Put Your Beliefs to the Test

By: Terri Hayes

As we navigate life, our brains form connections and solidify beliefs, rarely questioning them. But let’s have some fun and challenge ourselves. You’ve probably heard these phrases: “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it,” “You get what you pay for,” “Money can’t buy happiness,” and the like. While they often hold weight, it can be enlightening to challenge their absolute truth. 

Start with a belief you’re not deeply attached to and ask, “How might this not be true?” 

I recently did this with the phrase “Many hands make light work.” While it’s true sometimes, consider situations like cleaning up after a meal, helping someone move, or baking cookies with a toddler. Chaos ensues more often than not when there are too many hands. 

In Neil Pasricha’s book “The Happiness Equation,” he highlights conflicting clichés, showing how common phrases contradict each other. For example: 

  • Defense wins championships versus The best defense is a good offense. 
  • Birds of a feather flock together versus Opposites attract. 
  • You’re never too old to learn versus You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 
  • Clothes make the man versus You can’t judge a book by its cover. 
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder versus Out of sight, out of mind. 
  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained versus Better safe than sorry. 
  • You get what you pay for versus The best things in life are free. 
  • Good things come to those who wait versus The early bird gets the worm. 
  • The pen is mightier than the sword versus Actions speak louder than words. 

Take it to the next level by questioning beliefs that you’ve held more tightly to. I’m not suggesting you abandon those beliefs, just question them. 

I once staunchly believed in “You’ll appreciate it more if you work for it.” But a purchase at a farmers’ market caused me to question this. The green beans from the market were just as satisfying as the ones I toiled over in my own garden. It challenged my belief, but the joy of three meals with green beans for $3 was worth it!  

We often use clichés to bolster arguments, but let’s question every belief with intent. Share in the comments common phrases you’ve dissected and found liberating or any other thoughts that come to mind. 

High Five! 

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I Would Not Say Such Things If I Were You  

By: Terri Hayes

There are some words that seem like they are important and motivating but often it’s a disguise. I avoid labeling things as good or bad in permanent terms. Despite the title I chose for this blog, I would not condemn the words we’ll talk about today as words we should never utter, rather these words can act as a signal, so to speak. They are awareness words that can cause us to pause and evaluate when we say them. 

If you haven’t read my last blogpost titled, “The Language of Emotion,” it would serve you well to have that background before proceeding to this post. If you aren’t used to noticing how things make you feel when they are said, that blog post may be helpful. 

Just: I find I use this word a lot, in writing as well as verbally. My all-time cringe sentence I hear (and I’ve said it!) is, “I’m just a mom.” Just often downplays something. It can be condescending and lack compassion. In some instances, we are using it to justify something (I was just teasing). 

Should/shouldn’t, need to, have to, must. All of these can often feel like we have no choice in the matter or that our choice is tied to a moral right or wrong. Shame often accompanies should/shouldn’t. Noticed the resistance that may arise in your body when presented these words.  Let me ask you, when you or someone else says you should do something, how often do you want to do it? We often feel we are being forced, and even if we do it, there is often little “buy in” or enjoyment in the process. When these words are presented to me by others or myself, I like to make a slight adjustment. Replacing should with “could” brings up a whole different feeling in my body and I feel like I have a choice in the matter and that I’m not a “bad person” for whatever I decide to do. Let’s stop “should-ing” on ourselves. When confronted with need to, have to or must, simply take a moment and determine if we really do have to. We can then choose whether to leave it OR decide if we really want to do it? “I have to change the baby’s diaper.” Well, no, I technically don’t have to; I could just leave it. However, if I decide I don’t really want to leave it and want to have a happy baby, then I probably do want to change the diaper. Alternatives to these could be “want to,” “get to,” and “choose to.” 

