Journey to the Center of the Self II: The Delicious Melting

I’ve always been jealous of people who don’t have to live through Midwest winters, all heavy snowfalls, frigid temperatures, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD? Come on). But at the same time, there is something triumphant about the winter to spring transition. After a long, cold winter, my senses wake up and it is a delightful feeling.

Now that March is here, that delicious melting has finally begun.

I can’t believe that we are already on the third month of the year. How are your doing with your new habits?

In my article for Issue One, I discussed drinking more water and I have been successful with that so far. It is such a simple thing, but for awhile I had to force myself to drink more. I used to drink water throughout the day here or there, but I was never really active about it. After committing to developing this stricter habit, I drink a glass of water right when I wake up, followed by another glass or two before I leave for work. This small change has had a startling effect on my mornings. Before, I would drink maybe one glass and then launch right into drinking coffee. Now that staying hydrated is a big part of my day, I rely less on coffee and therefore no longer experience the unpleasant side effects like caffeine crashes and withdrawals.

Developing this habit has been hugely beneficial, and I am excited to get to work on my next new habit: breathing and positive thinking (don’t worry - I don’t mean the kind of “positive thinking” that brainwashes you into ignoring the bad parts of life and pretending the world is sunshine and rainbows, so bear with me here).

I have lived with anxiety for my entire life and, for me, it is a struggle every single day. Even the smallest things can set it off.

For example,  someone simply calling my name sends chills down my spine. My stomach drops in anticipation. A feeling of impending doom washes over me, often bringing on the same kind of feverish sweat you get moments before vomiting. It leaves me shaken and this physical reaction can ruin my mood for the entire day.

As a way to combat these harsh reactions, I want to start assessing my anxiety so I might be able to better understand why I am responding in that way. And as a more immediate solution, I want to start training myself to breathe through these situations. Learning to step back, relax, breathe and focus will help with the many ways my anxiety manifests itself.

Being able to regain control of myself is so important to me.

To start things off, I would like to share a little trick that has already helped me so much. When you are experiencing moments of anxiety, rage, or any other overwhelming feeling, inhale slowly and as you exhale imagine it leaving your body. Do this a few times.

Now assess your situation and your emotions. How is it?

Take a deep breath, feel the texture of something you’re wearing. What does it feel like? Do you notice the little ridges in the denim of your jeans? The softness of your sweater? Continue taking deep, slow breaths and take a look at your surroundings. How many windows are there? How many doors? Keep taking slow deep breaths. Now assess your anxiety again. How is it now? If you need to repeat, that’s perfectly alright. The idea is to turn your attention away from the building chaos within and ground yourself in the present.

This has already proven helpful for me and I am so excited to see long term changes.