Stress Makes You Stupid

Nicole Stewart
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Want my top 3 tips for making more money with less stress in 2024 as an ambitious woman??

Well, here they are!

TIP 1 – MOVE YOUR BODY DIFFERENTLY

We all know the importance of exercise on mental health, and in today’s world many people are even embracing the power of meditation!

These things are great and I do highly recommend them. AND, most forms of exercise (yoga, running, weights, swimming etc) are all ‘linear’ movements – they’re repeating patterns of relatively symmetrical shapes with your body.

If you look at your life, you also likely have a few ‘normal shapes’ that you make with your body throughout the day – you might have the ‘desk shape’ (imagine yourself sitting at the computer) – you might have the ‘relaxed on the couch shape’ (imagine yourself curled up in your favourite spot on the sofa) – you might be able to think about others, too.

These standard ‘shapes’ can see your physiology become rigid, and your energy stagnant.

I invite you to experiment with moving your body in a ‘non-linear’ way every day. Non-linear movements might feel like somewhere between a slow wiggle, a tipsy sway and dancing! Sounds funny, maybe a bit odd, and even a little confusing if you’re the type that wants to know the moves so you can get it right.

There are no moves.

Practice – 

Choose a song you like that compliments the mood you’re in. Turn it up to a volume that feels good and move your body however you feel. Try slowly undulating your spine, circling your hips and shoulders, stretching your arms out, swaying left and right or back and forward, circling your neck, softening your jaw, gently bending your knees and maybe even shaking your body! If you’re sad, get curious about how sad wants to move in your body. If you’re angry, agitated, scared, excited or something else, move with those feelings.

You might feel silly. In fact, you might even look silly. But that’s okay. This practice is deeply nourishing for your system and fantastic at releasing stored tension and stuck emotion you might have been carrying around. Stay with this practice for the whole song.

I recommend doing this daily.

TIP 2 – LEARN TO SOOTH YOUR OWN EMOTIONS

In a world full of escapism, instant gratification and avoidance of vulnerability, many adults don’t know how to sooth their own fears, anxieties and other ‘challenging’ feelings. 

It’s all too easy to reach for a pacifier – YouTube and Netflix, social media, alcohol or other substances and food can all be ways to numb to whatever might be going on in your emotional world.

But sadly, unfelt feelings don’t just ‘go away’ – if you choose to numb out, you’re just storing it up for later. (Hello anxiety attacks, exploding at your husband or co-worker or imploding and turning to self-destructive behaviours…)

For the record, life can feel like a lot sometimes – I get it. I’m all for a bit of conscious escapism from time to time. BUT, if you habitually pour yourself a glass of wine when you walk in the door every night then sit in front of the TV or you’re constantly busy doing something because you can’t bear to be with yourself without distractions… Well… 🤷🏼‍♀️

Learn to be kind to yourself when you feel scared. Speak to yourself with empathy, warmth and compassion when fear, uncertainty, shame or disappointment are present. It’s OKAY to feel these things. It doesn’t mean anything about you, and its all a normal part of being a human.

When you can soothe your own emotions when they arise rather than becoming disregulated and going into survival move, you’re going to be more able to take bigger calculated risks without freaking out and second guessing yourself, speak up more powerfully in the boardroom and trust yourself to take up space, say bigger numbers to prospects in sales conversations and back yourself more fully, have those tough conversations you’ve been putting off with your team members or spouse and forgive yourself faster when you do make mistakes or something doesn’t go your way (because sh*t happens sometimes!).

Practice – 

Start noticing what you’re feeling through the day. You might choose to set a few alarms in your phone through your day that remind you to take a moment, take a breath and checkin with yourself. Or, if you know there are certain times that your anxieties flare up like having to give a staff member constructive feedback or having to speak in front of the board, use those experiences as opportunities to get to know yourself better! Notice what comes up – what are the stories that arise? The better you know yourself and these afraid parts of you, the more effective you will be at self-soothing and managing your emotions effectively.

TIP 3 – AUDIT YOUR ‘RULES FOR EXISTING’

We all have ‘rules’ that we operate by. They’re like your life guidelines, or the unconscious agreements you’ve made with yourself and conclusions you’ve come to about the way the world works, who you are, who you will or won’t be in the future or what you will and won’t do.

