I'm going through some somewhat irrational/somewhat rational heightened anxiety right now, and happened upon Therese, happened upon Therese's vlogs, and felt the need to comment/expand on her 7 tips for managing anxiety. My top tip for dealing with anxiety right now is also to have a mantra. She speaks of her mantra in the context of her "security blanket" tip but I find it to be a very separate strategy. My mantra that I started using this month is "all I have to do is show up." I've been waking up anxious in the mornings, and while it's nowhere near the level that leads to panic attacks, it's not a pleasant feeling to have a wave of anxiety come over me the second the radio comes on and wakes me up. So I repeat to myself, "all I have to do is show up, all I have to do is show up," while I lay there with my eyes shut tight pretending that I don't have to go to school.
"All I have to do is show up, all I have to do is show up. I don't have to be doing ok, all I have to do is show up. Now what ADAPT shirt am I wearing to school today? I'm going to show up, and I'm going to kick ass, because ADAPTers KICK ASS."Eventually I do get out of bed and throw on that ADAPT shirt. A friend of mine did something for me that has been the best thing anyone has done for me in the last 2 years--she showed up. She showed up when I wasn't doing ok and she very obviously wasn't doing ok either. She didn't have to do anything else besides just show up. Showing up was a life changing experience for me and I will remember that everyday for the rest of my life. You don't have to be doing ok to make a big difference in someone's life, and in fact, you don't even necessarily have to do anything at all besides show up.
Music, Therese's number 7, is also a big one for me. Like I said, music allows me to pass my anxiety onto an outside force. My "hard times songs" also help in a different way then my fast songs do. I'm glad to say I've moved a step beyond just breathing, to showing up. That's a BIG step for me. Showing up at all can be HARD when you are not ok.
Another one for me, like I've said before, is running. I guess I'm just repeating myself in this post, because my other big one is coloring. Last night at OOO I was too busy picking on people/being picked on to color. So I decided to color during the meeting, because why not? I was talking about my recent lack of sleep and how I'm afraid of what will happen when it catches up to me. Being a giant anxious crying mess is not my idea of fun. Someone looked at me and said "You do seem more down then usual." I didn't really respond because I didn't want to start a whole other line of conversation, but inside a little part of me went "YES!" It doesn't always happen, I have to let it happen, but not only had I managed to become one with my mandala coloring book and my pack of crayola markers, not only had I let myself melt and mellow out, but someone had noticed!
I guess my biggest anxiety buster though is horseback riding, something I have not been able to do in a LONG time. There is an old Arab proverb, "The air of heaven is that which flows between a horse's ears." It is one of my favorite quotes. The other day after I woke up anxious, I took a good look inside myself and said "Cheryl, you know what you need? You need to get back on a horse. (do you ever talk to yourself in your head in the 3rd person?) That would solve all my problems." Well not all my problems or course, but horses make me melt more then any coloring book ever will. Horses are better then any drug. Better then any muscle relaxent, better then any antianxiety, better then any antidepressent, better then A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
So what are your tips for managing anxiety? Have you tried any of the ones Therese has tried that I haven't? Have you tried breathing exercises? Can you explain to me what the deal with water is? There are so many people at OOO who are just non functional if they miss their swim. I'm trying to get it, because that just does NOT work for me.