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Tension can be helpful by encouraging you to complete important tasks.  It can also be harmful by causing unbearable anxiety.

To say that we are living in a stressful world is more than the proverbial understatement.  Most of us know someone whose family or friends have been struck with Covid 19, its relationship to job loss, and its larger spinning wheel of negative relationship consequences.  You may not have the resources to live in the ways that brought you previous pleasure.  Though you may be knowledgeable enough to understand that many current lifestyle changes are not your fault, the messages you give yourself may continue to suggest that you "should have" avoided the mess in which you find yourself.  You may follow this with a sense of hopelessness about your ability to repair your set of circumstances.  The worry and self-criticism make your life tenser.  Now you find that your frame of mind makes an improved sense of worthiness feel even less possible.  What an agitated and tense circle surrounds you.  Want out?  Share some of the thoughtfulness of Sarah Lindberg and her 13 strategies for self-care:

     1. Breathe.  Deep breathing is one of the most helpful ways to take the edge off.  If you haven't been trained in how to do this effectively, ask your therapist for help.  (And, yes, I didn't think it could work either, but, it does.)

     2. Admit to yourself that you are nervous.  You can't fix what you don't recognize.

     3. Stop imagining the worst possible outcome of every event.  Wounding your knee does not mean that you will be unable to walk for the rest of your life.

     4. Exercise tension away.  Walk, run, lift weights to help produce the serotonin that will reduce your sense of strain.

     5. Picture yourself being calm.  Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a setting that is peaceful.

     6. Have a slogan that you can repeat to yourself whenever you feel stress.  Examples are "Will this matter next year? or Am I going t let today's crisis steal my lives' peace?"

     7. Listen to your favorite peaceful music.  I can't imagine helping others practice psychotherapy without tranquil background music.

     8. Relax your body.  Ask your therapist to assist you in learning progressive muscle relaxation.

     9. Keep a journal in which you can write the things you may find difficult to discuss.

    10. Get fresh air.

    11. Drink plenty of water.

    12. Choose massage or acupuncture to help yourself manage anxiety.

    13. Learn that tension is normal.  Learn the causes of yours so that you can eliminate them as much as possible.

"As our world becomes ever more complex and stressful, developing our capacity for dynamic balance in our lives, work and relationships become ever more vital to understand and embody in our own lives and for others whose lives we influence."

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