11 Questions to Reduce Hurry and Worry

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When you start to teach people about something, it gives you yourself more pressure to be example as well. This is mostly positive thing, because then you start deepen your relationship with the things you are teaching. Often this deepening means that you are thinking what you are teaching learning at the same time from different perspectives.

What I learned this morning about feeling of hurry is this: hurry is just lack of preparation.

This means, if we feel hurry, we have failed to anticipate the stuff we are stressing about presently.

What helps here is to accept the present circumstances and prioritize and think what is truly important, and how important. It’s through prioritization only way that we can live through our commitments and learn to make commitments that are most relevant to us.

Uncertainty makes life difficult. Or life is suffering like the Buddha came to understand.

The ability to accept these and to have a set of thinking skills in the present help to handle almost anything that happens and still live a worthwhile life.

Do not be affected by hurry.

Here are some helpful questions to cope:

  1. Do I have any problems right now?
  2. What is the most important priority right now?
  3. Am I doing my best?
  4. Is there something I or we can do?
  5. What would be the first step forward?
  6. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
  7. What is positive about this situation?
  8. Is the worst thing that can happen?
  9. Is this the end of the world?
  10. What is the upside?
  11. How to benefit from this situation?

Have a great evening!

Janne

Relax Under Pressure

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First stop and take a deep breath.

There are few important things in life and most of those are present in the moment. Therefore stop being so serious about everything. Sure you are important and whatever is it important, however if you are honest to yourself, is it really that important?

When we are under pressure, it means we have to deal with that pressure. If we choose to tackle it, our bodies and minds gets to a stressed state in order to deal with it. In other words stress helps our bodies and minds to prepare and deal with it. Stress in these cases is beneficial.

We are oscillating between stress and relaxation. Too much of either for prolonged time is no good. We should consciously also be mindful in which state we are and do we need to increase or decrease the stress for example.

We do not need to be stressed when we are about to rest.

We need psyche a bit up before giving a talk or meeting a client.

If we all would be zen masters, we could do this consciously at a right time. Since we are not, we have to learn ourselves to control our minds through our breathing or meditation for example.

Everything begin with breathing, so breathing is one of the most effective ways to tell our lizard brains should we increase or decrease the stress levels.

Learn to relax under pressure, and you won’t have another bleak day, because you know what is important and what’s not. Above all you are just in the state of mind where you want to be.

Become the Programmer of Your Life by Reflecting on Your Stress Responses

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When we are born into this world and grow up, we cannot choose the environment much at all where we are brought up. From the environment where we grow up, we inherit, learn and copy models for responding to stress. Let’s call these learned models scripts from now on.

Script is essentially a sequence of thoughts, emotions and actions that happen automatically and effortlessly in mostly unconscious mind.

Stress should be defined as influence that alters an existent equilibrium. Therefore inherently stress is not good or bad, it’s merely a sign that something should be done and thus triggers thoughts and emotions in us.

So when we grow up, and a stressor enters our world we automatically take actions according to the learned scripts. If we get hungry, we may go to the fridge and grab whatever we would like to eat at the time.

Since life is complicated, these scripts that are drilled into unconscious mind save a lot of time and energy for us. Yet to live a happy and productive life, scripts we have inherited, learned and copied may not always be optimal. The reason is simply that we are the very first version of ourselves the moment we become aware of this. Before we are aware of this, we are a product, not a programmer.

When we become aware, we become the programmer of our lives. Conscious time and space for reflection is one way to be aware. I write journal every day and try to meditate as well. From these activities I write down all thoughts I can get.

Best of all habits is to have time during weekend for such reflection, because then we can contemplate more deeply on what actions we have taken and have they been optimal.

As an example today I had such a reflective day which I spent mostly in quiet long walk. It’s during this walk I happened to go upon sea where I rested a bit and start my mobile phone and entered upon the realm of social media where I saw an update by a friend.

