empathy

Relieving Stress One Habit At A Time

Stress is a normal part of life.

We may not be able to control every situation, but we can find ways to minimize potential stressful events through our actions.

Be Prepared

Let us know if any of these thoughts sound familiar…

Oh, I’ve got to print out those directions before my hike next week. 

I have that big presentation tomorrow. I can’t forget to email my boss those notes. 

I can’t forget to get gas before my road trip this weekend.

Sometimes those tasks can take a lot longer than originally anticipated.

When time is of the essence, basic activities such as filling up gas can be quite stressful. 

Knocking those chores off the list sooner rather than later can take a huge weight off your shoulders. Every task completed is one less thing to worry about. 

Make a Habit of Setting Reminders

Regularly keeping your eyes on your watch throughout the day can be exhausting and prevent you from living in the present moment.

Setting aside 5 – 10 minutes every night before bed to set alarms for important events the following day is a great habit to get into. 

If you like, you can even set your alarm a few minutes earlier than necessary – in case you need a little buffer time.

Have an Appropriate Backup Plan

Even the most well-thought-out plans aren’t guaranteed to go smooth sailing every time, and that’s okay!

Life is unpredictable and frustrating events do happen.

Even if you leave your house 30 minutes earlier than necessary to get to a meeting, you still might be late.

Brainstorming a few solutions or backup plans in advance can give you some peace of mind. 

For example, if you get stuck in heavy traffic and don’t think you’ll be able to make a meeting on time, you can pull over and do the meeting from the car or let them know you will be there as soon as you can and encourage them to start without you.

Having those backup plans in place ahead of time can help prevent any stress or anxiety on your journey. 

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Understanding and Embracing The Highly Sensitive Person

Have you heard of the term “Highly Sensitive Person” or HSP? 

Those who are HSPs are thought to have an increased central nervous system and have a sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. These people are attuned to their inner state of mind and usually to the feeling or behaviors of those around them, 

HSPs can often feel overwhelmed by noises, colors, or temperatures. 

Here are some ways we can understand this term further and embrace ourselves or someone we may know who is an HSP.

The Thought Process

Have you ever felt rushed or that you had a short period of time?

Do you feel sensitive to bright lights?

Can you tell what someone is feeling from the tone of their voice?

These are just some scenarios that highlight what HSPs commonly experience. 

By acknowledging these traits and knowing what to look out for, we can get a sense of the thought process of an HSP and approach everyone with more empathy!

Acknowledging Strengths 

It’s important to also highlight the strengths of HSPs.

Highly sensitive people are able to be deeply moved by beauty and can feel strongly connected to themselves and others. 

Embracing these strengths, especially in our society, shows that there we can accept ourselves fully for who we are.

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Boosting Confidence And Self-Esteem

Having a healthy level of self-confidence can help us in so many areas of our life – both personal and professional. 

It can also help increase our overall motivation, which in turn can make it easier to achieve our goals and move forward in life. 

Now, developing a healthy level of self-confidence is easier said than done. 

However, several tactics can help you grow day by day.

Write Yourself a Letter

What do you want? What do you need? What has been on your mind lately?

Putting our thoughts, goals and ideas onto paper can make them easier to understand.

This can be done by journaling or by writing a letter to ourselves. 

Writing a letter to your past, current or future self can help you look at your life and goals in a new way.

Sometimes we can hold back on saying what we really feel due to the fear of being judged.

Your letter or letters are for your eyes only – so you can be raw, open and honest. 

Ditch Comparisons

You know what they say. The grass is always greener on the other side.

You never know what another person has gone through or is currently going through. 

Just because someone else’s journey appears “perfect” doesn’t mean it is.

Instead of focusing on what others may be doing, we can realign our energy on ourselves. 

Take inventory of your strengths and accomplishments as they rise. You have a lot to be proud of.

Be Kind to Yourself

Do you ever feel like you are kinder to others than yourself?

Self-compassion is all about being kind to ourselves no matter what! Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and appreciate the lesson learned. 

Sometimes setbacks are actually opportunities in disguise. 

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

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The Importance of Positive Self Talk

What do you tell your loved ones when they make a mistake?

You did the best you could, or everything will be just fine.

Now, what do you tell yourself when you make a mistake?

Do you give yourself the same level of care and compassion – or are you a little hard on yourself?

