I feel the anxiety rising. My shoulders are stuck in an upward position. My lower back is aching. My mind has constant thoughts ping-ponging from side-to-side. My breathing becomes rapid with me needing to take several deep breaths to get enough air. I become confused, puzzled, agitated. What to do? I always have my Ativan with me. I could swallow that tiny round white pill even without water. I would relax within the next 15 minutes. Simple solution, right? I’m an Alpha and my medication dependency annoys the crap out of me. Alternative solutions?
Meditation… by Dictionary terms Meditation is “the act or practice of meditating” or “to think deeply or carefully about something”. I’ve joined several Facebook Meditation groups reading article after article on how to properly practice the art of Meditation. I signed up for a free 30-Day Meditation program in which we were sent several 4+ minute meditation verbiages. I laid down, relaxed and focused on these meditations. Some of them were wonderful, others I couldn’t focus on. What I ultimately realized is that I am not a Meditator.
Mandala Coloring Sheets… I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble and thought this time I should spend the money on myself instead of indulging Sophia with another Dork Diaries or My Little Pony Comic Book. There on the clearance shelving were several Mandala Coloring Books. I bought one for $6.98 even though I had several free printouts. There is always something about holding a real book that I enjoy. I colored and found myself entranced with the designs and the choices of colored pencils I have. Only problem… I hate to leave a picture unfinished. It took me over an hour to finish the first page.
Am I ever going to find something that will take 15 minutes or less to calm me down that isn’t small, round and white?!
Rewind back to my childhood. I don’t remember at what age I began but when I would find a word, circle it, and then cross it off, I had such a sense of achievement and happiness. I would go through book after book of word searches. Could this apply to me as an adult?!
When I was in the hospital this past winter getting help for my latest, and most likely, my worst bout of Depression, my father brought me a huge Penny Press book of word searches. I am a picky word search person… I will only do Penny Press books that have specialty puzzles in them. I would sit constantly with it when it was not time for therapy and circle word after word. I blocked out all surrounding noises. I was in my own little bubble. Was this bubble linked to the word search book or the amount of medication I was receiving?
As I left the hospital and my dosages were lowered, I again found myself sitting with this book of word searches. Instantly the bubble would engulf me. Inside the bubble, I was calm, focused. Focused on 1 thing, finding these words. It provided my brain a way to tell every other thought in my mind to “Shut the F*ck Up!”. My brain was too busy looking for words to care about anything else. This was it, this was my way of meditating. This was my way of calming down without the need of medication in 15 minutes or less. I finally found a solution that worked for me!
I posed this question to several of my friends as everyone is different. I got a few answers:
“I will listen to calming music, read a good book, or watch silly comedies or Tom and Jerry. And I ask for hugs.”
“I meditate and write in a journal.”
“Exercise – when the body is tired, the brain can shut up and watch tv.”
All great answers! There is no one answer on how to calm down. Everyone is different. I love to exercise but I am not a runner, I hike. I do Zumba Fitness classes. I mean I HATE to run. I tried meditating and while it works for my friend, it doesn’t work for me. I am just not a Zen person as much as I would like to be. You need to pay attention to your mind. Just like medication, it is trial and error when it comes to calming down.
Now, what word was I looking for, ah yes… ACTIVITY! Shh, my bubble is forming!