Self-Sabotage: Are you getting in the way of your own wellbeing?Feb 11, 2021
I have had a transformational week discovering how I have been self-sabotaging my own progress and feeling really impressed with what I am, in fact, capable of. More on that in a moment, but this is the gist of our post today – Are you also a victim of self-sabotage? And how are you getting in the way of your own wellbeing? While you read this, I want you to think about yourself and how this may have, or is currently, showing up in your life.
The Context of My Self-Sabotage
There is a wealth of research pointing at the gut-brain connection and how our gut health directly affects our mental wellbeing. If you want to know more about this head over to this informative video by Dr. Eric Berg to learn more.
Point is, my gut isn’t particularly healthy. I feel bloated a lot of the time and just generally uncomfortable. And I know this must have a role to play in my mental wellbeing.
So for the longest time I have been trying to find solutions to these issues. I have tried a host of expensive gut health supplements (which are certainly healthy) and some detox cleanses (which I am not a big fan of). I have tried being gluten free (with little success because I love gluten, let’s just be honest!). And I have tried various other diet changes.
Truth is – they are all very effective in their own right. Problem is – I don’t tend to stick to any of these for very long.
When I am going gluten free then I find a reason that I must have gluten. I tell myself something like “I have had a rough week and a great pizza will fix the problem. I shouldn’t have to suffer after a long week”.
Similarly with other options – the supplements that actually work are “too expensive to take long term”. The detox’s are “too exhausting to have to do when you have two young kids”.
And so, I have, effectively dismissed many great suggestions and evidence based strategies to improve my gut health.
My Self-Sabotage In Full Force
A major recommendation has been intermittent fasting. I give everything a go, at least once. But if I am honest, I will give these things a try having already made up my mind about whether they will work for me or not. Sound familiar?
So before embarking on intermittent fasting, I had already decided that “women’s bodies are different to men’s and therefore I will never be able to do a 24 hour fast”. Some of this is true; women’s bodies are different to men’s, but you may very well be able to fast for 24 hours.
Point is, I decided I couldn’t. And when I tried (because I will try everything at least once) I would get to a point in the day when I felt so terribly hungry and then say things like, “I am just one of those people who doesn’t tolerate being hungry”, “I get hangry and that’s not fair on my kids, so I must eat lunch”. And so forth.
My husband, Des, is the kind of guy that decides something will be good for him and then goes about and just does it. He tries everything once with an open mind and reaps the benefits where he can.
So this past weekend, along with deciding to go vegetarian, he persuaded me to give fasting another go. He, cunningly, knew he would be home with me on Monday (a public holiday), which meant I couldn’t cheat and give in half way.
So by 12pm I was ravenous, he bought me a green tea. By 2pm I couldn’t take it anymore, he distracted me with a lime water and a conversation. Then he cheer-leaded me through the remaining hours of the afternoon and celebrated my first 24 hour fast!
But then I was so far down the rabbit hole of seeing I could, in fact, survive this that I had to keep going on Tuesday. And Wednesday. And now it is Thursday as I write this.
I am amazed at how my mindset around 24 hour fasting has shifted. It is totally possible. I am hungry, not hangry. No one died in the process. And, truth be told, I feel so much better. Like, So. Much. Better.
Not only does my tummy feel better, but I have been super clear-headed all week. I feel like I have more energy instead of my 4pm slump and I generally feel good about myself and my achievement.
There is nothing better than setting out to do something and actually doing it. Go me!
How Does Self-Sabotage Apply to You and Your Anxiety?
Well, all this has got me thinking. I offer evidence-based strategies to all of my clients in managing their anxiety. Yet precious few actually try them. I hear things like “I just can’t remember to do the breathing when I am very anxious”, or “I have too much to do in the morning to get journaling done”.
I have heard “I have nothing to write when it comes to gratitude journaling” and “My kids and family are too demanding so I can’t find the quiet space I need to try mindfulness meditation”.
So many people say “That doesn’t work for me”, or “that’s too expensive”, “I don’t have time for that”.
Sound familiar at all?
Simple Strategies Work
The thing is, these strategies are evidence-based – that means there have been studies done that provide evidence that the strategy is effective in reducing anxiety when it is intense.
Breathing techniques, meditation, walking, grounding techniques, distractions – all of them are evidence-based.
And yet so many of us dismiss them before giving them try. We have seemingly plausible reasons that make perfect sense. And those reasons get in the way of us trying something that could be a huge benefit.
Or we try them, like I did, half-heartedly and then conclude “it simply doesn’t work for me”.
And if you would like to take your journey further – find out about our Inner Circle where you can receive ongoing support, motivation and training on evidence-based strategies!