7 Methods for Managing Disappointment from Taking Healthy Risks.

Hey everybody, this is Travis from My Life Experiment. Thank you for stopping by once again or for the first time!

In this article we are going to discuss DISAPPOINTMENT. This of course is a subject that all of us should be able to relate to, in some way or another.

Oxford dictionary has disappointment defined as, “sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.”

Let’s face it, for all but probably a small percentage of the human population, the feeling of disappointment sucks. I think it would be difficult to learn to enjoy the feeling of the definition above.

The thing is, that the only way for me to experience success with My Life Experiment is to take healthy risks! Taking risks always means the possibility of the risk not working out, and so possible disappointment.

When I think about the amount of disappointment I feel after a risk not working out, it is easy to see the relationship between disappointment and expectation.

The relationship between the two is like an equation to me, the amount of disappointment felt depends on the amount of expectation placed on a certain outcome. So, if I am really excited for a certain outcome, you better believe there will be a decent amount of disappointment, if it doesn’t work out.

Of course, the inverse of this equation is also true, if I am not placing a lot of expectation on an outcome, I am likely to not be all that disappointed by it not coming together.

So here we have the solution to disappointment! All we have to do is not get too excited for having things go our way and we will never be too disappointed. Wait…. That sounds like a horrible way to go through life!

I mean I am not all that outwardly excitable of a guy. But I do have my own way of showing excitement for my life. I am excited to be living in my families first house. I am very excited to meet my baby girl when she finally enters the world probably within the next month. I am also excited about watching the progress come together on My Life Experiment blog!

I remember when I first entered recovery. I was certainly not an excited guy, I was broken. What I was, was a nervous wreck! Many years of bottling up my potential had me needing to be on Depression and Anxiety Medications, and still having a difficult time with my nerves.

I mention that part of my life because it shows me that not taking healthy risks had a horrendous impact on my mental, physical and emotional health.

The fact of the matter is that for me, if I am taking healthy risks I am going to feel stress. Also, if I am not taking sufficient healthy risks, I am going to build up stress anyway. As the stress builds in the background of my awareness, consequences may come later as my brain seeks quick fixes for stress relief that I probably won’t like.

So not taking risks as a way to avoid stress, ultimately ends up biting me in the butt! See?? I am damned if I do and damned if i don’t. Doing sounds like the best way to go. At least that way I find myself in new exciting situations.

Life is much better when I am seeking new ways of growing, taking risks, and putting myself out there to be disappointed from time to time. Since disappointment is unavoidable for the kind of life I desire. I need ways to help navigate disappointment to make sure it does not eat me alive or deter me from taking sufficient healthy risks!

Methods for Successfully Managing Disappointment:

1. Feel the Pain- Where there is disappointment, there is pain. The pain might tell me I am a failure, stupid for taking the risk, or that someone else had it out for me. It is immensely important to get in touch with these painful emotions so they don’t keep me from taking risks in the future.

2. Social Support- Having people I trust is very important for dealing with disappointment. They can help me see any kind of silver linings that I may not be able to see. These trusted people may also be able to affirm any positive traits in myself that I may be overlooking.

3. Gratitude- I work on focusing on what I have to be grateful for. This could be done by either writing a gratitude list. Or just taking some time out to run through a list in my head. If the disappoint stings really bad, I don’t count on one gratitude session doing the trick. By taking a risk, I obviously wanted something more in my life. So, taking some time to remind myself that there are plenty of things to appreciate about my current life, can be highly therapeutic.

4. Having Patience- I need to remind myself that heavy disappointment will not be worked through overnight. If I really had my heart set on an outcome and I didn’t get it, it is going to hurt. But keeping myself informed that I will feel better about it over time, helps a lot.

5. Giving credit for taking a risk- It can be easy to become disheartened by a “failed risk,” maybe thinking it was stupid to waste time and resources. Reminding myself that putting myself out there to take a healthy risk is a commendable thing, is very important!

6. Focus on what was learned- Having taken the risk (even if it didn’t work out) I still gained some extra skills from the experience. The experience can also show me what didn’t work with the risk I took. If I examine what went wrong, I can possibly formulate another plan of action for the next risky attempt!

7. Get back to the basics- While I am dealing with disappointment, the emotions can get in the way of being present in the relationships I currently am a part of. I find that when I make the effort to pump some of that energy that had me taking the risk into giving more to my marriage, my work, my family, that the disappointment doesn’t do as much damage to my mind.