Never and always. These are great words for black-and-white or all-or-none thinking. When you use these words, take a minute and consider if it might be an exaggeration. If you want to take it to the next level, try to find a few instances when you (or the “guilty party”) has or hasn’t said or done what you just accused them of always or never saying or doing. Most of us just let these words roll off our tongue without thinking about the truthfulness of their use. Many times it’s because we are frustrated to some extent, and we don’t want to admit that the always or never are, more often than not, an exaggeration. Other words that are good friends with never and always include everything, nothing, everyone, no one

The last words to reflect on are don’t (as in I don’t know) and can’t. When we think or say these words, it’s a signal to our brain that it doesn’t need to proceed in finding answers or solutions. It shuts the brain down. When I was in high school, my volleyball/basketball coach had us pay money every time we said the word, “can’t.” The money went towards our end of season banquet and many of us got proficient steering clear of the word… At least out loud 😉. Because of that, to this day the word, “can’t” makes me take pause, which indicates we can train ourselves to have awareness through these “trigger” words. 

What about you? What words have you tagged for bringing awareness to your thought processes? 

High Five!  

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Unlocking the Language of Emotion

By: Terri Hayes

Did you know that each emotion manifests itself in your body? Some of us are so in our heads, we struggle to note what is going on in our body and all we experience is a thought process.  

I was a skilled emotion shunner. I traced this behavior back to my childhood and I can remember distinct times where it was even a conscious decision. “Ain’t got no time for that” was my mantra when it came to emotions I didn’t want to face or deal with. It pains me some to realize now that acknowledging them more would have saved so much time and grief for not only me, but others in my life.  

When confronted with unpleasant emotions, various responses may emerge: 

  • Resist – This is akin to attempting to submerge a large beach ball underwater. You might achieve success temporarily, but it becomes a continual struggle, and inevitably, the ball resurfaces. The “resurfacing” doesn’t always manifest as an external loss of control; it can also materialize as discomfort or dis-ease within the body. 
  • React – Expressing emotions through actions like yelling, screaming, crying, eye-rolling, throwing objects, or even physically venting by punching a wall. It’s a misconception that reacting in this way equals processing an emotion, and that’s why some opt to resist or avoid, fearing a perceived loss of control. 
  • Avoid – We distract ourselves through activities like eating, drinking, scrolling social media, shopping, overworking (or overindulging in anything, for that matter), gaming, porn, and even engaging in behaviors like cleaning and exercise as ways to sidestep emotions. While most of these activities aren’t inherently negative, using them as a means to evade emotions can result in an overall adverse impact on our lives. 
  • Allow – Embracing emotions involves more than mere acknowledgment; it entails naming the emotion and then cultivating curiosity about how it physically manifests within us. Developing this skill is valuable and worth the effort, particularly for those proficient in the habits of resisting, reacting, or avoiding. It’s a practice that involves dedication and patience. 

It took me months to really grasp the art of allowing emotions. Many times, I felt like I just wasn’t ‘getting it,’ but looking back, I realized the process was unfolding all along. To my fellow left-brainers, patience is key! Everyone experiences emotions uniquely, so I stopped comparing my journey to others. What truly matters is discovering your own emotional navigation style. Through working with clients and observing numerous coaching sessions, a consistent pattern emerged – uncomfortable emotions often translate into a sense of closed or tightness, maybe even a ‘sinking’ feeling. On the flip side, emotions we enjoy tend to open us up, creating a sense of expansiveness. A good starting point is asking yourself: Do I feel tight/heavy/closed off, or do I feel free/expansive/open? And don’t forget, neutrality can find a comfortable place between those extremes. 

So, how can one start practicing to truly feel emotions in the body and allow every feeling? Here are a few approaches to get you started: 

Close your eyes and say and think about the word “love” or think of something that brings you joy, then pay attention to what happens in your body. For me, I have a very expansive feeling in my chest. Kind of like one of those fountain fireworks where the beautiful sparks emanate from the base and bloom upward and outward. It’s warm and unfurling. It may be similar for you, or you may feel or sense things in other parts of your body. Now, close your eyes and say and think about the word “hate” or think of a time you felt shamed. What’s going on in your body now? For me, I feel a tightness in my chest. Often, I envision a heavy object like a lead pipe sitting vertical alongside my sternum; or a heavy rock lodged in my chest or throat area.  

Another activity is to name an emotion, then do a body scan while continuing to name and think of the emotion. Experience what happens in your body. These are actual vibrations, sensations, tingles, movements, colors, in your body, not just thoughts.  

This process mirrors learning a new language. It calls for time, patience, and a genuine willingness to be vulnerable and honest with oneself. Embrace mistakes with a light-hearted attitude, treating them as valuable lessons rather than failures. 

