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In honor of May being mental health awareness month, I wanted to talk about anxiety, depression & everything in between. Most of you know about my nonprofit M.I.N.T. that focuses on educating young people about the effects of social media on your mental health. I started this nonprofit back in 2016, and presenting these talks are certainly one of my favorite parts of my job. As much as I wish I could run my nonprofit full-time, there’s a lot of things I want to do in my lifetime so I can’t attribute as much time to M.I.N.T. as I wish I could. However, I put these talks on when I can. I think educating young people about the negative effects of social media on your mental health is more important than ever right now.
Anxiety and depression feel like second nature in my life. I’m so used to waking up with anxiety or dealing with depression, and I know how to keep both under control most of the time but unfortunately I wouldn’t say that I ever have either under control fully. When I was doing my morning meditation this morning, I was listening to Andy Puddicombe (the voice behind Headspace) say how everyone has anxiety. There is no way to make anxiety disappear- the best you can do is to try and keep yours under control. Some of us have anxiety everyday, and some of us have anxiety whenever we have a test or a questionable situation happen!
The thing we have to realize as a society is everyone is suffering with something, whether that be anxiety, domestic violence, bullying…there really isn’t any way to be the 1% of society that isn’t suffering with something. I don’t think that 1% exists. Because that would simply make life too easy, and whatever you’re dealing with makes you stronger in the end.
When I found out that Instagram was testing removing likes in Canada, I was intrigued by the idea. I think Instagram is one of the most prominent causes of mental health issues (along with a plethora of other causes, I don’t blame Instagram for mental health issues, but I think many young people start to battle more the more they compare themselves to others on social media) and I wish more people would openly talk about this. I love Instagram, but I also know how I feel when I see something I don’t like. The thing is, social media is only a highlight reel. Most people aren’t posting their deepest and darkest secrets for a reason. Whenever you’re scrolling through social media, remind yourself that you are where you are supposed to be in your life. You are doing the best you can, along with me and everyone else!
There’s a few ways that I deal with my anxiety and encourage you guys to…
Meditating (I make a conscious effort to meditate for 10 minutes every morning with Headspace) and I know that if I don’t meditate in the morning, I will have so much anxiety during the day that I’ll feel like I can’t breathe.
Exercise! Exercising has become such a crucial part of my life since I overcame my eating disorder years ago, and I truly find that working out makes me feel so much better. If you want to know how working out affects your mental health, click here.
Keeping your anxiety under control is partially done by knowing your limits. The more I work, the less I have time to myself and the more I push myself to hit unrealistic goals, the more I suffer mentally. I know now what I need to do when I’m feeling burnt out, or what I need to do if I feel like I’m getting so irritated with everyone around me. What do I do? Nothing. I turn off my phone, my laptop, and I eat chocolate and watch Hulu.