I talk a lot about mental health on this blogaroo. I think it’s so important to just start a conversation about the subject. I believe everyone has their thing. If it’s not bipolar, it’s depression, being unsatisfied in life, comparrision, food addictions, body issues, the list goes on.
I have been so amazed the form this blog has taken. A true introvert and ashamed of my issues, I rarely truly opened up to anyone. Just breaking my mental barrier and coming clean, in a sense, about who I am on this blog has given me confidence to open up to others face to face.
I was especially surprised about the responses I received after posting about mental health. I was met with such non judgement, empathy and encouragement. And many people shared their own stuggles in return, which I loved to hear. We’re talking about stuff!! So important.
As everybody and their Mama knows by now, I’m bipolar and struggle with anxiety like crazy. Wonderful Andrew always says very sweetly, “You just gotta find something to stress about…” And boy howdy is it true. If I’m not cycling from mania to depression I’m sitting still and looping down very negative trains of thought. I’m just gonna throw this out there and guess that many of you struggle with anxiety on a daily basis as well, to some degree. So what do you do with it?
I have many coping tools to help me get through my day and the one I use most often is the “Stop and Release!”
I talk a lot about “looping.” This is when your brain picks a subject or circumstance and obsessively thinks about it round and round. You observe the idea from all angles but you keep coming back to the same place, usually an anxious, defeating, negative place. Reason is overcome by emotion and you continue to cycle around, not able to let it go. When I find that I’m doing this I say out loud “Stop!” Sometimes in the comfort of my home or car I yell it, haha. It sends a signal to my brain to stop the looping.
Then comes my favorite part, I “Release!!” (This absolutely must be said with a Texan accent to have the most potent effect :)
A lot goes on when I say “Release”, I do a hand motion, a kind of push away with my hands upward and I go through a thought process. I acknowledge my issue, think about it one last time from every angle, let myself feel the full force of the emotion associated with it, then I say “Release!”, and actively let it go. As I push my hands upward I’m making the conscious decision that I cannot handle this, this is out of my control and I push it to the Lord who is in control and wants the best for me. I have to daily remind myself that I’m not struggling through this alone. I have the eternal Comforter on my side and He can more than handle what I’m going through.
I think there’s something to acknowledging and letting go. Not stuffing the emotion, but validating it. Not obsessing over it, and letting the emotion control you, but letting it go. I also think the hand motion, something physical, is important too. It’s pulling the looping thought out of your brain and heart and physically releasing it.
I’d like to say that once I do the whole magical “Stop and Release” I’m then free as a bird. But not true. My brain often picks up the subject 30 minutes later and I have to do the whole process again. I have found though, when I go through this process, it becomes easier and easier to move past it. It might take two times, or it might take ten, depending on the issue.
So give it a go! Next time you find yourself putting too much negative energy towards something, “Stop and Release!!”
I would love to know your thoughts about this coping tool. It has been unbelievably helpful for me. And like most things I find regarding mental health, it’s a practice. Choosing what you allow your brain to focus on.
Let me know your thoughts and here’s to letting go!!