Taking healthy risks is an important part of my life. I do not see anything wrong with the strong desire to expand life and learn new things. I find that if I neglect to allow my energy to create in the world by taking healthy risks, this energy IS going to come out sideways in negative ways. This will make life much more difficult for myself and those around me!

As for all of you, I cannot say what risks you should be taking. Though I can say that if you are anything like me, you better be taking some. Life can be a beautiful thing, full of opportunity to expand, love, and learn. So, on that note, GO GET SOME!

Thank you all once again for stopping by My Life Experiment! I always have fun taking the risk of putting my ideas out to you, for your consumption. If you have found worthwhile information in this article, please share it to your social media to help the healthy risk of My Life Experiment to grow. And if you have any questions or insights on the article please leave them in the comment section below!

Much love to you all,

Travis Hagen

 

*Note that the advice given in this article is not meant to replace the role of Mental Health Professionals.

Advertisements

Confused? 5 Methods for Easing Through Painful Learning.

Hey everybody, Travis from My Life Experiment here! Thank you for stopping in to see what I have to say today.

Today I’m going to touch on the topic of Confusion. I am seeking to answer a couple of questions here from my own perspective.

1. What is confusion?
2. Why can confusion be so painful?
3. How Can I release the confusion?
4. What are the good aspects of confusion

My Life Experiment is All about gathering information to learn new concepts and new tasks. This means a lot of confusion to deal with. So, what is confusion for me?

What is Confusion for me?

Let me work this out with an example from when I was attending College. I had to take an Intermediate Algebra class. Now with the life I lived experimenting in very unhealthy ways, I bypassed basically all forms of Algebra. This made my learning very difficult once I couldn’t avoid it anymore.

Sometimes I would sit and rack my damn brain trying to figure out the way to solve the equations. There were times when I was ready to throw my computer out the window and literally beat my head against a wall! But thankfully I never did either of those!

 

After a 45-minute session, sometimes I would have my brain thoroughly twisted into a knot (so it felt). Sometimes I would be questioning just about every life decision that brought me up the spot in my life, and all others that might follow.

To me the confusion here is in the “brain twisted in a knot” feeling. Which of course brains do not twist in knots. Though there are a ton of times where the gaps between what I know and what needs to be known, have seem painfully very far apart. Like to an irreconcilable degree!

I don’t know the exact science of what is going on inside my brain when I am confused. Though I do imagine a whole bunch of neurons working hard to connect with one another. And the faster I “need” them to connect, the harder it can be on my mental health.

Why the Pain of Confusion?

Just being confused alone doesn’t seem to be enough to cause me pain though. The pain of confusion really comes when pressure is applied.

The kind of pressure I am talking about is like when a purpose is at play, and something to be accomplished. What really amps up pressure to learn is when a deadline is applied! When the learning process is pushed to speed up, that is when confusion seems to become painful.

My Algebra class had deadlines that I needed to meet. In my mind I had expectations that I needed to meet. I wanted the best grades and I wanted them bad. In order to meet these expectations of mine and the teacher’s, the information had to be learned and learned well. Well enough that I could show that I learned it! This created ample pressure!

When I am in the pain part of confusion I can become ultra-sensitive, someone that even talks around me may get a dirty look! I may even be on the verge of telling these unsuspecting offenders some unnecessary pieces of my mind!

I take it that I have a massive amount of electrical activity going on in my brain, and it hurts. The pain also starts talking, and it will likely not be very nice to myself or to others!

head stress.jpg

Now this depth of confusion is thankfully not that often of an occurrence for me. But when there is pressure to meet a deadline that I don’t exactly know how to meet, it is likely that I will not be able to avoid getting painfully confused.

My Life Experiment is all about finding new avenues to take for finding personal growth. To live the kind of life I want to live, I will not be able to avoid these feelings. So the best I can do is find some ways to help out the process so the confusion doesn’t need to get to such a drastic stage. Here are a couple of ways that I keep myself from having to experience painful confusion, while still challenging myself to grow!

5 Methods for Easing Through Painful Learning.

1. Begin Projects early– Going to College taught me that if I leave things to the last minute, I am setting myself up for a great deal of stress. Spacing out my learning over a longer period of time, makes it more likely that I will not be as homicidally confused the night before something is due.

2. Breathe– When I am getting sensitive and angry while confused, concentrating on my breathing is imperative. The breathes I take helps create a space where I can settle down and relax my brain so that it isn’t so tense anymore.

3. Take breaks– I’ve found that if I work on a challenging problem for too long, I am bound to become pissed. When I start realizing that the stress is building to an uncomfortable level, I let myself know it is time to put the work away for a little bit.

