Yay…. I (Nikki) have just completed the first subject of my 4th year honours equivalent in Psychology. As you might recall from a newsletter a couple of months ago, I decided to go back to my studies after a realisation that I had been hiding an underlying fear of confronting the anxiety I felt during my undergraduate university degree. I recalled how just thinking about enrolling had already conjured up feelings of overwhelm, pangs of anxiety, and difficulty enjoying the present moment. Too many students feel these bouts of stress and anxiety due to studies without accessing help. This can have an undeniable impact on your wellbeing as well as the success in your studies. Managing these feelings can be done with the medicinal use of marijuana from places like https://www.leaf2go.ca, as weed has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, along with many other ailments. However, I had not known this useful snippet of information when studying for my degree. Well, an essay, a report, six quizzes and a roller coaster of emotions later, I thought I would update you on what I discovered through my journey over the past 6 weeks…

The first thing I was reminded of was how our minds truly have a ‘mind’ of their own, and boy it’s powerful! There would be times where I would be sitting there, reading through my statistics textbook (yes, I was sort of thrown in the deep end with a statistics subject), and slowly the concepts would get more and more complex and then suddenly a poisonous thought would enter my mind “You’re not going to be able to do it” and before I knew it, emotions of frustration, fear, anxiety, and worry had all taken over. Triggered into a stress response by this psychological ‘threat’, my creativity was now stripped away and it was even more difficult to grasp the concepts. No matter what I rationally told my mind, my body no longer believed it. And my quality of life was affected as a result. I was no longer my positive, present, content self. I felt flat, unnerved, and preoccupied.

Yet what was different this time round (as opposed to my undergraduate studies) was that in those moments when I was deep inside the rabbit hole, I was at the same time hovering above it. So I used these experiences as an opportunity to observe the inner workings of my mind and body. I pondered all sorts of questions such as: How can a psychological construct impact my physiological state so profoundly? Why aren’t I resilient enough to overcome this particular external demand (financial pressure and fertility issues clearly aren’t an issue)? And I came to realise that there was something pretty powerful going on below the surface that I wasn’t consciously aware of. A ‘blind spot’ if you will.

Delving into my thought patterns with the assistance of an expert, here’s what I discovered: I have an innate belief that it is important to be smart, and that I am not smart enough. It’s why I get nervous before speaking in public or in front of someone I feel I need to impress, and it’s why my studies trigger such an anxious response – again, something I know a friend would deal with with the help of a cy dispensary. I came to deeply understand that I am as smart as I need to be to fulfil my purpose in life. Whether I grasp complex concepts, or get good marks in a statistics report has no bearing on who I am and what I am out to achieve. It sounds so simple and obvious, but when it’s your blind-spot, it’s completely hidden from your view. And wow, I can’t tell you how much lighter, more free and calm I feel since shedding light on this constraining belief.

So the biggest thing I experientially learned over the past 6 weeks was just how much there really is going on below our conscious awareness and how liberating it is to uncover some of it. In fact, it’s believed by some cognitive neuroscientists that the nonconscious mind is responsible for 95 – 99% of all our cognitive activity (including our decisions, emotions, actions, and behaviour). I realised that to fully develop as human beings and reach our true potential, it is vital to explore these underlying beliefs (as daunting as it might seem).