Affirmations: an experiment

I was introduced to the idea of affirmations about 20 years ago by a fan

How far will we go?

of Louise Hay’s work. The basic premise is that through using affirmations, one can change one’s life – dramatically.

 

I’ve dipped into affirmations every now and again, but have never truly engaged with the concept fully… until now.

 

I propose an experiment: one month of daily affirmations, and let’s see if it does, in fact, change anything. How do we measure this? It’s not like there’s an affirmation effectiveness scale. So, what I am doing is jotting down in my paper journal (yes, I still use those) all the things I am experiencing that are not so positive on the emotional side of things. For example: lack of confidence, brain fog, tiredness, it’s tough concentrating and focusing my attention, plus there is a bit of emotional unease in the form of very mild depression, some anxiety and mood swings.

 

For this experiment, I will be using an affirmation video I found on YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgEvA146PiA

 

For 8 minutes each day from today until 22 September, I will use the video, say the affirmations out loud and check in with myself to see if there is any improvement. I’ll post on my progress halfway through.

Do you want to join me in this experiment? Leave your comments and create a blog post about it. Remember to share the post with me so I can include you in my “Experimenters” post, and link your post back to this one so that everyone knows what you are doing.

Good luck!

Ah yes. Anxiety.

It’s starting again, today. The tightness in my throat, the racing heartbeat, the chest pain, the feeling that I am completely incapable of thinking at all. When it struck again yesterday, I thought once again that I was going to have a heart attack, that I was about to die.

Happy, funny, enthusiastic – that’s how I prefer people to see me

Sometimes I can tame it, talk myself down. Other times, it’s not that easy.

 

It’s difficult to describe, this thing called Anxiety and why it is such a big issue in my life. Most people feel anxious when they are about to do a speech, or while waiting for test results. That’s more like nervousness. Anxiety in this form

 

is quite a different creature. It has teeth, breathes fire and consumes you utterly, reducing you to a speck of the person you are.

 

Most people haven’t experienced Anxiety, not in that way, not in that intensity. It’s horrifying. The pain, the dizziness, the brain fog… these are only a few of the unpleasantries. And afterwards there’s the paranoia, the crushing feeling that I am worthless and a miserable excuse for a human.

Also, many people have no idea how to handle someone who is having an anxiety attack. It’s sad, because the treatment I’ve received from some people has bordered on abusive, including being yelled at, chased out and even physical abuse during a panic attack. I’ve had people tell me they’ve had anxiety and panic attacks before, but are rude, and downright mean when I’ve had an attack in their presence.

And yes, I am ashamed that my brain does this. I am ashamed that I am not able to control it sometimes. I don’t talk about it, and I exhaust myself hiding my anxiety from those around me so that they don’t freak out. I prefer the world to look at the positive, humorous woman they’ve come to know and love than the cowering, tearful apparition I become when anxiety takes over.

However, hiding does not help create awareness or understanding, and that is really what is needed.¬† Coming out of the closet was way easier than talking about how anxiety affects me. It has changed my life quite considerably. I don’t go out much, I stay away from large crowds, I keep a little bottle of pills on hand to help me if I have an attack. Most of the time okay, but there are days (and this whole week, actually) where it’s hard to keep at bay.

 

The last time I had a panic attack, I took a photo of myself as I started coming down from the panic. This may seem weird, but I had the clarity to realise that no one has ever seen me like this or what anxiety and panic does to me. And if we see the face of anxiety in one person, we may be more likely to recognise it in another and perhaps offer them some loving kindness and compassion. So this is me coming out of the panic closet.

Well. That didn’t go as planned…

By now, I should be a world famous opera singer that has crowds swooning and overcome with joy with just the mere whisper of my voice. I should be opening at Covent Garden and La Scala and be the toast of Glyndebourne. But no. That’s not quite what happened. Actually, none of that happened.

I spent about¬† years of my life having life happen to me. I didn’t participate, I didn’t engage. It seems that most of my time from 2000 onward was spent reacting, finding ways to survive and keeping myself drowning in a series of emotions and issues. I wasn’t active in my own life. It was like watching a rather tragic drama unfold in front of me.

 

I felt powerless to control my own destiny. Even though I had the right tools – Buddhist philosophy, years of therapy, self awareness – it still seemed as though I was drifting aimlessly through life.

 

And then, one day, I woke up and discovered I had turned 40.

 

I scrambled to cram in as much as I could of the dreams I’d lost along the way. I must do this, I must do that. I can’t die before I had this kind of experience… It became something of an obsession. I would like to say it was a classic midlife crisis. In my mind, I hadn’t done enough, didn’t have enough, didn’t earn enough nor was I valued enough. I wanted to be something AMAZING. Surely, this miserable life must count for something…

 

Thankfully, things have calmed down since I decided that the crisis wasn’t a crisis at all, but an awakening. A new chapter. A new beginning. I am not trying to cram anything in or to hastily find ways of catching up with my peers in whatever way I think I may lack.

 

I am, however, determined to live the fullest, richest life possible. I wasted the majority of my life on trivial things, guilt, shame, the mistakes of the past. I’m done with that now. The future awaits.

 

About Beyond 40

I never thought I’d be one of those people who would experience a ‘midlife crisis’. Well. Surprise. Except I prefer to call it a midlife transformation or midlife awakening – because crisis sounds like you’re powerless, whereas transformation and awakening means you’re actively and consciously taking part in the transition.

 

This blog is about that, and conscious ageing, and Buddhism, and LGBTQ+ pride, and life and a whole bunch of other stuff.

 

As for me? I am a writer, vocalist and cartoonist. I don’t do all of that as my day job, though. I work in PR for my day job, mostly writing articles and press releases for clients. Writing is what I do with most of my time, though – work and leisure.