It’s so common to be our own worst critics and get stuck in a spiral of negative self-talk.

Learning how to embrace mistakes can change the way we deal with them.

Here’s how…

Reflect On The Scenario 

Once we have made a mistake, there is nothing we can do to change what happened. 

All we can do is alter our mindset at the moment and seek the silver lining.

Every single event that happens to us is part of our story and can teach us something. 

Access Our Strengths 

You have so much strength within you.

You can do anything you set your mind to! 

You have recovered from old mistakes in the past, and you will again. 

Acknowledging that you are human and will face challenges again can help you feel more prepared for them! 

Practice Positive Affirmations 

Setting aside even a few minutes a day to practice positive affirmations can help us feel better about ourselves and help change negative thought patterns into positive ones. 

You can say your positive affirmations out loud, write them down, or do a bit of both.

When it comes to affirmations, there are no set in stone rules – however, you will want to ensure that they spotlight you in a positive light.

Here are a few examples that can help you get started:

1) I am confident.

2) I am proud of myself and all of my accomplishments.

3) Today is going to be an amazing day.

4) I am excellent at what I do and am grateful for all of my opportunities.

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How To Better Understand And Manage Holiday Season Stress

The holiday season is typically known as “the most wonderful time of the year.” 

Spending time with family, attending dinners and picking out gifts can be a lot of fun – but can also be stressful and tiring. 

Practicing self care is essential 365 days a year. 

However – it is much more important during busy and/or stressful events such as the holidays. 

If you feel like you are taking on too much or need a break, it’s okay to respect your body’s limits. 

Not sure how or where to begin? Keep on reading. 

Accept Your Needs

It’s so important to carve out time for self care.

We are all human and can only go so long without taking a break. 

If a friend or family member asks you to do something, it’s okay to say no if you don’t think you can handle it.

Regularly check in with yourself and think about your needs and wants. 

If a certain activity brings you joy, keep on doing it.

And if a certain activity brings on stress, it may be time to walk away or at least cutback. 

Taking Shortcuts

Believe it or not, shortcuts are absolutely okay and even encouraged in certain situations.

If you feel like you have too much on your plate, you can certainly ask for help or scale back on commitments.

Focus on Your Breathing

Whether you’re feeling relaxed, overwhelmed or an emotion in between, taking slow deep breaths regularly is key. 

Carving out a few minutes a day to sit down and do nothing other than focus on your breathing can help reduce stress and bring on a new sense of calm.

You can practice deep breathing anytime and anywhere. 

The more you practice, the sooner it will become a habit. 

“There are times when we stop, we sit still. We listen and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” —James Carroll

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Building Bridges

We live in a world that has become quite polarized. 

Despite the frustration that can come from interactions, there are positive things to learn from differing perspectives. Have you ever noticed that when you meet someone with a different viewpoint in person, rather than online, you have more empathy for their point of view? Taking the anonymity out of an interaction can help the other side seem more real.

Some guidelines for embracing diversity:

Have an open mind: If someone has a different outlook than you, take the time to hear them out and try to understand where they are coming from.

Show empathy: Try to get to know the person better without judgement.

Challenge stereotypes: Become more aware of the language you use to describe others. Is it accurate?

Share your beliefs: Try to share in a way that is non-judgemental to those with different beliefs.  Help people understand where you are coming from.

Accepting others as they are:

  • Increases your own personal growth.
  • Decreases resentments as you can focus on what is positive instead of what is negative.
  • Brings about closeness with others
  • Allows you to let go of control of the situation

Embracing the diversity in our society is how we can learn and grow. By accepting each other regardless of our differences, we can find ways to connect genuinely.

Embracing differences might mean trying to understand different opinions without judgement.  And it can be challenging as others might not be as dedicated to making changes as you are. 

At the end of the day, we are all human. We all experience fears, joys, and laughter in our own way. 

We may not all be the same, but that’s why it’s even more important to acknowledge and embrace these differences. They are what makes everyone special. 

You can explore these resources to learn more: 

Empathy – Accept Other For Who They Are

6 Steps For Building An Inclusive Workplace

11 Books To Read If You Want To Be A More Inclusive Leader

Teaching Kindness And Acceptance Toward Differences | For Parents 

How To Seek Out And Celebrate Diversity In And Out Of Your Community

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