Dec 152021
 

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David Burns, MD

Here’s a book that gives specific instructions on how to change the way you think about your life. It was created to help people erase depression, anxiety, procrastination, guilt, pessimism, as well as perfectionism, anger, stress and low self-esteem. And it works. In a study of people with clinical depression, 70-75% of them were “cured” three months after reading this book and following the exercises.

By becoming aware of what you think, and then either addressing it or disputing the reasons, you begin to change the mental processes that have sabotaged you. Many people resist writing down their thoughts, for various reasons, but doing so allows you to view them more dispassionately. No longer are you controlled by your moods or negative thinking, you are empowered to confront it and change it.

Awareness and claiming your authority are key. When you take the time and effort to pay attention to what you’re thinking and write it down, you’re taking control. Then, by responding to it rationally, more positively, you’re accepting your authority over your own thoughts. This will begin to change your life.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Focus, the Power Behind Success

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Nov 082021
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

"Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop." Brian Tracy

“Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.” Brian Tracy

In today’s world, it’s hard to stay focused. It seems that every minute, there’s something to divert your attention. You probably check your email several times a day. Every time there’s a notification from your phone, you have to see what it is. That’s in addition to interruptions from co-workers, family and friends. After a distraction, studies show it takes at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get focused again.

Also, your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. Each time you shift your attention from one thing to another, you’re “task switching” and it burns up extra mental energy. When the entire day is filled with these intrusions, you end the day feeling drained and exhausted, with very little to show for it.

Benefits of Focus

However, when you’re more focused, you feel more in charge of your world, get in the flow and get more done. You also have less stress and overwhelm, because your mind has one thing to do at a time. In addition, you have more clarity, so you make better decisions, as well as being more efficient, effective, and productive.  

Therefore, to achieve your goals and dreams, your ability to focus is vital. Fortunately, it’s a skill that you can cultivate and develop. The more you focus, the more you’re able to focus. It’s just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

How to Create the Habit of Focus

You can’t be focused all the time, because the unexpected does happen on occasion. But you can set aside time each day to pay attention to your most important tasks. Schedule time into your day to focus on important projects. Here are some ways you can get started and cultivate your ability to focus.

Motivate yourself to focus. Decide how having increased focus benefits you, and remind yourself of that incentive when you set aside time for it. As you build your motivation, and act on it, focusing becomes a habit. Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Once you establish the habit of focusing, your mind will automatically know what to do when you want to do it.

Use visualization. Choose one task that will move you towards your vision or goal. What is it you want to focus on and achieve in this period? Before you get to work on it, take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself performing your task and accomplishing what you want. This increases your motivation, and primes your subconscious to start solving any issues you might encounter. You’re rehearsing your actions, which then makes them easier to execute.

Eliminate distractions. Find a way to minimize the effects of whatever can intrude on your focus time. For instance, research shows that if your phone is in the same room as you’re in, your mind is always tuned to it. Even turning your phone off doesn’t work. Therefore, put your phone in another room, where you can’t see it or hear it. Turn off your email. Close your door.

Minimize multi-tasking. Constant multi-tasking trains your mind to hinder your focus. However, you don’t have to completely avoid multi-tasking. When you’re performing automatic behaviors, such as doing dishes, watching television doesn’t drain you. Or you can pay bills and listen to a podcast. But when you do activities that need you to think, multi-tasking uses up mental bandwidth and exhausts your energy. Your mind is always seeking something new, and when you multi-task, you jump from one attention getting novelty to another. Multi-tasking triggers the reward centers of the brain, therefore gives you an incentive to repeat the process, which makes multi-tasking addictive.

Strengthen your focus muscle. Set aside time to focus on one task without distractions. Start off with as much time as you can before you need a break. You may need to begin with only ten or fifteen minutes. Each week, increase the time. Aim to have a sixty to ninety-minute stretch of focusing on one topic or chore before you take a break. When you take your break, do something that rests your mind for several minutes, such as going for a walk, getting a drink, or something to eat. This gives your mind time to replenish its energy and get ready for your next work period.

