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Mind Management Strategies with Sarah Duff


This article has been transcribed from episode 52 of The Fitness Simplified Podcast HERE

Kim: [00:00:04] Welcome to the Fitness Simplified podcast, I’m your host, Kim Schlag. On episode 52 I am joined by my good friend and Decades of Strength cohost Sarah Duff.
Sarah comes on to share with us something that she has great expertise in. We talk about all of the many thoughts we have going through our mind every day, thousands and thousands of them, and how we can manage them so that we are not just making decisions on autopilot.
Let’s go.
Okay. And we are recording.
Sarah Duff, hello.
Sarah: [00:00:44] Hello, Kim Schlag. How are you?
Kim: [00:00:46] I’m good!
Sarah and I have actually been talking and I finally said, “why are we not recording this? We should be recording this. People need to hear this information.”
Sarah: [00:00:57] Do they?
Kim: [00:00:59] They do. People need to know that it’s okay to care about your physical self-care as well during this quarantine.
So, Sarah and I were just talking about all of the beauty things that might go awry in the coming weeks as we get deeper and deeper into self-quarantine. I am going to be, hopefully, not ripping out, but delicately removing all of my hair extensions. I’m thinking I’m going to do it live on Instagram, because they are falling out. One came out as I blew dry my hair this morning.
Sarah has taken to dying her eyebrows. Sarah, tell us what else do you think is going to be needing to happen here.
Sarah: [00:01:36] Okay. So, the eyebrows and the eyelashes, we’ve already tried that and that worked out all right. I can’t get my ‘stache threaded, so that needs to be waxed now and I just need to be on like hyper control, full facial hair awareness.
Ladies, I am 42 so things have changed in my world on that. And obviously gray hair is the other thing. I obviously go and get my roots done every few weeks, so that’s going to be kind of interesting, but we were just saying we are not dying our own hair because that has the potential to go very, very wrong.
Kim: [00:02:15] Yeah. I think just don’t do that, everyone. Don’t dye your own hair unless you have, like, hair beauty school credentials. Just don’t do it.
Sarah: [00:02:25] I have done that in the past and it never worked out well for me and I’ve had to have my hair stripped and everything. So, people, it’s just not worth it. But we were just saying, it does bring up an interesting point that just because we are all in self-solation and quarantine, it doesn’t mean our personal care, beauty routines really need to fall off.
And if anything, for me, I actually think it’s more important for me to make sure that I’m keeping myself in check with everything. So just for example, shaving my legs and under my arms and bikini line and all that kind of stuff, I don’t do that for anyone else but me.
So just because I’m in self-isolation, it doesn’t mean that I’m just going to let it all go awry because there’s loads of memes going around of, like, women stepping outside after, you know, three months in quarantine and they’ve got bushes between their legs and all that. I’m like, “why would that happen just because we’re in isolation?”
Kim: [00:03:30] That’s so funny. So, don’t do that. Yeah, I am still shaving, not going to dye my hair. I dyed my hair with the box stuff for years, like, all my twenties into my thirties and every time, no matter what color, literally no matter what box I picked, whatever they showed, my hair was red. It was red. I was like, “why is my hair always red?” And I don’t look good with red hair.
So, I just will not be touching my roots. I’m just going to keep putting dry shampoo. I have colored dry shampoo and I’m just going to use that.
So, okay, ladies, whatever your beauty routines are, keep some semblance of normalcy here.
Now, obviously these are not the biggest problems people are having. Sarah and I were also discussing that. You know, there’s, there’s true trauma going on in the world, our hair extensions falling out don’t really make the cut, but we can still care about ourselves.
Sarah: [00:04:29] Yeah. And I think actually from a mental health point of view, it’s quite important to make sure that you feel good on a day to day basis.
So, if keeping yourself in check with all of your beauty routines, putting some makeup on and not spending all day, every day in your pajamas, it’s good for your mental health and that’s what you should be doing. And that’s why I get up every morning, shower, get dressed, put makeup on, all the things, because it sets me in a different mindset than if I’ve just rolled out of bed and stayed in my pajamas all day.