4. Stretch– Even taking a couple of minutes to do a little stretching can relieve a lot of that stress that is building in my extremities. This can help my brain relax since it ends up getting fewer messages of tenseness from my body. This gives my brain more freedom to be creative on my project.

5. Sleep on it– Sleep can be kind of like a long break. It has a way of untangling the mess that is in my brain. I can go to sleep completely confused then wake up and work on the project in the morning, in a sense, recharged. That sleep recharge has helped me bring important new ideas to the project many times. If I would have just kept working on it through the night, I can only imagine I would turn the project into a jumbled mess.

It is clear to me that being in a state of confusion is an unavoidable part of my brains problem solving repertoire. My brain is constantly trying to figure out new ways of doing things and I simply cannot skip past the confusion stage of learning. No matter how nice skipping that part of the process would be!

The Good aspects of Confusion.

Where there is confusion, there is learning. To me, that is the good news! I, would even venture an assumption that the stronger the confusion, the more I am learning.

That I am confused, lets me know that I am giving myself sufficient challenges to learn. If I don’t give My Life Experiment enough challenges, I am bound to get bored.

Learning new things and risking confusion may be uncomfortable at times, but I would rather be learning than bored out of my mind. Because I know all too well that boredom brings it’s own stress, but stress that is much less productive!

For me, I will even say the greater the confusion equals the greater sense of satisfaction once the thing is learned and the project is complete. I love figuring out something that has been giving me a good challenge. Knowing that many of my neurons got educated well and got to make new connections actually gives me hope for more having more success in the future. Being able to surprise myself with successful results feels amazing!

A few last words.

The last couple things I have to say to you all about confusion is, welcome it. Challenge yourself, make yourself think! Learning more and challenging our abilities, actually can help ward off Alzheimer’s Disease!

Now I cannot say what is a healthy amount of challenge for everybody. I can only figure that out for myself. Everybody will have a different level of confusion that they can handle. But I do believe that if I listen to my instincts close enough, they will let me know what is a challenge I should take and one that is better left for later.

That’s all I have for today on My Life Experiment. I went through a good deal of confusion in writing this article, that tells me that I learned a lot! In fact taking care of this website has given my life an ample amount of healthy confusion. So, thank you for showing up and giving me someone to share the work with!

If you enjoyed what you read today, please share this article on your social media. Also if you have any questions or insights please leave them in the comments section below. Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you all have a great time experimenting with your own life today!

Developing “Magic” in My Life

* This article contains affiliate links which are for selling products on Amazon which I earn a commission for. I only promote products that are relevant to this websites purpose of personal growth. These sales make it possible for My Life Experiment to run as successfully as possible.

Hey everybody, Travis here, once again, from My Life Experiment! About a month ago I set off on the “Gratitude Intention,” experiment, to get myself out of a angry headspace. I spent one week engaged with the experiment. It was a great experience that I received great benefits from!

In that article I described the method I would use to write my gratitude lists. I said that I would be writing 10 things to be grateful for and why I am grateful for them. This method has been incredibly helpful over the years, but it is not a method that I invented. It came from a book called “The Magic.”

“The Magic” is the third book stemming from “The Secret.” You may know that “The Secret” is a book on learning how to use the “Law of Attraction” for creating abundance in our lives. If you didn’t know that then now you do!

You may be thinking, “oh great this fruitcake is going to tell me that if I think about a new car enough it is going to magically show up.” Well I am not writing this to promote “The Secret,” although it has some decent concepts in it! What I am interested in discussing is “The Magic,” and what it has to offer. And sorry but I don’t think new cars are going to instantly appear by applying this book either..

I would describe “The Magic” as giving a practical 28 day long guide to experiment with amplifying the level of gratitude in our lives to a great degree. It is 28 days so that it will be long enough to help develop a long term habit. “The Magic” fills in a lot of the details about attracting abundance that “The Secret” really failed at doing, and wasn’t really designed to do really.

I remember when I picked up the book, I started reading it and immediately wanted to speed read through it because the content felt amazing to read. Speed reading wasn’t really allowed though because the book asked me to slow down and work on daily tasks. The different daily tasks gave me methods for pumping more love and gratitude into my life and any other relationship!

Day one of the Gratitude Course is the 10 things I am grateful for and why, gratitude list. The next day is finding a nice rock to use as a gratitude invoking rock. These two gratitude building methods stayed in my life for quite a long time after first completing the book. I wrote gratitude lists everyday for around 4 years, I also carried the rock for around 3 years. I wish these methods would not have fallen out of my routine.

