Overthinking Anyone?

Do you ever find yourself awake at 3 AM thinking about that embarrassing thing you did ten years ago? If no, you may find this ridiculous but if you’re someone like me you’ll understand the torment! I constantly suffer from obsessive thinking/worrying and I have to say it is exhausting!

I’m not sure why I worry the way I do. I’m always so concerned how I come across to others (so I guess I care too much about what people think), but it’s not that I have no confidence in myself I just hate when my character is judged. I like to think I’m a nice person that can do no wrong, but of course this isn’t true for anyone. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, whether it was simply embarrassing or just a mistake, but for me it stays with me.

I remember one time I was on a school trip to Prague. I didn’t know anyone on the trip but I always wanted to go to Prague so I decided to go by myself and meet new people. It ended up being the worst trip ever! I did love the city and the things we did but the people were just terrible and I felt very stressed around them. Whenever I would talk to someone they would pretty much ignore me and hang out with their other friends which I found odd as most people from our school were very inclusive. Not only was I ignored but I was teased for making conversations. They said that Canadians made them uncomfortable because we talk too much. In my defense (in this particular instance) we were at a restaurant at a table for two hours. Was I supposed to sit across from them and be silent the whole time? I was just trying to be friendly by asking them where they were from and what courses they were taking in school. I don’t think that’s being that nosy! I felt so humiliated! To top it all off our bus got in an accident on the way back from Prague. The bus drive went on the wrong exit and decided to back up on the freeway instead of turning around at the next exit! A car ended up hitting us. We were all okay but it held us up for three hours and we almost missed our ferry! The icing on the cake was when I tried to get some sleep. I was trying to lay down across two bus seats and felt the seatbelt tighten on my stomach. Due to the tight belt I let out a fart that was definitely heard by some of my bus mates and I almost died.

This trip was three years ago and I still think about how embarrassing it was! I am never going to see those people again and I feel so stressed thinking about it. Now that is definitely ridiculous.

Lately though whenever I find myself going down the overthinking road of doom I try these tips to help calm my worried state.

  1. Talk it out, or write it out. It helps me to vocalize my feeling so it doesn’t consume me. If you don’t want to tell anyone you can always write in a journal to clear your head. It always does the trick.
  1. Self-assure. Tell yourself “it’s okay what happened”. Learn from it next time if it was a mistake or if it was embarrassing find a way to laugh about it and move on. If you cannot self-assure trying getting reassurance from someone else but don’t keep rehashing.
  1. Distract yourself. When you start to have those thoughts try to think of something else or do an activity that de-stresses you. Working out or reading always helps me.
  1. Find common humanity. Remember everyone has these moments in life! You are not alone!

I can’t stress (lol), the last one more. We all will commit stupid embarrassing things sometimes. It’s going to happen, it’s part of life. But we have to learn to be kind to ourselves and move on from them or else we will not be able to lead a happy life. Only you have the power to fight these feelings and see yourself for who you really are, a good person. If you have done bad things, you can always start fresh and make amends. It’s never too late. So let’s stop obsessing and start de-stressing!

Winning The Mental Health Lottery

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, right? I know I do! Just imagine all the things you could do in life if you won that 55 million jackpot? If you’re reading this, like me, you are probably thinking about all the things you would want to do. Pay off debts, buy amazing properties and maybe even quit your job and travel the world. The sky is the limit! Of course money can’t truly buy happiness but it certainly can change your life… that is if you buy a ticket. Many people say – “what’s the point? I could buy tickets my whole life and never win”. Well you certainly won’t win if you don’t purchase a ticket at all! It’s funny how the brain works.

This concept faces me every day but it certainly isn’t just lottery tickets making feeling skeptical. From time to time I get down, I feel worried and stressed and sometimes for no reason at all. What makes me feel good about it is that others too go through this, but the thing that makes me feel hopeless is, what do I do to get over this hump? I’ve done the late night stress eating, the sleeping for hours, not connecting with friends and family, feeling dread for the next day not knowing what awaits. Where did it get me do you think? Continuing these detrimental cycles? No where. So what’s next do you think?

