“Anxiety is unfocused fear.”-Dr. Arthur Brooks
Many report to having anxiety. They report trouble sleeping. Feeling exhausted physically and mentally. The number of people that are on anti-anxiety medication is mind blowing. Anxiety can take over our minds and bodies leaving us depleted and incapacitated.
Yet have we ever tried to identify the real source of our anxiety? When we feel anxiety, it’s often very ambiguous. We know we’re afraid, but it is difficult to identify the real reason. The brain craves certainty above all else. So when the future and the outcome are unknown, the brain goes into panic mode.
“The brain mistakes ambiguity for danger.”- Dr. Bill Anton
When feeling anxious, a powerful tactic is first to “Focus Your Fear”.
-Identify the fear.
-Name the fear.
-What is the real fear that is causing me to feel this way?
Strategic Tip: Put your fears into words through writing or speaking. Specifically writing stimulates a part of the brain that is associated with rational thought.
I feel anxious. Why?
Because cashflow is tight in the business and I don’t know what is going to happen. (source of fear)
If cashflow is tight in the business, what are some real possible scenarios? (and then what?)
Example 1: Our Rational brain: We have some sources of liquidity we can use to get us through this tough time. We could use X, Y,Z… If none of those are good, we could do strategy A, B, C….
Example 2: Our Emotional brain: The bank is going to close on us. We’ll have to layoff all our employees. We’re going to lose our house. My wife and kids will end up homeless. I’ll ruin my kids lives. They’ll hate me. We’ll lose everything. I’ll end up divorced. I will be a big disappointment to my parents and my kids. My life will be one big, wasted failure.
As crazy as Example 2 (emotional brain) sounds, this lives inside all of us. The unknown drives our brains crazy. It turns one unknown situation into an Armageddon that is going to completely destroy our lives RIGHT NOW! Guess what? The entire future is unknown, so the brain will continue to freak out forever, if we let it.
Focusing our fear brings clarity to what is real and unreal. It will quiet our mind. We’ll see that while we cannot know the outcome with certainty, it is very unlikely that the many terrible things in our minds will not come to pass. And if the bad things do happen, it will most likely not be nearly as bad as we imagine.
Practical Takeaway: When you’re feeling anxious, focus your fear. Identify it clearly by putting it into words, verbalizing or writing. This will automatically lead to rational, strategic thought.
In the midst of our fast-paced lives, the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, offers a serene retreat for holistic well-being. Beyond a mere stroll, it’s a mindful immersion in nature, backed by scientific evidence revealing numerous health benefits.
Scientific studies, such as those published in the Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine and the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, underline the stress-reducing effects of Shinrin Yoku. Forest environments, laden with phytoncides, have been linked to enhanced immune function, as highlighted in the latter study.
Moreover, forest bathing is a boon for mental health, with research from the Journal of Affective Disorders showcasing its potential to alleviate anxiety and depression. Another study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition suggests that time in nature, particularly forests, enhances cognitive function, fostering improved concentration and creativity.
As we navigate the demands of modern life, integrating Shinrin Yoku—whether in expansive forests or urban green spaces—invites a mindful connection with nature. This practice, rooted in simplicity, emerges as a profound means of revitalization, urging us to unplug and embrace the therapeutic embrace of the natural world.
The science of neuroplasticity emerges as a powerful ally, offering a roadmap for reimagining ourselves and unlocking potential. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, allows us to reshape our thoughts, behaviors, and ultimately, our identities.
One method to leverage neuroplasticity is through mindfulness practices. By cultivating present-moment awareness, we can rewire neural pathways associated with stress and negativity. Meditation and mindfulness exercises enhance neuroplasticity, fostering a positive mindset and reducing the impact of harmful thought patterns.
Another avenue for personal transformation is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This evidence-based approach targets maladaptive thoughts and behaviors, encouraging the formation of healthier neural connections. Engaging in activities that challenge our comfort zones and learning new skills also stimulates neuroplasticity, fostering adaptability and resilience.
Visualizing our ideal selves is a potent tool. The brain cannot distinguish between a vividly imagined experience and a real one. By consistently envisioning the person we aspire to be, we prompt neuroplastic changes that align with our desired identity.
The science of neuroplasticity invites us to become architects of our own evolution. Through mindfulness, cognitive interventions, experiential learning, and visualization, we can actively participate in the reimagining of ourselves sculpting a more resilient fulfilled version of who we are.
What pulls you away from the beauty of your soul? In The pursuit of wealth, chasing after relationships, or any other distractions, it’s crucial to ponder if these endeavors are truly worthwhile.
Money and relationships are undoubtedly significant aspects of life, but if they become consuming forces that distance you from the essence of your soul, it’s time for introspection. The constant chase for financial success or the pursuit of fleeting relationships might lead us down a path where the core of our being gets overshadowed.
Consider the moments when you find yourself immersed in the chaos of material pursuits. Are these endeavors aligning with your true self, or are they merely veiling the beauty within? It’s easy to get caught up in societal expectations and external pressures, losing sight of our authentic selves in the process.
Amidst the daily grind, allocating time for self-discovery and introspection is the key. Reconnecting with your values, and innermost desires can provide clarity. Evaluate whether the pursuits that consume your time and energy contribute positively to your well-being and soul.
Life is a delicate balance, and finding harmony between external ambitions and internal serenity is an ongoing journey.
By identifying and confronting our fears, we can break free from the confining courtyard of inhibition and pave the way for continued success. Here are three essential steps that will help guide you through the process of removing fear and empowering yourself to become your best.
I mentor a lot of young men and most of them are hungry to viewed by the world as successful. Today a young man asked the question, “How Do You Know When You Have Enough?” He was referring to financial and material success when he asked the question. But I believe perhaps we would all be better served if we make sure we’re measuring and defining success in the appropriate way.
