Welcome to my first blog post. With the Pandemic going on a lot of people are very stressed and anxious, and I thought there was no better time to give some advice on how to reduce your stress and anxiety. Before we go any further, I’d like to remind you that I’m not a qualified mental health professional, I am however someone who has suffered from mental health issues like anxiety and depression for the majority of my adult life.
In that time I have worked hard to manage my mental health issues, and have done so by seeking to understand the root cause of my issues. In the video above I discuss where our stress originates from and how to go about reducing stress.
We live in a society that often promotes extrinsic values, like status, materialism, and financial success. Sometimes it can feel like life is a tick-box exercise, whereby we strive to try to reach and exceed the expectations set by societies standards. This way of living life can cause us stress, especially for those that are sensitive and self-aware. The solution to this problem is to turn your attention inwards, and start to focus more on intrinsic values e.g. physical and mental health.
When we focus on intrinsic values, it helps us to feel like we are more in control, and so we will feel more powerful and significant. We can control our physical health by exercising more, eating well, and generally taking care of our body. We can control our mental health by focusing on doing things we enjoy and feel passionate about, taking time out to relax and reflect, spending quality time with people you care about. You can also control the contribution you have in the world, focusing on how you can serve others.
Focusing on external values, can make us compare ourselves to others a lot. There will always be someone who is doing something better than we are, and so placing extrinsic values higher than intrinsic values, will always make you look outside yourself for a sense of confidence and significance. At the end of the day, we can only control ourselves, we cannot control other people and their perceptions. We wrongly assume that meeting other people’s expectations or needs will make us feel happier, but when it means sacrificing our own needs it will only lead to misery. As Theodore Roosevelt states “comparison is the thief of all joy”. We should seek to compare ourselves to the person we were yesterday, rather than focusing on how we measure up to others, as our own personal growth and self-improvement is something we have complete control over.
So stop trying to “keep up with the Joneses” and focus on yourself and what you can personally improve!