When Grief And Trauma Try To Break You Down, Let Them Break You Open

If there is one thing I could impart to you it would be this; when life becomes unbearable and all you want to do is close down and shut the world out, when grief and trauma do everything in their power to break you, let them break you open instead. Fight to stay cracked wide. Let it in, everything. You cannot imagine the bounty that is on the other side of the mountain. Our greatest lessons are in the shit. Our biggest blessings are on the other side of fear. There will be times, many of them, when you fail at this. And to that I say good. Do so spectacularly. Do it thoroughly and with conviction. The greatest warriors get beaten down and they get back up and they don’t hide their failures. They turn them into fuel and ferocity. They use it to stoke their fire until it is a blazing inferno.

So let it all pour in. Let it fill every bit of you until you could burst with it. Let it devour you whole. Let it light you ablaze and let it burn everything down. And when you are nothing but smoldering ruin, rise from the ashes like the phoenix you are. Reforged and battle born. You are tempered steel now. You have more bend in you than break. Life does indeed have the power to crush you, but only you get to decide to remain dust or be remade. I hope you choose transformation. I hope you choose the sacred alchemy of your soul. I hope you lean into all of it. I hope you learn just what kind of warrior lives in you. And should life grant us the gift of crossing paths, I hope to see a tempest looking out through your eyes.

How To Get Comfortable With The Way Things Are, Even When You Dislike It

Overcoming Pain And Suffering

Do not resist the pain. Allow it to be there. Surrender to the grief, despair, fear, loneliness, or whatever form the suffering takes. Witness it without labelling it mentally. Embrace it.

Eckhart Tolle

I want to ask you a series of questions, which I hope you are comfortable answering to yourself. First, how do you react when things don’t go your way? What emotions do you experience? Is it anger, anxiety, fear, or other negative emotions? What is your inner dialogue during these times? More importantly, how do you comfort yourself when you feel this way? It’s a given; life will not always go the way we expect. Unfortunate situations will arise and we must deal with circumstances we haven’t experienced before. This can be difficult because we fear we cannot handle what is taking place.

But that is only our initial reaction, and things are likely to change as we move into the unknown. Our negative emotions matter because they are important to assess what is taking place in our life. The key is to feel the fear and do it anyway, as author Susan Jeffers states in her self-titled book. For instance, psychologists talk about getting comfortable with discomfort and uncertainty. This is not as easy as it sounds unless you’re a Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Commando. These highly decorated special forces are known for operating in difficult environments and dealing with discomfort and uncertainty. But for many of us who are not trained like these individuals, inhabiting our discomfort zone can be frightening.

So, what is the purpose of being comfortable with how things are, even when we dislike it? It means we experience less stress, pain, and suffering because we accept life as it is instead of wishing the situation was different. In fact, it is something I see often in my coaching practice with individuals. Many of them experience pain and suffering and want to learn how to overcome it. They believe I will show them how to change the situation and are surprised to learn I help them change the way they look at it. Invariably, they learn to confront their pain and change their perception of what is taking place, which turns down the volume on their suffering.

How To Transcend Any Difficult Experience

I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.

Maya Angelou

Are you comfortable with this understanding so far? Could you entertain the idea that life’s circumstances are not the root cause of our pain and misery, but it is how we interpret them? Because if I were to take a population of people and expose them to a difficult situation, each person would interpret it differently. So, we either change the circumstances causing us pain or we change our response to it. This is the essence of what author Michael Singer captures in his latest book, Living Untethered: “One of the most amazing things you will ever realize is that the moment in front of you is not bothering you—you are bothering yourself about the moment in front of you. It’s not personal—you are making it personal.” Granted, sometimes, we cannot change our external conditions, and this is when we must change our response instead of internalizing the stress.

Let me be clear here and say this in no way underscores what is taking place in your life. So, if you are facing difficulties with your employer or intimate partner, it requires acknowledging your emotions. However, to suggest this person or condition is the only source of your suffering is unwise because there could be something within you triggering the pain. It is about walking a tightrope between balance and discomfort. Because stress can actually be helpful to our nervous system, but being exposed to too much stress tips us over the edge. To get comfortable with the way things are requires understanding our emotions instead of resisting them. In some respect, we must befriend our emotions.

Here, befriending means making time to listen to our emotions to understand what they are trying to convey. In most instances, negative emotions are protective parts we may have neglected. Therefore, when we come home to ourselves in an authentic and compassionate way, we open the door to healing and integration. We let go of judging what is taking place and consider the lessons contained within the experience. I often repeat this throughout my writing because I believe it to be true. Meaning is subjective, based on our level of awareness. Every person will attribute a different meaning to their circumstances. However, the lessons learned from our difficult experiences are what we ought to place a value on most.

