You know I was asked recently what I was most scared of. Initially I couldn’t think of anything since I’m not the kind of girl who winces at spiders or faints at the sight of blood. For me I’ve always been fearful of being unsuccessful, and I think this is where the whole concept of pressuring myself comes into action.
You see, I take things too seriously sometimes because I’m always striving for more. I’m rarely satisfied because I love to push myself to the maximum, and if I’m working/studying something unfulfilling it really affects me, and I find myself getting frustrated because I’m not at my full potential.
Along with working on living with uncertainty I’m working on living in the present. It’s super important for me and my mental well-being to appreciate the journey, because success doesn’t often happen over-night. I suppose it depends what you determine as ‘success’ too. If success was waking up in the morning with a positive outlook every day I would be successful a lot of the time.
I think part of the problem with my generation is that there’s always a want/need for more. This is due to constant comparison. What we forget is that we should be working towards bettering our lives for ourselves! Not for anyone else, not to be able to compare further and judge each other’s achievements. We are all running our own race in our own time. Love the journey and embrace it, believe that you will make it and you will.
I just wanted to start this post by saying that although you may perceive this series as a sign that I’m 100% clear of anxiety this is not the case, and that’s normal. Your anxiety makes you who you are and sometimes it may pop up to say hello. It’s just learning to manage it and control it, it’s important not to fear your anxiety but treat it as a part of you, remember it doesn’t have to be a negative. Travelling to South Africa last week was rather hard for me I’m not going to lie to you guys, I had a bit of a panic on my second plane journey and as soon as I got here had a mini panic about making friends and did experience a wave of anxiety for a couple of days. Obviously it’s hard and it’s frustrating because I’ve come so far you know, I’m a changed person to how I was a few months ago and all it takes is for me to be 5,000 miles from home, on my own and I start to forget everything I’ve taught myself.
This is why having routines and understanding yourself comes into play, all you need is a few things that you can do that will help ground you to the present. I find that the reason I get anxious or low is because I look ahead too far into the future, and forget to appreciate the present moment. Living and breathing the present is so freaking important! I preach it. As cliché as it may sound I find that this is one of the biggest ways of overcoming anxiety, and you can help yourself do this in various ways, all it takes is a bit of experimenting and time and eventually you’ll be an expert at mastering gratitude for the present moment.
This may all sound a little mad, but I find that it has helped me considerably, even if you don’t have anxiety this is something we should all work on! So often we forget to appreciate everything happening around us now, because we’re either thinking ahead or we’re sucked into our phone screens becoming caught up in other people’s lives rather than our own!
So these are the tricks I have learnt to help become present: MEDITATION- I will always swear by meditation, even though I may not do it every day I know that by quietening your mind you will cut that thought process of worry and far-thinking and this will help ground you to the present. BEING OUTSIDE- I know this may sound silly but in being outside you get to appreciate more, and distract your mind, fresh air is also really good for clearing your head. Being in an enclosed room by yourself will only worsen your anxiety, get yourself outside, go for a walk and appreciate your surroundings. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATH- again it may sound silly but simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breath will again help break the thought process of overthinking, you can seek gratitude for the health of your body and the air that you breathe. I’m not crazy I swear, it’s just the little things that can help you out here! START WRITING A GRATITUDE JOURNAL- this will seriously help you, because writing a list of at least 3 things in the day that you’re grateful for will help ground your throughout the day, because you’ll be paying attention to the little things that make your day such as a smile from a stranger or appreciation for the book you’re reading.
Of course you can come up with your own ways of becoming grounded and present, these are just my own personal ways of finding appreciation and calming my mind. I hope you’re all having an amazing morning, afternoon, evening or night wherever you are in the world! I’ll be back again with another post about South Africa towards the end of this week.
Hello beautiful world from the other side of the world for a change, I’m writing from South Africa this morning but still wanted to post a second blog for the week. It’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere and sometimes the temperatures here make me want to go back to England, since it’s summer there right now, and I never thought I’d be saying that! To top it off the showers are either freezing cold or boiling hot, and when you’re getting up at 6 in the morning and it’s freezing I can tell you a cold shower is not appealing…
That being said it has been such a memorable experience so far, even though it’s only been three days I have seen so much wildlife, and the culture here is unbelievably different. Yesterday for example we went to the local town near the reserve I’m staying at in order to do some volunteering for the local community. We were painting some of the playground for the children since it looked a bit worse for wear and needed a lick of paint. Arriving in this place that was considered a town was astounding, we all see the advertisements on TV of places with litter everywhere, tin cans for houses and stray dogs wandering around but until you see them it doesn’t really hit you. It makes everything sort of shift into perspective, and makes you see greater gratitude in everything, it made me appreciate what I have even more.
I have such admiration for the children in this town, who as soon as we got off the trucks were immediately giving hugs, they constantly had smiles on their faces when the only entertainment they had was each other and some plastic. It was amazing to see the entertainment they got from playing with used water bottles, and made you think how kids back home always want the latest things the newest technology, how materialistic our society has become. The sad thing is these kids didn’t know any different, they’re confined to this town in the middle of nowhere to be honest it was upsetting. Painting their playground would make their day, and it was such an amazing feeling to know you’re making someone else’s day, week, even month that bit better and more exciting.
This is the pleasure of giving, with giving comes gratitude, visiting that local town really moved me, and made me realise how insignificant our problems are back home when some of these people may not even know how they’re going to afford their dinner. Just as we were leaving the town this one guy was literally begging for 5 rand to buy bread because he was so hungry, that will stay with me forever.
