Why is it that when we’ve worked hard to get life feeling good again, we suddenly get cocky with our serotonin levels and think that we can drop the healthy routines and coping mechanisms? Oh. My. God. When will I ever learn?!
We all do it though, even if it isn’t to do with coping mechanisms, if it’s just general habits that make you feel good; getting up earlier than normal, making time for exercise, eating better, trying new things... It lasts for a while and then for many of us, we stop and go back to our old ways.
It’s that little voice inside us that raises doubts about doing what makes us feel good. Sometimes, without realising it, we feel safe in our bad habits or poor mental states, they feel familiar, and familiar feels safe. But if you want to feel better, you have to make changes, and change is rarely comfortable. Our thoughts will try to trick us into staying in our comfort zones, even at the detriment of our mental health. But remember that you are not your thoughts. Your thoughts run wild 24/7, I mean they literally never stop, they are erratic and go off to places that might even leave you feeling ashamed. Your thoughts become automatic, almost like a separate (crazy) person is living in your head with you. Pay attention to who is truly creating the thoughts and what emotions they are stemming from.
I have been gearing up towards publishing my blog publicly for a week or so now, and I was hoping that today would be the day, I was feeling pretty good and excited about it yesterday evening, and now today, after letting that little bastard voice in my head talk to me freely all day, I’m full of doubt and fear. It's like my inner voice is terrified of this new found confidence to succeed. It tells me I should just abandon the entire thing. If I take control and delete it myself, then I can’t fail, says the self-sabotaging voice.
But those thoughts are arising from emotions of fear, I know I don't want to give up. 100% I have to acknowledge that the fear is there, but I’
m trying not to get attached to the thoughts that it creates. I was never able to do this before, but I recently read a book recommended to me by a friend, called Good vibes, Good Life by Vex King, and it has opened my eyes to the power of our thoughts and the importance of being aware of the energy we give to them. It’s a great book, short and easy to read. (Good dating profile description there, short and easy to read, enjoys walks on the beach and salsa classes)
It can be really hard being a human. I don’t think we acknowledge this enough. To be a species that thinks and feels so incredibly intensely, we expect so much from ourselves and are often reluctant to cut ourselves any slack. I find the psychology behind why we do what we do so mind-blowing. It’s like we’re biologically set up to fail. I think one of the biggest things we can do for ourselves is to gently observe. Observe our actions, thoughts, feelings, all without judgement. I’ve found it really beneficial, especially when I'm feeling overwhelmed, to take a step bac
k, breathe and just watch what’s going on. Check out the Calm app which is perfect for doing this with.
I love to write things down too, it’s amazing how you can start to link things together and identify patterns in your life when you’re able to see it laid down in front of you. I hate that journaling is something I tend to only see mentioned by other women. Maybe that’s because diaries seemed to only ever be aimed at girls when growing up. I can remember so many TV shows where the brothers were trying to break into the sisters’ diaries, or adverts for pink flurry diaries with locks in the shape of a heart (guilty – definitely had one) But we all have mental health to look after, whether we’re male, female, non-binary, transgender, we’re all the same species, we’re all human and we all know how hard that can be. We all deserve to write our own thoughts down without feeling judged for goodness sake. For goodness’s sake? For goodness, sake?
In conclusion, (last paragraph should always wrap things up, thank you year 10 English, Mrs Anderson) go easy on yourself. Our brains are hardwired to protect us and there are so many reasons that we avoid doing the things that make us feel good or help us towards reaching our goals. Maybe just trying recognise when we are holding ourselves back is enough of a start? Then if you’re feeling frisky you can delve into the big one... Why? I’m going to link a great article below about types of self-sabotage, reasons behind them, how to recognise it and how to rise above it.
If anyone is curious, the things I have been avoiding recently have been reading, journaling and meditating. I feel so good after doing these 3 things, but most of the time, scrolling on my phone is easier. Next week I’m going to focus on reducing my screen time and getting back into my mourning routine of journaling and meditating (keeping the grammatical error in there), and picking up my neglected kindle to finish the 4 books that each have 5% left to read. I get so lazy at the end of books, bad habit I know.
In the words of Catholic priests all over the world, mass has now ended, go out to love and serve the Lord (your mental health) in peace.
Image credit: @hannahhillam