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How stress, fear and anxiety rob us of the ability to make good decisions

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We live in a world where fear, stress, and anxiety are normalised. While the news media is only partly to blame, making a killing of FUDGE (fear, uncertainty, doubt, greed, and envy), they are not the sole culprits. Each one of us chooses, on some level, to play this game. Or at least, we pretend that we have no other choices.

But, how do we make good decisions from a state of fear, stress and anxiety? In many ways, we’re hampered by tunnel vision, unable to see options broader than the scope of escaping the immediate threats that we perceive. We choose to move towards what we consider safe rather than seeing the wider opportunities available to us.

And so, we continue on this hamster wheel, continually fueled by our fears and making decisions in less than optimal mental, physical and emotional states.

I want to take a moment to explore the effects of fear, stress and anxiety on us, physically, mentally and emotionally. Then, we can explore the optimal states for decision-making. Finally, I will look at options for bringing in a form (albeit temporarily) in which you are calm and alert, allowing better decision-making.

The effects of stress, fear & anxiety

Fear, stress and anxiety are not the same. But I’m not going to delve deeply into the differences between them or the specifics of their physiological, emotional or mental effects. Instead, I will talk about generalisations. This has its drawbacks, but there are many overlaps in what happens to us in each of these states.

At a fundamental level, fear is the response to a present danger. Unfortunately, our minds are now quite adept at creating mental fears, presently with us, although blown out of proportion. Anxiety is fear for the future: the unknown and uncertain. And stress is our response to fear and anxiety: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Both fear and anxiety can send you into one of the following response patterns:

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Freeze

Long term, if you fail to return to a state of calm, you end up in a state of chronic stress, which most of us have become accustomed to on some level. This is what I want to address and look within and consider the possibility of change.

There are short-term fixes to stress, fear and anxiety. But if you are living with chronic stress, then perhaps it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. Allow things to slow down and ease off. I’ll come back to this later.

Your inner life: embodied stress

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When you are under stress (responding to fear or anxiety), your body will strive to keep you alert, moving, motivated and ready to avoid impending danger. Because of this, it will change your physiological responses, shutting down some functions considered non-essential for survival while heightening others.

So, for example, your digestion is non-essential, which is why when we eat on the run or when stressed, we often end up with indigestion or reflux.

But the body also responds to stress by maximising and filtering your senses towards danger. So, your peripheral vision opens up, which is why when you’re stressed, you struggle to find the car keys that were “right under your nose”.

You become better able to spot hostility and aggression. Yet, when someone is simply calm and passive, you mistake this expressionlessness for hostility rather than as a friendly face.

Similarly, your ears become attuned to higher and lower frequencies, filtering out the normal range of human voices. So, you will notice and tune into high pitched voices (stressed) while ignoring those that are calm and in a normal range.

The ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) responses

The ANS is part of the nervous system that controls many of the body’s unconscious functions, such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and the like. It steps up and controls your fight, flight or freeze response by controlling your heart rate, breathing, vision, hearing, taste, smell, etc. The RSA centre of the brain filters these messages, choosing which information or data to pass on.

When you are fearful and anxious and go into fight or flight mode, your energy and blood are directed to your limbs, making sense for running or fighting. Of course, that\s not very helpful in your office fight, where you need your wits about you, rather than the use of fists. Unfortunately, after a particularly stressful day, you might also find yourself feeling fatigued, as well as aches and pains in your muscles, even though you didn’t use them for fight or flight.

Similarly, in preparation for a fight and injury, your blood thickens, making clotting easier.  This is an excellent response for a fight but a terrible reaction for heart disease and circulation.

Anxiety can also lead to insomnia, as you are kept alert to ward off predators throughout the night. This is not a particularly helpful response with inner-city living when your stress is work-related and what you need is a good night’s sleep and a clear head in the morning.

Other long-term effects caused by the ANS’s response to stress might include>

  • impact on your immune system
  • high blood pressure
  • digestive issues.

