Our brains are wonderful yet infuriating at the same time. It can stop you from getting to where you want to be. Carry on reading to fight back!
As you know, I suffer from anxiety. This equals a brain that is my worst enemy at the worst possible times. I second guess myself, I change my mind, it makes is hard to concentrate sometimes, but it has some perks too!
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have a love/hate relationship with your brain too.
It’s the most annoying thing every really. Yes, it keeps us alive, but that doesn’t stop it from hindering us either.
So if your brain is your worst enemy, here are some helpful tips to fight back against it. We will win the war together!
How many times have you sat there playing on Facebook, not looking at anything in particular? You know full well you could be doing more productive activities yet you just don’t.
Or what about just scrolling aimlessly through Instagram? That, my friend, is procrastination.
It’s the thing that makes you put off the important things, for something that has no meaning in life. It’s the ultimate time waster and can beat the best of us.
I bet even the person who invented the word procrastination succumbed to it at some point!
The problem is it’s an internal struggle trying to get your brain to get a move on.
This is a sure fire way your brain can work against you. Fighting back against it is possible, though, I promise!
So, how can I do it, Jess? Beating procrastination, that’s how
There are some simple measures you can do to beat procrastination. I’ve covered this in more detail in a recent blog post here. But here are a few more for you!
I don’t know about you but getting started is the issue for me. The thought of doing something is much harder than doing it in the first place. If this is you, start off small.
Break down the things you need to do into little sections. It will instantly feel much easier to sort out and allows you to organise your brain. Trying to tackle a huge task will no doubt overwhelm you at the beginning so this will help.
Inc.com also explains that doubt can seep in and makes you more likely to procrastinate. They suggested a simple technique which has been proven to help the chronically uncertain.
You should doubt your own doubts.
By questioning your own doubts, you are questioning the very thing that makes you procrastinate. This will help you understand why you are putting things off and hopefully make it easier.
I can’t promise a miracle, this might help!
Positivity and remembering the negative things
You’d be surprised that our brains are actually geared up to focussing on the negative. How many times have you done this? I know I am prone to negative thoughts on am unnatural basis!
A focus on the negative could be associated with developing an evolutionary advantage. Back before more modern life, we needed to assess threats quickly. We’d also need to suss out competition before anything quickly
This is all well and good until you reach our day and age when these feelings and situations don’t matter anymore. Yes, you might have an annoying co-worker, but they certainly won’t be about to attack you.
We are now left with a brain that goes into overdrive for no reason! Oh, the woes. Very annoying indeed!
I’ve raved all about the benefits of positive reinforcement on another post. But there are small changes you can take right now, to avoid the negative and focus on the positive.
Smile. How many times has someone smiled at you and you’ve involuntarily smiled yourself? Smiles are contagious! Smiling releases those things called endorphins, every time!
So not only will it increase your mood, it’ll help someone else’s too.
Read some inspiring/positive quotes. I spend most of my time searching for such things! I put them on Instagram, but they are also little reminders for me too. They serve their purpose at times of need and gently bring you back into the positive.
Fear is a normal human emotion, but it is far from rational. It’s the thing that keeps us safe, that keeps us from moving forward. It can be crippling, especially for those with anxiety or depression.
So how can you fight the dreaded feeling of fear? What steps you take to move forward?
Practice make perfect
This phrase sounds quite fluffy, doesn’t it? The point I have though is quite a serious one. You know how it goes, doing something over and over again to make it easier. This is what I’m suggesting.
Fighting the immense fear you might have will be disabling, but taking small steps at a time will help.
For example, if you have social anxiety and hate speaking to strangers, why not start small? I know what I’m saying sounds much easier said than done but this is how I started.
I started smiling at people rather than saying anything. The reaction I got wasn’t hostile (as much as I expected it to be!)
Once I’d built up a bit of confidence I started just saying hi to people on shop counters. I realised that it was no big deal if they didn’t respond. Only my pride was damaged a little!
This has worked wonders for my confidence around people I don’t know. Why not try this? Take teeny steps at a time and it won’t feel so big.
You’ll be proud of yourself for doing it and your confidence will inch up! If social anxiety is something you struggle with, read this post on it for a bit more info.
Control your breathing
Fear causes physical symptoms (as much as people may not think so). This is why anxiety can be so debilitating.
Breathing is where it starts. I seriously have to control my breathing at times of stress. I spend a lot of my time fearing and thinking about the worst possible circumstances and I know how it feels.
Breathing exercises are hard to master at the start, but once learned they are fab for those anxious moments. I think I must practise it at least once per day!
They can be done after waking up in the morning, before you go to bed, or when you just generally need a few moments of calm.
You might also be interested in mindfulness as this incorporates a bit of calm when your brain won’t give it. I wrote a post all about it here! It also includes lots of resources to help you along the way.
Stop daydreaming! Ha. I joke. But there is a reason why I say this…
Likehacker explains that by fantasising about your goals can unintentionally ruin them. Shocker!
But apparently, because you are thinking about the positive, you are overlooking the negative. It’s easily done, though, isn’t it?
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t daydream/dream about your projects and not get excited about them because you should.
But make sure you are realistic with your approach and consider all aspects.
I actually cover this in more detail in my eBook here, plus a step by step approach to reaching those dreams of yours.
Bad habits are one sure fire way that your brain will work against you. You know you shouldn’t bite your nails, but that doesn’t stop you does it?
So annoying! I tell you what I do. I twiddle with my hair. It damages it and makes it fall out, but does that stop me, no siree!
I don’t know why I do it, probably just boredom!
If you have a bad habit you want to kick, there are a few ways of doing it.
Replace the bad habit with a good habit! This is easier said than done I tell you. But it is possible!
For me, when I start playing with my hair, I get a pen out and start planning for something. Anything! This takes me hands away from wanting to twiddle it and takes my mind somewhere else.
I’m killing the habit and being productive instead. Great!
What about if you bite your fingernails? You could do the same. Sometimes biting your nails is almost subconscious. It’s about making conscious decisions to kick the bad habit.
Another aspect is to understand why you have the bad habit in the first place. If you smoke because of stress, how can you reduce that stress? It might help in reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke because of it.
What about overeating? If you’re conscious you eat when you’re bored, distract yourself with another activity so you don’t eat.
Or how about replacing the food with something really healthy so it’s not as bad for you?
If you find writing things down helps you, do this too. It’ll cement it in your brain and aid you in your quest to conquer it! Haha