By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
If you asked me where I have gotten stuck, I will tell you many, many times. That’s the interesting thing about living your Best Life and getting out of your comfort zone, you will find yourself hitting plateaus, feeling overwhelmed, losing your mojo or motivation…all signs that you are stuck! Let me take you back, way back, to a pivotal time I was stuck…a time I didn’t even realize I was stuck.
When I was in kindergarten and was asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”, I said I was going to be a doctor. This came out of absolutely nowhere other than the fact I really liked my doctor, his white coat, and his stethoscope. (These are really awesome bases for your life’s work…lol.) The interesting thing is that this really got ingrained into my brain…it became my automatic answer for many years and actually became a part of the future identity I had created for myself.
Fast forward to college, I was on the pre-medicine track with a major in microbiology and immunology. I was working as the tutoring program coordinator for the undergraduate physiology course. The professor of the course had become a friend and valued mentor to me. An important side note is that he taught physiology to undergraduates as well as the medical school.
During the time I was working with him, several major medical events happened in my family in a few short months. These events gave me close, first hand experience with different roles of the medical profession. After these life-changing events happened, I started having this nagging feeling that I wasn’t on the right path…that, perhaps, this dream of becoming a doctor wasn’t exactly the path to the greatest fulfillment. But, I kept pushing that away…I was caught in this dilemma of it not feeling right but afraid I would disappoint everyone. I mean…I had been saying forever that I was going to be a doctor!
Over the semester, this came out in conversation with my professor mentor. I will forever be grateful for what he said to me. He asked permission to weigh in on my internal struggle. He started by joking about how being a doctor isn’t as grand as I was making it out to be…they are just people. He said he had no doubt I could and would be a great doctor if I wanted to be one. Then, and here’s the clincher that gave me the jolt I needed to snap me out of the stuckness, he said I was destined to do great things. He said not to chase after a title and look for something that would give me purpose and fulfillment…that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought about what I decided to do with my life. The only person who gets to weigh in on this and whose opinion matters is my own. He also reminded me that pre-medicine was an intention and I could pick any major I wanted; therefore, I should pick something I would enjoy doing if I changed my mind about medical school. Finally, above all, I should trust my instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.
I still vividly remember the freedom those words gave me! It was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Guess what? Although medical microbiology and immunology was super fascinating and fun (remember, I’m a weird science person), I could not see myself working in a lab studying bacteria and viruses the rest of my life. Instead, I applied to nursing school and finished my pre-medicine requirements to keep my options open. It was in nursing school that I realized the philosophy of nursing was what fit me best. That, DreamChasers, is how I accidentally became a nurse!
Know what else? No one that I loved and truly loved me batted an eye when I decided not to become a doctor. Well, except one of my grandpas…lol…but, he just always wanted a doctor in the family.
Why do I bring this blast from the past up? Have I been stuck since then? Yes, many times, in many ways. I bring this up because this lesson served me each time I found myself stuck in my career, feeling unfulfilled, antsy, ready for something else, feeling that tug. Instead of keeping in the comfort zone, I had learned to listen to that feeling, get curious, and explore. Some decisions, like going back to graduate school, were pretty easy while others, like deciding the traditional nurse practitioner role was not my true purpose, were much scarier. Each time, though, I recognized I was stuck by the unsettled feeling, followed my instincts to be curious, and remembered I am the only opinion that matters about what I do with this one, beautiful life.
Spoiler alert, DreamChaser. You will find yourself getting stuck on your Best Life journey. Instead of resisting, welcome the stuckness! Getting stuck is often a clue you are onto something great or, perhaps, need to reset the sails for a different course. Take a deep breath and get curious, dive into the real reason behind the stuckness. And, when you feel the pull towards a certain path or answer, trust yourself enough to follow. You've got this!
By Jackie White
I am a possibilities kind of person. I wake up most days so excited about life because there is so much to do, and I mean that in a good way! I have goals and things I want to accomplish. Big things and little. Some of the things are significant and others are not so much, but to me, the invitation to live life full out is one I cannot pass up. So, if everything is so happy-happy joy-joy how did I find myself stuck?
I was perplexed by it when this stuckness hit me. How? Why? In fact, I have stuff I have to get done, I can’t be stalled out wallowing in stuckness! I tried to shake it off. I tried to ignore it oh, and hey, news flash, that doesn’t work! I was getting frustrated and wondered if there was something wrong with me.
