Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mental Health 101

A picture I snapped while stopping and smelling the flowers.
I heard an amazing little truth yesterday. Mental health is being able to live with uncertainty.  And yesterday, I nailed it. I was running late to an appointment and I didn't panic. I had this calm feeling and recognized there was nothing I could do to make the subway move faster or the mass of people at the 77th Street station move quicker. There was no sense in making myself crazy by pushing by people. In my head I just said, I'll get there when I get there. 

I'm so used to worry. To overload. To trying to figure out how to force a solution or make an outcome turn a certain way when the truth is, very little is in my control.   Yesterday, I did not rush to anything no matter how late it was going to make me and you know what, it made my day to just go at my pace, not New York's. And the other thought I had, was that I'm not perfect. And today I may be a few minutes late and that's okay. I sometimes think that if I can manage the uncertainty in life, it will temper my anxiety, that somehow I will be ready or more prepared no matter what is thrown at me. But, I can't ever remember a time when I thought, "Wow! I'm so glad I stressed about that for two weeks. Otherwise that challenge would have been a real bitch!"

If I really look at the patterns, I can see that most of the time, things work themselves out and never once has worry or stress aided in the outcome. And even if the outcome wasn't what I wanted, stress and worry would not have changed it. When I am really spiraling, it's when I'm worried, it's when I'm asking, But what if... And the other half of the time when I'm spiraling is when I'm beating myself up. Like this morning, I woke up so mad. Why? Because for the second day in a row (and many, many days over the past few months) I could not wake up and drag myself to the gym at 5:45 a.m. I was angry that I had not worked out because I know I need to. I was angry that I let myself sleep, even though it felt so good. And then I was stressed out about how and if I can get in a run today- a very long day I might add. But what does that boil down to? Uncertainty. I don't know if I will get to the gym today. But I also know that I can start my day over at any point. So just because I was super cranky this morning and upset with myself...I can let it go. And then what just happened? Literally, what just happened? I got an email from a co-worker asking if I would accompany her on a long errand/walk outside.

The more I embrace the uncertainty, the more free I become. The more I can loosen up the impossible standards I set for myself, the more I can enjoy the world around me. The more I let go, the more the chaos in my life seems to iron itself out, not to mention, I get to enjoy a lot more blooming tulips.

3 comments:

daleboca said...

word up!
My father always says (sounds better in Spanish)
No use in worrying about a problem if you cannot control it. If you worry, you just have a bad time and still get the same result.

Lindsey said...

Wise words

Carmen said...

so true! and i like the line about going at your own pace and not new york's. it's so hard!