Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 ways to alleviate mild to moderate angst

Anyone who truly knows me can attest to the fact that I'm a bit emotionally charged at times. I have a tendency to fly off the handle or claim that my whole life is over when something I don't like happens. I've been getting sort of better about this lately, but it's still a fairly regular thing.

Sometimes I get so worked up that I almost swear I'm going to drown myself in the bathtub or run away from everything I've ever known and be homeless forever. And then ten to fifteen minutes later (or longer, depending on the situation), I'm totally fine again.

The discomfort involved in these little episodes is profound. During the bad ones, I pretty much resort to hating myself and everything about my life in general. And even though that feeling is always temporary, in the heat of the moment, I'm usually a complete mess.

If you're the same way or if you're prone to having mini meltdowns of your own, here are ten ways to alleviate the angst:

1. Get some fresh air. Get out of your house, apartment, hotel room, wherever, and get some fresh air. Go for a walk. Pace your yard a few times. Go for a drive and roll all the windows down (if you want). Whenever I sit around and stew in my own negative feelings, they multiply. It helps to get active or just go off by myself for a little while.

2. Cry. I'm talking about the kind of crying that would embarrass you if others were around (Side note: Make sure others aren't around.) You may feel pathetic and ridiculous, but you will feel so much better when you're done. Seriously. It's like a full soul cleanse.

3. Create something. Write. Draw. Build a Lego house. Put your intense energy into something useful.

4. Destroy something. Destroying something can feel just as therapeutic as creating something. I admittedly don't really like to destroy things too much because I tend to feel sympathy for inanimate objects. I will only destroy something if I know for a fact that it's okay or that it must be destroyed. Try destroying an old piece of junk or hacking away at something that needs to come down and/or apart.  

5. Read some inspiring or uplifting content. I bookmark inspiring blog posts on a pretty regular basis. I like to read back over things when I'm feeling particularly dejected. Here are a few examples: Don't Ever Give Up, Transcendence, How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship When You're Depressed

6. Surround yourself with nice people. I love nice people more than I can ever explain. There's nothing like being showered with love and kindness when a dark cloud is looming over your head. Try to stay away from negative, critical and belligerent people when you're having a bad day. They will always make you feel worse.  

7. Listen to music that matches your mood. I have a variety of different songs on my iPod---happy songs, angry songs, sad songs, inspiring songs, etc. When I'm in a bad mood, I like to listen to the angry, sad or inspiring ones. They make me feel less alone with my feelings, and I think that's ultimately what we all want when we're feeling something unpleasant.   

8. Reach out to someone. I've been getting better about reaching out for support. I used to avoid doing that at all costs out of fear that I would seem weak or self-indulgent. There is absolutely nothing weak or self-indulgent about admitting how you feel and reaching out to someone who can help you. Everyone needs a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on every now and then.  

9. Be proactive. As I mentioned earlier, when something I don't like happens, I tend to bathe in my own misfortune or claim that my whole life is ruined. My whole life is not ruined  There is always a way out. There is always another option. There is always something I can do to make progress towards fixing my current situation. I've been trying to be more proactive about things.     

10. Let go. This is one of my mantras. It's very simple, yet very powerful. Bad moods and mini meltdowns are sometimes triggered as a result of holding onto something that can easily be thrown to the wind. Take a deep breath. Forgive people. Practice mindfulness and acceptance. Figure out how to access feelings of happiness and contentment (which is totally possible, by the way). Be good to yourself and others. Let life happen.

<3 Madison      

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