Anxiety

Anxiety, is a very sensitive subject with many.  It has a wide spectrum of its debilitating effects on those lives it touches.  It has been a hot topic item with those around me lately and so I wanted to shed my own light on it.

In my own personal experience anxiety stems from my own fears and insecurities.  For instance, when my boyfriend and I had our first summer together he had a week where he was gone to be a camp counselor.  Despite knowing how much he loved me this week apart caused me a large amount of anxiety.  Add to the fact he would be traveling with one of his camp counselor friends who was a female – enter self-doubt!  I had anxiety about the trip because I lacked confidence in the fact I was loved.  I had anxiety about the trip because of my own insecurities from my past relationships.  My boyfriend was not the cause of my anxiety; my past and my own self-doubt were.

When I can realize my anxiety, and recognize it is occurring I choose to take a good hard look at myself.  I ask myself why am I anxious?  What is causing this?  In doing so I might realize that it is because I am having to present in front of a huge group of people.  This makes me uncomfortable and is causing me to be anxious.  It may be the fact that I haven’t said what I truly have felt in my relationship with a friend or my boyfriend.  Holding in emotions can be a huge anxiety trigger for many because we keep our emotions in so we are not judged.

Anxiety also comes from our environment and from those people we surround ourselves with and the people we follow on social media.  I believe to a certain degree that everyone is empathic and can pick up on other people’s energy that surrounds them.  I know that I am empathic and am capable of being drawn in by the energies of those around me.  Have you ever been in a good mood and then encounter someone who is very stressed out?  Do you sometimes start to then feel stressed out and you don’t know what’s causing it? It is huge to recognize what is your own and what is not, I have had to ask myself some days is my anxiety my own or someone else’s?

I also make it a point to follow positive influences on social media or individual’s I feel bring value to my day to day.  As feelings of self-doubt cause anxiety for me I do my best to surround myself with individuals who are “real” in their posts.  What do I mean by “real”, I mean an individual who will post the good with the bad and can share even when they aren’t “perfectly posed” because let’s be honest real life isn’t like that.  Even in my own group of those I interact with daily I have those who I can reach out to when I am having anxiety.  They will then ask me the question of is it yours? If it isn’t let it go, if it is why are you having anxiety?

Being active in any way can curb anxiety whether you choose weightlifting, horseback riding, running, yoga, walking or any other form of activity.  There have been many studies conducted that physical activity helps with anxiety and depression.  I used to weight lift and currently my go to is Yoga, when the weather is nice in Maine running might be on my list.  My go to physical activity, especially when anxious, is not always the same.  It depends on what my body is craving, sometimes it’s a run or walk no matter the weather because I just need a change of scenery.  I will state though; my anxiety has never been helped by digging through social media or on my phone.

If I am unable to be physically active when I am having anxiety another practice I have put into place is being more thankful.  I will take a piece of paper, or in my planner, and write down what I am grateful for in that moment.  For this year I actually purchased a Five-Minute Journal that I write in every morning and every night.  If I have anxiety at any point in the day I remind myself of what I was thankful for that morning.

It is also okay to just take a day and sit with yourself and utilize these tools.  There are days where anxiety just breaks you down and gets overwhelming.  I had one such day when this occurred and it made me realize I needed help, I needed third party to talk to because talking to my family and boyfriend just wasn’t cutting it.  Sometimes that is what it takes and its ok to admit to needing to speak to someone.  It took me a while to recognize this, and that it was okay to see someone.  I bought into the fear that I would be judged for seeing a therapist and that those around me would be heavily concerned if I began seeing one.

Anxiety is real, it can be debilitating and frustrating.  My post again, is here to hopefully speak to you the reader in recognizing you are not alone.  If you follow my social media I try to be very honest and “real”.  There are many out there who also suffer silently with their anxiety and don’t have a fix but I hope that my post may help them in no longer being silent.

Family Matters

One thing I have learned is that your family is what you make it.  Yes, we all have blood relatives who are family, but then many have those who they are not blood related to that they consider family.  I have not only witnessed this within my own family but have witnessed it with others around me.  This is the family that I want to highlight at this time.

In a country that is ever growing and a culture that is ever changing it is not very often that you live on a street with your whole family any longer.  

Throughout my life most of my family has been at a distance.  Growing up my father’s family was the closest in proximity to my family; for the most part we all lived within 10 miles of one another.  My mom’s family lived, and still live, about an hour or so away.  As I got older much of my dad’s family moved away and my mom’s family stayed about the same distance.  This is understandable, people get older and opportunities happen, as a kid I didn’t understand and just felt like they all were choosing to leave us.  As an adult I see it differently and with social media it helps keep everyone in touch.  I would never ask them to change their decisions as it has benefited them all.  However, for this reason my family and I created our “other” family.

