If you look at a person’s daily habits, you can usually tell a lot about their overall success in life. With the intensity of the Holidays and world events, it’s easy to feel drained by that alone. In this episode we’ll look at 4 simple habits to re-energize you no matter what’s going on.
4:45 – How to re-train your brain to not worry every morning
8:40 – Breaking free from the habit of complaining about yourself
17:00– 4 tips for getting a better sleep
26:00 – The answer to overgiving
MindStoryInner Coach Book and 2 Free Neuro-blueprints
The What If’s Checklist: A 5 Minute Process to Break Free from Worry
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This is episode 83 – 4 Habits that Are Draining Your Energy [and What You Can Do About It]. If you look at a person’s daily habits, you can usually tell a lot about their overall success in life. With the Holidays approaching and lots of intensity in the news, it’s easy to feel drained by that alone. In this episode we’ll look at 4 simple ways to re-energize through small habits no matter what’s going on. Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
The good news is that by examining existing habits that might be draining you, and shifting them, you can profoundly improve your life.
The key to creating lasting change is repetition. It can’t be a one off that you do occasionally. Transformation is created when we are re-inspiring yourself with the end goal, coupled with the power of repetition. What you do sometimes won’t create lasting change. What you do most of the time will. Simply put, our habits become our lifestyle.
According to a variety of neuroscience studies, it can take 21 to 66 days of consistent focus to form a new habit, meaning it goes on autopilot so you don’t need to will yourself to do it anymore. For example, I listen to a neuroblueprint every morning to get my mind focused in the right direction. More about neuroblueprint audios in the shownotes if you don’t know what I’m referring to. At first I did it a couple of times a week, and then did weeks without it and noticed the mental weeds growing back. So it was stop and start, until I committed to at least 48 days. I tracked it in the calendar. After that I just automatically do it 6 mornings a week.
So, what are the 4 habits many people do that are actually draining their energy?
1) The 1st one is Not Living in the Present Moment – The human brain tends to loop on negative past experiences. Part of the reason we stay stuck in the past, is because we haven’t fully learned from those past negative experiences. We haven’t moved the experience from the trauma center of the brain, into the Neo cortex, because we haven’t examined the experience from the perspective of what we were meant to learn, how we were meant to grow. As soon as you do that, often you change your interpretation of that event from regret to gratitude. You are glad you had that accident, went through that hard relationship, got fired, or whatever, because it made you who you are today. I have several podcasts on regret, just use that as a search term at mindstoryacademy.com/podcast, and you’ll see useful tools for how to release regret.
The human brain also tends to loop on future possibilities, either worrying that something bad will happen, or indulging in a fantasy of a different life where you don’t have to go through the challenges you are now facing. Of course, as I’ve talked about in previous episodes, worrying about the future, is like using your creative imagination to create what you don’t want. You just need to retrain yourself. Most people wake up in the morning and immediately the worry brain starts going, scanning the horizon for what you should be worrying about. You can gently and compassionately say to yourself, thank you for sharing. Then think about something you do want, versus what you don’t want. If you’re worried about not having enough money, imagine having enough money. That way you’re using your imagine in a positive versus negative way, and what you focus on tends to grow. It changes that way your brain problem solves, and will more likely lead you to creating more income. Also you can focus on what you’re grateful for in that moment, like your nice warm bed. Or, something you are looking forward to that day. Or, something you appreciated about yesterday. These are all building new neural pathways, new muscles in the brain. That’s why we make the MindStory Neuroblueprints for people. They are a form of mental rehearsal, like going to the gym with your mind and train your brain in good habits of mind. All of them help you take back control of how your mind operates. Training you to be in the present moment much more often. If you think about any time in your life when you were really happy, or things you do that generally make you feel happy… It’s usually something that helps you be in the present moment.
For example a lovely walk in nature, playing with your dog, being engrossed in the story, meditating, painting a picture, writing a novel, doing a craft, cooking, anything you find enjoyable and creative, doing an outdoor activity, or sport that requires you to stay very focused in the moment to do well. I remember trying a comedy improvisation class, and loving it mainly because in order to improvise, to be entirely spontaneous with other performers meant having to be very much in the present moment. Also, we were focused on comedy, also we were laughing most of the time, and laughing brings the entire energy in your brain into the present moment. So any habits you have that make you happy, probably are helping your brain be in the present moment. So Tip #1 to be more present is to release regrets by learning from the past. Tip #2 is to train your brain to focus on what you want in the moment instead of on what you don’t want in the future. Tip #3 is to include activities in your day that make you happy, because very likely they help focus your mind in the present moment. It will energize you, instead of drain you.
