Feeling anxious is normal right now
A few days ago, I suddenly felt anxious in the middle of a shopping mall. I used to suffer panic attacks. While I wasn’t suffering a full blown panic attack, I did experience some of the first tell-tale symptoms.
There’s the breathlessness. The sudden urge to go to the toilet. Racing pulses.
I somehow followed my intuition. I took myself out of the space and tried to find a new focus. A new stimulus. I started messaging a friend about his latest news and took myself out of my shell.
Feeling unmoored can happen to any one of us.
We can become disconnected. Saturated with bad news. It reminds me of that classic 1970s’ disco track; we can get Lost in Music. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. But we can feel the human desire to “come back”, to something that feels safer. Where we’re more in control.
And feeling anxious is normal right now. The question is how to channel that anxiety and harness the energy we find bubbles within.
Do you ever coin or conjure up new words that suddenly seem to represent your mood or what you feel you lack?
In recent days, I’ve had the word concretise reverberate around my head. I’m not even sure it’s a real word. But it suddenly has a resonance as I’ve strived to make “real” some of the things I needed, but which I recently lacked. A sense of stability. An identifiable and fixed location to call “home”. The need for routine, even boring routines.
Casual research indicates not only is the verb “concretise” a real word (particularly common in French), but it has a number of firm applications in neuroscience and psychopathology.
I’m not using those definitions here.
Simply put, I’m referring to the basic human need to return to our fundamental self when all around us feels uncertain.
We concretise other needs. A desire to sleep more when our body tells us we need more R&R might see us buy a new pillow, or purchase an eye-mask.
When we face renewed uncertainty – the prospect of new lockdowns and confusing government regulations to name two sources of anxiety – we rightly want to make firm and real all that we can control. Even if in truth the pandemic and the febrile politics of 2020 means we feel we can’t control very much.
What we can control is our interior life. Our mood. Our perspective on the challenges we face and the mindset we want to adopt by way of response.
We can also seek to implement minor – but significant changes – in our immediate environment. We can write our daily thoughts in a journal like The Moments Journal, highlighting what was positive about our day. Even if by our own admission it was pretty shitty. We can change what news we read and absorb, focusing on the positive stories out there instead of all the invective.
Coaching can help
I am bound to give coaching a plug, but I’m unashamedly going to give coaching and talking therapies a plug.
There’s no shortage of online services out there, and I’m not here to only plug my own.
goodtalk.uk is a new platform and one I have recently benefited from myself. Online therapies designed for this current context – where many of us are working from home – it’s genuinely a positive surprise to learn that therapy can even work on a Zoom call, and even via the texting facility that Zoom provides. Of course one must understand what support is best suited to their mental health and wellbeing needs.
Coaching isn’t typically adapted to individuals who need psychiatric diagnostics and ongoing support.
But together with a range of talking therapies, it can help to make “concrete” some of the things we most want in our lives but we currently feel we lack.
We want to change jobs, but in the current crisis, we don’t know if we can make it work? Right, have we produced a list of pro’s and cons to help us reach a decision? Because, ultimately, to avoid ongoing indecision, a decision probably needs to be reached.
Or it can tackle “abstract” challenges – for example, a chronic lack of self-esteem, and put in place some concrete building blocks to help us overcome the barriers we impose on ourselves. Have you got an ideal “scenario” for what changes you can affect; what you’d like to do to see your self-esteem improve? And what obstacles are holding you back? Are there some repeat patterns of behaviour you want to cast aside? Fine, let’s see if talking therapies or coaching can help, even if just a bit, so you can start to make some progress.
My partner and I both recently qualified as IAGC certified coaches, the posh and fancy bit is that we get called ‘practitioners of generative change’. That’s not the job description I jot down when asked on official forms! But essentially, what our training with Robert Dilts and Steve Gilligan did was help us access a diverse range of techniques to help ‘coachees’ return to their “essential selves” and identify the profound change they want in their lives.
My new services – a unique offer
I’ve now produced a new coaching page here and have an official coaching biog at the International Association for Generative Change to explain more.
My partner and I are keen to especially reach out to clients who are busy throughout the working day and early evening and for whatever reason, would prefer coaching later in the evening, around 9pm or 10pm.
We can introduce some elements from other traditions, including a light touch approach to meditation, to help relieve you of the stresses of the day and relax into the night.
We haven’t quite set up the web-pages yet, but only partly tongue-in-cheek, we think of ourselves as possible Night Coaches, and that includes looking at your sleep and sex lives, if that’s what you want to address.
We aren’t robots. We’re far from perfect.
We too, face (or have at one time faced), most of the challenges our coachees come to talk to us about. And we think this approach is best as it means we can empathise with our ‘coachees’ and talk to them on equal terms. We’e not here to simply dole out warm and soapy advice.
Do please check out my unique offer – a limited period of free introductions to coaching to see whether it’s a service that might suit you, even in the short term.