Wednesday, March 20, 2013
So, it turns out I am a worrier, like, big-time. This is nothing new to me. I tend to work myself up and fret over tiny things—going to the doctor being a prime example—only to experience a huge surge of relief (and drop in adrenaline) when whatever I'm fretting about is over. I hesitate to call this anxiety, but it's definitely anxiety's cousin—and as any of you who experience something similar know, it can be pretty crippling sometimes.
But thanks to my impending 30th birthday, I've kick-started my brain into thinking that it's time to start getting the ducks in my life in a row, and one of those ducks (this metaphor is getting weird) is mental health. Aside from the unavoidable everyday stuff, there are certain, specific things in my life that cause me stress, and so I'm making an active effort to address, deal with and, in some cases, remove them. And I'm trying to figure out ways to deal with my propensity to worry, too.
One of those ways, according to a very wise person, is using a worry journal. At the end of each day, I sit down with my notebook and paper and write down all the things I've worried about or am worried about. The idea is that I get them out, on paper, and then I close the notebook and leave them there. And while I can't say that I'm 100 percent successful at doing that—this is a work in progress—I can absolutely tell you that it's helping, and that I'm much more aware of what kinds of things I'm investing precious emotional energy into. (Often, they don't even deserve the time of day—I'd much rather put that emotional energy into my relationships or other happy, significant things going on in my life.)
Have you ever tried something like this? How do you guys deal with stress? Exercise is my other favorite way—I always feel better after a spin class, some yoga or 45 minutes on the elliptical, but I really want to hear what you all do, too.
Photo by Olivia