Sunday, March 8, 2015

On This Episode Of Stressbusters... My Journey with Anxiety and Dealing With Those Not So Fun Emotions...

Long blog post title right? I didn't quite know how to sum it up! Let me just say (...errr type), writing a blog post like this is not usually in my realm of comfort. Meaning, I'm welcoming you to my out of comfort zone. Yikes. Ready? But before we begin... If you're reading this with judgement, you can hit the back button. I ain't got time for that... I'm just telling my story, being honest and offering some help to those who need it. I am not a therapist or psychologist, but I'm familiar with the definitions of both anxiety and depression.

OK SO now that's out of the way. I noticed at 20 I was starting to really struggle with anxiety... and what I think was situational depression. My anxiety wasn't TERRIBLE, but any anxiety isn't really a cake walk. My truth here isn't one of victimhood, its about being a victor, not letting emotions be in the driver seat of your life.

I believe a few things attributed to these struggles:
  • Being 20 lb over my ideal weight. That may seem very trivial to a lot of you, but since I already struggled with body image, every pound counted to me. Im sure you CAN relate to that feeling. 
  • I was very unsure of my future, and felt compelled to figure it out. 
  • I constantly compared my life to others (the grass is greener on the other side syndrome)
  • Which led me to be unhappy with myself and my life
  • I wasn't in the right relationship 
  • and lastly, I had some inner feelings/thoughts that we're not benefitting me and incorrect views that I held onto. 
Even now, having this time to reflect in writing about my struggles continuously opens my eyes to how different my life is now. Although I still struggle with anxiety time to time, I now realize they are things I am 100% capable of changing, especially if that means I need to change (for the better though). 

I think for anyone embarking their twenties goes through a period of self exploration and finding out what they like, don't like,  questioning their capabilities and what they are willing to work for. 

I know that at times I've felt that tug of war between hustling for my future and then also enjoying the present. This, to me is called balance... and finding your own balance, personal boundaries, and sacrifices is an important endeavor! I'm working on it everyday, its more of a  "find it and maintain it through daily action and principles" method than "YAY I found it! Now I'm set" It's like fitness and health, if you want a great body and great health, you have to do it by consistent action. 

I think the last 4 or so years of being a Beachbody coach has taught me a lot more than just fitness and health, but how to dream bigger and break through my excuses. It's been truly invaluable and such a blessing. But it does NOT mean I'm perfect, it means I'm progressing! 

I still get a touch of anxiety here and there, but I'm focused on overcoming it. And to be honest, I think most of it is just too much pressure on myself, being too hard on myself, and lack of controlling where my focus goes. I started to compare again and take the eyes off my path and look at others, thinking I needed to be farther ahead. 

I have said this saying so many times... "comparison is the thief of joy" but it didn't really HIT me until last week. I know that we see things, but they don't really click at times until you are in the THICK of it, where you are being forced to use what you've learned and truly apply it to the hard times. I read a lot of self development and business related books for my passion and purpose, I've learned a lot of valuable lessons on paper that I'm starting to really apply to my life. It takes REAL work. It's not an instant thing, there's no short cuts. 

Part of my job as a coach is to be the example, to be the best I can so I can accomplish my goals and help other people do the same, like my coaches, team and customers...Even for my friends and family. I know that if I push myself to be better, I can inspire other people to break past their limits and do the same. I can't MAKE anyone do anything, all I can do is to start with ME. 

And I'll admit (again) that sometimes change is damn uncomfortable. It means you have to look at your flaws, accept them and do your best to change them. To love yourself despite your short comings when you are on the path to be better is a vital part of our journeys. And I'm coming to love myself more everyday... to find strength within to break past self imposed limits.

Last week it really hit me that I cannot compare my journey and life to anyone else. It is uniquely me, and that the more I resist it, the more I compare it, the more I will hold myself back. And the LAST thing Im going to do is hold myself back from what I know I can do, what I know I'm fully capable of doing. 

I LOVE my job as a coach, I love working with people and helping others believe in themselves. It gives me so much joy, why would I want to hurt that by playing the grass is greener on the other side? Why would I self sabotage myself and go backwards? 

Simply put: We ALL experience an array of emotions, but if they're negative and not benefitting you, its what you DO in that moment that matters. Do you choose to be a victim and let things happen to you, or do you stand up and be a victor and take action to break past your anxiety, depression, feeling not good enough or whatever it is?

If you're looking for solutions, I'll share what's worked for me. 

What's helped me:

  • Writing myself 'love letters' or notes for times when I feel down, discouraged, frustrated, etc. Sounds silly maybe, but only you can change you... and you need to hear/see it in your own words. 
  • Reading personal development books - Actually finishing and implementing what you learn as well.  My favorite one to help with anxiety, self discovery, and being more in control of emotions is Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
  • Critical Thinking Questions -- is what you're feeling based on your perception of your own reality OR do you need to do some investigating and just check that you'r not being ridiculous? Just being honest, but most of the time we are feeling/thought based and they're not always accurate. Since were inherently selfish we tend to see things as we experience it, but it's not the same view points that others may have. Sometimes the focus we are looking through is not serving our benefit and we need to recognize these self destructive patterns and not place blame on outside sources. 
  • Getting to the root of what's really bothering you- Rising to your fears and feeding your faith that you are strong and totally capable of overcoming anything you wish to. 
  • Talking it out with friends, but be careful of complaining. I try not to complain, and if I realize I am I don't like the way I sound. I want to know that I'm looking for a solution and not being a burden. 
  • Mediation, prayer, yoga - I love to take some downtime... I'm a pretty active, and out going person so sometimes its nice to flip the switch and get back to myself. 
  • Attitude of Gratitude journal - everyday I write down 3 things I'm grateful for and why, that honestly keeps me in check with how blessed I am to have what I have. I have to remind myself that if I complain, its literally #FirstWorldProblems 
  • Leave myself notes around the house- So I went a little magic marker crazy and decided that I needed to go back to what I use to do... when I first started P90X I needed all the encouragement I could get. Back then we didn't have challenge groups, we just did our programs and hopefully had a workout buddy. So I would leave my self notes on mirrors around the house to remind me of how valuable I am already and that my goals and future are important. I have a few up around my house now =) 
  • I could keep going, but lastly, I like to watch motivational videos like this: 

You probably noticed that I did not include therapy or any type of drug. That's because I don't do either.. for me personally, I believe I have the right tools and resources to get through whatever it is that I'm handling or that may come down the road. I have been to therapy quite a few times over the years, more so in my early twenties and in high school for things that I was currently dealing with.

Therapy was very important to try because it taught me that NO ONE can make the choice for you, that you need to do the work yourself. But therapy can help you discover the steps you need to take. I'm not knocking it, but I know that for me at this point in my life, I know what needs to be done. I also don't take medicine because I want to personally train my brain and mind what I want it to do. I know our minds are powerful, and I believe that we ARE capable of more than we realize. I also don't think my anxiety is severe enough to where I cannot handle it with the above methods!

I hope this has been of some help to you. It's been interesting to be so open with a topic that a lot of people think is taboo. Our mental health is JUST as important, if not MORE important than our physical health. I know there are a lot of people out there who try to brush things under the rug, and sometimes a quick escape is all you need to redirect your attention, but I also think its important to deal with things head on if they repeat themselves (since you are allowing it).

If you have any other suggestions, methods, or questions, post them in the comment section below. You are among friends, there's no judgement I will make upon you for sharing your piece. 

Hasta Luego mi amigos <3


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