So yeah, it’s good for mind health as well.
Kim: [00:05:03] I’m trying to make a better effort at that, Sarah. I have makeup on this morning. I’ve been doing it a couple of times a week here. I’m thinking, like, I’m literally going nowhere, but I’ve been trying to do a better effort at putting more makeup on, putting some real clothes on, not just staying in pajamas, or at least change them and have my daytime pajamas and my nighttime pajamas. Something a little fancier.
Sarah: [00:05:27] Yeah, it’s just your days kind of blend in. There’s kind of no cutoff between wake-up, work, and anything else. I think it’s very difficult because a lot of people, myself included, there’s a tendency that we’re going to end up working all of the time because we’re kind of at home and there’s no kind of end to it.
So, I think just having cut off points and indications to your mind that, like, “okay, I’ve changed out of my daytime clothes and put my evening clothes on, so now it’s time to shift into a different gear,” is just really important.
Kim: [00:05:59] “When you put your evening clothes on,” I’m picturing a gown.
Sarah: [00:06:03] It’s a ball gown and a tiara.
You have literally no idea what could be happening to me as I slowly start to lose the plot even more and more.
Kim: [00:06:18] Because Sarah lives alone. So, Sarah is on her own in isolation and she’s making good friends with Alexa.
Sarah: [00:06:25] Yes. Me and Alexa, but I feel I need some kind of human contact. There’s some considerations for what might get ordered for that. So just, if you follow me on Instagram, just keep your eyes out on my story. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Kim: [00:06:40] If you don’t follow Sarah, now is the time to jump on board. It’s going to get interesting in Sarah Duff’s stories @thrivewithduff. Make sure you’re following.
Sarah, I realized we just really kind of jumped in. So, tell everybody who you are, what you do, some background on you.
Sarah: [00:06:53] For sure. And so, I am, obviously, it’s Sarah Duff. I make up one of the four of the Decades of Strengths. I also have my own podcast, Real You. I am an online mindset and life design coach.
I work mainly we women, helping them to get to the bottom of their destructive habits and why they self-sabotage and help them to develop the skills and practices to be able to not do that anymore and to be able to identify what is going on and why, so that they can then move forward.
Kim: [00:07:33] Wow. That’s good stuff. And She left out one thing, she is a journal junkie.
Sarah: [00:07:38] Yeah, well, I just had to laugh, ’cause I’m sat in my kitchen and I must have a thing for notebooks because around me right now I have one, two, three, four, five different notebooks.
Kim: [00:07:52] That’s just within eye-shot in your kitchen.
Sarah: [00:07:54] Just within eye-shot.
But yes, I am a journal junkie
and it is, as you will find out, as the episode goes on, it’s been one of my biggest self-transformation tools, and for the majority of my clients, I say majority because I have had clients that it just doesn’t click with, but for majority of people, it has been the thing that they have been most surprised that has been the most effective for them being able to understand themselves better and actually move forward from the destructive stuff they’re doing.
Anything from binge-eating, binge-drinking, you know, just all of the things that have been holding them back from getting results for years. And it’s such a simple tool, but people are quite resistant to it.
‘Cause it’s like, “I don’t want to write, I’m not a 6-year-old child.” And it’s like, no, this is the stuff that we need to be doing more of because we have between 10,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. And so, if you are not in some shape or form managing those thoughts, that is an awful lot of thoughts flying around in your head that are basically controlling your actions, controlling how you feel, controlling your actions, and creating your reality.
Kim: [00:09:24] And you have no idea if you’re not managing them.
Sarah: [00:09:27] We are all basically on autopilot most of the time. So, when it comes to destructive habits, it is these thoughts that you are not aware of that are driving the destructive habits. So, in order to be able to move past and change, you have to get a hold on the thoughts in some shape or form.
Kim: [00:09:49] And how did you get started with journaling?