Being able to focus is an inherent talent that we all have. But it’s not an skill that is exercised much, so most people have gotten out of practice with it. With the above tactics, you can cultivate your natural ability, strengthen it, and develop it into a habit that will support your success.

Affirmation:
I have a natural ability to focus and pay attention to what’s important to me. It’s a skill that I can develop and grow through practice. The Universe flows Its energy through my focus, supporting my endeavors and smoothing my path to maximize success.

Watch the accompanying video, Guided Meditation to Focus and Accomplish More.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Trending Articles of the Week

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Nov 012021
 

Reduce Stress and Improve Your Life With Positive Self Talk

Self-talk is the way your inner voice makes sense of the world around you and the way you communicate with your inner self. Self-talk influences your experience of stress, positively or negatively. You can stop yourself from using negative self-talk and use your mind to boost your productivity and self-esteem and relieve stress. Use these 7 ways to take charge and change your negative self-talk to something more constructive.

Most Productive People: 6 Things They Do Every Day

This article is based on six tips from Tim Ferriss, author of the international bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. It describes the science behind why the tips work, and insight from the most productive people around. And much of it has to do with being calmer, more focused and happier.

17 Ways You Can Develop New Habits and Improve Your Life

Trying new things makes you healthier, happier, and more creative. It also builds new neural pathways in your brain. It’s possible to adapt to new ideas and habits if you’re open to the possibilities and willing to try new activities.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

How to Cope with the Inevitability of Change

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Aug 052021
 
Zigzag change

by Linda-Ann Stewart

The world is changing all the time. Sometimes, it sedately plods along, but other times, change explodes and disrupts the status quo in a major way. When this happens, it’s normal to resist change, especially because it’s imposed on you.

Whether your choice or not, change is threatening and scary. Nothing will ever be exactly the same as it was. You don’t know what you may lose, and no one likes to leave their comfort zone or feel out of control. But there are times when massive change happens whether you like it or not.

How Change Affects You

For instance, a deadly pandemic creates a major upheaval in everyone’s life. As a result, you could have to find another job, or you need to move to a new location, or a loved one may become chronically ill. Unwelcome and unexpected change brings uncertainty, which leads to stress and ultimately to anxiety.  

The Universe often nudges you out of your comfort zone with unwelcome conditions. If you don’t take the hint, it pushes more forcefully. The Universe wants you to keep expanding and evolving, and you can’t do that by staying in your old habits. You’ll have to let go of what no longer serves you to flow with the Universe and adjust to the new situation.

When change is sudden and affects your personal life, your normal response is to go into shock. Shock gives you time to process the reality of what’s happened. When you begin to emerge from the numbness, you may get anxious because you don’t know what to do. Or you do know what to do, and it’s overwhelming.

How to Handle the Uncertainty

When you find ways to handle the uncertainty, you feel more in control. Here are four steps you can do to take charge of your life.

1. Accept the change. The more you resist or deny the change, the less energy, resourcefulness or time you have to adjust to it. If you can’t accept the change yet, acknowledge that it has affected you. This is your first step to coping with it and moving forward.

2. Grieve the loss. For every change, something has to be left behind. There can also be opportunities, but often they come later in the process. At this point, if you have a sense of loss of what you valued, allow yourself the space to mourn. Only after grieving can you seek how to extract some good from the situation.   

3. Deal with the anxiety. What can you do in the moment to reduce your anxiety? Maybe it’s to learn a new skill, do some research, or go to a caregiving support group. Or maybe all you can do in the moment is take some deep breaths to ground yourself.

4. Make a plan. No matter how small the steps might be, or even one tiny step, make a plan. This will bring you a sense of control, lower your stress, and allow you to think more clearly. When you take one step, figure out what the next two might be, and take them. Keep doing this until you build up momentum.

When you become proactive, you take charge and begin to adjust to the change that’s affecting your life. As you chart your course through the troubled waters, you can find a way to survive and thrive with the changes that have happened.

