ifIknew is a health initiative for young adults that uses a multi media approach, including social media and in person programs, to address the contemporary issues that impact the well-being, self-image, careers, and relationships of people in their 20's and 30's.

If I Knew is a prevention education project that raises awareness about risky behaviors that can profoundly impact lives.

Break Free!

When we are stuck in one area of our life, we may believe there is nothing we can do. We hyper-focus on the issue, fear the issue, and struggle with it. We forget all of the other resources, skills and tools we have.

A few years ago, I took classes on Aikido, a Japanese martial art. In my first class, the teacher had us pair up and simulate the most common form of attack: a wrist grab. When my partner grabbed my wrist, I believed I was stuck: he held my wrist, therefore he held me. My whole attention was drawn to my wrist, to the place where I was stuck, and my futile efforts to get away focused only on trying to pull my wrist away. I forgot that I had another arm and hand, two legs, my head, my feetthe whole rest of my body!that I could use to break free. My attacker only had my wrist; the rest of me was free. Once I realized this, I was able to twist out of his grip.

This kind of awareness can be helpful in our daily lives as well. First, of course, we must recognize what our difficulties are, where we are stuck, what is not working. But once you have acknowledged the issue, dwelling on it stifles your sense of perspective. It limits you. When you look up from the problem in front of you and let your eyes adjust, look to the mountains in the distance or the stars above, you get a sense of limitless possibilities.

I didnt get away from my attacker by focusing on my wrist: I got away by focusing on everything else, on the direction of my weight, on the imbalance of his body, on the direction of my kick, on my best route of escape. I got away by focusing on what was possible and on what I could do right at that moment. No matter what limitations or obstacles you may be facing, focusing on what you can do keeps you moving toward your goal.

Atira Zeoli-Contributing writer for IfiKnew