What to Do in Stressful Times

How are you feeling? 

As our worlds have been changing rapidly, I want to offer you some thoughts that have been helpful for me.

When times are stressful, zoom in, just like with a camera lens. How am I in this moment? How are my kids, my family, in this very moment and just for this moment? 

Your brain will want to run to the future. Gently bring it back to the moment. In this moment, everything is okay. You might feel upset. Your kids might feel upset, but, in this moment you know exactly what to do. You may not know what the future holds, or how you’ll handle the future, but you can do this moment.

When times are stressful, it’s also helpful to take time to zoom way out. Get the big picture of this life. Remember that we lived before this life. We will live after this life. We have loving Heavenly Parents.

I like to think about times when my kids are really mad that I expect them to go to bed, or don’t let them eat candy as a meal. They are genuinely upset, and they’re not really capable of understanding why I’m making the decisions I am.

I believe this is the same with us. We are genuinely upset when this life doesn’t go the way we expect. We don’t like the unknown. We don’t like most changes. We don’t like when things or hard, or watching other people suffer. But it’s possible we’re upset about something we can’t fully understand and see is in our best interest and has a higher purpose. 

We will make it through this. Everyone in history always has made it through hard times. Every.time. 

A lot of it won’t be comfortable. But that’s okay. We may feel worried, scared, angry. We may react badly to those emotions. We may not show up as who we want to be in different situations and different relationships. That is going to be okay, too.

We have everything we need to get through this moment and this life. We have repentance, the Atonement, prayer, the Spirit. 

It may not be easy, but we can do it.

P.S. If you are struggling and want to talk to someone, sign-up here for a free one-on-one consult. I would love to help you through this. 

 

You Have A Good Reason

I want you to know that you have a good reason for doing what you’re doing. 

So often we want to be mad at ourselves for doing things that are perhaps giving us negative results in our lives.

I overate again. I slept in again. I lied about how I really felt.again. I yelled at my kids.again.

If you are telling yourself that you’re stupid, or lack will-power, or there’s something wrong with you, then you’re shutting yourself off from the creativity necessary to find a solution for change. 

But when you can have compassion for yourself and see that you had a good reason for doing what you did, THEN you can look at it in curiosity about how you might change it. 

You overeat because there are uncomfortable feelings in your body, and when you eat you get a rush of dopamine that feels pleasurable.

You sleep in because you have thoughts that make you not look forward to your day, and when you’re sleeping, you don’t have to feel those things.

You lie about how you really feel because you think the other person won’t like what you say, and it feels good to think people like you. 

You yell because your kids react when you do.

You’re not stupid. You’re actually really smart. You don’t lack will-power, you’d just rather feel good than bad. It makes perfect sense. There’s nothing wrong with you. 

Now what? How could you have fun solving this problem? How could you feel love while solving this problem? 

You have the answers IN you. They’re just being blocked when you tell yourself you’re stupid. 

P.S. I help women UN-block their wisdom and find their creative solutions. I believe in you, when you don’t believe in yourself. Schedule a free 45-minute consultation today!

 

A Conversation With My Brain

As I was bathing my feverish son, I felt the rage come up. 

I started to pay closer attention.

 

Me: What’s up? Why the rage?

Brain: I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I should take him to the doctor or give him more medicine or give him this bath. This is really serious. I could permanently damage this child if I do the wrong thing.

Me: It’s true something terrible could happen. He could get brain damage. He could even die. That happens sometimes. 

Brain: I’m just so scared. I shouldn’t be the mom. Someone else should come take over.

Me: I know you’re scared. It’s okay to be scared. I think you DO know what to do. If something terrible happens, it was always going to happen. You’ll for sure know if there’s a time when you should take him to the doctor or ask for help from someone else. But for now, you’ve got this. 

Brain: I DO think this is the right thing to do right now. I also think I should give him more medicine.

Me: There you go. I knew you knew what to do. Let’s do that, and then see what happens.

 

When your brain talks to you, don’t just automatically believe everything it’s saying. We all have a wiser voice inside. Channel it. Fact check your brain. You’re the adult. It’s your job to watch over your brain. You can do this. I believe in you.

P.S. Are you longing to listen to the wise voice inside of your head, but your brain is so loud it’s hard for you to hear it? Get on a FREE 45-minute consult with me. I’m an expert at helping women find their inner wisdom. I will help you!