Affirmation:

I acknowledge that change has altered the course of my life. The Universe will guide me in my direction and give me definite insight into what to do next. I take the actions I know to take, and the next step now appears. Everything is in Divine Order and works out in my best interests.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Sparks of Insight

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Aug 022021
 
Sparks of Insight

“Ideas that promote a life of joy, harmony, success and prosperity flow into my mind. I recognize and welcome them, putting these ideas into action. As I do, all of Life wells up to assist me.”

You’re always receiving a flood of ideas for progress, but due to stress, overwhelm or just frustrated, you may not be aware of them. You may have ignored them for so long that it’ll take time to tune your consciousness to them. As you listen, and act on the ideas, even if it’s just a little bit, it encourages your subconscious to feed you more. And action puts Life into motion to meet you and help you along the way. 

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Trending Articles of the Week

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Oct 092020
 

Nine Ways Mindfulness Reduces Stress

Mounting evidence from multiple studies indicate that mindfulness builds resilience and helps energize you. Here’s how mindfulness gives you the space to respond calmly under pressure. The article includes a meditation for lowering stress levels.

Protect your brain from stress

It’s not uncommon to feel disorganized and forgetful when you’re under a lot of stress. But over the long term, stress may actually change your brain in ways that affect your memory. Stress management may reduce health problems linked to stress, which include cognitive problems and a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Self-Compassion Makes Life More Manageable

Western society celebrate self-confidence, and encourages people to build this quality. But for greater success and happiness, self-compassion may be more beneficial. Self-compassion encourages you to acknowledge and accept your limitations and flaws. This can lead to positive changes in your life because instead of tearing yourself down, you accept that you’re human.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

4 Ways to Manage Your Stress

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Aug 072020
 
Woman surrounded by stressful thoughts

by Linda-Ann Stewart

When a stressful situation arises, your brain perceives it to be a threat. As a result, your mind instructs your body to react to the circumstance and keep you safe. Any change to your routine or situation is also considered stressful, even if it’s beneficial, like a promotion. And it doesn’t matter if the danger is mental or physical, real or imagined. Your mind can’t distinguish between them, and signals your body to prepare for a fight or flight.

This survival mode closes down the pathway to your Higher Self. You operate instinctively, to protect yourself, and can’t access your intuition, which is a higher level insight.

For instance, your boss might call you into his office, and you’re dreading a confrontation. You feel tense and worry about what it could be about. Instead of being angry, he wants to praise your work on a report. Your stress was caused by your imagination. If the cause of stress isn’t addressed and relieved, that pressure can escalate to a feeling of free floating anxiety and depression.

How You Deal with Stress

When you’re stressed, all of your mental resources focus on handling the crisis. You feel like you have no control. To cope, your attention narrows to what’s right in front of you and you can’t think straight or be creative. Instead, you act reflexively, as you have in the past, whether it was helpful or not. And you remain in this habitual state until the stressful situation passes.

Although you may not be able to control outer circumstances, you can control your reactions. By changing the way you respond to stress, your results change. When you feel in control, you make better decisions and can innovate to solve problems. Taking charge of your actions is vital to your health and well-being.  

Many spiritual people object to the idea of being in control. They want to be “in the flow.” Being “in the flow” is different from drifting at the mercy of outside forces. Spiritual people also associate being in control with “control freaks,” who run on fear and lack of trust. Being in control means making conscious choices and being intentional about your actions.

How You Can Gain Control

Here are some ways you can manage stress, rather than letting it manage you.

1. Delay your reaction. Remember, as a child, you were told to count to 10 when you were angry? There is a valid reason for this. When you pause for 10 seconds, it gives your conscious mind time to assert itself. That allows it to move to a more rational position and lets you recognize the consequences of losing your temper. You also have more access to other solutions. To give yourself time, take a walk, go into another room, or do something to take your mind off of it temporarily.

2. Be mindful. Instead of getting swept along by your anxiety, focus on the present. Ask yourself, “What can I control in this moment?” You may not be able to control the environment, the situation, or other people, but you have authority over other things in your life. For example, you can do something nice for yourself or others, remember all the things you’re grateful for, or read something inspirational.

