Hello, fellow seekers of serenity! This blog pad is meant to be a space where stress takes a back seat, and calm takes center stage. In today's fast-paced world, anxiety can creep in without invitation, leaving us searching for ways to find peace within ourselves. Say no more, for we will explore together two creative strategies to help us tame anxiety and welcome tranquility into our lives.
As you may know, my life took a drastic turn when I became paraplegic at the age of 15. I believe hormones, coupled with the physical and emotional toll of the event, contributed to the development of anxiety attacks. If you've experienced them, you know they can be mind-boggling and debilitating, often dictating what you can and cannot do.
Without opening our eyes and actively fighting back, anxiety attacks can squeeze the life out of a person, metaphorically and sometimes literally. It took me many years to realize that I had become a slave to these attacks. Once I acknowledged that they had taken over my life, I began the process of fighting back in my twenties.
I remember that my primary fear was passing out in public. Whenever I felt this fear creeping up, my instinct was to seek solace immediately. If I were with friends, I'd make an excuse and abruptly leave. The first step was accepting the possibility of passing out in public. It took numerous attempts, but eventually, I told myself that if it happened, so be it. If someone called 911, I would deal with it when I woke up. I was determined. And you know what? I never passed out in public.
I gradually built up my strength and confidence until one day, I realized that fear no longer loomed over me. The same fear that had once gripped me so tightly had, in turn, released its hold.
Anxiety transports us from the present into a world that does not exist. To combat this, one effective strategy for me has been to redirect my attention. Here are a couple of ideas that worked for me:
I LOVE colors. They fascinate me. How about diving into a world of colors, patterns, and relaxation with mindful coloring. Grab an adult coloring book and let your creativity flow through the tip of your colored pencils. The simple act of coloring engages our mind, diverting it from anxious thoughts and allowing us to immerse ourselves in the present moment. Watch as intricate designs come to life under our fingertips and feel the soothing rhythm of strokes guiding us to a calmer state of mind.
Who knew that conquering stress could be as simple as staying inside the lines and coloring outside the worries!
Life is beautiful, so why not use our cameras or smartphones to capture moments and snap anxiety away? Using photography therapy to curve anxiety, extends its meaning beyond mere photography; to involve nurturing a mindful practice that enhances our everyday experiences. Simply put, engaging in mindful photography offers a positive distraction, encourages a shift in perspective toward beauty and tranquility, and cultivates a creative outlet, contributing to a more balanced and potentially anxiety-reducing mindset.
Here are some ideas:
Consider the vibrant colors of a sunset or sunrise – a canvas of shades painted across the sky. With our lens, we not only freeze this amazing moment but also invite ourselves to appreciate the transient beauty that nature generously offers. We can always revisit those moments in nature and relive that serene experience.
Now consider the delicate existence of flowers -- the act of capturing the delicate details of a flower, its petals, its combination of shades, textures and shapes becomes a meditation, focusing our attention on the intricate design crafted by nature.
Anxiety To Calmness:
Framing and focusing on these positive scenes is akin to composing a visual poem. It's about choosing what to include and what to exclude, creating a narrative that emphasizes the beauty in the ordinary. In this process, the lens becomes a tool of mindfulness. Our attention to the present redirects us from the anxious feeling to the "now", and ultimately to calmness.
The beauty of these practices lie in their ability to shift our perspective and get our minds to distract from the crippling feeling of anxiety. As we immerse ourselves in the act of coloring or photography, we begin to see the world through a lens of tranquility because we are transported to the present. It's a gentle reminder that, the daily hustle and chaos co-exist with a world of beauty waiting to be discovered.
In the face of life's unexpected challenges, from the profound impact of becoming paraplegic to the grip of anxiety attacks, the journey was not easy. However, it became doable once I started, and indeed, I did it. In recognizing the enslavement to fear and taking intentional steps to overcome it, I discovered the power of redirecting attention - coloring and photography.
Every walk is different. It’s important to find what works for us individually. My favorite cliché - think outside of the box!
The once looming fear of passing out in public was gradually replaced by the freedom of knowing I could embrace the present. Mindful coloring became a refuge, and photography therapy, a visual poetry that shifted my gaze from chaos to serenity. I don’t have my colorings anymore, but I still have some of my photos. When I found them years ago, they did not bring an ease feeling because they transported me to an uncomfortable period. Today, I appreciate and respect them as they were my initial tools on my journey to learning how to successfully overcome anxiety, describing my resilience and holding great value for me.
So, my fellow travelers on this transformative journey, remember that amidst life's hustle, a world of beauty awaits our discovery now!
Here is an affirmation for this week: Anxiety, you may have tentacles, but I choose to focus on the vibrant shades of life and wonders of nature, to frame moments that tell a story of resilience, and to capture the serenity that exists within and around me now. In this lens of tranquility, anxiety dissipates, the tentacles are loosen and a life of colorful, serene moments unfolds as I speak.
PS: Do you like this blog? Please share it and check out Mon Espace+, our rapidly growing platform of self-care collaborators. With our community of like-minded individuals, you'll have access to a wealth of resources, support, and inspiration to help you on your journey. And don't forget to check out my corner in the Self-Help Category - Your Upward Journey: It's Easier Than You Think! with my informal guidance, you'll be well on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.
A special thanks to my amazing brother-in-law for allowing me to use one of his exclusive photographs to illustrate this blog! Luv ya Alvaro Donatti. We can start creating these beauties as well!