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5 Things To Do in The Face of Fear – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming

An opportunity comes along. A once in a lifetime opportunity – that job you have always wanted, the love you have always sought, a move that could change your life. You should be excited, right? No! Instead you find yourself scared out of your wits.

Why? Wonderful opportunities often come with that dreaded thing…change. And change is scary. Paralyzingly so, at times.

But don’t run. There are ways to face fear head on so that you don’t miss an opportunity that could change your life.

Here is my latest… 5 Things To Do in The Face of Fear – Even If You Just Want to Run Screaming.

#1 – Take a deep breath.

Yes, I know I always say this but deep breaths are essential for keeping yourself from running from fear.

When presented with something that scares us the hormones in our body produce the fight or flight response: we can either stay (fight) or run (flight). More often than not flight seems the easiest option so that’s what we do – we run. But if, when faced with something that scares us, we take a deep breath we immediately calm that instinct. Without our heart racing and our hormones pumping it’s much easier to face down that scary thing in front of you.

So next time you feel yourself starting to run from something that scares you stop and take a few deep breaths. Breathe in 3 seconds and out 5 seconds. Before you know it you will be thinking clearer and can move on to face what you need to face.

#2 – Ask yourself what it is that you are afraid of.

Many of us feel fear as a general feeling. We don’t take the time to identify exactly what we are afraid of. And not knowing what we are afraid of makes it very difficult to deal with those fears.

So make a list. One that details what exactly it is that scares you most about the situation. And then take those fears one at a time and address them.

I have a client who was so unhappy with her marriage that she decided if they just moved, anywhere, all would be good. The prospect of picking up and moving to another country was more appealing to her than the prospect of sitting down with her husband to work on their marriage.

She was making plans for this move when I met her. I challenged her on her plans and asked her why she couldn’t face her husband. What was she afraid of?

It took her a while to answer but her list looked like this:

  1. I am scared that we will have to talk about how we feel.
  2. I am afraid that I will get hurt.
  3. I am afraid that our marriage won’t work even if we try to work on it.

Once she had her list she knew exactly what she was afraid of. We talked about each specific thing and were able to more easily address each one because she had identified them so clearly. Addressing fear as a general concept is almost impossible.

She still lives in her family home and she shares it with the man she married and they are working things out. It’s not easy but she is happy.

#3 – Push back against those negative thoughts

Yes, back to those lovely thoughts in your head. The ones that tell you that you just can’t do anything. Especially anything new and risky. The brain likes things to stay the same. The same is easiest.

But staying the same is not how we find happiness. Happiness comes from taking risks and facing fears. So when those self-defeating thoughts enter your head shut them down, one at a time.

I have a question I always ask when making a decision about something scary. “What’s the worst that can happen?” It works every time.

I have a client who is being given a job opportunity that could change her life. She is scared to make the move because she isn’t sure if she can make enough money to maintain her life. We talked about how much she would need and I asked her if she would be comfortable asking for that salary when offered the job. She hesitated.

I asked her what was the worst that could happen. For her, the worst would be that the amount would not be doable. But I pointed out that armed with that info she could make an informed decision about whether to take the job or not. And if the amount was doable then YAY, good for her for speaking up for herself!

So use those thoughts of yours to fight your fears and not succumb to them.

#4 – Recognize that history is just that. History.

Many of our fears are grounded in our history. I read a quote recently that said “it is not the moment that is tragic but the memory.” Think about it. It’s true, isn’t it?

We carry the memories of a lifetime of moments that have caused us pain and we use these memories as fuel for our fears.

But we need to remember that those memories are in the past and we are now looking at our present and future.

I have a client who is madly in love with a man who loves her madly back but his life is complicated and he isn’t always emotionally available to her. Both her father and her ex-husband weren’t emotionally unavailable and both ultimately left her. This caused her immeasurable pain, pain that she has carried forward in her life.

So now she is scared about committing to this man because she doesn’t want to get hurt again.

She and I are working together to look at the differences and similarities between these three men and identify what in particular scares her. She is then having open discussions with her man about her fears.

