In his late 20’s, Clive Fogelman lost both his parents within six months. He was then diagnosed with bowel cancer a few years later.
Clive credits both yoga and meditation as significant tools for dealing with his anxiety through this challenging time and says that by using these things as a ‘toolkit’, everyone can benefit.
Whether it’s focusing on your breathing while waiting for the kettle to boil, or paying more attention to your surroundings when walking to work, everybody can put a little more mindfulness into their day.
We spoke about:
The importance of ‘inviting yourself’ to connect with your body and how you feel.
Breathing techniques to deal with anxiety and stress instantly.
Bringing yourself back to the present.
How becoming more self-aware can help you deal with everyday emotions.
Taking all experiences (good and bad) and seeing them as something to observe – without judgment or feeling like they’re going against you.
The power of the mind and belief.
How to use a mindfulness pause.
Letting the journey present itself, and dealing with whatever is part of it without fear dictating how you feel.
Clive has been a yoga and meditation teacher for nearly a decade. You can find out more about what Clive does at www.helloyoga.co.uk
Alison Edgar, aka The Entrepreneur’s Godmother, started her own venture when she was 46. Since then, she’s been voted one of the UK’s top business advisors, with invitations to both Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.
It turns out that sales (selling) is a surprising handy skill to have when it comes to overcoming anxiety.
We spoke about: – The importance of asking for help. – Making a change, even when it scares you. – How to avoid regret. – Why ‘real men’ do cry. – Dealing with anxiety, stress and pressure at work, and as an entrepreneur. – The pressures of money and debt. – Staying motivated through challenges.
The 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, shows us why 80% of our worry (and the anxiety that comes with it) is made up by us.
If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle), the basic principle of it is that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Effects of what? Causes of what? I hear you say.
That’s the whole point of the Pareto Principle. It relates to anything – and it’s surprisingly accurate in relation to anything.
Seeing as I spend most of my time in the world of anxiety, and seeing as you’re probably here because you want to manage your anxiety better, I thought it might help us with managing our anxiety. And it does. Massively.
When I discovered the principle and how accurate it was, it helped me appreciate just how much of my worry, anxiety and stress was real and how much was made up by me.
In other words, it helped me see and appreciate that I was my own worst enemy!
How the 80/20 rule relates to overcoming anxiety
The Pareto Principle is such a powerful and accurate principle, it’s well worth us translating its meaning into overcoming anxiety. And that’s the bit I want to help you with.
When we link the 80/20 rule with overcoming anxiety, it shows us that 8/10 of your problems don’t exist.
That’s a decent bit of knowledge to have – especially when it comes to reducing our anxiety.
You’ll have about 60,000 thoughts tomorrow. If you’re dealing with high anxiety, most of those thoughts will be worrying ones. You know the type of worrying thoughts I’m talking about. They normally start with ‘what if…?’. They’re thoughts based on us trying to predict the future and worrying about the past (what’s already happened).
Summed up: Overthinking.
What the Pareto Principle shows us is out of all those worrying thoughts you have, 8 out of 10 of them won’t be real. 8 out of 10 of the things causing you anxiety is made up by you.
On the flipside of that, it means that roughly 20% of the things you worry about are worth worrying about. They’re the things worth spending your time on. And when you spend your time on those things, they make a difference to your life.
What does this knowledge do for you?
I’m hoping it does two things:
It helps you appreciate that nearly all of your worry, and therefore all of your anxiety, is made up by you. That means that when you start taking more control the impact can be significant.
It instantly reassures you to know that your problems and worries aren’t as big and overwhelming as you thought they were. When you focus on the 2/10 things that count, it gives you the confidence to know you can handle it.
Try it for yourself.
If you’ve read this and think the 80/20 rule is a bit of a crock, or you’re still not convinced, try it for yourself.
When you wake up tomorrow, have a piece of paper and pen handy, and write down every worrying type thought you have throughout the day, no matter how big or small.
At the end of the day, go through your list and tick all the thoughts you had that were made up – all the worrying thoughts that were not real – things that didn’t happen.
