The mind is a wondrous thing, isn’t it? The human brain is one of the most fascinating organs in the human body. In less than a second, your brain can send a signal to your hands to type a word and erase a word (after you’ve misspelled a common word four times). With so many functions of the brain, we still manage to find little corners to devote to our obsessions.
I don’t mean obsessions in the sense that “I’m obsessed with this!” No, I mean, that little nagging voice inside your head that never shuts up and never ceases to analyze and overanalyze every detail of every conversation, every period, every pause. Yes, human beings communicate so much nonverbally; however, sometimes a “lol” really just means a person thought you were funny, and not a passive aggressive comment about you or the topic you’re discussing.
Recently, when I was on the verge of a panic attack, my friend walked me through three steps to slow my heart rate and my mind. First, she told me to take long, deep breaths. Simple, right? Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Next, she told me to think only about what I know for certain, the facts so to say. She wanted me to separate the reality from my interpretation of reality. She even gave me an example. Say you went on a date with a guy and you texted him after saying you had a nice time and he didn’t respond for a week or at all. For an entire week, you would be in emotional turmoil blaming yourself, analyzing your date, what you shouldn’t have done, what you should be doing, what he’s doing, and the list never ends… The facts in this story are simply that you texted a boy and he did not text back. That’s it. He doesn’t need to hold any more power in your life than that nonexistent text. I know, I know, definitely easier said than done, but once it’s a habit, you’ll never look back. Lastly, she asked me to make a list of 10 things I’m thankful for. Scientifically, our brains are susceptible to distractions and the immediate replacement of heart-wrenching anxiety with heart-swelling gratitude does the trick.
Oddly enough and much to my surprise, my heart rate slowed as I thought of my loved ones and the simple things I love about life like a child’s laugh. It worked. We spend so much of our lives in this state of panic and let ourselves stay there. It’s only human, but man, does it hurt. We hurt ourselves and we let others hurt us. Ultimately, we only have ourselves, and until we can accept who we are, we’ll continue to hurt.
Here’s to us. Let’s find a way to heal.