Tag Archives: worry

‘Enough is Enough!’

iGnite - remove the unnecessary

Photo from this summer’s iGnite Escape in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Point to Ponder:
What have you had “enough” of? What are you wasting your time and life on?
What keeps you running on the treadmill to nowhere and is keeping you from living your life, being fully present and feeling great?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Recently I ran across a motivating radio show series called “Enough is Enough,” and as I listened, I became more inspired to also declare what I had had enough of in my life.

In last week’s journal I shared my realization that my current purpose/mission changed from what I originally thought it would be at this time. Prior to this, I was running myself ragged and trying to live up to the ridiculous expectations I placed on myself, which led me to declaring that ‘enough was enough!’ of letting my ego be my north star. ‘Enough was enough!’ of giving into the lie that my controlling ways were better than turning everything over to God in prayer. ‘Enough was enough!” of screaming at my kids and not being a present mom because I was stressed out of my mind due to believing that I needed to do more and was not enough unless I was multi-tasking and focused on accomplishing a million things.

So, what have you had “enough” of? What types of things are consuming your time and energy? What keeps you running on a treadmill to nowhere and is keeping you from living your best life, being fully present and feeling great? Because women share similar heartbeats and the human experience is not unique, here are some ‘enoughs’ that instantly came to my mind and might resonate with you too:

Do you struggle with living up to the expectations of others and are too hard on yourself? Are the people you are spending the majority of your time with life-suckers rather than life-givers? Do you live on an emotional roller-coaster because you are too involved in your children’s lives, care too much about the opinions of others, make too many assumptions and take everything personally? Have you neglected your needs and are not getting enough sleep, healthy food, adequate hydration and exercise? Have you busied yourself, are completely stressed-out and therefore your words, interactions and body language are negative, cold and argumentative? Do you no longer attend church or have a day off for faith, family and rest because your children’s extra-curricular activities have taken over or you’ve replaced it with more work? Do you wrestle with control and worry too much? Is your financial situation and spending out of balance? Have you placed a higher value on work and outside commitments and as a result neglected the needs of your spouse or the people you love? Have you bought into the lie that God didn’t create you “enough,” and therefore you have low confidence? Do the destructive emotions of shame, fear and doubt control your life? Do you reject the love of others or can’t trust others because someone didn’t love you back or violated your trust? Do you procrastinate or keep putting off what is necessary and important in your life?

With only a little over two months left in 2015 (EEK!), I want us to be intentional with the way we spend the remainder of our year by declaring and writing down the “enoughs” in our lives on this printable worksheet. By doing this, your spirit will give you valuable knowledge and information about what you are willing to accept in your life. This level of awareness and information will minimize the chances of transferring negative actions and emotional garbage into 2016 and will promote healthy progress by adding what’s necessary, rich and wonderful into your new year and life!

Action Item:
Be intentional with the way you spend the remainder of your year by declaring and writing down the ‘enoughs’ in your life on this printable worksheet.

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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

iGnite - keep focused

Point to Ponder:
Are you a fearful person?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve always been of the mindset that children have it figured out. It stinks that we have to grow up and often times become jaded, cynical, insecure and obsess over our perceived pudgy legs and numbers on a scale. Children don’t worry about how many steps they take in a day or how many hours they spend exercising. Instead, they simply play — run, jump, spin and dance. They ride their bikes for hours, climb on the monkey bars and enjoy a high-calorie treat without feeling guilt. They stop eating when they are full, don’t talk about others, and without fear or doubt of what others think, they proudly proclaim what they want to be when they grow up, just as my five-year old nephew Cole did at his pre-school graduation when he announced that when he grew up he wanted to own a doughnut shop. Awesome!

Last week while finishing a hike and walking along the beach, I noticed a man, probably in his forties, standing alone in shin-deep water and jumping over every wave that came his way. Like a six year-old would do, each time a wave rolled in, he’d hop over it! It was the most playful, inspiring and refreshing sight. I watched him for several minutes and it was a great reminder that nature gives us everything we need to calm, invigorate and feed our body, mind and spirit. And what I loved so much about this guy was that while he was playing, he wasn’t worried or fearful about what those of us around him thought. In my opinion, the enormity and magnificence of the Pacific Ocean made his fears of what others might think insignificant, while also putting troubles and life stressors in perspective. At least that is what nature does for me. It swallows my doubt and fear and allows me to shine!

Robin Roberts, the always shining and inspiring co-anchor of Good Morning America, has a great line about doubt and fear in her book Everybody’s Got Something. She says:

“We all have doubts and fears. The thing about fear is that it only needs the tiniest space, the size of an eye of a needle, to get through and wreak havoc. Maddening, but true. So, when I was struggling in doubt, I would simply take the next small step. I would stop and think: No, life is not tied up with a beautiful bow all the time, but it’s still a gift. I’m going to tear away the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.”

What I love so much about Robin’s wisdom is that instead of running from her fear and doubt or dreading it, she sees it as a gift and looks forward to tearing into it to see what it is, just as a child would and just as Kayla Montgomery, the eighteen year old in the video below, who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis and losing feeling in her legs when she runs and when her body heats up, was determined to not only run, but win! It’s their child-like perspective that has kept them curious, eager and willing to conquer their fear, doubt, and SHINE! What a great example for all of us!

