As mentionned in my previous post I have gone through a bit of a breakdown in the past year where I was feeling lost, like I did not belong in this world and was starting to go really dark in my mind. At the same time of probably going towards depression I was suffering from general anxiety disorder (GAD) where every day worry was taking over my life and my brain, I constantly felt like I was not enough and that any steps that I took could make the world fall down.
I was starting to have panic attacks, difficult times to breathe, hard to concentrate and joint/stomach pains. I was not being efficient at work and I definetely did not feel present in the moments of my life. That’s when I decided it was enough and that it was not a life that I wanted to live through. I had heard a lot of stories of people who had been suffering these things and I could see it affecting the people around me that I love.
For myself and for them, I did some research and tried a few things to get on the route to a better and healthier mind and can truly say I am starting to feel a lot better. I’m not in a hurry, everything takes time but I like being able to see a change and positivity before I share it with anyone!
I want to start with a disclaimer: I am not a professional and I am in no way saying these methods will work for you. These are the few steps that have helped me so far and that have created a real difference for me in the last year. I hope that these methods can also help you if you are going through a difficult time, yet everyone is different so listen to your body and your heart to know what is best for you!
- Meditation: a lot of people talk about meditation and I was not really understanding what was all the hype about it until today. I’ve been on and off of meditation for a year, I started because I could not focus on my studies and have recently started doing it as a daily morning practice. I have seen a real difference in the past month as I can control my mind a bit better in difficult situation and step back so I don’t over analyse everything and start to panic.
Meditation has helped me bring calmness to my mind and is a way for me to read my body when it tells me something without having my mind overreacting. I can also more easily take a step back and not concentrate on things that are not as important to my happiness.
- Listen to your body: As mentionned above, meditation helps me clear my mind to scan down my body to see if anything is wrong. I have started doing this to see if I am in need of certain vitamins or if certain foods make me feel wrong. Listening to your body language is key as everyone reacts differently yet the body is the one thing you can’t control. If you don’t tolerate a certain food group or skincare, your body will tell you and it’s important to pay attention to it! Your body will also be the one to tell you when it’s time to start moving or when you are feeling under the weather so always pay attention. If you follow Sarah’s Day on YouTube you will understand better this concept, she’s the queen of listening to your body – go check her out!
- Podcasts/YouTube: we often hear the top 5 people you surround yourself with impact your life. I think this is not only true for the people you physically see but the things that you hear and watch as well. I almost don’t watch TV anymore, I am mostly on YouTube to watch health and fitness bloggers as these are the ones that I want to look up to and relate with. I follow people like Sarah’s Day, Rochelle Fox and Annie Jaffrey as they have gone through difficulties in their lives and give very good tips on to how to listen to your body and mind and make yourself a priority. Sarah also does a podcast with her boyfriend called The.Health Code – I love it, full of good tips and motivation.
- Books/Research: You can find a lot of things online to help you analyse symptoms and understand your mind but sometimes I find it a bit difficult to find what is best trough all of it. I like reading health websites to understand what the food that you eat does to your body and how positively it can affect you. Mostly I started to read books to help me understand how the mind works and how we are related in this world. Two books that I’ve read and highly recommend are:
– The man who wanted to be happy by Laurent Gounelle: this book was the one that made me realize I was not living fully the life I was given, I was focusing on the negative things in life and not working towards a life that I wanted. Highly recommend this book, it is a fiction but takes real life events as examples proving that you choose how you react to things and these creates your reality.
– Overcoming worry and generalised anxiety disorder: this book is more if you think that worry is taking a bit too much space in your everyday life and that you’ve had some panic attacks. I haven’t read it to the end but always pick it up when I feel a bit overwhelmed as it helps bring your thoughts back together and realize when your worry is hypothetical rather than real.
Would you be interested in a longer list of books that help you connect to the world, positive mindsets and how different foods affect your body?
- Gratitude Jar: Last but not least, holding a gratitude jar has helped me focus more on the positive rather the negative in my life. We live in a world where people like to complain and it has become a norm to think negatively and notice the bad things. But what about focusing on the good? Every night before I go to bed I write something I am grateful for or something positive that has happened in my day and I put it in a jar. Like this I can externalize the positive and read them if I’m in need of a boost. It also feels good to see my glass jar fill up as it helps me see that I have a lot to be grateful for.
All of these tips are quite basic but can do such a difference in your life. What you focus your energy on as soon as you wake up leads your day. So if you wake up with a bad vibe, that will follow you throughout the day and this bad mood will also affect those around you. If you wake up with a smile, your body will immediately feel better as you produce that good energy through your body and it will help you focus on the positive throughout the day.
This takes quite a lot of practice and I had trouble setting it into my routine but once you realize that you give priority to the things that matter the most, your self care will find room into your schedule. I meditate before I leave to work, I make the time every morning to have my 10 minutes meditation without stress as I have set it as a ‘non-negotiable’ into my morning routine. Like Rochelle Fox has taught me, we never leave the house without brushing our teeth so why should we leave without taking care of our mind as we jump into the outside world?
Hope this can help some of you find a starting point to a healthier mind!
Lots of love,