The daily tasks build on each other over the course of following the process. Though soon I was using several methods to build gratitude that really had me feeling on top of the world. This feeling did require work though, and adherence to practicing the steps that are provided. It also takes some letting go of judgment of the process!

This book fits My Life Experiment though and may not fit everyone’s experiment process. It fits My Life Experiment because I believe that there is a genius inside every human being, that will find a way to bring about whatever they desire if given the right tools. I have no doubt that intention, gratitude and hustling harder are the right tools. And this book has a process for developing more gratitude than any other book I have read before!

I’ve decided that it is time to give the routine found in “The Magic ” another go around! I have lost my book, so I will need to purchase a new one. If you are interested in joining me in this endeavor here is a link to purchase “SELRES_8caeea0f-3e2b-44f6-a88e-5bf96c4a5347SELRES_c9ef87dc-3f6e-4069-92b6-e3a210dbc6c2SELRES_69f7dc0d-585c-4572-bfaf-42f53e80bfefThe Magic”SELRES_69f7dc0d-585c-4572-bfaf-42f53e80bfefSELRES_c9ef87dc-3f6e-4069-92b6-e3a210dbc6c2SELRES_8caeea0f-3e2b-44f6-a88e-5bf96c4a5347 below. Whether you decide to join me or not i recommend the book heavily.

Over the next month I will be getting back into following the suggestions in this book. I know that my life is headed to a great place by committing to it once again.  It is exciting to be getting back into a routine that once had such a positive effect on my life! I will be sure to let you know how it’s going!

I will put out a weekly update article on My Life Experiment to report on progress. So stay tuned!

So that is all i have for today! Thank you so much once again for checking out My Life Experiment. If you have any questions or insights, please leave them in the comment section below. Also please make sure to sign up for the email list to be notified whenever a new article is posted to My Life Experiment!

Six Steps to Healing With Therapeutic Writing.

Welcome to My Life Experiment once again or for the first time. In either case thank you for stopping in to check the site out. In the last article on My Life Experiment, I talked about getting emotional healing through communicating with my own troublesome thoughts!

I let you know about how I talk to the pain, but more specifically that I tell the thoughts that I love them. I also mentioned very briefly that I get healing from writing to the pain. This is my form of Therapeutic Writing. In this article we will be diving deeper into this topic!

For my form of Therapeutic Writing, I have important guidelines that I follow. These guidelines have been developed out of necessity to help this recovering addict stay in the know with his rather intense emotional nature.

Not staying in touch with my emotions has unpleasant consequences. I become more stressed, my thoughts get more resentful, and I find myself getting snippier with people around me. I even become more attached to unnecessary junk on my phone, as well as other things that are a waste of my time!

Those are some of the warning signs, telling me that I am having emotions that need to be brought out of the dark. It is critical that I use these signs as a prompt to get back in touch with these emotions. Not getting in touch with them at this time, will make healthy life experimentation much more difficult!

I trust that when I am willing to stop and ask myself what I am feeling, my body will let me know if I listen close enough. It will inform me of what is going on with it and these guidelines that I follow, effectively get to where I am at emotionally on a highly consistent basis.

My Life Experiment’s Guidelines for Therapeutic Writing:

  1. When I feel the need to get in touch with an emotion, it may not always be the right time to invoke this pain. So instead of tapping the emotion at work, or another inappropriate time, I will commit to sitting down and writing later when I get home.
  2. Sometimes I will write in a notebook and sometimes I will write on my laptop. I don’t think one has been any better than the other for me.
  3. I do like to put some chill music on. The music makes it more likely that I will get in a relaxed enough space to allow myself to feel vulnerable enough to soften up my current perspective. Though it is not always necessary.pexels-photo-583843.jpeg
  4. A lot of times when I need to do some Therapeutic Writing, I am feeling anger that is directed at someone else. Other times it may be angry at myself. Either way, when I am writing I need to make sure that I am good to myself and good to others. This Therapeutic Writing is meant for healing resentments, not perpetuating them. Forgiveness is of the utmost importance, and I offer to both myself or the others I may be punishing inside of my own skull.
  5. I steer myself away from getting wrapped up in self-pity. I need to stay in the reality that I am not a victim to what caused the feeling. Where ever the emotion stems from, it is not that important here. To me it is only as important in so far as it helps me get in touch with the emotion. Rumination on the circumstance that may have caused the emotion will likely keep me stuck in anger or self-pity. (*Note I am not saying there are no victims of circumstance, only that I can’t afford to allow the past keep me from feeling my emotion.)
  6. Most of the time it will not take much time to get some emotion to the surface. Once it shows up I find that it isn’t all that important for me to keep writing, since this is all I wanted out of the exercise.

