What are you studying in your free time? Share your new knowledge with us.
I am starting to feel like these writing prompts were designed for someone with a more diverse schedule. By now I think it has become pretty evident that I am at a spot in my life where my focus in my free time is working to better myself. I am going to stretch the boundaries on this prompt, as I clearly do with many of these, and pretend that self-development is considered studying too.
With that being said, I’m studying ME! As part of that, I have recently learned that I struggle with anxiety. The knots that build in my stomach and racing thoughts that I cannot control – these are symptoms I have been experiencing for almost a decade without even knowing what they were or what causes them.
Around this time last year, I experienced what I have now come to know was an anxiety attack. I was scared and alone, triggered by something someone had said to me earlier in the day that had struck a nerve. Unable to control my breathing, my emotions spiraling as my thoughts raced to the depths of despair, knots in my stomach so tight I quickly found myself on the floor, in the fetal position.
I was not equipped at the time with the tools to bring myself back to reality.
I am not sure I would be even today, but that’s why I am studying how to control my anxiety in order to prevent such an escalation in the future. What I have learned is you have to bbbreeaathhheeeeeee.
This is easier said than done and takes practice. Yoga class is certainly helping. But controlling your breaths, and focusing as you breathe in and out will begin to bring you back to center.
Exercise can also help with anxiety, so long as you aren’t spending the entirety of the workout with your mind racing. I have found I enjoy the ‘running until I can’t hear myself think anymore’ approach. The moment I feel the knots building in my stomach is when I know to grab my running shoes. Thankfully my schedule allows me to naturally incorporate two workouts in my day – mornings are for extended cardio sessions and lunch is for lifting all of the heavy things.
After the knots are gone and the mind is focused on the present, that is when it is time to implement cognitive behavioral therapy – or the thought triangle as I call it.
The theory behind cognitive behavior is that our thoughts drive our actions. Through cognitive behavior therapy, you are then able to identify your thoughts and feelings that influence your behaviors. While I can’t control every outcome, I have the ability to take control of how I interpret and react to things in my environment.
“Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and ultimately change the way they feel.”
With this realization being so new, I am slowly becoming equipped with ways to cope and implementing CBT into my life requires pen to paper. Draw out the triangle; write out the thoughts, emotions and behaviors, but most importantly it’s been learning to separate the facts from opinions in order to change my reaction, feelings and perspective on the situation.
All that being said, it is a continual study to develop oneself. I find it challenging, especially given self-love is the hardest kind of love. However, it is certainly the most rewarding.