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Your emotional response to stress

Everyone responds differently to stress: I quickly lose my playfulness and curiosity while my sense of humour turns darker. If my daughter tries to joke with me, and I am easily irritated, I quickly start to look at the cause of my stress. It’s rarely my daughter, but my lack of playfulness with her is an easy indicator that something is amiss.

Common emotional responses to stress include:

  • intense emotions
  • reacting impulsively
  • irritability, hostility & aggression
  • sadness or depression
  • inner turmoil
  • feelings of dread
  • frustration
  • withdrawal
  • defensive or suspicious of others

All of these emotional responses make it difficult to connect and communicate with others. Stress impacts relationships in the immediate way that we interact and the long-term impact on trust. It is lost over time when we establish patterns of behaviour that are stress responses.

Your mental response to stress

Rumination is a typical stress response: replaying a situation or problem in our minds, but with a single or limited perspective and options. It feels like going around in circles, a loop on replay.

Unfortunately, with ongoing stress, there is an impact on our ability to think clearly. The stress hormones affect not only our nervous system and immune system; they also impact the brain in a couple of different ways.

Memory & problem-solving

Firstly, stress hormones will impact your hippocampus, where you store your long-term memories. This makes it difficult to learn anything new. Ever tried to study and cram at the very last minute? You can remember what you studied the next day for the exam (when you need it), but a week later, it’s all forgotten.

The second part of your brain impacted by stress is the frontal lobe, responsible for paying attention and focusing. It’s the part of your brain that allows you to stay in the present moment, but it does more than just that.

The frontal lobe also helps filter out irrelevant or unimportant information. It is also responsible for your ability to judge rightly and problem-solving.

So, when you are stressed out or living in fear, the part of your brain that you most need is disconnected:

  • it fails to filter out important/unimportant information, so you feel confused and overwhelmed;
  • it fails to concentrate and keep you focused;
  • and it switches off judgement and problem-solving abilities.

Is it any wonder, then, that when you’re stressed, decision-making is so tricky?

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The essential elements of good decision-making

I consider some factors essential, from a coaching perspective, when making decisions. It doesn’t matter when these are personal or business decisions.

Your ability to take these factors into account requires a state of calm and alertness. It’s not about being relaxed and disconnected but rather in a calm state – fully connected and present.

Heart

  • It’s easy to identify the values of what is essential and priorities at this moment in time. It’s not just what matters right now, but the ability to differentiate the urgent from the important and ensure that you have considered all priorities of what is truly important.
  • You can connect with your feelings and desires and notice the emotions and desires of others.
  • You account for your decisions’ impact on relationships and weigh the impact on yourself and other stakeholders. Are you able to calmly assess the effect on all relationships that matter, not just those immediately impacted? For example, if you decide to take on new responsibilities, how will that affect your relationship with your children? What importance do you need to give to that impact?

Head

  • Mentally, can you look at the multitude of options and choices from various perspectives and angles? When you are in a state of calm, you don’t suffer from tunnel vision but instead can engage curiosity to get a balanced or integrated view.
  • Another benefit of being calm is that you can become aware of your own biases or limited views. If someone calls you out or challenges your perspective, you won’t respond defensively but rather can entertain the possibility of another viewpoint. This creates opportunities to think outside the box.
  • Thinking of this sort also allows you to plan for the future, foreseeing potential obstacles and challenges, without falling into the trap of catastrophising or awfulising and becoming frozen as a result.

Gut

  • At a gut level, you’ll become aware of your gut feelings or any gut instinct that might kick in, rather than ignoring it. But, at the same time, you’ll also be more aware of that deep feeling in your gut regarding your identity. What impact will decision-making have on who you are?
  • In a calm state, we can evaluate risk quickly, looking at safety and security concerns objectively and subjectively, without blowing them out of proportion.
  • You can be courageous in choosing to move forward without being foolhardy.

Imagine a lion

Visualise or imagine a lion or cheetah sitting in the savannah, looking at the potential food supply and feast before them.