Being stuck sucks. You can feel paralyzed to make a move in your life. Sometimes feeling stuck feels really heavy and in my case, I didn’t even feel like myself. I found myself chatting with a friend about this expressing my desperation to just get going on just one of the ideas I had. My friend was quiet for a moment and then said to me, it seems to me that someone like Oprah has more irons in the fire than you. She has her own network, books, magazines, television shows etc and she gets it all done. If she can do it, you can too. I thought, is this a challenge or some sort of psychological play my friend has dealt me? In that case, I am competitive, I’ll take the challenge! I am not going to let Oprah win! My friend, interjected and calmed me and my competitive side down enough to explain that she wasn’t proposing a competition against Oprah. She was merely pointing out that it is possible for a person to take on a lot and succeed.
Once I cooled my competitive jets, I began to see the light. Oprah is one of my heroes and to see the adversity she has overcome and the success she has achieved, that in itself should be enough to inspire me to do more. However, as I got to thinking just how many things she has achieved in her life, it became clear that I could also put all my dreams into motion, one dream at a time!
I was creating my stuckness by trying to figure out a way to do everything right now and that became overwhelming. Now, we all know doing everything righ now is a ridiculous thought, but limiting beliefs show up to throw you off the path of what you want in life very easily, even when the belief is kind of crazy!
So, after looking at my “problem” I saw that my only problem was myself and my limiting beliefs that I didn’t have enough time to get it all done. I finally realized that without actually making a move I wasn’t going to get anything done. Lesson learned here was that you just have to start. Jon Acuff from his book Start says “Regardless of your age or station in life, it all comes down to one simple truth: you just have to start.”
Here is another thing many of us forget when we get in the repetitive cycle of being stuck, we just have to make a move! Get started! Start by making a move rather than the thinking about it. Tony Robbins categorizes execution as more powerful than even knowledge.
Knowledge isn't power; it's potential power. Execution trumps knowledge any day of the week. - Tony Robbins
Bite Size or Massive Action Gets It Done: So when you find yourself stuck find one thing you can just do to get you started. After you complete that one task, then do another. Don’t try to do everything at once. These bite-sized pieces of progress will add up and soon you will be so far away from the Land of Stuck, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get started! And, hey, if you are ready, no one is saying you can’t make a big move! Massive action will get massive progress moving, so know you have an option, if you are ready to jump in with both feet!
The thing with being stuck is that it can rear its ugly head time and time again, so it’s important to check in with yourself to make sure you aren’t succumbing to those old patterns of limited thinking. When you see those thoughts sneaking back in, then you need to make a move to release yourself from the resistance!
Stuckness can be paralyzing, but when you realize all it takes is for you to just do something, then you will begin to oil the machine and soon you will be getting it done and checking those tasks and goals off your to do list!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Gretchen Rubin coined this quote in her book The Happiness Project when reflecting on parenting her kids. Rubin was describing how tiring and, at times, endless a single day can feel when you are in the thick of parenting. Then, you look up, and BAM! A whole year has passed. You are putting away the baby toys. The snuggles and cuddles get less and less. Your son starts calling you “Bruh” instead of Mom, and “Mommy” has long been erased from the vocabulary. It’s no wonder that this quote has become so popular…it describes the parenting experience to a tee.
I find this quote popping into my head more frequently lately. My oldest son just turned 14 and is just a few weeks away from finishing the 8th grade. High School is on the close horizon, and I know those four years are going to go by in the blink of an eye. My other son is finishing up 4th grade, and I can see the beginnings of the “preteen” stage coming…I’m not “Bruh” yet but it’s close. And, Lucy is 3 already…and I just want to freeze her right where she is! Who am I kidding? I kinda want to freeze them all or slow it down just a little. Sigh. Since this is the end of school year and graduation season, I know I am not alone in this feeling.
Time is a funny thing. The younger you are, the s-l-o-w-e-r time seems to go. It takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for your birthday, Christmas, summer break. And, the reverse happens the older you get. Then, you become a parent and you literally see time passing before you as your child learns new things and literally grows and changes before your eyes. Time marches at the same pace, yet, somehow it feels so different.
