The more time you spend in your discomfort zone, the more your comfort zone will expand. – Robin Sharma

Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

The Monkey Trap

Are you familiar with the monkey trap?

I use to read stories and parables to my kids when they were actually well, kids; they are adults now but they still carry the moral of so many of the stories with them.

Because of its powerful lesson, one of the parables I recall vividly is The Monkey Trap. Although there are various adaptations to this story, the gist of it goes like this.

In some countries, such as South America, Africa, and Asia, the natives devised a very simple way to catch monkeys.

A Coconut Trap

They would take a coconut, chain it to a stake, and drill a hole just large enough for a monkey’s hand to easily pass through. Inside of the coconut was a strategically placed treat. The monkey without any hesitation would slip its hand into the coconut to grab the treat. Once in its grasp, he puts a vice-grip hold on it with a clenched fist.

All the monkey has to do is let go of the treat and he would be free; however, he doesn’t. His clenched fist can’t breakthrough. The monkey is trapped and forfeits his freedom in exchange for a morsel of food.

What morsel are you holding on to?

Sadly, many of us, like the monkey, hold on to something that is not in our best interest and remain trapped by our own choice. We give up so much in exchange for so little.

During this time of uncertainty that we are living in, it’s critical to expose beliefs that hold you back from moving forward into the unknown future; the reality of 2020 and beyond.

In this blog post, I am going to show you the importance of recognizing detrimental mindset traps that you might be holding onto. If you continue to do so, these traps will keep you captive: prohibiting you from expanding your comfort zone and finding freedom.

Although many mindset traps could ensnare you, because of the uncertain climate that we are experiencing in 2020, we will be focusing on two prevalent ones today:

  • Overthinking
  • Having a Fixed Mindset


Typically, overthinking focuses on events that have happened in the past or it projects ominous things yet to come; future events. Basically, it’s worry and rumination which is detrimental to having a rational, sound mind.

When you overthink, your brain has the potential to invent the unimaginable. Overthinking oftentimes causes you to conjure up catastrophic scenarios in your minds that simply don’t exist; sadly, your mind believes them to be true.

When you habitually overthink, you take thoughts to the worst-case scenario with no rationale behind them.

What is this costing you? A lot.

The compounded stress from chronic worrying can be debilitating mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Research shows that overthinking is not just a bad habit that affects your thoughts and decisions; it can negatively impact your health and well-being.

Chronic Worry

Chronic worrying activates your stress response and releases surges of adrenaline. If this triggered state continues, it could potentially set off a host of health problems. Chronic stress is linked to many major illnesses: heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, insomnia, and concentration impairment; just to name a few.

If that’s not bad enough, chronic worrying is also a risk factor for major depression.

Take Control

This year has been tough on so many with anxiety at an all-time high that’s why it’s time to take control of what you can control; your mindset.

The Lens of Mindfulness

We will be looking at calming down the mind from habitual overthinking through the lens of mindfulness.

Cultivate Attention

Practicing mindfulness is like holding a flashlight on your thoughts; regulating your attention. This is where taming your thoughts start; with attention. Begin paying attention to what is occurring in the moment. Your body gives you signals when things aren’t right. If you are experiencing stressful thoughts, wake up and take a mental inventory of what you are feeling in your body; neck pain, stomach sensations, a racy heartrate.

Once you are aware of your body’s sensations, press the pause button and stop to focus on a fixed point, an anchor; maybe it’s your breath, a color in the room, a smell, or a sound. Focusing on something neutral gives you the ability to notice and detach your emotions from your thoughts.

You become the observer; not the emotion. You may be experiencing anger, but you are not anger.

Increase Awareness

To calm your thoughts, you must slow down enough to look at situations from as many angles as you can without judgment. Sound judgment is thinking things through and weighing information; not jumping to conclusions. Having sound judgment is a valuable trait that grows wisdom and allows you to weigh multiple sides before making decisions.

Being critical of yourself, others, and situations puts you in a judger mindset. Having a judger mindset does not allow you to evaluate situations with an unbiased lens. A judger mindset always tries to find fault and blame instead of looking for solutions and seeking new opportunities; it distorts clarity and keeps you in the endless overthinking loop.

The Present Moment

Once you’ve calmed your mind and body down, check the story you are telling yourself to see if there is truth in it.  Not all thoughts are factual. This alone helps you distinguish between truth and being caught in the endless loop of mindlessness; disconnecting your mind from the present moment.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the problem RIGHT NOW?
  • What do I have control over RIGHT NOW?
  • What is one thing I can do, RIGHT NOW?

This process allows you to choose a mindful behavior instead of an automatic default.

You are intentionally focusing on finding an answer; a solution for the here and now which replaces overthinking.

Mindset: Fixed or Growth

Your mindset is a powerful gift. It is the viewpoint or perspective you possess; its’ how you see the world.  Stanford Professor, Carol Dweck, identifies two different types of mindsets: fixed and growth.

Do you know what type of mindset you have?

Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset describes people who see their qualities as fixed traits that cannot change.  People with a fixed mindset are more prone to become discouraged when facing obstacles; they give up more easily and tend to be defensive.

Phrases that identify a fixed mindset:

  • I’ve always done it this way.
  • It is what it is.
  • This is who I have always been; this is who I am.

As you can see, people with fixed mindsets place limits on what they can achieve and settle for mediocrity; never attaining the success or fulfillment they truly desire. Basically, people with a fixed mindset don’t exert the effort to change so they stay stuck.

How does that compare to people with growth mindsets?

Growth Mindset

On the flip side of the coin, people with a growth mindset are more resilient. They view obstacles as opportunities and believe that they can achieve what they work for. They know that they have control over their choices and outcomes. In other words, people with growth mindsets remove all limits to what affects their success, happiness, and meaning; consequently, they experience more achievement and fulfillment in their lives.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Research has shown that it is possible to change people’s mindsets.

To start developing a growth mindset, the first thing I would strongly encourage you to do is to be curious.


Curiosity is defined as a hunger to learn. Children are curious by nature. They explore, they question, they wonder, and are constantly drawn to new things.  While they are exploring, they are discovering. Unfortunately, as we grow up, curiosity fades and we become adults who have stopped discovering hence our curiosity is stifled.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds, Neuro-Behavior Expert, believes that curiosity is the most underrated emotion that has the power to drive success. She coaches her clients to cultivate the joy of curiosity at work to increase learning, productivity, creativity, and engagement.

Ask Yourself Curious Questions:

  • What else is possible here?
  • How might I be able to find a solution to this?
  • What resources are available to me?

Growth is a universal law; look at nature; where it is most clearly illustrated. For every seed planted, there’s going to be a harvest. It’s important to be in charge of what seeds you are planting in your mind; it’s a choice.

Final Thoughts

We will all experience hardships and stress in life; that is a universal principle. However, your mindset determines HOW you will overcome those challenges.

Hopefully, you’ve identified some morsels you might be holding onto and have tips and tools to lift your hand out of the coconut and expand your thinking to thrive in the reality of 2020.

Make it a strong day!


Crisis Kit

I have created this anti-anxiety and anti-stress tool kit, proven by science, to help you reduce anxiety and stress. I guarantee you that if you implement some of these ideas and use these tools; you will navigate this uncertainty boat like a highly skilled Captain.

Rita Hudgens
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