I had a bad anxiety day. I have PTSD and most days are fine but some days I get a little panicky. I’m not at the window screaming for somebody to let me out…visibly anyway….
It’s more of an inability to calm down on the inside. To sit. Think. Create. I pace a lot. Get exhausted. Can’t find peace. Talking to people is too much. I move a lot but accomplish little.
I’ve learned over the years what sets those days off for me. It was inevitable because I set myself up for it.
I’ve been working too long for the last two weeks. Some people thrive on working until 9-10 at night. I don’t. My work requires a lot of thinking in order to create and it’s eventually exhausting.
My work also requires me to be an extrovert, and I am anything but. Putting myself “out there” all the time is innately uncomfortable. I adore and love people, but I also need to be a hermit away from social media, especially.
Some people hurt themselves running marathons, fighting wars, battling blazes, or reaching up to grab a cup off the shelf. Others of us hurt ourselves falling in prairie dog holes.
I was taking my dog Hazel for a walk. Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Why were you walking out in the open prairie.”
I wasn’t. I was less than one block from my apartment building. I live in annoyingly white suburb that has as much diversity as a typical NFL coaching staff.
Hazel and I were meandering along the sidewalk when I caught a glimpse of another dog and it’s owner ahead. I, doing the correct thing, (since my dog is crazy) stepped off the sidewalk to make way for them and proceeded to fall directly into a prairie dog hole.
I woke up to the familiar sounds of an IV and vitals machine, but the walls were different. It was my fourth time in the hospital. The infection came out of nowhere-once again.
I could tell I was on the ground floor because of the trees outside my window. I didn’t know it at the time, but those trees would be burned into my memory so clearly. On days when it snows here in Colorado, I often have flashbacks of the snow falling on those trees.
They told me the hospital was full on the regular floors. I was the sickest outside of ICU, so they had moved me to the cancer ward.
The room was bigger than I was used to with tasteful wallpaper and paint. It had a serene feel. Serene for a hospital cancer ward, anyway.
The nurses were different there. They were less scurried and more present. Present enough for one of them to hold my hand when I fell apart and cried. It felt like the illness was a constant roadblock that kept me from moving forward with my life.
I was wrong. The illness would be THE thing that would give me an actual life.
The first night fell and I was alone. It was 11:20 pm when I heard it for the first time. It started as a muffled cry, then suddenly a shout. Then a wave of uncontrollable sobbing. It was from a woman down the ward.
Above is a video that gives an overview of my morning routine for when I do motivational speaking for out of state events.
I have different routines I’ve developed over time to help get me prepared for a speaking event. One for later in the day events, night events, in-state, out of -state etc.
If you are new speaker or performer who is starting to travel you will develop your own over time.
I remember googling and trying to find ANYTHING that could give me an idea of what to do when I first started traveling as a motivational speaker. I found NOTHING. That’s why I made this first video for you.
Has the 2020 election gotten you filled with anxiety or uncertainty? These 7 tips will help you feel better about life no matter who is elected. For those of you who know me-this video isn’t super funny-but hopefully super helpful.
Do you find yourself being swept up in the election and post-election drama because X candidate is winning or has won? Well, then this video is for you. We’re going to go over seven things to help reframe the way you’re thinking to help ground you and get you out of that post-election anxiety. Before we begin, please like, subscribe, and share if you find this video helpful.
Okay. First of all, I do have to confess that I am filming this on Monday, the day before the election, because I’m smart. I’m actually having surgery on Tuesday, which is a really smart thing to do because I will be knocked out cold. Then, the following few days I will be on prescription narcotics, which means I’m not going to care what’s happening in the world for those days. Should this video be tone deaf, I will take it down but I have a feeling it won’t be regardless of who wins or what happens.
First thing is, number one, is to stop the catastrophic thinking. Okay. You hear it from either side, whichever candidate wins, they have this catastrophic end of the world thinking like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to be led by a dictator or Hitler and there’s going to be dead babies in the street. Everything we know is over because X candidate has won. The world is over.”
My question to you is, is it though? Is the world really over? Here’s what I want you to do. Just work with me, I know nobody really wants to do this but just try this. I want you to put your feet squarely on the ground and take a deep breath. Seriously, do it. Put your feet on the ground, take a deep breath. Okay. Now look down at your feet. Do you have feet? Do you have legs? Do you have hands that work? Obviously, your heart is beating and your brain is working because you wouldn’t be watching this video.
Now I want you to look around. Are you out of the cold? Do you have a place that if it rains you’re not going to get wet? Have you eaten today? Do you have people in your house that you love, whether that’s a pet or a friend? Do you have people in your life that contribute positive things to you that you could reach out to? When you look out the window, do you see the sun or the rain or the trees? Is the mountain still there, is the ocean still there? If it is, the world is not over. Okay? That is catastrophic thinking. No matter what candidate wins, the world doesn’t care, nature’s still moving on like nothing happened because it’s not that big of a deal.
Number two, because that just leads us right into number two, is don’t give your power away. When you do the catastrophic thinking of, “Oh my gosh, the world has ended and now this candidate is going to blah, blah, blah.” No. Who’s responsible for your life? You. Really, the only thing you have control over with the politics is to vote and if you care about a certain aspect of policies or whatever’s happening then you can peacefully protest or help write new laws and become involved in that sense. If you’re just sitting at home, really, you’re giving your power away by saying your life is ruined because X candidate won. You are responsible for you and the actions that you take from morning ’til night, that’s on you.
