PSA: Get some awe. Go out and get yourself to a place where you can easily feel your insignificance. A place in nature where you can look up, down and all around, and breathe in the idea that all of the anxiety, the worry, the daily grind, don’t matter. At least not in that moment.
Recently I had to do this. It is an occupational hazard for therapists to sit in their offices waaaaaayyyyy too much. Sometimes I can actually feel my rear end spreading out like a mud puddle from overuse, or so it seems. So I took myself out to the end of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier at Wrightsville Beach the other day and the solitude was delicious! Ha! I was even able to park easily!
This PSA is just a simple reminder that when we get either caught up or stuck in pouring ourselves into our jobs, or our relationships, or perhaps parenting, we get depleted. Our cup is empty. And the only person that can fill it is you. And you have to do this with intention. Creativity can come in miraculous flashes by working less. If you take a mini vacay, the world will keep on spinning, despite your possibly dire predictions. When you start seeing everyone and everything else as the problem, it is time to take a step back and ask yourself if it is the situation that needs to change, or is it you?
We don’t worry with intention, yet we are extremely good at it. I sometimes wonder what would happen in the world if I could wave my wand (isn’t every therapist supposed to have one?) and suddenly everyone was imbued with the new superpower of awe-some-ness. My definition of this fabulous superpower would be the ability to recognize when we need a dose of awesomeness, and then being intentional about going out and getting some, AND doing so without a whole lot of unnecessary delay.
More Awe-Some-Ness: Nature
I had so much fun looking at the way the sand was blowing and the “mist” it created. My imagination wandered, landing on a book I recently finished, The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (don’t run out and buy it–IMO it was a tedious read), because he introduced memory as an element that impacts war. His characters called their easy loss of memory “the mist” and since they could not recall conflicts and hurts, their lands had been at peace for a long time, albeit at a mighty cost. They could not recall their own son.
Although the book itself left me wanting, his concept about the impact of our memories really stuck with me. We are our memories. We construct our lives solely out of what we have known before. In some cases, it might be considered a gift if we could forget past hurts and old injuries–maybe even blanking out the morning session with a tyrannical boss!
But our memories instruct, if we allow ourselves the time and grace to examine them instead of simply reacting to them. That is the tough part. When you are triggered by the thought of past interactions, what can you do to stop yourself from immediately going to the anxious rut you have created, as a g0-to habit, that keeps you stuck in anxious anticipation?
There are many ways to manage that!
But one of the best, when life seems overwhelming, is to allow nature to remind you that these worries of yours might not be as important as you make them. Could it be that you need a healthy dose of awe in your life? If you get it, you may realize that you have the power to choose how much importance you place on a particular thought, feeling, or emotion. This is one of the most stress-reducing lessons we can learn. Nature is magnificent teacher for this purpose.
If you want to learn lots of other ways to reduce and manage the level of anxiety you habitually experience, call me or shoot me an email. I’m here, in your neighborhood, and ready to help.
Resource: Fried by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.