Stress? What stress?
We need to take care of our mental health, in addition to our physical health. Our mental health is important. We need to take better care of it. With physical health issues, we tend to take care of the things we need to take care of. If we ignore the first symptoms of a problem, the pain associated with the physical problem usually sends us to the doctor, even if it is inconvienient.
But those of us with mental health issues often have another hurdle to jump. Our pride, which is fed by our insane ego, suggests to us that if we were mentally strong enough, then we could simply wish our problems away, or worse yet, our insane ego might suggest that you are feeling so good, you should get off your medications because you do not need them anymore.
NEVER GET OFF ANY MEDICATIONS WITHOUT THE ADVISE OF YOUR DOCTOR WHO PRESCRIBED THEM.
The following considerations work both for people currently on medications, and for those who are not on medications.
Let’s go back. Twice now I’ve referred to the ego as the insane ego. The ego very much wants to have a loud voice, no matter how shy you might be, in order to keep you alive. It does not like to have its voice squelshed. However, our ego can make its presence known so loudly that we trip over it time after time. So I will be refering to our unbridaled ego as the insane ego.
Our insane ego can rear up when we first become aware that we might be mentally unbalanced, overly frightened or overwhelmed, by suggesting that this problem “is all in your mind,” and that “It will go away.” Guess what? Problems, mental or otherwise do not go away when we do not deal with them.
It is important for good mental health, to acknowledge our feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong. They simply are. Unpleasant feelings like guilt, unworthiness, grief, and depression do not magically transform themselves by stuffing them deep, down inside you, or denying them. First we need to acknowledge them. Sometimes these feelings are so strong they create a physical pain, but that’s just the symptom of the emotional pain. Know this, once you identify the source of the problem and deal with it, the pain begins to lessen, while your personal power grows stronger.
Whatever you focus on grows. The more you focus on the anxiety, the more the anxiety grows. The good news is, the more you focus on relaxation, and doing the things that bring on the relaxation response, the more you will unwind and heal.
While it is not healthy to pretend we do not have anxiety, it is healthy to have a conscious plan including self-talk and mantras, simply phrases we keep repeating to ourselves to re-train our mind in how we think. Yes, there are times medications are needed, but quite often using these simple self-help tools work to reduce stress, restore mental balance and increase self esteem without them.
For panic attacks, remember to breathe. Nowadays we do not breathe right. When we do breathe, we do not get the same amount of oxygen as we did a century ago due to so much pollution in the air. Plus we are cutting down the rainforests in the world, which are the lungs of the planet. So, remember to take slow, deep breaths. After taking 15 slow, deep breaths, your blood pressure usually returns to normal.
You need to know, if this hasn’t occurred to you already, that you are not going to “feel” like doing any of this. Once the negative habit of anxiety has rooted in you, a little voice inside of you will start by telling you, “This is stupid,” or “It won’t work,” or “I don’t feel like it.” It’s like you have the negative you on one side, and the positive at-least-wants-to-try-to-be-positive you on the other side. Realize this before hand so you expect it, then consciously take the steps to get better anyway.
Yes, you can get better.
To reduce stress, make sure each day includes stretching, Yoga or walking. Remember to move your body in five different directions. For example, you could do a forward bend, arch your back backwards, lean from the waist to one side sliding your hand down your outer calf or whereever you can reach, then do the same thing on the other side. Lastly, do some sort of twist, gently. None of these moves need to be extreme. They just need to be done. This helps you by releasing those feel-good endorphines. Start by doing this for five minutes, then gradually over a few days increase to 15-20 minutes each day, rain or shine.
Listen to happy music you like. Relaxing music helps a lot.
Know too that the world is not going to come to an end if you do not get everything on your to-do list done. Your head already knows this, yet somehow we place enormous burdens on ourselves, out of a mis-guided goal of perfection. Accept yourself right where you are, right now, with all limitations you see. Ask the good God who made you for the assistance you need. It is not that you are perfect if or when you get 900 things done in a day. Give yourself permission to be you and enjoy the wonder.