3 Ways to Rid Yourself of An Obsessive Comparison Habit

Forever gone are the days that your 10-year reunion was the one night that your life had to be amazing beyond belief. Now, we’re trying to pull that appearance off every second of every day!

Social media has created an outrageously fertile soil to help us compare ourselves with every human on the planet… all the time.

Have you noticed that too?

This is for you if you find you’re in the habit of comparing yourself 24/7.

 3 ways to get off that roller coaster:

1.Awareness. First, you have to know that comparing yourself to others is normal and it’s something we do instinctually. So it’s not going to stop anytime soon. But that’s not the problem. The problem is when we subconsciously use what we see around us as a barometer to measure how our life is or how we are as a person.

Check in with yourself and see if you’ve inadvertently fallen into the obsessive comparison trap. You’ll know you’re either there or are getting a little too close for comfort, if your emotions and mood rise and plummet as you look at other people and compare yourself to them.

2. Limit your facebook, instagram, web-surfing and social media time.These things fuel our obsessive comparing. They just do. If you notice you are on a comparison roller coaster then get off. You must limit your time looking online. Nuf said.

3. Gratitude. You might be more vulnerable to obsessive comparison than usual if you’re going through a tough spell or, more deeply, if you’re not where you thought you’d be with your life at this point. It’s normal to look outward at all the examples of people who are (seemingly) experiencing what you want to be experiencing and be a bit jealous.

A point I want to highlight is that whatever we put our attention on grows in importance and grows in the amount of time it consumes in our thinking. In this case of obsessive comparing, what’s growing is most likely jealousy, unhappiness, and feeling of lack. SO, a daily habit of reflecting on 3 things you are grateful for will be a total game-changer. It’ll disrupt the comparison habit you’ve formed and will start shrinking the jealousy, unhappiness and feeling of lack.

Do you have other strategies that help you? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Is Anxiety Making Your Spanx Too Tight?

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What do you reach for when you feel your anxiety starting to rise? What helps you release the tension that builds when you’re feeling worried, freaked out? What gets your mind off what you’re anxious about and onto something that feels better, if just a little? What do you reach for to calm your nerves? Yep, food.

Overeating to Cope

Why does overeating help? Seriously, why don’t we over-meditate or “over-something” a bit healthier? It sure would save us from compounding an already challenging anxiety situation, not to mention money on our ever expanding Spanx collection!

We’re wired for taking the path of least resistance. This seems to be especially true when we experience emotional discomfort. Few of us were ever taught the skills needed to get through tough emotional times in a healthy way.

As a result, most of us avoid, push down, deny or numb our feelings through whatever means most available to us at the time. Once we see that it works, it becomes a go-to habit. After that, this maladaptive strategy is employed over and over with very little thought.

Comfort and Control

Sometimes we keep reaching for “comfort food” because it reminds us of better times in the past. Other times we reach out for “treats” to get us through. And then sometimes we reach out for something that is usually “off limits” so we can subconsciously create the opportunity to stop feeling anxious and start hating ourselves. Seriously.

Eating also may serve a subconscious function of feeling like we are in control, because anxiety sure doesn’t feel that way. Or it may serve the subconscious function of feeling that we are choosing the lesser of two evils, either we can freak out or we can eat. So many possible reasons!

Each person is different, and I don’t want to make this issue sound too easy to fix. Habits are brutal. But with strategies in place and practice, it is possible to start a new habit around your anxiety and eating.

That said, the strategies I’m going to suggest may seem totally unappealing and I know it. They don’t come with any dopamine hit from getting a treat, they don’t set off a blood sugar spike in your bloodstream, they don’t release the neurochemicals involved in reaching for the “forbidden fruit” and they don’t insert a behavior that allows you to turn your emotions to anger.

I know, it is a tough sell.

Even for me and I teach this stuff! But, I ultimately believe in our ability (and need) to prevail against immediate gratification.

