My main tactic for dealing with anxiety lately is to remember that things are not always this bad. It’s obvious, I know, but repeating this to myself (and typing a blog post about it) – this helps to really remind me and make it sink in and bring about soothing results. I try to remember that there are times when I am free of stress. These bad feelings that are dogging me right now – they are transitory. Anxious is not my default mode. Anxiety happens now and then, it is not the constant.
It can be difficult, though, because I am working against such strong feelings. My mind and body pound away at me with this stuff. The feelings can be all-consuming, they can dominate all of my thinking. They can take up so much space and resource in my brains that there’s not enough space or resource for reasonable thinking. There’s not enough room for the obvious conclusion – the conclusion that the feelings will soon pass. The more I make myself realize this stuff, the more firmly it takes effect . . . and the results start to spread throughout my mind and body; and the soothed feelings start to spread throughout my mind and body.
I can extend this tactic and connect it to another practice I learned. One way to bring about happiness is to think about some happy memory. Think about a time when you were with people you love, a holiday maybe…just some memory that you remember as being very happy. Really meditate on that memory. Immerse yourself in it. Try to be there. Then, when that memory is really locked in, and you start to feel the happiness that the memory brings, let the memory drop away. Let the memory drop, but stay in the happiness. Stop thinking about the memory and shift focus your attention on the happy feeling. Feel it in your body. Stay in it. When the feeling starts to go away, summon the memory back up. Let it drop away again, but again, stay with the happiness. Repeat this if needed.
I’m lucky enough to be in a state where this stuff works. A lot of people are not fortunate enough to be in this state. There might be a chemical imbalance, or there might be extreme skepticism…or just something…something that prevents this type of wisdom from helping them.
I’m lucky, but I’m borderline. There are times I think I should just go ahead and ‘get the help that I need.’ Should I seek professional help? Should I try to get myself on some sort of medication? Up to now, I have not sought that type of help. I have gotten by with some wisdom and a bit of discipline and a bit of mental toughness. I’m lucky to be able to do this, because wisdom, discipline and mental toughness are in short supply with me.