Tools to Lessen Anxiety Part Two

CoinsCody and I had an interesting conversation this morning. He is struggling with how to accept the things he cannot change. He has been spending a lot of time trying to figure out a way to make those things change and is frustrated because he cannot come up with a solution that works. Sound familiar? I always assumed this was an adult issue so I tried to answer with an adult answer. I told him that he just had to identify that he could not change something, and if he couldn’t truly change it, he had to let it go. That didn’t go over so well. His response was, “But what’s happening isn’t fair!” Again, sound familiar? I had to tell him that life is not always fair even though it frustrates me to admit that it’s true. The only thing we truly have control over is ourselves and our perceptions. I have often felt the way Cody does. I see something I believe is not fair, and I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out some way to “fix” it even though, most often, it is something I have zero control over.  I don’t want him to get caught up in the same cycle, but my explanation of HOW to let go of the things we cannot control was inadequate. I needed to get creative.

I told him to imagine he has a jar with ten coins in it. He gets ten coins every day and only ten coins. He cannot save the coins for another day, but he has control over how they are spent. I told him these coins represent his mental energy – where he places his focus each day. So, he must decide how to best spend these ten precious coins.  Then I asked him to think about how he would like to spend them. After giving him some time to think about it, I asked him if he would be willing to hand over one or more of his coins to someone or something that offered him nothing in return. He, of course, said No! I told him that’s what happens when he uses his mental energy trying to force something to change that he has no control over. He is throwing all of his coins at things that cannot acknowledge their worth. I explained to him that if he truly had come to the conclusion that there was not an action he could take that would change the situation/person he desperately wanted to change, he had to make the decision to spend his coins elsewhere.

Letting go, however, is easy to suggest, but not so easy to put into practice. So, I offered him a suggestion. I told him to write down everything he could about the situation or person he felt powerless to change in a journal, that this would help him move the frustration from inside his body to outside his body. He told me, though, that he had already started to do this using the Notes app on his iPad, but he still couldn’t seem to let these issues go. So, I suggested that we create a practice of writing out our frustrations and anger at the things we cannot change on paper and then ripping up the paper and throwing it in the garbage. Sometimes we need to physically act out letting go of something for our mind and body to understand that we are serious about letting it go. Even though he was getting it out on his iPad, he wasn’t actively, physically letting the issues go.  We decided we would start an experiment to see if doing some action physically would help. We are going to practice writing our feelings on paper, ripping them up, and then throwing them in the garbage to see if adding that physical action will help us finally let go of things we have no control over. I will keep you updated to see how it goes!

St Patricks DayHappy St. Patrick’s Day! Recently, I had an ancestral DNA test done and found out that I am 58% Irish/British ❤

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