How did you get on with yesterday’s journal prompt?
Mine caused a bit of a stir! After posting it to my social media channels I started to get personal messages from concerned friends and family. “You’re selling your house? OMG!”. Special thanks to my mate Kerri who always looks out for me in these situations but I kept replying saying “It’s perfectly fine! We are fine! Just got to do what is best for the family!”.
So yesterday’s journalling here on the blog allowed me to get the whirring stirring thoughts out my brain and realise we needed some professional advice. I’ve contacted some estate agents to get an idea of what our home could be worth as it is now, part finished and fully finished. Then once we know a rough figure we can work on a plan.
Ah that felt better even writing that!
Sometimes, anxiety and overwhelm is super hard to push through. You drive yourself insane with the same thoughts. Those doom an gloom scenarios take over your rational thinking WITHOUT actually establishing any facts.
Day 2 – Journal Writing Prompt
So today’s card pulled from the Hemingway deck is this:
Yesterday my lovely friend Beth popped round and we had a discussion about this. Thanks again Universe. She’s just messaged on the Facebook group saying “Gemma the Universe is a dick, BUT…it only makes you face what you are able to and ready for!! 😘”
Oh god. Deep breath. Are YOU ready for this?
(Side note… I didn’t read through these cards before starting this challenge and I didn’t realise they’d go so deep. Where are the questions about what you’d do for a day if you were invisible or what animal you’d be and why? 😩)
So the first thing I did was Google ‘list of emotions’ for inspiration. I probably should’ve just meditated and the answers would have come to me, but Kevin (my dog) is licking the wind again and barking at his own reflection so it’s not a peaceful meditative environment this morning.
This was the most comprehensive list I could find so if you’re joining in with this, it is good inspiration.
For myself personally, these would be my three. I’m going to start with the positive.
Emotion 1: Humour
This probably defines me. Humour is not just the way I am, it is my coping mechanism. It can change a difficult and stressful situation into something that is instantly dissolved and softened.
My husband and I are pretty rubbish at prolonging arguments or disagreements. That’s because we always use humour to sort it out. Always.
A couple of years ago we introduced a rule into our marriage that whenever either of us shouted “Dance!” the other one had to join in with a dance.
Ridiculous? Stupid? Yes. But it is funny and it works to dispel any tension (just as long as one of us remembers to shout “dance” in the midst of a fight!). We have done this in supermarkets, public car parks, IKEA and even through gritted teeth in the shower one morning when he was proper just getting on my tits. Or like in this video when we were painting the caravan before moving into it.
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I don’t like to take myself too seriously, I love to have fun so this emotion of humour is something that is super important and it is always something I will carry in my toolbox.
Emotion 2: Anxious
Oh man anxiety is a complete arsehole isn’t it?
I didn’t suffer from anxiety until a couple of years ago when I lost my marbles. It is funny how it completely changes you as a person.
In a way I long for the time before the breakdown and anxiety hit me in the face like a snow truck in a storm. I remember that girl I was – carefree. Yet at the same time I can reflect back and see how it was all a mask. It was always under there to some degree and I was just living a bit of a lie.
Living with anxiety day to day is exhausting but I am happy to say that I manage it. It’s an ongoing daily agenda to be able to compartmentalise my thoughts and rationale. I like to be able to split those anxious thoughts into things I can control and things I can’t.
I often use Tim Ferris’ reverse engineering exercise to reverse engineer my anxious fears. I’ll often say to myself “Is anyone going to die if this happens?” which is dramatic but often puts things into context.
I have a self-care first aid box (it’s an invisible thing – a concept) but it does help when the overwhelming dark cloud of thoughts threaten to take over.
Things I do to cope with anxiety;
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Writing is my most powerful and cathartic tool for understanding myself and exploring my behaviour. It’s the very reason you’re reading these words on this blog right now. I’m just taking you along for the ride as I use this process to explore my recent thoughts and develop proactive actions.
I often struggle to sit down and do this in times when I am really anxious but once I do, it helps immediately. I relax, I calm down, I focus. Meditation is one of the best things I ever discovered. As I mention in my book in detail Self Discipline: A How To Guide to Conquer Procrastination and Achieve Your Goals in 10 Steps, there is a wonderful free app called Insight Timer that everyone should download. There are thousands of meditations on there that can help with everyday situations. There’s specific anxiety meditations on there that really help.
Being Mindful – The Cup of Coffee Exercise
Sometimes it is as simple as either sitting in a cafe with a good cup of coffee or making one at home and finding a quiet spot – inside or out, to appreciate it.