Mental health is a tricky thing. Anyone going through it knows how awful it feels to be in limbo land of emotions where there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I felt that way for awhile, but then one day I became fed up and said no more, what can I do to help myself? And from that moment on I did everthing in my power to feel the best I could and figure out the best coping skills that worked for me when I did feel like times were tough again. But the key word was ME. I read books, I saw professionals, I found support, but it was MY determination and perseverance that got me there. I always look for new things that are out there it never ends, and if you’re reading this now you can seize this day right now and do something anything that will help yourself get over this rut. The struggle is still there but it’s comforting to know you are doing everything you can to make yourself better.

If you’re lying in the dark with the blinds closed, open those curtains and let the sun shine in. Start taking advice your doctor and read that book on mindfulness. Call your local gym and set up an appointment with a trainer to have a workout plan. Play tennis, go swimming, stroll the mall, do an activity, talk to your friends and family again. Even if it’s the last thing you want to do, do it. It’s what you need to do.

If you catch yourself thinking “what’s the point of doing anything?  I probably will always feel like this” than you are most likely going to continue feeling that way. We need to push ourselves and find what works for us. Accept what you feel, know it’s not permanent and ask yourself “what do I want to feel right now” and go from there.

We won’t always have the answers as to why we feel the way we do or how to stop it, but we still need to live our lives. Once I found determination and perseverance I won the lottery. It’s time for us all to buy that ticket.

How to handle your past, present and future for a happier you

When I think of the past, present and future, three things (or movies I should say) immediately come to my mind: The Lion king, Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol. Random yes, but very significant. The Lion King tells the story about a young lion named Simba who has a painful past who learns to accept it. In Groundhog day there is a man who is stuck living the same day on a loop needing to re examine his life and priorities.  Lastly there is a Christmas Story, which shows us how a bitter old miser transforms into a kind, gentle man.  What is the common theme here? They all represent how the past, present and future has an effect in making or breaking a person.

These realities encompass our everyday lives. The past is where we’ve come from and what we’ve done, the present is who we are now and the future is who we want to be. Putting it that way makes it seem simplistic, but overall these three realities can be troublesome to everyone.  Here are tips on how to handle these three realities and how to live a happy successful life.

Your PAST

  1. Let go

The past definitely plays a huge role in our life as it’s our story. It dictates where we came from and what we’ve been through. Although it’s your story, it shouldn’t define who you are now. Having memories and mementos is nice but if you are constantly looking to your past in a negative regretful way you will never be at peace. The past is done, it cannot be changed. This is why it’s important to accept it and move on.

  1. Learn from your mistakes

The wonderful Nelson Mandela said “I never lose, I either win or learn”. This is something we all need to keep in mind when we make mistakes. Things may never go our way and we may make bad decision in our lifetime but we shouldn’t feel guilty or constantly think about the mistakes we’ve made. The important thing is to learn from it and move on.

  1. Have self-compassion

We are all human which means we are not perfect. We make mistakes all of the time, but in addition to learning from our mistakes we must have self-compassion for ourselves.  Everyone is always concerned about treating others well but then they forget about ourselves. We are our own worst enemy at times and forget to cut ourselves some slack.  Yes loving others is important but we need to love ourselves first.

Your PRESENT

  1. Live in the now

People are always reading about how they can be happy in the future, but the truth is you can be happy right now in this moment .  Life is what we make it, so why not live in the present and truly enjoy every moment without worrying about the past and future.  Mindfulness is an important practice everyone should encompass in their everyday lives. I highly recommend reading books by Thich Nhat Hahn as he has great insight on how to be mindful in everyday activities and how to truly live and be happy in the present.