Notice the sparkle in their eyes: they are present and alert. Those eyes catch all the details of the scene before them.

But at the same time, when you look at the body, it is relaxed rather than tense. They are merely present and surveying the scene without wasting an ounce of energy. There is a sense of calm and tranquillity. It is not fatigue or a state of rest. They haven’t just eaten, nor are they sleepy and planning to rest.

This is the state we want to embody for decision-making: calm and yet alert—one in which we can see clearly, wherever we choose to focus our attention. We want to listen actively. And we don’t want to waste our energy unnecessarily on tension.

In this state, we can think, plan and ideate.

So, how do we change from stress to calm?

Consider for a moment the NLP model of the cybernetic loop.

This model shows that our thinking impacts our body (physiology) and emotions. Yet, at the same time, our thinking is affected by our emotions and our body and environment.

If we want to change the loop from stress to a state of calm, we simply choose a point of interruption.

Will we interrupt the environment/body, the feelings or the way of thinking?

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While we process our thinking and emotions internally, the physical and physiological can be influenced internally and externally.  A physiological change is as simple as breathing differently or moving to a different room or space.

In any case, we can interrupt the loop of fear, anxiety, & stress by refocusing our thoughts, allowing emotion or feeling to pass through us, or making a physiological change. We choose a new path in which we rediscover what it feels like to be calm and alert to focus our attention on making better decisions.

The first step is self-awareness.

Know Thyself.

What emotional state are you in right now? How do you calibrate this state?

Notice your physiological state: how fast or slow is your heart rate? Are you breathing deeply into your belly, or are you shallow breathing? What is your posture?

And where are your thoughts focused as you read this?

You can use this same pause when you find yourself in a state of fear, anxiety or stress.

Just breathe takes on a new meaning!

Breathing works because it directly impacts our physiological state, and our breathing is a gateway into the ANS that allows us to influence our heart rate and bring us from a state of fight-flight into calm-alert.

A hurried and shallow breath tells our body to increase the heart rate. The blood thickens as hormones are released, and our pupils dilate to get better peripheral vision. But when we slow that breath down, we impact the heart rate, the release of hormones, and we can let the body know “it’s safe”.

But perhaps, like me, you rebound from fight-flight right past calm-alert over into freeze: this is a state of avoidance and dissociation. In that case, to move into calm-alert, you need more energy – which you can get through playing with your posture and your breath.

Practical breath exercise:

If you are feeling stressed and anxious, you can bring calm by extending your exhale. So, you might start with the 4-4-8 method:

  • inhale to the count of four;
  • hold for four; and
  • exhale to the count of eight.

On the other hand, if you are feeling tired and lethargic, you could do the opposite:

  • inhale to the count of eight;
  • hold for four; and
  • exhale to the count of four.

You only need to do these for a minute or two before returning to “balanced breathing”. Balanced breathing is the ideal state: your inhale and exhale are the same length and duration. For me, that’s an inhale for five and exhale for five. But you might find that you are more comfortable with a count of 4-4 or a count of 6-6. Find what is most comfortable for you.

In this ideal state of balanced breathing, allow yourself to relax, breathing in calmly, easily and effortlessly. This sends a message to the lungs and the nervous system, heart, and adrenal glands “calm down, it’s safe now”.

Using posture to take you from stress into relaxed

Another simple way to relax is to change your posture. Right now, you can roll your shoulders up and back and let them fall gently. Unclench your jaw and become aware of the muscles in your face and neck. Intentionally relax the muscles in your neck and then work down through your back, softening it while sitting upright. Uncross your legs if you don’t have both feet flat on the floor. And now notice what state you are in.  What changed with a simple change in your posture?

Over the coming week, take time to notice your posture when you are calm and present – relaxed. Notice your posture when you are sad or depressed – usually hunched over more, head bent forward.

