I just learned something great today that I want to share because I would guess that everyone can identify with that feeling when you go to bed only to find your mind starts to spin, you can’t sleep and you get more and more sucked into negative thoughts….or in other words – anxiety. For […]
I just learned something great today that I want to share because I would guess that everyone can identify with that feeling when you go to bed only to find your mind starts to spin, you can’t sleep and you get more and more sucked into negative thoughts….or in other words – anxiety.
For some it is easily identified and linked to a particular stressor. New job, exams, moving house, big decision – those types of things that commonly trigger anxious feelings and often once the stress is gone so is the anxiety.
For many, including me, these waves of anxiety can hit without warning. And even if you can identify why they are happening if they are common or habitual it can be distressing.
Frustratingly you know that if you had these thoughts during the day you would likely be able to change them or dismiss them (simply telling negative thoughts to go away is often enough to banish them).
But at night it can be overwhelming. You so desperately want to sleep and think if you lie there long enough you will eventually nod off.
In the early, quiet hours of the morning you can feel very alone and vulnerable.
When this happen basically your brain cannot link or process your thoughts. Hence they spin around and you get sucked in. It is almost impossible to change them or dismiss them. And they seem to get out of control very quickly.
For me, the thoughts are often reflecting into the future. yep, that place you can nothing about!
After speaking to a very knowledgeable source on how I can manage my anxiety this is how he explained it:
The reason this happens is you are low on fuel.
He likened it a fire. You throw on a twig, you get a surge of flame but it burns away quickly to nothing. You throw on a log the fire is sustained for a much longer period.
Carbs, sugar and processed foods are the twigs. You get a surge of energy but it is not enough to sustain.
Butter is the log. Your body can process essential fats slowly and provide your brain the much needed fuel to sustain itself – and give you the power to process your thoughts at the end of the day. If you running on empty your body has to rely on adrenaline and you know how you feel when a surge of adrenaline hits. Not great for promoting sleep.
Another recommendation that I find works wonders and can bring my mind back ‘down’ to a relaxed state is brandy.
I am not talking about drinking to numb yourself – this method is tried and doesn’t work!!!!
I am talking medicinal purposes. Ask your Nan.
10mls of brandy, taken with some apple cider vinegar and water will instantly calm your whole body and mind. It is amazing. Clearness and peace.
If you are finding sleep is alluding you and anxious thoughts are taking over it is also good practice to cut down or out caffeine, sugar and processed foods. Eat plenty of fresh veg. But that’s good practice generally.
If anxiety is starting to become an issue take some time out to breathe. Spend a day being aware of your breathing – how many times are you holding your breath?
Pause at least every hour and do 4 breaths like this – breath in to a count of 4. Hold for 4. Breathe out for 4. Hold for 4. Repeat 4 times.
There are so many different styles of meditation. You can sit, lie or walk. You can chant, count, follow your breath. You can use words, music or silence. It’s just about finding one that you like.
Do what you can. But do some.
Even 5 minutes in the morning and night will impact you positively.
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you are too busy. Then you should sit for an hour. Old Zen adage.
Just move your body. Doesn’t have to be structured, on a timetable or something that requires a large investment in LuLu. Just move. Walk, dance, jump and wiggle.
If you have kids then you have no excuse not to wiggle. If you don’t have kids, well you have no excuse you just may want to do it privately.
Take a pen and note book to bed and try brain dumping all the thoughts and feeling you are having. Getting your thoughts out of your head – in an uncensored way – is so healing. It’s out.
And so many things are minimised once you have ‘said them out loud’.
If you know someone who suffers from anxiety – and the chances are you do – share this post.
Ask them if they are ok. Trust me it is a horrible, helpless feeling and often you feel as if you are the only person in the world who is feeling this way.
Lending an ear can often be enough to heal someone.
Please note if you are having severe anxiety issue you may need to seek professional help. And please let me reiterate that I am in no way shape or form encouraging the drinking of alcohol, if you think you may have a problem with alcohol please seek professional help.
The elusive search for happiness…what does it take to be happy?
A little while back I asked some 200 Facebook ‘friends’ what would make them happier….the answer…overwhelmingly was time and a close second money
So, time and money, it seems, are what an (albeit small) but fairly average (in the best possible way friends!) sample of Western society deem will make them happy.
