If you are stuck in your head...this might be why...
" Most of the problems in life come because of 2 reasons: We act without thinking and we keep thinking without acting" Unknown
Analysis Paralysis. Picking myself apart. Judging myself harshly and others. Stuck in my head. Trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me! A desperate need to fix myself. Self Sabotage.
What if nothing were wrong? What if all I had to do was let go of the story I was telling myself? The hysterical obsession to be better than I think I am.
I should be accomplishing more...more writing, more success, a bigger bank account, more quality time with my kids and grandkids. I should definitely have the house decorated for fall by now...it’s damn near Christmas!! Where is all this anger coming from? I just snapped out on my daughter...again! What the hell is wrong with me?? How can I be a better mother for her? Maybe I should be going to more meetings( recovering addict here) actually, now that I think about it, I was a way better person when I was on drugs.
Que the onslaught of lies...I was happier, calmer, more fun, a better mother, a better writer...I was accomplishing way more.
And on, and on, and on....
Deep breath...blow it out...slowly.
Just rereading my words brings on a sense of overwhelm! My jaw is tense. I spend a lot of my day unclenching my fists. Stretching my neck. Cracking my knuckles. Reminding myself to breathe.
Is it any wonder that I’m feeling a little stressed out?
Is it any wonder that we’re all feeling a little stressed out?
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way or thinking these thoughts. Some would call it anxiety. Racing thoughts. And maybe they’re right. I don’t think it’s quite so simple. I don’t think slapping a label on it and sending you out the door with a script in hand gets you anywhere in the long run. I know where it gets people like me...a fast track to your friendly neighborhood drug and alcohol treatment center. Because if 1 pill works pretty good, 2 or 3 will definitely be better.
What’s underneath all of the anxiety? Where did it come from and why is it so damn common? Why the fuck are our children such stressed out messes? Ummm...maybe because we are.
I’m not a doctor, a scientist, or any kind of scholar. I’m just a girl who has always struggled and always did just a little too much thinking to be healthy. I have a few theories.
Low self esteem - Not feeling good enough from a very young age. It really doesn’t matter why we didn’t feel good enough. It’s usually a combination of things...but who cares? I think years of trying to figure out why only fucked me up even more...it kept me hanging on to that old story long past the expiration date.
What’s become important is recognizing that it’s there, and coming up with a plan to fix it. Period.
I have read that self esteem is built by achieving in areas that matter to you. That definition feels right to me.
So, what matters to you?
Not sharing how you really feel - It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that if you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re not going to share your feelings with anyone. Not the big, scary stuff anyway. The stuff that might leave you vulnerable to rejection. So, you keep those things tucked away. Every now and then, those thoughts and feelings pop back up. And you frantically push them back down again. And just like when you keep filling your refrigerator and never clean it out, eventually it starts to stink.
The irony is that, regardless of circumstances, we all can relate to feelings. And by being vulnerable and sharing those feelings with others, you allow others to be vulnerable too. This is what creates connection. And having human connections contributes to a positive self image.
Not enough strenuous physical activity - Technology, albeit providing us with so many of the conveniences we enjoy today, has led to us being less physically active. More cars = less walking. More video games = less play. More automation = less physical work.
I hate the gym! But I love hiking, running, dancing, and yoga. I love being outdoors! Those times when I can’t get out of my head, and I know I’m causing my own suffering, the best thing I have found that works the fastest is moving. It seems like I need to break down my body to relieve the suffering in my mind. I have to release that stuck energy and vigorous movement is the best way I know how to do it. So, find something you love to do, and do it!
Thinking too much about myself - A good friend once told me “ get out of your head and go help somebody”! No truer words were ever spoken. I spend far too much time in neurotic self - centeredness. Helping someone, whether it be a phone call to check on someone and actually listen, or giving of your time to help out at your local shelter, is always a win/win! You let others know you care. Your heart opens and you feel a greater sense of gratitude and connection to others. And you get out of your head!
