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“You are the creator of your life” With Beau Henderson & Megan Gallagher

“You are the creator of your life” — I just heard this over and over from my family. It’s also something I tell myself, whenever I feel super insecure or in a funk, I just pull myself out by speaking positive things and repeating “ I am the creator of my life, I am the […]

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“You are the creator of your life” — I just heard this over and over from my family. It’s also something I tell myself, whenever I feel super insecure or in a funk, I just pull myself out by speaking positive things and repeating “ I am the creator of my life, I am the only one who is in charge and how successful I become is up to me. I am a huge believer that our thoughts and the inner story we tell ourselves daily, is what shapes our reality. So I’m all about speaking positivity into the world!


Asa part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Megan Gallagher.

Megan Gallagher is a 24 year old 2x TED Talk Speaker, #1 Best Selling Author, AfterBuzz TV Host + Writer, Anxiety Advocate for Teens & Podcast Host. Growing up, Megan struggled with chronic anticipatory anxiety and panic attacks, as well as body image issues. She constantly craved a place where she could go and feel understood. What inspired her to become this role model, was from the lack of open conversations she noticed amongst her peers. She currently has spoken at over 500 high schools and has written 4 best selling books on amazon. Her mission in life is to change the public school system to incorporate mandatory classes about mental health, self-care and following your dreams.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Growing up, I struggled with chronic anticipatory anxiety and panic attacks. In my middle school and high school, I noticed such a lack of open conversations amongst my peers and at the school assemblies. I felt that, since no one is talking about anxiety, depression, body image issues or “real life” stuff, I guess I’m the only one feeling this way. It was an awful feeling, I think it’s one of the worst, to feel that you are the only one going through something or the only person in a school of 2,000 students. When in reality, I know that wasn’t the truth but I felt that way, which could have been avoided by opening up that discussion. I just wished my high school had classes that prepared me for real life rather than teaching us about the bubonic plague, or the cold war. Yes some basic education and practical life tools are necessary but what about real life?

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Yes! I would say just the outpouring of support from the people I grew up with. It’s been so full circle and I have tons of moments throughout the day of how, “pinch me”. It’s very surreal and just to have my old friends from that time reach back out to me on Linkedin and say, “Oh my gosh Megan I love what you are doing. I had no idea you were suffering and I was too! I wish you had opened up about this in high school”. I mean for someone who used to actually have 20 panic attacks a day and call her mom crying from the nurses office at 16, to now at 24, having overcome all of that to turn it all into something positive. It’s a trip.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

I would say 1.) Find your niche! Find that core group and what specifically you want to do. Get a mission statement and develop a way to reach your target audience. 2.) Work hard, make smart choices and know it’s a marathon not a sprint- so don’t burn yourself out in two days. Take care of your mind and body! Also, just make sure you are doing what you are passionate about, not what you think other people should think of you. You just can tell when people are passionate vs not. So make sure you surround yourself with people who get excited and are happy for you and have personal experience with the topic.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Oh my gosh- so many!! Reading always made me feel better growing up. I loved books like Because of Winn Dixie, Tale of Desperaux, The Boys of Summer, Twilight…. I just loved the feeling it gave me. It was like a free vacation and an escape from my reality. I loved how I could start imagining myself on a beach or in the mountains around a campfire. Reading and music have that power, to take our minds to another place.

But I would say the one book that really impacted me, was a book my high school anxiety therapist gave me. It was titled, “Mind over Mood”. I loved how powerful it was and it was interactive so I got to write in it and figure out why my thoughts made me feel a certain way. It was very fascinating! I actually still have it in my apartment in Los Angeles to this day.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

I would describe the state of being mindful as just imagining your thoughts are a river, and there is a natural current and flow to it. The only problem is when we try to stop it or get involved and dissect why we thought about something. Then we get into a long argument with ourselves and it ruins the rest of our day. I feel that mindfulness is just being aware and observant of our thoughts and just letting them go. We get that lurch in our stomach when we try to control or hyper analyze why we thought something.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Yes! I think there are so many benefits, including- just overall feeling better. You psychically feel lighter, happier and more calm. Mentally, you feel more in control and confident and excited about life. Emotionally you just feel better. I think mindfulness is just pulling the leash in, and realizing I am the owner walking the dog. You know? Not the dog walking the owner. You are in charge. If the dog get’s to be in charge, where is your mind going to end up? In Madagascar. If you take the power back, you will have a more productive day.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

Yes!

  1. Imagining your mind is like a river and just being the observer of your mind. Rather than fixating or getting attached to a thought.
  2. Write down your thoughts, literally make a list of your thoughts- the negative ones, the positive ones and label them. Putting them into categories is helpful!
  3. Practicing mobile mindfulness- if you are traveling, at your office or with family. Practice having essential oils, guided meditations on your Iphone and healthy snacks.
  4. Deep Breathing is so powerful, when I get really anxious, I notice how my breath tends to get shallow and quick. Ask yourself, when is the last time you took a deep breath?!

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. I think holding the space and just acknowledging when someone could be struggling. Just being a present friend and showing up
  2. Ask people how they are! I think in today’s society there aren’t many open conversations. Just being the one to ask the tough or “real” questions!
  3. Stepping in when you need to but also not over stepping your boundaries. Just knowing mental health is a sensitive subject for many and I think it’s important to offer help/advice to someone you may think is struggling but also don’t overstep your boundary
  4. Fill up your cup first. I think when people are struggling, it may feel only natural to just dive in and help them but you have to make sure you are well first and know that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink.
  5. Showing up- I feel that just showing up and being there for them when they need it. It’s powerful and I feel that everyone processes emotions differently. So just honoring how someone is feeling and just being there for them!

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

I love using guided meditations on Youtube. I also love listening to binaural beats and apps like headspace and unplug! Having a morning + nighttime routine are so important! I love to meditate, do deep breathwork, drink celery juice and workout before I check my phone. It always makes me feel like I took time for myself and I can start off the day feeling great.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“You are the creator of your life” — I just heard this over and over from my family. It’s also something I tell myself, whenever I feel super insecure or in a funk, I just pull myself out by speaking positive things and repeating “ I am the creator of my life, I am the only one who is in charge and how successful I become is up to me. I am a huge believer that our thoughts and the inner story we tell ourselves daily, is what shapes our reality. So I’m all about speaking positivity into the world!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I’m on a mission in life to change the school system. I have spoken at over 500 middle schools and high schools and I want to shift the public school system to incorporate mandatory classes about mental health, self-care and following your passions. I just want teenagers to feel that they are being set up for real life success were they know to trust their intuition and do what makes them happy. From personal experience, I never want any teen to feel how I felt in High School.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I am literally everywhere!

I have my website www.meganwgallagher.com.

Instagram: @meganwgallagher

Twitter: @meganwgallagher

Facebook: @Megan Gallagher

Youtube: @Megan Gallagher

Linkedin: @Megan Gallagher

I also write weekly articles for Maria Menounos’ AfterBuzz TV network, were I write about wellness + mental health tips

*Also- It’s easy to find me, I have the same profile picture on all my pages!*

I also have my podcast, “Reaching New Heights” on Acast + Youtube

My TED Talk is on Youtube and all my books/anxiety blogs are on my website

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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