Your mind just does not turn off ….
You start to mourn and grieve and romanticize your relationship with your elderly mother while she’s still alive.
You think and plan ahead for when another random tornado hits your city … and I mean planning how you’ll call 911 to come and help you get out of your basement and it’s a clear day without a forecast for rain.
You glance through a blog post about someone dealing with Parkinson’s disease and you freeze when you feel a muscle jump in your finger, then you look around your living room and start trying to figure out how you’ll maneuver the wheelchair you’re going to need around the space.
And your mind keeps going … your thoughts keep spinning … and you wonder how you’ll stop everything from spinning out of control.
A situation happens and your replay every moment infinite detail again and again and again; you over think everything and start adding thoughts of what if … why now … what will happen next … I could do this … maybe try that …
And as your thoughts turn and turn, your tummy fills up with an army of butterflies that have shockingly sharp teeth, and you feel like there is no possible way to ever calm down let alone sleep. There is just no way you’ll ever sleep tonight.
When it all finally comes to a head, and you’re sure the only thing left is to run screaming into the night, you’re so exhausted all you can do is shake … tremors run all through your system and you alternate between feeling like you want to throw up or curl up in a ball and slide into the abyss.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN POLARIZED BY ANXIETY AND FEAR?
SELF-CARE. There is nobody better to take care of you, than you. You know what you need. You know how you feel. You instinctively know how to heal yourself.
TRUST YOURSELF. Hard when you feel like your mind has taken control and your body is limping after it. But, remember that the universe may be ultimately in control over the larger picture and general goings on in your life, but you have complete control over how you react and deal with it all, and you can deal with it all and will. Trust me. Trust yourself.
SELF CARE PRACTICES FOR ANXIETY
TAKE A MIND BATH
Build yourself a mental self-care space. You’re already living in your tumultuous mind so lean in and push out. Put yourself in the center of the mess and take control of your own mind. Push outward until you feel you have enough space to breathe. Close your eyes and push all those overwhelming thoughts away; like you’re in heavily packed snow and you push out to make walls for a snow fort. You can deal with all those thoughts and worries in a minute, but for now you need to give yourself space.
IMAGINE yourself in middle of your anxieties and you push everything outward until there is a hefty gap between you and all your thoughts and fears. Don’t try to figure everything out or even deal with them right now, concentrate on moving things away so you have breathing space.
TAKE A SOUND BATH.
MEDITATE to quiet your mind and reduce the overwhelm. Fill the gap you just pushed out with ambient music targeted to calm anxiety.
“Weightless” by Marconi Union (eight minutes of guitar, piano and electronically created nature sounds features Buddhist like chants that induce a trance-like state) is said to reduce anxiety by 65%. According to Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy, the song uses several musical principles to create the ultimate calming effect on anxiety. “It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slow to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat. The reason why the piece is eight minutes long is also carefully calculated as it takes about five minutes for this process, known as entrainment, to occur.” https://hackspirit.com/neuroscience-says-one-song-reduces-anxiety-65-percent/
PROTECT YOUR SELF CARE SPACE. Go ahead and:
CANCEL A COMMITMENT or don’t answer a phone call. You will get back to them. Right now you’re taking care of yourself because you need to be there for yourself.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to change your mind, say no, take the day off and do nothing. It is okay to be alone and regroup. You need this time to reset or risk operating out of control.
GO FOR A WALK. There is great power in the release of your body’s natural endorphins, one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals. A walk is a natural way to process things and then let go of them. Letting go is hard. Trusting the universe is hard. No one likes that free-floating feeling. We all prefer to ultimately be grounded.
ANXIETY AND FEAR are often wrapped up in fear of the unknown. If we knew how things were going to work out, we could focus on a point and work toward it. Only life is just not so simple. It’s messy and unpredictable and thought we’d like to always be ready for whatever life will toss us, often we aren’t. We can only trust in ourselves, our inner selves to help us gain that core stability we need to take a breath, step forward and lean in.
When that feeling of mad fear and anxiety sets in, what coping methods do you use to still the crazy and regain balance?