Good and bad run on parallel tracks and they usually arrive about the same time.
That was a favorite quote of mine when I was younger. It rings true; you can’t have sunshine without rain, flowers without dirt, love without pain.
After 2 years of being too sick to get off the couch, I have begun working again, a fact that excites me and fills me with overwhelming gratitude.
And then this morning, I woke up with overwhelming anxiety.
I tend to worry about more than just the present (something my counselor tells me is true with many people). Anxiety over past mistakes or situations, along with concern over the future are tendencies I battle on a daily basis.
Yes, taking care of my life TODAY is stressful, but add onto that worrying about the parts of my past and future I have no control over? It gets a bit insane.
Why do I do that? A wise man tells me every time I see him, “you have no control, so let it go.”
Well, screw that.
My mind says, if I worry enough, I will be prepared. If I think through it enough, I will know how to react. If I analyze everything, answers will become clear.
Question: when has that truly, ever worked?
I hear your doubts, your arguments. I hear them because I still struggle with them.
Here is my personal experience. Worry produces anxiety and stress. Stress causes me to become muddled. A muddled mind makes irrational decisions. Irrational decisions lead to second-guessing, which leads to self-doubt and lowered confidence. Low confidence leads to worry about what I’m doing wrong and stress over how to fix it. Stress becomes….well, you get the idea.
Of course, we still have to work through anxiety in SOME way. How do we handle it in a mature manner that does not lead to stress, muddled minds, irrational decisions and low confidence?
Again, here is my personal experience.
– Using my journal helps tremendously. Writing my thoughts down, in a place no one can see them, helps to clear my mind.
– Talking to someone I trust. This list consists of only a few people, friends that I know for sure will not judge me no matter what is going through my mind.
– Deep breathing exercises. They help get me “out of my head.”
– Walking – a short walk though, since I don’t have the energy for much. It’s really more about change of scenery.
– Leaving it alone by turning on the tv or picking up a book.
I don’t have any magical cures and will be the first to admit that this issue is one I still struggle with on a daily basis.
Readers, do you think worrying helps you or hinders you? How do you deal with stress?
I’m looking forward to the day when I can pick up an alcoholic drink again (responsibly of course) and deal with anxiety that way.
That was a bit of humor to all you who over-think and over-analyze (like me).