There are no good or bad emotions. Our bodies are designed to experience every emotion and process them. Emotions serve as information; they are the messengers. Emotions aren’t obstacles; they are the path. 

If you’re ready to begin unlocking the language of your emotions and embracing every feeling, I’m here to guide you. Book a call with me, and together, let’s navigate the path to a deeper understanding of yourself and your emotions. It’s a transformative adventure worth taking! 

Join the discussing and leave a comment below 😊. 

High Five! 


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Emotion-Hacking Technique Transforms Caregiving Perspectives

By: Terri Hayes

Emotion-Hacking Technique Transforms Caregiving Perspectives 

A ‘caregiver’ typically conjures images of family members or professionals supporting a child or an adult in need. However, these boundaries can stretch much further. Consider this: if you’re a teacher, you’re a caregiver. The same goes for a boss or supervisor. In reality, most of us extend care and support to others in various capacities beyond ourselves. 

Recently, I picked up a valuable technique from Tony Robbins. It’s a method aimed at dialing down the intensity of emotions often labeled as negative. For caregivers, this approach holds immense significance as they frequently encounter these challenging emotions. 

The process involves identifying emotions that frequently arise and then devising alternative words to disrupt these patterns or reduce their intensity. One of the emotions I fall prey to more than I’d like is frustration. Tony suggests two substitutions for frustrated – “challenged” and “fascinated.”  

Just to spark some ideas, here are a few more examples many of us might relate to: 

Angry to Disenchanted 

Anxious to Expectant or A little concerned 

Depressed to Calm before action; Not on top of it; or On the road to a turn-around  

Disappointed to Underwhelmed or Delayed 

Fearful to Wonderment or Inquiring 

I hate to I prefer 

Irritated to Stimulated 

Overwhelmed to Maximized; Busy; In demand; or Many opportunities 

Stressed to Busy; Blessed; or Energized 

Terrible to Different 

Alright, I might have gone a bit overboard on “a few,” but there’s a wealth of options! Feel free to experiment with different words that personally resonate with you. 

I implemented this technique while caring for my beloved mother who battled with dementia. There were moments when navigating her unpredictable behaviors due to this relentless disease felt challenging. However, as I replaced frustration with a genuine sense of curious fascination, I witnessed a remarkable shift in my own approach and internal state. I’m certain this shift also lightened the atmosphere in the room. 

How might reframing various emotions, from frustration to disappointment, anxiety to feeling overwhelmed, empower you in your caregiving roles or everyday interactions? As always, grace us with your comments below! 

High Five! 

Please find more goodness at my website: https://www.outofsmallthings.com/ 

And more blog posts to share here: https://outofsmallthings.wixsite.com/blog 


Link in case it’s needed again: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/mind-meaning/transform-your-words-in-4-steps/ 

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Triple Threat

By: Terri Hayes

I was first introduced to the term “triple threat” in the context of basketball. My coach taught me that when you get the ball, you have three options: pass, dribble, or shoot. As players become more skilled, they figure out the best move to make during every game moment. 

In our daily lives, we face a constant feed of diverse “balls” representing words from others. These might come in the form of a critical review from a boss or colleague, an unwelcome label, a sharp remark, or a harsh judgment. They’re all part of the mix, challenging us in various ways. 

We have triple threat options with every “ball” we are thrown in the form of words. So, someone “throws” us words. Begin by thoughtfully evaluating those words for accuracy, seeking out any elements of truth. This isn’t about casting shame upon oneself, but rather approaching it with honesty and curiosity. Then go to the “triple threat” options: 

#1 –If you find there’s validity in what’s been said, one avenue to explore is making adjustments. Consider how you might navigate this in the future or what present practices could be refined to bolster your skills in handling similar situations. 

#2 – If you find there is truth in the words, choose to refrain from immediate action. There’s no shame in opting to postpone addressing an issue if your reasons for doing so align with your values. Personally, and I’m sure many can relate, an extensive list of improvements can become overwhelming, hindering progress on any one item. Therefore, sometimes I opt to postpone a change until I can give it the focused attention it deserves. 

