OK, OK, OK, I know this is one heck of a controversial title.
But, I think it really is time to address the big old elephant in the room.
Before you start taking to Twitter and trolling me or going all old-fashioned, cutting up some newspapers and sending me some well-designed hate mail, I need you to know I don’t believe it is an easy choice & I will absolutely get to that.
Why you choose to have stress, depression & anxiety:
Research has shown that we are the masters of our own universes.
We 100% decide day in day out what we think about, how we respond and why we are doing the things we do.
No one else is in control of how your brain or body works.
We do not live in the Matrix
Stress, depression and anxiety are natural responses our bodies & brains have when we have ignored all the warning signs that something is wrong.
For months, and more likely years, you have been ‘pushing through’ and ‘patting down’ things which irritate you, upset you, anger you and make you feel plain old awful.
But here’s the thing.
Every time you have a negative emotional reaction to something your body goes on autopilot.
Your body produces cortisol.
Cortisol is the main hormone responsible for creating ‘solid and strong connections in our brains for stress, depression & anxiety’.
Cortisol stays in your system for up to 6 hours after it’s been triggered.
& new research shows that if we encounter a stressful situation when we’re already stressed then that situation is much, much, much worse for us than if we were mentally healthy.
Aside from the cortisol kick in the teeth, your subconscious also squirrels that moment away and stores it safely so that it can help you ‘successfully’ navigate similar situations in the future.
How we choose to respond to a given situation dictates how our bodies react.
This is choice number 1.
Choice number 1 is not really a choice at all…
The problem is, that the way we choose to see any situation is based upon how we perceive the world.
Our worldview is based on all the millions of different experiences we’ve had as a child and these are completely unique to us, even if you are a twin.
Have you ever seen the films; Big, 13 going on 30 or 17 again?
In all seriousness, while you may not be consciously walking around as your 12-year-old self, your subconscious, which is in charge of 95% of all the decisions you make, is using your pre-12 memories to decide what you do and do not do.
Scary thought huh?
Your subconscious is solely responsible for ensuring your survival.
It makes sure you carry out all the necessary day to day tasks like eating, sleeping and breathing.
But, it also makes sure you don’t unnecessarily put yourself in danger.
After a little trial and error on the part of the human race back when we were all living as cavemen or cavewomen we worked out really important survival things like, it is much safer to run and hide from a lion than to face it head on and try to grapple it with our bare hands.
In order for us to know this on a deep routed level, some brave cave people would have tried to grapple it and lost.
Once we’ve seen such a traumatic life ending experience we then know deep down, it’s just not worth it.
From then on, every time a lion crosses our path the body and brain go on autopilot and kick starts the stress response, which is also known as the fight, fright or freeze response.
No more unceremonious lion grappling takes place and the human race lives to fight on another day.
You choose to keep thinking all the negative, worrying and awful thoughts
All of the bodies’ automatic responses happen fast.
The stress response is over in two minutes (bar the cortisol which hangs around ‘just in case’).
Physiological reactions we have to emotional stimuli lasts just 90 seconds.
Even though our body is no longer responding to the worrying, negative or utter terrifying stimuli we decide to keep thinking about it.
We then start the process all over again…
This is the choice that you have.
I do not believe that anyone chooses to purposely give themselves extreme levels of stress, depression or anxiety, but, you did choose to ignore the early warning signs.
You carried on ‘pushing through’.
You carried on ‘coping’.
I do not believe that anyone consciously decides every day to stay stuck in stress, depression or anxiety, but your subconscious does choose every day to keep you where you are.
So, what you’re saying is that there is no choice & therefore, no hope…
You still have the power to regain control.
You may only have 5% of the power right now, but it is 100% possible.
The only thing you need to do is to consciously choose to change, then spend every day making small choices which move you towards living a mentally healthy life.
No one else can make this decision for you.
From all my years working with people who are literally at the end of the road, this one decision is, without doubt, the only thing that guarantees their recovery.
The ball is in your court.
Do you want to stay where you are, where it’s safe?
Do you want to choose to fight back and truly live?
I’m rooting for you!
Good luck & see you again soon.
x Katie x
p.s., if you choose to live but have no idea what to do next, use the button below to head over to my #TuesdayTip podcast where I show you how to lead a life full of fun, laughter and happiness, one step at a time.
Woodland, K. (2016) When does stress become something more serious? https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/katie-woodland/when-does-stress-become-s_b_13597398.html
Woodland, K. (2017a) Why Stress Is Bad. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/katie-woodland/why-stress-is-bad_b_14545000.html
Woodland, K. (2017b) How Stress Affects The Brain.https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/katie-woodland/why-stress-is-bad_b_14545000.html
Woodland, K. (2018) Stress, depression & anxiety, you could change your life if you wanted to. http://www.woodlandpsychologicalservices.com/blog/stress-depression-anxiety-you-could-change-your-life-if-you-wanted-to