Relinquishing Control

I’ll just start off by saying yesterday’s mini goal (hitting snooze no more than once) definitely didn’t happen. Lol. I could not sleep at all last night and ended up getting only about 3.5-4 hours total of very fitful sleep. The reason I couldn’t sleep is because for the last couple of days I have just been a big ball of anxiety. I can’t really say what I’ve been anxious about right now, but it’s not even something I can control. I’ve been worrying about all the little what-ifs and going straight to the worst possible outcome, and it’s just been driving me crazy.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, and it was lights out by 9:45. I then laid awake in bed tossing and turning for about an hour until I decided to get up and do some research to try and put my mind at ease. I did that for about 15-20 minutes and then it was lights out again. About 15 minutes later, I thought of a couple other things I wanted to look up, so I did that quick, and it was lights out again. I still couldn’t sleep, so I got up and made a checklist of all the things I wanted to do to help ease my anxiety toward this situation. That helped quite a bit, and I felt a little of the anxiety slip away because I felt like I had a solid plan. Finally around 2 a.m., I was able to lay down with my mind somewhat calm.

How often do you find yourself in that situation? For me, this was the first time in quite a while that I’ve had a sleepless night like that due to anxiety. What really finally calmed me down was honestly kind of having a heart to heart with myself. I just thought about it and was like why are you freaking out over these things that you can’t control? YOU CAN’T CONTROL THEM! Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and all you can control is yourself and your thoughts, feelings, and actions, so figure out a way to get those in check, and you’ll be fine.

That was when I sat down and made the checklist. I thought about exactly what it was that was getting me so upset and figured out what about the situation was in my control. From there I came up with a list of things that I could do to make sure that I really take care of everything I have control over. Then whatever happens, happens, and even if the worst case scenario happens, I’ll have peace because I’ll know I did everything I could do.

This was an exceptional scenario for me as usually I’m pretty well able to keep my anxiety in check. When I start to feel anxious about something, I usually go through a process. Depending on how anxious or stressed out I am, I may only need to do a couple of the steps below. I don’t always do them in order either, but almost always, once I’ve gotten to the exercise step, I can think a lot more clearly and feel much more calm.

  1. Deep breathing-just what it sounds like. When I start to feel anxiety coming on, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. Often this is plenty to avoid the anxiety.
  2. Putting things into perspective-Similar to what I described above, I tend to think about what exactly it is that I’m getting upset/stressed/anxious about and try to think about why I’m getting upset/stressed/anxious about it. Sometimes just the simple act of thinking about it makes it seem a lot smaller.
  3. Making lists/doing research-I’m a very analytical person, so when I get upset, after I’ve figured out what it is that is causing my anxiety and put it into perspective, I research everything I can about the situation or ways I can alleviate it, fix it, or work through it. I like to make lists-checklists, pro/con lists, detailed plans… you name it. This usually helps me because I feel like I need to be in control a lot, so when I am faced with a situation I can’t control, I get nervous. Figuring out all the ways I can take control of or influence a situation really helps me.
  4. Progressive relaxation/meditation-I learned this in college, and it is probably the biggest thing that has stuck with me since I graduated sadly. I took a relaxation class where we learned about progressive relaxation and meditation as ways to alleviate stress. Meditation is just quiet focusing to help make you more mindful and calm. There are many, many different types, but basically they all tell you to focus on something-often your breathing. This helps get your mind off of the 90 million things you need to deal with for just a moment and calm yourself. Progressive relaxation is a type of meditation where you focus on different parts of your body and slowly relax every muscle until your whole body is soft and relaxed. Then you breathe deeply and focus on your breathing. I do progressive relaxation on nights when I’m having trouble sleeping and it usually works to put me right to sleep.
  5. Yoga or any kind of exercise-This one’s pretty self explanatory.

Anyway, that’s my process. How do you deal with stress?


 

Today’s wins:

  • I felt really focused at work today despite only functioning on a couple hours of sleep.
  • I successfully completed my first week of Whole30!

Tomorrow’s mini goal:

  • Hitting snooze no more than once. (Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to sleep!)

Gratitude:

  • I am thankful I live in an age where information is easily accessible. It comes in so handy. 🙂
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