My reaction then and there was rather negative since the emotions like  uncertainty, inadequacy and jealousy a rose. I caught myself a few minutes afterwards thinking, why would I choose an emotional response to that?

I had to accept that I had a script that lead to rather unskillful stress response. Now that I had become aware of such unskillful script and accepted its existence, I could do something about it. Since I knew, I could choose the way I respond to stressors, I began to think what would be mature way to respond to this? I quickly found more positive things such as happiness for others, belonging and acceptance.

Actually it is through this reflection that changed the whole lense I am looking now at the happiness of others that is shared often through social media. I have to admit my ignorance: it’s a bit scary that I haven’t noticed this earlier in myself.

During the walk, I also decided to start practicing and deepening my bond with the virtues even more. In 2013 I used the virtue list, an idea from Benjamin Franklin. Yet now in 2017 since I’ve put more thought into my values and virtues as well, I thought I need to start practicing these in the same way, one virtue each week. Humility is on that list too.

Remember as long as we live, we are never the final versions, we are always under development. Are you a code produced by the chance and the environment or are you the coder of your own life?

Cognition Advantages

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A common misconception is that intelligence is fixed. It’s not so much at all.

In fact I dislike to use the word intelligence at all, because it is so emotionally loaded.

I’ve contemplated the topic of intelligence a lot especially from personal development / intelligence improvement point of view, from which I wrote a popular reply to Quora on 2013.

The more I’ve learned the less I’ve liked the word intelligence. If we are thinking along the lines of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences there are so many kinds of intelligences that it’s absurd to claim any kind of intelligence.

Therefore I am more in line with ability to think and learn. When it comes to thinking and learning it’s all about cognition.  When we are talking about cognition we are also talking about great health, because these two are strongly interconnected.

Here are some cognitive advantages:

  • Basic acknowledgement when it comes to cognition is that our brains do consume a lot of calories, one fifth of all our intake. Quality of calories for sure matters in the long run as well. Pay attention to your diet from your minds perspective.
  • Unrested mind is literally the same as drunk. Have good quality and quantity sleep.
  • Fear literally shuts down our cognition at worst, or any kind of fear inhibits our higher cognitive function. Learn to recognize fear.
  • Stress, especially the stress about safety (i.e. income, relationship, home…) reduces our cognitive capabilities.
    • Build income buffers to reduce this.
    • Work to create more opportunities for income (=diversifying)
    • Learn to invest and manage money.
    • Learn what is in your control and focus to that.
  • Be happy first. Success follows happiness, not the other way around.
    • Start a journal and find three good things about each day.
    • Start giving to others, that way the happiness lasts longer.
  • Learn to control your breath: meditate
  • Exercise, even walking is better than nothing!
  • Work proactively with the numbers on your side
    • This reduces both stress and fear plus it gives you good night sleep knowing you’ve worked from the probabilities.
  • Emotional first aid: learn to forgive yourself.

What Separates Masters from Losers

 

avenue-2215317_640.jpgToday I was going through old coaching notes. One in particular struck me: the difference between masters and losers.

Master is someone who, takes the time and effort to master. Loser is someone who refuses to try and gives up.

In short there are three things that makes a masterful person:

  • Their relation to learning. If they do not know something, they will strive to learn.
  • Their relation to having. If they do not have something, they will earn it.
  • Their relation to being. If they are not something, they are willing to change.

These three points put me think, that there is indeed seed of greatness hidden here. That is about the choosing differently.

I.e. when I am not a great writer yet. Do I think “I am not great writer, therefore I give up” or do I think “I am not great writer yet, therefore I’ve to change, learn and earn my place?”

Think how do you respond to yourself when faced with a challenge. Is your self-talk that of a master or loser?

In the end you can choose your response if you so wish to do.

Aligning the Mind

 

meditation-2214532_640.jpgThrough the busy days, a lot of thoughts, insights, fears, worries etc. tend to be buried in our minds. Thoughts that keep returning to our consciousness unless we acknowledge their existence.

