We're all living in unprecedented times right now, having our most basic needs restricted and its taking a toll. Not just on those with existing mental health conditions but for people who've up until now lived a life without anxiety or depression and it must be awful for them.
Its important to understand that we all deal with things differently, so if you're perhaps feeling worse than those around you right now, it's perfectly ok to have those feelings and you mustn't beat yourself up over it. However there are things you can do to improve your situation, so I want to pass on techniques that I've learnt that will help you to refocus and rebalance.
When things appear to be at their worst, we may tend to only see the negatives and the downsides in everything. I've certainly experienced this in an abundance and never realised the importance of seeing life from a different perspective.
Think back to a time when you were grateful to someone for a particular act they did for you. Perhaps they picked up your shopping, or gave you a call unexpectedly when it was most needed. Remember how it felt both physically and emotionally, for that brief moment in time you had feelings of happiness and gratitude.
Now refocus those feelings towards yourself and your surroundings. Being thankful and appreciative for who you are and those around you, whether it's your family, your pet, your flat or that daily walk with a friend. Vocally say "Thank you" several time to re-enforce those emotions and repeat daily for as long as you need to. Over time it will refocus your mind away from the negativity towards those things that are more important and valuable so you remember there's also great things in your life.
Determining Fact from Fiction
Not only do I have the t-shirt on overthinking, but I have the wardrobe to match. Having spent years running scenarios in my head of conversations that have never been had, worrying about things that have never happened, it would be an exhaustive task just to keep up with my brain and the nonsense it would spit out. However there is a way out from this hell hole.
Its easier to write down, but you can also do this mentally. Create a table of two columns, one headed fact and the other fiction. Now re-run some of those internal discussions you have with yourself and place them under the relevant heading. For example, my car's going in for an MOT tomorrow, what happens if it fails, it may cost money to fix, I need my car the day after etc. Under 'Fact' you could write, 'there is no evidence to say the MOT will fail' and under Fiction write 'the car might fail its MOT and cost me money'.
By separating out the endless stream of conversations you have with yourself, the concept is with practice you'll start to focus on what's actually in your control and reduce some of the pressure you put yourself under.
Avoid being Overwhelmed
When we start to get stressed, minor tasks begin to feel more challenging to carry out and without realising, this can become a slow spiral to feeling overwhelmed and feels of depression start to creep in.
If like me you've experienced this, there are some simple things you can do in order to take back control again.
As with the previous task, write down 3 things you're going to do daily to avoid getting overwhelmed, and 3 things to achieve them. For example;
Limit what I take on
Stop being a people pleaser
Say no when I need to
List my daily tasks
Remember I'm important
Only do what is achievable
Do this every morning for 7 days and see how you get on.
I hope some of you find this useful, so please leave your comments below and any feedback you have. If I can help at least one person with everything I've learned, then it makes all of this worthwhile.
Remember to be kind to yourself!