So I am not telling you anything new, however as I have opted to choose anxiety as my topic for June it is only right that I share some strategies that help me and I know to help others.
As part of my recovery I have always written. In fact, I wrote as a child, I expressed my thoughts in writing poems. This was productive when being brought up in a household where anger was expressed freely but not constructively. I remember writing a poem on a huge sheet at Christmas in my childhood home about jealousy!
Writing gives me freedom, a sense of control. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that when you have sat and wrote things down in written form you immediately feel exhausted from holding it in or holding it all together. A ‘to do’ list, ‘spider diagram’ or just writing non stop for a period of time can separate the wheat from the chaff, the reality from the b&*ls&%^ and the constant negative thoughts that plagues people with anxiety.
There are solutions. Firstly I use something specifically for anger called the unsent letter. As I am solution focused, I will always encourage action rather than staying in the victim mode.
Anger kills us. As others sleep we fume, we plot retaliation, construct dialogues and play it over and over and over, in the meantime. They sleep.
Rather than lose hours wasting it on people, write them an unsent letter. Set a timer for 30 mins. Start writing. Do not reread it, correct it or screw it up. Empty your thoughts, tell them what you really think, scream, shout, swear, but write. Then when that timer goes. stop. Fold it up. Put it in an envelope without looking. And shred it. It is UNSENT. This letter is FOR YOU, NOT THEM. This letter WILL bring you healing, peace and you will sleep.
Now this is for everyone and is a much more creative, flowing, and beautiful way or getting rid of negative thoughts, (I can feel myself twirling in a field of daisies) or you can focus on the positives and use it to attract positive things into your life. Personally, I am doing this, I feel the rewards but it feels unnatural. I know from experience when I still have the madness chatting S&*^ in the background, no amount of colouring or lick and stick with help. I have to get rid of the madness first. I write. I call it a mad book. It is mine, I know it’s madness, I own it. I have done this for years. It is utter madness but it is a vessel where I empty myself. Only to be shared with my coaches in life or my sponsor in recovery.
Worry box, God Box, ‘F&*%’ it box.
I have also used this technique this for years. Nearly 13 in fact. My box lives by my bedside. A reminder that I cannot carry everything on my shoulders and that I need to unburden myself before I sleep. I reassure myself that I do not have all the answers and that I have to acknowledge or hope that something bigger or greater does. I have to believe that the universe (or God/Nature) has got my back and the back of those I care about.
In the box there is a small pad, a pen or post it notes and when I have a worry that is not mine to have, I write it down and put it in the box…. and I leave it there. If the next day that worry is still there, I write it down again, put it back in and leave it.
Whatever method I use I empty my head. I empty the waste bin, I get rid of the madness, the anxiety and I sleep better, I make better choices because I give myself the headspace, the freedom and I allow good things to dominate my thoughts.
I hope this helps even just one person to find a strategy that works for them, try it for 21 days and see. Let me know how you get on!!!