I’m sitting at my laptop. I’ve spent hours upon hours re-editing it, re-formatting it, re-reading it. I think I’m done. I save it as a PDF, head to the submissions page, upload it and press the ‘submit’ button. My Psychology honours thesis has officially been handed in!
Fourteen months ago, I embarked on huge journey. Sparked by a self-discovery process on a self-development course, I decided to confront one of my biggest fears and go back to university to complete my Psychology studies. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the studying that I was afraid of. It was the anxiety I experienced in the face of studying that scared me the most. You see, during my undergraduate degree at university, I experienced anxiety. Now I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time and so I never saw a professional to get officially diagnosed. But looking back on that period of my life – I now know I was experiencing some form of it. I had a constant heaviness in my chest, butterflies in my stomach, digestive issues, and muscle spasms. I couldn’t properly enjoy the present as I would worry incessantly about my upcoming essays or exams, and I was generally unhappy. I was so burned out by the end that for two years after, I spontaneously woke up from nightmares about an exam happening the next day.
So it was a big deal for me to go back. And it is a big deal for me now that I have actually finished! Although I must admit, it hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. I can’t tell you the number of times I considered quitting when I was struck with overwhelm. Yet all the while, I knew it was an incredible opportunity to discover something big. To transform my relationship to studying and to failure forever. And I did! The result? No more panic in the face of the deadline, no overwhelm, no anxiety. Just what there was to do in order to finish off the thesis as best I could, given all my other commitments and work. The secret? I did a LOT of work on my self throughout. A combination of meditation, mindfulness, coaching, and mentorship.
During this self-inquiry, I discovered that a) I have a core belief that I am not good enough and b) Doing well academically is intrinsically tied to my self-worth. So when I didn’t see a clear pathway as to how I would achieve something, I automatically decided that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, and my body went into fight-or-flight in an attempt to protect myself from the threat of not doing well. A classic case of my mind not being able to tell the difference between an assignment and a sabre-toothed tiger. Human beings are fascinating, huh?
Whatever you are dealing with something right now, please remember that we are here to support you on your meditation and mindfulness journey – including everything that comes up throughout it. We also invite you to explore our Centred Edge: Six-Week Peak Performance Program – next Feb and our Here and Now: Three-Day Meditation and Mindfulness Retreat – in 2 weeks, which both intended to empower you to deal more effectively with your triggers and access more of your full potential.