This other family is created of our closest friends, those people that have celebrated in our triumphs and been there for us when we’ve needed help.  My mom’s three best friends, have become like aunts to me.  I can call them at anytime and usually will call them just to vent if for some reason I want a different opinion other than my mom’s.  When I have exciting news I usually will call them shortly after I call my mother so she isn’t the one to tell them.  

My best friend’s family has welcomed me into their home many times and has even allowed me to seek solace there on the occasions I may need it.  I also know, that I can rely on them if I were to ever need help.  My sister’s boyfriend has become a brother to me, despite ragging on him all the time and all the crap my family has given him he has stood by my sister and my family without falter more times then I can count.  

I’ve seen this happen with friends of mine as well, those who have step parents or siblings.  Granted a marriage most often occurred to make them family but there’s a level of acceptance that must occur for the “family” title.  I’ve seen families created of solely friends, growing up one of my classmate’s mothers always called all of his friends her “children” and to this day still does.  She always welcomed his friends to their home and acted like a mom to anyone and everyone.  

As I’ve gotten older, and with my boyfriend’s graduate program, there are more individuals who have been introduced into my life who I consider to be family.  He and I have been lucky enough to have been included in friends-giving and Christmas parties, it humbles me when we are invited and considered to be what they call the “Pharmily”.  These are family members you end up choosing to be in your life and take part in it, they’re also the ones choosing you.

Family matters, family impacts you, but family is not solely made up of blood.  Those “other” family members are the one’s you choose to welcome into your life.  These are family members you end up choosing to be in your life and take part in it, they’re also the ones choosing you.  I love both my blood family and my “other” family as my life wouldn’t be complete without either.

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Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

No “Right Way”

One thing that has been abundant in my life lately is the there is not a “Right Way” to take care of yourself.  Yes, sure there are guidelines by many institutions and schools of thought on how someone should take care of themselves.  However, I am a firm believer in listening to your body and it’s needs.  Just because something works for one person does not mean that it will work for you.

I have two amazing friends that have branched out and started their own company called “The Thrive Effect”.  These two amazing human beings are battling autoimmune diseases with an holistic approach to their care.  They believe in not only what is put into your body (whole foods, balanced nutrients and vitamins) but your mental and emotional well-being too.  These girls are wonderful, kind, and caring human beings and I can not wait to see what they accomplish and learn from them.  They started this journey because western medicine was not what they wanted to fill their bodies with.  They are on little to no medication and work to thrive with their diseases.  Is every day a picnic in the park?  NOPE, but they listen to what their body is telling them.  If they need modern medicine, sure use it!  If they need a day of rest, they take it.  They are working to build a community around this mindset and it’s truly an amazing feat!

I, myself, have had my own life lessons.  I do not have an autoimmune disease but I work very hard to listen to my body.  I see a chiropractor and I have for 10+ years, I see my PCP once a year for a physical, and I also practice a holistic approach to my life.

I focus on eating foods that will fuel my body, give it nutrients.  I take nutritional supplements with the knowledge that I do not take in as much as I should or could.  I have cut out a lot of processed sugar from my diet and I have quite literally trained myself to want water, fruits, and veggies.  I very rarely binge eat anymore and if I do I have a portion and then most often don’t want it again for a six months to a year.

I am not saying The Thrive Effect girls or myself have it all put together.  We don’t, I know we don’t, but we listen to what our bodies need.  Am I saying that I deny myself if I want McDonald’s? Nope! Do I feel guilty if I want ice cream? Nope! I recognize that it’s okay and it’s not the “wrong way” to provide for my body if I enjoy those things.

I also make sure I try and take the time to recognize what is good for myself.  I was working out three times a week over the last six months, in the last few weeks not only did I start a new job but my school semester started and I am now taking two classes on top of full time work, blogging, family, and my relationship.  I know many people do this type or workload in varying degrees and sometimes much more. However, for myself the balance wasn’t there to work out.  I allowed myself to let it go and I am focusing on my yoga practice.

My yoga practice helps me unwind and let go of the stresses.  I didn’t feel the need to wake up early or throw in the time at the end of the day to complete a workout that would drain any energy I had left.  Yoga helps my body unwind, relax, and recharge for the next items to come.

