How To Worry Less And Enjoy More Peace In Your Life

 

How To Worry Less And Enjoy More Peace In Your Life

It’s normal to be concerned from time to time. Everyday life can throw us challenges and some of them can be serious.  However, constantly worrying can drain your energy,  negatively affect your health, and kill productivity.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can worry occasionally.  Especially when I am walking through unfamiliar territory.  However, over the years I’ve learned to worry less and less. Here are ten of my top tips to help keep worry away and live a more peaceful and healthy life.

1) Pray.  The more I survive the tough times in my life the more I learn to trust God to deliver me through anything else that comes my way.  I’ve learned that worry doesn’t change anything, and that prayer combined with belief, has the power to change EVERYTHING.  This is especially helpful when the issue is totally out of my control.

2) Don’t worry about things you can’t control.  It does no good to worry about things you cannot control.  Ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change the situation.  If the answer is no and you are spiritual, I highly recommend you pray and turn it over to God.  This especially applies to situations involving other people because the only person on the planet you can change is yourself.

3) Take action. Worry and stress can be a signal that something needs to be addressed and/or changed.  Once you’ve figured out what you can do to eliminate the worry and/or stress it’s time to take action.  Things may not change overnight, however there is great satisfaction in knowing that you are moving forward and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

4) Write about it.  Journaling is a great way to put your thoughts on paper and objectively look at the situation from the outside.  After you read your thoughts back to yourself, the problem may become smaller and the solutions can begin to pour in.

5) Say no. Learning to say no has been life changing for me.  Saying yes to too many things can lead to over-committing, over-promising and sometimes even compromising our values and priorities. Being able to set boundaries and protect your time and energy can eliminate huge amounts of stress in your life.  Most people won’t mind if you say something like, “Thank you for asking.  I don’t have the time in my schedule right now to commit to something new.  However I appreciate you including me.”  If you’d like to leave the door open you can always ask them to ask you again in the future.

6) Set priorities. Worry can pop up when our “to do” list seems out of control.  When I start to feel overwhelmed,  I like to do a “mind dump” and write down every thing that I believe I need to do.  This allows me to clear my head, focus, and prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what needs to be scheduled for a future date.  It also reveals what you may need to hire someone else to help you with.  Do it yourself has become so popular these days that sometimes we bite off more than we can chew.

7) Tell worry to take a hike.  Your words have power.  When worrisome thoughts begin to race through your mind, tell them to  “stop.” If you can, say it out loud. If that’s not possible, do it mentally or just move your lips without making a sound.

8) Expect to succeed. Instead of imagining how badly things might turn out, imagine yourself succeeding. Picture yourself waltzing through meet and greets, family events, evaluations, or any other events that typically cause you anxiety. Hear yourself performing well at presentations or while guiding your children. Feel what it would be like to overcome obstacles, accomplish goals, and achieve peaceful outcomes. Expecting success can increase the possibility that it will happen. It can increase your confidence, decrease your worry and set up an expectation that things will turn out well.  It’s also helpful to remember that success doesn’t always show itself right away.  For example, that  break up you experienced was actually a door that led you to the spouse you were meant to be with.  🙂

9) Focus on others. It’s easy to get wrapped up with what’s going on in our own world.  One of the ways I relieve stress is by serving other people.  When I focus on helping others solve their problems or reach their goals, my own issues seem to get smaller and more manageable.

10) Most things we worry about never happen.  Current research shows us that most of the time the things we worry about never happen.  A recent study researched how many of our imagined problems never happen. It turns out that 85 percent of what the people in the study group worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of the people discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than they thought, or the challenge taught them a lesson they were glad they learned. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not worth sacrificing your health and your joy.

There is no such thing as a problem free life.  However, when you make the decision to let go of worrying about the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can control you are bound to have more peace in your life. And, as an added bonus, It might just make you look a bit younger as well. 🙂

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and peaceful week!

Shared with love,

Jennifer

Photo by Ana Gabriel on Unsplash

Should You Weigh Yourself? Or Ditch The Scale For Good?

Should you weigh yourself? Or ditch the scale for good?

Scales are an interesting object.  They have no heart beat but can have a tremendous amount of power over people.  These intimidating devices can cause so much anxiety that Facebook will not even approve ads that include pictures of scales due to “the negative feelings that the image can cause.”  Scales rarely tell the whole story and can send you on an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions.

There was a time when I was obsessed with my weight and weighed myself daily.  I was really thin, however I wasn’t very healthy mentally or physically. My philosophy was the lower the number and the smaller the pants size, the better.  I’ll be the first to admit that my quest had very little to do with my health and a lot more to do with caring about what others thought about my body.

Fast forward to now and I rarely weigh myself these days.  I no longer measure my self worth based on a number on a scale.  I’ve learned to look at a scale as a tool that provides information.  It has lost it’s power over me.

Hopefully, the scale is not something you struggle with. But if you are someone who does and are tired of it, you may be wondering how I have become so comfortable weighing myself. Let me share some secrets with you.

Ditch the daily weigh ins. I have nothing against weighing yourself periodically, but this day and night weighing in can drive you insane.  Weight fluctuates for many reasons. If you are someone who looks at those numbers as simply data and do not get emotional about it, I see no issue with weighing yourself regularly.   Even if the scale has no emotional power over you I still recommend limiting your weigh ins to once per week, or even monthly, and would totally avoid Mondays.

However, if you get all worked up or even depressed, then I suggest you toss your scale into the recycle bin or whatever is the best way to dispose of one these days.  We haven’t owned a scale for years.

Your weight is very personal.   Most people have a natural set point or weight that our body feels comfortable.  Your natural set point is usually a weight that you are able to sustain long-term without feeling deprived or compromising your health.  There are no two bodies that are the same so your set point is going to be very personal.  Avoid focusing on only numbers and pay attention to things like: how your clothes fit, the results of your most recent physical, your energy levels, and your ability to function on a daily basis.

