Yesterday I had my third phone call with the expert at AXA PPP healthcare to catch up on the past month of working on my Own Your Fearsprocess and to figure out some new goals for the coming month.
WHAT THE PROJECT/ FEAR IS
I was asked by AXA PPP healthcare to work with them on their Own Your Fears campaign to change our mindset around fear. The idea being that we can harness our fear and use it to help us grow. This campaign sounds right up my street and exactly the kind of thing I want to work with and chat about on my blog.
And so, I have signed up to spend six months working with experts at AXA PPP healthcare to address one of my fears. For these six months I am going to share the process and my journey here on the blog as I work with these experts to work with my fear and I’ll chart exactly what effects it has on my wellbeing.
The fear I am working on is ‘Rejection’.
I chose this fear after spending time with myself sifting through my behaviour and circumstances, figuring out what is really going on in different parts of my life. And the conclusion I reach is this fear – the fear of rejection.
The fear I have of rejection is so deep-seated that it seeps out in different parts of my life. It manifests itself as acts of self-preservation. It occurs sub-consciously, only to be realised much later down the line. It weaves its way into almost every encounter I have with others.
Continue to set aside every morning for wellbeing activities.
Goal #2 – Positive Daily Observations
Continue to make short lists of positive moments from each day.
Goal #3 – Mindfulness App
Use a mindfulness app, preferably with an 8-week program.
Goal #4 – Socialise
Accept invitations to go for coffee or meet up with peers or friends.
Goal #5 – Worry Diary
Keep a worry diary, listing any worries I have, the time it occurred and notes around that worry.
LAST MONTH’S PROGRESS
Goal #1 – Continue wellbeing time
I’ve been doing pretty well with this goal. Most mornings I make time for some kind of wellbeing activity. I like going to my gym where I either do swimming, gym cardio, or a yoga class. On the days I don’t make it to the gym I either read a personal development book or try meditating.
I find that the days I miss doing my wellbeing time that I take longer to get focused on my work, I get irritable easily, and just feel a bit meh. By starting the day focusing on myself I become a much happier and effective human being.
Goal #2 – Positive daily observations
I have been doing this as often as I can with my husband, usually at bed time and it’s definitely a great way to be mindful of how much there is to be grateful for even in times of stress.
It’s a nice bonding activity to do with my other half and I feel like I can go to be sleep feeling positive.
Goal #3 – Use a mindfulness app
I have been using a few different mindfulness apps this month and I think they’re fab! I think my current favourite is either Mindfulness or Calm apps. I’ve also been using the Calm app to play relaxing music throughout the day, particularly when I’m at my desk working.
To be honest, I forgot that I was supposed to follow an 8-week mindfulness program, instead I’ve been dipping into standalone meditations based on the amount of time I want to dedicate to it.
Goal #4 – Socialise
I totally ran out of time with this. I had intended to go down to London a few times this month but totally got sidetracked / time ran away from me. I did go spend a few days in Hereford with my brother though and that was an incredibly nourishing time. It was just the two of us as our spouses were either out the country or working, and it’s very rare for just us two siblings to hang out. There is nothing like being able to just be yourself with your sibling who has known you for your entire life.
Goal # 5 – Worry Diary
Again, I didn’t do so well with this goal. I kept putting off setting up the worry diary. I told myself I would go and buy a new notebook to use and, again, time ran away from me.
However, I have noticed a general uplift in mindset in myself. When I feel worry or anxiety in my head I have practised talking to myself about how I can remove myself from the situation or replace the negative thought spiral with something uplifting.
I’ve started to become more aware of how much worry creates further neural pathways in my brain. Once I worry about one thing it connects to something else that bothers me, and then something else … and so on. In order to prevent this worry spiral I am actively seeking ways to halt my thought process and replace it with something that serves me in a positive way.
Goal #1 – Continue with daily wellbeing time
Again, we’re continuing with setting aside daily wellbeing time so it becomes an active part of my daily routine. I don’t always manage every single day at present so I think it’s important to keep prioritising this goal until it becomes ingrained.
As I go through this process I am feeling a general shift in positive mindset and part of that is active daily tasks and goals that push me in that direction.
Therefore I will continue to seek a daily wellbeing activity, it might be going to my local gym for swimming, cardio, or a class. I might do more meditations, reading personal development books. I might even try some at home yoga as well to keep my body moving if I’m stuck indoors all day.
Goal #2 – Continue with daily positive observations
I want to make this positive observations, or gratitude making, to be daily as well. It’s an uplifting exercise and helps with shifting my mindset to a positive place. This is so useful to do at nighttime which traditionally can be a time when all the worries and anxieties of the day come about.
I’m probably going to buy a specific gratitude journal as I think this might also be a nice thing to look back at years to come. It’s almost like a mini diary. But a positive one.
Goal #3 – Continue with mindfulness practice
I am 100% here for the regular mindfulness practice. Meditation is such a powerful and healthy thing to do and I know that it improves my health every single day. I still have a way to go before I am an expert, but the process is what mindfulness is all about.
Goal #4 – Social goal – Set aside time each week to arrange a social activity, e.g. meeting for a coffee or even just phoning for a chat
Now, this one is THE challenge for me. More than anything else, I will always put off organising social activities. Often I make excuses to myself about work, etc. But I recognise just how important a social life will be to my overall wellbeing. So making time to be social each week is going to be hard, I have habits to break, fear to confront, and overall mindset to shift. Wish me luck on this!
Goal #5 – Business/social – Set aside time each week to send out invitations to take part in your new podcast
My final goal is about business relations. I told my coach about the new podcast I’m planning to launch (something I don’t think I’ve yet announced on this blog) and how it will be an interview-focused podcast. Therefore, I have the business social challenge of reaching out to peers and people I admire to invite them to be interviewed for my podcast. This is where my overall fear of rejection will come into play. And possibly this has held me back from doing the podcast, after all I have been thinking about it for TWO years.
This goal will undoubtedly be a struggle for me as I accept that rejection might be part of the process. I will be well and truly facing fear here.
HOW DO I FEEL?
Overall, I’m feeling good. I am feeling a mindset shift already. Going through this process is encouraging me to be more aware of worry, anxiety and fear and how they can hold me back from living my life at full potential.
I’m noticing that I am able to catch myself sooner if a worry cycle is beginning to appear in my mind. And I am starting to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and it’s sticking.
The most significant change is assigning wellbeing time to myself. I’ve been a long-time self-sabotage-r who often felt undeserving of doing nice things for myself. Or, at least I didn’t prioritise that part of my life enough. I’m realising just how much of a difference it makes to my overall effectiveness as a human being, and thus, I am way more effective at work and in relationships when I’ve maintained the wellbeing part of my life.
This next month is probably going to be the trickiest part of the challenge as it’s not just about me, I need to start reaching out to other people more and something I have no control over is how they react. I need to find peace with that, and find ways to make this work, or even be a joy to do. That first step will be the hardest I’m sure, and hopefully it’ll be easier after that.