Coping with Anxiety and Depression

The other day, my friend Madison asked people on Facebook about how people are coping with anxiety and depression in these insane times.

I posted a somewhat brief response, and read through the 46 comments to see if there were any common threads.

Faith, mental health support, finding activities, limiting news, baking, drinking, and connecting with others were all popular answers.

People also acknowledged they are still working through it, still struggling, still needing support.

I was really moved by the encouraging words people had for one another, so I asked Madison if she wouldn’t mind if I wrote about it, and she agreed– thank you 😉 .

This post really got me thinking because sometimes when life happens, especially in the way it has recently, it can feel seemingly impossible to pull yourself out of the pit.

Before I dig into that, I think it’s important to acknowledge this:

Life is 50% positive emotions and 50% negative emotions.

I know this because it is reality. And as Byron Katie says, “when we argue with reality we lose, but only 100% of the time.”

People think that because I’m a life coach that I go around telling people to be happy all the time. And while there certainly is enormous value in being positive, it is misaligned for times when real hard life happens.

Think about it for a second– do you WANT to be happy when someone dies or your child gets injured? No! You want to choose, in that moment, to have a feeling like sadness or fear.

This is clearly a time when emotions are running high, and people are growing weary of quarantining, face mask wearing, social isolation, and all the things, so I won’t tell you to be happy, instead I will tell you this…

  1. Allow the ugly feelings to surface.
  • Feel sad.
  • Feel bummed.
  • Feel lonely.
  • Feel whatever is coming up for you.

It’s ok. It’s totally normal.

When we allow feelings to emerge we can process them. Many people have a fear that if they sit in boredom or sadness that they will implode. You won’t. Or that they will be uncomfortable. You will. But being uncomfortable is okay. Nothing is wrong with being uncomfortable.

Let me say this again… nothing is wrong with being uncomfortable.

I reiterate this because discomfort was a feeling I used to deeply battle, and whenever I felt any uncomfortable feelings (loneliness, frustration, sadness) I would binge eat.

I got so good at coping with discomfort by binge eating, that as soon as an uncomfortable feeling emerged, I would automatically get a gnawing sensation within me that felt incessant– like I had to do something immediately– I had to silence it! And to bury the feeling, I would stuff it down with food until I literally felt sick.

Learning to allow uncomfortable feelings to surface without trying to bury them was the key for me in breaking my binge eating habit, and creating transformation in my own life, which is why I now help other women overcome their weight struggles in this area as well.

2. Focus on what you can control

Many people want to argue about what is happening right now as a right/wrong/should/shouldn’t situation. We want to blame someone or something right now, but all of “the things” happening right now are out of control for the large percentage of the population.

Instead of fuming about what you can’t control, focus 100% on what you CAN control. Our perspective is everything right now. You can be the victim, or you can be the victor– you get to chooose.

3. Manage Your Autoplay

If you’ve been telling yourself terrible thoughts over the last several months like:

  • This is the worst time of my life!
  • Things will never get better!
  • 2020 can suck it!
  • I can’t do anything right now!

Notice how you have been feeling.

Our thoughts create our reality, so (as I mentioned before), I’m not going to tell you to be happy, but notice that when the autoplay comes up, and your thoughts start looping on a negative track, that you have to intentionally shift your focus elsewhere if you want a different result.

Our brains like to avoid pain, seek pleasure, and be efficient, and if the story you’ve been telling yourself since March is that this is the worst year ever then you will take subconscious action to ensuring it is the worst year ever for you.

Instead, you can take this opportunity to notice when your brain offers you thoughts like “this is the worst year ever” to hit pause on the autoplay, and start a new track that sounds something like:

  • I’m going to take this opportunity to call an old friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time.
  • This is a good time for me to start on that great business idea I’ve had.
  • Since I don’t have to commute to work anymore, I can start going for a walk and cook healthy food.

See what I mean?

We all get to choose how we are being in this time.

We all get to create the results we want.

So let me ask you this?

What is the reality you want to create now?

Whatever you want– it’s waiting for you.

You just have to consciously choose it– on purpose.

If you’re curious about going deeper with this work, set up a free 30 minute solution session with me, by clicking here.

30 Days of Gratitude

Our brains love to have something to focus on. Believe it or not, our brains like to work– to have a job. For the last two months, the job our brains have been doing a lot of work processing information about a virus we don’t know a lot about. Every day there is something new, so we have been glued to live updates to learn more. This is our brains new job- learn the things, stay safe, don’t die. Got it.

While I am with you in this, I think we can do better. He’s how.

If we create more of whatever we focus on, when we spend all of our energy focusing on the pandemic, we create more thoughts and feelings about the pandemic.

Thoughts like “this is the end!;” “who is getting it next?;” “am I going to die?”

Guess what these thoughts create? FEAR! TERROR! ANXIETY!

Instead, I wanted to offer your brain a new job. For the next 30 days starting today (April 4th), join me for 30 days of Gratitude. This means that if you are in the bay area, where we are sheltering–in-place. Each day between now and the end of the order (May 3rd), you will have an opportunity to find something you are grateful for. Think of it as your Gratitude-in-Place order instead.

When we focus on gratitude, we bring more amazing feelings into the world. Feelings like LOVE! COMPASSION! GENEROSITY!

Each day, I will post one of the prompts from the Gratitude Challenge, and share with you what I am grateful for. I offer this because the more we can focus on what we are grateful for, the more gratitude we will share with the world.

I invite you to join me on this journey, and share it with your friends as well.

Let’s see if we can not only shelter-in-place, but Gratitude-In-Place as well.

What to do When Your World Feels Like it’s Spinning out of Control.

Do you ever feel like when a few things are out of your control that it’s easy to let EVERYTHING feel like it’s out of control?

My hand is raised!

As soon as I heard that a shelter-in-place warning was issued, I had a sudden urge to eat ALL OF THE FOOD.

I thought things like:

  • This is the end.
  • I have to get it now while it’s still here.
  • There may never be X again. And when I say x, of course I mean fro yo.

So what did I do when I heard that I would be confined to nowhere but my home for the next two weeks? I did what every other human in the world did, ran to my favorite shop and got a frozen yogurt the size of my head… and I ate it.

Then I got home and started thinking about how I want to be in this situation.

I realized that I may not have control over the government, or orders to stay in one place or the other, but I can sure as hell control what I put in my mouth, what I choose to focus on, how I nourish my mind, and how I use my body.

I decided that instead of freaking out and spinning on all the negative thoughts I just listed above, I would instead to decide to choose calm and balance in this time.

For so many people, times like these feel like all or nothing. We think that because we can’t have access to gyms, or because we can’t get the brand of almond milk we are used to that we may as throw the baby out with the bathwater.

But what if instead we focused on all we DO have access to:

  • Fresh air
  • Clean Water
  • YouTube videos with home workouts
  • Free meditation apps (I use insight timer)
  • A hair brush and shower (don’t let working from home bring out your funk 😉
  • Pen and paper to write a letter to a friend or relative

What if we focused our time on what we can accomplish?

What if we started actually doing things on our to-do list?

If you are spinning, then I encourage you to stop right now and ask yourself this question, “what is 100% within my control today?”

Now write down your answers and make a list of everything you CAN do!

Changing your thinking changes everything, my friends.

If you’d like to schedule a free 30 minute solution session with me to discover how you can get back in control, click here to access my personal calendar.