I’ll make sure to tell you about future experiences out here, more environmental stuff! This week just happened to be more community based, but next week I’ll be doing more game drives and animal tracking.
Keep spreading love and helping others, and you’ll naturally see gratitude in everything around you.
Welcome back to my over-coming anxiety help guide! If you haven’t already read the part one of this series go ahead and do that first before jumping ahead to stage 2.
So, we’ve established that the first step to over-coming anxiety is being aware that you have it, and accepting that rather than fearing it. (I would highly suggest documenting this jounrey you’re on by the way, just so you can refer back to, and motivate yourself when you’re having troubled times). In acceptance we can find an inner peace, and once you are more peaceful on the inside, you are more capable of controlling your exterior life better and more positively.
For me, part of the reason my anxiety spiralled into depression is because I found that I was no longer myself, and that I was essentially an empty body, with no burning passions and desires. The social anxieties I had lead me to believe I was no longer capable of making friends because I wasn’t interesting or cool enough for people, and that really ground me down till I convinced myself I had a personality that no one liked. Which is of course a recipe for disaster when you’re all alone at University, coming with 0 friends from your local town, can’t drive to get home, and hate the course you’re studying.
So yeah, for me at least I found that my anxiety worsened because I subconsciously was rejecting the things I really enjoyed doing, I lost myself because I didn’t accept myself for who I was. I know now that I’m a freaking amazing person, and I do the things I love daily! But at this difficult time in my life with my ever growing anxiety and low mood, I was spiralling hard.
This is where the whole concept of mirroring other people came about (check out my blog post for more- You are not a mirror), I essentially tried to reflect the other people around me at university in order to ‘fit in’ and tried so hard doing this I burnt out… and CRASH—– breakdown.
Therefore the next stage to over-coming your anxiety is emersing yourself in hobbies that you had forgotten about, or if you’re feeling confident enough try something new. Write a list of all these things, physically not mentally, get some paper and write that shit down, you could even write them in order of what sparks the most joy in you. Having this physically there will help, because whenever you’re feeling low or need to reassure yourself that you’re good, this list will give you a greater sense of purpose. If possible you can go and immediatly do one of the things on your list to break yourself free from a panic attack, you can climb out of the black hole of low mood and replinish yourself mentally by doing something you enjoy!
I know this second step may seem a little much, and perhaps you may be in a position right now where you’re thinking- I don’t love anything enough, I don’t have any hobbies, or- my life isn’t interesting I don’t do anything fun. Take your time. You don’t need to write this list in a day, be aware of when you feel most at peace, when you feel connected to your true self, when you get that tingly sensation of doing something and being proud of it or that exhilaration of wanting to run 100 miles after doing something you’re super passionate about! You’ll get there.
Even the little things such as taking a walk with the dog, or reading a good book. Re-emerse youself in things you forgot you loved, or feel that you lost apprecation for, and in time… you’ll re-ignite. The second joy is sparked within you things will really begin to shift, the days will become more bearable and you’ll find ways to fill the time you used to dread of doing nothing. Keep yourself busy, but busy in a good way, busy doing things you adore, not things to keep those negative thoughts at bay!
You’re doing amazing, I know you are, because you’re making the effort to read this, and that shows strength and courage.
So… The big, scary, intimidating yet often overused word of ANXIETY. In this day and age it seems as though everyone has anxiety, yet it doesn’t get talked about, normalised or accepted enough.
In this series of blog posts I’m going to talk to you guys about my experiences of having anxiety, and how I’ve ‘cured’ myself in a sense. I truly do feel like a better person for it, and although counselling is an amazing option and should be considered you don’t necessarily need it. In the advice that I give, and the support we can give each other in the comments or over email, we’re going to make you into the best version of yourself you can possibly be!
So as I’ve mentioned to you all previously I have in the recent year suffered from anxiety which spiralled into a form of depression for me. If you met me now you would never guess it, and this is the problem with mental health, people don’t see past what you give them on the exterior. Even in my worst most darkest periods I continued to keep up the smile even though I was broken on the inside, it’s why I call myself the Broken Pearl because we all have our cracks and flaws and that’s what makes us beautiful.
For me my anxiety was a subconcsious thing for many years, looking back to when I was as young as 10 I would have panic attacks in the middle of lessons. The feeling of my lungs filling up with water, sweating, struggling to breathe, while somehow remaining that calm exterior, convincing myself this was normal and that it wasn’t something I should be concerned about. This is the problem, there isn’t enough recognition for mental health, if I had known from that age that this was anxiety I could have prevented rather than had the trouble of curing my really bad anxiety in my early adult-hood!
The first step to over-coming anxiety is not allowing yourself to be ignorant to it, it’s about having the awareness that you may need help and that this is something that needs to be fixed in a sense. However, your anxiety does not have to be a negative, it does not make you a broken person. As I said earlier when I related us all to broken pearls, our cracks aren’t flaws they make us into our perfect beautiful selves, you can make your anxiety into a positive.
Fuck it, I’m grateful for the fact I have and have had severe anxiety. There I said it. For me my anxiety has been a turning point in my life, it was a wake up call that I was on the wrong track and it turned me around, re-awakening me to new joys and a new perspective on life. I truly believe a third eye for me was opened through my anxiety, and I became connected to my spirituality. I will forever be grateful for that, and you will be too, the moment you recognise your anxiety and give into it, accept it, is the moment everything changes.