We’ve done me. We’ll still do me, I guess, but time’s are a-changing, and you’ve seen my mindful journey. You’ve seen me list that I knew something was wrong, and didn’t do anything.
You saw the excuses and justifications I gave, without it ever changing one solid fact: I was sick, and I didn’t know why.
But now, it’s about you.
Today’s activity is for you to write at least ten things that cause you anxiety, stress, worry, pain, anger, etc.
You’re deliberately searching for things that you’re constantly worried about.
Also: This is the difference between mindfulness and toxic positivity: The job isn’t to pretend like everything is always hunky-dory. That’s just toxic, and it doesn’t help you, or anyone else around you.
Unless you’ve got a personality disorder that restricts emotions, you should have a minimum of ten different stressors – some varying from not-so-extreme (maybe you’re wondering if you should chop your hair all off or bleach it or something, and the drastic change is weighing on your mind, but even you know it’s not really a problem), to the more imminent.
Here’s something I put together, as an example:
There’s a bunch of shit there, and a bunch more that could be added.
Are you worried about money?
Finding a job?
Getting decent scores?
It doesn’t matter; it’s your list.
After you’ve completed your list properly – take a rest, if you need – then divide up a different sheet of paper into three columns: things that can be solved immediately, things that can be solved in the nearish-future with work, and things that you have no control over (regardless of whether they can be solved).
For example, if you have a mortgage or student-loan debt, these are things you can’t really control (except for whether you make payments or not), and are usually extremely long-term situations. Unless you’re worrying about how you’re going to make a payment on a debt, it’s something that could be placed in the third column.
However, if your goal is to lose ten kilos, that’s something you can definitely achieve – if you work on it (and don’t have a medical reason as to why you can’t – remember, some people have medical conditions that cause them to gain weight), can be solved. It won’t happen because you want it to, but if you start working out or eating a bit better, you will see progress.
And then there’s your first column, which includes things that you can reasonably, easily and quickly, fix.
I bet you’re wondering what the point is – after all, isn’t this just creating more work for yourself when you already have a ton of shit to do? (We fucking know, Karen.)
The point, however, is to explore why certain things are stressing you out.
In my list, a lot of my stressors are surrounding my illness. There are some things I can do to fix that, and some things that I can’t.
Worrying about losing even more friends to my illness is certainly a fear – and a realistic one – but worrying about it won’t solve anything.
If friends leave, that’s their choice. It may or may not have anything to do with you.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t, or won’t, ever worry about the problem.
What it does mean, however, is how you can divide up certain things, and see certain patterns.
I can’t change if people want to walk out my door, but I can change other things. I can work on my health, complete my exercises, go through my surgeries, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get parts of me back. I don’t have to be fixed to be better than what I currently am – and with a bit of luck, I will bounce back.
In the meantime, I can continue to ensure I try and stay on top of contacting loved ones. After all, if my fear is that I’m going to lose them, and I close off to them, I’m fulfilling my own prophecy.
I can’t have friends if I’m not open, honest and vulnerable.
I can’t have friends if I don’t text them, or call them, or meet up with them. On top of which, if I don’t do those things, I’m not losing my friends to my illness.
I’m losing my friends because I’m being a bad friend.
So, work on your list. Write your stressors – and be honest with yourself.
Look for patterns – what are the common denominators are visible?
What are the solutions and plans you can develop to help change those main themes?
What can you do to immediately help wipe out some of that stress?
Hopefully, with more mindfulness, you can learn to change your mindset so problems become minor hurdles and mountains can return to molehills.
The Journey So Far