We all have a lot to be anxious about these days. Financial insecurities, job losses, health concerns, wellbeing of our loved ones, and the general economic and political issues swirling around us.
So, it’s understandable that overcoming anxieties is on top of mind right now.
If this is you and you’d like to stop drowning and start thriving, here are four simple techniques I use to tackle my worries in turbulent times.
1. Acknowledge this: Uncertainty is part of life. Fretting over not knowing what the future may or may not bring doesn’t help. It only deepens those negative feelings. So, take a deep breath and acknowledge this simple fact: uncertainty is part of life. It’s not to be feared. It can be conquered. Successful people and successful companies know this and harness this to their benefit. So can you!
2. Believe this: Regardless of your situation, age, background, gender, or neighbourhood, you can prepare for the uncertainties in life. We do this all the time. It’s just that right now, these feelings have been heightened tenfold, so it feels scary. But it doesn’t have to be. We can all dig deeper into ourselves and find the courage to face our fears and overcome them. Yes, that will take a little bit of effort, but what’s your alternative? Drown in despair? I would never want that for you or me.
3. Do this: The first thing to do when you feel anxious is – as cliche and simple as it sounds – to close your eyes and take a deep breath engaging your diaphragm. Then, let it go slowly. Do this five times when you feel fear course through you and you start reacting in knee jerk fashion. You will feel more in control. This is the place you need to make your smart decisions from.
4. Then, do this: Take a piece of paper and list all the things worrying you. Writing them will be cathartic and will open your eyes to how unscary some of them are. You’ll clarify some problems and even see solutions as you start scribbling.
You may still have a few unsolvable issues. But this is a great start. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a big gray cloud of worries, you’ve got them down in black and white. This is the first step to start tackling the anxieties plaguing you.
If you feel like you’re in a tight spot with no options, might I recommend a life-changing book? It’s one that has helped me stay sane, and dare I say, happy even.
The book is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Some of you may know, Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist from Austria who survived a series of concentration camps while his family perished. It was a horrifying time in human history, but what was so compelling is how he responded to his situation.
The biggest lesson he has for us is life always has meaning, no matter our circumstances. It’s up to us to choose what meaning we give it.
Frankl says the day we give up hope is the day life ends. And he shows how those who chose hope were the ones who ultimately survived the labour camps.
So, it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we respond that impacts our happiness.
Whenever I feel angry or hopeless, I put life in perspective by thinking of this hero and realizing how much I have to live for.
Remember, this crisis is temporary and is nothing like what Frankl experienced.
To me, 2020 is an important year filled with solid life lessons that will only strengthen my skills and my courage to create a better life for the future.
I know this doesn’t change your circumstances, but we will get through together with our sanity intact if we follow in Frankl’s footsteps.
I keep this small book on my nightstand to remind myself how fortunate I am and to push myself forward every day.
On those days I feel a bit down, I take out my journal and write down 50 things I have to be grateful for in life.
If I can’t think of any, I start with “I can see!” as there are people who wake up every morning without eyesight. One gratitude I always put down is having my amazing and wonderful readers who are waiting for my next book. That always gets me leaping out bed!
Sounds simple, but it works.
After this, I do a ten-minute meditation with long slow breaths to settle my mind. Doing just these two easy activities always lifts my mood and gets me ready to tackle the day.
What do you do to turn your blues around? Maybe it’s simpler than you think.
Now, I realise these are truly simple steps, but sometimes the answers are easier than we think. We complicate life most times.
If you’re looking for more tools to beat fear in uncertain times or go into more detail on these four tips, download Bust Your Fears at www.RebelDivas.com/Books.
I hope this has helped ease your mind a little bit. What I really wanted to share with you today is you’re not alone. We’re all in this together.
|Dear Rebel Diva,
Did you know you’re on a heroine’s journey?
Right now, as we speak?
Take a look at the image for this post.
We all start at stage one—the everyday mundane world—until an incident forces us through this cycle.
And if we’re not ready, the road ahead can be treacherous.
Some may never recover from the inciting incident and succumb to it. Others may get lost along the way, taking wrong turns and feeling every strain of their journey.
Then, some of us will pretend to live in the same ordinary world, though everything has changed. We’ll be living an illusion which will crash and burn even harsher than the original event.