  1. Don’t take anything for granted

Be grateful for what you have. Hyman Schachtel said “Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have” and this is so true. We often take for granted what we have because it becomes part of our daily routine, but it is important to stop and appreciate all of the things you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. It will truly change your outlook and allow you to be more positive

  1. Applaud yourself for who you are now

We’ve come a long way to be who we are today. Sure we haven’t been perfect but there must be times that we have succeeded and overcome obstacles. Applaud yourself for your success and be happy about who you are. If you’re not happy about who you are, look for ways to change.

Your FUTURE

  1. Write down your hopes and dreams

We all have dreams, and by writing them down allows us to plan for our future with the hope of making our dreams a reality. One way people do this is write a bucket list of all the things they want to do before they’re 100. I highly recommend doing this with another person, it always makes for a good conversation!

  1. Set goals

Goal setting is very important for everyone to do. Without concrete realistic goals to achieve we can put ourselves in a rut. Instead of a New Year’s resolution for the year, have 1-3 goals you want to achieve each month. You can even try to have a long term goal but the key with goals is you need to have a deadline and they need to be realistic. Keeping a journal or your goals and tracking your progress is helpful.

  1. Be organized

 

You can’t accomplish everything all at once, but by being organized and having a plan you can be successful in achieving your goals and dreams. Look to others to help keep you motivated, and look for opportunities as they arise.  If you’re organized you will more likely accomplish your goals and reach your full potential. You don’t want to look back on your life regretting what you did not do, so plan now and organize your life and your priorities. You will be happy you did.

 

We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences but all and all we all want the same things, a happy fulfilled life. Simba, Phil Connors and Ebenezer Scrooge all found a way to accomplish their goals and find success and we can too. It’s all about changing perspective and taking advantage of all opportunities that come our way.

I have anxiety for no reason

Every day you hear about crazy stories in the news. Something heart breaking about a family losing a loved one in a tragic accident, or a poor family losing everything they had because of warfare. It’s hard to believe the stories I hear sometimes. It almost makes me feel like my problems are insignificant; realizing I haven’t really struggled in comparison to others. It’s definitely true.  I was lucky to grow up to a middle class family, two older sisters, parents who have been together for 35 years that never drank, did drugs or threw me out on the street. I had many opportunities most didn’t, like education, chance to travel, meet new people and I was lucky to come out of those opportunities having low debt, successful relationships and career, as well as memories to last a lifetime. On top of that I live in a safe secure country.  Therefore, what could I possibly ever complain about?

I always felt guilty for experiencing depression and anxiety because there was really no cause or reason as to why I was feeling that way. It was frustrating to not have any answers as to why.  After a while I had to realize that mental illness doesn’t have to have a reason to be present. It will show up unexpectantly and the only thing we can do is accept it and find a solution for ourselves.  Everyone has their own problems and is affected by mental illness differently. Therefore we all need treatment plans that fit us individually. We can’t feel guilty for our feelings, we just have to take charge and understand we are all human and that we all will go through ups and downs no matter if you come from poverty or prosperity. What will help us overcome mental health problems is by seizing the day and finding a solution that works for us. It’s important to understand that there are others out there who struggle. Having compassion for others is definitely very important, but we also need to have compassion for ourselves. Feel fortunate for what you have and move forward for a better you and a better life. It’s all about perspective.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Going your own pace to find personal success

dont-go-fast

As kids we were exposed to many Aesop fables that all had a moral at the end of the story. One that I’m sure most are familiar with is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The two compete in a race and in the end the tortoise wins. The moral of the story was that slow and steady wins the race. This moral has recently grabbed my attention because this is key to anyone who is trying to accomplish their goals.

In my case, I started university in 2008 and ended up taking ten months off due to being ill with mononucleosis. Doing this made me feel frustrated  because I wanted to finish my degree the “normal” way (in four years), like my friends were doing.  Once I recovered from mono I ended up transferring schools and starting a new program, which basically meant starting from scratch. In addition to starting a new program, I enrolled in the co-operative education program which meant prolonging graduation in order to complete 3 work terms. Then on top of that I decided to study abroad in Sweden for six months.

