Sunday, 5 February 2012

Weekly Challenge 6 - Week of February 5 - February 11, 2012

Hey everyone, hope you had a good Saturday night and have started your day right!

I have missed a couple Weekly Challenges for you guys over the past month, but today I have one in store that I hope many of you will enjoy.

Lately I have been thinking about the things that define me in my life: people, relationships, jobs, hobbies and thinking processes, etc. I have been considering much about how the way we interact with people reflects how we interact with ourselves and how we perceive our environments and experiences.  

My challenge for you to undertake this week is to come up with 5 things you dislike about your traits or behaviours (negative behaviours) and craft a 3-6 month plan of how to conquer at least one of them.

For example, you may not like that you don't spend enough time with your family, or you are not adventurous (don't like starting new hobbies or doing new activities).  Of course I am not suggesting to rip yourself apart and change everything about you, because you are who you are. But if there are traits that *you* don't like in yourself or can see them negatively affecting others and wish to change them, then these are the ones to consider.

In your journal you can write down one of your 5 undesirable traits or behaviours, and underneath it write the goal trait or behaviour (they do not have to be extreme opposites; you might just want to modify an existing trait to be less extreme, for example):

Undersirable trait:         Too conservative/uptight
Desirable trait:              Adventurous and laid-back (This is an extreme change; a more moderate one would be 'flexible' or 'willing to try new things')

3 or 6 months:                3 months

What are actions that promote this trait:

How can I incorporate one or some of these actions into my week:

What are the some obstacles I might face when trying to change my behaviour:

How can I approach these and handle them with grace?

How will I know when I have reached my goal?

Who can I talk to to help me along this journey? Are they supportive? If not, can I find someone who is?

By writing these out, you are forcing yourself to commit to your new behaviour. This is the first step in actualizing a plan for change. By anticipating challenges (obstacles) and writing them down and how you will approach them you will not be blindsided and overwhelmed when they do arise. This allows you to recover from set-backs quicker and helps keep you on track. By reaching out to others you are creating a supportive network that will be essential for you to press onward during rough times and to celebrate with you when you have hit a milestone!

Be careful to set a realistic and attainable goal, however, as something too lofty will only create disappointment.
If you are currently housebound and seeking counseling, planning a 3 month goal of traveling to the other end of the continent by yourself may not be realistic. Discover your personal boundaries, and seek to slowly expand the circle until your goal has come into view. Once you have reached it, re-assess your position, and seek to expand your comfort circle once more.

The idea on the path to wellness is to create a dynamic, flexible and content personality while not compromising on your beliefs and values.

Enjoy this challenge my friends!

Conquer on!

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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Help someone else when you feel helpless: A quick fix for feeling better

Hello Conquerors and welcome to Thursday night!

I hope you have had a fantastic week - I didn't saddle you with a Weekly Challenge this time, but don't fret my friends, another is surely on its way! Look forward to February 5 - 11 Weekly Challenge, posted on Sunday!

What I'd like to discuss today is the act of altruism: that is, helping others without any expectation of returned favours.

When you are feeling depressed or anxious, the tendency is to become very self-focused (in very negative, defeating ways). This can have disastrous outcomes (as explained in The Downward Spiral).
The world becomes increasingly smaller as all you are focused on resides in our heads... This has very real physical feelings as well - it feels as though your body is being crushed on the inside, or you might get that sinking feeling in your stomach or chest...

The outcome is that you start analyzing, and picking yourselves apart... Any of the 13 beliefs to disbelieve may play a part in a negative-bias towards yourselves, as well.

A very quick and effective way to take the heat off of yourselves and free our minds from the torment of constant judgment is to genuinely help someone else, or offer an honest compliment. Showing interest in other people takes the focus off yourself and making someone's day is extremely rewarding.

The feeling of being helpful lets you realize that some or all of the beliefs you may harbour are untrue - being a helpful person means you are not a bad person... It is empirical evidence against the negative voice in your head.

So the next time you are feeling the grip and dark clouds of depression or anxiety, acknowledge your own issues. Do not dwell, however. Move towards helping someone else - whether it be by volunteering to mow an older neighbour's lawn, or doing extra work at your job for a colleague. Anything that is genuine will work.

Do not expect a favour in return: in order to become stronger people you must strive to consider others and their feelings as well as your own. Acknowledging your pain is how you consider yourself; helping others is how you act to show you are a capable, caring person.

Volunteering is a great way to give back. You can volunteer with the SPCA, or with a local homeless shelter, for example.  

Warning: If you find yourself over-extending your assistance to others (including friends) and are starting to feel used, pull back and reconsider if perhaps you are suffering from the cognitive bias I am only worthwhile as long as I am doing something for someone else. (Letter E on the list).

Helping people is not the cure for depression or anxiety but it helps in the short-term for creating a sense of well-being. Helping others and volunteering can become part of a healthy way of living, and everyone can strive to give back to their community in some form.

Conquer on!

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