#3 – Should you determine it doesn’t align with the truth, simply let the person hold their perception of you. This approach has truly transformed things for me. It’s not always easy. Our natural inclination is to attempt to convince others differently when they misunderstand us or our intentions. This often expends energy in an unproductive way. Occasionally, there are instances where clarification is necessary, but in most cases, simply acknowledging the other person might lack the full context or information suffices. It’s a kind gesture to grant them the space to hold an incorrect belief. Understanding our own intentions, nature, and inherent goodness, allows us to be compassionate towards others who might not see things as we do, releasing the need to rectify their perceptions. 

The short version of our options when someone throws us sentences: There are truths, make adjustments; there are truths, don’t make adjustments; there are no truths – allow the other person to be mistaken about you or your intentions.  

Similar to adept athletes who review game footage for learning—not for dwelling or self-deprecation—we, too, can grow. Now equipped with options for every incoming thought, you’re empowered. This is your opportunity to respond proactively and extract wisdom from them. Perfection isn’t the goal; it’s about polishing your skills through every encounter. 

High Five! 

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High Five! 

By: Terri Hayes

I use the term “High Five” quite often. This dates me a little because “High Fives” preceded the fist-bump, but to me, a High Five sparks much more “good job” than a fist-bump.  

I was a tomboy growing up… I still identify with that label and wear it proudly. I played sports my whole life and High Fives were used in abundance throughout those competitive years.  

But here’s where we’re going to apply High Five to life. All too often as humans, we tend to focus on the negative. There have been studies proving this is the natural inclination, but I’m not going to get into the social science today, just trust me (or go look it up).  

We notice all the things we’re doing wrong or could improve on. We beat ourselves up over not being a better spouse, parent, child, sibling, athlete, artist, dancer, friend, Christian, [insert your self-abuse equivalency here]. When we focus so much on what we’re not, we miss out on all we ARE!  

I had a client who was so committed to self-improvement that she had concocted a brilliant plan. It was pretty much the financial debt snowball concept, only with perceived weaknesses. Initially it seemed like a great plan. She had already figured out that trying to work on too many “weaknesses” at once usually results in overwhelm and slow progress. The idea was to focus on one weakness and overcome it to a satisfactory degree. Once she felt good about the progress made there, the momentum could then be used to tackle the next taxing perceived weakness. Probably a perceived weakness that was more challenging (the bigger debt) than the previous. But since the “conquered weakness” was out of the way, there was more energy to be applied to the next weakness challenge.  

The debt snowball is a great tool for getting out of financial debt, but a tool that works well in one application isn’t necessarily ideal in another. I have an alternative idea I feel is much more effective in this scenario.  

We get whatever we focus on in life. If we keep focusing on what we don’t want, we’ll have more of it. The first step to creating any change is deciding what you DO want so you have something to move toward.  

My challenge to her, to me, and to you is this. Take one week off from overcoming all perceived weaknesses. I know it will be hard but try not to even look at them! They are going in time-out for a week! Instead, focus on your awesomeness and the good things you do. They don’t have to be big things! They can be, but if you look for both, even the most minute things, you can find a LOT!  

You didn’t make the snarky comment when you really wanted to. Give yourself a High Five! 

You got right out of bed and didn’t hit the snooze. Give yourself a High Five! 

You did a favor for someone. Give yourself a High Five! 

You told someone kindly you couldn’t do a favor. Give yourself a High Five! 

You smiled at someone today. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my body. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my personality. Give yourself a High Five! 

Fill in the blank: I love ______________ about my living situation. Give yourself a High Five! 

I appreciate _____________ about myself. Give yourself a High Five! 

I changed the toilet paper roll. Give yourself a High Five! 

I texted someone just so they knew I was thinking about them. Give yourself a High Five! 

I took two extra seconds to look someone in the eye with love. Give yourself a High Five! 

I am __________________ [fill in with favorable attribute]. Give yourself a High Five! 

I suggest the “I am [______favorable attribute________] at LEAST once a day.  

If you want to step it up a notch, look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say your acknowledgement out loud to yourself and do a physical High Five to that remarkable person in the mirror.  

As you set your mind on a mission to notice the good you are and the good you do, and acknowledge those with a High Five, it may surprise you how many perceived weaknesses just kind of vanish or become much less important when you do!   

If you could use some support in focusing more on what you want in life, come visit my online home or schedule a session to explore the possibilities. 

High Five! 

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