#write28days of Nervous System Regulation: Day 25 – Problem
Welcome dear ones to #write28days of Nervous System Regulation! Today’s focus is the word “problem.” We all have enough problems, don’t we?
Well let’s turn it around a little bit.
First, YOU are not a problem, no matter what anyone in your life might have inferred. You are a MIRACLE and a blessed soul.
I’m the last person to espouse toxic positivity (e.g. blowing off someone’s issues by telling them to look on the bright side) but at the same time, we can’t let our problems get the better of us, or we become unable to function.
I’ve read that it’s the resistance to our problems that causes the stress, and while I’m not sure that is 100% true (or the only issue), I do know that it does contribute.
One of the techniques I’ve learned is a kind of “awareness and acceptance” of my current problem, and mental or physical state.
Let me try to walk you through it a little bit. My exact technique changes depending on my location, mood, and energy, but I’m learning perfection isn’t necessary, the attempt is enough.
When I notice I’m feeling anxious or having an increase in symptoms, I stop, breathe slowly a few times, and tell myself, “not helpful!” or “stop” or “pivot!” to the story that is usually swirling around in my brain about my anxiety or symptoms. You know, things like, “I can’t do this,” or “Oh no I’m dizzy again I must be getting worse!” or “Everyone hates me guess I’ll eat some worms.” 😉
I’m not saying “stop” to the actual bodily feelings, just the mental story associated with those feelings.
Then, as you are experiencing the symptoms or difficult emotions, breathe slowly and deeply and say a few times, “I am here” or “I am here now in this,” or “I’m feeling _________ and I’m here for it!” After this you are supposed to do a visualization practice to raise your emotions to good ones, but I am still pretty bad at doing this, so won’t include it here. 🙂 I find just the first two parts of it – the awareness that I’m struggling and then being accepting and calm about it is helpful in itself.
Here’s how it worked for me a few weeks ago when I tried to go shopping for something at the supermarket. I have a supersensitive nervous system right now so this isn’t an easy task — with the noise, bustle, smells, and bright lights of the store — but I needed something and I wanted to see if I could do it. So I did OK for a few minutes but soon felt more dizzy, strange, and overwhelmed. I slowed down, breathed more slowly, and said, “Pivot! Not helpful!” in my head. “Nervous system, we are OK, this is a supermarket not a war zone.” I continued to breathe, and said in my head, “I am (breathe) here now (breathe) in this.”
Then I noticed I was still anxious so I decided to remind my body that anxiety and excitement are exactly the same thing, just the story you are telling yourself changes. So I said to myself, “I’m here in the supermarket buying something! This is awesome! I never get out! Look at all these cool snacks here in this aisle! I’ve never seen these cookies before! I am dizzy here in this great supermarket, and I’m here for it! I’m going to experience it and experience it well!”
Long story not short enough, I made it through. I continued to be a bit dizzy and overwhelmed but it did not devolve into a situation I couldn’t handle.
Do you have anything you do or tell yourself when you are in a moment of struggle? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
4 thoughts on “#write28days of Nervous System Regulation: Day 25 – Problem”
Thank you so much for sharing this. Thank you for telling everyone who reads that we are a miracle and a blessed soul. It is so easy to let words spoken in anger define us. I never thought about flipping the script on the mental story about my feelings of anxiety. In my case, I could picture telling myself I am excited because I love my people so much. I could see this changing things up focusing on the love instead of the fear. I hope that you have a lovely weekend!
Thank you Jolene! You too!
I’m glad you were able to reframe your thoughts at the supermarket. It can be quite an overwhelming place even for those who aren’t sensitive, so I can only imagine how it feels like too much to the very sensitive. I’m sorry you have to deal with such things, but you are wise in learning how to do so.
I can easily drift into ruminating on unhealthy thoughts so I often have to tell myself, “I am aware I’m having the thought that…” or “Here I am telling myself the story of…” Sometimes it helps; sometimes it doesn’t. 🙂 But I will keep trying.
Thank you for your suggestions! Those sound like good things to tell myself. Supermarkets are a little wild, aren’t they, lol.