Posts Tagged :

positivity

Your Focus Creates Your Feeling 681 1024 samantha

Your Focus Creates Your Feeling

I am someone who fully believes that change and growth is needed to continue to be the best version of yourself, but change can still be a hard thing sometimes. When things are going good in your life and you have a nice routine going, who really wants change?

I’ve struggled with anxiety for a few years now and only within this past year have I truly started to understand how my thinking can change my emotional world.

My anxiety really started in college. It’s not that any single decision I made or new experience I was going through was particularly bad, but it started when I was hit with the realization that for once, I wasn’t completely sure what path I was taking or what was ahead. I stressed HARD on the what-ifs, lost sleep on whether I was making the right life decisions, and my body was physically struggling to keep up with me. When I felt riddled with anxiety, it’s like my mind hyper-focuses on all the negatives. For a little while it feels like things are just not going to get better. No, it’s not like over-thinking something. With anxiety, it feels like being thrown into a panic to try to solve a Rubik’s cube, only the harder you try to solve it, the worse it becomes.

I took time to sit and get honest with myself (and through too many phone calls with my personal on-call 24/7 therapist: my mom). What I’ve learned this year that truly has changed my way of thinking is this: my focus creates my feeling. Whatever holds our attention, molds our intention.  

It might sound so obvious, but for the most part we can control our thoughts. (This is of course with respect to any mental illness that simply doesn’t allow that). It’s crazy when I stop to think that I have the ability to stop myself when I’m sitting there thinking of all the possible things that can go wrong. When life seems to come to a halt and a dark cloud lingers over and all we can do is replay a little movie in our head with something negative or bad, we have the ability to think: ‘No. I’m not going to think that way. Instead, I’m going to dwell on all the positive outcomes that could happen and be grateful for all the good things in my life.’ My focus creates my feeling.

When I feel such anxiety over the what-ifs or play negative conversations or situations in my head that couldhappen, I realize I have the power to change that. I can immediately stop and tell my mind: ‘you’re better than that.’ Sometimes when I have anxiety, I truly couldn’t even tell you why. This sinking feeling hits me and I’m hard pressed to figure out what the heck is going on. But instead of feeling like I’m sinking, I actively tell myself to change my thoughts.

I stumbled across this verse from Philippians 4:8. Even if you don’t consider yourself religious, this is a sweet little reminder to dwell on the positive things when you’re feeling low.

“Fix your thoughts on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

 This is no easy task, though. It’s hard to block out the negative downward spiral when anxiety hits, and even harder to convince yourself to start dwelling on the positives. But through trial and error I’ve found that if I can tell myself, “you are okay, right here, right now,” I can usually lead myself to think about the positive things happening in my day or my life. That switch from worry and fear to gratitude may not solve everything 100%, but it leads me back to the present.

What To do When Doubt Creeps In 681 1024 samantha

What To do When Doubt Creeps In

When in doubt, don’t stop.

A Realization

I usually start my days by journaling morning pages (lately it’s seemed like I have no time!) but I also keep other journals about life milestones or specific journeys I’m on. I have two journals, one for Screenwriting and one for Acting that I like to write in every now and then documenting big goals I’ve accomplished in those areas, breakthroughs, things I’ve learned along the way, etc. and I recently started flipping through my acting journal. It’s crazy to read everything I’ve written in there since 2014! I wasn’t pursuing it as seriously as I am now but even then it’s so funny to read my thoughts back then.

I read the Jenna Fischer book The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide a couple months ago and ever since then it clicked in my mind just how long the actor’s journey can be. I think the same goes for any creative industry though. It can take years and years and years of hard work and breaks to finally “make it.” I had this funny feeling happen recently. I told myself that there was no other option right now but to go after my dreams wholeheartedly and with so much hustle. I don’t recommend the days where it feels so exhausting you might need 10 cups of coffee to finish the day BUT it certainly felt forward moving.

Hustle Hard, Hustle with a Purpose

Why else do we hustle and work so hard for something non-stop other than for the idea that we will get a break one day to get to do something we love? I think “breaks” come in all shapes and sizes but it’s that feeling of: okay this is all for something bigger and this is a stepping stone.

But recently I booked a part that I wanted SO bad and I was so happy, so excited, so ready to take on this challenge and yet…doubt creeped in.

“Doubt is a signal of the creative process. It is a signal that you are doing something right—not that you are doing something wrong or crazy or stupid. The sickening chasm of fear that doubt triggers to yawn open beneath you is not a huge abyss into which you are going to tumble, spiraling downward like you are falling through the circles of hell. No, doubt is most often a signal you are doing something and doing it right.” – Julia Cameron, The Artists Way

That reminder is probably the biggest gift any of creatives can give ourselves. A reminder to recognize the doubt and then keep plowing through to the other side, because on that other side is a wonderful experience that could very much change our life in both big and small ways.

“For an artist, the first doubt is like the first drink for a sober alcoholic: We cannot afford to romance it. The first doubt leads to the second. The second leads to the third, and in no time you are staggering , hurting yourself on the sharp edges of the furniture…When doubt moves at an artist, the artist must learn how to step aside and let the charge pass by.”

Whatever you’re hustling towards and whatever opportunity has landed in your lap, don’t let doubt deter your confidence or your passion. We can do this. When in doubt, don’t stop.

 

What’s something you’ve been doubting lately that you could use a little encouragement with?



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