120: Unstuck and Empowered: My Favorite Questions to Navigate Stress

It’s certainly not uncommon to feel stuck and unsure of yourself. In fact, if you’re constantly questioning your thoughts, acts, and decisions—and don’t have the right answers—those feelings may only intensify. Thankfully, there is a solution: ask the right questions.

On today’s episode, I’m sharing my Power of Productive Questions. They’re questions intended to help you tap into your curiosity when you’re feeling stuck, stressed, and confused. By posing these questions to yourself, you’ll understand your thoughts and feelings better while also facilitating compassion and kindness.

Listen in to hear all the questions (including useful variations to kickstart your curiosity), ways to approach such questions to help any confusion lift and discouragement soften, and when it is recommended to ask yourself these high-yield questions.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Unstuck and Empowered: My Favorite Questions to Navigate Stress

It’s certainly not uncommon to feel stuck and unsure of yourself. In fact, if you’re constantly questioning your thoughts, acts, and decisions—and don’t have the right answers—those feelings may only intensify. Thankfully, there is a solution: ask the right questions.

Habits on Purpose with Kristi Angevine | Unstuck and Empowered: My Favorite Questions to Navigate Stress

On today’s episode, I’m sharing my Power of Productive Questions. They’re questions intended to help you tap into your curiosity when you’re feeling stuck, stressed, and confused. By posing these questions to yourself, you’ll understand your thoughts and feelings better while also facilitating compassion and kindness.

Listen in to hear all the questions (including useful variations to kickstart your curiosity), ways to approach such questions to help any confusion lift and discouragement soften, and when it is recommended to ask yourself these high-yield questions.

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What you'll learn from this episode:

  • A list of productive questions to help you tap into pragmatic curiosity.
  • Why incremental progress is key to feeling more positive about difficult situations.
  • How to find enjoyment out of performing essential tasks.
  • The trick to jumpstarting your curiosity in order to find clarity and end confusion.
  • Ways to answer these questions that help your confusion lift and discouragement soften.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Powerful Takeaways:

3:20 “Usually, when I’m going through something that’s very difficult I can’t instantly go from difficult to super easy, but I can take a step towards making something slightly easier.”

4:28 “If I knew my mental, emotional, financial, and physical well-being were guaranteed, what would I go for?”

5:11 “‘What have I done that has been very resourceful?’ I like this question because it helps me orient towards something that’s positive, but not overly positive.”

7:10 “If you ever need to jumpstart some curiosity, extricate yourself out of being stuck, find some clarity, end some confusion, come back to this episode.“

7:26 “Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to think on that question. Feel into the answer. Go for a walk, contemplate it, and watch as your confusion lifts, your discouragement softens, and your curiosity and clarity emerge.”

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Full Episode Transcript:



Welcome to Episode 120. This is Kristi Angevine, and I'm your host. My purpose on this podcast is to remind you how to get in touch with who you really are by helping you understand why you do the things you do, both the things that serve you and the things that don't. Today's podcast is another list podcast with all of my favorite questions. Let's dive in.

Welcome to Habits On Purpose, a podcast for high-achieving women who want to create lifelong habits that give more than they take. You'll get practical strategies for mindset shifts that will help you finally understand the root causes of why you think, feel, and act as you do. And now here's your host, Physician and Master Certified Life Coach Kristi Angevine.

Hello, hello, everybody. If you are new to the podcast, thanks for tuning in. If I just recently met you on my travels, and you've just learned about the podcast because we ran into each other at a conference recently, perhaps the WPW conference, I'm so delighted that you chose to tune in.

If you're completely new, I really recommend that you scroll back through some of the older episodes. The podcast has been around for a couple of years, and there are some really wonderful foundational episodes, particularly Episodes 1-10. In addition to these, I recommend you just scroll back through the different episodes and listen to the ones that call to you. Those are going to be the ones that you need to hear most.

Then, if you like what you hear, you're going to love being on my email list. On my email list, I send things that are not on the podcast. I give you practical tips for habit change, ideas that I'm thinking about, I share with you interesting things about the coaching that I'm doing, and I talk about some of the conferences I'm going to.

If you want a weekly dose of some really practical and inspirational content related to why you do what you do, go to HabitsOnPurpose.com and click on the box that says “Join the newsletter”.

Alright, so let's start with this episode. This episode is a list of my favorite questions. If you want to hear more about the power of productive questions, in contrast to asking dead-end questions, go back and listen to Episode 10. This episode is a list of very powerful questions.