What if I could give you the gift of time? Before you start thinking I have magical powers, I don't…sorry to disappoint! Here's what I do have…3 simple tricks to change your perception of time. These tricks will boost your feelings of fulfillment in relation to where your time deposits are going.
#1 - Transform the Mundane: Wouldn’t it be great to spend all our time doing the fun adventures? But, alas, as parents, there's much more time spent chauffeuring kids from place to place, waiting for practice to get done, and evenings spent traveling to sporting events than a special family vacation. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness and mundane routine. Before you know it, the season is over. Here's a simple way to transform the mundane…infuse these tasks with gratitude. Finish this sentence, "I am grateful to…because…". For example, I am grateful to drive my son to practice because we get to spend 10 minutes together in the car to chat about his day. Gratitude helps you to be present in the moment and boost the moment from mundane to special.
#2 - Create Memories with Intention: Life is for living and enjoying everyday, not just on holidays, birthdays or vacation. Block time to spend with your kids as a family or one-on-one. It doesn't have to be a huge event…the point is time together. You could go for a walk or hike, play games, or go for a bike ride. Truthbomb…you need to be intentional in reserving this time, planning something to do, and protecting it fiercely or these opportunities, and precious time, will slip away. (And, make sure to silence those phones😉)
#3 - Practice Your Best Yes: Repeat after me, it's okay to say no. Sometimes, your best yes starts with saying no. Huh? Whenever you say yes to something, it means you are saying no to something else. To use your time to the fullest, you want to save your 'yes' for your Best Yes…depositing your time in the areas that are your priorities, bring joy to your life, and leave you feeling the most fulfilled.
The years we have with our children may continue to be faster than we like. Changing our perception of time with the benefits of gratitude, intention and our Best Yes results in being more present in the moment and feeling more fulfilled in how your time is being spent. In turn, as time goes by, even the most ordinary time deposit can transform to the most cherished moments.
✔️4 Yahoo!! Know what today is?!?
That's right…SoulShine Personal Inventory Day! Join your Inspiration Catalysts at NOON on Facebook for this week's SoulShine State of Mind.
P.S. Oh! If you don't have your copy of this Best Life tool, check the files tab located on the SoulShine DreamChaser's Academy on Facebook.
By Jackie White
Sometimes in life, we are in the flow. Everything is going our way and we are on top of the world! We feel unstoppable, like a productivity machine and then there are the times when we are stuck. S T U C K, stuck. It’s as if you have lost your mojo! You feel like you can’t make a decision if your life depended on it. You have a million things to do and yet you sit there doing nothing. Yikes! What is going on? How do we find ourselves sinking into this sort of depression in life?
The perplexing thing about being stuck is that you really want to make things happen, but the motivation is gone. It can slowly creep in over time, chipping away at your motivation to get anything done, or it can arrive swiftly slamming the door on your productivity. Either way, it creates a log jam in your ability to get stuff done. It fools with your creativity and ability to think. It can stop you dead in your tracks.
5 Ways Being Stuck Can Show Up
When you are stuck, it can show up in a number of ways all stemming from the same feeling of really wanting to do something but feeling like you are stuck in the mud and can’t pull yourself from its grips.
If you see yourself in any of the above scenarios, know that you are not alone. Most people feel stuck in life from time to time. It happens. So, what can you do? The first thing is to realize that all of these strategies and coping mechanisms that put you in a state of stuck come from the same root cause. That root cause is fear. Fear is the master of disaster. It wants to steal your thunder and at times it does. We can all think of a time or two where we were scared to do something, right? However, when you get stuck in life, fear disguises itself so that it confuses you. You can’t quite put your finger on it. Fear is a chameleon. Let’s get some strategies on board to kick fear and stuckness to the curb.
3 Stuck-Busting Strategies:
Visualize: You must upset the applecart of fear and to do that you must change your state, your stuck physiology. To do this, a very effective tool is to use visualization. Visualization is an excellent tool to work through some of the roadblocks that keep you stuck. It helps you see what’s possible and even can help you feel what success feels like. Visualization is not some mumbo jumbo. It is actually rooted in science. Because the brain can’t always discern between a memory and vision for the future, you can trick your brain to start believing in what you are visualizing. Visualize a time when you were successful and feel that in your body. Now visualize that same power as you apply it to the task you have at hand. See yourself completing the task and feeling triumphant about it.
