I feel like King David who wrote most of the Psalms. One day we find ourselves screaming to the skies for relief, and the next you are gleaming with appreciation for all the beauty and joy around you. The last couple of days for me have been rather taxing. How deeply I had been praying for the removal of worry, and then today I woke up with the sun in my face, thanking God for all the beauty around me.
While being trapped in the darkness of emotional pain and fear, my quick-fire solution was to run away in escape. Maybe I need to plan a trip. Maybe I should download the Tinder app. Maybe I need to go buy some new shoes. Anything to distract myself from the emotional pain. The pain felt everlasting and unbearable. But it never is.
By the end of the day I was able to release from the grip of toxic thought and shift my worry about a future outcome. Somewhere along the way I installed conflict resolution software in my mind to include the rumination of fearful thoughts as a way to deal with problems. Laughable, I agree, but truly destructive in real life.
As I look back at the darkness I was surrounded by yesterday, I asked myself where I went wrong and what I did well. A mental inventory is a fantastic way to keep yourself on track when it comes to thought change. Typically when life throws me such aggressive curve balls, not only do I strike out, but I then continue to further break the bat over my knee, swear at the umpire profusely, all while seriously contemplating charging the mound. Zero to a 100, real quick!
Yesterday I not only avoided being thrown out of the game completely, but I made contact with the ball and actually got on base. It wasn’t pretty, but I got on base! Can I take all the credit for this shift from the ordinary? Probably not, but I will give myself some credit for putting a few things into action that I normally wouldn’t. Self-sufficiency has proved itself to be quite the double edged sword for me over the years.
Here’s what I did differently.
Immediately when I opened my eyes I felt the stress burdening down on me immediately, but I then I asked for guidance in morning prayer.
I then doubled down on the spirituality and got myself right into scripture, feeding my mind with nurturing words to combat my fear based thoughts.
I then shared my stressors with a couple trusted confidants. They helped me view to my situation through much more optimistic lens.
When irrational thoughts came to mind I would shut them down as soon as I recognized therm in my consciousness. By no means was I perfect at this though.
I meditated in the middle of the day.
I then spoke to my sponsor who who once helped me burden the load and adjust my perspective to the situation, calling out the areas where I was way off base in my thinking.
Later that afternoon I asked in prayer what God’s will would be and if I could be of service to someone else. I was kindly awarded such an opportunity, like I have many times before, and struck up a healthy conversation with a relatively new acquittance. She got to share some of her own struggles with me, and then I got the opportunity to speak some encouraging words into her life. This helped me greatly to get out of myself.
I took action on what I could control, and mentally surrendered to the best of my ability what I couldn’t control. Sometimes I only managed to do this at five minute intervals, but nonetheless I persisted.
Eventually a couple of things took place that were completely out of my control, leaving me feeling incredibly more at ease.
That night I gave huge thanks for the day, which for the most part felt like I was being suffocated from joy or and peace. I gave thanks for all the people that helped that day, taking my problems from towering mountains to manageable molehills.
When the body is filled with adrenaline and cortisol as the result of going through a stressful event, it becomes extremely challenging to take handle the problem with tact and serenity. If you are anything like me, the switch that signals the body to produce these survival hormones often seems faulty. It really should only be activated when I am walking through the park and a bear crosses my path and begins to charge at me in attack mode. But my internal switch seems to be flicked on through even the most trivial on life problems. This leaves me in a terrific reactionary state, and hardly much good usually follows from there.
Having spent many days seeking a medical professional who would be able to replace this switch and coming up short, I was forced to go with option B. This took a lot more work, not to mention significantly more time to instal, but I’m happy to say it has been a solid workaround.
Through a huge dose of self love and patience, you too can create new habitual behaviours that can take you from “the sky is falling” to ” it’s all going to be OK” in one day. All it takes is practice and an open mind.
Eventually those destructive reactionary coping mechanisms shift and are rewired with a new more holistic approach to conflict resolution. Eventually you really do realize that it really is going to be Ok after all.