My Journey to Being a Health & Wellness Enthusiast
I grew up a shy kid. It wasn’t until high school and my first girlfriend that I came out of my shell. When we decided to break up after 7 years together, I decided it was time to work on myself. That powerful first relationship taught me there were things I wanted to change and develop in myself.
I watched some relationship videos and read dating forums. I listen to motivational tapes from people like Tony Robins and Brian Tracy. The ideas I learned helped me recover quickly from what happened next…
A couple months after the break-up, my former girlfriend started dating one of my longtime best friends and ex-roommate. Probably the worst person she could start seeing. The books and programs had engaged in helped me realize I didn’t need to let their actions affect my happiness. I didn’t need to let an external event control how I felt. I realized no matter how upsetting the outside circumstances of life might seem you don’t have to let them control you or take away your power.
Your Life Begins Where Your Comfort Zone Ends
I began introducing myself to strangers. I started looking for places where I felt uncomfortable and forcing myself to experience them. I realized how much of an impact your internal world has you your external reality. I realized that if you want something in life you have to get yourself to vibrate at the same level as that thing. I worked on myself. I started exercising and eating right. I read every self-help book I could get my hands on. I dedicated myself to pushing my comfort zone and I started setting goals for myself.
I started meditating. Eating healthy. Exercising and continued learning everything I could. I was going out as much as I could to meet new people. My friends at home would comment that I had changed into a totally different person. I was more confident and more fun to be around. I was more positive and had a better energy. Their comments solidified to me how important your mindset is.
I was happy. I was healthy. I got a good group of friends around me. I started exploring new business ideas. Life was good.
This is when I first realized how powerful an impact your thoughts can have on your life. You can change almost anything by changing the way you think. You can overcome jealousy or anxiety, lift depression, increase confidence and expand your comfort zone.
Powerful Lesson Learned: Your Body is a Temple – Treat it Right
I got to 6% body fat. I was taking 18 credits in school. I started exploring what vitamins to take for peak performance and optimizing my diet with kale smoothies. I walked around every day happy and driven.
One night I went out to celebrate with a group of buddies. Lots of drinks later and I found I had lost my friends in the bar. However, I find some other friends from my hockey team. I stay with them until the bar closes.
The guys are a little older than me and happen to have some cocaine. Being drunk and high on adrenaline as well as having a ‘gotta try everything once’ attitude I oblige when asked to do a line.
It put me on buzz. After everyone left I stayed up all night calling every number on my phone to have a conversation. With all the different things I was doing, how free of fat and toxins I got myself. I felt like my body retained a memory of the drug. It put me in a ‘manic state.’ After several days of over-the-top behavior, my friends and family intervened and I had to take time to recover in a hospital from this intense experience.
Mindset is EVERYTHING
Being in the hospital was an interesting experience. You are immediately labeled as ‘crazy’ by the nurses and staff. I saw my situation as a result of a many different things all coming together in a perfect storm leading me towards having a 'manic episode.' Everyone else was quick to label me with a mental illness.
I knew differently. I knew the amazing place I had gotten myself to and there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting it back. No matter how afraid I was that it might not be possible. I also had a deep feeling inside me that psych meds were not the answer. I knew my energy and creativity were some of my best attributes and I wasn’t about to take a medicine that could take those away. I wasn’t about to become dependent on an external medication to dictate how I felt and acted.
For Me, Pharmaceuticals Wasn’t the Solution
Before the hospital I was happy nearly every day. I had good people around me. I was finishing up school and enjoying my classes. I was in the best shape I'd ever been both physically and mentally and it all got stripped away in an instant. Now they wanted me to take medicine so I could operate at a normal level again. I was sure it would harm far more than it would help. I wanted my creativity. Knowing how malleable our brains are I knew that taking medicine for a prolonged amount of time would change the way it naturally operated. It would change how my brains chemistry worked and I would inevitably become dependent on the drugs. At $40+/month this seemed like a pretty good deal for big pharma but I wasn't interested in being dependent on something. I felt like I just needed a break, a little time out and some sleep to get back to where I was. Holding on to the belief that there was nothing wrong with me was very difficult.
Today it’s been almost 2 years since the experience and I’ve more than bounced back. I finished up the classes I missed that semester and have sense graduated from college. I’ve continued to be active physically and completed an Olympic distance triathlon last summer. I’m in the best shape of my life. I have a great network of friends. I play hockey and paintball each week along with other hobbies such as painting. I'm back and better than ever. The biggest thing I can credit for keeping me going when things got hard was the previous work I put towards having the proper mindset. More than any other factor, the things that most dictated where I went with my life were the thoughts I chose to think which led to the actions I chose to take.
My Next Steps
These powerful experiences in my life have made me realize how important health and wellness is for mental well-being. I am committed to building a career that will let me continue to learn and grow my knowledge in this important field. This blog is just one way I hope to do that.
I’m open to opportunities to help me go even further and welcome your feedback and ideas!