I was hacked in the fall of 2014. My first clue was my Task Manager was on overdrive. Stressed and sleepless, eventually panic overtook my healthy habits and replaced them with old comfort-junkie habits.
Last week The Good Men Project’s Facebook Page was hacked. The hack lasted only a matter of hours before the Editorial team recovered the content and the reputation of the page.
The hack made me think about how our relationships, our emotions and our bodies can experience personal and unwanted hacks.
My Personal “Hack Attack”
My experience with being hacked happened in the fall of 2014. I was in a new position as a Manager; I was writing regularly and doing what I loved. I told myself that I should be happy and on fire.
But I wasn’t.
I began to notice changes to my mood, my stress level and my sleep habits. Over time my moods turned darker and more anxious. I experienced more comfort-food cravings and I began to put back the weight that I had worked so hard to shed. The harder I worked, the more defeated I felt.
“I lost 10 pounds, but then I found them again. I have no problem losing 10 pounds. I just seem to find them in the weirdest places, inside chip bags and bottles of Coke. Can someone tell me where I can lose 10 pounds and stop finding them again?”
What the hack heck happened?
Where did the hack happen? For me, my personal hack attack happened because I underestimated the effects from a job change and I dropped some of my life-giving routines.
Taking a job as a Manager increased my emotional demands and my stress. Around the same time, I also increased my writing output for my blog. The emotional impacts from my Leadership and my writing took more out of me than I was prepared for. I loved what I was doing because my dreams were becoming a reality. But the more that I added, I ended up with less time for quiet, less space for my soul and less emotional energy for relationships.
Hack’s Happen, Get Used to It!
Computer hacks happen all of the time. In the past 12 months, 50% of US citizens have been computer hacked. Entire countries are the target of corporate and military hackers and countries are getting into the game by hacking their own citizens. If you aren’t aware that you have been hacked, that’s probably because the person (or group) that hacked you was really good at it.
Think computer hacks are all that you have to be aware of? Personal hacks are even more important because they are a challenge to your health, well being and even your soul. Personal Hack Attacks can feel eerily similar to computer hacks.
The 9 Signs That You Have Been Hacked:
- Things feel fine… except the tingling in your arm, soreness in your shoulder or you nagging partner who reminds you that you are procrastinating (again).
- The Task Manager begins to quietly work overtime.You sleep less and work a little more. You feel great but you are quietly chipping away at your emotional and spiritual reserves.
- Commands go unnoticed. You plan to do something about it, but you just never get to it. You don’t feel like taking a walk, taking a break or taking some time off. The time is never right.
- Involuntary loss of control. You ignore the subtle symptoms and then all of a sudden your attention gets hijacked by your experience. Your body and often your relationships demand your attention.
- Short, unintelligible communication. You realize a crisis is inevitable. You begin to speak-bark. You think you are making sense but you are both confused and confusing.
- Increased heart rate. Just. Can’t. Relax.
- Random pop ups, intrusive thoughts or moods. When a website is hacked, strange words or images appear on the pages. Personal hacks can be similar: You expend what little energy you have trying to concentrate, while ignoring your need to take time off and your moods. If we ignore symptoms long enough, we experience what I call stress induced ADHD.
- Loss of memory and functioning. Just as computer memory can be compromised by an attack, personal capacities can also be compromised. You abandon goals or your themes and you stagnate, no longer taking risks or growing.
- Excessive use of caffeine. You drink more coffee as you try to compensate for the overtime and overdrive. Your coffee just doesn’t cut it, so you supplement: Red Bull, Jack Daniels or surfing for whatever you can find.
The Reboot Yourself Boot Camp
Disclaimer: There is no such thing as The Reboot Yourself Boot Camp, no list of hacks to do a fast reboot, no easy steps to recovery. And I suggest that if someone tells you how you can Reboot in 3 steps, RUN AWAY.
I am almost one year into my personal hack attack and I’m still dealing with the effects. I have found some things that work and other things I’m still working at. I get off track when I avoid or ignore one (or more) of my life areas: mind, body, spirit or relationships. Getting hacked has forced me to pay attention.
I will leave you with a few questions that I have found helpful:
- What gives you energy? Find it and do more. You will have to experiment and find what works for you. For me, I recharge best when I have a regular quiet ritual. I have to slow down and be quiet every few days.
- Where are you giving away your energy? This can be exciting and can renewing, but not all energy is renewable. Where do you need to cut your energy drainers?
- What helps you to pay attention? Whatever that is, practice it. Take photos. Meditate. Journal. Write. Exercise. Take time with your spouse or partner. Be creative. Don’t do them all, keep it simple.
- What helps you to be gentle, with yourself?
“If you want to reboot yourself, you have to be gentle with yourself and get back to basics.”
There is life after being hacked. One of the greatest gifts of a hack is that we realize we are never hacked alone.
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Originally published by The Good Men Project, Sean Swaby.
Artwork courtesy of smswaby.