Have you had thoughts like:
“Why does this always happen to me?”
“How dare he or she speak to me in this way!”
“This is not fair.”
“It’s not my fault, this should not be happening to me.”
There are times I feel completely stressed out. I can’t think straight. I’m not able to give attention to my kids, and it even affects my sleep.
Sigh… life can be frustrating. While it’s easy to blame other people for my frustration, I don’t want to give up the power to take charge of my situation.
So, what helps me let go of my frustration?
Here’s what I’ve observed in myself.
There are things I can do that move from a frustrated frame of mind to a positive & empowering one. Some of these are simple, like going to my favorite cafe or discussing the problem with a friend. The moment I take these steps, I become calmer, less stressed & I can think clearly.
Over time I built a checklist of things I could to help me get out of anxiety.
But why a checklist?
Checklists are a simple, yet powerful tool to get results without having to re-think every time. In the past, I’ve talked about how checklists can be used to document repeated processes in your business & automate your success.
But it’s something you can also use in your personal life as I did here.
✅ Checklist: 12 Things I Can Do to Get Me Into a Positive Frame of Mind
1. Make A List Of Things I’m Grateful For
This changes my focus from “what’s wrong in my life” to “what’s right in my life.”
2. Create Hope By Working Out A Solution
By taking action, it makes the solution more believable, and that creates hope. When I’m hopeful, I’m less stressed.
3. Forgive The Person
When I see my stress or anger is directed to one person, I see that as a sign I need to let go and forgive. The best way I found to “forgive” is to empathize with the other person. I try to understand their feelings and guess what might be their needs that gave rise to their actions.
Once I see the connection, I can see the humanness in them. The bitterness evaporates.
Forgiveness is not limited to other people. When I hear a harsh internal dialogue, I realize I need to empathize & forgive myself to see things in perspective.
4. Remind Myself: Problems Are A Good Thing
I remind myself that the biggest moments of personal growth came from problems I had. When I lost lots of money in traditional marketing, I developed expertise in digital marketing. When I was feeling depressed, I found joy in exploring new hobbies.
Dealing with problems increases my capacity to manage bigger things in life.
5. Spend Time With Kids
When interacting with kids I have to enter into their reality — and their reality is full of fantasy, fun & joy. This forces me to come out of my (stressed-out) reality.
6. Talk To A Friend To Change Your Perspective
Discussing with a friend helps me to externalize the thoughts outside my head. And when they reflect back with their thoughts, it helps me to see my problems in perspective. Quite often I make a big deal of it when it actually isn’t.
7. Express Gratitude To A Friend Or Team Member
This is similar to making a list of things one is grateful for, except that you’re expressing gratitude to someone. 100% of the time when I share an honest appreciation, I get a sincere smile that comes from the heart. It makes me forget about my problems.
8. Practice Acceptance
There are certain times when I can’t do anything to change the external situation. I just recognize that, and learn to accept the present moment as it is, without trying to change it.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
9. Say a Prayer
Unfortunately, I remember God more sincerely in bad times. Perhaps this situation is a way of God calling me to hear my voice.
10. Practice Nonviolent Communication With Myself
When I’m stressed out, I’m often speaking to myself in a harsh tone, “How could you have been so stupid?” or “They’re going to think you’re a fool.”
This is where I find the practice of NVC useful. NVC is often described as a way of communication to resolve conflicts with people. I can use the same practice to resolve my inner conflicts, by digging deeper to find out what I’m feeling and needing. Then I can determine what I can do to meet those needs.
And I have that inner dialogue with myself in a kind tone that is warm, friendly & encouraging.
11. Remembering Death
When I get stressed out because I didn’t get what I want, I remind myself I came into this world naked, and I’ll be going back naked. I’ve never lost anything. Whatever I have is a bonus.
12. Sign for Spiritual Development
If an external situation is triggering negative emotions, it’s a sign there’s some spiritual development I need to do. Perhaps I’m too identified with a temporary identity of “a blogger,” “an entrepreneur,” “an investor”.
For example, when I’m too identified with being a successful stock market investor, my sense of self fluctuates with the rise and fall of the stock market.
But if I’m identified with my soul (beyond the ego), then I can play with the stock market. I can still deal with the situation, and not get entangled with it.
I remind myself through spiritual practices to not identify myself with life circumstances. Just identify with life. I am life. Not life circumstances.
📝 Make Your Own Feel-Good Checklist
With a checklist in place, I no longer have to get stuck brooding in misery. I don’t have to think about what I need to do to start feeling good about myself.
I just have to refer to my feel-good checklist.
I suggest creating your own feel-good checklist. Take inspiration from my checklist, but if my suggestions don’t work, observe what does makes you feel good, and make note of it. With time you’ll develop your own list, and that becomes your feel-good checklist.
Checklists are simple, yet powerful. And they can be used both in your personal & professional life.
Are there any checklists you use in your personal life? Please comment below, it’ll give inspiration to me and others who read.
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done (GTD) and a Holacracy Coach. I believe our work should be an expression of our most creative selves. I work with business owners and their teams to achieve stress-free productivity.