Today is a day for reflection... for putting my house in order.... for clearing out the cobwebs, stopping the blockages, freeing my mind to move on.
|From the bottom of the mountain looking up to the climb ahead|
I've spent too long worrying. In the current phase of worry I'm averaging three hours sleep a night. Do that for a week and you start to feel the stitching coming loose. So I'm turning to that great soures of wisdom, the internet, to find solutions to this current stateof mindlessness I'm in. And here are the results:
I know that worry gets you nowhere but it seems the human brain is programmed to worry in order to survive. We used to face real dangers like being eaten by predatory animals, or not finding food and shelter. Worry made us focus on the threat (problem) and try to eliminate it. Those days are long gone but it is still in our nature to be constantly looking for threats and trying to eliminate them.
Psychologists refer to this as the negativity bias, which means while there may be a lot of positives in our lives, humans tends to focus on the negatives, which are the threats, like the predatory sabre tooth tiger, we need to eliminate.
“Your mind is conditioned to fixate on the negative and dismiss the positive, because evolutionary speaking, the positive presents no threat to your well-being.”- http://www.existing2living.com/your-brain-is-programmed-for-failure-heres-what-to-do-about-it/#sthash.D7KqS6pz.dpuf
Other factors which perpetuate the negative side of things include the availability heuristic. Which, put simply, means that we are more likely to recall negative events than positive ones. The other factor is the perpetual chaos of our brains.
“....bestselling author and psychology professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that “contrary to what we tend to assume, the normal state of the mind is chaos.” - http://www.existing2living.com/your-brain-is-programmed-for-failure-heres-what-to-do-about-it/#sthash.D7KqS6pz.dpuf
All of this thankfully explains why the worrying, negative, chaos can take over and small problems loom large and appear insurmountable. And this is exactly what has been happening to me, here and now.
Because one worrying episode leaves me stressed out and tired (unable to sleep) which in turn makes me more susceptible to anxiety, more negative, and less able to cope with ordinary normal life. Ordinary, normal things then become a worry, because I am in such a state that I'm unable to carry them out and so the negative spiral into chaos and hyperanxiety continues.
Thankfully, there are some positives that I can draw on and that I do draw on meaning instead of descending into total depression, shutting out the ones I love, self-hating, and being a crap and short-tempered parent to my kids... I now know myself well enough to see the light through the murky sleep-deprived haze that I'm in.
I know that certain things help with stress. Exercise is a key one here and I've been doing this regularly now for three months. And it has probably saved me from a deeper pit than the one I'm currently in.
Positive thinking is another one that cannot be understated. As hard as it is to think positively when you feel dreadful inside, forcing yourself to look on the bright side, not beat yourself up but sing your own praises and see that the world and the people in it are out to do you good and not harm.
Practising universal admiration, is another – looking around and wondering at the amazing world aroound you. Admiring how that bookshelf was designed, how well-that book was written, how clever that coffee machine is for bringing you hot piping delicious coffee.
Daydreaming is actually good for you. “On a neurological level, the mind cannot distinguish between something that is vividly imagined and something that is real. Your brain will light up in the same parts if you physically engage in an activity as it will if you just imagine yourself doing it.” - http://www.existing2living.com/your-brain-is-programmed-for-failure-heres-what-to-do-about-it/#sthash.D7KqS6pz.dpuf
Moving elsewhere, it's time to tackle it.
Gleaned from a selection of sites, these seem to be commonly agreed anxiety reduction techniques which I'm gonna embark on, some of them I already do, some of them I could do more of and some I'm willing to try.
- Don't fight the anxiety, accept it. (ok, tick, I'm accepting it, this blog is proof, right?)
- Learn how to self-soothe. This can be different for different people, for some people a hot bath with some essential oils, for others a stroll in the park, a visualization to put yourself in a nice place, diagphramatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, listening to relaxing music. (Today it's gonna be some yoga, visualisations and muscle relaxation)
- Positive self-talk - stop beating yourself up, you're wonderful! (Tick!)
- Eating well avoiding caffeine and alcohol. (Hmm, need some work in this area definitely!)
- Get exercise. (Tick- woohoo, 3 times a week on average, today excepted)
- Look after your gut – probiotics can actually effect your mood! (ok then, I'm paying attention, I actually do have a lot of digestive problems, could this be causing me strife? I'm finding out more now.)