Posted in Psychology

My Bracket Anxiety

It is once again that time of the year:
NCAA Tournament Bracket Time.

And so my anxiety begins to set in.

Will I pick the overall winner?

Will I win my group or be the most loosing entry?

Will I hate me and my bracket by Thursday Evening?

Why anxiety? Simple: I don’t want to look like or even be a “confirmed” LOOSER. My bracket is a vehicle to praise and high fives in my group, at work, at home. It can also be the reason people laugh and joke at my expense and poor hoop I.Q.

I can RESEARCH and make SMART CHOICES during the creation of my backet so my success and/or failure is ON ME. Oh, the pressure.

The real problem and driver of my anxiety is the reality that bracket creation and winning require LUCK and some smarts, such as setting your expectation set correctly. So, if I really want to find mental wellness and balance during this time of the year, I need to do two things:

First, Acknowledge and Accept that luck plays apart in my success or failure. There are many factors outside of my control that impact the ultimate outcome of the many games that will be contested thus the most likely reason my bracket is busted is because of something I could not control. I am good. Yet I am not God or Superman or some maniacal puppet master.

Second, Acknowledge and Accept that I get to set my expectation bar for this tournament and so any anxiety I experience is based on THAT and not my bracket and its performance. I need to focus on my “dreams” or “aspirations” for this tournament.

If I imagine that I will be the “darling” of my bracket group then I have set the bar high and there is a ton of pressure on me. I must rise to the situation, have luck on my side and research up to the first tip of the first four games on Tuesday,

If I imagine that I will be the worst bracket in the group then I have set the bar low that if I do suck, no big whoop, and if I win, small fanfare.

If I set the bar in the middle, have fun picking my upsets and winners and know that luck will play a hand, then I probably will have fun and enjoy the experience. I may take some ribbing, yet I will manage. I may get some high fives and “way to gos” and I will enjoy that as well.

Choose fun. Set your expectations in the right place. Manage your anxiety and disappointments like a man.

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology, Self Help

Life Story Tag Line

You’re writing your autobiography…
What’s your opening sentence?

I have been to Hell and Back So Often, I have Frequent Flyer Miles.

That pretty much sums it up. That’s the initial line in my autobiography or any movie that tells my life story.

I have been blessed to experience so many wonderful moments in my life including:

  • backpacking through Europe,
  • talking with Pope John Paul II,
  • playing basketball with Michael Jordan,
  • selected as the clinical site supervisor of the year in Illinois,
  • being adjunct faculty of the year and
  • getting my picture taken with the Stanley Cup!

And I have also experienced real heartbreak and pain including:

  • alcohol and drug addiction with over twenty years of recovery,
  • financial devastation, bankruptcy, and homelessness,
  • infidelity and near divorce, and
  • the death of two infant children.

My life story is full of ups and downs and that tag line says it all.

Posted in Mental Health, Psychology, Self Help

Failure? Or Learning Chance

How has a failure, or apparent failure,
set you up for later success?

Let’s be honest, unless you are bowling or pitching, there is no such thing as PERFECT.

We may say that vacation was PERFECT or that mean was PERFECT or that the atmosphere of our about-to-start party is PERFECT.

Is it really?

And do we ever completely fail?

Of course not.

Seldom does the perfect or best case or the worst case scenario ever play out? Usually, the scene we end up playing out in our life story is somewhere in the middle. The middle or most likely to happen scenario. Yet so often, we beat ourselves up for making mistakes, miscalculating, or not playing the scene and/or our hand perfectly.

Even when we do play it perfectly, we find ways in which we could have done it better.

That’s human nature.

That’s the human mind and soul.

For some of us though, Monday Morning Quarterbacking can lead to higher levels of anxiety and lower pits of depression. It can lead to a lack of functioning. A lack of enjoying life and our family and friends. We tear ourselves a new one. And that is not good.

Finding the psychological fitness skills to be able to review our perceptions, calculations, and decisions without seeing our choices as the defining characteristics of our manhood is key to good mental wellness. Being able to accurately and fairly look at our decision-making process requires that we first see failure as a chance to learn and grow. Next, we have to be kind and empathetic to ourselves and know that when we calculated and made the decision we didn’t have as much knowledge and insight as we do now. When things don’t go according to plan we learn why things didn’t work out. That knowledge is golden. Yet if we are so focused on blaming we don’t take in the new knowledge and insight. We can not learn.

So set out to fail. Set out to make mistakes and learn how to tolerate setbacks while also giving yourself space and grace for learning.

Lesson 1: Boil a Cup of Water in UNDER Two-Minutes. Can You Do It?

Share your success and/or failure and the way in which you coped with failure or success:

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