Trigger alert: I understand in times of distress articles like this can be a trigger so please be aware that I wrote this while my anxious mind was quiet, which allowed me to see things clearly – a brief window of opportunity! It should in no way make anyone feel overwhelmed. Achieving a healthier mind is a long process – allow yourself the time. Just know that I get it, I’ve been there, and it can be different 🙂
Earlier on I wrote a post about the anxious and depressed feelings that had taken control of me. I have so much to say on this topic (I got to 1500 words and decided not even I wanted to read all that!) so I have had to simplify each section. I will no doubt go into more detail in later posts, but please feel free to email me if you would like to ask me anything privately at email@example.com.
I used to blame how I felt on other people, on my job, or because I didn’t have enough of something (mainly money!). My emotions distorted my reality. Then one day about 5 years ago I woke up and was sick of feeling like a victim of my emotions. I realised that:
- I have the control over everything I allow in and out of my life, that includes thoughts that I can either accept as fact or fiction,
- While I cannot control things that happen to me or how people treat me, I can control how I feel about them and how I react.
As soon as I recognised this, I saw my life start to change. I now have a far superior control over my emotions compared to when I was younger, but that’s not to say I don’t still suffer.
Becoming the master of your own mind requires commitment. It is a skill that needs honing often and continuously throughout your life. Think of it like your own internal instrument. If you stop practicing, you’ll stop knowing how to play well enough to perform in public.
So where did I start?
Ask For Help
To regain control of your own mind you first need to understand it. And to do that may require outside help. I would be doing you all a disservice if I pretended to have managed all by myself. The journey to self-discovery included counselling. A lot of it. Asking for professional help is one of the biggest steps you can take to changing your life, because simply recognising that thoughts are destructive and controlling you, isn’t enough. Sometimes to move on we need to understand WHY we feel a certain way in the first place, to effectively deal with it.
So many people do not feel able to go to a counsellor or therapist. They don’t feel like their problems are big enough to seek professional advice. I felt the same way but having someone I didn’t know listen to my issues objectively was a huge weight off my shoulders. Every week I felt like I could unburden myself guilt-free on to my counsellor, instead of offloading on to my friends with my frantic thoughts.
If the feeling is big enough to cause you continual and frequent distress, it is big enough to seek expert guidance on.
Appreciate What You Have.
No one reading this does not having something to be grateful for. Recognising what those things are is crucial for peace of mind.
The sad truth is, there will always be something you don’t have, and unless you change your perception of your life as it is now, realising all the good instead of seeing what’s missing, then you won’t fully enjoy the here and now. Ever look back at your life thinking how good it was when you were younger? Were you happy then or did you waste time wishing you had more, things you may actually have now? Do you want to look back in another 10 years and wish you had realised how lucky you were before the moment passed you by?
While it is natural to look at people’s lives and admire them, maybe even wish that you had some of the things they have, it is unhealthy to become fixated and assume that all your problems would go away ‘if only’ you had them too. There will always be someone richer, someone prettier, someone who’s life seems more perfect.
Accept That You Aren’t Perfect. And That’s Ok!
I am not happy, or even grateful, 100% of the time. I know that, and most importantly? I’m ok with that! When I was down last week, I didn’t let myself feel guilty. It would have just put another negative emotion on all the other ones I was feeling. And why should I? I’m not a robot and I’m not perfect. Being emotional and sensitive makes me a better daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend. Sadly you can’t be totally awesomely in touch with people’s feelings without being completely over-sensitive at times too!
Know that you are a good, self-aware person. You wouldn’t be here reading this, looking for ways to improve yourself and your life if you weren’t.
Remove Toxic Influences From Your Life
It is important to acknowledge that how you feel is no ones fault. But if someone or something consistently makes you feel bad about yourself, then only you have the power to remove it from your life. By keeping it in your life you are allowing the situation to continue in bringing you down.
Know that you deserve to be happy and that no form of punishment, even that of letting other people treat you badly, is necessary.
Understand That All You Need Is Within You
Everything you need to succeed is within you. It’s just about finding ways and tools of unlocking that power, be that through meditation, self-affirmations or other ways. (I will cover these in more detail another time).
The truth? I was crashing from one disaster to another; suicide attempt, self harm, depression and anxiety. It was when I learned that I can control my emotions and therefore my life, that things started to improve.
You might be reading this and thinking ‘well it’s easy for her because [insert reason]’ but all you’re doing is creating excuses, barriers and ultimately not taking responsibility. Because that’s easier right?