Action Item:
This week, try facing situations with the fearlessness, playfulness and confidence of a child.

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What If vs. What Is?

A Father’s Day Tribute

iGnite - have funPoint to Ponder:

How can you change your thoughts regarding a “What if?” that has been on your mind recently?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

With Father’s Day upon us, I would be remiss not to share some of the best pieces of wisdom my father, Don Brown, has passed along to me, which is:  Put a smile on my face, don’t worry and have fun. 

There was once a time in my life when I worried about everything and with that came a ridiculous amount of “What-if’s.”  It’s funny because now I can’t even specifically remember what all I worried about or what-if’d about, but it happened regularly enough for my Dad to impress upon me that worry and what-if’s would not only ruin my day, but were a complete waste of my time and energy.

Even though I knew my Dad was right, applying the “don’t worry, smile and have fun” philosophy was much easier said than done.  Then, before having children I vividly remember ‘what if’-ing and literally freaking out about my future–wondering how balancing a family and career was or wasn’t going to work out.  My mind meandered down a million unnecessary paths. Amongst all of the worry, of course everything worked out great.  In fact, it worked out much better than I could’ve ever planned or imagined. Not only was my Dad right, but the majority of the time the things I worry about and what-if over never become a reality.  I also realized that I could never get back all of the time I’ve wasted on worry.

Along the same lines, but spun slightly differently, my husband Russell recently shared this wisdom he learned from the University of San Diego head baseball coach: “If you are going to spend time on the “What’s,” spend time on what is vs. what if.”  I love that!  What if we replaced the imaginary “what if’s” with the facts of what actually is?  To me, this changes the whole situation, because when we stick with the facts only, we can apply logic and reason.  We’d save ourselves a ton of mental, emotional and even physical anguish and stress, and a ton of time — something I am certain all of us can use more of.

I am thankful to admit that the amount I worry and what-if over the years has significantly decreased, but when they do start to creep back into my head and get me emotionally charged, irrational and threaten to sabotage my day, I recall my Dad’s wisdom and strive to not worry, smile and have fun.  So, please join me in making it a goal to ditch the worry and what-if’s and focus on enjoying life and having fun!

Action Item:

Focus on the what-is rather than the what-if and enjoy the difference it makes in your daily living.

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Closed Doors & Open Doors

iGnite - Open/Closed DoorsPoint to Ponder:
Do you worry and pray?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As I mentioned two weeks ago in the journal Keep It Simple, my husband is a basketball coach. For seventeen years he was employed by the University of Texas as an assistant men’s basketball coach. Last Sunday UT made the decision to end the Rick Barnes era and begin a new one, so currently Russell is unemployed, as the firing of the head coach affects the entire staff. The coaching profession is unstable, and we recognize how blessed we’ve been for Russell to retain his position for seventeen years. In addition, the majority of our family is near by, we have an extremely supportive and loving community, and we both have worked our dream jobs while living in Austin, TX — not to mention that my alma mater is the University of Texas! Are you kidding me!?!? This was perfect, and after seventeen years our roots and comfort are as deep as a five-hundred year-old oak tree.

In the twelve years that Russell and I have been together, with ten of those being married, this time of year is always stressful! It’s the time when he’s been offered other assistant and head coaching jobs, but he has always turned them down because of our happy life. Rick Barnes always advised Russell to “not mess with happy” and because college coaching is very hard, intense, extremely competitive and finicky, Coach Barnes’ other advice was to “not take a job unless it was a job we’d be satisfied with forever, as well as in a location we’d be content in living forever, because in college coaching, it could be your only and last job.” Extremely happy is how I’d describe our life in Austin, which is why we chose to turn down good opportunities, even knowing that this day was more than likely inevitable.

The week before the official “end of the era” occurred, we knew uncertain times lie ahead. My wise and faithful sister Shonna let me know that she and her husband were praying that whatever doors God didn’t want us to walk through would be slammed shut, and the doors He does want us to walk through be busted wide open. We have adopted this prayer for ourselves and it has helped us release some of the “what if’s” and questions, which are the mental and emotional killers. I’d like to say it has taken all fear away, but it still lingers, and for me, it shows up every time Russell speaks of a potential job that is not in Austin. This is what happened early Thursday morning before he left for the Final Four, in Indianapolis.

He let me know about a job that of course is not in Austin, which caused a real physical rush of fear throughout every square inch of my body. In support of Russell, I didn’t say a word. He needs my support more than anything and not my fearful rants. I’m learning the significant differences between a man and woman’s heart, and his deepest desire is to provide for our family while his greatest fear is to not provide. While I completely honor and respect this, my deepest desire for our family is to remain where we are: surrounded and supported by our family, community and living in an amazing city. So, as I gave him a hug goodbye, I was flooded with fear and my mind wandered in a million different directions. I was consumed and debilitated with worry and I knew I couldn’t continue down this path so I instantly prayed for God to fill me with His Peace and help me trust in His plan for our life. In the midst of my prayer it hit me. If I trust, then I trust, so stop not trusting! And I do trust, so I needed to stop second guessing God.

