Narrative

Add better habits to your life

For the past two years, I was heavily depressed. I told a close friend how the past year was a professional high but personal low. Each night, I laid in bed thinking of all the things I hated about myself and sucked at: my communication skills, people skills, organization, discipline, and the list goes on and on. I drowned myself in negative self-talk and suffocated myself in misery. Then, in the morning, I dragged myself out of bed, put on a smile, and pretended like things were going great because that’s what people needed.

I knew things were bad as my thoughts became self-harming and destructive. I reflected on my daily habits and decided enough was enough. I saw myself at the edge and not too far away from falling over, so I slowly began taking control of my life, little by little.

Over the next few months, I did one thing each day to make myself feel better and shake myself out of it. I began with prioritizing meditation. Knowing my hyperactive mind, I played guided meditations, including those with hypnosis and self-affirmations each night. I played them until I was close enough to fall asleep, turn it off, and let my mind rest with messages reminding me “I am a capable person. I have unique qualities to shine from my inner soul and bless the world around me”. (I’m not even kidding, that was a direct quote from the meditation. It sounds ridiculous but it worked!)

I changed my night-owl tendencies and allowed myself to wake up at 7AM every weekday. With this extra time in the morning, I played the same guide meditations and took time to mentally prepare myself for the day, and snooze a bit more before I really had to get up. I began attracting and surrounding myself with positive people, absorbing their energy like a battery, and slowly cleanse myself.

I began picking up new hobbies (because I was a loser who only worked and watch Youtube videos). I learned about healing crystals and spirituality. I focused on setting intentions and manifesting the results I wanted instead of the things I didn’t want. I overcommunicated my intentions and took deep breathes during heated conversations to avoid saying something I would regret. I also began reminding my conversation partner our goal was to work towards a resolution to diffused the conflict.

Very slowly, I pulled myself out of depression because I focused on adding positive actions and behaviors into my day. I acted from a state of peacefulness, instead of reactiveness. Although I no longer dangled on the edge as often as I did, I know I’m not quite out of the woods yet. To maintain my momentum and build upon it, I am now shifting my focus to setting better habits to work towards my goals.

When addressing this topic, it’s easy for someone who is hard on themselves to think about all the things they shouldn’t do – don’t do this, that’s not good, this will hurt you, be more proactive, etc. It becomes very overwhelming and self-defeating as it paralyzes the person in fear. Instead, I learned to focus on adding better habits to my life, including activities that are productive, positive, and uplifting. This benefits in two major ways: 1) It helps the mind and spirit focus on the energizing actions and rewarding good behaviors 2) Overtime, the good habits will ultimately push out the bad habits, equating to a win-win.

I’ll give an example. I love watching Youtube videos and online TV Shows. Don’t judge me but I slip into the rabbit hole of makeup tutorials (because I love learning about products), celebrity interviews (to study charismatic people), and TV shows (for the storytelling). Obviously, it is not productive when you’re building an empire of community conscious businesses and organizations. I could be wrong but no one who is trying to save the world stays up-to-date on the top Netflix shows. Instead of watching “mindless” content, I made a decision to focus on productive and positive content: cooking healthy food, educational and thought-provoking videos, and reading more on economics, community building, and leadership.

To sum it up, life is about the choices we make. Big or small, our choices make up who we are and our impact on others. What we tend to overlook are our small daily choices as they add up quickly and stall our development over time. By focusing on adding more good, whether it’s adding more vegetables to your daily food intake or switching out the latest episode of Scandal for a Simon Sinek book. If you’re able to focus on the good stuff, you’ll be less tempted to give into the bad. Everything in moderation, including self-talk, habit building, and personal development.

Now, onto setting better habits! I am working to include more good habits including writing 500 words (which helps us here, YAY!), reading 20 pages, and working to uplift and/or encourage 1 person to pursue their goals each day. This is something new I’m practicing so I hope you’ll join me on my journey!

Inspired by Mr. Teach, my partner, and Kim Kardashian West
(Yes, KKW helped me. If you ask, I can share how in the comment section)

Please keep in mind, I shared clip notes and a fast-forward version of my personal journey of lifting myself out of my depression. This may not work for everyone and I understand each person’s experience is different. If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help! (Therapy is amazing!! I believe everyone should do it!)

I am still dealing with my anxiety and depression. I am sharing this to my personal and professional network to hopefully help others to feel less alone in their experience. It does not matter who you are, what you look like or what position you’re in. We all experience down points in our lives. What’s important is how you pick yourself up. There are many ways to do it and I hope you pick the safest and most productive method for you. Much love, M

Melissa Thi Le

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