“Your mind, emotions, and body are instruments and the way you align and tune them determines how well you play life.” ~Harbhajan Singh Yogi
The earliest memory of my anxiety was at ten years old in fifth grade.
I remember it so vividly because in middle school the bus came at 6:22am exactly in the morning.
Each night I would look at my Garfield clock and think, “If I fall asleep now, I’ll get five hours of sleep…. If I fall asleep now, I’ll get four hours of sleep… If I fall asleep now, I’ll get three hours of sleep…”…
“Lean into the discomfort of the work.” ~ Brené Brown
Anxiety was the core of my existence for decades.
When I look back at my life over that time, what comes to mind first is the constant tension in my chest, a knotted stomach, and a lump in my throat.
From the outside, my life looked great. I was college-educated, had a good job, was in a relationship; I lived in a nice place, had a decent car, and enough money to buy organic food and a gym membership.
But I was miserable.
Not only was I anxious all the …
“Freedom is taking control of the rudder of your life.” ~Yukito Kishiro
“What’s for dinner?” It’s a simple enough question. Yet it’s one that has made me lose my mind at my husband on more than one (or ten or twenty) occasions.
It’s not the question itself. It’s a valid question and one that needs an answer (at least by one of us).
A trigger of mine is being asked to answer a question when I’m already in the middle of something, feeling overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, or just sick of answering questions.
So then I snap and overreact.
I’ve come …
“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” ~Unknown
In my early twenties, I was a food and beverage manager at a nice hotel in Portland, Maine. About a month after I started working there, they hired our department director, a man twice my age whom I would report to.
At the end of his first week, we went out for a “get to know each other” drink at a loud and busy bar. As we drank and chatted, he was physically very close to me. I told myself it was because of the noise.
“Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted—it is an intimate date with yourself.” ~Paul TP Wong
I’ve found journaling is a polarizing activity. People love it or hate it. (If you are in the latter group, don’t worry, you’ll still get a lot out of this!) Personally, I’ve hit both ends of the spectrum at different points in my life.
I spent many years in a place of self-loathing. I truly believed I was just not blessed with being born a likable person. And this belief fueled decades of social anxiety, avoiding parties, coming up with lame excuses to …
“I don’t always make the best choices, but today I choose compassion over intolerance, sympathy over hatred, and love over fear.” ~LJ Vanier
It’s crazy to me now, to look back and realize how freaking hard I was on myself for decades.
Had I ever talked to anyone else the way I talked to myself, it would surely have left me friendless and jobless, and I definitely would have been kicked out of school.
Basically, I was a bully. Just to myself.
If I said something awkward, I called myself an idiot.
When I couldn’t find the motivation to …
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay
I dreamed of starting my own business for years. Ten years, exactly.
While there are a few reasons it took so long to take the plunge, procrastination is at the top of the list.
It’s hard work to change careers, uncomfortable to leave a steady paycheck, and nerve-wracking to think of failure.
Even after spending months and years learning, studying, and getting certified, when it was no longer a matter of having the skills, the uncertainty of success …
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
I spent way too much of my life worrying about what other people were thinking of me.
I couldn’t walk down the street without sucking in my gut for fear a stranger might have thought I looked fat (mind you, I did this even when I weighed 120 pounds!!)
Going to any social gathering—a Halloween party, networking event, craft fair, even a holiday family meal—was so stressful it felt like I had a bees’ nest in my chest.
“When solving problems, dig at the root instead of just hacking at the leaves.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
This is an account of my experience using marijuana as a device to help my anxiety, why I’m glad I had it, and why I no longer need it.
This story isn’t an advocation for or against smoking pot. It’s a story to shed some insight into how and why it helped certain ailments and my journey to lasting change without it.
How Smoking Pot Helped My Anxiety
For most of my life I was a closet anxiety sufferer.
That’s mostly because …
EDITOR’S NOTE: You can find a number of helpful coronavirus resources and all related Tiny Buddha articles here.
“Health is not just about what you’re eating. It’s also about what you’re thinking and saying.”
A virus is spreading across the globe. Schools are shut down. People are out of work. Grocery stores are empty.
Weddings, graduations, vacations, a day in court—canceled.
This is the ultimate test in emotional resilience.
Uncertainty is one of the main reasons we stress, along with a lack of control, and right now we’ve got it in truckloads. I’ve spent the last decade building my …
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our hearts, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Back in 2001, I was a freshman in college, and my saving grace from anxiety was a yoga class. More specifically, it was the most glorious of poses we call savasana that kept me sane.
For those unfamiliar, savasana—or corpse pose—is a pose of surrender and noticing thoughts and sensations without judgment, much like meditation. (It’s the pose that looks like everyone is just lying around napping.)
Back then, …
“You’re too fat to wear that tight shirt to the gym.”
“You’re not smart enough to take the lead on that project at work.”
“You’re definitely going to screw up the vacation plans.”
“You’re not good enough, cool enough, likable enough.”
If we talked like this to anyone, it would be considered bullying.
And yet we talk to ourselves like this all the time.
We talk to ourselves in a way we would never talk to people we care about. We take these words to heart and believe them as truth.
We turn these words into …
“Mindfulness is about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion for life, and your actions happen in accordance with that.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
I started meditating and practicing mindfulness more seriously several years ago incorporating it in to my daily routine, initially to help with my anxiety. My practice certainly helped me by leaps and bounds in overcoming my anxiety, but an unexpected side effect has been the impact it’s having on my marriage.
We’ve not been married long, and as many couples before us have experienced, getting accustomed to this new …
“The root of suffering is attachment.” ~The Buddha
Getting dumped a few weeks before my wedding was the most painful experience of my life to date, but how I came through it is the single proudest moment of my life.
When I met with his mother four years after the breakup, she said she’d felt so guilty over these past few years. “I loved you like a daughter, and he’s my son—I never want any of my children to feel that pain.”
I told her I was glad it happened, not for the fact that the breakup needed to …