The Therapeutic Writing I do has gotten me unstuck from many painful emotions. That means that it has helped me from acting out in all sorts of ways that would have caused me excess guilt and a lot more problems. Not to mention has relieved a great deal of pent up stress!

I don’t know about you, but I would rather not be dragged around by emotions, acting out in damaging ways. I want to be in control of my life as much as possible. Thanks to this writing process I have a practical way to bring myself back into the moment!

Although this process has led to feeling many painful emotions, the pain of feeling the emotions is far more desirable then the painful consequences of not feeling them! I do realize that traumatic emotions from the past can be tremendously difficult to process. This process has been so helpful to me in a large part because I am closely connected to a recovery community that has helped me develop a great deal of stability. So if you are in too rough of a spot, please get yourself some professional help!

If you end up deciding to make this process a part of your life, I hope you find them as helpful as I have found them in mine! If you have any questions or concerns about My Life Experiment’s Therapeutic Writing process, please leave them in the comments section below and I will promptly respond to them!

See you next time!

 

My Art of Loving Painful Thoughts.

Whether you have Mental Health issues or not, none of us are entirely loving of all the thoughts that roll through our heads.

In an earlier article on finding a way from Fear to Self-Love, a tip I gave was to simply tell the thoughts that I love them. Since then I have gotten positive reactions about the suggestion and find it important to delve into the concept a little further!

Well wait, lets back track a bit! First of all, what in the world is a thought? Just Kidding! I’m not digging into that topic! there are plenty of different theories about what our thoughts are. I like theories plenty, but in this article, I am concerned only with the relationship I have with these thoughts.

Okay okay.. of course I am theorizing here when I say that I have a relationship with my thoughts. But it is an assumption that I feel safe with laying down here for you.

To say that I have a relationship with my thoughts lets you know that I don’t believe that I am my thoughts. I guess I also say that I have a relationship with myself as well. Does that mean that I am not myself? Whatever the case may be, I can love my thoughts, and I can love myself.  

My thoughts feel like the closest thing to me. Sometimes when I really get into them, I have a hard time differentiating myself from them. These thoughts of mine come in a wide array of loudness, stickiness, lightness and all sorts of other qualities.

Thoughts can be peaceful, they can be violent, they can be a reflection of whatever emotion I currently may be feeling. Sometimes these thoughts are loving, and sometimes they are ready to cause pain in myself and others.

It is these painful thoughts that I want to put the attention on here. The happy go lucky, grateful, or content thoughts are a treat to for me to have. The painful thoughts are what give the trouble.

The painful thoughts are the ones that have me in self-protection mode, looking for the ways that my surroundings might bring me harm (even in trustworthy and safe situations). These are the thoughts that have me building resentments against myself and others, as a way to justify isolating myself.

These painful thoughts might say something like this:

  1. You aren’t capable of doing that.
  2. Who do you think you are?
  3. Who do they think they are?
  4. Why is everybody else so screwed in the head?
  5. They are out to get me.
  6. I am such an idiot.
  7. That person isn’t good enough to hang with me.
  8. That dude needs a punch in the face.
  9. Who does he think he is looking at?
  10. I think the world would be better off without me.

All of the thoughts in this list have at least one thing in common to me, they are all coming from a body that is hurting and seeking to protect itself. As I see it, the thoughts that are coming from pain, are coming from emotional wounds. Wounds that are going to wreak havoc in subtle or even blatantly obvious ways.

It is easy to love my thoughts that feel good. Often times the painful thoughts are the ones I BELIEVE I shouldn’t be loving. Over my years in recovery though, I have found those are the flavor of thoughts that need love the most!

TALKING TO THE PAIN

When I am stuck in this type of thinking, I know that I am feeling hurt for some reason though I may not immediately notice this. I also likely won’t know where it is stemming from. I could already be isolating some or being snippier to those around me before this comes to my attention.

But once I see that I am not feeling too hot, I can’t afford to turn away from the thinking. The spotlight needs to shine on that pain. I need to let it see that I am paying attention to it, and that I am not here to condemn it.

Then I can ask it some questions like:

  1. Are you okay buddy?
  2. What’s wrong?
  3. You know that everything is okay right?
  4. How can I help you?
  5. Is there a reason that you are hurting?

Showing loving respect to my thinking like this, creates the space for healing. By communicating with my thoughts, the emotion that is fueling the thought gets a chance to tell me about itself. It can tell me why it is hurting, and what I can do to help it out.

