When it’s Tough in Here

It’s really windy and pouring and it’s going to be an all-day-er.

I notice that when anxiety is present, combined with feeling tired, that the thoughts are more pessimistic and worry comes. Couldn’t get to sleep last night after a late nap. What works really well when I can’t get back to sleep is listening to a talk by Tara Brach. This was last night’s talk. I set it at just the right volume, loud enough to hear but not so loud that it keeps you awake. I drift off every time. Worth a try if you have trouble getting to sleep. I use my iPad or phone to listen to one of the many podcasts on her site. I listen to each one repeatedly for several nights.

Meantime the thoughts come relentlessly promising me I’m in such awful danger. I’m not, but I’m very short of money right now and it’s circumstances that are ripe for temptation to fear.

With a little practice, thoughts can be challenged that are not true though. One can reply to them with a ‘not necessarily’….. or actively counteract them with a rational thought. Or even just notice and let go before a feeling hijacks us and a story develops which leads to further thoughts. I’ve been bombarded recently. My mind is in overdrive and perceiving threat so I’m using all the tools in my armoury to sooth myself.

Life’s circumstances can have us ensnared in an emotional mire of worry at times. Even if the reality is that the catastrophes the thoughts come up with are very unlikely to happen. We are stronger than we think!

But once the threat detection system, and the amygdala has been activated it doesn’t really subside recently unless we take action. Living like this can lead to prolonged chronic stress, even at a low level. Confidence can be effected and in we go to the land of the rut. Feel scared-do less-lose confidence. Not a recipe for making the most of this very very short spell we have on the planet.

So what to do? The list is, endless it here’s a few ideas that work for many including me. I lean heavily on these resilience building and healing activities.

  • Take up mindfulness
  • Spend time in nature
  • Write a list of your best qualities and strengths and revel in those for a while
  • Write a list of everything you have in your life right now that you feel grateful for
  • Pet a dog, or even get a dog or cat. Best thing I did this year was to get my dog.
  • Doodle with coloured pens or get one of those colouring-in books with beautiful patterns, doing this has been shown to interrupt stressful thoughts and help us enter a ‘flow’ state
  • Get moving-a stretch, a shower, or a walk can change ones mood, and even better a slow mindful walk such as he ones that Thich Nhat Han recommends on his videos.
  • Tidy up the house, or organise some neglected paperwork. Even a small achievement like this can help us feel an increased sense of accomplishment
  • Take a risk and do something you have secretly always wanted to do, take up an instrument, take art classes, join a public speaking class, do a course in a subject that interests you. All confidence building.
  • Do the strengths test on this site. It’s free and it’s very empowering.
  • And remember to breath, great for interrupting stressful thoughts and bringing us back into the body

Hope you are well and being kind and gentle with yourself. You deserve it! It’s not easy being a human!

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