Welcome to another "real life" blog post! I try my best to keep it "real" both on my blog and social media. To me that means being a bit vulnerable sometimes and sharing my truth. You can check out my past real life posts about a week in my life as a yoga teacher, and what it takes to follow your dreams.
Worrying happens. It’s part of being human I think. The good news is, when you start to have anxious,limiting thoughts, or are filled with self-doubt, you have the power to change the dialogue. Recently I was informed that a Rec Centre Yoga class I have taught for a couple years would not be renewing their contract with the studio that employed me. This situation had great potential to send me into a self-doubt spiral, and honestly, would have in the past. This time, however, I was able to navigate the situation with much more ease and much less worry, which inspired me to write this post. Here is what helps me when I find myself deep in that self-doubt/worry spiral – maybe it will help you move from a Worrier to a Warrior too.
1. Be Mindful – We have millions of thoughts a day, they just float in and out of our consciousness and sometimes, we get stuck on one or two. If you can work on being mindful with your thoughts, then you can catch those less than constructive ones in their tracks, simply by noticing them. For example, when I read the email about the situation above, the pit in my stomach said “They don’t think you’re a good teacher”, “you’re not good enough” and a variety of less than helpful and kind thoughts. I noticed those thoughts, and responded “hello limiting beliefs” (not out loud of course… ;)) Just being able to notice and label the thought gives you a grasp on it, which is what you need to be able to let it go.
2. Be Present – Most times the stories that we tell are future stories (Well if this happened today, then tomorrow this will happen and I will end up losing my job and all my money and no one will love me by next week!), or past stories (this probably happened because that one time I did this and if I just had done that instead – let’s play that over and over and over). We have little to no control over past and future situations which is likely one of the reasons they are so bothersome. What I find helpful when I haven’t been able to mindfully label my thought and let it go - therefore ending up in “story mode” - is to get grounded in the present. What am I doing right now? Where am I right now? What is happening in this very moment? I am sitting in my chair in my office. I just ate lunch. I am working. I have to send an email. I’m going to make some tea….. None of these thoughts are particularly activating, and get me grounded in the here and now, which is the only moment I can do anything about.
3. Be rooted in the truth – Now that we are in the present moment, let’s be truthful. What is true right now? I have a partner that I love and who loves me. I have a family that I love and who love me. I have a job that provides me with enough money to survive and live a good life. I have friends. I have a body that is healthy. These things will not change if I lose this teaching job or if I lose all my teaching jobs. My family doesn’t love me because I am a good Yoga teacher. My friends aren’t only spending time with me because I teach a certain number of classes per week. The Yoga studio didn’t revoke all of my classes and tell me I can’t teach for them anymore. The email said “thanks for the great instructor”. These are the facts.
4. Be Grateful – Once you have your true facts, throw some gratitude at them. I am so grateful to have loving family and friends. I am so grateful that I have more than one job to support me. I am so grateful for the yoga studio that continues to support me and provides me training to help me grow as a teacher. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to teach that class for as long as I did because I loved teaching that group. And so on, and so on…. Gratitude really does have the power to shift your entire perspective and mood.
Feel Better? I know I do, and I truly hope that next time you find yourself in a self-doubt/worry spiral, you’ll be able to use these tools to make your way out of it.