Category Archives: power of now

Fear — stop being scared and get stuff done

Last night, I was thinking about all the things on my to-do list: migrate my blog, set up a Facebook fan page, build my freelance writing business, put together a plan for exercising and eating well, practise meditation and yoga each day… the stuff that’s important to me.

Lying there, I realised that I have been ticking stuff off to-do lists recently. I’ve researched kinder programs and schools, given my husband marketing and copy ideas for his theatre project, helped build Lego helicopters, created advertising campaigns for clients at my day job. I’ve been kicking some serious goals.

But not my goals. My to-do list has been stuck at the same point for months. 

So why is it easier for me to ‘do’ for other people? Why can’t I find the time to help myself?

Lying in bed, I realised. It’s fear. I’m scared. 

Doing the stuff on my to-do list means I have to start living my dream. But what if my dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

I might migrate my blog and lose the readers I have. I might create a Facebook fan page and get no likes. I might put myself out there as a full-time freelance writer and get no work. I might not stick to my exercise plan. I might eat cake and drink wine. I might find meditation makes me angry again if it’s scheduled in. I might start to hate yoga…

The fear of what might happen.
The fear of disappointing.
The fear of being disappointed.
The fear of not being good enough.
The fear of other people judging me.
The fear of losing money.

The fear of failing. 

Suddenly my dream becomes a nightmare. All because of fear.

How to feel the fear and do it anyway

Be aware and accept
You’re scared. So what? Everyone else is shitting themselves too — at least everyone who’s doing something on their own genuine to-do list.

Ask yourself: what’s the worst case scenario?
Be rational about your fear. Would you be OK? Unless your to-do list includes bungy jumping without a rope or naked yoga in the Arctic, the answer is probably yes. The worst case scenario may not be ideal, but you’d be alright.

Be in the moment
When you accept what’s happening now, it’s really hard to fear a future that doesn’t exist. Practise mindfulness. Be in the moment. The fear will dissipate.

Do something proactive
Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is fear at its most debilitating. Start. Do one small thing on your to-do list. Spend 20 minutes on it, then give yourself a 10-minute break.

Focus on what you will gain 

If you push past your fear and do what you want to do, what will you achieve? Financial security? Creative freedom? Happiness? The ability to make a difference to others? Be bold. Be brave. You’ll never live your dream if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.

Say no to other people — just for a while
Put yourself first for a bit. Be kind but be firm. Say no, I can help you out in a few days/next week, but right now I’m concentrating on my stuff. Don’t fear being seen as selfish. Reasonable people will understand and probably respect you for it. And by giving to yourself you’ll have so much more to give to others.

Revisit your to-do list. Make a pact with yourself to start ticking things off. Everything you fear is in your head. Stop feeding your fear. Face it and you’ll realise it’s not that scary after all.

If you’re here at Wellbeing bites you’ll see I actually got off my bottom and did a couple of things on my list. But yeah — I’m scared you might not like my blog. If you do like Wellbeing bites/Apple a Day, please sign up to receive email updates. 

Advertisements

Why FOMO is making us miss out on health and happiness

When my oldest son was a baby, he wasn’t a big fan of sleep. We used to laugh (hysterically, in our sleep-deprived state) that he had severe fear of missing out, or FOMO.

Today, the whole world seems to be suffering from FOMO, and the epidemic is no laughing matter. Apparently FOMO’s having some seriously negative impacts on our wellbeing and mental health.

According to a news.com.au article, a recent study found that “lower levels of need satisfaction, general mood, and overall life satisfaction related to seeking out social media engagement only insofar as they related to higher overall levels of FOMO.”

And it’s a vicious circle. People who have FOMO check social media more often, which only increases their FOMO symptoms.

Facebook is a prime example of FOMO in action, with its potential to cause insecurity, envy and anxiety.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook.

I use Facebook to:

  • post (retouched/usually with filter) photos of my family and me
  • circulate these awesome blog posts
  • boast about the good stuff (like 75% of us) and whinge about the bad stuff (like 36% of us).

I don’t use Facebook to:

  • tell the world about my completely average day where nothing out of the ordinary happened
  • post photos of myself looking average with no makeup
  • post average out of focus photos of my kids that aren’t particularly cute or funny.

See the pattern? The ‘average’ stuff doesn’t make the grade.

And yet you look at friends’ Facebook posts and think wow, he’s so photogenic, her kids are so clever and beautiful, his job is so amazing, her life is so much more interesting than mine.

Why is my life so ‘average’?

You know you do. I do it too.

Suddenly that idea that Facebook causes insecurity, envy and anxiety doesn’t seem that far off the mark does it?
Facebook (most social media actually) is a movie trailer. It’s all the best bits. The car chases, the first kisses, the explosions and the heroics. IT IS NOT REAL LIFE.

