solve it.

But this was just a distraction. In fact, it made things worse.

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Why Good Advice Might Be Bad Advice (and vice versa)

Go to Italy. by QuinnDombrowski, on Flickr

Original Photo © Quinn Dombrowski, QuinnDombrowski on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0


[post status: a little rough, but there’s something useful buried in here!]

Here’s some advice you might hear if you’re dealing with anxiety:

“It doesn’t matter WHY you’re struggling, accept the feelings and focus instead on the present”

Sounds great. But, then, so does this: “we should confront and heal our past traumas so they stop bothering us in the present”!

And these good-sounding bits of advice seem to be contradictory..!

How are we supposed to know WHEN to confront past traumas, and when to let go and focus on the present?

(And I bet you’ve come across loads more of these seemingly-contradictory pairs of advice.)

Here’s an answer I often return to:

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Sort of Fake It till you Sort of Make It

[post status: a quick & messy throwaway thought]

It’s a two-way street between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes we perform well because we’re confident, but acting confident also helps our performance.

Hence the popular advice: “Fake it till you make it!”

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Some Reminders About Your Value

Value by MootreeLife, on Flickr

Original Photo © Jackie, mootreelife on Flickr.
CC BY-ND 2.0

 .


It’s surprisingly easy to forget these things about ourselves:

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The Three Causes of Anxiety

Solitude at the horizon by aπ, on Flickr

Original Photo © aπ, on Flickr.
CC BY 2.0

You can divide up the causes of anxiety into three.


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Is The Whole World In Our Heads?

We’ve Got The Whole World (In Our Heads),
We’ve Got The Whole Wide World (In Our Heads),
We’ve Got The Whole World (In Our Heads),
We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Heads.

This homage to an old hymn gets weird rapidly after verse one, so let’s end it there.

Question: Is the whole world in our heads?

Answer: Depends on what you mean by “in our head”.

Let me explain, using this Highly Scientific Diagram of how we experience the world:

ThingsHappenBrainProcesses

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Enjoying The Bad Days Too

The Tower (over the thought of random ha by â„¢ Pacheco, on Flickr

Is this dark and foreboding, or is it beautiful? I honestly don’t know.

Original Photo © Pacheco, Pacheco on Flickr.
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License

For most of us, learning to be happy after anxiety isn’t a smooth journey.

If you pushed me into saying more, I’d go as far as saying it’s a bumpy journey.

In fact, I’d probably get over-excited and go super-metaphorical about it:

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