We all undergo this cycle in our lives. Some of us, more than once.
It’s inevitable. It’s what being human is all about.
Right now, in the midst of a global pandemic with a severe economic downturn in the making, we have all been thrust into this path, whether we like it or not.
So, what do you do?
There are two questions you can ask yourself:
- Am I going to sit around, waiting to see how these life-changing events may trip me up and impact my family, my career and my future?
- OR am I going to consider this a call to adventure and proactively create the life I deserve and desire, starting today?
I’ll share with you a series of techniques and tools you can use to tackle today’s challenges and thrive in your heroine’s journey in the upcoming weeks.
In the meantime, take a look at the image again and ask yourself: which stage of the heroine’s journey are you on at this moment? Hit reply and share your answer.
Happy Monday! Super excited to get news on my nonfiction series!
Your Rebel Dreams has been selected for Amazon USA’s Great-on-Kindle program and it will be promoted internationally by book promotion superstars, Bookbub this week.
From the eight million books on the Amazon US store, they hand select a few with high-quality content and interior design, and promote them with special incentives for readers. Am grateful and elated the first book in the Rebel Diva, Empower Yourself series got chosen. Many thanks go to Jeffrey Collyer, my wonderful UK formatter, for creating the beautiful designs inside Your Rebel Dreams. It looks beautiful, Jeff!
This book is now on a mega international book promotion this week. Bookbub will be promoting it in the UK, Australia, Canada and India.
Kobo Canada is also promoting this book in Canada and Europe this week. And I’m told Apple is pitching my book internally for a promotion. Eek. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow if this goes live. Fingers crossed as Apple opens doors to a very large international market.
This year, Your Rebel Dreams also became a finalist in the Chanticleer awards (USA) in the Instructional & Inspiration Nonfiction category. I feel like all that sweat, blood and tears are finally paying off!
“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”
~ Maya Angelou
I wrote this book two years ago based on my risk management work in the intelligence and defense departments of Canada, NATO in Europe and Reuters in Asia. Managing risk and uncertainty is a complex process and a complicated game usually reserved for multi-million-dollar ventures and projects.
I realized, though, I could boil down what I used at work for my personal life. Especially during a crisis.
So, I’m giving the ebook and the audio away for free.
The language and the tools here have been extremely simplified. My colleagues may grumble they’re too simple. But I crafted this so the everyday woman and man on the street could understand and apply these principles to their lives in fifteen minutes or less.
This book is very short.
My nonfiction books are usually 250 pages plus long, but I kept this brief and to the point, as many may have neither the luxury nor the desire to read a full-length book these days.
Many people are talking about being anxious and frightened in these uncertain times. That’s a perfectly natural sentiment to have. Fear is not evil. It has its purpose and is a very human emotion.
However, in my opinion, fear is also unnecessary and a useless emotion that doesn’t allow us to see clearly ahead.
Fear doesn’t help us make smart decisions, especially when we may be struggling with health issues, job losses, isolation, and wildly fluctuating markets that can impact our retirements.
Fear, then, becomes a hindrance.
Hope this will help you or your loved ones. Feel free to share this with anyone you feel might be in need of a fear-busting formula right now.
Enjoy the read. And let’s bust our fears.
You can find the book Here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/mt371j48yx
*The downloadable audio is at the back of this ebook. When you sign up for it, you will subscribe to my email list. If you just want the book and the audio, download what you want and unsubscribe right away, and you will be fine.Bust Your Fears
Especially in times of crisis, “…you do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your habits”
~James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits.
I like to think I’m disciplined and optimistic, but this has been a particularly strange time and it’s slowed me down.
Hasn’t it for all of us?
No one in my life is sick or at risk in this global pandemic sweeping the world. I’m fine and staying at home, following the guidelines and doing my small part to limit the spread of this harsh virus.
But, on Sunday evening, after watching an Italian nurse share her personal story of tragedy, I burst into tears. Now, I’m not a cryer. Not usually anyway. It was a little embarrassing.
So, it was time to do something about it. I doubled down on my morning routine and this made a huge difference. Having a morning ritual has always helped me start the day right, regardless of the chaos or crisis around me, but I had slacked off a bit and that had been a bad idea.
