Do Things That Make You Feel Good
It wasn’t until recently that mental health started to come into the spotlight, not as a taboo but rather as something extremely common that’s been masquerading as a secret for way too long. For those of us – and there are many – who’ve learned to live with recurring anxiety, this sudden public interest in mental health has brought along a wave of drastic emotions: surprise, awkwardness, acceptance, ANXIETY, but most of all relief. Though it’s strange to think that if it weren’t for high-profile celebrities (like Selena Gomez, Amanda Seyfried, John Mayer, Lena Dunham and Emma Stone among others) speaking out about anxiety, the issue of mental health may have never reached the spotlight… somehow, against all odds it has. Panic attacks have become mainstream, Himalayan salt lamps are now being sold at Barnes and Noble and mental health retreats are becoming more popular than spring break in Cabo. Most importantly, anxiety is no longer an unspeakable issue, and because of this, it’s clearer than ever that we are not alone.
Rather than give you advice on how to deal with anxiety, I’ll tell you what I think is the most vague, simple, yet honest tip that anyone has given me, and which has helped me immensely: do things that make you feel good.
The first time someone told me that was after I had my first panic attack. My friend had just passed, my body was a mess, my mind was out of control and I had no idea what was happening to me. After being so oddly miserable and confused, I was almost insulted after hearing that seemingly cliché advice. My first thought was “I’m sorry, do you think I enjoy making myself feel bad?” Of course that’s not what the person meant, and it’s true that none of us think of ourselves as being self-destructive, but often times we are – after all, our own dark thoughts are our biggest triggers.
When I think of things that make me feel good I think of: hugging my mom, drinking wine with my best friend, making dinner with my boyfriend, jogging in the park, watching chick flicks I’ve watched a million times, taking a hot bath and listening to trashy pop music, the list goes on. I’ve found that it’s really all about learning to relax. It’s about pampering yourself and not feeling guilty about it. People with anxiety tend to overthink, over-feel and overanalyze. We are passionate and ambitious, but we never want to feel unwanted, unhealthy, useless, or alone. Doing things that make us feel good – as simple as they may be – help ur minds feel at ease and make us realize that all our dark thoughts are just that, thoughts. Yes, unfortunate things happen in life, but anxiety makes us feel like they are all that is happening. We shield ourselves from the light. We make ourselves feel unhealthy even if we are not. We stress ourselves out to the point of crying about things that have not yet happened. We create alternate realities when all we have to do is learn to live in the moment.
We have to learn to let destiny come as it will, and we have to realize that there is nothing for us to be scared of – nothing except the idea of not living life to the fullest.