Words, words, words!
Today’s Words of Wisdom:
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.”
– English Nursery Rhyme
The Foda’s take: Yeah. If you’re a robot.
Greetings, friends! Foda Here. Today I’d like to explore the conundrum of words. Harmful words won’t show up on an MRI or CAT scan, but they do damage just the same. Anyone who’s ever been teased, ridiculed, or unfairly persecuted knows this- which is pretty much everyone alive EVER. Words may not rip your arm off Wampa-snow-beast-in-Hoth style in the literal sense, but they can rip your heart out. (Figuratively.) So when you’re dealing with a chronic illness, discouraging words from other people can seriously mess with your head… but in my opinion, it’s the words we speak to ourselves that can hurt us the most.
Now I know what you’re thinking… I know worrying and stress is bad for me so I try to stop, but then invariably, I worry anyway, and then I beat myself up for worrying because it’s stressful, and I’m causing the stress by worrying, so then I worry about how my worrying is making me sicker! Yeah, that’s a killer. Or in more elegant prose: “Ah! There’s the rub.” (Love. Shakespeare. Such a bawdy rascal.)
So, what do we do? Welp, it’s kind of like trying to fall asleep. If you lie in bed at night wanting to fall asleep and trying really hard to relax so that you can fall asleep, chances are, you’re not falling asleep any time soon, because your brain is so busy trying to relax that you can’t, in fact, relax. Like when you try not to think of a purple elephant. (Try it. It will be ALL YOU CAN FOCUS ON.) So, again, what do we do? I’m a big fan of self talk, but I also recognize when the self talk can spiral into that nasty quagmire of endless questions and worry. So now that I’m aware that I do that, when it’s no longer productive thought, I do a few things:
Number One: Pick a few mantras and say them over and over to yourself. You’re more likely to believe something if it’s in your own voice. My favorite is: I can have what I want.
Number Two: Focus on something you love. I feel best about myself when I’m creative, so when I start to spiral, I pat myself on the back, and nourish my soul by thinking of/working on projects that make me feel proud.
Number Three: Sing a song. Music Therapists use this technique all the time. It is almost impossible to continue worrying when you’re singing a song. (Earth, Wind, and Fire is a guaranteed mood lifter.)
Number Four: Let Go. You have good reason to be stressed and to worry. Trying to shut it down will only make it worse- like a giant T Rex looming over your head, its freakishly tiny arms waiting to pull a snatch and grab. (By the by, did you hear of new research that suspects the T Rex looked more like a chicken? Or maybe my friends are just lying to me about that….) Anyway, the point is, sometimes you have to allow yourself to feel the way you do. Oftentimes, I find that if I just acknowledge what I’m freaking out about, and tell myself I have every right to be freaking out, I stop freaking out. Odd, I know, but it works- because then, when I’m ready, I can let go.
And if I can’t, there’s always carbs.