How to change your habit:

  1. Recognize you’ve gotten into the habit of choosing food to address your anxiety or other feelings that aren’t comfortable.
  2. Notice when you start to feel your anxiety (or other uncomfortable feelings).
  3. Label your feelings and body experience as anxiety.
  4. Tell yourself that you can handle these uncomfortable anxious feelings without eating.
  5. Turn your attention onto something else. Yes, you are trying to distract yourself here.
  6. Take deep breaths, with longer exhale than inhales.
  7. Repeat steps 2–5 until you’ve moved past your discomfort. It may take a little while but will get easier the more you do this.

To recap: You start being more aware of your feelings. You tell your brain what is going on by labeling your anxiety. You tell yourself that you know your brain will want you to eat. And then you show your brain that you can handle it without food by turning your attention onto something else. Then you repeat the process over and over until you safely get past the discomfort without reaching for food or something else.

Like I said before, this process doesn’t come with any of the things we’re used to. It doesn’t instantly relieve the tension, it doesn’t give us a jolt of neurophysiological anything and it doesn’t allow us to transfer our anxiety to self-loathing.

BUT what it does give us is the ability to transform our anxiety in an empowering, healthy way and that eventually will become second nature!

Of These 3, Where Do You Spend Your Time?

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Past, Present, Future

At every moment we can be in one of three different time zones. We can be in the past, present or future. Who says time machines and teleportation doesn't exist?Heading 2

The problem is we're rarely the one in the driver's seat. Most of the time our habitual patterns of thinking do the driving. And we just go along for the ride. 

We let our thoughts pull us back to what has happened in the past. Mulling over a conversation we had with our partner, replaying a disagreement we had with a colleague, second-guessing our decision to do this versus that, or kicking ourselves for eating this versus that. How often do you find yourself here?

If you’re like me, you might spend more time in the future. Constantly planning for the next thing, predicting what you're going to say and do, figuring out how things are going to turn out, even experiencing emotions of things yet to come. Sometimes you'll even totally stress yourself out...for something that isn’t even real! It hasn’t happened! Yep, know it. 

Last, and often least, we can spend time in the present.

All of my "power-of-now-genre" reading had me thinking that “in the present” would feel different somehow. Like, I would know when I was being truly in the moment because it would feel amazing and take on some sort of transcendent lightness. Unicorns and rainbows everywhere.

Total wishful thinking. And way off target.

Being in the present is merely catching oneself when swimming in the past or flying toward the future. And returning one's focus back to the here and now. No glowing purple aura. No blissed out smile. Just doing whatever one is doing right then and there. Driving. Writing. Searching online.

Sounds boring when I compare it to the emotional drama or self-righteous reliving of past events. Or compared to the cortisol and adrenaline pumping worst-case-scenarios one can conjure up for the future. 

I think that's part of what actually may hook us on the Past and the Future. Perceived boredom with the present. 

What do you think?


3 Habits to Help You Find Confidence Out Of Nowhere

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Becoming more confident isn’t a creative, intuitive or mysterious process. And it’s not something that is only available to certain people and not to others. Confidence, if you want it, is a skill that is yours for the taking. You provide the curiosity and determination and these 3 habits will provide the blueprint.

Scientists are still trying to determine if there are specific biological markers for confidence. As of now, although there is some evidence that confidence may come easier to some than others, the overriding evidence appears that it is available to everyone for the taking.

The reason? The development of confidence is largely a learned quality reinforced and perpetuated by habits. And we can all practice good habits.

Confidence, like many other qualities we admire in people, is the result of thousands of small subconscious thoughts, beliefs, decisions and behaviors made over the course of years. They become such a habit most confident people don’t even realize they are doing them.

If you lack confidence, then, it isn’t because you didn’t get the “confidence gene” or are broken in some way. Although sometimes it can feel that way. It’s that you haven’t been practicing the right habits.

Take note that confidence, real confidence that spans your lifetime, isn’t built on how you look, how smart you are, or what type of job you have. Those things fluctuate too much to tie your confidence to. If you get into the practice of the 3 habits below, you’ll create a stable anchor that you can hitch your confidence to.

