The Magic of Mindfulness // Get Outta Your Head

I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t always convinced on mindfulness. Before starting therapy, I didn’t think much of it and had judgements of people who practiced it, merely because it was different and I had no understanding of it. Things are much different now.

I was first introduced to the idea of meditation and mindfulness when I started attending therapy over a year ago. In my therapy, my therapist focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy to help with my anxiety. This means treating mental illnesses or anxieties with solutions, encouraging patients to challenge distorted realities and actively change destructive patterns of behavior. One of the solutions I was given was to practice more mindfulness.

I went searching for new ways to calm my mind and landed on Simple Habit – an app that gives you endless meditations for literally any possible life situation. There are several mindfulness apps on the big wide web, and it’s about finding the one that works best for you. This particular app just clicked with me and I started listening to the different meditations. It wasn’t until I was using it for a few months that I discovered one specific session that spoke to me most: Dealing With Failure. In that session, there was a meditation called “Shame” that had me repeat several mantras to myself, the very last being: I am good enough. Being good enough is a huge insecurity for me – and many others who suffer from mental illness – so being forced to say that to myself over and over was essential.

From that point on, this meditation became a lifesaver for my anxiety. The very first time I noticed that it saved me was when I had an anxiety attack at work. It was a particularly bad day, and I ended up having a terrible argument with a coworker where intense things were said, and that brought me right over the edge. I found myself in a fit of tears that I didn’t think I would recover from. It was then that I stopped, got up, and took a walk around the building. I took out my phone and started playing “Shame.” I repeated the words, brought myself back to reality, and went back inside.

Another example was more recently. I had a triggering conversation with a close friend where she called me out on my angry behavior since my breakup. I was defensive and hurt, so I escalated and personalized the situation. Once I got back to my car, I ended up having a full fledged anxiety attack in the parking lot. What did I do? Turned on Simple Habit. Just me and my mindfulness, blasting from the speakers of my car. To me, these aren’t just a few sentences strung together – it’s a form of magic.

With my newfound passion for mindfulness and all that it can bring, I’m honored to officially announce that I’m a brand ambassador for Outta! A Canadian based company with a message to get out of our heads and into our hearts, I just knew this brand was part of the sensitive, strong community that I’ve been so excited to know these past few months.

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Using their passion for fashion to show everyone that finding your purpose is possible, they are bringing mindfulness to the masses. I’m proud to be part of it. 

Even better? The products are all mindfully made too. Eco-friendly and they give back 10% of the proceeds to the mental health community.

If you need a daily reminder to get out of your head, use my code MINDFULERICA to get 10% of your purchase!

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What has mindfulness taught me?  Not just that I’m good enough, but that your thinking can be changed. Mental illness blurs my thoughts, making it hard to see reality  – meditation is just one way I arm my mind against anxiety.

A regular part of my self care routine now, mindfulness is not something you practice occasionally. You work at it every moment of every day. I have to play that “Shame” meditation over and over and over again until it becomes second nature to think:

I AM GOOD ENOUGH. 

 

 

 

How do you practice mindfulness with your mental illness? 

How Simple Habit Helps Me Slay Anxiety

I know I like to call myself really self aware when it comes to my anxiety, but I didn’t always used to be that way. Before I started the journey into therapy last June (almost a year ago – nuts!) I was thinking irrational, insecure thoughts and having trouble keeping the people in my life because of the intensity level of my anxiety. Once I got into my sessions and felt comfortable talking about my insecurities and coming to realizations, I began to want to know more about why I was the way I am.

I delved deep into self help books, podcasts, and also guided meditation. When I first thought of the idea of mediation, I was entirely too judgmental of it. I thought it wouldn’t help me, and I’m not capable of shutting off my brain for any length of time…but’s that’s not all it is. From exploring yoga, guided meditation at my old work, and different podcasts, I discovered Simple Habit. Donned the “Netflix of meditation,” this helpful app offers guided audio meditations anywhere from fifteen to five minutes long so that busy people can squeeze some tranquility into their daily lives – and anxious ones can have a vital resource.

