Do you fear the unknown?

 

 

 

 

 

We only know what is happening in this precise moment. There is no way of predicting what can occur in even the next minute. Often our expectations for the future are based on our past experiences. We link the two. If a person has faced disappointment after disappointment in their past, they would struggle to expect anything beyond this in their future. If a person has had a rather plain sailing life then they are likely to expect a continuation of this in the future.

Therefore depending on our experiences we can look to the future with hope and a sense of excitement or with dread and trepidation. Life will happen regardless of our outlook towards it – the wheel continues to move. Not knowing what is to come can leave us feeling vulnerable and open. Not many people like being in a place of vulnerability as it is often linked to weakness and transparency. Where then can one hide?

Throughout life, opportunities and risks will present themselves and we will have to decide whether we wish to run with them. Some will bring positive outcomes, and others we will learn from. In all of this it is best to keep moving forward and planning for our future.

The unknown can feel unsettling as it is unfamiliar and even uncomfortable. Many will choose comfort over delving into new territory because at least they know what to expect- no surprises, no disappointments.

Is this truly living though or is it merely playing it safe?

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How well do you know yourself?

 

 

 

 

One of the eye openers in life is that we learn more about ourselves every day. Whilst some revelations may not be good or at all what we had hoped, we can learn from them and work on how we can change.

When situations arise that challenge us, it provides an opportunity to look at how we react and investigate why. It is likely our response links back to our childhood or another life experience. It will benefit us greatly to take our time and delve into the past. It may be painful to go back five, ten, twenty years but it will allow us to put the pieces together.

We cannot separate how we think and operate today from our life experiences. They are very much linked and the sooner we grasp this, the sooner we can get to the root of our ideas, attitudes, mindset, resilience and so on.

Looking back at my life I am convinced, in fact I know that my childhood and teenage life experiences contribute to who I am today. Of course, now I am an adult I have the ability to somewhat ‘change my story’ to an extent. However there are occasions, a huge number of them when I react or have a thought and I know exactly where it links back to. I know the root and am therefore able to shut it down.

We are rather complex as people, with our ideas, thoughts, insecurities, values and morals. Just when you think you know yourself, you find yourself in a situation or a setting and wonder why it is having a particular effect on you. I have had many “I thought I had dealt with this” moments and wondered why an historic issue has now come to the forefront. Often we delude ourselves into thinking we have dealt with a hang up or issue we struggled with only to discover we actually suppressed it. I recall suppressing my emotions during a difficult period in my teenage life. I truly felt at the time this was the only way I could deal with it and sustain a level of sanity. Fast forward years later and the issue would pop up because I had not laid it to rest.

We can be whoever we want to be in the company of others; Jack the lad, life and soul of the party, the perfectionist, the high flier – I could go on. We cannot lie to ourselves, we know who we are, what our insecurities are, when we feel discomfort and pain, when we feel overwhelmed, when we are uncertain. When alone we have to face who we are as there is no hiding.

It is our responsibility to look deep within and be willing to deal with the issues that continue to rise. They will not die a death until we take choose to take action. It does not matter how long the process will take but that you start the process.

Ways to combat stress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life can be stressful and chaotic at times. In these moments what do you do? How do you feel?

The inability to deal with stress can have a major impact on your life. It can affect your home life, working life, the way you interact with others including family, extended family, acquaintances and colleagues. Stress can affect your health; mental health issues such as depression, moodiness, physical health such as chest pains and nausea. Stress can make you more prone to become dependant on drugs and alcohol.

It is important to identify strategies to deal with stress so you are not floored when situations arise – and they will! Whether it be in your family home, at work/within your business, or with extended family, you need to find a way of managing the situation and your response to it.

