Follow your feelings. Find your truth.

Here is the thing, I have anxiety. It is something I speak about regularly and as the movement to end the stigma surrounding mental health continues, I find it even more important to share my journey, struggles, and successes. We all need to know that there are others facing similar challenges. It is too easy to get caught up in a world of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat that allows us to only see fabulous lives and get stuck in comparison-land. In fact, I never even realized it was anxiety because I’ve lived with it for so long, I thought it was just normal and everyone felt like this. As I have been working on finding a greater connection to myself and taking better care of my mental health, I have become greater attuned with my anxiety. Rather, the (all too) rare moments of pure joy, ease, and mental peace have begun to highlight the anxiety present in every day life.

… Anxiety. That shit is real and has been deeply rooted in my being for as long as I can remember. In fact, I never even realized it was anxiety because I’ve lived with it for so long, I thought it was just normal and everyone felt like this. Nail biting, itchy skin, fidgeting, social anxiety… I didn’t have the language or understanding to know, that is not how it has to be.

As I have been working on finding a greater connection to myself and taking better care of my mental health, I have become better attuned with my anxiety. Rather, the (all too) rare moments of pure joy, ease, and mental peace have begun to highlight the anxiety present in every day.

I am a verbal emotional sorter-outer (yep, very technical jargon) and talking to my friends about my anxiety and overall mental health is generally how I feel better and work through my shit. We discuss the 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreats we’ve gone on, new ways of viewing our behaviors, how our feelings and thoughts have so much power when we allow our minds to freely react rather than observe and exploring our minds.

Lately, though, I have noticed that talking isn’t working quite as well as it used to. It feels more like ruminating and almost gets me more anxious. While cathartic, it hasn’t been as productive. Something that’s been supporting my healing and the mental peace process has been following my feelings. What I mean by that is, I either lay down or sit upright as if I were going to meditate or lay in Savasana. I then connect with what I am feeling, not thinking. Am I feeling sensations in my body? What are those? I name them and identify what feeling might be attached to that sensation. Tingling in my chest, excitement? Anxiety? Fear? Tense neck. Stress? Anger? And then go deeper. Why might I be feeling this way? What was the feeling that came before my present one? And travel backward for awhile in that manner. See where following the feeling leads you. You may be surprised.

Give it a try. It’s been an interesting journey for me and I’d love to hear if you try it!

xx

Heather

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