Here’s how I’m now staying healthy and serene during these interesting times. I’m sharing this in case it might help someone else as well.
My Morning Ritual:
- 7am – Wake up, make bed & drink a glass of cool water.
- 7 – 7:30am – Brush teeth, wash up.
- 7:30 – 8 am – Yoga on mat at home.
- 8 – 8:40 am – Core exercise routine with sit-ups, pushups, planks etc…
- 8:40 – 9:00am – Meditate – simple breathing exercise.
- 9 – 9:15 am – With vision board in front, do affirmations out loud. Write twenty-five things I’m grateful for.
- 9:15 – 9:45 am – Vegan breakfast – 2-3 organic fresh fruits with toast & jam and a hot mug of Ceylon tea.
- 9:45 am – Turn on computer, put my epic movie-soundtrack playlist on and sit down to write. Use the Pomodoro technique to finish at least five thousand words each day.
These times are approximate and is what I try to stick with from Monday to Saturday.
Sunday is my off-day when I wake up and go for a run to the beach instead and try to relax by reading and cooking. My usual wake up time is 6:30am, but these days, with the added stress around us, I’m giving myself a full seven and a half hours sleep.
Sleep is good for stress.
This routine, I believe, is what allowed me to get ten to twelve hours of work done each day. This is how I was able to write the first draft of a book in one month.
In addition to the inherent advantages of exercise and meditation of this ritual, I discovered three hidden benefits to having a morning ritual.
- 1) The first is it reduces decision fatigue and keeps your mind fresh for more important matters. This way, you’re not wasting your precious brain power or willpower trying to figure out what you are going to eat or when you are going to exercise each morning. Your brain will know automatically what is next and that will keep it fresh and ready for longer periods of productive work in the day. This is probably the greatest benefit for me. As a novelist, I have to hash through the actions, the psychology and the interactions of a host of characters while keeping a story plot exciting, suspenseful and meaningful. This consumes a lot of brain energy as I’m literally (and literarily) thinking for five to ten people every day!
- 2) The second benefit is it gives you a sense of accomplishment. You can look back at the end of the day and feel like if nothing else worked out, at least you had one healthy meal and you did your exercises. How good is that feeling? These good feelings will keep you happy and productive through the day.
- 3) The third is an increase in confidence. The best way to build self confidence is to keep the promises you make to yourself. Create a ritual for yourself, give yourself time to adapt and stick to it. Yes, it requires discipline and some effort at the start, but what good thing in life doesn’t?
This ritual is not something I adopted recently, but one I’d worked on since 2015 after I started working from home.
I started small with five minutes of meditation and ten minutes of yoga, and then increased each area in small increments, building on each other, step by step. This structure became even more important after I quit my job to write my novels. I found it gave me a balanced mental and physical lifestyle and a healthy space to do the work I wanted to do.
Granted, I have no kids or pets running around in my home, so it’s easier to do my own thing, but I’m sure you can find ways take on small rituals in your day.
I work longer hours now than I did at my previous demanding risk and project management job, but I’ve never felt healthier and stress free than before. Many of my colleagues and bosses still think I was a bit nuts to leave a six-figured perfectly pensionable job, but I couldn’t ask for more.
I believe this morning ritual (plus my evening ritual which I’ll share another day) and the fact I’m doing work I love has injected a huge boost of happiness into my life.
I am no longer slacking. This morning routine is now a non-negotiable daily ritual.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned recently is that knowing yourself well and knowing how your thoughts and emotions can impact your health and wellbeing is a huge step toward creating a balanced lifestyle.
Given that we’re in the middle of a full-blown global crisis, here is one measurement tool to understand the stages of grief we all go through during challenging times.
- Bonus: Find meaning
Sometimes we skip certain stages and sometimes we go through each and every step. Knowing which stage we are in will help us cope better and become more self-aware, so we can self-care.
Take care of yourself.
There is a silver lining in every dark cloud.
I believe we each can find our own personal treasures in the midsts of this crisis. Figure out what yours is and you’ll find calm among these chaos.
What about you?
What are you embracing to stay healthy and take care of yourself these days? Do share your tips and it just might help someone seeking peace and solace these days.