Sometimes I will communicate with my thoughts on paper, by writing in a therapeutic way. Other times I take care of it entirely inside of my own skull. And yes, I will even do it out loud when driving in the car from time to time! There is no shame in having a conversation with these thoughts that need attention.

pexels-photo-236239.jpeg

SAYING I LOVE YOU TO THE THOUGHTS

When I am having painful thoughts like the ones I wrote above, I don’t always need to do an in-depth inventory with them, to have healing. I have come to the realization, that simply telling these thoughts I love them has a positive impact!

I’m not saying that it will immediately make me feel better. What it will do is keep the pain from talking too loudly and getting out of control. It puts my body more at ease, reminding it that we are safe. Saying I love you to my thoughts often enough has helped me stay more closely in touch with the feeling of safety. And a safe body doesn’t feel the need to be on edge, ready to fight or flee! A safe body can relax.

These emotions also don’t go to my head when I let them know I love them, and that is fantastic! I spent a lot of my life totally lost in my pain filled thoughts without a good way to snap out of them. These days I get to have a positive relationship with my thinking a majority of the time. Letting my thoughts know that I love them where they are at, seems to help keep them from guiding my behavior into directions that cause me excess guilt. It lets them know that I am aware of their presence and that they are welcome here.

As the Psychologist Carl Jung once wrote “What we resist, persists;” I understand that saying I will welcome and love thoughts that can be disturbing might seem dangerous. But ignoring these thoughts or acting out on them brings the real danger! Loving them and giving them safe housing settles them down and lets the hurt that is packed inside of them to be felt. This leaves me to state the flip-side of what Carl Jung said, that “What we don’t resist, ceases to persist!”

I have deep gratitude for having come to this point in my life, where my mental health issues seem to be in a balanced state. My history with mental illness and the strides I have been able to make leads me to believe that anyone that is willing and ABLE to do the hard work can find their way to more mental and emotional stability. Though I also believe these methods of loving our thoughts and emotions would be beneficial to much of the human race! Whether dealing with mental health issues, or just average human being hurt (which actually is still quite a bit).

So that is all I have for today! If you enjoyed what you have read I would deeply appreciate if you could share this to your social media to help spread this message of healing. If you have any insights or questions on what you have read in this article, then please leave a comment below!

Thank you for stopping in today to My Life Experiment! In the next article I am going to dive in a little deeper into the detailed steps I use in my Therapeutic Writing Routine. I will let you know the guidelines I have for the process and the benefits I receive from using it!

*Now if you are having difficulty condemning thoughts you are having, you are certainly not alone. If the thoughts are guiding you into acting out in problematic ways (excess chemical usage, bouts of anger or rage, self-harm, etc…), then PLEASE talk to a mental health professional. This guidance I give here is not meant to replace support from a mental health professional or replace taking the proper medications.

Tips for Curbing Emotional Spending and Other Unwanted Behaviors.

Emotions are a tricky subject. What is an even trickier subject is the way that our emotions can guide our behavior.

In the last post on My Life Experiment we discussed the habits my family has been using to save SELRES_e3d5224d-810a-4cda-bf65-b27dcb5d3a6cSELRES_f0012124-9a60-4a03-8d6d-aa6f29b35a24SELRES_bb5fc718-6c8c-495d-b847-fadbac428d76our hard-earned cash. Now it is time to discuss a resistance to our cSELRES_bb5fc718-6c8c-495d-b847-fadbac428d76SELRES_f0012124-9a60-4a03-8d6d-aa6f29b35a24SELRES_e3d5224d-810a-4cda-bf65-b27dcb5d3a6cash saving habit development, EMOTIONAL ACTING OUT.

I am not really talking about full-on addiction. That is its own beast. Though addiction of any sort is certainly fueled by an emotional driving force.

I am an addict in recovery that has been clean for 9 years. This experience has taught me a great deal about how triggered emotions can ignite an impulse to act out in ways I don’t even want.

Sometimes it can feel easier to spend some money, stuff my face with food, or stew in self-pity than to feel (Since I don’t use drugs anymore.)

With acting out emotionally, I am generally not eating because I am hungry, shopping because I need the thing, or overthinking something because I desire to. The behavior is compulsive. Which to me means that I have a difficult or even impossible time, controlling the impulses to act.

When it comes to compulsive spending, some days are easier than others. Generally, if I am feeling stressed, I am going to want to spend money on things I don’t really need. In those times, my brain is looking for a fix. It will be a quick fix, and likely won’t be helpful, but my brain is doing its best.

When it comes to emotional spending, full on shopping addiction, or any other negative form of acting out. If I want to stop it, then I already know that I have a problem, but I also need to ADMIT that I do as well.

