Battling COVID frustrations. What can we do?

“Many of us at the moment, are feeling frustrated and even out of control. In this new world of restrictions being put in place and then lifted, students being taught in the classroom then online, over and over again, going to work, staying home, being let out, and then arguing about it all online or in the home – we can wind up feeling powerless. Frustrated. Overwhelmed. Angry.
 
So what CAN we do to help bring back a feeling of control? Whether you are living with restrictions or not, there is always something you can do for yourself that doesn’t involve anyone else making decisions on your behalf.”
Read full article to find out what you can do for yourself today.

‘How to Clear the Chaos of our Minds simply by Journaling.’ Elephant Journal.

“For those yet to discover journaling, are apprehensive about it or basically think it’s a whole lot of bullshit – Let me try a different tact.

Imagine we all have a whirlpool swirling just above our heads. Inside are our thoughts. Half thoughts, full thoughts, bits of memories, a couple points from the to do list, an annoyance from earlier on, a flashback to something last year, a millisecond of feeling we’ve forgotten something, a worry about something next week, a nanosecond from a recent dream, some uncertainty about the future, mixed with the shopping list and what’s for dinner.

These thoughts, memories and fears flash and jump, sink and disappear, reappear, whirl and swirl until we are not sure if we have remembered or done anything today and all we know is that we feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and can’t quite focus.”

 

Full article published in Elephant Journal,

‘3 Ways to Step into 2021, Without the Weight of 2020,’ Thrive Global.

“2020 felt like a pretty horrible year to most people no doubt. Understandably, we just want to walk (or run!) away from it.

As much as we would like to switch off the memories, we can’t. Carrying the feelings, fear or anxiety of the past year into 2021 won’t benefit us as individuals, or as a collective.

So how can we prepare for 2021?

The reality of the world right now is that many of us will be spending what is normally a huge celebration – New Years Eve, alone or in small groups. Here are 3 things we can do on our own, with a friend or with a family member on new years eve itself, or during this week.

Grab a pen and 3 pieces of paper and let’s begin.”

 

Photo by Anthony R Turner, Art of Love Photography.

 

‘3-Step Process to Calm Anxiety,’ Thrive Global.

“Many of us have felt anxiety at different times in our lives to differing degrees. I think we can all agree it doesn’t feel nice at all. For some it can present as a shortness of breath, a rapid heart beat, a knot in the stomach or nausea, a racing mind, or a feeling of loss of reality and perception. However you may feel it, the great news is there is something you can do to help yourself in these moments. Let’s start by understanding anxiety.

Anxiety put really simply is when our mind runs ahead to imagining the worst-case scenario. We often then believe this worst-case scenario is true (because it feels that way) which can lead to further anxiety or a panic attack. Our mind has become disassociated from our body and from reality.

Anxiety-driven thoughts can be about anything, from COVID19 related issues to love or family relationships, jobs, shopping, driving and anything else. I want to teach you a 3-step process to help combat anxiety and calm down the escalation from a thought or fear to an anxiety-driven thought.

Many people think that Step 1 is taking deep breaths but if you are feeling anxious or having a panic attack, you are not yet ready or often even able to take a deep breath.”

 

Read full article here: ‘3-Step Process to Calm Anxiety,’/ Thrive Global.

‘Getting to Know Yourself, 4 Steps to Productive Self Reflection,’ Thrive Global

“This period of self-isolation has for many, been a real time of imposed self-reflection. For some it was a long overdue pause from life, for some it was just going deeper in to what you may already do. It is important to ‘know yourself’ ­– your patterns, beliefs, thoughts and habits, if you want to create change.

Stop, reflect and ask yourself questions. Am I happy? Am I doing what I want to be doing? Am I fulfilling my dreams? Am I living each day on purpose? Am I consciously living my life?

To self-reflect effectively we need to be hearing that background noise that we all have. We want to know what it is saying. Are you listening? Is it positive? Is it negative? Is it your own voice? Your parents? Siblings? Old teachers? Bullies from school? Friends or mentors? What are you filling your mind with? These questions are vital but can be scary if you have never asked them before.

