“I hate my life,” used to be the phrase that played in my mind several times a day. Or I would slap my forehead and utter FML ($uck my life) every time something “bad” happened to me. A coworker even told me about a website dedicated to people reveling in those FML moments. At www.fmylife.com you can share all your miserable moments with others who are down in the dumps. ‘Misery loves company’, as the saying goes. Which translates into, let’s stay miserable together.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” -Norman Vincent Peale
That was my ugly self-talk along with many other unhealthy phrases that clogged my mind. Why did I hate my life? I was worried and anxious about everything that could possibly go wrong. I worried about work deadlines, co-workers talking about me, my kids and social relationships. I stressed over money, or the lack of money. It was an insane cycle that repeated like a broken record. That worry turned into pure crippling anxiety.
Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (adaa.org), anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States. Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults. Social anxiety Disorder affects 15 million. Men, women, and children are affected. No one is immune.
Anxiety can manifest itself in physical symptoms as well as mental. I suffered some of the physical symptoms that included irritability, fatigue, restlessness, sweating, insomnia, nausea, and chest palpitations. I went to the doctor, convinced I had some type of heart problem but after running tests, he found nothing wrong physically so it must have been ‘stress related’. These symptoms can be debilitating and affect everything including school, work, home and social relationships.
My self-talk was brutal. I was my own worst enemy. Now, I am at peace and the phrases that repeat in my mind daily are positive. How did I turn that frown upside down? It didn’t happen over- night. It took time, work, and effort. What changed? I started practicing gratitude and listening to positive messages.
I started saying thank you and feeling grateful for all my life experiences. So, “FML” turned into “Thank you Jesus”. I started thanking God and the Universe for allowing me teachable moments through those unpleasant experiences. Life happens. I may spill coffee on my shirt right before a big interview or trip over my own feet and land flat on my face as I cross the street. No matter what happens I am thankful for the experience and I move on. I don’t dwell on the bad and I celebrate the good.
I used the power of repetition to stamp the new phrases into my subconscious mind. I absorbed those solid phrases and held onto them. They soon replaced the hateful phrases. I see it as putting positive thoughts on autopilot.
“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” -Norman Vincent Peale