Practice what I teach?

A very humbling moment, I will try and show grace to myself. Whether it is from my books, my courses or the students I teach at school, I have loads of strategies to share in dealing with depression and anxiety.

After having to have sudden surgery, my anxiety reared its very large and powerful head. I gave it loads of power. I made it real. I listened to what it said and I remained in a perpetual state of panic. Sure, I had loads of pain and I had to go to the ER the night after surgery. Needless to say, it is very understandable why I was anxious.

I took it to another level.

I allowed the fear to consume me and grow. Every moment I was focused with a new anxiety driven thought, which caused my body to panic. It flipped from one concern to another growing larger and larger until I felt I couldn’t breathe. Like an accident victim, I was in a state of shock, had trauma for what happened/was happening and felt immense dread.

Having not been really practicing these tools lately, I went back to basics and tried all the strategies I know. I used mindful breathing, movement, healthy eating, affirmations, meditation, distraction. However, I still struggled with depression and anxiety-driven sensations and gut wrenching fear.

A week after surgery, I still battled the endless monkeybrain thoughts that filled me with dread. Every day there was a new fear or concern in my body. It got to the point where I felt I could not breathe. So I chose a couple of strategies I have used in the past.

Then I read an article.

It reminded me that in dealing with anxiety it is important to talk to it. See it, hear it and then say something like “I understand your fear about……but the doctor checked that out, all is going as planned and you’ve got this.” I was also reminded about tapping which is also very effective. I think, for the whole week, I was trying to deny the fear, ignore it and look to others for reassurance. This was a common pattern for me.

And then it hit me. The thought screamed at me “This is Coach and Critic!” I teach students social skills (Social Emotional Learning) and one of the things they learn is that we all have an inner coach and inner critic. We have the power/choice who to listen to. The realization stared me down and I realized WHY I teach this. Because it is the most important thing I need to learn.

I can be hard on myself and I can allow critic or fear to get the best of me. But if I see it, hear it and talk to it, like a coach, my body calms down and the fear dissipates. When the body has been through a shock, trauma is real. But with time, and using the strategies I know, it will pass.

I realized that I wanted to commit to showing myself more self care by using meditation and listening to my inner coach regularly. It’s easy to teach it. Practicing regularly is key. But as my inner coach would say “We all do that……no big deal, you’ve got this.”

In the month after the surgery, I had some other issues come up but my go-to book, You can Heal your Life with Louise Hay has always been a game changer for me. Every time I read the book, more layers are shed and more healing is done. To back up, over the past months I had become disillusioned. I was angry, bitter and frustrated. I allowed it to fester until it ended up in my body – thus the surgery. This is not to beat up on myself but to allow the situation to be what it was – an opportunity. So I dove into the book and did the excercises as suggested. Even when negative thoughts popped through, I continued to replace them with words of self approval. One day, after yet another setback, instead of moving into fear, I laughed. I believe this was the start of the shift.

Although struggles still came up, it is important to show grace. “I am doing my best and it is enought.” Wouldn’t you know – that is my most favorite affirmation I enjoy sharing with my students.

There is a lot going on the world. As an empath, if we allow ourselves to dive into the pain over and over, it can wear us down, make us feel afraid, hurt us. So I’ve gone back to basics, doing what I teach to others.

  • I show up every day.
  • I avoid (mostly) the news. I terminated my Twitter account 🙂
  • I talk to myself in the mirror and remind myself of my worth, love and approval.
  • I sing or say affirmations regularly.
  • I listen to my body and the messages it gives me. I do body scans (from my head to my feet) and release the pain and sadness that comes up (at each part of my body).
  • As a wise healer suggested, I am opening myself up to connecting more with others. I will be starting a MasterMind group online.
  • I continue daily exercising and brought back into my routine, daily meditation.
  • Throughout the day I do HeartMath (or Mindfulness activities). I think of something that makes me smile, I feel it and breathe it into my heart. (HeartMath is a research based program used for anxiety and depression).
  • I do regular Spiritual Mind Treatments (affirmative prayer).
  • I focus on all that I am grateful for (i.e. running water, heat, electricity, family, etc.)
  • I eat healthy foods that my body thrives on.

It’s a work in progress :). My wish for you is that good health, love, happiness and joy are abundantly plentiful in your life today and always.

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