I have been noticing some 'wired and tired' people around lately, including myself. I have found it interesting to note that when I have unrealistic expectations of myself and also when I am discouraging and critical of myself I get wired or stressed. And its tiring too!
So what can I do to let go of feelings of anxiety and worry and instead be a kind, encouraging friend to myself, both in the moment and for the future.
When I feel anxiety or worry arise it is usually associated with a tightening or uncomfy feeling in my body. For me it is often a restriction in my throat. You may find it useful to be aware and explore where in your body your feel it.
It may also be helpful to bring curiosity to your awareness around thought patterns and behaviours that go with that feeling. I find my funny mind has all sorts of interesting things going on, including lots of criticism, and untrue future catastrophe scenarios!
As we have discussed feeling anxious is an uncomfortable feeling and our tendency is usually to try get rid of the feeling as soon as we can. Our tendency may be to try to suppress it, or to equally unhelpfully react to it with a whole catastrophe storyline of future gloom and doom. This accelerates our stress and worry! So instead when we are aware of stress (that physical sensation of the tightening jaw, churning stomach or tight throat, may help to tune our awareness) why not try to ........
However when I can remember to give myself this love and reassurance when stress comes up, I can chillax. One of the ways I give myself what I need is though kind, encouraging affirmations.
A kind encouraging friend may not always be around or able to give me the reassurance and encouragement I need. But, I can learn to befriend my self, through practice. I love the word befriend, it simply means to be a friend. We can all learn to be friends with ourselves.
As Eleanor Roosevelt says 'friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world."
An analogy I like is one of a critical task master on one shoulder and a kind encouraging friend on the other. Often I can't hear that kind friend because the task master is so demanding, critical and loud! I find it helpful to remember to power up that kind encouraging friend, through truthful affirmations, so I can hear them over the critical, blaming and untrue din, that is stressing me out!
So what is that kind and encouraging friend trying to be heard saying to you when you are stressed about - getting an assignment in, an inability to be able to meet some unrealistic expectation, doing a good enough job, making a mistake or worry about anything from a plane flight to your big toe?
Some of the things I am hearing my kind encouraging internal friend say to me are......
"Breathe', 'chillax', 'you have done you best', 'let go and trust it will all unfold as it should', 'let go of trying to control the outcome', 'you have done a great job', 'we all make mistakes, its how we learn'.
When I hear that voice I can chillax and I can also have the courage to let go and trust! I believe it is up to each of us to power up our own internal, kind encouraging friend and listen to them instead of that critical, demanding task master who is out to get us stressed.
Other things you may find useful when patterns of stress escalation are to .........
1. Stop worrying about ourselves and do our best to benefit others. Writing this has certainly helped me with my stress around blog writing. I am listening to my kind encouraging friend who is encouraging me to do my best to share what I find helpful and let go of unrealistic expectations of how it is or how it may be received. I have done my best. They are also helping me to trust and anticipate it will all work out as it should. And to celebrate having completed and sent it!
2. Set realistic goals and establish realistic steps toward meeting those goals. Celebrate and give yourself encouragement ever step of the way. Remember to power up your kind, encouraging friend to give you courage and to dissipate stress. What that task master is banging on about is simply not true, kind or helpful.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!