I’d be very surprised if at least 80% of those thoughts on your list weren’t ticked.
BTW – If you’ve got all your predictions for the future 100% accurate, please get in touch. You and I can make some serious money.
It’s time to ditch the social awkwardness so you can focus on having a good time and achieve more socially.
Most socially anxious people will avoid social and business gatherings, like parties, weddings and meetings, like the plague.
I know I used to.
I spent years trying to mask how I really felt in social situations by hiding my gut-wrenching lack of confidence with pointless head nodding and fake smiling.
I think I got away with it.
But it’s no good just getting away with social unconfidence using fakery.
Fakery is just a mask used to cover up how we really feel. Eventually, the faking catches up with us, the mask falls off, and we have nowhere left to hide.
Seeing friends, social gatherings and business events – and basically having a good time – shouldn’t be destroyed by a lack of confidence. Especially when you consider that confidence is a skill that anyone can grow.
And that includes social confidence.
Knowing that you can grow the skill of social confidence means you can take a different approach. With practice, you can look to develop your social confidence skills until you reach a point you look forward to seeing people. (Maybe even have a good time.)
Here are six ways to boost your social confidence so you can ditch being shy, meek, socially awkward and anxious.
#1: Ditch the silence
Socially anxious people are quiet. They don’t say much and prefer to stay on the outside of a conversation. This isn’t always the case. Some confident people are thinkers and prefer to listen than talk. But you know the difference. The unconfident, silent and socially anxious type get embarrassed when they’re asked for their opinion, whereas a thinker will give it without delay. A socially anxious person would prefer the floor to swallow them up rather than face the prospect of speaking in public.
Boosting social confidence means speaking out.
However uncomfortable you might feel, get involved in the conversation and get in the habit of speaking out and voicing your opinion. ‘Public speaking’ doesn’t necessarily mean getting on stage. Whenever you’re in public and talking that is public speaking. That means you’re practising public speaking just by speaking with a friend.
Whatever the circumstance or situation, there is no room for complete silence. Keep practising speaking out and voicing your opinion, whether that’s with one friend or in a group of twenty.
#2: Be comfortable in your own skin
Socially confident people are comfortable in their own skin. They know they’re not perfect (because there is no such thing), and embrace and accept their imperfections as much are their strong points. This includes both their looks and personality.
Socially anxious people are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror and worrying about what other people are thinking about them. They focus on their imperfections and, by doing so, convince themselves that they’re not good enough and nobody would ever want them.
Boosting social confidence means the ability to recognise both your imperfections and strong points – and be comfortable with both.
By accepting the fact you’re not perfect you’ll stop striving for perfection. You’ll get instant freedom and immense satisfaction from that. You’ll start to feel more comfortable in your own skin, and that will ooze out of you as self-confidence.
#3: Be forthcoming and say hello
Socially confident people say ‘hi’ first. They introduce themselves without the need to be asked. They are approachable and generous with their attention and time. They know how to use their ears as well as their month, listening intently, taking in every bit of valuable information. They are honest and don’t see value in lying or the need to boast.
Socially anxious people avoid introductions. They flit from one thing to the next without focusing their attention on one specific thing, including conversations. Due to their insecurities, it’s common for a socially anxious person to talk too much, not listen, and exaggerate the truth – to make themselves and their lives sound perfect. Imperfections and insecurities are seen as negatives, rather than something we all have.
Boosting social confidence means introducing yourself first and saying ‘hi’ even in uncomfortable and intimidating social environments.
Be disciplined when it comes to communication, be sure to listen, and make an effort to remember someone’s name – that alone will go a long way. When you are more forthcoming with your attention and time, your ability to influence others will take huge steps. You’ll embrace those imperfections and insecurities and use them to your advantage.
#4: Believe in yourself
Socially confident people know the difference between arrogance and self-belief. They know that they can’t win unless they first believe they can. That’s why they wouldn’t enter a competition unless they know they can win it. This isn’t to say that they are as physically or mentally capable as their competition. Socially confident people know that on many occasions they will be the underdog, but that doesn’t stop them from believing they can win. That’s not arrogance – that is strong self-belief.