Embrace your body type.   It’s way more peaceful and fun to be satisfied with a weight you can realistically maintain than suffer the emotional roller coaster that is attached to chronic dieting and constantly weighing yourself.  Avoid comparing yourself to others. Some are long and lanky, some are curvy. Some build bulk and some do not. I am not suggesting you accept being unhealthy or uncomfortable. My desire for you is that you achieve your personal best–not what the media tells you is best for you.

My weight would be considered heavy or overweight by many of the decision makers in Hollywood. But walking down the street, I am considered slender. Once I stopped comparing myself to the models in the magazines and focused on self care, I stopped obsessing about my weight.

Remember–there is only one you! You are uniquely designed.  Don’t let anyone set your goals for you—not the media, the medical community, your friends, or your family! When you are living your own life, you can achieve anything!

Blessings to you and yours,
Jennifer

 

Being Fit Versus “Looking” Fit

Being Fit Versus "Looking" Fit - by Jennifer Ledford - Certified Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach

For years, the fitness and diet industry has used fitness models in their advertising to sell you the notion that if you achieve this “type” of body, you will be healthy and happy.  Unfortunately, many of the programs  promoted by the diet and fitness industry have produced the opposite effect for people.  Dieting and overtraining has done more harm than good and left people unhappy and dissatisfied.

There was a period in my life when I had  shrunk down to a size zero and became obsessed with being skinny and having a perfectly flat abdomen.  People were impressed with my tiny yet muscular physique and I was constantly complimented for it.  Life was good!  Until I crashed.

I became depressed, my body was in pain, and my hormonal system was going haywire.  It turns out that I had been overtraining and God didn’t design me to be a size zero.   The road to recovery physically was a combination of light exercise (twenty minute walks with my dogs) combined with proper rest, and a much more balanced diet that included way more fat than I had been consuming.

Fortunately, I completely recovered and times are changing.  The public is becoming more and more aware of focusing on health rather than forcing their bodies to become something they were never designed to be and we now have more models that support that concept.  People are rejecting the idea that they have to diet or beat their bodies to a pulp to be healthy.

Now that we are taking these important steps as a society to focus on health rather than dieting and overtraining, I believe it’s important for me as a personal trainer to help you learn  what focusing on being fit  looks like.

It’s important that I be completely up front with you.  Focusing on  your health is extremely personal and looks different for each individual.  We are all on our own personal journey.  For one person, focusing on health may be cutting their soda intake in half to stabilize their blood sugar and for another it could be walking their dog everyday for stress relief.

Being fit is about being able to do the things you need to do, want to do (i.e the things that bring you joy), and have to do in the event of an emergency.  It’s about getting good checkups at the doctor’s office and enjoying quality of life.  None of that has anything to do with the size of your jeans.

When it comes to overall health and fitness, balance is key.  If one area is neglected, your alignment can be off which leads to a bumpy ride.  Here are five major components that contribute to your overall health and well-being:

  1. Mentally fit.  Mental health is just as important as physical health.  Minimizing unnecessary stress in your life and talking time out to rest and restore are just as important for your mind and body as strengthening your muscles and eating leafy greens.  When your mind is strong and your body is recharged, you are able to push through challenging moments and seasons in your life.
  2. Nutritionally fit.  I personally believe it’s a good idea to eat as many whole foods as possible and to limit refined and heavily processed food in our diets.  Eating whole foods can help contribute to better energy.  With that being said, it’s also important to enjoy your food and not get too rigid about everything we eat.  Overly religious behavior around food can lead to dieting which can lead to stress and heartache which does not support mental health in a positive way.  Find balance in your life when it comes to diet and allow yourself to enjoy the foods you like.
  3. Physically fit.  Part of being physically fit is being able to perform your daily responsibilities, live a life that is fun, and being able to handle, God forbid, a crisis.  Physical fitness is generally  made up of three types of fitness.  Cardiovascular (aerobic) endurance, muscle strength, and flexibility.  Depending on your life’s demands, suggested programs will differ.  A sample program would be walking most days of the week, strength training with appropriate resistance two to three times per week, and performing stretches and self massage most days of the week.  It’s a good idea to choose exercise that focuses on function and not just “looks.”  One of the reasons I like exercising outdoors is that it can contribute to functional fitness.  Stepping over logs and/or curbs is a built-in agility routine that can protect us from falls.
  4. Financially fit.  I am not an expert on finance so I learn from others when it comes to money matters.  One thing that I do know is that money issues can cause stress.  It’s important to limit debt in our lives and to make sure we build saving accounts for surprise expenses that pop up and/or retirement.  Saving generally starts with creating a budget and living within our means.  Wise financial choices are equally as important to our health as exercise.  If you’d like more information on simple money management principles, one of my favorite people to learn from is Dave Ramsey.
  5. Environmental health.  This is a big one.  It’s important for us to be at peace where we live, work, and play.  Things like nurturing relationships, setting healthy boundaries, removing clutter from your home or life, planning family meals, taking time off to visit places that make you feel happy and restored, or spending time with your pets without your phone in hand are all examples of working  toward creating a healthy environment.  Sometimes creating a healthy environment for yourself requires changes.  My husband and I decided to move back to the area I grew up in to be closer to family and to live a simpler lifestyle.  This is an environmental change that will contribute to our overall health and well-being in a positive way.

A Fit and Healthy Lifestyle

Whether you’ve been working on these five components for awhile now or are just getting started, it’s important to remember to work at a pace that is doable for you.  We are all on our own journey and there is no need to compare your progress to anyone else.  Focus on creating a healthy lifestyle that is all your own!

Shared with love,
Jennifer