Four years ago, a typical Monday would have found me up at dawn, scrambling to throw on some clean work clothes and make one of half a dozen buses, trains and subways that are supposed to get me to my job – hopefully on time. I was facing a daunting and depressing New York City lifestyle with a corporate and scientific resume – neither of which reflected my dearest dreams or goals. I was barely eating, hardly sleeping and I was addicted to drugs.
My journey onto – and subsequently off- drugs was a hard one, because no one even told me I was on or addicted to them. Now don’t get me wrong: my drugs were very real, had incredibly scary side effects and often debilitating consequences. But they all had my name on them.
My drugs were rx medications, and I started them at 13 years old. They were all prescribed to me by a doctor and each and every one of them had some affect on my life. Lithium, the first drug I was on, has intense effects like shakes, blurred vision, numbness, balding, weight gain exhaustion and renal failure. Among others. It’s given to adults but also prescribed for children as young as 8, as it was prescribed to me for the first time the summer before my freshmen year of high school.
By the time I was 16 I was on an even scarier drug with even scarier side effects. Soon after came another diagnosis and even more drugs. I was prescribed, took diligently and stayed on many different kinds of prescription drugs until I was 24 years old. In this time I graduated highschool with honors, went off to Bennington College, and had many different kinds of jobs, a lot of unhealthy and unhappy relationships and friendships that always had me a little left out and struggling to fit in. I was always anxious, had daily black outs and suffered extreme exhaustion and muscle pain.
But today – and many days like day – my life reflects a deeply happy, nurtured, personal satisfaction that only comes with knowing yourself, being in control of your health and bringing light into everything you do. Today, I set my own hours, I have my own company, I feel great, I look the best I ever have, I run a successful business and my first book will be published in bookstores everywhere this February. How did I get here, when every single sign in my life pointed to misery just a few years – mere months – ago?
Getting sober off my meds – and off all the toxic things I was putting into my body and allowing into my life – was not a simple choice, but it was a powerful one.
Even after all my failures, it was important for me to go on. To gain – and maintain – a belief in myself that allowed to me to make and accomplish goals beyond my wildest dreams – like working with my mentors, having my own company, acting in major films and music videos, moving to California, making my own music and getting a book deal. And you can do it – and more – too! How?
Self love is the key to self-mastery, and it starts with you. That’s right: to shift your energy, reduce stress or change your mood, the first step is to make the commitment to be the happiest, best most amazing person you know. I talk about different tools you can use to accomplish this in my book Cured by Nature, for instance… Focus less on your diet and more on your overall health. Less on your social media and more on your spirituality. Less on the brand names you’re buying and more on branding yourself.
For instance, if you had to brand yourself, what would that brand look like? What would it stand for? These are just some of the examples.
What makes some people successful and some people only desire success that they never get? Standards. All of us WANT to be healthier and live better lives, but we don’t have any idea of how to get there. It all starts with setting standards my friends! Now, this is easy (easy- meaning something we can do.) Some people try to lose weight because they think being happy is in being thin, or they always need a boyfriend because they think happiness is in love. It’s not. Happiness lies in setting new, higher standards for yourself and your life. Then love, health and wealth will come naturally to you.
Deeply and often. Deep breathing creates physical and mental ease, strengthens your immune system, and decreases inflammation. I’ve seen hundreds of yoga students and corporate clients alike experience diminished pain, better sleep, and less anxiety thanks to simple breathing exercises that they began incorporating for just a few moments to a few minutes a day. Meditation is a powerful practice that can be done so many ways. It bring us back to our true self and helps us accomplish our greatest goals and dreams!
Are you really hungry? Are you filling an emotional void? Or maybe you’re just procrastinating? Eat before you’re hungry, and you’ll never know if you’re full. Mindful eating is all about finding foods that nourish us and eating with purpose. Anemic? Try incorporating more organic spinach and grass fed red meat into your diet. Watching out for cholesterol? You’ll want heaps of organic fruits and veggies, please! Eating for you – not because of something that’s happening in your life – is the key to finding the balance to become truly cured by the very environment in which you live. And make sure you’re getting plenty of water – many common drinks like coffee and energy drinks can be extremely dehydrating!
Find Your Herb
There’s a fair chance that every drug you’ve ever taken has a totally natural twin and counterpart. Weird, huh? But kinda cool! Find the herbs that work for you for what you’re battling. For instance, incorporating 5-htp or St. John’s wort into your life for depression, valerian for insomnia or some skullcap for pain can make an immense difference and allow you to combat your struggles without any crazy side effects!
Anyone can want to create positive change in their life, but my goal for you is to actually go out and do it! Live your dream and spread the word! If you’re stressed out, anxious, fearful, stuck or simply ready to play bigger in your life, then being cured by nature is for you!
Tara Mackey is a Blogger, Certified Lab Analyst, Environmental Technician and the #1 best-selling author of Cured By Nature: How to Heal from the Inside Out, Find Happiness and Discover Your True Self (Skyhorse Publishing, February 2, 2016). Providing natural remedies, breathing exercises and first hand knowledge, Tara wants to help us naturally overcome our demons and become the best versions of ourselves.