These questions that I'm going to share with you today help me tap into curiosity when I feel super bogged down, when I'm feeling really stressed, really confused, and lots of indecision. They help me understand myself better. They help move me forward when I feel stuck. They facilitate compassion and kindness when I am fully blended with my inner critic.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the questions that save me. Here's the first one. If I trusted myself completely, what would be different? What can I do right now to make things 10% easier? Notice, with this question I'm not asking: What would make this easy? I'm giving myself a little titrated dose of: What can I actually do right now, to make what I'm going through a little bit easier?

Usually, when I'm going through something that’s very difficult I can't instantly go from difficult to super easy, but I can take a step towards making something slightly easier. And sometimes, the answer to this question is as simple as, “I'm going to get up and go for a walk. I'm going to play some music while I do this task.”

Alright, the next question: What are three things my body wants today? Now, with these questions you can insert whatever number you like. I just like three because it helps me move beyond the idea that there's one perfect answer to this question I'm asking myself. And three just is a number that works really well for my system.

So, what are three things my body wants today? Here's a cluster of three questions that go together, and you can insert whichever person works best for you at the moment. What would I tell my ride-or-die BFF? What would I tell my husband? What would I tell my kids? These questions work really well if I am telling myself things that feel really heavy, or if I'm not really sure what to do in a situation.

Next: If I knew my mental, emotional, financial, and physical wellbeing were guaranteed, what would I go for?

Next question, this comes straight from Byron Katie. She says, “Who would I be without this thought?” I like to sort of mix it up a little bit and say, “Who would I be without this belief?” Who would I be without this rule? What can I do to make it feel safe enough so that I can show up as authentically me? Where should I say no today? Where should I say yes today?

What are three things that illustrate my resourcefulness? Or sometimes I'll mix it up and say, “What have I done that has been very resourceful?” I like this question because it helps me orient towards something that's positive, but not overly positive.

Next question: What is the lesson here? Or, what can I learn from what's happening? What else could also be true here? How can I make this fun? How can I make this silly? How can I make this light? How can I make this funny?

You can also borrow the phrasing from the second question I posed, which is: How can I make this 10% more fun, 10% lighter? What do I need to think in order to show up how I want to show up? What am I putting up with? What am I tolerating? What is absolutely essential to accomplish today, and what can I let go of?

And then, once I know the answer to that question I like to ask: How can I make the essential tasks inevitable and enjoyable? What is this emotion trying to show me? What does this sensation want me to know?

This next question is inspired by Internal Family Systems. The question is: What am I worried would happen if I didn't…? What am I worried would happen if I didn't overthink? What am I concerned would happen if I didn't second guess, meet the deadline, go for a run, get to sleep, beat myself up? This helps me explore what the underlying concern is behind what I'm doing.

Next one: What's in the way of self-compassion and curiosity? What do I need most right now, at this moment?

The last question: What are three things I can do right now to start to figure this out?

Now, this episode is short and sweet, but it is dense and packed with really high-yield questions. So, if you ever need to jumpstart some curiosity, extricate yourself out of being stuck, find some clarity, end some confusion, come back to this episode. It's Episode 120.

Come back to this episode, and listen to these questions. And then, just pick one. Give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to think on that question. Feel into the answer. Go for a walk, contemplate it, and watch as your confusion lifts, your discouragement softens, and your curiosity and clarity emerge.

So, I'm curious, do you have any powerful questions that you love to ask yourself? If you do, just let me know. The way you can let me know is go to HabitsOnPurpose.com and join the email list. On any email you receive, just press “reply”, I read every single one of your emails.

Like what you're hearing on the podcast? Want help taking these concepts and ideas and applying them in the trenches of ordinary everyday life? That is what coaching helps you do.

In my coaching practice, I help high achievers change their habits from ones that take more than they give to ones that are much more nourishing. Turn your inner critic into your inner cheerleader and strategist. Convert your overthinking into a habit of swift, creative problem solving. Trade in the habit of perfectionism for a habit of resilience and resourcefulness. Learn the skill of emotional processing, asking productive questions, and compassionately witnessing your cognition through coaching.

My coaching comes in two flavors, private coaching, with just you and I. Or small group coaching in an intimate group just for women physicians. If you're interested in connecting for either, go to my website HabitsOnPurpose.com and join the email list.

The waitlist for the next round of Habits on Purpose for Physicians, the small group coaching program which starts in October of 2024, will go live soon. When you're on the email list, you'll be the first to hear about early enrollment, where you can place a deposit to hold your spot.

From the website, you can also see a link to learn more about private coaching. For private coaching, before we connect we meet by Zoom for a consultation call to see if we're a fit. The way you can do this is go to HabitsOnPurpose.com/private, and you can schedule a consult call and get more details. Take care my friends.

Thanks for listening to Habits On Purpose. If you want more information on Kristi Angevine or the resources from the podcast, visit HabitsOnPurpose.com. Tune in next week for another episode.

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