My move to Spain has gone relatively smoothly. It’s wonderful to be here and the journey couldn’t have gone any more smoothly. Unfortunately though I’ve been having internet issues, and as I need the internet in order to be able to earn my living I found myself getting a little stressed. And what’s more I found myself getting stressed about the fact I’m getting stressed, worrying about how stress will impact the ME/CFS.
Luckily though I’ve been able to catch myself. I’ve noticed when my worries for the future were running away with me. I’ve been able to tell myself to stop; tell myself that I will survive a little bit of stress; remind myself that by worrying I am only adding to the probability of a less positive outcome. This thought is the key to me being able to take my ‘don’t worry’ self-talk seriously. I have convinced myself that worrying will only add to my problems and that I can have control over a more positive outcome by choosing not to worry. I choose to trust that it will be alright because I know that by doing so I am giving myself the best chance that I can. I believe in the power of relaxation, I know it’s my most helpful tool so I’ve become very practiced at using it.
One of the things about stress though is that it compels you to try and do whatever you can as soon as possible to relieve the situation. And that in itself adds to the stress. ”I must find a solution now!…. I must do whatever I can to solve this problem as soon as I can”. Thoughts such as these propel you into action, and feeling pushed into act isn’t exactly conducive to relaxed effortlessness! Once again the important first step is awareness. As soon as I realised that I was ‘on a mission’ my positive self-talk was able to intervene. ”Ok so I have a problem that needs sorting, that has negative consequences if it doesn’t get resolved. But pushing myself to find a solution without taking care of my body will also have negative consequences. I need to pace, I need to stay relaxed, I need to trust that a solution can be found.” In fact when you sit back and observe a problem calmly from a distance, it’s usually easier to see the whole picture and easier to choose the most beneficial solution.
We can’t help having worrying thoughts when we have a problem which has potentially negative consequences. But we can train ourselves to respond to those thoughts in a more helpful way:
- Notice that the thoughts are worrying and thus not conducive to healing
- Stop, breathe, decide to step off the escalator
- Convince yourself that being calm and relaxed and looking after yourself in this moment is a bigger priority than whatever is worrying you.
- Choose to trust that you will survive whatever is happening and that a solution will be found
- Convince yourself that a relaxed, effortless, patient approach will come up with the best possible solution.
All of this is easier said than done, but really it just takes a bit of practice. Learning mindfulness is a great tool for being able to notice what is happening with your thoughts. Then you just have to have a plan for what to do when you notice those kinds of thoughts and choose to stick to it. The more you use it, the easier it gets!
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