Exercise: Move your body and as you move get yourself thinking of climbing out of the stuckness. Put on some music that lifts your mood and moves your body. Add in your visualization of accomplishing your desires. Think of a time when you were strong and powerful and feel it in your body as you are moving. Combine your visualization with your body moving to really set this into your mind and physiology. The combination of the two work on changing your physiological state and state of mind opening the door for change.
Get Outside: The outdoors can do wonders for a stalemate. Literally, get yourself a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on things. Breathe in and relax. Let the worry of stuckness go. The change of scenery and activity can be a catalyst to help you bust out of your stuckness.
When you are stuck, you have to shake things up. You have to rid your body of the chains of stuckness. You can use mental and physical ways to shake it off. Decide to do things differently, not perfectly, just take one step at a time to work your way out of the funk of being stuck. When you begin to push forward, notice how good it feels to be released from the stuck! Then take that feeling and be sure to celebrate your accomplishments no matter how big or small!
Bonus: Join our FREE UnStuck Challenge: https://soulshinelifeconnections.podia.com/unstuck-challenge to get a great start on pulling yourself from the grips of stuckness!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Failure. What thoughts, emotions, or even physical feelings does that word evoke in you?
It’s crazy that a word, a simple word, can be attached to so many deep feelings and reactions. Your feelings and reactions to failure run deep, created from multiple sources like expectations placed on yourself by others, society, and yourself as well as personal experience. Typically, the reaction to failure is negative - fear, worry, anxiety, or sadness. It is associated with self-doubt, inadequacy, “not enoughing” yourself…the list goes on and on.
Failure. It’s too bad that a normal part of the learning process, truthfully your very best teacher, has such a bad reputation.
Let’s have a reality check, DreamChaser. If you are starting something new, something brand spanking new that you have never done before, is it realistic to think you would get it right the first time? Think about a time you were a newbie, perhaps you were playing a sport for the first time or starting a course for a career path. Were you a rock star right off the bat? Probably not. Did you give up? That depends.
Depends on what, you ask? Your mindset! You got it…like many things, your thoughts and beliefs about the new task at hand will determine if you feel positively or negatively about failing. In fact, you might not even recognize you are failing, accepting your novice status for what it is, a normal part of learning. It’s when you are really stepping out of the comfort zone, doing something that you or, gasp, others might think is a total deviation from your path that the fear of failing often rears it’s ugly head.
This leads us to one of our f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e strategies at SoulShine…the good ole Flip the Script! Unfamiliar with Flip the Script? This is when you take something that is negative and rewrite the script to be positive and possible. We want to help you see failing the way it should be, as a normal stepping stone in the process of learning. Here’s a new F.A.I.L. process for your Best Life Toolbox:
1. F: Feel the Fear (but do it anyway)
It’s okay to be nervous when you start something new. It’s not okay to avoid trying just because you might fail. Want to know something interesting? Your body experiences fear and excitement the exact same way - increased heart rate, sweating, butterflies in the stomach. Get this…you control the narrative if you will be afraid or excited. As you get ready to try something new and out of that comfort zone and fear starts to creep in, give yourself a mindset reset. Recognize the feelings but choose to be excited or nervous rather than afraid.
2. A: Accept It
Chances are, you won’t do this new thing right the first time. That’s okay. It’s an accepted part of the process of learning and getting better. Choose to see failure as just part of the journey and a great teacher.
3. I: Investigation Time
After you stumble in your first or second or hundredth attempt, take time to investigate. What do I mean? There is a reason that you weren’t successful, especially with a repeat failure for the same goal. You might need to try a different strategy. Be curious about the lesson that the failure is trying to teach you.
4. L: Lean In
After you investigate the failure and, perhaps, course correct, take a minute to lean into the failure with a little gratitude. Why? Gratitude helps put a positive spin on any situation. When you can find gratitude, or as I like to say a blessing in the stressing, you also build your resiliency muscle. This will help you start to see failure in a positive light in the future as well!
Here’s the bottom line, DreamChaser. You have big dreams…that’s why you are here, right? We get it! We also get that failing, especially when it means so much to you, is scary. It’s easier to stay small and shrink…taking action on those dreams takes courage. But, it’s worth it…you are worth it…your dreams and goals are worth it. Flipping the Script on failure, returning it to it’s rightful place as a positive life teacher, is an awesome first step on your Best Life Journey!