And I too have been in the frame of mind of wanting more money…thinking this would solve my issues….and I definitely crave more free time. …perhaps to do all those things I want to do if I wasn’t out there trying to earn more money. Hmmmmm.
More often than not what I think will make me happy fails to hit the mark….but one thing I do know a lot more about, through trial and error – is what doesn’t make me happy. And perhaps that is as pertinent as thinking I know what will!
In my mid 20’s I was backpacking days around Australia. I settled in Broome, a small beautiful beach resort town in Western Australia, for about 3 months. I worked in a resort – housekeeping by morning, waiting tables by night. I wasn’t earning a lot of money but I had the best part of my days free. My home was a small tent; a sleeping bag & mattress, a gas stove, ‘Esky’ and not much else. Except time. I had very few possessions. I had no need to buy things. I had no desire to buy things.
There was no empty space to fill. Just empty space. I had time.
Admittedly, living in a tent eating packet pasta meals twice a day is not a long term life goal. But I do remember the freedom I felt of owning very little. Of having no distractions….and this was way before Smart phones….I read many, many books. And wrote. Doodled. Watched. Listened. It was perhaps the free-ist I have ever felt. Since childhood I guess.
What are your Core Desired Feelings?
And this is something I have always and still crave in my life. Freedom. It is one of my core desired feelings. To live in a way that allows me to feel free. As soon as I am in a situation that feels restrictive, claustrophobic or overwhelming I panic and a strong fight & flight response kicks in.
I know that I feel smothered when the house is full of ‘stuff’. I can’t stand clutter. I can’t bear the weight of it.
I am still learning what my CDF’s are. And how to live according to them. I know that rejecting conformity is not the ideal solution…I do still like wearing nice clothes, working, living in a nice house…! So for me it’s about working out how to take the best bits (for me and my family) of society and mix it in with what really makes my heart soar. To somehow strike the right balance between working, living, feeling free enough – and that doesn’t necessarily mean leaping on a plane at a moment’s notice (although that would be nice!) but could just as simply mean being able to attend a school event in the middle of the morning, say.
When Enough is Enough
What I do know is that enough is enough. I only need enough money to be able to live a comfortable life. Not extravagant. But not hard. Secure. But there still has to be enough tension to motivate me to keep earning and to be able to feel gratitude for what I have. To have enough food – my cupboards are often the barest of all the people I know! I buy largely just what we need and it’s mostly fresh stuff. I tend to buy things when I, actually and really, am lacking. I usually have just one or two ‘outfits’ that I wear on rotation for going out, exercise etc.
Through trial and error I know far more about what I don’t want. What doesn’t make me happy.
I recently accepted work that I had asked (the universe) for. I got exactly what I had requested; even though by the time it came it didn’t feel right…I was having to justify it to myself and those around me trying to find someone to tell me not to take it. I squirmed and fiddled about with it like a dress that doesn’t quite fit – no matter how much you want it to! And, strangely enough, as soon as I had made the commitment I regretted it.
I follow my head, made the sensible choice but ignored my heart. I made my choice based on what is considered ‘right’…..(in this instance I was chasing money) but in my heart I knew the compromise was too great. Because now I have no time.
What is Your Natural Default?
My natural and previous reaction to these scenarios is fall into the victim role fuelled by anger and fear. Why me; this is so unfair; I knew should/nt have done this etc. But I am taking this lesson to be a little more compassionate with myself. I have to try and still see that something good will come of it.
Maybe I will meet someone who will be integral to my business. Make a new friend. Find a great new coffee shop – whatever. There will almost certainly be something positive…even if it is further confirmation of what I don’t want in life and further strengthening of the lesson to listen to my intuition!
There are a couple of key factors I know contribute massively to my overall happiness levels. In short be present & be honest.
Being present can halt those moments where you find yourself saying ‘ah fuck it, I need / want / deserve this” and the thing you grab for is crappy food, new shoes that are way to expensive, the extra glass of wine that tips the scales…basically all the things that leave you feeling sorry afterwards. Catching yourself in those moments can give you the opportunity to take a higher path. To build your character. To move away from the sub-conscious habits and turn toward being the best version of you. Conscious and aware and making a choice
To be honest. Well, I find this one the hardest. Sometimes I don’t even realise I am not being honest…I don’t mean I am some sort of kleptomaniac (!!)it’s more about living your truth. So often I find myself doing something or saying words because I don’t want to make someone else feel bad or inconvenienced. Only to feel a little empty afterwards.