She isn’t letting her past pull her away from this man but she is proactively addressing her fears and making decisions based on present circumstances instead of ancient history.

And she is feeling hopeful. Very hopeful.

#5 – Embrace it. It’s Exciting!

Imagine if every day for the rest of your life was going to be the same. The same routine with no challenges or excitement. Just sameness.

Things that are scary are harbingers of change and change is one of those things that makes life a better place.

Yes, confronting your fears could allow you to save your marriage, get that job of your dreams or the love of your life and that would be wonderful. But the biggest outcome from facing your fears is the strength you gain as a person.

When you have faced your fears and overcome them you gain a huge sense of accomplishment, one that will always stay with you and only serve you well in the future .

Imagine that next fear coming along and you thinking “I’ve got this.” And you would know that you did because you have faced fear before and prevailed.

It would be pretty awesome, no?

So there you go. My 5 Things To Do in The Face of Fear.

Life is a scary place, full of all sorts of twists and turns, things that happen that change the way we thought things were going to be. It’s exciting but very scary. And it’s okay to be scared.

But know that you have the power to push past that fear, to reach for everything that you have ever wanted. And once you learn you have that power your life will never again be the same.

So go for it. Whatever you have ever wanted. Go for it. You can do it!


Looking for more ways to face fear?  Contact me here and I can help!

To welcome in 2017 I am offering one free session to the first 5 people who reach out.

So do so TODAY.


 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy – Even If Change Scares the $*%& Out of You

Change. Many of us dread it. We are plodding along just fine so why do we need to change anything? Change just causes stress which only leads to more unhappiness. Right?

Ask yourself if you are really happy. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow would you go to the other side with no regrets? Have you lived a life that made your heart sing?

If your answer to my question is yes, well done!

If your answer to my question is no, read on.

Here is my latest: 5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy – Even If Change Scares the $*%& Out of You.

# 1 – Your thoughts.

You know those pesky thoughts that incessantly course through your head? You know the ones. The ones that tell you aren’t enough. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not successful enough.

Yes, those thoughts. The thoughts that are holding you back.

Did you know that letting those thoughts run rampant through your head does only one thing – allow those things to become your reality. Running negative tapes manifests negative outcomes. Running positive tapes manifests positive outcomes.

It’s time to change those thoughts. It won’t be easy but with a little determination you can bring about big change.

One of my clients had spent a lifetime telling herself that she just wasn’t worthy of love. A variety of factors had led her to believe this to be true and because her brain consistently reinforced her belief she had a hard time finding someone to love her. And not finding love reinforced her belief that the words in her head were true.

I challenged her to challenge those thoughts. To talk back to the negative thoughts and provide evidence that they just weren’t true. When she thought that no one ever loved her I encouraged her to make a list of those who had. Her various boyfriends throughout the years, her parents, her friends, her kids, the barista guy who had flirted with her for years. Those people liked and loved her. Happily.

She kept this list easily accessible and when that dreaded thought reared it’s ugly head she referred to the list. Gradually that thought in her head, being starved of reasons why it was true, became much quieter.

And then, armed with her new feeling of self worth, she flirted back with that barista and it looks like she just might live happily ever after.

#2 – Your mind.

Ok, so you have a disagreement with someone over something big or small. Politics. Who left the toilet seat up.The color of the sky. Which is better, crunchy or smooth peanut butter. Everyday stuff.

That disagreement gets heated and there is just no settling the difference of opinion. You both stalk off in a huff.

Sound familiar?

How important is it to you to be right all of the time? Are you capable of looking at both sides of an argument and maybe being swayed to change your mind?

Being able to change your mind is a powerful thing. It is not the weakness that some might see it but really a great strength.

I have a client who always had to be right. In any and every conflict she dug in and insisted that it was her way or the highway. As a result her relationships were struggling. Her spouse spent most of his time working on his golf game, her teenagers only talked to her when they needed money and she knew that her co-workers avoided her.

