Think about this for a second…
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.” — Jim Rohn
The people you surround yourself with will determine how you think, how you act, and ultimately, how rich your life is.
Relationships matter in a big way. Not just in your personal life, but in your ability to heal negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and depression. If someone is not building you up and making you stronger; they are making you weaker.
It is time to get real about the people you spend time with if you want to break free from anxiety and stress and reach your full potential.
However, relationships are just one leg of the table. Last week, I mentioned something about the four legs that helped me heal my anxiety. After an amazing outpouring from my readers, I wanted to further expand on each of those legs here.
The four legs are vital to securing the table of my life. A framework of sorts.
frame-work: an essential supporting structure of a building, vehicle, or object.
They were a solution to my struggle. One that pulled me out of the depths of anxiety, fear, and panic and gave me my life back. Ultimately, allowing me to live a much fuller and richer life.
It’s what I call the rich life framework. It is the structure that has led to so much growth in my life and helped me not only heal my anxiety, naturally, but also allowed me to become a better man.
What is the rich Life framework?
Well, it is comprised of four legs…
…that when strengthened, create the foundation of a stable and abundant life. However, like a wooden table, without all strong legs, your table will fall.
The Four Legs
Why a table?
A table symbolizes community, intimacy, and family. Around a table, ideas are shared. Fears are discussed. Dreams are mapped out.
A table can be used for many purposes. Just as your life can be. It is up to you to determine what objects and experiences you want to bring to it.
I cannot promise you that this framework will help you get everything you have ever wanted, but I can share with you what HAS worked for me and those that I have worked with. Ultimately, it is up to you to put in the work necessary to achieve your dreams.
“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.”~Confucius
As I said above, you are who you surround yourself with. Whether that is friends, family members, coworkers, or books, it doesn’t matter. Eventually, you will start to assimilate to the baseline of those that you surround yourself with. If you want to heal your anxiety, you must put an emphasis on strengthening the leg of relationships.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to leave all of your relationships behind and take up a mat in a monastery, but you should take the time to critically evaluate your relationships. Relationships are binary, meaning someone is either hurting you or helping you, there is no in-between.
Finding a tribe, a physical one, that viewed the world the same way I did was much harder than it seemed. Not that the relationships I had in my life were bad per se, but they weren’t helping me heal, therefore I knew I had to find new tribes to insert myself into.
So, initially, I started with books and podcasts. Only inputting information that would empower me and motivate me to get better. Then I began to expand my circles by going out of my way to reach out to strangers that seemed like they had a similar world view. Actually, one of my closest friends now is someone I reached out to via their email list. The internet is a great place to connect, but make sure you take it offline as well.
Finding and surrounding yourself with the right inputs is so important. Read and watch things that make you laugh. Don’t try to pound away at esoteric literary texts because you think you should be contemplating deeply. No. Thinking too deeply is what got you into this mess.
You need to have fun. Find people and inputs that allow you to do that.
Pro tip: Friends are the support you need to have fun and release your tension. Without them, you are isolating yourself, and your healing will take longer if it ever comes at all.
“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life.” — John Gardner
After quitting two jobs in my first two years out of college, I was utterly lost. I understood how to get a job, in fact, I had six full-time offers sitting on my desk as a Senior. But the problem I kept falling into was that I was looking for fulfillment in terms of monetary value instead of impact.
None of the jobs or career paths I initially pursued were based on a desire to create an impact on the world. If I’m truly honest, the primary driver was the prestige and money that came with them, not even the job itself.
So, for the longest time, I meandered my way through interviews and jobs, trying to wear the mask of someone else without understanding what would make me come alive and allow me to make an impact on the world.
Eventually, almost by accident, I found a way to combine my skills with impact by telling my story and helping others heal their anxiety, naturally. Now, I finally feel a deep sense of belonging and fulfillment, like nothing I have ever experienced in the past.
I am acting and pursuing this path to make an impact in the lives of others, rather than blindly chasing dollar signs and titles. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but it is also the most rewarding. It’s funny how those two seem always to go together.
Take a second and ask yourself if you are truly making an impact in the world or are you simply being a sheep, blindly walking in the direction society has taught you to follow?
We need more people on fire to make an impact, and fewer pencil pushers following the lead.
