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So I've been on this old childhood movie kick lately and last night I watched the Wizard of Oz. I can't tell you how many times I've watched this movie, but this time I decided to watch it from a "grown-up" perspective. As the storyline goes, four strangers meet and set out on an adventure with a dog to be granted things they were wishing for, but already possessed. The Scarecrow wanted brains, but throught the movie used common sense and ingenuity to get everyone out of various situations. The Tin Man wanted a heart but displayed sincere care and compassion to all. The Cowardly Lion put himself in harms way when Dorothy was captured by the Wicked Witch. And Dorothy? Well, she just wanted to go home and she was home the entire time - she just didn't know because of a little bump on the head.
"I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it". This is one of my favorite quotes from Alice In Wonderland. It is a very special quote because it rings true in several areas of my life. As a therapist I don't really give advice. I like to think that I work as a guide to help people discover positive solutions and make the best decisions for themselves. My motto is to "help people help themselves". Sometimes I think it would be nice if I could help me help myself. I recently read Alice in Wonderland again, and afterwards watched the Disney version of the movie. If you've never watched it, I would suggest it. If you can move past the drug references in the movie including the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, Alice eating mushrooms and chasing the White Rabbit, and what many would describe as psychedelic trips - there are quite a few lessons to be learned. Here are my favorites.
My life is pretty chaotic. It's the good kind of chaos, but chaotic nonetheless. A few monts ago I noticed that I'd been a little more stressed than usual and sharted this with a colleague. She suggested that I try meditating. MEDITATE? I almost laughed out loud. Let's be honest, I think my brain suffers from what I like to call "I can't shut down syndrome". I'd tried meditation before and it was an epic fail. I found myself picturing peaceful scenes only to be interrupted by my own random thoughts. I moved on to mantras that turned into thoughts ranging from what i was going to make for dinner to is it possible to count my eyelashes! Meditation was not for me, or so I believed
I am back from a small hiatus. It wasn't a planned hiatus - life just happened. Trust me, when it happened it happened up, down, around, and all over me. Have you ever had one those days, weeks, or months when those "life happens" moments just keep coming - one after another, after another, after another? Within a few weeks I had some health issues, some frustrations, computer issues, some disappointments, along with some genuine "are you serious?" moments. I have to admit, I temporarily lost my focus. All of those postive things I live by and write about went right out the window. Then I remembered that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
I was convinced I was dying. As a matter of fact, there was no way you could convince me otherwise. Oddly I accepted my fate and whispered to my husband "call 911, I'm dying". I was sweating profusely, I could feel my heartbeat in my neck and my pulse echoed in my ears. I couldn't breathe, my face felt weird, my hands were numb, and I was shaking like a leaf. EMS arrived and tried with all their might to convince me I wasn't dying, but I was convinced they just wanted me to die peacefully without a fight. After some deep breathing and close monitoring I realized I wasn't dying and was told I had an anxiety attack.
A few months ago a very good friend of mine said to me, "the majority of your frustrations are due to your unrealistic expectations." I didn't know how to feel about her statement. There I sat venting to her about the frustrations of my life, waiting for her to co-sign on my misery, and that's what she gave me. I have to admit that it stung a little, but I slowly began to realize it was the truth. My parents taught me to follow the Golden Rule - to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. This is something that followed me into my adult life. The funny thing is that I missed a very important piece. The rule is do unto others AS you would have them to do unto you. The reality is that you don't always get what you give.
Earlier this week I wrote and entry about reasons we procrastinate and negative consequences. As promised this entry contains tips for ways to stop procrastinating. In writing this I thought of what helps me when I am tempted to revert back to procrastination. Believe me, I am tempted as procrastinating seems like the better option when I'm overwhelmed. However, I know this is not the truth and I am a true believer that procrastination creates a ton of unnecesary stress, even if it feels good in the moment. Who needs more stress? If you struggle with putting things on the back burner until the last minute, here are a few tips to get you headed in a different direction.
I have to admit, I used to live by the motto: "Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow?" Honestly, I still find myself thinking this way from time to time. American aphorist Mason Cooley stated, "procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder". So why do we procrastinate? For those of us who procrastinate, we may often find that in doing so, we create unnecessary obstacles. We find ourselves racing to meet deadlines, trying to find resources at the last minute, and struggling to complete tasks. Many of us hold the belief that we work better under pressure. While this belief may be true in some cases, it often creates more stress.
We have all experienced a moment where we have been approached by a friend, co-worker, or maybe even a spouse and asked to do something we really didn't feel like doing. We've also had those moments where instead of saying no, we've smiled and responded with the dreaded "yes". So why do we have difficulties telling others no when we don't feel like doing something? The Golden Rule Effect Many of us were instructed at a very young age to "do unto others as you would have them to do unto you". Sometimes we may avoid telling someone no because we would want them to tell us yes. Fear of a Missed Opportunity
Let's be honest, we all have some time where we just don't feel like it. The "it" may be going to work, tackling a project, completing chores, helping the kids with homework, or just getting out of the bed. Whatever the "it" is, sometimes we just don't feel like doing it. I've been in this slump lately. I've noticed that often when I'm unmotivated, I'm usually overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed is just one reason for being unmotivated. Not sleeping well can often be a reason for lack of motivation. Other reasons include, but are not limited to: stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feel of failure, or just disinterest in the task at hand. It should be noted that if you experience lack of motivation for an extended period of time with no or infrequent breaks, you may wish to talk to your physician as it could be a sign of other conditions. Whatever your reason for your lack of motivation, there are ways to get it back. These simple solutions may get you motivated in no time.