Let me tell you something. It’s okay not be be okay.

You don’t have to pretend to the world that you’re happy when you’re not. You don’t have to slap on a false smile or hide behind a mask and pretend that you’re not suffering inside when you feel like your heart has shattered and you can’t go on.

And most importantly of all, you shouldn’t believe that you’re somehow broken, weak or useless because you’re experiencing difficult emotions like these, even though I know you probably do.

Because I’m not okay either.

I’ve struggled with anxiety attacks for practically my whole life. And over the years this has lead me to seek ways of escaping from the pain I was feeling inside. (you can hear more about my experiences by watching this video)

I tried to deny why I was really feeling.

I tried to hide it from the world and I beat myself up for years about it. But I’ve come to discover that it’s okay not to be okay and it doesn’t mean I’m any less deserving of my own love.

So I’d like to give you a few tips on how you can learn to accept your struggles and be okay with being okay.

#1. Accept your feelings

Accepting your feelings so you can come to terms with your struggles and start feeling better from day one.

You see, when I used to feel bad, I’d try hide the way I was really feeling even from myself.

I felt so guilty about feeling bad that I did everything I could to distract myself from the negative emotions inside. And even if it worked, the benefit was short-lived, and I’d still have that gnawing feeling that something wasn’t right.

I’d feel fine for a while then the beast would rear its nasty head and I’d feel utterly broken.

But when I learned to listen to my heart and accept the way I was feeling, everything changed. Whilst my anxiety didn’t change overnight, I was no longer in conflict with myself, which was a complete breath of fresh air.

ACTION STEP:

Next time you’re in a difficult place, say the following to yourself

I’m feeling really [insert difficult emotion] right now but that’s completely okay. I’m here for myself and I know that I won’t always feel this way.”

#2. Understand that you’re not alone in this

When you’re in the depths of your suffering and you feel like life is completely against you, it’s all too easy to slip into a victim mentality. It’s easy to think that you’re the only one feeling like this and that you’re somehow a freak or crazy or useless. But please know that you’re not.

In our lovely Lovestyle Tribe group alone, I know for a fact that there are so many girls just like you (and I) who don’t always feel good. And if you want to look at statistics, it’s said that at least 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime (source: CMHA) I think this really puts it into perspective.

ACTION STEP: Go to our incredible Facebook group, be brave and share with them how you’re feeling. You’ll be amazed at the response.

#3. Change that internal voice

Stop telling yourself that you will always feel in this way, because you won’t. Your depression will eventually go away, your anxiety attack will ease and you will eventually overcome your social anxiety or difficult relationship with food.

So break that cycle of negative thinking. It traps you in a destructive pattern which will only cause you to waste more energy going over your struggles, and prevent you from looking forward. Replace that negative inner voice with one of positivity and hope.

ACTION STEP: When you feel bad, try telling yourself the following:

“It won’t always be like this. This doesn’t keep happening to me. I am strong and I can get through this”

#4. Breathe!

When you’re feeling particularly bad, your heart is racing, the tears are flowing and you’re feeling like a complete mess, make sure you take time to breathe properly. Stop, be present in your body and breathe slowly and deeply into the whole of your lungs, right down into your tummy.

This will bring down your stress levels, ease the physical symptoms and also help calm your mind so you feel more in control and at ease with the world.

There’s no need to be ashamed. It’s perfectly okay not to be okay. It doesn’t mean that you’re weird or there’s something wrong with you. So accept your feelings, understand that you’re not alone in this, silence that negative voice, and slow down so you feel better.