“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” — Jennifer Egan
Have you ever feared that you have no purpose or passion? That you were one of the unlucky ones that were looked over when the man upstairs was gifting talents?
If you are anything like me, you have. For the longest time, I was so fearful of not having “my thing.” Something that I could hang my hat on. Something that made people respect me.
The problem that I had in finding my craft, was that I wasn’t patient enough to let an interest turn into a skill which then would turn into a purpose and finally mold into a craft.
I wanted to be good, now. I didn’t want to take the time to practice. I didn’t want to take the time to do the hard things. I wanted the glory and none of the pain. Well, if you have ever read a book or watched a Nicholas Sparks movie, you know that is never how things turn out. You have to put in the work if you are ever going to be great at something.
A couple of months ago I wrote my first blog post. I had never written for a public audience before and I had no interest in being a writer. In fact, I had categorized myself as someone who “doesn’t like to write.” Go figure.
Initially, writing was just an outlet to build an audience for a side business I was starting, but not long after that first post, something magical started to happen. I found myself writing for hours on end without even noticing it. For the first time in my life, I had experienced a flow state and it was incredible.
This feeling had come before, but in the past, I had not been willing to put in the work necessary to actually take hold of this interest and master the craft. I had wanted to have the flow feeling, and to be the best, without putting in my 10,000 hours.
I’m determined to make this time different. So, for the last four months, I have written 1,000+ words a day, read four books on writing, and even hired a writing coach.
That my friends is how you find a purpose. You work. You work some more. Then you have loads of self-doubt. And finally, you work even more.
Far from being even great at writing, I’m learning to love the process of getting a little better every day.
It’s funny to think that six months ago I had never written a blog post, and now writing has taken over my life.
That is the power of passion + purpose x work = mastering a craft.
If you still are unsure of an interest you have, don’t be discouraged, it is there you just haven’t paid it any attention. Start listening to the subtle urges you have to read a book or take a class. That’s where the purpose starts. Those thoughts and impulses are the seeds that are waiting for you to water them.
Once you start watering them and developing a little more interest, practice more. Practice it over and over again until you don’t like doing it anymore, and then go for a week longer. That’s when the real growth comes.
“If we want to overcome our anxiety and feel good about ourselves, it’s not enough to invest in outer things. We have to make investments in our inner life as well. . . . It’s about keeping grounded and having perspective. It’s never too late to open that door.” — Lawrence Levy
The fourth leg of healing my anxiety was…drumroll please…my health. It seems obvious, but like all things in life the simplest solution was staring right at me, but I chose to ignore it.
I viewed myself as a healthy guy. I ate well. I exercised 4–5 times a week. I even liked green smoothies.
So, when I had my panic attack and a subsequent year or so of chronic anxiety, my health was the last thing I looked into as being a principal perpetrator of my mental health.
Ironically enough, as time went on, I realized that the way I was eating was not only causing me anxiety, it was the biggest driver.
Once I realized this, I started experimenting. I began to respect the power that eating and sleeping well could have on lowering my blood pressure, decreasing bodily inflammation, and clearing my head.
The diet I finally landed on was very simple, but not easy to follow. However, if your primary goal is to heal your anxiety and lower stress, it is well worth it. And it will help you lose weight, feel more energetic, and have more focus. It’s a win-win.
So, here is what I gave up during the time when I healed my anxiety. Most of these things I have completely removed from my diet, but some I have let back in, slowly.
It’s important to remove anything that could be causing your stress and then slowly re-introduce it to your body to see what works and what doesn’t.
What I gave up:
- Sugar Alcohol
- Decreased meat consumption by 15–20%
What I added:
- Increased vegetable intake by 40–50%
- Lots of healthy fats (coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc.)
Exercise was critical as well, but without changing my diet, I think I’d still be an anxious mess.
Sometimes the best solutions are the easiest ones. Examine your diet, and be brutally honest with yourself if continuing to eat the way you are is worth the anxiety you are having. If it is, Bon Appétit. If it isn’t, change it.
You are in control.
If you are ready to take back control of your life and start healing your anxiety and overwhelm, check out my comprehensive 21 Strategies For Healing Your Anxiety.
One last thing…
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