So, could you do this? Could you allow yourself to get comfortable with the way things are right now, even if you don’t like it? Could you welcome your anxiety, anger, fear, and other difficult emotions? Are you willing to learn something true and authentic about yourself through these emotions? I assure you, when you decide to show up for yourself in an authentic and compassionate way, you transcend any difficult experience. In fact, you invite these powerful emotions to join with you in a way you never thought possible. I’ve gone through the process myself and welcomed anger, fear, hurt and judgment frequently. Moreover, I’ve coached hundreds of people to see how their difficulties contain opportunities for personal growth. It requires changing the way we look at things, instead of perceiving life through a single focus.

Considering this, I invite you to answer the questions I asked you in the opening paragraph. If you’ve been following my work, you will know I frequently ask questions through my work because there is tremendous value in self-enquiry. This is a powerful tool because you become your own therapist (healer) instead of relying on others to give you the answers. Equally, self-enquiry is not a replacement for therapy but a compliment to it. Furthermore, when you work through your problems on your own, it builds strength of character, self-belief, and self-esteem. This is the point of self-development: working through our problems to grow into the person required to overcome them. Ultimately, if we want to get comfortable with the way things are, it requires setting aside our beliefs on the way life should be and accepting circumstances as they are. As we do, we open the door to transformation and healing and allow life to show us who we need to become to transcend our pain and suffering.

What Is Self-Abandonment And How Can We Stop It?

Self-abandonment is something we develop as children, when we learn that to gain love and acceptance from other people, we have to put their needs before our own or suppress how we really feel so they don’t get mad at us. It’s a result of us not getting the love and care we needed as children, so we continue to ignore our needs and feelings as adults so we can survive because we were taught that being ourselves will get us more punishment than love. 

We start noticing our self-abandonment issues when we grow up and have a better understanding of who we are and what we want or how far we’re willing to go for others. We start realizing that we’re constantly suppressing our voice so others don’t get mad or we’re always doing things we don’t want just to please people. We learned how to bend and break because we didn’t learn healthier ways to communicate or set boundaries to get what we want. We think that to fit in and be liked, we have to avoid conflict and go the distance for those who wouldn’t do the same for us. 

We also never celebrate our successes because we don’t want to look ‘arrogant’ or that we’re boasting because we care too much about what people think, and we often diminish our accomplishments and discredit ourselves so that others don’t feel intimidated by us. We think that we’re not as important as others and that our accomplishments don’t mean anything. Self-abandonment goes hand in hand with self-criticism. We’re always over-critical of ourselves no matter what we achieve, but we cheer on others when they achieve anything. 

Because self-abandonment will always leave you feeling like you’re not good enough and what you do is never enough, you’ll constantly be second-guessing yourself and your choices or trusting others more than yourself.

To stop abandoning ourselves, we need to reprogram our childhood beliefs and instincts. We need to start listening more to our needs and feelings. We need to start paying attention to the red flags instead of ignoring them. We need to start having more courage to lose people or kick toxic people out of our lives. We need to be okay with saying no and asking for what we want and speaking up when things seem unfair. We need to stop being too forgiving or too accommodating when people are constantly taking advantage of us. We need to stand up for ourselves when people do us wrong and we need to set boundaries with those who always belittle us or disrespect us. 

And last but not least, we need to treat ourselves with the same kindness and compassion we selflessly extend to others. We need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. We need to love ourselves more so we can stop feeling guilty for getting what we want. We need to stop selling ourselves short and learn how to value ourselves regardless of the outcome. We need to get more in touch with who we are and embrace our emotions instead of abandoning ourselves anytime we’re faced with challenges or conflicts. 

We need to put ourselves first when people make us feel like we’re not good enough or they don’t treat us in a way that pleases us. If there’s anything we need to abandon, it’s the old beliefs and thoughts that made us feel unworthy of good things in life or healthy relationships. We need to abandon the idea that it’s too late to change who we are, because healing begins when we dare to change our old self-loathing habits and start embracing patterns that allow us to receive what we deserve. 

When You Feel Like You’re Falling, Trust That You Will Land

I see the struggle in your smile as you try to pull it together for me while it’s slowly falling apart for you. I see you being brave, putting one foot in front of the other day after day. I see how it’s difficult to go on when disappointment weighs heavy within you. But my dearest, I see you gather your strength to weather this season that life has brought you to, and this is what I want to say as you trudge along the road ahead of you.

