I wish I could say that my inner wisdom led me to recognize the need to cease my overachieving tendencies and that I promptly did so. My perfectionistic mind always anticipates such seamless transitions but in the real world of humans....reality is far harsher. Real change always is.

In truth, my body's illness left me with no alternative but to embrace a slower pace. The decline in my health became an undeniable catalyst for change. Despite months of resistance and stubbornness, I finally came to the realization that surrendering was my only option. It's no surprise really, becasue I have been hard headed since I came out of the womb. It took alot to take down my healthy body, to bring me to my knees.  

(The photo above is from my time in Bali when my illness first began. It's a reminder that sometimes you have to go with the flow, even if it grosses you out a little bit- shared water that thousands walk through.) Laugh out loud!

1. Healing My Trauma Brain

I carry within me the weight of my own developmental trauma, a topic that I rarely discuss. Growing up in the 80s, my father did what was considered normal at the time, not realizing the long-lasting impact it would have on me. It took me a while to acknowledge that the anxiety driving my overachieving tendencies stemmed from this trauma.

I acted opposite this anxiety as much as I could, but the desire to constantly exceed expectations was overpowering. It wasn't until I addressed the root cause of my anxiety – the trauma itself – that I was able to find relief.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and IMTT (Image Transformation Therapy) and my favorite DBR (Deep Brain Reorienting)

These three processes have become integral of addressing my overachieving tendencies and anxiety. They serve as powerful tools to release the urges and anxiety that drive my actions, ultimately allowing me to minimize my trauma responses. By actively engaging in these processes, my body has released these emotionally driven reactive behaviors / habits. 


I make it a point to schedule regular sessions with my therapist to delve into my inner work. This practice is crucial for navigating through my compulsive overachieving urges and releasing shock and trauma from my own body. I firmly believe that growth is a lifelong process, which is why I am committed to practicing what I preach.

2. Sleep

I immersed myself in a multitude of sleep-related podcasts, determined to educate myself on the significance of rest and how to enhance it. HPHI.life proved to be a valuable resource in this endeavor. It became apparent that our sleep patterns and the underlying anxieties that impact them are greatly influenced by our compulsive habits, nutrition, and vitamins we consume.

To optimize my sleep routine, I implemented a variety of practices. I committed to creating a two-hour period of darkness before bedtime, indulged in soothing teas and hot baths, and even experimented with ice baths. I also explored the benefits of blue light glasses to counter the disruptive effects of artificial light. Adjusting my exercise schedule to align with my body's natural rhythm has been a continual journey, as my genetic predisposition to emotional and physical excitement can easily disrupt my sleep.

Ensuring a good night's rest remains a work in progress for me. I have come to accept that even the simplest factors can throw off my sleep patterns. However, by actively addressing these challenges, I am gradually finding balance through listening to my body.

3.  Old Lady Exercises

I reluctantly decided to incorporate more gentle forms of exercise into my routine, even though the thought of it makes me cringe. It goes against my love for intense endurance sports, but my body is grateful for the change and I feel a noticeable improvement in my overall well-being. Instead of pounding out a rigorous bike ride after a long day of work, I have discovered that my body responds positively to walking. It took me a couple of years to come to terms with this reality, and it feels a bit insane to let go of my regular endurance training sessions that used to consume my schedule 4 to 5 days a week. However, I have come to accept that engaging in these activities once a week is sufficient, and I find joy in taking these "old lady" walks with a dear friend of mine.

4. Habits for my overachiever urges

ERP (Exposure Response Prevention) for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)

Our daily habits have a powerful impact on our mental well-being, especially when it comes to anxiety and overachieving tendencies. If we engage in compulsive behaviors that involve repetitive reflection, rumination, and seeking reassurance, we only fuel our anxiety levels. ERP and OCD have taught me about these detrimental mental loops and how they contribute to increased anxiety.

In essence, our habits act as the key to our feelings. If we want to perpetuate our anxious feelings, we can continue feeding them through our compulsive thought practices and habits. However, if we desire freedom from anxiety, we must engage in thought practices and habits that oppose our anxious feelings. This insight, thanks to DBT, has been instrumental in managing my overachiever urges and ultimately reducing my anxiety levels.

5. Growing Happiness

Each morning, I kickstart my day with a dance party in my car. Whether it's the pulsating beats of Tool, the rhythmic flow of Rap, or the energetic melodies of EDM, I let joy fill my body. Some people find joy in meditation, others find inspiration in podcasts or prayer, and then there are those who, like me, choose to dance their way into the "right" headspace. Regardless of your chosen method, the key is to begin your day by cultivating happiness. I refer to it as "growing happiness" because our emotions are deeply intertwined with our actions.

These are just a few techniques I have personally employed to navigate my overachiever anxiety, but the possibilities are endless. It is important for people to understand that therapists face their own struggles too. By acknowledging and embracing our own humanity, we become better humans and better equipped to help others on this life journey.


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