Over the years I have learnt to manage my emotions in the midst of chaos or stress. I must say it has not been an easy ride as I have to fight my natural tendency to stress . As a child and teenager I was so ordered, my dressing table was in order as was my wardrobe. I recall struggling immensely when life did not go to plan or I found myself in situations in which I had little or no control over. Looking back these issues appear small now but somehow I managed to blow them up in my mind and allow them to consume me. My need to keep my possessions in order was my way of having an element of control because there were areas of my life where there was none.

My five tips for dealing with stress:

1. Accept that stressful times will come no matter how organised, structured and focused you are.
2. In the moment of stress, identify what you have the power to do and focus on this.
3. Identify why you have a need to have such control. Does it stem back to your childhood, a relationship or a negative working environment?
4. Find someone to speak with confidentially whether a close friend or a qualified counsellor
5. For those of you who are Christians, I strongly advise you to pray when stress takes over.

So to round up, we can see that stress can affect many areas of our life, namely our well-being which must be protected in order for us to function well.

How do you cope with stressful situations?
What coping mechanisms have you put in place?
What advice would you give to others?

Seek joy instead of happiness!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness is but a fleeting moment and for the most part, short lived. If we know this why do many seek after it? People buy books, subscribe to YouTube channels/podcasts, enter wrong relationships, make costly decisions in pursuit of happiness. Happiness is based on an event in time and though you may be or feel happy leading up to it, once it has passed you will find yourself back at square one.

Holding onto temporary measures gives us a false sense of security. It means we are likely to waiver with our emotions. An example being, we are excited before and during a holiday and feel slightly deflated afterwards. Why do you think many travellers book their holiday for the following year as soon as they return from their most recent holiday? Do not get me wrong, I enjoy going on holidays like every other person, however I do not live solely for holidays. I aim to enjoy my every day life which often includes the extremely mundane as well as the fun elements. I have had to learn to do this over the course of my life and struggled immensely with unhappiness in my teenage years and early 20’s. I was always on the look out for the next place to go or the next outfit to wear as there was a deep emptiness inside of me.

Whilst happiness is based on an event/events, joy comes from within. Joy does not depend on our social and financial status, planned activities, where we live, our relationships and so on. Joy remains with us even when life looks bleak. It may well not bloom in the same way it usually does but it is there.

Joy runs deep, far deeper than happiness something I have been thankful for in many stages of my life. Joy is ‘a knowing’ and ‘hoping’. Joy is comforting whereas happiness is always on the look out for the next best thing. Happiness needs to be fed and rarely brings true contentment.

Having joy lifts your spirit whereas happiness is completely reliant on external circumstances which we have little or no control over. A person can start the day believing they are happy and all it may take is a delayed train, spilt drink or a friend cancelling a social to put them in a low state.

Choose joy today!

What is your take on happiness and joy?
Which do you gravitate to?
How has your life experience influenced this?

Time waits for no man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time really does fly! I can recall my primary school days as though they were yesterday yet I started high school over 30 years ago. I remember most of the names of my peers and teachers, my classroom set up, school trips and journeys – Marchants Hill and Arethusa may ring a bell for those of you living in South East, UK!

Recently I read an article that mentioned the Spice Girls first burst onto the music scene 23 years ago – 1996. I know it to be true but it just does not seem they have been around for such a length of time.

When starting college in the early 1990’s a friend’s parent advised me that once you leave school, the years fly by. Aged 16 at the time, I felt I would stay young forever. Adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it seemed so far off.  Like most teenagers, my focus was studying, parties, clothes and boys. I did not look any further ahead than this.

I left high school 26 years ago yet when there, I wondered when the five years would end. It felt like a lifetime, perhaps this was due to my unhappiness or because high school takes you from being a child to almost an adult. These really are crucial stages of your life with emotions, soul searching and self-identifying playing a huge part.

The truth is the years do fly by. Speak to anyone over the age of 60 and they will likely tell you, they have no idea where the years have gone. Though they have married, had children, grandchildren and are nearing the end of their careers, that teenager is still somewhere inside of them. Though they are now slower on their feet, there would have been a time they strutted ‘their stuff’ on the dancefloor without a care in the world.