Trust that you will land, my love.

Trust that after you’ve fallen into uncertainty, you will find your ground and you will learn to fly again. The fall may cause you to forget just who you are and what you are capable of. In these moments, I hope you remember two things: nothing you go through can change who you are and everything you go through will change who you are.

You are beautiful in your core and nothing can touch that. You’re feeling the heat of the fire you’re walking through right now. It will burn, but it will also refine. And you will come through, old and new.

Sometimes it takes a little forgetting who you are to remember all the things you wanted to be, to piece together the life you were meant to live. It takes a degree of discomfort, a nudge out of the nest, a freefall into a valley of your fears.

When you find yourself there, let these be the words that echo in your heart. Though the gravity of dejection may keep you low, you will find it within yourself to rise up yet again. Though clouds of uncertainty may overshadow your days, there will always be a light within you that will spark hope and promise over your days. And though your situation may grip you and cause you to feel stuck, the courage you possess will push you through.

Small movements will move you slowly towards where you are meant to be. And surely you will see there is nothing you cannot defeat. There is no race, my dearest, no finish line after which things will always feel certain. There is only steadying yourself each time you are shaken. Putting yourself back out there each time you feel beaten.

So, take a moment, my love; I see your pain in this process. But don’t let fear freeze you; take flight to places you’ve never been and trust that you will land.

Next Time You Get Stuck In A Negative Spiral, Do This

For most of us, we’ve had the unfortunate experience of being stuck in a circling vortex of negativity, self-doubt, frustration, and exhaustion. When caught in one of these spirals, it can feel impossible to break free.

Why is this?

One of the reasons could be that these feelings seem to compound on each other. Exhaustion can lead to negative thoughts. Thoughts such as “Why am I not good enough to do a thing?”, “Why can’t I keep up with my peers?”, “Can I do anything right?”, or “Why is this hard for me to do?”

These thoughts can deeply frustrate us, as we don’t want to be stuck thinking these things. These thoughts can also be heavy, stressful, or debilitating, thus exhausting us even more. You might see how a pattern can develop.

Another reason could be that we are innately programmed to give more attention to negative thoughts rather than positive ones. This is called Negativity Bias. As humans, we are inclined to attend to, learn from, and dwell on negative information more so than positive information. Negative events usually evoke a faster and more critical response. During our hunter-gatherer days, negative events posed a threat to our survival. They were burned into our brain so that we would learn from them.

So, how can we stop this spiral? How can we work against this Negativity Bias? How can we ultimately break this pattern once we are stuck in its cycling negative winds?  

I want to share three helpful tips that I’ve learned about in regards to working our way out of negative thinking spirals.

Let’s start.

1. Forgiving Yourself

Try to forgive yourself for spiralling. Forgiveness isn’t always easy. We might find shame and guilt present, wondering why it’s so hard for us to get out and see the brighter side. Try to hold yourself with love and self-compassion. As mentioned earlier, we’re working against thousands of years of mental conditioning. This is tough work. The fact that you’re here reading this shows you’ve already made the first and most pivotal steps. First, it shows that you are self-aware of your own negative thinking patterns. Second, it demonstrates you have a desire to change. Know that getting caught in these spirals is normal and is part of the human experience.  

2. Savoring the Positives

Since our brain is cognitively wired to focus more on negative thoughts, we have to work towards reprogramming it to focus on more positive thoughts. This requires turning short-term positive moments and feelings into long-term memories. Next time something positive happens in your life, try to savour it as much as possible! Stick with the moment or feeling for as long as you can. Savouring a moment could look like extending a hug with your friend for a few more seconds, journaling your feelings after a really awesome experience, or recalling moments in your life where you felt truly loved. Notice the sensations and feelings in your body. The more you’re able to practice savoring these positives, the easier you might find it gets to pull yourself out of a spiral. This is reprogramming in action. 

3. Challenging the Negatives

 The goal here is to question the validity of negative thoughts. Quite often these negative thoughts happen so fast and automatically that we just believe them. We don’t even think to question them. Challenging these thoughts can be tricky, as it requires you to narrow down on certain negative thoughts while they are coming up. Practice asking yourself the following questions:

· Are these thoughts respectful to you?

· Are they useful to you?

· Is there any evidence that supports this thought?

· What evidence do I have that disproves this thought?

· Have I ever faced this situation before? How did it turn out?

