Coping by Comparing
“Until you step into the unknown, you don’t know what you’re made of.” Roy T. Bennet
I began by taking the easy route and starting off with a quote. This makes the daunting task of writing a blog post easier because it helps me narrow down whatever the heck I am writing about. How did I find this quote? Well, I was looking to caption an instagram post of my dog on a mountain and this quote “spoke to me”. Other than that, I know nothing about it. I don’t even know who Roy T. Bennet is, but thanks for the inspiration! What I do know is only my interpretation of what it means and how it relates to my wellness journey.
I am a chronically anxious person, I second guess the crap out of myself and I never feel capable. At this very moment, I feel like when my superiors read my blog post, they will question if I am fit to ever write anything else again (or maybe that’s what I am hoping). Basically, I’m a ball of stress and anxiety and I could go on and on, but this post is not a personal venting sesh.
So, getting back to that quote and what it means to me. I believe it means that when you challenge yourself and attempt things you never imagined you would be capable of, then the stresses of life don’t seem so bad. There is something about testing ourselves in unknown territory (or whatever that means to you) that you are able to bring back to your everyday life and say “hey, I accomplished that.”
For me personally, I think about this quote related to all the hiking I’ve done. Last year I set out to hike the forty-eight 4,000 footers of New Hampshire, and I did it. Even thinking about it now, that’s an accomplishment I never thought I would achieve. Even more than achieving that, I did a majority of them by myself. Now, ask me to go into a store by myself or public speak in front of 1 person and you would think it was the end of the world. It seems a bit odd that I can navigate a mountain, pack the necessary equipment, be alone with myself in a whole new place and be in enough physical shape to get myself up and down a mountain, but out of fear, lose my ability to speak when I’m at the checkout line and they ask “debit or credit?”
However, by stepping out of my comfort zone and seeing what I am capable of, I can transition these accomplishments to my daily tasks. I need constant reminders to keep up with my anxiety. When I get overwhelmed by my workload, I remind myself of the things I’ve done and how little the things are that I am so overwhelmed by. Of course, sometimes this doesn’t work. Which is more of a reason to keep setting goals for myself. Whether I set them for running a race, or hiking another mountain range, they keep me centered and help me feel like I am finally capable.
Obviously hiking, exercise in general and even just being outside are activities that have many more physical and mental health benefits than I mentioned. If you do a simple google search, there are about a thousand “benefits of hiking on mental health” articles, (I googled that originally to get an idea for my blog post so I’m now an expert). Given what I read from those articles, I felt the benefit I have been talking about was not mentioned clearly enough, or mentioned enough at all. That benefit that I have been hinting at with all my rambling is the confidence boost it gives you, the confidence boost that you can translate to and compare to everything in your life.
I challenge anyone who can decipher what I am getting at to set a goal outside of the workplace. Something that you may or may not have ever considered, something that will require preparation and something that you believe is a major accomplishment. If we challenge ourselves and take the appropriate steps to achieve our goal or goals, we can truly feel good about ourselves and feel capable. When we feel capable we perform better in many aspects of our lives.