Socially anxious people have little self-belief, with insecurity pushing them towards arrogance. Being arrogant makes up for their lack of depth and skill. Underneath the skin their self-image is meek. They have very little confidence in their ability to win and because their belief system is weak a win is a rare occurrence. It’s easier to blame external factors for a loss.
Boosting social confidence means believing you can win, whatever the circumstance.
It means painting a better self-image so you can compete with the best. When you build your self-belief by knowing you can win, minus the arrogance, you will win much more frequently.
#5: Get comfortable with being judged
Socially confident people are comfortable being judged because they understand that being judged will always be part of life – especially if they’re doing things that challenge the status quo. It’s human nature to judge, and confident people know that there will be people in their life (sometimes very close to them) who will try and clip their wings as they try to fly. They don’t take this personally and use criticism as a form of feedback to help them on their journey to achieving their goals. They understand that in the pursuit of their goals they will receive negative judgement as well as positive judgement.
Socially confident people also realise that judging others is no good for them, as it only keeps them in a negative state of mind. They keep their minds sharp and focused by concentrating on what’s important (their goals) and are too busy to get involved in drama and gossip (toxic behaviour).
Boosting social confidence means getting comfortable with being judged.
When you can use both negative and positive feedback to your advantage, don’t lose focus on your goals or get trapped in toxic behaviour, your social confidence will hit an all-time high.
#6: Adapt to your environment
Socially confident people appreciate the crucial need to adapt to their environment. They know that things are constantly changing around them. Unless they keep up with that change, they know they’ll be left behind. The best example of adaptability is in business. Businesses led by socially confident people change and evolve with the times. They embrace new systems and technology because they know putting investment into these things will pay dividends.
Socially unconfident people are scared of change and don’t adapt well to their environment. They believe that things should adapt around them and their values, which results in them being left behind. Rather than tackle a situation they will leave it in the hope that it fixes itself. (It never does.) That’s why businesses led by socially incompetent people stay rooted in the Stone Age.
Boosting social confidence means adapting to your environment and being comfortable with change.
The quickest and simplest route to making this happen is to appreciate everything is change. Nothing stays the same, including you.
Toxic bosses are way up there when it comes to our stress and anxiety levels. How can you spot a toxic boss and, more importantly, what can you do about it?
The title of this post is Why Does My Toxic Boss Cause Me Stress & Anxiety?
The answer to the question is in the title.
A ‘toxic’ anything will always cause you stress and anxiety. Whether that be a toxic partner, friend, whoever.
But there is something extra shitty about contending with a toxic boss.
There are standout reasons why a toxic boss is consistently voted as one of the top causes of our stress and anxiety. Here’s just a few:
1. If you work full-time, you’ll be spending most of your time at work. That means you probably spend more time with your boss than you do your family!
2. There seem to be enough toxic bosses to go around the equator, twice. Because of that, the chances of you getting a toxic boss are moderate to high.
Let’s have a look at some toxic boss traits and the ways to deal with them. When we can identify a toxic boss, we can do something about them.
How to identify a toxic boss
Toxic bosses generally come in three categories.
#1: They know they’re a toxic boss but want to improve.
#2: They don’t know they’re a toxic boss.
#3: They know they’re a toxic boss but just don’t care.
Category number one isn’t too bad because they’re aware of their behaviour, and they’re trying to improve. If your toxic boss falls into this category there’s a good chance with time things might get better.
It’s category number two and three that you need to be most aware of.
These are the two categories that are the most dangerous and severe on your stress and anxiety levels.
If your boss doesn’t know they are toxic, who is going to tell them or convince them that something needs to change? And if your boss knows they are toxic but just doesn’t care, well, that’s as bad as it gets.
Whichever category your toxic boss falls under, there is no doubt they are making your life a living hell and something needs to be done!
Before we look at the three steps that will help you deal with a toxic boss, let’s have a look at some of the usual toxic boss traits. (Just in case you were in any doubt.)
A toxic boss:
Gets you to do things he wouldn’t do himself.