You inherited some of your rules from your folks, some from society and accumulated others during pivotal life experiences. Others will be reflections of your core values.

Understanding the ‘rule book’ or set of beliefs that shape your reality and through which you perceive the world will give you the option to choose whether those rules are actually serving you – then you can either keep them, tweak them or throw them out.

Some examples of rules I’ve seen women living by:

  • If someone else is having a hard time in their life, I can’t share my own struggles with that person.
  • I can’t be ‘pushy’ when I’m selling or interviewing. If I’m too confident or ask for what I really want to earn, I’ll be seen this way.
  • I can’t be ‘selfish’.
  • If my body is over X kg’s, I am unattractive.
  • Being emotionally aggressive or unkind is acceptable if it helps me get my point across or my needs met.
  • I can’t change my mind – once I’ve said I’ll do something, I must do it even if I really don’t want to or don’t have the energy, integrity demands it.
  • If I’m seen to be less than perfect in a professional environment, I won’t be taken seriously as a leader.
  • I cannot trust men, personally or professionally.
  • My income or production is more important than how I feel. I should respond to work related inquiries or contacts regardless of the time, what else I’m doing or how I feel.
  • I cannot be late under any circumstances.
  • Being late by 5 minutes doesn’t matter as long as I have a good reason.

 

Reading that list no-doubt gives you some ideas – we all have unconscious biases about life and how to live it – and if those rules stay in your unconscious, then you’re playing a game on a field you can’t fully see.

In this game of life, some rules – like societal rules and core ethics – can’t be argued. But the rest, they’re up for grabs as you create your life.

Practice – 

Write a list of all the rules you can think of that you adhere to and believe in when it comes to your professional life or business. If you want to expand the list out to other areas of life like relationships, go for it! Keep adding to the list in the coming days as you notice yourself behaving in a way that reveals a new rule to you.

In a few days time, once you’re satisfied with your list, go through and review it. Use three highlighters to categorise them – one colour for ‘keep it’ one for ‘change it’ and one for ‘bin it’.

Write a new list of rules that reflect the changes you want to make, and then ask yourself, how do I begin to live into this new reality?

OTHER BENEFITS

Beyond reducing your stress levels and giving you opportunities to earn more in the year ahead, if you follow these practices I’m confident you’ll also experience at least some of the following!

  • Greater confidence in yourself in general
  • Better, more satisfying sex
  • Feeling more resourceful, resilient and creative in life
  • More self respect and a greater sense of peace with who you are
  • Better quality time with your kids and spouse, and an improved ability to be truly present with them
  • More laughter and enjoyment of life
  • Healthier professional and personal relationships

 

 

I truly hope you’ll decide to commit to these practices in the weeks and months ahead, I know they have the power to create magic in your life if you put them in action!

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Never underestimate the power of your past. Because it’s not in the past. It’s here in this living moment with you – woven into your responses, choices and perceptions; baked into your nervous system and psyche through and reinforcement and repetition.

That doesn’t mean your past has to define you, not at all.

Though, you’re lying to yourself if you say ‘its in the past’, yet have done no work to clear the ripples of that past from your system to create space for something new.

Yesterday, in a session with my coach, I went ‘back in time’ to the end of 2020, when I went through an experience that was somewhat challenging for me.

Here is a sublime example

Despite acknowledging the challenge at the time, I realised looking back that I hadn’t fully resolved or digested what happened there.

Part of me stayed frozen in that experience, and on the subtlest of levels, I have gotten in my own way unconsciously ever since.

That past experience was with me in every moment. It informed my capacity and energy levels, choices and perceptions.

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings and gifts link example: and then move forward with your life.

„ QUOTE DESIGN: I CALL THIS PROCESS ‘DIGESTING’ YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES, AND HAVE SPECIFIC PRACTICES I TEACH TO SUPPORT YOU TO DO THIS.“

I call this process ‘digesting’ your past experiences, and have specific practices I teach to support you to do this.

The challenges of the past – and your adaptations – can become like a cage you find yourself living in if you’re not aware, but this digestion process ensures your continued liberation…

Which past experiences do you need to free yourself from?

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings.

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