It’s no picnic getting caught in negative thinking spirals. Though it may feel hopeless escaping these gloom-ridden hurricanes, there are tools that can help us. Just remember to have patience and compassion for yourself as you start navigating these winds. You’ve got this! 

Read This When You Struggle With Being Vulnerable

Sometimes being vulnerable isn’t easy. And sometimes it isn’t easy being vulnerable with someone you love; there’s always the possibility of abandonment, heartache, and pain, and there’s always the possibility that the person you love is going to leave you, ignore you, or worse, reject you.

It’s hard to open up to others when you see how easy it is to keep things to yourself and to keep yourself as a closed book. Sometimes, I bet you wonder how easy it is to keep yourself from telling others about who you are. It can be so easy sometimes to not share what you’re feeling to others and especially being vulnerable with them too, and yet you sometimes forget that there are people out there that care about you too. 

In a lot of ways, telling someone how you feel or maybe how you felt in the past is like having your chest ripped open and exposed. It can feel so daunting and intimidating to open up to others about your insecurities, anxieties, and doubts when it’s such a momentous task and when you feel so much self-hatred towards yourself; how can this be good for your heart? How can you even express the amount of guilt and self-blame you feel to others when you feel such dark and heavy emotions towards yourself? 

Even scarier, how can you be so sure that they won’t hate you or dislike you for everything you are? How can you be certain when there’s the possibility that they might not actually like what they see or like what they hear; the endless possibility of being rejected—and worse, not loved—is always sitting in your chest and resting heavy on your lungs. 

It creeps up on you on some nights, keeping you awake from sleep and genuinely bothering you to the point where you are frustrated at yourself. There’s a quiet desperation inside of you that’s seeking love and care, and yet there’s also a silent feeling of anger, and you don’t even know who to direct it at. You hate it so much when it bothers you like this and when it gets to you so deeply because you hate having to feel such overwhelming emotions, especially at night. 

You can’t help but feel hate and anger at yourself for not being able to just tell someone what’s going on and how you feel. The endless blame and the endless hurt you feel just deepens the wounds, because being vulnerable with others has always been told to you as “the right thing to do.” The blame feels like it can only rest on you, because who can actually help you at this point, and who genuinely would want to? 

For some, it may be easier to tell others how they feel and open up about their experiences or traumatic events throughout their life. But for you, staying silent has always been your best option because it has kept you safe from hurt and you told yourself it was for the best and for your own protection. It was genuinely just easier to not say anything and to stay silent because you felt that it protected you from further hurt, blame, or the possibility of anger misdirected your way. And I hate the way you’ve collapsed into a ball of fear and shame; I genuinely can’t even begin to express how I hate seeing you hurt like this, and hurt for such a heart-breaking reason. 

In the past, you have never felt what most people have gotten to feel, and I know it’s particularly unfair for you; it’s so easy for some people to open up about their fears and secrets, and yet for you, it’s just something you can’t seem to do and it literally breaks your soul every time you try; sometimes, when I see you open up to others, you can’t even help but cry. That’s evidence of how long it’s been since you’ve reached out to someone who cared about you, and that’s how long you’ve had these thoughts sitting inside your chest letting it grow into deep wounds. 

You’ve never gotten to feel genuine connection, love, and care going your way and I hate this so much about you but you blame yourself for it; you think you’re the problem just because you can’t open up about your darkest thoughts. And sometimes, you become so self-destructive to the point where you think you are the only person in the world who could do this themselves, because at the end of the day, who else can you blame? 

I hate how you think you are alone in this. How have you never realized that being vulnerable requires strength and bravery, and guess what, you have it within you too; you have it within you to share the darkest parts of your mind and soul. And sharing parts of your story and even things that others do that hurt you can be hard, but look at the people who stay and surround you and listen to your words; look at the reward. Look towards the one person who has never left your side—me. Because truly, at the end of the day, I promise, opening up to others isn’t a burden for them, so it should never be and should never feel like blame directed towards you, or even the blame you direct towards yourself. 

Vulnerability encompasses the essence of feeling strong and brave, but that doesn’t mean feeling weak and fatigued and exhausted is not a part of the process. Just because you’re feeling scared or anxious doesn’t mean you aren’t strong and brave, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean you can’t share what’s going through your head at the moment or even right now. I can’t say it enough, I am just one person that’s not going to leave your side because of what you are willing to share, so don’t even hesitate or worry about it; you can open up to me and I can be your confidante, and let me share your thoughts, pains, and heavy burdens with you; we can uncover the deepest parts of your soul that you protect your hardest to guard. Because you’re guarding your heart too tightly and you’re only guarding it because of how others have treated you in the past, so please, just try something new and be strong, and please just let me in.   

