Ever hear of the phrase “What you resist persists?”
Like with food cravings… or putting off talking to someone about something…
For mental anguish or anxiety, the root cause of the problem is not a deficiency of drugs. There is no such thing!
That’s why the effectiveness for antidepressants is only 1% higher than placebo. Medication will not allow your brain, heart, and nervous system deal with the emotion. It actually blocks the process!
You can go to a doctor, and have them run a battery of tests on you, and maybe they will find something that is an easy fix. If so, awesome! Maybe it’s your thyroid or a vitamin deficiency. Maybe you have MTHFR, a genetic “mutation” that was recently found as a hidden cause for anxiety and depression in about half the population.
If there is no known cause, or the cause is mental anguish, medication will provide little real answers.
I have found through my own experience that some techniques are helpful. Being in nature, deep breathing, exercise, and eating healthy help. But sometimes you don’t feel like doing those things because you’re depressed!
I remember when I saw a counselor in high school, my psychiatrist told me that I lacked “coping skills.” Those words stuck with me all these years! “Coping skills? WTF does that mean?” I think I figured it out finally.
Coping skills are the arsenal of tools you have to deal with an emotional upset.
For an acupuncturist, I have several tools of the trade: needles, cups, moxa, herbs, vitamins, etc. For dealing with anxiety or depression, I have tools too:
- Meditation techniques
- People to talk to
- Self-knowing and acceptance
- Pleasurable activities
- Purpose and goals
- The medicine that I practice: acupuncture, herbs and nutrition
A lot of my problems I think came from comparing myself too often with other people.
Ever have that feeling when someone in a room is laughing that they’re laughing at you? What about when you’re talking to someone and you see a frown on their face? Do you automatically assume it’s because they don’t approve of you?
It’s like that episode of Seinfeld. “It’s not you, it’s me!”
Seriously, 90% of the time what people think and do around you has NOTHING to do with you. It’s their own problems and insecurities. Once you realize that, you can start helping people. You can view what people do with an air of neutrality. You literally observe and report without attachment or expectation.
Overthinking is considered an illness in Chinese medicine.
I heard a recording recently from a respected theologian and he said “Life is without purpose.” Apparently this is an old Chinese saying. What they’re trying to say, I think is that we can overthink things.
Let it go.
Before bed every night, I take the time (unless I pass out from sheer exhaustion – I do have a kid, a baby, a husband, a business, and now…a puppy!) to clear my mind of excess chatter.
What am I thinking about? What needs to get done tomorrow? Write it down. Once it’s written, it’s real, and I can stop thinking about it for now. Concerned or upset about something that happened that day? I take a few deep breaths and feel the emotions that are attached to what happened. What is the worse possible outcome from this problem? What can I do (if anything) to make things better? Can I let it go? Whatever the problem or the answer, it has to be processed or I won’t sleep well.
Most of the time I can literally tell my brain “shut up,” and that seems to work. I will fall right to sleep. In public, I use the “observe and report” technique to quell anxieties.
How about yourself? What coping skills help you deal with anxieties?