How do you deal with overwhelm & anxiety when things feel really dark?
You’re standing in the light and it feels amazing. Everything’s flowing in your life, you can cope with whatever comes your way, you feel hopeful.
You’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to be in the darkness, when things are NOT easy, when overwhelm & anxiety rule the day. The times when you’re unable to connect with hope, there’s only numbness. You hardly notice the dark cloud hovering behind you, slowly creeping up. You sense that it might be there, that it may one day come back, but it feels far enough away right now.
Then suddenly, it’s not far away, it’s all around you. Your head is cluttered with half thoughts, broken off ideas, things you feel you MUST be doing but just can’t focus on. Overwhelm.
That delicious feeling of hope is gone, replaced with apathy and inertia. Or adrenal-exhausting stress and endless worry. You feel betrayed, how did you end up here again, what happened?
Light and darkness; it’s all part of life. But what happens when the darkness has a little too much power? What can you do to bring more balance, to move into the light again?
This is why I believe it’s absolutely critical to have a mind-body-spirit toolkit. I need to have an armoury of weapons available for these times, otherwise it’s so easy to get stuck there.
Here’s some things I suggest, and that I find really helpful myself.
But the number one important thing is – make it your own. It has to be what works for you. My bedrock tools may not cut it for you, so try things out, experiment and then know your things. Your go-to tools.
This is my foundation, this more than just about anything else will turn things around for me. And I resist it like crazy, often when I need it most. There’s a signpost right there. We often seem to hold a lot of resistance to the very thing that we need the most. Perhaps dig into that feeling a bit, ask yourself why you are resisting it. The answers may surprise you.
When I don’t empty my mind regularly, it feels too busy in there, then I find it really hard to make decisions and I often get stuck right there going over and over the same things. It might be a simple brain dump, a rant, or a conversation with myself; however it comes out is just right.
Of course, this one features highly for me too. Self-Reiki, or seeing one of my favourite practitioners for a session, or giving to clients, friends, family – all helps me.
In Reiki, everything becomes clear again.
It’s as though I’ve put on a pair of special glasses and I can see things clearly. I can hear my inner guidance clearly, I relax and feel lighter. It shrinks all those worries and fears down to manageable size again. Sometimes I can see that I have been worrying over nothing, creating anxiety and fear out of my mind. If I am projecting so much fear into my life, then I see more and more evidence of fear and darkness.
Reiki helps me to break the cycle and re-balance.
Something physical and distracting enough to take me out of my head and plant me firmly back into my body; it works every time. For me that’s usually Yin Yoga. I love the slow, methodical, deep stretching. Feeling my limits and gently relaxing a bit further into them. It’s a metaphor for that fear; facing right up to it, and going deeper, only to find that it dissipates and there is only ease remaining.
Get the fuck outside. Seriously. You can’t fail to be touched deeply by connecting with the earth. Our energetic bodies NEED this grounding. We live so much in our heads and barely in our bodies, but consciously reconnecting with the earth in some way brings us back into balance.
Walk on the beach, swim in the sea, be in the bush or forest; stop, breathe, really connect. Combine this with exercise and you are onto a winning combination.
Any one of these is a good start. You may not feel a massive shift immediately, this is an ongoing practice, we need to keep doing it. The harder you are finding it, the more you need to throw everything at it. You are not trying to “fix” yourself but instead, to support yourself to move through whatever you are experiencing with more ease and grace.
Until you can feel hopeful again.
Do you have a toolkit of practices that help you deal with depression & anxiety, if so – what’s your number 1?
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky,
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.