I have a sister, who always compliments how successful I am because of some good business decisions I’ve made in the past. But she has been married to the same man since she was 19 years old (I won’t say her current age, but it’s a long marriage). She raised a wonderful family that loves and supports each other. From my point of view, she’s as successful as any person could ever be.
My friend, who has been a priest for over 50 years. He’s dedicated his life to God and helping mentor those seeking a closer relationship with God. Could your life be more successful than that?
Society tends to view success as wealth and power (fame, influence, ect). I think that’s very misguided. On my tombstone they won’t write, “Roy Terracina-A Great Businessman.” My true success will be how I touched the lives of many people, loved my family, and helped those I could.
Make sure you’re using the right scoreboard in measuring your life.
I’d like to present a set of intentional and mindful practices to add vibrancy and fulfillment to your week. Let’s break down and expand on each suggestion:
1. Set Weekly Goals:
On Sunday night, take a moment to reflect and identify three specific aspects of your mental and spiritual well-being that you would like to work on during the upcoming week. These could include improving emotional reactions, breaking patterned responses, or fostering positive thought patterns. Writing them down creates a tangible commitment to self-improvement.
2. Morning Focus Routine:
Start your Monday morning by revisiting the three goals you set the night before. Avoid the temptation to check your phone or engage in other distractions immediately. By prioritizing your mental and spiritual focus before diving into the day’s activities, you set a positive tone for the week.
3. Connect with Positive Influences:
Actively plan to spend time with positive individuals who uplift and inspire you. Consider turning these interactions into “movement dates” where you engage in physical activities together. Whether it’s a run, walk, gym session, or any other form of exercise, combining positive social interactions with movement enhances the overall experience and contributes to your well-being.
4. Design a Day to Give Back:
Dedicate a specific day to giving back and helping others in need. This intentional act of service not only benefits the recipients but also adds a sense of purpose and fulfillment to your own life. Plan how you will contribute to the well-being of others and make a conscious effort to follow through during the week.
5. Reflect and Express Gratitude:
Monday evening, take some time to reflect on the choices you made throughout the day. Express gratitude for the positive direction you chose and acknowledge the deliberate choices you made. This reflection helps reinforce positive behavior patterns, setting the stage for continued mindfulness and intentionality throughout the week.
By incorporating these practices into your weekly routine, you can transform tasks into vibrant opportunities for personal growth, connection, and service, ultimately adding color and meaning to your life.
Have a great week and remember to live well,
I have a suspicion that we came to this life with more than we realize. Your DNA knew exactly how to form your body, your organs, and brain tissue. All without your help. What keeps us so susceptible to holding onto the concept that we didn’t also arrive with an ideal strategy, cognitive game plan and soulfully imprinted tactics for living an amazing life?
The goal then should be to come into contact with this insightful metaphysical content. How do we do that? I feel that’s in large part what Zen meditation and the yogis of old have been trying to explain to us. If we continue to live a life disconnected to the internet, how do we expect to pull down data and have it available?
Anything that clouds our ability to think clearly disconnects us from this information. We can easily call this “Source” information as it comes from something other than your current physical manifestation. You may feel more or less comfort imagining this as God, the creator. There has been mention of this Source for thousands of years in various religious works and I think it works perfectly when talking about accessing your higher levels of thought and knowledge.
Keep the channels clear of static. Free from useless noise. Avoid nonsensical patterns that don’t suit the highest “you”. Eat foods that allow you to feel energetic and keep your cells healthy. Every cell is a sentient entity that constantly responds to it’s environment. Honor that cell by building in the most ideal garden of Eden with clean rivers and beautiful valleys that provide nourishment and enrich that little being.
Probably the single most important ingredient to remembering who you fully are requires an open and observant heart. One that practices loving unconditionally, wants not, drives intention, and acts as a guide in the dark by lighting the path of your true plan. When this is in place, your reactions become less about satisfying you and more about the greater good of those around you. I’m not suggesting you become a victim and solely rule with your heart; that’s a path to imbalance and heartache along with abuse and trauma. I am suggesting that with respect to your needs and healthy balance goals, to use your heart as a means of interaction and always let the logical heart lead the way.
Practicing the art of remembering requires a quiet mind so that you can hear the subtle whispers in the wind. It requires a nonjudgemental perspective deriving from self love as well as love for others and all things. Find the right station and you’ll hear the song you’re looking for.
Business leadership recapitulates the structure and function of early family life, where power is held in the hands of the adults. Because of this, it recreates an “at-home feeling” in those who feel disempowered and at the same time offers them a context that makes change possible. Business leaders who are committed to developing the highest and best potentials in their workers enjoy optimal performance and commitment in return. They can influence the “at home feeling” from disempowered to committed.
What better gift could the business world offer society than to be the vehicle for creating a context that once again enlivens us to create? This is a “win, win, win” situation—how could it remain invisible for so long and be actively avoided in so many subtle and not-so-subtle ways? One can only conclude that the freedom to create stimulates the fear of the unknown and taps into a part of us that would rather settle for the known than stimulate the terror created by the part of our brain that interprets ambiguity as danger.
People are more likely to fully invest in what they themselves create. This is because our early experiences result in mental models which organize reality in a particular way. It is possible to value something created by someone else and commit to learning and supporting it. We can even master structures created by others but skin in the creation game is what engages us at the level of mastery, energy and engagement. What we create, we know and what we know influences our ability to create. That is the basis of commitment. There is a parallel process in relationships. Simply put, commitment to a relationship or organization is a function of the possibility of growth. Full engagement is reciprocal.