I, also need to MAKE THE DECISION to knock it off! Meaning that I commit to stop acting out on the damn problem! Then I can set up my PLAN OF ACTION to take back my life in this area that I feel out of control of.

Don’t worry, I am empathetic to the difficulty of controlling the impulse to act out. There are times where I have refused my impulse’s desires to pull into a drive through window or buy something I didn’t need and felt a temper tantrum erupt inside of me! If you can relate, then I empathize with you.

I have come to realize that emotional acting out, for me, is really about pain. Thankfully I have been in recovery from addiction for 9 years and have learned some essential steps for STOPPING THE BEHAVIOR, so I can get to the core of my emotional pain.

Over the last 9 years I have been able to stop engaging in many compulsive behaviors. These behaviors range from slightly irritating (like spending a little too much money) to excruciatingly painful (like killing myself with mind altering chemicals.) Through my experience with stopping behaviors that are harmful to the life I desire, I have realized how important preparation is for setting myself up for success.

MY DAILY AND LONG-TERM SUGGESTIONS FOR STOPPING UNWANTED BEHAVIORS:

1. Be Present- Staying present in the moment is huge when it comes to stopping acting out. When I go on auto-pilot, I am much more likely to act out in ways that I didn’t want to. The ways that I become present are by meditating or writing a gratitude list.

2. Reminder of Commitment- I have a bad memory when it comes to remembering what decisions I have made. I maintain the strength of my decisions by following them up by reminding myself daily of the commitment I have made. If I am holding off from spending money on fast food for a month, I need to keep myself in the loop on this! If it is a deeply entrenched pattern, then I might to remind myself MANY times a day!

3. Anticipate Possible Problem Areas- Give thought to what is coming up throughout the day. If I am seeking to spend less money, I need to spot areas where I might slip up. I, need to set myself up for success! If I feel the desire to go spend a bunch of money, then I can plan my day to avoid situations that will create added difficulty.

4. Avoid Testing Ourselves- Intentionally driving by a restaurant just to see if I can stay away, doesn’t seem like a good idea. Just like walking around the mall just to see what is new. Dieticians might say don’t keep cookies in the house if you don’t want to eat them, it’s all the same principle. Quitting a behavior is difficult enough without added tests!

5. Maintain Emotional Support- Making changes in my life generally creates discomfort for me. If I neglect to let my emotions be brought to the surface and felt, I will more than likely be falling back into the behavior I want to change. When I stop an entrenched behavior pattern, there will be pain that needs to be worked on. Dealing with emotions requires support, from myself, and others!

6. Put rewards in place- Rewards are crazy important when it comes to. When I quit smoking, thinking about what I would do with the money I was saving was huge in keeping me motivated! That $75 a week you won’t be throwing away on unnecessary spending, think about where that money will be spent in the future.

7. Do research- There is a ton of practical information on the internet or in the library about how to stop unwanted behaviors. Study up and learn how to take back control.

8. Be Firm but Kind- Stopping behaviors that are entrenched is difficult work! When I feel like acting on acting out in a way I know I shouldn’t, I realize I may have some pain going on. But that does not make it okay to act out. The most loving and productive route I can take is to ask myself what is wrong, and then work on what my body has to tell me. That is where the good stuff is!

As I said before, it can be difficult, and sometimes very painful to refrain from acting out emotionally. In the case of my financial life, the benefits of controlling my spending have far outweighed the difficulty. It may not always feel like it in the moment, but over time the benefits stack up!

And mind you, that these tips, even though they are helpful in controlling unwanted spending, also can be used to stop all sorts of difficult to stop unwanted behaviors.

In general, if I desire success, then I need to set myself up for it. If I don’t take the time to set myself up to succeed, I generally sell myself short! I don’t know about you, but I am tired of selling myself short.

Thank you for stopping in to check out My Life Experiment! If you have any extra insights that you did not see here, then please do so in the comment section below. Also feel free to share this on your social media! I wish you the best of luck with any new changes you are making in your life. Much love to all of you.

 

*Note that the advice given in this article is not meant to be taken as a replacement for therapy. This is the readers own personal knowledge that has been accumulated from years of personal experience.

6 Habits For Saving Our Hard Earned Cash!

Welcome to My Life Experiment! In this post I am going to talk a little about some money saving tips my wife and I are relying on to stay above water with our finances. There is a ton of information on this subject. But this is My Life Experiment, and I will show you the ones that are having a nice effect on my life!

With all of my family’s new expenses (new mortgage, student loans, incoming baby), our finances are going to be stretched to the limit.