Sarah: [00:09:53] So I used to journal and write a lot as a kid and into my teenage years. And then obviously, as we all do, when it becomes suddenly uncool and you feel like– I never felt like I fit in any way, so I always tried to get rid of anything that I was doing that may not be seen as cool.
So, I played a musical instrument and I stopped doing that because the girls that I really wanted to fit in with didn’t think that it was cool. So, I kind of stopped the writing and then I, honestly, didn’t really start with the journaling until about a year and a half ago.
So, it’s not something that I’ve been doing consistently for 42 years of my life. But I will say, over the course of my life, I have had a lot of struggles — binge drinking, taking drugs, feeling very unhappy, really not liking myself very much, and trying to stuff down emotions by distracting myself or numbing myself using anything that I possibly could.
And I can honestly put my hand to my heart, and I’m not just saying this because I’m here to talk about journaling, if I had had the tool of journaling and was using it in the way that I use it now, back then in my 20s-30s, I would have gotten through the stuff that I got through and– I don’t like to use the word healed particularly, but would have moved forward and been able to cope with things a lot differently and understood myself a lot quicker than I have. ‘Cause it’s taken me until, really I hit 40, to really understand why I was doing the things I was doing and really see how I was sabotaging myself for so many years.
Kim: [00:12:02] And do you think that the difference that the journaling would have made is that it would have helped you to not be on autopilot?
Kind of like, back to what you’re saying, that seems to be the real power in it, is what you’re saying.
Sarah: [00:12:12] Yeah. So basically, the way that you can use journaling is: it’s a kind of questioning-everything-that-you-do situation. Because I was never questioned about anything that I was doing by either myself or anyone that was in my life, I never really thought about it. I was on autopilot for everything. So when I felt a certain feeling coming up in my body, so, you know, I was feeling unhappy or unsettled or dissatisfied or talking negatively to myself, my auto-response was to get rid of that feeling as quickly as I possibly could with the only real means that I had at the time, that I knew, which was to drink, take drugs.
Then when I got away from all of that, it was then into overtraining and getting obsessed with food and obsessed with dieting. And it was all a form of escapism because I didn’t know what else to do, I didn’t understand what was going on in my mind.
Kim: [00:13:23] And people hearing this right now might kind of have a little bit of a reaction of like, “do I really want to know what’s going on in my mind?”
Because I think the word you used, escapism, is really a good word because we’re kind of running from these things that maybe we don’t want to face. Even if there’s not like big scary stuff in her past that we think of, it feels a little daunting to me to try and figure out like, “wait, why do I do the things that are not good for me,” right?
Sarah: [00:13:52] Yeah. 100%.
But if you don’t do that, you’re basically keeping secrets from yourself. You are not being honest about what is actually going on and when you are not being honest about what is actually going on, how can you possibly think that you’re going to get a long-term solution? You’re not. You will basically always go through your life lying to yourself.
Not to call people out on this, but if you are in denial about what is going on, you can’t ever expect to be able to deal with it properly.
Kim: [00:14:27] Yeah. And I imagine that there’s some resistance people have to journaling. One I think is the big one I just said, which is like, “uh, do we really want to find out?” Right? That seems like a big one.
The other ones seem to be what would come to my mind. Because look, this is not something I’ve been able to consistently do. I’ve tried it and I just don’t stick with it. And so, I wonder like, why? Why is that? And I bet there is some resistance. So, what are some of the common resistances you see that people say like, “this is why I don’t want to do it.”
Sarah: [00:14:56] So we get the, “it takes too long,” or “I don’t know what to write,” because what I think comes up a lot when I’m speaking to people about this is they feel that there’s a right or a wrong way to do it, and there’s not.
It’s a very personal thing and what I find works best with people in the beginning is to simply get someone to start word-vomiting, as I like to call it, because that doesn’t seem quite so daunting. So, you basically just grab a piece of paper and you sit down and you maybe ask yourself a question — so, “what is on my mind today?” And then basically anything that comes to mind, you write it down.
