How do you start your self help journey? Here are two ‘gamechangers’!
It’s funny when you get into this ‘self help’ journey. No one knows how to really start.. especially as a young male, it’s very hard to talk about it.
The very first step to your self help jouney is courage.
It took me a while to realise that only I could help me. That sounds arrogant but that’s not what I mean. I mean the pure fact that it’s up to you to admit that you need help. It’s actually a very daunting thing to realise you’re in a rut, and you need to take actionable steps to get out of it. Whether that may be from a professional, a friend, a loved one or even just taking a look in the mirror.
From there it is unbelievable how many different avenues you can take. I’m going to use the similarity to physical fitness.
So if I want to lose a few kgs, I may decide to start to do some light jogging. Or for more intense muscle building might need some weights. To me this is very very similar to training your mind. And you will hear it time and time again.
To conquer your mind is to conquer the world..
The ‘Game Changers’
It was incredible when I stumbled upon my first podcast.
My very first podcast was listening to Jay Shetty – who was discussing how to deal with ‘challenging’ times. Why this was such an eye opening experience is that it showed me, that I was not alone.
It’s such a eureka moment when you realise – it’s ok to feel not ok. It’s an incredibly empowering feeling.
I feel this is a great starting point to re-frame a lot of things you’re feeling. It will give you a lot of quick tips and life hacks. For instance, listening to Jay – he taught me the importance of journaling and writing things down. It’s incredible when you’re upset in the moment your mind will make it seem a lot more acute or situational than what it really is.
On a completely different note. Listen to what interests you. I listen to Reid Hoffman, a prominent business person who talks about how successful executives started some of the most amazing ventures. And more importantly how they learned and grew from failure.
Even when something isn’t directly related to self help, doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful to your journey.
For me, I always heard meditation helps slow things down. Let’s stop there for a second. Why do we want to slow things down when we’re in pain? That’s what I thought.
Meditation has the power to do two things:
The first, learn to become comfortable with your feelings.
When you’re someone who feels anxious, or anger or even paranoia, it stems from two key feelings – powerlessness or uncertainty. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there are two things that are certain in life – death and uncertainty.
So if we can’t control this, why do we stress about it? It’s because we often feel the need to create and believe our own narratives.
Our minds will constantly tell us and validate what we think – despite how irrational it may be. Have you ever thought someone is talking about you. You see their lips murmur, and you tell yourself he is..I know he is.. but more often than not, this is us convincing us.
Meditation can help us slow down, understand what we feel and why we feel it. What insecurity or stress is driving you? What situation is causing this. For me, I take this one step further – if we can be comfortable with the feelings in the ‘worst case’ situation, why should be anxious?
For example, suppose you’re stressed about your relationship. The first thing people would feel is maybe anger or frustration – how could someone we love do this to us! Next we may stress about all the mistakes we made, and how poorly we may have handled the situation. Then we get into this endless cycle of stressing about one side of the curve or another.
In the alternative, with meditation, we might be able to breath through the initial shock. We might be able to settle through the anxiety, until we can reach to the biggest question, why are we hurt? What bothered you? Is there something deeper? This helps you understand why things have bothered you, so you can more insightful and productive conversation.
The second, meditation can give you a break and help you get peace.
For quite some time I struggled to get through an entire night without having a bad dream or I would have moments where I would myself getting extremely ‘emotionally exhausted. Meditation helps tune out the stress, tackle anxiety and overcome negativity.
I find the best way to start the day is a 15 minute session and at night I find the best time to meditate is 30 mins before I go to sleep.
For meditation I use an application called headspace. They have fantastic modules for different situations. It can help you ease into it with the guided meditation exercises.