That leads us right into number three which is, “Hey, guess what, American citizens, we’re not that special.” I know. Shocker. We’re not the center of the universe. Sometimes us US citizens are really narcissistic but the truth is we’re not that special. For thousands of years, since the beginning of time, there has been some pretty hideous leaders, probably more bad leaders than good leaders. Terrible kings and dictators and all those things and guess what? People still fell in love. Babies were still born. Music was still made in song. Art was still created. Literature was still written. Science was still progressed despite bad leadership.
Really, when you think about, “Hey, how much does the government have to do with my day-to-day life? Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist and you’re like, “They dictate everything.” No, they don’t, you do. It’s just no matter who’s in charge and what policies change you have the capacity to still live a good life because this has been going on since the beginning of time. It’s not that big of a deal. We’re not that special to somehow miss having bad leaders once in a while.
Which leads me to number four, is that nostalgia is not real. What I mean by that is, I don’t know about your grandparents but I would hear, “Kids these days. Back when I was a kid, we never blah, blah, blah.” You hear that now. We’re like, “Our country was so amazing since the beginning, blah, blah, blah, and now it’s in ruins.” No. Our country was never perfect awesome ever, since the time it was created. I live in Colorado and there’s trails that are littered with dead bodies, graves of pioneers who came over here and they all died in their mid-thirties of the flu or childbirth or starvation.
There was saloons and there were whore for houses, and that was in the United States of America. Look what we did at the native Americans. We had slavery, we fought Wars. We’ve been through The Great Depression. We have not always been so amazing and awesome. We always have had ups and downs. This whole nostalgia that our country’s gone to pot isn’t exactly accurate. We have it pretty good compared to where we were 200 years ago in a lot of ways.
Which leads me to number five, and that is to nix the all or nothing thinking. What I mean by that is that naturally we like to think we’re right so I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m good and you’re bad or you’re evil. When it comes to the political parties, you hear that over again. “All Democrats are straight from the devil, all Republicans are backwoods idiots. No, they’re not. There are good Democrats and bad Democrats, and there are good Republicans and bad Republicans. There’s good policies on each side and bad policies on the other. This whole it’s all or nothing, it’s my way or no way is really emotionally an unintelligent way to think. It really is, because you and I, we all have good in us, we all have bad in us and that’s just the way the world works.
That leads me really into number six, which is because when we get into this all or nothing thinking, we’re like, “My way’s the right way,” there’s just a lot of anger there and you see that over and over again, especially this election, all this anger. Anger has never convinced anyone of anything. Have you ever in your life thought, “Wow, you’re so angry. I totally am convinced now because of your anger.” Never. Whenever somebody’s angry you’re like, “Okay, that person’s a jerk, I want nothing to do with them. You shut down and you no longer listen to them. All this screaming and yelling, whether you’re doing it on Facebook and calling people names, and Twitter, and no one’s listening because everybody’s angry, that really comes from that all or nothing thinking.
When you recognize that there are good to both parties and there’s rationalization to each side, whether you choose to agree with it or not but you can respect people’s differences, that’s when we can unite and come together as a country. Don’t use anger and don’t use that all or nothing. You’re not perfect, I’m not perfect, one party’s not perfect, the other party’s not perfect. Same with whoever is the president, whoever gets elected.
That leads me to number seven, which is to check your motives. What I mean by that is a lot of us contribute to the chaos, I do too sometimes. This potentially could be contributing to the chaos but I really think that through a lot when I talk about something controversial. I really weigh in how much of my do I really believe in this to contribute. What I mean is, if you’re doing these nasty Facebook posts like, “The world’s now over my candidate didn’t win and now they’re going to dah, dah, dah.” You’re posting conspiracy theories, just a lot of hate and anger or despair, you’re contributing to the chaos. I’m asking you why, why do you want to do that? Is it to make yourself look smarter than other people? Is it just to vent or can you contribute to the solution, which is being positive and doing good and kind things to make positive change.
Really, so my solution for that, and really for all of this is not to get swept up because I’m going to recap here. Just hang on, I’m going to recap. Is Not to get swept up but, finally, do good things. This is kind of like a number eight bonus. Just do good things. You will never regret being kind, ever. How many times have you regretted being angry? You will never regret being kind and doing positive things for other people, ever. It’s always the opposite. When you’re selfish and mean and it’s your way you regret that?
Let’s recap. How do you deal with this anxiety? Gratitude. When I walked you through putting your feet on the floor and looking at your legs and is my heart still beating and is the world still turning, that is practicing gratitude. When the world feels really out of control you have to start really, really small like, is the sun still shining? Is the world still turning? Do I have food? Do I have my own toothbrush? That is gratitude. That right there is one of the number one ways to help you calm down and then really taking personal responsibility.
When I said you’re giving too much of your power away, what I mean is take personal responsibility for your life. Again, practice gratitude, take personal responsibility for your own life rather than blaming everything on the government or thinking the government’s going to change everything for you. They’re not. Just remember big picture thinking, so when I said we’re not that special and nostalgia isn’t real, that’s big picture thinking. When you look in the big picture, you’re like, “Oh yeah, I guess it’s not as big of a deal as I’m making it in the moment because this has happened for hundreds of years and thousands of years and so forth.”
Really, just that all or nothing thinking, it’s really about contributing good things and kindness. It’s being open and to other people’s point of views, whether you agree with it or not, it’s just respecting that not everybody is like you. When you live like I’m right and everybody’s taking things away from me, you live like this, and I don’t want to live like that. I don’t know about you, I want to live like this, open and kind and loving to new opportunities, to new relationships, to new people, to a good and positive life. That comes from being open-hearted whether I agree with you or not, but that I respect you in a kind and loving way. I don’t know who’s going to win but I hope this video helps. Just, you got this, it’s going to be okay.