So what can we do about FOMO so it doesn’t turn into insecurity, envy and anxiety?

Be in the moment and be grateful for your ‘now’
Take a minute to realise that you will always be missing out on something. You will never be able to simultaneously travel the world, marry the love of your life, be glowingly pregnant, be free and single, be an incredible parent, look like a supermodel, run a marathon, quit smoking, lose weight, get your dream job, win the lottery, build a house. It is impossible. Enjoy what you are doing now. Enjoy who you are with at this moment.

Take a digital detox
Yes, I’ve banged on about this before but seriously, just switch off for a bit. A few days ago, I left the house without my phone. I freaked out (FOMO). What would I do on the train? How would anyone contact me? But as the day went on, I actually quite enjoyed it. Since then, I’ve limited my social media use and banned phone checks at wake up and lights out.

Be social in other ways
Make a point of organising an actual face-to-face catch up with friends. Family overseas? Call or Skype. Take a walk outside and look up rather than at a screen. Enjoy reaping some real-life return on investment.

Try JOMO instead of FOMO
FOMO is all about fear. JOMO (joy of missing out) is about joy. OK so its a bit of a lame acronym but the thinking behind it makes so much sense. FOMO is filled with ‘shoulds’ — I should be doing more cool stuff, I should be travelling, I should be more attractive… JOMO is about just being — enjoying the here and now and not missing out by frantically trying to record it through rose-tinted specs for the sole purpose of social media sharing.

You can join the fight against FOMO right now. Turn off your phone. Mute your social media alerts. Go outside and look at the world. Talk to someone.

You never know what you might be missing out on.

If you like this post, please sign up to follow Wellbeing bites by email and/or leave me a comment. You could also share on Facebook (or like Wellbeing bites’ FB page) or Twitter but it kinda feels wrong to suggest that considering the content of this FOMO post….

In the beginning…

My last post was all about being epic. This one is about momentum. It’s all well and good saying “yeah, I’ll be epic. Easy!” But actually doing something? Now that’s a bit of a challenge. But why? Why is it so hard to actually start something? Not just something – the thing you really, really, really want to do?

Whatever the dream is – starting your own business, publishing a novel, losing weight, becoming a yogi, climbing Everest… writing about natural health and wellbeing (just as an example) – we can be our own worst enemies. I for one spend countless hours thinking up scenarios where things go wrong. How spectacular are the ways in which I fail in my imagination…
You know what? You don’t do, you can’t fail. But you also can’t succeed. And isn’t that worse?
A wise man once said: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” My husband has since fessed up that he nicked it from Goethe. Details. It’s an awesome quote and one I now have over my computer to give me an eloquent kick up the bum. 
So apart from pinning Goethe quotes to my wall, here are my four top tips to help you begin:
  1. Five is the magic number. Whether it’s running for five minutes, writing five sentences, doing five yoga poses, or talking to five new people a day, just do it for five. If you still don’t fancy it after that, give up and try another day. But 90% of the time you’re going to want to carry on.
  2. Breathe. There’s always time to breathe. Try this simple breathing exercise to bring you back into your body.
  3. Schedule it in. Nope it’s not very spontaneous or ‘in the moment’, but it works. Block out the time. Set calendar reminders. Turn off your phone and shut the door. 
  4. Be gentle with yourself. This is crucial. Would you talk to others the way you talk to yourself? Of course you wouldn’t, so stop being so damn mean. If your mind wanders into procrastination or worse, criticism, notice and gently guide it back to the present and the positive.

Right. That’s enough reading blog posts. Get out of here – go forth and begin it. 

Being epic

Since December 2011, I have mostly been procrastinating. As you can see, I’m actually very good at it. I have incredible staying power when it comes to putting things off. I’ve been waiting you see. Waiting for a better job to come along, waiting for inspiration, waiting for the kids to get a bit older, waiting until I’ve got more money/time/energy/alcohol…

Then I read a blog post by author/blogger Johnny B Truant called the universe doesn’t give a flying fuck about you (that everyone else I’ve spoken to since seems to have read “years ago” but whatever – I’ve been busy, procrastinating). So JBT gave me a great big slap in the face and told me that whatever shit I’m currently drowning in is all my fault and that I will die actually quite soon and I need to start being epic right now. Now. Not tomorrow or next week or when I have time but NOW.


So I procrastinated a little more and read some more JBT. He slapped me in the face a bit more with choice comments like: “What are you so fucking worried about?… You have but a nanosecond on the universal clock to do whatever it is you’re going to do. When that time is gone, it’s gone. Forever.” Then I downloaded a couple of apps to help me get organised. Then I blogged. Ok, it may not be quite as awesome as I’d pictured (daydreaming – more procrastinating), but I’m back on the blogging wagon and it feels pretty effing epic.