Writing by Anita Cheung
I was always a perfectionist. A straight-A, scholarship-winning overachiever.
In high school, I developed an eating disorder.
In university, I struggled with a form of undiagnosed depression & suicidal ideation.
To say mental health has been prevalent in my life is to say the least.
Nowadays, I am a little bit older, and over 30 hours of therapy wiser, but maintaining a sense of homeostasis in my mental wellbeing is still something I commit to working on, on the daily. It is a regular routine of meditation, journaling, and true self care (not just bubble baths).
But practice doesn’t make perfect- and I’m far from it, really. When I start to slip up in my routine, the first thing that is affected are my relationships- both with myself, and my partner.
In school we are taught many things, but we are never taught that our thoughts are just thoughts- the result of little neurons firing around in our brains- often following patterns that were developed in childhood. They aren’t necessarily the truth, nor are they all particularly valuable. We think over 10,000 thoughts a day and while some are strokes of genius, some of the images that flit across our mental landscape are irrelevant at best and unhelpful at worst.
What does this mean for real life?
It means that when we try on a swimsuit and notice how our thighs touch, or the thickness of our waist- our immediate reaction is not to call bullshit on ourselves. We forget that we are more than our bodies. We forget all the body-positive quotes we’ve liked on Instagram. The confidence that was built with years of self-kindness and therapy immediately goes out the window as we revert to “default” thought patterns.
It means that when our partners stay out late and forget to text, our first thought is that they must be hiding something or out with someone else, a thought forged from years of insecurity, terrible Hollywood movies, daddy issues, and jealousy, that in the moment- we just can’t seem to recognize.
It means that when we are fighting with someone we love, we are so caught up in the moment that our emotions of frustration and upset overwhelm us, causing us to spit out hurtful words without a second thought.
You get the deal.
We are all smart girls, and smart women. We all know that no one is responsible for our happiness and wellbeing. Yet, in my experience, it is often the smart girls and the wise women that struggle the most. We are thought-full, in its most literal sense, to a fault. In our thinking and analyzing, we run the risk of ruminating into a spiral. We hold onto our thoughts, refusing to let them go even when they cause us nothing but hurt. Why? Because we were told our mind is powerful, and so, we deduce, our thoughts, too, must be powerful and true.
The 10-15 minutes of stillness I give myself in meditation is a chance to take inventory. It is an opportunity for me to notice all of the thoughts- line them up, and watch them play out. It is a commitment to being the best version of myself- the version where I’m not reactive; and instead, know when to take a step back and recognize old habits, what thoughts aren’t serving me, and when I need to let. That. Shit. Go. At the end of the day- If we’re responsible for our own wellbeing, then meditation is our chance to take matters into our own hands, and prioritize our happiness.
I started Betty as a tool to keep myself honest in my practice. Although I’ve been teaching yoga and meditation for over 6 years, I’ve never really been a fan of the whole “wellness” scene (too perfect, too curated, too wealthy, and too white) and wanted Betty to be a fun way to help others effortlessly weave meditation into their bus. I cheekily proclaim that while it has the convenience of an app, it is “not an app” but a private community with “Real Live Beditations for Real Lazy People”. Every morning at 6, 7, and 8AM (PST for now- although coming to a time zone near you), you can tune in on Instagram for a live meditation. We’ll see if you’ve tuned in and can help you keep track via a points reward system. The more you meditate the more points you get, which you can redeem for real things (like DJ mixes, swag, etc) Betty launches in May, and Ramona readers can get their first month free with the promo code “FIRSTTIME”. Enter it at checkout on the website: http;//inbedwithbetty.com.[share]