When you've been taught to dust yourself off when you get knocked down, you learn to carry the weight of life's issues.
Let me take a step back. Sean, my little brother, calls me every few weeks. We text on What's App and share funny memes about our political climate. He is a right brained, kind-hearted, and hard working man. One of his recent monthly calls ended with a piece of advice that I remind myself often.
"There is a difference between fear and danger. If you are not in imminent danger, do not confuse bodily harm with fear."
He shared it because sometimes I work myself into a state of anxiety that is hard to simply breathe through because I have decided fear of what could happen is the same as danger.
Initially, I thought my fears could lead to danger therefore my [overwhelming] thoughts were warranted because it COULD happen.
This week, I did not remember this advice, did not take care of myself the best way I know how, which is to halt my overthinking before it spirals.
The issue with anxiety and fear is it makes sense to worry. And worry seems like an understandable tool to "fixing" the issues in front of me. "If I worry enough, I will stay on top of the problem and I will not be hurt...or in danger." We also keep our fears and anxiety to ourselves because no one wants to complain when life is good and others have it worse.
Better ways, which I have not perfected but have helped me, to break the cycle of confusing danger for fear:
Talk to a trusted loved one. Let them know you may not need advice, but just need to say it aloud. You may cry. Do it. You may just need to get out that energy. The energy left inside can kill you.
Read a book. Focusing on reading helps to divert your attention.
Workout. It works.
Ask for a hug. Google the effects of multiple hugs a day.
Journal. This is hard when you're in the middle of it, at least it has been for me, but try it.
Pray. If you have a spiritual practice, do it consistently for 3 to 5 days. It changes things.
Take the next (and only the very next) logical step. Worry is not a step and makes you think danger is around the corner. Worry is pointless and keeps your mind "doing" and does not change anything.
I do not do this well, but self care for means breaking small habits to give myself some room to breathe.
To quote a line from my favorite movie, Pretty Woman, "take care of you."
All my love,