One practice that I do daily is to sit in my chair and allow my head to drop forward, hunching my shoulders and pulling myself into a more fetal position while seated. I intentionally relax each muscle as I’m doing this. Then, I gently straighten up until sitting erect, with my feet squarely on the floor and my chin slightly raised. But I then take it further, and I lift my arms, a little above shoulder height and back enough to feel the stretch in my chest opening up fully. I allow my arms to fall gently, and roll my shoulders back and come back to an upright – calm, present and alert – posture.

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Notice the difference in how you feel between these three postures?

A simple experiment

Get curious:
Consider a decision you are trying to make – maybe something as simple as what to have for lunch.

  • Sitting in a semi-fetal position, consider the decision and your options.
  • Now, move your posture to stand and completely open, with your arms outstretched. Make it a power stance. Consider the same decision.
  • Finally, sit calmly and in a relaxed position, but upright and alert, and consider the options again.

Do you notice any differences in your decision-making perspectives? What did you notice?

Another simple way to change your physiological state is with exercise: which is why many people like to walk while they think.  Or, if you need to, do a full-on workout (boxing or a heavy run) – whatever it takes to burn off the steam and return to a state of calm.

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Practising mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation are other ways that you can “change state”. I find it particularly useful to do a body scan, where I sit down and, starting at my toes, just work my way through all muscles, skin & sensations, and even bones and joints, simply noticing what I notice.

  • Are there any aches and pains?
  • What tension am I holding in a particular muscle or group of muscles?
  • Can I relax them?

This exercise serves a simple purpose: it takes your focus and attention off the unknown future into the present moment.

Where attention goes, energy flows.

In Ditch the Diet & Face the Feelings, I ask my clients to practise mindfulness each time they eat – no matter whether it’s a meal, a snack or grabbing something on the run. Before they put anything in their mouth – that first bite – I ask that they simply breathe for 30 seconds and be present with their mind, body and emotions.  I ask clients to do the same again when they finish eating: practising a pause between eating and activity.

this creates a daily space of self-awareness, the habit of checking in.

How am I doing right now?

 

Interrupt your emotional state:

Perhaps all you need to break your loop and cycle of fear, stress, or anxiety is to give yourself a time-out. Take a break for five minutes, and step back and away.

In any case, no matter what the cause of your stress, remember to practice self-compassion and acceptance. It’s okay not to be okay all the time, and you don’t always have to hold it together perfectly.

But also notice that in all likelihood, right here and now – you are safe. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to read this article, and if the building were burning down around you, you would be running rather than reading. So, in this present moment, you have physical safety. Hopefully, you also have emotional security.

Take a moment and consider your feelings of fear and anxiety: what are the causes and stressors? How far away (in time & distance) is it?  Do you need to move further away from it physically?

Connection

While it’s hard to connect with others when we are in a state of fear & anxiety, it’s usually the remedy we require! The support of others is essential in returning a sense of safety & security, and it often also creates better perspectives in decision-making.

Particularly when we are chronically stressed, we need to take a good hard look at our inner circle: the five to six people we spend the most time with. When you look carefully at this group: are you getting support or merely giving support?

A supportive relationship does not mean that you are always giving-taking in the same ratio, and it is like the ebb and flow of the tides. But if you find yourself constantly giving but never receiving, it’s not a supportive relationship for you. And it should not be your “inner circle”. You might be part of their inner circle, but you need to redefine yours!

If you find yourself chronically stressed, I can bet you don’t feel supported.

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If you’ve never tried it – laughter is the best medicine!

Laughter is a great way to change from fear to joy. It can be obnoxious, silly or just plain comical. Find a video of a toddler or baby laughing for 2 minutes. Have a look at bloopers, one-liners, stand-up comedy or other jokes. Laugh until you cry if you need to.

After you’ve changed emotional states, look at what opens up and is available to you in your decision-making arsenal. What moved and shifted when you did?

Clearing your mind

I love the power of doing a brain dump before going to bed at night. There have been moments in my life when I’ve spent over an hour writing down everything that’s “on my mind” to be able to sleep peacefully. Sometimes, it takes a “to-do list” form, simply writing down all the things I “need to do” or should get done. At other times, it is merely dumping all my worries and fears onto the page.