It does not have to make sense. It does not have to be grammatically correct. It does not have to be perfect. It is basically you getting the opportunity to free up your mind of some of the thoughts that are basically clogging up what is going on.
I always like to think of the mind as kind of a really busy roadway junction. So you’ve all these cars and things passing, and on a day to day basis, if we have between 10,000 and 60,000 thoughts going on in our mind during the day, and these are all trying to cross, you can see why people are so stressed all of the time; ’cause they can’t get any free time to make sense of anything.
I would say those would be the two main resistances.
Kim: [00:16:54] Those are exactly the two that came to my mind, Sarah. Those are exactly it. “I don’t know what to write,” and “I don’t have time for this. That takes so long.” That’s exactly what I was thinking.
So, what are your responses to that?
Sarah: [00:17:09] So I always say to people that we are not looking for you to sit down and write a novel and you need to understand that the way that you have been going about things at the minute has not worked for you up until this point. So, I just would like you to sit down and write for one minute in the morning. And what generally happens, I find with people, is that they’ll sit down with a question that I’ve given them first thing in the mo
rning, they will start writing for a minute, and before they know it, it’s been 5 or 10 minutes and they’ve not been able to stop writing.
Because, with my clients, obviously I know what their main struggles are and what they specifically need to get to the bottom of, so I can always write individual journal cues to help them start to open up the pathways of thoughts, to help them understand exactly what is going on.
But for anyone listening, I would, first of all, just look at the journaling as a way of you being able to connect with yourself first thing in the morning and be able to set yourself up for success that day. That would be the way I would frame it in the beginning, rather than going into it thinking this is going to be like this huge self-discovery, uncovering all of this, and I’m going to solve all of my years of issues.
Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. Just view it as, okay, I’m gonna sit down. I’m going to ask myself, “how do I feel today?” I’m going to write down maybe three or four words that spring to mind. It could be on the more positive end of the scale or could be something– you know, maybe you feel angry or on edge or whatever is.
And then just write down, “I feel, *insert whatever the feeling is that’s come up for you* because,” and then just complete the sentence. That just helps you to really connect with where your head is at that morning. Like how are you actually feeling? And then you can just be more aware of how you have woken up that morning.
Then, just write a sentence that’s basically, “who do I want to be today?” That is, you setting the intention for yourself that day. So, I would write that and I would write, “okay, I am going to be the woman who does not procrastinate, goes out into the world, eat three meals,” of all the things.
You’re just getting really clear with yourself on how you want to show up that day for yourself.
And then the other really simple thing that you can do throughout the day is– because it is so easy to slip almost automatically straight away back into autopilot because you do the journaling and then you go out and the kids are wanting breakfast and all of the things that are going on.
So, touch points are something that I use with my clients and it is basically just a, for example, every time you take a swig of water, you just do a little bit of, “okay, am I aware of my thoughts right now?” And just check in with yourself that you haven’t gone back into autopilot so that when you go forward and you are making decisions about things, whether it be work things, food things, whatever it is, you are not just completely on autopilot and just doing what you’ve always done. And that’s so important when you’re dealing with trying to move past destructive habits and trying to change the way that you are showing up for yourself on a day to day basis.
Kim: [00:21:28] So the touch point, is it a question of, “do I remember what I wrote this morning?” What exactly is it?
Sarah: [00:21:35] No, so it’s just a reconnection with your mind.
So, if you’ve been sat at your desk for seven hours, work, work, work, work, work, you may get up and just walk into the kitchen and your automatic response may have always been to go to the fridge and get something out to eat.
If that was one of the things that you do when you walk into the kitchen, every time you touch the fridge handle you check in with yourself and say, “okay, am I aware of the thoughts in my head right now?”
It’s not about trying to remember what you wrote in your journal this morning, it’s asking yourself the question, “do I know what my head is saying to me right now or am I just doing this out of total and utter automatic response?”
Then you can answer the question.
