Monday, November 19, 2018


I've mentioned in the past that I've developed a bit of anxiety at times, specifically around hockey (hey, big surprise there), and also mentioned a few of the strategies I've used to try to manage it effectively. In particular, I've noticed that my eyes get jittery and tend to move their focal point around very quickly when I'm feeling anxious, and being aware of that and concentrating on reducing eye movement has been surprisingly helpful.

Oh, and a note about talking about this in general. I know that most of you don't have any problems with anxiety, so this isn't really written for you, but if it ever bites you (and that's what it feels like, at least to me), maybe these things will be of some small help.

What I noticed last week is that I tend to think about too many things at once. That's not new, and I've mentioned it before, but what I realized last week is that many of things I'm thinking about are unresolvable. So I'm thinking about a bunch of things, and for most of them, there's absolutely nothing I can do. It might even be things in the past, feeling anxious about things that have already happened.

Well, that can't possibly work, can it? No. Not healthy.

The mind is a funny thing, though. It has a very complex balance, and sometimes, if you spin just a little out of step, that imbalance is accentuated the longer it lasts. There's no gyroscope.

I thought about all of this, as I tend to do, and I realized that I needed to abstract from specifics, particularly for things I can't to do anything about.

Here's what I've been trying. When I get this cascade of thoughts going in my head, too much to process effectively, I start labeling the individual thoughts at a higher level. I keep doing that, and incredibly granular, sometimes unhealthy thoughts become "HOCKEY" or "POLITICS" or "BUDGET." Just categories.

If I can take action, or if it's something to schedule, I do. Otherwise, I categorize it and try to let it go.

I know, that sounds kind of dumb. For some reason, though, it seems to work. It's very hard to feel anxious about a category. Almost impossible, really.

This is not something that is intuitive, and I don't even think I'm very good at doing it yet, but that's okay. Just abstracting even a few of those thoughts successfully feels really, really good. Comforting, somehow.

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