By Jackie White
Giving back is something almost all of us desire to do. Our intentions to give a hand to those in need are honorable and truly heart-warming. There is only one problem and that is that many of us don’t make it a priority to regularly give back. It’s understandable, we are all busy and it’s easy to fall off the radar of our lives, but let’s work to get ourselves back into our communities helping those in need. It’s important to help others and what is incredibly cool about volunteering is that by helping another, the love boomerangs right back to you filling you with joy. Case and point: remember how the Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes when he started to feel the love again? Yours can too! (Ok, I know the Grinch isn’t real, but the effect of helping others is!)
Now, maybe you didn’t know, but April is National Volunteer Month, it’s a great time to push community service back up to the top of your to-do list. If you are someone who already volunteers your time, thank you, and know that your efforts do not go unnoticed!
National Volunteer Month celebrates the impact volunteers have on the lives of so many. It also encourages each of us to stand up and lend a hand in the name of those in need and act as a role model for generations to come. It’s staggering to think of just how many volunteers there are keeping America (and the world) going! Here are a few examples:
Schools: The many volunteers in the classroom helping students, in the lunchroom opening those cartons of milk, watching the kids on the playground, or those providing free tutoring after school fill needed roles in schools.
Kid’s Activities: There are countless coaches giving hours of their time each week. Working with children to help them be a part of a team. There are scout leaders managing activities, campouts, and/or fundraising events like cookie sales. Each of these and more enhance children’s childhoods.
Religious Organizations: It takes many volunteers to run a church service from the servers to the choir, to the person handing out bulletins and organizing church functions.
Non-Profits: So many non-profits are run with a dedicated volunteer staff. These people are at the heart of helping those in need. They provide connections to help those in need, food, shelter, and even provide Christmas and Birthday gifts.
Red Cross: Holy mackerel this is a big one. Running a blood drive, donating items, and helping in a crisis situation.
Hospitals: Volunteers rock sick babies in the ICU so their parents can take a break, they provide support or meals to families with a sick family member, they stop by the children’s hospital rooms and paint nails, or provide something fun for them to do. Therapy dog teams make the rounds to put a smile on patients’ faces.
Animals: Speaking of therapy animal teams, there are thousands of people committed to caring for shelter animals. They work with them and give them love in a place where they are alone. Some risk their own safety rescuing these needy animals.
Helping others in some capacity is generous and compassionate, but beyond that, it can fill up your heart. It boomerangs right back to you with a shot of goodness for your soul. It makes you feel good about yourself because you are doing for others things that they may not be able to do for themselves. You directly or indirectly are spreading love and goodness to all by helping and by demonstrating to others that everyone has something they can give. You see, giving back is what life is all about. Sharing your gifts, talents, creativity, muscle, thoughtfulness or time is what we are supposed to do with those things.
Think of it this way, your gifts are someone else’s favor. For example, if you are a talented singer and you never sing, then why were you given that talent? Singing for some senior citizens at a nursing home would brighten their day and warm your heart. What if your talent was that you love to plan events? Could you share that talent with a scouting group and set up amazingly cool field trips for them? Maybe your talents lie in writing, could you help a non-profit with their copywriting for their group? There is so much you can give, but the dang truth is, if you breathe, you can find a way to help others!
Take the Boomerang Give-Back Challenge!
Take a moment to figure out how you can help another this month. Maybe the list above can give you some ideas, or you might already know how or who you can help. One other resource is to check out VolunteerMatch.org for a huge database of specific groups who need help.
Here is the challenge: We want to challenge each of you to just do something, big or small, it doesn’t matter. How can you help out another? We want to hear about it! Take pics! Post them on @SoulshineDreamAcademy on Facebook and tag it with #Boomerang. Let us know what you did and how it made you feel!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Did you know that having fun has amazing health benefits? It’s the truth, DreamChaser! That expression “work hard, play hard” has a lot of truth behind it. Well, with one key exception, that is! Unlike the phrase suggests, fun of any form, from leisurely to something intense like a marathon, gives the same benefits as long as it has the same foundation…something that you find enjoyable!
