by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This month, YourCreativeChord Podcast will feature my conversation with guest, Dr. Tara Sanderson, a “Licensed Psychologist, Author, and Clinical Supervisor in Oregon.” The podcast will post in two episodes on March 17 and 31.
LISTEN to EPISODE 1 HERE.
Dr. Sanderson has been “helping people learn the skills to live their best lives” for more than 20 years. I read her new book, "Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices," and reviewed it earlier here.
I invited Dr. Sanderson to be a guest on my podcast because her experience as a counselor and someone who wrestles with perfectionism and anxiety, is perfectly in sync with nurturing creativity and inspiration.
The Dance Between Anxiety And Creative Flow
Getting or staying inspired sometimes comes with its own brand of anxieties for many creative people. I wanted to tap Dr. Sanderson's expertise on addressing this kind of negative self-talk.
We dove into the strategies she put forth in her book about decreasing anxiety. She shared a mindfulness tool she learned in a workshop, called SOBER:
S = Stop
O = Observe
B = Breathe
E = Examine the options
R = Respond
In our chat, Dr. Sanderson walked me through how to use each step of the SOBER tool. Our conversation is relevant for those who struggle with perfectionism, overachieving, anxiety, depression, and “the inner critic.”
E Is For Examine Options Versus Extreme Emotion
The step 'E' in SOBER particularly struck me as useful for those prone to anxiety or perfectionism. Examining the options within a particular scenario is a solid strategy for getting out of extreme, black-and-white thinking that is common for someone in an anxious state.
Dr. Sanderson demonstrated the use of initiating a dialogue with the 'inner critic.’ This inner voice, or self-talk, typically presents an extremely negative option.
Dr. Sanderson’s technique suggests brainstorming five different options versus the one negative option, opening the opportunity for making choices that feel better. Addressing this internal voice directly with alternate options instead of the one extreme reaction commonly offered by the ‘inner critic’ opens the mental space for calm, reason, and a better outcome.
3 Keys For Inspiring Bumperstickers
Dr. Sanderson's technique for handling a stressful choice is to follow the SOBER steps until you're able to respond in a way that's 'on purpose,' 'non-judgmental,' and 'fully present.' I joked that each of these slogans would make great posters or bumperstickers!
Seriously, can you imagine being stuck in constant traffic. You pull up behind a car, fuming frustration at the waste of time to get from point A to point B. Suddenly you see the bumpersticker in front of you, “Fully Present.”
Wow, what a difference that could make on blood pressure, mood, and productive energy! But, I digress…
It struck me that Dr. Sanderson’s approach with these three key points in mind when addressing a challenge is in dramatic yet calming contrast to the knee-jerk extreme emotional reactions we tend to roll with when anxious about something.
Our discussion of the mindfulness tools Dr. Sanderson uses both with herself and within her work as a counselor offers tremendous value for those eager to become less stressed.
Walk-Through For Self-Publishing Your Book
I also asked Dr. Sanderson to walk through her process for writing her new book on decreasing anxiety. She shared from idea conception, writing practice, to promotion, publishing and launching her book.
As I'm writing several nonfiction books under the 'nurturing creativity and inspiration' umbrella, to self-publish those soon on Amazon (and build courses based on them), it was fun to hear how Dr. Sanderson worked through her first book publishing process.
She also shared her process for creating an audio version of her book (which is available on Audible), and a second book to be co-written with her husband is in progress.
In this digital age, the options to publish a book are vastly different from the era of traditional publishing. Dr. Sanderson and I talked about the different ways writers could potentially get their story out or offer value through a book.
Whether you're an author, aspiring writer, or a reader who appreciates good books, this part of our chat illuminates the self-publishing and creative process for writing a book.
LISTEN to EPISODE 1 HERE.
Tune in Tuesday, March 31 for Part 2 of 2 episodes of YourCreativeChord Podcast to hear my in-depth conversation with Dr. Tara Sanderson.
Please let me know in the comments which parts of this blog resonates most with you. Share your thoughts or ask a question! I'd love to hear from you about these intriguing topics, or any tips you'd like to share!
Read my blog reviewing Dr. Tara Sanderson's book here:
How To Decrease Your Anxiety & Live More Mindfully; An Empathetic Perfectionist Helps You Balance Your Life
Checkout Dr. Tara Sanderson's new book, "Too Much, Not Enough A guide to decreasing anxiety and finding balance through intentional choices."
Find Dr. Tara Sanderson on Twitter Instagram Facebook and through her website, https://www.drtarasanderson.com
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If I could go back in time to speak to myself in my youth, or, if there’s one thing I could say to those remaining after I’m gone, the message would be, “Don’t waste your time being afraid.”
Fear has been the one internal opponent that has slowed me down, held me back, or blocked my ideas and actions. Not external obstacles or misfortunes, but this inner voice of anxiety.
In the past 2 years, I’ve started living Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice to do something everyday that scares me. I’ve learned it’s liberating to challenge myself to experience new things, ideas or experiences, or go for higher, different goals as a way to grow my courage overall.
