There are a lot of activities that appeal to me. Usually I save them for when I’ve had a busy day and I need to wind down with something easy and calming. When I’ve felt stressed or overloaded, these are the things that bring me back to a state of okay. But, how often do I actually lend myself over to these activities? Not very often. And why not? Because Anxiety likes to make it it’s mission to scupper me at every turn…

Firstly, here’s a list of things I like to do to relax: Read (a book or magazine), watch a film, write poetry and fiction using writing books for inspiration, mindfulness colouring, using my mindfulness journal, gardening, going for a walk.

Of these things, Anxiety has ruined about four of them. I won’t say ruined them completely, because I am better than to give up on relaxation, but here I will explain how exactly Anxiety works to ruin things:

Me: *Sits down to do an activity I enjoy in order to relax*

Anxiety: Oh, you like doing this do you? Well, you’re wasting your time. Here’s a bad feeling in your stomach to associate with the thing you like so you don’t enjoy it anymore.

If there’s an official name for this, I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just what Anxiety does. But for now I’m going to simply call it negative association by anxiety. The other week I spoke to a friend who confided in me that he has anxiety too. He says that he knows some of his anxious feelings are completely irrational, and he is aware that he has no reason to be anxious. But, and here’s the important bit, he has been getting anxious for so long about certain things, that even though he knows he has nothing to worry about, his body is so used to the way it makes him feel, that simply by association his anxiety comes on. It’s like Pavlov’s dog.

What really gets to me is that Anxiety has ruined mindfulness colouring, and my mindfulness journal. Whenever I start colouring, all that goes round in my head is that I’m wasting my time, or I could be doing something more productive. Or I start overthinking my colour choices and that I’m not doing it well enough. All of this defeats the point of doing it. It’s like, I’m trying to be mindful to the extent that I become anxious about being mindful enough!

It’s the same when I come to write, or to use inspiration to write. In the past I’ve used my copy of 642 Things to Write About in order to start writing. But whenever I use this book, I start second guessing my writing ability, and thinking that I’m not imaginative enough or that I don’t even have the mental capability to fill in most of the book!

Luckily, when it comes to reading, I don’t feel very anxious. But I used to spend Sundays dedicating all my time to reading a book, and that used to make me feel ill, but whether that’s down to my anxiety or not I’m unsure.

The real challenge is getting to a point of doing what I love despite my anxiety, and if I can do that, then I'll know I'm doing well. 

[This post was originally published on my blog, which you can read here]

Published by Jade Moore