I’m continuing my theme about anxiety this week. If you can find anything here to help you then I’m very glad and wish you well.
Just when you think you are doing okay, when you have life worked out at last and have a spring in your step again, do you find yourself ‘floored’ by a comment you hear in passing or by an unexpected letter stuffed through the letterbox? It may not be anything serious but enough to make you jittery.
Sometimes we can feel we are on a fine balance, and find it hard to cope with extra pressures. Or maybe we don’t like the world to see us looking anxious or worried and so we bottle things up inside. This is worse than letting go and having a meltdown; emotional turmoil can be damaging to us if not released.
I read this explanation of anxiety somewhere this week and it really resonated with me:
‘Anxiety is not being able to sleep because you said something wrong two years ago and can’t stop thinking about it.’
This may or may not be true for you but I know I have had times when I’ve lain awake tossing and turning worrying about past mistakes. Maybe mistakes is not the right word; perhaps it is ‘perceived’ mistakes. Those things which may not have even been important at the time and certainly aren’t now. Then there are the worries that creep in about tomorrow, next week or next year. The ‘what ifs’ and the ‘how is that?’ Before I know it an hour or two has passed and then I start fretting about the fact that I can’t sleep and worry about being a wreck the next day. Thinking ‘I must get to sleep’ doesn’t help!
The good news is there are things that can help:
Repeat your worries over and over rather than try to push them to the back of your mind. Instead, rumble them around until you are bored with them. It may not be a cure exactly but it is better than being overwhelmed.
Think of the worst thing that could happen in a situation you are worrying about, for example, forgetting what to say when giving a speech. Imagine making light of it and joking with your audience – see yourself relaxing and letting the words flow – people usually understand, they’ve often been there themselves.
Don’t judge yourself if you feel you are feeling a bit crazy. You may think a little strangely at times, but that doesn’t mean you are going to act upon your thoughts. Realise that no one is ‘normal’ and what is normal anyway?
Remember that most things you fear do not come true. If and when they do, then that is the time to take action. Not now. Those panicky feelings you are feeling are not going to kill you or give you as heart attack, but if you can deflect them by telling yourself most things you are worrying about won’t happen you are saving yourself some angst.
Be a casual observer. View your worries from afar and make light of them. See them drift off into the distance and wave them goodbye.
Realise you can’t take control of everything. If you feel you’ve done or said something tactless or silly ( most people probably haven’t even noticed) don’t fret about it. Just be warm and friendly, and smile.
Breathe deeply and slowly when you are anxious – I know you have probably heard this many times before, but it does help. If nothing else, it slows you down and calms the nerves.
Don’t let anxiety take over and stop you enjoying things. Even if you think you have a major worry, divide your time – set some going out time to spend an uplifting hour or two with a friend, and then go back to the worry when you get home. Chances are it won’t seem nearly so bad.
Most of all, whatever is happening in your life, remind yourself – this too will pass. Nothing lasts forever in life whether good or bad, whoever and wherever you are in life. That is a fact.
What can you still do in life when you are anxious? Actually, almost everything!
Be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can.
‘Imagine the sight of a rainbow,
Shimmering in the rain,
Like a painting stretched across the sky,
Bringing colour to your world again.’
Blessings to you.