We’ve spent the last few posts talking about the good stuff – happiness, the little things, and personal development. While the good is good…the struggles and the hard stuff is where it really counts. #11 always says, “the good is easy”. It’s in the hard, mundane, messy and complicated situations where you really test yourself and each other. Where you learn to work as a team and persevere together. Your success is dependent on each other and how you handle the challenges you face.
Everyone’s challenges are different, but here’s something that Team 27 deals with and how we handle it:
One thing I hide relatively well (though not to Steph, my best friends or family) is that I’m a fairly anxious person. I’ve always been an over-thinker and I worry way too much about things that are out of my control. I feel uneasy when I don’t have the answers to certain questions or when there is too much uncertainty in my life at the time. I don’t know when this all started, but it’s definitely something that I continue to work on and continue to find tools to deal with it. It’s an ongoing struggle, but I think we all have something like this that we deal with.
I’ve always been a busy person – working, going to school, competitive sports, volunteering, family time, friend time and whatever else life involves. I’ve been this way my whole life (I’m sure many of you can relate). Sometimes this is a great thing, but other times it completely overwhelms me and my anxiety will settle in.
I’ve mentioned a few times how my brain will spin and spin with different thoughts, fears, worries and concerns. I’m a planner and I love to be organized. In fact, I need to be organized. So when I can’t get a handle on everything that’s going on and it feels like everything is up in the air, it stuns me and I find it hard to be productive.
With being such an organized person, I crave control over situations. Having control limits the worries, the fears and all of the other emotions. It allows me to relax and put my mind at ease so I can be present and enjoy whatever situation I’m in. Unfortunately, this isn’t realistic and it’s nearly impossible to control anything. So now what?
Now I’ve learned to take back control. This powerful quote has stayed with me, “Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t.” – Steve Maraboli
Really I should say that I’m still learning to take back control. Emotions are a powerful force and for me, anxiety comes in many different forms and situations. The best thing I’ve been able to do to curb this feeling of unease is to talk to Steph about it. This took me a long time to figure out – like a really long time. If I’m being honest, there are still times where I’m hesitant to talk about it. But every single time, I feel better because the best way to feel less anxious is to feel less alone. To feel like someone else is with you through it and has your back when you need it.
We’ve talked about communication before, and this is another situation where I have to communicate in order for things to be better. Some of the things I worry about seem ridiculous in my head and they feel embarrassing to say out loud. So I try and try to fight the thoughts away, but I’m never successful. I attempted this strategy for a long time before I recognized that I have an incredibly supportive partner who never makes me feel stupid, never judges me and only wants to help me.
Being able to conquer these feelings together has allowed me to accept that this is part of who I am and that it’s not a bad thing…it’s just who I am. For a long time, I tried to hide that I felt this way and I tried to manage it on my own because I felt that being vulnerable showed weakness. I know now that vulnerability is human and it’s a sign of strength to be able to acknowledge it, own it and rock it.
It’s such a blessing to be able to laugh at myself through the worries and the fears with my best friend. Steph always has my back and knows just how to settle my nerves and help me be at my best.
Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel blah? Just the thought of getting out of bed seems impossible. You lie there and the day’s tasks creep in…the anxiety starts. Thoughts are coming at you like rapid fire, your heart starts beating fast and you start to feel so overwhelmed with it all. You literally just want to crawl into a hole and hide. I can say that I’m not used to this feeling and as I age I feel that these types of days come more frequently than I’d like.
I don’t like it and the reality is none of us do. Some days it hits me harder then others and the past couple of weeks have been a struggle. I’m trying to figure out why these days happen more frequently, but I don’t really think we can always pin point the heightened anxieties, I think it’s simply life. I often think, man I don’t even have kids yet. EEEEEEKKKKKK, but I take solace in the fact that it all gets done.
Over the past few months there has been a lot of stressful situations that have piled up. Take one situation and it’s fine to deal with, but add them all together and it feels like it’s an impossible task to get anything done. I won’t get into detail about the situations I’ve been dealing with because everyone has different issues that cause anxiety, stress, depression, feeling overwhelmed etc., but I will let you know how I get through it.
Insomnia is no stranger to me; when I’m stressed I lack sleep and my mind goes a million miles per hour. When my stressors compound and the list gets longer and longer, I know the first thing I need to do is write out a list and prioritize what needs to get done that week. I will often write these lists at 3:00 am. As I write out the list, I feel my heart beating faster and my initial thought is – how the hell am I going to do this? But by the end of the list, I feel like I accomplished a plan, which is the first step.
Second step – simple…start the list. When a task is complete, I highlight it and move on to the next one. This might sound incredibly stupid, but when I see those highlighted tasks, it pushes me to keep going and that overwhelming feeling quickly changes to a more positive tone of accomplishment. Looking at that page and seeing the tasks completed, instantly calms my brain. You need to find your mojo! I HAVE to put things into action. Thinking versus doing for me can be disastrous. Another great line in the Compound Effect, quoted by Martin Luther King Jr. is, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” That’s the key—just take the first step. Then when you do, take another. One at a time, one after another. Eventually you will accomplish your goals.
Unfortunately, we can’t escape life stressors, we essentially just have to deal with whatever comes our way. Having my ally by my side through the bumps is also key for me. Talking to Britt and being vulnerable with my feelings helps get me through those darker times. I feel so grateful to have someone that I can turn to and just have a conversation about what’s on my mind. This may seem simple, but I’ve never really been a talker. I’m more comfortable dealing with stuff on my own. Britt has pulled me to the other side and it has definitely helped me deal with my anxieties and stress. The more I open up about how I’m feeling, the more I feel like I’m not alone. We all need support on our rough days, just to feel like we can lean on someone without feeling ashamed or weak. I’m so unbelievably lucky to have a wife that I can talk to about anything. The support of my loved ones is so important!
This is just one example of a struggle that we face individually and together. It’s amazing how two people can feel anxious in entirely different ways. And we know that we are certainly not the only ones who encounter these types of feelings in our own unique way. We’d love to hear from you on what your experiences are and what strategies you use to power through it. We’re always looking to grow and the best way to do that is to learn from other people who have been through it.
Love Team #27