Nobody knows how long they will have on this earth so we owe it to ourselves to enjoy life, to live well with those around us, to take up that hobby (even if you may be no good at it), to give people our time. Time is one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another.

Does life feel as though it has flown by for you?
What memories do you hold from your teenage years?
What advice would you give young people of today?

Where does your passion lay?

What stirs you up?
What causes you to talk with such passion that you barely come up for air?

Your passion is likely to be found right where you are fired up and the places in which you would most like to see change.

When we are passionate, we give our all, we go the extra mile in order to reach our target. When obstacles come we jump over them rather than accepting defeat. When others tell us we are fighting a losing battle or we cannot change the world we push on believing we can make a difference. We must feel strongly about a cause or a subject in order to have passion. Very few people petition and demonstrate for causes they either have no interest in or do not believe in. In some circumstances a person’s passion may relate to them personally and other times there is no link at all – just a deep desire to see change made and justice done.

When a person is passionate, they can come across as overpowering, animated and assertive. They can be seen as a matter of fact. My husband often says I am passionate when talking of causes close to my heart. I make no apology for this and am well aware I can become rather expressive when speaking (to put it mildly).

My husband likes to encourage, in fact he lives to encourage. When he teaches whether to a small group or a larger audience, his whole body comes alive. I joke about the need for him to drink water as he teaches as his voice becomes choked due to the straining!

Passionate people have drive and a desire to make things happen. The fact it has never happened before serves as no hindrance. There is always a first time for everything. As the late Nelson Mandela said:

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”

The comings and goings of life should not remove our passion. We should not allow our families, work/business, housework and juggling our day to day to affect our passion. Without passion we are coasting. Without purpose we are merely existing.

The majority of us can highlight at least one cause or subject we could sit and talk about all day. If you are unsure, simply ask your family or a close friend – they will tell you!

What influences your passion?

Have you found your passion has changed throughout life?

How have you held onto your passion? 

Do you serve social media or does it serve you?

 

 

 

 

 

The actor and speaker Denzel Washington quoted:

“Are you using social media or is it using you?”

The majority of us enjoy being on social media (me included, particularly LinkedIn) either to browse our newsfeed, post, network with our connections, stay in contact with family and friends abroad, the list really is endless.  The internet serves as a tool to link us to people all over the world.

Those who run businesses, blogs and other can promote these online. You can network with people who have similar interests and share ideas on a multitude of platforms.

There is a wealth of information online and sometimes, just sometimes I feel it is information overload. Just how much information do we need? How on earth do we absorb it all amongst all the other thoughts running through our minds?

Like most things, social media has its good points if used smartly and you create a good balance. We are responsible for our productivity whilst on social media and the length of time we give to it.

Pros of social media:

1. Promotes your business, blog, other enterprise by giving you exposure

2. Keeps you connected to friends and family all around the globe

3. Instant communication

4. You have an insight into the lives of others without having to physically see them (in my opinion this also serves as a con and will be explored below)

Cons of social media:

1. Time consuming and if only browsing there is little gained and much time lost

2. Causes distraction when you should be focused on other projects/tasks or even people

3. Can be seen as unsocial if you are browsing on your phone whilst in the company of others

4. Serves as a crutch for the free moments you could be spending reflecting and now spend browsing your newsfeed. We are becoming a nation scared to be alone in our thoughts.  Every single moment needs to be spent ‘doing’.

5. Provides a false sense of relationship.  You can believe you are somewhat in someone’s life because you see snippets of their family/work/social life, basically what they choose to show you. Viewing photographs online in no way serves as a substitute for actually knowing someone.

So to round up, social media has its benefits, huge benefits in fact as long as we learn to manage our time and keep a clear perspective of reality. As long as we keep our eyes on what truly matters.

What is your view on social media?
How has social media benefited you personally?
Do you monitor your usage? How?

 

 

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

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