In my last few posts (Raising Families Means, Earning Diaper Cash Online), I have expressed the amount of energy I am putting into earning more cash. Here I am speaking to the practical ways we are using that same energy to save as much of our hard-earned cash as possible!

At this stage in the life game, I cannot imagine SIMPLY focusing on earning as much as possible. Saving is just as important! If I am bringing an extra $4200 a year home from hustling harder and just go spend it all on unimportant crap, then what good did I do?

My family is hustling hard to create a strong financial base of support! Shoring up any cracks in the foundation, is CRAZY IMPORTANT!

pexels-photo-462383.jpeg

Here are 5 habits that my wife and I have taken on to save some of that cash from falling through the cracks:

1. Joining Store Reward Programs– Basically any store that I go to seems to have a reward program! They were something I overlooked for the last couple of years, but now started realizing that people with those cards were getting some damn good deals. So lately I have just been signing up for these free programs and I am noticing great savings on grocery totals.

2. Using the Target Red Card and Cart Wheel– I don’t know how many times I have shopped at Target and had the sales associate ask me if I want to get the Target Red Card. At first, I was like, hell no I don’t want another credit card! Then I realized they have a Debit version, that simply comes out of my Checking Account. It still took me forever to get one since I kept forgetting to bring a cashier’s check into the store to get signed up. Then it FINALLY dawned on me that they have a Website and so I did it on there! Getting 5% off all purchases comes in very handy. Target also has a great app called Cart Wheel. With Cart Wheel, all you have to do is find the sale items in the app, click the item, and it creates a barcode for the cashier to scan as a coupon. I have found several items I would have been buying anyway, and saved a lot of money just by having that app.

3. Credit Card Rewards– My wife and I hooked up with a Credit Card that offers 4% cash back on fuel purchases and 4% off the Warehouse store she works at, and we regularly shop at. It also gives 3% back on any places we eat out (which isn’t regularly). I also have another card that I use sometimes that only gives 1% back on all purchases, which needs to be replaced immediately!

4. Using Credit Cards and Reward Programs Responsibly– This is the habit that makes list numbers 1-3 worthwhile. The trick to list items 1-3 is that they should only be used to purchase goods and services that we’re already going to be purchasing anyway! Getting 3% back on eating out 5 times per week is still blatantly irresponsible, even though some money is being saved, unless you can afford that of course. If you are thinking “WELL DUH TRAVIS”, then I am hear to say that with all the maxed out credit cards in the world, it is not as COMMON SENSE as you might think it is. Of course, the only way to make a credit card worth it is to pay off the balances before any interest can accrue. There is no point in getting rewards for spending when paying it all back in interest payments anyway!

5. Cooking at Home– Probably the hardest part about making sure to cook at home is that life is busy and eating out is soooo easy. Over my last 5 years I have had ebbs and flows with my eating out habits, sometimes responsible, sometimes very much not! Lately though, the emphasis has been on putting my culinary arts degree skills to work. I have been having fun spending more time preparing meals that have some left overs to munch on for a few days. I used to justify going to Dollar Menu Items at the Fast Food Places as being a good idea to save money. Maybe I save some money with those, but it didn’t save my body any of the stress of trying to digest all that crap.

6. Buying the RIGHT ITEMS in bulk– I read an article recently that touched on how Warehouse Stores (Costco, Sam’s Club) were actually costing people more money and getting people to eat more. Having to buy a bunch of food to buy any, although affordable, can either be a waste or lead to over-eating. If I am just trying to buy some Poptart’s, and some Orange Juice, then maybe the Warehouse Store isn’t the best option for our home (Unless you have a big family or run a Day Care I suppose.) One box of Poptart’s is really all we need, not 6! But there are many items that make complete sense to purchase in bulk and help save a ton of money. Some of the things we buy in bulk is toilet paper, paper towels, Keurig pods. There are many more items that make more sense to purchase at the Warehouse Store, these are just a few.

I have to say that although I have a decent batting average on maintaining these habits, I do slip up from to time. This is to be expected, and I don’t beat myself up over it. This list is also a limited one, there are many other ways to make the most out of our money!

In my next post on money management I will talk about the impulse to spend, when spending doesn’t need to be done. My Life Experiment goes much more smoothly when being responsible with how I spend my money, so getting on top of the emotions that drive impulsive spending is highly important!

If you can think of any more helpful money saving tips, please leave them in the comments section below! And if you think this list could be helpful for someone you know, go ahead and share it with them. Thank you for stopping into My Life Experiment, I hope you have a beautiful day!