Expressive writing

I often recommend writing, using pen and paper, as a way to get things out of our head. We get a distance to what we’re thinking about, it’s now outside ourselves. It’s also a way to gain clarity.

The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying says “Previous studies have shown that expressive writing can help individuals process past traumas or stressful events. This study suggests it also provides applications in everyday life.”

If you’re worried about a task, for example, write down your worries 15 minutes beforehand. “Get everything out and don’t hold back,” says Schroder. “You don’t have to share your thoughts with anyone, and don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Getting worries out of your head through expressive writing frees up cognitive resources for other things.”

This technique is also helpful for people who feel like they’re overworked or in a slump, adds Moser: “Expressive writing makes the mind work less hard on upcoming stressful tasks, which is what worriers often get ‘burned out’ over, their worried minds working harder and hotter,” writes Moser. “This technique takes the edge off their brains so they can perform the task with a ‘cooler head.’”

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How to handle your worrying

How to handle your worrying

As a way to deal with worrying I recommend writing down everything you worry about. The article This Simple Task Can Help Curb Your Constant Worrying has the same message.

“Writing down your thoughts and worries makes you feel lighter because you’re getting rid of those worries that are weighting you down.” You’re also getting distance from them. “When you take a look at what you’re worried about, it’s often unrealistic things,” says Schroder. “Getting the thoughts out of your mind and out on paper is helpful.”

I actually recommend the following process.
1. Write down everything, big and small, that worries you. Use pen and paper, that stimulates more of your brain.
2. Read the Serenity prayer, it’s excellent guidelines.
3. Cross over those items on the list that you can not change or that are unrealistic.
4. Take a look a what’s left. Are they all things that you can change?
5. For each item that’s left, set a date when you shall act on them. Our brain lets go of things that have a date attached to them.
6. Act on the items that you can change.
Repeat the process above each time you worry too much.

More about worrying

Do You Have A Problem In Your Life?
Worrying gets you nowhere

What do you REALLY want to do with your life?

We often have problems answering the question “What do you REALLY want to do with your life?” That’s often due to us blocking the true answer. We have tons of reasons.

  • “I’m not good enough at it” (tip – no one is great at something when they start doing it)
  • “I can’t make a living out of it.”
  • “I’m too old (or too young)”

It’s not about dropping everything else in life and going all in. Start small. Learn more about what you want to do. Start following people who do what you want to do. Your life will improve a lot once you start doing what you really want to do, even if it’s “only” ten minutes a day.

You might not be able to make a living out of it, so what. If it brightens your life (and it will), do it in your spare time.

  • What brings you joy?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
  • What would you do if you didn’t care what others think?

What are you waiting for? Figure it out and start doing it!

Related post: What If Money Was No Object?

Video: Don’t Know What You Want? – Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins has done a short (3 minutes) video about this. You can watch the video below or at YouTube at Don’t Know What You Want? – Mel Robbins

Motivation Is Garbage

I came across a really interesting interview / conversation with Mel Robbins. It’s 50 minutes long, in my opinion that’s a good investment of your time. I think motivation is overrated. Mel Robbins takes it one step further and says that motivation is garbage. “You are never going to feel like it.” Mel Robbins also talkes about her 5 second rule which is a really interesting concept.

Video: Motivation Is Garbage | Impact Theory

You can waitch the video below or at YouTube Mel Robbins on Why Motivation Is Garbage | Impact Theory

Which are you core values?

Values (per Collins English Dictionary) are the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person. Another definition is that a value is a principle or standard, as of behaviour, that is considered important or desirable

Core values

A core value is only a true core value if it has an active influence and if you manage to live by it. Going against a core value shall be rare and require a conscious decision.
Most people consciously or unconsciously use their personal core values when they select friendships, relationships and business partnerships.
Your core values are a natural selection tool. Is this action/person/job aligned with my core values or not?
Our core values can often be deal breakers, if people don’t share them it becomes harder to relate.

Away-from values

An away-from value, for instance dishonesty, is usually something that breaks or blocks trust.

How do you work with this assessment?

1. Pick your core values, no more than five. See list with examples of values below.
2. If you want to, pick some away-from values, what are you not willing to accept. Maximum three.
3. Define what YOU mean for each chosen value, write 1-3 sentences for each.
Why do I state a maximum number? It’s like setting priorities, everything can’t be top priority. Your core values shall be values you live by, things that really matter to you.
Our core values shall be our guiding light and help us stay on a course that’s right for us. Too many core values lead to conflicts of interest, which value overrules another.
Since the values are not unambiguous, we interpret words differently, I want you to explain what the values you have chosen mean to you. It is also a way for yourself to get a deeper understanding of your own core values.

