Anxiety Breakthrough Foundations

Zip opening to brighter future

Are you dropping the ball or losing your shizzle these past few months?

Me too.

As one client mentioned, it’s like Groundhogs Day, every day.

Yet while time feels like it’s standing still, on the outside things are changing rapidly. How can you pursue your personal or professional goals when you’re too overwhelmed to know where to begin?

I speak to dozens of people in transition every week and one theme is consistent. It feels impossible to stay focused and motivated right now.

trau·ma

/troumə,ˈtrômə/

1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.

We’re all experiencing some level of trauma right now, and as a result, anxiety. It’s very real. And anxiety interferes with focus and motivation.

You’re waiting for the changes out there to finish unfolding so you can breathe a sign of relief and move on with your goal setting plans.

That’s natural and understandable.

But I’ve stopped letting my clients off the hook with that explanation, even though I’ve felt it too, and have no doubt it’s real.

“I don’t feel up to it, plus why waste my time trying if I know I won’t get results?” I’ve heard repeatedly over the past 2 months.

That’s your anxiety speaking. There is no denying it’s there, but you don’t have to let it take the floor.

We have plenty of anxiety in my family, so I’m speaking from firsthand experience. Several weeks ago my 15-year old, who has wrestled with anxiety since middle school, told me she was really struggling. She felt lonely and isolated overwhelmed. She asked me if she could begin taking medication.

Having learned to manage my own, formerly out-of-control (way before Covid anxiety), has taught me a lot. First off, that medication is a last resort, not a first.

My daughter was looking for immediate relief – anxiety is undeniably painful. But in spite of her insistence, after lots of discussion, we made a deal. She would try prioritizing sleep – using melatonin, going to bed earlier, using a sleep app, turning off media an hour before bedtime – whatever it took to get a solid night’s sleep.

She would do a short (5-10 minute) breathing practice with me every morning. That meant I would do the practice too.

Here’s what happened: 3 weeks later we’re doing the practice. I have to wake her up multiple times each morning and it’s annoying, but I do it anyway because I know how important it is. These days she’s more positive, focused on her goals, and motivated to get them done.

She went from stuck to unstuck. To be clear, her pace is still slow; she’s painting her room in one-hour intervals 3 days a week, but she’s moved out of her anxiety-induced stuck state and hasn’t mentioned medication since then.

So yes, anxiety keeps us stuck in feelings of overwhelm. But when we make simple shifts toward managing our anxiety, we make space for other players in our mindscape – focus, and motivation.

Committing to reducing your anxiety by prioritizing sleep and self-care is a foundational piece.

Another is to adjust your expectations. In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there”. Your Plan A or pre-Covid strategy may no longer be relevant right now. Instead of waiting until things “go back to normal”, come up with your Plan B.

We’re all dealing with Covid-caused disappointments to some degree. Summer plans canceled, college plans postponed, missed graduations, awards, speeches, opportunities – but if we’re lucky, nothing worse. And I’m not downplaying how much all of it sucks.

What I am saying, is it’s within all of our ability to shift our mindset AWAY from the anxiety choke-hold zone that’s keeping us stuck. And self-care is key! When you’re exhausted or depleted and burdened by the weight of now-impossible expectations, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

To quote Tony Robbins, “It’s not the conditions of your life it’s the decisions of your life that make you successful”.

The changes suggested here aren’t easy and the results are not instant, but now more than ever you’re so worth committing to. This time will pass, but the habits we learn to shift now will serve us regardless of what the future brings.

Check out this Tony Robbins video about focus, mindset, and motivation to help you stay on track with your goals through uncertain times. https://youtu.be/8f0nIhDpXuU

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