It was only when I started pointing out to her how many times in one hour she said “but I was right” did she start connecting the dots. Her desire to be right was alienating her from all that was good in her life.

My client made a conscious effort to change her behavior: she decided to start picking her battles. Things that weren’t as important to her she would let go. Who left the toilet seat up? Who cares. The color of the sky? Who knows. Smooth or crunchy? Oooh, that’s a tough one.

As a result of being able to change her mind my client became a lot more pleasant to be around and her loved ones returned. She learned, the hard way, that not being right all the time felt a whole lot better than being right and alone.

#3 – Your habits.

Yes, we love our habits. And we all have many of them. Habits are very comfortable and allow us to go through our days on auto-pilot.

Habits can be anything. Eating the same breakfast everyday, always driving the same route home, stopping for a doughnut before picking your kids up from school. Habits. Like a comfy pair of slippers you can wear all day.

I am not suggesting that you break your habits completely but a little shifting can make a big difference.

Try eggs instead of cereal for breakfast one morning – you could find they give you more energy for your day. Drive a different way home from work and you might find the Thai restaurant of your dreams on that alternate route. And, while doughnuts are yummy, there is a whole world of sweet junk food out there to indulge in on your way to school. Ever tried a Yodel? It will change your life.

Try it. Change things up a little. See what you discover in the process.

#4 – Your relationship.

I can’t tell you how many clients of mine stay in a relationship WAY past it’s expiration date. Past the point where it is full of love and joy and healthy companionship. Instead they live in relationships that make their every day a sad place, a place that causes them to be depleted instead of fulfilled.

We stay in relationships for many reasons. Because of the kids, because of finances, because of the mistaken belief that we will never find someone else to love us. All of these reasons are valid and worth consideration. But just for a minute, consider this…

Imagine waking up in the morning next to someone who makes your heart beat faster. Imagine holding hands with that person walking to the subway, talking about your upcoming day. Imagine a lunchtime phone call from that person who just wants to hear your voice. Imagine the feel of your heart skipping as that person walks in the door at night. Imagine that person wrapping themselves around you as you drift off to sleep.

How do all of those imaginings make you feel? If they make you feel good, deep down to your core, pay attention to that. If that’s not how you feel about the relationship you are in right now it’s time for a change.

Because, really, wouldn’t being really and truly loved in 2017 be a wonderful thing?

#5 – Your friendships.

Yes, our friendships are incredibly important. A good friend can make all of the difference getting through good times and bad. I know that I have a friend for every mood and am incredibly thankful for each of them.

On the flip side there are those friendships that are not fulfilling. Those friendships that are one sided, or two faced or life sucking. It is these friendships that need to be considered.

I have a client who had a life-long friend. They grew up together and then settled in the same town to raise their kids. A few years back my client’s friend started having trouble in her marriage. My client was there for her friend, letting her rant about her husband’s behavior and accompanying her for dinners out so she wouldn’t have to go home. That’s what a good friend does, after all.

My client began to notice that her friend started criticizing my client’s marriage. She would point out issues with my client’s husband and their relationship. She would get angry when my client wouldn’t recognize or acknowledge those issues. My client started getting paranoid about her relationship, wondering if something was happening that she just wasn’t seeing. She was a mess.

After working with me she started to see that her friend was projecting her helpless unhappiness onto my client. My client had to choose to walk away from the friendship. It was painful but it had to happen. For my client’s happiness and the health of her marriage.

Interestingly, when my client pulled away from her old friend that friend, missing an outlet for her anger, was able to take a clearer look at her marriage. This clearer look allowed her an opportunity to actually do something about it. And she did.

So there you go, my 5 Things You Can Change to Be Happy.

2017 is upon us. Another new year and another opportunity to live the life of your dreams. And the best way to do that is to start approaching your life differently than you have been approaching it thus far.

Albert Einstein said that you shouldn’t try to “solve problems with the same consciousness that created them.” If you are unhappy in certain areas of your life it’s time to make some change. Change that will allow you to approach that issue in a new way. A way that might actually be effective.

