The media has been having a field day with Britney Spears for the last few years and most especially over the last year. I’m not here to add to the gossip. I wish Britney all the best. What Britney is going through, under the media microscope, many of us also experience. We live through similar situations in our lives where we feel lost, can’t find our compass, and don’t know where to turn. When that happens there can be a lot of frantic frenzy like a puppy who’s just been let out of his crate. The puppy runs around and around, running into things, jumping up on people, and acting pretty crazy. Until he gets all his energy out. Only then is the puppy ready to listen to the guiding voice of his owner.
This happened to me a little bit in my early 20’s when, upon entering the real world, I needed to figure out where I was going. Being scared, I clung onto people, some of whom did not have my best interests at heart. I had some anxiety attacks and thought my world was caving in, when in reality, my body was trying to tell me to get some help. Over time I sought out the help of people who always loved me, my family. I learned about anxiety attacks and how harmless they really are and how easy they are to overcome.
So for Britney Spears and anyone else who feels lost, here are the things that helped me get back on track.
1. Slow Down and Stop Running Away. Trying to bury your problems underneath the pursuit of pleasure will not make them go away. Yes, you’ll feel good in the moment when you dive into chemicals, wild experiences, watching endless TV, new relationships, and sex, but every time the pleasure ends you will be right back where you started. The problems will still be there, still unresolved, and you’ll be looking for the next hedonistic experience to drown it out.
2. Let Go of Fear. If you are afraid to get off the vicious cycle described above, know that you can do it. You can handle it. Know that there is more than enough strength inside you. For many people, turning over their fear to God, a Higher Power, or to the Universe is a very powerful way to let go of fear. Another way is to imagine you are a child in your mother’s arms trusting her to take care of anything that comes along. Feel what that is like to release fear and to trust completely. Now do the same thing, but imagine being cradled by yourself. Feel and trust in your strength to handle anything in your life.
3. Let Go of the Notion That a Stormy Life is Romantic. Life is already stormy enough. You’ll have plenty of things in your life to keep it interesting. What you don’t want is factors that add unnecessary volatility to your life. Otherwise you’ll find yourself on the never ending cycle of chasing a high to heal your lows. See if you can identify what those factors are so you can begin to eliminate them one by one.
4. Return to the People Who Love You. These are the people you might be afraid will say “I told you so.” They might and they might not. Don’t worry about that. If there is any sense that someone has an agenda to exploit you then that is not the right person to go to. You want to go to the people who would be by your side when all the chips are down, when you are sick, and when you are penniless. Let your pride go and feel the relief of doing that. Go be loved. This means people who will listen to you, be with you, and support you.
5. Ask for Help. Don’t think you are burdening people. Don’t worry about people telling you “I told you so.” Don’t think you have to do work things out all on your own. Ask the people who love and support you for help. And don’t be afraid to ask a lot. Don’t worry. Pretty soon, once you’re feeling strong again, you won’t need to ask for as much help. But the good thing is you will have developed a very important habit of not being afraid to ask for help when you really need it.
6. Know Why You’re Trying to Change. Think of all the bad things in your life right now: the anxiety, the hangovers, the worry, the emotional turbulence and so on. Imagine how great life will be with all these difficulties eliminated from your life. “But,” you say, “I like the partying. I like chasing new relationships. I like the fast pace.” Changing your life doesn’t mean it will be without pleasure. It just means that you will be seeking a life that is more stable and less volatile. When you find purpose in your life and start taking care of yourself, you will have much more pleasure than you have today. You’ll still be able to laugh wildly, to do exciting things, to have fun, to have special romantic relationships, and so on. But it will all be in a way that supports a stable life. Stay focused on moving towards a better life and away from your current stormy life.
7. Find a Life Coach to Guide Your Life Planning. Purchase Anthony Robbins “Get the Edge” CD’s or Andrew Matthews tapes (my favorite self-help author) and start the fun activity of daydreaming what you want to do in your life. What is important to you? Start some life goal planning either on your own if you can or find someone who can walk you through the process. Planning your goals is fun. Go for it!
8. Take Baby Steps. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Change takes work and time. Go super slow. Be kind to yourself. Whenever you feel frustration emerging, remember the mantra “Go Slow.” Think about what is really important. Don’t worry about small things. Just take care of yourself. This will help break your knee-jerk reaction of diving into things that aren’t good for you whenever you are feeling low.
9. Exercise Daily. Get outside and either walk or jog everyday. Alternate listening to music and listening to your own thoughts. Use that time to enjoy nature and let go of your problems. It’s also a good time to plan solutions for your goals. Exercise makes people happier. It helps relieve anxiety. It makes you feel strong, which you are! Exercise is a great way to tap into your inner strength that is always available whenever you choose to plug into it!
10. Get Involved in Something Outside Yourself. When I was having anxiety in college, my campus job making sandwiches made me feel so good. I was too busy to worry about anything. It got my blood flowing and it stopped my brain from re-treading those worry paths over and over again. So find something to do that will keep you very busy for a period of time everyday or every other day. You could try volunteer work, a new hobby, a book club or some other social group. Just pick one and do it. And remember #5, ask for help if you need a jump getting started.
Wishing you, Britney, and all those who are going through a tough transition, much peace and success on your journey!
Were you ever lost? How helped you the most to get back on track? All comments big and small are very welcomed!
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