It gives you some time to move in to the present moment and actually think, “okay, what do I want to happen next?”
Does that make sense?
Kim: [00:22:35] Yeah, that definitely makes sense. And so good times throughout the day to do touch points — if somebody is typically an overeater or a big snacker, it sounds like the refrigerator one would be a good one. Are there other ways to set up your touch points?
Sarah: [00:22:51] Yeah. So, you could do: every time you touch a door handle, you check in with yourself and say, “okay, am I in the present moment right now or is my head somewhere completely somewhere else?”
Or every time you have a glass of water or every time you go up a flight of stairs, it can be anything that you’re doing at regular points during the day. That’s an ideal opportunity to just kind of check in with yourself.
Kim: [00:23:17] Every time I go to hit the icon to start Instagram.
Sarah: [00:23:22] Absolutely. Yes.
Kim: [00:23:25] Or whatever your thing is.
Sarah: [00:23:27] Well, that’s actually really important because you need to be conscious when you’re going on social media because when you get into a scrolling session on Instagram, if you’re doing it mindlessly, you are consuming so much stuff that if it is not the correct kind of content and it is not making you feel good, you are just going to scramble your mind up even more.
And you probably end up coming off that little scrolling session not feeling great about yourself. So that’s a genius touch point, actually,
Kim: [00:24:05] I like that a lot. So best practices for journaling. It sounds like you’re saying that first thing in the morning is pretty key.
Sarah: [00:24:12] Yeah. So, first thing in the morning would be absolutely key. Just in with a morning routine and just really framing it as, “okay, this is my opportunity to spend a couple of minutes getting myself sorted for the day before I start diving into consuming emails and text messages and all of the things.”
Because if you don’t have those few minutes, you basically wake up from a nice, restful sleep and go straight into consuming things for the day. And the chances of you actually getting back and being able to be really focused and intentional about what you’re doing for yourself that day is very, very unlikely.
So, yeah, first thing in the morning. And then once you have gotten that nailed down, you can in the evenings, maybe just, have a few minutes just reflecting on, “okay, what works well for me today? What didn’t work well? What did I learn?” And just kind of pick up on the good things that you did that day and if there’s anything that you want to improve on for the next day.
Kim: [00:25:23] Okay. Great. And it sounds like you’re also saying keep it very short when we’re first starting?
Sarah: [00:25:29] Yeah. 100%.
And actually, recently I’ve been kind of looking at it less like “journaling,” because I almost feel like for some people, journaling just doesn’t connect with them. They don’t feel that it makes sense or that there’s any point to it.
So, my journal itself is a mind file of facts, basically. So, I have it all sectioned off for all of the tools that I’ve kind of used over the past year and a half to really help me move through stuff. But I frame it to a lot of my clients now that “it’s mind management.” And that seems to connect with people a lot more than “journaling” because everyone’s a bit like, “ehhh.”
And the other thing to do is also– I actually just recorded a podcast on this myself, which is: when you find yourself slipping into negative mindset, just hit up your  journal and do the appreciation game, which is basically saying something that you appreciate about your life and something that you appreciate about yourself.
Just to kind of help you shift from the negative thoughts into– I’m not even going to say positive, because when you’re in a negative mindset, shifting to positive is not always going to be an option, but it will just change your energy and help you to move out of the negativity faster than if you hadn’t.
There’s so much stuff that you can do with journaling and the
re is no right and wrong. It’s about finding what works for you.
I would love, Kim, maybe we can discuss this off air, but I have kind of, I’m  doing a journal cue pack, so it’ll be all different kind of journals.
So, you know, I’m more than happy to share that with any of your listeners or anything.
Kim: [00:27:45] Is that something you’ve already created?
Sarah: [00:27:46] I’ve nearly finished it now.
It’s going to be journal cues for different situations. So, journal cues for when you feel like bingeing or journal cues for helping you to identify how and when you self-sabotage.
