Developing a Better Relationship with My Nerves – My Brain’s Not Broken

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I know I should start a New Years post in 2021 (although you should be warned, there won’t be much of the “New Year, New You” energy you might see elsewhere) but since I started a new job this one week I wanted to touch nerves and be nervous. People’s relationships with these feelings can be weak and stressful, and these experiences can further determine how we allow ourselves to feel about nerves. This week I’ve been (and still am) nervous, and for good reason. But for the first time in a while this feeling, which I don’t experience often, is positive and I think it’s not only related to this new opportunity but also a reflection of how I’m changing my relationship with nerves.

It doesn’t take a therapist to understand why people who live with fear don’t like to be nervous. In addition to the actual fear trigger that a situation represents, it also creates feelings of nervousness and tension that need to be acknowledged and / or addressed. I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but at one point during my mental health journey, I developed an unrealistic (and unhealthy) relationship with the concept of being nervous. Nerves were something to fear and something to avoid. Feeling nervous meant another round of dealing with an anxiety spiral or a depressed mood.

Most of the time, these feelings had very little to do with the situation itself – sometimes the situation wasn’t even relevant. Things got to me when I got angry about nervousness that would come along the way, good or bad. And that’s what made the new, nervous energy I felt this week so exciting. It is different. It’s a chance to build a better relationship on my nerves. To a larger extent, it is a chance to develop a better relationship with my fear as well.

This may seem obvious to some (or most) of you reading this, but there really is a good kind of nervousness there. I don’t mean a positive way of feeling, I mean being able to, but a positive attitude towards how you feel. Why am i nervous? Because I have an exciting opportunity ahead of me. There is a new opportunity where I can improve in so many ways and I think what is exciting for me is the opportunity to be myself – something that is rarely found.

That doesn’t mean that fears and insecurities will go away. In fact, I want to create new ones. But when I give my nerves some context, some of the fear takes away from me and I can immerse myself in a situation that is ready to be myself in as many ways as possible. And that’s a new, wonderful feeling for me.

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