Does anyone remember that commercial that used to begin, “Pain. Agony. Tension. Depression.”? The voice saying the words was deep and dramatic and the picture was of a woman holding her head. (It must have been for Excedrin maybe?) I just always remember those words and they can perfectly state the obvious certain times.
As a person genetically prone to depression and anxiety I have indeed had some bouts especially when I was a young wife and mother. In those early superwoman days it wasn’t necessarily cool to admit anxiety. It took me a long time to figure out that’s what was going on even though I had talked to my doctor about it….who told me it was PMS and I’d get over it. The real revelation for me concerning anxiety is, and to some extent depression, if I talk stuff through I can usually release the bad stuff, and, do get over it, but it’s work. It very well is pain, agony, tension, and depression! My self awareness tool for prevention is to stay centered and grounded, and know what sooths my soul day to day and to not forget or get lazy about the precautions.
I wrote a little bit about having a work routine in a previous post especially now that my home is my office. When I talk to people especially about anxiety, I always suggest establishing a routine that is #1 controllable, and #2 easy to maintain. Don’t set yourself up for failure, which can only trigger the obvious!
So a key part of keeping myself personally centered is prayer and devotion time as soon as I get up every morning. This involves reading a devotion, bible study, and prayer. I know others that end the day this way. The key is to make it a time that isn’t likely to get eaten up by something else or put off for whatever reason. I know I like to ooze into mornings. I know I like to stay in my pajamas, have coffee, stare out the window a bit. My routine wouldn’t work for someone who wakes up bright and cheerful and itching to do a three mile run right off the bat. So whatever is controllable and maintainable is where to begin a routine.
The other key I mentioned is to know what is soothing, especially when triggers are likely to cause reactions. For me it’s surrounding myself in good music and staying away from media that may contribute to issues. I don’t read women’s magazines anymore because they commonly have health articles in them. If I read a symptom or a disease, I can HAVE the symptoms in my mind within hours. I’m not kidding. Likewise, I edit the blogs, the Twitter follows, even Facebook friends who expose me, inadvertently or intentionally, to things that take my mind places it doesn’t belong. My friend Bruce shared an online streaming Praise & Worship website called The Healing Stream. This is the newest part of my routine although I still also use Pandora. Music keeps me company. Specifically Praise & Worship over mainstream Christian artists is my preference. It sooths me, keeps me focused, fills me up a little when I’m waning. These are things I do to guard my heart.
At the bottom of this blog is Philippians 4:6-9 and it’s there intentionally. For me. For everyday living. This verse was key when I first became a Christian and after a very difficult bout with anxiety. For me, the fact that God thought of me, prepared this verse for me, means everything. I’m flawed, so not perfect, but the Lord loves me any way…I hope you know that too.
How do you keep yourself centered? What do you do to stay grounded? What sooths you?
Graphic above is from my paid subscription to churchart.com.