So, it’s basically just to help really raise people’s awareness and to help you understand that journaling is so much more than just sitting down and writing your thoughts or dreams and stuff. There’s a lot more layers to it and if it’s used in the right kind of way, it’s actually so, so powerful.
Kim: [00:28:36] Well, that sounds like an amazing tool, Sarah.
So, definitely when you have that ready, let me know and I can put that up, on my page so people know. Because frankly I would find that very– that sounds extremely useful.
I’ve definitely been a person– and we’ve talked about this over the time we’ve known each other. I feel very resistant to it and I’ll start trying it, and I don’t know, I have stupid reasons like, “I don’t like to write, I like to talk,” but that’s not really so useful because I’m not going to tape record myself and then listen to myself talk, right? So that the writing part needs to be there.
So, I have lots of stupid reasons for feeling resistant to it.
Sarah: [00:29:12] We need to get you to journal into why you’re so resistant. And actually, just on that point, the other thing to remember is that nobody is going to read your journal.
That’s the other thing that people get scared about. Honest to God, if anyone read my journal. I think I would be arrested and possibly committed into kind of asylum on Sundays. But it’s just really important to remember that you’re not writing this to put it out on Instagram, you’re writing it to help you just make sense of what is going on in your head. And the power of writing, when it comes to helping to access your subconscious mind and rewire your brain — there is evidence that writing is the best way to do that because the connection between your eye and as you write enters into the subconscious mind.
So, there is also science behind it to say it is something that more people would really benefit from doing.
Kim: [00:30:21] Wow. And that’s actually incredible. That feels very intuitively right, that there would be science about that. Because you think like, I know for me in college and things like that, when I studied, one of the best study tools for me was writing things down, like, copying important facts over because it cemented it in my brain, right? Not just like talking it out, but actually writing it down.
So, it makes sense, like if we’re journaling about things, that those things are going to stick with us.
Sarah: [00:30:46] Do you think maybe you’ve got resistance to journaling because of college and the fact that you had to do so much writing and now you’re adult and you don’t feel like you should have to do this kind of thing?
Kim: [00:31:00] You know, I don’t know that that’s it.
I will tell you, just as we’ve been having this conversation, one of the things that has come to my mind like four or five times, and I’m like, “I bet this is a piece of it,” when I was younger, I used to write in journals like, as a girl, as a kid, right?
And I have them still, and when I open them up, I’m horrified to read them. I’m like, “wow, I was so silly.” So, I think I judge myself a lot on those things that I wrote and so maybe I’m just worried about what are write now, like, how judgmental will I or somebody else– I don’t even know if I’m worried about other people.
Maybe I am, but I’ll open these and it’s one of those things, like, I open it up and I start to read, I’m like, “Oh my gosh,” slam it shut.
Like, “wow, I was silly when I was 12 or 14 or whatever.”
Sarah: [00:31:42] I mean, 100%, you may be carrying some kind of embarrassment and shame around in your subconscious mind, which is just building up this ridiculous barrier to you actually using it right now.
Oh my God, yeah. We need to get to the bottom of this.
Kim: [00:32:05] We’ll have to work on that. We will work on that.
The other thing that’s on my mind right now, Sarah, thinking about all of this, is it seems like some of the things you’re talking about could be particularly useful at this time in our period of history where we’re all in this crazy isolation period and there’s a lot of anxiety and fear going on.
Do you think that journaling for people could be particularly useful now?
Sarah: [00:32:26] Oh my God, yes.
So actually, I have some specific cues I wrote exactly for coronavirus– not for coronavirus, but for the people dealing with.
For uncertain times, the journal cues are– so I can give you those to put in the show notes if you want.
Kim: [00:32:46] Yeah!
Why don’t you tell us a couple here and then, for sure, let’s put them in the show notes.
Sarah: [00:32:50] Let me just set them up on here so I can read them.
Kim: [00:32:55] While Sarah is looking for that, I can tell you about my journal I found when I was a little kid. No, I’m not telling you what’s in there.
