Oh and be very careful about self-diagnosing these types of illnesses. Mental health is a complicated subject that requires a lot of training to make the correct judgment, so please seek confirmation from a professional before you decide to take on that kind of baggage. Sadness and fear, even on a regular basis, are normal human emotions. It’s only when they affect you in an abnormal way (which, again, needs a proper diagnosis) that you need to be concerned.
Okay, so some of you may have noticed I’ve been severely behind on updating my blog. Well, as it turns out, the solution I had in mind for anxiety didn’t pan out very well. I had gone through another bout of anxiety, lagged behind on my homework, and was left with virtually no time to put out another post. But I’m actually really happy I delayed it since I’ve gained so much valuable knowledge about anxiety since September.
When I initially started writing this entry, I had written about the success I was having with positive self-talk. At the time, I was extremely focused on repeating a single line to myself in order to stay motivated, and it was working for a good while. But see, once the idea had lost its novelty after a couple months, I wasn’t getting any kind of benefit from it. I did feel a sense of confidence I hadn’t felt in a long time, and it was making me more productive, but it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. What I’ve learned since then is that I need more than false confidence to drive me forward, and I think I may have come up with a more reliable way of coping with my emotions. I’m still using positive self-talk in order to combat negative thinking, but I’m doing so in a much less specific way.
For my most recent episode, I was unable to pull myself out of it, but I had managed to escape after two whole months of misery by focusing on the more crucial flaws with my mindset. I happened upon a simple, yet insightful comment on Quora that helped me ground my thoughts and properly outline my path to improvement. One of my key takeaways from this was to focus on what could happen rather than what has happened already. If your mind is stuck in the past and all you can do is think about is how much you haven’t accomplished, you won’t have much to look forward to. Additionally, you need to accept the problems you have in front of you and see them more as opportunities for growth rather than as barriers. If you can find a solution to the problem at hand, then you’ve exercised the part of your brain that solves problems. And if you can’t find a solution, then your accomplishments will be much more meaningful because you had to jump through extra hoops to succeed.
Another issue I’ve had the most difficulty with is blaming my problems on everything. I can’t get good sleep because of my noisy surroundings, I’m not losing weight because of all the sweets around the house, I can’t concentrate well because I’m under a lot of stress, I’m unhappy because I can’t afford to support my emotional needs, my life sucks because society sucks, my parents are the reason I’m not that smart, and so on and so forth. I was always thinking about how much crap I had working against me, and yet I never wanted to see myself as the source of my misfortune. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to preach personal responsibility or anything as mundane as that. I do understand that the human mind is easily susceptible to influence, and that we aren’t in full control of our decisions or circumstances. However, I do think there is something to be gained by taking ownership of your problems. What this does is take you out of a state of hopelessness and entrapment, and empowers you to pursue your goals further. When you decide to take life into your own hands, you can then mold it into something you want it to be.
Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned is to accept myself for who am. I am a nervous wreck. I freak out whenever I set out to do any kind of improvement. Having to make major life adjustments always puts me on edge. I will panic even as I’m handing in a homework assignment, terrified of how the professor will grade it. And my response to these dilemmas has been to either pretend the fear isn’t there, convince myself that I can’t keep living this way, or beat myself up when I let my nervousness get the better of me. But instead of just working against my anxiety, I decided it was time I started working alongside it and let it be. What I’ve come to understand since then is that fear hurts my motivation a lot more than it does my performance, so I don’t even need to acknowledge it as an obstacle. I eventually came to the conclusion that it’s better to focus on resolving issues that I have immediate control over rather than the ones I can’t do anything about. There is still chance I’ll be able to find a fix eventually, but I have no way of knowing what that is at this very moment. And you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that.
And to wrap things up, I’ll jot a few quick tips you may have heard about already, but are still important to know. There won’t always be an ideal time to get something done; do it anyways. Try to focus on what went right rather than the opposite. Don’t be afraid to work hard; working hard will generally give you advantage over others. Finish what you’ve started, even after it loses its novelty. Don’t ever feel discouraged if you can’t solve a problem in a timely manner.
So, did anyone miss me at all? Yeah, this one was a real doozy. I was putting myself through even more stress trying to find time for this blog during college, but I wound up having to wait until Winter break to finish writing this entry. Thankfully I won’t have any more classes to take until next year, so I’ll have all the time I need to keep this blog up and running… and to get caught up on all the dust I’ve let accumulate in my room and bathroom. Oh and I started my Japanese studies back up again yesterday too! I’ve been kinda behind on them up until now due to excessive stress (to the point of neck injury) and my scramble to get homework turned in on time, but I’m 50% sure I’ll be fine in the near future.
Next week’s topic will be on living a healthy lifestyle. Once you’re able to find proper coping methods, the next step toward building momentum is figuring out how to best optimize all the other factors that impact your brain’s performance.