Ask Yourself One Question Today for Less Anxiety
Change your thought process to be more relaxed
The definition of simplicity is “the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.” What if as your next week begins, you sift your thoughts through the filter of simplicity?
Ask yourself just one question each morning: How can I be a more relaxed version of myself? What if you asked yourself this question throughout the day, every day? How do you imagine this practice might create opportunities to ‘do life’ with less stress and anxiety?
This is a question that came to me when I was in lying exhausted in bed after chemo and surgery as I made my way through cancer. This question followed a realization I had at the same time — how much energy it takes to be me. In fact, it took so much energy to be me that it almost killed me. Don’t wait to give yourself permission to slow down until you’re literally taken out of the game of life.
Explore a few of the questions below and pull out one or two that stand out to you. Take 15 minutes and journal your response. Pin your response up by your work space as a reminder to slow down and practice being a more relaxed version of you.
What can I shift in my vocal intonation that would reflect a more relaxed version of me in conversions I have with my loved ones and colleagues?
How can I shift my body language to reflect a more relaxed version of me?
How can I be more relaxed preparing for a work project?
How can I be more relaxed giving this presentation?
What if I brought a more relaxed version of me to the table as I explored solutions to my perceived conflict? What would that look like? Feel like? Sound like?
What if I woke up tomorrow and I was a more relaxed version of me? What would I notice to be different? What value would I bring into the world as a result of a more relaxed version of me? How would this affect the relationships I care about?
Would being a more relaxed version of me boost my confidence?
This week, listen carefully to your inner voice and the words and phrases it chooses to dwell on. Whatever you focus on grows bigger. If you want a lighter, more relaxed version of yourself, don’t let your inner voice’s words be in charge. Instead, take charge of the words you use to describe your life experience and what you believe about your ability to overcome circumstances versus being overcome by circumstance.
Speak life into your inner thoughts and voice. Give more authority to the strength within you than to your circumstance. Observe and delete any of the following negative choice points and replace them with life-giving words: use kind, loving and supportive speech to yourself and others. Invite this inner strength to help you take out your mind trash.
Some examples of negative word choices that shut down, restrict your life and result in a heavier version of you mentally and emotionally speaking are:
Universal quantifiers like always, never, no one, nothing, nobody, everybody and everything. These words create ‘all or nothing’ thinking and will prevent the brain from tuning into a variety of available options needed for solution-based thinking.
Modal operators of necessity, like have to, I need to, I should, I must, I can’t and it’s necessary. This type of thinking and speaking indicates a lack of choice and will keep you stuck in mental muck.
As you expand your ability to explore and tune into several different options of how to overcome your circumstance or resolve conflict, you will ignite solution-based thinking. When using your inner voice, use beneficial words like expand, explore, consider, trust, look into, ignite, curious, fascinating and tell me more.
Let’s explore pulling simplicity into your life this week and creating a lighter, more relaxed version of you. I invite you for the next week to take a fast from negative thoughts. Negative interior scripts lead to exterior drama, heaviness and stress. In SHIFT Leadership Training we use the phrases ‘lights on’ and ‘lights off’ to describe specific behavior that expands positive energy (lights on) or retracts it (lights off). Energy is your capacity for action.
For example, trust is considered a ‘lights on’ response to life and is solution focused and boosts your energy. Fear is considered a ‘lights off’ reactive response to life and is problem focused or drains your energy. Below are a few behaviors that result from ‘lights off’ thinking patterns.
Blaming: Any time you blame yourself or another person, take a step back from the situation and ask yourself what you’re refusing to take responsibility for. It may come down to taking responsibility for your own sense of inner peace, joy and happiness.
Complaining: Complaining of any kind creates an exchange of negative energy between you and yourself or between you and another person, resulting in shrinking your brain and blocking your ability to tune into available resources. Think about the last time you complained about something to someone or someone complained to you. Did you feel drained or energized after the experience?
Popular thoughts that usually fuel the above behaviors are nothing ever works out for me; I never get an opportunity to shine; and nobody ever listens to me.
What do you think would change in your perspectives this week and your capacity for action if you intentionally fasted from negative thoughts like blaming and complaining? Spring clean the negative, heavy scripts you have been using and write in a script that reflects simplicity and a lighter, more relaxed version of you this month.
How? Erase one negative thought at a time and replace it with a positive thought. For example:
Erase: “I am feeling some fear around giving this presentation to the board.”
Replace: “I trust that I have the ability to speak easily and naturally the information contained within the proposal to the board. I have successfully moved through challenging presentations before and I believe I will do it again.”
By your thoughts you form your words, by your words you form your conclusions, by your conclusions you form your perceptions and by your perceptions you give birth to your attitude. Your attitude is your closest friend or worst enemy. Is life for you or against you? Positive thoughts make life light and simple, while negative talk makes life heavy and complex. The choice is yours and will make all the difference in the outcomes you experience today.