Yes I took six years instead of four to complete my degree, but in the end I gained so much. Transferring schools and switching programs from History to Human Resources was smart as I wanted to study something that was in demand and that I could get a job upon graduation. Completing three work terms allowed me to gain real life work experience in my field and the professional world, which helped me to obtain the position I currently have. Studying abroad opened my world and gave me a new perspective and allowed me to meet new friends. Taking six years didn’t burden me at all, it did the opposite. I gained so much success by going at my pace and not worrying about what others were doing. Everyone is different and everyone has different circumstances. Doing what is right for you, in your own way is all you need to focus on.

I feel everything happens for a reason, and we need to take what life gives us and learn from it and use it to our advantage. I seized every opportunity that came my way and worked hard to be where I am today. The next time you feel down on yourself because you haven’t accomplished your goal don’t fret. Take the time to make a plan and stick with it. Ignore what others are doing and see the bigger picture. Forward is forward. We all live our own lives, and we should do what is best for us. There should be no normal way. Keep going and eventually you will find success.

photo credit http://speakingautism.ca/slow-and-steady-wins-the-race/

3 keys for a successful happy life

We go through life everyday all wanting the same thing. Whether we are rich, poor, overweight or thin, we all wish for one thing – a happy, fulfilled life. This is something that is not easily achieved as life throws us many challenges through every stage of our lives. But how do we overcome the obstacles, make the right choices and be successful and happy? This is something I have been thinking about for months now.

It all sparked when I read an article from the weather network that spoke about happiness and the percentage of Canadians that felt “pretty happy” with their lives. It got me thinking and wondering about my life and what I could do to lead a happy life. There are many things that can be challenging to a person that can make it difficult for them to feel happy. Whether its mental or physical illness, grief, rejection, failure; how do we see the big picture and realize what we can do to put a smile on our faces?

After months of reading, researching and self-reflection I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective, perseverance and defining your potential.

First, we need to change our perspective. Sure we may be unhappy now, but we have the power to change that. It all comes down to the mono perspective. Life is what we, as individuals make it. You can’t always know what life is going to throw your way, but by developing a positive mindset, we can accomplish anything. The next time you have a frown on your face, force yourself to smile, I can guarantee you will feel better and be able to reflect on the situation and find a solution for yourself.

Second, no matter how hard things get we need to persevere. It sometimes is so hard to keep going and reach our goals, but once you accomplish that goal it’s the most amazing feeling. A study was done in New York recently where researchers asked people on the streets what their biggest regrets were. The people all had different things to say, but the one thing they all had in common was that they more so regretted things they DID NOT do rather than the things they did do. That says a lot. We need to seize every opportunity that comes our way, and if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, we need to make the opportunity for ourselves.  Sometimes the reason we don’t do something is because we lack confidence, or the time, money or even the strength to do it, but this is where perseverance comes in. Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio would have gotten where he is today by giving up? Acting is an extremely hard profession to be successful in, but these people persevered. They didn’t give up no matter how many rejections they got, and in the end they came out successful. Anything is possible if you have positive thinking and perseverance.

Lastly, is defining and reaching our full potential. We need to define for ourselves what our true potential looks like. We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and let life decide. We have the full power to make our future our own. In order to do this we have to have confidence in ourselves, be positive, set goals, and define our hopes and dreams. By doing so we will make a life for ourselves that is happy and successful. Having success doesn’t mean you have to have the biggest and best of everything. It means that you accomplished realistic goals that fit for you and your lifestyle. As long as you are happy with yourself and your results by the end of your journey, that is all that matters.

So put your life right now in perspective. See the good there is in every day, and realize life is what you make it. Persevere and set goals for yourself so you have no regrets in life. Reach your full potential by realizing what your hopes and dreams are. Doing these 3 things will help you find yourself and in the end hopefully make you the happiest you could ever be.

