How Noisy is Your “Mind Chatter”?

How Noisy is Your “Mind Chatter”?

When you stop to listen to the chatter running through your mind, how noisy is it?  “I have so much on my to do list, I don’t know …..  I am too busy.  Why can’t I get things done? I can’t do anything …… “ How distracting and draining is it?

If you recognize any of these thoughts, you’re not alone.  This “mind chatter”, an endless, restless stream of incomplete thoughts, anxieties and self-talk can race constantly through our minds.   Daily, we have anywhere from 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts and questions running through our heads.  With 80% of those thoughts being negative, this puts our brains into a fight or flight mode which releases cortisol and adrenaline- causal factors of stress.

I have found three ways to calm the “mind chatter” and calm the mind’s anxiety  that I want to share with you.

Awareness

Until you become aware of what your mind is saying to you, nothing can change.  You may think you know what your running commentary is, yet actually writing it down can be helpful.

Carry a tiny notebook around with you for a few days.  Set a reminder on your phone or a timer on your desk to tell you to stop what you are doing and reflect on what you are thinking about at that moment.  Write down those thoughts.  They can be a list, snatches of thoughts, or questions.  What are your thoughts or questions?  Judging those around you?  Thinking negative thoughts about yourself- coulda, woulda, shoulda?  Feeling like you’re worried, unloved, worthless? What are the words running through your mind at that moment of the reminder?  Some psychologists call them “gnats”, which I feel are a great, visual descriptor.  Write down your gnats buzzing in your brain.

After a few days, look at the list you have compiled.  What stands out to you?  What themes have you discovered?  What surprises you?

Change

Once you have discovered the themes in your thinking, you are ready to make changes.  Remember it takes 21 days to make a habit.  What is one new thinking pattern you’d like to start?  For me, it’s thinking grateful thoughts as I jump out of bed.  I have a tendency to start thinking about all I have to do for the day as soon as my feet hit the floor. Instead, I am thanking God for the day, the breathe I am breathing, even a good night’s sleep, before I get wound up about the day’s activities.  I am not there yet but that is one change in my thinking I know I want to make.

If judging is a gnat you’ve discovered, how could you change your thinking about that?  One way to do that is to focus on the types of questions you are asking yourself and others.  In the book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, Dr. Marilee Adams focuses on learner questions, questions that help us learn about people, places and things, rather than judge them.  For example, why questions lead us to judging – “Why is Julie doing that?!”   What and how questions lead us to learning about people and things.  “What can I experience in this situation?”

Breathe

Finally, when you feel your anxiety rising, stopping to take deep breathes and focus on your one to two word prayer calms the fight or flight response.  Being still and deep breathing brings down the anxiety, even when you feel like you’re going to jump out of your skin.  When you are doing this, you can notice your thoughts, yet you let them go right past you, like thoughts floating down the river.  You don’t have to do anything about those thoughts, just let them go right by you.

Notice how you feel after even 5 minutes of doing this contemplative prayer or another meditation.  You’ll find your mind refreshed and your body calm.

The Takeaway

I used to believe my body was betraying me, when I would suffer anxiety attacks.  I  realize now I have strategies to practice which reduce the likelihood of them occurring or lasting very long.  I am grateful for those tools.   Being more aware of what my mind is saying to me, changing my thought patterns and taking the time to breathe deeply have significantly reduced my anxiety.  I  know when the anxiety starts to rise, I have things I can do..

I hope these strategies can be helpful to you, too.  If you would like someone to come alongside you as you practice these strategies, I would love to accompany you.  Contact me for a free coaching session and you can reflect on what your mind is saying to you.  A coach lets you move forward faster.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy that deep breathing!

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

A Special Invitation for You!

 

I have a special invitation for you.  My friend Rayna Neises and I are hosting a Facebook Book Chat starting  next week,May 9th!  Don’ miss the opportunity to be a part of the community of believers growing in our walk with the Jesus.  You will discover more about who you are in Jesus.

Learn more about this great book and what a Book Chat is like below.
Blessings,
Nancy Booth and Rayna Neises, CPLC

What you can expect when you sign up?

Read through the new release – Come With Me and walk with other women while growing deeper daily.  Listen to Suzanne Eller’s heart for us in the video below.  You will know you’re in the right group!
When you sign up for this book chat you will receive FREE:

  • a daily email to accompany your daily reading
  • building a community of friends through with other women in a Facebook Private Group
  • an additional opportunity to join a group to go deeper and grow more in your faith through group coaching ($50)  (If you join with a friend, you receive a different free book)
Journey to Freedom, Peace and Joy

Journey to Freedom, Peace and Joy

I am on a journey this year to live full of freedom, peace and joy.  I let so many pressures dictate my day- pressure to please others in my family, pressure to succeed in my business, pressure to write 500 words a day , pressure to complete my to-do list, pressure to spend at least 30 minutes a day with God, pressure to serve at church, pressure and overwhelm wherever I turn.