 

How to Change the Past

You know those times in your past when you felt like a failure? You know how your brain likes to bring one or more of them up when you want to try something new, or when you’re around someone you see as super successful, and then you feel small and like you have no business even thinking of trying?

What if you could feel successful about those times in your life, instead of like a failure? How would that change things for you?

Well, you can and I’m going to tell you how. 

Imagine you’re writing a news story about a time in your life. What would the headline be? Something like, “Woman is a Failure at …..”. 

The only reason you see this situation in your life as a fail is because you’re believing this headline. Your brain then dutifully fills in the rest of the story highlighting how the headline is true.

But, if you change the headline to the opposite…something like, “Woman succeeds at…” your brain will slowly, maybe VERY slowly start filling in the story highlighting the ways this situation was a success. 

Our brains only want to be right. So, if you change the headline, the story must change to make the headline right. 

It is simple, but it’s not easy. It takes dedication to believe that MAYBE the “fail” story is wrong, and maybe, just MAYBE the “success” is right. How is it true that that time in your life really was a win? 

At first, you might feel like a fraud. You’ll find some evidence of the new story, and your brain will be like, “But what about this other story??”

You have to be brave enough to say, “Shhh….I know. But we’re writing a different story. It needs time. We’re scrapping that old story.” 

I promise there are things you already believe are a success about that time in your life if you’re willing to be open to the idea that it was a success.

P.S. Are you ready to feel successful as a wife, mother, and woman in this world? Sign-up for a FREE 45 minute online consultation. I can’t wait to show you the ways that you already know you’re a success, so that you can create more of that. Doesn’t that sound more fun than replaying the past in a negative way and feeling like a failure?

 

Got Some Gray Clouds Hanging Over You?

I’m sure you’ve seen these word clouds in various places. They are pictures made up of words. Some words stand out more than others. 

This is kind of like our brains, except they might be called thought clouds. 

Think of a relationship that is troubling you. If you had a thought cloud of the the things you think or say about that relationship, what would the big sentences be? What would stand out?

She criticizes me. She doesn’t call. She calls too much. She thinks she’s better than me. She doesn’t take care of herself. She’s too needy.

If you’re having trouble in the relationship, it’s all of the negative thoughts that are big in that thought cloud. 

Imagine that thought cloud on a touchscreen. Now squeeze those negative thoughts smaller, and pull some of the smaller thoughts bigger. What do they say?

Maybe there are a few thoughts in there that are more positive. She wrote me a nice note. She’s really talented at drawing. She was really nice to my kids.

What would it be like if you could focus on those thoughts and bring them to the forefront?

We really can find positive and negative things we believe about ANYONE. The people we enjoy being around are people we have more positive thoughts about. It really doesn’t have anything to do with that person. It’s all about our thinking and our focus. 

What does your thought cloud look like for your most important relationship…the one with yourself? What thoughts stick out the most?

P.S. If you feel you’re under heavy clouds most of the time, and you find it hard to feel good and like yourself, sign-up for a Free 45-minute Online Consultation with me. I specialize in helping overwhelmed moms see what’s so heavy, and how to lighten it all up. I will empower you with the tools you need to feel the way you want to.

When You’ve Gone Backwards

I gained the weight back.

I’ve gone back to my old ways.

I don’t want to regress.

Did you know that it’s not possible to go backwards? You can’t gain the weight back, or regress in your progress.

I remember hearing a metaphor of life. It says that we’re going up an escalator that’s going down. Have you heard this one? The point of the metaphor is: If you’re not always walking up the escalator, it carries you back down, and you’ll have to start all over.

It sounds so motivational, but I want you to take a moment and really think about how you FEEL when you think about this metaphor.

You might feel motivated to keep going for a little while. But then what happens? 

You get tired. Maybe you stop. But when you stop, you go backwards. ALL of that “progress” you made is for naught. 

Now how do you feel? I’m guessing pretty defeated, and not very motivated to get going again. 

Take a minute to REALLY let this sink in. When you THINK you’ve gone backwards, it’s super defeating and unmotivated. Every.time.

Maybe if we were robots, we could keep going forever without slowing down, and without stopping.

But guess what…we’re not. We are human beings. We were not made to go and do without taking rests, without taking time to reevaluate, WITHOUT MAKING MISTAKES.

