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Several months ago, I found myself in a fragile mental state. It seemed to be some sort of quarter life crisis that hit me like a ton of bricks. I kept asking myself “What am I doing with my life?” and came up with no answers. I felt sad, defeated, and hopeless…a loser.
To lift myself out of this dark place, I continued to remind myself of the power of positive thoughts. I acknowledged the good in my life, even small things like being able to buy groceries! I spent a lot of time with my best bud, Nino (my dog)…he always puts me in a happy place. Friends reaching out made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t a failure because at least people took the time to check on me.
I don’t want to land in that place ever again. Fortunately, I came to a couple realizations about what was burdening my pschye. So here are some things I’m doing to address those things and create more of a healthy, positive environment for myself.
So much about how we navigate the world is how realistic we are about the expectations we set for ourselves and the ones we assign to others. Setting unrealistic or false expectations is only a set up for our own disappointment.
I need to do better at not creating expectations for others that they have not agreed to. have a tendency to assume things should be a certain way and get frustrated when reality sets in and things are not the way I had hoped they would be. A daily example: if I allow myself to expect and accept that the subway trains are always late, then I won’t get frustrated that it’s late because I prepared myself for that.
How I’m doing this: Going to therapy. I need someone to help me better accept things as they are and not always as I want them to be.
I commonly find myself working nonstop to the point that I’m missing meals, workouts, social time, and the like. I won’t stop working, cause hard work is what separates the good from the great (a la Beyonce, Kobe, Serena), but I need to balance by managing my time better so that I can work more efficiently and let my brain rest more.
How I’m doing this: First, I will work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing ONLY the things that need to get done WHEN they need to get done, assigning time limits to do one task at a time. In other words, not taking 3 hours to casually do something that I can knock out in 30 minutes.
Next, I need to step away from my devices more often. I have much more mental clarity when I’m doing incredibly mundane tasks including but not limited to: washing dishes, walking to the train, riding the subway, and work meetings. When I unplug and allow my brain to rest, I end up more focused and productive.
Finally, I’m clearing out space to do things I LOVE by saying “no” to stuff I’m not excited by:
I read Russell Simmons book “Success Through Stillness” where he talks about how our brains need exercise the same way our bodies do. I had not thought about that before, but he’s right that we need to keep our brains “fit”.
How I’m doing this: Meditating is an effective way to strengthen mental capacity and reduce stress. I’m using this app to help with this.
Also, I’m going to read more (starting with Oprah’s favorite by Gary Zukav about spirituality “The Seat of the Soul”), and push myself harder during my workouts which develop mental toughness (plus, exercise improves circulation which pushes nutrients to our brains).
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