You cannot change what you are not aware of.

Who are you when you strip away the voices of society, culture, family, friends and old nemesis?”

 

Read the full article here: Getting to Know Yourself, 4 Steps to Productive Self Reflection,’ / Thrive Global

 

‘Teen Mental Health,’ Medium

There is a growing mental health crisis with our teenagers and young people across the world. In Australia alone 1 in 4 adolescents will experience mental health problems this year and suicide is the most common cause of death for 15–24 year olds. The stats are alarming. One person is one too many.

In my experience with counselling teenagers I have had clients as young as 12 years old suffering from anxiety, clients at 13 believing that their parents divorce was their fault, at 16 not being able to look past a pimple or scar to see who they are as a person and at 17 wondering why they should get out of bed when “today is just going to be as bad as yesterday.” I have worked with adults who at 30 were still stuck in negative thought patterns, at 40 were still traumatised from being bullied at school, at 50 not feeling worthy of love and even at 70 still haunted by teenage family abuse.

None of us are ‘immune to life’ — to traumas, to ‘bad things happening’, to feeling like we have failed, to holding on to past hurts and to the complexities of navigating teenage friendships.

But this is not all doom and gloom.

Life doesn’t have to be this way. The problem is that quite often we don’t know what it is we can try. In those moments we have lost perspective. We have lost faith in the world and we have lost trust in ourselves.

My past clients spurred me to write my latest book ‘The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens.’ The most common sentence I was hearing from adults after working together was, “I wish I had learnt those things when I was younger,” and from that I set out to write. The frustration I felt at working with adults who had been carrying their life’s anxieties and traumas around for 10, 20, even 40 years was deeply saddening to me. Five-minutes is too long.

I believe the answer is in education. Not education that says ‘go to school’ but emotional intelligence education, social-emotional education, life education, education of the self, the heart and the soul.

A friend of mine, Kosal Khiev once wrote a poem ‘Moments In Between the Nights’ and that title alone springs to mind when I think about educating teens. It’s not in the ‘going to class,’ but the moments in between — the moments when no one is looking, when your mind suddenly turns, when doubt, fear, embarrassment, a memory, sadness, anxiety or negative thoughts kick in. It’s in those moments that we need to learn the self-awareness, the skills, tools and coping strategies to find our own balance again.

We can teach young people how to gain perspective, how to process their thoughts, emotions, behaviours and understand how and why they react to situations the way they do. We can teach them to understand and redefine terms such as success and failure. We can teach them self enquiry and self awareness, teach them how to better understand themselves, better understand friendships and the roles they play, that there is always someone they haven’t thought of they can talk to, something else they can try. We can teach them how to breathe — to calm down and to steady the mind. And to remind them that they are in control, that they have choice — choice in their actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviours. That there is ALWAYS something they can do. Life doesn’t happen TO us, we need to learn how to get back in the driver’s seat.

Through self-awareness we can create behaviour change but we cannot change what we are not aware of.

Yes we can even break out of negative thought patterns or better understand and cope with anxiety. There are simple steps that can be followed and in my book and videos I guide teens step-by-step in a very simple, practical and no bullshit way. I don’t brush over topics or say “Oh you’ll be okay.” he book gently holds their hand and takes them on a journey of self discovery where they learn to better understand themselves, find their strengths and resilience and get back in control of themselves.

In psychology terms, adolescence is the developmental stage of identity. Who am I? It is a powerful thing to begin to answer that question as a teen. How many adults can truly answer it?

* The Key, A Social Emotional Toolkit for Teens is not a substitute for a specialised mental health counsellor or diagnosed mental health conditions.

‘Teen Mental Health’ was posted in Medium in September 2019.

‘Are You a Perfectionist?’ Huffington Post

If we continue to hold on to the illusion of “perfection,” we can spend a lifetime feeling like we have failed. So, why are we all striving to reach something that’s not real?

Let’s understand it better.

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Being a perfectionist can often mean you get stuck or don’t complete tasks because you never feel they are up to your own set of standards. A writer would never press send or publish, a designer would never have their new outfits in a shop, a manager returning to the drawing board again and again rather than giving the official go ahead.