So, what do I mean when I say we can’t go backwards; we can’t gain the weight back; we can’t regress?

I imagine life as more like a hike. We have a destination. But we won’t ever reach it in this life. So we can’t count on reaching the end as our main motivation.

When we’re on this journey, sometimes we sit down and take a rest. Sometimes we stumble and fall and stay down on the ground for awhile. And sometimes we go off on a different path.

We never go back to a place we’ve been on the path. Every time we start up again after we’ve stopped, or gone on another path, or stumbled, we’re different than when we stopped. 

We’re rested, or have seen and learned something new, or taken some time to pout and feel sorry for ourselves. But we’re always different than when we stopped.

So instead of saying you have to “get back” to where you were, or “make up” for lost time, remember you haven’t gone back. You’re different than when you stopped. 

You are new every moment. Start here.

P.S. We all collect baggage, rocks, heaviness along our path. If you’re ready to let it go and feel lighter and freer, sign-up for a FREE 45-minute consultation with me. I can show you the way to let it go so you can enjoy your journey a lot more. Why wait another day? Sign-up now. I will take care of you.

When You’re Tired Of Reacting To Your Emotions

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Emotions are indicators, not dictators.” Our emotions are meant to tell us that something is good or something is wrong, not to run the show.

Sometimes it can feel like we have no control over how we feel, or how we react. This can feel so scary, and actually escalate our emotions as we try to hold them down. 

You know those times when you feel like you might cry, so you resist it and then the tears start pouring and you start sobbing, and the more you try to stop, the harder you cry? Or you’re angry or irritated and you try to hold it back, but it seems to gain momentum until you completely explode?

Here’s an exercise to help you feel what you’re feeling instead of reacting uncontrollably, or pushing it down, only to explode later.

Take deep, slow breaths. Relax your shoulders. Relax your stomach. Relax anywhere that feels tense. Notice the sensations throughout your body: head, arms, legs, stomach, chest, mouth, fingertips, anywhere.

Choose one sensation. Ask yourself these questions. If you don’t have an answer right away, don’t worry about it, just move on to the next question. 

Is it fast or slow? Hot or cold? Open or closed? Heavy or light? Tense or relaxed? Prickly or smooth? If it had a colour, what would it be? If you had to name it, what would you call it?

Then imagine the sensation is coming from a little pompom ball. You know those ones with googly eyes and felt feet? 

Talk to this little creature. Welcome it to your home. Let it know it can stay as long as it needs to. I say something like this, “Hi Worry. I see you. You’re welcome to stay as long as you need to.” 

Continue to just notice it and the sensations it makes in your body. If you’re really welcoming it, it will start to fade away in a few minutes. If it doesn’t, don’t worry, it can take practice to really feel the emotions.

Know that it will come back again. Name it. Welcome it. Then it will fade again. Usually emotions come and go in waves. 

And that’s all. That’s how you feel an emotion rather than reacting to it. Later, when you’re not feeling it, you can ask yourself why you felt that way and decide what you want to do with that information. 

Just know that your emotions aren’t dangerous. That’s why I like to picture them as little pompom friends. They’re just scared. It’s our job to notice them and care for them. 

When we react it’s because we’re trying to ignore or push them away. They just want to be noticed and acknowledged. 

 

P.S. Want to become a pro at feeling your emotions, and then learn how to create any emotion you want to feel at any time? Sign-up for a FREE 45-minute consultation with me and I’ll show you why you feel the way you feel, and how to feel the way you want to instead. 

I Can’t Do Everything, But I Can Do Something

As I was sitting in a church training meeting, I started feeling more and more overwhelmed and underqualified. I heard the trainers present what seemed like the perfect leaders in the perfect youth group. I could feel myself get defensive.

I had thoughts such as, “They don’t understand. This isn’t really my responsibility. They expect too much.” Everything felt really heavy and serious. 

How do you manage your brain in situations like these? It all kind of just seems really true. We SHOULD be doing more, being more. But is it true?

What if the truth was that there are many different ideals…as many as there are people? What if when someone presents an ideal, we get to choose what parts we WANT to work on, and that’s good enough…perfect even? 

What if the ideal is each one of us bringing our talents AND our weaknesses to the table? Just showing up knowing that sometimes we’ll be our best selves, and sometimes we won’t quite be at our best?

What if we remembered that maybe it’s not as serious as we’re making it? 

Doesn’t that feel a lot better? 

