My journey on battling anxiety and becoming more self-aware
Hi, I am Fleur and I am one of the Directors of the My Possible Self App, September is self-awareness month and I wanted to talk about my journey on battling anxiety and becoming more self-aware.
My journey towards being self-aware started when I was suffering from mental health issues from the ages of 18-25. I feel these could have been prevented had I had access to some preventative tools. I suffered with anorexia which in turn lead to anxiety and depression. I knew something in my life had to change which led me to seek help through the form of counselling and psychotherapy. Such face to face therapies are not so readily available and it took a lot of time and effort and money to get me the help I needed.
The skills I learnt
The skills I learnt through different therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Positive Psychology etc. helped me to learn a great deal about myself and the way in which my mind works.
Not only did these sessions and therapies give me a better understanding of my mind and the complex way in which it works –it gave me the skills to change my thinking, thoughts and feelings. Before I had access to this skill set my mind was a maze. With some guidance I was able to navigate myself out of that maze by taking myself out of the situation, thinking logically and putting into practice my new found life skills.
I believe life is a journey and you are in charge of the direction in which you travel. Now don’t get me wrong this didn’t happen overnight, it took me the best part of 7 years to become as self-aware as I am now. It takes time and practice and most of all perseverance. This is something you have to do yourself; it is not something that someone can do for you.
Below are a few of my top tips to help you take the first steps to becoming more aware.
How to practice self-awareness
Gain awareness of your emotions
Listen to your heart as well as your head. If you are feeling anxious ask yourself ‘why am I feeling anxious?’ ‘Where am I?’ ‘Who am I with?’ Are your feelings logical or emotional?
For example when I was younger and I had an event to attend such as a birthday meal, before I went I would worry about things such as ‘what if no one talks to me?’ ‘what if there is nothing on the menu I feel comfortable eating?’ ‘What am I going to talk to people about?’ ‘What if people don’t like me?’
By changing my thinking and answering those questions logically ‘of course people will talk to me they invited me to the party’ and looking at the menu before I went so I knew exactly what I wanted beforehand, I helped to ease myself into situations with much less anxiety.
I used my skills to work out whether my feelings were rational or emotional and how I could overcome those feelings. I swapped negative feelings to positive ones. Have a go, can you think of something you don’t want to do and turn it into something you do?!
Track your feelings
Set yourself a challenge. Can you track your most positive and negative feelings over a period of 30 days?
Can you notice any patterns and triggers that are affecting your everyday life? Do you do something every day that you don’t enjoy? Do you have to do it? If you don’t, remove it from your life. If you do, try to put a positive spin on it.
Track different areas of your life – energy, diet, exercise – self-awareness doesn’t have to stop at emotions.
Focus on the areas you believe have the greatest impact on you
I have learnt over the years that if I don’t exercise whether it be a gentle stroll, a game of squash or a run by a reservoir then I can get lost in my own negative thoughts.
If you don’t already exercise try walking three days a week and track how it makes you feel. Do you notice a positive impact?
Do you drink a lot of alcohol to wind down from the everyday stresses of life? Does this affect your sleep? Does it affect your diet? Do they then affect your mental well-being?
I am launching the My Possible Self app to help people like me to learn to be more self-aware and take charge of their feelings. We have searched the World for the best mental health toolkits available for you and rolled them into one app, so you like me can take charge of your thoughts and feelings and change your life!!
Find out more at stage-www.mypossibleself.com