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Monday, January 2, 2012

Staying Upbeat in the Face of Negativity

Do You Believe All Things Seemingly Good or Bad Works for Your Highest Good?

In the last three days:

* How many times did something happen to make you worry something in your life wouldn't work out?

* How many times did you respond to the fear by relaxing into it--knowing life has a way of working out in your favor?

When Life Gets Hard, Lighten Up

These days, there's certainly a lot to worry about. I admit I succumb to worrying about work, money and the future. But when life gets messy, that's the very time we need access to our most nimble and flexible problem-solving abilities. That's why we need to lighten up when life is hard.

Lightening up when times are tough changes how you think about your troubles and helps you gain more options for achieving better outcomes. I know--just lighten up-- it's easier said than done--but it can be done--and you can choose to practice making the switch in thinking.

Learning how to stay upbeat in the face of difficulties ultimately results in a more overall optimistic attitude in you as you learn to work out of your higher brain instead of your lower brain.

When you're stressed-- learning to switch from your 'Lower Self' to your 'Higher Self' is the key to staying upbeat and nimble during tough times. Let me show you what I mean.

A Lower Ott and A Higher Ott

Years ago at the end of conducting a workshop on the paradox of change, a workshop participant--Hall of Fame Songwriter, Mack David--presented me with a little ditty he composed. With his cherub cheeks and a lighthearted grin he sang:

'The Lord begets and the Lord begot,
A Lower Ott and a Higher Ott;
But of all the Otts the Lord begot,
The best of all is a Meyerott.
Who? Sue!
And Nancy Too!

It made me laugh--and it still does. There it was: The Lower Ott and the Higher Ott--what I had been calling My Lower Self and My Higher Self. This lighthearted ditty became just the ticket to keep me from taking myself too seriously for too long when I succumbed (as we all do) to taking the path of the Lower Ott during stressful experiences.

While you may lack a name that rhymes so well with begot, you too have a higher and lower self housed in your brain. And how you talk to yourself about difficult situations will determine which of your selves--your higher or lower self (brain) will do the problem-solving for you.

Do You Feel Pressured or Challenged Under Stress?

What's in a word? Lots! Whether you feel pressured or challenged under stress will determine if your choices for responding to your world are limited to your lower brain, or if more expansive options are available to you from engaging your higher brain.

The good news is if you change your thoughts-- from feeling pressured to feeling challenged under stress-- you'll unlock the key to opening up options and to staying upbeat in the face of negativity.

Feel Pressured? It's a Real Downer!

Here's the thing--when you sink into feeling pressured, fearful or worried about a situation, you downshift into your lower--or reptilian brain. Your lower brain offers you very limited instinctual responses--much like those available to snakes whose instinct is to protect their territory and their young.

For you, this translates into your basic fight or flight reactions (the stress response) and results in the extremes of fighting and withdrawing such as outbursts, yelling, arguing, quitting, ignoring, denying, running away and pulling the covers over your head and never (ever) going back.

When it's not helping you respond to a crisis, your lower brain is not a very empowering or engaging place to come from, and it leaves you feeling weak, threatened, out-of-control and unsuccessful.

To Stay Upbeat, Upshift into Your Higher Brain

By switching your thinking from feeling pressured to feeling challenged, you move up to your higher brain--or cerebral cortex--where conscious, critical thinking is possible. Now you're in control. It is from this higher place you are capable of considering calm, clear, focused choices and listening to your inner wisdom.

Chose the Self-Satisfied Calm of Knowing You Can Handle Life

Why not give up the adrenaline rush of feeling pressured for the self-satisfied calm of knowing you can handle whatever life throws your way. The next time you feel the angst of your situation coming on, consciously choose to say 'I feel challenged' in place of 'I feel pressured'.

No, things don't always go as you planned. But you do have what it takes to successfully move through life's challenges. Look for the challenge and give up the pressure.

'Relax and begin saying, Everything in its perfect time. Everything is unfolding. And I'm enjoying where I am now, in relationship to where I'm going. I'm content where I am, and eager for more.'

Do You Need Help Switching from Feeling Pressured to Feeling Challenged?
For more than 25 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before. Contact Susan to schedule one or on-going life change coaching sessions.


Marilyn said...

I opt to be a bird and fly over the valleys of life...taking a higher view. Much better than a lizard's life...crawling through the muck. Thanks, Sue! Good article!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Well my little chickadee, it is much more fun to stay above the fray!
Love to you from the Higher Ott

Cynthia said...

Just reading your aticle(Sue), makes me feel challenged and not stressed. I did some yoga exercises and feel calm. Thanks for Your great Words Sue!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...


I need to do some yoga too! I'm committed to regaining my strength and flexiblity I lost after being injured in a rearending accident last summer. Let's make 2012 a great year!


Grant said...

Hey Sue! Love it!

"But of all the Otts the Lord begot,
The best of all is a Meyerott."

So true, so true!

Another great post. For me, calm abiding, courage and compassion help immensely to stay upbeat in the face of negativity.

theresa said...

Today is a new day for me accept the things I can't change but, to recognize that I am willing to accept.

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Grant, What's interesting is you can't find calm abiding in the Lower Brain...only in the Higher Brain. Your focus on calm abiding is a simple phrase others could learn from--it would shoot them up where calm abides!

Smiles back at you from the Higher Ott!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Ah to recognize the willingness to accept--that's half the battle. Sending you calm, willing thoughts for 2011

Suzanne Haveman said...

Ott to be one of the best ditty's I've heard. Also thank you for your encouraging words...they always strike home and if you are feeling down before you read your are up by the end of it. Life is short...lighten up...and practice makes perfect.
Thanks to you, suz

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

How clever of you, my Suzanne--Ott to be....
You are living proof that sometimes even the most upbeat, positive people need an uplift. And you are living proof that what makes a positive, upbeat person is they do what they must do to lighten up when then get down. You indeed hold and act up the secret!
Love to you, Susan

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

I feel better just reading this post, Sue! I got a new writing job this morning and was feeling a bit pressured. Now I'm just feeling challenged!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

How fabulous you got a new writing job! Keep those challenges coming!

Best to you for 2012!