This doesn’t mean we don’t listen to others and their ideas. It just means we don’t try to be certain ways in certain situations. We just try to be ourselves in every situation. Believing that we ALWAYS have SOMETHING to contribute ALREADY. No morphing into a different, more perfect person needed. 


P.S. If you resonate with these posts at all, you’ll love being coached. It’s so amazing sharing things that make you feel unsure, frustrated, ashamed with someone who gives you the space to just hold it and look at it without judgment, and without pity, but with compassion and understanding. Sign-up to experience this for yourself absolutely FREE. 

When You Hear Mean Voices In Your Head

I started seeing a counselor after I had my last baby (who is 6 years old now). That was the first time I remember being introduced to the idea that our thoughts are separate from us. 

I vividly remember a day, shortly after learning this, when I was vigorously mopping the foyer floor, trying to ignore the shame I felt. I was full of rage. For my baby.

Right above me, in his bed, my baby was wailing loudly. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong, he was just putting himself to sleep. He did this. He would cry for about 10 minutes before he would fall into a contented slumber. 

But his cry seemed to be 10 times louder to me than to anyone else. So I mopped, trying to distract myself, trying to get out some energy. All of sudden, I remembered to notice my thoughts. “I can’t do this. This is stupid. I’m no good at being a mom. I have NO idea what I’m doing. I should know what’s wrong. I should fix this. I don’t know what to do. I’m so stupid.”

I actually feel somewhat emotional writing those words, realizing that my past self, the one who wanted so badly to be a good mom, who couldn’t see she already was, believed those thoughts. She didn’t know they weren’t real. They weren’t true.

They were what I now call the Voice. Some people call it the Ego. Some people like to name it something like Rhonda or Larry, or say it’s their mom or dad, their 3rd grade teacher, or even Satan. 

This Voice are the collection of thoughts we have that aren’t helpful. Sometimes we hear the Voice in the first person, “I should know better.” I hear it a lot in the 3rd person, “He’s thinking, ‘She’s stupid.'” or “She thinks I’m doing this all wrong.” But it’s all the Voice. 

When you believe the Voice, you feel small, hopeless, despair, prideful, frustrated, impatient, unloved, not good enough. That’s the sign that you’re believing it.

It’s always running in the background. It’s an effect of our human brain trying to stay safe. It thinks these thoughts are helpful. But they’re not.

So what do you do when you notice yourself believing the Voice? First, name it…That’s the Voice. Next, notice how it makes you feel. Some people find it helpful to dismiss it. “I see you, go away now.” I find it more helpful to see it as irrelevant chatter in the background that I’m now ignoring. It usually just fades away then. Sometimes I write it out and remind myself it’s just hogwash. 

It feels really true sometimes because it hits on our deepest fears, our greatest longings, our most vulnerable spots. And a lot of the thoughts are half-truths. 

Remember, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness. When you truly feel this way, you know it’s truth. 

P.S. Let me help you distinguish the Voice in your head from what’s really true. Sign-up for a free 45-minute Consult. I’ll listen to what’s going on for you and give you some individual coaching specific to you. 

How To Tell The Difference Between Perfectionism And Self-Improvement

My name is Betsy Olsen, and I struggle with perfectionism. 🙂 

Sometimes we think if we want to love and accept ourselves, we have to give up on self-improvement. We think if we want to lose weight, we have to hate our bodies. If we want to decorate our house, we have to hate the way it is now.

Brene Brown made a brilliant distinction between perfectionism and self-improvement. From her book The Gifts of Imperfection:

 

Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval and acceptance...Healthy striving is self-focused--How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused--What will they think?

Brene Brown

As you’re doing your daily tasks, or working towards your goals, notice the thoughts in your head. Why are you doing what you’re doing? 

If you’re worried about what other people think, welcome to being a human. We all worry about what other people think. 

But our thoughts are not us. We can choose our motives. Notice how you feel when you ask yourself, “What will ‘they’ think about me doing this?” and “What do I think about me doing this?”

Do you like your reason?

It’s pretty interesting to notice why you do what you do. You don’t need to change it. You don’t need to judge it. Just be interested. What do you learn?

P.S. If you’d like help with a tricky situation, a goal, or a difficult relationship, be sure to sign-up for a free 45-minute coaching session. I’m really good at helping you become aware without judgment. Just sayin’.