I keep writing until my brain says, “that’s all, folks”.  When it has nothing more to add, then I’m done.  Taking that hour, even when tired, and writing down my worries certainly beats waking up at 2 am or tossing and turning throughout the night!

I find it particularly useful to ask the Great Creator & Divine Inspiration for answers overnight – writing down in my journal, after the brain dump, specific questions that I would like help answering in my decision-making process.

And then, when I open my eyes in the morning while waiting for the kettle to boil, I jot down the answers before starting my day. What new insights revealed themselves overnight?

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Morning pages

Another form of writing in a journal is morning pages. It is best done first thing in the morning, the first 45 minutes after waking up: when your ego still has a back-seat in your mind, and unconscious thoughts stream through effortlessly.

When you do morning pages, you sometimes find yourself writing down things that make you think, “where did this come from?”.  It could be a belief that you hold that you were unaware of. On the other hand, it might be an out-of-the-box solution to a problem you had on your mind for days!

Even if your morning pages are simply a stream of your fear and anxiety, over time, it breaks the loop, bringing you ever more into the present moment!

Mindful walking & thinking

Some people prefer (first thing in the morning or the evening before bed) to go for a mindful walk. This is where you focus your attention on your surroundings rather than getting lost in thought.

However, for others, there is joy in going for a walk specifically for thinking! In that case, make sure that it is a safe place to walk, where you don’t need to pay particular attention to your surroundings, and you can simply allow yourself to process your thoughts as you walk.

When I get into my day, it allows me to be present with what the day holds instead of what’s on my mind because I’ve already taken it out and put it on the paper. Okay.

5-4-3-2-1

A simple anxiety exercise that can be done “at the moment” to change the focus of your mind is this:

  • Five things I can see;
  • Four things I can touch;
  • Three things I can hear;
  • Two things I can smell; and
  • One thing I can taste in my mouth.

This simply takes the focus of your mind into the present moment and environment.

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Amplifying your decision-making ability

The best decisions are made in a state of calm. Wisdom – inner alignment & connection with others – is available when we are wholly committed to the present moment.

That doesn’t mean that the world and environment you are in are calm: but rather that your inner state is one of calm.  You create the calm within you need to look at the details as well as the big picture.

Wisdom comes to us when we are open to seeing more than just the fear and the cause of our anxiety: when we are not looking for an escape but an opportunity.  Fear will drive us to look merely for an escape route. But is that the direction you want to travel in?

Create opportunities – moments, days and a lifestyle – that allows you to find a balance between stress and relaxation.  In this place of being calm and alert, you will amplify your ability to make good decisions.

 

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Outside your Comfort Zone: how to find freedom

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One of the challenges I consistently encounter is that the restrictions of a diet allow you to ignore underlying issues. It doesn’t matter whether those are emotions, health issues or just relationships that need attention.

Following someone else’s rules hides the fact that you seek out food as a panacea for life’s challenges.

  • Are you feeling angry? Stuff it down by eating something!
  • Need comforting? Grab the ice cream.
  • Are you feeling tired? Scoff down an energy bar or drink.

But, are you living if you are ignoring underlying issues? If you’re angry: what are you frustrated or feeling powerless to change? When you need comforting, who could you call? Do you need a hug or to focus on loving yourself? If you feel tired, do you need more rest and better sleep? Is a change of lifestyle actually in order so that you no longer feel constantly tired?

If you escape the confines of diet, size and weight, you begin to experience life with all the highs and lows. Most of us never develop this level of self-awareness. It’s an uncomfortable place to explore, requiring that we dive into each of our triggers and emotional responses.

What does emotional eating allow you to hide from view?

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Habits & lifestyles

We are not merely human beings – we are human ‘becomings ‘. Each habit that we adopt, whatever it might be, forms, and shapes our future self.  Eating is a daily practice that shapes us, not just physically!

