“Fake it until you make it” has been the BEST advice I have ever followed in my life.
I often experience all kinds of annoying and life limiting emotions like feeling like an imposter, experiencing low-self esteem days (less as I get older and actually use my strategies), anxious (agitated, fearful, worried, freaked-out…), low mood (bummed out, down, blue, depressed…) and lack of motivation (most of my life), to name a few of those pesky emotions that often take over my life. This blog has taken me way too long to write, I actually have no idea why, other than I wanted to make it real and usable, and something people could relate to.
I confess, I am a serious recovering “I don’t FEEL like it” kinda person. I so often tell my students that if I lived by feeling alone (no rational thoughts) I would not do anything except watch Netflix, in my PJs, sipping wine. I have no problem feeling like doing that 😉 It is easier. No anxious feelings, no feeling like an imposter, but it usually leads to lowering my self-esteem and feeling crappy.
So I do this instead…
I pair the “fake it” part with with “feelings are not facts“as a strategy to motivate the inner feeling-based person that I am. My poor students so often claim to claim to hear my voice in their head at times where they need to kick their own butt, walk through adversity and end the current pity party. I am not saying that you can’t have a pity party sometimes, this can actually be a moment of reflection and healing; I am saying don’t stay too long at that party. Like everything in life, moderation, moderation, moderation…except moderation 😉
Just a reminder that this is #4 in my 10 part series this academic year on
“Being Nice to Your Brain”
Series: 10 Things You Can Do to Be Nice to Your Brain
- Mental Health Problems are Learning Problems. #YOUARENOT BROKEN #LEARNING (Theme: Learning to Tolerate Ambiguity)
- The Psychological Value of Being Open to New Information and Experiences #MindBlown (Theme: Be Open to New Information)
- Learning to Reframe Adversity: Yes Bad Things are Terrible, But so is Giving Away Your Power! (Theme: Learn to Reframe Adversity)
- TODAY! You Don’t Have to Act the Way You Feel…Seriously Cut it Out 😉
- Zone in on Your Purpose in Life
- Master Motivation aka “fire under your butt strategies”
- Seek Out Peak Experiences
- Stay True to Your Values – Who do YOU want to be in this world?
- Learn the Art of Balance
- Apply the “Power of Yet” in Your Life
Let’s Get Started!
Emotions have a wonderful purpose in your life providing colour and richness, guidance, warning signals, human connection and so many more useful functions. However, they were never designed to be left alone to fend for themselves. They need a partner in crime to help keep the emotional message in balance. This is where another part of your brain needs to be hauled in to add a “voice of reason” balance to the message. Here is a little taste of what is to come in this post, a cool little strategy that helps your emotional areas and your thought areas of your brain work in partnership, the Wise Mind. I use this all the time.
From Strategies to Destination
Let’s start with attitude. I find it helpful to look at my life like an adventure rather than something to survive. If you distill it down, we really are here, on this planet, to entertain ourselves until we die. So, why don’t we make it fun and learn all kinds of adaptive skills along the way that positively contribute to our lives and to our communities?!?!
Here are some of my favourite “attitude adjusters“: (yes I use them personally)
- Choose Your Own Adventure: Take on a “choose your own adventure” way of seeing your life. This was one of my favourite book series when was young. Yeah, stop calculating my age 😉 Netflix has taken this concept digital, check it out! Start taking control of your life, your decisions, take responsibility and stop waiting for someone else to tell you what to do. You are just waiting for someone else to take the responsibility or the blame.
- Fake it Until You Make it: This is such an important attitude to adopt. You may be scared, you may feel that everyone thinks you are a fraud, but just go out there and get started, you will definitely be surprised at how much further you get than just sitting at your pity party. Here are some tips, that are a part of my daily life, for actually making this happen:
- Own Your Narrative: Be the main character in your life and show up! Yes, maybe bad things have happened in your life, yes maybe things are unfair, but it is what it is and no amount of complaining is going to make the facts change. So, the first step is accepting that it is true, not right or fair, but true. This is your story, writing the narrative is the best form of control over how it ends. Start with some of these strategies for getting you started.
- Radical Acceptance: “Pain + non-acceptance= suffering.” Check out this link to learn more about this Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) strategy
Watch This Video! Please
*really, it helps to understand that your brain can change, you can do things to actually change it and you can put your self on the path to your best self.
In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the word “dialectic” refers to balancing and comparing two things that seem to be quite different – even contradictoryMarsha Linehan, creator of the highly-regarded Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Here is a simplified explanation of the neurobiology of your brain. Like physical exercise builds muscles in the areas that you focus on, the brain is very similar. Whatever you spend time focusing on in your mind is what is created, fostered and built. I am not saying that you should always think positively, but you do need to spend time shaping your brain, like you would do for your physical health, and create a balanced perspective on your world. The good and the bad.
Who do you want to be in this world? What do you want to achieve while you are here on this planet? What would you like to be remembered for? What character attributes would you like to develop?
Start asking these questions so that your roadmap is clear. With everything you do, you can then ask yourself, does this help or hurt the life that I am striving for? Yes this is a messy process, but it should be. Life is beautifully messy and that is where the most beneficial learning creeps in 🙂
Tell me about your journey!
#YouGotThis #LiveFully #MentalWellness
Dr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.
Psychologist * Passionate Advocate for Flourishing * Human Muddling Through
If you liked the suggestions above, check out these extra resources and get started treating your mind as you would like to be treated.