I am grateful for...
When it comes to my personal stress/anxiety bouts, I find that they increase when I'm thinking about the past or the future.
Past thinking, for me, is like analyzing what I said to a friend or loved one or even a stranger yesterday, last month, or it can be years ago...
"Why didn't I say it like X?"
"I shouldn't have said anything at all."
"Well, that was just dumb, Amanda."
Past thinking can also be about the actions I did or didn't take.
This happened about 6 years ago and periodically I will STILL think about me locking my keys in the trunk of my car and try to figure out how that even happened.
Years ago, I broke up with a guy I was dating and felt terrible for hurting his feelings. I'll also periodically 'feel bad' about it even though I know it had to be done. Or even months afterwards, I had gone into some sort of depression where I was crying all the time over life. If it weren't for my best friend, I wouldn't have increased my appointments to seek professional help to work through that part of my life.
Forward thinking is another stress/anxiety provoker. Thinking too far and trying to plan out every step I take to avoid hurt, disappointment, stupidity on my part, etc.
Things I'll think about include but are not limited to and in no specific order ;) marriage, babies, how I'll raise my kids, travel and where I'd like to go, job and if I'll stay at my company for years and years into retirement, what kind of mother/wife i'll be, if i'll ever feel financially secure, etc.
(In grad school and high school, it was about moving out on my own, becoming an adult, having my own space PLUS the above...)
Jeez, I'm exhausted typing all of that! Imagine what my brain feels like...
Anywho... I am thankful/grateful to say that I've gotten better at staying present and in the moment most days. But past/forward thinking is something that I've ingrained into my brain since I was preteen so it makes sense that I still struggle from time to time.
So how have I managed to reduce my stress/anxiety? Well, it honestly wasn't until recently (2019) that I realized I needed to say 'No' more often and reprioritize. Believe it or not, I'm not superwoman nor perfect (though I wish I was, haha). I took a good hard look at all the shit I was involved in (extra curricular activities, building a business, networking, friendships, relationships, little me time, wanting to become more involved with non profits, etc) and I reprioritized some and I stepped down from others. When you sit in a quiet space and jot down everything you're daily life involves plus things you wish/want to do, it's overwhelming and it's no wonder you're mind is constantly on a hamster wheel.
I have also found that writing down 3 things I'm grateful for daily or every other day and printing off photos from my phone and putting them in picture frames throughout my house, helps me stay present and keeps my mind positive, especially in the world we live in today. This reminds me that I do have a great life and keeps me grounded.
Some ideas from my gratitude journal include:
I am grateful for-- my bed, my watermelon blanket, having water, having a job, having a roof over my head, these soft socks, puppy snuggles, cute pictures of animals, my parents, my boyfriend, my therapist, the sun, air travel, being able to travel, being able to walk, cooking, eating, the rug from my aunt and uncle, being able to put my hair in a ponytail, my new thermostat.
As you can see, I write down little things like having a rug from my relatives to having a roof over my head. I found that when I first started writing down what I was grateful for years and years ago, I would get stuck and felt like "what's more important than X?" and then I would stop writing all together. We all have something to be grateful for regardless of our race, background history, age, sex, etc. We just have to start doing the thing of writing.