Imagine living the life of your dreams. A life full of everything that you have ever wanted. You can make this happen by simply having the courage to make some changes.

You can do it! You are worth it!

Looking for more ways to bring about change? Contact me and I can help.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to be Happier Quickly – Even if Your Default is Usually Crabbiness

We all just want to be happy. That is the life goal. It has been proven that when people are happy their health improves, their skin brightens, their attention span strengthens and they have more success at work and at home.

All of that sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

But how, in this chaotic, jam-packed and exhausting world, do we find happiness? It seems like such a long-term goal, something we have to really work towards, not something that is accessible right now.

I am here to tell you that you can be happier NOW, just by tweaking a few things in your life.

Here is my latest: 5 Ways to be Happier Quickly – Even if Your Default is Usually Crabbiness.

#1 – Forget positivity. Focus on the negative.

Everyone tells us these days that in order to be happy we must practice mindfulness, live in the moment, focus on the positive. While those ideas have their place, I think that the best way to be happier is by focusing on our negative thoughts.

You know those thoughts. The ones that tell you that you are worthless or ugly or un-loveable? Yes those ones. They aren’t comfortable in our body and yet how easily they settle in for a long visit.

Try this. Next time you tell yourself that you are un-loveable pull out a piece of paper and write a list of everyone who loves you. When you tell yourself you are ugly go look at your profile picture on Facebook, you know that one in which you look AWESOME. When you tell yourself you are worthless call your mother. She will remind you how worthless you are not.

I suggest that if we push back against, argue with, those negative thoughts it will bring about quicker change than focusing on the positive.

Because, really, it’s very hard to access those positive thoughts when we are unhappy. The negative ones, however, are right there for the plucking.

#2 – Smile.

Smiling seems like such a small thing but it’s not. Did you know that when we use the muscles in our face to form a smile instead of a frown we actually change our chemistry, releasing dopamine into our system which allows for an immediately improved mood.

I know that when my kids were little and I was drowning in the chaos that was my life, smiling at them made my day just a little brighter, if only for a few minutes. And then I smiled at them again because I just couldn’t resist and there I was, happy again. So I did it all day long. Or tried to.

#3 – Lots of lovin’.

Yes, I know. Sex is great. Really great. But what I am talking about here is physical affection.

Did you know that hugging is one of the best things you can do in your life, for a variety of reasons. A brief hug produces oxytocin which helps reduce anxiety. A prolonged hug produces serotonin which leads to increased happiness. Hugging relaxes the muscles and reduces tension. Skin to skin contact calms down the nervous system.

So hug your friends, your kids, your family members, someone who looks sad. Hug away. It’s quick and painless.

That being said, a good orgasm releases enough dopamine to guarantee you 5-7 hours of happiness. Really.

#4 – Watch a scary movie or an action flick. Or go skydiving.

So this is an interesting thing. Whenever I am feeling blue I love to watch The Walking Dead. I know. And yes, I am a grown woman. I never understood why until recently.

When we watch a scary movie or an action flick our body actually produces adrenaline and that rush of adrenaline makes us happier. When I watch The Walking Dead I get a full hour dose of adrenaline which can last me well into the night.

Skydiving, helicopter skiing and swimming with sharks have the same results but they aren’t quite as accessible on a Wednesday night after work. But definitely try them as well if presented with the opportunity.

#5 – Give back. In big ways and small.

Really it doesn’t take much to give back to the world.

We all have excuses about why we can’t volunteer – that we are “just too busy” is usually the first one that comes out of our mouths.

But, really, you can give back to the world, every day, in small ways.

Last week I ran into a woman on the streets of NYC. It was early morning and we were walking our dogs. I complimented her on her clogs, footwear that is rarely seen here in the city. We chatted about clogs for a bit and I bid her good morning. She said that me reaching out to her “made her day.” That I made her feel good made me feel good.

So reach out to someone everyday. That crabby person running the register, smile at them. Open the door for someone, just because. Make (or buy) cookies and bring them to work.

Just thinking about doing good can make all the difference. Doesn’t it just make you feel good thinking about bringing cookies to work? For many reasons….

