The last time I wrote on the blog was a month ago, and dang, so much has changed in that month. I don’t want to go into the details of everything that is going on since I’m pretty much certain that you are well aware of the worldwide situation playing out at the moment.
What I am here for is to be of help.
I live with anxiety. I live with it and can manage it pretty well, but at times like this, it gets heightened. And that’s OK. I am in good company from what I hear. I am trying to take care of myself during this unprecedented time and what I do know is that my anxiety can take me out of the present and makes me super focused on the future and what that will look like, for me, my family, the community and the world. That’s not taking care of myself and my mind. That’s putting myself into a tailspin that is hard to get out of sometimes.
Can I control ANY of what is happening right now? Nope. Do I want to? YES! But I can’t. All I can sit with is where I am now. What I am doing now. What I am thinking NOW. The anxiety of trying to figure out the future is not doing me any good. So I’m happy that I learned about this anxiety grounding technique that a friend told me about a couple of weeks ago that she saw on Instagram from Elizabeth Gilbert. I’ve been using this technique when I find my mind spinning and looping and ready to spontaneously combust.
Liz says (Yes, I call her Liz. She’s my BBF, but doesn’t know it, yet!😂),
“Stop whatever you are doing, whereever you are doing it, and look around where you are. Take note of five things that you can see, four things that you can hear, three things that you can feel, two things that you can smell, and one thing that you can taste. Taking a few minutes to do this a few times a day will quite literally return you to your senses. As somebody who is a lifelong expert on future-tripping and catastrophizing, this practice really works (for me, at least) to settle the nervous system and bring me back into the only reality that is confirmable: The one that is happening right now. And this moment right now is usually just fine. Or at the very least, this moment is usually a lot less traumatizing than the scary movie that is running in my imagination about the future.”
PREACH. Liz always knows just what to say.
I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and it does indeed work. I am forced to slow down mentally and focus my attention instead on what is happening right this second. In the moment. Being present. Because really, that’s all I have. It’s all any of us has.
Try this technique out this week. Even you don’t have anxiety, are as calm as a cucumber and totally rocking this quarantine/self isolation thing. Bringing your self back to the present is a good thing to do all the time, no matter what’s going on.
I’m thinking of you and am hoping you are safe, healthy and doing well. Whatever you are doing, feeling, thinking, not doing, watching, eating, however you’re coping….know that it’s ok.