Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates A Moving Target, was recently interviewed for an article for UpJourney on how to be easier on yourself, read the article here.
How To Stop Beating Yourself Up
Mindful Writing Coach | Award-winning Wellness Author, “Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink”
Awareness is the first step
To stop that vicious internal voice from taking out the proverbial baseball bat and hitting you over the head, you first need to be aware it’s happening. A simple mindfulness exercise can help. For some people, the “underground” negative voice shows up as procrastination. For others, it appears as brain fog or confused mind.
When a person experiences any of these slowdowns, pausing long enough to feel what’s going on in the body can bring the voices to consciousness. Five minutes of noticing where the sluggishness arises may allow the thoughts to surface. Then, other techniques can work.
Turning your mind into an ally
Once you are aware of the berating voice, acknowledge it and get curious. At first, your emotions might be too “hot” for you to take a neutral stance, but questioning transforms the negative thoughts. Ask “Are you sure this is true?” or “Why do you think that?” Listen for the answers, but only long enough to center yourself.
Once you have calmed a bit, thank the voice. The reptilian part of the mind, a part beyond logic, thinks it is helping you by generating these thoughts.
Speak to it as if it were a frightened child. Tell it you are grateful it wants to protect you. Then, ask if it will give you time to work things out on your own. Reassure it that you are aware of the (perceived) danger. Tell it you have a plan. Give your body a minute to settle. Then, move forward.
It may take a few times of gently “proving” to that part of your brain that you’re in charge, but it will take note and let you work. When it does, thank it for being part of the team.
How Running With My Dog Brought Me Back From the Brink (Running Depression and Anxiety Therapy, Bipolar)
It’s never too late to chase your dreams. Before she discovered running, Nita Sweeney was 49-years-old, chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to jog for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, Nita discovered an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon. In her memoir, Sweeney shares how she overcame emotional and physical challenges to finish the race and come back from the brink.