The pressure looks like slavery, mostly of my own making.  What are the expectations of myself, my family and the culture around me that create so much pressure?  I feel compulsive, overwhelmed, distressed and at the mercy of an agenda that controls me.

Something is very wrong with this picture.  Dr. Richard Swenson, in his book, Margin, restoring emotional, physical, financial and time reserves to overloaded lives, suggests that we live in a time of unprecedented change, which then contributes to what he calls “marginless living.

  As a doctor, he sees people in pain – tired, frazzled, anxious, and depressed.  They don’t have time to heal anymore.  “There is a psychic instability in our day that prevents peace from implanting itself very firmly in the human spirit.”

How about you?  Do you feel you have the freedom to make your priorities, take time for peace and rest and find joy in your daily living, regardless of your circumstances?  It doesn’t come easily, it takes practice and it takes focus.

That’s what the journey to freedom, peace and joy is about this year.  Coming together as Christian women to find the focus you need to live a life freely and lightly.  What would it look like for you to shed the overwhelm in your life?  To let go of worry and anxiety? To stop, pause and find peace for your soul?  To make intentional choices that bring joy to your daily living?

Sound impossible?  I hope not.  I am on the journey and would love to have you come along.  I have been able to shed the darkness of depression. Now I’m off to discover more peace and let God  transform more of the way I live and think. The coaching  process allows you move forward faster from where you are to where you want to be.  Let’s start your journey now.

Transforming Your Thinking – Negative or Positive?

Recently I was asked to listen to what I said to myself on a regular basis, really listen.  I was given a little notebook to carry around and jot down little snippets of what I was saying to myself.  The premise was we all are much more negative thinkers that we realize.  My first reaction was, “Me, I am not a negative thinker.  I am a positive person.”

What is your first reaction when asked the question, “What kind of thinker are you?”  What is the mind chatter you listen to on an hourly, daily, weekly basis?  A person who is thinking negatively is someone who has thoughts that are worrisome, judgmental, guilt-producing, shaming, negative comparing, not good enough, , and generally blaming self for anything and everything.  Do you fit in any of those categories?  I know, you say, who doesn’t fit in any of those categories?  The problem occurs when that becomes all the thoughts you have.  Negative thinking is a bad habit and in your brain, it can become an addiction, because of the chemicals and energy levels it releases.

When was the last time you felt you were drawn into drama or been in a situation where you felt like the people around you stirred the emotional pot because of the drama that it creates?  Different emotions emit different energy levels.  Dr. Jeffrey Fannin, Ph.D has determined that the more positive emotions, love, joy, peace emit a higher frequency of energy. Principles of physics tell us that energy vibrating at a certain level attracts energy of the same kind.  You have seen it in being drawn to other people of “kindred spirits.”  Also if you are feeling angry, how many angry people seem to pop up in your life?  Practice holding a positive emotion in your mind for 17 seconds, like gratitude, and see how your thinking changes.   By practicing even this one step consistently, you will be on your way to changing your brain structure and how your brain thinks.

In the list below, what negative habitual patterns do you recognize and what positive habitual patterns would you like to work on?

  • Judgments vs Describing What we actually see
  • Half empty glass view vs Half full glass view
  • Emotional reasoning (I feel bad so everything will be bad) vs Rational reasoning (I feel bad so I need to take care of myself
  • Catastrophising (worst possible thing will happen) vs Staying in the day and taking things as they come
  • Critical self (blaming self, putting self down for everything) vs compassionate self talk (I can do this, you are ok)
  • Shoulds, musts vs coulds, wills
  • All or nothing thinking vs everything in between

I told you I began writing down my snippets of mental chatter and discovered that I make evaluations or judgments about myself, others, events, the world ALL the time! Whew! No wonder I get anxious!  I am so busy pointing fingers, especially as what I coulda, shoulda been doing.   I need to get busy describing what I actually see and have evidence for and be more mindful of the positive choices I am making and stay in the day. My prayer will be:

Romans 12:2. “Let God transform you by changing the way you think.”

I look forward to sharing my journey of how God is transforming my thinking from a more negative pattern to a more positive pattern.  My goal is to share  tips with you as well as the ups and downs of developing new habits as He helps me rewire my brain.  I am officially retired from my educational consulting job now so I can devote more time to you, my self care and my family.  I am looking forward to the journey.

If you would like to join the challenge of moving from negative to positive  thinking and reduce your anxiety, join my private Facebook page LiveFullyNowFriends and we can continue the conversation of what it means to make these types of positive thinking pattern changes. Working together we can make healthy, positive changes. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is essential for the new school year?

(This is for all my teacher friends as school begins.  Blessings to you all!)

You are thinking, thinking, thinking even before your feet hit the floor in the morning.  You run through your day as you shower, even brushing your teeth in the shower so you don’t forget.  You examine different scenarios of the day, hoping you haven’t forgotten anything too important.  You pack your lunch, fix breakfast for your family, determine which jacket to wear (in WI it was in the forties last night) and rush out the door for your commute to work, already considering which project to tackle first.

