How's your week been?
I want to dive in to something that affects everyone, and it's something I have a lot of experience in. Crisis management. Not like a fire or an external crisis, a personal, internal crisis. A sudden onset of an anxiety attack, or a real low bout of depression that makes every day scream to be the last. What the hell do you do when you suddenly can't do anything?
Panic attacks or anxiety are awful, and depending on the severity, it can cause a lot of long term problems in your life. It's hard to get control of your mind when it's running wild jumping from question to fear to spewing out thought noise and your stress reaches a boiling point. That's where mindfulness is useful. You need to stop what you're doing, sit down, and take three to five deep breaths. Fill your lungs up and empty them completely. Unless you're currently on fire, there is always time to think. Take those breaths. If you're still feeling the exact same as you were before, take some more. Do not think about anything else. Focus on that breath.
When you're done with that, you should feel about 20% better. Your next task is to get a glass of water. Again, it sounds counter-intuitive, but you're distracting your overactive brain from making things worse and these distractions will help bring your mind back under your control. Don't think about anything else but the water. Focus on each step as you go to get it. Think about the feel of the cup in your hand, the temperature of the water as you drink it, anything. Think about how much you need that water as you're drinking it. When you're done with that, maybe you'll feel an extra 10% better.
Now, you're starting to be equipped to deal with your situation head on. Take a break, assess your situation, and ask yourself clearly what you can do right now to change the situation. If you can't do anything, try your hardest to let it go. If there is something you can do right now, or if there's something you can do later, plan it out and act accordingly. You've got to be as logical and rational as possible, and really pick apart your steps. The distraction from the anxiety is all you're trying to accomplish. Again, if you can do anything right now, do it. If you can't, put the situation that's caused all this anxiety and panic to the back-burner for some time.
Now, if you let thoughts stir in your mind for long enough, at least with me, they tend to go sour, and you end up with feeling upset, sad, depressed, frustrated, annoyed, angry or some combination of all of those. What the hell is a person to do in that case? Here's what I do.
I talk to myself a lot. Normally, and in times like this. I'm not perfect, sometimes I'm really critical of myself. I say some really mean things to myself. Things I'd never say to another human. Now, imagine for a second if you said all the hurtful things you say to yourself to a close friend. How would that other person feel? They'd likely be devastated. So why would you say that to yourself? The point I'm getting at is you've got to tell yourself nice things. You're already feeling bad, why would you make it worse? Tell yourself you're wonderful, and you're beautiful even if you don't believe it at the moment you're saying it. Words have power, despite the old adage of sticks and stones, and the right words can truly help turn things around.
Walking helps as well. It can be hard to do anything when you're depressed. The hardest step with anything is starting. Once you start, it's all momentum from there. So take a walk. Go outside for thirty minutes and walk around. Being around whatever nature you're around will biologically help you, and the exercise releases endorphins which are your body's happy chemicals. Get those coursing through you.
While I'm out walking, I like to work through the problem. I do it in a voice barely above a whisper. Since I tend to walk around dusk and night time, I run less chance of seeing people. I've always had trouble doing it in my head. Lots of stuff going on up there, and saying it out loud passes the thoughts through different centers of my brain so I can process it better. To each their own. I ask why I feel the way I do, and answer the question. Then I ask another related question, and answer it. I keep that going, and I go through the thoughts I have about the situation.
The thing with biology, especially brain chemistry, is that things aren't always instant. Sometimes, they take time. It make take a few days of repetition of this to really notice any difference in your mental health, but it does help. After walking, it helps to go to sleep. You've done a lot of work, and you may not realize it. Grab some dihydrogen monoxide and hit the sack.
Being proactive and actively working on your mental health is just as important as working on your physical health. Often times the two are linked. Strong mental health is key to physical health and strong physical health is key to mental health. Many people neglect their mental health and it can cause problems down the line. Don't let that be you. If something is wrong, work on it. Have a dialogue with yourself. You hold all the answers to your own questions. If it feels weird (and it will), talk to a trusted friend or family member. Talk to a therapist. Get a therapist, they're helpful beyond a simple blog post can describe. Talk to a stuffed animal, talk to your pet. Say something if you're not feeling well mentally because the snowball of neglected mental health is way worse than anything immediate.