Inner Peace

by Stuart Lennon

No links today. Just some thoughts.

I doubt that I’m the only one managing anxiety at the moment.

Now, I make no claim to the heroics of those on the frontline, nor to the challenge of being locked up in a flat, looking after restless children. My lockdown is most definitely of the easiest kind.

That said, my anxiety is not one for reasoning. It’s a slippery, covert thing that sidles onto my chest, heavy and brooding. I never see it coming, until it’s there.

Anxiety comes in many forms and if you are at all worried about your own health, reach out to a professional. However, in a change from the normal programming, I thought I’d write about some of the methods I use to keep anxiety at bay.

1. The morning routine. Every morning. Hobonichi. Standard Memorandum. Bullet Journal. Learning Journal(s)
2. I start with my Hobonichi, an A6 page per day. I reflect here - no tasks, or events, just thoughts.
3. Gratitude Journal. I use the tiny Standard Memorandum, and every day, as part of my morning routine, I say thanks for one thing. It might be a good night’s sleep, it might be that my wife’s back condition is a tiny bit improved. The sun may have come out. I think, I write and I consciously smile.
4. Bullet Journal. The first entry in my journal each day is signified -G for gratitude note. Sometimes this is the same as my Standard Memorandum entry, sometimes not.
5. I start listing tasks in the bujo, including “Hobonichi”, “Standard Mem”. This serves two purposes. Writing my tasks, even those that I’ve already completed gives me a sense of purpose and control.

6. Learning. I take courses. In how to use an app, or get better at something. I take notes in a favourite notebook with a favourite pen. Soothing...and productive.

A routine is important. I’m in charge. Not my wife’s injury, not the virus, me. Finding things to be grateful for helps me recognise that whatever trials are out there, there is much good in my life. A positive start to the day gets me going in the right direction.

Meditation. I first tried meditation a few years ago. All a bit wishy-washy. Last year, as I found anxiety a more frequent companion, I had another go. I’ve completed ten minutes meditation every day for the last 151 days. I use an app called Calm, which I find excellent, and there are many alternatives out there as apps or websites, or heaven forfend, books. There is one rule that I follow. I show up. I find 10 minutes in my day to meditate. I have “good” sessions where I feel centred, and others where I cant concentrate for 10 seconds. That’s the nature of it.

I credit meditation with teaching me not to judge. I used to push away anxiety. Suppress it. Ignore it, Deny it. Now, I recognise it. Acknowledge it. Greet it, even.

There are times anxiety comes knocking, and that’s OK. I don’t let it rule me, but I don’t pretend it’s not there either.

How do you manage anxiety? Please leave a comment.