If you are anything like me then you are sometimes a messy blob of anxiety, stress and over-imaginative worry.
Between you and me, I think we should get over ourselves already and get on with enjoying our lives while we still have the chance. Easier said than done? Here are some unconventional ways to help you live a little:
Take Some Time Out To Really Imagine The Worst
There’s a lot of advice out there about setting aside some time to visualize all the good things that you’d like to come into your life – you know – the whole Law of Attraction thing.
Have you ever actually watched The Secret?
I mean – pluh-eeez … as IF!
I think far better advice is to throw out your superstitious hokey-pokey and get real. Spend some time conjuring up all the worst things that could happen. I do this sometimes and I find that by naming my fears I somehow strip them of their power.
I think ‘what if “that” happened?’ And ‘what if ‘THAT” happened’. After a little while of doing this I just get fear-fatigue and I realize there is nothing to do except A) take all reasonable precautions, B) hope for the best and C) relax and get on with enjoying the moment as best I can.
Oh yeah – and in case you are worried that by focussing on the worst you will magically attract the very scenarios you want to avoid – put that out of your mind – it’s woo-woo nonsense.
Seriously – that’s like worrying that airline safety teams are in fact inviting distaster by going over all the possible malfunctions that might beset an aircraft. If those guys didn’t do exactly that there is NO WAY I would get in a plane!
Just Do Things When and If You Feel Like It
One day you’ll be dead – and will it matter that you did or did not have the self-discipline to power through all those boring to-do list items that really sucked? Probably not.
Go Out and Get Pissed
Or go bungy jumping or whatever. My point is, you gotta just let it all hang out and be a hairy beast for a while every now and then.
I was at this (very nice) guy’s house the other day and he was proudly telling me how he never drinks very much and how he has a nice new white carpet and a nice new beige car . And I kid you not – his trousers were beige too.
Lovely guy mind you, I really like him – but for God’s sake – do you want to be like that? Are you already? ‘Cos being boring is fine some of the time – even most of the time – but for the love of Pete you gotta have some fun sometimes!
So get amongst it, I say. Hang out with the hairy people for a night. Live a little.
And beware of becoming one of the beige people, take it from Billy Connolly.
Dwell In The Angst
This is similar to focussing on the worst that can happen but this is more about focussing on the bad feelings that are messing with you.
I accidently came across this liberating technique way back when I was first experimenting with meditation. I was trying to establish a routine of meditating every day whether I felt like it or not. Well, on one particular day I certainly did not feel like it: I was so depressed and anxious that I could barely think (I was partying very hard at the time, even for me, and this was leaving me strapped out).
Nevertheless, I sat down to try and meditate anyway but I couldn’t get into it because I was squirming with an angst that was so acute it was manifesting itself physically: I literally felt like I was crawling out of my skin.
I felt like giving up and lighting a joint. Even though I knew that this wouldn’t really help much, I was just about to get up and do that when a “voice” said to me “Stay and dwell in the angst”.
Listen To The Voices In Your Head
Now I don’t know about you, but when I hear “voices” I listen up good. Maybe they lose their impact if they never stop, but thankfully my voices keep to themselves most of the time, so I just went with it and tried to “dwell in the angst”.
At first it was horrible. I focussed all my attention on how horribly stressed and anxious I felt, and for a few minutes it was almost more than I could bear. I was in tears (and I usually find it very hard to cry properly).
But then all of a sudden the angst just lifted. It was gone and I felt quite calm and relaxed – quite fine.
Somehow by listening to the voices in my head and dwelling in the angst like I was told, I worked through the stress and anxiety that was knocking me around. Instead of pushing it down with more drugs or distraction, I acknowledged and paid attention to how I felt. To my surprise, that was pretty much all that was actually required to quell the bad feelings.
So there you have it – no doubt the sanest advice you’ve ever read: Imagine the worst, get pissed, be irresponsible, listen to voices in your head and meditate on feeling really crap. Regulation stuff really.
Photo by StuartPilbrow