I feel sick. Not watching the news feed on my phone doesn’t protect me from knowing what is going on in the world. The social and political pendulum is swinging wildly in the opposite direction to what I hold dear. A kind of dizzying vertigo, the ground not feeling steady beneath my feet.
When we feel afraid the brain protects us by going into reptilian mode; bite or run away. We become like cave people hiding from the tiger that might eat us. Or the smoke alarm has gone off in our house and we are grabbing the children and going out on the roof to get ready to jump off into the bushes. So, I know it’s good to say “thank you” to my inner brain for protecting me AND remind myself that I am not in the bushes hiding from the tiger, or on the roof holding a small child while my house is on fire. I feel fearful and I need to do something to help my body settle down.
Anxiety feels like this, it feels real and justified. In my personal case of the political pendulum swinging, I cannot change that right this minute.
The best antidote for anxiety is to do something.
It doesn’t matter what the fear and anxiety is about (as long as it’s not dangerous. obviously harmful to you or another person). The way forward in this moment is to do something. When I feel unsafe, angry or powerless, do something.
Move your body. Change position or place. Go outside and look at the flowers and herbs I planted in pots on the back patio. Sit down and breath deeply, longer exhale than inhale. Stay there till you have the exhale longer than the inhale, maybe a minute. My notebook and pen are beside me, so I jot down a possible list: really fast, don’t edit yourself.
What’s my “do something” for today?
- Breathe deeply, keep checking in to make sure I’m doing it
- Plan a Julia Cameron Artist Date: go to the Oak Marr Rec Center and find out about water aerobics classes. I’ve always wanted to try it!
- Write a gratitude note to someone to thank them for something.
- plan a walk, later today when the sun is sinking along with the temperature. Walk a new way; a route I’ve never taken.
Four things written down in 2 minutes! Your list will be your own, unique for this day, reflecting where your thinking is. The list is your set up for beginning to be curious rather than anxious. Curious is an important part of getting unstuck and doing something.
I wonder what I’ll do? Wonder what might happen?