Stress Management

Trouble Sleeping? Sprinkle a Little Gratitude into Your Life

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May You Wake With Gratitude

Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.

The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.

Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:

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Brain Nerd

Sleepy PsychNerd

There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.

Study Results

*With nerdspeak translations

Gratitude was uniquely related to:

  • Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
  • Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
  • Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
  • Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
  • Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.

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Practicing Gratitude

Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.

UNSTUCK: A Practical Guide to Gratitude

You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂

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Sleep Strategies

Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.


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I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

References

Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66  43–48

Whoops! Been Procrastinating? Channel Your Inner Badass!

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Well, if you are a student you have probably had a pretty great two weeks of slowly getting back into the academic game and hanging with friends (maybe partying a wee bit too).

But hey, you have had no assignments due, so what’s the rush right?!?

Wait what!??!

How did October get here so quickly!??!

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Ok, now that I have your your attention

and your adrenaline is sufficiently high!

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There is no need to continue freaking out and making some bad decisions, like pretending that assignments will magically be completed or skipping classes because it lowers your anxiety level. I have some ideas to help you dial down the freakout, channel this energy, use your powers for good and get some traction.


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This is the time to SHOW UP IN YOUR OWN LIFE or “Adulting” as some of you like to call it. FYI “adulting” actually means that you have free will, control over your own life, the master of your domain, can make choices on your own, the only one nagging you is you…yada yada…it is a pretty sweet state to be in, so stop the hating and avoiding 😉

Let’s Build an…

Internal Locus of Control

 


Brain NerdPsychNerd Time!!!

I’m sorry, this nerd just needs to be a wee bit PsychNerdy to make a point 😉

Locus of Control (LOC) is a concept that was developed by a pretty smart social psychologist Dr. Julian Rotter in 1954. It is a social learning theory that has been well tested and still holds up today. LOC considers the tendency of people to believe that control resides internally within them, or externally, with others or the situation.

So I bet you are wondering if you have an internal or external LOC?!?

Maybe not, but stick with me, it is good for you 🙂

Internal LOC

People with a high internal locus of control believe in their own ability to control themselves and influence the world around them. They see their future as being in their own hands and that their own choices lead to success or failure. (Source)

*They believe in their ability to change things.

*They tend to be more confident.

*They can kick their own butts when procrastination gets out of control.

External LOC

People with a high external locus of control believe that control over events and what other people do is outside them, and that they personally have little or no control over such things. They may even believe that others have control over them and that they can do nothing but obey. (Source)

*They tend to view things happening TO them and having little or no control over the situation.

*They tend to passively accept what is happening and do nothing about it.

*They tend to just give up when life gets rough, or until someone kicks their butt for them 😉


Take LOC Test!

This is the first step in understanding your explanatory style, or way understanding the world and being in the world, so that you can start to build resilience (Internal Locus of Control). It is a shift in thinking, reactions and skills.


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Whoop There it Is!

*whoops my 90s child slipped out 😉 Just for fun…

Ok, now back to semi-serious stuff. Check out this goal setting system that is scientifically proven to get you moving on your next steps toward badass-ary.

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“WOOP” is a strategy that Dr. Gabriele Oettingen, a professor at New York University (NYU) and her colleagues developed. It is a scientific badass approach to getting your life on track and reaching your goals. WOOP stands for…

Wish

Outcome

Obstacle

Plan

*The less-catchy term is “mental contrasting.” Ok, no more nerdy stuff from me 😉


Getting Starting WOOPing

Listen to This

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Hidden Brain Podcast

“WOOP: 4 Steps to Achieve Your Goals”

Watch This

Read This

WOOP In My Life


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Tell me stories about your badassary!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

Motivation, Motiva, Mot: ZZZZZzzzz Huh?! Wait What?!?!

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Never Quit

Shout Out to All College Students!

The semester is coming to an end and likely, so to is your motivation to keep on task. Oh how I  remember the semester end so well. I just lost all my drive and energy to conquer the intense feeling of being overwhelmed all the time.

I would go through rapid cycles (and sometimes still do) of “ok, I can do this, no problem, I got this” to “I just want to quit!!!!” I was consumed with thoughts of wanting the relentless pain, and lack of sleep, to end. I just wanted a life without constant negative mental chatter, the mental nagging (“you should, should, should…”) and immense pressure to do well (or at least finish). 

I thought the timing was right to share the various things that have worked for me during these very challenging times. Yes, I still do all of these things at various times in my life, because they work. I am defiantly not one of those people who gives advice that I do not take. I walk the walk. I suck it up and do what it takes. I feel stronger and better for having pushed myself. The more I rise to the challenge, the easier it has been to deal with future challenges.

