Gratitude and attitude

Sometimes I wallow in my worries so hard I could drown. I am so completely immersed, that I miss whole conversations, chunks of time and even patches of road I’m driving. I focus on everything that is wrong, could go wrong, and all the mistakes I could make while things go wrong so I can make them even more wrong. It’s impressive how much “wrong” I can stuff in to one scenario.

Here’s how it works – I’m worried about one simple thing – will it become a problem, and suddenly I’m thinking maybe I can’t trust my judgement, and I bet other people are going through this too, and then it grows. Why is the world so full of sadness? What can we do about it? Where is God? Why do we have to suffer so much?  etc.  And suddenly I’m drowning in a universe of SUCK.   It’s at this point when I become profoundly sad, and dip into a black, inky well of despair.  Have you ever felt that way?  Like there’s so much to worry about, that it finally breaks you?

If so, I have a few tactics that help me, that I hope can help you too.  Take a deep breath and try the following.

  1. First, if you are out somewhere – go home. If you are intoxicated, (take a cab) and cease all intake of mind altering drinks and drugs.
  2. Secondly, once you are not driving and in a safe environment, and if you are choked up, tearing or already crying – just cry. Let it out. Go ahead and release as much as you can. Cry and cry. Get a box of tissues and go to town. Gently blow your nose, have some chamomile tea and cry some more. Why? Because crying actually produces endorphins, which will put your mind in a slightly more “right” state. Please rehydrate after crying, so you don’t increase your heart rate and get a headache.
  3. Nap. After a good cry and all those endorphins flowing, you may feel wiped out. Give in to that, and let your body rest. Try not to revisit the past thoughts that made you cry, but rather think about the soft bed, comfy pillow and cozy blanket. One good way to fall asleep is to close your eyes and remember your favorite movie or tv show or book, and play it in your mind. This works for 3 reasons: It’s pleasant because it’s familiar, and yet it’s not your life, and you know what’s going to happen next, so you don’t have to stay awake to find out.  Now sleep until you wake up. Why? Because you are now engaged in the practice of self-care. You love yourself, so act like it and allow your body to rest as much as it needs.  Give yourself permission. Sleep deprived people are more likely to be depressed, slow, and make bad decisions. Go ahead, relax and konk out.
  4. Once your up, continue the practice of self-care and make yourself a meal. Do not have a pile of sugar. Have something leafy green. When you sit down to eat, look at your food first. Think about it. You have food. You are about to satisfy your hunger. It’s a basic human need, and you are going to fulfill it for yourself.  I realize its a very simple, basic concept, but it’s important. Be grateful for this food. Grateful to God/higher power who made it, grateful to yourself or your mate who shopped for it and paid for it and brought it home, and grateful that you are able-bodied enough to prepare it for yourself. Why are we doing this? Because our current negative attitude is harmful, and we’re changing it through gratitude.
  5. Now that you’ve cared for yourself, with a cry, a nap and some food, it’s time to do some work. This is simple work, and you won’t break a sweat, but it may be outside of your comfort zone, because complex emotions come in to play when people do this.  First, sit in a chair, comfortably and look around. Notice that you have a full belly, are alive and well, and are being supported by the chair. Without comparing yourself with those who are better off or worse off, just acknowledge that what you have is a gift, and be grateful for it.

The Time of Your Life

clock-1 As a chronic worry wort, how much of your life have you spent worried?  Is the grey space on this clock how much you spend each hour with anxious thoughts? It has been mine – or more.
calendar If you spend hours each day, you’ve likely wasted years of your life frozen in fear. Don’t feel bad,  you’re not alone. All of us who worry, are very good at burning through hour after torturous, non-productive, hour. But now, in this moment in time, is when we stop to reflect on that, and make it part of our past behavior. A habit we are committed to dumping.
clock-2 Make this a new goal: To be aware of how much time you allow yourself to spend brooding and worried.  You own your life. You control your mind. You deserve freedom from mental pain. It’s a simple goal, but far from easy. It takes practice, effort and repeated concentration on doing something unfamiliar – letting go, and moving the hell on with your real life. The life where you live in the present.
clock-3 For a few minutes, instead of worrying about anything, think about something fun or productive. What else could you be doing if you weren’t drowning in worry? Whatever you are worried about can wait, because if it’s a real issue, it will be there when you are done with your current productive task. Put it on a shelf and grab another item. If it’s a projected/potential problem, it can wait because you are able to handle anything that comes your way – when/if that happens. And trust me, it won’t. It will be ok – which means this potential problem can wait forever.
clock-4 Find something seriously engaging, and go to it. It will be hard at first, to focus, but mentally slap your thoughts back on track. Take each minute one at a time. You are a good person, you deserve to feel accomplished. What ever you are doing, do your best at it, and enjoy every moment. Indulge in this, and it will force you to feel better.
 clock-5 After you have completed your project, and realized that you can, to some extent, control your thoughts and feelings, and actually produce something great, you can puff up with pride and realize that you don’t need to worry. Yes, it’s a well beaten path, and this new one is narrow and hard to track, but the more you do it, the easier you will see it, follow it and spend more and more time there.

