Well, glad you feel better, Ruby. Release is good. Relieving stress in a healthy, less aggressive way is even better. The first day of anything brings excitement along with stressors. What will I wear? What will they wear? Who will be there? What will happen while I’m there? Will I forget something or walk into the room with only my underwear?
Anxiety is a beast that lays in the dark waiting for crumbs of worry to fall. This beast gains strength from devouring little worries while catastrophizing into debilitating fear. Before you realize it, the anxiety beast is larger than you, controlling your thoughts and decisions while you miss out on life.
Traffic is a common source of frustration for everyone. However, like Ruby, traffic can be the tiny worry that is gobbled up by your worry monster and transformed into fear. That beast provokes reactions that do not fit the crime or the situation and before you know it your fear has you paralyzed (or laying on the horn in stand-still traffic).
A “stress-free” life does not exist. You cannot eliminate stress, but you can learn to manage it. Living life on life’s terms is learning how to handle whatever comes your way. Accepting what you can’t control and managing the rest. Self-care is the first line of defense against the anxiety beast. Before your fear becomes larger than you, practice how to handle your stress. Wars have been waged because of fear. Do not start a war with yourself.
Try some calming practices this week.
Try them BEFORE you NEED them so when you NEED them you are READY!
- (Thank you, Captain Obvious) Deep breathing. Your breath is connected to everything! Controlling your breath forces mindfulness of your body. Count to 10. Slow your mind. Give yourself time to think before you react. You are less likely to punch or cuss someone if you are focused on counting to 10.
- Find a release. Honking and yelling are examples of release however there may be other avenues to explore. Exercise is great! I run, however I am not a runner. I run to release my stress. It’s not pretty and did I mention it’s not fun? But, I sweat, my body moves, I focus on my breath, I listen to my music and with the exception of my dog I run alone. Running checks a lot of boxes for me and I ALWAYS feel better after I do. Find what checks your boxes.
- Find something bigger than you. This is not a religious play or a preaching session on how spiritual I am. Nevertheless, I do better handling life on life’s terms when I am connected to something bigger than me (NOT my anxiety beast). Nature. The universe. God. Whatever you believe in, connect to it and let go of what worries you. Worry does not prevent pain, it prolongs it. Leave your fears to what is larger than you.
Let it go. Take it easy. Rest. Read. Laugh. And Practice.