Shifting Your Thoughts

I’m glad we got a hike in last week, this is a photo from that day, so beautiful. It has been so cold and snowy this week. I stayed inside! When it’s safe to travel again I want to go up in the mountains and play in the snow. I will need to research what kind of clothing and shoes to wear though. I’d love to go sledding down the designated sledding hill near here too. Whee!

Here’s the video I did tonight.

This is gonna sound weird, it’s strange to me too, but when I was younger I was not aware of my habitual thoughts and feelings. I stuffed them down, avoided them, and ignored them. I’d be anxious with racing thoughts, but outwardly I appeared calm and put together. I had habitual negative, self-loathing thoughts, and feelings. It’s like it was an automatic program that was running in the background.

I was anxious and depressed yet didn’t realize it. I focused on the external world and stayed distracted and busy. I tried to please everyone close to me to avoid drama because that’s what I’d learned in my life thus far, to try and stay out of trouble. The people I was around were unpredictable and volatile. I would self medicate with food and alcohol to numb/avoid the painful thoughts, feelings, and depression. I also had PTSD in the form of nightmares but didn’t know that’s what it was until later in my life.

I finally grew in awareness after I had our first child, plus nursing school helped me become more knowledgeable. I began educating myself and questioning everything. Then after I had a health scare I really dove in deep to figure it all out.

I discovered that I had a choice. I could choose to change the way I was thinking and that would improve my attitudes, perspectives, and feelings. I became mindful of what I was thinking, would pause and inquire if this was what I wanted. I asked if what I was thinking and feeling truly beneficial, was it valid and helpful? Could I possibly get creative and choose thoughts that were more empowering? Could I also let the thoughts go or swap them with a positive mantra?

I would also put my thoughts into perspective. Would this thing I’m worried about ever really happen? Is worrying about it helpful? Will this matter tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year? If it’s not important then why be anxious about it. I can choose to let go and use my energy more positively.

I read many books and practiced their teachings. I still do. I listened to things that were uplifting and helped me shift my habitual negative thoughts to positive, supportive, and empowering ones. I developed the habits of journaling and meditation/visualization. I explored and tried various approaches until something helped. I sought counseling a few times which was offered through employee health.

I took the initiative to do whatever I could to change my ways of being so that my life would be more peaceful, loving, productive, and enjoyable. I believe we all have the capacity to make these kinds of shifts in our lives.

I grew tired of feeling confused, frustrated, and stuck, so I did something about it and kept trying until I found methods that worked. I continue to keep at it because life is ever-flowing and changing, so I make adjustments accordingly.

With anxiety and depression there are practical ways that we can independently improve with. All it takes is awareness, willingness, education and practice. It’s also wise to seek help and support from loved ones, therapists and physicians if need be. If I had good insurance I certainly would take advantage of low cost therapy.

Michelle Miyagi
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