At the same time, I remembered an interview with Oprah and the rapper 50 Cent (strange, I know!). Oprah asked about his faith and he boiled it down to this: “You can pray or worry, but you can’t do both. I choose to pray.” He is so right, and at that moment in my prayer, I felt total peace, which I continued to feel. In fact, our closed door/open door prayer has been super cool witness because God is answering questions without us having to wonder. Several doors have slammed shut which is an absolute answer that God does not want us there. Without believing in this prayer, Russell would have felt defeated, rejected and thinking that he was not good enough. Instead, we know it is not where God wants us. In addition, a few doors are currently cracked open, but no doors have been busted wide open. This tells us that currently we are exactly where God needs and wants us. It has also led to Russell leaning on a variety of wise male friends and mentors, and with the exception of him being gone a few days to Indianapolis, we are reaping the benefits of time. If he did have a job he’d be out of town recruiting and we wouldn’t have this sweet time together. We are grateful!

Finally, on Thursday morning, the same morning when I was so overcome with fear and then peace, Durant (my four year old son) woke up yelling, “Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy!” I walked into his room, held him and said, “Durant, I am here. You don’t need to be scared.” As I lay there holding him, it hit me like a bolt of lightening, that is exactly what God is telling us.

Truly, we have no idea what our next steps are, much less what our next chapter looks like, but what we do know is that the antidote to worry is gratitude (Charlotte Benson) and that God will continue to close the doors that He doesn’t want us walking through, while only opening the doors that He wants us walking through. We are only one week into this interesting journey, and we are blown away with what we are learning and discovering — we’re also being reminded of how absolutely blessed we are with amazing friends and family members (I’ll eventually share more). What we do know is that we’ll be fine, our life will begin to settle sooner than later, and most importantly there will be a day when someone else is walking down the fearful job loss or career uncertainty path and we will be able to hold their hands and with confidence assure them that God is with them and they don’t need to be scared.

Happy Easter and Passover!

Action Item:

Trust God through the hard times knowing He has a plan for you and be willing to offer first-hand comfort and support to someone experiencing difficult and uncertain times.

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The Antidote for Worry Is…

gratitudetheantidoteforworry

“Gratitude is the enemy of worry and can transform common days into thanks-giving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
– William Arthur Ward

Point to Ponder:
Does thinking about your Thanksgiving plans make you more stressed out or excited?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While listening to the radio last weekend, the DJ’s were discussing the topic of Thanksgiving and how “the powers that be” are sadly having success at making Thanksgiving a thing of the past. They were speaking to the fact that as soon as Halloween ends, the focus unfortunately isn’t on Thanksgiving, but the commercialism of Christmas. And the question then posed was, “What happened to Thanksgiving?”

I think most people would agree that Thanksgiving is likely one of the best holidays, simply because it’s simple. To the point of one of the DJ’s, truly observing Thanksgiving — and not passing over it — is a necessity, as this holiday is one of the few opportunities we have to *pause,* actually rest and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Sadly, most stores are starting “black Friday” on Thanksgiving Day afternoon, as early as 4:00 p.m!  Seriously, this ticks me off, but we consumers are the ones with the control. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should”.

To take the importance of thanks-giving and the Thanksgiving holiday one step further, we physically, spiritually and mentally need this time because too much of our life is filled with the stressors of anxiety, worry and fear. Believe it or not, gratitude is the antidote for all of these!

“Researchers from Harvard found that anxiety and fear destroy the proteins at the end of our chromosomes called telomeres, which dramatically speeds up the aging process. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Chicago found that when people write their positive feelings and what they are grateful for, they significantly lowered their levels of worry and harmful cortisol levels. And, it raised their performance on tests of memory and critical skills by 10-15%.” (Anchor, Shawn. Success Magazine)

Cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenalin hormone that is naturally produced as a result of all good and bad stress. (AdrenalFatigue.org) However, consistent stress produces too much cortisol, which negatively impacts our health and overall quality of life in many ways, including:

  • impaired cognitive performance
  • poor thyroid function
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • decreased bone density
  • sleep disruption
  • decreased muscle mass
  • elevated blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • increased abdominal fat (which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health issues)

Furthermore, continual stress makes our bodies secrete too much cortisol and adrenalin, and adrenal fatigue sets in. This contributes to:

  • brain fog
  • mild depression
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • fatigue
  • sleep disruption
  • low blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • inflammation (which science is learning can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease and other health conditions)

Despite the temptations to be busy over the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to embrace it as the holiday of gratitude, spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit the necessary time of renewal. When allowing ourselves the time and opportunity to be in a continual state of gratitude, our worries will disappear, your heart will sing and your health, quality of life and the people we love will reap the benefits. Truly, truly our health is our greatest wealth and feeling your best is the most wonderful gift you can give during the holidays and every day of your life.

For a beautiful and emotional display that our best days come from people and not things, check out the video below and Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

yourbestdayvideo

Action Item:
Over Thanksgiving, resist the temptation to be busy and instead focus on spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit a necessary time of rest and renewal.