“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” — Julian of Norwich
There are a lot of us who are anxious these days. When we dare to be honest with each other, we lower our voices and offer our confessions: “I’m afraid of ….” “I’m worried about ….” “What’s going to happen if ….” Or, we convey our anxiety by apologizing in veiled language for our dullness from lack of sleep and irritation from too much stress.
This persistent and pervasive state is like having chronic tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing in the ears that’s always present.
Just as there isn’t a cure for tinnitus, I don’t think there’s a single solution for anxiety. It requires disciplined application of good self care, like following basic health habits (sound diet, adequate exercise and good sleep), reducing exposure to people and situations that incite apprehension, taking time to acknowledge what might be an ever-growing list of concerns and, eventually, letting them go.
I am not a therapist and this blog isn’t meant to prescribe mental health remedies. In my own desire to live with a greater sense of calm and more peace, these tips and tricks helped:
1. Write down everything that worries you on a single piece of paper. Be specific as possible. Maybe a vague fear of the future follows you around. What’s that about? Fear of getting older? Of losing your health? Write it all down in detail on that piece of paper and carry it around, adding to it whenever a new concern pops up. Eventually the paper will fill up. You can do what you like with it — burn it, tear it up, offer it as a prayer or save it as a reminder that much of what we worry about never happens.
2. Schedule worry time. Set aside 30 minutes (avoid bedtime) to fret all you want. Set a timer. Use a list and rehash all that evokes anxiety for you. When time is up, get up and get on with your day. If something bothers you outside of worry time, write it out on your list to brood about next.
3. Take a walk. A change of scenery can interrupt worrisome thoughts.
4. Take a nap. Sleep can help reset your mind and body.
5. Spend 10 to 15 minutes in an activity that requires concentration — crafts, art, music, even cleaning out the junk drawer.
Wishing you peace and serenity!