Depression often presents when we are thinking about the past. We think about what we said or did or what happened that should not have. Anxiety presents when we engage in future thinking. We worry about what will happen or how we are going to handle a situation. In reality, we don’t have any control over what happened and no control over what is going to happen. I don’t know where I heard this, but I thought it was brilliant… In worry, there are two results.. Either you worry about something that never happens or you worry about something that does happen and then you worry twice.
When you catch yourself feeling stressed in thinking about the past or the future, the best steps are to acknowledge it, honor it and then to do something to get present. Your inner dialogue may look something like this:
Anxiety Related Thought: I left 5 minutes later than usual. I just know I’m going to get stuck in traffic. I should have made lunch last night. I always do things like this! Now I’m going to be late.
Next step: Okay, I’m feeling really worried about being late. Being late is a trigger for me. I need to take care of myself. *take some deep breaths* I’m going to put my favorite play list on in the car and put the windows down so that I can feel the breeze as I’m driving.
Depression Related Thought: I should have never left my old job for this new one. It was a dumb idea. Now I have less flexibility and the money just isn’t worth it. I never think through my decisions.
Next step: These thoughts about my job choices are really overwhelming for me. I’m really having hard time right now. *take some deep breaths* Let me go grab a cup of coffee. *Watch the coffee being poured in the cup. Smell it. Feel the warmth of the mug. Feel the smoothness of the mug. Notice the taste in your mouth. Notice the warmth in your throat as you swallow.
You may be thinking, “how is drinking coffee and feeling the breeze going to fix my problem?” It’s not. But it will put you in a place of peace and contentment to clear your head so that you can process things. I see this as taking care of yourself when you are triggered. Try it!