This morning I woke up thinking about work. Every Sunday I get a familiar knot of anxiety in my tummy as I get closer to Monday. I seem to hold this tension until I actually start working and realise its not so bad after all. Looking back I realise I’ve experienced this my entire working career. But in hindsight its nothing to do with work. Work is just the catalyst and anxiety is a learned response when Sunday rolls round.
False Expectations Appearing Real
The real fear is around being seen – of being on a stage. Fear of failure…or is it fear of success? Fear of not being good enough. Of being judged unworthy. Of being seen as fake. Of being vulnerable. Fear of not being liked.
All unfounded of course. Because fear is not real. I am not in danger from any of the above. I will not die from not being liked.
But if I give into these anxieties, fears, stress…will I LIVE fully?
I’m particularly interested in the root of this anxiety because I still have an issue with high cortisol levels. It could be one of those hen and egg scenarios – is there some imbalance in my body that started it OR is it my life – my mind?
From a conscious theory perspective, anxiety is living in the future you see. And anxiety is having a gap between where you are and where you want to be. As I tender the question to myself, I agree with my higher self that yes, there is a gap. There’s a gap in knowledge and experience. I love my job, I love the people and love how its unfolding. But I don’t feel like I have the necessary tools yet to do my job to the level I want to operate at.
I’ve always adopted a ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy. As long as I have confidence and maintain authenticity in the moment, it’ll get me through any situation. But then in creeps that seed of doubt…
I reflect on a visit to a revered medicine man I visited in Ubud with my friends Jules and Nige. When it was my turn, he went through the usual motions of checking out reflexology points in my feet, then points in my neck and head and announced, ‘theres nothing wrong with you (physically), you just have doubt’.
I’ve always been very mind-y. That is, I overthink to the point of not doing. This affliction seems to commonly affect females. (See this hilarious youtube clip on how mens and womens minds work). How have I managed this in the past? Usually with nutrition and exercise. Early morning cardio works. Eating less and eating well works. Amazing benefits like increasing seratonin, alkalizing, oxygenating, circulation in the body ensue. But what about the other benefits? Well, it takes my mind off other pressing matters – work, money and all things that cause anxiety, doubt and stress. It puts me firmly back in control.
It wasn’t until I experienced grief that I realised that exercise and nutrition only get you so far. I had experienced 6 months of loss of appetite and little sleep. I was running on fumes. I thought I was ok, until my hair started falling out..in patches. Nothing I did physiologically, worked.
Nothing worked until I quit my job and undertook a serious reevaluation of my life and the gaps in it.
Nothing worked until I took time out to smell the flowers and push the reset button.
Nothing worked until I learned the tools to live my life from a different perspective
I didn’t learn about the benefits of managing my mind until Bali. I learned to love myself and love my life again. Yoga, meditation, the embrace of a likeminded community. The safety cocoon of being unashamededly authentic in who I am and what I’m feeling right now. Nutrition and exercise aren’t the foundation. The mind is. It is an amazing, complicated tool. But its not meant to work at turbo speed on aimless pontifications, fear mongering and pointless exercises. Its a tool to be engaged when learning, doing and working. But at other times it needs rest. It needs time in the nothing box.
So now I return back to my Sunday morning affliction. Here are my top tips for managing mind pollution:
1. Write. I journal and blog my way out of insanity.
2. Arm myself with tools. I’m organised. Prep for the week ahead.
3. Ground. Get into nature. Hug a tree. Go for a bush walk. Feel the insignificance of my problems fade as I take in the majesty of Mother earth.
4. Breathe. Breathe in for 4 secs, hold for 4, breathe out for 4. Repeat.
5. Dance, listen to music, affirm, listen to inspiring podcasts.
6. Get perspective. Do NOTHING. Do something I love. Have fun. Be silly. LAUGH. Watch mindless comedys. Stay in bed. Eat dessert for brekkie.
7. Treat myself. Massage. Facial. Sauna.
8. Find purpose. Bury myself in a project that I’m passionate about. Get creative. Draw a picture of the big picture. Bluetack it to my mirror.
9. Yoga, meditation.
10. Connect with people. Physically and mentally.