Losing track of time and weeks seems to be a fairly common theme right now! I can’t quite believe that we are at the end of February. Nature is in the process of waking up and there are some hopeful signs that the pandemic is shrinking.
Change always comes – it is one of the few certainties in the world! And while change might be welcome, it can also bring worries. We all worry and feel anxious at times. As humans we are programmed to pay attention to what is uncertain and look for potential threats to our safety.
We are also experts at using what has happened in the past to predict the future so if there have been things that have been hard and frightening in the past, we are likely to remember these so that we can avoid them in the future. That’s why we are so good at imagining worse case scenarios!
These natural tendencies can get in the way, though. It can be tiring holding anxiety all the time. So what helps?
Sometimes, we can help shift where our attention goes by paying more attention to what has felt good, what we have enjoyed and the times when things have gone well.
There are lots of ways to do this. Memories are really important in giving us a sense of what our lives are like so pulling together the ones that make us feel better can help. You could create a photocollage or scrap book – notice which ones make you smile or laugh! In effect, you are resourcing yourself for tough times by drawing on good stuff from the past.
Day to day, some people find that thinking about three good things, or three things to be grateful for is helpful. Sometimes we need to dig deep to find them and maybe we just need to find one. Maybe when you are talking about the day, you could ask different questions like ‘what made you smile today?’ or ‘where did you see kindness?’. Even starting the day with an intention to see hope or joy or love or laughter can make us more open to the possibility that it might happen!
When we give attention to something, we give it energy and we build our capacity to see more of it and see the world in this way. Any bird spotters or Where’s Wally lovers out there will recognise this effect. If we look for joy, we’ll get better at seeing it – we get our eye in!
Here’s hoping that we can all get our eye in for a little more joy in the months to come.
I’d be really interested to know how you find ways to support yourselves in difficult times. What helps? Perhaps the ways you cope might help someone else. If you’d like to share some of your ideas, I’d love to pull them together in a blog or even share something you’ve written? There are lots of ways we could share your collective wisdom so drop us an email if you would like to get involved at Therapy@cavernoma.org.uk.