The funny thing is, I can’t even remember what it was that I read, but it wasn’t that long ago. I remember unpacking them from some box and I was just horrified. But it was a pretty little journal. It was navy blue with flowers all over it.
I also I feel like maybe part of me feels like journal, like diary, feels like silly thoughts I used to do when I was little. Right? But journaling is different than keeping a diary, right?
Sarah: [00:33:28] Yeah, yeah. The two are not to be confused. Because with a diary you’re writing almost to the diary, if that makes sense. It’s like a, “dear diary…”
Kim: [00:33:41] Yeah, and that’s what I used to do.
Sarah: [00:33:42] Yeah, so that’s more writing about events that happen, whereas mind management, mind-follow-facts, journaling, or however you want to frame it, is more about your feelings and your emotions and asking yourself, “how do I feel and why? Why do I feel this? Why is this coming up for me?”
And honestly, you will be surprised how once you start, once you’ve started to complete one sentence, you will be really surprised how the mind suddenly goes, “oh, hello.” Which is why I prefer really getting people to do more free writing around it. So, giving people sentences to finish or questions to answer rather than just getting somebody to write a one-word answer, ’cause that doesn’t open up anything and we really need to get the mind flowing to see where it goes and what else comes up.
Okay. So, the journal cues.
The first thing that you could write would be to get clear for yourself on what you can control for today. So, “today I can control…” Then write down all of the things that you can control.
Then you move to, “today I will be the woman who…” and that is you setting the intention and using the things that you have identified that you can control as the things that you are going to set up for yourself to do that day.
And then very simply, “I am grateful for…” and then write a few things that you are grateful for.
But there is a caveat to that: you can write whatever it is that you are grateful for, but I really, really, really encourage you to not just write the same things every day.
So, you can write one or two of the same things, but you really need to dig into your life and your mind and identify more things that you’re grateful for. Because gratitude almost becomes–, not pointless, I don’t wa
nt to say, but people just tend to write the same things over and over and over and I’m sorry, that is not all that you have got to be grateful for.
We have all got so much to be grateful for that we all need to be looking a little bit deeper into our lives and just going, “okay, this is, yeah, I can see all of this.” So that’s the caveat.
Kim: [00:36:24] I like that a lot because I will say, I do do gratitude journaling.
Sarah: [00:36:29] Amazing!
Kim: [00:36:29] I did it the past seven days and I’m going to keep it up, of writing three things that I was grateful for. And I do give myself that same little caveat, that little rule, like, you can’t write the same thing every day. ‘Cause what am I gonna write every day? “I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my clients. I have a job I love.”
Yeah, I can write that every day.
Sarah: [00:36:48] Yeah. And then that’s not in your mind anywhere new.
And then the other thing that I’ve got on here is something called “release writing.”
So, this is for in times, maybe over the day, when you find yourself really getting up in your own head. So, procrastinating really badly about things, or you know, you can feel a thought starting to gain momentum in your head and you’re just so stressed and anxious.
Just grab a piece of paper and just write down all of the feedings. A bit like I was mentioning earlier in the morning, you know, “I feel stressed because,” “I feel anxious because,” and just word vomit out everything that’s coming to mind. And just keep doing that until you feel a shift in energy.
And what I mean by that is: you will go into it feeling like, “ahhh!!” Like you want to explode. And the more that you write, you should start to notice that things just start to calm down because you’re getting the stuff out of your head and it’s not just sitting in there.
So, you will feel lighter and you should feel clearer in your mind when you finish doing it.
Kim: [00:38:03] Yeah, I can totally see that. And that’s something I have clients do, that specifically, when they’re struggling with the same problems over and over, like, “I always eat when I’m mad at my kids,” like, all of these things. And one of the things I have them do is write down, you know, in that moment because, like, we keep doing the same dumb stuff over and over and they’re like, “okay. I know it does not help when I start eating Doritos when I’m mad at my kid. ‘Cause then I’m still mad at my kid and now I’m mad I ate 400 calories in Doritos and I wasn’t even hungry and I don’t even really like Doritos.”