Because I wasn’t honest.
Unconscious acceptance. Which to say, what shit are you putting up with? Danielle LaPorte
There are so many times this happens, big and small. When you say you like someone’s new hairdo but really you aren’t sure. When you make a decision based on practical reasons but ignore what your heart is telling you. And slowly your light dims a little more. Of course there has to be kindness and diplomacy chucked in there too –be honest with love.
This one takes a lot of practice and awareness and often it seems so much easier just go with the flow. Say something that will provoke no reaction or will provoke approval and acceptance.. This mindset it is about the ego.
Serve the world the best you can by being YOU.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world” Ghandi
I think we all know this saying – and I think we all know it to be true…but I have to admit I have spent a lot of energy in my relationships (all, not just romantic) in the mindset that if they just did this or that everything would be much better/easier/ok.
And of course, nothing really changes.
And as it goes on the more I start to realise that I have to look at things a little differently.
And anyone who has fought, daily, with their child about getting dressed will know what I mean.
I started to think about the people around me. What makes them up? What is their recipe? Each has their own recipe of course, and each one needs different ingredients to bring out the best in them.
My eldest – headstrong, stubborn, smart, stroppy will act up when she has something going on or wants attention. I used to respond by not responding. Thinking that rewarding that behaviour would encourage it. But of course we have never got anywhere. She still acts like that and me responding with anger or silence does nothing to encourage her to act differently. And the worst thing is it just moves her a little further away from me each time.
Although it takes a lot of strength to respond differently to her, I am trying to remember to smile at her; to stop and give her a hug; or to start singing Elsa renditions – to which she will inevitably correct me on. Anything but yelling or anger or silence. If she is wanting attention and doesn’t know how to ask for it I will give it freely. That is her recipe and I know over time that if she gets enough love and attention from me she will need to rebel less. I can help her change her recipe to something a little sweeter.
My youngest is very different. She is much cuddlier and naturally joyful. She is very happy to sit and do nothing as long as I am doing it with her. Her recipe is simpler, easier to make. But again it takes some strength to remember that just sitting with her is important to her and to ignore the nag of things that need to be done….
I guess my children are somewhat easy to read. They are so open and happy to let on when everything is not ok for them! The adult relationships in my life, are not so open. Often, we ‘grown-ups’ are acting with motives and outcomes in mind. This makes it tough to read the recipe. It becomes a bit more trial and error. I’ll try this and see how it comes out….
But I guess the point is we try.
And don’t just give up because we have tried a few things and it isn’t producing what we expected it to.
And maybe, sometimes, we have accept that a recipe is one way and not another. Then we have to decide whether to embrace it and try to find something in ourselves that can complement it.
Or make a choice that, perhaps, while it was perfect for a time it is no longer good for us to consume daily……
What do you think? What recipes do those closest to you have? Can you see that when you add the right ingredients you get a much more positive result all round..?
We spent my first night in the ER last night. We had our first ride in an ambulance. Thankfully everything is fine. My littlest babe came down with a virus very quickly. I was worried, then after waking my eldest we all piled into the ambulance and off we went. Beth recovered pretty quickly during our ride and subsequent 3 1/2 wait in the hospital…to the point where she was entertaining the other ‘waitees’ while Emily and I held our eyes open with match sticks! At midnight we came home, had a cuppa and a crumpet – a real life mid night ‘feast’ and all collapsed into bed.
Thankfully we can talk it about it today as an adventure.
And I am so grateful that it turned out to be ‘nothing’.
To give us all a treat and to nourish us all I made these for breakfast. There was nothing left!
3 bananas, mashed
6 eggs, beaten
teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix in a bowl, heat some oil (coconut goes well) or butter in a fry pan and fry dollops of mixture til set/browned, flip and fry for a further min or so. (recipe inspired by AHealthyMum.com)
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tbsp raw cacoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rice malt syrup / honey / maple syrup.
pinch of salt
Add all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk over a medium heat til the mixture comes together and starts to thicken. Keep whisking the whole time. Pour into a jug. I like this sauce thick but you can simply add more c/milk to thin.Another option is to add a tbsp of peanut butter to thicken it up and add an extra boost of protein. (recipe inspired by IQuitSugar)
Serve on the pancakes with fresh berries.
This is nutritionally packed meal that is a yummy treat!! Eat and enjoy.
I often send the kids to school on this as it fills them up much more than toast!