Tag Archives: Busy

How to Think Your Way into an Emotional Meltdown

This is a follow-up blog to the wildly popular post from March 18th, 5 Steps to a Complete Emotional Breakdown by Wednesday. Now, if you’re ready for a real game-changer, you’ll love this week’s blog.

As the title suggests, you can trigger your own anxiety attack simply by the way you think. Here’s a few ideas to ponder that will shift you brain into stress mode.

  1. The glass is always half-empty—I would venture that most emotional breakdowns begin with an onslaught of negativity. Sure, things might be stressful at work, but if you keep a positive outlook, you’ll rarely suffer a breakdown. On the other hand, negativity keeps your mind focused on what’s going wrong, what you don’t have, and how unfair it all is—instead of refocusing on what’s going right and coming up with creative solutions.
  2. Forget about how good you’ve got it—After dwelling on negative and pessimistic thoughts, don’t stop to appreciate that you have a job, a family, or good health. Thankfulness improves your mood by lowering stress hormones in the brain, according to a study at the University of California, Davis. Avoid gratitude by focusing on what you don’t have—or finding fault with the things that are going good in your life.
  3. Use the three magic words—Always. Never. Worst. Attach one of these modifiers to a pessimistic thought to catapult your self-esteem and outlook on life to new lows. Now of course, our reality rarely is so extreme as to be “the worst” and we don’t really know that we will “always” get passed over for a promotion because the boss has “never” liked us, but using these three words regardless of reality injects these thoughts with more power and influence in our lives. A few additional magic words—Everything, Nothing and Everyone—the more general and far-reaching the better.

Dale Carnegie says, “ Happiness doesn’t depend on any external circumstances, it is governed by our mental attitude.” In the same way, I believe anyone can turn a fairly good set of circumstances into a nightmare by focusing on the negatives, letting their thoughts run to extremes and believing these thoughts more that they believe any positive thoughts. I hope these tips will get you started.

5 Steps to a Complete Emotional Breakdown by Wednesday

We’ve all got a little stress in our lives—and research actually shows that to be a good thing. But I’ve learned over the years that stressors at work or home can quickly go from productive to paralyzing. Here, I’ve gathered a few tried and true practices that could trigger a total breakdown in a zen master.

  1. Sleep Less– If you want to be more stressed, this is the easiest way to get there. Sleep deprivation causes the brain to raise the stress hormone even if there is not another stressor present. And, since sleep is the time that the brain uses to store and discard the day’s memories, you’ll be scattered and forgetful after burning the candle at both ends.
  2. Get an Extra Shot of Espresso– If you’re feeling a little sluggish after Step 1 (and believe me, you will), it’s ideal to try to jump start your brain with a boost of caffeine from another cup of coffee, Diet Coke, Red Bull, or one of those energy drinks with names that sound like heavy-metal rock bands. For more stress, this is perfect. Caffeine releases adrenaline, so your body will react to any stressor with a more dramatic response than you may anticipate.
  3. Be Available 24/7– It can be difficult to keep the anxiety going after 5 or on the weekends, so make sure to constantly be checking email, texts and phone messages for a new “hit” of stressors during the time others might use to unplug and recover. You may want to sleep with your Blackberry turned on right next to your bed, so even in the middle of the night you are ready for a new stressor to interrupt any chance of decent rest and get your exhausted and over-caffeinated brain churning.
  4. Ask “What If?”- These two little words are almost guaranteed to reignite any stressor—old or new—in the brain. By focusing on all the possible problems in the future and old problems and concerns from the past you effectively prevent your mind from working on solutions and taking action in the present. With any kind of decision-making this will amp up your stress level in mere minutes.
  5. Become a Lone Ranger– Realizing that others care about you and are willing to help you achieve your goals will strengthen your relationships and personal confidence—significantly lowering your stress. If you’re sharing your stressors with someone who can supply you with a new perspective, support, and encouragement, you may actually avoid a breakdown altogether. Instead, it’s best to keep your anxiety to yourself and try to tackle all of your problems without any outside help.

I don’t know about you, but my pulse is already feeling a little faster after reading through that list. And guess what? This is only part one! Stay tuned for How to Think Your Way into an Emotional Breakdown.

Albert Einstein vs. Billy Graham: Who’s the Smartest?

Arguably, these two names represent two of the most respected men in American history: Einstein for his amazing brain and discoveries and Graham for his amazing wisdom and integrity.

About 10 years ago, community leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their city’s “Favorite Son” to a luncheon honoring him. Battling the effects of Parkinson’s disease, the 81-year-old Graham, who never liked to chase the spotlight, was hesitant to accept, but he finally agreed.

After lunch and a series of speakers praising him, Graham humbly stepped to the podium, looked at the crowd and said, “I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time Magazine as the Man of the Century.”

He continued with a well-known anecdote about Einstein:

As the wild-haired astrophysicist was once traveling by train from Princeton, New Jersey, the conductor came down the aisle, punching passengers’ tickets. When he came to Einstein, the great man reached into his vest and trouser pockets, but he pulled out no ticket. He then looked in his briefcase – still, no ticket. It wasn’t in the seat beside him, either.

The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”

Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued punching tickets down the aisle, and as he was about to move to the next car, he noticed Einstein down on his hands and knees, searching under his seat.

The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, please don’t worry, I know who you are. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.”

Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”

Always the master of timing, Graham paused as the audience chuckled at that final line. Then Graham continued his story:

See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand-new suit. My children and grandchildren tell me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.

You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear the news that I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am, I also know where I’m going.

Hmmmmm…..

 

Exchange Non-Essentials

This is part 3 of a 12 part series I call the 12 X’s of Leadership

For the last 23 years, one of the most frequently requested training programs I have conducted is an advanced time management and personal organization workshop entitled “I’m Spread So Thin You Can See Through Me”. In this amazing course I literally teach people how they can learn to manage every detail of their life and never have anything fall through the cracks.

Tens of thousands have participated in it and I typically ask attendees why they sign up and come. Without a close second, “It is because of the title.” they say.

Can you identify with it? Most certainly do.

It seems these days there are more demands on our time, energy, and effort than ever before. I mean think about it…Are you busier right now than ever? Most people answer with a resounding “YES—I’M DYING HERE!”

It seems we have more meetings, emails, commitments, and to-do’s than ever before and not only is the volume greater, but everything seems to be “the most important thing.”

Stress and burnout are at all time highs and it seems that everyone is trying to do more with less, faster, cheaper, safer, and better. The result is a world full of folks who are living on the ragged edge.

Sleep is more difficult to attain because we have trouble turning our minds off. Then if we do fall asleep, better pray that you don’t wake up at 3:00am, because if you do, you will not be able to fall back asleep as the mental to–do list starts racing through your mind as you think about all your commitments.

We have got to learn to purge, or as I call it here — Exchange Non-Essentials. In his best selling book, Good to Great, author Jim Collins introduced a principle that has truly entered into the mainstream of society:

“Don’t let the good things rob you of the best things.”

There are many good things in which to be involved. Special projects at work, committees at church, environmental efforts, social causes, the list goes on and on…these are all GOOD things. But if they are interfering with the BEST things (time with family or friends, your health and well-being, whatever you determine is the BEST), then you would be wise to purge them from your life.

Yes, it hurts. Yes, it is tough to do. But in hindsight you will be so glad you Exchanged Non-Essentials.