For a long time I never knew there was another way to go through life. I didn't think I was anxious though knowing what I know now...it's pretty safe to say my overthinking led to anxiety. I thought that thinking (AKA worrying, overanalyzing, replaying situations in my head until I "figured it out") was constructive and that I was doing something that was somehow useful. Sound familiar?!
WHAT was I actually thinking?! That is so incredibly counterproductive. You certainly can't think problems away and overanalyzing them doesn't change an outcome! I smile as I type this because I wonder how is it that no one really openly talks about how we think, what we should and shouldn't think about AND how damaging it is to the mind and body to overthink?? Humans are the only beings on earth that do this.
I once heard someone say "you never see a squirrel stressed out. You never see them running around a garden, freaking out thinking 'how am I going to get enough nuts for the winter! What will I do then?!"
It's true. So true. My 12 year old step daughter got dumped by a boy and she told me how she kept replaying what he said to her over and over. I asked her why she was thinking like that and her reply was "well I thought that's how I'm supposed to think." I've raised her since she was 4 and was too busy thinking & worrying about other things that I didn't think that I never taught her how to think! So it appears it starts very early and is something we need to teach our children because it's overlooked and a huge problem. Going about our days this way directly leads to chronic stress. And chronic stress leads to all these things...
I worked as a UK Sales Manager in London and was constantly travelling and constantly sitting in cars, on planes and trains. Then when I got home I was stressed & tired so I would have a couple glasses of wine at night while I sat and stared blankly at the TV with my husband. Thinking back now, I believed that life was destined to be full of stress, things to overcome etc. I treasured the moments with my family but wasn't doing enough exercise (ok, any exercise in truth.) This is also more common than not.
I attributed the sedentary lifestyle as the cause of debilitating low back pain & degenerative discs which was getting worse by the day. I was too tired to do yoga or go running; I thought (embarrassing to admit...) that doing exercise would be taking time away from being with my family and I was just a plain lazy, gaining weight that I didn't even see somehow. Whatta mess. I didn't see it all happening and what I hear so often is that so many people are in the same place.
There are thin women & men wishing to weigh more, have more physical strength and sick of people saying "oh you are so thin and so lucky!" And there are people that weigh more than they want to that just hate themselves, avoiding social gatherings like the plague and see people in better shape and definitely hate them. Both body types, with repetitive thoughts, comparing themselves to others and not realizing there is another way to live, just like I was.
What I didn't realize either is that this is all so much easier to change than it seems. We know 'life is what we make it' but don't realize how deep that really goes. It's all on what you tell yourself. Telling yourself you need to lose 15, 30 or 50 pounds or however much weight IS monumental. And that's why people get stuck.
Day in and day out.
One of the regular thought patterns I would get stuck in was because I rarely allowed myself enough time to get ready or to travel somewhere so was always late. Then when I arrived late I would say in my head "What the hell. Late again. I'm always late. ALWAYS late." Now what I do is cut the negative crap out and think "what went wrong that I didn't allow the time to get there?" Then I make sure I'm doing my diaphragmatic breathing to calm my mind and body. It works.
Many of these tools I teach are free, you can practice them anywhere and I'm givin' this stuff away so watch this video to learn this breathing if you haven't already!
My turning point was after my second (relatively minor) back surgery and my daughter and 3 amazing superstar step-kids were helping me do everything because my back was so painful. As they helped me with preparing food, getting me fancy straws for my lemon water and tucked me in with way too many fluffy blankets I really wondered.... and thought about what would need to happen for me to get back to taking care of them again. This was all the wrong way around and so much of my identity was my career and caring for these 4 little people. The next day I rolled out that yoga mat, got down on the floor and just started moving with so much damn determination to change my life for good.
For the first time in my life, I learned to listen to my body and not push myself too far. In a way I think it's an American thing - everything is about success, being the best at what you do, going outside your comfort zone and pushing yourself to the limit.
That day I learned to be patient.
I realized that if I loved myself a bit more I could make the impossible possible. I could live with chronic back pain rather than let it control my life. I could teach my kids what it really looks like to take care of yourself. I lost loads of weight because I slowed down enough to eat healthier. By listening to my body I heard - actually HEARD - what was going on in my mind and could finally see when I was assuming my back would hurt which was preventing me from really living, allowing limiting beliefs to be a crutch so I couldn't fail, so it wouldn't hurt more. Now I observe the thoughts in my head with patience and kindness. If you want to know more about this sign up for the emails about how to bring this into your life. It's truly changed my life, my disposition, and my relationships. Before I thought I was doing what I wanted to do, making choices. I realize that I lived out of a sort of avoidance which inevitability brought exactly what I didn't want into my life because I put too much pressure on myself to do everything right. I'm still learning to be patient though because my mind isn't going a million miles an hour I can recognize when I'm not being true to myself. This is the key to accomplishing exactly what you want in life - losing weight, beginning a consistent yoga practice - and maybe you have stopped dreaming big.
Allow yourself the space to be able to listen to what you want rather than being so darn busy up there that it's full of unhappiness masking itself in constant busy thoughts. I've created this 3-day 2019 Mindset Challenge for you which is broken down in manageable, 3 easy to do segments based on the principles of zen - mindfulness, alignment and energy. When you learn how to be more mindful, it gives you the energy to align your thinking and desires with daily action.