 

Helpful Links on how to be positive, persevere and reach full potential:

http://www.wikihow.com/Persevere

http://www.wikihow.com/Achieve-Your-Full-Potential

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Positive

Interesting Articles

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/survey-most-canadians-pretty-happy-see-whos-happiest/63052

http://aplus.com/a/clean-slate-blackboard-experiment

Acceptance

  

Acceptance. A word everyone loves, but yet can be the most hardest thing to achieve.
If you think about it, acceptance is so important and apparent in our everyday lives (or it needs to be apparent). We are born and welcomed by our society, our families, school, friends, jobs….it’s an endless cycle of life events where we all achieve and need acceptance in these areas. Sometimes it isn’t always easy; to get accepted into that top university, or feel like you’re accepted by the “cool crowd”, or by your boss; but we carry on and do our best to achieve this success.

What we don’t realize sometimes if the most important type of acceptance; self acceptance.

Many people go through hard times, making mistakes and regretting past decisions. Others deal with mental and physical illness where its hard for them to get out of bed, and you just ask “why me? Why do I have to deal with this?” You may feel like it’s only you and everyone else has it figured out, but that’s not true. People may not struggle in the same way, but they have their own troubles and worries where they ask the same question. People may seem happy on Facebook and post positive things, but research has shown people only appear to be happy and put together. In reality, they are human just like you. So the next time you get livid looking at how perfect everyone looks on Facebook while your life is a mess, realize they may feel just like you, and see it as a nice platform where peoples positivism shines through.(Read more on the facebook study here) 

http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/27/youre-not-alone-misery-has-more-company-than-you-think/

I recently read an amazing book called “The World We Have” by Thich Nhat Hanh and in the book they spoke of a Vietnamese nun that was that was diagnosed with terminal cancer and only had a few months left to live. Accepting her fate she went to a Buddhist temple to live out her final months. She miraculously recovered and lived a full cancer free life. How could that be? Hanh writes that she found peace by accepting her diagnosis…. “and with that peace you can sometimes continue to live.” It goes to show how important acceptance can be.

You have to tell yourself in the mirror and say (as my sisters best friend says) “I am fucking awesome” (excuse the language). You have to believe you are awesome, and own your mistakes problems and imperfections and learn from them. Use your struggles to help others, and find friends and activities that make you feel whole and productive. If you feel you need to work through some things and overcome some obstacles in your life, consult with your doctor or psychologist and find concrete ways to overcome your struggles. Acceptance comes from within, but doesn’t mean you can’t have love and support along the way. We may all be one person, and live life for us, but only we can help ourselves. Being mono doesn’t mean you do it alone. Talk to family, talk to friends, volunteer with a cause that is important to you. Do anything to get clarity on your situation, and it will help.

I myself have had a hard time accepting myself over the years. Everyone has always said I was sensitive,and I always thought of it negatively, but then I realized, being sensitive also helps me in a positive way, as I am very perceptive of others peoples feelings and am extremely empathetic and compassionate to those who struggle. I now just tell myself “there is nothing wrong with feeling this way”, “I am me and no one else”, “I cannot be someone I am not” “I’m going to take advantage of what life has given me”.”I’m going to accept me for me, and if people don’t like me, then they are not worth my time”. 

I’ve realized I am very compassionate to others, but not to myself…how strange. I think it’s time we all developed a little self compassion….let’s be nice to ourselves! 

It is also good to recognize when you are wrong, and learn from mistakes but you have to accept your mistakes, accept you are wrong and say “I will learn from this” That in itself is accepting yourself and making a change for the better.

Self Acceptance is key to feeling better and being able to overcome lifes challenges, especially if you have a mental or physical illness. Life isn’t fair sometimes, but if you think about it life ins’t fair for everyone, so in a way that is fair! We all go through it. The key to getting better mentally and physically is to accept your circumstance, and then move on and get the support and guidance you need to get better and succeed. Acceptance comes from you, and is a huge aspect to the mono lifestyle. Only you can do it. So why not today?

  
http://divorcedmoms.com/articles/acceptance-or-a-life-of-endless-suffering-