Do you find yourself constantly feeling stress and anxiety? Do you go to sleep and wake up with anxious, depressing and “worst case scenario” thoughts? Join the club. GAD, a.k.a Generalized Anxiety Disorder in on the rise as home values fall, friends wait to be employed, world events clash and all the normal, everyday, aggravations aggravate. (Bosses, spouses, kids, pets, neighbors, girlfriends, family …)
The first step to stress and anxiety recovery is accepting that most, if not all, people, places and things, are out of your control. Great. If you can’t handle them, you know who can. This exercise is all about acknowledging your worries and passing them on up to the god of your understanding, your angels, the universe … you pick.
Dump It Here Journal Exercise
Step 1: Arm yourself with a cheap spiral notebook and pen or a file on your hard drive.
Step 2: Write down whatever is bugging you. List things you need to do – people you need to see and call – projects to complete. Express your fears about life, money, your boss, marriage … grieve your disappointments … Vent about lbs that won’t drop off, kids that don’t clean their rooms and cultures that refuse to cooperate. Got a resentment? Dump it here!
Whine, pound, complain, misspell – let your dark side scribe. Put “Nice Girl” on hold.
Step 3. When you’re done (1-3 pages), close the book or file. Don’t re-read. Why? You may be tempted to judge yourself and edit your feelings. NO! Your objective here is to keep dumping and to keep moving forward. Tomorrow open to a fresh page and let it rip again.
Dump It Here: Acknowledging and releasing feelings and thoughts vs. stuffing, ignoring and disallowing, saved me. I had no idea how anxiously I was living my life. I thought I was “high strung.” and assumed that stress, worry, guilt and a monkey mind, that wouldn’t wind down to sleep tight at night, was normal. Wrong.
Did you know that anxiety disorders are the #1 mental health problem among American women, second only to alcohol and drug abuse? Source: National Institute of Mental Health.
Did you know that approximately one-third of the U.S. population experiences insomnia and women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men?
Did you know that anxiety is exhausting? It depletes vitamins, nutrients, drains energy from the adrenal glands, plays havoc with your digestion, shortens your breath and that’s just for starters.
Take Notice and Note: After a couple of days of stress and anxiety “dumping” start noticing and writing about how you’re feeling better. Are you more relaxed? Are you breathing easier? Are the night sweats and nightmare easing? Are you waking up feeling happier? Is you focus improving? Are you finding it easier to get back in touch with friends?
Keep it up and keep noticing. It shouldn’t take long for you to feel a tremendous relief. In fact this exercise may become boring as you find yourself running out of worries! That’s fine. Just remember to pull it out anytime you feel the weight of the world starting to stand on your shoulders and wreak havoc with your sleep, your relationships and your peace of mind.
For more information and anxiety recovery tip suggestions, please read:
Anxiety is Not A Mom’s Best Friend 3 Ways to Journal It Away – Today
I also recommend this book by Dr. Harriet Lerner, author, The Dance of Fear: Rising Above Anxiety, Fear, and Shame to Be Your Best and Bravest Self