Does this sound like you? Are you a perfectionist?

Did you know there is even a term for this fear? For those that have a genuine fear of imperfection and not being good enough? It is called atelophobia, and it is an anxiety disorder.

As a therapist and Writing from The Source workshop facilitator, “perfectionism” is the number one obstacle brought up as getting in the way of completing tasks (procrastination and self doubt are the next two).

People would rather not complete (or even start) new projects than have to deal with failure. Perfectionism unintentionally gets translated in to fear. Rather than holding this as an excuse — it’s a good one I know, isn’t it better to deal with it instead?

So how do we deal with perfectionism? Well the trick is knowing what it means. I pose the question to you — what is perfection? What is perfect? If we are all striving toward it, shouldn’t we know what it is? To better understand this, let’s start with a couple of simple questions.

1. Have you ever read the perfect book? I don’t mean a good book, a great book, an amazing, interesting or enthralling book, I mean the perfect book!

Can you name it?

2. Do you own the perfect outfit? Dress, suit, jeans or skirt. Does this outfit always make you feel good? Is this outfit great for that occasion or is it in itself perfect?

Do you see where I am going with this?

“Perfect,” the way we see it (or think we see it) does not really exist. It is an illusion that we can spend hours, days or years trying to achieve… and it isn’t real. It is a bit like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As a former photographer I have followed many a rainbow in the hope of finding this pot, seeing the exact point where the rainbow lands on the ground in a stunning golden glow. After far too many attempts, I now know this is not real.

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If we continue to hold on to the illusion of “perfection,” we can spend a lifetime feeling like we have failed. So, why are we all striving to reach something that’s not real? Let’s understand it better.

What does perfect mean? What is its actual definition? Here are a few synonyms:
Ideal or great — you can do this. Complete — umm, so finish it. Accurate — check your facts. Many of the synonyms for perfect are achievable. You know you can do this, right? Great, accurate, complete? You would do this every day without even thinking about it.

If you take the word “perfect” out of being the driver of your work (I’m going to write the perfect blog) or the obstacle (but it will never be “perfect” and get published) that stops you, the possibilities are endless.

Without perfection, what is left? For many the answer is “self-doubt.” If the work is not perfect, then maybe it is not that great either, and then what will people think of me?

What we are doing here is debunking the myth of perfectionism, taking out the stress and fear, not lowering your standard of work. Self-doubt is perfectionism’s silent partner, the one we don’t really want to talk about. Judgement! We can say proudly “I am a perfectionist” but we would never exclaim proudly to have self-doubt or be afraid of being judged. We fear this makes us sound weak and small.

The problem is we are trying to please everyone. We want everyone to like us. We want everyone to think we are smart. And like finding the pot of gold, it will never happen. We just can’t please everyone and nor should we try. People are different and have different likes and dislikes and different tastes. That is all OK. Accept it.

Look at what you are wearing right now? Why did you choose that particular outfit? Because you thought everyone would like it? Did you dress for comfort? For appropriateness? Because you simply felt like wearing it? Do you think you are being judged for it? Maybe. Does it matter? No. Some people will like what you are wearing, some will not, and many will be indifferent. This is all OK.

Judgement is part of life and we don’t want to waste too much time worrying about what others think. Do things for yourself. Do them with honesty and integrity. If you do this you don’t need to doubt. Will there be mistakes? Yes, probably. This is OK too. Learn from them.

Perfect, perfectionism, perfectionist — these are all not real. Know this. Stop wasting your time.

Stop the stressing, stop chasing that pot of gold and just get on with it. Publish your blog, have your new clothes range in your favourite shop and make final decisions. Stop worrying and start doing.

Romi Grossberg is a writing therapist, holistic counsellor, facilitator of Writing from The Source workshops and author. ‘Are you a perfectionist?’ is an extract from her upcoming new book, titled ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’ to be released in April 2016. For more information, go to www.romigrossberg.com

Source: Are You a Perfectionist? | HuffPost Life

‘Top Tip to Manifesting a Magical 2017,’ Medium

For many, 2016 was a particularly tough year. Whether that includes you or not, I am going to share with you my top tip to manifesting a magical 2017.

