Just Think Positive!! (and other annoying sayings)

When feeling anxious or depressed, has anyone ever told you to “Just think positive!!” It’s fucking annoying, right?! Is it the wrong thing to say? Check out my latest video to see what my opinion is, as someone who no longer has anxiety….

A Day in the Life Part 2: How My Thoughts & Actions Have Changed Since I Crushed Anxiety

How My Thoughts Have Changed Since Anxiety

Continuing from part 1, this is an analysis of the second half of my day trip to London, comparing how I think and act as someone without anxiety, to how I was when I had an anxiety disorder.

Train Station

As  we approach the ticket barriers on mass, most passengers are either confused, tentative or follow each other like sheep to one of the barriers. They don’t want to go first. Or they don’t know which barrier to go through so blindly follow someone they think knows better (not realising they are just as clueless!).

Anxious Tim

Baa’s along with them.

New Tim

Ignores the large queue and heads for the small one. Some people are waiting, scared to put their ticket into the machine. I go ahead of them and show how it’s done. I savour the feeling of total control.

You see, I have used those barriers before and my ticket didn’t work. It’s embarrassing! You hold up everyone behind you, the official has to come over and sort you out and it looks as though you are trying to get in without paying. It hardly ever happens though and here’s the thing; even if it does, so fucking what? It wasn’t MY fault. I had a valid ticket. The people behind can wait or use another barrier. They might curse me but I won’t let that ruin my day!

What I really notice in that situation, is just how much stress and anxiety and lack of confidence OTHER people have.

Scared of making a wrong move.

Worried about going first.

When you have anxiety, you tend to think everyone else is confident and doesn’t have your thoughts.

IT’S NOT TRUE!

It’s just that most of those people will be anxious only in that moment. They will forget about it afterwards. It won’t ruin their life. Anxious Tim would be plague by that moment for a long time.

I consider myself extremely confident now but I still have many of those negative thoughts. I don’t know if that’s true for people who have never suffered with anxiety.

My guess is that only a tiny minority of people have little to none of these kind of thoughts drifting around. After all, we have around 60,000 thoughts EVERY DAY. Some are bound to be anxious, no matter who we are.

 

London

I arrive at the cafe where I’m due to meet 4 new people who already know each other and are good friends. A scenario enough to keep me sat away at home, as Anxious Tim. I’m slightly early but can’t see inside to check who has arrived, so I take a walk around the block. Anxious Tim would do the same. The difference is, New Tim isn’t panicking. I saunter down some residential side streets, excited about the meeting, a tad nervous, I fully admit, but who wouldn’t be?

Anxious Tim

Is full of fear. Not just about the meeting but about the wait. He’s totally preoccupied with what is going on during the walk. That would mean an irrational fear of other people looking at him, wondering why he’s wandering around aimlessly.

 

New Tim

Laughs at the INSANE notion that ANYONE could possibly know where I was going or why!! Instead, he just studies the houses and the trees and starts to miss London.

A feature of being anxiety-free is that you notice a lot more of the details of your surroundings. When you aren’t preoccupied with worries, focused entirely on what other people are doing or thinking, your mind and vision become clearer. You notice things that would never come into your line of sight before. That includes the beauty of nature.

 

The Meeting

Anxious Tim

Is in a constant spin-dryer of worries. My aim would be to get away from the meeting having said as little as possible, to have the focus kept away from me but at the same time, say SOMETHING, so I at least don’t seem boring, aloof or miserable. That’s a tough balancing act that inevitably leads to much ruminating after the event.

New Tim

I care about what other people think of me but at the same time, I couldn’t care less!! Sounds contradictory – let me explain! I want to give off a good impression, for people to like me and to get to know the real me. But at the same time, I don’t give a fuck if they dislike me!

I won’t change who I am or pretend to be something I’m not or hold back my opinions, to fit in or make others like me. I don’t go into these situations with an action plan. I just go with the flow – I speak when I feel like it and I make sure I’m heard. I’m not afraid to disagree with something or interject.

Sure, I feel a tad uncomfortable at points, like when the four of them are talking about something I haven’t experienced which they all have. I feel a little out of place because they are so close and I’m the odd one out. I feel a bit of pressure on myself to “perform” and showcase my personality. But I also know it’s hard to do that if you aren’t relaxed.