Don’t be surprised, but people who give you the time of day and show affection and love towards you genuinely give a damn about you, and that may come as a shock; it may feel abnormal at first to be given so much attention and care, but what if it’s what you deserve at the end of the day? What if it’s what you can have even if you’re not too open with yourself, or even with your past? What if this is how a person can be fully loved and deeply cherished just for who they are, and what if you can have that? 

In some ways, you just have to try and openly express it. No one is ever going to openly hurt you or abandon you for who you are, and I promise, I am living proof that I am just one person who will stay right in your corner and by your side. Because all I’ve ever wanted was to help you uncover who you really are; the deepest and most vulnerable parts of yourself. All I’ve ever wanted was to uncover what you try so hard to protectively hide and help heal the broken parts of your soul because I love every single damn nice or dark thought that crosses your mind. All you have to do is be yourself with me, and whether you share those parts of yourself with me or not, I promise, that is enough for me.

Next Time Social Media Makes You Feel Like You’re Falling Behind, Read This

Fake it till ya make it.

These past few days have taught me that everyone is going through something. Now, whether it’s obvious or not is a very different story, especially on the world wide web.

Social media should be used as a platform of transparency, not just for posting our best days, because what’s real about that? Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of scrolling and had the uninvited envious thoughts creeping in, but what to do about it is the age-old question we all want to know.

I think we all feel a sense of urgency and competition, but what we fail to realize is that we’re not in competition with others but rather with ourselves. We fail to see small accomplishments (which to others may be huge) because we’re so focused on what else we could have (definitely a millennial problem).

Recently I’ve felt torn between so many paths and have been wondering how anyone can choose just one when there’s so much to see and do in the world, but I’ve realized we have to stop seeing huge life decisions as the end all be all. 

Here are the lessons social media should be teaching us:

Live in the now. What do you want in this moment? Where do you want to be? Try not to think past a few months. Take it one day at a time. The decision you make next week or next month is not final. It can be undone. Life unravels in the way it is supposed to.

Be thankful for what you have RIGHT NOW. So many of us fail to see this. We’re constantly too busy chasing what we don’t have that we forget what we do.

Age is just a number. This may be the most difficult of all, but squash the norm. So many of us are changing careers, moving abroad, or discovering passions we never knew we had. That’s okay. Go with it. Society won’t care.

Live your life to the fullest. The more time you spend overthinking and worrying about the logistics, the less time you have. Time flies, and it’s better to live without regrets.

So, the next time you go on an avid scrolling spree, think about what you don’t know or what you can’t see. Everyone has a story to tell and a struggle to be faced.

On Your Darkest Days, Read This Positive Affirmation

The word “affirmation” comes from the Latin word which means “to make firm,” and an affirmation is something to make our lives firmer, sturdier, stronger. Please feel free to read the following life affirming positive affirmation anytime, in good times, and in challenging times:

Since the moment that you were born, people have cared about you.

People cared about you before you were born as well.

Since the moment you are conceived, you have an indelible mark on the world, and the world will never be the same.

Every moment of your life you are impacting everyone and everything on the planet. And everyone and everything on the planet cherishes you. The planet wants you to be here. The planet is listening to your words, feeling your every movement, reacting lovingly to your every action. The planet wants the best for you. The planet wants you to have good experiences, the planet wants you to learn and grow, the planet wants you to thrive. The planet will catch you if you fall. The planet will understand if you make mistakes in earnest, the planet doesn’t want you to feel hurt.

You will never lose hope. You will never turn your back on the planet. You will never say or do anything wrong in a way that that planet cannot heal from. The planet will always heal.

The planet has given you so much. The planet has given you sunshine, clouds, rainbows, and snow. Sometimes there are natural disasters, but not only will the planet always heal, you will always heal as well.

The planet has given you a multitude of activities to offer you stimulation, enjoyment, and a way to communicate with other people. The planet seems full sometimes, but there are still buildings to build, and fashion to design, and art to create.

The planet has given you opportunities that don’t require anything physical, like singing, dancing, and meditation. You choose to participate, or not participate, but you don’t thwart the energy of the spirit of opportunities.

The planet has given you people who are tied to you, and then you make your own ties. You embrace ties.

You love the planet, and the planet loves you back.