When you get to work, you debate about opening your email, or starting on your first project.  You know if the emails get opened, you’ll lose at least 30-45 minutes of your precious thinking, working time.  “What if there’s a message from a parent needing something?” you muse.  And so the lure of the emails win out and off you go, down the garden path of other people’s agendas.

This day starts like many of our days, in a rush, with other people’s agendas.  In school settings, this usually is the way, as we have 25 little variables running around, demanding our attention.  However, before they come into our rooms, what things do we need to be doing?  Can we determine what’s essential for our day, week, month and know that we can face our days with confidence, calmness and a sense of clarity?  Can we  truly accomplish what is essential for our students or the people we serve as we pursue our best selves as educators?  What truly is our focus?

In the book, essentialism, the Disciplined Pursuit of Less,  Greg McKeown makes the argument that we can live an essentialism lifestyle.  We need to be clear about knowing what the right things are to get done.  As an essentialist, we can discern what our essence as an educator is – by choosing, discerning and making trade-offs to get to the what is the essence of how we want to live our lives.  What problems and passions do we really want to own?

Explore

When we know our what, then we explore the trivial many from the vital few.  Especially in an educational setting, we need to take the time to explore what really is vital for students to know and be able to do.  What do we need to focus on for their learning that is absolutely vital that I want to own.  For example, in the teaching of reading, what are the most vital practices for students to learn?  As an essentialist, we could explore those practices and then focus only on those practices and let go of everything else – the less is more concept. We would look to see what really matters and use extreme criteria in choosing.  Most of all, we would protect our own well-being of rest and health in being able to choose the essentials.

In a family setting, the questions can be the same, what is it we need to focus on that is most important for our families to be thriving?

Eliminate

The second step in essentialism is to eliminate ruthlessly.  We clarify, dare to say no, uncommit, edit and limit what is going on in the learning of our students.  We would continually boil down to what we want the children to know and be able to do and the minimum of best practices and resources for them to be able to do that.  We would continually ask the question – Is this essential?

Execute

Finally, we would execute.  How can we make doing the vital few things almost effortless?  We would look for ways to buffer our time, remove any obstacles we could, celebrate progress, continue to focus on what is important each step of the way and move forward together.

What could an essential classroom look like?  What could an essential school look like?  What could an essential educator look like?  What could an essential life look like? How will you move forward towards an essential life?   Join the conversation on LiveFullyLifeCoaching Facebook.  Happy Essential Living School Year!!

Choose Your Joy!

Choose Your Joy!

Remember the song, “I have the joy, joy, joy, Down in my heart” when you were little?  I remember singing, “Down in my heart to stay.” As an adult, I wonder, where does my joy go?  Fighting the overwhem of health concerns and depression or even the gloom of a rainy day, I can find myself on the wrong side of joy.

In our last post we looked for ways outside ourselves to find joy I have been thinking about how do I choose my joy with intentional effort ?  I believe I have come up with four ways to practice that “joy down in my heart.”

Realize joy is a choice

When I get up in the morning, I can choose what I will put into my mind.  Will it be joy thoughts of God, prayer and meditation or worry thoughts about the day and things I don’t have control over?  Will it be anxious thoughts about the news or uplifting music?  Will it be a word of God to think about for the day or newspaper headlines that make me anxious?  I am not saying to not keep up with the world, but how to start your day can make a difference in how you filter the rest of your day.  How can your thoughts of joy raise you above the fray that you don’t have control over?  Joy is about focused thinking.

Exercise your way to joy

I know that exercise is that bad word for many of us.  I am not a fan of it myself but the deep breathing, stretching, moving your body – all those things will bring life to your brain, your body and your soul.  I find it amazing each time I exercise how good I feel afterwards. Research shows it helps alleviate depression, helps you focus, alleviates stress and helps your memory.  For me, even developing  a short routine will bring clear my thinking and wake up my body.  What exercise can you find that brings you joy- holy yoga, walking with a friend, stretching, biking, deep breathing exercises?

Stop and look around you

On my way to a meeting last evening, I stopped at a nearby nature preserve for only 10 minutes.  I watched monarch butterflies flitter from flower to flower.  I looked over the grassy tall meadow and heard the red-winged blackbird singing.  The cottonwood leaves rustling.  The gentle evening breeze came in through my car windows.  In those 10 minutes, I breathed deeply the sweet smell, sights and sounds of the meadow.  I rejoiced in the beauty of the simpleness of nature and noticed how my body relaxed so quickly As I drove away, I was amazed at what those 10 minutes did for my body, my mind and my soul.  I was grateful for such a marvelous gift of creation.

Choose joy for yourself by being gentle

Finally, I realized on my hardest days, I need to give myself permission to choose the joy of loving myself.  I sat on the back porch this week and just sat.  I didn’t do anything else and told myself that was just fine.

What about you?    I would love to hear from you.  What self-care strategies will you use to choose joy this week?  Be sure to comment below or post on Nancy Booth Coaching facebook.  Next week we’ll talk about Avoiding the Joy Killers.

Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach.  She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope.  She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you!  You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress.  It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.

 

 

 

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