We live in world where we are sold on quick fixes – 5 days to the best you, 12 weeks to your great new body, come along to this workshop and you will be healed of all that needs to be healed, and so on. I do apologies if I burst’s your bubble, BUT the unfortunate truth is, there are no quick fixes (sometimes it would be nice to have a magic wand though).
Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed that my own mood had felt flat. Knowing full well that depression and anxiety are elements of mental health that run through my family, I knew that this would require some work, in order to get back ‘on track’. I could recognise the signs and symptoms, similar to what I had experienced in my teenage years, where depression and anxiety were at there worst for me. Like all change, I know that it takes time. As frustrating and annoying as it is, it is an important part of what life has to teach me.
Over the years I have worked hard to understand the ‘why". To change attitudes, beliefs and negative self talk, through practices such as yoga, mindfulness and mediation, as well as exploring other avenues to shift and change mood. The majority of the time I find that my ‘box of tools and tactics,’ holds the answers for me, but sometimes it doesn’t. It can really get you down when this happens as it is easy for the mind to get caught up in the… ‘gee’s haven’t you solved the answers to this one yet?’ or ‘you totally suck, what are you doing with your life’ or ‘how are you going to help others if you can’t help yourself’… blah blah blah blah blah…
It is really horrible to feel stuck, and sometimes it can feel like we are spiralling out of control. That despite our best efforts, we will be stuck, and not moving anywhere. Although it can feel like this, it is simply not true. The fact is, we ALL have stuff that we are trying to work through, trying to understand and trying to figure out how to best support ourselves. What works one time, doesn’t necessarily work the next, so it is important to build our resources when we are in a better headspace, so that we have tools that are easily accessed for when we need them.
4 tools to add to your collection…
It’s OKAY to be Vulnerable
It doesn’t matter who you are, we all feel vulnerable at certain times in our lives. Sometimes the fears of allowing the best versions of ourselves to come out, or allowing ourselves to be who we really want, get in the way. This can feel crushing, suffocating and make us feel like we are going to be stuck in that place forever. One of my favourite authors on feelings of Vulnerability is Brene Browne. She speaks about the gifts of our imperfections, vulnerability and showing up, in order to speak out about what is going on in our lives. This is not seen as a sign of weakness but in fact, a sign of absolute courage and strength. In allowing ourselves to show up out truth, we open up opportunities to share in similar, openhearted experiences with others. Therefore creating better relationships and connections with our true self.
A great link, which I have shared before, is a TED talk from Brene Brown. Never gets old J
Meditation and Journaling
Often I mention the word meditation and people freak out. They tell me that they can’t meditate because they can’t ‘empty their mind’ that things ‘start to get crazy and noisy and they can’t concentrate’. My response is, that this is actually a pretty normal thing to happen. Think about it, in our daily lives we are so busy, distracting ourselves from what we actually need to pay attention to, or running away from uncomfortable feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and other strong emotions.
Just sitting in stillness and concentrating on one thing, for example breathing, taking breaths in for a count of 4, and out for a count of 4 can allow space for an even breath and for the unconscious to come forward. Try to be the observer of your thoughts and not to ‘buy in’ to the stories the thoughts tell you. After sitting, for even a few minutes put pen to paper and see what unfolds. This can be a useful tool and sometimes we write down things that surprise us, that serve as an ‘ah ha!’ moment or perhaps it’s a good way to track challenging emotion, to see that emotions come and go with time.
Nurture and be KIND
While I was feeling down the perfectionist in me just thrived on being unkind, on beating myself up about not being good enough and by comparing myself to others. It was in its element, but I was not. So, my response to this was to literally yell at myself (with kindness of course), to let this side of myself know that he game was up, to “SHUT UP and STOP TALKING SUCH NONSENCE!!” to take a few deep breaths and ask my logical side what it is that it really needs right now.
Most often than not it’s about being kind towards myself, showing some love and compassion, taking some time out to look at the reality of what is going on. It is helpful to look to the past in order to reflect on, and remind us of all of the positive things that have happened. To have this logical side remind us of how far we have come, and how much has in-fact has changed. After all there are no quick fixes and it does take time to change any pattern or behaviour. It’s like learning a new skill. We need to practice.
Connect with the Physical Self
Often when we try to work through our emotions we get caught up in the mind, the thinking and problem solving of helping things to shift. We often lose site of the importance of the physical self. Things that can help to shift, tap in to and support our physical self include; Bodywork (massage, acupuncture etc), yoga and other forms of exercise. Things that help you to move and shift, without completing draining the body. It is important to listen to what the body needs. There may be a part that is tempted to take control here, especially around engaging in vigorous activities that tries to force you to do something out of a place of guilt or getting stuck in the comparison trap. It is therefore important to true listen and honour what the body is needing. Tap in to your intuition and trust your body.
Learning about yourself and what makes you tick or fulfils you can be an amazing experience, it can also be a challenging one. A great quote that I would like to leave you with is from Brene Brown’s book ‘Rising Strong’ it reads “Curiousity is a shit-starter. But that’s okay. Sometimes we have to Rumble with a story to find the truth”.
If you experience long lasting or even mild anxiety or depression I would strongly encourage you to reach out for help and support. You can contact me here at firstname.lastname@example.org call Lifeline 13 11 14 if in need of urgent assistance and follow up with your health care practitioner.
Thanks for reading :)