When I feel myself heading toward regret or anxiety, it helps me to repeat the words from my coach, David TS Wood: “Regret is in the past. Anxiety is in the future. Happiness is now.” Then, I close my eyes, and I breathe in a square: breathe in for 8 counts, hold for 8, exhale for 8, hold for 8. And I continue until I can get back into my body and calm down. I then ask myself, what can I do right now about this thing I am worrying about or that thing that already happened? If there is something I am stressed about, such as an upcoming test, is there something I can do about it right now? Yes! I can study. Could I do something about a past conversation that didn’t go well? Yes! I could revisit the conversation and say things or listen like I wished I would have. Again, I ask myself, “Is there something I can do about it?” If the answer is yes, I breathe, then I do that thing!
Often the thing that I can do is something that I don’t want to do, and that’s why it’s causing anxiety. Do you know what, though? Once I start something that I don’t want to do, I quite often find that it’s never as bad as I anticipated. Statistics show that 90% of the things we worry about never happen, and 69% of the time when the worst case does happen, it’s not as bad as we thought it would be. It also helps to remember that I can do hard things! I am always eventually able to do what needs to be done, even when it’s hard.
On the other hand, If there is nothing I can do about it right now, it can be a little bit harder to get out of the feeling, but staying in a funky frustration doesn’t help things, so… I breathe, calm down, and ask myself, “Is there another way to look at this?” because usually the anxiety is not from the event itself, but from the story that I tell myself. So, I change the story and find something else to focus on that requires my full attention.
Still, sometimes in the face of things that seem extra hard, that reminder isn’t quite enough. So what else can I do? I can:
- turn on some music
- call a friend and have a conversation
- a vigorous exercise that really requires my whole brain and my whole body,
- something challenging like sodoku or crossword puzzles
- a creative project that I can really throw myself into
- going outside to observe my surroundings and feel grateful for all the beauty that surrounds me
What if I am busy and can’t stop what I am doing?
- turn on some music
- or quote a scripture
- or memorize a poem while I am working
Whatever it is, If I can find something that requires my whole brain to focus, it helps me feel better. It’s simple, though not always easy, and it really works.
When I allow myself to live in the now, I love my life. And do you know what? When I am loving life, the things I was worrying about almost always end up resolving themselves because as I am taking it all one day at a time, I am approaching it with a completely different attitude.
I am more confident;
I am more relaxed;
and I am happier.
Happiness just makes life better, don’t you think?. 😉