 

Mantra – Healthy Eating

  • I enjoy healthy foods.
  • I enjoy raw foods from the earth.
  • I love the taste of taste. Herbs and spices are delicious.
  • I am informed about nutrition, and enjoy the benefits of it.
  • I eat healthy delicious food that makes my body feel great.
  • I choose low calorie, high nutrition foods.
  • I crave whole foods. I crave green leafy veggies.
  • I desire to nourish my body effectively.
  • I want food that activates my cellular health.
  • Vegetables are delicious.
  • Mindless snacking is boring.
  • I enjoy smelling my prepared nutritious food, and then eating it conscientiously and enjoying every bite.
  • At the grocery store, I fill my basket with delicious fruit and nutritious veggies.
  • I look forward to eating them.
  • I love fruit as a snack.
  • Veggie smoothies are delicious and filling.
  • I use herbs to season my healthy meals full of veggies and it’s mouth watering.
  • Veggies are delicious and tasty. Mmmmm.
  • Packaged, high-fat or sugary foods turn me off.
  • I love green foods, like salad.
  • I enjoy trying new recipes with fresh foods.
  • My body appreciates the nutrition I give it.
  • I love healthy food.

Mantra – Rest & Sleep

  • It is now time to relax.
  • I have had a full and productive day.
  • Now I feel calm and clear.
  • I feel relaxed. I am breathing slow and easy.
  • Each breath makes me just a bit more melted into the bed that supports me.
  • I feel sleepy.
  • I thoroughly enjoy sleep.
  • I rejuvenate during sleep. My cells replenish.
  • When I sleep my mind clears. My body recovers and refreshes during sleep.
  • My muscles are relaxed now. My bed is welcoming.
  • I am comfy. I am melty.
  • I feel sleepy. I am cool and comfy.
  • I enjoy sleep.
  • I’m happy to be here.
  • All is well while I am here.
  • I am safe, secure and cozy.
  • I will enjoy deep, comfortable, restful sleep.
  • I am relaxed and content.
  • My pillow is soft.
  • I feel comfortably sleepy.
  • I can drift off into a pleasant sleep.

Quell The Fear Worksheet

Are you having a fear/worry episode or a panic attack right now?  If you are having a full panic attack, first practice breathing very slowly.  See this wikipedia article for breathing exercises.

Let’s begin your worksheet with a few questions. Please get a pen and paper and write down your answers fully. This worksheet works best with a single isolated incident. For ongoing problems like an abusive husband or crappy job, see Dealing Worksheet:

  1. What exactly are you worried about or afraid of?
  2. Is it something that already happened? (If no, skip to #3) Can you fix/repair or undo it to any extent?
    1. Tell me what YOU can do to fix it if it has already happened. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
    2. Can you do that right now? When can you do that? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
  3. Is it something that might happen?  Can you prevent or control any portion of the outcome?
    1. Tell me what YOU can do to prevent it, or reduce the problem. If “nothing” is your answer, skip ahead to #5. Otherwise, spell it out in detail, what you will do. Number the steps and take your time.
    2. When can you carry out this/these actions? (If “now”, please complete this entire worksheet, then directly carry out your plan.)
  4. Add your actions to your calendar (from A. & B. above). Remember, you won’t be better prepared for what is to come by worrying about it. You have your action plan written and will use it when the time comes.
  5. Next, here are the mantras and affirmations to say aloud, no less than 10 times.
    1. I am a strong, capable person. I can handle issues when they come my way.
    2. I will handle only the problems I can, and be at peace with my limitations.
    3. I am calm, knowing that when the time comes, I will handle it with success. I can now fill my head with enjoyable thoughts and go relax.
    4. I am an empowered person. I am smart and resourceful. I am competent and confident. I handle problems with ease. I am resourceful and thoughtful. I am insightful. I am confident, and decisive. My decisions are sound and well reasoned.
    5. I am allowed to enjoy the now, without worrying about the future, because in this moment everything is ok.
    6. I deserve peace. I am worthy of self love. I’m entitled to contentment.