Sarah: [00:38:39] That’s the real kicker. “I don’t even like Doritos!”
Kim: [00:38:43] That’s really helpful, Sarah.
Well, thank you so much for coming on today and sharing this with us. I have to tell you, I am really a fan of the idea of calling this all “mind management practices.” That feels really good to me.
That feels like, “Ooh, I want to do that.”
Sarah: [00:38:58] Yeah. I think for me, I think it takes a sidestep from the diary thing, which I think is one of the things that a lot of people struggle with.
So, I think if people can just reframe it into, “okay, this is my opportunity to actually get to know myself better and understand my thoughts and to stop keeping secrets from myself.”
Because it’s important to know that we are not our thoughts. So, whatever you have going on in your mind that is not who you are.
I think people get very scared that if they write down something that they see as negative, that actually they’re judging their self for, that that suddenly is who they are and actually it’s not.
Kim: [00:39:44] Wow. Yeah. I like that.
Sarah: [00:39:46] We could go on a whole different tangent with that.
Kim: [00:39:51] Absolutely.
Okay. So, I’ll get those prompts from you and I’ll put those in the show notes.
Couple more questions: tell everybody where they can find you. Where’s the best place if they’re looking for you?
Sarah: [00:40:03] So you can find me over on Instagram @thrivewithduff or visit me on my website at Those are my two main platforms.
Kim: [00:40:18] And what’s your new podcast called?
Sarah: [00:40:20] Real You with Sarah.
Kim: [00:40:23] And that’s on all the typical–
Sarah: [00:40:25] And that’s on all the typical platforms.
Are we singing?
Kim: [00:40:31] That’s my last question! My last question is will you sing for us?
You can sing it anything you want.
I will join in. What are we singing?
Sarah: [00:40:44] Oh my God. Ummm.
Kim: [00:40:46] I’m gonna make all my guest starts singing with me.
No one’s going to agree to come on anymore.
Sarah: [00:40:53] Okay, let’s go,
I wanna dance with somebody. I wanna feel the heat with somebody. Yeah, I want to dance with somebody. With somebody who loves me.
Which, at the moment, is either going to be a plum or a blow-up doll.
Kim: [00:41:11] Or you’re just going to pick Alexa up and start dancing with her.
Sarah: [00:41:17] Yes.
Kim: [00:41:17] Have you asked Alexa if she wants to dance with you yet?
Sarah: [00:41:20] No, but this morning I asked her would she marry me, and she was like, “no, we are just in different places right now. You are on Earth and I am on the cloud.”
Kim: [00:41:33] Well that was a nice let down. Easy on you there.
Sarah: [00:41:40] So I kind of thought so, I was like, “okay, you know, rejection is one of my childhood issues…”
Kim: [00:41:44] And now, gosh, I get rejected by Alexa. That is not nice.
Well thanks so much for being here, Sarah. This was really informative and it was fun and I think people who are journal resistant, like I had been, are going to see it in a different light here.
Sarah: [00:42:04] Yeah, I hope so.
And if anyone has any other questions or wants anymore pointers or advice on how to start, just reach out to me on Instagram and I will more than happily help.
Kim: [00:42:16] Yeah, and when you have that product you were talking about with the prompts and stuff ready to go, let me know and I’ll post it, for sure, over on my page. It sounds like good stuff.
All right, my dear. We’ll talk soon.
Sarah: [00:42:29] Thank you. Bye.
Kim: [00:42:36] Thanks so much for being here and listening in to the Fitness Simplified podcast today. I hope you found it educational, motivational, inspirational, all the kinds of -ational.
If you enjoyed it, if you found value in it, it would mean so much to me if you would go ahead and leave a rating and review on whatever platform you are listening to this on. It really does help to get this podcast to other people.
Thanks so much.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hi,
    I was wondering where you keep your show notes? I wanted to print out the journaling prompts from Sarah Duff.
    Thank you Kate

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