The Doctor Is In

I recently went to my first therapy session. While I was a bit nervous, things are already off to a great start and I’m already learning some helpful tips and tricks. Today I’d like to share one tip involving a grounding technique that uses all five of your senses:
You slowly go through the list and label five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Normally I’m a type of person who’s always running around at 100 miles an hour with all sorts of busywork, so it really struck me how this forced me to slow myself down and focus on the minute details.
My favorite part was when my therapist added to tell yourself at the end, “And my feet are on the ground and

I’m Safe”

I just love that. Every time I get to that point I feel a wave of warmth envelope me. I feel relaxed and accomplished to have come back to the present moment and ultimately bring down my stress levels.

Perhaps you may be thinking that stress isn’t such a big deal. You’ve gotten along fine so far, even in a stressful environment, so why add something like this?
The thing is, when you get so worked up, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode, releasing all sorts of chemicals that result in physiological changes such as increased strength and blood flow, dilation of the pupils, and a host of other effects that prepares the body for times of crisis.
Unfortunately, when the source of the stress is something like rush hour or a bad day at the office, this really does no good. It’s even downright dangerous if it’s chronic, leading to issues such as anxiety, depression, or panic attacks among other things.
In reality, adding a short little exercise like this is more than worth the extra couple of moments you have to take out of your day. If anything, it can’t hurt to try it at least once or twice, right?

So, next time you’re feeling a bit stressed, give it a shot, even if it’s just to humor me. And when you’re done, you can tell yourself:

“I’m Safe”

In Darkness

Everywhere I go, it watches in darkness, hiding in alleys and dimly lit cul-de-sacs. It preys upon my humanity, knowing eventually I will hit crisis as we all do. And when I do, it lumbers toward me.

I try to keep a tough exterior as it slowly wraps its claws around me. My stoicism only adds to the ever-increasing weight. I feel like I’m sinking in a suit of armor in the middle of the Bermuda triangle.

Do I cry, scream, burst into a fit of rage, or maybe all of the above? As I slowly drown, I feel myself dragged deeper into the void. Everything starts to go hazy as my thoughts run in lopsided circles and I can feel my body begin to shut down even though my mind’s still on a marathon and I’m not sure what to do at this point and I’m not sure when it will stop and I hope it will end soon and I keep telling myself to snap out of it but I just can’t and I feel powerless to even move even though I know I should reach out and then –

It’s gone.

It’s scurried back into its room as quickly as it arrived. I’m not even sure what’s in there anymore; The light went out some time ago, and I’m too scared to go in there alone. I do what I can to keep that room locked up. I get out of the house, I get lost in my hobbies, hang out with friends, and anything else that will keep it at bay.
I’ve been told that hiring a professional is the only way to go at this point, and, while I’ve been putting it off, I’m finally having someone come around the house to check it out soon.

That’s still some time away, so for now I’ll sit on the edge of trepidation, facing towards a future of new tools and locks. And when it comes again, I know I won’t go without a fight.