Did you repeat those 10 times? If not, keep going. By the 3rd or 4th round, you will memorize some, and when that happens, I want you to close your eyes, and focus on the meaning of the words, and really sound them down in to your core. Mean them, feel them, embrace them, own them. Now say them some more. Trust me. You are worthy of this time you are spending on yourself.

When done, go about your day. Leave the action plan behind until it is time. Enjoy yourself. Do something fun.

The Core of Worry

Did you ever stop to think of WHY you worry?  We know from another article about loss, that it boils down to losing something, but why do we catastrophise this loss?At some place in your mind, born some time in your history, may be an underlying thought that you simply are not worthy of good things.  This in itself is not the root cause, either. It goes beyond that. At some point in your life, the thought either blossomed in your mind or someone gave you the notion that you don’t deserve to have the blessings that you have. Maybe you feel it’s a punishment from a childhood mistake, or maybe you wonder if it’s karma for sins of a past life. Either way, as your friend, I’m telling you that YOU DO DESERVE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE!  It’s ok to have good things, enjoy good things, and want to keep your good things. I give you permission.Right now, I want you to give yourself permission to have good things. Say this aloud:

I, (your name), am a worthy person, and deserve good things in life. I am allowed to keep them. I am grateful for all I have, and enjoy my time in this world.

You may change this mantra to suit you, but keep all words positive. Don’t use “no’s”, “not’s”, “can’ts”, etc.

It is beneficial that your brain hears and processes these words when you speak them aloud. It is not the same to say them just in your thoughts. Repeat this mantra daily or more. It will eventually sink in, and you will find that the power of the catastrophic worries and anxieties have less and less power.

Live in the Now – A Quick Anti-anxiety Exercise.

What are you worried about right now? Can you identify it? If not, try to think of what is really making you anxious, and write it down on a piece of paper. (Yes, I mean old school… don’t blog it, don’t text it, don’t dictate it to your tablet, just write it down).
Be as thorough or as sparse as you like, but you must be honest about it. It must be the real problem. Next, visualize that the problem exists solely on this paper. Maybe draw a box around it to restrain it. Maybe cross it out. Be sure you’ve gotten it all off your chest and on to the paper.  Every possibility surrounding the problem is now contained on this sheet. It alone is the problem, and when you crumple it up, the problem releases it’s grip on you. Crumple it now. Let the problem shrink as you smash the paper in your hands. Now toss it in the trash.ID-100268132

It is now out of your hands. You are free. It is not your problem. It may still exist, but it’s no longer yours to deal with. If it is a real issue that you must deal with at some point, don’t worry, you will in time, but not right now.  Now, let other thoughts come in; thoughts of things you can do with your day, now that that issue is contained.  You can do this, if just for a few minutes or even an hour. Truly let the worry go for now, let yourself off the hook. Just for the next 30 minutes, it is nothing to worry about.  Whatever you were worried about, is now in the trash and has no place in your head. Let it go. It’s fine.

Now, take a look around your room/office. Speak aloud as you describe the room. Tell me what you see.
Do you hear any sounds? What are they. Describe them completely. Is the room cool? Warm? Bright? Do you smell anything? Tell me every detail. Now describe your physical comfort level. (Do not tell me how you are feeling emotionally.)  Are your clothes comfy, or tight? Are you in a nice chair? Stay in the moment with me, describing everything you are experiencing in your physical world. Can you kick off your shoes and wiggle your toes? Can you take a sip of cold water or hot coffee?  Do so, and describe it – aloud. Ahhhhhh.

Now that you’re experiencing your “now” moment, it’s time to treat yourself with a few minutes of pleasure. Remember, you are fully immersed in the the now, and the worry you threw away, still does not exist. The next step requires that you dig into your memory, and find a song that made you happy or reminds you of a good time. Anything that has some pep and/or maybe gives you a sense of empowerment. Now, if you can, go to www.youtube.com and find that song, and play it loud. Remembering that you are in the now, and right now, everything is OK, and there is nothing to worry about. Enjoy your music thoroughly.

You have now spent the last few minutes living in the now. Continue to practice this, knowing that if you absolutely must, you can come back to the worry later – but hopefully, you will feel empowered enough not to. Or, at least having spent some of your life living it, rather than dreading or fearing it.  : )