Andrew and I were off the grid for a while and now we’re back on, staying right outside of our beloved Pinedale. I love it when my phone reads “No Service.” I feel like it’s giving me permission to stare at the clouds more, get lost in the wind rustling through the Aspen leaves, take my time, think my thoughts and soak in the sun.
I practice yoga every day. It is one of the things that keeps me sane. I feel like every time I come back to my mat I’m hitting a reset button. Even in this relaxing lifestyle, my brain gets so frenzied. When I lay on my mat in the sunshine with a mountain range in the distance it’s an almost immediate calming of the mind. Some sessions are intense, working out energy. And some consist of a lot of rejuvenating, restorative postures.
I was talking to a friend the other day about my Bipolar craziness. It took me talking it out with her to remember that I’ve been dealing with this for a loooong time, and over the years I’ve actually gotten some pretty handy coping tools. Most of this I owe to Mama, who taught me to process my emotions and work through them. As Mama always said, “It’s an explanation, not an excuse,” which was and still is my motto. I can’t control my emotions, when they come up in all their fury, but I can control what I do with those emotions.
I’ve always struggled with anger, every since I was a child. Anger at circumstances, anger at myself, annoyance at the tiniest things. For some reason, I feel like the anger has been extra strong lately. I’m living the dream, but I still find that I am on edge many days. I then start to feel guilty about that emotion, and the anger gets worse. This is where yoga becomes very helpful. I get on my mat, lay in the sunshine and take deep breaths. I slow down and pay attention to what I’m feeling, allow what I’m feeling, then breathe it away.
We all have anger, we all have stress, what is your go-to coping tool to work through it? Many times when I’m having a flurry of emotions, one of my best coping tools is to pull back from the situation and process. When I have a strong emotion; stress, fear, anger, discomfort, I pause and think, “What is the root issue here?” The emotion is a reaction to an issue. I start to work backwards. For example: I’m mad as hell right now. What caused this anger? Andrew spoke to me in a way that I did not like. Review his behavior. Did he actually speak to me in a harsh way or am I being extra sensitive? If he did actually speak to me not sweet, I need to confront him lovingly. But most of the time, I’m being sensitive. Ok, why am I sensitive? I’m stressed. Why am I stressed? I’m putting together my grocery list. Why is that simple task stressful? I’m worried about money and how we’re going to get through this month. Boom. Root issue.
It had nothing to do with Andrew, it’s my issue that I need to work through it. Then comes the hard part. I’ve identified my root issue now I need to process through that. I’m stressed about money. I’m losing hope in the Lord to provide. I counter those emotions by remembering all the ways that the Lord has provided. We’ve never been without our needs. We’ve always had food and a home. Do I trust that He will continue to provide? And finally I get to home base, my foundation, my life support. I remember what He says in His word.
“There fore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Luke 12:22-25
I’m telling you about my processing to hopefully help you think through how you process. And notice, it takes me a long time and a lot of working through it before I finally come back to a hopeful place. I have some days where I only have to do this a couple times. But I definitely have some days where I have to pull back, observe and process over and over again.
Standard reactions to stressful situations are anger, mentally checking out and not confronting the issue, or get in go mode and try to control the situation and everything else surrounding you, overeating, clenching your jaw and shoulders, depression and the feeling of being frozen, or numbing with tv or alcohol. Take a second and try to figure out the way that you react to stress. Don’t feel guilty about it, just be aware of it. Then next time a stressful situation comes up, notice that reaction then process through it by working backwards and identifying the root issue.
Also, remember that you are not alone. Talk it out with a friend or family member. Often times my root issue seems so overwhelming that I can’t work through it. Then I finally open up and talk it out with Andrew and the issue truly diminishes. It loses power, it seems small and manageable.
Give yourself grace, and remember that you are not alone. Here’s to processing and workin’ it through!