So there you go, my 5 Ways to be Happier Quickly.

We all just want to be happy. And I would encourage you to reach out to me, the ultimate life coach, to help you work towards that goal. But there are things that you can do in the meantime, right now, to elevate your mood.

Whoever designed human beings installed mechanisms for maintaining mood and keeping us healthy and alive. We modern humans have a tough time accessing those mechanisms because we have forgotten they are there.

I have just reminded you. Go forth and use them. Be happy.

Looking for ways to be happier? Contact me and I can help!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Tweak Your Thoughts to be Happier, Even if it Seems Impossible

You know that voice in your head? The one that tells you that you aren’t doing enough? That you are fat and getting old? That you are a horrible parent and an even worse spouse? It’s a horrible voice, isn’t it?

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to pay attention to that voice. If you can teach yourself to talk back to it, to that voice in your head, you will find yourself immediately happier.

But how, you ask, do you talk back to the thoughts in your head? It is possible: all it takes is a little awareness and effort.

5 Ways to Tweak Your Thoughts to be Happier

#1 – Recognize that the thoughts in your head are just thoughts. They are not the truth – they are something that your brain has made up. For some reason, our brains are naturally inclined to go to the worst possible denominator when something goes awry.

If we make a mistake at work we think “I am terrible at this job and I am never going to be able to do it and I should just quit right now and crawl into a hole.”

Take a moment and think about this thought pattern, right now, with a clear mind. Is that the truth? Do you really think that because you failed at one thing you are a complete failure? Of course not.

In the moment, or moments, around an incident that is where your brain goes. The key is to recognize it and to reframe it immediately. Instead, tell yourself “I made a mistake this time and I have learned from it and I won’t make it again.”

If you don’t let your brain take you down to the darkest depths it is easier to rise back up from a mishap and move forward.

#2 – Don’t judge yourself for your thoughts. Once we start to recognize where our brains go in difficult situations another phenomena sets in – we start to judge ourselves for our thoughts. This is another brain trick, one we need to get around.

Your brain will make you think “I am such a loser. Why does my brain always tell me I am so worthless? I must be worthless if I can’t stop my brain from going there.” Don’t let it! Instead of judging yourself, recognize that your brain is playing tricks on you, that there is nothing you can do to stop it but that you have the power to change it. Don’t let the guilt seep in. Block it and shut it down.

Power is a very valuable thing to have.

#3 – When you make a mistake, think of an earlier success. Back to the example above. When you make a mistake, instead of saying to yourself “Oh I messed this up, how will I ever be successful at anything ever again?” a good idea is to think back to a difficult situation that you have been in before and gotten past.

What happened? How did you get past it? What did you learn from it? Remind your brain that you have had successes, many of them, and that this one mistake isn’t going to bring down the rest of your life.

#4 – Do something to give your brain a rest. We get these thoughts in our head all day/ every day, no matter how well our lives are going. An important tool in not letting these thoughts get the best of you is to give yourself a break from them.

This kind of a break is what yoga and meditation are all about: focusing your thoughts on something other than the thoughts that are bringing you down. Yoga and meditation are great but not everyone’s thing.

You can give your brain a break by watching your favorite show, reading a book, singing along to a song, talking to a friend. Whatever you need to do to give your brain a rest, to stop running those negative tapes over and over. After your rest you will be more resilient in talking back to your brain when you need to.

#5 – Love yourself like you love your kids. If you think about it, every day our kids say out loud things that are very similar to those voices we hear in our heads. And, because they say them out loud, we are able to help them work through them, to guide them in reframing their thoughts. And we do this because we love them and want them to be happy and healthy. Love yourself like you love your kids and teach yourself to reframe those thoughts.

So there you go, 5 ways to tweak your thoughts to be happier. Remember, those thoughts in our head don’t always benefit us and they are NOT the truth. They are just thoughts. Learn to recognize, reframe and move forward and your life will be a happier place. See? It really is possible…

Do you get negative thought tapes running in your head? What do you do about them? I would love to hear….

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!