This simple process will teach you how to let go of 2016 and open your heart and mind to the magic of 2017.

1. Letting Go and Conscious Decision-Making.

Sit in silence for a moment and recap your year. Grab some paper and a pen and write down anything that you want to let go of from 2016. It can be an emotion such as fear or anything that upset you, angered you, frustrated you, saddened you, anything that didn’t serve you and any old stories that you want to let go of.

Write them all down as a conscious choice. “I choose to let go of …”

Fold the paper and put it aside for a moment.

2. Conscious Manifestation.

What do you want for yourself for 2017? It can be anything. What do you dream of for yourself? Include your personal and professional life. Write it with intention. Write it with your heart wide open. Add what you want for your family and then what you want for the world.

Dream big! Be clear and specific. “For 2017, I want/I wish for/I will have/I will be.”

Fold the paper and put it aside for a moment.

3. Ceremony

Whatever kind of ceremony suites your personality and makes it feel that you are marking an important moment. The only thing it must include is a lighter or matches, the rest is up to you. Take a few deep breaths and pick up your first paper. Read it out loud. Know that you are making a conscious decision with all of your being to now let go of all that no longer serves you, all that hurt you or upset you in 2016. Make a prayer in whatever way that makes sense to you. Take a moment for yourself, and then burn it and know you are letting it go.

Now pick up your second paper and read it out loud. Read it with enthusiasm and desire for all that you wish to invite in to your life for 2017. Know that you are making a conscious decision with all of your being to now invite all that you wish for in 2017. Make a prayer in whatever way that makes sense to you. Take a moment for yourself, and then burn it and know you are sending it out in to the world to be answered.

Breathe. Relax. Smile. You are done.

Welcome 2017, I look forward to enjoying you to the fullest.

Bring it on!

 

Romi Grossberg is a counsellor, writing therapist and author of ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’. For more information, go to www.romigrossberg.com

Source: Top Tip to Manifesting a Magical 2017 – romi grossberg – Medium

‘The Stress-Free Way To Manage Your Day,’ Huffington Post

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Break it down. Make it simple. Feel satisfied.

People often ask me how I manage to be so productive whilst maintaining a lifestyle that is enjoyable and stress free. I live in Thailand (yes by the beach) and am an author. Beautiful no doubt, but this doesn’t exactly pay for all of my lifestyle choices. So, I freelance as a writer of websites, a copy editor of books and blogs, I am a counsellor, writing mentor, writing therapist and workshop facilitator.

I have to travel to various locations to do re-cons for new websites and run my workshops in different places (including different islands). All of this means I have to juggle schedules, management, students, clients, travel and those who work on ‘Thai time’ (a bit like the Spanish ‘mañana, mañana’).

I just published a book. I also need to give a progress report on my next book in about six weeks. I have A LOT to do. That is just the basics. Every day there are follow up emails, Facebook and other social media around my published book that seem never ending. Yes there are days I wish I had a P.A.

I also want to maintain my lifestyle. I am trying out Tai Chi for the first time and have a two-hour class three times this week to fit in. I have a session this week on women’s sexual health and vitality (why not!) and I have a friend coming to visit with her daughter. Reading the above three paragraphs could definitely stress me out if I let it. I don’t.

I am organised. This keeps all stress at bay. Many people think that getting or being organised is time consuming and can be stressful alone. It doesn’t need to be at all. So here is how I do it. You can too!

Let’s start with a quick list of what you need.

They are all very cheap and easy things to have:

  1. A clean and empty desk/working space
  2. A lined note book
  3. Another note book – your ideas book
  4. A diary/calendar
  5. A small fit-in-your-daily-bag note pad (or phone with notes)
  6. That’s it. Let me explain.

I hope the clean desk is obvious. Messy desk, messy mind. Simple. The lined note bookis your daily ‘to do’ list. Depending on how busy you are, you can do this daily, every few days or each week. I do it daily. Every morning (or the night before) I write down what I need to do. This de-clutters my headspace and clears the mind of trying to remember everything.

