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“Yes, And…”: How a little Improv can help manage stress and anxiety

Stress management is a big industry these days. Whether its relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, mindfulness or therapy, there are many options for how we can better manage our stress and anxiety in life. When lawyers come to talk with me about how to manage their anxiety and stress more effectively, they often expect to be told to practice some mindfulness or deep breathing technique (which are great by the way, so yes, please do them). But for some types of stress and anxiety, a different approach can be more effective, and more fun.

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The Skill of Making Imperfect Decisions

We all want to succeed. We want to make the best decisions, complete our work successfully, and feel competent in the things we are asked to do. However, when our desire for success becomes a pursuit of perfection, analysis paralysis can be the by-product of the fear of failure. When we want perfection so badly or when we fear failing too much, making the wrong decision can seem like the worst thing ever. This can influence us to avoid an uncomfortable decision, feeling frozen or weighed down; your brain unable to act.

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Don’t Wait For Your Feelings: Forgiveness

Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is an action. Done well, forgiveness can be freeing and can allow the person to heal from a painful experience and become more resilient as a result. But there are a lot of misconceptions and fears that surround forgiveness, what it is, what it is not, and what the result might be.

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Don’t Wait For Your Feelings: Motivation

“I feel ready. Now I can act.” The order of those phrases sounds logical. First you feel ready and then you act on that feeling. No obvious controversy there. Yet some of the common phrases we toss around in everyday conversation are not only inaccurate, but they also negatively affect our abilities to accomplish what we desire. This is often used in terms of assessing our motivation to do something difficult. In this example, waiting to feel motivated (or ready) will most often prevent you from accomplishing something that you never knew was possible. In fact reversing the order of those original ideas is often more accurate and advantageous. I decide to act and then I notice my feelings changing.

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Try fast – Fail fast – Evaluate fast – Try again fast

The fear of failure is often at the heart of perfectionism. The idea of failure has such a powerful effect on so many of us. We hear messages from multiple sources about the importance of success, the perils of failure, and how failure can taint any accomplishment that one has worked hard to achieve. The more someone fears failure, the more likely they are to avoid trying something that they find challenging. This limits learning and the possibility of achieving something great. Obviously, without risk there can be no reward. So logically we know that we must risk failure to achieve success. I’ll take it further than that: We need failure (yes, failure) in order to achieve success.

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Tips for Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Getting regular, quality sleep is one of the most important factors in good physical and mental health. Our bodies need sleep in order to repair and refuel our energy. While many of us use caffeine and sugar to replace the energy we should have gotten from a good night’s sleep, nothing can replace the benefit of a night of quality sleep. And while it seems simple, regularly getting quality sleep is difficult to do. Any parent can tell you that a full night’s sleep is more of a fantasy than a reality. However, there are some practical tips (generally called Sleep Hygiene) that can help you improve your sleep experience.

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