You could argue that I’m a bit anxious. Yes, I said it – ANXIOUS!! But this is important to understand;

Anxiety isn’t something that you can eliminate entirely. It’s a natural emotion that is NEEDED in life. But it’s the level of anxiety and the amount of time you experience it, which determines whether it is a problem or not.

Anxious Tim

Would feel high levels of  anxiety the entire 2 hour meal, over;

  • how I was eating
  • what the others were thinking about me
  • the quality of my conversation
  • the amount of eye contact I gave

I could go on!

New Tim

Had mild levels at the start which deteriorated as the meal went on. But in all honesty, I was so comfortable with myself as a person, I knew I would come across well and if the others thought otherwise…..well, that was a problem with them, not with me!

Most anxiety disorders stem from a lack of self esteem at some level. So once you eliminate that and love yourself, there really isn’t a great deal to be anxious about.

The Park

After a very productive meeting which left me feeling excited, accepted and uplifted, I had time to kill till my train, so headed to nearby Regent’s Park. I’d never been before and was struck by the beauty of the perfectly manicured lawns and neatly sculptured plant life.

One thing I love about London is that although it’s a teeming hive of millions (which you would assume to be the antithesis of what an anxiety sufferer would want) it has the effect of making you anonymous – which is perfect! No one cares what you do and everyone is ultra-busy anyway.

You can sit in a park slap-bang in central London, by yourself, and never feel lonely or like a billy-no mates, because there are so many others doing the same. That wouldn’t have made a difference to Anxious Tim though!

He still wouldn’t have had the bottle to sit alone and eat in public (what if I drop my sandwich or look like a fool when I eat!) or the nerve to sit on a bench and read without worrying who was watching (he must be a horrible person with no friends if he’s sat alone!).

I even managed to do something I’ve never done before – feed the squirrels! They are incredibly tame in Regent’s Park and will come right up and place a paw on your hand. I’d never seen this before, so wanted to try feeding them some of my banana.

Now I’m  gonna admit something; I chickened out at first. I actually walked out of the park before giving myself a quick talking to and returning. Again, this is showing how I now have control over my thoughts. Instead of worrying about other people watching me, I shut them out, peeled my banana and held out pieces for two squirrels to munch happily on!

It was a beautiful moment, I felt so close to nature but more that that, I was proud of myself. I spent a good hour by myself in that park and yes, at times the old thoughts crept back in such as;

“I’d like to switch benches and go to one that is in the sun but what if people think I’m weird?”

And

“I want to feed a squirrel but what if the animals run away instead of taking the food and people watching laugh at me?”

But I didn’t let thoughts dictate my actions. I always did what I wanted to do.

The Return Journey

This was arguably my biggest test. First I had to negotiate busy rush-hour tube stations and London roads, then get on a rammed to the brim train home. Buoyed by my successful day (and meeting those cute nut gatherers!) it turned out to be really easy. No one likes being stuck in rush-hour jams but in all honesty, I was absolutely fine.

Anxious Tim

This would have been the nightmare scenario; tube and train full of heaving, sweating bodies, invading my space and able to bore their eyes into my very soul from inches away! The main fear was always being watched and criticised by multiple people. I hated myself and my esteem was on the floor, so it’s no wonder!

New Tim

That has all changed now. I genuinely love myself and accept who I am. That’s the man reason why now, I just calmly listened to music and read my book. There are times when I do wonder what on Earth I used to get so worked up about; this was one such time.

Two hours later, I’m back at home.

Instead of ruminating over the entire day, over the meaning of every word spoken, every scenario played out and every “mistake” I made or thing I avoided, I don’t dwell at all. In fact, I’m proud of myself. I’m getting closer and closer to the person I want to be.

 

Analysis

What this comparison has shown is that everyone has anxious thoughts. They don’t entirely go away. But they don’t rule my life any more. Once you learn how to RESPOND positively to those thoughts, rather than REACT negatively and irrationally, you can gain control over them.

Yes, I do occasionally have to do some work to prevent the initial thought growing (such as affirmations or a deliberate change in posture or forcing myself to take an action) but I no longer hide away from people or situations, avoiding the fear. Instead of a day full of anxiety, it’s now just a brief few thoughts which last seconds. And that’s a MASSIVE difference in quality of life. I believe that one day, most of those anxious thoughts that I had today, will disappear too.