If this is your first time then write down everything that needs to be done this week. Now on a separate page, write down what needs to be done today only. If your weekly list is long or busy, you will feel stressed out. Be realistic about what truly needs to be done today. Make the list doable! Simple tasks.

For example I would not put on my list ‘social media’ because that is stressful and could take all week (or year!). I would break it down to ‘link my amazon page to my LinkedIn page,’ ‘put photos from the book launch on my Facebook page,’ ‘send newsletter’ etc. Get the picture? They are doable and guaranteed to be ticked off that day and provide a great level of satisfaction. One small task at a time and my ‘social media’ will get done – without stress!

Don’t Forget To Tick

Each time you have finished a task, tick it off your list. Revel in the absolute satisfaction of penning that tick. Ooh it feels so good. It also stimulates you to tend to the next task.2016-07-12-1468294645-5581887-doabletickedlist.jpg

What About You?

Do I need to remind you to put something for you on your ‘to do’ list? Do you put tasks first and you last? If your answer is yes then make sure you put ‘go for a walk’, ‘have a coffee with a friend,’ ‘meditate’, whatever it is, on your list. Factor it in to your day. It should be in your diary AND your ‘to do’ list. There are 24 hours in a day – gift yourself some of those moments. Don’t let life pass by knowing you attended all your tasks but had no ‘you time.’

The other note book is more of an ideas book. This is for bigger projects or something you want to get around to, but just not this week (or month). For example, my next book started in my ideas book and wasn’t brought over to my daily ‘to do’ list until my social media felt under control. When it was brought over I again brought it in small tasks, ie: ‘research a specific topic’, ‘send one email’ etc. It still remains in my ideas book with scribbled notes and thoughts all over. This is the space to be messy if you need to. Ideas in your ideas book can be big but once they come over to your ‘to do’ list, they must be small, simple and achievable.

The diary/calendar is for deadlines and appointments. This serves as a reminder when writing your daily lists – check how much realistic time is available that day to tend to this list. It should be kept neat and organised so you can actually see at a glance what is there.

The small fit-in-your-bag note pad (mine is always a kitch cheap note pad) actually lives in your bag. That way you always have paper and pen if you have a thought or something you want to tend to later (yes phones do the same thing but I am old school). Don’t forget to transfer these to your ‘to do’ list if you need to.

Once you own all of these things (note books, diary etc), it is SIMPLE. Truly.

It will take you about 5 minutes a day to keep it clear and doable. Just 5 minutes. This morning I looked at my ‘to do’ list and it had gotten too big (and messy). It happens. It’s OK. I looked at my dairy to see what appointments I had today and how much time available. I opened a new page and wrote 12 things I wanted to do today. At least half will take me only a couple of minutes each (send a particular email for example). I feel completely confident that I can tick off my entire list today. No stress. Just sit at my clean desk with a cup of coffee, my ‘to do’ list and voi la.

Rules: Yes there are rules. Only one actually.

Turn your internet off whilst you are doing anything that doesn’t require it being on. It is amazing how much time we waste on Facebook, youtube or whatever your vices are. Open your email just to send an email. Open your Facebook only to post a message related to your ‘to do’ list. Then minimise it. Turn your sound OFF so you are not distracted by every ping. Or like I said, just close them.

The result?

You are organised, whipping through your ‘to do’ list and probably have time spare to do something you enjoy. So go and enjoy.

Happy stress-free day planning. I am off to Tai Chi.

Romi Grossberg is the author of ‘The 5-Minute Guide to Emotional Intelligence’. She also has a newly set up support group on Facebook (with the book title name) for those going through the book – ticked off the list just yesterday. For more information, go to www.romigrossberg.com

Huffington Post, 2016

Source: The Stress-Free Way To Manage Your Day | HuffPost

My Book Launch

The week after I landed back in Thailand from my book launch in Australia, the Tea Temple crew at The Sanctuary threw me the most beautiful book launch party. Family, friends and new friends came to help celebrate.

We chatted, did speeches and lots and lots of book (and a boob) signing. A magical day full of love and support and I am forever grateful.