I’m never sure when it’s going to strike: that niggling doubt that turns into a stomach ache or stabbing pain in my right side; the sense of dread that tightens my lungs and chest so that it’s hard to breathe; the tension that accumulates in my shoulders, neck, jaw, and temples; heart palpitations; reflux . . . The list goes on.
Never good, never fun. But I know I still have to follow through with commitments I’ve made, so it’s not like I can go hide from the world when it hits (well, not always; there are some things I can beg out of, but those things are few and far between). I have to suck it up and do life, regardless of how I feel.
It makes following through on commitments harder, especially when I can’t ignore it. But I still have to acknowledge what I’m feeling — name it and own it. Then I have to work on containing or defeating it. It doesn’t get to run my life, so I have to find a way to overcome. Easier said than done, right?
Some of my strategies include:
- praying for calmness, insight, wisdom, forgiveness, or whatever fits the situation that’s making me anxious;
- telling myself that what I’m feeling is not reality, it’s my mind blowing things out of proportion;
- telling myself to breathe, and focusing my breathing on expanding my belly and chest, where the tension lies;
- using essential oils with calming or pain relieving properties (yes, I’m one of those oily people, but I find they do work for me especially for headaches);
- doing whatever it is I’m anxious about, no matter how lousy I’m feeling (this one is the hardest, especially when the anxiety becomes paralyzing);
- exercise, or some form of physical activity that loosens up the ball my body wants to become;
- listening to music that fits the mood I either need or want to be in. Sometimes I need quiet music that sparks my imagination and let’s my mind wander away from whatever’s weighing on my mind, but sometimes I need angsty, heavy, or loud, to help purge the lousy thoughts and get something done (usually the dishes).
Those are my coping skills used most often. If you’re reading this and have problems with anxiety, depression, or other mental states that you have to fight to defeat, what are your coping mechanisms?
I’ll probably write more about this later, but I have to go be a responsible adult and get some things done so we’re not late this morning (something else I’ve had to create coping mechanisms for, because time doesn’t work in my head like it’s supposed to).
Have a lovely Thursday!