My mom has always said “There is no right or wrong way, there is only the way that is best for you.”  As you finish reading this please take that thought with you, don’t think that what somebody else is doing is the right way and that you have to do it too.  Listen to your body, your wants and your needs.

The Thrive Effect:
Website: http://www.thrive-effect.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thethriveeffect
Instagram: @thethriveeffect

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Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com

Fear

Every corner I turn I feel as though this world is coming up with a new way for us to be fearful, uncertain, scared, and worried.  We live in a world where terrorists are active within our lives.  We have social media constantly reporting on events that are happening within our own country that we never thought we would see happen.  We have TV shows that people get so enthralled in with criminal activity and conspiracy that our brains begin to fear what we see.

Even if we take it down to just us, just ourselves as an individual can you look at yourself and state what you fear? What you are afraid of? I find when we say what we fear most it is almost always tied to the amount of control we have over it.  When you are afraid of losing the person you are in love with it is most often because they have their own free will, they have their own emotions, and you have no say what those may be.

I can say, after much soul searching, a lot of the fears or uncertainties that I have are because I have no control over them.

With my boyfriend, there have been many times when I have been afraid of “losing” him or uncertain of how strong our relationship is.  I have been afraid because despite him choosing me, and choosing our relationship on a daily basis there are days when I know I can be a handful, my choices or actions may not be the best; because of those I fear that he’ll turn around and one day say “Nope, I’m done”.  It is tough to face these fears and uncertainties with him because while we have been together he has been in graduate school the whole time which is its own monster.  One of my biggest uncertainties has been despite being together the whole time, things change when school is over, how do I know we are strong enough to go thru those next steps too?

Despite my fears he has always been there to comfort me and tell me there is nothing to be afraid of.  When we hiked Mt. Katahdin two years ago and we hiked along knife’s edge (the name is NOT misleading) he stayed by me the whole time.  While I crawled on all fours across it and cried he was there lending his hand and encouraging me and telling me I could do it.  His reassurance, support, and comfort have always put my fears and uncertainties to rest.  I will admit some help from my therapist never hurt. J

From these fears and uncertainties I have also determined a fear of letting go.  I am afraid and uncertain of letting go of control, letting go of the thoughts and emotions within the situation.

I fear heights because let’s face it, you fall you fall, there is no going back.  Even tied to a carabiner I’m not exactly the most comfortable, it’s why I’ve never gone skydiving.  Free falling thru air, even if in tandum, no thanks!  I have no control over it, all these factors in these two situations are entirely not controlled by me this causes me to be afraid.

When I cut off my hair last year I was afraid to show everyone.  I was afraid of the judgement, the comments, and to put myself out there. It is scary to put yourself out there for all to see because again you have no control over their thoughts, their reactions or responses. Tying it back to our relationships, have you been afraid to be honest or voice your concerns, thoughts, feelings, or opinion with your significant other, your parent/s, sibling/s or friend/s.  It’s scary to do so!

One of the biggest things I am afraid and uncertain about is death.  For the last..ten years or so I have gone thru some nights where my mind just spins, I think of death, I think of dying alone, I think of those around me dying.  My mind just keeps going to the point where I have broken down to tears and have had panic attacks.  My mind has kept me up well into the night with these thoughts.  It wasn’t until I started talking about this fear with my parents and having a discussion that I have begun to cope; I know it is a part of life, I understand it happens for all of us.  What is driving this fear is my lack of control over when, where, how, and with whom.

I bring fear up not to be negative, sad, or doubtful.  I bring it up because despite fear I work every day to acknowledge it and be happy. Am I perfect? Definitely not, there have been many days where I have let it rule, I break down and cry and feel lost.  I know I’m stronger then it but it can be consuming.  When we give into our fears we not only are afraid but we can become angry, nervous, sad, frustrated, uncertain, etc.

The difference that I have found is in acknowledging my fear.  If I acknowledge I am afraid, if I acknowledge WHY I am afraid, and state what I can or cannot do about it I am better able to handle it.  Again, this is not fool proof and works often but not always.  Sometimes your fear or uncertainty needs to be talked about and brought to light so that those who you care about and are in your life can be aware.  I also have a therapist that I see to discuss these with as well because these fears or uncertainties are sometimes best addressed with her.

I share all of this and put myself out there in a very public way all because I have spent a lot of time recently being afraid, uncertain and scared for many reasons that have been out of my control.  So, as I stated earlier I decided to share, be open and honest about some of my biggest fears.  Hopefully this will help not only just myself but others in their journey to let go of their fears and uncertainties.

Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com
#beyoufindyou
Instagram: @beyoufindyou

Your Influencers

You know you’ve heard it from the adults in your life, let’s just count an adult anyone your parents age or older.

The friends you have, the people you spend your time with, make you who you are.

They help mold your ideals, your thoughts, your morals. I have had my own experiences as well as witnessed people I grew up with influenced by people around them. Now, if you are reading this and saying to yourself “I’m not influenced by any one,” good for you!  I ask you to just keep reading anyway, or you can just stop here, it’s up to you I won’t be offended.

When we are kids your family is your influential group. My parents influenced me to enjoy classical music, especially Andrea Bocelli. My mother influenced me to enjoy cooking. My dad has had me on a computer since I can remember, so his influence has helped me to be fluent on a computer much earlier on than most.  My sister influenced my ideals of friendship and was my first friend.  I won’t say there weren’t times I wish I didn’t have a sister but more often than not I remember pointing out that she was my sister and being proud.  I wasn’t someone who disliked having a sister and was never ashamed to say she was mine. 

As I got older my friends also became influences on my life. They influenced me to swear, they influenced me to lie to my parents, which was never successful by the way. They influenced me to judge people, most of all judge myself.

I judged myself every morning, before I would let them judge me. I beat myself up before they could. I can pinpoint when I started to really have self-image issues in fifth grade. I had cut my hair incredibly short, so I got called “mushroom head,” at that age you think no big deal they’re just kids.  Those words though have lasted to this day, since then I have cut my hair just as short twice, until most recently.  While writing this over the last year, I cut my hair down to a pixie cut.  I had been debating it for a year and then decided Memorial Day weekend that I’d call my hairdresser and if she had an appointment that day I’d do it and guess what…SHE DID!  It was a HUGE change and with curly hair I looked entirely different from those other girls who had pixie cuts.  It has been a test of my self confidence and has been a whole new learning curve the whole time.  It took me almost twenty years to feel comfortable again in my own skin and with my own identity to cut all of my hair off.

Learning to love myself again “without” the hair that has defined me for so long has been thrilling and scary.

Throughout my life and especially during this phase of short hair, my self-confidence has wavered from okay to down right gross, always comparing myself to other girls. At one point, when I was younger I felt so gross, so low, so poorly about myself that I thought cutting myself would cause relief. It did not, but it happened because of media influences as well as the people I had around me.  I saw others around me handling their anger, sadness, and depression in that way and thought, “Why not try it?”.  After that I was incredibly ashamed and swore I would never do it again.  I realized that self harm, physical self harm, did nothing except hurt and gave me a physical reminder of the low point in my life.  Why would I want a reminder of that?  Why would I want a reminder of a really low point instead of having a reminder of something happy?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are many I know who have these scars and look at them as growing pains, they went thru something and made it out the other side.  

**In no way am I stating that self harm is okay or acceptable to deal with things that are going on in your life.**

I am merely acknowledging that it happens to many whether it be cutting, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders and any other type of harm one can cause to oneself.  I recognize it occurs as something that we feel we can “control” but many times I have seen where it ends up controlling someone.

As I’ve gotten older, I have begun to recognize and see when people influence my thoughts. In college, a few people I spent time with, were incredibly judgmental of others and I began judging people again. I felt gross when I did it, I knew it wasn’t right and I knew it wasn’t nice.  I didn’t like how I felt when I did it because again, I then began to judge myself.  I won’t lie, it’s sadly human nature to judge however, I now choose to fill my life with people who choose to be understanding and acknowledge no human being is perfect. I work very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and to not judge them on how they look, how they dress, how they talk, or how they act.  

People around us influence our thoughts, actions, and emotions in many different ways.  If you continue to fill your tribe, support system, group, friends etc. with people who are constantly in fear, doubt, shame, sadness, nervousness, and negativity most often that is what you begin to feel like.  If you surround yourself with people who admit their faults, honest, kind, happy, positive, accepting; you find yourself reflecting those things back and living your life a bit differently

As Thumper said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Try it, give yourself a month, look at your friends and see who has a good outlook on life versus the one’s who are a bit more negative. Try spending a week solely with the friends who have a good outlook, then spend a week with the friends who are a bit more down. How do you feel? What are your thoughts like? Are you happier with one over the other? If you can’t tell after a month give it a little longer.

You do not HAVE to do this, it’s food for thought. It is to get you to think, if you can change how you think about yourself by who you spend time around shouldn’t you try it?  If you’ve had your own experiences like this share them with me!

Instagram: @beyou_findyou
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Email: beyoufindyou@gmail.com