Don’t believe me? Then, check out these 5 Amazing Benefits to Having Fun (in full disclosure, there are more than these…the list goes on and on. These were just my personal favorites!):
1. Stress Buster
Having fun and taking time to play are awesome for reducing stress. Um…yes, please! Fun reduces cortisol levels in the body, which is the big player in your stress response. Next time you feel stress coming on, take a time out to play. Or, even better, is there a way you can Flip the Script and find fun in the stress mess?
2. Serotonin Surge
The opposite of cortisol in the body is serotonin, and having fun has been shown to increase levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a big player in your day to day life affecting sleep patterns, memory, body, and mood, among other things. A serotonin surge is extremely beneficial to your overall health, so get your fun on!
3. Flex that Resiliency Muscle
Stress in life is inevitable. Taking time to have fun, play, and have leisure time can help when stress shows itself. Fun, stress-free activities are huge deposits in your Self-Care savings account. When stress levels rise, you are able to dip into this savings account and tap into reserves of calm, rather than escalate to the red zone.
4. Energy Booster
Negative emotions like feeling stressed or depressed are energy zappers. Having fun and enjoying leisure time can do the opposite - boosting your energy, making you feel more mentally alert and capable.
5. Make the Connection
According to psychologists, a sense of social connection is a fundamental human need. Spending time with others doing something fun is an awesome way to tap into connection, which is possibly the most significant health benefit of having fun.
Seriously, how can something so enjoyable be so good for you?!? And, that’s where we ruin fun…kidding, not kidding, DreamChaser. Like self-care, fun often gets pushed to the backburner, put in the category of after everything else is done or if we have time. And, this is where we need a mindset reset. Everything in life may not be fun but you need to make time for fun every day. Guilt free, purely enjoyable, laugh until you cry kind of F-U-N.
To help you on your fun quest, we have a few tips. I know, I know…why do I need tips to have fun? Let’s be real, fun can be a missed opportunity, especially if you haven’t been making it a priority. Here are a few ideas to bring the fun back into your life:
Whatever it is, whatever you do, it’s time to up that FUN factor. Your health, and your Best Life, depend on it!
By Jackie White
Who are these people who go around smiling all the time? I mean what are they so happy about? They obviously have a screw loose, right?
I used to work with a group of people who were infinitely cheerful and pleasant. I would see them in the hall and I would greet them by saying “hello, how are you?" I would always, and I mean always, be met with, “Great!” “Terrific!” “Super!” I remember even saying one time to one of them “Aren’t you ever just ok?” It was sort of grating on my last nerve that I worked in Pleasantville, USA! It’s funny for me to look back on that now because, truth be told, I am one of those irritating smiley people. I am an eternal optimist, a hopeful horizon kind of person. I have always been predisposed to be like that. My experience in Pleasantville actually was quite pleasant, but my initial flinching of the over-the-top co-workers also gave me a peek into the world of the not-so-chipper folk.
These not-so-chipper folks are interesting cats to me. They see a world vastly different from the one I see. If the perky peeps, like me, see the world through rose-colored glasses, these other cheerless friends see the world through a hazy windshield. They seem to focus on the negative. They label themselves as “realists” or maybe even admit to calling themselves “pessimists”. They don’t get too excited about life because something is bound to go wrong. They tend to slug through each day without much of a spring in their step and if they are being honest, they really can’t stand the highly irritating happy-go-lucky peeps.
It’s an interesting contrast and a bit of a wonder to me. I looked into what makes these fine friends tick and what I found was that many of the realists strongly protect their ground against the head-in-the-clouds optimists. They might even use the word foolish to describe the Positive Pollys. I get it, but this is where I have to put my chirpy little foot down. You’ve heard the saying "life is too short to drink cheap beer”, right? Well, life is also too short to pigeonhole yourself into a pessimistic demeanor or identity you have long held onto. Standing on my soapbox, I want to shout that you are short changing your possibilities in life when you keep your feet firmly planted in negativity. Listen, life is not a guarantee of endless happy times, rainbows, and puppies, it is, however, lived best when you can see the good in what’s in front of you. You see, my dear cynical friends, I know that looking for the good might feel silly and out of your comfort zone. That can be scary for anyone, but life begins outside your comfort zone! That’s where it gets good or, at the very least, interesting!
