Why It’s Actually Good to be Full of Shit

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“The world’s ending…life has no meaning…I’ll never be okay…”

If everything you think is true, then the world is a scary, dark kind of place. But if in fact you are full of shit like me, and especially when it comes to the worst things that enter your head, then the world and your future automatically become brighter.

That’s why I’ve gotten into the incredibly empowering habit of calling out my mental BS:

“Ummm…that’s actually 100% wrong and not even close to being true…”  

Recognizing how full of shit I actually am has saved me at least fifteen gray hairs—I’ve sprouted three over the years—and has helped me overcome chronic anxiety and depression.

Thoughts are that powerful.

But the problem is that most people accept their thoughts at face value and give them equal credibility. So when they feel inundated—mentally, financially, emotionally—their mind narrates their feelings:

“Life has no meaning,”
“It doesn’t matter how hard I try,”
“Life sucks.”

And instead of rejecting these thoughts and replacing them with empowering ideas and phrases, people embrace these thoughts as reality, which provokes a stronger emotional response, which sparks more disempowered thoughts that perpetuate the cycle.

Sound familiar?

In all the years I didn’t know I could control my thoughts, this cycle spun out of control to the point of not just anxiety, but near-constant panic.

I couldn’t sleep. My sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system was so dominant that I couldn’t even digest my food. My hair started falling out. I basically lost my will to live.

I tried every medication and supplement you could think of to fix my problems, but nothing worked. Nothing could work. The reality was that I believed all the disempowering and terrifying bullshit that entered my head; and by accepting these thoughts, I triggered continuous sympathetic nervous system responses—adrenaline, cortisol, etc.—that no drug could cure. Because no drug could cure my thoughts.

(Resorting to a high protein, high fat, low grain-and-sugar diet, however, has significantly helped my ability to control my thoughts–works for my clients too! It’s about insulin and blood sugar impacting brain function.)

But a few years back I was on a walk and I started to feel the dread, and I heard my mind start to chatter off about life not having meaning, which was my worst trigger. Normally I would’ve just died on the inside and gone full sympathetic mode: anxiety, panic. But for some reason I called myself out.

“That’s actually not true, buddy.”

When I told myself the truth and called out the lie, a miracle happened: I immediately relaxed and quit the fear-based thinking. Then I continued to feed the truthful thinking by repeating this phrase: “Life is good. Life is good. Life is good, and I’m okay.”

That was my first victory against anxiety. And it was all because I admitted I was full of shit.

Since I’d started a habit of journaling, I reflected on that event later in the evening and acknowledged just how powerful it was. The reality sunk in that, if I continued this habit, I’d be fully in control of my thoughts and my life. So I committed to denouncing my guff not just once, but every time it entered my head.

The anxiety didn’t disappear in a day of course. But the panic did. And as I got more consistent in my bullshit practice, and in feeding only truthful thoughts, my anxiety tucked tail, never to return. I held my breath for about a week, but the doomy feelings never came back. It’s been three years since I started this process and I’ve been anxiety/panic free—no relapses.

It feels pretty good to be so full of shit.

Replacing BS with the truth

As the years have gone by and as I’ve gotten better at bullshit patrol, I’ve replaced lies with the truth; so naturally I have more confidence and less anxiety, not to mention more success, because I’m finally focused exclusively on empowered action. But until the day I wake up with a halo, I’ll still always have at least a scintilla of BS going on upstairs. And I’ll always be ready to call it out and replace it with the truth:

“Life is good. I am valuable. And I am going to be okay.”

These thoughts helped me forge the writing and coaching career that gave me independence and freedom after years of relying on others and blaming my mental illness. I owe everything I have to calling out my BS.

If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, panic, and fear-based thinking, I’m pushing you to get real with yourself and start calling out your bullshit.

Realize that what’s going on in your mind isn’t always the truth—and if it’s disempowering and fearful, it’s definitely not the truth. So call it out. Don’t just let it sit there and muck up your mind—shine some light on the BS. When you bring attention to its untruthfulness, your conscious mind will let the bullshit go, which frees you up to think up the thoughts that benefit you.

Be generous with those truthful thoughts. “Life is good; it’s going to be okay; I am valuable”—flood yourself with that truth. Recite any number of empowering mantras and affirmations. Make daily goals of mantras and affirmations.

When replacing BS with the truth becomes a habit, I promise you that your biggest mental monsters will start to shrink; and after so long, they’ll disappear entirely. Because you will have starved them off with the truth.

That’s how it happened for me, at least. But the process of calling yourself out makes logical sense: If you stop accepting falsehoods that make you feel bad, and if you replace those falsehoods with empowering truth, you’re going to feel better. So start today. And never, ever stop. Because you’ll always be at least a little bit full of shit 😉

Written by Daniel Dowling
Hi! I'm Dan, founder of Millennial Success. When I'm not getting six-packed--that's "hit in the face" in beach volleyball--or reading Jane Austen's novels for the fifth time, I'm helping people make every day a breakthrough as a writer and coach.