Anxiety is such a huge topic. There are so many facets. So many misconceptions. Indeed, for fifteen years I have experienced so many different types of anxiety manifestation, that explaining what it feels like will likely take several more blogs. And we will get to them, I promise.
To manage, somewhere in the back of brain, I have been putting together an Anxiety Kit. It’s a combination of things that I have used to help soothe the bad moments, to distract my mind from itself and avoid the grand finale—a panic attack. It’s a combination of coping mechanisms I have found in workbooks, heard from my therapist, or brought to me by friends. In hopes that it will help you too, I wrote them all down.
Ok, ok. I can elaborate. Geez. It’s just focusing on anxiety gives me anxiety, so I was trying to avoid it.
Your Anxiety Kit, Master Wayne, Includes:
- Good, understanding humans (if you don’t have them, your first mission is to find them)
- A fuzzy blankey (I don’t care what gender you are, this helps anyone) or another totem object
- Mac n Cheese or Ice Cream (why not both?) I am also a huge fan of Gummy Worms
- A sense of humor (ability to laugh at yourself)
- Being easy on yourself when you need it (no mean self-talk)
Yoga mat, dog or another animal of choice, notebook with pen
In the upcoming weeks, I will be breaking down pieces of the Anxiety Kit to further expand on one stimulus I have experienced and explain how I handle it as it occurs. I know not everyone is the same, but maybe this will help.
How to: Help Pause Racing Thoughts
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell that when my thoughts are getting ahead of me until it’s too late and I feel out of control.
At some point, I am just thinking through my day, maybe walking into Target. Then, perhaps, I have to make a decision. Nothing life-altering. Something like, which almond milk brand to buy (I know this is Goop territory, bear with me).
As I am standing there, choosing between Silk and Almond Joy, I think back to my previous milk purchases. Which one tasted better, which one lasted longer in the fridge.
So far, so good.
Then, my mind goes to the fact that I am lactose intolerant, the reason for having to make this decision in the first place. And, I am off. Why am I always so difficult? Why does my body do this? I used to drink regular milk and didn’t have to decide anything….and so on. I don’t realize that I am lost in a thought-loop until it is much too late. I am now spiraling, beating myself up, which nicely introduces Depression Monster onto the stage. He’ll take it from here.
What to Do Now
Look for a small win. For this scenario, a very basic solution.
I will look over my list and check what else I need. If I spot something easy, like cotton balls, I go grab them. I always buy the generic brand, which doesn’t require overthinking.
Usually, I can feel myself taking a pause from beating myself up at this point. Maybe I am not so damaged after all. Everyone needs cotton balls and they are all the same. I should now be able to get through the rest of the store.
If You Are Lucky and At Home
This is cozy blanket time. Netflix sometimes makes me stressed with all the options, so that doesn’t help. Instead, I might pull out a DVD, magazine, or book I’ve been meaning to read.
If you’re like me when your head is full of too many thoughts, it helps to distract them/drown them out with pleasant background noise. Nothing with lyrics. Perhaps pull up the Yule Log on Youtube, or find a soothing (nerdy) noise compilation on Ambient Mixer, or an Acoustic Playlist on Spotify.
Yes, this takes time. I have had to steal it from responsibilities sometimes, but running around too much without a stop is what gets me into a bad place to begin with. The opposite is the best cure in this case.
You know what? Instead of reading any of the upcoming posts or dealing with anxiety at all, wouldn't it be better if I offered a miracle potion? Three easy installments of $19.99 and you are all fixed!
Please, don’t let anyone promise you that, there’s scientists and pharmaceutical companies on the case. They have incentive to find it. When they do, they will be very rich and everyone will be 100% all the time happy. But probably not still, because that's impossible.
Do you have any tips or tricks? I would love to know what they are, so please share!