How I keep it together in difficult times
In these tough times, I might appear calmer than I feel inside. This is not a facade. I am taking great care in choosing what I express.
My goal is to express only what I believe will be helpful to myself and others. I can’t control my internal weather. But I can control what I say and how I say it.
For example, if I’m on social media and feeling tempted to start a sentence with, “I hate . . .” or “It’s horrible that . . . ,” I first consider the likely impact of such words. Saying things like that will cause tension in myself and others, and seem very unlikely to motivate positive thoughts and actions. I might not have anything to say that will help, but I can certainly avoid saying things that will cause greater discomfort.
If I need to express myself, I choose an appropriate moment and person to talk with. I might say, “My thoughts are racing and I feel tightness in my gut.” Or, “I need a hug and some comforting words.” Or, “Let’s watch a funny movie.”
When I’m upset, I start by tuning into my bodily sensations and slowing my breathing. I’ve begun a new practice of naming the sensations or moments that I notice as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Even that small step gives me a measure of breathing room.
This type of relief is what most of our bodywork clients seek. Providing the atmosphere, company, and touch that fosters breathing, feeling, and calm helps calm me, too.
It’s a relief to have something, anything to do in times like this. It’s a relief to feel even the slightest change when I step back and notice and name sensations. Feeling any improvement instantly disproves the delusion that I am a powerless victim of anxiety. It literally empowers me, as I feel more energy and ability to act. It gives me back a bit of me.