But first, a little warning. The most common mistake that people make when pursuing change is setting their sights on a particular event, a massive transformation, or an overnight success they want to achieve, rather than focusing on what it takes to make it happen. It’s okay to be excited about the new skills you’ll be developing but it is also important to treat any type of change as a journey. Or in another way, see it like a marathon and not a sprint. Forming habits and routines takes practice and repetition. So plan on confidence taking a little time to cultivate and you’ll set yourself up for long-term success!

3 Habits of Confidence

Habit #1: Don’t Wait, Do

We can’t just think ourselves into being confident, we must take action. All-too-often, however, people are stuck with the thought that action follows confidence. As in: I’ll take action when I’m confident. When I’m definitely ready. 100% ready. And not a moment before.

We convince ourselves that if we watch one more webinar on a topic or listen to one more podcast THEN we’ll be ready and have the confidence needed to achieve our goals.

Do any of these sound familiar? It is easy to fall into that way of thinking. After all, no one likes to not be good at something. But in the world of building confidence, this type of thinking is counter productive.

So how do you change this way of thinking? One action step at a time. Or as Aristotle once said, “Do good, be good.” It actually isn’t about how you’re feeling about something or how much you know about something that determines your confidence, it is your ability to act.

You can think of it like playing tennis. In order to gain confidence in your ability to play tennis you can read all the books you want but if you want to improve your tennis confidence, you’ll need to actually get on the court and play!

In order to “get on the court” so to speak, you’ll need to regularly make choices that put you outside your comfort zone. So don’t wait, go out there and do something, anything today.

Habit #2: Fake it Until you Learn it

Let’s face it, change isn’t always comfortable. Even good change.

But it’s not you. Humans have a tendency to take the easier option in any situation more times than not. Researchers now say this may actually be ‘hardwired’ in our brains. A recent study has found that the more mental effort something requires, the less likely people are to do it. They say it is so powerful, it can even change what we think we see in order to make the easier option more attractive!

Improving one’s confidence definitely isn’t the easier option for most people. Talk about having our deck stacked against us! But just because we may have an obstacle in our path doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around it. For ways around it, we look no further than the cause of our obstacle itself, our brain.

Introducing, “Fake it until you learn it.” Researchers have found that “acting” a certain way allows your brain to “rehearse” a new way of thinking and can set off a desired chain of events in the future.

Professor of organizational behavior Herminia Ibarra writes in the Harvard Business Review that one highly effective strategy you can use to improve your confidence as you “fake it until you learn it” is to mimic someone else around you who displays the skill sets you are desiring, even if your first inclination is to worry about appearing like an imposter. 

So, figure out someone who has what you want. Then mimic away. Seriously, this is how we learned as children, you definitely have it in you!

Habit #3: Fall down 5 times, Get up 6

Overanalyzing everything you do is a terrible habit to fall into. We all are guilty of it at times. Our feelings of uncertainty drive us to overthink and doubt ourselves, especially when we make mistakes or don’t succeed. Many times our overthinking makes us not want to try again when we fail.

When you have a setback or failure, all of your past difficult life experiences, pains, and stressful circumstances want their ‘voices’ to be heard. They want to remind you that you’re not good enough. In a counterintuitive way, they are doing this to protect you. They don’t want you to get your hopes up because you might get knocked down again. 

Interestingly enough, successful people have that voice too. It’s normal. But, the difference is successful people know how to turn that voice off early and often. Or they just power through.

How you deal with those voices is based on your mindset and sheer repetition. Fortunately, those are two qualities are available to everyone. Mindsets can be changed, cultivated and created any way you choose. Successful people know this, and have worked hard to make sure setbacks don’t become their Achilles heel. You can too.

If you choose to have a ‘growth’ mindset, meaning you start to view your ability to grow and learn from mistakes, you will be able to see setbacks as just part of your journey. You’ll quiet those over analyzing, self-critical voices because they won’t have fuel anymore. 

It is as easy as choosing this new “growth mindset” way to tackle setbacks and reminding yourself that that is what the pros do. They’ve fallen down 5 times and gotten back up 6!