Exercising choice when you eat

Every time we sit down to eat, we face choices.

Awareness and mindfulness

The first is whether we will practice awareness and mindfulness of our body, our environment and our internal state (emotional or mental).

Practising awareness can be uncomfortable if we customarily move through life focused on stimulus, rather than our internal response.  This includes noticing whether we are hungry or whether we are eating for any other reason.

If we are not hungry, will we still choose to eat? Or will we honour the message from our body and wait until it requires food?

How do you eat?

Secondly, we face a choice of how we eat.

We control our environment to some extent: will I choose to honour “rest and digest” or will I continue in a stimulated (fight & flight) zone of doing while trying to eat.

Our bodies do much better when we sit and dedicate time exclusively to eating because we send the subconscious message that it is time to rest and digest the food. The great thing about physical hunger – as opposed to a craving – is that we might decide not to eat yet in a state of activity.

Sometimes, it is better to wait until we can sit down to eat in peace and tranquillity. Will waiting thirty minutes or an hour mean that you are less stressed when you sit down to eat?

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What do you eat?

Thirdly, what will we eat?

Food should fill our senses and not just our stomach. It should be our nutrition and energy, as well as a source of joy and enjoyment. Do you enjoy how your food makes you feel: are you enjoying aroma, taste and texture? How does it make you feel thirty minutes or two hours later? Do you regret the choice later?

Our bodies regularly give us feedback about the food we choose. Feedback includes:

  • clarity of mind or foggy brain
  • lethargy and tiredness
  • energy levels
  • the ability (or not) to sleep deeply regularly
  • feeling crowded or full shortly after eating
  • gassiness or bloated
  • light and easy

Stop and get moving

Finally, we face the choice of when to stop eating and return to activity. This choice requires the same level of internal awareness that we started with.

  • Am I honouring my body by stopping my eating before feeling crowded or full? Have I listened to what my body has to say about “enough”?
  • How do I feel physically, emotionally and mentally?
  • Am I ready to get back to movement and activity, or do I need to rest for a few more minutes?

Every choice influences what we become

Our relationship with food is merely a reflection of our relationship with self. When you feel love and compassion for yourself, you make better choices for your body.

Do I choose to honour and respect myself in the way that I eat and drink?

The habit of how, when, and where we choose to eat impacts every aspect of life, including:

  • how productive you are
  • your energy levels after eating and while digesting
  • choices about exercise and movement
  • whether or not you can sleep deeply and well every night
  • the relationships that you have (do they have the same eating habits that you have?)
  • the activities that you can carry out.

All of your day-to-day choices impact your health and wellness.

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The challenge to get outside your comfort zone

One of the problems with comfort zones is that they become familiar. Take a moment now to note your comfort zone when it comes to food and eating. Do you sit down to eat, or are you eating on the run?

Are you comfortable following a diet that someone else has set, which controls things like:

  • portion size;
  • calorie intact;
  • types of food that you are allowed to eat; or
  • when you are allowed to eat.

One of the reasons that comfort zones work is that they allow us to be more effective and efficient. Great comfort zones will enable you to dive deeply into developing yourself.  As you work within your comfort zone, you grow – taller & with deeper roots.

The question is: are you growing and developing within this comfort zone that you’ve built?

“Unless you do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Caged-in by your comfort zone

What happens when nothing new is happening?

If we stay too long in any position, our muscles start to atrophy.  If your leg went to sleep while you were sitting down, you would get up and move around and shake it until it was completely awake and all the blood had come back to all nerves and movement was fluid once more.

Why would you not do this with your life?

At that point, ask yourself – am I still on the top of my game? Am I innovating in my life, health and well-being – moving with the changing climate & conditions?

When we have success (as we have when we start a new diet), there is the temptation to think we’ve done enough.  But is this keeping us on top of our health and getting to know yourself better?

The consequences of staying put

What happens if you stay on a diet? You atrophy.

It’s much like only doing one exercise or one workout. The muscles get used to that movement and stop developing. Change is often a good thing!

