Sunday 21 October 2012

"Rainy Nights"

Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
To taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadows
I Love a Rainy Night ~ Eddie Rabbit

My moods are sometimes like the weather, somewhat mercurial. Take the past week for example. Happy, content, annoyed, irritable, grateful, loving. Oh, and anxious.
Yes, my old friend anxiety came 'round for a visit. Although I am much more acquainted with her cousin, depression, sometimes anxiety likes to remind me who's boss. Yes, she thinks she's in charge and sometimes that's the case.
I awoke on Monday morning to a good old fashioned anxiety attack. As I lay in bed my mind began racing and so did my breathing. I was close to tears, to shutting down and just giving in to it. But I stopped myself. I recognized that old game - I had anxiety's number, so to speak. So I took a few deep, slow breaths and managed to get myself to the shower, then dressed, and then off to work. A few hours in and I started to feel better. I was still shaky but I was so glad that I was at work, surrounded by people that I care about and who care about me.
I was actually in charge, it turns out. I sent anxiety packing and by the end of the next day she had cleared out and left me in peace.
I haven't had many anxiety attacks in my life, thankfully. But this one was a bit of a reminder for me. It was a reminder to be conscious about worry. You see, I had forgotten about the value of staying in the moment, of not letting worry about the future rob you of the joy that can be found in this moment in time.
I had a great conversation with my Dad this afternoon. We talked about how difficult life can be - the challenges that each of us face. Yes, we all have hard times and challenges in life. Nobody is immune. But what makes each of us different is how we handle these challenges. We can choose to be defeated or we can choose to fight.
How do you fight? It's hard but if you equip yourself with the right weapons, it's an easier battle.
One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was about staying in the moment. When you recognize that you are beginning to worry about something, stop yourself. Just stop and then stay in the moment. It takes awhile to re-program yourself but if you give it a shot, I promise that it will start to help you.
So here's my list of tips and tricks to fight anxiety:
- Breathe! I know, I know - it's such a cliche but it's true. The next time that you start to feel anxious or stressed out, check your breathing. Chances are you are taking short, shallow breaths. Slow down and breathe from your belly. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose and then out slowly through your mouth. Try that a few times and notice how it begins to calm you.
- Perspective! Ask yourself how important the thing that you are worrying about really is. Will you care about it a week from now, five years from now or in your old age? If you can't answer "yes" then it's not worth worrying about.
- Now! Stay in the "now". I have been worrying about something that may or may not happen four months from now. I am robbing myself of the happiness that I could be experiencing in the moment.
- Smell! The limbic system is the part of the brain that controls some functions and emotions. It is also receptive to scent. My "prescription" for that is essential oil. My new favourite is Cloud Nine from Saje. It's an uplifting blend and it both relaxes me and makes me feel happier.
Last night was raining in Vancouver. Instead of feeling sad for the loss of the glorious summer or bemoaning the dreary weather I decided to pull on my wellies, slip into my raincoat, grab my umbrella and head out into the rainy evening. I walked along a street that I haven't been down in ages and just enjoyed the moment. And I remembered something - I love a rainy night.
KB xo
P.S. Tell me about your experiencees with anxiety. I would love to hear your tips and ticks for battling this demon!


  1. I have experienced severe anxiety a few times where I am literally shaking and have difficulty walking or doing anything. In these cases I was taught to fill the sink with all the ice cubes you have then a little water and take a deep breath and put your face in it. I understand a cold shower works for some but I just couldn't get in it.

    It really does shock you back to reality and in my case anyway, the shakes stopped and I was once again able to function

  2. Hi Dave,
    I can see how that can work. Sometimes you do need to shock yourself in order to calm yourself down. Thanks for your thoughts, as always!


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