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A Day in the Life: How My Thoughts Have Changed Since I Crushed Anxiety

A Day in the Life

Today I had to venture into London for a meeting. Rewind 2 years ago to when I still had post traumatic anxiety and this meeting would have been a nightmare – that’s if I had even managed to get out of the house! Of course, it would never have happened anyway, as I had no job, no contacts, no motivation and no reason for a meeting of any sort, other than to get my meds from the doctor!

But I did wonder; how have my thought processes changed since then? This was my first time going back to London since I was assaulted years ago. How would the “new” anxiety-free Tim, think and act when confronted with the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most crowded cities? I thought it would be interesting to compare my new thought processes with my old ones. The results were startling….

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Do you REALLY Want to Get Rid of the Pain in Your Life?

I’ve spoken with many people who have suffered with anxiety and depression and have come to the conclusion that actually, many of them don’t want to overcome it. I know this is a controversial thing to say but I also know that this phenomenon of not wanting to rid yourself of the pain or negativity in your life, despite the fact it’s the cause of most of your problems, is a recognised one in psychology. Eckhart Tolle speaks of this in The Power of Now:

“….you may encounter intense inner resistance to dis-identifying from your pain. This will be the case particularly if you have lived closely identified with your emotional pain….for most of your life and the whole or a large part of your sense of self is invested in it. What this means is that you have made an unhappy self out of your pain…. and believe that this mind-made fiction is who you are. In that case, unconscious fear of losing your identity will create strong resistance to any dis-identification.

 

In other words, you would rather be in pain……..than take a leap into the unknown and risk losing the familiar unhappy self. If this applies to you, observe the resistance within yourself. Observe the attachment to your pain. Be very alert. Observe the peculiar pleasure you derive from being unhappy. Observe the compulsion to talk or think about it. The resistance will cease if you make it conscious.”

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How I Stopped Myself Committing Suicide

Today, as I write, is World Suicide Prevention Day. There seems to be a special #day for everything these days but if there’s one subject that truly deserves to be highlighted for its own 24 hours, it is this one.

Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2017

  • 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK
  • The highest suicide rate in the UK was for men aged 40–44
  • Rates have increased in the UK (by 3.8%) since 2014
  • In the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade.
  • Male rates remain consistently higher than female suicide rates – around 3 times higher

Less than 5 years ago, I was very close to becoming just another number on those statistics. As it is Suicide Prevention Day, I feel it is my duty to speak out for the very first time in life, about how I managed to stay alive.

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YouTube Review: Infinite Waters (Ralph Smart)

This is the man who I was totally obsessed with almost every day for an entire YEAR. I was enthralled by the wisdom spewed forth from this charismatic young Brit. Before, I had always thought YouTube was just full of clips of cats on skateboards, music videos and  immature humour for teens. I had no idea it was a treasure trove of audio books, useful how-to videos and most fascinatingly, vlogs. Everyday people sharing their knowledge.

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Can You Choose Your Thoughts?

I keep hearing from people that they can’t help what they are thinking. That it’s not their fault they can’t be in a happy place. That they can’t just choose to be positive. But is any of that true? Can we choose our thoughts? Speaking as someone who had anxiety and overcame anxiety I feel I’m in a reasonable position to make an unbiased judgement. My initial opinion would be that no, we can’t choose our thoughts. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t choose to be positive. It doesn’t mean you can’t choose to at least try to move towards being happier. Let me explain!

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Fake It Till You Make It – Why You NEED to do This!!

Here’s what you need to understand about getting what you want using the law of attraction. It’s not about whether it MIGHT happen. It’s not about whether it COULD happen. It’s not even about whether it WILL happen. You have to act as though it HAS happened! The only way to do this is to FAKE it. Remember; your subconscious mind (which controls 95-99% of what you do) can’t distinguish between a lie and the truth. It’s totally unbiased – it takes everything as fact. So when you focus on debt and illness and worry, that’s reinforcing this reality to your subconscious mind, whether you have those problems or not. When you visualise yourself surrounded by abundance, that’s what your subconscious sees as the NOW, real-time, the truth.

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The Pursuit of Happyness

We live in an age where it’s never been easier to make money, become successful and do whatever we want with our lives. Most of you reading this will be living in a democratic (roughly), developed nation with freedom for its citizens and access to the internet and so there is no excuse for not being able to attain what you desire. If you read that and thought:

“You can’t say that, you don’t know me, you don’t know my circumstances, you don’t know how hard that is for me!”

then I urge you to watch the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” starring Will Smith.

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