Thinking too much...Period - I’ve always been an overthinker. My mind just naturally over analyzes everything. Shallow conversations bore me. I spend a lot of my energy rehashing the past, worrying about the future, and trying to control life with my excessive thoughts. A wise man once told me “deep people drown” ...it took me many years to figure out what he meant by that. But man, do I get it now! Too much thinking is bad for your health...literally! So, find a meditative practice that works for you. It doesn’t have to be sitting in silence for an hour focusing on your breath ( although I can’t even begin to tell you in this post how life changing that can be). It can be something as simple as coloring. It can look like doing the dishes and paying attention to the sound of the water running. The way warm water feels on your wrist. This might sound crazy, but pulling weeds is very meditative for me. Anything that sustains your attention and pulls your mind away from thought and into the present moment can be a form of meditation and extremely beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit.
Pro tip: To quickly stop overthinking, pull your tongue down off of the roof of your mouth. It’s crazy how well this simple trick works to bring you back into the present moment!
Isolation - This kind of goes along with thinking too much about myself. I have a really big family. So, it seems like there is always someone around. That doesn’t mean that I’m always connected though. I can very easily close off my heart, and isolate, even in a room full of people. I’m just not there. In this way, I’m causing my own kind of suffering. I’m self-centered, and just love to sit alone in my own shit.
When I get out of my own way, open my heart, and connect with others, I find that my entire perspective changes. The heart connection changes everything!
A practice that I do to bring me back into connection with others, only takes a minute, but can change your whole life!
Close your eyes. Imagine the breath moving in and out through your heart center. Remember...energy flows where attention goes. Now, bring to mind someone or something that is near and dear to your heart. Someone who is easy for you to love without conditions or resistance. A baby for instance. Continue breathing and focusing on your heart center. Allow the love and gratitude that you have for your object of affection to completely fill and overwhelm your heart center. Now, allow these emotions to spill out from your heart and extend to others in your space. Allow it to spread out into the world around you. Connect.
If you lose the connection, come back to your object of affection...repeat. Continue this practice, and it will become easier and more natural to connect with others.
Eating or Drinking too much of the wrong things - As I slow down, and become more mindful, I’ve become very aware of the way certain foods affect the way I feel.
I’ll drink 6 cups of coffee before noon, and then call it anxiety. Now, I think I need medication to fix it.
Too much sodium has me feeling tense and angry. Now I want to frantically fix that feeling. I’ve even realized that eating eggs causes me to feel anxious. Weird right? Maybe not.
Our gut has been referred to as our second brain. Researchers are finding evidence that Gastrointestinal system irritation may be sending signals to the Central Nervous System that triggers changes in mood.
Slow down. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to the way your body responds to certain foods. When you find things that give you energy and make you feel good, eat more of that. In turn, limit foods that don’t.
Exposure to negative energy and messages - Just like what we eat can have an impact on our mental and emotional state, so can the things we watch, listen too, and expose ourselves to.
I am a true crime junkie! The more gory and shocking, the better! Like a horrible car accident that you can’t peel your away from. But, I recognize how much watching these things affect the way that I think and feel. Why are we always so drawn to the things that harm us?
The same holds true for the people we surround ourselves with, the conversations we have, and the music we listen to. Ever notice the way you feel after a major gossip session with your co-workers around the coffee machine? For me, I’m left feeling hyped up, angry, short tempered, and thinking critical, judgemental thoughts. Then, I beat myself up for being a shitty person. Which I’m not by the way. I just need to do a better job at protecting my energy and my peace.
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.” Albert Einstein
Everything is energy. From the foods we ingest, to the things we watch and listen to. You have to decide how you want to feel and take the right actions to make that happen.
This isn’t something that is 1 and done. You make these decisions moment by moment.
Personal growth isn’t a linear path. If you’re like me, sometimes you put a ton of effort into the things that help you become the best version of yourself and see incredible results, and other times you say fuck it, and choose to engage in all things unhealthy. You see the results of that behavior too...in every area of your life.
For me, I try to stay as balanced as possible. It’s unrealistic for me to think I’m going to give up everything that I know isn’t good for me and go full steam ahead in the other direction. I’m just setting myself up for failure and a chance to beat myself up some more.
If the scales are tipped in the direction of healthy habits for the day, I’d say I’m winning!
Just keep trying. And above all else, be gentle with yourself! You are enough! You are ok!
Love, Light, and Happiness, - Valerie