This Is The Best Way To Overcome Your Stress And Anxiety (According To Science)

The vagus nerve is often overlooked as a potential means of lowering anxiety and stress. We have all heard that taking a walk or exercising is a great way to relieve feelings of worry or tension. We probably have experienced the positive results of taking a stroll near the ocean, enjoying the sights that only nature can provide. Such an activity promotes peace and well-being for many reasons, and one I would like to explore here is vagal nerve stimulation.

A look at the nervous system reveals just how amazing the human body is. It truly is a miracle in action. The nervous system relays information from the brain to the body and back again. One of the most important bidirectional nerves is the vagus nerve, which is the longest cranial nerve in the body. The word “vagus” comes from the Latin word “vaga” which means “to wander”. This nerve originates from the brain and wanders around the body affecting many major organs. It is a key component of the parasympathetic nervous system.  It controls involuntary processes such as heart rate, digestion, circulation, and breathing to name a few. Most of us have never even heard of this important nerve, much less how to stimulate it for our own mental and physical health benefit.

The sympathetic nervous system helps us respond to stressful situations by stimulating the “fight or flight” response. As a result of this response, our heart rates increase, blood pressure increases, and we may feel knots in our stomach. This response can be helpful if we are in real danger and we need to flee the situation immediately. Usually, however, we are not in actual physical danger and the prolonged stress response can be physically and mentally taxing.

Increasing vagal tone helps the parasympathetic nervous system recover after a stressful event, which provokes the “fight or flight” response in the body. It can help the body relax and return to a state of peace.

Regular exercise, such as walking, running, yoga, and weight lifting, contributes to healthy vagal tone. Other methods to stimulate the relaxation response are deep slow breathing, singing or chanting, gargling, laughing and socializing, massage, meditation, Omega-3 fatty acid intake (found in fish), probiotics, and exposure to cold. Group drumming is also a great activity that supports vagal tone.

When your vagal tone is high you can experience more positive emotions, greater heart rate variability, lower blood pressure, better digestion and clearer thinking. This can help you achieve better health overall.

So get outside for a walk. Drum, sing, hum and chant. What happens in the vagus, doesn’t stay in the vagus. And that, my friends, is a very good thing!

Sad Truths About Being An Adult With Anxiety

You’re going to grow familiar with the art of the apology.

And even if your apologies are genuine, some people aren’t going to forgive you. They’re going to hold the times you bailed against you, even if you had a good reason. Even if it was impossible for you to climb out of bed that day, let alone answer a text or meet up for dinner. Sometimes your anxiety is going to cause you to disappoint the people you never wanted to hurt, and even though it’s not your fault, it is your responsibility to deal with the aftermath, the hurt feelings, the guilt.

You have way more responsibilities as an adult, which could worsen your anxiety.

You might have hoped that your anxiety would go away once you were older and got used to living this way. But the older you get, the more you’re meant to do on your own. You can’t rely on your parents to make appointments for you or do the talking for you in social situations. You have to set your own schedule and advance your own career and hold your own conversations. Things might have actually gotten harder as the years have passed, but you can’t let that get you down. You have to remember that you’re taking on so much more today than you did yesterday. That’s why everything feels so overwhelming. You haven’t gone backwards. You’re simply taking on more.

You’re going to have to learn to hype yourself up.

When you’re younger, you might have people around who are going to encourage you to open up, who are going to push you to achieve your dreams, who are going to remind you that you have what it takes when you’re scared to leave your comfort zone. But when you’re older, you won’t always have someone around to hype you up, so you’re going to have to do it yourself. You’re going to have to remember that you’ve been in tough spots before and have made it through. And you can do it again. You might be scared, you might be shaking, but you have what it takes. You do.

You need to be gentle with yourself – but also brutal with yourself.

You need to learn to differentiate between the days when your anxiety is manageable and you can push through the pain – and the days when you genuinely need a mental health break and should stay home and rest. You need to be gentle with your mental health so you don’t burn out, but you also need to fulfill all of your responsibilities in order to survive. That means you need to figure out how to balance everything in a healthy yet productive way – and that takes time to learn. It takes trial and error.

You need to take it upon yourself to search for help.

When you were younger, you might not have realized you had anxiety. You might not have known why your heart was pounding so fast and your palms were getting so sweaty at the thought of certain tasks. But now that you’re older and know yourself better, you need to take better care of yourself. Whether you attend therapy, take medication, or simply download meditation apps and learn grounding exercises on your own, you need to do something to make your life easier. You need to treat your mental health as a priority, even when it’s inconvenient.