This is the face of stress and anxiety.

May is Mental Health Awareness month. Four years ago I am not sure I would have paid much attention but I probably should have for the 40+ years prior. Since then, I have spent much of my professional and personal life digging into the science of how we show up every day and what drives our actions.  Why we do the things that we do. How it impacts ourselves do including our physical self.  

This last year really kicked most of us in the butt and made many of us realize that this is hard. It didn’t just start being hard in 2020 – it was always hard, but now we are all getting more comfortable recognizing and saying aloud that this is hard, whatever your “this” happens to be. I never really understood how much stress and anxiety I had until I took the time to understand what that really meant and how it affects my head and my body. So, this is the face of stress and anxiety.

I have pressures like many of you. I have professional pressures – Is the team happy? Am I doing enough to drive the business?  Are my clients satisfied?  What does next quarter look like?  And that all makes me stressed and anxious. #thisisnormal

I have family pressures – Am I growing and shaping my kids to be strong, healthy, happy, smart and empathetic? Am I spending enough time with them? Who is that new kid they are hanging out with and do I like them?  Have I called my parents enough?  And what is that strange beeping sound in the basement? And that all makes me stressed and anxious. #thisisnormal

I have personal pressures – Am I taking enough time for myself? Have I been social enough or just focused on work? And that all makes me stressed and anxious.  #thisisnormal

And I have physical pressures – I live with chronic pain every day. I have spinal deterioration issue effecting my lumbar and cervical spine. I wake up to pain and go to sleep with pain. Some days are better. Some days are worse. The pain makes me highly stressed. And my stress makes the pain worse. It’s a brutal cycle that can crush your mind and your body. #thisisnormal 

Taking time to become self-aware and then taking the time to find the tools that work to help me in the moment has radically changed my ability to show up stronger, recover faster and be more empathetic. And when my pain flares up, I can now better manage my emotional response which helps me to calm down the pain and recover faster.

My story and my challenges are mine. But everyone has their own story and their own challenges that impact them every day. And that is normal. It is normal to feel stressed or anxious. It is normal that sometimes it gets overwhelming. It is normal to take care of your mental health just like you would your physical self. The more we make mental health sound normal, the more normal it becomes. #thisisnormal

Join me in sharing your B&W selfie and #thisisnormal story. Total Brain will make a $5 donation to One Mind for each of the first 1K people that participate.


mental health in the covid-19 era