If you are reading this, this means you chose to STAY another week. And for that, we thank you.
For those struggling with mental health stability, choosing to STAY is not always easy, especially in the current state of our world. In such uncertain times, our anxiety begins to build, moving us closer to that all-too-familiar frozen and petrified state. When we are in the thick of a global pandemic and so much turmoil around us, how do we find certainty? How do we find peace in our lives? Here are 3 strategies for relief.
Find Certainty in the Things that are Certain
Fearing the unknown is natural. In the proper setting, fearing the unknown can save us from danger. However, we often allow that fear to go beyond its role of self protection. Fear in uncertainty turns to anxiety that can grab a hold of our mind and take away our sound judgement and rational thinking.
When these times come, we can learn to hold to the things that are truly certain in our lives. What we find is that those things that are completely and utterly certain are very few, but they make all the difference. Start with you. You are certain. Your personality. Your gifts. Your talents. They are yours and nothing can change that. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. As long as there is a reflection looking back at you, you have a chance to get past this simply because you are there.
Take a deep breath and understand that you cannot know the unknown. You’re probably thinking, “Well thanks, Captain Obvious.” But really. If you knew how everything was going to play out, you’d probably be setting up shop on a street corner in Vegas predicting peoples’ future for big money.
Next, you can bring mindfulness in to mitigate your anxiety. Try going outside. Notice your surroundings. Notice the houses, the cars, the trees, the mountains. While outside, try the 5-4-3-2-1 method. Take some deep breaths (listening to yourself breathe). Getting to as calm of a state as possible and continuing your breathing, take the next five steps as slow as you need:
- Count 5 things you see
- Count 4 things you can feel
- Count 3 things you can hear
- Count 2 things you can smell (I hope you took a shower)
- Count 1 thing you can taste.
Take your time and allow uncertainty to be uncertain and solely focus on what you can control.
Control What You Can Control
This heavily ties into our last strategy. However, this is where we take our change of mindset to action. What you do today and what you accomplish today is 100% controllable and something you can be certain about. You can control how you treat yourself and others today. However, what you accomplish and feel about yourself today, must be graded against your own standards. You don’t have to hike Mt. Everest or feel like you could put on a show for millions today. Maybe waking up was the accomplishment. Maybe telling yourself that you’re beautiful today was an accomplishment. You control the expectations you put on yourself while dismissing any unhealthy expectations placed by outside voices. We get to take action that helps us feel comfortable with the things we can control and let those things we can’t take their course.
Let’s take action. Grab a pen and paper and draw a line down the middle of the page (brief pause for you to actually grab a pen, paper, and draw the line….ready? Ok.) On the left side write, “Things I Can Control”. On the right, write, “Things I Cannot Control”. Begin with the right side. List out all of the things you are worrying/anxious about that are out of your control. As you are writing, feel those feelings of worry and allow them to bleed out of you through the pen and onto the paper. Next, write down all of the things you can control. As you review your two sides, you will notice that the majority of what you are worrying about are things that are completely out of your control, and that no matter how much you worry, you can’t change the uncontrollable. You can allow your anxiety from the right side of the paper to fade away as you find peace from and take action on the left side.
Do What You Love
Doing what you love allows you to connect with your heart. We have innate gifts and passions that are so tightly woven with who we are that it is imperative that we prioritize making time to connect with those gifts and passions. If you find yourself in constant worry or in the grasp of anxiety, exert any and all effort into doing something you love. If you aren’t sure what that is, begin exploring. Try drawing, painting, playing a video game, find an interesting book to read, call a trusted friend and get to know more about them, etc. By doing this we are not running away and hiding from the world, but running to those things that bring us joy in this world. In times where we feel uncertain and that “everything is out of control”, we can turn our feelings and efforts to doing the things we love most.
We hope these strategies are beneficial for wherever you are in this world and in your life. We live in a beautiful and challenging world. One thing we are certain of here at STAY is that you are needed. You are here to make the world more beautiful than it was before and to rise and fight against the challenges we face. We need you. We need you to STAY.
If you are in a personal crisis please call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or visit suicidehotlines.com