WHAT HELPS ON A WOBBLY DAY – DAY 7
So, what does help? When grappling with stressful events, do you have a go-to remedy that always works? Or something that helps for a while but actually ends up adding to the distress? Maybe the answer is elusive, slippery, leaving you at a loss?
Step 4 in RAIN says: Nurture yourself. But nurturing is such a personal journey of discovery. So I offer an invitation to contemplate what the answer is uniquely for YOU.
The old chocolate cake story of self-care says: one piece is delicious and having a second piece may possibly still be lovely, but eating more and more begins to add problems, short term (in yuck-ness) and longer term in the effect on the body.
If it’s not eating, what about the equally socially acceptable forms of numbing, through alcohol, smoking, or other drugs? Mobile phones, gambling, shopping and social media?
Looking though the ‘numbing’ lens can be quite useful in answering the question of “what helps”. Does it blot out the thoughts and feelings? And at what point does a little blotting out make marvellous sense but the capacity to over-blot just add problems?
The traditional approaches to mindfulness talk of ‘wise distraction’. Using the joy of grass or rainbows (see Days 3 and 4), and steadying practices that use the 5 senses to find the bigger picture are really helpful. And on wobbly days these skills are essential. But ‘know your medicine’ might be the best advice.
If we feel lethargic through depression, moving ourselves to take a walk or talk to a friend and reverse the isolation can be incredibly helpful. If we always use frenetic achieving when feeling stressed, at work, in the gym or the garden, then going under the duvet might be nurturing. Trying an alternative can open new vistas.
On a wobbly day we can’t do anything until we spot we are in distress. Having Recognised (R) it, we befriend ourself – Allowing, rather than adding to the problem by beating ourself up. In kindness, we can then investigate (I) the big picture to see that other, nicer, bits of life are still available. Lastly, Nurture (N)…
Learning what helps and what is simply numbing can be a crucial step to a better day.
Singing in the RAIN – maybe Gene Kelly was on to something!
Wendell Berry: The peace of wild things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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