Your Stronger Than You Know

Take a moment and grow your resilience, lean into your life, roll up your sleeves and move toward strength and resilience. Below are some Tips, Tricks and Hacks that I recommend for getting you through this heinous, painful, overwhelmed moment in your life. Yes, moment…it will not be forever….feels like it…but…feelings are not facts 😉


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I will start with organizing the motivation enhancement hacks into two categories: Mindset and Perseverance.

You can’t get anywhere if your mindset is working against you and your mindset alone in not enough, you actually need to stop thinking about something and just do it.

MINDSET

  • Wise Mind: Foster a Wise Mind. Get your Thinking Mind and Your Emotional Mind to smarten up and be friends and work together toward the wisdom it is going to take to get stuff done.
  • Tweak Your State of Mind:
    • Do things deliberately to change your state of mind. If you are feeling low, do things that elevate your mood. Get Started with the Following Ideas: “22 Ways to Change Your State of Mind“.
    • Use motivational quotes to shift your thinking and offer a wider perspective.
    • Use positive imagery. Imagine yourself at the end of exams. Are you proud of yourself for persevering? Imagine all the times that you wanted to quit and didn’t.
  • Perspective: 
    • This pain is temporary! “This too shall pass” is what I hear when my inner 4 year old starts tantruming and saying “I don’t wanna…whaaaaaa”. I move to “seriously, Heather, you are way to old for this whining, stop this, get it done, you are being a baby”. I would feel way worse, in the long run, if I just quit. I know this because I have quit in the past and regretted it.
    • Opportunity Focus: This is an opportunity to build, grow, become more resilient and to see what you are made of. I believe that we are who we are in the tough times, so work on building your strengths and be awesome in the times where adversity comes along and sucker punches you.
  • Personal Responsibility: Show up in your own life. Be the main character in your story. Work first, play later. Start adulting! Yes, this is not just a message for young people because many of us 40+ year olds fight being an adult too sometimes 😉 Do what you know you need to do, not just what you “feel” like doing. Don’t wait for others to do it for you, or to motivate you. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, do it now.
  • Bolster Your Self-Efficacy: This is about building a positive believe about yourself and your abilities. Carve out a moment in your chaotic life to reflect on what you have done well in the past, examples of where you wanted to give up but you didn’t, take an inventory of what comes easily to you and just take the time to purely notice what is actually going well in your life.

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PERSEVERANCE 

  • Make a Plan: Set goals, big and then smaller steps toward those goals. Take on bite sized pieces, take breaks and reward yourself. If you try to do too much too fast then you will burn yourself out or you will make so much work for yourself that it will be hard to even get started.persevere.jpg
  • Stay Active: When you keep your momentum going by keeping yourself on track, following your plan, you will find that the momentum you have is much easer to maintain….because science says so 😉
    • arrow-10.pngNewton’s first law of motion – sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. BE THE BODY IN MOTION! Avoid the unbalanced force of distraction, doubt and negative thinking. 

 

  • Hang Around With Motivated People: Study with people who are good for you, that you can learn from, that are feeling overwhelmed like you but work hard to remain in their wise mind and just get work done. These people can become role models who inspire you to push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. This is the quintessential story of my life. I am a people watcher (a.k.a vicarious learner) and I have managed to take what I witness and put it into action in my own life.
  • Do The Hardest Thing First: Seriously! It is the thing that you dread the most that is killing your confidence. That BIG chunk of work that is sapping your motivation to get started. Often this is just in your head and how you see this task. Shut off your judgemental and fearful thoughts and get going on this task, in small manageable pieces, step-by-step, until it is done. Just do your best in that situation, with the time that you have. It is better to hand something in rather than nothing.
  • Make It Fun: check out a previous blog post: Pain + Fun = Motivation

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Some of My Favs

Motivational Quotes That Kick My Butt into ActionA Little Progress

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow” – Unknown Author

“Fall down 7 times, Stand up 8” – Chinese Proverb

“Dont’ stop when you are tired, stop when you are done” – Unknown Author

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” – Unknown Author

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain

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“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” —Wayne DyerTough Times.jpg

 

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” —Margaret Thatcher

“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can hinder or
control the firm resolve of a determined soul.” –Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“There is no traffic jam along the extra mile.” —Roger Staubach


“Adversity can change you for the better, if you let it” 

Known to be said by me, to many of my students. Sometimes they roll their eyes, but sometimes they take the advice and become the main character of their story.


Now get out there, shut off your critical mind, get some momentum, work first and play later and just get ‘er dun!

*Today’s blog post was brought to you by a very under motivated person who used GRITTY strategies to  make it to the finish line 😉

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

 eSuccess-Coach * Counsellor * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca


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