3 Mindset Shifts for Less Stress and More Success

Life is busy. I’m sure you are on the go from the time you wake up until you fall into bed at night.  Even though you’re strong and hardworking, stress makes it feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. There’s always something popping up, getting in the way of things happening as planned, and stealing your joy. Stress can make you feel stagnant as you wade through the obstacles ingrained in the monotony of daily life. Sometimes it feels like you can’t win no matter what you do. Do you feel me?  

woman chews on pencil while looking at computerAfter I had my daughter in 2014, postpartum anxiety started to get the best of me.  Or perhaps it was just my normal anxiety amplified by adding ‘Mother’ to my resume. Looking back, I’ve been an anxious soul since I was a kid. Either way, the panic attacks were new and I wasn’t enjoying them. Not one bit.

For a while, things got worse before things got better. I reluctantly took Lexapro to help me with my anxiety and depression. It helped a bit, but slowly I developed a bit of a tolerance to it, and then it stopped working altogether. I wasn’t over the moon about the side effects either. I was already anxious and depressed, and with the meds, it seems I also had to say goodbye to my sex drive

My mental health was suffering and it was taking a toll on my ability to manage it all; my marriage, my career, and other relationships were all feeling the pain.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and over the last six years, I have learned a lot about myself by prioritizing my mental health. Personal development has always been my jam, but I had to finally get serious about incorporating new tools and strategies into my lifestyle, so I could become more resilient in the face of life’s ups and downs. 

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.  There are all types of anxiety related disorders, but the most common is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, otherwise known as GAD.  GAD is when someone has three or more symptoms of anxiety, and finds controlling worry difficult on most days for a period of 6 months or longer. 

One of the tools that has helped me accept and even befriend my anxiety has been reframing my thoughts.  Anxiety can make it difficult to decipher what is a real danger, and what is only a perceived threat. Through using this tool, I’ve learned to overcome my negative thought patterns and retrain my brain to shift into a better, more productive, and supportive mentality. 

I started to see that in almost every stressful situation, there was something I could shift my perspective on to feel less stressed and more focused. This has been a game-changer for me, my relationships, and my professional performance. 

Here are my top three mindset shifts for less stress and more success, for any area of life. 

Embrace The Unknown

Anxiety really hates change because it feels unsafe and even dangerous. Your nervous system perceives a threat when change is on the horizon or happens suddenly, and boom!  All of your bodily alarms start ringing.  Sweaty palms, shortness of breath, a sense of panic or doom, and an inability to focus are just a few of the symptoms you might experience.  

Being a type-A planner and recovering perfectionist, I never thought about my relationship with change until anxiety took over. I had to learn to detach from things always going as planned and learn to embrace whatever the day had in store.  For a while, I used the mantra, “Every day is an adventure!” to self-soothe when I started to feel nervous about something going wrong, or things getting out of control. 

I also found that shifting my mindset around change or the unknown, was connected to my fear of failure. No one likes to make mistakes, but I was absolutely terrified of doing something wrong, messing something up, and the backlash I would receive.  Over time, I’ve learned to see mistakes simply as learning moments where I can take whatever information or data I’ve collected, and utilize it for the future.  

Dissolve Guilt

It took a lot of self-discovery to realize just how much unnecessary guilt I was carrying. I think we can agree that guilt is not a positive emotion. It makes us feel like we’ve done something wrong.  When it came to my mindset, I was subconsciously labeling things as “bad” or “wrong”, even when they weren’t. 

A lot of women struggle with mom guilt because they feel that when they do something nice for themselves they are taking away from the people they love, their job, or some other priority. We’ve been conditioned to think that we should always be doing for other people and that putting ourselves first means that we are selfish.  

Your needs and desires matter. You have to shift your mindset and start believing that the work you do on yourself and for yourself is essential, it’s necessary, it’s worth it, and you just can’t skip it.  You prioritizing your wellbeing is what allows you to become and be the best woman, mother, sister, friend, colleague, partner, and, or leader.

Drop the Struggle

I hear people say all the time, “life is hard”.  And while yes, life certainly has many challenges I don’t believe {anymore} that life is meant to be inherently difficult. Personally, I think many people are unknowingly committed to the struggle of life.

It’s a very pessimistic perspective to go into every situation believing it will be hard, stressful, or a struggle.  How demotivating and discouraging! Of course, one has to be realistic, but learning to shift out of the struggle and develop a solution-driven mindset has helped me feel more confident, positive, and happier all around.


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Kimberly Smith
Kimberly Smith is a Mindset & Resilience Coach and the founder of Encompass Life Coaching. She is a native New Yorker, proud Houstonian, truth seeker, mental health and DEIJ advocate, mother, yogi, and dachshund lover. Kimberly was born in Phoenix, Arizona, raised in upstate New York, lived in Florida where her daughter Amelia {June 2014} was born, and now proudly calls Houston her home. She is degreed in Sociology and Psychology, is an internationally certified life and career coach, and previously spent over a decade in corporate talent acquisition and staffing helping professionals level up and pivot their careers. Now as an entrepreneur, through coaching services, speaking, and writing, Kimberly helps ambitious women, mothers, and entrepreneurs stop stressing and focus, so they can flourish within their careers, families, businesses, and relationships. Kimberly’s clients move through self-doubt, build a positive and resilient mindset while increasing energy and confidence, and crushing their personal and professional goals. Kimberly is a servant leader passionate about dissolving the stigma around mental health, advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and is dedicated to empowering others to live more authentic lives full of passion, purpose, courage, freedom and adventure. In her free time, Kimberly can be found sweating it out in a hot yoga class, running the White Oak Bayou trail, enjoying live music, exploring Houston markets, museums, and restaurants, or snuggling up on the couch to watch documentaries with her two dachshunds Winnie & Doyal. You can connect with Kimberly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or grab Kimberly’s free Mindset & Affirmations bundle at encompasscoachingservices.com.


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