The process of rewiring your stress, anxiety and depression can seem overwhelming and time consuming but I can assure you if very much worth it. Let’s break down an easy way to do this.
Documenting/journaling your journey can serve as a reminder and also to see measurable improvement. It is easy for our negative bias to set in and hijack your progress. Writing things down can help support the changes you are making. Here are three phases you can work through that you can record as you go:
Phase 1 – Creating Awareness
Signs and Symptoms
How do these show up for you physically and mentally? Shortness of breath, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, etc.
People, places, and things. This could be a friend, boss, or a family member as an example. Or places like your workplace, school and group settings. For things this could be objects like jewellery, a phone even animals, etc.
These are coping strategies that you already have in place. These may even be unhealthy ones like, drinking, smoking, emotional eating, or picking fights. Also record any healthy ones that you are doing, these may be keepers in the 2nd phase.
Phase 2 - Rewiring
From your finding above, of those people, places and things here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What needs to change?
Is the relationship with this person, place or thing serving me anymore?
Should the person, place or thing be eliminated?
If no, what needs to be done?
What are somethings that are which can calm you down and be grounding? Do not forget any of the healthy anchors you have from Phase 1. Breathing, exercise, a mantra, tea (these are some of my favs). Start trying these out.
Your Reason Why
The next thing to do is start thinking bigger. Outside of the problem you are trying to solve, what is it that you would like to gain from all of this (your desired outcome)? An example my fear of being in crowded spaces. For conferences and concerts, though I loved both of them the crowds overtook the experiences most of
the time. This left me less than enthusiastic to attend these otherwise exciting events. Getting clear with the reason I wanted to keep or remove the person, place or thing gave me more motivation to actually follow through with this process of rewiring. Music is therapeutic to me. It moves my world to go to concerts to see my favourite artist perform the very songs that I love and have meaning in my life, it is like euphoria to me. This gave me motivation to work through that tougher parts that made me uncomfortable so I could enjoy that parts that made it worth it.
Phase 3 - Maintenance
It is important to remember at times you will regress. This is completely normal. Even now in crowds there are times I need to reset myself from falling back into the deeply ingrained old fears. With time and practice you will find that the space between your relapses will get longer and the recovery during those times will get smaller. Keep those healthy anchors fresh and use them when needed.