And if you manage to lose the weight you wanted (or you get bored or stop getting results), you go back to life as it was before the diet. Before you know it, you’ve started to put the weight back on and lose the physical conditioning that you had gained by being on the strict regime.

Nothing changed within.

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For the change to be effective: you have to change!

If you’ve lived continuously by someone else’s rules, when you stop, you find yourself in limbo – in a space that no longer works effectively.

If we are not living & developing, we are withering.   It doesn’t matter how big or how old the sequoia is in the forest – if it stops growing, it is dying!

Is it time to get to know yourself, your body and your triggers to grow beyond where you are?

Getting outside your comfort zone

Start by considering three words:

  • compassion,
  • creativity, and
  • courage.

If you lived with deep compassion for yourself and others in your life, what choices would you make about eating and drinking? How would you choose to love and respect your body each day?

Is the way that you are living life at the moment supporting your creativity? For example, if you overeat and are always tired and lethargic after a meal, is your creativity being stifled by brain fog? If you are living on a diet, are you feeling constantly hungry and unable to get in flow? How does your lifestyle support creativity in the ways that it shows up for you?

Finally, do you have the courage to love yourself as you are today? To truly get to know yourself in a way that allows you to make changes? What does moving forward with courage in your life look like?

To get outside your comfort zone, you will need to ditch the diet of the rules you’ve been living by and face the feelings about everything that comes up in life! If food was not available: what would you have to face?

This is where you will find your freedom to grow. It will be uncomfortable, but undoubtedly worth it.

Choosing opportunities – identify your vision and values.

If you want to ditch the diet, I’d suggest you start with identifying your values and vision. This creates the opportunity to be the best version of you – a human becoming!

The person that will change your life is you!

the person that will change your life is you, look in the mirror, change, transformation, ditch the diet

If you want to live without rules, then you need a guiding light that you create.

  • What do you want?
  • Why do you want it?
  • How will you get it?

For me, for example, I want to be in excellent health because I have a 7-year-old daughter. I want to have the energy and physical strength to keep up with her in the years to come. I’m not looking to have a great beach body that others praise and admire: instead, I’m looking at stamina, health and well-being. That is my why, and it influences the questions of what and how I go about creating this.

If you take away the diet and restrictions: what do you want and why do you want it?

What do you want to have? be? do? create?

“Are you motivated? Are you coherent? Is your intention aligned? Are you feet, tongue, heart & wallet congruent?  That intention shines through.”

― Peter Guber

Use hunger as your compass.

There is no need to be afraid of feelings of hunger or cravings, especially when you learn to differentiate physical hunger (needing food and nutrients) from another hunger or craving.

Like any other emotion, hunger can be resourceful or unresourceful.

  • How will you choose to use your hunger? Do you let it guide your respect for yourself and your body?
  • Will you allow it to be a compass that shows you the way? Do you listen to what it shows you?
  • Are you hungry to create, to move or to have? Perhaps you’re hungry for knowledge and learning. On the hand, it might be a hunger to satisfy your curiosity.
  • What satisfies you in life?
  • What do you need in your life to have energy and vitality?

Support moving forward

Start by looking at who is supporting you. One of the reasons that diets and personal trainers work is because you have someone supporting you and providing you with accountability.

If you choose to live without a diet, you need that very same support and network that will allow you to discover yourself!

  • Which members of your family or friends can support you and help as you move through this?
  • Do you have a mentor or coach that will ask you the right questions?
  • Do you have a professional adviser to turn to when you lack information? This might be a nutritionist, dietician or even a health coach. They will think in terms of rules and diets (most likely), but explain to them what you are looking to create for yourself and find the right one that supports the journey.
  • How will you discover what you are hungry for?

As you move outside your comfort zone, regularly check that you are receiving the support you need.

Ready to move outside your comfort zone?

introductory call, Beth Gray, coach, coaching packages, phone call, Zoom, Skype, online, purpose, expectations, value, fit