Cluster values

It’s OK to cluster values if you consider some values as integral parts of another value. Make that clear in your description of what your core values mean to you.
To me honesty, authenticity and fairness are integral parts of integrity.
Love to me includes compassion and kindness as well as self-love.
Open-minded to me includes curiosity (inquisitiveness) and a willingness to learn and grow.

Examples definitions

Accountability: Responsibility of your actions
Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Check your values

After you’ve selected your core values it’s time to check them against your life and your vision.

  • Do your selected core values make you feel good about yourself?
  • Can you (and do you) live by them?
  • Would you feel comfortable telling people you respect and value about your core values?
  • Would you stick to your core values even if your choice isn’t popular?

When you consider your core values in decision making you’re true to yourself. It shows integrity, it helps you achieve clarity and you act in line with what really matters to you.
Making choices based on our core values may not always be easy. However, making a choice by our true core values is easier and feels better in the long run.

Do the work

You can download a list of values and the text above here: Value assessment sheet

Elizabeth Gilbert speaks out AGAINST passion!

I posted What’s YOUR style? Jackhammer or Hummingbird? where there’s a link to a short video with Elizabeth Gilbert talking about jackhammers and hummingbirds. Now I have found that entire presentation and it’s really worth watching.

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks out AGAINST passion, she talks about what changed her from a promoter of a single passion to a broader view. Watch the video at Elizabeth Gilbert: Flight of the Hummingbird – The Curiosity Driven Life.

I have posts about finding your passion on my sites. Those posts and a single burning passion make sense to many but never really worked for me personally. I’m the hummingbird style and that’s perfectly OK.

What’s YOUR style? Jackhammer or Hummingbird?

This is short video with Elizabeth Gilbert has an important message. You can be a jackhammer or a hummingbird. Neither is better than the other, be yourself. Elizabeth Gilbert: If You Can’t Find Your Passion, Try This

There’s more text at You Might Not Be Built To ‘Follow Your Passion’ — Here’s Why, it’s the same video.

“Jackhammers are people like me,” Gilbert says. “You put a passion in our hands and… we don’t look up, we don’t veer, and we’re just focused on that until the end of time. It’s efficient; you get a lot done. But we tend to be obsessive and fundamentalist and sometimes a little difficult.”

“Hummingbirds spend their lives doing it very differently. They move from tree to tree, from flower to flower, from field to field, trying this, trying that,” Gilbert says. “Two things happen: They create incredibly rich, complex lives for themselves, and they also end up cross-pollinating the world.”

While jackhammers may be built for following one passion in life, hummingbirds provide the world with a very different service.
“Hummingbird person: You bring an idea from here to over here, where you learn something else and you weave it in, then you take it here to the next thing you do,” Gilbert says. “Your perspective ends up keeping the entire culture aerated and mixed up and open to the new.”

I love Elizabeth’s view of curiosity vs passion.

“If you’re willing to just release yourself from the pressure and the anxieties surrounded by passion, and you just humbly and faithfully continue to follow the trail of the hummingbird path… one of these days, you just might look up and realize, ‘Oh, my word, I am exactly where I’m meant to be,'” Gilbert says. “In other words, if you can let go of ‘passion’ and follow your curiosity, your curiosity just might lead you to your passion.”

Me? I am a hummingbird. What about you?

See also Elizabeth Gilbert speaks out AGAINST passion!

Good relationships matter!

This TED-talk turned up in my Facebook stream today. It’s a great presentation about what really makes a good life. The video is well worth an investment of 13 minutes.

Watch it and consider what YOU might want to change and improve in your own life.

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Video: What makes a good life?

Watch the video below or at TED: Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

The Tail End (decide what matters)

Wait But Why is a great blog with lots of interesting posts, many of the very long. The Tail End is fairly short and to the point. I usually dislike the angle “Time is running out so…” but this post is very well done with a brilliant use of graphics.

It’s a reminder that we need to prioritize what we do. Being busy isn’t what matters, the question is what’s keeping you busy. Two of his three ending points are generic (comments are mine):
Priorities matter. (in everything)
Quality time matters. (in relationships as well as in everything else)

The text for priorities (in relationships of any kind) is this:

Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you — not by unconscious inertia.

Instead of spreading yourself thin, decide who really matters in your life and spend more face time with them.

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