Excessively controls everything (even though they are crap at what they do and they get it wrong – badly wrong – and then blames you).
Looks after herself above anyone else.
Is always right.
Asks you to do something and then asks you why you did it the next day.
Is late and often absent when really needed.
Has no direction for their team or themselves.
Steals the glory.
Uses bullying tactics to get what they want.
You can probably add a few of your own to this list?
OK. So we’ve identified the most dangerous toxic bosses and toxic boss traits. Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty and discover how to deal with them.
Here are three steps to deal with a toxic boss.
How to deal with a toxic boss
STEP #1: Take responsibility and take control
A toxic boss’ behaviour is fundamentally based on bullying. And like all bullies, they can only successfully bully you if you are prepared to be a victim.
It’s important you understand this statement correctly.
Most people don’t choose to be a victim. You wouldn’t wait in a queue to sign up to get a toxic boss. Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. But allowing yourself to be a victim is your responsibility.
You have to take ownership of the issue (the toxic boss) if you’re going to do something about it.
And that means taking responsibility for the situation.
You can’t control your bad boss. It’s up to him how he acts. Trying to take control of him will most likely lead to more despair and disappointment.
Instead, take control of yourself – the thing that you do have control over.
Take responsibility by establishing what your boundaries are. Make the decision that you are no longer going to allow these boundaries to be breached by your toxic boss – that you are no longer going to be a victim and you’re going to do something about it.
Once you’ve come to this conclusion, the next step is to confront the behaviour.
STEP #2: Confront the behaviour
Nobody said confronting a bully is going to be easy.
But here’s the deal: It’s no more difficult than the prospect of working for a toxic boss for the rest of your life, being a victim, and suffering all the stress and anxiety that comes with that.
The stress and anxiety you get from confronting your toxic boss is nothing compared to the stress and anxiety you get from not doing it.
Common sense and logic will tell you that there is no sense in suffering.
The same goes for the fear of facing your manager.
The fear of facing your boss will never be as bad as the fear you get from not doing it – including the prospect of continuing to work for them for the next ten years.
Being assertive and not aggressive, you have to be prepared to confront your toxic boss and communicate how you feel and why you feel that way.
There is no moving forward unless there is communication.
If you can’t communicate with your toxic boss, move on. It’s a lost cause.
In this scenario, if you think it’s worthwhile talking to someone more senior, go ahead. It might not be your job to tell your toxic boss how bad they are. Just be realistic and mindful that this could cause further issues with your toxic boss – especially if they’re not open to improvement.
Once you’ve confronted the behaviour, the final step is to stick to your boundaries.
STEP #3: Stick to your boundaries
If you stop a bully from stealing your lunch money on Monday, but he tries again on Tuesday and you let him take it, he’ll just keep coming back for your lunch money and doing what he knows he can keep getting away with.
Consistency is the key to change.
Set your boundaries and stick to them at all costs.
Show your toxic boss (the bully) that you mean business.
You ain’t shifting, no matter what.
If anyone is shifting, it’s them – not you.
If you’re prepared to stick to your boundaries at all costs, there will be a few things that happen.
Like all bullies, your toxic boss will get tired of trying to bully you and will stop trying.
Your toxic boss will find another victim. (If you care for them, you’ll get them to read this too.)
Eventually, your toxic boss will get found out and fired. If the company you work for is any good, this will always be the case.
All of these options look pretty good, don’t they?
We usually take the longest and hardest route when trying to change our mood. What is the easiest and fastest route, and how can you change your mood instantly?
We all get anxious, stressed and feel low at times – perfectly normal.
But do you find yourself getting trapped in a mood?
Maybe you wake up feeling instantly anxious?
Maybe a particular setting (like your office) causes a constant feeling of stress?
Maybe you feel so low you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning?
I hear you.
I’ve been through the lot myself.
Sometimes it feels like no matter what you try and do, you just can’t shake off the mood that keeps you feeling stressed, anxious and depressed.
If this sounds familiar to you, I’ve got a suggestion and a three-step process that might be useful to you.
How can we instantly change our mood?