1. Phase One: Now, if you have read this far, I think there is hope for you to change your ways! If you have always been inclined to feel negative about the world around you, I am going to challenge you to begin changing your behaviors to favor a more optimistic outlook. Are you ready? Let’s begin with something simple, smiling. Yes, I said, smiling. I can already hear your inner critic saying that is just about the stupidest thing you have ever heard! That’s ok, shake it off and smile. Work it out by looking at yourself in the mirror and smiling, smiling at strangers passing by and if you are really uncomfortable with the whole smiling thing, start with smiling at kids. They do it naturally and will be filled with joy to see you smile! The science of smiling shows that smiling releases endorphins, other natural painkillers, and serotonin. These brain chemicals elevate your mood, relax your body and reduce physical pain. Smiling is a natural happy drug.
2.Phase Two: Phase two of becoming a reformed pessimist is to work on filling your mind with the good stuff of life. Take time for gratitude and appreciation, spend time with people who lift your spirits (no negative kvetching!), and focus on the beauty of life. When your mind wanders back to being cynical or you hear negative chatter in your brain, be aware and correct your focus to accept that perhaps an optimistic outlook can’t hurt and might help.This will begin to reset your mindset.
3. Phase Three: In this phase, you need to practice focusing on positivity. Where focus goes, energy flows! When you focus on the sunny side of things, suddenly the things you see more often are bright and hopeful! This takes practice, especially for a recovering pessimist, but being the eternal optimist that I am, I know you can do it!
This is exciting! I am happy for YOU! Soon you will begin to experience a life full of possibilities! Through retraining your mindset you will see that life has so much to offer you, and it won’t be long until the person reflected back at you in the mirror is one shiny happy person!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
We have all heard that phrase at some point in our lives…or, perhaps, experienced it ourselves. On the heels of all the havoc the pandemic has brought into all of our lives, this might be an unfortunate commonality more and more of us will share. Spoiler, DreamChasers, being on the burned out track is not Best Life material!
Once you reach Destination Burned Out, you are in a place of physical and emotional stress like no other. (And, as a reminder, chronic stress states are detrimental to your health and well-being.) What you might not realize, however, is that the road to burn out starts earlier than you think. Burn out is terribly destructive to your life, but the early signs are surprisingly benign. But like most things, going unchecked and unrecognized, burn out compounds over time sending your life in a tailspin.
Let’s begin at the beginning…being aware that what we are experiencing might indicate we have started on the road to Destination Burned Out. Awareness is the first pit stop to start your course correction. Here are the Sneaky Early Signs of Getting Burned Out:
When these early signs are missed and burnout continues, you may start to develop more obvious symptoms. These can appear as physical or emotional symptoms, or both, and are related to the chronic stress state your body and mind have entered. These might include the following:
Sounds pretty horrible, right? That’s because it is, Dream Chaser! Confession time…I can recall 3 times that I made it pretty far on the Destination Burned Out journey, twice professionally as a nurse and once as a new mom. And, I will add that I did not realize I was on this path at the time; it’s that easy for burnout to creep in!
I promised simple solutions, and we are almost there, DreamChaser! As a Burnout Champion (I like that better than survivor…lol), I want you to know that no matter where you are in this process, you can take action to make it better. You are in a good place with us at SoulShine Life Connections; we want to equip you with the skills and tools to take on life challenges so you are empowered to take action so you can live that Best Life you deserve. Burn out is just one such life challenge; don’t give it any more power than it deserves. You’ve got this!
As I have already mentioned, you need to be aware that you are on the burnout path. There is a difference between having a stressful day and being burned out. Typically, burnout starts to happen as you string more and more stressful days together without a break. A single stressful day typically isn’t enough to trigger burnout. But, the strategies to combat burnout can be used for stressful days in general…bonus! Here are my top 5 Tips to Beat Back Burnout:
One final but very important point about burnout, DreamChaser. When you become aware that you are on the path to burnout, you need to take a deeper look at the situation. Is this a season of burnout, as in, there is a finite end in sight? Is this cycle of feeling overwhelmed or burning out happening more frequently? Or, are these feelings of being burned out a constant in your life? Burnout can happen professionally, personally, or a combination of both. Getting to the point of being burned out is a symptom of an underlying problem. If you are experiencing these feelings on a consistent or continual basis, it’s time to take a deeper look into where and how you are spending your precious time. But, Dreamchasers, that’s a lesson for another day so stay tuned!