During this year I haven’t been meditating regularly and I noticed that since I’ve fallen out of that habit I’ve become more prone to the stresses of life.

So I’ve now taken the time to get back into the habit of meditation in the morning and in the evening. Even starting with as little as five to ten minutes does wonders. Once the habit takes over, on times the sessions often take longer if necessary.

Past time eight years, I’ve found out that still the habit of regularly and consciously having the time and habit for the meditation is indeed the best. It’s easiest to stay aware, mindful about the thoughts and root out the unskillful thoughts when they are still their weakest. For this, to increase the mindfulness I guess it is skillful to align the mind through meditation in the morning and then in the evening to do a sort of quality check for the day.

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thought.” – Buddha

What Is Your Stress Response?

 

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Before you answer, let me define stress first. As I looked up definitions of stress in first few online dictionaries they didn’t seem right. Fourth choice on Merriam-Webster seems to describe stress in the context I am talking about:  “a state resulting from a stress; especially:  one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium <job-related stress>.”

So stress is something that comes from outside, to alter existing equilibrium or balance, as simple as that. When I was looking up the many of the other definitions of stress, I am not surprised people are suffering from stress, because if they are operating with that kind of definitions.

With this definition, stress is merely something that comes and it is our own choice to choose how we react. This is definition is in harmony with the circle of control – thinking I’ve been writing about, so we may choose our stress response.

If you now, suddenly get rushed by surge of internal excuses by your inner voice, write all of it down, on a paper, word or any other noting tool of a choice. By writing down your internal dialogue, when faced with a “novel” idea, you’ll start to process your internal resistance and just by doing that you’ll be able to uncover the path which allows you to get ahead in life.

Alright, so we may choose our stress response. Why don’t we and what does prevent us from doing that? We may choose our response, however that action takes place after the feeling of our emotions, unless we are in charge of our emotions: i.e. unless we can feel the emotion through and let it go, we cannot choose the response. To put it in other words: if we let emotion or feeling take over and act upon the impulse without thinking, we are not choosing, we are reacting.

On the other hand, if we have put considerable thought and training into our lives and life situations, we are able to effortlessly act on the right stress responses. Yes, I mentioned training, because we can train on the proper stress responses, and through training the proper responses become automatic and effortless. During first time, the proper conscious response takes a lot of effort in compared to responding impulsively. Therefore, if we think that we can consciously modify or change our responses to all stressors, we are wrong: our mental energy is limited, and if we have poor stress responses, our capacity to maximize our mental energy is also less than optimal.

Be in the game of optimizing your stress response for the long run, for all the good things happen through persistent training. With right habits, good things are guaranteed to happen and they keep on happening.

Learning from Stress

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Much of the results we achieve each day are dependent on how we can handle stress and what our relation to stress is.

Personally I’ve come to think that the how very important. Even so important we could ask it several times in five why’s fashion how, how, how, how and how? How do we respond to stress tells so much about our beliefs, decisions, priorities and choices. How we react matters, even though under stress it might seem uncontrollable, however that tells us that we believe the stress is something bigger than us.

On the other hand there are people who respond to stress in quite different way, with focus and clarity to what they can control. Many of my colleagues are such people and it is indeed very pleasure to work with them.

Stress is merely a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Tension then is the act of stretching or straining.

When walking the middle way, we recognize that too much or too little of anything is likely to have negative cause to our life. To grow need to stretch, but also recover.

To know when we are having too much stress is to simple observe our stress reactions: when reactions start to become harmful, it is time to take some time to calm down, and take a deep breath.

In life, all situations affect each other and thus they form the totality of our stress load. I.e. relationships do affect work and vice versa. When traveling, under pressure and enough many things go wrong.

Recognizing how our own stress reactions and what do we do with it is helpful to know if there is anything we could perhaps to do more skillfully in the future? Also objectively observing the stress reactions from people close to us, will reveal valuable clues and insights how we can live in harmony in the future.