Let’s use anxiety and stress as the two examples here, seeing as it’s these two things that tend to dominate how we feel.
What do we usually do when we get anxious?
I used to do one of two things.
Stay rooted to the same spot (a chair that I would sit in) and let all the worrying and anxious thoughts consume me – to the point of overthinking every last possible detail.
If I weren’t frozen in the same spot, I’d pace up and down from one spot to the next, back and forth.
And what do we usually do when we get stressed?
If I were in the office at work, I’d sit at my desk hiding behind my computer, put my face in my hands and start rubbing my temples – wishing away all the crap that was causing me the stress.
Being frozen to the spot or pacing up and down is a natural reaction to anxiety. Just like putting your face in your hands and rubbing your temples is a natural reaction to stress. But what do you think these natural reactions are doing?
My point here will make total sense in just a second.
But before we move on, I want to highlight one more thing with a quick exercise.
Imagine someone who is depressed.
You can’t see this person. They’re behind a door or wall.
What do they look like?
Their head is down to the ground. Their eyes are looking down. Their shoulders are slumped. Pretty much everything is facing downwards, right?
That’s because the natural reaction to depression (feeling low) is to do all these things with our body.
When we feel like crap, the last thing we want to do is jump for joy.
Our mind (how we feel mentally) tells our body to portray how we’re feeling (the physical reaction). It’s a natural process.
Here’s where it all gets interesting . . .
Your body speaks volumes
By doing all these natural bodily reactions, we’re fuelling the negative mood. We’re reinforcing why we should be feeling that way.
When we stay rooted to the same spot we stay anxious.
When we put our heads in our hands we stay stressed.
When we stay in bed we stay depressed.
If we want to instantly improve our mood, we have to look at our physicality – what we’re doing with our body.
In other words, changing our mental state starts with changing our physical state.
It’s a big misconception – the idea that we have to change our thoughts to change how we feel. It’s not entirely accurate.
There’s no doubt that you get a better outcome when you think more positively compared to thinking negatively, but changing your physical state is a much quicker and easier way to change your mood compared to positive thinking.
Trying to override your negative thoughts with positive affirmations is usually a waste of time.
It’s incredibly difficult. Almost impossible.
Try telling yourself you’re not stressed when you’re in the middle of a shit storm. Ain’t gonna happen!
The best way to manage your state of mind (your mood) is to first concentrate on what you’re doing with your body.
The 3-step process to improve your mood
To simplify the process of improving our mood, let’s look at it as three steps.
1. STATE OF MIND =
2. ACTION =
Your state of mind (your mood) dictates what you’re going to do next (your action), and that produces the outcome (the result).
When you have a negative state of mind (including negative body language) it creates a negative action, and that will always give out a negative result.
(Put shit in, get shit out.)
By becoming more aware of this simple process and making just a small change in our physical state, we can change the entire process so it looks like this.
CHANGE IN PHYSICAL STATE = DIFFERENT ACTION = BETTER RESULT
The better result in this instance is an instant improvement in mood.
(Put good stuff in, get good stuff out.)
Try it for yourself.
The next time you find yourself getting trapped in an anxious, stressed or depressed mood, remember that it’s your physical state that will make the difference.
Rather than allow your thoughts (your mind) to control what your body does, do something completely different.
For example, when you get stressed or anxious, don’t stay rooted to the same spot. Get up and go do something. Completely change your focus. That ‘something’ could be a hobby. It doesn’t matter. It can be anything – as long as you don’t stay trapped in the body that an anxious/stressed mind wants to keep you in.
When you can break free from this natural pattern dictated by our minds, you can break the pattern of your mood.
Put your chin up, keep your eyes up, put your shoulders back, lift your chest, breathe confidently and deeply, and smile.
You might not feel like doing these things, but that is exactly the point.
It takes time to override what our mind wants us to do naturally, but the more you become aware of this process and the more you practise, the better you’ll get.
Remember that you hold the cards. You hold the power over your mood – everyone does. It’s you who gets to choose your mood.
Choose your mood by changing what you do with your body. The rest will follow.