The trick is to try switch off from everything else. Turn the phone off. Shut the laptop. Just sit there and hold your coffee and focus on it. Think about its warmth, its taste, its texture. Take some deep breaths and shut off your mind.
If you’re outside, notice the sounds around you. The nature, the temperature, the wind on your face.
This is one of the simplest tools I use for anxiety and it’s usually instant and effective.
Emotion 3: Frustrated
OK so this is the one I’ve put last and have been avoiding in my head until I’ve typed this far.
I always said I would be totally honest in my blogs. Truth is one of my main values so it’s important to speak it.
I am frustrated. With myself. All. The. Freakin. Time.
It is exhausting.
I’m going to use two specific examples for this journalling exercise.
I Am Frustrated I Don’t Give Myself Time or the Self-Belief to Focus on My Book
Being totally honest and transparent here, there are people all over the world making a fortune from Kindle books.
Here’s how the process works;
1. They hire someone, usually from another part of the world, to ‘write’ a book for them on a specific topic they have researched
2. They take that writing and if they can be bothered, they edit it slightly and add either their own personal name or a pen name to the title
3. They get someone to make a book cover
4. They upload it to Kindle as part of multiple titles they have on different topics
5. They reap the passive income they make
When we originally set the intention of writing Kindle books this was also going to be our tactic too. Yet, because I love writing, I wanted to have a go myself.
What I discovered writing the book is that this is my calling. I absolutely loved writing it. Something magical happened as I typed up that book and outlined all the various methods and coping mechanisms I’d adopted myself to pull myself out my depressive hole after my breakdown.
My book writing partner Ben had the patience of a saint and allowed me the space to launch the book when I was ready. It took me 18 months to have the courage to release it. I might be loud and a good talker, but my confidence has taken a beating over the last couple of years (all my own doing) and I was terrified of releasing the book.
The Best Seller I Am Scared To Promote
The fear was not necessary. Despite a few setbacks, we got the book released and much to my utter amazement it stormed the charts and became a best seller in multiple categories. My book and my name was sat only a couple of rows under people like Michelle Obama. I was in categories where my book was actually beating my idols like Tim Ferris and Hal Elrod.
Then came the reviews. Honest and genuine reviews from people I didn’t even know. 5 star after 5 star review came in. I got messages from people all over the world. Some messages blew me away, some made me cry happy tears. I couldn’t believe it.
I got asked to speak about it. Oh my goodness! (Because this is the mega absolute dream to be able to speak for a living). I was beaming.
And then something happened. The dark clouds came back. I didn’t believe it. Because sometimes I don’t believe in myself. So I stopped talking about the book. I stopped marketing it.
The Audio Book
Yesterday, my audio book FINALLY got approved by Audible.
I should’ve started the marketing campaign straight away. But for some reason I didn’t.
I worked my socks off on that audio book. The actual recording was a breeze compared to the multiple knock-backs we had from Audible for the wrong format or wrong recording input. We had setback after setback, but we cracked on and came up with solutions until it was resolved.
And then what happens? I retreat and hide and get scared.
So once again, this journalling challenge and the intervention of the Universe is me, here right now, writing about it and being forced into facing the action steps necessary.
Links to download the audiobook depending on where you live:
There, I did it. PHEW. Deep breath. “Nobody died”
I Am Frustrated With My Emotional Eating
I’m not going to say too much on this, because I’ll probably cry, but this is all part of this journalling process, right?
My emotional eating is off the scale and I need to do something about it.
I have access to the best coaches in the world yet something is a major block and barrier stopping me from making the necessary changes to have a more positive relationship with my body and mind.
It’s not about losing weight, it’s about making a promise to myself and then keeping it. When I am balanced with my food, or making time for the gym, I am a better person. I feel better both mentally and physically.
At this moment in time I feel like there’s an invisible shield in front of me that is stopping me progressing. It’s like I’m actively messing it up for myself. Like an inner rebellion that is taking over.
So as I type this out I am actively thinking of a solution and I mentioned someone who I know who has the power to help me with this. My friend Tim Neale is an expert at this. He has also reached out a few times over the last few months, like his spidey senses know something is a little ‘off’ and offered his help.
So I’m off to send him a message and book in a session with him and find out what the hell is holding me back?!
To round this off, I don’t want it to be all doom and gloom for it certainly isn’t. I wrap this very personal blog up feeling extremely positive. I once again feel like I’ve got a proactive solution to some things that were obviously bothering me in the background. That’s the beauty of journalling. You get to explore what’s really going on in your head and face it.
Let me know how you get on with this question today and let’s hope tomorrow’s is a bit lighter!