The other night I had a flare. I think it was a combination of overdoing things and having a weaker immune system at the moment.
I immediately started to freak out. I started to worry about my future and how every time I get a setback I feel further from the life ‘I want’.
But at times set backs are unavoidable. We didn’t choose this life.
How to build mental strength
I’ve been practising detaching from my negative thoughts and worries about the future and learning to trust again.
When I was at my worst and bed-bound, although I was my most physically weak, I was probably my most mentally strong.
I noticed every time I got upset it would make me feel worse so I learnt that my energy was better spent elsewhere… in healing. I learnt to wire my brain so that every thought I had about worry of the future was greeted with “it will be okay. I can’t control what will happen in the future, I can only focus on now”
But it’s a process…
This thinking has also landed me in trouble. I would try to make the most of the “now” and push myself in the hopes things might happen in my life sooner. But it’s a process. The best most everlasting change is when we work at it over time and it instils within us.
I’m still working on this. I’m still struggling and failing but I’m also succeeding and making progress. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive.
When I think too far ahead into my future and begin to worry about finishing my degree, entering post-grad studies, finding a job that will provide for me, moving out of home etc. – thinking about all these things starts to make me anxious.
You can only try your best: don’t forget to be kind to yourself
The truth is I’m trying my best right now. If anyone I knew was in this position I would be encouraging them to see what they’ve achieved already and celebrate it.
It’s natural that we’re nicer to others than we are to ourselves but I’m getting sick of beating myself up over things I can’t control. I know I’m diligent and that I try hard – so there’s no reason to beat myself up about these things and neither should you.
We’re doing our best. We’re all on different paths. These paths may change over time and end up somewhere completely different – I know this is true for me.
Pause and thank yourself
Take a deep breath, remind yourself you’re doing your best and that’s more than enough. We can’t possibly compete with the unknown future, simply because it is unknown. It’s not worth our energy and time now.
Things that help when you feel overwhelmed by worries of life or the future:
‘Meditation with Movement’
I would suggest meditation because this helps for a lot of people but I often struggle with meditation. I feel I need to be fully out of my head before entering into a meditation – so I suggest maybe try some of these activities first – I call them my meditation with movement.
Get out of your mind to get present.
- Sit in the sun,
- Draw or Craft,
- Listen to an audiobook,
- Go for a walk,
- Hug your pet,
- Make a cup of tea,
- Bake something,
- Listen to music,
- Try restorative or yin yoga.
Talk to someone. Or if you can’t, talk to yourself.
I write my thoughts out in my journal. I don’t change them I let them flow out onto the page. Don’t judge them, just write.
When I go back to reflect on them I usually start to realise how hurtful and unnecessary they are for me. But it’s important to acknowledge them all instead of pushing them down and shutting them out.
The future is unknown, we can’t compete with it or it’s endless paths right now. We only have power in the present – try not to waste your precious energy worrying and direct this energy into healing.
It’s a long road, but we will all get there eventually. Whoever you are reading this, I have faith in you. I believe in your strength and power.
All my love,