3. Take small steps. Instead of getting overwhelmed, do one tiny thing, like wash the dishes. Then do another. Take one tiny aspect of what’s stressing you, and deal with it. For instance, if you’re concerned about finances, balance your checkbook. When you take action on a single thing at a time, you’re able to calm down your nervous system.

4. Use self-talk. Talk yourself through the problem. When you have an internal (or out loud) conversation with yourself, it allows you to be clearer about the issue. You’re able to organize your thoughts and evaluate what your options might be. Also, you’ve shifted your attention from feeling powerless to seeking a way through the stress. This engages your problem solving partner, your subconscious mind.

Feeling in control is your first step to reducing stress and moving towards a beneficial outcome. As you take charge, you have more power to change your habits and behaviors so you create the life you want. And you’re able to access your Higher Self and your intuition, so you can mine the treasure they bring to create your ideal situation.  

Affirmation:

The Universe is always available to help me deal with stress, but first I need to help myself. I have control over my reactions to situations that cause me stress. Once I acknowledge that truth, I can start taking action to reduce the pressure I feel. The more in control I feel, the more energy I have to create the ideal life I desire.

Watch the accompanying video, Reduce the Overwhelm of Stress.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Finding Focus in Unsettled Times

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Jun 172020
 

Focus in one of the most important skills to develop if you want to be successful, whether personally or professionally.  But because of our current crisis and disruption of our routines, focus is hard to grab onto and maintain. Here’s a couple of strategies to help you to broaden your mental bandwidth and feel more in control.  

Transcript:

Thank you for joining me.  I’m Linda-Ann Stewart, a vision strategist.  I wanted to talk about how to find focus in times that seem unsettled, chaotic, or uncertain, like now.

Focus in one of the most important skills to have if you want to be successful, whether personally or professionally.  But because of our current crisis and disruption of our routines, focus is hard to grab onto and maintain, isn’t it?  Your attention is taken up with the immediate and the urgent, right? And there’s so much that’s out of your control right now, which splinters your focus even more, doesn’t it?

So, for right now, just focus on what you can control. You can control what you do, your decisions, and your response to immediate situations. Just paying attention to what you can control lowers your stress level and you have more mental bandwidth.

Next, focus on one thing at a time. Just one thing. The brain can focus only on a single task at a time. When you’re thinking about or doing too many things at one time, you’re “task switching” and that exhausts your ability to function. So when you’re doing something, focus completely on it, if only for ten minutes.

Using these two strategies, pretty soon, you’ll feel on more stable ground. And you’ll be able to pay attention to more than just what’s right in front of you. And then, amazingly, you’ll be able to start to plan for the future. 

If you’d to achieve a 90-day goal more easily, download my free comprehensive Strategic Vision Blueprint. You’ll receive the blueprint, as well as a video of that walks you through it with tips and directions to support you in accomplishing your goal.

Thank you for watching. What one thing are you going to focus on today? Take care.

Read the complementary article Finding Your Course in Unstable Times.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart

Trending Articles of the Week

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Feb 212020
 
Reach Goal

The Power of Your Vision – and Letting It Guide You

Goals aren’t enough to move you forward. They run you in circles, keeping you busy, but not really accomplishing anything. You also need to have a reason for them, a destination you’re aspiring to with them. Use the three steps in this article to make this the year you make a difference in your life.

7 Science-Backed Strategies for Building Powerful Habits

When you set a goal, you’ll probably also need to change a habit to achieve it. But it’s hard to break a habit and create a new one. And if life gets in the way, it’s all too easy to backslide. To develop a habit that lasts, set yourself up for success using the tips in this article.

Two Quick Ways to Feel More Optimistic

Are you a half-empty or half-full type of person? The difference between them is how you think during stressful times. If you are a pessimist (half-empty), then you believe that you don’t have any control over what’s happening. If you’re an optimist (half-full), you focus on what you can do to make it better. If you want, you can start training yourself to be optimistic using the resources in this article.

~ Linda-Ann Stewart