But I’ve also learned that getting to the root of fear is hugely important.
The inner energy of my intent or feeling while taking action makes a powerful impact on the outcome.
It is important to act. Yes, do that.
But go deeper. Look at that fear. Deal with that emotion. Get to the core of it. Spell it out. Analyze it. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of.
Once you get to the root of that fear and dissect it, you find clarity. When you see clearly what your fear is based on, you can use reason to counter each fear.
Let’s use an example:
I’m launching my new online business. This new venture requires that I learn things I’ve never done. That alone has caused me fear.
But when I look at that fear through the lens of reason, I find it’s absolutely reasonable to feel fear simply because this is a new experience for me. Things we haven’t challenged before often naturally make us anxious.
This helps me see my fear as normal for my situation. This viewpoint relaxes me and diminishes my fear. I feel calmer and a bit proud that I’m pushing myself into new things and beyond my comfort zone.
One way to decrease fear is to acknowledge your courage in taking on new endeavors, in pushing yourself to feel the fear and take action anyway. It’s important to take a moment to celebrate that kind of victory. Celebrations of personal accomplishment are also a strong deterrent to feeling fearful!
As a new entrepreneur, and a highly sensitive person with OCD tendencies, I have many things that make me feel anxious. I start a cascade of inner questions to myself:
As a new business owner, the stress can seem relentless and unending. But by getting all my worries in focus in front of me, I can begin to break things down into a clear plan with my critical priorities mapped out.
I'm learning that having all my fears written down allows me a chance to face each one and brainstorm a solution for it. Next, I brainstorm ideas for a contingency plan in case my first solution doesn't work or something else happens to derail it. Sometimes this process enlightens me to a need to re-prioritize or shift my plans to accommodate additional issues and/or time.
Keeping my daily plan and inner intent in line with these priorities allows my mind to find ease, knowing I’m actively addressing everything necessary for reaching my goals. One of the most powerful anecdotes to any fear is taking concrete action. Taking action based on a plan through which I've faced my fears puts me back in the driver's seat of my life and my business success.
How To Get Back Up After A Failure
But, yes, sometimes I flat-out fail to reach goals. Or, I get out of rhythm with my priorities. Sometimes, I start spiraling into a downward stress mode where insomnia rears its head. I get run-down, and out of whack.
Yes, other personal, family or health issues distract my focus or throw me for a loop. I’m human.
When any of this happens--and things will happen--I get back to self-care basics. I refresh my determination. I refresh my determination again. And again. I go back to review my fears and center myself on my values.
As an entrepreneur, and hell, as a human being, I’m learning that it’s not a straight line to happiness and success. Rather, it’s a dramatic, magnificent drama with these crazy, off-the-beaten-path excursions, unexpected adventures, and hurdles that appear from out of nowhere. It’s heavy storms and strong gales of unforeseen problems that completely drench and knock me down into the sloppy mud.
That’s the story.
That’s the part of life that creates the dynamic arch of climactic engagement. It’s also the fuel for catalytic flow to unleash new, fresh, robust, colorful creative juice that leads to a view of an amazing, vast vista.
That new vista is a vision of your joyful fulfillment and the start of a new chapter for previously unimaginable victories.
But, this up-and-down, twisty, turning story cannot emerge without dealing head-on with fear, or without hitting plateaus of illusive limitations that cause you to rear back or stop dead in your tracks.
These obstacles force you to take three steps back, like the lion prepares an attack on his prey, to regroup. Assess. Take care of your inner world. Do whatever you need to refresh yourself and rebuild your inner fortitude.
Then, you may lunge forward, with all your might. That momentum gained from ripping out each fear by their roots will propel you forward in a way that you’ve not experienced until this moment.
Fear makes you face your problems to break through your self-imposed limitations so you may unleash your massive, unlimited, creative, beautiful human potential.
Fear makes you better yourself, both for your own happiness and for others in your life.
I’m learning that for every negative emotion, problem or experience, there is a positive. A way to convert whatever it is into value, inner strength and a source for deeper personal growth and wider progress.
It all goes back to nurturing creativity and inspiration, based on self-care. When we truly do the things that are beneficial for ourselves, we spur positive health, creative energy and the inner qualities we need to improve ourselves and for others.
How Dealing With Your Fear Buoys Your Success
That’s why I’m becoming grateful for my bouts with fear.
After wholeheartedly, directly wrestling with my fear, I find that interaction miraculously morphs into a kind of bearhug, leading me to a moment of gratitude.
This shift is an amazing metamorphosis that allows me a more informed view of my true self and my situation. I feel a burst of powerful confidence, with the strength to go after my goals with clear action.
This mood change propels the reach of my actions. The energy behind my actions grows more confident, joyful, compassionate, deliberate and resilient.
This personal development process reveals how dealing with fear buoys powerful action toward success and growth.
When you see fear as a part of your necessary growth process, it has the potential to be your friend. Fear becomes your guiding voice of wisdom to do the things you must do for a richer, happier life.
So let’s embrace our fears. Addressing our fear is the way to successful, enlightened living.
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.