Did you know that the average person complains anywhere from 15 to 30 times in a single day? They may complain about a person, a circumstance, but most often they are complaining about themselves to themselves. Muttering under their breath, you’re such an idiot, I can’t believe you haven’t been to the gym in four weeks, why did you eat so much? Again, these are just bad habits of mind you can retrain. They are like train tracks in your mind that you can close down and write new train tracks of default thought patterns where you think about what you appreciate in people, or in circumstances, or in yourself. People who complain the most outwardly to others, usually complain 10 times more inside their own head about themselves. They are lost in self judgment and so spews out on to others. So whenever anybody complains, it can be useful to see if there’s anything constructive in the comment, but also feel compassion for the person. If they tend to complain a lot, they tend to have a lot of self-judgment. Just feeling compassionate towards a person like that instead of complaining about them being a complainer, can help shift the entire relationship.
So, for example, you might have a family member, a friend, a customer, a coworker who complains a lot. If you find yourself complaining about people who complain, chances are your one of them. You have a habit of complaining as well. Most of us do. Especially these days with the whole COVID situation, it’s like a free ticket to the land of complaint. You have such great justification. The downside is you tend to create more of what you don’t want. So here’s a tip for turning it around. Focus your attention and energy on problem SOLVING, rather than problem creating. For example, instead of complaining to yourself and others about how overweight you feel, use that same life force energy, or creative energy in a constructive way. Brainstorm on how to change your eating habits, how to move more, how to get the accountability you need to stick to good habits. Instead of complaining about a complainer in your life, how can you help them see what they want instead of what they don’t want? I had a family member who seemed to enjoy complaining about how people kept dripping water around the edge of the kitchen sink, which is generally hard to avoid. It was seeping into the cupboards below. Instead of reacting to the complaints, I brainstormed with the person about how to solve it, and we got a plastic covering so that the drips wouldn’t fall into the cabinets. Problem solved.
Sometimes people just get stuck in a loop. If you are a coach, you know that people often come to you to get a breakthrough from the loop of what they don’t want, by helping them redirect their attention to what they do want. Behind every complaint is a solution the person wants. You can make a list of things about yourself, about others, about life that you are complaining about on the left-hand side of the page. Then on the right-hand side of the page make a list of what you want instead.
Can you always get it? Maybe, maybe not. But more often than not it will redirect your mind into a problem-solving mode, which will energize you, instead of drain you. In fact, every time you’re about to speak to others and it has a negative focus, it’s a complaint. Just stop, and think about what you want instead and say it like that. For example, in one room of our house there is very poor Internet reception. I wanted to complain about that to our provider, instead I said, is there a way to boost the Internet in that back room? As a matter of fact, there was. Problem solved. And I didn’t annoy my service provider. Now sometimes your complaint is about something that can’t change, or it’s something you have no control over, like the weather or bad traffic. In those cases, it’s best to focus on what you do appreciate, what is going well, because otherwise you drain your energy wishing a present situation was different. For example, I was stuck in slow traffic in a rainstorm late for an appointment. Instead of spending the whole time complaining about the rain and the traffic, I just turned on one of my favorite songs to shift my mindset. It was an important appointment with the potential client and I wanted to be in a good state of mind and not in an aggravated one.
Most of us have some habits that make it hard for your physical body to be energized. Staying up too late, eating too much sugar, too much caffeine, not exercising enough. Where is an area of your life that you could better support your physical health? I’ll use a common one for the sake of this activity. Most people I know don’t sleep enough. So, let’s focus on that for now. Sleeping deeply can be your number one energy booster. Often people don’t realize that. They try to compensate by drinking more caffeine, when just getting enough of the right kind of sleep can make all the difference in the world. During sleep, your brain repairs and you boost your immune system. There are many studies on how lack of sleep increases nervous system imbalances: causes higher blood pressure, exacerbates diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression.
What’s the optimal amount of sleep? In a sleep study done by The American Cancer society, the findings were those who live the longest sleep 7-8 hours per night. I find that a lot of my clients are only sleeping 4 to 6 hours per night, especially the ones that have a lot of issues in their life. I’ve seen it happen on many occasions where I challenge people to sleep more, use the Neuro blueprints at night to help them sleep deeply, and a lot of their other issues go away. Depression eases up, anxiety lowers, energy improves, and therefore their relationships improve, their focus and productivity improves which tends to improve their finances, and it’s just a big domino effect in the right direction.
Here are four quick tips for improving your sleeping routine.
*Have an evening ritual or routine: nighttime bath or lavender tea, gratitude journal, gentle yoga, neuro-blueprint, or listen to an inspiring podcast like this one
*Get off devices at least 2 hours before bed – I know this is a hard one for a lot of people, but people who stay up doing email or texting were scrolling till the wee hours tend to get a worse night sleep. I turn it all off at 8 PM latest, and then am asleep by 10:30 pm
*Charging phones and devices outside of the bedroom – now I know I’m going to sound like a radical on this one. But never sleep with smart phone that’s charging on your bedside. Electromagnetic frequencies will harm your sleep pattern. If you get notifications or messages they will wake you up. Don’t have any kind of device or computer open and on in your bedroom.
