How to Reduce Anxiety
Sitting quietly in the living room, I became aware of myself. Anxiety had settled gently upon my shoulders, like dust. Anxiety entered my ears and nose, seeped like water into my skin…. Anxiety, with no target, no goal or itemized list with which to fight it.Having a list would make it easy. Oh, I’m not getting this or that done in time for the whatever event. That’s easy. Or, maybe it’s time to clean the gutters and there is a threat of rain. Simple.
No. Anxiety, for me, is foggy and ill defined. It is too vague to schedule or to grasp. I am exhausted in its face, unable to make my own schedule. I cannot attack anxiety’s hidden requirements. There is no list. No program. I have just failed, that’s all.
When anxiety wraps itself around me, I freeze. I cannot even think. I’d love to be able to say to myself, “Well, here we go again–how many of my friends have this experience! I’ll call someone and feel better soon!”
No. I am alone. Anxiety stalks the alone ones. I cannot move. Maybe I’ll die of cancer before dawn, the tree will fall on the house, all the bills will be due a week early.
This time, however, THIS time, I saw it. It was daylight…I was aware. I recognized anxiety’s ways. I became impatient with it.
I reached out my hand, took one of my own drawings and began to color. The studies are in that coloring is truly calming to the nerves. Now, I love to draw coloring book pages, but have not done coloring. I’ve done a few paintings in my time. Coloring? I have turned away from that.
This time, I said, “Walk your talk, girl. Walk your talk.” So I began to color.
I laid out the pencils and settled into my chair, whining a little about “wasting time.” I began. I colored. My mind became more and more aware of the little squares, wavy places, borders, flowers, disks and leaves in my drawing. Color rose up from the page, tickling the back of my eyes and mind. I laid some glitter on a gray place, put yellow into the green and watched it leap to life.My breathing became regular and soothing. My shoulders relaxed. My mind focused upon the details of the drawing, following the lines as they wandered about the page before me.
And then is was dinner time. I arose, made dinner, ate dinner, chatted with my honey, and went back to coloring as the Mariners beat the other team at baseball. The sound of the game became a sweet backdrop to the coloring as I shared the space and the game.
Anxiety, with no home to stay in, had left. It didn’t even say goodbye! It was just gone…
I have colored a couple of my drawings now, and am interested in the many techniques that other Colorists use. I have collected finished colorings from others who like to color my drawings, and have begun a Gallery to display them.
Am I free forever from Anxiety, now? No. I fully expect to feel anxiety’s seductive wrap again and again in my life. I have a new tool, however. Now I can shove it back out the front door of my mind. I can ignore anxiety completely. Once ignored, anxiety cannot stay—it seeks attention too strongly, and will float elsewhere.
And that is fine with me!