Hi! We’re only a few days away from Christmas so I know many of you are likely out looking for last-minute gifts and frantically finishing your shopping, wrapping items that have finally made it from USPS, and all while having to make tough decisions about holiday get-togethers in between, so I wanted to drop in here quickly to share an important lesson I learned during this unprecedented year.
I have realized that for many of my clients and myself there is a propensity to experience a lot of anticipatory stress of a scary event occurring, and for many those feelings can even be worse than the actual scenario itself. We fear the fear.
When the pandemic first hit, I found myself unable to handle the idea of a loved one coming down with the virus and my imagination began to run wild with worst case scenarios. I had a very hard time letting go of the worry because some part of me did believe that the worry itself could somehow prevent the worst-case scenario from actually happening.
What I have come to understand is that I can take the necessary precautions of wearing a mask, washing my hands, staying 6+ feet apart from people without the worry. I am reminded of a quote by Eckhart Tolle: “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
In addition to letting go of worry, another tip that has really helped me, and that I also strongly recommend to my clients as a result, is giving equal time and attention to the best-case scenario – or at least better case scenario than whichever is actually running through your head.
You see, it is our brain’s job to look out for us and keep us safe so by design it will automatically go to the worst-case scenario. In order to balance that out, we have to intentionally focus the brain to think about alternative truths and scenarios.
If I can make myself believe that I am scared and cannot handle getting sick or having someone close to me get sick, then I can also remind myself to believe that I am strong, resilient, and have a lot of resources and support around me. We have to remind ourselves of our strength, our capacity, our skills, and our resilience in trying times. Your brain will not do this voluntarily, so doing so intentionally is critical to de-stressing.
Our imaginations can completely freak us out, but they can also bring us tremendous peace and calm. Through continuous improvement of our mental strength, we get to work towards the latter.
When you notice that you are anticipating stress or feel that you’re unable to handle a scary event, allow these feelings to happen while bearing in mind that it is just your brain trying to protect you. Once you are able to recognize this, you can balance it all out with reminders of how strong, capable, and resilient you are. And if you’re having a hard time with those reminders, please reach out. I will always remind you of your strength and resolve.
If you’re still shopping for the *perfect* gift for that special someone in your life (or for yourself!), I’ve got three coaching certificates up for grabs including 2021 vision creation, weight loss coaching, or general mindset coaching. Or, gift the high performer in your life enrollment into Emotional Change for High Performers! Enrollment is open now and we start on January 18th! If you’re unsure of which to choose, let’s hop on a quick call to figure it out together. You can access my calendar here.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful (and healthy!) holiday season! <3
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.