* What If List: place a pad and pen on your nightstand. If you wake up in the middle of the night and your mind is racing with worries, get it out of your head and onto paper to deal with tomorrow. I often suggest people use the What If checklist. You can see how to get a free download of it in the show notes. You write all your worries down as question starting with the words “what if… Then your worry. For example, what if I can’t get all my work done on time tomorrow? Then write down a positive version, what if I can get all my work done on time tomorrow? Then a negative okay version, what if I can’t get all my work done on time tomorrow, and it’s okay. Find a solution and make it work. That will help your survival bring calm down, so you can sleep.
Living your life according to other people’s needs is a sure recipe for feeling drained. Good self-esteem makes it possible for you to impose clear boundaries– it lets you say no when you want to say no, and cures the disease to please others. By self-esteem, I mean getting to know and care about the true self. By the true self I mean the self you are underneath all the societal programming, expectations, and obligations. I don’t mean a wild, uncultured, undisciplined self, but it’s usually a self that comes out when you’re connected to your heart, when you’re happy, in a good mood, feeling grateful, laughing, having fun, feeling joyful. It’s the part that’s built-up wisdom, that operates from whole brain thinking, that’s got a heart-body-mind connection. We all have that, it just often fades into the background when lots of external circumstances seem to appear more important than listening to and caring about the true self. Having good self-esteem, means spending time with that part of yourself. Doing things you love, all the things we’ve talked about, getting a good night sleep, thinking about what you love, being kind to yourself.
When you have good self-esteem, you are usually good at preserving your boundaries (ex: you don’t answer your boss’s call at 9PM, because you know you need a rest). It doesn’t mean doing all the cleaning, because others in your family just don’t like doing it. Unless of course, you enjoy doing all the cleaning, and it’s coming from a place of feeling happy to do it, and not from a place of just needing to control your environment and have it done the way you want. You know you are there when you can come from a calm, centered place and say what you need. Or say no to something.
If you have low self-esteem, you’re usually not so good at creating and setting boundaries. You’ll know this is true if you regularly feel invaded at work or home, or in your personal life, with friends. It’s where at some level meeting their demands makes you feel drained. The answer? Building your self-esteem muscle, each day. When you feel good about yourself, you will start pleasing yourself. You will need to reframe saying no as caring about yourself, instead of being selfish. Now each situation is different, sometimes you do need to put your needs aside to help another, especially if it’s a child, or an elderly or vulnerable person that really does need your help. But some people get addicted to being a martyr, to always be needed by others, somehow there sense of security is wrapped up in that. If you suspect that’s you, reframe boundary setting as a positive way to put your own mask on first, so that you then have the energy and wherewithal to help those who actually really do need your help. I’ve seen it all too often where an over giver burns out and then all those people who relied on them have no one.
So the top tip for creating boundaries with others is to make a list on left-hand side of the page situations where you feel drained when dealing with others, then on the right-hand side the page brainstorm on another way of responding to those situations so that you feel you’re taking care of yourself at the same time. So just allow yourself to think of new possibilities, then put some of those into action. For example, I was looking after my elderly father more and more as he got older. I was feeling drained by it, because I had my own family and a business that kept me on the road a lot. I felt stuck because he wouldn’t let anyone else help him. At one point I did this exercise and brainstormed the idea of having an in home care giver. I had suggested that before and he refused. But I opened my mind to somehow that working. A few days later I met a woman at an event who was lovely, and we got to talking and she ended up telling me she was an in home caregiver. Her rates were very reasonable. I convinced my father to at least have a brief meeting with her before nixing the idea. They met and hit it off right away. She took on the job and they became best of friends. He was so grateful for her and for me for suggesting it. It took the pressure off me and it ended up being a win-win all around. So, see what comes up for you, and take one small action to get the ball rolling.
That’s it for today. So, if you want more tools like this get our book MindStory Inner Coach and 2 free sample neuro-blueprints by going to MindStoryAcademy.com and you’ll see it there on the home page. Its free to get the PDF download, or you’ll also see how to buy it on Amazon.
Along with the book, you also get two free guided audios that are examples of what we do at MindStory Coaching Academy, that are called neuro-blueprints. They are form of mental rehearsal that helps you access your inner wisdom.
One is called how to end self sabotage, it’s one you would use at night. The other is called your hero’s journey, which is about reframing the challenges of your life in terms of a mythic adventure and how those challenges have forged you in the fire of wisdom to now help others. Sometimes that’s hard to see until you do a process like this. And this is a version you would do in the morning. These take chapters 2 and 10 of the book to a much deeper level. All together, the audios and the book come to $94 but you can get them free right now. To get a free copy of the What If’s Checklist just go to this link: https://mindstoryacademy.com/what-if-free/
Do post a review of this podcast if you liked it. It really helps other listeners find the podcast. Here’s a quick and easy way to do it. Just go to: https://ratethispodcast.com/speaker. You’ll also see that link in the shownotes. And hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. https://mindstoryacademy.com/Podcast Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger. Thank you for listening.