Wednesday, 18 February 2009
GETTING GROUNDED AGAINST STRESS
Alex is down to vomiting once a day!!!
The dog is calming down with strangers... Thank goodness for the dog whisperer.
I've lost a diamond out of a little Victorian ring I wear.
The washing machine has gone wrong, to the point that I got to it before it caught fire. And is now full of wet and smelly washing that's just got to wait till tomorrow.
A beautiful Art Deco mirror I have in my living room has started to fall to pieces, in that two pieces of pink glass have fallen off it, fortunately they haven't broken.
I've been to my Aunty's funeral today.
I can't go to Devon for the weekend, Al is still not well enough.
So all in all a normal day in byrdsville.... or what passes for normal round here at the moment........
Anyone want to do a house swop for an all action holiday??
However on a more serious note, stress.
I've become aware of how stressed I've been, and being the well behaved therapist I am, I've been looking at how it made me feel, and why it made me feel how I did.
What I've noticed is what happens to our thought processes when we are stressed. Plus how it makes us feel physically.
The easiest way I can describe the physical feeling is as if someone was knitting within my stomach. The feeling in my gut is of churning, leading to nausea. A fluttering wave that starts at the bottom of my gut and builds up all the way through my chest, till it reaches my throat, which closes up and I want to cry, but don't.
Simultaneously my thought processes go off at speed, I start thinking about what ever the problem is, and taking it one of two ways. Either to the past where the words that go round are ruminating about what has already happened. This leads to the feeling of 'IF ONLY' Or go at warp speed to the future and I imagine what could happen, as in 'WHAT IF' Both of these places are completely useless!
I may as well worry about the elephants that live round the corner waiting to stampede over me. Now I know on a cognisant level that there are no elephants round the corner. But from a worrying perspective am I sure? How can I prove there are no elephants, and actually I can't, so I may as well worry about them. Cause worrying about them is as daft as worrying about the 'what if' and the 'if only'.
We simply cannot change what has gone before. We cannot control the future and when we are anxious those are the places we are stuck.
What needs to happen when we are stressed is to become grounded in the here and now.
To stop and check what it is exactly we are feeling in that moment. Because it won't be related to the past or the future. By learning to be in the here and now we can take that knitted and knotted feeling from deep inside and unwind it into a neat manageable ball that we can then unwind at our leisure and deal with whatever really happens. And not what is happening in our fantasies that beats us up.
It is no accident that so many religions have a similar phrase or saying which runs along the lines of.... Whilst we are remembering yesterday, and dreaming about tomorrow, then life is happening right now.
So what I do, and what I teach is an exercise where by I think about how my body is physically, as in what I can feel about my feet and up my body to my head. What can I hear, what can I see, can I smell anything and finally how do I feel. I take notice of what the emotion is. I don't try and change it I just observe it. After a moment I think about whether there is anything I need to actually do to help with the mood I'm in. This, if anything needs doing involves moving, as sitting still keeps us in the bad place. But getting up and running up the stairs, getting the vacuum cleaner out, cleaning windows, using a skipping rope or beating hell out of a punch bag shift every bad/sad mood known to man!
This is about unwinding the knotted string that we've been knitting in our stomachs and brings us here and now. When we are in the here and now then we reduce the stress we feel. We work with what is really around us.
So I have been using my own experiences of the last few weeks to understand anxiety better, and have been refining what I tell my clients, and it makes sense to me, and what is even more exciting the clients get it as well. Which means that I'm on the right track with them.
I love being able to understand emotions and feelings. And although I have hated feeling so stressed it gives me enormous satisfaction to be able to not only use my knowledge on myself but to help others get sorted out as well.