It’s National Mental Health Awareness Week, and I believe strongly in the fact that mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. I was just scrolling through my Facebook feed and an article about how to explain anxiety to someone who doesn’t get it popped up.
I cope with anxiety on a regular basis. I always have. I can remember getting a bad grade on a test in Grade 5 and being so upset about it I had to call home to be picked up. You should have seen me in high school and university! I can’t count how many times my very patient mother had to talk me down. One amazing prof seemed to recognize this about me and told me to be kind to myself. And so started my decades long love/hate relationship with anxiety.
I have attended therapy several times, I’ve been on and off medication, and I’ve used workbooks and breathing exercises and I have no idea how many books I’ve ingested on the topic, but I’m thinking at least 100. I’ve always experienced some relief but my biggest breakthroughs have happened over the last 3 years or so. So, what’s been so magical about the last three years, you ask?
- my physical fitness became a major priority
- spending quality time with real friends became a focus
- I’ve started telling my truth (see my post on fearing less) and really putting myself out there
- my eating has cleaned up (less sugar, less flour, more water, more veggies)
- I’ve learned that happiness is within my control
- I’ve learned that a positive outlook is within my control and makes a HUGE difference
- I’m focusing on spreading good energy
Do you notice how these “magical” things are all choices I’ve intentionally made? BINGO! I chose to learn about shifting my mindset. I chose to read the books I’ve read and watch the Ted Talks I’ve watched. I chose to eat better and move more. YOU can CHOOSE to learn different habits to manage your anxiety! There is relief!
Do I still experience anxiety? Sure I do. It’s a reality of being human. What has significantly changed is how I look at it (I”m not anxious, I’m excited, for example.) I have turned what many view as a weakness into one of my greatest sources of strength! I was faced with a challenge so I educated myself and armed myself with defenses that work for me. Find what works for you!