When you think of all the things that make up your day, energy might not be one of them. You might say at the end of a long day that you are exhausted or out of energy, but there is more to energy than just physical energy stores in our bodies. There are a number of things that can drain your energy. Being aware of them and managing them can make a profound difference in your life.
1. Emotions: Your emotions and thoughts have a lot to do with the energy you have. The internal center of the energy you feel stems mainly from these areas. If your heart is heavy, then you might feel sad or depressed. These emotions take a toll on your body, leaving you feeling low energy and lethargic. In people who are experiencing sadness or depression, we see the body sends out enzymes that inhibit serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When these hormones are inhibited, your mood is negatively impacted resulting in a sad or depressed feeling. The depressed feelings then trigger the body to have low energy.
What Can You Do: Do what you can to combat the depressive reactions in your body. Exercise, a positive mindset, and lots of self-love can help you manage the ups and downs of emotions. Reaching out to a friend or therapist, if needed, can assist in moving through this energy zapper.
2. Avoidance: Sometimes people are carrying feelings that they are not recognizing or perhaps just altogether avoiding. Holding on to unresolved feelings can have a similar low energy effect on the body. You may be wanting to keep yourself from expending the energy to work through the feelings, but the daily avoidance is just allowing the feelings to eat away at your energy. This is why it is so important to work through whatever may be bothering you.
What Can You Do: Some heavy work may be needed here to work through feelings that have been burdening you for a while. Journaling is often an effective way of processing unresolved feelings. Sometimes a professional therapist may be helpful to guide you through to resolution.
3. Thoughts:. Another hidden zapper of your energy is negative thoughts, feelings of helplessness or hopelessness can create chronic stress. This will very quickly deplete your energy and create the chemical cocktail that blocks your happiness hormones (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine). Stress such as this is not only an energy zapper, but can negatively impact your overall health.
What You Can Do: Building yourself up by eliminating these negative feelings. An intentional positive mindset will do wonders on banishing feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. Reach out to a friend or therapist for more support.
4. People: It is impossible to live a life unaffected by others, that is, I guess unless you are a hermit in the backcountry living under a rock! Assuming you are doing life like many of us, in a society where we are interconnected by people, then it’s important to realize that their energy can affect you too! Living with a negative person who is angry most of the time will wear on you. Working with a Negative Nelly can take a toll.
What Can You Do: Remember you are a culmination of the top five people you surround yourself with. If you find many of these people are sucking the energy from you, it might be time to trade up and find people who are supportive and positive.
5. Environment: Where we live can also affect our energy. If you live in a busy city where horns and sirens are blaring most of the day, that can stress you. Not only where you live, but also how you live can zap your energy. Walking into your home and experiencing clutter can suck the energy and motivation right out of you.
What Can You Do: If you can, move from the chaos, if not, then you must find a place within that can hold the peace for you. Meditation and intentional energy management will assist you with external environmental issues. As for the cluttered home, start with one drawer at a time and gain some ground on creating a welcoming and calming place for you to lay your head at night.
6. Weather: For those of us living in places where the sun isn’t warming our faces during the wintertime, we can be affected by Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). This disorder is created by a lack of vitamin D provided by being outside and catching some rays. It can really cause havoc on some people affecting their mood and ultimately their energy.
What You Can Do: Move to an island! Lol! I know we all can’t just get and sit on the beach, but we can do a few simple things to manage SAD. First of all, if your doctor approves, start taking vitamin D to replenish your possibly limited storage of this important vitamin. Get a SAD lamp to put some simulated sunshine on your face. Work on a positive mindset to help eliminate negative talk about winter weather. Finally, speak with your doctor for further assistance.
7. Social Media: I would be remiss to mention social media as a form of energy-zapping. What you are digesting through your online feeds can and do affect you. If you are reading about stressful topics, engaging with others in sparring matches, or “just scrolling” through feeds that feature foul language, fights, accidents, political banter, or other potentially negative content, get the heck out of there! This can have a much bigger impact on you than you may have ever thought. Taking in this kind of information can make you feel negative, which we now know sends the message to your body expending your energy and making you feel like crap.
What Can You Do: Exchange a feed of negativity for one of positivity! It is equally addicting to have positive messages in your face versus negative ones, so if you are going to be on social media, flood your mind with messages of positivity!
Energy management is key to living your best life. Pay attention to what is zapping your energy and get on it! Freeing up energy will bring you happiness, joy, and peace.
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.