I used Simple Habit for months before I made the leap into paying for the app. Unlocking the premium level allows you to listen to any of the meditations with specific scenarios such as having a tough day to happiness at work. None had such a profound effect on me as the “Dealing With Failure” meditation. The session, “Shame” is one that I turn to on my worst days of anxiety, stress and fear. The reason I do this is because within that session, the narrator, Quentin Finney, teaches you to approach failure with ease and compassion – rather than fear and insecurity. He does this through a guided meditation and the use of repeating six key affirmations that can be applied to any kind of anxiety or specific situation in your daily life. Whenever I’m feeling severely anxious or like I’m not good enough, I grab my phone, break open the Simple Habit app, and get outside for a walk and a guided meditation.

Here are the six key affirmations that continue to help me each day:

I am worthy of happiness

Say this to yourself over and over and over until it’s memorized in that anxious brain of yours. I’m very guilty of forgetting that I’m allowed to be happy. Sometimes we can get caught up in all the negative thoughts and personalizing, that we forget to just stop and enjoy the things and people we have as a constant in our lives. Cherish them and realize you’re worthy of happiness.

I am worthy of appreciation from myself and others

When someone gives you a compliment – don’t just shrug it off or say, “don’t lie.” Accept it because guess what? You’re worthy of someone appreciating you or your awesome style. Even more importantly, appreciate yourself! If you’re feeling your outfit, hair, face, ass, boobs – whatever, voice that to yourself. Or if you know you rocked an interview yesterday or nailed a presentation at work – celebrate the small victories!

I am worthy of forgiveness for my mistakes and i recognize that others are worthy of forgiveness for theirs

This is a tough one for most. Like most people with anxiety, I can be incredibly hard on myself. Making mistakes are shrouded in anxiety and insecurity for me. Whenever I slip up or do or say something wrong, I don’t just apologize – I think about it for entirely too long.

How could I be so stupid?
I’m the worst.
I’m not good enough.

These thoughts should be sweating they run through my mind so much. Ruminating on negative thoughts is just a common part of having anxiety, but it’s crucial to combat these thoughts with reality. That’s why this phrase is great – it forces your mind to think about what is real. You aren’t perfect, you make mistakes and that’s okay. And guess what? You can forgive others when they make mistakes too.

I am worthy of being seen and heard, my actions and voice have value

As a woman in the workplace, it’s so important to know this affirmation. For years, I was not aware of the idea that my thoughts and opinions mattered at work, or really in general. I wouldn’t speak up in meetings or in social situations because I would just think, “well they don’t care what I think.” I’m here to break it to you – they do care. Turns out your opinions have value and sometimes you can have an amazing idea that no one else has thought of, you just have to speak up!

I do not have to be perfect and i learn from situations that have outcomes other than what i anticipated

Personally, this one hits home. I’ve never really considered myself a perfectionist or a control freak of any kind, but my anxiety flares up when things change. I can get a plan into my head and when something diverts from that, my anxiety has a hard time dealing. More recently, I’ve been able to battle this specific part of my anxiety and it’s been incredibly rewarding.

I am good enough

Sing, rap, whistle, scream – SHOUT this from the rooftops because you will literally never say it enough. You are good enough. I am good enough. I was never told or didn’t tell myself this mega important affirmation so I’m making up for lost time. I listen to this session daily and repeat this last phrase to myself over and over until I feel it. Whether I’m driving to work in the morning or going to bed at night, it’s the best way to end or start a day.

UPDATE: I’m beyond proud to say that Simple Habit (being the fantastic and dedicated company they are) saw this post and reached out to me and now it’s officially featured on their blog, check it out: https://blog.simplehabitapp.com/2017/02/21/guest-blog-how-simple-habit-helps-me-overcome-my-anxiety/

This is how I battle my daily bouts – what tools do you use to slay anxiety? Tell me, I want to know!