I was fortunate enough to listen to a speaker at my church. She is a relationship therapist, and her focus encompassed all relationships, including the one we have with ourselves. She spoke to a group of about 30 of us, and it left me feeling full inside, as well as eager to process what was shared.
A big theme that was discussed was the issue of control and how it plagues us. Everything from the every day mundane things to the much bigger issues that consume most of us. She talked about the art of letting go of things that we don’t have control over, which in essence are most things we worry about. All of the “what if’s” and the stories that we fabricate in our minds. “What if she thinks that” ? “What if this terrible thing happens” ? “What if I don’t succeed” ? “What if they don’t like me”? We exist in a world of negative fantasy that is rooted in a make believe reality. I recognized how often I engage in this game. The truth is that we have no control of so many of these variables, but we do have control of letting go of the burden of them and living in the moment, which we can actually wrap our arms around. This dose of sound reality was a relief to hear and a good reminder of what is, versus “what if.”
After the speaker finished, I was sitting with two of my girlfriends who also attended. One of them said that it’s not always Black & White when it comes to letting go of things that plague us, especially when they cause anxiety which is difficult to settle. She shared that in these moments she will take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and at the top she writes “things I can control” and “things I can’t control”. Then she starts writing the different things in each respective column. What she realizes is at the end of this process are the things that she can control are actually doable, and the things she can’t control are not worthy of her energy. The process of getting it out of her mind and on paper is also an experience of releasing the anxiety that is limiting and not of any use. This also helps to list out the things that she can do to help lighten the load and move into a more peaceful place inside.
I think a majority of us suffer from anxiety. Some people have a harder time with finding ways to minimize their level of anxiety. For me, I am definitely one of those people that has a high level of anxiety and I do not always know how find healthy ways to cope with it. It can be debilitating for some people as it has been for me at times. I love having a tangible tool to settle my anxieties and this simple act of writing things down is a great tool for me and hopefully for you or others you may know who deal with anxiety.