Trust Falling

I am beginning to think I learned one of my biggest lessons about trust in high school.* I was a dumpy, clumsy girl. At least that’s how I felt. I was heavier than most girls and was always, always aware of that. I walked through life half wincing, so that when everyone started laughing at me, I was prepared.

Our school was hosting a gathering of kids – including foreign exchange students – from other schools in the area. We played team games and getting-to-know-you games. Then came the dreaded trust exercises. Continue reading

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Dealing with Anxiety: Long-term Maintenance

This post is Part 4 of a four-part series on anxiety. You can find some general thoughts about anxiety in the Prologue, some ideas for dealing with anxiety in the moment in Part 2, and ways to head off anxiety as it hits in Part 3. Please note I am not a medical professional. In these posts I am sharing my experiences and insights in the hopes they will help others. Seek medical help if you need it.

Dealing with your anxiety over the long term is just like any other kind of long-term solution. That is, it’s not that glamorous or exciting, it doesn’t usually have an immediate pay off and it sounds too easy. There has to be a trick, right? Getting in better shape can’t just mean exercising regularly. The key has to be a certain set of exercises, a correct time to work out, just the right sport drink or workout pants.

Most long-term maintenance is pretty simple on paper. Just a few simple steps. But those simple steps need to be put into effect daily. As is every day. And every day after that. Doesn’t seem like that should be so hard, yet somehow it is. Maybe it’s because these steps are not one-time fixes; they are new habits we need to develop. Maybe it’s because they involve a shift in mind set, in this case, permission to not be anxious. Maybe it’s that they are actions to take, and those of us who deal with anxiety tend to be head-based; we want to solve our problems by thinking our way out of them. Maybe it’s that there isn’t an immediate payoff for doing them nor is there an immediate consequence for not doing them.

I am going to share four simple thing I strive to do to manage my anxiety and build my long-term emotional health. I slip up. I forget. I get lazy. But the nice thing is all I need to do to get back on track is just start again. Continue reading

Dealing Anxiety: In the Moment

This post is Part 2 of a four-part series on anxiety. You can find some general thoughts about anxiety in the Prologue. Please note I am not a medical professional. In these posts I am sharing my experiences and insights in the hopes they will help others. Please seek medical help if you need it.

I rarely have anxiety attacks, at least severe ones. For me anxiety is more a constant companion, a white noise that grinds me down and colors all my decisions and actions. Every so often, though, it all becomes too much and my heart races, my stomach churns and my throat tightens.  I pace and can’t concentrate and sometimes I even am tempted to emit a high pitched moan-whine-groan hybrid noise. Not pleasant. Continue reading

Dealing with Anxiety: The Prologue

This post Part 1 of a four-part series on anxiety. Please note I am not a medical professional. In these posts I am sharing my experiences and insights in the hopes they will help others. Please seek medical help if you need it.

The last month or so has been stressful for me, and it’s only ramping up. The details are not important right now. Stress is a reality in everyone’s life – it never actually seems to leave, it just ebbs and flows. And the particular stressors I am dealing with are nothing new for me. It’s almost like we are becoming old friends. Well, maybe not friends. More like familiar enemies.

Continue reading

More Than a Feeling

It’s fall in Minnesota.

fall leavesWell, other places, too, I suppose. But I am in Minnesota, and after 50 Minnesota falls, I know the signs. Things are dying. Other things are turning brilliant colors. And a few things seem to inexplicable just disappear back into the ground. Night comes sooner. Mornings are frosty and getting dark. Folks are digging out jackets and scarves. Heating repair companies are impossible to get a hold of.

But the biggest, most personal sign is I morph into a giant Pooh Bear, wandering aimlessly around, scratching myself and whining “Where is honey?” Continue reading

Working With Your Inner Critic

At last night’s enneagram workshop we talked about the Inner Critic. While some there seemed to wrestle with the concept, it is one that, as a writer, I was familiar with. The Inner Editor, I call it. I first was able to put a name to it thanks to Chris Baty one of the founders of NaNoWriMo and author of the NaNoWriMo primer No Plot? No Problem! That book not only helped me name the Inner Editor, but made me realize I could control it. I could tell it to go away for a while. I could ignore it when it was not being helpful. I could tame it.

Even those of you who are neither writers nor enneagram aficionados probably have a sense of what I am talking about. The voice that tells you what you are doing it wrong. The nagging, harping voice. The voice that comes out at 3 am and wakes you up just to tear you down. The voice that makes you second and third and fourth guess yourself. The voice that shames you for just being you.

We all have an Inner Critic. Continue reading