Are you prone to anxiety and worry? I’ve suffered from anxiety since elementary school. Back then it usually stemmed from bullying by my peers and a desire to do well in school. As I got older, it became much worse with the passing of loved ones, my father’s declining health, and my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis. I went through every day with a never ending list of “what-ifs” running through my head. As every situation passed, I remained vigilant, thinking that if I allowed myself to calm down or even –GASP– be happy, something bad would come along and ruin it.
I Can’t Control the Weather, Can You?
I’ve come to realize that the majority of the things that made me anxious and -sometimes still do- stem from other people and THEIR circumstances. Things like my husband’s job, my parents’ health, and how my actions might affect others. While it’s obviously not a bad thing to be considerate, I tend to go a little overboard, many times neglecting myself and what I need. What I NEED is to focus on myself in order to stop worrying about everyone else and their “storms.”
Were any of the situations that made my mind race in my control? Of course not. Could I control my parents’ health? Nope. Could I control the horrible things my peers said about me? No. What I could have controlled was my reaction. I could have accepted that these things were out of my control and focused on the things I could control (and even enjoyed).
Write it Down: Positivity and Gratitude
One thing that helps when I’m going through a rough time is to journal. I tend to only journal when I’m having a tough day because it helps me sleep when I get all my negative thoughts out of my head and on paper. For every entry however, I always make it a point to write down one thing that I’m grateful for and one positive that happened that day. Regardless of how crappy a day it was, something good did always happen, no matter how small.
I’m not a pro at it yet, but I’m working on my self-care habits in order to find what is the most helpful at relieving stress and helping me calm my nerves. When I put my focus on myself and what I need, I have less time to think about everyone else and their problems. That way when situations do arise that are either completely out of control or not even my problem, I’m calmer and can think more clearly. Although it might not feel like it, even the longest of storms will eventually pass. If you focus on yourself and your needs, it might just end up feeling more like a drizzle than a downpour.